Genre: Literary

Guest Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 29, 2016 by TG in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. SnyderReviewer: TG
Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study Series #4, Soulfinders #1
Also in this series: Night Study
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: February 24th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary, Literary, Romance
Pages: 416
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue.

Once, only her own life hung in the balance...

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands--and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job and his life are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret--or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is--while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous...

Okay so I want to start this off by saying that Poison Study is my favorite book of pretty much all time. So I was nervous going into Shadow Study. What if it ruins the first books for me? What if the characters suck?

They didn’t. This book didn’t do anything but make me love Poison Study even more. Now then, on to the review.

My main impression of this book was that it was setting up for the next one. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I almost felt like there was no true climax. But the conflicts in this story are definitely fresh and new, and the character development is worth the “to be continued….” Feeling.

Also Valek’s backstory. That’s all I have to say.

I’d give this a solid 4/5 for character development and writing, with points taken for the somewhat anticlimactic ending.

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Review: Anthology – a Wish, a Kiss, a Dream by Shiloh Walker, Mary Wine and Lora Leigh

Posted May 28, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Anthology – a Wish, a Kiss, a Dream by Shiloh Walker, Mary Wine and Lora LeighReviewer: Holly
A Wish, a Kiss, a Dream by Lora Leigh, Shiloh Walker, Mary Wine
Series: Cowboys and Captives,
Published by Ellora's Cave
Publication Date: 2005-08
Genres: Fiction, Anthologies (multiple authors), Erotica, General, Lesbian, Literary
Pages: 239
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

DJINN’S WISH: by Shiloh Walker

When Tamric chose to become Djinn, he never imagined that he would be trapped in service to a magical mirror for thousands of years, granting one wish to each woman who holds it.

Tam is ready to do anything to obtain his freedom when he meets the human who will make him burn with a hunger he had long ago forgotten and yearn for a love unlike any he has ever imagined.

For her he will give up his freedom, his dreams, his everything. Just to see her joy – before he disappears from her life forever.

PAYING UP: by Mary Wine

Christina Faulkner made a bet and now she owed him a kiss. If she’s lucky, he’s forgotten all about it. Shane Jacobs didn’t just want the bet paid. He wanted a whole lot more.

But once passion touches its targets, desire transforms simple contact into mesmerizing obsession.

And Christina is about to discover that Shane hasn’t forgotten her. In fact, he’s coming back to claim what is his. All of it.

COWBOY AND THE THIEF: by Lora Leigh

The owner of the ancient Irish Torque will always be an Irish lass. The wearer, the lover of her heart and soul.

It’s Angel Manning’s legacy and has sparked dreams of an unknown lover who would fill her nights with heat, her heart with joy.

But when her father sells the Torque to Jack Riley against her wishes, destiny and fate are put in motion. She’ll get it back if she has to steal it. But Jack catches her, and he’s not giving it up without a fight.

Sometimes when I’m in a reading funk, an anthology, short story or erotica will help me get out of it. With that in mind, I picked this one up the other day and really enjoyed it.

Cowboy & the Thief By Lora Leigh

The owner of the ancient Irish Torque will always be an Irish lass. The wearer, the lover of her heart and soul. It’s Angel Manning’s legacy and has sparked dreams of an unknown lover who would fill her nights with heat, her heart with joy.

But when her father sells the Torque to Jack Riley against her wishes, destiny and fate are put in motion. She’ll get it back if she has to steal it. But Jack catches her, and he’s not giving it up without a fight.

I’m not a huge fan of Lora Leigh. I’ve enjoyed some of her novels, but she isn’t an auto-buy for me and I’ve never felt the need to glom her. I did really enjoy this story, though.

Angel was a good heroine, tough and able to think for herself, without being stupid. She doesn’t take any crap from Jack and only stays with him because she wanted to. And she was honest with him right from the beginning, telling him she didn’t want to give him her heart, because he’d just break it.

Jack is one of Leigh’s typical alpha heroes – domineering, controlling and somewhat of a jackass. I have to admire his inventiveness in getting Angel to stay with him, and his prowess in the bedroom. I was less impressed with his constant denial of his feelings, but in the end he was redeemed for me when he admitted everything he’d done had been for Angel.

This is probably one of the better Lora Leigh stories I’ve ever read.

4.0 out of 5

Djinn’s Wish By Shiloh Walker

When Tamric chose to become Djinn, he never imagined that he would be trapped in service to a magickal mirror for thousands of years, granting one wish to each woman who holds it.

Tam is ready to do anything to obtain his freedom when he meets the human who will make him burn with a hunger he had long ago forgotten and yearn for a love unlike any he has ever imagined.

For her he will give up his freedom, his dreams, his everything. Just to see her joy—before he disappears from her life forever.

I’ve seen Shiloh Walker being reviewed on various blogs (almost always favorably), but this is the first I’ve read by her. I have several of her books TBR, but I haven’t been in the mood for a paranormal in ages, so I haven’t read any of them. I’m kind of sad about that now, however, because this was an excellent story and my favorite of the collection.

This was a beautifully touching love story. Tam has been a Djinn for centuries, and has become jaded and cynical about the human race. So when his mirror is given to Katlin Dixon, he doesn’t expect much more than he received from everyone else..she’ll make a wish, he’ll give her a kiss granting it, and then he’ll be sent on to the next person.

Kaitlin Dixon was is pretty cynical herself. Just after finding out her husband and best friend were having an affair, she was in a car accident and lost her eyesight. Three years later, she’s become a recluse and hardly leaves her apartment. Since she can’t see, she has no idea Tam is in the mirror, and therefore doesn’t know he can grant her a wish.

Tam sees this as the perfect opportunity to be set free. If the owner of his mirror gives it to him before making a wish, or wishes him free of it, he’ll be able set free and return to his land for all eternity. Since Kat doesn’t know he came from the mirror, he devises a plan to get her to give it to him: He’ll pretend to be her new next door neighbor and get her to gift the mirror to him.

But there’s a problem…the more he gets to know Kat, the more he wants her happiness. Even if it costs him his freedom.

Walker does an amazing job writing both Tam and Kat as believable characters who have both suffered from things that happened in their past. Kat was an especially interesting character. Watching her come out of her shell and discovering life was beautifully done.

I found their love story to be wonderfully well drawn. I was completely wrapped up in it. It’s not often that I can say this, but the story was perfect as it was. I can’t even say I wish it had been longer, because everything was so perfectly executed I didn’t feel that anything was missing at all. I never do this, but I’m going to give it a:

5 out of 5

It was that well done. I’ll be digging through my TBR pile for more Shiloh Walker novels ASAP.

Dream – Paying Up By Mary Wine

Christina Faulkner made a bet and now she owed him a kiss. If she’s lucky, he’s forgotten all about it. Shane Jacobs didn’t just want the bet paid. He wanted a whole lot more.

But once passion touches its targets, desire transforms simple contact into mesmerizing obsession.

And Christina is about to discover that Shane hasn’t forgotten her. In fact, he’s coming back to claim what is his. All of it.

This was my least favorite of the three. There’s a note on EC’s website that says this is the 3rd book in Wine’s Dream Series, but it can be read as a standalone. That’s a lie. I was just confused throughout the entire story. You know how you walk into a conversation halfway through and you stand there feeling like an idiot because you have no idea what’s going on? Yeah, that’s how I felt about this story.

Christina and Shane met during some previous book and apparently shared an attraction for one another. But Shane sent Christina home after she’d been shot four times and she hasn’t seen him in two months. Then all of a sudden he shows back up in her life and decides he wants to sleep with her. She tries to fight her attraction to him, but can’t and they end up in bed together.

I didn’t connect with either of these characters. Christina is trying to pick up the pieces of her life after being kidnapped and shot, but seems to just be floating in limbo, waiting for something to happen. She didn’t really inspire anything from me, one way or the other. Perhaps if I’d read the first two books in this series I’d feel differently, but as it stands she was just a “blah” character for me.

Shane mostly just annoyed me. He stayed away from Christina because he thought she’d be better off without him, but then all of a sudden, because his brother said Christina was sexy, he decides he wants to be with her? Ugh. Then he treats her like a child and talks to her like she’s an idiot. I wasn’t impressed.

There is a really adorable scene at the end, though, so I’m going to give this one a:

2.75 out of 5

I’m thinking my grade would probably be higher if I’d read the other books in the series. Then again, the hero just annoyed me, so maybe not.

Overall a pretty good anthology and one I’d recommend. Especially the Shiloh Walker and Lora Leigh installments.

Total Grade: 4.0 out of 5

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Review: Letters from Pemberley: The First Year by Jane Dawkins

Posted August 1, 2007 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Letters from Pemberley: The First Year by Jane DawkinsReviewer: Holly
Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins
Published by Sourcebooks
Publication Date: May 1st 2007
Genres: Fiction, General, Literary
Pages: 224
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

In this continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, one of the best-loved novels in the English language, Elizabeth Bennet finds herself in a very different league of wealth and privilege, now as Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy and mistress of Pemberley.

Writing to her sister, Jane, she confides her uncertainty and anxieties, and describes the everyday of her new life. Her first year at Pemberley is sometimes bewildering, but Lizzy's spirited sense of humor and satirical eye never desert her.

Incorporating Jane Austen's own words and characters from her other works, the book is a literary patchwork quilt piecing together the story of Lizzy's first eventful year as Mrs. Darcy.

I love Jane Austen in general and Pride and Prejudice in particular, so when I realized this was a continuation of Lizzy and Mr. Darcy’s lives together, I jumped on the chance to read it.

Letters from Pemberley follows Elizabeth Darcy’s first year at Pemberley after her marriage to Mr. Darcy in the form of 25 letters sent to her sister Jane. Elizabeth describes daily life at Pemberley, and the goings on in and around the surrounding area.

While I enjoyed spending time with one of my favorite characters again, I was somewhat disappointed with Ms. Dawkins’ characterization of Elizabeth. Although it’s been some time since I read the original P/P, I’m surprised at how different Lizzy seemed. Somewhat subdued and doubting her own self-confidence.

I don’t feel like I gained any additional knowledge of Mr. Darcy’s character, either. He was mentioned, obviously, but mostly in abstract terms. I think if Ms. Dawkins had included return letters from Jane and/or perhaps Lydia, this may have been a more rounded sequel.

That’s not to say, however, that I didn’t enjoy it. Ms. Dawkins very cleverly introduced us to characters from other Austen novels, disguised by name change only. I think her writing, although not Austen herself – as no one could be – came as close to an Austen work as possible. I was entertained and very glad to catch a glimpse of life at Pemberley.

Naturally true fans of Austen are going to be disappointed somewhat – I feel that’s inevitable when the novel in question is written by anyone but the original author – but I would still recommend this as a way to once again visit the characters we so came to love in Pride and Prejudice.

Overall it was a quick, light read, entertaining and enjoyable, if not quite Austen herself.

3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,