Written In Red by Anne Bishop

Written In Red by Anne Bishop

Synopsis: As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

Let me start with this….where have you been all my life Ms Bishop?!  I took my time and savored this one and read it over 3 days. Which is HIGHLY unusual for me. Normally I want to plow through the book and find out how it ends. Not this one. I was sucked into this little world Bishop created and I never wanted to leave. I wanted to savor everything about this story. This has become the standard in which all Urban Fantasy Novels will be measured against. The characters were extremely well developed, well described and the world…it was brilliant. I have a case of author lust going on right now (and not in the weird pervy way…like I need to go and purchase everything she’s written and stalk her FB page).

It was so incredibly hard for me to put this book down each night and finally, the 3rd night I had to finish it. I kept putting it down to go to bed but kept picking it right back up because I HAD TO KNOW! I had to know what Meg was hiding, who she was running from, if Simon and the others were going to accept her, protect her. I had to read more because of the secondary characters (oh how I loved every single one of them!) and how entertaining they were.

At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the multiple POVs in this story. It worked, it worked so exceptionally well that I think it helped make the story that much more interesting. This is a rarity for me. Typically I don’t enjoy books that bounce from one POV to another. But this worked.  It worked so freaking well that I’m wondering if I screwed up along the way in my reading and judged other books harshly.

As for the characters…we have to talk about the characters. Meg is so sweet, how can you NOT fall in love with her. I loved how she has carved out this life for herself among the Others. Though how she lived before ending up there, it’s amazing she isn’t a push over or bitter. She is caring and thoughtful! My favorite parts are her interactions with Simon. You can tell that something, somewhere down the line is going to develop, but not yet. She calls him Mr Wolfgard I think as a way of keeping him at arms length. Which I don’t blame her because he was pretty nasty towards her in the beginning. He snarled, yelled and was just confused by the little Meg.

Simon made incredible growth in this book. In the beginning, he saw humans as just ‘meat’. Most of the Others did. But having Meg live with them, work side by side with them and see the humans as she did…it made changes in their thinking. They started treating the humans differently, better, it was such a great thing to watch unfold.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the villain in this book, I know she isn’t the true villain. But she was over the top ridiculous and almost a bit on the cheesy side. Who she was working for is obviously the true bad guy and I’m curious to see how this plays out. I’m hoping that none of my favorite characters end up as collateral damage in the following books

There are so many more secondary characters in this book that I can’t wait to watch for. This is definitely a series that I will devour as soon as I can.  Not really anything for romance in this book, though I think that will come later on down the road. But I am glad there wasn’t. I feel that it would have taken away from the story and from the character development and the growing friendships and feelings between Meg and the Others.

This isn’t like my other Urban Fantasy reads. Normally, the ones that I get sucked into have so much going on, so fast paced. That’s not really the case here, not till the end of the book. The end of the book picks up so quickly and because of all of the build up, description, detail you can easily picture everything happening in your mind’s eye. Bishop did an amazing job with writing and setting up this world of hers.

If you are looking for a world to lose yourself in, definitely pick up Written In Red and start the adventure. You’ll be sucked in and never want to go home.

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

A Local Habitation Review

Toby Daye-a half-human, half-fae changeling-has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world had other ideas…

Now her liege, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills, has asked Toby to go to the County of Tamed Lightning to make sure all is well with his niece, Countess January O’Leary. It seems like a simple enough assignment-until Toby discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, and that if the killer isn’t stopped, January may be the next victim.

Let’s just say that a friend of mine on GoodReads.com has turned me into a Toby Daye Fanatic. I have downloaded every book in this series that is out at the moment…and I can’t wait to get going on them!  Book 2 in the October Daye Series took me 2 days to read. It would have been 1 but the bags under my eyes were telling me that sleep was pretty important.  If you know me, I’m vain enough to care about that sort of stuff.  But I have a feeling they will just be getting worse since I can’t seem to put these books down. Even when my Kindle dies on me, I quick plug it in and keep reading….which is horrible right? I’ve seen people post about things blowing up because they get over heated (is this something Mythbusters could prove wrong for us, it would make us book junkies feel a bit better about it).

This book was way ahead of book 1 in regards to writing, story telling, character development, and not confusing the heck out of the poor stay at home mom of 4 who happens to be sleep deprived.  Plus…TYBALT! I love that King of Cats something fierce. The scene with the 2 of them in the beginning made my tummy do little somersaults and flips. You just KNOW something is brewing there.

I wasn’t surprised when Sylvester had a job for Toby to do. I have a feeling this might be a recurring theme, just a hunch and it may be wrong. But that is what my gut is telling me. She is asked to go check up on his niece January (anybody else find it odd that her name is January and Toby’s is October, or was it just me?) and while doing so take Quentin along with for experience. They weren’t expecting a clusterf*$% to land in their laps. Of course that is what happens though.

Plenty of twists with this one, a true “who-dun-it” in my opinion. I had an inkling of who the murderer was, but kept a suspect on the back burner just so I could say, “I knew who it was the whole time!”. C’mon, you all do it! You keep a list of a bunch of suspects and never narrow it down to just 1 so you can be right. Being right feels good, so I do it too! And I knew something was up with Alex. It was just too weird for that not to be going on. Toby actually has Quentin in on the blood tasting; Quentin manned up and just went with it. I’m proud of that kid. But the thing is, neither of them are finding memories in the blood. Nothing, it’s just blood. So of course you need to keep reading to find out why. It was a major “what the heck” moment.

Connor, hmmmmm….not sure what to think of him. He’s a married man, openly lusting after Toby. He needs to keep hands and lips to himself.  He had a great one liner though, I may have to use it at a later date. “Now, we can stand here until you stop breathing and I drag you out, or we can out to the hall. You’ll like the hall. It comes with oxygen.”

So now we need to talk about Tybalt! My most favoritest (according to my 5 yr old that IS a word, and it fits, so there :P) character. The “here kitty, kitty” comments had me laughing out loud. They were great!  “Shall I simply wave my hands and call, ‘Here kitty, kitty’?” There were others, but that one had me laughing out loud so spontaneously that I scared my dog and he wouldn’t come near me the rest of the day. I just know there is more going on with his feelings towards Toby then what he is letting on. The way he was snarling at Alex before she knew what Alex was; me thinks our kitty king knew what Alex was and that caused the snarls and claws.  I still think Tybalt should have just killed him then.  I’m hoping things get cleared up in the next book as to why Tybalt can’t look at Toby anymore. That was very frustrating, but like all epic loves…frustration is a key ingredient right?

I seriously cannot wait to start reading book 3 tonight. The faster I devour these books the better. 🙂 I haven’t been this excited about a series in a long time and the excitement is refreshing. I wholeheartedly embrace it.

A Local Habitation is Book 2 in the October Daye Series. This was a 5 out of 5 stars read for me. Do I recommend it….YES! Go, get it right now!!

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

 

Rosemary and Rue review

October “Toby” Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas… 

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening’s killer.

Our last day of school was Thursday. It’s now Sunday and I’m about to pull my hair out. Trying to keep 4 kids entertained all day everyday is going to be a challenge. Thankfully I have my books to retreat to (I lock myself in the bathroom and tell the kids that mommy is having ‘tummy issues’ to get 10 minutes of quiet….so I read lol), if I didn’t have that escape I don’t know what I’d do! I’d probably be scouring the internet looking for summer camps that pick them up the day after the last day of school and drops them off the day before school starts (Mother Of The Year Award here I come!), yea, I’m horrible.

I started Rosemary and Rue last night as the kids were winding down from playing outside. With it being the first book in a series, much is being set up. So when I started I was confused. The prologue was great, I forgot I was even reading a prologue, it jumped right in! Then Chapter 1 happens. It took me a bit to get my bearings, I was pretty confused. Was I reading the same book? Who’s POV was this? Did she get out of the pond? WHAT’S GOING ON?! Things became clear again. Then I got all upset because being a mother myself I couldn’t imagine. My heart just hurt for Toby. I understood then why she’d stay away from anything to do with fae. You can’t blame her at all.  I wish more would have been written about how she earned her Knight title for Sylvester (and that relationship has me saying ‘awwwwww’ every time they interact). It must have been pretty awesome right? Purebloods hate changelings, and she’s the only changeling to earn that title.

The message on the answering machine, you just knew it was going to be bad. The curse that Evening placed on Toby just sucked. And poor Toby didn’t know that by doing what she needed to do to help solve the murderer would bind the curse to her that much more. Though I suspect Evening knew it and was counting on it.  How else do you ensure that the killer is brought to justice in a swift manner?

SPOILER HERE, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED, SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH!!!
Now that I have read the book I looked back at other reviews to see what others thought of this book, a lot of people saying, “I knew who the killer was from the word go!” I didn’t. I must be slow lol. But I had no clue. Here I was hoping changes had been made in Devin’s character and morals; that they could give love another go. Was it weird that she found herself in the arms of Devin though she knows what he does, what he is? Very much so. I don’t know how you get past that, but maybe Toby is just lonely, maybe she thought he changed, or he’s just that good of an actor; but they end up with each other and he betrays her.

When Toby is “riding the blood” of the dead assassin from the park and got the memory from Tybalt, I really hope that memory ends up blossoming in the books to come. Tybalt is a character that “speaks” to me. He’s snarky and acts like he hates Toby; I think he secretly loves her and thought so from the first moment we met him. He reminded me of the boys at the playground who pick on the girls who they like the most. “I-like-you-but-I-don’t-want-you-to-know-so-I’ll-push-you-and-throw-sand-in-your-hair-and-call-you-names” type of thing.  The King of Cats is pretty awesome if you ask me lol.

The writing was pretty well done, I found it to be fast paced and smooth transitions from one scene to the next. Once Toby is targeted by assassins things pick up so much. I found myself up until 1:30 this morning finishing this book up. I just couldn’t turn my Kindle Fire off. I have book 2 loading on my Kindle as I type this out. I will be starting it tonight, hopefully I don’t stay up all night reading but I have an inkling that may very well happen.

Rosemary and Rue is book 1 of the October Daye Series, solid 4 star read for me. I’d recommend this for anybody looking for a new world to explore. Toby is a refreshing heroine, she’s average, she’s not the best at what she does; this makes her feats that much more spectacular.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget! So far, this is Urban Fantasy. Sex was implied, but it wasn’t spelled out like it is in so many other books. It was refreshing to just read the story. I’m not sure if sex will muck up book 2 or 3 or 4, I’ll let you know 😉

Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan

Queen of Shadow book review

Shortly after she picked up a guitar, Miranda Grey conquered the Austin music scene with a newfound ability to psychically manipulate her audience’s emotions. But as her powers outgrow her control, her mind is increasingly invaded by haunting secrets and overwhelming sadness. Unable to look anyone in the eye, Miranda is fast approaching the edge of insanity – with no one to catch her fall…

When he outlawed killing humans, David Solomon ignited a civil war among Austin’s vampires. As Prime of the South, his sympathy for mortals angered the old guard who refuse to control their violent urges. David has his hands full with the growing insurgency, but he takes in a broken-down woman, a musician in need of supernatural guidance. Little does he know that Miranda Grey has the power to change his world as well.

Can you tell I have been a busy bee with my reading? Well I have. 🙂  My 19 month old has decided that sleeping is no longer required so this has upped my reading time at night. I’m still not sure if I should thank her or just let her cry it out in her bed at night. We’ll see, that may depend if I have any ‘must read’ books coming up.

Let’s get to it. I’m conflicted as to what genre this falls into. It started out pretty dark, gritty…more Urban Fantasy. But at some point it moved to Paranormal Romance. Which I’m fine with, I love both genres. But I could see how somebody who doesn’t like PNR would feel tricked. So if you don’t like the ‘fated to be mates’ thing, this might not be for you.

We meet Miranda who is just broken, she truly is losing her mind and slowly her life. She is an empath and doesn’t know it. She has no way to save herself because she thinks she is just losing her mind. One night after playing a gig at a local bar, her world changes forever. This is the part of the book I had the hardest time with. I cried….hard.  Reading about a rape and not even detailed was incredibly hard for me. I almost put the book down. But I didn’t and I’m glad that I didn’t.

Miranda ends up being brought to David’s (the Prime) home (I really think of it more of a headquarters but that is besides the point) to get better.  But what I liked the most about David is that he wanted to help her help herself. He taught her how to function, how to build shields so she could have a normal life if she chose to.  She worked hard to not be the victim again and it paid off.

I really liked David. While yes he has those Alpha Male tendencies…he let her be her. He let her flounder as she learned. He didn’t coddle her or lock her up and not let her do anything because he was afraid for her. I think Sylvan did a fabulous job with creating David. He is pretty much the best of all worlds. And when we read about him crying, I lost it. Men crying do that to me.

I am curious to see where this series goes, I will definitely be reading more in this series. And not just because I picked up book 2 at my local library’s shelf sale for 25 cents 🙂  The great thing about this book, it would do well as a stand alone as well, which I think is hard to pull off in a series when the focus is solely on 1 couple.

4 out of 5 stars for me.