Tag: Roc

Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Posted April 17, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Written in Red by Anne BishopReviewer: Holly
Written in Red (The Others, #1) by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #1
Published by Roc
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 487
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities - vampires and shape-shifters among them - who rule the earth and whose prey are humans.

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut - a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg's Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard - a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter SImon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she's keeping a secret, and second, she doesn't smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg a job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she's wanted by the government, he'll have to decide whether she's worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

Meg Corbyn is cassandra sangue, a blood prophet, who can speak prophecy when her skin is cut. Because the blood prophets become addicted to the euphoria that veils their mind when they speak prophecy, many years ago it was decided benevolent ownership of them when be given to caretakers “for their own protection”. The majority of whom then used them for profit. For 24 years Meg has lived in such a compound, being used and abused by her owners, taught only what she needed to know to speak prophecy. Until she becomes desperate and escapes. She ends up in Lakeside at a Terra Indigene (The Others) Courtyard. The Others are Earth Natives who rule the continent of Thaisia. They allow humans to lease the land from them, but they have Courtyards in each major city so The Others can keep an eye on what the humans are doing.

Simon Wolfgard is an “Other”, a Terra Indigene (Earth Native), who can shift into the shape of the wolf. He’s the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard. To The Others, humans are just clever meat. Meg is a human, but she doesn’t smell like prey. This intrigues him enough that he hires her to be their Human Liaison. He knows she’s keeping secrets and lying to him, but it isn’t long before she’s won the hearts of all the residents of the Courtyard, including his. When her secrets come to light he’ll have to decide if she’s worth possibly going to war to protect.

Equal parts humor, intrigue and horror, Written in Red sucked me in from page one. The world-building in the first few chapters was somewhat dense, but Meg’s interactions with The Others and her struggle to settle in to life outside the Compound kept me glued to the pages. From there things only got better. Simon’s struggle to pin down why he reacted differently to Meg who smelled like not-prey; His nephew Sam and the emotional trauma he suffered after the death of his mother; Meg befriending everyone in the Courtyard, most of them in spite of themselves; The Elementals (who control the weather) and their Steeds…all of this, and more, pulled me in. I was fully immersed in the Courtyard and the lives of those who inhabit it. Bishop tackles heavy issues like racism and abuse, yet does it so expertly I didn’t feel preached to – or at.

I immediately picked up the second book in series.

4.25 out of 5

The Others

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott

Posted April 28, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Shattered Court by M.J. ScottReviewer: Tracy
The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott
Series: Novel of the Four Arts #1
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 28th 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Entangled in a court ruled by tradition and intrigue, a young witch must come to terms with newfound power and desire—and a choice between loyalty and survival.…

The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.

Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.

Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power.…

Tracy’s review of The Shattered Court (Novel of the Four Arts #1) by M.J. Scott

Lady Sophia Kendall is a lady-in-waiting to the princess of Anglion, Eloisa. She is about to turn 21 years old. This is the time in a woman’s life when she comes into her power, if she has any. The amount of power she has will determine who she marries.

When Sophie and one of the princess’s guards, Cameron Mackenzie, are off getting supplies for the princess the royal palace is bombed and Cameron does his best – going through portal after portal – to get Sophie to safety. This puts them together on the morning of Sophie’s 21st birthday and she ends up coming into quite a bit of power. The power overwhelms them and they end up having sex. This sets off a chain of events that has everyone in an uproar and finds the two of them married. No one is happy with Sophie and there’s even one Noble who Cameron trusts that says that Sophie may be in danger because of her power.

The court is in an uproar as the King is dead and now Eloisa is Queen.  No one knows who was responsible for the many deaths in the palace and it has everyone on edge.  Sophie doesn’t know who to trust and the woman from the temple seems to be influencing Eloisa more and more.  She’s also treating Sophie like dirt and Sophie can’t figure out why or how to stop it.  It seems like there are more and more secrets that Sophie is discovering every day and the more she finds out the more confused she is about what is right and wrong.

This was a good start to what seems like it might be an interesting series. I found the characters to be likeable and the writing in the story was very readable. At first I found it a bit odd to mix the fantasy aspect of the story with the setting, which seemed to be more historical in nature, along with a very contemporary way of speaking but it all worked in the end.

There was enough suspense, intrigue and romance to keep me reading, even when it got a bit slow in the middle of the book. By the end I definitely wanted to know more about what would happen. It wasn’t left on a cliffhanger, per say, but the book definitely had no conclusion to it which might bother a few people.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

This title is available from Roc. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Agave Kiss by Ann Aguirre

Posted May 29, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Genres: Urban Fantasy

Tracy’s review of Agave Kiss (Corine Solomon series #5) by Ann Aguirre

Warning: This will contain spoilers from book 4

Chance was gone; he’d sacrificed himself so Shannon and I could escape Sheol. We’d raised him on Shan’s spirit radio, which meant his soul wasn’t wholly destroyed by the demon gate….

Once Corine Solomon only had the touch—the ability to read an object’s past by handling it. Then she inherited her mother’s magick, and that ended up being a hell of a burden. But if Corine can wrestle a demon queen and win, she can bring back her lover Chance after he’s made the ultimate sacrifice. Can’t she? All Corine knows is that she can’t leave Chance behind if there’s anything she can do about it.

But the clock is ticking—and she still has to deal with debt-collecting demons and a maniacal archangel who’s running a recruitment drive. The stakes have never been so high…and this time it’s truly Corine’s last chance to save the love of her life.

Corine is a shadow of her former self. She’s devastated by the loss of Chance and isn’t sure how she’s going to get home as Sheol spit her out in jolly ole England. She’s a numb woman when she gets a phone call from her friend Ian Booke telling her that he needs help and he needs her to come to England. He’s a bit surprised to hear she’s already there but not as surprised as Corine is when she drives up to his cottage and it’s nothing but a shack. When she walks in with Shannon she’s even more surprised to find out he’s a very old man who has been cursed to live in his cottage for many years. He wants Corine to break the curse somehow and let him die as he becomes weaker every day. Corine gets help from her friend Kelethiel and he breaks the curse which makes Booke age at an alarming rate (he looks about 60 but is actually about 102 or so). Corine manages to get him to America as he wants to see Chuch and Eva before he dies.

When they get to America Chuch talks Booke into looking into getting his youth back and when they have a party to celebrate his curse-breaking they are visited by Luren who are working for Sibella who wants Corine in return for the bargain she feels that Corine broke in Sheol. On top of that Kel’s boss, Barachiel wants Corine to work for him to become a figurehead in his war but Corine’s pretty sure that Barachiel isn’t an archangel – but a demon. On top of THAT she gets visited by Chance in a dream and he tells her that there’s a chance that he can come back to her but his father, who is a God, is trying to talk him into become the God of wealth.

Corine has lots of stuff on her plate, including finding out that she’s going to be a mother. She wants to solve everyone’s problems and she’s feeling bad that she’s constantly “using” her friends but they’re there to help her. She has to figure out how to save Kel, get the Luren off her back and get Chance back but in the end just wants to live a normal life with the love of her life.

This was a great ending in a wonderful series. In this story Corine’s insecurities came out in droves but I thought they were all pretty justified in the end. Yes, she did go overboard a bit with the “using” of her friends when in actuality they just wanted to help her any way they could, but even that seemed par for the course with the way her life was going.

I really liked the wrap up of all the different parts of Corine’s life that we’d been reading about all this time. Kel was a wonderful character and I was sad to see him when he realized that he wasn’t working for God but for a demon. He was really a kind soul and part in this story was a bit heart wrenching for me as I’ve liked him so much in previous books.

We get resolution between Shannon, Jesse and Corine and with Booke added into the mix I thought it was well done. Chance, while he played a huge role in the overall story of the book played a very small role on page. the parts he was in though were great. He has changed so very much over the course of the series and I loved seeing him finally admit to all of his feelings for Corine.
A great series comes to an end – if you haven’t read the books I would definitely recommend them – but I’m sure we’ll get more great books from Aguirre in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Series:
Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon NovelHell Fire (Corine Solomon, Book 2)Shady Lady: A Corine Solomon NovelBook Cover

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from Roc. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


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Guest Review: Right Hand Magic: A Novel of Golgotham by Nancy A Collins

Posted April 30, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Genres: Urban Fantasy

Mary’s review of Right Hand Magic: A Novel of Golgotham by Nancy A. Collins

Like most Manhattanites, aspiring artist Tate can’t resist a good rental deal-even if it’s in the city’s strangest neighborhood, Golgotham, where for centuries werewolves, centaurs, and countless other creatures have roamed the streets.

Her new landlord is a sorcerer name Hexe, who is determined to build his reputation without using dark, left-hand magic. As Tate is drawn into Hexe’s fascinating world, they both find that the right hand does not always know what the left hand is doing-and avoiding darkness is no easy trick…

Tate, “Just call me Tate”, needs a change of scenery after a bad break up and too many noise complaints from her neighbors. She needs something she can afford on the monthly allowance she gets from her trust fund while still purchasing the expensive supplies for her metal-working. So she braves Golgotham and winds up renting a room from hot landlord Hexe. While she feels instant attraction to him, she’s too caught up in learning her way around this odd part of the city and trying to get settled. But there’s something there—a little spark perhaps.

Collins is an absolute expert at building worlds (one of the reasons I was excited about this book), and the world of Golgotham is no exception. I loved the hansom cabs pulled by centaurs, the Irish pub filled with Leprechauns, and the motorcycle club composed of Amazons and Valkyries. The way the magic was used in this world was fascinating: right hand magic was good, “white” magic, left hand magic was bad, “black” magic, and then there were the “jugglers” who used a little of both.

While the world building was amazing, the plot didn’t live up to my expectations. Sure there was an underground animal-shapeshifter fight club; a big, bad mafia boss; and racism on both sides of the Gate that divides New York from Golgotham but it kind of fell flat for me due a combination of little things. For example, the descriptions and action scenes could be a bit repetitive. And the action, which did build to an exciting climax, had several long lulls that could have been spiced up a bit.

The chemistry between Tate and Hexe wasn’t very apparent at the beginning, except for her thinking he was cute. But I liked the way it developed. Many times, in paranormals or fantasies, the hero and heroine have an instant attraction or are soul mates (not that I’m complaining; I like those, too!). In RIGHT HAND MAGIC, however, the chemistry evolved a bit more realistically. She liked him, he did sweet things for her and for others, they talked, they revealed secrets, they kissed. It was nice. Plus, this was the first book in a new series so it really was just the beginning of their relationship. I’m thinking the heat index will turn up in the next books.

While this wasn’t a homerun for me, I will definitely be picking up the other books in the series to see what happens between Tate and Hexe and to see what happens next in Golgotham.

Rating: 3.0/5.0

This book is available from Roc Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Guest Review: Unseen by Rachel Caine

Posted April 19, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Unseen (Outcast Season, Book 3)Mary‘s review of Unseen (Outcast Season #3) by Rachel Caine

After Cassiel and Warden Luis Rocha rescue an adept child from a maniacal Djinn, they realize two things: the girl is already manifesting an incredible amount of power, and her kidnapping was not an isolated incident.

This Djinn-aided by her devoted followers-is capturing children all over the world, and indoctrinating them so she can use their strength for herself. With no other options, Cassiel infiltrates the Djinn’s organization-because if Cassiel cannot stop the Djinn’s apocalyptic designs, all of humanity may be destroyed.

I have to admit, I go all fangirl when a new Rachel Caine arrives in my mailbox and Unseen is no exception. Set in the same world as the Weather Warden novels (another rockin’ series, if you’re into urban fantasy), Unseen is the third in the series featuring the ex-Djinn, Cassiel, and her human Warden, Luis. (Since this is the third in the series, there are some spoilers if you haven’t read the prior novels.)

Cassiel is growing more comfortable in her human skin, experiencing emotions on a level she never felt as a Djinn, and actually growing to love the humans she’s surrounded by. She’s not entirely sure she likes this new compassion. It makes her vulnerable in ways she never was when she was a Djinn. This includes caring for and loving humans like little Ibby and, of course, Luis. However, she never loses her practicality and willingness to do what’s necessary, no matter what the consequences might be (oh, and there are some serious consequences).

Speaking of that hot Weather Warden Luis, things are moving along quite swimmingly between Cass and Luis. As in, they’re finally getting a piece of each other (ooh, and what a nice shower scene that was!). Oh, thank all that is good—the sexual tension between the two of them was about to kill me! Except, despite the ongoing tension and their every-growing feelings for each other, Luis’s first priority is his niece, Ibby, and protecting her from the psychotic Djinn Pearl, and Cass’s priority is stopping Pearl without offing all of humanity. While that seems like that would go hand-in-hand, it doesn’t. Those crazy kids. I have faith they’ll work it out, especially considering they really do care for one another and, despite their differences, they just have such a fantastic connection.

Added into the mix are Djinn from Cass’s past: Rashid and Ashan. Rashid has always fascinated me, popping in unexpectedly, interfering in Cass’s now-human life, and lending aid when least expected but most needed. Then disappearing. And then there’s Ashan. If you’ve read any of the Weather Warden series, you’re familiar with Ashan and his distain for human-kind. He’s perfectly comfortable ordering Cassiel to wipe out the human race in order to stop Pearl and then turning Cass into a human as punishment when she refuses. So, when he pops up back on her radar, she’s somewhat unsure how to deal with him, especially with all those new-to-her human emotions roiling around in her brain. I have the feeling we’ll be seeing more of him in the very near future.

Rachel Caine seems to take inordinate pleasure in torturing her characters. She takes the writers’ maxim of making characters’ lives miserable to a higher level. I’m awed—and a little scared—every time I pick up a book to find out what torture is in store for the characters. Cassiel gets dumped on hard core. Characters die right and left (Just a little warning—don’t get attached to anyone new. Most of them don’t make it very long in the Outcast world.). Ibby grows up way too fast and is forced to make decisions no one under seven should ever have to make. Unseen is a super-fast, tension-filled story that will have you reading late into the night.

Rating: 4.75/5.0

Undone (Outcast Season, Book 1)Unknown (Outcast Season, Book 2)Unseen: Outcast Season: Book Three 

This book is available from Roc. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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