And Now For Something Completely Different (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, #9.7) by Jodi Taylor – Review

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About And Now For Something Completely Different by Jodi Taylor

Here’s a question for you. What’s the most exciting thing ever found in a fire bucket? And don’t say ‘fire’ because you’ll be wrong.

Suppose – just suppose – it was the technology to take a pod to Mars? Yeah, now we’re talking!

Every Christmas, for reasons which seem good at the time – especially after an eggnog or two – Max and the others leap into the nearest pod and indulge in their illegal Christmas jump. It’s a tradition. This year, however, just to be different, they find themselves part of someone else’s illegal Christmas jump. It’s time to don a spacesuit and bring your own urine!

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Review of And Now For Something Completely Different

I once wrote a blog post comparing The Chronicles of St. Mary’s to Doctor Who. At the time, a major difference between to two was that the Doctor can travel anywhere in space, while the St. Mary’s crew are confined to Earth.

No longer.

When Director Pinkerton, from a future St. Mary’s, invites Max and Peterson to join the group to witness the first manned Mars landing, all kinds of alarms go off. Seriously, they don’t, or at least, no St. Mary’s historians hear them. Of course, they forge full steam ahead in a specially outfitted pod designed to travel in space. The Mars landing is a very significant historical event. Or will be. Or will have been. Depends on what era you hail from.

The Time Police are not happy.

I have to say, having Director Pinkerton as the main voice was lovely.  She is as smart and charming and brave as Max and will make one heck of a Director.  Or makes one heck of a Director.  Or was a really great Director.

So many possible disasters, so many actual disasters.  So much hilarity! I can’t recommend reading or listening in a public place. Unless you don’t mind the stares that fix on you when you laugh out loud.

And Now for Something Completely Different is short (73 pages) or 1 hour and 54 minutes as expertly read by Zara Ramm. You can’t go wrong this 2 hour distraction.

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Forever Wolf (The Legend of All Wolves, #3) by Maria Vale – Review

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About Forever Wolf by Maria Vale

Born with one blue eye and one green, Eyulf was abandoned as an infant and has never understood why, or what he is…Varya is fiercely loyal to the Great North Pack, which took her in when she was a teenager. While out on patrol, Varya finds Eyulf wounded and starving and saves his life, at great risk to her own.

Legend says his eyes portend the end of the world…or perhaps, the beginning…

With old and new enemies threatening the Great North, Varya knows as soon as she sees his eyes that she must keep Eyulf hidden away from the superstitious wolves who would doom them both. Until the day they must fight to the death for the Pack’s survival, side by side and heart to heart…

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Review of Forever Wolf

From the beginning of the series, I have admired the unique take on the wolves that can wear skin. This is truly a unique world. After reading book three, I am now into the head of one of the bravest wolves of the Great North Pack. This is what the author does. With the first person perspective, Ms. Vale has told a story through a remarkable character and I am even more in love with this series.

And this story blew me away.

Forever Wolf is told from Varya’s view point. She is an introvert. She only speaks when necessary. The author such does an incredible job of getting the reader into the heroine’s head, that other characters often seem to have little importance. This is an introvert’s way of observing the details without engaging other people. Even Eyulf (the other half of the romantic couple in Forever Wolf) is in the background for most of the story. Until he isn’t.

At first, Varya appears cold and distant. Emotionless. Hard to relate to. But Varya has emotions. Sister, does she have them! They will be triggered by the arrival of Eyulf, and also by a pack crisis.

The story of the pack continues with the shifters bearing down. Causing trouble, not just for the pack as a whole, but within the pack. The pack must make a critical decision that could mean destruction or freedom. Silver (main character in book 1) becomes a speaker to keep the old ways. I love that from book 1 to to book 3, Silver has become so much more.

The decision the pack makes will have immediate consequences. Varya and other pack leaders do everything they can to insure pack survival. Because, ultimately, that is what the story of The Legend of All Wolves is about. Survival of pack.

The ending – climatic, explosive and emotional – had me in tears. Hence, my earlier ‘blew me away’ comment.

As much as I would like to tell you that it is possible to jump right into the series with Forever Wolf, I would recommend reading the first two books in The Legend of All Wolves to get the understanding of the Great North Pack and how they got to the position they are in. Besides, it truly is a great series.

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. On a totally different but related note, I was the very happy winner of a giveaway of a signed copy from Ms. Vale. Having a signed book is cool.  Reading the books is even better!

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The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets – Review

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About The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets

Marian Engström has found her true calling: working with rescue dogs to help protect endangered wildlife. Her first assignment takes her to northern Alberta, where she falls in love with her mentor, the daring and brilliant Tate. After they’re separated from each other on another assignment, Marian is shattered to learn of Tate’s tragic death. Worse still is the aftermath in which Marian discovers disturbing inconsistencies about Tate’s life, and begins to wonder if the man she loved could have been responsible for the unsolved murders of at least four women.

Hoping to clear Tate’s name, Marian reaches out to a retired forensic profiler who’s haunted by the open cases. But as Marian relives her relationship with Tate and circles ever closer to the truth, evil stalks her every move.…

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Review of The Last Woman in the Forest

My first review impressions of The Last Women in the Forest: Great story. Creepy. Hindsight. What do we overlook in the people we love?

Before I go on, there may or may not be spoilers in this review. This book is difficult to review without revealing a few things. Though I think the book blurb does automatically lead to you suspect Tate. And not far into the book, when Marion contacts Nick, the forensic profiler, you know that she suspects Tate. So, because of the way the story was laid out, there were no surprises. Any reader of suspense will anticipate many of the events up to and including the ending. At a certain point in the story (about one-half to two-thirds), I just want to be done to see if I was right. I was.

Before that point, I admired the detail presented from Marian’s viewpoint and from Nick Shepard’s viewpoint. Each had their own perspective. Marian as Tate’s former girlfriend, and Nick as a profiler who has studied the victims and perpetrator of the Stillwater murders for years. Marian loved Tate, but there was something about him that made her begin to doubt Tate. That prompted her to contact Nick. This makes my skin itch with suspicion. I think the author intended that way. Every time a suspicious Tate incident is described, the reader nods her head thinking, yep, bad guy. Even though Marian does not realize it. She loves him and is therefore prone to believe his excuses and even to make excuses for him. Her co-worker, Jenness, repeatedly warned Marian to be careful, but Marian ignored her.

It is Nick’s descriptions of the perpetrator that drive home the creepy tendencies of this serial murderer. Manipulative with a capital ‘M’. That is what I take from this. And that is exactly what Tate was – manipulative.

I give The Last Woman in the Forest 4 stars, losing one star for predictability. I anticipated the last two victims way too early. Maybe I was supposed to. I’m not sure. I prefer not to know how it will end. The discovery of the bad guy is irrelevant, as long as he is discovered. Everything up to that point is better if it is a surprise.

The review quote on the cover from Fiona Barton said “Beautifully paced and twisty.” Yes, to beautifully paced and yes to twisty. But not twisty as in unexpected turns in the plot. Twisty because serial killers are twisted.

I won an advance copy of this book in a contest. Thanks to Berkley Publishing for that contest.

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