Girl in Disguise tells the fictionalized story of Kate Warne who, in real life, was the first female detective ever. Specifically working for the PinkGirl in Disguise tells the fictionalized story of Kate Warne who, in real life, was the first female detective ever. Specifically working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency based in Chicago. Kate's cases will take her from the streets of Chicago rooting out bank thieves and disgruntled employees, to a spy for the Union during the Civil War, even going so far as to play a prominent role in thwarting a plot to assassinate President Lincoln before he could be sworn into office.
But underneath the intrigue and adventure of being a detective, Kate still has to prove and establish herself constantly within a field seen fit by many for only men. The fact that Kate digs her own niche in the detective community is praise-worthy in its own right, but that she becomes so successful at it and not because of the men she works with but because of her own intelligence and cunning is truly inspiring.
I loved hearing about this largely unknown historical figure. I wish there was more actual information out there about her, but I like what Greer Macallister has given Kate Warne with her story. The seeds of truth are in there even though the book is categorized as historical fiction.
I think as to be expected given the subject matter, Girl in Disguise moved along at a swift pace. Kate's life was such that often she was required to pack at a moment's notice and be on the move. There was very little down time, and so the story didn't get bogged down with too many slow moments. There were times, however, when Kate would question her life and her choices. The job of a detective required Kate to take on differing personas, and as she stated, often outright lie to people. Create long and detailed histories for the people she had to be in order to find the information she needed to close a case. Kate finds herself actually losing herself. She doesn't know where the real Kate begins at times and / or where the lie ends. She had a rather lonely life, and heartbreaking. Sometimes, as with all of us, it got to be too much, but Kate would never let it get her down for long because in the end, she absolutely loved her job and the good she brought because of it.
That's not to say Kate didn't form any meaningful or lasting relationships. Greer Macallister certainly paints the story to include Kate forming bonds with some, albeit not all, of her fellow detectives, and she even goes on to head up the Female Detective leg of the agency. Kate had quite the colorful and rewarding life. For me, the parts the revolved around the Civil War were the most interesting. I liked seeing things from a different side, meaning seeing things from the side of a spy, who is not out on the battlefront but is in just as much danger.
Overall, I really enjoyed Girl in Disguise. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good historical fiction. And if you're someone who, in the past hasn't really liked reading historical fiction, I'd say Girl in Disguise is just the type of story to change your mind.
*Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
The tenth book in the Mercy Thompson series takes a bit of a turn than previous installments. After Mercy is attacked and abducted from the Tri-CitiesThe tenth book in the Mercy Thompson series takes a bit of a turn than previous installments. After Mercy is attacked and abducted from the Tri-Cities, she wakes and finds that she's been taken by a very powerful vampire. Not only that, but Mercy finds her mate bond has been broken, and she's no longer in the states. Mercy will need to figure out a way to navigate the streets of Prague on her own, without help, while being hunted.
Meanwhile, Adam, obviously on a very precarious edge with his mate missing, heads to Europe in what turns out to be a diplomatic mission garnered by the fact that in the previous book Fire Touched, essentially Mercy claimed the Columbia Basin as a neutral territory for all species and with the understanding that the Pack would protect all those who need protecting in their area. This has obviously caused a big spotlight on Adam's pack and the new power in which it finds itself entailed. Hopefully Adam can hold his wolf in check enough to not cause a worldwide disaster, and get Mercy back in the process.
When I mention that Silence Fallen takes a bit of a turn, it's for the simple fact that we get not only Mercy's perspective, but Adam's this time around. I liked the deviation from the norm as mainly I love to see a different character's take on other characters. Plus, with Adam getting his own time in the spotlight, so to speak, while Mercy is out of the picture in his scenes, it allows for more time to be spent with other secondary characters. Namely, we learn a lot about Marsilia and Elizaveta in Silence Fallen and I could not complain about that. Now typically, I'm not a fan when an author decides to split up the main couple, or have a book where their scenes together are few and far between. Once a couple is established I enjoy their interactions. But, I do have to say that if I have to read a story where the main couple is kept apart for most of the narrative, Patricia Briggs gives a perfect example of how to do that. And it probably mainly falls down to the fact that Mercy and Adam's relationship is so solid.
I continue to be in awe of this series that Briggs has built. How complex the workings are of the different supernatural factions. We've learned a lot about Pack politics over the course of the series, and we've learned about the Fae, but I liked seeing the vampires more in action this time around and I really enjoyed seeing Adam (and from Adam's perspective / his wolf's perspective at times) how he deals with these situations. It's this fine line that has to be walked in order to avoid an all-out war, and I think Patricia Briggs cleverly navigates her characters through the different scenarios.
It was also nice to get out of the Tri-Cities. We haven't done it often in this series, but I really enjoyed seeing the "old world" in Silence Fallen. I liked that Patricia Briggs incorporated some history into the area in which Mercy finds herself adrift.
Now, another twist thrown in for good measure, I suppose, is the fact that the story is not necessarily told in a linear fashion. Big thanks to Patricia Briggs for stating this fact right out of the gate so we readers know to pay attention. Otherwise I can see how things could get confusing pretty quickly. Once I was engrossed in the book, I found it very interesting how unbeknownst to Adam or Mercy at any given time was how much the other's actions kind of influences what was going on in their mate's portion of the story. We would learn these things after the fact of course, so I think that makes Silence Fallen a prime candidate for a re-read just to see, once you're in the know, the "tells" or the "clues" to upcoming events.
I will say that how said events ended up playing out was a bit unexpected for me. And I'm not sure, when all is said and done, if I really liked the turn the story took, or not. Don't get me wrong, it was definitely an enjoyable read, and one that I didn't want to put down, but I wasn't thinking we would end up where we do, which I think threw me a little bit. So it's something I'll have to ponder I suppose before I come to a conclusion, or maybe just see what events precipitate based on what happens in Silence Fallen.
Mercy continues to be a heroine to get behind. Her wily coyote ways serve her well in the many and varying situations she finds herself in over the course of the book. You never want to underestimate her. I really like how Mercy and her (knowledge of her) powers continue to grow. But it's a growth that seems natural and not just thrown in for drama or action. She learns something new about herself in each book. Sometimes it's something smaller, or sometimes it's a better understanding of a power she already (and readers already) knew she had. Either way, Patricia Briggs, now ten books in, continues to write an interesting and often surprising character.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Scholar Evan Newcome is looking into the murder of his best friend. To start, he travels to Wales to find the mysterious woman his friend was suppo3.5
Scholar Evan Newcome is looking into the murder of his best friend. To start, he travels to Wales to find the mysterious woman his friend was supposed to be meeting with on the night of his murder. But when he actually meets Mrs. Catrin Price, she's not what he expected.
Catrin has been plagued by the family curse her entire life. Before any of them can marry, the women of the family must first drink from an ancient Druid chalice. By not doing so the groom is fated to die within three years of the marriage. Catrin Price has experienced this curse firsthand when she lost her husband on their wedding day. In order to move on and marry again to keep her family going, Catrin has determined to track down the chalice. And after traveling to London to acquire it back for her family, she finds out that the man who sold it to her wound up dead. In order to avoid any false accusations she hides the fact that she has the chalice. So when Evan Newcome shows up asking about it, Catrin does the only thing she can think of: she lies.
I did not read Windswept when it was first published so I'm not sure of any changes / updates that have been made to the story. I wavered back and forth while reading this one. Just when I would start to think that there was no way the storyline could continue for the amount of page time left, Sabrina Jeffries would introduce a new layer / element that would quickly renew my interest.
There's quite a bit of intrigue surrounding the chalice. I enjoyed this part the most and honestly would have loved more development in this area of the storyline.
Instead, since this is first and foremost romance, the attraction between Evan and Catrin is the main focus. While, yes, the chalice was a factor in bringing them together, and for causing the inevitable conflict between them, by the end the misunderstandings and misrepresentations became a bit too repetitive for my tastes.
While the outside problems that arise from the chalice (not revolving around the relationship between Evan and Catrin) were far more interesting to me.
I loved Catrin's sweet demeanor and shyness, yet in the face of trouble she'd protect what was important to her and wouldn't back down. Evan was just ok for me as far as a hero goes and I think this is just because I felt like we only learn the base fundamentals of who he is. He falls for Catrin almost immediately, yet he feels like there's no chance for them to be together because of the way he grew up. I felt like his turnaround just sort of happens. I didn't really feel like we saw the transformation of him learning to accept who he is / was.
Overall, though, the story was a pretty good read. Regardless of anything I found fault with, I kept being drawn back into the story again and again. This is a testament to the wonderful writing of Sabrina Jeffries.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for and honest review.
Up to this point I've found Eli to be the most mysterious of the Crane siblings. Then he when he was injured in an explosion toward the end of The BilUp to this point I've found Eli to be the most mysterious of the Crane siblings. Then he when he was injured in an explosion toward the end of The Billionaire Next Door (Tag's book), I felt like we were finally seeing a little piece of his character. I liked where things were leading. And I was happy to finally get to know this mysterious Marine.
Eli Crane is trying to acclimate himself to his new / old life. A life that has been irrevocably changed since his honorable discharge from the Marines, and the loss of two of his best friends in the same explosion that cost him his leg. His family is there for support, and they're ready to help him move forward with his life and to take up a position at Crane Hotels. Eli is not so ready to move on quite yet, and thwarts all his family's attempts. Namely, they've hired a number of personal assistants, and Eli has fired every single one of them.
So in steps Isabella Sawyer. Her new employment agency could desperately use all the business the Crane name can ensure. She won't let Eli Crane tarnish her reputation. So she decides to pose as another assistant. Isa is not one to back down from a challenge, so when Eli Crane pushes, she pushes right back. Eli finds he likes the challenge and soon the natural attraction between the two becomes serious. But, are Eli's feelings for Isa enough to make him finally move forward and can he open up enough to let her know his thoughts and feelings?
Right away I loved the clear play on Beauty and the Beast. The Bastard Billionaire is not a complete retelling, but it has a few of the same themes.
I loved the way Jessica Lemmon deals with Eli's life post-injury. We definitely get to see Eli working through his remaining issues. He may try to play off, to the outside world, that everything is fine, but it's his internal monologues where we get to see what's really going on in his head. One of the things Eli needs to work out is being able to share those inner thoughts with others. Being able to ask for help, or being able to tell someone he's in pain. We see that Eli has a lot of preconceived ideas about other people's reactions to him and his injury. We see this a lot when Eli first meets Isa. He'll misconstrue her silence or a look she gives him as being repelled by his leg, but then when we get Isa's point-of-view we understand misunderstanding. I loved that we got both Isa and Eli's perspectives in this story. I think it was really important to show the distinction in some cases. There was a great progression of where Eli begins this book and where everything ends. It was paced just right.
I also have to say that I think Jessica Lemmon outdid herself with the heat level in this one. The relationship between Eli and Isa is absolutely hot, hot, hot. I'm pretty sure I said this about Tag and Rachel too, but I'm revising my statement in saying that I think Eli and Isa are my favorite couple in this series.
This being, what I'm pretty sure is, the last book in this particular series, I was happy that the other couples / characters got frequent page time, and l really liked seeing all the brothers kind of connect, finally, with one another. Jessica Lemmon always leaves me wanting more in all of her books, which is definitely not a bad thing, but I would have loved an epilogue giving readers a little bit more info on where all our couples wind up in a few years down the line. But if that's the only complaint I can find, then it's a safe bet that this is a good read. I look forward to whatever Jessica Lemmon has for us next. She's become one of my go-to authors.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Ever since Ivy Erickson was a child she’s been able to see the exact moment that someone will die. It appears like a glaringly red countdown clock over their heads. That’s why three months ago Ivy knew her best friend Vanessa would die. But what she isn’t prepared for is the way the people around her die.
The complicated events of three months ago culminated in Vanessa being murdered and Ivy finding the body. Now, Ivy is being ostracized by many people in her small community who believe she’s knows who killed Vanessa but is protecting them. Ivy is trying her best to just get through the torment and the bullying as it seems like Ivy’s countdown is on for one month, 27 days, 59 minutes, and two seconds. When another woman goes missing, Ivy knows that before her time is up, she needs to find the murderer.
There were two things the really drove the story in Gardenia. One, the mystery. Kelsey Sutton did a great job of twisting things around to cast shade on several characters. The possibilities were all completely plausible. Two, the countdown clock hanging over Ivy’s head. I kept wondering if Sutton would be so bold as to kill off her main character, her heroine, our narrator by the end of the book. As a reader I kept trying to figure out some kind of loophole that Ivy could jump through to prevent her predicted demise, and I kept coming up blank. No spoilers, so if you want to know, you’ll have to pick up the book!
Besides the relatively quick-paced story, there were of course things that worked better for me than others.
I think because there’s such a constricted timeframe on the story we didn’t really get as much character development as I would have liked. Many of the secondary characters seemed very stock to me. The exceptions would be Ivy’s ex-boyfriend Myers and new-girl-in-school Amanda. Both these characters have, in Myers’ case, deep, sometimes painful history with Ivy, or, in Amanda’s case, are a new element to Ivy’s life and show her a different perspective of herself.
Ivy was also, at times, a difficult character. She is obviously going through a lot. I can’t even imagine the weight and burden upon her shoulders knowing, down to the second, when someone is going to die, let alone knowing when I would die. That’s heavy. It’s always kept her from getting too close to people and opening up. Then just recently Ivy loses one of the few people closest to her when Vanessa is murdered, and to lose that person in such a way is quite devastating. So when Ivy’s attitude appears more blasé than broken, I couldn’t fault her strength of character whatsoever. I questioned her viewpoint of not fighting until the end though. I suppose she’s made some smidgeon of peace with knowing her time is running out, but I didn’t want to see her give in so easily. Slowly, though, she does turn around towards the end, especially when she gets closer to figuring out the murderer.
Overall, Gardenia is a compelling read. The fact that we’re not given much in the way of why Ivy can see the countdown clocks was an interesting choice. Definitely leaves a lot open to speculation....more
In Zero to Sixty it's Sam Hamilton's turn in the spotlight. If you remember, Sam had some issues in Roadside Assistance dealing with his friend FoleyIn Zero to Sixty it's Sam Hamilton's turn in the spotlight. If you remember, Sam had some issues in Roadside Assistance dealing with his friend Foley finding love and settling down a bit; having that feeling of possibly losing his family as the case may be.
Zero to Sixty delves further into Sam's mindset. We find out why he had such a feeling of abandonment when Foley started dating Cyn, and even though he's come to terms with his friend's new love, we find that his own childhood plays a huge role in how he views himself, of how he views his self-worth.
Then we have Ivy. Sam first ran into Ivy when he was looking for a rescue dog that got away from him. Well, said dog pretty much ran right into Ivy's arms. While the first meeting was very brief, Sam couldn't get Ivy out of his head. He goes back to her place of work under the guise of checking on the dog, and things pretty much start from there.
The thing Marie Harte really did well with Sam and Ivy's story was making the decision for them to get to know one another before becoming intimate. Not only does this make the connection for the characters themselves stronger, but it does so for the readers as well. I know that I was just as ready as Ivy and Sam were to finally cross the line from platonic into romantic. Plus, this makes the chemistry between Sam and Ivy just pop off the page.
I thought that Marie Harte did a great job with Sam's past as well. Finally getting that whole story of his childhood and the kind of relationship he has with his mother really opens your eyes to Sam's actions and attitudes, the glimpses we got, in the previous books. His past directly influences his present state of mind, there's no denying that. It was heartbreaking to see the struggle that Sam goes through trying to reconcile himself with what he believes his self-worth to be. Ivy is his savior, of sorts. They find they have similar experiences in their childhoods and it only brings them closer. They're able to fully expose their vulnerabilities to one another, so to speak, and not fear reprisals for their honesty.
So far, I would have to say that Sam and Ivy have become my favorite couple in this series. Although I'm looking forward to the mysterious Lou's turn next. He's the one man out of the four that I feel like we know the least about, besides the fact that he's got a huge family consisting of a lot of sisters. There are definite hints letting readers know what to expect, but I'm thinking we'll be in for a few surprises along the way.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Eden Collins was fortunate enough to escape her mother's cult and go on to become a great profiler with the FBI. But when she receives an emailed pictEden Collins was fortunate enough to escape her mother's cult and go on to become a great profiler with the FBI. But when she receives an emailed picture of a girl found murdered in what is clearly a ritualistic fashion, she's forced to go home again to Clear Springs, while trying not to be sucked back into the life she tried so hard to escape.
Clear Springs Sheriff Zach Owens has enough on his plate trying to find a murderer. The last thing he needs is the daughter of a cult leader / suspect on his doorstep trying to tell him what to do. But one look at Eden lets Zach know that she's no more involved in this than he is. And it's taken a hell of a lot of courage for her to come back after ten years considering everything she went through. But soon evidence points to the fact that maybe the reason why Eden was pulled back was because she's exactly where the killer wants her to be. They'll need to figure this mystery out before it's too late.
Right away I really loved the whole mystery / creepy cult storyline. The way everything twists and turns, truly implicated everyone. I kinda wish it was a bit more eerie and twisting though because I was pretty sure I knew the murderer before the end, but even when that theory was thrown for a slight loop (because I wasn't completely wrong in my assumptions), I still wasn't shocked by who the killer turned out to be. I would have loved to be completely blindsided. But regardless, the mystery and figuring out who was behind the killings really drove me to keep reading.
Now, the romance aspect was a little harder for me to swallow. The insta-love that happens just didn't work for me. For all that I liked both Zach and Eden, and I liked them together, the quick way Zach turns around and decides he's actually attracted to Eden, as opposed to considering her a possible suspect, just happened too quickly for me. I would have liked a little more build-up first.
I thought that Katee Robert did a great job is representing the struggle Eden is going through by returning to Clear Springs. Easy to see how difficult being back in her hometown, back to a place with such bad memories for her. Eden's character kind of straddles the line between being a badass FBI agent and a woman going through an emotional crisis. We're told that Eden is good at her job, and for all intents and purposes I believe this statement, but when it comes to being objective toward the cult that raised her, you can definitely see she has a tough time with that, but she's still able to pull out the fight when needed. And that's what Katee Robert wrote so well. She didn't make Eden infallible, she made her human.
By that extension, Eden's mother, and cult leader, Martha Collins is quite the character as well. The ulterior motives and the secrets beneath the surface weren't so simple to pick out that she became this caricature. Instead you really want to believe that she loves Eden as her daughter and not as some kind of symbol, but then you second guess yourself about her. She's definitely one you don't want to turn your back on, or get on their bad side because you're never quite sure what she'll do or how far her sinister reaches. Another great, yet subtle characterization.
I'm not sure if there is a plan for this or if this one is truly just a standalone. Overall, I enjoyed the story. I wouldn't be upset to read more books featuring Eden as I think there's still a lot of growth her character could go through.
*Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
The last thing Zoe wants when starting a new job, is to discover that her client is none other than the one night stand that she had four months ago.The last thing Zoe wants when starting a new job, is to discover that her client is none other than the one night stand that she had four months ago. The same man who left without so much as a "goodbye" and definitely no call back. No matter, Zoe is a professional and she will just focus on the work, get it done, and never have to see Ryder Covington again. That is, if he would actually cooperate with her on the project.
Famous snowboarder, Ryder Covington, isn't above helping his brother out while he recovers from an injury. Ryder, himself, is out on his own injury so he can definitely spend the time helping his brother renovate an old ski resort. The problem is, Ryder is not one hundred percent behind the renovation, and to top it off, working with Zoe is proving to be more difficult than he thought. Ryder just has to remain focused on getting back on his board and back to his team. Which is easier said than done.
Zoe definitely stood out for me as being Lainey's roommate from The Rule Book. I was really happy when I learned that this second book would be Zoe's book, and I actually ended up enjoying it more than the first one.
While I was happy that Zoe was going to take center stage for this book, I actually found that more revolved around Ryder in this one. I think it's because Ryder, more than Zoe, had things to work out in his life. His injury begrudgingly forces him to take a look at his future. And the lift he currently lives, makes it difficult to have steady relationships (hence the one night stands). But in reconnecting with Zoe he finds that he wants more, but it takes some time before he figures out what he can do and still be happy. What he's willing to give up, or change, in order to give him the life / future that he wants.
Zoe, on the other hand, is pretty set. She loves her job and her life. The only thing she somewhat worries about is that her attraction to Ryder will jeopardize her job seeing as how no personal relationships with clients is Rule #1 in her office. But this problem doesn't really seem to weigh on Zoe as much as Ryder's problems because once the job is over, Ryder will technically no longer be her client.
The connection between Ryder and Zoe was spot on. What starts out as attraction with a dose of animosity between them, quickly just breaks into undeniable chemistry. There was no denying these two were hot together during their one night together, and I liked that they both felt the attraction, that it wasn't one-sided.
There were a couple of elements added that didn't pan out for me quite well enough such as conflicts arising with Ryder's grandparents over his brother's purchase and intention to renovate the resort. But, like with the first book, I'm hoping Ryder's brother, Jason, will get his story told next. The setup is perfect, in my opinion. If that is indeed the case I can see how the conflicts that arise with the family would carry over into his story and, therefore, possibly be concluded there.
Overall, I enjoyed this quick, lighthearted read. I look forward to the next book in the series!...more
Under Rose-Tainted Skies tells the story of Norah Dean who suffers from agoraphobia and OCD. Leaving her house is a struggle on the best of days, whenUnder Rose-Tainted Skies tells the story of Norah Dean who suffers from agoraphobia and OCD. Leaving her house is a struggle on the best of days, when she has to go to therapy, on the worst of days, it just plain doesn't happen. This has been Norah's life for four years. She's built a routine, she's interested in music and reading. Takes online courses to finish high school, and sometimes has dreams where she is able to travel outside of her home without the world crashing to the ground around her. But those dreams are put on the back-burner.
One day, Norah notices the new boy moving in next door. She catches his attention too, and soon Luke and Norah are navigating a somewhat awkward friendship that makes Norah question everything she feels and thinks. Could she be more with Luke than friends? Or will she continue to be restrained by her illness?
First off, I know it seems as though a lot of emphasis is put upon this burgeoning relationship between Luke and Norah, but in reality this book is all Norah's. Luke's friendship / maybe more relationship adds another layer to everything already piled on top of Norah's psyche, but it's more a pathway for her to begin to, hopefully, get to a place where she's able to leave the house, where she's able to touch someone without having a breakdown. It's a challenge, and Norah is such a strong and brave character that, despite initial misgivings, she takes the challenge and tries. Luke represents a change up in Norah's safely built routine, kind of a catalyst that makes her rethink what her mind and heart have been telling her for four years. So while what Luke and Norah develop is very sweet and cute, and while Luke was represented in a great way in that he doesn't back down from what many would think is too complicated a situation, everything in the story, I thought, was very internalized for Norah. Norah needed to be the one to take the first steps.
There was kind of a monotony / repetition to Norah's action, but I took this as clear representation of what someone with agoraphobia / OCD would go through everyday. Plus, by the end, I felt I had a better understanding of someone who does suffer from these illnesses goes through everyday. I think that's very important to have the issues appeal to everyone, not just others who suffer, but those who don't as well, and Under Rose-Tainted Skies really paints the picture quite starkly. But also, the book doesn't fall into a depressing read. I felt Norah's attitude was quite refreshing. True, she also has bouts of depression and her thinking can get a little dark, but for the most part she understands, and even comments upon the fact, that her situations her anything but "normal" and she kind of takes a tongue-in-cheek attitude, for the most part.
I really liked Norah's story. It was one that I didn't want to put down. I just wanted to find out where we would leave Norah in the end. I was rather impressed with the journey we're taken on, overall.
The Curse of Tenth Grave left Charley with a lot on her plate, as per usual. Yes, she banished one rogue god toOriginally posted at Vampire Book Club
The Curse of Tenth Grave left Charley with a lot on her plate, as per usual. Yes, she banished one rogue god to the god-glass necklace, but she still has one at large and needs to figure out how to take care of him, as Beep’s survival is on the line. Then, there’s the fact that she’s still trying to come to terms with her own godhood, her beef with Jehovah over which has caused his ever-vigilant angels to follow Charley around wherever she goes, plus the fact that Uncle Bob’s life may still be in danger despite having saved him from his foreseen death previously.
To top it all off, though, Charley is officially hired by Reyes’ sorta-kinda-in-a-way-brother Shaun to look into his adoptive parents the Fosters, and to find his real parents. Just a reminder: the Fosters are the people who stole Reyes from his birth parents and eventually sold him to the evil Earl Walker. Of course Reyes wants Charley to drop the investigation, but, come on; this is Charley Davidson we’re talking about. The moment she backs away from anything is the moment hell freezes over….oh wait.
I always love being back in Charley’s world and Eleventh Grave is certainly on par with all the wit and humor we’ve come to know and love from our grim reaper/god.
I’ve felt that ever since she had Beep, subsequently lost then regained her memories, and learned she is a god, there’s been an increased level of maturity to Charley, which is a nice element of growth to her character. Probably one of my favorite things about Eleventh Grave is that we get to see Charley really learn about and start to hone her powers, with Reyes acting as Charley’s Yoda/Obi-Wan—albeit with a bit more sexytimes however. Constantly, people are telling her what she’s able (or should be able) to do with her powers and she’s always been clueless. So it was really nice to see Charley gain some perspective on who she is because she still equates herself as human and it just isn’t true. But I do like the fact that Charley hangs on to her humanity, especially in the face of what we learn about her history.
Having said that, what really kept Eleventh Grave from being a five-star rating was the fact that I felt as though it was too jam-packed full of varying leftover storylines. I felt like all the open story threads from Tenth Grave were kind of just check-marked off the list to clear the way for what is happening in the next book, which is all set-up within the last maybe five to ten percent of the book. Unfortunately, I felt like a few scenes could have been throwaways because the resolution was just so quick.
That’s not to say Eleventh Grave wasn’t an enjoyable read. It certainly was. It just felt more transitory for me than revelatory. There’s a certain point towards the end where you get a definite feel of where the story will be heading in the next book, and I just wanted to tell Charley: “No! Bad Idea!” But alas, this is not a Choose Your Own Adventure book. So we’ll have to wait until fall to find out The Trouble with Twelfth Grave....more
Kill Without Shame is the second book in Alexandra Ivy's ARES Security series. This time, we're dealing with Lucas St. Clair a privileged youth who leKill Without Shame is the second book in Alexandra Ivy's ARES Security series. This time, we're dealing with Lucas St. Clair a privileged youth who left his prestigious family and political aspirations behind when he joined the military. None of his parents' wealth and influence means anything, however, when he and his brothers are imprisoned by the Taliban. His only regret is leaving childhood sweetheart Mia Ramon. Now, a changed man, Lucas and his brothers have formed ARES security. But Lucas is quickly taken back to his past when he learns Mia's life may be in danger.
Mia Ramon has not forgiven, or really gotten over, Lucas leaving all those years ago. And with his re-emergence in her life, despite him claiming it's for her safety, she's still not sure she wants him there. Because no matter how hard Mia tries, she still feels that attraction to Lucas that she felt so long ago. But first, they'll have to figure out who wants to do Mia harm and why.
Already, I can tell you that I enjoyed Kill Without Shame much more than the first book Kill Without Mercy. The tangled mystery surrounding Mia being threatened kept my attention. I'll not say I didn't see most of the twists coming, I think they're pretty apparent actually, but the way everything fits together in the end kept being a tangled knot that needed to be undone, and I was interested to see where everything led to in the end.
I'm also quite the sucker for second-chance romance which is exactly the boat that Mia and Lucas find themselves in. There's something about two people having such history together and never really getting over that history that I love reading about in my romances. Also, where I had issues with the heroine's characterization in the first book, I had no such qualms here. Mia was a strong-willed, determined heroine. And while she often had a penchant for wanting to jump right into the danger before thinking, she would stop and listen when Lucas reasoned with her a bit.
Probably one of my only issues with the story was the emphasis put on the past. Lucas is alerted to Mia's life being threatened when one of their high school friends is found murdered with a picture of Mia with a message to "kill her". This person was supposed to be a really good friend of Mia's since early childhood, and even though adulthood found them drifting apart and this friend was apparently involved in somewhat shady dealings, Mia cared for him and vice versa, mainly due to the fact that their family situations were very similar growing up. I just didn't feel this connection. I think had this friendship connection been more apparent / stronger the mystery about why this man had Mia's photo with that message would have been more emotionally impactful, instead I felt like it could have been any random stranger carrying her picture and the same goal would have been achieved.
Other than that, I still felt like the relationship between the men of ARES is the strongest thing about the books. I believe this time around the other men got more page time perspectives than in the previous book which just further solidifies the unbreakable bond between the men. There's one story thread that was started in the first book and continues here with a little more information. I think it's highly clever of Alexandra Ivy for setting up the storyline this way, I'm thinking when we actually do get to this story, it'll be a big impact for all involved.
As I said, I enjoyed this one much more than the first book. Hopefully, the remainder continue on with the trend of getting better each time.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Having just more recently gotten into reading poetry, I really still haven't read an extensive amount as of yet. But I found that once I got into theHaving just more recently gotten into reading poetry, I really still haven't read an extensive amount as of yet. But I found that once I got into the ebb and flow of Amanda Lovelace's The Princess Saves Herself in this One, it was extremely relatable . What I love about poetry is the short, quick catches of phrase that one can zoom past with such abandon, but the treat comes when you take the time to read, possibly re-read the words maybe read it aloud, change the cadence of how the phrase is said, when you can find new meaning(s) within the short, quick phrases. Amanda Lovelace's writings are riddle with such treats.
Another notable thing about this book that I quite loved was the build up of a theme. Almost like painting a picture. One poem would start a topic off and the ones following would build upon that slowly until you understood the direction and the topic at hand. There were a couple of times where the pattern would shift or change too suddenly for me, and I'd have to figure out that we had left off where we were and were off to something new. Then there were things started that I wish had been given more time to grow before we were off on another topic. But regardless, the often personal / private thoughts that take up the majority of the poems present a stark honesty that ranges from anywhere on the spectrum of sad to angry to happy to empowered to content, etc.
Overall, I enjoyed this poem collection. I look forward to going back and reading this one again seeing new thoughts / ideas that I may have missed before. ...more
When I won an arc of Come Sundown, I was over the moon happy. I've been looking forward to this new book from Nora Roberts since I first heard about iWhen I won an arc of Come Sundown, I was over the moon happy. I've been looking forward to this new book from Nora Roberts since I first heard about it. I'll say that the majority, at first, of my interest centered around the fact that Come Sundown takes place on a ranch / resort in Montana; much like my favorite Roberts novel Montana Sky. While I didn't expect the story to mirror the first one, I was more than happy to go back to the locale. And it definitely doesn't disappoint. As someone who has never traveled out that way, Roberts write Montana with such vast openness and beauty that someday I hope to actually see it for myself. I was captivated when I first read Montana Sky and was equally so going back for Come Sundown. The setting is similar in that the majority of Come Sundown takes place within the Bodine ranch / resort with Bodine Longbow as our heroine.
The Bodine ranch has been in the family for generations. Expanding and growing over the years, they've built a successful resort where they can give vacationers the full "cowboy" experience. Riding, camping, etc. Not everything has been smooth sailing for the family, however. They've had their ups and downs including wild child Alice Bodine who up and left her family for the bright lights of Hollywood, never to be heard from again. But what they don't know is Alice hasn't been in Hollywood, she's been living a far more horrific life for the past twenty-five years.
Now, Alice has returned. Her reappearance will upend the steady life that the Bodine / Longbow family has built for themselves. When her return also coincides with two women turning up murdered, the entire resort is thrown into fear of the unknown person responsible.
As with many of Nora Roberts' books, family is a huge part of the story. Come Sundown is no different in that regard. It also means that we not only focus on Bodine Longbow as the main character, but her brothers Chase and Rory, her grandmothers, parents, and friends feature as well. She's the focal point, but all the other characters get their time in the spotlight as well.
Then there's Alice Longbow whose story kind of runs parallel to Bodine's, at least until she finds her way back to the family. What transpires from there is a woman who has found herself in the most awful of situations. Alice's return to her family and her home, her journey to healing, is touching and a little heartbreaking at times.
Of course there are relationships. The main one being between Bodine and newly-returned family friend Callen. Who, like Alice, left Montana to pursuit a different life. Being back and working at the ranch, Cal finally starts seeing Bodine for the first time, as opposed to seeing her as the little sister of his best friend. Their friends-to-lovers romance is one of my favorite tropes and I think Roberts does really well with their story.
The other relationships are between Chase and Jessica (the new events coordinator at the resort) and Rory and Chelsea (Jessica's assistant). On one hand I like that not every new relationship was given equal development because, honestly, in the real world, some relationships start more tentatively, or take time (more than an almost 500 page novel) to develop so there was nothing necessarily that needed to be rushed with all of the relationships. For all that the book I would say covers the timeframe of at least half a year, I didn't really feel the shifting of time that easily, and therefore, when certain events do, or don't, transpire sometimes I thought it felt too quick or too slow depending. And because of the big(ger) cast of characters I felt like towards the end some things felt a little too rushed for me. As well as the fact that the mystery was not difficult to figure out.
At this point, I'm hesitant to say too much about those said events, but just know that this is Nora Roberts writing a romantic (somewhat) suspense, or thriller. If you are familiar with her previous standalone books, you'll know there's a mystery and it's usually unsavory. But I'd say the focus of Come Sundown is most definitely the family. Being happy with the good times, and getting through the bad times together.
Overall, I was drawn into the story and how everything unfolded. Every time I had to put the book down, I anticipated when I would get to pick it up again and immerse myself in what was happening. I think this will be a book I'll gladly pick up and read again, much like my all-time favorite Montana Sky mentioned earlier.
*Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Recovering from being shot on the job, witch consultant Sophie Ross decides that it might be a good time to take the opportunity to travel overseas anRecovering from being shot on the job, witch consultant Sophie Ross decides that it might be a good time to take the opportunity to travel overseas and see what she can find out about her family. When she gets there, however, she stumbles upon a centuries long war between the Light and the Dark Court, and in particular Nikolas Sevigny, a knight for the Dark Court.
While Nik and Sophie immediately clash, Nik can't help but acknowledge Sophie's proficiency with her Powers and knows that he can use her to help his people in the ongoing conflict. At least, that's what he keeps trying to tell himself. Because regardless of there differing views and their penchant for opposition, both Nik and Sophie can't help being attracted to one another.
But when Sophie rescues a long missing member of the Dark Court, and when they're attacked by Hounds working for Queen Isabeau of the Light Court, Nik and Sophie know they're going to need to be ready to fight. The battle is coming to their front door.
Having myself only ready the first Elder Races Book Dragon Bound, of which Moonshadow is a spinoff, I didn't find it difficult whatsoever to get back into the story world and I don't think new readers will find it a hindrance either.
I loved the background storyline dealing with the conflict between the Light and Dark Courts. Having some classic mythology / characters woven into the story was clever. Thing are far from solved by the end of Moonshadow and it'll be very interesting to see where things progress from here.
I say the above is background because obviously the main focus of the story, being a romance and all, is Nik and Sophie. They definitely don't disappoint. Their antagonism toward each other just added fuel to the chemistry fire. I honestly loved the bickering and fighting between them especially as things turned heated. The fact that Sophie was loath to let Nik try to dictate her actions and she repeatedly called him on it was refreshing.
The only drawback for me was that the story started to drag a little towards the end once we were done with the major conflict of the story. But, again, the main focus is Sophie and Nik and essentially getting them to their HEA was the point so I understand why everything had to be tied up the way it did, I would have just liked it a bit sooner.
I look forward to reading the next book. There are plenty of male leads to choose from among Nik's fellow brother knights but the standout was of course Gawain, who's name itself sparks of legend. I guess we'll see in a few months. ...more
Tace Justice was just a good ol’ boy from Texas, serving his country as a medic when Scorpius hit. Now, he’s one of Vanguard’s elite soldiers and one of Jax Mercury’s right hand people. But being infected with the virus a few weeks ago has changed him, and not necessarily for the better. Still waiting for the other shoe to drop as far as his sanity goes, Tace is trying to stay as far away from Sami Steel as possible. He doesn’t know if his sudden attraction to his fellow soldier is entirely natural or if it borders more on psychotic obsession.
In Vanguard, Sami has finally found a place she calls home. A place where she feels like she fits completely. That is, as long as her secrets stay hidden. She’s pretty sure if they got out, and they let her live, she’d be sent packing. That’s why she can’t let herself get too close to Tace. He has the potential of breaking down the rest of her carefully laid boundaries. As the threats against Vanguard and its people continue to rise, and as their supplies continue to dwindle, Sami will have to trust the family she’s made, especially a certain soldier with an over-protective streak.
Justice Ascending has the distinction of being the first book where the two romantic leads have already been featured in the previous books. We’ve known Sami and Tace from the beginning, so I feel like their finally forming this extra layer to their relationship really makes the emotional connection I feel with these characters that much stronger. In fact, everything we learn—about the characters and more developments about the world—was spot on in this installment.
Justice Ascending picks up pretty much right after the events of Shadow Falling. With the help of the Mercenaries, our group successfully retrieved Doc Vinnie and Raze’s sister Maureen from the evil President’s clutches. That mission brokers a very tentative trust between Vanguard and the Mercs, and here we get to see the potential of what an alliance with another group could mean for Vanguard. But I still liked that Jax holds back from one hundred percent trusting the Mercs. This is still a post-apocalyptic world here, and for many that means they look out for themselves first, and everyone else second. But it will definitely be interesting to watch these relationships being built. And there are some clear ones Rebecca Zanetti has set up for the future.
I almost find this book difficult to talk about because so much happens in the story in regards to ongoing story threads. A lot is discovered and a lot of information cleared up, so to speak. I look forward to the fourth book, because that means I’ll finally be able to talk about the bulk of what went down in the climax of Justice Ascending.
Being pretty close to perfect, I’d say the only drawback I found was once we reached a certain point in the book, the ending felt a little long and drawn-out, but I love all that is revealed. Justice Ascending has definitely been the best in the series by far, and I love the direction this series is headed. The world after Scorpius just got a whole lot bigger....more
Heartstone is a fantastical retelling of the classic Pride & Prejudice. Elle Katharine White’s version takesOriginally posted at Vampire Book Club
Heartstone is a fantastical retelling of the classic Pride & Prejudice. Elle Katharine White’s version takes place in the land of Arle, most specifically, in Hart’s Run. Aliza Bentaine is an aspiring artist who lives in a world plagued by the threat of the Tekari—lamias, banshees, gryphons, direwolves, and lindworms—creatures who hate humans. Those that fight to protect the humans, Riders, work/bond with the Shani—wyverns, dragons, beoryns—creatures that are friendly to humans.
Alastair Daired is part of the legendary House Pendragon. A contract commissioned by the Lord of Hart’s Run to help rid them of a problem with a gryphon horde brings Daired, among other Riders, to Aliza’s front door, where the two almost immediately butt heads. Besides their early animosity towards one another, it soon becomes apparent that something evil is awakening in Arle, something that will force everyone to stand up and fight. For Aliza, not a warrior herself, she’ll to rely on her inner strength and the strength of her heart.
Right away, being a revamping of Pride & Prejudice, Heartstone presents itself as extremely accessible seeing as how many people are familiar with the source material.
However, I found this both a blessing and a curse for Heartstone. A blessing, obviously for the reason mentioned above. If you enjoyed Jane Austen’s classic, I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’ll enjoy this updated version as well. I loved kind of having a stepping stone to follow, and I enjoyed the anticipation in seeing how beloved scenes played out in Elle Katharine White’s words.
So why a curse? Well, Elle Katharine White does a wonderful job in creating this awesomely original world with dragons and wyverns, Tekari and Shani. Heartstones, typically given as tokens of love and commitment, literally come from the hearts of the varying creatures. Where women can train and fight alongside men in battle. A place where you can befriend the hobgoblins living in your garden. I just felt like this awesome world was too constrained by the limits of the storyline it had to follow. I still immensely enjoyed Heartstone, but where it truly shined is when it steps out of the intended path, when Elle Katharine White slightly skews the expected motivations or actions of the characters.
Like Elizabeth Bennet, Aliza is strong. But it’s the addition of Alastair Daired in her life, as well as the impending doom on the horizon that forces her to reevaluate her own preconceptions of the notion of strength. The relationship that develops between Aliza and Alastair does mirror precisely that of Darcy and Elizabeth so I find it a little difficult to talk about it without feeling redundant. But the fact that it does mirror its predecessor means that their relationship is quite satisfactory in the end.
Despite Heartstone being a standalone, I would love for Elle Katharine White to write more in this world because there are so many opportunities to expand. So many avenues that can be explored. I would love to see Ms. White possibly adapt another classic to her world. Regardless, Heartstone is very entertaining, and will please readers of the classic as well as lovers of fantasy....more
The end of Aces Wilde found Sara Wilde fighting for the right to control the House of Swords, and successfully gOriginally posted at Vampire Book Club
The end of Aces Wilde found Sara Wilde fighting for the right to control the House of Swords, and successfully giving up her mortality to become one of the immortal. Now that Sara has decided to take responsibility, and been proven worthy, as head of the House of Swords, she needs to begin the arduous task of considering Anita Soo’s business enterprises. What she finds is that Soo was heavily involved in the production of technoceuticals (pharmaceutical drugs with a heavy kick of magic infusion); the very thing Sara has been fighting hard against, since much of the production requires the actual use of a Connected—namely children. That Sara’s findings also coincide with some of Father Jerome’s own discoveries, she knows there’s nothing coincidental about it.
When the Council then tasks Sara to search for, and bring back to the fold, the Hanged Man (who so happens to be Nikola Tesla), she begins to see the connection between his retrieval and her newfound enterprises. Despite the Hanged Man being pro-technoceuticals, The Magician believes he’ll ultimately be needed when the war on magic fully begins. But in the meantime, what secrets will be revealed to Sara in uncovering another member of the Council?
Forever Wilde gave me everything I’ve been waiting for in this series. The final tip that made this a 5 star as opposed to the 4.5 stars the previous books have garnered. The storyline is clear and concise. The ground it covers—with the technoceuticals, and the Connected children, plus more tidbits to add about Sara’s past, plus Sara’s new immortality—are all issues that have been covered in previous books to some extent, but revisiting them sets the stage for more clarity in understanding where we’ve been and where we’re going.
I enjoyed that Sara finding the Hanged Man was, indeed, the end goal, but doesn’t really present itself in that way until past the halfway mark. Instead the focus is on the build-up. Then when The Magician finally tells Sara she needs to find the Hanged Man you are clearly able to understand the web that Jenn Stark wove to get to that point. It was, honestly, fabulous.
Then there’s the character growth. A lot of that happens for Sara as she tries to figure out just what it is that she wants as her endgame. Where is being the head of the House of Swords leading Sara? What happens when Sara successfully shuts down the Dark Practitioners, and the disappearing of Connecteds? These were questions I, as reader, hadn’t really thought of until they were posed to Sara. I liked that there’s talk of future, and this starts Sara thinking of what is important to her.
This leads to some headway on the relationship between Sara and The Magician. They’ve had such a compelling dynamic from the start and I was so happy there were no opportunities wasted to finally get more depth to what is between them, even if things aren’t one hundred percent figured out by the end. I’m excited to see where/how things progress for them from here.
Overall, Forever Wilde is a subtler game-changer than some previous installments, but it was exactly what I was looking for in this book. The next book has some big shoes to fill. This book was a great way to end/start the year....more
Someone Like You continues Lauren Layne's Oxford series and we readers finally get the scoop on eligible bachelor / playboy Lincoln Mathis. See, it'sSomeone Like You continues Lauren Layne's Oxford series and we readers finally get the scoop on eligible bachelor / playboy Lincoln Mathis. See, it's been apparent to this reader that there's more to Lincoln's story than meets the eye for quite sometime now, and I've been eagerly awaiting the day when we would finally get the full picture.
Turns out, without being too spoilery, things in Lincoln's past have left him damaged. These are things he's kept close to his heart, not even revealing them to his closest friends. Then, surprisingly Lincoln finds a somewhat confidant in Emma's twin sister Daisy (for those unfamiliar, Emma is a character from the spin-off / crossover Stiletto Series).
Turns out Daisy is just as damaged as Lincoln, albeit for different circumstances. Their easy way with each other eases them into the process of healing. Yet their blatant attraction to each other reminds both of them that the healing process takes time.
I can honestly say, with the anticipation I felt for Lincoln's story, I was 100% satisfied with how everything played out. I think Lauren Layne's pacing was spot on. Since readers are just learning about Lincoln's past, it was essential that nothing felt too rushed because we, like Lincoln, were still coming to terms with moving on, moving past everything. But the story has some great build up as Lincoln and Daisy dance around each other for months. Will they / won't they?
I also loved the connection between Daisy and Lincoln, not just the sexual chemistry, but the acknowledgement that they are both people who, essentially, need to heal. They recognize something in each other that makes them open up in ways that they can't to those closest to them.
But that's not to say that Someone Like You doesn't show the love and support that Daisy and Lincoln have from their friends and family, because it certainly does. I thought the family dynamic was great between the men of Oxford and the women of Stiletto and their significant others. I think the family unit that all these people / couples have forms is more prevalent here than in any of the past books which could signify an end to the series, and Someone Like You does kind of read like a final send off...until we're introduced to two new characters who with just a few lines of dialogue between them made me want their story now!
So while we have more to look forward to in the offices of Oxford, I'm happy that Lincoln's story got the wrap up it so justly deserved.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Miracle on 5th Avenue tells the story of hopeless romantic Eva Jordan who, along with friends Paige and Frankie, is one part of Urban Genie event servMiracle on 5th Avenue tells the story of hopeless romantic Eva Jordan who, along with friends Paige and Frankie, is one part of Urban Genie event services. Eva is ready to take the upcoming holidays by storm, both figuratively and literally. Eva is ready to get out of her dating rut and actually meet something hopefully getting the happily ever after she's always dreamed about.
But first, Eva has a job to get done for a client / friend: decorate her grandson's house for Christmas while he's away. The grandson just happens to be famous crime writer Lucas Blade. Who also happens to be home. With a terrible storm brewing outside, Eva is stuck with the reclusive writer, but she's determined to make the best of things and not let his surly attitude bring her down.
Ever since his wife tragically died three years ago, Lucas Blade has systematically shut himself off from life. Even going so far as to tell everyone he's away at a writer's retreat when actually he's holed up alone at home. Coupled with the fact that it looks as though writer's block is going to keep him from finishing his new book by the Christmas deadline; a perky stranger invading his home with Christmas decorations is the last thing he wants to deal with. But when inspiration strikes when he and Eva start talking, Lucas tries to quickly figure out how to keep her around, and tries to keep convincing himself that he only wants her around for the inspiration she has on his writing.
I loved the mood that Miracle on 5th Street captured. Starting with being snowed in and then of course with the underlying Christmas holiday theme. It was a perfectly cozy kind of romantic read.
Eva was a great character. I loved her unapologetic optimism where love is concerned even in the face of so much sadness that surrounds her (both her own experience with losing her grandmother, and with Lucas' dire sort of approach to all things love). I loved that regardless of what she goes through over the course of the story, her idealism regarding love is the one constant that I'm happy she never questions or waivers on. She's realistic in her views about knowing that not all relationships are happy ones or end on a happy note, but she doesn't let it color what she hopes for / want in her life. I think it was very important that she doesn't lose sight of this. But it was also important to show that Eva is not blinded by her ideals.
Instead we get a Christmas grinch in the form of Lucas Blade who's view of love and relationships has skewed so much since the loss of his wife and it doesn't help that he writes stories where people are constantly under suspicion and untrustworthy. He brings his writing into his perception of his real life, which isn't by any means wrong, but it does end up coloring how he views other people. Eva changes that for him. She is an unexpected anomaly in his world. She continually surprises him, and I loved that, for him, Eva was unpredictable.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and as we get closer to the Christmas holiday, I love getting immersed in stories with snow, and lights, and happily-ever-afters. ...more
Carrie Vaughn takes a detour after Kitty Norville and gives readers an interesting take on sci-fi with her new nOriginally posted at Vampire Book Club
Carrie Vaughn takes a detour after Kitty Norville and gives readers an interesting take on sci-fi with her new novel Martians Abroad.
Polly Newton thinks she has it all figured out. Born and raised on Mars, Polly’s plans include becoming a pilot someday. No other options exist. That is, until Polly’s mother throws a wrench in said plans and decides that Polly and her twin brother Charles will benefit from going to school at the prestigious Galileo Academy on Earth. Despite that going to this school will invariably help Polly get into a piloting program, she’s not one for being blindsided, and that’s exactly what happened when her mother informed her they were going.
She doesn’t find the reception on Earth any better, when she’s faced with prejudices and competition. But when a series of mysterious accidents continue to befall her class, they’ll have to work together to figure out what’s going on.
Right away the idea of a Martian coming to Earth was unique for me. As far as I can recall, the sci-fi I’m used to reading typically involves Earthlings traveling elsewhere, or other species just traveling space in general. What this did was create a really interesting perspective on Polly’s part. She’s seeing things (such as trees and rain) that are so common to us, but completely new and awe-inspiring to her. Carrie Vaughn did a great job of taking descriptions that could have crossed over into boring or mundane (just because we’re all familiar with them) and turns them into beautiful observations and descriptions. One of my favorite moments was when Polly and her class take a field trip to the Manhattan Cultural Reserve (aka future New York) and she sees a horse for the first time.
The outlook of the future was quite interesting as well. Martians Abroad is set in an indeterminate future time, but it’s not so futuristic that it felt beyond grasp or comprehension. Mars, at this point, had only been inhabited for one hundred years. Not too long in the grand scheme of things, and those inhabitants were former Earth humans, now considered Martians. But you begin to see how disconnected we are in the way that Polly reacts to having to go to Earth–a place where her ancestors hail from.
Probably my biggest complaint was, unfortunately, Polly. She’s so dead-set against trying to make the most out of her situation that she doesn’t figure out what is going on around the school until pretty much the very end when, in fact, the clues are there the whole time. I would have liked the mystery to be a little more involved, but I understand that coupled with the newfound awe of Earth for Polly that may have been too much.
I found Martians Abroad to be a quick read, which makes me want to know, after all is said and done, what will come next for Polly, and even her brother Charles who had his own interesting quirkiness about him. I’m hoping Carrie Vaughn will decide to tell us someday....more
Liesl gave up her dreams and desires early on, resigning herself to helping around her family’s inn. Quickly putOriginally posted at Vampire Book Club
Liesl gave up her dreams and desires early on, resigning herself to helping around her family’s inn. Quickly putting aside the magical stories of goblins and their King, The Lord of Mischief, and music, and became a more devoted older sister to her beautiful younger sister Käthe, and her talented violinist brother Josef.
On the day of a huge audition for her brother, Liesl’s sister goes missing. Later learning she’s been taken by the goblins, Liesl travels to their realm to find her. But bringing her sister home will come with a price. A price that will force Liesl to trade her life for Käthe’s. Once enmeshed within this new and sometimes frightening world, Liesl will need the creativity of her music to help her survive.
Wintersong was a book where I had to give myself some time to really think about my thoughts and feelings on what I had just read. This is not a review that’s easily written down. This book and its writing has such a dreamlike quality to it. It’s all at once beautiful, but at the same time, I felt like it was a little difficult to connect with the story because I felt like there was only one character that you actually get to know and understand.
Because it’s Liesl’s journey, her self-discovery, you see her grow immensely throughout. She goes from a girl hidden in the shadows to a woman who you hope (as every indication points to) will embrace her newfound freedoms and wants and desires. Who will no longer settle for just being, but will set herself apart from her highly lauded brother and sister.
I both loved and kind of disliked the mysteriousness that surrounds the Goblin King. I loved every peek we get as to his true nature, and I enjoyed trying to put the puzzle pieces together in regards to his life, to what (or who) came before Liesl. He’s such a dynamic character, but I felt like we only broke the surface. I understand that, being Liesl’s story, all others take second string, but much of his character is so interwoven with hers. I would definitely like to see more of what happens to his character after the events of Wintersong.
However, I felt like the ending had this almost perfect bittersweet taste to it. I was actually blown away by the decisions S. Jae-Jones made in how the book ended and I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s one of those books that leaves you wondering “what if” or, “what now?” Because of the fluidity and dreamy quality of the goblin realm there would be no shortage of stories to be told in this world, but part of me likes the idea of keeping things confined to a single book.
Overall, I’d say you’re in for a pretty unique treat if you decide to pick up Wintersong....more
Miss Delia Trevor is determined to find the man responsible for her brother's death. To do this she assumes the persona of a man and gambles throug4.5
Miss Delia Trevor is determined to find the man responsible for her brother's death. To do this she assumes the persona of a man and gambles through the gaming hells in the seediest part of town. So far she has been able to pull off this ruse with little complications (besides still not having found the man she's looking for), until one night when Warren Corry, The Marquess of Knightford happens to recognize her.
Immediately Warren is determined to figure out just what Delia thinks she's doing. If she's found out by anyone else, it could ruin her reputation and keep her from making a good marriage. He's knows he needs to keep her away from the gaming hells at all costs. But as he continues to put himself in her path at every instance, he begins to become interested in her. But letting things become serious between the pair threatens to reveal Warren's own closely guarded secret.
Will these two be able to forego their secrets and finally be able to trust each other?
Of the three books released in this series so far, I'd have to say that The Danger of Desire is my favorite. The mystery of whether or not Delia will find the man responsible for her brother's death, and who that person may be, plus the added mystery of Warren's secret really drives the story. I wouldn't call it suspenseful by any means, but it certainly kept my attention.
The added bonus of the witty repartee and chemistry between Delia and Warren is just icing on the cake.
Then there's the fact that Sabrina Jeffries includes what I hope will be the next couple in the secondary characters. I don't really want to give anything away because they are somewhat tied to the main storyline, but suffice it to say, it's been awhile for me since a potential secondary couple came even close to outshining the main romance. Which means, that if this couple does indeed get the next book in the series, my hopes are already quite high.
Overall, I've really enjoyed this series, it's one I look forward to each new release, and it seems as though Sabrina Jeffries has really his her stride with this one. ...more