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Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

While Meg Corbin and the residents of Lakeside Courtyard work toward tolerance between the Others and humans after the purge, elsewhere in the Northeast Region, Vicki DeVine and the residents of Sproing have the opportunity to do the same.

Title: Lake Silence
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: A Novel of the Others, #6
Publish Date: March 6, 2018, by Ace
Genre: Contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionIn this thrilling and suspenseful fantasy, set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, Vicki DeVine and her lodger, the shapeshifter Aggie Crowe, stumble onto a dead body . . . and find themselves enmeshed in danger and dark secrets.

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget…

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested Ivana says…

Shortly before Lake Silence came out, I re-listened to Meg Corbin’s story. I was looking for a “comfort read”—something I was familiar with and loved. As I mentioned on Anne Bishop’s Courtyard, the Facebook group for fans of the series, my post-Trump experience of the books was a little different than before. It felt even darker, more ominous and immediate. The pervasive greed and entitlement of many of the humans in the series felt more real and less fantastic this time around, and the dread I felt, even knowing what was coming in a series I had heard several times, felt sharper.

Lake Silence takes place after the Others have purged many of the humans from Thasia (North America). It demonstrates that not all the right people were purged and that greed and entitlement will always express itself, even in the face of drastic consequences.

This is not a story about Meg and the Lakeside Courtyard, though they are referenced. This is the story of Vicki DeVine and the residents of Sproing and the Jumble, a human settlement on terra indigene-controlled land. Vicki has finally escaped an abusive marriage—though not unscathed—and has set about creating a new life for herself in Sproing as the owner of The Jumble, a place she believes to be a rustic lakeside resort. She soon learns that the Jumble has another purpose—to serve as a point of connection between humans and the others.

Vicki acquired the rights to the Jumble in the divorce settlement with her ex-husband. He and his cronies, however, have other plans for the resort. They want to scare Vicki off the land and turn it into something more lucrative than rustic, even though doing so would violate the terms of the agreement between the tenants and the Others. Their greed, arrogance, and entitlement, and the security of their “good ol’ boys’ club,” lead them to believe they are unstoppable. For this reader, it’s a bit cathartic to know they are not.

Happy-faced quokka

Happy-faced quokka

Though this sounds like a heady, depressing story, Ms. Bishop has a way of bringing a lightness and innocence to her world as well. The town of Sproing is so named because of the sproingers that populate the area—creatures that made me think of quokkas who can understand human speech and communicate with happy faces or sad faces. They seem to be agents of the Others, but it is never expressly said whether they are terra indigene themselves. I choose to believe they are.

Another thing I found interesting was the way the Others play the game Clue, called Murder in the series. The Others play by creating a game board of their actual environment—in this case, the Jumble and surrounding land—rather than using a generic mansion and its rooms. Arts and crafts plus a game to double the fun!

Books are always a big deal in Anne Bishop’s stories, which I love. Vicki becomes the Reader for the Jumble—someone who reads out loud from books, articles, journals, or anything else the terra indigene might find useful or entertaining. That way, even those terra indigene who haven’t learned to read can enjoy the stories. I love this nod to oral tradition and to the value of stories in our world.

I don’t know whether Vicki’s story is the start of a new series or just one installment in a series of stories about human and terra indigene learning to live with each other in Thasia. Lake Silence seemed to be wrapped up nicely at the end. At the very least, I hope there will be more stories set in Thasia and read by Alexandra Harris, who does an amazing job as narrator. She brings the perfect mix of innocence and gravity to the characters that makes my enjoyment of the series even greater. As always, 5 Stars.

Our reviews in this series…

Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 2/18/18

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

 

Today will be all about Jane Yellowrock.  I don’t know what I will do when the series is done.  I imagine I’ll just read it again…and anything else that comes from Jane’s author.  I love Faith Hunter’s writing.  I love the characters that she develops and the story is like an action adventure movie!

Before you read all the way to the bottom, I want to put this out there:  Ms. Hunter released a short story in the Jane Yellowrock world and you can find it here.

The story is Jane trying to get Wrassler and Jodi together for a date.  Bruiser, Jane, Eli and Syl went along to complete the “triple date”.  You’d think this would be simple.  Yeahhhh…..right.

Now, I’m sure ya’ll want to know why I have the cover of Dark Queen posted. Well, crew, I was lucky enough to get permission from Ms. Hunter to post the first chapter in Dark Queen, #12 in the Jane Yellowrock series.  Remember, this book is released on May 1, 2018.  The European vamps are coming for the big assemblage and you KNOW that if Jane can’t make it through a date (see above story) without something going wrong, you know that this confab will not be simple…nope, not simple at all since the fate of all rest on Jane’s shoulders.

Sit back, relax and be enthralled with the first chapter in Dark Queen, Jane Yellowrock series #12, written and produced by Faith Hunter.

Dark Queen

CHAPTER ONE

*I Killed the Only U’tlun’ta in NOLA*

I had been in my bed for all of one hour, and though the scent of Bruiser from the sheets and from his boxing gloves tied to my bedpost usually filled my head with calm, today his personal aromatherapy wasn’t working. I had rolled over half a dozen times trying to find a comfortable spot. Now the covers were twisted around me, my hair was tangled in a knotted mess, trapping me, and I was ready to explode. I resorted to punching my pillows in growing irritation, not that it helped. “I should give up and find something else to punch. Someone else to punch,” I muttered, thinking of Leo Pellissier, the Master of the City of New Orleans.

My attitude was so bad that my Beast retreated into the deeps of my mind to get away, her paws padding in a jog. “Coward,” I snarled at her. Being two-souled wasn’t easy for either of us.

A soft knock sounded at the front door. Tap, tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap, tap. The first tap in each repetition more forceful than the others, but barely loud enough to hear through the closed bedroom door. Maybe a preacher. Or a steak salesman. Beast stopped and looked back at me. Excitement zinged through her. Man who sells meat? Cow at door?

I chuckled internally. Could be, I thought back at her. Or a proselytizing vacuum cleaner salesman. Did vac salesmen even exist now?

Is vacuum good to eat? Or salesman? Both? she added hopefully.

The knocking came again, a bit louder. Tap, tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap, tap. It was a rhythm that Aggie One Feather, my Cherokee Elder, might have drummed. My partner and soon-to-be adopted brother Eli hadn’t answered the door, and I could hear shower water upstairs. I grinned and I was pretty sure I was showing teeth. Lots of teeth. I wondered if they were all mine, but I didn’t really care. I was sleep deprived and ornery and if this was some vamp’s minions calling to cause trouble about the arrangements for the upcoming Sangre Duello, that might actually make my day. I could use a good fight. A blood challenge to the death between Leo and the European emperor and all their pals would surely provide that, but until then, I had the knocking visitor.

I threw off the covers and twisted my long black hair back in a knot. In the black yoga pants and black T-shirt, I looked like a ticked-off ninja. I picked up a fourteen-inch-long vamp-killer I kept on the nightstand and tore open the bedroom door. The knob slammed into the wall behind as I reached the foyer. Eli stopped on the stairs behind me, shower-wet, a weapon at his side. My partner in protect mode. I shared my grin at him and his brows lifted, an infinitesimal gesture that meant loads for the former (and forever) Army Ranger. I didn’t bother to try to figure out loads of what. I peeked out the front, through the tiny slice of clear glass in the layers of bullet-resistant and stained glass window.

On the other side of the door stood a man, facing the street. He was tall, lean, maybe six feet three. Straight black hair hung long, down his back to his hips. Golden skin showed at his clean-shaven jaw, which looked tight with frustration. He was wearing black slacks and black blazer jacket. A white dress shirt collar showed from this angle and he was wearing polished leather cap-toe oxford shoes, what my boss, the Master of the City and walking, talking fashion plate, called a Balmoral. Imported shoes.

It griped my goat that I knew all that. Just another useless thing I had learned hanging around vamps. Another way they had changed me and my life. My irritation flamed.

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The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin

Grendel AffairTitleThe Grendel Affair
AuthorLisa Shearin
SeriesSPI Files Book 1
Publish Date: Dec 31, 2015
PublisherACE Penguin
Narrator: Johanna Parker
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionWhen I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out—usually saving my skin in the process. Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret’s out and everyone’s time is up.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (or, in other words, SPOILERS).


Hey Nell! Guess who narrates the audiobook of The Grendel Affair.

Oh, Wait! I know this… her voice is familiar! Where do I know her from?

Johanna Parker narrates The Grendel Affair AND the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris! I just finished listening to the book and it was pretty good. I received this book from Goodread’s First Reads program early last year. Now that the sequel is out, I wanted to read it again to remind myself what happened in the story. I liked the book in audio. You’ve read this book, haven’t you?

Yes, I have. I have read it twice and listened to it audio once. It’s a great world with fun characters. I started the Dragon Conspiracy-I’m about 15% into the book as we speak.

Oh, good. Me, too. I wanna see what nasty monster Makenna and Ian get to fight next.

So, do you think there will be a romance between Makenna & Ian? I’m betting not… he seems too stuffy. What do you think?

I’m looking for monsters and you’re looking for romance. Doesn’t that just describe us both?

I can’t help it. Monsters will always be there, but romance is a fleeting thing.


Nervous Nellie says …

Main characters: ♥♥♥♥♥ At first, I thought Makenna Frasier was kind of wimpy. It didn’t take long – not very long at all- to discover that she was anything but wimpy. She was smart, able to think on her feet and she was a very believable character. She was not Wonder Woman like some protagonists portray themselves. She was just an ordinary woman hell-bent on making this new job work. Ian Frasier, Makenna’s new partner, was very patronizing at first. He was a seasoned veteran of monster hunting and knew that if he didn’t protect Mac, she’d never make it. He had lost a partner and he was not going to let it happen again. He beat himself up over that loss and immersed himself in responsibility, responsibility, responsibility. Mac didn’t want to be anyone’s responsibility. She figured out that she needed to protect herself so she wouldn’t be a liability to her team. She may have a special skill that is hard to find and worthy of protection, but she used her common sense and helped the other monster fighters as best as she could.

Other characters: ♥♥♥♥♥ Kenji Hayashi was my favorite. Technogeek extraordinaire. Vivienne Sagadraco was next. Rolf Haagan was Rambo on steroids – but he kept his sense of humor. Roy Benoit – he I would like to actually meet. I’m a sucker for a southern accent. Whoo-wee. Actually, all the characters were really entertaining. I liked them all – except for the grendels. They were scary.

World: ♥♥♥♥♥ The world is full of creatures that humans do not know exist. It’s SPI’s responsibility to keep those creatures under wraps. Makenna is a seer and she can ‘see’ the creatures for what they are instead of any glamour they might use.

Story: ♥♥♥♥♥ The story was excellent. I loved every bit of it. It was so good that I read it twice and listened to the audio too. The mystery was well incorporated and it was fun seeing New York though Makenna. There is a literary reference to Beowulf incorporated in the story, along with dragons, elves, vampires, and other creatures. I thought there may be a romance with Mac and Ian, but it only briefly hinted. The author really did well with this story. It had humor and seriousness (as serious as monsters invading Times Square could be).

Overall: ♥♥♥♥♥ I enjoyed this book very much. The pages flew by, and it was just as good the third time as it was the first. The characters were very likable and genuine. There is a good-spirited rapport between agents and their ‘trophies’ that they each had on their desks. Makenna was bound and determined she would have a weapon, and her putting Tequila in a squirt gun was just one of the many things she tried to succeed. In the end, she has proven herself as an asset and a darn good one. There was no cliffhanger, and I am looking forward to reading the next in the series.

Invested Ivana says…

Main Characters: ♥♥♥♥♥ Makenna (Mac) Fraser is a likable character. She’s not perfect, she’s not superior, she’s just your average gal adjusting to a new job. She has funny quirks, only one special skill — the ability to see through glamours and veils — and is both afraid and brave. I love the fact that a smear of powdered sugar from eating too many cookies is what helps establish her credibility and that her contribution to the monster-fighting team is to shoot paintballs. The story is told first-person through Makenna, so the reader gets to know her very well throughout the book and is easily able to identify with her and invest in her success.

Other Characters: ♥♥♥♥♥ Ian Byrne, Makenna’s partner/bodyguard, is a professional agent, in contrast to Makenna, and does what he can to keep her safe. At first, I thought Ian was going to be an overly-protective male for the whole book, but that wasn’t the case. Ian is protective, having lost a partner in the past, but he recognizes that he can protect Makenna only so much and that she needs to be able to protect herself. Luckily, Ian has a sense of humor and is able to accept Makenna for who she is, quirks and all. I think the two make a good pair. I really enjoy the rest of the supporting cast as well: Ollie, the self-centered merchant of all things spooky; Yasha, the Russian werewolf driver; Kenji, the Japanese half-elf techie; Vivienne Sagadraco, British dragon and founder of SPI; and Rolf Haagen, the crazy Scandinavian with the prosthetic arm. Ms. Shearin certainly has embraced diversity in her characters as far as nationality AND species.

World: ♥♥♥♥♥ It seems all the monsters exist in Makenna’s world — dragons, elves, goblins, werewolves, vampires, ghouls, leprechauns, grendels, magicians, witches, dopplegangers, and more.  One ancient dragon, Vivienne Sagadraco, has created SPI — Supernatural Protection and Investigations — to protect the humans and good supernaturals from the bad supernaturals and keep the magical world under wraps.  SPI operates like a private FBI and police force, employing both humans and supernaturals toward the cause.

Story: ♥♥♥♥♥ In this first adventure, a pair of grendels are loose in NYC, ready to rampage through Times Square on New Year’s Eve in order to bring the supernaturals out of the closet and into the power some creatures believe they deserve. Makenna, Ian, Yasha, Rolf, and the others are tasked to bring down the grendels without revealing them to the world. Mayhem ensues. For the most part, I like the story. The time the group spends hunting the grendels in the tunnels under the city seems to drag on a bit. but I really love the scenes in the cemetery and in the crypt under the cemetery.

During the story, Ms. Shearin references Makenna’s first day on the job guarding a bachelor party of leprechauns. This sounds like a hilarous story that can now be found in an anthology called Night Shift. Makenna spends a fair amount of time introducing herself to us in the beginning of the book, where she references her hometown of Weird Sisters, North Carolina — a town that attracts the weird and wonderful.  With as much time as was spent on it, I was expecting to either find a short story about Weird Sisters or to have it become important in The Grendel Affair; but neither is true, as far as I can tell. I’d love to see a story or two about Weird Sisters; it sounds like there are generations worth of stories there to tell. The other story I would like to see is how Ian lost his first partner. We know it had something to do with “the ghoul” character that Makenna encounters both at the beginning and the end of the book, and we know it had a big impact on Ian. But we know only what Ian has told Makenna about the incident and we don’t know much about this “ghoul” character at all. I think there is plenty of fodder there for more interesting stories.

Narrator: ♥♥♥♥♥ Johanna Parker, who also narrates the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, is the voice of Makenna Fraser and company. Being a fan of Sookie in audio, this did a couple of things for me. First, it gave me an instant affinity for the story since I liked Sookie and Johanna as her voice. Second, it made me picture Makenna as Sookie for a while. I can separate them in my head now, but I don’t think associating the two characters was actually a bad thing.  They are fairly similar; both gals are blonde, Southern, and fairly normal except for one small talent — the ability to sense something others can’t. Neither have any special abilities that make them physically or mentally superior, and they both have faults, make mistakes, and have adorable quirks. It was a smart choice to have Ms. Parker read the SPI novels as it will lead some listeners to associate Ms. Shearin’s world with Ms. Harris’, and who wouldn’t want to be associated with such a success?

Overall: ♥♥♥♥♥ The Grendel Affair is a fun adventure with likable characters and just the right amount of humor. I think I enjoyed listening to it more than I did reading it, particularly because I already have a “relationship” with Johanna Parker. The story is more than fluff, but not a super serious or gritty adventure — it’s a “popcorn flick” of a book that makes for an entertaining few hours.

Our reviews in this series…

If You Like This Book…

One Book Two will be reviewing the sequel, The Dragon Conspiracy, in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that. If you haven’t read them yet, the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris would be good for fans of Makenna in either book or audio form. You might also like the Paranormal Scene Investigation series by Laura Anne Gilman or the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire. Of course, there is also the Raine Benares series by Lisa Shearin, but we haven’t read that one to recommend it.

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Dead HeatTitleDead Heat
AuthorPatricia Briggs
SeriesAlpha & Omega Book 4
Publish Date:  March 3, 2015
PublisherAce Books
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionFor once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal, as Charles plans to buy Anna a horse for her birthday. Or at least it starts out that way… 

Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the crossfire.


From the reviews I’ve read, a lot of readers have a definite preference for either the Alpha & Omega books or the Mercy Thompson books, even when they like them both. You’ve read both series, Nell. Do you have a preference?

I like both series. Mercy’s world is different than Anna and Charles’s world. The Cornick world is harsher, I think. I don’t know why I feel that way because Mercy was raised in the Cornick world, so she should be very similar, but Charles seems so aloof and severe. I would like to start over from the beginning of the Alpha & Omega series as long as I could skip the abuse Anna receives in the first book. It’s been quite a while since I visited the Alpha & Omega world, but Briggs is an awesome writer. She brings it all to life.

Tell me what you mean by “Mercy’s world is different than Anna and Charles’s world.” Both series take place in the same world, but at slightly different points in time.

Mercy’s world feels a little softer to me…

You mean Adam, Mercy’s mate, is more relatable than Charles, don’t you? Warmer, more personable? Less scary?

Yes! That’s exactly it. My words failed me, but your mind-meld assured that I got my thoughts understood!

It’s true that Adam and Charles are very different characters; they’ve played very different roles in their life and have very different backgrounds. They are both fiercely loyal and capable of being scary, but Charles is more introverted and keeps thoughts and feelings close. Also, Charles doesn’t have to be very “human”–he lives with the Pack all the time and usually wants to be seen as scary to do his job. Adam, on the other hand, is not only surrounded by humans all the time but is the poster child for Bran’s “werewolves among us” campaign. Adam is more extroverted; you rarely have to guess at what he’s thinking and feeling. He probably feels safer to you.

Are you sure you aren’t a psychologist?

No, I’m not, but I play one on TV.

 


Nell and I are still trying to sync up our reading, so it’s just me again today.

Main Characters: ♥♥♥♥ I am already emotionally invested in many of Patricia Brigg’s characters, including Anna and Charles Cornick, from the previous Alpha & Omega and Mercy Thompson books. Though this book involved Anna and Charles, the main characters of this adventure seem to be the family of Charles’s friend, Joseph. I am tempted to call them the main characters here.

Joseph’s werewolf father, human wife, son, and son’s family feel like real people: they have good and bad traits both, they have strengths and weaknesses, they have desires and secrets and fears, and they love. I think part of Brigg’s success is the richness of her characters; they are “human” and easy to identify with. I particularly like the grandchild, Mackie, and wonder if she and her family will become recurring characters.

Other Characters: ♥♥♥♥ We meet some familiar characters in this book – Bran, Charles’ father; FBI Agent Leslie Fisher, the witch Moira just briefly – and we meet some new characters. I enjoyed Cantrip Agents Leeds and Marsden and hope they appear in future books. In the main part of the story, we don’t learn much about the villain, which is usually a nitpick of mine. However, there is a hint at the beginning of the book that the villain is set in place by other powers – powers whose agenda might not be discovered until future books.

World: ♥♥♥♥ Again, I’m already heavily invested in Briggs’ world. While this book can certainly be read as a stand-alone, I think the writing does assume the reader is familiar with the world and keeps explanations brief. Time not spent on world building is spent describing another world—that of horse shows and competition. If you love horses, this is the book for you.

Story: ♥♥♥♥ The main story is a mystery involving missing children. It’s a good adventure, but in itself doesn’t contribute greatly to the overall mythology of the world, except maybe in a way we aren’t meant to know yet. We do get to see a side of Charles that is usually hidden, and we see Anna and Charles work through the issues of having children. Both of these contribute to the progress of their relationship.

Overall: ♥♥♥♥ Overall, I enjoyed this installment of the Alpha & Omega series. While it wasn’t a world-changing episode, it is a nice adventure, a good visit with old friends, and a fun time with new ones.

Series list and reviews…

  • “Alpha & Omega” in On The Prowl, Book 0.5
  • Cry Wolf, Book 01
  • Hunting Ground, Book 02
  • Fair Game, Book 03
  • Dead Heat, Book 04
  • Burn Bright, Book 05

 If you like this book…

Aside from the other Alpha & Omega books and the companion Mercy Thompson books, you might try the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong and the Shifter series by Rachel Vincent. You’ll have to find a few more to keep you company after that since the next Mercy Thompson book won’t be out until next year!

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