The Qwillery | category: Ministry of Curiosities


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

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 - January 17, 2016

Melanie's Week in Review - January 17, 2016 is freezing in the UK and we even had snow this week.  The snow here is not like you experience in the US or Canada.  It only takes 15 minutes of light snow to bring this country to a standstill. I was super jealous when one of my sisters told me she was on her third snow day (she is a teacher). Just think of the books I could read in three days snuggled under my duvet? This has also been a very sad week in the entertainment industry. I can't believe that two of my favourites - David Bowie and Alan Rickman - both died. I have been a fan of both Bowie and Rickman for many, many years. What a loss to both music and acting. Despite the snow and sad news I had a pretty good week so let me tell you what I read.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 17, 2016
I have been very lucky recently with getting my requests from NetGalley approved. I have enjoyed Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series and was delighted when I received Driven, a novella from the series.

In this long novella a young rogue wolf comes for help from Elena and the Pack. Members of his family have been found strung up and skinned while in wolf form. Elena needs a monster to find a monster and she doesn't have to look too far. She has her very own monster in the Pack - Malcolm Danvers. Readers will remember Malcolm as Jeremy's father, the pack's cruel and sadistic enforcer. He has asked to re-join the Pack and Elena was left with one of the hardest decisions as Alpha. Assigning Malcolm to find the killer of rogue werewolves is not an easy one but the best option for finding the murderer.

It has been awhile since I joined Elena and the rest of the pack. Nearly all of my favourite characters get a mention although the story focuses on Elena, Clay and of course, Malcolm. It starts with the 'big decision'  - Malcolm's re-admittance into the Pack. In the following chapters we get a front row seat to Malcolm's introduction to his Elena and Clay's children and re-introduction to Karl, whose father he killed. I almost liked these scenes more than the 'who dunnit' of finding the killer, especially the scenes with the kids. I would have enjoyed a bit more than just a mention of Paige (one of my faves) but overall a good story. As I had an eArc I missed out on the illustrations. I am sure they are superb.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 17, 2016
Book 2 was Her Majesty's Necromancer by C.J. Archer. If you read my last WIR you will remember that I enjoyed the first in the Ministry of Curiosities, thought it has a couple of shortcomings. In this instalment Charlie continues her search for her birth mother and in the process uncovers a secret that threatens someone she holds very dear - the handsome but mysterious Lincoln.

Yet again, Charlie's curiosity gets her in trouble. She really needs to stop walking around on her own. She continues to slyly pursue her protector Lincoln even though she is now his maid. We learn more about the other inhabitants of the house and a bit more about their back story. Lincoln however, continues to be the big mystery. This series is OK. I am neither mesmerised by the plot or that bored by it either. It definitely has entertainment value. The covers continue to be utterly and completely gorgeous.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 17, 2016
A little perusal of my Amazon recs undercovered Charming by Dannika Dark which is a mini-instalment/novella in the Seven series. At the end of book 6 the sophisticated Alpha Prince is introduced to the glamorous Nadia. He thinks he has discovered his dream girl but it isn't until her more rough and ready sister Katarina comes on the scene that he realises that love does come in unexpected packages.

I thought this book was only marginally OK. I found Prince kind of creepy and a snob. It was rather cliché that he falls for the pizza loving, jean wearing sister rather than the designer one.  In its defense this wasn't a full length story so there might have been better characterisation had it been longer. It does however, fulfil its PNR requirements so if you are looking for some quick and easy romance then this won't take a lot of your time.

That is all I have to tell you about this week. I am hoping to have some full reviews for you over the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled. Until then I hope you have a great week ahead.

Subterranean Press, January 31, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 232 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - January 17, 2016
Subterranean Press is pleased to present a long Otherworld novella by Kelley Armstrong, featuring a number of full-color illustrations by Xaviere Daumarie.

Cains are known for being big, brutish and not-too-bright. The mutt clan embodies all the supernatural world’s worst stereotypes about werewolves. But not even the Cains deserve to be hunted down and skinned like animals.

When young Davis Cain comes to the Pack for help, Alpha Elena Michaels can’t refuse him. It isn’t about morality or justice. It’s about not letting anyone think they can do this to werewolves and get away with it.

But Elena is also dealing with the Pack’s homegrown monster—Malcolm Danvers, onetime enforcer, full-time psycho. Malcolm is now under Elena’s control, as part of the most difficult decision she’s had to make as leader. But if she has to let Malcolm in, she’s going to make full use of him…and the best person to catch monsters is one who knows exactly how they think.

Her Majesty's Necromancer
The Ministry of Curiosities 2
C.J. Archer, August 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 246 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - January 17, 2016
When bodies go missing from the cemetery, Lincoln and the Ministry of Curiosities investigate. But not Charlie. As a housemaid at Lichfield Towers, she doesn't get involved in Ministry business.

Instead, she conducts investigations of her own. She searches for details about her real mother, and makes inquiries into Lincoln's background. What she learns has the power to destroy the fragile trust they've built, or bring them closer together.

As secrets are revealed, and investigations don't go as planned, Charlie finds her necromancy sucking her into a whirlpool filled with betrayal, lies and danger.

Seven World 6.5
Dannika Dark, December 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 182 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - January 17, 2016
After seven hundred years, Prince has acquired everything a Packmaster could desire. But when he meets the enchanting Nadia Kozlov, he realizes there’s one thing he doesn’t have: answers. Prince owes his life to a man he hasn’t seen in centuries, and Nadia holds the key to his whereabouts, because that man is her father.

Destinies collide when Nadia’s sister shows up unexpectedly. Katarina is a skilled bounty hunter, hot on the trail of a nefarious outlaw who turns out to be Prince’s old nemesis. Prince teams up with Nadia’s sister to track down the Mage, but the real game of cat and mouse is already underway as sparks fly between Prince and the cunning bounty hunter.

The only trouble? Nadia wants him too.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 10, 2016

Melanie's Week in Review - January 10, 2016

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you are enjoying the first week of the new year. Well, I am back for another year of my Week in Review. Some of you kind souls completed my very short survey and the overwhelming majority was for me to continue. So here we go!
What have I been reading?

Melanie's Week in Review - January 10, 2016
I had just started to read the penultimate instalment of SM Reine's War of the Alphas series  - Alpha when I posted last. Deidre is back from the dead and in the process has discovered that she is none other than a phoenix. The only problem is that she remains an Omega as she can't shift on demand. What makes it worse is that her only alternatives for bringing out her feathered alternative self is a hunky but evil dragon or getting killed; neither option appeals to Deidre. In this instalment Stark is very reluctantly running for election after the Alpha Rylie declares an election to democratically elect the next one. Stark however, is more driven by vengeance when he discovers his wife is the pretender to the Unseelie throne. All the responsibility is back on Deidre to save the day.

Alpha has a lot happening in it. There is the Deidre being re-born, learning what shifter she really is, the election, Stark's wife and children, and lots and lots of killing. I think if Deirdre looked up psychopath in dictionary Stark's picture would be beside it. I kept waiting for him to show his good side....and I can assure you it never happened. I think having Stark's wife appear on the scene just muddled the plot and turned the focus away from what it started to be with Deidre wanting a better life for all shifters.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 10, 2016
At the start of the final book Pas, Stark is missing and Deidre is left alone to help him win the election. She also tries to maintain the balance between the vampires and the other factions that joined to support Stark. Without him there they are starting to rebel against her which puts the electoral race at stake. When the election results come in and its clear they have been rigged, Deidre is on the case to find Stark and put things right. She is determined that the right alpha wins...whoever that turns out to be.

This final instalment can only be described as 'messy'. There were too many things happening at once for it to come together as a cohesive plot. There is Stark going missing, the election being rigged, the vampires killing innocents and rebelling against Deidre, Stark's wife being as much of a psycho as he is, Stark's bizarre children, the Seelie and Unseelie kings, Deidre finding Stark and consummating their relationship, Rylie, Deidre summoning her phoenix self ...and the list goes on.  I couldn't really figure out Stark's master plan. If he was going to be supreme ruler and all preternaturals/supernaturals got to do whatever they wanted then what happens to the mundane population? By book 4 Stark and the vampires seem to kill most of them. Deidre also seems to lose all sense of herself and doesn't have a moral code of her own. She just seems to let others get abused or die because its easier than the alternatives. As for Stark he was the most unsympathetic character I ever came across and how Deidre spent more than 5 minutes in his presence let alone has sex with him is beyond me. It made her much more the victim than heroine of the tale. While I appreciate that Reine didn't drag the series out I think she tried to tell too much in only 4 books. Less is definitely more!

Melanie's Week in Review - January 10, 2016
I decided to switch it up a bit with a bit of 'olde worldy London' with The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer. Set in Victorian London the story starts with the young Charlotte Halloway who has been living as a boy on the mean streets for 5 years. When she ends up picking the wrong pocket and ends up in jail her life changes forever. After a rather dubious escape Charlie ends up being kidnapped by the mysterious Lincoln Fitzroy. Fitzroy is part of a secret organisation called the Ministry of Curiosities and has been searching for Charlotte before the evil Frankenstein finds her and uses her necromancing skills to raise an army of the undead. What he doesn't realise is that he is holding the very person he is looking for all the while. Take away the dirt and the boys clothes and the lovely Charlotte is revealed. Charlie isn't sure being Fitzroy's prisoner is any better than what Frankenstein has in store. It's all things that go bump in the night in this Victorian paranormal fantasy.

I enjoyed this story although I didn't find it that challenging of a read. Some of it was quite cliched especially the evil Frankenstein. Charlie also has an almost immediate attraction to the devilishly handsome Fitzroy and considering he kidnapped her and held her prisoner that is a tad unbelievable. There were also too many attempted rapes of the not so innocent Charlie. Had I been her I wouldn't have left home without some sort of weapon rather than walking around Victorian Whitechapel on my own. However, all being said, it was a quick and easy read and I can hardly wait to find out what Fitzroy's deep, dark secret is.

That is it for me this week. I hope you have started 2016 on a good reading note and ensure you make a resolution to read my Week in Review every week! Until next time happy reading.

War of the Alphas 3
Red Iris Books, June 4, 2015
eBook, 250 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - January 10, 2016
No longer an Omega, Deirdre Tombs has found her animal. She only had to die and rise from her own ashes to discover it.

And she’s returned with a purpose.

For the first time in history, the role of Alpha is up for election. If Everton Stark takes charge, he could disband the ruthless government organization that has made life miserable for shifters like Deirdre.

One problem: Stark doesn’t want to run. He only wants vengeance against his wife, Rhiannon, who killed many of his followers and stole the Ethereal Blade.

While Stark is focused on revenge, Rhiannon is focused on winning the election for Alpha. Victory means tearing the Winter Court apart with civil war. It means riots. It means unleashing a deadly unseelie assassin that devours souls. Anything to get her dragon shifter mate in power…with Rhiannon at his side.

War of the Alphas 4
Red Iris Books, July 27, 2015
eBook, 244 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - January 10, 2016
Deirdre Tombs is a Beta without her Alpha. Everton Stark is missing, just days in advance of the election to replace Rylie Gresham as leader of all North American shifters.

She can’t control his allies anymore. She can’t win the election without him.

Everything will be lost unless Deirdre can become a better monster than Stark.

The Last Necromancer
The Ministry Of Curiosities 1
Trade Paperback, July 17, 2015
eBook, August 11, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review - January 10, 2016
Victorian London: For five years, Charlotte (Charlie) Holloway has lived as a boy in the slums. But when one theft too many gets her arrested, her only means of escape lies with a dead man. Charlie hasn't raised a spirit since she first discovered she could do so five years ago. That time, her father banished her. This time, she brings even more trouble upon herself.

People are now hunting Charlie all over London, but only one man succeeds in capturing her.

Lincoln Fitzroy is the mysterious head of a secret organization on the trail of a madman who needs a necromancer to control his newly "made" creatures. There was only one known necromancer in the world - Charlotte - but now there appears to be two. Lincoln captures the willful Charlie in the hopes the boy will lead him to Charlotte. But what happens when he discovers the boy is in fact the young woman he's been searching for all along? And will she agree to work for the man who held her against her will, and for an organization she doesn't trust?

Because Lincoln and his ministry might be just as dangerous as the madman they're hunting.

Melanie's Week in Review  - January 24, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - January 17, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - January 10, 2016

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