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Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Intrigue, forbidden love, and dark secrets await you in this second installment from bestselling author Cassandra Clare.

lord of shadowsTitleLord of Shadows
AuthorCassandra Clare
SeriesThe Dark Artifices 02
Publish Date: May 23, 2017, Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Los Angeles, 2012. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to the eradication of demons and being the best, fastest and deadliest Shadowhunter since Jace Lightwood. Raised in the Los Angeles Institute, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian. As Emma hunts those who caused the death of her parents, the trail they’re following leads back to those they’ve always been taught to trust. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with Julian — her closest friend and, because he is her parabatai, the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

I became a huge fan of Cassandra Clare after reading The Mortal Instruments series. This series is quite engaging as well. The only real issue I had was that it just seemed too long to me. WHAT???? There is no such thing as too long when you are an avid book reader right? In this case you would be wrong. The main plot kept getting interrupted by side stories that caused a lot of things to happen all at once. Some of the side stories were pointless and could have been cut.

One of the things I enjoyed about the first book was that it wasn’t focused on a love triangle. It was more centered around Emma questioning if she really loved Julian or if she loved him because he was her parabatai. I may have been a bit more forgiving if the love triangle in this book was between main characters but it is not. It focuses on Mark, Cristina, and Kieran and at one point, I was began to wonder if Emma/Julian/the Blackthorns were even the main characters in this trilogy anymore because we spent so much time with the love triangle (square if you count Perfect Diego) between Mark/Cristina/Kieran.

While I do think there were way to many POV’s and switching from one to another, I did love the parts about TY, Kit and Livvy. Their parts warmed my heart and made me want more. I will admit that while the ending tore out my heart and stomped on it (you hear me Cassandra? Tore it out and stomped on it!) It was a POW! ending that can’t be ignored.

badge4v5I hope the third installment brings more surprises and wraps up beautifully.  Even though it was way too long and there was an overload of POVs, it still held true to Shadowhunter lore and the original tales. I have to give it four runes.

Other recommendations…

Talon Series by Julie Kagawa, The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins.

 

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A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

The author of the beloved Iron Druid Chronicles delivers a high fantasy series rich in magic, history, and culture.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

A plague of giantsTitle: A Plague of Giants
Author: Kevin Hearne
Series: Seven Kennings 01
Publish Date: October 17, 2017, Del Rey
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Provided by publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionFrom the author of The Iron Druid Chronicles, a thrilling novel that kicks off a fantasy series with an entirely new mythology–complete with shape-shifting bards, fire-wielding giants, and children who can speak to astonishing beasts.

MOTHER AND WARRIOR
Tallynd is a soldier who has already survived her toughest battle: losing her husband. But now she finds herself on the front lines of an invasion of giants, intent on wiping out the entire kingdom, including Tallynd’s two sons–all that she has left. The stakes have never been higher. If Tallynd fails, her boys may never become men.

SCHOLAR AND SPY
Dervan is an historian who longs for a simple, quiet life. But he’s drawn into intrigue when he’s hired to record the tales of a mysterious bard who may be a spy or even an assassin for a rival kingdom. As the bard shares his fantastical stories, Dervan makes a shocking discovery: He may have a connection to the tales, one that will bring his own secrets to light.

REBEL AND HERO
Abhi’s family have always been hunters, but Abhi wants to choose a different life for himself. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Abhi soon learns that his destiny is far greater than he imagined: a powerful new magic thrust upon him may hold the key to defeating the giants once and for all–if it doesn’t destroy him first. Set in a magical world of terror and wonder, this novel is a deeply felt epic of courage and war, in which the fates of these characters intertwine–and where ordinary people become heroes, and their lives become legend.


Percy Procrastinator says…

I was very nervous about reading this series. The reason is quite simple—authors that I like for one series rarely catch me with their other series. Butcher’s Codex Alera and Cinder Spires didn’t thrill me as much as the Dresden Files, and Armstrong’s Cainsville series didn’t quite live up to the Women of the Otherworld series for me. While there are a few exceptions to this, this seems to be the general rule in my experience.

Kevin Hearne defied my expectations. This was an excellent start to what I hope is a gripping series, as gripping as his Iron Druid Chronicles.

Hearne manages to weave a tale of six peoples in six kingdoms that pulled me into their story. Each one has its own kenning, or magic, they practice. The titular giants make up the only nonhuman group, but the diversity of the humans astounds. Not so much in speech, as the story is recounted by a bard to a group of refugees, but in culture and appearance, each kingdom comes alive. When the bard mentions the Canopy, I knew he spoke about Forn. The best stone workers hail from Rael, while water kennings are from Brynlon. Only Ghurana Nent, or Nentians, stand alone with no kenning.

The title quickly comes into play as the giants of Hathrir, with their fire kenning, come to invade Ghurana Nent while at the same time, the other side of the continent sees Brynlon and Rael invaded by Bone Giants. Both deal with giants but in very different ways.

We learn about all of this from the bard Fintan as he entertains refugees of Byrnlon with what happened during all the “plagues.” Fintan gathered journals from people close to the events and shares with everyone. He then weaves a tale, switching back and forth from character to character. This allows us to learn about each people and their kenning and also how each invasion progresses.

I was hooked after fifty pages. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Would one giant invasion succeed while another failed? Would Abbi take up the spear to honor his family? Will Tallynd keep pushing herself beyond her limits? I wanted to know!

I did get this book as a physical book, and I appreciated that a lot due to the map in the front cover and the cast of characters in the first pages until I got to know them all. While I could have read it on an ebook, I think having those things available did help.

If I have any complaint about this book, it’s where it ended. Not everything was wrapped up, and I expected that, so that was fine. I do think that a few smaller things could have been explained in only four or five more pages, and that would have been more satisfying. That is not going to stop me from giving this a five-star rating! If you are a fan of Hearne, run out and get this now!

[Editor’s note – please don’t run as we would hate for you to fall and get injured.]

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Luna Lovebooks says…

I must admit when I saw the cover, even after reading the synopsis, my mind went straight to Vikings. I am not sure why. But what I got instead was one wild ride and a great start to a series with myths all its own.

The story is told from multiple points of view. All these views contribute to the overall story of how the giants came to the different lands. To be honest there are almost too many points of view. While each is distinct, I still found myself wondering who was who and what magic they could possess.

It took me a while to get intrigued and drawn in. I am not sure if this is because there were so much world building going on or the fact that I struggled to keep everyone straight, even with a little guide at the beginning as to who was who. Each character has his/her own nation, customs, language, and magic or kenning.

badge3v4I think I will have to rate A Plague of Giants at 3.5. The beginning didn’t flow well since there were so many characters but once I got used to the way the story was progressing it smoothed out. I haven’t decided if I want to continue the series yet but I hope my fellow readers will give it a try for themselves.

Other recommendations…

Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series, Raymond Feist’s Riftwar Saga, Feist and Wurts’s Empire TrilogyThe Glass Spare series by Lauren DeStefano, Swords & Fire series by Melissa Caruso

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Stork by Wendy Delsol

A cute start to a new series.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

StorkTitle: Stork
Author: Wendy Delsol
Series: Stork #1
Publish Date: October 16, 2016 by Candlewick Press
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Source: Provided by Publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionSixteen-year-old Katla has just moved from Los Angeles to the sticks of Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, she learns to her horror that she’s a member of an ancient order of women who decide to whom certain babies will be born. Add to that Wade, the arrogant football star whom Katla regrettably fooled around with, and Jack, a gorgeous farm boy who initially seems to hate her. Soon Katla is having freaky dreams about a crying infant and learns that, as children, she and Jack shared a near-fatal, possibly mystical experience. Can Katla survive this major life makeover and find a dress for the homecoming dance?

Drawing from Norse mythology and inspired by The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, debut author Wendy Delsol conceives an irreverent, highly entertaining novel about embracing change and the (baby) bumps along the way.


Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

I can definitely say that I have never read anything quite like this. An L.A. city girl is thrust into small-town life with many more surprises thrown in along the way.

The history described in this book is so creative and the mythos is new to me. I enjoyed getting lost in the unfamiliar world of the Stork Society and its unique customs. The symbolism in the dreams that Katla was having, and in the novel in general, were well thought out. I do wish a bit more time was spent on the society itself, but I also understand that we needed to get introduced to the players of the future novels.

Katla can be a bit brat-ish at times but she is only 16 so I will give her a pass. She has high fashion on the brain and, at times, thinks her sense of style is the only way to go. But she takes to her new duties like a champ. The romance between her and Jack can be a bit eye-roll inducing but it is cute none the less.

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There are some plot points that I guessed pretty early but there were many more that leave you with questions that I hope will be answered in future installments. I added this novel to my personal keep shelf and will be on the lookout for the next novel. I give Stork 4 feathers.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

My Life with the Lincolns by Gayle BrandeisEnchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst, Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

A Vampire’s Love by Eileen Sheehan

On Halloween, the veil between the supernatural world and ours is at its thinnest. Genice, a supernatural skeptic, is in for one wild ride!

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

A Vampires loveTitle: A Vampire’s Love
Author: Eileen Sheehan
Series: Standalone for now
Publish Date: October 15, 2017, Earth Wise Books
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Provided by Author

Publisher’s Description: Accepting an invitation to a paranormal investigation on Halloween night was supposed to help Genice disprove superstitions and myths. Instead, it brought encounters with ghosts, the death of a dear friend, and the awakening of a side of her she never knew existed. It was a vampire’s love that made it all worthwhile.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

I have read several of Ms. Sheehan’s novels. They are always great for a quick, steamy read. The characters are well written with the exception of one. Genice is a skeptic; she doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but she accepts that her new boyfriend is a vampire from another dimension and takes it all pretty well. This is a little unbelievable to me. I feel that if she has been a die-hard non-believer all her life, she would have a little trouble adjusting to the news.

It is interesting that vampires are from another dimension. I like that this novella adds to the vampire lore/mystery rather than going off old tropes. I look forward to hearing more about the vampire council and more about the other vampire characters in upcoming novels.

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There is lots of action and paranormal activity in this novel. Throw in some steamy sex scenes and you have yourself a novel to read while relaxing with a glass of wine. But beware there is are a couple of rape scenes that may disturb that peace.

I always look forward to these quick reads and enjoy them. I have to give this novella 3 fangs for good writing and well-written characters (for the most part).

Other recommendations…

Check out these other great reads by Eileen Sheehan: The Vampire, The Handler, and Me, Dark Escape, Vampire Witch

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Tarnished Journey by Ann Gimpel

This is the final book in the Soul Dance Series. Shifters, Romani, and Celtic gods do battle with demons and vampires who have signed on with Hitler in order to save Earth.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

tarnished-journey.jpgTitle: Tarnished Journey
Author: Ann Gimpel
Series: Soul Dance 04
Publish Date: July 18, 2017, Ann Gimpel Books, LLC
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
Source: Provided by Publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionLong before Germany rounded up Romani and sent them to prison camps, the Netherlands declared them undesirables. Yara’s caravan disbanded when she was fifteen to avoid being driven out of the country. Ten years have passed, and she’s been alone for most of that time hiding in caves and abandoned buildings. It’s been a lonely life, but at least she still has one.

Stewart conceals his true identity for the best of reasons. He’s not actually Romani, even though he’s been a caravan leader for many years. In a bold and desperate move, he joins a small band of shifters and Rom to fight the Reich’s chokehold on Europe. When they’re crossing the border into the Netherlands, vampires attack.

Yara senses Romani near her cave. The stench of vampire comes through loud and clear too, along with shifters. While not nearly as bad as vampires, her people have always steered clear of them. Another type of magic plucks at her. She can’t identify it, but it draws her from her hiding place. That decision tilts her world on its axis when she comes face to face with Stewart’s raw masculinity and savage presence. She could still turn tail and run. If she stays, it doesn’t require magical ability to recognize her life will change forever.


Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

I am almost sad that this series is ending. I was not sure at first, but it became one I greatly enjoyed. For Tarnished Journey we leave behind the vampires and Nazis (for the most part) and get into another mythos, that of the Celts. I enjoyed that aspect a little more than I did the previous novels.

I love that the author features strong women in her stories. Yara is no exception. She has had to be tough and independent since her caravan disbanded and she has been alone since she was fifteen. Meeting Stewart changes everything for her. He introduces her to a new life and reveals many secrets that have been kept from her such as where her power really comes from. I really enjoyed the romance between them. Stewart is very honest with her and genuine in expressing his love. Even though Yara fights him at first, their love had me rooting for them.

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There is a lot of action in the story and many twists. Readers never know what to expect next as the characters encounter all kinds of danger. Not only do they face vampires demons and the Nazis but now god and goddesses are thrown into the mix.Every chapter the characters face a new and exciting danger.

I liked this story better than the previous installments. I give it 4 talismans!

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

Check out the Dragon Lore series by Ann Gimpel, The Hathaways series by LisaKleypas, Gypsy Lord by Kat Martin

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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