Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Audio Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3
18hrs. 11min.
Narration: Khristine Hvam
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Available Now
Source: tbr pile
In this thrilling conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Karou is still not ready to forgive Akiva for killing the only family she's ever known. 
When a brutal angel army trespasses into the human world, Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat--and against larger dangers that loom on the horizon. They begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves--maybe even toward love. 
From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera, and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.
My thoughts:
I had read the first 2 books and when I got a chance I decided to try this one on audio. I would love to hear the first two read now. Khristine does a remarkable job and I loved the different inflection she gave to the characters. My favorite was Zuzana and I now can't hear her voice in any other way. :)

All your answers to any questions you have are solved in this book. There are even minor threads that have their conclusions. While for some this might feel like overkill, to me this was wonderful since you become so immersed into this world with Laini Taylor's writing. Her writing is as lyrical as the first two books and the world felt quite real to me. I enjoyed listening to it this time around... even for 18 hrs. :)

I think my only thing I can say about the audio is that because of the lush language it made it harder to do mundane things while listening to the book. The mind may wander and I didn't want to miss a second of the book. I didn't want any distractions.

I give this audiobook 4 stars. If you want to try fantasy but just don't know where to start, I would say to try this series. Even if you didn't love it as much as I did, I do think you would enjoy your time with this trilogy.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Awakened by Virna DePaul

Series: The Belladonna Agency #2
Publisher: Bantam
Available Now
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer for review
Ex-soldier Barrett Miles had no idea that vampires were real—until Belladonna recruits her to serve as a covert agent and infiltrate a murderous sex ring run by the most depraved of immortals, those who feed on the purity and blood of innocents. Their latest victim: a young girl whom Barrett promised to protect. She will be sold—unless Barrett can find her first. Forced to team up with her former lover, Nick Maltese, an undercover sniper, Barrett is caught between fulfilling her personal mission and shielding her heart from the man who betrayed her. 
Nick’s hunting a new breed of vampires and harboring a terrible secret when Barrett finds him. Soon a seething underworld of strange desires threatens to engulf them all. Can he save the girl and reclaim Barrett’s heart? Nick knows he has only one chance to prove himself to her as the hunt begins—and their love forces them to embrace the darkest places in their souls.
My thoughts:
 I did read the first book, but since each book features a couple, it can be read as a standalone. While I did get introduced to Barrett in the first book, it was only a slight introduction so the information I gathered from the first book wasn't major. And while I had some problems with the worldbuilding in the first book (what is the Belladonna agency... exactly?) I didn't get answers here either. I still feel that the books are slowly building to those answers as we keep meeting couples in this world. I am confident that the agency's secrets will be revealed in time.

I did enjoy the characters in this book. Barrett is all determined to rescuing a friend's daughter from a sex/blood ring for vampires. I also liked Nick and even though he was taciturn at the wrong moments, still managed to correct the oversight and tell Barrett how he felt. She took more time in that area, however. It was nice seeing the female as the one who had commitment issues. LOL I also ended up liking Jane, the victim whom they were trying to rescue. I'd like to see her in later installments kicking some arse because of her experience here. I think she has the personality for it.

While I did enjoy how these characters were put together, I did find a bit of a problem with the bad guy. He had such potential in becoming part of a story arc where he is a thorn in their side. However, in the end he just seemed too easy to defeat. I also felt that the main story could have been tightened up a bit and perhaps which would then leave more room for secondary character development... or at least tell us more about the various FBI agencies who seem to be involved. If that is to remain mysterious then I would like to know more about born vampires. I just need more worldbuilding!

I give this book 3 stars. I recommend it to those that enjoy a PNR with a bit of action. Be prepared to be at a bit of a loss with the worldbuilding. ;)
LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Friday, July 25, 2014

Doghouse by L. A. Kornetsky

Series: Gin and Tonic Mystery #3
Publisher: Pocket Books
Published: July, 22, 14
Source: From publisher for review
In the third novel in the entertaining (Library Journal) Gin & Tonic mystery series, the stakes are raised when Ginny Mallard and Teddy Tonica stumble on an underground dog fighting ring with bloody consequences. 
Even though she's unlicensed as an investigator, the infamously nosy Ginny Mallard has begun to make a name for herself as an unofficial champion of the tongue-tied. When a mysterious stranger comes to her with landlord trouble, she convinces her bartender friend Teddy Tonica to help her once more. Soon, they realize they might have got themselves tied up in an underground dogfighting ring. With the help of Ginny's pet shar-pei puppy and Tonica's tabby cat, they have to figure out what's going on before someone else gets hurt. Will twelve legs really be better than four?
My thoughts:
This is the third book, but you don't need to read them to start this book. While you might have missed some details about the main characters, the mystery is complete within this book. So it can be read as a standalone.

The mystery actually plods along and you are wondering exactly what you are dealing with in the mystery. You know it has to do with puppies and some illegal activity but no real clues are produced until the end. Even then the mystery doesn't quiet seem clear. The ending is quite messy but complete. It actually feels more realistic and as if in real life it would happen that way. While the story line for the humans seems to be slow, the inner dialog with the animals (yes, you get inside their heads) was quite entertaining. I would have loved to see more involvement with the animals even though they couldn't directly communicate with their humans.

I give this book 3 stars. I recommend it to those that really like animals and cozy mysteries.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color by Felix Schienberger

Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Available Now
Source: Blogging for Books for review
A guide that shows painters, drawers, doodlers, and urban sketchers how to bring their drawings to life with colorful, bold, yet accessible painting methods. 
Watercolor sketching is a rapidly emerging technique that enlivens sketches done in pen or pencil with the expressive washes, glazes, and luminous hues of watercolor . This lushly illustrated resource teaches artists on the go how to sketch with watercolor, rendering subjects efficiently and without inhibitions. Readers are guided through all aspects of the medium, from fundamental techniques including wet-on-wet, glazing, and washes; materials and supplies; and little known tips and tricks for getting the most out of watercolor (for example, just sprinkling a little salt on your painting creates a texture that's impossible to achieve with a brush.) A strong focus color theory provides a solid foundation for enhancing drawings with vibrant hues.
My thoughts:
 I'm always on the lookout for inspiration to help me sketch. Confession: I do not sketch but all artists need to sketch. I know this and yet I still don't do it. *hangs head in shame* Since my primary medium is watercolor I was happy to review this book.

The book is wonderful for the beginner. It has some great information including some history of watercolor presented in a way that isn't boring. Plus all the illustrations throughout the book keep the book feeling light and fun. I even learned something. The author suggest using alcohol (yes the kind you drink) if you are confronting bad weather like extreme cold. While the alcohol might dull the colors a bit, you might get some interesting play on the paper. While this was a good epiphany, the rest of the book was a rehash of things I already knew. So, therefore, I would recommend the contents of the book to beginners on the watercolor journey.

I did have few criticisms of the book. One was when the author was describing glazing. This technique is often when you apply one wash of color over a dried wash of color. The author left out some important information in this chapter. One was knowing your staining colors. Those are excellent to glaze over since you won't be picking up paint while going over that color. The other is transparency of the colors. Some watercolor paints (like your cadmiums) are somewhat opaque and will affect your glazing ability. I also would have liked a section for water control. It is important to learn how much water your brush is holding to get the effect you want for your painting. My last criticism is that this book seemed geared for finished paintings and not sketches. While that is usually your goal, it isn't always with sketching. He did give some great advice toward sketching but it kept switching between that and finishing your painting. I think it would have been more effective the book was about sketching and have an ending chapter about finished work.

I give this book 3 stars. I recommend it to those that need a foundation course on watercolor in particular. More advanced artists might enjoy it for the loose sketching and artwork within.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Poison Promise by Jennifer Estep

Series: Elemental Assassin #11
Publisher: Pocket Books
Published: 7/22/14
Source: From NetGalley and publisher for review
Gin Blanco is hard-nosed, sexy, and lethal. Nicknamed “The Spider,” she’s a stone elemental assassin who brings her unique mix of magic and tact to every assignment, no matter the target. 
There’s a new drug on the streets of Ashland, and its name “Burn” sums up the potent effect it has on its users. When one of her restaurant employees is threatened by dealers of the drug, Gin steps in to set things straight…

My thoughts:
 Can you believe this is #11? I am still enjoying this series so much and this is a good addition to the series. I will do my best to not spoil it for anyone since I know that several of you aren't up to this book yet.

As we usually see in the series, Gin is up against a baddie who seems like he could get the best of her. And like the rest of the series I was sucked into the book and it didn't let go until I finished it. The pages flew by and in this book we end up with a new secondary character. I'm quite happy about that since I ended up liking him from close to the start. Don't want to give away more than that. As for the rest of the book, we do get a huge amount of information for the second story arc in the series. It is important and I was surprised we got so much. I think that arc is about to make it's way into being part of the main storyline.

I give this book 4 stars. This is a series I think at times can be read out of order, but I do not suggest it. The storyline arcs throughout the series makes more sense when read in order and so do the characters. Poison Promise is a great addition to the series and it will make you want more without having to indulge in the dreaded cliffie. I recommend the SERIES to people who enjoy UF.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Collection (The Registry #2) by Shannon Stoker

Series: The Registry #2
Publisher: Wm. Morrow
Available Now
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers for review
How far would you go to control your own destiny?

Mia Morrissey has escaped: America, the Registry, and the role she was raised for— a perfect bride auctioned to the highest bidder. She’s enemy number one to the world’s largest power, and there’s no turning back now. 
From the moment she and her friends Andrew, and Carter cross the border into Mexico it becomes clear their troubles are only beginning. The young men are immediately picked up by a violent and omnipotent militia—The Collection—and it’s Mia’s turn to rescue them. 
With time running out, her ex-fiancé’s henchman on her trail, and a dangerous tide shifting back in America, Mia will do whatever she has to. Even if that means risking everything and putting herself back on an auction block. The price of freedom is never too high…but what if the cost is her life?
My thoughts:
I didn't read the first book and knowing this was a trilogy I did worry that I would have trouble following the book. I didn't have problems at all. In fact I forgot this was the second book. There were only a couple of times when I felt as if I missed something, but even then I didn't think what I missed was a big deal for this book. I think that is because this book marks a beginning for all the characters on a new adventure. So yes, you can read this one without feeling lost.

I did like Mia's character. Willing to learn she starts out as a mouse and really starts to grow into her own person. Even when presented with what seems like an incredible offer she stops to ponder what it means for her and her new life. I liked that rather than jumping blindly into things. In fact, she becomes a pretty good strategist. I also like the secondary characters. Riley was my favorite secondary character and I hope we meet her again in the final book. I really want to know more of her story.

My biggest complaint about the book was the focus on the Registry. Yes, I do understand it is a list which promotes and controls young women in this world. However, I don't think that just taking down the Registry would accomplish taking down a whole country. There were more issues and problems and it just seemed to over simplify things. It just did't make sense to think this was solving a much bigger problem.

I give this book 3 stars. If you missed the first book, don't worry you can read this one easily out of order. I am curious to see what happens next and I'm guessing that it would be more important to read this book before reading the last. Things set up the last book too well. I'm looking forward to the trilogy's end.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Unwept (The Nightbirds #1) by Tracy and Laura Hickman

Series: The Nightbirds #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Available Now
Source: From publisher for review
Gamin, Maine, is a remote seaside town where everyone seems to know Ellis Harkington better than she knows herself—but she doesn’t remember any of them. 
Unknown events have robbed Ellis of her memory. Concerned individuals, who purport to be her friends and loved ones, insist that she simply needs to recuperate, that her memories may return in time, but refuse to divulge what has brought her to this state. For her own sake, so they say. 
Ellis finds herself adrift in a town of ominous mysteries, cryptic hints, and disturbingly familiar strangers. The Nightbirds, a clique of fashionable young men and women, claim her as one of their own, but who among them can she truly trust? And what of the phantom suitor who visits her in her dreams? Is he a memory, a figment of her imagination, or a living nightmare beyond rational explanation?
Only her lost past hold the answers she seeks—if she can uncover its secrets before she fall prey to an unearthly killer.
My thoughts:
This is book 1 of a trilogy. It is also a book I think people will love or hate. It has horror elements to it, but it really seems more of a twisty dark mystery to me. The main character is sympathetic but you want her to stand up for herself more, but it is understandable why she is that way throughout the book. The secondary characters are quite interesting but you probably won't figure out who is good or evil by the end. It is confusing there is a dark nightmarish quality about it. And just as you start to get some answers...

it ends.

Yes, that I why I think people will love or hate the book. I enjoyed it and really did like the writing. The ending however was another story. I think that it being only 272p. it could have added the next book onto this one. Make it a duology. :) But then I hate being left hanging in any way in a book. The ending isn't quite a cliffie nor is it too abrupt, but it keeps your answers just out of reach.

I give this one 3 1/2 stars. I am looking forward to the next book and I really do already want to read the third book as well. I hope that the next 2 covers rock as much as this one does. I recommend it to those that like a very dark twisty tale!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Half a King (Shatter Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie

Series: Shattered Sea #1
Publisher: Del Ray
Published: July 15, 14
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand. 
The deceived will become the deceiver. 
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge. 
The betrayed will become the betrayer. 
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could. 
Will the usurped become the usurper? 
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.
My thoughts:
 Joe Abercrombie is on my must try author list so when this came up for review I gladly said yes. I'm not entirely sure this is YA but the protagonist is about that age, but most of the players are older. It can easily be read by the YA/NA crowd. It has violence in it, but that is expected when kingdoms clash.

I enjoyed the worldbuilding within the story. You also have some pretty interesting characters. You follow Yarvi from the beginning to the end. It is his story in how he becomes a crippled son, minster, king and slave. You follow his growth through his adventure and how he finds himself. While I did like Yarvi and rooted for him, sometimes I just wanted to shake him and tell him that yea.. you have a deformed hand... get over it! It made sense at the beginning but toward the end when you see him do incredible things you just wanted him to move on from that worry. He does achieve it, but I just wanted to see that sooner. You also get some pretty good secondary characters and I have to admit, as much as I liked Yarvi, I liked his companions more. Not everyone survives the adventure, but it is an interesting journey. The end has a huge twist I didn't see coming but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I like it but I think I just need more. Good thing this is a series. :) I will say that  questions I had about Yarvi and his immediate journey were answered but I had a few more that were mentioned but not expounded upon in the book. I have no doubt those questions will be answered in the coming books.

I give this book 4 stars. I enjoyed my time here and I recommend it to those that want a fantasy that isn't too heavy handed.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Talk This Way (Plumb Orchard #.5) by Dakota Cassidy

Series: Plumb Orchard #0.5
Publisher: MIRA
Available Now
Source: TBR pile
In her sexy new series, bestselling author Dakota Cassidy introduces the Call Girls, a spirited group of friends ready to take on lust, love and everything in between... Find out where it all began in this delicious novella! 
If life is like a box of chocolates, Cat Butler has tasted them all—and decided on none. It's no wonder she can't keep a job, even though her mother's health depends on it. Just when she finds herself up a creek without a paddle—again—a benevolent friend throws her a lifeline. In the form of a job at, of all places, a phone sex hotline. Not exactly what she had in mind, but if it pays the bills for her mom's expensive nursing home, what's the harm? 
Successful entrepreneur Flynn McGrady knows a thing or two about responsibility. So when his mother has a stroke, he knows the right thing to do is relocate to Atlanta to be near her while she recovers. He's got a plan for everything—except for feisty Cat, who finally gets his mama to talk again. Talk dirty, that is, and he's not pleased. Cat is gorgeous and sassy to boot... too bad she's not the type to settle down. 
Cat and Flynn may have bigger fish to fry, but the sparks between them are hotter than hell. And when they finally give in to temptation, the results are explosive. Can a girl who follows her heart and a guy who follows his head find their way to forever?
My thoughts:
I recently read Talk Dirty To Me and really enjoyed myself. I was curious and was told that more Landon was in the prequel so I snatched it up and finally had some time to devour the book. Only 89 pages so it was extremely easy to devour this quickly.

Even though it is a novella Dakota Cassidy packs all the punches of a novel. Although the romance is hot and quick, there is enough time to slow it down in a few places so it didn't feel like insta-love even though in all intents and purposes... it was. :) You did get more Landon than in the first book, but it still isn't enough for me. Even though he doesn't get his romantic HEA, you still wish that there was a way for him to have it... *sigh* He is still my favorite character.

I give this novella 4 1/2 stars. It feels complete and satisfying... and I warn you... keep a couple of tissues nearby. I recommend it to those that enjoy adult contemporary romance.

Bloggy note: This novella is free where you get your ebooks. So snatch it up now! :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Alice in Zombieland (The White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter

Series: White Rabbit Chronicles #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Available Now
Source: TBR pile (pressie!)
She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever. 
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone. 
Her father was right. The monsters are real… 
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies…

"I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish."
My thoughts:
 Zombies? Alice in Wonderland retelling? Okay, where do I sign up?

Yes, can you tell I wanted to get to this book? I already knew that there would be some sad moments in the book and yes, there were but not enough to deter me from wanting to read it. The book's characters are interesting. The main character, Alice, is one who came from a sheltered background, had a horrific experience that turned her world on it's ear and still came out fighting. I enjoyed that and the fact that it could have made her quite timid but she learned to kick arse metaphorically and literally. Cole could have been the bad boy I hated but just barely skated to the good side for me. I can see why so many girls swoon for him but his possessiveness almost made me not like him. The fact that he truly respects Ali is what swayed me toward liking his character.

As far a the retelling... it is very light on that aspect. So, those who don't like retellings might enjoy this one while those that do and expect one might be disappointed. I wasn't in the least and enjoyed how she twisted some small aspect of Alice in Wonderland to fit the story. I did enjoy the worldbuilding even though I did have some questions left that were specific to this world. However Ali is learning as we do so I do think some of those answers will be forthcoming.

I give this book 4 stars. I now need the second book and... of course the 3rd. :) I enjoyed my time in this world of zombies and am curious to the direction she will take these characters. I recommend it to those that like YA and a simple book about a girl fighting zombies. :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

The New Colored Pencil by Kristy Ann Kutch

Art Instruction Book
Medium: Colored Pencil
Available Now
Source: Blogging for Books for review
Learn to draw and paint using colored pencils in The New Colored Pencil: a how-to guide for creating vibrant, textured, and easy art illustrations by best-selling author and teacher Kristy Kutch 
Master the Latest Breakthroughs in Colored Pencil Art 
If you want to create colorful, radiant works of art, colored pencil and related color media (wax pastels, watercolor pencils, and so on) provide you with limitless options for adding vibrancy to your creations. In The New Colored Pencil, artist and instructor Kristy Ann Kutch guides you through the latest developments in color drawing media with examples of and recommendations for the newest pencil brands, drawing surfaces, and groundbreaking techniques (including using the Grid Method, grating pigments, blending with heat, and more). Supported by step-by-step demonstrations and showcasing inspiring art from some of today’s best colored pencil artists, The New Colored Pencil shows you how to use color theory to your advantage, combine color media, create and enhance textures, and experiment with surfaces to create interesting effects. Whether you use traditional wax-based, or watercolor colored pencils,The New Colored Pencil will take your art to the next level.
My thoughts:
Well, here is my new art book review. I have been wanting to do these for a while now and just got the opportunity. I love art and encourage everyone to at least try it. :)

I have been wanting to incorporate different things into my watercolors. I have considered colored pencil and now that they have water-soluble pencils I need to consider it further. There was even a section dedicated to the water-soluble pencils and even pastels. That was a nice surprise and fortunately (or unfortunately for my wallet) I now want to try those as well.

I didn't just get ideas in that section. I also had ideas of combining the more traditional pencils to watercolor. I didn't even consider the wax content in the pencil and how it could create a resist and it got me to thinking about being able to preserve some color through the resist or even just create interesting patterns with the resist itself.

My favorite part of the book is where she breaks down a lot of the more popular artist grade pencils and pastels. It helps you save a lot of time and money just by reading those parts. You can then decide what you want your work to do and pick the appropriate utensil. It made me want several brands just by reading their capabilities.

The part that I thought needed a bit more work would have been the areas on watercolor. She isn't a watercolorist and you could tell in this section. Although it was lightly visited a better section on watercolor brushes might have been a good choice. I enjoyed her selection of papers listed but I would have also liked perhaps a list of watercolor books that would be good for a beginner for those that haven't tried the medium yet.

I give this book 4 stars. It is easy to follow and helps you pick out your product easily. I think for a beginner it would give them a good overview of the medium and it also helps seasoned artists to think about how they might want to incorporate pencils and some pastels into their work.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Publisher: Pocket Books
Available Now
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.” 
But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart. 
But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.
My thoughts:
This was a cute contemporary ghostie romance. The characters were very likable and you really did cheer for them all to get their HEA. Well, let me say that not ALL the characters were likable but the ones who you weren't supposed to root for do get their karma comeuppance. :)

It does take a bit to really get to know the characters in this story. Still, I have to say that I did like the main characters from the start. As we get more characters introduced to us, I admit that I thought I would be put off by some of them like Dottie and Cindy but you also find how easy it was to get to like them. These are girls that would be fun to hang around. The ghosties were a bit more off putting with the possession and scaring but still there was a mystery to solve as to why they were haunting. While I figured that part out easily, it was still fun to see it played out. You also get your HEA in the end and it is more of a sitcom HEA. I didn't mind and it still made me smile.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. If you want something just fun with some light romance I recommend this book. It would make for a good summer read.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Series: Crosspointe Chronicles #1
Revised series: First published 2007
Available Now
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
A member of the royal Rampling family, Lucy Trenton possesses a most unique talent: the ability to detect majick and those who wield it. She has kept her ability a secret all her life to avoid bringing scandal to her family, but lately Lucy has grown careless. When she recklessly uses her gift to locate a valuable and treacherous majickal artifact, she finds herself embroiled in a dangerous intrigue that threatens her life—and the life of every person in Crosspointe. 
Making her troubles worse, she’s being pursued by the dashing and mysterious ship captain Marten Thorpe—a man with an unsavory history. But now she desperately needs his help. The problem is, she doesn’t know if she can trust him…
My thoughts:
Although the new cover looks YA, this isn't a YA fantasy book. It is also a revised edition of the series. I do believe that the whole series is being revised in the same way.

The beginning is a bit slow in pacing, but you really get to know the "flavor" of the world where magic is possible and dangerous. You also get to know several of the characters. As Lucy gets more caught up into a political and dangerous magical plot the book becomes more involved and the pacing increases. There were several moments when you were on the edge of your seat trying to figure out just how she was going to get out of some of the scrapes that seemed impossible. The ending was satisfying and had me wanting more in this series but I have to admit that the "bad" guy ended up being a disappointment and a bit too convenient to defeat after so much build up.

I give this book 4 stars. Although this first volume had it's flaws, I was still drawn into the world wanting more in the end. I recommend it to those that enjoy fantasy.