Review: Unlucky Horseshoe — by Barbara Morgenroth

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Cover image from author, summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Unlucky Horseshoe (Mission Ranch Mystery, #1)

Author: Barbara Morgenroth

Rating:  ★★★★☆ (4 of 5)

Genre/Pages: Adult Mystery / 386

Summary: “When twenty-seven year old fashion designer Berry Lake moves to Mission Ranch to live with her father, the last thing she expects is to be caught up in a murder investigation. Or could the last thing Berry expects be to help her father, Mitch, fend off the local retired ladies who are chasing after him? Or, could the last thing Berry expects be to fall for Sheriff Mark Fernandez who thinks she knows more about the murder than she’s saying?
What Berry really didn’t expect is that once she and her father determine who the murderer is, no one is safe.”

Cover Review: I really love the vibe of this cover! The artwork is cutesy and accurately portrays the contents of the books. 

My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. So, it’s weird. Right after I finished this book, I wrote “really fun read!” and though I still think that’s true, now, a month or so after reading it, I’m feeling a lot more “meh” about the book. Sure, I enjoyed reading it, but I don’t really have much of a desire to ever reread it (maybe that’s just how mystery novels work?). I would probably read a second book, though, if it was written. This was the first adult mystery I’d ever read (I loved Nancy Drew as a kid), and it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I really liked it. 

Characters: I think my favorite part of the book was the protagonist, her father, and her love interest(s?). They were fabulous characters! They were creative, unique, and utterly enjoyable. I loved reading about them, and I loved their dialogue! Some of the other characters (like “the harem”) I found very irritating (albeit painfully realistic, based on my personal life experiences. I suppose I just don’t want to read about people like that for fun, hahaha), and I honestly think it’s those characters that left a bad taste in my mouth about the book as a whole that led to the book losing one star. But looking back, I think the good characters definitely made up for the bad ones. 

Plot: There were plenty of times where I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen — and almost every single time, it turned out that I was very wrong. Which I always love! I love it when a book is unpredictable and exciting. This mystery novel is full of laughs, romance, and adventure. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I really enjoyed the history of The Mission that is the setting of the whole book. Honestly, I think that was probably my second favorite thing about the book.

Content Advisory: Kinda graphic. Lots of death and violence and some implied sexual scenes.

To Sum It Up: I think this was a great book to be my introduction into the world of adult mystery novels — it wasn’t too intense or gross, but it was fun,  original, and unpredictable. I don’t regret reading this book! If you’re looking for a fun mystery to read, then I highly recommend The Unlucky Horseshoe to readers 17 and up.

Review: Monster Hunter International – by Larry Correia

Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from goodreads.com. Image links to goodreads book page.

Title: Monster Hunter International (Monster Hunter International, #1)

Author: Larry Correia

Goodreads. Audible. Amazon. Barnes & Noble.

Summary: Monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company and now Owen Pitt is their newest recruit.

Genre/Pages: Adult Urban Fantasy / 457

Rating: ★★★★ (5.5 of 5)

My Review:  This is not a YA novel. It’s modern adult. The first one I’ve actually ever read. (I say modern, because the Anne Mccaffrey non-YA books of the past are quite different than the adult books of the present). My brother, J.A. Dalley, a YA Mil-Sci-Fi author, and soon to be Urban Fantasy author (his first UF book will be published within a year), continually told me that I HAD to read this book. That it was super amazing and basically the best book ever. I have a long TBR list. I said I’d get to it eventually. Finally, he took my iPod, and downloaded the audiobook onto it himself. So, I gave in. I pressed play.

Hero/Heroine: I am absolutely overjoyed to be able to talk about a MALE protagonist for the first time in a LONG time. I’ve gotten really sick of being stuck in the head of teenage girls every time I read a book, so the fact that Owen Pitt was the hero of this series made me super excited. The only problem I had character-wise was that, and maybe this was because I was listening to it, not reading, but I could not for the life of me, keep all the character’s straight. I dearly loved all of them, the character development was great, how we gradually learned more about them was wonderful, the diversity was refreshing, but for the grand majority of the book, if you’d asked me whether Milo or Trip was the preacher-turned-monster-hunter, I wouldn’t have the slightest clue how to answer.

Owen: I loved Owen. Actually, the characters were all really great. But I really loved Owen. Larry Correia is an absolute master of story telling. That fact was most prevalent when it came to how Owen’s character, backstory, and destiny slowly unfolded. Not so slowly that I was bored out of my mind, but not so fast that I felt like I already knew everything. Information was never dumped. I got to know Owen at a normal pace, like I would get to know a friend. So he became a friend. I began to understand him, as he began to understand himself. I was never given useless information to throw me off a trail. And let me tell you, he is an EPIC character. Accountant by day, expert marksman by night. I knew the second he pulled out a gun for the first time, that I was gonna love him. And love him I did. Because he’s just so dang loveable!

Julie: Okay, remember what I said about being so glad to get out of a girl’s POV in books? Well, there were definitely no shortage of freakin’ INCREDIBLE women in this book. Julie, of course, being the most prevalent (though stripper-turned-monster-hunter Holly is pretty freaking amazing, as well).  But I loved Julie. I loved that she wasn’t a “strong female character” she was a “strong character who is also a female” (but the difference is a rant for another time), she wasn’t just written as amazing as she is to be “politically correct” (a problem I often see in literature), she’s just that amazing. A deadly fighter with a mysterious family, Julie is one character you can’t help but admire (and love!).

Plot: Did I mention that Larry Correia is a freaking master of storytelling and suspense? I did? Well, I’ll say it again! This plot was PERFECTLY paced. I didn’t even know that that was possible. The fight scenes were intense, emotional, and engaging. I would be walking in the hallway at school, earbuds in, and I’d just have to stop dead and sit down, give my full concentration to the mass of action going on. Beware Chapter 22. You’ll need some tissues, and private room. The mysterious and cryptic dreams, the humorous and engaging character dialogue, the edge-of-your-seat fight scenes, the horrifying monsters, the romance, the realism and the excruciating pain — this book is to die for. Not literally, though, cuz then you wouldn’t be able to read the second book! Also, I loved that MHI wasn’t just a bunch of heroes — They’re also mercs. They’re bounty hunters. New twist! Lovin’ it.

Content Advisory: A fair amount of cussing. Not like you hear in the hallways at high school, but a lot of S- words, D- words, H- words, and B- words, and maybe 10 o so F-bombs. One scene of sexual nature (went to second base, non graphic.), One implied scene of sexual nature (off screen), a few sexual inneundos. A lot of violence. Not terribly graphic, but PG-13. Blood, gore, and death (both of monsters and humans) abound.  

To Sum it Up: I’d never read Adult, let alone Urban Fantasy. I was skeptical. It felt like Percy Jackson all grown up. Even if the action, the guns, and pure enjoyment didn’t make me desperate to read the next book in the series, the motley band of characters, and the freaking amazing monster lore have sealed the deal. Like monsters? Like characters? Like enjoyment? READ. THIS. BOOK. That is all. Recommended for ages 17+.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it?