Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Book: Alpha
Series: Shifters #6
Author: Rachel Vincent

Review: Finally, the war we've been building up to for 5 books is here. **mild spoiler** Not surprisingly, Faythe's father is killed and she is named alpha in his place. We're told it's because she's the only person who can lead them, etc etc. but I feel like her mother, who previously sat on the counsel, has years of experience and the maturity to hold her tongue, would have been the better choice. But hey, Faythe is the star of this series, so let's roll with it.  In terms of the action, I enjoyed the Thunderbirds once again but I was hoping for more pizzazz in Calvin Malone's death. It was rather anticlimactic and the counsel never found out how evil he was (and he was a great evil adversary!) and what he did to railroad the Sander's.  Finally, the love triangle. Like the previous book, it was ridiculous listening to Faythe pander about her emotions regarding both men, when it was clear she should be with neither. I'll avoid spoilers on that front, but I'm sure most of you can guess the outcome. 

Overall-even though I really detested Faythe almost the entire series, strong secondary characters and a well imagined world/species allowed me to enjoy the series. 

Grade: 3/5


Book: Shift
Series: Shifters #5
Author: Rachel Vincent

Review: War is on the horizon. Calvin Malone, now head of the counsel, wants Faythe and Kaci at any cost. A new species is introduced, vicious birds called Thunderbirds who will prove to be a valuable ally in the upcoming fight. 

The best part of this book was the inclusion of the Thunderbirds. I assume they will play a pivotal role in the last book and they were well imagined. My primary issue with this book was twofold: Faythe's father and Faythe herself. Her father and their pride are supposed to be so smart and amazing, yet Malone outmaneuvers them at almost every turn. I also don't understand how they have such a large property that is barely patrolled. I realize they have patrols, but we are constantly reminded that they can't track with scent. It would seem to make sense that they would have cameras or something like that tracking their borders. I'm pretty sure Calvin Malone could have driven right up to their house and they wouldn't know it until they saw him. And I get that they don't like guns...but they live in Texas! They should at least know HOW to shoot guns and go to target practice. 

Finally, good 'ole Faythe. Ugg. **this part contains spoilers** For 4 books it is pretty much Marc, Marc, Marc. There is ONE scene with Jace in the first book that indicates there could be more to them, but that is that. I will even give Faythe a break for sleeping with Jace after her brother is killed because people sometimes do crazy things in times of stress. But let's be real here-it was not good sex. She imagined that he was Marc and pushed him off of her. She immediately felt horrible. How that experience translated to 'I'm in love with Jace' is beyond me. It makes no sense. Marc's reaction to learning about the relationship makes no sense either. Although I'm not a huge Jace fan, I'm still not sure why Marc and Jace even want to be with Faythe. She is so wishy washy and incapable of making a decision about them. I kept hoping they would both throw her to the curb. 

The thunderbirds saved this from being a 1 star review.  

Grade: 2/5


Book: Prey
Series: Shifters #4
Author: Rachel Vincent

Review: Faythe is on her way to visit Marc (who has been exiled) when there is an ambush and Marc eventually goes missing. Faythe and her fellow were-cats search for Marc, while dealing with Manx's upcoming trial and young Kaci who is still recovering from her traumatic early years.

Hmmm...okay, Faythe was growing on me slightly in the book #3 and she is back to her old, impulsive, self-absorbed self this time around. Her motto should be: Act First, Think Later. The only saving grace in this book was there was a major character death I didn't see coming (I actually cried, it was really sad) which was very emotional. This event lead to Faythe making a decision that will impact her relationship with Marc going forward. 

Grade: 3.5/5


Book: Pride
Series: Shifters #3
Author: Rachel Vincent

Review: I'm happy to say this series has gotten stronger with every book up to this point. Although there wasn't much physical action (in terms of fighting), Faythe is on trial for murder and the focus is the legal proceedings. I think my favorite part of this book was the introduction of Calvin Malone, Jace's stepfather (who I'm guessing is the overall big big in the series). So far, I have to say he is more politically savvy than Faythe's father. We are constantly told by Faythe how wonderful her father is...but I just don't see it. Sure, he seems like a nice man but he doesn't seem to play the political game very well. Of course, there is more Faythe/Marc drama, and once again I question why he is even with her. She still refuses to commit on any level unless "it's on her terms" and is overall grating. Faythe Sanders-23 going on 16. 

Overall-even though Faythe is absolutely grating, she has a few tolerable moments (most notably when she is dealing with a new female character) and I enjoyed this book. 

Grade: 4/5


Book: Rogue
Series: Shifters #2
Author: Rachel Vincent

Review: Faythe is now working with Marc as an enforcer for the Pride and they are trying to track down a rogue who is killing strays in their territory. 

While this book was overall very predictable, it had a lot of action and enough Marc to compensate for Faythe and her vapid commentary. Her immaturity and ability to make the same mistakes over and over give me hope that she'll grow throughout the series. It's upsetting that Marc even wants to date her when she continues to give him the run around. The ending of this book was strong and I look forward to the next installment. 

Grade: 3/5


Book: Stray
Series: Shifters #1
Author: Rachel Vincent

Review: Faythe Sanders, a female were-cat who is striving for independence is forced to leave graduate school to return home and help her family. If you read Kelley Armstrong's Bitten, this book had a lot of similarities. 

The Good: Vincent does an excellent job creating a cast of supporting characters that you want to know better and root for. Most notably Marc-Faythe's ex-boyfriend who was not born a were-cat but 'bitten.' Although extremely smart, capable and dedicated to his alpha (Faythe's father), Marc experiences a lot of discrimination from other packs because of his heritage. He inexplicably loves Faythe throughout the series-that is his only character flaw. 

The Bad: Faythe Sanders. Oh boy. I'm not even sure where to start. She is simply horrible in this book. She is self absorbed, spoiled rotten, has no impulse control and has the maturity of 16 year old. This would be fine, but she is in her early 20s and the voice of this series. It was absolutely grating listening to her bitch and complain about her life, problems, responsibilities as well as the fact that no one takes her seriously.

I didn't not enjoy the first 75% of this book but it did pick up when Faythe is *minor spoiler alert* kidnapped and her attitude improves slightly. Marc and Faythe's brother Ethan are great and I look forward to see what happens with them. 

Grade: 2/5

Wool Omnibus Edition

Book: Wool Omnibus Edition
Series: Silo Saga
Author: Hugh Howey

Review: 'Wool Omnibus' Edition is a collection of short stories in the Silo Saga. Set sometime in the future, modern civilization as we know it has ended. People are living in a 100+ story silo (imagine a huge submarine where the top level few levels are above ground, everything else is underground) and the outside air is poisonous. Anyone who challenges the hierarchy in the silo or expresses interest of leaving, is sent to "cleaning", essentially their death outside the silo.

I'm going to review each story separately. Overall, I enjoyed the book.  

Part One - Wool 5/5
This was excellent. The sheriff's wife, an IT specialist, essentially committed suicide years earlier and he is finally asking some questions and making decisions for himself. A sneak peak at the world of 'Wool' and made me want to read more. 

Part Two - Proper Gauge 3/5
The mayor and sheriff's deputy travel deep down in the silo to recruit a potential candidate for sheriff. There is a lot of world building here and the ending was good, but it was really boring.

Part Three - Casting Off 4/5
Juliette is the new sheriff and we see the silo through her eyes. She is inquisitive and starts to research things that quickly get her in trouble. The 'big bad' is more fully introduced, although he doesn't come across as a real person through the dialogue. I really liked it overall. 

Part Four - The Unraveling 3/5
Finally-some real action! Although it was relatively predictable and I was thrilled with the uprising, I found myself rolling my eyes everytime Bernard and/or Lukas were in a scene. (**spoiler alert**: I find it highly unlikely that Bernard could have traveled down to the lower levels and murdered someone without anyone seeing him. Seems like there are people everywhere).  And while I was excited about the different storylines, I came to the realization that I just didn't care about any of the characters (no, not even Juliette). I burned through the first three parts quickly and couldn't wait to keep reading. 'Wool' lost it's zing in this part for me. 

Part Five - The Stranded 4/5
I have conflicting feelings about the last section. While the first 4 parts were definitely short, this was almost a short novel. I have nothing against that, but the writing style seemed to change as well. It was overly descriptive in parts and I found myself constantly taking breaks because it couldn't hold my interest. I'll still rank it a 4 because the ending was very strong in how it related to the main characters. 

Overall, I give the series 4/5. I plan to read the prequels and I really hope I really fall in love with some of the characters. Definitely a unique book that I've already lent out!

Magic Rises

Book: Magic Rises
Series: Kate Daniels #6
Author: Ilona Andrews

Review: Kate, Curran and the crew head to Europe for a dangerous mission. Their objective is to keep a pregnant shape-shifter safe and witness the birth of her twins, since whichever child is born first has territorial consequences. But Kate and Curran's ultimate goal is their reward for completing the mission: receipt of a valuable medicine that can help the pack's shapeshifter children survive to adulthood.

First of all, I love that the setting of this book changed from Atlanta to Europe. It provided a nice breath of fresh air and I loved the logistics of getting a boat for everyone, the transatlantic voyage as well as the descriptions of their final destination. I'll avoid spoilers, but another big player has a large role in this book and I thought he (oops! there is a hint) was fabulous. A pretty major secondary character was killed in this book which I was surprised about (but leads to interesting possibilities for future books) and I loved the overall dynamics of the different packs. 

Although I really enjoyed this book, there was way too much relationship drama between Kate and Curran. Part of it was crucial to the plot of the story, but some of it was unbelievable knowing their history. There were also 2 new female characters introduced that traveled with Kate and Curran and for the life of me, I couldn't keep them straight. Overall, I really liked it! 

Grade: 4/5

An Ill Advised Rescue

Book: An Ill Advised Rescue Part 1 and Part 2
Series: Kate Daniels [deleted scene from Magic Rises]
Author: Ilona Andrews

Review: A super fun deleted scene from Magic Rises! Saimon is kidnapped and our favorite heroine Kate Daniels has to rescue him. She brings along Derek and Grendal (my favorite dog after my own pooch). A short read that is funny and sets the stage for Saimon owing Kate a big favor. If you are a fan of the series, read this before Magic Rises (available free on the author's website). 

Grade: 4/5

Monday, August 19, 2013

Let Love Find You

Book: Let Love Find You
Series: Reid Family #4
Author: Johanna Lindsay

Review: Amanda Locke is beautiful, charismatic and the daughter of the 10th Duke of Northford. Entering her third season, she is determined to find love and a husband. When her sister-in-law enlists the help of horse breeder and matchmaker Devin Baldwin (also known as 'Cupid') to help Amanda, sparks fly. 

This is my first Johanna Lindsay book and it was really cute. Amanda had a great personality and I loved the dynamic between her and Devin. The push and pull between them provided some good tension (as in-when will they finally realize their feelings for each other?!?). I'll avoid spoilers, but I was surprised at some things Devin did (or rather said) toward the end of the book to Amanda's family. Overall, fun read. 

Grade: 3/5

Prodigal Son: A Novel

Book: Prodigal Son: A Novel
Author: Thomas Cavanagh

Review: Mike Garrity is a retired police detective who recently underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor. Now that his cancer is in remission, he needs to go back to work and takes a job as a private detective. He quickly takes on two cases, investigating the suicide of one of his daughter's high school friends and trying to find a man who was given up for adoption when he was a baby. What starts out as simple detective work quickly escalates into violence, corruption and murder.

This book was in our beach condo and it was a pleasant surprise. I'm a sucker for a good thriller and this book delivered on many levels. I really enjoyed Mike's boss Jimmy and liked how their relationship developed throughout the novel. The pace of the book was good and I could easily see it made into a tv movie. My only complaint was that one of the twists was every evident from the beginning. Otherwise, fun book. A good summer read. 

Grade: 3.5/5

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Silent Wife

Book: The Silent Wife
Author: A.S.A. Harrison

Review: Todd and Jodi have been together a long time. Todd, the victim, has a penchant for women on the side. Jodi, the killer, likes to pretend everything is okay in their relationship. 'The Silent Wife' is the unraveling of their relationship before a murder takes place.

I'll be honest-I bought this book because it was marketing as this summer's 'Gone Girl.' I loved GG so I was expecting a psychological thriller. Let me be clear-this book is no where near GG. There is a twist at the end (which was predictable), but overall there is little mystery regarding the main characters. Todd is a dog and Jodi is an expert at denial. Neither character was that likable and while it was sad watching their dysfunctional relationship fall apart, I wasn't that sorry to see Todd eliminated. 

Overall, I liked it but didn't love it. A decent beach read. 

Grade: 3/5

The Summer of Us

Book: The Summer of Us
Author: Holly Chamberlin

Review: Three strangers on the verge of turning 30 decide to rent a house together on Martha's Vineyard for the summer. Gincy (an outspoken woman who resents her family and despises her hometown in NH), Claire (uptight teacher who is in a loveless long term relationship with her college boyfriend) and Danielle (curvy girl from Long Island who is shopping for a husband) are initially wary of each other but end up developing a lasting friendship. 

I just didn't care for this book. It is written in alternating narratives but it seemed like Gincy (my least favorite character) had more than the other girls. She is almost 30 and repeatedly calls her hometown ridiculous names like 'Armpit, NH'. Her maturity level was at a middle school level and the relationship she engages in (with a successful single dad) was completely unbelievable. While the other girls weren't as cringe worthy as Gincy, they were all one dimensional and many of their conversations didn't sound like things actual people talk about. 

I was hoping for a light beach read (in fact, I found this book at our condo on a beach vacation) and while it was a light read, it was not enjoyable. Skip this one.

Grade: 1/5