The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

51jpv68vvzl-_sx333_bo1204203200_Rating: 4 stars

New York City was surrounded by a barrier called the brink. It prevented anyone with magic from leaving the city. It would strip them of their magic and at best cause considerable pain and at worst cause death. The order, a group of humans, created the brink. Those with magic wanted to be free and were trying to find a way to take down the brink and the order.

It took a little while to get into it, but it was so damn good. Esta had the rare ability of being able to travel through time. Her guardian used her ability to go back in time and steal items from the order. There was a bit of an info dump in the beginning. It complicated matters more that Esta was sent back to the past and the world building of that time period had to be introduced also since what was going on in the world magically was quite different.

The whole cast of characters was interesting. I liked Esta. Her ability was useful and got her out of a few tricky situations. Her actions in the past were important because the butterfly effect was a major possibility. She was loyal and trustworthy which made her more unpredictable as the story went on because it was hard to tell if she’d be loyal to the people of her time or to the ones in the past she’d grown close to. I loved Harte Darrigan. He and Esta had good chemistry from the first time they met. For most of the book I wasn’t sure how to feel about him. I genuinely felt that he was a good guy at heart, but part of him was incredibly selfish. His main concern was always getting the best possible outcome for himself even if it screwed everyone else over. It was his connection to Esta that made him think of others more, but I hadn’t been sure where his loyalties would lie in the end. Dolph was the leader of a magical mafia. It was obvious he was trying to do the right thing all along. He had a rat in his midst and was going to get screwed for trusting the wrong person. I wanted him to be more proactive and figure things out.

The end was shocking! I was really surprised at how far the bad guy was willing to take things to achieve his goal. I did not see that coming at all. The truth about Esta’s past was revealed. I probably should have pieced that together, but so many other things were going on that I didn’t even give it any thought. The only thing that truly disappointed me with this book was that I didn’t know it was the first in a series. A lot of things still need to be resolved, but I can’t wait to read the next one!

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Odd and True by Cat Winters

28078791Rating: 3 stars

Clearly I’m in the minority, but I didn’t love this. It’s a well written story that’s highly character driven. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought it would have a stronger fantasy element to it and a bit more action. The magic was so slight I wouldn’t even call it paranormal. Most of the book was spent revealing whether Od knows magic is real or is delusional and thinks it’s real.

It alternated between Od and Tru’s POV. Although they were sisters, there was a lot Tru didn’t know about her family. Tru’s POV was necessary but very boring. Practicality does not make an exciting character trait in a main character. The problem with Tru was that I didn’t care about her one way or the other. Od’s POV was better. What she experienced in life was difficult. It was the magical element she brought to everything that annoyed me, and yes I know that is the point of the book. It was clear early on about what was really going on with Od.

Most of the side characters weren’t interesting. I liked Uncle Magnus. He was the only side character who really seemed to care about Od and Tru. In the end he disappointed me a little. I flat out didn’t like any of the other characters. They were self absorbed or more concerned with propriety than being descent people.

I liked this book enough that I wouldn’t mind reading another book by Cat Winters. I’ve had some on my TBR list for a while. This story isn’t something that will stick with me for a while. Honestly it’s surprising I even bothered to finish it. To be fair I’ve been in a book funk and have had a hard time getting into almost any book.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Awakening by Amanda Stevens

91mpjtaddjl-_ac_ul320_sr180320_Rating: 5 stars

Series: Graveyard Queen #6

A great end to the series! It wasn’t perfect. The mystery revolving around the ghost and the people she was connected to was way too easy to figure out. That’s okay because the ghost story was not my main concern. I was much more interested in what was going on with Devlin and the conge.

Devlin and Amelia spent a fair amount of time together. It was different with them this time. They still had the same chemistry as always but it was underlying. Amelia was trying to move on, and Devlin was with Claire. Regardless of what was going on the magnetic pull was there, but nothing felt as romantic as in the prior books. I was happy that Amelia didn’t have any interest in other men. In the other books when she was alone, she went out with someone else even if she wasn’t truly interested.

Devlin’s grandfather finally got some page time. He had a strong presence throughout the series without getting the chance to know him other than by reputation. The guy was a manipulative bastard, but there was more to him than that. Claire finally made herself known to Amelia. There wasn’t a damn thing I liked about her, and it wasn’t all about her being the other woman.

This wasn’t my favorite in the series, but it was definitely one of the better ones. I didn’t want to put it down despite the mystery being predictable and not being as spooky as some of the others. The danger was from the living not the dead. The general tone of it was different, but I really liked it. The end was slightly rushed. Having a brief epilogue would have been good. Not everything was completely wrapped up making me wish and hope there could be another book, but based on how things ended with Amelia it seems unlikely Amanda Stevens would ever change her mind and write another.

The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire

23383896Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Toby Daye #11

Finally Amandine made an appearance!!! I had been waiting so long for this. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. Amandine is formidable woman. She makes the Luidaeg look sweet and sane, and she’s known as the sea witch. I have the feeling this book only showed one side of her personality. As someone who loves psychology, I’m curious to see what makes her tick and why exactly she feels the way she does about Toby. I think there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Since these books are becoming increasingly character driven, I can’t talk about much in regards to the characters because there would be major spoilers. One thing that made this book very different from the others was the lack of Toby’s usual sidekicks. Quentin was around but not highly impactful on the plot. The other main character was someone from Toby’s past who she detests. I would love to say more, but I was absolutely shocked at how that played out. It was this forced relationship that made the book great.

Amandine forced Toby’s hand and made her look for her long lost sister. In the century or so that she had been missing no one could find her and some incredibly powerful people looked. I like how the whole plot unraveled. The thing I didn’t like was that it was too convenient that Toby was the only person alive with the right abilities to possibly make it happen. The end game of the series has finally been laid out. Based on the few hints that were dropped, it’s looking grim. After all the title of the final book is When Sorrows Come.

Thank you so much to DAW and Netgalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!!

The Sinner by Amanda Stevens

28507382-250x375Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Graveyard Queen #5

So this is officially my least favorite book in the series. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t bad, but the last book was amazing. This paled in comparison. It wasn’t creepy enough, and I hate it when Amelia leaves Charleston. It’s not the same when she is away from the people there. I wouldn’t mind it as much if there wasn’t a potential romance with a new guy every time she leaves town. Can’t she nurse her broken heart without having feelings for another guy? Just like in The Kingdom the lust was there but not much else. Everything between Amelia and Kendrick felt too manufactured.

Now that Amelia’s powers are strengthening and she is in contact frequently with powerful beings, it’s hard to gauge what is genuine and what is manipulative magic. Amelia constantly questioned if things she saw, heard, or felt were real. It’s not bad if magic is used to confuse her every once and awhile, but I don’t like it when it happens often.

The mystery started out interesting enough with the discovery of some unusual graves and the appearance of Darius Goodwine. Everything was too straightforward in regards to the bad guy. I had them pegged early on in the book. There were two unexpected things that happened along the way to revealing the bad guy. Not much directly had to do with the overarching storyline. It hinted at what Devlin is really up to. This book is a victim of my high expectations. I had assumed the penultimate book would have gotten me more amped up about the final one.

Colorless by Rita Stradling

51dctryq5al-_sy346_Rating: 2.5 stars

Annabelle’s parents died. Then something bizarre happened. All of the color seeped out of her body, and she became invisible. Everyone she had ever known instantly forgot her. She wandered around unsure of what to do. Eventually there was one person who could see her. Magicians began snooping around. They couldn’t see Annabelle but somehow they knew she existed.

The idea for this was good. The story itself was not. It took me quite a few days to get through this, which if you know me is not common. I was bored once the magicians started stalking Annabelle. There was obviously a lot going on in the world with gods, magicians and iconoclasts. None of it was explained well. Annabelle was an iconoclast, but WTH does that mean? What did the magicians really do other than hunt down anyone that was a threat? The gods didn’t come into it until the end. Basically the world building sucked.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Annabelle was a stuck up bitch. She’d act down to Earth at times. Then she’d let loose and show her superiority because she was of a higher social class than the people she was interacting with. I sympathized with her at first. As the book went on I wished she would get over herself. She wasn’t horribly snobby but just enough to annoy me. Dylan the guy who could see her was alright. He was nice and helpful but not terribly interesting. The other main character was Annabelle’s cousin Anthony. Why the hell was he in the book? The story could have been altered slightly and would have been the same without him. At the very least he could have been in the story but didn’t deserve many chapters from his POV.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t waste your time on this one.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.