Saturday, 28 February 2015

Stacking the Shelves #73

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews
Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! Click on the link under the book to find its page on Goodreads or Smashwords.
Please note that I always leave a message on your STS/SP if you visit me, but if you use DISQUS or a similar third party I will not be able to leave a comment on your page. And sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress so you might get a double message sometimes! Blame them, not me!
I've been really tired this week but I've still been able to read quite a bit, as well as seeing a couple of matches from the Cricket World Cup, some cross country skiing on Eurosport, some darts and a couple of old favourite films. Not a bad week!  I just need to get a few nights of decent sleep. Last night sleep was disrupted by dreams about a bombing and a zombie apocalypse. Hmmm I can't imagine WHY I had that kind of dream...can't be anything to do with all the zombie books I've picked up recently...

This week's haul covers more of those zombie books that I got in the splurge two weeks ago and didn't want to put them into one big megapost! I read the first book in the Deadlocked series and enjoyed it so I was pleased to get most of the set for a serious bargain price! I don't usually pick up serial novels but the price was right...I just need to get my hands on the final book! I have already given up on Starship Troopers-nothing like the film and full of longwinded sci-fi descriptions that I didn't get. I read Z Minus 1 last night and it is the worst zombie book I've ever read with the worst MC ever. I'm so glad I didn't pay for that crap! Zombie University was free earlier this week on Amazon so I grabbed it and got hold of the other two books in the Sophie Littlefield trilogy. I haven't read any of the series but I got book one as a gift last year so picking up the rest of the series was good.

The bought books are all ones that I was anxious to get. I love reading about the Deadliest Catch captains, I really enjoyed The Testing and had to buy the rest of the series, and who can ever resist a killer Sasquatch?



Friday, 27 February 2015

Book Review: Spellbound by Kelley Armstrong (WOTO #12)

Savannah Levine is all grown up. As a witch endowed with an array of spells, she is also a force to be reckoned with. As a paranormal investigator she is finally coming into her own. But her last case tore a family apart, and Savannah swore she'd give up her powers to fix the mess she helped create. Someone--or something--must have been listening. Powerless and on the run from witch-hunting assassins, Savannah stumbles upon a gathering storm that threatens the very existence of the Otherworld. The danger is real, and Savannah must somehow join forces with old friends like Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, and Hope to face their world's greatest threat--and one that just might come from within.

My Review:
Savannah's rash words have stripped her of her powers just as a war is brewing and she is most needed. The Fates are not involved but quite a few demons are keen to help Savannah solve her problem in return for a favour.

The loose ends from Waking the Witch are tied up as this book starts where it left off. The deal Savannah doesn't know she is making sees Paula cleared and reunited with Kayla, while Cody is framed for murder. I certainly feel no sympathy for him as he tried to kill Savannah, so he is hardly innocent. Better him than Paula. Savannah is still being pursued by witch hunters and her parents are anxiously trying to find out who took her powers.

Adam is determined to protect her but of course Savannah doesn't have the brains to follow simple instructions. I had more sense aged 7 than she has at 21. I mean seriously, that pathetic story of Roni's would fool NOBODY and leads to her attack by Roni's 'aunt'. When she is told to stay in the hotel no matter what until help arrives, as soon as the bomb threat is announced, she wanders out of the hotel instead of hiding somewhere other than her room. If she had at least stayed with the crowd evacuated, she was still reasonably safe but no, she wanders off on her own and gets grabbed, meaning Clay has to rescue her. The girl is hopeless!

We discover that the demon Balaam, or 'grampa' wants Savannah to lead a supernatural revolt and have them come out of hiding to rule though other demons have the opposite view. Giles and his fanatical group of immortality seeking nutters are targeting young supernaturals with power, snatching a clairvoyant baby from the Nast Cabal, who of course blame the Cortez Cabal who tried to warn them of the danger. The kidnap involved Bryce but when he calls Savannah for help, she takes Adam, Jeremy and Jamie to locate him in a medical facility run by Anita and Giles. Any rescue involving Savannah is never going to run smoothly!

Dislikes? Savannah. I just will never take to her as a character, especially an MC. She is still too childish and whiny, demanding her own way and sulking when she doesn't get it. She is dumb and can't stay out of trouble which gets tiresome five times in a book. I don't feel any chemistry between her and Adam so I don't find the romance between them believable. Adam should have someone more mature in his life-I just don't see him with Savannah for life.

I liked that Savannah's relationship with Bryce develops in this book, and we see another side to him. It was good that she had to deal with losing her powers as she realises that she took them too much for granted and needs to learn backup plans. She does show a few signs of learning some lessons by treating Adam better. Having Cassandra there was great as her interactions with Savannah are fun and their mission together is one of my favourite things in the book. Instead of Waking the Witch, why could we not have had a book with maybe Cassandra and Adam working on a case? That would have been more fun than Savannah on her own. It was great to have the cast back together to work on the threat-Jeremy, Jaime, Elena, Clay, Lucas, Page, Cassandra, Hope and Karl. It made it feel as if we are building up to a huge battle with all of our favourites fighting side by side. The whole end sequence at the facility was full of tension and I liked most of the action in the book.

This was a big improvement from Waking the Witch and I felt as if the series was getting back on track after three poorer books in the last four (8, 9 and 11). It gave me confidence that the final book would be an action packed battle with all the characters together and I looked forward to it. 
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Book Review: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong (WOTO #11)

At twenty-one, Savannah Levine-orphaned daughter of a notorious dark witch and an equally notorious cutthroat sorcerer-considers herself a full-fledged member of the otherworld. The once rebellious teen has grown into a six-foot-tall, motorcycle-riding jaw-dropper, with an impressive knowledge of and ability to perform spells. The only problem is, she's having a hard time convincing her adoptive parents, Paige and Lucas, to take her seriously as an adult. She's working as the research assistant at the detective agency they founded, and when they take off on a romantic vacation alone, leaving her in charge, Savannah finds herself itching for a case to call her own. (She's also itching for Adam, her longtime friend and colleague, to see her as more than just a little girl, but that's another matter.)

Suddenly, Savannah gets the chance she's been waiting for: Recruited by another supernatural detective, she travels to Columbus, Washington, a small, dying town. Two troubled young women have been found in an abandoned warehouse, murdered. Now a third woman's dead, and on closer inspection small details point to darker forces at play. Savannah feels certain she can handle the case, but with signs of supernatural activity appearing at every turn, things quickly become more serious- and far more dangerous-than she realizes.

My Review:
This review contains spoilers in paragraphs three and four. Be warned!

I admit that I put off reading the last three books in this series for ages, due to the fact that I cannot stand the sight of the whiny brat that is Savannah. She caused nothing but grief for Paige with her whiny tantrums and bad behaviour, shows complete ingratitude to anyone who tries to help her and proves incapable of looking after herself on a normal day. So now in this book, Savannah decides to take on her first case, the ritual killing of three women. With help from investigator Jesse, Michael the cop brother of one of the victims and Kayla the nine year old daughter of another victim, Savannah looks for anyone who wanted the girls dead.

I found this book to be boring and repetitive, and it is more like a crime novel(a genre I dislike) than a paranormal novel. Savannah looks at all the suspects-the strange cult leaders, the married lover of one victim, his psycho wife, Kayla's gran etc. We get some driving around and some questions then Savannah flirts with Michael and mopes about Adam. Then we visit the cult again and have another run in with Cody and his wife. More flirting and moping. Out to the cult again. It just keeps going round in circles with Savannah having no clue how to solve the crime. Why do we need to visit the same people over and over and over to the point where I wanted to scream?

The characters were one dimensional and held little interest. Savannah may be 21 but she doesn't act any more mature than when we first met her. She arrives in town as a motorcycle sex babe and flirts with the first hot guy she sees, using her feminine wiles to get attention. Then she doesn't like the way the cops and everyone else don't take her seriously. So she pouts and complains about it as usual. Savannah feels she'll never have Adam so she gets cosy with the cop she is working with. This relationship feels forced to me and there seemed little point in introducing it, just to kill Michael off halfway through the book. Michael's death might make sense to the plot but having a 2 minute relationship with him and Savannah was a waste of time really. The cops, as all small town cops are portrayed, are of course sexist dumb asses who keep getting in the way and arresting the wrong people. Cody and his wife are like the evil pantomime baddies, thought they are more interesting than any of the cult members.

The plot was so OBVIOUS. I knew pretty much straight away that Jesse was involved in some way. He was never with Savannah when her life was threatened or when Michael was lured to his death, and Cody was far too obviously bad to be the killer. Jesse was always checking in with Savannah to find out what she was doing that day or what she had found out which made it easier to set her up. As soon as Savannah mentions recurring headaches and her magic being unreliable, it was obvious that she was being hexed by someone. I didn't click that Leah had set it all up though. Maybe if I had read all the books in the space of a week or two I'd have remembered about Leah but it's so long since I read the early books(years!) that I forgot she existed, so I couldn't work that part out.

It was all a case of could have been better, in all aspects of the book.Savannah's magic is compromised so we can't get a big magical shootout. The romance with Michael did not work and I suspect it was there to pass the time until Savannah and Adam are put togeher as a couple. The whole cult story I found totally uninteresting.

Good bits? I liked Cody and his bad wife. I liked finding out how the victims met their death. I liked that Savannah has to use her brain, not her magic to defeat Leah. And the end was rather intriguing when she loses her magic in a deal to give Kayla and Paula a happy ending. 
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Book Review: Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong (WOTO #10)

Being the world’s only female werewolf has its advantages, such as having her pick of the Otherworld’s most desirable males. And Elena Michaels couldn’t have picked a more dangerously sexy and undyingly loyal mate than Clayton Danvers. Now their bond will be put to the ultimate test as they follow a bloody trail of gruesome slayings deep into Alaska’s frozen wilderness.

There’s nothing the werewolf community dislikes more than calling attention to itself. So when a pair of rogue man-eaters begins hunting humans, it’s up to Elena and Clayton to track down the predators. But any illusions their task would be simple are quickly dispelled. For even in werewolf terms, there’s something very disturbing taking place in the dark Alaskan forests. A werewolf more wolf than human and more unnatural than supernatural is on the hunt—a creature whose origins seem to spring from ancient legends of the shape-shifting Wendigo.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, Clayton and Elena find themselves confronting painful ghosts from their pasts — and an issue neither of them is eager to discuss. For one of them has been chosen to become the new Pack leader, and as every wolf knows, there can be only one Alpha. They’ve always been equals in everything. Now, when their survival depends more than ever on perfect teamwork, will instinct allow one of them to lead...and the other to follow?

My Review:
Elena has been tracking a young mutt in need of pack protection but he does not want to be found. When he turns up in Alaska it gives the Pack the ideal chance to nose into possible werewolf kills and get in touch with former pack members who chose to go rogue when Jeremy took control. Elena and Clay realise that the three objectives might well be linked. So they have to find Reece and protect him, track the wolf kills and find Clay's friends, while watching out for something much more dangerous out in the wild...

Yea! At last we are back to the werewolves! They are why I started reading this series in the first place and I know I better enjoy this one because we have 3 books focused on whiny brat Savannah to come and I just don't like her at all. She's fine for bit parts in books but carrying the story alone? Not so much. Having Elena back to tell the story after Hope and especially Robyn was a total joy and I loved every minute of this book. It was well written and fast paced, and I zoomed through it in one night.

So Elena is one of my top heroines. She is a 'wife' and mother, a high ranking Pack member, intelligent investigator and someone you can actually like. She is more human than Clay and fully trusted by Jeremy. Clay has greatly evolved from the cold, uncaring character in Bitten. Having the kids and having an injury that impedes his fighting ability has him more vulnerable than ever before, and I liked seeing that side to him. He is actually afraid that he might not be able to protect Elena, Jeremy and the kids and is wondering what he can do about it. He doesn't want to go back to torture and kill version of Clay but feels that he might have to do it. Jeremy is settled in his relationship with Jaime and starting to think about handing over control of the Pack to someone else so he can have a more relaxed life. He always was a reluctant leader anyway so this seems like a natural progression for him.

We get a few other characters appearing in this book as well. It was good to find out what happened to Dennis and Joey, and it was good to explore Clay's conflicted feelings about seeing his old friend again. Joey is frantic with worry about the missing Noah and is prepared to use Clay and Elena to find his son. Nick and Antonio never appear enough for my liking so it was great to see them in the plot again. I love both of these guys. We are also introduced to the runaway rogue Reece, Joey's son Noah and a cast of seriously bad guys. And those twins, especially Kate, are going to be big trouble! It was weird to imagine Jeremy trying to babysit those little monsters!

Travis is just plain evil and he is totally obsessed with the idea of capturing and raping Elena. When she comes into contact with him, Elena gets terrible flashbacks back to her abusive past, and the fear comes with it. Having Elena feeling frozen with fear, and Clay not always able to help her because of his arm adds a vulnerable side to the whole relationship. You know that the bad guys have more of a chance to win this time which is unsettling to poor readers like me! Don't hurt my darn werewolves!!!

I liked the plot. The bad guys this time feel more of a threat and our couple are in danger a lot more. It explores the human emotions of the werewolves as situations get out of control. Fear, betrayal, panic, helplessness, anger, the determination not to be a victim-these are things the readers can relate to. I loved the evolution of Clay and Elena, individually, and as a couple. I liked the kidnap plot and the monster in the woods story that just added a different twist to things. I could not get the image of a Sasquatch tribe out of my head when I was reading about the first attack! There was a lot of tension and action in the book, which is just my kind of urban fantasy! It is one of the best books in the series and a fitting tribute to the werewolves.

Now I wish I could get a version with a better cover...

star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Female Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. 
This is my first official week as a member of this meme so hi everyone! *waves* Here are my list of top females from my books read so far.

1) Cat Crawfield-Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
Cat is half human, half vampire, brought up to hate and hunt nightcrawlers until she falls in love with one. She is smart, sexy, witty and kickass! She also has a very hot guy in Bones, who reminds me of Spike from Buffy. Top female! 
2) Zoey Donovan-Monster Haven series by RL Naquin 
Zoey is an empath wedding planner with a Closet Monster roomie. She is clumsy, awkward, embarrassing, kind, helpful and always in danger.  Her new job is to look after displaced, injured and needy monsters of all species while dealing with a clingy asshat ex husband. I love this series for its humour and action, and Zoey is a really great character.
3) Ellen Ripley-Alien series by Alan Dean Foster
Ripley is the original female kickass heroine. She is an intelligent, high ranked female on a spaceship. She is tough, a single mother (at least no man is ever mentioned in the films), brave and resourceful, outlasting even the toughest marines. Ripley can do anything a man can do yet retains her feminine side. We need more characters like her in fiction and film!
4) Hermione Granger-Harry Potter by JK Rowling 
Hermione is the perfect example of a modern heroine, one who is smarter than all the guys, brave and very capable. She starts as an outsider, disliked for her brains but her loyalty to her friends wins people over. If the apocalypse is coming, you want Hermione on your side! 
5) Katniss Everdeen-Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Katniss looks after her sister when her father dies and mother sinks into chronic depression. She takes her sister's place in the brutal Hunger Games where it is kill or be killed, yet she is still able to keep her humanity and love. She is kickass but you can relate to her.
6) Pam Ravenscroft-Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris
Pam is brilliant! She is sarcastic and funny, tough and super-strong, loyal to her friends and will kill anyone who threatens her or those she cares about. I loved Pam in this series and wish we could have seen more of her. 

7) Mercy Thompson-Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
Mercy is a great character-she is a shapeshifting coyote mechanic, surrounded by tough men and dangerous women. She was brought up by werewolves and can hold her own against them but she is also very much human. I love her and all her complicated relationships with fae, shifters, pack and vampires!

8) Elena Michaels-Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong
Elena is turned into a werewolf against her will and has to deal with the betrayal of her soulmate Clay, finding her way as a wolf and trying to work amongst humans and other supernaturals to keep her Pack safe. She is tough and feisty and a great character.

9) Gin Blanco-Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep
Gin is an assassin, a stone elemental and has ice magic which makes her pretty dangerous. But despite killing people for a living she is loyal to her friends, has a sense of humour and you do like her. Very kickass! 

10) Helena Drake-Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey
Helena is the Vampire Queen, mother of seven boys and a girl-all vampires, and is the scariest one of them all. She proves a woman really can do it all! 

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Problems I have!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list. Everyone is welcome to join. 
I have just decided to join in with this meme and for fun, I'm starting with last week's tens list which greatly appeals to me! Then later today I will post this week's tens list and link up with my fellow bloggers. The theme last week was Book Related Problems I have. Well, I have plenty! 

1) Too Many Books, Too Little Time
Isn't this the most common problem? It is so easy to go on a book grab, getting every cool and shiny book that catches the eye...and then you suddenly realise that in your home and on your ereader, you have 950 books! Arrgghh! *eyes popping* You don't have a Ministry of Magic Time Turner so you need to tackle Mount TBR which I'm in the middle of doing now.

2) Getting Those Pesky Reviews Written
I'm always writing notes as I review my books which sounds really clever-except it then takes an eternity for me to get the darn things written and uploaded to Goodreads and my blog. I have over 100 reviews in note form waiting for me! It just takes so LONG to get the wording right that a single review can take me well over an hour-c'mon chuckles you're not writing an epic novel, GET IT DONE!

3) Can I borrow your book?
Say what??? Why would you even ask that? Do I ask to borrow your husband for a week? Huh? Of course not so why would you even THINK of such a thing? Shocking. You don't ever get to borrow my book as who knows what kind of torture you might put it through. I mean you have children and cats! You shall not get my precioussss...Even when my dad is reading my books I'm checking up on him and my uncle the smoker gets nowhere near!

4) Book Sizes
There I am happily collecting a mass market paperback series when WHAMMO, the rest of the series will only be in a bigger size format which will cost extra money to buy. Oh yes, why not just break into my bank account while you are at it, you filthy scum. Do you realise that I can't have all my books in the series sitting together because it just looks untidy and stupid??? Do you care how stressed I get about different book sizes in the same series?

5) The Ever Changing Book Covers
This makes me explode. You get the beautiful covers for the first 9 books of the series in mass market paperback and they are so pretty! Then not also do they change the book size, they abandon the gorgeous covers so you have ugly crap for the rest of the series! NOOOO! The people who did this to Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld are on my Bad People List!!! Thank you for ruining my covers!!!

6) Spine Breaking Freaks
A former friend of mine used to assault her books on a regular basis. When she bought a brand new book, she would attack it with a hammer until the spine was broken as she could not bear to read 'a perfect book'. The first time I saw her do this I was horrorstruck and screamed. I nearly tried to wrestle the murder weapon from her hand! Why why WHY would you do something so evil to a book??? And she looked at ME as if I was crazy??? Books are to loved and respected not violated and murdered!

7) Dog Eared Destroyers
If there is one thing I hate, it is people who dog ear the pages of a book. This kind of book cruelty makes my spine twitch if I witness it. Imagine me on the bus coming home from work one day, watching a woman dog ear the page to chat to her friend. I actually tapped her on the shoulder and asked if she required a bookmark. She gave me such a strange look and I can't imagine why. If you WANT to do origami I'm sure the local college will assist but LEAVE THE BOOKS ALONE!

8) The Over Hyped Booky
I hate this new thing where something is 'The New Harry Potter' NO. Just NO. There will NEVER be a new or next Harry Potter as it was far too unique and brilliant. By branding your book as the new or next, or comparing it to such a well loved series, you are being held up to that standard and you will fail! I hate this 'If you liked_ then you'll LOVE_' Really? How the heck can you see into my head, hmmm? I find this off-putting as I have never yet found a comparison book that came close to living up to the hype and this reflects in my review.

9) Authors Behaving Badly
As a reviewer and blogger, I get really annoyed when we are savaged by a small section of authors. Authors getting annoyed with me because I said no to reviewing their book-well, next time try sending me a book in the genres I like reading dumb ass, not one I say I don't read! Authors not happy because I didn't like their book-jeez don't be such a cry baby! Even JK Rowling doesn't have EVERYONE loving Harry Potter! Authors going to argue with reviewers-yeah I get that you think the review might be unfair but you can't win when you challenge someone for not liking your book. Other bloggers will savage you for it.  Authors moaning that I can't read their book NOW-well actually we have lives of our own and pesky things like work and family that come first y'know!

10) Book Snobs
Reading is about finding the books we love and sites like Goodreads are for sharing our thoughts on books with other book fans. What I HATE is when a reader thinks that they have the right to slag me off for not loving a book that they loved, or for loving books in genres that they hate. I've seen people sneer at those who hate the classics and love fluffy romances, hinting that these people are somehow inferior for not reading what THEY loved. I've been called an idiot and a moron and threatened by irate readers for not sharing their views. Who died and made you God? . There is no right and wrong opinion on a book, only opinion and people need to respect that not everyone will agree with them.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Reading with Chuckles #26

Welcome to Reading with Chuckles! This is where I fill you in on what I'm reading each week-what it is, where I got it or heard about it, what I think of it, if I'm continuing with it or abandoning it and any special offers I'm aware of where you can try the book yourself. Comments are welcome but no spoilers please! It's not fair to other readers!

The good reading times just keep on rolling! I hit my target of 550 books left on the tbr at the start of the week so that gives me a real chance of getting down to 500 books by the end of March. So the stats for the week are *drumroll* 8 books finished and a whopping 16 abandoned for various reasons! That makes up for all those zombie books that I downloaded...*ahem*

The first book of the week was the prequel to the Secret McQueen books. I plan to re-read book one before reading the rest of the series. The next five are from the Monument 14 series, two novels and three short stories, all of which I liked. The Harvesting was a surprisingly good dystopian read after reading so many mixed reviews and I rounded off the week with the funny Fat Vampire 2.


This week I abandoned a right pile! Discount Armageddon was actually a decent read and it had the religious mice so I could maybe have finished it. It wasn't a bad read. Bel Ami was just too old fashioed for me. The others were abandoned due to:Viral Nation(the Ya cliche bullying plot and hard to connect with MC), Partials(slow plot and bland MCs), My Sister's Reaper(stupid bitch MCs), The Sentinel(bitch from hell MC), The Hunt(slow and boring), Sterling(slow and dull), Electric Storm(horrible side characters and bland MC, slow), Quarantine(horrible characters), Dweller on the Threshold(ok but didn't grab me), Five out of the dark(spoiled by the undercover school plot), Elemental Reality(sex obsessed MC with woofing habit and steriotype Aussie annoyed me), A demon bound(sex obsessed MC), Arcane Solutions(sex obsessed MC did my head in), Kissed by darkness(slow and bland).