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The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

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Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015


Happy 1st of November and a belated Happy Halloween. I love Halloween but barely get enough trick or treaters to get through the 4 bags of candy the hubinator bought to dish out. I am sure to on a week long sugar rush after eating the leftovers. It's a sacrifice that I will just have to suffer through. But you probably want to know what I read this week.  Please note, the unintentional theme in all of the books I read.


Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015
I have had a fairly unproductive week this week both in the quantity of books read and my satisfaction in reading them. The hubinator and I went to Amsterdam for a long weekend so I didn't really get that much time to read. One short story I did find while waiting to board the plane was Dragos Goes to Washington by Thea Harrison. This is the first in a three party story that takes place after the events of book 8 Midnight's Kiss. All is not well in the relations between the humans and the supernatural species and Pia and Dragos have to attend a summit in Washington to try to broker a better relationship between all parties. Sounds fairly straightforward until the vice president's husband is murdered in their house. To complicate matters Pia decides to she wants to have another baby and a majority of the book is spent with the couple trying to get pregnant. This short should have an R rating as there is an awful lot of sex described in minute detail. In fact the murder plot and the wider plot of the troubles between the humans and everyone else didn't really feature until 3/4 of the way through. I think I will stick to the main novels going forward as a bit of erotica I don't mind but not interested in it taking over the plot.


Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015Continuing on with the sexy theme I was having a look on NetGalley and discovered that the next book in the Dragon kin series by G.A Aiken.  Feel the Burn centers on the inevitable love story between Gaius Domitus, the one eyed lord who we met in an earlier in the series and Kachka, one of the Daughters of the Steppes. Gaius is determined to seek the revenge of his sister's imprisonment by his relatives and Kachka wants nothing to do with the lazy and pampered lord. Their romance unfolds in the backdrop of the continued war with the god Chramnesind. Every character we have met so far makes an appearance and quite a bit of the story involves Anwyl, the twins and the very powerful young witch Rhi. These regulars combined with the Daughters of the Steppes makes for an amusing read (in parts).

Overall, I thought this book was OK. I certainly enjoyed it more than the previous instalment which involved Kachka's sister - the one eyed Elina and the dragon Ceyln. There is more going in this story than just the romance between the two lead characters and further development of the wider plot arch involving the half dragon/half human twins. This is a quick and easy read with much more in way of both plot and character development.


I also started Raptor which is the 6th book of the Dragon Blood series by Lindsay Buroker. I am not sure I am going to be able to finish though. The main character Cas is sooo whiny and feeling sorry herself that it is making for a rather boring read. I may give it another go this week or it may hit one of my very few DNF.


That is all for me this week. I hope you have had a more enjoyable week in reading. Until next time Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015


I can't believe there is only 27 days to Halloween (which I love) and I haven't turned the heating on yet. Hurrah. God bless a good Indian summer as it has been beautiful this week and lots of time to read outside. So what did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
I discovered that Blood Dark had been released which is the 5th book in Lindsay Pryor's Blackthorn series. We return to Caitlin and Kane who were the stars of book 1 Blood Shadows. Caitlin  returned to her job at the Vampire Control Unit despite being instrumental in the downfall of her former boss, her stepfather, and former boyfriend due to the evidence she uncovered of their nefarious activities. She isn't exactly popular with most of her colleagues nor was her decision popular with her lover and vampire king-pin Kane. Kane didn't want her to return to her former life especially when dangerous creatures from the fourth dimension start to appear and threaten everything and everyone he loves, including Caitlin. This is all against the backdrop of the prophecy of the rise of a master vampire, the role of the serryn and the opening of the fourth dimension and the hell it would unleash. While their relationship all seems trivial in comparison, it is the cornerstone to the prophecy itself and the fate of Blackthorn.

I have a love/not-so-love relationship with this series. I think that the heroines in this series are brutalised a bit too much by their respective love interests to truly fall in love with them but the overall plot arc is too interesting to miss out on. The tension really ramps up in this instalment as we re-visit Caitlin and Kane's relationship. For approximately the first half I thought I was reading the cross between JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood book or and E.L James Fifty Shades with all the kinky/post-near-death experience/vampire sex the hero/heroine were having. I am not that much of a fan of erotica and it was verging a bit too close to that for me. However, from 50% onwards (reading the Kindle version) the plot came into the fore and overtook the romance as Caitlin finds out something about Kane that changes almost everything she has ever thought about him or herself for that matter. Pryor includes a number of rather clever recaps for the reader which I found very useful as sometimes the prophecy, which is central to the overall plot, is a bit confusing. Overall, I found it a good read. It would have been a great read had it not been for all the erotica but I am still looking forward to book 6 where I hope Pryor starts to bring the plot arc together.


Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
Book number 2 for me was Red Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire. I can't believe this is the 9th in the October Daye series. Once again our hero knight finds herself in another near death experience or two. Just when Toby thought that her life was going to be a little less dramatic after the events of the last 8 books she ends up in the Kingdom of the Silences on a diplomatic mission that might not be that diplomatic. I did enjoy it but seriously, McGuire needs to give Toby a little break. Its another marathon for Toby with barely any sleep, barely anything to eat and lots more blood/bleeding. Also, dear reader...don't attempt to read this while eating...especially anything in a bacon or ham food group. Might never touch meat again.


Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
Remember when I said a few sentences ago that I don't like erotica? Well I have been making the exception for the Dragon Kin series by G.A. Aiken.  I have been finding the sex scenes interspersed with some rather funny scenes although in the last few books there have been fewer funny scenes and the dragon sex scenes get a bit too repetitive. Dragon on Top is technically book 0.5 of the series which tells the story of events before the main Dragon Kin series. In this one it features the love story of Ghleanna the Decimator and Bram the Merciful. Readers of this series will remember these two characters as the parents of main characters in the main series but here in Dragon Kin we find out how they get together. As per the other books in this series it involves mayhem, death, sex and well....dragons. In this instalment Ghleanna the Decimator is sent to escort Bram the Merciful on an important diplomatic mission when they are attacked and Ghleanna almost dies. Left alone in an underwater world with potentially more dangerous dragons the pair must find a way to get rescued while fighting their growing attraction to each other. The typical tale of how opposites attract. Rather standard fare for Aiken and I hope she returns to the main story, as despite the quick read, these are becoming a bit too stereotypical.


Well folks that is all for me for this week. I hope you have had an equally good week and congratulations to The Qwillery on its 7th anniversary earlier this week. Until next week Happy Reading.




Blood Dark
Blackthorn 5
Bookouture, September 21, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 396 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
‘There are guardian angels, and there are monsters with wings’

Caitlin Parish should have been the last person to fall for a vampire. A member of the Vampire Control Unit, her relationship with master vampire Kane Malloy had explosive consequences. Caitlin’s colleagues count her as the enemy. And now she’s going back.

Kane has made powerful enemies of his own – and is being targeted by the head of the Global Council, Sirius Throme. With the stakes higher than ever before, Kane knows caring for Caitlin makes him vulnerable. Worse, her decision to return to VCU feels like betrayal.

With Throme threatening to tear Blackthorn apart, and the prophesied vampire leader finally revealed, Kane and Caitlin must both fight with everything they have to stop an all out war. But they’re fighting on opposite sides…

Right when she needs him most, Caitlin makes a shocking discovery about Kane. Has he been playing her all along? And can she trust him with her life when he won’t even trust her with the truth?

The choice Caitlin makes will change the game in Blackthorn forever.




A Red-Rose Chain
October Daye 9
DAW (September 1, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life — and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

A Red-Rose Chain is the ninth installment in Seanan McGuire’s urban fantasy October “Toby” Daye series.




Dragon on Top
Dragon Kin 0.5
Zebra, October 27, 2015
eBook, 176 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
Try a little dragon tenderness.

I am Ghleanna the Decimator. I am a warrior. A soldier. I know no fear. No pain. No mercy. I do, however, know acute embarrassment! How could I not after getting dumped by a bastard dragon in front of my own troops? So I tuck tail and return to my cave, drowning my sorrows in ale—as is my family’s way. But instead of leaving me to my misery, I’ve been summoned to the Dragon Queen’s court.

As if my life wasn’t pathetic enough, Her Majesty now has me escorting the highborn Bram the Merciful through dangerous territories—not exactly the best use of my military training. And just so he can negotiate with enemy dragons instead of battling them? Honestly, what has my world come to? Then again…Bram is quite easy on the eyes. And the perfect distraction for what ails me. Perhaps I’m looking at all this the wrong way. Maybe there is a place for a little “mercy” in my life…



Previously published in Supernatural (Zebra, September 1, 2011) featuring stories by Larissa Ione, Alexandra Ivy, Jacquelyn Frank, and G. A. Aiken.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013


I am back in the UK after 10 days in Canada and suffering from jetlag. Its quite a coincidence then that my WIR has a flying theme. I didn't plan it but nearly every book I finished this week involved creatures that could fly. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013
I finished the second in the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh, Archangel's Kiss. I quite liked it but perhaps not as much as book 1. I think that the world where vampires serve angels is an interesting concept. I don't think anyone has done that before but I am not sure as I  haven't read that many angel series. I would have liked a bit more history as to why that was the case and I wasn't entirely sure whether angels needed blood to survive. The angels also didn't appear to serve anyone, apart from themselves and seems on the whole to be quite power hungry but that is one of the reasons why I like the series so far. Book 2 teased out Elena's tragic past which I thought was almost better than the Lijuan plot. Not to be undone I then decided to read book 3, Archangel's Consort which further developed Elena's and Raphael love story. I wasn't terribly fond of this book however, as I thought that the 'sexy' bits took over the main plot about the awakening of Raphael's mother. The world seemed to be falling apart around them with 'mother' induced hurricanes and volcanoes but that didn't stop the lovebirds from staring longingly into each others eyes throughout the novel. There was a bit more about Elena's past but this was much less dominant in the plot. I have decided against reading anything further in this series as the books that follow focus on secondary characters and I am not convinced I will like them.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013Two books magically downloaded onto my Kindle (well my iPad really) while I was away. The first one I A Tale of Two Dragons by G.A. Aiken which is a novella within the Dragon Kin series. For some reason I find this series to be quite amusing but not so much the case with this story. This was the story of Braith and Addolgar and is set before the main books of the series. I thought it was OK but have enjoyed some of the other stories more so. The second book that appeared was Kinked by Thea Harrison which is book 6 in the Elder Races series. I actually read this book on the plane on the way back and got me wishing I was a harpy. Ayral got all the good lines and most of the action. This book is quite 'saucy' so if you like the love interests to prefer candlelight dinners to whips then perhaps choose another book.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013
The only book I read that didn't have an avian theme was Blood Roses by Lindsay. J Pryor. This was the second in the Blackthorn series. I discussed my unease with the love scenes in my WIR last week between the two main characters and I was even more uncomfortable with the ones in Blood Roses. This book centered around Leila who is a serryn which is a vampire killer (not quite Buffy) and Caleb who is a not so coincidentally, a vampire. Leila rushes into Blackthorn to rescue her sister who has become entangled with Caleb's brother and ends up locked up by the moody and handsome vamp. I was not happy however, that once again the heroine is locked up, handcuffed and generally belittled by her soon-to-be love interest. Whereas Caitlin from book 1 uses sex to get information Leila didn't seem to have much choice in the matter and Caleb was constantly threatening her. It was overtly male dominant and I couldn't actually see what Leila could find to love in Caleb as he was never very nice to her....even at the end. These books are odd as the beginning and endings are really intriguing but are let down by the middle when the two love interests come together. There is too much aggression from the men which I don't really like that much. I am undecided if I want to finish the series based on book 2 but the overall plot is really good and I don't want to miss out on what  happens next. I am not sure when book 3 is out so I may have some time yet to make up my mind. I love the cover though and think it is gorgeous.

I got a few more books finished this week to last but was very naughty and didn't read either of the books I took to with me on holiday specifically to finish.  I am currently reading Kindred and Wings by Philippa Ballantine (back to the flying!) and hope to have it ready to review soon. That is all from me as its time for this jetlagged lady to get back to her book. Until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013

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