Can I just really quickly share my history with this series with you? I won't blatFind this and more reviews at The Demon Librarian.
Stars in my Eyes
Can I just really quickly share my history with this series with you? I won't blather on about myself for long - promise. It's just that this series was kinda pivotal to my transformation from "occasional reader of mystery novels", to "carnivorous reading fanatic and devourer of all things paranormal" because it was the first true Urban Fantasy series I ever read and the one that opened my eyes to this amazeballs genre. It was also the first book I ever read with a sex scene in it! Are you having that? At the ripe old age of 29 I had the blinders firmly ripped off my eyes by a Ms Karen Chance and her scorching and (as I thought then) scandalous love scenes! I finished book one wondering what the hell I'd just read, and why the hell I couldn't stop thinking about it and all the amazing and endless possibilities there were for a character that could shift through time and space - and immediately ordered the rest of the series! The rest, as they say, is history and four years later I have the sixth book in the series as an ARC to review! If I had Pythian powers and went back to tell 29-year old me that little nugget of information, she'd probably say I was deluded or crazy or both.
I'm a lucky, lucky girl:)
So, with that intro in mind, I think it's safe to say that I love this series! And that's not only because of what it did for me as a reader, or because of any sentimental attachment I have to it, but because of its brilliance, its wit, and its unrivalled cleverness. I cannot even express how mind-boggling some of the time-shift stuff is! Scenes that take place in one book that don't make sense until much later when you realize how much time travel back and forth has been going on. The amount of planning and foreshadowing involved in all that... I can't even. It's just too awesome to compute. And Ms Chance's world, although complex, is so solid. There's not a single grey area in her worldbuilding, and even if there were, it would be because she planned for it to be there three books ago. 'Cause she likes grey. And because she can. Seriously, people quiz her nigh on a daily basis through her Facebook page as they try to get their heads around some of the more head-bending aspects of her plots, and she's thought of everything and then some. There are no chinks in her armour of awesome that I've found.
Moving on to this particular book, now that I've paid my dues for never really reviewing any of the others back in the day (lol). Cassandra Palmer - Cassie to most - has advanced as the series has progressed, as all good main characters should, and as evidenced here in TEMPT THE STARS. Resolutely putting the kibosh on people - vamps, mages, and now witches! - trying to manoeuvre her from point A to point B all the time, and just being more dominant and forthright in general. She could also possibly maybe hit the side of a barn with a gun now, too, thanks to Pritkin, and her power quotient has gone through the roof when compared to that of the smiley face T-shirt-wearing girl we met back in Touch the Dark. Having said that, it's not a complete transformation - the girl whose first instincts are to run and hide hasn't been completely smothered. Indeed, running and hiding are sometimes the best options available to a savvy heroine. But recently, and most especially in this book, she's been letting her "take no prisoners" side out a lot more. That, combined with the intelligence and common sense she's always shown around the vamps, who, in this series are about as sneaky and manipulative as they come, though rarely evil, and you've got yourself an incredibly well-rounded and sympathetic character - who now also kicks ass! Don't you just love it?
In TEMPT THE STARS, Cassie is also forced to take a look at her somewhat closed-off emotions. Not that she's ever been cold, exactly, but wary? Reserved? Oh, yes. Letting people in is extremely difficult when it's been proven time and again that those people will be the first in the firing line by any who wish to control her and her powers, which are now more than just potential - they're a smack-you-in-the-face reality. But being a closed book can be lonely, and there are certain characters who have been slowly chipping away at her emotional shields for quite some time now, and it might just be time to let them in, whether she wants to or not!
Of course, the BIG thing everyone wants to know about TEMPT THE STARS is where the heck Pritkin is, right? Well, I'm not going to tell you. Ms Chance herself is notoriously strict about spoilers so it would be more than my life's worth to spill the beans. But, let's just say that being the world's chief seer - officially now, even - has its perks as well as its pitfalls. And it also has the potential to make the impossible... slightly less so.
And that's it. That's all you're getting from me.
As with all instalments in the series, TEMPT THE STARS is bursting with incredible action scenes with spells whiz-popping here, there and everywhere, often followed directly by the most exquisite introspection scene or a hushed conversation with one of the now treasured stable of characters such as Marco (LOVE him!) or Billy Joe (LOVE him, too!). Some people might say the pacing is too up-and-down, but not me. I think the balance is perfect. For fans of the series who already know this world well, I'll just say that it was business as usual - though with a slightly different feel to it as we explored different settings and magics - and just as incredible as you thought it would to be. Plus twelve. Some authors just seem to have a Mary Poppins-like carpet bag full of endless ideas, and Karen chance is definitely one of them.
There's not a lot else to say without revealing naughty things I'm not supposed to, so I'll just leave you with this: TEMPT THE STARS IS THE BEST OF THE SERIES SO FAR - BY A COUNTRY MILE!
And I love John Pritkin.
5 Stars ★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review....more
Move over Urban Fantasy. Stick your vampires where the solar rays don't penetrate, and bring on theFind this and more reviews at The Demon Librarian
Move over Urban Fantasy. Stick your vampires where the solar rays don't penetrate, and bring on the hot aliens! Wow. I can't get over how much I enjoyed this book! I picked it up on a whim, really, and after having a rather lacklustre reaction to another Sci-fi title earlier this year, wasn't overly optimistic that I'd enjoy it that much. Boy, was I wrong! I'm so glad I gave this a try because it was just so redonkulously entertaining and interesting and sexy and...gah! It was just amazeballs!
Cassiel Winters is a space cadet with a secret. She experiences what she thinks of as "deja vu episodes" and strange glimpses of overlapping time sequences that she doesn't fully understand. The only thing she does comprehend is that her older brother Daz - a fully-fledged member of ESE (Earth Space Exploration) and her only remaining family - is missing, and that someone left her a note telling her to hide. Having joined ESE herself in the hopes of finding Daz, we join Cassiel towards the end of her cadet training on board a spaceship about to take her final tests for the second time. Being the first cadet ever to fail her original tests is not something she feels particularly proud of, so imagine her surprise when she is asked to undertake a special mission by her commanding officer.
This mission is where it all kicks off and from here I was sold on the story hook, line and sinker. You couldn't have pried the book from my hands with a crowbar. You couldn't have enticed my eyes from the pages with the promise of naked Ryan Gosling. Seriously, it was just fun, ya know? Pure entertainment. I'm thinking SKY'S END is probably going to appeal to the ladies rather than any hardcore Sci-fi fanboys because it was very sexy and sensual in places with many a descriptive passage detailing the hotness of a certain alien race's male members (heh, I said members), and Cassiel's narration is also very female and girlish - wondering if her butt looks too big in her Spandex space suit, for example - which would probably drive guys nuts, but which I found funny. You would though, right? Head-to-toe freakin' Spandex or whatever the hell spacey equivalent there is? I know I would.
These inanities and Cassiel's charismatic, lively narration in general, all added to her appeal and drew me into the story by giving me something recognisable to grasp onto amongst all the Sci-fi whoosimawhatsit which, as a noob to the genre, was all very alien to me (heh, I said alien). That's not to say of course that Cassiel was a perfect character. She could certainly be annoying at times, and unreasonable occasionally, and a bit immature, and possibly too impetuous as well. But she needed those flaws. If not for those she would have come off far too "Special Snowflake," because there was a definite theme going on here of everyone fancies Cassiel, which might potentially annoy some readers. It was explained away by the female-to-male ratio on board the ship being seriously out of whack, and later by the unusual mating rituals of the alien race, but I know some people will take issue with it. I just find that I don't care though. I see it, I recognise it, but I give no shits. Observe how many shits I do not give. I was entertained, and that's all I care about. The set up might have been a total ploy, but it was a fun ploy. In fact, discovering more about this alien race's relationships, or lack thereof, with its female counterparts was one of my favourite things about the story, and led to much contemplation on my part. Well, that and the pew pew pew pew spaceship racing! So like, joint favourites. 'Cause, you know, I'm a dork.
Speaking of spaceships, I found all the Sci-fi stuff complex enough to be interesting, while at no point overwhelming me, and the finer details such as the technology, weaponry and cool gadgetry, all added flavour to what was already a pretty damn tasty cake, so that was great too.
I suppose the best thing of all about SKY'S END was that it kept surprising me. I couldn't have predicted one single bit of it, and that was just so goddamn refreshing! Even with Cassiel, as much as I liked her and thought I had her all figured out, even she would surprise the heck out of me by doing the unexpected. I thought some of her decisions were very brave and admirable, and my respect for her grew as I read on. She may actually be a Special Snowflake! Stranger things have happened.
I don't know much about book two yet other than that it's set to be called Sky's Surrender, but I can tell you one thing about it: When it's released, I will be reading it. Oh, yes I will. If you build it, they will come. So says the Costner.
5 Stars ★★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Another enjoyable paranormal mystery from Juliet Blackwell.
This, for me, was on a par with the first book in the series, Secondhand Spirits. Our reAnother enjoyable paranormal mystery from Juliet Blackwell.
This, for me, was on a par with the first book in the series, Secondhand Spirits. Our resident witch and vintage clothing expert this time takes on a suspected haunting at the Art Department of the local college. Strange noises and occurrences have the student body completely freaked out, and Lily Ivory, known for being knowledgeable about "those sorts of things" is called in to help.
There were a lot of new characters introduced that were connected to the mystery in some way, most of which were nicely fleshed-out. I enjoyed the development with love interest character, Max, but there wasn't nearly as much of it as I might have liked. Also, I was hoping for more information on the mysterious Aidan, and was again slightly disappointed with the small tidbit I was afforded. I did, however, really like new characters Sailor and Luc, and look forward to more of them in future books.
This series is very quiet in its styling; the characters are subtly written, no one particularly shines as an outstanding personality, the world-building is minimal, and the climactic endings are more party popper than firework. They are simply relaxing and easy reads—cosy paranormal mysteries, if you will, but nothing that will set your world on fire. At least not mine, not yet.
I'm really hoping the next one has more of a hook to keep me interested in the overarching plot, and I feel like something needs to be introduced to rock the boat because at the moment, everything is just a bit too "nice."
Into the Hollow picks up right where On Demon Wings left off and begins with a tough decision for our gal Perry Palomino. A deAww, this was so good!
Into the Hollow picks up right where On Demon Wings left off and begins with a tough decision for our gal Perry Palomino. A decision I was silently squeeing over going "SAY YES, YOU NUMPTY!" It also shows us a side to Mr. Declan Foray we've never really seen before since he's always been in a relationship in the past. I think I rather like the free and single version of Dex. Again, SQUEE!
And there's not just the changes in Dex's behaviour to get used to, but you'll also recall he'd transformed a lot physically when he (eventually) showed up in On Demon Wings (he was all buff and stuff). And that's not the only difference we see in him over the course of this book.
If you'd asked me before I began Into the Hollow I'd have told you it wasn't possible for me to love Dex more than I already did, but it turns out that's total bumf because I found him even more irresistible in this book than ever before! He was just so patient but still determined, cheeky, badass, adorable, annoying and absolutely everything in between. I just love him!
The plot wasn't quite as creepy or scary this time but it was definitely action-packed and full of some great dramatic scenes (which I loved). In fact, I'd say this instalment was more Urban Fantasy than Horror—much like Red Fox was—and it was super duper fun and got the old adrenaline pumping nicely.
As well as dealing with the emotional fallout from the last couple of books, Dex and Perry are asked to investigate a potential "creature" sighting in the Canadian Rockies. But even with everything they've seen, they're unsure how much credence they can put in the testimony of one of its supposed victims, so the only solution is to go check it out for themselves.
There was also a moment or two of this book that made me very interested in things to come with regards to Dex and his past demons. Very interesting developments indeed.
My new favourite nickname for an animal (or vegetable, or mineral) ever has to go to Twatwaffle the llama. Pure unadulterated genius and my new favourite word of the week.
Sigh. Of course, the sad thing is now I've run out of books! I knew this would happen, obviously, but I didn't think it would feel quite this crappy. I've got the shakes, withdrawals, extreme lethargy (although I think I had that last one already) and just general uninterest in anything anybody whose name isn't Karina Halle has written. Ever.
My first thoughts upon reading the synopsis for thisFind more reviews like this one at The Demon Librarian
Another fabulous tale from Karina Halle.
My first thoughts upon reading the synopsis for this one were "Oh. Dear. You are kidding me, right?"
I mean, we've heard about Dex's girlfriend Jenn a few times in the first three books. We've heard how hot she is and how much everyone lusts after her blah blah blah, including Dex (gag). But that was kind of okay because it was only talk; she wasn't right there in the picture. She was removed, vague, indistinct, abstract...
Then comes this book, and suddenly shit just got a whole lot more real. And a lot more painful!
I don't know about you, but when I read I really, really get absorbed in my books; especially ones as well-written and evocative as these. I live vicariously through the characters, I identify with them, empathise and in some cases, I am that character. I particularly connect well to Perry because I share some of her insecurities. And I can tell you that because of that, this book seriously hurt my feelings. I mean, it literally HURT. I could feel my chest squeezing in jealousy and anguish and I had to blink hard more than once. So in that respect, it was not a 'fun' read, and yet there were other moments of it that I wouldn't swap for the world. I was such a wreck afterwards as well; it really took me a while to process everything. In fact, my husband kept stumbling upon me in a trance-like state after I'd finished and he'd be all "what is up with you today?" And I'd be like "Wha? Um, uh, book, thing, Dex, why did he, I don't...uh...."
So it could only be a five star read after that, lol.
It's impossible to say much more without getting into spoiler territory, but just make sure you have a couple of days free of interruptions when you start this one because you will not want to put it down!
As for the rest of it, Perry and Dex are in Seattle to investigate an alleged haunting at a Mental Institute. There were some great spooky scenes as you'll have come to expect by now. There were also some really nice new secondary characters introduced in the form of Dex (and Jenn's) friends. I really liked them and can't wait to see them again, hopefully.
And lastly, my final top tip would be to have the next book to hand for when you finish this one. It's not a cliffhanger, but I defy anyone not to want to know what happens next RIGHT FREAKING NOW!
This book was like an endurance test - in the nicest possible way.
This is really going to put my no spoilers policy to the test because there's a certain thing you're waiting to happen in this book, and anyone who's read it will know exactly what that something is, and so you find yourself racing towards that point (if such a point even exists;)), and I wouldn't blame you for doing that too. But I think it's worth actually slowing down a little and just examining the rest of what's going on. The changes in Perry that are in evidence for starters, and the development—for better or worse—of other returning characters. They're quite significant.
There are certain events in life that are powerful enough to actually affect your personality and change your character to a degree, whether temporarily or permanently. Having undergone just such a shocking change, Perry is in a...weird head space. I don't want to say she's in a "dark place" because she's actually trying really hard not to be dark. She's silently berating and encouraging herself to be positive, get out there, meet new people, and absolutely, positively NO DWELLING under any circumstances! But it's so hard.
It's also hard to be around people that don't understand. Her parents, for example, have never made a secret of the fact that they don't believe her about the whole ghost thing or that they think her show is a bunch of bull****. But someone who's always been on Team Perry (even if it took her a while to realise it) is her kid sister, Ada. I've liked Ada in the past books but my high opinion of her grew exponentially in this one. She's supportive but not coddling, and at times it felt like a role reversal—who's the 23-year old and who's the 15-year old? She just rocks.
Even with all this going on, though, it's not long before people start to realise Perry is acting strange above and beyond what might be expected under the circumstances. Giving us, and them, even more reason to keep a close eye on her. Some of the changes just might not be as natural as they seem...
I'm so looking forward to being able to read the Dex Files after this! It's meant to be read between books 5 and 6. I can't wait to see his take on, well, everything!
This is just a quickie review (see Janice's full review on the blog).
This was fantastic. They just keep getting better and better! Karina Halle upped the creepy factor all the way up to eleven and never let it drop. It also had a buttload of foreshadowing and questions raised for future books. As if I needed any further encouragement to devour them all! Pfft! It had lots of nice character development as well, although it was a bit of a test of my devotion to Dex at times. Still, I luuuurved it.
As a former big L.O.S.T. fan I adored the setting of D’Arcy Island and all the spooky goings on there. And the effects it had on both Dex and Perry's state of mind was harrowing yet fascinating to read.
I think I'm going to have a problem here because I already gave book one, Darkhouse, 5 stars because I thoughtI love this series. It's now official.
I think I'm going to have a problem here because I already gave book one, Darkhouse, 5 stars because I thought it was awesome on toast with a side order of shamazeballs. But this one was undeniably, unquestionably and indisputably better in almost every sense. So where do I go from here? I do not have 6 stars, people! Everyone knows all books have to be rated out of 5 and that half stars are against God's plan, so how can I express the, the...betterness of this one? Yes, I am aware betterness isn't a word. But it should be!
In my first joint review with Janice I said that I suspected there may end up being more to the series than just ghosts and ghost-hunting. And I was right! There's so much more. I really, really loved the storyline for this book. And the setting. And all the extra paranormal elements. And the fact that it was more mystery based - almost a whodunnit. And most especially, I loved the developments between Perry and Dex!
I'm just flabbergasted at how much they both seemed to change before my very eyes in this book, and in each other's. They say that scary, life-threatening events will form an emotional bond between two people, and I certainly think that was part of it. But I also think Perry and Dex are two people who just fit together anyway. Like slightly broken puzzle pieces, they each may not be completely whole, but they still fit.
I have to admit to a certain amount of fangirl squeeing when it became apparent they would have to feign a higher level of closeness during the case they were working on down in Red Fox. Anything that might have forced them to be in the same room where they could get to know each other more would have made me happy, but the deception they had to maintain made it even better!
There were some really interesting secondary characters in this book including a blast from Dex's past who provided us with some much-needed back story on him. I loved all that but I'm not yet convinced I like the person who delivered it. His motives are highly questionable.
So, to sum up, in case you missed your cue—yes do I recommend this series! If book one was awesome on toast with a side order of shamazeballs, then book two was spaghetti bloody marvellous with Parmesan genius.
I'm really enjoying this series. I particularly enjoy Deuce's chaFind more reviews like this one at The Demon Librarian
A great follow up to Enclave.
I'm really enjoying this series. I particularly enjoy Deuce's characterisation. She gets so confused at times. Normally overly innocent or naive characters wouldn't be my thing, but her lack of understanding comes from her upbringing—or in her case, a distinct lack thereof. She plainly doesn't understand many things about regular relationships or male/female interactions in particular. When someone is displaying what to us are quite obvious signs of hurt and jealousy, she's totally clueless. She has no frame of reference for dealing with it. And I also like that she acknowledges this lack and rather than jumping wildly to conclusions all TSTL style, she queries it. She just says look, I don't understand all this stuff so unless you talk to me—actually say the words out loud—I am never going to guess what the problem is, 'kay? (Those were not her exact words but you get the general idea).
(How many times can I use the word lack in a paragraph...?)
The main four characters that entered the town of Salvation at the end of the last book: Deuce, Fade, Tegan and Stalker, are all there but have all been separated out into different "foster" homes. Some with more success than others. Fade isn't talking to Deuce and she has no clue why. Tegan is also avoiding her but she thinks she might have figured out the reason for that one. And Stalker...is just Stalker, and nothing seems to phase him and no town's rules will ever truly determine his actions. I've never really said what I think of Stalker. I am a bit conflicted on him, to be honest. His past actions are horrendous to me, but much like Deuce he's a product of his upbringing. He lived wild with his "wolves," more like animals than people, so I'm trying to keep that in mind and not be too hard on him. If Deuce can understand this about him, I should be able to too.
The town is pretty insistent that the new arrivals conform to their rules. Rules which would dictate that Deuce is now back in the "child" category even though in her former life she was an adult, and also that girls are suppose to wear dresses, sew, be pretty, bake, look nice, clean, be demure and polite. All things which Deuce is not and doesn't want to do, of course. She a Huntress, and as it turns out, the town might just need a Huntress a helluva lot more than it needs another pretty girl in a pretty dress.
I found some parts of this book a little slower than book one, if I'm honest, but the ending was excellent and quite moving. I'll definitely be picking up the next one to see how that all progresses from here.
This was great, fun, sexy Urban Fantasy.Joint read/review with Janice. Find more reviews like this at The Demon Librarian book blog.
What a fun read!
This was great, fun, sexy Urban Fantasy. Hedi's voice was immediately engaging as a protagonist, and you got the sense that she was talking directly to you, which I thought was great. It had some standard UF fare with the werewolves and Fae taking centre stage, but it definitely managed to put its own spin on even those regular staples of the genre.
And also some great new ideas as well. There were plenty of interesting plot developments and action to keep the reader glued throughout, and there was even quite a substantial amount of romance in there too! This was actually my only slight problem area. Not that I didn't like the romance - I did. I just felt at times it was moving too fast for me to keep up with. But then, I'm one of those strange people who doesn't mind being made to wait several books for a romance to form, especially in my Urban Fantasy series. I'm sure other people will be more than happy having things moving as quickly as they do.
I'm definitely going to be reading the next one as I liked the world building, the characters and the plot twists despite my minor issues with the romance. Can't wait to see how things pan out in book two: The Thing About Weres, when it releases in July 2013.
Greta and the Goblin King follows the adventures of Greta, a 17-year old human who 4 years ago fell through a magical portal to
Mylena, a world of goblins, Faeries, Giants and Witches. It's also a place where being human is a one-way ticket to an early grave, as they are blamed by the locals for, well, everything. Luckily for Greta, she was found early on by Luke, a Sprite and Bounty Hunter who became a father figure to her and taught her how to not only hide what she is, but how to fight, how to survive the harsh climate (it's constantly winter there) and how to be a Bounty Hunter, like himself.
When we meet Greta for the first time she's on a mission in her role as Bounty Hunter and I thought this was a really strong opening scene
. She's a sword-wielding badass with a snarky attitude who seemed very likeable and I appreciated that she'd kept her human traits and vocabulary despite the dangers involved in doing so. Where this book fell apart for me, though, was the romance. It was pretty terrible, I'm afraid. Absolutely paper-thin characterisation of Isaac the Goblin King. And even though his name graces the title, don't think for a minute that stopped there from being a love triangle thrown in for good measure. And sadly, I preferred the second potential love interest over Isaac, which I don't think was supposed to happen.
I think perhaps the fundamental mistake and the reason I didn't connect well with the romance was that at the time we join Greta's story, she and Isaac have already known each other for two weeks. Now if only we'd been privy to that first meeting
— which sounded rather good and flirtatious and would have told us much about Isaac's true nature and personality. Plus, it was only two weeks ago; it's not liked we'd have had to backtrack years! You could even just stick it on as a prologue—
But no, instead we only hear about it in brief retrospect and so when he all of a sudden, out of absolutely nowhere to my eyes, starts talking about these great immense feelings they share, I was like "What now? Did I miss a something?" I just wasn't feeling it at all.
On the other hand, when we meet the second potential love interest we get a proper introduction, some nice life and death actions scenes together, some tender, quiet moments and a believable beginning to a relationship. So I found myself totally rooting for the underdog, which judging by the title, is not the author's intent.
Having said all of that, there were some really good aspects to this book; it's not all doom and gloom by any means. I thought the actual concept was good—a human surviving undercover in a world that detests humans— and Greta was a pretty decent kick-ass protagonist (although considering she was meant to be very skillful, the amount of times she needed saving somewhat belied that fact). Also, there were some nice secondary characters that were fleshed out quite well. The action scenes were really easy to visualise, the weird creatures sounded funky and the idea of the eclipse affecting everyone and turning them rabid was interesting and unnerving. So definitely not a total loss. Just such a shame about the romance angle, really.
I would possibly try this author again in the future because there's clearly a good imagination in play here, but I think I might have been a bit too underwhelmed with the characters to continue with this particular series.
3 Stars ★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I'm going to assume that if you're reading a review for book 13 in a series, you already are familiar with it and thereforAnother great read by Robb
I'm going to assume that if you're reading a review for book 13 in a series, you already are familiar with it and therefore don't need me to go into what these books are about—just whether or not this one was any good.
It was good. Very good, actually.
We got some progress on the McNab-Peabody situation (two more stubborn people I have never met), and of course Charles as well.
We got some nice scenes with Eve and Roarke. I love how much he worries about Eve when she runs herself into the ground. It's been about a year in book-time since the pair wed now. They are such a great couple.
We got an interesting method of delivery for the crime in that we had knowledge of the killer's games and even their identity way before Eve did. That was different but good. Even though being in a sicko's mind like that is never a fun place to be.
As always, I love reading about how the future technology either helps or hinders Eve in her investigations. In this instance, it was the use of facial putty, synthetic hair and other futuristic enhancements that enabled characters to look totally different and it was very enjoyable to read. ('cause you all know how much Eve loves visits from Trina the beauty technician, right?)
It was another great Audio production as well, with one caveat—
seems to have totally changed how she does Peabody's voice. It used to sound quite nasally and, well, a bit odd, but now she sounds just like Eve which makes it difficult when they are conversing since Robb isn't one for using he said/she said in her rapid-fire dialogue sections. Are you trying to confuse me, Susan, because I will not be bamboozled, dognammit!
I'd seen many favourable reviews for this book before reading it myself, which is always a dangerous thing. Hype and hoopla surrounding a book can often lead to high expectations not being met. And although this wasn't quite as mind-blowing as I'd hoped it would be, it was still a very good, very well-written read, and has great potential for future plots.
I loved the whole idea of the different factions and how it forces our young characters to examine their own personalities and decide exactly what kind of person they want to be. The system initially seems to work well, although it's odd to our eyes, but soon cracks begin to show and insurrection seems inevitable.
There were a couple of great characters in there, including the main one, Tris, a girl with unique qualities and a great sense of honour, as well as others that were not quite as well fleshed out as they could have been.
It's quite a violent world for ones so young, but anyone who's read the Hunger Games will be accustomed to reading about those type of things by now. And they are also handled realistically here, which I appreciated.
Unlike the Hunger Games, which gets off to a very quick start and maintains a fast pace throughout, Divergent slowly creeps up on you instead, culminating in a fantastic tension-filled ending. The training section is long (perhaps overly so), but the plot twist at around 3/4 of the way through was thrilling and slightly terrifying.
The romance was pretty cute. The boy (I shan't say his name for fear of spoilers) is a total sweetie-pie, and admires our heroine despite her own insecurities about being so small/looking so young.
I will definitely be reading the rest of the series, but since I've heard Insurgent has a killer cliffhanger, I've decided to wait until book three comes along, which will be on September 26th 2013.
Recommended to fans of the Hunger Games and other YA dystopians.
This was a short and sweet love story—only around 50,000 words or 142 pages on my eReader, but it was a reaA brief but entertaining fantasy romance.
This was a short and sweet love story—only around 50,000 words or 142 pages on my eReader, but it was a really enjoyable read and would make a perfect palate cleanser in between books, or just when you want to read a historical fantasy romance but don't feel like starting a 600-page whopper. Although, like most novellas and short stories, it lacked in certain areas such as depth of characterisation and world-building.
I almost wish this had been longer even though I enjoyed it for the sweet morsel that it was. I found I really liked Lee's writing style—it was very readable, warm and engaging—but I would have loved more details on the setting and a few more intimate, romantic scenes would have been nice, too. It was very chaste for a romance. In fact, the H and h spent a lot of the book apart for one reason or another, and for that reason, I felt like I never really got to know Tathan, the hero, very well as it's told predominantly from the heroine, Kimri's, perspective.
It's set in a historical setting, but exactly where or when I couldn't tell you as those details aren't provided. I'd say it had a medieval feel to it. The fantasy element is minimal but added a nice flavour. It's the story of an arranged marriage between the stoic, gentle mountain-king of Helmsmont, and the feisty princess of neighbouring Anagard, who is, much to her dismay, sold to him in matrimony by her brother the King for the princely sum of 100 swords, 1000 arrows, and the promise of an alliance between the two lands.
The land of Helmsmont was a charming place to explore. From its customs (the Sword dancing!) to its people and the informal way they treat their sovereign, something so different to what Kimri is used to. And then there's the man himself, Tathan. He was a revelation, both to Kimri and to myself. Not your typical hero, he's described as a large-boned, slightly greying man with a "rugged" handsomeness. He may not sound like a totally hottie, but it makes such a refreshing change from endless descriptions of rippling abs and chiselled cheekbones blah, blah, blah. I really liked him. It's his gentleness and patience that make him a worthy hero, not just his looks, but as I said earlier I wish we'd seen more of him and that he'd taken a stronger stance where Kimri was concerned.
All together, a sweet, easy and enjoyable read. Recommended. 3 Stars ★★★ ARC provided for an honest review.
This review will probably be rubbish and not do the book justice at all, for the simple fact that I was enjoying it so much thaLove, love, loved it!
This review will probably be rubbish and not do the book justice at all, for the simple fact that I was enjoying it so much that I actually forgot it was an ARC (for review read) and forgot to take ANY notes. Not. One. Single. Note. Normally, I keep a pad and pencil next to my eReader at all times and I'll jot down little scribbles whenever they come to me, but I was so engrossed, I forgot.
And, funnily enough, compared to other similar books of this genre, the book wasn't even particularly action-packed or fast-moving, so it wasn't that that had me flipping the pages. It was more that I was simply enchanted by it. By the world, the story and the writing. This is my first book by Marillier, but will definitely not be my last. Her writing style is immediately engaging, no doubt in part due to being in first person, which is quite unusual for this type of book.
Full confession time: this genre is fast becoming by own personal literary crack, I can't seem to get enough of it. So that will have upped my enjoyment and my rating because I was in my element, my happy place. It's a difficult genre to pin down, really. It's essentially a historical fantasy setting (in this case loosely based on a magical ancient Scotland) with lush world-building and a strong (either of magic, character or body) and often quite young, female main character, and usually has a slow-forming but very sweet romance. I may not know what the genre is called, but I know exactly who I would recommend it to. If you are a fan of any or all of the following, you should love this book.
Maria V. Snyder. (Study Series, Healer of Avry series) Kristin Cashore. (Seven Kingdoms series) R. L. LaFevers (His Fair assassin series) Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass series) Kristen Britain (Greed Rider series)
And probably more I'm forgetting or haven't 'met' myself yet.
I've seen from other reviewers who have had the pleasure of reading Marillier before, that this isn't even necessarily her best or most thrilling book, no doubt due to the aforementioned lack of action or solid conclusion. But it's a great opener for a series I'm now extremely excited about continuing. The main conflict of the story arc—the evil King Keldec and his mission to cull every town of anyone who has Canny magic (unless they work for him, of course) by whatever ruthless means necessary—is all still to come. It was only talked about in the abstract in this book because, as of yet, our brave young heroine—a girl called Neryn of almost 16 summers—isn't ready to face him. I would have had to suspend all disbelief if she were to have had a showdown with him in this book. This is no Mary Sue character and there was no Deus Ex Machina ending. She's not ready yet. She's on a journey, and it's only just begun.
At the start of the book, Neryn has just about lost everything and finds herself on her own and on the run. Help comes in the most unexpected of forms and there are many a challenge and test of wills along the way. Much like in the great fairy tales of the past, our heroine first has to prove her worth, have her mettle tested to breaking point, and that's exactly what this book shows us. Seeing these early stages of our heroine's growth, while she's still so young and even a little bit naive, will no doubt make seeing the rest of her journey that much more fulfilling.
Flint, who was the other main character out of the wide and varied cast, all of whom were vivid and essential, was a real treat. Not your typical hero by any means, but what an amazingly complex and conflicted character! I can't wait to see more of him.
Even lacking in action or any big, climactic ending as it was, this was not a boring book by any means, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. There is a lot of time that Neryn is alone and travelling, but she's faced with constant challenges that kept me entertained. And then when Flint came on the scene...well, I was entertained for all kinds of different reasons then :)
Recommended to fans of all of the above authors, and to anyone who loved a good (and often rather gruesome) fairy tale as a child. Suitable for younger readers, but perfect for big kids too.
Another good one, but lacking in any moments of levity to break the tension.
Even the ever hilarious and good-for-a-laugh Peabody was subdued in thisAnother good one, but lacking in any moments of levity to break the tension.
Even the ever hilarious and good-for-a-laugh Peabody was subdued in this one, no thanks to MacNab being a total wolly. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't as much fun as others have been.
There's an assassin on the move in Eve's New York, one that's been on the FBI's most-wanted files for decades. His methods are brutal and hard to read about. I find that sometimes having to listen to the details of the crimes and get inside the killer's head along with Eve, is quite disturbing for me. Especially when it's rapists. I have a really hard time with it so that's why it's always so important for there to be a funny scene (or two or three) to lighten things up a bit. This book was missing that. Peabody was in it very little. Mavis was absent for most of the book too, and even Roarke, who's so often cheeky and playful, was too preoccupied with the crimes going on right under his nose to be his usual charming self.
I did however find this passage that I thought I'd quote since it's a nice reminder of just how gorgeous, intelligent and sexxeh Roarke is. For anyone that thinks Christian Grey is the sexiest billionaire on the block...try again.
She turned toward Roarke's office, then stopped in the doorway. He was at his console; captain of his ship. He'd drawn his hair back so it lay on his neck in a short, gleaming black tail. His eyes were cool, cool blue. The colour they were when his mind was fully occupied. He'd taken off his dinner jacket, his shirt was loose at the collar, the sleeves rolled up. There was something... just something about that look that always and forever grabbed her in the gut. She could look at him for hours, and at the end of it, still marvel that he belonged to her. Someone wants to hurt you, she thought. I'm not going to let them.
A novella chronicling Claire's adventures from auction house to Faerie and how she met Heidar for the first time and discovers surprising facts aboutA novella chronicling Claire's adventures from auction house to Faerie and how she met Heidar for the first time and discovers surprising facts about herself.
This would be ideally read before Dorina Basarab book #1 Midnight's daughter....more
I enjoyed this. I listened to it as an audiobook and it's narrated by Xe Sands who has the most wonderful, easy-to-listen-toCute paranormal mystery.
I enjoyed this. I listened to it as an audiobook and it's narrated by Xe Sands who has the most wonderful, easy-to-listen-to voice.
The story introduces us to Lily Ivory. A twenty-something witch and vintage clothing expert and store owner. Funnily enough, I actually have a bit of a thing for vintage clothing and period costumery myself. There's this wonderful Facebook page I follow called Au fil des passions to get my daily fix. It has photos of dresses, accessories and corsetry, etc from various history museums (honestly, the attention to detail when you consider so much of it was done by hand is astonishing) as well as elaborate modern day designs and famous Hollywood movie costumes. If you have any interest in clothing as art, as I do, you should check it out!
Anyway, I digress (sorry). Lily not only sells the clothes and has a keen eye for recommending and obtaining them, but I loved the fact that she also wears them herself in her day-to-day life. From 1960s polka dot wiggle dresses to 1940s shirt dresses. She reminded me an awful lot of the character Melinda Gordon from the T.V show Ghost Whisperer, actually. Just swap antique shop for vintage clothing and Ghost whisperer for Witch, and you've pretty much got Lily Ivory. She also has that same quiet yet strangely endearing personality. She sweet. She's likeable. She's intelligent. She's attractive. And I think she might turn out to be quite a talented witch too once we get to know her more.
A lot of this book was introduction. There's obviously more to come in terms of why Lily is not with a witch Coven and what happened in her past, etc. She meets a couple of interesting male characters in this book that make me intrigued about future romantic subplots. Although, I'm not certain either one of them is ideal for Lily. Both could lead to heartache for different reasons...
The plot follows a missing girl who is believed to have been taken by a water demon called La Llorona. The mystery plot wasn't exactly fast-paced; it was perhaps a little sedate for my tastes, but I understand a lot of time had to be devoted to set up and establishing characters.
I did love Oscar her new goblin familiar/pig. He was adorable! I love it when they have an animal or some kind of small supernatural creature as a sidekick!
I'll definitely check out the next one the next time I want a relaxing, enjoyable audio experience.
As amazing as I'd hoped. I cannot wait for the next one!
I admit to being slightly scared of starting this book. I don't think I've ever seen such aAs amazing as I'd hoped. I cannot wait for the next one!
I admit to being slightly scared of starting this book. I don't think I've ever seen such a positive buzz about a book that hadn't (at the time) even been released yet. Book Bloggers and Advanced Copy readers were going wild about it; doing these amazing, gushing, hyperbolic reviews. This worried me, because it wouldn't be the first time that that's happened and then I've picked up the book myself and realised it's very prettily written, and highly descriptive, but is otherwise only an average story. And I can't get excited about the talent of a wordsmith alone. You have to tell me a good story as well. That's kind of my mantra when I'm reading: Tell the story, tell the story, tell the story. So when writers get too wordy or try and simile me into submission, I get turned off. Where did my story go?
And for the most part, I would be lying if I didn't say that Kristoff's writing is highly descriptive in places. More so, even, than some of the ones I ended up not liking previously. But holy freaking cow does he back that up with a great story, incredible world-building, phenomenal fantasy, sci-fi and steampunk elements, and to top it all off, a cast of fantastically diverse and complex characters!
Of course, anything worth having is worth working hard for, and for around the first 50-60 or so pages of the book, I was working pretty damned hard! The Japanese language; mostly used for names of weapons, clothing, races, species, gods, myths and of course, character names, made reading difficult initially. I don't really like having to struggle so much, but after all the reviews I'd seen, I felt confident the pay-off would be worth it if I persevered. It was, and then some.
So, what is the book about? Well, it's a very complex world and plot and overall story arc, so I wouldn't even like to try summarising it. But I will tell you your main character is a young girl named Yukiko. She is an excellent strong and positive heroine who needs no hot boy brooding at her to make her appear so. It's not a coming-of-age story, exactly, but definitely an eye-opening journey. It set in a futuristic, or maybe alternate history? (not sure) Japan, where a plant called the Blood Lotus has been discovered and put to great and terrifying use. It powers the great machinery; the sky-ships, the war machines, even the brass and iron body armour of the samurai warriors. But the cost to the world and its citizens is immense. The choking fumes are killing everyone and everything, slowly but surely. Breathing masks and goggles need to be worn at all times. Man is playing a very dangerous and greedy game; thinking only of the benefits now, and not the consequences later. It's quite thought-provoking in that it's not that much of a stretch to imagine our species doing exactly this--especially such an industrious nation as Japan--and its message is clear, and the most ingenious use of entertainment to deliver it since WALL.E.
So, it looks like someone needs to shake things up a bit, right? But our Yukiko is just one girl, and only 16 at that. She has no power. But perhaps she has the strength after all (spot the Princess Bride quote), if only she has the help of oh, say for example, a badass THUNDER TIGER!
Check out this awesome image of Yukiko and her Thunder Tiger—or griffin—Buruu. Isn't it cool?
Stormdancer by GENZOMAN
Buruu's character—and he definitely is a character—was a fantastic part of the story. His dialogue—which is telepathic and all done in shouty capitals—was excellent and often highly amusing. I loved him!
There were several other characters I grew to appreciate and as the epic final chapters came to a close, I found myself deeply concerned over their whereabouts and well-being. That's not to say it ends on a cliffhanger—it doesn't—but there are many unanswered questions and threads left unresolved and I NEED THE NEXT BOOK RIGHT NOW!
In summation, do I recommend this book? Hells yeah. Who to? I don't know... everyone? I'm not sure who to recommend it to specifically, because it's so unlike anything else with it's blend of genres. Even if you've read Steampunk before that will in no way prepare you for this book. My advice is to just go and buy it, if it's not for you, hand it to your friend and they'll probably read it, love it, and tell you you're a crazy person not to have loved every single syllable. And they'll probably give you a cookie or something. So everyone's a winner.
5 phenomenal Stars ★★★★★ ARC provided for an honest review.
P. S. I found some more pictures I thought were very Stormdancery:
The sky-ship with the dragon on the front. [image error] Airship by ~SnowSkadi
I definitely enjoyed this, just not quiiiiite as much as Graceling. The romance wasn't as prevalent or as sweet and I nReturn to the Seven Kingdoms.
I definitely enjoyed this, just not quiiiiite as much as Graceling. The romance wasn't as prevalent or as sweet and I needs me some sweet romance! I'm getting slightly disenchanted, actually, with the way these books end. They don't end with hearts and flowers and riding off into the sunset happily married with 2.4 kids. (How do you get 0.4 of a kid anyway?) I didn't comment on it at the end of Graceling because, stupid me hadn't realised at that point that books two and three wouldn't be following Po and Katsa. Which, now that I think about it, really sucks because of how up in the air everything was left with those two...
Anyhoodle. It's Ms. Cashore's world and she can write the books however she sees fit, I guess. And if she doesn't want the romance to be front and centre, then I'll have to just deal with it or move along the bus.
Whatever they may lack in romance, however, is always more than made up for in imagination and creativity. I loved the concept of the Gracelings in book one, and in this one she gives us more new creatures/species to explore, in the form of Monsters.
Monster: (noun) A creature of varied species, including (rarely) human, with unusually bright, colourful attributes, overwhelming beauty, and the ability to alter and/or warp the minds of others.
That's the interpretation in this world anyway. They can be anything from a horse to a fox, in vivid, vibrant colours so different from their natural counterparts, and are able to get into people's minds, either to communicate, or to bamboozle.
Our heroine is a Monster. She's called Fire due to her flame-red hair. She's seen as especially dangerous because human men are pretty easy to manipulate by even normal beautiful women (not my words), but the unnatural advantages Fire has make her a source of contempt, fear and distrust for both men and women alike.
This story sees Fire invited to a neighbouring kingdom to help evaluate their potential rivals in a war that's brewing in the Seven Kingdoms. While there, she meets Prince Brigan and his brother, King Nash, and finds friends in the most unlikely of places. It's set prior to Graceling and even features a much younger Lec.
This was another great audio production, but sadly wasn't Full Cast this time as Graceling was. However, the reader had a great voice and it was still a really good listen.
I'm looking forward to Bitterblue to see if maybe that gives me an update on Po and Katsa. I really hope so!
Thirty pieces of silver, but what is the price of a soul?
And we're back for book 11 in the In Death series with a gruesome killing spree that puts aThirty pieces of silver, but what is the price of a soul?
And we're back for book 11 in the In Death series with a gruesome killing spree that puts a taint on everything Eve Dallas stands for. As usual—and this is something that I find quite comical at this point—there's a connection to Eve's billionaire husband, Roarke.
Well, he does own half the planet!
I thought the crime and mystery aspect was a great improvement over the last one. There's nothing Eve won't do to avenge the dead, and it hits even harder when it's one of their own. The connection to Roarke and the re-emergence of a contact from his less than spotless past is worrying for Eve. In trying to protect Roarke, a wall of tension is built between them which leads to some really intense scenes that were very satisfying to read.
To break the tension...Well, what does a girl do when her husband is being a butthead? Why, go and get rip roaring drunk with her oldest friend of course!
Now, I think I've mentioned before how good the audiobook narrator, Susan Ericksen, is for this series. She's made me laugh many a time with her interpretations of Robb's characters. But drunk Mavis has to go down as the ultimate achievement in audio narration. Ever. Somebody hand that woman an award, please. It was just...ah, so funny.
So, all together a great instalment with some graphic scenes of violence, some tense emotional moments, and a drunk Mavis as the proverbial cherry on the top. How does that sound?
Murder on stage. But is it simply a case art imitating life for Detective Eve Dallas?
This was a slight dip in the road for me for the In Death serieMurder on stage. But is it simply a case art imitating life for Detective Eve Dallas?
This was a slight dip in the road for me for the In Death series. The quality of the wrting was at its usual exceptional level; fast-paced, gritty, funny, sentimental. All the usual good stuff. But unfortunately this time the subject matter of the crime simply didn't ignite my imagination. I'm sure it was just a personal thing.
There's a murder within the first few paragraphs right on the stage in front of Eve during a performance of a play that's being backed by her squillionaire husband, Roarke. So the killer is known right from the beginning, but the question really is, who switched the fake knife for a very real one?
I didn't really like the cast of self-adsorbed, borderline narcissistic actors and luvvies. They weren't supposed to be enjoyable, I don't suppose, but it also had a somewhat old fashioned feeling to the format. A bit like an old Agatha Christie or Hercule Poirot, where all the players are known, and it's just a question of interrogating each of them until somebody spills their guts. Like I said, it just wasn't for me.
However, I'd say it was worth reading it for one hilarious scene alone. Eve gets her new computer unit in her office at Cop Central. Funniest. Scene. Ever. The narrator truly outdid herself on it.
I'm also loving the developments with MacNab and Peabody. So cute, I really hope it keeps going.
So, all in all not my favourite of the series, but not without a few high points, either.
Despite taking a while to grab me and a few minor compFind more reviews like this at The Demon Librarian.
After a shaky start, I really enjoyed this.
Despite taking a while to grab me and a few minor complaints about the characterization of the Wird sisters, this ended up being a really fun urban fantasy romp with some great action scenes, sizzling sexual tension and really fun magical elements.
Told from eldest sister Celia Wird's POV, she and her three sisters are introduced to us in the opening scene already in hot water with master vampire, Misha, having been summoned to "vampire court" on charges of murder. This introduction—which was used as a convenient way to tell us about each sister's unique supernatural abilities—raised instant warning flags for me as it became apparent the sisters had all been given personas so large and so extreme as to be bordering on the ridiculous. I realize the need to make it easy for us differentiate between them, to make each stand out, but for someone like myself who appreciates more subtly nuanced characters, the Spice Girl-like qualities of the sisters' personalities made me baulk.
There's the brash, crude and loud sister—Taran (Scary Spice).
There's the blonde-haired, timid and shy sister—Emme (Baby Spice).
There's the fun-loving, bouncy, calls everyone "dude" sister—Shayna (Sporty Spice).
The protagonist, Celia, however (who must be some amalgamation of Posh spice and Ginger Spice since that's all that's left) was a much more complex character (thank heavens!) and I grew to like her a lot. As the eldest sister, she's taken on the role of protector/defender of the family, having also the strongest physically ability when it comes to fighting. She's a Tigress shape-shifter with some other... interesting... abilities as well, all derived from a curse that was put on all mother Wird's unborn children. A badass when it comes to fighting, but totally hopeless when it comes to relationships and those "men" thingies, I really enjoyed discovering these two very different sides to her nature. I also felt quite sorry for her since she was quite a lonely character as well. Having an inner "beast" that people—whether they know it not—can sense, has always caused them to give her a wide berth. Her sisters are the ones that go on dates and get noticed by the opposite sex, not Celia. Until, that is, very Hot and very Alpha werewolf, Aric, who is her beast's equal in every way, comes on the scene!
I loved Aric. He was the perfect blend of strong manly man and total sweetie-pie. The romance was one of my favourite things about this book, actually. That and the action! It's not just the personalities that are big in Robson's world! Oh no. Even the Big Bads were Marvel comic book-like in their size, strength and descriptions. They could give Hulk a run for his money any day of the week! I found myself glued to these sections and up rather late at night finishing the book as I just couldn't put it down. Which is always nice.
So overall, while not perfect, this book was Fun with a capital F once it got going and I will definitely be reading the next one, A Cursed Embrace, when it comes out in July 2013. If you can accept some larger than life aspects in your Urban Fantasy, you should enjoy this book, as I did.
4 Stars ★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Another great instalment to this engaging futuristic police procedural series with a diverse cast of loveable characters.
Eve Dallas just can't miss.Another great instalment to this engaging futuristic police procedural series with a diverse cast of loveable characters.
Eve Dallas just can't miss. After nine books, I'm starting to notice some patterns and repeated ideas within the series, quite naturally so. Such as Roarke ALWAYS somehow managing to get involved in Eve's cases. Not that I really mind; I want him on the scene. But even with this slight repetitiveness, I've still thoroughly enjoyed every single one of the books so far, and I'm continually impressed at how the standard stays so high.
The usual gang is in full swing in this politically motivated crime/mystery plot, with the addition of Peabody's Free-ager younger brother, Zeke. He was such a sweetie-pie, I do hope to see him again in future books. Speaking of Peabody; if anyone is patiently waiting for her and MacNab to get a clue and realise they like each other, and that MacNab's teasing is the equivalent of pulling the pigtails of the girl you liked in the school playground, you might want to read this book for a slight insight on that situation.
I admit to being totally hoodwinked by one of the characters and enjoyed being surprised. Again, each crime is fresh and different and the politically motivated bomb threats were interesting and exciting. As was the part Zeke played in the subplot.
I do love all the futuristic technology, but I still can't quite wrap my head around some of the stuff, like the hover cars and androids for example (can you say creepy?). It's all just flavouring to the series, though, and never takes over or becomes too bogged down in techo gibber jabber. It's just the right balance.
Another goody. Well done Robb. 4 Stars ★★★★ ...more
A cracking mystery with great characters and a fascinating world of elemental magic users.
I really enjoyed this. The mystery element was so very stA cracking mystery with great characters and a fascinating world of elemental magic users.
I really enjoyed this. The mystery element was so very strong and compelling. You could get away with calling it Urban Fantasy, but perhaps Paranormal Mystery would also work as it was so centred around that aspect. It had a great cast of characters, awesome magical abilities and some surprises you just won't see coming.
The story is presented in the 1st person through Aidan Brook (f), a water Elemental (someone who can control water, call it from the air or from a direct source and basically make it do anything she wants) who has been in exile for the last decade after a tragedy forced her to leave behind everything she once knew, including her best friend, a fire Elemental called Sera.
I was pretty much hooked from chapter one. After a brief introduction to Aidan and her current situation, a blast from the past in the form of her one-time BFF sends her whole world off kilter, and the mystery that drives the book is revealed.
I thought the writing was excellent; intelligent, witty, thought-provoking. It immediately showed the interesting but highly awkward friendship dynamic that is left after Aidan's 10-year absence. Even starting out cold, not knowing these character at all yet, I felt the tension and lost years stretching between the two. Watching the former best friends walk that shaky line between wanting to fall back into their old, familiar habits and camaraderie, but holding back through fear of being hurt again. It was great stuff.
I found the character voices were very clear and distinct. It ended up being a really diverse bunch of people (and supernatural races) once the motley "crime solving" crew was fully assembled, and I enjoyed each character in turn. The secondary ones were just as well drawn as the main two, and I particularly grew fond of Simon :).
The reason for their gathering is that they, led by Sera, have all decided to join forces to end this mystery Elemental's killing spree once and for all. The killer is not being careful about revealing them to the human population, and that puts them all at risk. It was bad enough when it was happening 10 years ago, and Aidan's been having nightmares about it ever since. She can barely believe it's happening again. But when Sera reveals that another of her close friends, second only to Sera, has been murdered, Aidan has no choice but to return to the scene of the killer's, and her, crimes.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the magical abilities of the Elementals and Shapeshifters, complete with their full and fascinating origin stories. There were several expertly dispersed sections of backstory and species history. I could see the sections coming, but rather than feeling like I needed to prepare myself for a dispassionate info-dump, it was done deftly through conversation, sometimes in a story-telling format, or other times just through the narrative, and felt perfectly natural. Also cleverly interspersed were the clues, suspicions and conjecture regarding the elemental killer's identity and motivations. I did manage to correctly guess one of the big surprises, but was TOTALLY side-swiped by another. Which was awesome.
If I could wish for anything, it would have been for more indications of the budding romantic feelings between Mac and Aidan. I don't mind a slow-forming romance at all, but while I'm waiting, I love watching all the little clues, gestures and lingering looks, etc.. So there could have been a whole boatload more of that for me. Also, a bit more emotional connection to Aidan, which may come naturally over the series as I get to know her more.
To sum up, if you love a good mystery and powerful magical abilities and can appreciate well-crafted characters, get this book.
Highly recommended to fans of Amanda Stevens' Graveyard Queen series. UF for grown-ups.
4 Stars ★★★★ Review Copy: Received from the author for an honest review
A slight change of pace this time. The plot was not based around a mystery, but was more of a problem solving affair. I prefer a mystery if I'm honest
A slight change of pace this time. The plot was not based around a mystery, but was more of a problem solving affair. I prefer a mystery if I'm honest, but, if you've been following this series in order, you'll be nicely invested in the characters by now and so will be pleasantly surprised and delighted by some of the progress made in this instalment. There are some very interesting developments. Some people will impress you, some really, really won't.
The setting of the Netherworld didn't make as much of an impression on me as I'd imagined after reading Dulcie's glimpse of it. But, to be fair, she really didn't get the chance to see a whole lot of it, so I will look forward to seeing more of that setting in future books. And judging by certain events, that's a distinct possibility.
Well now. I've gone from 'like' to 'love' over the space of two books. I 'liked' the plot for book one, but I 'loved' the plot book two. It wasn't tha
Well now. I've gone from 'like' to 'love' over the space of two books. I 'liked' the plot for book one, but I 'loved' the plot book two. It wasn't that it was better written either because the standard was already high, but it was just more interesting because it had such devastating repercussions for Duclie's personal life.
I also loved the new characters that were introduced. Dea, for example, was a nice surprise. I'd grown quite attached to her by the end. I hope she's a regular feature from now on. And getting to know the characters we'd already met before more... intimately was fun too. Especially Knight and Bran. Bran has his moments, but ultimately always ruins it for himself by being a total narcissist. And Knight....ah, Knight. I love Knight Vander!!! (Extra exclamations marks were required- you have no idea). I just can't hide it any longer. I need to confess it to someone. He's too cute/hot/sweet/arrogant/funny/sexy for words. And I think we saw a different side to him in this book, too. Okay, the Knight that we met in book one- the self-confessed "cocky bastard"- is still very much there, but we discovered new depths in A TALE OF TWO GOBLINS and were it a test, he would have passed with flying colours in the "is also a pretty freaking nice guy" department.
This book wasn't perfect. The BIG BAD was unguessable (my red squiggly line maker says unguessable isn't a word, but it so should be) and there were also some pretty major time discrepancies going on between what was said in book one, and what's said here in this one, which in the end I just decided to overlook and make it up for myself. So I was perhaps a bit generous giving it a full five stars (which is not like me at all!), but I enjoyed it so much it seemed mean to mark it down.
This is the third instalment of the Jolie Wilkins series, and the first one to be published by Bantam, rather than sDecisions, decisions, decisions.
This is the third instalment of the Jolie Wilkins series, and the first one to be published by Bantam, rather than self-published. The series follows the trials and tribulations of Jolie who is a witch, and who also very recently became Queen of the Underworld. It also follows her somewhat complicated love life between the man she loves, Rand, who won't commit, and the man that lusts after her, Sinjin, who is seriously confusing her feelings.
And essentially, that is all this book was about; the love triangle. Which I did enjoy up to a point because I do enjoy the characters of both Rand and Sinjin, and of course Jolie, and I'm quite invested in the outcome at this point. And I even enjoyed some of the unusual complications and roadblocks Mallory has thrown in the way to keep things interesting, and to delay that ultimately inevitable Happily Ever After. But I would also have liked a plot to go with it. Which sadly this book did not posses.
It's actually funny that in my last review I commented on how much stuff Mallory likes to squeeze into each instalment, and regarding books one and two, that statement holds true. Unfortunately not so with this book. There was boy drama and indecision, a house move, some more boy drama and indecision, a few meetings and things for Jolie's new role as Queen, some more boy drama and indecision...you get the idea.
No fighting, no mystery, no bad guys, hardly any magic, even. Just lots of dialogue and angst. I wouldn't go so far as to say the book wasn't enjoyable, and in terms of the Rand- Sinjin- Jolie storyline, it's essential reading, but I was just expecting more.
It was also filled with lots of recaps in the form of journal entries which it's never had before. I can only guess the reason for this is because, with it now being backed by a publishing house, they have assumed people might start the series with this one, and therefore felt the need to try and recap two whole books' worth of stuff. Which is just not possible. It will only serve to be very annoying for readers of the series who don't need the recaps, and for new readers, to be thrown in half way through a war, with existing, complicated inter-character relationships, it will be just too much to take in or connect with and recaps just won't cut it. What folly.
I have to mention as well, I thought I'd accidentally picked up the wrong book when I started reading it and found myself reliving chapter one of book one. Don't worry, you haven't gone mad. (Or at least I don't think so. I'm not a doctor). There is a reason this scene is replayed and it will all make sense by the end of the book.
Whilst I found some of the boy drama overdone, I do appreciate that Jolie, unlike a lot of UF heroines that are all of sudden handed a title like Queen (for no apparent reason- just for being super special) and do nothing but complain about it, Jolie was actually pleased and thankful for it and never (well not much, anyway) bemoaned her new powerful status, even with its drawbacks. She admits it's cool to feel powerful.
Another favourite aspect is how Mallory manages to squeeze a nice dose of drama out of every plot. Even a rather dull one. There were a couple of scenes with Rand and/or Sinjin that were nice and emotive. But, again, only if you've read the first two books and know their history.
I didn't like the amount time it took Jolie to tell Rand about the binding that happened in Toil and Trouble during her sojourn to the past. I didn't fully understand her reasons for keeping it from him. Also, everybody's acceptance of Jolie's new queenly status, which to me seems to be based solely on one woman's assurance that "It's her destiny," is a little suspect. Especially since the entire war they just fought was to prevent another witch becoming Queen and having too much power. Not that I'm comparing Jolie to that evil cow Bella, but still.
I also suffered confusion over some inconsistencies: Did Mathilda make 1978 Rand forget as she kept saying? Or was it as Mercedes said, that the magic of time travelling rinsed them from the minds of anyone who saw them? Answers on a postcard, please.
But, ultimately, it doesn't matter what happened in the beginning and middle this book, or even what didn't happen, because after that KILLER cliffhanger ending, I am now desperate to get my hands on the next book! Just when I thought Mallory had forgotten her knack of keeping the plot fresh and exciting... No, no. She was just saving the best bit for last.