GOLDEN EAGLE by Lauren Gilley

In 1942, Chekist Captain Nikita Baskin led his elite group of Soviet Secret Police into the wilds of Siberia on a mission to retrieve a “volunteer.” 

Sasha Kashnikov, Tomsk University student and trapper’s son, became a werewolf, an intended weapon against the Nazis. But in truth, he was meant to be the Familiar of the vampire Rasputin. 

In a clearing north of Stalingrad, amid blood-stained snow, Rasputin died, the pack burned, and Nikita and Sasha set off toward eternity together, bound by tragedy, and trust, and a tenderness neither would name. 

In modern day New York, their pack of two has grown to include two detectives, an artist, and the former tsarevich of Russia. And after what occurred in Virginia, Nikita and Sasha have reached a breaking point. Sasha, an unusually strong alpha wolf, remains unbound, and the forces on all sides of the looming war will want a chance to claim him – to make him a weapon again. 

All Nik has ever wanted to do was protect his precious Sashka. 

And all Sasha wants is to be more than a friend and little brother to the man – the vampire – he loves most. 


Title : Golden Eagle
Author : Lauren Gilley
Series : Sons of Rome (book four)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 661
Genre : paranormal / historical fiction
Publisher : HP Press
Release Date : December 23, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

It may have been my own fault for reading books three and four back-to-back, after having put some space between the first three, but this is easily my least favourite of the series. Nothing awful, and certainly not worth giving up on, nor even a reason to not consider the series if you haven’t yet, but.. not my favourite.

In complete contrast to book three, in Golden Eagle we spend all our time in present day and reunite with.. well, pretty much everyone we’ve met across this series. We also got some payoff I was hoping for as far back as book one. But it left me with some pretty mixed feelings because I felt a lot of the characters, or maybe just moments, felt so out of character. Which was frustrating because there are so many characters in this world in general and many that I can pretty definitively say I do not like — or only tolerate. So to be stuck with everyone and to have the ones I do love.. feel strange? Mixed bag.

This was the most romance heavy of the series which I definitely would’ve loved had my precious beans felt a little more like themselves but it wasn’t all bad. Some moments? Pure swoon, pure loveliness, pure steam. But it does give the reader a bit of whiplash going from very different tones in each book. It keeps it interesting, that’s for sure, particularly considering the wordcount. Just something to keep in mind, though.

That said, even with the few typos or missed punctuation marks, something I noticed started to occur in book three and we had a few more of them in this book, considering the aforementioned wordcount, considering all the history and reference points, everything that goes into this, and what the author is listing them for on amazon? Ridiculous. A steal. There is definitely a lot of good in this world, in these books, and I’m keen to still read on — but now that I’ve caught up I am in for a wait as who knows when book five is due to come out! Shucks.

DRAGON SLAYER by Lauren Gilley

n 1931, a golden-haired man in fine clothes appeared to a Siberian boy. An apparition in the snow. 

In 2018, he guided a pack of misfits to his prison. A man made of sharp smiles, and smoke, who they can hear, but can never touch. He calls himself a prince, but how much does anyone really know about Prince Valerian of Wallachia? Is he friend, or foe? Is he real at all? 

Val has spent the past 550 years as a prisoner, venturing where and when he can, dream-walking, using his powers of astral projection to escape the confines of his cell. His jailers call him “brother-killer,” and “traitor” – old rumors of the immortal realm carried forth by the sinister Ingraham Institute, a secret place hidden deep in the forest, bent on using the blood and powers of immortals to fight a gathering threat too terrible to reveal to the mortal world at large. 

Now, Val’s brother, the infamous Vlad Dracula, is awake, hellbent on stopping the boys’ wicked uncle, Romulus, once and for all. But first, the boys will have to come to terms with one another – and perhaps finally come to understand the tragedies that played out almost six centuries ago. 

In Book Three of the Sons of Rome Series, dream-walk to 15th century Romania, to a Wallachia besieged by the Ottoman Empire, and two immortal brothers fighting for their lives. Inspired by the true story of Vlad Dracula, and his family, Dragon Slayer travels from the palace at Tîrgovişte, to the Ottoman court, to the siege of Byzantium. A tale of brothers, and betrayal; of captivity, and revenge. 

The immortals of the world are gathering, and Vlad and Val, the original sons of Rome, stand poised to lead the charge against a timeless evil. If only they can keep from killing one another… 


Title : Dragon Slayer
Author : Lauren Gilley
Series : Sons of Rome (book three)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 791
Genre : paranormal / historical fiction
Publisher : HP Press
Release Date : April 30, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

I wish this was an easy, uncomplicated, round-up to four star book but I struggled a bit with this one.

I was so excited to have more historical storytelling in this world, because it’s been some of the bits I’ve loved the most, and Gilley gave me that.. and then more. And more. And more. Do you see that page count? This book is hella long. And I definitely feel like it did not need to be as long as it was. There is no doubt that history is one of this author’s passions, or she’s just incredibly committed to her plot, and her research alone and dedication to that time period? Definitely deserves recognition. I just wish it had all felt necessary to the plot, you know? Most, sure. All? For me, no.

I liked the beginning, I even like the reason for how and why we got thrown into the past, and for a while it was working for me. But there was a lot of information and time to slog through before we shifted gears back to the present, which I didn’t think I would have anticipated as much as I did, but that’s where this book really felt solid.

I think what surprised me was how.. soft some of these characters were. Val, in particular. I mean, if you’ve read the book, you know what I mean. I just want to hug him. Even Vlad the bloody Impaler had his moments. Though I’m not quite sure I bought some of the rationale regarding the latter’s behaviour.. even with all (and I mean all) that backstory. It felt a little flimsy. Likewise, I feel like Val had the ability to do certain things to connect with his family during a specific and critical time and didn’t and.. I also don’t quite know why. So I feel like part of this was a little tough to get behind. Which is what adds to my mixed feelings, particularly considering the word count and everything we had to get through to circle back to where we ended up in book two.

So I’m happy this ended on a strong note otherwise I would be sad. We had quite a few surprises in the last 20% or so; things didn’t go quite how I expected, and one of those surprises had me sitting straight up with what I’m sure was a dumfounded !!! look on my face. I caught the foreshadowing literally the paragraph before but I was still unprepared. And then we get that last chapter which leaves us hanging after another surprise kick to the face and boy oh boy if I didn’t have book four already on my kindle.. that said, if we don’t get some rewind time with the New York crew? Imma be mad.

So, yes, for all my whining about wanting more “in days gone by..”, Gilley definitely heaped far too many helpings onto my plate. I am definitely soft over all these characters (honestly, it’s kind of ridiculous how precious they all are..), and though it is obviously not a quick read, it’s still worth it. I’m hoping book four knocks it out of the park, though!

HEARTSONG by TJ Klune

All Robbie Fontaine ever wanted was a place to belong. After the death of his mother, he bounces around from pack to pack, forming temporary bonds to keep from turning feral. It’s enough—until he receives a summons from the wolf stronghold in Caswell, Maine. 

Life as the trusted second to Michelle Hughes—the Alpha of all—and the cherished friend of a gentle old witch teaches Robbie what it means to be pack, to have a home. 

But when a mission from Michelle sends Robbie into the field, he finds himself questioning where he belongs and everything he’s been told. Whispers of traitorous wolves and wild magic abound—but who are the traitors and who the betrayed? 

More than anything, Robbie hungers for answers, because one of those alleged traitors is Kelly Bennett—the wolf who may be his mate.

The truth has a way of coming out. And when it does, everything will shatter.


Title : Heartsong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book three)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 464
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : BOATK Books
Release Date : October 22, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 5 star review

I think it’s official. I think this might be my favourite of the bunch (so far!). And while I admitted to downgrading book one from a full five to a four and a half.. this one goes the other way. My original GR rating was four but I’m rounding right up to top marks.

Memories are funny things. I carried them like scars.

Overall this story is the one with the most surprises, in all manner of speaking, and it’s also the most.. tender. It’s both quieter but also more devastating. Which won’t make sense when you get to the big showdown, as it’s anything but quiet, but it makes an interesting contrast.

I swear to god, witches and wolves are the most dramatic bitches I’ve ever known in my life. Like for once can we just have a norma day without stupid shit happening?

I also just feel like Klune really hit his stride with this book. Sure, he’s gearing up to the end, he’s laying out some cards, but by now we’re so in love with these characters, this world, and he’s still treating them with care as opposed to tossing them around into positions he needs them to be in for everything to make sense. You know what I mean? Maybe not. But it’s there anyway. It could also be because he did something very different with this one, both in the telling and with the couple, and I absolutely love a break in formula.

Instagram. You want me to look at your Instagram.
Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever heard so much disdain in such few words.”

There may have been a few less laugh out louds than there were in book two (though there was one rather casual exchange that had me, no pun intended, howling) but I think this is the one that made me cry the most. And for me that’s an upside.

Last time I read these books there was only one novella/short post-book three. This time there are two. I’m preparing for more tears because I cried my way through 2.5. And oh yeah, hey, if you didn’t know.. Klune has these extras available for free on his site. Definitely go check them out. That said, next time we talk (aka I talk at you, reader) I’ll have read BROTHERSONG. Eep.

RAVENSONG by TJ Klune

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.

It should have been enough.

And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won.

Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.

But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.

Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.


Title : Ravensong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book two)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 480
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (originally, now BOATK Books)
Release Date : July 31, 2018 (re-released September 26, 2019)

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

My first time around with RAVENSONG I wrote maybe one of the most negative four star (though apparently I equated it more to 3.5) reviews I’ve probably ever written. I don’t necessarily disagree with my previous thoughts (it’s on GR if you’re curious!) but maybe knowing what is to come, maybe loving these characters a little more, I just feel less.. critical? To me this definitely is a solid four, no question.

You could have become the villain, Gordo. And it would have been within your rights. Instead you just chose to be an asshole.
Are you.. complimenting me? Because if you are, you’re doing a really bad job of it.”

Overwhelmingly the themes of family, both blood and found, of friendship, of love, of forgiveness.. everything is strong. Everything is lovely and wonderful even when it aches and breaks you apart. For me, at least, that is the standout beyond anything else I could be nitpicky about. However I’ll still break some of those down for you because.. of course I will.

They were all so different, these lost boys. But they did have one thing in common. All three were assholes who didn’t know when to shut the fuck up. And I was stuck with them.

There are elements to this installment that do feel a little samey to book one in build up but for very different reaons; so that makes it both the same and very much not, I guess. But some elements manage to stand out, too. Team Human? The best. That bar scene? Pure gold. There are very moving moments (tears, they were shed), exchanges of utter hilarity (my house echoed with the sound of my cackling), and this one might have some surprises for new readers who might not see certain things coming, might not pick up on the foreshadowing. Which, by the way, was fun to see this time around. Klune is tricksy.

Does she live in a broken-down cabin in the middle of the woods? Like, eating children and shit? Is that offensive to witches? Are you offended? I’m sorry if you’re offended.
[she] lives in an apartment in Minneapolis.
Oh. That’s.. disappointing.”

Thankfully book two doesn’t lean into that one particular annoying mantra from book one as much, though it does make a few appearances, but my biggest gripe the first time I read this (and stays true!) were.. the monologues. So long. So many. So much nope. But it’s fine, we’re moving on.

Other than finally getting to read BROTHERSONG (I hear you calling my name!), I might be most excited about book three, actually. I think they might be my favourite couple (which might get revised after book four!) and I just remember certain things.. breaking me. So, yes, it with both much anticipation and a healthy heaping of dread that I gear up for the next installment.

WOLFSONG by TJ Klune – double review!

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them. 


Title : Wolfsong
Author : TJ Klune
Series : Green Creek (book one)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 494
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/paranormal
Publisher : Dreamspinner (originally, now BOATK Books)
Release Date : June 20, 2016 (re-released September 24, 2019)

Reviewer : Hollis/Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5/ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

As we approach the final countdown towards BROTHERSONG, the final book in the Green Creek series, I’m sure I’m not alone in rereading this series; I didn’t think I would, having read them for the first time back in January — so fairly recently — but I knew to do justice to this finale it would be best to revisit all the events, all the couples, all the f e e l s, that brought us to what awaits us as the end.

I would always choose you. I don’t care if it’s a biological imperative. I don’t care if it’s some destiny. I don’t care if you were made specifically for me. It doesn’t matter. I would choose you regardless.

And oh boy were there feels.

I’ll admit I maybe didn’t feel “omg uber five stars!” this time around but I still got weepy, I still laughed, I still outright cried (not a lot but mine eyes did spillage over), I found even more to highlight, and I was still just as annoyed about a certain repetition used as touchstone within this story. But at least this time I knew about that last one.

Oh my god, Ox, your life is like those shitty sparkly vampire movies. That I’ve never seen and don’t like at all, shut up.”

If you’re one of the ten people still in the world who haven’t read this? Maybe I should actually review the book in order to convince you to do so, ahem. Well it’s a paranormal world full of werewolves and witches! It’s set in a small town, with a lot of magic and history, and there is a family of soft boys, mostly loveable idiots, and a sweet budding romance.. and then some terrible heartbreaking stuff happens. Violence, devastation, betrayal, abandonment. Angst ensues. And then.. spoilery things I won’t even hint at. But it’s good. You’d like it.

She pretty, papi?
There’s no girl.
Oh? A boy, then? We don’t discriminate here at the Casa de Gordo.”

Oh, did I mention it’s queer?

You should read this.


Micky’s 4 star review

My booksta friends voted this one in as my next audio listen and I obeyed. I’ve owned the audio for an age and you know how it goes. I must caution audio listeners that I personally wouldn’t recommend the audio format because I didn’t like the narration style (a little robotic) or the dialogue accents, especially Joe’s dialogue. I switched over to the ebook and didn’t regret it.

WOLFSONG excelled on a story of family and found family. It absolutely snagged my curiosity over the story and Ox immediately. I loved in particular the naivety and innocence in the first quarter of the read. Personally, any criticism wielded at that time period are unsubstantiated, I say no more, because spoilers.

TJ Klune knows how to build a story, gradually, with heart and such characters that you feel so attached, you don’t want to let go. Ox held the stage, this boy growing into a man, in a world he barely understood. He rose to his role, he was self-depricating but he was wonderful and I loved him.

The cast of characters were plentiful and the family that evolved gave me all the feelings. The pack banter was incredible, with snark, humour and depth of emotion. I adored Elizabeth, Gordo (strangely), Thomas and Robbie. Joe was a character that had to grow on me. I want to know more about Mark and Gordo, Michelle, Kelly and Carter.

Some of the story was a little predictable overall but it didn’t impede my enjoyment. That said, smaller plot points weren’t predictable and I was gripped to the page.

So, I’m howling into the ether that this is a great creation from TJ Klune with characters to cheer for and end up loving. I will definitely be reading on.

RED ROOSTER by Lauren Gilley

n New York City, a string of increasingly-grisly murders leads Detective Trina Baskin, and her newly-immortal partner, Lanny, to a frightening facility with designs on studying all the immortals they can get their hands on. When one of their own is abducted, they’ll have to rely on dangerous new allies, plunged into a world they can barely believe exists…much less survive. 

In a tiny town in Wyoming, a girl on the run and her self-appointed protector can’t afford to sit still for too long, and they definitely can’t accept the help of kind strangers. Ruby Russell has the kind of talent that turns heads, and draws powerful enemies. Her gifts are not her own, and the people who made her want her back. 

In the second subbasement of a manor house outside Roanoke, a centuries-old Wallachian prince goes walking in his dreams. Guardian angel? Or beautiful liar? The people he visits will soon learn, because like it or not, they’re being drawn to his prison. 

All roads lead to Virginia in the second novel of Lauren Gilley’s Sons of Rome series. Dark paranormal fantasy brimming with richly-drawn characters, and steeped in history, Red Rooster continues the adventure that began in book one, White Wolf.


Title : Red Rooster
Author : Lauren Gilley
Series : Sons of Rome (book two)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 466
Genre : paranormal
Publisher : HP Press
Release Date : March 29, 2018

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

So, I want to say that RED ROOSTER was everything I loved about WHITE WOLF but better but that would sort’ve be a lie as what I loved, or fell in love with, in book one was mostly due to the WWII era setting and history. And we have none of that in book two. We were pretty much all contemporary instead of past, with everyone having caught up to current events (in this world, I think it’s 2017? which makes sense based on publication) and all the chaos that is ensuing as a result of what came before.

Is everybody gonna turn into [a vampire]? Is this like the plague or something? Shit — is this I Am Legend? Fuck, I knew it.

I’ll admit, the one couple I wasn’t liking in book one, I’m still not loving, but there are plenty of others, and even more characters in general, that it’s not a big deal. And when I say more characters, like.. there’s a bunch. And we had a whole host of new introductions in this installment that had me immediately texting the friends who recommended this series to me and.. (not so) quietly losing my mind. There are even more familiar names popping up in this world and oh man was it hysterical and weird and amazing.

I’m super disappointed about [this]. All the vampire movies make it out like you get all sparkly, and irresistible and shit. Women just throw themselves at you, you know? And here I am, same old chump with a broken nose.”

Despite some grittier elements, I feel like this might not have been as dark an installment. But it was definitely just as fun and just as funny, and at times hella heartbreaking, and yeah I’m so trash for the characters and for a few of the couples. And one that I’m still waiting on to happen! Like.. it’s so good, so sweet, so pure, as it is but.. I want more.

The world’s broken a thousand times. [..] It always breaks, and stupid people always die trying to keep it from breaking, and it always mends itself in the end. I can live through that. I have. But I won’t live without him.”

This is a series that I feel needs a lot more attention and while I was reluctant to recommend it after book one, I think as a result of being more than satisfied by book two that I need to start pushing this on more friends. So, hey, if you’re not afraid of long books, love paranormal universes, and ensemble casts, you should take a look-see at this series. Particularly as the kindle prices are dirt cheap. You really can’t lose here. Huge page counts, tons of excitement, less than the cost of a coffee? Get on it!

WHITE WOLF by Lauren Gilley

NYPD homicide detective Trina Baskin is having nightmares. Vivid ones. Full of blood, and snow, dead wolves…and a young man with pale hair who howls like an animal. She chalks them up to stress and an overactive imagination, too many Old Country stories from her Russian father who, when he’s had too much vodka, starts to rave about dark forces and things that look like men…but aren’t. 

But then a case hits her desk that can’t be explained. A young man found outside a club with a nasty bite mark on his neck – and not a drop of blood left in his body. With no leads, no theories that bear exploring, too little sleep, and a partner who seems to be willfully throwing his career down the toilet, the last thing Trina needs is a full-on out of body experience…in which her family’s past is revealed to her, and everything starts making a whole lot of terrifying sense.

In 1942, Trina’s great-grandfather, Nikita, is a captain of the Cheka, the Soviet political police – or so it seems. He and his men are sent to Siberia to retrieve a “volunteer,” the boy who’s going to win the war against the Nazis – and potentially unleash hell on earth. 

The world’s immortal population has been living quietly, secretly, hiding from the wars of men, hoping the past can stay buried. But what happens on the Eastern Front in the winter of 1942 will change everything.

In 2017, Trina is about to come face-to-face with her own past in a way she never thought possible. It turns out monsters are real – and they might be the only hope for survival. 


Title : White Wolf
Author : Lauren Gilley
Series : Sons of Rome (book one)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 558
Genre : paranormal (contemporary & historical)
Publisher : HP Press
Release Date : October 29, 2017

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

So, as usual I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started WHITE WOLF. I knew it featured a detective but I figured she would be solving mysteries that would be paranormal in nature and.. I mean, it’s not not that, but it’s so much more.

Nikita caught one last glance of Sasha’s falsely brave smile and thought this is why men cave to tyrants. To make brave smiles worthwhile.

As you might have noticed by the page count, this is not a short book. I believe this is an epic series and boy does it feel that way. That being said, I did not expect to be transported to World War II era Russia after only, like, two chapters. But more than that, I didn’t expect to spend 85% of the book in that time period once we got there. And I certainly didn’t expect to love it so much. I actually resented transitioning back to the contemporary timeline because I was so invested in the characters I had come to love (like, seriously, Nikita and Sasha? I adore. but in general I’m such a sucker for an ensemble).

He was a good man! A holy man. He–
Was probably fucking your mother.

Time will tell if I come to appreciate these modern characters as much as the others but there are spoilery things I can’t mention that have me very satisfied with the shift back to 2017 now that we’re likely to stay there. Though who knows where book two (and beyond) will take us.

For wolves — werewolves — it’s unnatural to take a true mate.”
Please. Everybody fucks. That’s the most atural thing in the world.”
For mortal humans, yes, of course. But Familiars aren’t entirely human, and the laws of nature don’t apply the same way.”
You’re telling me superpowered people who live forever don’t fuck? What’s the point of living forever if you can’t get laid?

If you like the paranormal but also like historical fiction, or very detailed mythology twisted up with real historical figures, you should definitely look into starting this series. I’m loathe to recommend it too hard as I’m only just getting started but this definitely surprised me — and in a good way. There is definitely a bit of something here for everyone; romantic elements (though this is not a romance so don’t expect too much page time or focus), comedic elements (unless I’m just warped but I did laugh out loud quite a few times), and darker elements (hello vampires and werewolves and also war time events). I know this won’t be for everyone, some readers may not want so much history, so much time spent on backstory, but this worked for me. It took a few days to get through but each time I picked it up I couldn’t tear myself away.

I’m so keen to dive into book two.

AURORA TERMINUS by S.E. Fanetti

The end of the world came quietly, in a breathtaking display of light and color, while everyone stopped and watched, entranced.

And then the lights went out, and death and chaos took over.

A woman went up, high above the fray, and tried to build a life alone from what was left of the world that had been.

A man stayed down, in the midst of the turmoil, and tried to find a home in the world that had become.

But neither life nor home is possible until there is family, until love and trust and hope return.

Until then, there is only survival.


Title : Aurora Terminus
Author : S.E. Fanetti
Format : eBook
Page Count : 527
Genre : post-apocayptic
Publisher : indie
Release Date : April 7, 2018

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

AURORA TERMINUS was a book recommended to me ages ago by a friend and one I just kept putting off. Reading friends’ favourites is scary, yo. We all know this. So naturally I felt the best time to pick up a post-apocalyptic event story was during.. now. 2020. Making great choices every day, I am.

The end had come, but quietly, even gracefully.

But I have zero regrets. Except for the regret regarding the fact that I waited this long to read this.

The Sunstorm had torn off the fragile veneer of decency and shown most people to be, at best, insular and suspicious, and at worst, bestial and cruel. Whatever bond of humanity still pulled anyone was only strong enough, and elastic enough, to reach the limits of a small group. At best.

This story is something of a mashup between STATION ELEVEN and 28 Days Later (yes, the zombie movie) and yet it’s also distinctly it’s own. The world ended, not from plague, not from war, or aliens, but from solar flares. Society crumbled with it. And so did humanity; at least for some. The story follows a woman surviving in a cabin off the general radar, on her own, self-sufficient, and a man who has been both a solo wanderer and now finds himself with a group. Their stories play out, then converge, but it’s all about the realities of surviving in a world that has turned against its people, and those people who are just trying to go about the rest of the lives, while also surviving those who prefer to do harm to them just for living or having what they don’t.

As implied, there is some darkness, some violence, in this story but the gory bits aren’t sensationalized and the more targeted harm is pretty much all done off page. 

The world would live on without people. That was the story of the Sunstorm. Not the end of the world. A cataclysm, but not the apocalypse. Simply the end of the human era.

But for all the stark and bleak realities within these pages, it also shines light on hope, on living instead of just surviving, on a possible future. There is healing, love, and dogs. Pretty sure most of my tears spilled over the animals, actually. But the characters of the two legged variety were pretty okay, too. Diana was an absolute force. She’s made me realize I don’t need (or want) a burly creature as my partner when the end of times (or zombies.. or zombies in the end of times) comes. Give me the person who has well researched what might happen in a fictional universe where everything goes to shit and how to navigate it. Proving that nerds are not only the new sexy.. but the secret to survival.

Jokes aside, this read was totally absorbing (I literally devoured it and stayed up past my bedtime because I refused to put it down), and would definitely recommend for fans of the genre — even if you might want to avoid this kind of book in the immediacy of our own circumstances — and I want to say huge thanks to Paula for the recommendation. Sorry it took me so long!

THE WINTER LONG by Seanan McGuire

For once, it seems like the Kingdom of the Mists has reached a point of, if not perfection, at least relative peace. Queen Arden Windermere is getting settled on her family’s throne; no one’s going to war with anyone else; it’s almost like everything is going to be okay. Even October “Toby” Daye is starting to relax her constant vigilance, allowing herself to think about the future, and what it might entail.

And then Simon Torquill comes back, and everything begins to fall apart. In Faerie, nothing stays buried forever. No matter how much you might want it to. 


Title : The Winter Long
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book eight)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 368
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 2, 2014

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

I’ll give McGuire credit with this one. The long game she played to set this up? That deserves a round of applause. And I’m not just saying that because we had some questions answered. The villain of the week? Unexpected. The way so much was foretold and yet, like Toby, the reader was made oblivious? Well done. As for some of the reveals? I’m not surprised things are more complex than they appeared. But I’m surprised by almost everything we learned.

Are all the cards on the table? Hahaha of course not.

I really hope we see some consequences play out in the next book in the sense that some relationships were badly damaged in this one. We have been watching them fray for some time now, and in general I thought one of the two people in question were hella incompetent and I’ve been wanting Toby to break away from that sense of duty she’s been clinging to. As for the other, well. Like so many characters in this world, she’s only been concerned for herself, and I’ve never understand the dynamic, and I think it’s not surprising that if relationships are going to change, they will happen at the same time as they are part and parcel of the same issue. I know, this is so vague, I guarantee if I ever have to refer to this review again even I won’t know what I’m talking about.. but I’m wary of spoilers.

As usual, though, the sea witch as just a serious badass and I love her.

I’m still not rounding up on this book, though, because even though I just can’t stop reading this series, and I enjoy an aspect or two of the experience, overall I just don’t love cast and there is so much repetition (made worse by the binge, I’m sure). For all the good of some of the overall plotting, everything is really hard earned, few things are followed up on by the characters even when they are strung along with breadcrumbs, and that is forever frustrating; particularly when this is a common occurence, number one, but made even worse by a character who was once a private investigator and, like, investigates shit. Again, I mentioned before in one review or another, it’s hard to root for a character who is made to be woefully unintelligent in a lot of ways. Sure, she usually figures things out in the nick of time when she’s in the mess, but on the whole? Nope. 

Additionally, this series would be greatly improved by some sexytimes. I’m just putting it out there.

My last note? For those keeping track, we had an August added to the months-as-names list. No one is surprised, though, are they?

CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT by Seanan McGuire

Things are starting to look up for October “Toby” Daye. She’s training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling down…at least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby’s efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets–and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there’s the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne….

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists–and they’ll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.

October Daye is about to find out what they are.


Title : Chimes at Midnight
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book seven)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 369
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 3, 2013

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

Plot-wise, this has maybe been the best of the bunch in this series.. so far. In the sense that I am satisfied with the turn things took and the resulting direction we’re now headed in. Does that mean I had a good time, had fun, am excited about this series again? No, nope, and maybe. 

The usual suspects (aka the things that annoy me about this series) were very much still present. But with the magnitude and schemery (it’s a word) going on, we had less time to dwell on them or even encourage them. This, in addition to the plot, make for big pluses.

A few new characters have opened up additional pathways into the ‘mystery of October’s heritage’ journey and I’m maybe into it? She’s achieved Super Special Snowflake status a dozen times over and I’m definitely more interested in her mother’s history, and how that ties in with the sea witch (shoutout to my girl!), but you can’t have one without the other, so. I’ll allow it. <– she says, as if she has any choice

I don’t have much more to say, I think this is the shortest of all my reviews, and the least ranty, but maybe that’s a sign. Maybe the tide is turning where we might see some higher ratings soon. Ever hopeful. Ever stubborn. Ever reading this series..