Audio Book Review: Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink, Narrated by Jasika Nicole

Book: Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink, Narrated by Jasika Nicole

Published October 2018 by HarperAudio|Length: 8 hours, 44 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: Adult

From the New York Times best-selling coauthor of It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale comes a fast-paced thriller about a truck driver searching across America for the wife she had long assumed to be dead.

“This is not a story. It’s a road trip.”

Keisha Lewis lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.

Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job with a trucking company, Bay and Creek Transportation, and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system – uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

Why did Alice disappear? What does she have to do with this secret war between inhuman killers? Why did the chicken cross the road? These questions, and many more, will be answered in Alice Isn’t Dead.

I loved Alice Isn’t Dead! Ever since I heard there was going to be an Alice Isn’t Dead book, I knew I had to read it. It’s rare I pre-order books, but this was one I pre-ordered on Audible the second it was available to pre-order.

It’s a great book, whether you’ve listened to the podcast or not. It has some of the same elements and events from the podcast and while it’s the same premise as the podcast, it’s also a completely different story. So if you’ve listened to the podcast, it’s also worth checking out the book, because it’s a different take on a story I’ve come to know and love.

I liked hearing this version of Keisha’s story, and how she went in search of Alice. I loved seeing them find each other again and what happened once everything was over. It makes me want to listen to the podcast all over again, to see how they’re different but also the same. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to the podcast, particularly the earlier episodes, and it might be fun to revisit the podcast.

Back to the book…I honestly don’t have much else to say about the book. I loved the story, the search for Alice, and how things weren’t what they seemed. It’s a very different feel than the Night Vale books, and it’s more of a thriller than whatever category you want to place Night Vale into. I know there’s no way any mention of Night Vale would happen, but now that I think about it, it would have been cool to have seen a mention of it. Still, Alice Isn’t Dead is great, regardless of connections or mentions to the same weird desert town that got me into listening to Alice Isn’t Dead.

Since I did listen to the audio book, I think I’ll talk about that! I knew I had to go with the audio book for the Alice Isn’t Dead book. I’ve loved the podcast, and I can’t imagine physically reading the book. It would be interesting to read Alice Isn’t Dead in print, but I remember the print version of the Welcome To Night Vale book not working in print, and I have the feeling it would be the same with this book.

I’m glad Jasika Nicole narrated the book- she did great as the voice of Keisha on the podcast, and I knew she would be great at narrating the book too. It’s definitely worth listening to, especially if you’re a fan of audio books. Something about the story works so well on audio- it’s like it was written for the audio book listener in mind.

One last thing I’d like to talk about: Keisha’s anxiety. It’s definitely present throughout the book, and the thing I loved the most was that it wasn’t cured or magically gone by the end of the book. You see how she copes and deals with it, and I loved Keisha more knowing that she was still the same Keisha we saw at the beginning of the book.

5 stars. I loved Alice Isn’t Dead, particularly as an audio book. If you like a little bit of horror and road trips and thrillers, this is the book for you!

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Book Review: The Boy In The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

Book: The Boy In The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

Published January 2015 by Atheneum Books For Young Readers|272 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this wry, gritty novel from the author of When I Was the Greatest.

Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey. She’s got a crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness—and who can maybe even help take it away.

I liked The Boy In The Black Suit.  Like with all of Reynold’s other books, I wanted to like it more than I actually did.

I did like how Matt and his dad were grieving, and also the community that they have.  Matt definitely wasn’t alone, and losing a parent can be hard.  Matt’s fascination was funerals was one of the more unique elements of the book, and while I thought it was slightly weird, it also seemed to help him feel less alone.  It’s different, but it seemed to work, especially when he met Lovey.

I’ll admit, I had a hard time believing that it would be totally okay for a teen to be working at a funeral home.  Granted, he’s helping set things up, and isn’t actually doing anything with the bodies, but still.  It was something I had a hard time believing, and I couldn’t quite get over that.  It did seem to be good for him, and he’s lucky to have a great boss.

And it’s how he really met and got to know Lovey, who’s a great character.  I liked her, and I liked seeing how she wanted to continue with some of the things her grandma did, like Thanksgiving dinner at the shelter.  The connection between Lovey and Matt was unexpected, and I expected it to cause some issues with them, but it really didn’t.

It did end abruptly, in my opinion, but…sometimes life is abrupt and weird, and it somehow seemed to fit the book. Still, I wanted a little more closure than what we got with the ending.  It’s a perfectly fine ending, and it does go with the book, but I think I just wanted something a little more from the ending.

3 stars.  I liked Matt, and he definitely deals with the death of his mother in an interesting way.  It made the book stand out, because you don’t usually see teens who are fascinated with funerals.  Even though I only liked it, I think it’s a good read, particularly if you like Jason Reynolds.

Book Review: Hello, Goodbye And Everything In Between by Jennifer E Smith

Book: Hello, Goodbye And Everything In Between by Jennifer E Smith

Published September 2015 by Poppy Books|288 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night leads them to family and friends, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

Charming, bittersweet, and full of wisdom and heart, this irresistible novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that arise when life and love lead in different directions.

I really liked this one!  I wasn’t expecting to like it, but I did.  I’ve read a couple of her books, but it’s been quite a while, and since I was in the mood for a cute YA contemporary, this seemed like a good choice.

I’m not going to lie, I was expecting something along the lines of a Kasie West book.  I wasn’t expecting to like it so much, but it did take a while to get there.

I really liked the short timeline.  I liked that they went on the adventure where they retraced their relationship and the important places and moments of their entire relationship.  You get such a great glimpse into their relationship and what it was like how they got to where they did.

Something she did really well was the short timeline.  It seems to be her thing, books that take place over a really short period of time, and from what I remember from her other books, she has a knack for telling an entire story in a matter of hours.  Time wise, that is.

I loved that they were trying to figure things out, even though it was their last shot to figure out before moving to different parts of the country for school.  I liked how it left things, and that there was the possibility that things could still work out for them, but that they also had to try and be apart too.

Claire was really hard to relate to, but I can understand why she had a hard time staying with Aidan.  It seemed like he was fine with staying together, while she had a much harder time with it, and I kind of wish he seemed more okay with the fact that she needed time apart.  There were times where it felt like they weren’t deciding whether to stay together or break up but trying to figure out what where they were going to eat dinner.  I think it’s the way they decided to make the decision, but by the end, I felt pretty invested in their relationship and what was going to happen.

I was also pretty interested in what was going on with their friends.  They seemed like such a random group, pulled together by the fact that they were the only ones in their group to not be off at college.  I know the book is about Aidan and Claire trying to figure out their relationship but a book focusing on his sister would be great.  Or their other two friends we see- if only I could remember their names.  Clearly, they didn’t make enough of an impression, given I’ve forgotten their names, but still.

I definitely got the impression Claire wasn’t always thoughtful or a great friend, and she did seem pretty wrapped up in her own issues, but hopefully, that will change for her.  Maybe going off to college and meeting new people will be good for her.

4 stars.  I really liked it, and it’s a cute, light YA contemporary.

Book Review: Imprudence by Gail Carriger

Book: Imprudence by Gail Carriger

Published July 2016 by Orbit|355 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: The Custard Protocol #2

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Steampunk

From New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger comes the delightful sequel to Prudence.

Rue and the crew of the Spotted Custard return from India with revelations that shake the foundations of England’s scientific community. Queen Victoria is not amused, the vampires are tetchy, and something is wrong with the local werewolf pack. To top it all off, Rue’s best friend Primrose keeps getting engaged to the most unacceptable military types. 

Rue has family problems as well. Her vampire father is angry, her werewolf father is crazy, and her obstreperous mother is both. Worst of all, Rue’s beginning to suspect what they really are… is frightened.

The second book in the Custard Protocol series, in which Prudence travels to Egypt for Queen, ghosts…and the perfect pot of tea!

I liked this one!  Not as much as the first one, or her other series in general, but I still liked it.

It was a fun book and I liked seeing everything that happened after the events of the first book and what happened in India.  We learn a lot more about what’s going on with Prudence, and we see some of the characters I’ve come to know and love in this book.  Some I had forgotten about, and there were a few times where I wished I had read the entire Parasol Protectorate series, because I had some trouble remembering who some of the characters were.

I think one reason why I only liked it was Prudence herself.  I loved Prudence as a kid in the Parasol Protectorate series, but I don’t know that I love Prudence as an adult.  There’s a lot that happens in this book, and a lot she learns in this one about her family and becoming an adult that she should have taken the time to realize before.  It really felt like she didn’t care until it was too late, and hopefully it will be a learning experience for her.

I’m having a hard time liking Prudence, but I do love Carriger, this world and the characters, so I’m going to happily continue to read this series, because I do like it.  And I really am hoping Prudence will grow on me.  She hasn’t yet, and I do feel like she’s pretty selfish and spoiled and bratty, but maybe now that she knows what she knows, she’ll grow as a character.

I did like seeing everything going on with the local werewolf pack.  It made sense, especially once we learned everything going on, and I’m glad it seemed to work out okay.  At least for now, and hopefully, it will stay that way.

The relationship Alexia and Prudence have is really interesting.  I’ve always loved Alexia, and she and Prudence don’t always see eye-to-eye on things.  It’s weird seeing her through her daughters eyes, and this Alexia is very different than the one I remembered from the Parasol Protectorate.  I hope we see her again- and I’m sure we will- and that she’s the Alexia I remember from before.  I doubt it, since this book is set long after that series, and we’re not getting the story from her perspective.

I guess I’m having a hard time with their relationship, for some reason.  Maybe I need to re-read the Parasol Protectorate, or maybe this series isn’t for me.  Maybe I just read it at the wrong time, which is possible, because I haven’t been in a huge reading mood lately.  At any rate, I only liked this one, and I wish I liked it more, because I have really enjoyed the other books set in this world.

3 stars.  I liked it, but I really wish I liked it more.  It’s still fun and enjoyable, especially if you’ve liked her other series.

Audio Book Review: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, Narrated by Casey Turner

Book: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, Narrated by Casey Turner

Published March 2018 by Audible Studios|Length: 8 hours, 59 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

I really liked this one! I ended up reading it pretty close to Halloween, which was the perfect time to listen to it. It was also great as an audio book, and I’m really glad I decided to take a listen.

The whole time I was listening to it, I was reminded of Hocus Pocus, which is one of my all-time favorite Halloween movies. It doesn’t feel like Halloween until I watch it, and if you love Hocus Pocus, this is a great book to check out. It had a really similar vibe to it, but it is pretty different.

For one thing, the book takes place in the summer, not on Halloween. And it’s set in Oregon, not New England- which is where I thought the book was taking place. I was surprised when I realized the book was set in Oregon, because there were things I didn’t expect, but I thought worked well for the story.

I liked the idea of the sisters coming back to possess three girls and lure boys to their death. I wish we saw a little more of that, because I thought it was interesting. Especially with one of the sisters (whose name I unfortunately cannot remember) and how she was involved. You get such a good sense of who each sister is, and while we see one more than others, I still wish we saw more of the other two sisters as well. I get why we see the one sister, but still. I just really would have liked seeing the other three.

It wasn’t until after I finished the book that I realized the book was described as Hocus Pocus meets Practical Magic. The Hocus Pocus vibe is very strong with this book, but I do see the comparison to Practical Magic. Granted, the last time I read Practical Magic was in high school, so it’s been a good 14-ish years since I’ve read it. From what I vaguely remember about it, though, it’s a good comparison as well. Take that one with a grain of salt, though.

I also really liked the narrator! She was a great narrator and I can’t see anyone else narrating Penny’s story. I’m definitely going to have to see if Casey Turner has narrated anything else, and I’d definitely listen to other books she’s narrated.

4 stars. I didn’t love it (and I can’t exactly say why) but I did really like it. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves Hocus Pocus, and it’s a great book to read in October.

Book Review: Binti: Home And Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Book: Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Published January 2017 by Tor.com|164 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Binti #2

Genre: Adult Sci-Fi

It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day.

And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.

But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.

After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?

I liked this one!  Not as much as Binti, and I didn’t love it.  I wanted to love it, but it didn’t capture my attention the way Binti did.

I liked seeing what was going on with Binti, and the journey she took with her grandmother.  I did like seeing how much things had changed for her, and how differently people saw her because of everything that happened in the previous book.

Still, I felt like what actually happened in the book does not match up with how the book is described in the blurb.  I thought we’d be seeing more of Okwu on earth and working with humans for peace.  Instead, we get a completely different story involving Binti realizing that’s more special and different than we could ever imagine.  She’s great at math, and has alien DNA, and this novella added another element to how special Binti was.  I don’t mind when characters are super-special, but in Binti: Home, it really bothered me for some reason.

So, I felt like this one was more of an afterthought.  Binti (the first novella) felt like a pretty complete story and was pretty contained.  This one, not so much.  It somehow seemed more rushed and much more of a rough outline than the previous novella.  Even though it’s longer than Binti, I wanted more development with the characters and the world.  Particularly with this book.  It kind of makes me wonder what Okorafor would do with the idea if it had been a novel from the very beginning.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I like the character and the world she lives in.  It has a lot of potential, but I think the novella format is working against the story, because it could definitely be expanded into something a lot longer.

Book: Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Published January 2018 by Tor.com|208 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Binti #3

Genre: Adult Sci-Fi

The concluding part of the highly-acclaimed science fiction trilogy that began with Nnedi Okorafor’s Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning BINTI.

Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.

Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.

Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene–though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives–and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.

Don’t miss this essential concluding volume in the Binti trilogy.

I thought The Night Masquerade was okay.  I’ve liked this series to varying degrees, and even though I liked seeing how Binti tried to make peace between the Meduse and the Khoush, I still didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

One of my issues with this trilogy is how short each volume is.  I know they’re meant to be novellas, but I just wanted something longer.  There’s a lot that could be expanded on and developed, and Night Masquerade is no exception.

There was something towards the end that seemed randomly introduced, and I don’t know that it worked.  The series has been fine with no romance- I really liked that there was no romance and I liked seeing how much the events of the first novella changed Binti’s life.  I liked seeing her go back home and try to get things resolved between the Meduse and the Khoush.  I liked seeing how people saw her differently because she not only went away to school but because she was Meduse as well.

I didn’t care for the romance at all.  It felt sudden, and though it sort of makes sense, I also was fine without it.

I know people love this series, and Okorafor is pretty amazing.  She creates these amazing worlds, but with this book in particular, I kind of feel like novellas are too short of a format for her.  It’s nice to see her do something slightly different, but part of me wishes I had just read Binti and not continued on with the series.  I don’t regret seeing it through to the end, but I had a hard time with the length.

It’s not the book at all- I really do think it’s just me.  Maybe I’m just too used to reading her novels and that’s why I had a hard with the novella.  It would be interesting to read a full-length version of these stories, because there’s a lot she could explore in Binti’s world.

My Rating: 2 stars.  I wanted to like this one more but the length didn’t work for me.  I don’t know that I’m necessarily the right audience for this book, and even though there were things I didn’t like, I do really like the world she created.

Book Review: Shadow Of The Fox by Julie Kagawa

Book: Shadow Of The Fox by Julie Kagawa

Published October 2018 by Harlequin Teen|409 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Shadow Of The Fox #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

This is a book I’ve been excited about for a while.  I’ve loved Julie Kagawa since I read the Iron Fey series years ago, and I’ve been a fan ever since.  I really liked her Talon series and her Blood Of Eden series, so I figured I’d like this one.

This series and I did not get off on the right foot.  Like the first book in her Talon series, I thought it was okay.  If it had been most any author, I probably would have given up on it completely.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this series and I are having a rocky start, and that I’ll end up liking the series more in the 2nd book.  I’ve been in a weird reading mood lately, so that might be part of why I didn’t love this book.

Part of it, unfortunately, is the book.

I thought a lot of it was confusing, and I had a hard time keeping up with the 3 perspectives.  It wasn’t clear to me who was narrating what chapter, and it took a while to figure out that 3 people were narrating the book.  I did like the 3 different perspectives, and maybe, when I’m not in this weird reading mood, I’ll re-read this book.  I really did like the idea and the mythology, thought I’m not at all familiar with the mythology we see in the book.

That was another thing I found confusing.  I felt like a like of names were thrown at me, and while I’m not completely sure how much she was drawing from real mythology (or what mythology was her inspiration), it was hard to keep up.  I did like the glossary at the end of the book, but by then, I didn’t particularly care.  And honestly, the names didn’t stick with me at all, so it didn’t really do me any good.  I still appreciated it though, and it’s good to know for when I pick this book up again.  I really do want to give this book another chance, and I’m hoping I’ll like it a lot better on the 2nd read- with my current mood, though, I’m half-tempted to try the audio book, since the idea of listening is much more appealing than reading.  At least, that’s where I’m at right now, but that could change.

Anyway, back to the book.  I like the idea of a scroll that grants a wish to whoever holds it.  I like the idea of it being hidden by monks, and while it’s horrible that Yumeko’s home was burned, I also like the idea that she’s the Great Hope of the future.  Like I said, the idea is really cool, even if I found things confusing and muddled when I read it.

Is it predictable?  Of course it is.  Her series are pretty predictable, and they do have the same tropes.  I don’t mind it, because her series all have different enough story lines, so it doesn’t get in the way of my enjoyment of her books.  But sometimes, like with Shadow Of The Fox or Talon, it takes a while to warm up to the series.

2 stars.  I’m definitely going to keep reading this series, even though this book was okay for me.  My love for the author, and the fact that it’s a cool idea is why it’s getting 2 stars instead of 1, and I’m hoping that I’ll like the rest of the series better.

Book Review: Allegiance Of Honor by Nalini Singh

Book: Allegiance Of Honor by Nalini Singh

Published June 2016 by Berkley|478 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Psy-Changeling #15

Genre: Adult Romance/Adult Paranormal Romance

The “unparalleled romantic adventure”* of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as a new dawn begins for the Psy-Changeling world… 

The Psy-Changeling world has undergone a staggering transformation and now stands at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: Old enemies. New allies. Wary loners.

But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten and threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: A child who is both Psy…and changeling.

To find the lost, protect the vulnerable—and save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?

I don’t even know where to start for this review!  I mean, I liked Allegiance Of Honor, but not as much as I thought I would or as much as I wanted to.  I really did want to like it more, but I think, after Heart Of Obsidian, I started to lose interest a little bit.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this series, and I really love the world.  I liked catching up with all of my favorite characters, and seeing how everything was resolved.  I liked seeing everyone come together for the Trinity Accord, and how important it was for Trinity to stay standing.  Everyone wanted a better world for all Psy, Changelings and humans, though some groups seemed more interested in saving the Psy.

It’s just…the world as we know it got so big, and I felt like we only saw glimpses of the characters we’ve come to know and love.  There’s a lot to wrap up, and with a world like this one, everything moved pretty fast.  Some things weren’t resolved (like the Architect and the Consortium), and for a group that seems like a pretty big threat to Trinity, I expected more resolution to it.

But there’s also a sequel series, so some of the things that aren’t resolved in this book/series will probably be the focus of that series.  That’s what I’m hoping, anyway, because otherwise, I’m not really sure what the point of introducing them was.

If I thought the character lists were getting longer…well, let’s just the character list featured at the beginning of this book was the longest we’ve seen so far.  Understandable considering we’ve met a lot of characters along the way.  But one of the things I gave up on books ago was trying to keep a lot of characters straight, especially the side characters.  But also some of the main couples as well.  I had a hard time remembering a lot of the newer characters, and as much as I liked catching up with some of the characters, it also felt a little bit unfocused to me.  Maybe it’s because of all of the characters we followed in this one.

I think part of why I only liked this one is that it felt like a really long epilogue.  Everyone’s happy, things are mostly okay, but things are also setting things up for the next series.  I’ve enjoyed the series, and I liked that it was for the fans…but…it also seems like it’s more for the hardcore fans of the series.  I like Singh and this massively amazing world she built, but it was a little too happy and sunshine and rainbows for me.  Or maybe I just wasn’t in that mood when I was reading the book.

I think I just missed the overall story that we got in the previous books, and I kind of missed that in this book.  It just wasn’t there enough in this one but in a series this long, you’re not going to love every single book.  I just wanted something with a little more action to it, I think.

3 stars.  It’s not one of my favorite books in this series, but I liked it enough.  It’ll be interesting to see how some of the things in this book come up in the following books.

Book Review: Shards Of Hope by Nalini Singh

Book: Shards Of Hope by Nalini Singh

Published June 2015  by Berkley Hardcover|483 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Psy-Changeling #14

Genre: Adult Romance/Adult Paranormal Romance

The “smoldering heat, epic romance, and awesome action” of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as two Arrows find themselves caught in a chilling conspiracy that spans all three races…

Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken…like Zaira.

I really liked Shards Of Hope! We find out more about Aden and we actually see some different changeling packs, which was nice.

Don’t get me wrong, I love SnowDancer and DarkRiver, don’t get me wrong, but other changeling packs are mentioned throughout the series, and it was nice to see the Psy-Changeling word beyond San Fransisco. Particularly the Changeling world, because I feel like like we do get glimpses of the Psy world outside of San Fransisco, but not the changeling world.

Aden was ap retty mysterious figure, but I’m not surprised, considering he’s an Arrow. Obviously, Silence is really important for him, especially as the leader of the Arrows. It’s interesting that he was so underestimated in terms of his power, and with the updates from the PsyNet and the livestream comments, it’s obvious people seem to either love him or hate him. Well, I don’t know that love and hate is the best way to put, but people have some really different thoughts about Aden as the leader of the Arrows. There’s more to him than people thought, and I’m glad they finally saw that Aden is the one who should be leading the Arrows. Even though he’s Psy, he’s obviously their Alpha, and I really liked seeing how much he wanted to change things, particularly for the kids.

I was really hesitant about the romance between him and Zaira, especially since I wasn’t a fan of the romance in the previous book. Zaira wasn’t cold like I expected her to be, and it was obvious she’d follow Aden to the ends of the earth. I liked them together slightly better than the one in the previous book, but I still wasn’t completely into it. This part of the series is clearly wrapping up, and I’ve found that as the series went on, I wasn’t also interested in the romance. Maybe the Psy-Psy romance focused books aren’t my thing as far as the romance goes, but I do really like the series, so even though I might not love the romance, I still really like the world.

Shards Of Hope does build on Shield Of Winter, and I know I already mentioned how much I liked seeing more of the Arrows and how much he wanted to incorporate the really cool things the changelings are doing with their young. I thought it really showed how willing he was to make things better for the Arrow kids and how there are different (and maybe better) ways of doing things.

With one book left in this series, I don’t know that we’ll see more of the changeling world we were introduced to in this book. I’m hoping we get more of it, but there’s a lot to wrap up- and with a lot of characters too. The character list felt like it went on for pages, and I gave up books ago on trying to keep all of the characters straight because there are so many. This world that Singh built is massive but also awe-inspiring. I’m curious to see where things will go, and how everything (and everyone) will come together. There’s definitely a lot more story to tell, and Singh really could go on for books to come where this series is concerned.

I don’t know, I feel like I’m talking more about the series as a whole than the actual book. I don’t really have anything else to say about the book, but I’ll be glad to read the next book.

3 stars. I liked it but I didn’t love it. Part of it is not being completely invested in the romance (I tend to like the Psy-Changeling romances more than any other pairing), but at this point, I’m pretty curious to see how it will all come together.

Book Review: Shield Of Winter by Nalini Singh

Book: Shield Of Winter by Nalini Singh

Published June 2014 by Berkley Hardcover|431 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Psy-Changeling #13

Genre: Adult Romance/Adult Paranormal Romance

Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life. 

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…

I really liked this one!  We finally get Vasic’s book, which was nice.  I was wondering if we’d ever get his book, and I’m glad we did!

I’m curious to see what is next for the Arrows, particularly with Silence falling.  I mean, protecting Silence is their main goal, so I’m wondering if we’ll at least get a glimpse of what their goals are now that things are changing.  It kind of seems like their future is linked with the Empaths, and I wasn’t expecting them to have such a big role in this book.

It makes sense that Empaths are really important to the future of the Psy, so I’m hoping we’ll get more of them as well.  I think Slave To Sensation is the last book that had such an emphasis on Empaths, and I really felt like a lot of this series was building up to both Heart Of Obsidian and Shields Of Winter.  We start to see what a post-Silence world looks like, and with a couple of books left in the series, I’m curious to see how things get wrapped up.  I now things are far from being resolved, and I really do want to know what else is going to go wrong before it gets better.

I like Vasic and Ivy, and I do like them together, but…something about their relationship seemed a little cold to me.  I know Silence is really important for Vasic as an Arrow, and he’s seemed pretty cold whenever he’s popped up in the series before this point.  Maybe it’s just me, but I expected more angst and tortured hero from Vasic.  Considering all of the things he’s had to do, I figured there would be more angst as far as his relationship with Ivy goes.  He’s an Arrow, and she’s an Empath, and I figured there would be more conflict with that, but there wasn’t really enough of it, at least for me.

Maybe I was expecting something like the romance we saw in Slave To Sensation or Caressed By Ice, and that’s why I wasn’t into the romance.  I wish I liked them more together, because I do like them together, and I think they’re a great couple.  I just didn’t love them.

4 stars. I really liked Shield Of Winter, and I’m really curious to see who will be paired together in the next book.  And how the series is going to end.