Evaine's Books, Books and More Books

It's about books.  I read all kinds of different genres. And I curse.  

 

5 Stars = AWESOME!  Best of the Best

4 Stars = Really good.  Easily recommendable.

3 Stars = Good

2 Stars = Not so hot.  Readable but just barely

1 Star = Bad.  

Fifth Quarter by Tanya Huff - My Thoughts

Fifth Quarter (Quarters Book 2) - Tanya Huff

I really enjoyed Fifth Quarter and I'm not sure why it seemed to take so long to finish it.  :)  Be that as it may...

 

This second book in the Quarters series takes on the tale of a pair of assassins, a body-jumper, a family of zombies and a very sad old man.  In the story, there are a couple of peripheral characters from the first book (I think that's right - my memory is for shit.  *LOL*).

 

There are adventures to be had, emotions to be uncovered, dangers to be faced as well as a few home truths and I really liked the way it all played out.  The main character of Vree was really quite fascinating, I thought, and it was an interesting journey to take with her as her world opens up beyond the army and her assassin role.  I'm glad we're going to continue her story in the next book.  

 

I really enjoy Tanya Huff's writing, no matter what genre she's writing in.  She has a comfortable, easy way of telling a story that never gets bogged down with extraneous details or literary navel-gazing.  I'm glad I have No Quarter in my TBR pile!   

 

 

Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins

Glass Tidings - Amy Jo Cousins

My first Christmas read (an advance read from Riptide) and it wasn't bad at all.

 

I would have liked to give it a higher rating, but I found I had a hard time really warming up to the two main characters.  For me they were just missing that 'something something'.  YMMV of course!  I think I just wanted more from them, y'know?

 

One HUGE positive for me was the mature age of the characters.  Gray is in his 40s and Eddie is 28.  I am SO over NA romances, so this was a big deal for me.  

 

So, yeah, good way to start off the Christmas reading season.  :)

Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts - My Thoughts

Stars of Fortune - Nora Roberts

This is the first book of Nora Roberts' latest paranormal trilogy, The Guardians Trilogy, and it has all the tropes.  There are six characters, 3 women, 3 men, to fight for the light against the darkness.  They all have powers.  Some of them are not quite of this world.  

 

It's a Nora Paranormal Trilogy.  An NPT.

 

It's my favourite trope, I think.  *LOL*  I love them!

 

So yes, I quite enjoyed it.  

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny - My Thoughts

The Long Way Home: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel - Louise Penny

Another winner!  Big surprise, eh?  :)  

 

In this, the 10th Gamache book, things are a little more quiet, a little more personal, a little less grand - as they needed to be after the culmination of major series arcs in the previous novel.  This felt like a chance to catch our breath as well as see where all our old friends have ended up.

 

Again, not only do we have the mystery of the missing artist, but we have the mystery of what's going on inside our characters.  I love how Louise manages to parallel both threads of plot.

 

This series really makes me wish I could write in depth essays on books the way some people do, but I can just tell you that I loved the book, loved where the author has taken some of her cast of characters this time, loved the settings and just loved her story-telling voice, period.

 

I have one more Gamache book in my Kobo and then hopefully the 12th book will have come down a bit in price and then I'm going to be stuck waiting like everyone else for the 13th Gamache tale!  

 

 

Prince's Gambit by C. S. Pacat - My Thoughts

Captive Prince: Volume Two  - C.S. Pacat, S.U. Pacat

It was good.  Good enough that I kept picking it up in those times where I had 10 minutes to read or when I should have been doing some sort of household chore.  *LOL*

 

So, in this second volume of the Captive Prince trilogy, Damen and Laurent continue to learn more about each other as their relationship becomes more friendly and less adversarial.  As I got deeper and deeper into the book, I began to marvel at the plotting and planning that the author had done.  Just when you think you have a handle on how the story is going to go - BAM! - there's a sharp turn and you're left gasping for reading air!  *LOL*  I love it!

 

As far as the romance goes, well, it's a really slow burn.  Really slow.  And that's good!  It works and makes it all that much more believable.  

 

The only real problem I have with this tale is that Laurent is so damned young!  20 years old.  I have a hard time attributing all his talents and experience to him as he's so young, but near the end of the book things start to feel more reasonable - to me!  This is entirely me.  *LOL*  I have my own ideas about how certain things have come about and will have to read the last of the trilogy in order to find out if I'm anywhere near correct about them.  Won't be a hardship.  :)

 

So yes.  good book - good series.  Enjoying it very very much.  

The Serpent by Claire North - My Thoughts

The Serpent: Gameshouse Novella 1 - Claire North

This was one of the oddest things I've read in a long time.  Deliciously odd.  Fantastically odd.  Gorgeously odd.  

 

I'm sure there's a term for the way in which this novella was written.  Second person POV?  Not really.  Actually, what it felt like was a storyteller escorting me, the reader, around the story chatting with me while telling the story.  It was so very different and a little off-putting for the first ten or twenty pages.  The chapters too - the shortest one was a single line, I think and the longest 25+ pages.  But it all worked!  

 

And the prose was so beautiful!  

 

I'll tell you what.  I am not into audiobooks at all.  I lose concentration and just don't enjoy the process, but this book... OMG, THIS BOOK, in the hands of a voice like, ohh....Patrick Stewart?  Ooh... Eoin Macken (you remember him, he played Gwaine in the TV show Merlin), he has a lovely storytelling voice.  Anyway, in the hands of someone like them, this book would SHINE!  Absolutely shine!  I don't know who actually DID the audiobook, but it is out there.

 

It's a fantasy novella?  Author KJ Charles called it spec fic.  It's set in Venice during the 17th century and while there is no actual magic, there's a very mysterious place called The Gameshouse.  

 

In the end, this was a beautiful, delicious, coudln't-put-it-down read that I enjoyed a whole helluva lot and I will be reading the other two, for sure!  

The Two Gentlemen of Altona by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock - My Thoughts

The Two Gentlemen of Altona - Lisa Henry, J.A. Rock

This first book of the Playing the Fool series/trilogy was a fun read.  Somewhat light-hearted, this tale of the meeting of the FBI Agent and the con-man read more like White Collar than Blindspot.  

 

I liked both main characters.  They each had their set of quirks and flaws that made them more human and it was easy to see what was piquing the interest of one in the other.  They had good chemistry, I thought.  

 

The suspenseful aspect of the book wasn't intricate or deep or anything.  And that was okay, this was ore of a get-to-know-ya type of story for the characters.  I will admit that the part of the FBI plot that had to do with the insider kept me guessing until the end.  

 

The one problem I had was the cliff-hangery ending.  I had already bought the other two books of the series when I was halfway through this one, but had no idea that the ending would be so abrupt.  I find myself resentful when the endings are so, open-ended for want of a better word.  I get that Mac and Henry's tale is far from over, but jeez!!!

 

Anyway, I have the next two ready to go whenever I'm ready to get to them.  :)  Frequent readers of My Thoughts know I hate to binge read a series.  :)

 

So, yeah, good book.  :)

The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu - My Thoughts

The Rise of Io - Wesley Chu

This book was recommended by a few of the sci-fi/fantasy authors that I follow on Twitter so when it showed up priced at a reasonable price on pre-order, I did just that and pre-ordered it.  :)

 

Were it not for those recs, I would never have picked it up.  It sort of sounds like a New Adult type novel, which I dislike a lot.  I don't usually read a lot of science fiction, being more of a fantasy afficionado.  And the cover doesn't speak to me.  *LOL*

 

But I'm glad I picked it up because it was quite a fun read!   I enjoyed the characters, even the bad ones!  The plot was full of twists and turns and at one point a little over half the way through, Chu gives the story a hard left turn that left me quite blinkity-eyed.  I wasn't sure he could pull it off satisfactorily, but in the end, yes, it did work and it made things rather interesting.   

 

So now I want more about Ella and Io and Cameron and the rest of them!  And I have added another author to my list.  :)  I will have to check out his other works.  

Fish Out Of Water by Amy Lane - My Thoughts

Fish Out of Water - Amy Lane

So one of my faves, Amy Lane, has turned her hand to trying one of my favourite sub-genres, romantic suspense!   And the results are pretty damned good!

 

I love this set of MCs.  Jackson is just such a guy!  And Ellery is like a sexy... I want to say Felix Unger!  *LOL*  I like how they mesh together, and how Ellery turns out to be the driving force behind the relationship.  He's so... SURE and competent and positive and I really, really liked him.  :)

 

The cast of secondary characters is quite wonderful too.  Amy is an excellent creator of unexpected families.  Jackson's nextdoor neighbour, Mike, I think is my favourite.  Ellery's mom is a very close second. (I saw Christine Baranski in my mind's eye whenever she appeared on the page.)

 

And for those who are bemoaning that this book isn't as 'sweet' as Amy's usual fare... well of course not!  These are MEN, not youths!  There were definitely spots of sweetness though, and if those readers didn't catch them, then maybe they need to slow down and actually read the damned book.   

 

And yes, it is the first of a series.  (I honestly don't think there's a romance writer out there who is capable of writing standalone novels any more.)  And that's good news because I am quite eager to head off 'fishing' once again!  

 

 

The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu - My Thoughts

Wall of Storms - Ken Liu

I took a long while to read this one because, not only was it a big read, it was so delicious that I had to savour it, like a beautifully aged single malt.  

 

I found the first half of the book somewhat slow, but the writing is so gorgeous that it really didn't matter.  We have moved on to the next generation of characters from those that starred in the first book, Grace of Kings.  

 

Ideas are put forward about culture and war and power and equality that make a person stop and ponder things for a while. It's never as simple as right and wrong, or black and white.  The characters are multi-dimensional and all have flaws as well as good qualities and while there were times when I knew exactly what they'd do, there were other times when I was surprised by the paths they took.  

 

And I have to say, I love how small things that happen in the beginning of the book, come back around and end up being something really, really important.  

 

Ken Liu is a wonderful talent and he writes EXCELLENT books!  I highly recommend this series if you're looking for something to sink your teeth into, something that tastes fresh and new and different.  :)  I can't wait for the third book!!

The Andy Cohen Diaries by Andy Cohen - My Thoughts

The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year - Andy Cohen

It truly is a diary.  Don't be reading this if you're looking for a cohesive narrative, but you enjoy an entertaining stream of consciousness, then this is your book!

 

Andy Cohen knows EVERYBODY!  And he seems to have an opinion or three on them all.

 

This was really a very entertaining read, so much so that I'm waiting for his first book, Most Talkative, to go on sale and then I'll pick it up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny - My Thoughts

How the Light Gets In  - Louise Penny

How the Light Gets In is, in my humble opinion, the best Inspector Gamache novel yet, hands down.  

 

This is the 9th Gamache book and it seems as if we've been building towards this tale and this climax from the very beginning of the series.  Well, I guess it doesn't just seem that way, we actually have.

 

We have the mystery du jour, which has to do with a set of quintuplets inspired by the famed Dionne Quints.  It's interesting and does keep one guessing until late in the book.  But I think, far more important, is the way the mystery mirrors what the characters we have come to love (and hate) are going through in the over-arcing - through 9 books - mystery of the Sureté.  

 

My emotions have never been twisted and played so much by a freaking mystery!  These characters - man, oh man, I've come to love them so much - they have already gone through so much and in this book, they go through so much more!  Whether it be Gamache himself, or his closest team members, Beauvoir and Lacoste, or the denizens of Three Pines ( and yes, thank God, we go back to Three Pines), especially Olivier and Ruth - this volume of the series brings watershed moments for all of them, I think.  

 

There is one scene in the last few chapters, where I actually broke down and sobbed for what was on the page!  The love, the hope, the loyalty, the trust... OMG, it was amazing.  And of course, on the other hand, we have the hate, the jealousy, the evil, the betrayal and every emotion, the positive and the negative, they're just so damned real!  

 

I don't know where we go from here.  I have two more books in my TBR pile and then the latest book, #12 to get and then I'll be all up to date.  The author has mentioned though, that she has started the next book, so that's very good news!

 

I want to mention, as well, while I was reading this book and the previous one, the author has been going through the loss of her beloved husband.  My condolences, Louise.  

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny - My Thoughts

The Beautiful Mystery - Louise Penny

This 8th book of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache quite honestly broke my heart a little.

 

Louise Penny doesn't just write mysteries, she writes about human beings.  People in all sorts of troubles, with all sorts of flaws, and with both moments of deepest despair and the supreme joy.  I guess one could say she writes about the human condition - unless that's too much of a cliché.  :)

 

So for the first time, we do not visit Three Pines.  We don't even really get a mention of Three Pines and I think that's by deliberate design.  Three Pines is a place of healing and peace, (despite being the per capita murder capitol of Quebec) and there is really not a lot of peace and healing to be found by the end of The Beautiful Mystery.  

 

The murder occurs in a monastery hidden deep in the wilderness of Quebec and the only members of the Sureté sent to investigate are Gamache and his second in command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir.  

 

Now, I had thought that since the end of the previous book, A Trick of the Light, things were on the upswing with Gamache and Beauvoir, and the first half of The Beautiful Mystery seemed to bear that out.  Then it all goes to hell.  The problems of the monastery are reflected in the problems of the Sureté and the problems of Jean-Guy and Armand and I have to say that I finished the last quarter of the book with a palpable feeling of dread.  One that did NOT disappear with the closing lines - so I started the next book right away and those that know me, know I don't DO that.  *LOL*

 

I have to say that I didn't completely get all the details of the explanation of the mystery.  I didn't matter though, not really, I understood the emotions behind the actions.  :)

 

So, yes, I am on Book 9 (and weeping because I only have 2 more after this and then the new one that just came out) and I can honestly say that I love this series more and more with every book.  

 

 

Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan - My Thoughts

Enjoy the Dance - Heidi Cullinan

I was able to read this early because I am a patron of Heidi's on Paetron.com.  :)

 

Heidi is one of my favourite authors and I was so looking forward to this book, the second book in the Dancing series.  The first one, Dance With Me, was the first book of Heidi's that I ever read and I adored it, so I was very eager to read this long-awaited sequel.  

 

The first quarter of Enjoy the Dance was disappointing. (And it kills me to say it.) I felt as if I was reading a series of articles on the GLBQT homeless youth community in Minnesota.  I understand that this is a subject very dear to the author's heart and it should be important to all of us, but selfishly, I didn't want to feel lectured while reading about Spenser and Tomas' love story, and that's how I felt during the first quarter of the book while the teenager that brings them together, Duon, got settled.  I learned little about any of the characters - and characters that I love are Heidi's strong suit, so this was especially disappointing.  I know the author possesses the talent to make her readers aware of all this stuff through the presentation of her characters, but it didn't happen this time, I'm afraid.

 

But the other three-quarters of the book were WONDERFUL!  The characters came to life, the relationships were created and things began to move forward.  Spenser, the kindergarten teacher is a lovely character.  Calm, sweet, smart, instinctively wise... I liked him an awful lot.  The object of his affections, the fellow who lives across the hall, Tomas, is the dancer and some of my favourite scenes have to do with him dancing with Duon and Laurie (one of the MCs from the first book) en pointe.

 

Spenser and Tomas fall in love easily and quietly and simply, despite all the hurdles they have to overcome - Duon's future with them, marriage equality, immigration problems, prejudice at Spenser's job, Spenser's scars from his youth in the system... my GOD there were alot of them!  And I ended up in tears more than a couple of times during the final chapters.  

 

So, despite the near lifeless read of the first quarter of the book, the rest of it picked up most wonderfully and gave me the Heidi read I love so much.  

Sims by F. Paul Wilson - My Thoughts

Sims - F. Paul Wilson

Sims was recommended to me by my friend Mike when I expressed an interest in Wilson's latest novel, Panacea, and was going to have to wait because I won't pay $14 for an ebook.  

 

I really enjoyed it!  It was a real page turner, I have to say.  Part of that was helped by the way that Wilson wrote the book, using mostly small chapters which gives the book a brisk pacing perfect for a thriller.  

 

There were some nice twists and turns in the book, some that I saw coming and some that I didn't.  But I think it's okay to see some because then you don't feel like a moron while you're reading.  *LOL*  I loved the character of Patrick, the lawyer, and I loved the sim Tome.  The bad guys were suitably bad and the good guys were suitably good, as should be. I did find myself wondering a bit at the epilogue about what Patrick was actually doing - everyone else important was accounted for and I had to take off a half a star for that.  

 

I wonder why they never made a movie out of this book, it would seem to me to be a perfect property.  

 

So, yup, I really enjoyed my read.  :)

 

 

Fairs' Point by Melissa Scott - My Thoughts

Fairs' Point - Melissa Scott

From one police procedural to the next, it seems.  This one, Fairs' Point is set in the fantasy city of Astreiant and is the fourth in the series starring Nicco Rathe, the cop and Phillip Eslingen, the soldier as they solve the latest mystery to come their way.

 

The story takes place around the yearly dog races and Phillip actually acquires a young pup.  I must say, the scenes between him, the dog and the young dog trainer, Naimi, that he hires to take care of the young racing dog are some of my favourites in the book.  

 

We meet a few of the characters from the three previous books and it is lovely to see them again.  I'm especially fond of Sohier, Rathe's co-worker and wished to see more of her.   

 

The politics of Astreiant are twined around the mystery as they have been in previous books, and once again, they leave me confused, but I think all that means is that I can't extrapolate some of the clues that are laid in the mystery, so when the climax comes, I'm more surprised than maybe the average reader.  *LOL*

 

Phillip is still my fave of faves and I'm very glad he and Nicco are settling into their relationship, and are able to solve the bumps that come along the way.  They make for a good partnership all around!  :)

 

Hopefully Melissa Scott is working on the next in the series, Point of Sighs, because I need more of this whole cast of characters.  I hear hints that it might be about Rathe's friend, Istre b’Estorr, who I quite adore too.  

 

In short, I just need more Astreiant!  

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