Winter’s Reach by Craig Schaefer

23508962Rating: 4 stars

Series: Revanche  Cycle #1

Epic fantasies are not my favorite. Unlike most epic fantasies, this wasn’t weighed down with overly complex world building, which made it easier to get into. It did have a lot of characters, but not so many that it was hard to keep track of who they were and how they were related. However it didn’t grab me from the start. I had tried to read this 3 other times and never got more than a few chapters in. I’m not sure why it interested me this time. Maybe I needed to be in the right mood for it.

The pope is dying and wants his worthless son to take over when he dies. The other clergymen weren’t blind to the son’s faults and knew letting him be in charge would be disastrous. Many other powerful men and ones wanting to get more power were taking advantage of the situation in the church and playing their own manipulative games.

I didn’t love any of the characters. Some are definitely better than others, but I have the feeling we’ve only scratched the surface in regards to what these characters are capable of. It doesn’t appear that this is a series with clearly defined good and bad guys; these people have varying shades of gray. I am curious to see how all of this plays out because knowing Craig Schaefer, things are bound to take a few unexpected turns.

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Lost Boy by Christina Henry

61siwssh-el-_sx329_bo1204203200_Rating: 4 stars

Peter Pan has never been one of my favorite stories. Everything I know about it comes from the Disney movie and Finding Neverland. I never read the original. With that said, I did like it, but it took awhile for me to get into it. The first half of the book was slow moving. It was obvious Peter was a selfish ass, but I kept waiting for more. Once the story got going, things got crazy.

Peter’s issues went far beyond being an extremely selfish child. He was a psychopath in the truest sense of the word. It was hard for me to understand the love any of the boys had for Peter but Jamie in particular. He was never charming or kind. Manipulation made his island of lost boys possible, but it was almost like his magic made them blind to his faults.

This is the story about how Jamie aka Hook finally saw Peter for what he was. Jamie was the good guy. However he wasn’t truly a good guy; he was just good in comparison to Peter. Despite all of the good things Jamie did, he had lots of blood on his hands, most of it for no reason other than to please Peter. The worst thing about Jamie was that he did not see Peter for who he was for well over 100 years. Everything Jamie did was out of love, even when he did horrible things for Peter. They loved each other as friends but it was more like obsession for both of them.

At first I was annoyed by Charlie. The island of lost boys felt extremely domestic because of him. He was the driving force behind the story, which was obvious by the end. Sal was a great addition. There were a few unexpected twists and a few heartbreaking moments. The end was not a happy one, but I hadn’t expected the story of two friends becoming enemies to be happy. It will probably never happen but I’d love a sequel where Hook gets the upper hand.

The Sight by Chloe Neill

26878915Rating: 3 stars

Series: Devil’s Isle #2

Meh. The first one was better. I’m not sold on this series yet. A lot less happened in this than in the last one. It was boring. The focus of this was on a zealot who was rousing hate among people in the zone. He was a stereotypical bad guy. The plot highlighted how much hate there was for paranormals, but did nothing to enrich my knowledge of the world.

I’m not in love with the characters. The side characters need some serious work. I don’t care about any of them. If any of them died in one of their skirmishes, it wouldn’t matter. None of them get enough page time to really get to know them. Claire is alright but doesn’t stand out among the many other UF heroines. Liam is my favorite character. His reluctance to be with Claire is aggravating especially since the reason for it is weak.

Claire and Liam clearly like each other. Their situations put them at slight odds. It didn’t have much of an impact but jealousy was used to show how much Liam cared for Claire. It wasn’t a love triangle, but I’d prefer them to work out their issues without extra drama.

The end annoyed me. It wasn’t a cliffhanger but a big issue was left open ended. Chances are it’s one of those things that will be resolved in the next book. It felt like drama for the sake of drama. I don’t like that. I’m going to read the next one anyway.

The Veil by Chloe Neill

21415815Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Devil’s Isle #1

It was much better than I thought it would be, but I admittedly went into it with low expectations. After becoming disillusioned with the Chicagoland Vampires series, I was hesitant to read this. This series is nothing like that one, which is a good thing. It’s not as fun and has less dynamic characters. This is truly for adults. CLV was labeled as an adult read but read like YA.

The veil separated the fae and human worlds. The fae broke through 7 years earlier and attacked humans. The veil was closed and some of the fae were left behind. People thought they were evil and locked them away in Devil’s Isle. When the veil broke down, some people realized they were able to absorb magic. They are called sensitives. The downfall of this is that magic eventually destroys them and turns them into mindless wraiths.

Claire was a sensitive. She hid her barely used ability from everyone. Being locked away on Devil’s Isle was her greatest fear. One night she was forced to use her magic in public to defend herself. The bounty hunter, Liam, noticed. He was sympathetic to sensitives although it was his job to turn them in.

Claire was an alright main character. A little reckless at times but not TSTL. By the end of the book I was getting the vibe that she was special but not annoyingly so. Hopefully that doesn’t change as the series goes on. She was oblivious to the world around her in many ways, blind to many truths that would have been revealed with some thought of her own instead of believing propaganda.

Liam was serious minded and mysterious. He seems honorable but might not be completely trustworthy. The guy does have secrets. He and Claire made a good couple. There is an obstacle keeping them apart, but it’s a minor one.

There were weak points in the world building. I liked the world that was created with the war torn New Orleans. Devil’s Isle was fascinating until it was revealed what it was really like. Yes it was a prison but not the dismal, cruel place it was initially portrayed to be. All the people there were treated fairly well. Most of it was a normal neighborhood. The paranormals weren’t allowed to leave but anyone else could come and go. It didn’t seem like much of a threat. It’s quite shocking that more people hadn’t escaped.

Magical monitors were placed all over the city. How they worked wasn’t clear but that’s irrelevant. It was mentioned over and over again that anyone who could use magic needed to be careful because of the constant observation. The monitors never seemed to pick up anything. Magic was used often, and not once did an alarm go off. What’s the point of having them if they are useless? They wouldn’t be a threat because anyone with magic would know they are worthless.

Wraiths were made by sensitives being consumed by too much magic. There was no solid defense against becoming a wraith. Initially it appeared to be an unavoidable fate worse than death. There were two instances where Claire being special annoyed me, where she did what seemed to be impossible. I’m definitely getting the feeling that there is more than meets the eye with her.

It was a decent start to the series. I didn’t love it. It definitely was not a page turner, but I do plan on reading the rest of the series. I’m curious to see where it goes.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

26032825Rating: 4 stars

Series: The Folk of the Air #1

Think Game of Thrones without sex and less violence with fairies.

It had a slow start. For a while it seemed just like tons of other YA novels about the fae where the lowly human and faerie prince beat the odds and eventually fall in love. That’s where I thought this was going. I was wrong. Halfway through I couldn’t stop reading. The level of treachery impressed me. I had a few things figured out but not all of it.

I’m giving this 4 stars because of the phenomenal plot. It would have been 5 if I had liked the characters. It is told from Jude’s POV. I did not like her and couldn’t relate to her at all. She reminded me of Arya on GoT, but even she is more selfless than Jude. Being angry and bitter caused her to be hellbent on getting vengeance on the people who had wronged her. To stop people from looking down on her, she needed power and lots of it. Jude wasn’t evil but has the potential to be because she wanted power for all the wrong reasons. It could easily corrupt her. Power was a way for her to make her life better, not the lives of others. Her concern for the downtrodden was vastly eclipsed by her concern for herself. Anger and selfishness are two of my most hated traits in people, and Jude exuded them. Her lot in life was not fair, but it is no excuse for the person she became. Despite her claims that she was an excellent spy, clearly she was not. There were many things she did not figure out and could have if she looked beyond the obvious.

Surprisingly Cardan was the only character I really liked. Despite his tendency to be an asshole, he was incredibly charming when he wanted to be. Some of his appeal may be because he wasn’t drawn to power although he was in a position of power. Ironically Jude was like him, the prince she hated. Both were mad at those in their families who had wronged them and took it out on people their own age to feel better about themselves.

There may be a romance later on in the series, but it wasn’t the focus of this. It’ll definitely be a slow burning enemies to lovers romance. It was great that Jude didn’t turn into a complete idiot just because a good looking guy showed interest in her. I was very happy with the ending. Jude’s plan was not sitting well with me, to think that she would subject a young child to that kind of life with no choice of their own in the matter. I am looking forward to the next one to see where it goes from here.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

34189556Rating: 3 stars

A thriller this was not. It took a while to get into the story. For a while it was nothing more than a banal story about a scorned woman left for a younger woman. Then it turned into a story about a deceptive husband.

This fell flat. Most of the time what was going on didn’t hint at anything deeply disturbing going on. There were a few twists, but they certainly weren’t mind blowing. Richard was the main impediment to this story being appealing. It was apparent from the start that he was controlling, demanding, selfish and superficial. It was hard to understand why more than one woman was ever in love with this man. Sure he was rich but that’s not everything. I felt like this was supposed to be a story about a charming man who was not what he appeared. For that to work, he had to be charming in the first place. Vanessa’s role in the story wasn’t interesting as it alluded to.

The ending wasn’t what I hoped it would be. It was good, but I was expecting more. There were dark elements, but the story itself wasn’t dark. Nothing that anybody did was shocking or maybe I was too unattached to the characters to feel disturbed by what happened to them. The prologue definitely had an unexpected twist although it wouldn’t have changed anything if it hadn’t been included.

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