Tag Archives: Strong Women

Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh

Overview

Title: Archangel’s Storm
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: AngelsParanormal romance, Strong women, Vampires
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 2012

Thoughts

From the first moment, I completely adored Mahiya. There is something kind of vulnerable about her. But underneath that vulnerability is a core of steel. I also love that although she fits into the world, she’s nothing like the other women hunters in this series that tend to act as the primary protagonist. And since I’ve been feeling a little soft and squishy lately… she made me incredibly happy and content.

There are many hints about Jason’s past in the previous Guild Hunter books. Finding out the actual details were far more excruciating than I had anticipated. But also incredibly rewarding. I love that he has a dark complex past, but is nowhere near as twisted and jaded as one would expect. It also gives him a level of understanding towards Mahiya that otherwise wouldn’t have worked.

The different cultures and worlds that the archangel courts create are part of the reason I love Singh’s writing. Actually, her world building is one of my favourite things about her writing. I enjoyed how she constructed Neha’s court. It is so different to the other two courts I’ve been intimately familiar with, and although I don’t necessarily want to go back there (that bitch is crazy), it was certainly a fun journey.

Yet again, Singh not only creates a wonderful romance filled with action that I just couldn’t put down. She also filled a story with a reality and dramas that I just didn’t expect. The Guild Hunter world and its battles are definitely gaining traction, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much further down this war hole the series will go.

<- Archangel’s BladeArchangel’s Legion ->

Image source: eBooks

Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh

Overview

Title: Archangel’s Blade
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #4
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: AngelsParanormal romance, Strong womenVampires
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 2011

Thoughts

Although I have thoroughly enjoyed Elena and Raphael throughout the first three Guild Hunter books, it was nice to read one with a different lead. Focusing on another couple was definitely a good diversion. Although it still continued the main feelings of conspiracy and plots that have underlined every book thus far in this series. I mean, no matter where you turn… There’s a conspiracy.

Dmitri is all sex. He has been since his first appearance in this series. But, the more I got to find out about this amazing man, the more I fell in love with him. The capacity and loyalty that he has makes the heart skip multiple beats. Plus, he is just so… good dream inducing. Which may be why Singh is one of my favourite authors… she makes very dream worthy characters leap off the page.

Honor is peripherally in other stories within this series. And I knew that reading some of her journey was going to be a little painful. Yet, it wasn’t as horrifying as I expected. I mean, the whole aspect of her horrors and tragedies only come to light as she deals with them. So they’re viewed through a lens that is somewhat less painful to read. But dark enough that you feel pride with every milestone she beats.

It’s been a few months since I dug into a Guild Hunter novel. And as always when I pick up a Nalini Singh novel, I wonder why its taken me so long to pick up another one. Maybe because I find it hard to focus on anything else and be a productive member of society… there is just something so… wow about her work.

<- Angel’s WolfArchangel’s Storm ->

Image source: Amazon

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Overview
Tower of Dawn : Sarah J. Maas : 9781408887974

Title: Tower of Dawn
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #6
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Romance, Strong women
Dates read: 2nd – 17th October 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: She straightened.

Synopsis

A GLORIOUS EMPIRE
A DESPERATE QUEST
AN ANCIENT SECRET

Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq have arrived in the shining city of Antica to forge an alliance with the Khagan of the Southern Continent, whose vast armies are Erilea’s last hope. But they ahve also come to Antica for another purpose: to seek healing at the legendary Torre Cesme for the wounds that Chaol received in Rifthold.

After enduring unspeakable horrors as a child, Yrene Towers has no desire to help a young lord from Adarlan, let alone heal him. Yet she has sworn an oath to assist those in need – and will honour it. But Lord Westfall carries darkness from his own past, and Yrene soon comes to realise it could engulf them both.

And deep in the shadows of distant mountains, where warriors soar on might ruks, long-awaited answers slumber. Answers that might offer their world a chance at survival – or doom them all.

Thoughts

I did struggle with this book more than I had expected to. I’ve been putting off the last 2 books of the series. Partly because I know that it will destroy my heart (seems to be a talent of Maas). But, more so, because I just don’t want this series to be over! Sure, I can reread it… but it just won’t be the same. Having said that, I didn’t fall head first into this book like I have the others.

I think that the thing that takes me a while with this story is that Chaol spends the first part just being incredibly whiney. I get that he’s been dealt a hard hand, but my lordy, he’s just a bit too bitter and painful. For those who feel the same… Read on! Once I got to the second part, I started to fall head first into the storyline as expected.

Of all the characters in this, it was Yrene that I loved the most. The fact that she has an intertwined past (like many of the other characters) just makes her all that much better. I love how much of this story involves her fight to get over her horrible past and move forwards with her life. Her story, when Chaol’s was a bit painful made this book still a 5 star I my view.

Whilst I had a few moments of discomfort and “huh” throughout this, ultimately I loved this book. After the first 200 pages, the character development is so wonderful and intense that I couldn’t put it down. And, much of the whiney that was irritating made so much more sense.

<- Empire of StormsKingdom of Ash ->

Image source: Book Depository

Hopcross Jilly by Patricia Briggs

Overview
Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly : Briggs, Patricia, Hoskin,  Rik, Garcia, Tom: Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: Hopcross Jilly
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercedes Thompson #7.5, Mercy-Verse #23
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Graphic novels, Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Werewolves
Dates read: 30th September 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Graphic novel
Publisher: Dynamite
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: No cops ever come out this way!

Synopsis

Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifting coyote and honorary member of the Tri-Cities werewolf pack. When the pack stumbles upon the buried bones of numerous dead children, she shapeshifts into a mystery of the legendary fae – a mystery that draws Mercy’s stepdaughter Jesse into the fray! The supernatural romance series Mercy Thompson continues in this all-new, original story by New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs, exclusively created for the comic book medium!

Thoughts

I’ve been hanging to get to this graphic novel since I bought it. But, since I was trying to do a full Mercyverse reread in order, I kept refraining. Well, I finally got up to it in my reread list. And wow. It was worth the wait. Not only is the storyline amazing, the graphics beautiful, and the pace fast. But this also features Jesse in a much stronger manner.

Jesse is slowly showing up more and more in the Mercedes Thompson books – I mean, it makes sense, since they’ve become a family unit. But there isn’t much that strongly features her by herself. Although this story isn’t just about Jesse, she is smack bang in the middle of the drama. And it just reminds me why I love her and want to see her more in the Mercedes Thompson books.

I love that this storyline shows Jesse in her difficulties at school. I mean, school is tough and kids are cruel. But more than that it shows how tough and honest she is in her ability to rise above all of the crap that is thrown at her.

This is a story that features the next fae that goes bump in the night. The next step in the escalating paranormal war that is sure to be filling the next few Mercyverse books. It highlights the difficulties that the pack face, but more than that it shows how being good can assist in overcoming the evil in the world. Or at least, that’s how I felt about Jesse and those around her.

<- RedemptionNight Broken ->

Image source: Amazon

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Overview
Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Title: Dead Heat
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega #4, Mercy-Verse #22
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Werewolves
Dates read: 19th – 30th September 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: Unable to resist, she lent her song to his.

Synopsis

Transporting readers into the realm of mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham, Patricia Briggs’s Alpha and Omega novels have been praised for being “the perfect blend of action, romance, suspense, and paranormal.” Now a pleasure trip drops the couple into the middle of some bad supernatural business…

For once, werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal. Or at least their visit starts out that way…

Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The fae have started a cold war with humanity that’s about to heat up – and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire.

Thoughts

This is one of those series that I always wonder if it’s actually not quite as good as I remember. It is WAY better. Each and every time. I mean, the hype in my mind is nowhere near equivalent to the hype and the amazingness of reading one of these books. And, I’m finally at that point in my reread when I’m up to the books that I haven’t actually read yet. Which of course meant that even though I read the prologue and then put this aside, I ended up reading pretty much the whole book cover to cover in one night. It is THAT amazing.

Charles is a beautiful enigma – and I like that this book explores some more of his past. Particularly the fact that it brings forwards some of his past friendships and relationships. Ones that are rare and far between. Friendships are so important, and it always breaks my heart that Charles really doesn’t have any in the Mercyverse. There were moments of tragedy throughout that did pluck at your heartstrings (which is always good in a book), but it was also really sweet and endearing to see the past and some joy in Charles’ life.

It was incredibly interesting that this story starts with Anna trying to figure out why Charles is resistant to the idea of children. I happen to be pregnant while reading this, and they’re discussions that are somewhat familiar. I love that throughout all of the mayhem and magic in this story, Anna slowly starts to untangle his resistance and his feelings. Feelings that even Charles doesn’t know that he has. It’s such a familiar discussion and wonder. Such a familiar untangling of emotions that I was driven by this alongside the actual action to find out the resolution.

The stories I’ve always loved of the fae are those which feature the… less kindly… of the fae. I’ve never really enjoyed tales which try and portray them as benevolent. That’s never really happened in the Mercyverse, but it’s now been taken one step further – with the purposeful release of all the not-so-kindly things that go bump in the night. It perfectly describes and portrays the fae in the ways that I think of them. And, more than that, it is perfectly setting up the next looming war on the horizon.

<- Unappreciated GiftsBurn Bright ->

Image source: Goodreads

Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews

Overview
Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy, #5) by Ilona Andrews

Title: Emerald Blaze
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Catalina Baylor Trilogy #2, Hidden Legacy #5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Paranormal romance, Romantic suspense, Strong women
Dates read: 23rd – 29th August 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: Sink some magic into it.

Synopsis

Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, continues her spellbinding series set in the Hidden Legacy world where magic controls everything… except the hearts of those who wield it.

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers – powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart.

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won’t rest until she stops to use of the illicit, power-granting serum that’s tearing their world apart.

Thoughts

Ilona Andrews is one of those authors that I pick up strategically… because I can never seem to put her books down. And I generally get a really bad book hangover once I’ve finished it. Emerald Blaze was no different. It was wonderful and impossible to put down. It was amazing and now I’m honestly a little bit pissed off that I have to wait until the next Catalina Baylor book to come out…

The more I find out about Catalina’s power and her own personal battles, the more I fall in love with her. Like all of Andrews’ heroines, she is intrinsically flawed. But, for Catalina, the biggest challenge she often faces is that she’s an introvert thrust into an extroverted position. The fact that she also has to battle her big, bad, evil grandmother… yeah, I can’t wait to see how that unfolds in the final book in this trilogy. She goes from strength to strength, but at what cost? It’s a beautiful question that you’re constantly wondering, even as you hope that the battle that Catalina and Alessandro face turns out… good in the end.

The ending of Sapphire Flames leaves a perfect cliff hanger in the feeling of who and what Alessandro actually is. Alessandro’s backstory, a bit like Catalina’s, is bought to life even more throughout the pages of this book. I actually wanted to reach through the pages of the book and hug him. It helped to strip back the arrogance that is so prominent in the other books, and, although you were always gunning for a happily ever after… this book makes you want it all that much more. I can’t wait until they get their sail off into the sunset ending (like Nevada and Rogan did), but as previously mentioned… now I have to wait (can you tell that I’m finding that quite disappointing?).

This is the most amazing of stories. I think I sat there staring at the wall for about 2 hours before I was capable of conversing too much or reading anything else. You know that the book is damn good when you are just… paralysed with the enjoyment of what you’ve read. When you can’t quite seem to get the adventures of the pages out of your head.

<- Sapphire FlamesRuby Fever ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin

Overview
The Grendel Affair (SPI Files, #1) by Lisa Shearin

Title: The Grendel Affair
Author: Lisa Shearin
Series: SPI Files #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 18th – 21st August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: Because I’d failed.

Synopsis

We’re supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn’t exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us…

When I moved to New York to become a world-famous jounralist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures, and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out.

Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel – yes, that Grendel – shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him – and the organization behind him – by midnight, our secret’s out ad everyone’s time is up.

Thoughts

I read the novella Lucky Charms a very long time ago. By the time I got this book, I’d honestly forgotten how much I liked the story and idea of Mac the seer and special agent. It didn’t take me many pages to regain that sense of happiness and intrigue inspired by my first taste of Lisa Shearin.

I always love stories that just drop you straight into the drama. The Grendel Affair does this – it starts with Mac hunting a gnome creature with booze. So yeah, it also started with a good, fun dose of humour. Nothing like some sass and off kilter hunting humour to start a novel and truly pull you in.

As the story unfolds, you can feel the partnership between Mac and Ian strengthen. It was really nice starting the tale with Mac being seriously insecure and a little uncomfortable around her partner. Then slowly building that trust between them. It makes me ridiculously keen to dig into the next book in this series so I can see how their relationship and partnership continues to grow.

I’ll admit, I’ve never read Beowulf (it’s on my very long list). But I immediately recognised the name Grendel. And I knew that it was Scandinavian. The way that Shearin uses this mythos and literature is incredibly fun and a perfect blending of lore and contemporary reality. I seriously loved this mix and can’t wait to see what happens next (although I might miss the mad Scandinavian Rolf in The Dragon Conspiracy).

<- Lucky CharmsThe Dragon Conspiracy ->

Image source: Goodreads

This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

Overview
This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps | 9780751575231 | Booktopia

Title: This Will Only Hurt a Little
Author: Busy Philipps
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Memoirs, Mental health, Strong women
Dates read: 2nd – 11th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: sphere
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: I promised I would call him as much as I could and write him every single day, and he promised to do the same.

Synopsis

Busy Philipps has always been headstrong, defiant and determined not to miss out on all the fun. These qualities led her to leave Scottsdale, Arizona, at the age of nineteen to pursue her passion for acting in Hollywood. But, much like her painfully funny teenage years, chasing her dreams wasn’t always easy.

In this stunningly candid memoir, Busy opens up about chafing against a sexist system rife with on-set bullying and body shaming, being there when friends face shattering loss, enduring devastating betrayals and struggling with the challenges of motherhood.

But Busy also brings to the page her sly sense of humour and the unshakable sense that disappointment shouldn’t stand in her way. The rough patches in her life are tempered by hilarity and joy: leveraging a flawless impersonation of Cher from Clueless into her first paid acting gig, helping reinvent a genre with cult classic Freaks and Geeks, becoming fast friends with Dawson’s Creek castmate Michelle Williams, conquering natural child breath with the help of a II Mad Man II -themed hallucination and more.

Busy is the rare entertainer whose impressive arsenal of talents as an actress is equally matched by her storytelling ability and sharp observations about life, love and motherhood.

Thoughts

I was expecting this to be kind of funny and very, very light-hearted. That is not the case. The story that Busy tells you about her life is kind of confronting and definitely heartbreaking in moments. But it is told with a sense of lightness that makes you feel… less uncomfortable.

I’ve not had much exposure to Busy Philipps beyond Cougar Town. Or at least, I didn’t think that I had. Turns out that she’s been involved in a few things I like, and now I need to go back and watch them. Particularly now that I know her story behind the moments in her acting career that I recognise. That even though I love her acting on screen, there is a whole story behind every moment that I was previously unaware of.

I can’t believe the amount of strength that would be required to deal with some of the crap that Busy has been through. I mean, I recognise some of it in my own life (I mean, we’re both women and there are just some horrors…). But I also don’t work in a field that is so damn focused on how we look and is just, frankly… toxic.

One of the things that really stuck out with me from this book was that Busy Philipps has consistently fought mental health. For her entire life. The different ways she’s tried to deal with it are intriguing and make for a very interesting memoir. It also drives home the fact that regardless of how bright and cheerful someone may appear on screen… there is a lot more going on behind the scenes. All in all, I could not put this novel down. It was brilliant and poignant. Nothing like what I expected and one of those impossible to forget kind of stories. I would definitely read this one again and again.

<- Rosa Parks: My StoryFollow the Rabbit-Proof Fence ->

Image source: Booktopia

Angel’s Flight by Nalini Singh

Overview
Angels' Flight

Title: Angel’s Flight
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter Companion
In: Angel’s Flight (Nalini Singh)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: AngelsParanormal romance, Short story collections, Strong women, Vampires
Dates read: 26th March 2018 – 16th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Collection
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: We need to sort this out fast.

Synopsis

In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court.

In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all…

Plus FIRST TIME IN PRINT

In Angels’ Pawn a vampire hunter faces off against two rival factions and the angel manipulating them both, and a vampire whose help is not entirely selfless…

And NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED

In Angels’ Dance an angel trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge finds herself under siege by a warrior angel from a martial court.

Thoughts

I absolutely adored this collection. It took me forever and a day to get through because I wanted to read each of the novellas in the order that they take place in the Guild Hunter series. And, honestly, since I’m a bit of a series slut, I kept picking up other series in between books. Trying to work on that habit this year…

This is definitely a collection that I’ll pick up again and again to fill my happy place in reading. It is fun and wonderful and filled with very fun romances that will make you want to pick up more and more of Singh’s books. Or at least, that’s how it all feels for me.

Many of the cute couples in this story may have a happily ever after, but the part that I love the most about their connections… it’s all about acceptance. Every relationship in this collection is about accepting one another and finding a way to create their own future. It makes the romances feel far more realistic in this story…

I love that I finally got to finish this collection! But I was also kind of sad. After all, it’s a bit of a pity that it’s all over. Now I’ll just have to dive headfirst into Archangel’s Blade

<- Archangel’s SunMore Nalini Singh ->

Image source: Goodreads

Angel’s Wolf by Nalini Singh

Overview
Angels' Flight

Title: Angel’s Wolf
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #3.5
In: Angel’s Flight (Nalini Singh) & Angels of Darkness (Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook & Sharon Shinn)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Angels, Paranormal romance, Strong women, Vampires
Dates read: 16th April 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: “Thanks, but it won’t be needed.”

Synopsis

In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court.

Thoughts

The vampire that was tortured in Archangel’s Kiss had a pretty hard run of things. And he is briefly mentioned in Archangel’s Consort. So I love that there is a novella that is just about him finding a happily ever after. It helps to tie up a few loose ends and brings a whole new angels court to the forefront.

Both Noel’s assignment and Nimra’s court and terrifying-ness are mentioned in Archangel’s Consort and it completely intrigued me and pulled me in. What a fantastic way for me to finish out the Angels’ Flight collection (it may not be the final novella in the book, but it was the final one that I read).

Noel and Nimra gave me that warming of the cockleshell heart feeling. Something about their ability to love one another warmed me up and made me smile. The fact that it’s alongside the race to find out who is trying to kill Nimra… well, that just made me happier and happier.

I may not be a cat person, but there is a total love of cats and pets in this story. They are incredibly important, and the love of pets is something I can completely understand. This whole story made me want to pick up my puppy and give them a huge hug.

<- Archangel’s ConsortArchangel’s Blade ->

Image source: Goodreads