Friday, May 31, 2013

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever Series #1)

4.5 Stars

I know…I am behind the times and incredibly slow to jump on this bandwagon. I am appropriately ashamed of myself. I read this first book in the series in one day, then immediately jumped into the second book so I will try my hardest to keep my thoughts straight from one book to the next.

We are introduced to Mackayla Lane in this book. Right at the beginning, Mac (Mackayla) learns that her older sister and best friend has been murdered. Alina (aforementioned murdered sister/bestie) was studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland. The police know nothing, and the murder is especially horrific. Mac belatedly receives a frantic last voicemail from Alina that leads her off to Dublin herself to try to get some answers and justice for Alina. She isn’t there long before she starts seeing things…that shouldn’t be possible. Incredibly gorgeous people that melt into hideous beasts. She thinks she is going crazy and no one is especially helpful or friendly. She ends up lost and wanders into “Barrons Books and Baubles” and thus is the beginning of a beautiful friendship…or something. Barrons is the one who explains to Mac (or Ms. Lane as he calls her) that what she is seeing are Unseelie Fae and she is a sidhe-seer. Mac is slow to accept this and almost gets herself killed a couple times.

Mac and Barrons form an uneasy alliance and Mac moves into the bookstore. They begin a quest to find one of the Unseelie Hallows (think ancient relics of immense power) when Barrons discovers that Mac can sense these objects. They visit a variety of unsavory characters in their quest and Mac makes more than a few enemies along the way.


Mac was, at times, hard to like. She has blonde hair, pink is her favorite color, and her nails always match her outfit. She is incredibly shallow, and only becomes slightly less shallow as the book moves on. Since this is a series, I can only imagine that the author wants to take us, not only on a great storytelling adventure, but on a journey through self discovery for Mac (and probably Barrons too!) Barrons also isn’t incredibly likeable. I can tell from reading reviews for the other books in the series (that is right, I seek out reviews hoping to get spoilers…that is just how I roll), that Barrons must grow on the reader, but in the first book he is distant, bossy, and aggressive. He leaves bruises when he touches her and grabs her by the throat. Mac realizes he is the lesser of the evils and that he at least wants to keep her alive, even if it is for his own selfish reasons.

I can’t put my favorite quote here because I got these books at the library so there was no easy way to highlight like on my kindle. :(

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier (Sevenwaters Series #4)

5  Stars

I love the Sevenwaters series! I absolutely loved Daughter of the Forest and Son of the Shadows did not disappoint. I didn’t love Child of the Prophecy as much as the first two so I was hoping that Heir to Sevenwaters would be able to capture these great feelings again for me.

This story takes place just four years after Child of the Prophecy. It is obvious that the reader knows the story of Child of the Prophecy but that the main character (who would have been just a child during that story) does not know those circumstances. This story is about Clodagh who we first met as a twelve year old in Child of the Prophecy. She has a twin, Dierdre and they can communicate with their minds. Dierdre is getting married and Johnny has come to Sevenwaters with his Inis Eala warriors for a time. One of those warriors has caught Clodagh’s eye, and one of them is driving her nuts! There are a lot of strange goings on which culminates with Clodagh’s newborn baby brother being taken from the nursery when she was watching him. In his place is a changeling of sticks. Clodagh must travel to the Otherworld with this changeling in order to bargain for her baby brother’s return. She doesn’t know the way in, she doesn’t know how to find Mac Dara (the man responsible) and she doesn’t know all the rules. Along for the ride is the very warrior who was driving her nuts, but she can’t be picky now as she needs all the help she can get. She soon realizes that Cathal (the warrior) is hiding things and is more than he seems, but it isn’t until it is too late that she puts all the pieces together.

I loved, loved, loved this installment! The romance was perfecto! Clodagh was strong, smart and brave. I loved the little changeling, Becan. I cried when it was time for Clodagh to give him up.

Reading order of the Sevenwaters series:

• Daughter of the Forest
• Son of the Shadows
• Child of the Prophecy
• Heir to Sevenwaters
• Seer of Sevenwaters
• Flame of Sevenwaters

Favorite quote:

“You’re a rare creature, Clodagh,” he said. “You’re brimful of hope and compassion and love. I didn’t see all that when I first met you. But I did feel a spark. I felt an affinity. And I felt desire. It trembled through me at every toss of that fiery mane. It kept me sleepless by night and restless by day. With every kind word and with every sharp one you drew me in further.”

There is this amazing piece of art work based on this book.  I put it on my desktop while I was reading this book and I can't even tell you how long I stared at it.  The artist did such a great job of visualing Clodagh, Cathal and Becan.  The artist's name is Jon Sullivan.  Here is a link to his website: Jon Sullivan: Heir to Sevenwaters

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier (Sevenwaters #3)

4 stars

This is the third book in this series.  Often you will hear people speak of these first three books as a trilogy, but you may be confused as there are indeed six books in the series.  I think the series was intended to end with this book, but the author found her characters still had more to say.  This is not a series that you can start in the middle of.  There is probably enough information that you could figure it out, but these first three books span three generations.  Each book is a story in itself and yet they build upon each other so that you must start at the beginning. 

This book was not my favorite in the series.  I absolutely loved the first book, Daughter of the Forest.  It was amazing and the first book I had read of Juliet Marillier.  This book was needed to close this chapter in the story of the prophecy and Sevenwaters.  However, the main character, Fainne, is not easy to like.  The summary is thus:  Fainne is the only daughter of Ciaran (and Niamh) and raised to be a sorcerer.  She lives far away from any other family and is very shy.  She has a deformed foot that she is very self conscious about and hides from the few people who are about.  She does have one friend growing up, Darragh.   The story starts when Fainne is a small girl and we read brief passages that help to define her until she is fourteen.  The story then takes place over the next two years.  Fainne’s grandmother is the evil Lady Oonagh.  Grandmother has come at last to train Fainne is the last things she will know before travelling to Sevenwaters.  Grandmother also manipulates and punishes Fainne into agreeing to do her bidding which is essentially to bring down the house of Sevenwaters.  The story then follows Fainne through this time as she struggles with wanting to do good but feeling like she has evil in her blood and thus has no choice.  It is indeed an epic tale that spans a long time with many perils. 

It is an odd feeling to not like the main character much, and yet really enjoy the story.  Darragh plays a role throughout the entire story and Fainne tries to push him away countless times.  Sometimes it was for his own good and sometimes it just felt cruel.  But we did see Fainne grow.  She had to make hard choices and while she didn’t always make the right choice, it wasn’t entirely her choice to make as she is controlled for much of the story.  I didn’t like her family not understanding that while she made some bad choices that she wasn’t able to thwart those decisions at the time.  They doubted her (with good reason), but as the reader, one feels those emotions projected back on themselves. 

I plan to begin reading right away the next book in the series.  Here is the reading order:
  • Daughter of the Forest
  • Son of the Shadows
  • Child of the Prophecy
  • Heir to Sevenwaters
  • Seer to Sevenwaters
  • Flame to Sevenwaters 

Favorite Quote: (this is Fainne speaking about Darragh to her cousin Johnny):

“And he’s not my young man.”

“No?” queried Johnny.  “Well, one thing’s certain.  It’s not the prospect of lessons in swordsmanship that drives him thus.”

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Magic Mourns by Ilona Andrews

5 Stars as usual for Ilona Andrews
Magic Mourns is a novella featuring Kate Daniel’s best friend, Andrea.  It takes place between Magic Strikes (#3) and Magic Bleeds (#4).   This is the story of how Andrea and Raphael first get together.  When we start the story Andrea is still avoiding Raphael.  He has decided that he wants her and has called her work twice a day for months.  He has “courted” her in typical bouda fashion.  This varies slightly from the shapeshifter customs of courting which is basically breaking and entering and leaving evidenced of said B & E.  For bouda’s this aforementioned B & E also includes a practical joke of some sort.  I am not going to say what because part of the fun was reading what Raphael had been up to. 
At the beginning Andrea gets a call out to a situation with a dog the size of a house.  With Andrea’s luck this situation also includes the very bouda of her dreams she has been avoiding.  They have to work together to figure out what is going on. 
There is even a tiny excerpt at the end that includes some more information about Kate and Curran and a certain apple pie!  Awesome! 
Favorite quote:  (the “he” in this is Raphael)
He glanced into the side mirror and stared, slack-jawed.  His lips were solid black.  A thick black line of guy liner outlined his deep-set eyes and a little black tear dripped down his left cheekbone.  He touched his cheek, stretching the skin to better examine the tear, his face a flat mask, glanced at me, and exploded with laughter. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Nefertiti's Heart by A.W. Exley

5 Stars
This is the first book I have read by this author.  I read it in one day and I can’t wait for the next book in the series.  You should probably know I am a sucker for good steampunk. 
Cara Devon has a tragic past.  When I say this, I mean she was extremely ill used as a child.  A lot of authors want their characters to have tragic pasts, but usually the past doesn’t quite live up to the buildup.   I’m not sure if that made sense.  Often the past is only alluded to in the beginning, and the character has altered their life, their personality and how they interact with others because of this past, then you find out what it is and it isn’t usually as big as your imagination has made it.  That is not so with Cara.  Her past is more tragic that usual, but it has made her stronger.  There is one aspect of her life that it tainted in a way that has caused her fear, but she works through that fear in this book.  And it is a completely logical and expected fear based on her past.  Now, after all that jabber and you don’t even know what I am talking about, I am going to move on…
Cara is back in London after her father passed away.  She is going to get his affairs in order and sell off some of his antiquities and do more travelling.  She doesn’t want to be there and London apparently doesn’t want her there.  Right away, two thugs break into her childhood home and attempt to relieve Cara of her father’s notebook (the notebook that tells where all the expensive antiquities are), but have no fear.  Cara can now take care of herself and she does.  That is one of my favorite parts of this book.  Cara does not need a man to protect her (most of the time anyway).  She has learned how to fight and protect herself.  And since society has shunned her, she doesn’t have to conform to how they think she should dress or how to act.
Someone very devious has taken an interest in Cara because of this show of strength.  Viscount Lyons.  He is a peer and a criminal mastermind.  He wants the notebook and it appears he also wants Cara now. 
But young debutantes are dying and the inspector thinks all signs point to Cara.  Cara eventually realizes she has caught the attention of this serial killer and is trying to determine who to trust. 
I loved not only Cara Devon and Viscount Lyons, but the secondary characters like Cara’s grandmother, and Lyons’ henchman Jackson.  Cara’s friend Amy was a bit one dimensional to me, but I didn’t care.  She doesn’t spend so much time on the pages that it bothered me. 
(One of my) favorite quotes:
“Nessy!”  she screamed back down the hallway.  “Tea and biscuits.  The little scamp is here with oodles of juicy gossip.”

Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews

Magic Dreams
This is a novella about Jim and Dali.  Jim has always been just ok for me so I didn’t rush to read his novella.  I have always liked him as a secondary character, but as a hero for Dali?  I wasn’t sure.  As usual, I should just trust that whatever comes out of these author’s minds will be golden. 
This story follows Dali who is a “mystical white tiger” with bad eyes and some magic of her own.  Jim comes to her for help.  There is a shapeshifter outpost run by four pack members, but they haven’t checked in.  Jim went to check on them, but now is falling asleep and can’t remember things (so not Jim).  Dali has the hots for Jim, and is willing to do whatever to help him.  She takes him to her mother because something is wrong and they come up with a plan to save him.  Dali ends up saving his behind which is just what that werejaguar needs. 
I absolutely loved this little novella.  I didn’t want it to end.  I loved the interactions between Jim and Dali and Dali and her mother and Jim and Dali’s mother. 
Favorite Quote:  Jim as going to the Underground…
“I don’t care if he’s part dragon.  If he looks at you like that again, Ill cut his face off.”

Update for Magic Gifts at the end of Gunmetal Magic. Awesome!

When I wrote my review for Gunmetal Magic I hadn’t read “Magic Gifts” (or was it “Magic Gift”) which is the novella at the end of Gunmetal Magic.  From what I can see, this is the only place that you can read “Magic Gifts” so it is like a pretty surprise.  I would pay for both Gunmetal Magic and Magic Gifts so it is a win/win for me. 
Magic Gifts is basically what Kate and Curran are doing during Gunmetal Magic.  I am glad that the authors wrote this, because they were conspicuously absent when the world was almost destroyed by an ancient Egyptian god.  It starts out with Kate and Curran on a date.  They go to a restaurant that has two vampires outside which means there are two journeymen inside eating.  A lot of drama goes down immediately at the restaurant and results in Kate and Curran racing the magic/tech shifts to save a little boys life.  It also explains how Hakon in Gunmetal Magic knows Kate already. 
Every second is worth it!  The reader even gets a little bit of Kate and Curran alone time (which doesn’t happen very often).  If I was dragging my feet about Gunmetal Magic I would buy it just for this novella at the end.  Of course, Gunmetal Magic is awesome in its own right. 
Favorite Quote: Between Kate and Curran:
He grinned.  “You’re jealous.”
I considered it.  “No.  But when you stared at that woman like she was made of diamonds, it didn’t feel very good.”
“I stared at her because she smelled strange.”
“Strange how?”
“She smelled like rock dust.  Very strong dry smell.”  Curran put his arms around me.  “I love it when you get all fussy and possessive.”
“I never get fussy and possessive.”

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Outcast Prince by Shona Husk (TBR 7/2/13)

3.5 Stars
This is an ARC copy given for an honest review.  It will be released July 2, 2013 and is definitely the first book in a new series. 
I absolutely love the premise of this story because I love fairies!  Caspian is half fairy.  In this story a half fairy/half human is called a “changeling”.  Technically this term is used to describe a child that is suspected of being 100% fairy left in place of the 100% human child.  So I don’t know if the author is just taking some liberties here or if she is saying that changeling children are actually 50% fairy.  His father is a prince of Annwyn (the world the fairies live in), but Caspian has never met his father.  He also has a special talent.  He can see and understand the history of an item by touching it which is called psychometry in this book.  Caspian is divorced and runs an antique shop (obviously his little trick comes in handy in determining the value of antiques). 
Lydia is human and is grieving the loss of her grandmother who raised her.  Lydia is a Calloway and the Calloway House is very famous in Charleston.  Lydia’s grandmother did many things to keep the house and one was to be a place where all the “movers and shakers” of the 20’s and 30’s could keep their mistresses.  Lydia has hired Caspian to do an appraisal of the house and all the things in it. 
Caspian has always kept his fairy repressed, but Annwyn has chosen this moment to come knocking.  The banished fairies are making trouble for Caspian, but if he makes a deal with them he could lose his soul.  All of Annwyn and those who are banished are frantically looking for a mirror that is gate into Annwyn.  The Annwyn Court is in upheaval and Caspian (and thus Lydia) is thrown right into the middle of it). 
What I didn’t love about the book was the inner dialogue of both Caspian and Lydia.  At times they were both overly dramatic and making leaps of logic that the reader should be able to get without it being spelled out.  They both waffled back and forth so much I wanted to smack them.  Waffled about what, you ask?  EVERYTHING!  If something could be waffled then they waffled.  Should I sell the house or should I keep it?  Should I sell the diaries or keep them?  Should I invite him over for dinner or tell him to get lost?  Should I call him or not?  Should I go inside or not?  Blah, Blah, Blah!  I get that not everyone knows what they want all the time, but these characters didn’t know what they want any of the time.  I really hope that they mature some in the rest of the series.  Which is odd because, while I don’t know their age, they both come across as forty-ish adults!