Rachel Aaron

Night Shit Dragons (DFZ #3)

Night Shit Dragons (DFZ #3)

By:

Rachel Aaron

Blurb:

They say family always sticks together, but when you’re your dad’s only lifeline and the whole world—humans, dragons, and gods—wants you dead, “family bonding” takes on a whole new meaning.

My name is Opal Yong-ae, and I’m in way over my head. I thought getting rid of my dad’s bad luck curse would put things back to normal. Instead, I’m stuck playing caretaker to the Great Dragon of Korea. That wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t such a jerk, or if every dragon on the planet wasn’t out to kill him, or if he was my only problem.

Turns out, things can always get worse in the DFZ. When a rival spirit attacks my god/boss with the aim of turning the famously safety-optional city into a literal death arena with Nik as his bloody champion, I’m thrust onto the front lines and way out of my comfort zone. When gods fight, mortals don’t usually survive, but I’m not alone this time. Even proud old dragons can learn new tricks, and with everything I love falling to pieces, the father I’ve always run from might just be the only force in the universe stubborn enough to pull us back together.

Review:

Night Shift Dragons is the conclusion of the DFZ trilogy. We get a resolution to everything, which was exactly what I wanted. The ending was properly climactic as well. I was happy with this story.

So, when last we saw Opal, she had saved her father and been eaten by the DFZ. When we join her, it’s been two months, and during that time she’s been training to be a shaman while her father remains unconscious. She’s afraid to make herself a target, so she’s let the DMZ hide her, which means Nik has no idea where she is or if she’s safe. I wasn’t a fan of that. It came off as very selfish on her part, making her feelings for him seem less.

Like the previous book, I felt for Nik. He made a really bad decision based on his infatuation for Opal and ended up paying a huge price. However, I like that this story revolved around Opal saving him. He finally got the attention he deserved from her.

Opal’s relationship with her father has been a significant driver of the series, and we finally get a resolution. I loved how this was worked out. These are two incredibly stubborn characters, and neither was able to see things from the others side. I thought how Aaron resolved things worked beautifully.

My only complaint is that I wish the series was longer. I wanted more. I was delighted to read the author’s note at the end that said Aaron would be writing more books set in that universe. I have no idea when the next one will come out, but I’m looking forward to it.

4/5

Part-Time Gods (DFZ #2)

Part-Time Gods (DFZ #2)

By: Rachel Adam

Blurb:

Life in the magical mess of the Detroit Free Zone is never easy. When you’re laboring under the curse of a certain prideful, overbearing dragon, it can be down right impossible.

My name is Opal Yong-ae, and I’m a Cleaner. At least, I used to be. Thanks to the supernatural bad luck that turns everything I do against me, these days I’m more of a walking disaster. Getting rid of this curse is the only way to get my life back. Unfortunately, dragon magic is every bit as sneaky and deadly the monsters behind it, and just as hard to beat.

But I’ve never been one to take her doom at face value. Cornered doesn’t mean defeated, and in an awakened city that rules herself, dragons are no longer the biggest powers around.

Review:

We learned more about Opal and her relationship with her family in Part-Time Gods. We also got to see the relationship between her and Nik develop. His devotion to her is so sweet and obvious. However, there was a conversation at the end that made him almost seem obsessed.

Opal is figuring out a way to work around her father’s curse. There’s a lot of trial and error and, of course, a gunfight because nothing can be easy for her. I’m curious if that’s curse-related or just because of her. Maybe we’ll find out in the next book.

For whatever reason, everyone wants to take Opal’s freedom away. Her father, in a way Nick, and now the spirit of the DFZ. None of them think about it that way, but it’s almost identical in the case of her father and the spirit of the DFZ. It’s kind of weird, and I have no problems seeing her side of things. I do feel some sympathy for Nik, we learn more about his life, and it’s easy to see why he feels the way he does. It doesn’t make it right, though.

The next book is the last in the series, and there are a couple of things I want a resolution on. I have faith that Aaron will be able to deliver, though. Heartstrikers had even more threads to tie up, and she handled that well.

3.5/5

Minimum Wage Magic (DFZ #1)

Minimum Wage Magic (DFZ #1)

By: Rachel Aaron

Blurb:

Making a living is hard. In a lawless city where gods are real, dragons are traffic hazards, and buildings move around on their own, it can feel downright impossible.

Good thing freelance mage Opal Yong-ae has never let little things like impossibility stop her. She’s found a way to put her overpriced magical art history degree to use as a Cleaner: a contract municipal employee who empties out abandoned apartments and resells the unusual treasures she finds inside for a profit. It’s not a pretty job, or a safe one–there’s a reason she wears bite-proof gloves–but when you’re neck-deep in debt to a very magical, very nasty individual, you can’t be picky about where the money comes from.

But even Opal’s low standards are put to the test when the only thing of value in her latest apartment is the body of the previous tenant. Dealing with the dead isn’t technically part of her job, but this mage died hiding a secret that could be worth a lot of money, and Opal’s the only one who knows. With debts she can’t pay due at the end of the week, this could be the big break she’s been waiting for, but in a city of runaway magic where getting in over your head generally means losing it, the cost of chasing this opportunity might be more than Opal can survive.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
This is the first in a new series set in the same universe as my Heartstrikers books, but you don’t need to have read those stories to enjoy this one. MINIMUM WAGE MAGIC was written to stand by itself, so if you haven’t read the others, don’t worry! I wrote this book with you in mind. Thank you so much for reading! 

Review:

I’ve had Minimum Wage Magic on my kindle for quite a while at this point. I really liked Aaron’s Heartstriker series, so when this popped up on my radar, I bought it. One thing led to another, and I ended up forgetting about it. Now, for the first time in seemingly forever, I don’t have any library books. So I surfed through my kindle, re-read a few favorites, and then decided to read this.

Minimum Wage Magic is set in the same universe as the Heartstrikers series in the city of the DFZ, Detroit Free Zone. It’s a fascinating city, and I was thrilled to see more of it. Also, since Opal isn’t a dragon, we got to see a new side of things. Her relationship with dragons is completely different from the previous series, and I loved the contrast. It was seeing things from the other side, basically.

Opal is reckless. When she reveals things about her past, she seems more calculating but considering she’s had months of bad luck, that may have a part to play. When someone is backed into a corner, they aren’t always logical. She is fighting for her freedom and is willing to do just about anything to get it. Except, she doesn’t. She has a line, and even when on the other side is the answer to everything, she doesn’t take it. That’s a character quality that I love, possibly because I’m not sure I could do the same.

A potential romantic interest is introduced in the form of another Cleaner named Nic. He’s part machine, and Opal is a bit afraid of him. But he saves her and will probably wind up being a cinnamon roll—another favorite trope.

I liked Minimum Wage Magic, and as soon as I was finished, I jumped into Part-Time Gods. It’s a short series with only three books, but I hope it’s not the last series we see in this universe. Really, Aaron has spent so much time fleshing out this universe, and it’s incredibly interesting. I could read more set here. I love the idea of a universe with books from all kinds of genres being written in it. Not sure if that would actually work, but at the very least, I’d love more books like this one.

4/5

Dynamite Review Best of 2017

Movies

1.      Thor: Ragnarok – I don’t get to watch new movies much as they come out, but I was so lucky to get to see this in theaters. It was AWESOME! I’ve already pre-ordered the steelbook from Best Buy, I got the theatrical poster off of Disney Movie Rewards and it’s framed and in my kids bathroom, and I can’t wait to watch it again and again.

2.     John Wick 2 – Great action movie and addition to the series. Awesome world, I’m interested in the Stars series that’s potentially coming out.

3.     Kingsman: The Golden Circle – In your face, over the top action.

4.     Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – While not as good as the previous one I loved so many things about this movie. The colors, the characters, the relationships. I’m so glad that this is part of the Marvel Universe.

5.     Spider-Man: Homecoming – I really enjoyed this movie but what’s potentially more important, my daughter loves this movie.

6.     Moana – This is more an honorable mention since it came out in 2016 not 2017. Love the music and the story, reminds me of the Disney I grew up with.

Books

1.      White Hot by Ilona Andrews – The long awaited sequel to Burn for Me, so good.

2.     Wildfire by Ilona Andrews – Love this series so much, want more. Wasn’t too happy with the ending, but still love.

3.     Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan – Beautiful art, interesting story, need some answers though. The only comic I pre-order.

4.     The Rosetta Man by Claire McCague – Picked this up randomly and I ended up loving it. So happy when that happens.

5.     Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs – Not my favorite Patricia Briggs book, too many Doctor Who references, lots of other little things, but still a Patricia Briggs book so it’s going on the list!

6.     Heartstrikers Series by Rachel Aaron – This series didn’t come out last year, though they did have a book release that I haven’t read yet, but I had to put it on the list because I enjoyed it so much.

7.     The Guardians Trilogy by Nora Roberts – This is the kind of Nora Roberts series that I love. It didn’t come out in 2017, but after being wary of starting it because of her more recent books I got to it late.

TV Shows

1.      The Crown – I resisted watching this because I heard so much praise, but I’m glad I finally did. I destroyed the second season that recently aired and I honestly think it might be better than the first. Amazing show.

2.     Sense 8 – I love this idea so much and the second season wasn’t as slow as the first. The ending killed me and then when they canceled it, ugh, I never do TV show petitions but I signed them all. I canceled Netflix for the first time in years. I was furious. I’m hoping that the movie will be able to wrap things up but I seriously don’t see how that’s possible. I’ll probably never keep Netflix running continuously because of how they did this show.

3.     The Good Place – I had no desire to watch this last year, it just didn’t seem that funny to me. I ended up having the end of season one spoiled for me and that changed everything. I was able to binge the first season on Netflix and I’ve watched every episode of the second as it’s aired. So freaking funny.

4.     The Orville – Wow, I had no expectations for this show. I had hopes, but because of Seth MacFarlane I didn’t have many. I was certainly surprised and this has ended up being one of my favorite shows of the year. It’s like getting new episodes of Star Trek, only instead of the Enterprise team we’ve got the D tier crew. The jokes don’t always land and they’re reusing a lot of Star Trek plots, but I don’t care. I’m so glad that this has been picked up for a second season and I’m hoping that they continue to find their footing.

5.     Future Man – Loved this, it was so crude and hilarious and just came out of nowhere. Time travel, video games, the 80s, James Cameron’s AI, a terrible future, so many things that add up to funny. So glad we’re getting a second season.

6.     Legion – This is not my usual type of show. It’s wild and out there and very trippy. The only reason I watched it was because I needed something to keep me up during late night feedings and I ended up staying up just to finish episodes. Half the time I’m not sure what’s going on, but I honestly didn’t care. They gave just enough answers not to drive me crazy, but still left me needing to know more.

7.     Black-ish – I just discovered Black-ish this year and thank goodness Hulu has all of the episodes. Most episodes are nice, funny episodes, but the episodes that aren’t, the episodes where they “teach” you something are so good. This year there was one about postpartum depression that really resonated with me.

8.     Life in Pieces – I laugh in every single episode of this show. Love it.

9.     The Librarians – The third season was probably the weakest so far and I’m not overly thrilled with all that’s going on in the fourth season but I seriously can’t think of anything that would have me stop watching this.

 

Games

1.      Splatoon 2 (Switch) This was hands down my favorite game of the year. In an alternate universe I went pro, built a brand, and lived the life of the rich and famous.

2.     Stardew Valley (Switch) After putting in 160 hours on the PC version you’d think I’d be done with this game, but nope. As soon as it came out on the Switch I bought it and started all over again. Aided by the amazing guide my husband bought me for Christmas 2016 I’ve been chipping away at all the in game achievements.

3.     Lego City Undercover (Switch) I beat this once, then got halfway through beating it again before Splatoon 2 came out. I still plan on going back and working on unlocking everything, though, it’s not a priority because I certainly got my money out of this.

4.     Delicious Emily Home Sweet Home (PC) Really liked the story in this one, young married couple with a little kid get their dream house and fix it up. If I was crazy and didn’t mind construction around toddlers I could totally do this too.

5.     Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4) I’m stretching things a bit including this to my list. I got it for Christmas after trying it out at Red Box and finding it interesting enough to try more. I didn’t start playing it until December 31st and at this point I’m only a couple hours in, however, I love the idea a lot. I love that she’s a real looking woman and she’s kicking ass. So far they haven’t put her in super revealing clothes which is nice too. The world is interesting, however, I wish I didn’t have to use a bow and arrow. If I ever beat it, or put a significant amount of time in I’ll write a review.

No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished (Heartstrikers #3) By: Rachel Aaron

no-good-dragon-goes-unpunished

No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished (Heartstrikers #3) By: Rachel Aaron

Plot:

When Julius overthrew his mother and took control of his clan, he thought he was doing right by everyone. But sharing power isn’t part of any proper dragon’s vocabulary, and with one seat still open on the new ruling Council, all of Heartstriker is ready to do whatever it takes to get their claws on it, including killing the Nice Dragon who got them into this mess in the first place.

To keep his clan together and his skin intact, Julius is going to have to find a way to make his bloodthirsty siblings play fair. But there’s more going on in Heartstriker Mountain than politics. Every family has its secrets, but the skeletons in Bethesda’s closet are dragon sized, and with Algonquin’s war looming over them all, breaking his clan wide open might just be the only hope Julius has of saving it.

Review:

Damnit why is the next book not out already? There is so much still left up in the air that I want answers too. Things that I want characters to realize so that I can see what the big deal is about it.

What the hell Bob? Did he just do what I think he did cause Chelsie is going to kick his ass and rightfully so if he did.

The ending was great, clearly, the rest of the book was good but it took a while to pick up steam. There was a lot of, not build up, but kind of boring stuff. You learned a lot about the Heartstrikers, and it was necessary, I guess, but it made the beginning slow. I wouldn’t quiet say it dragged, but only because at this point I’m emotionally invested in the world and characters so I wanted to know more.

Really excited for the next book.

4/5