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Valerie

Valerie

Tiger Magic -  Jennifer Ashley I'm never disappointed with Jennifer Ashley's books, keep hoping that they will come out sooner still. Tiger can aptly be tagged as a tortured hero since he was created and experimented in a lab. After being rescued he is relocated to the Austin shiftertown where he tries to fit in. Since he is a man made shifter, no one really trust him aside from the cubs.

I always loved the way the author could portrait social outcast, second class citizen and still paint a loving, caring community under all the oppression and prejudices. Having lived all his life in a cage, Tiger is not equipped to interact with others being, human or shifters. Her mate is exactly what he needs, someone who stands by his side and gives him support when he needs it.

From the setting up for the next book (or couple), the Shiftertowns might finally have help from one human in the government.
Sandman Slim - Richard Kadrey In all, it was a pretty interesting book with a little twist on the angels and demons theme. I personally liked Stark smart-ass comments constant flow during the book. It is a bit fun and depressing to realize that I get all his references.

For most of the book Stark does not know exactly why or how he can do the things he does but mercifully it is all explained at the end (so no long wait and speculation there). My real problem is that Stark came back from Hell for revenge and gave little thoughts on how he is going to accomplish it. (view spoiler) Another issue is that while he went away to Hell at 19...after 11 years he seems to have the same reactions and initiatives of a teen thinking he is immortal and death is a long way down the road.

I'm interested to know more about the supporting characters (Vidocq and Allegra) but Stark was such a complete asshole to them ... he almost effectively alienated himself from them. Let's hope he wisen up soon because he's going to need help with the jobs he's got lining up.
Seer's Hope (Book One of The Seer Trilogy) - Maree Anderson While rather short (210 pages), this story was well put together. I especially liked that the heroine was blind and all the story telling was written to exploit to it's fullest what it means to be blind (granted I'm not blind so I would not know how hard it is to live without sight). I admire the author for wrapping an epic fantasy in so little pages, make it and it's people believable.

There was a few missing words and grammar errors but very little and not very distracting at all. I got it when it was a freebie on Amazon but it's worth spending money on it if you are interested.
Rogue's Pawn - Jeffe Kennedy I was very surprised that I actually liked this book. I loved the witty remarks that Gwen made while she tried to mesh concepts of her own reality with her adventures. I especially loved how Gwen fumbled about her actions because the 'rules' were not clear.

I don't know much about fae lore but it was central to the world building of this story...problem is that it was not explained to the reader nor the heroine. It made for interesting reading because you assume things to go a certain way. It was fun to guess what a Lord would want or how it is expected to behave....and have a different answer than the one you expect. I don't particularly like 'disciplining' of any characters and there was some of that in this book. It made me hate Rogue along with Gwen for a while even if I could see it had a purpose.

I think that I liked to hate the 'hero', which made the story more interesting in the end. The end or resolution could have been spread out into two more chapters to make the transition smoother. There are a lot of hints to other well known fairy tales in this story, you may like this one.
The Blinding Knife - Brent Weeks It's a wonderful world that Brent Weeks has created with rules and regulations. It has a somewhat light mathematical structure like you would expect of a science fiction novel. I personally loved it but the characters are not as likable as his other series. I feel that the author slacked in the quality of his writing and some editing would not have gone amiss yet I wished that the story lasted longer.

I will nevertheless read the next book because I have to know what comes next.
Once Bitten (Alexa O'Brien Huntress Book 1) - Trina M. Lee 2.5 Stars
I should have liked it. The cover was nice and a love triangle thrown in for good measure. The story was a little disjointed at times rending the flow uneven. The main flaw was that the characters were underdeveloped. The main leads characters had a lot of potential but they were not very consistent in their actions. I liked the theme, the magic elements Alexa's struggles and with her problems, maybe writing the story in something other than first person would have helped immensely.

I think the main problem for me was the Pack dynamics. I could not reconcile myself with a structure where the weakest link seems to be the Alpha. Granted he had a lot of issues but I can't see him remaining in power for years with that kind of baggage.

I must say that having read the two prequel...they characters are much better and I suspect that the quality of the overall series will improve so I'm not giving up on it just yet but I'm in no hurry to continue.
Ever After - Kim Harrison I was weary about this book because the previous one (A Perfect Blood) was quite slow and I was resentful about that. This installment reconciled me with the Hollow series. There was rarely a dull moment while Rachel got saddled with the fixing her botched leyline while Ku'Sox (and crap for brains) tried his best to oppose her.

I always liked the demon back story, glad to see Al, Newt and Dali taking a more prominent place in it to 'help' Rachel for a change. I always had a soft spot for Al's extravagant ways.

Trent chose this time to work with Rachel as a team for a change. His choices, none easy to make, have many consequences that he has to accept while owning his magic as a real ally to Rachel and the demons.

While very good delivery it was not without some issues, with all the events going on with the demons...the vampires are a bit left out. There was some pages thrown in which are a bit at odd with the short story published before Ever After.

After 11 books, I must admit that the series is still very strong. It is a difficult feat to keep interest of readers and can't wait for the last two books in the series.
The Shattered Dark - Sandy Williams When I read the Shadow Reader last year I loved the world of the fae that Sandy Williams created. The story picks up right after the events of Shadow Reader. We find McKenzie i the middle of the war for succession and now playing defense instead of offence. Ruling is harder than bringing down a King it would seem. The Nobles are not happy while McKenzie, Aren and Kyol are just trying to survive every assassination attempt.

As in any fae storyline, rules for succession and purity of Bloodline are necessary plot devices and this story is no exception. There is intrigue and sabotage enough too. My main problem is how the love triangle was handled in the book. This series is mainly UF so why do we have so much drama about McKenzie's feelings? It came to a point that it overshadowed the rest of the story and became detrimental to by own enjoyment of the plot.
NightDrake - Lara Adrian Free download from Smashwords 20/12/2012.

The idea and the world-building was interesting and would have made a good book, unfortunately it's only a novella.
Control Point - Myke Cole I stumbled upon this title because one of my favorite Fantasy author made a review of it. I've read more stories written by female authors lately than men....the fact that this story is written by a guy in the military also didn't hurt. I know nothing of the military life so I can't judge as for the plausible picture drawn in this book.

The premise is simple: what would happen if ordinary people suddenly developed magic abilities over the elements? All of a sudden your neighbor manifest abilities that are dangerous to himself and to the community. Who do you call when he does not report himself? You send special ops teams to kill the target. You get the military realism of Black Hawk Down with the social commentary and X-Men soldiers.

We follow Army officer Oscar Britton, with the military Supernatural Operations Corps, as the hunter becomes the hunted. He has always upheld the principles but now with a rare and prohibited magical power....it's die or agree to a deal with the devil: his own government.

It's not a rosy story at all. Oscar begins to question his views about life, what is socially acceptable, fanaticism and how the system is flawed.

It has a bit of first book syndrome but in all quite enjoyable.
Touch of the Demon - Diana Rowland Since the beginning of this series I was fascinated by the demon realm and in this book I had plenty of facts. There was a few punches I did not see coming and the story took a not so unexpected turn but still difficult to accept.
Seed - Rob Ziegler Free download from Night Shade Books 12/21/12 - Send an email to stillhere@nightshadebooks.com for the password to download this title for free in epub or mobi.
Angel's Ink - Jocelynn Drake I particularly liked Jocelynn Drake’s “Dark Days” series, I was experiencing withdrawal so I was pleasantly surprised to see that she had another new series. I was not completely sold on the Asylum Tales published before “Angel’s Ink” while friends did encourage me to continue.

New York City, set 100 years after the Great War between humans and Warlocks/Witches, is populated by all sorts of supernatural beings now living among the humans freely. The world-building is eerily similar to our modern day world. In many respect this aspect is comforting but I was expecting a higher level of sophistication/details, even for the trip to the Underworld.

The main protagonist Gage is a renegade Warlock and owner of a tattoo parlor. Gage can only use magic as self-defense otherwise face the council of the Ivory Towers controlling magic use. Those witches and warlocks have elevated themselves to the levels on Gods, raining their brand of evil on humans and supernaturals alike. Having been snatched at a young age by warlock recruiters, Gage’s moral sense was never bent during his training and why he bailed out. Obviously, Gage tried to help a young lady with a tattoo which started all his troubles. His good deed landed him in hot water and while he tried to correct his mistake his nemesis is out to get him.

I’m curious to see how this series progresses. The idea of mixing potions with tattoo ink can create lots of interesting opportunities.

Surviving Passion (The Shattered World, #1)

Surviving Passion (The Shattered World, #1) - Maia Underwood Set in a dystopian setting after an economical Crash a little community tries to survive in this new world order. It's an entertaining little story with 2 emotionally damaged people. Some other reviews point out that the romance elements are not very strong but in my mind if you were in their situation...you would not turn your emotional compass around that quickly.

This story is not a full length novel but it has all the backbone and framework to become one. For a debut novel, it is better than some I've read.

Should you read it? Well yes, if not having every little details tied up with a pretty nice bow does not concern you. Life is never neat and tidy, this story is the same.

On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1)

On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1) - Samantha Young This is the second book I read from this author. The first one was ok for me but with the astounding number of raving reviews for On Dublin Street...how could I not try it? It also helped that Samantha Young tried her hand at adult fiction.

I was not taken by Joss's story very much. It is hard to pass judgment on what a young teen would become after suffering the trauma that she did but I was expecting a more mature individual. The main character has suffered in the past but took herself in hand, moved and took care of herself as soon as she could. I fail to reconcile this picture with the emotional disconnected person falling for a serial-dater like Braden.

I still gave it 3 stars because even if the main couple had a lot of drama going, the sexually-charged relationship was hot. It made for pleasurable interlude of never-ending denial rant and self flagellation. It was just a bit too thick for my taste but could be right your alley.
Bound by Night - Amanda Ashley I'm afraid that I found the main protagonists having as much dept as a shallow pool. It was hard for me to believe that Elena would stay living with her uncle in today's day and age. I suppose that if it was set as an historical romance....some of the plot could have been more acceptable. It was a nice little romance nevertheless.