Review: Fray by Rowenna Miller
3.5 Stars , Reviews / June 3, 2019

Fray is another enjoyable book in the Unraveled Kingdom. Political unrest and revolution have created an uncertain path and future for the empire, and Sophie finds herself at the center of the conflicts. Engaged to the Crown-prince, but also rooted in the community that is looking for change, she has loved ones and friends on both sides of the conflict. She’s a strong protagonist who fights her battles using intelligence and using her relationships. It also helps she can use a bit of magic here and there through the use of her charms. I did really enjoy this one, however I also think it suffers a bit from second book syndrome. I think for me, this just seemed to be a slower book and much of what I found myself excited about in the first book has all been established I know Torn wasn’t particularly fast paced, but whenever you are meeting new characters I think it feels like more is happening. Everything and everyone was new and exciting. The first book had us learning about Sophie’s magic, watching her build her business and relationships with the higher class clientele, and then there was Sophie’s developing relationship with the Crown…

Review: Sisters of Fire by Kim Wilkins
3.5 Stars , Reviews / January 31, 2019

Sisters of Fire picks up 4 years after Daughters of the Storm left off. It has a good amount of action, plotting, scheming, betrayal, etc. Each of the sisters are on their own path. Bluebell is working with her father, the King, and continues to have quite the fearsome reputation as a warrior. Rose has been cast aside and banished by her husband and is raising her younger child in a remote area. Her daughter Rowan is also featured with her caretaker who have been living in an isolated wood. I really enjoy that pair of characters and enjoyed seeing Rowan grow her independent and motivated personality. Ivy is Duchess and her older husband is quite frail. She continues to have questionable judgement and can be a bit selfish/vain. Ash is travelling with a mysterious companion that seems a bit scary at times, but have been hunting for a dragon across the lands, each for their own reasons. And then there is Willow. Willow seems to have gone a bit off the rails with her zealotry and has taken the villain route with her life and training (not that she sees it that way, but villains rarely do). It’s an…

Review: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway
3.5 Stars , Reviews / January 14, 2019

Dark of the West is the story of revolution, war, and of course, of forbidden love. It’s told through alternating perspectives from Athan, who grew up in constant war and is the third son of a ruthless and powerful general who is leading a revolution. Aurelia grew up somewhat sheltered as a princess of smaller kingdom that has not experienced war firsthand at home. I really enjoyed both perspectives. Athan is a pilot who is getting ready to go through testing to determine his placement after his training ends. He is the clear favorite of his mother who hates the constant war and wants Athan to find a way out of it, a way to stay safe and not waste his life. This makes her the opposite of his father who lives and breathes war and strategy and expects the same of his sons. If Athan had his way, he would follow his mother’s preferred path for him. He is extremely intelligent and a very skilled pilot, his father’s ideal combination, so Athan’s strategy is to hide as much of that from his father as possible. But his father is determined to use Athan however he can, and will use…

Review: Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst
3.5 Stars , Reviews / December 17, 2018

While most people enjoy a good heist (at least as a story), no one appreciates heists more than the wyverns featured in the world Sky Hawkins lives in. It’s pretty much just like our world, but with a race of people called wyverns (or as Sky likes to call them: were-dragons). They are descendants of dragons that came to this world and love their hordes of treasure. What people outside of the wyvern community don’t realize is that wyverns are basically raised to be thieves, and running their first heist is a critical right of passage that will determine your status among wyvern society. Sky is the youngest and only girl in a very wealthy and powerful family. The personalities of her older brothers vary. And while her family has been wealthy and powerful, they are not the well respected family they once were with wyvern society. There was some sort of scandal involving her Sky’s mother who disappeared last year that caused the people they once considered friends to turn on them. Sky doesn’t know or understand what happened, she just knows on top of losing her mother, she has lost so many things in life since then, her…

Audiobook Review: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
3.5 Stars , Reviews / March 12, 2018

I have to confess, I’ve had a mixed experience with Rachel Hartman’s other books. I did enjoy Seraphina, but I actually wound up DNFing the sequel. Because of that, I was unsure if I would read another book by the author. However, the description of Tess of the Road convinced me I had to give the book a shot. Luckily, Tess of the Road was an enjoyable read. I think I always will have a soft spot in my heart for female characters that want to break gender stereotypes and expectations and I especially like when they tend to break rules. There are flashback sections that show Tess being quite the troublemaker, or as her sister calls her a “spank-magnet”. But even though she would stir up trouble, she never did so with ill intent. Her breaking point with rules, family and expectations comes on full force and triggers her to forge her own way and take a path unexpected of her as she sets out on her own (using the girl dressed as a boy trope that I tend to be so fond of). Tess is not a perfect character, she does make mistakes and doesn’t always think about…

Review: One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning by David Moody
3.5 Stars , Reviews / January 29, 2018

One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning is not a book for the squeamish! The body count rises at an astronimical rate, and details are not spared. I enjoyed it, and have to admit, parts were certainly unexpected, always a good thing. It takes place on a remote island that is currently home to an adventure group that does team building exercises. The current group of coworkers on a retreat to the island find themselves trapped there as their ferry home crashed amongst the rocks, littering the corpses of its incoming passengers. Did they die in the crash? Were they murdered? Or is something else going on? If they didn’t die in the crash, are they safe or are they the next potential victims? All things to think about instead of heading back home as they planned. I have to admit, just the thought of traveling to a remote island with coworkers is a bit horrifying by itself. But then to get stuck there as horrify deaths that start to pile up? With no idea who you can trust? Then it becomes a living nightmare. This book is part of a series that I’ve not previously read. I am…

Review: The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis
3.5 Stars , Reviews / December 4, 2017

Overall, The Guns Above was an enjoyable steampunk adventure, with a strong female protagonist and airships and battles. Josette Dupre is an enjoyable protagonist who becomes the first female captain of an airship. Whether this assignment is out of earned respect or a setup to see her fail depends on perspective. Either way, its an amazing opportunity that came her way after becoming a hero when her previous airship crashed. And it turns out her new airship is not just any airship, but a brand new, cutting edge model. Again, since its cutting edge, the likelihood of demise is higher, so whether it was an honor or not is a bit debatable. But Josette is up for the challenge and handles everything with skill and humor. She really is a great character to follow as she lightens things with a great sense of humor and she kicks ass at what she does. One of the things that didn’t work well for me was the sexism. I know the author has done this on purpose, but the misogynistic characters in this just felt over the top. We get the view point from a an overly sexist character who’s only real defining…

Review: Magicians Impossible by Brad Abraham
3.5 Stars , Reviews / September 7, 2017

Magicians Impossible is a fun and exciting adventure that introduces magic to our world. I think this book should do well with readers that are fans of The Magicians by Lev Grossman. It features an older protagonist than a typical coming into powers or magic school book, and with just one or two exceptions, he has been a loner for most of his life. After the death of his estranged father, Jason’s world turns upside down and he finds himself part of something quite unexpected. I liked Jason’s character. He definitely has some flaws and has managed to create very few personal connections in his life, particularly for someone that seems likable. He is resentful of his absentee father (who just died), and through some flashbacks, we can see some of his disappointments as a child. He grew up believing magic was just simple slight of hand as opposed to actual magic. After the death of his father, he learns there is such a thing as real magic as well as about the communities that are a part of that previously invisible and unknown part of the world. The Invisible Hand is a training institute that turns those found to…

Review: Winter of the Gods by Jordanna Max Brodsky
3.5 Stars , Reviews / May 4, 2017

Winter of the Gods is another enjoyable installment. It starts with somewhat familiar ground as it kicks off with a murder mystery. Of course, every murder and story behind it is different, so this is not a bad thing. And this time, it appears that the Gods themselves are the targets. Ohhh… fun. Someone out there is trying to take out the gods. Like the first book, I found the mix of mythology and urban fantasy to be fun. Theo and Selene, now an official couple, are working to solve the crime and take us along for the ride. As I mention often, I am not a huge fan of mystery books, so there has to be more than that to carry a story for me. In this, I think the mix of the UF vibe with mythology is what creates that something a little different to keep me engaged. As for the relationship in this book, I have to admit that I struggled a bit with the concept of a virginal character with a love interest. I just really felt like the romance in this felt somewhat artificial and also more problematic than it needed to be. Maybe I just…

Audiobook Review: Prometheus Man by Scott Reardon
3.5 Stars , Reviews / March 6, 2017

Prometheus Man is a science fiction thriller that pairs action with mystery. Scientists have formulated an injection that enhanced abilities in mice. A human trial, however, has gone horribly wrong. The book definitely features some violence, as you might expect with a book that starts off with a pile of bodies. Investigating those bodies is a CIA agent, who, well, may not be who he says he is. I have to say, someone posing as a CIA agent to just people on the street is one thing, but this guy? He is actually posing as a CIA agent to the CIA, actually working on a case. That’s takes a lot more guts and skill than just an average Joe could pull off. The question is, how long can he make it last? Long enough to track down his brother’s killer? This story was interesting, and really kept me interested. I was quite curious to figure out all the details of what was going on as well as seeing just how long Tom could pull this off. Bonus points to this book for actually making me laugh out loud in a couple of places. That is incredibly rare, so I want…