the fae

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…)

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Winterwood: Pirates, Magic, and Shapeshifters Oh My!

25489511Winterwood by Jacey Bedford
DAW: February 2nd, 2016
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free from publisher

I’d go there again!
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This book has so many of the elements I love in a good fantasy: pirates, fae, magic, a wolf shapeshifter, a heroine who disguises herself as a man, adventure, romance, an alternative historical setting… really, this book is just my thing.

Rossalinde (Ross) Tremayne, is introduced as she works her way to her mother’s house, where her parent lays dying. Ross and her mother have had a difficult relationship for as long as Ross can remember, and she goes reluctantly. When she arrives, she discovers that her mother sent for Ross to trick her into taking up their family’s heritage – a curse in the shape of a magical winterwood box. If Ross were to take up her destiny, she would restore balance to the world and in the process, drastically alter England., (more…)

Trailer Park Fae – Dark and Delightful Urban Fantasy

trailer park faeTrailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow
Orbit Books, June 23rd (Urban Fantasy)

I’d go there again!
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Trailer Park Fae is one of the few books I’ve purchased recently at full price. I have a scale of preference when it comes to buying books, and buying them full-price is at the bottom. I don’t regret it! This may never make it to my “keep permanently” shelf, but it’s definitely on my “keep for now” shelf.

As a member of the urban fantasy club, this book fits in really well. The atmosphere is gritty, the characters troubled, the different species in conflict, and the intrigues tangled. Oh, and there’s a hint of romance.

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Ironskin: Jane Eyre Meets Deadly Fairies

ironskinIronskin by Tina Connolly
Tor Books, October 2nd, 2012 (Fantasy / Gaslamp)

My rating: Beach Vacation (3/5)

Ironskin is the first in a fantasy gaslamp trilogy that merges a Jane Eyre retelling with deadly fairies. Only they’re not really fairies… if you’re familiar with a wide range of “fairy” tales, they’re more “fey” than “fairy” – Less Neverland, more … otherworldly beings, pissed off at the humans who have taken over the world. Manipulative and dangerous, they certainly aren’t cute little fairies with wings.  (more…)

Darkest London Moves in a New Direction with “Evernight”

19124363Evernight by Kristen Callihan (Darkest London #5)
Forever, August 26, 2014 (Steampunk Romance)

My rating: I’d go there again! (4/5)

I have been anxiously waiting for Kristen Callihan’s newest Darkest London book ever since I finished Shadowdance. This series has gotten better with each subsequent book. With Shadowdance the author took the series in a new direction and continues with it in Evernight and I couldn’t be more pleased. The focus on the SOS (Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals) has opened up so many more avenues for this series, and brings new opportunities for readers to explore this alternative London.

Holly Evernight and Will Thorne were introduced in Shadowdance. Holly is a member of the SOS and Thorne a member of the opposing faction. Both were kidnapped in the previous book and Holly was forced to experiment on Thorne. At the beginning of Evernight Holly and Thorne are both recovering from their ordeal and not very well at that. Holly has secluded herself in her home and Thorne finds himself turning into something else altogether.

Holly and Thorne are thrown together once more when Thorne arrives on Holly’s doorstep with revenge in mind. He barely remembers what happened to him when he was tortured, but he does remember Holly and the part that she played. However, Thorne soon learns that Holly might be the only one to cure him, or at the very least keep his encroaching “disease” at bay. This might pose a problem for Holly since someone other than Thorne is out to get her. Luckily, she now has a built in protector since Thorne literally cannot live without her. This forced partnership soon breeds more than animosity. (more…)

Carousel Sun – where the mundane world meets five other magical worlds

carousel sunCarousel Sun by Sharon Lee
Baen, February 4th, 2014 (Contemporary Fantasy)*

My rating: Vacation by the beach (Archer’s Beach, har har)

Carousel Sun, the sequel to Carousel Tides, dips back into Kate Archer’s life as Guardian of the land in Archer’s Beach, Maine. Only a little time has passed, and Kate is still growing into her power. So she’s taking magic lessons with her maternal grandfather, one of the great Ozali (mages) from the Land of the Flowers (an alternate universe, where magic is power and everyone is beautiful). Her grandmother, a dryad, is weary from her expedition to save her daughter, Kate’s mother. Borgan, Guardian of the Gulf of Maine near Archer’s Beach, is recovering from a grave wound he got in the last battle in Carousel Tides. A man named Joe Nemeier is the baddie – he’s the local drug lord causing disturbances in Archer’s Beach. Throughout, the land grows more lively, and the people of the carnival where Kate owns the carousel scheme to take advantage of an extended tourism season and the resulting prosperity.

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Once read, can never be unread: Words Once Spoken, a book review

wordsoncespokenWords Once Spoken by Carly Drake*
Harlequin Enterprises Australia, October 1, 2013 (YA / Fantasy)
My rating: The plane was delayed, luggage lost, and museums closed.

Unfortunately, I really did not enjoy this book, with its long line of confusing, vague world building, instant attraction (aka insta-love), too many too-convenient plot elements, and not enough cohesion. I did find somewhat intriguing Evie’s determination to be as independent and self-sufficient as possible, no matter what others thought (more on that later).

I’m not sure how to describe this book, so I’m only going to provide the briefest summary. Evelyn is a young woman who has always defied traditional gender roles. She hunts, rides like a man, and can’t sew, for a few examples. Just before her eighteenth birthday she’s sent to Court to try for the position of lady’s maid to the princess. Right off, she meets a mysterious young man and the prince, both intriguing and handsome. She learns about the fae. And she learns about her past. Then, she embarks on a convoluted journey to find her destiny.

My first impression was one of confusion. I could not determine if the setting was in an alternate England, or if being in England really mattered – the lack of detail and description made it seem like the setting was a fantasy world, but every now and then the author threw in “English” and “Greek and Roman myths” and “Moses” and I got confused all over again. England was an idea that never fully developed, and really only distracted from the story, which would have been just as well-set in a fantasy world. Court has no relation to the English court, and the royals have no connection to the English royal families.

She meets the prince and instantly becomes infatuated with him. There is no romantic tension, no relationship building, just instant attraction. Evie herself should be interesting, given her propensity to ride, fight, hunt, and wear pants. However, I found it difficult to believe that she learned those behaviors on her own, when there were no other examples of women who did these things, and no external characters, events, or relationships that influenced her life choices.

The story is cluttered with supernatural and paranormal creatures, and the relationships and world rules that governed them were convoluted, convenient, and unconvincing. The fae never really come alive as a species that drives the plot and story.

The plot itself was rushed and predictable, except for the additions of new paranormal creatures. There is a constant struggle between too many story elements (the human court/England, the fae, the lycans, the vampires, and more) – and sketchy (as in, sketched in, not fleshed out) world building. Lots has been left out, causing all the disparate elements to be disconnected. Lastly, I found the ending unconvincing and complicated.

Ultimately, this was a very disappointing and difficult read. I wouldn’t recommend it.

*e-Arc provided by NetGalley

Better Reads: (click on any of the following images to be taken to that book’s Goodreads description)

Crown Duel (Crown & Court #1-2)

(Featuring a headstrong, determined, sword-wielding young heroine and fairy-like trees, as well as a great romance and harrowing adventure)

Mairelon the Magician (Mairelon #1)

(A witty tale of a magician and his young ward, and their travels and adventures, with a sweet romance)

The Perilous Gard

(Featuring the old-fashioned Fairy Folk, a young woman in the 16th century, and a spooky castle)

The Blue Sword (Damar #1)

(One of my favorite books ever – featuring a young woman who doesn’t fit in her society, who gets kidnapped and adopted, has adventures, falls in love, and becomes a hero)