Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Breakwater by Shannon Mayer (The Elemental Series Book 2)

5 stars

It is no secret that I love Shannon Mayer.  Her Rylie Adamson series is amazing.  The first book in this series is a great start to a whole new world that Mayer has built around elementals.  The part that I didn’t enjoy about the first book is that Lark gets dumped on repeatedly.  This is a personal preference of mine.  I have a hard time watching movies or reading books where the main character can’t seem to catch a break and is constantly beaten down.  However, in reading this series it is easy to see that Lark is going to one day rock my socks off with how awesome she is and hopefully get some retribution (not necessarily vengeance) for her years being crapped on.

This book takes off pretty much where the first book left us.  The Big Bad (Cassava) is gone but still out there like a black cloud in the distance.  An Ender from the first elementals has come to lay a claim to charge Lark with the fire elementals that she and Ash killed in Book 1.  In order to get her out of the way, her father sends her to the water elementals as a bodyguard for her much hated sister, Belladonna. 

It doesn’t take long for both Belladonna and Larkspur to realize that they probably won’t survive their trip and they have been set up.  They just don’t know by whom.  Was this their fathers way of getting these two out of the way.  Can Ash be trusted?  The bad guy in this book is a pretty big heavy hitter as far as elementals go.  There is a lot of political turmoil in the water realm (The Deep) as the half brother of the rightful heir has taken over using cruelty, starvation, murder, torture.  You name this guy will do it in order to maintain control of The Deep.  We soon learn that his plans don’t just involve The Deep and Belladonna and Lark are in more trouble that they thought. 

I loved reading about the water elementals and their home.  It was amazing and deadly!  I can’t wait to read about more of the other elementals.  I also love how Lark is gaining some of her powers.  I hated that she was helpless in many areas against the elementals and it is awesome that she is able to kick some butt.  I don’t hate Belladonna quite as much and hate Lark’s father a little bit more.  Can’t wait for more!  

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stolen Songbird: Malediction Trilogy Book One by Danielle L. Jensen


4 stars

I found this storyline to be very original so if it is based off of a fairy tale, it is not one I am familiar with.  Cecile is the heroine in this story.  It is her birthday and she is to move in with her mother to pursue a singing career.  However, she is kidnapped and taken under the mountain where she finds that long forgotten tales of trolls and witches are not tales, but true.  She has been taken to become the wife of the troll prince (whom I can’t remember his name). 

Trolls in general and it appears the prince in particular hold nothing but contempt and disdain for humans who they view as lesser beings.  The trolls have a great deal of magic, but it is most powerful in the bloodlines of trolls who have not mixed with humans.  These “half breeds” hold little to no magic and are treated only slightly better than humans themselves. 

Cecile is brought under the mountain to fulfill a prophesy and in the process learns a great deal about the history and plight of its people.  She slowly develops friendships and instead of escape (or instead of only escape) she starts to think of ways she can help in the revolution. 

The only part of this book that I didn’t care for as much was the love interest of Cecile’s. It didn’t feel believable that the depth of emotion these characters were talking about had a chance to blossom.  It felt forced as these characters spent very little time together and even less of that time getting to know one another.  

Ella, The Slayer by A.W. Exley

3.5 stars

I chose this book because I really enjoyed Nefertiti’s Heart by this author.  This is a retelling of Cinderella, but with zombies of course.  Ella is of course Cinderella.  They are living in a time in England after a major war.  The soldiers brought home a sickness that spread like wildfire and killed fast.  However, the dead didn’t stay dead and once they rose from their graves they seemed to have one mindless purpose which is to find the living and infect them.  It took the general populace a while to catch on to what was happening, but now most of them have a way with dealing with the zombies as long as it isn’t a loved one or neighbor who comes calling for their brains. 

So Ella lives in the country with her step mother and two step sisters and true to the story she is their servant.  Ella manages to meet the most eligible bachelor in England before her step sisters, but must keep this a secret.  Ella is also the area’s premier zombie slayer which brings her into close contact with the Duke.  He is there to gain intelligence on the zombies and Ella has that insight so they end up working closely together.  However, Ella keeps her humble servants status a secret and you can imagine the rest of that. 

It appears there will be a sequel.  At least the ending is such that there could be.  I am not sure how I feel about the way things end with her step mother.  I must be blood thirsty because I admit I wish that Ella was able to “slay” her step mother as well. 

Beautiful cover! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

To Hell and Back by H.P. Mallory (Lily Harper #3)

4 Stars

In the third book Lily senses that something is wrong with Tallis and goes to find him.  What she finds is “Donnchadh” (not sure of the spelling, but this is the warrior that inhabits Tallis) is in control of Tallis.  It takes Lily waaaay too long to figure out that Tallis isn’t in control.  I knew it almost immediately and maybe the author was hoping to cause some suspense here, but it just makes Lily seem daft.  I still really enjoyed this scene as it shows Lily being resourceful and in control.  Eventually we get our Tallis back, but only right before Lily must leave for her dinner with Alaire.  You can imagine that Tallis is none too pleased about this news. 

Lily ends up getting another mission while she is already in the Underground City and makes her way to the Toy Store.  I remember from book 2 that Lily’s friend Saxon (from the gym) said it was his least favorite place.  Tallis and Bill both seem to enjoy themselves immensely there.  I will admit I am not really sure how it fits in with the rest of the Underground City, except maybe the author needed an excuse to put some sexy ladies in Tallis’s path to make Lily jealous.  There ends up being more drama than usual while Lily is in the Toy Story and what is left over of the book leaves Lily almost dying (more so than is typical for Lily).  Alaire ends up being the problem and conveniently the solution.  Through this Lily learns some stuff about Tallis that may end their friendship. 

I really enjoyed this book.  I hope I don’t have to wait too much longer to read the next one.  We got a lot more alone time with Lily and while I don’t always agree with her logic I can see where she is coming from in making her decisions. 

The Underground City by H.P. Mallory (Lily Harper #2)

4 Stars

In the second book in this series it takes up right where the first one left off. I mean, exactly! The same exact scene. Bill and Lily are back at their apartment from their first mission to the Underground City. Tallis has shown up and wants to continue Lily's training with her sword. She isn't long into her training when she receives her next mission. This one will take Lily to the Sewers, which is another "circle of hell". Tallis knows another shortcut which takes the group through pipes containing poo water. They retrieve their soul most easily, but find themselves summoned by Alaire.

Alaire is leader of The Underground City and bad news all the way around. He has some sort of fascination with Lily and meeting Lily only cements this weird interest.   On the way back through the Dark Wood, Tallis takes Lily and Bill to a pub/inn type place and proceeds to get “blootered”.  Lily and Bill wake up to find themselves abandoned in the Dark Wood.  Lily’s next mission takes her to the “prison” level of the underground city, but she must do this alone as Tallis has not shown his face yet.  Overall, her first trip alone (well, Angel Bill is there, but he’s not much help) is actually pretty successful, however, Lily will finds there are far reaching consequences to some of her actions in the Underground City. 

Overall, I loved this book.  I started the third book right away and had to keep going back to separate the second and third books in my head for this review.  We get to know both Lily and Bill better.  Bill is a character that grows on you the more you are around him.  He is quite protective of Lily and that is endearing.  Little by little we learn more about Tallis.  Not all of it is good, but one can certainly understand the attraction that Lily feels towards him.  One thing that keeps coming up with him though is that he obviously has a lot of self-loathing and whenever he is around Lily he pushes her away and talks about how bad he is.  The discrepancy with Tallis is that whenever he is around Alaire he defends himself and doesn’t think he is the same caliber of evil as Alaire.  Once Tallis is out of Alaire’s presence though Tallis is back to talking about how evil he is himself.  You can’t have it both ways Tallis!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Better Off Dead by H.P. Mallory (Lily Harper #1)

4 stars

I was sure I was interested in this series based on the description.  Lily Harper dies in an accident, but isn’t supposed to die.  Her guardian angel, Bill, who is an alcoholic, was MIA at the time.  As recompense she is offered a job as a retriever of misplaced souls.  Even starting the beginning of the book I wasn’t sure I was going to continue (I am not a book martyr who continues reading books when I have no interest!).  Lily described herself as short, overweight, and unattractive.  She also is prone to quoting self-help gurus.  All this did not add up to someone I wanted to read about.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect, but I like to read about heroines who are physically attractive.  Unlike our heroine, I do not read books for self-discovery or enlightenment.  I read books for escapism.  However, this issue gets fixed and in a way that Lily maintains those things about herself that are endearing.  Even her quotes became something I looked forward to as they weren’t all just self-help quotes, but more inspirational quotes from a lot of historical figures as well. 

So Lily gets offered a pretty cushy job (or so she thinks) as a soul retriever.  We meet the absentee guardian angel very quickly as he is assigned to be her guide on her first mission.  This mission turns out to be in The Underground City (think hell) and she soon learns it is more of a suicide mission than a rescue mission.  She ends up finding more help in the broody Tallis Black who has a host of his own secrets.  And the rest of the story follows Lily and crew on her venture into The Underground City. 

I actually enjoyed this enough to start reading the second book right away and to buy the third book as well.  Bill, who I thought would be annoying, actually grows on you and Tallis who is initially and intermittently extremely rude starts to show some depth of character. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ghouls Rush In (The Peyton Clark Series #1) by H.P. Mallory

3.5 Stars

It feels like it has been an age since I have read anything by H.P. Mallory, but it is mostly my fault.  I stopped reading both Dulcie and Jolie series after “Malice in Wonderland” and “The Witch is Back” respectively.  They just lost something for me and I didn’t feel like moving on.  Jolie had gotten annoying to me and I am still mad at Knightly Vander!

I finally convinced myself to read this first book in a new series.  I really enjoyed it, but I must admit that I have a much harder time with ghost/demon stories than I do with many other types of paranormal reads.  They keep me up at night and make me nervous!  This is the only reason why I am not sure if I want to continue.  I HATE, HATE, HATE watching scary movies and refuse to do so.  They just get inside my head and I become a small child who is scared of the dark.  Thus reading  a scary-ish book like this is right on the cusp of what I enjoy.  I like suspense and fighting, but scary is not my genre.  There was enough light-heartedness in this book to keep it from terrifying me though which is the only reason why I might read on.  I am however reading the first book in the Lily Harper series so I got that going for me.

Peyton Clark is a newly divorced woman who has inherited a house from a great-aunt she never knew in New Orleans.  She meets her neighbor, Ryan and can’t stop thinking about him (even though she is newly divorced and wasn’t interested).  She needs to renovate her old house and in the process has been contacted by a ghost who used to live there.  She has found old newspaper clippings about a serial killer and is being attacked by a evil spirit.