[726]: The Trouble with Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones

The Trouble with Twelfth Grave
by Darynda Jones
Publication Date: October 31st, 2017
Series: Charley Davidson, #12
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


My perennial favourite series is here!

If not for my being horrendously busy for the last few months, my impatience for this book’s release would’ve been tenfolds. Also, had I not gotten an email from the publicity cogwheels working on this book, I would’ve completely forgotten that this was coming. Thankfully, they reminded me that it was forthcoming along with a link to NetGalley so I can request it. I downloaded this puppy right away and spent a few hours marinating in Charley’s sick sense of humour and Reyes’ out of this world hotness. Sigh. Everything is right in the world again, dear readers. I’m also extra thankful that this book reminded me of what I’ve been missing all this time.

So, about the book…(slight spoiler…maybe?)

Well, at the end of the eleventh book, Charley had inadvertently sent her husband to the literal hell through the god glass (with his permission and insistence). What they thought would be a two-way trip to the hottest dimension turned out to be an extended stay. Thanks to Reyes’ three other personas, he got lost in the shuffle. What came back was nowhere near the Reyes that Charley knew. He was Rey’azikeen, Elle-Ryn-Ahleethia’s immortal enemy and lover extraordinaire. While Charley was trying to get Reyes back, Rey’azikeen was hell-bent on finding the one thing that Reyes was desperately trying to hide from his own self.

Sounds a bit confusing, if you think about it. But it really is not. All you need to care about is whether this instalment delivers in all aspects that matter. Was Charley still wickedly funny? Yes. Did Reyes make me salivate? Fuck, yes. Did the major plot line and the subplots make for an entertaining read as a whole? OMG YES. This is perhaps, the only series that I don’t mind remaining in status quo for the remainder of its life. It will never bore me because Ms Jones keep finding ways to keep the dialogues fresh and the storylines, fabulous. I hope the next one instalment is close. I can’t bear to wait another year. Honestly, these books are my crack. I need another hit, like right now.

Hello.


Well, praise be Jesus! Look who came back from the dead! (Again).

How have you all been? I miss the shit out of every single one of you. 🙂 It’s been at least a couple of months of book-less and blog-less emptiness over here in my house, y’all. *sobs* On Friday night, I was all of a sudden overwhelmed with the need to start writing again. I managed to write 3 reviews that night and continued writing right through Sunday afternoon. In case you’re not aware, it’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada so I have an extra day to actually schedule some stuff for you. I’m hoping to get back into commenting again during the week and see what you all have been up to. Gah. I’m missing so much, aren’t I?

I’ve been sick this week so I stayed home on Friday and decided to request a bunch of romance books on Net Galley. I read four in two days. Lol. I’ll have to share my thoughts on them in the near future.

The Beauty and Obese

So what have I been up to? Well, on my last update to you I mentioned that I was taking the time to get fit. I’m happy to say that I’ve reached my goal of a 50-lb weight loss in 4 months! I still have another 25 to go and since it’s the last few pounds that are usually the hardest to lose, I’m most likely going to work my ass off even harder than before. One of these days, I’ll have to share my before and after picture. The changes still boggle my mind.

For the better part of the summer, I clocked some insane amount of steps. My gym had a team steps challenge that I participated in. My daily goal went from 10K to 30K with a couple of days where I took 40-50K steps. I freaking walked everywhere – like a mad woman possessed! I’m happy to announce that my team won. I ended up with 1.17M steps during the 45 days of the challenge. I’m also happy that it’s over because between the four classes a day and the walking, I was exhausted for most of the summer.

Rereads

I’ve also spent a lot of time rereading books. I honestly couldn’t start a new book during my time off. I went with the familiar or books that I’ve loved in the past. As pictured above, I reread a couple of Charley Davidson novels, Melina Marchetta’s latest, Sandra Brown’s Lethal, and The Hating Game. I reread a lot of romance novels as well.

The Downside

Because I haven’t been writing or reading, I think a couple of publishers have given up on me. They’ve sent me an email asking where my reviews are. Another downside? I went from being 25 books ahead of schedule to 12 behind. But I caught up soon enough. I neglected Goodreads so there were a few books that I’ve read before my break that I didn’t mark as ‘read’. I’m now a mere 2 books ahead of schedule. Lol.

Well, I think this is all for now. It’s gotten longer than expected. I just wanted to say hi and tell you all about my life so far. I also would like to send my love to all those affected by the devastating hurricanes, the massive earthquake in Mexico, and lastly, to the families of the victims of the Las Vegas terrorist attack.

I love you all.

[725]: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Lord of Shadows
by Cassandra Clare
Publication Date: May 23rd, 2017
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


It took me a while to finish this book. Not only because it’s a huge volume, but because I prolonged the agony of reading the end of this installment – with good reason. It was one of those rare moments when I sought spoilers just so I could prepare myself for the worst. And after everything is said and done, I’m still raw just thinking about it. It hurts. Still.

This installment, per usual, is crammed with plots and subplots that were sometimes tough to untangle. But if you ask me the what the crux of this novel is, I say it’s about Julian and Emma’s parabatai predicament. In the meantime, conflicts around them continue to pester. There’s the fact that a group called, the Cohort is slowly gaining momentum towards a registry that could spell trouble for the Downworlders. The Unseelie King has never forgotten his son, Kieran’s betrayal. As well, Mark. But since Kieran doesn’t remember what had transpired, he was left with little choice but to help him when he was literally about to be killed as a punishment for his betrayal. The Black Volume of Death is the hubris that each warring powers are on the hunt for; each one vested in trying to acquire it all for the sake of gaining more power.

Honestly, there were so many things going on in here. It seems that every time I read a book by Ms. Clare, all my synapses had to be firing, otherwise, I miss out on important details about this universe as a whole. Regardless, she still does a fantastic job of seamlessly tying everything together. And half the fun of reading these books is the painstaking way of gluing all the pieces, anyway.

Oy. That ending, though. I don’t remember a time when I dreaded the end of a book so much. That is to say, the end of a Cassandra Clare book. I had a lump in my throat and a heavy anvil in my stomach. (Special thanks to Carina for preparing me for the worst.) But even knowing how it ends didn’t really help. I was still devastated.

Shelf Envy: JR Gray


P.S.A.

Before we get into Mr. Gray’s bookshelves, I would just like to apologize for the lateness of this post. I had promised to put this up on the 3rd, but since getting back from my vacation, I haven’t had the desire to blog or read emails for that matter. Totally my fault. Judith and her team has been incredibly patient with me and generously understanding. So, again. Sincerest apologies, Judith. 🙁

I have today JR Gray and he’d very much like for you to “touch his shelves” (love the raw wood, btw!). Take that for what you will but based on the pics he’d sent, I’m wholly tempted. *smirks* Also, I found another one, folks. A true fan of Ms. Reisz’s works. One of these days, I would need to get over myself and continue with her Original Sinners series. Damn.


On His Favorite Authors

I have a ton. Let me try and narrow it down. Tiffany Reisz. Maggie Stiefvater. Mercedes Lackey. J.K. Rowling. Brandon Mull. V.E. Schwab. Jane Austin. George R.R. Martin. Sierra Simone

On His Latest Book Purchase

The last paperback I bought was The Abyss Surrounds Us. I haven’t read it yet. Kulti is the last Ebook I bought, which I loved. Kulti will go down as one of my favorite characters of all times.

His Reading Spot

I love to read in my library. I can hide away in there, and it’s hidden enough I’m not easily found. 

The Most Controversial Books on His Shelves (or the lack thereof)

I’m not sure that I would consider anything on my shelf controversial. I have a few of Michael Stokes’ books. Lots of pretty naked men, but in my house it’s not really controversial. Maybe I should say one of Tiffany Reisz’s because of my favorite sadist priest.

You Should Read This

I recommend The Siren to everyone I know. I love the series, and so many of the characters from it resonate with me. Tiffany Reisz writes such beautifully broken and human characters. I found so many parts of me in her characters. They were like home.

Thank you for stopping by, Mr. Gray. Sorry again for the delay. Tiffany Reisz’ characters are an acquired taste but I’m willing to give them another go. 🙂


JR GRAY’s latest, Say Yes is already out. Help support an Indie author by purchasing and posting a review! You can purchase your copy on the links below:

Publisher | Amazon

James failed.
He tried to be what they wanted.
He tried to deny it.
He tried to be a good Catholic boy…but it’s become too much.
He craves pain, submission.
He’s denied himself far too long, and it’s eating him alive.

Charles thrives off the exchange of power. He knows the world revolves around control. It’s given and taken like currency, in business and in pleasure. He won’t get attached, though, or so he tells himself, until James turns his world upside down. He’s defiant and snarky, but Charles can taste the submission on him.

Charles holds the key to his salvation but James has to Say Yes.

About the Author: 

When not staying up all night writing, J.R. Gray can be found at the gym where it’s half assumed he is a permanent resident to fulfill his self-inflicted masochism. A dominant and a pilot, Gray finds it hard to be in the passenger seat of any car. He frequently interrupts real life, including normal sleep patterns and conversations, to jot down notes or plot bunnies. Commas are the bane of his existence even though it’s been fully acknowledged they are necessary, they continue to baffle and bewilder. If Gray wasn’t writing…well, that’s not possible. The buildup of untold stories would haunt Gray into an early grave, insanity or both. The idea of haunting has always appealed to him. J.R. Gray is genderqueer and prefers he/him pronouns.

 

Website | Twitter Personal | Twitter Books | Facebook | Facebook Group | Amazon Author Page |

 

Lazarus


Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley | What to Say Next by Julie Baxbaum | Now I Rise by Kiersten White


Helllooooooo

I know. I know. I went and thoroughly disappeared on you again. I’m still having the same problems that I’ve been having in the beginning of Summer. Sigh. I’m not having much luck adjusting and juggling all my commitments in one go. I have commitments to you, my dear readers; commitments to the generous publishers who continue to send me books, and commitment to myself to remain sane. This week, I finally found the resolve to divide my time as I see fit. I’m writing this post at 7:22 pm. I gave myself another half an hour to finish this post so I can schedule it for midnight. Then, I’m giving myself another hour to visit your blogs. After that, bed time for me for a quick nap as I have to give my husband a ride to work at 10:30 pm. Then, my actual bed time is at around 11:30 or midnight. I wake up at 5 in the morning the next day to do a back to back boot camp, then home to shower and be out of the house by 8 in the am. Phew.

As you can see, I barely have time to breathe, much less read. I’m at work until 4 in the afternoon, then back to the gym for another back to back boot camp by 4:55. The cycle begins again. So I’m trying out this new thing. Hoping that if I give myself time, I’ll be able to do everything that I’ve been neglecting to do in the last couple of months.

New on My Shelves

I got three books from Penguin Random House which I’m dying to read! However, I don’t know why I received Now I Rise since I avoided it when they sent me an email. I haven’t read the first book and because they’re door stoppers, it might take me a while. Regardless, I’m so freaking excited and thankful for these! I also got No Good Deed (which I reviewed yesterday) from Delacorte Press.

What Have I Been Reading?

Well, too many to mention. Right now, I’m doing my best to finish The One Memory of Flora Banks, then a few other books that I’ve started but haven’t really made any headway. I am, however, ensconced in the world of The Bridgertons by Julia Quinn! Hooray! I’m finally reading some Historical Romance. Actually, I downloaded the audio books. I’m so loving them all, you guys. 🙂

The Beauty and Obese

Just an update on my weight loss journey. I decided to finally get healthy on May 15th. So far, I’ve lost 25 lbs and 2 sizes down. My goal is so far away, but every accomplishment that I make is the fire that continues to guide my way. A couple of months ago, my husband would help me up the three-step stairs in our garage that leads to our mudroom. I’m slow, sluggish and have the tendency to get winded so easily. I’m a different person nowadays. But like I said, I have a long way to go but I like the direction I’m heading.

Thanks again for being here. For wondering where I’ve been. For wanting me to stay. I ask for your patience again as I try to adjust to all these activities. 

Happy reading, friends!

 

 

[724]: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

No Good Deed
by Kara Connolly


Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.


This was a chockful of fun.

I was immediately drawn to this book because I’m a huge fan of the Robin Hood legend and when I saw that Ms. Connolly’s take would feature a gender twist of sorts, I knew I had to read it.

Present-time Ellie was an archer who was dealing with the recent loss of her brother. She also lived in his shadow for he was an Olympian as well. On her way back to her hotel, she followed a man dressed in a friar’s frock with whom she thought was the same one who distracted her during her during the competition. One topsy-turvy turn, however, brought her all the way back to the 12th century; specifically, at a time when most of Nottingham was suffering in the hands of the Sheriff.

It was not long ago that I read a time travel such as this one where the character was pulled all the way back to Medieval times. Both characters went through the initial shock of finding themselves stuck and unable to come home at will. In Ellie’s case, it wasn’t just a matter of retracing back her steps to see if she can somehow find her way home. This girl finds trouble at every step of the way, and no matter what she does to lay low, the trouble finds her regardless.

I love the characters she meets and the parallelization with the characters of the original legend. And because she’s an American set in her ways, she brings about shock with the way she acts and speaks at every turn. I love seeing the reaction of those around her. She’s full of spunk; courage when there’s none to be found and kindness towards the people with whom she only just met. There might be a romance brewing on the horizon but honestly, that’s just cake. The story is great the way it is. I adore the friendships she developed amongst the people of Nottingham; the thieves and the bandits; the nuns and the outlaws.

I’m not sure if this is going to be a series, but damn. I need more. No Good Deed is a great adventure set in Medieval England. If you’re a fan of the Robin Hood legend, Connolly’s take is sure to keep you entertained from page one to the last.

Shelf Envy: Santino Hassell

I’m so excited to share Santino’s shelves and his passion for books. I love getting an author’s insight with regards to what influenced their craft as writers so reading about his inspiration is such a delight. We all have that one novel or that one author that blew our minds at one point in our lives so it’s great to see how far those favorites have influenced Santino. This guest post is chockful of great recommendations if you want to celebrate Pride month in all its queer glory so keep reading and discover some fantastic LGBTQ reads.

Thank you, Santino for letting me pick your brain a little bit. I adore these recommendations and I can’t wait to read your series!

 

Who are your favorite authors?

Big question, but if I narrow it down to paranormal and southern gothic horror, I’d say Jordan Castillo Price, Christopher Rice, LJ Smith, Sergei Lukyanenko, Poppy Z Brite, Charlaine Harris, and JR Ward. Of them all, I’d say I always find myself going back to Price’s psychic cop series—Psycop—and her series about a vampire hunter who falls for a swaggering bloodsucker—Channeling Morpheus. And I’m always excited when Rice releases a new book, whether it’s paranormal erotica or horror.

When I started editing and revising Insight, the first book in The Community trilogy, I was really inspired by both Rice and Price. Some of Rice’s books have this southern gothic atmosphere that I’m absolutely addicted to, and the entire idea of this huge psychic community running parallel to the rest of the world but remaining secret was inspired by Psycop, where the knowledge of psychics led to them being experimented on and used in various ways.

What was the last book you purchased?

The last book I purchased was The Mistress Files by Tiffany Reisz. I’m drafting a F/F novella, and this anthology just called my name. Her writing is so intense.

Where do you usually read?


What is the most controversial book on your shelves?

Probably Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite. It’s a southern gothic horror with queer vampires, queer grunge kids, and all kinds of blood lust and danger. It’s a book I adored as a young person because it was the first book I read with SO MANY queer characters, and I was always addicted to that kind of drippy romantic atmosphere (which I tried to reach that level in both Insight and Stygian, my paranormal southern gothic romance), but I reread as an adult and realized the treatment of the women in the book is intensely problematic.

What is the one book you would recommend to everyone you know?

Channeling Morpheus by Jordan Castillo Price, which contains the first several novellas in that series. There’s just something really special about Michael and Bill’s story. Michael starts out with a vendetta against all vampires to get revenge for his slain friend, but then he meets Bill… the vampire he falls for. There is a lot of sex in the first couple of novellas, but after the connection between them is made and solid, their relationship evolves until they’re constantly questioning who they are and what they want from this quest of Michael’s. Is Michael, a vampire hunter, actually the bad guy since he sometimes makes bad choices? Does he actually hate vampires or… does he want to become one?

It’s those kinds of questions, the hard questions that really make you think about these characters and their actions, that I wanted for Insight and now for Oversight. The main characters in The Community are up against this organization that they were always told was put in place to protect them from non-psychics, but now they have to come to grips with the reality that they’ve been living a lie. And that they can trust no one but each other.


Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino: Website | Twitter | Instagram | FB Group | FB | GR | Tumblr


 

Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 208

 


Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia | Letters to the Lost by Bridgid Kemmerer | The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion | The Golden House by Salman Rushdie


In the Summer of My Discontent

Hi, guys. I know, I know. I’m still missing in action for most of the week in the blogosphere. I don’t know what tell ya. I can’t bleed a stone. I simply can’t find a good stride between juggling all the things I’ve got going on in my life. Because I’ve been sick, I’ve also missed time so of course, work has been hectic. I’m thankful that I’m still 19 books ahead of my Goodreads challenge, otherwise, that’s another pressure on my shoulders. I know I’m missing out on so many posts but just…thanks for your patience and continued patronage. I appreciate you.

The Beauty and Obese

Meanwhile, I just got my recent fitness assessment and it looks like my hard work for the last month has paid off. I lost 15 lbs and have managed to lose 10% body fat by working out; by walking, and keeping track of my macros. I’m fast becoming a boot camp worshipper and a calorie counter nut job (I’m not even sorry). My goal is to lose 50 lbs by October, but if I keep pace with this kind of weight loss, I might be able to reach my goal even before that. I’m absolutely floored when my trainer told me my new numbers. Even she couldn’t believe it! Especially since I lost 3 points of Visceral Fat in just a month of working out religiously.

Fit Readers

June 12, Monday = 14,645
June 13, Tuesday = 14,366
June 14, Wednesday = 16,542
June 15, Thursday = 15,592
June 16, Friday = 17,673
June 17, Saturday = 18,638
June 18, Sunday = 17,505
Total Steps for the Week: 100,316

Currently Reading

I am in the midst of reading all three books. So far, I can only complain about the repetitiveness of The One Memory of Flora Banks. Otherwise, I’m enjoying them all. I haven’t finished a book for a couple of weeks now. I also attempted to read Dating You, Hating You by Christina Lauren but I returned the audio book. It is not one of their best work, in my opinion.

This Week…

I don’t know, in all honesty. I’m hoping to finish any one of the books above so I can write a review. Otherwise, my priority is to catch up on Bloglovin’. I’m missing so much!

[723]: Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water
by Paula Hawkins


If you like unraveling twisted knots and threads, Into the Water is a must read for you. However, if you’re one of those impatient readers like me, you would probably have a hard time resisting the urge to DNF.

One of the things I typically don’t enjoy when I’m reading a book is when it has an overpopulation problem. Meaning, it’s laden with so many points of view that it had become difficult to discern whichever way the author wanted to take the story.

Paula Hawkins became an instant household name after her successful debut, The Girl on the Train. Many have waited upon bated breath for her follow up novel. While I can see the painstaking method to her mad talent, I just can’t see past all the POVs to consider myself a fan.

I’ve just about given up on this one. I grew impatient many a times while reading. It was like trudging through a jungle and having to whack my way past the overgrown vines just to clear a pathway. Eventually, I decided I couldn’t waste the time I’ve already invested in the story. And with due patience, I learned to ignore the white noise and focus on what was going on within the story.

The novel opens with a character casually telling the readers how she was about to die. Some hostile men, it seemed, were set on drowning her. When she came up for air, the man in charged told them to dunk her again until she drew her last breath. After, we’re introduced to Jules Abbott. The sister of the drowned woman that we’ll later know was a water creature all her life. That’s why Jules could not believe that she would kill herself by throwing herself off the river. Even mysterious still, was the number of women who have drowned in the same river.

Despite the 11 narratives featured in this book, the author would have you believe that Nel’s is the focal point of the novel. Let’s say that her story would drudge up some ugly truths, painful past, and mysterious deaths. But because the author withheld a lot of information as a way to build up the mystery, impatience leads the way to boredom and loss of interest.

It was a good story, all told. I just didn’t get it.

Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 207


Dragonbane by Sherrilyn Kenyon | A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas | Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith | When It’s Real by Erin Watt | Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts


Slow As Molasses

Another sad, sad reading week here for me. Honestly, I’m disgusted with myself. So far, I’ve only finished one book in the last two weeks. Which sucks because I have so many books in my to-be-reviewed pile. In an attempt to spark some reading inspiration, I went to the bookstore yesterday just to see if it would make me want to get back to reading again. Wish me luck that it will do the trick.

On A Health Kick

Still on my health kick. I’ve realized a couple of things about why dieting never worked for me in the past. I’ve been so restricted to salads and chicken breasts. Time and again, I get bored, hungry, then quit. This time around, I decided that I can’t do this shit again. So anytime I get a craving for specific food, I find a healthier recipe. This weekend, I made pesto sauce. I used avocado instead of olive oil. I made some spirals of zucchini, added shrimp and cherry tomatoes. It was divine! If you have any other healthier alternatives to some decadent food let me know!

Fit Readers

I’ve been doing double fit body boot camps for two weeks now and I’m loving it. I’ve been sick this week but I didn’t let that stop me from working out. I have a fitness assessment on Thursday so I’m excited to see any progress. It’s been a whole month since I started this journey.

June 5 Monday 10,669
June 6 Tuesday 9,057
June 7 Wednesday 14,521
June 8 Thursday 11,820
June 09 Friday 8,354
June 10 Saturday 13,935
June 11 Sunday 13,944
Total Steps for the Week: 96,224

Well, this is it for me this week. Let’s hope I find something good to read soon. Sigh.