Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Catching Up On Reviews

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday! After many cookies, candies, and longing gazes at my new pretty books, I've got some reviews to post. An Urban Fantasy, a Paranormal Romance, and a Novella.

Under Witch Aura (Moon Shadows #2) by Maria E. Schneider

I enjoyed book 1 in this series a lot. I thought that the characters were interesting, the magic rules were good, and I was really looking forward to how the characters grew in the next one.

With this one, I was expecting another fun story with interesting magical logic, and a deepening of the relationships. I did get that, but the story was also more. The whole story, characters, magic, felt more grounded (something I hope for in a book 2 but don't always get). I've been trying to pay more attention to the tiny details - often I remember the big fight scene, a funny line, or a conversation long after I've finished the book, but those small details that fill in the spaces and show you the world and characters organically, without extra "talky" exposition, those are the things that help keep me glued to my seat and reading for hours. Lots of those small gems here.

I like the magic in this world. It is very logical and scientific. It reminds me of a thought I've been seeing more and more lately, that magic is just science we haven't figured out yet. Adriel's lab can concoct fantastical things, but there is a natural method to it (and you don't have to be a science major to get it). We get to see more how other witches work their magic too (for good or ill). We also get to meet members of Adriel and White Feather's families. Lynx is here again, and he is growing too - one of my favorite sidekicks.

The action was good, fast-paced, and the romance heated up, although it's not the wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am variety - this romance has built from book 1. There are some dark points and violence, and no shortage of the creepy crawlies, but there was balance to it.

The main problem is solved, and there are no cliffhangers, but there is definitely more room to explore in this world.

[I received a copy to review.]

Prince of Air and Darkness by Jenna Black

Good, quick paranormal romance with a couple of fight scenes (although I wouldn't call it battle-heavy at all). This one deals with the Unseelie and Seelie courts of the Fae and I'm also happy to say that it's one that doesn't feed into the immortality fantasy. Too often you only see the "I'll be young forever!" side, but there is another side, the side where you have to give up your humanity, that I think is glossed over. Not here.

Hunter is the half-mortal son of the Queen of Air and Darkness, the Unseelie queen. He has been tortured his whole life, hating his mother and fearing her cruelty. She has a new assignment for him - he needs to impregnate the unsuspecting mortal daughter of the Seelie King, as the child will have both bloodlines and she can use him/her to start a war to take over Faerie.

Kiera thinks her mother is nuts for her stories of being impregnated by the Seelie King. While it was a little frustrating at times to see Kiera's logical human response (especially when as a reader you know that her mom is right), it was also very realistic. This isn't a book where the human lead finds out about the "truth" and then just rolls with it. Some convincing and freaking out has to happen first. While Kiera has her strengths, she is not out kicking goblin ass, so if you need a warrior woman, that;s not her. Now if Black ever does a book on Kiera's mom...

Considering that Hunter starts out more or less as a villain, I was curious how Black would make him heroic, but she does (and no I won't tell you how). This isn't one of those they look at each other across a crowded coffee shop and the next page they've jumped in bed. It takes time to progress. Although, if you are one who needs some steam, it's here, just not on page 2.

[received a copy of this book to review]
Magic Gifts (Kate Daniels #5.4) by Ilona Andrews
**NOTE: this novella is only available at Ilona Andrews web site ( ) for a short time. Then it will be printed as a bonus in the back of Gunmetal Magic**

A Kate novella that takes place around the same time as Gunmetal Magic (the Andrea book out late spring/summer).

A fun short - lots of action. This time we get to go see the Neo-Vikings. There is a child in trouble, strange runes to decipher, the People are involved, and the Guild wants Kate to step in. Situation normal, all fouled up.

I also like that we get to see more of Kate & Curran's relationship. Their lives will never be easy, but it is so good to see that they accept each other for who they are. There is a part where Kate talks about how Voron & Greg always told her that relationships would make her weak, but that she's figured out on her own that having people to love makes her want to fight that much harder to live and keep what she has.

Andrews humor is here in spades - love the interactions with Ghastek and Jim.

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