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The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

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Melanie's Week in Review - January 4, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review - January 4, 2015


Happy New Year! I hope you are all having a great 2015 so far. I have high hopes for some fantastic reads for the new year, mainly as I have been selected as a beta reader for Michael J. Sullivan's new series  - First Empire. I am super excited already.

In the last week I have managed to read a few books. I wasn't certain that I would get much read as I have been on leave so no long commutes to give me ample reading time. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - January 4, 2015
I finished reading Transmuted by Karina Cooper but I will be writing a full review so can't give too much away. I did find that the price of Night Broken the 8th in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs had at last dropped to an acceptable, Kindle version amount. I loved this series at the start. Mercy ranked up there with Kate Daniels (Ilona Andrews) in my estimation as kick ass heroine. When Mercy married the 'too good to be true' Adam she has sorted wimped out and gets violently beaten up each book. Night Broken  has marginally improved my view of this series as Mercy has seemed to have re-grown her backbone, especially when Adam's ex-wife and manipulator supreme returns to town with a malevolent god-stalker in pursuit. It's up to Mercy to overcome her dislike of the woman who can still wrap Adam and the rest of the pack around her very human pinky to save the day.

I thought this instalment was quite different from the others. Firstly, Mercy - the coyote shapeshifter doesn't shift once. This has always been a focus of previous novels and even with her werewolf pack the shapeshifting takes a back seat. A number of characters from previous books also pop up in the story either as background, in conversation or are part of the plot. I thought it was a good 'melange' of supernatural characters including the werewolves (of course), the Coyote, fae, vampires and other gods and monsters. Overall, a good read but Mercy's boobs are WAY too big in this cover! She looks more like Lara Croft than the mechanic, coyote shifter Mercy Thompson.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 4, 2015I then discovered that the next book in the Seven series by Dannika Dark  - Four Days had been released. After the previous book Five Weeks I didn't think I was going to continue the series but I thought I would give it another go. This time the love story focused on Ivy and Lorenzo Church. Ivy had been basically traded off by her father and had been enjoying living with her new pack until the big baddy from her previous life shows up. A chain of ridiculous events lead Ivy to end up living with the macho Church where he violent and abusive past is discovered. I am not sure how Dark is going to get her lead characters to fall in love in less time than 4 days. It gives the phrase  - whirlwind romance - a whole new meaning. Bad guys, deep dark secrets and hot and steamy are the themes of this urban fantasy.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 4, 2015
My final book for this week was A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious by Mary Wine. I found this book on my Amazon recommendations and I read a number of positive reviews about it. It was sufficiently steampunky that I thought I would be sure to like it. Well....lets just say by 75% into the book I gave up and read the last page. The story is set in what sounded like the late 1800s in England where who you were and how you acted in polite society was paramount. When the young aristo Janette finds herself caught between 2 warring factions of .....well that is it....I was never sure what they were but it had something to do with crystals. Needless to say there is a young man involved who gets Janette's corset all a quiver. Had she spent as much time thinking of her personal safety as she did about the hunky Darius then it might have been a better book!

That is all for me for this week. I have a few books to clear off my TBR in these early months of 2015 so until next week, Happy Reading.


Melanie's Week in Review - April 6, 2014


Melanie's Week in Review - April 6, 2014



Welcome to April. I can't believe that we are already a quarter of the way through 2014 with spring here and summer in the not to distant future. I decided to say goodbye to March and hello to April by having a HEA week. I sort of achieved it. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - April 6, 2014
I discovered that Karen Chance had released Masks (Cassie Palmer 4.3) which tells the story of Mircea's early years being a vampire. For those who aren't familiar with either the Cassie Palmer or Dorina Basarab stories, Mircea is a very powerful vampire in both series (Dorina's father & Cassie's honey bunny), but in Masks he is just starting out as a fledgling vampire. I thought this was going to be novella or a short story but it was a full length novel (I think) and took me much longer to read than I thought it would. Masks is based in Venice just two years after Mircea was cursed and turned into a vampire (sound like Angel from Buffy?). Mircea has been bought by a wealthy courtesan and finds much more than a warm bed as the favourite of one of the vampire senators. Much like the series from which this story is born there is murder, mystery and political intrigue on every corner and all set in 15th century Venice. Like her other novels Chance keeps a healthy pace and you need to pay attention in order to figure out 'who dunnit'. I had figured it out but only a few pages before the big reveal. I also thought the ending was a bit bittersweet but I don't want to ruin it and also, you need to have read the Dorina series to understand why. Mircea isn't my favourite character but overall there was a solid plot and a good backing to the Dorina series which I enjoy.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 6, 2014This was also the week for books downloading onto my Kindle. The first was Death's Daughter which is the second in the Realm Walker series by Kathleen Collins. I have to say I had no recollection of book 1 when I saw this one pop into my Kindle library. I had to go back and read the ending of book 1, the Realm Walker to figure out why I had pre-ordered book 2 but it all came flooding back quite clearly. In this instalment children are being kidnapped and ending up brutally murdered. Juliana is determined to make the killer pay. This instalment is a bit unusual as it written from both Juliana and Thomas's POV in alternate chapters. Juliana is all about solving the case but Thomas is only concerned with protecting Juliana and exacting revenge on Raoul who had viciously raped his mate over 10 years ago. Normally, I prefer the romance to take a back seat to the action but in the case of Death's Daughter the romance was almost non-existent and when it did surface it was a bit 'snoresville'. There is just no chemistry between these two. I can't put my finger on it but there just isn't. I thought the plot was OK but guessed who the baddie was way before the ending.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 6, 2014
The next book to help fill up my TBR was Six Months by Danika Dark which is the second in the Seven Years series. If you read my WIR when I discussed book 1  - Seven Years - I was a bit nervous about starting a series by this author as she tends to write erotica which I don't enjoy. While book 1 was practically labelled '' this is not erotica " book 2 veered away from its urban fantasy beginning and focussed much more on 'tingling cores' and 'throbbing manhoods'. This instalment shares the same characters as book one but we get the inside story on Lexi's colleague April and the hunky, tough shifter Reno. April is pretty much your femme fatale who is in serious debt to loan sharks while Reno is a PI with an over protective streak. There was a lot happening in this story but there were almost too many bit characters who fought with April and Reno for centre stage. It was also full of a lot of testosterone and studly shifterness. Where Lexi stood up for herself April allowed herself to be trampled by almost everyone and there were so many bad things that happened to her it got a bit formulaic by the mid-way point. I am still interested though where Dark takes this series next. There are many more characters that are ripe for their own story but I am not sure who will get centre stage next.

I was a bit disappointed by my HEA week as I thought a number of the romances were a bit flat. I think I will stick to reading a mix of genres so that I have some variety and not comparing one book to another so readily. I hope you have had some success reducing your TBR and until next time Happy Reading.



Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014


Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014



As I am writing this post I can't help but think of one of my favourite Sesame Street songs - One of These Doesn't Belong Here. I am sure I have you singing along with me right now. It will make more sense why I reminded of this childhood tune so read on. I was feeling rather sorry for myself and really needed a little 'happily ever after' so I turned to a genre I have a love/don't love relationship with  - PNR.  I am mega fussy when it comes to PNR and whether I like it depends very much on how strong the heroine is or how early the romance/sex starts. If the hero and heroine are getting their clothes off too early then I am not interested. Likewise, if the leading lady is a bit of a wimp then I tend to lose interest quickly. I usually rely on Amazon recommendations to pick up cheap PNR novels and have come across a couple of good series this way. So enough waffle...what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014I quite like Lilith Saintcrow novels and I spotted Taken on my Amazon Recommendations list. I read the book summary I thought it was going to be the book to just hit the spot. This is one of Saintcrow's stand alone novels and tells the story of Sophie who discovers that she isn't just another 'plain Jane' after witnessing the cruel murder of her best friend at the hands (or teeth) of a vampire. Unfortunately for Sophie, this discovery is revealed when she is kidnapped by Zach who is the reluctant head of what's left of his werewolf family. Zach wants to keep Sophie who he thinks will save his family but all she wants to do is go back to her ordinary life. Nothing is as straightforward as it seems as Sophie becomes the vampires' next target and it's up to Zach to prove he is a leader and win her affections. I liked this novel. Taken had just the right mix of action and romance. Saintcrow really likes to write damaged heroines and Sophie is another example of her portrayal of an abused female lead character. I think there is more of a story to tell for these characters but I don't believe this was part of a series. Luckily, Saintrcrow is a rather prolific writer so I have a lot of books to choose from.

Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014
Next to catch my attention was Dannika Dark's Seven Years which was the first in the Seven series. I have tried Dark's other novels and haven't enjoyed them, but this one came with a disclaimer that said it wasn't 'shifter erotica' so I thought it was worth a chance. Seven Years is the story of Lexi who is stuck in the same rut she was in as a teenager -  having fun and working in a candy store. Her beloved brother died 7 years earlier and she realises that not much in her life has changed since her brother's death. Everything changes when she runs into her brother's best friend, Austin, who she hasn't seen since the funeral. She had always fancied Austin and now he was back in town looking more handsome than ever. When her Mom and little sister are kidnapped she turns to Austin to help her find them before it's too late. I also enjoyed Seven Years but I thought it was your fairly standard shifter story. I did think that Lexi was realistically written and she had a normal life, for a paranormal. She didn't have everything sorted and had been in a rut since her brother died. This was a refreshing change from the heroines who were either really successful or who had fled some terrible thing in their past. I also thought there was the right level of romance between Lexi and Austin and there was a definite evolution from childhood crush to hot, shifter love. This is great book for a cold and dreary day and when I need another PNR fix I may go for book 2.

Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014
Another PNR novel I came across was Bloodsworn by Stacey Brutger. In this story Trina is a witch who has been forced to eek out a life in the human world with her powers stripped away from her. When her sister is kidnapped by vampires Trina she is prepared to do anything to save her....even prepared to be the concubine to the local shifter lion. Merrick is more than intrigued when he discovers Trina hiding on his land. When he discovers that her blood may have the power to save his pack from a debilitating disease he doesn't want to let her go. I had high hopes for Bloodsworn as it had some quite positive reviews and I thought it sounded like an interesting twist on the traditional paranormal tale of girl witch meets boy shifter. However, I found both Trina and Merrick quite dull. I kind of felt let down by the lack of chemistry between these two characters and Trina hardly did anything to be considered Merrick's concubine. Plus, Brutger broke one of my PNR rules - if you are in the midst of a life or death situation you aren't going to be getting all sexy with your shifter honey. I am sorry but nearly getting killed by blood thirsty vampires and rogue shifters is a real romance killer! You also need both feet on the floor to dodge the next attack. I should count myself lucky that I liked 2 out of the 3 PNR books I just came across.

Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014The fourth and final book I would like to tell you about is Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. This is my 'one of these things doesn't belong here' as this the only non-PNR book I read that week. I really enjoyed Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy and I was eager to read something else of his. It was a toss up whether I would read the Rithmatist or Steelheart but opted for the latter. This is the first in the Reckoners series and is set in a dystopian/alternate reality world where the 'Calamity' turned ordinary men and women into Epics - who each had weird and wonderful superpowers. Rather than using their powers for good the Epics oppressed everyone around them and treated anyone normal like slaves......well everyone but the Reckoners who were an group of renegades who wanted to take down the Epics. In the midst of this is David who witnessed the death of his father at the hands of the king of the Epics  - Steelheart. He is resourceful and dedicated to bringing down his father's murderer. Revenge is the name of the game and David wants to be the winner. I enjoyed Steelheart but unlike 'the Hubinator' I wasn't enthralled. Where the Mistborn series was also YA fantasy this felt like it was written for a much younger audience and, therefore, I guessed at what was going to happen and what secrets the characters were trying to hide. Sanderson excels at world building and Steelheart is no exception. Despite a few misgivings this is a good start to what I hope is going to be a great series.

Well I am sure you have started to nod off at the length of this post but I had sooo much to say. I hope I have given you a few ideas of what you can read next and that I haven't cursed you with singing Sesame Street songs for the rest of the day. Until next week Happy Reading.


Melanie's Week in Review - January 4, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - April 6, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - February 23, 2014

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