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 http://LadyTechiesBookMusings.blogspot.com

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...

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