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The Obituary Society by Jessica L. Randall


I was completely blown away by The Obituary Society. The title and the cover first attracted me to the book; the title feel kind of morbid (always nice) and the cover embodies what summer in the south is to me and also something I am craving in the very center of my being in February in the Pacific Northwest. I picked it up a looong time ago when it was free on Amazon and it just took me this long to get around to reading it.

This book follows Lila Moore. She has temporary moved back to Auburn, Nebraska to tie up her grandfather's affairs after his passing. She's staying with her great aunt, Ada, and they are both enjoying getting to spend some time together. Right away this seems the perfect "book next door." It's a smooth read about people you instantly care about. At the beginning a supernatural element (but not too crazy, believable and along the ghost or poltergeist vein of "supernatural") is introduced and instead of obsessing about it the entire book, it kind of takes the backseat during the ride. At first I thought it weird but if you think about it, it totally makes sense. If something really weird happened to you, you'd probably accept it after not getting any answers and move on. It also has a great reading speed. It is pretty laid back but at no point in the story do you feel bored or like things need to speed up. Somehow, amazingly, this book seems to have the perfect book formula.

5/5 Stars

The Stranger's Obituary is book two in the series. When I first found out that there was another book I was super excited, then when I found out that it follows another story line I was massively disappointed. I generally don't like to spend a whole book getting to know and love characters then not getting to hear as much from them going forward. I got the book anyway (I borrowed free through Prime, though I would have bought it if borrowing wasn't an option) and I am so glad I gave it a chance. In The Stranger's Obituary, Mina is our Main character but we also get to read from the point of view of her sister, Bernadette (also a movie star), a diner-owner, Doug, and a few other characters. The POV switch was nicely done and there was no unnecessary overlap. Mina wakes up one day to find that her sister has shown up unexpectedly after 8 years of no contact. We see them work though their differences, find out why Bernadette left Auburn to begin with, and find out what makes Mina so special.

5/5 Stars

I really cannot express how much I enjoyed these books. The only thing I can think of to compare them to is Charlaine Harris's "Midnight, Texas" books; they are both slower reads- maybe slow isn't a good word. Laid back? Southern? I dunno, but I like them. Harris's books definitely have more mystery and more of a supernatural feel and element to them and The Obituary Society novels have a more real-life feel to them.

Blood In Her Veins by Faith Hunter


Blood In Her Veins is another compilation of great Jane Yellowrock short stories and novellas. Cat o' Nine Tales is a previously released audiobook and most of Blood In Her Veins (about 50% of it) is everything that is in Cat o' Nine Tales, just in print now. I reread some of my favorites from the first book, but mostly skipped to the new stories. I'm only going to talk about those in detail, but know that all of the stories are great and I highly recommend all of them!

The Devil's Left Boot
This one follows Liz and Cia- Everheart sisters and twins. They help a former classmate track down her missing mother, and along the way they run into some old vampire skeletons in the closet.

Off the Grid
Nell is our MC here. She's a new character for us, but we will get to know her very well this fall when Blood of the Earth comes out; Faith's new series featuring Nell! Her story is really interesting and I am so excited for it. Nell is a kinda-witch who escaped life on a cult compound. Jane Yellowrock meets Nell after a Master Vamp in Tennessee requests help locating a lost member.

Not All as It Seems
Molly solves the mystery of why a teapot belonging to a vampire keeps showing up in Angie's toy box. I love Molly stories and seeing her protect her kits.

Cat Fight
Jane is sent to broker peace between the vamps and witches of Oiseau (again). This novella is pretty long and had a lot of things going on. It didn't have as quick a pace as I like to see in a short story, but it was still an enjoyable read. It actually read like a scene that was cut from a book; it was a bit more spread out, like we would have time to be there a while. It did have delightful mentions of bayou food.

Bound No More
This is high up on my list of favorite JY shorts. Molly and Angie Baby are in New Orleans to meet with the NO coven prior to the big council meeting coming up. They're attacked by a young arcenciel trying to alter the timeline of someone with them. This one has a big cast and I love them all.

If you haven't read any of the Jane Yellowrock books, I severely recommend them, especially in audio book format. Read my review of those here. These are my favorite urban fantasy books by leaps and bounds. Beast is one of my top five book characters of all time.

5/5 Stars

Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter (Early Review)


I'd like to start off this review by saying that I LOVE the Jane Yellowrock series and it is my favorite urban fantasy series by leaps and bounds.

BUT. The books have gotten...stale. We're on book ten, and while there are some interesting things going on, things aren't happening fast enough for my tastes. At the beginning of the series, it seems like so much would be packed into each book with several events to work around and solve, and now the books focus on one event that drags out for the duration. And Jane has been barfing blood for like three books now and she doesn't seem to want to get to the bottom of what's going on.

As for Shadow Rites itself as a book, it has all of the fun things I love about Jane's world: magic, Bruiser, vamps, Beast, and so much more. As Leo's Enforcer, Jane is investigating the kidnapping of a recently-found Master Vamp and getting to the bottom of who is trying to foil a meeting of all the witches in the US.

The book was great, but I really hope the series picks up speed with the next book. I will also say that this is the first of this series that I have read and not listened to on audiobook, which may have lessened by excitement for the book. I do plan on getting the audiobook in April when the book comes out because I just love the narrator, Khristine Vham, so much.

Shadow Rites will be out on April 5th, 2016. If you haven't started this series yet, I highly recommend it!

3/5 Stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Arena by Holly Jennings


Woah! Arena! This book totally took me by surprise. It is a good read, but when I realized how subtle the author was with big ideas I was very, very impressed!

Kali Ling is part of a team that plays virtual games for a living. In 2054, you are just as strong in-game as you are in real life so you're really an athlete if you play professionally. These games are also super popular, so if you play them then you're a celebrity, complete with paparazzi, tabloid features, the works. Kali is technically a "celebrity" but she doesn't feel or act like one, so we get to read the story from the point-of-view of a normal person with everyday struggles who is in a situation that the rest of us aren't. It is neat realizing she is actually a celebrity at the same time she does.

There are boys, love, and sex in the book but what I love about it is that they're not a driving force for any of Kali's decisions. They're more like things that happen while she's living life for herself. Kali also deals with an addiction problem but she overcomes it with the help of a friend, a therapist, and her own inner strength. There are a few cheesy moments but the awesomeness of the rest of the book quickly overshadows them. This is such a strong character and such a good book.

5/5 Stars

Arena will be available on April 5th, 2016. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley by AceRoc books in exchange for an honest review.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George


I really didn't see this book coming. This book is love, pain, losing yourself, finding yourself, happiness, and makes you wonder if you're doing everything you can to get the most out of life. And it makes you feel like you absolutely must cruise a boat down a river in France.
Jean is the proud owner of a bookstore-on-a-barge on the Seine in Paris. He is sure to keep his life absolutely sense-free to keep himself from thinking of his lost love, Manon. We find out that she mailed him a letter after she left, and instead of reading the usual excuses from a lover who has left you that Jean was sure he would find, he left it unopened for 21 years. What he finds when he does open it causes him to leave immediately, in his book barge, for the south of France.
But The Little Paris Bookshop is so much more than that. So many people find themselves throughout the course of this book that you can't help but find a little of yourself as well. It is what I am beginning to call a French Fairy Tale; it doesn't have magic in the traditional sense but every single chapter, scene, and word is fulled with the magic of being alive. Nina George is amazing; do yourself a favor and read this book!

5/5 Stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Turning 29

Turning 29 was much more weird than I thought it would be. I've never given much thought to ever being out of my twenties; it's not that I thought I would be in my twenties forever, they've just lasted for almost ten years and it seemed like they would just keep on going forever.

I still have the rest of the year to go, and while 9 years of my twenties saw me graduate college, travel to Europe for the first (and second) time, get engaged, get married, move across the country, etc., etc., I still have some big plans for the tenth year.

Here's what my 29th of January looked like:

Joy the Baker's recipe for chocolate cake and frosting. I cheated and had this on the 28th.

Wearing my Franc necklace from the NC Renaissance Fest several years ago.

Presents from Mom and Dad!

Birthday lunch *heart eyes*

Birthday date and dinner.

Birthday dinner from Plum Bistro.

My birthday present from Joe (!!!) and Jacques helping me break it in.
Today I am en route to Atlanta with two dear lady friends where we will then drive to Savannah for a trip filled with... well, right now they're calling for rain. $%&*. We're going to eat all of the southern food we can get our hands on, visit the beautiful Atlantic, and hit up some classy cemeteries. 

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass


Throne of Glass was a very up-and-down read for me. The beginning and end were pretty weak for me but the middle was very interesting and exciting. This story follows Celaena, a notorious assassin who was caught and sent to a prison camp with horrific working conditions; most prisoners don't last three months but Celaena has lasted one year. One day, the crown prince comes to ask her if she will agree to compete as his champion in a search for a private champion/assassin for the King. If she agrees, wins, and serves four years, she will have her freedom. She agrees and is taken back to the castle.

In the interesting bit in the middle, Celaena befriends a princess, a prince, and the head of the royal guard. These relationships are interesting, complex, and evolve with each page. During the contest, a supernatural element is introduced; it is very mysterious and intriguing. Up until the ending I was on board, but when Celaena made a decision regarding a love interest, I don't feel that there were enough reasons to support the decision she made. It wasn't the decision itself I wasn't happy with (because anything can be argued in literature), but I feel that with the lack of support for the decision it was a weak one. With this ending, I have no interest in reading more in this series. I didn't care for the audio book narrator either.

3/5 Stars