The Corsair’s Captive by Ruby Dixon

4/5 Argh! stars

If you’ve read Prison Planet Barbarian, you’ve already met our Pirate Barbarian, Kivian. He rescued his brother, Jutari, and his mate, Chloe, from prison. Kivian is running a scam to get lethiul crystal without paying for it. The alien he is running the scam against has a human pet on a chain, Fran.

This story is different than the other Barbarian stories. Fran and Kivian actually fall in love before they have any type of physical encounter. Kivian doesn’t want Fran to think he just rescued her so he could use and abuse her himself. Fran doesn’t put the moves on Kivian, because she fears he’ll reject her.

As with all of Ruby’s books, I’m reading with a smile on my face and laughing until I’m peeing my pants. The misunderstanding of Fran’s name this time is especially funny. Ruby must write this stuff with an adult diaper on.

The more I read about the Mesakkah, the more I see how different they are from their more primitive ancestors, the Sa-khui. Mardok was kind of beat down from his military life and being a mechanic. Jutari was hardened from prison life, and Kivian is a pirate, but all seem more civilized than the Sa-khui, who are still in the hunterer-gatherer phase. For Mardok and Jutari, this was a negative. One gives up the rat race for primitive life on the Ice Planet. The other becomes a farmer on an outpost planet. (Part of that is because it is highly illegal to have a human.) Kivian, the clothes horse with lots of nice things, prefers his lifestyle as a wealthy pirate. Lucky for him, Fran enjoys being a pirate. Argh!

Obsession by Jennifer L Armentrout

3.5/5 Team Arum Stars

It’s been great getting back to the Lux world again. For most of the series, the Arum are the bad guys. But in the later books that the Luxen do some really terrible things, and maybe the Arum aren’t so bad after all.

My feelings for the Luxen race changed on a dime. (Yes, I still love Daemon, Dawson, and Dee) But now I don’t trust the Luxen, and I’m less suspicious of the Arum’s motives.

This is the story of one of the good Arum. At the outset, Hunter works for the DOD but only in the sense that he’s working for himself. Meeting Serena changes him. He develops feelings for her and that makes him more human. One of his greatest character traits is his honesty. It comes off cold and heartless sometimes, but compared to the Luxen, who blow smoke up the humans’ asses, it’s actually quite refreshing.

My main complaint about the story is there’s too much sex. (I know, I’m shocked too.) The plot seemed thin, and almost just a vehicle for the sex scenes.

It got so bad, I was skimming.

As a heroine, Serena is just okay. When Hunter tells her to hide upstairs, it’s for her safety. But she’s so, “Muh feminism” that she never listens. And don’t get me started on her insisting on going to Colorado.

If I’m honest, I like Daemon and Kat’s storyline better, but I do enjoy Ms. Armentrout’s writing. I give her an extra half star for that alone.

2017 My year in books

Wow, this year was a bit disappointing as far as my reading goes. I didn’t read nearly as many books as I usually do, and the books I did read didn’t really make me super excited.


My favorite series is, and continues to be, Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon.

I also enjoy her dragon series Fire in his Blood etc. Ruby has a spin off of the Ice Planet which I definitely want to read in 2018.

I picked back up with the Fever series which I’ve been meaning to do. For me, books six and on are not as good as the first five, but I did enjoy them.

I continued on with the Kennedy Brother Series by Siobhan Davis. My favorite book so far is surprisingly, Kalvin’s story.

Even though some of her characters drive me to drink, I have to say one of my favorite new series is Sam Mariano’s Accidental Witness.
I will admit I like some of the secondary characters’ books better than the books with Mia, Meg, and Mateo.

Once Burned is definitely my favorite of those.

I continued the Temptation Trials part 2 by Brandy Truly. She’s writing a spin off and I’m curious of how the plot will continue for these characters.


I love me some Son of Satan but this year’s The Trouble with Twelfth Grave was not as great as I’d hoped. What can I say? I have very high expectations and this book didn’t have enough page time for Reyes to suit me.

I won’t go any specifics but the rest of the year was mostly kind of meh. Most of the books I read this year were not page-turners.


Feed by Mira Grant, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins were pleasant surprises for the end of the year. Here’s hoping next year will be better for reading.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

3/5 stars

For me, this book was just okay. Maybe I was expecting more because of the hype and the movie, or maybe I’m just too old to read it. The plot didn’t build and the chapters kind of just dropped off. The end was very predictable.

I will probably watch the movie at some point, though. The trailer looks much different than the book.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

5/5 Crazy Train stars.

One of my co-workers who recommended this book compared it to Gone Girl. I see why. Just like in Gillian Flynn’s books, there’s not a likable character to be had. I started off annoyed by the unreliable narrator I perceived Rachel to be. I figured she’s bitter, lonely, nosy, and wants to insert herself into the lives of people she views from her train seat. She’s like a drunk, British Mrs. Kravitz.

What’s worse, she wants to believe she’s not the horrible person, she clearly is. Her excuses are pathetic, especially because she’s trying so hard to deny that she’s a miserable divorcee who’s abuse while under the influence literally drove her husband away. Problem is, she won’t go away.

Then she catches the woman who’s life she envies kissing another man. A day later, the woman goes missing. By all appearances, Rachel seems obsessed, but she knows she could help solve the disappearance of Megan if she could just remember what happened when she was black-out drunk. Unless, she did something to Megan herself???

*************************************************Spoilers ahead******************************************************************************

As the book goes on we learn that there are many, many, motives and many, many, suspects. Megan had been babysitting for Rachel’s ex-husband and wife–they live a few doors down. Then through Megan’s POV, we learn that she’s got a major problem with fidelity. She won’t face her problems, she just tries to sex them away. Megan’s husband is a jealous, suspicious man, with a history of heaping emotional abuse on her and snooping through her emails. How do we know this? Her shrink tells the cops. But unfortunately, the shrink is the man Rachel saw Megan kissing on the train. Then there’s Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife. She’s a homewrecker herself.

It’s a great whodunit.

Highly recommend.

Feed by Mira Grant

5/5 Amplification stars!

This is one of those, “why haven’t I read this sooner” moments. I love a good zombie story, and this one is a winner. The year is 2040. In 2014, a zombie outbreak called “The Rising”, destroys life as the world knows it. After the Rising, people are far less likely to congregate in large groups, must take a blood test for entrance into any building, and entire areas (Alaska) are declared uninhabitable and given over to the infected. Traditional news sites failed miserably at reporting the original outbreak. The government tried to keep it silent and the media was complicit. A lot of needless deaths were caused because they reported it as a hoax, or cos play. It wasn’t until a doctor spoke to the people directly through his eleven year old’s blog that the truth was revealed. It was a turning point for independent bloggers. Now, they were the trusted name in news.

Now it’s 2040. One of these independent news sites, After the End Times, is invited to follow a presidential candidate around during the primaries and up to the election for the first time. We meet Georgia and her brother Shaun, our intrepid reporters. Imagine trying to run a campaign and stump in a post-Rising world. The threat of zombies limits your ability to talk to the people, and the need for power leads some to go to extreme lengths to destroy their political opponents.

Ms. Grant did her research and it shows. The explanations and the world-building really give the reader a sense that this could happen. She uses some other zombie lore, but puts her own spin on it. The virus that causes amplification into a zombie, Kellis-Amberlee came about through a cure for cancer and the common cold colliding. (Think I am Legend). Everyone has the virus, (Think the Walking Dead) but it’s not until you go through amplification that it becomes a problem. Whether you get bit by the infected or you die from a heart attack the result is the same.

Everyone has the virus, but some people experience concentrated levels in certain organs that doesn’t spread to the rest of the body. Georgia has retinal KA (Kellis-Amberlee) affecting only her eyes making her eyes permanently dilated. Rick’s wife had it in her ovaries, causing her newborn to be born with an increased viral load and undergo spontaneous amplification at age nine.

What I loved is how this book made me think about what it was like after the Rising. The author touches on some things, like a political candidate who would want to eradicate all the infected and take back Alaska (Tate). But I could also imagine an opposing political group, who fight for the Infected’s rights. I could see a group of protesters who would put everyone in danger in the name of political correctness. If you didn’t want to coexist with the infected you would be labeled a zombieist, or something along those lines. Others would be prosecuted for shooting a zombie trying to bite them or their family.

It also made me think about the medical aspect. How would cardiac arrest be handled? Do you try to resuscitate a person who goes down, or let them amplify? I wouldn’t want to get close enough to a person who has dropped to perform CPR or even hook-up an AED. And what about the terminally ill or nursing home residents? Could you come up with some sort of device hooked up to your heart monitor that will kill you once your heart stops? (Like the doctor in Saw III). Maybe I think about things too much. Anyway, it’s a great book. If you love zombie stories, give this one a try.

Resisting Mateo

3/5 These chicks have lost it, stars.

After looking at other reviews it’s clear to me, I’m reading this book wrong.
Everyone else sees Mateo this way:

I see Mateo this way:

Mateo is sick and twisted. I’m no psychology major, but there is something seriously wrong and diagnosable about the way he tests people’s loyalty. Maybe he got torture tips from the guy from Saw?

Of course, the women are just as culpable for putting up with it. It’s like a version of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel from the bible. Jacob loves Rachel more, but she has no kids. Leah is unloved but gets all the babies, while Mia *literally* gets all the meat. Maybe Meg is an opportunist who is fine as long as she can enjoy the Mafioso lifestyle. But what good are nice things when you’re basically a prisoner?

Mia is another story. She has a special type of Stockholm Syndrome. No spoilers, but at the end, her reaction is crazy. After all he put her through she’s like:

She’s grateful??? She hopes she’s worth it??? Nothing he could do could ever stop her from loving him??? From me he would have gotten a knuckle sandwich and this:

I have to give the author credit, though. She has written an engaging story and at this point I’m too far in. I have to see what kind of kooky, wacky things Mateo pulls in the next book and how far Mia and Meg will debase themselves for him.

Family Ties by Sam Mariano.

3.75/4 stars

Continuing my buddy read with the excellent B. Truly. You can read her review here

Wow! Where to start… I really loved the first half of this book. Being in Sal’s head was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed Fran too. But then we got to that pesky Mia/Vince/Mateo triangle.

Why does every girl in this book whose name begins with an M fall in love with Mateo? IDK. What I do know is that Fran has a split personality. In book one she clearly preferred Vince over Mateo. And let’s not forget that Fran is pushing Mia into the arms of her Mateo–her rapist. Let that sink in. Now she’s trying to break up Vince and Mia so Mateo can have her. Mia and Fran are talking (hypothetically of course) about breaking up Mateo and “the maid”. Mia thinks it would be wrong and that Mateo is unavailable. Fran’s all for it. Not once does anyone consider that Mia already has a boyfriend. Whoopsie?

Vince, here’s your sign:

Fran’s matchmaking continues and this was hard for me to grasp. While she’s planning her wedding, at the rehearsal dinner, and at the reception, were her thoughts consumed with her beloved Sal? Heck no. She was scheming to get Mateo and Mia together. That is Abby Normal.

And Meg is either truly stupid, has not a single jealous bone in her body, or is playing 4D chess with everyone. I suspect the latter.

Anyway, I must be brave because I am continuing on. Francesca, knock it off.

Once Burned by Sam Mariano

5/5 Adrian is my favorite mobster stars.

This is my favorite book in the series so far. I love being in Adrian’s head. I love Elise. I love them together. What can I say, I just love this book!

Unpopular opinion time: Adrian is the man I wish Mateo could be.

I get why Adrian did what he did to save Elise. I see his logic in the hierarchy of keeping certain people in power. Even his kills I understand. He is more loyal to Mateo than Mateo will ever be to him.

Favorite quote:

What kind of man would let his daughter go through a thing like that to save his own skin? You’d have to kill me twice to put my daughter through that kind of shit–and even then, my ghost would probably come for you.

After reading the additional scene, I’m getting a sick feeling in my stomach. Mia, don’t do anything stupid.