Review: Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells

dirty-magic

Dirty Magic
by Jaye Wells
Series: Prospero’s War #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Orbit, 2014
E-book, purchased
381 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: The last thing patrol cop Kate Prospero expected to find on her nightly rounds was a werewolf covered in the blood of his latest victim. But then, she also didn’t expect that shooting him would land her in the crosshairs of a Magic Enforcement Agency task force, who wants to know why she killed their lead snitch.

The more Prospero learns about the dangerous new potion the MEA is investigating, the more she’s convinced that earning a spot on their task force is the career break she’s been wanting. But getting the assignment proves much easier than solving the case. Especially once the investigation reveals their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier—on the same day she swore she’d never use dirty magic again.

Kate Prospero’s about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should be never say never.

The swoosh and thump from the potion vending machine hinted that one of my colleagues was helping himself to a late-night energy potion. I always found it ironic how many cops justified using clean magic to fight the dirty kind. . . . Black versus white, legal versus illegal. But anyone who cooked potions could tell you the line between the two was little more than vapor. Whether you used it with good intentions or ill, magic was magic, and instead of being black or white, most of it was smoke-screen gray.

Cheers

  • I liked the book a lot more than I expected.
  • The world building really works for me. I feel like the author came up with an idea and then kept asking herself how would this change the world we know. And our world is changed a lot. This world has magic, wizards, potions, addicts.
  • I like that Kate has been a police officer. Though she hasn’t had an easy time in the police force–both because of her family and because she’s an Adept.
  • Kate jumps at a chance to improve herself by trying to join a task force.
  • I like the little details Wells adds to this world–left-handed people are more likely to be Adept.
  • This world was totally turned upside down when it was discovered that potions could change and affect people.
  • Now there are potion junkies.
  • The author had fun naming some of the potions–Excalibur for an energy potion, for example.
  • This is a dark and scary world. I can see lots of possibilities for future books.

Jeers

  • I thought a certain character was involved in the new potion early on, but this character isn’t thought about by the characters until nearly the end of the book.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is another new urban fantasy series and I didn’t expect for it to stand out from all the others enough that I would want to read the next book. But I do!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book with magic)
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading

Review: This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova

this-case-is-gonna-kill-meThis Case is Gonna Kill Me
by Phillipa Bornikova
Narrated by Therese Plummer
Series: Linnet Ellery #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Tor Books, 2012
Audiobook, purchased
320 pages
9 hours, 22 minutes
Grade: B
Narrator Grade: B+
Synopsis: What happens when The Firm meets Anita Blake? You get the Halls of Power—our modern world, but twisted. Law, finance, the military, and politics are under the sway of long-lived vampires, werewolves, and the elven Alfar. Humans make the best of rule by “the Spooks,” and contend among themselves to affiliate with the powers-that-be, in order to avoid becoming their prey. Very loyal humans are rewarded with power over other women and men. Very lucky humans are selected to join the vampires, werewolves, and elves—or, on occasion, to live at the Seelie Court.

Linnet Ellery is the offspring of an affluent Connecticut family dating back to Colonial times. Fresh out of law school, she’s beginning her career in a powerful New York “white fang” law firm. She has high hopes of eventually making partner.

But strange things keep happening to her. In a workplace where some humans will eventually achieve immense power and centuries of extra lifespan, office politics can be vicious beyond belief. After some initial missteps, she finds herself sidelined and assigned to unpromising cases. Then, for no reason she can see, she becomes the target of repeated, apparently random violent attacks, escaping injury each time through increasingly improbable circumstances. However, there’s apparently more to Linnet Ellery than a little old-money human privilege. More than even she knows. And as she comes to understand this, she’s going to shake up the system like you wouldn’t believe….

Cheers

  • This is a fluffy story, but it’s surprisingly addictive!
  • The narrator is very good and that made me enjoy the book even more.
  • It’s a cliché that many of the attorneys at her firm are bloodsucking! And some others are wolves or elves.
  • The story moves along quickly. Lots of action.
  • This doesn’t offer much new to the urban fantasy world, but the characters–especially Linnet, Chip (her boss) and John O’Shea (an elf and freelance private investigator for her firm)–are engaging.
  • Linnet begins as a new rather naive attorney in this law firm. She discovers a place with barbaric office politics where she isn’t taken seriously especially after she’s sidelined into a 17-year-old case. She’s stuck reading and researching old depositions and working for an older human attorney with little or no promotion prospects left. It’s not that unusual for a new attorney to get this type of work for a while.
  • The book is part legal thriller and part urban fantasy. I like the mix.

Jeers

  • Linnet manages to escape danger again and again which seems unrealistic. But maybe someone or something is intervening?

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is a story which I quickly listened to. And immediately bought the next book though I haven’t read it yet. Too many other books!
  • There is a second book, but I don’t see any books after that. That’s too bad, because I enjoyed this first book.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog

WoW: The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

Waiting-on-Wednesday

I’m participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m looking forward to coming out in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

…………………..

The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

Publication Date: March 3

Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis: Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

…………………………

 

My sci fi/fantasy book club

toptentuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme I take part in when I can think up answers! It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

This week I get to pretend I have a sci fi/fantasy book club. And I’ve chosen the books the members are reading for 2015.

The members are reading books all written by women authors this year. I chose books I haven’t read (except for Lathe of Heaven which I read years ago). I have a mix of older and newer books as well as fantasy and science fiction.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin (science fiction) published 1971

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (science fiction) published 1993

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (science fiction) published 1996

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy) published 2000

The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon (science fiction) published 2002

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (science fiction) published 2003

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (fantasy) published 2013

Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper (science fiction) published 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab (fantasy) published 2015

The Hanged Man by P. N. Elrod (historical fantasy thriller) published 2015

What would your book club read?

Review: In a Dark House by Deboarah Crombie

in-a-dark-houseIn a Dark House
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #10
Genre: Mystery (police procedural)
Published by Avon, 2005
E-book, purchased
384 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: In a Dark House puts Gemma and Duncan’s multilayered relationship to the test, as these two gifted investigators find themselves working a brutal and complex case from differing perspectives. It starts simply. Superintendent Kincaid is called in to “help” when a member of Parliament’s venture into real estate goes up in smoke. At first Duncan expects that his role will be limited to keeping the politician’s involvement out of the limelight. But the discovery of the body of a nude young woman at the fire scene guarantees he’ll soon be doing more than damage control.

Gemma comes to the case through unofficial channels, when her offer to help a friend whose lodger has vanished reveals unmistakable signs of a double life. When the M.P.’s wayward daughter disappears, Gemma and Duncan discover disturbing evidence linking that to another missing-persons case — one where an angry father, desperate to remove his daughter from his ex-wife’s care, entrusted his little girl to a virtual stranger, only to have both the woman and child disappear without a trace. Carefully, patiently, Duncan and Gemma tease out the connections between the brutalized corpse, the missing women, the kidnapped girl and a series of suspicious fires that suggest a pattern of accelerating danger. Sue Stone

Whatever the reason, she knew only that she wanted fiercely to hold on to things just the way they were and not take any risks that might bring about change.

and

“How can you, of all people, trust in fate?” Erika, a German Jew, had lost every single member of her family during the war.

“Because the only other option is to live in constant fear, which to me seems hardly worth doing.”

Cheers

  • I continue to love this series.
  • Lots happens in this book . . . missing women, murder, arson, a missing child . . . and how do they fit together? Or do they even fit together?
  • And the book also shows important aspects of Gemma and Duncan’s lives. Their personal lives have happy and sad aspects just as everyone’s lives do.
  • Because so much has happened in her personal life Gemma wants to keep everything the same. That’s impossible to do, of course, but she’s trying very hard.
  • During this book Duncan and Gemma seem distant from each other. She doesn’t want to talk about the miscarriage. They don’t discuss marriage. Their work tends to get in the way of their personal lives. While I read this book I did wonder how they can possibly juggle their very busy professional work and be there for their sons. This is the dilemma countless parents face every day.

Jeers

  • The beautiful maps included with this series are very small and unreadable in the digital copies. They can’t be enlarged.
  • I would like to see more cases where Gemma and Duncan work on cases which aren’t entangled. However, I do understand Ms. Crombie wanting to show them working together.
  • It felt a little like Duncan and Gemma were walking in place in this book. Not a lot happens in their personal lives. Time needs to pass before they can move forward.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I don’t want to continue reading this series so fast since I only have six books until I catch up! I will space them out a little more!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • The Ultimate Reading Challenge is hosted by Popsugar (a mystery or thriller)

Sunday Post: Jan 25

rp_sundaypostmeme13.jpg

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

 

Last Week

Home & blog

My husband went back to work at the end of the week so that’s good. And I didn’t get the flu so that’s even better! I got some reading done this week which was great. When I’m reading a good book that makes everything great. I also made a few cards this week to send for birthdays and “thinking of you” times.

Blog posts

  • Sunday Post: Jan 18
  • New Author Reading Challenge
  • TTT: My favorite mystery writers
  • TBR Review: “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

Books

What I’m reading

The Future Falls by Tanya Huff

Servants’ Hall by Margaret Powell (audiobook)

What I read the this week

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

The Better Part of Valor by Tanya Huff

Stained Glass Monsters by Andrea K. Höst

New–Books, E-books, Audiobooks–NetGalley, library–purchased or free

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Trade Paperback

Earth Flight by Janet Edwards (from Book Depository–I got tired of waiting since this won’t be published in the U.S. until Fall 2015)

Library

None

Kindle e-books (bought or free)

The Girl With all the Gifts by M. R. Carey

Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door by Rick Steves

Starrigger by John DeChancey

Trade Me by Courtney Milan

Audiobooks

Agents to the Stars by John Scalzi

I, Robot by Isaac Assimov

Hard Magic by Larry Correia

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold

Servants’ Hall by Margaret Powell

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

Next Week

Home & blog

I hope to keep the reading going as well as putting up blog posts. We have a retirement party to go to today and we’re meeting our son for lunch before that. We have a Winter Storm Watch for tonight and tomorrow–for maybe an inch of snow tonight and maybe another inch tomorrow! I shouldn’t make fun–there are always lots of accidents in the DC area when there’s any kind of bad weather.

Blog Posts

  • Review: In a Dark House by Deborah Crombie
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review: This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova (my last review for 2014)
  • Review: Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?

TBR Review: “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Lady Astronaut of Mars

“The Lady Astronaut of Mars”
by Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: None
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by Tor
E-book, free
31 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: A Finalist for the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novelette. Thirty years ago, Elma York led the expedition that paved the way to life on Mars. For years she’s been longing to go back up there, to once more explore the stars. But there are few opportunities for an aging astronaut, even the famous Lady Astronaut of Mars. When her chance finally comes, it may be too late. Elma must decide whether to stay with her sickening husband in what will surely be the final years of his life, or to have her final adventure and plunge deeper into the well of space.

Time was when I couldn’t walk anywhere on Mars without being recognized as the Lady Astronaut. Now, thirty years after the First Expedition, I was just another old lady, whose small stature showed my origin on Earth.

Cheers

  • Won the 2014 Hugo for Best Novelette (not a term I’d heard before!) For the Hugo Award the novelette category is given to a science fiction or fantasy story between 7,500 – 17,500 words.
  • I love the cover!
  • The author packs a lot into a story of only 31 pages. This makes me want to read more short fiction!
  • This was an emotional read for me . . . maybe because my husband and I have been married 33 years and I can imagine this scenario.
  • I like how honest Elma and Nathaniel are. The story is told from Elma’s POV so we get more of her internal thoughts. And some of those thoughts she’s ashamed to have.
  • To me this was a perfect story . . . not too long and not too short. It told all it needed to in these few words.
  • For me this is the best kind of love story.
  • I like the addition of Dorothy into the story. The story’s opening paragraph:

Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife. She met me, she went on to say, when I was working next door to their farm under the shadow of the rocket gantry for the First Mars Expedition.

Jeers

  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I read this book for Wendy’s January TBR Challenge (Short Shorts).
  • I don’t usually read short fiction and I’ve had this book for a while so was glad for the impetus from the TBR Challenge to read this.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

My favorite mystery authors

toptentuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme I take part in when I can think up answers! It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

This week we have a FREEBIE. We get to choose what we write about. Since I’m reading more mysteries I decided to post about my favorite mystery writers. I decided to split my list into the long-time favorites and my more recent favorites. I read lots of mysteries long ago and my long-time favorites are the ones I remember from those days.

Some of my favorites by these authors:

My long-time favorites:

1. Agatha Christie–I think she is the first adult mystery writer I read. (I had read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys). I love her books especially the ones with Hercule Poirot.

2. Dick Francis–I can’t remember if I read Dick Francis first or if my Mom did. All I know is we both loved his mysteries about horse racing. He was a former steeplechase jockey so he knew all about racing. All of his books include racing in some way.

3. S. J. Rozan–I know I introduced my Mom to Ms. Rozan. These mysteries take place in New York City and feature two private detectives–Lydia Chin and Bill Smith. The books are unique in my experience because one book will focus on Bill Smith as the lead detective. The next book concentrates on Lydia. I really enjoy the way the author does this and I also love to read about Lydia’s mother who only speaks Chinese and has five or six locks on her apartment door!

4. Tony Hillerman–I love the books about Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn and the Navaho Indians. The later books Hillerman wrote often have both protagonists in the same book and it’s an interesting dichotomy. Jim Chee is a policeman, but he’s also a traditional Navajo and is studying to be a Navajo healer. Joe Leaphorn, however, is older, a modern Navajo and jaded policeman.

All the above authors are ones my Mom and I read and discussed. That’s one of my favorite memories–writing letters and talking about the books we were reading or talking on the phone about them. We used to share books. It was wonderful!

Christie, Francis and Hillerman have all died. S. J. Rozan is still writing. For several years she didn’t write any Chin and Smith mysteries, but did write another in 2009 which I still need to read.

More recent favorites (though I haven’t kept up with all these authors in the past several years):

5. Julia Spencer-Fleming–Writes The Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mystery series. So far there are eight books in this series and I’ve read them all. I like the relationship between the main characters though there are times in the books I question it. However, the mysteries are excellent.

6. Margaret Maron–I read Margaret Maron’s Sigrid Harald book series and then discovered her Deborah Knott series. Deborah Knott is a judge and daughter of a bootlegger in North Carolina.

7. Laurie R. King–She writes the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series which most of my family reads. The books I read first by Ms. King were her Kate Martinelli series which is a contemporary mystery series set in San Francisco. Then she started writing her historical Russell and Holmes mystery series!

8. Victoria Thompson–Writes a historical mystery series–the Gaslight Mystery series–which takes place in New York City around 1900 about a midwife.

9. Alan Bradley–Another historical mystery series–the Flavia de Luce series–takes place in 1950 with a young girl as the protagonist. The first book The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a delight to read and Bradley has written a total of seven of these mysteries now.

10. Deborah Crombie–Some of you may have noticed my glom of the Gemma James & Duncan Kincaid series. Since last fall I’ve read the first 10 of her mysteries. These books brought me back to reading mysteries again.

Honorable Mentions–These authors aren’t exactly mystery writers, but they influenced my reading. I read them during my teen years:

Victoria Holt–wrote gothic romance (Bride of Pendorric, for example)

Elizabeth Peters–wrote books with some mystery and some romance and often about archaeology or history. Her most famous are the Amelia Peabody series which mostly take place in Egypt, but I like her Vicky Bliss and Jacqueline Kirby series best.

Mary Stewart–I think Ms. Stewart’s books would be considered middle grade books (The Moonspinners, for example).

As I look at my favorite mystery writers I realize I don’t like violent and graphic mysteries. I’ve always liked police procedurals. And I like mysteries which have a relationship between characters whether it’s a friendship or a romance, but I don’t want that to be the focus of the story.

Do you like mysteries? Who are your favorite writers?

New Author Reading Challenge

new-author2015

 

This challenge is one of my favorite challenges. I’ve participated during the last two years and plan to do it again this year. The last two years I challenged myself to read 25 new authors and actually read over 30 new authors.

I have read so many great new authors and at least part of the reason is that I wanted to complete this challenge.

I plan to keep my challenge to the same amount this year–25 new-to-me authors.

Here are some of the guidelines:

The idea behind this is to find new authors that you’ve never tried before, not necessarily ones that are debuting. They can be in your genre of choice or be brave and try something new. You never know what you’re going to like until you try it. If you’re looking for some suggestions, you can check out the Author page at Literary Escapism or the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Challenge pages.

  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.
  • Since this is an author challenge, there is no restriction on choosing your novels. They can definitely be from other challenges. However, the authors must be new to you and, preferably from novels. Anthologies are a great way to try someone new, but only a third of your new authors can be from short stories/novellas or anthologies.

For more information read more at the Literary Escapism Blog. Be sure to check out their main blog especially if you’re interested in fantasy and paranormal books.

 

Sunday Post: Jan 18

rp_sundaypostmeme13.jpg

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

 

Last Week

Home & blog

We got a tiny (very tiny) bit of snow this week. Forecast was 2 inches, we got about 1/2 inch and the schools were all closed! That’s the most snow we’ve had this winter!

My husband got home on Saturday, but he was sick all week while he was working out-of-town. I think he probably has the flu so I’m nursing him and making him take it easy. He’s ready to drink warm liquids and sleep. We both got flu shots last October, but the shot’s not working too well this year.

I spent another week sorting and organizing, but also getting the last of my books from 2014 set up for review. And fitting in some reading, too!

Blog posts

Books

What I’m reading

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

The Better Part of Valor by Tanya Huff

What I read the this week

Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells

“The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

New–Books, E-books, Audiobooks–NetGalley, library–purchased or free

 

Library

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Kindle e-books (bought or free)

Malice by John Gwynne

Audiobooks

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Found on the Internet

This is a great post. I added lots of books to my list of 2015 books: 2015: Most Anticipated Science Fiction & Fantasy Books Written by Women–Found at one of my favorite blogs–The Bibliosanctum blog.

Next Week

Home & blog

I think my husband  is probably going to be home sick for a few days this next week so what I’ll be doing is up in the air. However, I hope to at least get some reading done.

Blog Posts

  • New Author Reading Challenge
  • TTT: My favorite mystery writers
  • TBR Review: “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Review: This Case is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova (my last review for 2014)
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?