Carousel Sun (by Sharon Lee)

Fantasy (I think)

Kate Archer is the Guardian of Archer’s Beach, Maine and the areas around. She is able to communicate with the land, and where necessary can use magic to restore land that has long been neglected to life and vitality. 

Since returning to Archers Beach after a time away, the town’s fortunes are on the rise and with the tourist season upon them, town folk are for the first time in many years have hope for the future. But Joe Nemeier, a drug dealer who has set up shop in the town has sworn to destroy her and her family and he has enlisted the help of a fire elemental in his mission.  

Carousel Sun is quite an interesting book. It’s one of those rare books which doesn’t bring to mind any other book…totally unique. That said, I struggled with this book.  There is a lot going on in this book and the central story really didn’t kick in until I was half way through, and even then it didn’t really feel like the main game.  

The language of this book was difficult.  It is set in Maine and most of the dialogue is in that very unique New England brogue. Added to that, rather than using terms for her beings that I have encountered before (e.g. fae, witch, sprite), terms which work as a type of shorthand and can deliver all the information a reader needs without any explanation, she has done her own thing. So we have Tremway (something like fae I think) and the Land (who apart from being the earth appears to have the personality of a large shaggy dog).

Overall, despite feeling confused for a good portion of the book, it was oddly satisfying. That said, I would probably encourage those who might be interested to read book one first. I think a lot of the difficulty I had with this book would be fixed if I had read the first book.  

Many thanks to Baen Books and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Best of 2013 (imo)

It’s coming up to Christmas and it’s time to do the book review blog version of a sitcom’s dream episode. Yep, the best (imo) of 2013.

The Very Best Five (published in 2013)

1. Up to the Challenge (by Terri Osburn)

(Contemporary Romance.)

I read a lot of contemporary romance and a book needs to be pretty special to stand out.  I’m tempted to put her first book Meant to Be in the Best 5 as well, but maybe I’ll let the #1 spot be for both her books and make room for someone else.

 

 

 

2. Heart ofVenom (by Jennifer Estep

(Urban Fantasy)

It’s book 9 in the author’s elemental assassin series.  I usually start to yawn after three or four books and there was a bit of that a few books ago, but this one blew me out of the water.

 

 

 

 

3. Raw Deal (by Mark Henwick)

(Urban Fantasy)

The first of two novellas in the Best 5, Raw Deal reminded me of those great hard boiled detective stories of the 1930s…but with vampires.

 

 

 

 

4. Night of Cake & Puppets (by Laini Taylor)

(Paranormal Romance)

Laini Taylor writes books you want to read out loud. You just want to say what she has written. Night of Cake & Puppets was a beautiful, sublime fairy tale and the second novella in my Best 5.

 

 

 

5. Lingerie Wars (by Janet Elizabeth Henderson)

(Contemporary Romance)

One of the rare books that had me laughing like an idiot.  And yes, when I was writing my review for this I did google “erotic kilt” and I would strongly urge you not to.

 

 

Notable Mentions – The Hits

  1. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/683410012
  2. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/761296161
  3. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/586418589
  4. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/563245914
  5. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/667221942

…and the Misses 

  1. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/683721997
  2. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/697471196
  3. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/754007922
  4. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/672244922
  5. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/607949402

(yes the irony of mentioning Bloodring is not lost on me).

Becoming Alpha (by Aileen Erin)

Young Adult / Paranormal Fantasy

Tessa has a gift, though she would call it a curse. When she touches people or objects people have used, she is bombarded with visions. She goes through life avoiding touching anything that has been handled by others. Labelled as a freak, her family takes her from California to Texas in the hopes of fresh start, but the town they have moved to is also home to a pack of werewolves.

After escaping a disastrous party, she gets her first kiss from Dastien, and then Dastien’s wolf decides to claim her with a bite. Suddenly all her problems are multiplied ten fold with pack politics piling on top of schoolwork and being a new werewolf, and as an alpha strong enough to rival the other alphas in the pack she is definitely causing a stir.

Becoming Alpha is pretty damned good. As you expect of a debut novel the author has thrown everything into it and that occasionally doesn’t work, but it’s done with such enthusiasm…almost approaching glee that it’s hard to hold it against her. It’s a good fun story about werewolves and witches with interesting characters.  It’s a lot of fun.

(I should note that while this book very much reads as young adult there is a bit of bad language which might make it unsuitable for younger teenagers.)

Many thanks to Ink Monster LLC and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Days of Blood & Starlight (by Laini Taylor)

Days of Blood & Starlight is book two of a trilogy.  This review may contain spoilers.  

For thousands of years Angels and Chimaera had fought a brutal war of attrition. In Daughter of Smoke & Bone the Chimaera’s greatest secret was discovered and the Angels pressed their advantage, defeating the Chimaera.

The war is over and the Chimaera armies have been decimated, but what follows war is not peace but genocide.  The Angels have turned their attention to the innocent civilians and are hunting them down like animals.

Bitter and broken from what Akiva has done, Karou has joined a small group of Chimaera warriors who survived the final battle. They are led by Thiago, a narcissist and sociopath whose goal is not to protect Chimaera but to exact a bloody revenge.  As the only surviving resurrectionist Thiago needs Karou to build him an army. She finds his tactics repugnant but can she stand up to him when she hasn’t got a single ally?

Akiva is crushed with guilt over what he has brought about.  As he watches the genocide unfolding he makes a decision to turn against his own and protect the innocent Chimaera. But what can a single angel do in the face of so many?

Days of Blood & Starlight is as close to perfect as it’s possible to get. In parts it’s an extremely uncomfortable book to read and I literally had to put it down because I couldn’t go on.  But before very long I just had to pick it up and continue. It’s a powerful story about  good versus evil; love versus hate; hope versus despair.

Tab Bennett and the Inbetween (by Jes Young)

The first time it happened I was completely unprepared. I was in the kitchen making a peanut butter and banana sandwich when I started to feel light headed. I steadied myself against the the counter, closing my eyes so the room would stop spinning. When I opened them, I was with Molly, I was Molly, and I was in the dark gasping for air. I panicked until there was nothing left to breath and then she died…

https://i2.wp.com/photo.goodreads.com/books/1335929498l/13630560.jpgTab Bennett has lived her entire life without knowing who she really is. Then she starts having visions of a world that has been hidden from her. A world in which dark elves are trying to kill her, and the people she thought were her family are actually guardians, sent to protect her.

After her mother, the queen of the Elves was killed, Tab was sent to the human world to protect her from those who meant to do her harm. Now in her twenties and coming into her powers, her enemies are stepping up their efforts to kill her.
Adding to her problems, there are two men vying for her affections, Alex to whom she was promised at birth and Robbin one of her guardians.

Tab Bennett and the Inbetween is an unusual book. It reads a little like a Young Adult novel but then I would be hit with a very adult sex scene. There are elements of Paranormal / Fantasy, Romance and even a little Mystery there. I could spend hours trying to figure out where it belongs, or I could just say it’s a very good book which doesn’t quite fit anywhere.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Jes Young for providing me with this ARC.