Series Review: Princess of Hell by Eve Langlais

Note: Blurb and cover is for the first book in the series, purely to avoid spoilers.

LDCoverHi, I’m Muriel, the only white sheep in a sea of black ones, and a virgin to boot. I am determined to wait for love, but my dad, more commonly known as Lucifer, just wants me to stop being an embarrassment. I’m hoping the hunk that I met in my bar will turn out to be the one–just looking at him makes my insides melt like marshmallows over the coals of hell, but trusting is hard when it seems everyone I get close to ends up trying to kill me.

Not only am I dealing with an extreme case of lust, there’s a new threat in hell, one my dad says to ignore. Something easier said than done since it seems everywhere I turn demons are trying to kill me. But I’m okay with that, because one thing I’ve learned being a princess of hell is that sometimes I have to grab a demon by the horns and slap it around a bit.

A rebellion in hell, demon assassins and scorching kisses, could my life get any more interesting?



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Review: What Ho, Automaton! by Chris Dolley

The Particulars: 
Steampunk, Bookview Cafe, available as e-book.
The Source: Purchased at Bookview Cafe
The Grade: B+
The Blurb:

Wodehouse Steampunk! Reggie Worcester and Reeves, his gentleman’s personal gentle-automaton, are consulting detectives in an alternative 1903 where an augmented Queen Victoria is still on the throne and automata are a common sight below stairs. Humour, Mystery, Aunts and Zeppelins!

The Review:
Two words sums up this collection: Wodehouse Steampunk.
The first one is about how Reggie and Reeves met, and the second they search for missing debutantes.
Both stories were fun to read. Reggie acts like an bored young noble man should act.  Reeves is the one with brains.   Emmeline is a debutante with a spine. They join up and search for the missing debutantes, and hilarity ensues.  Reggie had a lot of wild ideas,  Reeves managed to stop some of them. And oh my. I laughed a lot.  They fumbled around, while searching for the debutantes, but in the end they managed to find all of them.

When it comes to the setting, it felt very realistic, from the pressure to marry and behave properly, to the Victorians fascination with inventions.  The 1900’s were a time with a lot of experimenting, and this shows in the story.  It was nice that there were no zombies, or other paranormal aspects.  Instead the steampunk element came from the automatons, and the Promotheans.
The book was  well written, and I laughed a lot. But when I can to page 100 or so, I started to get a bit tired of the over the top humor.  Also, it didn’t feel like Reggie grew as a character. He was the same person at the end as he had been in the beginning.
Still, I’ll definitely read more by Chris Dolley.

Review: The Gods of Dream by Daniel Arenson

The Gods of Dream by Daniel Arenson
The Particular: Fantasy, Amazon, available as e-book
The Source: Free read from Amazon ( sometime during 2011)
The Grade: B
The Blurb:
What are dreams? Some think they are figments of our mind. But what if they were wisps of a distant, magical world… a world you could visit?

Twins Cade and Tasha discover Dream, the land dreams come from. It is a realm of misty forests, of verdant mountains, of mysterious gods who send dreams into our sleep. Cade and Tasha seek solace there; they are refugees, scarred and haunted with memories of war. In Dream, they can forget their past, escape the world, and find joy.

Phobetor, the god of Nightmare, was outcast from Dream. Now he seeks to destroy it. He sends his monsters into Dream, and Cade and Tasha find their sanctuary threatened, dying. To save it, the twins must overcome their past, journey into the heart of Nightmare, and face Phobetor himself.

The Review:
The blurb caught my attention, and when the author offered it as a free read on Amazon, I decided to take the chance. I am leery when it comes to indie books, since you never know what you get. I am glad I took the chance.
To me, this book felt like one of the old sagas, set in the unique world of Dream. Dream are filled with gods, speaking animals, and magical beings like the Pegacats. Dream is lush and sunny.
If Dream is sunny, Nightmare is dark and bleak. Nightmare is home to demons, and other monsters.
The contrast is stark, but it felt right. I liked how the bleakness of Nightmare affected Cade and Tasha.
I loved how all the characters, both gods, Elorians, and animals were prepared to fight for Dream. I liked how Moonmist, which was a protected princess, took charge of a large group of soldiers.
The book was good, but after awhile I started to wonder if Cade and Tasha would ever reach their goal. On the other hand, I don’t think the book could have been that much shorter.
Will I buy another book by Daniel Arenson? Yes. The price is decent, I liked it.  But, not the coming three months.  

Review: Mating Call by Emily Ryan-Davis

The Particulars: Paranormal Romance, Freya’s Bower, ebook
The Grade: B-
Source: Purchased at Fictionwise
The Blurb
Cora Phillips has witchcraft in her blood, but she’s convinced she inherited the recessive rather than the dominant trait. Her mother and sister are the real heiresses to the Lune tradition; Cora has neither the interest nor the inclination to take up the Dragonkeeper mantle. Years ago, she left the New York City Witch lifestyle to the other women in her family, and said goodbye to all the velvet and lace. However, during a moment of insomnia-induced insanity, she agrees to come back to celebrate Christmas/Winter Solstice with her family.

It comes as a shock to all three women when Cora, through clumsy fumblings to “get in touch with her goddess” at her sister’s urging, calls a pair of ancient dragons into her meditation circle.

Cora swears it’s a mistake. Her mother swears it’s the correct course of events. Eventually, every Dragonkeeper issues the call to mate. Problem is, nobody expected Cora to summon even a single dragon, let alone two.

Before long, the dragons’ guardians come knocking, literally, and ruin any hope of politely apologizing and returning the creatures.

The review:
This is another book that I have wanted to read for years, but never got around to. I purchased it at Fictionwise a couple of months ago.
I enjoyed the story. It was interesting to read about Cora and her adamant disbelief in magic, while her mother and sister didn’t hide the fact that they are witches. It took a couple of pages before the story hooked me, but once I was hooked I kept on reading. The worldbuilding was intriguing, with witches and Dragons and Shamans. I liked the characters. From Cora’s skepticism, to Diane’s cheerfulness. I smiled when Diane told Cora to stay away from Salim, but didn’t explain why. I liked the way the hints to the characters secrets were scattered through the story.
I felt that the story had a lot of potential, but that due its length, it felt a bit short. Maybe it was because of the length, but I didn’t feel that the characters grew emotionally. A bit more worrying was the fact that I didn’t feel that there was an romantic subplot until the end of the book. This might be because of the fact it is the first book in a triology, though.
Will I get the rest of the books in the series?
Probably. I think the story would have benefitted from being published in an omnibus with the other stories.

Review: A cold day for murder by Dana Stabenow

The particulars: e-book, mystery, backlist.
Grade: C
The blurb:
Somewhere in the hinterlands of Alaska, among the millions of sprawling acres that comprise Park,a young National Park Ranger has gone missing. When the detective sent after him also vanishes, the Anchorage DA department must turn to their reluctant former investigator, Kate Shugak. Shugak knows The Park because she is of The Park, an Aleut who left her home village of Niniltna to pursue education, a career, and the righting of wrongs. Kate’s search for the missing men will take her from self-imposed exile back to a life shehad left behind, and face-to-face with people and problems she’d hoped never to confront again.

The first novel in the popular Kate Shugak Series, A Cold Day for Murder established Dana Stabenow as a new voice in Alaskan mystery writing, and earned her an Edgar Award

The review:
What I liked:
I downloaded this several months ago since it was free and had won a Edgar Award. I didn’t read it until now. I must say, that I am having a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It is set in a small, remote Alaskan town surrounded by national park that is unexploited. The story starts out slow, and it takes 30-40 pages before it picks up pace. ( Honestly, there were several times when I was about to stop reading). But I liked Kate Shugak, and I wanted to know the solution to the murder mystery. So, I kept reading about how she visited her friend and family, trying to find clues. For a long time, I felt that she was fumbling in the dark. She grew on me, and I laughed when she ripped Jack a new one. In my eyes he deserved it, and she needed it.
I must admit that the end took me by surprise, but it made sense in a way.
What I didn’t like:
The thing that bothered me the most was the description. There were long paragraphs describing how the wilderness looked like. And, that’s it. There were no foreshadowing, they didn’t add anything to the plot. Except padding the book.
And the characters. All of them were excentric in some way. I didn’t have any problems keeping the main characters apart, but I got confused about a couple of the side characters.
An promising novel set in an interesting setting. I will probably get the next one since this was Dana Stabenow’s first novel.

Review: Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews

Silent BladeSilent Blade by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 The blurb:
On Meli Galdes’ home planet, the struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport—in business and on the battlefield. For years her lethal skills have been a valuable asset in advancing her family’s interests. She’s more than earned her right to retire, but her kinsmen have one last favor to ask.

Kill the man who ruined her life.

The Review:
Since Silver Shark was released today, I decided to review the prequel. The world of the Kinsmen is fascinating. At the same time high tech, yet it almost feels regency when it comes to the families. I’ll admit, the fact that Meli was engaged to Celino at the age of 10 felt wrong, yet it is a part of society. I loved how Meli accepted the contract, and used all she knew about Celino to snare him in.

The result is a delicious dance of love past and present. As she plans to get her revenge, Celino falls hard. And so does she. Yet she walked away. I loved that, there felt like poetic justice. But, they get their HEA, so don’t worry. And I loved the ending. It fit the story perfectly

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Review: Ada Nish Pura by Lazette Gifford

The Particulars:  Science Fiction, Smashwords, e-book
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Buy at: Smashwords
The Blurb:

Fighter Pilot Marcus Trevor is the only survivor of a treacherous attack against the star ship on which he served. Injured and alone, he must take refuge on the world of Kailani, a place of vast stretches of water and where a large portion of the population is genetically adapted to living in the sea.
With the enemy taking over this mineral rich world, Marcus must workwith the locals while waiting for help to return. And it is here that he learns the true meaning of civilization and honor.

My impression;

Lazette Gifford has quickly become one of my favorite authors. By picking up one of her books, I know I’ll get a good story.   This book is Science Fiction, unlike the previous books I have read by her.  The world is water dominated. It was fascinating to read how the species had adapted to the water.   The plot was a bit slow at times, but I liked it.  The slower pace made it possible to enjoy the world.     
The Seaborn and the Isu were suspicious towards Marcus in the beginning, which was logical. They had had bad experiences with the IWC.  I loved how they used the rebels ignorance about the world to fight against the rebels.   And the characters felt like human beings, with good and bad sides.  During the book all of them suffered somehow. They fought to save their culture, to survive.    
The end was satisfying, and tied up all the lose threads.

It is Part of Smashwords sale, so go and pick it up! At 0.99 it is a bargain.

Review: The Sergant’s Lady by Susanna Fraser

The Sergeant's LadyThe Sergeant’s Lady by Susanna Fraser

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Particulars: Historical Romance, Carina Press, e-book.

The Review:
The blurb:

Highborn Anna Arrington has been “following the drum,” obeying the wishes of her cold, controlling cavalry officer husband. When he dies, all she wants is to leave life with Wellington’s army in Spain behind her and go home to her family’s castle in Scotland.

Sergeant Will Atkins ran away from home to join the army in a fit of boyish enthusiasm. He is a natural born soldier, popular with officers and men alike, uncommonly brave and chivalrous, and educated and well-read despite his common birth.

As Anna journeys home with a convoy of wounded soldiers, she forms an unlikely friendship with Will. When the convoy is ambushed and their fellow soldiers captured, they become fugitives—together. The attraction between them is strong—but even if they can escape the threat of death at the hands of the French, is love strong enough to bridge the gap between a viscount’s daughter and an innkeeper’s son?

My impressions:
I picked up this last year, when Kobo had offered selected Carina Press titles for 0.99. For a number of reasons, I didn’t get around to read it until now. This book is on many levels a complex story about survival and second changes. The characters suffers through the whole novel. Even when they are in camp, there is some sort of trouble. The plot is gripping, and with unexpected plottwists. But what I really loved with this book is the settings. I love how the setting is described in a blunt honest way. The dangers with being on the trail, in enemy land, isn’t hidden. But, despite the plotting, and setting which is good I felt that the characters were lacking. Oh, they weren’t bad. They were flawed, but I didn’t feel that they grew. Or maybe it was there and I didn’t discover it.

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Review: Silky by Lazette Gifford

SilkySilky by Lazette Gifford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Buy at: Smashwords

The particulars: Silky by Lazette Gifford, Fantasy, Smashwords, available as e-book and print.

The review:

The blurb:
Captured as a child and sold into heartless slavery, life has robbed Silky of his magical abilities and left him with no expectations of a better life — until his own act of bravery delivers him into the hands of a powerful Lord of the Land.

His troubles are far from over since Lord Reed is out of favor with the King and danger threatens at any mischance. Working with Lord Reed starts him along a path that will lead to power, danger and heartbreak — and a future the young slave boy could never have imagined.
My impression:
I bought this when the author ran a Memorial weekend sale, dropping the price to 0.99. A bargain, honestly, considering that the book is 500 pages. The plot felt a bit slow at the beginning, but that could be because this is an YAish fantasy. The world felt solid, with a couple of interesting twists. One of the things I liked most, was the fact that there was a parliament, remiscent of how it was in the 20th century Europe. In fact, a couple of times it felt like I was reading a Regency novel- with magic, and no romance.

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Free e-books from Carina Press

This week, Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital first arm, is having a campaign this week.  They issue a coupon, valid for one day, $0 at checkout. The good thing is that the e-books are DRM free .

Mon 6/20
The Debutante’s Dilemma by Elyse Mady

Tues 6/21
Demon’s Fall by Karalynn Lee
Coupon code: DEMONFREE

Wed 6/22
The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale by Christine Bell
Coupon code: TWISTEDFREE

Thurs 6/23
Blue Galaxy by Diane Dooley
Coupon code: GALAXYFREE

Fri 6/24
Friendly Fire by Megan Hart