Flamecaster – Shattered Realms #1 – Cinda Williams Chima

I learned of this series on Facebook from one of two authors who care about what their readers are reading and care to promote other authors by asking what everyone is reading and loving this week. It’s one of the places I get ideas of what to read next. It was either posted by one of Larissa Ione’s or Nalini Singh’s followers.

I’m glad I picked this book. I have been dabbling in the Fantasy genre lately and have been really enjoying it. I think this book is Young Adult also…at least, I assume it is because of the ages of most of the leading characters…but I’m always amazed at what can be included in the Young Adult genre. It seems to allow all the blood and gore possible, references to rape and molestation and even have limited sex scenes. I think the only thing that can’t be included is erotic scenes.

This book is written in the points of view of four different characters but two are the main protagonists, Adrien and Jenna.

Adrian sul’Han, also known as Ash, is the son of the Grey Wolf line. His mother is the queen of Fells and he is a powerful healer. His older sister was the heir to the throne until she was ambushed at the border by their enemy, the King of Arden’s soldiers. Even though he is the next oldest, his youngest sister will be groomed for the throne now because only females can hold the throne.

When his father was assassinated in front of him, Ash ran off to healing school under a different name since he was thought to have been killed too. In the summers, he posed as a ferrier and traveled around assassinating key figures in Arden’s army.

After an attack on his life by crazy priests of the major religion of Arden who think mages and healers are evil, Ash decides to travel to Ardenscourt and somehow kill the king himself.

Jenna was working in the mines just outside the city of Delphi when King Gerard of Arden came to the mines on some kind of promotional tour. When one of the minors threw horse dung at the king, he reached down and snapped the neck of little Maggi, an eight-year-old orphan girl who was forced to work the mines by the king’s soldiers. Then he killed her best friend Riley.

Since that day, Jenna has been working with a secret group called the patriots to sabotage the Arden army.

Jenna is unique. She has a magemark on the back of her neck yet she isn’t a mage and mages don’t have magemarks. She has never met anyone else with the mark.

Ash and Jenna’s lives become intertwined later in the book but it would spoil some things so I won’t go into it.

This book was a winner. I loved it and have already started the second book. I looked up the author and discovered she has two other series related to this series so this might be a spinoff but I’m not sure if the books share characters or not. I might read them later.

A Court of Wing and Ruin – A Court of Thorns and Roses #3 – Sarah J. Maas

I always forget how much I enjoy this series until I start reading it again. It’s not that it’s forgettable, it’s just that it isn’t my usual genre so it gets lost in the shuffle. If that makes any sense.

I wasn’t digging the lead character, Feyre, in the beginning of this book. She was out for revenge on Tamlin, the High Lord of the Spring Court, because she thinks he was responsible for her sisters being captured and put into the Cauldron by the King of Hybern. And he was responsible to a point but only because he loved her and thought she loved him back. He believed she’d been kidnapped by Rhysand, the High Lord of Night Court who everyone thinks is cruel and evil thanks to the image that Rhysand himself has put out to the world to protect his people. Tamlin had no clue Feyre had fallen in love with Rhys nor did he know that Rhys was the exact opposite of what he portrays. Feyre had only sent him a short message telling him she was okay and not to look for her but anyone who loves someone would not give up in them just based on a short note that she could have been forced to write.

Tamlin did make some mistakes but her revenge was petty and stupid in my eyes.

My opinion of her improved over the rest of the book but I have never really connected to Feyre. She is not the reason I like this series. It is the story line and the other characters like Rhysand, Cassian, Mor, Lucien and especially Azriel. I even like Tamlin, probably more than Feyre.

In this book, all the courts are gearing up for war with the King of Hybern who apparently has no real name or if he does, it was never mentioned in the book. His power, along with the Cauldron is unparalleled so it will take a miracle to beat him. Some of the courts may side with Hybern so Feyre is trying to convince them otherwise.

This book delves in deeper to some of the character’s personalities and backgrounds. There are  some developing romances too.

This is definitely a series that I recommend for fantasy and paranormal romance readers.

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight – Charley Davidson #11 – Daryinda Jones

I love the sarcastic humor in this series. Even in the direst situation, Charley either has a hilarious thought or something smartass to say which has me cracking up a lot.

As usual, Charley is juggling many things at once. She’s the Grim Reaper so she has to deal with the departed who cross over through her but now that she learned she is a god, she has even more to deal with. It doesn’t help that she got in an argument with the Archangel Michael and now angels are watching her every move. She thinks it has to do with her threatening to take over the world or it could be that her husband Reyes is from down under—not Austrailia—the other down under.

When Reyes was born on Earth, he was kidnapped from his birth parents by a creepy couple, the Fosters, who then handed him over to a monster of a man who abused him for most of his life. Charley had investigated the couple and found out that they had another son name Shawn who she was pretty sure they had abducted aslo but they raised him until adulthood. Charley was surprised when Shawn walked into her office and asked her to investigate the Fosters. He told her that he had secretly tested his DNA against theirs and knows they are not his real parents. He also admitted to her that he saw her parked near their home and had run her license plate so he knew who she was. She wasn’t as stealthy as she thought she was.

Charley and Reyes’ still have their daughter in hiding since so many dark forces are after her like Satan and Eidolon, the evil god from another realm. It’s hard for Charley to live apart from her baby but she knows she has to do it to keep her safe.

She also is dealing with a stalker who is stalking her best friend’s daughter and trying to figure out what her Uncle Bob is up to because he has been acting strange.

The one thing that bothers me about this series is the small children who are either ghosts or get killed by either accidents or evil people. I mean, I know this kind of thing happens in the world but this author seems to be obsessed with having creepy children ghosts and having bad guys kill children. For this reason, this will probably be my last Charley Davidson book. It just rips out my soul to see bad things happen to children and to see it over and over again is just too much for me to handle. In this book alone, there was a ghost of a toddler who had died because a dresser fell on top of him, a ten-year-old boy ghost, bones of a child that were found and the little creepy girl who is a regular in the series…and one more near the end of the book. That is the one that made up my mind about booting this series from my reading list. It’s too bad because this is an impressive series that I would have really like to continue but the excessive abused and dead children thing ruined it for me.

 

Wicked as They Come – Blud #1 – Delilah S. Dawson

Yet another book that I did not finish. To tell you the truth I only bought this book because of a hilarious review on Goodreads which contradicted my first thoughts when I first saw the cover and read the blurb. The reviewer said not to hold the cheesy cover against the book and that the book was not cheesy at all but everything she said was wrong. Sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover.

The book started out okay even though the female lead is the gag-me too good to be real type of woman who is a hospice nurse who in her spare time takes care of her ailing grandmother. She finds a locket at an estate sale and magically finds herself in another world. That is where the story starts to suck big fanged bunnies…or little fanged bunnies like in the tale. She meets a fanged man wearing a top hat, a cross between Willy Wonka and Frank N Furter. He was so outrageous and fantastical that I couldn’t get into him at all.

The story reminded me of Alice in Wonderland which is one of my least favorite stories of all time.

I tried to force myself to read it because I paid good money for it but had to give up after a quarter of the book. It just was too fantastical and cheesy for me.

Crooked Kingdom – Six of Crows #2 – Leigh Bardugo

This book was packed full of action just like the first book but this book let us get to know the characters a little better. It tells how each of Kaz’s crew members ended up joining his gang which I’m not really going to get into here.

Hopefully, no one will try to read the second book without reading the first book because the following will spoil the ending of the first book.

At the end of the last book, Kaz and crew had just pulled off the impossible job but were double-crossed by Jan Van Eck, a member of the Merchant Council who run Ketterdam. He had promised them thirty million kruge (dollars) if they handed over the scientist who was responsible for inventing jurda parem, a drug that gives a certain race of people, Grisha, who wield magic super powers but has devastating side effects for the Grisha who ingest it. One dose will addict the Grisha and it is almost impossible to kick the habit. Two doses and the Grisha will never beat the addiction and they’ll do anything to get another dose so their masters can ask them to do anything and they will do it. So far, jurda parem is not something that is widely known and there is only a small amount available since the scientist has kept his formula a secret.

Luckily, Kaz had the foresight to know that Van Eck might try to betray the deal so he hid the real scientist when he met him to get the money. Van Eck kidnapped one of Kaz’s crew members, one that Kaz has a soft spot for, and told Kaz that he had a week to hand over the scientist or he would start torturing Inej.

Van Eck is rich and powerful. He had originally told them that the entire Merchant Council wanted the scientist to keep him safe and out of the hands of anyone with nefarious inclinations but he lied. The Merchant Council had no idea about jurda parem or the deal he made with Kaz…and Jan Van Eck was just the kind of evil person who should never have the formula for jurda parem. Kaz can’t go to the Merchant Council without proof or without Van Eck killing Inej.

I love how Kaz schemes and how he does things that seem unimportant at the time but then we find out later that is was something ingenious. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked way against him this time so I was not sure if things would end up good or bad.

I think this was the conclusion to the story. The author has written a trilogy called The Grisha Trilogy that sounds interesting. I might have to read it.

Wicked Abyss – Immortals After Dark #18 – Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole’s female characters are the best! They are badass, wicked and flawed which is so much more exciting the typical virgin do-gooders who only want to do the right thing and make the world a better place. Kresley Cole’s females will kick a jerk while their down and maybe even break their arm just for kicks. I know that awful but in the world of the Lore, it is the only way to survive.

Calliope was exiled from Silvan, the Fey realm, when she was just thirteen years old by her fiancé, King Saetthe, because her parents had plotted against him. At least she wasn’t beheaded like they were. She has lived in the human real ever since. She has been hiding from her mortal enemy Rune and his alliance, the Møriør, all of her life. Sylvan has wards against the Møriør so she was safe there but in the human realm, she was vulnerable. She adapted well and hid in plain sight, working at Disney World as one of the princesses.

She hadn’t heard from Saetthe in over a decade when he showed up with Nix, the Valkyrie sootheayer, to tell her to go to hell…literally. They wanted her to go to Pandemonia, a hell realm, to spy on a demon named Abyssian, one of the Møriør. Rumor had it that the Møriør were going to invade this universe and take over. Saetthe told her that she could come back to Sylvan if she made this sacrifice. Nix told her it would be easy because Calliope or Lila as her friends called her was Abyssian’s mate and she would need to seduce him. When she asked Saetthe if that would bother him, he told her he was above those sort of feelings.

Lila agreed so Nix told her she would set the plan in motion. She would have her captured and taken to Abyssian. Later that night, two Sorceresses captured her and opened a portal into Pandemonia and handed her over to a monster.

Abyssian used to be physically flawless. The ladies fought each other to get to him but when his twin brother was killed, Abyssian aka Sian had to take over Pandemonia as the king and had to take the curse that went along with it, turning slowly into a monster. He already had red skin, wings and huge horns but knows that it will only get worse.

Thousands of years ago Sian had found his mate. She was a Fey princess from Sylvan but she broke his heart and betrayed him then married another Fey. She had died shortly afterwards but he had always wanted to get his revenge on her. So, when the sorceresses opened a portal into his dimension and handed Lila over, he was elated to finally get his revenge on her.

Lila was surprised when Sian put her in a tower with no physical comforts. She realized that Nix and Saetthe had duped her by not telling her the whole story. Sian played games with her like making her spin spider webs into thread before the sun came up lest the gigantic spiders come for her. He believed they were impossible tasks but Lila was smart and crafty and outwitted him in a lot of his cruel games. Some of the things she did were hilarious. She hated him yet was somehow drawn to him at the same time.

Sian could not seem to separate Lila from Kari and made her suffer for crimes she didn’t commit. He had lots of cruel plans for his mate but he couldn’t help feeling for Lila. He was hot and cold but Lila was up for the challenge.

This book was fantastic! I loved all their antics. There was a lot of humor yet some heart-wrenching moments too. I had just re-read this whole series so I was ready for this book and had everything from the previous books fresh in my memory. I am not sure exactly what Nix, the mastermind of everything happening in the Lore, is planning but I can’t wait to find out.

Six of Crows – Six of Crows #1 – Leigh Bardugo

I was hooked from the first paragraph. It took a little while to get to understand the terms and expressions of the world this was set in but once I caught on, I flew through this book.

All of the main characters are teenagers around the age of seventeen but none of them had the mind sets of regular teenagers, probably because they all had grown up in a harsh world and had to fight just to survive.

It starts out with the POV of a kid named Joost who has recently become a city guard. He thought it would be exciting but he has mainly just been guarding one wealthy merchant’s estate because there was a recent assassination of the Trade Ambassador so the Merchant Council, the people who run the city, thought the wealthy merchants needed extra protection. The one good thing about it is that he gets to see the girl he likes on his rounds. She is an indentured servant and a Grisha. Grishas are magic wielders and it seems that all Grisha are indentured servants unless they somehow hide who and what they are from others. In this world, slavery is supposedly illegal but indentured servants are not but everyone knows that the Grisha never volunteered to be indentured servants.

Joost is called to the boat house to help guard an experiment that the merchant is testing. The girl Joost likes is sitting in a room with a young boy from the streets. She’s a healer so a man who was with the merchant cut the boy, she healed it. Then they gave her a drug called Jurda Parem. The Grisha instantly changed from being a sweet and scared girl to looking cold and evil. The merchant told the man to cut off the boy’s thumb but the Grisha commanded the merchant to come into the room. She was controlling his mind, something that no Grisha should ever be able to do. When the guards tried to save the merchant, she commanded everyone to wait. The entire room stopped in their tracks. Joost’s mind went from free will to blissful and only wanting to do what the Grisha ordered.

Kaz is the leader of a gang called the Dregs in a city of Ketterdam in a country called Kerch. His neighborhood is called the Barrel which sounds like a dangerous place to live. He’s clever and is always five steps ahead of any rivals. When he is caught off his guard by what seems to be a ghost who can walk through walls, he is more than surprised. No one gets the upper hand on Kaz. He wakes up chained to a chair in an opulent office. He recognized his captor as Councilman Van Eck.

Van Eck offers Kaz a deal he can’t refuse. He offers him thirty million kruges, their monetary unit, for a seemingly impossible mission. Van Eck tells him about the new drug called Jurda Parem that a scientist named Bo Yul-Bayur has invented that can turn Grisha into mighty magic yielders who can do unimaginable feats like walk through walls and control minds. Some can even fly. He tells him that the Merchant Council is worried about this drug getting into the wrong hands because it could change the whole world. Whoever controls the Grishas controls can control the world. Jurda Parem is highly addictive to the Grisha. The first dose addicts them and they’ll do anything to get another dose but it also kills the Grisha after a short period of using the drug. Van Eck showed him the scene where the other merchant had conducted his experiment. It had been six days since the event and there were guards standing with blank stares, some had dropped to the floor and died. Joost was one of them. The merchant had died a gruesome death and the Grisha had escaped out to sea but because she needed the drug, she had tried to come back to shore but had drowned.

Bo Yul-Bayur is currently in Fjerda, a far-off land, at the Ice Court which is said to be impenetrable. Kaz selects five people to go with him on the mission. He has to break one of them out of a prison and then he discovers that Van Eck had hired another team for the same mission, a rival gang. He’s putting his life on the line for this job which could change his life but he knows the odds are against him.

It has been a long time since I have been wowed by a new author and series so I was impressed with this book. It kept me on my toes wondering what Kaz was going to do next and getting to know his crew members was fascinating too.

I immediately bought the next book in the series. I’m not sure how many books will be in the series so I am not sure if the second book will be the conclusion or if it will be a trilogy. I vote for a really long series!