Saturday, March 05, 2016

2016, Part 1

Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey: The Official Backstage Pass to the Set, the Actors and the Drama by Emma Rowley- Downton Abbey is one of the most popular television series, about the fortunes of a family before and after the first World War. This book covers the production of the show, from how the show was conceived, to the filming and planning of the show, from how the actors were considered and to the tiniest details, from costuming to the cars, furniture and even the letters and papers used. This is an amazing book with tons of pictures, from the "makeup" as worn by the female cast, to the tales of actors who must get dressed for their scenes on set or on location, and then wait for their scene to come up. I loved the story about how Laura Carmichael and Dame Maggie Smith were bonding over pictures of cats doing adorable things on the internet. I loved all the detail and how they did the various sets to make the most out of the spaces and ready-built rooms they had. In short, this was an excellent book about the making of a show. In short, a wonderful book with a ton of photographs, details and information. Highly recommended.

Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern times by Lucy Lethbridge- This book is about the servant's spaces in houses, manors and other places where they worked, examining their lives and freedoms and non-freedoms as they must adjust to changing lives and conditions. In short, this book looks at the real lives of servants, and why they eventually went away. This wasn't anything like a straight line path. It took much for Britain's middle and upper class to give up their servants. And even so, the rich still have servants, though now they are called "Household Managers", rather than Housekeepers or Maids. And the Butler, of course, still has the sort of same cachet as it did in the past. It was a fascinating look at a time and a place in history and why and how house servants went away. Recommended.

Homecoming: Archmage by R. A. Salvatore-  The Darkening is finally gone from the north and the Realms are free of the influence of the city of Shadows. The Kingdom of Many Arrows has retreated in defeat and now Bruenor has decided it is time to retake Gauntlegrym from the Drow and their monsters that inhabit it. So, the Dwarves of Mithril Hall, Citadel Felbarr and Citadel Adbar gather together to retake the Dwarven City from the Drow who hold it. But meanwhile, in Menzoberranzan, Archmage Gromph Baenre is turning his mental power to learning the arts of the Psionicist. But while he seeks to use this power to increase his own ability to summon creatures, and demons, his teacher, Kimmuriel Oblodra, has a reason of his own for teaching Gromph. Will each of them get what they want when Lolth is in charge of the show? And when Gromph uses his power, will the Drow of Menzoberranzan survive what he brings to the city? I loved this book. The connection between the two stories means that, at the end of the book, their stories become wrapped together as  it's up to Drizzt, Cattie-brie, Bruenor and the others must rescue the Drow (and Faerun) from the evil that Gromph inadvertently summoned. So, I look forward to seeing what happens.

Scandal Takes the Stage by Eva Leigh- Maggie Delamere is a play writer, but she was seduced by a rogue who didn't love her. But she came back to make a living as a writer of plays. However, one of her greatest triumphs, the bouffe (play with music) Cassandra, is hailed as a triumph. However, everyone wants to know when,. or if it will be done. Even the owners of the theatre are breathing down her neck to get it finished. and she is totally blocked when it comes to the story. Even Cameron, Viscount Marwood, is one of her biggest fans, and he wants to help her, but she rather brutally shuts him down every time he even gets close to her, even while she finds herself unable to stop thinking about him. But when he offers her the user of his country estate as a place to write, she finally accepts. Only when she is there can she find the peace of mind she needs to write. She also discovers that while in the past, the noblemen in her stories have always been the villains, now she is beginning to have feelings for Cam, and decides to maker her next hero a nobleman. But when her feelings lead her into a relationship with Cam, can she protect her still-tender heart and save herself from heartbreak? I liked this book. I liked the idea of a writer as a heroine, and of her relationship with writing, and how her block affected her. But I also loved how she worked through it and how Cam romanced her quite gently, and deduced some things about her past from her writing. I loved the book, I'd want to read more from Eva Leigh in the future. Recommended.

A Wicked Way to win an Earl by Anna Bradley-  Delia Somerset dislikes the ton, but her sister is desperate to marry well, and so Delia decides to be her chaperone, despite being unwed herself, and on the shelf at a house party. The problem is that Alec Sutherland's brother is showing signs of being interested in Delia, and Alec thinks her a mere fortune hunter. So he decides to interject himself into their blossoming relationship and begins finding an interest in Delia for himself, despite the fact that he is affianced, and wants to marry the girl he chose. Who will win his affections, Delia, or his soon-to-be-bride? I started reading this book, and it was fine. But when I had to put it down to use the facilities, I became aware that I was not much interested in picking it up again, simply because it read like a rehash of tropes I'd read in romance a million times before. It wasn't that it was bad, but for someone used to reading romance, there isn't much to recommend it beyond the standard boilerplate romance. Did not finish, do not recommend unless this is one of your first romances.

Star Wars: Princess Leia by Mark Waid, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson and Jordie Bellaire- After the destruction of the Death Star, Princess Leia wants to do something to help the Rebellion besides being a figurehead and mourning her dead parents. From General Dodonna, she is told to just do what she has been doing- he doesn't want her to leave the base because there is a price on her head, and on all Alderanians. But she refuses to cower and mourn. Instead, she sets off with Evaan, another Alderanian, to gather her scattered people and keep them safe. Not that Evaan is completely on her side. She believes that Leia is an Ice Princess who won't even mourn her parents. But as they gather up the Alderanians, Evaan begins to see that Leia has her people's best interests at heart. But when the gathering of the scattered remnants of Alderan, a traitor within the ranks threatens to bring down the Empire on all their heads. And when The scattered peoples she is gathering come to the attention of the Empire, can Leia rally even those who are only half Alderanian to keep her people and their legacy, free? I loved this comic. I loved the look at Leia and saw that she was just as much of a kick-ass warrior as her mother, Padme Amidala, was. I mean, we get to see a kick-ass Leia in the original game, but she kinda got lumped into the "romance plot with Han Solo" thing. And I don't mind seeing Leia as strong and a kick-ass lady warrior. This graphic novel not only fills that niche, but also shows her as a diplomat and a charismatic leader who is a believable leader. Highly recommended.

"Fight Like a Girl: Learning Curve by David Pickney and Soon Lee- Amarosa's brother is dying, and fighting for his life. But when the Gods decide to grant her request for the access to the wishing well. If she can survive eight battles against opponents chosen to face her by the Gods, she will get to make a wish... and save her brother. But while she will have a weapon she was given that can be literally anything, she can also find things on the way. that she can use  what will be more important is the knowledge of herself on the way that will determine whether or no0t she is successful. But when her brother takes a turn for the worse, can Amarosa's boyfriend reach her in time to get her to see her dying brother before she dies? I found this an interesting graphic novel, but the novel itself is somewhat confusingly laid out, with so many ads in the middle between chapters- chapters for the same other graphic novels over and over. I thought the story was okay, as was the art, but the story was a bit confusing and I don't know if I'd pick up the next one. Neither recommended nor not recommended.

New Suicide squad: Volume 1- Pure Insanity by Sean Ryan, Rob Hunter, Jeremy Roberts and Blond- The Suicide Squad has been reconstituted, with Deathstroke, Joker's Daughter, Harley Quinn, Black Manta and Deadshot. They are sent into Russia to find out about a new weapon program. But when things go way south, Vic Sage, the new agent in charge with Amanda Waller, thinks she is totally to blame for the mess. But can Waller school Sage on what must really happen? And can Black Manta keep order in the squad itself, or will Sage's new additions break the team in ways that Waller cannot repair? I found this only sort of interesting. I wasn't interested in many of the characters, such as "Joker's Daughter" and Harley Quinn. I realize everyone ay not be the same, but since I know there is a suicide squad movie coming out, I thought I'd check it out. It was only... okay. I didn't really care and that didn't change for me during the graphic novel, so I wouldn't exactly recommend it.

Prince of Dreams by Lisa Kleypas- Emma Stokehurst's family is upset that she is interested in a man named Adam, Lord Millbank,m who her family knows as a man wanting to marry a fortune. But she is comp[lately in love with Adam. Only her mother-in-law, Tasia';s sole family, Prince Nikolas Angelovsky, is very interested in Emma. Even though she has bright red hair and is uncommonly tall, Nikolas is only interested in Emma. But when he warns off Adam Millbank and seduces Emma into his bed, and promises her that she can bring her menagerie onto his estate and keep all the animals she has collected and even to rescue more. But when Emma marries him, convinced that Adam didn't love her as she thought he did, she marries Nikolas instead- also against the wishes of her family, but is convinced. When she is married to Nikolas, though, she begins to hate him when he treats her with extreme indifference. But when Adam returns, he tells Emma that Nikolas warned him off and that was the only reason he left her. Although he proposes an affair with himself, Emma turns him down, but it makes her hate him, yet she refuses to divorce him. But when Nikolas discovers a picture beneath another picture on his estate, the art restorer uncovers finds himself looking at a man who looks exactly like himself: his own ancestor, Prince Nikolai, who was killed because of the love of his wife, which made him lose favor with Peter the Great. But as he relives the life of his ancestor and the love of his wife, Emilia, can he loose the feelings he has for his current wife, Emma? I found myself wondering why I have such a strong bad reaction to romances with characters from Russia. I don't know if the way Russians are depicted, but each one sort of left a bad taste in my mouth. Nikolas especially seems to be heartless in pursuing Emma and yet when he has her, he doesn't want to actually care for her. I ended u not liking this much, because  Nikolas lost my sympathy and never got it back. Emma was okay, and had my sympathy, but I just never felt that she and Nikolas should end up together. Not recommended.

Seduce Me At Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas- Winnifred, or Win Hathaway was always a delicate child, but when she was affected by scarlet fever, it left her even weaker. But when she has a chance to go to the south of France to undergo a treatment that could strengthen her, she takes it, leaving behind her "brother and childhood friend, a Romany named Kev Merripen. Kev has long loved her, but he is also afraid of harming her with his love and passion, and he thinks he is so far below her that he could never reach up to her level, even though he has been running her family's estate for years by the time she returns. She doesn't come back alone, though. With her is the doctor who cured, Dr. Harrow, who has not only has he cured her, he wants to be closer to her. But even though he has seemingly cured you, he wants a marriage in name only, so that she can remain healthy and like herself forever. But Win wants to fight for Kev- until he tells her that he cannot love her the way she wants. But when she decides to marry Dr. Harrow instead, Kev can barely keep his hands to himself. And he is also somehow linked to Cam Rohan, Win's sister Amelai's husband, who is also Rom. As Cam is determined to discover what links them, along with a tattoo of a pooka horse, each o a separate part of their body, can they uncover the truth in time to win her and keep her away from her Doctor, who he doesn't trust with his life?  I actually liked this one. I liked Kev's intensity and how he and Cam sparked off each other and how Win brought him around to her own way of thinking. I felt this was enjoyable, but not so great as to knock my socks off. Recommended by not hightly.

Natsume's Book of Friends by Yuki Midorikawa. Natsume is called out from his old school by a former classmate named Shibats, who fell in love with a Wisteria Spirit. But SHibata has an ulterior motive. There is a house on his block that is haunted by two dolls who were undergoing a battle to become the final doll, which is used to curse people, when the man responsible died. Now, Shibata wants Natsume to take care of the dolls. But can Natsume survive the curse dolls? Then, Natsume is approached by a Yokai who tells him a story of his aunt, Reiko, and how she won a bride from a battling pair of Yokai. Finally Natsume must help his friend Mr. Matoba escape from a spirit who wants to eat him. But his accidental destruction of a mirror may put both their lives at risk. Can they escape the spirit together? I love this series, and I liked the stories within. I really enjoyed the story about Reiko. Reading this series has made me want to learn more about her life and hear more stories about her.. I would definitely read more and can't wait for the next volume. Highly recommended.

Too Hot to Touch by Lora Leigh- This is a book of three small novellas set in Lora Leigh's "Breed "series. "Christmas Heat" involves a Librarian named Haley McQuire and a Jaquar Breed named Noble Chavin. Haley found a traitor to the Breed, and reported it to Jonas McQuade. But when she is nearly killed  by the traitor or his or her compatriots, it's up to Noble to protect her over the Christmas Season. "A Christmas Kiss", has Jessica Raines, a woman considered to be a traitor to the Breeds, and Hawke Esteban. But when he finally subjects Jessa to the mating heat he has denied for too long, can he convince her that what she thinks she knows is wrong? Then, in "Primal Kiss", Kita Engalls loves her father, but her father has been working against the breeds, and when Kita runs away, the Breed warrior Creed Raines, a Lion Breed shifter. But can he keep her safe when she starts the breeding heat deep inside him, and can he keep her safe from a truth she doesj't want to hear about her father? I liked these three novellas/short stories. In a world where the werewolves seem to hold supernatural sway, the Breed stories are a (literal) breed apart. While some of the details cam sound more "squidgy" than erotic (at least to me, this is a refreshing change from traditional werewolf and werebreedesque novels. Recommended.

Reap the Wind by Karen Chance Cassie Palmer is not just ay old seer, she is the most powerful seer in her generation, the Pythia. But instead of being raised by other seers and the mages who are their support system, she was raised in a vampire court, and not many of the other seers seem to trust her. But now that is changing since she manipulated time to save a number of young seers. But she must help a demon lord find his half-human son, who happens to be her lover, along with Mircea, the Prince of the Vampire Court where she was raised. But when she gets inlved in an otherside war, all bets are off, and when the Mages decide to destroy Mircea, Cassie can't help but be drawn into the battle... I liked this book, I started out reading a related series, about Diana Basarab, Mircea's dhampir daughter, and Cassie was a character in that series. I do like this series as well, as the characters are fairly similar in how they snark at the world and take on challenges. I liked this book, though I haven't read all the other books in the series, or even the one before this, it was easy to figure out what was going on and to root for Cassie and her friends. Recommended,

Lord of Legend by Susan Krinard- Mariah Donnington is not exceptionally good-looking and doesn't have a large dowry to recommend her, so why is Lord Donnington proposing marriage to her? And why does he leave her untouched on her wedding night? Mariah finds an exact double of her husband imprisoned on the estate, and thinks this is a mad brother or similar, but the mam seems perfectly fine, if unused to speaking. Not only does her husband leave her untouched, but soon after, he goes abroad, leaving her alone at Donnington with no one but her mother-in-law and brother in law for company, she frees the man, who she names Ash. But it turns out that the man and she are irresistibly attracted to each other. Who is he and why was he imprisoned at Donnington? Can she overcome her mother-in-law's blaming her for her husband leaving and solve the mystery of Ash before her husband, with his plans for her and the stranger, returns? And what are his plans for Ash, anyhow? And why did he marry her and leave? Ash may be more than he seems, with a connection to a world that Mariah's mother often sought. But will their relationship survive her husband's machinations? This book snared me with an unusual hook. Ash is Arion, King of the Unicorns. Mariah's husband needs her to be a virgin for him to be attracted to her. But I didn't find the actual book to be as interesting as the idea of a romance with unicorn. I mean, it was okay, but this book didn't set me on fire, and I felt no attraction to the hero, or to the heroine as well, even though I did like the ending. Recommended, but only slightly.

Real Vampires Live Large by Gerry Bartlett- Gloriana St. Clair is a former actress and prostitute from the Elizabethan era (back then, actresses were usually both). Now, she runs a vintage clothing boutique. But a Vampire hunter on her trail is seeking not only her life, but endangering the lives of all the other vampires who live in her building. But in addition, since Gloriana hasn't really troubled to use her power as a vampire despite her long life, she is also finding herself being stalked by what are known as "energy vampires", who remove the energy a vampire stores up when they don't use their vampire powers. And since Gloriana tends to live just like a human, except for the blood drinking and the hot, hot vampire sex, she practically shines to the energy vampires. But when it seems that her best friend has fallen victim to the energy vampires, becoming addicted to their wares, Gloriana must go and try to find the vampires responsible and try to bring them down from the inside. But can she do that all by herself? I liked this book. Gloriana isn't one of those utterly perfect heroines who can't do wrong. I liked Glory, and her carefree attitude. I liked how she dealt with her friends and enemies both and how down-to-earth she was. I found myself loving the character of Gloriana and the situations she got herself into and how she got herself out of it. Recommended, and I want to read more about Gloriana.

The World According to Wonder Woman by Matthew K. Manning and illustrated by Paul Bulman-This book tells the new story of Wonder Woman, of her childhood, her new backstory and a list of her allies, enemies and the gods, of whom she is now one. Not only is she ruler of Themiscyra (known as "Paradise Island" once upon a time), and also the half-divine daughter of Zeus and her mother Hippolyta, and now the God of War after being the original God (Ares)'s pupil. Included is a map of Themiscyra and a limited edition poster of the image on the cover, minus the title, author and artist's names. I liked this book as an overlook at the new background of Wonder Woman. I noticed that the Gods are all less than human, except for Eros, Stryfe, Dionysus, and Hera, who know is on the side of humans. We also get to see some of Wonder Woman's allies and her brothers and sisters in the ranks of children of Zeus. I liked it, but it seems to be caught somewhere between being for kids and teens. Recommended, but more for tweens than anything else.

DreamSeeker by C. S. Friedman- Jessica Drake is not the child of her parents. Her DNA is completely different and she comes from an entire other world, an alternate Earth. This earth has powers possessed by people known as "gifts". But Jessica's gift is Dreamwalking, which the people of the alternate Earth both fear and hate, thinking that such a gift will destroy, or can destroy the world. The only allies that Jessica has in the other world is The Green Man a hunter whose real name is Sebastian., and Isaac, the son of a Shadow Major. But he no longer wants to be a Shadow, especially after befriending Jesse. Now that she is back, she has to realize that her life has changed. Her family home has burned to the ground, and her mother is no longer herself, having suffered a stroke during the events of Jessica discovering Earth Prime. Now, Jesse has only one driving idea- to get a healer from Earth Prime for her mother. As it turns out, though, a Healer can't help her mother and she needs a Flesh Shaper instead. But how can Jesse return to Earth Prime. and get the aid of the people she needs with the gate to Earth Prime destroyed? And meanwhile, Jesse can help her, but the cost to himself may be more than he is willing to pay. Can he find the courage within himself to let down his own family? I never read the first book in this series, Dreamwalker, but I have long loved C. S. Friedman books like "In Conquest Born" and :"Madness Season". This book didn't disappoint me in the slightest. I enjoyed every bit of it and I wanted to see what was going to happen to Jesse and especially at the end, as Jesse now has dead Earth Prime spirits hunting her, and she can no longer trust one of the people who she once thought of as an ally. I enjoyed the book, the story and the characters, and I can't wait to see what happens. Highly recommended.

1635: A Parcel of Rogues by Eric Flint and Andrew Dennis- The Diplomatic Embassy from the ESA was imprisoned in the Tower of London, but at the end of the Baltic War, they were broken out by spies working on their behalf. But not all members of the Diplomatic Party left England afterwards. Because Oliver Cromwell is looking for his sons, which have disappeared when the King and his men arrested Cromwell because of the histories that came out of the ESA, which reveals that Oliver killed him in the future world. Along with Oliver goes Julia Sims, an American Sharpshooter, her husband Alex MacKay, Darryl McCarthy, who, as someone whose family came from Ireland, deeply mistrusts Oliver Cromwell, as a hate that was passed down from his family and relatives. Also with them are Gayle Mason, who has taken a deep liking to Oliver Cromwell, and he seems to feel something for her as well. But when Richard Boyle sets a bunch of bully boys and assassins on the trail of the ESA party, they must find their way to safety and find Oliver's sons while keeping a low profile in England. But can they escape to Scotland and Alex's relatives without bringing the bully boys with them? And can they find Oliver's sons and escape England with them and then return to the ESA? I like this series, which starts from an interesting point and has only expanded on it from there. I enjoyed how the books expand each part of the story, following the war and what happens after. I find this "alternate history/time travel into the past" series to be very exciting and interesting. As someone who lives history and "What if?" stories, this series and this book scratches a very specific itch, but I love this series a lot. Highly recommended.

Swords and Scoundrels by Julia Knight- Vocho and Kacha are ex-duelists who have fled their former home, the city if Reyes. This is especially hard on Kacha, who was the pet student of the Guildmaster of the Duelist's Guild, Eneko. Now, they survive by pretending to farm and by robbing the coaches of the rich that pass by  When they rob a coach with Kacha's old lover, Petri Egimont, on board, they take everyone's money, swords, clothes and possessions, along with a chest with five locks on it- and they defeat a mage to accomplish this as well. Inside, there is plenty of money, and also papers. Unbeknownst to either Vocho or Kacha, the papers are from the former King of Castan, offering to sell out some mines in the country to the Ikarans if they will return him to the throne. The money is to bribe the councilors to be on his side. When Vocho gets the chest open, he and Kacha take some of the papers to Reyes with the aid of a friend named Dom and Vocho's manservant, Cospel. But going back to Reyes brings them back to the attention of the guild, as the Prelate, who blames Vocho for the death of a priest who was the Prelate's favorite. And as it turns out, someone is manipulating the situation from behind the scenes. But is it the guildmaster, Eneko, or is it the magician who has wormed his way into a relationship with the King? or is it someone else? I wasn't all that invested in Vocho and Kacha at the beginning of the book, I did get behind both of them eventually. I liked how both characters are presented as deeply flawed, but then, so is everyone in the books. I liked the reveal of why Dom seemed so very weird and strange, and how he changed so much when they went to Reyes. I liked the book and I  would recommend it- just stick with it at first.

Legends and Liars by Julia Knight= Vocho and Kacha have been forced to flee to Ikaras, but the Ikarans have a order to capture all Reyens in the country. But Vocho and Kacha need the help of a mage, because Vocho has been tattooed on his back with a magical tattoo, and they need it removed. Through their friend Jokin, they find a mage named Esti, a plant mage who can remove Vocho's tattoo and set him free. But the cost for removing his tattoo that can control his actions. But part of the cost is a sucking wound that saps him of energy, and a possibly dangerous addiction to the Jollop she dispenses to help him with the pain. She also reveals to Vocho and Kacha that the Primate of the city, Bakar, has been driven insane by the potions delivered by Esti to the mage Sabates. But while Sabates seems like the one to defeat to free Reyen. It may be that his second in command, Alicia, is far more dangerous. But no one is going to pay more than Kacha's former lover, Petri Egimont. But can Vocho and Kacha return to Reyes  in time to save Egimonr from Eneko's torture? I found this book to be much more interesting than the first one. It was easier for me to like the heroes, even though Vocho is still something of a whiny butt. I preferred Kacha to Vocho, even if she does seem far more stand-offish than her brother. I even felt a shred of sorrow for what happened to Petri, but the story seems to be over at the end of the book. Given that this is going to be a trilogy, though I suspect not. Recommended.

Warlords and Wastrels by Julia Knight- At the end of "Legends and Lairs", Vocho and Kacha had succeeded in freeing Reyes from the troubles that beset it, and rose to positions high in the guild. Kacha became guildmaster, and Vocho a senior member who runs the guild when his sister is otherwise occupied- and it drives him crazy, because he likes dueling, but dealing with the day to day running of the guild and the complaints of the seniors, is driving him crazy. Meanwhile, Kacha has largely abandoned the running of the guild to daydream about Egimont, who she believes is dead. But Petri, who has been hideously scarred by Eneko, has found a new profession, training the bandits of a small northern valley how to fight for their leader, Scar. But his aid brings the attention of the regent of Reyes, Bakar, who sends Vocho and Kacha to deal with them along with a guard captain and a troupe, at Vocho's request, because Kacha needs to have her mind taken off her problems. But Petri Egimont's memories of his time with Kacha are no longer good ones, and he blames her for his maiming. And when Scar and her group team up with a wizard, the situation rapidly spirals out of control for everyone. What will happen when Kacha and Petri meet again. and will Kacha be forced to kill the man she once loved? I found this to be the best book by far of the three. I felt the characters were the most well-rounded in this book, and I sympathized with just about everyone (except the wizard, of course, but he's a scumbag. I also liked the open-ended nature of the book and how Vocho finally found love. It was an excellent book, one that I really enjoyed. Highly recommended,

Driven by Kelley Armstrong- Elena Michaels is head of a werewolf pack based in New Jersey, but she agrees to take back a werewolf named Malcolm, an utter psychopath who killed humans for sport, but he proves he can take orders and promises to obay Elena, so she reluctantly allows him back. But the family known as Cains are also werewolves, but are considered mutts, due to not being connected to any of the clans. But when Davis Cain finds his family slaughtered and skinned, he goes to the pack for help and to try and save the rest of his family. But while Malcolm and many of the Weres don't understand Elena wanting to help and save the Cains, Elena isn't going to let other Werewolves be destroyed. But when she finds out what is really behind the attacks, will she be driven to punish both sides? I liked this book. It wasn't really more than a hsort story, but the characters looks are both disturbingly anime-ish and look like something out of "Twilight". by which I mean to say that the cover looks like a teen book rather than an adult novel. This troubled me, because I didn't think this was supposed to be a YA book when I first picked it up. The story was good, but I found it best to ignore the pictures that accompanied it. I mean what purpose did that serve. Is this supposed to be "Teen's first real adult werewolf novel"? I'm not sure, but the cover definitely doesn't represent, to me, the inside story. Recommended- just ignore the art.

Queene of Light by Jennifer Armintrout- Ayla, a half faery who works as a faery in the Assassin's Guild, is sent to hunt a werewolf in the Darkworld, part of the series of caverns, sewers and train tunnels that the faery races were driven into during their long war with humans. When the veil between the human world and the faery world collapsed, elves and faery races were thrown into the human world, but tensions led to war. Now, Ayal is hunting a were, but a Death Angel targets her, it becomes mortal because she is half human. She should kill him but leaves him alive. He recovers, but tracks her down... in order to kill her, he thinks, but finds that he doesn't want to kill her, but is in love with her. Meanwhile, back in Lightworld, Arya's mentor, the Faery Cedric, wants to marry her, and he is the brother of the Queene, Mabb. But when they are married, his sister is killed, and now Arya is in line to be Queene, even though she doesn't really love Cedric, but Malachi. And when the Faerie council won't let Cedric be King, and he realizes that Ayla won't be steered or guided by him, Cedric comes out against Ayla and implies she might have killed his sister. But Ayla is innocent of the deed, and must defend her new position against Cedric, including a duel against him to claim her place as Queene. But can she win against the man who was her mentor? I liked this book. I liked how Ayla started out wanting to just have a better life than she had, but once she becomes Queene, she is invested in doing what's right for her people.I really enjoyed the book and how she ends up choosing love over position. Recommended.

Child of Darkness by Jennifer Armintrout- Cerridwen is the daughter of Queene Ayla and her lover, Malachi, but because of her black feathery wings, every Fae at court in the Lightworld is supposed to hide their wings.. But while Queene Ayla wants what is best for her daughter, that includes arranging for her marriage to Cedric, one of her advisors. But Cedric has fallen in love with a human gypsy and plans to escape Lightworld with her and her clan, and Cerridwen herself has fallen for a Dark Elf warrior who doesn't know of her Fae ancestry. When the Dark Elves make plans to wipe out the Fae with the Waterhorses, a bunch of surface Fae offer the Queene and her court shelter, but Ayla is too sure that this is a trap and refuses to fall for it. But when the threat of the Waterhorses proves true, Ayla and Malachi must risk all to keep their daughter safe. But can they save her from the wrath of the Waterhorses and let the rest of the court escape? Or will Cerridwen's  love for the Elf put her in even greater danger than even her parents can save her from? This was the second in the Lightworld/Darkworld series, and I found Cerridwen a lot less interesting than I did Ayla. I mean, she came off as far more spoiled and less interesting than Ayla, and while it was okay, I didn't start caring about the main character until most of the way through the story. But I did end the book wanting to find out what happened to Cerridwen, it was a long way to go to get there. Recommended, but only slightly.

Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead- Eugenie Markham is a Shaman, but she is also Queen of the Thorn Land in Faerie, which she was tricked into by Dorian, her Faerie lover. But while Eugenie is no longer with Dorian, she is having a romance with Kiyo, a Kitsune Vet who is also the father of a Fae child with a ruler of a fellow land. Eugenie is expected to give the child a gift when it is born, but isn't sure what the best gift is. Meanwhile, while riding through her land, she discovers that girls have been going missing, and she decides to go in search of the girls, as she is already searching for her own sister, Jasmine. But when she asks about the missing girls in Austin, where the other end of the gate near where the girls are missing comes out, she meets two shamans, Art and Abigail, who seem perfectly friendly, but say they know nothing about gentry girls coming over the gate into our world. But when she meets a magic-less gentry named Leith, she thinks that this is at last a man she can just be friends with. But when Leith causes her to be kidnapped and subjected to rape, Eugenie is all out for revenge. But can she take the revenge she wants? Or will she alienate everybody who loves her by taking said revenge? I loved this book, which shook up Eugenie's world in many, many ways, both in who she is with and her view of the Otherworld and the gentry, and shamans in general. I loved the book and can't wait to see what happens next. Highly recommended.

In the Midnight Hour by Patti O'Shea- Ryna is a Gilneal, a human offshoot with magic powers, and a troubleshooter, one of the more powerful ones. But she's become obsessed with a cartoon series called "Deke Summers, P.I.", but she's become aware that there is a human soul imprisoned in the cartoon, and she sets out to free him, she discovers that she only has a moon to set him free permanently. But Deke doesn't know why he was imprisoned. Ryne knows that her former mentor, Anise, has become even more powerful since she went to the dark side, but for some reason, she wants Deke out of the way. But why? Ryne must know, which is why she freed Deke from the cartoon. But can Deke remember what it was about himself that made him such a threat to Anise? And when it comes down to the final fight against Anise, can Deke make a difference when he has no magic at all? I loved this book. I liked the whole setup of Ryne and her sister, who had given up her magical powers because she fell in love with a human, who then left her. I also liked how both Deke and Ryne annoy one another long before they fall in love. I also liked how Deke shows up on Ryne's door at the end, and I just loved the entire story. Highly recommended.

True Blood by Patricia Waddell- When a passenger liner explodes in League space, Danna MacFayden is assigned to the tribunal who is looking into the deaths of the 40-something people on board. Also on the council is Cullon Gavriel, a True Blood of the planet of Korcia. Korcia considers a "True Blood" is one of the original ruling families which has come down to the present unmingled with those of non-ruling families. Korcia, through Cullon, threatens war on the League because one of the people on the leisure liner was a True Blood, and he wasn't the first one to die. But as Cullon comes to rely on Danna's psychic ability to read the history and feelings of the owners of objects, he becomes aware of a rebellion on his homeworld that could overthrow the current government. But when Cullon and Danna end up in a relationship, will they be torn apart by the conflict on Korcia and Cullon's True Blood status? Another book I loved. I looked for a good science fiction romance, and this book just fit the bill. I loved the world-building, the characters, and the situations in the book. I really enjoyed this book and loved the world. I hope that Patricia Waddell wrote more books, because I'd love to read more in this world. Highly recommended.

The Demon You Know by Christine Warren- Abby Baker is a mere researcher at a local TV station. When a friend of hers needs someone to run a camera, she reluctantly helps out, but in the fray at the mob scene that results, she gets a passenger, a fiend named Louamides. The Demon Rule has been looking for Lou, but when he tries to evict Lou from Abby's subconscious, he is unable to evict Lou from her body because Lou has a copy of the Solus spell which can put out the sun. With no way to get Lou out of Abby, she is in danger from Uzkiel, a major fiend who wants to take over the human world by extinguishing the sun that the fiends cannot stand. But when Rule begins falling for Abby, can the two of them team up to take Uzkiel down with the help of Lou, the most cowardly fiend in existence? I loved this book, which was one in a series about many different kinds of characters- Werewolves, wereleopards, Demons, fiends, vampires and so on. I liked this book, which was about Rule, a demon who acts as a policeman for his people. And while Demons are good guys, Fiends are definitely bad. And Rule looks down on those who have fallen in love. Now it's his turn to fall. And what a fall it is! I loved every bit of the humiliation Rule feels in his fall, and the love that results between the very Catholic Abby and the Demon Arulnagal. Highly recommended.

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