Review: Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rogue Protocol is the third book within The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells.

I picked this series up on a whim last year and quickly fell in love with Murderbot and Martha Wells’ humorous writing style. It draws you in right away!

In this installment we rejoin Murderbot on its continued hunt for answers regarding its violent past.

It ends up on another mission, this time heading to a terraforming facility once run by the mysterious and sinister GrayCris Corporation.

More humans are involved; there mucky things up for our beloved Murderbot, yet again. It also needs to befriend, or intelligently influence, another AI. This time a tragically adorable, human-form companion robot named, Miki.

Miki’s entire personality was exploding with cute. I loved their interactions; so pure.

As usual, there was a lot of action, more betrayals and corporate cover-ups. It also ended much too quickly, although this one definitely crushed my heart a little bit there at the end. Not going to lie.

Why did I have to be listening to it before I had even had my first coffee of the day?

Sadness aside, I can’t quit Murderbot! I’m excited to continue on with their story.

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Review: Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan Is Killing ItFinlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is a hilarious, modern-day Cozy Mystery, that will leave you simultaneously at the edge-of-your-seat and clutching your sides with laughter.

As a start to a series, this story succeeded in making me fall in love with these characters. I cannot wait for more!

Finlay Donovan is a struggling novelist. She is also currently single-moming two small children, as her jerk ex-husband left her for the hot, blonde, real estate agent he had been having an affair with.

Making matters worse, on the morning of a very important meeting with her agent, to discuss her barely existent new novel, Finlay discovers her ex-hubby has also fired their nanny. Without giving her any advanced notice!

Not a great start to the day. As single-moms are known to do, however, Finlay figures it out, all whilst barely holding herself together on the inside.

She makes her meeting with her agent, at a Panera, of all places, and they have a great, albeit slightly stressful discussion about Finlay’s career.

Unbeknownst to Finlay, another patron was listening in on the conversation.

Not understanding they were discussing the plot of Finlay’s floundering novel, this woman now mistakenly believes Finlay to be a successful contract killer.

She then proceeds to try to hire Finlay to kill her husband. He’s a scoundrel, she says; he won’t be missed and she is willing to pay a hefty sum. While Finlay is intrigued, she obviously sees the problems with this plan.

However, somehow, as turns out to be common in Finlay’s life, she ends up in over her head. Before she knows it, she is embroiled in the dark underbelly of her community, where murder abounds.

This novel is fun from the first chapter. You are immediately thrown into the chaos of Finlay’s life and into her hilarious inner musings.

Not long after the Panera incident, Finlay is able to rekindle her relationship with their fabulous nanny, Vero and the two become, quite literally, partners in crime.

The relationship between Finlay and Vero gave me life. They played off each others personalities so well. I loved how they worked together and became like family.

There were great side characters, red herrings, action and drama. It is just pure fun to read; light, funny and full of over-the-top hijinks.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I really appreciate it!

I cannot wait to see what Finlay and Vero get up to next!

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Review: Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Artificial Condition, the second installment of The Murderbot Diaries, we reunite with everyone’s favorite Sec Unit, Murderbot.

Murderbot is curious about its past, having been involved in an incident at a mining facility, which left a lot of humans dead. It has only vague recollections of that time and has a strong need to know more.

Recently setting out on its own, with no ties to any human, it now has the time to seek answers.

Making a new acquaintance, an AI, who it calls ART, the two, when not binging media shows together, set to work preparing Murderbot for the next steps.

It alters itself a bit, in order to pass as a human, and accepts an assignment as a security consultant. Its new clients are a group of computer scientists, who had their work stolen from a previous employer.

They want to negotiate to get it back. This assignment will take Murderbot exactly where it wants to go.

Yet again, it struggles with, dare I say, emotions where its human charges are concerned. It is the most soft-hearted Security Unit in all the galaxy; although it can definitely slay when it needs to.

There’s corruption, there’s evil entities, there’s action, there’s humor and whole lot of heart.

I adored the interactions between Murderbot and ART. Just the sweetest moments.

If I wasn’t so terribly frightened of the possibilities for AI, I would want one myself.

Overall, this was a highly entertaining novella and I cannot wait to carry on with this series.

Martha Wells has an incredible style and I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a fun, fast-paced Science Fiction series!!

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Thoughts on The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)The Gunslinger by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

3/20/21: 5-stars yet again!!! Who is surprised?

Now the question is, do I continue to read the entire series and actually read the final book this time? If ka says it is so, it will be done.

3/15/21: It’s been almost a year. I guess I should pick up The Gunslinger again. Why not!?

I only have 1,100 other books I want to read.

Picking up for the 4th time! 🖤

6/3/2020: ALL HAIL THE KING!!!

Five mind-blowing stars, again.

In contrast to the rest of the books in this series, The Gunslinger, is like the black and white portion of The Wizard of Oz.

By the time you enter The Drawing of Three, you’re in Technicolor, baby!!

Earlier

Reread number three.

Also, buddy reading with my dear friend, Shannon. It’s her first trip to the Tower and I am so excited to join her at the start of her adventure!

Original Review:

Every once in a while, a reread will come along that completely changes your outlook and opinion on a story.

This was absolutely the case for me and my reread of The Gunslinger.

Originally, I read it in my early 20’s, just out of undergraduate school and to be honest:

I didn’t get it.
I didn’t like it.

I didn’t like the atmosphere.
I didn’t like the strange dialogue.
I didn’t like the ending for one of my favorite characters.

I had read a lot of King books and this was so different for me. Rereading it now, on the cusp of 40:

I loved it.
I love the atmosphere.
I love Roland.

I understand where this is going.

The palaver between Roland and Walter at the end left me in absolute chills. Where once I gave this 3-stars, I now give it a very solid 5.

I put it down and immediately went to my bookshelf and grabbed The Drawing of Three: The Dark Tower II and started reading it, staying up way past my bedtime in order to do so.

Now this thought consumes me:

I need to get to this damn tower!

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Review: Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)Obsidio by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am over the moon in love with The Illuminae Files. I certainly consider it to be ground-breaking and if this doesn’t gain Classic status, the world will suffer for it.

I’m sure AIDAN would see to that.

As Obsidio is the third and concluding book in the series, some mild spoilers are ahead. I will not be hiding them.

You have been warned.

After Hanna, Nik, Kady and Ezra, survive the attacks on the Heimdall Station, they find themselves crammed aboard the Mao, with 2,000 other desperate refugees.

The only choice for those aboard the Mao is to return to Kerenza, the site of the initial BeiTech assault. They’re not really sure what they’ll find there, but it has to be better than drifting through deep space, eventually running out of supplies, including oxygen.

On Kerenza, Kady’s cousin, Asha, has survived and joined the underground resistance, fighting against BeiTech’s continued presence on the small mining planet.

When her ex-boyfriend shows up, among the ranks of the enemy, she cannot believe her eyes, but perhaps she can use their prior relationship to their advantage.

The narrative alternates back and forth between the situation on the Mao and that on the ground of Kerenza. There is a lot of drama and a whole lot of action!

I loved how this brought everything together, including the style of the Files themselves. It all becomes clear and frankly, is just brilliant storytelling.

It’s hard not to fall in love with these characters, as you are with them through every step of the battle. I became so connected to each and every one of them.

There were moments when I had to step away. The ending got pretty hairy. I knew Kaufman and Kristoff weren’t looking to spare my feelings, so absolutely anything could happen to any one of our heroes at any time! It was intense, to say the least!

I’m so happy that I finally saw this series through to the end. I even read Gemina twice, which turned out to be my favorite book in the series upon reread.

Of course I am a little sad that it is done, but feel like it is a story I could revisit. For now, Hanna, Nik, Ezra, Kady, Ella and AIDAN, will live on in my heart; strong, funny, fearless and smart, just as they’re meant to be.

I highly recommend this series to everyone in the Universe!!!

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Review: Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love #2) by Alisha Rai

Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love, #2)Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Girl Gone Viral is the second book in Alisha Rai’s, Modern Love series. This is an Adult Romance series with just the right level of steaminess for me.

In this installment we follow Katrina King, who many of you may remember as Rhiannon’s silent partner and roommate from The Right Swipe.

Katrina is a kind-hearted, super wealthy, ex-model with extreme anxiety and panic disorder.

After years of seclusion, she has just recently made a commitment to start reengaging with the outside world. She has a couple of places she feels safe at, one being a local coffee shop she has come to love.

It is on one of her visits to this shop, on a busy day, that a man asks if he can sit at her table. She says yes and they chat amicably for a short while.

When he asks her for a date, however, she turns him down and that is the end of the encounter. At least as far as Kat is concerned.

Unfortunately, another patron watched the whole thing and posted it online. Thus, a viral #meetcute was born.

To Kat’s horror, the man involved comes forward and acts like they are now in a relationship. This is way too much attention and Kat’s worst fears and anxieties are triggered.

She needs an escape and luckily, her hot bodyguard and friend, Jas Singh, is right there to save her.

Upon Kat’s request, he whisks her away to his family’s peach farm to stay in a little house he owns, yet rarely visits. They plan to hide out there until this whole mess blows over.

This book was so stinking cute. I loved both Kat and Jas. Watching their relationship evolve; it was everything.

I thought Rai wrote Samson, from The Right Swipe, as irresistible, but I actually loved Jas, and his quiet protective presence, even more!!!

Again there was quite a bit of serious subject matter included, with Kat’s anxiety and family issues, as well as Jas’s PTSD and equally troublesome family issues.

I like that Rai includes that. Her characters are always working through something. They’re not perfect, they have flaws just like the rest of us and I think that makes these stories extra relatable.

I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, which follows Kat and Rhiannon’s new roommate, Jia.

I actually hope Rai continues on with this series. As long as she writes them, I’ll be reading them!

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Blog Tour: The Iron Raven (The Iron Fey: Evenfall #1) by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Raven (The Iron Fey: Evenfall, #1)The Iron Raven by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

The Iron Raven is the first installment to a new trilogy set in the world of Julie Kagawa’s, Iron Fey series.

There have been seven previous full-length novels, as well as a handful of novellas, in this series. This is the first to feature Robin Goodfellow, aka Puck, as the narrator.

I must confess, I have never read any of the novels set in this world. In spite of that, I still had a ton of fun reading this story and loved all of the characters!

I’m sure for long-time fans of the series, this book is full of nostalgic content and it will be even more wonderful for them to read.

I was excited to pick this up because Kagawa’s Shadow of the Fox trilogy is my favorite YA Fantasy trilogy of all time.

Her witty and vibrant writing style mesh extremely well with my tastes. In fact, after this, I am quite tempted to go back and read the Iron Fey series from the beginning!

This novel is a classic adventure story, complete with a dangerous quest, set in the lands of the Fae.

It begins with Puck chancing upon the King of the Forgotten, Kierran, who needs to get a message to his mother, Meghan, the Iron Queen. He is trying to warn her of a vicious monster currently wrecking havoc in the Between.

When the monster does show it’s face, it is unlike anything Puck as ever encountered. He’s injured in the process, as well as his new friend, the lady’s assassin, Nyx.

They set out together to find Meghan and engage her help with putting a stop to the monster’s reign of terror before it is too late.

I really enjoyed Puck as narrator. He is sarcastic and funny even in the most dire of situations. He is also a character struggling with past hurts and negative aspects of his own personality.

I always love a quest, as a hodge-podge team of traveling companions are constructed, you just know that you are in for an action-packed good time. That was certainly the case here.

Puck and Nyx are ultimately joined by Meghan, Ash, Coaleater and Grim, as they try to find out the truth behind the monster and what threatens the lands of the Fae.

They encounter some dangerous obstacles and a whole host of magical and mythical creatures along the way; all while trying to navigate their own interpersonal challenges.

I was completely swept up into this world. As always, Kagawa’s character interactions stole the show for me. I love her dialogue and laughed out loud numerous times.

The ending is a compelling cliffhanger, leaving off with a prophecy that definitely let’s the Reader know this adventure is far from over!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Inkyard Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and and review.

I had so much fun with it and cannot wait for the next book to be released!!!

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Review: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

While I wasn’t as enamored with City of Fallen Angels, the fourth installment of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, as I was with the earlier books, I still really enjoyed it.

Please note, since this is the fourth book of a series, there will be spoilers in this review. Assuming pretty much the entire world has read this but me, I will not be hiding them.

Following the events of City of Glass, Clary and company have returned to New York, where Simon continues to hide his new condition from his mother, Jocelyn and Luke are planning their wedding, and Clary and Jace are now able to date openly.

All is well in the Big Apple, until Shadowhunters begin turning up dead. Murdered to be more precise.

It seems Clary’s choices whilst in Alicante have some fairly serious repercussions. We learn within this story what those are and it’s not good.

One of these choices caused an imbalance in the world, opening a door to an ancient evil.

I did enjoy the fact that the boys get quite a bit of page time in this one, with Simon forced to move out of his family home and into an apartment with a new friend, and band member, Kyle.

Jace begins to distance himself from Clary, as he is plagued with dreams in which he murders her.

I also discovered fairly early on why it is important to read these in publication order, as one of the most intriguing characters from Clockwork Angel appears trying to recruit Simon.

While there is a lot happening, it definitely isn’t slow by any stretch of the imagination, I wasn’t super engaged with it until the second half.

Once the truth begins to unfold regarding Jace’s haunting dreams, I was hooked. Then it got really intense and really action-packed through the finish.

I think part of my disconnect with the beginning was that I was a little annoyed with Clary and Jace. After completing Clockwork Angel, and loving all those characters, coming back to Clary and Jace made them seem irritating in comparison.

By the end, I had forgiven them for their earlier behavior and we are all friends again.

With this being said, I am so excited to move on with Clockwork Prince, up next. So far, my 2021 Shadowhunter Chronicles journey is going swimmingly!!

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Review: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Settle in y’all, I have got a lot to say about this!

I originally read Clockwork Angel in December of 2018. It was my first Cassandra Clare book.

I knew about The Mortal Instruments series, but mistakenly believed that I wouldn’t like it and since this one is set in Victorian London, a setting I adore, I figured I could start here.

I was not prepared for how much I would enjoy this world. I knew after I completed this, I wanted to read every single word Clare had ever written in the Shadowhunter Chronicles.

In addition to that, I want to be caught up and able to pick up her upcoming trilogy, The Wicked Powers, as it is published. With the first book expected to drop in 2022, I definitely think I can accomplish my goal.

I have since done some research and decided to read these books in publication order.

Early in 2020, I started the first book in The Mortal Instruments series, City of Glass and really enjoyed it.

Since then I have completed the first three books in that series and before I knew it, it was time to reread Clockwork Angel.

Reading it this time, with the background of TMI, I definitely picked up more intricate details than I did the first time around.

The first time I read it, I never felt lost, or like there was information I was missing, but it definitely made more sense this time around.

I liked how Clare introduced us to Tessa, who like Clary, is new to the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders.

These characters learning the ins-and-outs of that system allows the Reader to learn along with them, without it feeling info-dumpy.

Going into this book, even the first time, I had heard so much about Will and Jem. I can definitely say, their characters do not disappoint.

I think this time around, I found myself focusing a bit more on their friendship. I really appreciate how connected they are to one another. It’s nice to see that unconditional support.

The intrigue in this was great and the action, especially towards the end, was so much fun!

Next up for me is City of Fallen Angels, which I am planning to get to this month.

I am beyond ready to continue on my journey through the Shadowhunters Chronicles. If these first four books are any indication, I have an exciting road ahead!

**If you have made it through this entire semi-review without nodding off, and happen to be a Shadowhunter fan, perhaps leave a comment down below telling me something you love about these books.

Whether it is your favorite book, favorite series within the world, favorite character, etc. No spoilers, please. Remember, I am a Shadowhunter baby. I don’t know a lot yet!

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Review: How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (Folk of the Air #3.5) by Holly Black

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air, #3.5)How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And just like that my faith is restored in this thing we call a world. Thank you, Holly Black. We needed this.

Unsurprisingly, Cardan had me entranced from the start.

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories is a collection of beautifully illustrated short-stories, following Cardan’s perspective from when he was just a little boy, all the way through and after, The Queen of Nothing.

I knew going in that this was illustrated, but my goodness, it is absolutely stunning.

As I was reading I would often stop and just soak in the illustrations. It truly brought these stories to life and gave them the magical quality of an old-time fairy tale.

Cardan is such a fun character and reading his life from his perspective provided all new insight into his decisions and motivations. I love him even more now than ever.

For true fans of this series, this is bonus content that should not be missed!

Personally, I will pick up anything Black chooses to write regarding these characters, or Elfhame in general. This book is a wonderful collector’s piece and one I am happy to add to my collection.

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