Rogue (Talon #2)

Started: January 25, 2018
Finished: January 31, 2018

Language: English
Rating: 3/5 stars


The hardest thing about waiting to die is being torn between wanting more time and wishing they would just get it over with already.


Basically me during this book. It definitely suffered a bit from “second book syndrome”.

It was a good sequel, in a way, but it did not feel like the story or the characters progressed much. It just felt like a lot of waiting for the next book. I did not like how naive Ember appeared, how much she seemed inclined to run from everything, how much she led both Riley and Garrett on – although I did start to form a theory as to why this last thing was happening towards the end of the book, which did make it a bit more bearable and also a bit inspiring for one of my own stories, so I’m not complaining that much about this situation.

I did, however, like the fact that we got more chapters from Dante’s POV. I liked finding out more about what it was like inside of Talon – because, hell, brainwashing much? And when things started to indicate that also St George might be corrupted, it got a bit more interesting. So I will give this particular book the benefit of the doubt and believe that the story will get more exciting in the following novels.

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Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)

Started: January 16, 2018
Finished: January 28, 2018

Language: English
Rating: 5/5 stars


You’re dressed for sneaking about Dracula’s castle. Be still my thawing, dark heart. You certainly know how to make a young man feel alive, Wadsworth.


Still recovering from the Ripper-case, Audrey Rose finds herself onboard the Orient Express, en route to Romania and one of Europe’s best schools in forensic medicine. It should mean a way to restart her life. Instead it seems she has stepped into another mystery.

Perhaps the old stories of vampires are real.

I loved this book!
First of all, Audrey Rose is not portrayed as someone who simply moves on from the Ripper-case. <spoiler>Who would, if the most notorious murderer in London turned out to be your own brother, trying to revive your dead mother?</spoiler> No, Audrey Rose is shown struggling to appear strong, whole, perfectly alright, while her mind plays tricks on her, while she finds herself freezing up doing something she has done for years – practicing forensic medicine. Which is what I expect to happen – and it is written absolutely brilliantly!

Then there’s Thomas Cresswell…

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what I thought of Mr Cresswell in the first book. I liked him a lot, certainly, but I wasn’t as head-over-heels as others reading the book seemed to be. Ironically, I went all Cresswell about it – analyzing why I wasn’t and all of that – when, in reality, I think I simply expected myself to like him and then when I didn’t immediately do that, I started to question it. I went into this book with a different mindset and – bam – there were the head-over-heels feelings.
You know what I liked most about him in this story, though? The fact that he awkwardly tried to help Audrey Rose recover the way a man should help a “traditional woman” of this time. Which Audrey Rose certainly is not. I think he learned a great deal through that – made him a bit less of an all-knowing show-off.
And, yes, every single romantic interaction between them made me smile like an idiot.

Third point of interest? The setting. Romania is a place of mystery, of wilderness and danger. Perfect for a deadly mystery – complete with old castles, corpses and creepy headmasters. And for people like Thomas Cresswell and Audrey Rose Wadsworth, what place could be better to deepen their relationship than among bodies drained of blood?

I am thoroughly looking forward to the next book in this series!

Revisionary (Magic Ex Libris #4)

Started: January 7, 2018
Finished: January 14, 2018

Language: English
Rating: 4/5 stars


You don’t do what’s right because you know it will work out. You do it because you know it’s right.


Magic is real – and people are going crazy.

We saw the signs of what would happen to our world if magic was suddenly revealed to be an actual thing in the last book. Now it has become a reality. Governments crave control over magic and creatures born out of magic. There are laboratories set up – not all of them ethically correct – and Isaac Vaino finds himself juggling his ambition to integrate objects from science fiction into reality, to help his niece, going head to head with greedy politicians, and getting involved in a revolution.

A normal workday, right?

I loved the realism of this book. If magic was revealed to be real, I am certain this would be what happened. It’s a bit like <i>Civil War</i> in a way, where people who try to help and do the right thing but aren’t using normal tools are people that the government wishes to control and study. Isaac is just as awesome a character as in the previous books. Him having to juggle a lot of new tasks and a large amount of leadership gives him a lot of new challenges – and sometimes he does what I would have done, which is avoiding them completely. Which doesn’t always end up well.

The book is a perfect conclusion to this series – and I highly recommend people read it!

Everless (Everless #1)

Started: January 7, 2018
Finished: January 14, 2018

Language: English
Rating: 4/5 stars


I know better than to be afraid of stories.


In Sempera, time is money. Literally. You pay your debts with blood, and as it is drained from you, so is the time you have left to live.
Jules’ father is reaching his last hour and, in a desperate attempt to save him, Jules takes a job at the Gerling estate. Which they fled from years before. The Gerlings are the wealthiest family in Sempera and as Jules wanders the corridors of her childhood, dark secrets begin to unravel.
It appears Jules is in more danger than she first expected.

The world building in this novel is absolutely incredible. Sempera and its blood iron currency felt as real and tangible as the world around me. Truly, at times it even replaced the real world – which, of course, is a good sign.

I loved Jules as a character other than the fact that she was a bit of a loner. Which – don’t get me wrong – isn’t generally a bad thing, but here that meant we do not see as much of the secondary characters as I would have liked. Because they were equally complex and multi-layered.
Take Liam Gerling, for example. The heir of the Gerling estate, Liam is described as cold-hearted and evil. Since Jules and her father fled the estate, Liam has been chasing them. Hunting them. And, when Jules goes back to the estate, she is terrified of him figuring out who she is. However, as the story progresses, Liam’s character is broadened, explored, and suddenly the first description is shattered in a million pieces. Brilliant!

All in all, this was a wonderful story to read. Not quite a five-star read – it can be developed even further – but really enjoyable. I would also like to see some more of the secondary characters in the next novel. But I am looking forward to it!

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

Started: December 24, 2017
Finished: December 31, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 3/5 stars


“After Beltane is over, we will have the pleasure of watching our queen deliciously poison her sisters.”


Actual rating: 3.25/5 stars

So this book was a bit of a rollercoaster when it comes to enjoyment, but after finishing it I felt like the sequels might be a bit more interesting. Mainly because most of this book is the build-up for when the three queens – the three sisters – are allowed to start killing each other.

Because that’s what this story is about. A set of triplets vying for the throne of Fennbirn, as generations of triplets have before them. They each have their own powers and, after a set date, they will go head to head, trying to kill the others and win the throne. This generation’s winner seems to be decided before the game even starts; Mirabella – an elemental – is rumoured to be the strongest one born in generations, while Arsinoe – a naturalist – has not managed to even make a flower bloom and Katherine – a poisoner – can’t handle the deadly substances she is forced to eat without getting ill. Mirabella, however, does not want to kill her sisters. And so the people around the three Queens all start to plot and scheme to make their charge the winner – no matter the cost.

A lot in this book is about the political gamble of those around the triplets, while they are mainly left in the dark, not knowing what is going on around them. And while all three of these Queens are written well (as are the other characters), this does make for a rather slow read. However, I would advice you all to keep on going, because once the game starts…. oh boy, things happen! And even though I saw a part of that ending coming, I could not have predicted all of it.

So yes, I will continue on with this series – and I have high hopes for it!

Hunted

pubmarch-hunted

Started: December 29, 2017
Finished: December 30, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 4/5 stars


There is something out there, he’d said. Something cunning.


Yeva is the youngest of three sisters, daughters of a merchant and doing what women their age should do; look for suitable husbands. Yeva is known for being beautiful – even her father calls her Beauty – but that is not what she wants her future husband to marry her for. She wants to marry someone who values her skills. Who loves her because she is a hunter like her father.

When her father loses all his money, the family is forced to move to his old hunting cabin at the edge of the great woods. Yeva’s father goes into the woods to hunt. Soon, it becomes apparent that he is obsessed with hunting something unusual. When that obsession ends in him not coming back home, Yeva makes up her mind and goes after him. And meets the Beast.

This is a very captivating retelling of Beauty and the Beast, inspired by Russian folklore. Yeva is a wonderful character and the short snippets from the Beast’s point of view are written in a way that is incredibly intriguing. You can see when he starts to go from Beast to something more human… and back again.
I could, however, not give this a full five star rating as I felt pieces of the story line could actually have been extended. The ending could have been a bit more complex – in fact that felt like the better option and, perhaps, it was the original intent. I seem to remember this at first being planned as the first installment of a series, only to then be turned into a stand-alone novel (might be recalling this wrong, though). But it’s still a really good novel and one I truly recommend people give a shot at reading.

Unbound (Magic Ex Libris #3)

Started: December 17, 2017
Finished: December 29, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 5/5 stars


Thanks to Gutenberg, I could no longer pull wands, potions, and light sabers out of books, but when it came to research, give me a well-stocked library and I was a goddamned Merlin.


Isaac Vaino has lost his magic – right when he needs it the most, because without it, how is he going to find his student, Jeneta, who was possessed by a queen hellbent on ending the world?
Oh, and save the world. That too.

In this third book of the Magic Ex Libris series, we meet a more desperate Isaac than in the previous books. He has lost a vital part of himself, been cut off from the Porters, and blames himself for Jeneta Aboderin’s disappearance and possession. And when Isaac gets desperate… well, he uses magic tools that are probably not a good idea to use. He attempts to access parts of his locked brain by use of a siren’s song, breaks into a satellite blood bank owned by vampires, drinks blood to be able to communicate with a dead Pope… honestly, all signs of a desperate man with knowledge of magic. And all possibly deadly.

At the same time, Gutenberg and the Porters try to minimize the damage wrecked by those who exposed magic to the world. A race against time, as their opponents only need to cause a bit more magical chaos to make people ignore the Porters’ attempts at assurance that magic is not real. Eventually, even Gutenberg finds himself needing help.

Specifically; he needs Isaac’s help.

This book is written in the same entertaining way as the previous ones – and a lot easier to read than book #2, which I found a tad bit confusing. It has just as many geeky references and witty comments, but also a certain darkness. Isaac has changed. The world has changed. And it will probably never go back to being the same way as before. The story is fast-paced and intriguing and fun, and it feels like it could be something that happens in the world we know today. As if it is actually happening.

Maybe libriomancy is actually real and this is one of the clues left by the Porters’ enemies, to expose them…