Rachel Morgan has been shunned as a black witch. She has three days to get across the country to San Francisco and the annual witches' conference to c...moreRachel Morgan has been shunned as a black witch. She has three days to get across the country to San Francisco and the annual witches' conference to clear her name. If she fails, she'll be trapped in the ever-after with demons for eternity.
A cross-country drive is hard enough with a witch, a pixy, and a living vampire, but to complicate matters, Trent Kalamack convinces Rachel to see him safely across the country as well. He's on an elf quest, and despite being enemies in the past, Rachel just can't seem to say no out of the goodness of her heart.
Disaster awaits them though, as they are pursued by Coven assassins who have no intention of letting Rachel clear her name, and elven assassins who don't want Trent succeeding in his quest. An ancient demon is released from his prison and walks in the sun devouring souls. Even the other demons are afraid of this one, and he sets his sights on Rachel. How can she prove she's a good witch if the only way to fight him is to use demon magic?
One thing I love about Harrison's books is you never know who to trust. The bad guys continually change, sometimes becoming seemingly good, and then switching back again. She gives me character whiplash, which I think is quite impressive. Another aspect I liked about this book that the previous two didn't have is Rachel coming into herself and her identity. She's learning who she is and what she's capable of, and she's finally ready to accept it.
So much happens in this book, and I felt exhausted along with the characters when it was finally over. And the ending? Well, I can't give anything away, but if you read the series all the way through beginning to end, you'll definitely be feeling more of that character whiplash!(less)
Dana Hathaway is stuck in a safe house underground. As the only faeriewalker currently in existence, Dana is not only valuable, but a threat, for she...moreDana Hathaway is stuck in a safe house underground. As the only faeriewalker currently in existence, Dana is not only valuable, but a threat, for she is the only one able to bring technology into the land of Faerie and bring magic back out into the mortal world. She lives in Avalon, the border town where Fae and mortals live together, under the care of her Fae father whom she met only recently. Running away from home and an alcoholic mother may not have been the best idea.
To make matters worse, the Erlking has come to Avalon. He and his Wild Hunt are the nightmare of Faerie, and are prevented from murdering at will by an ancient and secret pact. He can, however, kill with the Queens' blessing, and they just might want Dana dead. Those who are foolish enough to attack him are captured, subjected to his will, and become part of his Hunt.
When the Erlking tricks one of Dana's friends into attacking him, Ethan becomes a prisoner of the Wild Hunt. Dana's guilt will drive her to find a way to free Ethan, a Fae boy she both despises and is attracted to, but what the Erlking wants in return may be even more sinister than Dana at first realizes.
The book starts off with teen drama, but I was surprised by the development of Ethan being taken by the Wild Hunt, as it's said no one has ever been released from it. Even though Ethan is a player and full of himself, you can't help but want Dana to find a way to save him. Only, one should always know that a deal with the Fae is never as simple as it seems. Dana's careless actions are frustrating at times, but she's a teenager. She doesn't completely trust her father yet, and her mother is useless as a parent. It's small wonder she feels the need to act on her own.
I'd say the book was a light, enjoyable read. And things certainly get worse for Dana by the end, leaving the reader to wonder just how she'll get out of this mess now.(less)
“A swashbuckling tale of magic, romance, and pirates.” (From cover)
Jill is a sixteen-year-old fencing athlete. After losing her latest competition, he...more“A swashbuckling tale of magic, romance, and pirates.” (From cover)
Jill is a sixteen-year-old fencing athlete. After losing her latest competition, her family goes on vacation to the Bahamas where Jill finds a rusted rapier tip buried in the sand. Later, while on a boat tour, she falls overboard and is magically transported 300 years into the past and picked up by a pirate ship. Jill is forced to join their crew or be thrown in a cell.
Life on a pirate ship is hard, and Jill’s endurance is put to the test with the back-breaking work of scrubbing the deck and learning how to maintain a ship. Jill falls into the life, but that rapier tip holds the key to transporting her home.
The rest of the magical sword belongs to a villainous pirate (how it got to be magical is quite a dark story), and he wants his blade whole again. Jill doesn’t want to betray the crew she’s grown to care about, but how far is she willing to go to get back home?
First off, this cover is absolutely beautiful. Okay, the caption above is a little misleading. Yes, there is magic of the time traveling kind, but that’s pretty much it. The sword is “magical,” but its powers are never really defined, except to hint at blood lust. And there is no romance, unless you consider one kiss to fit the bill. So Jill thinks the cabin boy is cute and they kiss once, but most of their interaction is more on the friendship level. They practice sword fighting together, help each other with work, eat meals together. They’re buddy-buddy. I don’t have a problem with that; I just felt misled when I was expecting a heartfelt romance.
There’s not as much action in this story as I was hoping for. There are two to three fights. The bulk of the story is Jill learning that life as a pirate is hard, and to no longer take for granted what she had back home. She learns hard work, discipline, and honor. The characters are good and distinct, and the prose is great. (I love Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.)
I guess I was expecting a little more Pirates of the Caribbean. Maybe swashbuckling is personally more exciting for me on the big screen. I don’t know. So overall it was a good, enjoyable book. I just went into it with completely different expectations than what it was.(less)
I enjoyed this book. Elisa was a compelling character, starting off weak but learning to find her own strength. Cosme, also, was someone with depth, a...moreI enjoyed this book. Elisa was a compelling character, starting off weak but learning to find her own strength. Cosme, also, was someone with depth, and I hope she's in the next book.(less)
Azalea and her eleven younger sisters love dancing. When their mother dies, the entire household must go into mourning, which means no sun, no outdoor...moreAzalea and her eleven younger sisters love dancing. When their mother dies, the entire household must go into mourning, which means no sun, no outdoors, no colors, and most of all, no dancing. Luckily for them, they discover a secret passage in their room that leads to a magical ballroom where the Keeper allows them to dance to their hearts’ content every night.
Everything is not as it seems, for though the Keeper seems charming at first, there is something sinister about him. True to his name, he likes to *keep* things. Azalea must find a way to protect her family before she loses more than she knew she had.
This YA novel is like a blend of Little Women and Pride and Prejudice with a little fantasy splashed in. It’s based on the fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
While delightful at times, the story moves very slowly with few events of significance. It spans a year, and the great bulk of this 480-page book is about the relationship between the daughters and their father the King. The King has never been good at showing his affections. His daughters don’t even call him “papa,” but “sir” or “the King.” In the wake of everyone’s grief, both father and daughters struggle with how to relate to each other. Though the King reads close to an antagonist in the beginning, it soon becomes clear that while he cares, he doesn’t know how to express it, which is something young girls can’t understand.
At the same time, Azalea is now of age (16-17) and is ready to receive suitors. As the eldest, whoever she marries will become King, something that makes her worry whether anyone will ever love her for who she is. Her sisters are no help, often driving away suitors with pranks. At the same time, some of those suitors begin falling in love with Azalea’s next two older sisters.
Since there are eleven sisters, they start out as a sort of collective character, indistinct from one another. As the story progresses, the next two older sisters, Bramble and Clover, become more distinct as they deal with their own lovestruck suitors. Bramble’s antics made me laugh out loud a few times.
There are some interesting aspects to this world that aren’t explained. Maybe they don’t need to be, but I found them odd. For one thing, though they are the royal family, they are very poor. They live in the palace, but there is also a Parliament. Lifestyle is old-fashioned with horses and swords, but there is also a daily newspaper with a gossip column. None of these are really explored as the story takes place within the palace.
I feel like there was a lot to this story, even though it moved slowly. So if you have the patience for it, you might enjoy this. I did, and it was a quick read, despite its length.(less)
Lady Catherine is a noblewoman in the 1500s. Though promised to a valiant knight who has loved and served her for years, a chance meeting with a hands...moreLady Catherine is a noblewoman in the 1500s. Though promised to a valiant knight who has loved and served her for years, a chance meeting with a handsome merchant sends her on a whirlwind journey of passion she never knew she could experience. Jonathan makes her feel alive, but it can never be between them, for she has a duty to uphold, and there are those who will do anything to keep them apart.
Eryn Rexford is a photographer, married to a wealthy and handsome businessman, and living the life most women want. But something's missing. Eryn lives a life without passion, unsure how to find it when her husband fails to connect on the level she desires. Then the dreams start, hinting at another life, another love, another man. Will the dreams destroy the life she's made, or will they hold the answer to her freedom?
Though these two women are connected by their souls and reincarnation, each story is distinctly individual. Every chapter alternates between the timelines, which made it very easy to follow each story, and though they were separated by centuries, each transition felt smooth and connected.
I loved the romance between Catherine and Jonathan. I don't tend to read straight romance, but a combination of something else like urban fantasy or suspense; however, I found theirs to be so sweetly developed, like a courtship. It didn't feel slow at all, but kept me going the entire time.
In contrast, Eryn's story is less a romance and more about a woman struggling to do what's right for herself versus always sacrificing for other people. Though unhappy, she feels obligated to her husband, which never ends up being healthy for that person. (I could definitely relate.) I enjoyed getting to know her and her situation through the first half, but when her supposedly best friend starts complicating the situation, I began to get frustrated.
Brandi and her past counterpart are horrible people. I really hated her/them, and it might be because I know someone just like that. And while I don't typically enjoy having such feelings from a book, you could also say that the fact it creates such a powerful response is a testament to the author's writing.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. I noticed other reviews called it a "tragic romance," which I suppose is accurate. The HEA is not typical of what you would find, and actually I wouldn't call it an ending at all, but a beginning.(less)
Kitty is a werewolf (everyone makes fun of her name). She’s the host of a late night talk radio show that...moreThis is book 9 in the Kitty Norville series.
Kitty is a werewolf (everyone makes fun of her name). She’s the host of a late night talk radio show that discusses the paranormal and is becoming quite famous ever since she was outed publicly as a werewolf. But hey, she’s making the most of it.
The book starts with Kitty investigating historical figures, wanting to know if any of them were supernatural themselves. This quest takes her briefly into the desert, and on her way back, she gets a call from a vampire friend (Kitty’s House of Horrors) who needs her help in San Francisco. Of course, Kitty can’t say no, so she, her husband Ben (also werewolf) and friend Cormac (werewolf/vampire hunter) take to the road. (For that delightful history, you must read the earlier books.)
Somewhere in San Francisco is an ancient, magical artifact. An evil vampire, Roman, is hunting for this artifact, and they can’t let him get to it first. Their search takes them to Chinatown and underneath into some mysterious, magical tunnels where they meet some new friends to aid them in their search and battle.
Up until now I have really enjoyed the Kitty Norville series. Unfortunately, this book fell flat. It didn’t hook me–there was no intense excitement, no danger, no sense of great things at stake. Yeah, they don’t want big bad vamp to get this magical artifact, but there was nothing bigger than that, nothing to take the reader down an emotional roller coaster, wondering how the characters are going to make it out of this one. Throughout the book, Kitty kept saying she was going to protect her pack of three above all else–well none of them were ever in dire danger, and despite coming close a few times, she never actually turned around to get them out of there.
Putting werewolves in Chinatown and introducing them to Chinese mythology was a neat idea, but unfortunately the book became more about “there are bigger things out there” than about the search for the artifact. And the search was just that–a search. Even the attempts at booby traps and encounters with beasts were downplayed and not thrilling. There wasn’t even a big final showdown with the arch-nemesis, Roman. It seems this book was more of a filler episode between books. They came, they saw, they left.
However, I would definitely recommend all the books leading up to this one, the first one being Kitty and the Midnight Hour.(less)
Most people think having superhero parents would be awesome, but not Celia West. She's the daughter of two of the best superhero vigilantes in Commerc...moreMost people think having superhero parents would be awesome, but not Celia West. She's the daughter of two of the best superhero vigilantes in Commerce City, Captain Olympus and Spark, yet Celia has no powers of her own. Instead of joining the "family business," Celia is every villain's favorite hostage. Enter Bait Girl, the Captive Wonder.
Celia has done everything she can to distance herself from the shadows of her parents, putting herself through college and becoming a forensic accountant. But her parents' archenemy, The Destructor, is now on trial and Celia will be sucked back into the world of superheros and villains. When she's called to testify, Celia's darkest secret will be revealed, for in her teen rebellion against parents she could never live up to, Celia joined The Destructor. Will that one childish act destroy the life she's tried to make for herself?
In the midst of it all, crime sprees are plaguing the city, and everyone believes The Destructor is active from behind his cell door, preparing for something big, but Celia suspects someone else. With everyone against her, will she, the mundane mortal, be able to solve the mystery and save the city?
I really enjoyed this book. I've also been on a Marvel movie kick, so was already in a superhero mindset. The characters and world is reminiscent of The Incredibles with caped crusaders, except there's nothing special about the protagonist. Because of this, the story is not non-stop super battles, though Celia does get kidnapped a few times--hazard of her life. She's more the quiet, investigative type, tracking down paper trails and leads to discover what exactly is behind the conspiracy of crime sprees.
Interspersed throughout are flashbacks of Celia's life growing up as the daughter of two superheroes. These were paced nicely and offered good insight into the character without appearing too chunky or distracting. As much as it's a superhero/mystery story, it's also about a young woman trying to find her own identity outside of what others expect of her. And when she's finally ready to start accepting it, she opens herself up to a sweet romance (for those of you hoping for that angle). ;-)(less)
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, someone who walks the boundary between humans and vampires in order to keep the races separate from each other. It’s a sa...moreSydney Sage is an Alchemist, someone who walks the boundary between humans and vampires in order to keep the races separate from each other. It’s a sacred duty handed down through generations. Sydney’s on shaky ground with the Alchemists after helping Dhampir Rose Hathaway (Vampire Academy). Alchemists may clean up after vampires, but under no circumstances are they supposed to like them.
Sydney is getting a second chance to prove herself. Princess Jill Dragomir is in danger and must be hidden away so oppositions in the vampire Court can’t get an opportunity to assassinate her. The solution is a private boarding school in Palm Springs, CA, and Sydney is needed to go along and protect the girl. Others accompany her–a Guardian (Dhampir) and Adrian Ishakov, another Moroi vampire with a lot of personal problems. Yet for some strange reason, he needs to stick by Jill.
Sydney’s got her hands full with her job and trying not to get branded a “vampire lover”, in addition to navigating high school politics. Sydney didn’t exactly have a normal childhood. In the midst of all that, Sydney stumbles upon a mystery at the school–special tattoos that give students almost supernatural abilities. That definitely sounds like a problem for an Alchemist, but for all her training, Sydney just might be in over her head.
Vampire Academy is one of my favorite series and is where Sydney is first introduced. Now she’s the protag and paired with several returning characters. I really liked Sydney as a protagonist. She’s not as tough and hardcore as Rose, but as is pointed out in the book, it takes a certain kind of strength to endure the emotional abuse she does. But while she doesn’t stand up for herself in the beginning, she does so later on, and we come to see that she is no weakling; she simply knows how to bear a grudge in patience.
So even though I love the kickass heroine, I related more to Sydney–socially awkward, quiet and submissive, but burning with passion under the surface, stronger than she thinks. It made watching her grow a satisfying journey. I can’t wait for the next in the series.(less)
I loved the premise, the characters definitely grew on me, and I'm interested in reading the second book. That said, parts of the story felt drawn out...moreI loved the premise, the characters definitely grew on me, and I'm interested in reading the second book. That said, parts of the story felt drawn out (it's 570 pages). Since I don't typically read historical fiction, I can't say whether the sitting and waiting and speculating about the intrigue is characteristic of that genre. Also, considering the second book is supposed to be about a mostly absent secondary character, I expected a little more of a wrap-up for Ismae. Maybe she'll make an appearance in the next installment...(less)
When I read Sir Gawain in college, I was too anxious over not understanding enough to pass a test that reading the poem wasn't exactly enjoyable. With...moreWhen I read Sir Gawain in college, I was too anxious over not understanding enough to pass a test that reading the poem wasn't exactly enjoyable. Without that pressure, I was able to sit back and just appreciate old English poetry (even if I still don't understand everything), not to mention finally read Pearl and Sir Orfeo, the other two poems in the collection. A little King Arthur, theology, and a Faerie tale make for a pleasantly diverse collection of epic poetry.(less)
I absolutely love Maggie's imagination. I loved her werewolf interpretation in Shiver and the concept of the water horses in this book. Unfortunately,...moreI absolutely love Maggie's imagination. I loved her werewolf interpretation in Shiver and the concept of the water horses in this book. Unfortunately, the progression of the story was disappointing. I was hoping for a fantasy type of Hidalgo story. The entire book revolves around the preparation for the race. Sean and Puck don't even speak to each other until halfway through, which is a little annoying since they're supposed to be developing a love interest.
Two-thirds of the way through, the book got exciting, but the race wasn't until the last three chapters. Overall, it was an interesting read, but I was hoping for more.(less)
This was a fun addition to the Otherworld series. The dilemma that Elena and Clay faced on what to tell their four-year-old children concerning werewo...moreThis was a fun addition to the Otherworld series. The dilemma that Elena and Clay faced on what to tell their four-year-old children concerning werewolves was an interesting one. I wished there was more action to the story, though. The pacing between family time and investigating a man-eater was well done; I guess I just got spoiled from all the fights in previous books.(less)