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Review of Veiled by Desire (Laith #2) by Candace Robinson

Veiled By Desire (Laith, #2)

In Laith, when the moons are high, Tavarra is allowed to walk the land as a human for one day, losing her seahorse-like tail. But should she remain out of the water, a curse will overtake her, turning her into a beast with sharp fangs and long claws. A beast that, on some nights, takes the shape of a rampaging, uncontrollable monster.

Rhona, along with her village, are under a sinister leader’s control. Their leader has taken Rhona from the boy she loves, stripped away her abilities and, under the threat of killing everyone she loves, forces her on a dangerous task to retrieve a dark prism that will increase his already massive powers.

When Tavarra and Rhona cross paths, they discover they need each other. Rhona knows how to help the cursed sea creature, while Tavarra knows where to find the dark prism. They embark on a mission that could help them break Tavarra’s spell and save Rhona’s family and village. But with an untamable beast inside Tavarra, nothing is certain…

My Review :

After reading “Clouded by Envy,” I was very excited to get back into the magical world of Laith. And there were a lot of familiar magical items and creatures – the mythology of Luca, jovkins, bats, and the Stone of Desire – but “Veiled by Desire” introduced a whole new depth to Laith, really fleshing out the world in a way that drew me right in.

I LOVED the characters in this book! Rhona and Tavarra, the two POV characters, were so different, and I enjoyed reading about their journeys even before their stories intertwined. The side characters – Eza, Quil, Perin, and Lana, all won special spots in my heart in the end as well. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but Perin in particular tugged at my heartstrings in every possible way, and I was sooooo invested in him and his happiness. I laughed and cried for him. The relationships between the characters were well developed, natural, and sweet in a way that really won me over.

Told through the two POV’s of Rhona and Tevarra, and rich with flashbacks and the slow unmasking of character history, “Veiled by Desire” left me wanting to stay in Laith, and missing these new characters when the the book was done. I love how the human monster mythologies are being woven into the plot, and I cannot wait for the next Laith installment!

Review: Marrow Charm by Kristin Jacques

Marrow Charm

‘In his pursuit of the occult, the Third Reich opened the Gate to a realm of magic and brought the world to ruin. The Gate was eventually closed, but They were already in our world and They were hungry.’

-The Lost History, Library of Avergard

Azure ‘Azzy’ Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic, where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above.

Magic borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities, a sickness that doesn’t merely kill, but creates aberrations from the stricken: people twisted by magic into something dark, dangerous, and powerful. It is an existence of fear and constant dread. When Azzy’s brother, Armin, is infected and cast out into the Above, she sets out after him, determined to be there for him no matter what he becomes.

The world Above is full of monsters, both wild and cunning, some more human than Azzy was led to believe. Armin is captured and bound for the Auction block of Avergard, a ruthless city of inhuman lords and twisted creatures. To reach him, Azzy must brave the perils of the Above and the chaotic life forms created by the Gate. To reach him, she must find allies and forge new bonds in this broken world.

And Azzy must reach him, before Armin’s new power is used to open the Gate once more. 

My Review:

Wow! This was such an unexpected wild ride, full of heart-wrenchingly tragic circumstances, exotic creatures, and complex relationships.

Marrow Charm springs off its pages with beautifully descriptive writing and an interesting, unique tone. After reading so many books, it’s rare that I find a truly fresh voice, and Jacques did not disappoint in that area.

I found myself continually drawn back into Azzy and Armin’s world, enjoying both perspectives and equally captivated by what was slowly revealed to me of their backstory, and what I am still itching to find out.

I’m waiting with baited breath for the second book in this series!

Review of Lineage by C. Vonzale Lewis

41084948._SY475_Smart-mouthed Nicole Fontane has a way of getting herself into trouble. She’s been fired from every job she’s had but still refuses to work in her father’s apothecary shop because of his practice of Earth Magick. On Tulare Island where Nicole grew up, Magick has always been a way of life—one she’s determined to avoid at all costs.

With less than two hundred dollars in the bank and rent due, Nicole is forced to take a job at Tribec Insurance as a last resort. Little does she realize, the moment she sets foot inside the building, she becomes a pawn. A sinister force has set its sights on her and will stop at nothing to use her in a sadistic game.

Tribec’s proprietors, the Stewart family, are curiously preoccupied with the Naqada, the mysterious pre-dynastic Egyptian society. Nicole finds it creepy, but on the bright side, the job reconnects her with her estranged friend, Marta. Yet the eerie atmosphere, disappearing Magick wards, and the smell of blood inside Tribec bring Nicole to a startling conclusion—the Stewarts are practicing Blood Magick, the deadliest of the Five Principles. By the time Nicole uncovers the truth, Marta and her four children have gone missing, and all signs implicate the Stewarts and an archaic blood ritual to an Old One, a Naqada god imprisoned on Tulare Island.

Battling the evil of Blood Magick will demand Nicole to confront a hidden past and unlock the Magick buried within. But can she set aside her deep-rooted fears to work with a team of vigilante Mages? Or will the clock run out on Marta and her children—and on Nicole?

My Review:

 

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Dark magic, a snarky main character, and a fast-paced high-stakes mystery made for a fun (if intense) read. A few scenes sent chills up my spine and violence was for sure a critical aspect to the book’s intensity.

In this magic-infused mess that our main character Nicole finds herself entangled in, we get to meet a lot of really cool, mysterious side characters, from the ‘patient’ Jonah and his barely contained violence to the swoony Alex and his tortured past. Lineage was an intense, pull-no-punches thriller, and I’m excited to read the next book in the series.

Review: Collateral Damage by Taylor Simonds

Collateral Damage

Power. Courage. Invincibility. The marks of a true hero.

Meg Sawyer has none of these things.

Meg has never stopped a moving bus with her bare hands, been bitten by a radioactive insect, or done anything moderately resembling saving the world. She doesn’t have to. She’s a background citizen, a nobody, one of the swarms of faceless civilians of Lunar City–where genetically enhanced superhumans straight out of the comics have thwarted evil for years.

For as long as the Supers have existed, Meg has had one goal: to not become a casualty in their near-daily battles for justice. And for the last seventeen years, she’s managed to do just that. Sure, her minimum-wage job at the local coffee shop isn’t great, she can’t even leave her apartment without loading herself up with protective gear, and her car was just hijacked to throw at a supervillain (again), but she’s not dead yet.

But when Meg accidentally finds one of the city’s perfect, invincible protectors murdered under extremely suspicious circumstances, her whole “innocent bystander” strategy falls apart. After being coerced by his determined girlfriend into a mission to help prevent the deaths of the remaining Supers, Meg finds herself forced into the foreground of a story she never wanted to be part of—one that challenges everything she thought she knew about both her city and herself.

My Review:

I’ve been on sort of a superhero kick lately (hello Avengers!), reading the ‘Archenemies’ series and ‘The Supervillain and Me.’ But Taylor Simonds’ Collateral Damage is such a unique take on the premise of living in a superhero-infested city, it was a breath of fresh air.

Simonds’ fresh perspective of the ‘everywoman’ civilian was spot-on. I loved Meg, and her cynicism with all of the heroes and villains running around, just tired of being stuck in-between as … here it is – collateral damage.  Great title, by the way! It sums up what’s going on in the midst of all the Supers, and even takes things like insurance and damage reimbursement into account.

Simonds’ writing was fast-paced and fun, and she didn’t pull any punches with what happens when people are seen as expendable. I already mentioned Meg, but I loved Oliver and the whole cast of Supers (not giving away their identities, so don’t worry).

Totally worthwhile, fun read!

The Wicked King by Holly Black

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The Wicked King

(The Folk of the Air #2)

by

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

My Review
Ah, Holly Black…. how I love your worlds! I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time, because I’ve been feeling a lot of withdrawal from Holly’s rich words, revels, and debauchery. She paints a vivid image of magic rules, unearthly figures of terror and beauty, and most importantly, the complexity of human emotions entangled among the cruelty of immortals.
Jude isn’t my favorite of Holly’s characters, if only because, just like the warrior girl herself, I need her to be soft when she cannot be soft. Her stubbornness and inability to trust became a hindrance to some of the relationships I needed to see in this book. My other request – more Cardan!!!! The subtleties of his rich, complex character were wasted on cameos.
I’m hoping for Cardan to become the major player he deserves to be in the third book. Yikes….the wait!!!
4 stars