woensdag 22 oktober 2014

Jim Butcher – Furies of Calderon

The first book in the Codex Alera series, published October 5, 2004.
Genre: fantasy
Cover: amazing, love it

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For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies – elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood and metal. But in the remote Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat horde – returns to the Valley, Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness will be a power greater than any fury, one that could turn the tides of war...

It’s been a while since I read some epic fantasy, but I was sucked into this world immediately, and I absolutely loved it. It has everything a good fantasy needs: intrigue to dethrone the king, treason, loyalty, war, fighting, magic (furies), a touch of romance, friendship, adventure, and some amazing main characters.

It has two main characters, whose adventures we follow and whose paths cross. Amara, a young Cursor, working for the First Lord in secret. Her mentor, Fidelias, has just betrayed her and his First Lord, but he believes to be working for the greater good, the prosperity of Alera. The First Lord is old and has no longer an heir, and his new wife does not seem to be getting with child. Before the country is torn apart by civil war, he will help put a new First Lord on the throne. Associating with the Marat horde to accomplish his goal, killing thousand of innocent citizens in the process, is a small price to pay in his opinion. But Amara does not agree with him, and she will do whatever is necessary to thwart his plans and save the First Lord. Escaping her capturers, Amara flees as far as her wind fury can take her, but Fidelias will not let her escape that easily. She knows too much of his plans, and too much of how he works. Amara is the best student he has ever had, and she just might foil up his plans. So with the help of the country’s best swordfighter Aldrick, and Odiana, a waterwitch, he sets out to Calderon Valley to meet with the Horde.

Meanwhile, Tavi is trying to find the missing sheep he did not bring in last evening, as he was busy picking rare flowers for a young maiden whose kiss made him forget his duty to his uncle. So now, instead of attending to some very important Hold matters, Bernard and Tavi are searching for the sheep. Tavi is mad at himself, his future hings on those sheep, as his uncle has promised to give him some if he performs his duties without fail. Tavi is the only furyless boy in the village, and he is bullied by the other boys because of that. But if he can sell those sheep, he will have enough money to attend the Academy in town, and learn a profession that does not require him having furyhelp.

But Bernard and Tavi don’t just find the missing sheep, they find something much more dangerous: a herdbane has killed some of the sheep. And where there is one, there is usually its mate, and of course one of the Marat. Together they manage to kill the herdbane before it kills Bernard, but Bernard is severely injured. With the help of his earth fury, they manage to get away, but the Marat is faster, and to draw attention away from his uncle, Tavi lures the warrior after him.

But night is falling, and the furystorm is just waiting to break loose. Dangerous furies are in the winds, and it will become freezingly cold. After escaping the Marat, Tavi will have to find shelter, and fast. But then he hears another voice calling for help and so he finds Amara.

And then there is an other evil man to deal with. Tavi’s aunt Isana finds out firsthand what her neighbour and his depraved son have been up to all those years, tormenting and abusing his slaves. But with some help from an unsuspected corner, Isana manages to escape, taking her fellow prisoner with her. It just shows that a common enemy makes strange allies in dangerous situations.

A very exciting story follows, where they have to reach the Garrison to warn about the upcoming Marat attack. Who will believe them, and who has already been bought by the traitors?
I was really captivated by this story, and I will dive into book 2 immediately. I sure have my suspicions about who Tavi really is though... Especially as Fade is revealed as not being an idiot after all ...
I would have like a little bit more information on how a young person acquires his of her furie or furies. And I did miss the part where Amara got rid of her slave collar that she wore as a disguise ...

I do recommend this series to everyone who loves fantasy and adventures. I enjoy Jim Butcher’s writing style, and it is very different from his Dresden File series.

8 stars.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 20 oktober 2014

New additions to my addiction

Stapel boeken

My 17th new additions post for 2014.

From Bookdepository:
Yasmine Galenorn – Priestess Dreaming
Susan Wittig Albert – The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star
Erin McCarthy – Final Lap
Thea Harrison – Night’s Honor (I have already read Maia’s copy as I had forgotten to pre-order it myself)
Laura Childs – Gilt Trip
Alexis Morgan – Honor’s Price
Karen Hawkins – The Prince who loved me
Robin D. Owens – Ghost Layer
Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison – The Final Cut
Faith Hunter – Broken Soul
Bella Andre – The way you look tonight
Bella Andre – Kissing under the mistletoe

I think this list really showcases my wide taste in books. And I can’t wait to read them all.

Secondhand books:

John Grisham – Playing for Pizza

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 19 oktober 2014

Susannah Sandlin – Lovely, Dark and Deep

The first book in the Collectors series, published June 24, 2014.
Genre: romantic suspense
Cover: good

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This book was first published as a Kindle Serial. Kindle Serials are stories published in episodes, with future episodes delivered at no additional cost.

From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes a heart-pounding romantic thriller that pits a quick-witted scientist and a scarred ex - combat diver against a ruthless billionaire treasure hunter with ties to the White House.

When biologist Gillian Campbell makes an offhand comment about a family curse during a TV interview, she has no idea what her words will set in motion. Within days, Gillian finds herself at the mercy of a member of the C7, a secretive international group of power brokers with a dangerous game: competing to find the world's most elusive treasures, no matter the cost, in money or in lives. To save her family, Gillian teams up with Shane Burke, a former elite diver who's lost his way, navigating the brutal "death coast" of the North Atlantic to find what the collector seeks: the legendary Ruby Cross of the Knights Templar, stolen by Gillian's ancestor and lost at sea four hundred years ago.

It has been three months since I read this book, and I still have not managed to write a review about it. And I am so very sorry that my addiction to Hay Day has kept me from writing a nice one, as I did enjoy this book a lot. I really look forward to reading book 2, as Susannah Sandlin has written a really bad bad guy, and I look forward to see him getting what he deserves eventually.
I really do love treasure hunt books, I used to devour Clive Cussler’s books, and I love Cherry Adair’s Cutter Cay series as well. So a new series in this genre is very welcome to me. Yes, I am also a big fan of Indiana Jones, there are many more books than movies about him and his adventures. I’ve read those in Dutch in my teens.

Gillian Campbell finds herself blackmailed into giving up her life, to go on a wild goose chase treasure hunt. What are the chances she can find the Templar’s Cross her ancestor supposedly stole 400 years ago? If she does not comply however, her little niece will be killed. As her only friend has been put in the hospital just to show her “they” mean business, she believes it. The worst part is, she has only one month to accomplish the hunt, and then she will die. And her loved ones with her.
Shane Burke is another victim of the blackmailer, and although he is promised a lot of money, turning it down is not an option. And so Shane, Gillian, and Shane’s friends embark on a treasure hunt, trying to find clues to where the ship has sunk in the North Atlantic, and getting experience in diving in those treacherous and cold waters. The pressure gets heavier and heavier when they don’t make progress fast enough to the likes of the bad guy. Friends get hurt and kidnapped, but Shane and Gillian are closing in on finding out who is behind this all. It has to be someone very high up to know so much and so fast ...

It took me a while to warm up to both Gillian and Shane. They have both had some traumatic events in their lives, and have closed down because of it. It made me understand them a bit more when it was explained. Though this book has been published as a serial novel, it is not riddled with cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. It is fast paced, a lot of things keep happening, things you really don’t see coming.

It takes a while for Gillian and Shane to trust each other with their stories. They are both closed people, but they are very much attracted to each other and living in close conditions on Shane’s boat, means they are spending a lot of time together. Of course Shane wants to leave Gillian behind if he gets the chance, but Gillian (and her dog) are smarter than that and hide away aboard. The dog doesn’t really like Shane and those scenes are fun. It is not a little dog either ...

I do like that Gillian is not a shrinking violet, she can certainly hold her own. She is a professional alligator wrestler, hunting dangerous animals, catching them, and either killing them or releasing them in the wild, far away from human villages. She is also a diver, and she is determined to help Shane with the work. She just is not accustomed to diving in the dark cold water of the North Atlantic. As a former marine diver, Shane has experience enough. He just has to deal with the ghosts of his past first.

There is of course a lot of action in this book, but there is also time for humor and some nice love scenes between Gillian and Shane. The ending was certainly surprising, I did enjoy that a lot. I look forward to book 2 in the series.

Suzanne Johnson/Susannah Sandlin is one of the very few authors whose books I buy in trade paperback, as I really do like her writing style. So far I have enjoyed three different series and some short stories by her. And of course she is a very nice and generous person who is fun to follow on Social Media and her own website / blog.

8 stars.

Autobuy author

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 17 oktober 2014

Jocelynn Drake – Angel’s Ink

The first book in the Asylum Tales series, published October 16, 2012.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: nice, fitting the story

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Buyer beware...

Looking for a tattoo - and maybe a little something extra: a burst of good luck, a dollop of true love, or even a hex on an ex? Head to the quiet and mysterious Gage, the best skin artist in town. Using his unique potions - a blend of extraordinary ingredients and special inks - to etch the right symbol, he can fulfill any heart's desire. But in a place like Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires happily walk among humanity, everything has its price. No one knows that better than Gage. Turning his back on his own kind, he left the magical Ivory Tower where cruel witches and warlocks rule, a decision that cost him the right to practice magic. And if he disobeys, his punishment - execution - will be swift. Though he's tried to fly under the radar, Gage can't hide from powerful warlocks who want him dead-or the secrets of his own past. But with the help of his friends, Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx, Gage just might make it through this enchanted world alive.

I really enjoyed this book. It is a bit strange to read from a male point of view, especially during the love scene. Gage has a lot of bad luck in this book, everything he does leads to disaster, and when he tries to solve one problem, it leads to the next. Still, he keeps trying to put things to rights, and stay alive and protect his few friends. He has been in love with his assistant Trixie for a few years now, but he knows he has to keep his distance. Knowing he is a wizard will only endanger her from the Ivory Towers. His guardian Gideon will see to that. Or is Gideon having his own agenda here, and not so eager to have Gage brought before the Council to be executed for using magic other than self defense?

I love worlds inhabited by multiple species and lots of intrigue and bad guys, and the Asylum series sure has all that. It is original and fast paced and just fun to read. Using magic and magical items in tattoos to make them work is a nice concept. And it can go so very wrong ...

I like Gage, Trixie (who is Fae) and Bronx (who is a Troll) and I sure look forward to reading many more stories about them. There are a few books out now and several short stories and I will make sure to find them all.

8 stars.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 15 oktober 2014

Recommendations from Peggy for October 2014.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Peggy from Belgium.


I have read 10 novels in the past month, and the 3 books I enjoyed the most are:

1. The mighty storm – Samantha Towle

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2. Bad things – R.K. Lilley

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3. Ivan – Roxie Rivera

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The one I can recommend to all Aurian’s readers is:

Samantha Towle – The mighty storm

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It's been twelve years since Tru Bennett last saw Jake Wethers, her former best friend and boy she once loved.
Jake Wethers, sexy, tattooed and deliciously bad lead singer, and brains behind The Mighty Storm, one of biggest bands in the world, left Tru with a broken heart when he moved from England to America with his family when they were both fourteen.
Sent to interview Jake for her music column by the magazine she works for, they are both unprepared for the sparks that fly the instant they reconnect. Only, there's a complication to their instant feelings for one another - Will, Tru's boyfriend of two years.
Then Jake makes Tru a job offer she can't refuse - travelling the world with him and his band. But taking the job means leaving Will behind, and being on the road with the band means spending an inordinate amount of time with Jake.
Is Tru strong enough to resist the delectable bad boy who once held her heart so completely, or will she willingly risk it all for one night with the worlds most notorious womanizer?

If I have to describe the books that I have read since my last review in one sentence I would say….‘hot, tattooed bad boy/man with a sexy body that A - can sing or B - has a very sexy Russian accent’. The only problem after reading that many books about bad, sexy men is…. what do you read after that?! So I just pick another book about a hot, tattooed bad man… I just can’t seem to get enough of them.

From the first moment I read about this book, I was intrigued by the story (and I love the cover). I really wanted to read this book and I wasn’t disappointed. The only regret I have is that I left it so long on my to read pile. That I waited so long to read it!! But so many books to read and so little time.

This book is about Tru Bennett and Jake Wethers. They met when little Tru and her parents moved next door from little Jake and his parents. They became best friends and one of their passions they shared was music. They loved music, love talking about it, listening to it and even playing it. Jake played the guitar and Try the piano. But then when Jake is fourteen years old, his stepfather gets a great job offer, the only problem with this offer is, is that the job is in America. That means that Jake and his family are moving from England to America and that’s when the heartache begins. Tru and Jake lose contact with each other. Twelve years pass and Tru now lives in London, she works for a magazine as a music journalist. She lives together with her best friend Simone and has a wonderful relationship with her boyfriend Will. But then for her job she has to interview Jake. Jake, who is now the lead singer of The Mighty Storm, one of the biggest bands in the world.

After meeting her again after so many years, Jake knows that he can’t let her go a second time so he finds a way to spend time together. He does it by giving her a chance to write his biography. Something that could give her career a big boost. But that means that she has to go on tour with Jake and his band, leaving her boyfriend behind. But what are a few weeks in a lifetime, right?! The more time Tru and Jake spent together, the more they remember what they once had. But Tru has a boyfriend back home, who loves her very much. It’s a very hard time for Tru. Who does she choose? Will or Jake? One thing is for sure, if she chooses for Jake, she chooses a life that will be very hard, because how do you live a life where everything you do is public knowledge and where all the women in the world want to sleep with your ‘boyfriend’. Yet, can she say goodbye for a second time?

After finishing this book I couldn’t wait to read the next book in this series, the second book in this series continues with the story of Tru and …... and I even felt more in love with this series. I couldn’t stop reading. I loved it even more that the first one. The second book was even more emotional than the first book.

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Peggy! This book sure has a lickable cover. Does it have a love triangle, sort of thing, or makes Tru a decision before she sleeps with bad boy number 2?

Is there anyone intrigued enough by this recommendation to want to read the book/series?

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 12 oktober 2014

Allison Kingsley – Mind over murder

The first book in the Raven's Nest Bookstore series, published April 20, 2012
Genre: cozy mystery with just a touch of psychic power
Cover: nice

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Cousins and best friends, Clara and Stephanie Quinn run The Raven's Nest Bookstore, where people go to find their most coveted reads. But they have no idea it's the psychically-gifted Clara who's reading them...
The bookstore has made an enemy of the town crier, Ana Jordon, who claims that the store's occult collection is "poisoning" the town's youth. Meanwhile, the store's number-one employee, Molly, has made no secret of her anger over Ana's antics. So when Ana is found dead, killed by the bust of Edgar Allen Poe sculpted by Molly, the evidence is stacked against her. And Clara must rely on her gift to make sense of this senseless murder...

I have bought this series after reading a review on a blog I like. Diana and I share a very similar taste in cozies. Unfortunately, I was not blown away by this first book in the series. Clara Quinn and Stephanie Quinn grew up not only as cousins, but as best friends. In their family runs a certain psychic “power”, the Quinn sense. As young children, Stephanie dreamed of having it, but Clara was reluctant. She went along with her harebrained cousin’s schemes, and of course she is the cousin that got the Quinn Sense. And she doesn’t want it. It is unreliable and never around when she really needs it. Clara describes it as voices in her head, whispering to her. Really, I would not want that either. Stephanie really does not understand her cousins reluctance, she would have loved having it. She keeps pushing Clara to use it, to try to figure out who killed their neighbour in her bookstore’s storeroom. She just knows her assistant Molly did not kill Ana.

There are a lot of unlikable and even creepy secondary characters in this book, and every one of them could be the killer. Stephanie keeps pushing Clara to investigate and interrogate these persons, never once giving her some real help or solid ideas on how to do it. She thinks the Quinn Sense will work flawlessly and find the killer without any danger to themselves.

I did not like Stephanie very much, for not being more sensitive or understanding of her cousin’s reluctance. Stephanie is happily married with children, she owns and runs her own bookstore, but secretly she wishes for more adventure and now she thinks that she can have that by using Clara. She also keeps pushing Clara to go out on a date with one of the possible suspects, while Clara has been badly burned by a man back in New York city, and is not looking for a relationship, or ready for dating just yet. So, pushy Stephanie and Clara who gives in as she loves her cousin.

I do own the other books in this series, and will of course read them some day, but for now, this is not looking to be one of my favourite series. I like a little bit more humor in my cozies, and a heroine who wants to investigate just because she is curious/nosy/stumbles upon clues and dead bodies, and now someone who gets pushed into it reluctantly.

Of course, as a reader, I like the setting of a bookshop, and I do like paranormal cozies, but this one just did not cut it for me. Too little paranormal, and I have nothing at all with Edgar Allen Poe or horror or occult books.

6 stars.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 10 oktober 2014

New additions to my addiction

Stapel boeken

My 16th new additions post for 2014. I’ve bought a few new books, and more shiny new ones are on their way home. I hope to post those in 10 days time. On the bright side, reading some amazing books is helping me battle my addiction to Hay Day, as reading wins out over playing.

From Bookdepository:
Erin McCarthy – Close up. From every angle
Theresa Romain – Season for Desire

Secondhand books:
Debbie Macomber – 1225 Christmas Tree Lane
Dawn Cook (= Kim Harrison) – First Truth
Liz Evans – Who killed Marilyn Monroe
Liz Evans – Don’t mess with Mrs. In-Between
Liz Evans – Barking!
Liz Evans – JFK is missing
Liz Evans – Cue the Easter bunny
Liz Evans – Sick as a parrot (is that a saying in America?)

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian