Book Review

Blood Heir

Blood Heir (Aurelia Ryder #1)

By: Ilona Andrews

Blurb:

Atlanta was always a dangerous city. Now, as waves of magic and technology compete for supremacy, it’s a place caught in a slow apocalypse, where monsters spawn among the crumbling skyscrapers and supernatural factions struggle for power and survival.

Eight years ago, Julie Lennart left Atlanta to find out who she was. Now she’s back with a new face, a new magic, and a new name—Aurelia Ryder—drawn by the urgent need to protect the family she left behind. An ancient power is stalking her adopted mother, Kate Daniels, an enemy unlike any other, and a string of horrifying murders is its opening gambit.

If Aurelia’s true identity is discovered, those closest to her will die. So her plan is simple: get in, solve the murders, prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled, and get out without being recognized. She expected danger, but she never anticipated that the only man she’d ever loved could threaten everything.

One small misstep could lead to disaster. But for Aurelia, facing disaster is easy; it’s relationships that are hard.

Review:

Blood Heir started as posts on Ilona Andrews’ blog. I read the first few but stopped and decided to wait for the book release. I think they actually stopped posting them once the story got bigger than planned. The main character is Julie, Kate’s ward from the Kate Daniels series. I always liked her, but there are apparently a lot of vocal fans that don’t, so that’s why it started as a blog post book instead of a traditionally published one.

Anyway! Julie has changed a lot since we last saw her riding off into the sunset with her grandmother. She’s got a whole new face and everything. At first, I was concerned that she would be too much like Kate, but she’s got a confidence that Kate didn’t have at the beginning. She’s also smarter. The parts I love most about Kate are in Julie, though. Her drive to help those weaker than her and her love of family are some of my favorite character traits.

Julie, now Aurelia, is in Atlanta for the first time in almost a decade, but to keep her family safe, she can’t let her family see her. It’s complicated and makes sense in the story, but it also serves the purpose of allowing Aurelia to shine on her own. She’s as much of a badass as Kate, and it’s so much fun to read her story. I’m excited for more.

4.5/5

Wild Sign

Wild Sign (Alpha and Omega #6)

By: Patricia Briggs

Blurb:

In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It’s as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they’ve consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.

Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous — and it has met werewolves before.

Review:

At book six in the Alpha and Omega series, we know the characters pretty well. And that’s kind of the problem with Wild Sign. I liked the story, but it conflicts with information learned in previous books in the series as well as in the Mercy Thompson series.

The government approaches Anna and Charlies to aid in the locating of a small commune that has disappeared. Since it’s on pack land, they agree to help and sidestep the request to join an alliance. The idea of an alliance is cool, and much like in Fair Game with its whole legal side of the story, nothing comes of that. The characters and what they do are the focus and not what’s going on in the world. This is perfectly okay, but I wish the characters had a larger role in the big issues.

Anyway, we end up finding a lot out about Lead, the Marroks wife. Her character in this Wild Sign doesn’t mesh with how she’s acted before. Neither does how the Marrok seems to feel about her. I went back and re-read Cry Wolf, and those changes really stand out. Leah is a bitch. She’s mean and openly hates everyone. We find out why she’s angry and filled with hate, but I didn’t feel like it explained all she’d done in the past. She’s described as a genuinely horrible person in other books. She’s tried to kill Mercy, and she’s said awful things to Anna. We’re supposed to believe it’s all because of memories she didn’t have until this book and because Bran doesn’t love her. Yet she’s also this super strong person that doesn’t care about anyone. It’s a bit of a stretch for me.

Wild Sign makes you question everything you’ve ever thought about Leah and her relationship with Bran. Revelations are made about how they became a couple, and it makes her even more sympathetic. Honestly, Bran does not come off well in this story. I hope there is some character repair in future books because my opinion of him has dropped.

All that being said, I enjoyed Wild Sign, which was a relief because I wasn’t a fan of the previous Patricia Briggs book. I prefer the Mercy Thompson series, and I wish the Alpha and Omega series tackled bigger world issues, but the characters are still entertaining and the stories fun.

3.5/5

Faithless in Death

Faithless in Death (In Death #52)

By:

J.D. Robb

Blurb:

The scene in the West Village studio appears to be classic crime-of-passion: two wine glasses by the bed, music playing, and a young sculptor named Ariel Byrd with the back of her head bashed in. But when Dallas tracks down the wealthy Upper East Side woman who called 911, the details don’t add up. Gwen Huffman is wealthy, elegant, comforted by her handsome fiancé as she sheds tears over the trauma of finding the body–but why did it take an hour to report it? And why is she lying about little things?

As Eve and her team look into Gwen, her past, and the people around her, they find that the lies are about more than murder. As with sculpture, they need to chip away at the layers of deception to find the shape within–and soon they’re getting the FBI involved in a case that involves a sinister, fanatical group and a stunning criminal conspiracy.

Review:

Alright, book number fifty-two in the In Death series, Faithless in Death. Once again, Roberts delivers a great futuristic mystery with just the right amount of personal life progression. Eve and Roarke’s relationship is going great. Peabody and Mavis are brought up. Mira is there. Everyone gets their moment, and that always makes me happy.

A little while back, some people had issues with Roberts because of the casting of Alyssa Milano in an upcoming movie adaption of her book Brazen Virtue. Milano has been pretty vocal about her politics, and people were not happy with her. Roberts made a statement confirming, for anyone who’s never actually paid attention in her books, that she’s a liberal democrat. Now here’s the thing, I know that Faithless in Death was written long before this whole thing happened, but it honestly felt like a huge sign to those people that they were not represented in Roberts’s work. Well, not portrayed in a positive light. It was awesome.

The villain in Faithless in Death was a cult that I read as a mixture of Scientology and hardcore fundamentalist Christians and Trump supporters. There were digs throughout the book, and one of my absolute favorites is at the end, where Eve off-hand mentions that the Kentucky senator O’Donnell has been arrested and will be going to jail for a long time. Talk about a book boner that put a smile on my face for hours.

I wasn’t a fan of the previous book. I felt that it went too far into the police brutality zone. I was supposed to give it a pass because the bad guy had attacked Roarke and Eve, but I couldn’t do it. However, after fifty great books, I continued with the series. Oh, man, am I glad I did. I truly loved Faithless in Death, and I’m excited for the series to continue.

5/5

My Last Duchess

My Last Duchess (The Wildes of Lindow Castle #0.5)

By:

Eloise James

Blurb:

Hugo Wilde, the Duke of Lindow, has a drafty castle, eight naughty children—and no wife. Ophelia, Lady Astley, has a fine house, one well-behaved daughter—and no husband.

Hugo takes one look at Ophelia and loses his heart, but she doesn’t want more children or a castle. She takes one look at him and heads for her carriage.

Desperate to find a duchess, Hugo identifies an appropriate lady to woo. Yet when he meets Ophelia again, the duke realizes that he will marry her, or no one.

Now he faces the greatest challenge of his life.

He must convince Ophelia that their blazing sensuality, his exquisite castle, and his eight charming children add up to a match made in heaven.

When duke finds his duchess, can he win her heart?

Review:

My Last Duchess works as a standalone novella. You don’t have to have read the other books in the series to appreciate it. Just keep in mind that it’s shorter than your standard novel.

Often, with these novellas, there is a lot of fan service to the point where it’s confusing, but that was definitely not the case with My Last Duchess. It was a nice, spicy, love at first sight, romance about the parents of characters we’ve already met. I like those.

Sunshine

Sunshine

By: Robin McKinley

Blurb:

There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it’s unwise to walk. But there hadn’t been any trouble out at the lake for years, and Sunshine just needed a spot where she could be alone with her thoughts. Vampires never entered her mind.

Until they found her…

Review:

I was at the library recently with a list of books touted as being similar to the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. Sunshine was on several lists, and it had people I trust raving about it. The library also had it on the shelves. I’m not a huge fan of vampires, but I really, really want to find a new urban fantasy author. So I checked it out.

The book is written from Sunshine’s point of view. She is the narrator of the story and not very reliable. She’s prone to long info dumps, and when action is going on, she gets overwhelmed and doesn’t explain what’s happening very well. It was a stylistic choice that I couldn’t get behind. Things would get exciting, and then there would be pages of world-building. The world created was interesting, but I needed more interaction with people and less mopping around.

Sunshine had a long-term boyfriend that was not super serious, but they would hook up, and it was comfortable. So I hoped that there wouldn’t be any romance between her and the vampire. When she described him as having gray skin and swamp water eyes, I figured I was safe. It also helped that she had to force herself not to pass out in terror for most of the book anytime she was near him. And yet—there was a moment where they almost had sex. It was so random and annoying and nearly had me putting down the book. I have no idea what the point of that scene was, and it felt so out of place.

The world was interesting, and I wouldn’t be opposed to reading more, but this isn’t a series. It ends with an obvious opening for more books and more than a few questions unanswered, but there isn’t anything currently published. I was able to find mention of a book possibly being written, but McKinley’s website is under construction, and I have no idea if or when it will be coming out. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’d read it even if it did come out.

2/5