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!