The ancient gods are alive and well in the modern world in this hilarious, action-packed collection of original short stories featuring Atticus O'Sullivan, the handsome, tattooed, 2,000-year-old Irishman with extraordinary magic powers from Kevin Hearne's New York Times best-selling Iron Druid Chronicles.
THE EYE OF HORUS ~ 4 Stars
This is a campfire tale narrated by Attitus to Granuaile and Oberon, but it predates the IRON DRUID CHRONICLES, so Luke Daniels adopted an old Irish accent for the dialogue which was almost as fun to listen to as Owen’s. Readers discover in part how the protagonist became the Iron Druid which is a tidbit that’s mostly glossed over in the full-length books, thus I really enjoyed unraveling that mystery, plus the usual Siodhachan takes on an impossible task for a God in exchange for a future favour plot line.
GODDESS AT THE CROSSROADS ~ 3.5
This one was a barrel of laughs! The hero and William Shakespeare go witch hunting, and find more than they bargained for. O’Sullivan is pretending to be a French nobleman, so that he can “misunderstand” questions that he doesn’t want to answer, and the Bard is drunk for most of this short which makes them quite the pair. Turns out that we can credit our favourite Druid for a key piece of poetry in MacBeth! GODDESS AT THE CROSSROADS had nothing to do with the main story arc however, it was entertaining.
THE DEMON BARKER OF WHEAT STREET ~ 3 Stars
I liked this segment the least, probably because it revolved around Granuaile. It was a play on Heaven & Hell, but carnival-style. The Irish Wolfhound stole the show at certain points, and the narrative was a bit darker than what we’re used to with a pretty high body count. Although, it did serve as a lesson for the female lead that being a Druid isn’t all roses and fairy dust, it’s ghouls and reapers too.
GOLD DUST DRUID ~ 4.5 Stars
Attitus shares another tale from his past however, Oberon chimes-in throughout the account with star ratings which were freaking hilarious. His fearless leader doesn’t even get to finish his first sentence before the pooch gives him 1-star because “many books suffer the same fate”—a shot at SCOURGED’s Goodreads page? Luke Daniels had to pull-out his Italian and English accents for this Wild West short, and Kevin Hearne kept me happy with little gems such as the looming french fry-magedon. Haha!
THE BOGEYMAN OF BOORA BOG ~ 4.5 Stars
Owen regales Greta with the story about how he met Siodhachan, and became his mentor. This morsel was fairly disturbing as well but, it takes place before the near extinction of Druids, so we do get to touch base with another of Gaia’s recruits. The Morrígan pops-in, and does a bit of foreshadowing about Time Isle, and we learn that the events from THE BOGEYMAN OF BOORA BOG are responsible for the archdruid teaching his apprentice that it’s ok to bend or even break the rules when necessary.
CUDDLE DUNGEON ~ 5 Stars
We haven’t seen much of Perun, the Slavic God of Thunder, since HAMMERED which is a shame because he’s a real hoot! He and Flidais are looking to spice-up their love life, so they visit an S&M dungeon where she assumes the role of dom. What starts off on a light note quickly turns sour, and their relationship takes a turn for the worse. I have a feeling that their drama may continue to play-out in the final installment, or that might just be me hoping that Kevin Hearne will humour fans.
BLOOD PUDDING ~ 4 Stars
Granuaile’s POV is font-and-center again which would normally have me strongly considering hitting fast forward, however she actually wasn’t too bad in this short. We catch-up with her in Poland which could have almost been her intro scene at Rúla Búla. Leif has tasked her with clearing out a vampire nest with a group of mercenaries, and some amusing flirting ensues. I wish that we got to see this side of her character more often because then I wouldn’t cringe every time she opens her mouth.
HAUNTED DEVILS ~ 4.5 Stars
The Elementals don’t often ask the Druids to heal an entire species of animals, so when the call goes out, both Atticus & Owen answer. Circumstances force Greta & O’Sullivan to collaborate, and the problem in Tasmania provides a glimpse of things to come once Loki starts his end game. This tale was also an eye-opener for the archdruid in that he realizes that his pupil is the bridge between the old world and the new, and he acknowledges that he’s proud—so many feels!
THE END OF IDYLLS ~ 5 Stars
The protagonist has mentioned his first companion a couple of times in passing throughout this series, and in THE END OF IDYLLS Siodhachan tells Oberon what happened to him, and why it took him so long to open his heart to another. The Morrígan announces the onset of Ragnorok, and sets the tone for the last novel. Luke Daniels adds yet another voice to his arsenal, and I can’t tell you how psyched I am to listen to his narration of the finale! *sniff*
12 of 14 people found this review helpful
For nearly 600 years, Vlad Tepesh cared for nothing, so he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolhardy stayed away. Now, falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. And one adversary has found a devastating way to use Vlad's new bride against him. A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she.
What should have been a fiery finish to Jeaniene Frost’s NIGHT PRINCE series was a bit of a dud. INTO THE FIRE was all about Ian which made Vlad & Leila the protagonists of this story in name only. Per an FAQ on the author’s website, there’s a spin-off in the works for the former, and I get the need to propagate that message, but this could have been done in a more tasteful manner rather than hijacking Dracula’s happily-ever-after.
I still got a fair amount of enjoyment out of this novel including some good laughs. We learn about the origins of the heroine’s powers, and Mencheres makes an appearance, although the shock factor in relation to his character was a bit of a joke because I didn’t believe for one second that that thing that happened actually did, there’s just no way. That being said, I did get a kick out of the male cast sprouting boobs and totally owning their glamoured disguises.
Vlad & Leila’s fairy tale ending lacked passion—the token sex scene notwithstanding—there were too many secrets between them for a couple who’s supposedly embracing forever together, and the resolution vis-à-vis Mircea was so corny. Frost could have made this into a killer trilogy, but instead book 4 came along, and crapped the bed. This is the lowest rating that I’ve ever given something that was written by this author, and it really makes me sad.
I pre-ordered this audio months before its release because Tavia Gilbert is an experienced narrator whose familiarity with this universe and its inhabitants is beyond measure. She reads Dracula’s parts well without falling into the stereotypical trap that would be all too easy to adopt, and the energy that she brings to the love making bits will leave you blushing and a little jealous. Her voice was the saving grace of this audiobook.
INTO THE FIRE is where your paperback copy should go. However, if you really must, listen instead.
17 of 19 people found this review helpful
A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, errant wives, missing people, philandering business owners, and, oh yeah...demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead. Now Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction.
I read the past three CHARLEY DAVIDSON titles, and looking back that was a mistake because Lorelei King’s voice has become as synonymous with these books as the t-shirt quotes. Things are still trucking along after 11 volumes, some for the better, and others not so much. Like any long running series, it’s had its hiccups. More questions get added while as others are answered, but overall ELEVENTH GRAVE IN THE MOONLIGHT was another set-up installment for what is to come, and personally I’m beginning to feel like Darynda Jones has published one too many of these.
I can’t knock the humour, the characters or the diverse plot lines. The author knows how to write a fun story, I’ll give you that. Davidson has a tell-all session with a shrink that left me in stitches, and her latest quandary on what to call Reyes’ dink—the Vampire Lestat or Angry Johnny? —is up there with “Danger” and “Will Robinson”. Still, as certain death looms in the not so distant future, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy into her godhood, and believe that when the time comes, Charley will be able to focus long enough to get the job done.
My issue from the previous novel with regards to Ubie was addressed, and the protagonist is making inroads towards seizing the power that’s within her grasp. All good signs. The Diviners cult thread was definitely an eye-opener in more ways than one. We learn a lot about Davidson’s pre-reaper days which was long overdue, although I am having trouble piecing the then and now together because the two versions of Charley are polar opposites, but I’m positive that Jones has something up her sleeve. BIG things better happen in book 12 after that ending otherwise meltdown city over here!
Lorelei King was spectacular! I really am kicking myself for succumbing to the lure of shiny advanced review copies. Hopefully I have learned my lesson, and will pre-order the remaining audiobooks from here on out. She didn’t add any new tricks to her wheelhouse other than maybe an Scottish accent during Davidson’s impromptu trip across the pond where she happens to stumble across another closet like the one that kept her hidden at the convent. King is as steady as a rock in her delivery of this series; I’d know blindfolded what she was narrating from the moment she opened her mouth.
ELEVENTH GRAVE IN THE MOONLIGHT did nothing to alleviate my craving for more CHARLEY DAVIDSON, if anything it only made matters worse.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it-against Harry.
My first reaction to this audiobook when I started listening was "oh, no". I hadn't liked how things ended between Susan & Harry, and nothing good ever comes out of an ex appearing back on the scene. Then, Rodriguez revealed the reason for her return, and that was when shit got real. Dresden has been building quite a name for himself within the wizarding world, but in this installment he loses it all—his home, his business, his magical paraphernalia, and even his lil Blue Beetle that could. It was devastating, and not only that, he was also forced to give up a piece of his soul in order to save a part of himself that he didn't even know he had until this volume. At the time, Harry didn't think twice about it because that's just what you do when a loved one's life is in danger however, this decision will drastically change the direction of this series going forward. Mouse's voice is finally heard, and I absolutely LOVED what he had to say. I felt vindicated by how the story concluded vis-à-vis Susan, crushed over the false start with Murphy, and incensed by the cliff hanger. What an amazing listen!
The Warden Morgan has been accused of treason against the Wizards of the White Council - and there's only one, final punishment for that crime. He's on the run, wants his name cleared, and needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Someone like Harry Dresden....
Morgan has had it out for Harry since the early days of this series, so it was an interesting change of pace when his fate somehow landed in Dresden’s hands. Sworn enemies coming together as allies is a recipe for fireworks, and that’s precisely what TURN COAT delivered. I really enjoyed how Jim Butcher worked in the different politics of the White Court and Council, and furthered the possibility of the existence of a Black Council. Originally, I wasn’t thrilled with the Anastacia Luccio / Harry pairing, but the direction their relationship took was rather shocking. Thomas’ part was disappointing, although not entirely unexpected, and Molly made yet another faux pas which has me worried that the warlock odds are stacked against her. The whodunit mystery was well thought out, and Mouse’s contribution was fab as usual. I missed Murphy, but otherwise I think this was my favourite volume thus far. ~4.5 Stars
Texas is the only home Thierry has ever known, and she's not going anywhere - even if it means following in her notorious father's footsteps as a peacekeeper. But pinning on the badge opens her eyes to the fact sometimes fae need protection, too, and that sometimes humans are the real monsters.
This series was recommended to me by a number of Urban Fantasy aficionados, so when the first audiobook went on sale for $1.99, I decided that now was the time to start Hailey Edwards’ BLACK DOG novels. I was drawn to DOG WITH A BONE because of its short length, Fae inspired story line, and I liked Nicole Phillips’ sample sound clip, although it should be noted that this is the only volume that’s available in this format, the other three installments are currently read-only.
Thierry’s voice as the MC was on par with this genre however, it did come to my attention that she is only eighteen, and for the most part that wasn’t a turn-off as her character didn’t display any of the usual New Adult tendencies. The only niggle was when it came to her relationship with Shaw—her instructor turned partner. The age gap left me feeling a little uneasy about their romance, especially considering that he’s an authority figure AND an incubus. I couldn’t help but question whether the basis of their love was genuine or coerced.
Nicole Phillips’ girlish tone was an appropriate fit for Edwards’ heroine, albeit without a second installment to back-up her performance, it’s difficult to say whether I would have enjoyed listening to her long-term. Otherwise, I liked her interpretation of the action sequences, and even though there wasn’t a whole lot of world-building in this book, the protagonist didn’t similarly suffer. Thierry has a lot to prove with an absentee father, avoidist mother, and unpredictable powers. I look forward to her showing us what she’s got in HEIR OF THE DOG.
DOG WITH A BONE was an all right listen for the price.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
No one's tried to kill Harry Dresden for almost an entire year, and his life finally seems to be calming down. For once, the future looks fairly bright. But the past casts one hell of a long shadow.
This audiobook centered around the fae, and the Denarians which are two pretty formidable powers in this universe, so this was one action-packed installment! That being said, the drama in Harry's life is beginning to spiral out of control which made the story a little chaotic at times. I'm always happy to hang with Murphy, Michael, Thomas, Kincaid, Molly and Mouse, and things tend to get extra interesting whenever the Archive becomes involved. Still, the plot felt like it was a mishmash of previous ones what with Marcone causing trouble, and the Winter/Summer Courts out to ruin Dresden's day. The sarcastic dialogue and James Marsters narration alone makes this series a must, but this title made me feel relieved that I listened to SMALL FAVOR just-for-me, and could opt out of my usual lengthy review because otherwise I probably would have picked this novel apart.
In Chicago, someone has been killing practitioners of magic, those incapable of becoming full-fledged wizards. Shockingly, all the evidence points to Harry Dresden's half brother, Thomas, as the murderer. Determined to clear his sibling's name, Harry uncovers a conspiracy within the White Council of Wizards that threatens not only him, but his nearest and dearest, too.
This volume was high on magic, but low on detective work which wasn't the best trade-off; however the action and characters helped to re-balance the scales. Murphy was particularly awesome in this installment as was Harry's brother, Thomas. Molly got on my nerves a bit with her complete disregard for how her actions impacted others. She's learning though, as was evidenced by her growth towards the end. I really liked Ramirez too. When he called Dresden out on his sketchy behaviour, I expected the worst, and he surprised me. Lasciel's plot thread was another aspect that caught me off guard as well. Ooh, and MOUSE! And, here I was thinking that *I* had the best dog in the world. WHITE NIGHT definitely had a lot to offer, and I can't wait to discover what mischief Harry & co get into next.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a 14th story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer. It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.
I was shopping around for an fun author / narrator combo because nothing on my listening pile appealed to me at the time, and this audiobook was only $1.99 after downloading the free Kindle edition which made the cost vs reward a no-brainer. MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL was clichéd to the max with a hero that was made for the job, a similarly perfect female love interest, and Larry Correia dedicated more pages to describing the weaponry than to developing the characters or the world, but bottom line—I was wildly entertained!
This novel really was ridiculously excessive, so if you want a little more substance with your laughs then I’d suggest you try THE DRESDEN FILES by Jim Butcher instead. The humour is comparable, James Marsters excels as the reader, but the writing isn’t obnoxiously implausible. This story was complete, there were no cliff hangers, and it progressed from Pitt’s first encounter with a monster to him staving off the apocalypse as a full fledged member of MIH which was again a huge leap, yet also in all likelihood because the author didn’t know if this would become a series.
I really enjoyed Owen as a protagonist; he was fearless, a bit of a show-off, and brimming with snark which is a trait that I LOVE, especially when I’ve opted to go the audio route. The blurb describes him as an “average guy” when the only thing commonplace about him was his job, and even that was by design. After being a competitive marksman, bouncer and cage match fighter in his youth his goal was to pick the most boring profession possible, thus a CPA. The romance between him and Julie was also super stereotypical, however it fit in with the rest of the overkill.
Listening to the sample clip of Oliver Wyman was enough to hook me into signing up for 23+ hours. His macho tone was exactly what was needed for this three-hundred-pound lead, and he varied it enough so that it was clear when the first person POV was in internal monologue or external dialogue mode. The cast was fairly large, and Wyman made sure to work the accents to assist readers with keeping everyone straight. Even his female voices were good which is saying something because as a general rule the majority of male narrators struggle in this area.
MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL was so absurd in its hilarity that it was irresistible.
16 of 23 people found this review helpful
Jaenelle Angelline now reigns as Queen-protector of the Shadow Realm. No longer will the corrupt Blood slaughter her people and defile her lands. But where one chapter ends, a final, unseen battle remains to be written, and Jaenelle must unleash the terrible power that is Witch to destroy her enemies once and for all.Even so, she cannot stand alone. Somewhere, long lost in madness, is Daemon, her promised Consort.
This is a trilogy that turned into a full-on series, and it took me 2 novels to warm up to Anne Bishop’s THE BLACK JEWELS world, so after finally getting my ah-ha moment, I will be stopping here. Yes, the next installments have the potential to be even better, but they could also be a return to books 1 & 2, and I don’t care for those odds. Anyway, I really did enjoy QUEEN OF THE DARKNESS; Daemon at long last stepped into his role as consort, Jaenelle showed the Blood who’s boss, and other characters such as Lucivar & Saetan got their happy ending.
Angelline is now the undisputed Queen of Queens, although not everyone has accepted that fact yet, namely her wayward family because she hasn’t fully demonstrated what she’s capable of. That being said, I found it odd that she sat on the bench for the first quarter of this story. I went into this title thinking that it was her time to rule, and that that aspect was going to be this volume’s focal point. The author does get there eventually, and it is one of the best parts, but still I was expecting something a little flashier.
I was so very happy when Jaenelle & Daemon’s relationship made it to the romantic stage that I think that I may have whooped out loud. However, given both of their pasts (i.e Angelline’s history of rape and Sadi’s years as a pleasure slave), I’d envisioned lengthy dialogue between them prior to the two jumping in the sack together. There was a fair share of tiptoeing and doubt, yet once they admitted their feelings for each other they didn’t leave the bedroom for days. It was just too all-or-nothing. I personally appreciate the in-between stuff.
As with the writing, it also took me several novels to come to terms with John Sharian’s narration, and not because he doesn’t have the voice for it, but rather due to the age and gender of the heroine. The cast is primarily male, so from a purely logistics perspective it made sense. Nevertheless, he really let loose for the conclusion! He matched Daemon’s sadistic nature in both emotion and intensity, and the execution of Jaenelle’s master plan just wouldn’t have been the same without his delivery.
QUEEN OF THE DARKNESS made me understand what everyone’s been raving about!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful