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!