Review of Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

Furies of Calderon
Codex Alera Book 1
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy
Number of Pages: 688 (paperback)

Date Started: November 15, 2015
Date Finished: November 19, 2015 (around 2am)

Synopsis:(From Amazon)29396
For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies – elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal. But now, Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious High Lords plot and maneuver to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon.” “Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine.” Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury – one that could turn the tides of war.

This book was recommended to me by a great friend, Maria Picone of Sky Tango Freelance, who knew that I had read The Dresden Files and felt that I was missing out.  Cheers, Maria– you were totally correct.  This book is AMAZING.  I don’t want to be disloyal to my love of The Dresden Files, and my love for The Dresden Files hasn’t changed, but this book is on a completely different level and comparing the two would be like comparing apples to oranges.

There is not a single character that does not have a purpose, who has no definition, or redeeming qualities.  I cared just as much about seeing what happened to the antagonistic characters as I did the protagonists.  Everything is explained incredibly well, in ways that made sense and helped draw a reader further into the book.  The furies originally made me think a bit of the daemons in Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, but furies are unique individuals, and though they are connected to the characters they are not part of a whole.  Although the novel appeared from multiple standpoints this didn’t cause any sort of disconnect from chapter to chapter.  There were times when I desperately wanted to be following one part of the story, but was just as easily drawn into the happenings of another character.

While this book is quite lengthy, I found it to be hard to set down, and perfect.  While this adventure appears to be concluded, with all of the loose ends tied up, there are many ways that the series could continue after this particular title.  I have some speculations in regards to how some of these characters may be connected and I intend to keep note of them, though I believe whether or not my conjectures are correct will be shown, in time.

I cannot say enough about this book, and I cannot wait to read more!  Way to go, Jim Butcher.  Way to go!

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

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Review of Christmas in Good Hope by Cindy Kirk

Christmas in Good Hope
A Good Hope Novel Book 1
By Cindy Kirk

Star Rating: 
Genre: Romance
Number of Pages: 302

Date Started: November 13, 2015
Date Finished: November 15, 2015

Synopsis:(From Amazon)51qtdZOxkGL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_
Ami and Beck would rather forget the past, but this Christmas of love is one to remember.

Amaryllis “Ami” Bloom’s cheerful smile greets everyone in Good Hope, Wisconsin. But her merry facade hides a dark secret she won’t ever forget. Still, she throws herself into celebrating Christmas—and convinces her handsome, and stubborn, new neighbor to join her.

Beckett Cross, however, is determined not to celebrate the holidays. He moved to Good Hope to leave behind reminders of how he’d had it all…and lost everything. But it’s hard to resist adorable Ami, the designated keeper of the small town’s holiday traditions, when she asks for help with the Twelve Nights celebrations. And Ami has a hard time resisting Beck’s soft Southern drawl and gentle eyes. Will a Christmas miracle give them a second chance at love and the hope to heal both of their hearts for good?

Usually I am apprehensive about reading books particularly designed for one time of year, but this book was positively delightful!  I received this book a month earlier than its release from kindle first, from being an Amazon prime member (it’s so worth it, even if just for the free book once a month!)  If you don’t have Amazon Prime, I would definitely ear mark this book for purchase next month.

Ami and Beck both have so much in their pasts that have hurt them, bothered them, and that they need to get over.  Although they both have their own shops to run and families they find themselves getting closer and closer.  They both need to heal, and need to move forward and make new memories.  One of the absolute best parts of this novel is that their jobs are a primary focus, and it gives the story more realism than many romance novels exhibit.  I would definitely eat at Blooms Bakery, and grab some grub at Muddy Boots.

This novel is sweet, deep, and will help get you in the Christmas spirit.  Go for it!  You won’t be disappointed.

61z2pEVrTtL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
Cindy Kirk started writing after taking a class at a local community college. But her interest in the written word began years earlier when she was in her teens. At sixteen, she wrote in her diary: “I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t be a writer.” When she returned to her first love—writing—she jumped feetfirst into book-length fiction. She loves reading and writing romance because she believes in the power of love and in happily ever after. An incurable romantic and an eternal optimist, Kirk loves seeing her characters grow and learn from their mistakes and, in the process, achieve a happy ending through the power of love. She and her high-school-sweetheart husband live in Nebraska with their two dogs.

You can find more books by Cindy at her Amazon page.


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Review of His Reluctant Bride by Sheena Morrish

His Reluctant Bride
By Sheena Morrish

Star Rating: 
Genre: Romance
Number of Pages: 179

Date Started: November 12, 2015
Date Finished: November 13, 2015

Synopsis:(From Amazon)23343260
Katy has been betrothed to Tariq since she was a young girl and has spent her whole life rebelling against it.

She moved as far away from her home country of Darlaya as she could and has dedicated her life to being independent. She thought that she had won her freedom. Until the day that Tariq showed up and showed her how wrong she was.

Now she is back in her homeland with a man she hates who insists they must marry and the worst part is that the more time she spends with him the more she finds herself falling for him.

Find out just how far Tariq will go to tame his reluctant bride.

Though this book did end up with three stars, I will say that it is a very low three.  The idea that this novel seems to present from the blurb on Amazon was enough to intrigue me into purchasing it, but that is as far as it goes.  There are far more questionable parts of this novel than there are pleasurable ones.  Blanket statements such as making love “in a rhythm as old as time” are both unimaginative and quickly pull one from the novel.  Though I can understand wanting to use fancy or uncommon words for things (I had been quite a fan of tresses instead of hair), the amount of times Katie plaited (aka braided) her hair was irritating, and was likely used to make it seem like she was doing something special.  There was a plethora of run on sentences and poor grammar, denoting that the book was poorly edited.  The most common and annoying lack of grammar was seen when talking of more than one mistress, in which case you would say mistresses, not mistress’s.

While I thought the overall idea of the novel was sound, the full product seems to be lacking.  Katie is supposed to be seen as an independent woman, yet caves in whenever Tariq kisses her.  Instead of talking to him and confronting him about her suspicions about Amber, she makes snide remarks without ever stating what she believes.  In the end, I am left with two questions relating to the content of this novel.  Did she ever go see her supposed friends Daniel and Gareth again, and pay them back for the money they lent her when she ran away to Paris?  Did she ever bother to tell Tariq she prefers Katie, not Catherine?

There are so many amazing books out there, and this is not one of them.  I suppose I was bound to buy a poor book being promoted by Amazon some day.  Definitely skip this.

Author Bio:
Sheena Morrish has no author biography up on Amazon, therefore there will not be one here.


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Review of UnEnchanted: An Unfortunate Fairy Tale by Chanda Hahn

UnEnchanted: An Unfortunate Fairy Tale
Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 1
By Chanda Hahn

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Number of Pages: 234

Date Started: November 10, 2015
Date Finished: November 11, 201513402447

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated; that is until she saves her crush’s life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is a descendant from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her its’ next fairy-tale victim. To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.

The idea that this book series has is a wonderful one– a girl having to take on modern interpretations of the classic fairy tales.  The main characters have good characterization and it’s easy to empathize with them.  I loved the way that colours played into the novel!  I also love that Mina’s only real accomplice probably shouldn’t be working with her, given their differences.  I believe that there will be more to Mina’s little brother, Charlie, later on, and that he will play a pivotal role in the overall series.

The book did have some issues with blanket statements, such as stating that a girl laid claim to her boyfriend “as only a female high school student could.”  Another such statement being, “Brody was every girl’s dream guy.”  (Both of these examples are from Chapter 1)  There is a great little Harry Potter reference when Mina states she is “on cloud nine and three-quarters” in Chapter 7.  There were a few places that I thought could have used a better editing job, but overall, this was a good read.

It will be interesting to see where Hahn takes the books from here, and I look forward to learning more about Mina’s plight.

91AdQEkLXCL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
Chanda Hahn is a NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY Bestselling Author. She uses her experience as a children’s pastor, children’s librarian and bookseller to write compelling and popular fiction for teens. She was born in Seattle, WA, grew up in Nebraska and currently resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their twin children.

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