Rating: 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.
Rating: 4 stars
Series: Caraval #1
I was hesitant to read this because it’s YA and has tons of rave reviews. Usually that’s a recipe for disaster, but this was good, damn good. I read the whole thing in one sitting. The best thing about it is that it’s YA that doesn’t feel like YA. The characters were mature. I easily could have thought they were in their twenties. In fact Scarlett was cautious, almost too cautious for her own good. She was the antithesis of a TSTL heroine.
Caraval was a magical game only held once a year in a different location each time. Scarlett dreamed of going to the mysterious games for her whole life. The opportunity to go finally came, and it didn’t turn out like she expected. The rules of the game were vague. She didn’t know who to trust or what was real. It was far more dangerous than expected.
I loved the characters! Scarlett did what she thought was best even when it wasn’t what she wanted. That’s admirable in its own way. She always analyzed the best way to handle a situation. Doesn’t mean she always made the best decision though. The main side character was Julian. I didn’t know what to make of him until the very end. He went from scoundrel to kinda sweet, but what was real?
The ending was one hell of a surprise. Didn’t see it coming at all. There was a lot more going on than I would have guessed. I can’t wait for the next one because I’m dying to know more. The ending wasn’t really a cliffhanger. The main story was wrapped up, but some things were left open ended.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Series: Mercy Thompson #10
Mercy was kidnapped and taken to the lair of a powerful vampire. The question was why? The story was told from alternating Mercy and Adam’s POV. The parts with Mercy were good. Chaos seemed to follow her every place she went. It was great to have Mercy away from the pack for a while. She may not win any battles due to strength but has many ways of outwitting her enemies. I may be in the minority with this opinion but I prefer Mercy when she doesn’t have to deal with ridiculous pack drama. She’s capable of handling a lot on her own.
Adam’s POV dragged. Honestly I could have skipped his chapters because all I wanted to know was what was going on with Mercy. Everything he did to get Mercy back was political. I didn’t feel like anything truly significant was learned from his dealings with the vampires. Adam is a powerful alpha. He’s got to be one of the most boring alphas. The problem is that he’s too pragmatic to be interesting. Internally he fretted about Mercy but managed to be calm and reasonable. What he did was the right but didn’t make for a highly entertaining read.
The story was a bit convoluted by the end. The ending made sense. It wasn’t like I couldn’t understand it, but I wanted more details about how this plot was orchestrated. I loved the twist with Matt Smith. I did not see that coming at all. But seriously how the hell did that happen? Because it wasn’t one of those twists where looking back after knowing the truth makes all the pieces fall into place. There weren’t any hints at all, so it came out of left field. It’s fascinating because of what it symbolizes for Mercy, but logistically it doesn’t seem possible.
Rating: 2.5 stars
Series: Veronica Speedwell #2
A tedious undertaking would have been a more apt title. The pacing was so slow. Every 50 pages or so they’d get some minuscule clue. They had to do a lot of socializing to get these clues too. The worst part was that I didn’t care about any of the characters other than Victoria and Stoker. All of them were obnoxious and self absorbed. The mystery was too simple. The occam’s razor theory definitely applies here.
The main reason I read this was because I wanted to know more about Stoker’s past. Well none of that was revealed. Something about him was revealed but nothing that was alluded to in the first book. Stoker’s okay. I like the guy but I don’t love him. He’s too much of a pushover. He always gives into what Victoria wants.
Victoria is still just as cold as ever. It’s hard to feel a deep connection between her and Stoker because she’s emotionally detached. Every man she meets falls over themselves to get her attention. It irritates the hell out of me because she’s not that charming. It’s odd that Victoria thinks about sex often. I would think some as unfeeling and practical as her would find it to be a useless endeavor especially since she doesn’t want a committed relationship or children. For a book with sex alluded to often, there certainly wasn’t any of it to be had. All I know is this book needed something to spice it up, and sex would have been a great place to start.
Rating: 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!
Rating: 3 stars
Series: Harmony Black #1
I never thought I’d say this about a Craig Schaefer book, but it was so boring. The Daniel Faust books are dark, humorous, and entertaining. Although Harmony Black is a spin off of that series, they are not alike at all. Harmony is an FBI agent, so this felt more like a police procedural than UF. The mystery part of the story was okay but lacked suspense.
My problem with this book is that I don’t like Harmony. In the Daniel Faust series, she was portrayed as uptight and compassionless. Being privy to her thoughts didn’t change that. She’s repressed to the point of being almost completely devoid of emotion. I understand why she is the way she is but it doesn’t increase her appeal. Just about the only thing to get her riled up is not following procedure. I hate how she applies human laws and logical to supernatural creatures. She’s a witch FFS! You’d think she’d be more open and understanding of the world around her but obviously not. She does care about people as in she doesn’t want innocents to be hurt, but it doesn’t seem like she really empathizes with other people.
The other characters weren’t impressive either. Jessie was weird and dull. I didn’t care about whatever was going on with her. Honestly I kept forgetting she was a woman since absolutely nothing about her was feminine. Not as much was known about the other various side characters but they were all boring police types. Unless this series ties back in with Daniel Faust, I probably won’t continue with it.