Book Review

What we think about the books we’ve read, with our suggestions for similar books (read-alikes)

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

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A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
Random House: September 20, 2016
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

The view was nice, but the food was bad.
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A Shadow Bright and Burning is a YA historical fantasy novel and while entertaining, I didn’t think that Bright and Burning offered readers anything new. We’ve got some romance and some personal turmoil being the chosen one. Both of which many will recognize if anyone’s pictured up a fantastical YA read at some point in the recent past.

Miss Henrietta Howell is a young lady with a secret. Henrietta can control and create fire, something that she is struggling to conceal. After all there are no lady sorcerers anymore, not since the last one started a war. Naturally, Henrietta is discovered. Instead of punishment, Henrietta is thought to be the chosen one, prophesied to end the war with Ancients. While not everyone is convinced, Henrietta is taken to London to study, learning things about herself, her past, and those closest to her. (more…)

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How to Impress a Marquess by Susanna Ives

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How to Impress a Marquess by Susanna Ives
Sourcebooks Casablanca: November 1, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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How to Impress a Marquess is a humourous, yet not particularly historically accurate historical romance. If you like your historicals with a heavy dose of realism back away now. If you’re like me, and accuracy doesn’t bother you that much, continue reading.

Susanna Ives is an author that first came on my radar with Wicked, My Love, a funny on-the-road-romance between two very different people. I loved Wicked, My Love so I was quite anxious to dive into Ives’ latest historical, which again features two characters who do not like one another due to their preconceived notions of one another. Naturally, these two discover that appearances can be deceiving. (more…)

City on Edge by Stefanie Pintoff

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City on Edge by Stefanie Pintoff
Bantam: November 15, 2016
Genre: Thriller
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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City on Edge is the second book in the Eve Rossi thriller/mystery series. In the first book, Hostage Taker, readers are introduced to FBI agent, Eve Rossi and her rather dubious recruits, all of them ex-cons. After the successful events of the previous book, Eve and her team have been given some legitimacy, which comes in handy when New York’s police commissioner is almost assassinated and his daughter kidnapped. Eve and her unusual crew are on the case and hoping to find the commissioner’s daughter safe; however, they don’t count on the numerous hurdles in their path. (more…)

Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

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Someone to Love by Mary Balogh
Signet: November 8, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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I’m a huge fan of Mary Balogh and have loved her Survivors’ Club series. Naturally, once that series ended a new one had to begin. Someone to Love is the first in Balogh’s Wescott series featuring a family that finds itself neck deep in scandal when the head of the family dies and it is discovered that he had a secret wife and child, which makes his second marriage invalid and those children illegitimate. Miss Anna Snow is that illegitimate child, and discovering that she’s an heiress is almost like a dream came true. However, for Anna, what the bigger draw is the discovery that she has family: half-siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and a grandmother. Of course, becoming part of that family is no simple task, especially when that family is shocked at her existence.

Aiding Anna is Avery Archer the debonair Duke of Netherby, who normally wouldn’t trouble himself to get involved. Avery is not really even part of the Westcott family as its his stepmother that is truly related. However, Avery finds himself part of Anna’s transformation process and surprisingly drawn to the plain, composed woman. Their romance is a surprising one, yet Balogh excels at demonstrating how these two characters compliment one another. (more…)

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier

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Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
Roc: November 1, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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Den of Wolves is the third and what I hope will not be the final book in the Blackthorn and Grimm series. While I loved Dreamer’s Pool and Tower of Thorns, I can’t help but appreciate the fact that Den of Wolves offers a satisfying conclusion, yet still allows for the possibility of more from Blackthorn and Grim.

Since the first book, I have enjoyed how Marillier combines a fantasy tale with elements that I generally associate more with the mystery genre. In each book, the healer Blackthorn and her man-of-few-words companion, Grimm, tackle a new mystery. That is no different in Den of Wolves. This time Blackthorns helps a troubled young princess, Dalriada, who’s father is building a mysterious house in the woods. Why is this house so important? Why must Dalriada be kept away from the house and the man who is instructing it’s builders? Those are both questions that Blackthorn seeks answers to. And Grimm is uniquely positioned to help as he’s been hired on to help finish the building of the home. (more…)

Pride of Lions by Marsha Canham

707252Pride of Lions by Marsha Canham
Dell Publishing Company: 1997
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Purchased secondhand

Beach vacation
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This has been on my to-read list for at least a year, and I finally got around to purchasing it secondhand recently. Unfortunately, it’s old enough that it’s difficult to find at the library.

I expected this to be a historical romance along the lines of Julie Garwood, but was pleasantly surprised to find it more substantial than that.

It still has all the classic romance tropes, so if that’s your thing then you’re sure to like this book. (more…)

Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn

28953458Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn
Ace: November 1, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Free from NetGalley

I’d go there again!

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If you’ve been reading the Elemental Blessings series by Sharon Shinn, you’ll want to continue with this one. Especially if you read the third in the series, Jeweled Fire, and enjoyed Leah’s narrative. (more…)

The Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier

29088076The Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier
Saga Press: November 8, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Free from NetGalley

I’d go there again!
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In the past few months, my life has been in a state of near-constant chaos, so when I’ve made time to read, I’ve been reading comfort books and nonfiction. This, my first foray back into new books, enthralled me. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning more than once because I couldn’t put it down. I read it during every free moment I had. My first book by Rachel Neumeier, it definitely won’t be my last. (more…)

The King is Dead in “Theft of Swords”

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Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
Orbit: November 23, 2011
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

Beach Vacation
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Theft of Swords is a pretty traditional fantasy read. There’s adventures and sword fights and a dash of magic thrown in for good measure. If you enjoy more descriptive works in the fantasy genre Theft of Swords is likely to appeal. For those who appreciate a greater depth of characterization, you may want to approach with caution.

Royce Melborn, a mysterious master thief, and his equally enigmatic mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, have been contracted to steal a sword. Unfortunately the theft does not go as planned and the duo are implicated in the murder of the king. So, naturally, they kidnap the new king, with the help of the new king’s sister. Politics, they just got more exciting. (more…)

The Problematic, Yet Entertaining “A Promise of Fire”

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A Promise of Fire by Amanada Bouchet
Sourcebooks Casablanca: August 2, 2016
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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A Promise of Fire is one of those books that’s a bit tricky to review. On the one hand, it’s a bit of a problematic read considering that it’s a romance and the so-called hero kidnaps the heroine. On the other hand, I found it an entertaining read that I couldn’t peel my eyes away from. So keep in mind that you too may be frustrated by some character’s actions in A Promise of Fire but you will ultimately enjoy this one for being a breath of fresh air in the romance genre.

Catalia “Cat” Fisa is a psychic who works in a circus. Cat is also in hiding from the powerful Fisa family. Cat’s powers make her unique; she can sense when a person is lying, which makes her valuable as a political tool. Due to her ability to sense a lie (just one of many fantastical abilities) Cat is known as a Kingmaker. Since escaping the Fisa family Cat has successfully hidden her abilities and carved out a life for herself in the circus. Naturally, that life is not mean to be and Cat is kidnapped by the Sintan warlord Griffin who wants to use Cat’s ability to solidify his sister’s leadership after overthrowing the previous leaders of the Sinta and bringing in a non-magical leader. Enter magic and mayhem and things get complicated very quickly. (more…)