Monday, December 17, 2012

Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy, #4)Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a fabulous ARC from Jennifer Estep with some really great bookmarks. The cover is great. I have to say that Jennifer Estep is very skilled at eliciting extreme emotions with both of her series. I had no expectations and pretty much went into this newest release with an open mind, despite the book blurb. This time out Gwen has to defend herself not only against reapers, but also against charges that she freed Loki intentionally. This means she also had to defend herself against the judgment of her classmates who had all lost someone to the reapers making it a very hard road ahead of her for her to travel, which is not unusual. That is one thing that Jennifer Estep does really well. She writes multi-dimensional characters that you identify with at the same time you wish you could slap them around a bit. You can't help but feel total disdain and disgust at the bad guys, some of which for all intents and purposes, are kids.

There are several new characters in this book. We meet more of the protectorate leaders and are introduced to more students. It was great to see more of Morgan because we see more of who she is outside of how she used to behave when she was the leader of the mean girls. I am one of those people that cannot stand that concept and hate when I see students behaving that way in real-life though I know it is human nature to want people to admire and love you. But, mean girls tend to go to the extreme with their tactics and treatment of others until they don't have their group to shield them. This is another example of how despite this being young adult urban fantasy Jennifer Estep makes you forget that the book is about mythology and she demonstrates that she really has insight into her characters and does great job of making us see and feel them.

The Chaos War is seriously heating up and it seems that these teens have some serious preparations to make because it looks like a lot of the reapers tend to be adults who have more experience and training than them. I love that they fight with ferocity and amazing courage, which was something that Gwen demonstrated a lot of in this book. She showed this vast amount of courage when there were times she was all alone against what seemed like everyone at times. There are so many things you can take from Crimson Frost, like perseverance in the face of what appears to be insurmountable obstacles, not just physical pain but terrible heartache from the losses these kids deal with on a daily basis. They let it drive them and most of them let it help build their character. One thing that seems interesting is that you cannot always tell which of the kids will be a reaper based upon how they behave. Just because someone is a mean girl doesn't mean she will end up being a reaper, but, then again...That is one of the beautiful things in this story, surprises. They keep you coming back for more and I know I'll be anxiously awaiting Midnight Frost!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A super special, two-for-one cover reveal…Cold Fury, by T.M. Goeglein, has a  redesigned cover, and today, the release of the cover of the second installment in the Cold Fury trilogy…Flicker & Burn!

Cold Fury in paperback will be released in June 2013…and Flicker & Burn comes roaring onto the scene in August 2013!

The thrill ride that began in Cold Fury kicks into high gear in Flicker & Burn, as the threats to Sara Jane Rispoli come at her from all directions. She continues the desperate search for her missing family, but this time she’s on the run from creepy beings with red, pulsing eyes and ghostly white skin chasing her through the streets of Chicago in black ice cream trucks – they can only be described as Ice Cream Creatures. They're skeletal and ferocious, hell-bent on catching or killing her, but also a weird link to her family, a clue to where they might be and who has them.

While Sara Jane battles these new pursuers, she learns painful lessons about the phenomenon that possesses her, cold fury. At the same time, she’s uncovering buried secrets about the misdeeds of her family – old murders and blood vendettas – that might be connected to the disappearance of her mom, dad, and brother. The mysteries, violence, and constant state of chasing or being chased could be the undoing of her relationship with handsome Max Kissberg. Despite the love growing between them, Sara Jane can’t tell him the truth about her life, and fears for his safety.

Not only do the Ice Cream Creatures display the grisly amputated finger of her mom to prove their viciousness, and not only does Lucky, the Outfit Boss of Bosses, whistle in Sara Jane for a sit-down with deadly consequences, but her gorgeous cousin, Heather Richards, enters the scene, as well. All that matters to Sara Jane is saving her family and keeping everyone she loves alive and safe. But the forces she encounters, both external and the ones crackling inside of her, fight her every step of the way. Don't forget to add Flicker & Burn on Goodreads to your reading list!


Now’s your chance…win an ARC of Flicker & Burn as soon as it’s available! Sorry, the ARC will not be signed and the contest is only available in the U.S.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Alchemystic (The Spellmason Chronicles, #1)Alchemystic by Anton Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Truly amazing book! I received an early copy of the paperback edition for review from Literal Addiction. I am already a fan of gargoyles. I was a fan of the cartoon and love seeing pictures of them and especially love seen buildings that have gargoyles carved into the architecture. Alchemystic was a great adventure. I loved every page of it. It was the story of Alexandra Belarus who comes from a family with a deep architectural history in Manhattan. The Belarus clan also has a secret which they were not even aware, Alexander Belarus was gifted in magic that could control stone. He did leave them protection from something they are not even aware is a danger to them, something from his past. This protection comes in the form of Stanis, the coolest gargoyle ever!

This book has some wonderful character development. There were times that I wanted to kick Alexandra. She had her moments of being obviously entitled, bossing her friends around as if they were her sidekicks until she was faced with how treating them that way might affect her relationship with them. We watch her grow as a person and as she comes into her gifts. Alexandra's parents have secrets of their own as do most people. What happens when family secrets come to light? Some serious tension which pushes this book's characters stand out more. Alexandra's relationship with her brother is best depicted by the opening scene of the book. Words cannot express my opinion of Devon. He has to be experienced by each reader for themselves.

The action and magic in this book was truly great. The fight scenes were very well written and they did not all involve Stanis, though he was truly bada**. We learn a lot about his background and what his desires and goals are and how he is driven to complete those goals. No other words describe it and I love a well developed action sequence. This book had several exciting action scenes and architectural exploration hunting for hidden items needed to solve a mystery. I loved being introduced to Anton Stout's creatures in this book and his own spin on alchemy and gargoyles. I am totally enthralled by this story and I am really ready to know when book two comes out because it promises to be a serious knuckle biter!

Review can also be seen at Lady Techies Book Musings at http://LadytechiesBookMusings.Blogspo...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bitter Blood (The Morganville Vampires, #13)Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is about a terrible vampire that only a select few even realize is still around and Captain Obvious, who is always up for starting something. There were several surprises in this book. One great thing was that I attended an online book chat on Literal Addiction with Rachel Caine and we were able to submit questions ahead of time for the interview with Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael. One of my questions was have they ever seen werewolves or elves in Morganville and the cast of characters replied with sort of a blank stare like what are those, which I found hilarious. Last Breath had the druag so I thought it was worth a shot to see what else might be there. At the beginning of the series I originally thought that Shane might be a werewolf because he was so secretive and seemed extraordinarily strong. Turns out, no.
In this book we don’t necessarily learn more about the characters as much as they seem to be learning about themselves. Some really shocking things happen in the book (you have to read it for yourselves to find out what) so we get to see some really vulnerable sides to our cast as well as several others in the book. Myrvin was great as usual. We did learn more about his past in this book actually so that was a great addition to this story.
Bitter Blood was a great addition to the Morganville Vampire series, which I really love. As usual we had some closure but also I was left several questions one of which is what the heck did Myrvin say to Shane? Do we find out in the next book? Does it matter? The dreaded reality show craze did show its face in this book and brought us some new characters. I wonder what happened to Tyler. We saw more of Jenna so we know where she is at the end of the story. Finally, what did Claire mean with her last thought at the end of the book? I love that we always get some form of closure with this series with every book, but, I hate having to wait another year to have answers to these questions. Oh, I’ll wait. I may grumble about it, grit my teeth and shake my fist at the world crying about the injustice of it all, but, I’ll be right there on release day next time getting the answers to my questions, hopefully. Please Rachel Caine!

Review can also be seen at LadyTechie’s Book Musings at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

The Janus Affair (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #2)The Janus Affair by Philippa Ballantine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to The Janus Affair, Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences on audio book. The moderator, James Langton, did a wonderful job. I loved it! This go-round Wellington and Eliza are pulled into investigating the disappearances of prominent members of the suffragette movement. In this book Eliza’s past from Australia is told more in depth, though we don’t get the full story yet of what happened with her friend Kate, we know a lot more details about why Eliza is now living in London. We also get to see more about her friendships outside of work and get more insight into the softer side of Eliza Braun.
We also get more of Wellington Books’ background and his relationship with his father. We also learn more about why he insists on staying out of trouble, well until Eliza drags him into it. That was one of the great things about The Janus Affair. We get to see Wellington let his hair down some and there are a lot of surprises when he does show more of himself.
The book introduces some new characters, some of which seem like they will be seen regularly and others for this story only. There was a ton of adventure, excellent fight scenes and a lot of action. I also loved the inventions and technology that were described, like the precursor to what might be motorcycles. It is interesting to have described the responses to the suffragette movement and I wonder if what was described as Queen Victoria’s response was very close to home, especially given the era. This was a great installment in the series and I look forward to the next book or most likely audio book.

Review can also be seen at LadyTechie’s Book Musings at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Waterfall (River of Time, #1)Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time travel in Italy, who could not want to experience that. Well, that depends upon the time where you travel. I'm not sure I would want to travel anywhere that I had to use chamber pots or holes in a seat that did not carry the waste somewhere other than where I was living. The thought of knowing what technology and time has afforded us and not being able to access it is overwhelming, especially when you think about the fact that there are people in this society who have that very experience because of it not being available to them.

I have to say I was surprised. This book was exactly what I thought it would be, but, more. I was hoping to read about glamorous balls and beautiful clothes. There was some of that but, more. This book put me in the middle of one topic I really dislike to read, what felt like a love triangle. The timing was different, which made this story a bit different. It was medieval times, a time of arranged marriages and when families were so close that sometimes children were promised to each other for a myriad of reasons. That changes the story some for me and makes the story more than a love triangle.

This story also really showed us about love and families, especially where close siblings are involved. It would be very interesting to see how things that Gabi did to help Fortino affected the future. Will they see differences in that part of Italy when Gabi and Lina are in their own time. Can just having a conversation with one person change the course of history? It definitely has to change how Gabi and Lina see things from now on as they have experienced medicine, food, beds, clothing, hairstyles and even differences in the Italian language. I have to say it is interesting that women being catty doesn't change regardless to the century, though I hope there are fewer willing to send another woman into a danger zone to keep what she wants. Ah, what am I saying? The news is full of people doing ridiculous things for ridiculous reasons every day. I'm glad the series is already fully written so I don't have to wait to see how this turns out, well only as long as it takes me to read the next 2 books, though I'm thinking of trying the audiobooks for Cascade and Torrent. I hope the narrator is great!

Review can also be seen at Lady Techie's Book Musings, http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Super Sweet Sixteenth CenturyMy Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great read! It had a wonderful atmosphere in just about one of my favorite cities. I love Florence, Italy and cannot wait to visit again. I like the gypsy aspect of the story because Romanian gypsies have always held a certain mystery for me. My mom told me about the ones that lived in the storefronts in Chicago when she was a kid and I have always wondered about them since I was a kid and heard the stories.

Cat has the kind of life you might imagine a "Hollywood" teen might have, especially with her parents' background. I found it quite disappointing that a mother could walk away from a family, especially a child the way she did. But, her mother's family history was what created her interest in Italy. One of the things I really liked was how we were never sure how Patience's role was affected in this with Cat in the Renaissance era for the time she was there. It was part of the mystery and was very well done. Another thing I really loved about this story is Cat's love of art and how we were treated to this wonderfully described atmosphere. I had the same feeling of awe when I saw the original David in The Accademia, especially in comparison to the other 2 copies I have seen both in the Louvre and the one in Palazo della Signoria. I learned more about the history of it through Cat's eyes.

It was great reading about Cat's interactions with her very distant relatives and how it caused her to reflect upon her relationship with her parents and her father's fiancee. The descriptions of the frescoes in Florence were very well done and brought back amazing memories for me. I liked the ending and hope to see more in this story!

View all my reviews

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mira's Diary: Lost in ParisMira's Diary: Lost in Paris by Marissa Moss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received my copy of Mira's Diary: Lost in Paris from Source Books. When I was introduced to Mira’s Diary by Source Book’s publicity intern and I read the synopsis I thought it was fortuitous that they would offer me a chance to read/review this book right after my return from Paris, France. It was wonderful being able to visualize the different places I visited as I read through Mira's Diary. I only had one issue and that was that the book packed a lot of detail in a short read. There was enough to flesh out the detail more and I would have enjoyed more history about the family and their lives before Mira’s mom disappeared.

Mira has a gift that she seems to have inherited like her mom, the gift of time travel. I liked that Mira was not suddenly adept at her gift. She had a learning curve and unfortunately even when she was able to find clues about her newly found gift she still did not have enough information and continued to learn as she went along. Part of it might have had to do with her age, but, I suspect would be difficult for even adults who have no reference points or others to guide them. It is easy to forget that Mira is a young teenager, though in the times she visited the younger girls married early so they did tend to live more like adults, though it was interesting that the others were not aware of her age difference as it appears that Mary Cassat was in her late 30’s at the time.

One of the greatest things about this book for me as a museum and art gallery enthusiast is to experience all of Mira's visits with different artists and writers like Degas, Whistler and Renoir. I particularly enjoyed being introduced to an artist I was not familiar with, Mary Cassatt. I even researched her work and saw some of her wonderful art on a website that had her complete works. I am now wondering if I may have seen some of her work in the Louvre and not known who she was at the time. Interestingly enough there is a painting called Mary Cassatt at The Louvre painted by Degas. Another thing I loved was having Mira describe streets I walked down and treasures I was able to visit and take picture of like the Eiffel Tower.

One of the strengths of this book was how it described bigotry. It was even more disturbing to see it experienced through a frightened teenager's eyes. Thinking back to when I was a minority teenager I used to wonder how I would feel if presented with violence because of bigotry and I found out first hand so my heart was in my throat when Mira experienced the scene where the crowd was near the Eiffel Tower yelling racial slurs and behaving violently. She saw how someone with courage faced it when everyone was against him and she learned the importance of how to stand up for what you believe in even when you feel alone.

Part of me wishes we knew what problem Mira's mom was trying to solve because her absence weighs so heavily on her family. I am glad the book demonstrated a supportive relationship between the family members, at the same time it demonstrated sibling rivalry, growing pains and the effects on a family when the family is broken, which is how the book opens. The end was a huge cliffhanger and I hope that this is a series because I really did enjoy this step into Paris' past along with its supernatural aspects. I plan to send a copy to my Goddaughter because I know she will love it!

Review can also be seen at Lady Techies Book Musings at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Death's Rival (Jane Yellowrock, #5)Death's Rival by Faith Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit that all of the books in this series elicit a ton of emotion from me. I'm not sure how I feel about that because I tend to stay away from books/movies etc. that make me cry. I have to admit that towards the end there I was quite tied into Jane's emotions when she went to water. Of all the hurt that Jane has experienced the hurt she feels at the very prospect that God will turn away from her. She lives her life at a crossroads of sorts where she has a Christian faith, Tribal faith, and the soul of beast all weighing on her. The fact that she has lived as long as she has without breaking is a testament to her strength.

Jane Yellowrock lost a lot in Raven's Curse. She involved was caught up in a lot of vamp politics, part of which, tend to be situations of her own making due to not having enough knowledge, and the other part comes from following her nature to protect and right wrongs. That was one of the great things about Death's Rival, Jane learns so much about herself through going to water with Aggie and just her friendships with Aggie and her mother. She also learns more through knowledge made available to her by Sabina, with whom she has developed an interesting kinship.

What can I say, too many men in the pool for me. I wouldn't call it a love triangle because Jane is not exactly going back and forth between anyone. She has interest in all of them and now there is a new log in the fire, so to speak, or maybe with the ending, two more logs in the fire if beast has any say. I don't know how I feel about that ending. But, I do know that my dislike of Leo still grows. He is a vampire that I just do not like. I'm not a fan of Katie either. I do like Grégoires and Callan and I'm on the fence about George. I do however really like Alex and Eli and like that she is giving her partnership with them a try. They work well together and have a good rhythm working together. I also like seeing more of Derek Lee and all the Vodka and Martini guys. There was so much betrayal in this book but, I like how she handled it without involving the vamps in the policing of Derek Lee's men. Eli also seemed to fit in nicely with them despite being Army instead of Marine. I like that she has found more people to trust and build friendships with in the future. I did miss Angie-baby in this one and was quite surprised that she did not sneak and call Aunt Jane like she had in previous books.

I hate having to wait for Blood Trade, but there is nothing to be done but wait. Review can also be seen at LadyTechie's Book Musings http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Daughter of the Sword (Fated Blades, #1)Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daughter of the Sword is this conglomeration of historical Japanese lore, true Japanese history and urban fantasy. I received a copy with a really great cover from Literal Addiction which received the copy from the publisher for review purposes. I have to admit this was already on my to-be-read list already so when I had the opportunity to review it for L.A. I jumped at it and though there were times I was lost in the Japanese terminology, I enjoyed learning them. Steve Bein did such a good job with character development that there were times I had to put the book down or scream at the bigotry and misogynistic treatment that Mariko received from her co-workers, especially her new lieutenant.
Mariko is a worldly, intelligent, butt-kicker. She is a great cop, much to the dismay of both her family and her fellow police officers. She has the great honor of being the first female detective and the only one of her rank. She has a family that she is at odds with because of some problems her sister has that has put a wedge between them. They were so close that most in their community can tell the difference in their relationship and are watching and gossiping like the Oshiros are a soap opera to be monitored by all. Their mom is caught in the middle and it is quite interesting to see the dichotomy between the three of them as they juggle the past with the present.

Daughter of the Sword tells the history of several of the swords created by a great master named Inazuma. One of the swords has a terrible history and is the focus of a lot of the backdrop told in the book. There are multiple periods covered that tell the story of the sword and all who have owned it along with a lot of information about samurai. We also learn the history of a Professor Yamada who is very renowned for his knowledge of swords and martial arts. He also has a very deep history and some of his actions possibly reverberate throughout the history of his homeland. There are some aspects of World War II discussed and it allows the reader to see things from Yamada's and his friend's points-of-view.

Another interesting aspect of this story is the relationship between the police and Yakuza. I was a little lost with some of the Japanese terms for the different legs of the organized crime in Japan but, it made for another aspect of this story which is that it is also a Japanese police procedural with tons of action and a fair bit of gore which is to be expected when swords are involved. The sword play was described beautifully and it was interesting to see Mariko’s initiation into her version of a samurai’s way of life. If you love reading about far-away places, historical fiction and fantasy this book should definitely be on your list.

This review can also be seen at LadyTechies Book Musings http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo....

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fury's Kiss (Dorina Basarab, #3)Fury's Kiss by Karen Chance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a great addition to the Midnight's Daughter series. I was a bit lost with some of the jargon regarding the portals and gateways. I had this feeling like I should go back and read the last couple of books, but, eventually I found my place and the story picked up for me. It was never that the story was not good. It was that there is a big gap in time between releases so I forget a lot by the time the next book comes out. But, I love this series and it always stays interesting. This series tends to be my favorite by Karen Chance so I'm guessing it might be another 1 1/2 to 2 years before we see what happens next in the war.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dark Frost (Mythos Academy, #3)Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an e-Arc of Dark Frost and could not wait to inhale the words. I have to say that despite how much I wish things go a certain way Jennifer Estep is very adept and turning everything on its head. I find myself loving this book despite not always getting my way. One of the things I loved so much about this series is getting a great view of the different champions of the Greek mythology greats. Gwen Frost as Nike's champion she feels a lot of responsibility for protecting the world from Loki and his champions.

In Dark Frost everyone is trying to find the Helheim Dagger because it is one of the artifacts that can help free Loki. Gwen has friends but she still spends a lot of time keeping her own counsel. Is it to her detriment, maybe? But, part of her issue is that some of the adults that she should be able to trust treat her in a manner that makes it harder for her to be more forthcoming with them. It seems that whenever she feels she has her feet firmly on the ground someone or something snatches the rug out from under her. Gwen comes back to school thinking that she and Logan are going to be in a certain place and even her relationship with him has her questioning things.

Dark Frost really is a page turner and it is a great addition to the Mythos Academy series. The action and the fight scenes are great as usual. Fight scenes and weapons are seriously one of Jennifer Estep's strengths. The ending is huge and Gwen learns a lot about her relationships and trust. I am really looking forward to Crimson Frost.

Review can also be seen at LadyTechies Book Musings at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.Blogspo...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

IncarnationIncarnation by Emma Cornwall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was able to receive a Netgalley e-Arc of Incarnation. One of the things that drew me to this book is the cover. The colors are great. I also like the slightly different terms for vampire lore. This story especially is an old one and takes on the Bram Stroker tale of vampires focusing on the incarnation of Lucy Weston who was turned by Dracula. In this story Lucy Weston or Westenra seek's out Bram Stroker to determine why he wrote lies about her life and she finds out more than she anticipated. When she approaches him he has more information about vampires then she does and Bram Stroker tells her some things that are the catalyst for the rest of the story.

I like the focus of Incarnation and how it puts the bulk of the vampire tale in London instead of what we normally expect with Dracula and having the story focused in Eastern Europe or the Carpathian Mountains. I am an avid fan of urban fantasy and historical fantasy in London, England settings which also makes me a huge fan of Steampunk which typically is focused in London, England. Since I just returned from London some of the streets and locations resonated with me especially the areas described as what is probably the Hyde Park area now where there is are several wonderful dedications to Prince Albert.

It was great reading about Victoria's devotion to him though sad that she mourned him for so long to the point where she withdrew from society. This book demonstrates her strength and love for "the realm" as well as the dedication of Bram Stoker and even some of the vampires to London. I also liked the divergence from the "traditional" Dracula story that Bram Stoker wrote and the tie in to medieval England and some of its powerful characters.

I tried to find an author website for Emma Cornwall because it felt like there would be a continuation to this story and I'm interested see where this goes.

Review can also be seen at LadyTechies Book Musing http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels World, #1)Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is always something so good about a Kate Daniels book, even when she is not the full focus of the story. This one focused on Andrea and continued a novella that was released a few months ago where Andrea and Raphael see each other for the first time after the huge fight with Kate's aunt Era. Things were on the outs for them at that time and they did not fare much better in the novella, Magic Mourns. We get the resolution to that story in Gunmetal Magic. Most of the story focuses on Andrea and Raphael, but, the mystery they are working to solve brings the entire pack into the frame. I love pack politics and Curran never disappoints. He is the ultimate of ultimate leaders and shifters. Regardless to how many books I read with male leads he almost always comes out on top. I have to preface that because when I am in the thick of a book I might be totally enamored of a great male character while reading that book.

I loved the similarities between how Ascanio imitates Raphael to how Derek used to imitate Curran, though Derek has come into his own after his ordeal in Magic Strikes. Julie has a small role in this story though I am curious about what happens to her after Magic Bleeds, which was a pivotal book in the series. Roman, why can’t I remember Roman in a previous book? I loved him. He is this dark character, well from 9 to 5, then he has this light, funny personality that draws everyone to him, well everyone but Raphael. There are some great youth characters in this series and they really add to the stories. Another great thing was to learn more about the boudas, the hilarious giggling they do is classic. One thing I love is the cool clan names. For some reason my favorite clan name is Clan Nimble.

This book really adds to the series. Ilona Andrews does a great job of relating all the books to each other and delving into the characters and their backgrounds. It is great that they collaborate to write the stories and seeing how the stories are still so seamlessly written. I really look forward to the next Kate Daniels book! What’s this about a Roman Novella? Yes!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

FathomFathom by Merrie Destefano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an early release copy of Fathom as an e-Arc this week. The synopsis on Goodreads really drew my attention. I will have to admit that when I began reading the book it had a bit of a dark feel to it and I wondered if I would like it. It was a book about two teens, but, it was also a story about a family struggling to overcome a tragedy and not just how it affected them emotionally, but, also how it affected their relationships with their peers. Kira turns 16 at the beginning of the book and we see how she is affected in school and in her small ocean side community. Kira's dad and her grandmother have more information about the past than Kira is privy too and it wreaks havoc on upcoming events.

Caleb is the other side of the coin. I was having trouble understanding where he and his family and friends lived but, the contrast between his journey and Kira's journey is one of the things that make this story so interesting. It felt like they were in the past or right out of a fairytale. That is one of the impressions I had while reading Fathom. It read like a dark fairytale. Caleb and his friends also suffered tragedies throughout their travels but, you don't get a feel for who and what everyone is until later in the book and that might be a great tie-in to the title. Nothing is at it seems. There are surprises and twists everywhere. This book fits right in with Merrie Destefano's past books that tend to swim in their own lane. She has a great imagination and does a wonderful job with imagery and characterization.

Review can also be seen at LadyTechie's Book Musings: http://LadyTechiesBookmusings.blogspo...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cold Fury Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It has happened again. I have fallen in love with a series. There are only 5 or fewer series that I love like this. I like it so much that even before I was done I knew it would stay with me. There are moments in this book that the story grips me so much that I literally had tears in my eyes. Anyone who knows me knows that it takes a lot to drag that kind of emotion from me. Of course that is what I get for sneaking a peak at my book when I was at my desk. I was just drawn to this story. I tell everyone I talk to about it. I have recommended it to people that do not even read this genre. What genre is that? It fits in to a couple of different places and to have the family history reach back to Italy and Sicily of course is just going to endear this book to me even more. My online book buddies know I have been struggling to choose books for the last few months. I have not been in the mood for much of anything. I also said I would not review any books until I made some real progress on my dissertation. Well, the bad news is that I am reviewing this despite not making any real progress on that front because I really want people to know about this book.

Cold Fury is a book about a teenage girl who has this wonderful, loving family, not just immediate family, extended family, with some seriously dark secrets. These secrets basically explode out of the book and Sarah Jane ends up fighting multiple unseen enemies. One of the best things about this book is that we see Sarah Jane growing up quickly due to her circumstances, but, we also see her holding onto the basic principles that her parents and her boxing coach have taught her. In the midst of a lot of darkness she still has people in her corner and she is extremely bright and is learning on the run. I keep asking myself could I go to school in the middle of all of that? The answer is yes, if my parents wanted that for me and I could hold onto them through what they taught me then yes I could do that, which makes this story even deeper for me.

Doug, I don't want to give anything away about him, but, he is a rock star, all the way. In some ways he reminds me of Sarah Jane's brother Lou in how strongly they love and fight in their own way for the people they love. This story epitomizes strong, loving, flawed families. The action, oh boy, the fight scenes are excellent. There isn't one thing I would change other than wishing that book 2 was already released so I could move right onto reading it. The big problem I face here is the next book I read had better be amazing or it might be judged harshly due to no fault of its own other than being measured against a book that I am totally enamored of and am so happy I read it. I, of course, had to begin to semi-stalk the author so I am now following him on Twitter and Facebook and ready to demand book 2 right now. I so look forward to it!

Review can also be seen at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blade SongBlade Song by J.C. Daniels
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an advanced e-Arc of Blade Song from I saw the cover and read the synopsis and thought; this book might just be for me. I checked to see if I had read anything by this author before and found it was written by Shiloh Walker whose work I have not read before but have heard good things about her work. I did not know what to expect but I can say it felt a bit like the old Anita Blake and bit like Kate Daniels with some original flavor thrown in there. I really liked it. This was the story of Kit Colbana who had a pretty rough childhood, but, she had some kick-butt training in weaponry, hunting, and fighting. She is a descendant of some pretty kick-butt women. Unfortunately, she has been on her own for a long time. But, a good byproduct of being alone at an early age was that she has made some good friends and went into business on her own as a private investigator/tracker of sorts.

There really wasn't anything that I didn't like about this book. I had that same excited feeling I get when reading some of the other great action Urban Fantasy books. There is a bit of romance and it was a bit second to the story, which for me is great. There was a lot of editing needed in the e-Arc but it was an advanced copy which likely will have had some heavy editing done to it before the publish date.

The things I loved about this book included the fight/action scenes. The author does a good job with those. There are different supernaturals including some twists on the norm. There is a good storyline for Kit to investigate which makes for some contentious scenes throughout the book. The new relationships that Kit develops as she moves along the investigation are well written and I like Kit. I suspect when we get a book that has her meet head-on with her past that it is going to be a whopper! I look forward to the next book in this series!

Review can also be seen at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an eArc of Shadow of Night from Netgalley and honestly this is the first book I have gotten from there in a few months. I stopped reviewing books and updating my blog because I was neglecting my dissertation so something had to give. But, I made an agreement to host a contest for the newest book in the All Souls Trilogy so I am happily honoring it. Honestly, I am so glad that I stepped up to honor it. For me, having to wait a year to know what happened after A Discovery of Witches ends, was a bit painful. I put it out of my mind and decided to listen to my audiobook again just before the release of Shadow of Night.

I started reading Shadow of Night and honestly if it were not for my full-time job and my adjunct faculty position I would have finished it days ago. It seems like everything and everyone conspired to keep me from reading my book so I took to reading a few words or sentences when I could, like just before starting work in the morning, during lunch, during commercials, in the parking lot while waiting for dinner to be ready for pickup. I was so wrapped up in what was happening next that I just realized as I closed the book that so much happened in this installment. I don’t want to write spoilers but suffice it to say there were not any threads left unattended, or, at least if there were I did not notice them. The historical aspects of this story continue and really are expanded upon which I guess is one of the great things about having a vampire who has been around for hundreds of years and has enough status that he has met some truly interesting figures from history.

One of the great things about this book though is not just those historical figures but how Diana interacts with and affects the people she meets. Part of me wants to write a review that shows how overwhelmingly special I think this book is so that anyone who reads it will want to tell all their friends, family and even strangers about it and the other part of me keeps thinking read it over again right now and they’ll find out about it on their own. Something else that I found to be really good was the poetry, some of which belongs to others but some of which belongs to Deborah Harkness. “It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches.” This is obviously a huge catalyst for much of the story, but, some of the beauty of this story lies in how the threads of the poem are weaved into different parts of the book. There is that tiny part of me that is also a scholar who loves reading this genre of book that wishes I had written it or could write something just as great that not only other scholars would love but those that love romance, fantasy, historical and travel would also love it. I’ve come full circle now and don’t suppose the last installment is ready for me to read since this one is just days from being released. I guess I’ll spend another year trying to ignore the fact that I’m waiting to see how it all ends. But, I will be eagerly awaiting the final book!

Review can also be seen at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspo...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Fall of Water (Elemental Mysteries Book #4)A Fall of Water by Elizabeth Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can honestly say that this book was the best of a really great series. Elizabeth Hunter's writing was consistent across the series. The story grew and continued to draw the reader into the characters and the mystery. She continued to draw you into not just B and Gio's world, but, also into Tenzin, Carwyn and Ben's lives. It has been an experience watching their relationship with each other grow along with B and Ben's relationship with Gio's lifelong friends. It was great getting a glimpse into vampire politics in all the different regions along with the different familial relationships in the different elemental clans. Matt and Dez were great to learn about and gave a different perspective on the relationship between vampires and humans over the years, especially humans that were part of the vampire families.

The editing was much tighter in this final book also. It was really a great, exciting read. The fight scenes were well written with action and great choreography. I loved the sword fights and the fights that involved the use of elemental powers. It was like a chess match with elemental powers. This power trumps that power but, if you have a good plan you can get around it, maybe. Very intense and I am so happy that this was not just an ending, but, it also was a beginning. I look forward to seeing more in the Elemental Mysteries world.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Book of Lost Fragrances (Reincarnationist #4)The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am quite surprised by how much I liked this book. The title really intrigued me when I saw it on and I decided to give it a try. It had something for everyone. There was mystery, intrigue, politics, fantasy, action, romance and adventure. I don’t much care about the romance part of it but, in some ways it is the crux of the story. In other ways, it is a byproduct of one of the key elements of the story. I am not sure how I feel about the ending but, I can say that even if it did not end exactly as I expected there was something unexpected and wonderful at the end.

One of the best things about this book is having multiple locations in the story like Paris, France, along with China, Tibet, and even Egypt. What makes it even more interesting is that the story is told in multiple periods in most of these locations. There is a historical aspect of the book and I like how some of the past is revealed. I don’t think I have ever read a book that covers the topic of reincarnation or Tibet. The relationship between China and Tibet is one of the main storylines of this book and is a merging of fiction based upon fact and M. J. Rose did a good job on the research of the political situation and the life of Tibetan monks and nuns. There was a good history given of fragrance creation and it was I am quite surprised by how much I liked this book. The title really intrigued me when I saw it on and I decided to give it a try. It had something for everyone. There was mystery, intrigue, politics, fantasy, action, romance and adventure. I don’t much care about the romance part of it but, in some ways it is the crux of the story. In other ways, it is a byproduct of one of the key elements of the story. I am not sure how I feel about the ending but, I can say that even if it did not end exactly as I expected there was something unexpectfascinating learning about Cleopatra and her relationship to perfumes. I had no idea that there were Tibetan nuns. I thought nuns were typically Catholic. It was great to read about Buddhism and the relationship between China and the intricacies of reincarnation.

The characters and their development play a huge role in this book. The author did an excellent job describing the trials of mental illness and the effects it can have on a family. Another great aspect of this book was the in-depth history of the L’Etoile family and their perfume boutique and how the family created the perfumes by hand. There was a good history of each generation as they created the perfumes. Of particular interest was one of the ancestors, Giles, and the time he spent time in Egypt and how one of his discoveries affected the lives of future generations of L’Etoiles.
I was a bit worried that the book was more on the romance side and not something I would enjoy, but, I did stick with it and I was so happy I did by the end of the book. The author did a good job of covering all of the topics and it was very well written. I was a little confused in one of the areas where the past converged on the present, how it happened, and who was actually involved. Despite that, I think that she will attract a large, diverse group of readers and few will walk away from it not finding something they loved about it. For me it was the intrigue, history and art in Paris.

Review can also be found at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspot.c...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Guest Blog by Cat Adams

Creating a culture

In our series, THE BLOOD SINGER, heroine Celia Graves discovers at the end of book 1, BLOOD SONG, that she is part siren. In our reality, sirens have a lot of the same mythology as in the classic Greek legends. They live on an island (which we moved to the Pacific, between Hawaii and Japan) and in ancient times, they really did lure men to their deaths on the rocks. Well, at least some of the men. Some of them were pretty and, being a matriarchal society, they needed . . . breeder stock.

To create a culture that has evolved alongside humankind, we needed to do several things. First, we had to create their homeland, the Isle of Serenity. Because of where we’d placed the island on the globe (but not the map, because the siren’s magic prevents the island from being pinpointed on paper,) we borrowed heavily from the Polynesian culture. The names of people are Hawaiian-sounding. Celia’s middle name is Kalino, named for her grandfather, the brother to the Queen of queens,  Lopaka. We made the island so that it would hold a limited number of people. In the culture’s past, they only kept female children—either banishing the boys from the island or allowing “accidents” to happen. Yeah, they were sort of ruthless. But times change, and so do people. By the time Celia was born, they were a “kinder and gentler” species that co-existed with humans pretty well. Of course, once that happened, overcrowding did too. So now there are parts of the island that are sanctuaries and parts that are cities that have had to build upward rather than outward. Celia hasn’t spent much time in the cities of Serenity (yet!) and has only gotten the view of the island as a garden paradise thus far that happened in book 2, SIREN SONG. Her knowledge will soon change and, reality being what it is, it will directly impact her and those around her. ( spoilers of future book! LOL!)

We’ve been creating the history of the sirens as we go, which has been a lot of fun. There are good points and bad to every culture. There are things to be proud of and sore, embarrassing wounds yet to be healed. Some of those wounds were shown in book 3, DEMON SONG, when Queen Lopaka got angry with Celia for an innocent question that reopened one of those embarrassing wounds. They’ve healed it over, sort of, but there’s more to come that will strain their newly established relationship.

There’s so much to do when creating a people—from language to religion, monetary system and customs. Everything has to make sense to the reader so it feels real. One of the things that happens in Celia’s life in THE ISIS COLLAR is directly related to the siren culture. Celia’s mother, Lana, is an alcoholic and wound up in jail because of repeated DUIs. But because of her siren heritage, being in jail was killing her. Literally. She was cut off from the ocean, a death sentence to a siren. Queen Lopaka arranged for Lana to be incarcerated on Serenity as a kindness.

Unfortunately, because of the matriarchal, queen-influenced culture, things went wrong quickly. After all, if Celia is a princess, then so is Lana. And the sirens are accustomed to treating royalty with a certain regard. Like not actually locking the prisoner behind bars.

Naturally, Lana decided she would rather hop on the nearest boat and head back to her favorite bar. Here’s how Celia finds out that lovely bit of news . . . during a session with her psychologist:


 “So,” I said to Gwen, my therapist, snuffling after my fifth tissue in the past five minutes, “Am I a complete loon?”
“Actually, you’re not.” It almost sounded like she was surprised. “Most people would be. You are very mature for your age but . . .” There was always a but with Gwen. “You have to learn to give up some control. Much of your anxiety stems from taking everything onto yourself. You can alienate people just by your sheer dominance.”

I shrugged, feeling my defenses leap back to full power. “I sort of have to. Nobody else steps up to the plate. If I alienate people who aren’t doing their job . . . um, so? Do I care if they like me? No. I would rather they like me, but I would also rather they do the right thing so I don’t have to get involved. Does that make sense?”

Like a spider leaping on a fly from above, the next words out of her mouth caught me by such surprise I froze, barely breathing. “Like your mother?”

“Well . . . yes, I suppose. But I have stepped away from that. Like I told Ivy, she made her choices and she’ll have to pay the price. Lord knows I have, plenty of times.”

“So you wouldn’t . . . for example, help her hide from the police?”

What a weird question. “Um, no. I never have before. In fact, I usually tipped off the cops where she was, especially when she was driving drunk.”

“When’s the last time you saw her?” I felt my hackles rise, and Gwen must have seen something in my face, because she said, calm as ever, “Celia, please don’t get agitated. I’m only trying to help.”

Agitated? Who was agitated? Just because I could feel my heart pounding and my fists were clenched? “Why are you asking me these questions, Gwen?” My voice was coming out in a growl. It was too early in the day for the vampire to need to come out and play. I’d even eaten, and I knew there was plenty of meat broth in the smoothie. I was in control. “I’m dealing with Mom. I am. She’s in the best place for her right now. They can help her. I can’t.”

Gwen sighed. “I believe you, Celia. But I had to ask.” She raised her voice. “You can come in, ladies.”

Ladies? Huh? I turned and jumped to my feet as the door to the office opened. Two casually dressed women walked in. I vaguely recognized one of them but couldn’t remember from where. It wasn’t until her intense eyes met mine that I remembered. Her name was Baker. She was tall and buff with hair cropped short in a buzz cut that should have been very masculine. I’d envied the weapons on her belt when I’d first met her and she’d added a few since then. She was a siren, the queen’s own security.

Oh, crap.

The woman bowed her head in respect. “Princess. I’d hoped you knew something that you could share. But we didn’t want to startle you, so we came first to your healer.”

I felt a chill come over me as I remembered Ivy’s frantic motions. “What’s wrong with my mother? That’s what you’re here about, aren’t you? Where is she?”

The second guard, with a name tag that read Natura, dipped her head politely. “I’m afraid we don’t know. She was taking her daily walk along the beach path but never came back to the facility. Several boats went to the mainland that day, so . . .”

I tried to process what they’d just said. “Um, let me get this straight. You let a woman known for avoiding the law out of her cell . . . alone?” Holy Crap!  “How long has she been gone?”

Baker let out a low, frustrated growl and wouldn’t look at the woman with her. “Two days. While I wouldn’t have made the same choices as my associate, Princess, please understand that, like you, your mother is royalty. That allowed for more privileges. And since one of her ailments was ocean withdrawal, walking near the water helped center her. For a time after she disappeared, we believed she was visiting with someone, but after searching the whole island, we’re convinced she’s left.”

Great. Just great. They’ve been treating my conniving mother like a freaking celebrity. She would eat that up and absolutely take advantage of it. I reached up to try to rub away the sudden headache that was making my forehead throb. Different headache for a different problem. No wonder Ivy was so panicked. Not only had she probably watched mom slip onto a boat, she wouldn’t be able to track her over water. Ghosts don’t do well over running water, just like vampires. “Um, wow. I can’t even describe the level of wrong that was. It had never occurred to me in my wildest nightmares that you might let her outside of a walled and spelled environment until she’d gotten massive therapy. But if you’re asking if she’s come to see me, the answer is an emphatic no. I am the last person on earth she would go to in a crisis. She’d be more likely to roll a junkie for money.” I sighed and collapsed back into the chair where I’d been sitting. Well, gosh, hadn’t this been an emotional roller coaster of a session? “Where else have you looked on the mainland?”


What fun to be a siren, huh? But this is only the beginning of the great fun stuff that will happen in THE ISIS COLLAR.  Now, obviously, since this is part of our blog tour, we're giving PRIZES! Comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of THE ISIS COLLAR hot off the press. We'll pick one lucky person (yes, international addresses are okay!) at the end of the full tour so make sure you include your contact email so we can get in touch with you.

Oh, and if you’re intrigued (and you know you are) go out and buy THE ISIS COLLAR by Cat Adams right away! And if you’ve never heard of Celia Graves’ earlier adventures in BLOOD SONG, SIREN SONG and DEMON SONG, they’re on sale until the release of ISIS! It’s a really good sale, too: only $2.99 for any format of ebook download. Heck, that’s three for the price of one! And if you’re a print fanatic, they’re also on sale at Amazon on a 4-for-3 special. But lots of other retailers have them on sale too, so go to our publisher’s website ( ), scroll all the way to the bottom and choose your favorite store. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

By a Thread (Elemental Assassin, #6)By a Thread by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think every time I start reading one of these Elemental Assassin books I get this huge rush of energy that just builds and builds. I enjoy them so much that I not only read them, but, as soon as the audiobooks come out I buy that version for my iPod. The narrator, Lauren Fortgang, does a wonderful job with the Southern accents. This book did not disappoint. I was a bit worried about how things would transition now that there was a conclusion to the Mab arc. It was such a volatile relationship that it seems like it would be hard to top or start a new story arc. What was so interesting is that for a good deal of the first few books, Mab was completely unaware of Gin Blanco, and there was this huge history between them. How do you top that fight scene? By writing an even more intensive, action-packed fight scene!
By a Thread happens within weeks of the big fight. Gin and her sister, Bria, take a road trip together to visit Bria’s childhood friend. There is tension from all avenues, between Bria and Gin, Gin and Bria’s friend and Gin and Donovan Caine. Yes, he’s back and he still has many issues, especially when it comes to Gin. Thankfully Gin has grown quite a bit and her loyalty is unwavering, which is one of Gin’s best qualities, along with her serious fighting skills. It seems that despite how cold she may appear, especially when we see her inner dialog regarding killing someone, it is obvious that when Gin loves, she loves deeply. Anyone who knows my reading tastes, or who has seen my reviews can tell that I am not a romantic, but, I was truly happy when Owen Grayson stepped up. Not only is he portrayed as this great looking guy who protects his family, but, he also is something of a bad-ass himself. He also builds awesome weapons! I digress. While on the trip Bria’s friend is being harassed by a local bad guy. Gin never sits around while someone is being threatened. She stepped up and one of the huge differences between Owen Grayson and Donovan Caine reared its ugly head once again.
Sometimes I want to grow up and be Gin Blanco, but, most of the time I’m happy to live vicariously through her action-filled fictional life. I wonder if Gin Blanco wishes she could have a few boring days where she doesn’t have to worry about how to take someone out! Of course I don’t advocate handling problems this way, but, in Gin Blanco’s world where the bad guys are running everything, it seems that sometimes extremes are all people are left with, and Gin Blanco, as Bria realizes, is the one person who has her head on straight. In By a Thread things take a turn and I seriously was afraid for her and literally sitting on the edge of my seat while I kept putting the book down and picking it up wanting the story to slow down. One thing that is reiterated in this book is that Gin doesn’t always step up and take over and save the day. She also helps the victims stand up for themselves. In this book, she is reminded that she is not impervious and sometimes she needs help and sometimes she gets it from unexpected quarters. I was extremely excited to see that Jennifer Estep sold 3 more books in this series and I cannot wait to read and listen to them all!
Review can also be seen at

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blood SpiritsBlood Spirits by Sherwood Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am the first to admit that I kept putting off reading this book over and over, though I bought it as soon as it was released. I had a fear of how things would go in this one and I was quite surprised by several parts of it. I did not want to read about Kim's mooning over Alec for an entire book and have it continue to go unresolved. I finally got over it and read it. Ruli's story was a huge shocker for me. I was quite bothered by one of the things we find out about Kim's mother and her "free love" attitude. I wish somebody in the book was bothered by it. The family's continued horrible treatment of Kim did not surprise me. It appears to go hand-in-hand with royals. Jealousy, envy, in-fighting and jockeying for position and money, all seem to be part of the life of a royal.

There was a great mystery there, not as much action as last time, but, what there was played out very well. I did miss having more of Kim's fencing. There were enough threads left for me to look forward to the next installment. I wish I could see a chart that helped me understand more about who is entitled to the crown and why Lily is a princess. Does that mean that Kim and her mom are also princesses? If so many of these people have the signature dimple are they all related and inner-marrying? Or is there enough marrying across the five families that the dimple has crossed families though it originated with the twins, Rose and Lily and their side of the family. Why did Rose dislike Lily so much, pure jealousy? There are so many avenues for Sherwood Smith to continue this series that I am excited to see where it goes next. I am a bit confused as to who the Salfpatras and Salmattas are and what is the difference between inimasang and Nasdrafus. I am hooked and will be waiting for the next book anxiously.

Review can also be seen at http://http://ladytechiesbookmusings.blo...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans #1)Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let me preface this by saying that I have waited months to get a chance to read this book. I was able to obtain a copy through Netgalley's great e-ARC program. Royal Street is one of the books I have looked forward to since I was made aware that it was forthcoming early last summer. I have a love for stories based in New Orleans, especially urban fantasy.

Royal Street is an urban fantasy based in the time of Hurricane's Katrina and Rita and a lot of what happens has its basis in the vulnerability the wonderful city was left in because of those terrible storms. The author spent time reminding us of the devastation the different wards were left in, especially the Ninth Ward. Some of the areas continue to suffer from the results not just of the storm but also from the failure of the levees to hold. Even in 2011 there were stories of families still holding fund raisers to help neighbors repair their homes. Royal Street does a wonderful job of letting the reminding us what was lost.

This story is focused on DJ, a magic user in a level that is based more upon potions and spells along with her empathic gift. We learn about her relationship to her family, some of which she learns right along with the reader, which does a great job of helping us relate to her. There was a part of the book that I did not care for and it is not in any way related to how well the story is told. It is my personal preference to never read about certain relationships in books again. I would still read the the story even if I knew ahead of time, but, I have things I don't want to read about anymore, including things like love triangles or heroes/heroines so hard that I cannot relate to them. I won't delve any further into this because that would constitute spoilers. But, suffice it to say that it is just not a topic I like to read and has no reflection on whether the author writes a good story or develops her characters well. Alex and Jake are cousins and both have similar personalities but, we find that sometimes they are not always what they seem. I'm not particular about aspect of their competitive natures which ties into another part of the story, but, I like both of them very much. I especially like the support and love their family has for one another. DJ has another aspect to her magical abilities that is being developed in the books. Part of it was reminiscent of the Mercy Thompson series but, it took off enough and became Suzanne Johnson's story so I liked it. I also liked the remnants of Voodoo presented and would like to see more of the history of that religion developed in these books.

Overall, a good read and I look forward to the next one in the series.

Review can also be seen at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspot.c...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thread of Death (Elemental Assassin #5.5)Thread of Death by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is almost guaranteed that when I read one of the installments in the Elemental Assassin series I am in for a great read. As the arc that included Gin Blanco's war with Mab Monroe came to a close I wondered how Jennifer Estep could possibly top that ending. How could she possibly write a story that would let the fans know that Gin is still going strong and there is so much more to learn about her and the other members of her family? Interestingly enough, it is weird to see so much action and excitement in such a short package as this novella, but, she makes it work. Jennifer Estep managed to draw me further into Gin's story and wonder what could possibly top the showdown between Gin and Mab. Maybe the answer is not in how to top it but in how to show the readers that there is so much more that can happen sans Mab.

In this novella we see the next few days after the showdown. We see the some of the immediate effects on Gin's life. She attends a major event in this novella and the event itself is completely turned upside down. We also get an idea of where things will begin for Tangled Threads which is due out really soon and is an also an amazing story. One of the things that we also get a glimpse of is Gin growing along with those around her realizing that maybe Gin's no-nonsense attitude towards handling impossible situations that threaten someone might just be the only way for things to go, especially if you were raised to be an assassin.

Excellent read and I can't wait to re-read all of them and get my hands on the audiobook of Tangled Threads!

Review can also be seen at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspot.c...

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

The RookThe Rook by Daniel O'Malley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished The Rook and I began to worry about writing a review that would due the rating I plan to give this book some justice. I started making notes about my impressions before I was even a quarter through the book. It made such an impression on me that I went to find the author's website so that I could follow him on Twitter. I started feeding my thoughts into Goodreads as I got through different parts of the book, which is something I never do. I typically post Twitter updates but this seemed easier so that it would note the percentage I was at on my Kindle Fire when I made my note. I stopped reading yesterday and became concerned that I would not get to see more of this intriguing story after I finished the book. I jumped on the Internet and went to Daniel O’Malley’s website and saw that he has plans to do more stories in the Chequy world. As I finished posting an update early yesterday on Goodreads I caught a glimpse of the overall ratings of the book and thought impossible. We all read something and get vastly different impressions of what we read. Some things work for us and some things don’t. The beginning of this book did move so fast and have such a convoluted beginning that I had to re-read some parts. When I caught on to how things worked I knew I was one of the people for whom this book worked very much.

The Rook was one of those books that I knew I wanted to read and was watching for at least a month before its release date. I was drawn to it just from reading the synopsis and kept hoping for it to be released early. I bought and downloaded it first thing the morning it was released and made the mistake of taking a peek at it before starting work. It was a mistake because I was so totally enthralled that I wanted to send an email that I was leaving for the day and go find a good cup of coffee and a quiet, comfortable place to read for hours. I did tear myself from the book until that night and was really happy that I did not have to teach at the university that night.

This book has something for just about everyone. If you want a mystery, it is there. If you love action, the fight scenes with cool supernatural powers are there. If you like a bit of horror or gore, there is a bit of that too. It is not for romance readers, though there are a couple of irons in the fire that might prove interesting. One of the great things about this book that I wanted to mention separately was the author’s humor. I finally used the highlight feature of my Kindle Fire because there were several parts in this book that literally made me laugh out loud. A great example was when Myfanwy and her assistant Ingrid left a very important meeting and Myfanwy was still feeling things out from the memory loss. She asked Ingrid her impressions from the meeting and the scene went something like this. “Yes, I want to hear your thoughts on what we jus t saw”, Myfanwy said enthusiastically. “Did you think I brought you along for kicks? That was a classic date, with snacks and a show, and now I expect you to deliver the goods”. There are so many more humorous situations throughout the book.

Let’s take a look at the characters. Our heroine with the oddly pronounced Welsh name Myfanwy is pretty much the kind to whom most of us can relate. She is thrown into her world in the most terrorizing circumstances, with no memory and surrounded by dead bodies. We follow the person that Myfanwy becomes in her new life as she learns about her important position in a secret organization. She doesn’t just jump in and suddenly know how her powers work and kick butt in the name of justice. She has serious growing pains as she is thrown into situation after situation where she has to learn not only who she is becoming, but she also has to learn who Myfanwy was before things unfolded. Ingrid is a bit of a wild card because she is the person closest to Myfanwy as her executive assistant. There is an intricate system in place in the Chequy that utilizes some of the nomenclature of the game of chess. One of the characters that came in towards the end that I really liked was L’il Pawn Alan (No this is not his name or title. He is Pawn Alan but his stature and personality earned him this nickname in Myfanwy’s head) who, like Myfanwy, turns out to be more than meets the eye.

I can say that this book was a wonderful experience and I definitely look forward to more work from Daniel O’Malley despite him being an MSU graduate when Michigan is clearly the best!

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Raven Cursed (Jane Yellowrock, #4)Raven Cursed by Faith Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Truly phenomenal book! I really enjoyed this book. I even got to a point where I had to slow down because it felt like it was going too fast. I did not want the experience to end. I love both series and realized I am just a fan of Faith Hunter's writing. I was in a chat the other day where she was the featured author and it was great learning more about her writing process. It was interesting learning how hard she works to research Cherokee customs, folklore and mythology. You can even tell how diligently she researched the behavior of large cats. I enjoy a lot of authors work, but, I truly love the Jane Yellowrock series.

I had several realizations throughout the book about Jane's relationship with Big Evan. Initially I was sick of the blame game and eventually I had an epiphany and later in the book so did Jane. This book seemed like a crossroads for Evangaline, Jane, Rick, Evan, Molly, and even Beast. Heck, this book feels like change for everyone. The best parts of the story showed how well Faith Hunter writes a fight scene. As I was reading the fight scenes time always seemed to slow down and I literally could picture each shot, swipe, kick and punch and several fight scenes were so vivid that I just had to re-read them.

I tried to pay close attention to everything that I was reading so that I did not miss any important gems. There was so much good information about Jane and Beast given in this book. There were some new supernaturals brought into the story and that worked really well also. I'm keeping my eye on Leo because he seems to be up to something regarding Jane. Angie Baby and even Little Evan had bigger parts in this story and they were great additions to the action and intrigue of Raven Cursed. I spent some time digesting the story and the name fits the storyline very well. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment, Death's Rival. I would appreciate a copy right now please.

Review can also be seen at http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspot.c...

London Prep by Jillian Dodd My rating: 5 of 5 stars What a great adventure! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book...