Book Haunt

Book and animal lover of epic proportions.  I read a little of everything. Love SF/Fantasy, mysteries and historical fiction. Oh who am I kidding!  I love ALL books!  I've been an avid reader all of my life.  Mom used to catch me with a flashlight under the covers reading way past bedtime!  I am my most content when I have a book in my hand and feel that a life without books is no life at all!



The Price of Valor (The Shadow Campaigns #3) by Django Wexler

The Price of Valor: Book Three of the Shadow Campaigns - Django Wexler

Queen Raesinia Orboan of Vordan is shaking things up with her new appointments within the Royal Army.  She is also handling the political upheaval that has followed the death of her father.  Former champions of her cause are new potential enemies that may try to bring her down.  The new Chairman of the Directory of National Defense, Johann Maurisk may have information that could be the end of her.  It has become necessary for her to go into hiding from potential assassins.  Close by her side is Sothe, who is no longer her personal maid, but the new Head of Household and much more.  She also has a new champion in the form of Marcus D’Ivoire, a stalwart and trustworthy military man.  Together they work to overturn the repressive elements within Vordan.


Meanwhile, Janus bet Vhalnich, is now in charge of the Royal Army, and his trusty soldier Winter Ihernglass has been promoted once again.  Within their own ranks, Winter’s love, Jane along with her new regiment, the Girls’ Own are becoming a thorn in the side of the Royal Army.  Vhalnich is marching the army to Elysium to confront the Priests of the Black, agents of the Elysian church.  The question is, can they overcome these dark forces who want possession of The Thousand Names, the mysterious artifact that was taken by Janus in book one. They must fight the enemy each step of the way and the demon that Winter carries within may be the most necessary weapon in defeating the true enemy, The Penitent Damned.


Janus remains the ever enigmatic general he has been throughout the first two books.  A strong force, he still appears to be fighting for something good but will we ever know what this guy is really up to?  Wexler keeps us guessing!   Anyone would be glad to have Marcus by their side, but he may be a bit out of his element when he is left behind in the midst of Vordan’s political upheaval.  Although this does leave him time to iron out some of his past and develop a burgeoning relationship with Raesinia.  Winter is one of the strongest female characters I’ve seen in a series.  She is just plain badass and gettin’ badder!  Raesinia is still growing on me as one of the characters introduced in book two and I do like her, but I’m not sure about Jane, Winter’s love interest, who was also introduced in book two.


I can’t recommend this series enough!  Django Wexler has yet to disappoint.  He is a very strong writer, keeping fans riveted book after book while balancing a multitude of storylines.  I am enthralled with these characters and each element that Wexler has introduced along the way.  As ever, Wexler’s strongest writing is on the battlefield.  I have yet to run into another author that writes his battlefield scenes with such talent time after time.   He also continues to adeptly build on the storylines of each of the characters, never really leaving anyone off on the sidelines.  For the stalwart fantasy fans, the magical element is taken up several notches here in book three.   I like it, I love it, I want some more of it!


Goliath by Shawn Corridan

Goliath: A Thriller - Shawn Corridan, Gary Waid

Captain Nicholas Borodin and his crew embark upon their first voyage at the helm of the new, revolutionary and very massive oil tanker called the Bennkah, which means Goliath. The Russian tanker is a ship to end all ships, the largest one ever built. The Bennkah will hold so much oil that it’s predicted to influence the price of oil around the world. But early into its voyage on the Bering Sea a fire erupts onboard and Captain Borodin is forced to call for help.

Aboard his salvage boat, Captain Sonny Wade hears the Mayday and rallies his crew to head out and save what they can. Sonny is not the only one headed towards the ship. He has some stiff competition from his old boss, the very ambitious Dan Sharpe, who owns the largest and most successful salvage company around. Dan is also the one who fired Sonny after a disastrous incident that left his reputation and marriage in ruins. The race is on to see which salvage team can reach the Bennkah first, but both teams are heading into danger. For as the Bennkah begins to succumb to the fire, the tanker’s captain is the only person aware that there is much more at risk than the oil spilling into the sea.

The characters and storyline are a bit “cookie-cutter” here but if that sounds like a bad thing, it’s not! I like to read these kinds of adventure thrillers as fluff, meaning that I fly through them without a care in the world and I don’t have to think too much. That’s good right? I think so or I wouldn’t continue to read them. I am also rather fond of stories at sea. I can’t think of anything more horrifying than being out there with nowhere to go but down! Always a bit chilling! Kudos to the authors for what struck me as exceptional descriptions throughout the book. Clive Cussler and Lincoln & Child fans come to mind when recommending this book.

I want to thank the publisher (Oceanview Publishing) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Miracles (The Divine Cities) - Robert Jackson Bennett

STOP right here!  If you haven’t read the first two books in Robert Jackson Bennett’s The Divine Cities series yet, add them to the top of your list!  You don’t know what you’re missing!  City of Miracles just won’t read the same without having read the City of Stairs and City of Blades.


Shara Komayd is a legend, one who has received a vast number of death threats.  As a former covert agent and then the Prime Minister, Shara battled gods and enemies, wreaking great changes in the world.  Shara cleaned house at Parliament before she herself was given the boot.  During her heyday, Shara had a lot of help from her friends!  One of the most memorable of those is Sigrud je Harkvaldsson, a great brute of a man (think Viking).  Shara rescued Sigrud from prison and he worked with her and protected her every step of the way.  Then there is General Mulaghesh who shined so brightly in those battles.  She is brilliant, damaged and IMHO, a great hero in her own right.  I love these characters and I’m invested!     


In City of Blades, hell hath no fury like Sigrud je Harkvaldsson!  Still haunted by the death of a loved one and the revenge he took thereafter, Sigrud has lived in hiding now for 13 years.  He’s moved from job to job, keeping a low profile.  (Well…as low a profile as he can manage, you know…being Viking-like and all!)  Ever-faithful to his comrade-in-arms Shara Komayd, he knows that one day she will clear his name and summon him to her side once again.  Yet when he finally has news of Shara, it’s only to learn that she has been assassinated, and even though he is a wanted man, he knows it’s time to come out of hiding.  He must find out who killed Shara and take revenge.  He also finds himself thinking of her adopted daughter, Tatyana Komayd, wondering what will become of her.  He has only seen her once in her life but she’s the one thing he has left of his closest friend.   


Vengeance is the name of the game when it comes to Sigrud but he is still so likeable.  His revenge always seems to be for all the right reasons and this man could star in his own action movie.  He also oozes a heart of gold for those he loves.  His uncanny lack of aging is a mystery to him and us.  During his investigations, Sigrud discovers the fact that Shara still harbored some secrets at the end of her life leaving him with more questions than answers.  Look out, he’s about to open a whole new can of worms about the Divine!   


RJB chose to shift the focus to another character in each book which was a great tool and kept the series very interesting.  I’m not sure which he thought would turn out to be the most popular character but I know who mine is.  General Mulaghesh took the prize hands down in City of Blades.  This is a very well-rounded series, full of mystery, suspense, action and just plain good storytelling! 


Robert Jackson Bennett has become one of my favorite authors with his amazing The Divine Cities series.  I am really curious to check out some of his earlier books and I highly recommend you read this series!


I want to thank the publisher (Crown Publishing) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel - Eowyn Ivey

Look! It’s another book by Eowyn Ivey! OMG, yay! I just could not wait for this book to come out. Loved, loved, loved The Snow Child so much! 

To the Bright Edge of the World unfolds through the eyes of Joshua Sloan. As an exhibits curator at the Alpine Historical Museum in Alaska, he has been corresponding with Walter Forrester who has journals, letters and artifacts from his great-uncle Allen Forrester’s 1885 expedition across Alaska. As Joshua reads through the materials Walter shares with him, a great story in the tradition of Lewis and Clark unfolds.

Lieutenant Allen Forrester is chosen by the U.S. government to lead a reconnaissance team into Alaska and travel up the Wolverine River. His job is to map the territory, document the weather and record information about the native tribes. In addition, they are to ascertain how a military force would gain access to the region if the necessity were to arise. The last white men to attempt the Wolverine River territory were the Russians, who were killed by the Indians. Forrester is deemed the perfect man for the job as he won a medal when he led his regiment in a conflict with the Apache Indians. 

Forrester is a bit reluctant to accept the offer though. He is newly married to Sophie and they are expecting their first child. His wife Sophie also does not relish the prospect of being without her husband for a long period and having the baby arrive while he is gone. Nevertheless, duty calls and Forrester does accept the mission. Between his diary and letters to and from Sophie we learn of the hardships that Forrester and his party faced on the journey through Alaska. They faced severe weather, harsh landscape, low food stores and encounters with the natives. The mystical beliefs of the natives are woven throughout the tale but with Forrester being a no-nonsense sort of man, he doesn’t buy into their superstitious ways. Meanwhile, at home Sophie is worried about her pregnancy and she also takes up an interesting new hobby. 

What comes to mind when reviewing this book is that history shows us over and over that men were always exploring other countries, and oftentimes looking to conquer them. But why is it that these men always thought their way was the right way? Throughout the world, men came along and forced themselves upon an already existing culture and immediately start trying to change the things that didn’t conform to their beliefs. It’s been done time and time again. The native cultures’ belief systems often offered up new and magical ways to look at the world. Sadly enough, very little of that remains in modern times. 

I was somewhat surprised at the subject matter of this book when compared to The Snow Child. But when I think about it, it seems that Ivey is just giving us another glimpse of the home that she loves. This book is set 35 years later and is yet another portrait of the beauty and wildness of Alaska. While it’s not exactly the book I anticipated when I looked forward to Eowyn Ivey’s next book so eagerly, Ivey is such a magical writer and this is a very interesting foray into the early history of Alaska. I love Ivey’s style of writing! She manages to weave a tale that is based on a real-life military expedition and sprinkle magic touches in along the way! It’s not often that you see such a mixture and this author manages to leave you with a lovely picture of the world she is writing about. Read this book, it’s definitely worth your time! 

I want to thank the publisher (Little, Brown and Company) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

Surrender, New York by Caleb Carr

Surrender, New York: A Novel - Caleb Carr

See review at Book Haunt

Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart

Lady Cop Makes Trouble - Amy Stewart

It is 1915 in New Jersey and although Constance Kopp has been offered the job of a deputy working for Sheriff Heath, her position is not officially recognized by law due to the fact that she is a woman. That doesn’t deter Constance and she is determined to prove herself capable in a man’s world. But when a prisoner escapes on her watch, things don’t look good for her or Sheriff Heath. But have no fear; Constance will do her best to recapture the man even if it takes her all the way to New York City! The situations that Constance gets in are somewhat humorous and read like capers. Yet make no mistake, Constance is 100% dedicated to her job and she is as determined as they come. 

Her sisters, Norma and Fleurette perfectly compliment her in her adventures. Norma has taken her hobby to the next level and started her own organization for carrier pigeons. The ever-fashionable, young Fleurette dreams of being on the stage and a local music and dance program leads her to a job making costumes. 

There is a lot to appreciate here. The main characters and many others are based on real-life historical figures and actual newspaper headlines of the era. The books are historically accurate to their time and we get a true glimpse of what is must have been like for the real Constance to prove herself at a time when women just didn’t work in law enforcement. 

Although I wasn’t as tickled as I was with Girl Waits with Gun, the first book of the series, there is still a certain charm to the way Amy Stewart tells her story and I do look forward to reading the further adventures of Ms. Kopp!

I want to thank the publisher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) for providing me with the ARC through the Goodreads Giveaways program for an honest review. 

When I'm Gone by Emily Bleeker

When I'm Gone: A Novel - Emily Bleeker

I think that the Book Blurb describes this book well enough and I will leave it at that.  It’s a sentimental journey through one man’s grief and getting to know his wife in the ways he didn’t know her!  Not really my cup of tea but I did read it quickly and like Luke I wanted to know the mysteries about his wife that he didn’t know.  The problem is that the end didn’t really offer up any great surprises.  I found it a bit predictable.  All-in-all, just an okay read for me.  For those who are a bit more into the touchy-feely type books, you may appreciate it more. 


I won this book through a blog contest that was hosted by A Bookaholic Swede.  Check out her blog, you’ll love it!

The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler

The Shadow Throne - Django Wexler

As her father, King Farus Orboan VIII lies dying, Princess Raesinia Orboan is the next in line to inherit the throne of Vordan.  But Raesinia knows that she can only reign successfully if she can oust the Minister of Information, Duke Orlanko. 


The Duke is known as the most dangerous man in all of Vordan.  Underneath his lair lies the Cobweb, a place where the Duke imprisons and tortures those who are a threat.  Outside the walls of the Cobweb, Orlanko employs the Concordat, special agents who do his dirty work for him.  The Duke also possesses a special secret, one which will allow him to manipulate Princess Raesinia once she is in place on the throne, making him the king in all but name. 


But Princess Raesinia has her own hidden plans.  By day she plays a delicate, empty-headed princess; by night she is Raesinia Smith, one of a small circle working behind the scenes to free Vordan of Orlanko’s influence.  Raesinia’s group is slowly gaining influence on the people and when a charismatic young man named Danton is persuaded to join them, they believe that the time has come to put a bigger plan in motion.


Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich was sent to Khandar to suppress the rebellion.  Fresh off the heels of that battle, Vhalnich is summoned back to Vordan and appointed the Minister of Justice.  Vhalnich is accompanied by Captain Marcus d’Ivoire and Lieutenant Winter Ihernglass.  Vhalnich and company are the characters we know from The Thousand Names, book 1 in the series.  While Vhalnich remains an enigma to those serving him (and those reading about him), we continue to follow the paths of Marcus and Winter closely.  Marcus is returning to his home for the first time in 19 years and he is haunted by loss and betrayal.  Winter is trying to come to terms with all of the recent changes in her life and when she takes on a new assignment her past also resurfaces.


New and old characters alike keep this a riveting read from the very beginning and it’s full of political intrigue.  I settled into this book and got lost in another world, loving this series!

The Mermaid's Tale by D.G. Valdron

The Mermaid's Tale - D.G. Valdron

Okay, first of all who the heck is D.G. Valdron?!


About the Author

Den Valdron, is a reclusive writer, originally from New Brunswick, currently living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Over the years, he has published in print and online a variety of short stories of speculative fiction, and articles on obscure pop culture topics. Like many writers, his previous occupations have included mechanic, carpenter, schoolteacher, journalist and ditch-digger. He is currently an aboriginal rights lawyer. He loves B-movies and tries to be nice to people. The Mermaid’s Tale is his first published novel.


I know we usually see the “About the Author” bit at the end of a book and/or review but I wanted to put it first in my review today.  Why?  Because I want to hear more from this author soon! 


D.G. Valdron’s The Mermaid’s Tale feels like a new and fresh experience in the fantasy genre.  It features all the species that fantasy lovers are used to and some we don’t get to see often; vampires, orcs, giants, trolls, hobgoblins, goblins, dwarves, selkies, mermaids…  But these species are not cut from the same cloth we are used to and this time we are reading it from the POV of a female “arukh.”  How frickin’ fantastic is that?!


What is an “arukh” you ask?  Well, it’s another word for orc, defined here as a mixed breed, a cross between a vampire and a goblin, and these arukh do not have names.  Arukh is what they are!  The different species fall into levels in society and the arukh are at the bottom of the totem pole, known as soulless abominations.  The arukh life is one of brutality, often at its own hands.  They are a very violent species, full of anger and hatred at all things, which can come in very useful.  The dominant species see them as tools for the dirty work.  After all, they aren’t afraid of anything, they are mad, bad and dangerous to be around. 


The female arukh in question has been summoned to the waterside where the mermaids reside.  One of the mermaids has been butchered in a brutal fashion and this particular arukh is known for her smarts in these matters.  As the arukh works to unravel this murder mystery, we follow along with her and learn more about this crazy world of hers. 


Make no mistake; The Mermaid’s Tale does contain violence and graphic sexual situations.   This is a dark world, one of danger on all sides, teetering on the brink of a war between the species.  It’s also balanced with some hilarious banter with mermaids regarding sex and general playfulness.  The arukh’s interactions are captivating and her journey of self-discovery makes this one of the best books I’ve read this year.  So yes, I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author! 


I want to thank the publisher (Five Rivers Publishing) for providing me with the ARC through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program for an honest review.

The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch

He is known as The Thorn of Camorr, who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. The Thorn is a master swordsman, a great romancer of women, and a ghost who walks through walls. The Thorn is a commoner’s tale. Locke Lamora is nothing more than a Gentleman Bastard, who has mastered the art of the carefully orchestrated con. 

In the city of Camorr, there are ample opportunities for such, and it is rife with gangs. There is only one rule; all must abide by the Secret Peace. The Duke’s man, Capa Barsavi has a hold over all the gangs in Camorr’s criminal world. All who break the Secret Peace must answer to the Capa. Of course, he gets a cut of all the profits too. 

Locke is joined in his criminal schemes by his fellow Bastards, Jean Tannen, twins Calo and Galdo Sanza, and their new apprentice, Bug. All except Bug grew up learning their art under the tutelage of old Father Chains. He bought them as street orphans and taught them to be thieves, con artists and masters of disguise. Locke was quite the enterprising student and he was constantly trying to outwit and outplay his master. 

Someday, Locke Lamora,” he said, “someday, you’re going to f*** up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will s**t comets with glee. And I just hope I’m still around to see it.”

“Oh please,” said Locke. “It’ll never happen.”

As the Bastards begin their latest caper, the city is sent into turmoil. Capa Barsavi’s rule is being threatened by a new and unknown killer, the Grey King. Locke Lamora and the Bastards become unwilling pawns in a deadly game and its winner take all.

This book falls together so well. The author uses a series of ‘Interludes’ to build the history of his world and characters. I like this style of revealing the past. The ancient city of Camorr is described in rich detail and I picture it my mind as being somewhat like Venice, although I’ve never had the pleasure of going there. I also love the interplay and bonds of friendship between the Bastards. They take what they have and make an adventure out of it. Locke is just a regular guy without any special strength or magic, getting by on wit alone.

Lies of Locke Lamora is grim, dark fantasy at its best. Heed my warning that there definitely are dark parts! There are also many playful quips along the way that help balance it out! This is an adult book and I feel compelled to add for the sake of some of my followers that there is profanity used, which may strike this off some of your TBR lists right away. Overall this is just a great book! I keep hearing that the series gets better and better from here on and I believe it. The end leaves us with a nice opening for future storylines with a simple statement.

“Old sins will never be buried so deep that they cannot rise again when least expected.”

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

Don't You Cry - Mary Kubica

When Quinn Collins set out to live on her own, she answered an ad for a roommate and moved in with Esther Vaughan never dreaming that Esther would turn out to become her best friend.  Then one morning she awakes to the sound of Esther’s alarm going off but Esther’s not in her room and her bedroom window is wide open to the freezing cold Chicago air.  Surely she didn’t climb down the fire escape in the middle of the night!  Quinn waits in vain for Esther to return but it doesn’t happen.  It seems that Esther has disappeared!  Was she kidnapped?  Did she run away from something?  Quinn idolizes Esther and she can’t imagine what has happened to her.  She enlists the help of her friend Ben from work and tries to figure out where Esther is.  But the more Quinn tries to puzzle through what happened to Esther, the more she realizes how little she really knows about her friend.  She’s beginning to think that Esther is not the saint that she always imagined. 


Meanwhile, in a small town near Lake Michigan, a young man named Alex Gallo has given up his dream of college to take care of his father who became a good-for-nothing drunkard when his mother left.  He spends his hopeless days working as a dishwasher in the Priddy’s café.  One day a new customer comes in and she’s a young woman he has never seen around town before.  Alex gives the woman the name “Pearl” and he finds her to be quite an intriguing mystery.  He sets his sights on finding out more about her.  But Alex’s boredom and loneliness may be leading him down a dangerous road.


Don’t You Cry is full of suspense and the details of each storyline will keep the reader guessing right up until the end.  Piece by piece the puzzle falls into place until the big reveal.  This is one of those where you think you have it all figured out but you never quite get there.  A fast-paced and compelling read!


I want to thank the publisher (Harlequin- US & Canada) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

Old Records Never Die: One Mans Quest for His Vinyl and His Past by Eric Spitznagel

Old Records Never Die: One Man's Quest for His Vinyl and His Past - Eric Spitznagel, Jeff Tweedy

Eric Spitznagel got it into his head one day that life just wouldn’t be the same unless he could recover his lost record collection.  We’re not talking about just any old piece of vinyl; he wanted the actual record that was in HIS collection, the ones he shared with friends, the ones he sold, the ones he stashed his weed in.  His quest takes him on a journey through many a used record store, basement sale and out-of-town record expo.  But this isn’t just a physical journey, it’s also a spiritual one, as Eric recalls the magical moments of the past that reside in his soul and are connected to each piece of music he hunts for. 



Wow, Eric….I SO GET THAT!  Records had character…fingerprints, warps, scratches, writing on the covers!  I too am a vinyl junkie, but unlike Eric, I have never parted with my vinyl.  Having worked in a record store when I was younger, I have a LOT of vinyl.  It would be like taking a piece of my soul to get rid of certain records. 



Does anyone remember that “if you could only bring one album to a deserted island, what would it be?”  Eric certainly does!  I mean come on; this was a standard question in the days of vinyl.  In today’s electronic age only those of us who lived through the vinyl years know how badly we miss it.  What a world of difference it felt like sitting and listening to music while holding the sleeve in your hand and examining it.  It’s about so much more than the music.  It’s about the people you listened with, the thoughts going through your head, what you were doing at that precise moment, the arguments with friends over this song or that song, this musician or that musician...  So many memories are wrapped up in that one piece of vinyl, moments in time as vivid today as they were those many years ago.  Something about vinyl could be so comforting, creating a world of illusion all its own!  I just have no idea how you can get that same vibe listening to downloaded music.


So I guess you could say I identified with this book, LOL!  All vinyl junkies will!  For the readers who weren’t around in the vinyl days, just read it to understand.  The great foreword by Jeff Tweedy will help you on that score too!


I want to thank the publisher (Penguin Group PLUME) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

Empire of Ivory (Temeraire #4) by Naomi Novik

Empire of Ivory - Naomi Novik

Finally, Laurence & Temeraire and company have arrived home after more than a year away.  Also in tow are the feral dragons, Tharkay, the rescued Huguenots and the baby dragon, Iskierka.  The home front has markedly changed though and not for the good.  Temeraire’s fellow dragons that were left behind in England have been hit by an epidemic, some kind of dragon consumption.  The consumption has killed some and left others badly weakened, one of which is Maximus, who will not last much longer without a cure.  Also of consequence is the fact that England is desperately trying to keep Bonaparte from getting wind of the dragons’ sickness.  Laurence is also quite interested to see that his father’s political friends are beginning the parliamentary campaign to abolish slavery.  Somewhat to his consternation, Laurence also finds that his foreign adoption has been a bit embellished and he is somewhat of a celebrity. 


The side issues in Black Powder War have now been brought to the forefront.  Temeraire is still in a huff that the dragons in England are not treated with the same reverence as the dragons in China.  He despairs of a return to the boredom of patrolling the English Channel, especially in the company of the feral dragons that Tharkay recruited, as they have been behaving badly. They desperately need Tharkay’s help in settling the feral dragons into the Corps, but with the other dragons sick they also need him to return to Turkestan and bring more feral dragons to Her Majesty’s service.  Granby has his hands full with Iskierka, the baby dragon, who is quite a little hothead and hard to keep a handle on!  Temeraire doesn’t need to worry about boredom for very long though.  Laurence and Temeraire are sent to Capetown to seek a cure for the dragon sickness.  Once in Africa, they run afoul of a tribal king and things will only get worse from there.  They also bear up-close witness to the harrowing plight of the indigenous people as they are kidnapped by white men and forced into slavery. 

(show spoiler)


I still think this is a great series for kids.  They will get to explore the world through the eyes of dragons and learn some history as they read along.  Each book is an adventure.  That being said, there are spots where I feel this series needs to be revved up a notch.  I feel a little as if I’m on repeat when reviewing these books.  The author covers a lot of territory so why does it seem like such slow going when I’m reading?  The series has become very formulaic and I still find that I am not as big of fan of Novik as most fantasy readers.  This series is good but for me it’s just not great.  I must admit that for a small amount of time I had even confused Jane Roland with Catherine Harcourt, so I may have drifted off a bit somewhere along the line.  It seems that Roland has become an admiral and Harcourt has been embroiled in a romantic relationship!  Luckily, I do like both Will and Temeraire and I was charmed by the first book so I still want to see where this is going.  The saving grace in these books is the utter charm of Temeraire which is why the series is named for him I guess!  That’s good because I still have five books left to review.  I am also hearing rumors that Peter Jackson holds the film rights and I like the idea that with the publication of the 9th book this series does come to an end.  Some series just go on too long and I just don’t know if Novik can recapture that feeling of newness the premise had in the first book.  I am crossing my fingers that I can be won over more completely.

Beyond the Veil by Jessica Majzner

Beyond the Veil - Jessica Majzner

In the village of Valwood there is a centuries-old feud between the humans and the immortals that border their lands.  The Elders rule the village and they now have a tentative truce with the werewolves.  Vampires and werewolves have been banished from the village.  There is a wall dividing their territory from that of the werewolves and it is known that any crossing of boundaries will result in the forfeit of lives. 


17 year-old Natalya is the daughter of one of the Elders in Valwood.  She is a vampire huntress, even more powerful than her mother, who was killed by the most-feared vampire around, Arkadith.  When Natalya goes into the woods with her mentor Anesa, they are led into a trap and Anesa is killed by Arkadith too.  Natalya vows revenge against Arkadith for all he has done and she refuses to let anything stop her. 


Natalya travels deep into the forest on the trail of Arkadith.  The trail she follows takes her into the Ruins and the forbidden territory of Claw Haven.  This is where she will run into the first werewolves she has ever seen.  It is here that Natalya meets Voren, a werewolf who seems to be the complete opposite of everything she has been taught.  Voren opens Natalya’s eyes to the rich culture and beliefs of the werewolves and how some of them see their existence as cursed.  They have lived as enemies of the vampires too and they tell Natalya of how the curse may be lifted if Arkadith is defeated.  Natalya has learned more of the truth of the werewolves than any human before her.  She wants to seek an end to the war between humans and immortals.  But Arkadith has a different ending in mind and when Natalya doesn’t return home the humans seek vengeance on the werewolves.


This is a tale of tragedy to be told in the dark of night.  There is nothing pretty about this story, these werewolves and vampires are to be feared.  I did particularly like the werewolves’ storyline and felt great empathy for them.  But if you’re expecting the usual supernatural YA romance story, you will be disappointed.  If you would like a more realistic look at what is probable in a world where humans live side-by-side with immortals, this will definitely not disappoint.  I could easily see this as a graphic novel too!  Beyond the Veil is very unpredictable and a fresh take on the usual. 



Daddy Dearest by Paul Southern

Daddy Dearest - Paul Southern

My daughter has always had a thing about lifts.

Every time she walks in, I imagine it’s the last time I’ll see her.

That leaves a gap of thirty seconds. You’d be surprised what can happen in that time. I was.


Daddy Dearest is written a bit differently than most books you read.  It is told from the first-person perspective of a father who remains unnamed.  Right at the beginning we learn that his worst fear has come true.  While enjoying his custodial visit one weekend, his beautiful little girl got into the elevator and the doors closed before he made it in.  When daddy gets to the bottom floor, his daughter is nowhere to be found.  As the police investigation into his little girl’s disappearance unfolds, daddy goes back in time to tell us more, more about himself, more about his daughter, more about his distinctive view on life.


Let me just say that right from the start of this book I found the father unlikeable.  He’s a balding, middle-aged, anti-social actor who complains about his neighbors’ noise, makes comments about race, gays, bohemians, the underclass…and yet, he proclaims himself to be PC!  He just seems to hate the outside world in general and comes off as a real creepazoid.  Don’t get me wrong, I think that this is definitely what the author wants you to feel.  He paints a picture of a very troubled man with some real problems who seems to have only one redeeming quality.  The one thing this daddy dotes on in life is his little girl.  She is his treasure and life is just better when she’s around.  Even his ex-wife thinks he’s a wonderful father and that counts because he really cares about what other people think.  His very existence has been validated since becoming a father.


The book is well-written and as a side note, there were quite a few words here that had never made it into my vocabulary which I found interesting.  That’s quite uncommon but I love looking up new words!  If you are looking at the cover and the title of this book thinking it’s a bit spooky, you’re not wrong there.  Daddy Dearest is a dark and deeply disturbing psychological thriller.  One of those books that makes your skin crawl.  Here it’s because the author takes an unflinching look at a very flawed human being, and he’s manipulating the reader as he goes about it.  I feel like you will either love it or hate it.  As for me, I was somewhere in the middle, but I did keep turning the pages to find out what really happened.  This is where I think the author shows some real talent because I have to say it went in a direction I was so not expecting.  But then I really wondered…why didn’t I expect that?  As I said, manipulation, people!  So I will leave you to decide for yourself.  Check it out!


I want to thank the author Paul Southern for providing me with a copy of this book through the BookLikes Giveaways program for an honest review.

Mercy (The Guardians #1) by Wendy Saunders

Mercy - Wendy Saunders

See review at Book Haunt


$0.00 on Amazon Kindle

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