Supernatural Assassin Squad

Assassination contracts don’t make good wedding proposals

One more down! I finished Grimm by Shayne Silvers, the third book in the Nate Temple/Templeverse series. This one threw me a few curveballs, y’all. I have read a lot of fantasy/urban fantasy in my time, and I’m pretty genre-savvy, but this one threw a few punches that I wasn’t able to dodge.

In this installment, Nate takes on the infamous Brothers Grimm, who weren’t just the fairy tale writers everyone believes they are. They’re bad – like BIG bad. Their mission in life is to eradicate everyone and everything that is supernaturally gifted – despite the fact that they, themselves, are gifted as well. But their gifts come from God and aren’t evil. That storyline has been done a few times, but luckily it didn’t feel overdone in this book.

The Grimms – which aren’t limited to just the brothers, they’ve become a sort of… tribe, I guess you could say – have been hired to take out Nate. Jakob already has a vendetta against Nate for a past slight, so they go all out and warn that they’ve taken a “Salted Earth Policy” towards him. Anyone and everyone associated with or helping him will also be eradicated. And they do a pretty thorough job of completely ruining his life.

During all this, Nate is also trying to find a way and time to propose to Indie, despite how inappropriate it may be while everything is going on. It’s kind of sweet, actually.

The only thing I was fairly sure of early on was who actually hired the Grimms, and I was right about that. But there was a lot more that I did not see coming, including that ending. And all I’m going to say about that is Death is one sneaky bastard, and I feel like that’s definitely going to have some LONG reaching consequences down the line. I can’t wait to see where this goes… although this series may make me pull my hair out before it’s all over.

As always, there were some laugh-out-loud funny moments, and I love when a book can be dramatic and suspenseful but still make me laugh in places.

I knew Indie had accepted my old college fling. Especially after Mardi Gras when Othello had literally died for me. Othello loved me. But she also knew that it would never work out. And after a few ‘talks’ the girls seemed to get along splendidly, although I did always feel like I was walking on razor blades over a lava pit of fire-breathing ninja lemurs whenever I saw them spending time together. Especially when they grew quiet as soon as I entered the room, and then giggled loud enough for me to hear as I quickly walked away to do important man stuff like check the batteries in the remotes.

Nate Temple, Grimm by Shayne Silvers

I blew a kiss at Geri and Ashley.

But not Death.

One does not simply blow a kiss at Death.

Nate Temple, Grimm by Shayne Silvers

Y’all might need to commit me before I finish this series… if book 3 already had me flailing like a crazy person, I can only imagine what’s in store for me before it’s over.

I can’t wait!

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Angels and Demons and Wizards, oh my!

A Wizard, an Angel, and a Horseman of the Apocalypse walk into a bar…

I’m back! And I didn’t take forever this time!

I knocked out another volume of Shayne Silvers’ Templeverse – this time the second Nate Temple book, Blood Debts.

Following close on the heels of the events in Obsidian Son, Nate is out looking for trouble and walks into a kill, which is what they call bars that cater to supernaturals. (That’s not a barfight you really want to be a part of if you’re a regular, let me tell you.) He’s been suffering night terrors, which have turned into day terrors, and generally isn’t sleeping well and he’s irritable.

He strikes up a conversation with a dude he nicknames Hemingway, who tells him a very interesting story about a farmer losing his family. That story eventually invades Nate’s night terrors, and he begins dreaming the story.

While he’s hanging out in the kill, he gets the fight he’s looking for when he’s accosted by an Angel and some nephilim, who tell him he needs to stop investigating his parents’ murder (yeah, right. Like that’s gonna happen.)

He also ends up getting attacked by a demon and kidnapped by the Academy – which is like the governing body for wizards – all in the same night.

The Academy and the Demons want the Armory, the place where his parents stashed all these powerful magical weapons. They keep telling him that they want the key, which he doesn’t have or understand why they think he does. The Academy puts a curse on him, telling him he’s got three days to figure it all out and turn the Armory over to them, AND get rid of the demons, but now his power is finite and won’t replenish. These Academy blokes are a bunch of tools, let me tell you.

Nate eventually finds his way into the Armory, and finds out that his parents somehow turned him into a Maker, which is like… Super Wizard. He can create new magic, new spells… something other wizards can’t do. The catch is he doesn’t really know how this new power works, so he can’t really control it yet.

He also unwittingly manages to nearly set off the Apocalypse, by being in the wrong place at the wrong time (story of his life, let me tell you). We get to meet the four Horsemen, too.

At the end of the day, Apocalypse is averted and Nate survives. This was another super fun read, with quotes that had me laughing out loud.

So far, I had managed to piss off an Angel, two Demons, three cops, a gaggle of Nephilim, and eight Academy members. Each of these groups had given me contradictory demands. Abiding by one set of commands made me persona non-grata for the other groups. Catch-22 to the third power.

Nate Temple, Blood Debts by Shayne Silvers

There are 1,013,900 words in the English language, and none of them accurately portray how badly I want to hit you over the head with a chair. A heavy Amish chair.

Nate Temple, Blood Debts by Shayne Silvers

Girl Scouts were anathema to every grown man in existence who innocently decided to answer the front door in his sweats and a dirty undershirt after a long day of work, only to discover a pig-tailed, buck-toothed princess who so sweetly asked if you would like to buy some cookies. See, they knew when to catch you at your weakest moment, for they were tiny, vicious predators. You had just started a diet, but that didn’t matter. Their power was too strong for you to survive. The Girl Scout had arrived to steal your soul. Your dignity. And you were going to pay her to do it.

Nate Temple, Blood Debts by Shayne Silvers

There was also a moment when Nate got a little philosophical when talking to the Academy shadow that was following him around making sure he was doing what he was told.

It’s never good when you blindly follow some belief system or group of people without consciously deducing whether what they do is right or wrong. The number one test is to wonder what would happen if you openly, but respectfully, questioned your commander’s decision when you think it’s wrong. If the answer in any way resembles punishment, pain, or ridicule, rather than an explanation, you’re probably not working for the good guys.

Nate Temple, Blood Debts by Shayne Silvers

I mean… it’s a good point. More people should look at the world from the perspective of not blindly following anything. Engage your brain.

All in all this was a great second book for the series, and I’ve already started reading Grimm. This is definitely a series I want to finish.

What are some of your favorite Kindle Unlimited finds? (As if my wishlist needs to get any longer…)

A Reptile Dysfunction

A city that doesn’t believe in magic. Bloodthirsty weredragons. Good thing this reckless playboy has superpowers…

This series was recommended to me by a couple of people, and since it was available on Kindle Unlimited, I figured why not.

This was a great decision.

Stupidly rich playboy wizard Nate Temple is dealing with the aftermath of his parents’ murder, which makes him the sole heir to Temple Industries – a title he doesn’t want, and refuses to take over the company. He also happens to be a person of interest in their murder.

Then, he’s hired to find a book… and his bookstore is attacked by a dragon. He tussles with the Minotaur, battles a few more dragons, finds the book in question, and eventually gives in and takes over his parents’ company after the reading of the will.

Nate is snarky and has a slight disregard for the rules. He’s a bad boy, and I do love me a bad boy. His best friend is a werewolf who works for the FBI, running a special task force made up of other supernatural types. Nate’s smartass mouth gets him in trouble quite a bit, but he does care about St. Louis and taking care of the Regulars (normal, non-magical humans) that live there, even by questionable means. There are some great lines that made me laugh out loud, and I appreciate humor in a book.

Hundreds of spiny, silver needles covered the scene, as if a dozen chrome porcupines had exploded in a last act of martyrdom against the written word.

Obsidian Son by Shayne Silvers

Right, I show up in town hunting rumors of the most badass dragon in centuries, and all of a sudden you have a reptile dysfunction in your city.

Obsidian Son by Shayne Silvers

Grimm nuzzled Misha affectionately with his bloodstained muzzle and then clopped over to me to do the same. Just a friendly, blood covered, red and black peacock-feathered, death-unicorn. Cuddling. No big deal.

Obsidian Son by Shayne Silvers

Grimm was also great… I mean who wouldn’t love a red and black peacock-feathered death unicorn?

I’m already working on the second book in the series, and I recently found out that there’s some crossover with other series by the same author, so I’m definitely going to enjoy exploring this universe. It’s a super fun series to read, and I love it when books are fun. A solid 4/5 stars.

Grisha Galore

Hey everyone! It’s been a while, it seems I hit another reading slump and couldn’t focus on anything else. I just kept thinking about Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, and decided the only way I was going to get it out of my head was to re-read it, so here we are.

This is the story of a girl named Alina Starkov, and her journey of finding out she’s the Sun Summoner, a type of Grisha that has never been seen before. Along with her is her childhood friend, Mal Oretsev, who isn’t Grisha but is a powerful and skilled tracker. Alina finds out by accident that she’s the Sun Summoner, because she had somehow managed to stifle her power when she was tested as a child. In a trip across the Shadow Fold, a huge dead area covered in perpetual darkness, she unwittingly unleashes her power to save Mal’s life.

After discovering what she is, Alina is taken to Os Alta, the capital of Ravka, where she’s presented to the King and Queen, and the Darkling. The Darkling is the leader of the Grisha, and he and Alina are unexplicably drawn to each other.

Over the course of her training, Alina begins to realize the Darkling isn’t exactly who he presents himself to be, and she begins to distrust him. Rightfully so, as it turns out. The Darkling has always been a “hereditary” position, and the current one claims that one of his ancestors, the Black Heretic, is responsible for creation of the Shadow Fold, but in reality the long line of Darklings were all the same person. He claims to want to repair the Shadow Fold, when in reality he wants Alina’s power so that he can use it as a weapon.

There’s quests for magical artifacts called Amplifiers, there’s defiance of the Darkling’s plans, the hints about a connection to a Ravkan saind, Ilya Morozova, the whole book is a thrill ride from beginning to end. I love the magic system, the Grisha are different than any other magic system I’ve seen in a fantasy book. They’re divided into three groups – Corporalki (The Order of the Living and the Dead), Etherealki (The Order of Summoners), and Materialki (The Order of Fabrikators. Within each group there are specializations – the Corporalki are Heartrenders and Healers, the Etherealki are Squallers (air), Inferni (fire), and Tidemakers (water), and the Materialki are Durasts (they work with metal/glass/etc) and Alkemi (alchemy). It’s referred to as “The Small Science.” We aren’t given a ton of information about exactly how it works, but I’m hoping for more books that will eventually give us more explanation. There’s also another type of magic, Merzost, but it’s very taboo and no one is supposed to use it. Using Merzost is like playing God – it’s the power at the heart of everything.

I love the story, I love the added mystery of Ilya Morozova, I love the setting – a fantasy story that is NOT a Medieval Europe type setting! I love the magic system. Everything about them is great. This is the third or fourth time I read this series, and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time.

What series can you read over and over and never get tired of?

Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy

I didn’t forget you guys, I promise! I actually finished this entire series – I was so sick, y’all. I literally didn’t do anything other than lay in bed and read for three days. I finally went to the doctor and he told me what I already knew – I had an upper respiratory infection and had been dehydrated. The dehydration is why I kept feeling like I was going to pass out, but by the time I made it to the doctor I had already rehydrated myself. He gave me two shots and I got better a lot faster after that. I still have a little bit of a cough, but I’m pretty much over it now.

Anyway! A quick and dirty review of the rest of this series. We continue to follow the adventures of Grier Woolworth as she learns how to be a Necromancer. What I find interesting about the necromancy in this series is that it isn’t just raising the dead – Necromancers create vampires. Also, Vampirism isn’t transmitted via bite, vampires can’t create more vampires. The only exception to this is that during the first 24 hours of being turned, male vamps can still sire children in the normal way, and the children inherit Vampirisim. Those vampires are called Last Seeds. They’re rare and super powerful.

Due to Linus’ tutelage, Grier begins to come into her power – and there’s a hiccup there, too. We find out that Grier is a special kind of Necromancer – she’s Goddess-touched. I won’t go into detail there, because it’s kind of a plot point/plot twist, and I would’t want to ruin it for you. Grier does manage to start restoring the wards on Wooly and bringing her back to full power – that house has so much personality. She’s one of my favorite characters in the series.

Grier faces a lot of challenges in this series, betrayals and heartbreaks and losses. And she stands up and takes it all in the teeth. She’s got chutzpah.

These books aren’t super long, and they’re fun, easy reads. Hailey Edwards has yet to disappoint me with anything of hers that I’ve read. I love huge, sweeping epics, but sometimes you want a short, sweet story that scratches all the right itches, and these do just that. Absolutely worth a read – they’re fun, well-written, they’ll make you laugh and cry – my only criticism is that I need more Keet in the next book. I love that weird little bird. The whole series is available on Kindle Unlimited, so what have you got to lose? Go read! Book 6 is set to come out later this year, and I might explode before it’s released.

I haven’t made up my mind on what I’m gonna read next – I’ve got several other Kindle Unlimited series waiting in the wings, plus a TON of actual dead tree books that I’ve bought lately. I’m also open to suggestions from y’all on stuff you’d like me to read – especially if it’s on Kindle Unlimited!

How to Save an Undead Life

Alright, I settled on a new series to review! Based upon reading and loving other series by Hailey Edwards, I decided to finally pick up her Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy series, that begins with How to Save an Undead Life. My attachment to this author may or may not be influenced by the fact that she is also from Alabama.

The entirety of this series (and her others) can be read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

Blurb: Grier Woolworth spends her nights weaving spooky tales of lost souls and tragedies for tourists on the streets of downtown Savannah. Hoop skirt and parasol aside, it’s not a bad gig. The pay is crap, but the tips keep the lights on in her personal haunted mansion and her pantry stocked with ramen.

Life is about as normal as it gets for an ex-necromancer hiding among humans. Until the society that excommunicated Grier offers her a second chance at being more than ordinary. Too bad no one warned her the trouble with being extraordinary is it can get you killed.

Where do I begin? I love Grier. She’s another one of those characters who’s had to overcome a lot, and it shows. She’s tough as hell, often tougher than she believes she is. And I LOVE Woolly, I want to live in a haunted house like that.

I may or may not also be falling for Boaz. He’s got just the right amount of snarky humor. I want Grier to be the reason he settles down.

The story itself centers on Grier being released from magical prison, convicted of the murder of her aunt without a trial. Now that she’s out, she’s being courted by a vampire named Danill Vokolov, and she can’t figure out why. At least, not until a mysterious wraith appears in her home, with an invitation to a party for her other aunt, who is becoming Grand Dame of the Society. The wraith also kidnaps her bird, an undead parakeet named Keet Richards.

Grier soon finds out just what’s going on, and isn’t too happy about it. She ends up kidnapped and drugged, by the same drug they used on her in prison, but she manages to escape. She’s then accompanied back home by her cousin, Linus, who’s going to teach her more about necromancy.

All in all, it was a decent first book. I do have a lot of questions about the Society, and I want to know what Boaz and Amalie and the rest of the Pritchard family are. Maybe I just overlooked it, but I know they’re Low Society to Grier’s High Society.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to start book 2.

Assassin Crowned

The bad news: I’ve been sick as hell all day and didn’t even feel like getting out of bed.

The good news: This allowed me to *finally* finish Kingdom of Ash, because laying here reading is about all I’ve felt like doing.

Everything starts coming to a head in this book. There was a HUGE plot twist that even I didn’t see coming – it was a doozy.

The final battle with the Valg king finally comes to a head, and all of our heroes are finally together again – though it is at times very bittersweet. There are hard decisions made all around – world-changing decisions. Decisions that they struggle with – because throughout this entire series, the thing that I praise the most is how very human and real Maas’ characters feel. With Aelin, especially, as powerful as she is, it would have been easy to make her a one-trick pony. Invincible. But she isn’t, she’s very flawed, as are all of the characters, from Aelin to Rowan to Manon to Elide. Oftentimes, they are keenly aware of their flaws, as most humans are.

The journeys of Manon Blackbeak and Elide Lochan were two of my favorites in the series. They are two of the strongest, most well-developed and well-written characters I’ve seen in a long time. Dorian is also a very fascinating character, and he changed a lot from the prince he was in the beginning. The things he suffered made him a wholly different person, one that I wasn’t sure I liked all that much at times, but overall it just added to that complexity that made them feel real.

In the end, despite Maas shoving her hand in my gut and twisting it around a few times, for the most part our heroes got their happy ending. For most of them it was extremely bittersweet, because they all suffered terrible losses of one kind or another, but at the end they are left with hope. Hope for a new, better world, a peaceful world.

This series has been a rollercoaster ride from start to end, one that I have thoroughly enjoyed. This is another one of those series that when I re-read it in the future (and I will… probably many times) I will always long for that “first time” magic, much like I do with Harry Potter or The Belgariad. That is a magic that can’t ever be recreated, but that I will always be grateful that I experienced.

I haven’t yet decided what my next read will be, though I have a few ideas. Stay tuned!

Last-book-itis

Hey y’all! I’m still slowly chugging away on Kingdom of Ash, but I think it’s because I’m suffering from last-book-itis. It’s a syndrome where I know I’m reading the last book in a series I love, and once I read it, it’s over. I don’t want it to be over.

Yeah yeah, I hear you. “But you can read it again any time you want!” It doesn’t work that way. There’s a very special kind of magic that happens on the very first read through of a book or series, and that magic can never be re-created. The books are still amazing, but that first read magic is only there once.

I do this thing where I get overly attached to characters and don’t want to let them go. (I’m watching you, John Flanagan. I still haven’t been able to commit to reading your Brotherband Chronicles because it feels like I’m betraying Will and Halt.) I think my mind subconsciously sabotages my reading when I start nearing the end of a series in an effort to keep it from being over.

Why yes, I do have issues. Lots of them.

I promise, I will finish and post my review and an overall review of the series. I may also post a poll and ask the masses what I should read next, because I’ve kind of gone crazy buying books the last couple weekends. Keep an eye out for that, sometime within the week probably.

Assassin Absent

Hey guys… I know it’s been a while, but life got pretty hectic for a while, so it took me a while to get through Tower of Dawn. But HOLY COW, y’all.

This book deviates from the rest of the series in that Celaena is not present at all for most of the book. This book follows Chaol and Nesryn, as they go to Antica to see if they can find someone able to heal Chaol’s injuries and perhaps make an alliance for the coming war. There they find Yrene Towers, a member of the Torre Cesme (Tower of Dawn), who has successfully healed similar injuries in the past. She has a bitter taste in her mouth toward anyone from Adarlan, though, and at first helps them reluctantly.

Yrene eventually becomes much less reluctant, and there are several HUGE revelations in this book concerning the Valg and their presence in this world. Like, I-didn’t-see-it-coming-and-it-blew-my-mind revelations. And that doesn’t happen to me often – I usually see this stuff from a mile away, but this… never even occurred to me. Would never have in a million years.

At the very end of the book, we touch base with Celaena and her current situation, which is a tricky one. That is the only time she’s in this book, which was both disappointing and refreshing. I love the character, but it was nice to see another part of this world that Maas created, and see more of her diverse, multifaceted characters. That is the one thing I cannot say enough about these books – her characters are all amazingly complex, which makes them feel very real and easy to relate to.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to start Kingdom of Ash, because I really need to know how this story is going to end. I’ve got my eye on you, Sarah J. Maas. This better have a satisfying conclusion.

Assassin Abducted

Holy mother of fire.

This book… I will not be right for months. If the next two are like this, I think my brain might break, guys.

Things really start coming to a head for Celaena and her friends here. We see just how sneaky and conniving Celaena can be, we get a taste of a few more territorial fae bastards, to steal Celaena’s term. Some people that I suspected were going to be important to our side proved themselves to be so.

Dorian seems… different after being occupied by a Valg prince. He’s strangely drawn to Manon Blackbeak, and makes the statement that he doesn’t like his women breakable. I think the death of Sorscha really affected him, as much or more so than being host to a Valg.

I’m still in love with Rowan. Why can’t I find my own Rowan?

We really start getting an explanation of what it’s going to take to destroy the Wyrdstones, and let me just tell you, I do NOT like where this is going. At all. Elena finally explains everything to Celaena, who had actually already figured it out.

I will say, after this book, I hesitate to label these as YA anymore. There’s a pretty explicit sex scene (a couple, actually) that make me feel like this belongs firmly in the “fantasy” genre without that YA tag. I feel like publishers these days tend to throw all fantasy and sci-fi literature into YA, whether it truly belongs there or not, which can put people off. I know people who flatly refuse to read anything labeled as YA, because “YA is all fluff.” That’s an incredibly untrue statement – sure, some YA is fluff, just like some adult literature is fluff (and not that there’s anything wrong with fluff, either – fluff can be fun). But a lot of things labeled as YA are some of the best things I’ve read in years. You know how they say “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, don’t judge it by its genre, either.

Anyway, Maeve finally makes her move in this book, that conniving bitch, and manages to kidnap Celaena. Celaena, who has made so many contingency plans because she’s willing to sacrifice herself and wants her friends to make the “right” decision and not try to rescue her. And all of this comes crashing down on them once they realize she’s been taken.

Of course, we all know it’s not gonna work that way. We know Rowan, at least, is going to go after her. Thankfully.

I’ve raved about Maas’ characters, but her descriptions of her settings are just as good. I never have a problem getting a clear visual in my head of the places she’s describing. This whole series has just been fantastic, and I can’t wait to see how it ends. It’s either going to make me incredibly happy, or incredibly angry, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Stay tuned – Tower of Dawn coming soon!