Ilona Andrews and Jeaniene Frost Book Signing!

Dust off Your MacHalo

I went to the Ilona Andrews and Jeaniene Frost book signing on July 27th. The three of them are awesome people! It was a great experience. Gordon and Ilona are hilarious. They had the crowd laughing the entire time. Between being awestruck and my natural introvert tendencies I had no clue what to say to them when I was getting my books signed. They were cool as hell so it didn’t matter.

IA and JFThey were kind enough to sign more than one copy of a book. I got Jeaniene Frost to sign Halfway to the Grave. I was damn lucky I had that. Most of the Jeaniene Frost books I own are ebooks. I didn’t want to go to a signing and not get a book signed by her. She gave me a cool bookmark advertising the Night Huntress series!

20170729_002729Gordon and Ilona signed the hardcover copy of Wildfire I bought…

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Secrets of Skin and Stone by Wendy Laine

cover114035-mediumRating: 2.5 stars

This had too strong of a YA vibe to really enjoy it. The focus of it was more on the romance than the paranormal plot. The first time Piper and Gris kissed it specifically mentioned they did not use tongues. They were 17 and 18. Most teens that age would do far more than an innocent kiss like that. The romance wasn’t exciting when the best thing I could hope was for them to hold hands or maybe a french kiss. From the start it was mentioned that Gris would not be staying in town, so there wasn’t much hope for an epic HEA.

The world building was simplistic. The gist of it was revealed early on, and there wasn’t anything exciting to learn after that. There was a mystery to it. Gris was trying to figure out why so many fiends were gathering in the town. It was too boring, and the most obvious solution was the answer. Piper was dealing with some mental issues. Gris was dealing with issues but his were completely different. Their issues made each of them outcasts. More depth to the characters would have been better considering what they were dealing with. I’m sure plenty of people will like this. It just wasn’t for me.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

32172479Rating: 3 stars

Series: Tales of the Black Lily #1

Clearly I must have read this wrong. Sure it was good, but I didn’t love it like everyone else. It was a creative retelling of Cinderella. Arabelle wasn’t some pathetic, lost soul who needed saving. She was intent on doing the saving herself. Prince Marius was just about perfect: intelligent, strong, charming, and willing to do what is right. Obviously being a Cinderella story instalove was going to be part of it, so I was okay with that. In the beginning Arabelle treated Marius like shit. It was hard for me to believe that she was so beautiful and brave that he was willing to overlook her major faults.

Arabelle was a hard character to like. I admit I have been obsessed with politics lately. I think that may be part of the reason why I didn’t like Arabelle. Her attitude at least for the first half of the book or so was reminiscent of the things I hate about politics which are strongly prevalent in the world today. Helping her people who had been oppressed was an admirable goal. There is a right and a wrong way to go about it. IMO she chose the wrong way. She was doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Being motivated by hatred is never a good thing. Hatred has a way of making people blind to the truth and reason.

Arabelle was obsessed with taking down the vampires. They needed to be killed because they were killing humans. Nothing is ever so simple. In any given group of people, the bad actions of a few does not mean the entire group is bad, but in Arabelle’s hatred she had convinced herself that all vampires were bad. The actions she wanted to take to right the wrongs of the vampires made the humans no better. Her willful ignorance of the situation as a whole consumed my thoughts while reading this. Since she was the leader of the rebellion her stupid beliefs and actions were hard to ignore. The one good thing I will say in her defense is that she did grow as a character and change her views when presented with facts, which is why I liked the book more towards the end.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing this book in exchange for an honest review!

Burn by Suzanne Wright

25828477Rating: 3 stars

Series: Dark in You #1

I had high expectations for this based on all of the amazing reviews and was left feeling disappointed. It wasn’t bad, but it was just another PNR novel. In this world, each demon has one demon who is their anchor. It’s not a sexual thing but is a close bond between them. They don’t chose their anchors; when they find them, they instinctively know. Anchors make it easier for the demons to control their demons once they bond.

Since the characters were demons, they exuded sexuality, but the intense insta lust was irritating. Knowing Knox and Harper were anchors only increased the desire or so it seemed. It didn’t take long before Knox started throwing around the phrase she’s mine often although he was one of those men who didn’t do serious relationships. Neither Knox nor Harper seemed like the types to instantly be drawn to someone else.

Knox Thorn was was too alpha male for me. He wasn’t a jerk or anything but was selfish and demanding. I didn’t think he respected Harper’s wishes since he was always trying to force her to do what he wanted to do. He really pissed me off when they had sex since he only allowed her to come on demand. I wanted to smack him every time he called her a good girl. He did everything possible to pry information from Harper about her life, but refused to reciprocate when she wanted to know something about him.

I had an issue with Harper. Considering she was supposedly strong willed and independent, she easily gave into Knox’s demands. Because of her past Harper had trust issues, but she seemed to trust Knox easily enough. Knox was drawn to her because she was brave and didn’t back down. A lot of her actions in regards to how she treated Knox contradicted the descriptions of her. She didn’t want to bond with him or even get to know him, but whenever he’d show up, she’d go where ever he dragged her without much complaint. Knox didn’t have to try hard to convince her to do anything. In many ways she was submissive to him, and someone as prickly as her should have been more combative.

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.

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.