Saturday, April 3, 2021

Past Due Reviews [7]

Have you ever read a book and then forgotten to review it? Yeah? Well, that happens to me all the time! That's how I got the idea for Past Due Reviews. They won't be long posts, they'll likely contain a lot of comics, and my memories of the books themselves probably won't be great (some of them were read months ago, and I didn't sit down and review them for this or that reason). Hopefully the content is still relevant and helpful! 

Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels, #8) by Ilona Andrews

Synopsis (via Goodreads): In the latest Kate Daniels novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews, magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta—and each crest leaves danger in its wake…

After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.

So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected.

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece…


"One doesn't let her fiancé fight a hoard of ghouls by himself. Some things were just not done."
I hardcore love this series! Ilona Andrews is an amazing author duo, and I really hope the two of them write books together forever. I still have to read the last two books in the series, but I've been taking my time because I don't want this incredible journey I've been on to end. I want there to always be another adventure for them to go on, although I know that's not realistic. However, if I don't read the final two books, there's still something for me to look forward to (my logic is sound). I read Magic Shifts back in November, so I'm sure I'll finish the series soon. I've been away too long already!

Definitely read these books in order! The characters and friendships get better and better each book, and I've loved seeing how Kate and Curran's relationship developed over time. They go from bickering frenemies (Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.) in the first few books, to a hilarious courtship (werelions and their mating rituals, haha), to two people that deeply love and respect each other. They both have strong personalities, so obviously they clash from time to time, but they know they can always count on the other to be there for them. I've really enjoyed them as a couple, and how realistic their relationship has been. It might be hard, but they admit when they're wrong and acknowledge how their actions affect each other. A+ for being authentic and relatable!

I really liked that the authors chose to take the story in a different direction with this book, but still kept all of my favorite secondary characters around. Kate and Curran have left the pack and are no longer in charge of what happens to it. They're glad they don't have to deal with Pack politics anymore, but you can tell Curran is struggling with what to do with himself. He no longer has a direction or a focus for his life, since he's the one that made the Pack what it is today. It's all he's ever known, really. Although I missed the chaos and demands of Pack life, it was okay since my favorite people were still actively involved in the story. 

Even without the Pack to keep them busy, Kate and Curran are thrown into danger almost as soon as the story starts. I love the pacing for these books, and think the authors are fantastic storytellers. At the beginning, Kate and Curran are living in a suburban neighborhood (so weird to see them living normal lives), and they have kid (whaaaat). A daughter Kate picked up in a previous book, and someone that acts an awful lot like Kate herself. There's a whole thing going on with those two that would take too long to explain and would be slightly spoilery. The dynamics in these books... so good. They're layered and complex, yet totally believable despite all of the magic and mayhem. 

I do think this book was a way for the characters to catch their breath before the final arc, but that doesn't mean the story was any less dangerous or action-packed. I love how the authors incorporate various mythologies into their books, and this one was no exception. A member of the Pack comes to Kate and Curran for help, and since they're no longer bound by Pack politics, they offer their assistance. It's never as easy as it sounds, and the multiple threads being woven are masterfully executed while still leaving a few loose ends for the next book.

Seriously, there is so much to love about this series, and I cannot recommend it enough. I laugh so much while reading these books, and I know the characters are people that will stay with me for the rest of my life. It's definitely a series I will read again and again. The characters, the story, the worldbuilding - phenomenal. (★★★★★)


Mistletoe in Paradise (Wildstone, #5.5) by Jill Shalvis 
Narrated by Erin Mallon 

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Problem Number One – Getting There

Old childhood friends each fly separately to join their families on what’s been an annual holiday themed yacht adventure. Secret ex-lovers, Hannah and James are determined to make the best of things…

Problem Number Two – Getting Stuck.

When everyone but Hannah and James gets held up in an airport snarl, it leaves them stuck together for four days, making Hannah’s already problematic trip a whole lot harder to face. Especially because she comes bearing more than just gifts…

Problem Number Three -- Falling In Love (again)

As the former lovers try to make the best of the Christmas snafu, they soon realize that the best things in life can’t be planned and sometimes love is sweeter the second time around.


Mistletoe in Paradise was a very quick read (technically it was a quick listen) that I thoroughly enjoyed! It was short and sweet, and I immediately fell in love with Hannah and James. I've only read the first book in the Wildstone series, but the rest are on my list! Jill Shalvis knows how to write adorable romances, and this novella was no exception. I'm not sure which book Hannah and James belong to (are they repeat characters?), so I hope listening to this before reading the others doesn't spoil anything for me. I probably should have looked into that before, but oh well. 😅

I really loved that they were trapped on a yacht together, because there was literally no where for them to run. They had to interact with each other, which made them address their issues relatively early on. I liked that it wasn't something they waited until the very end to talk about, and enjoyed seeing them reminisce about their shared past. Not all of it was good, and Hannah has some bad news to deliver herself, but I thought Shalvis did a wonderful job of pacing the story and its revelations. (★★★★☆)


Aliens Ate My Homework (Alien Adventures, #1) by Bruce Coville

Synopsis (via Goodreads): IT'S THE WEIRDEST ALIEN INVASION EVER!

"I cannot tell a lie," says Rod Allbright. And it's the truth. Ask him a question, and he's bound to give you an honest answer. Which is why when his teacher asks what happened to last night's math assignment, Rod has to give the only answer he can: "Aliens ate my homework, Miss Maloney!"

Of course, no one believes Rod this time, so they don't bother to ask him why the aliens are here—which is just as well, since he is sworn to silence about their secret mission; and the fact that he has been drafted to help them!


I stumbled across Aliens Ate My Homework at a used book store and thought it would be a fun book to read with my son. I'm happy to report that we both really enjoyed the story! Rod is a relatable character that finds himself in a very unbelievable situation, which is made even more difficult by his inability to lie. 

While I understood Rod's aversion to lying, I wish his reasoning had been expanded on more. It has to do with his father leaving and broken promises, which I believe should be talked about more in children's books. Oftentimes the parents are gone with no explanation, and I think we need to normalize single parent families. However, Coville does address something that was uncommon for the 90's (the book was first published in 1993). One of the aliens is non-binary. 🤯

"Oh, don't be silly. I am neither male nor female. I'm a farfel."

"Is that more like a boy or more like a girl?"

"Actually, it's more like a pippik than anything."

Skipping ahead...

"Okay," I said. "Just tell me what pronoun to use when I'm talking about him. Her. Uh, it. I mean... see what I mean?" 

"It will do just fine," said Tar Gibbons.

"What will do just fine?"

"It will," he repeated. 

"What will?"

"It. Refer to me as an it."

"That seems pretty rude," I said nervously. 

"Not as rude as calling me a he or a she," it said.

I thought Rod asking which pronoun Tar Gibbons preferred was brilliant. My son didn't seem at all concerned or confused about a character wanting to be referred to as it instead of he or she, and I immediately started highlighting sentences in the book so I could show my husband later. This is something that should be normalized in books, and it allows for natural conversation about a topic some parents don't know how to address. 

Aliens Ate My Homework had a solid story with interesting characters. It didn't take us long to read this one, and I'm already looking for the other books in the series. Definitely one to look for! (★★★⋆☆)

8 comments:

  1. I got bogged down with family stuff and a big volunteer project I'm working on and had a HUGE backlog of reviews. It's so hard for me to write a bunch of old reviews but I finally finished. And I have two Jill Shalvis books on my pile and have not had time to read them!

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  2. I have read a ton of Shalvis books, and they never fail to delight me. I was hesitant about this one, because novellas, but it left me so happy. I also found the story really complete and satisfying, which doesn't normally happen for me with novellas. Glad you enjoyed it too.

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  3. I've heard so many good things about Ilona Andrews! And werelions sound fun. :) I need to find a good urban fantasy series like this that I can binge.

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  4. I love that you write posts like this! I don't read so many books so I can keep up, luckily. But I do write "Two Short Stories" where I review 2 short books, novellas or picture books ^^

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  5. Awww, Kate I miss you! She was the best heroine!

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  6. I've only read one Jill Shalvis book but I liked her writing style. I'll have to read more from her. I don't get backed up on reviews because I write them or at least take notes while I'm reading and finish up the review right after I'm done with the book. lol

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  7. "That seems pretty rude," I said nervously.
    "Not as rude as calling me a he or a she," it said.

    LOL! "It" does sound a bit weird, but I suppose no one used "they" yet at the time, so it can pass. Definitely a book ahead of its times!

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  8. I just love Ilona Andrews and everything they write so much! I will read and re-read these books over and over again. I somehow missed this Shalvis story and need to get my hands on a copy.

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless