Category Archives: Fantasy

Kate Daniels’ World

I have become completely obsessed with the Kate Daniels series and world by Ilona Andrews. 

Until now, I had completely dismissed companion novels, .5 short stories and novellas. My world has completely changed. The Ilona Andrews team has shifted my thinking and reading experiences. I engrossed into this world, enhanced through each story and perspective. 

My obsession has led me to track down short stories in obscure anthologies and cut scenes post of their blog.

The Kate Daniel’s world is rich and holistic. Even though it is set in a futuristic Atlanta where magic and technology exist in deep conflict that waves throughout the world. A world inhabited by a range of preternatural beings that are fierce, predatory and loyal. This world feels real or at least believable.

Now that my reading experience has evolved into this new sector or the market, I’m going to relive some of my favourite series. I’m starting with the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr (another favourite author or urban fantasy). I’ve almost finished the audiobook of Desert Tales and I’m keen to find some short stories or novellas from this world.

What are your opinions of companion novels and short stories?
Are there any great series enhanced with them that I should read?

Happy reading 🙂

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Touch by Melissa Haag

TouchTouch by Melissa Haag

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book more than I anticipated. I think it is mostly because I was able to respect the characters. Far too often the characters in YA paranormal romances invoke a feeling of envy in the reader because of their romance/appearance/powers/wealth/circumstances etc. This was not the case. The teenagers were sensible and the adults were both loving and flawed.

Touch is about Tessa, a 16 year old who is trapped by a 200 year old family curse. While I call Touch a paranormal romance it is different from most stories in the genre. While the ‘love interest’ propels the plot, there isn’t a ‘fall in love at first sight’ overwhelming romance. I really respect Melissa Haag for this as I think it makes the novel. The complication is that Tessa, as all the women before her, must choose a partner before her 17th birthday. To assist her choice, she catches a glimpse of the future with each potential mate with just a touch. The main catch is that whomever she chooses is cursed to die young.

I want to quickly comment on the cover. While looking at the covers of all the editions, this cover is the most appealing to me. However, after reading the novel this cover is really misleading 😦

What I liked most about Touch is that I was often conflicted about what I wanted for Tessa, the protagonist. I was able to share her indecision as she battled with making decisions that would rule her future and change the lives of her family.

I am really looking forward to reading some of Melissa Haag’s other work.

Touch reminds us that the basis for the strongest relationships is friendship rather than passion.

Happy reading 🙂

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My new favourite series book 1

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kate Daniels is just my type of protagonist – tough, smart-mouthed, attracts trouble and knows how to hold her own. This paranormal, urban fantasy, mystery really took me by surprise. The authors have created a well-rounded world that I easily fell into and followed the story. The story had unpredictable twists and turns that kept me interested and wanting to find out what happened next.

The chapters are really long and the first few are heavily laden with descriptions of the setting which was required to develop such a believable world. I will admit that I was assisted by a rundown given by another reader on Goodreads who explained concisely about the Magic versus the Tech; The Order versus The Guild; and The Pack versus The People. She also directed my to http://www.ilona-andrews.com/kate-daniels which really helped. I also downloaded from Smashwords a companion to the series where one of the authors has written some of the scenes from Curran’s perspective. There is only on scene from Magic Bites but it is well worth the read.

I really would have preferred to have read the ebook rather than the audiobook of this one. It isn’t often that I say this but it would have helped to be able to see the spelling of some of the names and to be able to go back and reread passages after revelations were made later in the novel. Luckily I read this as a buddy read on Goodreads so the other readers were able to fill in the blanks for me.

There is a subtle humour in Magic Bites which really won me over. I always appreciate fantasy authors who don’t take themselves too seriously “Here kitty, kitty” 🙂

Thanks to the sense of humour, encompassing world, feisty Kate and the fearsome Curran that Kate Daniels may just become my new favourite series!

(I’m 40% through the second book already!)

 

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*Yawn*

Kiera's Quest: Awakenings (Kiera's Quest, #1)Kiera’s Quest: Awakenings by Kristy Brown

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This really wasn’t my sort of book but I guess that I am also not the target audience for Kiera’s Quest .

The Good
This is a typical good versus evil story. It has simple, likeable characters and appropriate levels of language and violence for your 11 to 13 year old reader.

The Bad
My personal taste is against writing in vernacular, especially teen vernacular. Vernacular only works if it is an integral part of the story development or is used to demonstrate that setting. Some Science Fiction novels use it extremely effectively. However, Kiera’s Quest I found the dialogue to be outdated and distracting from the story. This really detracted from my enjoyment as there was a lot of dialogue.

The Verdict
This is a nice, short easy read for tweens but it will most likely not engage older readers.
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Great indie read! Memory’s Wake

Memory's WakeMemory’s Wake by Selina Fenech

My rating: 4.5 stars 

Memory’s Wake by Selina Fenech exceeded all of my expectations. This is one of the best indie books I have read. Fenech takes an interesting fantasy story and enhances it with her amazing artwork and crafted prose.

The small illustrations at the beginning of each chapter are beautiful. They give Memory’s Wake a fairytale feel. Thankfully the literary devices and the style of prose develop a more complex story that while inclusive of fairytale elements, is a far cry from a clichéd reinterpretation of a fairytale. Memory’s Wake also includes full page plate illustrations. Usually I am not a fan of illustrated novels because I often find that the artist’s interpretation of the characters and mine differs. As the illustrations are by Fenech, who was an artist before she became a writer, the characters are visually represented just as they are in the text. Fenech has created a phenomenal multimodal text.

There are an interesting mix of characters in Memory’s Wake . I’m in an unusual predicament where I can’t decide who my favourite character is. Each of the four focal characters have just enough flaws to make them loveable. Yet each also has his or her own unique quality that makes them special.

Memory’s Wake is a story of lost and hidden identities, betrayal, lies and the desire to uncover the past. It is a must read for all lovers of Young Adult fiction.

I can’t wait to read the second book

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The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second installation in The Raven Cycle will not disappoint Maggie Stiefvater fans. Sometimes the second book in a series is something that needs to endured in order for the story to progress rather than something to be enjoyed. Maggie Stiefvater has overcome this with a really strong subplot that keeps the reader engaged while the search for Glendower continues.

The Dream Thieves focuses on Ronan rather than Gansey, as we learn more about where Chainsaw came from and the Lynch family. “There are three kinds of secrets”and we soon learn that “Ronan Lynch lives with every sort of secret”. In The Raven Boys I didn’t relate to Ronan at all. While he still doesn’t seem as lovable as Blue, Adam, Noah and Gansey; we start to understand the boy behind the angst. Adam’s sacrifice to waken the ley line is taking its toll as he becomes more alienated from his friends and the reader. With Neeve gone, life at 300 Fox Way starts to go back to normal – if there is such a thing as normal for these vivacious women. Blue’s relatives become more involved with helping the boys; even if Calla is still referring to them as ‘the pretty one’, ‘Coca-Cola shirt’ and ‘the snake’.

The Dream Thieves is written in a way that makes you forget that you’re reading as the hours slip away while you fall into the story. A must read for everyone who enjoyed The Raven Boys.

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!
 
Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…
 

From http://maggiestiefvater.com/the-raven-boys/the-dream-thieves/

AVAILABLE 17 SEPTEMBER 2013

Happy reading 🙂
 
 

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Filed under Advance Reading Copy, Fantasy, Young Adult fiction

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Touch of Power (Healer, #1)Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first Maria V. Snyder novel I have read. Touch of Power is an enjoyable and easy read. Avry, the last healer alive in the fifteen realms, is kidnapped before her execution, by Kerrick. Kerrick intends to take Avry over the Nine Mountains to heal a plague stricken prince which she knows will result in her own death. Throughout the obstacles in their journey, Avry must decide whose life is more important. This adventure, fantasy story centres around a band of characters, who through their faults, become endearing to the reader. A good, casual read for a Sunday afternoon.

Read July 2013

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