Thursday, November 20, 2014

Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea (Timeless Fairy Tales)

5 Stars

I don’t even know how I came across this book, but it was available for loan on Amazon Prime so I had saved a sample in my kindle.  I decided to give it a try and it did not take long to realize I had come across a gem!  I am always excited to find new authors that I love.

This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (obviously), but it goes beyond the original story.  Admittedly I have not read the original (although it too has a place on my kindle), but like all good girls I have seen the Disney version many times. 

The cursed prince in this version is actually an illegitimate son of the king.  There is a legitimate prince as well, but these two appear to be very good friends.  In this version, the cursed prince gets into this predicament for apparently no good reason.  I think perhaps this is my only complaint.  It is mentioned numerous times that a witch cursed the prince to live as a beast in both mind and body through no fault of his own, then an enchantress comes along and is able to lessen the curse by making him a beast in body only and finding a way to break the curse. 

So the main character (besides Prince Severin) is Elle.  We meet her right as she is falling through the glass ceiling of the prince’s chosen exile.  He doesn’t want her there but his servants are determined to nurse her back to health and endeavor to push the two together.

The twist comes in that Elle is keeping a secret about who she really is.  There are many hints, but also red herrings, so although the book excerpt warns that the prince may not be able to forgive her betrayal, the reader must decide how far this betrayal goes.  I had it mostly figured out, but the author had me second guessing myself until the end. 

When I finished I could not wait to get my hands on the next book in this series which is a retelling of the German fairytale The Six Swans.  I was disappointed to see that readers did not like it as much as the first book because it appears the ending is done in a way that does not provide the reader with a clear “happily ever after”, but instead lets the reader choose.  I was also hesitant to read it because I have read a fantastic version of this fairytale by Juliet Marillier called Daughter of the Forest (which I would highly recommend).  However it looks like I could read the third book without problems.  I am going to explore more by this author that is new to me. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #2)

4 stars

This is the second book of four.  I have been putting off reading it because the first one is such a cliff hanger.  I HATE that! I now have Scarlet and Cress but apparently Winter won’t be out until a year from now!  That is a really long time to wait when they aren’t standalone books!  Never-the-less I decided I had two in my wheelhouse so I was going to read Scarlet. 

The storyline goes back and forth between Cinder (in prison), Emperor Kai, and Scarlet.  Most of the time is spent with Scarlet though.  She lives with her grandmother and delivers the produce from their farm to local restaurants.  Her grandmother is missing and the authorities don’t care.  She meets Wolf who appears to be able to help her.  They of course run into a variety of trouble on their way to rescue grandmother.  Cinder breaks out of prison and has reluctantly acquired an accomplice.  She is deciding where to go to hide and Queen Levana has released her horde and started attacking Earth under the guise of the missing Lunar Fugitive (Cinder).  

I found Scarlet to be a bit annoying at times.  Where Cinder is thoughtful and quiet and thinks things through, Scarlet is brash with a temper to match her hair.  She doesn’t seem to think before she acts a lot of the time.  Overall I liked her, but I have a hard time liking any character who is quick to anger.
Regardless, I plan to read Cress then wait (not so) patiently for the final installment. 

I do really like the covers though :)

Burn for Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona Andrews

5 Stars

If you know anything about me, you know I LOVE Ilona Andrews.  I am obsessed with anything they right.  I love Kate Daniels (If you haven’t for some forsaken reason read the Kate Daniels series, get on it!),  I love The Edge series (although it appears that there were those who did not, I see nothing not to love about those four books and I was pretty heartbroken when they stopped writing them),  I love all their short stories and the online serials (The Innkeeper Chronicles which can be read online, on their website for free).   I have been awaiting this new series and ripped through the book in just a few days (that is saying something since I have a full time job, a husband and an 11 month old who all think they should have access to my reading time).  There has been a lot of talk about the terrible cover, but I actually put off reading the first Kate book for years because I wasn’t sure about the cover, but I have since decided I will read any and all things they write no matter the genre.    

Nevada Baylor runs a private investigative firm with her family although she is the primary person for everything, except research.  She lives in a warehouse type building that has been converted into office, living quarters, and work space for grandma who is a mechanic.  Her family consists of her mother and grandmother, two younger cousins and two younger sisters.  

The story takes place in Houston with an alternate history that results in people having magic.  It runs in family genetics, with the most powerful, rich and influential being the ones who have the magic, over the years it gets diluted and some people are duds.  Nevada’s PI firm is sold to a big family powerhouse to pay for some bills.  This hasn’t been an issue until now, when the Montgomery’s (the family that bought the PI firm) decides that Nevada has to go on a suicide mission to find and retain a wanted criminal (who belongs to another powerful family) before the police.  The wanted criminal is a prime (highest level of magical user) and very dangerous PLUS there is someone else who is trying to get to the criminal who is equally dangerous.  This puts Nevada in the path of two very dangerous, very powerful men who are used to getting their own way. 

Loved every second of it.  Loved the first bit of the second book that is at the end.  I want to know more! 

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder (Healer #3)

3 Stars

This is the last one in this series.  I didn’t know that when I started and when it ended it was kind of like, “Oh…well…I guess that is that.” 

Since the last book Kerrick was found, but he was infected with death lily toxin.  Avry tried to save him but when she wakes up he is gone.  She spends quite a bit of time looking for him with her team (the monkeys and Flea, Belin is still missing).  Prince Rhyn wants her to quit looking and start working.   A lot of small things happen with mostly Avry rescuing a variety of people.  Her character was a bit annoying in this installment and I didn’t feel the connection between her and Kerrick as much.  The whole book can be described as “meh” and “blah” for me.  It was mostly well written and I enjoyed the storyline, until the book ends and you realize this is how you feel…


Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #3)

5 Stars!!!

Holy Smokes did I LOVE this book.  It is my favorite in the series so far!  So many new characters.  It is up for a Goodreads award this year so if you’ve read it and love it, go vote!  I think the category is “Young Adult Fantasy and Paranormal”. 

 Anyway, this book takes up where #2 left off.  Celaena is sent on a mission for the king to Wendllyn to kill the monarchy.  She makes it to the capital city where she deteriorates.  I am not even sure of her mindset during this time.  She’s dirty and drunk and listless.  She is still hurting from Chaol’s betrayal and losing Nehemia.  I thought this part was particularly moving (it doesn’t matter who is talking to Celaena, only the words):

                “Why can’t your friend    save her own kingdom?”

“Because she is dead!  She screamed the last word so loudly it burned her throat.  “Because she is dead, and I am left with my worthless life!”

It is in this listless, drunken state that she meets her first Fae.  He is rugged and aloof, intimidating and lethal.  Celaena decides an audience with her Aunt Maeve to get answers about the Wyrd Keys is her next step although the decision seems to be taken away from her.  Before she can do this she must pass muster with this new fae who is not in any way impressed with her.  Celaena goes through a lot during this, but it is all very amazing.  I think I want to read it again.    

The book cuts back and forth between Celaena, Dorian, Chaol, and a new character: a Blackbeak witch. I can’t tell if the purpose of the reader getting to know this witch is to understand the darkness that is coming through the King of Adarlan or if it is to see her character development.  I usually don’t like when books go back and forth between different aspects of the story because I usually prefer one part more.  I obviously enjoyed reading about Celaena the most, but Chaol’s efforts while she is gone are surprising and I actually enjoyed very much the Blackbeak witch. 
The other aspects of previous stories all come into play so if you haven’t read the prequels you should read them.  They are extremely good.  They aren’t just another adventure of Celaena’s, they actually do a great deal in developing who she is, but now we see all these pieces coming into play: the pirates, the spider silk, the desert assassins!