Rosemary and Rue is well-written urban fantasy. This novel is full of the melancholy. Not what I would call fatalistic or depressing, but instead in t...moreRosemary and Rue is well-written urban fantasy. This novel is full of the melancholy. Not what I would call fatalistic or depressing, but instead in touch with the sad, the weary, the timeless angst of the faerie folklore and myths. San Francisco is a beautiful setting for this story, this grand old city of hills, water, and mists. It's not difficult to believe that Faeries would situate their courts in this place. There is something magical to this setting that does half of the world-building in itself. Ms. McGuire very credibly does the rest with her descriptions of the various faerie and changeling denizens. I am no stranger to faerie fiction, but she brought something new to her treatment, describing creatures both achingly beautiful, and horrific, sometimes at the same time. Not to mention their convoluted and ancient rituals sealed in blood and by their words spoken in oaths. When I read books this rich in authentic details, I have trouble doubting that Faerie is real afterall.
It's not fair to compare, but I did feel like October Daye could hang in the Dresden club, with that feel of the ne'er do well, who gets wounded more than her share, much like the wizard from the series by Jim Butcher. Also the fact that her lot in life has lead to losses that she can't slow down to count, or she wouldn't keep moving. This adds to the melancholy vibe of this novel. Nothing excessive, but inherent to this story, like the mists climbing the twisted streets of San Francisco just before dawn. This is not light-hearted, happy-go-lucky urban fantasy. This is the serious kind where you know that October won't come out of this adventure unblemished. But she will be a little wiser, and probably sadder. With faerie, it's expected. That sadness mixed with wonder pulls me back every time. The reason I'll pick up the authentic version of faerie any day over a Disney-style version. (If you need an example, read The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson and give the Disney version a pass). There's a place for Disney, but it doesn't satisfy like the real thing, tears and all.
Rosemary and Rue was a good start to a series. I can see myself become quite captivated with it, due to its rich faerie texture and hint of sadness and sacrifice. I'd recommend it.(less)
This is a really hard book to rate. It's very good, but at the same time, I had some serious issues reading it. Let's talk about some of my issues fir...moreThis is a really hard book to rate. It's very good, but at the same time, I had some serious issues reading it. Let's talk about some of my issues first (get the bad news out of the way first):
1. It seemed very cramped. What I mean by this is, action scene would flow into action scene. It was hard to keep up and catch my breath. I needed a departure between these to get my bearings. 2. I really think that there needed to be more dialogue. It would have flowed better. The narrative style was too explanatory, instead of using dialogue and character action to show what was going on. I think she really needed to use, 'she said' and 'he said' more, because I got lost trying to figure out who was talking. 3. I often felt confused because of scenes changing somewhat abruptly. That made it hard to keep up. 4. Some of the Senate political discussions were a little dry at times.
1. This story felt unique and different. I have read quite a bit of urban fantasy, and this didn't seem like a rehash to me. It's a very good idea, having the heroine be such a powerful seer. In general, I'm not fond of the heroine being the focus of desire of all the men in a book. But I liked how Karen Chance textured this book so that the motivations were more rich, instead of it just being about sexual attraction or admiration. I definitely have to give her credit. It's my hope that it doesn't become a sexual free-for-all like another series I once enjoyed but kicked to the curb. 2. The action was fantastic. There were a lot of high octane moments where the characters had to fight for their lives. I love good action, and Ms. Chance didn't pull her punches. This book really had a cinematic feel that I never fail to find appealing in a good urban fantasy novel. There was a lot of violence, but this is a violent world. It fit very well with the storyline. 3.I loved Ms. Chance's different use of magic in this story--it really caught my interest. I like how the vampires, war mages, seers, and were all come together to make this book so rich. 4.The main characters have engrossed me, so that I want to keep reading. I'd like to see where things go with Mircea in his pursuit of Cassie. What's the deal with Pritkin? Why is he so intense? are questions I want to keep reading to get answers to. Louis-Cesare, quite an enigma. The men are attractive, but they are more than eye candy. Each one is different with distinct elements to his personality. More please. Lastly, Cassie. She's young and somewhat clueless in this story. But she has some emotional strength that makes her a good protagonist. She's not a Mary Sue, but a character I want to follow to see how she evolves over time.
Definitely, this book has some downpoints that made it hard to read. Yet, I wanted to keep reading, even though I had to keep putting it down and taking breaks. I wasn't disappointed with Karen Chance's first effort. On the contrary, I was impressed. This book is something unique and establishes her place in the world of urban fantasy. Bring on more Cassie Palmer adventures!
Ilona Andrews (writing team of Ilona and Gordon) caught and kept my interest when I read Magic Bites. I liked the distinctive voice I saw in that stor...moreIlona Andrews (writing team of Ilona and Gordon) caught and kept my interest when I read Magic Bites. I liked the distinctive voice I saw in that story, one that has stayed true in the subsequent stories that I have read by this team. With On the Edge, they have continued that excellence, providing me with a novel that is multi-faceted, genre-wise and story-wise.
Although I grew up in the Midwest, my roots are Southern, and I do appreciate books set in the South that show the real ways of Southerners. In this case, I saw something very real and almost familiar in Rose, her brothers, grandmother, and friends and neighbors. I smiled when Rose threw the boys in the car and took them to Walmart. Yeah, that's real. Real people do shop there. How many times do you read a book where the characters go to Walmart to buy not the designer shoes, but the ones that look close enough to pass muster? How about a heroine who buys ground beef and adds rice and bread crumbs to stretch it? Yup, that's real alright. How about those moments when you have to stretch your paycheck and hope you have enough money left over the week to buy gas so you can get to work? I've definitely been there. And the love and ties of family, having to work hard all day and get home, take care of your family, go to bed, and get up and do it again. I think a lot of readers can identify with that. So what if Rose is magical, along with everyone in her family? That's a little more on the fantasy part of the scale. But this combination is why urban fantasy is so irresistible to me. The real and the surreal nicely entwined.
The ideas in this story strike me as very unique and different. I liked it a lot, even if some elements was pretty odd, like a reanimated grandfather who likes to eat stray dogs' brains. Or the fact that a lot folks in the Edge community can curse people, or send flashes of powerful energy out of their bodies. And then there is the shapeshifting younger brother of Rose, Jack. The other young brother is a powerful necromancer (hence the zombie granddad). And things get even more interesting when Declan shows up. Rose's powerful flash abilities have made her an asset to Blueblood families who want to integrate her genes into their family lines, one way or the other. She has become wary of men for that reason, since most of her suitors didn't ask nicely. So when too good to be true Declan shows up to claim her and take her back to the Weird, the magical lands that are adjacent to the Edge, she definitely doesn't eagerly go off with him. She makes an oath with the handsome warrior that he can have her if he succeeds in her three challenges. However, they have big problems on their hands, as there are horrible, magical hounds that are devouring Edgers for their magic. And they really want to get their hands on Rose and her family.
I loved Rose. She was a heroine that you could hang with, and that you'd be slightly in awe of, because she knows how to take care of business. She's the type that you tell to do something, and she takes about five minutes or more, and she's back and ready to get the job done. Not the heroine who is infallible and annoyingly perfect. Nope, she's the heroine that you love because she tries so hard, and she has the determination to do what is necessary. I loved Rose's commitment to her brothers, how she raised them from a young age after her mother lost her mind and her father ran off treasure-hunting. Jack and Georgie (her brothers) are adorable and genuine little boys, despite their very unusual abilities. They were sweeties and reminded me of the poem about what boys are made of (you know, snails and puppy dog tails). You could see why Rose loves them, even though being a single mom to her brothers is far from easy.
Declan was a great match for Rose. He was just as determined and capable. He might be a rich princelike guy, but he was down to earth enough that this didn't bother me. And I do like tough, warrior heroes, I won't lie. He took to the kids very quickly, and he treated them like they were his own. He even makes pancakes for them. I liked how he was as much a thinker as a doer, a problem-solver not afraid to get his hands dirty. He was a guy who made a commitment and stood by his word, no matter what. Declan was definitely a knight in shining armor, and I could see why Rose fell in love with him.
William was also adorable. I felt for him, and I will probably end up reading Bayou Moon soon to get more of him. I liked his wildness but also his goodness and how sweet he was with the kids (I am a sucker for that).
On the Edge has its dark, gruesome elements, but I'm okay with that. I like some dark in my fantasy. I loved the juxtaposition of the everyday with the fantastic and surreal. The Andrews have a great way of writing descriptively and setting the scene without overdoing things and info-dumping. I like that the narrative is spare in some places, and the character sketches give you enough to get an idea of the folks in the story, but you can still learn more as you read. There are times you have to figure things out as you go, which is what I prefer, to be honest.
Although I am sure this book wouldn't work for everyone, I had a ball reading it. I liked everything about it. The romance was great, but the fantasy elements were equally important. I'd recommend this to a reader who likes fantasy but wants to try romance, and a reader on the other side of that equation.(less)
This was a very interesting and unique foray into the world of magic noir, or noir occult detective fantasy fiction. Corine Solomon is a fairly confli...moreThis was a very interesting and unique foray into the world of magic noir, or noir occult detective fantasy fiction. Corine Solomon is a fairly conflicted, and troubled character. Her mother was a practicing witch who was essentially burned to death by the suspicious and intolerant townspeople in Kilmer, Georgia. Before she died, her mom endowed her with her power, in the form of the ability to read objects. However, it comes at signficant cost to Corine. She bears the scars of the readings on her hands and fingers. Scars to match those deep in her soul.
After she almost died on one of their cases, Corine cut out in the middle of the night, leaving her boyfriend and business partner, Chance behind. She left because she didn't believe he loved her, and that he was just using her for her abilities. She left because she let him in and paid the price. In her life, Corine learned that caring for others is a losing proposition. And Chance messed her up too much inside. So she fled to Mexico, running a pawn shop, and living as close to a normal life as was possible for her.
But, eighteen months later, Chance shows up. His mother has been kidnapped, and he needs her special gift to find her. Chance has a special gift of his own, incredible luck. Unfortunately, his luck isn't so good for those around him. That, and Chance is just way too self-controlled and distant for her, despite being gorgeous and her weakness emotionally. They strike a deal, she helps him find his mother, he helps her get revenge against the people who killed her mother. And, it's just business. Their relationship is over, or so Corine says.
This story twists and turns, and shows a side of Texas very familiar to me. The aspects of Mexican culture ring very true to someone who's spent a fair amount of time in that environment, and add to this story like the spice of chili powder. Corine is a narrator who is not always nice and kind and neat, but she sneaks in on you, so well that you end up liking her for all her flaws. Chance is delicious--dapper, half-Korean, completely intriguing, and very much in love with Corine, but unsure how to show it. He's the enigmatic guy who sounds great on paper, but probably isn't the best boyfriend. But what in life is perfect? I wanted Corine to forgive him, even seeing his flaws. There's also interesting secondary characters, such as Chance's friend Chucho, and his wife, Eva, who help this couple in many important ways; Jesse, who's a cop in Laredo with a gift for empathy. He appoints himself as Corine's mentor in the world of the gifted, but he wants to be more. Maybe, Corine wants more too. Sex is not an issue, but falling in love is. Can she have all the wild, crazy sex with Jesse, and avoid falling into the trap of loving Chance? And there's a killer who considers himself the hand of God. Is he going to help or hinder Corine and Chance in their search for his mother?
Normally, I don't like my noir urban fantasy too filled with romantic angst, but it was well done and fitting in this story. After all, Corine's life is very turbulent, and that's a big part of her life. I have to say it really added to this story. I have a feeling her future will always be entwined with Chance, and that's not such a bad thing to me.
The magic and occult aspects were very intriguing. There were some parts that were borderline scary. I think Ms. Aguirre told a great story of dark magic being used to further the criminal enterprises of those who prey on the strange entity that is the border of Mexico and Texas. I had little trouble believing that the cartels would hire witches and warlocks to employ sorcerous magic to keep business going.
If I had a complaint, I think that the tension could have been sustained in some of the suspenseful moments. The execution tended to be somewhat anti-climatic. Otherwise, this was a great foray into the dark world of bordertown Texas and Mexico, where magic is alive and well. Corine is a character I got invested in, and I definitely want to read more stories with her. And I hope that Chance stays in the picture. He's quite a character, himself.(less)
This was a lovely book. Although short, it was a full meal, rich with humor, magic, the struggle between good and evil, and a nice little romance.
Aren...moreThis was a lovely book. Although short, it was a full meal, rich with humor, magic, the struggle between good and evil, and a nice little romance.
Aren was a great heroine. You see her go from meek and frightened to powerful and independent in her own right. Ms. Briggs excels at writing loveable characters who I care about, cheering along as they grow, and as they fight the good fight. She did a great job of showing Aren come into knowledge of her gifts, and I admired her ability to survive so much turmoil.
How I did love the Hob. Wild and elemental, flamboyantly-dressed, a bit mischievous, but good-hearted, just what the doctor ordered for Aren. I certainly haven't seen a romantic hero like him before. He helps to heal the broken places inside of Aren, and she does the same for him. Not the usual kind of romance, but a very good one, all the same.
The magic was enthralling. This book has some pretty dark aspects with the bloodmages and the evil wildlings. Some of the darkness on the land is downright creepy, adding another layer to this story. Yet, the wild beauty of the elemental spirits of the land called to me. I almost wish some of them were real. Well, almost.
I'm on a roll here with the horse theme. Aren's horse Duck is yet another equine character I've fallen in love with.
I truly did enjoy reading this book. Yet another one of Patricia Briggs books I will add to my keeper shelf and treasure for future rereads.(less)
This was my favorite in the Valorian Chronicles series, probably because I thought that Lyra and Theron had a close connection that drove the book. I...moreThis was my favorite in the Valorian Chronicles series, probably because I thought that Lyra and Theron had a close connection that drove the book. I have found that these Nocturnes are just too short. There is not enough room to get anything accomplished, so the storyline can be a bit rushed. I didn't find it quite as noticable in this book, but I do feel like it could have delved deeper if the book could have been about 75-100 pages longer. But for a shorter book, it was very good. I like antiheroes, so Theron appealed to me. He had a dark side, a history of casting black magic spells that backfired on him. To be honest, it could have been worse, but for Lyra, who was a white witch, that could have kept them apart. Fortunately, Lyra went with her heart and believed in Theron despite the obvious fact that he was hiding part of himself from her. Lyra is an appealing protagonist. She's nice, intelligent, but is certainly no plaster saint. I liked her dialogue with her deceased grandmother who hovers over her as a spirit, and gives Lyra guidance whether Lyra wants it or not. It was also nice to revisit the CSU team, and catch up with Caine and Eve and Jace and Tala, from the first two books. Again, this was a good book and I enjoyed it. I just wish that it was longer and more in depth.(less)
There are just some books that you have no conception of how much you will come to love, until you read the book, and fall in love. That's what happen...moreThere are just some books that you have no conception of how much you will come to love, until you read the book, and fall in love. That's what happened to me with this book. At 722 pages, I think this is the longest book I've ever read and finished, all the way through. When I read it, the world fell away. The mark of a good book.
I worry about my reviews being too repetitive, and I don't want to mess this one up. So I'll keep it simple.
I would ask this book to marry me, if it was legal to marry a book. If I had to choose a book to take to a desert island, this book would be on my final consideration list. Yes, I am known for my bizarre excitement when it comes to books. They mean so much to me. I may seem like I hype books unnecessarily. It's not the case. But, if a book finds a place on the shelf in my heart, then I do want to rave about it. Such is the case with The Name of the Wind.
If you aren't sure about diving into a 722 page book, take a chance. My game plan was to read it over the month. Hah! I read it in about a week. I was that sucked in. Not sure that your interest will be sustained for over 700 pages? I don't think you'll be disappointed, if you enjoy books with fascinating characters. And Kvothe is definitely fascinating.
This book made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me angry. I got excited, I got frustrated. I was sad when it ended. Yes, even after 722 pages, I wanted more.
I walked the long road that Kvothe walked. I couldn't abandon him. When the book would go from his story narrative and back to the inn where he was telling his story to the Chronicler, I was like, "Wait. I want to hear more." That's the kind of story that Kvothe has. I don't want to suffer the things he did. But, I like the idea of having an epic story of my life to tell someone. That probably won't happen in real life, but there's an identification factor here in this: We were all young, and rich with dreams; we have all cried bitter tears as some of those dreams died painful deaths. Only for new dreams and possiblities to be born. That is what this book shows.
I may add more to this review, because I think I could say more. Right now, I think this will do. I hope you decide to read The Name of the Wind someday.(less)
I finished this book on Friday, and I took all weekend to decide what I wanted to say in my review. Let me start by saying that Poison Study is writte...moreI finished this book on Friday, and I took all weekend to decide what I wanted to say in my review. Let me start by saying that Poison Study is written in a very elemental fashion. If you are a reader who likes flowery, descriptive writing, this might throw you for a loop initially. The story is told inelaborately, and there is no hesitation in describing the ugliness of Yelena's situation. When I met Yelena, she was taken out of her prison cell, where she had languished for the better part of a year, and was prepared to meet the executioner. I can't say I've read too many books that started this way. I was hooked right then and there. Instead of seeing Yelena get executed, she is taken to the office of the man who will cause a profound change in her life, Valek. Yelena was offered the opportunity to escape a quick execution. She could undertake the training as a food taster, which was not without risk, and if she survived, she would spend her life risking death on a regular basis. Typically the life of a food taster is very short. But, it's a lot longer than instant death. Yelena thought things through and decided she'd rather take her chances as a food taster.
From the beginning, I was interested in Yelena's story. She was a young woman who had ended up in a very dire situation (not all of her making), but was willing to own up to the life she'd taken. She never made excuses for her actions, although the reasons were valid. With the murder she committed, she felt as though her soul had been lost. And yet, some part of her refused to give up.
This book brings to mind the aphorism that "Justice is Blind." More and more I wonder if justice really should be blind. Those who enforce the law make their verdicts on cases based on the evidence presented. Yet, they don't always consider the underlying reasons why a person commits a crime. In the eyes of an omniscient diety, this makes perfect sense, because that Supreme Being sees all things. But, humans don't have that all-seeing perception. Is it fair for a woman to be sentenced to death for trying to protect herself and her loved ones, for killing a man who brutally tortured and raped her? According to the strict laws of Ixia, murder outside of war is considered a capital offense. From the moment that Yelena took the life of the son of General Brazell, her life was forfeit.
I believe in second chances. I just do. I know that we all fall and fail, and while I think some crimes are extremely heinous, I cannot let go of my belief that everyone deserves the right to make amends. I was happy that Valek gave Yelena the opportunity to live. Yet, Yelena will face more trials with her second chance. And she is put in a position to save the Commander who she serves as food-taster, and to prevent Ixia from falling prey to a conspiracy that involves key members of the government.
Poison Study was a very readable, fascinating, enjoyable adventure. I loved seeing Yelena come into her own. It was clear that she'd always been a strong person, and her strength of character and will is what allowed herself to emerge from the fires that had potential to destroy her. Instead, she was honed by those fires and made stronger.
I'm not very good at political stuff. I have my own way of looking at things, and it makes my interpretation of political stances, parties, affiliations, and governmental structures very against type. I think it was interesting to see the inner workings of the system that the Commander had set up through Yelena's eyes. In many ways, going from a monarchy to what appeared to be a dictatorship was an improvement. However, there were many restrictions imposed on the people as a result of that same government. Opportunities were open that weren't before. The government was set up to encourage fairness and to discourage waste. The downside was, anytime you have people in a system, it's going to be flawed, because people are flawed. So this system was not perfect. Through Yelena's eyes, I was able to see this all playing out.
I started this review by saying that this book was written with a simple use of language. I found that this narrative style was a bit deceptive. You might think this story is basic on first glance, but that's far from the truth. There is a lot going on here. I liked that Ms. Snyder left it up to the reader to interpret the events through her own eyes. I like how she slowly reveals aspects of the characters until the fullest picture comes to mind. That was the best way to write about a character like Valek. When he comes on the scene, he doesn't seem that grand. He seems like a puppet in the political structure of Ixia. But, if I had continued to see him that way, I would have been missing out on a lot. You see, Valek is not the puppet. He's the puppetmaster. He is an extremely intelligent and cunning spymaster, a swordsman without equal, and a deadly assassin. He's so matter-of-fact and without flare, so you don't see him truly unless you look deeper. He holds his allegiance to Commander Ambrose very sacredly, but that doesn't mean he doesn't always agree with the rules that the Commander has instituted. That he cannot see justice done in his own way. Through Yelena's eyes, we see how the perception of Valek expands to show who and what he really is. I fell in love with him as Yelena did.
I'm a romantic at heart, and I will always be. I loved the burgeoning relationship between Yelena and Valek. How they slowly worked their way into each others' hearts, through proximity and the fact that they saw something in each other that resulted in an irresistible draw to each other. It's clear from the beginning, through the eyes of others around Yelena and Valek, and through Valek's actions, that he cherishes Yelena. It's a subtle but at the same time, pretty obvious thing. In my opinion, it took a lot of writing skill to convey this to the reader, and Ms. Snyder did an excellent job.
Poison Study was a grand adventure in the style of the classic adventure novels. The fight scenes are well-written, and the danger elements are exciting and involving. Being Yelena is a dangerous proposition, because Brazell is determined to see her dead for killing his son, and continually uses underhanded methods to do it. Also because she lives in dangerous times, and in an environment fraught with intrigue. I liked that Valek saved Yelena several times, because it showed the intensity of his regard for her, but I also liked that many other times, Yelena was able to save herself through her intelligence, quick-thinking, and through her developing skills at self-defense. Yelena views herself as a small person in the scheme of things, but she had an important role in preventing a very ugly conspiracy from coming to fruition. She effects change by doing what she feels is right, and because of that, she gains the respect of those who had previously viewed her as a cold-blooded murderess. Her actions don't occur in a vacuum, and they often result in helping/protecting others in various ways.
The fantastic elements are subtle but integral. I liked how Yelena's magic was instrinsic to her, a part of her that was dormant, emerging when she needs it. I loved seeing her become a capable and deadly fighter. She hates the idea of killing, but killing is necessary in the dangerous world she lives in. She had to come to realize this, or she couldn't love Valek, a man who kills for a living, and must do it without letting remorse weigh him down.
Poison Study was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Like many unexpected favorites, it snuck in there on me. But when I finished this book, I had a big smile on my face.(less)
I loved this book. Could it be my fixation with werewolves? Could it be how Butcher describes the various types of weres? Could it be the almost non-s...moreI loved this book. Could it be my fixation with werewolves? Could it be how Butcher describes the various types of weres? Could it be the almost non-stop action? Or is the fact that I get more of one of my favorite characters? Probably a little of all of these.
Fool Moon takes of at a running pace after Storm Front. While Storm Front had to spend time in exposition, this world of Dresden is set up, so we can get more into the action. Harry has to deal with some seriously nasty werewolves, loup garou in fact, who are the most dangerous werewolves. And these loup garou take out a lot of people, even the Precinct where Harry's sort-of boss with the Police Department, Karrin Murphy works. Yes, this book has a fairly high body count. I was holding my breath until the end, because Harry is in serious jeopardy in this book, and much of Chicago.
There's a mystery to be solved, and corruption in high places in law enforcement, and lots of innocent people to be saved? What's a Wizard For Hire to do? Well, read this book and find out. You won't be disappointed.(less)
Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire. His advert even says so. Enter a very interesting character in the urban fantasy genre. Having grown up in the Chi...moreHarry Dresden is a wizard for hire. His advert even says so. Enter a very interesting character in the urban fantasy genre. Having grown up in the Chicago area, it's very cool to see this fine city through the eyes of an interesting guy like Harry. In some respects, he's a very normal guy. However he truly is a wizard. He inherited his magical abilities from his deceased mother, and makes a living at it. Helping people. He also works for the Police Department solving crimes of an unusual nature.
This is like most starter books in a series, it doesn't exactly get off the ground running. But that's okay. We get to enjoy the experience of getting to know Harry. Things I liked about him that endeared him to me: He doesn't date much. He says himself he doesn't have much luck with women. He's a catlover. He has a big, huge kitty named Mister that eats better than he does. He's got a great sense of humor. This book is in the first person, so you are treated to Harry's very wry but perceptive view of the world. We are not on the same page about Christianity, but I don't hold that against him. How could I when he's such an ethical, caring person. Harry's a bit of a soft touch, going out of his way to help people, even to his detriment. Some readers might get annoyed at how often Harry gets hurt. I like that about the series. He's not invulnerable. His magic can help him, but he can die just as easy as another human, and he almost does many times. That raises the stakes, because Harry can't seem to stay out of trouble. I love watching Harry get dressed for battle: fedora hat, cloak, oak staff, pentacle pendant from his mom, and her ring. The latter are his magical accoutrements used to focus the natural magic that flows through him and is in the environment. Let's not forget his .45 gun for extra insurance. It's like watching Batman put on his suit and all his gadgets (yes my not-so inner geek is coming out).
The world that Harry inhabits is much like the one we live in, but magic and creatures we consider mythical actually exist. There is a White Council (They are the governing body over wizards to prevent them practicing black magic or using magic to harm people) who is holding the Doom of Damocles over Harry's head for killing his uncle (done in self-defense, although few would argue that he didn't deserve killing). So we see Harry trying to stay one step ahead of the very intimidating magical enforcer, Morgan. We also see Harry deal with a fairy who loves pizza to get information, while trying to avoid his godmother who really is a Fairy, the Queen in fact, and to whom he owes a favor. And Harry has to deal with the very shadowy Red Vampire Court, not to mention a very nasty demon assassin that interrupts the first date that Harry's had in a very long time. Try having a love life around all of this. Then there's the fire spirit Bob, who's beholden to Harry, helps him work his spellcraft, and lives in a skull.
These books are pure fun, but there are moments of tension and thrills, as well as moments that will stir poignancy in you. If you like the genre of occult detective novels, this book is the start of a series that you must add to your collection. I must say I love the later books more because the introductory stuff is out of the way, but this was a solid entry and a grand introduction to the wonderful, endearing Harry Dresden, Wizard for Hire.(less)
I enjoyed all the stories in this volume. The Casey Claybourne story was 4 stars, but the rest were 5 star stories. This collection reminded me that I...moreI enjoyed all the stories in this volume. The Casey Claybourne story was 4 stars, but the rest were 5 star stories. This collection reminded me that I've been negligent in reading two of my favorite authors, Connie Brockway and Catherine Anderson.
I'm feeling a little lazy, so this won't be a long review. This is what I thought of each story:
The concept of this story collection was nice, a lovestruck Highland Scottish seamstress (who had been disrupted from her lands by the Highland Clearances) forced to make the bridal dress for her beloved's wedding to an Englishwoman, who decides to use her hereditary sorcery to help women in the future have a happy wedding and marriage, since it's clear she'll be denied that future. This is the prologue written by Catherine Anderson. It's very short, but I liked that she got her happy ending with her true love.
Barbara Metzger story was a traditional regency, with a marriage-shy Viscount (his first wife cheated on him after giving birth to their son, dying in the arms of her lover) tasked with investigating the family of his nephew's intended. He ends up meeting the mother of the bride and falling in love with her. Poor Katie was betrayed many years ago, and never got a wedding, although she did have a child to raise. She's made lemonade out of lemons and raised her daughter very well. Now, she wants to see her daughter happily wed in a lovely wedding gown--the one she would have worn to her own wedding, had her fiance not been killed running off from the wedding. The gown chose her and wouldn't settle with being worn by the daughter. I enjoyed the humor in this story. The hero, Viscount Forde is a pompous lordly character, who is about to find true love for the first time in his life, and in an unlikely place, with a country-dwelling 'widow.' This was a fun story with good humor.
Connie Brockway's writing is like enjoying a decadent dessert, full of rich flavor that engages the senses. She is wonderfully descriptive, and has a deft, refined ease to her storytelling. I fell in love with her couple, rooting for Alex and Lucy to get back together after their mutual pride and fears drove them apart two years ago, when Alex went off to war. I was sent into an advanced state of drooling adoration by the deliciousness of Alex, battle-scarred, yet resolute to reclaim Lucy's heart, even to the point of parading around the street of Pall Mall in the wedding dress, which magically fit his 6'4" tall, muscular, broad body. I asked myself why have I stayed away so long from this lovely woman's writing. I am so glad I have several of her books in my collection to indulge myself in. Definitely my favorite in this volume.
Casey Claybourne's story was good. I didn't get emotionally engaged though. That's crucial for me, and it's the dividing line between a 4 star and a 5 star read. It was a nice read, and I did like the fact that the daughter of the hero brought this couple together, and the wedding dress was there for this heroine to aid her in getting her wedding to the man of her dreams.
Catherine Anderson struck gold again with her story. It's about Joseph, who is the brother of Kaitlin, from Keegan's Lady. He's simply irresistible, as most of Catherine Anderson's heroes are. He takes in Faith and her daughter Caitlin, who are on the run from Faith's nasty father, who's trying to barter her into yet another marriage, when Faith gets the wedding dress from a peddler, and sees an announcement in a window for a housekeeper. Joseph is actually a better housekeeper than Faith (she was trained in being a lady, but little else), but he's not about to let her end up working in a bawdy house, because there aren't many other options in No Name. Instead, he gives her some on the job training, and they both take lessons in love together. Ms. Anderson managed to pack quite a punch with this short story, and it reminded me to get back into her books, since I'm way behind on her.
The epilogue is also written by Catherine Anderson, and it's very sweet. There's hope for a poor mother who has the weight of the world on her shoulders. The wedding dress is there, yet again, to bring luck and love into her life.
The True Love Wedding Dress turned out to be a pleasant read, full of hope and the magic of true love coming to fruition, with the help of an enchanted wedding dress. It's nice to read books that make smile, and this book did that for me.(less)