Grave Visions by Kalayna Price

15816410Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Alex Craft #4

After waiting years, this did not disappoint although it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for either. Alex’s life was still a mess. There were serious complications with the two men in her life. Her relationship with her father was strained. Discovering she was fae made her life very complicated.

Alex discovered that she had get a connection to Faerie or her life wouldn’t last long, but she didn’t want to tie herself to any court. The only way to gain her independence was to take a job from the Winter Queen. The case she worked on was really interesting. People were dying in some bizarre ways, and all of the evidence wasn’t congruent. Alex was needed to raise the shades to find out what really happened. I was surprised to find out who was behind it all. This was my favorite mystery in the series so far.

Not much progress was made with Alex’s personal life. She is aware of the fact that she is afraid of commitment. She’s probably afraid of being abandoned since many of the people in her life left her for one reason or another. She has strong issues with Falin and Death, much of which is due to circumstances outside of everyone’s control. There are ways she could be closer to them and learn more about them, but ultimately she chooses not to. Alex rarely asks personal questions or gets into deep conversations. It’s aggravating that she expects them to pour their hearts out to her when she constantly holds back from them. Her inability for form deep relationships extends to her friends and family. She doesn’t tell them anything until she absolutely has to. I’d like to see some growth in all of her relationships.

The love triangle took a backseat to the mystery. Falin had plenty of page time. He and Alex spent a fair amount of time together, but they interacted as little as possible. Falin wasn’t acting like normal. My guess is he wanted to keep his distance as much as he could so there would be less to report to the queen. They got along fairly well considering the circumstances, but I can’t say things improved between them either. Death was barely around, so there was no development there. Now a new guy has been thrown into the mix making this a love quadrangle.

Nothing was resolved with any of the overarching issues, but this was entertaining. I read the whole book in one sitting. It didn’t drag in some parts like some of the other books have. The world building is good. The more she learns about the world the more questions are raised about it, but I want some answers. At least it’s looking like the 5th book will be released next year!

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Grave Memory by Kalayna Price

12620451Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Alex Craft #3

Grave Memory is definitely the best book in the series so far. The pacing is much better than in the prior books. Alex doesn’t get as lost inside her own head. A bizarre case came to her attention where a string of people were being forced to commit suicide due to an unknown force.

There are some interactions with faerie and Death and his people. Alex never learns as much from them as I wish she would. The revelry in faerie was a disappointment. The point of going was to learn about faerie and to help her make a choice about who she will align with. In the end she didn’t learn anything useful or new. Death and his crew are still secretive as ever although she is slowly getting more entrenched in their world. Now she is indebted to someone there, and it probably won’t work out well for her.

Alex is a special snowflake, and she doesn’t piss me off like other special snowflakes do. Her special powers and abilities aren’t beneficial to her yet because she doesn’t know how to use them. Her planeweaver skills have been more trouble than they’re worth so far. Most people want to use her for those powers.

When I first read this series the love triangle didn’t bother me at all, but after rereading it it does. Alex never gets much time to interact with Falin or Death personally. I want there to be more than brief romantic interludes which always seem to happen at odd times. Alex needs to develop stronger feelings with one of them soon. Every time one of them tried to express their feelings Alex tended to pull away. Is she torn between the two men or is she commitment phobic?

There was one hell of a cliffhanger at the end. I’m not going to give anything away, but it definitely will make moving forward with Death far more complicated.

Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

517og9tlzml-_sx308_bo1204203200_Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Alex Craft #2

Although there were parts of this book that I loved, it was really lacking in some ways. The P.I./mystery part of it was good, but it got dragged out way too long. It was boring after a while. Constructs tried to attack Alex and her friends one too many times. If a hard to beat enemy is going to pop up frequently, someone needs to die as a result or have some severe consequences from it. It’s lame when no one’s really in danger.

The last 30% of the book was awesome! The journey into faerie was enlightening. Alex learned more about how magic works there. She discovered some interesting things about her family. The fae are fascinating because it’s damn hard to know who to trust. All of them wanted Alex because of her abilities and because she is unaligned.

I really like this series because of the characters. Alex handled herself well considering she wandered around blind both literally and figuratively. No one has bothered to fill her in on how to deal with the fae. Death didn’t get a lot of page time, so nothing much in the way of character development happened with him. In Grave Witch, I thought Falin was an ass. His reasons for acting the way he did were explained. He’s really in a shitty situation.

Both Death and Falin were vying for Alex’s attention. I’d really be okay with her ending up with either guy. Falin seems like the more logical choice considering he’s alive, but his deep ties to faerie don’t make him reliable. I love Death! He’s very protective. Although he has his own rules to follow as a reaper, he is willing to break them when it comes to Alex. It may be the concept of Death that I like more than the actual character. He and Alex together would be an interesting HEA because it wouldn’t be easy.

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

gravewitchRating: 4 stars

Series: Alex Craft #1

Grave Witch isn’t the most original story ever, but I really liked it anyway. Alex Craft is special. She’s a grave witch but has abilities the average grave witch doesn’t. Her specialness didn’t bother me because it didn’t make everything about her life easier. Alex didn’t run head first into danger and put her life on the line frequently. She’s definitely not the TSTL type.

In this world the fae had come out of hiding 70 years earlier. Before then people didn’t believe in the fae anymore, so they were losing their power. Faerie expanded once people believed in them again. A lot of people didn’t like the them because of their abilities and their deceptive nature, so anti-fae political groups developed. Some people were against any kind of magic, which caused problems for people like Alex. I love stories about the fae because it’s hard to tell if they are being genuine or not.

This is the only series ever where I have actually liked the love triangle. Both of the men are appealing in their own ways. It’s easy to understand why Alex liked both of them. Death is a love interest. I think that’s so fucking cool! He’s not creepy or weird; he’s just a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. The depiction of death and his role in the story is original. The other love interest is a cop named Falin Andrews. He can be an asshole but not enough to make me dislike him. He has some secrets which is always entertaining.

The end revealed a few important details. It seemed like too much too soon since this is the first book in the series. It’s not that big of a deal, but I like being kept in suspense for a little while in a series. Since I’ve already read the other books, I know there are way more details to be revealed about what Alex learned.

Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones

Rating: 2 stars

Series: Charley Davidson #8

I loved the first 5 Charley Davidson books, but they have gone progressively downhill since. This series used to be UF/PNR. Now it’s practically a fucking cozy mystery with a paranormal twist because Charley doesn’t do shit and figures everything out by talking to people. Except she doesn’t talk to anyone she really needs to and winds up in trouble because she thinks she knows best. The thing this book needed most was a plot. Almost nothing happened. The only reason I finished the book was because I heard the end was surprising, which it was. But was it good? That’s debatable. Where is the series headed? It’s gone off in an odd direction.

I desperately miss the old Reyes. He was a bad ass and was edgy and unpredictable. He used to live by his own rules and didn’t listen to anyone else. Now he doesn’t do anything but protect Charley. Every move he makes is so obvious because it’s all about Charley. He’s the son of Satan FFS! Do something that is mildly interesting. Wow me with your awesomeness. On the bright side he’s still sexy (yes I am being sarcastic). Charley and every other woman in the book noticed constantly. Apparently being the most gorgeous man alive is supposed to make me forget that he’s gotten soft.

Some long awaited questions were finally answered and were a big letdown. What Charley is was revealed, which didn’t add much to the story. It’s already been said that she’s all powerful, which is fucking lame anyway. What is exciting about a character that can’t be bested and has no limitations? Nothing. Frankly she isn’t deserving of being special. She’s not dumb but lacks forethought. How many times can she put her life in danger without any serious consequences? Shouldn’t someone with her powers be able to think ahead and do what is best for the long run instead of what is best for right now? If she keeps going at this rate, she’ll end up destroying the universe out of some misguided attempt to save one person. And if she really cares so much about people, then why doesn’t she actively seek out people to help instead of only helping when she’s asked?

I expected to be blown away when Mr. Wong’s identity was revealed. I was sorely disappointed there. I hadn’t figured out who he was but thought after all of this build up that it would have been epic. His general role in the series was what I expected it to be, but why and how he got there wasn’t.

The prophecy is focusing more on the daughter than Charley and Reyes now. Is a big time jump coming where she is grown up? It appears the story may shift in that direction although I could be completely wrong about that. As creepy as it is, there are hints the baby may have a love interest already, which is really gross. It is not appealing for a grown man to watch a child grow up and fall in love with her as an adult.

The end definitely changed things. Based on the problems Charley was facing, it seems like the simple solution would be to tell her her real name in the next book. Of course it won’t play out like that because there wouldn’t be any point to the next book. It’s sad to say but I’m no longer interested in the overarching storyline. This series took a wrong turn with Charley being a mother.

Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Series: Charley Davidson #7

*WARNING* If you have not read Sixth Grave on the Edge, there will be spoilers ahead.

It’s getting to the point where something big needs to be revealed. Little clues keep being dropped about the twelve and Mr. Wong amongst other things. There is no way to know where it is all going yet. This series is damn good, but some issues need to be resolved to spice things up. All of this needs to lead up to a jaw dropping moment. That is what I’m waiting for. Unfortunately I had expect it would have happened in this book.

The plot was weak. The synopsis definitely made the book sound more action packed and full of mystery than it was. Most of the book focused on Charley, Reyes and the baby. A good portion of it was about the twelve that are after Charley. She’s barely investigating anything for her PI business. She was “working” on an investigation, but it was shoved way into the background to the point where I nearly forgot about it until the end where it was resolved. Charley didn’t do the work anyway. She constantly asked Cookie to do everything for her.

Slowly but surely the circumstances have changed for most of the characters. The biggest thing has been the change in the characters themselves except for Charley. She hasn’t changed a bit as far as her personality goes, but she is gaining strength with her powers. For the first time ever I actually liked Swopes! He didn’t give off his usual dickhead vibe. There was an unexpected change with Amber (Cookie’s daughter) that will change her life. Reyes has changed the most. He’s still an adorable bad ass, but he’s lost his edge somewhat now that he’s with Charley. I miss the brazen, daring side of him although it’s for the best that he has settled down considering the direction his life is going. One of the biggest changes with all of the characters in general is that they are more congenial with each other. It’s good for Charley that everyone is presenting a united front, but it was more fun to read about when there was animosity. Charley may trust people like Swopes, the Daeva, and Mr. Wong, but I don’t, at least, not yet.

Charley does as she pleases and doesn’t seem to care much who she puts at risk. She justifies it all by saying she is helping others. Yeah, well… it’s getting old. She has no interest in growing up. She’s ditzy and flakey at times; it’s part of her charm and humor, but sometimes it’s too much. She is pregnant now. She has got to live another 8 months if she has any hopes of this baby being born. She threw herself into one dangerous situation after another and got mad at Reyes for being concerned as if he were the asshole. I don’t want Charley to stop being Charley, but I wish she would at least take being a mom seriously. I think this bothers me so much because I’m a mom. I know that good parents can do the best they can and still screw things up. With Charley’s haphazard behavior, it’s hard to believe the baby will be born let alone reach adulthood.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. There was some good humor. Although the story lacked cohesion in the middle, it was really good at the end. There were some nail biting moments while I was wondering if some characters were going to die. Charley managed to bring more unexpected trouble upon herself, which will be a problem later on. Something sad did happen at the end. Charley will be hurt and probably looking for revenge.