Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Audiobook Review: One Fell Sweep

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One Fell Sweep sees Dina and Sean reunited, and that made me very happy. It is clear this duo cares deeply about one another given the sacrifices each made in Sweep in Peace. I enjoy seeing them growing closer together as the series progresses, and deepening the bonds between them, the inn, and the community.

This installment Innkeeper Chronicles started off with a bang, and the rescue of Dina’s sister, Maud, from a vigilante alien planet. Having been married to a vampire, Maud has taken on vampiric characteristics and is quite the fighter and survivalist. I liked her immensely. In addition, Maud’s daughter, Helen, provided a necessary touch of softness and vulnerability for her otherwise fierce demeanor. Bringing these characters into the story also allowed us to see another side of Dina and her protective nature.

With the entry of new characters, we also saw the reappearance of Sean and Arland, which were further developed as secondary characters and love interests. Caledonia and Orro continued to provide comedic relief, but I also loved the banter between Maud and Arland as well.

As Maud is just getting settled back on Earth, the sisters are presented with an exceptionally tempting and dangerous offer to aid a hunted alien species in preserving their race. This will put Gertrude Hunt (the inn), Dina and her guests and family smack in the crosshairs of genocidal lunatics. The action in this story was stellar, and the victimization of the Hiru created an easy rally point for engagement by the entire cast to do the right and moral thing. I enjoyed the pace of this story and thought the ending wrapped up beautifully.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Audiobook Review: Sweep in Peace

Sweep in Peace is the second book in The Innkeeper Chronicles, featuring intergalactic innkeeper, Dina Demille and her snarly shihtzu, Beast. I really enjoyed this pair in the first audiobook, Clean Sweep, and Renee Raudman’s narration was superb. I tried this installment in the graphic audio version, which I had not experienced before. The sound effects gave the story added dimension and fun, but I did miss some of Renee’s southern accent for Dina.

In this story, to ensure the prosperity of her inn, Dina accepts a questionable offer from an intergalactic arbitrator, George. This agreement will require that Gertrude Hunt serve as a mediation point for alien factions warring on the planet Nexus. This will challenge Dina to feed large hordes, maintain peace among hothead military leaders, and keep all her guests safe against inside and outside threats.

One of my favorite aspects of this installment was the addition of Orro, the overly dramatic (former) red clever chef. Orro is a Quillonian, which I am having a hard time picturing but I imagine to be somewhat of a large hedgehog. His dramatic antics were a nice addition to Caledonia’s spry wit. The two of them add some comedic relief to the action points in the story and Dina’s reserved nature.

Although warring factions were residing within Gertrude Hunt, I found this installment to be lacking in the action/excitement that we experienced in the first book. There was more intrigue, but less fighting. It fell on Dina to discover the motivations of all the parties, including the “neutral” arbitrator. I think we will see a lot of machinations come along from George in the future, and I am looking forward to that. As a lawyer, I would have had more interest in the arbitration proceedings, but we were left somewhat on the periphery of those. So I would have preferred a peak into what was happening in the walled off room with the sect leadership.

This story did have some nice twists and turns, a little heartache, and the reappearance of a favorite secondary character. Overall, it was an enjoyable read and performance, just not quite as good as the first and third installments.

3.5 stars

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Friday, January 13, 2023

Audiobook Review: Clean Sweep

I am just now getting around to the Innkeeper Chronicles, and I can’t believe I waited this long. I am doing this series in audio while I do some projects around the house, and this one sure made raking leaves less loathsome.

Dina Demille is the innkeeper of a bed-and-breakfast in a small Texas town. She has a crazy shih tzu, Beast, which could be perfectly portrayed by my Priss. She also knows bourbon, and the value and rarity of a bottle of Pappy 15. I could definitely hang with her, if I had some magical abilities or something. I would definitely stay at her inn. Dina was no nonsense, cared about her inn, her guests, and chose doing the right thing over rules or societal norms.

This series is a bit unique as it seems to be fantasy mixed with space opera. There are other planets, werewolves, vampires, and who knows what other goodies we will find as the story progresses. I liked the dimensional doors, and the backstory for the werewolves. I do hope we will see more of Sean and Arland, as the love interest for our heroine was left up in the air. But there was a little chemistry there with those two.

This story line has a big bad of questionable alienage and weird hunting creatures that are difficult to kill. We got lots of action and betrayal, but also quite a bit of world building. While we saw some of the wider-world being described, I am interested to learn more about this small town in Texas and just how ordinary or extraordinary it is.

I’m a huge fan of Ilona Andrews, so I am sure I will speed through this series now that I’ve started. Stay tuned for reviews of the later books.

4 stars / 1 flame.

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