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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Melanie's Week in Review - January 17, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - January 17, 2016


Brrrrr.....it 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.




Driven
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.




Charming
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.

Feature: Flight From Hell Release Day Blast - August 19, 2014


Feature: Flight From Hell Release Day Blast - August 19, 2014


"Yasmine Galenorn's Otherworld series is long running, best selling, and has unique, well developed world building. This rich environment has more than one story to tell... and it's time for a new one to begin.

FLIGHT FROM HELL IS OUT TODAY!

FLIGHT FROM HELL is the novella bridge-piece that loosely links Yasmine’s existing Otherworld series with her upcoming Fly By Night series. To help celebrate the release of the novella, Yasmine has a contest happening on her site, and today is the LAST DAY to enter!!! Click HERE for prize details and instructions for entering."



Flight From Hell
Otherworld Novella
Intermix, August 19, 2014
eBook, 126 pages

Feature: Flight From Hell Release Day Blast - August 19, 2014
When the half-demon Carter approaches Menolly and her sisters desperately asking for their help, they think he’s just had a tiff with Shimmer, his blue dragon girlfriend.

But after talking to Alex Radcliffe, the owner of the Fly By Night Magical Investigations Agency where Shimmer works, they suspect that she has been kidnapped by an old enemy of Alex’s.

Now, Alex must join forces with the D’Artigo sisters in a desperate race to find Shimmer before Julian, a powerful vampire from Alex’s past with a grudge to settle, can use the dragon to wreak havoc on Seattle as revenge.



"Next summer, in the Fly By Night series, you'll meet new characters and have new adventures, but each book will have Yasmine's signature depth and edge. Answering questions about the similarities and differences between the two series, Yasmine recently posted this on her blog:
  1. They ARE both set in the same universe/same city/same time.
  2. The Fly By Night Series is NOT just another venue for the D’Artigo Sisters. The focus will be on Alex and Shimmer—there will be crossover of minor characters, but the two series are definitely their own and Fly By Night belongs to Alex and Shimmer.
  3. The Fly By Night Series will be from Shimmer’s viewpoint, and she and Alex hang out in vastly different circles than the D’Artigo sisters overall.
  4. FLIGHT FROM HELL is an OTHERWORLD novella that introduces Alex and Shimmer to you—here, the characters do interact but the Fly By Night Series will be focused on the Fly By Night world.
  5. Fly By Night is more of a mystery/thriller series. I’ll give you these spoilers:
  • Alex and Shimmer are not privy to the demonic war going on.
  • The FBN books will be more standalone. While the characters will evolve, there’s not all that much of an overwhelming series arc.
  • The FBN gang is a little more humorous, though the series is not really ‘lighter’ than Otherworld.




Click on the FLIGHT FROM HELL cover above to see its info page on Yasmine's site (with excerpt and playlist). And each of the covers below will take you to their individual pages. Now is a perfect time to get to know the Otherworld series, or catch up where you left off!!

Otherworld

Witchling
Witchling
Book 1
Changeling
Changeling
Book 2
Darkling
Darkling
Book 3
Dragon Wytch
Dragon Wytch
Book 4
Night Huntress
Night Huntress
Book 5
Demon Mistress
Demon Mistress
Book 6
Bone Magic
Bone Magic
Book 7
Harvest Hunting
Harvest Hunting
Book 8
Blood Wyne
Blood Wyne
Book 9
Courting Darkness
Courting Darkness
Book 10
Shaded Vision
Shaded Vision
Book 11
Shadow Rising
Shadow Rising
Book 12
Haunted Moon
Haunted Moon
Book 13
Autum Whispers
Autumn Whispers
Book 14
Crimson Veil
Crimson Veil
Book 15
Priestess Dreaming
Priestess Dreaming
Book 16
Panther Prowling
Panther Prowling
Book 17



Review: Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong


Thirteen
Author:  Kelley Armstrong
Series:  Women of the Otherworld 13
Publisher:  Plume, August 6, 2013
     First published in Hardcover July 2012
Format:  Mass Market Paperback (Premium), 480 pages
Price:  $9.99 (print)
ISBN: 9780142196748 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong
The gripping, epic finale to the bestselling Otherworld series

A war is brewing and the first battle has already been waged. After rescuing her half brother from supernatural medical testing, Savannah Levine—a young witch of remarkable power and a dangerous pedigree—is battered, but still standing. The Supernatural Liberation Movement took him hostage, and they have a maniacal plan to expose the supernatural world to the unknowing.

Savannah is fighting to save her world as witches, werewolves, necromancers, vampires, half-demons, and all the forces of good and evil—including the genetically modified werewolves known as hell hounds—enter the fray. Uniting Savannah with Adam, Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and other denizens of the Otherworld, Thirteen is a thrilling conclusion to this blockbuster series.



Melanie's Thoughts:

I was a late comer to the Otherworld series so I got to enjoy about the first 7-8 books back to back and then had to wait eagerly for each new release. I have to admit that I let the big release of Thirteen pass me by because I refused to pay as much for the e-book as I would for the paperback. The release came and went...as did a whole year before Thirteen came back on my radar. I am glad that I waited to read it. I am sure for most of you that reading reviews about this book are bit old hat by now. I will endeavour to be clever and say something you might not have heard before. Fingers crossed at least.

I am tempted to say that Thirteen starts immediately where Spellbound leaves off but it doesn't. Armstrong decides to takes us back to the beginning....in fact before Bitten with a prologue from Elena's POV. We get another snippet of Elena's life back in Toronto and before the start of the series where she struggles to hide her supernatural side. I thought this was a unique and daring way for Armstrong to remind us where her journey as a writer and our journey as a reader all began. We then slide almost seamlessly back into the action that leaves Savannah and her brother Bryce having just escaped a bomb blast. The story progresses with our favourite band of supernatural heroes fighting to save themselves and all the magically inclined from the nefarious activities of the Supernatural Liberation Movement who want to expose their kind to the public.

Armstrong allows each of her female characters to tell part of the story and we get to hear from Elena, Eve, Jaime, Hope, Page, and Savannah. The majority of the story is told by Savannah and there is a great rounding of her character as she accepts what her powers, friends and family really mean to her. There are some quite touching scenes early on in the story between Eve, Jaime and Savannah that could almost get you reaching for a tissue if there wasn't so much death and mayhem blended in. By allowing for multiple POVs Armstrong demonstrates that she isn't playing favourites and that each of these characters have developed and grown throughout the course of the series. She even mentions in the author's note that some of her die-hard fans complained when she wrote Dime Store Magic because the focus moved away from Elena and Clay towards Paige, the witch. This book was, however, the turning stone for the series as it brought in fans who like other types of supernaturals.  Throughout the series and through Thirteen we get to see what life is like for the whole supernatural community and the threat that the Supernatural Liberation Movement really means to them as a collective.

I am trying very hard not to give anything away by telling what happens. What I can say there are some fantastic surprises in store for Savannah as she battles to save the day. While there is quite a bit of gore and mayhem I still finished the book with a sigh as I waved my favourite characters good-bye feeling satisfied with Armstrong's conclusion to their story. I think this is a series you can quite easily dip in and out of during the early books (before book 9) although you won't have the same satisfied result at the end.  Kudos to Armstrong for finishing the series and not being tempted to keep the spells going.  A great series, a great read and a great author.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 25, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review  - August 25, 2013



This is a bank holiday weekend in the UK so I get a whole extra day to get chores done or what is more likely to happen I will spend the extra day not getting any chores done but a few books read!

Melanie's Week in Review  - August 25, 2013
This has been a bit of a mixed genre kind of week for me. I started the week with an urban fantasy and finished off with Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong. I really liked this final installment of the Otherworld series. Look out for my review next week to find out why and what I liked about it. I then switched genres to paranormal mystery in the form of Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer. I got this book from NetGalley and it is set in the mid 1910's, about a decade after the big earthquake in San Francisco. Delia is being haunted by a ghost (who she calls Shadow) and the ghost is desperate for Delia's help to solve her murder. I am planning to review this book so I don't want to give too much away. I should have finished it but I read a few things in between. I am hoping to finish it today.

Melanie's Week in Review  - August 25, 2013I did get completed distracted from my reading plan by reading recommendations. Note to self.....don't listen to random recommendations. I am not even sure where I read about Never Kiss a Rake by Anne Stuart.This was a complete departure from anything I have read in about a decade. I used to read a lot of historical fiction and historical romance but my tastes changed. Never Kiss a Rake was 100% historical romance. It was described as being a retelling of Jane Eyre. I love Charlotte Brontë and have read Jane Eyre a few times over. Unfortunately for me, Never Kiss a Rake was nothing like Jane Eyre. I think the only thing that was the similar was that the hero Adrian Bruton, aka Rochester was rich and married. On the plus side this was a '2 tube journey' book so I got to work and back without having to challenge myself too much or worried that I would miss a plot point.

Melanie's Week in Review  - August 25, 2013
I was perusing my Kindle recommendations and came across The Keepers by Donna Augustine. This was the story about a girl who goes from thinking she is a freak of nature to discovering she is an extremely powerful half blood from two alien races. I am still quite indecisive whether this was science fiction or urban fantasy. There were alternative universes, aliens in the form of Fae and werewolves and wormholes. If anyone knows what genre that all fits into let me know. Luckily The Keepers was ridiculously cheap on Amazon....think about 69p. It had quite a lot of promise but it could have done with a few beta reviews. There were typos and grammatical mistakes that could have been avoided with an objective read-through. It also seems to finish mid-sentence. While its the first book in The Alchemy series it could have ended on a cliff hanger at the very least rather than ending in what seemed that there were a few pages missing.

Hopefully, this weekend I will get back on my reading track and leave the recommendations for another time. To find out whether I succeed then come back next Sunday. Until then Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 18, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review - August 18, 2013


I read some really great books this week. First, I waved good-bye to Hadrian and Royce as I finished the last book of the Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan. So here endeth my Riyria reunion. The Heir of Novron  re-affirmed everything I loved about this series. It was an amazing book, or in fact 2 books. So much happened in this final episode. It was one twist, turn, heart break and triumph in every chapter. You can check out my review of The Riyria Chronicles which was posted yesterday (8/17), which kicked off my Riyria reunion in the first place.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 18, 2013
I started to read A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon but had to stop reading it when this arrived from the lovely Qwill. What a fantastic box of goodies. Even though I knew what I was going to get it was still a surprise to see them there in the flesh...or should I say in the print. You might notice Magic Rises on the top of the pack...well...I was really looking for that to arrive and anything else I had on the cards to read got sidelined for the latest from 'chateau Andrews'. I am going to be reviewing Magic Rises so I won't let anything else slip.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 18, 2013
I will however, tell you about A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon. I didn't know what to expect when I started this book. I hadn't read anything else by this author. I got the book from the lovely people at NetGalley and I became instantly gripped. The story is set in the late 1800's in a steampunk version of England - referred to Anglica and moves quickly to Bharata (India) where the young, aristocrat, Tori, searches for the 'golden lotus'. Tori hopes to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, who is a renowned scientist, by becoming the first woman to be admitted into the the Royal Society for finding and documenting the golden lotus. Anglica is rich but resource poor with a love of science whereas, Bharati is rich both in resources and in magic but where people are poor and deemed by the Anglica's to be uncivilised. Those in Tori's world shun her belief in magic but she is determined to find the flower of the gods and prove the existence of magic. Betrayal, political revolution and forbidden love are all in store for the intrepid, budding scientist. I really enjoyed A Thousand Perfect Things. I read it quite quickly, despite the interruption. I thought that Kenyon was very clever in her depiction of Bharati.  It was very colourful and you could almost feel the heat and smell the rich, pungent spices. There were distinct parallels to the British rule of India over the period and their desire to rid themselves of foreign rule. While I thoroughly enjoyed this book it did have some minor faults. I felt latter part of the book was rushed. There was one specific scene where one of the characters just died without really any explanation of how they were killed. Then at the very end nearly a decade passes one scene and the next and it felt a bit contrived. On the whole I liked this book and thought it was a great depiction of two intriguing worlds.


Melanie's Week in Review - August 18, 2013
I just started Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong. I forgot that I hadn't read this final book of the Otherworld series yet. So far so good but don't want to give too much away as this is another review. Still so many books to read and so little time but until next week Happy Reading!
Melanie's Week in Review - January 17, 2016Feature: Flight From Hell Release Day Blast - August 19, 2014Review: Thirteen by Kelley ArmstrongMelanie's Week in Review  - August 25, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - August 18, 2013

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