Friday, December 30, 2011

Awakening by Karice Bolton



So unfortunately I haven't been able to read nearly as much as a like, so for that reason alone I was excited to get back to reading with this book. And what's more is I always like a tale about fallen angels, there are so many different takes on the concept it's so much fun to try and figure out how the author envisions their characters.

The basic plot of this book centers mainly around Ana and Athen. Ana is a white demon (child of a fallen angel) and she has been separated from her family and has no memory of them. This book is primarily her journey of reawakening and regaining the person she was before she lost her memory. This is a rather slow process because she is not just getting memories back but also getting her special abilities back as well. Athen is the love of her life from before and he is essential in not only awakening her but also in protecting her.

Much of this process is frustrating for Ana, mostly because she doesn't always understand what is going on with her. I often time felt her frustration as well as the story progress. Her family, Arie, Cyril, and Athen sometimes do a truly terrible job at giving her information. In their defense they do seem to be withholding information from her out of concern, but it often leads to confusion, fear, and unpreparedness for Ana.

One of the main issues I had with this book was that I felt it moved to quickly. I really enjoyed the concept of losing a family member and then finding them and bringing them back into the fold, but the execution of the concept gave me some pause. The beginning of the book moved at the perfect pace. I felt connected to Ana and what she was feeling. And then somewhere along the middle events started happening at a much quicker rate, and were lacking in the detail compared to the beginning of the book, ultimately I stopped identifying with Ana as much, as well as sometimes feeling like I didn't have enough information to really understand the plot as it was developing.

That being said the general plot is solid. Like I said I liked the idea of the family and the awakening, and as the book progresses you find out there is something larger at work. It was enjoyable to follow along with trying to unravel the greater evil, as well as figure out how the white demons were going to fight against it.

The characters I did enjoy though for the most part. Ana's emotions all make sense and feel very organic to her as a character, and early on in the book it was very easy to identify with her. Arie is a fun loving character, and you can tell in the scenes with her in her element, that if you were around her in real life it would be hard to be anything but happy. Cyril provides a great balance to Arie, as well as being a rather funny guy himself, there were times in the book I needed a good giggle and Cyril was always the one to provide it. Athen is a good character as well, although out of everyone I felt he was the most annoying. All of his actions are done specifically to try and protect the woman he loves, but often I felt like his over protectiveness was stifling and his complete aversion to being intimate with Ana felt out of place and inorganic for the two characters. That being said he is still a solid character and a good guy.

The book definitely leaves the reader wanting to know what happens next to this family (talk about a cliff hanger), and so while there were elements I didn't always like in the book, the good elements way outweighed those so I am going to give it a "Good" rating. I think this book is a good book for urban fantasy readers, and while it is a love story there is little actual romance, so if you are looking for hot and heavy this might not be the book. Overall solid book.



SEE THE GIVEAWAY PAGE FOR A GIVEAWAY OF THIS BOOK!
http://www.ufreviews.com/p/giveaways.html

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Farsighted Tour! Guest Post by Emlyn Chand


Announcing the Farsighted Social Media Whirlwind Tour! 
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Farsighted eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including lots of Amazon gift cards (up to $100 in amount) and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 30th, so you don’t miss out.  

How to Win Prizes!

  1. Purchase your copy of Farsighted for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
  3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
  4. BONUS: If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100!
  5. DOUBLE BONUS: If I receive more comments than any other blogger, *I* win $100. 

...And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.  

The Featured Events include:

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the Farsighted book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Farsighted is also up for grabs.  

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Are you ready for some more fun? Take a picture of yourself with your copy of Farsighted either in paperback or on an eReading device, then post it to Emlyn Chand’s Facebook page or email a copy to author@emlynchand.com. You just way win one of three Amazon gift cards! A $100 prize will go to the photo with the most interesting setting (so put your holiday travel time to work for you). Another $50 will go the funniest photo, and one more prize of $50 will go the scariest photo—this is a paranormal YA book after all. An autographed copy of Farsighted will go to one randomly selected entrant. For more details about this contest, please visit www.emlynchand.com.  

Remember, it’s all about the books!

 
About Farsighted: Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Farsighted is the winner of the 2011 Dragonfly eBook Awards. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
 
About the Author: Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.  

Hello 2012. Goodbye World!

A Guest Post by Emlyn Chand

  The New Year is upon us. And if the Mayans were right, so is the apocalypse. Oh, man... Just when Earth was getting good.

Well if I’m going to go by flame, flood, meteoric collision, or zombie uprising, I think it’s best to be prepared. No, not with a flame retardant unitard or a well-equipped cross bow, but with mental resolution—with a calm acceptance of humanity’s plight.

Consider this a combo suicide note/ Dear John letter to the world. I might as well get a few final words in (just in case those Mayans knew what they were talking about). Pfffhew, here goes...  

Dear World,

I wish I didn’t have to write this letter. We’ve been together some twenty-seven years, and that’s a long time. Sure, we’ve had our clashes. You’ve sent a fair share of inclement weather my way. Remember that thunder storm when the tree almost broke through the window of my apartment? I was so scared. That was totally not cool on your part. And tornados? I mean what’s that about. Control your temper!

But I know I’ve hurt you too. I’ve been frivolous with your resources and have sometimes even—gasp—littered. I bought a V6 when I could’ve bought a hybrid. In fact, I think my carbon footprint is a size 12 at least—and that’s a size you have to special order at the shoe store. Yeah, I’m not saying I’m perfect. We all do things we regret, but Earth, you know I love you, right? That’s why it’s so difficult saying what I have to say...

We can’t be together anymore. I’ve heard talk of a major problem. They say you’re going to die a horrific death, and since I count on you for protection, I’m gonna die too. I’d like to say we’ll be together in the next world, but do planets go to Heaven? I can’t say for certain, so I think I should say goodbye instead.

We’ve had a good run, you and I. And I never regret having loved you. How I wish I could save us both, but who am I to interfere with an ancient prophecy?

I’ll miss the way you spill light through my closed blinds in the early morning, gently telling me it’s time to start my day. And I’ll remember fondly the way the ground smells after a restorative rain shower—the way the pitter patter on my skin prickles like teensy weensy fingers giving me a massage, the way the earthworms come out of the ground and dance on the pavement. The songs of birds in the morning are my favorite; they always sound so happy. I wish I understood the lyrics to their upbeat symphony so that I could join in with them. And ice cream? I’ll give you credit for that, because the cows are yours, the vanilla bean is yours, the sugar is yours. The taste is magnificent! To never feel that icy sensation arouse my taste buds again is such a great shame.

I’m tearing up now just thinking about all our good times together. I hope you’ll remember me with the same fondness. No matter what happens, I will ALWAYS love you.

Now it’s time to say goodbye. Go out with a smile,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Monique Domovitch Guest Post

Announcing the Scorpio Rising Social Media Whirlwind Tour!  

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Scorpio Rising eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including 2 Kindle Fires, Amazon gift cards up to $100 in amount, 5 autographed copies of the book, and 5 autographed copies of its recently released sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 23rd, so you don’t miss out.  

To Win the Prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of Scorpio Rising for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
  3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
  4. BONUS: If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100!
 

...And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.   

The Featured Events include:

Monday, Blogaganza on Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We’ll ask the writer 5 fun and random questions to get everyone talking. Leave a comment or question in response to the post, and you may win an autographed copy of Scorpio Rising or its sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!  
Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest! A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. Autographed copies of Scorpio Rising and its sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio, are also up for grabs. The winner will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet: Looking for a read that's full of love, drama, and betrayal? Scorpio Rising has been reduced to 99 cents! http://ow.ly/7zA2s #whirlwind  
Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the Scorpio Rising book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. Autographed copies of Scorpio Rising and its sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio, are also up for grabs. Three chances to win! How about that?  
Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook pageScorpio Rising book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. Autographed copies of Scorpio Rising and its sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio, are also up for grabs. 
Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Win a Kindle Fire! Two are up for grabs! Visit Monique’s website to leave a comment on any of her posts and sign-up for her author newsletter. One person will win for each method, so be sure to do both. and share their latest post (you’ll see the

Remember, it’s all about the books!

 
About Scorpio Rising: Set in New York and Paris amid the glamorous and competitive worlds of art and real estate, Scorpio Rising takes the reader from the late 1940s to the 1960s through the tumultuous lives of its heroes. Alex Ivanov is the son of a Russian immigrant and part-time prostitute. He yearns to escape his sordid life and achieve fame and fortune. His dreams of becoming a world-class builder are met with countless obstacles, yet he perseveres in the hope of someday receiving the recognition he craves. Half a world away, Brigitte Dartois is an abused teenager who runs into the arms of a benefactor with an agenda all his own. When she finds out that her boss has an ulterior motive, she flees again, determined to earn her living through her art. This career brings her fame, but also the unwanted attention of her early abuser. Monique Domovitch’s debut novel, Scorpio Rising, is a compelling tale filled with finely etched characters and a superb understanding of the power of ambition. Scorpio Rising promises to resonate with all who once had a dream. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  

About The Sting of The Scorpio: In Scorpio Rising, Monique Domovitch presented a compelling tale filled with colorful characters and the manipulation of power, ambition, and greed. Now she gives us its spellbinding sequel, The Sting of the Scorpio, where Alexander Ivanov returns to New York with his new bride, Brigitte. The real estate industry is ripe with opportunity. Blessed with irresistible charm, ambition, and the single-minded obsession to succeed, Alex plots and manipulates his way to almost mystical success. Everything he touches turns to gold, but it’s never enough. When a hostile takeover bid leaves him struggling to save his beloved company, he suspects those closest to him of plotting his downfall. Brigitte, the beautiful redhead who abandoned her country and her career to become his wife, feels alone. In return, Alex has betrayed her time and again, each indiscretion cutting deeper into her soul. Brigitte’s son, David yearns to be an artist, but Alex’s plans leave no room for such frivolous goals. He grooms a reluctant David to become the heir apparent until a devastating tragedy attracts the attention of another young man. The Sting of the Scorpio is a rich tale of a man at the mercy of his own greed and a woman bound by her need for love. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. 
 
About the Author: Monique Domovitch began writing at the age of fifty-five. Two years later, she has two self-published novels—her Scorpio Series—and a three-book deal with Penguin, for books she has written under the name of Carol Ann Martin. Never seen without her laptop, Monique and her husband travel the world and divide the rest of their time between their homes in British Columbia and California. Monique loves to hear from readers! Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.  

Please enjoy this guest post from the author

Deciding to become a writer was a natural extension of falling in love

People often ask me what attracted me to the life of a writer, and I have to say it was a natural extension of falling in love…with books, which I have been for as long as I can remember. 

I remember my mother taking me to the public library when I was as young as four years old. That was when she introduced me to Madeline, the little schoolgirl. As teenager, I discovered Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames, and then Harlequin books. And then I really fell in love for the first time. I was in England where my friends introduced me to a book by Wilbur Smith. I think I hadn't read ten pages of his book--can't remember the title anymore--when I knew this was it. I could spend the rest of my life in bed with this writer's books. 

Over the next few years, Wilbur Smith’s books made me discover Africa, where I met animals I'd never heard of, and villains the likes of which I hope to never meet. I was swept into his stories of love and passion and greed; stories from which I never wanted to walk away. I devoured book after book of his, until, of course, the inevitable happened. I caught up with every last one of his books and was facing a long void until his next book hit the stands. And I, fickle reader that I am, had an affair with a few other authors, and then it happened again. I read Dominic Dunne. And wham. I was in love again. 

With Dominic Dunne’s books, I spent time with the truly rich and the truly manipulative. How can anyone forget books like The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, or An Inconvenient Woman, or A Season in Purgatory? Once I discovered them, I was hooked. Forgive me Dominic, for I betrayed you too when I discovered my next big love, Nelson De Mille. 

De Mille is a master of sharp, snappy talk, and he makes all those words come out of the mouth of a sexy good cop with a bad attitude--John Corey. Now here's the funny part. I don't really know what John Corey looks like, except that he has scars on his chest from some bullet wounds. I also know that John Corey is almost as fickle when it comes to love as I am when it comes to favorite authors. He seems to fall in love with a different woman in almost every one of his adventures. That is, until he met and married Kate. But who knows, so far she's only been around for a couple of novels. For all I know she'll be dropped off, maybe even killed in the next book, and then sexy John will be available again and I can go on dreaming. 

Now here's something you might not know about me. I'm married, and—get this—my husband doesn't mind my little dalliances with all these authors...as long as I don't meet them in person that is. 

And why am I blabbing about all these loves of mine? Because, every time I start a new project, I hope with all my heart, that I infuse my novel with enough passion and ambition and greed that when you, dear reader, read my work, you will fall—perhaps just a little bit—in love with my characters. And I promise to love you right back, even knowing that I will never be able to write fast enough to keep your from someday leaving me for some other writer. 

C’est la vie! 

Monique

Monday, December 19, 2011

Warrior's Rise by LJ DeLeon

I was excited about this book because it involved the Fae. The Fae is a topic I really enjoy reading about because it is so fast, there as so many different way to include them in a book, and so much is able to come right out of the author's imagination. Any time an author is able to put their stamp on something or where the reader gets a good feel for the authors imagination is fun for me as a reader.

As with most of my reviews I want to start off with the things I like about the book. I am seriously impressed with the authors ability to have such an imagination. It is clear from page one that the author has an amazing imagination and really did as much as possible to convey that to the reader. Because DeLeon had such a creative vision it resulted in a complex plot. Complex plots are kind of a double edge sword for me. Either that are complex in a way that is compelling and makes the reader want to flip the next page, or the plot is so ambitious and complex that it can be hard for the reader to follow. I think this book teeters the line. There were certainly moments when I felt confused because things were too complicated, and there were moments where the complex plot had me wanting to read quicker so I could find out what would happen next.

One other aspect I liked about this book was the characters. I found Deva to be an interesting character with a heavy load on her shoulders. Deva is the Caidh Arm, the Goddess' holy weapon, which essentially gives her a lot more powers than she had before as well as make her a target for the dark. She is coming to very powerful powers as an adult, and that has to be a hard adjustment to make. She spends most of this book growing as a character, both as a Fae with powers and as a person. Deva is being guarded by Padraig, which just adds more depth to her character as the relationship develops.

Padraig is also an interesting character, and I like him because he is such a strong character. A lot of the problems I have with characters who are in a protection type role, is they always seem to want to minimize their character, they end up being controlling and never really let the character they are protecting come into their own. I don't think this was a problem for him which is why I enjoyed reading him more, he was part teacher and part protector.

And now for the things I had problems with in the book. There was way to much information all at once. This was evident for me in chapter one. I felt like the author had this great really creative idea in their head and then wanted to tell me, the reader, all about it, as quickly as possible. You were not only introduced to a lot of a characters quickly, but given so much information about them and the situation it was hard to organize the characters in my head. However, the biggest problem I had with this was that I didn't feel like I knew the characters themselves. When you don't know the characters, the reader can't form an emotional bond to them. You miss out on a lot of the details not just with characters but with world building. And those are two huge elements you don't want to feel that you don't know enough about.

I also found in parts there were issues with things were phrased awkwardly or the grammar needed some work that had me having to stop and re-read things, which ultimately led to disrupting my flow when reading the book. I am one of those readers who once my flow has been disrupted it can cause me to lose interest in the book, because it frustrates me.

In the end I am going to have to give this book a "so-so" because while it had some great elements, especially on the creative side, but the execution just wasn't always there so I had hard time really getting into the book. I really wish that there had been less elements within the book, so that the author could have focused more on other elements that would have helped me identify with the book and the characters.


Friday, December 16, 2011

In Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long

I read this book as a part of Novel Publicity's week long promotion of this book. It's not in my normal genre that I review, but I wanted to give it a try because let's face it even once in a while you need to read a book that is out of the norm for you. I think there is a lot you can say about this book, if you want really delve deep and analyze each other characters you certainly could. If you wanted to find a character you could identify with, there are a wide range in this book, so I believe everyone could find at least one person to identify with.

To start with I want to say this book, for the vast majority of it, is not a feel good type of book. I think most people want to believe there family is doing well, and when it turns out that it's not the case it's hard on everyone. Leah is a rebellious teenager who's action have a huge impact of every person in her family. When I look back at my own teenage years, I know I was not the best of kids. I know I put my parents through a lot, but never was I to the point that Leah was, and for that I am thankful. And while I can certainly identify with her to a point, because I did rebel as well, I often times found myself thinking she is one of the most selfish girls I have read. She honestly has no care for how anything she does affects anyone else, and even when she has moments of clarity, where she knows she was wrong in her actions, all it takes is for five minutes to pass by before she passed all the blame to someone else and takes off. I can honestly say that when it was told from her point of view, especially towards the end I had a hard time reading her, because I just wanted to send her to one of those bad kid camps and be done with it (not the best impulse but hey I had had enough of her selfishness).

The character I felt the worst for throughout the book was Justine. Justine is Leah's younger sister, and honestly she was left out in the cold over and over again. Their parents thought Justine was a good student, never got into any trouble, and so the focused mainly on Leah. And when Leah started going down the wrong path, Justine didn't understand why everyone was being mean to Leah, she only ever heard Leah's side of the story. Her parents really needed to sit her down and explain everything to her.

The parents in the story, Zoe and Will, go through a terrible time. They are each doing the best they can do, working, pushing Leah to do well, and genuinely just trying to make sure their girls have a good upbringing and set them up for a good future. Unfortunately jobs involve a lot of time, quality time with kids diminish, and things start falling through the cracks. By the time Leah is in trouble neither parent knows how to help her. If I had to pick one think they needed to do as parents was get on the same page. It seemed like the spent more time arguing with each other than coming up with a plan, and when they did have a plan, Will's temper always got in the way of the follow through.

Overall, I felt like this book is well written, and a testament of what can happen to families no matter how much money a family has. There were point in the book I could have done without, I felt like sometimes the author got on a tangent that wasn't needed to progress the story. But besides that I felt like it was a good read, and I think it will make the people who read it really think about their own lives, and perhaps, feel a little bit grateful for my own life after reading this story.



For more information on the tour see below

Supernova by C.L. Parker

A couple of days ago I reviewed C.L. Parker's book Cataclysm, which is actually the sequel to this book, Supernova. I was a part of the book tour so unfortunately my time ran out and I was unable to put up the review for Supernova up first. But I didn't want to just not review it, so here is the review, a few days late.

I really enjoy Parker's writing, she really does a great job of taking the reader along this journey with the main characters, and really lets the reader get to know the main players of the book. This book is book one in the series, so a lot of time is spent on really getting to know the characters and their respective back stories.

Kerrigan is a girl who it seems like for much of her life has let herself be pulled in whatever direction her father deemed correct, and unfortunately part of that lead to her dating a man named Jackson. You quickly learn this guy is bad news, creepy, and gross. Parker's description of this guys breath alone made me want to cringe. When Kerrigan's grandmother dies though, she finds the strength to stand up for herself and ditch the loser. She and her best gay friend Gabe move into her grandmother's house and essential start a new life.

Which brings us to Dominic, the man who has been living at Kerrigan's grandmother's house for over a year. As you get to know Dominic you find out what a tortured life he really has had. If anyone has ever gotten the short end of the stick for a long period of time, it's Dominic. That's not to say that he isn't a good guy, in fact as the story progresses Dominic turns out to be a great help to Kerrigan.

Most of this story is about Kerrigan finding out that her grandmother was much more than just a sweet old lady. In fact her grandmother had powers, powers from the Light, which she used for good. And even more shocking is that Kerrigan herself also has these same gifts. But now that her grandmother has passed, Kerrigan is left to learning her new gifts from Dominic.

That's not to say that the story is not inciting to read. Dominic has a BIG secret he is keeping from everyone, and there are quite a lot of close calls where he is almost revealed. On top of that Dominic also has a past with a crazy ex girlfriend that comes back around. Kerrigan, who doesn't seemingly have a lot of the problems in this book, is more like a catalyst, and helps the story along the way. And the chemistry between Dominic and Kerrigan is not to be missed, it is definitely interesting to follow these two along the way.

Overall this was a good read, if I had one bone to pick I would say it did lag a couple of times during the book, but it was never a huge lag or anything like that. I would say this is a book paranormal romance readers would like, as well as people who like urban fantasy. And it is a great lead in into the second book which I would also recommend.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Falling Hard by J.K. Coi

Falling Hard was such a good read. It has one of new favorites in the paranormal field, angels. And more than that it has a delightful set of role reversal. In so many books that you read these days, even when the heroine is strong and can kick butt on her own, she is also the one that (to a least a little bit) needs saving. In this book, Gabriel, is really the one who needs to be protected, and he is protected, by a girl, Amelia. I found this switch up of the stereotype to be not just interesting, but also it made the book all the more fun to read.

To give you a little bit of synopsis of the book, Gabriel carried Lucifer's soul within him. Amelia is an angel who is sworn to watch over him and protect him, her goal is to keep Lucifer from wrecking havoc on earth. Of course there is a lot more to the story than that. Gabriel is a real life rock star, groupies, big concerts, and recognized all over the place. You would think someone with that kind of status would have an easy life but not Gabriel. Gabriel kind of breaks your heart the more you learn about his past and how tortured he is. Just when you think you think his tortured past can't get worse it does. For me it endeared him to me, I wanted good things to happen to him so that he could really experience something good, because lets face it if anyone needs something good to happen to them its him.

Amelia as a character is really interesting, she almost strikes me as emotionally childlike. Throughout the story she literally has to learn about how to be human and human feelings, because all she has ever been is an angel who deals with angel things, or watched Gabriel from afar. Even though she is so new at being in the human realm she is a force to be reckoned with, she is a strong warrior.

Combined the two of them are both two complete opposites. Gabriel is just a ball of human emotion, constantly dealing with his anger, rage, guilt, and sorrow over the events of his life. And Amelia is far more logical because most of her existence does not involve the emotions that make Gabriel so rash. By the end of the book I really think the two of them have started to share with each other parts of their personalities, and have both grown from knowing each other.

There is a great deal of romance in this book, as it is a paranormal romance of course. I would like to say that Coi does a good job of writing those scenes, and more over she writes the scenes true to the characters within them. What I mean by this is the sex scenes in the book could not be transplanted into another book or story and they make sense. It's not just a romp in bed, she brings both characters essence into the scene through both action and thought, which I believe makes Coi a great writer, and also helps the reader continue to identify with the characters.

Overall, I am giving this book a good rating. It really is a good paranormal romance, and a thoroughly enjoyable read. I believe anyone who likes paranormal romance would enjoy reading this book, and it is one of the more unique books in this genre I have read. Coi brings a lot of elements into the book, like her use of music throughout, to make it so unique. For that reason alone I would recommend the book.

J.K. Coi Interview

UFR: Today we have J.K. Coi joining us for an interview, and later today I will be posting the review of her book Falling Hard.
JKC: Hi Kate and readers of UFR! Thanks so much for having me as a guest today.

UFR: First and foremost I want to say thank you for joining us today here on Urban Fantasy Reviews. One of my favorite questions to ask is if you had to pick a theme song for this book what would it be?
JKC: Music is so much a part of this book – from Gabriel’s career as lead singer of phantasm, to the angel song that heals – you can feel the vibrations coming off the page. You can hear the bass through your fingers and into your soul as you read. Yes, I channeled my inner rock god to write this book. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say there is a “theme song,” but I found myself listening to “All You Did Was Save my Life” by Our Lady Peace, “The Catalyst” by Linkin Park, “The Kill” by 30 Seconds to Mars, and “Give a Little More” by Maroon 5.

UFR: Clearly your book is very music driven, with Gabriel being the lead singer in a popular band as well as Amelia reliance on the “angel’s song”. Do you have a strong background in music or did you just think it would be an interesting theme in the book?
JKC: I don’t have a music background, but I do really love music. All kinds of music, but mostly the heavy, dark, thumping kind. ☺

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lokant by Charlotte English


I have made it clear both on twitter and on this site how much I really enjoyed Charlotte English's first book Draykon. I really felt that her first book was a great epic fantasy with some fantastic mystery elements in it, I even believe that people who have never tried out epic fantasy should do so with this book. My biggest concern with sequels is they are so hard to live up to the previous book if you feel in love with the first. I was truly so happy when I found that Lokant was a worthy follow up for Draykon.

The characters from Draykon all make appearances in Lokant, Llandry still taking a primary role, and Eva as well. At the end of Draykon the reader realizes so much more is going on that we previously believed, especially with Llandry becoming a draykon herself. This book does a fantastic job of letting the reader know more about the world while still maintaining a bit of mystery.

Llandry has found herself in a strange new world, and with a strange new man at her side who has proclaimed himself her mate. So much of this book is about Llandry coming into her own. She had a lot of character growth in Draykon, but in that book she was only a human, and now she is so much more than that. Now she has to find a place for herself in this world, while also trying to unravel the mystery of the people behind the scheme to unleash the draykon. It's really fun to follow Llandry in this book, because even though she is so different than before, it is clear that she is more herself in this book.

I also took more of a liking to Eva in this book than I did in the last. It isn't that I didn't like Eva in the previous book, but rather I didn't form a big bond with her emotionally. This was not the case in Lokant, I very much started to form a bond with her. And even more so I came to understand her a little more.

Part of the reason I really enjoy these books is that there is a huge mystery going on within them. The first book introduced draykon through the "stone" istore. And just when you thought the mystery had been solved, it turns out it was only the set up for a larger mystery. The amount of detail and thought that English has put into these book is astounding. For her to continue these books with such intricacy only shows how much forethought she has as a writer, and how much work had to be done to plot the serious out. She is a master at revealing just enough to the reader to want them to know more about what comes next, but never keeping the reader so much in the dark that the reader feels like they are missing out.

I really enjoyed the new group of Lokants, mainly because these group of people seriously open up the possibilities within the world, in ways I could not imagine in the first. I enjoyed getting to know how was really behind the events of the previous books, not just who was behind them, but their motivations, and then trying to figure out what the endgame is.

There is a bit more of a romantic element in this book, but only slightly. I have to say I appreciate that what romance in this book has taken time to build up to and felt very organic when it was introduced. 

If I had to pick one thing I didn't like about the book, or rather something I missed that was in the previous book but was lacking in this book, was the absence of the animals in this book. Sigwide was still in the book, but he was not a consistent companion to Llandry as in the previous book. And less was made of summoning and the various types of animals in the world (although there were a few instances in the book). That being said their absence wasn't hugely felt, the plot was fast moving, and you never felt like you were missing out on something.

Once again, I am going to give English another "great" rating. I think this is a great follow up, and I can tell she worked hard on this book to make sure it was a great follow up. I of course recommend everyone read Draykon first, but once you finish with Draykon you should most definitely pick up a copy of Lokant and get to reading it!


In Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long GUEST POST

Announcing the In Leah’s Wake Social Media Whirlwind Tour!
   
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the In Leah’s Wake eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including Amazon gift cards of up to $500 in amount and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 16th, so you don’t miss out.  

To Win the Prizes

  1. Purchase your copy of In Leah’s Wake for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
  3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
  4. BONUS: If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100

...And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cataclysm by CL Parker

This book came to me as part of a book tour, which I love. Promoting authors new works is probably one of my favorite things to do. However, this is book 2 of the series, so I wanted to read the first book, Supernova, first. I would recommend the first book, because it's a fantastic read much like this book.

The first think I want to mention about Parker's writing is that it's super easy to read. You sit down with the book in hard, and your eyes just flow over the paper (or screen for my case). Before you even realize it you're sucked into the plot and the characters. It's almost like the writing is effortless, but still smart.

I must also say that I liked reading and experiencing life with these characters. And more over what I enjoyed was that these characters weren't stagnant. When you meet Kerrigan in the first book, she hadn't quite grown into herself yet, her life had mostly been controlled or guided one way or the other. Book one she really grows into herself as a character as well as becoming a Guardian of the Light. In book two she is able to really understand more about herself and abilities, so the reader is really able to follow along with her and her journey. The Kerrigan that Parker created is not just some girl riding the wave of a plot, but rather a character who has depth that just increases as the story goes on.

I'm fairly certain everyone who reads these books is going to be happy when they get to the romance department. And the one thing I appreciate about Parker, much like her character development is also her relationship development. She doesn't just have two characters suddenly like each other and jump into bed, it took time to build up Kerrigan and Dominic as characters and as people heading down a romance road. Although most of the build up is in Supernova, it still read as two people organically reaching the next part of the relationship. There is a lot more romance in this book than the previous, or rather it is more hot action in it compared to the first.

The one bone I have to pick with this book is that I missed Gabe. Gabe was one of my favorite characters in the first book, he reminded me of my best friend in high school. The guy who was unafraid to say anything that came into his head, and was assured of himself, as well as being a good friend to Kerrigan. I wish he had more of a role in this book.

Overall, I am going to say this is a good book, and a fun paranormal romance. This is definitely a read for people who like paranormal romance, and I think that most of us urban fantasy readers would like it as well.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mind Over Matter by S.J. Clarke

I think this book was exactly what I needed today. It was one part mystery, one part romance, and one part supernatural. The supernatural in this book is not nearly as heavy as it is in a lot of the urban fantasy or paranormal romance that I review, but that isn't to say it isn't there. The supernatural in question is psychic abilities.

The book deal with some pretty heavy subject matter, the main character Rebecca is trying to just exist after her daughter was kidnapped nearly three year prior to the beginning of the book. Rebecca does however get visions, and one day while at the neighborhood diner gets a vision about another missing girl. And then almost as suddenly she gets a vision of an aged version of her daughter, Bree. This vision gives her the push to really pick up the search for her daughter and leads her to Dan, the FBI agent who was the lead on Sabrina's case to begin with.

Part of the reason why I like this book is because I like mysteries, and this book reads like a mystery book with all the added flare the supernatural elements bring to it. I really like the characters, Rebecca is a very strong woman who is willing to do anything to find her daughter, but that doesn't mean that having her daughter being kidnapped hasn't taken its tole on her. From the beginning of the book it is clear Rebecca is doing whatever she can to hold on to the idea that her daughter is alive and pushing herself to continue on with her search.

Dan is a great character too. He is really kind and caring towards Rebecca, and you can tell her has an honest desire to find Sabrina and help Rebecca. I also find it refreshing that he didn't just buy into the "Rebecca having visions" but instead of being just a complete skeptic he listens to her and even goes out with her to help her prove her vision one way or the other.

The book is a really good read, and a great mystery to follow along with. Clarke gives you just enough hints to the culprit as it goes along to let the reader form their own ideas about who did it but still leaves the reader hanging enough to make them want to know and understand the whole plot behind it all. I would say that if you are looking for a good mystery this is definitely a book you want to consider. I also think if you are someone who likes romance or urban fantasy this is also a book you would like. I hope you check it out.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Echoes of Magic by Donna Grant

This was my second book in Donna Grant's Sisters of Magic series, and I think the hardest thing I had to decide about this book was which one I liked more. Although I would like to point out to all potential readers that this book could be read by itself (Grant does a great job at updating the reader on past events without it being overwhelming), although every though you could read it on its own I think you should read the first book for the full effect.

This series has to do with witches and the men that they come across and end up helping. In the last book we went through Serena's journey with Drogan, and were briefly introduced to the main characters in this book, Grayson and Adrianna. This story starts off with Adrianna finding Grayson in the forest near death, and so she helps him to recover, only to realize he is being hunted by the same evil that was hunting Drogan in the previous book. This book documents their journey to find the evil and defeat it while finding themselves pulled to each other even more with every passing day.

The one thing that was strikingly different in this book to the previous was Grayson is motivated by finding out about his past, more specifically about his mother. When he was a child his mother was taken, and he has been bidding his time until he went back to his home and find the answers as to what happened to his mother. I find this to be a nice change, it made the book not just about fighting evil, it keep this book from being repetitive to the previous.

I also think this book had more sexual content in the than the previous, but once again, Grant is very capable at writing the sex scenes, and none of it came off as cheesy. And because it is a historical period book, it was written in a way that was consistent with the time which I appreciate.

Another thing I also appreciated in this book, was that Grant did a great job at keeping the story going. The book kept the reader engaged, as well as introduced a lot of information that kept the plot fresh. She revealed only enough to keep the reader wanting to know more and then held off on more for later. It's because of this that I don't feel like I can talk about the specifics of a lot of the plot, because so much of it leads up to a very spoilerific ending.

Overall, I am going to call this yet another good book by Grant. Her third book is going to be coming out at the end of the month and is going to deal with the character of Cade, and I have to say I am looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy. As with the previous book, I think if you like paranormal romance you will like this book, even if you only like historical romances this would be a good read as well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Donna Grant Interview

Today I am joined by Donna Grant, and later today I will be posting the review for her book Echoes of Magic. This latest book is a part of her Sisters of Magic series and if you haven’t read the first book yet, Shadow Magic, I suggest you read it!

UFR: Thank you for joining us today. I want to start with why you chose to write historical fantasy. I have read many books in epic fantasy with similar tones or fantasy set in modern times, but this was my first real historical fantasy. What drew you to this?
DG: I’ve always loved history, but fantasy and paranormal have always intrigued me as well. There aren’t many historical paranormal writers, and I loved the mix of the two genres. With historical your tied to certain things your characters can and can’t do. With paranormal you aren’t. So, it’s a great mash up for characters.

UFR: When writing this series did you ever find yourself slipping into modern dialect?
DG: Lol. I laugh at this all the time, especially when reviewers say the dialect is too modern when they read a historical. If authors wrote in the dialect that was spoken at the time no one would read it. Yes, we do try to make it as modern as we can, trying our best not to use certain words that are definitely more our time, but we don’t always get it right. Which is why its called fiction. ;)

UFR: Serena (in Shadow Magic) is a delightful mix of delicate and powerful. If you had to pick one thing about her as a character you love what would it be?
DG: Her strength. She soldiers on no matter what. I think it’s a lesson anyone can learn from her character. Fate gave her an pretty awful life and magic gave her an ability no one wanted, yet she makes the best of everything.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Etchings of Power by Terry Simpson

I am rather new to the epic fantasy genre (my husband is a huge fan and has been trying to get me into epic fantasy for years). I wasn't more than 3 chapters in when I knew this would be a book my husband would love. And truth be told by the time the book was finished it was a book I really enjoyed reading, and with any luck all the epic fantasy books I read will be of this quality.

The book takes place in the world of Denestia, which is made up of nations, and nations that not always get along. There world is being threatened, and that means that people who don't always get along or come from different backgrounds have to come together to fight against the enemy, the Shade.

I want to say first about this book that the writing is really good. In general, he was descriptive enough to paint a picture of what was going on but not so much so that the reader couldn't use their own imagination to create their own visuals to accompany. The plot was solid, although it could be mentioned that a lot of books incorporate a enemy that threatens the world, but that does not mean this book is not unique. The thing that makes this book unique is not the general plot like, but the characters within it. They all bring their own personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and personal demons to the reader in a way that allows the reader to empathize with them and create an interesting world and plot to read about.

Ryne is an interesting character while within the book he plays the part of the hero, he is a not a hero that doesn't have a past. Ryne doesn't remember a lot of his path, and often times within the book he has to stop himself from giving into what he refers to as "bloodlust". He often at battle with himself while trying to protect others. I found him interesting from the beginning of the book, from just his physical description alone. He's an 8 foot tall man who is covered in tattoos, tattoos that you find out help to supply him with some of his power.

I also appreciated that the book had a woman character, I'm a girl so I appreciate finding men authors who write women in their books that are more than just the romantic interest and play no real part other than that. Simpson doesn't do that, which I appreciate. Irmina is every bit as capable as the men in the story, and she can hold her own.

Overall, I am going to call this an exciting read. The world building is quite good, and well thought out, the characters vivid and easy to identify with, the plot is interesting. There was seldom a moment while reading this book that I thought it lagged, it kept me engaged the whole way through. I think this book will be a good read for anyone who enjoys epic fantasy books.


Checkout the author's website http://www.terrycsimpson.com/

Monday, December 5, 2011

3479 by Xchyler Conn

This is one of the first short stories I have ever reviewed. I have reviewed a few novellas, but they have all been longer than this story. This story is the beginning of the what I assume is going to be a longer story told down the line.

The basic premise is that there is a girl, Sammie, and she is about the graduate. And the way that there society works is that after you graduate you go through a series of tests, and if you score really well you are sent to war, and if you score mediocre you can go back home, only know one really knows how these tests are judged. Sammie doesn't know how she wants to approach these on coming tests, so she reads the journal of her great-grandfather, who it turns out was the friend of the current king.

The writing within the story isn't bad, although there are points in the story where the same phrases are repeated closely together that it messes with the flow of the story. Also the parts where Sammie is living her life, and the parts that are the journal are not well defined, or separated. So sometimes this leads to confusion as to what you are reading about.

I am not a huge fan of shorter stories, not because the writing isn't good, because I am the kind of person who wants to get lost in a book, or a series, and it's hard to get lost in a story that is short. That being said there is enough here for me to want to know what happens next, so I would like to see what the author has in the way of the next chapter. Although I will say this story ends rather abruptly and I think it could have been a way to end this story with more conclusion as to satisfy the reader better.


Freeblood by Marny Copal

Freeblood, is a rather interesting take on vampires and their servants. In Copal's universe vampires can create Fastbloods, which happens when a mortal drinks from a vampire three time and they become under that vampires control. A Freeblood however is someone who drinks vampire blood, but not the necessary three times from the same vampire. This allows Freebloods the added benefits of speed and healing, but without that pesky compulsion to listen to a vampires orders.

The story centers around Quinn, a seemingly ordinary girl, who watches her friend Jo-Jo get kidnapped. Quinn's cousin Kasey was there at the time and ends up refusing to be left behind while Quinn tries to find her friend. Quinn turns out to be anything but ordinary, and turns out to have had many experiences with the supernatural that she never told Kasey about.

There were a couple of things in this book that for lack of a better word, annoyed me at times. The primary annoyance throughout the book was often how the characters perceived situations and their subsequent actions. Kasey, who has never been exposed to the supernatural, is highly judgemental about things she doesn't understand forces herself into situations she really has no business being in. I realize she is a younger character, and it was probably the intention of the author to have her be a little on the annoying side, and it worked.

Quinn also became a subject of annoyance for me, I often times felt she acted first and thought about her actions only after they resulted in detriment. She has kind of this warped sense of "I'm the only one who can fix things, and I don't need anything from anyone, I can make it on my own", which is fine well and good, except she wasn't alone, and her actions directly affected and harmed other people. That being said, by the time I got to the end of the book, I understood Quinn more and her actions, and those of you who read the book will understand what I mean.

Another characters in the book is Del. He works for the Order, which is basically an organization that tries to police the supernatural community from getting to out of control. Del is not a bad guy, and as the book progresses I did end up liking him, I genuinely think he has the best intentions and does his best to protect his friends as well as serve the Order. I think the Order, and Del often suffer from what I can "black and white" syndrome. Where they only see things one way or the other, either you abide by what they believe or you are wrong and/or evil. They really are lacking in the areas of gray, and in my opinion the world exists in shades of gray, there is seldom a situation that is only black and white. But besides that I think Del was a good character and does pretty right by Quinn.

The book itself is well written, even the characters who annoyed me in various parts of the book are all written quite well. The book is easy to follow along with, filled with action, and generally a good book and read. I think it's possible this book would be acceptable for upper YA audiences, as the episodes of violence aren't horribly gruesome, and there is no real romance and certainly no sex in the book. I think readers of urban fantasy would also enjoy this book, but as mentioned before if you are looking for romance this isn't the book for you. Overall I would say solid book.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fate of the Fallen by Sharron Riddle

Another book about angels has come my way, and I must say I was hooked from the first chapter. This book basically follows a family of brothers and sisters who were born from a Fallen Angel and a Goddess. This book mixes religion/mythology together, but does it in a manner that is enjoyable and doesn't feel contrived. Even though the book follows the family, the books main character is Eva. And boy is Eva a fun character to follow along with.

Eva, and all of her family, work for the DMA, which essentially hunt down and kill demons who have come out of hell and wreck their havoc on earth. Eva and her brother Abaddon are sent to dispatch of one of the largest gatherings on earth that Eva can remember. Eva, while being the youngest is also the strongest, so that is why she is sent with her brother who is the oldest. The demons end up being a part of a plot that would essentially end life as everyone knows it, human, angel, and demon alike. I can't say anything more than that without giving away all the secrets of the book.

Eva is a rather cheeky character, she is sarcastic, a bit girly at some moments, and always says what's on her mind. She is a strong heroine that is to be sure, but she is also not appreciated like she should be by her family, in fact most of her family treat her like she is a pariah and blame her for their mother's death. Even in spite of all of that she shows up when her family calls, although she stands up for herself. She is wildly underestimated by many, but she never lets it get her down, she uses it to her advantage. She is a great character to follow the story along with, and even in moments where there is no action she keeps the reader engaged just through personality alone.

Rahab is another character I want to touch on briefly. You really don't know what to think about him in the beginning, you are made aware that he played some kind of role in the death of one of Eva sisters, and everyone acts like at any moment he is going to strike and kill them all. But as you get to know him he ends up being a surprising and in some regards, quite vulnerable character. But he always has Eva's back, so he's a good guy in my book.

The book bring family dynamics to a whole new meaning. To say this family is dysfunctional would be putting it mildly. They all seem to hide things from each other, lie outright, do basically whatever they want, and then make Eva feel bad for being who she is, when they all have done about a million times worse. At the term "daddy issues" doesn't even begin to explain Eva's issues with her own father.

Overall, I think this is a pretty good book, there is a little something for everyone. There is romance for the paranormal romance folk. The urban fantasy people will really love the progression of the story as well as Eva as a main character. And for those of you who like a lot of action, this book is not going to disappoint. I sincerely hope this book ends up having a sequel, the ending of this book makes me believe if there was a sequel it would be a pretty entertaining read for sure!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Ghost in the Crystal by Matt Posner

Today is YA day on UFR, two YA reviews in one day. I am not an everyday YA reader, I normally need to be in the right mood for me to read them, and today's earlier review got me in the mood, so I added this book to the mix. I got the distinct feeling early on in this book it was going to have a similar like flare to Harry Potter, which it did.

Now just people you can easily draw similarities between this book and Harry Potter, does not mean this book is is not unique. Religion plays a huge role in this book, as the school the young magicians attend is merged with a school for Jewish studies as well. Due to this there is a lot of Jewish references within the book, that I am not sure I understood completely, but it definitely added for a different flare and feeling for the book.

The book follows Simon, and his group of friends through their first year at the School of the Ages. Simon from very early on in the book is being haunted by a spirit and has no idea what to do about it. To make matters worse every time he tries to talk to anyone about it the spirit prevents him from doing so. Simon gets the feeling this spirit is never going to leave him alone and worse that this spirit is not a friendly spirit.

As will any young 13 year old at a new school, a lot of the children find conflict with each other, so there is a lot of the young drama within this book, although with a magical flare. You spend a lot of the time in this book getting to know the characters in the book, and not just the haunting spirit problem. You learn that Goldberry has a sick mother she cares about and an overbearing father who makes life interesting both at school and at home, and not just for her but also for Simon. One of Simon friends has a crush on another that seemingly is going nowhere, and that creates some interesting situations for the group of friends.

All in all the book was an entertaining read for YA readers, which leads me to the end. I of course do not want to tell you what happened in the ending of the book (it would be too spoilery and serve no review purpose), but I feel like it can't go unmentioned. I have a feeling, especially if you are an adult reading this, you are going to have some kind of reaction to the end of the book. And I do admit to wondering if this ending was even needed or if it is too much. I can honestly say I don't know how I feel about the ending, but you will understand what I mean when you read the ending of the book. I think the ending could make or break this book for certain people.

That being said, I'm going to give this book a good rating. I think it's an interesting way to write a fantasy YA book, and the use of religion within it makes it truly interesting. It also does not force religion on the characters or the reader, some of the characters aren't Jewish and while there is some conflict between the Jewish population and the non-Jewish population, I think the thing to take away from the book is finding a way to accept people who are different than you are. I think this is a good YA read in my opinion.



Check out the website for the series http://schooloftheages.webs.com/

Semester Abroad by Elizabeth Kirke


This was a fun ride from beginning to end, and one of those books that puts together a wide variety of magical creatures in one book. The book starts off with Jen going on a semester aboard a ship, where they visit various different countries and basically immerse the students in local culture. All is going as planned until one night she sees a girl push a guy off the ship, and shocker of all shocker, no one does anything to help the guy. And then when Jen starts to panic, thinking this guy needs a life jacket, they all look at her like she's crazy. She quickly catches on that something more is going on her, and she spends the next few days trying to figure out what is wrong with this group of people she happened to stumble upon.

As it would turn out everyone in the group is some form of "magic" (or magical creature), and the reason why Jen notices the differences of the magics from the non-magics is because Jen is a magic too. This all makes for a lot of information in a not a lot of time. It was confusing for Jen and in parts a little confusing for me as a reader too. I think that is largely in part to the fact that the group is semi-big and explaining all of the details of each of these different creatures abilities is difficult. Thankfully you start to catch on after a couple of chapters.

I really like the wide variety of people and abilities in this book, it makes it a lot more interesting in my opinion, and in the down time, when Jen is just hanging out with the group, she asks a lot of questions. It keeps the reader still interested in the people and in the book itself without requiring there be all action all the time.

I'm not entirely sure if this book is intended YA or not. I actually looked around a little bit online to see if I could find out, but alas, no luck. I think this would make a great YA book, for the older crowd of YA. There isn't any sex in it and while there is violence I don't think it's gratuitous. That being said I still it makes for a good fun read for the average adult urban fantasy reader.

The characters were fun to get to know, and all had very distinctive personalities. I think if I had to pick a favorite it would be TS, the resident werewolf. He just has such a great friendly personality, and I feel like he brought a lot of comfort to the main character Jen throughout the book. Charlie was also a fun character, as a fire elemental, he has strong emotions, and is fierce when protecting the ones he loves.

While I did like the secondary characters, I think Kirke did a good job with Jen. She was completely naive to magic when this whole journey started, but she never acted dumb. She was willing to learn, acknowledging she didn't know everything, and always had a question at the ready, which made it easier for me as a reader to learn the world as well. I also appreciated that Kirke didn't make her some kind of magical savant, she didn't catch onto everything quickly, and I can tell through the series she is going to have a lot of learning to do. I think it is going to be a fun ride watching Jen learn magic throughout the book.

Overall, I think this is a fun read. Like I said early I think this reads as an upper YA book, but I'm a person who is very picky about the YA I enjoy, and this is definitely one I like. It does have some series subject matter (with some violence), but generally speaking its a relaxing fun read. I could easily see myself curls up on the sofa on a rainy day with this book, the perfect escape.


Author Elizabeth Kirke's blog http://elizabeth-kirke.blogspot.com/

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Traitors Daughter by Paula Brandon


I really like the cover for this book, and I have to admit it did attract me, and made me want to find out more about the actual content of the book. The book blurb wasn't the most intriguing blurb I have ever read before but it had enough of pull for me to want to try it out.

Regardless of what I was expecting, this book was not at all my kind of book. To begin it started off kind of bizarrely. It started off with what I assume was suppose to be one part humorous and one part background information that would want the reader to want to know more. I'm not sure it accomplished either. The man it starts out with has built an automaton and this, essentially clone, believes he is superior to the man who built him. He is demanding, short, and arrogant. I think his offhand comments are intended to be humorous, and maybe they would have been if the situation itself hadn't been so confusing.

From there it immediately leaves that scene, which is somewhat jarring, and then turns to what appears to be some kind of political power struggle between families who are always vying for power over each other. My first real bone to pick, is the author is constantly introducing new places and people, and they all have completely unpronounced names, which makes it hard to remember who is who. So by the end of the first chapter, I was decently confused as to what was going on and what was the point of it all.

The writing style in general was fairly unimaginative, and did nothing to really draw me into what was going on. I wish I could give specific reasons as to what with the writing style was not appealing, all I know is that about a quarter of the way through the book, I really wanted to stop reading.

I struggled to find any characters I could really pull for or identify with. Jianna is probably the character who came closest to me liking, but fell short. Jianna is pulled from her sheltered life into a bad situation early on in the book, and in other books where a main character is kidnapped or something similar, I almost always feel myself pulling for that character, this was not the case with Jianna. I mean I felt bad for her, but her reactions were not organic, and because I didn't really believe in the character it was hard for me to want to pull for her or have empathy for her.

Perhaps there is an audience for this book, I suppose it leans more towards sci fi than historical fantasy. Honestly it reads more like a political thriller with bizarre magical elements thrown in for kicks. This is not a book for the urban fantasy fan, nor a book for anyone looking for romance.