Book Reviews

Straightforward Book Reviews. I’m going for immediate impressions and the reasons some books stay with me and others don’t. I rarely put up a review just to bash a book. Not my thing unless the author perpetuates a particularly heinous trope.

Review: Archangel by Sharon Shinn (Samaria series #1)

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Archangel by Sharon Shinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is the first of a series of books set in the same world. Each one has a standalone romance, yet the larger arc, spanning the series, is more of a quest that takes centuries and many heroes to complete. The setting is intriguing, and I’m already hooked.

A distant planet that had been colonised five hundred years ago by a group of men and women, who claim that their God, Jovah, saved them from their own violent world and brought them to Samaria to start anew. Centuries later, Jovah still keeps careful account of how they live their lives, and guids and punishes them to keep the harmonic balance of their world intact. And it’s this close, divine supervision that keeps the many tribes, classes, and races populating Samaria from plunging into war and violence as their ancestors in a far away planet had. (more…)

Not a Review: Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane series #10)

26804433Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note to self: You liked this mostly for Val. The way he was written, the anti-hero’s devolution, the way his redemption was earned…all fell nicely in line with what we already knew about his flexible moral compass from previous books.

And the great thing is that Val doesn’t change by the end of the book, he simply meets someone he loves very much and does not want to disappoint. He’s almost a child in his deep and unhesitating need to be loved.

He also has certain moral lines that he hasn’t crossed yet, but without Bridget’s presence in his life he would probably (eventually) end up crossing them in his drive to gain more power. He simply doesn’t see why he shouldn’t. You liked this story because it didn’t give him a redemption arc, it gave him a reason to not cross those last lines that would squarely put him in the villain category. (more…)

Review: The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

28863The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m fresh off Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series and utterly tired of great plot promises consistently undelivered in her books. I can only name one in the series, Duke of Sin, that kept me relatively hooked until the end.

So, it was with some surprise that I found Raven Prince in my to-be-read pile marked — Highly recommended! I don’t know whose recommendation got me that excited, but something made me give Hoyt one more chance. And this time, I wasn’t disappointed.

The story starts slow as an ill tempered earl hires a respectable widow as his secretary. Their attraction takes root almost immediately, though both know that they can’t act on it. (more…)

Review: Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews

20705702Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Darned satisfying read. I wish the publishers didn’t push it as a paranormal romance. Burn for Me is an urban fantasy, hero’s journey through and through. Nevada Baylor is a small time private investigator forced to take on a case far above her pay grade. But the alternative is losing her business and her family’s home. So, with wit and a talent for detecting lies she treads into the murky waters of House politics. (more…)

Review: Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt

Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note to self: You liked Phoebe and James for the first half of the book where their relation transitioned from blind sister to Duke and the bodyguard who restricts her movements to friends who have feelings for each other. You really liked that Phoebe was happy to go exploring the physical side of her feelings, even though James was having Noble Idiot conniptions. He could only resist her for so long. BUT, once the story moved from London to Cornwall, (more…)

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

cruel-beautyCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is her debut effort?! Fuck me and my writerly pretensions.

The story plucks out the father bargains daughter away to monster theme from Beauty and the Beast (or La Belle et la Bete) and then turns the self-sacrificing Belle on her head and makes her MAD at the world for the unfairness of it all. It’s brilliant. Nyx has been brought up to sacrifice herself because her father made a fool’s bargain. And because the monster in her future is also the wizard who oppresses the world, her father spent years training her in hermetic magic so she can kill the beast and free her people. (more…)

Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand

9781406372021My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you know anything about British history, then you’ve heard about this queen. One who ruled for only 9 days, but was earnest, intelligent, and amazingly well-read. She was young but determined. Honest but inexperienced. And she died much too soon. In this version of history, Lady Jane lives in a world full of Effians and Verities, or as we would call them: were-beasts and humans. This alternate reality uses the linchpins of past events, but claims to tell the “true” story of how everything went down. I’ve been fascinated by Lady Jane’s story, and I loved this telling of the well known (and bloody) story because of the self-aware humour and wish fulfillment in evidence. Jane lives and is given opportunities to prove herself and find her life’s purpose. She’s loved by a man who deserves her. It’s what we would have wished for the young queen, and I have no issues with magic used to bring those ideal events about. She gets her much deserved happily ever after, and we get to laugh as she finds her way to it.

Buy My Lady Jane: Amazon US|UK|CA or Amazon IN

 

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Reviewed: Angel’s Dance by Nalini Singh

124e42e4527854e9ac1df359613ef429Angels’ Dance by Nalini Singh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My favourite short story of this series. I’ve always enjoyed Singh’s treatment of her secondary characters more than the primary couple, but this story is especially engaging because of the subversion of the usual ancient male/young female trope. The woman here is thousands of years old, while the man is only a few hundreds. I liked the way their relationship bloomed over time. Also, that a miraculous cure doesn’t magick away the heroine’s disability. Well done on that.

Upon re-reading: Yeah, I can see why I loved it the first time, but I’ve read a lot more since. (more…)

Review: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I waited and waited and waited for this story to get exciting…and then it just ended. Usually, if a book is going to bore me, it gives me sufficient clues within the first quarter of the story. But this one lured me in with its detailed historical setting, complex familial relationships, an interesting and conflicted heroine, but then failed to deliver on the actual plot. It failed on two out of three counts. The male love interest was dull, dull, dull. And the conflict in the story was…to be resolved in some book down the line in a series still being written. The only thing they got right was the protagonist. Helen was dealing with a revelation that didn’t just changed the story she’d always been told of her mother, the traitor to her nation, but also threatened to upend her life and relationships. She was pretty badass. But a lot of the story depended on the hero, William, whose lack of any personality — unless mopey is something you find attractive — killed the narrative dead. I’m not picking up the next one, unless a reviewer I trust swears up and down that someone taught Goodman about pacing and conflict.

Buy The Dark Days Club : Amazon US|UK|CA or Amazon IN

 

Disclaimer: The above post contains affiliate links to amazon pages. If you buy anything by using these links, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog! 

Review: A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

b01aso6jiy-01-lzzzzzzzA Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sherlock Holmes as a woman working under a man’s name. It’s brilliant in this quiet, understated way, and I loved it. It has none of the flash of recent, tv Sherlock adaptations, but feels perfect set in the original time period. Also, one of the things I loved in this (and had always disliked in tv versions) is that the police were allowed to do their job. They weren’t props to make Holmes look brilliant.

She is brilliant, but she isn’t a one woman police force, showing up Scotland Yard as incompetent despite their years of investigative experience. I love it, did I mention? =D And so, what happens when a smart mind is brought up in a woman’s body, in a family of upper class respectability? (more…)