Stealthy Summons

In this fourth book of the Soulwood series by Faith Hunter, someone is casting spells via circles which are summoning Rick, the Psy-Led boss and causing him to change into his werecat. Rookie Nell is called out to the site of the first circle to find Rick. Is someone specifically targeting him? Or is it merely coincidence? Sacrifices are found in the circles as well. They will need Nell’s special abilities to read the land to help determine what’s going on.

Meanwhile, someone wants to come courting Nell’s sister Mindy from the cult that Nell’s family belongs to. And Nell is trying to get her house ready for Mindy to move in if they get court approval.

If you are reading the Jane Yellowrock series, the events in this book take place after Dark Queen. And the book contains spoilers about what happens in Dark Queen.

I enjoyed this installment in the Soulwood series. Nell is growing more confident in a lot of ways while still remaining vulnerable. Occum is pursuing her romantically and it’s sweet to watch that relationship develop.

There are a couple of additional characters introduced into the mix. Because of what’s going on with the circles, it’s hard to know who to trust.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. The book is well-written and paced. Tension builds and speed picks up as the book progresses. Nell is the most fully developed character. It’s not a cliffhanger, but I want to read the next book in the series and see where things are going. This is really not a standalone. It reads better if you have read the other books in the series and can see the characters developing. You might be able to follow the plot and all, but it would definitely read better with the background.

Circle of the Moon by Faith Hunter was published February 26th, 2019 by Ace.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions herein are my own and freely given.

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It’s a wrap?

Charley has been exiled from the earthly plain for eternity, but somehow is back after a mere 100 years. Reyes is waiting for her and sexy times commence.

A hell dimension has opened up in their home city. There is something infecting people and driving them mad. And there are a couple more storylines causing Charley to multitask to get everything done she wants to get done before the possible end of the world as we know it.

So, is it a wrap? Kinda. It seems like this wraps up Charley’s and Reyes’s story. Lots of things come to logical conclusions. Some things are still a surprise. There’s lots of sarcasm and sexiness that we’ve come to expect from them. And the fate of at least two characters is up in the air. Which leads us to the question so often asked: Will Beep’s story be told? According to Darynda Jones’s blog, that is a yes. When is not pinpointed, but it will be told. We have that to look forward to.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars for being a pretty satisfying conclusion to the series. There were a few parts that seemed a little rushed or contrived, but overall it is good and satisfying. All the things we’ve grown to love about the series are present. I would recommend the series to fans of urban fantasy with a little paranormal and a little romance and sex going on. This is not a standalone novel and should not be read as one.

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones was released January 15th, 2019 from St. Martin’s Press.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions herein are my own and freely given.

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To the Thief Go the Spoils?

Foundryside RD4 clean flatIn the course of the story, Sancia Grado is sent to retrieve a box for an enormously tempting sum of money. But, once she has it, she is curious about what’s in it. Inside she finds an ornate key that somehow is able to talk to her and can open anything. The key calls itself Clef. Being no fool, Sancia realizes that someone from one of the founder Houses will be coming for the key and will probably not want to leave any loose ends. And so starts Sancia’s adventures.

Sancia may be a thief in the city of Tevanne, but she is like a superthief. She accepts work from a friend of hers named Sark. She accomplishes her objectives with the use of scrived objects. Scrived objects are magical things that have been written on to alter their realities – for example making a wheel think that it is going downhill so it will roll forward without being pulled. She gets her scrived objects from a group of people known as “Scrappers.” They scrive things illegally with scraps they find. And Sancia has a special ability to listen to things like a stone wall and tell if the coast is clear.

Along the way, she will encounter interesting characters such as Gregor Dandalo- a captain in the guard at the waterfront, and Orso and Berenice who are scrivers for one of the Houses. What happens to Sancia as she meets and interacts with these people will change her view of reality.

It’s a good fantasy book with a good story. The only problem I found was that there were  occasional parts that were dense with information that slowed things down a little. The information needs to be imparted somehow because it has to do with world-building and how things work in Tevanne, the various founder Houses, and historically speaking with the ancients who started the process of scriving. Once you get past or through these spots, things speed along. And as the book goes, there are fewer of these parts as the story progresses.

This is definitely book one in a series. While most plot points are resolved at the end, there is enough left open to see where the second book might begin to go. But not so much is left open as to make it frustrating. Still, I look forward to book two.

Overall, I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. It’s well-written. The magic and world-building are different. The characters are interesting. If you enjoy a good fantasy tale, this should be right up your alley.

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett was published August 21st, 2018 by Crown.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions herein are my own and freely given.

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Lots of Action in Dark Queen

dark_queenDark Queen by Faith Hunter is the 12th book in the Jane Yellowrock series. This is not a standalone type novel. It’s definitely a part of a series and is a culmination of some plot points. It would seem this was originally to be the last book in the series, but part way through they decided to add two more books to it. It is still a very good book.

Leo, the master of the city of New Orleans, has been challenged to a blood challenge called the Sangre Duello by the leader of the European vampires. This is serious. If Leo and his people lose, then New Orleans will come under the European vamps control and people will suffer – humans, witches, vampires, everyone.

Jane, as Leo’s enforcer, is very much involved in the preparations for the challenge. She is having to learn to accept that she can’t control everything and must delegate.

The action is virtually nonstop. It starts early on with Jane answering the door and being shot at. It doesn’t seem to let up much until after the challenge has been met. It’s a fast-paced read.

I liked it all. Jane’s flippancy infects Leo’s handling of things but in a calculated way.  I also liked the conversations she has with Beast who is “good ambush hunter” among other things. The touch of romance is nice and gives a brief respite from the action. There is also a subplot involving a possible blood relation of Jane’s.

Is the ending a cliffhanger? In many ways, yes. It’s still very readable as it is. I do look forward to the next book to see how the issues are resolved.

Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a class act, well-written with good characterization. It kept my attention and piqued my interest as to where the series will go from here. Do not read this as your first Jane Yellowrock book ever.

Dark Queen by Faith Hunter was released May 1st, 2018 by Ace.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way influences my opinions. This is my honest review.

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Killer con men?

uneasy_preyIn the sixth book in the Zoe Chambers series, an elderly woman appears to have fallen down a flight of stairs to her basement. On the way to the hospital, she recovers enough to whisper to Zoe that she was pushed. A pair of con men has been visiting older members of the community posing as utility workers and casing houses for future robberies. Are they responsible for her death?

When the robbers visit Zoe’s former landlady, she decides it’s a good idea to move back in short-term as protection. Police Chief Pete Adams, her boyfriend, is adamantly against this. Her decision ultimately places her in the path of danger, but it doesn’t stop her from trying to figure out who is responsible for the robberies and Oriole’s death.

For those of us who have older friends and family or perhaps are older ourselves, this mystery hits home. Anyone could fall for what those con men were doing.

Then there is the addition of a character – a pesky reporter type. Zoe finds she is suspicious of the woman and her motives. The chief just doesn’t really like her at first because of her pushiness.

The characters are interesting and varied. They range in age from adolescent to senior citizen. They all come across as real people. There is a little character development as they grow and react to things going on around them.

The plot moves along at a good speed. It flows smoothly, is complex, and is well written. There is a secondary mystery, but I don’t want to go into it because of spoilers.

This was my first Zoe Chambers mystery. You can read it as a stand-alone, but I found it whet my appetite for the earlier mysteries in the series. I will definitely be reading more by this author.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. The book is well-written. The characters come across as real people. And the mysteries are well done. There is enough background given to enjoy it even if it’s the first book you are reading in the series. I recommend it to people who enjoy cozies.

Uneasy Prey by Annette Dashofy is due to be released March 27th, 2018 from Henery Press.

Disclaimer: I received a  copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions herein are my own and freely given.

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King’s Illness Draws Daughters Together

daughters_of_stormThe King falls ill seemingly with a brain illness. He has fits of raving and then long deep sleeps. The sleeps become longer and more frequent. His wife, the daughters’ step-mother sends for her son. The daughters come to his side as well. There are 5 girls, each so different from the other. Bluebell, the eldest, is a warrior and next in line for the throne. Rose was married off to a neighboring kingdom to help maintain a peace and loves her daughter dearly and another man. Ash is gifted or cursed with magic. She has been sent to learn to be a healer. The youngest of the girls, the twins Ivy and Willow, couldn’t be more different. Ivy is all about boys. And Willow is aiming to be pious, but to the trimartyr god and not to, as she puts it, the heathen gods her sisters believe in.
The five daughters come together to take their father away from whatever might be making him sick. Then, they seek a way to heal him. Each weathers the journey differently. And each of the daughters faces challenges. How they deal with the challenges is so very human and not always as successfully as they would like.
I thought in the beginning that 5 daughters would be too much for one book. But, Kim Wilkins makes it work. It’s easy to tell when the point of view changes from one to the other because they are so very different from each other. And there is variety. So, for example, if you don’t much like Ivy, you don’t have to read about her too long before the point of view changes to another daughter.
While a little slow in places, overall the plot moves along at a decent rate. When it seems slow, it’s really setting things up for a future occurrence.
I think this could mostly be read as a stand-alone, but there are enough loose ends to make someone want to read the next book. I’m wondering where the second book will go.
I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Overall, it’s well-written with interesting characters and events. If you enjoy a good fantasy read, then you will probably enjoy this book.

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins is expected to be released from Del Rey books March 6, 2018.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions herein are my own and freely given.

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Once Upon a Time…

hazel_woodOnce upon a time, there was a girl named Alice who lived with her mother. They had no one home but many. They stayed with friends on couches and in space rooms always leaving when bad luck caught up to them.

One day her mother, Ella, got an email saying her mother was dead. She said to Alice, “We’re free.” But she didn’t say from what.

Time passed and they settled in Brooklyn. Ella met a man and married. They moved in with him and his daughter. Now Ella had a step sister and a stepfather. She went to private school and worked in a coffee shop.

Then one day Alice returned home only to perceive that things weren’t quite right. Her mother has gone missing, kidnapped. The best clue she gets is a message from her mother saying not to go to the Hazel Wood, her grandmother’s estate. Alice seeks help reluctantly from a classmate who is also a somewhat enthusiastic fan of her grandmother’s writing, Tales from the Hinterland, a collection of faith tales. Finch agrees to help her for his own reasons. Together they head for Hazel Wood. What follows is a dark fairy tale journey as they seek her mother. It will take them to Hazel Wood and beyond.

I have this book 4 stars out of 5. I really enjoyed the writing and the story. I liked Alice, faults and all. No one is perfect. This is not a retelling, but an original. If you like fairy tales with some darkness like the original Brothers Grimm, then this would be a good book for you.

An excerpt from the beginning of the book is here on Entertainment Weekly. There will be a sequel to this book as well as an edition of Tales from the Hinterland according to Goodreads.

The Hazel Wood was released January 30, 2018 from Flatiron Books.

I received a copy of this book through a giveaway on Goodreads. This is an honest, uninfluenced review.

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