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

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis , 304 pages, 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, 288 pages, 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, 376 pages, 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., 324 pages, 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, 231 pages, 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, 337 pages, 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, 409 pages, 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., 584 pages, 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, 162 pages, 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.

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

Graceling by Kristin Cashore, 471 pages, read by Kira, on 05/16/2012

Great Read! this was recommended by Angie & Courtney a while back, so glad I finally picked it up.  Katsa has a special talent, the talent to kill.  Then she meets Po, also “graced” with the ability to fight.  Join Katsa as she travels across the 5 lands and learns more about her grace and the world and its possibilities.

29. May 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Romance · Tags:

Second grave on the lef by Darynda Jones, 307 pages, read by Kira, on 05/25/2012

  2nd book in the series, where more family background is explained.  Interesting series.  Am waiting for the third book on CD.

29. May 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Romance · Tags:

First grave on the right by Darynda Jones. by Darynda Jones, 310 pages, read by Kira, on 05/07/2012

Protagonist is a Grim Reaper (yep something different from the vampires, werewolves, etc).  She can talk to the dead who haven’t crossed over yet, which is very helpful in her PI work.  She also has a love interest with supernatural powers (to say the least).  The BCD received great reviews (though I didn’t care for the audio narrator’s voice for the main character).  What the review didn’t mention was just how spicy some of the scenes are. 

25. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Tammy · Tags: , ,

Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody, 356 pages, read by Tammy, on 04/23/2012

This new mystery author weaves a cozy mystery around a strong female protagonist left widowed after WWI and set in the British countryside of a wool mill town. Kate Shackleton agrees to help a friend from the war days find out what happened to her father before the friend’s wedding day. Kate hopes to find the father alive so he can walk his daughter down the aisle, but warns her friend the truth may be much more unpleasant.

21. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Short Stories · Tags:

Faery tales & nightmares by Marr, Melissa , 418 pages, read by Kira, on 03/19/2012

Faery tales and nightmaresWell you really ought to read this after you finish the last in the Wicked Lovely Series….because it finishes or picks up individual tales/plotlines from the various protagonists in that series, as well as having a couple of other short stories unrelated to the Wicked Lovely series.  The first one I read, about Donia & Keenan was a little fluffy with Not much happening, but I did enjoy hearing more about Irial and Niall – though, I am bored to tears with Leslie, please give her a rest.  The story The Sleeping Girl was in some ways a redo or Wicked Lovely, but in other ways it was fresh.  I didn’t like the vampire story Transition, it was a bit too much negative deja vu (and gross).  I liked the Selchie tale, it had an interesting twist.

02. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, 418 pages, read by Kira, on 02/20/2012

Daughter of Smoke and BoneI have really enjoyed, well some of her work, [Lips Touch:Times Three had some depressing endings] Blackbringer & then the sequel Silksinger, were really refreshing great new fantasy worlds FRESH.  And Daughter of Smoke and Bone is FRESH as well, but a new world, set partly in Prague (a place I romanticize and would like to visit).  Its an entirely new world this Smoke and Bone place or well a couple of worlds.   There’s a certain O Henry “Gift of the Magi”esque twist in this book (but it wasn’t as obnoxious as the Gift one).  I can’t wait to see where this new series takes us.  And it looks like Paramount Pics has bid in the range of $700,000 for this recently released book – hot dog!

22. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Kira · Tags: , , , ,

Clockwork Prince by Clare, Cassandra., 424 pages, read by Kira, on 02/17/2012

City of Fallen AngelsThe saga of Clary and Simon and Jace and the rest continues.  Its nice to be back with the characters themselves.  Its nice to see Simon grow.   However, the book drags toward the end and reads starts to read like a romance.  Well my definition of a romance, where the protagonists are TOO STUPID to communicate and take risks with the person they like.  Well, here the protagonists’ behavior is too stupid to believe.  They continually run off without letting anyone else know – have you ever heard of teamwork?  You have characters leaving their beloved (brother, s.o., friend, etc) a character filled with self-loathing and suicidal thoughts on the top of the rooftop with a corpse – seriously?

Then the book ends in a cliff-hanger, well it seems more like the start of another book, like a teaser, but that could have been more clearly stated.

08. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags: ,

Killing Rites: Book Four of the Black Sun's Daughter by Hanover, M. L. N., 367 pages, read by Kira, on 02/04/2012


Killing Rites
In this fourth book, Jayne (Zhanay) figures out that she is possessed by a demon, and decides to get it exorcised. All does Not go well with the exorcism as Hanover never takes the obvious plotline.  You get a little more information about who the demon is possessing Jayne, but Not much beyond the demons name, Sonnenrad.  More blurring between the lines of good and evil, as you’d expect.

26. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Vicious Grace by Hanover, M.L.N., 367 pages, read by Kira, on 01/16/2012

viscious graceGot Darkness?  well M.L.N. Hanover kicks it up a level, further blurring the line between good and evil, as Jayné (Zhanay) discovers more about her uncle’s legacy and his past.  The solutions to containing evil become grimmer.  Jayné and her troupe discover a powerful evil demon breaking loose under Grace Memorial Hospital.  Their pursuit of this evil reveals more then any of them bargained for.

26. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Darker Angels by Hanover, M.L.N., 360 pages, read by Kira, on 01/10/2012

Darker AngelsHanover, M. L. N. continues the story of demon-hunter Jayne (Zhanay), as she sorts out problems among the demon-possessed in New Orleans – yep, the real voodoo in this town is based on a demon possessing a line of family members all the way back to the Great Madame Laveau – and what this power means to the disposed of the city.  The line between good and evil gets murkier in this second in the series “Daughter of the Black Sun”.  I like the way Hanover ties in “real” occult figures from the past and weaves them in for the backdrop of this series.  Jayne is a kick-butt heroine (aka strong female protagonist).

19. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Chime by Billingsley, Franny, 361 pages, read by Kira, on 01/11/2012

Lush and lyrical story our protagonist, Briony discerns the lies and truth of her own identity and of her family.  Strong female protagonist.  Can’t wait to read more by this author.