Secrets of Skin and Stone by Wendy Laine

cover114035-mediumRating: 2.5 stars

This had too strong of a YA vibe to really enjoy it. The focus of it was more on the romance than the paranormal plot. The first time Piper and Gris kissed it specifically mentioned they did not use tongues. They were 17 and 18. Most teens that age would do far more than an innocent kiss like that. The romance wasn’t exciting when the best thing I could hope was for them to hold hands or maybe a french kiss. From the start it was mentioned that Gris would not be staying in town, so there wasn’t much hope for an epic HEA.

The world building was simplistic. The gist of it was revealed early on, and there wasn’t anything exciting to learn after that. There was a mystery to it. Gris was trying to figure out why so many fiends were gathering in the town. It was too boring, and the most obvious solution was the answer. Piper was dealing with some mental issues. Gris was dealing with issues but his were completely different. Their issues made each of them outcasts. More depth to the characters would have been better considering what they were dealing with. I’m sure plenty of people will like this. It just wasn’t for me.

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

The Heartstone Thief by Pippa DaCosta

32cc464f6ff9393819fdfb30b0b65b13Rating: 3.5 stars

Most people believed magic was nothing but a fairy tale. Those who used it were killed. Curtis Vance wanted to forget about magic and those who control it. After meeting a sorceress with some special skills, he was forced to face his past. She convinced him to help her find something rare. He didn’t help her out of the goodness of his heart; he was a thief after all.

The world building was great! There was a constant stream of new things to learn about it. I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to find out more. It was action packed with one crazy thing happening after another. The characters were deceptive, so it hard to gauge who Vance could trust.

The reason I didn’t rate this book higher was because of the characters. Vance and the sorceress were the main ones. I liked Vance. He was intelligent and could manipulate others to save his own ass. It was kinda hard to believe the guy had lived so long because he couldn’t do shit to save himself when physical skills were required. The sorceress was fascinating because I never knew what her ultimate goal was. She did enough good things that I wanted to trust her, but she had too many secrets. My biggest issue with her was her lack of personality.

The plot was entertaining, and I liked the direction the story went in at the end. It’s unfortunate this is a standalone. The plot was wrapped up, but it’s a shame to develop such an interesting world and only get one story about it.

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

The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

32172479Rating: 3 stars

Series: Tales of the Black Lily #1

Clearly I must have read this wrong. Sure it was good, but I didn’t love it like everyone else. It was a creative retelling of Cinderella. Arabelle wasn’t some pathetic, lost soul who needed saving. She was intent on doing the saving herself. Prince Marius was just about perfect: intelligent, strong, charming, and willing to do what is right. Obviously being a Cinderella story instalove was going to be part of it, so I was okay with that. In the beginning Arabelle treated Marius like shit. It was hard for me to believe that she was so beautiful and brave that he was willing to overlook her major faults.

Arabelle was a hard character to like. I admit I have been obsessed with politics lately. I think that may be part of the reason why I didn’t like Arabelle. Her attitude at least for the first half of the book or so was reminiscent of the things I hate about politics which are strongly prevalent in the world today. Helping her people who had been oppressed was an admirable goal. There is a right and a wrong way to go about it. IMO she chose the wrong way. She was doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Being motivated by hatred is never a good thing. Hatred has a way of making people blind to the truth and reason.

Arabelle was obsessed with taking down the vampires. They needed to be killed because they were killing humans. Nothing is ever so simple. In any given group of people, the bad actions of a few does not mean the entire group is bad, but in Arabelle’s hatred she had convinced herself that all vampires were bad. The actions she wanted to take to right the wrongs of the vampires made the humans no better. Her willful ignorance of the situation as a whole consumed my thoughts while reading this. Since she was the leader of the rebellion her stupid beliefs and actions were hard to ignore. The one good thing I will say in her defense is that she did grow as a character and change her views when presented with facts, which is why I liked the book more towards the end.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing this book in exchange for an honest review!

Souljacker by Yasmine Galenorn

51icwzrlk7l-_sx322_bo1204203200_Rating: 2.5 stars

Series: Lily Bound #1

Not bad but completely unmemorable. Lily was a succubus who entertained men for a living. A vicious vampire called the souljacker killed one of her clients at her house. This set off a chain of events. Lily’s rep was ruined and her business failed. The weres were after her because of the guy that died. The souljacker was after her and her friends, so she worked with a demon Archer to get some info.

I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I didn’t care about any of them. Their lives were in danger at times, but it didn’t really matter if they lived or died because it wouldn’t have been any great loss. All of them except for Nate were supernatural, but they all seemed so damn normal. Lily was supposed to be over 600 years old but seemed like she should have been in her 20’s. For someone who had lived so long she lacked the skills to read people and to defend herself. Archer the love interest and chaos demon was boring. Nate served no real purpose except to give Lily another friend. Dani was her other friend. Nothing stood out about her. The introduction of Lily’s ex was lame. It didn’t create a love triangle, but he was boring. He served a purpose, but I still wish he hadn’t been in the story at all.

The souljacker was crazy. All of the vampires were described as heartless killers, so the souljacker wasn’t as extreme as he was made out to be. The weres created drama. Since they were unreasonable assholes, I couldn’t get behind their cause, and therefore they were uninteresting. There wasn’t any build up with the romance. It was instalove. I wasn’t feeling it between them. I liked this well enough that I read it quickly, but it’s not likely I’ll read the next one.

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

Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire

30688517Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: InCryptid #6

It’s official: Antimony is my favorite of the Price siblings! Consequently this is my favorite book in the series. Unfortunately Annie is paying for her sister’s mistakes and was sent to infiltrate the covenant. It made for an entertaining read because I was just waiting for something to go wrong. There was no way Annie would last long among a group of ruthless killers without giving something away. Let’s face it: the only way to join the bad guys is to truly become one.

Annie could kick ass much like Verity, but she is more down to earth. It’s funny that she holds so much animosity towards Verity since they are alike in many ways. She was loyal, smart, and quick witted. I loved it that Annie did everything on her own. It’s rare to find a heroine who doesn’t need a male sidekick to survive, but she was completely alone. Calling her family to help her out or even to bounce ideas off of never even crossed her mind. Considering the sticky situation she was in, it was impressive.

Most of the covenant people were despicable. Now Leo was somewhat likable, but I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. Then again the Price’s have a habit of making covenant men change their ways. I’m not saying they were dating or anything, just making a point. Sam wasn’t covenant, but Annie met him because of them. He was awesome! Sure he was a bit of a dick and swore, but what’s not to like about that?

I wasn’t sure how all of this was going to play out in the end. The covenant put Annie in a spot where her values were tested in more ways than one. There was a major surprise at the end involving the covenant. I don’t believe what they predicted will happen the way they want it to, but we definitely haven’t seen the last of them yet.

I felt so damn bad for Annie at the end. It was an honorable but incredibly hard choice to make. Why did her family do this to her? I don’t mean Verity although the ball got rolling because of her but her parents. Who does that to their kid? The risks were extremely high with minimal benefits at best. Now her life is fucked thanks to them. The things Annie mentioned at the end about why she is doing what she’s doing, well I was wondering at the beginning of the book why her family didn’t take any of that into consideration. How did they think this would end for her? Then again they may have something up their sleeves that she doesn’t know about. All I know is I am dying for the next one!

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

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey

25670396Rating: 2 stars

Jacqueline Carey’s books are hit or miss with me, and this one was definitely a miss. In some ways this reminded me of the things I hated about Kushiel’s Dart except this wasn’t as bad. The plots were completely different, but both books had a drab tone and dull, lifeless characters. The pacing was agonizingly slow. It took forever for the story to advance, and the end was anti-climatic. Since I have not read The Tempest, I had no idea how this would end. Knowing this was a retelling of Shakespeare’s work, I had expected the ending to be tragic or slightly more dramatic. The ending wasn’t a happy one, but maybe I wasn’t more affected because I didn’t care enough about the characters to feel their pain.

The book is told in two parts. In the first part Miranda is six and Caliban is several years older. The weird thing about her POV was that her inner thoughts sounded more like a mature adult in her thirties than a young child. It was really hard to believe she was a kid. She and Caliban grew close as children. Flash forward seven or so years to the second part, and their friendship had blossomed into love. The time jump made it feel like I missed out on something essential in the development of their relationship. This was not a romance, but their relationship was central to the plot. It was essential to grasp what they were feeling for the ending to have an impact.

Caliban was my favorite character. He stood up for what he believed in. Miranda was so disgustingly pathetic. Knowing right from wrong rarely caused her to act on it. All her father had to do was chastise her and she quickly cowed. She was practically blind to her father’s cruel and selfish ways, always determined to see the best in him. She seemed quite content to be ignorant. Her father openly admitted to keeping many things from her, and it was rarely questioned. Her father was evil. Absolutely nothing about him was good. The only other character Ariel wasn’t interesting. Knowing something of his background might have helped to make him more appealing.

The world building in regards to the magic needed more attention. Obviously Prospero was capable of magic, but were there limits to his abilities? Where did his power come from? Some stuff didn’t make sense. How come Miranda and Caliban each had a parent capable of powerful magic but neither of them had any? The story made sense, but considering the amount of time spent on a painstakingly slow plot, some of that time could have been invested in character development and further exploration of magic.

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