donderdag 28 april 2016

Jim Butcher - First Lord's Fury

The sixth book in the Codex Alera series, published November 24, 2009.
Genre: fantasy
Cover: good

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For Gaius Octavian, life has been one long struggle. Battling ancient foes, forging new alliances, and confronting the corruption within his own land, he became a legendary man of war and leader of men - and the rightful First Lord of Alera.
Now the end of all he fought for is close at hand. The brutal, dreaded Vord are on the march, using fear and chaos to turn the Alerans against one another, and forcing those who will not submit to flee to the outer reaches of the Realm.
Perhaps for the final time, Gaius Octavian and his Legions must stand against the enemies of his people. And it will take all of his intelligence, ingenuity, and furycraft to save their world from eternal darkness…


A great ending to the series. Lots of battle of course, but also wits to outthink the enemy Gaius Octavian (Tavi) has the flair to make other enemies into allies, to battle the common enemy who would destroy them all.
Tavi still can't manifest furies like other people can, but he sure can use their magic, in a big way, more powerful even than his father and grandfather.
And on the personal front, Kitai challenges Tavi to court her the Marat way. And that totally stuns him. How is he supposed to do that?

If you love epic fantasy, I would certainly recommend this series. For me, it feels like the Roman Legions have reached another world, as their army is certainly based on them. I really liked this series. Perhaps it is time for me to go back to my reading roots, and read some more fantasy.

9 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 27 april 2016

Nora Roberts - The Liar

A stand alone novel, published April 14, 2015.
Genre: romantic suspense
Cover: blue

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Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions…
The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safety-deposit box, she finds multiple ID's. The man she loved wasn't just dead, he never really existed.
Shelby takes her three year old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows, and threatens Griff as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning…


I enjoyed this book, mostly because of the heroine. Left a widow, with a precious daughter, and a 3 million dollar debt, she took care of it, and of herself. She builds a new future for herself, and makes amends with her families and friends she left behind when she was swept of her feet and eloped with her husband.
The new love interest was perhaps a bit soon after the shock, but as she was no longer in love with her husband when he died, I can forgive that.
The suspense plot though, that was sadly predictable from the first few pages, when I read how she lost her husband.

7 stars.



Autobuy author

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 24 april 2016

Ellery Adams - Breach of Crust

The fifth book in the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery series, published April 5, 2016.
Genre: paranormal cozy mystery with recipes
Cover: absolutely gorgeous

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PIE SHELLS AND DEATH BELLES
Ella Mae LeFaye s delicious pies are still drawing long lines as well as the attention of Beatrice Burbank, president of the Camellia Club, a philanthropic organization comprised of high-society Southern ladies from the charming and affluent town of Sweet Briar, Georgia. To ensure the success of their centennial dessert cookbook, Bea hires Ella Mae to teach the tasty tricks of her trade to the club s members at their annual retreat. Eager to work on new recipes for customers with food allergies and dietary restrictions, Ella Mae readily agrees.
But when Ella Mae finds Bea s body floating in Lake Havenwood, she wonders what she s gotten herself mixed up in. Someone certainly wanted Bea to eat humble pie, and the retreat offers no shortage of unsavory characters, including Ella Mae s longtime nemesis, Loralyn Gaynor. Ella Mae definitely doesn't need magic to tell her she must find the killer before someone else gets panned."


After the emotional ending of book 4, I really didn't think the next book could captivate me as much as that one. But this fifth book is still a very good one. Lots of intrigue but also a good development of Ella Mae and Hugh as a couple, they are starting over, and they just fit together. I didn't think that anymore in the previous books, but now, yes. They do belong together. Ella Mae is also baking new things, delicious pies for people who can't have dairy or gluten or sugar. It is hard work but she loves what she does, and it still shows in her pies. Her business is still growing, but the magical community hasn't forgotten her either. The Elders still need her help, and that of her friends.

Of course there is a murder, and it is sad that no one seems to care very much, except Ella Mae who found the body. Finding this killer might be a lot harder than before though …

It was a fun book, a glimpse of small town southern life, and a glimpse in the lives of the rich and almost famous. And I think Ella Mae is too naïve to think that there is anything left in Loralyn worthy of saving. Don't read this book when you are hungry or already hunkering for pie, because it will make you go out and get some …

9 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 23 april 2016

Allyson James - Firewalker

The second book in the Stormwalker series, published November 2, 2010.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: strong
Re-read for the second time.

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Janet Begay's Crossroads Hotel has attracted the supernatural from the day it opened. Witches, changers, and a mouthy magic mirror have decided to make it their home. But a new, dark power is rising - this time inside Janet herself.
Her boyfriend, Mick, is sexy dragon shape-shifter the Navajo call a Fire-walker, knows what terrifying magic is threatening to overwhelm Janet and her Stormwalker powers. He watches over her, ready to fight for her, to do anything to keep her safe.
But then a mysterious corpse is found near the Crossroads Hotel - and Janet becomes Sherriff Nash Jones's main suspect. Trouble is, even she can't be sure she didn't do it. Now Janet and Mick must uncover what really happened, and their investigation leads to the most perilous decision of their lives: Mick must choose between protecting his own people or guarding Janet, the woman he loves, from the many forces amassing against her.


After dealing with her mother in the first book, Janet's Beneath-magic is growing stronger and more difficult to handle. It teaches her things, tempts her to do the bad things, hurting innocent people and telling her she is stronger than everyone else, even the local Gods. And the Dragons. The Dragons sent Mick to kill her way back then, but he fell in love with her instead, and protects her from his own kind. But now Mick is in trouble, facing an unfair trial. Can Janet save him?
And fight the darkness inside herself, and the monster that is killing people around her?


A great second book, I just kept on reading late into the night. More great characters are introduced, the magic mirror plays a good part as well, and Janet and Maya are slowly becoming better friends. So when is Nash finally waking up and follow his heart?
The ending was a big surprise, I will read book 3 very soon! (Yes okay, a re-read so I knew it was coming, but still).

9 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 22 april 2016

Allyson James - Stormwalker

The first book in the Stormwalker series, published May 4, 2010.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: strong
Re-read for the second time.

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Janet Begay is a Stormwalker, capable of wielding the raw elemental power of nature's tempests - a power that threatens to overwhelm her. Only her lover, Mick, a dark-haired, blue-eyed biker, is able to siphon off her excess energy and calm the storm raging within her - even as their passion reaches unimaginable heights of ecstasy.
Janet and Mick have come to the desert town of Magellan to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the police chief's daughter. The barren land around it is full of vortexes, the gateways that connect the human world with the mystical realm of Beneath, and after encountering skinwalkers and receiving hints from a shape-shifting coyote and a smart-ass magic mirror, Janet fears that her own powerful, scary-as-hell mother is involved.
She's also uncertain about Nick. He can wield fire and never get burned, and Janet can't seem to touch him with her storm powers. But Janet must trust him, since she and Mick find themselves venturing where no human can survive alone - and only together can they overcome the greatest danger they've ever faced.


I've read this series quite some time ago, and as I recently purchased the fifth book in the series (sadly in e-book as I love those covers and just prefer print-books) I thought a re-read was in order.
I still enjoyed this story very much, it is still fresh and original and filled with great characters and action and my kind of humor. And yes, a few hot love scenes! Janet is a Navajo woman with strong Storm magic inside of her. She has come home to Magellan to find a missing person, but she also bought a derelict hotel and has hired a lot of locals to get it up and running again, amongst them a feisty female electrician.
Enter on the scene Mick, her mysterious biker boyfriend. Can she trust him, when he tells her nothing about himself? And the Unbeliever: Sheriff Nash Jones, who was the missing woman's fiancée and doesn't believe anything Janet tells him about the paranormal stuff going on. As it happens, Nash is a null, and magic just disappears inside of him, without him even noticing.
Growing up Janet had a hard childhood, born out of wedlock, raised by her shy father, her extremely stern grandmother and her aunts, she didn't know how fast she could escape that life and drive away on her Harley. Her mother died at her birth, but apparently, she wasn't her real mother, that was a Goddess from Beneath, a Goddess bent on capturing Janet to force her to free her… And she doesn't hesitate to sent Nightwalkers or Skinwalkers after her to capture her.

Lots of action, intrigue and suspense, and of course magic. Janet is though, and when is not there for her, well, she just takes care of everything herself. Still, I loved the scene where he broke her out of jail! And ladies, there is a magic mirror as well, with a very dirty mind…

If you haven't read this series yet, go for it, I promise it is worth your time.

9 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 21 april 2016

Jayne Castle - Amaryllis

The first book in the Curtain: Futuristic World of St. Helen's series, published 1996.
Genre: futuristic/paranormal romance
Cover: pretty. The new cover has a shirtless hero in a long leather coat on it, ridiculous.
Re-read: for the second time.

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Amaryllis Lark is undeniably beautiful. She's also one of the best psychic detectives on St. Helen's, the earth colony recently cut off from the mother planet, yet not so very different from home - a place where love still defies the most incredible odds. Lucas Trent, the rugged head of Lodestone Exploration, isn't keen on the prim and proper type - and, from her neatly buttoned business suit to her cool evaluation of his request to bust a corporate thief, Amaryllis is excruciatingly proper.
Amaryllis may have psychic powers but she can't read minds - least of all her own. When a bold hunch leads them from a wild murder investigation to a red-hot love affair, Amaryllis is shocked. Lucas is delighted - and no power on heaven, earth or St. Helen's can keep them apart!


St Helen's is a hard world for humans, their technology and plastics didn't survive on the planet, so they were thrown back a few hundred years, technology wise, and had to make a whole new society based on the ancient labours, farming, fishing and building. But the people changed as well, developing psychic powers. Some had different talents, others were focuses, able to build a prism in their minds that the talents could use, and they had to work together. Strong powers are good and respected, but too strong a power, and people are afraid of you.
Lucas is one of those, but he has managed to hide how strong he was during testing. But now he needs a class 10 full scale prism, and Amaryllis Lark is one of the few who qualify. Can they work together?
And so from finding out the truth about the person selling his company's secrets, to finding the murderer of Amaryllis' old professor and mentor, they stumble in a few different adventures. And into each other's arms. Neither has ever felt the strong attraction when working with a person using their psychic talents. But on St Helen's, old fashioned values have been reinstated. A marriage is for life, and the only ones that are accepted by society, are those matched by a marriage agency. Love and lust only last so long, compatibility is needed for the long haul. But it is very rare for two such strong talents to be matched; do they dare choose to marry anyway? Amaryllis' family certainly is against it…

I wanted to re-read this series, as I was a bit disappointed in the latest Amanda Quick book I read, and I wanted to go back to her roots, and try something old. I remember falling in love with this genre thanks to this series, and I enjoyed it a lot, re-reading this first book. I will certainly re-read Zinnia and Orchid soon. (If you don't know, Jayne Ann Krentz, Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick are the same person, different genres).
I love the paranormal aspect, the psychic powers and the hint of suspense in these books. But I think I prefer her Harmony books, as those have the added cuteness of the alien Dustbunnies!

9 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 20 april 2016

Amanda Quick - Garden of Lies

A stand alone novel, published April 21, 2015.
Genre: historical romance/suspense
Cover: dark

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The Kern Secretarial Agency provides reliable professional services to its wealthy clientele, and Anne Clifton was one of the finest young women in Ursula Kern’s employ. But Miss Clifton has met an untimely end—and Ursula is convinced it was not due to natural causes.
Bent on justice, Ursula hatches a plan: take Anne’s place as stenographer to the reclusive poet Valerie, Lady Fulbrook. There are dark rumors about Lord Fulbrook, and his gloomy mansion in Mapstone Square seems the logical starting point for an undercover investigation.
Archaeologist and adventurer Slater Roxton thinks Mrs. Kern is off her head to meddle in such dangerous business. But if this mysterious widowed beauty insists on stirring the pot, Slater intends to remain close by as they venture into the darker side of polite society and a den of iniquity called the Olympus Club. Together they must reveal the identity of a killer—and to achieve their goal they may need to reveal their deepest secrets to each other as well...


Lately I have become a bit disappointed in my autobuy authors, the ones that I have read and loved and followed for over 20 years. There is so little freshness about the stories, the characters all read the same. Sure, the stories are a bit different, but they are all built along the exact same lines. Compared to other historical romance authors, yes, these are very different, but if you have read 20 Amanda Quick stories, there are few surprises left.
Sure, the setting is a bit different, the chosen professions of the mature heroine, and the heroes are still dark and mysterious and a bit scandalous. They meet, he knows she is "the one", they set out on a dangerous murder investigation together as he refuses to let her do it alone, he seduces her, and when she thinks it is all over: mystery solved, affair concluded, he proposes.
The secondary characters are often those that add the touch of humor to the story, like his servants with the theater background and his mother, who is an actress.

Don’t understand me wrong, I still enjoy reading these stories, but it doesn't surprise me anymore, make me sit on the edge of my seat. And that I miss, a lot. As a reader, I love originality and surprising twist and turns. Especially as I have been reading for so many years, and have read so many books.

8 stars.



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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian