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

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Recent Reads - Fantasy & Romance

I have a couple of UF reads, as well as the third in a Romantic-suspense trilogy.

Grave Dance (Alex Craft #2) by Kalayna Price

I was trying to figure out my next read and I tried the opening chapters of a couple of different books. Then I popped this one open and the next thing I knew I was halfway done. I love it when a book just sucks you in. I'm talking about a book 2 here, so if you haven't read Grave Witch yet, stop here. And then go get it because this series is very good.

Alex is dealing with all of the revelations that happened in book 1. A lot of the book deals with her family's secret heritage. On the romance front, she is unsure what to do about Death, who loves her, but, well, he's Death so how is that going to work out? And Falin has disappeared without a word. Then there is a problem with a bunch of feet that have been discovered, so it looks like a serial killer is on the loose. Add in the unwanted attention of the Faerie courts and Alex is in over her head in no time.

I really enjoyed this one. It's a middle book, no doubt about it, but I liked how it built off events and complications from book 1. Also, I enjoyed the friendships Alex has in Tamara, Holly and Caleb. What I really liked, though, was that while there was romantic tension, Alex didn't just hop into anyone's arms. She's got deep reservations and is figuring out what she really wants. It was very adult and rang true. Now, there is a triangle, but before you throw up your hands and stalk away, I need to note that it doesn't feel like anyone is being strung along. It's a unique situation and is handled rather well.

I cannot wait until book 3 is out!

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

The book starts with a letter written by Myfanwy (pronounced Miff-un-ee) Thomas to the person who is now inhabiting her body after her memories have been stripped away. This person is standing in the rain surrounded by a ring of dead, gloved people. Myfanwy gives her instructions on how to stay safe and a choice - try to escape and build a new life, or take over Myfanwy's life and figure out who did this to her.

You would think the choice would be obvious, but it isn't, not when you find out you have superpowers and have an unknown menace after you.

And then the story is off and running, through the halls of the Checquy, a secret British organization that uses people with powers to protect the normals from things that go bump in the night, blobs that consume everything and everyone, and other threats that are better left in the shadows.

Throughout it all, as the new Myfanwy comes into her own, we also get a good sense of the old Myfanwy through her letters and notes. I've seen the letter effect done well and not so well, but here it flowed so well with the story that I looked forward to reading about old Myfanwy, her thoughts, fears, and observations.

There is no romance in this book. Old Myfanwy was adverse to any kind of connection to others, so it was a good juxtaposition to see that the first thing new Myfanwy does is start forming relationships. There is the friendship with long-time secretary Ingrid, the new team with American Shantay, and a new chance at family with Bronwyn. I liked that there is no romance here. In a lot of the books I usually read, the heroine would team up with a hero and there would be the simmering sexual tension. It was refreshing to not have that dynamic. It also worked best, I think, with the pace of events.

I don't know if there will be further adventures of Myfanwy Thomas, but I hope that O'Malley has another book out soon. I'll be reading it.

If You Know Her (Ash #3) by Shiloh Walker

This is the conclusion of Walker's Ash trilogy. I've mentioned before how much I liked this Romantic-Suspense series because the mystery is stretched out, leaving room to develop the three main couples and giving more time for them to discover the killer in their midst.

Book 1 is still my favorite, but I liked the progression of all 3 couples over the series.

The killer had been on my suspect list since book 1, but that's OK with me. It's a usual occurrence. I have fun seeing how the other characters get there and how it all resolves. I also liked the way that Walker got into the killer's head - although "liked" feels like an inappropriate word to use. It's not so much that I was rooting for the scumbag, but I thought being in his head upped the creepy factor and the way he evolved over the three books made him a more interesting character.

Law and Nia work together, for me, even if neither one is my favorite character in the series. I do think that Nia's attitude and tendency to act was what was needed in the heroine for this book. This is the book with the final showdown. We know the killer is strong, so we need a more action-oriented heroine to face off against him. She's still prickly, and Law is annoying at times (through all 3 books), but they worked for me and stayed true to character. I did enjoy how all 3 couples came together in the end for the showdown.

I'll be checking out more rom-suspense from Walker, as well as her PNR.

ETA: If you e-mail Shiloh Walker with the name of the killer, she'll give you a little tidbit of something she found while researching for the series. I came close to guessing (but I'm not spilling!).


  1. The triangle wasn't too bad, but I could have done without it because someone is going to lose out. While it wasn't fretted over and it's still not my favorite. I found this a bit wandering and thought it could have been tighter in places. A couple of scenes didn't fit well for me. BUT. I loved it.

    1. It was a middle book, for sure, but I had to give it bonus points for being so un-put-downable. And as far as middle books go, I thought it was one of the better ones out there. Can't wait for the next one.

  2. Totally agree. I raced through it and her characters are interesting enough that you do want to know more about all of them.