Review: Stray Moon by Kelly Meding

Reviewed by Jen

If you’ve followed my reviews for a while, you know I am a fan of Kelly Meding. In fact, I finally sat down and read the 2013 Carniepunk anthology recently just to read the short story that sparked this series. And overall, I liked this book. But someone needs to sit down and have a chat with the editor.

No one should have given the green light for this much repetition. I mean, yes, it’s very important that Shiloh has forgotten Jaxon. In book one, I remember being so perplexed about who the love interest in this series would be. And then, at the very end, when she agreed to lose her memories of the person she loved most… boom! Jaxon appeared to be the guy. Add to that, I understand that coming to terms with her feelings despite the missing memories was the big emotional arc here. But for the love of Pete, this must have been reiterated at least once per page. If I didn’t already have a history with this author and an investment in the characters, I would have put the book down. I almost did anyway. And that’s a shame because, otherwise, it was a good book.

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Review: Carniepunk

Reviewed by Jen

I’m a little late getting around to reading this 2013 collection of carnival themed short stories, but I learned it included a prequel to a series I am reading now and I wanted to check it out. I found the stories to be very uneven, both in tone and in how much I enjoyed them. But there were enough engaging entries, I found it worth the read.

Painted Love – This is the first thing I have ever read by Rob Thurman and I have to say, it was a bit odd. It follows the observations of Doodle, an enigmatic traveler who attaches himself to a man named Bart, a sociopath working at a carnival. The story is told entirely through Doodle’s eyes, though he does not participate much in the action. To be honest, I thought he was a dog until his true form was revealed at the end. Didn’t get much out of this one.

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Review: Total Eclipse

Reviewed by Jen

This ninth book wraps up the Weather Warden series with a finale bigger and badder than anything that’s come before it, and with a series following one main character this long, that’s the way it should be. There are definitely some familiar vibes—a cross-country road trip, chasing down Oracles, djinns under control of the Mother—but everything happens on such a jacked up platform, it doesn’t feel like a rehash. It feels like life or death.

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Review: Cape Storm by Rachel Caine

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve got to give props to Rachel Caine. She isn’t afraid to take this series to places it’s never gone. With the single exception of Bad Bob returning as a villain in the last book, each installment in the Weather Warden series manages to tread new ground as it takes Joanne on an ever changing journey at breakneck speeds.

The last book ended with really bad news for our heroine. She has been branded with a pseudo-demon mark which has left her vulnerable to Bob’s evil influence. And dealing with that takes up the brunt of this story. All hell is breaking loose on the world with Bob at the center of it all. The wardens have all come together to protect Miami from a monster hurricane he’s cooked up. And they board up on a cruise ship to lead the storm away from the population at large. Of course, it’s a trap, at least in part. Bob knows how the wardens work and he uses that knowledge against them. But even worse, he is slowly breaking Joanne down, and turning her into his agent.

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Review: Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones

Reviewed by Jen

I almost didn’t read this book. Despite the love I had for the 12 books that came before it, the line in the blurb about 100 years passing was almost enough to make me skip this final book in the Charley Davidson series. And that would have been such a huge mistake. I don’t want to spoil the plot for you, but if this set-up is what’s holding you back, don’t let it.

Aw hell, I don’t know how I can talk about this book at all without at least a little bit of spoilage –at least on that front—so read at your own risk.

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Review: Gale Force by Rachel Caine

Reviewed by Jen

This book felt like a big departure from the first six installments in the series. Don’t give me wrong, I have been lamenting the fact that Joanne and David haven’t had a moment to even breathe, much less any quality time to enjoy each other. Here, that changes in a big way. The book begins with them happy and in love, so much so that he asks her to marry him.

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Review: Thin Air by Rachel Caine

Reviewed by Jen

I get that I am starting to sound like a broken record when it comes to these books, but I can’t help it. They are just so good! This sixth installment in the Weather Warden series takes a major risk with an amnesia storyline and it pays off in spades. I have read other series where the author took a chance on this trope and it resulted in a 300-page waste of space, but not here. Not only did Rachel Caine maintain the awesome pacing, and character interaction, she advanced the overall plot.

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Review: Firestorm by Rachel Caine

Reviewed by Jen

Holy cow! I am so glad I stuck with this series. If the last installment was a bit of a miss for me, this one more than made up for it. It was the best of the series yet.

This book had everything I love about the Weather Wardens. Jo has her power back and she is on a mission. It’s not unlike Ill Wind, where she is tearing across the country in a fast car. Only this time, instead of trying to rid herself of a demon mark, she is trying to stop the destruction of humanity at the hands of Mother Earth.

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Review: Windfall by Rachel Caine

Reviewed by Jen

Hmm. I wish I could say that I enjoyed this fourth Weather Warden book as much as I did the earlier installment in the series, but I have to be real with you. This one felt different.

I had a very hard time connecting with it, especially in the first half. Joanne has left the wardens and is making ends meet as some kind of assistant to a weatherman. Let me stop right here and say this might have been part of my problem. I work in television news and I have for the past 20+ years. I have never seen any dynamic like the one portrayed here. Apparently, Jo is paid to dress up like a fool or a bikini babe to be a prop for a TV weatherman. She gets water dumped on her. She gets her bathing suit popped. She wears foam. This does not happen in real life and frankly it bothered me quite a bit. Yes, I know this book is more than 10 years old, but this didn’t happen in 2005 either. So yeah, grr. [Read more…]

Joint Review: How to Live an Undead Lie by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Debz & Jen

Debz: Normally Jen would have reviewed this book, but I just saw her tweet that she didn’t even know it was coming out so I’m going to shoot my shot and write one anyway. I came out of my friend’s wedding rehearsal for this so it better get published lol.

Jen: Yes. Imagine my surprise when I came here to write my own review and Debz had already done it. You’ve got stones, lady. Let it be known I am squatting on this author’s stuff from here to eternity.

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