Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Magic Rises: A Kate Daniels Novel

Magic Rises: A Kate Daniels Novel
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $7.59

5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best book in this series to date., July 31, 2013

Book Description

July 30, 2013
Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.
Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…"

This review is from: Magic Rises: A Kate Daniels Novel (Kindle Edition)

Edited to add ------> you may want to read the deleted scene at the back of the book first. I beleive it would have made an excellent prologue.

It is not often that one can say that a book in a particular series is `the best ever'. However, in my mind I can and will be saying exactly that about Magic Rises. It is the without an iota of doubt in my mind, the best book in this series to date. This book is filled to the brim with magic, action, mystery blood and even some romance.

The writing team of Ilona and Gordon Andrews have come a very long way from their first novel in this series Magic Bites.. The maturity of the characters has left me breathless. The plotting is without a doubt, written more intricately and adeptly than any other author of this genre can. This team can write a scene where everything looks hopeless for the protagonist, and instead of pulling some lame trick out of thin air to rescue the character, the team actually uses something that makes sense, has already been mentioned and planned for. This is a sign of a great author.

There is a very popular author, whose main character gets a new power when backed into a corner. This other author does not plan or plot - she just adds a new powers when needed. With no plausible explanations how the character got the powers.

The Andrews team does NOT rely on Mary Sue characteristics for Kate. They plan and they plot and the end product is nearly flawless. Yes, there still are continuity problems - ones that might easily be missed, but nothing that will take away from your reading experience.

As an added bonus, there are deleted chapters in the back of this book that the team simply could not fit in anywhere without creating a problem with the finished novel.

The characters are written and developed so well that you think you might be able to become friends with them. The secondary characters are written so well that you think you will explode if you don't read at least a novella about their lives. You will become so invested in the characters that when something happen to one, you almost feel it like it had happened to you. Even the romance in this book, as little as there is, is true to life - no fantasy garbage, just real people leading real lives in a topsy-turvy world where your best friend may get a bit furry and fanged when irritated.

As we know from the synopsis, our group will be going over to Europe to do a job that is guaranteed to be fraught with danger, yet yield a wonderful payoff; the panacea to end most cases of Loupism. They know they are heading off into a trap, but what else could Kate and Curran do when the children of the pack might be cured of this horrible problem? You know they will both enter with blade and claw drawn. What they didn't know is that the trap is even more deadly than they thought and the price for the panacea is even higher than they expected it to be.

Spoilerish but not really-------> We will lose one of our min secondary characters in this book and two of the others will be damaged, possibly beyond repair. There is confrontation with a particular someone so unexpected, that my jaw actually dropped. This happens in the first quarter of the book. Curran may possibly look like an opportunistic jerk for a while. There is more blood and guts in this book,than in most of the other books. There is a very hot scene. In addition, I thank the writing team for not making sex the focal point of these novels. This series has stuck to being an Urban Fantasy series without the sex/romance.

The group will encounter some interesting new species, and even take one home with them. Yes our intrepid group (or most of it) does manage to get a happily ever after - in a twisted sort of way.

----------------> End Spoilers <--------------------------- br="">
There is a secondary plot going on with Kate and Curran that proves to us that Kate is her own woman. She is still unsure of herself. She is still trying to protect those she loves from her Father and she has fears of losing Curran. Although she loves Curran to bits, she has not lost her mind or herself over him. The Andrews make the couples interactions very realistic.

This was purely an edge of your seat, cannot put it down type of read.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Kiss of Venom

Kiss of Venom
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $1.99

3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars -Unusual, July 24, 2013

This review is from: Kiss of Venom (Kindle Edition)

Book Description

July 22, 2013
The New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series continues with a new e-novella—from the hero’s point of view! Owen Grayson is bound and determined to get Gin back...if her enemies don’t get her first.When you have a history of dating an assassin, a night out on the town can turn deadly—fast. Owen Grayson is still wracked with guilt over the end of his love affair with Gin Blanco, and there aren’t enough gin and tonics in all of Ashland to ease his heartache. But when Gin happens to show up at the same nightclub, he isn’t the only one hoping to get her alone. Some shadowy figures will do anything to take down the Spider, Gin’s assassin alter ego, and Owen will do anything to protect her. This could be the way to win her back, or at least give her a night off from fighting for her life—if Owen can survive...
This is only the second author I've seen in the large group that I read constantly -that have written a series in first person POV but has written companion pieces in their lovers POV later.

Out of the two authors that have done this, this is not the most adept. We have Owen thinking, pondering, brooding, inner-dialoguing, beating a dead horse of how he let his love slip through his fingers...yet he never once really steps up to the plate to tell Gin how he really feels. Okay, I realize that discussing his feeling with the love of his life would not be considered manly. I get that. But to do what he did do and then to keep it secret was a little cowardly.

This book felt different, and it should have since ti is in a different POV. But Owen POV aside - this almost felt as if it was written by a totally different person. The whole writing style felt off for some reason.

It is nice that we will be seeing this couple (hopefully) together again and that he and Phillip seem to have come to terms with their issues.

Oh-and did I mention that the cover to this book is totally HOT?!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

An Almost Perfect Crime Novel

Unseen: A Novel

Unseen: A Novel
by Karin Slaughter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.75

Karin Slaughter’s New York Times bestselling novels featuring detective Will Trent are utterly riveting and masterfully drawn. Her latest thriller, Unseen, pits detectives, lovers, and enemies against one another in an unforgettable standoff between righteous courage and deepest evil.

Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent whose latest case has him posing as Bill Black, a scary ex-con who rides a motorcycle around Macon, Georgia, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. The cover has worked and he has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer who thinks he might be a useful ally. But undercover and cut off from the support of the woman he loves, Sara Linton, Will finds his demons catching up with him.

Although she has no idea where Will has gone, or why, Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting: Her stepson, Jared, has been gunned down in his own home. Sara holds Lena, Jared’s wife, responsible: Lena, a detective, has been a magnet for trouble all her life, and Jared’s shooting is not the first time someone Sara loved got caught in the crossfire. Furious, Sara finds herself involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it, and soon danger is swirling around both of them.

In a novel of fierce intensity, shifting allegiances, and shocking twists, two investigations collide with a conspiracy straddling both sides of the law. Karin Slaughter’s latest is both an electrifying thriller and a piercing study of human nature: what happens when good people face the unseen evils in their lives."


This review is from: Unseen: A Novel (Hardcover)
Had I not done my research, I would not have known that this was part of a series. I also would not have known that the main protagonists are supposed to be Will Trent AKA `Bill Black' and Dr, Sara Linton. I would have kept on thinking that the main story was supposed to have been about Lena, a Georgia (Macon) detective and her husband Police officer ( motorcycle division) Jared .

What a novel. The simple fact that I walked into the series in the middle gave me really no problems, since the author does a fabulous job of giving us enough back-story (almost too muck) to keep new readers from missing too much of what is going on. Some of the readers, who have been with this series from the start, might get a little frustrated with a lot of the back-story.

This engrossing book kept me riveted right from the very first. I did not want to put it down. The story is being told from two different angles -one is from Detective Lena's side letting us know just how this mess has gone down. The rest of this novel is from various other points of view that have to deal with Jared's shooting, and Will's latest case, which coincides with Jared and Lena's problems. ------------------------>Spoiler.----------------------> This tragedy of Jared being shot, neatly plays into the story line of Sara's longstanding feud with Lena and the fact that Sara believes that Lena had caused the death of Sara's first Policeman husband.<--------------------------------end br="" spoiler="">There is so much going on that if I tried to explain it any more than I have I will end up spoiling it for you.

Whether you've come into this series cold like me or have been reading all the books, this book is gripping, exciting, bloody, vicious, chilling, and emotional and so much more. I loved it! *ARC SUPPLIED BY PUBLISHER*

Stone Guardian (Entwined Realms) 3.5 Stars But With Reservations

Stone Guardian (Entwined Realms)

Stone Guardian (Entwined Realms)
Price: $5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars But With Reservations, July 18, 2013

"Book Description

June 26, 2013
Gryphons flying past Skyscrapers? Wizards battling it out in coffeehouses? Women riding motorcycles with large swords strapped to their backs? All normal sights since the Great Collision happened twenty-six years ago.

Well, not normal for everyone. Larissa Miller may have been born after the Great Collision, but as a history teacher who lives in the human-only city, she has never come into contact with any other race or species. That is, until one day she walks out of her apartment only to be attacked by a mob of Zombies, but then is saved by a Gargoyle.

Leader of the Gargoyles, Terak has been watching over the human woman for months because of a cryptic prophecy. Gargoyles trust no one outside their Clan, but something about this woman stirs every protective instinct within him. When he realizes the danger to her is real, he refuses to allow her to explore this new world without him at her side.

In the course of their investigation Terak becomes entranced by his little human. But when he discovers why Necromancers want her and the great reward that awaits him if he betrays her, he must choose between the welfare of his Clan and not only Larissa’s life, but the fate of this new Realm as well."

This was a bit of an odd read for me. But, don't get me wrong, ultimately it was a very satisfying read. It has been classified as Science Fiction/Fantasy or Urban Fantasy but it was more of a romance in my opinion. However, what was interesting is that the mystery aspects as well as the world building held my attention more than the romance aspect did.

The romance between the protagonists did not quite ring true, but everything else about this book was excellent.
On the day of Larissa Miller's birth, the Great Collision occurred and her mother dies while giving birth to Larissa. During the Great Collision, humans find that they are not alone anymore and that many different species/races now inhabit the once human world.

Twenty-sex years after the world had turned upside down for humans, Zombies are found attacking Larissa. This is quite remarkable since Larissa lives in a ward protected, humans only city. What is even more remarkable is that a Gargoyle swoops in to beat down the Zombies and flies Larissa to safety. An Oracle has told this Gargoyle that Larissa will be important to his Clan and to watch over her.

Of course, this is where the romance angle starts - Terak the Gargoyle's Clan leader starts forming an attachment to "his little human" and this is where the mystery aspect begins. Why do Necromancers want Larissa? What is it about Larissa that keeps Orcs and Dire Wolves and Dwarves coming at her?

As Terak and Larissa start forming a bit of a relationship, many outside issues are acting as deterrents to their budding relationship. One such issue is the fact that Terak is `betrothed' to someone else but it is merely for the good of the Clan.

Now the main problem I had with this book is that it really needed a better editor; someone who knows a bit about continuity and has a better grasp of grammar and punctuation than I do! If noticed problems, then someone who is more sensitive to these types of things is really going to be annoyed. In the first chapter, alone we have a police officer running out of bullets for his gun and miraculously finding a sword even though there would be no reason for a sword to be there at the time. I was able to overlook most of the problems because the story was so good. The characters are well drawn if a little childish; the secondary characters remind me a lot, of Kresley Coles Valkyries and some even a few of her other characters as well as some other authors characters. I've been noticing this a lot lately in this genre. I suspect that it is because the genre deals with such a small mythos.

The world that Ms Monsch has started to build is a fascinating one and quite well built with plenty of room left to expand. A happily ever after is assured! *ARC Provided by publisher*

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


by Susan Krinard
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.97

2.0 out of 5 stars Repetitious, Trite and Over-Whelming, July 17, 2013
"Book Description
Release date: July 16, 2013
New York Times bestselling author SUSAN KRINARD launches her first urban fantasy series with MIST.
Mist lives a normal life. She has a normal job, a normal boyfriend, and a normal apartment in San Francisco. She never thinks about her past if she can help it.

She survived. That’s the end of it.

But then a snowy winter descends upon San Francisco. In June. And in quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years.

Mist’s normal world is falling apart. But thankfully, Mist isn’t quite so normal herself. She’s a Valkyrie, and she’s going to need all her skill to thwart Loki’s schemes and save modern Earth from the ravages of a battle of the gods."

This is the first book in a new series, and as such, most of this book is taken up with the world building. The bulk of this book is based on the Norse Deities, Myths, Gods and legends. Many you will know from your other Urban Fiction, some you may have heard of but not recognize with this authors interpretations.

This book is doing or seems to be doing, what many other UF books do. These books take one kick-butt woman who is already strong and self-sufficient (Mist IS a Valkyrie after all!) add in a phenomenon that she may not be able to conquer, mix in one firmly sexy male with issues that require him to darkly brood, stir, bake and serve.

It is snowing in San Francisco in June, Frost giants have come to earth, Mist's boyfriend is not the `human' male she thought he was - things are going to Hel for sure. Then poor Mist finds out that she is not the mere Valkerie that she thought she was -she is the daughter of a Goddess.

The plot stems from a mish-mash of bits and pieces. The plot was quite confusing and disjointed. The gist is that Loki wants to take over the world, and to do so he will rise politically in power on a platform of repealing ALL laws. All laws - all over the world. This will become a lawless, no rules society where anyone can do anything to another with no repercussions. Just think of what man already does to each other when there are rules and laws - just imagine a world without the rules most of us do follow. So, this is a clever plot although it does follow one that is a bit familiar to those who have seen "The Purge"

The conversations run the gamut of being spoken in a type of historic English and then switch to modern English. Interesting plot twists happen with no follow up; there is a tad too much repetition to make this a good read. I spent too much time skimming pages just for a tidbit of information. *ARC Provided by Publisher*

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Slow to Start and Then Takes Off

Product Details

Godiva: A Novel Nicole Galland

“Book Description
Release date: July 2, 2013
Nicole Galland, author of The Fool’s Tale, turns her clever pen toward re-imagining the famous legend of Lady Godiva in this expertly crafted historical novel set in Anglo-Saxon England.

A 12th-century noblewoman, Lady Godiva is infamous for riding naked through Coventry to relieve her people of her husband’s unfair and oppressive taxation. Leofric, Earl of Mercia, said he would ease the tax burden if she would ride through the streets, wearing only her glorious, long hair. In doing so she risked everything, including her home and well-being.

Told with humor and precise attention to detail, Nicole Galland’s Godiva brings to life the adventures of the legendary lady, her husband and her best friend the Abbess Egdiva in thrilling detail. It’s an entertaining tale of courtly intrigue, deceit, and romance that is sure to captivate fans of literary and historical fiction.”

If you can be patient and stick with this book through the first 75 or 100 pages, it all becomes worth it.  I have seen this book called “historical fiction lite” but if you were in my shoes, and you appreciate historical romance, you would see this as a little more ‘hefty” of a read.  This book is filled with details that are sometimes boring and at other times, quite illuminating.

There are well-drawn characters, enough historical fact without the book turning into a history textbook. You do not have to overly suspend your disbelief and the author makes what could have been a dry regurgitation of a tale told almost too many times, into a wonderfully entertaining story.

Once I slogged through the who’s, what’s and where’s and figured out that Godiva wasn’t really the slut she portrayed herself as. Godiva is, though, as portrayed here in this book, a manipulative, selfish, arrogant woman. She is also proud, caring, shameless and on the side of right.  She is a woman that was a surprise for me considering the era.  Once I figured out that she saw men as nothing more than testosterone-ridden pawns in her game of anti-taxation, I was able to settle in for a good read.  I was surprised to find so much humor in a book about such a serious issue.

The secondary story about Mother Edgiva, was fascinating and almost deserves a book of her own. Her ‘crush’ with Sweyen and subsequent issues with said ‘crush’, made this book satisfying to this admitted lowly “Historical Romance Lover”.  Edgiva is one person that Godiva probably should not have meddled with, but I can see why she did.  There are political ramifications as well as personal ones with the relationship between Edgiva and Sweyen.

 I loved seeing King Edward portrayed as an almost idiotic, ultra moralistic, yet surprisingly clever character. It just takes a while to see Edward as he truly is. The idea that he would use Godiva’s vanity against her in this manner was clever and fitting.  When you look even further, you find that the King is even cleverer in his punishment, since this punishment subtly delivers a harsh blow to Leofric more than to Godiva. For the era, it seems that Godiva and Leofric had a very nearly modern grasp on what marriage is.

As I said, this book is slow to start, but will intrigue those who like serious fiction as well as those that like fiction on the more entertaining side. *ARC SUPPLIED BY PUBLISHER*