Friday, 27 February 2015

Night Shift

Night Shift (Kate Daniels, #6.5; SPI Files, # 0.5; Psy-Changeling, #12.5)

Night Shift is a series of short stories by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin and Milla Vane.

Secrets at Midnight by Nalini Singh
As the scent of Bastien Smith's elusive lover ignites a possessiveness in him that's as feral as it is ecstatic.  And now that he's found his mate, he'll do anything to keep her.

Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews
When people start going missing, shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire must uncover the truth about the mysterious creatures responsible.

The Beast of Blackmoor by Milla Vane
A warrior princess must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people.  But she quickly discovers that the beast isn't a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself.

Lucky Charms By Lisa Shearin
It's seer Makeena Frazier first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations, and her first assignment is more than she bargained for when bodyguard duty for a leprechaun prince's bachelor party goes every which way but right.

The Breakdown:
1. So I will give a review for each story. First up, Secrets at Midnight, which is a novella in Singh's Psy-Changling universe.  This was one of the reason I picked up this book.  Bastien is the brother of Mercy, from Branded by Fire, and he has found his mate, who has quite the interesting scent.  It was a quick read, but fit nicely into the universe.  I liked both Batien and Kirby.  Both were fun and passionate, and there was good chemistry between the pages.  I think my favorite part was when Kirby and Mercy meet for the first time.  I could just tell they were going to get along great.  Worth the read for this series.

2. Andrews' Magic Steals is from the Kate Daniels' universe and is the second novella about Dali and Jim, and is the other reason I picked up this book.  This one takes place during the events of Magic Rises. I really love the character of Dali, she is quirky and kind, and so loyal to her community and heritage.  It is amazing to see how well she and Jim work together, and I hope that they get more stories, and maybe even a full length novel like Andrea and Raphael got.

3. Vane's story was one the one I liked the least of the collection.  Its setting alone made not fit in well with the other stories.  Her characters were not very likable to me.  Mala being very full of her abilities and appearing to have no insecurities to relate to.  Kavik being a battle roughen warrior, who has faith in nothing, and hurts the thing he loves the most in order not to be tamed.

4.  I very much enjoyed Shearin's contribution to the collection.  Makeena, Mac, was fun and awkward at times.  Ian was street smart ex-NYPD partner, who definitely had serious moments of hotness. Plus, I love the Russian werewolf, Yasha, sense of humor.  I am putting the rest of this series on my to read list.

To Read or Not Read:
If you are a fan of Signh, Andrews, or Shearin, definitely read their stories.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

City of Savages

City of Savages

Debut author Lee Kelly's City of Savages is a post-apocalyptic war tale.

It's been nearly two decades since the Red Allies first attacked New York, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp, ruled by Warden Rolladin and her brutal, impulsive warlords.  For 17-year-old Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city's borders.  But for Sky's 16-year-old sister, Phee, the P.O.W. camp is a dangerous playground of possibility, and the only home she'd ever want.

When Sky and Phee discover their mom's hidden journal from the outbreak of the war, they both realize there's more to Manhattan- and their mother- than either of them ever imagined.  And after a group of strangers arrives at the annual P.O.W. census, the girls begin to uncover the island's long-kept secrets.  The strangers hail from England,a country supposedly destroyed by the Red Allies, and Rolladin's lies about Manhattan's captivity begin to unravel.

Hungry for the truth, the sisters set a series  of events in motion that ends in the death of one of Rolladin's guards.  Now they're outlaws, forced to join the strange Englishmen on an escape mission through Manhattan.  Their fight takes them into the subways haunted by cannibals, into the arms of a sadistic cult the city's Meatpacking District, and through the pages of their mom's old journal, into the island's dark and shocking past.  Sky and Phee are dependent on each other, and their ragged posse for survival, but as their feelings grow toward the handsome English bot Ryder, love and jealousy threaten to break them apart.

The Breakdown:
1. So excited to win a signed copy of this book from That Artsy Reader Girl's blog.  You can pretty much never go wrong with a post-apocalyptic setting for a book. Although the whole war with the Red Allies remind me a lot of the movie Red Dawn, I liked that the war was there, but more of we know it is happening, not a clear and present thing in the book.

2. Not going to lie, I much preferred Sky's chapters to Phee's chapters.  I just identified better with Sky's character.  She loved to read and learn, and she thought about things before acting. More than once, her ideas would have kept her and Phee out of trouble, but Phee ignores her.  Phee is impulsive, and often is too quick to dismiss Sky's worries that are totally valid.

3. I found that this was an interesting twist on most love triangles you see in YA fiction.  Being two girls, sisters at that, chasing one boy.  For me, was pretty obvious that Sky and Ryder belonged together. They just had so much more in common with each other. Phee just seems to be forcing something that is not there with Ryder.

4. Lee definitely has some interesting groups in around this Manhattan with warlords, crazy cults, and cannibals, there is never a dull moment. Then there is the added bonus of getting to see how the attack happened and the immediate aftermath in their mother's journal.  I thought the ending was very appropriate for the book.

To Read or Not to Read:

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Red Queen

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Debut author Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen is the first book of the trilogy of the same name.

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17 year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the center of those she hates the most.  She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own.  One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game.  And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

The Breakdown:
1. I loved this book from the first page.  There was a lot of buzz about this debut book, and boy did it live up to the hype. Aveyard has done an amazing job in both world building and character building in this book.  The country has such a huge difference between the haves and the have nots, not only in their jobs and money, but right down to their blood color.  Then there is the fact that Aveyard creates some many layers to her characters in this book, not just Mare, Cal, and Maven, but the supporting characters are so well done.

2. Mare's character is fantastic.  She is street smart, but it is easy to see she is out of her element in the palace.  She is loving and loyal to her family, despite the fact that they don't always get her, and even when she has access to all that the Silver's have, she still miss being with her family.

3. Oh my the two princes to compete over Mare's affections.  I was immediately drawn to Cal from the first moment Mare meet him.  There is something warm and kind about him, even though he does have a very hard military side to him.  Then there is Maven, who is more reserved, but he has moments of kindness toward Mare that made me like him.  I was very interesting to watch how their relationships played out, and not going to lie, some of it left me very shocked.

4.  It is easy to why George R.R. Martin was one of Aveyard's inspirational writers, she was not afraid to kill off characters.  I am still in shock over a couple of deaths in this book.  Oh, and the tag line: Power is a dangerous game, never was a tagline more true than with this book.  It truly was a game, and not all the players knew that they were playing, and some kept which side they were playing for very well hidden. I was riveted to the pages of this book, and I was more than a little sad to see it end.  Even more so when I know I will have to wait a year for the next.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read!!!

Friday, 20 February 2015


Ignite (Defy, #2)

Sara B. Larson's Ignite is the second book of her Defy series.

Alexa remains by the newly crowned King Damian's side as his guard, ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion's people, despite continuing to harbor secret love for him.  However, when another threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on their newly forged allies from Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem.  With the fate of her nation hanging in the balance once again, will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy-- before it's too late?

The Breakdown:
1. This was a quick, action packed read for me.  Larson keeps me on my toes through out the book trying to guess who is doing the plotting and what the end game is. There are so many secrets in this book that I am loved seeing them revealed, and dying to know more about the ones that are out there still.

2. I find Alexa a fascinating character.  She spent the majority of her life hiding who she really is, and it is easy to see that now that everyone knows her secret that she struggles with how to deal with it, and her feelings for Damian.

3.  The downside to the book being such a quick read is that it left me wanting so much more.  I have some many questions at the end of the book.  Why does Armando what the war between Antion and Blevon?  What is Blevon secret to not having Dark Magic sorcerers?  And most importantly, why does Armando what Alexa so bad? I cannot wait for the next book.

To Read or Not to Read:

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)

The Blood of Olympus is the final book in Rick Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus series.

Though the Greek and Roman crew members of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea.  Her giants have risen- all of them- and they're stronger than ever.  They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens.  She needs their blood- the blood of Olympus- in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood.  The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance.  Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it " might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east.  The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless.  How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option.  They have sacrificed too much already.  And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

The Breakdown:
1. I love this series, and its predecessor, Percy Jackson and the Olympians.  Riordan keeps the book full of action and adventure.  It is a hard book to put down because I was dying to see how it all would end.

2.  I like that Riordan split the book between following the crew of Argo II, and the ones taking he Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half Blood.  It add twice the amount of adventure and suspense of who and how they would succeed.

3.  I really enjoyed both Reyna and Nico's chapters the most. I loved getting to know their personalities.  I really came to like Reyna, which was a surprise for me.  I was not a big fan of her in the earlier books, but as I got to know her better, I found I really enjoyed her chapters.  Plus the scene that made me laugh the most was at the end when Nico tells Percy that he used to have a crush on him, but was over it because Percy was not really his type.  The way Nico told it, and Percy's reaction was absolutely fantastic.

4. I have to admit that the character I really hated the most was not Gaea or any of the giants, but rather it was Octavian.  Gaea and the giants made no pretense about their goals, but Octavian on the other hand was really using the Roman legion to raise himself to be a hero.  He lied about his visions to them to gain power, and was an overall jerk about many things.

5. I very much enjoyed the way that Riordan ended the series.  It all worked so well.  And I think I owe Riordan a bit of thanks because of these books when I play trivia I am a master of Greek mythology questions.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Waistcoats & Weaponry

Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School, #3)

Waistcoats & Weaponry is the third book of the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger.

Sophronia continues second year of finishing school in style -- with a steel bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and charming Lord Felix Mersey hijack a suspiciously empty train to return their chum Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland.  But when Sophronia discovers they are being trailed by dirigible of Picklemen and flyawaymen, she unearths a plot that threatens to throw all of London in choas.  With her friends in mortal danger, Sophronia must sacrifice what she holds most dear-- her freedom.

The Breakdown:
1.  I love that this series really does a great job of being fun to read and having the intrigue of a spy game to it.  Carriger is doing that, plus she is setting up the events that lead to the reason for things in her Parasol Protectorate series.  She ties them together so well without being over bearing about it.

2. I simply adore Sophronia.  She is smart, creative, and loyal, all things that make a strong heroine in my opinion.  She keeps her wits about her, even in the most dire of situations.  I love that she still has a big heart, even when being trained in the art of espionage.  She goes to such lengths to help her friends, even if she is not in total support of their plans.

3.  As far as her love life, I am fully on Team Soap.  I don't care that is a sootie, he is totally right for her.  He loves her, and would not try to stop her from her work.  Plus he is way more trust worthy than Felix, with his dubious ties to the Picklemen.

4. Carriger is killing me with the ending.  I can hardly wait to see how everything will turn out for Sophronia in the end, because the next book is suppose to be the last in the series.

To Read or Not to Read:

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Die Again

Die Again (Rizzoli & Isles, #11)

Die Again by Tess Gerritsen is the latest of her Rizzoli & Isles series.

Boston Detective Jane Rizzoli is on the case of a bug game hunter found dead in his apartment, alone with a body of a beautiful white snow leopard her had recently been commissioned to procure and stuff for a high-profile museum in the area.  Medical examiner Maura Isles connects the case to a number of seemingly unrelated deaths where the victims have all been found hanging upside down, the hallmark of a leopard's kill.  Rizzoli follows the puzzling trail of clues all the way to Botswana, where she uncovers the unsolved mystery of a deadly camping safari four years prior.  When she realizes the two cases are connected, Rizzoli must track down the sole survivor of the tragic trip to discover who- or what- is behind these gruesome deaths.

The Breakdown:
1.  Sometimes I need a good murder mystery to keep me on my toes, and Gerristen does an excellent job of it in Die Again.  She bounce the story between the current murders in Boston and Rizzoli's case, and the happenings six years ago in Botswana.  She definitely kept me guessing both on why and the who during the story.

2.  I love reading and pulling the clues that Gerritsen gives during story together.  I really enjoy seeing when Rizzoli puts it all to together at the end.  She knows how to write a good mystery and keep me turning the pages wanting to know more with each chapter.

3.  One of the things I enjoy about these books is the relationships she has built in them.  The one between Rizzoli and Isles, both a little awkward, not quite knowing how to deal with a close girl friend.  Still they are loyal to each other, especially Rizzoli.  The relationship between Rizzoli and her husband Agent Gabriel Dean, both seems very in love with the other, and they always have each others backs in a pinch. I think the relationships she is able to bring into these mysteries really help me to identify with her main characters.

To Read or Not to Read:

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles, #3)

Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole is the latest book in her Arcana Chronicles.

Heartbreaking decisions
Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her- until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, the Lovers.  She will do anything to save him, even escape Death's uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts...and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory
Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on the Lovers.  Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying.  Evie doesn't know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana- or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Tow heroes returned
There's a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn't know where she stands with either Jack or Death.  Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first...?

The Breakdown:
1. I am a big fan of Cole, read all her books.  I enjoy her writing styles, and her strong female characters.  Women that can hold their own against the boys, and sometimes are the ones that save the day.  It is no different in her Arcana Chronicles.  Evie is obviously one of the most powerful Arcana.  Despite the fact she could easily crush her allies, she has a big heart, and is determined not to be the ruthless Red Witch of the past games.

2.  I love that Cole runs a long game in her series.  Each book building to her crescendo, and keeps me so engaged in the story that I can't wait for the next book when I finish this one.  I love that she continues to peel back layers to each Arcana both their power and purpose in the game.  The introduction of each new Arcana brings in both surprises from Evie's past and new strategies to the game.

3.  The quest of Evie, Jack, and Death made for quite interesting reading.  Both Jack and Death doing all they can to win Evie and get her to pick them.  The grudging respect that Death and Jack develop for each other.  I thoroughly enjoyed Jack and Death getting drunk together.

4. Cole is killing me with that ending!  The things she reveals, the consequences of Evie's choice, and Arcana revealed at the end.  I can't believe that the next book does not even have a title, yet.  Although, rumor is that it will be the last book of the series, so I can't wait to see how Cole ends things.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Exquisite Captive

Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle, #1)

Exquisite Captive is the first book of Heather Demetrios' Dark Caravan Cycle.

Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved.  Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she's now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters' every command.  She's give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle. 

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna's revolution and Nalia's sworn enemy.  He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother- all for an unbearably high price.  Nalia's not sure she can trust him, but Raif's her only hope of escape.  With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia.  There's just one catch: for Raif's unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle... and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him.  Battling a dark past and harboring  a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

The Breakdown:
1. I won an autographed copy of this book on the Blogger Caravan for its release back in December, and was super excited to read it.  Demetrios has quite an interesting take on the world building of Arjinna, which is all done through the memories of Nalia and Raif, instead on being directly in the world.  While I enjoyed the memories, they did slow the story down at times.

2.  I liked that her characters were an interesting mix of hard and soft, from Nalia to Raif, even Malek had moments of tenderness.  Demetrios was able to balance these characters so well.  For me, that balance really made Nalia and Raif likable characters.

3. I really liked Nalia.  She was not exactly what I expected when I read the description.  While a trained warrior in her home world, she seem to be different from the other warriors in her memories. She had a big heart, and she learned to care deeply for those around her. I adored her devotion to her brother, whom most assumed she would have nothing to do with.

4.  Raif reminded me a little of an M&M, with his hard outer shell, but soft sweet inside.  He is a capable leader of his rebels, but underneath he wants more to life than war.  The way he is with is sister is the first glimpse of soft soul.  Once he gets to know Nalia, it is amazing the lengths he goes to to protect her, even when he knows what is she and how their past puts them at odds.

5.  I enjoyed the many secrets that all the characters have.  Demetrios does a great job of revealing their secrets in perfect timing in the book.  From Malek's heritage to Nalia's shame, all fit so well into the story, and I think will have interesting consequences in the rest of the series.  Plus that ending is going to make things really interesting in the next book.

To Read or Not to Read: