Best Served Cold – Joe Abercrombie

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Author: Joe Abercrombie
Series: First Law World #4

Pages: 661

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Springtime in Styria. And that means war. Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge.

There have been nineteen years of blood. The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white. While armies march, heads roll and cities burn, behind the scenes bankers, priests and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king.

War may be hell but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso’s employ, it’s a damn good way of making money too. Her victories have made her popular – a shade too popular for her employer’s taste. Betrayed, thrown down a mountain and left for dead, Murcatto’s reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. Whatever the cost, seven men must die.

Her allies include Styria’s least reliable drunkard, Styria’s most treacherous poisoner, a mass-murderer obsessed with numbers and a Northman who just wants to do the right thing. Her enemies number the better half of the nation. And that’s all before the most dangerous man in the world is dispatched to hunt her down and finish the job Duke Orso started…

Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge.

It’s no secret that the last book of The First Law Trilogy left me with a huge stab wound on my back. One that I enjoyed immensely. I was afraid of reading the rest of the books, because the bar was pretty high. But my fears were pointless. Best Served Cold is a superb book that has nothing to envy to the first trilogy.

The time we follow Monza Murcatto and her band of merry men and women in a killing spree to satiate her thirst for vengeance. Seven targets are between them and the peace of mind Monza is seeking. One of those targets is Duke Orso himself, so the quest is far more dangerous that anyone could expect. Lucklily for Monza, she has a lot of gold to buy “loyal” assassins.

As in the previous books, this one has upstanding characters that make that fantasy world much more appealing and enjoyable. But the character development doesn’t hinder the pace. The story is a non-stop festival of different kind of actions: dark alley assassinations, undercover missions, infiltration ala Assassins Creed, skirmishes, full battles… Anything in the field of murder you could think of it is possibly in this book. The book is divided in seven parts, one for every target. Any of those feels different from the others, which is something very positive for such a big book. Obviously, there are better and worse parts. My favourite is the one to kill Mauthis, due to the weird sense of humor displayed in those chapters. The worst (but not bad) the part for the murder of Faithful Carpi… there were too many changes and I couldn’t get over one when the next was happening.

Maybe you are wondering if this story is linked with the shocking finale of the first trilogy. It is a different story, but the “new” political context is mentioned more than once. And Sulfur makes a lot of cameos along the story to let the reader know that the Big Bad Baldy is still out there being the Master Puppeteer I love to hate. The Eater made me so nervous every time he was in a scene. You never know when the kicks to the gut and groin are going to start with this writer… Because I have learned that with Joe Abercrombie is not a matter of IF… it’s a matter of WHEN those kicks will start.

And talking about guts… Man, the other books were bloody, but this one has increased the gore to a new level. It is mostly contained with one character, though: the mysterious Shenkt. A powerful something that is creepily strong and has no problem in using brute force in the most twisted and bloody way you can imagine. I’m talking about fingers drilling skulls or heartbreaking hand-to-hand combat… He is SO scary! But one of the best characters of the book. There are not many pages with him, but all of them are pure gold and full of “I was not expecting that” moments.

The catalog of interesting characters in this book is unending. All the main ones have something special to remember them by. We reconnect with Shivers, the Northman who wanted to claimed vengeance over Logen’s corpse but who changed his mind to pursuit a better life. He ends up in Styria, full of hope and good intentions, but second chances are hard to come by. Monza recruits him for her quest and the journey makes him a different man. His plot line is by far the saddest one. As a reader I felt hopeless and helpless with the events unraveling before me that transform Shivers into a bitter man. I am actually scared of him now…

The Master Poisoner Morveer and his sidekick Day are a joy for the reader. I love the way he talks, how he considers himself superior to everyone else. I know he is a perturbed individual that I should ignore, but the way he sees the world through the “blindfold” he wears is one of the most special characteristics of the story. On the other hand, Day was underused and underdeveloped. I would love to have read more about her. I have the feeling there is much more about her that what we learn.

Other character that should have had more time is Friendly. He is so weird and interesting. We barely get to know any of the background that made him behave the way he does. He may be cold, but his honesty makes him a beacon of light in a world plagued with too much smoke and too many mirrors. I hope he comes back in any of the following books to get to know him better.

We also reconnect with Vitari, but her part is not very important except for a revelation that would break your jaw. My brain is still boiling with all the implications… And we also have a lot more of Nicomo Cosca. In this book he shines with all his splendor and he has become one of my favourite characters in this saga. Even though I’m not sure if we can trust him, but I guess that’s the main trait of the character…

Monza… At first I was 100% pro-vengeance, so I was Team Monza all the way. But during the journey we get to know her quite a lot and I wouldn’t like to consider her my friend even if that could cost me my life (so dramatic!!). She is too self-centered. First me, then me and last… ME!! She sacrifices friendships and loyalties with an unsettling easiness and when we discover the truth about Benna… I wasn’t sure if I should support Monza or Orso. I need good guys and bad guys, but I should have learned by now that I’m not getting that with these books. The only good thing about Monza is that she is going to be a thorn in Bayaz’s mighty ass, so she is still on my “OK” book.

An awesome fest full of great moments. I have already bought The Heroes to keep with this saga sooner or later, because this is getting better and better.

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2019 – Book Gallery

 

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Stygian – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark-Hunter #27
Pages: 670

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Born before man recorded time, I lived for thousands of years, believing myself to be something I’m not.
Someone I’m not.
Lied to and betrayed by gods, Daimons, and Dark-Hunters, I’ve struggled to find my way in a world where I’ve been cursed since the moment a vengeful goddess prematurely ripped me from my mother and planted me into the womb of an innocent woman who thought me her son.
Trained as a slayer and predator, I’ve learned to fit in and stay low. To become a tool for evil. Until I was sent to kill the one woman I couldn’t. My hesitation cost her, her life.
Or so I thought. In an act of betrayal that makes all the others pale in comparison, I’ve learned that things are not what they seem in this world and that my Phoebe still lives.
Now I will have to travel into the very pits of Hades to try and save her, even as everyone around me attempts to steal what little soul I have left. There’s only one person at my back and I’m not sure I can trust her either, for she was born of an enemy race. Yet sometimes the road to redemption is one that singes us to our very core. And if I fail to find the answers I need to save Phoebe, more than just my wife will die.
We will lose the world. Both human and Daimon.
~Urian of the House of Aricles

I did it!! I did it!! I’m up-to-date with the Dark-Hunters saga!! *happy dance*. Only 33 more sagas to tackle! Sadly, I start much more than I finish, so it’s an impossible race against my To Be Read list. Well, sure steps and small victories. That’s the trick for a happy reader. I will start with the review now, before I lose myself into the metaphysical concepts of reading goals.

This is the book of Urian. Enough said! We follow the character through more than 11 thousand years. Since his weird birth, to the present time where he has to deal with the truth about Phoebe. A story about family, loss, survival and immortal love. A biography of one of the most charismatic characters of this saga!

This is a milestone book, like Acheron or Styxx; so is much longer than other Dark-Hunters books. But, while the other two were made for lovers of the saga, Stygian’s focus on lovers of Urian. If you don’t like the character, you won’t like the book. Story wise, there is not much to tell. All the focus of the book is on the former Daimon and his lengthy life. Yes, there is still a bit of the epic craziness we love; but if you think that is going to be the main course, you are meant to be disappointed. Even though Urian’s story is a lot of fun, I guess that could not be enough for some readers.

Gladly, it’s not my case. I love the character, so I have enjoyed every single page of this book. After the dragon trilogy that left me with a sour aftertaste, I needed something like this to boost my love for this saga. I have laughed, cried, bitten my nails, jumped in the bed, yelled at it… All the emotions you can imagine. I was eager to finish my work day to reunite with Urian and all the amazing characters that wander around his life. I’ve been team Urian 100%, to the point that I considered the Dark-Hunters my mortal enemies as well. It’s one of the things I have loved the most about Stygian. Getting to know a much deeper point of view of Apollite and Daimon life has made me more empathetic towards them. I know I shouldn’t give the time of day to people like Stryker, Urian, Davyn and the others, but I can’t help thinking they were the true heroes of the book.

I’m extremely happy with this book, but I must point out some of the weakest elements of it. Once we reach the present time, the story becomes a retelling of previous books. Not as heavy as with Illarion’s book; but there is a nice hunk invested in telling us again Wulf’s, Acheron’s, Styxx’s and Falcyn’s books. Thankfully, the author drops some “deleted scenes” and different points of view to tell us again the same thing; so it’s much more bearable than expected. And let’s be honest, those books are important to undertsand Urian’s story, so I guess some readers will be glad for the refresher.

The other part that makes me frown a little is the ending. I have a love/hate realtionship with it. On one hand, it’s a new dawn for the Dark-Hunters and the Daimons. One I’m eager to devour as soon as the next book is published. On the other hand, the part of the story about Phoebe feels a little too short. After the ending of Falcyn’s book, I was breathless with the revelation that Phoebe was still alive. I needed to know Urian’s reaction. But it takes 90% of this book to just reach the same point in the timeline where the previous book left us. It took so long, that I was afraid the resolution of that plot twist was going to be weak and easy. And, sadly, I wasn’t wrong. I don’t mean it was horrible, far from it! I just think it hasn’t made any justice to the cliffhanger we had after Dragonsworn.

I can’t finish without mentioning my recently discovered love towards a character that has been there for a while but never caught my attention that badly. I’m talking about Davyn. If I could make a wish related to this saga, that would be to get his book sooner rather than later. Or maybe the longer wait will make his story sweeter. Ugh! Sometimes being a reader feels like a constant fight against myself…

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2019 – Book Gallery

Can’t Text This – Teagan Hunter

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Author: Teagan Hunter
Series: Texting #3

Pages: 342

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“Hi Monty. Wanna see my python?”
That’s how I ended up in the bathroom of some dive bar with a stranger.

Me, Monty Andrews, the quintessential virgin girl next door.

I was so out of my element, but there was no denying our explosive attraction, even via text.

Commence Operation Bang Each Other Out of Our Systems, because that was all it was–unfinished business.

I had no intention of falling back into the sheets with the tattooed, muscly, dirty-in-the-best-kind-of-way single dad over and over again…but I did.

Everything was going great–until we discovered I was his son’s teacher.

After reading a book that drained me emotionally (in all the good meanings), picking a Romantic Comedy by Teagan Hunter was exactly what I needed. I know there are many big names in that genre thar are hugely acclaimed, but, in my humble opinion, Teagan is the new Queen of that genre. Her style is a hurricane of fresh air that has given me new hope for a genre I thought it was stuck.

This time we meet Monty (or Montana), a teacher whose strict upbringing has made her a bit shy in the relationship department. On the other hand, we have Robbie, a single-parent thar may look like a bad boy, but he is far from one. They meet at a bar, Monty’s alcohol level makes her more open-minded and end in the bathroom where they exchange much more than a few kisses. After that, Monty ran… Will she be able to get over the initial shame and have some fun? Will Robbie be able to drop his womanizer behaviour and court her properly?

Even though I love the whole book, the first half is much stronger than the second one. The sense of humor in those first text exchanges are an amazing source of laughter that leaves the reader in serious need of medical attention. My whole body hurt due to the convulsions from the bursts of sincere laughter that I had every minute. I love Teagan’s sense of humor. It is just perfect for the Romance genre. The banter is crazy fun, full of surreal exchanges and perfectly used sexual innuendos. Those last tend to make me cringe in other books (where everything is shaped like a penis…), but in this one they just enhance its comedic side to a very high level.

My only complaint about the book is that is rather uneventful. The fact that Monty is the teacher of Robbie’s son was there in the blurb, but it doesn’t appear in the story until much later (about 70%). That was a bit disappointing, because it could have been a nicer and longer drama if it were presented earlier. By the time the characters find that bit of info, they were so invested in each other that the solution to the issue was easier than expected. I may not have liked that, but it’s not big enough to be a problem for the enjoyment of the book. The superb banter distracts the reader from any possible shortcomings of the story.

Teagan is not only a Master Joker, she is also really great creating characters and given them a special voice. I always fall in love with them and the male counterparts are sure candidates for my list of book boyfriends. Robbie is not an exception. Not only he is the epitome of Eye Candiness (even though I would prefer less ink…), he is a good humored guy, with a golden heart and a great father. A self-made person who is a the perfect role model for everyone who doesn’t believe in second chances. If you are willing to change your life, just do it. I also love his mischievous ways around Monty and how naturally charming he is (it doesn’t feel forced at all). And he is just the right amount of cocky to enhance his sexiness. No wonder Monty found him so infurating!! He may not be perfect, but it is hard to find something wrong about him… *sigh* Book boyfriend!!!

Not long ago I was told by the author that this saga is not called Text. That Goodreads got that wrong somehow. Sadly, the saga continues unnamed, which drives the freak organitzational nerd inside me a little mad. So I’ll keep using the wrong name until there is something official or I could lose my mind (I’m weird that way). The same day I discovered the truth about the wrong name, I also learn that the next book in the saga is also the last, so reading the fourth one is going to feel like a goodbye for really good (and insanely hot) characters. I will need to check more of her works to fill the hole they are going to leave…

EDIT: Finally, the saga has been officially named Texting!!

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2019 – Book Gallery

Last Argument of Kings – Joe Abercrombie

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Author: Joe Abercrombie
Series: The First Law #3

Pages: 670

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The end is coming. Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him but it’s going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm, and there’s only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend, and his oldest enemy. It’s past time for the Bloody-Nine to come home.

With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no one is safe, and no one can be trusted. His days with a sword are far behind him. It’s a good thing blackmail, threats and torture still work well enough.

Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is far too painful, and turned his back on soldiering for a simple life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too, and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on a man when he least expects it.

While the King of the Union lies on his deathbead, the peasants revolt and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No one believes that the shadow of war is falling across the very heart of the Union. The First of the Magi has a plan to save the world, as he always does. But there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, after all, than to break the First Law…

Last book of the trilogy of The First Law, which I have taken my sweet time to read it and enjoy it. Thankfully, the author has written much more books based on that world. And, after the earth-shattering ending of this one, they are more than needed. I know they don’t follow the same story per se, but I’m hoping for enough winks and nods to put my mind at rest. Fingers crossed! By the way, this review will have heavy spoilers, because I can’t truly write about my feelings without them.

After the disappointment of ending their epic quest empty handed, the group go back home. Bayaz, Quai, Logen, Jezal, Ferro and Longfoot go to the capital of the Union and, from there, they say their goodbyes. Logen travels to the North to meet their friends and help them in the fight against Bethod. The rest stay in Adua with different objectives in mind. Meanwhile, the Gurkish Empire decides it has been in the background of the plot for far too long…

This last book is divided in two big chunks: the war against Bethod and the North and the war against the Gurkish Empire in the capital of the Union. I have enjoyed the later much more than the first one, but that doesn’t mean the brutish Northmen lack the abilty of hooking me up. I was just a bit sad while reading it. In the previous book, Logen blossomed as a character. I really wanted for him to be happy and I thought his going back home could be a first step. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Ninefingers is miserable among his people. I wanted to take him back to Adua and Ferro and let him be happy, but it seems his honor demanded to see the war against Bethod handled. It’s pretty hard to read how his so-called friends turn on him little by little. Even the congratulations after the much needed victory feel empty (which is totally on point taking into account the very final chapter of the book…). The best moments of the plot in the North are those with the focus on West. The soldier shows a lot of cunning and leadership skills that I dind’t know he was capable of. My opinion of this character has improved greatly since the first book.

But the mamia is mostly in the capital of the Union. There stay most of the original team fulfilling diverse roles. Glokta is balancing his many masters in order toi keep his head. Jezal is being catapulted to the top of the noble life thanks to Bayaz. Ferro is Ferro, so she is looking for new ways to get her revenge on the Gurkish Empire. And Bayaz… I will talk about him later (do NOT expect nice words). Jezal is the subject of one of the most shocking and unexpected moments of the book. It made me smile from ear to ear. I was salivating thinking about the reaction of Glokta, so prone to jelousy when the former Captain is involved. Sadly, there is not much time to enjoy the new era due to the massive Gurkish armada attacking the Union. Unexpected allies and returns just in time are two of the main ingredients that save (barely) the situation…

The most important role in the events that are into play during the battle is the one conducted by Bayaz. He could be mistaken as the hero who stopped the dreadful Eaters of the Gurkish Empire. by far the most formidable adversaries. But it is also during the first days after the victory that all pretenses are dropped. Bayaz is bad news. Very bad news. He is a liar, a murderer, a tyrant, a master manipulator. Everything that happens was to enhance his glory, no matter if the puny mortals that surround him are oblitarated. He put all the pieces together to create and solve the issue, as if it were a simple game for him. The cruelty, the coldness, the emotional impact that he provokes in every character… I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I was fuming with pure anger. The real bad guy of the books was walking free… I was so invested in the story that I truly felt his traitorous backstabbing. I hate him with a passion. I can’t think of another character in any other book that I would like to see suffer as much as Bayaz deserves.

If Bayaz getting away with his crimes wasn’t bad enough, he leaves his “friends” in a sorry state. Ferro has been touched by the Other Side. She is hearing voices, but the First of the Magi doesn’t care at all. He has used her as a kleenex. Use once and drop it. Yulwei is trapped or dead in the Tower, after being left there by his supposed friend. Another one who has outlived his usefulness. West… man… that one is hard. After all he has done to get the North back and save the capital, he is affected by a weird illness that has transformed him in little more than a corpse. A disease released by Bayaz experiments. And it wasn’t an accident. He knew about it and he didn”t care. Even wrose, I bet he could do something to cure it… but he just shrugs and turns around. He despises everyone who is not Bayaz. Disgusting fella… Jezal’s situation is not better. He has been placed as King thanks to the lies of Bayaz, but the Magi expect full obedience. When he doesn’t agree with his methods, Bayaz uses his power to submit Jezal thorugh pain in a really cruel exchange that left me speechless and trembling. And I could keep going with Glokta, Logen and more.

I must congratulate the author on the mastery of the plot. He creates a fully character driven story through the first two books to make the reader at home with them. To make the reader feel like part of the group. Like a friuend to them if you get into books as much as I do. And then he drops the bomb and the reader is too close to avoid collateral damage. I have had a knot in my throat while writing this review. I don’t know when I will recover. I just wish that we will see Bayaz fail in the future books sooner or later. I am like Ferro now. Only driven by vengeance.

Well played, Mr Abercrombie. Well played. These books are going to be amongst the most special ones I have ever read.

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2019 – Book Gallery

Squared Away – Annabeth Albert

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Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform #5

Pages: 320

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In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

The previous book of the Out of Uniform saga left me cold and with an uneasy feeling. I was actaully scared that the series was going down a path of mediocrity pretty fast. But, I’m always glad to be wrong. The fifth book is awesome. It’s up there with the first one or the third one. A true pleasure for a reader like me.

This time the story focuses on Mark, a.k.a. Wizard, a medic SEAL who is too used to take charge in every crisis. He is about to face the biggest crisis yet: the death of his sister and brother-in-law leaving behind three little kids… He rushes home to take care of them, but he finds Isaiah, another uncle of the kids, managing everything just fine (as fine as it can be in that situation…). They already knew each other, but the relationship is pretty strained. They have to get passed their differences to put their best faces for the kids and that’s the first step of their unlikely romance…

This is maybe the hardest story so far in the saga. It’s so unfair to see the life of those kids rattle so badly and yet getting used to their new reality so fast and stoically. Reading how Isaiah and Mark jump to claim the guardianship of the kids even though they had almost zero experience with them, when it would have been easier for them to let them be processed by the system, was an emotionally rewarding experience. It was really heart-warming and an example to follow. I would lie if I’d say I didn’t cry more than once (I kind of love crying with books. That means they have something especial). I was even a bit angry with the behaviour of the legal system and the social workers that were so worry about the well-being of the kids that, in order to protect them, their well-being and happiness were actually the first things to be in jeopardy. I have no idea how that works in Spain, so even more clueless about that in the United States, but what I read in this book… It’s crazy that the uncles were constantly questioned about their intentions when it was pretty obvious they cared for the kids.

If that drama wasn’t enough, there are obviously romantic issues to add to the mix. As in previous books, those are mainly fear to be open about the sexuality of one or more of the characters. In this case, the one having doubts was Mark. When the book gets its hands dirty explaining Mark’s sexualty I wasn’t down for it. Too much terms being thrown at the reader in a short amount of time: pansexual, demisexual, asexual, gray ace… I couldn’t follow the author. I even had to stop reading to look for the meaning of gray ace, only to discover that it was explained in the book. But, as if a mage herself, the unintended misdirection of the juggling of terms made me miss the proper explanation for the proper term… Once the first impression is passed, I’m glad Annabeth took that path in the book. Mark’s sexuality grants the hard cuddling scenes a level of eroticism I haven’t found in a book in a really long time. I tend to consider sex the boring, or the least interesting, part in a romance book, but in this case it adds so much to the story.

The characters were also a surprised. I barely remembered Wizard from other books and Isaiah was just a cameo in the Ben’s and Maddox’s book, so I wasn’s expecting to like them so much so fast. I love everything about them when they are apart and together, except the luck of trust on each other during the first weeks. If they would have talked, really talk, about the guardianship of the kids, they would have spared themselves of pretty hurtful situations. Although, in that case, I think the book would have been less enjoyable. Am I a bad person for wishing hard times for characters I love? Sometimes it’s hard to balance morals and reading passions.

In any other book I would have hated the classic end of a Romance book, but this time I will have to admit that is perfect. Yes, rushed; but utterly logic. It needed to be done for the sake of the kids and I have zero doubts in my mids that those kids are even happier now than with their real parents. How the system could doubt that is beyond my comprehension… I hope we know more about this couple in future books. I would love to check on them to see if everything is going fine.

I started this saga about a year ago and I do not regret one single momento of it, even though there have been some down times. I will always trust this author to deliver awesome stories and characters. I should start looking at her other works more seriously now. I’m almost at the end of the Out of Uniform series (just two more if the author doesn’t publish any more).

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2019 – Book Gallery

I Wanna Text You Up – Teagan Hunter

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Author: Teagan Hunter
Series: Texting #2

Pages: 300

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ROOMMATE WANTED
Chicks or dudes welcome!

Looking for a new roomie? I have a place for you! Like your music loud? I own headphones. Enjoy having late-night guests over? Again, headphones. Want someone to help pay the bills? Do the dishes? Take out the trash? You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours (metaphorically, of course).

Check us out, getting along already.

Must be able to pay first and last month’s rent up front.
Must be okay with Breakfast & Beats.
No dogs.
No trying to sleep with me.
Two bedrooms. One bathroom.
$350/month plus electricity.

If interested, email ineedarobin@gmail.com.
P.S. Wiener pics sent directly to my grandmother. Don’t do that crap to her.

First book of the year!! Actually, my intention was for this one to be last of the past year, but life sometimes doesn’t want to follow my plans. I’m not going to lie. This is an awesome book to start a new year. Teagan Hunter doesn’t disappoint, even though I haven’t loved it as much as the first book of this saga.

This time the story focuses on Delia’s roomante, Zoe. Due to the fact that her best friend is moving out to live with Zach (who wouldn’t!!!), she is in need of a new roommate. So she has the happy idea to create a notice to pin it in a common board. You know, the one that you can touch… not the virtual copy that is used nowadays. And who is behind the perfect answer for the notice? No other than Delia’s ex-boyfriend: Caleb. They start flirting right away, but the relationship has two obstacles: Zoe’s fear of angering her best friend and Caleb’s mysterious past.

I have read this whole book with a huge smile from ear to ear. I love the easiness among the characters and all the witty banter. It makes them so much more lovable and approachable. Not to mention all the good laughs I have had following these crazy characters. I guess it lacks more of the surreal sense of humor of Zach and Delia (although there is good dosis of it) and it lays more heavily in the sexual innuendos. Luckily, Teagan is master at those and that kind of exchanges doesn’t make me cringe.

The author’s style makes me so comfortable reading the book. I find myself feeling extra-good and happy when I enter in the Text universe. That atmosphere helps a lot to fell in love with the characters. Especially Caleb. He is so dreamy. Aside from the obvious (Zoe killed me everytime she commented on the abdominal muscles… cruel woman!!), the guy can cook. And I mean really cook. He is also very attentive most of the time, responsible, a good listener and SO charming. I was on my toes dreading the other shoe dropping. That moment where the author would reveal some dark secret about the perfect guy that would break Zoe’s heart (I was more concerned about mine, though)… But in the end, his secret wasn’t that bad.

And maybe it’s in that part were the book feels a bit short. I missed more drama or a better developed one. Part of the issue is trying to make us believe that Delia would be pissed if Zoe dates Caleb. I mean, we have already met that girl. Zoe could have an orgy with all her best friend’s former lovers and Delia wouldn’t bat an eye. In my opinion, those doubts of Zoe should have been resolved sooner. The mysterious past of Caleb is also not such a big deal. I was expecting something that would put the relationship in danger and that would blemish Caleb’s perfect record (and give my heart a rest!!), but in the end his past is not really the issue.

There are still two more books on the Texting saga. Two more books to enjoy these crazy and fun characters. I’m going to miss them once it is over. I will have to try other books by Teagan Hunter to see if I will find the same magic. By the way, I’m glad that these books have finally been grouped in a saga of stand-alone books. It helps a lot to read them in order.

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2019 – Book Gallery

Before They Are Hanged – Joe Abercrombie

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Author: Joe Abercrombie
Series: The First Law #2

Pages: 584

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Superior Glokta has a problem. How do you defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors, when your allies can by no means be trusted, and your predecessor vanished without a trace? It’s enough to make a torturer want to run – if he could even walk without a stick.

Northmen have spilled over the border of Angland and are spreading fire and death across the frozen country. Crown Prince Ladisla is poised to drive them back and win undying glory. There is only one problem – he commands the worst-armed, worst-trained, worst-led army in the world.

And Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is leading a party of bold adventurers on a perilous mission through the ruins of the past. The most hated woman in the South, the most feared man in the North, and the most selfish boy in the Union make a strange alliance, but a deadly one. They might even stand a chance of saving mankind from the Eaters. If they didn’t hate each other quite so much.

Ancient secrets will be uncovered. Bloody battles will be won and lost. Bitter enemies will be forgiven – but not before they are hanged.

The year is almost over and I can already say that the first two books of the First Law Trilogy are the best ones I have read in 2018. I’ve been always too scared of the Epic Fantasy genre, but in reality it has given me a lot of happy moments during my whole life (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones…). Joe has revived my interest for a kind of book I thought it wasn’t for me.

This second book is split into three different threads of action: the war in the North with West and Threetree’s gang, Glokta defending Dagoska from the Gurkish Empire and the quest of Bayaz and company. All of them are challeneged at every step and they will have to do their best in very tight situations.

Even though the three stories are not connected (at least not yet), that doesn’t make the book convoluted or hard to follow. Joe’s style helps the reader to enjoy the story and the characters without losing any step through the differente chapters of the book. Not time to breathe, though. The pace is so much faster than the one in the first book. All the presentations were done, so the author had plenty of time to feed us lots of action and epic battles. All of that without forgetting some character development for his amazing cast.

In the North we follow West and his annoying task of babysitting Prince Ladisla through the war agianst Bethod and his forces. The Prince is in command of the worst soldiers, because his duty was supposed to keep him far from the war. But between the cunning of the enemy and the glory starved idiots that follow the Prince, eveyrthing goes the south way. West is forced to drag the Prince all over the North in order to flee the enemy. At least they had the help of Threetree and his gang. During this ordeal, I didn’t want to sympathize with West after what he did to his sister; but he claims to be sorry over and over again and I guess that I believe him… That’s not enough to forigive him, but it’s a first step. West should check his anger issues or he is going to be very alone the rest of his life… Which could not be very long, because the situation in the North doesn’t look promising with Bethod and Flatheads working together… Kudos to the author for being able to add some good sesne of humor in the middle of a war!!

Glokta had it easier, but this guy is always uncovering hidden plots and corruption at every step he takes. His luck is holding, but sooner or later… His first task was uncovering who was the traitor among the Union in Dagoska. The one that tried to sell the city to the Gurkish Empire. I don’t think becoming a traitor was really necessary. With the war in the North, most of the Union forces were comitted there, so taking the city was a done deal without any hjelp from the inside. But give Glokta a mission and he will stick to it until the end!! He discovers the traitors in the city and tries his damndest to save the city. But it was hopeless, so he is ordered to abandon it before is too late. So far he seems almost lucky, but that is about to end. I foresee a third book with a lot of trouble for Glokta: the mystery of the murder of the other son of the King, the favours he owes to the bank, his soft spot for Eider will bite him in the ass sooner or later… I wonder if he will be still alive to meet Jezal again and see what his adventure has done for the cocky captain. Will his jelousy grow bigger or smaller?

And finally, the main quest: going to the end of the world to retrieve the Seed that will help Bayaz to fight Khalul. For that pupose, he recruited Logen, Ferro, Quai, Jezal and Longfoot. Everyone has their own pupose: Ferro can hold the Seed and fight, Logen can talk to spirits (the keepers of the Seed) and fight, Quai is there to take care of Bayaz, Longfoot is the navigator and Jezal… I still don’t know why the First Magi needed the Captain. It’s by far my favourite character, but his purpose in unclear. He can’t barely fight, complaints about everything and he is more of a burden than a help. Am I missing something? All in all, I’m SO glad he is in the quest. I knew this journey would change Jezal. Make him more humble and even more heroic. He is even badly wounded, which has left an ugly scar in his fomrley handsome face. All of that has made him a different person. A much better person. I loved him before, but now… I am a passionate defender of Jezal. I’m a groupie!!

Another character from that group that has gotten a lot of points on my particular ranking is Logen. I still don’t know what his Bloody-Nine persona is, but his “normal” self is amazing. Such a good guy. He may be big and dangerous looking, but his emotional intelligence is boundless. The Northman has an uncanny ability to offer everyone what they need at every moment. Friends like that are rara avis, so I hope the rest of the group appreciates what they have found. The one that has fallen several positions in the before mentioned ranking is Bayaz himself. He is on edge almost the whole journey, being very unfriendly to the rest of the company. And after that ending, I guess his sense of humor is not going to improve any time soon…

I’m going to be strong and not dive into the third book so soon. I will let this one rest and enjoy other genres for a while. The truth is I don’t want it to finish. I’m enjoying this saga so much!!

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2018 – Book Gallery