I really enjoyed the first half of this book. I thought it was fantastic, very atmospheric and I really liked the characters. Diana was a strong chara...moreI really enjoyed the first half of this book. I thought it was fantastic, very atmospheric and I really liked the characters. Diana was a strong character and I didn't find the vampire-witch romance all that mushy. This all changed in the second half of the book, where Diana become a less strong character and had to be rescued and taken care of by her vampire husband. For a second I thought I was reading Twilight. However, the actual conflict in the novel, centering around a mystery manuscript kept me interested, and I will be reading the next book in the series.
The Nightmare Affair is a teen paranormal mystery. Dusty Everhart is a “Nightmare” – a mythical creature that feeds off the nightmares of others. Afte...moreThe Nightmare Affair is a teen paranormal mystery. Dusty Everhart is a “Nightmare” – a mythical creature that feeds off the nightmares of others. After coming into her powers she was enrolled at Arkwell Academy, a school for others like her. One night she feeds on Eli Booker, the hot guy from her old school; however, things do not proceed as usual. Eli wakes up and Dusty is not able to use her powers on him, to make matters worse his dreams of murder actually come true.
Following the disastrous feeding things only get worse. Eli is enrolled at Arkwell despite his norm status, as his dreams may allow Dusty to find the killer. As Dusty and Eli get closer to the true of the murderer, Dusty’s life is turned upside down. She has to deal with her feelings for two very different guys, her tumultuous relationship with her mother (the new teacher at Arkwell), the school bully, and to top it all off, the murderer is now after her.
Overall, I thought the novel was okay. I didn’t realize that it would be a series when I picked it up so the novel left a lot of loose ends. While I liked the world building of Arkwell, I found the pacing to be too slow and I just couldn’t get into the mystery. (less)
Deceiving the Witch Next Door is about Storie Bell, a witch who moves back to her hometown of Bloomington, Texas. Storie and her friend, Harper, are o...moreDeceiving the Witch Next Door is about Storie Bell, a witch who moves back to her hometown of Bloomington, Texas. Storie and her friend, Harper, are opening a coffee/book shop in town. Next to the new store is the Malone’s bar, The Speakeasy. Reid Malone is helping his father run The Speakeasy and is searching for the secret ingredient to his father’s moonshine recipe, which Reid’s father plans to sell to make a profit that he wants to leave to Reid. The problem is that the secret ingredient is somewhere in Storie’s new café, so Reid has to find his way in and find the secret ingredient. The problem, however, is that Reid and Storie had an almost relationship before she blew town years ago. As the two become closer Reid begins to feel guilty about lying to Storie and Storie has her own problems with her witchy powers and her mother’s sudden appearance. The question becomes whether either Reid or Storie will be able to overcome these obstacles and have a real relationship.
Overall, I enjoyed the romance of the book, but I found there wasn’t a lot of substance besides the romance. The tension between the characters was well done and believable, it was the tension of the plot that I found to be lacking. The whole illegal moonshine operation just seemed a little old fashioned and I didn’t really see the point of Reid even lying to Storie about what he needed from the shop; there was no reason he couldn’t just ask if she knew what the secret ingredient was.
I also thought that more could have been done to explain the magic that Storie used in the book. Where did she learn these spells if her mother, the only witch she apparently knew, abandoned her as a child? And Storie mentions a couple of times that she can’t be with a mortal man because she’s a witch and she should be looking for a wizard or warlock – but how does she know these people exist, has she meet others like her? And finally, I didn’t fully get the whole alternate dimension where witches live. Ultimately, I thought the issues with magic could have been fleshed out quite a bit more. I was interested in the magic system of the book and I felt that the book would have been more dynamic if a deeper discussion on magic was included.
I would recommend this book to those looking for a light romance that isn’t heavy on plot progression. The book is ultimately about a relationship and not really about Storie’s magical abilities.
*Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book. (less)
I liked this one because it was a true steampunk book; there was a lot of detail put into setting up this alternate American West. I liked how magic w...moreI liked this one because it was a true steampunk book; there was a lot of detail put into setting up this alternate American West. I liked how magic was blended with steam technology and it somewhat reminded me of parts of the TV show Supernatural. However, I did find the pacing of the book rather stilted. The first half of the book was extremely slow and it wasn't until the second half of the book that the multiple character POVs came together. For the first half of the book the different character POVs were somewhat repetitive and contributed to the dragging of the plot. The second half of the book was much better with all the characters all interacting with one another. It is because of the second half of this book that I will be reading the next one in the Age of Steam seiries. (less)
Sealed with a Curse is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy. The three Wird Sisters were cursed as children and because of this, each has their own pecu...moreSealed with a Curse is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy. The three Wird Sisters were cursed as children and because of this, each has their own peculiar power. None of these powers allow them to quite fit in to paranormal community; however, it doesn’t stop them from getting their attention after moving to Lake Tahoe.
When the novel opens the sister’s have been ordered to appear in vampire court for murdering a vampire. Celia, the leader of the quartet, catches the attention of their accuser, Misha, a master vampire. Fortunately, the girls are not held responsible for the murder because the vampire was suffering from bloodlust, which means the vampires would have had to kill him anyways. Unfortunately, this first attack is just the beginning of a rash of vampire attacks perpetrated by bloodlust-infected vampires.
On top of the stalker-ish vampire, Misha, Celia and her sisters also have to deal with a werewolf pack, lead by Aric Conner. The werewolves are tracking the infected vampires in order to protect the area and because of the Wird sister’s involvement, the girls also fall under their protection. Thankfully, these vampires are all nice and handsome, which is undoubtedly why the girls have no problem having them skulk about. ;)
Ultimately, this one was a pretty light read. The sisters were a lot of fun and the romance aspect wasn’t over the top, and it certainly wasn’t the focus of the book. I thought it was a pretty good start to a series, and it introduced a fun urban fantasy setting in the Lake Tahoe area. I loved that Celia referenced Twilight after dealing with a high school aged "Taylor Lautner poseur" (p. 74). Got to love those meta moments!
I only had two issues with the book. First, I found that it seemed a little long. After a big fight on a vampire island I thought I was getting close to the end, but it seemed to drag a little after that until the action picked up again. Second, I wasn’t loving how all the sisters immediately have a werewolf boyfriend, yes there were complications, but it seemed kind of insta-love for me. But, I think this could also be because the reader never gets the perspective of the other sisters, Taran, Shayna or Emme.
I thought Sealed with a Curse was a fun, light read, with a great main character in Celia Wird. I would have liked to get some narration from the other sisters, but it didn’t hamper the story. While I don’t read a lot of urban fantasy, I could see myself recommending this one to fans of the genre. (less)
Cards & Caravans is the fifth installment of Cindy Spencer Pape’s Gaslight Chronicles. This one feature’s Wink’s spurned suitor, Connor McKay. In...moreCards & Caravans is the fifth installment of Cindy Spencer Pape’s Gaslight Chronicles. This one feature’s Wink’s spurned suitor, Connor McKay. In the previous book, Connor had proposed to Wink and was rejected. Connor is just starting to realize that perhaps he didn’t love Wink as much as he thought, which is reinforced when he meets the beautiful widow and supposed witch, Belinda.
Belinda Danvers has been imprisoned by the townspeople in her village on the charge of witchcraft and is to be burned at the stake. Belinda is not a witch but she discouraged the alderman’s advances when he came calling, leading to her charge of witchcraft. Luckily, a relative of Belinda’s is an acquaintance of Connor’s and requests that Connor go and investigate. Connor immediately realizes that Belinda is not a witch and breaks her out of prison to have a fail trial. During the escape, Connor realizes that Belinda is innocent of all charges, and that there is something more sinister going on that has lead to the accusation of witchcraft. Connor decides that he has to protect her from the alderman and while he could protect he using his family’s influence, he realizes that he wants Belinda in his life on a more permanent basis. The problem will be convincing Belinda that she should marry Connor!
This newest installment of the Gaslight Chronicles was fantastic. I love how fast paced each book or novella is and I think Pape does a great job of combining the romance, magik and adventure. I also liked how this one brought all the characters from the previous books together in order to solve who was instigating the claims of witchcraft. This kinds of cameos are always fun when you’re really into a series.
My only complaint was that this one was too short! Since it’s a romance I assumed that Connor and Belinda would overcome their issues that were stopping them from proclaiming love for one another and because I knew this was coming I would have liked the resolution to be a little bit more drawn out or for their to be an epilogue. I just wasn’t done with the story! BUT it just makes me all the more excited for the next one.
If you haven’t read the previous books in the series, I would recommend you start. While it’s not completely essential that you read them in order, since they’re so good, I would say that reading them in order is a good idea and you have a better idea of what Pape’s gaslight world is like.
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley. (less)
Cold Copper is the third book in Devon Monk’s steampunk series, Age of Steam. This is a series that I feel keeps getting better with each book as the...moreCold Copper is the third book in Devon Monk’s steampunk series, Age of Steam. This is a series that I feel keeps getting better with each book as the readers learn more about this alternate American West and the fantastic characters that populate it. This is also a series that must be read in order or you’ll be lost, so fair warning, there may be spoilers ahead for the first two books in the series.
Cold Copper picks up pretty much where book 2, Dead Iron, left off. Cedar Hunt and his brother, Will, have teamed up (reluctantly) with the mysterious Madder brothers to help them hunt down the Holder. The Holder is a dangerous weapon that has been split into many pieces, and as luck would have it, Cedar and Will’s curse makes them the perfect candidates to track the pieces of the Holder. Accompanying the boys on this adventure is the witch and widow, Mae Linston – who is also Cedar’s lady love. Mae has been recently released from her coven and is enjoying her freedom. While the group is on their way to find the pieces of the Holder, they are drawn to the city, Des Moines, Iowa, because of a debt the Madders have to fulfill. Now the Madders and the Hunts have to discover why the children of the city have been disappearing and rescue them if they can, all the while a power hungry mayor tries to lock up the Madders and have them executed.
Alongside Cedar’s narrative, we also have Rose Small’s. Rose is a brilliant inventor who decided to stay behind with the witches’ coven to help repair Captain Hink’s airship. Rose can’t wait to see the world and hopes that being part of the crew of the airship will take her far and wide; it also helps that she’s in love with the captain. However, the captain’s been spending too much time in the local brothels and Rose is none to happy about that, so she decides to strike off on her own, only to find herself in heaps of trouble that looks to be leading her straight to her old friends in Des Moines.
This was another great addition to the Age of Steam series and I wish I could get my hands on the next book immediately. I felt like there was not enough answers to the questions raised in this one. Why can’t the author write faster??? Is that too much to ask?
As I wrote earlier, this is a series that gets better with each book. With each addition to the series I feel like I get a better understanding of not only the world, but the characters as well. Now, I’m a big fan of character driven type books, so I was initially not a lover of the first book; I felt it was too plot based and I wanted more character information. Luckily I decided to give the second book a shot and have not been disappointed with the direction of the series.
What I also find very interesting about Monk’s writing style is the alternative view points we get from characters. The only consistent person we hear from is Cedar. For the rest, we get characters from an alternate trajectory that eventually converges with Cedar’s narrative. At first I found this technique to be a bit strange and hard to follow, but I have come to appreciate this style and I like that the writing feels like a puzzle that will eventually fit together at the end.
Overall, I loved this newest addition, although I hope in the next book we get something from Will’s point of view. He’s an interesting character since his curse is the reverse of Cedars: he remains in wolf form and only returns as a human for short periods of time. I’m hoping that now Will’s in human form we’ll get more development from him since he seems like a cool and funny character (at least when he’s human). I’m also interested to see how the romantic relationships develop. Mae and Cedar seem like a solid and guaranteed thing (but who knows in the world of books), but I also find Rose and Hink’s relationship to be adorable. Looks like I’ll be waiting awhile for the next one!