February Wrap-Up

Ugh, February is only a few days shorter than the other months but it feels like it just sped by in two weeks, amiright?

So I’ll put what books I read, include the links to their Goodreads if you’re interested, that way that saves this post from being HUGE. Anything with () Means I don’t have a blog review/it isn’t up yet, but the rest do and you’re welcome to click on my reviews page to go scope them out!

I’ll also talk about my February book haul and my March aspirations, I’m finishing a book tonight so I’ll reserve the review for that until March 1!

What Did I Read This Month:

Stalking Jack the Ripper


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Boneseeker: Here Walk the Dead


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Hashtag Authentic


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Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire


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Eden Chip


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The Spitfire Girls


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The Hound of Death


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In Search of a Witch’s Soul


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Bloom: A Monster Love Novella


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Dead Man’s Blues


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The Parlor Girl’s Guide (To Hell, apparently)


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Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain


(Review to come in mid to late March)
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Infinite Dark Volume 1


(No Review, thriller comic, good, but not much to it)
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Seraphin


(Very whimsical children’s story/Children’s Picture Book, apparently someone else thought this had some Pedophile message…I didn’t really get that, but like they were just friends?? And also they never say that anyone is a kid?? Idk, maybe I’m misreading! It was just a man and his friend who built his house and a musical instrument and had tea together by the fire…..so…maybe I’m missing subtext, idk again. )
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Star Collector Volume 1


(Western Manga, love manga but this one was missing some depth to the characters)
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Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage


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Storm Front


(Review to come tomorrow!)
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February Book Haul

 

Favorite Read this Month?

A tie between La Belle Sauvage and Serving the Servant!

Also, The Priory of the Orange Tree showed up as I was belatedly writing this!

Highlights:

-I did my first Bookstagram Challenge! Posting my final picture after this! [#Februarylibrary19]
– I’ve hit nearly 150 followers on my blog!
– This is my 50th Post
– I’ve signed up for my first Blogtour(s) (Coming to you April-May)
– I found out I’ll be receiving my first physical review copy all thanks to Kal @ Reader Voracious spreading the word about an amazing book, Anna Undreaming!
– I got my first blog tag(s)! THANK YOU GUYS!
– I’ve started my spreadsheets and a new notebook to keep things tidier this week (you’ll notice Kal’s blog is linked right to those amazing spreadsheets as she is spreadsheet Queen)
– This month was a nice easy ride compared to next month!

Dead Man’s Blues


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First off! I was scared when I saw this book was longer than the first and I remembered the pacing issue I had with it at times.

Bottom line on pacing? I had nothing to worry about.

I also was a bit timid, wondering if this was going to be very formulaic in the end, and of course, there should be something consistent in mysteries/crime, but I pretty much had nothing to worry about. I would say this work was the perfecting of his first book in this quartet and I CANNOT wait to read the third one now.

I was on the edge of my seat the last 75 pages or so, and I was actually super mad and was going to give a piece of my mind over something that crushed my soul that happened in the book [no spoilers so you’ll have to read and guess what part it was] but he just did right by the readers and everything fell into place and instead of getting mad I was doing some odd jazz hands because I was too tired to let out a fangirl squeal.

Pros:
– Pacing is so much better, that the 475 pages did not feel sluggish or unnecessary
– We get to grow closer to Ida as readers, you really start rooting for her even more as the first novel was more like root for Michael (and Ida).
– Louis Armstrong returns though not as much, BUT, when he does appear it doesn’t feel like he was detracting from the story at all
– Al Capone is in this
– Cute scrappy Doggo
– Celestin has found his groove and this novel is better than Axeman’s Jazz not only in pacing but in the investigative bits, the first novel felt like maybe he was taking too long to set up, this time he hit the ground running and you weren’t waiting around for something to happen.
– The minor characters served a much greater purpose and tied in with the main characters brilliantly

Cons:
– If you don’t like the ‘gimmick’ of having Louis Armstrong or Al Capone in a book, you’ll hate this lol
– There’s less Michael and he seems to fade into the background a little
– It was intense at times
– He takes a few small liberties with history but he does correctly tell you the layout of events at the back of the book, which didn’t bother me, but could bother some (nothing crazily drastic mind you)
– He trips your heart out, stuffs it in a bag with some rocks and throws it over the Hoover Dam

I can’t really find too many faults with this one, I’ve given it five stars on GoodReads and added it to my favorites shelf, I thought he fixed every problem I had with The Axeman’s Jazz and I can’t wait until my library gets the third book of the City Blues Quartet; The Mobster’s Lament, coming out March 21 in the UK, it’s set in New York this time and we’ll be dealing with Castello and having Ida and Michael continue on as the two main protagonists. (The 3rd Skull in the featured image is the one that will be on the cover of The Mobster’s Lament)

In Search of a Witch’s Soul

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Human, private detective Anna Caill isn’t keen on the prohibition of magic enacted by the 18th Amendment, but she won’t deny it’s good for business. The coppers couldn’t care less about the witches’ problems, giving her any number of clients to choose from.

When mysterious witch Jesse Hunt saunters into her office, he and his case will test her limits. While a killer stalks the magical underworld, Anna is hired to find Jesse’s friend, the high priest of an ancient coven.

As her case unravels, Anna is forced to confront her addiction to a dark spell in this urban fantasy noir.

1920s, prohibition exists but not as we know it, it’s a prohibition on magic. Anna Caill a flapper girl and private eye who helps Witches (which are both men and women) who come to her with cases. Not to mention she goes against the 18th amendment to use the Living Memory spell whenever she can to help ease the pain she’s been in from losing a loved one.

Jesse Hunt comes in with what seems a pretty straight forward missing person’s case with a person not really missing, just run away, but why is she so drawn to Jesse Hunt? And is this case as straight forward as she thought?

[Trigger Warning: Character death(s), some steamy love scenes in general if that’s a thing that may be a no for you or a trigger]

Pros:
-Guys…GUYS. It’s prohibition era, NOIR urban fantasy! IT IS A MYSTERY WITH FANTASY [I am freaking out!]
-Quick, fast-paced read
-Such a great integration of magic into the 1920s setting
-1920s slang even used throughout the narration not just when characters talk
-Jesse Hunt is pretty cool
-Jack is very cool
-Small twist in the epilogue that I hope means we get to see more of Caill!!!
-Caill is an awesome flapper who solves freakin’ mysteries and helps out witches.

Cons:
-More erotic than I thought? Which isn’t necessarily a con but it really just goes wham bam and you’re peering around you wondering if anyone can see you blushing.
-1920s slang may seem trite to some instead of immersive
-Jesse Hunt may be eye-roll inducing for the first 60% bahaha
– You may find it too predictable [In Lieber’s defense I would imagine that she meant it to be predictable to us, it was supposed to be a surprise for Caill, not us lol]
-May have tropes you hate that I don’t want to give away too much and give out spoilers, but some usual romance tropes, a bit of a love triangle.

This isn’t my usual thing as far as reading something with steamy scenes but I loved it and just read it in like a handful of hours between two sittings last night and this morning. I think Lieber has a fantastic voice and I really hope there’s more to this! IF NOT I GOT SOME WORDS FOR HER!

[I received an eARC copy of this in exchange for my honest review via NetGalley, here is the GoodReads Link]

 

The Axeman’s Jazz

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I FINISHED

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Sorry. I have so much to read and I felt myself dragging with this because well…because I think I like to be difficult even to myself. First off, I enjoyed this, I did, but I did also try to be a bit more analytical in my reading so that I’m not always like ‘guys this was so good, go read it, kthxbye.’ So here we go, wish me luck, I’m super bad with critical thinking, it’s the 1/4 potato in me, I’m not sure how I’ve survived this long…okay, review:

I’ve rounded up on Goodreads to a 4, but really I give it 3.5/5. (holy crap nevermind it stays a 4 this is this man’s debut novel, crap, it has so much promise)

The book was highly entertaining and some of his descriptions were just delightful to read as someone who is an adopted Louisianian with experience in New Orleans.

Things I loved:
-The descriptions were so crisp and easily recalled images to my head of the bayous and swamps.
-The characters were DEFINITELY intriguing.
-I have a master’s in Musicology with a concentration in Jazz…how could I not love the fact that Louis freakin Armstrong was a character and not just that but an amateur sleuth as well!
-There were three completely separate investigations of this case and so you got the examine it from different angles and I couldn’t think of anything more awesome than that as a lover of crime and mystery.
-Did I mention how much I loved having a 1919 Noir era setting in New Orleans? People forget about it!
-The various twists and changing forms of this Elusive Axeman which turned out to be great for me, exactly what I like when I read this genre

-The epilogue was perfect, it gave me life, ugh, perfect entrance to book 2

Things I did not love:
-The pacing, sometimes it really did fit, sometimes I wanted to cry because I felt like not only was I not getting anywhere but neither were the characters
-Louis Armstrong is actually a point for and a point against this book, it almost breaks your suspension of disbelief. (But it didn’t for me which is why I loved it)
-Character growth could have been more, so many things happened to the characters and yet you found out so little about how it affected them on a deeper level
-It almost WASN’T a crime/mystery/thriller because of the slow pacing, I felt as if I were reading filler episodes.

-Though I loved the descriptions of the bayou, I felt that once you got out of the French Quarter the beautiful descriptions seemed to dwindle, but, still, that’s like me just nitpicking because of my ties to New Orleans (city where everyone asks you how far you are from it no matter where in Lousiana you live, amiright? Honestly, I lived four hours away, and when you try to tell people you live near Shreveport or Monroe they just stare at you blankly, sorry, rant over)

This was a lot of fun to read but I’m hoping the issues I had in pacing are fixed in Dead Man’s Blues which I already had checked out before this, not realizing they were part of a series, a quartet actually.

Overall: Ray Celestin is great, I can’t wait to read the next one and it was so great to be transported to New Orleans 1919, BRING ON CAPONE & CHICAGO 1928!!!!

Spoilers: (Highlight below to see them)
-What the hell about poor Riley, do we find out more?! WHAT WAS THIS RAY?!
-WHAT ABOUT LUCA?! (Also, I mean guessing from how that was left, what the hell did happen to our Axeman?)