30. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: , ,

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman., read by Kira, on 08/30/2013

seraphnaseraphinacover serrafinasrafinaserafina This is a delightful tale set in a world, where both Dragons and Humans are chaffing under the peace treaty they signed 40 years ago.  Before that, they were at war fighting over the dragons’ hunting grounds.

Seraphina is born into this conflicted empire trying to make her way.

 

Fast paced and great atmosphere!  I really enjoyed this book.

26. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: , ,

The Dark Mirror. by Juliet Marillier, read by Kira, on 08/25/2013

the-dark-mirror  Bridei, is taken from his family at age 4 to live with the Pictish druid Briochan, a strict taskmaster.  His education starts at dawn, and ends late into the evening; what he is being educated to be he does Not know, and doesn’t get an answer when he asks.  A fairy infant is left on their doorstep one auspicious night when Briochan is away on travels.bridei__tuala_the_dark_mirror

Bridei names the infant Tuala, and they become close friends.  When Briochan returns, against his better judgement he lets Tuala stay, but makes it clear to her that any mistep, will result in her banishment.

 

This was a very engaging story – {though the first chapter was a little slow}.  I very much enjoyed the tale, and can’t wait to read the next title in the series.

05. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Flight behavior : a novel by Barbara Kingsolver., read by Kira, on 08/03/2013

Barbarflight bwaviora Kingsolver presents an engaging story of a young woman named Delarobia stuck in a hopeless marriage in rural Tenessee.  By getting us to identify with the rural protagonist (or at least see the world through her eyes)  Kingsolver challenges our stereotypes of rural Americans.  By focusing on the plight of the Monarch butterflies, Kingsolver addresses global climate flight beavrioschange (climate weirding) as well asflight behav issues of rural poverty.Kingsolver-photo1  I loved the way she wove together several themes, that all tied together, the sheep, the kinship ties, the weather, web 2.0 the butterflies, etc.

I also LOVED the medium twists and surprises.  I highly recommend this title!

05. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Reviewer, Romance · Tags: , ,

The Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow, read by Kira, on 08/04/2013

Head Librarian, Francesca Barnes, has discovered a treasure cache of sorcery books in a secret room in the sub-basement of the old city library.  When a monster starts attacking cats and then children, she uses the knowledge to track down and kill the beast.

This alerts the evil ones to the growing presence of a new gifted “Golden One” coming into her powers.  Ryan, and his keeper Paul of the Order (the good side), are trying to track down this cache of books.  Since Ryan is half-demon/half man, lacking a soul, he cannot trust himself around women, and especially not around sorceresses.

However, his hdemon's librarianorn-dog handler/keeper Paul takes off on a false lead, because this other woman is good looking and Ryan ends up investigating Chess (Francesca), keeping tabs on her,  rescuing her, and before its too late, he is hooked/imprinted on Francesca.

This book was a quick enjoyable read, nothing taxing or extraordinary.

05. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Reviewer · Tags: , ,

Written in Red. by Anne Bishop, read by Kira, on 08/03/2013

writ redI was tempted to stay home and use a personal day to finish reading this book (but I did NOT), I did end up staying awake late into the night/morning though.

All Things Urban Fantasy said “Written in Red isn’t just the best urban fantasy of the year, it may be one of the best ever.”

It is a captivating tale of a young woman escaping enslavement and finding a new community composed of Others (werewolves, werebears, vampires, medusa, werecrows) aka terra indigenous who live bordering humans, and tolerating them.  The humans come with an attitude of superiority akin to the Europeans confronting the Native Americans, however, in this world the Humans do Not hold the upper hand, just the arrogance.

cs759, names herself, Meg Corbyn – she is a blood prophet or Cassandra Sangue – and is kept locked up to be cut for her prophecies which pay her Controllers big bucks, thus when she escapes they will want her back. written-in-red Great characters, world-building, and fast paced.

 

 

10. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston, read by Kira, on 07/08/2013

winter witch

Morgana’s mother arranges a marriage for her with a drover from a couple villages over in part to keep her away from the suspicious locals and partly because the mother is dying.  Morgana, mute, is not entirely certain what to make of her gentle husband Cai, nor is he certain what he got himself into.  Unbeknownst to them, there is a black witch in town who covets their keep.  Morgana must come into her full witchly powers to save her home and husband.

Beautiful deblue winter witchscriptions of the Welsh landscape, and a love-story form the backdrop for this paranormal tale.  I liked the atmosphere of the book, almost as much of a character as the protagonists.

wintwic

16. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira · Tags: ,

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink, read by Kira, on 05/14/2013

caddie

Tom-boy Caddie Woodlawn, is growing up on the froncaddytier in Wisconsin.

I really empathized with Caddie, when her Mom punished her harshly, but Not her brothers, because “she was a girl and should have known better”.  However, her father punishes the boys.

I liked the fact that when Caddie starts doing more domestic activities, that her brothers follow her, because they’re pals.

 

The author tells more and shows less, leading to a quaint, less accessible read.  The story got better as it progressed.

16. May 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Romance · Tags:

A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant, read by Kira, on 05/06/2013

Grant_Unsittliches-Angebot.inddladyWakend

Booklist: Starred Review!

This was a fun read!  Unlike most romances where the relationship between the two protagonists is plagued by misunderstandings, and self-doubt.  It is also an unusual romance novel in that the woman propositions the man.  Martha, just widowed, needs to conceive an heir, within the next month, or the country estate falls to her rapist brother-in-law.  Martha is a practical do-gooder.  The rake that she hires to “give” her an heir, Theo, was exiled from London to the country by his father, for being a lay-about, money spender.

Both of them learn to be better people, Theo learns to take an interest in his estate, and start caring for people.  Martha learns to let her hair down a bit, and get to know her neighbors as real human beings, Not charity cases.

There is humor and awkward sex.  3 out of 4 hot chilli peppers, as far as spiciness goes.

This book was recommended to me, by experts at the Reader’s Advisory Workshop I attended.

01. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Thriller/Suspense · Tags:

Fallen Rogue by Amy Rench, read by Kira, on 04/30/2013

Harper Kane Olympic Swimmer gets caught up shady government operations, when her microbiologist brother Bobby is killed after he develops a serum that gives people psi-onic powers.  Now the government that funded these experiments wants her dead, and they send in their best op Rome Lucian.  Unfortunately, for the government, Rome realizes something is fishy, and decides to aid Harper.

TFallen Roguehis was a fun quick read.  However, the plotting could be more credible, with less coincidences.  Like why would Bobby be shot, the very day, the very minute, Harper arrives for a visit?

27. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Kim, Science Fiction · Tags: ,

The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston, read by Kim, on 03/26/2013

This was a pretty good little story. Although the ending was predictable, it was different in that the main character, Morgana, cannot speak, so the reader is privy to her thoughts. The middle part of the book is a little drawn out but for the most part it is fast reading.

24. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey , read by Angie, on 03/23/2013

Tess has lived her entire life outside of Dragonswood. She has endured an abusive father and the deaths of her sisters and brothers. Tess has always been drawn to Dragonswood, the sanctuary for fey and dragons on Wilde Isle. This pull gets her in trouble when Lady Adele comes to town looking for witches. Tess is accused and tortured. During torture she names her two best friends, Poppy and Meg. Tess escapes and brings Poppy and Meg with her into hiding. They travel the isle disguised as lepers until they find sanctuary with Garth, a huntsman and keeper of Dragonswood. Garth is mysterious and Tess is drawn to him. Poppy and Tess are both drawn to Dragonswood and eventually find themselves with Fey.

There is a prophecy regarding human, dragon and fey. The blending of the three will bring about a new time. They believe the prophecy refers to the current prince and a half-fey girl. The royal family, the Pendragons, are descendants of dragons, each bearing scales as the mark of their heritage. The fey want to entice Prince Arden to marry one of the half-fey girls and bring about the prophecy.

This is a lovely historical fantasy novel. Janet Lee Carey writes beautifully and makes Wilde Isle and Dragonswood come to life. I love the mix of fiction and myth with the inclusion of parts of the Arthur story and Merlin. I assume that Wilde Isle is an island off England, but independent of that country. Tess is an interesting character. She doesn’t seem like she would be historically accurate, way to independent minded, but she is brave and smart and fallible. I admire the fact that she isn’t a perfect heroine. She betrays her friends, she makes judgments about people and situations, but she always tries to do what is right. I also like the relationship between Garth and Tess. You knew there was something mysterious about him and I enjoyed the way his secret came out. This is a fun book and I will definitely be checking out the other book in this series, Dragon’s Keep.

16. March 2013 · 2 comments · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction · Tags: , ,

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis , read by Angie, on 03/12/2013

Kat Stevenson is bound and determined to save her family, mostly from themselves. She is the youngest of the clan. Her eldest sister Elissa and her middle sister Angeline don’t always see the wisdom of Kat; they are too involved in their own lives and their romances. Elissa is set to marry a horrible old man who killed his first wife (or so the gossips claim) and all because their brother Charles has gambled away the family fortune (what little there was to begin with). Angeline has started dabbling in magic and love spells to comic results. Their poor stepmamma is bound and determined to make good matches for the girls and to make sure no magic occurs. Their mama was a known witch which caused quite the stir as a clergyman’s wife. It turns out Angeline is not the only one to inherit their mother’s talent. Kat too has found she has magical powers and not just witchcraft. She learns her mother and now she is a member of a magical group called The Guardians and they frown on regular witchcraft. Things come to a head at a house party when a highwayman appears, plots are uncovered and secrets revealed.

I must say that Kat is a delight. I really enjoyed her mischief and her relationships with her sisters. As someone who has two sisters I definitely recognized the behaviors of the sisters. They can fight and squabble among themselves, but to the outside world they are a united front. I loved the way Elissa looked down on Kat and just sees her as the baby of the family. I also really appreciated the jealousy between Angeline and Kat regarding the use of magic; very typical sisterly behavior. This is definitely a fun series to watch.

03. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Poison by Bridget Zinn, read by Angie, on 03/02/2013

Kyra is on the run. She tried to assassinate the princess and failed. Kyra is a master of potions and poisons. She had a thriving business with two other potion masters and was best friends with the princess. Then she had a vision of the land dying because of the princess and knew she had to be stopped. Only Kyra failed and now she has to find the princess and make sure she doesn’t destroy their home. She enlists the help of a notorious criminal who gives her a tracking pig. With Rosie’s (the pig) help Kyra must find the princess. Along the way she comes across Fred and his dog Langley and can’t seem to get away from them.

This was a fun, fast read. I love Kyra as a character; she is strong, smart and brave and she is a little stubborn. She is on a mission and nothing is going to stop her. I really enjoyed the romance with Fred. It wasn’t the central plot of the book, but it was nice and fun and they are really cute. I thought the mystery plot with the princess and the criminal Arlo was a good one and intriguing. I also loved the twist of Kyra’s background; I definitely didn’t see that one coming.

This free galley was provided by the publisher on Netgalley.com.

24. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Romance · Tags:

The Mage's Daughter by Lynn Kurland, read by Kira, on 02/21/2013

Mage's Daughter

The adventures of Morgan and Miach continue as they search for the source of the evil  that is flooding the land and then for the means to defeat this evil.  Miach enters the Weger’s tower where Morgan has fled in order to avoid any magic (the tower is a magic sink).  Miach attempts to convince Morgan to join him in the outer world.  Then  they journey to Torr Dorrain to meet with her elven grandparents who thought her dead.  Afterwards Miach attempts to sneak off to take care of nasty evil by himself, sparing others the vile danger.  Morgan hates being left behind, and eventually turns the tables on Miach,  by sneaking off herself to close the well of Gair.  Finally, Miach and Morgan pledge to Not sneak off but to involve their partner.

I really like the value given to libraries in this series.  Almost every castle/fortress has a library, that has access to valuable information, in the form of history or spells, etc.  When Miach bests the evil mage Droch at a challenge he claims his reward as 1 hour free reign in the library.  Another time the 2 sneak over the walls of a fortress, not to steal some jewels or a magic sword, nay, but to gain access to the LIBRARY!swords crossed

19. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Star of the Morning. by Lynn Kurland., read by Kira, on 02/18/2013

star of the morningI am really enjoying Kurland’s books.  Star of the Morning is the first full length novel in the Nine Kingdoms series.  Orphan Morgan has been raised by mercenary bandits, and then left at an education-rich orphanage when her courses start, finishing her education by becoming a warrior extraordinaire.  She hates magic and magicians alike; unfortunately, for her, it appears she has magical abilities, and will be the only person able to wield the Sword of Angesan needed to save the large Kingdom of Neroche from evil.  The king of Neroche and his brother Miach, Archmage disguise themselves as commoners to seek their hero, someone to wield the sword of Angesan against the approaching evil.  The story alternates between Morgan and Miach narrating their respective viewpoints of the tale. Kurlands writing sparkles with subtle humor, for example, when Morgan tells Nine-KingdomsMiach, he aught to obtain a sword so he can defend himself, he replies “Oh, but I might cut myself” playing the innocent reminiscent of the effete landowner Zorro.

I cannot wait to read the rest in the series.  Be forewarned, Kurlands’ other two series time-travelling romances, though interesting, don’t appear to be as well crafted as her Fantasy series of the Nine Kingdoms.

12. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira, Multicultural Fiction · Tags: ,

Their eyes were watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, read by Kira, on 02/10/2013

  Janie a sotheir-eyes-were-watching-god-movieuthern black woman in the 1930s deals with sexism and racism in her search for love and respect.  Hurston weaves poetic descriptions of pear blossoms raining down on Janie, with short sections of magical realism.  Her grandmother had been raised in slavery, and later freed, forces forces young Janie to marry as a young teen, giving Janie what the Grandmother desired in life, Her granny claimed she was doing it out of love, but it seems more out of her own fears.

I thought this would be a difficult read, and though the characters certainly face hardships – they still are able to find love and beauty in the world!

Their Eyes Were Watching God2nie, a So

11. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Perchance to Dream: Theatre Illuminata #2 by Lisa Mantchev, read by Kira, on 02/09/2013

perchance dream  Beatrice Shakespeare Smith’s story continues.  Now free of the Theater, riding in a caravan Bertie and Ariel and her 4 fairy sidekicks search for Nate and for Bertie’s father (with Bertie fending off Ariel’s advances en route).  Bertie is able to write stories in her journal that come true in the real world, but her wishes are fulfilled to the letter of the law, Not the spirit of the request.  So she wishes for a feast, including a large scrumptious wedding cake, ideally the food would show up inside their caravan, but instead they come to a village where a large wedding is taking place, and No they have Not been invited.

I wondered if Matchev would be able to continue the magical storyline, given that the setting changes from the inside of the theater to the larger world outside.  Though the tamber changes, it is a rollicking faster-paced adventure that stays true to the original world.

metal horsesbookreview perchance

31. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: , , ,

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Kira, on 01/27/2013

 

scorpioraces

Some race to win. Others race to survive.

Every November, on the Island of Thisby, riders compete in the Scorpio Races. They attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.
Some riders live.
Others die – because the Water Horses, though fast, are man eating monster horses.

The writing is gorgeous and the island itself seems like a character, Stiefvater creates very atmospheric locations.  There is something here for everyone, adventure, love (NOT ROMANCE), family relationships.  This might be Stiefvaters best yet!

scorpioraces2

31. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Shadow of night by Deborah Harkness., read by Kira, on 01/27/2013

shadow of nightThe adventures of Diana Bishop Royden de Clairmont, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, continue, as she and husband Matthew time travel back to Elizabethan England.  Diana seeks a witch to tutor her, and they also search for the lost book Ashmole 782.

The time period is less friendly to women, and at first, it seemed like Diana was needing to be rescued and taken care of too much, but then, the she would take some risky action that you thought would be problematic, but turned out to be the correct solution, standing up to Mathew on numerous occasions.

 

I enjoyed visiting with historical characters such as Kit Marlowe and Walter Raleigh from the School of Night as well as traveling to Prague and the court of Rudolf II, the holy Roman emperor and king of Bohemia.

I also enjoyed the consequences of time travel showing up in small modern day changes.

 

 

29. May 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Mystery · Tags:

The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley, read by Kira, on 05/18/2012

   I enjoyed Franny Billingsley’s book Chime so much, that I decided to check out her earlier fiction aimed at children.  The protagonist keeps the “folk” at bay in the houses she serves, if she doesn’t she is the first line of defense and suffers intense pain and the possibility of death.  She comes to a new estate where the “folk” are much fiercer than what she is accustomed to.  She is hiding the fact that she is a girl, because “folk keepers” are not supposed to be female.  She discovers other things about herself as she goes along.

Like Chime, the clues to the mystery are all out on display, easy to decipher, IF you know that there is a mystery to be solved, and if you can figure out which is the most important puzzle to solve.

So, you can see that Billingsley has really polished her writing over the years, but the essentials are present in this story.