Showing posts with label Buddy Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Buddy Review. Show all posts

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Buddy Review: Slashback (Cal Leandros #8) by Rob Thurman

I stopped and let them circle me, first because it was intriguing and, second, because, honestly, what could they do? Only knives, but all armed, and that made them even more interesting. Interesting. Fun.


Taking on bloodthirsty supernatural monsters is how Caliban and Niko Leandros make a living. But years ago—before they became a force to be reckoned with—the brothers were almost victims of a very human serial killer.


Unfortunately for them, that particular depraved killer was working as apprentice to a creature far more malevolent—the legendary Spring-heeled Jack. He’s just hit town. He hasn't forgotten what the Leandros brothers did to his murderous protégé. He hasn't forgotten what they owe him.

And now they are going to pay… and pay… and pay.…

A few years ago, Leslie of Leslie's Psyche introduced Nath of Books, Books and More Books and me to the Cal Leandros urban fantasy series by Rob Thurman. The three of us enjoyed it so much that we began Buddy Reviewing it together. The series is now on the 8th installment and we are still reading and reviewing it together!  You can read our Buddy Review of Slashback at Breezing Through.

Thank you ladies!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: Doubletake (Cal Leandros #7) by Rob Thurman

Half-human/half-monster Cal Leandros knows that family is a pain. But now that pain belongs to his half-brother, Niko. Niko's shady father is in town, and he needs a big favor. Even worse is the reunion being held by the devious Puck race-including the Leandros' friend, Robin- featuring a lottery that no Puck wants to win.

As Cal tries to keep both Niko and Robin from paying the ultimate price for their kin, a horrific reminder from Cal's own past arrives to remind him that blood is thicker than water-and that's why it's so much more fun to spill.
Today I'll be over at Breezing Through with two lovely ladies, Nath from Books, Books and More Books and Leslie from Leslie's Psyche. We are discussing Doubletake, the 7th installment in the Cal Leandros urban fantasy series by Rob Thurman.

Nath, Leslie and I have been reading this series from the beginning. Leslie and I have had the pleasure of taking turns buddy reviewing the books with Nath as the series has progressed. This time all three of us had a great time discussing Doubletake, which turned out to have a bit of a twist that drove the three of us a bit nutty. A warning, please be prepared for a detailed discussion with spoilers galore.

Interestingly enough although all three of us enjoyed this installment, this time my grade was vastly different from the ones awarded by my fellow readers. Why? Check out the review.

Category: Urban Fantasy
Series: Cal Leandros
Publisher/Release Date: ROC/March 2012 - Kindle Ed.
Grade: B-

Nightlife, Book 1
Moonshine, Book 2
Madhouse, Book 3
Deathwish, Book 4
Roadkill, Book 5
Blackout, Book 6
Doubletake, Book 7

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mini: My Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander

Evelyn Hadley-Attwater has it all ---a genteel Victorian life replete with loving husband, ball gowns and elegant parties. No one, including the man she married, suspects that she was once "Eve," a spy for England's most enigmatic inteliggence agency. Summoned for one final assignment, the excitement of her former life and memories of her mysterious, flirtatious boss "Sir" prove too tempting.

Adrian Hadley-Attwater is a respectable, dignified gentleman. But even the most proper gentlemen have secrets of their own. Secrets from the rest of the world, from their families, from their wives. Secrets that have a price. Now, as a veil of secrecy frays, a tantalizing game of cat and mouse will test the bounds of unfailing love...
My Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander is an amusing, witty historical romance with lovely central and secondary characters. The main couple is happily married and very much in love with each other. Yet, their lives are also full of secrets that lead to misunderstandings, lack of trust, impulsive actions and hurt feelings.

I enjoyed this book for the "game of love" that takes place between the two main characters. There's much to be said about the way in which Ms. Alexander made this story work by taking two married people who love each other deeply, and basically just need to reinforce that one very important truth to each other. The romance is also quite well integrated with the "spy" storyline, actually it can be said that one cannot be separated from the other. That is how well integrated it is. Very well done! And, the secondary characters in this story add sexual tension (as in the case of Max and Celeste), or family atmosphere (as in the extensive Hadley-Attwater family), without taking the focus away from the main couple.

Was this book a perfect read for me? No. There are a few niggles here and there, the pace slows down somewhat through the middle of the story, and there's some question about lack of sexual tension between the two main characters. However overall, this is a solid book that I recommend as a delightful historical romance read.

Category: Historical Romance
Series: Sinful Family Secrets #2
Publisher/Release Date: Zebra
Source: Kensington Books
Grade: B

Visit Victoria Alexander here.

Buddy Review at Breezing Through:

I'm doing something different this time! I posted a Mini above, but if you would like to read my complete thoughts on My Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander, please head over to Breezing Through where I was invited to do a buddy review with the lovely Nath!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review: Shadowfever (Fever Series, Book 5) by Karen Marie Moning

I'll begin by saying that there's no way to write this review without giving away some spoilers. This is the last book in a series of five, plus in order to really get into the story and express my thoughts, I must refer to characters and events.

Book Summary:
Shadowfever begins where Dreamfever ends, with Mac killing the Beast that protected her while she was lost in one of the Silver's dimensions. As the Beast turns into a human, she finds out this beast is none other than Jericho Barrons. Mac is grief-stricken and through that grief, comes to terms with her feelings for Barrons and comes to the decision that she wants him back. The outcome of her deep, dark grief is again one more transformation. When she looks into herself, she accesses a dark place where she can conjure runes to protect herself and/or bind others, mainly the Fae.

Mac proceeds to align herself with Darroc, the Lord Master, in order to get whatever information he has gained about the Sinsar Dubh. He appears with the Unseelie Princes, and after coming to an understanding, agrees to take Mac out the Silvers. In order to get back to Dublin, Darroc must use a Silver and he takes Mac through the Unseelie King's concubine's White Mansion where some of Mac's buried memories come to the forefront.

But all is not as it seems, and Barrons is not dead. A chain of events unfolds where, through reading different translated prophecies and experiences dreams and recollections, Mac ends up questioning her origins. In the meantime, after Mac rescues the Seelie Queen from certain death, the hunt for the Sinsar Dubh is redoubled and all the interested parties assemble in Dublin. The McKeltars come from Scotland and join the fray, Rowena and the Sidhee-seers are at the center of it all, as are V'lane, the Seelie and Barrons men. Everyone wants the Sinsar Dubh, and most of them want Mac dead.

I'm a fan of Karen Marie Moning's work and when I began reading this series, I was excited and thought that the story was quite interesting. I still think the story behind the series, the battle between the Seelie and Unseelie, their lore and how humans and the Sidhe-seers come into it, is fascinating. As a matter of fact, I spent countless hours doing background research and I still have copious notes, including the sequence of events, characters, etc. Having said all that, the Fever series as a whole has been inconsistent for me -- I enjoyed the second book and the rest were inconsistent or disappointing.  When it comes to Shadowfever well... in many ways it provided what I know many were looking for: a happily ever after and the answer to some questions. However, for me personally, the book was a disappointment. Here is why.

By the time Mac finished processing the fact that she killed the Beast, or Barrons, I was already tired. Where did that come from? I understand that she felt guilt, that there was lust between them and dependency on her part. But where did love come into it? The long, interminable diatribe we were treated to at the beginning of the book served no other purpose than to set up the following scene. Mac's transformation, again! Yes... because of her actions, guilt, and need to erase those actions, she transforms and (gasp) gains ADDITIONAL powers. This device was used to death in this series, and became a predictable device.

Throughout the series, Moning uses long and involved internal dialogues to develop Mac and to narrate her story. However, in Shadowfever this style is used to an extreme. There are pages and pages where Mac contradicts herself over and over again throughout the whole book. This often served to confuse and distract the reader. After a while, all it achieved was frustrate me and yes... I wanted to skim Mac's prolonged and contradictory self-analyses. I couldn't stand her thoughts any longer and just wanted to get on with the story. Period.

As a female protagonist/heroine, Mac left a lot to be desired. I was not impressed. She was manipulated by all the males around her, and the ones with the real "Power" were ALL male: Barrons, V'lane, Darroc, the Unseelie King, the Sinsar Dubh (yes), and Ryodan. She depended on them, one way or another, to do what she had to do. They played her like a violin. I don't care how many transformations she had to make her into a "kick ass-type heroine," Mac wasn't strong for herself, instead she was strong for others or because of others.

Then we come to Barrons and the "romance." Barrons treatment of Mac is explained away by making him part Beast, yet even when he is a man... his treatment is questionable. He is often violent, possessive and downright abusive at times (both verbally and physically). They fight and have sex and that's supposedly where they truly understand each other. How is that supposed to be romantic? It's not. Mac's see-sawing, back and forth feelings for Barrons continue in this book! No, it's not over after she realizes he's alive... it goes on and on. Yet, they do come to a sort of mutual emotional understanding and dependency by the end. I still think that in order to call it love, that relationship needs further development.

There are resolutions to some of the threads, and some of those resolutions are good -- some predictable and others not. There's a "happily ever after" for one couple in the book that was unexpected,  and there are plenty of betrayals by both friends and foes. We are told there are battles, although few of those are shown, and characters from the whole series make appearances.

As to the rest of the storyarc, there were threads left incomplete left and right, and some that didn't seem to serve a real purpose. For example: The McKeltars were a waste of pages read, what was the point? Christian McKeltar plays a key role in this book and series, yet his story is left incomplete. Barron's story is also left incomplete -- although some details are revealed about his past to pacify readers, there's no meat to his story, no in-depth details or revelations. Dani has her own point of view in Shadowfever, yet she disappears and is absent at the end, leaving the reader wondering what happened to her. And last, but certainly not least, the most important story line of them all! The Seelie and Unseelie, the wall and their battle? Incomplete.
    So what does that tell this reader, apart from the fact that the book finishes with "The End .... for now?" Well, it says that either this series' "ending" is riddled with holes, or that there will be a continuation that will involve all the above mentioned story lines. And for me neither is acceptable, not when this book was supposed to be THE END to this series.

    Category: Urban Fantasy/Romance
    Series: Fever Series, Book 5
    Release Date: January 18, 2011
    Grade: D

    Visit Karen Marie Moning here.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Buddy Review: Roadkill by Rob Thurman

    It's time to lock, load, and hit the road...

    Once, while half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko were working on a case, an ancient gypsy queen gave them a good old-fashioned backstabbing. Now, just as their P.I. business hits a slow patch, the old crone shows up with a job.

    She wants them to find a stolen coffin that contains a blight that makes the Black Death seem like a fond memory. But the thief has already left town, so the Leandros brothers are going on the road. And if they're very, very lucky, there might even be a return trip...
    Roadkill is the fifth installment in the Cal Leandros urban fantasy series by Rob Thurman. A series I'm thoroughly enjoying.

    Today, you can find me at Breezing Through, with two lovely ladies, Leslie and Nath. The three of us had a wonderful time and lots of fun chatting and reviewing/discussing Cal, Niko, the gang and what they get up to in Roadkill.

    If you've read at least a couple of the books in this series, you can just imagine this motley crew on a road trip... lots of dark fun and then some.

    Warning: Expect lots of details and some spoilers with this discussion.

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    Buddy Review: Madhouse by Rob Thurman

    Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, aren't exactly prospering with their preternatural detective agency. Who could have guessed that business could dry in New York City, where vampires, trolls, and other creepy crawlies are all over the place?

    But now there's a new arrival in the Big Apple. A malevolent evil with ancient powers is picking off humans like sheep, dead-set on making history with an orgy of blood and murder. And for Cal and Niko, this is one paycheck they're going to have to earn.

    Madhouse is the third installment in the Cal Leandros urban fantasy series.

    After we finished reading Moonshine, the 2nd book in the series, Nath and I continued chatting as we started reading Madhouse -- we couldn't seem to stop talking about Cal and Niko. Originally, we thought of posting a combination review of both the 2nd and 3rd books. However our discussion was so extensive, eventually Nath had to split it up into two separate posts.

    If you're interested in this series and would like to read our buddy review for Madhouse, you can find it at Breezing Through.

    A big THANK YOU to Nath for chatting, discussing, and reviewing the first three books of this series with me. I had the best time!

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    Buddy Review: Moonshine by Rob Thurman

    After saving the world from his fiendish father's side of the family, Cal Leandros and his stalwart half-brother Niko have settled down with new digs and a new gig -- bodyguard and detective work. And in New York City, where preternatural beings stalk the streets just like normal folk, business is good.

    Their latest case has them going undercover for the Kin -- the werewolf Mafia. A low-level Kin boss thinks a rival is setting him up for a fall, and wants proof. The place to start is the back room of Moonshine -- a gambling club for non-humans. Cal thinks it's a simple in-and-out job. But Cal is very, very wrong.

    Cal and Niko are being set up themselves and the people behind it have a bite much worse than their bark...

    In case you haven't noticed, lately I have become obsessed with reading the Cal Leandros urban fantasy series. Last month, the lovely Ms. Nath invited me to review Nightlife, the first book in this series, at Breezing Through and we had a blast! But, we were both so excited about this series that even after we finished the review, we continued chatting about Moonshine the second book in the series. Next thing we knew, we had enough e-mails to put together ANOTHER review. So, yes... all that chatting paid off, lol!

    So, for a review of Moonshine by Rob Thurman, 2nd Book in the Cal Leandros Urban Fantasy series, please go to Breezing Through and we'll chat some more!

    ETA: Note, expect lots of wonderful little spoilers with this review. :)