Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Review: The Rising by Morgan Brice

The Rising
(Badlands #2)
Morgan Brice
Release: February 13, 2019
Goodreads Amazon
A big storm is brewing, there’s a killer on the loose, and the ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless. Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his sexy cop boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato have their hands full helping the Grand Strand brace for rough surf, driving rain, and high winds as a winter storm roars toward shore.

Everyone’s on edge, and rumors are rampant about sightings of Blackcoat Benny, a ghostly omen of danger, and worse, the Gallows Nine, the spirits of nine infamous criminals hanged back in the 1700s, a harbinger of disaster. Rough tides wash the wreck of an old pirate ship into shallow waters, high winds threaten to damage an old mansion with a dark past, and the citizens of the beach town hunker down to ride out the storm.

As the skies grow dark and the sea turns wild, several men from prominent local families end up dead under suspicious circumstances. Simon’s premonition confirms Vic’s gut feeling—the killing is just getting started. As Simon tries to reach out to the spirits of the murdered men to help the investigation, he’s attacked by malicious ghosts that don’t want anyone getting in the way of their long-overdue vengeance.

With the storm hammering the coast, and new victims piling up, Simon is certain that the sins and secrets of the past are coming due, and that the murders have a supernatural link. Vic and Simon race to stop the murders against an unholy deadline, but as they battle rising tides and risen ghosts, can they save the intended victims without getting trapped themselves?

The Rising is the second novel in the Badlands series. It is a MM romance intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

In case you missed it, I've kind of become obsessed with Morgan Brice's books this year. It all started when I read her book, Badlands, and I ended up picking up everything she's written. I've already reread Badlands a couple of times and I've been pushing it on all of my friends. All while I've been not so patiently waiting for the sequel. And that sequel was everything I wanted and more! I loved The Rising so much!

Reading this book made me realize three things:

1. I need a lot more queer paranormal romance/urban fantasy books in my life.
2. I need more books/series that revolve around established couples because Simon and Vic are everything.
3. Morgan Brice has officially made my auto-buy author list.

Ghost pirates! Boo hags! Hoo doo! Colonial manors! Unexplainable suicides that might actually be murders! It seems like a weird and quirky mix to find in a story that should never work together but it does! It does so well! This book is so cleverly written with captivating characters. I found myself fully immersed in the story from page one and read it in one sitting. And just like the first book, I loved Simon and Vic and their relationship but the mystery was the show stealer again. It was twisty and bloody intriguing and the guesses I kept making about how things were going to go down were nowhere near correct. It was just SO good!

As I said before, I loved that while there was romance in this book we get to stick with Simon and Vic as an established a fully committed couple. I loved watching them explore and deepen their relationship and figure out how to compromise with each other. I really do need more books where the romance between established couples are explored.

And can we talk about how great all of the secondary characters are? I love Simon's bestie and Vic's partner and the dynamic they have with the main characters. But I love, love, love the fact that Simon's colleagues/mentors in all things paranormal are two older women who are the local experts in their fields of magic. I loved the mix of Simon's visions, the hoo doo, and the bruja awesomeness! It makes for a unique take on the paranormal that was refreshing to read. I also love how the paranormal creatures aren't the mainstream werewolves and vampires that I love in other series. I'm not sure if I had ever heard of a boo hag before this series. Which is saying something with how much urban fantasy and paranormal romance books I read.

I could seriously gush continuously about how good this book and this series is but I'm going to contain it to that. I loved it so much! And I can see myself rereading them over and over again in the future. Alas, I’m back to waiting for the next book. Hopefully it comes soon!  

Note: I think you need to read the short story, Restless Nights, and the novella, Lucky Town, before you pick up this book.

  5 / 5 Stars

My reviews of other books in this series:

Badlands by Morgan Brice

Book 8: Murder Mill- Romantic Thriller

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Short Manga Reviews: Kakuriyo, Vols. 1 and 2

Kakuriyo: Bed and Breakfast for Spirits, Vol. 1
(Kakuriyo #1)
Midori Yuma and Wako Ioka
Release: January 1, 2019
Goodreads Amazon
Faced with the choice of being married to a strange spirit or being made into dinner, Aoi decides to create a third option for herself!

Aoi Tsubaki inherited her grandfather’s ability to see spirits—and his massive debt to them! Now she’s been kidnapped and taken to Kakuriyo, the spirit world, to make good on his bill. Her options: marry the head of the inn her grandfather trashed, or get eaten by ayakashi. But Aoi isn’t the type to let spirits push her around, and she’s determined to redeem her grandfather’s IOU on her own terms!

Aoi wants to work off her debt to the Tenjin-ya inn, but she only has one day to find a position and none of the managers are willing to hire a human! If she can just get someone to see past her family background, Aoi is certain she can prove her worth!

My main reason for picking this manga up is solely because I adored the anime adaptation that was made. I'm happy to say that I loved the artwork! The anime did an excellent job of staying true to the manga character designs. I love the story premise of this series and the story is just wonderful!
This first volume sets the scene for the rest of the series where the main character, Aoi Tsubaki, is mourning the death of her grandfather. Aoi isn't a normal human. She inherited her grandfather's ability to see spirits and he has prepared her to deal with them so she doesn't get eaten. Little does she know that her grandfather promised her to the ogre, Ōdanna, in marriage to cancel out a massive debt he had.

I love Aoi so much and her determination to work off her grandfather's debt instead of marrying the ogre. I also loved the variety of characters we've been introduced to so far. I'm intrigued by Ōdanna and I hope we'll get more information about him in the manga. I also love Ginji so much! 

So far the anime followed the manga pretty faithfully so there wasn't anything new that I didn't already know. But I loved it so much despite knowing what would happen. I can tell already that I'm going to love this series a ton. It gives me a ton of Kamisama Kiss vibes and I'm all for that. I look forward to reading more volumes in this series.

  5 / 5 Stars

Kakuriyo: Bed and Breakfast for Spirits, Vol. 2
(Kakuriyo #2)
Midori Yuma and Wako Ioka
Release: March 5, 2019
Faced with the choice of being married to a strange spirit or being made into dinner, Aoi decides to create a third option for herself!

Aoi Tsubaki inherited her grandfather’s ability to see spirits—and his massive debt to them! Now she’s been kidnapped and taken to Kakuriyo, the spirit world, to make good on his bill. Her options: marry the head of the inn her grandfather trashed, or get eaten by ayakashi. But Aoi isn’t the type to let spirits push her around, and she’s determined to redeem her grandfather’s IOU on her own terms!

Aoi’s having no luck finding a job at the Tejin-ya inn, but a chance encounter with the tengu Matsuba might give her another option! Her home cooking and kind manner impress the crow demon, and when he finds out why she’s in Kakuriyo, he offers to welcome her into his family as a daughter-in-law to pay off her debt! Can the still unemployed Aoi afford to turn down such a generous offer?

I was hoping that the second volume of this manga series would keep the momentum going and I can say that it does! This series is just so charming!

We're deep into Aoi's job hunt and she's getting a bit discouraged. I loved the fact that cooking is her stress relief. But what I loved the most about this book is the aftermath of the drunken tengu shenanigans of Lord Matsuba. He is such a lush but I loved him.

I loved that we got to see the world of Kakuriyo outside of the inn and see more of the city. It's a dangerous place for a human and we can see that through the art. Volume one is the set up book that introduces us to the world and sets up the premise for the whole series. Whereas this volume, we start to get into the meat of the story and the plotting is tighter. It made for an entrancing reading experience. I sat down and read this in one sitting and I was so entranced that it was over before I knew it. I can't give a bigger compliment to a manga than that.

We're starting to learn more about the characters as well as being introduced to new ones. What I loved is that we're starting to see that the ayakashi that Ōdanna surrounds himself with that have greater connections to him other than the boss-employee relationship. We're starting to see that there's more to Ōdanna than what we were originally led to believe. And I'm here for it!

I will say that reading this manga makes me so hungry and I want all the Japanese food. Why don't I live in an area with a good Japanese restaurant?

Even though I knew what was going to happen thanks to the anime, knowing hasn’t taken away from my enjoyment of the manga. I really loved it and I can safely say that I'm in for as long as this manga runs. I need more Aoi, Ōdanna, and Ginji in my life. 

P.S. I don't usually comment on them but the extra mini story in this volume was so freaking adorable!

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.

  5 / 5 Stars

Recommended for fans of: Kamisama Kiss

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

We Love Lists: The Unread Books That Have Been on My Bookshelves the Longest

I recently went through all of my books and did a massive culling. No. I haven't been watching Marie Kondo. I just like to go through my books every few months because I have only so much room to put books where I'm currently living. I also like to see if there are any books I'm not interested in anymore due to one reason or another. As I was going through my books this last time, I realized that I've had some of these unread books for a very long time. So I'm kind of hoping shaming myself in this post will be the motivation I need to finally get some of these read.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
Guys. I've owned this book since I graduated high school. Back in 2005. And I still haven't read it. I know I'll love it if it's anything like the animated movie I watched while I was younger. I'm really sorry, Auntie, for not having this read yet.

Bitterblue by Krisin Cashore
I bought this on release day because I loved the first two companion novels in this trilogy. That was back in 2012. Have I ever mentioned exactly how terrible I am about finishing series?

Grave Phantoms by Jenn Bennett
I know! I am ashamed that I haven't read this yet. I just wasn't ready for the series to be over. It can never end if I never read the last book, right? This one will probably happen sooner rather than later because I really do need Astrid and Bo's story in my life.
Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
I've owned this book for so long that I don't even remember what it's about. All I can recall is that it's a Beauty and the Beast retelling.

The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic
I picked this up solely based on the fact that it's a recommended book for those who loved The Raven Boys. I bought it back in 2016 to help get over the whole The Raven Cycle left in my soul but I never got around to reading it.

Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede
Wrede was one of my favorite authors growing up and I made it my goal to get a copy of everyone of her books and read them. It took me a bit to get my hands on this book but I was able to snag one when they reissued it with new cover. That was back in 2009. I am ashamed.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I feel like everybody and their dog has read this book and I still haven't. I picked it up because so many of my friends loved it and we can see how far I got with that.

What books have been on your shelves the longest?

Friday, March 1, 2019

Month in Review: February 2019

Is it just me or did the end of February totally sneak up on us? I was going along at the beginning of the month like, "Oh, it's the first of the month. I've got plenty of time to get all these things done." and then all of a sudden, "What do you mean it's the last week of the month?!" and it's a mad dash to get everything finished. Stupid 28 day month!

But we did manage to get some books read. Here's what the Weres were up to in February:


Rose Red


New Releases

Backlist/Kindle Unlimited

Rose Red

Backlist Books

New Releases

Kindle Unlimited

Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Susanna Ganucheau
Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
Dukes are Forever by Bec McMaster

We Love Lists
How do you find your fated mate?
The Fantasy Books Rose Red Thinks You Need to Read

Weres Wanna Know
Do you Book Club?

Our Most Anticipated March Releases:

March 5

March 6

March 12

March 19

March 26

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