Tag Archives: urban fantasy

Review of The Innkeeper Chronicles (#1-3.5), by Ilona Andrews

I bought book one and two, Clean Sweep and Sweep In Peace.  Then I won the third, One Fell Sweep, through Goodreads.


Description:
On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Review*:
I have a really odd relationship with Ilona Andrews books. I enjoy them, but I almost never rate one higher than 3 stars. I like them but just don’t think they’re all that great…but taken together, I always want another. They’re like hard candies, not anything special but once you’ve had that first one you just want to keep popping them in your mouth until your tastebuds burn. That’s me and Andrews. I don’t think the books are great, but I always want another one. What am I supposed to do with that?

This is no exception. I thought it was a lot of fun, though bordering on utterly ridiculous and there were several too-coincidental-to-be-believed moments. But I liked all the characters; as always I appreciated the strong female and alpha male willing to let her lead, there are a ton of little easter eggs hidden in it and I’m already ready for the next one.

*Technically I read and reviewed this book in 2016, but I’ve just gotten around to reading the rest of the series and have brought this review forward for continuity.


Description: 
Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina’s door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.

Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn…and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it’s all in the day’s work for an Innkeeper…

Review:
I didn’t like it as much as book one, but still enjoyed it. I still like Dina and her inn-keeping. I still liked the writing and I’m still curious about the threads left open. I’ll certainly be continuing the series. But if I thought book one walked the like of ridiculous, this one went full bore. And good lord, every little thing is described in such overwhelming and distracting detail that I wanted to beg characters not to change costume, so that I didn’t have to suffer another page long description of their new clothing. But for the most part, this is classic Andrews for me, I didn’t love it but I still want more.


Description:
Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, is glad to have you. We cater to particular kind of guests, the ones most people don’t know about. The older lady sipping her Mello Yello is called Caldenia, although she prefers Your Grace. She has a sizable bounty on her head, so if you hear kinetic or laser fire, try not to stand close to the target. Our chef is a Quillonian. The claws are a little unsettling, but he is a consummate professional and truly is the best chef in the Galaxy. If you see a dark shadow in the orchard late at night, don’t worry. Someone is patrolling the grounds. Do beware of our dog.

Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your host, Dina Demille, will defend you at all costs. We ask only that you mind other guests and conduct yourself in a polite manner.

Review:
I think I liked this one the best of the three, so far. For some reason, I erroneously thought this was a trilogy and the end of the series. So, I’m both disappointed to find it didn’t wrap up and delight that there will be more. But I like that we saw familiar characters coming back together, instead of a barrage of new ones, and some important progression in Dina and Sean’s relationship.

I did think some of the threats being planet-level was a little too much and all the jumping around the galaxy never seemed to take long enough. But I’ll be looking for more of the Innkeeper Chronicles.

Review of Whispers From Another World (Whitney Powers #1), by Jason Paul Rice

I received a Audible code for a copy of Whispers From Another World (by Jason Paul Rice) from the narrator Tiffany Willams.

Description from Goodreads:
A strong-willed woman. A new cop on the local force. Two lonely souls find each other and embark on a paranormal mystery adventure.

Twelve-year-old Whitney Powers looks at the books on supernatural phenomena in a dark corner of the Granny Larson Library. As she stares, the bookshelf begins to shake and a prism-like flash of light blinds her momentarily.

Whitney goes missing for the next three days. Finally, a local patrolman finds her a few miles from the library. Her explanation of the incident causes her to be ridiculed for the next eighteen years. Despite countless opportunities to leave and end the abuse, she’s stayed in this small town.

Why has she always remained close to the Granny Larson Library, which is supposedly haunted?

What happened during those three days that’s forcing her to stay back and work at the library?

Review:
I really hate doing this. I always feel guilty when I offer to review a book and then have to say bad things about it. I know there are reviewers out there that request a book to do just that. I’m not that person. I go into a book hoping to love it and I’m disappointed when I don’t.

But honestly, this story just does not hang together. The ghosts are extraneous to the plot. Whitney is a random ‘chosen one,’ special for no apparent reason and far, far too perfect. But worst of all is the attempt an being a police procedural. Reasonably, if she didn’t end up dead she’d be in jail for impersonating a police officer and interfering in an active investigation, instead of being given some vague ‘clearance’ and invited to work with the special police. None of it works! At all.

I try not to generalize. But I honestly think some male authors shouldn’t try to write female characters. Whitney is so incredibly unlikable I almost can’t verbalize it. The things she’s supposed to think are important just make her horrible. Her whole life comes down to pettily rubbing ‘her man’ into the face of people who made fun of her. As if having a man makes her complete. I cannot tell you how many times I rolled my eyes, said “gross” out loud or made gagging motions. For real, if I hadn’t accepted this in exchange for a review I wouldn’t have finished it. It’s that bad.

The writing seems mechanically fine, though I had the audio so I can’t be certain. But its the sort that leans heavily on ‘very,’ ‘extremely,’ ‘really’ and far too many adjectives. Tiffany Williams did a fine job with the narration, but the story is an utter flop.

Review of Agent (Empowered #1), by Dale Ivan Smith

I picked up a copy of Dale Ivan Smith‘s Empowered: Agent when it was free on Amazon. It was still free at the time of posting.

Description from Goodreads:
The world says those with superpowers are either heroes or villains. But what if you’re both?

Mathilda Brandt isn’t the angry, out-of-control teenager she was before she got out of jail. She’s hungry for a chance at a normal life, but when a gang threatens her sisters, she has no choice but to use her illegal superpower to protect them.

A secretive government agency gives her a choice: go back to prison for life, or infiltrate a notorious super-villain group in order to stop a psychotic Empowered. To save her city, her family, and herself, Mat must become the last thing she ever wanted to be again: a criminal.

Review:
Not bad, sort of your standard girl with superpowers gets pulled into something she doesn’t want to do and then goes about kicking ass and taking names. I thought she was a little too quick to jump to the “I need to kill this guy” stage, but I also felt her conundrum.

I do, however, have to ask such YA heroines always have to be so unfailingly aggressive and unpleasant. And I’m not just talking about Mat either. All the young women who wanted to look tough were just bulldogs with spiky personalities. I swear, you’d think this was the only version of tough authors had ever heard of.

All in all, not bad, just nothing superb or stand-out about it either. It felt a little short on details, considering how long it was, but had enough action not to drag. I’d be willing to read another of the series, but I’m not racing out to buy the sequel either. A solid 3-star read.