Saturday, June 14, 2014

Short Reviews - May 2014

I...can't...stop...reading!  No time to write full reviews.  
So here it is - SAS
(Short And Sweet)

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
3.5 Star Rating - Recommended Age: 13+
A little bit of mystery, some romance with a hint of jealousy and a crazy aunt to add some humor.  I enjoyed this enough to read the second in the series and as soon as I'm in the mood to get back to a fast-paced YA novel, I'll finish up with the third.  I stayed intrigued throughout the story.  No real surprises or gotcha moments, but it was a good escape.
SAS:  You'll enjoy the budding relationship between Gwen and Gideon.  You will even enjoy Gideon's ego.  The characters are interesting, but not complex.  Plot is ordinary but the writing and pace will keep you interested.

The Wolves of Midwinter by Anne Rice

The novel opens on a cold, gray landscape. It is the beginning of December. Oak fires are burning in the stately flickering hearths of Nideck Point. It is Yuletide. For Reuben Golding, now infused with the wolf gift and under the loving tutelage of the Morphenkinder, this Christmas promises to be like no other . . . as he soon becomes aware that the Morphenkinder, steeped in their own rituals, are also celebrating the Midwinter Yuletide festival deep within Nideck forest.

From out of the shadows of the exquisite mansion comes a ghost—tormented, imploring, unable to speak yet able to embrace and desire with desperate affection . . . As Reuben finds himself caught up with the passions and yearnings of this spectral presence and the preparations for the Nideck town Christmas reach a fever pitch, astonishing secrets are revealed, secrets that tell of a strange netherworld, of spirits—centuries old—who possess their own fantastical ancient histories and taunt with their dark, magical powers . . .

2 Star Rating - Recommended Age: Adult
Oh, I was soooo disappointed.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, but the Wolves of Midwinter was nowhere near that level.  Were there any good parts??  Yes, there were some, but not enough to make this book enjoyable.  The world that she built around the morphenkind was still a wonder to read about.  The descriptions of Nideck Manor and the forest really does put you in a fantastical mindset.  But the writing this time around went over the top.  Not only does it follow her normal old-world style of overly describing scenes with out of touch wording and phrases, but in this book it is tedious!  In the first book it was just enough to have me hunched over my book and truly imagining the story;  not in just a visual sense but it was almost as if the story should have been from a different time.  This book just made me want to hurry up and finish it.  

SAS:  I had to force myself to finish this book.  The characters were the only good thing in this story; still very engaging.  The plot was almost non-existent, the pace was slow.  This is NOT on my recommend list for Anne Rice.  Skip it.

Up from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
(Night Huntress Book #7)

There’s always one more grave to dig.

Lately, life has been unnaturally calm for vampires Cat Crawfield and her husband Bones. They should have known better than to relax their guard, because a shocking revelation sends them back into action to stop an all-out war…

A rogue CIA agent is involved in horrifying secret activities that threaten to raise tensions between humans and the undead to dangerous heights. Now Cat and Bones are in a race against time to save their friends from a fate worse than death…because the more secrets they unravel, the deadlier the consequences. And if they fail, their lives—and those of everyone they hold dear— will be hovering on the edge of the grave.

4 Star Rating - Recommended Age:  Adult
Still, soooo good!  Reading a Jeaniene Frost book always keeps me on the edge with the intrigue and action.  But what I love most about her books is that they keep me surprised.  Surprised you say...are there a lot of gotchas in her books?  Yes, but not always with the plot.  I'm talking about the humor!  When she wrote in a reference to the Spock and Captain Kirk death sequence from The Wrath of Khan, I dropped the book and started laughing!  Lines like, " shirt flapping behind him like twin mini capes."  I love it, just love it.  The character behaviors and personalities are consistent with each new book.  Each bringing their own brand of sexy, crazy and aloofness which keeps the story compelling.  Can I just say Marie Laveau is one bad...shut your mouth!  You will love the new character addition to the series and the possibilities they will bring.  You will end the book not knowing where the story will go from here.  Is this the end?  Can't be!  I want to know what is going to happen next!

SAS:  What can I say..another good one from this series.  This story never gets old.  The love between Cat and Bones is still all-encompassing, but you won't get tired reading about it.  The plot and action in this one was so good, I found myself skipping a sex scene to see what was coming next.  Yeah...that good.

The Dog in the Dark by Barb and JC Hendee
(Noble Dead Saga Book #2)

Barely escaping the city of Calm Seatt - and the assassins hunting them - Magiere, Leesil, and the elven dog Chap sail south to continue their quest to find the powerful orb of Air before their enemies do. But they are not alone, much to their frustration.

Aging elven assassin Brot’an has forced himself on them by offering his protection. Chap doesn’t believe this ruse, however, and seeks to uncover the assassin’s true agenda - as well as the cause of the secret civil war that has erupted into the open among Brot'an's people.

Meanwhile, Magiere struggles with her own dark nature, using Leesil’s love as an anchor to keep her grounded. For the personal price she paid to procure the orb of Fire was more than she thought - and more than she wants to reveal to anyone else.

But that is exactly what the cunning Brot’an wants to know. And he is willing to do whatever it takes - even if he must reveal his own dreaded secrets, which may cost the entire party their lives...and their very souls.

3.5 Star Rating - Recommended Age:  15+
Like the Wheel of Time, this series will not die, nor does it need to.  The plot is so complex, you still can't see the end game.  This was a more laid back, comfortable read for me.  The action was at a minimum, compared to the other books, but the confrontations between the elves and Magiere's group were dramatic.  The fight scenes are always choreographed well.  A lot of the backstory is played out through memories, which gives much more detail than just a retelling by the characters.  With those flashbacks, I found myself sympathizing with Brot'an.  

SAS:  It took a couple of chapters for me to really get into the story, but once I did I stayed intrigued until the end.  This story delves deeper into the plots and plans of the elves, but there are still a lot of questions.    The reader is kept guessing at the mysteries of the Orbs and their protectors and there is still a lot to learn  about the Ancient Enemy and Fey spirits.