Book Review: Sweep In Peace by Ilona Andrews

Book: Sweep In Peace by Ilona Andrews

Published November 2015 by NYLA|315 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #2

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Dina DeMille isn’t your typical Bed and Breakfast owner. Her inn defies laws of physics, her dog is secretly a monster, and the only permanent guest of the inn is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. The inn needs guests to thrive and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina’s door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance. Unfortunately, for Dina, bridging the gap between space vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. To make the summit a success, she must find a chef, remodel the inn, keep her guests from murdering each other, and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it’s all in the day’s work for an Innkeeper.

I really liked Sweep In Peace!  We follow Dina as she hosts a peace summit, and, of course, trouble ensues.

It’s a not a surprise, of course, and I think the book would be a lot less interesting.  She really has a lot to manage, from 3 different groups of people to a new chef to a mysterious and manipulative arbiter…I’m surprised things didn’t go completely haywire.  She really had her hands full, with mysterious guests and fighting and everything else that happened.

I really liked Dina in this book.  She’s an interesting one, and she really does care about her inn.  This treaty means Gertrude Hunt will be okay for a while.  Finding out what happens to her parents doesn’t come up in this book the way I thought it would.  There’s so much going on in this book that I didn’t realize it until later on.  We may see more of that in the future, but don’t expect it for this book.  Still, I did like seeing the couple of times her parents did come up.

I really am curious to see what happened to them, and if a guest will lead the way to what happened to them.  There hasn’t been a change in her rating, but she did get a pretty important endorsement, so anything is possible.  It really makes me wonder what’s going to happen next, and who will be staying at the inn in the rest of the series.  I’m pretty sure we’re going to see some colorful characters- and I think I’d be slightly disappointed if they weren’t as colorful as some of the other characters we’ve seen so far.

4 stars.  Sweep In Peace was an entertaining, fast read and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Audio Book Review: Pride By Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Book: Pride by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Published February 2009 by Harlequin Books S.A.|Length: 13 hours, 18 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Shifters #3

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

The werecat council has three cardinal laws; and headstrong Faythe stands accused of breaking two of them: infecting a human with her supernatural skills and killing him to cover her tracks. With the death penalty hanging over her head, Faythe has no escape route left. That is, until a shapeshifter informs the pride of a rash of rogue strays terrorising his land. Yet this threat is nothing like any they’ve seen before. Only Faythe has the knowledge to save the pride, but can she prove her worth? Or will the council’s verdict condemn them all…?

I liked Pride!  We’ll see how much I actually talk about this book, considering it’s been a few weeks between me finishing the book and me writing this review.

In this book, we see Faythe on trial for everything that happened with Andrew.  There are some interesting developments on the Mark front, and I do want to see how that works out.

I was angry at the panel deciding Faythe’s fate.  Mostly because her fate largely rested on her desire to get married and have kids.  It seems like female shifters are pretty rare, and to execute her because she’s not sure about marriage and having kids?  It made me so angry, and angry for Faythe that more importance was placed on her child-bearing abilities and desires.

And because we’re talking about Faythe, she gets wrapped up in some weird things going on.  Most of which revolve around a girl who ended up in Faythe’s care because she wouldn’t let anyone else near her.  And of course, Faythe realizes that with a new (young) shifter, the council really has no reason to keep her around.  Plus, a younger female would be more likely to listen to them, as opposed to Faythe, who is really headstrong and independent.  Still, Faythe makes it through everything.  I knew she would, but it was quite the journey.  And I’m definitely planning on listening to the next book to see what happens next.  Whatever it is will be sure to get Faythe into some sort of trouble.

Jennifer Van Dyck continues to do a great job at narrating!  She is great to listen to and she really has a way of making me feel like she is Faythe.  She’s a great choice for this series.

4 stars.  I really enjoyed this book, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Audio Book Review: Rogue by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Book: Rogue by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Published April 2008 by Harlequin Books S.A.|Run Time: 11 hours, 30 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Shifters #2

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Rebellious werecat Faythe is shocked when the bodies of murdered men begin turning up in her Pride’s territory, especially as the killings can be traced back to her former life as an ordinary college student. But could a message from an old friend provide a chilling clue?

Faythe knows that a past indiscretion may have led to these men’s deaths. She also risks exposing her family’s supernatural secret. Faced with a terrifying choice, Faythe must decide: pray the tribal council grant her mercy – or risk everything to pursue her own brand of justice.

I really liked Rogue!  I’m glad I picked this one up because I really wanted to see what happened to Faythe.

So, after reading Stray, I was wondering what happened to Andrew.  I felt like he was mentioned and we never heard about him again.  We actually find out what happened to him in this book.  That surprised me, but I was glad we found out.  I wasn’t expecting it to happen but it was an interesting storyline.  Everything is connected, and it kept my interest.  I really needed to keep reading so I would know what happened next.

Faythe does seem more human than the rest of her pride.  She makes a lot of mistakes, and rushes into things.  It is a little annoying at times, but maybe that’s what makes her seem more human.

I don’t know that I like her with Mark.  They seem to have pretty terrible communication, but I’m not really surprised because that would make things too easy.  He just seems to want her to be someone different, and even though he’s known Faythe for a long time, it also feels like he doesn’t completely accept her for who she is.  I am curious to see if he changes, or if she will have to in order to make him happy.

I know Faythe lives in a male-dominated world, and I get that females tend to get a pass in her world, especially those who can have kids.  But it seems like no matter what they do, they get a pass, which is kind of unfair, because the guys don’t.  Something does happen where Faythe will eventually have to go before the council, and while I admire that she’s brutally honest and wants to do the right thing, I also feel like she has a death wish.

I liked that her father gave her an opportunity to change her story.  Of course, she didn’t, because we’re talking about Faythe, but I liked that he wanted to protect her, and keep her from going in front of the council.  I’m sure we’ll see that at some point, and even though I know she’ll be okay, I’m still curious to see the journey.

I did like how everything connected.  We get some more information (and resolution) of some of the things that happened in the first book.  I doubt it’s the last we’ve seen or heard of women going missing, and I feel like it’s the larger mystery of this series.  I really liked seeing how everything came together.

This is random, but we also see a little more of Faythe’s mom!  I don’t really have much to say about her, but I really hope we see more of her.  We see a lot more of Faythe’s dad, and it would be nice to get to know her mom a little better.

Jennifer Van Dyck is back as the narrator, and she continues to do a great job.  I really do like her narration, and she does a great job with making me feel like I’m going on this crazy adventure with Faythe.

4 stars.  I really liked Rogue and I can’t wait to read the next book!

Audio Book Review: Stray by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Book: Stray by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Published May 2007 by Harlequin Books S.A.|Run Time: 13 hours, 49 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Shifters #1

Genre: Adult

There are only eight breeding female werecats left…

And I’m one of them

I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.

Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I’d been warned about Strays — werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back…for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I’m no meek kitty. I’ll take on whatever — and whoever — I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays — ’cause I got claws, and I’m not afraid to use them…

I really liked Stray!  I’ve read a few of Vincent’s series and I’m glad I picked this one up.

I liked Faith, and thought she was a great character.  She is very independent, and doing her own thing is important.  She wants more than what is expected of her, but I also felt like she started to understand the power her own mom had.  Faith is definitely smart and she’s a fighter.  While she can take care of herself, I also liked seeing how protective she was of her cousin.  I’m curious to see how much she changes over the course of the series.

Faith lives in an interesting world.  I like it, though.  I mean, there is definitely a structure there, though I think there’s a lot we don’t know about the rest of the world.  I have the feeling we’ll see a lot of Faith’s Pride, but will also see some of the other ones.  That’s what I’m hoping, because I think there’s a lot to work with.

The one thing that I was reminded of was her Menagerie series, which I still need to finish.  I have no idea why I kept thinking of that series.  Well, it is set in a carnival, and you see mermaids, minotaurs and other mythological creatures.  The two series are two very different worlds and in no way connected to each other, but it makes me wonder how the two would come together.  It makes me wonder what other creatures/cryptids exist in Faith’s world.

Anyway, Faith ends up in a spot of trouble.  Which is a vast understatement, but things work themselves out in the end.  I knew they would, but there are definitely some obstacles along the way.  It makes me want to know more about the strays that are pretty important to this story.  I feel like there’s more to them than what we’re getting, and I feel like this is not the last we’ve heard of them.

I am wondering a few things, though.  For starters, what is going on with Andrew?  I get why he came up at the beginning of the book, and then we didn’t hear from him for most of the book.  Until the end, when we find out he just randomly left school, and vanished without a trace.  I honestly can’t remember if they even broke up or if they were still together.  A lot happens, and it was either mentioned and I wasn’t paying attention, or it was never mentioned and happened off-the-page.

I am glad I went with the audio book.  I liked Jennifer Van Dyck as the narrator, and her voice sounded really familiar.  That was pretty odd because this is the first book of hers that I’ve listened to.  But her voice reminds me a little of Gabra Zackman, who is pretty awesome.  Maybe that’s why I was reminded of Menagerie- I listened to that series, which is narrated by Zackman.  I’m definitely going to continue series on audio.

4 stars.  I really liked Stray, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Faith.

Book Review: Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Book: Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Published September 2006 by Penguin|292 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Sookie Stackhouse #3

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Sookie’s boyfriend has been very distant-in another state, distant. Now she’s off to Mississippi to mingle with the underworld at Club Dead-a little haunt where the vampire elite go to chill out. But when she finally finds Bill–caught in an act of betrayal–she’s not sure whether to save him…or sharpen some stakes.

I liked Club Dead!  It’s been a pretty entertaining series to read so far, ad even though I’m not in love with the series, I’m still having fun reading it.

Sookie is still having a lot of adventures, and trouble definitely seems to find her.  This time, Bill disappears and ends up with someone he used to be involved with.  Things don’t end well for them, and things also get really interesting with Eric too.  I feel like it’s being set up for her to end up with Eric at some point, but I tend to be wrong about things like this sometimes, so my guess could be completely wrong.  But I really feel like things are headed in that direction, even if it ends up not being a relationship.  We’ll see what happens for Sookie romantically because there’s always the chance she’ll get back together with Bill.

We meet some werewolves in this book!  In a world with shapeshifters and vampires and people with special powers like Sookie, it stands to reason we’d meet some werewolves along the way.  It makes me wonder who else we’ll meet in this series.

We also learn a little more about how the vampires are structured.  It’s cool, though, because I feel like we’re getting deeper into this world.  We’re definitely learning things as Sookie does, which works well.  We’re right there with her as she finds herself in this really interesting situations.  I think that’s why the series is fun and entertaining for me.  And this kind of book is right up my alley.  I’m really looking forward to seeing where things go from here.

Even though I liked Club Dead, I also feel like I’ve said everything I wanted to say, so I think I’m going to cut this one short!

3 stars.  Club Dead is fun and an enjoyable read.  Sookie is great, as always, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Book Review: Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Book: Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Published March 2002 by Penguin USA|196 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Sookie Stackhouse #2

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face to-face with a beastly creature that gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn’t enjoy it).

The point is: they saved her life. So when one of the bloodsuckers asks for a favour, she obliges – and soon Sookie’s in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She’s supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave and let the humans go unharmed. But that’s easier said than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly….

The Sookie Stackhouse stories are delightful Southern Gothic supernatural mysteries, starring Sookie, the telepathic cocktail waitress, and a cast of increasingly colourful characters, including vampires, werewolves, and things that really do go bump in the night.

I liked Living Dead In Dallas!  I needed something light and fluffy and this book was a good choice for that.

Sookie finds herself in some interesting situations in this book, and some of it is traveling to Dallas.  I wonder if she’ll have to do more work for Eric, and if something will ever happen with them.  I know she’s with Bill, but I can’t help but feel like there’s the possibility she’ll be with Eric at some point.  Maybe I’m reading a lot into it but I get the impression he’s really interested in her.  Whether it’s romantic or not, I just want to know where things stand with them.

We really see Sookie use her abilities in this one, and I am kind of curious to see if it’s something she can hone or develop more, and if there are different ways to get what she needs.  Assuming she’s asked to get information from people in future books.  It seems like there are ways to turn it off, or at least mute it, so it’s not overwhelming or horrible.

As Sookie spends more time in the supernatural world, we see different groups and creatures.  The world she lives in is opening up to both her and to us, and I have no doubt that it will continue to open up.  She lives in an interesting world, and the South is the perfect setting for all of the weird happenings.  It makes a perfect backdrop for the vampires and shapeshifters we see.

Like the first book, this is one that I don’t have a lot to say about.  It’s an enjoyable read, and good for this time of year, when I don’t want to read anything heavy.  It’s a fun, quick read.

3 stars.  I liked Living Dead In Dallas, and I can’t wait to see what adventures Sookie has.

Book Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Book: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Published October 2004 by Ace Books|219 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Sookie Stackhouse #1

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out…

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.

Dead Until Dark was a book I read years ago, and I decided to pick up and re-read it.  It was fun, and I liked it.

Honestly, this is a book where I don’t have a lot to say.  There’s definitely a mystery to be solved, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but I was quite surprised by who was behind the mystery.  Things definitely changed for Sookie once Bill came into town, and I had a fun time reading about everything that happened.

I liked Sookie, and I was really interested in her ability to read minds.  It’s interesting that she works in a bar, and you can see glimpses of how hard it is for her to shut it off.  I imagine it’s a lot easier for her to do it as an adult than it was as a kid.  One thing about it that didn’t make a lot of sense was the town knowing.  It seemed like everyone knew there was something going on with her, but a lot of people didn’t seem to know what it was.  And yet, it also seemed liked at least some people knew but pretended like it wasn’t something she could do.  How it didn’t spread like wildfire, I don’t know.

I really liked her grandma, and it’s a shame we didn’t get more of her.  She seemed pretty cool, and her exit from the book (and series) was way too soon.  I know there’s no hope that we’ll see her again, but I really wish we saw more of her.  Maybe we’ll get some stories about her in the rest of the series.

The world is pretty cool, and I know there’s more to it than what we see in this one.  Fairies, vampires, shapeshifters…what else are we going to see, and how does it all fit together?

3 stars.  I liked Dead Before Dark, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Audio Book Review: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Book: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Published May 2017 by Record Books|Length: 9 hours, 25 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Menagerie #2

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

In this riveting sequel to New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent’s acclaimed novel Menagerie, Delilah Marlow will discover that there is no crueler cage than the confines of the human mind…

When their coup of Metzger’s Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of “exotic wildlife.” Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle’s owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price. 

But Vandekamp’s closely guarded client list isn’t the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

This is another book I’ve really enjoyed!  I really liked the first one, and I’m glad I switched to the audio book, because Gabra Zackman is one of my favorite narrators, and she was a great choice for this book.

I liked seeing the aftermath of what happened in the first book at Metzger’s, and what happened once they were taken to the Savage Spectacle.  What they had to endure there was horrible- more so than what we saw in the first book, and I hated seeing them go through that.  In particular, I hated what Genevieve, Gallagher and Delilah had to go through, but I think that’s because Genevieve’s story really stood out, and we get chapters from Delilah and Gallagher’s perspective.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the different perspectives we see in the book.  I really liked in Menagerie, and I did like it in this book, but not as much as I did previously.  I think part of it is that I didn’t find the other perspectives as interesting.  And I think part of it is that it didn’t translate well to audio.  At least for me, but there were points were I was paying attention but also had my attention elsewhere, so maybe I just wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been.

Like Menagerie, we get snippets of headlines and other stories about cryptids and the Reaping.  I’m curious to see how what’s going on now will come together with everything that happened before.  It’s more creepy and horrifying and it really opens up this world that Delilah is now living in.

Life at the Spectacle is pretty contained, much like life at Metzger’s was, but somehow, this book opened up more of this world.  I think it’s because of everything Vandekamp was trying to do, with the collar, and the clients that frequent the Spectacle.  When you have a lot of wealthy and powerful clients, it’s going to change things, and I’m curious to see the fallout from what happened there.

With being able to control them at the press of a button, and trying to break them to learn what their triggers are…it’s a brutal world they’re now living in, and it’s a lot more threatening, especially where reproduction is concerned.  There’s no consent for the cryptids (as far as humans are concerned), and that’s something to keep in mind if you pick up this book.

What’s interesting is that while Menagerie would make a great stand-alone, there’s still a lot of story that could be told in this world.  Spectacle is a great addition to the series and adds to the world we get introduced to in Menagerie.  I can’t begin to imagine what we’re going to see in the next (and last) book, but I’m hoping it’ll add more to the world while wrapping things up.

4 stars.  The brutality and cruelty was a little hard to handle, especially on audio, and the multiple narrators didn’t work as well as I thought they would.  Gabra Zackman did a great job narrating the book as well.