**spoiler alert** This is a great young adult book. I loved the world Jones developed here as well as the idea of placing the heroine, Sophie, under a...more**spoiler alert** This is a great young adult book. I loved the world Jones developed here as well as the idea of placing the heroine, Sophie, under a curse that aged her to look and feel like an old woman. But that it didn't crush her spirit and instead gave her courage to start doing things for herself. The other main characters, Howl and Calcifer, were fantastic as well. I rather enjoyed how foppish Howl was and the bantering that went on between him and Sophie was amusing. (less)
**spoiler alert** I loved this book. Heather sneaks her way into a garden after being denied entrance and finds herself in a maze. She stumbles across...more**spoiler alert** I loved this book. Heather sneaks her way into a garden after being denied entrance and finds herself in a maze. She stumbles across a statue that scares the piss out of her and runs blindly out of the maze. Only to fall right at the feet of the owner who denied her entrance and his son, Jordan. After hearing her last name their attitudes toward Heather turns from hostel to friendly. The owner insists that she stays in the mansion with them until she heals from her injuries from running through the maze. Soon Heather finds herself interested in the garden the owner is trying to restore, the little boy that turns up missing, and the weird things that are happening to people who get too close to the maze. The town the mansion is in is known for its legendary witchcraft trials and all the information and folklore on that subject was really interesting. The town and people in this book were fabulous and I loved the mystery that was centered on the maze.
My only problem with the book was that the climax was more of a fizzle than it was a pop. There was all this build up about the maze and when they finally went in, it was only for few minutes. Another problem I had was with the way the villain was disposed of. What happened was a little unclear. I had to go back and reread because I didn't catch on to what happened the first time. One minute they're in the maze facing off with the villain and then on the next page the good guys are at a hospital.
One of the biggest things that annoyed me about this book is how easy everything seemed to be solved for Julian and Grace. It just seemed like wheneve...moreOne of the biggest things that annoyed me about this book is how easy everything seemed to be solved for Julian and Grace. It just seemed like whenever the two of them found themselves in a bind, some god or goddess would throw something at them to help. I wanted to see Grace and Julian work through the curse more by themselves and not with all these random gods throwing them helping hands along the way. But the way Grace and Julian interacted with each other more than helped make up for that. I loved how much quiet time they spent together and it made their developing relationship seem much more believable. By the end of the story I was convinced that Julian and Grace’s relationship would last and that they wouldn’t be trying to curse each other into a book after a week.
Grace was good character and she managed to hold her own in the book, but I have to say that I really really liked Julian. One of the main reasons I liked Julian so much was that despite the fact that he was a Spartan general back in the day, he manages to see Grace as an equal and doesn’t go into “Me Tarzan, You Jane” mode.
This book doesn’t go very far into the dark hunter world, but you could see that Kenyon was starting to set up things that will be addressed in later books in the series when we start to get deeper into that world. Her site says that you don’t have to read the books in order and I don’t doubt that at all, but in my opinion I think it might be better if you did start from the beginning. So you can see the world building evolve instead of just being thrust into everything like I was in Unleash the Night. All around though this was a great story and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. (less)
This is the second book in Cast's Goddess series. When I started this book my main worry was that it was going to take a lot of my favorite Greek myth...moreThis is the second book in Cast's Goddess series. When I started this book my main worry was that it was going to take a lot of my favorite Greek myths and turn them into big piles of fluffy mush. This, thankfully, didn't happen. I was also impressed with how much detail of the Underworld was given. Besides descriptions of how the place looked, there was also background given on a lot of the scenery without it feeling intrusive.
As for the two main characters, Lina’s not the young inexperienced heroine you often see and she knows what she’s talking about. She has really strange taste in pet names though. Patchy Poo the Pud Santoro? She also has a special connection to animals, as in they all love her. I actually liked that and didn’t find it as unbelievable. I can kind of understand why Cast gave her that ability. Lina’s in a goddess’s body with “special powers” for 75% of the book and so she needed to have the ability to do something that was all her own so she wouldn’t fall into the shadow of Persephone and her abilities. It was also probably so that Hades wasn't always admiring powers that she could only do with Persephone's body. Speaking of Hades, he was a very well rounded character and has a lot of interesting aspects to him. The one problem I had with some of the scenes between him and Lina were the Batman references. Those started to annoy me a little bit as I progressed through the book.(less)
I solemnly swear that I will try my hardest not to gush over this book like a rabid fan girl, but I have to say that I loved this book. Poison Study w...moreI solemnly swear that I will try my hardest not to gush over this book like a rabid fan girl, but I have to say that I loved this book. Poison Study was a unique read and the characters and world Snyder builds up in this are absolutely amazing.
After rooming with the rats in the dungeons for a year, Yelena’s execution date has finally arrived. And she’s escorted upstairs to be read her last rights and have a chance to confess her sins before execution. Only the man she’s taken to offers her a choice, she can either swing in the breeze or become the food taster for the Commander of Ixia. -who is pretty much like the king of the kingdom.- Yelena’s not an idiot and knows that either way she’s choosing death, the only difference is how and when she’s going to die. Fast and now, by a noose or slowly and who knows when by poison. After a bit of consideration Yelena decides that with the poison at least she might have a chance of escaping.
Yelena’s lessons on poisons start immediately and this job is anything but easy. She not only has to deal with the fact that some assassin may try to slip the Commander poisoned food and end up poisoning her, but also that Valek, her teacher and the Commander’s right hand man, is known to test the food tasters by slipping them poisons every once in a while as well. Her plans of escaping have pretty much been squashed too, because Valek slipped a little insurance into her drink and now she has to get an antidote from him every morning or die a slow and painful death. And things just keep on getting better and better for Yelena, because the owner of the orphanage is pissed that she isn’t being executed for killing his son. So his cronies are running around the castle trying to kill her and there’s a rat in the servants quarter who is feeding her enemies information. There’s also the fact that something strange is happening to the Commander and she’s starting to develop a bit of a crush on Valek. Which shouldn’t be happening since the guy is likely to kill her if he ever gets even the slightest notion that she’s not working out as food taster.
I loved the world Snyder is building here. You get the sense that this place is kind of medieval, but then they have some modern conveniences as well. There’s a feud going on between the south and north countries that is really interesting as well. When Ixia was taken over by the Commander he banished all magic people and they went to the south. Now anyone who’s born with magic in Ixia is executed unless they can make it to the south before anyone reports them to the authorities. This is another problem Yelena faces when her magic powers start to emerge.
Yelena is probably one of the most tortured heroines I’ve read about in a long time and I absolutely loved her character. She had crappy life before she was imprisoned and things just keep getting more awful for her every day, but she handles everything that’s thrown at her really well. She knows how to think things through and instead of being broken by all that has happened to her, it’s only managed to make her stronger. She’s someone who can make it on her own and is smart enough and resourceful enough to survive pretty much anything.
Valek was another great character even though I think I made his character sound a bit darker than he is in the book. Throughout the story you’re a little leery of him and his motives because you can tell he’d do anything to keep the Commander safe and he isn’t exactly Mr. Trusting when it comes to other people. Both Valek and Yelena are really layered characters and I loved watching their relationship grow and watching their interactions together. And the minor characters in the story are great. The Commander was surprisingly a really interesting character and I would’ve liked to have seen more of him.
When I finished this book I was a little annoyed that it kind of ended on a cliff hanger. It wasn’t a huge one or anything. All the problems that were introduced in the story at the beginning were resolved and I felt content the story ended for the time being. Snyder just introduced a few small problems at the end in hopes of leaving us wanting more and kind of giving us a taste of what's going to happen in the next book. And it worked. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's listening.(less)
**spoiler alert** The Fairy Godmother is set in a place where a powerful magical force called “the Tradition” shoves fairy tale lives down people’s th...more**spoiler alert** The Fairy Godmother is set in a place where a powerful magical force called “the Tradition” shoves fairy tale lives down people’s throats. And the fairy tales aren’t your disney-fied versions either, but the original Brothers Grimm type of tales. Basically anyone whose circumstances resemble that of an already existing fairy tale is screwed into having to live the fairy tale. For some that’s good because they get their happily ever after, for others it dooms them to certain death. The Tradition is like Russian roulette and I love it.
Anyway, when the Tradition saw Elena Klovis with her wicked stepmother and step sisters treating her like slave its little fairy tale radar decided that she’d be her kingdoms Cinderella. Except the Tradition doesn’t always check to make sure everything is in place for the fairy tales to work, because Elena’s prince charming is an 11 year old. Thus, she is screwed.
I loved Elena. She’s smart, witty, and knows what she’s doing. She doesn’t sit around and bemoan her bad luck when things go wrong in her life. Instead she sets out to actually change what’s wrong. So, when her step mother decides to head off to greener pastures where she and her daughters are neck deep in debts, Elena sees it as her chance to finally escape, because she, of course, is being left behind to guard the house. The minute Elena gets the chance she books it out of there with the plan of becoming a paid servant in someone’s house. Unfortunately, the Tradition is still working on her and being a paid servant in someone’s house does not go with the Cinderella life style it has picked out for her. Just when Elena’s almost given up hope a crazy old lady shows up on a cart pulled by a hump backed donkey wearing a straw hat. After having a spot of tea, the old lady reveals herself to be Elena’s fairy godmother who, after explaining where the hell she’s been all of Elena’s life, offers Elena a chance to take over as fairy godmother. Elena doesn’t want to go back to her old life, so accepts almost point blank.
So Elena starts getting good and comfy with her new role as fairy godmother and one day she signs up to test three princes. The first one fails miserably by completely ignoring the ugly old beggar woman, so she banishes him to being trapped in the forest until he learns a lesson. The second prince, Alexander, fails just as miserably except even more so cause he manages to piss off Elena. So after Alexander almost runs the old beggar woman over Elena decides that since he’s already an ass by personality he might as well look like one too. So she turns him into a donkey. Anyway the last prince is nice and gets the prize of a bunch of cheat codes for how to get to and save the princess. So Elena’s happy because the tests went well and she’s totally multi-tasking, because she needed a new donkey anyway and at the same time she’s also doing her godmotherly duties by teaching Alexander a lesson.
Alexander is a huge jerk at the beginning of this, but he evolves and it was nice to see that and it was done in a way that it was convincing too. Anyway, I was expecting a show down of some kind involving the Tradition near the end, but that never really happened. It felt like everything was resolved a bit too easily in this story, but that’s really my only complaint, because the rest of this book was great. Lackey does some amazing world building in this and how she applies the different fairy tales and magical creatures into this book is fantastic. I will defiantly be checking out the next book in the series. (less)
**spoiler alert** Rosalind Hawkins is screwed. She had been in the middle of getting her masters degree when her father died, leaving behind a mountai...more**spoiler alert** Rosalind Hawkins is screwed. She had been in the middle of getting her masters degree when her father died, leaving behind a mountain of debts and no way to pay them off. Now all Rose has to her name is a couple of ratty dresses and handful of worthless mementos. And since this is 1905 her options of employment are pretty limited. So when Rose receives a job offer to be a governess for the railroad baron, Jason Cameron, she accepts it and moves to San Francisco. But when Rose arrives at Cameron’s estate she finds the place strangely devoid of human life except for Cameron’s creepy valet. She also discovers that the governess position was a hoax and that what Cameron really needed was someone who could read several ancient languages. This is fine with Rose seeing as she never really wanted to deal with a bunch of screaming kids anyway and she’ll be able to use her college education. Plus there are also the added bonuses of a big check, a new wardrobe, and plush living quarters. All for just reading to a disabled guy via speaking tube every night.
There was too many things going on at once between Rose and Jason’s developing relationship, the mission to find a way to reverse Jason’s wolf-iness, the valet creeping around, the other fire master trying to take Jason down, and the list goes on. It was still a really great story, but it felt too rushed for my tastes. The main villain was supposed to be the other fire master in the area and yet we hardly ever saw him. So I didn’t really get a chance to build up a nice big chuck of hate for the character. I disliked the valet a hell of a lot more than the main villain and the valet was just a pawn. So that kind of took away from the big showdown between Jason and the other fire master. -That showdown was still pretty awesome though.-
Despite the off stage main villain, all the other characters were awesome. Rose was smart and didn’t freak out over every little thing that Jason pulled with her. And Jason was awesome, even though he did have a bit of a stalker thing going with his being able to use mirrors to see what other people were doing. He watched Rose constantly, but that mostly because he didn’t trust her too much and then because he was vicariously living through her. This was fine by me, seeing as he didn’t build a shrine to her or start sniffing her underwear. Jason also had a great back story and was just a great character.
I was kind of disappointed when Jason didn’t find a way to reverse what happened to him. I think it’s because so much of the plot was about him trying to find some way to change him self back that I felt cheated when he didn’t find a cure. Also the way the plot was set up I think I would’ve looked at it more as him being redeemed from his past arrogance, etc.(less)
**spoiler alert** Celia Sands has just been given a part that could launch her entire acting career. But the reason she’s been offered the part isn’t...more**spoiler alert** Celia Sands has just been given a part that could launch her entire acting career. But the reason she’s been offered the part isn’t because of her talent, it’s her name. Celia shares the same name as the famous actress who vanished before she could play the lead role that was written for her. Now the grandson of the play write, Alex, is attempting to put on the play at his grandfather’s enormous house in Italy, Il Piacere, which conveniently happens to have a theater on the grounds, and he wants Celia’s name on the playbill for some publicity. When Celia finds this out she isn’t exactly doing a jig in joy over landing a lead role. In fact, she’s determined not to take the part at all until Bryan tells her how much it would mean to Rupert, who will be directing.
Bryan and Rupert, aka Roo, are pretty much Celia’s parents. They raised her since she was a baby and it’s them she considers family and it’s them who she turns to when she needs help. I absolutely loved Roo and Bryan. The relationship they had with each other along with the relationship they had with Celia was just amazingly well done.
So with the thought of pleasing Roo and of spending some father/daughter time with him, Celia agrees to go. Unfortunately, the play they’re to put on is supposedly cursed. And from the moment Celia and Roo step foot on the grounds of Il Piacere it seems that might very well be true. Two of the household staff vanish the day Celia and Roo arrive.
My main complaint about this book has to do with the plot. There were a lot of things going on in this book, they never got confusing, but there isn’t really a big focus on one main mystery. Instead there seemed to be many small ones floating all around. And the one that ended up being the “big climax” of the story wasn’t all that interesting. It seemed like it was just thrown in there at the end so things could wrap up. It felt like the plot should’ve revolved more around whether or not the play was written by D’Ascanio and what really happened to the first Celia Sands.
Now the characters are what really drove this book for me. Every single one was marvelous and with their own personalities and voices. I loved Celia. She’s one of those rare heroines who pull off being a kind and caring person without coming across as being a wimp or push over.
Anyway, I recommend this book to fans of Barbara Michaels and gothic mysteries. Even though I think I might go as far as to recommend this to people who aren’t huge fans of mysteries either since this seemed more character driven than mystery driven. Read this book, it’s definitely worth the time. (less)
Just when I think this series can't get any better, Liu puts one out like this. This was an action packed thriller that had me sitting at the edge of...moreJust when I think this series can't get any better, Liu puts one out like this. This was an action packed thriller that had me sitting at the edge of my seat several times.
Rikki is a virus hunter doing work in the Congo, because of her past she unknowingly becomes the target of two men who want information from her. Both want her alive and are willing to go to extreme measures to ensure that she's taken captive.
Rikki was a pretty kick ass character. She's emotionally and psychically scarred which has caused her to take a rather jaded outlook on life. But despite her pragmatic approach to things you can still tell she's a rather compassionate person. She's also no slouch in a pinch, despite being a human character among the supernatural. This is one of the things that I adore about Liu's books. Her heroines come across as real people. They have issues, but they're willing to do what they have to in order to survive. For instance, when Rikki is cornered by a bad guy in the beginning she stabs him in the eye with a freakin syringe in order to get away. That's ballsy man.
Because a bunch of men want Rikki, her boss has hired Dirke & Steele to be her body guards. Amiri, a cheetah shifter, and Eddie a guy who can light things on fire with his mind are dispatched for the job. Amiri and Rikki both have some interesting pasts and as they get to know each other you know exactly why feel a connection with each other. They know how to relate to what has happened to the other and its wonderful to see a relationship in a romance where you completely understand why the two characters are drawn to each other.
One of the things that made this story so compelling for me was the Congo setting. The majority of the action is our heroes running for their lives through the jungle with two different pursuers on their tail. It really added to the suspense, because they were isolated with not way of contacting anyone who might be able to help them. The jungle also added a level of creepiness in the "forest has eyes" kind of way. I just loved it.
My only regret about this book is that I haven't read the series in order. I was all over the place with these books, reading the ones that sounded the most interesting to me first. While these can be read as stand alones, there's a story arc that runs through the whole series. Some of the nuances of that arc were lost on me as I've read the stories out of order. I usually have to stop and think about what's happened or has yet to happen in the story in order to center myself. So I would say if you can, read these books in order.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for an action packed urban fantasy with a strong love story threaded through it.(less)
Really glad I picked this one up. Sarah Addison Allen has a wonderful way of weaving magic into her story that makes it feel real. Her characters and...moreReally glad I picked this one up. Sarah Addison Allen has a wonderful way of weaving magic into her story that makes it feel real. Her characters and their relationships with each other was also beautifully done. What I loved most is how every person described in the book is fleshed out to the point where even the characters you don't necessarily like you feel sympathy for because you know where they are coming from.
I will definitely be picking up another book by Allen in the future.(less)
Contrary to what I've heard and what the back cover says at the top of this book, I didn't find this story all that much beauty and the beast. Yes, th...moreContrary to what I've heard and what the back cover says at the top of this book, I didn't find this story all that much beauty and the beast. Yes, the love interest is "different" looking while Aren is a pretty female but other than that it lacked the other elements to make me consider this a beauty and the beast story.
But that didn't lower my enjoyment of this book at all. In fact, I rather adored this book. The world Briggs built is amazing and left me wanting to know more about it. She also had some fantastic characters in this book. Aren is the kind of female lead character I love in stories. She's strong and not afraid to stand up for herself or take things into her own hands. While the Hob with his tail and life loving attitude was adorable. I only wish we could have got a little bit more information on Kith, another main character aside from the Hob and Aren, who was just flat out delicious.
My only complaint about this book is that it was too short. Some of the areas I felt should have been expanded on a little more like the main bad guy (aside from the raiders). All we really got about him was that he was evil and bad but no other information. (less)
Brigg's Alpha and Omega series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. The slowly evolving relationship between Anna and Charles is just so touching....moreBrigg's Alpha and Omega series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. The slowly evolving relationship between Anna and Charles is just so touching. Anna, the heroine, was heavily abused by her previous pack. Even after being rescued by the merrick and his son, Charles, she's extremely leery around other werewolves. This includes Charles, who is her mate. Charles, for his part, is trying his best to make Anna comfortable and earn her trust. However, a spurt of recent attacks near their home forces them into an investigation and hunt.
I adore that the romantic relationship in this story doesn't hinge on a love triangle and instead focuses on Charles and Anna dealing with their own demons. The mystery surrounding the attacks and action of the two of them hunting the perpetrator through the snowy woods is just awesome. If you like Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series you'll love this one.(less)