Jen’s Favorites of 2018

I read some amazing books from old favorites and made at least one new favorite this year!

The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran. Tortured heroes are my jam and Lockwood fits the bill in spades. The man was kidnapped right after his wedding and sent to a penal colony under a false name. The wife he left behind is heartbroken, but instead of seeking the answers she wants, she asks only for an heir. Lots of feels in this one.

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs. As much as I love the Mercy Thompson books, I adore the Alpha and Omega spinoff books even more. Here, Charles has been put in charge of the pack in Bran’s absence. We get to spend some time with the Wildlings in this one and get a peek behind the curtain of Leah’s character. Anna and Charles are so great together. I can’t get enough of them.

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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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Review: Death Knell by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

Talk about a slow burn. I can’t think of a single romance I have become this invested in with so little physical payoff. Luce and Cole feel as inevitable as the tide, yet they move together in increments of inches. Millimeters. And even as slowly as they move, each hard won inch is a victory to celebrate. Hailey Edwards has sold me on this pairing, hook, line and sinker. And I may want this romance to happen even more than the characters do.

That being said, the book and the series aren’t romances; they’re urban fantasy. So there is a whole lot more going on on the pages. Luce is preparing for her sister, Death, to cross over into the world, and she is working with her new partner, Adam Wu, to figure out how when and where it’s going to happen. The bodies of corpses are reanimating and it seems a portend from Death herself. [Read more…]

Review: Old Dog, New Tricks by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve been sitting here for a long time, trying to figure out exactly what it was about this book that left me a little lukewarm. It’s not the main character, because I really like Thierry. It’s definitely not her dad, because I find Mac fascinating and the relationship growing between him and his daughter is really something special. It’s not the world-building, because that was expertly done. And it wasn’t the ending, because it wraps up the series arc quite nicely.

So what is it? Two things, I think. One, the romance in this series has never quite connected for me. Yes, I get that Thierry has made her decision, and as of the end of book three, she’d committed entirely to Shaw. It’s not so much that I think Rook was a better choice for her, though a couple of books back, it seemed like he might have been. Maybe it’s because I never saw them fall in love. Maybe it’s because he hurt her so deeply. Maybe it’s the age difference. All of these or some combination, no matter how you slice it, I was just not invested, even if I could want Thierry to be with him just to get the HEA she earned. [Read more…]

Review: Lie Down With Dogs by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

Dammit. Love triangles mess with my emotions. I’ve never been a fan of Shaw, but now I just don’t know how I feel. As the story begins, Thierry has been separated from her new husband, Rook, and she is back home, at least for the next year until she must return to Faerie to be crowned Queen. So she decides to go out on one last vacation with her best friend to Florida. Shaw tags along to work on a case nearby. And of course, she has her two fae guards along with her giant shape shifting cat, Diode.

It’s not all sun and surf. Thierry encounters one obstacle after another from some adversarial selkies to a mysterious phone stalker and an enigmatic fae who targeted her friend with a supernatural roofie. On one hand, Thierry just wants to relax with her best gal pal, but she can’t ignore the wrongs she encounters either. She is still a marshal at heart. [Read more…]

Review: Heir of the Dog by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

After a lukewarm introduction to this series, I wasn’t sure that it would be a good fit for me. But Hailey Edwards has come through again and I am happy to report this installment has made me a fan of the Black Dog books. It makes sense, in a way, when you consider that Dog With a Bone was an added prequel to what was supposed to have been a trilogy that started here. This book is much more engaging and made me care about the heroine in a way that I just didn’t before. And if you choose not to read Dog With a Bone, I’m pretty sure you would be totally fine jumping in here. [Read more…]

Review: Dog With a Bone by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

You may have noticed that I have been tearing through Hailey Edwards’ backlist lately. I love her Foundling series and Necromancer books too, but this first installment in the Black Dog series left me a bit lukewarm.

An author’s note at the end tipped me off that this is something of a prequel more so than really the first book in the series, and that gives me hope that the next installment will be more satisfying. This is a novella and it lacked the — I don’t know — oomph that I am used to from this author. In her other books, she made me care about the heroine. She made me have longing and lots of feels for her love interest. Less so here. It’s not a bad book at all. Don’t get me wrong. It’s just a bit superficial, both from a character perspective as well as a world building one… Or even much of a mystery. [Read more…]

Review: How to Dance an Undead Waltz by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

I’m not sure I have the words to tell you how much I adored this book. Hailey Edwards has skyrocketed to one of the top spots in my favorite author list and I’m now at the point where I will read anything she writes. Because it’s gold, guys. And as much as I love her Foundling books—and believe me, I do—this book has put the Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy series as my new favorite from her. One of my favorite urban fantasy series, period.

Spoilers from book three ahead. If you haven’t read the previous books already, stop and go read them now. They are best enjoyed in order and they are all fantastic.

So as this book begins, Grier is reeling from an awful betrayal from her boyfriend and her best friend. Boaz is engaged to another woman and Amelie knew he was doing it. These are garbage people and I want to set them on fire. But at the same time, I’m so very glad to have Boaz out of the picture as a love interest because it clears the way for the man Grier SHOULD be with… Linus. [Read more…]

Review: How to Break an Undead Heart by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

Oh Hailey Edwards, you crafty crafty lady. You make me feel things.

This book kept me so riveted, I read it in one sitting. The kind of book that made me stay up way past my bedtime on a work night so that as I write this the next morning, my eyes are bleary but my insides are still squeezing tight over the events that transpired.

Read any reviews about this series and you’ll find how often people say the heroine, Grier, can’t catch a break. And it’s so true. It is a crappy, crappy world that she lives in. No one can be trusted. And I mean no one. The climax in the last book should’ve tipped me off. The title of this book should’ve tipped me off. And yet when everything came crashing down, I felt sideswiped. And that’s good writing, people.

You know what else is good writing? Subtly laying the groundwork for all of this, so that when it came together, it made complete and total sense. The downside I had about a particular character or the interest I had an another. Expertly played. [Read more…]

Review: How to Claim an Undead Soul by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

This second installment in the Beginners Guide to Necromancy solidifies this series and as another winner from Hailey Edwards. If you haven’t read book one, stop now and go back to the beginning. This book would be best enjoyed after reading that one.

Our heroine, Grier, is facing all new challenges now that her place in society has been restored. She has money again–and the possibility of a relationship with her childhood crush, Boaz, but she is far from comfortable in her skin. She is still suffering from serious PTSD from her time in supernatural prison and she is waiting for the rug to get ripped out from under her at any moment, either by losing everything she just regained or by becoming a target again for the vampires who would use her for their own purposes.

She can’t get her old job back, seeing as how she disappeared for five weeks due to a pesky kidnapping. But there is a potential place for her on what will be a haunted cruise ship. As she helps renovate the ship, she stumbles upon a sentient ghost and learns of a new big bad in town, a devourer who is eating specters. And now, she may be a target as well. [Read more…]