The Qwillery | category: Annie Bellet


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Melanie's Week in Review - April 10, 2016

Melanie's Week in Review - April 10, 2016

Welcome to mid-April. I hope my American friends haven't suffered too badly in the polar vortex. Remember back in the good old days when it was just called a cold front or snow? But again, I digress with talk about the weather. What did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - April 10, 2016
I discovered that Magic to the Bone from the Twenty-Sided Sorceress series was out. I thought this was going to be the final instalment but when we left Jade she was in an time rift (or something) learning how to get her magic back with help from her dragon father while her boyfriend and friends try to stop the super evil Samir from turning into a god. There is only so much time before Jade and Samir come face to face for the epic battle of good versus evil. Who will survive and how much Jade has to lose in the process is the basis of the plot of this story.

I have felt that the last couple of book were dragging the story out and the plot a bit too superficial. This didn't really improve in Magic to the Bone. While there is the resolution to the plot arc involving Samir it was over in a few short sentences and then guess what?  There is another book! I can't believe it. I don't know what else Bellet has to say about these characters. I don't think I will be continuing with this series.

I read Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire weeks and weeks ago but haven't been able to tell you about it as as publication date was too far away. Then I kind of forgot about it.  Ooops. Never fear dear reader, here is my review!

Every Heart a Doorway is the story of Nancy, who has found herself in Miss West's home for wayward children. Nancy has just returned from the Halls of the Dead. Like all the children in Miss West's private school Nancy has been and returned from an 'other world' and not that happy to be sent away by her parents to a boarding school. When some of her classmates end up horrifically murdered then its up to Nancy to discover who is responsible. How many of her fellow schoolmates will die before she can find out who 'dunnit'

McGuire has written a book that can only be described as gothic horror. If you try to convince me otherwise you are going to be sorely disappointed. While Nancy has returned to the modern day everything about her, Miss West and the boarding school was very dark and moody like a traditional gothic novel. While the characters were mostly all in their teens this is not a story for a young reader unless you want them to read about dismembering and other 'gross' things. I felt like I was reading a fairy tale that was set in modern times but without the happy ending. Well written but I still felt slightly disturbed when I had finished.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 10, 2016
I spent most of this week reading A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain. McElwain is part of the DAC this month so keep your eye peeled to the blog for my review. I can't tell you more here so enjoy the suspense!

That is it for me this week. I hope you have had a productive week and I wish you all the best finding a 'can't put down' read for the week ahead. Until next week Happy Reading.

Magic to the Bone
The Twenty-Sided Sorceress 7
Doomed Muse Press, March 19, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 222 pages
Reviewer's Own

Melanie's Week in Review - April 10, 2016
Boss Fight: Samir! Roll for initiative...

Bruised, battered, but not even close to broken, Jade and her friends must reunite, and get ready to take out her psycho ex once and for all. Leveled up and wiser, Jade stands a chance this time.

As long as she takes out Samir BEFORE he turns into a god...

This is book seven in USA Today bestselling The Twenty-Sided Sorceress urban fantasy series.

Every Heart a Doorway, April 6, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 176 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - April 10, 2016
Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she's back. The things she's experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West's care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy's arrival marks a change at the Home. There's a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it's up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of things.

No matter the cost.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 24, 2016

Melanie's Week in Review  - January 24, 2016

Welcome to winter, UK style. My body has forgotten that I grew up in the snow belt of rural Ontario. I am sure that Jack Frost changed my toes out for a 10 popsicles. Luckily for me I have found a few books to distract me from the plummeting temperatures. I decided this week to continue with 2 series I have been reading recently. Let me tell you what I have been reading.

Melanie's Week in Review  - January 24, 2016
I relented and bought book 3 Beyond the Grave of the Ministry of Curiosities series by C.J. Archer. I wasn't convinced after book 2 Her Majesty's Necromancer that I would necessarily continue with the series, at least not right away. I found myself at a bit of a book reading loose end and decided to go for it. In this instalment Lincoln and Charlie are asked to investigate the disappearance of Lady Harcourt's stepson and in the process uncover closet stuffed full of skeletons. According to the book description you are led to believe that Charlie releases a rampaging undead on Victorian London but this side plot doesn't live up to expectations. Charlie does indeed release an undead on London but this didn't last more than a chapter, maybe two.  The mainstay of the plot revolved around Lady Harcourt's past and that of her stepsons. Tensions also increase between Lincoln and Charlie as their relation becomes every so slightly more intimate. Overall, this was a disappointing read. It could have been quite gritty and scary but instead it was a bit of a 'damp squib'.

Melanie's Week in Review  - January 24, 2016
I had completely forgotten about Annie Bellet's Twenty-Sided Sorceress series until I came across Thicker Than Blood. On the whole I have enjoyed this series and the last book ended with a major cliff-hanger. When we left Jade she had turned back time to save her friends but her best friend is left either dead or in the hands of her arch enemy Samir. This uber baddy has plagued Jade's life and we are not sure whether she will come through this unscathed. In book 6, Jade is separated from her friends on an almost impossible mission to free her father from a high security prison while her friends to try to re-group and avoid Samir.

If you are looking for a quick book to read then this is the one. This book was so short it could easily be classified as a novella. I liked it but it really felt like Bellet was filling in time with this story. Jade almost didn't seem like the same character when she was separated from her friends. The plot did advance, ever so slowly but I really hope that this plotline is resolved soon and Samir gets his comeuppance.

That is all I have to tell you about this week. I have read a couple of other books that won't be released for a while yet so you will have a surprise in a couple of weeks! Until then wishing you a great week ahead and happy reading.

Beyond The Grave
The Ministry Of Curiosities 3
November 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook

Melanie's Week in Review  - January 24, 2016
At the request of Lady Harcourt, Charlie and Lincoln begin searching for her missing stepson. Still recovering from her ordeal at the hands of a diabolical villain, Charlie is supposed to be resting. But resting is dull, so she throws herself into the task at hand, much to Lincoln’s frustration.

The search leads them down a dark path littered with family secrets and titillating scandal. Using her necromancy to expose those secrets, Charlie unwittingly raises a spirit with the power to override her control. With a dead body on the loose in London, Charlie and Lincoln must work together to send it back before havoc is unleashed, and the committee members find out.

Because if they do, they will have more ammunition in their fight to send Charlie away from her home and everyone she loves.

Thicker Than Blood
Twenty Sided-Sorceress 6
Doomed Muse Press, November 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 226 pages

Melanie's Week in Review  - January 24, 2016
If you are going through hell… keep going…

Wounded, defeated, and flung across the wilderness, Jade Crow and her peeps faced their worst enemy and not all have escaped… or survived.

Separated from her friends, their fates unknown, and without her magic, Jade must discover her own heritage and unlock her true powers… or else her next fight with Samir will be her last.

For Jade, life has come down to two choices…

Level up. Or die.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 12, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review  - April 12, 2015

Welcome to spring. It is finally feeling and looking like spring is here in the UK. The slightest hint of sun has nearly every Londoner in their shorts and sandals. I have yet to succumb as I keep thinking its still April and no one wants to see my pasty white legs. The lovely weather hasn't brought with it my reading mojo. I don't know where it has gone but it has been really hard for me to make much progress clearing my TBR. I am not helping myself out either by continuing to order books. So what have I been up to?

Melanie's Week in Review  - April 12, 2015
My week of reading started when Heartache by Annie Bellet popped onto my Kindle. This is the fifth in The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series which finds the heroine Jade up against her murderer ex-boyfriend Samir when he comes to Wylde to take everything he can from her including her heart. So far in the series Jade has managed to solve a number of murder mysteries and thwart Samir's attempts to capture her (and eat her heart). Life seems to calming down and returning to normal when a number of unrelated events find Jade on her own and ripe for Samir to catch her unawares. This kicks off a series of extremely violent events that leave Jade accused of the murder of her friend, the reason why two other friends are killed and almost the loss of her very own life. It all seems like Samir is undefeatable despite Jade's new powers and close friends.

I am a bit conflicted about Heartache. I appreciate the fact that Bellet doesn't mess around and drag out the plot but this book seemed really short. I think I could have easily have read this book in just over an hour as it only took me 1 day of commutes to get from cover to cover. A lot happens and Samir manages to completely devastate Jade's life but it all seemed incomplete and lacking any real depth. Bellet is super mean and leaves us with a big fat cliffhanger so I guess I need to pre-order the 6th book in advance of its release in June. This series is particularly good if you like gaming, comics and smart alec heroines. Not quite as many gamer related/Star Wars or Star Trek related comebacks in this book but I think they would have seemed even more out of place given what was happening to Jade and her friends.

Melanie's Week in Review  - April 12, 2015
The second book that I managed to finish was The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath by Ishbelle Bee (Angry Robot, June 2, 2015).  Since this is a debut look for my full review closer to the publication date.

That is it for me this week. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I able to get through a few more books next week.  Only two and one was a short story!!!!  I hope you have had a better result than I. Will do better but until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 14, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - December 14, 2014

I was hoping to sucker punch you this week with a stupendous list of books I had read or even 'wow' you with some witty repartee in this post, however a few things got in the way. I have been on jury service for the last 2 weeks and I really thought I would race through a bunch of books. Unfortunately, I kept getting called to sit on cases so I had minimal time sitting around waiting and reading. My lack of witticisms in this post is down to fate who is a cruel mistress indeed. About a half hour ago my beautiful, glass ornament bedecked Christmas tree decided to fall over and 10 years of diligent collecting has ended up in tiny pieces of my living room floor. SOB! Anyway enough of my excuses. What did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - December 14, 2014
The Ripper Affair is the third (and possibly final?) book of the Bannon and Clare series. The story starts with a bang...literally as Clare's bodyguard and friend dies when the courtroom in which Clare is giving evidence is bombed. This leads Clare to discover the Emma did in book 2 to save his life. While Clare tries to come to terms with what Emma has done to him, women are being gruesomely murdered. Bannon has been asked by the Queen herself to solve the mystery and restore order.  The pair team up to find the killer and not to get killed themselves in the process.

Saintcrow's Bannon and Clare series hasn't been one of my favourites from this author and I largely kept reading them as I wanted to find out what Mikal's big secret was. Three books in and I still don't know. I have the feeling I should have figured it out by now but I am not entirely sure. I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I like how strong Bannon is and how much she cares about her friends. Clare is also an interesting character but comes across a bit like a Vulcan. In general I can only describe this novel as feeling a bit forced. From the alternative spelling of London place names to all the references of Seeing and Feeling made it a bit tedious to read. I've read that this is the last Bannon and Clare story for a while. I feel it is a good place to end the series.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 14, 2014
My second read of the week was Hunting Season by Annie Bellett. This is the fourth books of the Twenty-Sided Sorceress series. This instalment starts a few weeks after the end of book 3 and Jade is paying the price for her sorceressy secret being found out as the local witches coven have been cursing her. Things go from crappy to very crappy when a unicorn is almost killed in an attack by demon dogs. Just when Jade thought it couldn't get any worse two of the uber evil Samir's cohorts are in town and want Jade's heart.

I have always found these books a quick read but this one is so short it is almost a short story. One minute I was at 2% and the next I was at 77%. It was over so quick I had to go back and check that I hadn't missed a few chapters. This instalment follows pretty much the same formula of the other books but there are a few more funny lines in this one even though the mood is quite dark. I am hoping that the semi cliff hanger at the end signals a change in the plot for future novels. If you are in the mood for a quick, easy on the brain read though this is the series for you.

That is all for me this week folks. I have my fingers crossed for some reading productivity as a got some quite interesting eARCs approved on NetGalley. Until next week Happy Reading!

Melanie's Week in Review - November 9, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - November 9, 2014

Hello! I hope you have had a great week. I have been marginally frustrated with my reading progress this week. I felt like I was reading really quickly but not getting through very many books. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - November 9, 2014

I started the week with The Red Magician by Lisa Goldstein which I received from the good people at NetGalley. As you can see from the cover this novel is an award winner. Winning an award isn't always an indicator of palatable book but in the case of The Red Magician it is a must read. I can't candy coat it and say that this is an easy read as that wouldn't be doing justice to either the book or the author.

The Red Magician tells the story of Kicsi, a teenager living in a small town in rural Hungary. Her life completely changes when her father invites a a wanderer home for dinner. Voros, the red headed magician irrevocably changes Kisci's life. Voros tries to warn the village of the impending destruction of their way of life. The one person in his way is the local rabbi who is determined to silence Voros one way or another. Events take their toll not just on Kisci but everyone she knows and loves. World War 2 finds Kisci's village captured by the German army and most of her family are brutally murdered in the holocaust. She survives in an internment camp but is a shadow of her former self. Once again Voros comes into her life just when she thought hers was at an end. Faith and the power of friendship play an important part in the life of the teenage Kisci. 

This is a lovely story, a story of friendship, faith, belief in the impossible/improbable and new beginnings. Goldstein creates a story with a fairytale like feel and characters who are believable and realistic. This is a quick read but beware as its quite 'sniffy' at the end so if like me you read predominantly on public transport you may need to keep some tissues on hand.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 9, 2014
Book 2 of the week was less intense  - Pack of Lies by Annie Bellet which is the third in the Twenty-Sided Sorceress series. I started this series a few months ago and haven't really found the story challenging but it is a quick and easy read. This instalment starts a few months after the events of book 2 where Jade is still recovering for her part in the death of her father and abandonment by the hunky Justice, Alex. Trouble seems to follow Jade when a century old peace treaty amongst the wolf shifters is threatened when both shifters and human's are found murdered. Jade and her friends try to solve the murders and try not to get killed in the process. Yet again, this was an easy read but I wasn't especially challenged. I will keep reading only for the moderately big cliff-hanger at the end of this instalment.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 9, 2014
I then turned to another book from NetGalley - City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett. Qwill reviewed this book back in September. I am only partway through the novel but so far I am gripped! I shouldn't be surprised though as any book Qwill likes then I am sure to agree. In fact most of my favourite books have been recommended by Qwill so don't miss out.

That is it for me folks for this week. I hope to find some good books next week and I hope you do too. Until then Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 14, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - September 14, 2014

Well I can't crow too loudly this week about the number of books I have read. I am quite satisfied with both the number of and the books I read but won't be making any headlines this week. Sorry folks. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - September 14, 2014
I finished reading Our Broken Sky by Sarah Harian. I have to say I am quite embarrassed that I didn't know before I started reading this book that it was a novella.  DOINK! I got to the last page and couldn't believe it was finished. I need to start paying attention. This short features Valerie who murders her sister's rapists and ends up in the Compass Room. This is the story of how she got there and the trials she faced while trapped with the other murdering teenagers that featured in book 1. I can't say I enjoyed it. Short stories aren't my favourite to begin with and then to add in the fact that Valerie wasn't very nice to any one and had an enormous chip on her shoulder made it rather a testing read. I was a bit ambivalent about book 1 and I really hope that Harian can find a way to make her young adults a bit more engaging and empathetic.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 14, 2014Wanting to read something quick and easy I went back to my Amazon recommendations and found Annie Bellet's Justice Calling. This is the first in the Twenty Sided Sorceress series (I haven't yet figured out where the series name comes from) and I quite liked it. It was a super easy and fast read. It only took a few hours to get from cover to cover. This book introduces us to Jade Crow who is a powerful sorceress in hiding. She lives in a small town, owns a comic book store and tries to keep a low profile until 'the law' comes to town and accuses her of murdering shifters. Lucky for Jade 'the law' aka a Justice comes packaged in rippling muscles and a handsome face. Jade's secret is about to be exposed when she discovers shifters, including her friends, are being petrified (not the scared petrified...the frozen like a statue variety) by magic. She has to solve the mystery, save her friends and try not to get killed in the process.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 14, 2014
I liked Justice Calling. I thought that Bellet was able to pull off some witty writing and Jade was a likeable character. I read it so quickly that I went back to Amazon and bought book 2 - Murder of Crows. In this instalment Jade is dating the Justice, Alex from book 1, when her estranged father asks her help to find out who is murdering her former community. Duty bound Jane and Alex head out to save her family and try not to get caught by her evil ex-boyfriend who wants to each her heart and steal her magic. Again, Bellet doesn't waste time getting to the point and this was another 2-3 hour book. I enjoyed it but wonder if Bellet isn't skimming the surface a bit too much with her characters and her plot. I had to look back at my purchase history to remember that I had read this book. Not a good sign. I will still look forward to book 3 in the hopes it gains some depth.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 14, 2014
Back again to Amazon and this time it recommended Dire Straits by Helen Harper. For those of you who read my WIR will remember that I read Harper's Blood Destiny series. This time Harper tells the story of Bo Blackman - a private investigator who gets framed for the murder of her colleagues while saving a demon. In an attempt to find the real killers and to clear her name Bo joins one of the prominent vampire families, to rather disastrous results. I was a bit conflicted about this book. Bo reminded me a bit too much of Mack from the Blood Destiny series. She wasn't a powerful shifter like Mack was but their personalities were very similar. Bo was always getting into trouble and making completely unwise decisions.  You know a character is naive when even the other characters comment on it! I have still pre-ordered book 2 though so will let you know in a few weeks what I think of this series.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 14, 2014
The final book that I am going to tell you about (and that I finished) was also the final book of The Hollows series, The Witch with No Name. Rachel has a lot to do in this instalment - save Ivy, rescue the demons, fall more in love with Trent, save the ever after and try to find a way to get Al to stop hating her. A tall order for some but not for Rachel.

I really, really, really liked this book. It was the perfect ending to the series. I couldn't believe how much happened to Rachel and all her friends. I was completely surprised when I reached the 20% point as I couldn't think what else Harrison could do to turn her characters' lives upside down...but she did.... a whole lot more. The book almost made me want to go back and start the series again. I might just do that! This is a solid series with likeable characters, all sorts of supernatural creatures to tickle almost every fancy and some hilarious dialogue from its smallest character - Jenks the pixy.

That is all for me for another week. I am going to have a to try to keep my booking reading roll going. Wish me luck and until next week Happy Reading.

Review and Giveaway - Level Grind by Annie BelletMelanie's Week in Review - April 10, 2016Melanie's Week in Review  - January 24, 2016Melanie's Week in Review  - April 12, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - December 14, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - November 9, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - September 14, 2014

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