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May 9, 2010

Bewitched & Betrayed (Raine Benares Book 04) by Lisa Shearin

Filed under: Reviews-Urban Fantasy — Suramya @ 4:42 PM

Bewitched & Betrayed (Raine Benares Book 04)
by Lisa Shearin


My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. I find lost things and missing people ‘ usually alive. Finding the specters of six evil mages who escaped the Saghred, a soul-eating stone of unlimited power, was easy. Stopping them before they unleash Hell on earth just may be the death of me.

Being bonded to the Saghred wasn’t my idea ‘ neither is hunting down its escapees. Especially not when one of them is also hunting me. He’s regenerating his body by taking the lives of powerful victims, along with their memories, knowledge, and most important of all, their magic. The dark mage wants control of the Saghred, and if he gets it, he’ll become an evil demigod whom no one can stop. The only thing in his way is me.

One of us doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

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Review:In the 4th book of the Raine Benares series Raine is searching for the six souls of evil mages that had escaped from the the Saghred, (a soul-eating stone) in the previous book in the series.

The plot in the book is quite fast paced and it is a different take on a world with Elves and Goblins. Usually most of the books that feature Elves portray them as a long lived peaceful race and Goblins as an evil race. In this case both races are shown to have their plus points and their negative points.

The humor in the book is mostly dry and slightly sarcastic which is why I loved it. The characters are well defined and the back story is given to as as the current book goes along so you don’t spend three chapters learning what happened in the previous books but also gave enough information that the reader doesn’t need to refer to the previous books for information.

Final Recommendation: A good read.

May 8, 2010

Barely Bewitched (Southern Witch Book 02) by Kimberly Frost

Filed under: Reviews-Paranormal,Reviews-Romance — Suramya @ 4:40 PM

Barely Bewitched (Southern Witch Book 02)
by Kimberly Frost


Welcome to Duvall, Texas, where new witch Tammy Jo Trask has just unleashed an accidental Armageddon-Oops.

Tammy Jo-s misfiring magic has attracted the unwanted attention of WAM, the World Association of Magic. Now, a wand-wielding wizard and a menacing fire warlock have come to Duvall to train her for a dangerous mandatory challenge. But is there more to their arrival than they claim?

When a curse leads to a toxic spill of pixie dust, the town comes unglued and the doors between the human and faery worlds begin to open. To rescue the town and to face the impossible magical test, Tammy needs the help of incredibly handsome Bryn Lyons, but WAM has declared him totally off-limits. To avoid deadly consequences, Tammy probably ought to follow the rules this time.

On the other hand, rebellion is an old Texas tradition.

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Review:The second book in the series picks up right after the first one ends. By now Tammy’s misfiring magic has brought her to the attention of the World Association of Magic and she has to pass a certain test before she can continue with her life. However if she doesn’t pass the test she will be executed so the incentive to pass if quite high.

To train her for the test two new characters (Incendio and Jordan) come into town but Incendio and Tammy develop an immediate dislike towards each other and a spell that would curse the person who spoke a lie in the meeting is released by Tammy.

While under the influence of the curse she dumps a box of pixie dust on the town making the people in it crazy. Now she has till Halloween to fix everything or the gates between the world would open destroying the world.

This book further expands the characters introduced to us in the last volume and has the same quirky sense of humor as the rest. Zach’s character is a lot more sensible this time and doesn’t make you wish he wasn’t there in the book. On the other hand Incendio’s character makes absolutely no sense at all and seems to have been put there just to make Tammy’s life harder. We are given no logical explanations for his actions or the destruction he creates.

The book sort of explains why Tammy’s magic doesn’t work reliably but I think the explanation is not quite complete and future books will explain things a bit more.

Final Recommendation: Even with all the drawbacks mentioned above the book was a good read.

May 7, 2010

Would-Be Witch (Southern Witch Book 01) by Kimberly Frost

Filed under: Reviews-Paranormal,Reviews-Romance — Suramya @ 4:37 PM

Would-Be Witch (Southern Witch Book 01)
by Kimberly Frost


The family magic seems to have skipped over Tammy Jo Trask. All she gets are a few untimely visits from long-dead, smart-mouthed family ghost Edie. But when her locket – an heirloom that happens to hold Edie’s soul – is stolen in the midst of a town-wide crime spree, it’s time for Tammy to find her inner witch.

After a few experiences with her dysfunctional magic, Tammy turns to the only person in small-town Duval, Texas, who can help: the very rich and highly magical Bryn Lyons. He might have all the answers – and a 007 savoir faire to boot – but the locket isn’t the only heirloom passed down in Tammy’s family. She also inherited a warning: stay away from Lyons.

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Review:Would-Be Witch is the debut novel by Kimberly Frost and takes us to Duval a small town in Texas and introduces us to Tammy Jo Trask.

Tammy is from a family of witches but magic seems to have skipped her for some reason and she is perfectly happy with that. She rather bake or cook than learn how to practice her witchcraft.

When her locket – an heirloom that holds Edie’s soul (the family ghost) is stolen she decides to try using magic to find it, unfortunately for her the results are varied but none of them lead her to the locket. So she turns to Bryn Lyons for help even though she is supposed to stay away from him.

While she is trying to find the locket a group of were-wolves has decided to kill her and Lyons. They try a variety of solutions before finding a fix.

The book was a very fun read, light hearted without becoming annoying. The main character Tammy is portrayed quite nicely and even though she is a bit ditzy and not all her decisions are logical I still ended up liking the character. The other support cast was also quite detailed and well crafted out. Though I didn’t much care for the love triangle between Tammy, Lyons and Tammy’s Ex husband (Zach).

In fact Zach was one character in the book I could have done without. The fact that Tammy kept coming back to him even after he acts like as ass was something that made no logical sense to me.

Other than that I loved the book, the plot wasn’t too deep but was still fun to read.

Final Recommendation: A fun read.

May 6, 2010

Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin Book 02) by Jennifer Estep

Filed under: Reviews-Paranormal,Reviews-Urban Fantasy — Suramya @ 4:35 PM

Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin Book 02)
by Jennifer Estep


Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon.

I’m Gin Blanco.

You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I’m retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren’t aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I’m a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn’t made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.

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Review:In this second book in the Elemental Assassin series, Gin aka Spider has retired from the Assassin business to honor her mentor’s final wish. But trouble has a way of finding her and she gets pulled back into the game thanks to her curiosity and sense of honor.

The book gives us a bit more background on Gin and how she got into the Assassin business. As in the last book the background info is given to us in glimpses with not a lot of details. This gives the character a bit of mystery but not so much as to make it annoying.

The series has a different take from the normal elemental magic books and gives us a different view of the action from the viewpoint of an assassin. I guess you can classify Spider as a dark heroine and she is not in it for money or kicks, she just wants to survive at any cost.

Even though the book is self contained it sets the stage for the next book in the series and I can’t wait to read it.

Final Recommendation: A great read

May 5, 2010

Changeless (Parasol Protectorate Book 02) by Gail Carriger

Filed under: Reviews-Fantasy — Suramya @ 4:31 PM

Changeless (Parasol Protectorate Book 02)
by Gail Carriger


Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears – leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.

But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can.

She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

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Review:In the second book in the Parasol Protectorate the ‘Soulless’ Alexia Maccon, Lady Woolsey is investigating the cause of all the supernatural people in an area becoming human and follows her husband to Scotland while trying to solve the case.

The book is written in a decidedly cheeky fashion with Alexia using her wit, biting civility and her trusty parasol to get answers. I loved the main character who in-spite of being a woman in the 1800’s is a person with brains and has a surprising lack of the ability to have vapors.

The book was quite fast paced and the plot was streamlined so at no point in the book did I get distracted or wanted to stop.

Though Alexia’s sister was a character that I could have done without as she apparently was only there to annoy her sister and keep making idiotic snippy comments.

Final recommendation: A great read

May 4, 2010

The Trade of Queens (Merchant Princes Book 06) by Charles Stross

Filed under: Reviews-Science Fiction — Suramya @ 4:27 PM

The Trade of Queens (Merchant Princes Book 06)
by Charles Stross


A dissident faction of the Clan, the alternate universe group of families that has traded covertly with our world for a century or more, has carried nuclear devices between the worlds and exploded them in Washington, DC, killing the President of the United States. Now they will exterminate the rest of the Clan and keep Miriam alive only long enough to bear her child, the heir to the throne of their land in the Gruinmarkt world. Mike Fleming, late of US intelligence, has just survived an attack on his life in Massachusetts and knows the worst and deepest secret: behind the horrifying plot is a faction of the US government itself, preparing for a political takeover in the aftermath of terrifying disaster. There is no safe place except, perhaps, in the third alternate world, New Britain – which has just had a revolution and a nuclear incident of its own.

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Review:Trade of Queens is the 6th book in the Merchant Princes series and concludes the current story line. By this time Nuclear bombs have been deployed in the US and the President along with most of the cabinet and senate are casualties, while on Gruinmarkt the clan is in the middle of a brutal civil war and a nuke has been deployed at the king’s palace. This is situation from where the ‘Trade of Queens’ starts from and expands.

As expected by now the characters in the book are quite well defined and the author uses the fog of war expertly to further the story line along with a couple of unexpected twists in the plot.

The book has a lot of different minor storylines going on in parallel and sometimes it took a few paragraphs to figure out what story line was being developed at that particular point in time. But it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, the different naming conventions in each of the three worlds made it easier to identify the players and when it wasn’t clear which side a character was on the author usually found a way to clarify that quite soon.

If you have been following the series then you will realize that the books in the series have gotten a lot grittier than the earlier books. Which in itself is not a bad thing but I personally enjoyed the lighter tone of the earlier books more.

One thing I noticed was that even though the author has stated that this is the last book in this storyline there are a lot of plot lines which have been left unresolved. I personally think that Stross will be writing additional novels in this universe but from a different point of view with new central characters. If he doesn’t do this then I would be disappointed because there is an amazing scope for new books in this universe.

Final Recommendation: A good read.

May 3, 2010

The Krillitane Storm (Doctor Who: New Series Book 036) by Christopher Cooper

Filed under: Reviews-Science Fiction — Suramya @ 4:26 PM

The Krillitane Storm (Doctor Who: New Series Book 036)
by Christopher Cooper


When the TARDIS materialises in medieval Worcester, the Doctor finds the city seemingly deserted. He soon discovers its population are living in a state of terror, afraid to leave their homes after dark, for fear of meeting their doom at the hands of the legendary Devil’s Huntsman.

For months, people have been disappearing, and the Sheriff has imposed a strict curfew across the city, his militia maintaining control over the superstitious populace with a firm hand, closing the city to outsiders. Is it fear of attack from beyond the city walls that drives him or the threat closer to home? Or does the Sheriff have something to hide?

After a terrifying encounter with a deadly Krillitane, the Doctor realises the city has good reason to be scared.

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Review:The Krillitane Storm is the last book featuring the 10th Doctor from BBC Books. He is still traveling alone and has landed in medieval Worcester where he finds the local population terrified of the Devil’s Huntsman. Soon after he lands he comes face to face with a Krillitane who has killed a human and the story continues from there.

The plot was quite fast paced with no major plot holes or forced contrivances used to further the storyline.

Since this is about 800 years before his previous encounter with the Krillitane they haven’t fully integrated their latest change into their system yet. This the the point in time where they decide to focus their genetic scavenging to perfect their bodies and become gods.

It had a few plot twists along the way which I didn’t quite expect and they didn’t spoil the book either.

Final Recommendation: A good read

May 2, 2010

Autonomy (Doctor Who: New Series Book 035) by Daniel Blythe

Filed under: Reviews-Science Fiction — Suramya @ 4:20 PM

Autonomy (Doctor Who: New Series Book 035)
by Daniel Blythe


Hyperville is 2013’s top hi-tech, 24-hour entertainment complex – a sprawling palace of fun under one massive roof. You can go shopping, or experience the excitement of Doomcastle, Winterland, or Wild West World. But things are about to get a lot more exciting – and dangerous! What unspeakable horror is lurking on Level Zero of Hyperville? And what will happen when the entire complex goes over to Central Computer Control?

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Review:Autonomy is the 35th Book in the New Doctor series which is basically Doctor Who from 2005 onwards. It features the 10th Doctor played by David Tennant.

The Doctor lands on earth in 2013 and finds himself in Hyperville a gigantic 24 hour entertainment complex which is being taken over by the Nestene Consciousness.

The plot of the book started off as pretty interesting but the story development was a bit shaky and a lot of the solutions to the problems used in the book were a bit too pat and felt contrived. Plus most of the characters were not very well developed and felt quite two dimensional.

This is one of the few Doctor Who books that I didn’t finish in one sitting. It took me three attempts to finish the book.

Final Recommendation: An OK book for when you don’t have anything else to read.

May 1, 2010

Storm Breaking (Valdemar: Mage Storms Book 03) by Mercedes Lackey

Filed under: Reviews-Fantasy — Suramya @ 4:18 PM

Storm Breaking (Valdemar: Mage Storms Book 03)
by Mercedes Lackey


Storm Breaking is the third book in the Mage Storm Trilogy.

As mysterious, magical onslaughts ravage Valdemar and the kingdoms of the West, the western allies have traveled far to locate the ruins of the Tower of Urtho, Mage of Silence, and excavate his legendary Vault, hidden stronghold of some of the most powerful magical weapons ever devised. They now know that the mage storms are an ‘echo’ through time of the prehistoric Cataclysm which permanently warped their world more than two thousand years ago. If they don’t find a way to stop these magical vibrations they will culminate in another Cataclysm- this time destroying their world for good.

But Urtho’s Vault is not the only thing buried below the Dorisha Plains, and camped in the ruins of what was once the workplace of the most ingenious mage their world has ever known, the desperate allies soon realize that their solution may lie beneath their feet. The saving of their world just might be accomplished by the work of a man who has been dead for millennia!

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Review:Storm Breaking is the Third and final book in the Mage Storms trilogy. Things are coming to head in this book with the Mage Storm slowly increasing in magnitude to the point that the temporary solution implemented in the previous book is no longer effective. Karal and the rest are still in Urtho’s tower trying to reach a solution while Elspeth and Darkwind are with Duke Tremane trying to solve the problem from that end.

This book gives us a lot broader view of the Eastern Empire and some of it residents who had been mere hints in the previous books. We learn a lot more about life in the empire and the way the storms affected it.

A few surprises were there when the nature of Iftel’s barrier is revealed and another piece of the puzzle drops into place showing us a broader image of what happened after the Mage wars.

The book was faster paced than the previous books in the trilogy and was more action than introspection. A minor thing that annoyed me and stood out was the way the Imperials used the term ’40 little Gods’ in the first book when referring to their Gods but in the second and third book they started using ‘100 little Gods’ . Not a major issue but something that should have been caught by the copy-editor and/or proof-reader.

Other than that the book was a great read.

Final Recommendation: A great read.

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