Suramya's Book Review Cafe

July 5, 2010

The Destined Queen (Umbria Book 03) by Deborah Hale

Filed under: Fantasy,Romance — Suramya Tomar @ 9:17 pm


The Destined Queen (Umbria Book 02)
by Deborah Hale

Description:

Can the Queen who has once done the impossible ever be free?

After awakening the “Waiting King” — the one destined to free her country from the long occupation of the Han — Maura Woodbury thinks her duty to her country completed. But Maura’s task has only just begun. Rath, once a notorious outlaw, has no magic, and thus no power to expel the invaders from their kingdom. Yet the people expect a miracle. And so Maura, still new to using life-magic, is their only hope . . .

Maura must journey into the unknown, searching for a magical staff — one that will grant the awakened king one grand wish. But separation from her consort breeds jealousies, devastating secrets and ties to an intimate enemy. Stricken by doubt, Maura and Rath are tempted to ignore the call of fate — but what will happen to the country if they do?

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Review:The waiting king has been found but he doesn’t seem to have any special powers or magical weapons. So how does a former outlaw and a wizard’s ward defeat an entire nation’s army?

This is the question Maura and Rath have to answer. Luckily for them they have help from an unexpected source. However they soon learn that nothing is easy even with magic assisting them. So Maura sets out to find a legendary magical staff while Rath battles the Han on the battlefield.

The characters and plots that we saw in the first book are further enhanced in the second book and a lot of things from the first book start making even more sense that they did in the first book.

The plot was a bit more complex than the first book but still relatively simple compared to some of the other fantasy novels out there in the market.

The characters are even better defined than the first book and the author really captures their hopes, desires and doubts in the book.

Final Recommendation: An excellent read

July 4, 2010

The Wizard’s Ward (Umbria Book 01) by Deborah Hale

Filed under: Fantasy,Romance — Suramya Tomar @ 9:14 pm


The Wizard’s Ward (Umbria Book 01)
by Deborah Hale

Description:

They were as different as night and day — an innocent sorceress and a notorious outlaw — but now all Maura and Rath have is each other. After Maura’s guardian, an old wizard named Langbard, is brutally murdered, the two are thrown together on a quest to find a legendary king and restore a conquered nation.

Umbria has long been under the yoke of the ruthless Han. So long, in fact, that many Umbrians have forgotten the Elderways — the magic, myths, and belief systems that once gave the country its strength. Langbard is one of the few who still remember the old ways, and he has diligently passed his wisdom on to his ward, a sheltered orphan named Maura. When Langbard informs her that she is the Destined Queen who must find and waken the Waiting King to overthrow the Han, she doesn’t accept her task — until Langbard is killed by Han death-mages.

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Review:What would you do if you were told that you were the legendary destined queen who would wake up the waiting king and free your people from the Han who have oppressed them for generations?

This the question that Maura had to answer when her guardian told her that she was the destined queen. Unfortunately for her he was killed soon after so the only person she could depend on was Rath, an outlaw who had promised to guide her to the person who would point her in the correct direction.

The plot is relatively simple and the obstacles that they both face sort of seem contrived at first but as you read along you realize that all of them have a deeper link to the story and each of them furthered the story in some way. Although the main ‘twist’ was something I had expected from pretty much the start, knowing it didn’t spoil the book.

The main strength of the book is the character development which was excellent. Some of the side characters could have been a bit more defined but the main characters were pretty well defined.

Final Recommendation: A great read

June 19, 2010

Skin Game (Skin Series Book 01) by Ava Gray

Filed under: Paranormal,Romance — Suramya Tomar @ 8:58 pm


Skin Game (Skin Series Book 01)
by Ava Gray

Description:

A beautiful fugitive’wanted dead or alive.

Kyra is a con woman and a particular kind of thief. She steals with a touch, but she only takes one thing: her target’s strongest skill. Which means she can be a fighter, an athlete, a musician, an artist’anything she wants’ for a limited time. Heartbroken, she turns her gift toward avenging her father’s murder; with deadly patience, Kyra works her way into casino owner Gerard Serrano’s inner circle. After pulling off the ultimate con, she flees with his money and his pride.

A hit man who never misses the mark.

Reyes has nothing but his work. Pity for Kyra, he’s the best and mercy never sways him once he takes a job. He’s been hired to find out where Kyra hid the cash’and bring her back to face Serrano’s ‘justice.’ Dead will do, if he can’t locate the loot. He’s never failed to complete a contract, but Kyra tempts him with her fierce heat and her outlaw heart. So Reyes has a hell of a choice: forsake his word or kill the woman he might love.

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Review:This is a book that I had tired to read before and for some reason couldn’t read more that a chapter at the time. When I started reading it again I thought that it would be the more of the same and would probably end up abandoning the book in the middle. But to my surprise I really enjoyed the book the second time around and finished it quite fast. I guess the first time I read the book I wasn’t in the mood for the kind of story this book had or something. I am just glad I reattempted to read the book.

The main character of the book is Kyra who has the ability to steal the strongest skill a person has by touching them skin to skin and she uses this ability to con people. The book starts off by introducing us to Kyra in the process of conning someone in a pool game. The plot was pretty simple but interesting and the way the characters interact with each other kept the book interesting.

One thing to keep in mind when suggesting this book to others, it has a lot of explicit sex scenes in it so don’t recommend it to someone who gets offended easily or is not old enough.

Final Recommendation: A good read. Will be getting the next book in the series.

June 5, 2010

Strange Neighbors by Ashlyn Chase

Filed under: Paranormal,Romance — Suramya Tomar @ 7:48 pm


Strange Neighbors
by Ashlyn Chase

Description:

When all-star pitcher and shape-shifter Jason Tanner buys a small apartment building, he sees it not only as an investment but as a place to escape the demands of major league baseball. That is, until he meets his tenants – a sarcastic unemployed crime-fighter vampire; a wereraven with a morbid sense of humor; a super-friendly salesman werewolf; and two witches with an owl who work as phone sex actresses. Not to mention a beautiful, all-too-human nurse. But with all the hooting, howling, and hollering going on, how’s an all-American shapeshifter supposed to sweep a girl off her feet?

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Review:This is the first book I have read by this author and it looks like it might be the first book in a series. So far I haven’t found any confirmation if thats the case but if it is then that would be great.

The book is based in an apartment building where each of the tenants have their secret and when Merry moves into the building she is the only one who is not a paranormal. Add in the sarcastic ghost of a murdered writer from the 60’s and you have the beginning of a great book.

Most of the characters in the book were great but I really didn’t like the character ‘Dottie’. I found her to be quite irritating and could have done without her in the book.

Other than that the book was a fun read.

Final Recommendation: A good read

May 23, 2010

The Demon in Me (Living in Eden Book 01) by Michelle Rowen

Filed under: Paranormal,Romance — Suramya Tomar @ 7:18 pm


The Demon in Me (Living in Eden Book 01)
by Michelle Rowen

Description:

Hell hath no fury like a woman possessed…

After her hunky police detective partner guns down a serial killer in front of her, “psychic consultant” Eden Riley realizes that she’s no longer alone. A voice in her head introduces himself as Darrak. He’s a demon. But not in a bad way. He was cursed 300 years ago and he wants to find a way to break free. Eden’s psychic energy helps him take form during daylight, and she’s going to have to learn to live with this sexy demon…like it or not.

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Review:I really liked this book which is the first book in a new series. Even the series name is a tongue in cheek reference to the fact that the demon is literally living inside Eden (the main character of the book)

The initial two chapters or so were a bit hurried and not a lot of details were provided initially when Eden faces off the serial killer but that was quite all right because all that did was set the stage for the remaining part of the book which is her dealing with a demon taking residence inside her body till death do them part…

Since it was the first book a lot of it is basically setting the stage for the sequels but at no point did it get to the point that I wanted to leave the book and wait for the sequel where the actual story would be progressed.

The characters were quite well written and even the secondary characters were defined enough that you got a feel of their personalities but not so much that you get bored.

Final Recommendation: A good read

May 22, 2010

Bound By Darkness (Soul Gatherer Book 02) by Annette McCleave

Filed under: Paranormal,Romance — Suramya Tomar @ 7:29 pm


Bound By Darkness (Soul Gatherer Book 02)
by Annette McCleave

Description:

Death’s warriors guard against demon soul thieves for one chance at redemption…Desire be damned.

Bound together by burning desire and a similar darkness in their hearts, Soul Gatherers Brian Webster and Lena Sharpe race against time to take back from a demon ancient coins that could destroy civilization. But as the truth behind a deadly bargain Lena made surfaces, Brian is faced with a desperate choice-save the one, or save the many.

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Review:Bound By Darkness is the second book in the Soul Gatherer series and I have to say, I have some mixed feelings about the book. The first 3-4 chapters were quite confusing and if this was the first book by the author or of the series that I was reading I would have stopped reading then and there. However once I got past the quite rocky start the story started to make sense and I got into the flow of the book.

I think the problem was that the author expected you to remember the story from the first book completely which I didn’t and thus I missed the undertones of the book that would have been visible to me if I had. But once I got into the plot it was quite interesting and the book turned into a decent read.

The book is not one for anyone who is a prude as there are some quite steamy scenes in the book. So if you are one of those then I suggest that you skip the book. They are not as explicit as some of the other books I have read (like the last few books in the Anita Blake series) but are enough to merit a warning.

Final recommendation: A decent read, but make sure you read the 1st book before you read this one.

May 8, 2010

Barely Bewitched (Southern Witch Book 02) by Kimberly Frost

Filed under: Paranormal,Romance — Suramya Tomar @ 4:40 pm


Barely Bewitched (Southern Witch Book 02)
by Kimberly Frost

Description:

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: Paranormal,Romance — Suramya Tomar @ 4:37 pm


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

Description:

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.

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