Category Archives for Reviews

Review: The Girl Who Shot First by Angel Lawson

The Girl Who Shot First, Book One of the Death Fields, is a post-apocalyptic thriller in which people are very quickly infected and become vicious with a side dish of cannibalism.

Yeah, it’s one of those books. There are zombie plague like elements, although the victims are less zombie-like and more “I will dine on your face right now rather than amble in your general direction for the next twenty minutes.”

My human enjoys books like this sometimes, and since she has an ear infection right now, she may have enjoyed the prospect of the slow heat death of the universe–wait, murderous plague–more than is likely socially acceptable.

In case this is a concern to any of you, my human read this while attempting to become a mermaid today. She hasn’t figured out taking long baths won’t actually turn her into a mermaid, and I’m not sure how to break the news to her. Reality is a cruel mistress.

So, back to the book.

One thing that really got my human’s attention, and doesn’t usually work for my human, was the way this book weaved between the past and the present. Rather than a direct, on-going narrative, it tells snips of story, melding everything together into a cohesive whole.

This is often why my human will retry things she may not have liked in one book, as she might enjoy it in the other. Mood matters, too. When my human wants to watch the world burn because her ear has declared civil war against the rest of her head, these sorts of books are right up her alley.

My problem with writing the review of this book is that there are a lot of hints that happen early in the title that count as spoilers, and as I’m being a generous feline today, I don’t feel inclined to spoil the read for you.

Using human-standard starring systems, I’m giving this three of four paws, and the tip of my tail is twitching a bit. It was different in style and tense than my human normally reads to me, but we found the story engaging enough. It’s one of those stories my human expects death, doom, and destruction, so unlike other titles, she refused to become attached to anyone or hold hope for good things. This was probably a good decision. It toed a careful line of being engaging and having interesting enough characters.

My human did find many of the characters difficult to relate to, but considering the type of story, this isn’t necessarily a disadvantage. Your mileage will vary though. As for the writing itself, it did the job without distracting from the story, which is all my human needs (or wants) when her ear is waging civil war with the rest of her head.

Now, if my human could let me go back to sleep rather than whining and making me write reviews at 2:30 AM (human time,) that would be great.


Review: The Lion and the Mouse by Jenny Schwartz

This steampunk romance was a lot of fun. My human has had this book on her kindle for a long time, but finally got around to reading it to me. Some of it is over the top, which my human likes… except the heroine was so virginal it was a little embarrassing for everyone involved. This was a nice change of pace.

I mean, really. It’s time for some blunt human mating ritual content here. This heroine was so virginal she needed a man to explain what arousal was.

Yeah. My human did a full-body twitch over that. I get the whole pure maiden thing. My human does, too. But it was just so… so… so…

We understand the heroine is mousy, but holy lords of steampunk romance, she’s not five. She’s a woman. There are men in the world written. Good looking men in the world, too.

Mousy doesn’t mean completely lacking a libido before achieving sexual enlightenment and become rather… hungry.

Yeah, my human had a bit of an issue with that tidbit. It didn’t stop her from giggling or liking the book, but it drove her right up a wall. It took me almost an hour to get her down from the ceiling. Humans, they can be so unreasonable sometimes.

Review: Shade by Marilyn Peake

I will never be convinced that Galactic Shade Griffin’s mother didn’t hate her. Hippie or not, hatred is the only reason a mother would name her child something that awful. This name, presented with an almost cheerful resentment in the opening of the novel, sets a certain tone for the rest of the book–and makes my human giggle like a maniac.

Your mileage will vary.

Now, amusement over that aside, this is a YA and has everything you expect from a YA, from a full-frontal assault on the realities of bullying and the pettiness of some members of the human race.

And yes, there is plenty of evidence that Shade’s mother harbored a rather unhealthy amount of resentment for her choices in life, one resulting in a daughter.

This is not your normal YA read, and that’s fantastic. While my human found some things about the book that made her twitch, this one is worth taking a second look at. However, adult humans among you–do remember this is a YA. This wasn’t written for you. It was written for older teens facing the crueler elements of their lives.

Sometimes humans forget that.

As the description promises, this book delivers some fairly hard-hitting subjects, so if you have been the victim of bullying, ever considered cutting or other self-destructive behaviors, or have been in drug-addiction situations, this book may hit you hard.

My human made me say that, because this book is worth looking at because it addresses these things with a rather blunt directness while adding in a full spectrum of paranormal trappings.

My human likes when she finds a book that toes the line between YA and the adult world, making it accessible for her without feeling dumbed down for readers who do not need the world dumbed down for them.

Teens aren’t stupid, and this book writes to teens who are, as they do, slowly becoming adults.

And we think that’s a great thing.

It’s just a little hard to read at times.

Review: A Little of Chantelle Rose by Cristina Hodgson

A Little of Chantelle Rose starts with a girl playing an extra who finds out the hard way life in the spotlight is just as awful as people make it out to be. It’s presented as a romantic comedy, but really… I’m not sure what this book is.

This confuses the hell out of me, because my human writes whacky romantic comedies that are about as realistic as the idea of everyone being nice to each other for a change.

In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I really don’t know what the deal with this book is. My human wanted to like it, but the opening had a few grammatical and punctuation hiccups that made her squint and tilt her head every which way.

Then she decided she needed to dig a treasure out of a candle because I guess that’s just what perturbed humans do when they don’t know what else to do.

She has finally returned to reading to me. After the initial hiccuping start, it dives into the over-the-top contemporary romance she likes, although it’s… strange. It had humor, which my human liked. It had heartache, which my human does like in small doses. However, it just didn’t pay off in a lot of ways. When my human reads about pre-mating rituals or mating rituals, she wants more of a payoff than sexual gratification. She wants to finish the book feeling a little happier because somewhere in the fictional world, characters found happiness.

That just didn’t happen for my human in this book. This one was just… strange. That’s the only word I have for this book: strange.

This book contains love triangles and everything you might expect from a contemporary romance that tries to be something a little different. I can’t say it was good or bad. It’s a book I’ll have to read again to try to figure out just what my human and I missed to make sense of this thing.

Review: Child of the Night Guild by Andy Peloquin

Child of the Night Guild is a disturbing tale full of heartache, telling the tale of a young girl’s transformation into something both more and less than human, captive in a twisted society, where a life is only worth the investment. my human found this deep and disturbing while I thought it was an intriguing look into the darkness of humanity.

My human read this on the heels of a lighter book, and as she’s a bleeding heart, she found this to be a tougher read. If you’re looking for sunshine and cookies, this book isn’t for you. This book is for those who want something a bit harder hitting than the standard fare. It’s also not for the happily ever crowd.

Spoiler alert: It’s not for the happily ever after crowd.

Still, if you enjoy a book with stark realism with a dose of horror and a splash of fantasy, this one might be for you.

I’ll be enrolling my human for some therapy now. She’s a wuss.

This book is classified as a horror for good reason, so plan your reading accordingly so any delicate sensibilities aren’t overly offended.

Review: Soul-Mate by Anna Santos

Soul-Mate makes no secret of its intentions. From the first paragraph, it is very, very clear this is a true mates/insta-lust book, and it has all the inherent issues of these stories. But, like a moth to flame, my human couldn’t help but be sucked in.

This is a late-night read for my human; it’s one of those books that makes no real effort to disguise the true soul mates element of the story. In a way, I find the instant recognition takes away from the pre-mating rituals my human insists on calling dating.

Now, I realize this makes it sound like we weren’t all that fond of the book. Beyond a little over-enthusiasm in the telling department, it’s not a bad tale. It’s just the kind of book my human prefers to read while she’s attempting to become a mermaid through the excessive use of her kindle oasis in the bathtub.

Newsflash, people. My human ain’t no mermaid. She emerged from the tub rather shriveled, though.

Soul-Mate is ideal for those who want to mix unplugging with some paranormal romance we didn’t find breaks the mold and a fun story about dirty little (and big) secrets with enemies out for blood.

Review: Slumber by J.L. Weil

Slumber was such a fun book. My human really liked it.

It’s like this disaster dystopian with drugs and magic that has put much of the world to sleep, but then cool things happens, but I can’t say what, because that’d spoil the book for you humans, and that’d be bad.

It’s like what would happen if Sleeping Beauty had a blind date with the Stand, except it’s not as rotty and full of death plague. It’s more… sleepy.

I’m giving this two paws, a purr, and a tail swish, as it has such an interesting tone and melds a lot of elements seamlessly. The writing had some quirks, but those were easy enough to ignore, as the story was quite entertaining.

As a side note, my human has a hardcore crush on the covers of this setting. The picture frames give it that wonderful fairytale feel, except with a not-so-subtle touch of delightful malevolence.

Review: Witch’s Potion by Laura Greenwood

Witch’s Potion was a weird read for my human. She mostly liked it, but she really wished she’d reserved this one for end of day reading rather than start of day reading.

In the morning, my human likes challenging books. In the evening, she wants someone to hold her hand, tell her everything will be okay, and do the work for her. This book would make a good evening reading book for her.

So, your mileage will vary on this one. It’s a novella, it’s light reading, and it’s a bit weird–a little fun, but weird. Overall, I’m giving this one a half purr and a pair of happy kneady paws, no claws, but a little hiss over the telly bits. But that’s because my human read it to me in the morning.

My human is going to read this one again to me when it’s late at night and we’re tired.

Review: Beastly Bride by Cordelia Castel

When my human got a hold of Beastly Bride, boy, was she excited. It looked like everything she ever wanted in a twisted fairy tale. Boy, this book needs a warning label.

Oh, wait. This book has a warning label, right in the description. Please allow me to show you: “Too bad Freida’s a spoiled, selfish sociopath who won’t kiss an ugly old frog. She has her twisted heart set on the prince’s younger and more attractive brother.”

There is truth in advertising, and this book delivers in so many different ways. Freida is the most spoiled, most selfish, god-awful sociopath my human has read in a long time.

If this is your cup of tea, this book is for you, but if you want a heroine you want to cheer for… this book is not for you.

It gets worse before it gets better, and this book is totally named appropriately. The bride is the beast, and she’s not the fluffy kind you want curled around your feet in front of a cheery fire.

It should thus come as no surprise I liked Freida while my human was in a state of shock through most of the book, because the description truly delivers.

Freida’s petty. Freida’s selfish. Freida’s the Queen Mean Girl, and I don’t mean in an endearing way.

Fans of dark fairy tales are going to love this book. It’s twisted, it’s dark, and if you’re looking for happy endings, this ain’t a Disney movie, y’all.

Consider yourselves warned. Or eagerly escorted to the buy button, if that sort of character is your sort of thing.

Review: Shifter Scandal by Juniper Hart

Princess the Understudy here.

I have no idea what we just read, but my sister’s fur turned up on end, she ran under the bed, and she refused to come out for the rest of the night.

My mommy seemed equally disturbed, and I heard her say a few very bad words. Bad, Mommy!

As I’m now the only responsible living being contributing to this newsletter, it’s my duty to report about this book.

My wussy sister and pansy mother seem to have difficulties accepting instant hate to instant love story arcs presented on a silver platter of automatic happiness, served with a side dish of models and police officers with very odd views regarding police procedures.

I thought the story was just fine, thank you, especially after a hard day. It’s not rocket science, which is a good thing when tired. You’re not going to find groundbreaking creativity.

You’re going to find one hell of a weird relationship and some even weirder human and non-human mating rituals. Some of the mating rituals presented in the book toe some lies. If you dislike Alphaholes who… are possibly a bit (maybe a lot) creepy, this one probably isn’t for you, but if you’re looking for a zippy fast read, some weirdness, and an insta-hate turns insta-love sort of happily ever after, you might like this story.