Thursday, December 18, 2014

Goldilox and the Ten Lists: Five Fave Steampunk Novels of 2014


Welcome to Goldilox and the Ten Lists, our year end countdown of our favorite books by category. We'll have a new subject every weekday between now and the end of the year.

I read a lot of Steampunk this year, but obviously I couldn't read them all. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order. Let me know your faves in the comments.

The Kraken King (Iron Seas #4)
by Meljean Brook
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it: This book is EPIC! Zenobia Fox has been repeatedly kidnapped and held for ransom, so she's learned to keep her identity a secret. So when Ariq tries to get to know her, she's immediately suspicious despite their instant chemistry. And of course her reluctance to open up makes him think she has ulterior motives. But The Kraken King is so much more than a romance. It has political intrigue, massive action scenes and incredible gadgets.



Evernight (Darkest London #5)
by Kristen Callihan
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it: Each book in this series has been bigger and better than the last. The romance is steamier, the gadgets are more prominent and a new kind of supe is added to the world. Evernight introduces the Fae and brings in some family history from previous books. I loved finally getting to see Holly's workshop and some of her inventions.




Engraved (St. Croix Chronicles #5)
by Karina Cooper
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it: This is the second-to-last book in the series and it answers a lot of questions and wraps up part of Cherry's story. The last half is action-packed and fraught with tension, especially the scenes between Cherry and Hawke. Engraved builds to a surprising and heart wrenching climax and still leaves me wanting some answers. I'm glad I won't have to wait long to see what happens next. The finale, Transmuted is out in January.



The Clockwork Dagger
by Beth Cato
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it: This one's a little more fantasy than my other Steampunk selections, but it's got some great clockwork pieces and a dirigible, which you may have noticed is one of my favorite things. The heroine is a healer and her faith-based magic adds an original element to the story.
Read Rose Red's review here.




Wicked After Midnight (Blud #3)
by Delilah S. Dawson
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it: The last book in the Blud series is darker and more complex than any of the others, dealing with real world issues like human trafficking. It's set in a wonderfully decadent demon cabaret. It has a super creepy villain, and a great love story. And you know how I love my Steampunk gadgets. This book has one of my all time favorites - a giant mechanical elephant stampeding through Paris.

 
 

 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Goldilox and the Ten Lists: Top 5 Audiobooks of 2014!


Welcome to Goldilox and the Ten Lists, our year end countdown of our favorite books by category. We'll have a new subject every weekday between now and the end of the year. Today is all about the Best Audiobooks of 2014 - according to me, Goldilox!

Let me know your favorite audios of the past year in the comments!


Ignite Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Narrator: Kate Simses
Audible
         
When I started this audio I wasn't sold at first. Kate Simses' Juliet has a very small and fragile sounding voice, which is totally appropriate, just not what I'm used to in a narrator. But her voice grew on me and grew on me until I couldn't imagine Juliette sounding any differently. The narrator's voice also built slightly as the story went on and Juliette's power and confidence grew, which I loved a lot. Kate's voices for Adam and Warner were really great, but she really takes the cake with her version of my beloved Kenji.



Cress
Author: Marissa Meyer
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Audible

I adored this audiobook. Rececca Soler just killed Cress' voice (in the best way possible), but it was her versions of Captain Thorne, Iko, and Cinder that put this in my Top 5. How do you bring so much life and sadness to the voice of a robot!? I would imagine a book like this is a challenge and a half for a narrator because of all the different points of view and Soler nailed each one perfectly.





Seventh Grave and No Body
Author: Darynda Jones
Narrator: Lorelei King
Audible

If you read anything paranormal and listen to audiobooks at all then you're familiar with the great Lorelei King. She rocks this series on audio. I made the switch from print to audio a couple books ago and haven't looked back. She delivers all of Charley's ridiculous, hilarious, one-liners with perfection and good god if you didn't think Reyes could be any sexier just try listening to him on audio while trying to drive your car. If you love this series and haven't tried the audiobooks, GO...GO FORTH AND DOWNLOAD.


White Hot Kiss
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Audible

What puts this in my Top 5 is one thing: Roth. Saskia delivers a ridiculous portrayal of my hot little demon man to such a point that I often forget this isn't dually narrated. The sarcasm, the sexy come-ons, the brief moments of vulnerability - DEAD. ON. She does everyone else's voices very well too, including the narrator, Layla, but she just made me fall so in love with Roth that that's what stuck with me. Since this book has much more Roth than the follow up, Stone Cold Touch, which was also released in 2014, this one is the one that gets on my list.


Silver Shadows
Author: Richelle Mead
Narrator: Emily Shaffer and Alden Ford
Audible

This is the only book on this list that has two narrators, and this series didn't add Alden Ford as the voice of Adrian until just recently. At first, I missed Emily Shaffer's interesting and surprisingly sexy version of Adrian's voice, but as Alden continued I fell in love with having him be the new voice for my love, Adrian. Adding the dual points of view rocketed this series into audio gold for me. Emily has always done a fantastic version of Sydney, with her intelligent yet wry personality, but Alden and Emily together are perfection.



Join us tomorrow, as Goldilox and the Ten Lists continues with our Favorite Steampunk Books of the year!

                                 
                                                                      
                                                         



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Goldilox and the Ten Lists: Top Debut Books of 2014


I've had the opportunity to read a lot of great debut books this year! This made it hard to choose just five. Obviously I can't talk about them all, but I sure want to try! So after a brutal culling of the list, here are my five favorite books by debut authors. They are arranged in no particular order, because I can't decide on a ranking for these books if I tried. Let me know what your favorite debut books were down in the comments.


Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it:
Jackaby will definitely by one of my top ten favorite books I’ve read this year! I freaking loved it! Well, you all know that already since I wrote a RTFB post about it.

This book is just plain awesome! Like "immediately start rereading as soon as you finish it" awesome! I've already read it multiple times this year. It’s that amazing! It’s marketed as “Doctor Who meets Sherlock” and it definitely draws some parallels. I will admit though the second time it, I was looking specifically for why it’s compared to Doctor Who and I found several reasons why. And they were all brilliantly done!

R.F. Jackaby is the Sherlock for the supernatural and he is quirky and endearing while still being proud and more than a bit arrogant. I seriously loved everything about this book! I loved how down to earth our narrator, Abigail, was as well as her interactions with Jackaby. They’re dynamic is very much reminiscent of Sherlock and Watson.

The writing style is very engaging and creative and each of the characters are well developed. Ritter definitely deserves a slow clap for creativity. Case in point: Chapter 13. The book is nicely plotted and the pacing is spot on. I couldn’t quit turning the pages until I had finished. Hello! 3AM! Thank heavens this is the first book in a series because I seriously need more Jackaby and Abigail solving supernatural mysteries!


Child of a Hidden Sea (Hidden Sea Tales #1) by A.M. Dellamonica

Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it:
Child of a Hidden Sea was a super fun read for me and it made me nostalgic for all of the portal fantasies I read as a teen. This was so good that I devoured it in less than a day. I found myself reading sneaking it in every free minute I had at work. It is smart and funny and has several elements that I love: pirates, science, magic, a strong heroine, and political intrigue all tied into a murder mystery on the high seas! It did take me a few chapters to get into the first-person narration because the main character has a habit of asking herself rhetorical questions. After I got used to it, I found this quite an endearing habit of Sophie's.

I absolutely adored the world building in this book! Stormwrack is complex and is filled with lots of different cultures, peoples, and religions. I mean the capital of the Fleet is basically a floating city in the middle of an ocean comprised of hundreds of ships belonging to the different island nations. Not only is the world fascinating but so is the magic system! It revolves around the inscribing of names and “intents” onto items and people which can make things complicated. The system places a lot of emphasis on a person's name and I found it an intriguing thing when matched with the overall story line. I fell in love with the characters and I want to know more about them! Seriously, I need more Sophie and Bram in my life. And I'm dying to know more about the enigmatic Captain Parrish and the tough Verena. I can't recommend this book enough! I need the sequel in my life!


The Martian by Andy Weir
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it:
Guys! The Martian was amazing! If you haven’t read it yet, quit reading this and go get it! Seriously. It deserves all of the stars! Mark Watney! I just can’t even tell you how much I love this character! The guy is stranded on Mars.. with no one. Does he cry? Well, only sometimes. Does he fight against the planet from hell? Heck yes!
“Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but I’m not dead, so it’s a win.”
Mark’s wry evaluation is essentially the summation of his attempts to survive on Mars. After a devastating and unexpected Martian hurricane-force storm wrecks havoc on the Martian crew, NASA calls for an ‘abort mission.’ As Mark is heading to the vehicle that will provide escape from Mars and return the crew to earth, he’s impaled by flying debris, loses consciousness and is presumed dead as the object impaled his suit bio-computer. Ironically, his injury was caused by a piece of antenna that would have enabled him to let his team–or Earth–know he was still alive. What follows is Mark’s log entry of his strategies to survive on Mars and signal Earth that he is still alive.

Mark has skills and he has to depend on his knowledge of everything from botany to Morse code to chemistry to survive. He’s a character that everyone can relate to. It was hilarious, funny, and totally believable. I fell completely in love with this book and it's going to be a personal favorite for a long time!

The Clockwork Dagger (Clockwork Dagger #1) by Beth Cato
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it:
I've already reviewed this book on this site so you all already know how much I loved it! The prize for my absolute favorite book of this year goes to this one. The world building is an amazing mix of steampunk and magic. Speaking of magic, the magic system in this book is so unique and fascinating! It's a healing magic that is a mix of science and religion. I've never really read anything like it!

Not only is the world and magic well done, the characters are amazing as well! They're quirky and loveable. Which can be a problem because you have no idea who is a friend and who is a foe. I loved this book so much! It's been months since I've read, but I seriously can’t stop thinking about it. I can't recommend this book enough!


Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1) by Danielle Jensen
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it:
Stolen Songbird starts with a kidnapping, adds in a pinch of fantasy, and proceeds to sweep you off your feet with a painfully beautiful romance. I loved it! I wasn’t planning on finishing it in one sitting, but I started it and all of a sudden it was 3AM and I had no more pages. The writing was beautiful and the world building was absolutely fantastic! 

Also, Stolen Songbird is one of those rare occurrences when the promo description from publisher does not lie. They recommend it “for those who have loved Seraphina and Graceling” and it has all the best elements from these books: intricate character development and cute slow building romance from Seraphina mixed with the action and political intrigue from Graceling. This is the first book in a trilogy and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel, Hidden Huntress! It is definitely one of the best YA books I've read all year. I can't recommend it enough.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Goldilox and the Ten Lists: Top Ten Covers of 2014


Welcome to Goldilox and the Ten Lists, our year end countdown of our favorite books by category. We'll have a new subject every weekday between now and the end of the year. I couldn't come up with anywhere better to start than at the front of the book, so day one is all about Book Covers.

You're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, right? But if you want to judge the cover on its own merits, that's perfectly fine. So here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite covers from this year. Let me know your favorites in the comments.


Wicked After Midnight
by Delilah S. Dawson
Cover by Tony Mauro
All of the covers for this series are gorgeous, but I especially loved the costumes on this one. It's also the only one that features both main characters, which reminds me that it's the most complex story in the series.                 











The Kraken King and the Fox's Den
By Meljean Brook
Cover by Jason Gill
This is from part three of the serial release of The Kraken King. Including the complete novel, this book actually kind of had nine different covers. I also really loved the ones for parts six and eight, which are both landscapes with great details beautiful skies. 
The Given
By Vicki Pettersson
Cover Design by Richard L. Aquan
Cover Illustration by Larry Rostant
All three of the covers for this trilogy have been striking with the woman as the only color in the image. This blue one is more subdued than the others, but I like the wings on this one best of the three.


City of Eternal Night
By Kristen Painter
Cover Design by Lauren Panepinto
Cover Illustration by Melanie Delon
I could have chosen both books in this series for my favorite covers list, but I didn't want to repeat like that. I picked this one over House of the Rising Sun because I like the colors and the way this cover reflects the story. The dress and the tree are both important elements.









Against the Dawn
By Amanda Bonilla
Cover by Nathalia Suellen
The first time I saw this cover I fell in love with it. It's very different than the others in the series, which just makes it stand out more. It has the same visual effect as a black and white with a pop of color, but with that eerie washed out green instead of gray. Love it!










Broken Blade
By J.C. Daniels
Cover by Angela Waters
I love how this cover manages to be both badass and melancholy at the same time. The story was written in two parts. In the first, Kit is struggling through trauma and that's reflected in the cracks and the fact that her back in turned. In the second, she starts to get back to work, which is shown by her picking up her sword and starting to look toward her audience.









Forged by Desire
By Bec McMaster
Cover by Gene Mollica
I love the covers in the London Steampunk series. I think my favorite thing about this one is that fan. (I might have mentioned my thing for Steampunk gadgets.) But if you look closely at the cover, there are so many cool details in the background.










Servants of the Storm
By Delilah S. Dawson
Cover by Regina Flath
I love this cover! It's so simple, yet it tells you so much about the main character. She's been taking anti-psychotics, so she's cut off from the world - alone like the girl on the cover. The angle reflects her skewed perspective. It also reminds me of a painting, Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth, which I remember studying in elementary school so I ascribe the same lonely feeling to the cover as well.








Talon
By Julie Kagawa
Cover by Kathleen Oudit, Erin Craig, Bora Tekogul, Fion Ngan, Natasa Hatsios and Chris Parks
This may seem like an odd choice if you've only seen it on your computer screen. But every time I've walked by this book on the shelf I've wanted to pick it up. Sometimes before I even realized which book it was I was reaching for. I think that makes it a really effective cover, though it's one that looks better in person than it does on the screen. The scales are iridescent and a darker burgundy than they look here. There's also some great art on the title pages inside the book.






Ignite Me
By Tahereh Mafi
Cover Design by Cara E. Petrus
Cover Illustration by Colin Anderson
I'm a total cosmetics junkie, so this cover makes me think of one of those over-the-top makeup designs from the Fashion Week runway. That was probably not the original idea, but it doesn't make it any less pretty. Each cover in the series has shown the eye in a different season, and this one is spring. I've been loving this series, but I haven't actually read this final book yet, so I can't say for sure how that reflects the story.                                       



Join us tomorrow, as Goldilox and the Ten Lists continues with our favorite books by a debut author in 2014.
 
 
                                 
                                                                      
                                                                 



















Friday, December 12, 2014

Release Day Blitz: Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout!



GUYS! Did you know JLA has a new release out? Do you live in a cave?

If you've been with Goldilox and the Three Weres for more than two seconds you know we here at the blog love Jennifer L. Armentrout. We've reviewed many of her fabulous books and I've had the pleasure of spending time with her at a handful of book events and I just love everything she writes. 

WICKED is the first in JLA's new trilogy and it released on December 8th! I'm a third of the way through the audio version right now and I'm, of course, adoring it! 


Wicked

Go buy your copy guys! Seriously! No one writes a sexy bad boy like JLA!


WICKED Synopsis:

Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.


Handsome trendy powerful muscular man against white background with
copy space




We have an awesome WICKED excerpt for you today! Check it out below!


All the words in the world vanished the moment I got an eyeful of Ren.

Holy hotness with an extra side of sexy, when Ren cleaned up, he took his handsomeness into a totally different stratosphere.

The waves and curls of his hair were currently tamed, styled back from his face, showing off the angle of his cheekbones and the fullness of his lips. He was wearing a white dress shirt that showed off the hard lines of his broad shoulders and flashed a glimpse of tawny skin at his neck. I noticed then, somehow never really seeing it before, a leather cord hanging from his neck and disappearing under his shirt. I was sure that was what carried the clover, but as my gaze traveled over him, I quickly forgot about it. The edges of the tattoo poked out of the collar of his shirt, and his sleeves were rolled up to the elbow, exposing powerful forearms. The dark trousers completed the outfit. It was effortless class.

When I dragged my gaze back to his, I realized I hadn’t been the only one doing the scrutinizing. He was staring at me in his intense, consuming way, and I stepped back from the door, suddenly feeling very . . . vulnerable. As if I was exposed in front of him.

Heat crept into my cheeks as I plastered my arms to my sides. “Sorry I . . . took so long. I was . . .” I trailed off as he continued to stare at me. “What?”

Ren stepped into the house, catching the door and closing it behind him. His presence filled the living room, and I could barely drag in enough air. “This is wrong,” he said, voice thick.

Surprised by the statement, I glanced down at myself. I knew I looked like a silly girl playing dress up. “It’s the only dress I could wear,” I said, feeling the weight of embarrassment settling on my shoulders.

He gave a little shake of his head as his bright green eyes met mine. “Oh, sweetness, you did wrong in all the right ways.”

I wasn’t following.

“How in the world am I going to pay attention when you look like that?” he chided softly, and my eyes widened. He moved forward, so close that I had to tip my chin up to meet his stare. He reached out, fingering the loose sleeve of my dress. “You are utterly distracting.”

“I am?”

A half smile appeared as his fingers skipped off the material and traced the line of my shoulder, sending a tight shiver down my spine. Then his finger wrapped around a curl, the back of his hand brushing the swell of my breast. He tugged it straight like he’d done before. “You are absolutely beautiful, Ivy.”



Wicked Tink Quote




Author PhotoAbout Jennifer L. Armentrout:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Early Review: Double or Nothing by Kristen Painter

 
I've really been enjoying the Sin City Collectors series, but if you haven't started it yet (and if you're reading this on the day it posted) you still have a few hours to enter the Queen of Hearts giveaway here.
 
 
Double or Nothing (Sin City Collectors #6)
Kristen Painter
Release: December 6, 2014
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Summary: Welcome to Las Vegas, home of the Sin City Collectors. The job description is easy: Bring the offending supernatural in to the Boss and don’t ask any questions.

Gage Hudson is a vampire on a mission. All he wants--all he's ever wanted--is to locate the vampire who killed his brother and exact his revenge. Even if that means losing his job as a Gotham City Collector. And he knows what loss feels like, because his desire for revenge has already cost him the love of his life.

Sin City Collector and pixie Minka Winslow has revenge fantasies of her own and they all involve Gage. When he walked out on her with no explanation, she took the heat for the Collection he ruined. Fortunately for him, she's put that part of her life behind her.

At least until the two are forced to work together to stay alive. When an enemy from their past returns to threaten them, they have no choice but to reconcile long enough to survive. Then new information changes everything. Just how much will they gamble to make things work this time?

What’s Collected in Vegas, stays in Vegas...

Review: I'm really enjoying how each book in this series adds a new supernatural creature to the Collectors' world. Minka was actually introduced in Kristen Painter's last novella Dead Man's Hand where she revealed that pixies are the natural enemies of goblins and they have a talent for finding lost children. In Double or Nothing she demonstrates some of their other strengths, including the use of pixie dust. Minka goes out on a suspicious Collection and winds up locked in a cell with her ex-boyfriend Gage.

Gage is the first "good" vampire to appear in the series. (One of Amanda Carlson's novellas has a vampire villain.) So even though he doesn't really add anything new to the mythology, it feels a little bit like a change of pace.

After their breakup two years ago, Gage joined the Gotham City Collectors and has been working in New York. I loved the little glimpse of the Big Apple in this story, including the mention of a supernatural subway, and I hope to get to see more of it. (Though that might require a spin-off series.)

The Alchemist, the villain in this story, is smart, manipulative and kind of terrifying. He knows the weaknesses of each of his captives and how to use them to his advantage. When it comes to physical confrontation though, he was a little bit disappointing. The story has a lot of psychological tension, but not much action until the end. (I wish I could explain that better, but it might be a spoiler.) I wish the level of anxiety from the first half of the story was maintained throughout.

Double or Nothing feels more like a romance to me than most of the other novellas in the series. Yes, they're all romances, but I felt like the adventure and mystery in this story were very much secondary to the relationship. Maybe that's because Gage and Minka already had a history together, so there was no getting-to-know-you phase. And of course that whole locked in a cell thing kind of necessitates dialogue rather than a lot of action. I like these characters, but I miss some of that action-adventure element that Painter's other novellas have.

I'm still really enjoying the creativity of this series and I'm looking forward to seeing what the authors come up with next.

ARC provided by the author

 
 4 stars
 
 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Really Short Reviews: Short Fiction by Nicole Peeler, Kim Harrison and Amanda Carlson


I've decided I like this Really Short Review format for novellas and short stories. (I hope you like it too.) Short fiction doesn't get publicized or reviewed as much as full length books, and maybe some readers don't even know these works are out there. So here's a collection reviews of recent releases from some of my favorite series. Have you read any of these or did you discover something new? Let me know in the comments.
 
The Hound of Bar Harborville (Truniverse #1)
by Nicole Peeler
Release: October 15, 2014
Links: Goodreads Amazon
My Really Short Review: I'm so excited that Nicole Peeler returned to the world of Jane True for this series of humorous shorts stories. This first murder mystery I've been calling "True meets Clue."

Away from their twins for the first time, Jane and Anyan plan a romantic weekend in a boutique hotel. But events conspire to keep them from getting down to business, starting with their room not being ready when they arrive. Then there's the naked dead man in their bed. Jane sets out to discover how he died and how he wound up in their room, while Anyan's on a mission involving beds and nakedness of a different sort.

The story is told from Anyan's point of view, which I enjoyed. I was surprised by how modern he sounded in some spots, but he's also very much a typical guy. It's nice to see him happy with Jane after all the trauma of their last book. The story is kind of silly, but it's a lot of fun. Next up in this series is The Ryu Morgue, told from Ryu's POV, which is out Dec. 16.


    
 stars


Sudden Backtrack (The Hollows #13.1)
by Kim Harrison
Release: October 28, 2014
My Really Short Review: This is an odd little story. It's quite short and tells the story of how the elves were cursed from Al's POV. That act began the rebellion that led to the demons' independence and the elves fleeing the Ever After. It also gives some perspective on his attitude toward the elves and their goddess.

What I found most interesting is that it shows Newt before she lost her memory and hints at what she looked like. I really had to think about what I know about her from the last two books and try to figure out what was happening to her. It's not entirely clear, not that anything ever is when Newt is involved. The story also seemed to suggest a relationship between Newt and Al that I never thought was hinted at in the books.

I would have liked to have a present day (or present as of the end of The Witch With No Name) context to put the story in. Al's views seem to have changed dramatically by the end of the series and I wanted to know how he felt about what happened. But it's not a flashback, it's more like a prequel. I think it raises as many questions as it answers, but I'm curious if when I re-read the series - since I'm sure I will at some point - if I'll feel differently.
 
 
 1/2
 3 1/2 stars
 
 
 
All In (Sin City Collectors #5)
by Amanda Carlson
Release: November 17, 2014
My Really Short Review: I've been loving the Sin City Collectors series, but this was not my favorite installment. All In follows succubus Ginger, who heads the supernatural intelligence agency Dossier, and werewolf Luke, brother of Diesel who was the hero of Carlson's last novella, as they try to bring Ginger's brother Damien in to the Collectors for questioning.
 
The story starts after they've been on the trail for about a month and have finally found his hideout. During their time together, they've developed feelings for each other, but because of their complicated pasts neither believes that the other one could feel the same. There's a lot talking and a lot of angst on both sides but not much action until the very end of the story. Carlson usually writes great fight scenes, so that was disappointing. I also would have liked to learn more about Dossier.
 
I do enjoy getting to see the couples from the previous stories and there are some nice moments with both of them. And the stage is set for the next story featuring Raoul, Ginger's right hand man, so I'm hoping to see some of that "spy stuff" from him.
 

3 stars

 
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