donderdag 31 maart 2016

Anthology - Down the Rabbit Hole

A collection of stories by Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Mary Kay McComas, J D Robb and R C Ryan, published September 29, 2015.
Genre: short stories, Alice in Wonderland based.
Cover: nice

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Some of your favourite "New York Times" bestselling authors present five all-new stories told through the looking glass including a new Eve Dallas novella! "You re late for a very important date..." Enter a wonderland of mesmerizing tales. It's a place that s neither here nor there, where things are never quite as they seem. Inspired by Lewis Carroll s whimsical masterpiece, ranging from the impossible to the mad to the curiouser, these stories will have you absolutely off your head. Don't be afraid to follow them DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE".

I have read the J.D. Robb story as soon as the book landed on my doormat, and I loved it. Really crazy characters in this story, and Eve cracked the case admirably.

The other stories took me a lot longer to read and I still don't understand why I did that. They are just weird, and I don't do weird. The only one I liked a bit was the last one, by R.C. Ryan, and still the heroine was doing something really stupid, going after her hero in her nightgown and without shoes in the Highlands. Really? Why not dress for the weather and the terrain first?

So, 9 stars for the JD Robb story, and 5 stars out of 10 for the rest.

The J.D. Robb Story: Autobuy authorLove this book

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 29 maart 2016

Ilona Andrews - Magic Shifts

The eighth book in the Kate Daniels series, published August 4, 2015.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: good.

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After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate - former Beast Lord Curran Lennart - are adjusting to a very different pace. While they're thrilled to escape all the infighting, Kate and Curran know that separating from the Pack completely is a process that will take time.
But when they learn that their friend Eduardo has gone missing, Kate and Curran shift their focus to investigate his disappearance. As they dig further into the merc's business, they discover that the Mercenary Guild has gone to hell and that Eduardo's recent assignments are connected in the most sinister way…
An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it - before it takes their city apart piece by piece.

I've been looking forward to reading this one impatiently, so when the paperback finally released I snatched it up as soon as it fell on my doormat. I enjoyed the story, the different dynamics now Kate doesn't have to live according to Pack protocol anymore. And of course, their friends don't leave them alone. It was fun to see how they accomplished that!
And a very surprising twist in this book as well, the link between ghouls and djinns and what they are capable of. Lots of action and fighting and scary creatures, and a little bit of time for Kate and Curran to enjoy living together. I enjoyed watching Julie in this book, and can't wait to find out more about her future. And I am very disappointed in Saiman, I wonder how Kate will take that. Her father surprises me, and her I think. So far, I think he is genuine in wanting to be part of her life, but going about it all wrong. Still, dinner together was fun.

Recommended series!

10 stars.

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 28 maart 2016

Yasmine Galenorn - Darkness Raging

Book 18 in the Otherworld / Sisters of the Moon series, published February 2, 2016.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: good

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We're the D'Artigo sisters: savvy half-humans, half-Fae ex-operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. My sister Camille is a wicked-good witch. Delilah is a two-faced werecat and a Death Maiden. And me? I'm Menolly, a vampire married to a gorgeous werepuma. As the war in OtherWorld arrives, Blood Wyne, Queen of the Vampires, summons me. Apparently, my position as Roman's consort entails more than I imagined …
As the Demon Lord Shadow Wing creates his own sinister version of the Keraastar Knights - the guardians of the spirit seals - to destroy the portals and free himself from the Sub Realms, his ally, the necromancer Telazhar, leads an assault from Otherworld into the streets of Seattle. And my sisters and I are caught dead center.
Then, on the eve of war, my wife Nerissa is captured. The enemy demands we surrender the rest of the spirit seals, or they are going to kill her. I will do anything to save her. Even if it means leading an army of vampires into the very depths of the Subterranean Realms…

I loved this book a lot! Perhaps because her publisher has pulled the plug on this series has made the storyline run faster again, and I loved it. And although Yasmine was prepared to go the self publishing road with this series, I am very happy that another publisher has stepped in. I do hope they will continue the look of this series, especially the spine, as it looks gorgeous on my shelves.

As stated, a good series, lot of action and progress on the story arc that started in book one. And in their personal lives lots of upheaval as well. I can't wait to find out what happens next, especially with Camille. They dealt a few huge blows to Shadow Wing and allies are now fighting alongside them, and that makes a big difference. Love it.

10 stars.

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 27 maart 2016

Recommendations from Karin for March 2016.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Karin from Austria.


This past month has once again been a lot about re-reading old favourites of mine. But I want to mention two new books that I highly recommend.

First I want to second Peggy’s recommendation of
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

I read Peggy’s recommendation and thought I might like this book – and boy! was I right. I enjoyed it immensely. Usually I’m not that fond of reading books that are written in the first person but this time I did. I didn’t even mind the slow pace in which this book was written. I loved how the whole story unfolded, the subtle hints throughout the book about the change of Aiden, how Vanessa came to love this self-centered man, how he came to care about her and finally adore her.

And then I want to recommend

Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

This is the fourth book in the series about The Others. If you have not started this series don’t just jump in and start with this book because you would miss out on three other great books.

In this installment we learn more about the change that Meg, the Trailblazer, brings for the Cassandra Sangue. She knows that every new cut to her skin brings her that much closer to the final cut that will either mean her death or her descend into madness. So she tries to find new ways to bring out the prophecies without having to resort to cutting.
We see a further development in her relationship with Simon Wolfgard although this book is not centered on the two main characters as much as it used to be.

Does this mean the book is not as good as the other ones used to be? – Oh, no. If anything I think this is the best installment since the first book. We have multiple points of view, we are introduced to some of the most dangerous of Namid’s creations – the Elders.
I really enjoyed reading about some of the supporting characters of the previous books who got a more prominent role this time. I liked the Sanguinati who took a lot of responsibility in fighting against the members of the HFL.

Speaking of the Human First and Last League – this organisation reminded me of certain political movements in Europe during the first half of the 20th century which I despise.
So I found myself (more or less) cheering when Anne Bishop decided to extinguish the threat this organization posed to nature, humankind and Others alike.
There is a lot of violence in this book again (but Bishop wrote about violent actions in the past and I didn’t mind them), there are some humorous situation that had me laughing out loud.
But most of all I found myself nodding along with Bishop’s decision to let nature triumph over greedy humankind who want to destroy our world for the benfits of economy – no matter the sacrifices.

I really, really loved this book and I am already looking forward to the next installment in this series – unfortunately this is still one year away.

This is it for this month. Until we meet again next month: Happy Reading.

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Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Karin! I also can recommend Marked in Flesh, as I enjoyed it recently. I think it might even improve on re-reading, and I plan to do that shortly.

© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 26 maart 2016

Lisa Shearin - The Brimstone Reception

The third book in the SPI Files series, published January 26, 2016.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: good

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The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) know that fighting evil is a full-time job, especially when a new designer drug - with mind-blowing side effects - hits the streets.
It's called Brimstone. After the first few hits, you'll see every supernatural beast sharing the sidewalk, train or office with you. After that, you'll start seeing the really scary stuff.
I'm Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI. And the collateral damage caused by Brimstone is something I'd like to unsee: dead drug dealers missing their hearts - and souls. Because your local pusher doesn't stand a chance against the new cartel muscling its way into New York. Plus, since the drug can only be produced with magic and molten brimstone fresh from Hell, a rift to the underworld is open somewhere in the city. And when, not if, the cartel loses control of it, well …
It's going to be Hell on earth.

Another Lisa Shearin series I love very much. Makenna is a great heroine, she knows her weaknesses and her strengths, and is certainly not stubborn and not listening as she knows better. Nope, she is a good teamplayer and her powers are increasing since the things that happened in book 2. I do love her friends and colleagues and especially the Goblin that is after her …
This series is fresh and original and Lisa's sense of humor fits me exactly right. I enjoy her work very much indeed. Can't wait for the next book!

10 stars.

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 24 maart 2016

Lisa Kleypas - Cold-Hearted Rake

The first in a new series, published October 27, 2015.
Genre: historical romance
Cover: nice colors but the heroine wears black

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A twist of fate…
Devon Ravenel, London s most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl s three innocent sisters are still occupying the house along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.
A clash of wills…
Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skilfully erotic seduction, only one question remains: Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she s ever known?"

I've been hoping that Lisa Kleypas would abandon her contemporary romances with magic in them, and go back to writing historical romances, as I really did not like them. But alas, now she has done so, and I don't like this book, at all. I fear she has lost her touch with writing other types of books.

I did not like Devon and how he treated Kathleen, and I did not like Kathleen enough to warm up to her. I did like his brother West, and I am curious about the next book, but not enough to buy it. For me, Lisa Kleypas has fallen of my auto buy author list. I will gladly re-read her older historical romances, as those are amazing, but she has not enchanted me for the last 6 years.

4 stars out of 10.

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 23 maart 2016

Laurell K. Hamilton - Dancing

Book 22.5 in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, published September 17, 2013.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: strange

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For most people, summer barbecues are nothing to be afraid of. But Anita isn't exactly plain vanilla - and neither is her love life. So it takes a special kind of courage to attend a barbecue thrown by her friend Sergeant Zerbrowski. Walking into a backyard full of cops and their families with wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel both looking gorgeous on her arm won't be easy, even with almost-four-year-old Matthew Vespucci to break the ice ...
Anita is determined to have a good time with her family, just like everyone else. But it doesn't take long for tensions to rise among the adults and kids. And Anita will learn that gossip and innuendo can be just as dangerous as anything the undead can throw at her ...

A lovely little story in between other books, and I want to thank my best friend Freya again for gifting it to me. I enjoyed it a lot. And can you imagine, no sex scenes at all in this book, only some kissing.
Troubles with some woman who recognize Nathaniel, and trouble for little Matthew when some other little boy tells him his fathers opinions on gay people … But in the end, the children and adults are dancing …

8 stars.

Autobuy author

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 22 maart 2016

Deborah Blake - Wickedly Powerful

The third book in the Baba Yaga series, published February 2, 2016.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: good

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Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders or our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

The only thing more fiery than Bella Young's red hair is her temper. She knows that a Baba Yaga's power without strict control can leave the people she cares about burned, so to protect her heart - and everyone around her - the only company she keeps is her dragon-turned-Norwegian-Forest-cat, Koshka.
But when Bella is tasked with discovering who's setting magical fires on Wyoming's Black Hills, she finds herself working closely with former Hotshots firefighter Sam Corbett-and falling hard for his quiet strength and charm.
Sam may bear the scars of his past, but Bella can see beyond them and would do anything to help him heal. Only before she can rescue her Prince Charming, she'll have to overcome the mysterious foe setting the forest fires-a truly wicked witch who wields as much power and even more anger than Bella…

The third in this great trilogy, and I loved it. Although I really wanted to smack Sam a few times. He is not deserving of Bella at all. Bella discovers who is behind it, and she finds the missing Riders, but it takes all the Baba's together and their lovers to save them in turn …

Great story, great characters, especially of the teenaged run away Bella takes on as her apprentice. I look forward to reading more by this author.

Original, fun, magical and with a nice portion of action and some love scenes as well. And of course a trip to the Queen of Faery …

10 stars.

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 21 maart 2016

Joanne Fluke - Double Fudge Brownie Murder

Book 18 in the Hannah Swensen series, published February 24, 2015.
Genre: cozy mystery with lots of recipes
Cover: my book has a lovely red color instead of this hard orange.

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Life in Lake Eden, Minnesota, is usually pleasantly uneventful. Lately, though, it seems everyone has more than their fair share of drama to manage. With so much on her plate, Hannah Swensen can barely find the time to think about her bakery - let alone the town's most recent murder...Hannah is nervous about the upcoming trial for her involvement in a tragic accident. She's eager to clear her name once and for all, but her troubles only double when she finds the judge bludgeoned to death with his own gavel. Now Hannah is the number-one suspect. As she sets out in search of the culprit she discovers that the judge made more than a few enemies during his career. With time running out, Hannah will have to whip up her most clever recipe yet to find a killer more elusive than the perfect brownie...

Well, my perfect brownie has no nuts in it! I prefer my chocolate undiluted …
A good story in this long running series, and finally, finally an ending to the infernal love triangle, and just the ending I have wanted for at least the last 10 books. So that makes me happy.
It is a series I love to read, as I do enjoy the large cast of characters and the not so easy murders that need solving. And if you love to bake, you should buy these books for the recipes alone.

9 stars.

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 19 maart 2016

Darynda Jones - Seventh Grave and No Body

The seventh book in the Charley Davidson series, published October 21, 2014.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: lovely color purple

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Lead me not into temptation.
Follow me instead! I know a shortcut!

A day's work is never done when you're a part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, and Charley Davidson could really use a vacation. Yesterday. But first she has some family business to attend to: Her father has disappeared, and as Charley retraces his last steps she begins to question everything she's ever known about him … and, of course, herself. Add to that an ex-BFF who is stalking her, a rash of suicides that has authorities baffled, and her drop-dead sexy fiancĂ© who has attracted the attentions of a local celebrity, and Charley is ready to call it quits. Except that she can't, since she's got the devil at her heels. So what's everybody's favourite grim reaper slash den mother supposed to do now?
A tad north of hell, a hop, skip, and a jump past the realm of eternity is a little place called Earth, and Charley is determined to do everything in her power to protect it. With a wing and a prayer …

A series that is really growing on me, it keeps getting better and better. More about Charley herself is revealed by Reyes and Garrett and it is a shocker. And now the 12 hellhounds are after her, and they apparently can't be killed, so how to keep her safe?
I do look forward to catching up on this series!

8 stars.

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian