Saturday, May 27, 2017

Inherit the Stars (Inherit the Stars, #1)Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Space Opera

LOVE AND LOYALTY. As the youngest daughter of the House of Fane, Asa lives every day of her life in honor of both, for herself and her people.

Asa Fane is desperate to save her oldest sister, heir to the family empire, who is in a coma after an accident. So desperate that she secretly takes her other sister's place in an arranged marriage. Little does she know the consequences of her actions will result in her finding out a secret about herself that could ruin the alliance and any chance her planet has of getting the food they so desperately need.

I liked this book. I can see why some people wouldn't as it is light on the space adventure and focuses more on politics and relationships, and it's even lighter on those than it could have been. I just really enjoyed reading it anyway. I think the one thing that really bothered me about this book was the fragmented writing style.

I liked the characters and the slow build up of the relationship between Asa and Eagle. I thought their romance was rather sweet. Asa is 16 and impulsive. She doesn't always think her actions through. I could have found her annoying because of this, but I liked her anyway. She is fiercely loyal to those she cares about and I thought she was very brave.

Inherit the Stars was a quick, easy read and a nice break from heavier novels. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cold Days (The Dresden Files, #14)Cold Days by Jim Butcher

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy

***This review contains a spoiler for the previous book in the series*** 

Beset by enemies new and old, Harry must gather his friends and allies, prevent the annihilation of countless innocents, and find a way out of his eternal subservience before his newfound powers claim the only thing he has left to call his own…

As usual for a Dresden book Cold Days has some surprising twists. I'm not sure how I feel about all of them. This one did seem to drag on at the end. It was still highly enjoyable even with my little complaints, but I guess I was expecting more character and relationship development in this one than we got. Especially since the last book Harry went around as a ghost and everyone thought he was dead. I understand that a book series needs to have things shaken up from time to time to keep it fresh, but I can't help missing the sub-basement, Mister the cat, and even the blue beetle. For me, they had just become staples of a Dresden book. Can you tell I don't deal well with changes?

That being said, I am not opposed to all of the changes and will even, I'm sure, get used to the ones I don't particularly like. It will just take time. Maybe I'm feeling exactly the way Harry does. I guess I was just expecting to be over it by now and to have moved on more. I would also have liked more progress in the over-arching plot. This was one of my least favorites of the series, but it still wasn't bad.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Fine Gentleman (The Jonquil Brothers #4)A Fine Gentleman by Sarah M. Eden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Historical Romance

London barrister Jason Jonquil has spent his entire life working to establish his identity as a gentleman, a man of refinement like his father and brothers. But when fiery Spanish beauty Mariposa Thornton walks into his office, he finds himself losing his grasp on his dignified character.

A Fine Gentleman is the latest book in the Jonquil Brothers series. This one is about Jason, the twin brother of Corbin who was featured in the last book. This one takes place simultaneously with the last book and there are a few brief over-lapping events that I enjoyed revisiting from Jason's point of view. I also really liked getting to visit with Phillip and Sorrel in this book, and there was more time spent with them than I thought there would be.

In the beginning Mariposa really annoyed me and I thought the act she was putting on was really unnecessary, especially after she had secured Jason's services, why keep insulting him? I never thought Jason had anything to apologize for concerning that part of the book. For a while there I wasn't expecting to like this book much at all. I thought it would be my least favorite of the whole series, but as soon as Mariposa dropped the act she began to grow on me and I ended up liking this book quite a lot.

One thing I really appreciated about this book is there were very few contrived misunderstandings between Jason and Mariposa. Sure there were some during the time Mariposa was acting, but that was a little different. Notice I said very few, as in there was still a little bit of that. There were a couple of times when Jason acted pretty silly over getting close to Mariposa and his developing feelings for her, but it was not too annoying. Anyway it was a nice change from all the other books in this series that seemed to include a lot of that sort of thing. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series and if I had to guess I would say it will be about Stanley who is off in the war and whom everyone was worried about in this book.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Covenant Communications for giving me a copy of this book.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance

When I picked up A Discovery of Witches I was hoping for a good, non-cheesy paranormal romance (yes those do exist) I enjoyed the whole mythology of the story. I thought it was interesting the way vampires were tied to wolves in behavior, but mostly I thought this book was disappointing, and also annoying.

For me this book kind of broke down into three parts. First there is the whole historian aspect. While we are in this part of the book the lead female, Diana spends most of her time researching old manuscripts. When she isn't doing that she's running, rowing, and doing yoga. She pretends she isn't a witch and doesn't practice witchcraft because of some things that happened in her past, except of course when she wants to get a book off the shelf, which didn’t make much sense. Mostly this part of the book is ok except there are way too many details that could have been edited out of the story.

The major complaints I have about this part of the book would be first, the yoga scene. Yes, the Vampire in this book takes his lady friend on a yoga date. Imagine it, a whole room full of vampires, witches and daemons...doing Rocket Man. This was not meant to be funny. I'm sure I will giggle to myself and shake my head anytime I hear the song Rocket Man from now on. After that scene I honestly wasn't sure if I could take the book seriously.

Second, the other complaint would be that Diana throws on drab clothing and doesn't bother with makeup, then has the annoying habit of thinking about how plain and unattractive she is. There is one point when she looks in the mirror and notes how much she looks like her mother and then wonders how her mother got her pale eyebrows and lashes to stand out. Well Diana, it's called makeup, surely you’ve heard of it? If a woman is perfectly happy with herself without makeup and dressed in drab clothing, that's fine with me. Just don't do those things and then complain about the result.

When we get to the second part of the book we have the vampire history and lore. We are whisked away to another place and it almost feels like another time because it's so isolated. I have a slight issue with the consistency of the main character in this part of the book. The main character is no longer into running, rowing, and yoga. I get that rowing is out of the question because of where they are, but she doesn't even seem to think about it or miss it, not the running either. In fact she doesn't do those two things for the whole rest of the book, and barely any yoga either. It just seemed to be such a big part of who she was in the first part of the book. Instead now she is suddenly a horsewoman. I wouldn't have a problem with this if it had been mentioned before as part of who she was.

I did begin to enjoy the book more at this point though, mostly because it was less tedious. I enjoyed the glimpses into the past lives of some of the characters. A lot of Matthew's history is uncovered here. I wanted to like Matthew, and sometimes I did, but throughout the book he tells Diana what to do, makes decisions for her without telling her, and keeps secrets from her that are relevant to her and to their relationship. He basically treats her like a child. He isn't the only character in this part of the book that does this to her though. There is the housekeeper at his place in France (And by the way, why would a vampire want to spend her whole life being a housekeeper?) that does it too.

***Minor spoiler here. If you don't want to read it skip down to the next paragraph. Matthew and Diana eventually declare their love for each other and make an oath that, in vampire society means they are married. There is a very nice romantic scene that begins and then suddenly I'm sitting here blinking, not believing what I've just read. After getting married and all kinds of foreplay Matthew says they aren’t going to have sex? Did he really just say that? After that whole romantic scene that appears to be leading up to it? I cannot believe any woman would put up with this. None of his excuses or reasons make much sense either. No man in his right mind would do this and it continues this way throughout the whole rest of the book.

When we finally get to what I think of as the third part of the book, we are in America at the house Diana grew up in. This part of the book almost feels like watching an episode of Bewitched or reading Harry Potter with the enchanted house and all the ghosts and spells. I actually liked this section of the book the best. I wish the whole book had been like this. As it is I didn't really think this part matched the tone of the rest of the book. The worst part about this section of the book is that we now get Diana’s aunt also treating her like she is a child. She tells Matthew when they decide to go for a walk outside that Diana needs to put on warmer clothes. She doesn't even tell Diana, she tells Matthew like she's a child and he's her father or something. I mean really, the woman is 36 years old! She doesn't need other people to tell her how to dress or when to eat or when to sleep. This stuff happens constantly in this book. There are times when Diana pushes back over these things, but then we are back to the same behavior all over again. Throughout the book Matthew tells Diana that she is brave, that she is like a lion, that she is willful, but I don't see it. She just lets everyone push her around and tell her what to do. One other nit-picky thing is when we discovered Diana was a horsewoman in the last part of the book, she says it's because she grew up on a farm around horses, but the whole time we are on the farm not one horse is mentioned. I think Diana is just good at what she needs to be good at for whatever is happening in the story.

So to sum it all up, I liked parts of this book, but I thought it was overly long and needed to be edited down. I thought the personality and interests of the main character should have been more consistent throughout the story. It kind of felt like the author wasn't sure what kind of book she wanted it to be as feel of the story seemed to change from one location to the next. Also I'm tired of rude alpha type males in books that think the women they love are helpless and boss them around. I will not be continuing on with this series.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Ghost Story (The Dresden Files,  #13)Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy

***Please note that this review will contain spoilers from the last book in the series.***

To save his friends—and his own soul—Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic...

This one was so good! Ghost Story starts right where Changes left off with Harry roaming around in a place that is between life and death, where he observes his friends and promptly becomes worried for them. The main thing I wanted from this book was to find out who shot Harry in the last one, and of course I also wanted to find out how he was going to be brought back to life, because we all know this isn't the last book in the series, and we can't have The Dresden Files series without Harry. Let's just say I didn't see that explanation coming.

In the last book Harry did a few things that surprised me all on behalf of his daughter and he continued to surprise me in this book as well. Ghost Story in general was a little different from the rest of the series, but I liked it, it really moved me. As always I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

The HistorianThe Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction, Paranormal

Breathtakingly suspenseful and beautifully written...

The search for the truth becomes an adventure of monumental proportions...

A feat of storytelling so rich, so hypnotic, so exciting that it has enthralled readers around the world.

Um, was I reading the right book? Because I got none of that from this story.

While I like books that are rich in historic detail, I found that The Historian had too much of that in it. I began to feel like I was reading a history text book at times. I got really impatient and wanted to have the story move along at a faster pace. For me it seemed like every time the book would pick up pace, it would get bogged down again by another history lesson. The history parts were essential to the book and some of it was interesting, but there was just too much rambling on and on...and on. It was a very long book, over 900 pages. I don't necessarily mind very long books. I've read quite a few of them, but I didn't feel like this one needed to be so long. This book needed more editing for sure.

Another thing I disliked about this book was the fact that every time something exciting started to happen I would get disappointed because it ended all too soon. At one point there were bad guys after two characters and then the point of view switched right in the middle of it. When we get back to the two characters they are somewhere else and no explanation is given to how they got away. It felt like the bad guys in the book were there to just 'mug for the camera' so we wouldn't forget they were there and then leave so we could get back to all the history.

Also the whole reason behind what is going on in the book was ridiculous enough to be funny. I truly cannot believe that is why Professor Rossi was taken and all those mysterious books were given to people.

On the up side, I do think the idea of Dracula being real and alive, and the main character finding out she is descended from him was a good idea. It just should have been way more exciting than this. This was an incredibly boring and disappointing read.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Changes (The Dresden Files, #12)Changes by Jim Butcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.

Susan is back and she has a big surprise for Harry in this one. If you've read the synopsis then you probably already know what it is, but if you haven't I would recommend not reading it so you don't spoil it.

When Jim Butcher titled this one Changes, he wasn't kidding. There were lots of changes, some of which I don't think I was quite ready for. I was shocked by some of the choices Harry made, and although I understand why, I have mixed feelings about them.

As in all of the Dresden books, this one was loaded with action. So much action, that for me I have to sit back and take some deep breaths when it's all finally over. I was stunned by the ending and hoping Jim writes the next book quickly, because it is going to be torture to have to wait a whole year to find out what really happened.

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