Dying for a Living

by Kory M. Shrum

4/5
I don’t even know how I fell into this book. All the sudden I was completely into it. And I don’t even like Zombies!!

01DfaL

This is one of the most original stories I’ve read in quite a while. These are not your average zombies. We are talking about Necronitic Regenerative Disorder (NRD): Necronites!

I’m totally into the adaptation of myth, fantasy and fiction to real life and the existing social structures. That is definitely one of my favorite book genres, and Dying for a Living is precisely that.

This a 7-book series about an NRD-positive girl named Jesse Sullivan, who’s only trying to make a living and staying out of trouble, until someone tries to kill her. As in dead-dead! How rude!

Jesse is a Death Replacement Agent. Basically, her job is to die for other people, like a twisted kind of bodyguard.  it sounds like an awful job and she doesn’t quite enjoy it, but what else can you do when people aren’t very nice to her for something she can’t control.

I think this is as much a book about supernatural powers and characters, as is a comment on institutionalized discrimination. And I always enjoy my fantasy more with a pinch of reality thrown in. What can I say?

JS02It has supernatural creatures, distrusted government agents, crazy friends, a murder mystery, religious fanatics, a bit of family drama and a twisted love tangent. what is not to like?

It really left me hooked, and definitely on the lookout for the other 6 books, starting with Dying by the Hour.

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Maze Runner (3)

The Death Cure

by James Dashner

2/5

Definitely a let down.

I am flummoxed. This story had such potential. A disease ravaged world, with an crazy levels of technology… and we spent Goodness knows how long reading about Thomas‘ feelings for Brenda!? Can you say irrelevant?!

I’ve always hated these completely unnecessary romantic entanglements. I feel like the author is trying to hide a lousy story behind a forced and fabricated emotional twist. And, sometimes, that’s not even the case.

I think The Death Cure would have gone down better, with me at least, with a more complicated and complex love-hate-distrust relationship with Theresa, than how it went trying to force this other new and totally untrustworthy female character into it.

Andtalking about superfluous characters, what the heck is up with that Jorge guy. I don’t think James Dashner could have possibly come up with a more cliché character. It is so bad, it’s almost offensive.

At the end, this book had more a feeling of “Let’s flee from the zombies” than even World War Z had. There wasn’t a lot a really liked, but there wasn’t much I actually hated either.

Except for one thing. One thing that pissed me the hell off: Killing your friend out of mercy.

And I’m not saying that it is a horrible idea. That letter, at the beginning, where Newt asks for it, was one of the reasons I kept on reading this book. It’s a totally relevant issue, especially because we’re talking about a long and dehumanizing terminal illness.

I guess this could inspire a very heated debate, and I totally understand those who simply can’t do it but, did we really need a whole chapter of indecision?! He either does it, or he doesn’t. Don’t drag it out!

Would I do it? I couldn’t tell you. I would hope so. What about you?

Would you kill your friend out of mercy?

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this book. Nor this series, actually.

Blood Trails

Deadline


2/5It was about a witch. That was what got me to pick it up at first.
This witch wants to be a private investigator. Like Alex Craft? Of course, I had to see these mysteries she would be solving.

Someone stealing something from an impregnable vault? Definitely interesting. Skeptical FBI agent that is possibly seeing a ghost? This could be seriously interesting.

It was, somewhat, but I wasn’t impressed at all. Honestly, it’s NOT SO GOOD: there was a lot of that ”helpless chick at the mercy of more powerful creatures” thing that I hate so much.

For a moment there, I would have advised Shade Renard to forget this PI thing and stick to being a village witch. At least she didn’t suck at that!

I really like this blending of magic and modern tech-filled life. It really gets my imagination flying. I think that’s the only reason why I got through Deadline.

Monster

3/5But my curiosity got the better of me and there I was, starting Monster. I blame that title. Who wouldn’t be curious?

This one was better than the first one. Definitely.

There are werewolves and a murder. Shade does some actual investigative work, even when it becomes obvious that she’s not actually a trained investigator. She’s trying, that’s all it can be said in her behalf.

My favorite magic creature investigator, though, is Peasblossom. And she’s a pixie!

She would make an excellent PI, and possibly even a mind-blowing spy. She’s the best part of the story, no matter what you Bigjobs say about it. She totally stole the show.

To make a long story short: the tiny people make this book GOOD.

The Maze Runner

by James Dashner

3/5

I actually feel bad about not being more excited about this book. I was really looking forward to reading it. I was sure it had to be way more exciting and complex than the movie.

It was not.
tMR
This is one of the reasons I dislike watching the movie before reading the book. It just kills all the excitement or surprise that a story could give me.

If you haven’t watched the movie nor read the book, you might want to stop reading now.

Spoiler Alert

Unexpected girl in a box? Yeah, that ‘s Teresa.

The doors won’t close? Well, of course, that’s how the grievers get in.

The make it to the other side of the maze in spite of the ugly things chasing them? Obviously.

Best friend dies? I was thinking about that since he was introduced.

How can I possibly be surprised or shocked? There wasn’t even any extra details or excluded characters to get to know. I was totally not thrilled. This was, however, the first audiobook I’ve gotten totally into in quite a while, though.

THAT I thoroughly enjoyed. The recording I got had even a couple of accents and a different tone for almost each of the characters. I really love the ones where the performer really gets into it and takes you into the story simply with his or her voice. I think that is the only reason I immediately jumped to the next book in this series: The Scorch Trials.

That movie, I didn’t watch. So maybe I can get more excited about the gladers and their new challenges.

The Twenty-sided Sorceress (8)

Dungeon Crawl

By Annie Bellet

4/5For a whole minute there, after finishing Magic to the Bone, I feared that the story would end there and leave the loose ends to my imagination.

Then I remembered there was a book #8.

And while Samir is defeated, he’s not actually dead yet. He’s still wreaking havoc inside Jade’s mind, and something is bound to go wrong with carrying such a formidable foe on your neck.

Then, there’s also that whole owing-an-unknown-favor-to-a-vampire thing. Can he really be trusted? He helped her, true, but it wasn’t free.

Thankfully, Dungeon Crawl addresses all these little loose ends, although not all of them.

We get to see Jade’s recovery after the big confrontation with Samir, and how she hasn’t quite recovered. She’s still having nightmares and paranoid feelings, that you can see reflected in how she designed her house when rebuilding after the fire: Extra exits everywhere.

Of course, is it really paranoia when people ARE after you? She is living with what can be considered former law enforcement. There’s bound to be people trying to kill Alek after god-knows how many years of being a JUSTICE.

Thus, a sniper shooting him in the head.

Does he die? You will have to read the book. But do you honestly think I wouldn’t be raving and tearing things apart if my favorite character in this whole series would’ve died so nonsensically!?

I’m always up for getting more Alek. Extra chapters from his perspective are my absolute favorite. But I DO feel like I’m missing something. There’s this whole thing happening in New Orleans, that I don’t have my detail from and jeeps getting referenced. I need the deeds! Especially if they will answer all questions about the Council of Nine.

All in all, I really really liked this book. It was GREAT! Even with the zombies and other strange undead creatures.

And I’m not even bothered by the fact that this is NOT the end of the story yet. There are, at least, two more books coming out soon. I’m actually excited about it.

Definitely looking forward to reading more about Jade Crow and her band of friends.

PSI-Ops (2&3)

Act of Surrender

Mandy M. Roth

2/5I’m still waiting for the end of the month paycheck in order to get the last book from The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series, and I didn’t really want to get into another book series. Instead, I picked up the other short easy read I discovered the same fateful day I found Justice Calling and tried to follow that story.

Book #2, Act of Surrender, was less than impressive. It was basically the same story than the first one, with a bunch of stuff that repeats over an over again.

I don’t mind all the references to other adventures in previous books or even to the happening in other books from the same universe but in different series. It just makes me want to read all of those books when the author mentions shocking of mysterious adventures from other books.

But I have to roll my eyes when I get the exact same lines, obvious explanations, every two pages. It really annoyed me.

But I endured. I was even looking forward to following up on that cliffhanger at the end. 
And then… I got to the first pages f the next book, where the whole issue was resolved without any clues. Read this other book series message, instead.

That was not nice. Not nice, at all.

Book #3, Act of Submission, is not better at all. Again, all about the girl and how she’s the mate of one of the operatives. There was an interest new twist: Vampires. But then, there were no explanations, no background on the new bad guys. they are just there all the sudden.

And there’s even a new ally! That could have been a good moment for explanation and repeating introduction to this character, even if it was in another book. But no! He’s just there. And had all the answer. NOT SO GOOD.

I even took a peek at the first pages of Book #4, Act of Command. Not interested. At all. I’ll just get back to my new favorite sorceress.

Magic to the Bone

by Annie Bellet

4/5
Bombs, hostages, mercenaries, and magic! How can that not be GREAT!?

I really liked that ending.  I think it was totally appropriate until I realized there’s another book yet to come. What’s up with that?

I wish the had been more Alek, as always. Too much Harper, again. And there wasn’t even a big explosion, even when there were lots of explosives.

And, of course, I could’ve used more magic…

Spoiler Alert

… Isn’t she supposed to be a mythical creature made of pure magic? Or something like it? I was expecting her to wipe the floor with Samir, but I guess that would’ve been too much after their first fight ended up lopsided.

There was a lot of opened questions, though. Like, what happened to the shifters and what0’s gonna happen to the town after they were totally abandoned like that. And the Fae, what’s up with them? Will they try another way to break the seal?

Is that why there’s another book?

And now, Jade Crow is the savior of the whole town of supernaturals!!

Jade Crow for president!!

No. Make it…

Queen Jade Crow!!

The downside of binge reading, though, is that I almost capped my monthly book-budget. It means I’ll have to wait a week before I can get the last book in this series. In the meantime, there’s a couple of books waiting.

It’s just a matter of picking one.

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress (7)

3/5

Thicker than Blood

Annie Bellet

thickerThanBlood

Not as awesome as the previous one, I have to say. And I was totally disappointed that we didn’t get more Aleksei. Too much Harper, for my taste. I don’t hate her anymore, true, but she’s still not my favorite person.

Uh! I might see the point of all those Harper excerpts now. I’d still leave at simply GOOD, though.

This whole book feels like a slight detour from the actual story, the one that has me so caught up… but I absolutely loved all the dragon ball references. I totally see it.

And we at least got a glimpse at what is happening with Samir, and Jade‘s friends, otherwise I would be totally annoyed.

Spoiler alert, though…

20ss07Dragon! That word made this book totally worth it. Even if it was only the final chapters. I totally love dragons. And, of course, mystery dad is totally awesome. He hid his heart and guarded it with a monstrous giant snake! How much cooler can he be? He was my absolute favorite part in this book, and that’s even considering Aleksei‘s sister and the know-it-all vampire.

Magic to the Bone. On to book #7 we go!

Our shifter friends are hiding in the forest, trying to stop Mr. Evil-ExBoyfriend from rising some serious bad ancient power and becoming stronger, while our heroine is trying to get her mojo back with the help of her totally unexpected dragon bio-daddy. this ought to be getting super exciting now.

Deep breath. I just had a good night sleep. I’m ready.

Let’s level up!

 

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress (6)

Heartache

by Annie Bellet

5/5OMG.

Boss fight, it is right!

This is honestly the most exciting book in this series by far. This is going to be full of spoilers. Beware.

I have been waiting for Samir to finally show his face for five books now, and I don’t think he disappoints. What does disappoint is Jade’s fumbling response. She was supposed to be training for a while now, and had learned a lot of new things from the older witch who she just ate! Why is she acting like a newb?! It’s frustrating!

I understand she not being able to save her friend the first time she managed to use Tess’s magic to do something unique and unexpected, but she’s supposed to be smart! Why not stop to analyze what happened and how can it be used to her advantage? Ok. She got arrested, that could have occupied her mind for a while, but she spends a long while locked in a prison cell… couldn’t she have taken a moment to think about her options?!

And don’t get me started on the complete narrowmindedness of not contemplating for a moment that something besides herself could be at play.

Also, someone put a leash on those friends of hers! Especially Harper. She’s starting to rub me the wrong way. She never stops to think, just changing ahead and getting herself mauled. She, and the twins, totally dismissed Jade’s fears of Samir without stopping to consider there might be a reason to have a healthy level of fear and caution. 

Don’t take my ranting wrong, though. I absolutely loved this book. The bad guy is seriously bad, the love interest is perfectly lovely and not overpowering, the surrounding story is adequately complex and there is more than one character to be into there. It is a fantastic book. I completely LOVED IT!. Seriously looking forward to book #6.

There’s only three left, but this whole series has gone crazy fast. I think I might easily finish it before the month is over.

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress (5)

Hunting Season

by Annie Bellet

4/5
Two on one, how is that fair?!

Ok, this was book number four of The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series and it was action packed! Full of new and exciting magical and mythological creatures. There were even unicorns!

This story has way more exciting magical battles and creatures, and two of Samir‘s apprentices to contend with. There’s a druid, and a leprechaun, and even time-manipulating. It’s simply GREAT!

Jade is starting to show real leadership talent and the friendship and loyalty are heartwarming. And I really like this kind of love story: the one where not everything is perfect, but there’s trust and communication and they both can admit that they are faulty and work on it. It makes me think that this an actual real couple that can work through their problems in a mature way. I hope they can make it through all the evil coming their way.

I really liked this one. It is full of action and a lot of magic, and things seem to be gearing up for the great final battle. The big bad, Samir (aka evil exboyfriend), is down two apprentices, so we’re definitely expecting him to show up at any minute.

And that ending! Talk about exciting.

And of course, that’s why I hadn’t even stopped to consider what that ending meant, hen I was already getting started on book #5: Heartache.

Like Jade and Harper would say:

Boss Fight!

Pack of Lies

by Annie Bellet

4/5

Ohh! Things are starting to get really interesting!

I really liked this one. So much that I basically read it not stop until I had through, I even had a very unproductive day… totally distracted.

Alek is back after leaving and not calling for a while, and things look like improving between him and Jade. If it weren’t for the murders getting in the way, we would have a great romance novel!

I’m joking, of course. the murder mystery is one of my favorite parts.

What could possibly make it better, you ask… magic! There is new magic, and even a magical assassin coming into the picture. And that on top of a massive pack of wolves that might be killing each other.

It is all full of excitement. Definitely a GREAT book.

Why couldn’t my life be full of sex instead of violence?

I really enjoy the light and funny way Annie Bellet writes. The humor and funny references to popular culture. There was even a Matrix reference! How nerdy! I loved it.

Why can’t my life be more like a porno than a horror movie?

And if all of this is not enough to draw you in… We finally got a taste of that big bad guy that had only just been mentioned until now!

I’ll just have to read Hunting Season, d maybe finally get to know Samir, the evil ex-boyfriend.

 

Bonk. The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

by Mary Roach

3/5

A few interesting things, but my favorite continues to be Stiff.

I think the best part of Mary Roach’s books, at least for me, is not all the interesting tidbits of shocking information, but the hilarious way in which she shares them. I like how he can make fun of the little details without undermining people’s work or their experiences.

This book is all about the many strides science has made in trying to understand the hows and why of sex in all its facets. And it IS very interesting, but I felt there were many parts where I felt more humor was needed.

There was one thing that really annoyed me, though. The footnotes. My book’s footnotes are all collected at the end of the book, and it drove me crazy. Footnotes should be a the foot of the page!! that way I can read them right away and not forget what they were about.

I’m gonna blame that as the main reason I couldn’t quite enjoy this book.

If I had to say, I would grade this book as simply GOOD. Not bad, but not great either. Full of interesting stuff, though.

Curious Books (3)

Grunt. The Curious Science of Humans at War

by Mary Roach

3/5

 

I have to say, this one was not what I expected. It might have been that it is quite short, or that or that it wasn’t quite as full of science as Stiff. Obviously not my favorite of the two, and it wasn’t at all what I was hoping for after reading the Beating of his Wings.  It has the same style of writing, and I enjoyed it, but that’s all I can actually say about it.

I did talk to a friend that was in the army, though, and he thought it was very accurate and interesting. So, I guess it is a matter of perspective, as most things in life.

I am not discouraged with Mary Roach’s work nor with these books in specific… so let’s move onto the next:

Mary Roach’s Curious Books

I want to say, something sexy, but I don’t think that’s what I’m gonna get. I’m not even sure what I’m expecting. Something funny at the least.

The Savage Dawn

by Melissa Grey

4/5
I can certainly say that I am now a fan of Melissa Gre’s writing. I loved the references and the dialogs and even the characters, but I cannot say that I absolutely loved this book.

The individual parts were awesome. Bird people with feathers for hair? Loved it! Dragon people with scales on their faces? Loved it! The lonely human stuck in the middle of an ancient war only to have ended up uniting them all to fight a common stronger enemy? Absolutely amazing! But still… somehow, I feel there was something missing. Something that is not there and keeps me from loving it all as a whole.

 

First, let me tell you about all the things I adored. OK, it is mostly to things that I adored in this book, and why it is my favorite in the whole series… Jasper and Dorian.

That was just simply one of the cutest couples I’ve ever read about. I was hanging from every page waiting to know what was to be of them. From the whole “I cannot be happy without my prince” thing at the beginning, through the whole “you cannot have him” bit, and all the way to the new Dragon Prince and his Avicen consort. That was simply the wildest love story! Absolutely one of my all-time favorites. I would totally read this whole trilogy over and over, just to experience them, time and time again.

And maybe that’s one of the reasons I was left a tad unsatisfied. For a moment there I was biting my nails out of my fingers thinking that my favorite couple will be split apart irrevocably and how totally depressing that would be.. and then, no! They both survived the war and can live happily ever after. Except… that they come from two very different societies that have been at war with each other for centuries and they are both needed at their respective homes for the reparation and rebuilding… but we wouldn’t know anything about it, because the book ends without letting us hear from them. At all.

I understand that the main story there was about the Firebird and all this magic that she supposedly had (that she ended up not knowing how to use and not needing to save the world), and her ill-fated romance with this prince whose throne was stolen, whose sister went homicidal, who has been tortured and still jumps into battle with her…

But I needed more Jasper & Dorian!

And even a little bit more Ivy or Rowan… or even some more of The Ala. I feel like a lot was going on behind scenes that we missed and would’ve been awesome to read about.

On the other hand… I think Echo and Cauis’s ending was great. That huge sacrifice and pain, and that tiny and slim ray of hope barely out of reach. Genious! I really like that.

What did you think?

Who id you prefer, Caius and Echo or Jasper and Dorian?

Deklan

3/5

deklan
Deklan by Shay Savage

Nice and short.

And steamy.

I, actually, intended to only check out the latest Shay Savage book. I was thinking if I could get right then and there… maybe I would read it when I was done with this year’s challenge…

I ended up reading it right there. I stayed glued to it for  whole day until almost 4am!

As it is Shay Savage’s thing, there is a gorgeous guy with a messed up childhood. But this one felt way mor wholesome than Arden (who we see something of in this one) or Teague.

This hotty is all sweet an strong. A deadly hitman, but a loving husband. Completely enjoyable. The only downside? This story gets told from the point of view of Deklan‘s new young (almost child like) bride. She’s a young girl, pushed into marriage with a mob boss’ son, as a means to pay a debt. But things change at the last minute and she ends up being pushed to marry down on chain of power.

An it ends up being the best thing that could’ve happened to her.

Honestly… if you’re looking for a deep inside into the working of arranged marriages within the mob… you’re in to wrong section of the book store. If what you want is something simple and steamy to take your mind off things… then, this is the book for you. I has many stops in plot and action to take you into the bedroom, with aggressive and hot sex. Some of those feel even a bit unnecessary… but it is completely grabbing.

Not apt for public consumptionIt is incredibly easy to stay glue to it to the end.

 

Definitely enjoyed it, but not something to have at the office.