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Book Review – Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City #1) by Penny Reid

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So one night last week I was mindlessly wandering around Amazon… Just taking a stroll through the bazillions of book possibilities and I stumbled across this… Instantly the cover grabbed me. Smart Romance! Well yes please I’ll take one of those. So I one-clicked, settled in to bed and became OBSESSED.

There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn’t know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can’t help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can’t afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can’t refuse.

Ok , so this is where it gets kind of book-crush awkward. The thing is… with this book… I LOVED EVERY SINGLE BIT.  EVERY. SINGLE. BIT. For me this was one of those elusive soul-mate books. And I literally spent the whole time I was reading the book both desperate to finish it but at the same time not wanting to get to the end because then what the freaking heck was I going to do?!

Undies on, undies on, high ho the dairy-o, I’m going to keep my undies on!

I’ll start with the Characters. For me, the characters absolutely without a doubt made this book. They were just so GOOD. We all know how important characters are (obviously). They need to capture you… And for me both Janie and Quinn AKA Sir McHotpants did that well and truly. I didn’t just like them, I loved them. (Not to mention the entire supporting cast of characters, those girls in the knitting circle made me wish they were real so I could have them as friends!) The main character Janie was possibly one of the most awesome females in a romance that I have come across. I more than loved that she wasn’t the usual fare you expect, you know… the witty but semi-bland pretty girl who is all and all, very normal. Here we have a girl who is different. Quirky. Completely ADORKABLE. She can prattle off more random trivia than Wikipedia and gets herself into some pretty rad awkward moments. She’s independent and has some insecurities and issues… So pretty much, she is one of us. Very quickly I had a girl crush.

At present, I thought about how the elevators were like mechanical horses, and I wondered if anyone loved them or named them. I wondered what steps I could take to remove the word ‘moisture’ or even ‘moist’ from the English language. I really hated the way it sounded and always went out of my way to avoid saying it.

I won’t leave Janie to take all of the credit though… Quinn was more than just a potential love interest. He had some brains of his own, not to mention he was kind of mysterious and so not a goody two shoes. I don’t know if you guys are like me but I do love my fictional men to have a serving of some type of badness.

Ok enough crushing on the characters, because the story line was pretty darn good too. I loved that as well as the tried and true romantic formula there were some WTF storylines and dramas thrown in. I think a balance was struck and I will guarantee that you won’t read a carbon copy of this story. The book is longer than a quick romance read but it used every chapter well with so much goodness going on in there that I wasn’t bored for a second. I know I did mention to my BBH that the first bit is a bit slower going than the majority of it, but this wasn’t a negative to me… I appreciated the work put into the background story and the character building. Like I said above, it’s all about the characters! Oh and can I just say that I LOVED that the ending was both satisfying (like really satisfying… seriously don’t even think about skipping to ‘check out’ the last pages while you’re reading the start) but also left plenty of ‘to be continued’ ready for the next book. (Which is actually out this month on the 24th) So I feel like this book provides the best of both worlds!

So thank you Penny Reid. For writing such ridiculously awesome characters, in a really fantastic story that didn’t induce any eye-rolling, with an ending that did not make me sit staring at my kindle with my face shaped like a question mark. I absolutely cannot wait for Neanderthal Marries Human. Seriously. Cannot. Wait.

photo credit: Bob.Fornal via photopin cc

photo credit: erika.tricroche via photopin

Sunday Loves – 08.06.2014

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More True Blood goodness…

Yes, I know… MORE True Blood posts. But it’s June now which means we are on the countdown to the first episode of the LAST season! So in a few short weeks my BBH and I will be settling in to start watching/eating…

Kristal and I...

Kristal and I…

So Last week Trailer #2 was released for the upcoming season, many of you guys have probably already seen it but in case you haven’t….

My only issue, (apart from the vampire zombie thing, we all know how I feel about that…Ahem…) is once again where the EFF is ERIC!!! True Blood you better not mess with us, he better be coming back!

Eric Northman AKA Future Ex Husband #2

Eric Northman AKA Future Ex Husband #2

Swoooonnnnnn…….

So take this as a warning… there will be much more TB discussion here at OUBB… It’s just that time of year!

Book Review – Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson #6) by Darynda Jones

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If I were to hashtag that moment, my status would read something like #impressed

Ok, so here at OUBB we are big Charley Davidson fans. Huge Charley Davidson fans really. My BBH Kristal got me into this series and I’ve loved it since the first book. We’ve decided to buddy read this book (#6) since we both knew we were going to spend A LOT of time discussing it with each other anyway….probably at random times as well… AKA after our kids music class 2 days ago on the side of the road where I felt we had a very in-depth heart to heart about all things Charley and Reyes… Yes, we really do have that much to say about it! So lets get started…

Charm – Ok firstly I didn’t know what to expect after book 5… That book was SPOOKY and heavy. A hard act to follow I think. This book to me had a TOTALLY different feel. It still had it’s heavy spooky parts for sure, but it was generally a lot lighter I thought. Which in some ways was a good salve after the last one, heavens knows Charley probably needed a slight break. But also was not at all what I was expecting!

Kristal – I LOVED book five. It was my favourite of the series so far, so I was beyond excited for this one. I really liked the slightly darker tone of book five and loved that we were getting a bit of character development where Charley was concerned. But I agree, book six had a completely different feel! I absolutely devoured this book, just like all of the previous ones, but I felt a little disappointed with the way she seemed to have taken a step back. I think I was hoping for bigger and better things for her but instead it felt like we just skimmed along the top of her personality.

Charm – Oh yeah Charley was as friggen hilarious as always. I LOVE her one liners and general ridiculousness. She is one character I wish I could absorb a little bit into myself just so I could be a tad cooler. I do have to mention, as much as I was cracking up all over the show there were a few points in the story where I was thinking she could’ve been a bit more serious about the situation. I’m all for reckless abandon, but sometimes a bit of maturity is important. I feel like with everything shes been through there might’ve been more glimpses of that?

Kristal – Definitely. At the start of book six it did mention she had nightmares about her experiences in the previous books but then….nothing? It felt like quite a few random story-lines were started and not followed through with. I’m hoping that this is leading up to one big, awesome grand finale, where everything comes together and blows our minds! It IS a Darynda Jones book so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what is happening. The one story-line that I’m keen to hear more about is the one involving her dad – what’s going on there???!!! Oh and her “other” family.

Charm – Yeah this is the one thing in the book I was slightly iffy about, in every other book Charley always has a few cases on the go plus whatever personal/Reaper stuff is going on… In this book she has A LOT going on. There were so many storylines! Some haven’t been wrapped up yet, quite a few were… I LOVED Angel’s storyline. So I totally agree with you Kristal… I’m thinking there is a higher purpose to everything that’s been going on. Also I am totally with you on the Dad story… I want MORE. What on earth is happening. Also, I’m not going to wreck the ending for any of you that haven’t read it but WHAT ON EARTH!!! I’m seriously wondering what is coming up in the next book after that happened?!

Kristal – Hmmmm yea. That ending. People seem to be either loving or hating it. I’m in the hating it group for now to be honest (or at least very, very dubious), but that could always change in the next book depending on how things go. I just can’t see her being able to be her full self with that going on! But I’m keeping an open mind, so we shall see! I”m really looking forward to October now so I can see how it’s all going to play out. Eeeeep!

Charm – Yeah I think I’ll reserve judgment on the ending in this book until after I’ve read #7. I can’t wait to see what direction Darynda Jones will take… because really it could go anywhere. Also before we end this… my final words are: Reyes = Yum.

Kristal – Oh Reyes…sigh. I love him too. Definitely on my top UF Book Boyfriend list. This story really COULD go anywhere at this point. There are so many unanswered questions. Luckily we don’t have long to wait for Seventh Grave and No Body! Love that we get two books this year. Can’t wait to see what comes next!

He took hold of my chin and lifted my face to his. “I have a feeling a machete and a spork can work very well together.”

photo credit: youngdoo via photopin ccphoto credit: Bhumika.B via photopin cc

Sunday Loves – 25.05.2014

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Charley Davidson love!

 

Tonight my BBH and I are starting our buddy read of the sixth Charley Davidson book, Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones. To say we’re excited is possibly a big fat understatement. So, with this in mind (and with the fact I am DYING to get reading!) I am dedicating tonight’s Sunday love to our favourite Grim Reaper…

Here’s the blurb for First Grave on the Right… (Goodreads) This should give you a taste of the amazingness to come…

 


This whole grim reaper thing should have come with a manual.
Or a diagram of some kind.
A flow chart would have been nice.

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can’t she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?

With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, First Grave on the Right is your signpost to paranormal suspense of the highest order.


If you like UF or even if you just like a read that will make you laugh, love and be brave then you will seriously LOVE this series. Charley has the perfect amount of hilariousness and attitude to make you wish you were her best buddy. You seriously wont get enough of her… and her penchant for naming inanimate objects. Also, just as a warning… you will absolutely end up with a book boyfriend from this series. He is hotter than hell itself. Swoon. Seriously. Read it. And when you have, swap notes with us!

Third Grave Dead Ahead

By Darynda Jones

 

Oh and just in case you get as hooked as we are… here is the seventh book due out later this year….

 

Sunday Loves – 18.05.2014

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Let the countdown begin…

BUT SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHERE IS ERIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just need some reassurance that he’ll be showing up,,, I’ll even make a bargain, if they bring back Eric then I wont whinge so much about the fact that I’m pretty sure I see zombie-vampires…. Ahem….

More Eric. Less zombies. That is all.

Book Review – The Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) By Deborah Harkness

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I just want to start this review off with a resounding WOW! This book has been sitting in my TBR folder for a while and I seriously feel like slapping myself for not getting to it sooner! I didn’t bother to check the size of this book when I downloaded it, but soon realized last week that I was going to be dedicating many late nights to finishing it. And it was SO worth it!

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

The story is set in a reality where there are humans, witches, vampires and daemons.  Humans don’t know the half of what is going on in their world (typical of us humans huh!) So, one of the things I loved about this book is how much information we were provided with for each ‘creature’. Slowly as the story continued more and more details were revealed so I felt as though I was really starting to understand what made the vampires/witches/daemons the way they were, why they acted the way they did and believed the things they did. I always felt that there was a reason for the characters following the paths they were following. From what I was learning about each character I could understand the choices they made / reactions they had. It didn’t ever feel like it had just been plunked together for the sake of a storyline, which can quite often happen in fantasy.

”Normal’ is a bedtime story – a fable – that humans tell themselves to feel better when faced with overwhelming evidence that most of what’s happening around them is not “normal” at all.’

This brings me to what I think makes this story stand out from other books of the same genre that I’ve read lately…. It is completely and utterly immersed in history, and to a lesser extent, science. It comes across as a very ‘smart’ book. So we get a very interesting mix of the whimsy and folk tales of fantasy, crossed with the cold hard DNA and theories of science and the hindsight and re-telling of history. This is all evident in our MC, Diana Bishop, who specializes in the history of alchemy. She spends a lot of her time reading old manuscripts in a library, trying to decode them. Not to mention she is from a long line of witches which are notorious from a well known era in history…And of course, she meets a 1500 year old Vampire by the name of Matthew Clairmont. So he himself is the epitome of history. Through his love of vintage wine, his re-telling of encounters with many well known historical figures, and many well know times and events, plus of course is own varied lives and lifestyles lived through the ages, we get to see the world as it develops. Like with the characters in this book, it’s the little things, the details that really bring this story to life, and the historical detail is phenomenal.

‘Nobody really wants to keep secrets, not even the dead. People leave clues everywhere, and if you pay attention, you can piece them together.’

This book had so many characters that I LOVED. Even some of the more minor characters were written in such a way that they were so real and engaging, that I couldn’t help but become a fan. Of course our main character Diana Bishop had everything I like to see in a MC, including the good bits and the frustrating bits. Sometimes I wanted to shake her for being so naive… but then, wouldn’t we all be in the situations she faces? The fact that she was such a Scholar and so book smart made sure that she wasn’t just the usual run of the mill heroine that you see, she had that little bit extra, yet still kept all the coolness that a leading lady should have. I loved that she could keep up intellectually with much older beings, that it wasn’t all ‘woe is me’ in her life.

‘She’s not the earrings and coloured hair type. She’s more the three-mile run followed by an hour on the river in a dangerously tiny boat type’

I also had a major soft spot for Ysabeau, (Matthew’s ‘mother’) the way she was written, and her development throughout the book actually has her almost at the top of my list of favourite characters.  She had such a huge part to play in the storyline and understanding of the vampires and their relationships with each other and other creatures. Sometimes I think that more minor characters don’t always get the attention they deserve, but Ysabeau definitely deserves a mention. She was absolutely a standout for me.

And I’ve saved the best for last; Matthew Clairmont has now been added to my book boyfriends list.  Every UF romance has to have a swoon-worthy leading male and this one is no exception. This is exactly how I love my main men, scary and mysterious at first, then lovable and irresistible by the end… oh and with a tad of torment and possessiveness of course! (I won’t go on and on, you need to have some mystery!)

Matthew Clairmont smiled. My heart stopped beating for a fraction of a second. This was not the small, polite smile with which I was now familiar. His lips curved toward his eyes, making his whole face sparkle. God, he was beautiful, I thought again, slightly dazzled.

Yep, that’ll do me. Tall, dark and handsome. If the recipe works, why change it!

I had very few gripes, the start maybe quarter of the book was SO loaded with detail that it was slow to get off the ground, I personally enjoyed the descriptions and information about every little thing but I know it’s not for everyone. By the time you’re reaching the second half of the book, the pace definitely increases. The only parts I sometimes had to stop, think and put more effort into was the Alchemy talk (which I’m pretty sure would go for many of you, unless you have a bit of understanding on the subject.) Sometimes I felt like maybe I hadn’t exactly grasped what was being said in those instances, so would always read back and make sure I did. I didn’t find this too frustrating but when you combine that and the fact it’s not a small book you really do need to be prepared to set aside some time to process it.

This book is the first in a trilogy, I don’t mind cliff-hangers (my BBH HATES them, but I promise Kristal, you will be fine with this one) but I have to say I really loved how in this book it tied up (for now) what you really needed to have tied up but left you with enough of a cliff-hanger that you know you want to read more. Also to be fair, with such a big book it would’ve been frustrating to not have some closure in a few areas. So, overall, I did really love this book. That’s probably the third time I’ve said that in this review! But I did. It was a lot more ‘work’ than other fantasy books I’ve read, a lot of detail to process, but in my opinion it was totally worth it. I really enjoyed nearly every aspect of the book. Mostly, I loved that even though it is, at its heart a romance, it’s not soppy, overwhelming, or boring. The romance is definitely there, but there’s enough going on that it balances out. There is really no question about it; I will definitely be reading the next 2 installments.

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Sunday Loves – 06.04.2014

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So this happened this week… Now I admit it’s not much… but it’s a start of something. We are preeeeetty excited! We have a tradition of watching True Blood together every week. We have both read the books as well, and we can get quite passionate about anything and everything to do with the series, especially Eric (and TV Alcide.) Kristal even has a VERY impressive GIF of Eric from last season…Ahem… If you watched last season I bet you can guess what I’m referring to! Weow Weeeowww!

Anyway, not long to wait. My only hope is, at the end last year it looked like maybe we were dealing with a version of zombie vampires, I really really hope that this is not the case…

Book Review – Love and Lists (Chocoholics #1) by Tara Sivec

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For anyone familiar with Tara Sivecs’ books, Love and Lists is a Chocolate Lovers spin-off. This new series follows the kids of the clan from the Chocolate Lovers series. You don’t need to read Chocolate Lovers to enjoy this series – but you should because it’s awesome. We all remember Gavin from Chocolate Lovers series, right? The hilarious son of Claire and Carters with the filthy mouth. God, he was funny but imagine if he was your kid? The shame! Anyway, Gavin is all grown up now and has his own book. I’m a little surprised he turned out to be such a well-rounded adult to be honest!

Gavin has it bad for Charlotte (Liz and Jim’s kid) and decides to make a to-do list to win her over, with help from his best friend – the completely idiotic, Tyler. As you can imagine it all goes wrong and, seriously, at times its like watching a car wreck. So cringe worthy! But so, so, SO funny. Poor Gavin. 

“Do you have any idea what it’s like to be a dude and tell a woman you love her only to have her shoot you down? Neither do I, but i’m guessing it would cut me deep.”

“I want her to love me. I want her to see me as something other than a friend. I want her to realize that we’re soul mates. F-ck. Maybe I am getting my period.”

We get to see all of our old favorites from the original gang and they haven’t changed AT ALL. Claire is slightly more maternal maybe, but only very slightly. They are still up to their usual shenanigans and its great. There are some classic lines from people like Drew and Liz dishing out their own special brand of advice  –

“Honey, he doesn’t have a feminine side. He has a vagina.”

“You are a disgrace. Your mother should have swallowed.”

And there’s a lot of talk of body parts in this book but really, I wouldn’t expect anything less from Gavin’s story. Or any story in this series, actually.

“I think my balls just ran away in fear. Oh look, there they go, right out the front door. GOOD-BYE, BOYS!”

The conversations between Liz and Claire about organizing their kids wedding (well before they are even an item) were gold! It reminded me so much of how BBH and i would be/ already are when talking about our own children. Ahem.

There’s is only one teeny gripe really and that is that i found the timeline/ character development a little confusing. It was almost like Gavin and Charlotte were coming in more as friends rather than kids of original cast members. It’s quickly overlooked though because, who cares? It was still hilarious and I loved every second of it. 

 

 

 

Book Review – Iced (Dani O’Malley #1 / Fever #6) by Karen Marie Moning

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After being introduced to the Fae shattered Dublin streets in the Fever series universe by my better blogging half I couldn’t get through the 5 books fast enough… I was riveted, terrified, in love, entertained and finally despairing once I reached the end of the (series) road. Wtf! It was over and I still wanted to read so much more about this world! So what was next? This is where Dani  ‘Mega’ O’Malley steps in… As a character introduced near the last of the Fever books I could take her or leave her. She was 14, kind of annoying and totally not the top of my list of characters that I was turning my kindle on every chance I could to read about (ahem, helloooooo Jerricho Barrons!) So I was hesitant to begin Iced. Iced is the start of a series featuring Dani, still set in the same reality as fever. Picking back up where  Shadowfever left off, 1 AWC (After the wall crash) Would 14 year old Dani be able to have me as addicted to a fae riddled world as 22 year old Mac did? Almost not.

Imagine a world that doesn’t know its own rules. No cell phones. No internet. No stock market. No money. No legal system. A third of the world’s population wiped out in a single night and the count rising by the million every day. The human race is an endangered species.

Firstly, my life issues with this book.

A 14 year old girl amidst a world fractured with Faery. She’s braver than I’d be! But here’s my biggest issue…. She’s 14. If she had even aged a couple of years i wouldn’t have found some of the interactions so almost icky (for lack of a better word!). I get you have to distort your view of the world in these books, I mean people are being fed on like McDonalds by all kinds of creepy Fae characters (like the things that gave me the heebies at night, shades) But a 14 year old is a 14 year old. That is inescapable. The people…ha! Beings obsessed with said 14 year old…. Creepy ex highlander – almost Unseelie Fae Prince stalker….erm, ok then… Some kind of never-ending powerful creature man who seems to have an agenda…yes indeed…..and the only character that should probably have a thing for the young heroine, another teenager, a genius one at that. Didn’t see that piece of normal coming did you!

No matter how much I love reading KMMs description and stories of this world I just can’t get away from the fact the main character is basically just out of her tweens, with men blatantly attracted to her. The creepy meter gets ridiculous in instances when the almost Unseelie Fae Prince announces ‘shes worth waiting for’ blegh!!! He makes numerous similar statements and none of them give you a warm fuzzy feeling. It doesn’t escape me that this is probably intended. But how far is too far when you are talking a young girl and her sexuality (or more aptly a sexuality that’s being pushed on her from others) I kept thinking KMM would skip forward in time and we’d be seeing an older version of Dani. Nope, no such luck in this book. But there are more on the way so here’s hoping before this young girl/2 older men thing becomes any creepier, the age gap is closed to something my stomach can deal with.

Another thing on my issue list… Ryoden and Dani. Why does this feel like a mirror of the relationship that Mac and Barrons had in the fever series. Cut through the superficial stuff and its still a female character clueless about the subtle back and forth between them,  a big bad powerful guy watching out for her, winding her up, being driven ‘bugfuck’ by her, cramping her style (according to her), being secretive and immortal. Same same same!!! Too much the same in my opinion! Is it just what these guys do? It’s like its part of their description. Tall, dark, ruggedly handsome, powerful, wild animal tendencies, secretive, hard to kill and drawn to unstable much younger gifted girls but wont communicate openly to state such facts because remember…they are secretive…

Now aside from all of that, here’s the good stuff.

I did get totally lost in and enjoyed different parts the story. I loved how once in a while chapters were from other characters perspectives, such as Christian (ex highlander, currently transforming into an Unseelie Fae prince) and Kat the tormented interim Grand mistress of side-seers. It gave the story variety and allowed the book to cover more ground surrounding the goings on than if it had just been written solely from Danis POV.

I still loved reading about planet earth and faery combined into the twisted deadly world it now is. The care taken to build up the descriptions of the world, layer more detail on top of what I already knew from the Fever books, what it looked like and felt like. From the freezing temperatures, destitute humans and serious lack of food, the beautiful white mansion in Faery, the depths and levels of Chesters, right to the tethered IFP blazing with heat outside the abbey. The new monsters (shout out to papa roach and his liposuction abilities and the truly horrific Crimson hag… Ugh. I. Just. Cannot.) I thought the story coming through of Danis childhood helped pad her character out. Suddenly some of her quirks had reason… and last but not least, my inner fan-girl needs to come out and DIE over the fact that Barrons, Ryoden, Lor and the rest of that group of mysterious men/not men are still just so friggen awesome/Unexpectedly funny/scary it hurts! There’s no food to be found but here’s a casual steak, mashed potato and milk. Pretty much describes those guys right there.

So we know that I’m a Fever fan. But am I a Dani O’Malley fan as well?  Get her to grow up a lot age wise and maybe a bit maturity wise and I could be. Until then I’m on the fence. If you’re a fever fan then there is no harm in reading this book. It’ll take no time at all and at the least there are a couple of appearances from Mac and Barrons (Including one VERY bloody one and what I hope is some story building for more substantial appearances from them in the future) and a good general easy to read story line that keeps layering on the already diverse world in which its set. At the worst you’ll feel like me and still won’t love the main character…but if you are like me and love to get lost amongst the Seelie, Unseelie and humans, then knowing this won’t put you off, you’ll grit your teeth, deal with it, shut your wardrobe, turn on all of your lights and read anyway.

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