Monday, June 24, 2013

Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara

Book 1 in The Chronicles of Elantra
Cast in Shadow (#1) by Michelle Sagara
4 stars

So this has been on my to-read list for the longest time. It sounded interesting when I bought it at least a year or two ago. I don't know why it took me so long but hey, I finally read it.

There are some negative reviews for this book but I found myself enjoying it. Some world building had to occur for this book and it was difficult to understand when I first started reading. I felt like Sagara needed to have a glossary in the book so I could understand the world a little better before I started reading. Basically this world is an alternate universe. Elantra is a big city. This world isn't technologically advanced and they rely on horses and carriages. It's almost medieval but this world also has magic. There are 5 different races that we are introduced to. You have the immortals: Dragons and Barrani. Then you have the mortals: Leontines (Lion type humans), Aerians (People with wings), Tha'alani (creatures with probe things on their heads. They can read you mind and memories and can almost show you images), and humans. Each race has a different culture and it's pretty interesting.

Kaylin Neya is our heroine. She is a chronically late person who is also a little special. When she was younger there was a series of murders of children around her age. Each child who was found dead had strange markings on their arms and thighs. One day marks appeared on Kaylin but she was never killed. We learn why later. Kaylin’s marks have given her some power that no one understands. She knows she can heal and she does what she can for the midwives. She helps mothers and children in danger from complicated births. She also can heal injuries. Her powers are not always in her control and it's had some deadly consequences. Because of this the Hawklord requires her to wear a bracer that tamps down her powers.

When the murders begin again, Kaylin must face her childhood home in the fiefs. The fief that Kaylin grew up in is Nightshade. It, like all the other fiefs, is run by one person and they are named after the person in charge. Lord Nightshade is in charge of the fief and even though he is an an outcaste Barrani, the Lords of Law do not mess with him. The laws have no control in the fiefs. He gifts Kaylin with a mark on her cheek. It is a nightshade flower. The Barrani and Dragon's can see this mark even if Kaylin tried to hide it. This mark protects her within Nightshade but puts her in danger outside of it.

To help Kaylin find the culprit behind the murders, she is forced with work with a Dragon and Severn. Severn betrayed Kaylin in the worst way even though he did what was necessary at the time (view spoiler).* Because of what he did, Kaylin doesn't trust him. She can't help but feel their old companionship because Severn was part of her life for so long. I find it funny that the first time she sees him she basically tries to kill him (view spoiler).**

I really liked this book but for some reason it took me awhile to review it. I don't know why but oh well. I will reread it sometime in the future. I like to reread because I know I miss things. I would recommend this book. My only problem is that you don't really get a full explanation of the world of Elantra. It's difficult to figure things out sometimes. I have a feeling that there will be more explanation as the book progress but I think that there should have been more of an introduction or world building. I like that we are dropped into the middle of the story but I wish there was a little more background. I would have at least liked a glossary.

Review on Goodreads

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dark Secrets: Legacy of Lies and Don't Tell by Elizabeth Chandler - 4 stars & 4.5 stars

Legacy of Lies and Don't Tell are the first two books in the Dark Secrets series. These two were published separately and then were combined into one omnibus. Dark Secrets 2 has book three and four. The fifth Dark Secrets book is on it's own as it is the end of the series.

I read Don't Tell when I was still in middle school so it was awhile ago. There is a small portion of paranormal in these novels. Legacy of Lies focuses on reincarnation and Don't Tell focuses on telekinesis type of abilities. Each has it's own murder mystery that needs to be solved, the main character has to solve the secret.

Legacy of Lies
4 stars

Legacy of Lies focuses on Megan. She was adopted by her parents and she has younger brothers. Her maternal grandmother, Helen, basically disowned Megan's mom because of the choices she made when she was younger, mainly marrying a black man. Talk about major racism. Helen had very high expectations and Megan's mother disappointed her.

Out of no where, her grandmother invites her to Wisteria and stresses that it is important. Right about this time Megan is having dreams and visions. When Ginny, an old friend of Megan's mother, drops Megan off at her grandmother's house, Megan is shocked. The house she had been dreaming about was suddenly real. Helen is strict and uptight. From the very beginning she tells Megan to mind her own business and to not go poking her nose around the place. Of course Megan ignores this.

We also have Matt, her "sort of cousin." Since Megan is adopted, they're only related by law and not blood. The end still bothers me a little because of the whole cousin aspect it (view spoiler).* Matt is a complete jerk to Megan and keeps telling her to go home. Megan replies to everything smartly.  She is sassy and funny and does not let anyone push her around. I like that she is strong-willed and stubborn. She stands up for herself. She actually develops a couple of friends during her short visit.

The only problem I have with this book was the length. It was short for a novel. The pacing was good in the beginning but I felt it was a bit rushed in the end. I wasn't expecting the reincarnation aspect. I feel that it would have been creepier for me when I was in middle school but I still enjoyed the book.

Review on Goodreads.

Don't Tell
4.5 stars

Our main character in this book is Lauren. Seven years ago her mother died by drowning after she fell off the dock. Lauren had been visiting her godmother at the time and after her mother died, it took her seven years to return. The death was considered an accident but most believed she was murdered. Lauren decides that it's time to return to Wisteria to see her beloved Aunt Jule.

When she arrives in town she decides to walk to the festival and where she runs into an old childhood friend, Nick. Over the seven years Nick has grown into a handsome young man and Lauren feels that instant attraction. I like Nick. Lauren is the daughter of a senator and which makes her rich. He was able to afford sending her to an all girl boarding school. Being surrounded by girls constantly definitely didn't expose her to boys.

While she is walking around, Lauren notices that someone is following her. It really creeps her out so she decides to head to Aunt Jule's house (view spoiler).* Her summer escape from her childhood is now falling apart. Jules is deep in debt and Jule's daughter Holly is in charge of taking care of expenses. Lauren offers money to Holly to help with the house and the cost of food for which Holly is grateful.

When Lauren gets to the house she meets Nora, Holly's little sister. When they were younger, Nora was already a little different. She was the one who discovered Lauren's mother and it is obvious this has affected her. Aunt Jule ignores it while Holly just tells her sister to knock it off. Only Lauren seems concerned about Nora. Jule is defensive when Lauren approaches the subject of getting Nora psychiatric help. The anger shocks Lauren as Aunt Jule has always treated Lauren better than her own children. When they were younger, Holly was extremely jealous of Jule's attention to Lauren. Holly is much nicer to Lauren now and told Lauren she has forgiven her (view spoiler). **

Strange things are beginning to happen around Lauren. She is threatened and is almost killed a couple of times. Mysterious knots are appearing around the house in in Lauren's room, exactly like the knots that Lauren's mother told  her about the days before her death. As she gets closer to discovering the truth behind her mother's death, the creepier things get.

Ending spoilers here.***

I found Don't Tell better than Legacy of Lies. The creepy factor is definitely higher in this book. Even though I've read the book before, I didn't really remember anything about it. I couldn't remember the details so it was enjoyable to read again. I wasn't kept at the edge of my seat and it was an easy read but I liked it enough. I will continue on with the series. As authors continue to write you can usually see growth and the books and writing get better. Hopefully this will hold true for the next three books in the Dark Secrets series.

Review on Goodreads.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews - 5 stars

Magic Bleeds (#4) by Ilona Andrews
5 stars

Previous Kate Daniels Series Reviews

Ah this is my favorite book of the series. I just love it. It's got great plot and character development and it just makes me happy. It's funny and entertaining but also really deep and suspenseful at the same time. This is one book that drags you on an emotional roller coaster. They really managed to put Kate's emotions through the wringer.

We a have a prologue in Magic Bleeds. Magic Strikes ended with a note from Curran setting a date and menu for the naked (but not really) dinner. Curran doesn't show up (view spoilers).* Kate's heart breaks and mine did too. Kate heads to Atlanta with a broken heart to continue her work with the Order.

Kate picks up a petition. Someone is going around the city killing people and making magically amplified diseases come to life. They are completely deadly and they have the potential to spread an epidemic. Yet again Ilona Andrews has come up with another myth and has twisted it to make it even more wonderful (view spoiler).** It turns out that the Steel Mary (the nickname they give the mythical person) is related to Kate. Kate has finally run into family (view spoiler).*** Dun dun dun.....

We also get the introduction of a pet in Kate's life. While investigating, Kate acquires a dog. Grendel. This has got to be the worst dog ever. He pukes and eats everything. He's huge and gross and happy. He's wonderful for Kate and helps her in more ways than one. I would never want a shaved poodle but he helps her when she's sad and he's a good companion. He's also some kind of special dog.

We have a little more of Andrea in this book as well. She's Kate's best friend and she's the comfort Kate needs when dealing with the heartbreak over Curran. Andrea and Raphael are together in this book and they are extremely happy together. Knowing later books and the novellas and all the stuff I know now, I like them as a couple.

Saiman also has a large role in this story as well. He's key in figuring who the Mary is and he's also key in the Kate and Curran relationship. Basically he forced them together by his own stupidity and arrogance (view spoiler).****

Narrated by the
talented Renee Raudman
What I love about these books is the development of secondary characters. Usually main characters are the only ones with story arcs and the secondary characters are flat. Not in the Kate Daniels books. We learn through novellas but we also see a lot of development in the novels themselves. I love Doolittle and Aunt B and a lot of what I call "main secondary characters." Now I don't know the technical term for this but they are wonderful to me. Each character has their personality and story and I just love it.

My one disappointment is the scarcity of Derek in this book. I think this was mentioned to the authors because Magic Slays has a lot of Derek. That's another reason why I love them. They take their fan's opinions into account. Can you tell that they're one of my favorites. There is a reason why I stalk their blog.

Check out Curran's POV in Volume I and Volume II. Also, Curran's POV for the naked dinner here.

Five stars all the way. My favorite of the series. Read it read it read it!

Some awesome quotes:

“Who the hell would attack the Steel Horse anyway? What was the thinking behind that? “Here is a bar full of psychotic killers who grow giant claws and people who pilot the undead for a living. I think I’ll go wreck the place.”

“What's that?"
"That's my attack poodle.”

“The rabbis paled. I’d managed to terrify holy men. Maybe I could beat up a nun for an encore.”

“I picked up the phone and dialed Andrea's extension.
“He glued the chair to my ass.”

“ Hi, Your Majesty, we drugged your love muffin and then let her walk out into the dark, in the snow. Her apartment is destroyed and we're not sure where she is...”

Review on Goodreads