Audiobook Review: Meow by Skye MacKinnon – Post One During Stay Home Order

Meow (Catnip Assassins, #1)

Paperback, 222 pages
Published March 9th 2019 by Independently published

I received this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion.

I enjoyed the narrator through most of this story. She did a great job adding inflection, which I loved. I did listen to it at 1.3x as regular speed upset me for some reason. Not sure how that works, but I found my sweet spot and it no longer bothered me. There were a few instances where the narrator did something that irked me, but, honestly, I couldn’t explain why. It wasn’t enough to turn me off, just mildly annoying. Not sure why. But there it is.

On to the story part. I loved the combination of shifters, assassins, and murder mystery. I had a couple moments when I was confused. At the beginning, it seemed like our main character didn’t like the murdering and later she said it was fun. I may have missed something while listening, so you may not have that problem. The side characters didn’t get as much characterization being as this was a shorter book, and I’m looking forward to their growth in future installments. The murder mystery was solved by the end of this book, but the introduction of the bigger mystery was definitely not. Leaving plenty to explore and murder in the future!

Summary:

Assassin. Private Investigator. Cat shifter.

Kat is used to killing people, but for a blank cheque, she’s willing to do the opposite and help solve a murder – even though it sounds boring as hell. That is, until she finds some body parts in her fridge, makes friends with the neighbourhood cats and realises there may be an assassin better than her…

Suddenly, things have become purrfectly exciting.

An urban fantasy full of cats, secrets and murders. This is a slow-burn reverse harem where Kat will find her love interests over time. Book one in the Catnip Assassins series.

 

Audiobook Review: Chosen Champion by Elise Kova

Chosen Champion (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles, #2)

Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published July 8th 2019 by Silver Wing Press

I received an audio copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Elise!

I finally finished it!  And I think I know why it took so long.  The narrator.  I liked the story and couldn’t find much fault there (although I suspected who the betrayer was in book 1!), but I wasn’t looking forward to listening to the audiobook as much as I usually do.  I even sped up the reading, which helped a little bit.  The narrator’s voice was lovely, but I think she was giving a lot of care to pronunciation of each individual word.  Which is good for understanding, but not so great for my enjoyment.  I think to finish the series, which I definitely want to do, I will buy the paperback books to read.

Now that I’ve tackled why it took me so long to finish this one, I want to talk a little bit about the story itself.  I liked the character growth in our protagonist, Vi.  And the family reunion was a treat with all the posturing and learning how to interact with people who are your family but you really haven’t seen in person.  Elise does a great job with characterization and emotions.  I also thought the pacing was done well.  Like I stated above, the betrayal hinted at in the synopsis was something I had seen in coming all the way back in book one, but I definitely felt all the emotions poured into that scene.

There are a few things that jumped out at me as possible call backs to the original Air Awakens series, but I can’t confirm that until I read that series all the way.  And I think I might wait until I’m done with Vi’s story before starting that project.  What I’m trying to say is, you should definitely read this series even if you haven’t read Air Awakens yet!  Totally worth your time 🙂

Summary:

A princess on the run, with enemies on all sides…

Vi Solaris is on the eve of getting everything she’s ever wanted—her family, her home, her throne—and to save the world she’s going to have to give it all up.

The Empire sees her as their Crown Princess, returning at long last. But Vi only sees visions of fate guiding her to the world’s gruesome end. Across the sea is a man who holds the keys to deciphering her premonitions and thwarting the ancient evil ravaging their world. But to get to him, Vi will have to contend with enemies of the crown, romance she didn’t expect, sorcerer pirates, and a betrayal she never saw coming.

She will learn the hard way that some evils never die… They only bide their time…

Return to Solaris in the second book of Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles, a young adult epic fantasy filled with even more magic, adventure, and romance. Get ready for twists you never saw coming that will keep you up all night reading!

Book Review: Field Trip by Molly Brooks

Field Trip (Sanity & Tallulah, Book 2)

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by Disney-Hyperion

I’m going to start by saying that I didn’t love this one quite as much as the first volume.  I think it was the distinct lack of three-headed kitten though.  The replacement “bees” were absolutely amazing though.  The friendship and characterization of Sanity and Tallulah were just as fun as the previous and shows a bit more the difference between the not-quite-evil genius and the spacy creative one.  It works and I love it!

The science in this one was spectacular.  I don’t know how true the science was, but it made logical sense within the story, and that’s all that matters to me.  It introduced some concepts that made you think about the consequences.  And what might happen if it were a reality.

I’m hoping that this series continues because it is adorable and presents several wonderful things that I think are lacking in the middle grade graphic novel category (POC main character, smart/science engaged girls, etc.).  I look forward to seeing what else the author comes up with after this.

PS It kinda reminds me of the DCOM Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.

Summary:

Sanity and Tallulah are going on a field trip-to a real live planet! Some of their classmates are nervous (none of them have been on a planet before, and they’ve heard terrible things), but Tallulah is beside herself with excitement. Sanity would be more excited if her grumpy older sister, Prudence, wasn’t coming along to supervise the trip. Things get off to a rocky start (asteroid-y start, to be specific) and Sanity and Tallulah find themselves separated from their school group, pursued by a pirate, and stranded on a planet that’s about to explode, with nothing but the wreckage of a crashed space shuttle and the contents of Tallulah’s overloaded backpack to work with. These best friends will have to stretch their problem-solving skills to the limit in order to get everyone home safe, and it’s going to take their whole class-plus an accountant, a math hermit, a group of mysterious beekeepers, and even the murderous pirate-to make it happen.
This second adventure in the Sanity & Tallulah series by Molly Brooks is out of this world!

Book Review: Chasing the Shadows by Maria V. Snyder

Chasing the Shadows

Published November 18th 2019

I’m a bit later with this review than my original plan as I was hoping to get the book read and review posted closer to its release last week.  But I am glad I didn’t rush just to get it done.  With no further delay, here’s what you need to know about this delightful story!

As you may recall from my post for book one (found here), I especially enjoyed the pacing and mysteries presented.  Well, this time the pacing was still wonderful and the mysteries started to unroll just the right amount of answers while presenting new possibilities.  The author continues to develop well-rounded characters in both the main cast and the side characters.  I was riveted by how she gave us just enough information to keep the story going and my brain thinking about what all the hints and clues could be leading to.

I’m very glad that the author sent an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I can honestly say that this was one of my favorite books to read this year.  I can only hope that the author will have the third book done soon!  I can’t wait to see where the story goes next and how the characters grow with it.

Summary:

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder returns with the next page-turning instalment of the new sci-fi series: Sentinels of the Galaxy Year 2522. Lyra Daniels is dead.

Okay, so I only died for sixty-six seconds. But when I came back to life, I got a brand new name and a snazzy new uniform. Go me! Seriously, though, it’s very important that Lyra Daniels stays dead, at least as far as my ex-friend Jarren, the murdering looter, knows.

While dying is the scariest thing that’s happened to me, it morphed my worming skills. I can manipulate the Q-net like never before. But Jarren has blocked us from communicating with the rest of the galaxy and now they believe we’ve gone silent, like Planet Xinji (where silent really means dead).

A Protector Class spaceship is coming to our rescue, but we still have to survive almost two years before they arrive – if they arrive at all. Until then, we have to figure out how to stop an unstoppable alien threat. And it’s only a matter of time before Jarren learns I’m not dead and returns to finish what he started.

There’s no way I’m going to let Jarren win. Instead I’ll do whatever it takes to save the people I love. But even I’m running out of ideas…

Book Review: Novice Dragoneer by E.E. Knight

Novice Dragoneer (Dragoneer Academy, #1)

Paperback, 512 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Ace Books

Earlier this year, I discovered this book and contacted the publisher in order to receive an advanced reading copy as I was extremely interested in reading and reviewing this book.  I’m very happy to report that this was a fantastic read!  The fact that I did receive an uncorrected proof from the publisher does not affect my honest review.

Continue reading

Blog Tour: Master of the Phantom Isle by Brandon Mull

DW3 Blog Tour Image

Master of the Phantom Isle (Dragonwatch, #3)

Hardcover, 496 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Shadow Mountain

Brandon Mull has a delightfully wicked way of wrapping up a story by introducing what the next story arc is going to be or where it will happen.  Then follows it up with a book that picks up right where the previous one left off.  This is great!  For anyone who has all the books and binge them one after the other.  But incredibly frustrating for those of us who read them before the next book releases!!

That being said, this third installment is marvelous!  We learn more about what happened to Seth at the end of book two as well as Bracken’s whereabouts.  Kendra does a fantastic job of coping with the loss of her brother while trying to maintain her responsibilities.  We get to see Warren and Vanessa again.  And my favorite, the Fairy Queen, makes an appearance 🙂

If I say too much more, I’ll give away spoilers for either this book or the previous ones.  Hopefully you’ve already read them, but here are links to my reviews if you want to check those out.

Dragonwatch

Wrath of the Dragon King

Summary:

Cursed by the Key of Forgetting, Seth has lost all memory of his past—his relationships, his experiences, and who he really is. For now he will align with his new mentor, Ronodin, the dark unicorn, who takes him to the Phantom Isle, the secret gateway to the Under Realm. Though Seth is not formally a prisoner, Ronodin wants to use him and his shadow charmer powers for his own dark ends.

Kendra is frantic to find her missing brother, but the quest will take her and her companions, including Warren, Tanu, and Vanessa, far from Wyrmroost to Crescent Lagoon—a recently fallen dragon sanctuary made up of many islands and underwater domains. Its caretaker has regained a foothold on one of the islands. If Kendra and her friends can save that sanctuary, they might uncover the answers they need to rescue Seth.

With each sanctuary the dragons overthrow, Celebrant, the Dragon King, comes closer to the dawn of a new Age of Dragons. With the forces of darkness on the march, can Kendra and her allies gather enough power to win the epic dragon war?

Book Review: Smarter Than a Monster by Brandon Mull and illustrated by Mike Walton

Smarter Monster Blog Tour Image

Hardcover, 32 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2019 by Shadow Mountain

Summary:

No monster wants you to read this book. The more you know about monsters, the more you will know how to defeat them.

Little kids have big fears, which they often imagine to be scary creatures, like monsters. But this book helps explain how knowing “Monster Facts” can help kids outwit them.

Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday: Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Steel Crow Saga (Steel Crow Saga, #1)

Hardcover, 528 pages
Expected publication: September 24th 2019 by Del Rey Books

Advanced uncorrected proof provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This in no way affected my final review 🙂

First off, let me give you a bit of information about the structure of this book.  There are four main POVs with three being ladies of various stations.  Each section or chapter identifies the POV you are entering.  Fantastically, they each have there own voice and thoughts colored by their cultural background, which lends to building both world and story.

I fully loved this story!  The world building, tension building, character development.  All of these were integrated almost seamlessly.  This author fully understands how to capture his readers attention and keep it.  Another thing that was done well was the inclusiveness of the world and characters.  We are presented with a trans character, bisexuality, and other questions of gender or sex within a world that accepts these as normal.  I loved that it was included but wasn’t a huge plot point.

I also enjoyed that the author presented a full story with many of the plot threads coming to a conclusion at the end of this lengthy book.  That being said, GoodReads has indicated that this is the beginning of a series, and I would definitely read more!  There’s a lot to explore in this world, and I’d love to dive back in!

Summary:

Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.

A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic… and her own flesh and blood.

A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.

A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.

A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.

This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.