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Showing posts from April, 2008

Rogue by Rachel Vincent

Faythe Sanders is back in Rogue, Rachel Vincent's sophomore offering and follow-up to her debut novel Stray. DH was the one who came across Stray and recommended it to me. We both enjoyed it and were looking forward to reading the sequel. Vincent has a contract for six total Werecat books and so there is plenty of time for character and world development. Which is a good thing because, while Faythe doesn't bother me as much as she seems to bother other readers, she definitely has some hurdles to tackle in the way of maturity, particularly when it comes to relationships. I do find myself sympathizing rather more than is my norm with the various men in her life, be they father, brothers, or boyfriends. At the same time, I'm also willing to cut her a fair bit of slack given her status as one of only a handful of female werecats, the only daughter of a domineering alpha, and the recipient of about ten times her fair share of male ego. I guess I just understand her longing for …

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

In this second installment, Kate reluctantly agrees to do a favor for the local Pack and investigate the disappearance of some valuable maps. While hunting down the culprit, Kate gets called in on another favor. This time she winds up shackled with a teenage street urchin whose mother recently joined an amateur witch coven and went missing shortly after. Kate promises to find the girl's mother and, in the process, is caught in the crossfire between two ancient deities vying for power. So pretty much an average day for Kate and the city of Atlanta.

The highlights of Magic Burnsare definitely the increased personal interactions between Kate and the various people and creatures who've come into her life. The growing attachment between Kate and Julie (the young girl in her care) develops quickly and the protective stance Kate takes throughout the course of the book is quite touching . Equally compelling is the more slowly developing connection between Curran, the Pack alpha, and Ka…

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

I tossed Magic Bitesinto the my last Amazon order, mostly because of the Patricia Briggs quotes on both front and back covers as well as several positive blog reviews I'd read. The most fascinating thing about this book is that the author's name, Ilona Andrews, is actually a combination of Ilona and Andrew Gordon's first names. They are the husband and wife team who create the Kate Daniels books. That is to say, together they come up with the characters and plot, then Ilona writes the book, and finally the two of them wrangle over editing/general clean-up. Awesome, no?

I have to say what I liked best about this first book is the crazy, psychedelic Atlanta it takes place in. This alternate city is saturated in daily waves of magic that doggedly eat away at any signs of civilization and/or technology. The city's skyscrapers are no more than dwindling piles of granite and steel. Magic and technology are basically anathema in this world and the inhabitants of Atlanta live a…

Chalice Cover Art

Another sneak peak, this time at the cover art for Robin McKinley's upcoming September release--Chalice. Ohmygoodness. It's so pretty...

Mad Kestrel by Misty Massey

Kestrel is a pirate. After years fighting to prove her worth, she's now the quartermaster on the pirate ship Wolfshead. She has become invaluable to her captain and mentor Binns, and the crew respect her and follow her lead. The story opens in the midst of a sea battle between Kestrel's crew and a mysterious vessel that seems to disappear and reappear out of the mist like some sort of phantom ship. Later, while on shore, Kestrel and Binns run into the captain of the mysterious ship, one Philip McAvery who is both dashing and maddening and who seems to have his sights set on Kestrel and her captain.

Unfortunately, all hell breaks loose at this point. Binns is captured and imprisoned under false pretenses. McAvery makes off with the Wolfshead, and Kestrel is on the run from a pair of assassins and a bounty hunter. No one is what they appear to be in this book. Even Kestrel. Gifted with the power to whistle up the wind, she has spent her life determined to hide her ability and the…

Heroes Adrift by Moira J. Moore

Well, the cover art has shifted finally. Though it's more of a lateral than an upward move. *sigh* Could they not have come up with somethingactually pertaining to the book? Say, perhaps, Lee bench dancing?? Now, that would be a good cover. In any event, cover art aside, I am three books into this great series now and feeling positively antsy for book four to come out.

In Heroes Adrift, Moira J. Moore takes Lee and Taro out of their respective comfort zones and into a culture and environment wholly unfamiliar to them. Just when Lee allows herself to hope things might be settling down in High Scape, the Empress calls she and Taro in for a little chat. She is sending them on a mission to the Southern Islands to find and bring home a long lost heir to the throne. The heir's existence has been kept a secret from everyone but the Empress. Now it is our favorite Pair's duty to find said mysterious personage and tote s/he home. Once in the Southern Islands, Lee and Taro are forced…

The Hero Strikes Back by Moira J. Moore

The Hero Strikes Back is the second book in Moira J. Moore's Hero series and it is, as promised (you were dead on, Ann), even better than the first book. Thankfully, Moore doesn't spend a lot of time trying to catch new readers up, but plunges right into the new plot with wonderful abandon. Lee and Taro are still stationed in High Scape, but conditions are rather eerie. Instead of its usual string of natural disasters, the city is languishing under unprecedented weather anomalies. Snowstorms in summer, followed by unending heat waves. Farmers are losing their crops, disease and discontent are running rampant, and people are blaming the Sources and their Shields for not adequately protecting them.

In a desperate attempt to deescalate the general unrest, the Pairs promise they will work on fixing the weather, despite having no actual ability or training to do so. Lee, true to form, insists she and Taro actually try to come through on their promise and their fumbling attempts to m…

Bone Crossed Cover Art

Here's a sneak peak at the cover art for Patricia Briggs' next Mercy Thompson novel, Bone Crossed, due out in February. Gorgeous, isn't it?

(Thanks to Urban Fantasy Land for the heads up!)

Resenting the Hero by Moira J. Moore

I first read about this series on Ann Aguirre's blog. She recommended it so highly and, given how much I enjoyedGrimspace, I immediately picked up a copy of the first book--Resenting the Hero. By the time I cracked it open, I'd been sufficiently warned not to be deterred by the ridiculous cover and anemic title. It's difficult to get past the outside, they said, but persevere you must. The cover is truly cringe-worthy. But the contents are not. The story has its laughable parts. But they're meant to be funny. So that's all right.

Lee (short for Dunleavy) Mallorough has trained her entire life to be a Shield. Shields work together with their Source counterparts. Sources have an uncanny ability to detect natural disasters and avert them. Unfortunately, channeling that much power is guaranteed to kill a Source, unless he or she is bonded to a Shield, whose job it is to protect the Source's mind for the duration of the channeling. A few times a year, unbound Sources…

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

I felt a bit blue last night as I finished Fire Study, the third and final volume in Maria V. Snyder's Study Trilogy. Though she is currently working on a new series following a side character from the Study books, this is the last one to center on the adventures of Yelena, the convicted murderer, turned poison taster, turned diplomatic liaison. I felt blue because I'd been expecting more and I ended up finishing it more out of a feeling of obligation than because I was truly engrossed.

The story picks up shortly after the events of Magic Study leave off. Yelena, her brother Leif, and the mercurial Moon Man are busy trying to mop up the Soulstealer's mess and dealing with accusations from the Mage's Council. First Magician Roze Featherstone is calling for Yelena's head on a platter and there is little rest for the weary on the horizon. The problem is, very little happens from this point on. Or rather, very little new stuff happens.

What there is is page after page of…

Choose Your Own Cover

Such a fun idea. John Green's upcoming October release, Paper Towns, will be coming out with two, count them, two different cover options. So which one's calling your name? Yellow....Blue....Yellow....Blue. Who can decide? I think I'm leaning yellow right now. If just because it will look awesome next to my copy of An Abundance of Katherines. For a bit of fun, check out Green's conversation with his 11th grade self regarding the two covers, Walt Whitman, and expanding waistlines.

Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti

A big thank you to Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin' Book Reviews for the heads up on this one. This debut novel by Dru Pagliassotti is being billed as a steampunk romance/urban fantasy. And it is all of these. But it transcends each of them as well, making it IMO an incredibly enjoyable cross-genre read. I'm sitting here trying to think of someone I wouldn't recommend this book to and I'm coming up blank.

Taya is an icarus--a member of the messenger class. Every day she straps on a pair of metal wings and soars across the city of Ondinium delivering messages. Life in Ondinium is extremely stratified. As an incarus, Taya is considered outside caste and is therefore able to move freely between the uber-powerful upper crust and the lower level plebeians. Social rank is marked by a subtle facial tattoo. And the "exalteds" (the highest of the high) only go out in public masked and heavily robed, to preserve their grace and purity.

Then one day Taya inadvertently rescues an…