Monday, December 31, 2012

Iced [Moning]

Book: Iced [Fever #6]
Author: Karen Marie Moning

From the publisher:
The year is 1 AWC—After the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be. 
Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.
Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux. 
When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.
Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.

I read this book on our drive back from Thanksgiving (Miami to Houston, it was a long journey with 2 kids and the dog). First off, this is the ONLY book I have ever read in the car in my many years of reading and car travel. This was probably my most anticipated read of 2012 and I've waited a month to review it because I am so conflicted about the book. I LOVE the Fever series and I recommend it to almost all of my friends. Barrons is one of my favorite male characters of all time. However, Dani's POV sections in the Fever series were grating. Luckily, Moning did a good job making Dani's voice more tolerable this time around. She is still a very immature 14-year old though and reading this book in one or two sittings will probably result in readers becoming very annoyed with the Mega. 

What did I love about this book? We finally learn about Dancer's background and he is a great secondary character. In fact, I think he would make a great addition at my husband's engineering lab! :) Christian takes a drastic turn in this book and I'm excited to see where Moning goes with the character. There were a few sections written from his POV and I think the main point was to explain his attraction (as well as Ryodan's) to Dani and make it seem less pervy. It was explained more that they were attracted to the woman she would become. I'm okay with the explanation but I can still see why people will still view it as gross due to the age differences. One of my favorite things about the first 5 Fever books were the perfect balance between mystery, sci-fi and romance. I don't see how she will be able to incorporate any true romance involving Dani due to her age but I'll be interested to see what she has planned. I also enjoyed Ryodan and the unknown surrounding him-is he good or bad? I want to know!

What I didn't like: I couldn't get into the ice mystery, which was the core plot of the book. The inclusion of Mac's parents seemed a little ridiculous.

What I'm unsure about: Dani herself. Moning is such a skilled writer she really nails Dani as a 14-year old. However, who wants to read about 400+ pages of non-YA book from the perspective of a young, immature teenager? I'm still not sure if I like Dani or not. I'm hoping she matures a little in the next book. There were also several chapters written from the POV of Cat, who took over Rowena's position with the sidhe-seers. Her sections brought a sexual element to the book that definitely ensured it wasn't YA and they were somewhat repetitive. I may be over thinking it, but I'm thinking she could be a potential love interest for Christian (since he is a living lie detector test and she is an empath, seems like they could end up being a good match...depending on where Christian's character goes). 

I've wavered between giving this a 3 or 4, but I'm going with a 4 since I did read it in the car which is a historic moment for me. And even though I was annoyed with Dani at times and the ice mystery-I didn't put the book down. Obviously, any fan of the Fever series will need to read this one and although there are only a few mentions and sightings of Mac and Barrons, the next book promises to bring Mac and Dani together again in some form. 

Grade: 4/5

Magic Burns [Andrews]

Book: Magic Burns [Kate Daniels #2]
Author: Ilona Andrews

Review: I'm pretty sure I found my new favorite heroine and her name is Kate Daniels. She's a badass mercenary and member of the guild who solves crimes in and around Atlanta, while dealing with magic waves. In book 2 of the series, Kate agrees to retrieve maps stolen from the pack, and quickly realizes more is at stake-including a 13-year old girl's life. Throw in a Celtic god, witches, vampires and shapeshifters and this was a fun ride. We finally learn a little more about Kate's mysterious past (we know she is powerful..just how powerful is still not quite known) and Curran, the powerful pack leader starts to court Kate in his own way. I cannot wait to read the next book!! 

Well written and fun-definitely a great series for sci-fi lovers out there! If you are from Atlanta or ever lived there (I went to college there), it is cool to read about streets, buildings, etc. that are often referenced.

Reminder: this is more science fiction than paranormal romance

Grade: 4/5

Just Like Heaven [Quinn]

Book: Just Like Heaven [Smythe-Smith Quartet #1]
Author: Julia Quinn

from the publisher:
Honoria Smythe-Smith is:
 A) a really bad violinist 
B) still miffed at being nicknamed "Bug" as a child
C) not in love with her older brother's best friend
D) all of the above

Marcus Holroyd is: 

A) the Earl of Chatteris
B) regrettably prone to sprained ankles
C) not in love with his best friend's younger sister
D) all of the above

Together they: 

A) eat quite a bit of chocolate cake
B) survive a deadly fever and the world's worst musical performance
C) fall quite desperately in love
It's Julia Quinn at her best, so you know the answer is . . .
D) all of the above

It's been awhile since I read a historical romance and this was a pleasant surprise. I not only enjoyed the cheesy plot and characters, but I actually laughed out loud several times. Honoria was pretty funny and her shenanigans to try to snag a husband are things I could imagine my 21 year old self doing (if I lived in the 1800's).  

Overall, this was a super fun, light read that you can polish off in a couple of hours. A great selection for a beach vacation or rainy day read. 

Grade: 4/5

Sidney Sheldon's Angel of the Dark [Bagshawe]

Book: Sidney Sheldon's Angel of the Dark
Author: Tilly Bagshawe

Review: LAPD detective Danny McGuire's first murder case is one he cannot forget. Andrew Jakes, a wealthy old man is brutally murdered and his young, beautiful wife is found raped and badly beaten tied to his body. She donates her inheritance to a children's charity and then disappears. The case runs cold but Danny cannot forget the beautiful woman and her eyes. 10 years later, Danny is working for Interpol when Matt Daley, Andrew Jake's estranged son, shows up stating three other murders have happened with the same MO: Rich elderly man brutally murdered and found bound to his young wife. The young wife inherits a fortune, donates it all to a children's charity and disappears. 

I received this book for Christmas and was really excited to start it. Who doesn't love a good mystery? Although I've never read Sidney Sheldon or Tilly Bagshawe (Sheldon passed away and Bagshawe wrote this based on his notes) I've heard good things. Unfortunately,   the 'mystery' was pretty clear after the second murder was described and it was really unbelievable that all of these wealthy men fell in love so fast. Not too mention the fact that these men, worth hundreds of millions of dollars each, were so in love after a few weeks (or months) they all agreed to quickie weddings without pre-nups.  The wife in each case was said to be very beautiful and enchanted men. I realize there are gorgeous women in the word but I'd love to meet the woman whose eyes are so beautiful they can enchant literally everyone they meet. The plot relating to Matt Daley, and his attraction to one of the widows, dragged on. I'll avoid spoilers, but I'm still not clear how Matt knew to find a certain person in Australia nor how he continued to travel around the world when we were constantly reminded of how broke he was. 

This one can be skipped, but I'll give both authors another chance. I usually love mysteries. 

Grade: 2/5