Unwept by Tracy & Laura hickman
If i could sum up Unwept in two words, it would have to be:
I've read plenty of books where the author(s) do not do an adequate job with character development/world building/magic system/etc and I am left with an overall question mark about what the book was even about.
I'll be honest - when I started Unwept I was worried that scenario was going to happen again. I hated that...I have fond, fond memories of Tracy Hickman's participation in the Dragonlance series and I have read and enjoyed a few of the books he has written in concert with his wife, Laura. So, when I started Unwept with absolutely no clue what was happening...well, it was worrisome.
But I kept reading.
And I am glad that I did! Unwept turned out to be a fun, surreal ride. In this novel we meet Ellis who has no recollection of her past. She comes to consciousness, waking from a horrific nightmare, finding herself on a train bound for a small, seaside town in Maine. Everybody she meets seems to have knowledge of her and her past...but the can't (or won't?) give her the answers she is desperately seeking. To make matters even more disorienting, Ellis is visited in the dark of night by a mysterious suitor who keeps trying to take her away from the small Maine town. Unsure of what is going on, Ellis embarks on a journey to discover her past...but is she ready for the answers she may find?
The reader is definitely in the same boat as Ellis. You discover Ellis' backstory along with Ellis. At times this can be frustrating...I would have enjoyed a little bit of insider knowledge at the start of the story. I think it would have made the book more enjoyable? But, really...I don't know. Maybe it really is best to be on the same page as Ellis. *shrug*
I think this book requires a little bit of patience to wait and discover the story along with Ellis. And the fact that Unwept starts a series should tell you that you're in for the long haul on this one. I devoured this story and am looking forward to seeing how the next chapter unfolds.
inquisitor by R.J. Blain
Ok, maybe my title is misleading...obviously I am not talking about the Spanish Inquisition. In R.J. Blain's new urban fantasy, Inquisitor, we are looking at a completely different brand of inquisition....one that's coming after the supernatural creatures living among us.
If you missed this feature on The Weekly Newbie post a while back, here's the back cover blurb:
When Allison is asked to play Cinderella-turned-Fiancée at a Halloween ball, the last thing she expected was to be accused of murder on the same night. She has to find the killer or she'll be put to death for the crimes she didn't commit. To make matters worse, the victims are all werewolves.
On the short list of potential victims, Allison has to act fast, or the killer will have one more body to add to his little black book of corpses.
There's only one problem: One of the deaths has struck too close to home, and Allison's desire for self-preservation may transform into a quest for vengeance...
Ok, so I liked this book! While I always enjoy a good werewolf book, it's definitely a sub-genre that's been tackled a lot and it's hard to avoid covering territory that's already been done. I think Blain does a great job of setting up a story/world that's a little different than some of the other werewolf novels out there. While there are some similarities, there is enough to make itself stand out in the genre. While the existence of fae beings are hinted at, Inquisitor, focuses on witches and werewolves (hence the series title....) which is a combination I haven't read before.
The main character, Allison, was an interesting one as well. I found myself intrigued by her. I wanted to know more about her backstory and her plight. Allison definitely carries this novel...and she does so pretty well. You are introduced to several side characters (I hesitate to call them "background characters" because some of them play pretty big roles) throughout the story and I do wish that we had learned more about them. Now, I believe this is book number one in a series (at least, with that ending it had, it had better be part of a series!) and it could be that we learn more about the side characters in later installments. Even with that possibility, I do wish we had learned a bit more about them in this go-around.
To go hand-in-hand with the side-character development, I did find myself wanting a little more worldbuilding. Worldbuilding can make-it or break-it for me and I think setting up a supernatural side-world in the midst of reality can be challenging. You don't want to have too much worldbuilding because you want to read an urban fantasy. Too much focus on the fae/supernatural side can sometimes turn the story into pure fantasy. Plus, in an attempt to worldbuild, some authors tend to info dump rather than gradually set up their world. Blain doesn't info dump (no worries) and I definitely could see the structure of an interesting world (what with the Inquisition itself, werewolf pack structure, the interesting relationship between witch and wolf, etc...) forming throughout the story. I found myself, however, wanting more established world building toward the beginning of the story so it could then, in turn, frame the rest of the plot.
As far as the story itself...holy plot twists, Batman! I thought I had the book figured out about a quarter of the way through...then Blain threw the first curveball at me. Then the twists and turns kept coming and I didn't know what to expect anymore. Which is good. I hate being able to telegraph the plot of a book. The story is quite interesting and there are some plot elements that are very intriguing (yes, I'm being vague so as to avoid spoilerage). Inquisitor held my attention to the very last page.
All in all - Inquisitor is a fun, four-star read! Definitely a fun read for fans of urban fantasy featuring strong, female leads!
I have some exciting news in this week's Weekly Newbie post! Today's post features the newest from R.J. Blain - Inquisitor - an urban fantasy that delves into the world of werewolves. Not only am I excited to preview this ARC....but I am very excited to announce that Ms. Blain will be doing a guest post on the blog within the next few weeks! Definitely stay tuned for more info!
And now...on to the book.
Available for Purchase: May 16, 2014 from Amazon.com
Back Cover Blurb:
When Allison is asked to play Cinderella-turned-Fiancee at a Halloween ball, the last thing she expected was to be accused of murder on the same night. She has to find the killer and quick, or she'll be put to death for the crimes she didn't commit. To make matters worse, the victims are all werewolves.
On the short list of potential victims, Allison has to act fast, or the killer will have one more body to add to his little black book of corpses. There's only one problem: One of the deaths has struck too close to home, and Allison's desire for self-preservation may very well transform into a quest for vengeance...
RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning. When she isn't playing pretend, she likes to think she's a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband. She also has a tendency to play MMOs and other computer games. In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.
Can't wait to really get into this one! I do enjoy a good werewolf novel... I started it yesterday and so far it is proving to be a promising read. Stay tuned for R.J.'s guest post and for the review which should be posted on or around the release date!
The right wife by Beverly Barton
Expected Publication Date: June 5, 2014
Just received approval for this arc - so excited! I love the cover...I do love a pretty dress.
Anyway, here's the Back Cover Blurb:
In a sweeping and vibrant novel set in the post-war South, New York Times bestselling author Beverly Barton follows one young woman's journey to love and independence. . .
1885. All of Margaret Campbell's hopes for the future lie in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Since the death of her sharecropper father, eighteen-year-old Maggie has no resources and few allies, aside from the relatives who've agreed to take her in. With luck, she might yet make an upright gentleman of her brother, and a real lady of her rebellious little sister. And perhaps, once her siblings are settled, she'll find a decent, hardworking man to marry. But those plans are jeopardized the moment she meets Aaron Stone.
Effortlessly charming, Aaron is building an empire in the South. Maggie knows he wants the right kind of wife to overcome the shadows surrounding his birth--someone like the well-connected widow he's been courting. Someone a million miles from a penniless, outspoken sharecropper's daughter. But neither jealousy, family secrets, nor long-held prejudices will keep Maggie from following her heart. . .
Most of the historical romances I read tend to be Regency Romances. I am looking forward to an American historical romance! Can't wait to get started on this one!
The Immortal crown by richelle mead
Expected release: May 29, 2014
This is book number two in the Age of X series. If you haven't read number one (Gameboard of the Gods) you will probably want to check that out before diving into The Immortal Crown.
Back Cover Blurb:
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Vampire Academy and Bloodline series returns with the second installment in her acclaimed Age of X series.
Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.
Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.
Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.
I enjoy Richelle Mead and I'll confess...book number one (Gameboard of the Gods) is on my To-Read list. So am I ready to pick up The Immortal Crown right this moment? Probably not. I will say, however, that I am super excited to have this ARC copy sitting on my Kindle...love the cover, love the author and the premise seems pretty interesting. I plan to get crackin' on this one pretty soon.