zaterdag 30 april 2016

T.A. Pratt - Blood Engines

The first book in the Marla Mason series, published September 25, 2007.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: intriguing

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Meet Marla Mason - smart, saucy, slightly wicked witch of the East Coast.…
Sorcerer Marla Mason, small-time guardian of the city of Felport, has a big problem. A rival is preparing a powerful spell that could end Marla's life - and, even worse, wreck her city. Marla's only chance of survival is to boost her powers with the Cornerstone, a magical artifact hidden somewhere in San Francisco. But when she arrives there, Marla finds that the quest isn't going to be quite as cut-and-dried as she expected…and that some of the people she needs to talk to are dead. It seems that San Francisco's top sorcerers are having troubles of their own - a mysterious assailant has the city's magical community in a panic, and the local talent is being (gruesomely) picked off one by one.
With her partner-in-crime, Rondeau, Marla is soon racing against time through San Francisco's alien streets, dodging poisonous frogs, murderous hummingbirds, cannibals, and a nasty vibe from the local witchery, who suspect that Marla herself may be behind the recent murders. And if Marla doesn't figure out who is killing the city's finest in time, she'll be in danger of becoming a magical statistic herself.…


This series has been on my shelves for a long time, but when my good friend Sullivan McPig started reading it, and loved it, I finally picked the first one up.
It sure is different, more violent and casual, perhaps because I don't read much male authors. I prefer female authors writing a female heroine. And I still have the feeling that I miss some valuable background about Marla, how she came to be in the position of power that she is in. Yes, a prequel would be appreciated.

I like Marla, she is strong, she knows what she wants, and she goes after it. She knows her own powers, and she tries to take care of her city and those in it. We meet lots of different sorcerers in this book, most not very nice.
Yes, I will read the next book. I enjoyed this story, not loved it, but am intrigued, also with her magical cloak.

7 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 29 april 2016

Deborah Blake - Wickedly Ever After

A novella in the Baba Yaga series, published January 19, 2016.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: good, fits the series.

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Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don't make the mistake of crossing one...
Having triumphed over a powerful enemy and ended up with both a wonderful guy - Sheriff Liam McClellan - and an adorable adopted daughter to raise as a Baba Yaga, Barbara Yager is ready to welcome her happily ever after.
But first she must bring Liam to the Otherworld and get the Queen's permission to marry him. The Queen, however, is not so easily persuaded. She gives them three impossible tasks to complete in two weeks' time - and if they fail Barbara will have to watch Liam slowly age and die like all humans, and kiss her happily ever after good-bye forever.


I have recently fallen in love with this series, and this novella is a great ending to the trilogy. Barbara wants to marry her Liam, but for that, she needs the Queen's permission. The Queen denies her that permission, but relents at the request of her King, and gives Barbara three impossible tasks to fulfull…
But when you are magical, three impossible tasks are suddenly not that impossible any more …

A lovely novella, and I am very much looking forward to the next trilogy, about the Riders. If you love paranormal romance, and want something fresh and different, try this series.

8 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 28 april 2016

Jim Butcher - First Lord's Fury

The sixth book in the Codex Alera series, published November 24, 2009.
Genre: fantasy
Cover: good

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For Gaius Octavian, life has been one long struggle. Battling ancient foes, forging new alliances, and confronting the corruption within his own land, he became a legendary man of war and leader of men - and the rightful First Lord of Alera.
Now the end of all he fought for is close at hand. The brutal, dreaded Vord are on the march, using fear and chaos to turn the Alerans against one another, and forcing those who will not submit to flee to the outer reaches of the Realm.
Perhaps for the final time, Gaius Octavian and his Legions must stand against the enemies of his people. And it will take all of his intelligence, ingenuity, and furycraft to save their world from eternal darkness…


A great ending to the series. Lots of battle of course, but also wits to outthink the enemy Gaius Octavian (Tavi) has the flair to make other enemies into allies, to battle the common enemy who would destroy them all.
Tavi still can't manifest furies like other people can, but he sure can use their magic, in a big way, more powerful even than his father and grandfather.
And on the personal front, Kitai challenges Tavi to court her the Marat way. And that totally stuns him. How is he supposed to do that?

If you love epic fantasy, I would certainly recommend this series. For me, it feels like the Roman Legions have reached another world, as their army is certainly based on them. I really liked this series. Perhaps it is time for me to go back to my reading roots, and read some more fantasy.

9 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 27 april 2016

Nora Roberts - The Liar

A stand alone novel, published April 14, 2015.
Genre: romantic suspense
Cover: blue

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Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions…
The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safety-deposit box, she finds multiple ID's. The man she loved wasn't just dead, he never really existed.
Shelby takes her three year old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows, and threatens Griff as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning…


I enjoyed this book, mostly because of the heroine. Left a widow, with a precious daughter, and a 3 million dollar debt, she took care of it, and of herself. She builds a new future for herself, and makes amends with her families and friends she left behind when she was swept of her feet and eloped with her husband.
The new love interest was perhaps a bit soon after the shock, but as she was no longer in love with her husband when he died, I can forgive that.
The suspense plot though, that was sadly predictable from the first few pages, when I read how she lost her husband.

7 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 24 april 2016

Ellery Adams - Breach of Crust

The fifth book in the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery series, published April 5, 2016.
Genre: paranormal cozy mystery with recipes
Cover: absolutely gorgeous

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PIE SHELLS AND DEATH BELLES
Ella Mae LeFaye s delicious pies are still drawing long lines as well as the attention of Beatrice Burbank, president of the Camellia Club, a philanthropic organization comprised of high-society Southern ladies from the charming and affluent town of Sweet Briar, Georgia. To ensure the success of their centennial dessert cookbook, Bea hires Ella Mae to teach the tasty tricks of her trade to the club s members at their annual retreat. Eager to work on new recipes for customers with food allergies and dietary restrictions, Ella Mae readily agrees.
But when Ella Mae finds Bea s body floating in Lake Havenwood, she wonders what she s gotten herself mixed up in. Someone certainly wanted Bea to eat humble pie, and the retreat offers no shortage of unsavory characters, including Ella Mae s longtime nemesis, Loralyn Gaynor. Ella Mae definitely doesn't need magic to tell her she must find the killer before someone else gets panned."


After the emotional ending of book 4, I really didn't think the next book could captivate me as much as that one. But this fifth book is still a very good one. Lots of intrigue but also a good development of Ella Mae and Hugh as a couple, they are starting over, and they just fit together. I didn't think that anymore in the previous books, but now, yes. They do belong together. Ella Mae is also baking new things, delicious pies for people who can't have dairy or gluten or sugar. It is hard work but she loves what she does, and it still shows in her pies. Her business is still growing, but the magical community hasn't forgotten her either. The Elders still need her help, and that of her friends.

Of course there is a murder, and it is sad that no one seems to care very much, except Ella Mae who found the body. Finding this killer might be a lot harder than before though …

It was a fun book, a glimpse of small town southern life, and a glimpse in the lives of the rich and almost famous. And I think Ella Mae is too naïve to think that there is anything left in Loralyn worthy of saving. Don't read this book when you are hungry or already hunkering for pie, because it will make you go out and get some …

9 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 23 april 2016

Allyson James - Firewalker

The second book in the Stormwalker series, published November 2, 2010.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: strong
Re-read for the second time.

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Janet Begay's Crossroads Hotel has attracted the supernatural from the day it opened. Witches, changers, and a mouthy magic mirror have decided to make it their home. But a new, dark power is rising - this time inside Janet herself.
Her boyfriend, Mick, is sexy dragon shape-shifter the Navajo call a Fire-walker, knows what terrifying magic is threatening to overwhelm Janet and her Stormwalker powers. He watches over her, ready to fight for her, to do anything to keep her safe.
But then a mysterious corpse is found near the Crossroads Hotel - and Janet becomes Sherriff Nash Jones's main suspect. Trouble is, even she can't be sure she didn't do it. Now Janet and Mick must uncover what really happened, and their investigation leads to the most perilous decision of their lives: Mick must choose between protecting his own people or guarding Janet, the woman he loves, from the many forces amassing against her.


After dealing with her mother in the first book, Janet's Beneath-magic is growing stronger and more difficult to handle. It teaches her things, tempts her to do the bad things, hurting innocent people and telling her she is stronger than everyone else, even the local Gods. And the Dragons. The Dragons sent Mick to kill her way back then, but he fell in love with her instead, and protects her from his own kind. But now Mick is in trouble, facing an unfair trial. Can Janet save him?
And fight the darkness inside herself, and the monster that is killing people around her?


A great second book, I just kept on reading late into the night. More great characters are introduced, the magic mirror plays a good part as well, and Janet and Maya are slowly becoming better friends. So when is Nash finally waking up and follow his heart?
The ending was a big surprise, I will read book 3 very soon! (Yes okay, a re-read so I knew it was coming, but still).

9 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 22 april 2016

Allyson James - Stormwalker

The first book in the Stormwalker series, published May 4, 2010.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: strong
Re-read for the second time.

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Janet Begay is a Stormwalker, capable of wielding the raw elemental power of nature's tempests - a power that threatens to overwhelm her. Only her lover, Mick, a dark-haired, blue-eyed biker, is able to siphon off her excess energy and calm the storm raging within her - even as their passion reaches unimaginable heights of ecstasy.
Janet and Mick have come to the desert town of Magellan to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the police chief's daughter. The barren land around it is full of vortexes, the gateways that connect the human world with the mystical realm of Beneath, and after encountering skinwalkers and receiving hints from a shape-shifting coyote and a smart-ass magic mirror, Janet fears that her own powerful, scary-as-hell mother is involved.
She's also uncertain about Nick. He can wield fire and never get burned, and Janet can't seem to touch him with her storm powers. But Janet must trust him, since she and Mick find themselves venturing where no human can survive alone - and only together can they overcome the greatest danger they've ever faced.


I've read this series quite some time ago, and as I recently purchased the fifth book in the series (sadly in e-book as I love those covers and just prefer print-books) I thought a re-read was in order.
I still enjoyed this story very much, it is still fresh and original and filled with great characters and action and my kind of humor. And yes, a few hot love scenes! Janet is a Navajo woman with strong Storm magic inside of her. She has come home to Magellan to find a missing person, but she also bought a derelict hotel and has hired a lot of locals to get it up and running again, amongst them a feisty female electrician.
Enter on the scene Mick, her mysterious biker boyfriend. Can she trust him, when he tells her nothing about himself? And the Unbeliever: Sheriff Nash Jones, who was the missing woman's fiancée and doesn't believe anything Janet tells him about the paranormal stuff going on. As it happens, Nash is a null, and magic just disappears inside of him, without him even noticing.
Growing up Janet had a hard childhood, born out of wedlock, raised by her shy father, her extremely stern grandmother and her aunts, she didn't know how fast she could escape that life and drive away on her Harley. Her mother died at her birth, but apparently, she wasn't her real mother, that was a Goddess from Beneath, a Goddess bent on capturing Janet to force her to free her… And she doesn't hesitate to sent Nightwalkers or Skinwalkers after her to capture her.

Lots of action, intrigue and suspense, and of course magic. Janet is though, and when is not there for her, well, she just takes care of everything herself. Still, I loved the scene where he broke her out of jail! And ladies, there is a magic mirror as well, with a very dirty mind…

If you haven't read this series yet, go for it, I promise it is worth your time.

9 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian