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review 2018-10-12 21:25
A Dance of Water and Air - Antonia Aquilante
A Dance of Water and Air - Antonia Aquilante

At times, I feel like I write so many reviews which ought to contain the words 'I really wanted to like this book, but...' and A Dance of Water and Air is just another one of those reviews. For starters, the title itself feels awkward as the elements are just the wrong way round for it to seem natural. That is the least of this book's problems from my perspective. 

 

The basic premise of the book is that we have two neighbouring kingdoms in a universe where people have elemental magic but tend towards having an affinity for one over the rest. You can tell it's a fantasy book because Affinity gets a capital A every time it appears. Said kingdoms are threatened by another neighbour and a plan is hatched to marry the eldest son of one kingdom (Edmund) to the queen of the other, with Edmund getting shipped off there a few months before the wedding so he can get to know his prospective bride.

 

Since she pretty much ignores him once he arrives, Edmund inconveniently falls for the queen's brother (Arden) and also eventually gets accused of an attempt on the queen's life. This forces Arden to make a choice and he chooses to rescue his putative boyfriend, who's been thrown into a dungeon. After fleeing back to Edmund's kingdom and the queen reluctantly agreeing the two of them can marry, Edmund and Arden are discussing the threat from their neighbours and then the book just stops - I think it's meant to be a cliffhanger (maybe?) but instead it left me wondering if there was a problem with the file. 

 

I liked the overall world-building but sadly the characters didn't manage to be as interesting, being generally pretty two-dimensional. There's also a surprise 'oh, by the way I have breasts' moment for one of the characters that I really didn't see coming. Likewise, I found the convenience of the pairing off of Arden and Edmund's respective secretaries just a bit too much like high school and double dating to take seriously. But then all of them were very much working on 'oh, he's so handsome that I must fall in love with him' levels so I guess it's not a massive surprise.

 

I received this book from Netgalley on condition of giving an honest review. 

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review 2018-10-12 15:23
Book Review: Vow of Protection by Brittany Cournoyer
Vow of Protection (Personal Protectors #1)Vow of Protection by Brittany Cournoyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First time reading this author and I liked the book!

Privileged Walker Cardwell had the world at his feet - at least on the outside. His family was wealthy, his father running for reelection as governor and he worked as his dad's campaign manager. He had everything money could buy. Except he'd caught his girlfriend cheating on him with his best friend in HIS bed, his father was a verbally abusive, domineering asshole, his mother lived her world through the haze of medication and he had his own demons. But the girlfriend and his former best thing had been the straw that broke the proverbial back.

Needing to blow off steam and not able to go to the trendy, elite clubs he normally went to because, damn, his so called friends were the biggest gossips and backstabbers out there, so he ended up at a dilapidated bar called Rusty's with a bouncer who didn't know who he was and didn't care, which only added to his ire. A bunch shots of tequila later, Walker was feeling no pain and wanting to try his luck a line dancing. Luck was not on his side - he accidentally groped the girlfriend of the leader of the local biker gang and got himself beaten into oblivion.

The bouncer - Beckett - was forced to break up the fight, and take the unconscious and badly damaged governor's son to the hospital. Nephew of the bar's owner, the ubiquitous Rusty, Beckett had seen more than his share of action in his life. Ex-military, he was working for his uncle while he tried to figure out what he would do now after a medical discharge because of PTSD. But he couldn't not take care of the little twerp of a governor's son, because no one deserved the kind of beat down he'd just gotten. Meeting the twerps a-hole father made him realize that maybe the life of privilege wasn't so privileged after all.

Waking up in the hospital the next day Walker realized he may have bitten off more than he could chew with getting on the bad side of the gang and that he probably needed to hire a bodyguard - and oddly enough the bouncer from last night was his first choice. And he managed to convince Beckett to work for him just in time. A series of events made Walker realize someone really was out to get him.

Beckett and Walker strike sparks off of each other like oil and a match and when they ignite - the flames will either destroy them or make them stronger. Combined with the mystery of why Walker is being targeted by a stalker and the two have the odds stacked against them.

The book was an enjoyable read. There were some typos, a few things missed in editing, and the plot a little obvious at points; but on the whole I liked it.

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review 2018-10-12 05:02
Halloween Is Murder
Halloween is Murder - Josh Lanyon

Another half-baked short story by JL. Sometimes her short stories are really beautiful, spectacular displays of prose. But most of the time they're this: not fully-formed, more of an outline than a story, with characters you barely have time to get to know before the story is over. Add on the paranormal elements of actual real vampires and vampire hunters  and this just becomes a head-scratcher. There is also zero romance here. A hint of a love story, but that's it. The action is non-existent too, despite this being about vampires and vampire hunters. And there's a really big issue left unresolved at the end too.

Barry seriously didn't think it necessary to tell his client that her brother is out for her fortune? Um...he'll probably try to kill her next. Geez.

(spoiler show)

 

I was also really thrown by the fact this takes place in the world of Adrien English (and therefore Holmes & Moriarity, All's Fair, Art of Murder and just about every other series she's done her little crossover/tie-ins with). Um...what? That makes no sense. And just makes The Hell You Say look like a missed opportunity. Not the best tie-in she's come up with, in my opinion.

 

Still, it's JL, so the writing is still good and has a mild, throwback sort of humor (this is based in the 50s/60s) one expects from a Lanyon story. Just wish it had been longer, like the world and characters really deserved. 

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review 2018-10-11 16:51
great for LGBT and Young Adult fans
Courting Light - A. Zukowski
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. Josie volunteers to help at a summer camp for disabled children. But it's the camp leader, Sam, who draws Josie like a moth to a flame. Something must have piqued my interest with this one because it came with a young adult tag and I said yes, I would read it. And I did like! Not love but I liked it. Josie, by her own admission, only at camp to have something else on her CV other than school. Paired with Lucian, an autistic teenager, she learns a lot about herself and her life; and that of those around her. The draw to Sam, the camp leader, is instant and powerful, and Sam fights it a long time before they finally give into each other. At the end of camp, though, Josie is in for a surprise, as were we! And I did like the ending. From what Josie was saying, about what she thought in years to come, I really wasn't sure which way it was gonna go! BUT only Josie has a say and ya'll know what I think about that! AND it IS young adult, very much so. What Josie does say, is well written and well delivered. I quite liked Josie! It's a lovely, easy read, great for young adult fans, and for LGBT fans alike. Just maybe not one for me. 3 good solid stars. **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2018-10-10 19:53
Book Review: Winter Rising by Richard Amos
Winter Rising (Coldharbour Chronicles #1)Winter Rising by Richard Amos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was weirdly wonderful and I can't wait for Book 2!

Jake Winter is a man who has lost everything; his husband had been murdered and the killer had gotten away. The only 'good' thing that came from it was that Jake got clean, kicked his heroin addiction, stopped smoking and drinking, and started getting into shape. He had a killer to kill and a husband to avenge. On the one year anniversary of his husband's death Jake confronted the 'white eyed' bastard who'd destroyed his life. And had his entire existence turned upside down and inside out.

A deadly game of Cat and Mouse (with Jake the unwitting mouse) leads our hero to Coldharbour, a town shrouded from the rest of the world by magic, sealed by a curse and supposedly inaccessible. And yet the White-Eyed bastard had led him straight into the town through a crack in the magic, and then saved his life. Why would he do then when he'd robbed Jake of everything precious to him? And why the hell was he calling Jake a 'gift' and a 'weapon'?

Coldharbour is a place where evil entities known as 'beast' have broken through from their own realm. It is a town of goblins, trolls, werewolves, vampires, witches and fae (or half fae). It is a place where Jake can tip the balance and save the world from Beast if he can learn how to harness the power within him. Along with his four chosen guardians, Jake battles the Beast on the streets of Coldharbour, hoping to end the war before it bleeds into the rest of the world. Oh yeah, and in between all that Jake really needs to figure out why he turns into a complete idiot around his hot, half-fae guardian.

But what does the White-Eyed bastard want with him and why does he keep saving Jake?

This book was a spine tingler from start to finish. I admit, I was a little leery at first, it was a bit hodge podge and didn't really make sense until a few chapters in. I'm probably dating myself here but it reminded me of that animated fantasy movie, Heavy Metal, the one that jumped from scene to scene with no discernible connection - at first. But by the end you were like 'aha! I get it, I see the connection!' The writing was slick and sharp and full of vibrancy. I found myself sucked into the story, not wanting to put the book down even when I knew I should. The world building Richard does is impressive and seamless. He sets up his reality and makes it plausible. I absolutely loved this book and cannot wait for the sequel!.

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