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. 

Seven Years (Seven Series Book 1) by Dannika Dark

3.5 Stars

This is the first in a series by this author.  I haven’t read anything by her, but I know she has other books out.  The main characters name is Lexi and she works at a candy shop.  She lives alone, but spends a lot of time helping her mom raise Lexi’s seven year old sister.  Then one day she sees someone who has been gone 7 long years.  Austin Cole was her brother’s best friend. Lexi’s brother died seven years ago and Austin left town right after that.  She has a lot of pent up anger towards Austin leaving their family when they needed him, but she is finding her long buried crush isn’t staying buried.  Lexi has other issues popping up to cause trouble all at once…a crazy ex-boyfriend, her mom and sister being kidnapped, her no-good father on the radar again and a handful of stalkers.  Austin is proving more useful each day and keeps popping up at the most unexpected moments and he has his own pack of secrets that Lexi must deal with.

This book was enjoyable.  I’m not sure if I will read the next book in the series or not.  I like books about shifters.  I enjoyed meeting all of Austin’s brothers which is what the subsequent books are about.  I just have trouble when authors choose to write the first book in a series about the most alpha-of-alphas.  The rest of the books are then about the less-alpha-alphas.  I feel like Austin’s book should be last since he is the head honcho with each book in the series being about a guy who is a little more alpha than the last guy.  Just my personal opinion. 

Eighth Grave After Dark (Charley Davidson Book 8) by Darynda Jones

4.5 Stars

So many answers to so many problems in this book!  The last book didn’t quite feel complete, but this book more than makes up for it.  Of course, by the end we have a whole other set of problems for Charley. 

In this book, Reyes and Charley are married and living in a converted convent.  She is 8-9 months pregnant and the book only spans a few days.  Her best friend, Cookie and her Uncle Ubie are getting married.  The Hell Hounds are circling the convent grounds so Charley can’t leave or they will rip her to shreds.  She is secretly working on trying to solve her father’s murder and also has a PI locating Reyes’s parents even though he asked her not to.  Then Agent Carson asks for her help in a case of a missing girl which is more personal than the previous cases that Charley helped with.   

This is a pretty short review because I can’t even say most of the storyline because that would give away too much. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one.     

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

4 Stars

I hope this is the start of a new series for this author.  I absolutely love her “Throne of Glass” series.  This series has a lot of history packed into it.  The humans live in only certain areas of the world after a treaty was signed to end a very bloody and deadly war between the humans and the fae.  The treaty is the only thing that is keeping the humans safe at this point, but word is getting out that things are changing.    

This series follows a nineteen year old girl, Feyre, as she struggles to care for her family.  She has two sisters who are almost helpless and a family who was disabled by creditors after they lost their fortune.  She alone is able to provide food and other necessities for her family.  She is out hunting one evening when she ends up killing a wolf.  A beast, who is obviously fae, comes to her door seeking retribution.  The treaty demands that Feyre go with the beast to live out the rest of her life in faerie. 

The beast’s name is Tamlin and he is even more deadly than she imagined.  Yet, the more Feyre learns of both Tamlin and the blight upon his lands the less she hates him.  Eventually she comes to care for Tamlin but it might be too late for it to make a difference. 

There are some aspects of the story that are still a little fuzzy so I hope that the next book clears this up.  Some of the characters motives and personalities need a little more fleshing out and I would actually like to understand the relationship between Tamlin and Feyre better to understand the depth that each went through to protect the other.  I look forward to more!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Rising Darkness by Shannon Mayer (Rylee Adamson #9)

5 stars

I love Rylee.  She is a heroine I rarely get annoying with.  Since reading book #8, I had managed to forget that Rylee was pregnant and Liam was dead.  How could I forget this?  I don’t know, but it crushed me once more.  Pamela has been training with Deanna and trying to help those afflicted with the plague with her meager healing skills.  She is resentful that Rylee has been gone for 6 months.  Milly is coming to her in her dreams and feeding this resentment.  Only we know it can’t be Milly, or rather it can’t be just Milly.  Pamela runs away when Rylee returns and Frank follows her right to Milly.  Rylee can’t go after her because she has 4 days in which to find the Destroyer. 

I didn’t read the novella between book 8 and 9 and I think it would have been very helpful.  I got by without it, but definitely didn’t know why Faris was with Rylee, who the Destroyer was and who the new kitty, Peta was.  It becomes clear pretty quick that Liam’s soul is inside Faris (which I would have known had I read the novella I am guessing).  This is causing Rylee quick a bit of confusion. 

As usual there is a lot going on.  Rylee has to find the Destroyer.  Pamela gets her own little storyline as she grapples with her inner darkness.  Liam/Faris have issues (as you can imagine).  And of course there is lots and lots of fighting.  One good thing is that while Rylee is gone she trains with her uncle and is a better fighter than she has ever been.  I enjoyed not feeling like she was so frail all the time.  A lot of time in previous books it feels like Rylee is always just at the point of breaking physically. 

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #8)

5 big fat stars

It is not secret that I LOVE Mercy Thompson.  I also thoroughly enjoy the Alpha and Omega series, but Mercy is my first love.  This book starts out with one of my least favorite situations to read about.  Adam’s ex-wife Christie is in trouble and needs his help and wants to come “home.”  Many of the wolves still don’t like Mercy and opening disrespect her.  There are only three other females in the pack and they all know Christie from when she was Adam’s wife.  Christie is very good at manipulating people into feeling sorry for her and generally doing what she wants, and werewolves like to protect those weaker than them. 

Christie comes “home” and immediately is trying to push Mercy out.  She is cooking fantastic meals, and is staying in the room next to Adam and Mercy’s and using their bathroom, etc.  The problem is that she is honestly in a lot of trouble and needs protection.  The guy she is running from is clearly a psycho. 

That is only one problem.  One of the Gray Lords has come looking for the walking stick…only Mercy gave it to Coyote and doesn’t have it.  Of course he doesn’t care about this, she has one week to get it for him or he will take out the whole city.  Only, how does one go about trying to find Coyote?  Mercy finds this is not easy and her time is limited because Christie’s stalker is of course targeting Mercy now. 

The writing was super good and I enjoyed the story line as a whole.  I felt like Adam needed to stick up for Mercy and put his ex-wife in her place.  She repeatedly strove to make Mercy look bad in front of the pack.  If he didn’t want to defend himself…fine, but he should have defended Mercy.  I am not sure I would have been as tolerant as Mercy was of the whole situation.  This is probably more annoying to me than most people as I hate “love triangles” and anything close to them. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ferran's Map (The Cat's Eye Chronicles #4) by T.L. Shreffler

4 Stars...

This is the fourth book in the series.  I really enjoyed every aspect of it…except for the ending.  In my review for book 2 I explained that it felt like the author cut the story off at a random spot just to create a book 2 and 3 although book 2 didn’t feel complete.  It was even more evident in this book.  The entire time the group’s goal in going to The City of Crowns was to recover The Book of the Named and deal with Cerestes.  It is only now that I write this that I realize that they did recover The Book of the Named, but it feels lost in the overall storyline.

The book starts out with the group sailing up the Crown Rush (river leading to the capital city).  Sora works on meditating to get connected with her necklace again.  The author must plan for something spectacular to happen once Sora connects fully with the cat’s eye in the last book because this also just feels lost in the storyline.  Another review said that in this book Sora and Crash finally admit to their feelings.  I didn’t feel this strongly about their encounters.  Their interactions were definitely more bold than in previous books as far as what they said to one another, but it is also unfinished.  Sora spends more time without Crash than in any other book.  She runs into Lord Seabourne from the first book and becomes determined to get information about her “father’s” death.  I really don’t understand why she risks so much for this.  The encounter turned out very interesting, but I found Sora to be annoying as she pursued this.      

Crash is being confronted with his past and is struggling to keep his focus.  His old Grandmaster is trying to recruit him and it is deeply appealing to the lost little boy Cerestes left behind.  The entire group begins to doubt his loyalties, but Sora doesn’t want to believe any of it.  It becomes apparent that Cobra has a secret vendetta.  The Shade is only a cover for him to accomplish this.  Krait is desperate for the approval of her Grandmaster and the reader can only hope that she isn’t too annoying as she comes to the realization that Cerestes doesn’t care for her and she needs to make her own way.  Caprion has never trusted Crash and he is gaining evidence to support this throughout the book. 

I did thoroughly enjoy the time spent with Ferran and Lori.  I love Ferran.  In this book, he took the place of Crash as my favorite hero.  The backstory on Ferran was very interesting.  Lori was slightly more annoying with her encounters with Ferran in this book.  This is something I struggle with as a reader.  I find that when heroines don’t react in a way I can understand to be annoying.  I don’t have this same issue with heroes. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Volcrian's Hunt (The Cat's Eye Chronicles #3) by T.L. Shreffler

5 Stars

This book felt more like a complete novel like the first book did (book 2 did not feel like a complete story to me, but more of a bridge between book 1 and book 3).  Sora, Burn, Laina and Crash are stranded on the island.  They think it is one of the Lost Isles, but not the main one where they need to be.  They go exploring with the Dracians and find a cave.  Jacques is sent flying back to the mainland to find help for the others and Sora and crew go into the cave hoping it might connect to the larger island underground.  It becomes obvious (more maybe more obvious) that Laina’s heritage lies with the harpies as her response to the Crystal Caves is quite euphoric. 

Of course the group runs into quite the set of trials and tribulations as they traverse the caves and tunnels further and further.  Eventually they make it to the main island and have their first encounters with the mystical Harpies.  I can’t say I am impressed with any of them yet.  Maybe as we get to know Caprion more he will grow on me.  Between reading about Sora’s adventures we start to read about her mother, Lori’s travels.  In book 2 Sora had sent her horse home with a note that her mother gets, but then sets out on her own mission to try to help Sora.  This was actually more enjoyable than I thought it would be.  I often dislike side stories as they usually aren’t as interesting as the main story, but the author did a good job of making Lori’s story enjoyable as well.  And since Lori had Sora so young, Lori isn’t that much older than me making both the main character and her mother relatable. 
The reader also got a peek into Volcrian's mind throughout the story.  It was interesting to see his spiral downward.  He would at times wonder about his own change, but smothered this in his hate for Crash. 
Laina has always rubbed me the wrong way.  From my first encounter with her when Sora is trying to get her out of jail to the end of this book I’ve never liked her.  Sora always felt bad for her and kept repeating that Laina is only 13 years old.  We all know 13 is a hard age, but Laina never seemed to appreciate anything the others tried to do for her. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Viper’s Creed (The Cat’s Eye Chronicles #2) by T.L. Shreffler

5 Stars

I dove right into this book after finishing the first one (and am currently reading the third one as I write this).  I actually liked this book even better than the first, except for one thing…the ending.  It wasn’t that the ending was bad.  If there is one thing I hate the most is a bad ending, which for me means a sad ending.  I don’t read books in order to feel the sadness and hopelessness of others’ lives.  Although I don’t mind when this happens in the middle of a book, but I need my hero/heroine to overcome their struggles.  Not everyone has to be happy, but I need my hero/heroine to at least be content.  My next least favorite things in books are love triangles and cliff hangers.  No love triangles here (thank goodness), but there was a major cliff hanger.  The more I think about it, I don’t think the author meant it to be that way.  The first book felt more complete because the object was to get away from Volcrian through the swamp.  This was accomplished and Sora met her mother.  The ending wasn’t amazing simply because Burn and Crash left, but this being the first book I knew I would see them again so it was good for me.  The ending of the second book just feels unfinished.  Ok I will give you a quick summary first…

Sora is with her mother and learning the healing arts.  They have noticed livestock falling sick to an unknown disease, but it is not until they come across a farmer that is showing the signs of a magical curse rather than a biological disease.  At this point they decide that Sora must travel to find Burn and Crash, they must destroy the weapons of the dark god and destroy Volcrian.  This is the quest for the entire book.  To do this they learn they must travel to the lost isles so as a reader you expect to read about them finishing this quest, but that is not to be.  I think that in this third book we will get some resolution, but still not sure how much.  It is as though the author had too long of a story and needed to split it up somewhere.  Other than this part, I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this story.  It seems like there might be something building between Sora and Crash.  Nothing has happened yet, but she is becoming more aware of him as a man.  She still sees all his flaws, but is also getting glimpses of a man who seems to care for her (at least sometimes).  I do hope something develops here.    

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sora’s Quest (The Cat’s Eye Chronicles Book 1) by T.L. Shreffler

4 Stars

I have never read anything by this author, but I loved this book so much that I immediately bought the second book after I finished the first.  In fact, I think I like the second one even better!

Sora is the main character.  She is a noble, but part of the second tier.  This simply means she is a lower class of nobility.  She has never traveled off her father’s manor and her father is rarely present.  However, when we first meet her, she is preparing for her 17th birthday party and her father (and many first tier nobles will be present).  The purpose is for Sora to acquire a husband.  It is this night, that Sora decides she will run away.  She plans to leave after her big dance (called “the blooming”).  Her plans don’t go as expected as she is kidnapped before she can even runaway.  Sora finds herself plunged into a world of magic.  She thought magic had died decades ago, but finds that the five races are all dead and her mother’s necklace (the cat’s eye) is very powerful on its own.  It is because of this necklace that her kidnapper won’t let her leave.  She ends up traveling hard and fast with her kidnappers, learning how to protect herself and living off the land.  She always wanted adventure, but she pictures it a little more luxuriously than she is experiencing it.  By the end of the book, she is no longer a prisoner, and her band of kidnappers has grown smaller.  When they leave her, she is actually hurt and wants to be with them.      

Recurve (The Elemental Series Book 1) by Shannon Mayer

4.5 stars

I was hoping this series would be as captivating as the Rylee series.  The story starts out in a dream.  I wasn’t completely captivated by the dream, but I get why it needed to be there.  From this dream we can understand the entire backstory of the main character.  After this point I was hooked.  I hate books or movies where the main character is repeatedly dumped on, but it wasn’t overbearing in this book.  Perhaps because Larkspur (main character) handles it so well. 

Larkspur is an illegitimate child of the king.  Larkspur is an earth elemental, but has no abilities to speak of with the earth.  She is judged and degraded because of this.  She doesn’t live with the other kings children and has a very tenuous relationship with the queen (obviously not her mother).  Lark has no other family and few friends.  She does have a boyfriend who luckily is not present often as he is overbearing and unlikeable (probably on purpose). 

The real story begins when Lark goes to her father during her “regularly scheduled time” to sit beside him as he hears complaints from his subjects.  There is a farmer who is having trouble with his trees.  There is a sickness that is spreading.  Lark feels for the farmer as planting is her only skill.  She ends up dismissed for the night from her father, but summoned by the queen to her chambers.  This sets off the entire series of events as this night Lark is accused of attacking the queen.  Her only options after this are banishment or training to become an Ender (the King’s guard…or as Lark soon learns…the queen’s guard). 

Banishment is out of the question and Lark actually looks forward to being an Ender.  She would finally have a place in her father’s kingdom.  Obviously the training is gruesome and even more so for Lark without her natural powers with the Earth.  Her training actually goes well, but things in the rest of the kingdom are not.  The disease with the trees is spreading to the elementals and soon Lark finds herself as one of the only ones who can help the people.

Wonderful story.  I loved every second of it.  Can’t wait for the second one.    

Soaring (The Magdalene Series Book 2) by Kristen Ashley

4 Stars
This book felt more like the Kristen Ashley of old.  Not a lot happened as far as too much drama between hero/heroine once they got together.  I still wish her books had more action like the Rock Chick series. 

This book follows Mickey (we met him in the first book).  A woman moves in next door to him.  Her name is Amelia (love it) but he gives her a nickname (Amy…meh).  His first encounter is when her ex-husband is at her front door yelling at her.  Mickey makes it clear to Conrad that he should move on.  From here Mickey and Amelia have a very rocky start.  She moved her to be close to her children.  After her divorce with Conrad she lost the tight relationship that she had with them through many of her own actions.  Her main goal is to get her children’s affections back.  Eventually Mickey and Amelia find their way to each other and I must say that is my favorite part of the book.  Everything that happens between Mickey and Amelia until they get together is MAGIC!  After this point, I won’t say it goes downhill, but it is definitely less interesting.  There is still drama:  between Amelia and her kids, Amelia and her ex, Mickey and his ex, Mickey and his kids, Amelia’s kids and Mickey’s kids, Mickey and Conrad, Amelia and Conrad’s new wife.  It’s all in there.   I just cared about it less once Mickey and Amelia got together.  Still, it felt more real to me and less cookie cutter than some of her other more recent works.  Can’t wait for Coert’s story (I don’t even know now to pronounce that name!).  There is already fireworks going for that man! 

Dead Heat (Alpha and Omega Book 4)

4.5 Stars

I have been waiting anxiously for this book forever!  I wish the book writing process didn’t take so long.  Obviously for the author I get how and why it takes a while to get their story out of their head and onto paper, but all the stuff that happens afterward with editing and covers, etc…blah!  But I want my books, so alas, I must wait.  Of course these days there are soo many great authors out there to divert my attention away from waiting.

This is the continuation of Charles and Anna’s story.  I prefer Mercy and Adam, but I love this world and Charles and Anna are great characters too.  The story actually doesn’t start with a problem that Charles has to go fix.  The problem finds him and is actually much bigger than originally thought.  Charles and Anna are going somewhere warm (now I can’t remember, Arizona, New Mexico?) to pick out a horse for Anna and for Charles to say goodbye to a good friend who is sick. 
They end up in the thick of a problem that starts on the outskirts of a pack in this area.  Charles is familiar with this pack and members and thus gets called in to take a look.  The friend of Charles' that is sick is the son of the pack alpha.  He never wanted to be turned and this is a point of contention between Charles and the alpha.  The problem starts with the granddaughter-in-law of this local pack alpha (whom this alpha never liked).  From there it goes in so many directions, but the story goes back to the Fae (typical nasty little buggers).  The Fae are supposed to be in hiding so this is making things interesting.  Can’t wait for the next installment!  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lady Danger (The Warrior Maids of Rivenloch #1) by Glynnis Campbell

3 stars

I admit I am a sucker for a good historical romance set in Scotland.  This book was free so I snatched it up while the deal lasted.  I love the premise of the story.  Three warrior sisters protecting their land and family.  The first book follows Deirdre who is the oldest.  The sisters have just found out that one of them has been betrothed to a Norman knight.  They clearly have no respect for this man they haven’t met yet, but each plans to take the burden for their own.  Deirdre of course wins out and ends up married to this man who has also become the steward of Rivenloch in the process.  What comes next is a series of battles.  Will against will.  Pagan thinks Deirdre should stay in the castle and handle the domestic things.  Deirdre plans to continue to train her warriors.  Of course it is a romance so we know how it will end.

I am not sure if I will read the second book or not.  From what I read about Helen (the second sister) I am not sure I would enjoy her as a heroine.  She is also a warrior like Deirdre, but is very hot headed.  We already know she is to be involved with Colin from the first book.  However, I do want to read more about Miriel (youngest sister).  She has lots of secrets and seems to be the most interesting.  Just not sure if I can skip the second book and not miss out on the story line. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wild and Free by Kristen Ashley (The Three Series #3)

4 Stars

I was really looking forward to reading this book.  I not only wanted to know what was next in this fight amongst the supernaturals, but I wanted to meet this third couple.  I wanted to meet the vampire/werewolf hybrid and his lady.  The previous books were so amazing maybe my expectations were too high?  It was a disappointment, but it was long and at the end I didn’t feel like a lot happened.  This author started writing with the Rock Chick Series which is very action packed.  It is one thing after the next.  This felt like a lot of waiting.

Lilah is a biker chick and she is one a trip to a biker haven.  She immediately gets into some pretty deep trouble.  This is where she meets Abel.  He is our vampire/werewolf hybrid.  They are immediately drawn to one another in a very deep way.  Lilah is thrown into the supernatural world in a way that she can’t deny that it exists.  The larger fight between the good and bad supernaturals is soon brought to their doorstep and they must decide to stay and fight or to run.  After this they spend much of their time on a compound that is safe from the bad guys.  The ultimate showdown involves all the couples, but centers around Lilah. 

Besides wanting more action, I didn’t like the chemistry between Lilah and Abel as much as the other two couples in the series.  I can’t even describe why, I just didn’t feel as strong of a connection. 

Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase

4 Stars

This is the first book in a series that follows three sisters.  This book is about the oldest daughter: Marcelline Noirot.  She and her sisters run a dress shop in London.  They are trying to out do their competition.  It becomes clear early on that Marcelline is very talented with both designing dresses but also knowing what shapes and colors would be best for her customers.  They need one big client to help move the elite shoppers in her direction and they have finally found her.  The problem is they have to attract this woman first. 

The sisters have set their eyes upon the soon to be Duchess of Clevedon.  To get to the duchess-to-be the sisters have decided to attract the attention of the Duke of Clevedon first.  This seems a bit backward to me, but Marcelline is very upfront with the Duke so there isn’t a lot of annoying misunderstanding the whole time.  Obviously you can see where the trouble lies.  You know that the Duke and Marcelline will fall for each other, but the enjoyable part is the journey these two take to get to each other.  You also genuinely like the duchess-to-be, but the author handles that very well. 

The next book is obviously going to be about the next sister, Sophie and the Duke’s friend, Longmore (also the Duchess-to-be’s brother!).  One problem I often have with a series is they make the first hero so wonderful and everything you want to see in your book-men that when the series moves on to another man he seems like less of a catch.  I am actually genuinely excited to get to know Longmore better. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Into the Darkness (Darkness #1) by K.F. Breene

3 Stars

I really liked the premise of this book.  Sasha has kept her secrets her whole life.  She found out very young that if she told others that she saw people no one else saw that she would be returned to the foster system and even sent to counseling.  The night her whole family died is the first night she saw them and she has continued to see these “shadow people” ever since.

Things start to get weird for her and her boyfriend one night when she actually starts interacting with them.  Where the story got off track for me is the complete and utter obsession with sex that the rest of the book takes on.  It doesn’t appear to serve any purpose in the storyline except to allow sex to be written about extensively.  The main character has a boyfriend that she is very attached to.  She is willing to go into deadly situations to save him and yet she is thinking about sex constantly with “The Boss” who seems to have very little respect for her. 

“The Boss” and all these shadow creatures are invading Sasha’s world.  Some appear to be good (or at least not trying to kill her) and some are definitely bad.  She makes a lot of stupid decisions.  The book is very short and seems more like an intro into this new world rather than a complete storyline.  I would have liked less obsession with sex and more fleshing out of the characters.  I am still debating whether I want to give the second book a chance.  I think there could be a great series hidden behind all the mindless alien obsessed sex. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bound by Flames: A Night Prince Novel by Jeaniene Frost

4 Stars

This is the third book in this series.  I can’t quite remember.  The previous book was so long ago that I actually had a hard time remembering all the components of the storyline and who everyone is.

This book starts off with a dinner party at Vlad’s castle.  They are looking for connections to the bad guy whose last name I can’t remember how to spell…Szilyagi or something like that (just pretend that I spelled it right).  The bad guy is still out there and gunning for Vlad.  He used Leila once to get to Vlad, which worked so Vlad is extra protective now that Leila is his wife and he has been forced to admit that he cares.  This however does not prevent Szilyagi’s treachery from reaching Leila.  She is a magnet for trouble.  This doesn’t feel like she is stupid or helpful and always needs rescuing like in some books.  She ends up in trouble because there is a lot of trouble out there.  There was a point in the book where Vlad wanted her to stay in one place and she refused and went to help others.  If she had stayed there it would have meant her death.  It was refreshing that Leila was strong and could take care of herself.  She didn’t always make the same decision I would have, but I could usually understand where she was coming from. 

There is some resolution, but more problems come around by the end of the book.  Problems I did not see coming! 


Seducing Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book $) by Amelia Hutchins

4 Stars

This book picks up right where the third book left us.  The mages are still trying to destroy Faery and bring down all the fae.  Synthia is very pregnant with twins.  Ryder is very protective of her.  Ristan is still going between Faery and the Guild to try to help Alden.    There is a lot of action that happens.  There is treachery afoot and it is coming from within.  I was able to guess who the culprit was but that wasn’t too difficult.  I was happy to see that situation resolved.  Synthia ends up in the hands of the mages and her brother Faolan while sheis still pregnant.  He is even more unstable that we previously believed.  For Synthia and Ryder’s babies to live they have get Faery to accept them and Danu to bless them.  Obviously Danu will bless them as she is Synthia’s mother. 

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the lesser fae and all the high drama and action that happens in this book.  What has grown tiresome is the sex, sex, sex between Ryder and Synthia.  I actually find myself paging forward in my kindle until it is over! Outrageous I know. 

There is not much I can say about the storyline because so much happens that most of it would contain spoilers.  I will say in the end we are still fighting the mages, but perhaps more of the Guild is aware of their infiltration than before.  There is action with Synthia and the mages/Faolan, there is action with Synthia and Danu, there is action with Synthia and the Guild, and there is action with the Light Fae. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Burned: Fever Series Book 7 by Karen Marie Moning

4.5 Stars

This book was so much more than I expected, but at the same time it left me desperately wanting.  I read the sixth book in the series where Dani was the protagonist, but I did not enjoy it as much as the rest of the series.  For one, it was written from the voice of a fourteen year old.  Obviously Dani was fourteen and therefore it should sound like that, however, that does not mean I want to read a book in her head.  I did not enjoy Ryodan and overall number 6 was a letdown.  I had originally heard that book seven was going to be Dani’s book as well.  Someone evil told me Dani doesn’t age in the silvers or something crazy and ends up with Dancer.  I did not want to read that!

Book seven is mostly from Mac’s point of view (which I love), but it also had snippets from Barrons, Lor, Dani, Jada, and the sidhe-seer who is running the Abbey now (I can’t remember her name).  Often times this can be annoying as the reader will often not be an interested in what these secondary characters are experiencing.   I actually really liked most (read: “most”) of these side characters narration times and the ones I didn’t care as much for where blessedly brief and therefore enjoyable for the snippet of insight it delivers. 

There is so much that happens in this book that can’t even be discussed because it would be beyond spoilers.  This is book seven and we are just now learning a LOT of new information.  I can’t even tell you the sneaky way we get this information because that would be spoiling as well.  I can say: 1.) I didn’t find Dani as annoying as I usually do, 2.) I have a new found respect for Ryodan and 3.) the beginning is going to rock your socks off! 

My main problem and why I say, "it left me desperately wanting," is that it didn't feel like a complete book.  Usually in this series, the author delivers and then some on the storyline.  I can't say that a tremendous about of information wasn't provided and I loved every second of it, but when I read the last page it didn't feel like the last page.  I checked a couple times so I am pretty sure it was.  I also despise cliffhangers so that is part of the problem.  

That is all I can say…  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King

5 Stars

I don’t even remember what number this book is in the Mary Russell series, but it was A-MAZING!  When the book starts it keeps referencing Japan and I kept wondering if I was forgetting some part of another story.  As it turns out, we are hearing snippets of a story we have not yet heard.  We first meet Haruki Sato as she is breaking into Russell’s house in Oxford bleeding and wet.  We then travel back in time to catch the reader up. 
Russell and Holmes are leaving India by way of boat to travel to Japan for a brief stay.  Of course, Holmes isn’t the relaxing type and soon finds something mysterious to occupy his time.  Russell meets a young Japanese women who agrees to educate her on the Japanese language and culture.  At just a guess I would say at least half of the book takes place before they reach Japan, however, when I think of this book what I remember is everything that happens afterwards.  

In true Holmes/Russell style they are put through the paces to earn the trust of someone.  They don’t even know who they are trying to prove themselves to, but this is obviously more exciting than just touring Japan.  In addition the mysteries of the ship have followed them to Japan and they are unable to walk away. 
It appears that the story ends in Japan and in a very unsatisfactory way, until the reader is brought full circle back to Russell’s kitchen in Oxford.  The story takes a somewhat surprising turn here, but I loved it! 

I think my favorite part of the story was everything that happened in Japan.  I loved reading about the culture, the scenery, and all the shenanigans that Holmes and Russell got themselves into.  Sometimes, when a series has gone on for a long time you lose the initial feel of the story.  It can turn into another monster altogether.  What I love about these books is that I always get the same humor, excitement and well thought out storyline that I got from the first book.  Can’t wait for the next one!