Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Banishing the Dark (Arcadia Bell, #4)Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content: Strong Language and more than one sex scene. 

Complicated does not begin to describe Arcadia Bell's life right now: unnatural magical power, another brush with death, and a murderous mother who's not only overbearing but determined to take permanent possession of Cady's body.

3.5 stars. This was the last book in the Arcadia Bell series. I didn't enjoy reading it as much as I did the other books in the series. There were some big coincidences that I thought were really convenient for the story telling, like characters showing up somewhere and discovering an event happens only once a month but they luckily got there at the right time. This happened twice in the book. Also, there were too many people coincidentally living in the same area.

This book also ventured way too close to romance novel territory for me. Too many sex scenes and too much talk of sex for me. Plus Cady constantly thinking about how hot Lon is and lusting after him got old fast. I'm just glad we weren't in Lon's mind too.

Also with the abilities Cady gained I felt like it made things all too easy for her to get out of every situation she was in. There were also certain characters I missed in this book that were not really present, and we are introduced to a new one and I didn't see the need to do that so late in the series.

Mostly I enjoyed this series, especially when it forgot about the hotness of its characters and focused on the family dynamic and what they really meant to each other.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Binding the Shadows (Arcadia Bell, #3)Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content: Strong language and a cheesy bedroom scene.

Renegade mage and bartender Cady Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is coming completely unhinged.

This is the third book in the Arcadia Bell series and I liked it just as much as the two previous books. The bar is robbed while Cady and Kar-Yee are there by earth bounds who are wielding some extra suped-up powers, so there is the whole mystery to solve there. Then if that wasn't enough, Cady meets Lon's ex-in-laws who are still a big part of Jupe's life, Of course Yvonne (Lon's ex-wife) ends up showing up, and Cady gets asked by Yvonne's mother, Rose to do something unexpected.

The relationships between Cady, Lon, and Jupe continued to grow in this book and I still love the family interactions between them. The biggest negative is that there is a fair amount of swearing in this series. Unless it's constant, I can skim over and ignore most of it, but certain types of swearing I have a harder time ignoring. Swearing with God's name bothers me and this series has a lot of that.

This book ends in a huge cliffhanger and it's after something horrible happens and we find out something important, but - at least for me - not surprising. Needless to say I started the next book immediately.

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Ace of Skulls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #4)The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Some strong language.

They've been shot down, set up, double-crossed and ripped off. They've stolen priceless treasures, destroyed a ten-thousand-year-old Azryx city and sort-of-accidentally blew up the son of the Archduke. Now they've gone and started a civil war. This time, they're really in trouble.

This is the last book in the Tales of the Ketty Jay series. Overall this book pretty much lived up to my expectations, although I do feel like some characters didn't live up to their potential. Jez in particular became less likable to me and I can't say that I really liked the way her story ended, although I was not surprised. I just feel like there was wasted potential there. Frey annoyed me a bit with his obsession over Trinica, although I understood the root of it and what it meant to him personally to win her back. I did like his story arch overall (the man who sets out to redeem himself after being a huge jerk and a womanizer). He learned some things and that was good, but I don't feel like he learned enough. Did he ever feel badly about the way he treated anyone else? I'm not sure, but he ended up better than he was before and that was good.

Mostly I enjoyed reading about these characters and their adventures. They were all flawed, but for the most part they were engaging. There was some humor that I appreciated as well, especially in book three. I recommend this series if you are looking for some light fantasy adventure with a steampunk flare to it.

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Long Lost (Kate Burkholder, #4.5)Long Lost by Linda Castillo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Mystery
Content: Strong language and sex is implied.

This is a short story set between books 4 and 5 of the Kate Burkholder series. Kate and John decide to take a couple of days off and head to a B and B for a romantic getaway. Of course we all know that things aren't going to go quite as planned. Kate and John learn about the mysterious disappearance 22 years ago of one of the B and B's guests, and though they are both resolute about leaving it be and enjoying their time off, they just can't help themselves and eventually begin to investigate. I enjoyed the story, but I did figure the mystery out right away, and I'm pretty sure the police would have too, instead of it going cold for 22 years. Of course one of the characters in the book does call the local police a bunch of Barney Fifes so there is that.

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire #1)The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy

Unfortunately this is going to be a DNF. I'm about 40% in and gosh, it's so boring. I liked the idea behind the story, but nothing has happened. There's a lot of talk, political machinations - or talk of it - and I just don't care about any of the characters. Thanks to NetGalley for sending me a copy of this to review.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Kind Worth KillingThe Kind Worth Killing by Peter  Swanson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Content: Strong language

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife, Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing.

The Kind Worth Killing is a mystery/thriller that is different from anything I've read before. I don't even know if I should call it a mystery because, to be honest there really wasn't much mystery involved. There wasn't much wondering about who did what because we are inside the heads of each of the characters, and the small mysteries that did exist were pretty obvious to me. It starts out a lot like Strangers on a Train, which is what drew me to the book in the first place, but it ended up disappointing me, especially after a certain person was killed, which I must add, surprised me because it happened so early in the book.

I don't tend to like reading books where there are no real likable characters in them, but I went into this one knowing that would be the case and I was ok with it. In the beginning, I thought Lily was pretty clever but she eventually gets sloppy. There were mistakes she made that I thought were not consistent with what her character would have done earlier in the story.

I think overall the author had some interesting ideas and I like the way the story shows how even the best laid plans can go awry, especially when it's a murder that's being planned. The ending was ok. It was a little unclear, but at the same time it seems like we know how things will end up.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

The Emperor's Soul -September's Fantasy Book Club Book

Our book for book club this month was The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson. This is a book that I've been wanting to read for a long time, so I was really happy that it got chosen.

The Emperor's SoulThe Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Content: Clean

Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead.

The Emperor's Soul is set in the the same world as Elantris, but has no other relation to that book. I have to say, this novella really impressed me. Sanderson's magic systems are always wonderfully imaginative and this one was no exception. There is so much brilliance packed into this little story. I absolutely love reading Sanderson's novellas. Because there isn't room for a lot of filler, they do not get as wordy as his full length novels and I like that.

“No person was one single emotion; no person had only one desire. They had many, and usually those desires conflicted with one another like two rosebushes fighting for the same patch of ground.”

Shai's undertaking of forging the emperor's soul provided a wonderfully layered story that was thought provoking. All the many facets of a personality and what makes a person a unique individual; the way Shai is so perceptive of those around her; and in the end her true work of art were things that I loved about this book. This is one of the best books I've read this year. Sanderson created a true masterpiece.

“He found himself weeping.

Not for the future or for the emperor. These were the tears of a man who saw before himself a masterpiece. True art was more than beauty; it was more than technique. It was not just imitation.

It was boldness, it was contrast, it was subtlety.”

And we soul stamped the refreshments :)

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