Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Line (Witching Savannah #1) by J. D. Horn

From Goodreads:

Mercy Taylor, the youngest member of Savannah’s preeminent witching family, was born without the gift of magic. She is accustomed to coming in a distant second to the minutes older, exquisite and gifted twin she adores. Hopelessly in love with her sister’s boyfriend, she goes to a Hoodoo root doctor for a love spell. A spell that will turn her heart to another man, the best friend who has loved her since childhood.

Aunt Ginny, the family’s matriarch, would not approve. But Mercy has more to worry about than a love triangle when Aunt Ginny is brutally murdered. Ginny was the Taylor family’s high commander in the defense of the bewitched line that separates humankind from the demons who once ruled our realm.

A demon invasion looms now that the line is compromised. Worse yet, some within the witching world stand to gain from a demon takeover. Mercy, entangled in the dark magic of her love spell, fighting for her sister’s trust, and hopelessly without magic, must tap the strength born from being an outcast to protect the line she doesn’t feel a part of...

I'll be honest, I was ready to not like this. The reason is because part of the blurb that I didn't copy above turned me way off.

"Move over, Sookie Stackhouse—the witches of Savannah are the new talk of the South. Bold, flirty, and with a touch of darkness, debut author J.D. Horn spins a mesmerizing tale of a family of witches . . . and the problem that can arise from being so powerful. As Charlaine Harris’ series winds down—and as Deborah Harkness’ series heats up—Witching Savannah is new contemporary fantasy that will be sure to enchant new readers."

I'm sorry, but to me that's as pretentious as all get out, and it made me steer away from this one for a long time. It's riding on others coat tails. Maybe it gets the job done, the attention paid, but it makes me angry. Maybe the author had no say in that description, that's possible, I don't really know how that works. At any rate, I tried it out because I decided to try Kindle Prime and was having a hard time finding things that were on it that I wanted to read. The Line was available however, so I decided to give it a try, in spite of my ire at the blurb.

I was pleasantly surprised and found myself genuinely interested in the characters and what happened to them.  There were some twists I wasn't expecting and some I saw coming after big hints.  It could use more polish, some of the jumps between chapters seemed a little abrupt, or like we'd missed some time in between, I can't really explain why they seemed bigger than other books I've read.  As a debut, I think it was good.

All in all I did enjoy it.  I give it a 3.5/5 and would recommend it to fans of paranormal/witch stories, but do not expect Sookie Stackhouse, because it's not.  I haven't read the Deborah Harkness series yet, so I can't speak for that one, but to me, if they had left all reference to the other books out, that would have peaked my interest rather than irritated me because I wouldn't have felt like they were trying to capitalize on a reputation they hadn't earned.

I do really like the cover, the detail is neat and I like the style.  I look forward to seeing where the story goes next.  You can connect with J. D. Horn on his facebook page.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Final Catcall by Sofie Kelly

From Goodreads:

Small-town librarian Kathleen Paulson gets plenty of entertainment from her extraordinary cats, Owen and Hercules. But when a theatre troupe stumbles into more tragedy than it bargained for, it’s up to Kathleen to play detective....

With her sort-of boyfriend Marcus calling it quits and her ex-boyfriend Andrew showing up out of the blue, Kathleen has more than enough drama to deal with—and that’s before a local theatre festival relocates to Mayville Heights. Now the town is buzzing with theatre folk, and many of them have their own private dramas with the director, Hugh Davis.

When Davis is found shot to death by the marina, he leaves behind evidence of blackmail and fraud, as well as an ensemble of suspects. Now Kathleen, with a little help from her feline friends Owen and Hercules, will have to catch the real killer before another victim takes a final curtain call.

Sofie, you're killing me! I really want to know more about how or why Owen and Hercules have their special abilities, and there's still nothing in this 5th installment of the Magical Cat mysteries! Our adorable feline sleuths are their usual precocious selves, using their furry wiles to uncover clues to the murder. Kathleen has a bit of a rocky start in this one, having just been injured in the last episode, and being in a rough patch with Marcus. The two of them find out they're a lot alike when the tables are turned and Marcus is the one with loved ones involved. In the meantime Kathleen's previous life before Mayville comes to call, one invited and one not. We're all prepared to dislike Andrew because of how he treated Kathleen before she came to our lovely little town, but strangely he's not a half bad guy. How much of that is real and how much is an act is hard to tell, but he seems to get roped into doing a lot of work for the festival, so I felt kind of bad for him that he was swimming upstream in his efforts to get Kathleen back to Boston. I did really like Kathleen's mother, Thea.  I kind of picture her like the mother in the Castle TV show, sweeping in all perfect and glamorous, but totally lovable.

While I still don't have any answers about our fuzzy boys, there was definite progress in Kathleen's life, decisions were made, and I really love the town of Mayville Heights.  It's small, but very artsy, with a Carnegie library and a great core group of residents that I've come to care about, plus there always seem to be lots of brownies and desserts and muffins and such floating around all the time! Who wouldn't love that?!

The next book in the series is holiday themed I think, so not sure if I'll squeeze it in this season or next, or if I'll be able to wait (Christmas in July maybe?) because I'm still holding out hope to learn more about our magical cats from Wysteria Hill!  Give these a try if you love cozies and cats, libraries and artistic communities, it's all there!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #8 - Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!

From Goodreads:

Lilywhite Abernathy is a criminal—she’s half human, half fae, and since the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humans and faeries. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of the fae courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir due to the actions of reckless humans.

Lily’s father has always shielded her, but when she’s sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, she’s delivered straight into the arms of a fae sleeper cell—the Black Diamonds. The Diamonds are planted in the human world as the sons and daughters of the most influential families and tasked with destroying it from within. Against her will, Lilywhite’s been chosen to join them...and even the romantic attention of the fae rock singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the familiar world she knows.

I'm a fan of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series, so I'm excited to give her return to Faery a read!  I liked Graveminder a lot too, and hope there will be more in that world as well!

What books are on your wishlist?  

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Christmas Spirit Challenge (11/23-1/6) and Read-a-thon (11/23-11/29)

It's time to get our holiday reading going with The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge (11/23-1/6) over at The Christmas Spirit,

kicked off with The Christmas Spirit Read-a-thon (11/23-11/29) over at Seasons of Reading.  Both blogs are run by Michelle the True Book Addict.

Come Join us!

I'm going to keep track of my progress for both here in this post. 

Christmas Spirit Read-a-thon (11/23-11/29)


*Finish Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle
*Finish Final Catcall by Sofie Kelly finished 11/28
*Start (and hopefully finish) Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul - currently reading
*Get farther in Doctor Who: The Drostan's Curse A.L. Kennedy

Christmas Spirit Challenge (11/23-1/6)

 Level: Mistletoe (2-4 Christmas books)

*Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle
*Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul
*Naughty or Nice by Kenyon, Ryan, Phillips and Smith
*Unwrapped by Bangs, Dain and Henke

Bonus Level: Fa la la la films

*White Christmas
*The Nightmare before Christmas

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire--and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

This was delightful and I can see why so many of my friends have enjoyed it! Alexia reminds me of a young Amelia Peabody (from the Egyptian mystery series by Elizabeth Peters) if you put her into a supernatural setting, with her scientific interests and no nonsense attitude. I loved her curiosity of the biological processes during the romantic interludes. I loved Lord Akeldama, with his cultivated foppish personality and his entourage, embodying don't judge a book by it's cover. I can tell that Alexia and I will have a lot more fun together, in defense of the realm of course! Poor Lord Maccon!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #7 - The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!

From Goodreads:

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

I recently read In the Shadow of Blackbirds when it was offered as one of the Big Library Reads and was completely engaged in the story.  I had heard of The Cure for Dreaming already, as other friends had read it, but now having read Blackbirds, I'm very interested in giving Dreaming a try!

What books are on your wishlist?  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne

From Goodreads:

Luke Skywalker’s game-changing destruction of the Death Star has made him not only a hero of the Rebel Alliance but a valuable asset in the ongoing battle against the Empire. Though he’s a long way from mastering the power of the Force, there’s no denying his phenomenal skills as a pilot—and in the eyes of Rebel leaders Princess Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar, there’s no one better qualified to carry out a daring rescue mission crucial to the Alliance cause.

A brilliant alien cryptographer renowned for her ability to breach even the most advanced communications systems is being detained by Imperial agents determined to exploit her exceptional talents for the Empire’s purposes. But the prospective spy’s sympathies lie with the Rebels, and she’s willing to join their effort in exchange for being reunited with her family. It’s an opportunity to gain a critical edge against the Empire that’s too precious to pass up. It’s also a job that demands the element of surprise. So Luke and the ever-resourceful droid R2-D2 swap their trusty X-wing fighter for a sleek space yacht piloted by brash recruit Nakari Kelen, daughter of a biotech mogul, who’s got a score of her own to settle with the Empire.

Challenged by ruthless Imperial bodyguards, death-dealing enemy battleships, merciless bounty hunters, and monstrous brain-eating parasites, Luke plunges head-on into a high-stakes espionage operation that will push his abilities as a Rebel fighter and would-be Jedi to the limit. If ever he needed the wisdom of Obi-Wan Kenobi to shepherd him through danger, it’s now. But Luke will have to rely on himself, his friends, and his own burgeoning relationship with the Force to survive.

I had been eagerly awaiting getting my hands on this from the library as soon as I learned it existed. I love Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series so much that he's catapulted to one of my favorite authors.   What better combo could there be, a favorite author writing in one of the most iconic Sci-Fi worlds of our time, which I admittedly have not read many books set in, I think two previously to be honest.  So I was ready for greatness, but then the other reviews started rolling in, and they weren't all glowing.  Many were disappointed, I think basically expecting Iron Druid IN SPACE! and that wasn't what they got.

So I adjusted my sights, much like Armada in my previous review, and decided to appreciate it for what it was, because again, how could it possibly measure up to our expectations?  Here's why: Star Wars for crying out loud.  Like our expectations aren't already over the moon and out of the galaxy?  Especially with the Force Awakens looming on the horizon. Iron Druid is fabulous, because it's Kevin's world and he can do whatever he wants in it.  But Star Wars, whoa, not so fast.  Star Wars is this sacred, untouchable behemoth that must follow rules, with already established characters who must act a certain way.  Not only that, but this book is entirely from the point of view of one of the BIG THREE, Luke Skywalker.  I can only imagine Kevin's excitement and terror at writing this.  OMG Luke!  OMG What if I get it wrong?  Thinking about all of the constraints, Iron Druid isn't Sci-Fi by the way, it takes place on good ol' Earth, and also some meta physical planes, but NOT SPACE, I think he did a fine job and I really enjoyed it.  Luke seems a little goofy at times, but come on, he was goofy!  This takes place right after the first movie, when he's blown up the Death Star, but still has no real idea how to use The Force.  He's still young, and a strange mixture of seasoned from all the people he has lost, and the battles he's fought, but still naive in many ways. 

I actually listened to the audio read by Marc Thompson and it was a lot of fun!  He does the different voices very well and I look forward to listening to more Star Wars books read by him.  There was also ongoing background noise, of the space ports, of the battles, and also R2-D2, because he's such a character in his own right.  It was sometimes distracting, and silly, like the dramatic music playing during the noodle episode, but I overall I liked it and it helped add to the Star Wars atmosphere.

I think we have a tendency to judge too many books by their predecessors in other genre's or content that isn't fair, it's judging apples and oranges.  I am also admittedly not a stickler for following canon, or getting the image exactly right.  I just want a good story in a world I enjoy and that's what I got here.  So right on Kevin, *high five* to you for getting to write a Star Wars book, I'm excited for you that you did and for me that I got to share it with you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon - November 12th - 17th 2015

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon

I'm taking part in the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon, hosted by The Bookshelfery and The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. If you'd like to join us grab some holiday or wintery themed reads and head on over to the sign up! All the rules and deets are there! Come chat with us at #HoHoHoRAT!

Here is my TBR for the read-a-thon:



11/12: 44 pages Holidays on Ice
11/13: 24 pages Holidays on Ice, 20 pages Aunt Dimity = 44 pages total
11/14: 56 pages Aunt Dimity, DNF'd Holidays on Ice
11/15: 104 pages Aunt Dimity
11/16: 34 pages Aunt Dimity (finished), 26 pages of Holiday Grind = 60 pages total
11/17: 36 pages Holiday Grind

Total Pages:  344, 57 pages per day
Books Finished: 1, Aunt Dimity's Christmas

Wishlist Wednesday #6 - The Geomancer (Vampire Empire #4) by Clay and Susan Griffith

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!

From Goodreads:

The uneasy stalemate between vampires and humans is over. Adele and Gareth are bringing order to a free Britain, but bloody murders in London raise the specter that Adele's geomancy is failing and the vampires might return. A new power could tilt the balance back to the vampire clans. A deranged human called the Witchfinder has surfaced on the Continent, serving new vampire lords. This geomancer has found a way to make vampires immune to geomancy and intends to give his masters the ability to kill humans on a massive scale.

The apocalyptic event in Edinburgh weakened Adele's geomantic abilities. If the Witchfinder can use geomancy against humanity, she may not have the power to stop him. If she can't, there is nowhere beyond his reach and no one he cannot kill.

From a Britain struggling to rebuild to the vampire capital of Paris, from the heart of the Equatorian Empire to a vampire monastery in far-away Tibet, old friends and past enemies return. Unexpected allies and terrible new villains arise. Adele and Gareth fight side-by-side as always, but they can never be the same if they hope to survive.

I've enjoyed the story of Adele and Gareth so far, brought to us by this husband and wife author team.  I can't wait to continue their story and see what comes next!

What books are on your wishlist?  
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