Thursday, September 05, 2013

Moved to Wordpress

We recently moved the blog to wordpress and it shouldn't be an issue for anyone following www.tyngasreviews.com, or via email, or even via blogloving. If you follow the blog via it's original address http://tyngasreviews.blogspot.com though, I'd like to invite you to follow http://www.tyngasreviews.com if you wanna keep up with our recent activity :)

Thank you and sorry for any trouble it may cause you!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Darker Days by Jus Accardo

Darker Days by Jus AccardoDarker Days by Jus Accardo

Book stats:
Reading Level: Young Adult
eARC: 332 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Entangled DigiTeen
Release Date: August 19, 2013

Series: Darker Agency #1

Source: From Publisher for Review

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon

Jessie Darker goes to high school during the day, but at night she helps with the family investigation business. Cheating husbands and stolen inheritances? They’re your girls—but their specialty is a bit darker. Zombie in your garage? Pesky Poltergeist living in your pool? They’ll have the problem solved in a magical minute. For a nominal fee, of course...

When gorgeous new client, Lukas Scott, saunters into the office requesting their help to find a stolen box, it sounds like a simple case—until the truth comes out. The box is full of Sin.

Seven deadly ones, in fact.

They’ve got five days to recapture the Sins before they're recalled by the box, taking seven hijacked human bodies with them. Easy peasy—except for one thing...

There’s a spell that will allow the Sins to remain free, causing chaos forever. When the key ingredient threatens the life of someone she knows, Jessie must make the ultimate choice between love and family—or lose everything.

I enjoyed Accardo’s first book, TOUCH, so I was eager to dive into this one when I received it for review. But, in all honesty, this book was more of a struggle than anything else. It took me nearly a month to read it in sporadic bits because I hated the characterization that ruined a potentially amazing plot. The execution of nearly everything, especially the romance, had me cringing. And when I finally made it ⅘ of the way through, I had to skim the ending because I just didn’t have any desire to truly find out what was happening. I made it through this one out of sheer will.

I think that my disappointment in this book was, in large part, due to my inability to connect with Jessie Darker--our main character. She has a very unique sense of humor that was more annoying than anything else. She often curses, but instead of using any real curses she has to exclaim “craps!” at the most inopportune times. Her thoughts are full of pop culture references that will quickly fall out of date and, on top of that, I found most things she said that are meant to be hilarious rather childish. An example of such a thing was her reaction to meeting Lukas when she said, “Holy house of hogs getting blasted by the blue birdie brigade.” That’s her way of saying he’s something nice to look at. And we’re reminded several different times throughout the book that the love interest is sheer perfection physically, vocally, and emotionally. One such instance is the exclamation that his voice has the ability to make an Eskimo melt. I’m sorry, but the perfection was so unreal to me and made Lukas fall just as flat as Jessie because I couldn’t really believe anything about him.

The romance angered me as well because this is a serious case of insta-love. When there’s only a week to save the world from the Sins, any romance would obviously move fast. But the first kiss was a mere sixty-two pages into my eARC. Lukas was in pain, battling the sin that inhabits him while he was curled up on the ground and Jessie’s brilliant plan to save him was to, completely out of nowhere, smash their faces together. And then a mere four or so days later she realized she was falling for him. But of course there’s another guy thrown in there who is affected by Lust so he is evil and out of control for a bit. He even goes as far as to throw in an attempt at rape in there, which just made my already deflated mood in regards to this book turn outright sour. And the declarations of love kept coming.

While the premise was promising, the terrible characterization, bad pacing, and intolerable romance made me really dislike this book. I was so excited for it, but I just couldn’t handle anything. I found myself repeatedly getting frustrated and had nearly no desire to read the book. Finishing it was like a miracle. And while I know many people have enjoyed it, this one was simply not for me. I will not be continuing this series.

This book will be for those with a unique sense of humor that do not mind insta-love. I think it will be more appreciated by a younger audience as well.

Lili

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Lord's Fall by Thea Harrison

Lord'sLord's Fall by Thea Harrison

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 304 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Release date: November 6, 2012

Series: Elder Races #5

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

In the latest Novel of the Elder Races, two mates find themselves on different paths, torn between their duty to the Wyr and the passion that binds them…

Before she met Dragos, half-human/half-Wyr Pia Giovanni was alone and on the run. Now she’s mated, pregnant and heading south to repair the Wyrs’ frayed relationship with the Elves. Being separated from Dragos is painful, but for the good of the Wyr demesne they need to figure out how to be partners—in more places than just the bedroom.

In New York to preside over the Sentinel Games, Dragos is worried about his mate, but knows that finding two replacement sentinels is essential to show the rest of the Elder Races just how strong and brutal the Wyr demesne can be. But as the Games heat up, Pia’s negotiations with the Elves take a turn for the dangerous, straining her bond with Dragos and threatening everything they hold dear…

It's been a while since I immersed myself in the Elder Races world and, boy, is it nice to be back! I've read some of the stories between this book and DRAGON BOUND, the first book in the series, which I reviewed last year but I couldn't stop myself from picking up LORD'S FALL when I saw it at the library, even though I'm not completely caught up on the series. And while this is the fifth book in the series, it's only the second book to focus on Dragos and Pia, so I don't think my reading suffered for having skipped the short stories and ORACLE'S MOON because Thea Harrison does a great job of catching you up on the big strokes in the series mythology. So the first good news of this post is that if you loved Pia and Dragos in DRAGON BOUND and want more time with them, you can safely pick up LORD'S FALL with minimal difficulty. Pia and Dragos are still settling into their mated relationship and working out what it means for them to be partners, so since they're just six months into things, and it's great fun watching them negotiate the path they plan to walk for the rest of their lives.

There are two main plots in LORD'S FALL: (1) Dragos is running his Sentinel Games to find two new sentinels (well, seven sentinels total but he hopes his remaining sentinels will be victorious in the games to keep their spots) and (2) Pia is off trying to make peace with the elves after Dragos chased her into their demesne back in DRAGON BOUND. This forces the couple to spend large parts of the book apart, but it actually made the story better for me because we get to see them on their own. It shows the reader how strong their feelings are for each other but also demonstrates that they are still very individual, though they are working on building their partnership. It's an intimidating prospect for both of them since Dragos is ancient and set in his ways, and Pia is a babe in the woods in comparison. But they're both committed to discovering how their partnership will work and it was quite interesting to revisit this couple beyond the initial falling-in-love stages of their relationship. Some of my favourite series are the ones with the same couple front and centre, because we do get to see them deal with the everyday issues that come in a relationship.

We also get introduced to some great new characters. I really liked the folks who go with Pia as her guards. They bring a fresh perspective to the book and a lot of humour. And we get to see a lot of Pia in her role as diplomat, trying to mend fences with the elves. I liked this new role on her and I can't wait to see how else she will grow. And the Sentinel Games were interesting because they gave us some insight into Wyr culture and also because they had the potential to significantly shift the face of the Wyr demesne and, consequently, future novels.I won't spoil it for you but I will say that you'll be happy with the seven individuals who emerge as sentinels at the end of the games, because there's a nice mix of familiar faces and intriguing new ones.

Dragos and Pia are a great couple in paranormal romance and I loved having them centre stage in LORD'S FALL. (And make no mistake, there is a fall in this one.) Harrison can do no wrong with this couple and I sincerely hope we don't have to wait another four novels for our next instalment of their love story.

Read an excerpt

Jenn

Friday, August 09, 2013

Bound by Night by Larissa Ione

Bound by Night (MoonBound Clan Vampires, #1)

Bound by Night by Larissa Ione

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release date: September 24, 2013

Series: MoonBound

Source: Edelweiss

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

A WOMAN OUT FOR BLOOD
Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories—along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there’s one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most . . .

A VAMPIRE OUT FOR REVENGE
A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his soul obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation—a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever.

In a world where vampires are hunted and enslaved, we are far from your typical romance story. Nicole is at the head of the biggest company in the vampire trade business and even though she prides herself in her scientific work (she found a cure to cancer!), she despises the slavery aspect of the work. Scared to death of vampires after her family slaves rebelled and killed everyone, she still misses her sweet nanny Therese. Her killer, Riker, stills hunts her nightmares at night, twenty years later. For his part, Riker is out for revenge, wanting to kill every Martins in his way. Kidnapping Nicole to retrieve a kidnapped female is the ultimate goal, but the side benefits of torturing the enemy makes the whole deal that much more enticing.

This whole new world by Larissa Ione is completely different from her previous series set in the Demonica world, and even though the vibe is very different, I loved it just as much. I can’t help but compare the two because her two previous series were set in the same huge rich world but this one felt a bit more contained (which isn’t a bad thing!). The story revolves around the MoonBound clan, which Riker is part of and their quest to retrieve a female vampire to avoid war with her original clan. All the action happens in Seattle and the surrounding woods and MoonBound is facing imminent war with a neighbourhood clan, and I feel like this somewhat intimate atmosphere will allow us to get to know each characters better.

Speaking of characters, miss Ione once again blessed with an amazing selection. Nicole and Riker are of course front and center and I loved them both. Yes at time I wanted to smack Riker on the head because he was being stupid, but hey, it’s always a good thing to feel emotional about characters! I loved their romance and how everything unfolded. Their issues and fights felt very vivid and plausible and I enjoyed it all. I also fell for Myne, a weird lonely vampire, Bastien, a rescued youth and Aylin, whom we meet at the very end. I must admit I am also fascinated with Hunter, the MoonBound clan’s leader.

The Lore Larissa created was particularly rich and fascinating. Vampires are rumoured to originate from a fight between two Native American leaders which ended up and their death and a subsequent fight between a raven and a crow. The details aren't very explicit, but again, it’s a rumour! Born vampires also have special abilities as opposed to turned vampires, which isn’t a first in vampire literature, but Larissa also brought her own twist to the table. There is also this great event surrounding the new moon, in links with very unique feeding practice that I thought brought a nice touch.

I was drawn into this new world right from the epilogue and the whole trip felt way to short, I confess, I wanted more. The plot is especially packed with action, sexual energy and a strong sense of urgency. A lot is at stake and the very future of MoonBound clans lay on Nicole and Riker’s shoulders. The tension was palpable most of the novel and I stayed on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I especially liked surprise curve ball Larissa Ione threw at us and the ending simply killed me. I can’t wait to see what’s next! My guess is that Hunter & Aylin will be featured and that a different MoonBound couple will be the star of each instalment.

I was highly satisfied with Bound By Night, the first novel in Larissa’s brand new series and I strongly suggest you give it a try. Paranormal Romance lovers will be please and fans of Ione won’t be disappointed!

Read an Excerpt

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disclaimer

Making the Move!

Hello Everyone!

Today we are moving the blog to Wordpress today and by we, I mean the wonderful Ashley from NoseGraze. Everything should go smoothly and the design will virtually be the same, but if you noticed anything wonky please give us some time to adjust Smile

Thank you very much for your patience!

tynsig

Thursday, August 08, 2013

When We Wake by Karen Healey

When We Wake by Karen Healey When We Wake by Karen Healey

Book stats:
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 296 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release date: March 5, 2013

Series: When We Wake #1

Source: Borrowed

Reviewed by: Helen

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027—she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies—and wakes up a hundred years later, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

The future isn't all she had hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better world?

There was a real missed opportunity for some imaginative world-building in When We Wake. Though Tegan wakes up just over 100 years into the future, we don't find out very much about the world and how it now works. We get thrown little bits of slang, and little anecdotes from Tegan herself as she tries to navigate this world, but we really get let down as far as being able to see the world from a bird's eye view.

For a novel that barely gave much information about the future world that I'd actually be interested in, there were definitely quite a few political and social agendas thrown in rather heavy-handedly. Without the rounding out of an entire world building experience, these points seemed clunky at times. Overall, I agree with the message of social change that the characters advocated for. But in order to truly get a message as important as social change across, it really should be weaved into the story in such a way that the reader isn't constantly aware of it. The social, religious, and political agendas within When We Wake were awkward and forceful where they should have been insightful and inspiring.

At first, Tegan believes that they have started this revival program as a way for the government to revive soldiers. And since Tegan's father was a fallen soldier, she immediately jumps on board whole-heartedly. I understand how her father's death might make her more willing to cooperate, but I was still surprised at just how quickly she seemed to jump head first into the whole charade.

The writing style in When We Wake is risky - as it breaks the fourth wall. Meaning the narrator speaks directly to the reader - there are times when Tegen addresses the reader as she retells her story. I've read novels where this sort of writing style was incredible and literally dragged the reader into the story directly. Unfortunately, Tegan's direct conversations with the reader were more irritating than anything. They didn't actually serve much purpose at all to the story itself, and seemed almost to have been taken as a shortcut for not having to really introduce the reader to Tegan herself.

For a book with such a promising and original concept, I felt extremely let down. Maybe my expectations were set too high for this one, but I don't think I'll be continuing on with this series.


Read an excerpt



 


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil by Soman ChainaniThe School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Book stats:
Reading Level: Young YA, 12+
Hardcover: 488 pages
Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 14, 2013

Series: The School for Good and Evil #1

Source: Borrowed from Friend

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

“The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.”

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

I’ve had my eye on this book for a while because of my love of fairy tales. And, in the end, it did not disappoint. While I enjoyed it, the book fell just short of great in my eyes. I think that this was in part due to the length. I enjoyed the book a lot, but it felt long to me. I would laugh hysterically only to realize that I progressed a mere five pages in the book. I think that such feelings can be attributed to pacing issues that were resolved in the second half of the book. Granted, most of the action and scheming took place in the second half and it was much easier to fly through the book then. Overall, this is a very satisfying two day read.

Agatha and Sophie are best friends for life, despite their being the tender age of twelve. They live in a town that fears and loves fairy-tales. Every four year, the mysterious School Master comes in the dead of night to steal away two children: one who is inherently evil and one who is inherently good. These kids are taken to the School for Good and Evil to train as villains or heroes for their own future fairy-tales. Sophie has dreamed of being taken away by the School Master so that she could attend the School for Good ever since her mother’s death and her lack of a proper relationship with her Father. Agatha, on the other hand, fears the idea of the school because she’s a bit of a loner and unpleasant to eye. She feared that her baggy black clothing and her living in a cemetery will immediately place her in the School for Evil. When Agatha sees the School Master come to take Sophie away, she races after him to rescue her friend, only to realize that she is the second child to be kidnapped in that year’s duo. And, even worse, she was dropped into the School for Good while Sophie suffered in the School for Evil.

As a reader, I found that twist to be great because it’s not the least bit surprising. Agatha has the heart of gold. All she does is worry about Sophie and, in truth, she risked her life to try to save her best friend. She has the biggest heart and her story slowly proves that beauty is on the inside, not the outside. Sophie, on the other hand, totally deserved to be dropped in the School of Evil. Despite looking like a miniature Sleeping Beauty, she doesn’t act like one. She is perhaps the most vain character I’ve ever come across and ninety percent of the time the obnoxious tones that spewed from her mouth often had me rolling my eyes. But, bravo for that Chainani, because that’s just excellent characterization. I found the switch of schools to be great because of the wide difference in personality and such a thing led the way for a lot of shenanigans and fun comparison ranging from prizes, clothing, ideals, classes, and authority figures. I mean, fairies versus werewolves. Of course there’s going to be some interesting twists with that!

My one issue with this novel was the romance. The overall lover boy is Tedros, son of King Arthur, whose awesome sword fighting skills, leadership qualities, and good looks landed him in the School for Good. Granted, he tends to fall for stereotypes a lot. Tedros is the most desirable boy of all so all of the Princesses are swooning over him. Well, them plus Sophie who is convinced that Tedros is the love of her life. Seriously, several times she literally claimed him by saying, ”He’s mine.” It was a little much. What creeped me out was the fact that the girls were twelve and Tedros was old enough to be dealing with a little bit of stubble. And he found them attractive! I understand this is a fairy-tale world, but some inner part of me thinks we have a mini-babyeater on our hands. Then again, the romance really is only as innocent as that of young children anyway.

With an explosive ending that makes you beg for more, Chainani’s captured my heart with his unique world that turns fairytales upside down in the most delicious of ways. I will certainly be keeping my eye out for book two, hoping that the pacing picks up exactly where this one left off.

Lili

Monday, August 05, 2013

Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep

Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep (Elemental Assassin #9) Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 384 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Pocket
Release date: August 27, 2013

Series: Elemental Assassin #9

Source: eARC via Edelweiss

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

The hotly anticipated ninth novel in the hugely popular Elemental Assassin series finds Gin Blanco on a dangerous mission to rescue a friend.

When a terror from the past threatens Gin’s friend and body-disposer, Sophia, Gin will stop at nothing to protect her, even if it means walking straight into a killer’s trap. Meanwhile, the rocky romance between Gin and Owen reaches a turning point—can they reunite and rekindle their love? Or will the things Gin has been forced to do in her line of work as the deadly assassin the Spider keep them apart forever? Assuming, that is, she survives long enough to find out…

Wowza, was HEART OF VENOM good! It opens with a great scene with Finn, Gin, and a body dump, a scene filled with a lot of dry humour, and shortly thereafter we're off on a whirlwind adventure in the mountains. It's no secret that I am a huge Jennifer Estep fan, and with my fandom come great expectations, and I'm so happy to say that she really knocked it out of the park with this one. HEART OF VENOM is an amazing adventure with high stakes, character revelations, and crazy action scenes!

As always, I was completely engrossed by Gin's latest adventure. But this time, it wasn't just because of Gin and her adventure -- this time, I was really excited to get to know more about Sophia and Jo-Jo's past. They've always been solid support for Gin, watching her grow up, helping her with her assassination career without judgment -- but we've never really learned too much about their past and where they came from. In HEART OF VENOM, we learn exactly why they ended up in Ashland and exactly how scary things once were for them (especially Sophia). We knew that Sophia's voice was ruined by someone who made her breathe in elemental fire but now we get to meet this person and the rest of the madcap gang and it's not a pretty thing. Sophia's experiences with Harley and Hazel Grimes are singularly horrifying and you'll see that Sophia's mental strength matches -- or surpasses -- her physical strength. The things that Harley and Hazel force her to do and experience are atrocious and you will be rooting for Team Gin in ways you never have before. If you thought Mab was a crazy dame, well, she had nothing on Hazel.

(What is it about crazy elemental ladies?? It seems like we can't go one novel without running into some insane, powerful female elemental.)

This scenario also shows us just how much Sophia and Jo-Jo mean to Gin. I think it's always been clear that they are important to her both personally and professionally but the depth of her feelings and devotion to them are showcased in HEART OF VENOM. There's nothing Gin wouldn't do for these two women and it's great to see the rest of Gin's friends and family rally around the cause. (Which I won't discuss in detail here because, you know, spoilers...)

Other great stuff? There's some serious discussion between Gin and Owen about where they stand with each other. Their discussion is frank and open and I really liked it. I'm pleased that Owen wasn't 100% okay with Gin killing his ex-lover and that it took some time for him to deal with it. He wouldn't be a realistic character if that didn't force him to think about what it means to be in love with an assassin. And I like that Gin didn't back down from her actions, either in the moment or in later books. But now, in HEART OF VENOM, we get some quality scenes with the two of them discussing their past and the potential for them to have a future. The Gin/Owen stuff always pulls at my heart and their interactions in this book are really emotion-laden and well written.

Nine books in, Estep's Elemental Assassin series continues to deliver urban fantasy gold. The plots are twisty and innovative, there's always more to learn about these characters, and Estep's writing is consistently top-notch. You'll never be disappointed by one of her novels, though you may walk away hungry since there's always at least one scene in which Gin makes the most delicious food!

Read an excerpt

Jenn

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Sunday, August 04, 2013

Giveaway: Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong

giveaway

Thanks to Penguin USA I have a copy of Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong to offer to one lucky winner!

Here’s more about Thirteen, the grand finale in the Women of the Otherworld series:

Thirteen

The gripping, epic finale to the bestselling Otherworld series

A war is brewing and the first battle has already been waged. After rescuing her half brother from supernatural medical testing, Savannah Levine—a young witch of remarkable power and a dangerous pedigree—is battered, but still standing. The Supernatural Liberation Movement took him hostage, and they have a maniacal plan to expose the supernatural world to the unknowing.

Savannah is fighting to save her world as witches, werewolves, necromancers, vampires, half-demons, and all the forces of good and evil—including the genetically modified werewolves known as hell hounds—enter the fray. Uniting Savannah with Adam, Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and other denizens of the Otherworld, Thirteen is a thrilling conclusion to this blockbuster series.

To enter the giveaway, just fill the rafflecopter below.

Open to US only
Ends August 18th, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Pretty When She Destroys by Rhiannon Frater

Pretty When She Destroys by Rhiannon Frater

Book Stats:

Reading level: Adult
eBook: n/a
Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Publisher: Self published
Release date: August 27, 2013

Series: Pretty When She Dies #3

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Source: ebook from author for book tour

Purchase: Not yet available

Amaliya Vezorak always believed she was destined to live a failed life in obscurity until she was brutally murdered by an ancient vampire named The Summoner and reborn as a powerful vampire necromancer. Now it is up to her to save the world…

To be honest, I did not expect the conclusion of this trilogy to go where it went. In a way, that’s why Rhiannon Frater is so brilliant. She has the ability to write great stories and surprise you at every turn. I was definitely expecting a final battle between the main character Amaliya and her arch nemesis, The Summoner and that was delivered, but everything about it was unexpected, and definitely entertaining.

Personally, I think when it comes to writing, Rhiannon Frater’s strong point is creating great character. Amaliya and Cian, from the very beginning, had good strong chemistry, and I loved seeing it evolve throughout the trilogy. Theirs was definitely not your typical romance, but it’s the type of love that could and did stand against the true test of time: the end of the world. Their relationship, however, isn’t without its faults but the connectedness between the character is what anyone would dream to have in any relationship. Their ability to feel each other’s emotions and read some of each other’s thoughts also helped them bond and really forge and strong duo. Personally, being able to read my boyfriend’s thoughts and feelings would creep the hell out of me, but for Amaliya and Cian, it simply allowed their bond to be that much stronger. Cian and Amaliya were by far my favorite characters but the rest of the cast were also very notable.

Cian’s cabal is definitely the most eclectic Scooby gang since Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You wouldn’t expect this odd bunch to be able to save the world but that’s what makes it that much more fun. Cassandra, Cian’s dhampir daughter and her girlfriend Aimee, the white witch, make an unlikely couple but really works in this urban fantasy. What’s more, the homosexual relationship wasn’t placed there to prove a point, but because it was probably second nature for the author to write about this type of relationship. The rest of the Scooby gang included a ghost whisperer, a pseudo bookworm leader, a shapeshifter and a brother-sister techno geek team. (Please note that I call them the Scooby gang but they never do call themselves that.) When you look at it this way, it really has many similarities to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, including saving the world from total evil domination. However, the biggest difference is that the main character is actually a vampire herself, but one with a conscience, obviously.

Overall, the novel was a great one but the pace of the story was a bit slow at times, and a little too fast in others. The flow could have been a little better but despite this small inconvenience, it was a great urban fantasy novel. The antagonist was as crazy as you might expect, and if it weren’t for the Summoner, I don’t think Amaliya would be the vampire she is without him. With an antagonist like the Summoner, that author was definitely not afraid to kill innocents bystanders. Truthfully, I expected more members of the Scooby gang to be killed off and while it would have been sad, I think more deaths on the good guys’ side would have been more realistic. Speaking of realistic, while I’m a big fan of happily-ever-after endings, I think the end of this book was a little too happily-ever-after. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the ending, I just thought it would have been a little different.

PRETTY WHEN SHE DESTROYS is a great conclusion to this epic trilogy and I highly recommend the whole trilogy to vampire and Buffy fans alike. Rhiannon’s dry humor and sarcasm shines throughout the book with Amaliya’s character. I’ve come to expect great things from Rhiannon and whether you read her self-published books or her big publisher books, you’ll never be disappointed. Her individual writing style is obvious in everything she writes and with this trilogy over, I’m anxious to see what she comes up with next.

Don’t forget to check out my post from last week for the PRETTY WHEN SHE DESTROYS blog tour, and your chance to win awesome prizes! You don’t want to miss out on this series!

0stephsig

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Stacking the Shelves [67]

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!

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Bought:

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Mass
Marques de Feu by Nalini Singh

For Review:

A Most Dangerous Deception by Sarah Zettel
The Twice Lost by Sarah Porter
Thirteen by Kelley Amrstrong

Gifts:

Damn him to Hell by Jamie Quaid
Forsaken by the Others by Jess Haines
Traquée by Jess Haines
Enlevée by Jess Haines
Trompée by Jess Haines

So, What did you add to your shelves?

tynsig

Friday, August 02, 2013

Blog Tour: Guest Post with Susan Krinard author of Mist

I am very happy to welcome Susan Krinard here on the blog to chat about the mythology that is so intricately part of Mist, the first novel in her new series. Please welcome her warmly and make sure you stay with us ‘til the end for a giveaway!

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What would happen if an ageless Valkyrie, finally adjusting to life on earth as a “mortal,” suddenly discovered Ragnarok---the Last Battle that was supposed to destroy all the words, divine and human--never happened?

Okay,  you ask, what is a Valkyrie, and what the heck is Ragnarok?

I used to love reading about mythology as a child, before I discovered the lure of science fiction and fantasy during 5th grade, when our teacher read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  I wanted to escape the real world, and mythology was a great way to do it.

One of my favorite books was D’Aulaire’s books of Norse and Greek mythology. They explained the stories in simple terms, and as my life went on I continue to be very interested in the tales of gods and heroes of many countries.

I was also a fan of the Thor comic books, which attracted me because of its “romantic” (in the old-fashioned sense), otherworldly setting and larger-than-life hero. So that was in the back of my mind when I wrote the short story “Mist” for the anthology Chicks Kick Ass two years ago. (All before the Thor movie came out, so any similarities between the movie Loki and mine are purely coincidental!)

So, back to the original question … what is a Valkyrie?  In Norse mythology, the Valkyrie were semi-divine women who rode over battlefields, choosing who would live or die and selecting the bravest fallen warriors (Einherjar) to reside forever with Odin, ruler of the gods (Aesir), in his hall Valhalla. They fought and drank and prepared for the final battle (Ragnarok) between the Aesir and their enemies--the frost giants, Loki, and his monstrous children—which ancient prophecy foretold. 

Valkyrie weren’t fighters; on their “days off” they wandered around Valhalla serving  ale to the Einherjar and gods. To me, it seemed quite a come-down from riding wildly over  battlefields.

So Mist, my Valkyrie heroine—never content with a more passive role—was discontented in Asgard until she and eleven of her Sisters were sent to Midgard (earth) with the gods’ twelve great Treasures.  They were to guard them until the gods reclaimed them again … which, to Mist, seemed unlikely since nearly all the gods were to be destroyed at Ragnarok, along with the nine “Homeworlds,”-- dwarves, elves, giants, and all.

But things didn’t turne out as she thought they would. It seems the Aesir, along with allies and enemies, have lived on in the Great Void, Ginnungagap, where all magic and life originated. When she meets a frost giant in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, she realizes that nothing is what it seemed, and a new Ragnarok may be about to take place—on Midgard, the last surviving Homeworld.

All this brings us back to the mythological underpinnings of Mist. The second major protagonist is the elf Dainn, whose Homeworld, Alfheim, was also destroyed. He is the messenger of the goddess Freya, sent to gather the Treasures and prepare the Valkyrie for war.

But not much is said about elves in Norse mythology, at least not in the writings that still remain to us (stories told after Christianity came to the Scandinavian countries.)  We only have a few brief descriptions of beautiful beings who feasted with Odin in Valhalla. That immediately brings to mind Tolkien’s elves—he used Norse mythology in his work—and since I like tall, beautiful, stately fictional beings, that’s what I chose to do with my “Alfar.” As Mist discovers, Dainn, who is quite the looker himself, is not only an intellectual elf with an affinity for nature. He also has a dangerous darker side that could threaten her, the tasks she must perform for the Aesir, and even her adopted world.

There were several kinds of giants in Norse mythology.  Not all were huge, hulking, ugly creatures bent on destruction. Some were herders and farmers, and a few even intermarried with the gods.  They resided in Jotunheim. But there was another Homeworld for the much more hostile frost giants, and another for fire giants, both of whom would stand against the gods at Ragnarok.

In Mist, I chose to focus on the frost giants and decided to use Jotunheim as their Homeworld as a way of simplifying the mythology.  My giants come in several shapes and sizes, and many can also look human, which makes it easier for them to infiltrate mortal society in service to Loki’s malignant ends.

And speaking of Loki …he was the perennial Trickster, not unlike those in many mythologies. He was the one who kept the Aesir on their toes, who could never be completely trusted, who sometimes worked with the Aesir and other times betrayed them. He was supposed to be handsome and charming when he wished, vicious and spiteful at others.  No one knew quite what to do with him.

I chose to make my Loki the central villain, who comes to earth to defeat the Aesir and “rule” Midgard. (I say “rule” because, unlike the Loki in cinema, he’s more interested in introducing total chaos on earth and picking up the pieces of what’s left.) Loki is indeed handsome and charming, careless of collateral damage or mortal life, but also subject to one major vulnerability that makes him very “human.” He’s a villain it’s hard not to like, just a little—even if he does have three terrible children: the wolf Fenrisulfr, destined to kill Odin; Jormungandr, the “World Serpent,” which is said to encircle Midgard; and the goddess Hel, who rules the cold and dark underworld where the “common” dead reside after their passing.

Mist is in a more difficult position; she doesn’t have much help from the gods, including Thor, who is not always the hero the comics and movies make him out to be. In mythology, he could be pretty nasty, too. He liked to kill Jotunar (giants) just for the heck of it, often without being provoked. Like most gods in the majority of world mythologies, he was ambiguous, and his traits were based on human behavior.

But he’s really a backdrop character. Freya, the goddess of love, sexuality and sometimes battle, figures strongly in the plot as the one who acts as go-between between the Aesir and Midgard, and helps Mist prepare for war. Though most people tend to think of the goddesses of love, like Aphrodite and Venus, as peaceful beings, Freya is much more complex. There are downsides to love, after all. And she has her own agenda that may or may not include the other Aesir.

While I’ve chosen to base Mist on existing mythology, I’ve also taken liberties to make the story my own. It’s been tremendous fun to play around with the old tales and characters. The stakes rise even higher in books two and three of the “Midgard” series, and people we thought we knew become something else entirely.

I hope you’ll read and enjoy Mist, and perhaps be moved to look up a bit more of the source material. It really is fascinating. You can find more information at my website, www.susankrinard.com

Thanks for reading!

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More about Mist:

Mist (Mist, #1)

Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie Mist one of the only survivors.

Or so she thought.

When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. 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.

Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist for access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows….

Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

giveaway

Tor is generously offering 3 copies of the novel to 3 lucky winners!

Giveaway open to US & Canada

All you have to do is fill the rafflecopter form below

Ends August 8th, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

tynsig

Mist by Susan Krinard

Mist (Mist, #1)

Mist by Susan Krinard

Book Stats:
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: July 16, 2013

Series: Midgard

Source: NetGalley

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie Mist one of the only survivors.

Or so she thought.

When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. 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.

Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist for access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows….

Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.

Mist turned out to be a very original urban fantasy read and while I did not dislike it, I’m afraid to say there are more ‘checks’ in my figurative negative column than in my positive one. My biggest obstacle, one that almost made me stop reading, is the Lore. You’re gonna ask me what’s wrong with it? Well there isn’t anything wrong with it per see, but it felt so very confusing and overwhelming that it impaired my appreciation of the story. I don’t know much about Norse mythology (except the very big lines) and Susan added her own twist on it (while this is cool, it made things that much harder for me to follow). In brief, I’m sure the majority of readers will appreciate the originality is this lore, but it simply didn’t work for me.

I started appreciating the novel when I stopped trying to understand the details of the lore. I decided to instead focus on the action and I finally enjoyed the ride. Mist was an interesting character, and I liked her determination and passion, but she was very naive for someone that old. Dainn, the elf who started Ragnarok and is now somewhat looking for redemption, had his perks ( I loved his battle against his inner beast, and his conflicting emotions), but I didn’t connect with him either. Really, Loki, the bad guy, was the highlight for me in this novel. I loved his spunk and his mischievous ways and his point of view was my favourite, but he does tend to talk too much.

Extremely slow paced at first, the rhythm thankfully picked up when the jotunns  started attacking Mist. While the actual battles were somewhat exciting, the story telling made little sense most of the time. Dainn is suppose to ready Mist for Freya to possess her and she is totally oblivious to it all, while Loki and Freya are having some kind of Game we have no idea what it’s all about. There’s also two homeless kids who were ‘drawn’ to Mist via her semi-goddess powers but they bring very little to the story.

The one aspect I liked about the novel is the Magic. I like how the characters use visualization and staves to summon their powers and that it’s taxing. I also appreciated that Mist had a learning curve ( a bit too fast for my taste, but still) and didn’t become all-mighty powerful overnight.

The end proved to be a frustrating experience because I feel like nothing happens. There is a battle between Loki, Dainn & Mist but no one really wins and in the end, we are no closer to this Ragnarok or whatever game the Gods are playing. The whole novel felt like an information packed entree simply setting the table for what’s to come and didn’t fill my appetite for answers.

I’m afraid I won’t continue on with this series. I feel like the series has potential but its very flawed beginning just didn’t bring enough to the table to convince me to keep on reading. You might want to give it a try (maybe borrow it?) because the elements I disliked might not bother you as much as it did me.

Read an Excerpt

tynsig

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Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Corpse Goddess by Kristi Jones

The Corpse Goddess by Kristi Jones The Corpse Goddess by Kristi Jones

Book stats:
Reading level: Young Adult
eBook: 274 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Release date: August 1, 2012

Series: The Corpse Goddess #1

Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Helen

Purchase: Amazon

Party girl Meg Highbury wakes up the morning after her twenty-first birthday with one hell of a hangover—and a walking corpse in her apartment. Meg turns to her straight-laced neighbor Armando for help, and together they discover that Meg is a Valkyrie. What’s more, her first duty is to trade places with the corpse.

But Meg is being sent to her Death Duty too soon. In a race against time, Meg frantically tries to find a loophole to avoid her gruesome fate, but while Meg is determined to live whatever the cost, Armando's strict moral principles keep getting in the way of her plans for escape.

Can Meg walk the “right” and narrow path, possibly sacrificing her mortal life, for love? And if she can, will Armando have the stomach to love a rotting corpse of a girl who is falling apart in more ways than one?

This book really surprised me. I wasn't quite sure what to think of it going in, but within the first couple of pages, I was already totally in love with Meg, and wanted to find out what was going on just as badly as she did. What a crazy plot line! From reading the summary, I didn't feel like I had all that great an idea of what was to come, since "death duty" didn't really mean anything to me. But oh man, I've never read something this inventive. But I won't give anything away!

These days, it's mostly all the same plot-lines being reinvented and re-imagined - but I've never read a plot like this. I had absolutely no idea what was coming next, and it had me staying up until 4 am just to try to find out a little bit more.

The pacing in this story is AWESOME. I love a book that never has a dull moment. There is constantly something happening or developing in this book... questions are being asked and answered, friendships are being made, drama is heating up - I loved it. Right when I thought, "Oh, I bet I know what's going to happen", I'd read on for 10 more pages and already realize I was totally wrong. I love when that happens.

As far as character relations go, this book had one of the most true-to-life developments of a relationship I've ever read. The romance is awesome, mostly because it doesn't even have a hint of insta-love. No one is 'inexplicably drawn' or ‘destined’ to be with someone else. The relationship develops from mild irritation, to companions, to friends, and then to something more. And every single moment of it was believable and relatable, I loved it.

There were a few grammatical/spelling errors. I can deal with 1 or 2, that's just a matter of human error and it does occasionally happen. Unfortunately, there were upwards of a dozen of these errors in this book, so it did distract me a little while I was reading. That's pretty much my only criticism though, so in light of how great the plot was, it really shouldn't keep you from giving this one a read.

And you'll have to excuse me here for a moment, BUT OH MY GOD THE ENDING. That's all I'll say.  But really.  Oh my God, the ending.

I need the sequel! And you need to go read this book!

Read an excerpt

 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Crown of Embers by Rae CarsonCrown of Embers by Rae Carson

Book stats:
Reading Level: Young Adult
eBook: 416 pages
Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 18, 2013

Series: Fire and Thorns #2

Source: Borrowed from Friend

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

I have a confession. While, I was greatly looking forward to reading this book I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. My problems with book one stemmed from the fact that our main character, Elisa, relied heavily on God for her power despite the fact that she discovered the power to lead within herself. I didn’t like the religious reliance even though it wasn’t shoved down my throat. While book two pulls back on it, it’s still there. But it wholly disappears in the second half of the book to give way to a story that had me freaking out and proclaiming my love in the middle of a Starbucks.

There was a lot of political maneuvering in the beginning and that is, perhaps, what made it so slow for me. The second half of the book began with that epic adventure that we expected Carson to deliver after reading book one and that’s what made this book nearly unputdownable. It just took a while to get to that point. We picked up shortly after book two where Elisa’s own political allies are turning against her and her people are rioting. There have been several attempts on her life and just as many people want her dead as those who want her to live. Characters from the past blast back into her life and her most trustworthy friends seem to be doing nothing but hurting her. And worst of all, she is being forced to search for a proper suitor and husband to ally her war-riddled country with someone else. It’s all rather great, and it holds your attention, but it just can’t keep you glued to the page until over two hundred pages into the book. That’s what makes the beginning feel so long and the amazingness that is the epic adventure pass by all too quickly.

But what I really loved about this book were two story arcs in particular: Elisa’s journey to being a proper queen and Hector. Elisa acknowledges that she’s been a weak ruler and she truly wants to be better. Hints of a powerful woman shine through at certain parts of the book and you can’t help but think, “I’d want this girl to be my queen if I was forced to subject to one.” It’s a huge emotional and psychological step up from book two.

And Hector. Oh, how I love you so. You and your newly lacking mustache are absolutely amazing and I love you. A lot. With all of my heart. Seriously. These two had a romance that began in book one with cute side-long glances and such. Now, their interactions are all the more frustrating because they remain cute. Yet these two are entirely devoted to each other and supremely passionate. I love every minute of this romance--the way one should progress.

This high fantasy is epic. It really is. It left me reeling and highly anticipating book three, though I don’t want to say goodbye to this series or this amazing world or even these amazingly well written characters just yet. Full of many surprises I couldn’t even hint at because of major spoilers, this book is one that you should definitely read. This series is worth continuing because the surprises are limitless and this book promises you the most epic epic of all time to take place in book three. Simply put, Rae Carson is a genius.

Lili

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"When I'm not writing" with Philippa Ballantine

Philippa Ballantine I'm so excited about today's guest because I think her work is absolutely brilliant. Philippa Ballantine writes two series that I thoroughly enjoy. She's here to celebrate the release of the final Book of the Order, HARBINGER, which comes out today. This series is really great fantasy and I strongly recommend it (though I am one book behind right now). She also co-authors the fantastic Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences steampunk series with Tee Morris, a lovely series with great work building and excellent characters. I hope you'll enjoy getting to know the talented Ms. Ballantine a bit better!

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In Harbinger, indeed in all the Books of the Order, the Rossin is the most feared geistlord in the Empire. His usual form is a giant spotted cat, similar to a lion, with a mane, but even taller than our great cats. His presence is impossible to ignore, and more than that he can also transform into a winged variation and a sea form…all still with the huge cat body. Above all, he is very, very dangerous, and looks on humanity as merely meat. At first everyone thinks he is only a wild beast, but as the books progress he does seem to have a plan of his own.

I have not seen my version of the Rossin (who claims to be a pedigree Siberian) take any other forms but this could be because he spends so very much of his time lounging around the house. Still look at the expression in that face…I am sure there is a deadly killer in there somewhere.

Rossin 1

Who am I kidding; the greatest danger from him may be getting excessively covered in fur…or is does he have some other strange plan? I have my suspicions.

I know the mini Rossin is always watching me, especially when I work. Sometimes it is a little unnerving to turn around and have those gold eyes fixed on me like I am made of shrimp.

Rossin 2

Then he claims to be helping me with my work, but I have my doubts, as all too often I find him ‘helping’ with the editing like this. I hope he isn’t commenting on the quality of my writing. As they say ‘everyone’s a critic, but the Rossin is the worst of all’.

Rossin 3

He’s also developed a habit of trying to crawl into my lap all the time. That wouldn’t be a problem, except I am usually trying to write on…my laptop. I feel a definite conspiracy coming on.

Or maybe it is more like revenge for my favorite season…cat hat season…commonly referred to as Halloween. The mini Rossin for all his savagery has one real issue, he freezes in shock. Yes, you put a hat on him and he stands stock still. This makes for excellent photo opportunities, which only encourages me to keep clicking.

Rossin 4

I know I am taking my life in my hands, but he is a handsome devil. I am sure he is looking forward to cat hat season this year again. I will just have to sleep with one eye open.

Because you never know where the Rossin is…or when he may strike. That’s the danger of inviting the wild in to live with you, but it is a danger I embrace.

Rossin 5

Rossin 6

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Thanks for such a great post, Philippa! I love the second last picture. He's too cute! =)

For more information about Philippa and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

You can also check out the other stops on the tour (scroll down to the bottom of the page):

Harbinger tour banner

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Here's the scoop on HARBINGER:

Harbinger by Philippa Ballantine (Book of the Order #4)The Deacons of the Order are all that stand between the wicked spirits of the Otherside and the innocent citizens of the Empire. They are sworn to protect humanity, even when they cannot protect themselves…

After the Razing of the Order, Sorcha Faris, one of the most powerful Deacons, is struggling to regain control of the runes she once wielded. The Deacons are needed more desperately than ever. The barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead is weakening, and the Emperor has abandoned his throne, seeking to destroy those he feels have betrayed him.

Though she is haunted by the terrible truth of her past, Sorcha must lead the charge against the gathering hordes of geists seeking to cross into the Empire. But to do so, she will need to manipulate powers beyond her understanding—powers that may prove to be her undoing…

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Here are the earlier books in the series with their gorgeous covers. You can check out my thoughts on Geist by clicking on it.

Geist by Philippa Ballantine (Book of the Order #1) Spectyr by Philippa Ballantine (Book of the Order #2) Wraith by Philippa Ballantine (Book of the Order #3)

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Trouble with Fate by Leigh Evans

The Trouble with Fate by Leigh Evans (Mystwalker #1)The Trouble with Fate by Leigh Evans

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 368 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's
Release date: December 24, 2012

Series: Mystwalker #1

Source: Review copy from publisher

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

My name is Hedi Peacock and I have a secret. I’m not human, and I have the pointy Fae ears and Were inner-bitch to prove it. As fairy tales go, my childhood was damn near perfect, all fur and magic until a werewolf killed my father and the Fae executed my mother. I’ve never forgiven either side. Especially Robson Trowbridge. He was a part-time werewolf, a full-time bastard, and the first and only boy I ever loved. That is, until he became the prime suspect in my father’s death…

Today I’m a half-breed barista working at a fancy coffee house, living with my loopy Aunt Lou and a temperamental amulet named Merry, and wondering where in the world I’m going in life. A pretty normal existence, considering. But when a pack of Weres decides to kidnap my aunt and force me to steal another amulet, the only one who can help me is the last person I ever thought I’d turn to: Robson Trowbridge. And he’s as annoyingly beautiful as I remember. That’s the trouble with fate: Sometimes it barks. Other times it bites. And the rest of the time it just breaks your heart.

Again…

I have seriously mixed feelings about THE TROUBLE WITH FATE. There are things I really admire about Evans' debut and there are things that really bugged me. I don't often have such strong love/hate feelings about books so I'm a little confused about how to react to this book. But any book that sparks strong feelings -- even polarizing ones -- is definitely worth talking about!

Let's start with the good. There is some great worldbuilding in THE TROUBLE WITH FATE. Hedi is half-Were, half-Fae and it makes for some interesting inner turmoil. Hedi pretty much denies her Were heritage and she's not a very strong Fae, except when it comes to mystwalking. She's good at that, though untrained, but it's a dangerous power and she has no one to teach her since her family is pretty much all gone. I really like stories that have the main character(s) discovering things about themselves and Hedi's journey with respect to her powers was quite interesting.

I also appreciated how real the stakes were in THE TROUBLE WITH FATE. Evans doesn't shy away from serious (and sometimes gruesome) consequences and that's another thing I appreciate. Serious stakes suck me in and there are points in THE TROUBLE WITH FATE were folks were in serious peril and taking major damage.

Evans also injects some really humorous moments in the story, which was great. Comedy is always welcome in my world, particularly when there are so many serious scenes in the novel. And Evans strikes a nice balance between action, drama, and comedy, which takes a lot of talent. In fact, her writing style really worked for me and I did really enjoy THE TROUBLE WITH FATE as a whole.

And now for the not so good: There were points in the book where I really, really didn't like Hedi. She kept harping on how she's not the ideal size because she's plump and how she is much in the looks department and I found it really depressing. She hates how she looks, rather than embracing her different body type. I appreciate Evans featuring a character who isn't a statuesque, gorgeous creature but I'd much prefer it if Hedi wasn't always down on herself. There are curvy women in literature who embrace their shape, the most famous example probably being Anita Blake, and I much prefer Laurell K. Hamilton's approach to a curvy heroine, which is to say it's okay. Anita is admittedly not plump but she does have a refreshingly sensible approach to her body. There's enough stuff about bad body image in the media and I don't want a main character who's constantly putting herself down because she's not some sort of glorified ideal.

THE TROUBLE WITH FATE is very much the beginning of Hedi's tale and I'm looking forward to THE THING ABOUT WERES, despite my issues with aspects of Hedi's personality. The writing and overall story of THE TROUBLE WITH FATE is more than enough to have me curious about the next installment in the Mystwalker series, particularly since THE TROUBLE WITH FATE ends with something of a cliffhanger. (Main storylines are resolved but larger ones emerge, much like in a Secret McQueen novel.) I have a review copy of THE TROUBLE WITH WERES downloaded and ready to roll so you can be sure I'm going to dive back in Hedi's world. I can't wait to see what Evans has come up with next.

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

Jenn

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