Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. This week, the Top 5 Wednesdays topic is Books featuring paranormal creature of your choice.

Vampires are my favorite paranormal creatures. (The topic does mention fae but I just can’t think of them as paranormal creatures. They’re just fae.) It was very hard to pick out just five.

1, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
There are plenty of books and comics about Spike, Angel, Drusilla, and all the other great vampires in this show, so I just had to mention it.

2, Dracula by Bram Stoker
The great granddaddy of the genre still holds up.

3, Nightwalker by Jocelynne Drake
Mira is a 600-year old vampire and she has a natural talent the other vampires don’t have: she can control fire. The other vampires hate her so she’s a loner.

4, Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
Lestat and Louis, need I say more?

5, Blood Price by Tanya Huff
One of the first urban fantasy series which is still very good today.
And I just have to mention:

6, the Underworld movie
Selene’s great! And the movie has a great atmosphere. Too bad about the sequels…

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The first book in an action and adventure series.

Publication year: 2016
Format: ebook
Publisher: Turning Leaf Productions
Page count: 218 and the first chapter of the next book

Poppy McVie is a new US Fish and Wildlife Service Agent. In fact, she still has a little bit of training to do when she’s assigned to her first undercover job. Poppy is training with an old agent in Michigan. She’s relentlessly tracking down bear poachers when her boss calls her and she has to return to service headquarters. She’s nervous at first that she’s going to be fired, but to her amazement given her first undercover assignment. However, she’s less thrilled when she finds out that she’s been given the mission because of her gender. Agent Dalton’s backstory calls for a wife.

Dalton is in Costa Rica tracking down a local wildlife smuggler and seller. Two other male agents are there, as well, but one of them hasn’t reported in when he should have. Poppy’s boss gives her strict orders to obey Dalton and just play the rich wife. Poppy thinks that Dalton is going to be a middle-aged agent but much to her surprise and delight, he turns out to be hot ex-SEAL. However, Dalton isn’t thrilled to see her and just orders her to hang out at the beach and stay out of his way. But Poppy is very smart, dedicated, and ruthless when she has to be. So, she investigates on her own.

Poppy is passionate about catching and convicting animal abusers. Unfortunately, as a US agent, she has no jurisdiction in Costa Rica. But that doesn’t stop her. She investigates on her own and puts herself and Dalton in danger by doing so. In fact, she’s rather reckless and sometimes I wondered if she was too trusting. Also, she clearly doesn’t respect her superiors because she doesn’t obey their orders. Her poor judgement skills put her in danger a couple of time but she’s able to save herself with quick thinking.

Dalton is an ex-SEAL and somewhat a loner type. He doesn’t know Poppy and he doesn’t trust her. He has a mission which he’s focused on and Poppy is an unknown element. In other words, he doesn’t trust her training as a fellow agent. He also comes across as liking Poppy as an attractive woman but keeping her at an arm’s length.

There’s another very handsome man whom Poppy is interested in and whom she trusts rather quickly. There was some jealousy between him and Dalton which I thought was absurd. Similarly, near the end Poppy was jealous about Dalton which was also absurd. So, while most of the romance bits were ok, I didn’t really care for the whole jealousy aspect.

Overall, this was fun, well-paced book with lots of action. There’s also a grimmer theme under the fun story, about how animal poachers and smugglers would be out of business without their clients.

11th book in the wonderful October Daye urban fantasy series.

Publication year: 2017
Format: Audio
Running time: 11 and 36 minutes
Narrators: Mary Robinette Kowal

Toby is getting married and her “sister” (death omen) May has organized a bachelorette party for her. In a karaoke bar. At first, Toby is horrified but after the Sea Witch has sung a Disney song (from the Little Mermaid) Toby starts to relax and even enjoy herself. Unfortunately, that doesn’t last.

Amandine is one of the very powerful Firstborn Fae. She’s also of opinion that changelings, the half-fae offspring of humans and fae, aren’t worth the space they take. She’s also Toby’s mother who wanted very different things for her than what Toby herself chose. Amandine has never forgiven Toby for that.

Now, she comes to Toby’s home and demands that Toby finds August. August is Amandine’s eldest child and a full-blooded fae. However, August have been lost for over a century without any clue as to where she has gone. Toby has no interest in obeying her mother and so, Amandine takes hostages: two people who are very dear to Toby and May. Now, Toby has no choice. She has to find her sister whom she’s never met, indeed, whose very existence she didn’t even know about until very recently. And she’s must do so as soon as possible: Amandine is cruel.

First, Toby needs someone related to August. That means Amandine’s full-blooded fae husband who is also one of Toby’s most hated enemies.

This was another very satisfying read. We get to know more about Simon and even about the Sea Witch. One of my favorite troupes is enemies forced to work together and here McGuire uses it beautifully. McGuire even finds a way to separate Toby from most of her allies who are, by now, admittedly quite powerful. It’s also heart-wrenching, especially the end.

Amandine is very arrogant. It seems that she’s forgotten, or suppressed, her time with Toby’s mortal father. I can’t really understand how she could have lived with him because now she expects everything to be of high-fae standards. Maybe she’s just crueler than usual. She’s also very powerful. Maybe more than Toby can handle.

Many of the large cast make an appearance and all of my favorites have a large part to play.

Once again, I want to reread the whole series. Maybe next year…

Quotes:
“I’ve been informed that you’re continuing to play at being a detective,” Amandine sniffed. “It seems an odd thing to spend your time in since we both know that you have no native talents in the area. But if you will persist, it seems you’re able to do me a boon.”
I blinked. “What?”
“I wish to hire you.”

Yikes, time has gone by so quickly that I’m only now joining in R.I.P. XII:

Every September 1 through October 31 for the last 11 years Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings
has hosted the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge, affectionately known as the R.I.P. Challenge. Carl has been kind enough to entrust the event to us, Heather and Andi, from now on, and we hope to do him proud. We know all of you readers will!
The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:
Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.
The emphasis is never on the word challenge, instead it is about coming together as a community and embracing the autumnal mood, whether the weather is cooperative where you live or not.
There are two simple goals for the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII Challenge:
1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.
As we do each and every year, there are multiple levels of participation (Perils) that allow you to be a part of R.I.P. XII without adding the burden of another commitment to your already busy lives. There is even a one book only option for those who feel that this sort of reading is not their cup of tea (or who have many other commitments) but want to participate all the same.

Well, I’m really late this year so I’m participating only in
Peril the Second:
Read two books of any length that you believe fit within the challenge categories.

The books I’ve chose are
Seanan McGuire’s new Toby Daye book The Brightest Fell
Kate Carlisle’s Homicide in Harcover.

This year, the challenge is hosted by Andi and Heather at Estella’s Revenge.

I’m such a huge reader of series that it’s very appropriate that one is the 11th book in the series and the other is a first one. 🙂
Happy reading!

Read:
1, Seanan McGuire: The Brightest Fell
2,

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is books with favorite creepy setting.
My favorite creepy settings are mostly worlds with the undead:

1, Ravenloft
Yes, it’s an old D&D roleplaying setting but quite a few books have been set into it, too. In the game, the characters are whisked away into it without warning whenever the players want to play to horror and the characters can’t leave. It has a lot of various undead in it and horror scenarios.

2, the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
One of the few non-undead settings I find compellingly creepy. The Final Empire nation is ruled by the Lord Ruler’s iron hand, aided by the Steel Ministry. I find the Iron Inquisitors to be especially creepy.

3, I am Legend by Richard Matheson
The vampires have overrun the world and Neville in the last man on earth.

4, The Vampire Empire by Clay and Susan Griffiths
In this setting, vampires are a separate race from humans. They’ve risen up in the colder regions and rule there. Humans are just cattle to them.

5, the Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane
In this world, the ghosts of the dead people can attack living humans. The Church of Real Truth is the only organization which can do that.

The third book in the science fiction series.

Publication year: 2017
Format: ebook

In the previous book, Torchship Pilot, Mitchie, a spy and now a starship captain, used a secret to blackmail an entire nation, the Fusion, into the war against the AIs, called the Betrayers. It had to be done because otherwise the AIs would have wiped out humanity. However, the war is still far from over and Mitchie and her crew have been sent to the central Fusion world to gather more ships and troops needed in the war. Unfortunately, the secret has leaked out and is now leading into the destabilization of the Fusion worlds. Mitchie and her crew are caught in the middle. If they survive they still have the problem of getting the new, possibly unstable, government to send ships. Mitchie will use any weapon at her disposal to make sure she can complete her mission. Those weapons include sex and relationships.

Torchship Captain is a bit different from the previous books because most of the time Mitchie and her husband are engaged in national and international politics. In fact, when they are in danger, the situation can’t be solved with simple violence, but its far more complicated than that. Also, Mitchie has to do more very precise flying than any hand-to-hand combat.

The book has couple of explicit sex scenes but they are very much part of the plot and in character. Also, while Mitchie and her husband are happily married, they aren’t monogamous. Mitchie uses sex and relationships to manipulate the people around her. This makes her far more realistic spy than is usual in books and movies. She’s also willing to sacrifice anything to save her worlds, quite literally. I was surprised at first about some of her actions but they make sense given the situation and her dedication to her duty.

In the previous books, Mitchie was pretty much the only POV character but in this book there are several others, mainly her husband. Other secondary characters get their chance to shine, as well. Most notably, the young politician Guenivere Claret whom Mitchie manipulates pretty ruthlessly but who also is put into very tough situations, politically.

I enjoyed the whole story and this book tied up the most important loose threads together. There are clearly other stories to tell in this universe, though.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is books with witches.

1, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Well, the show isn’t a book but it has books and comics. Even comics which center on my very favorite witch: Willow Roseberg. So I couldn’t have a list like this without mentioning her.

2, Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
The main characters are witches: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Margrat Garlick. They’re the Coven of Lancre but now have to travel abroad. Pratchett has lots of books where the trio, and other witches, appear. I love them!

3, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
The White Witch brought eternal winter to Narnia, but without Christmas.

4, Ill Wind by Rachel Caine
Jo is a Weather Warden, in charge of keeping weather effects to a manageable size. However, when she’s accused of a murder she didn’t do, she has to run

5, Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The witches aren’t the main characters but they’re pretty impressive.