Just Talking Books

I enjoy talking/sharing about the books I read.

Early Review: Forbidden by Cathy Clamp (Releases: 18 Aug)

Forbidden - Cathy Clamp

Forbidden picks up 10 years after the last of A Tale from the Sazi series book ends! Forbidden starts with action right away!

What I liked: First off I have to say that the Sazi series was and is one of my all time favorite series. As a matter of fact when reducing my book collection, the series is one I kept and I've re-read it so many times some of the books are falling apart. I really need to get them in e-book form.

Forbidden starts with immediate action and really doesn't stop. Since I was familiar with the Sazi world, I wasn't lost at all and I think a new reader might need to have just a bit of patience OR start with the original series (nudge, nudge). The whole premise with the Sazi is to stay hidden so they take care of all their own problems. However, the "cure" devastated their numbers and now they are a bit overworked. 

Claire, the heroine of Forbidden, is a new Wolven agent (this is the law enforcement agency for the Sazi) and normally wouldn't have been sent on such an assignment so early in her career and especially alone. However, Sazi children that survived the cure are being kidnapped and Claire is sent into the former refuge to find out why, and who and stop the kidnappings. 

Alek has been in Luna Lake (the former refuge) since the cure/plague decimated his pack in Chicago. What's more, he was adopted by the Owls and not wolves. Basically, due to the plague, different clans had to step up and protect children of different clans to keep them safe.

Ms Clamp really steps up with the continuation of the Sazi. Her characters are interesting and appealing. Of course,  there are always the few you just want to smack for being so stupid but otherwise, I enjoyed all the characters. Since the characters are so well done, it's hard to think any of them might not be all they seem. This is where Ms Clamp shines. I had absolutely no idea of any of the bad guys or why. But the story didn't bog down, it flowed and kept my interest and had me rooting for all the characters.

What I didn't like: I read a copy provided to me by Ms Clamp before ARCs were available so I can't really comment on the editing, etc. I know the only thing that frustrated me with my copy was, I couldn't (or didn't know how) to take notes. It was a bit funny actually because I had to resort to pen and paper, the horror!

The whole idea of the Sazi is completely different from any other Urban Fantasy I've read. It's completely believable, to me and I bought into it for the long haul. I'm very hopeful that more of the characters from the previous series will make it into this series. I'm that invested in them as characters and as part of the story!

I can't express how much I recommend you read A Tale of the Sazi series first. You won't be sorry, but entertained for hours!!

Highly Recommended!!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/early-review-forbidden-by-cathy-clamp-releases-18-aug

Early Review: The Terrans (First Salik War #1) by Jean Johnson Releases 28 July 2015

The Terrans - Jean Johnson

And thanks to NetGalley I've found another author to enjoy!! 

What I liked: The Terrans is the first book I've read by Ms Johnson. I found it on NetGalley and since I've enjoyed the last two Sci-Fi books I've read, I thought, why not? 

I completely bought into this whole story. As a matter of fact, my son was trying to get my attention while I was reading The Terrans and I told him, leave me alone, I'm a psychic fighting aliens!! 

Ms Johnson's imagination in writing this story completely fascinated me. The future she painted seemed completely plausible and I want to live there! As you know, setting up in a first book of a series is important but can be slow going for the reader. I dove in and did not want to come up for air!

Her writing is tight, crisp and intriguing. If you've any kind of imagination of what the future might be like, just hang on and enjoy the ride provided by Ms Johnson and her utterly fascinating characters.  While there is a main character, Jackie, she doesn't carry the story alone. Her projected love interest, Captain Li'eth Ma'an-uq'en (interesting names abound) looks human but with some strange markings. As a matter of fact, The Terrans (what we think of as normal humans) have NO markings on their skin and it causes some confusion not only upon first contact but throughout the book. Wait until you hear the explanation.

This series is supposedly a bit of a prequel to one of Ms Johnson's other series,Theirs Not to Reason Why and is similar to that world. I've never read that series and maybe that's why I thought the world building in The Terrans was unbelievably good. I didn't feel lost at all and was a bit in awe of Ms Johnson's talent.

I'm not going to rehash the whole story as you just must experience it yourself and you won't be disappointed. 

What I didn't like: I'm really trying to think about something I didn't enjoy or disliked about The Terrans; I can't.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley for a fair and honest review.

Highly Recommended!!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/early-review-the-terrans-first-salik-war-1-by-jean-johnson-releases-28-july-2015

Dolly's Thoughts on Pure Blooded (Jessica McClain #5) by Amanda Carlson

Pure Blooded - Amanda  Carlson

Jessica never has a spare moment to just think anything through. She's too busy trying to stay alive!!

What I liked: When reading a book in this series, I take a deep breath and dive in. The problem then is trying to find another spot to take a breath or put the book down. I'm totally addicted to the Jessica McClain series

Ms Carlson has built these characters, mainly Jessica, and developed a world in which I love to get lost. Pure Blooded is another roller coaster ride for Jessica and her crew. It seems they go from one disaster to another and it's never just regular in-fighting between species. All the problems/disasters circle around Jessica and the meaning of her being who she is.

I enjoyed that more of the characters had a bigger part to play than in the last book. Marcy, a witch and friend, totally kicks butt with her spells. Also, Jessica is caught in the middle of two Hags; one wants to destroy her as she thinks Jessica represents the end of the supernaturals and the other, Juanita, is trying to help Jessica, as she believes Jessica will end up saving all the different races. Poor Jessica, she doesn't know what's what with her talents and who is a friend or a foe. A few new characters are introduced and I'm anxious to see how they play into the story. I especially feel I'm going to enjoy Jessica's new "secretary". 

I know I'm not saying very much about the plot of Pure Blooded and the reason is I focus on the characters and the development of the overall story line. I've not figured out exactly what Jessica is and what she's supposed to do to save the world. It keeps me thinking!

What I didn't like: The Jessica McClain series is one of my favorites because for me, it's pure escapism. I get lost in all the unlikely situations, the characters and what's coming next. I would like to see Jessica and Rourke have more time together as a couple and not fighting for their lives. I know some of my friends don't feel the same way I do but there are books for everyone and their tastes and expectations are different. 

I would normally say I got more than my money's worth in Pure Blooded. Alas, I can't and won't! (Beware...rant coming)

I know Ms Carlson is not responsible for the pricing on her books. That's between her publisher and Amazon. Luckily, I can afford my book habit but I am beginning to cringe at the pricing. I even went and got a library card!! Pure Blooded is the first time I've paid full price for a book in this series. I'm getting to the point in my life that I'm counting the pennies I spend on books. I can get the earlier Kindle editions of J. D. Robb's books for less than publishers/Amazon are charging for today's newest releases. There is only $2.50 between the Kindle and paperback editions of Pure Blooded. I'm still in the process of downsizing my collection of physical books and don't want to feel like the only way to get my money's worth is buying a paperback. Dang, it just doesn't make sense to me.

I guess my point is...if you can easily afford it, buy Pure Blooded, if money is a problem; try borrowing it or getting it at the library.

Love this series! Highly Recommended!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/dollys-thoughts-on-pure-blooded-jessica-mcclain-5-by-amanda-carlson

Early Review: Killing Secrets (Nan Vining Mysteries #5) by Dianne Emley

Killing Secrets: A Nan Vining Mystery - Dianne Emley

I read the first 3 books in this series ages ago and enjoyed them immensely. I was surprised to find Killing Secrets on NetGalley. When you've not read a book by a particular author in a while but remember their name and most of the characters, you know you've found a good author to read.

What I liked: First, let me say that I somehow missed book 4, Love Kills but I didn't feel I missed anything by reading Killing Secrets first. (I will go back and read it though). 

I like the main character, Nan Vining. She's a cop but not the top of the chain and she has no mysterious crime fighting ability. She's a single Mom, with a somewhat rebellious teenage daughter, Emily, and she's in a good stable relationship. You know, like an everyday person. 

This is listed as a mystery and the plot follows the murder/suicide of a teacher and student. To me, personally, the blurb sound more exciting than the book. I don't mean that in a bad way but to me, the relationships between the characters was more meaningful and important; most especially the relationship between Nan and her daughter.

Ms Emley, didn't leave you a trail of bread crumbs either. I didn't figure out the bad guy until right before the end. It was not obvious and there were several red herrings with a lot of misdirection. 

What I didn't like: I felt the first third of Killing Secrets moved somewhat slowly. The author was setting up multiple plot lines and characters. Once I was past the first third, the book moved much more quickly and held my attention until I lost track of time.

If you like a good mystery/thriller, this series is for you. It has strong, independent characters with interesting back stories. I hope the next in the series isn't 5 years down the road!!

Here is a complete listing of the Nan Vining Mystery Series.


Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/early-review-killing-secrets-nan-vining-mysteries-5-by-dianne-emley-releases-21-july-2015

Review: Shadowed Threads (Rylee Adamson #4) by Shannon Mayer

Shadowed Threads - Shannon Mayer

Have you ever started a series and then just read one book after the other because you're so captivated? This is the Rylee Adamson series to me!!

What I liked: To me, Shadowed Threads is all about choices and the ones Rylee has to make. Her feelings are telling her one thing and her "allies" are telling her another. Which will she choose and what will be the consequences? 

Shadowed Threads had me on the edge the whole book. Just when I thought Rylee was going to catch a break, well, she doesn't. I'm practically exhausted for Rylee. The pace never slows and she's going from one case, er, disaster, to the next. 

I am glad Rylee has met another Tracker, Jack, and am wondering how he is going to work with Rylee on her powers. At the moment, he's stalling. Then there are the secondary characters. Of course Alex is my favorite but Evie and Pam are unique also. Faris, I'm not sure about as you can just feel he has a hidden agenda. The more I read about Doran (a daywalker vamp), the more I want to know. And now we add Blaz, a dragon, and he's paired with Rylee...there's a reason there. And of course, there's the twisted best friend, Milly. 

Rylee has to decide whether to go after Liam, whose wolf is currently in charge or save her sister, Berget. So many choices and so little time. If that's not enough a guardian is trying to kill her and guardians don't stop!!

I really enjoyed getting a POV from Liam. It added to the story and gave some insight into his character and how his Wolf was coping.

What I didn't like: I would really like it if Ms Mayer gave Rylee a week or so of rest with no calamities sneaking up on her. 

I'm entranced by this series. I take a breath and dive end. Occasionally, I come up for air or to make dinner or some other mundane chore, but while I'm reading one of Ms Mayer's Rylee Adamson's books, I can't think of anything but finishing it.

Highly Recommended, but again, you must start with the first book, Priceless and don't give up!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-shadowed-threads-rylee-adamson-4-by-shannon-mayer

Review: Breakwater (The Elemental Series #2) by Shannon Mayer

Breakwater (The Elemental Series Book 2) - Shannon Mayer

Another Shannon Mayer series that has just grabbed me and sucked me in again! I'm so glad there doesn't appear to be a large wait between books!!

What I liked: The characters and the Elementals' politics is mind blowing. One moment up and then crisis after crisis is happening not just in Larkspur's world but with the other Elemental worlds too. It's hard to figure out just who are allies and who is the enemy.

At first I was a bit unclear what was going on with Larkspur's father, the King, but Ms Mayer weaves the storyline very well. It's a bit convoluted but it makes so many more possibilities for the author to use in the further development. 

In Breakwater, Larkspur and her half-sister, Belladonna, are sent on a mission to "The Deep" Yep, underwater Elementals. Just think of all the possibilities of controlling the water and everything in it, to a point. Belladonna is being sent as the new ambassador to the Deep as the previous one appears to be missing. Larkspur is sent as Belladonna's bodyguard. 

The treachery begins as soon as the sisters arrive. Someone is trying to kill them. Here is where part of the twists and turns begin. The acting King of the Deep, Requiem, is just plain evil with no redeeming qualities. He is not the heir but has taken control and no one seems to be able to reach the rightful heir, Finley.

The action is fast and furious, the enemy is known and unknown and Requiem is up to more than taking control of the Deep. Out of nowhere, Ash, Larkspur's fellow Ender and mentor arrives to help, or is he there for another reason. Maybe, their father doesn't want Larkspur and Bella returning from the Deep at all. Who to trust, or is there anyone at all to trust is the better question.

I really liked the hint of romance at the end!!

What I didn't like: It's not so much what I didn't like but a gentle warning to prospective readers. There are a lot of characters to keep track of and whether they are allies or enemies can depend on the time of day. It's complicated! 

Another series from Ms Mayer that will go on my auto-buy list.

Highly Recommended but read the first book, Recurve, prior to this one!!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-breakwater-the-elemental-series-2-by-shannon-mayer

Review: He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not (The Deadly Games Series #1) by Lena Diaz

He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not - Lena Diaz

I love a good romantic suspense and although I had never read a book by Ms Diaz, the third book in this series was a Kindle deal and the synopsis caught my attention. I wasn't sure if they interconnected so I took a chance and was very glad I did.

What I liked: The two main characters, Amanda *Mandy" Stockton and Chief of Police Logan Richards are written very well. Neither of them are perfect and they both feel guilty about something in their past. Logan thinks a mistake he made is the reason Mandy had to suffer through a brutal attack and Mandy thinks because she ran, her friend died. Big guilt trips going on.

I enjoyed the way Ms Diaz did not hit you over the head with the clues sprinkled through the story. I had a general idea of the murderer but it wasn't obvious in any way.

Although Mandy thinks herself a coward, her character is very strong and resilient. She's more than a bit self conscious about her looks but those who care for her quickly get past that. Her interactions with Logan are precious and double edged. His guilt over "maybe" letting a killer go drives him in all ways. He's definitely an alpha male but there are some deep feelings running through him.

There are some surprising twists and turns with characters that I didn't expect. That more than kept me on my toes with the mystery aspect.

I can see some of the secondary characters getting their own stories and I can't wait to get started!!

What I didn't like: Sometimes men can be so very "holier than thou". Ms Diaz writes Logan extremely well and I could actually see a male acting as if he knows what is best for his love. But, dang, he's so stubborn.

Hint: Stubborn but very smart and knows how to make a grand gesture.


Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-he-kills-me-he-kills-me-not-the-deadly-games-series-1-by-lena-diaz

Review: Cruel Justice (Lorne Simpkins #1) by M.A. Comley

Cruel Justice  - M.A. Comley, Tania Tirraoro

Not exactly what I expected.

What I liked: The opening of Cruel Justice grabbed me right off. I had never read anything by Ms Comley and since Cruel Justice was a free read, I thought, why not. I will say the writing is good and the editing is excellent and Cruel Justice had it moments but then I completely was blown away by the selfishness of the main character, DI Lorne Simpkins. (more about that later)

The plot was well thought out and executed and some of the characters drew me into their lives but I actually found the bad guys to be a bit more understandable.

So I kept telling myself, this is the first in the series, be patient, it will come together towards the end. 

What I didn't like: Rant alert!! I absolutely could not believe in the main character and her life. I have no idea how many times I just wanted to smack the crap out of her. I couldn't find anything to connect with in her portrayal. Not only was she selfish but my gosh, she "had feelings" for so many men, I just....blah!!! 

Lorne's husband was almost as bad as she was. Being a house wife/husband isn't depicted in the correct light, in my opinion. Believe me, been there, done that. A stay at home parent is not in jail serving time. They don't have to just stay home all day especially when the child is at school. I get that DI Simpkins has some long hours as do most police people but, they have to sleep and take breaks. (Maybe it's handled differently in the U. K.)  

It seemed like every time I flipped a page, Lorne was flirting with someone or remembering a relationship she had with someone else. She didn't listen to her partner, DS Pete Childs at all. It almost appeared as if she looked down on him. Most partners development some kind of relationship but not in this case. Well, they did have a relationship but it was always to Pete's detriment. She was extremely unprofessional in just about every situation Ms Comley concocted for her.

You're not gonna believe this but I picked up the second and third in the series because it was a Kindle deal. I even read part of the second book, up until a bad guy kidnaps, terrorizes and abuses Lorne's daughter. I put it down and will not be continuing with the series.

No Recommendation!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-cruel-justice-lorne-simpkins-1-by-ma-comley

Review: Judgment (Cassidy & Spenser #1) by Carey Baldwin

Judgment: A Cassidy & Spenser Thriller (Cassidy & Spenser Thrillers) - Carey Baldwin

3.75 Stars!!!


I'm always on the lookout for good suspense/thriller novels. Judgment didn't disappoint!!

What I liked: Judgment was my first read by Ms Baldwin and it was free. The biggest factor involved in taking a chance on this book was another author I read and love, recommended Judgment. I took a chance because not all thriller readers are the same in the taste of their books.

Judgment has a good strong plot, interesting characters, and a few twists I didn't see coming. For those reasons, I couldn't stop reading.  As with mysteries, thrillers or suspense novels, you can't really say too much about the plot without spoiling the book. Suffice it to say, it's a roller coaster ride for Dr. Caitlin Cassidy, Agent Atticus Spenser and the rest of the cast.

I've always wondered what drives individuals to be a part of a defense team defending what seems a slam dunk conviction. Caity Cassidy has the best reason of all, she watched a loved one put to death for a murder he didn't commit. That's a scary thought to me and actually made me really think about the death penalty as a judgment. I don't know if this is what Ms Baldwin had in mind when she wrote Judgment, but it made me think.

Atticus is a very intriguing character. He has some focus problems that he's lived with all his life but has found a way to cope and hopefully not blurt out exactly what he's thinking. That characteristic was endearing and in some cases humorous. 

There are no down moments in Judgment. Take a breath and go along for the ride with the nonstop action including the repeated attempts on Caity's life.

What I didn't like: Have you ever read a book and knew you enjoyed it but something seemed a bit off? I was having that problem with Caity and Atticus' relationship. Their interactions seemed awkward and yet I can't put my finger on why. Maybe I didn't have a complete sense of them as a team. Ms Baldwin gives a good back story on each of them as individuals but I didn't feel the spark of them as a couple. It just slightly took away from the story for me but didn't impact my enjoyment of the book.

If you like suspense/thrillers/murder mysteries, you will enjoy Judgment. The next book, Fallen, is due to be released on June 9th. I will be buying that one to see how the series progresses and the characters grow.


Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-judgment-cassidy-spenser-1-by-carey-baldwin

Review: Virtue Falls (Virtue Falls #1) by Christina Dodd

Virtue Falls - Christina Dodd

If you're a Christina Dodd fan or like romantic suspense, check Virtue Falls out of your local library.

I'm reversing the order of my review with this one.

What I didn't like: I've read previous books by Ms Dodd back in my Historical Romance days and Virtue Falls' synopsis tickled my fancy to try one of her newer novels. I was sorely disappointed. About one third into the book, I actually thought, why did I buy this? Was it a Kindle deal? Was it free? Imagine my horror when I checked my order on Amazon and realized I paid $14.99 for this e-book!

I could not connect to the characters at all. The closest I came is appreciating how Ms Dodd portrayed and wrote the main character, Elizabeth. She felt like a cross between Spock (from Star Trek) and a hormonal teenager.  I liked the Spock part of her character.

The pacing seemed way off...one minute fine and then bogged down. The story seemed to me, to go off on tangents and then back to the storyline. The characters for the most part to me, felt flat. Nothing that grabbed my interest. 

Why did I go on reading Virtue Falls, you ask? The $14.99 I paid for the book is the answer. I pay that much for a book and I'm going to read it, period.

What I liked: I did like the archaeology parts in the book. All the information dealing with earthquakes, tsunamis, and the dig appeared well researched and was presented in a logical and thought provoking way.

The writing and editing were good. I know Ms Dodd can write, as I stated, I've read other books written by her. Virtue Falls just didn't come together for me at all.

Recommend you borrow Virtue Falls from the library.

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-virtue-falls-virtue-falls-1-by-christina-dodd

Review: A Cold Dark Place (Cold Justice #1) by Toni Anderson

A Cold Dark Place (Cold Justice) (Volume 1) - Toni Anderson

A Cold Dark Place was my first read of a Toni Anderson book. Thankfully it won't be my last!

What I liked: I enjoyed all the characters because they were believable. No one was really over the top with "special skills" or surprising insights. Mallory felt the most real to me as she is a rookie FBI agent and it shows in most of her actions and reactions. Her love interest, Alex, is mostly believable, IF, you can buy into the company he works for, The Gateway Project. Their interest and sexual awareness of each other is pretty immediate but again, it wasn't over the top.

The case/cases they are working on were intriguing to me and more than held my interest. There is a lot of FBI workplace politics going on which I totally bought into.  You can almost feel sorry for Mallory in her work situation but it doesn't stop her from her main quest; finding out who kidnapped her twin when they were nine years old. Eighteen years have passed and still Mallory is bound and determined to find and capture the villain.  

The plot line was not obvious but Ms Anderson slowly reeled out the clues with a few red herrings. I did figure part of the plot out but not all of it and that's a win for me whenever I'm reading a thriller/suspense book.

What I didn't like: While I enjoyed A Cold Dark Place, a few instances it felt slow but definitely not enough for me to put it down or give up. 

There are quite a few sexy scenes between Mallory and Alex for the romance fans and the suspense element is carried out very well.  I'm looking forward to reading more books by Ms Anderson.

Recommended for romantic suspense readers or thriller/suspense/mystery readers.

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-a-cold-dark-place-cold-justice-1-by-toni-anderson

Early Review: Fixed in Blood: A Justice Novel by T. E. Woods

Fixed in Blood: A Justice Novel - T.E. Woods

All I can say is "WOW". Ms Woods has really upped the ante in Fixed in Blood. I could not put it down!!

What I liked: What I really like about Fixed in Blood is how Ms Woods has progressed as an author. I've liked all the books but you can see a steady progression and growth of her writing and it just tickles me as a reader to be a part of that growth, just by reading her books. I've been lucky enough to receive an ARC of each of her books (through NetGalley) and now whenever she has a book on NetGalley, I receive a notification. 

Fixed in Blood is my favorite book in this series so far. There's action, feelings (good and bad, happy and sad), small bits of humor mostly used to break some of the tension but most of all there is suspense with shocking results. 

Mort Grant, Seattle Chief of Detectives, had cut Dr. Lydia Corriger, a gifted psychologist, and formerly "The Fixer" from his life due to his disappointment with her handling of his troubled adult daughter, Allie. While Mort and Lydia are the main characters there are a number of smaller cast of characters who add to the stories. 

I was wondering how Ms Woods would get Mort and Lydia back together. To me, they have a special relationship and I was very distraught at the ending of the previous book, The Unforgivable Fix. The re-connection flows smoothly without a feeling of being forced. It fact, it was a surprise the way it was handled.

In Fixed in Blood, we learn more and more about Mort and his history. I love how the author handles the information. It's not an info dump but fits seamlessly into the story. Now, Lydia, on the other hand, is still much of a mystery. If you don't connect with her character from the first book, she could seem almost one dimensional. She's so much more! I hate that personally she's almost cut off from any "normal" relationship. That's why I felt so strongly at the ending of the previous book.

Wow, I am going on and on aren't I? That should tell you something. I can't say too much about the plot except what's in the synopsis because no spoilers from me! I will say, I'm an avid suspense/thriller/mystery reader and am not often fooled by an author's red herrings, boy was I fooled. A couple of times, I grasped at a few clues only to find them disintegrate into nothing. 

What I didn't like: This has absolutely nothing to do with the book or the author but is more of a note to readers.  I knew this was the fourth book in this series but no where on Goodreads, Amazon or Barnes and Noble, would a browser know this. I guess the biggest problem is Goodreads. The first two books in the series,The Fixer and The Red Hot Fix are listed as the Mort Grant series but the third book, The Unforgivable Fix and this book, the fourth are listed as Justice League novels. It could be very confusing to a reader and these books MUST be read in order. If you click on Ms Woods Amazon author page, it shows one book, The Fixer and none of the others. It does show the other books if you go to the Kindle store. I guess either Ms Woods or her publicist or someone needs to straighten all that out to ensure the reader can find all the books and the order to read them. I very rarely go to author's webpages unless I'm closely following them. 

Overall, an fantastic, suspenseful, and surprising read. If you love mysteries, thrillers, or suspense novels, you need to read this series!!

I received an free ARC from NetGalley for a fair and honest review. 

Highly Recommended!!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/early-review-fixed-in-blood-a-justice-novel-by-t-e-woods

Review: COLD by Linda McDonald

COLD - Linda McDonald

Someone posted the cover and synopsis of Cold on a Facebook page that I follow. Loving books as I do, I checked it out. The synopsis sounded like something I would like, so I gave it a try. Am so glad I did!!

What I liked: Almost from the beginning I kind of figured out how the plot was going to go but that wasn't what kept me reading. The descriptions of what Shirley and Darrell go through trying to survive wouldn't let me put this book down. Cold is a suspense book but the characters are what make it very special.

Ms McDonald's way of describing and empowering her characters, and not just the main characters but all the characters, was beautifully executed. I felt like I was one of the characters in most cases. What she puts them through and how they deal with each situation had my stomach tied up in knots. 

Her secondary characters were handled with equal aplomb. They weren't just filler for the story. They were fleshed out with feelings, viewpoints and some even had aggravating tendencies to which I could wholly connect. I mean everyone has one or two friends that other friends find a chore to be around but Shirley trusts her friends even if others find them an annoyance. I especially enjoyed Shirley's brother and his partner, who are just basically down to earth ranchers with a deep connection not only to each other but to Shirley.

Ms McDonald's setting descriptions actually painted pictures in my mind's eye. I think most everyone knows Alaska is a pretty desolate but majestic place and the descriptions in Cold made me feel like I was seeing everything the characters were. 

There are some good twists and turns in the plot that caught me a bit off guard and were unique in the storyline. 

What I didn't like: The narration in Cold switches between third and first person several times and it took me a good while to get used to it. Several times, I had to re-read passages because of the switch up to make sure I was understanding everything correctly. So, that was a bit distracting.

At first I found it hard to believe that Shirley might be that gullible but being brought up and living how she did made it plausible to me.

Want a book to keep you on the edge of your seat, try Cold!!


Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-cold-by-linda-mcdonald

Review: Nightfall (Chase Dagger #7) by Lee Driver

Nightfall - Lee Driver

Ms Driver's newest release in the Chase Dagger series reminded me how much I've enjoyed this series!!

What I liked: The mystical and science of two different characters forms quite a team. Dagger has been scientically enhanced in so many ways, he still doesn't know exactly what he can do and his love interest and co-star in the series, Sara, is a born shapeshifter. 

This series has built upon each book to add just a bit more to the mystery surrounding Dagger. In Nightfall, we learn a whole bunch more. The writing is top notch, the characters are interesting in a different sort of way and the mystery/suspense element keeps you on the edge of your seat and flipping pages!


It's a treat to see Dagger and Sara finally getting together and the relationship is very well done by Ms Driver. The love and sex aspect of the story does not overshadow the characters or the plot. I feel Nightfall is even more character driven than some of the previous books. It did take me a bit to remember just who was who as the books are published so far apart and Nightfall's plot is a sequel to book 2, Full Moon, Bloody Moon.  It took me a bit of skimming book 2 to remember everything that happened.

While Chase and Sara are the main characters, the secondary characters are just as well written. I love to hate Jennifer and boy, I still can't believe some of her actions in Nightfall.  I did miss the postman, Simon, popping in and offering Chase and Sara advice but his absence was for a good reason.  And Skizzy, the paranoid, everything's a conspiracy, friend is written very well. Everyone needs a Skizzy in their life. Just to get me riled up, Ms Driver, surprised me with the fate of one of the characters.

I also enjoyed learning more about "Mother" and her interactions with Chase and Sara. There were a few other surprises dealing with some of the characters too that I didn't see coming.

What I didn't like: After all the set up of the bad guy plot, it ended a bit too abruptly and easily for me. It felt like from the time the bad guy was revealed until his dispatch was a couple of pages. 

This is fast becoming a pet peeve of mine but the title on Goodreads does not indicate this is book 7 in the series. If I didn't follow Ms Driver and receive her newsletter, I would have thought Nightfall was a standalone. If you pull up the paperback version on Amazon, again, no indication it's part of a series but the Kindle version does list Nightfall as part of a series. Barnes & Noble also does not list it as part of a series except in the synopsis. I don't want to research books in a series, I just want to read them!!

The Chase Dagger Series must be read in order or you're going to be completely lost and not invested in the characters or the continuing story line. I eagerly await the next installment. 

Point of interest, Ms Driver also writes the Sam Casey Mystery Series under the name of S.D. Tooley. I love that series too!

Overall, I sincerely enjoyed Nighfall and recommend it to fans of mystery, fantasy or science fiction.


Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-nightfall-chase-dagger-7-by-lee-driver

Review: The Leger Collection (Genevieve Lenard #7) by Estelle Ryan

The Léger Connection (Book 7) (Genevieve Lenard) - Estelle Ryan

The characters in this series, Genevieve Lenard, are people I would like to call friends! 

What I liked: The Leger Connection, while having all the same stars is more about one of the co-stars than Genevieve (Jenny) and I loved it. We finally are introduced to a bit more of Francine's past life and her priest father and nun mother. Yeah, there's a good story in that sentence. 

The team of characters Ms Ryan has put together in this series makes reading it a joy. There's always a plot about paintings but includes other items that are stolen and it's the team's job to work together to solve the theft and apprehend the "bad" guy. For me, while the plot is intriguing, the characters make the books worth reading.

We have an autistic heroine, an art thief, a hacker extraordinaire, some muscle who cooks like an angel, an Interpol agent, an art student orphan and an art insurance company owner all working together. That's an eclectic mix and Ms Ryan seamlessly blends them together. The thing is, as readers, we still don't completely know all the backstories of each character but Ms Ryan is getting there with every installment in the series.

In The Leger Connection, Colin (the art thief and Jenny's love interest) takes the team to task in the way they tip toe around Jenny with her autism. In ways they don't see until Colin points it out, they are isolating Jenny without meaning to. Francine's (the hacker) baiting of Manny (the Interpol agent) takes an unexpected turn in this story. It took me completely by surprise but I should have seen it coming.

What I didn't like: While not my favorite of the series, I still enjoyed it. It's a little slower paced than some of the other books but I enjoyed the character interaction much more.

Highly Recommended!!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-the-leger-collection-genevieve-lenard-7-by-estelle-ryan

Review: Something Secret This Way Comes (Secret McQueen #1) by Sierra Dean

Something Secret This Way Comes - Sierra Dean

How did I miss this series?? I totally blame Carmel at Rabid Reads. She doesn't know it, but it's her job to steer me towards new series. Just kidding, Carmel.

What I liked: I was very surprised to get hooked so quickly. Usually I cut the first book in a series a bit of slack because it has such a tough job. Grab your attention, keep your attention while building the world of the characters. Of course, the characters have to be developed enough to give you an idea of what to expect without giving out too much information. So, overall, a first book in a series, has to be well balanced.

Something Secret This Way Comes exceeded all my expectations. Ms Dean does an excellent job of getting you hooked in a short amount of time. I found the book to be a quick read even for me. Even while reading so fast, I didn't get lost with who was who. That's also a key in my book. You can have lots of characters but the author needs to make each one memorable. 

I loved the portrayal of Secret McQueen, even the "funny" first name made sense and Ms Dean played on the character's name throughout the story. (Maybe a bit too much for some readers). Secret's job, while not totally unique is just different enough to keep the reader guessing. She's a killer but not indiscriminately. The Vampire Council orders the kills and there needs to be a reason for the kill. It can't be a willy-nilly reason either. It's almost like the Council weighs and measures each action before it acts. I liked that part.

Most Urban Fantasy books include shifters and vampires but in Secret's character, we get a rare combination. She's half vampire and half werewolf. She embraces her vampire half but tries to completely ignore her wolf. Well, until this latest case anyway; her wolf is more than making herself known. The wolf decides Secret is mated not to one, but to two werewolves. To make it even more interesting, the mates are Lucas Rain, King of the East Coast werewolves and the other is Rain's second in command, Desmond. 

While this whole soul mate situation throws Secret off her game, Lucas and Desmond seem fine with it. I'm not sure how this is going to play out but I feel as if Lucas has plans for Secret that she has no idea about. (Just guessing here). Ms Dean wastes no time in getting Secret and Desmond in bed but Lucas is more controlled (controlling?) with the mate bond. 

What I didn't like: So you can tell by my long winded "likes" that I really enjoyed this book. I did find myself worried a bit about Secret's age but Ms Dean handled it very well. I thought Secret might be too young for the character but I was wrong. Also, I'm one of those who thought the jokes about Secret's name were a bit over done.

The ending of Something Secret This Way Comes completely floored me and I immediately bought the next in the series which I'm trying desperately to fit into my reading/reviewing schedule!

Highly Recommend!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-something-secret-this-way-comes-secret-mcqueen-1-by-sierra-dean