Slaying it by Chloe Neill

Book Review

 


Slaying It (Chicagoland Vampires, #13.5)Book Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Novella

Book Series: Chicagoland Vampires 13.5

Released: 7/17/2018 InterMix

Pages: 79 Price: $1.99 e-book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book. 

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Merit, Sentinel of Chicago’s Cadogan House, is pregnant. She’s ready to meet her daughter, but also very excited about the possibility of seeing her feet again. But trouble always seems to find her…

Ethan and Merit have been married for eight months, and they’re preparing for life-with-baby. Ethan’s battling his overprotectiveness, while Merit’s hoping she can figure out how to be a loving parent given her family’s chilliness.

While out on an evening walk, Merit stops to help a human in need, only to find herself under attack. A sociopath with a debt figures pregnant Merit is an easy target–and Cadogan House would pay handsomely for her return…

My Review:

This was a fun return to a finished series! Since I hadn’t made much progress in my ARC of Wild Hunger I decided to put it off a little longer and read this book before diving too far into that one.  I’m glad I did as it keeps the timeline intact being a reader that prefers to read in the order of release.

In this short visit to the world of Chicagoland Vampires, we get to witness a very pregnant Merit in all her shining, waddling glory!  Not being a kid person or interested in pregnancy at all I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading about Merit’s experience giving birth to the world’s first-born vampire.  Of course, Ethan was a hoot and it was pretty awesome to see some familiar faces around the house.  There was also this whole side story revolving around Jonah and Margot!!!  Much of the plot revolved around some chaos affecting Merit which is pretty typical for this series.  I was delighted to see Merit was her usual kick-ass self, even if her body was currently incubating a vampire miracle.

If you are a fan of the series and looking forward to Wild Hunger releasing next month I suggest picking this one up to tide you over.  It was a lot of fun and I found myself laughing out loud in several parts.  The last chapter was super sweet as well.

My Rating: 5 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Its My Birthday!

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week she asks us to share lists on the following:

 July 17: Favorite Novellas/Short Stories

This is a great idea for a list. I’m going to keep my selections to under 200 pages. I’m also going to try to limit the selection of books that are part of series to a minimum so that you don’t have to have read a ton of other books to know what is going on.

Ten short stories that I enjoyed.

  1. The Egg This is one of my absolute favorite stories by Andy Weir.  It is super short and available on his website if you want to check it out.
  2. Annie's Day Another short story by Andy Weir that is also available on his website.  This one has a great twist and is a bit longer.
  3. Spock Vs. Q (Star Trek: Spock Vs. Q, #1) If you are a Star Trek fan then I highly suggest you get your hands on this audiobook as it is so much fun!
  4. Dead Trees Give No Shelter Sticking with the Star Trek theme. Wil Wheaton who played Wesley Crusher on Next Generation has written this short story that is pretty good and available for purchase on his website.
  5. Chasing Sam (Vegas Mates, #1) I know I said I would stay away from series but this is a novella that is the first book in series.  It was really good if you are into shifter stories.
  6. For Love of an Angel (The Fallen Warriors #1)  This is another first in series about angels this time.  I only ended up finishing three books and all of them were novellas.  I should check into getting the last three books.
  7. Genesis This is a dystopian novella that has a great twist at the end.  I even got my husband to read it and he enjoyed it!
  8. Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi This book was amazing!  It is the longest title on the list but it is a compilation of short stories by the great John Scalzi.
  9. Alpha & Omega (Alpha & Omega, #0.5) This is another series book but is a prequel to the Alpha and Omega series.  If you are going to read this spin-off series then I highly suggest starting with this one because the next book will make a lot more sense.
  10. A Very Levet Christmas (Guardians of Eternity, #11.5) Alright, this book is something like 11.5 in its series but it was a cute Christmas read featuring one of the beloved characters from this world.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s list and if you were wondering what the blog title is about it is my 44th birthday today!  I’m scheduling my post so today is actually May 8th so I don’t know if I have plans or I might even be at work.  Anyway, I thought I would share. Have a great week.

Monday Check-In: Feeling Down…

Hello everyone, happy Monday to you all.  Feeling a little depressed or melancholy today.  Probably from the stress last week or just a case of mid-summer blues.  I’ve survived vacation and the fair, summer reading is almost over, the garden is in full swing.  It’s not the first time I’ve been hit with a case of the blah’s this time of year.

I did manage to finish an audiobook last week as well as made some progress in an ARC that I really need to read before next month.  I’m excited about reading it but just don’t ever seem to make time for it.  I’m also going to be a lot more distracted as I’ve decided to buy myself a new computer game for my birthday tomorrow.

I do have some exciting news in the reading front. I’m going to head back to Chicago next month to attend a book signing by Chloe Neill!!!  She will be in Naperville signing her upcoming release of Wild Hunger her first book in the Heirs of Chicagoland spin-off series!  I can’t wait to meet her as she has been on my author bucket list for some time.  I’m toying with picking up a second copy of her books for a giveaway on the blog.  Comment below if that is something you all are interested in.  If nobody is then I’ll just grab myself a copy.

Have a great week everyone!

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

Book Review

 


Shotgun LovesongsBook Genre: Fiction, Contemporary 

Book Series: N/A

Released: 3/11/14 by Thomas Dunne Books

Pages:  320 Price$25.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library. 

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Hank, Leland, Kip and Ronny were all born and raised in the same Wisconsin town — Little Wing — and are now coming into their own (or not) as husbands and fathers. One of them never left, still farming the family’s land that’s been tilled for generations. Others did leave, went farther afield to make good, with varying degrees of success; as a rock star, commodities trader, rodeo stud. And seamlessly woven into their patchwork is Beth, whose presence among them—both then and now—fuels the kind of passion one comes to expect of love songs and rivalries.

Now all four are home, in hopes of finding what could be real purchase in the world. The result is a shared memory only half-recreated, riddled with culture clashes between people who desperately wish to see themselves as the unified tribe they remember, but are confronted with how things have, in fact, changed.

There is conflict here between longtime buddies, between husbands and wives — told with writing that is, frankly, gut-wrenching, and even heartbreaking. But there is also hope, healing, and at times, even heroism. It is strong, American stuff, not at all afraid of showing that we can be good, too — not just fallible and compromising. Shotgun Lovesongs is a remarkable and uncompromising saga that explores the age-old question of whether or not you can ever truly come home again — and the kind of steely faith and love returning requires. 

My Review:

Book Talk book time for me.  Last month I struck out with my selection of A Visit From the Goon Squad but this month I seem to have hit it out of the park with Shotgun Lovesongs!  I came back from vacation to find several of the books returned already and thought, oh no, they hated my pick again.  Then I see that several other books by this author have been ordered and everyone stopping by my desk tells me how much they enjoyed this book! So yay.

I had not read it yet and was still apprehensive about what I would think about the story because popularity in the community does not automatically mean it will be something I enjoy as well.  It did take me until about halfway through my listen before I realized that I too enjoyed this story.

Not usually a fan of contemporary fiction I selected this book for our book talk for its music theme that fits in with our summer reading program.  I also liked how it was based in an area of Wisconsin that most of my patrons will be familiar with.  The small town lifestyle and relationships of the characters were also things that I thought would be relatable to our group.  I was correct on all of these points.

So, what did I think of the book?  For me, it was the torch that Leland carried for Beth, his best friend’s wife, that won me over.  His love for her and respect for their marriage just broke my heart.  He loved Beth, never stopped, but eventually found a way to be happy for them.  Of course, he almost fucks it up and destroys not only the marriage but his friendship with Henry.

I also enjoyed reading Ronny’s story.  He is the glue that holds this friendship together over the years.  You end up spending much of the book feeling sorry for the man, which was intentional, but I was delighted to see how things ended for him. Finding a happiness that no one expected.

I was a little less enamored with Beth than the boys of this story were.  I wanted her to have more of a backbone and stand up to Henry who spent the second half of the book punishing her for a crime she didn’t commit.  I so wanted her to smack him upside the head and tell him to get his head out of his ass and get over it.  She never cheated on him and his being an ass over a something that happened when they were not together was not fair on his part.

I don’t remember the last friend much.  Kip had more of a supporting role and almost seemed like an afterthought.  We did have one interesting story about his time in Chicago that about broke my heart but other than being there as a catalyst for events involving the other three I don’t feel like I got to know him very well.

My final thoughts on this book are this.  It was a beautiful story. One about friendships and how they change over time.  About love and the one that got away.  Small town life and the rights and rituals that help keep a community together.  A story about finding home and learning to be happy there.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: My Pick!

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week she asks us to share lists on the following:

July 10: TTT Throwback

This week we get to pick a previous TTT topic that we might have missed out on or simply want to revisit.  After reviewing the list of past topics I’ve settled on #43 Books I want to see as movies.  This feels like a fairly fresh topic and not similar to ones we might have done recently.  I am going to put one twist on the topic, however,  I am going to select which books or series I would like to see as tv shows.

Ten books that I’d like to see made into tv shows.

  1. Dying Bites (Bloodhound Files, #1) The Bloodhound Files:  The basis of this series is an FBI profiler is taken into a parallel dimension where earth evolved a little differently.  Vampires, Weres, and Golems are all real and make up most of the world.  Humans, on the other hand, are almost extinct.  Not having the expertise to deal with a problem they are facing they pull the lead character into their timeline and convince/force her to solve cases for her.  I could see this as a weekly show.
  2. Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1) Night Huntress:  I know, I know this tv show would essentially be a Buffy the Vampire Slayer rip-off.  I don’t really care, though, and would love to see this series as a tv show.
  3. First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) Charley Davidson: Okay so maybe this series shows up on my blog quite often recently.  Mainly due to my reread of the series.  I strongly feel that this could be a great tv show.  The characters, the eye candy, the mystery.  I would turn in every single week for sure!
  4. Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires, #1) Chicagoland Vampires:  Chicago and Witches and Vampires and Shifters and Fae…Oh, my!  This show could have some great location shots in Chi-town.  You could also feature the food along with famous landmarks.  Then there is the whole paranormal element that hasn’t been done in a Chicago tv series that I can think of.
  5. Lock In (Lock In, #1) I often thought while reading this book that it would make a great detective series on tv.  Set in the near future and features a lead character detective who also has a major disability.  This could really take off on tv and open people’s minds to think of people with disabilities as functioning members of society.
  6. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) Now this series didn’t follow the crew of the Wayfarer into book two but I think a series following a rough and tumble group of misfits whose job is to create tunnels across the universe could be a lot of fun.  A rougher version of Star Trek maybe.
  7. Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1) The Hollows: A show about a bounty hunter in a skewed reality that looks and feels a bit like the Earth we know but all the paranormal and supernatural elements have come out of the closet.
  8. The Fold This might work better as a mini-series as I’m not sure how you could create a recurring plot out of the story.
  9. The Space Between the Stars This book also might be difficult to stretch out over several seasons.  It would be interesting to see a bit of history before the events of the book so maybe a season or three if you then continue to what happens after the book finishes too.
  10. Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)  Blackdagger Brotherhood:  I would so love to see this series and all its glory in a tv show format.  Not for regular tv like CBS or NBC.  Oh no, I want all the violence, language, and sex up on the screen so this would need to be handled like the Sookie Stackhouse or Game of Thrones series and be put on pay tv.

What book series do you think would make good tv series?  Share in the comments!

Monday Morning Check-In: There’s No Place Like Home

Good Monday morning everyone.  I’d love to tell you I’m back on a normal routine this week but it is Fair Week in the county where I live so I will have another busy week where I might not get a ton of reading done.  Last week we were on vacation in Chicago, five days four nights coming home on Thursday. We had fun but came home exhausted! I also came home with an inflamed Achilles tendon after walking far more than I normally do.  I did take an audiobook and reinstalled a reading app on my phone but opened neither one while we were away so I haven’t read anything in over a week.  After we came home I returned to work and needed to catch up on yard work, much to the detriment of my recovering heal.

Today I plan on taking things easy while icing my heel off and on so I hope to start a new audiobook while I work on last-minute details for my fair entries.  Other than that it might be another week of little reading.  Or who knows maybe I finally finish the ARC I’ve been dying to start.  Have a great week!

Top Ten Tuesday: Red, White, and Blue

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week she asks us to share lists on the following:

July 3: Books with Red, White, & Blue Covers

Happy Fourth of July tomorrow everyone in the United States.  The fourth has always been my favorite holiday mainly due to childhood memories.  This year we are celebrating a little differently but I am excited about the change and hope that maybe my husband and I could start a new tradition. This week’s list was a bit more challenging than I thought it would.  It is so easy to find a cover that is red, white, or blue but to find all colors on one cover is a bit tougher or in the genres, I read at least.  I did manage to find ten that I feel fit but it is tough to use those three colors and not have a patriotic book cover.  There might be other colors in the covers below but all three we are looking for should be there.

Ten Red, White, & Blue covers

  1. Kiss of Crimson (Midnight Breed, #2)
  2. How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say
  3. A Touch of Crimson (Renegade Angels, #1)
  4. A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, #4.1, #4.3, #5.1, #7.1, #8.1)
  5. Fated (Dark Protectors, #1)
  6. You Suck (A Love Story, #2)
  7. The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)
  8. Bitten & Smitten (Immortality Bites, #1)
  9. Bled Dry (Vegas Vampires, #3)
  10. Viper (Sons of Sangue, #1)

So how did I do?  Sorry for the lack of commentary but I thought the selections were pretty self-explanatory.  Have a Happy Fourth of July!

Monday Morning Check-In: Vacay

Good Monday morning everyone!  I’m writing to you from the past as I decided to schedule a post while on vacation.  This week I’m in Chicago with the hubby and hopefully having a fabulous time.  If you want to see pics follow my personal Instagram account.  If I have any bookish adventures I’ll be sure to post them to the blog’s Instagram account.  I know that I’ve not done a good job of posting there but I’ve also not had a lot of bookish things going on as it is a light reading season for me.  I just finished The Devil in the White City and am super excited to visit Hyde Park and other locations featured in the book while in Chicago.  I hope you all have a great holiday week and I’ll see you next week as there won’t be a What I’m Reading Wednesday.

 

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Book Review

 


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed AmericaBook Genre: Non-Fiction, History, True Crime

Book Series: N/A

Released: 2/11/03 by Random House

Pages: 447 Price: $25.95 Audiobook

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.  

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Erik Larson’s gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.

Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.

The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. In this book the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before.

My Review:

Next week my husband and I will be spending some time in Chicago and Hyde Park is on my list of places to explore.  I decided that I wanted to read something either set in Chicago or Non-Fiction about Chicago and this book has an excellent reputation.  I was fortunate that it became available a week before our trip and I could listen to it before our trip.  I was a little hesitant being that the book is pretty far out of my typical reading taste but decided to give it a chance knowing I could always DNF if I didn’t like it.  Much to my surprise I ended up loving the book and spent every spare moment I could find listening to the history of Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair.

Like another reviewer stated, this is actually two books in one.  One storyline follows the creation and running of the World Fair and the other follows what is considered America’s first serial killer H.H. Holmes.  One of these stories interested me far more than the other.   Not being a fan of hearing about a psychopath lure and con unsuspecting individuals to their death I wish there had been a way to skip those parts.  I read this book purely for the story of how the Columbia Exposition came to be.  That part was fascinating to me while the other plot was quite disturbing.  Larson does an okay job of piecing these two plots together but in the end, I have to agree with another review I read and the two subjects have little to do with each other besides geographical location and that some of the murders took place around the same time as the fair.  If you are into such dark history then this part of the book might be perfect for you.

For the plotline that I was interested in, it was fascinating to hear what all it took to create such a grand fair.  I needed to remind myself that this was 125 years ago and society was vastly different from it is today.  While I found the blatant racism and sexism upsetting it is authentic to the era that was being depicted.  While some individuals in this country want to “Make America Great Again” we have to stop to consider if America was truly “great” back then.  Do we want to return to a time when women architects were paid 1/10 of their male counterparts if they were allowed to compete at all?  Or to a time when work conditions were so shitty that many lost their life or limb on the job?  Or we consider whole groups of our country as second-class citizens?

Politics aside it is a fascinating part of our history, one we can learn from.  I wish that the group putting the fair together had managed to get their act together quicker, however.  Perhaps then most of the structures would not have been built out of temporary materials and more of the fair could have lasted to the modern era.  I still plan to visit Jackson Park next week though, and thanks to Larson I will be able to imagine what it must have looked like in 1893 when America built a White City to impress the world.

My Rating: 4 Stars

What I’m Reading Wednesday

This Wednesday I’m reading…

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

 

Only working on one audiobook at the moment.  I wanted to read something non-fiction about Chicago before our trip.  A friend of mine had enjoyed this book so I put in a request for the audiobook from my library.  Have to confess I’m actually enjoying it quite a bit.  I don’t think I would have if I was not familiar with Chicago.  Since I will be visiting the grounds where the 1893 World Fair was held I’m finding it a fascinating listen.  I hope to have it finished before our trip.  I’m not sure I will be able to finish or even start the Chicagoland spin-off book before our trip so I am trying to find a way that I can read that on my phone during the trip.  I don’t want to take extra electronics so the Nook is staying home.

What are you reading this week?