CAB Reviews Vagabond Heart by Ann Roberts

Let’s start with the blurb:

Contractor Quinn O’Sullivan has traveling in her blood. Her aunt is a famous travel writer while Quinn herself moves from one apartment complex to the next as her team remodels them.

When dear Aunt Maura kicks the bucket on her beloved Route 66, she leaves a dying request for Quinn—to take her on one last adventure.

Suda Singh is the total opposite of risk-taker Quinn. As an emergency room doctor, Suda is calm, methodical, and intuitive. But most of all, Suda is safe.

When the two women are thrown together by Quinn’s latest injury, Suda offers to accompany Quinn on the adventure of a lifetime.

Can Quinn and Suda find love, three cats, and the mysterious woman named Rain, all on America’s fabled highway—Route 66? Join Ann Roberts on this adventure of a lifetime in Vagabond Heart.

I’m going to admit that I am pretty negative when it comes to the “Romance” genre. Maybe it’s because I’m old and lately they all seem to be cut from the same cloth. The author looks up Romance Formula #127 and follows it. The character names change but, otherwise, it is what it is. So you’re asking yourself why did I even attempt to read this one? It was the sentence in the blurb: “When dear Aunt Maura kicks the bucket on her beloved Route 66, she leaves a dying request for Quinn—to take her on one last adventure.” Yeah that one; it grabbed my attention so I threw caution to the wind and said I’d read it.

I am so very glad that I did.

The story starts off with a bang and kept my interest all the way through. It’s been forever since I picked up a book that I had trouble putting down. This one could easily make it into my read again pile.

Reasons why:

Both Quinn and Suda are interesting characters and their interactions didn’t feel scripted or overplayed.

The author managed to weave in several real life xenophobic /bigotry issues which just made the characters feel like they were operating in real life without detracting from the story. In fact, I’d say it enhanced the story because we need to call more attention to these things.

I’ve never been on Route 66 but based on the descriptions and the adventure it’s on my bucket list moving forward.

I’d easily give this story 4.5 out of 5 stars. I could have given it 5 but I hated the character Rain.

This book was read in exchange for an honest review.

You can download a sample or purchase Vagabond Heart by clicking here.

Corey, Kitty, and Sequella Review Catalyst by Fletcher DeLancey


Sequella: Wow, another sequel in the Chronicles of Alsea already. Amazing! Unfortunately it is still sitting untouched on my eReader.

Corey: What’s wrong with you? I’ve already read Catalyst, re-read Vellmar the Blade, and re-read Catalyst again. Or at least my favorite bits.

Sequella: Show-off! Real life is happening.

Kitty: And some nice alien bits there be. Also, Corey, you sound like a judgmental speed reader.

Corey: But… This is it! The novel that fills in all the adventures of Captain Ekatya Serrado and Dr. Lhyn Rivers out in the Universe while Lancer Tal and Bondlancer Salomen Opah were finding each other in the Without a Front books. And the framing is perfect: The first three days of the Alsean version of a honeymoon (“Alsean bonding break”) for Tal and Salomen in which family share stories –

Kitty: – and everyone avoids explaining to little brother Jaros why Tal’s neck looks like a treecat attacked her.

Sequella: So we get Tal and Salomen time? That makes me want to chuck real life out of the window and start reading immediately!

Corey: Right. Okay. So on one hand, all the shifting relationships amongst Ekatya, Tal, Lhyn, Lead Templar Lanaril Satran, and Lead Guard Vellmar are explored in the moment. On the other hand, Ekatya and Lhyn each share a wrenching story about their lives after the Voloth war described in the first Alsean book The Caphenon. A very early scene in which Ekatya helps Lhyn survive a PTSD-like episode lets us know she experienced something traumatic. And yes, it turns out to be VERY traumatic. Whew.

Sequella: How Sci-Fi is the book. Do we get new races? Societies?

Corey: Some of the tech aspects of FTL travel are explained (and felt), and you definitely get a dose of Space Opera political shenanigans and a military-style raid on a planet. Not so much world-building. I enjoyed the action, but my re-reads were all about the aftermath. So emotionally intense.

Sequella: Is this a book mainly about Ekatya and Lhyn, or is a new couple introduced, like it happens so often in Lesfic?

Kitty: Ahem. Dr. Wells.

Corey: Oh stop it, Kitty. You are so homosexist. Who knows who the ship’s chief surgeon is into? And there’s so much to learn about Ekatya, Lhyn, Tal. Salomen, Lanaril, and Vellmar… who needs new couples? One of my favorite moments is when Salomen points out to Tal that the Lancer doesn’t get to decide how to handle the connection between herself and Ekatya… That is something that involves all four women, including Lhyn. And the tensions between Ekatya and Lanaril are nasty intense. So awkward when your wife’s best friend makes you uncomfortable. Frankly, these books are developing into the ultimate friends-and-lovers-and-tyrees emotional mash-up. I adore it all.

Sequella: What about other kick-ass female characters?

Kitty: Dr. Wells…

Corey: Yes, Dr. Wells. But also so much more Lhyn, who is a warrior in her own way. I craved even more Lhyn. We finally get her perspective, but during such unusual and harrowing circumstances. Really, I wish I knew Ekatya and Lhyn as well as I feel I know Tal and Salomen.

Sequella: So Kitty and Corey, who of you liked the book better? Kitty, how many bookmarks did you place?

Corey: Oh, don’t get her started. Me, I highlighted 20 quotes that just made me squee and bookmarked 6 scenes for their (non-sexual) intensity. Basically, they make me cry or clutch my heart. The first time I read the book, the action sequences carried me along but I came back to re-read the emotions.

Kitty: I bookmarked two make-out scenes.

Corey: Sigh. Is that a spoiler? Bottom line, Sequella, is that life may be happening but you need to pause and go visit Alsea RIGHT NOW.

You can download a sample or purchase Catalyst by clicking here.

Fun Read!


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had no idea what to expect when I started this book. A friend read it, didn’t tell me anything about it, and I didn’t read the blurb before I dove in. I didn’t even look very closely at the cover, which would have given me some clues. I did later see that someone had compared it to X-Men meets X-Files and that seems about right.

I was hooked from beginning to end and am a little sad to say goodbye to some of the characters. I’ve heard the second book in the series isn’t like the first – still good, but pretty different – and I don’t think I’m ready to tackle that one just yet.

One thing I didn’t expect was to laugh as much as I did. What a great story and a great main character. I certainly recommend this one to anyone who enjoys political intrigue and science fiction.

Oh, and the narrator did a great job on the many different voices. Her inflections during narration, though, kept pulling me out of the story. Not too badly but enough to think repeatedly, “please change that!” I understand that she doesn’t do the second book so I’ll be interested to know how I like the new narrator once I get around to it.

You can purchase or download a sample of The Rook by clicking here.

Enjoyed the madness!

I thought I read this book in my teens but the farther I got into it, the more certain I became that I hadn’t. I would have remembered how well done Jack’s descent into madness was. For me, that was the best part of the book. I did enjoy Danny’s parts of the book, and Wendy’s to a lesser extent, but the star of the show was Jack’s changes and his growing connection to the hotel.

I think my biggest shock was just how different Kubrick’s film is to the novel. I need to watch the movie again since I don’t remember a lot of the details. That and the insane number of times the N-word was used. I wasn’t expecting it and it really put me off.

I listened to the audio book and initially Campbell Scott’s calm tone made me wonder if I wouldn’t fall asleep while reading. Luckily, he got down to business when the dialogue and more intense narration called for it. He did a really good job.

I don’t know if it was just the audio book and there were clearer demarcations in the physical book, but I was throw off regularly which POV switches. There were a few times when I had to rewind to see if I either missed something or to figure out who was sharing info.

I’m glad I read this one. It won’t end up on my all-time favorite Stephen King list but I enjoyed the story. 3.5 stars for me.

Mostly Fun and Interesting


I’ve always liked Felicia Day. Well, since I first saw her on Dr. Horrible and then crushed on her after watching The Guild. My crush waned, and wasn’t rekindled by this book. I enjoyed hearing the author read to me – I think all memoirs should be read by the author, if possible – because I don’t think anyone else could have done it justice.
 
I learned a lot about Ms. Day and had quite a few, “wow, I never would have guessed that,” moments. Glad I read it. I wish her loads of success and happiness in the future.

Oh so very, very good

Review:

No Good Reason - Cari Hunter

This book has been on my TBR list since before it was published. Full disclosure – I’m a friend of the author. I’ve known her for several years and love her sharp wit and dry, dark humor. I also love her writing voice and style and I knew that I’d enjoy this book. So why did I wait so long to read it? Easy: I have very little time to read anything with my eyeballs and I didn’t want to use a text-to-speech reader for this book. Sanne and Meg sound like Cari and when I’m reading with my eyes, I hear their voices. Normally, I’m fine with text-to-speech for British English books, I even have a special voice downloaded for them but it just didn’t cut it with this one. I needed to let my imagination give them voices. So it took me a very, very long time to finish the book.

It was well worth the wait and I’ve already gotten the second in the series opened up and ready to go.

But before I go to it, I just want to share a few words about why I find Hunter’s writing – and No Good Reason in particular – so engaging and good. I’ve seen other folks mention how real her characters are, and I agree completely. It’s so important to be able to connect with the characters in a book you’re reading. You have to care about them and believe that they’re real to truly become engrossed in the story. But that’s not it for me. I absolutely love the way Cari writes a scene. She brings it completely to life: the smells, the sounds, the colors, everything. But not in a way that the reader feels bogged down in it. Just enough to drop us there, next to Sanne or Meg and force us to experience what they’re living. Not many authors whom I’ve read over the past many years can do this as well as Cari Hunter.

Yeah, she’s my friend but a friend who wouldn’t want me to say anything flattering just to help her sell a book or to make her feel better. She’s got an insane amount of integrity – particularly when it comes to her writing. So if I didn’t believe what I’m writing here, I wouldn’t bother taking my time to do it.

But don’t take my word for it. If you like gritty, dark crime stories with very human characters, download a sample. You’ll know right away if it’s going to be for you.

Original post:
berky.booklikes.com/post/1364846/oh-so-very-very-good