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Fortune's Pawn
Rachel Bach
The Emperor's Blades
Brian Staveley
Love Letters to the Dead
Ava Dellaira
The Waking Engine
David Edison
Pantomime
Laura Lam
The Heavens Rise
Christopher Rice
The Troop
Nick Cutter
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, # 1)
J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré
The Reapers Are the Angels
Alden Bell
Red Rising
Pierce Brown

Deathsworn

Death Sworn - Leah Cypess Many of the reviews applauded the excellent world building but I really am wondering which world building? There was absolutely no world building. This story entirely takes places in a fucking cave. Was it magical? No! Our TSTL heroine lost 99% of her magic due to reasons unknown and we were expected to accept it like that. Magic apparently can go puff and the biggest sorceress can be cast out and send to her sure death as the new teacher to an assassin school. There is an ominous emperor with dark magic sorcerers reminding me very much of evil magicians in The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan.

Ileni our heroine is stupid, makes stupid decisions, thinks stupid thoughts and acts stupid. She complains a lot about her lost magic, what she would have done if she still had them and so on. She also assumes every assassin in this cave wants her dead. All you hear her think is: if he wanted to kill me, he wants to kill me, let him kill me. She had so much potential but in the end she was just a boring 1.0 version without any redeeming qualities. She is totally judgmental and grasps everything only from her high horse perspective. Her incentive to change her opinion about the assassin’s guild comes not out of conviction but out of sexual attraction. She laughs only when half hysterical and always clasps her hands, clenches her hands, grips her skirt with her hands.

I almost lost it and dnf’ed the book around half way through but the story hadn’t taken the worst turn yet. The worst came in form of the BIG LOVE and I HAVE FEEELINGS FOR YOU confessions. The romance was so foreseeable, abrupt and un-romantic. After the first kiss about 80% into the story we have insta-love thoughts aka “I can’t let happen anything to you, blabla” … all very schmaltzy if you ask me.

The book is not bad bad. At least up until the soppy part this story was quite entertaining despite a lack of world building, a stand-offish, assuming heroine and the assassins being under the master’s spell. If you don’t have high any expectations to a young adult fantasy go for it. Otherwise I wouldn’t recommend this.

Servants of the Storm

Servants of the Storm - Delilah S. Dawson Servants of the Storm will be one of the most amazing young adult books of 2014. Of that I am sure.

That creepy cover! That spine-chilling story! Those unsettling characters! It kept me on the edge almost to the finale. And what a damn awesome ending! The shadowy story is hauntingly beautiful as is the writing and it stays with you for very long, lingering subconsciously night and day. The descriptions of a Savannah destroyed by hurricane Josephine, infested by sinister characters, full of shadows and the smell of decay, its gory details make you squirm and bite your nails.

This book has the creepy jump factor: unexpected creatures lurking in the shadows. There is enough to make you check your own room before jumping into bed!



This story is like David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, surreal and cryptic with a big hint of Mary Ann’s mental breakdown in The Devil’s Advocate, like when Mary Ann claims that the wives of the other partners at the firm are demons after she sees their faces briefly become demonic. Illusions and nightmares hide in the shadows, foul demons feed on human fear and seductive cambions are waiting to enslave the unsuspecting. One of the big strengths of the story are the twists and turns that will keep you guessing. There is always something that you haven’t seen coming, revelations that will surprise you and outrageous, new directions the story will take. The ending just blew my mind.

I would have given the story 5 stars if not for 2 major failures.

The first letdown I’d like to address is the age factor. Sometimes I have the impression authors regard young adults as children. This is exactly the case here in Servants of the Storm, too. Carly and Dovey, their friendship is portrayed as one of 10 year olds, who are sworn blood sisters complete with tokens of their friendship bond. Dovey is 17 in the story but it doesn’t show. Her language when talking about Carly is that of a small child. I was strongly reminded of nine-year-old Starla Claudelle in Whistling past the Graveyard. Dovey has never been kissed before, has had no boyfriend although people tell her repeatedly how beautiful she is. I had my first kiss with 14. It is hard to believe that a young beautiful girl could escape the attention of boys for that long. The constant flashbacks, even though they are very atmospheric, to childhood promises and memories of children laughter, holding hands with Carly and lemon pie afternoons with Nana and Gran are no help either in making Dovey seem older.

The second disappointment was the love triangle. I really don’t get it why authors still believe they need to introduce us after years of failed love triangles to another stupid one. I just can’t read another one about the gentle enduring friendship-turned-love vs the passionate instant magnetic attraction.

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1) - Erika Johansen “The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns; it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen”

I do not agree with the Marketing / PR statement.

The intended hype:
This magnificent debut, as the Marketing department insinuates, by the talented author, is already signed for a seven-book deal, film rights to the entire book series already sold to Warner Bros with “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman on board and best of all Harry Potter star Emma Watson signed on to play the lead in the saga.

“Harper Collins will publish the trilogy, which has been described as a female “Game of Thrones” beginning in 2014.”

I particularly don’t care about this “female” bullshit, as if I (a woman) should not like GoT but wait for a female version of the same? Now if the responsible for this logorrhea reads my review: Dear Sir or Madam, I hate women's parking places, because I almost always see males parking there their big cars as they can’t be bothered to use the smaller parking lot 5 meters away. I don’t like being told that women can’t drive, spent endless time in front of the mirror or collect shoes en masse. If you read the book you’ll find out that our heroine is especially a character described as un-female-like.

Apart from my personal misgivings with the marketing I’d like to refer to the four points mentioned in the blurb:

1. A world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games
2. Characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones
3. A wholly original heroine
4. Thrilling action and twisting plot turns

1. A world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games

Why do we always have to compare things to “The Hunger Games”, “Game of Thrones”, “Harry Potter” or “Twilight” or whatever? This book is no copycat; the world building is “same same but different”. It’s the typical fantasy world setup: a fictional European, feudalistic, medieval world with a backwards technological status.

What makes it unique is the background history: William Tear, an utopist from our time, decided to cross an ominous ocean to an unknown new world on ships together with 2000 followers building a better world. His dream was that of pure socialism, leaving behind technology and religion (the false gods, so to speak). They land in a country of scarce resources. The great socialist vision of William Tear erodes after the Landing ending in a coup complete with assassination and finally initiation of a royal monarchy and the reawakening of religious fascism with some parallels to the National Socialism (->Cardinal Anders wore a small gold pin in the shape of a hammer, a memento of his time spent on the Regent’s anti-sodomy squads). The story starts a few hundred years after the Crossing. I was fascinated by this setup but found it rather disrupting to the flow. For example, a few times characters refer in dialogues to fictional or real characters: Caesar, Helen of Troy, Brother Grimm, Scheherazade or Leonardo da Vinci.

“What exactly are you asking for, Scheherazade?”
“Devotion to your God and your church is more important than your understanding of the things of Caesar.”

Whatever those names should have achieved, they didn’t sway me. A lot of books are mentioned, talked about or read: J.K. Rawlings’ seven-book-bundle of Harry Potter, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and the works of a historian called Barbara Tuchman.

The mentioning felt out of place, superimposed and constructed like when the Red Queen tells us she is a geneticist, perhaps the most advanced geneticist since the Crossing, or when a normal talk is interrupted by the mentioning of plastic or transplant surgery, eBooks, etc. For me this always felt more like a waking gong. Bam! It just didn’t fit at all with the entire magical, medieval world.

Having said that, there are also other references that I found totally awesome: A lot of well-known elements are integrated into the plot without being too obvious but still discernible: There is an almost Robin Hood like secondary character playing an important role, there is the “True Queen” element of the Arthurian Legend, there is of course the very plain addition of the Red Queen (no other name is known), a Lewis Carroll character from Through the Looking-Glass, we also have a lot of Scottish, Welsh, Irish mythology thrown into the mix. Names and nicknames are very important to the story. I won’t take your fun away looking them up. But I found this really a nice add-on. I like to look things up, and to see that an author has put some thought into naming characters and integrating folklore elements when it fits. Just a small example, the Robin Hood-alike is called The Fetch. This is a supernatural double or apparition of a living person in Irish folklore. It is largely akin to the doppelgänger, and sightings are regarded as omens, usually for impending death. The Fetch was easily one the most intriguing characters for me throughout the story.

2. Characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones

No, no, no. Simply said the characters were not that intriguing as those of GoT. A lot of the secondary cast was quite flat or one-dimensional. There were almost no characters with duplicity or hidden motifs. As with the world building sometimes also the characterization seemed too technical, straight out of the textbook. The Red Queen, even though we have her POV, is typical evil, ordering slaves killed for snoring. Arliss, the new Treasurer, is a bookie and black market business man, with a lame left side; tufts of white hear sprouting out of his ears and the acrid smell of old flesh. There are also spiderlike, cunning, evil characters, crazy albinos and self-pitying, fat and illiterate adversaries. It is overdone, in my opinion. You are simply not guessing long who is standing on which side. If someone claims those characters are as vivid and intriguing as those of GoT, then I simply have to say, no they are not. But I still liked reading about them. It would have been maybe better to integrate more POV like those of Javel, leave the Red Queen POV out and make some of the characters less obviously loyal and more ambiguous.

3. A wholly original heroine

I’ll keep that one short. Kelsea is original, I’ll grant that. She is intelligent, calculative so far so that someone even compares her to a computer, a machine who can compare many variables at once. It is not a too farfetched observation as Kelsea really seems very rational and even cold / offish at times. Outwardly she acts and thinks well above her 19 years. She was born and educated to be a (good) queen other than her vain, superficial and helpless mother. But her character is overdone. She is not only plain, but almost pudgy. This circumstance is being conjured a lot throughout the story. As if not enough she also has to wear an armor (that flattens her breast) and to cut her long hair at some point, which to me was not that necessary. At the end of the book she has almost no feminine qualities left and looks just like a chubby, young soldier. Can’t an intelligent girl be also kind of nice looking? She doesn’t have to be beautiful but at least leave her some female appeal. It disappointed me a little bit to see Kelsea’s character reduced to a virago.

4. Thrilling action and twisting plot turns

I don’t complain, but this is a long read. There is a lot of introduction, set-up and bit of info-dumping in the beginning but not too much. The action is limited to a few chapters but it is thrilling, with a lot of blood and amputated arms and legs flying around the battle. Gory! But plot turns? Not much. I think this might get better in following books but in this one the plot flows fairly lineal and predictable.

Finally, I really did like this book, and I am looking forward to the next in this series. But I don’t think this book merits the marketing hype.
Of Breakable Things - A. Lynden Rolland I want you
I want you
I want you
I want you
I want you
I want you
I want you



The blurb, it sounds awesome and the cover looks beautifully creepy ...

Conquest: Chronicles of the Invaders, Book 1

Conquest: The Chronicles of the Invaders: Book 1 - John Connolly, Jennifer Ridyard This unoriginal story is not for me! The two authors John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard have made so many mistakes, I wonder if this book ever got edited.

Showing vs. telling: especially in the beginning many elements are told instead of shown through character interaction, environments or action. It’s a big conglomerate of info-dumping that could have been avoided or altered to make me immerse into the story. Especially the “Prologue”, a retelling of the alien invasion, is rather boring in that regard.

Alternating POVs: this makes for a very disharmonious read as you will often encounter several POV changes in one chapter. Also the book mixes heavily omniscient and first-person narration which makes it that much more difficult to read or connect to the main characters.

Characterization: The Illyri are far too human! Their physiology is similar to humans but for being a bit taller and having no eyelids. I couldn’t detect many cultural differences from humans either. Many of the secondary characters seem rather one-dimensional.

High Fantasy instead of Science Fiction meets Young Adult: This book feels rather like a high fantasy mix with young adult characters. Why fantasy you ask? There is the Illyri Sisterhood, kind of your version of intergalactic witches. Next are the Illyri overlords who live in castles on Earth: Edinburgh castle, the London Tower, the castle in Prague, you name it. Why does an alien nation have a need for Earths dusty, medieval castles, I have absolutely no clue. And where are they living in the USA, where there are no castles? Disney Land?
The human resistance meets in old, shabby pubs and inns. I was quite honestly reminded of Lord of the Rings and awaiting the appearance of Frodo at any moment. Evil arrives instead in the form of another very common horror-movie plot twist: parasites have taken over the Illyri and next on their menu is Earth.

Of course our main male human love interest is 16 and already high up in the resistance army hierarchy. He has killed, he is one of the best spy masters we are told. Etc. I couldn’t care less. His name is Paul, of all names available the authors decided on this one. Paulus is Latin for “the small one”. I felt rather disappointed by the premise.

One other minor point: If you tell people that the European headquarters for the aliens is in London, you’d better think again: England (as part of the UK) are a group of islands at the left side of the European continent. The UK is de facto in the European Union but doesn't use the Euro (as if the pound stirling is so much better)! Most British think of themselves as non-Europeans and there is also a big discussion on whether to pull out of the EU. It's kind of hilarious if you think about it, that the european headquarter should be in London. If I were an Alien race I would put myy headquarter there where it already is, in Straßbourg. (And France has also some very nice chateaux)

And to think that Scottish people now lead the resistance? There is even some mentioning of fighting at the Hadrian’s Wall. Next our Scottish lairds are wearing long hair and kilts. LOL.

Salvage

Salvage - Alexandra Duncan Book, you are awesome.

You remember those famous intro words to Star Trek TNG?

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Well, Salvage shows us not the bright, chromed future of Star Trek, but a gritty one minus the aliens. Small nomadic tribes of hunter-gatherers, marked by powerful kinship bonds, fixed status and rigidly defined social expectations tumble on their patched-up ships through space. The future of humanity in space is shaped by a preindustrial, heavily patriarchal society with predominant roles for custom and habit, polygynous households, strict gender roles where the division of labor is influenced by age, gender, and status. Those tribes have powerful collective memories sanctioned by rituals, songs and legends. Sounds like a interesting premise, right? It is.

I was utterly engrossed in the intense description of this life. It’s an unhurried meditation on society. Ava is illiterate as are all women on this ship. Every once in a while the ship on which her father is the captain returns to Earth and meets up with other tribes the nearby trade space station. At sixteen, she learns she has to go through with the arranged marriage to someone on a different ship. Ava escapes her fate. Now on Earth Ava has to come to terms with not only what happened to her but also an overpopulated, technological advanced earth suffering from environmental issues, weather conditions and pollution. On an enclave built in the middle of the pacific ocean out of garbage, Great Pacific Garbage Patch/Gyre, she starts to heal, to see her own worth, learns to read and write, learns even to pilot a ship by herself.

This is young adult science fiction done right. Ava’s journey from her starship, to the Babylon 5 space station, to a garbage island reminiscent of Waterworld to Mumbai, a city overpopulated by 170 million people, takes her not only to different places but introduces us to different societies and ways of life. Ava is a survivor and she grows beyond the limiting confines of the circumstances in which she was born. She crept through the bowels of hell and came out free. One other thing: I was relieved by the lack of silly romances or stupid love triangles. There is romance, there even are two young men, but it is just the way it is, not overdone.

This book feels very much like a stand-alone but I hope this is not the last we have heard of Ava and her friends.

UnEarthed

UnEarthed - Rebecca Bloomer,  Jodi Moran Since my first epic encounter with Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs almost 25 years back I have been a big fan of Science Fiction Amine (TV) series. Unearthed's premise is not unlike Sabor Rider: The plot is set in the distant future. Humans have spread beyond Earth and colonized planets, creating a New Frontier of man.



As soon as Jodi Scarfield sets foot on the Mars colony I have been intrigued. Unearthed has been a pleasant surprise, bringing back some very beloved childhood memories. This science fiction young adult novel combines a few things very convincingly: Living on a Mars colony and high-flying teens. The main character herself is a hacker and thus far I found the descriptions rather apt as are those on the living conditions on the red planet. The author apparently did some research and it shows without her being to pretentious or scientific about it.
In my mind I could easily visualize the colony and the characters. This world bears some parallels to Æon Flux, too. The whole premise of the book was really cool. But UnEarthed is a fairly quick read, too short for its own good, which is one of the reasons I only gave it 3 stars. The focus is clearly not on character-development or interaction. The novel is too action-oriented and feels after the first half very rushed, when suddenly everything happens at once.

All in all a pleasant read to kill time, better than a lot of other YA books but nothing exceptional or outstanding. At least I have the hope that more books in the YA science fiction genre are on their way.

And now I am off catching up with my childhood infatuation Sabor Rider and Captain Future.


Through The Smoke

Through The Smoke - Brenda Novak Trying to link this to Jane Eyre was very pretentious and made me dislike the book that much more.
Maybe I am hypercritical. I have to admit this is a really unusual historical romance. And some people might like it exactly because of its imperfect characters, the uncommon romance and the historically realistic description of the mining conditions during the industrial revolution era. It just wasn’t for me.

The premise of the supposed mystery:
Two years after his first wife, pregnant with the child of another, died in a mysterious fire that the Earl escaped only barely, Truman Stanhope, Earl of Druridge, still has to account for murder???? And if he doesn’t find proof of his innocence he is forced to marry the daughter of an influential Duke????????? Are you shitting me? I found this side plot to be completely unnecessary. It doesn’t add anything to the mystery of Lady Katherine’s murder; it only confuses me as a reader. A peer is almost above the law and has the right to be tried by other peers of the realm instead of juries of commoners. At the end of the trial, peers in the House of Lords voted on the question before them declaring their verdict, starting with the most junior baron and proceeding in order of precedence ending with the Lord High Steward. For a guilty verdict, a majority of twelve was necessary. The entire House also determined the punishment to be imposed, which had to accord with the law. For capital crimes the punishment was death; the last peer to be executed was Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers, who was hanged for murder in 1760.

According to this, Truman Stanhope, Earl of Druridge shouldn't have worried so much about hanging, or should have felt compelled to marry a Duke’s daughter in order to escape this punishment. There wasn’t much danger in him being ever arrested or condemned.

I would have found it much more believable if this whole being forced to marry to escape jail two years after the initial incident would have been left out. It was enough (for me) that he couldn’t remember anything of this night, that he simply wanted to clear his conscience and find out for himself if he was the murderer or if his cousin paid the miners to do the job for him, or who else was behind the murder, the fire and the maybe stolen Brueghel paintings.

Precisely in the moment when Rachel and Truman seem to get closer Miss Penelope, the soon-to-be-second-wife, and her father the Duke make an unexpected appearance and force the star-crossed lovers apart. Just because this kind of interruption happened in Jane Eyre (where it completely fit the story and made sense), doesn’t mean you have to incorporate into your own storyline a plot device something akin to a reverse deus ex machina whereby a ‘good’ situation is suddenly and abruptly made into a seemingly unsolvable one by the contrived and unexpected intervention of a new event / character, in this case the arrival of the Duke and his daughter.

Gothik Jane Eyre atmosphere vs. industrial Revolution and coal mining
I am sorry to say but those two shoes didn’t fit together well. I love Jane Eyre; I love the bildungsroman aspects as well as the elements of social criticism and spiritual sensibility, its gothic feel, the dark corners, the eerie mystery, the almost supernatural of voices in the wind and ghostly laughter in the night. But trying to make the mystery of the fire and the murder of Lady Katherine fit in with coal mining, the industrial revolution, the coal mining union, the living and working conditions of the labor class and child work seemed almost forced to me. I would have been happy with either an eerie mystery or the industrial realism, but both together didn’t merge well in my book.

For example: it is hard to believe that a young, educated woman wouldn't find another employment than work in a coal mine. I especially dislike the coal miner manner in this book, how viperish Cuthbert is how all her former miner friends from the union instantly turn against Rachel and the attempted rape in the pit although most of these men were friends with her father and brother, who also worked there. Where is the collegiality and solidarity I ask. The mean, simplistic and drab miners in this novel undermine what miners had to go through 200 years ago during the industrial revolution to achieve reforms to better living and working conditions.

Dark Romantics emphasized human fallibility and proneness to sin and self-destruction, as well as the difficulties inherent in attempts at social reform. This is not done here in this book: There is no self-destruction, no proneness to sin. Contrary to Mr. Rochester Truman leads no sinful life, he has no mistresses, no bastard children and doesn’t try to seduce Rachel. Rachel isn’t seduced into sin, she is forced and then walks free into the arms of the Byronic hero: a man proud, moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart, a scorner of his kind, implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection. But I will come to the characters later.

This book is not gothic but tries to be, sometimes too hard. We have the typical castle, gloomy forest but without the hidden passages or dark dungeons. There is the forbidding Blackmoor Hall at the Northeastern Coast of England, five hilly miles from the next small village. It is of course a cold winter with plenty of dark nights, full of wet snow and daunting moonlight etcetera etcetera. Rachel is rather fond as it seems of walking these 5 hilly miles several times in the dark or at night amid the growling of the sky and the howling of the wind.

Blackmoor Hall was a daunting edifice. Built in the Strawberry Hill Gothic style, with a little Palladian thrown in, its gray stone walls rose several stories high, extending along cliffs that fronted the ocean. Although most of the structure had been rebuilt after the fire, nothing looked new. Large, diamond-cut windows spaced symmetrically on two long wings collected snow in the cradle of their panes. At least half a dozen chimneys rose from the roof. And an elaborate portico sheltered the entrance. Ancient and overwhelming, the manse resembled something out of a history book, with tall columns, expansive gardens, fountains and Greek statues. Now, late as it was, the estate was dark and rather forbidding.

Even though our story takes place in the (pseudo)-gothic castle I missed the paranormal aspects, inherent to gothic fiction as well as the horror as in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the works of Edgar Allan Poe or Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Rachel is not caught in an unfamiliar and terrifying landscape; she is born in this village. There is no supernatural to be terrified of; no dark and bloody dungeons or lingering ghosts, there are no voices in the wind, or crazy laughter in the attic. Rachel doesn’t possess the romantic temperament that perceives strangeness where others see none like Jane Eyre. And there is the culprit of my dislike for this novel because the author states in her forward: “Jane Eyre was one of my favorite books when I was a girl. I love the gothic feel of it, the air of mystery and, most of all, the heart-pounding romance.”

But this book for me feels like a parody on Jane Eyre. I am sorry.

The parody of a heart-pounding romance
There is absolutely no heart-pounding romance. I didn’t feel it. Apart from Truman’s character, who I have to admit was very appealing in my imagination, the romance fell completely flat. There is this one night stand at the beginning under the influence of a drug and then for almost 60% of the story there is not even a kiss. The next carnal insinuation involves horse salve, which he brings her in the middle of the night for her chapped hands.

She wanted him to slide his hands up her arms, to pull off her nightgown and smooth that ointment all over her body.

Horse salve … Yuck Rachel, you naughty little ewe! And a little bit later after a few games of chess she almost confesses her undying love.

What if she were to tell him shed fallen in love with him? That she thought of him constantly

Now where did this come from? They haven't even kissed since that one night. I found it extremely creepy that he is several times in the night in her room watching her sleep. And when she wakes up in the middle of the night, they have a perfectly neutral conversation as if being in her room is perfectly normal. And finally the night comes to be finally together:

Rachel: “The last time we were together, I wasn’t as aware of what was happening as I wish I would’ve been.”
The Lord: “If only I had the strength to make myself tell you to leave. This isn’t fair to you.” (wtf happened to Mr. Rochester).
Rachel: “I’m not sure it does (she is talking about preserving her honor), not if I’m spreading my legs for you every night in my dreams,” she said and her nightdress hit the floor with a soft poof."


That is no heart-pounding romance that is hammering headaches that I get. This book must be a parody!!!!

Chuck Norris meets Rachel
If Jericho Barrons and Mr. Rochester / Michael Fassbender could somehow melt together to impersonate the Beast in a gothic-like romance then Truman Stanhope, Earl of Druridge, would be at first the outcome. He has all this Byron hero going on. But my Byronic hero wears a ninny name, reminding me of Truman Capote and the Truman Show. Meh.
Truman in fact is an old English first name referring to loyal and true. And Truman really is loyal: He saves Rachel from rape, gives her work, is there for her and helps her whenever he can. He even wants to launch a profit-sharing program with the miners. Difficulties with social reforms, you ask? He can handle them in less than half a page. Goodbye Byron, farewell Barrons and hello Chuck Norris. We all dream about Perfection.... Perfection dreams about Chuck Norris and Chuck Norris dreams of Rachel (and horse salve). LOL

The earl had turned up the collar of his coat to keep his neck warm, but he wore no scarf, and Rachel could see tiny, frozen crystals clinging to the shadow of a day’s beard growth.

Rachel, I dislike you so much. You’re a well-red, beautiful young women, a bookseller’s daughter but absolutely misguided in your morals. She has no qualms of keeping the money her father was given to set Blackmoor Hall on fire, she has no problems of denying the Earl the truth, although he is suspected of murder, she has no problems in associating with the whores in town BUT she has problems if people think she spent the night with the Earl, even though she really did it??? Because it is MUCH better to lie for people who are mean to you, casting you out, threatening you, as to be honest with the one person who has thus far been nice and fair-minded, true to his name. Another point that irks me is Rachel’s outsider status. I dislike the suggested correlation in this novel: bookworm equals remote recluse. She is a persona non grata after spending a night with the Earl. The villagers hate her, the coal miners want to rape her; the servants at Blackmoore (Mrs. Paulson) resent her, all because she had a one night stand with an Earl. Even the local brothel whores don’t want anything to do with her, because her nose is always in a book and she therefore is so naïve and escapist. But even though she is so literate she has no clue how to manage a bookshop, doesn’t know shit about Greek mythology and Brueghel is a complete unknown to her. Well, I can almost understand the whores. I didn’t like Rachel one bit. And while she is being treated like a lady at Blackmoor Hall with invitations to dinner and a dressmaker waiting on her, I was wondering where is her little brother? Ah right, still in the stables and working. She really has to brave so much for the sake of him! *Snort*

So in the end the characters were unlikable, the romance hilarious, the mystery not mysterious at all, the world-building was faulty and the plot felt a lot constructed to me.

Amber House: Neverwas

Neverwas - Kelly  Moore, Tucker Reed, Larkin Reed



The Line (Witching Savannah)

The Line - J.D. Horn This book reads more like a screenplay to a television series full of supernatural families. It’s about power play, murder, intrigues and familial bonds.

I don’t really get the marketing hint with Sookie Stakehouse because it had nothing of Charlaine Harris to it, apart from playing in the South. If I had to compare it to something it would be the movie Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock and the new TV Series Witches of East End. Add in a pinch of the Godfather (death of the patriarch) and some Mob structure (e.g. close knit family, money buys all, power play) to it and voilà, this is what you get.

World building and characterization is done really well and the plot moves fast forward, even though some of the plot twists are rather obvious, as is the outcome. The author tries to throw you off and keep you guessing, but I saw it all coming nonetheless.

The Taylor family really is screwed up. Some are jealous, others terrified, sad or full of hate. It’s like a blossoming apple tree is rotting from the roots up. The book is quite long. The first 100 pages we are introduced to the very large Taylor Family and the magical talents of each member as well as their individual history and problems. It could have been boring if it would have been only info dumping. But the introductions are made effortless and almost laid-back. They show a lot of interaction between the different family members and provide the much needed background. I really enjoyed this to be honest. Each family member has its own personality and dynamic.

The only person I was not so interested in was the main character Mercy, who is (of course) a disappointment to her family and her eviltalented and more beautiful twin Macie. Like I said, you know right from the start where this is going to lead.

For a book the very extensive cast put me off-guard. There is not only the Taylor family, with each member having his own personal history, love drama and life altering past events, but a lot of secondary characters that play an important part. I felt a bit overwhelmed.

Even though I enjoyed reading the story because of the family interaction, I have to subtract a star for the stupid love quadrangle. This has been so overdone in the YA and NA genre, I simply can’t take it seriously.

Overall an enjoyable read albeit not an overwhelming one.
Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Gospel of Loki

The Gospel of Loki - Joanne Harris I mean seriously LOKI? I've been waiting ages for a book like this.
I am fangirling so hard right now.

Avery (The Chronicles of Kaya #1) - Charlotte McConaghy This book is so sad and so full of hope at the same time, terrifyingly beautiful and bittersweet.

This is me reading the book:



Avery has it all: dark magic, villains, heroes, flying horses, a dramatic plot with turns and twists, characters that you adore and villains to hate and last but not least a hauntingly beautiful romance. It’s a magical and dangerous world where Kayans and Pirenti look with prejudiced hatred on each other and wage a centuries old war. The story is told from 4 different points of view, where Ava’s and Ambrose’ journey builds up the main plot. Thorne’s and Rose’s perspective gives you more insight into the Barbarian Queen’s court. Thorne, the elder Prince of the Pirenti (and Ambrose’s brother) and his wife have their personal struggles. Their journey to understanding and love was so sweet and sad. But all four give emotional insight into the world of Kaya and Pirenti from different angles.

Pirenti soldiers look nothing like Kayans – these men are huge and beastly, and there is a deep sense of wildness to them. There are no women in this hall of soldiers – here women are considered inferior and would never be allowed to fight.
All but one, of course: The Barbarian Queen wages wars from her blood-soaked throne, demanding always that she be surrounded by men, and men only.


Ava’s bondmate Avery was killed by the Barbarian Queen. The people of Kaya die in pairs. With the forging of the soul magic, so is forged an unbreakable bond between those in love. When one dies, so shall the other, and forever will it remain so … But Ava survives even though she should have died. Now, a miserable despaired half-soul she doesn’t feel anymore, doesn’t have a taste, can’t smile or laugh or feel pleasure. Her family and friends look at her with mistrust. The only thing that that remains for her is vengeance. Execute vengeance upon the Barbarian Queen – the one that murdered her mate.

She’s captured by the younger Prince of Pirenti. On the way to a prison on a remote island, he falls in love with his captive. And by doing so, he starts to help her heal.

The water was icy cold – knives-all-over-my-body-cold. I surfaced amidst the shock, my heart and soul wide open to the vastness of the sea I’d just entered, and turned to see Avery smile at me. And as I looked at the naked beauty of the expression, I fell in love. It was that simple, that complicated.

I cried a river over this book. All the characters in the story handle love, loss and an endless ocean of grief in such a realistic, emotional way. And the author has a way of making me care, of not only telling me that Ava is sad, but making me feel her longing for her mate, her confusion at realizing that she started to care for another, her shame at having betrayed her dead mate by laughing again.

Alone in my room, I curled into a ball and cried.
If you were here I’d run my tongue along your skin and taste you, and I’d say I’m sorry for the piece of life I remembered without you, and how for a moment upstairs I forgot the shape of your hand against my back and the look on your face when you ate something you liked. I’d tell you how hopeless I feel, how very sad. I’d kiss you, because I never kissed you enough. I never had enough of you at all. I never got the years we spoke of, the life we planned. I never had the children we were supposed to, the family you promised me. I never got enough of your laughter.


All the journeys depicted in this book are so excruciating and hopeful at the same time. It’s not only Ava who has to let go of her longing for a dead mate, her wish for vengeance and start living and loving again. It’s also Thorne and his wife Roselyn. It’s also Ambrose who loves Ava so fierce, to oblivion and back:

I let my fingers trace her lips, all the delicate, soft lines of them. I wanted to keep touching them for every second of the rest of my life. I wanted to kiss them until they bled, until neither of us could breathe. I wanted a life that was not my own, one I’d never be entitled to because I came from a damaged, violent country.
It hit me then – who was I to love a creature like this? I didn’t deserve her, and there was no lifetime in which I ever could. She loved a man I now remembered – a men with black hair, who had stood straight at his death and died for his country. A man who had known the line between right and wrong. And here I sat, a complicated mess of compromised beliefs and stretched morals. All I had left, all I possessed, was this one stupid truth.
“I love you as a women. I see you as you are, Ave – broken into pieces and suffocating – and I love all the pieces of you, no matter how small they’ve shattered, nor how far they’ve been scattered.”


I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Charlotte McConaghy has created a vibrant magical world full of emotions, fleshed out characters, kick-ass action and a bittersweet love story.

Broken Worlds

Broken Worlds - Anitha Robinson Sooooo, this will be a short review.

This book is like one of those utterly surreal and bizarre B-Horror movies with a very high ranking at Rotten Tomatoes, but one that you simply have to watch to the end. It has quite an interesting and fast-moving plot, plot-twists that you don’t see coming a mile away and it keeps you persistently interested into the story. At least, it kept me glued to my kindle with a constant what-the-fuck-question-mark on my face. Until it was revealed I really couldn’t decide what to think of Ellis, Fallon and Maragaret. Those three are really weird and they creeped me the hell out.

But would this book be a movie you would have those seriously lousy actors with even worst dialogues that make you laugh out loud in the most inappropriate scenes because they are simply so bad. The romance felt so superimposed like someone took what he felt were appropriate lines out of another young adult book and transferred it here without integrating it into the story. It just didn’t feel right to me. There is also the fact that Kalli our MC is a seventeen year old girl, humourless, somehow obstinate and really without any intersting spark.

The book could improve a lot with editing out the romance part and some of the 101 dialogue but it is at least not boring. Did I like it? I honestly don't know. But because this book majorly messed with my head with its outlandish mojo and kept me engrossed I will give it 3 stars.

With thanks to netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book.

Dorn: Roman

Dorn - Thilo Corzilius Habe das heute in der Buchhandlung gesehen, aber konnte mich nicht wirklich entscheiden. Klingt eher wie ein Eragon Abklatsch, und das war ja eigentlich auch nur ein Abklatsch von Herr der Ringe minus Frodo.

Würde mich freuen wenn jemand mir sagen könnte wie sich das liest. Denke ich werde mir das vll aus der Buchhandlung ausleihen.

Raphael (Vampires in America, #1)

Raphael (Vampires in America, #1) - D.B. Reynolds Raphael … Now this is exactly how you characterize a Vampire Lord

I can’t believe I’ve missed this book until now. If it weren’t for one of my friends’ status updates I would have missed out on one of the best urban fantasy series there is. Seriously, this was fucking amazing and exactly how I want my paranormal romance to be written: Dark, intense, with a vampire lord who doesn’t melt on the spot because he is a whiney human at heart.

His nostrils flared and anger surged unchecked for the first time since Duncan had told him of the abduction. His power spilled out, expanding to fill the echoing hallway and beyond, spreading dread before him in an unseen wave. Vampires fell to their knees, to their faces, to grovel in the wake of his rage. Human servants, hidden behind doors, cried out in fear, their wails drenching the air with terror.


What I loved most about this book apart from Raphael’s character was the setup of the romance, if you can call it that. Because really romantic it is not. There is a lot of intense hunger and desire, but they don’t act on it instantly but when they do, oh my … they have sex in the middle of a fire fight in a warehouse and they literally rip their bloody clothes off. I couldn’t decide if I was amazed or creeped out or turned on.... Damn this book is magnificent. And then there is this unbelievably sweet passage

He gazed down at her, nearly undone by the trust she gave him. “Would it be so terrible, sweet Cyn?” he whispered. “To spend eternity at my side?” But she was too far gone in sleep, and Raphael didn’t know if he wanted to hear her answer anyway.

So why when this was that amazing, why would I give it only 4 stars? Because 80% into the story all this awesomeness went PUFF and our obstinate MC had to go through every cliché there is:

“When are we going after these guys?”
“You’re not,” he said in a flat, hard voice.




“Think again, my lord,” she said flatly. “This is my case and I intend to see it through. It may have escaped your notice, but I’ve got a few grudges against these guys myself.”
“It will be far too dangerous. We won’t be facing clumsy humans this time. If this is Puschkin’s nest, he will be expecting us, expecting me.”
“Yeah, well, news flash, bud. This clumsy human’s coming to the party. And I don’t need your fucking permission. You can take me with you or follow me there, but I’m coming along.”




What a shame the end of this book was, is all I can say.

Be with Me (Wait for You, #2)

Be with Me (Wait for You, #2) - J. Lynn,  Jennifer L. Armentrout This is how I expect New Adult to be: Fun, cute, sexy with a touch of first love drama / angst and some serious life problems strewn into the mix as well.

Now, I’ve bitched quite a lot about other New Adult books, but this one’s really nice. Ever been in a cozy French Café and bought yourself rooibos marzipans tee and a banana chocolate crêpe? This book would be the perfect fit to read in this moment. The romance is really cute and the sex scenes were smoking hot and not at all flowery. I liked it that both Jace and Tess aren’t “inhibited” in this area. :)

There are some secondary characters being setup for their very own book. And such a sweet pair, too. Calla, a 21-year old with a prominent scar on her face who has been through a lot in her life and swoon worthy Brandon Shriver, formerly deployed overseas and now a student in the college.

I just can’t write anything more about the story, without spoiling it but trust me, this one is really cute and well written and I just had fun reading.