Love, Fate & Loyalty really takes a close look at the pull shifters have to their mates - whether they want to feel it or not. We have a set of dual relationships and love stories running through the story that revolves around two mountain lion shifter sisters.
At first, I felt like there was a good sister and a bad sister, but as the story unfolds and we get to know them, I came to realize that there were a whole bunch of misunderstandings running through their lives. Highlighting this strained relationship - Reeve returns home and "steals" Asters long-time boyfriend in a matter of minutes. But it's the mating call - so I can't really be too mad about it. Super sad for Aster, but even she knows there wasn't anything to be done about it.
But while Reeve's life may seem to be sunshine and rainbows, she has a mad-man (cat?) on her heels. And when he finds Havenwood Falls there are all sorts of horrible things that happen - and one really awesome thing.
This was a really great book, and I was shocked at how much story was packed into the pages. I hope we get to see more of the sisters, even as side characters, as the series continues.
I loved Third Grave Dead Ahead. Some amazing characters are introduced in the form of a biker gang - and I'm not sure if I'm really supposed to be rooting for them, but I want to. They are a super rough bunch of guys - but super sweet as well.
When Charley's dad tells her she needs to get out of the business - there's a huge falling out - and this comes into play big time as the book wraps up. It triggers some pretty major revelations about Charley that you won't want to miss.
Meanwhile, Reyes seems to be haunting her dreams - so she decided not to sleep while she searches for another missing woman with an over-controlling husband with a nasty history.
Another beautiful job narrating. I always get such a kick out of these books and I have a hard time pressing the pause button to go back to real life.
Elves really do exist. They've remained hidden away in their forest while the world falls apart around them. But when the Lady directs Angel Perez to go find them, she sets out on a journey where she discovers things she once thought as fairy tales are actually real. The elves aren't all that happy to be found either - but Angel has a mission she must complete.
The elves were great! They seem to be the race the least changed by the events in their attitudes from book to book. We begin to hear rumors of the amazing Elf Stones and see how they became a part of the elves' lives again.
Meanwhile, the Ghosts are on the move and Logan Tom tries to free their leader, a fairy creature himself, from one of the compounds humans have set up to try and defend themselves from the demon hordes taking over the land.
The world is rushing towards destruction and only a handful stand in its way. Trying to save what they can before the demons overrun it all. Readers of past Shannara series will find places that seem familiar, and it was very exciting to see places from past books that were in ruins come to life on the pages. I don't know how Terry Brooks keeps it all straight, but he does such an amazing job.
Grainne remains one of my favorite Shannara characters through the end of this series. She has such a dynamic past and is constantly evolving to adapt to her present - trying to predict what she will need to be for her future. But she has found herself in over her head exiled in the Forbidding.
Through Straken we see the resolution of Grainne's story and the beginning of Pen's. For he has the wishsong. Their stories will draw in all of the realms in true epic fantasy style.
The war between the Federation and the Free-born is raging on, with no real win in sight. A false Ard Rhys is leading the order of the druids, and Pen has sacrificed much to help make it right. Terry Brooks somehow manages to weave all these pieces together and once again reach a satisfying - if sometimes surprising - conclusion to this era of the Shannara story.
But the door is open for more - and I know there is because they are sitting on my shelf waiting. However, one of the things I like best about these series within a series is the ability to have that satisfaction of finishing - while still knowing you get to come back for a grand new adventure soon.
Mourning Express is my favorite in The Funeral Faker series so far. I loved Rosie and her determination to do a job well. With a bad rep following her as a diva, she's struggling to find a job when she takes on the role of a professional mourner.
Her first job highlights her past and bad reputation when she's asked to give a eulogy for a man she's never met. A man that everyone seems to hate. But as she digs deeper into the man's past as research for her role, she finds out that his death was no accident at all.
With the help of her best friend - who just happens to be a stellar make-up artist - and her roommate, she takes on several really fun roles to try and find out the truth. While she hates her reputation as a diva, she finds that having made a name for herself isn't all that bad sometimes - and actually helps on occasion.
A great mystery with some of my favorite characters.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**
Another solid cozy mystery in the Funeral Fakers series. Mourning Commute is a stand-alone mystery that I had a hard time guessing exactly who-dun-it and why. Sam Cheever laid the clues out beautifully without giving too much away until the case was solved.
The characters may have been a little over the top, but they were more lovable because of it. Our funeral faker, May Ferth, really pulled out all the stops to make sure her grieving clients got what they needed - including a little shoulder to cry on and an ear willing to listen.
There's a touch of romantic possibility between the P.I. investigating and May that I really enjoyed. They both had moments of quick thinking and worked well as a team to solve the case and catch the bad guys. The cases in the Funeral Fakers have all been quite involved and intricate, and I'm impressed at the authors' abilities to fit so much into a novella and bring all the pieces together in a very satisfying conclusion.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**
I am a big fan of the Shannara world by Terry Brooks. And Grainne Ohmsford is one of the most intriguing characters I've run into in this epic fantasy series. Tanequil continues the story of her involuntarily journey into the Forbidding, a land full of demons and other nasty evil things, and her nephew Penderrin's search for a way to bring her back.
Penderrin finds himself searching for a magical talisman that will allow him to enter the Forbidding, find his aunt, and bring her back. But as any reader of epic fantasy well knows, magical talismans come with a very high price. Terry Brooks does an excellent job of showing that payment isn't always a physical sacrifice, sometimes it's emotional as well. Penderrin's experiences as he obtains the Tanequil were some of my favorite of the book.
Meanwhile, Grainne finds out the same thing in a slightly different way. Not all punishment is physical, and she begins to lose herself to the magic of the Forbidding. Enemies and allies in unexpected places really brought this realm to life. It truly is another world within Shannara, and I can see why the elves first sealed it away. I can't wait to find out if she will be the same person or something completely different by the end of the series.
The seven kingdoms, united under one ruler, have lived a life of peace and comfort since King Robert took the throne. But nothing is ever as it seems. Within the king's court there is murder and treason, with no one aware of what is really going on. Across the seas, the last remnants of the previous royal family gather forces to reclaim their throne. To the north, the unthinkable gathers, the creatures of myth and legend that have been forgotten.
The first book in the series centers around the Stark family, the lords of the northernmost part of the kingdom, and the last Targaryens. The Starks, close friends of King Robert, are quickly drawn into the turmoil at court without realizing it. The Stark children are fascinating. I find it difficult to pick a favorite of the four (five if you count Lord Stark's bastard).
The last of the Targaryens plot revenge and invasion from across the seas to reclaim their throne. Daenarys Targaryen is one of my absolute favorite characters of all time. The Princess is soft and delicate, yet hard and proud when the situation calls for it.
I find it very difficult to describe the story without giving too much away about the characters and the plot. I admire Martin's honest writing. He does not flinch from including practices that were very common in real life medieval kingdoms: murder, execution, brothels, arranged marriages, and abuse. The way he weaves it into the story only enhances the sense of realism. Now, I don't want to scare anyone away. While the times were brutal, Martin is not overly graphic in a way some writers can be. It's there for a reason, not for only for shock effect.
The kingdom sits on the brink...on the brink of war, destruction, and invasion. But no one realizes it yet. The noble families of the kingdom are about to be plunged into a web of lies and intrigue. Even the most honorable among them will find themselves doubting those they trusted the most and doing things would have never considered in the past. The peace has lasted too long and people are growing soft, but as they say, "Winter is coming." And this one promises to be long.