Review Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass

Expected Publication Date: August 7, 2012

Book Blurb:

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. 

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Well, this was different. Good different. A young beautiful girl, Celaena, is the best assassin in the land. Somehow she gets caught and thrown into the salt mines, which, no matter what book/world/genre,  is always a bad place. Then suddenly she is plucked out by none other than the Crown Prince, Dorian. Well technically it is his Captain of the Guard Choal Westfall that does the plucking, but still, it is the Prince’s order. She is brought to the castle to compete in a silly tournament to be the “King’s Champion” (so basically kill whomever he wants killed, no questions asked). After doing that for several years, she can earn her freedom.

Of course she is the only girl in the competition. Which means everyone underestimates her. And then people start dying all over the place, and she starts falling in love with both Prince Dorian and Choal (Go Choal!). She makes friends, and enemies, discovers secrets, and has to save the day. So it is a very good, if typical and somewhat predictable, fantasy book. What I had a hard time with was she was so young, and had built up such notoriety through the whole kingdom as the best assassin. I just don’t see how that was possible. Now, I know there are several prequels, which I have not read and they may explain this, but I still don’t see how that is possible. And that she is “so pure” … please. Yes this is a YA book, but even then, with the life she had? I don’t think so.

Along the same lines, Choal is too young to be Captain of the Guard. And he has never killed before? Maybe I am confused, but how can one be promoted to Captain without having killed? Maybe that is not the point. If it were my kingdom, my Captain would be ruthless, not soft and cuddly. I like Choal, but think he would have been better served in some other capacity. Prince’s personal servant who became friends with after years or service maybe. I just can’t see him as the Captain. Even just a regular guard, fine.

Those two character points aside, I thought this was a good, predictable, book and an easy read. It was one I thought about when I went to bed, and wanted to see what happened next when I woke up. I have to admit, I did dream about it occasionally, and woke up one morning after I had finished it wanting to find out what happened next, and was sad when I remembered it was over. THAT is a sign of a good book. I really would like to read the next one.I enjoy reading books that don’t continually stress me out or leave me hyperventilating at the end. Of course I love those books too, I just can’t read them all the time!

This book gets 4 stars from me. You should check it out.

The Crimson Tour: Character Interview and Giveaway!

Everything Crimson
Well, as you may or may not remember, my review of Crimson Midnight (The Crimson Series) was all over the place. I could not wrap my head around that story, or mainly that ending! (If you don’t remember, you can see it here but be warned, it may not make any sense). That book … well let me just say that I have never read a book where the ending made me want to simultaneously throw my Kindle across the room and run out to get the next book, or at least shake the authors down for a super advanced early review copy of it.

So you can bet that I was super excited when they approached me about being included in this tour! AND they gave me a choice of what type of stop I wanted to host. I jumped all over the character interview. I almost chose Raven, but when I realized the interview would be in person, sitting face to face with him, I knew I would not be able to form coherent sentences and I would probably drool on myself a little. So I went with Thistle. She is a hoot and a half. Understandably, when I met her she was a little more subdued; she does have quite a bit going on.

Yes you heard right people, THIS CHARACTER INTERVIEW WAS DONE IN PERSON. Believe it or not; it makes no difference to me. But I was there. The trip through the ether into their world … well, I can say it made me a little nauseous, but I don’t remember much other than that. Below is what I could piece together from my notes, and what Amos and Cassidy told me.Thankfully as writers, they have great memories.

Continue reading

Armchair BEA: The Best of 2012

Design Courtesy of Sarah of Puss Reboots

Today, if you go to many of the blogs participating in Armchair BEA, there are several giveaways. Unfortunately I cannot do a giveaway right now (but stay tuned, there are some good ones coming up!). So the suggested topic is “The Best of 2012,” sharing some of my favorite books so far this year.

Of course, if you have read my blog, at all, you will know what my first one will be. Or more accurately, my first two.

You can read my reviews for both Sacrificial Magic and Chasing Magic by clicking on their titles. If you have not started this series yet, you need to. You may be a little put off in the beginning, but give it a chance. At least finish the first book. If you don’t love it, then that’s fine, we have differing tastes, and we can still be friends.

But I doubt very much you will be able to put them down. And yes, Chasing Magic doesn’t come out until the end of June, the 26th to be exact, but I was fortunate enough to get an ARC. That may have been the highlight of my year.

Some other goodies are

Nocturnal and Nightmare (review to come) are written by someone who has become a good twitter friend of mine, Chelsea Cameron. And you better believe I wouldn’t have been friends with someone who wrote bad books ;-). She takes on a different spin of the vampire mythology. Good stuff. The third book should be out this summer, or early fall.

Crimson Midnight is another good one, and the authors (yes, there are two) are amazing as well. They create a believable world, with relateable problems, then through a giant twist in there at the end that make you say WTF? And pester them continually for book two. Which lucky for us should be out early this fall. And come back to visit my blog on the 7th, for a great character interview and giveaway!

And then Angelfall. Even though it came out last year, I cannot say enough about this book. It is one of the most amazing YA books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Post-apocalyptic setting, where angels are the bad guys. Yes you read right. The world is horrible. The story and the writing are wonderful. I am eagerly anticipating book 2, but there is no news when it will be released, though I am hoping by the end of the year. Maybe. Jerks. 😉

I know this is not a complete list, nor is it exclusive. But if I went through and listed all of my favorites, we would be here for hours.

So, what are some of your favorite books of 2012?

Armchair BEA: Introductions First! My Interview with Myself

If this is your first visit, welcome! If it isn’t then welcome back! I am very excited to participate in this years Armchair BEA, which is a great way for those of us unable to participate in the real life Book Expo America to still get involved.

On this, day 1 of Armchair BEA we are doing a round of introductions. Since there are SO MANY blogs participating this year, we have been asked to interview ourselves, with 5 of a list of 10 questions, and then we can go around and check out all the other blogs.

The questions I chose to answer, in no particular order are as follows:

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

My name is Laura *waves* and I have been blogging since March of this year. … I feel like this should be some sort of meeting, where we all sit in uncomfortable metal chairs and talk about our blogging problems, drinking bad coffee and eating day old, store-bought cookies.

Anyway … I live in Central FL, am getting married in Oct, and have 3 dogs and a cat who are all the children I will ever need. Those of you bloggers with kids, I don’t know how you do it. You must never sleep! I first started blogging because I LOVE to read. You may not understand how much. Let me try to explain. When I was a kid, reading was the only thing my parents could take away that would have an effect. No TV; great I’ll go read. No phone; super, let me grab a book. You can’t go outside; ok, just let me get my book out of my bag. Go to your room; fantastic, that’s where all my books are.

My mom still feels bad about that. If you don’t believe me, you can ask her. I am sure she will leave a comment ;-). Hi mom!

Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

Well, if you know me in real life, you know I work with dogs. Not in a vets office, but at a boarding facility. They don’t stay in cages, we have a pool. Yes, an in-ground pool for the dogs, shaped like a dog bone. It is pretty sweet. I guess I should give myself a little more credit. I don’t just work there, I run the place. I don’t own it (I wish!) but I run this location for a larger company.

On the plus side, I get to bring my doggies to work most days. If I am having a bad day I can go sit and get puppy kisses from any number of our guests.  Watching the dogs play, or getting out there to play with them, is probably the best part.

On the down side, we are busier most holidays and weekends, so I usually end up working. And (as with most customer service positions) I am continually surprised at the amount of stupidity in our general population. No, our computer doesn’t automatically link up with your vet, whom we are not even affiliated with, in another state, and upload your pets current vaccinations. What do you mean where do they go to the bathroom? *facepalm* One of these days I am going to start a list, and you may see a blog post relating to it.

Where do you see your blog in five years?

Oh boy. See, I have this problem sticking with things. Probably why I am almost 30 and just now deciding to get married ;-). I have already stuck with this longer than I figured I would. That fact alone gives me hope for the future. In five years, I hope I am still plugging along, and possibly even doing it as a side job *fingers crossed*. I am not holding my breath for that one, but it would be an added bonus. At the very least, I would like to see it updated/personalized (working on that now, hope it is done in five years!!) and have a larger following, with possibly one or two associate reviewers? Dream big. 🙂

Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?

Ok, so to date my favorite post is my Review of Crimson Midnight. Not because it was an especially well written review, nor was it viewed thousands of times. No, the reason it is my favorite, is it opened the door to work with a couple of amazing authors that write under the name Amos Cassidy. They have become some of my favorite people, and have really widened my horizons to the whole book blogging world. They asked me to be a part of their upcoming blog tour (more information here) and gave me the choice of what kind of stop I wanted to host, so for fun I picked a character interview. They then wrote me into a little story to do said interview. (Check back June 7th for that fun!).

THEN they asked me to be a Beta reader for their next book. It may not sound like a big deal to all you other bloggers, but that really made my year. I was so honored that someone valued my opinions so much that they asked me to do that. I know, it is silly, but it really means a lot to me. Because of them, I have opened myself up to other authors, and have even started doing editing on the side, for another great author.

Ok, so that really went off on a tangent. Sorry about that, I don’t always have linear thoughts. 🙂

A close second is my Currently Reading Sacrificial Magic post, just because the author commented on it and I squeed! (a high-pitched girl scream, if you didn’t know)

What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?

I would say it is the new friends I have already made. They really came in at a time when I was thinking about giving up the blogging, after having just started. I had given an ok review to a book I had read, and received a nasty email from the author. It was bad. I KNEW I had done nothing wrong, but I was near tears. So what did I do? I jumped on Goodreads and went to the group I had just, a few days before, been invited to. I pasted the letter, and these people, who I had just digitally met, were outraged on my behalf. One of them even went so far as to comment on my review on Amazon, where someone else had commented that my review was “complaining to complain,” very much like what the author herself had said. Coincidence? I think not.

After their thoughtfulness, I was able to write a nice email back to the author, telling her off in the friendliest way possible, and then shared my response with my group. They all said I was too nice. 🙂 It was a great feeling, knowing that I am new to this, but other, more established bloggers had my back, and even if my review had been horrible, they would have backed me up anyway. It was amazing.

Something I would change … well, back to the horrible author. I wish there was a way bloggers and authors could interact, but not be so nasty. We don’t like to give books bad reviews. Trust me. I am currently reading a book that at 30% in I am thinking will get just 1 star. Maybe 2. The story itself has just enough depth to it to keep me interested, keep me wanting to know what happens, but I have had to start a word doc. to keep track of all the contradictions in the story. I am dreading writing this review, because what if the author sees it? What if I get another nasty email? I shouldn’t be subject to that, and neither should any blogger, that has invested her time into reading someone’s work. It is of course, one persons opinion, and once you publish a book, it is out there for the world to see. That doesn’t give the blogger a right to say nasty things either. Be respectful, and don’t make the review personal, and we can all get along.

Wishful thinking, I know. But you asked 🙂

Holy crap I am long-winded. If you read all of that, then you are my new best friend.

If you are participating in Armchair BEA, leave a comment and a link back to your interview post. I am going to try to make the rounds, but at least I want to give some visit love to everyone that visits me! 🙂

I hope to see you back here again soon!

Review of Samantha Moon by J.R. Rain

Blurb from Amazon:

Mother, wife, private investigator … and vampire. Six years ago, federal agent Samantha Moon was the perfect wife and soccer mom with the minivan and suburban home. Then the unthinkable happened, an attack that changed her life forever. And forever is a very long time for a vampire.

Samantha’s adventures as a night-roaming vampire and private investigator in Samantha Moon include …

Vampire for Hire #1) Moon Dance: Samantha is hired by Kingsley Fulcrum to investigate the attempt on his life, a horrific scene watched on TV around the country. But Kingsley isn’t exactly what he appears to be; after all, there is a reason why he survived five shots to the head.
Vampire for Hire #2) Vampire Moon: Samantha Moon hunts down a powerful crime lord and protects an innocent woman from her ruthless ex-husband—all while two very different men vie for her heart. As the stakes grow higher and her cases turn personal, Samantha Moon will do whatever it takes to protect the innocent and bring two cold-blooded killers to justice—her own brand of justice.
Vampire for Hire #3) American Vampire: Samantha receives a heartbreaking call from a very unlikely source: a five-year-old girl who’s been missing for three months. Using her considerable resources—including her growing supernatural abilities—to locate the missing girl before it’s too late, Samantha also receives devastating news on the home front, forcing her to make the ultimate choice of life and death.
Vampire for Hire #4) Moon Child: Samantha Moon is faced with an impossible decision that will change her life and those of the ones she loves forever—a decision that no mother should ever have to make. And through it all, Samantha finds herself in a lethal game of vampire versus vampire as a powerful and desperate enemy will stop at nothing to claim what he most desires.
Christmas Moon: With Christmas just around the corner, Samantha takes on a very strange case: A priceless family treasure has been stolen, something passed down through the generations and buried in secrets. And Samantha gets half of whatever it is … if she can find it first.

… and an all-new Samantha Moon short story by J.R. Rain.

 

I received all 4 books, plus the two short stories, in one, so I am going to review all of them as one work. They are so closely tied together that I feel this is the only way to do so. The premise was good; vampire PI, wife trying to hold her marriage together, mother of two keeping a big secret from her kids, trying to figure out how to be the best PI, wife, mother, and monster she can be. I must say right away, the story was good.

This had such potential. It was just … I had to start a word document to keep track of all the inconsistencies. I get it, shit happens. I can forgive one slip, but several? Not just inconsistencies, but things that just plain got on my nerves. I know you want examples, so here are a few:

1. Samantha comes across a picture someone took of her that was doing secret surveillance. So she didn’t know they were there, taking her picture (that becomes important in a minute). She actually comments about her appearance because she hasn’t seen herself in a long time, you know, since vampires don’t have a reflection. It is kind of a big deal for her.

Later on, she makes a comment about her id badge, or license for being a private investigator, and talks about how she had to wear enough make up to show up in the picture.

2. Her husband is cheating on her (I don’t consider that a spoiler, as it is pretty obvious) with his secretary. At the end of one of the books she says she was happy because she had heard they broke up. Then in the next section, they are together. Sure, they could have broken up and got back together, but this is the span of a week or so. Again, that happens, but maybe it should have been worded a bit differently, to acknowledge they had spent time broken up?

3. A character, Ira, who had no way of knowing Samantha’s name, suddenly knows her name without her telling him. And she doesn’t notice.

4. At one point she punches through bullet proof glass IN A PRISON and they let her go. Yeah, no. It does get addressed, later, but I don’t think they would let her leave, or at least they would try to keep her there.

5. If one more person said the phrase “You (or I) didn’t chose this,” I might have screamed.It must be the catch-phrase for this series.

6. Four potential love interests? With 3 of them saying “I think I am falling in love with you,” at maybe the second meeting, and one character even says it twice. She chooses one, but only after she loses all respect for him and finds out he betrays her. Of course, that makes sense. Oh wait, he apologized … that makes it all better.

For the record, I really really wanted to like this book. There is even a book 5 out there for this series, and I am kind of curious as to what happens, or if it gets better.

But not curious enough to buy it.

2 stars because the story, even with its several irritating plot points, still kept my interest long enough to finish it.

 

Review of Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane

Description from Amazon:

Magic-wielding Church-witch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.
 
As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.

Oh. My. God.

Without question, this is now my favorite book in the series. A title that was previously held by City of Ghosts. This book starts with Chess finishing up a Debunking assignment. It is the only real “church” work you see her doing. Fine by me. That just means more Chess + Terrible. Which is really what we all want at this point, now that they are FINALLY together, and secure in their relationship. And they are so damn cute. Continue reading