Tag Archives: Review

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 13 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Vol 13    

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 2, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/202 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

The exwires have been sent to rescue Izumo Kamiki from the Illuminati. Unknown to them, the Illuminati also hold Izumo’s mother, Tamamo, using her as a vessel for the Nine Tails. They intend to substitute Izumo for the dying Tamamo.

A symphathetic member of the Illuminati tries to help Izumo escape their clutches, but is caught by Michael Gedoin, one of the researchers. He orders Izumo to be taken back to the lab. A distraught Izumo realizes she can rely on no one – especially the traitorous Shima.

The exwires head to Dream Town Inari, where they figure out that those people who eat the local food fall under the sway of the Illuminati. Lucky for them, they’ve already been fed the antidote, thanks to Shiemi! Yukio calls for back-up from Mephisto, but as usual, it isn’t forthcoming. Finding what they believe to be the secret entrance to the laboratory, the exwires force their way in only to be met by an unexpected foe – zombies! The situation goes from bad to worse as they find themselves separated from one another.

In this volume of Blue Exorcist, the exwires work together in order to rescue their friend, whether she admits to needing their help or not. The villains have a field day as they press on with their terrible agenda. Also in this volume we get our first look at Lucifer – the beautiful man behind the odd mask – and we gain some understanding of why he inspired the devotion he does among his followers. On the other hand, Professor Gedoin is his antithesis – he is utterly obnoxious and repellent, but very devoted to Lucifer. Rin and his friends are growing and maturing as they continue to work together. Things are certainly heating up, looking forward to the next volume!

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Alpha Unit One, New York by Chris T. Kat

Alpha Unit One, New York      

Author: Chris T. Kat

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

American release date: July 27, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: eBook/m/m/paranormal/181 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

In a world in which humans and shifters have learned to live together in comparative harmony, there are still some shifters who find themselves subjected to an assortment of restrictions. Namely,  small shifters and baby shifters. Small shifters are looked down upon as unequal to their larger counterparts.  Baby shifters are those who, unlike the majority of shifters, become the immature version of their animals, even though as humans they are adults. Baby shifters are forced to endure having their spouses as their legal guardians, and they are forbidden from doing anything too difficult or too dangerous. Such —as police work.

Nicholas Reed has just joined a combo human/shifter unit in New York City known as Alpha Unit One, which specializes in drug crimes. However Nick has a secret – he isn’t the human he pretends to be, he’s a shifter. Not just any shifter, but a baby shifter, becoming a snow leopard cub in his animal form. To keep his secret, he douses himself with cologne to cover the faint trace of shifter he bears. He doesn’t feel as though he is any less than any of his team members. As far as he is concerned, he’s doing what he has to do.

Sam Black is the head of Alpha Unit One, and a lion shifter. Burned by a previous relationship by a guy who pretended to love him but only wanted to use him, he is leery of new entanglements, and of humans posing as shifters. Complications arise when he finds himself attracted to the new hire, Nick. The attraction is mutual and strong. Nicky is fearful of his secret coming out, but he can’t withstand the pull of his mate. Can he trust Sam with his secret, and trust that Sam will allow him to continue to do the job that he loves? Or is he putting his future as a cop in jeopardy?

Alpha Unit One is hopefully the first in a new series by Chris T. Kat. I am a huge fan of Ms. Kat’s books, and love to read them. She especially excels in m/m romances, and one of her specialties is dealing with shifter stories. This book is no exception to that rule. It’s obvious to me that she understand humans and animals, and I love the way she draws her characters, especially the wise-cracking seme (bottom or catcher) who engages in witty repartee with the more mature, solid seme (top or pitcher).  With this book, she is delving into territory I’ve not seen before. Namely having shifters who become the baby form of their animals. It’s an original idea and very imaginative.

Besides Sam and Nick, the unit is populated with some very memorable characters. One of my favorites is Roland, a wolf shifter who is still suffering from the death of his wife, and Annie, the feisty tough shifter who is married to a human, Jake, whom she madly loves.

Ms. Kat does characters very well, and brings them to life as being imperfect and human. The story is about a group of cops, and it does delve into their work, but mostly it is about the cops themselves. The police procedural part of the story is interesting, and will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering how they are going to make it out alive sometimes.

As far as the heat goes, there is a lot of it, and a lot of love and romance. If graphic romance is not your thing, I would suggest a pass on this book. But if you like hot guys who love each other and appreciate each other’s bodies, if you like to read about shifters and especially shifters who are different, and if you enjoy a feel-good romance, then this might just be the book for you. I know there is a second book in this series, and I eagerly await its publication.

Book Review: Missouri’s Forgotten Heroes by Ross Malone

Missouri’s Forgotten Heroes    

Author: Ross Malone

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

American release date: June 28, 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/non-fiction/236 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

There are many books about the famous people in history, the heroes whose lives we study in school, the people we grow up knowing about, famed in song and story. But there are many more unsung heroes we never get a chance to appreciate. This book is about some of those people. And they are all from Missouri, which is a definite plus to me, as I am a native of the state myself.

Missouri’s Forgotten Heroes has many interesting stories to tell. Some of the names may be familiar to residents of Missouri as place names, but the people behind the names are greatly unknown. For example, Albert Lambert (Lambert Airport), John O’Fallon (O’Fallon, Missouri & Illinois), John Mullanphy (various places in Florissant, MO) and Paul Henning (of Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction fame).

There are stories about athletes and stories about pioneers, people who endured great hardships and persevered despite the odds against them. These people are not perfect, many of them have flaws, and they are all human. But that doesn’t matter. In some way, they were all heroes.

This was an interesting book from start to finish. I enjoyed reading about unsung heroes from my own state. I love history, and love to read about it, and this book is a great addition to my library. As a bonus, I received an autographed copy, how great is that? This is my first time reading Ross Malone, but it won’t be my last time. He has a wonderful way of telling a story that makes you feel as if you are there, listening to him. I would love to attend a class taught by him, or a lecture.

The only criticism I can make is that the book would have benefited with a little more editing, but that is not an authorial flaw, and I won’t ding him on that. I’ve seen so-called professional books with similar problems.

If you like history, if you are from Missouri, or if you just like to root for the underdog, this book is for you.

 

 

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 4 by Kazue Kato

Blue Exorcist, Book 4              

Author: Kazue Kato

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 4, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 Summer camp isn’t exactly idyllic for the ex-wires, who’ve been sent on a strange mission involving a lantern. Through trial and error, they discover that the only way to accomplish their mission is to actually work together, despite their first impressions that they needed to work alone. Shura is convinced that Rin will expose himself to the others (no, not like that lol) and when she sees the blue flame, she is convinced she was right. But appearances can be deceiving, especially at night. Matters are complicated by the unexpected arrival of Mephisto Pheles and Amaimon, unbeknownst to the others.

The lantern in question turns out to be more than the ex-wires anticipated, and getting it back to camp will be no easy task. They’ll have to utilize everyone’s unique skills to get the job done. In other words, it takes team work to make the dream work!  At least until Amaimon throws a wrench into the works!

Back at the academy, they are met by someone new – Arthur Auguste Angel, a senior exorcist first class from Vatican Headquarters. He has nothing but criticism for both Mephisto and Shura for having failed to carry out their mission properly, as evidenced by Rin’s presence among them. Will Rin suffer the ultimate punishment for being his father’s son?

And then an emergency summons takes the gang… to Kyoto?

I’m enjoying this series more and more. We are learning more about the characters as they interact with one another, and some backstories are starting to be told. There’s never a dull moment, especially when Mephisto is around. Although he is mostly cool and contained, the same cannot be said for his brother Amaimon, who is a hot mess, and that is being kind. I love the artwork. My only real complain is the need to constantly expose more of Shura’s chest than I’d care to see, but I guess we can chalk that up to fanservice, and the fact that this series is probably aimed at young teenage boys.

The action is moving right along, and I can’t help but wonder where it’s going. I’m glad I’m along for the ride. Another great volume, looking forward to more of the same.

 

Review: Tall, Dark, and Deported by Bru Baker

Tall, Dark, and Deported                                                                                                                        

Author: Bru Baker

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

American release date: April 1, 2017

Format/Genre/Length: E-book/M/M Contemporary Romance/236 pages

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Forced by his boss to fly to Vancouver to audit an underachieving hotel, Crawford Hargrave is less than thrilled. Not because he doesn’t want to go there, but because he’s being forced to work with his unpleasant ex-husband, Davis. His boss makes it clear that this trip is expected, if he wants to keep his job. Crawford wants to keep his job, so he acquiesces to his demands, albeit unwillingly.

Mateus is a Portuguese import, who’s helping his brother and his wife take care of their orchard in Washington state.  His visa is about to run out, and if he can get a work visa, he can stay, but the orchard won’t be financially solvent for a few months yet. All he needs is to cross over into Canada, get his passport stamps, thereby automatically re-upping his American visa for another three months, giving him the time he needs to get the work visa.

What can possibly go wrong?

Except maybe everything?

Crawford and Mateus meet at the airport, and there’s an instant attraction, so why not spend some time talking? The situation begins to unravel when their flight is canceled, and Mateus realizes he’s on borrowed time in his need to get across the border before his visa expires. He can’t afford the delay. Crawford offers to rent a car so they can drive together. Sounds good, right? Except complications set in a t the border, and when Mateus is threatened with imminent deportation, Crawford unexpectedly speaks up and says hey, that’s my fiancé.

What’s easier than getting married for a green card, just long enough to look good and go their separate ways? But life is never that easy, and the two men haven’t figured that anyone will want to follow up with them to make sure their marriage isn’t a sham. As if that isn’t bad enough, there’s the matter of Crawford’s bitchy ex he has to deal with. That and maybe falling in love with a total stranger?

What’s a man to do?

Tall, Dark and Deported is part of Dreamspinner’s Dreamspun Desires line, which are guaranteed to be hot, romantic, and come with a happily ever after ending.

This book is no slouch in any of those departments. The main characters are sexy, and yet extremely likeable, as well as hot. While it was frustrating as hell to watch them dance around each other, denying and refusing to act on their attractions, it was also damn hot. The writing is good, the story is very pleasing, and the only regret I have is that I didn’t get to see their marriage actually consummated.

I highly recommend this, but only if you like hot sexy men and combustibility and seeing little assholes get their comeuppance!