Title: Shirewode (The Wode, Book 2) Author: J. Tullos Hennig Published: September 8, 2013 Pages: 390 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Publisher’s Website:link Rating: ★★★★★
His family gone and his home destroyed, Rob was left for dead and that should have been his fate. Except fate decided it wasn’t his time. So he takes to the Wode, taking up the mantle of the Horned Lord, and doing his best to defend the few of his people left and the surrounding villages from the corrupt government and the church. Thinking Rob was lost, Gamelyn complied with forced exile by his brother and joined the Knights Templar. But now he has returned on a very specific mission, and he won’t let much stand in his way. Even when the two find each other again, their past may not be enough to break down the walls of pain that have built up between them. Except there is one thing that might be able to bring them back together–Marion is alive…
I can’t even begin to express how much I absolutely love this series. Not only do we get a thrilling and well-written take on the Robin Hood legends, but things seem so real, so well-researched, and just amazingly presented. The familiarity of the story, the fantasy elements, and the relationships just make for an incredible combination. The characters are so gritty and real–there are no soft edges here. I found it very difficult to put this one down; each little twist in the story just drew me in even further.
I am extremely excited to know that there is more to the story…
Title: Four: The Transfer (Divergent, Book 0.1) Author: Veronica Roth Published: September 3, 2013 Pages: 55 Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books Author Website:link Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Review:
Go back to where it all begin. Before Tris transferred to Dauntless from Abnegation, there was Tobias Eaton. This short tells the story of his test, the circumstances of his choice, and his start in his new faction.
Having read this after finishing the main series, I found it to be quite poignant (as I did with all of the Four-related prequel stories). Even though they’re short, there’s a great deal of backstory and character motivation that comes out here. And since I left Allegiant feeling like it’s as much about Tobias as it is Tris, it was nice to go back and connect where he is at the end with where he was in the beginning. Definitely recommended for fans of the series, especially those who may have struggled with the way it ended.
The finale of the Life Lessons series follows Tony and Mac as they work to settle into their family life while Mac works to overcome the injuries he suffered at the end of <i>Home Work</i>. Mac is called in to consult on a case that involves one of Tony’s students and the two once again find themselves forced to try to balance all of their responsibilities and their relationship. Mac’s career, Tony’s peace of mind, and their life together are all on the line here and they’ll do whatever it takes to make it through.
This was a nice end to the series. I actually liked the balance between the case and the relationship story more here than in the previous three books. In the past ones, I felt like the cases were somewhat convenient to making the rest of the plot go the way it needed to, but here it seems like more of an overlay. They fit together perfectly. It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t curious to know what happens to Mac and Tony after this book ends, but Kaje Harper has given them a fitting end here in a way that gives readers closure.
Title: The Magpie Lord Author: K.J. Charles Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ Review: Lucien Vaudrey has returned to England after a twenty-year exile to China to take up the title of Lord Crane following the deaths of his father and brother. Not long after his return, however, he started having blackouts in which he’s tried to injure himself and is therefore very concerned. When a friend sends him someone who might be able to help, Stephen Day, he has some hope despite Day’s own history with the Vaudrey family. Lucien needs Stephen to find out what’s going on and help him, but Lucien can’t help feeling drawn to Stephen and the attraction seems mutual. And Stephen is left trying to root out the source of the problem while trying not to be distracted by the new Lord Crane.
This was the first book by K.J. Charles that I’ve read and I can see why she is one of the bigger names in m/m fiction. It was easy to understand and connect with the main characters and she writes them in a way that makes you root for them. Personally, the paranormal and mystery elements in the story are a draw as I do enjoy stories that contain either (and especially both). There is a lot that goes on in this book, though, and a lengthy roster of secondary characters that can be difficult to keep track of. Overall, though, I’d certainly recommend giving this a read – especially if you’re someone who appreciates m/m romance historical paranormal mystery.
Title: Weaver Author: Katherine Arandez Publication Date: September 11, 2013
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ Review: Kate Merin has known about magic and a hidden history since a young age. As a sorceress descended from Kervanians (an extra-terrestrial race who accidentally ended up on Earth during the time of the dinosaurs), she possesses powers and belongs to grander traditions that the average human wouldn’t even believe exists. But when Kate’s brother Micheal leads Kate and their other brother Albert on a trek through the woods that involves them accidentally being transported back to prehistoric Kervanis, she quickly learns there is much more to the history of her people and her family – and they have a unique role in the events to come.
I would have to say I found the story enjoyable. It’s unique and there’s a rich world created here with a lot of potential. The writing style is generally easy to follow and I found it to be a relatively quick read. There are enough twists and turns in the story to keep the reader interested and guessing what might happen next.
That said, there were a few parts that I had to trudge through, especially early on in the book. Much of the exposition – the explanation of Kervanian history – is given through dialogue. These explanations from Kate to her siblings were a bit confusing at times (mostly because there’s no additional background at that point in the story – they made more sense to me as I worked further through the book). It’s also a bit jarring to be introduced to a number of characters early in the book that are made out to be important figures but disappear shortly thereafter, never to be seen again. (The author’s random self-insert near the end of the book was also a bit off-putting, but was brief enough that it was easy to overlook.)
Overall, I think it was a nice fantasy/sci-fi story and would recommend it if someone wants something quick and unique to read. But there were just enough little things that made this 3 stars instead of 4.
(I received an eGalley from the author in exchange for an honest review.)
Title: Love Gone Mad Author: Mark Rubinstein Publication Date: September 1, 2013
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ Review: A seemingly random confrontation with an angry man in a bar leaves Adrian Douglas feeling uneasy, and for good reason. In the weeks following, he meets Megan Haggarty at work, setting off a series of events which demonstrate that coincidence is a much rarer occurrence than one might believe.
The basic premise of the story is intriguing and the story has a few twists to keep the reader interested. That being said, the writing was a bit off-putting at times (though, for me, a present tense narrative needs to be very engaging to be effective) and some of the plot points seemed to a bit too coincidental and convenient. The dialogue and rushed romance came across as a bit forced and bordered on unbelievable, and makes it difficult at times to really connect with the characters.
That said, it was a relatively quick and easy read that only lost me completely in a few places. I did predict some of the twists ahead of time but there were also a few I didn’t see coming.
TRIGGER WARNINGS: [Graphic depictions of domestic violence and descriptions of child sexual abuse.]
(eGalley provided by Thunder Lake Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)