Book Review: The Longest Con

review-cover-the longest conTitle: The Longest Con

Author: Michaelbrent Collings

Genre: Mystery, Humor, Urban Fantasy

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Would you like to know – I mean, REALLY know – what they’re doing when they go to those fancy comic-cons? Because it ain’t just writing.

See, every year, thousands of people attend comic-cons dressed as monsters.

Of course, you probably already knew that.

But did you ALSO know that…

every year, thousands of MONSTERS attend comic-cons dressed as PEOPLE.

Sure. Nothing could POSSIBLY go wrong there.

Luckily, the con organizers have placed Wardens throughout the conventions. These undercover supernatural troubleshooters are tasked with stopping mayhem before it starts . . . or solving the murders after they happen.

I’M MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS: author of this book, and one of the Wardens. My job is to go to the cons, where I sell books, make fans, and kill the occasional monster.

It’s not just me, either. Those authors I told you about, and even more . . . you’d never guess what many of your favorite authors are REALLY up to at the conventions.

Luckily, though, you don’t have to guess.

JUST READ THIS BOOK.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I enjoyed this book so much more than I thought I would—but oh how I’d hoped I would! The Longest Con by Michaelbrent Collings was a quirky mix of Comedy, Urban Fantasy, and Detective Mystery. It’s full of hilarious, often snarky comments from the main character, and strange colorful characters that range from ex-succubi, mafia-like nerds that seem to rule conventions, and Kevin Bacon look-alike brownies.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. There were a few minor typos, but nothing book-breaking. In fact, the only real complaint I have about the writing throughout the entirety of the book is that sometimes the comedy of the narrative style and the main character tended to overshadow the plot of the book. There were lots of asides and quirky comments that made me laugh out loud, but it did tend to distract from the mystery.

That aside, I loved the book. The author has a definite talent for humor, and the strange and unique characters I encountered kept me interested in the story. If you want something fun to read, and you enjoy conventions and general geekdom, I would highly recommend you pick up this book and give it a try. It was a spectacularly fun adventure, and I am most definitely a fan.

Book Review: Descended From Dragons

review-cover-descended from dragonsTitle: Descended From Dragons [Moonlight Dragon 1]

Author: Tricia Owens

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars (4.7)

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Description / Synopsis:

Beneath the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas lies another city. A secret city in plain sight, full of warlocks and demons, shapeshifters and golems. A city that feeds off the chance magick that is generated by gamblers and which is ruled by mysterious beings called the Oddsmakers.

It is in this strange underbelly of the occult that Anne Moody runs a cursed pawn shop for the desperate, the curious, and the magickally inclined. Though the job is boring, it keeps her under the radar. None of her customers have any inkling that she is a dragon sorceress with a power that’s been feared throughout history. One day, a visitor to her shop pawns a stone statue that is more than it appears. The statue is a gargoyle named Vale, who is shrouded in mystery and secrets. When she learns that Vale is possessed, and that the person responsible for cursing him plans to take over Las Vegas with a horde of demons from Hell, Anne realizes it is up to her to defy the Oddsmakers and save the city, and possibly the world.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Descended From Dragons by Tricia Owens was so much more than I expected. I’ll be honest; I get a dozen or more review requests a day from hopeful authors, so as you can imagine, I’m fairly picky about what I accept. This was one of those books that I saw and thought “meh… it’s going to be hokey probably, but what the hell. I haven’t read anything like it in awhile.” and I picked it up on a whim. Thank goodness I did.

I loved it. The characters were colorful and unique, the writing was fluid and easy to follow. I ran into no typos or mistakes in the narrative…. it was a joy to read—and it was funny. I so rarely get humorous romance books, so I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The idea of the magical pawn shop that Anne oversees was genius. I found it incredibly interesting, and what I wouldn’t give to be able to peruse the shelves!

If I had one (okay two) nitpicks, they’d be 1. I wish there was more romance… because it was adorable. and 2. I wish the book had been longer because I honestly didn’t want to put it down. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy / paranormal / romance with a hint of humor, I would highly recommend you pick this up and give it a try. I’ll definitely be looking forward to reading further into the series.

Book Review: Son of the Mob

review-cover-son of the mobTitle: Son of the Mob [Son of the Mob 1]

Author: Gordon Korman

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Humor, Contemporary

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Vince Luca is just like any other high school guy. His best friend, Alex, is trying to score vicariously through him; his brother is a giant pain; and his father keeps bugging him to get motivated. There is just one thing that really sets him apart from other kids—his father happens to be the head of a powerful crime organization.

Needless to say, Vince’s family’s connections can put a serious crimp in his dating life. How is he supposed to explain to a girl what his father does for a living? But when Vince finally meets a girl who seems to be worth the trouble, her family turns out to be the biggest problem of all. Because her father is an FBI agent—the one who wants to put Vince’s father away for good.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This isn’t the type of book I’d normally buy for myself—In fact, my copy of Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman was donated to me by a local librarian who had some free swag sitting around. Score! Ahem. So color me surprised when I actually really enjoyed this book.

First off, the book didn’t have a lot of depth. Let’s get that right out of the way. There wasn’t a lot of chemistry between Vince and Kendra, and to be honest, Alex, Vince’s best friend, was a rather shitty friend. Very little time was spent on any of the other characters, including Vince’s parents and brother. The characters lacked depth, and that’s the main reason this book only got four stars out of me. Even though this was a YA book, I was expecting there to be a little more angst and drama, even emotion from the characters—and it just wasn’t there.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. There weren’t any noticeable typos, the sentence structure was easy to follow, and there weren’t any disruptive bouts of flowery language or awkward sentences. The cover fits the story, as does the title, and the way it was written easily appeals to the YA crowd. There was some romance and  make-out sessions, but nothing graphic, and nothing I’d feel overly worried about sharing with a middle-grade reader.

Overall, the book was fun. The drama was geared towards the right audience, Vince’s story was interesting, and the writing was engaging. The charm of this story falls on the humor. There’s nothing particularly laugh-out-loud funny in the book, but between the ridiculous situations Vince finds himself in and the giggle-worthy nicknames of the mob-uncles, the story was a fun, light-hearted adventure. Reading Son of the Mob was a lot like sitting down on a rainy afternoon and eating a cupcake while playing Go-Fish with a circle of  seven year olds. Short, fun, and sweet—and not necessarily how I’d want to spend every afternoon, but every once in awhile? Definitely a good way to lighten your day.

Book Review: Bite Me

 

review-cover-biteme

Title: Bite Me [Pride 9]

Author: Shelly Laurenston

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Humor

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots. When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life’s irritants is a finely honed skill. Until she gets stuck housing her nutso cousin and dealing with her dad’s untimely and unexplained demise.

That’s where Vic Barinov comes in—or his house does. Vic can’t step outside without coming back to find Livy devouring his honey stash and getting the TV remote sticky. It gets his animal instincts all riled up. But he’ll have to woo her at high speed: all hell is breaking loose, and Livy is leading the charge…

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I received this book directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I did not expect what I got out of this book. I love paranormal romances, so when I saw Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston floating around NetGalley, I immediately requested to give a review. I was expecting your typical shifter-romance with a brooding, animalistic hero, and a very overwhelmed heroine. that’s how these things normally go. I haven’t read any of the previous books of this series, or other books by this author, and I didn’t read the synopsis—and I’m glad I didn’t. Bite Me was not like the other paranormal romance books I’ve read, but it didn’t take me long to realize how much I was going to enjoy it.

The book was written in snarky tongue-in-cheek humor throughout, and I outright laughed more times than I didn’t. The Characters were vibrant and exaggerated personas of their animal counterparts, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with all of them—especially the main characters, Livy and Vic. Honey Badgers are not a species of shifters you see in a lot of paranormal romances—in fact, this was my first time experiencing them—but they quickly became my favorite of all the shifters. Getting to know the outrageously strange Livy (who sleeps naked in other people’s cupboards and hoards honey) was like watching the most entertaining drama-filled reality show ever imagined. Her family was a train wreck of absurdity that made me grin from ear to ear. I adored these characters in a way I don’t think I have in almost any other book.

Livy may be the most entertaining female lead in a book I’ve ever read. She was rude, violent, uncaring, sometimes even downright blood-thirsty, but it was balanced out with a strange naiveté about polite society that almost gave her an edge of innocence (but please don’t tell her I said that, I like my eyeballs in my head, thank you). I adore Livy and all her strange quirks. Unlike most heroine’s, she was balanced in a way that didn’t make me question her intelligence or even her morals (and let’s be honest, she doesn’t have many of those). I believed her as a character without question.

Vic on the other hand, was a bit of a strange character for me. I’m used to strong, broody males in books like this, and that doesn’t quite describe the tiger/bear hybrid. He was essentially a very big teddy bear most of the time… if teddy bears had prehensile tails and could throw cars. He was strong when he needed to be, but the rest of the time he was laid back and soft—which may have been what made him a perfect match for Livy. Other times, he was just as violent and overbearing as his little Honey-Badger girlfriend, and at those times, she was downright giggly. Their dynamics were fantastic, and though I normally like my hero’s to be a little more broody and a little less cuddly, I think in this instance, I have to concede the point to Ms. Laurenston. I can’t imagine this couple any other way.

I will admit, there came a point when I stopped being able to remember character’s names and species. There were a lot of characters. For instance, I can’t name a single one of the Jackals, wolves, or various cats… but the Honey Badgers and Bears? Totally on my speed-dial. unfortunately, that’s a side effect of having a thrilling plot like this one where characters were running around all over the world in different groups. I don’t know that I’d say there was an abundance of unneeded characters, but there were certainly more than I’m used to dealing with.

The plot itself was an action-packed thrill ride complete with a shifter mafia, hockey teams, crime rings, art dealers, and poachers that didn’t let up until the end (and let’s not forget the steamy sex scenes!).  The writing was clean and engaging, and sucked me in from the very first paragraph until the last. If I had one complaint –at all- about this book, it’s that it ended too soon. I would have happily wiled away a few more hours with Livy and Vic (and the rest of Livy’s family, let’s be honest. I love those honey badgers!) But alas, every book must end.

I sincerely loved this book. I can’t think of a single scene that didn’t have me laughing or at least grinning (my favorite will always be when Vic found Livy in his cupboard the first time). Honestly, it’s one of the best reads I’ve had in a long time, and I’ll definitely be looking out for more from this author. Would I read this again? Hell yes. Would I recommend it to others? Any day of the week. Bite Me was a humorous romp, and I enjoyed every second of it.