The Pledge Trilogy

PledgeSummer is here and the work hours have dropped to the floor. I hadn’t had this much free time all year. The sad part is that as soon as the crazy days t work stopped, I could think about were all the little things at home that need to be done.

Those things that have been needing doing for months, but I hadn’t had the time. What can be better for keeping me company while I wash, scrub, dust, mop, and purge than a good audiobook?

I even took a moment to carefully choose which book to start into… and then I hear:

“Men will fall at hr feet. And she will crush them”

Oh, how I enjoy an evil queen and/or magic powers! Of course, I chose The Pledge.

 

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Soul Marked

by C. Gockel

5/5The wonders of the weekend. it all started with a free massage, brunch out and a stop by the bookstore. And, of course, it ended at the coffee shop.

SoulMarked

I picked up this book because the name seemed familiar. Turns out it was recommended to me by one of those random because-you-read apps.  I LOVED IT!

I read a couple of chapters while sitting in a not-so-comfy chair at a quiet coffee place, and I was totally hooked.

There’s magic, but also technology. There is a damsel in distress, that still has time and the will to save a magical immortal. There are a couple of different worlds and societies. That by itself is interesting, but my absolute favorite part of this book is the language and cultural barriers and all the fun that it ensues.

There’s also a bit in there about people’s fear of interracial pairings and prejudice. I thought it was very interesting as something for the two very different main characters to have in common.

There was also a part that I didn’t quite enjoy but thought it fit great into the story, about the exploitation of those some feel are inferior, and their mistreatment. It is both powerful man, both influential and magically gifted, who enjoys manipulating and hurting others.

I think there were quite a lot of social references an critiques (the kinds I enjoy finding) without losing the magical and somewhat romantic feel the story has. I really loved this book, and I truly recommend it.

The Twenty-sided Sorceress (8)

Dungeon Crawl

By Annie Bellet

4/5For a whole minute there, after finishing Magic to the Bone, I feared that the story would end there and leave the loose ends to my imagination.

Then I remembered there was a book #8.

And while Samir is defeated, he’s not actually dead yet. He’s still wreaking havoc inside Jade’s mind, and something is bound to go wrong with carrying such a formidable foe on your neck.

Then, there’s also that whole owing-an-unknown-favor-to-a-vampire thing. Can he really be trusted? He helped her, true, but it wasn’t free.

Thankfully, Dungeon Crawl addresses all these little loose ends, although not all of them.

We get to see Jade’s recovery after the big confrontation with Samir, and how she hasn’t quite recovered. She’s still having nightmares and paranoid feelings, that you can see reflected in how she designed her house when rebuilding after the fire: Extra exits everywhere.

Of course, is it really paranoia when people ARE after you? She is living with what can be considered former law enforcement. There’s bound to be people trying to kill Alek after god-knows how many years of being a JUSTICE.

Thus, a sniper shooting him in the head.

Does he die? You will have to read the book. But do you honestly think I wouldn’t be raving and tearing things apart if my favorite character in this whole series would’ve died so nonsensically!?

I’m always up for getting more Alek. Extra chapters from his perspective are my absolute favorite. But I DO feel like I’m missing something. There’s this whole thing happening in New Orleans, that I don’t have my detail from and jeeps getting referenced. I need the deeds! Especially if they will answer all questions about the Council of Nine.

All in all, I really really liked this book. It was GREAT! Even with the zombies and other strange undead creatures.

And I’m not even bothered by the fact that this is NOT the end of the story yet. There are, at least, two more books coming out soon. I’m actually excited about it.

Definitely looking forward to reading more about Jade Crow and her band of friends.

Magic to the Bone

by Annie Bellet

4/5
Bombs, hostages, mercenaries, and magic! How can that not be GREAT!?

I really liked that ending.  I think it was totally appropriate until I realized there’s another book yet to come. What’s up with that?

I wish the had been more Alek, as always. Too much Harper, again. And there wasn’t even a big explosion, even when there were lots of explosives.

And, of course, I could’ve used more magic…

Spoiler Alert

… Isn’t she supposed to be a mythical creature made of pure magic? Or something like it? I was expecting her to wipe the floor with Samir, but I guess that would’ve been too much after their first fight ended up lopsided.

There was a lot of opened questions, though. Like, what happened to the shifters and what0’s gonna happen to the town after they were totally abandoned like that. And the Fae, what’s up with them? Will they try another way to break the seal?

Is that why there’s another book?

And now, Jade Crow is the savior of the whole town of supernaturals!!

Jade Crow for president!!

No. Make it…

Queen Jade Crow!!

The downside of binge reading, though, is that I almost capped my monthly book-budget. It means I’ll have to wait a week before I can get the last book in this series. In the meantime, there’s a couple of books waiting.

It’s just a matter of picking one.

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress (7)

3/5

Thicker than Blood

Annie Bellet

thickerThanBlood

Not as awesome as the previous one, I have to say. And I was totally disappointed that we didn’t get more Aleksei. Too much Harper, for my taste. I don’t hate her anymore, true, but she’s still not my favorite person.

Uh! I might see the point of all those Harper excerpts now. I’d still leave at simply GOOD, though.

This whole book feels like a slight detour from the actual story, the one that has me so caught up… but I absolutely loved all the dragon ball references. I totally see it.

And we at least got a glimpse at what is happening with Samir, and Jade‘s friends, otherwise I would be totally annoyed.

Spoiler alert, though…

20ss07Dragon! That word made this book totally worth it. Even if it was only the final chapters. I totally love dragons. And, of course, mystery dad is totally awesome. He hid his heart and guarded it with a monstrous giant snake! How much cooler can he be? He was my absolute favorite part in this book, and that’s even considering Aleksei‘s sister and the know-it-all vampire.

Magic to the Bone. On to book #7 we go!

Our shifter friends are hiding in the forest, trying to stop Mr. Evil-ExBoyfriend from rising some serious bad ancient power and becoming stronger, while our heroine is trying to get her mojo back with the help of her totally unexpected dragon bio-daddy. this ought to be getting super exciting now.

Deep breath. I just had a good night sleep. I’m ready.

Let’s level up!

 

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress (6)

Heartache

by Annie Bellet

5/5OMG.

Boss fight, it is right!

This is honestly the most exciting book in this series by far. This is going to be full of spoilers. Beware.

I have been waiting for Samir to finally show his face for five books now, and I don’t think he disappoints. What does disappoint is Jade’s fumbling response. She was supposed to be training for a while now, and had learned a lot of new things from the older witch who she just ate! Why is she acting like a newb?! It’s frustrating!

I understand she not being able to save her friend the first time she managed to use Tess’s magic to do something unique and unexpected, but she’s supposed to be smart! Why not stop to analyze what happened and how can it be used to her advantage? Ok. She got arrested, that could have occupied her mind for a while, but she spends a long while locked in a prison cell… couldn’t she have taken a moment to think about her options?!

And don’t get me started on the complete narrowmindedness of not contemplating for a moment that something besides herself could be at play.

Also, someone put a leash on those friends of hers! Especially Harper. She’s starting to rub me the wrong way. She never stops to think, just changing ahead and getting herself mauled. She, and the twins, totally dismissed Jade’s fears of Samir without stopping to consider there might be a reason to have a healthy level of fear and caution. 

Don’t take my ranting wrong, though. I absolutely loved this book. The bad guy is seriously bad, the love interest is perfectly lovely and not overpowering, the surrounding story is adequately complex and there is more than one character to be into there. It is a fantastic book. I completely LOVED IT!. Seriously looking forward to book #6.

There’s only three left, but this whole series has gone crazy fast. I think I might easily finish it before the month is over.

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress (5)

Hunting Season

by Annie Bellet

4/5
Two on one, how is that fair?!

Ok, this was book number four of The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series and it was action packed! Full of new and exciting magical and mythological creatures. There were even unicorns!

This story has way more exciting magical battles and creatures, and two of Samir‘s apprentices to contend with. There’s a druid, and a leprechaun, and even time-manipulating. It’s simply GREAT!

Jade is starting to show real leadership talent and the friendship and loyalty are heartwarming. And I really like this kind of love story: the one where not everything is perfect, but there’s trust and communication and they both can admit that they are faulty and work on it. It makes me think that this an actual real couple that can work through their problems in a mature way. I hope they can make it through all the evil coming their way.

I really liked this one. It is full of action and a lot of magic, and things seem to be gearing up for the great final battle. The big bad, Samir (aka evil exboyfriend), is down two apprentices, so we’re definitely expecting him to show up at any minute.

And that ending! Talk about exciting.

And of course, that’s why I hadn’t even stopped to consider what that ending meant, hen I was already getting started on book #5: Heartache.

Like Jade and Harper would say:

Boss Fight!

Pack of Lies

by Annie Bellet

4/5

Ohh! Things are starting to get really interesting!

I really liked this one. So much that I basically read it not stop until I had through, I even had a very unproductive day… totally distracted.

Alek is back after leaving and not calling for a while, and things look like improving between him and Jade. If it weren’t for the murders getting in the way, we would have a great romance novel!

I’m joking, of course. the murder mystery is one of my favorite parts.

What could possibly make it better, you ask… magic! There is new magic, and even a magical assassin coming into the picture. And that on top of a massive pack of wolves that might be killing each other.

It is all full of excitement. Definitely a GREAT book.

Why couldn’t my life be full of sex instead of violence?

I really enjoy the light and funny way Annie Bellet writes. The humor and funny references to popular culture. There was even a Matrix reference! How nerdy! I loved it.

Why can’t my life be more like a porno than a horror movie?

And if all of this is not enough to draw you in… We finally got a taste of that big bad guy that had only just been mentioned until now!

I’ll just have to read Hunting Season, d maybe finally get to know Samir, the evil ex-boyfriend.

 

The Girl at Midnight (2)

It has been over six months since I read the Shadow Hour, but if I remember right Echo now has rad powers. Something to do with black fire she can’t actually control and her new love interest’s sister is trying to harness the power of complete darkness that came as a balance point to Echo‘s in an attempt at mad power-grabbing.

And, didn’t the crazy power-hungry sister actually kidnap her own brother to drain him of all his magic so she can get more powerful? All for the sake of winning a war whose outcome she’s not even interested in anymore…

Did I miss anything?

Oh, yes! Echo‘s only mentor and mother-figure, the Ala, barely just survived an attack by this aforementioned dark force and has not been able to provide any meaningful advice or guidance. She has barely even made an appearance during the first two books and even so continues to be my favorite character.

The good thing I’m looking forward to is some closure. It drives me crazy when I’m looking forward to the ending of a story and then it turns out there’s another one. At least this one will have no surprises of that kind (it better not). I mean, it says so in the cover: “The Final Book“!

Shades of Magic (2)

4/5A Conjuring of Light.

I really really liked this book. This whole series, actually. Even when it took me waaaaaay to long to actually finish it. I blame it all on this the most inefficient year I had when it comes to my reading. Only to my reading, though, because work has been crazy busy.

But, even when there were quite a few of forced pauses in between my chapters, this book was amazingly grabbing. I loved getting to know Holland, who until now seemed only as a secondary character, especially that last chapter from his point of view. His whole story, though, it was all heartbreaking and enlightening as to why he does as he does and is as he is.

And I loved, even more, getting to know Rhy and the complexities of his relationship with Alucard.

And Alucard, and his messed up family!

And the Queen and her inability to express herself to Kell

And that is all before we even get to the Shadow King and the growing relationship between Kell and Lila., it was honestly a great book. I will totally recommend this series to anyone who may listen.

So, why only a 4/5? You might be asking… Well. It was the ending.

No. I’m not trying to say that the conclusion/solution to their problem was anything but great, but I do think that the last chapter… The emotional wrap-up… Felt a bit brushed over. Too fast, too superficial.

After everything the brothers now share, there was no conversation, no reunion, no normal goodbye. And with Lila! When did they agree to leave to follow HER dream of being a pirate? Wasn’t she toying with the idea of settling down? And what happened to Kell’s promise to be by his brother’s side when he became king?! And to Holland’s world? And what I’d the letter to King George say?

Again, too rushed. I wasn’t satisfied.

But really that was my only qualm. Besides that, the book was real. The whole series was awesome.

Pleasantly surprised

4/5

Ink Mage by Victor Gischler

I’m not sure what I expected when I started this book, but this was a great story.

There was magic and tattoos, yes… But there was also political maneuvering, gypsies, murdering whores and tragic love stories. There were powerful enemies and allies, and there was a good dose of fighting and gore.

Ink Mage by Victor Gischler
Ink Mage by Victor Gischler

It honestly has everything it needed to be an amazing mindblowingly fantastic book, but it isn’t. I’m not sure I can tell you what’s missing, but I know there’s something lacking.

I think it might have something to do with the details. The strange thing is that there’s so much going on, and so many different points of view… And still I felt like I missed more than one thing and that the important things were being left unsaid.

SPOILER ALERT

For example… We met the commanding officer in charge of pursuing the young Duchess, Rina Veraiin, and while I always appreciate the point of view of the enemy… We never know what he thought of his supposedly hapless quarry after the slaughter at the temple. That would have been an awesome insight.

And then, there was the mysterious third Mage to arri pave from the enemy’s land. We get a small glimpse, meant to build him up as the ultimate opponent. Powerful, knowledgeable and greedy. And then, it took one chapter to see him in action and get rid of him all together. That was a bit anticlimactic.

Like they say… It is all in the little things. There are little things that make this story awesome, like the magic tattoos that can be collected, the loyal friends/subjects that follow and support our main character, the different perspectives from the same conflict that help you see the bigger picture… But it was also the little things that keep this story form being all it could have been.

All this is not to say that I won’t be reading the rest of the trilogy. As most books nowadays, this one is part of a series… A Fire Beneath the Skin. It might take me sometime to get the other two books, but I definitely want to know how this story will end. Maybe our cool Duchess will end up with a full-body tattoo!!

Nameless is my price

5/5

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

OH MY GOD!

This book was amazing!! I have no words for how much I’m absolutely in-love. I was at the edge of my sit during the whole thing, there was no good moment to stop or even breathe!

Queen Aelin Ashryver Galathynious spent the whole 700 pages going for one betrayal to a disaster to an ambush, to another betrayal and ambush. It was insane! I LOVED IT!!

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms is the fifth installment in the Throne of Glass series, so there is a lot happening that relates and/or recounts what has been happening since the beginning. And this one has way more explanations about how all those things merge together. So there were many times I felt like I should be re-reading all the previous books to freshen up my memory about the details.

I also think I waited to long to read Asassin’s Blade. There were a few new character that I felt I should know already, and many more that I think we’re mentioned lightly before hand.

But all of that, didn’t matter. The story was awesome! Simply mind-blowing.

Land not just because of all the magic and battles, but also for all the scheming and surprising turns of events. Then, of course, there was a couple of sexy times and a lot of built-up.

The next book -that still has no name- better be as good. I think better is impossible, but I wouldn’t discourage Sarah J. Maas for trying,

The downside? The wait for the conclusion of the story is going to be a year.

A WHOLE year!