**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)
I had forgotten how much I missed reading about the Kate Daniels world until I picked this one up. I just did not want this book to end, I loved cuddl...moreI had forgotten how much I missed reading about the Kate Daniels world until I picked this one up. I just did not want this book to end, I loved cuddling up with the familiar characters and the change of POV from Kate to Andrea was refreshing. Despite a few problems I had with pacing and a couple of large errors that really should've been caught by the editor (such as the fact that Raphael was said to ask a question in one scene when he wasn't even in said scene); I can't justify giving this book any lower than a 5 because I just enjoyed myself way to much while reading it. My only real complaint... not enough Jim. :P Can't wait to read the next Kate Daniels book.(less)
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)
Typically, when I hear a book is "laugh out loud funny" I kind of snort and imagine that I'll find certain bits quietly amusing. Not true with this bo...moreTypically, when I hear a book is "laugh out loud funny" I kind of snort and imagine that I'll find certain bits quietly amusing. Not true with this book. I can't remember how many times I had to pause in reading this because I was laughing so hard. Don't believe me? Then you should google Jenny Lawson's "And That's Why You Should Learn to Pick Your Battles" blog post and see for yourself. Everyone in need of a good pick-me up read should check this book out. (less)
There are a few elements to Michaels's books I can always count on and that's light touches of humor, strong heroines, and fantastic side characters....moreThere are a few elements to Michaels's books I can always count on and that's light touches of humor, strong heroines, and fantastic side characters. Andrea doesn't disappoint as a heroine, she's a little more uptight than I'm used to coming from Michaels, but you understood why she was that way. If you like gothic mysteries you'll enjoy this. (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)
Technically, this is the second Mary Russell book, but its the one I began the series with. I started with this book because the mystery involving a c...moreTechnically, this is the second Mary Russell book, but its the one I began the series with. I started with this book because the mystery involving a church run entirely by women really interested me. Plus, I had been told that King does a good job of subtly incorporating women's history into her story-lines. This really intrigued me as I was curious to see what aspects of the 1920's era King would incorporate into the narrative.
The novel begins with Mary about to turn 21, an age she has eagerly been waiting to reach as it means assuming full control over her inheritance and no longer having to rely on the whims of her aunt. In addition to her near birthday, Mary is also close to receiving her degree in theology from Oxford. So when a friend from the university joins a church run exclusively by women Mary is fascinated. Agreeing to attend one of the sermons, Mary acts as a skeptical observer watching Margery Childe, the leader of the church, speak to and interact with her congregation. Wrangled into a private interview with the woman, Mary quickly finds herself talked into returning to the church on a regular basis in order to teach Margery another language. During these lessons, Mary begins to notice some odd occurrences involving the church and Margery. Slowly the deaths of several church members, written off as accidents, begin to surface, along with strange reports of Margery miraculously healing herself from extensive injuries. All of which leads to Mary investigating the church and its leader.
Mary was pretty kick-ass in this one. She spends a lot of the book working by herself on the case with Holmes only popping in and out of the narrative until close to the end. This is largely due to the fight they have near the beginning of the novel, but also because both Mary and Holmes are at an odd moment in their relationship and neither seem to know what to do about it. I loved Mary's internal struggle around Holmes. It really fit her character to be so up in the air concerning the potential shift in the dynamics of their relationship. Holmes own realization that Mary is seeing him differently is pretty on-key as well. Aside from all this, Mary also goes through a pretty traumatizing experience that really allows the strength of her character to shine. I was pretty impressed with how King used that experience to incorporate one of Holmes demons into the narrative without making it feel contrived or forced.
My only problem with the book came from how, at times, it lagged. Mostly, this came when the theological discussions would get a little too dense for me, but things generally picked back up pretty quick. Really, this was just an awesome read. Highly recommended.(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)
Daisy is out celebrating the end of a mandatory mourning period for her dead asshole of a husband and witnesses a brutal werewolf attack. As it turns...moreDaisy is out celebrating the end of a mandatory mourning period for her dead asshole of a husband and witnesses a brutal werewolf attack. As it turns out, the attack is not an isolated incident but one in the string of five murders by the same werewolf. The one link between all the murders is that they all wear the same perfume, a perfume that Daisy herself created and no one but her is supposed to own. Unwilling to play the victim and hide tucked away somewhere, Daisy sets out to find who is selling her perfume and why it has attracted the attention of a crazed werewolf. And that is why I have fallen in love with this series. The heroines can kick some ass while at the same time maintaining a level of vulnerability that makes them believable. In fact, let me give you a point by point of why I'm loving this series:
~Agency! The female protagonists not only actively save themselves, but they also save the heroes and are not condemned for it. In fact, the heroes love their strength and find them all the more attractive for it. For example, Daisy doesn't blindly accept Ian Ranulf's offer to cosset her away in his home while he investigates the attacks. Instead she makes a stand for her freedom and pursues answers in an intelligent manner that takes into account her strengths and limitations. Along the way Daisy discovers that, (view spoiler)[like her sister, she has her own elemental ability that makes itself apparent during one kick-ass scene where she saves Ian from a brutal mauling. (hide spoiler)]
~Respect What's even greater than the heroines having some serious agency is that the male characters respect their choices. Ian doesn't toss Daisy over his shoulder and forcibly make her stay with him. Nor does he try to over-ride any of her other decisions even if he doesn't exactly agree with some of her choices. This was, I admit, one of my biggest concerns while reading this book. I kept waiting for that particular anvil to fall, but luckily it never did and it made me love Ian all the more.
~Flawed Heroes While the heroes in this series are depicted as extremely strong and capable they also have some serious emotional and physical vulnerabilities that are refreshing after reading so many books where the heroes are depicted as being able to single-handedly take down an army of orcs without getting a scratch on them. Call me morbid, but I really liked how many times Ian gets his ass handed to him over the course of the story. Seeing that he can be beat added to the suspense of the final showdown.
~Non-virgin heroines YES! Good god, this makes me do a little happy dance.
I love Callihan for not making her heroines virgins despite these stories being set in historical time periods. What makes me love this even more is that the heroines have a pretty firm claim of their sexuality. Daisy is no wilting flower when it comes to her own sexual desires. She openly admits how much she loves men and sex, (view spoiler)[but her marriage to an emotional abuser gave her some serious baggage about those desires that we see her actively trying to overcome in order to reclaim how she once felt about herself and her sexuality. Loooved it. (hide spoiler)]
This is a bit of a gushing review, but I can't bring myself to care. Callihan hit all the right notes for me with this book and I can't wait to see where she takes this series. The next book features Daisy's sister, Poppy, and I can't wait to read it since my heart broke for her in this one. All I can say is that the world better not end in December, because I need to read Winterblaze.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(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)
I love Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series so when I found out that she had another series I had to check it out.
Nadia Stafford is a hi...moreI love Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series so when I found out that she had another series I had to check it out.
Nadia Stafford is a hit-man with a moral compass. She used to be a cop, but because of a mistake she had to retire. Now she runs a wilderness lodge and finances it through taking hits put out on unsavory characters. Nadia is a wonderful, well rounded character. She's someone who has seen the court system fail too many times and has had one of those times touch her life too closely. This has made her into a vigilante type, even though she struggles against becoming that kind of hit-man. She views what she's doing as only a temporary way to make ends meet. But when her mentor, Jack, presents her with the chance to take out a serial killer she can't resist. The way the serial killer plot is incorporated into the storyline was fantastic. The suspense was high as the characters were constantly racing to prevent the killer from taking his next victim. Also, I loved Jack. Nadia and him team up to take down the killer and its clear that they view each other more as equals rather than teacher and student. Nadia is competent and intelligent and Jack recognizes that. So, thankfully, there's no damsel in distress moments where Jack has to swoop in and save her.
Overall, this was great read. I can't wait to read the other book in the series!
This is the first book in King's Mary Russell series, but I actually didn't pick it up until after I read the three novels that follow it. Honestly, I...moreThis is the first book in King's Mary Russell series, but I actually didn't pick it up until after I read the three novels that follow it. Honestly, I think I preferred it that way as this kind of read like a prequel for me. This was primarily because the first half of the novel is a little episodic, focusing mostly on Holmes and Mary getting to know each other.
After her parents and younger brother died in a car wreck, sixteen year old Mary Russell is sent to live with her aunt in England. Unfortunately, the aunt is an evil tyrant who only keeps her niece around because of the allowance she receives for taking care of Mary. In order to escape the toxic atmosphere of the house, Mary typically roams around the countryside dressed in her father's old clothes and reads. On one such romp, Mary stumbles across a man closely watching a small cluster of bees. After a brief conversation, where they both manage to insult each other, Mary figures out that she's in conversation with the legendary Sherlock Holmes. Impressed by Mary's aptitude in deducting not only who he is, but also exactly why he was watching a group of bees, Holmes convinces Mary to let him teach her his trade. Over the years, Holmes and Mary become close friends with a low level spark of attraction between them. But, being the magnet for danger he is, Holmes is soon targeted by an old enemy and Mary finds herself entangled in the whole affair.
I really adored this book. The beginning is compiled of small adventures that Mary has while learning from Holmes. It was fun watching Mary, during these parts, really come into her own and make the effort to differentiate herself from Holmes' larger-than-life personality. One of my favorites moments was her subtle flaunting of the fact that she's pursuing a degree in theology, much to Holmes' annoyance. However, the book didn't really pick-up and gain focus until the second part when the main mystery plot is introduced.
Part two begins when the people close to Holmes become the targets of an assassin, leading him and Mary to begin a long search to find the person behind the attacks. There's a lot of attraction that hums between Holmes and Mary in this section of the book, which I really loved. You can feel Holmes constantly trying to resist exposing his feelings about Mary while, at the same time, battling the attraction due to their age difference. This was just a really fantastic read, but I'm up in the air on whether or not I would recommend reading this later in the series or in chronological order. Most of the books in the series can stand on their own, so its really up to you on what order you read this series.(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)