The Six-Gun Tarot is about an old West town in the Nevada desert called Golgotha. The story revolves around the residents of the town when the old sil...moreThe Six-Gun Tarot is about an old West town in the Nevada desert called Golgotha. The story revolves around the residents of the town when the old silver mine is reopened. Strange things follow the reopening and have a connection of apocalyptic proportions.
The novel starts out with, Jim, a fifteen year old boy who is stuck in the middle of the desert with his horse, Promise. He is saved by the deputy of Golgotha, Mutt, who senses that he carries something of magical ability with him. Mutt also brings with him a man named Clay, which we quickly realize has some kind of obsession with death. Jim carries his father’s jade eye, connected to it is the magic Mutt senses. Readers know that something bad happened in Jim’s past, but not what. As the story unfolds readers slowly discover Jim’s past, along with the stories of other characters.
Once Jim arrives there is trouble at the store Augustus owns. Before Mutt can handle the situation the sheriff comes back into town. Jonathan, the sheriff, is known as a dead man. He can’t seem to die, but not for lack of people trying to kill him. Readers are also introduced to the Mayor of the town, Henry. Henry at first doesn’t seem very important, but as his complicated relationships are described he quickly becomes one of the more interesting characters.
Golgotha is a town where a lot of strange stuff goes on, and strange people flock to it. For a small Western town it has a ton of very diverse people. The diversity, backgrounds and the detail in the characters makes the simplistic plot rich with detail. While it might be the run of the mill, ‘bad guys are going to kill the earth,’ story, it’s the characters that make it stand out.
Before you think this is all cowboys and action, there are quite a few complicated relationships. Augustus, the shop owner, is unknowingly stuck in a romantic triangle of sorts. Maude, who might be one of the most powerful characters of the story is stuck in a marriage, but also finds her attentions on someone else. And there is Henry who tries to be community and spiritual leader along with hiding his relationship with a Piano player.
The Six-Gun Tarot is R.S. Belcher’s debut novel. There are a ton of central characters, and he did an amazing job making each one stand on their own.
While I greatly enjoyed it, I didn’t give it a perfect score. Over all the story and characters are fantastic, but sometimes it’s in the little things. Some of the conclusions fell short with me. While The Six-Gun Tarot doesn’t seem to be a series, I think it would be a neat start to one. I left the story with a couple questions, and wanting to hear more about each character. I really hope this ends up becoming a series. A western, an adventure, complicated relationships and a fantasy, The Six-Gun Tarot has something to offer just about everyone. (less)
Hedi is working at a Starbucks when Robson Trowbridge walks in. He is a Were, as in werewolf. The last time she saw him was right after her parents we...moreHedi is working at a Starbucks when Robson Trowbridge walks in. He is a Were, as in werewolf. The last time she saw him was right after her parents were murdered. Her father was a part of the same pack, but her mother was Fae. Since their deaths Hedi has changed her name, and moved around with her full Fae aunt Lou. She is sucked back into Pack drama when they go looking for an amulet, and amulet that looks a lot like Hedi’s. Trowbridge has the amulet they are looking for. After that Trowbridge and Hedi end up working, partly together.
The Trouble with Fate is Leigh Evans debut novel, and the start of a new series. I thought, at the start, this was a story I had seen before. Not only that, but the basic story line and main character seemed a lot of the same. Then Trowbridge and Hedi were forced together, and I found my tune changing quite a bit. I can’t pinpoint where or when Evans made me start feeling for Hedi, but it was an organic thing that neither felt forced or pushed.
The story itself is somewhere between a Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, without being either. Hedi isn’t a perfect heroine, and Trowbridge is far from a perfect hero. The romance here is not glamorous. It’s as flawed as both the main characters, and works at making the unbelievable very believable. Both characters come from tragic back grounds. Instead of being whiney or broody as so many heroine/heroes are like to do, Hedi puts her big girl pants on gets on with it. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her weak moments, but again even they felt more natural.
The story can also be dark, which I enjoy. The writing feels like many Urban Fantasy novels. After all, this story isn’t something new, but it is pulled off well. Just when you think things couldn’t get worse, they get much worse. It goes further than a lot of stories are willing to go and has grit.
I am doing a lot of praising. Yes. It’s an excellent first time novel, but why not the perfect score? Some of the conversations between characters threw me. You know how at the end of Scooby Doo, when the bad guy says what he was planning? It has one of those moments. At other times the scene would move further in time, and then go back. I found that distracting. There is also a scene that feels as if it is set up for a future novel and has no bearing on the first book.
It flows well, the pace is right. Hell, I read it in two days. As far as debut novels go I was impressed, very impressed. I got to the end and wanted more. I look forward to seeing what comes out of the series. (less)
Cherry St. Croix is a society lady by day, but at night she is a collector. A collector is something like a bounty hunter who flies under the radar, o...moreCherry St. Croix is a society lady by day, but at night she is a collector. A collector is something like a bounty hunter who flies under the radar, or in this case below the drift. There is a kind of fog that surrounds most of London. Most of society lives above it for the most part. Cherry is invited to a luncheon and given a mystery that leads her to a dead college professor. As she is piecing together the mystery and Earl decides to court her.
Gilded is the second book of Karina Cooper’s The St. Croix Chronicles. It took me a little while to get used to the tone of the novel. Cherry starts out in her collector disguise, and then moved to her getting home. I was thrown by it, not only because of the double lives, but because she seemed to self-aware and independent on the street and the complete opposite at home. I didn’t read the first book, Tarnished. It did fill in some of the background that happened in the first book, but some parts were a little confusing. In other words, it’s best to start with book one.
My favorite thing about this book, other than the jaw dropping ending, is that I had no idea how versatile Cooper is. The tone of the novel is completely different from anything I have ever read by her. I thought when I opened the book it would remind me of her Paranormal series, but it didn’t. Instead it surprised me.
Let’s be honest, history wasn’t that great to women. Steam Punk has a funny nature about carrying over some of the things I don’t like about the Victorian age. All those manners, all those rules give me the shivers. Cherry would agree with me, the difference is she has to live it. The problem here though is that while she is a no fear kind of girl, she does fear the social elite. This kept me at a distance from her. So much of her claims not to care, but in that she is very dishonest, she does care or it wouldn’t give her fits.
I haven’t gone hardcore into the plot, and that’s because it’s hard without being spoilerish. I have said there is a mystery, and who is dead, but there is a lot more going on. She is being pursued for her hand by an Earl, who isn’t bad looking. This rivaled for my attention when it came down to it. This isn’t something that takes a back seat in the plot. Everything is connected in some way, but the main mystery opens doors to bigger ones like her family’s past. Even the Earl’s family provides little hidden details into what, or who her parents were as people. There are some serious secrets playing in the background of the overall plot line.
I mentioned the jaw dropping ending. Actually, the very end wasn’t so jaw dropping, but the space right before it. Gilded took me by surprise. It wasn’t something I expected, and it has a lot more flavor than other Steam Punk novels out there. The main character isn’t my favorite. I felt distant from Cherry and her ever wandering mind. The dead professor mystery seemed a little bland, and not for me. On the other hand a glimpse at the bigger picture going on behind the actually story held my interest. I often say, ‘yea, that novel didn’t go far enough.’ That’s not true here. I was pleasantly surprised by how far it went.(less)
Director Parker Adams knows that Sector Three has infiltrated her Mission with witches. She has also taken classified reports that have to do with Gen...moreDirector Parker Adams knows that Sector Three has infiltrated her Mission with witches. She has also taken classified reports that have to do with GeneCorp, and she believes are connected with Sector Three. Simon Wells takes it upon himself to relieve Adam’s of the classified reports. He breaks into her house, and accomplishes this, but on the way out someone takes the reports from him when he starts to have a degradation attack. He is a GeneCorp witch, and he knows that he doesn’t have that long to live. After he steals the report Adams meets with an informant. After her meeting with the informant Simon finds her name on Sector Three’s hit list.
This is the fourth book in Cooper’s post-apocalyptic series, Dark Mission. Each book so far has revolved around shifting POVs of a heroine and hero, who fall in love. Simon and Adams played a large role in the book before this one, All Things Wicked. Sacrifice the Wicked feels a lot like a middle book. Events don’t play out as heavy as they did in All Things Wicked. This being the fourth book I encourage readers to start at book one, unless they want a quick romance with danger sprinkled in.
I didn’t know how to feel about Parker Adams. She is a stronger female lead than some of the women in the past, and has a level head for the most part. I enjoyed her falling in lust with Simon, but I didn’t enjoy her falling in love with him. When he comes to her apartment to save her, she is ready to shoot him, and rightly so. They end up having to run for their lives. Her attraction for Simon isn’t about just how hot he is. It is also for how alpha male he is. The steamy scenes are hot, but it is no more than two days together (maybe less) before they are declaring love. Danger happens, and Simon is the hero that rocks her world.
Simon was much easier to get a handle on. He is strong in almost all ways, but he is dying. It’s something he has come to terms with until Adams is in his life. He quickly falls for her without meaning to, and for some reason this is more believable on his side. Perhaps it is because he is dying, or that he admits to dreaming about her, but most of all, I think it’s the romance of him coming for her when she is in danger. Cooper does a great job of showing the reader how much Adams means to him.
The start of the book is full of action and lusty scenes that pull the story along until just past the midway point in the book. After that the novel slows down. It starts to get really confusing. Like all of the novels in this series, I expected a big show down at the end. Instead all I found was the first cliff hanger in this series. Nothing changes for Simon and Adams. I felt let down by this, the start of the novel was an improvement, but it fell off towards the end.
I still think there is some good in the Dark Mission series. Cooper has created an interesting world of witches & hunters in an intense Seattle setting. In the first novels I wanted more out of the setting, which happened in the All Things Wicked. In Sacrificed the Wicked the strong point is Simon’s character. He is one of the better protagonists in this series. On the other hand this book reminds me of Blood of the Wicked, the first in the series. There aren’t any surprises, or anything new here and it’s starting to feel as if the romances are being recycled. (less)
In this post-apocalyptic near future world, a scientific screw up has turned people into ‘Ticks.’ Yes, ‘Ticks’ drink blood, but they aren’t Vampires....moreIn this post-apocalyptic near future world, a scientific screw up has turned people into ‘Ticks.’ Yes, ‘Ticks’ drink blood, but they aren’t Vampires. They are monsters, and look like Monsters. When the outbreak happened Lily and her autistic twin sister Mel went, like most teens, to a Farm. At the time they were told it was for their own protection, but as time went on it was clear they were being farmed for their blood. When teens turn eighteen they disappear. They are told they leave the Farm, but Lily isn’t waiting around to find out. She makes an escape plan, but when she starts to put the stages in place a boy from her past, Carter, shows up.
The Farm is romance writer Emily Mckay’s first YA novel. It’s told in Lily’s and Mel’s first person perspective, and in part Carter in third person. Lily has the main stage when it comes to voice. She is a strong, fierce and easy to like. The voice throughout the novel never comes off as dense. Mel’s perspective chapters were never long, but always interesting. On the other hand Carter’s felt a little unsure at first, but the switch between Lily’s first person and his third quickly became seamless.
Carter shows up, not only to find Lily, but more importantly to find an abductura. He believes that is what Lily is, and finding her means mankind can fight back. Save humanity! This makes Carter my kind of guy. What’s better than a rebellion for a good cause? He keeps a lot of information from Lily because her main focus is keeping Mel safe. There is also a side romantic plot blooming between Carter and Lily. It has a little angst to it, but not that much. I was impressed with both characters throughout the novel.
There are also side characters, Joe, McKeena and Sebastian. Sebastian comes into the Farm with Carter. He is a big mystery until about halfway through the novel. Even after his secrets are exposed he still fits in as a dangerous-mysterious guy. Joe and McKeena go through a lot with the other characters. One of my favorite things was the character growth throughout the novel.
Enough about the bright shining characters, I need to discuss this Tick infested world. The novel starts out on The Farm. It seems, at first like a horrible dystopian, where teens are treated in awful ways. There is a lot of gruesome behavior going on. The world is also where readers need to suspend belief. McKay gives a lot of great explanations as to why the teens are farmed, or rather, why they believe they are farmed. The world on the other hand is not near as detailed as the characters, and in many ways it doesn’t need to be. The characters are so believable and likeable. They might turn addictive when later books come out. There are a few things I wondered about, but I can’t share those without giving a spoiler.
The bottom line, at least for me, is that McKay writes great characters. I am sorry if a lot of this review pushed that fact, but it’s true. The YA genre, in my opinion, sometimes suffers from dense heroines and tired writing. This isn’t the case with The Farm. It is easy to read, with an adventurous/survival plot line that serves the novel well. I am dearly hoping that the second novel is not too long in the making. It has the potential to be a great series! (less)
Alex is called on by the light council of mages when apprentices come up missing. All leads seem to point to Fountain Reach, where a tournament fo...more3.5
Alex is called on by the light council of mages when apprentices come up missing. All leads seem to point to Fountain Reach, where a tournament for apprentices is being held. Meanwhile Alex meets two apprentices, Anne and Variam. Anne is quick friends with Alex’s apprentice Luna. As it happens Anne is also a magnet for danger.
Taken is the third novel in the Alex Verus series. I read the second one, but not the first. This is a series that could be read out of order, but some of the relationships between the characters might get confusing. Other than the relationships between reoccurring characters, the plot lines have been self-contained. Despite this, and like most Urban Fantasy series I would recommend reading them in order.
In Taken, and as in most of the series so far, Alex is given a mystery to figure out. Though he is not a P.I. or detective, he also holds no alliance to the dark mages or the light mages. He can see the future and has the help of a few friends on most of the cases that fall into his lap. Alex is a fun and easy hero to get behind. He is basically good, though he doesn’t see himself as such, yet he continually goes out of his way to do the right thing. He is never dense, and usually sees the clues as the reader does.
The mystery in Taken is a lot less complex than in the novel before it. The danger, or turns in the plot lacked the tension the series has had in the past. There were a few good moments of close escapes, but none of it as page flipping. Not only is he trying to discover what is happening to the apprentices, but he also ends up saving Anne.
The story takes place half in London and half in Fountain Reach. The house has a neat enchanted feel that is a little spooky. It becomes clear that though no apprentices are going missing in the house itself, it still has its own part to play in what is going on. Like the books before it, the story is only set over a few days.
This is a nice addition to series. It is a quick read that will only take a couple sittings. It does lack some of the tension that tied the second book together, and lacks in character growth. This is a plot centered story that ties up well at the end. The battles and close calls are still exciting even if they lacked tension. There is no romance in these pages, not even a romantic subplot, but it is still one of the better Urban Fantasy series that involve Mysteries. (less)
Bryn Davis was revived from death by a drug called Returne, but without daily shots of the drug she will slowly die. The company Pharmadene made th...more4.5
Bryn Davis was revived from death by a drug called Returne, but without daily shots of the drug she will slowly die. The company Pharmadene made the drug, but now the FBI is trying to shut it down. Bryn was forced to sign a deal with the FBI so she is always able to get the drug. She isn’t the only one that was revived from the drug, in fact she runs a support groups who have to use it to stay alive. A few start to go missing, and then the FBI calls her to help investigate a problem with the books. Shortly after that it is her they are trying to abduct.
I am so glad I didn’t say no to this one. It is the second book in the Revivalist series. I didn’t read the first one, and because it is sort of Urban Fantasy, I usually wouldn’t go out of order. Luckily this is not so far out of order, so it wasn’t impossible for me to figure out what had already happened. I say Urban Fantasy, but really it could be Urban Science Fiction, since it is a drug that brings these people back to life. Sometimes books come around that surprise me, this one is a surprise.
Two Weeks’ Notice starts out at a funeral where Bryn gives a little back history on what happened in the book before, which is well done. We are reminded that her sister is missing, and she is living with Patrick McCallister, who she is very attracted to, but they have yet to be intimate. It isn’t long before the FBI calls her to ask her to help Pharmadene’s CEO look over the books. Things are busy in her life, there is someone who wants to be a new member of the support group she runs for those who take Returne, and another member calls with a boat load of drama.
The story really opens up after she meets with Pharamdene’s CEO and is sent to look into a smaller company. There she finds dead bodies, a flash drive, a bomb that just about kills her, and a load of intrigue. From this point, until the end of the novel it moved at a fast pace. Bryn may take things too personal, but she is quick witted, and smart. Connecting the dots is a little harder here than in a lot of urban stories. There is also a raw quality to some of the action packed scenes. It does a wonderful job of putting the reader next to Bryn through most of it.
Bryn’s worst fault is ironically her heart. It isn’t a bad thing, and makes it easy to connect with her. Through some pretty hardcore stuff she says again and again how she wants to kill, but given options she doesn’t. Those running the show turn out to be just as personal to Bryn as she makes the situations. She is easy to love because of how much she is willing to sacrifice for those close to her or the world in general. She is a heroine that was dealt a bad hand, but she is doing an admirable job. There is also a nice twist towards the end that may dramatically affect the relationships between many characters.
There is a romantic plot, though it is without a doubt a subplot. Patrick and Bryn’s relationship is rocky, and I have no doubt will be brutally tested in books to come. Patrick was a give or take character in my eyes, and that might be because I missed the first sights of attraction from the first novel.
This is a series I will be reading. It is action packed, thrilling, and pretty much what I think one of these urban stories should be. It nearly got a perfect score, and may have if I had read the first book, but as it stands some of the characters around her were more of an annoyance than anything. I am told Bryn cares for them, and understand the relationships, but I don’t feel the close affection Bryn seems to hold. Other than that, and it is a very small thing, this has the makings to be a fantastic series. (less)
Celia and her two sisters have powers. Celia can see someone’s past just by touching them. Her other two sisters have the gifts of present and future....moreCelia and her two sisters have powers. Celia can see someone’s past just by touching them. Her other two sisters have the gifts of present and future. One day when Celia is walking along the pier a young street musician falls off into the ocean. Celia rushes down to the beach to help. At the same time an ocean girl named Lo has surfaced with her sisters. Lo used to be obsessed with remembering what it was like to be a normal girl who lived outside of the ocean. Molly, the newest of the ocean girls still remembers. When they see the young musician fall, Molly is told by one of the older girls that if she makes the boy fall in love with her, that Molly can leave the ocean. Lo knows it isn’t possible and rushes to save the young man before Molly drowns him.
This is a Little Mermaid retelling, not the Disney movie, but the original story. It sticks to a lot of the haunting details. This is also the third book in Pearce’s fairytale retelling series. I didn’t read the other two, and don’t know how, or if the first two are related. I will say that if they are related it does an excellent job of standing on its own. I didn’t feel like I missed anything from the other two books. It’s also a young adult novel. Usually the simplistic notes in young adult novels bother me, but that isn’t the case with Fathomless. The haunting prose of the story captured me on the first page.
The story switches off between Lo and Celia’s POV. Both girls are broken. Lo can’t remember her past as a human, and she also knows if she goes forward as an ocean girl she will turn into something else. She doesn’t want to stop being herself, but most of all, she wants to stop forgetting. Celia lives in the shadow of her sisters. She wants to be herself, and not an extension of her sisters. There is a dark note in both girls.
After the musician, Jude, is saved Celia starts a relationship with each. With Jude she can me just herself, and with Lo her gift is useful. Lo reclaims some of her past with Celia’s powers and starts to unlock the mystery of what happened to her. Like Celia she is haunted by who she was, and who she is now. Both girls serve as an excellent counter point to one another. As the mystery unfolds Celia’s sister Anne makes predicts death, and with a hurricane on the way the story explodes to an exciting conclusion.
Fathomless has a Gothic tone to it. The spin on the fairy tale is authentic, and it adds a modern tone. The writing is simplistic, as is most young adult, but told in a way that both teens and adults will enjoy it. It does have its share of angst. Jude is not the most dependable of men, but makes the right choices when it counts. He pushes both girls to be what they are, which is the message of the story. I would recommend this for those who like the retellings. I look forward to reading more from Pearce.(less)
Alex Connor gets a job in a small town as a corner. She moved there after some trouble with her father and stepmother. It isn’t long before one of the...moreAlex Connor gets a job in a small town as a corner. She moved there after some trouble with her father and stepmother. It isn’t long before one of the bodies that is brought in gets up and walks away during an autopsy. Not knowing what else to do, she reports it and is pointed to Precinct 13. There she discovers that paranormal problems are very real, and she might be more of a part of them than she bargained for.
Precinct 13 is a mystery kind of Urban Fantasy. It stands out due to its dark humor that can be more cute than dark at times. It isn’t a mystery I found myself trying to figure out. A lot of the details are held back from Alex, and I enjoyed discovering them with her.
Alex has had problems with the paranormal in the past. She was led to believe by doctors that she was mentally unstable. Her past boyfriend, Valentine was the only one that believed her in the past, so when strange things start happening he is the first one she calls. Valentine is a big part of the story, and a big part of Alex’s life. He is dangerously attractive, but the naughty scenes are glossed over. It is more an Urban Fantasy than a Romance. Even without knowing the bedroom details it does a good job of making Valentine desirable.
The actual precinct is like a police station for paranormal happenings within their town. Alex is quickly counted among them. At the precinct we meet a number of very interesting characters. In charge is half human, half fairy, Jones. As they try to discover more about the dead guy that walked out of the morgue, Alex quickly notices that Jones doesn’t always go about things the right way. It isn’t long before she feels as if she is the only one trying to solve what is going on.
The magic system here is really neat. We discover this world as Alex does, so the reader isn’t just tossed in. Because of the comic and cute parts it was a very easy to read story. It isn’t very complex and it rides easy to the end. It could easily be finished in one or two sitting with the time sliding by. Despite the dark notes in the novel it is a light easy read and I am hoping this turns into series. (less)
After a disappointing trip to see her brother, Beatrice is told by Oliver (the lusty vampire) that they have been assigned a mission together. They...more3.5
After a disappointing trip to see her brother, Beatrice is told by Oliver (the lusty vampire) that they have been assigned a mission together. They are to move into the vampire scene, under cover, in Dallas, and find a group of vampires who have been killing people. She isn’t that happy with Oliver, and assumed it is another way to get her alone and make a pass at her. Meanwhile her werewolf crush, Will, is still on vacation.
This is the second novel in A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation series. It is best to start from the first book, Mind Over Monsters. It is based around Beatrice, a school teacher with the ability to move objects with her mind. She joins F.R.E.A.K.S. in the first novel. She is also quickly thrust into a romantic triangle with a vampire, Oliver, and werewolf, Will. So far the first two books have been quick, banter heavy, and fun.
Beatrice isn’t different than a lot of heroines lately. She is sassy, concerned with her weight, and has a problem with self-esteem. I noticed in this novel that she is also closed minded, something I don’t know if I like in her. Anyway, she is sent on a mission with Oliver, the lusty vampire. They go undercover as a couple. Beatrice has issues with it, only because of her attraction for Oliver. What she denies, and her dislike for other women bothers me. I had to wait a couple days to write this up so I could figure out how I felt about it.
One of my favorite things about this series has been, when there is action it turns into a page flipping fiesta. At first finding this group of vampires didn’t feel that important. I was just in it to see Beatrice react to Oliver, but even that grew a little old. Most likely because she put on the, ‘I want him, but I am not going to touch him because he is not the good guy. I really have a true crush on Will, the werewolf. Plus I don’t do things like that.’ Cue my many eye-rolls. Then there is the actual case. It was hard to care about the dead people, and compared to Beatrice, Oliver, for all his claimed determination seemed a little lazy when getting down to business. After that’s all done the real action starts, centering on Oliver. Once it rains it pours. The last half of the book had tons of action that kept me reading. I think I actually read the full novel in two separate sittings. It’s an easy one to pick up and let hours slide by.
In comparison to the first book, I think it’s about the same. If you are thinking, ‘I have heard of/read things that sound similar,’ then you are dead on. The themes and plots are not anything brand new to the genre. In fact it pulls from hundreds of different things, not just the werewolf, vampire romantic triangle. To Catch a Vampire is a fun way to spend a lazy afternoon. The action, and ending felt worth it, despite my hesitation with Beatrice. (less)
A Trace of Moonlight is the third novel in the Abby Sinclair series. It’s a series you want to start with the first, A Brush of Darkness. In fact the...moreA Trace of Moonlight is the third novel in the Abby Sinclair series. It’s a series you want to start with the first, A Brush of Darkness. In fact the next paragraph might ruin the cliff hanger from book two. It’s nearly impossible to say what the book is about without giving something away from previous books, but as always I am going to do my best. If you want to check out the review from the book before it, A Silver of Shadow, here you are.
Abby not only loses the key to the crossroads (portal-ish key to getting almost anywhere) to the enemy, but the crossroads itself is turned upside down when it’s attacked. It is up to Abby and her friends to save it. During this mish mash of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy goodness, Abby still finds herself stuck between two unearthly men, and married to one of them.
From the first two books we know that Abby fixes her problems by often making them worse. The biggest problem I have with her is her inability to decide on who she is in love with. No, wait, I take that back, because she openly admits she is in love with both. She recognizes that what she is doing is unfair, and while she is willing to sacrifice herself for the greater good, she can’t do that inside a relationship. She also keeps saying that she needs to learn how to fight. You would think the sharp shooter elf prince would have given her some pointers. She stumbles her way through the story as she did before, trying to save things, and while she can manage it, she often makes other messes in the process.
Brystion causes Abby to explore more of her Dream Walker powers. We get peeks into the dreaming world of others, which like the TouchStone bonds, is really neat. The magical elements in this series never feel tacked on. Usually all things come with a price in this series.
The side characters have become more interesting. This book gives Melanie and Nobu a closer look. In previous books, we know that they were once TouchStoned lovers. In a way they are kind of the archetype cursed couple. On the other hand Nobu is a demon, and not a very nice one, yet for some reason I still want them to have their moments desperately. *Takes a girly sigh*
The problem here, at least for me, is that nothing is evolving. The last book featured the same demented bad guy, the same love triangle, and the same basic formula for a plot. It’s done in different ways, but it still feels a lot of the same. I was urging for some character growth, and development admits all the snarky conversations. The story leaves the reader on a high note, not actually a cliff-hanger, but enough information that lets the reader know everything has changed.
I do enjoy Pang’s fast pacing in this series. It’s always hard to set down. Despite my remark about the snarky language, I do enjoy it. I just want more from it, and still want more out of this series. This is a huge expanding world that is easy to follow, and is filled with a ton of unforgettable characters, but the plot felt a lot of the same. I still think readers are in for a treat with this series which is both witty and large scale.(less)
Jane Porter is studying to be a paleoanthropologist. It’s an unlikely profession for a woman, and even more unlikely for a woman of her station. He...more3.5
Jane Porter is studying to be a paleoanthropologist. It’s an unlikely profession for a woman, and even more unlikely for a woman of her station. Her father is encouraging, and obsessed with the same fever for scientific endeavors. Ral Conrath soon shows up in their lives and provides proof that fossils of the missing link might be found in Western Africa. Jane and her father are swayed and Conrath sets the travel arrangements. When events become disastrous in Africa, Jane finds herself waking up in the care of a wild man: Tarzan.
This is the Tarzan story told through the eyes of Jane. I have never read the classic Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. That means I cannot say how close this version is to the original story. Jane starts the novel out by presenting a skeleton to an academic committee, and claiming that not only is it the missing link, but it is not that old. No one believes it, and the academic community doesn’t see her in a good light. Only one man stays behind, Edgar Rice Burroughs, who she tells of her adventures in the wild.
The story is told through first person, via Jane. Other than the opening with Burroughs, it has a slow start. At first Jane is studying at Cambridge. Her fellow male students have cutting remarks, and her mother finds all of it inappropriate. There is also a student that Jane points out by name more than a couple times, but never really says or does much. It isn’t until they are in Africa the story starts to speed up.
Africa through Jane’s eyes is rich and vivid in detail without being over bearing on the reader. I enjoyed most of the scenes where she is doing nothing but observing. The drama with Conrath starts to unfold until it erupts and Tarzan makes his appearance. I enjoyed the budding relationship between him and Jane. Tarzan introduces Jane to his world, but he also introduces Jane to what she has come to Africa to originally find. I won’t say anymore on this, I already feel like I am coming dangerously close to spoilers.
The scenery for a love story is fantastic, but the love story itself is frustrating. Jane and Tarzan constantly get close, but every time something stops them. Instead of building tension, it can build frustration. Of course this isn’t just a love story, it’s an adventure story. The adventuring wasn’t as action packed as it could have been. There are small bits of excitement throughout the novel leading up to a major climax. The climax, which is rich in detail, maybe too rich when it comes to Jane’s point of view; often times the scene pans away from her.
Then came a ‘WTF!?’ ending. I was excited to read how Tarzan and Jane were going to make it work in the modern world. I found this a more interesting concept than the jungle adventure. Burroughs sums up my feelings perfectly at the end of the novel. You left us hanging Jane! This novel is supposed to be a standalone, but then why the cliffhanger?
I did enjoy the novel. It has a few flaws towards the end, but for the most part it immerses itself in an exotic Africa that was a wonderful experience. It isn’t hard reading, but it is set in the early 1900’s and has all the trappings of the time period. Jane on the other hand is not a woman of her time, she wants more, and who can blame her. Her calling takes her to Africa, and in the arms of Tarzan. (less)
Emma is Sorceress Prime, who works for the Crown. When Mentaths are found dead around an alternate Industrial Revaluation London Emma meets Mr. Cla...more3.5
Emma is Sorceress Prime, who works for the Crown. When Mentaths are found dead around an alternate Industrial Revaluation London Emma meets Mr. Clare, an unregistered Mentath. With his help, and the help of her shield Mikal, who she is having trouble trusting, they unravel a plot of treachery against the Crown.
The Iron Wyrm Affair is a Steampunk alternate history romp. Mentaths are extreme logical thinkers who can figure out very difficult equations. Mr. Clare can speak to someone and deduce where they are from, and parts of their personal history. Mentaths work best with logic. Anything illogical affects them in a negative way. On the other side of that there are people with magic and different levels of it. Emma is the highest level, called Prime. There are also different branches of magic.
Emma wastes little time with Mr. Clare before they are off to find out what is going on. Right off the bat someone tries to kill them. There is also a side romantic plot with Emma and Shield Mikal, but that takes a large back seat to discovering why the Mentaths are being killed. The story takes the characters into parts of London that are turned on its head in this magical Steampunk land.
The story trades off between Emma and Mr. Clare in each chapter. It is neat seeing the story from two viewpoints. Emma is different type of heroine. Her first priority is her mission and while a Shield’s job is to protect his or her Prime, it is Emma who is kicking butt. Mr. Clare on the other hand seems less commanding and far more average, and was easier for me to relate to in some ways than Emma.
The language took some getting used to. It is an Industrial age Steampunk story, and it is written as one. A lot of the terms were new to me, because of that it slowed the story down. It also has tons of action. They might be fighting magic forces or mecha Steampunk automations. Either way there is hardly a dull moment. While I enjoy my fair share of epic battles I often times had to go back through battles and figure out just what had happened, most of that is due to the language. It was too easy to get distracted from the story.
It has the clockwork horses and gas lights of plenty. Like most Steampunk stories I have followed down the clockwork rabbit hole, the richness falls into the details. Don’t expect much in the romantic department. The side plot for the romance is a very interesting and complex relationship, but lacks a lot of time or detail. Emma is strong female lead, but a little cold. The most important thing to her is getting the job done. Mr. Clare on the other hand with all his logical conclusions is often time humorous, without meaning to be, and much warmer.(less)
In Night of Fire, the second book in The Ether Chronicles, Tom returns home to Thornville. He left years ago and joined the army making him an Upland...moreIn Night of Fire, the second book in The Ether Chronicles, Tom returns home to Thornville. He left years ago and joined the army making him an Upland Ranger. On his way home he encounters a mining machine. Once in Thornville he meets the lover he left, Rosa, who is now the sheriff. He watches her deal with some rowdy men, and they soon learn the men were sent by the same people with the mining machine. The mining machine is heading straight for the town, and doesn’t care who it flattens. It is up to Rosa and Tom to save the town.
Night of Fire is a western Steampunk. It isn’t all that long, and only takes place over two days. Tom returns to Rosa to find her unattached. He wastes no time scooping her up on his metal horse and heading off into the sunset to beat up some bad guys. The story is about the action, and the short adventure. They dodge bullets, blow stuff up, and everything in-between. It mentions very briefly the characters in the past book, but it lacks the feel of a broad world the first book seemed to have.
The major problem is that it lacked in romance. The steamy scene here isn’t so steamy. I felt no buildup of romantic tension between the two of characters, and was more than a little disappointed. It doesn’t help that Rosa is the one forgiving Tom. We don’t spend a lot of time in her head other than her just telling us stuff. Her character was thin. She tells the reader how hot she is for Tom, how her anger is going away (not that I ever got that she was angry at all), and later she tells Tom how well it worked out because of the time that separated them.
The story mainly sticks to Tom who is just glad to be accepted back into Rosa’s good graces. Instead of gratified and happy for their budding romance I felt irritated that she just let him move back into her life. It kind of seems that because Tom, without asking, helps her wrangle villains, putting his life on the line for her and the town, that it is ample reason to forgive him. While this is brave of him, Thornville was also his town, and I didn’t understand how it was an acceptable reason to drop panties.
On a positive note this story has a ton of adventure. I don’t think it stands on its own tension, but if you are reading it for the Steampunk romp it does have that. Near misses are plentiful, as are strange inventions, and tons of western whooping. If you want a quick Steampunk adventure, it is what you are looking for, but I wouldn’t grab it for the romance. (less)