The Turn (The Hollows #0.1)The Turn by Kim Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fight erupts between, Trisk, a dark elf, and Kal, a light elf, at their post-grad school job fair and both end up with careers they didn’t expect. Forced to leave her only friend behind and give up everything she knows, Trisk now has to fight biases against women in both the human and the elven worlds. She forges ahead, mastering her job even while having to work with old equipment and people who are behind on techniques.

Despite her success, Trisk finds herself working with Kal who is there under the guise of checking her work before its release. Tempers flare, plots hatched, and a plague is loosed on the world causing Trisk and Kal to flee. Things get complicated while Trisk fights to save new friends and old against the forces and people working against her.

If you are a fan of Kim Harrison and her Hollow’s series, this book is fun. The knowledge it brings of the past helped me fill in some “I wonder why” type questions about people and attitudes in that series. I found it explained things about the Trenton Kalamack we all know and appreciated. It was a cool backward insight to the Hollow’s series without over indulging. Kim Harrison did a fabulous job on this, and I hope there is more to come. Even if there isn’t, this was a joy to read.

If you happen to be new to Kim Harrison or have only read her Peri Reed series previous to this, I’d say The Turn should be an easy enough read. However, it may not be as satisfactory as if you had read the Hollow’s Series first which builds the world in such significant detail. This book covers some of that, but reading the others first will likely be more fulfilling.

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The Operator (The Peri Reed Chronicles, #2)The Operator by Kim Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Peri has forgotten her past again and will need help to rebuild some of it to take down the agency for whom she once worked. She explores the idea of a drug that could save her from betrayal, keep her from memory loss, and allow her to time jump as she always has. Like everything, it comes at a price. Whether she is willing to pay that price is the question.

This book is a rollercoaster of deception, emotion and trust issues. When you can’t remember parts of your life, it’s difficult to know who’s on your side, but Peri has great intuition, and it speaks to her, sometimes literally. The confusion that situation sometimes adds is hilarious, but sometimes it’s stressful. Thankfully, the loyalty she engenders from friends and strangers alike comes in handy. I enjoy Peri’s stories. She’s strong while being flawed. Writing flawed characters while staying true to the character is something I think Kim Harrison does an excellent job of exploring without letting the characters or the readers down.

I look forward to book three of this series; it will be a difficult wait. I was able to pre-read this awesomeness thanks to an ARC.

Be sure to read the Drafter before reading this book. Kim is great at seeding details about her previous book/s into current ones. Everything makes so much more sense if you read The Drafter, and its short story addition of Side Swiped which was a cool snapshot of Silas’s life.

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The Reaper Virus (The Reaper Virus, #1)The Reaper Virus by Nathan Barnes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Reaper Virus is about a man who works for a College Campus police station when the zombie apocalypse hits his town. Our protagonist, Nathan tells us about the quick decline of civilization via a communications log style, and so we get a small glimpse of his daily work life before the crap hits the fan. He is forced to escape his location in an attempt to get back to his wife and child who are across the city.

I listened to the audio version of this book. The narrator sounds like he’s giving orders to troops throughout most of the story. His attempts to do other voices, especially female voices, is awful until he gets to a character named Phil at which point he suddenly seems to master the ability. The female voice issue isn’t that his natural voice is too low, it’s how he imagines feminine voices appear to sound. It’s grating.

At some point in the story, I either developed an appreciation for the narrator or Stockholm syndrome type feelings towards his vocal style. It’s also possible he softened his tone and got better; I’m not sure which.

The story itself reads at first like a prep list for the Zompacalpyse and later like a “how to escape” from various exercises – added to a “here’s how every zombie looked”- list. It’s repetitive and dull.

Halfway through the story the character, Nathan, cleverly named after the author, started mentioning God when it hadn’t really come up before. I wouldn’t care except it started getting pretty heavy, but it wasn’t in the “I’m starting to believe because holy crap I might be eaten in a few mins!” kind of way. In one line he calls God cruel and a moment later talks about how he can’t wait to see him. I can’t say much without spoiling the story, but it was illogical.

There was zero point to the epilogue. The ending was too hurried, and the words spent in the pointless epilogue could have been used to enrich the end. It didn’t feel hurried in the “gotta do it!” kind of way; more like the writer ran out of juice. It was disappointing.

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You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Felicia Day is blunt, witty, and downright hilarious. Her early life was not easy, but it was interesting. As a fellow nerd of the 90’s, writing, gaming, and female-dom (yes, I totally made up a word), I was able to understand 100% of what she was saying or had lived something similar.

Perhaps my identification with this book is also in part the reason for its high rating, but objectively, I don’t feel that’s the case. It’s well written, flows well, and I happened to get to listen to Felicia read parts of it which made it that much better. Whisper-sync is amazing, thank you Amazon!

Her tale of the gamer-gate horrors she experienced are indeed horrifying, and while this was near the end of the book, she ended the whole thing on a high note.

Finally, if you are a gamer, especially if you experienced life in the dial-up 90’s, you will likely find this book amusing. If you love Felicia Day, you will enjoy this book. If you loved “The Guild,” this book will probably fascinate you. It’s a good read, or listen, or both!

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Trickery (Curse of the Gods #1)Trickery by Jaymin Eve
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a young adult paranormal fantasy novel with a semi-romantic subplot. Willa and her best friend/sister Emmy are chosen to be the Dwellers, essentially the slaves of the world, who attend Blesswood Academy a place that serves to educate the “blessed” of the world. The dwellers honored duties will include looking after the Sols, who are gifted students that might become gods someday and to essentially blend with the scenery. Willa sucks at blending and brings chaos, or her clumsy-curse, with her everywhere she goes. After meeting the Abcurse brothers, Willa’s life takes an unusual path, becoming more chaotic by the minute.

If I were to base this review on the first part of the book when Willa, our protagonist, was in her village, it would have received two stars. It was dull, unamusing, and only seemed to serve as an info dump on the world and Willa. Anything important came up later, so I felt this part of the book could have been left out, or most of it at the very least.

The story truly begins when Willa arrives at the Blesswood Academy, and we get a glimpse of that world. The comparisons were a little over the top at this point. For instance, she comes across a body of water, and the reaction makes it out like she has never seen water before. It’s a huge deal even though she has apparently taken a bath, or shower, before in some manner as there are comparisons to how the various ‘rings’ (regions) do it. Eventually, that overreaction to things settled down, and the more interesting stuff began.

From the moment Willa meets the Abcurse brothers, the story is hilarious, tense, emotional and compelling. These are all points I felt the earlier portion of the story was missing. The only reason I kept going with this story is that I’ve read everything Jaymin Eve has put out and what she never lacks in is exciting, tension-filled, emotional scenes, funny characters, and funny scenes. I’m glad I stuck around, in spite of the slow, boring beginning.

I do love that this book is, loosely, based off of Greek/Roman mythology and I think the authors do an excellent job with that. As usual, the world building I expect from Jaymin is superb. I’m not familiar with Jane’s work, so her world building may be as wonderful. Either way, that part of the book was fun.

I’m looking forward to book two, and the trouble Willa brings to the table. Also, can we seriously talk about the “Abcurse” name?

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The Drafter (The Peri Reed Chronicles, #1)The Drafter by Kim Harrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Peri Reed works for Opti, a secret agency whose agents can manipulate time in small jumps and over small areas of space. By accident, Peri learns the man she has trusted more than any has betrayed her, and it leaves her in a tight spot because her time jumps also remove that time from her memory. A man named Silas contacts her, and with his help, Peri manages to survive and piece together what happened. Together, they uncover some of her past, including the night she shot her partner.

For fans of Kim Harrison, there are tell-tale signs she wrote this: little quirks in her writing that aren’t as noticeable elsewhere. I had heard complaints that this story was too much like the Hallows Series and Rachel Morgan, but aside from a strong woman with agencies who mess around with her life, there wasn’t a lot of parallel for me. It’s easy to draw parallels and to see trends, that’s what humans do. There were enough differences to make the story its own and nothing like The Hallows series.

I loved that it was told from a two person point of view, with the focus still on Peri. I loved that Peri was strong, yet vulnerable and I loved that the men in her life weren’t always saving her. It’s a good start for a new series, and I look forward to the next installment.

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