Sunday 29 March 2015

Book Musings - Elemental Arcane by Phaedra Weldon

Name of the book : Elemental Arcane
Author's Name     : Phaedra Weldon
Genre                   : Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Series                   : Book 1 of The Eldritch Files

Blurb :

Samantha Hawthorne lives a rather curious life in New Orleans running a magic and herb shop. As an Elemental Witch in the Big Easy and owner of a wolf Familiar as well as the head of a former Faerie Queen, curious is as quiet as it gets for Sam. 
Until children start turning into blood-thirsty Changelings and attack their parents. 
When one of these children shows up in front of her shop, Sam and her friends are determined to find out where they’re coming from and where the exchanged children are being kept and put a stop to it. But will they succeed when they find themselves pitted against ninja ghouls, one of the oldest and darkest enemies of the mortal world, and a secret from Sam’s childhood that could unravel her magic? 
My Musings :

Another new author to add to my wish and watch lists! I came across the author while browsing Amazon Kindle shop for more e-books as usual. I had to get it after reading the blurb. Who can resist a combination of magic, a witchy lead character and a mystery?

Did I mention that I love the cover? The illustration is perfect for the story and I especially like Samantha's portrayal. Samantha and her employees/friends, Kyle and Ivan find themselves in the midst of a series of attacks on human beings by Changelings, kids who are replaced by monsters. My first thought on Samantha was that she has issues, just like Captain Mildred Prescott has issues. She has two love interests which I don't usually like in a book but I don't even consider Robin a main lead of the plot. I am all for Samantha-Crwys partnership. Kyle and Ivan represent the usual normal elemental magic and the unusual new magic element of the book respectively. Who would have guessed there could be Cyber Witches.

The story started at a brisk pace and stayed that way throughout the book. The start was a bit confusing since it felt like I was in the middle of the book . But it evened out further into the book. I love the characters and the world built by the author. The magic system was interesting, predictable mixed with different. The comments like the Head PMSing made me laugh out loud. I got to say I didn't expect the twist at the end of the book. I kind of suspected Kyle being on the side of the baddie so I was surprised at the reveal of the villain of the story. Though it made sense in a way because there were clues throughout the book if I had paid more attention. The end kind of let me down since I was primed for more action. But it has whetted my appetite for more of Samantha and her world.

I started this book yesterday and it was a pretty fast read. The story and the characters kept me interested from the start till the end making me enjoy the dialogue. The minute after I post this review I will be buying the next book in the series. You will be hearing from me soon, I guess!

My one line review : Paranormal mystery with action thrown in makes Elemental Arcane an attention keeper

My rating : 5/5

My reread factor: 4/5


Friday 27 March 2015

Book Musings - Magic of the Gargoyles by Rebecca Chastain

Name of the book : Magic of the Gargoyles
Author's name      : Rebecca Chastain
Genre                   : Fantasy, Young Adult
Book Length        : Novella 

Blurb :

Someone has kidnapped a nest of helpless baby gargoyles and is using them as pentagram focuses, devouring their magic—and their lives—for a horrific, illegal power boost. Swept into the dangerous underworld of black magic, earth elemental Mika Stillwater must cobble together her limited resources and skills to have a chance at being the hero the baby gargoyles desperately need. If she fails, the city will be at the mercy of the gargoyles’ murderers and their overwhelming destructive magic.

But pitting herself against powerful black-magic villains is proving just as deadly for Mika as for the gargoyles.

My Musings : 

One of the few times I bought  an e-book without reading the blurb , even a free one, I hit jackpot. The book cover and the word 'Gargoyles' made me get it and I can say without hesitation that I haven't regretted it!

The picture and the name are self explanatory. The book cover is like the story, unpretentious and solid. The plot is simple but chock-full of  adventure and action, action meaning fantasy-kind action and not too much violence. We have a plucky heroine, Mika and her side kick and best friend, Kylie, and the plot of rescuing baby gargoyles from kidnappers. How Mika saves the day using her earth elemental power forms the bulk of the book. I especially liked that the story is different from other fantasy genre books and also that it's about gargoyles about whom I haven't read much. The kid gargoyles were sweet yet deadly, in their defense of Mika. The world building is detailed enough to sustain the plot and it gives a peek into Mika's world of elemental magic. I, for one, would like to read more about Mika and her cohorts.

The only regret, or two, I have is that I didn't start the book as soon as I got it and that it's a novella and not a full length novel. Other than that, kudos to the author, Rebecca Chastain. I look forward to her future books. In the meantime I am going to check out her other novel, A Fistful of Evil.

My one line review : Fast paced action +  Daring heroine + Supportive allies = Magic of the Gargoyles

My rating : 5/5

My reread factor : 5/5


Sunday 22 March 2015

Book Musings - Mardan's Mark by Kathrese McKee

Name of the book : Mardan's Mark 
Author's Name     : Kathrese McKee
Genre                    : Fantasy, Adventure 
Series                     : Mardan's Mark  Series ( Book One )

Blurb : 
Srilani is second in line to the throne, and she’s always known what is expected of a princess — bring honor to her family and marry well. Aldan has been a pirate’s slave for as long as he can remember, and all he wants is to be free. The Twin Kingdoms have been sister nations for centuries, but now their unity and existence are threatened by enemies both inside and outside their borders.
After pirates abduct Srilani and her three siblings, they are stranded behind enemy lines and across the Great Gulf. As the eldest, Srilani is faced with the dangerous task of bringing her father’s heir home. She convinces Aldan and his two fellow slaves to share their journey to freedom. These unlikely allies — seven young captives — must defeat the web of lies, murder, and betrayal tearing the kingdoms apart.

My Musings : 

I had just finished the Caina Amalas series by Jonathan Moeller and I was looking for more fantasy books when I came across Mardan's Mark as a freebie on Amazon Kindle. I immediately bought the book since I loved the book cover and the blurb interested me. I got to say the author didn't disappoint me though she is a new one.

As I said earlier, I loved the look of the book cover. But I couldn't relate to the "character" on the cover. She looks too old to represent any of the female characters.

The story revolves around two main characters, Srilani and Aldan. They are very daring and intrepid. They do what they have to do in spite of their difficulties and are real enough with their limitations and their strengths. They are strongly supported by Srilani's siblings and Aldan's friends. Each of the side characters are well developed. I enjoyed the tension between Srilani and Sam, how she has to prove herself to him. Srilani grows from a haughty princess to a sensitive woman while Aldan leaves his pirate persona behind on his way to a heir. Sam is abrasive yet gentle while Linus is the strong silent type. Rene comes across as a gentle, mild tempered girl in the beginning but she develops a temper near the end. The twins,Maelan and Jamson are good sports to get through their ordeal with minimum fuss. The characters' growth is gradual and natural. The romance between Srilani and Aldan, and between Rene and Sam is foreseen easily. Maelan and Linus enjoy their camaraderie but we got to watch if anything develops between them.

The book starts right away with political intrigue and a pirate adventure. It combines my favourite genres - Fantasy and Adventure. The plot wasn't hurried. It includes trials to test the characters and a chase of getting over the obstacles to get to their destination. Their shipwrecked situation reminded me of the Swiss Family Robinson which is one of my favourite books of all time. The only disappointing thing is I don't see any map in the book. One of the things I love about fantasy books is the map. It helps to plot the course of the novel. Otherwise the book scores a perfect century!

In short, I am looking forward to the next book with bated breath. Hope I don't run out of breath before that! * grins*

My one line review : Perfect blend of intrigue and adventure with well developed characters in a well defined world

My rating :  5/5

My reread factor : 5/5 


Saturday 21 March 2015

Book Musings - Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman

Name of the book   : Babe in Boyland
Author's name        :  Jody Gehrman 
Genre                       : Young Adult, Romance
Source                      : Bought


When high school junior Natalie-or Dr. Aphrodite, as she calls herself when writing the relationship column for her school paper-is accused of knowing nothing about guys and giving girls bad relationship advice, she decides to investigate what guys really think and want. But the guys in her class won't give her straight or serious answers. The only solution? Disguising herself as a guy and spending a week at Underwood Academy, the private all-boy boarding school in town. There she learns a lot about guys and girls in ways she never expected-especially when she falls for her dreamy roommate, Emilio. How can she show him she likes him without blowing her cover?

My musings : 

What to say ? The story line wasn't anything new. I have read girls masquerading as boys themed books before. But it's one of my favourite plots to date so I had to try this version too..

The name and the front picture fits the book to a T ( obviously) , my only regret being Nat didn't sport a moustache. The story revolves around the main character Natalie and how she tries to get first hand information about boys by going undercover at an all boys school. Natalie comes across as the typical teenager though she makes some good observations regarding the convoluted girl-boy relationship. I totally loved the Q & A at the end of the book.

She was well supported by her cast of best friends, Darcy and Chloe and her new friends, Tyler,Max and Earl. Darcy is sweet while Chloe comes across as bitchy. I found it interesting that Tyler and his gang were more admiring than upset at the reveal.

Summer , the antagonist is the ultimate vamp. I found it a bit unrealistic that Summer could look through her disguise so fast and so easily. I almost left out Josh. He seems to be the perfect hot guy on the surface but vain and stupid. I would have liked to know more of his thoughts when Natalie was outed. It would have been an entertaining read.

Now coming to the 'Hero' of the book, Emilio. He was kind of sensitive and real I guess but at the same time a typical guy. Physical appearances do matter . His confession at the end that he had been questioning his sexual orientation made me smile. It so reminded me of another book.

One of the few things I found implausible was Natalie's mom's disinterest in her whereabouts. What mother would not realise something is wrong when she hasn't heard from her daughter in a week,even though the daughter was busy with a project? I would have expected her to be suspicious when she hasn't spoken with her and is being given ridiculous excuses by her best friend. Another one was the Underwood's enrolment system. Seriously no one would be suspicious of a guy coming to join at such a late date? I was literally shaking my head at these parts.

I read the entire book in a couple of hours when I could, even at work!.. I had a serious case of smiling and laughing. I had laughed out loud at times. My co workers were sure I was mad. The read was light, funny yet tiny bit thought provoking. The plot is cliche. It has been written about and will be written about again in the future, but this particular version was good. I am looking forward to reading this author's other works.

My one line review : Fluffy,light and funny - puts a smile on your face.

My rating : 4.5 / 5

My reread factor : 3.5 / 5