1. Blood Magick (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy #3), by Nora Roberts. County Mayo is rich in the traditions of Ireland, legends that Branna O’Dwyer fully embraces in her life and in her work as the proprietor of The Dark Witch shop, which carries soaps, lotions, and candles for tourists, made with Branna’s special touch. Branna’s strength and selflessness hold together a close circle of friends and family—along with their horses and hawks and her beloved hound. But there’s a single missing link in the chain of her life: love…
The Bug Says: Well that description doesn't come close to talking about what this trilogy is about - three witches who are slaying ancient evil. In general I enjoy Nora's witchy stuff. She has a number of magical trilogies. This one was just ok. I liked the first book in the series best, and this one least. I gave it 3 stars.
2. The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service, by Beth Kendrick. Lara Madigan has a gift. She can help you find your soulmate—your canine soulmate, that is. As a dog trainer with a soft spot for strays, she’s found perfect homes for sulky Shih Tzus, broken-down Border collies, and diabolical Dalmatians. But while she’ll always make room for one more rescue mutt, she’s not sure she’s ready to commit to another human being. Especially after her live-in boyfriend drops the bomb: He’s not a dog person.
The Bug Says: As far as I can recall, I got the idea of reading this book from my book a day calendar. I thought that maybe since they recommended it, it would have a little more substance than that description might lead you to believe it has. Um, no. Don't get me wrong - it's a fun romp, & I enjoyed the twist at the end, but it's exactly the kind of book it sounds like, with the addition of a LOT of dogs. I gave it 3 stars.
3. Deadly Housewives, edited by Christine Matthews. Wisteria Lane has nothing on the grandes dames of mystery. . . .In the expert hands of fourteen unsurpassed storytellers, being a housewife takes on a whole new meaning. Get ready for a lethal mix of meddling mothers-in-law, creepy neighbors, cheating husbands, fickle female friends, careers left behind, out-of-control kids, steamy sex, and much, much more in this thrilling collection of never-before-published stories! Go behind the lace curtains and PTA smiles to explore the often mind-numbing reality of being a housewife. You'll laugh, you'll scream, you'll recognize yourself or your best friend in each of these deadly situations.
Join Nevada Barr, Barbara Collins, Carole Nelson Douglas, Eileen Dreyer, Vicki Hendricks, Suzann Ledbetter, Elizabeth Massie, Christine Matthews, Denise Mina, Marcia Muller, Sara Paretsky, Nancy Pickard, S. J. Rozan, and Julie Smith on a riotous ride through the dark but often hilarious corners of the housewife psyche. In Deadly Housewives, the murders and mysteries on Wisteria Lane will look like an elementary-school bake sale compared to the thrills and suspense that these masters cook up!
The Bug Says: Oh man I really wanted to enjoy this, but after a couple of stories I just gave up. I don't know if it was the uneven writing or the succession of women who weren't very nice, but it just turned me off. I didn't even like the Nevada Barr story and I love Nevada Barr. Sigh. I gave it 2 stars.
4. Cold Days (The Dresden Files #14), by Jim Butcher. HARRY DRESDEN LIVES!!! After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad. Because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard.
He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long. And now, her word is his command, no matter what she wants him to do, no matter where she wants him to go, and no matter who she wants him to kill...
The Bug Says: Woo hoo! After the not fabulous Ghost Story, this Harry Dresden was a relief. I enjoyed the romp through the magical world quite a bit. I think it's because I enjoy Harry himself so much - as long as he's not being a ghost I enjoy following him around & watching him wreak havoc. I gave it 4 stars.
5. Dangerous Women, edited by George R.R. Martin. All new and original to this volume, the 21 stories in Dangerous Women include work by twelve New York Times bestsellers, and seven stories set in the authors’ bestselling continuities—including a new “Outlander” story by Diana Gabaldon, a tale of Harry Dresden’s world by Jim Butcher, a story from Lev Grossman set in the world of The Magicians, and a 35,000-word novella by George R. R. Martin about the Dance of the Dragons, the vast civil war that tore Westeros apart nearly two centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones.
Also included are original stories of dangerous women--heroines and villains alike--by Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Sherilynn Kenyon, Lawrence Block, Carrie Vaughn, S. M. Stirling, Sharon Kay Penman, and many others.
The Bug Says: Maybe I just don't enjoy short stories? Not that I didn't enjoy some of the stories. The Jim Butcher one was excellent (of course), & I enjoyed the Diana Gabaldon one. And there were some others that I liked pretty well. I listened 20 of the 21, and the biggest problem I had was that in a number of them the story wasn't about the so-called dangerous woman, but really about a man who had a problem with a woman. Urgh. The one story I didn't even listen to? The last one - by Mr. Game of Thrones himself. I was already bored with it when the book expired (I downloaded it from the library), so I just didn't renew it. I gave the collection 3 stars.
6. Skin Game (The Dresden Files #15), by Jim Butcher. Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day… Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful. He doesn’t know the half of it…
Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains—led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone—to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.
It's a smash and grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world—which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character. Worse, Dresden suspects that there is another game afoot that no one is talking about. And he's dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Especially Harry.
Dresden's always been tricky, but he's going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess—assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance…
The Bug Says: Of course, as soon as I finished the last book I went right to the library & downloaded this one. I gobbled it down like candy - it was great fun! Now, sadly, I'm all caught up on the series, so I have to wait until next year to see what happens next. I gave it 5 stars.