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25 Aug, 2015

The Outlander King

/ posted in: Reading The Outlander King The Outlander King by Hilary Rhodes
on June 1, 2015
Pages: 476
Series: The Aetheling's Bride #1
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Book Tour
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

The story of The Lion and the Rose and the Norman Conquest continues in this spellbinding new historical fiction series from author Hilary Rhodes, pulling back the curtain on the lives of two remarkable women connected across centuries: Aislinn, a seventeen-year-old English girl caught up in the advancing army of the “outlander king,” the man who will become known to history as William the Conqueror. Thrust into the center of the new Norman court and a dizzying web of political intrigue and plotting princes, she must choose her alliances carefully in a game of thrones where the stakes are unimaginably high. Embroiled in rebellions and betrayals, Aislinn learns the price of loyalty, struggles to find her home, and save those she loves – and, perhaps, her own soul as well.

Almost nine hundred years later in 1987, Selma Murray, an American graduate student at Oxford University, is researching the mysterious “Aethelinga” manuscript, as Aislinn’s chronicle has come to be known. Trying to work out the riddles of someone else’s past is a way for Selma to dodge her own troubling ghosts – yet the two are becoming inextricably intertwined. She must face her own demons, answer Aislinn’s questions, and find forgiveness – for herself and others – in this epically scaled but intimately examined, extensively researched look at the creation of history, the universality of humanity, and the many faces it has worn no matter the century: loss, grief, guilt, redemption, and love.


After the Battle of Hastings William the Conqueror rode across England taking a child from each of the farms he came to as a tribute.  He decided to take Aislinn along with her brother for reasons that aren’t clear to anyone but him.  She becomes helpful though with some herb knowledge and can help work as a healer.

When they get to the capital she is given as a servant to the family of the deposed heir to the throne of England.  This puts her in the middle of a web of secrets and plots between the Normans and those trying to return to Saxon rule.

Somehow I missed the fact that there were multiple times lines in this story so when the story suddenly switched from the 1060s to 1987 it was a bit of a shock.  I liked the stories in both timelines but they aren’t tied together enough in this book to have them relate to each other well.  An excerpt of the next book at the end shows that book starting with the 1987 story that ties things together a bit more.  That feels like it should have been the end of this book to have it make more sense.



Monday, August 24
Spotlight & Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 25
Review at Based on a True

Wednesday, August 26
Spotlight & Excerpt at To Read, or Not to Read
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose
Book Reviews Plus More

Thursday, August 27
Review at 100
Pages a Day

Friday, August 28
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Monday, August 31
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Interview at Boom Baby

Tuesday, September 1
Spotlight at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, September 2
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, September 3
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Guest Post at Books and

Friday, September 4
Spotlight at A
Literary Vacation

Saturday, September 5
Review at A Fold in
the Spine

Monday, September 7
Review & Excerpt at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, September 8
Review at Book

Wednesday, September 9
Spotlight & Excerpt at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, September 10
Review at Yelena Casale’s

Friday, September 11
Spotlight & Excerpt at The
Lit Bitch


About Hilary Rhodes

Hilary Rhodes is a scholar, author, blogger, and all-around geek who fell in love with medieval England while spending a year abroad at Oxford University. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in history, and is currently preparing for doctoral studies at the University of Leeds, fulfilling a years-long dream to return to
the UK. In what little spare time she has, she enjoys reading, blogging about her favorite TV shows, movies, and books, music, and traveling.

27 Jul, 2015

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

/ posted in: Reading Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
on July 7th 2015
Pages: 320
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

In 48 AD, a fire set by the troops of Julius Caesar destroyed much of the Great Library of Alexandria. It was the first of several disasters that resulted in the destruction of the accumulated knowledge of the ancient world. But what if the fire had been stopped? What would the Library have become? Fast forward: the Great Library is now a separate country, protected by its own standing army. It has grown into a vast power, with unquestioned and unrivalled supremacy. Jess Brightwell, seventeen and very smart, with a gift for mechanical engineering, has been sent into the Great Library as a spy for his criminal family.


The Library owns all the books in the world.  Every person has access to any book she wants through a blank which is basically an e-reader.  However, no private citizen is allowed to own paper books.  Once this restriction was put in place, a thriving black market in paper books sprung up.  The Brightwell family runs an underground book smuggling operation out of London.

Jess has been running books since he was a child.  However, his father doesn’t think he is ruthless enough to take over the family business.  He likes the product too much.  Jess’ brother has more of a feel for the illegal business.

Jess’ father buys him a chance to apply to work in the Library.  All of his reading comes in handy and he does very well on the placement test.  He moves on to the second stage when applicants from all over go to Alexandria for practical training.

Working in the library is dangerous work.  Burners attack Library outposts trying to make the ownership of books a right.  Smugglers are always trying to steal books.  It turns out that the Library has some dangerous secrets of its own too.

I loved this first book of The Great Library series.  The best and brightest young talent is gathered in Alexandria to compete for a placement in the Library in a contest that is a lot more dangerous than you’d think working in a library would be.

The world building is interesting.  What would a thousands of years old magical bureaucracy look like?  If knowledge is power and the Library controls all the knowledge, can anyone stand up to it?

One of my major criticisms of YA books is that the teenage protagonists are always smarter than the adults.  This book was a nice change of pace.  Jess slowly learns that there is more going on in Alexandria than he is privy to and that the adults around him are knowledgeable.  They have distinct motivations that started long before the main character of this book showed up.  He isn’t a bright little flower who decided to take on a system that everyone else was blindly going along with before he came along.

My other complaint about YA is forced romance.  This book avoided that too.  There is a little bit of romance that could have easily been left out but at least stays mostly out of the way of the story.  There is no swooning that makes everyone incapable of doing anything but staring at each other.  Actually, an adult romance is more important to the plot.  The teen relationship may progress in later books.

There was an ending to the story.  I hate it when a book serves as just a set up for the next book.  It is obvious that there is room for a next story here but the major conflicts in this book are resolved.  I appreciate that.

Have any of you read Ink and Bone yet?


About Rachel Caine

“Rachel Caine is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 45 novels to date, and many short stories, including fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, young adult fiction, mystery, thriller, and horror. Her notable series include The Morganville Vampires, Weather Warden, Revivalist, Red Letter Days, and Outcast Season novels. She graduated from Socorro High School in El Paso, Texas, and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Her first short story was published in 1990, and her first novel in 1991.” from her website

15 Jul, 2015

Carousel Tides

/ posted in: Reading Carousel Tides Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee
on January 31st 2012
Pages: 432
Series: Archer's Beach #1
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

Also in this series: Carousel Sun

Kate Archer thought she could put magic and world-walking behind her by running away to an ordinary life–but destiny has other plans. With her grandmother suddenly missing, Kate must return to the bedraggled Maine seaside resort she grew up in, and take charge of the family carousel. If she doesn't–and it's by no means certain that she can–very bad things will happen, to Kate and to the town, for the carousel isn't at all what it seems.


The first sign Kate had of trouble concerning her grandmother was the notice that the carousel was about to be foreclosed on. That brought Kate back to Archer’s Beach on the coast of Maine.

She found that her grandmother had been gone for 6 months and the only clue was a leaf and a vague note left for Kate. Kate needs to take over running the carousel while she looks for her grandmother because six of the animals serve as prisons for the souls of Fae criminals and without a magical caretaker the bonds are thinning.

Kate’s search brings her in contact with many of the magical citizens of Archer’s Beach. There are selkies and shape shifters and runaway Fae. None of these are giving her as much trouble though as the local drug smuggler who built a house next to her land and with whom she is getting into a boundary dispute .

On top of her worries the Chamber of Commerce has decided to open the park early for visitors this year and the tourists are pouring in — just in time for a possible Fae war.

This was an interesting urban fantasy book.  There are creatures here that I haven’t read about often.  I liked the idea of tethering criminals to the horses as a punishment.  No one in this book is exactly what they seem to be at first glance.  I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

I also went to visit a Merry Go Round Museum after reading this book.  They have a haunted horse but if there are any Fae around, they are staying quiet.

About Sharon Lee

Sharon Lee has been married to her first husband for more than half her lifetime; she is a friend to cats, a member of the National Carousel Association, and oversees the dubious investment schemes of an improbable number of stuffed animals.

22 Jun, 2015

Troubled Waters

/ posted in: Reading Troubled Waters Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn
on 2010
Pages: 391
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Zoe Ardelay has been living in the country ever since her father was exiled for giving advice that the King did not agree with.  Now her father is dead and immediately an adviser to the King appears to escort Zoe back to the city.  She has been chosen to be the King's fifth wife.

This isn't a request and Zoe has nothing keeping her in her village anymore.  She is numb and doesn't care what happens to her now.


In this fantasy world everyone is characterized by the element that they embody.  Zoe is coru.  Her element is water.  Every child is also given three blessings from strangers when they are five hours old.  The blessings are written on coins and are pulled randomly from a barrel in the temple.  People also pull blessings for themselves whenever they need guidance.

At first this seems like a typical parent dies/girl becomes queen out of no where story.  It doesn’t stay that way for long.  Zoe grew up in the city and as soon as she gets there she escapes.  She lives in a squatter’s camp on the banks of the river and learns how to make her own life.  Once her basic needs are met she starts to question what has happened since she and her father fled.  She knows that her mother was also part of a powerful family.  What has happened to them?

I liked the fact that Zoe changed from a very passive character at the beginning of this book to a woman who took charge of her own destiny.  Her father’s character also changed.  She saw him as a hero at the beginning and then she learns more and realizes that he wasn’t the man she thought he was.

I love the three blind woman who sit in the market square and give out knowledge.  People pay to ask questions.  If the woman feels that she gave more information than she received, she keeps the money.  If the questioner has information to share, she gives the money back.  Those three women know everything!

A good portion of this book focuses on building a life in the city and the squatter’s camp.  It seems like a peaceful, if tenuous, life with no extraneous belongings or responsibilities.  Zoe loves it.  When she starts asking questions and gets pulled back into the political life of the city she is very sad to let this life go.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book set in this world which features a character from this one who is a different element – air.

Joy’s review of the series so far



About Sharon Shinn

“I mostly write my fiction in the evenings and on weekends. It requires a pretty obsessive-compulsive personality to be as prolific as I’ve been in the past ten years and hold down a full-time job. But I do manage to tear myself away from the computer now and then to do something fun. I read as often as I can, across all genres, though I’m most often holding a book that’s fantasy or romance, with the occasional western thrown in.” from her website

10 Jun, 2015

Soulless, or Why I Can’t Show My Face Around Audible

/ posted in: Reading Soulless, or Why I Can’t Show My Face Around Audible Soulless by Gail Carriger
on February 9th 2010
Pages: 400
Narrator: Emily Gray
Length: 10:52
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible, Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Alexia Tarabotti is labouring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Or will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart? SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.


Somehow I missed that this was about werewolves.

Yeah, I know, it is prominent in the description and it is on the cover.  In my defense, I hadn’t really read the description because I had just heard that the series was good (Joy, I blame you. LOL) and I had downloaded the audio from Audible and didn’t really see the cover.

I started listening to this right after binging on Written In Red and Murder of Crows.  I was deep in that world with very particular rules about shifters.  Any other book was going to suffer by comparison but trying to go right into another werewolf world that is so different was a disaster.  So, I did something that I had only done once before.  I returned the book to Audible.

Did you know you could do that?  If you hate the book you can return it and get your credit back.  That’s pretty cool.

I moved on with my life and listened to a few totally different werewolf-free audiobooks – A Path Appears and Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV.  When I finished the last one, I was driving around and I hadn’t deleted Soulless from my ipod yet and … I listened to it.

I liked it. 

Now I feel like a horrible human.  Probably the only recourse is to rebuy it from Audible because I sort of want to listen to more of them.  I feel like the Audible police will come to my house if I buy the second book after returning the first.

About Gail Carriger

Bestselling author Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She resides in the Colonies, surrounded by fantastic shoes, where she insists on tea imported from London. – from her website

06 May, 2015


/ posted in: Reading Dune Dune by Frank Herbert
on 1965
Pages: 604
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

This Hugo and Nebula Award winner is widely to be considered the most prescient SF novel ever. It tells the sweeping tale of a desert planet called Arrakis, the focus of an intricate power struggle in a byzantine interstellar empire. Arrakis is the sole source of Melange, the "spice of spices." Melange is necessary for interstellar travel and grants psychic powers and longevity, so whoever controls it wields great influence. The troubles begin when stewardship of Arrakis is transferred by the Emperor from the Harkonnen Noble House to House Atreides. The Harkonnens don't want to give up their privileges, however, and through sabotage and treachery they cast young Duke Paul Atreides out into the planet's harsh environment to die. There he falls in with the Fremen, a tribe of desert dwellers who become the basis of the army with which he will reclaim what's rightfully his. Paul Atreides, though, is far more than just a usurped duke. He might be the end product of a very long-term genetic experiment designed to breed a super human; he might be a messiah. His struggle is at the center of a nexus of powerful people and events, and the repercussions will be felt throughout the Imperium.


I first heard of Dune as a kid because a friend had comic books of the story that he showed me. All I remembered from it is that there were giant worms.

From Dune Quotes

Let’s just take a minute to appreciate the obsessive fandom that produces anatomical drawings of fictional worms.

When I heard that there was a Dune read a long going on I decided it would be a good time to go back and read a classic sci-fi book.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and the writing but there were a few things that bothered me.

1.  You know immediately who the bad guy is.  You are given access to the thoughts of all the characters so no one’s motives are a secret.  So even though “Who is the traitor?” is a major plot point, the reader knows from the very beginning.  There isn’t any suspense.  In case you are missing the obvious, each chapter starts with a passage from a book that was written about this period that gives even more facts before they happen.

2.  The characterization of women in the book is problematic.  There are very powerful women here who drive the movement of the story.  However, if you aren’t one of them, you are property who are given as a matter of course to whoever kills your previous man.  The author writes about them almost like they have to be there for breeding purposes and they do all the stuff in the background because someone has to.  This is definitely a male-centric novel which read a little strange to me because so much sci-fi that I read now is female-centric.

My favorite part of the book was the Freman.  They are the native race of the planet.  They are completely underestimated by the ruling class.  They have discovered ways to live and thrive in the desert that the other consider impossible.  They also have a dream of changing their world and are working steadily towards it with single-minded purpose as a society even though it is expected to take over 300 years to bear fruit.

This book is the first in the original author’s series of six and spawned a lot of other books in this universe also.  I might be interested in reading some of the newer ones to see if different authors address some of the issues I had, but I’m not sure if I’d be totally lost or not.

About Frank Herbert

“Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr. (October 8, 1920 – February 11, 1986) was an American science fiction writer best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. Though he became famous for science fiction, he was also a newspaper journalist, photographer, short story writer, book reviewer, ecological consultant and lecturer.

The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, deals with complex themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics and power. Dune itself is the best-selling science fiction novel of all time[1] and the series is widely considered to be amongst the classics of the genre.” from Wikipedia

24 Apr, 2015

Get Over Yourself

/ posted in: Reading Get Over Yourself Get Over Yourself by Jeremy Whitley
on July 30th 2013
Pages: 128
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Princess Adrienne is back and she's bringing back her dragon Sparky and girl-blacksmith Bedelia! This time they're out to save the first of Adrienne's sisters, Angelica. Unfortunately, Angelica is the most beautiful girl in the whole kingdom and she knows it. Not only will Adrienne have to fight her jealousy of the attention Angelica gets, but she'll have to face Angelica's mysterious guardian. Meanwhile, Adrienne's father has hired a motley crew of bounty hunters to track down the knight he believes killed his daughter. What he doesn't know is that the knight he is after is Adrienne! Collecting issues 1–4 of volume 2, Princeless Book 2: Get Over Yourself is 100 pages of feel-good, girl-powered adventure for young readers or comic fans of any age.


Adrienne is back! Now she decides to rescue her oldest sister only to find that Angelica doesn’t want rescued. Why would she? A village of artists has set up camp around her tower because she is their muse. All she does is walk around all day and look beautiful.

It is up to Adrienne to convince her that there is more to life than that even if Angelica’s life does look pretty good.

The Princeless series continues to be a great, quick read celebrating the power of women.

22 Apr, 2015

A Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

/ posted in: Reading A Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
on March 4th 2014
Pages: 448
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Length: 14:13
Series: The Others #2
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible, Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Also in this series: Written in Red, Marked in Flesh

Return to New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop’s “phenomenal” (Urban Fantasy Investigations) world of the Others—where supernatural entities and humans struggle to co-exist, and one woman has begun to change all the rules…After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more. The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader—wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat. As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.


I loved listening to the audiobook of Written in Red so I immediately started listening to A Murder of Crows.  The world building in this series is amazing!  When humans started to expand from their origin points around the Mediterranean, they met the Terra Indigene – shapeshifters who are the dominant species on the planet.  The Terra Indigene control all the resources of the planet but allow humans to build some cities and use some materials in exchange for technology.  The alliance is very fragile though and now humans are starting to push for more.

Two drugs have appeared.  Gone Over Wolf causes increased aggression and Feel Good causes passivity to the point of not defending yourself if attacked.  Both drugs have been used in attacks against the Terra Indigene.

Meg is a prophet and the visions are coming more often.  She isn’t the only one.  The other blood prophets around the continent are seeing visions of blood and destruction.  War is coming.

The first book in the series was very insular.  It happened in the small community that Meg found herself in.  This book looks at the bigger picture.  At first that was a bit distressing.  I liked the insular story and wanted to know what was going on there.  But, seeing how Meg’s escape from the institution where blood prophets were kept caused ripples that are affecting the whole world was interesting.

We meet the Intuits, a subset of humans who have strong reactions when something bad is about to happen.  We learn how blood prophets are bred and controlled.  We see how the Humans First and Last movement is growing and how some people are taking it to violent extremes.

The Lakeside Courtyard now has a few trusted humans besides Meg working with them.  These people are now being attacked by other humans for being traitors to their kind.  At the same time Terra Indigene leaders from other areas are starting to come to Lakeside just to see how it is possible to deal with humans on an everyday basis.  Maybe there is hope for understanding after all.

I love this series so much that I had to force myself not to get the next book immediately.  There are only three out right now and I want to space them out a bit.  It isn’t fair to the audiobook I’m listening to now because I’m mad at it for not being this series!

About Anne Bishop

“New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop is the winner of the RT Book Reviews 2013 Career Achievement Award in Sci-Fi/Fantasy. She is also the winner of the William L. Crawford Memorial Fantasy Award for the Black Jewels Trilogy. Her most recent novel is Vision in Silver, the third book in Anne’s urban fantasy series set in a re-imagined Earth. When she’s not communing with the Others, Anne enjoys gardening, reading, and music. ” from her website

14 Apr, 2015

Save Yourself by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin

/ posted in: Reading Save Yourself by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin Save Yourself by Jeremy Whitley
on May 2nd 2012
Pages: 118
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Collecting the first storyline of the multiple Eisner Award–nominated and multiple Glyph Award–winning series, follow the adventures of Princess Adrienne, a princess who’s tired of waiting to be rescued. Along with her guardian dragon, Sparky, they begin their own quest in an all-ages action adventure designed specifically for those who are tired of waiting to be rescued—and who are ready to save themselves.


In the opening pages you see a young girl being read a bedtime story about a princess locked in a tower. A blond haired prince slays the dragon guarding her and rescues her.

The girl is outraged. Why are the princess’ parents so angry at her that they lock her in a tower? Where do you even get a dragon?

It turns out that this girl is a princess and before she knows it she is locked in a tower with a dragon to guard her. She is not pleased. Before long she decides that she isn’t going to stand for this and is going to rescue herself. She befriends her dragon and rides off to rescue her sisters from their towers.

Her absence from the tower doesn’t go unnoticed. Neither does her attempt to rescue one of her sisters. She is wearing armor made my her new friend Bedelia, a dwarf who is tired of having to pretend that she doesn’t know how to make armor. Together they have made proper armor for women that focuses on protection more than appearances.

I loved the idea of a graphic novel upending the conventions of fantasy and fairy tales. As an experiment I let Z read it. She is an absolute Disney addict and lives all things princesses. I didn’t know if she would like this or be mortally offended.

It turned out that she liked it too.

10 reasons to love written in red
07 Apr, 2015

10 Reasons to Love Written in Red

/ posted in: Reading 10 Reasons to Love Written in Red Written in Red by Anne Bishop
on 2013
Pages: 433
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Length: 18:32
Series: The Others #1
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible, Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Also in this series: Murder of Crows, Marked in Flesh

No one creates realms like New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop. Now in a thrilling new fantasy series, enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities—vampires and shape-shifters among them—who rule the Earth and whose prey are humans. As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg's Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others. Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she's keeping a secret, and second, she doesn't smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she's wanted by the government, he'll have to decide if she's worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.


Why You Should Love This Book

1. A werewolf and a vampire manage a bookstore.

2. A human gets a job sorting mail. I’ve always been fascinated with mail sorting. Honestly. It seems like magic to me that mail gets where it is supposed to go. I would love the job of sorting mail.

3. The Ponies! The ponies deliver the mail if they feel like it. They come and get baskets full of mail. They are described as having grumpy faces. I love grumpy-faced ponies. The human started giving them treats. More ponies come and some try to get more than their share of treats. When they think the treats aren’t as good as yesterday, they get sassy. This was every day of my life with my grumpy-faced pony.

4. The narrator has a strange combination of little girl and very soothing qualities to her voice. I want her to narrate ALL THE BOOKS!

5. The names of the stores owned by the Others are great. Howling Good Reads, A Little Bite (coffee shop), Run and Thump (gym), etc.

6.  The Others can appear human but they don’t understand humans.  They base their interactions off what they’ve seen in books and movies.  They have to learn firsthand that things like “Is it that time of the month?” are not appropriate.

7.  The wolves learn to appreciate dog beds and treats even if they don’t want to admit it.

8.  The crows are gossips who don’t give correct change because they don’t want to give away shiny things.

9. Seriously, don’t mess with the ponies.  Angry ponies are destructive ponies!

10.  There is some great world building here.  Humans are not the dominant species on the planet.  They are allowed to live places through agreements with the Others and those agreements can be revoked at any time.  Human cites have been wiped out when the Others are angered.

About Anne Bishop

“New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop is the winner of the RT Book Reviews 2013 Career Achievement Award in Sci-Fi/Fantasy. She is also the winner of the William L. Crawford Memorial Fantasy Award for the Black Jewels Trilogy. Her most recent novel is Vision in Silver, the third book in Anne’s urban fantasy series set in a re-imagined Earth. When she’s not communing with the Others, Anne enjoys gardening, reading, and music. ” from her website

23 Mar, 2015

Blood Colony by Tananarive Due

/ posted in: Reading Blood Colony by Tananarive Due Blood Colony by Tananarive Due
on June 3rd 2008
Pages: 422
Series: The African Immortals #3
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Also in this series: The Living Blood

Acclaimed for seven novels, ranging from supernatural thrillers to historical fiction, which have garnered her a multitude of fans and awards, Tananarive Due now imagines the story of an ancient group of immortals -- a hidden African clan that has survived for more than a thousand years -- facing one of the most challenging issues of our time: the AIDS/HIV pandemic.There's a new drug on the street: Glow. Said to heal almost any illness, it is distributed by an Underground Railroad of drug peddlers. But what gives Glow its power? Its main ingredient is blood -- the blood of immortals. A small but powerful colony of immortals is distributing the blood, slowly wiping out the AIDS epidemic and other diseases around the world. Meet Fana Wolde, seventeen years old, the only immortal born with the Living Blood. She can read minds, and her injuries heal immediately. When her best friend, a mortal, is imprisoned by Fana's family, Fana helps her escape -- and together they run away from Fana's protected home in Washington State to join the Underground Railroad. But Fana has more than her parents to worry about: Glow peddlers are being murdered by a violent, hundred-year-old sect with ties to the Vatican. Now, when Fana is most vulnerable, she is being hunted to fulfill an ancient blood prophecy that could lead to countless deaths.While her people search for Fana and race to unravel the unknown sect's mysterious origins, Fana must learn to confront the deadly forces -- or she and everyone she loves will die.


Fana was last seen as an all-powerful toddler prone to killing people with her mind in The Living Blood. Now she is 17 and has chosen to live in virtual isolation.  She is a powerful psychic and being exposed to large numbers of people is too much for her.  Through the years she has met a few kids her age.  They are usually the children of the people helping her family to distribute their blood.

A pint of an immortal’s blood can be diluted with saline and given out a drop at a time to help cure blood-borne diseases like AIDS.  It is released slowly and secretly because of the violence that has met previous attempts to heal people.  Now a street version of the drug is showing up and Fana is the source.  She’s using the kids she met to distribute her blood in North America.

When her network contacts start dying violently, the adult immortals realize they are being hunted again.


  • I loved the first half of this book.  It seemed like a probable scenario that teenagers would reject the caution of their parents and try to do something radical that backfires on them.
  • There is a twist in the middle of the book that is done very quietly and is deliciously creepy.  I actually gasped.  I had to put the book down for a day just to let my mind wrap around it.

Didn’t like

  • The second half of the book didn’t stand up to the first for me.  It seemed to be more about setting up a confrontation for the next book instead of making this a complete story on its own.

About Tananarive Due

“Due has a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University and an M.A. in English literature from the University of Leeds, England, where she specialized in Nigerian literature as a Rotary Foundation Scholar. In addition to VONA, Due has taught at the Hurston-Wright Foundation’s Writers’ Week and the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. As a screenwriter, she is a member of the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA).” – from her website

fair game patricia briggs werewolf
19 Mar, 2015

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

/ posted in: Reading Fair Game by Patricia Briggs Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
on 2012
Pages: 308
Narrator: Holter Graham
Length: 9:57
Series: Alpha and Omega #3
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible, Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Also in this series: Hunting Ground

Set in a world of shifting shapes, loyalty, and passion- brings werewolves out of the darkness and into a society where fear and prejudice could make the hunters prey. They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind. Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack's help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer's sights.


The werewolves are out of the closet.

Now that humans know that werewolves exist, there can be no ugly incidents that can turn into a public relations nightmare.  Bran (the leader of the North American werewolves) has increased the punishments for many offenses.  Many of the alphas of local packs are rebelling against the harsher policies, including death sentences for several offenses by younger wolves who don’t have great control yet.  Charles is sent in to kill when the alphas refuse.  This is wearing on him.  The ghosts of the wolves he has killed are following him around, attracted to his guilt.  He has shut out his wife for fear that the ghosts might latch onto her too.

This is where the story picks up, a year after the last book.  Anna has tried everything to convince Bran that Charles is breaking under the strain of constant executions.  When he finally sees a bit of she has been seeing, he sends them to Boston to help the FBI track a serial killer.  He hopes that the chance to hunt something that he doesn’t have to execute and the chance to be a good guy for once will help.


  • The law enforcement officials are getting their first contact with werewolves and learning how to deal with another species.
  • The public is learning too and wants to take pictures with them.
  • Peter!  There is a little dog named Peter who is not going to let the wolves anywhere near his person and acts like he is going to tear them apart.  The werewolves think he is cute and pretty brave since he’s only 10 lbs.  I happened to see a little dog named Peter at work the day I listened to this part.  He was pretty tough too.
  • It explains why the Fae disappear into their reservations.  The Mercy Thompson series discusses the ramifications of this decision but not the reason for it.

Didn’t Like

  • There is a really awkward sex scene.  I’ve already established how much I hate sex scenes in audiobooks and this one was cringier than most.
  • I figured going in that Anna would manage to get herself kidnapped by the bad guys but it looked like it wasn’t going to happen.  I was happy about that.  Then she got kidnapped.  Seriously, how many times can this happen to one person?
  • The bad guy was pretty easy to figure out this time.

About Patricia Briggs

“Patricia Briggs, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson series, lives in Washington State with her husband, children, and a small herd of horses. She has written 17 novels to date. Briggs began her career writing traditional fantasy novels, the first of which was published by Ace Books in 1993, and shifted gears in 2006 to write urban fantasy. ” from her website

12 Mar, 2015

Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

/ posted in: Reading Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
on 2009
Pages: 286
Narrator: Holter Graham
Length: 8:25
Series: Alpha and Omega #2
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible, Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Anne Latham didn't know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son--and enforcer--of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn't know how dangerous it could be either... Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran's controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan--and it seems like someone else might be, too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all--or risk losing everything...

  • I like the developing relationship between the main characters.  In this series only a few months have gone by since they met and were put into what was basically an arranged marriage.  They are still learning about each other and how to live together.
  • Charles has been an assassin for his father for over a hundred years.  He is good at his job so everyone is scared of him.  It is an interesting dynamic to pair him with a woman who met him when he saved her so she isn’t intimidated by him.  She is trying to be his kinder, gentler side to the public.
  • Anna is also tough though.  She is the Omega part of this series.  That means that she is able to step outside werewolf pack dominance fights and calm other wolves.  That gives her the perspective to tell when everyone is acting stupid and then bang their heads together to get them to act right.
  • Both the Mercy Thompson series and this series have been focused on the lives of the werewolves in the western U.S.  It was nice to see the author’s take on the European wolves and the different struggles they have.
  • I’ve come to the realization that one of the reasons I like these books is that they remind me of my husband and myself.  He’s paranoid and hyperaware from his military time and I pet him on the head and say, “Isn’t that sweet” and then tell him to knock it off and act right.  I’ve even been known to growl at him but that’s because I spend most of my time interacting with dogs and some things rub off.

About Patricia Briggs

“Patricia Briggs, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson series, lives in Washington State with her husband, children, and a small herd of horses. She has written 17 novels to date. Briggs began her career writing traditional fantasy novels, the first of which was published by Ace Books in 1993, and shifted gears in 2006 to write urban fantasy. ” from her website

02 Mar, 2015

The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison

/ posted in: Reading The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison The Witch with No Name by Kim Harrison
on September 9th 2014
Pages: 480
Narrator: Marguerite Gavin
Length: 17:28
Series: The Hollows
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Urban
Published by HarperCollins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible, Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

All good things must end . . .After ten years and thirteen adventures, at last the triumphant conclusion to Kim Harrison's #1 New York Times bestselling Hollows series!The Witch with No Name In 2004, Kim Harrison made her debut with Dead Witch Walking, an electrifying urban fantasy novel full of action, mystery, romance, and humor, which introduced bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan. Over the course of twelve books, Rachel confronted numerous threats, vanquished a range of cunning and powerful enemies, risked her heart, suffered haunting loss, and nearly lost her life. Now, in The Witch with No Name, Kim Harrison brings back her wildly popular heroine for one final, epic battle.Rachel Morgan's come a long way from the klutzy runner fleeing a bad job. She's faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She's crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She's lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has become something much more.But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price.That time is now.To save her best friend Ivy's soul and the rest of the living vampires, to keep the demonic ever-after and our own world from utter destruction at the hands of fanatics, Rachel Morgan will risk everything.



  • I love the world building of this series.  This all happens because genetically – modified tomatoes wiped out most of the humans in the 1960s allowing other species to come out of hiding.
  • It is a great big reunion.  Lots of characters that haven’t been seen since the beginning of the series are brought back.  I love Rachel’s mom.
  • The narration of the series is very good.  I especially like the voices the narrator uses for the pixies.

Didn’t Like

  • Wimpy vampires – I hate vampires that react to stress by sitting down and crying.  Vampires should be tough.  There were a lot of sobbing vampires in this book but the ones that annoyed me most were the living vampires in the beginning.  See also – vampires who react to danger by cowering and screaming.
  • It is a bad sign when the book starts with the near-death of a major character and I’m hoping and praying that she dies because she’s been annoying for the last few books. I shouldn’t be chanting, “Kill her!  Kill her!” in my car.
  • Angst – Rachel feels guilt that she has pulled Trent into her problems and she feels like she is bringing him down.  Do you know how I know this?  Because it is repeated over and over and over and over and then again in case you didn’t get it.  Seriously, at times it was discussed every 15 minutes or so in the audiobook.  I understood it the first twenty five times.  It was starting to seem like she needed to keep saying it to get the word count up.
  • Elves smell like wine and cinnamon.  This was also worked into the books way too many times.  I get it.  Move on.
  • The ending!  They went and hit on one of my personal hot button issues so maybe this is just my thing but I’m going to go off on it on the SPOILERS page.


Love the series – this book wasn’t great but I really, really, super, duper hate the ending!  Read the series and skip this book.



16 Feb, 2015

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen

/ posted in: Reading The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
on 2013
Pages: 352
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Literary, Occult & Supernatural, translation
Published by Pushkin Press, Limited
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)


Laura White wrote a series of children’s books featuring magical creatures. Now her hometown of Rabbit Back is in the business of Laura White tourism. Sculptures of her creatures are all over town. (Imagine if J.K. Rowling lived in a small English town dedicated to all things Harry Potter.)

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Laura White started a literary society consisting of children from the local school who she thought had the potential to be great writers. She trained them and now they are the top writers in Finland. She never added anyone past the original nine but has been on the lookout for talent.

Now, Ella, a substitute teacher, has been picked to be the tenth member.

Ella notices that there are a lot strange happenings in town and they seem to center around the Literature Society members. Library books are changing the endings of the stories. All the dogs in town are running away from home and congregating in the front yard of one of the writers. On the day that Ella is to formally inducted into the Society, Laura White disappears in a swirl of snow – inside her house.

Ella is determined to figure out what is going on in Rabbit Back.

I loved this book.  It is a wonderful mix of magical realism edging up close to fantasy and into psychological thriller as Ella probes the memories of the original members to find out what they are hiding.

And that epilogue?  I heart, heart, heart the epilogue!  There is enough of a twist to surprise and to smack you right in the feelings.


“Shit,” Ella said.
“There you go,” Ingrid said happily. “When life gives you plums, spit out the stones.”


“Free coffee and cake will get the masses out better than resurrection day.” She looked around, smiled broadly, and said, “But if you want to find characters for a book, this is a good place to do it, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I found bits of a serial killer’s mother, half of a hero’s lover, and three whole peripheral characters today. A nice haul.”


Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

If you like this book try The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.  It is a Swedish novel that is also very funny.