Early Review: Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray

, by Kt Clapsadl

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray
Firebird #2

Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents' invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.


Wow, just wow. This book is one heck of a ride.TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU digs further into dimensional travel and all the complications and risks. There's so many ethical issues and risks they are taking, and this book really explores further into the implications of all that. I really enjoyed this deeper look and it kept me on the edge of my seat from the start until the very end. Not only are there big risks, but there's also emotional and personal aspects that get explore. The big question is whether we really all the same person a the core across the dimensions, or do our experiences shape us instead, making each version of us truly different? The ramifications of this question are really profound in this book, and it made for an incredible read.

I have to admit prior to starting I was just a bit hesitant. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to get as trilogies are tricky things. It seems you almost always either have the sophomoric slump in the second book or if the book manages to escape that normal trend then there's a doozy of a cliffhanger. And that latter is the case here. There's not even a hint of a slump here, as TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU is every bit as good as its predecessor, but the cliffhanger ending is insane. Not only are there massive game changing revelations in this book that would have made me desperate to get my hands on the next one, but the very ending events are nearly cruel when it comes to cliffhanger terms. I kept trying to get to the next page as I just couldn't believe it ended there. I'll be counting down the days until the next book releases.

TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU isn't just a must read, it's a drop everything you're doing, and run to the nearest bookstore to get your hands on it immediately read. Bravo!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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     My Guilty Obsession

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     1. A Thousand Pieces of You

Early Review: Reap the Wind by Karen Chance

, by Kt Clapsadl

Reap the Wind by Karen Chance
Cassandra Palmer #7

You’d think that being Chief Seer for the supernatural world would come with a few perks. But as Cassie Palmer has learned, being Pythia doesn’t mean you don’t have to do things the hard way. That’s why she finds herself on a rescue mission skipping through time—even though she doesn't entirely understand her dimension-bending new power.

Rescuing her friend John Pritkin should have been an in and out kind of deal, but with the near-immortal mage’s soul lost in time, Cassie has to hunt for it through the ages—with Pritkin’s demon dad in tow. He’s the only one who can reverse Pritkin’s curse, but with the guardians of the time-line dead set on stopping anyone from mucking about, Cassie will have to figure out how to get her friend back without ruffling too many feathers—or causing a world-ending paradox or two..

I feel utterly torn about REAP THE WIND. On one hand I was utterly and completely hooked into the story. It was intense and the characters really shined. You could really feel the stakes involved. It's quite a long book, but I read it in one setting into the wee hours of the morning. All good things right? You might be asking what's the problem. I have one word for you... Cliffhanger. Another cliffhanger, after the past several books having killer cliffhangers, I had expected a resolution at least on that matter. But no, the past three books have left a certain character's fate in the balance, and unfortunately this one does as well. I had a strong urge to throw my kindle across the room when I realized this. As much as I love this series, the frustration factor is starting to weigh on me. It's just amazing how in such a long book, so much could happen, but in the end nothing that happened really matters as the main issue is still massively looming. I feel like I've been teased one too many times. Will I read the next book, absolutely, but if there's yet another cliffhanger on this same issue it might just be a towel throwing offense.

Getting back to the good. Cassie really shines in REAP THE WIND. She's tested over and over, but this time around her reactions are a little bit more thought out rather than so reactive. Sure she's still in constant jams but less are due to her own scrambled reactions. She's maturing and learning more about her role and becoming more confident, and I cheered her every step of the way. Now if everyone else could just start respecting her... Speaking of respect, the whole Mircea thing is still a funny situation. The romance there leaves me scratching my head more often than not. I hope there's some sort of resolution planned there as well in the near future as again, it's been dragged out for a very long time it seems.

Despite my frustrations due the overall arc of the series and lack of real momentum, Reap the Wind is a very good book in its own right. Take out the series issues and it's darn right fantastic, so with that caveat in mind, REAP THE WIND is an enjoyable and engrossing read.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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     Book Junkiez

Previous Books:
     1. Touch the Dark
     2. Claimed by Shadow
     3. Embrace the Night
     4. Curse the Dawn
     5. Hunt the Moon
     6. Tempt the Stars

Early Review: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

, by Kt Clapsadl

Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep
Black Blade #2

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight—or the danger.

Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win—no matter who they hurt.

As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...

I really enjoy Lila's character. She's grown and accomplished so much already and we're only the 2nd book in. It makes me even more eager to see what she can become in future books. She's no longer the skittish thief we met in the first book, but a loyal and dare I say trusting member of the family. Previously I felt like she had one foot out the door at all times but in DARK HEART OF MAGIC she seems much more settled. And considering everything that happens in this book and what's brewing next, this settled-ness happened just in time.

I really enjoy the mix of urban fantasy and mobster families in this series. And the rivalry and machinations between the families seemed to only get thicker if that's possible. It's one of those situations where you just immerse yourself and watch the sparks fly. And boy did they fly in this book! I figured out the mystery pretty early on, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment at all. It was fun to see each new revelation make me think more and more I was correct in my guess at the culprit. And then the final showdown, whew! What a doozy.

If you're looking for a fun and action packed read with great characters, an interesting world, and plenty of machinations, look no further than DARK HEART OF MAGIC. It's guaranteed to please.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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     Books & Chat
     Bookgatherer

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     1. Cold Burn of Magic
   

Early Review: Mind Magic by Eileen Wilks

, by Kt Clapsadl

Mind Magic by Eileen Wilks
World of the Lupi #12

FBI agent Lily Yu’s mind is a dangerous place to be in the latest Novel of the Lupi…

Thanks to the mindspeech lessons she’s receiving from the black dragon, Lily is temporarily benched from Unit Twelve—until her brain acclimates and the risk of total burnout passes. At least she has her new husband, lupi Rule Turner, to keep her occupied.

But when her mentor calls in a favor and sends Lily to a murder scene, she’s suddenly back on active status—despite the hallucinations she can’t keep at bay. With one touch, Lily knows the man was killed by magic, but her senses don’t warn her how far the conspiracy goes…

A shadowy force within the government wants to take Unit Twelve down, and they don’t mind killing to achieve their goal. With none of her usual resources, Lily is up against impossible odds–because with her mind in disarray, she can’t trust anything she sees.

It amazes me how fresh and interesting each of these books are considering how long this series has been running. Typically by this point, the twelfth book, I almost expect a bit of staleness, and yet with each new book, Eileen Wilks brings a whole new challenge and ball game. It's incredibly impressive and one of the reasons I really enjoy this series. Between knowing I'll get a fantastic plot and all the many previous books allowing for such rich and lengthy amount of character growth, and I don't even need to read the description. I'll read the next book sight unseen.

This time around the plot centers around Lily and Rule again, my favorite pair so I knew I was in for a treat. And the book delivered. Between all the crazy politics, Dragon happenings, a new and troublesome ability for Lily, seriously tricky situations for Rule, and a very interesting new character, MIND MAGIC had me hooked from the start. It's a lengthy book but I read it almost straight through into the wee hours of the morning just to find out what happened next. I know I'll be counting down the days until the next installment releases.

Seamlessly weaving fast paced action and strong characters in a fantastic blend of entertainment, MIND MAGIC is not to be missed.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Previous Books:
     1. Tempting Danger
     2. Mortal Danger
     3. Blood Lines
     4. Night Season
     5. Mortal Sins
     6. Blood Magic
     7. Blood Challenge
     8. Death Magic
     9. Mortal Ties
     10. Ritual Magic
     11. Unbinding

Kirsten Reviews: A Red-Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire

, by Kt Clapsadl

A Red-Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire
October Daye #9

Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life—and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

A Red-Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire is the newest book in her October Daye series. Its protagonist, Toby has been through a lot in the course of eight books, and finally, in the ninth installment, she gets what feels like a chance to pause and catch her breath. She is no longer a loner who refuses to make connections and have friends, now she has lover, a squire to train, and maybe time to take a break.

Of course that might make for an uneventful book, and when Queen Windemere’s seneschal is elf-shot and falls into an enchanted sleep thanks to agents of the Kingdom of Silences, Toby is thrust into the role of diploma, the Ambassador to Silences. She travels to Portland, Oregon in order to persuade King Rhys of Silences not to start a war with the Mists. As with anything political, this is not as simply as it sounds, and Toby makes discoveries in Silences that are downright unpleasant. King Rhys in Silences gained his throne thanks to the machinations of the Queen in the mists, and he is determined to restore his queen to her seat of power for a number of reasons, including his fear of Toby.

In tracking Toby’s journey in the first book as a changeling regarded with disgust by most of the Fae to the Hero in the Mist, she has been involved in situations both political and magical, and these experiences stand her in good stead in this book. In some ways it feels like a place for Toby to ‘level up’ in what she can handle, and as the King-Breaker after having deposing the false Queen in the Mists and the death of Blind Michael, Toby cannot be dismissed by anyone who wants to hold onto their power, or their head.

With her extensive retinue in tow, Toby must figure out what is actually going on in the Kingdom of Silences, foil plots, and maintain the delicate balance between fae monarchs, all while balancing diplomacy and a search for the truth.
(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Red Hot Books
     All Things Urban Fantasy
     Tome Tender

Previous Books:
     1. Rosemary and Rue
     2. A Local Habitation
     3. An Artificial Night
     4. Late Eclipses
     5. One Salt Sea
     6. Ashes of Honor
     7. Chimes at Midnight
     8. The Winter Long


Early Review: Autumn Thorns by Yasmine Galenorn

, by Kt Clapsadl

Autumn Thorns by Yasmine Galenorn
Whisper Hollow #1

In an all-new series, New York Times bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn invites readers to Whisper Hollow, where spirits walk among the living and the lake never gives up her dead…

Fifteen years ago, I ran away from Whisper Hollow, Washington, a small town on Crescent Lake in the Olympic Peninsula. But truth is, if you were born here, you can never really leave. I’m Kerris Fellwater, and when I returned, I inherited my grandmother’s house—and her gift. As a spirit shaman, it’s my responsibility to drive the dead back to their graves, because around Whisper Hollow, people—and secrets—don’t always stay buried.

When I was little, I was told my mother ran off. But now it looks like she was murdered. With the help of my mysterious neighbor Bryan, we begin to unravel the mystery of her disappearance, and in doing so, unearth a dark force seeking to bury Whisper Hollow. Now I must work with the dead, rather than against them, because our enemy will do whatever she can to destroy the town, and she means to start with me.

While the premise and the characters of AUTUMN THORNS intrigued me, the immense world building kept me from enjoying this book as much as I would like. I'm all for a complex and unique world, but in this case I felt things were a bit too on the "craft" side. I'm a big fan of the author, and follow her various networks, so I know that she is very immersed in the magical world, and beliefs, and that knowledge showed in this book. Unfortunately it showed so much that it made it incredibly hard to keep up for lamens like myself. There were so many different magical aspects, deities, and ritualistic methods portrayed in this book that my head was spinning. That being said, as I started to get a grasp on the rules of the world by the end, I do have high hopes for the rest of the series. 

World building woes aside, I greatly enjoyed the characters in AUTUMN THORNS. Kerris is a no non-sense, kick butt heroine that you couldn't help loving from the start. She's thrust back into a town and duty she never wanted to return to, and yet she accepts it all with grace. Even better yet, when other powers that be, be they good or evil, attempt to bully her, she stands firm despite having no real idea what's she's doing. I really admired her for that. Add in a yummy hero who may have sparked a bit more of instalove than my tastes prefer at times, but seems to be everything Kerris needs, and I was sold. 

All in all while the world building bogged the book down a bit for me, I see a great amount of potential for this series, and I'm eager to see where things lead. If you're a fan of urban fantasy with a spicy romance, then this one is definitely worth a look or two.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Review: Dragos Goes to Washington by Thea Harrison

, by Kt Clapsadl

Dragos Goes to Washington by Thea Harrison
Elder Races #8.5

Dragos Cuelebre, Lord of the Wyr, needs to throw a party without maiming anyone. That isn’t exactly as easy as it might sound.

After the destructive events of the last eighteen months, the Elder Races are heading to Washington D.C. to foster peace with humankind. Not known for his diplomacy skills, Dragos must rely on his mate Pia to help navigate a battlefield of words and polite smiles rather than claws. With Dragos’s mating instinct riding close to the surface, his temper is more volatile than ever and the threat of violence hovers in the air.

Then the human spouse of a prominent politician winds up murdered and Dragos and Pia must race against time to hunt down those behind it before they are held responsible for the crime.

For fans of DRAGON BOUND and LORD’S FALL, the latest novella in the Elder Races holds passion, peril, political intrigue, and revelations that will change Dragos and Pia’s lives forever.

I'm a huge fan of the Elder Races series, and I have to admit while I love all the characters, Dragos, Pia, and Liam are by far my favorites. So these small outtake novellas are the perfect "fix" for me. I'm also always impressed at how much emotion and actual events Thea always manages to pack in these considering how short they are and this novella was no exception. It kept me hooked from the very first page, and even brought a tear felt moment by the end. Perfect for fans of the series who need a bit more Dragos and Pia in their lives like I do, DRAGOS GOES TO WASHINGTON is not to be missed. I'll be counting down the days until the two follow up novellas arrive, and of course the next full length coming soon. If you haven't started this series yet, what are you waiting for?

(Received a copy from the author)

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Other Reviews:
     Where the NightKind Roam
     Tome Tender
     Books in Brogan

Previous Books:
     1. Dragon Bound
     2. Storm's Heart
     3. Serpent's Kiss
     4. Oracle's Moon
     5. Lord's Fall
     6. Kinked
     6.5. Dragos Takes a Holiday
     6.6. Pia Saves the Day
     7. Night's Honor
     8. Midnight's Kiss

Early Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

, by Kt Clapsadl

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
Snow Like Ashes #2

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

I really enjoyed the previous installment, but ICE LIKE FIRE just didn't have the same spark for me. I just didn't feel like the book was moving anywhere to be honest and considering it's a 500 page book that didn't work so well for me. There was just a bit too much meandering rather than anything real happening. After the big build up and everything that happened previously I was expecting a bit more action this time around as well. Unfortunately while there was a quest, it was unrealistically easy, and the rest of the focus was more internal with both Meira, Mather, and even Theron's ruminations that were more wallowing than anything it seemed. Between that and all of the politics I found myself skimming at times as it just wasn't holding my attention. It really is a shame because there's so much potential here.

I will say however that the ending events are what brought some excitement and action back into the book, and what made me decide to bump my rating up to a three instead of two. It's almost frenetic and a serious game changer yet again. I only wish it had of been spread out a bit more, and not left things so abruptly.

In the end I can only hope that ICE LIKE FIRE suffered from a middle book syndrome and that the finale will return to the splendor of the first installment.


(Received a copy from the publisher)

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     Enchanted by YA
     The Eater of Books!
     Stories on Stage

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     1. Snow Like Ashes


Kirsten Reviews: Fearless by Elliott James

, by Kt Clapsadl

Fearless by Elliott James
Pax Arcana #3

When your last name is Charming, rescuing virgins comes with the territory -- even when the virgin in question is a nineteen-year-old college boy.

Someone, somewhere, has declared war on Kevin Kichida, and that someone has a long list of magical predators on their rolodex. The good news is that Kevin lives in a town where Ted Cahill is the new sheriff and old ally of John Charming.

The attacks on Kevin seem to be a pattern, and the more John and his new team follow that thread, the deeper they find themselves in a maze of supernatural threats, family secrets, and age-old betrayals. The more John learns, the more convinced he becomes that Kevin Kichida isn't just a victim, he's a sacrifice waiting to happen. And that thread John's following? It's really a fuse..
.

Fearless by Elliott James is the third book in the Pax Arcana series. The protagonist, John Charming is a werewolf, former Knight, and is learning to adjust both to working with a team, and courting Sig, the valkyrie he met in the first book of the series.

The motley group is asked for help from Ted Cahill, now a dhampir, and the sheriff of a small town. It seems that someone is after Kevin Kichida, a supposedly ordinary nineteen year-old college student. Whoever has it in for Kevin is sending all the supernatural muscle they can find after him, and John and his companions have their hands full keeping him safe and finding the bad guy.

As it happens, John is both a Charming, and able to recognize patterns, and the more they look into things, the more it seems there’s a tangle of family secrets, and the sort of betrayals that make for lingering resentments - even from beyond the grave.

The series has a lot of familiar supernatural creatures, however this book introduces even more to audiences most familiar with werewolves and vampires. Those not familiar with Japanese culture, its mythology and traditions will likely find this a refreshing change from the sometimes wearying and endless parade of European beasts and spirits.

Meanwhile, another plot thread from previous books, that of the ongoing integration of a faction of werewolves with Knights crops up again, and is both important, and promises to figure prominently in another book.

This book marks the point at which John steps into danger, perhaps rushes in foolishly at times, for the sake of someone who is not part of his immediate group of friends. It should be noted that while John does propose plans that are often risky, he has good reasoning, experience as a tacticien, albeit one learning to work in a group, and is learning to listen to others, making him a refreshing urban fantasy hero.

As the supernatural world is further illuminated with each book, it becomes clear that villains use the Pax Arcana to their own advantage, and in this case, may be stretching it to the point of snapping, which puts all the supernatural community at risk, something that is sure to come up again. Each of the main characters is wrestling with issues of their own while they’re working to organize what is, in essence, a caper, involving an underground supernatural fight club, and the resolution of the story resolves a few problems, raises more, and leaves the field wide open for the next snag to hamper a simple happily ever after.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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     Rabid Reads
     Reading Reality
     The Book Nympho

Previous Books:
     1. Charming
     2. Daring


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