Half by Eli Lang

halfLiving between worlds has never been comfortable, but it’s where I’ve always fit: between human and fey, illness and health, magic and reality.
I’ve spent the last six years looking for a cure for the nameless sickness eating me up. If I believed there was one out there, I would keep searching. But there isn’t, so I’ve come back home, where my past and present tangle. Come home to live . . . and to die.
But my father insists I meet Kin. He’s a healer, and determined to help, even though I’m not so hopeful anymore. But Kin isn’t what I expected, in any way. He sees me, not my illness. He reminds me of what it’s like to be alive. And I can’t help falling for him, even though I know it isn’t fair to either of us.
Kin thinks he has the cure I’ve been looking for, but it’s a cure that will change everything: me, my life, my heart. If I refuse, I could lose Kin. But if I take it, I might lose myself.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Half is one of those books that sticks with you long after you read it. I’m pretty sure not everyone will be affected by Kin and Luca’s story the same way. That’s the beauty of books that aren’t easy to read from an emotional stand point. They make you think and feel and the best ones make you ask what if?

There were a lot of layers to Half and quite a few perspectives to consider. What would you do to save someone you loved? What would you do if you were offered a cure that may or may not work? What if that cure changed you? How do you come to terms with the guilt you feel for not always being the person someone needed and the frustration of knowing that it may be too late to make up for it? There’s no right or wrong answer… unless you’re the person living with the decision you make.

That’s about all I’ve got… Read Half with an open mind and heart and a box of tissues probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. Also, it’s probably worth mentioning that even though this book is about fairies, that’s about the only paranormal aspect.

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Twelve Shades of Midnight Anthology

12ShadesOfMidnightThe stroke of midnight ushers in many things. From hijinks and mischief to danger and evil, romance is the magic that binds these paranormal novellas together. Join 12 best-selling and award-winning authors as they explore the different shades of midnight in exclusive, never-before-released stories.

This anthology turned out to be a huge tease. I ended up enjoying most of the stories and found quite a few authors in the mix that I intend to follow. I’m just hoping that most of these turn into series or at the very least continue to full length novels. Some of these characters are too good to walk away from with just the little taste that the authors gave us.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Liliana Hart: The Witch Next Door

This is the second book by Liliana Hart that I’ve read and if she continues this series, it definitely won’t be my last. Basically this story is about three sisters, who also happen to be powerful witches entrusted with protecting the inhabitants of a town. A handsome stranger that seems to know more than he should. Toss in reincarnation, an evil force that’s getting closer, a touch of humor and nice little romance and you have a quick, enjoyable read. I can’t wait to find out what happens next because readers are definitely left hanging at the end of The Witch Next Door.

Darynda Jones: A Lovely Drop

This is my first Darynda Jones read, but she’s an author who I’ve been curious about for a while now. It was the perfect way to get a quick taste of her writing style. It’s also a story that I definitely want more of. A Lovely Drop had a unique premise and the characters had that ‘real’ quality that I really liked. This story not only has me wanting more from these characters, but has also put this author on my TBR radar.

Shea Berkley: Dark Secrets: Stone Cold Dead

Another first…. and another case of wanting to get to know characters better. This was also another unique premise. I loved the mix of vampires, werewolves and a fighter who was much more than she seemed. This one even had a couple of precocious kids thrown in to make things even more fun…. and dangerous.

Dakota Cassidy: Witched at Birth

I wasn’t really sure about this one at first. It started out almost a little too ‘campy.’ The silliness leveled off though and once the story got going I couldn’t put it down. Mystery, humor, danger, an adorable little girl, magic and romance proved to be an interesting mix. This is also the first story in this anthology that didn’t leave readers hanging. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy more from these characters….

Claire Cavanaugh: Midnight Renegade

Basically, this was a military/science experiment gone terribly wrong. A scientist trying to do the right thing for the wrong person. A daughter who was on a mission to save her dad and a deadly soldier who barely understood the powers forced on him, much less how to control them. His only goals were to find a cure, the rest of the infected soldiers he felt responsible for and seek revenge on the man who tore his world apart. Can’t wait to see where this series goes….

Rachel Grant: Midnight Sun

Possessed artifacts, helpful spirits and bad guys possessed by greed. I liked this one too. It was pretty much non-stop and I liked the paranormal twist. The romance was fun too, considering how it started. That’s something I can’t giveaway… it was just too much fun seeing them try to fight the inevitable.

Trish McCallan: Spirit Woods

I really liked this one. Of course, I wasn’t surprised because I’m pretty familiar with the author, but this wasn’t like any of the other books I’ve read by Trish McCallan. The mystery behind the magic of Spirit Woods is one that I can’t wait to continue.

Angi Morgan: Bodyguards in Heels: Hit and Run Hallie

Oh, this is going to be a fun series. The characters are just a little quirky, but not to the point of being silly. Magic, mystery, a crazy family romance… what’s not to love?

Robin Perini: Night of the Jaguar

Out of all of the books in this anthology, this one was the hardest for me to connect with. It did get better as it went along. The world building was a little confusing, but I liked the twist on the supernatural, especially the vampires and the unique breed of hunters.

Robyn Peterman: Switching Hour

I honestly thought I was going nuts when I started reading this one. The first chapter of Switching Hour is pretty much the same as the first chapter of Witched at Birth. Turns out it was planned that way… very sneaky of Robyn and Dakota. This one wasn’t quite as campy but it was just as silly in places. The main character in Switching Hour and the main character in Witched at Birth were best friends. Long story short, they were being punished for their mistakes and they both had to go their separate ways to fulfill their sentences. The first chapter in each book was told from different POVs, but they both happened right before they were forced to split. I’m sure that sooner or later these two silly but lovable witches will find their way back to each other.

Ann Voss Peterson: The School

Well, now we can add fairies to the mix. Not that any were actually seen, but they were definitely present and accounted for – and not in a very nice way. Not sure if this one is going to continue or not, but there are definitely a couple of characters that I’d like to learn a little more about.

Jenn Stark: Getting Wilde

Well that certainly was an awful lot packed into a short read. Almost too much. And, to top it all off it ended in a crazy cliff hanger. Yikes! There’s no doubt that this one will continue… hopefully with answers to a lot of question I have about the crazy alternate world created in Getting Wilde.

So there you have it. I didn’t love all of them, but I definitely added more than one author to my TBR list.

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Fairy Luck (Songs of Magic #6) by J.L. Bryan

FairyLuckCoverSMALLERWhile the Zebras reel from the loss of Erin, Erin herself makes some troubling discoveries while connecting with her ancestors.
In Faerie, Aoide and her troupe seem to finally be enjoying their big break…but danger is on the way, and nothing is ever what it seems when you’re dealing with leprechauns and the treacherous Queen Mab.

Every time I pick up another book from the Songs of Magic series I’m amazed. Honestly, I’m not being sarcastic. What amazes me is how J.L. Bryan can weave a story that has you giggling about its silliness then just a few pages later have you on the edge of your seat worrying about the characters he’s made you truly care about.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Even though this series is on the light side compared to Bryan’s other books. it still has its dark moments. The band has split up after Erin’s ‘death.’ Erin meets ancestors in Faerie that she didn’t know she and secrets are revealed about others that she never expected. Aoide and her troupe also make some startling discoveries while traveling through Faerie and the description is right, nothing is quite like it seems and people aren’t always who they appear to be.

Fairy Luck is another wild ride in the Songs of Magic saga and the story just keeps getting better and more dangerous. No cliff hanger, but readers are left with lots and lots of questions. What exactly is Mad Queen Mab up too? Why was it so important for Jason and Erin to be pulled apart? What is the real magic that surrounds the instruments Jason stole that started this whole crazy story? And finally, what will Erin discover when her family mysteries are revealed? Evidently we’ll find out all the answers soon because Book 7 will be the final book in the Songs of Magic series. Yes, these books are silly at times, but there’s always something more to them too.

Fairy 3D 1 copyWant to get a taste of the Songs of Magic series? J.L. Bryan has graciously offered his boxed set for a giveaway 😉 All you have to do to win the first four books in this magical series is to tell me in the comments what instrument you would love to be able to ‘magically’ play. That’s it! Good luck! I’ll pick a winner randomly from the comments on August 1.

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Fairyvision (Songs of Magic #5) by J.L. Bryan

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJason, Erin, and the other Zebras go on a world tour with their enchanted instruments, only to encounter the mysterious supernatural Folk of India and the Far East. While they tangle with their record company, Erin tries to avoid dealing with the secrets she’s learned about herself, while Jason pieces together a mystery surrounding a very special golden guitar called Caliburn.

In Faerie, Aoide the Lutist and her troupe finally return home from their long adventure. They’re struggling to get new gigs, but Aoide senses opportunity in the form of special new magic mirrors that can broadcast concerts, plays, and other entertainment all over Faerie.

When I first read Fairy Metal Thunder, I thought it was kind of quirky and cute. As the Songs of Magic series continues, I can’t really say that anymore. Of course it’s still quirky and cute. It’s still centered around a group of teens who stole magical instruments from a troupe of talented fairies. You can’t get much quirkier than that. The difference is that with each installment, J.L. Bryan takes it up a notch. The humor, wit, danger, action, lessons learned… it’s all so much more than it started out to be.

There’s just so much to love about this series, especially the constants. Erin and Jason are still great together. Dred is still the voice of reason. Mitch is still totally ridiculous and the parents of the Zebras are still clueless. Then there are all the new twists and turns, secrets revealed, new character traits and surprises that J.L. Bryan throws into the mix that keep the pages turning. I not a only love the time that readers spend with Eric, Jason, Mitch and Dred, but now Aoide and her troupe have become so much more than the fairies that had their instruments stolen. The bad guys are even fun to hate! 😉

Like I mentioned, the author took this one up a notch. There was sill a lot of silliness, but it was laced with some seriousness too. Despite what’s on the surface, these characters are dealing with real issues. The balance works well and keeps those serious moments from weighing readers down. As for how things were left at the end of Fairyvision? I have to admit that I saw where things were going, but I still wasn’t prepared. The fate of a few characters were definitely in question at the end and there will be a lot of changes that they will all have to deal with in the next book. I can’t wait to see exactly how J.L. Bryan plans on turning this one around….

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The Lost Prince (The Call of the Forgotten #1) by Julie Kagawa

Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Okay, honesty time here. I really wasn’t sure about The Call of the Forgotten series. It wasn’t because I don’t love the Iron Fey series. It wasn’t because I thought that Julie Kagawa didn’t have more story to tell where the Fey are concerned. I think it may have been simply because I couldn’t imagine going back into this amazing world without having Meghan, Puck and Ash front and center. Reading Iron’s Prophecy did little to change that opinion. I should have known better. It only took me one chapter to get pulled back into the world of the Fey through Ethan Chase’s perspective.

Ethan wasn’t living life, he was trying to survive it. He had no friends because he spent most of his time avoiding people so he wouldn’t have to worry about dragging anyone else into his crazy existence. It was impossible not to sympathize with him almost immediately. Kenzie wasn’t really living life either, but for far different reasons. She saw through the ‘tough guy’ barrier that Ethan built around himself to keep people away. Putting these two together was both brilliant and …. well, you’ll have to read the book to find out what else it is.

Ethan has not only grown a lot since readers were introduced to him in the beginning of the Iron Fey series, he grows a lot in The Lost Prince too. His entire perspective changes and some of that wall inevitably crumbles.

There were lots of new characters introduced in The Lost Prince, but there were familiar faces too. Grimalkin was just as annoying as ever and served as Ethan and Kenzie’s guide. Readers were also reunited with Meghan and Ash and Puck made his grand entrance with his usual flare. The most notable new character introduced was of course Keirran. I wasn’t sure what to expect from him. I won’t say much more, just in case. (If you’ve read Iron’s Prophecy, you’ll understand.)

If you haven’t read the Iron Fey series from the beginning, don’t start with The Lost Prince. There is way too much back story revealed in The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen and The Iron Knight to not treat yourself to them first. The only other recommendation that I have is to pick up Iron’s Prophecy before you pick up the first book in The Call of the Forgotten. You won’t be totally lost if you don’t, but you will be missing some key information that isn’t even revealed in The Lost Prince. Just a friendly suggestion. You can thank me later 😉

The Lost Prince didn’t exactly end in a cliff hanger, but there is definitely a lot more to come. As much as Ethan would love to leave the Fey behind, he’s way too involved by the end to turn his back on them now. September 2013 is such a long time to have to wait for The Traitor Son. *sigh*

Iron’s Prophecy (The Iron Fey #4.5) by Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase is finally getting used to being the Iron Queen, ruler of the Iron Fey. Her life may be strange, but with former Winter prince Ash by her side at last, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

But when they travel to the Summer and Winter courts’ gathering for Elysium, the oracle from Meghan’s past returns with a dire prophecy: “What you carry will either unite the courts, or it will destroy them.” Now Meghan faces a devastating choice that may determine the future of all fey—and her and Ash’s unborn child… 

I’m so glad I picked up this novella before I started The Lost Prince. Not only is it a great little diversion back into the world of Ash, Meghan and Puck but it also gives you just enough background to get readers primed for the next part of the saga.

If you are a fan of The Iron Fey, this short read is a must. Once I started reading it, I was transported back into this wonderful world and I instantly remembered why I loved it so much. You won’t be lost if you skip this gem, but there are a few interesting secrets revealed in the Iron Prophecy that will shed some light on what Ethan is in for in The Lost Prince. Enjoy!

The Witch is Back (Jolie Wilkins #4) by H.P. Mallory

The witching hour has arrived in bestselling author H. P. Mallory’s captivating and sexy new novel, starring the most dazzling denizen of the undead, Jolie Wilkins. 
 
Funny and feisty witch Jolie Wilkins is back—or rather, she’s back to her humble beginnings. Propelled into the past to her old Los Angeles fortune-telling shop, Jolie has no idea she possesses extraordinary powers, and she definitely doesn’t remember becoming Queen of the Underworld. But at least she has two incredibly sexy men vying for her affection: Rand Balfour, who looks very familiar, though Jolie can’t place his gorgeous face, and Sinjin Sinclair, who is tall, dark, and perfect . . . except for the fangs.
 
Yet despite her steamy love life, Jolie can’t shake the sense that something is not quite right—like she’s stuck in a déjà vu gone terribly awry. As both men race against time—and each other—to win Jolie’s heart, the fate of the Underworld hangs in the balance. And Jolie’s decision can either restore order or create an absolute, drop-dead disaster.

Just a warning, if you are a stickler for details and you think too hard about the whole time travel concept and what the possible consequences of it all could be, this book could possibly drive you nuts. If you can get past that and just enjoy it for the fun story that it is, then you’ll be just fine. Of course there are still aspects of it that may drive you nuts, but since they don’t have much to do with scientific space-time continuum technical details you should be able to deal. 😉

So, what drove me crazy about this book? Sinjin! I know, there are a lot of team Sinjin readers out there and I have to admit that there is a lot about him that I like. Even so, I want Jolie to be with Rand. I know I’ve said that he drives me nuts too, but this was different. Nothing about Rand is sneaky and underhanded. One of his problems is that he is honest to a fault and over thinks everything. Sinjin thinks, but diabolically. The way he manipulated things to his benefit in The Witch is Back was so not cool. Grr… I know that deep down in that non-beating heart of his he really does care for Jolie, but he kinda took it too far this time. I also know that he isn’t about to give up and there is more about him than anyone really knows. *sigh*

Alright, I’ve ranted about Sinjin enough. As far as the rest of the story goes, beyond the frustration it was pretty good. I have to admit I liked it, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. I’m still loving this series and I can’t wait to read the next book. I’m still not sure where Mercedes stands in all of this and my trust level with her is pretty low right now. I’m afraid she is someone who isn’t beyond manipulation either. There’s still a lot that needs to be figured out and a few fairly big mysteries that need to be solved. I’m trying to hold off on picking up Something Witchy This Way Comes. I don’t want to burn myself out on Rand, Jolie and Sinjin, but we’ll see.

Witchful Thinking (Jolie Wilkins #3) By H.P. Mallory

Jolie thinks she’s seen it all, but life continues to spring surprises. The latest shocker? She’s just been crowned queen of the underworld. Jolie may possess a rare gift for reanimating the dead, but she doesn’t know the first thing about governing disparate factions of supernatural creatures. She can barely maintain order in her own chaotic personal life, which is heading into a romantic tailspin.

First there’s sexy warlock Rand, the love of her life, from whom Jolie is hiding a devastating secret. Then there’s Sinjin, a darkly seductive vampire and Jolie’s sworn protector—though others suspect he harbors ulterior motives. As the two polar opposite yet magnetic men vie for Jolie’s affection, she must keep her wits about her to balance affairs of state and affairs of her heart. Overwhelmed, under pressure, and longing for love, Jolie decides it’s time to take charge—and show everyone that this queen won’t take jack.

Yep, this has definitely turned into a love triangle book. I’ve denied it long enough and I have my definite pick for Jolie, but things happen *sigh* This is one of those books that I wish I could jump into and give all the characters a swift kick in the pants! Okay, you’ve heard enough of my ranting. I’ll continue with my review.

Despite my frustration, I am still completely in love with this series. I can’t help it. There is just something about it that draws me in and won’t let go. I don’t know if it’s the chemistry between the characters, the snarky voice of Jolie or all of it rolled into one, but whatever it is – H.P. Mallory has me totally hooked.

Witchful Thinking takes up almost exactly where Toil and Trouble left off. Jolie is mentally recovering from the battle and has to face her destiny whether she wants to or not. Rand is busy being Rand and Jolie has to decide if she should share the knowledge about their past that she gained while traveling back in time. Let’s just say that both Rand and Jolie end up making really poor decisions in this book that end up being the catalyst for the jaw dropping conclusion that we as readers are once again treated to.

It seems like the more we find out the more mysteries are thrown at us. Maybe that’s what keeps my coming back for more. I just can’t stand not knowing what’s going to happen next and I also have honestly become emotionally invested in these characters. I want to know more about Mercedes and what she’s hiding, if anything. I want to find out if Sinjin is truly enamored with Jolie or if he has ulterior motives that drive him. I need to know what is really going through Rand’s mind and shake some sense into the big lug. Most of all, I want Jolie to find out who she really is, follow her heart and not take no for an answer. That’s a lot to ask from a work of fiction but I’m greedy. Sue me. 😉

Needless to say, I will waste no time in picking up The Witch is Back. (Actually, as of the time that this review was written, I’ve already read it. Yikes!) Anyway, the ending of this one left me no choice other than to immediately download the next installment. Stay tuned for the next review. Trust me, you won’t have to wait long.

Fairyland (Songs of Magic #4) J.L. Bryan

Jason and Erin’s urgent mission takes them deep into the colorful and deadly wilds of Faerie, full of bizarre and rude creatures, and past the glittering volcanic islands of the Southward Sea.

In man-world, Mitch and Dred try to prepare for a live concert in front of millions of viewers while half their band is missing. The record company is furious with them, and so are a certain violet-haired fairy and her banshee wolf friend, who finally catch up with them in Los Angeles.

In Faerie, Queen Mab and the leprechaun Aonghus Mac Lobhar enter into a secret agreement over a new kind of magic that will change fairyland forever.

Fairyland is the 4th book in J.L. Bryan’s Songs of Magic Series and each book draws the reader farther and farther into the world that the author has created.

This book has the reader spending a lot more time in Faerie than any of the others before it. Bryan holds nothing back with his imaginative descriptions and takes readers on a tour of a world that is as amazingly beautiful as it is terrifying. This author’s Faerie is not a place that I would want to go to alone.

I really like where the series is headed. Of course, that may have to do with all the quality time that Erin and Jason are FINALLY spending together. It’s more than that though. As silly as the story gets at times, there is still a lot of ‘meat’ to it. A lot of secrets are revealed. Some of them I saw coming and some of them I didn’t. There are also some alliances formed that should prove to be interesting. From where Fairyland ended, there is still a lot more to come. I can’t wait to see what J.L Bryan has in store for our band of characters next.

Fairystruck by J.L. Bryan: Bout-of-Books 4.0 Review

With their first single shooting up the Billboard charts, the Zebras hit the road as the opening band for an epic stadium tour across America. The future looks bright for the band, if they can survive the rioting fans, Queen Mab of Faerie, the dullahan, and the evil teddy bears.

Aoide the Lutist and Liadan the banshee wolf cross into man-world on the trail of the stolen fairy instruments. Aoide is shocked at the strangeness of life among the humans, but she also learns about a thrilling new kind of music never heard in Faerie…rock and roll.

Okay, things are getting interesting now. Not that they weren’t before, but more and more characters are added with each book and the reader is learning more and more about each of the existing characters all the time. J.L. Bryan definitely has our attention now.

Jason, Dred, Erin and Mitch/Mick are finding out life on the road isn’t always fun. Aoide and Liandan learn all sorts of things about the mortal world that they didn’t know before. Queen Mab is pulling out every evil member of Fae that she can to get the instruments back and we are finding out exactly how low some of these bad guys will go to get exactly what they want. Regardless of who stands in their way.

I really like the direction that J.L. Bryan is taking this series. Of course it can be silly at times (assassin Teddy bears, for instance?) but somehow it all works and just keeps things interesting…. really, really interesting. There are also a couple of characters that are still getting on my nerves (mainly Mitch, Zach and Jason’s parents) but every series has to have a couple of those, right?

Fairystruck ends with the fate of a lot of characters hanging in the balance, so it’s no surprise that I will be among other loyal readers begging for the next installment. 😉