Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Firewalker by Josephine Angelini

Title: Firewalker
Author: Josephine Angelini
Series: Worldwalker, Book 2
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: 1 September 2015

Worlds divide, magic slays, and love lies in the second book of Josephine Angelini’s The Worldwalker Trilogy.

"You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified."

Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.

Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini!

I raved about the first book in this series, Trial by Fire. It absolutely blew me away and I have been extremely excited for the last year for this book, the second in the series. I'm not sure if this affected my feelings about this book, or if I would have felt the same regardless, but it didn't - quite - live up to my expectations.

**Warning** There will be spoilers and references to events in the first book. It can't be helped. Honestly, it's going to be hard enough to talk about this book without spoiling everything in it. If you haven't yet read Trial by Fire, please check out my review for it.

Because the last book ended with Lily and Rowan world-jumping back to our world at the end of Trial by Fire, I knew I could expect that we would be spending at least some time in our world and I wasn't really looking forward to it. I enjoy being in Lillian's world. It's fascinating and I have been absolutely dying to know why Lillian ended up as tyrannical as she did. This meant that the first quarter of the book was ... well, boring for me. I wasn't into it, and I was could easily put the book down. Added to that, it was obvious what was going to need to happen - the fact that it was being danced around and not being done just frustrated me. Lily never was one to back away from what she knew was right, and I totally understood the break that was needed, the respite from the insanity that they'd come from, but I knew there was still too much to resolve. Lily and Rowan knew it, too.

After that, though, things really started to pick up. I loved that we got some answers - that blew my mind - about questions I'd had, but at the same time Josephine Angelini introduced new questions that I'm so incredibly interested in. I love that Lily doesn't just accept things at face value, she challenges and questions nearly everything, even when it frustrates those that surround her.

Speaking of the people surrounding her, well, things are starting to really build. I love that there aren't any clear answers. That maybe there's not a single person that's right in this, and that Lily has to find her own way, her own answers, and trust herself more than anyone. I love that. It's so nice to see that - even if someone she loves dearly doesn't agree - Lily doesn't shy away from doing what she believes, in her heart, to be right. I love that she still struggles against becoming like Lillian, and realizing that it's so possible because she is Lillian. I love her relationships with the people around her, and her struggles in the power imbalance between the majority of them and her.

What I didn't love so much were a few of the people surrounding her. One, I thought, was forgiven a bit too quickly. Another completely pissed me off. I'm 99% certain that something is going to be revealed to be not quite what we were shown there, but I'm still furious. The treatment, the reaction, the inability to trust....Grrr. I literally put my Kindle down and swore at my book.

That being said, the ending? Oh.My.God. My mouth was hanging open and I'm - once again - dying for the next book in this series. I'd begun to suspect, along with Lily, that things weren't quite the way they'd been portrayed and accepted, but that ending left me salivating for more. I have to see how this resolves itself.

There were some heart-wrenching moments in this book. I had to set the book down multiple times to give myself time to collect myself. There haven't been a lot of books that have been able to affect me so deeply, and I love that this one can.

Grade: B+

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Review: Archangel's Enigma by Nalini Singh

Title: Archangel’s Enigma
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunters, Book 8
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 1 September 2015

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required – those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets, is fascinated by his nature—at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it’s too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows...and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare...

**Disclaimer: I am a HUGE Nalini Singh fangirl. I’ve loved her books since I first discovered Slave to Sensation back in . This means that I tend to love her books, but it also means that I measure each of her books against her other books, so the competition is stiff.

**Spoiler warning: There will be spoilers from the previous 7 books (and various novellas) in this review. If you haven’t read the previous books, please go see my review for Angels’ Pawn and Angels’ Blood

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Title: Dead Heat
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega, Book 4 / Mercy Thompson World, Book 11
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 3 March 2015

The Alpha and Omega novels transport readers into the realm of the werewolf, where Charles Cornick and Anna Latham embody opposite sides of the shifter personality. Now, a pleasure trip drops the couple into the middle of some bad supernatural business…

For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal, as Charles plans to buy Anna a horse for her birthday. Or at least it starts out that way...

Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross-fire.

The last several months have been life-changing for me. First, I got engaged. Then I moved across country (Wisconsin to Washington state). Then I was looking for a new job, while assisting the transition remotely for my old job. Then I was buying a house...And still I freaked out and wondered how the heck I had managed to forget that I had this book to read on my Kindle. When I was going through my 'must-have' releases to be happening I suddenly realized that I hadn't ever started this book! I was horrified, and immediately set about correcting that.

I'm really glad that I did. This book was quietly satisfying. I say quietly and I hope that people don't take that to mean a bad thing. This wasn't as action-packed as some of the books, the mystery wasn't as urgent to me - for whatever reason - but I loved how the story moved the world in a new direction, how we got to meet up with some new (and varied) characters, and how we got a lot more from Anna and Charles.

I admit it, I'm pretty tired of the +child aspect to a lot of books lately, I started in Urban Fantasy because I was pretty bored with the 'must have a child' thing in Romance. So it's not my favorite addition to the storyline. That being said, it makes sense here. Anna was changed without even knowing that she'd never be able to have kids. So much was taken away from her, it's understandable that she's going to fight to regain as much as possible. What I really liked about this (almost) side-plot was that Anna never forced Charles hand, she tried to figure out the root of the problem, offer logical solutions and let him figure out where he wanted to be on the subject. They're a team, and it's never in doubt that they are together for it all.

What I loved most here was the cast of characters, both those we know and love already and those that are new to us - even if not to Charles. Seeing true friends of Charles was a treat, and I liked them immensely. There were a couple of new characters in particular that I loved meeting, and I hope we get to see more of them in the future.

I already mentioned that the mystery aspect of the book wasn't that enticing to me and part of that is because I figured out who the "bad-guy" was as soon as we met them. It was a little out of character for Anna - and especially not Charles - to suspect this person when the clues kept lining up pointing to a particular place. Accusing would have been too far, but the way they studiously avoided even thinking that this person could be the culprit left me feeling bland about the whole process. I was really interested in the fae's powers and the consequences of their actions - both for the fae, the werewolves and even the humans. Patricia Briggs definitely knows how to continuously up the stakes in this ever-changing world, I'll never deny that.

Like I said, it was quietly satisfying. We got a lot of time with Charles and his friends - of which we know he doesn't have many, a lot of time with Charles and Anna, and a lot of time learning more about other packs of werewolves. I also particularly enjoyed some of the investigation that was detailed and the things that our investigators found out.

Dead Heat isn't as exciting or flashy as some of the other books in the Mercy Thompson World, but it's definitely satisfying and creates intriguing new directions for our favorite supernatural beings to go in. I'll tell you though, after all the stuff with the fae I'm really curious as to what's going on with the vampires - especially Stefan. Here's hoping we get to see him again in the next Mercy book.

Grade: B

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Title: Magic Shifts
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels, Book 8
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 4 August 2015

SPOILERS WARNING: If you haven't read this series (GO START NOW), do not start with this review. This is the 8th book in the series, and therefore there are MANY spoilers for major plotlines that are better experienced as the author wanted them. Seriously, even the blurb of this book spoils things learned in previous books. Start at the beginning. You may find the first book a little rough (it's a common complaint), though I loved it from the very first chapter, but I promise you: it becomes amazingly awesome. I very highly doubt that you'll regret starting on this journey.

Here's my review for book 1 in the series, Magic Bites.

For this review, head below the break.

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