Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent

10583175Rating: 4 stars

Series: Unbound #1

Three words: Mafia with magic. It’s the best way to describe this world. In this city there are two rival syndicates. Everyone in each syndicate is bound to the leader via magic meaning they have to do anything the boss tells them to do. They can’t flee because they can be tracked via magical means. Once someone signs on with a syndicate they’re screwed because their life isn’t really their own until their contract is up.

Some people are unskilled which means they’re a person without magic. Plenty of people have magic called skills. Commons skills are binding, shadow walking, and tracking. People with rare skills or lots of magical power are highly desired by the syndicates and hunted down if necessary.

Liv was a tracker. She was best at tracking people by using their blood. An old friend Anne showed up unexpectedly because her husband was murdered. They were bound to help each from an old childhood oath. Her friend asked her to do something she really didn’t want to do, but she had no choice but to help her. Worse yet she wanted Liv to work with her old boyfriend Cam who she hadn’t seen in years and didn’t want to see again.

Liv was tough. She came off as bitchy at first, but there was good reason for it. She was being backed into a corner by people she cared about when she already had troubles from the Cavazos syndicate she was bound to. The more I learned about Liv the more I liked her. At first I was unhappy that Cam wormed his way into Liv’s life the way he did, but I grew to like him quickly. I understood why Anne did what she did, but I thought she was a bitch. Even as I learned more about her situation, I couldn’t sympathize with her.

The story was told by alternating Liv and Cam’s POV. It really helped to get both of their perspectives and know what was going on in their heads. There were some unexpected twists in the case they were working on and were some surprising revelations about Cam and Liv’s relationship. This was an original take on UF and a really good for the first book in a series.

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

25890355Rating: 2.5 stars

Series: The Great Library #2

The concept behind this series is great, but it’s not enough. I love the idea of a library that controls all knowledge and its dissemination worldwide. Over thousands of years they were corrupted by power. Any threat to their power is taken out long before they become a serious problem. But I want more. The world building was thoroughly explained in the last book. This series needed an injection of something else, and it didn’t get it. Nothing happened to advance the overarching plot. It wasn’t boring. Actually there was quite a bit of action, but it was pointless.

What I wanted from this book was character development, and it didn’t happen. Jess is the only character with any depth, but nothing new was learned about him. The other characters still feel like strangers. Sure their behavior, strengths, and weaknesses were described, but I don’t feel it. It’s impossible to care about them when they don’t arouse any emotions.

I did like this although the reasons why are inexplicable. It held my attention and I wasn’t bored, which is more than I can say about a lot of other books. The potential to be awesome is there, but if the next book is anything like this it’ll be the last book in the series I’ll read.

Rogue Descendant by Jenna Black

15802872Rating: 3.25 stars

Series: Nikki Glass #3

So I liked this better than the last book, but I can’t figure out why I had liked this so much the first time I read it. Someone was threatening the people Nikki loved, and she was trying to figure out who since there were a few suspects. Usually the mystery is the best part of the books, but Nikki and Anderson didn’t respond the way I would have expected. They were too intent on focusing on the obvious instead of focusing on alternative possibilities.

This book was plagued by the same problems in the last two books. The side characters had little to no development. Most of them barely had any page time. Nikki didn’t like anyone except Jamaal although he is still a jerk. I don’t understand why she likes him. Almost every other man in the series including her enemies were vastly more interesting.

That was one hell of a cliffhanger at the end. It does make me question Anderson’s intelligence. He should have expected something like that would happen if he acted the way he did. Anyway I will read the next book, but I’m not looking forward to it like I was when I originally read this.

The Dead by Donna Augustine

18872656Rating: 4 stars

Series: The Wilds #3

After reading The Hunt I was ready to give up on this series. For some reason once I noticed The Dead had been released, I felt compelled to read it. This series has its faults, but there is something I really like about it. Surprisingly this turned out to be the best book in the series yet! All of the issues I had with The Hunt were resolved.

No more love triangle! I wish it hadn’t been included at all, but I applaud Donna Augustine for not dragging it out. She chose the guy I ship!!! It was awesome!

Dal was still immature at times. In all fairness she is in her late teens and was extremely sheltered while growing up. It makes sense that she doesn’t always read people right and understand certain social cues. OTOH she is maturing. She sorted out some relationship issues. An immature route was used to get there but nonetheless there was a resolution to the issues. Some of the things she did were brave and smart.

Finally another side of Dax was shown! I really liked him being playful and goofing around even if it was only a little bit. He was still serious and closed off at times, but that’s just him. One of the things I admire the most about him is how he’s fiercely protective. It’s easy to see how that could be considered somewhat overbearing, but his intentions are good. With this book it is official: Dax is my newest book boyfriend.

Some headway was made with the plague and the Dark Walkers. The plague was coming back, which made life harder for Dal since most people believe she spreads it. A lot more was learned about the Dark Walkers. Many of Dal’s friends were in danger. There was a cliffhanger at the end, but I expected it so it didn’t bother me. I really want the next one. It’s going to be a long wait until September.

Deadly Descendant by Jenna Black

11202715Rating: 3 stars

Series: Nikki Glass #2

I have no idea why I rated this so highly the first time around. Maybe it was just that UF was new to me back then and I was more forgiving. This book irritated the hell out of me on this reread. Nikki is a great character, but she didn’t seem as smart. There were a few times she did something, and I just knew it was a bad idea. It was mentioned often that she was rebellious during her rough childhood. It seems hard to believe since she is generally very cautious as an adult. Nothing about her comes off as reckless.

For a smart woman Nikki has piss poor judgement when it comes to people. She only sees what she wants to see and has no interest in learning more, which is probably why many characters are underdeveloped. Emma is a raging bitch and treats Nikki like crap. Nikki’s dislike of her makes sense, but it bothers me that she completely lacks empathy for her. Emma died every day for 10 years just to be brought back to life to experience it all over again. Considering what happened to Nikki in this book, I would have thought she’d understand on some level how traumatizing that could be. Loki is a trickster. Pulling pranks is what he does. Nothing he has done is really bad, but Nikki thinks he’s such an asshole. Why does she feel this way? Jamaal is an asshole, and she lets it slide. So why not do the same for Loki? Her fear of Anderson doesn’t make sense either. He is not someone to fuck around with because of his powers, but if he really wanted her dead it would have happened long before now. He’s always been reasonable. How does she not see that?

Anderson has several liberi living in his house, but what is the point of most of those characters being included in the book? After two books virtually nothing is known about them. Nikki mentioned that Maggie was her best friend. In the last book she was nice but no history was given, and she had almost no page time in this. Then there’s the computer geek whose name I can’t even remember because he is so insignificant. Apparently Loki is just a trickster and nothing more. Her sister barely had page time. Her sole purpose in the series is for her to be used as leverage against Nikki, so apparently an interesting personality isn’t needed. A few minor things were learned about Blake, but it wasn’t enough to make me care. There are a few other characters who I literally remember nothing about, and I just read this book yesterday.

My biggest gripe with this book is Jamaal. I can’t stand him. Everything he does irritates me, and he had so much page time. The dude has serious anger issues. Why would anyone want a relationship with an angry, violent person? Is Nikki a masochist? Because being in a relationship like that isn’t fun. Nikki feels bad for him because he’s controlled by his death magic. It makes his life so hard. Cry me a fucking river. It does suck that Jamaal has dangerous magic that is hard to control, but I really doubt him being such a dickhead all the time has to do with his magic. In the last book he was physically violent with her because he passionately loathed her, but I guess it’s all good now because he’s suddenly gotten over it. I don’t understand why Nikki forgave him for all of the shit he put her through. Why does she give him a pass on his behavior but doesn’t do it for anyone else? When any of the other characters behaved poorly, she expected them to be responsible and control their behavior.

“It didn’t matter that he sometimes bore a disturbing resemblance to a raving lunatic; Jamaal was hot, hot, hot.”

The moral of this story is it’s okay to date abusive assholes if they’re hot. Nikki hadn’t seemed like the type to fall for an asshole because of a pretty face. And Nikki liked him because according to her they were similar in some ways, but in reality they couldn’t be more different. Just because they both were abandoned by their parents doesn’t make them alike especially since the circumstances were completely different. I’m sure it won’t happen, but Nikki needs to take off the rose colored glasses and see Jamaal for the guy he really is.

The mystery aspect of the story was good. The killer was interesting. I actually felt bad for the guy. The murders caused some chaos and big changes in the world of the liberi, so the book wasn’t a complete loss. And there’s Anderson. I love Anderson! He’s smart and isn’t quick to judge. There is a dangerous side to him, but he’s got it under control. So he unlike some other characters isn’t a threat to be around.