Review: This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova

this-case-is-gonna-kill-meThis Case is Gonna Kill Me
by Phillipa Bornikova
Narrated by Therese Plummer
Series: Linnet Ellery #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Tor Books, 2012
Audiobook, purchased
320 pages
9 hours, 22 minutes
Grade: B
Narrator Grade: B+
Synopsis: What happens when The Firm meets Anita Blake? You get the Halls of Power—our modern world, but twisted. Law, finance, the military, and politics are under the sway of long-lived vampires, werewolves, and the elven Alfar. Humans make the best of rule by “the Spooks,” and contend among themselves to affiliate with the powers-that-be, in order to avoid becoming their prey. Very loyal humans are rewarded with power over other women and men. Very lucky humans are selected to join the vampires, werewolves, and elves—or, on occasion, to live at the Seelie Court.

Linnet Ellery is the offspring of an affluent Connecticut family dating back to Colonial times. Fresh out of law school, she’s beginning her career in a powerful New York “white fang” law firm. She has high hopes of eventually making partner.

But strange things keep happening to her. In a workplace where some humans will eventually achieve immense power and centuries of extra lifespan, office politics can be vicious beyond belief. After some initial missteps, she finds herself sidelined and assigned to unpromising cases. Then, for no reason she can see, she becomes the target of repeated, apparently random violent attacks, escaping injury each time through increasingly improbable circumstances. However, there’s apparently more to Linnet Ellery than a little old-money human privilege. More than even she knows. And as she comes to understand this, she’s going to shake up the system like you wouldn’t believe….

Cheers

  • This is a fluffy story, but it’s surprisingly addictive!
  • The narrator is very good and that made me enjoy the book even more.
  • It’s a cliché that many of the attorneys at her firm are bloodsucking! And some others are wolves or elves.
  • The story moves along quickly. Lots of action.
  • This doesn’t offer much new to the urban fantasy world, but the characters–especially Linnet, Chip (her boss) and John O’Shea (an elf and freelance private investigator for her firm)–are engaging.
  • Linnet begins as a new rather naive attorney in this law firm. She discovers a place with barbaric office politics where she isn’t taken seriously especially after she’s sidelined into a 17-year-old case. She’s stuck reading and researching old depositions and working for an older human attorney with little or no promotion prospects left. It’s not that unusual for a new attorney to get this type of work for a while.
  • The book is part legal thriller and part urban fantasy. I like the mix.

Jeers

  • Linnet manages to escape danger again and again which seems unrealistic. But maybe someone or something is intervening?

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is a story which I quickly listened to. And immediately bought the next book though I haven’t read it yet. Too many other books!
  • There is a second book, but I don’t see any books after that. That’s too bad, because I enjoyed this first book.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

red-rising

Red Rising
by Pierce Brown
Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds
Series: Red Rising Trilogy #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by Del Rey, 2014
E-book, purchased
416 pages
16 hours, 12 minutes
Grade: A-
Narrator grade: A
Synopsis: The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free. That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

She kisses my cheek. ‘Then you must live for more.”

and

Funny thing, watching gods realize they’ve been mortal all along.

Cheers

  • Excellent book. It went places I wasn’t expecting.
  • Excellent narrator. I really enjoyed the audio version of this book.
  • An amazing debut book.
  • The world building is excellent. We don’t find out all the whys and wherefores, but that makes me want to come back for more.
  • There are three distinct parts of the book. Darrow and his life as a Red, his transition, his life as an elite Gold student.
  • This would have made my top ten books of 2014, but I hadn’t finished it when I wrote that post.
  • At the beginning of the book it seems the personal loss Darrow suffers and the lie told to the Reds are the worst things which could happen in this story. It seems it will be the focus of the book and it is in the background during the book, but there is so much more to this book.
  • I like the whole culture built around the Reds and the life they lead. They’re a proud people glad to make sacrifices for the human race–except their sacrifice is all a lie.
  • Everything Darrow does is done for Eo. Even as he moves forward with a completely new life he keeps his name, he keeps the one thing to remind him of Eo, he keeps his memories of her.
  • The battles and strategies between the houses as well as the interference by the adults are fascinating reading.
  • The whole time at the school is so bizarre, brutal and corrupt.
  • At times it’s hard to keep reading the book–I found it very intense and sad in places.
  • By the end of this book Darrow has grown and changed. He’s discovers not all Golds are the same; he makes mistakes, but learns from them; he will do many things to achieve his ends.
  • This book was a Goodreads Choice 2014 Winner (Debut Author).

Jeers

  • None.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • Golden Son, the second book in the series, published on January 13. I’ve seen reviews which show people enjoyed the second book as much or more than the first book.
  • I’ve seen many comparisons to The Hunger Games, but I find more Lord of the Flies in it. Nathan @ Fantasy Review Barn makes the connection to both books, but I found more Lord of the Flies.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge–this is the last book of the year–the 102nd!
  • 2014 Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • 2014 New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading

Review: Tainted Blood by M. L. Brennan

tainted-bloodTainted Blood
by M. L. Brennan
Series: Generation V #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2014
E-book, purchased
318 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: In the third Generation V novel, Fortitude Scott proves that working with family can be deadly…

Former film student Fortitude Scott is finally gainfully employed. Unfortunately, said employment happens to be with a group of sociopathic vampires—his family. And as much as Fort is loath to get too deep into the family business, when his brother, Chivalry, is temporarily unable to run the territory, it’s up to Fort to keep things under control.

So when the leader of a powerful faction of shifters turns up murdered, Fort finds himself tracking down a killer while navigating dangerous rivalries, longtime grudges, and hidden agendas. Even with the help of his foxy kitsune sidekick, Suzume, he’ll need to pull out all the stops to hunt for the paranormal assassin.

But as he calls on fairies, witches, and ghouls for help, he discovers that the problem is much bigger than a single dead werebear. The supernatural community is preparing for a massive shift in power within the Scott family leadership—and Fort has landed right in the middle of the gathering storm.…

From the expression on Sassoon’s face, he not only caught the reference, but was highly offended by it. Again, Suzume’s instincts for antagonization were proving flawless.

and

The situation should’ve been annoyingly reminiscent of a sultan checking out new applicants for the harem, but instead it reminded me very uncomfortably of Discovery Channel footage of a wolf inspecting a deer herd.

Cheers

  • Each book gets better and better.
  • We get lots of Suzume in this book and I love that.
  • We learn more about vampires in this book.
  • These books have a mystery in them, but the paranormal aspects of the book are more important than the mystery.
  • Even the recurring and secondary characters in the book are complex and interesting–Suzume, Prudence, Chivalry. All have motivations for the way they act even Prudence who is very scary and even Chivalry who seems like a “civilized” vampire who loves his wives, but nevertheless slowly kills them.
  • Fort learns more about how vampires live and is appalled by what he learns.
  • The book is often very funny.

Jeers

  • I had an idea who the murderer was, but important details were missing until the last minute. In a mystery that would have irritated me, but as I said above these books aren’t mysteries first and foremost. I did think that someone would have mentioned some of the important facts earlier in the investigation.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I’m so ready for the next book in the series. It should come out in August 2015.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge

Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

 

the-falconer

The Falconer
by Elizabeth May
Series: The Falconer #1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy (historical)
Published by Chronicle Books, 2014
E-book, purchased
378 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

“You know my mother thinks the waltz is indecent.”

I watch the couples dancing. They spin around the room, bodies pressed together. Close, intimate. The way dances should be.

“Your mother would find the sight of a chair leg indecent.”

and

Murder is the simplest thing for me in the world, uncomplicated by emotions. It’s just me and my victims. Hunter and prey.

Cheers

  • I love the cover!
  • There are a number of young adult books with a similar premise–a young person able to see supernatural beings, hunts and kills them. The “normal” people can’t see the supernatural characters and she can’t talk about them so this gets her into trouble. However, I like the way the author tells this story and I like the characters.
  • Aileana is a sympathetic character. She finds her mother right after her mother is murdered by a faery. That changes her life completely. Now she lives for vengeance. She hunts and kills the fae while many in society thinks she killed her mother. She’s motivated by vengeance.
  • Aileana’s pixie, Derrick, is a fun character. He provides some comic relief, but he also is a useful ally.
  • I like Gavin who is her childhood friend. I like that they don’t want to marry each other!
  • Kiaran, Aileana’s mentor, is a more mysterious character.
  • There are steampunk aspects to the story, but they’re quite subtle.
  • I don’t understand what good a seer is. Perhaps I’ll understand when I read the next book!

Jeers

  • The book ends in a cliffhanger. The ending is very abrupt.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I read this book in 2014–I still have a few reviews to publish from 2014.
  • I like this first book and look forward to the next book.
  • This reminded me a little of another series I read a few years ago about a girl in London society who fights vampires in between parties. However, I can’t remember the name of the series or the author.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge
  • 2014 New Author Challenge

WoW: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Breaking the Spine blog hosts Waiting on Waiting-on-WednesdayWednesday–a time each week we can spotlight upcoming releases. Visit the blog to find out more information and to leave your link on her blog.

 

The book I’m excited about this week:

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Series: Alpha & Omega #4

Publication Date: March 3, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads: For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal, as Charles plans to buy Anna a horse for her birthday. Or at least it starts out that way…

Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire. 

……………………………..

What made me pick this book:

  • Patricia Briggs’ books are some of my favorites.
  • I just finished and reviewed Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs. This makes me especially eager to read Dead Heat.
  • I’m eager to learn what is happening in the Mercy Thompson world, but this time with Charles and Anna as the protagonists.
  • I like the way the Mercy Thompson series and the Alpha & Omega series are set in the same time now and each takes the overall story arc further.

Reading Challenges–How’d I do in 2014?

my-reading-challenges

The 2014 challenges, goals and results:

1. Goodreads (read 100 books). Completed! Read 102 books.

2. New Authors (25 new-to-me authors). Completed! Read 34 new authors.

3. TBR (read a TBR book each month and review it on the third Wednesday) Completed except for January–I signed up for this challenge about the time the first review was supposed to be posted.

4. TBR Pile (read 21 to 30 tbr pile books) Completed! Read 28 TBR books.

5. A Year of Rereading (reread 10+ books) Incomplete. Only 4 rereads. I just don’t reread many books.

6. Audiobooks (listen to 5-10 audiobooks) Completed! Listened to 16 audiobooks.

7. Book Bingo (fill in a bingo card by reading a book for each category and space). Incomplete–filled in every blank except the nonfiction blank.

Did you take part in any reading challenges? How’d you do?

My reading year

Reading Summary & Comparisons

My favorite books:

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5 of 5 stars

I achieved my Goodreads goal of 100 books–read 102 books.

Summary

Genres I read (these numbers don’t add up since there’s some overlap)

  • Fantasy–65%
  • Urban Fantasy–19%
  • Science Fiction–12%
  • Mysteries–17%
  • Romantic Suspense–4 %
  • Romances–17%
  • Young Adult–12%
  • Short Stories/Novellas–2%

Book Format (overlap in these numbers, too)

  • E-books–75%
  • Audiobooks–16%
  • Print Books–10%
  • Library books–11%
  • NetGalley–2%

Number of pages read

  • 33,278 pages

Books Read by Year

  • 2014 — 27.4%
  • 2013 — 13.7%
  • 2012 — 15.7%
  • 2011 — 10.8%
  • 2010 — 5.0%
  • 2009 to 1928 — 27.4%

Book Ratings (I use letter grades on my blog, but on Goodreads I have to use the star versions)

  • A — 8%
  • A- — 19%
  • B+ — 37%
  • B — 20%
  • B- — 6%
  • C+ — 5%
  • C — 3%
  • C- — 2%

Author most glommed in 2014–Deborah Crombie

  • 9 books in four months
  • Fueled my return to mysteries

Comparing 2014 and 2013

  • In 2013 I read 88 books so I’m happy to read 14 more books.
  • I read mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy in both 2014 (75%) and 2013 (68%).
  • In 2014 75% of the books I read were E-books; in 2013 it was 100%!
  • In 2014 I read 17 mysteries, but in 2013 only 1.

Check out my posts about favorite new authors and favorite books I read in 2014.

Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

the-perilous-sea

The Perilous Sea
by Sherry Thomas
Series: The Elementary Trilogy #2
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published by Balzer + Bray
Library book
416 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother’s prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

“Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“No, thank you.”

He looked back at her. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am sure,” she made herself say.

She returned to her room and leaned for a minute against the door.

So this was what it had come to, this stilted courtesy, like that of a divorced couple who must still deal with each other.

With she being the one who hadn’t found anyone else, of course.

Cheers

  • I love the cover.
  • I enjoyed this book a lot. Even more than the first one.
  • This book delivers many blows–both physical and emotional–to both Titus and Iolanthe. And they happen just when they think everything is wonderful for both of them.
  • I was annoyed at first when the book switched back and forth between two different time periods and places, but I adjusted and began to try to figure out the mysteries of both settings. And by the end, I have to agree this was a very effective way of writing this book.
  • I’m sure this is classified as a young adult book and I don’t read too many of them, but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book. To me it felt like an adventure fantasy and I just enjoyed it!
  • Titus suffers a crisis of faith in this book.
  • The book moves the story along and we find out more about the history behind the story.
  • I like the secondary characters a lot–especially the boys at Eton. So many good characters there.
  • I like the big surprises in this book…and they are some doozies!

Jeers

  •  The mage world and the non-mage world aren’t really explained very well. I don’t know how they fit together, but I have to admit when I like a book I can forget about “little” things like this!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I’m ready for the next book!
  • One of my favorite books of the year.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge

Review: Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie

d4cd8-nowmayyouweep

Now May You Weep
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #9
Genre: Mystery (police procedural)
Published by William Morrow & Company
E-book, purchased
416 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: A gripping story of family rivalry, romance and sinister deeds, set in the haunting Scottish Highlands. When Detective Inspector Gemma James is persuaded by her friend, Hazel, to take a trip to the Scottish Highlands, land of mists and fine whiskey, she jumps at the chance. But Gemma soon learns that Hazel has ulterior motives, and that her friend has concealed more than one dangerous secret. At their remote B&B, Hazel encounters her former lover, Donald Brodie, now the owner of a well known local distillery. Their relationship had ended abruptly years before, when they had been driven apart by their parents. Now he is determined to win her back. But the lovers’ reunion yields shocking – and mortal – consequences. Suddenly all too aware of the distance between her and Kincaid, Gemma must come to terms with what she has learned.

It was a cold-blooded business, policing, thought Gemma, and for the first time, the knowledge that it had to be done did not make it seem more palatable.

and

“Hullo, love.” he said against her hair, his voice gentle. “I can’t let you out of my sight, can I, without your getting into trouble?”

Cheers

  • Such a good book!
  • I loved reading about the whiskey making in Scotland. I really felt like I was at a distillery smelling the angels’ share! (The angels’ share is the amount of alcohol which evaporates from casks while they mature.)
  • Scotland is also described lyrically. The quotes from Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson are especially evocative.
  • In some ways the writing in this book reminds me of Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea–also about Scotland and also a book I loved.
  • The mystery is good, but almost overshadowed by the personal events in the book.
  • Gemma discovers she doesn’t know nearly as much about her friend Hazel as she thought. Hazel has always been so calm and competent and so helpful with her insights and advice…a good therapist. We sometimes forget the people who help others are also human and make mistakes in their own lives. It’s easy to put people on pedestals and if they fall to feel betrayed.
  • Once again, the past affects people’s lives and we learn a bit about what happened in Scotland in the late 1890’s and the effects on the characters in the story. Though the effects were not exactly what I thought they were as I was reading. There were a few red herrings in this story!

Jeers

  • I don’t like reading about infidelity in marriage, but this book doesn’t glorify it. The ramifications and heartbreak are shown.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • As many of my blog readers know I’ve loved discovering and reading Deborah Crombie’s mysteries. Since September this is the ninth book I’ve read!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge

Sunday Post: Dec 28

rp_sundaypostmeme13.jpg

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

The last Sunday Post of 2014–the year flew by

Last Week

Home & blog

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So much fun to be together this week . . . lots of laughing and lots of food! I gave my daughters some of our Christmas ornaments–some they had made or some made for them when they were younger. They had fun opening them and reminiscing. My daughter’s dog–Bailey–is six months old now and a bundle of energy. She will sit, but she gets so excited and wiggles so much sometimes she falls over! She wants lots of belly rubs and loves to go for walks.

Our younger daughter made a wonderful photo book from Shutterfly about my family and my parents (who both died a few years ago). She had asked for stories and memories and she had so many wonderful photos. The book is almost 70 pages! A very special Christmas present!

Christmas Day was a beautiful sunny day. No snow and in the 40’s! We went for a walk in a sculpture park and saw Into the Woods at the movie theater. We all loved it, but we’ve seen the play several times and love the music. Meryl Streep was very good as the witch and Chris Pine did a great job as one of the princes. The two princes singing “Agony” about who has the worst time finding their princess is so funny. A great movie for anyone who enjoys fairy tales.

On Boxing Day (26 Dec) my daughter invited a few co-workers and neighbors over in the evening and that was lots of fun. Lots of people were still out-of-town so it was a small group, but that was okay. . . made it easier to talk!

Blog posts

 Books

What I’m reading

Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

Red Rising by Pierce Brown (audio)

What I read the this week

Tainted Blood by M. L. Brennan

Books, E-books, Audiobooks–NetGalley, library, purchased or free

Kindle e-books (bought or free)

Defenders by Will McIntosh

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

*Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain by Richard Roberts

*Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith

*The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey

*City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennet

The Iron Trial by Holly Black

*Christmas present!

Audiobooks

The Language of Bees by Laurie King

Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Holiday Classics by O. Henry

Next Week

Home & blog

My older daughter and I are headed to Illinois where I’m spending the week with her. I’m looking forward to that. She will have to work a few of the days and is on-call, but we will have a wonderful time together. I fly home next Sunday.

Blog Posts

  • Review
  • TTT: Goals and Resolutions
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • End of 2014
  • January books on my radar . . .
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?