Review: The Librarians and the Lost Lamp by Greg Cox
3.5 Stars , Reviews / December 20, 2016

I have to confess, I have never watched the TV show The Librarians that this book is based on. Because of that it really wasn’t on my radar, mostly for fear that I would be at a disadvantage from not knowing anything about the show. But when I received a review copy of the book, I had to admit it still sounded like a fun quick read, so I figured it was worth a shot. I mean, come on. Combining libraries and magic? Who doesn’t want to give that a read? And I am happy to say, that based on my experience, I would say this book can definitely be read without prior knowledge of the series. The pace is quick, the characters entertaining, and I never felt like I was missing some crucial backstory or information. The premise of the series is something I think any avid reader of fantasy has to love. There that a secret group called The Librarians that serves to protect the world from all those dangerous magical things. What the Librarians are protecting people from are very familiar things we hear about in folklore, fairy tales and legends. In this particular story, the conflict…

Review: The Family Plot by Cherie Priest
4 Stars , Reviews / October 7, 2016

I loved the entire premise of this book. The story focuses on members of a scavenging team that go in to old properties to pull out pieces that can be restored and resold. Chuck Dutton, the owner of Music City Salvage, decided to seize a financial opportunity that will either make or break the struggling company. Sight unseen his signs the papers to purchase an old estate that looks promising. He pretty much paid more money than he could afford for it, so if it doesn’t work out, this decision will destroy their company. He sends his daughter (and our main protagonist), Dahlia, down to head the salvage team. First, I really liked Dahlia. She is recently separated, working on her independence. And her personality is great. No nonsense, but very likable. As the team gets to the house, I have to say I quickly came to love what they do for a living. Going into old houses and building, salvaging the pieces that can still be of value was just a wonderful thing to read about. It brings a bit of beauty from the house’s past out, and shares it around to new places. It lets parts of the house live on…

Review: Of Sand and Malice Made by Bradley P. Beaulieu
4 Stars , Reviews / September 8, 2016

In case you missed my review, I chose Twelve Kings of Sharakhai for my Backlist Burndown book in August and absolutely loved it. So when I saw there was a novella releasing this month, I was very anxious to read it. This novella could easily be used as an introduction to Çeda and the world Beaulieu has created in The Song of the Shattered Sands series. Çeda was one of my favorite parts of Twelve Kings of Sharakhai as I love her strength in spirit as well as her strength in the fighting pits. Of Sand and Malice Made is an interesting look into Çeda at an earlier time in her life. Prequels are interesting beasts. I have read some where the suspense of the story was ruined by what I learned in previous books (books that were published first but chronologically occur after the prequel). But then there are other prequels that manage to create a self contained story that is new to you, gives an interesting story and background to a character you were already familiar with and weaves a tale that is still full of suspense despite you having read a story that occurs after. It can be a great way to help the…

Review: Mirror Image by Michael Scott and Melanie Ruth Rose
Reviews / September 1, 2016

We all know, if you want creepy things, you have to hit the auction houses, right? Where old, dirty, dingy, creepy finds lurk in the shadows waiting for bids. OK. Typically it is just antique or faux-antique objects, but hey, this is a horror book, and so there have to be horrors to be found. An auction house sounds like a great place to uncover something that would be better not found. Our protagonist frequents auction houses as he took his family’s antique business and evolved it into a very successful interiors business for high end clientele in Los Angeles. Seeing as there’s more history and antiques across the pond, he makes a yearly trip to auction houses there to find those unique and interesting pieces that he can fix up and sell for a considerable mark up. In a small auction house, his last stop in London, he happens upon a huge mirror. The frame is unremarkable but the glass is quite old and valuable. He instantly is drawn to it and has to have it. After winning the auction, he returns to Los Angeles and remains drawn to this mirror in a peculiar way. He also becomes frightened as suddenly mysterious, sometimes violent, deaths are…

Review: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
4 Stars , Reviews / July 18, 2016

So the thing about real fairy tales is that they tend to have a dark side to them. The fae are not all about making dreams come true, at least not without some sort of price. Roses and Rot is no exception. Imogen and her sister Marin have not had an easy or comfortable life, growing up with an abusive mother that was bad enough they would dream of fairy tales, dark side and all. What could be worse than a mother that is cruel and potentially violent? Imogen and her sister shared a history and a family, but they were also very different. Imogen is more of an observer, introspective and finds release in creating stories (and fairy tales) of her own. Her sister Marin, with her fair looks, finds herself in the spotlight and excels at dance. Even their mother showed a preference for Marin, saving the worst of her abusive for Imogen. Because of this, Imogen saves and finds a way to go away to school, unfortunately leaving her sister behind. Years later, when fate lands them both a place at a prestigious post-grad arts school, the sisters are thrilled. They will be together and will most…

Review: Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
3.5 Stars , Reviews / July 4, 2016

Last year, I was taken quite off guard when Ink and Bone (which was not on my radar until I received a copy form the publisher) blew me away and earned a 5 star review. This was a book that I had zero preconceived notions or expectations of. I had not read Rachel Caine previously and had no idea what her world or characters would be like. In other words, everything was brand new for me in Ink and Bone. I had hoped that Paper and Fire could carry that momentum but unfortunately found that it faltered for me a bit more than its predecessor. I have to warn you, this review was difficult to write in that I felt I had more complaints mainly because I have a 3.5 star review for a book following a 5 star review. So, please keep in mind that the book is still good. I just explain many reasons that prevented this from being another 5 star book for me. I do feel that some of my loss of excitement came from already being familiar with the world. Yes, the Library is evil. They hoard and control all of the books and information. I…

Review: The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood
4 Stars , Reviews / May 9, 2016

The Summer Dragon is a wonderful tale full of dragons and mystery. The author, Todd Lockwood, is an established illustrator, and it shows with all of the wonderful illustrations included through out the book. Not to mention the absolutely gorgeous cover. I was immediately quite taken with the protagonist, Maia. She is a determined young woman, set on getting a dragon of her own. Her family runs a dragonry, so she has been raised with dragons and understands them. The special thing about dragons is they form a unique bond with one human, their rider. This bond is developed when the dragons are still young (called qits). This year, their dragonry has more qits than normal and both Maia and her brother are hoping to get one each, so they can then raise a new breeding pair (the dragons also bond with their mate at a young age). It seems the perfect plan, they are both of a good age to bond with a dragon, and a new breeding pair will help ensure dragon production in the future. Dragon raising is a political business. Most of the qits are reserved for the war, to be handed over to the military. It’s…

Review: Eleanor by Jason Gurley
4.5 Stars , Reviews / April 19, 2016

Eleanor is an emotional journey of a book, a journey that takes you to some dark and uncomfortable places. But don’t let that scare you away, because the author did an amazing job balancing the darker parts. It was actually a touching and magical story that happened to have some sad, tragic and painful elements. Eleanor and Esmerelda were inseparable twins until a tragic accident kills Esmerelda, leaving Eleanor’s life forever altered and inevitably darker than the one she remembers from before, back when her sister was alive and at her side. It is a story about hindsight, dreams, letting go and moving forward. It is a story of loss and recovery. It is a story that really packs a lot in its pages. It may not have taken me very long to read (maybe 2 days), but it is a story that will stick with me. While this book is undeniably emotional, it was not as depressing of a read as I had anticipated, there felt to be more to it than just heartache. But definitely be prepared for some serious feels. The structure of Eleanor does contain time jumps, but they are easy to navigate and help piece…

Review: The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon
4.5 Stars , Reviews / March 21, 2016

The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon is packed full of all my fantasy favorites. Assassins, thieves, undesirable arranged marriages, scandalous secrets, switched identities, bandits, magic. Oh, and dragons. It checks lots of boxes, and honestly, it does it all quite well. I quickly became engrossed with the characters. The story is told through numerous POVs, but all are done well and all provide clearer insight to the overall picture. Quickly you can identify a pair of sisters as being central to the story. Rakaia is a princess of Fardohnya, which on the surface sounds like a pretty good life. Until you learn the real details. She is one of scores of daughters of the King who has a harem, so lots of wives, lots of children. In addition to his wives, the harem also includes court’esa. These are men and women who are experts in the art of sexual pleasure. Somehow of out of all the children born to the King from his legitimate wives, only one of them is a son. The rest? Daughters that he can use for political or economic advantage as they are traded off as wives to secure some advantage for the king. Pretty much,…

Review: Arkwright by Allen Steele
4.5 Stars , Reviews / March 15, 2016

Rarely can a book captivate me so strongly so quickly, but Arkwright hooked me from the very first page. I literally could not put the book aside until I got through the first section. It is a story of vision, aspiration, determination, progress, changing the world and it’s expectations and it is also the story of family, friendships and loyalties. It is a story of genre and evolution that includes the loss of the previous masters of genre as time goes by as readers move on and start to neglect reading the household names of generations past. This story takes generations to tell, but after a gripping opening, it starts with a character named Kate reading incomplete memoirs left by her recently deceased Grandfather. Kate was not close to him, I’m not sure she new much about him beyond the fact that he was a very successful Science Fiction author whose series launched TV spinoffs, catapulting him to genre’s most recognized authors. The same facts anyone of her generation would know about him. The memoirs illustrate the life and aspirations of a young aspiring author named Nathan Arkwright. It outlines his life, his friends, his successes and then most importantly,…