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Review of Greenwood Cove (Sunshine Walkingstick #1), by Celia Roman

I received an Audible code for a copy of Greenwood Cove, by Celia Roman.

Description from Goodreads:
I had three loves in my life: my daddy, him what my mama killed in cold blood; my son Henry, God rest him; and tall as an oak Riley Treadwell.

I lost all of ’em, one way or t’other, ’til Riley showed up on my stoop with a monster problem and tried to wiggle his way back into my life.

Only, weren’t no monster bothering him; was the one bothering his ex-girlfriend what’d stirred up a hornet’s nest out on Lake Burton amongst the muckity mucks. Weren’t no never mind to me, see? I was fine letting well enough alone, ‘cept curiosity got the best of me, and Riley, well. He weren’t above using that silver tongue of his to persuade me ’round to his way of doing things. If I’da listened to my gut, maybe I woulda avoided stepping knee deep into somebody else’s trouble.

Then again, I ain’t never been one to heed a warning when monsters come a-calling.

Review: 
I quite enjoyed this, both the story and the narration of the Audible. I struggled at first with Rebecca Winder’s version of a rural accent. It, combined with Roman’s phrasing, came across as artificial at times, more of a stereotypical mountain-speak than anything realistic. But I got used to it eventually.

I generally liked this. I liked the characters, the mystery and the romance. But I struggled at times feeling like the romance overpowered everything else and, well, this really doesn’t feel like a first book. The characters have a lot of history and a certain amount of background is left unexplained. I kept feeling like there must be a prequel out there somewhere. (There isn’t as far as I know.) Some of this feeling probably would have been ameliorated by fleshing some of the plot points out a bit and bringing her whole paranormal investigation into the open earlier. As it was, I wasn’t even sure she’d had paranormal cases, outside of her lost son, before the events of the book, until it was finally mentioned toward the end. It felt like yet one more thing readers were just supposed to know already.

All the same, it was a fun read. There was a certain amount of humor and I’d be open to continuing the series.

Review of Chaos Unbound, by Brian S. Leon

I received a copy of Chaos Unbound, by Brian S. Leon, from Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
The hunter becomes the hunted.

Framed for the murder of a high ranking member of the Unseelie Court of Fae, Steve Dore–also known as Diomedes, Guardian and protector of mankind–goes on the run. He’s determined to uncover the real culprit and clear his name.

But the assassination may be the beginning of a more sinister plot that involves not just the Fae and Humankind, but all the races of the world. And what if the real assassin is a boogeyman even the Fae don’t believe is real?

Review:
I’m finished, Lord above I’m finally done! My goodness, that book seemed to go on forever. It’s not even a bad book. The writing is fine. It’s funny and the author seems to understand military stuff well enough for it to read as realistic. But the book is so darned long and it’s just running and fighting nonstop. I got so tired of the main character and his perfect friends killing things and being told about this gun or that tactical vest, or this military vehicle or that battle in 82BC or this mythical creature or that country and conflict. There was no time for any character development in and amongst all the running around, fighting and being attacked.

The blurb says it can be read as a standalone and it can. I haven’t read book one and I followed this one just fine. But I definitely felt that I was missing something in having not read the preceding book. The characters refer to the events of book one and the events of this one tie into it. Plus, I kept thinking, as new people were being introduced at 80% into the book, that all the character development must have been left there, since it wasn’t here.

The plot is pretty simple, a man is wrongly accused of a crime and must find the real culprit on order to clear his name. I’ll say this book was ok, but it didn’t need 350+ pages to tell the story. If you like non-stop action though, this might be a good book for you.

Review of Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1), by Jay Kristoff

StormdancerI picked up a copy of Stormdancer, by Jay Kristoff at my local library. (With that cover, how could I not?)

Description from Goodreads:
A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST 
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

A HIDDEN GIFT 
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Review:
This is probably a must-read for all Anime and Manga fans out there. You’ll definitely recognize the feel of it. Not to mention it’d be really helpful to already understand what a yokai and oni are, as well as any number of other recognizable Japanese words (clothing items, ranks, weaponry, etc).

I basically enjoyed it after a really slow start. I enjoyed Yukiko and Buruu, as well as some of the side characters. I probably could have done without the teenage romance, but this is a YA book so I don’t know that I can really complain about it.

Like so many YA books it is essentially an allegory. Shima’s Chi dependence mirroring the modern world’s dependence on oil and it’s destructive self-perpetuation. The maniac Shogun could easily be the greedy 1% crushing the common man, while placating him with lies and base entertainments.

All in all, well worth picking up.