Review: One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron

one-good-dragon-deserves-anotherOne Good Dragon Deserves Another
by Rachel Aaron
Series: Heartstrikers #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Setting: Detroit DFZ, New Mexico and a few other places
Published by Aaron/Bach LLC, 2015
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: August 1, 2015)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
404 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: After barely escaping the machinations of his terrifying mother, two all knowing seers, and countless bloodthirsty siblings, the last thing Julius wants to see is another dragon. Unfortunately for him, the only thing more dangerous than being a useless Heartstriker is being a useful one, and now that he’s got an in with the Three Sisters, Julius has become a key pawn in Bethesda the Heartstriker’s gamble to put her clan on top.

Refusal to play along with his mother’s plans means death, but there’s more going on than even Bethesda knows, and with Estella back in the game with a vengeance, Heartstriker futures disappearing, and Algonquin’s dragon hunter closing in, the stakes are higher than even a seer can calculate. But when his most powerful family members start dropping like flies, it falls to Julius to defend the clan that never respected him and prove that, sometimes, the world’s worst dragon is the best one to have on your side.

Cheers

  • I was so excited when the author’s husband sent an email and asked if I would like an e-Arc! That was a no brainer. 🙂
  • Second in a self-published urban fantasy series. The first book in the series was one of my favorite books of 2014.
  • This book lived up to the first book. I love it! We find out more about dragons and especially the Heartstrikers.
  • I like the world she has built. We learn more about it in this book and it’s very interesting.
  • I like the work Julius and Marci have created for themselves. We see them doing magical animal removal in the DFZ in the first part of the book. They’ve started their own business and Julius is so happy about it. Then his mother, Bethesda visits . . . .
  • Bethesda is a very scary dragon. She has lots of children which makes her somewhat different from other dragons. She has had 10 clutches so far. Because she has so many children she’s a little careless with them!
  • I love the Heartstriker dragons’ origins–Quetzalcoatl was Bethesda’s father. So she and her children are feathered serpents.
  • The dragons are fun to read about. Each dragon has so much character and are unique. Except for their arrogance and aggressiveness which all dragons except Julius seem to have.
  • We get more Bob (Brohomir) in this book! He’s a dragon seer!
  • Amelia is a dragon we didn’t meet in the first book. She’s the only dragon still alive from Bethesda’s first clutch. Amelia is the heir to the Heartstrikers, the Planeswalker, Clan Magus and Consort to the Concept of Mountains! Bethesda doesn’t want Amelia around since she doesn’t trust anyone. After all, Bethesda killed her own father to inherit everything.
  • I love Marci. She’s smart, funny, loyal, very enthusiastic(!) and a great friend. I also like Ghost who is bound to her. He’s a very interesting character who becomes even more interesting in this book.
  • Julius and Marci are very cute together. They like each other, but don’t know quite what to do with that.
  • I really like the story in this book. There are twists and turns, but Julius stays true to himself.

Jeers

  • None! I love this book.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • The book ends with the problems of this book wrapped up, but with more problems for more books! I’m really glad about that and happy to read at the end that Ms. Aaron hopes to have the third book published in early 2016.

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

Author info

  • Rachel Aaron was born and raised in Atlanta, but currently lives a lovely, nerdy, bookish life in Athens, GA with her faster-than-the-speed-of-light son, perpetually understanding husband, and fat weiner dog. She writes full time, all the time, but when her family can drag her away from her own books, she loves reading fantasy (urban and traditional), Romance (paranormal and Regency), and Science Fiction (all kinds). She also enjoys video games, Minecraft, anime, manga, hanging out at conventions, and overdone, epic things.
  • She has also written a productivity book–2 k to 10k and The Legend of Eli Monpress fantasy series and the Paradox Science Fiction trilogy under the name Rachel Bach.

Reading Challenges

Review: The Deep End by Julie Mulhern

the-deep-endThe Deep End
by Julie Mulhern
Series: The Country Club Murders #1
Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: 1974, Kansas City
Published by Henery Press, 2015
E-book, purchased
255 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Swimming into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress tends to ruin a woman’s day, but becoming a murder suspect can ruin her whole life.

It’s 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties and blackmail.

As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer. But with an interfering mother, an adoring father, a teenage daughter, and a cadre of well-meaning friends demanding her attention, can Ellison find the killer before he finds her.

“Do you remember the part in The Wizard of Oz when the witch is dead and the Munchkins start singing? Think that kind of happiness. I swear every woman there was ready to break into song. Maybe a few of the men, too.”

Cheers

  • I really enjoyed this mystery. It looks like it’s a debut mystery!
  • I love the cover.
  • I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue reading this book at first when I read about Ellison’s interactions with her mother. Ellison is a complete doormat where her mother’s concerned and it’s painful to read about a grown woman doing things she doesn’t want to do because her mother tells her to. However, Ellison does grow and change during the course of the book. I like watching that happen.
  • Her mother isn’t terrible. She’s a dominant personality and thinks she know best.
  • I like the historical elements–remembering Richard Nixon, for example. No cell phones which changes many things. The fashion popular at that time. Little things dropped in to give nice background for the time period.
  • The fact this is a historical period and that it’s 1974 is quite unique.
  • Everything revolves around the country club in this book. That does seem pretty strange to me, but these are all women who don’t work so I guess they have to spend their time doing something!
  • At least Ellison paints so her life doesn’t revolve completely around the country club.
  • I like the humor in this book.
  • I like that Ellison finds she’s stronger than she thinks she is.

Jeers

  • It’s almost by accident that Ellison finds clues and figures things out. I like Ellison enough (after she grows a spine…lol) for that not to bother me too much!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I think I saw this book on Greg’s blog–Book Haven. I was immediately attracted by the cover. It looked like the perfect summer book and it is.

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

Author info

  • Julie Mulhern always wanted to be a writer. She spent her childhood creating pen names and dreaming of exotic, mysterious, romantic places. To that end, she went to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia (because, when you’re from the Midwest, the South is both exotic and romantic). There she earned degrees in politics and French. She even spent a year living in Paris. But the Midwest beckoned and she returned home. Now she lives with her husband, two daughters and a dastardly dog. It might not be exotic or mysterious but it is romantic.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • COYER Scavenger Hunt–hosted by Fantasy is More Fun, Because Reading, and Books, Movies, Reviews.Oh My!
  • COYER–The Scavenger Hunt–#37, Read a book with water/or the ocean on the cover (3 pts)
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book based entirely on its cover)

Review: No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie

no-mark-upon-her-kindleNo Mark Upon Her
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series #14
Genre: Mystery (police procedural)
Published by Macmillan, 2011
E-book, purchased
480 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: Olympic rowing hopeful and senior Metropolitan Police officer DCI Rebecca Meredith goes out alone to train on the river in Henley on a dark afternoon in late October – and doesn’t return. When a desperate search by the police and a K9 team reveals the possibility of foul play, Scotland Yard wants one of their own on the case. Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, returning from celebrating his marriage to long-time partner Detective Inspector Gemma James, is called to Henley to investigate. He soon finds that the world of elite rowing can be brutal, and that Rebecca Meredith’s ex-husband was not the only person with good reason for wanting her dead. Then, when a search-and-rescue team member is threatened, Kincaid realizes the case may be even more complex and more dangerous than he believed.

He felt stained by others’ grief, as if it had steeped into his skin, like old tea. He had never, in his more than twenty years of police work, become inured to watching people absorb the shock of death.

and

Surely he had misinterpreted what he’d heard. Because he could have sworn that his guv’nor had just suggested that he fix the outcome of an investigation.

Cheers

  • This is the first book after Gemma and Duncan’s wedding and they are celebrating their marriage as the book opens–for the third time! The first time was in the garden of their London home; the second in a register office and now the third time was with Winnie and Jack and all their families so they could have a formal celebration in Winnie’s church.
  • Gemma and Duncan have become foster parents to Charlotte after their investigation into the disappearance of Charlotte’s parents. As the book opens Gemma is finishing up family leave she and Duncan have both agreed to take until Charlotte is secure enough to attend child care.
  • Gemma admits to herself as much as she loves their children she’s looking forward to getting back to work. Now a new case has come up and Duncan has to work it even though he’s supposed to start his family leave in a few days. Gemma is not happy!
  • I really like the way the author writes about Gemma and Duncan’s children and family. They are very realistic. They have problems and worries, but they love each other and I love seeing that.
  • Charlotte’s “Alice” birthday party was so much fun to read about.
  • Much of the book takes place on the Thames with lots of rowing. I enjoyed learning more about the sport.
  • The mystery was good and as always I like reading about the procedures of finding the criminals.
  • I love the way Ms. Crombie writes about her settings. I always feel like I’ve visited the area.
  • I really like reading about search and rescue dogs. I think they are wonderful!
  • I like the integrity Duncan and Gemma show.

Jeers

  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • The books really should be read in order since things which happen in earlier books have far-reaching ramifications.
  • I continue to love this series. It’s my favorite police procedural mystery series at the moment. I like the mysteries and I like the relationship between Gemma and Duncan and their children and how it grows and develops.

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

Author info

  • A trip to Yorkshire inspired Deborah Crombie’s first Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James mystery. She’s a Texas native who still lives in Texas though she spends time in England every year.

Reading Challenges

Review: Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm

when-late-the-sweet-bird-sangWhere Late the Sweet Birds Sang
by Kate Wilhelm
Narrated by Anna Fields
Series: None
Genre: Science Fiction (Distopia)
Setting: Shenandoah Valley, United States
Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc., 2006 (original publication 1974)
Audiobook, purchased
251 pages
7 hours, 48 minutes
Grade: B
Narrator grade: B+
Synopsis: The spellbinding story of an isolated post-holocaust community determined to preserve itself, through a perilous experiment in cloning. Sweeping, dramatic, rich with humanity, and rigorous in its science, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang is widely regarded as a high point of both humanistic & hard SF, winning SF’s Hugo Award and Locus Award on its first publication.

Cheers

  • I’m surprised this book was written in 1974. It seems very apropos for today.
  • A good narrator. I’ve listened to a few others Anna Fields narrated and I’ve liked them, too.
  • This book was kind of hard to finish even though it ends on an optimistic note–but I’m not sure I believe the optimism.
  • It is interesting how the people of the Valley ready themselves for the world disasters they see coming. However, the disasters are even worse than they anticipated.
  • When the family isn’t having children they decide they have to start cloning humans. They’ve already cloned their animals so it’s not too big a step.
  • The differences Kate Wilhelm shows between the people cloned and those not cloned is also very interesting. She speculates they are almost a different race of beings since there are so many of the same clone and they’ve formed a sort of telepathy.
  • The book takes place over a long time period and many things happen to the community in the Shenandoah Valley. Many decisions must be made through the years. And Ms. Wilhelm shows what happens with groupthink in a small society.
  • Whether the book is very realistic or not it still is a well-written and interesting story and comes from a time period we were very worried about nuclear war plus the effects of pesticides and other chemicals. A number of distopian books and movies came from this time period.

Jeers

  • The family in the Shenandoah Valley never sees or finds any other survivors. If they managed to survive I think there would have been other pockets of people or animals. And maybe there are. They couldn’t go too far to search.
  • If the family are the only people left there wouldn’t be enough genetic diversity.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I read several of Kate Wilhelm’s books years ago so when I saw this book I was really interested to read it.
  • I’m glad I listened to the audiobook. I think it was easier to listen to than it would have been to read a paper book. The book made me cry sometimes. 😦

Awards

  • Hugo Award for Best Novel (1977)
  • Locus Award for Best Novel (1977)
  • Jupiter Award for Best Novel (1977)
  • Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (1976)
  • John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee for Best Science Fiction Novel (1977)

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

Author info

  • Kate Wilhelm’s first novel was a mystery, published in 1963. She has recently returned to writing mysteries with her Barbara Holloway novels. Over the span of her career, her writing has crossed over the genres of Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, fantasy and magical realism; psychological suspense, mimetic, comic, and family sagas, a multimedia stage production, and radio plays. Her works have been adapted for television and movies in the United States, England, and Germany. Wilhelm’s novels and stories have been translated to more than a dozen languages.
  • Kate Wilhelm currently lives in Eugene, Oregon. In her spare time she likes to garden.

Reading Challenges

COYER Scavenger Hunt sign-up

COYER-ScavHuntLogo
The Clean Out Your E-Reads Challenge is hosted by Fantasy is More Fun, Because Reading, and Books, Movies, Reviews.Oh My!

 

I’ve participated in two COYERs and really enjoyed both. This COYER is similar to last summer’s COYER Summer Vacation, but with the addition of the Scavenger Hunt during the entire COYER. The challenge runs Saturday, June 20th – Friday, September 4th.

Be sure to check out the websites of the hosts for all the rules and more details of this fun challenge: Fantasy is More Fun, Because Reading, and Books, Movies, Reviews.Oh My! There is also a COYER Facebook group to answer questions and give encouragement.

My goals for the reading challenge:

  • Read and review at least 15 books
  • Participate in the scavenger hunt with any of my book books which will fit in a category
  • Try to take part in at least one more activity
  • Have fun

Check out this challenge. It’s a fun summer activity!