A pretty darned good reading week…

Posted 8 February, 2016 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | Review | 7 Comments

To be fair, I don’t usually read *this* much over the course of a week but I’ve been sick and wound up taking Friday off because my laryngitis was so bad, I couldn’t do more than whisper (not helpful when you’re a teacher, though I do have good kids. Still.). Then, of course, it developed into a lovely cold. Damn. I hate being sick but it did give me an excuse to hide out and read (not that I really need an excuse).

15993203 (1)The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman

YA historical paranormal, hardcover, 496 pages; published January 26th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers; source: publisher

Y’all. I really struggled to get anything else done while I was reading this book. I had to bribe myself with uninterrupted reading time in order to get my taxes done and take the dogs for a walk because I wanted to keep reading. Lady Helen rocks. She’s thrust into a situation that is far beyond her scope of knowledge but she handles it with aplomb. Amazed at how much research the author did for this story to give it a realistic flavor. I’ve read Regency romances since high school and thought I had a pretty good grasp on that world but I learned a lot while immersed in Lady Helen’s world (how ladies in huge skirts peed, new insults, the reason behind Lady Jersey’s nickname…). The only thing I wish is that there wasn’t any romance with Lord Carleton, who’s a prick even as he works with Lady Helen to control the soul-sucking demons infesting our world. She’d be much better off with the duke (no, there’s not *really* a triangle…). 5 stars.

25943838The Rogue Retrieval by Dan Koboldt

Urban fantasy, ebook, 384 pages; published January 19, 2016 by Harper Voyager Impulse; source: publisher

At first, I was a little tentative about this story. While I love magic, I don’t like magicians, the Vegas kind. (I don’t know. I’m weird.) But this story pulled me in and didn’t let me go until the end. Stage magician Quinn is swept up into another world, a world with magic, as he travels through a portal to retrieve a rogue scientist before he completely messes up this new world they’ve discovered. He’s a strong character, one who’s just trying to enjoy his time in this wild and weird world while doing the job he’s assigned. And the world is pretty cool (personally, if I were Quinn, I might actually try to stay there, rather than returning to Vegas). Love when a book like appears on my radar, and I certainly hope that there are more books in this series. 4 stars.

25814230Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin #14) by Jennifer Estep

Urban fantasy, paperback, 400 pages; Expected publication: February 23, 2016 by Pocket Books; source: publisher

Fourteen? Wow, man. I didn’t realize Gin had been kicking ass and taking names for that long. I’m happy to see that this newest installment seems to have Gin back on track. The last couple seemed to be kind of floundering but there’s a solid new story arc revealed here. Gin does seem a bit harsher than previous stories (or maybe it’s just been a while since I’ve read one), slicing throats without a second thought (yes, she’s an assassin but she’s never been heartless). Not much Owen action — he seems to have been relegated to the sidelines, as more of a Gin cheerleader. I’m still looking for The Pork Pit because I need to eat there. These stories make me hungry. 3.5 stars.

25489041Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh

YA SciFi, hardcover, 320 pages; published February 2, 2016 by Delacorte Press; source: publisher

First positive: it’s a standalone. Yay! Enjoyed the mystery of the spheres — what were they, how did they get there, why were they on Earth. Liked how it was really believable as to how people reacted to the spheres — fear at first but then they realized that the spheres could give them boosts (better hearing, faster, smarter, prettier…) when “burned” so, of course, they used them and demanded more, creating a market for hunters like young Sully. Sully works with Hunter to search for more spheres in the hopes that they find a big score. Good twisty climax, solid ending. 4 stars.

22581024Alien Attachments (Alien Attachments #1) by Sabine Priestly

SciFi romance, ebook, 147 pages; published August 18, 2014 by Lyrical Press; source: purchased

Found this one via Twitter-speak…that is to say, people chatting on Twitter about SciFi romances and, hey, this one is a good series. That is correct! It IS good! I liked the underlying political tension as well as why aliens were on Earth (and that they were super-hot, because who doesn’t like a hot alien. No question mark. That was rhetorical.). Ian the Alien was kind of a douche for much of the book but that was actually because he was trying to protect her and avoid a deeper attachment, which could be bad for his family. Still. A douche. But Dani more than holds her own. Really liked her. 4 stars.

26028986Wickedly Ever After (Baba Yaga #2.5) by Deborah Blake

Urban fantasy, Kindle Edition, 66 pages; published January 19, 2016 by InterMix; source: publisher

Cute novella in the Baba Yaga world. Barbara wants to marry her human honey and, for that, she needs the approval of the Queen. Result: three impossible tasks to get her wish. Like how this world is really coming together — had my doubts with the first book but, with the second and this novella, it’s a world I like returning to. 3 stars.

And then there were some that just didn’t hit that reading spot:

25577715Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

YA fantasy, hardcover, 304 pages; fxpected publication: February 9, 2016 by HarperTeen; source: publisher

Very meh on both main characters. Little connection between them. Not enough worldbuilding for my satisfaction. Predictable “twist” and cliffhanger. 2 stars.

27272506The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

YA fantasy, hardcover, 416 pages; expected publication: April 5, 2016 by Razorbill; source: publisher

Uncaring MC (seriously, she just abandons her grandmother — who raised her — without so much as a note), odd world that just wasn’t different enough from Europe/America and mail order brides for me to be happy with it as a fantasy. Put it down & haven’t picked it back up. DNF.

25304020Kill Without Mercy by Alexandra Ivy

Romantic suspense, paperback, 352 pages; Published December 29, 2015 by Zebra; source: publisher

Liked the paranormal aspects but Annie was just so very…wet noodle while Rafe was ridiculously over-the-top alpha/grunting caveman, especially when he kept saying how he was going to take her back to his ranch, whether she wanted him to or not. Um…no. Okay mystery but that didn’t save it overall for me. 2 stars.


About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

7 Responses to “A pretty darned good reading week…”

  1. Wow, you read a lot of books! Long books, too! The Dark Days Club sounds intriguing, but I’m not keen on the fact you didn’t really care for the romance. Wonder if they’ll put her with the duke, or is that just your wishful thinking? I’m always looking for a new UF, so The Rogue Retrival sounds good. Btw, I don’t like the Vegas kind of magicians either, or Vegas for that matter. I listened to the first Elemental Assassin and didn’t really care for Gin. It could’ve partly been the narrator, though. Haven’t gone back even though I already bought books 2 and 3.

    Great reviews, Mary! Hope you’re laryngitis goes away! 🙂
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