Review of Of Fate and Phantoms by C. J. Archer

Of Fate and Phantoms
The Ministry of Curiosities Book 7
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 128

Date Started: January 25, 2017
Date Finished: January 27, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)of-fate-and-phantoms
As Charlie and Lincoln’s lives settle into a harmonious pattern, a new threat arises that could have far reaching effects for the royal family and Lincoln’s parents. When a seer warns the Prince of Wales that his life is in danger, only Charlie and Lincoln take her seriously. After all, what sensible person would believe a gypsy who claims the danger will come in the form of the prince’s dead father? A meeting at the palace sets them on a path that takes Charlie back to her old haunts in the London slums, on the hunt for a man who can change his appearance. The new threat is their most dangerous yet, but for Lincoln, the biggest concern isn’t confronting the shape-changer or meeting his parents for the first time, it’s whether Charlie will put his engagement ring on her finger.

Review:
Ah, my favourite literary couple, how I get to join your life once more. This book, like the others in the Ministry of Curiosities series, was wonderful. There were a few editorial errors but that in no way diminishes from the storyline.

I loved that we got to see more of Gilly’s wife and see how Lincoln and Charlie would try to help someone who is different, like them, yet in a horrible position. I absolutely loved getting to see Charlie in action again, doing the boyish things she once did, even though she’s put on some weight so she isn’t quite as slender as before, and that no matter what’s happened, Charlie still cares about her gang and wishes she could do more for them. There were a lot of secondary characters and side plots going on, but I felt that added to Lincoln and Charlie’s dynamic.

It is great to see Lincoln trust Charlie’s judgments and allow her to help him on cases. While it is nice to see Lincoln become more man and less mechanic, in some ways it seems he is becoming a completely different person altogether. It would have been nice for them to have a few more scenes of development, but I was quite pleased with the interactions between the two throughout the novel, and I quite love the ending.

cj
Author Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

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Review of Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

Dead Ever After
Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood 13
By Charlaine Harris

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy

Number of Pages: 368

Date Started: January 24, 2016dead-ever-after
Date Finished: January 25, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
When a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, Sookie will learn that what passes for the truth is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…

Review:
Insert random series of events that rip Eric and Sookie apart. Oh, look, suddenly all the humans care about Sookie and she’s considered human again. While I did enjoy seeing Amelia and the household full of people, I would have liked it better if that was the main plot and shoving Eric on a bus wasn’t the second major decision of the novel.

How did the ending of the book make you feel? I’m glad you asked. I saw from the beginning that Sookie would end with the person she did, but I am more frustrated than anything that, after seeing her run from guy to guy, get swept up in the romance and such, that she decides that she doesn’t want to “go fast” and has to “take it slow” which, from the look of the epilogue, essentially kills all romance whatsoever, really. We heard way too much about “not that anyone asked me to marry them” and “I WANT BABIES” in subtext for the epilogue to be even a touch satisfying.

At least Pam got what she deserved. That’s something.

 

charlaineAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
For information on Charlaine Harris, please view her Amazon author page here.

Review of Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Deadlocked
Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood 12
By Charlaine Harris

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy

Number of Pages: 352

Date Started: January 23, 2016
Date Finished: January 24, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)deadlocked
Felipe de Castro, the vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), is in town. It’s the worst possible time for a human body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

Now it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s set out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

Review:
Eric’s becoming more and more engrossed in vampire politics while Sookie tries to hold on. As always, Sookie has more enemies than we are aware, and there is a definite friction between Eric and Sam like there is between Sookie and Jannalynn.

While Sookie is trying to figure out her future she’s also learning more about herself, that she can be devious and ruthless, and that she’s smarter than she’s usually given credit for.

Unfortunately, things are not well in Sookie relationship land, and Sookie refuses to do anything to try to solve it. I get that before Bill she had no relationships, but seriously, between having had a few in the past years of the book series, having female friends to chat with, and being able to buy a Cosmo magazine like any other girl (not to mention the supposed long list of romance novels Sookie has read) one would expect she would have some idea how things were done, and not act like a prepubescent girl.

charlaineAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
For information on Charlaine Harris, please view her Amazon author page here.

Review of Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Dead Reckoning
Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood 11
By Charlaine Harris

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy

Number of Pages: 368

Date Started: January 23, 2016
Date Finished: January 23, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)dead_reckoning_novel_cover
With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover, Eric Northman, and his “child” Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows…

Review:
This novel is starting to get the series back on track, and I love it for that. I love the continued work on relationships between Sookie and others, particularly the development of her friendships with Sam and Pam. I was glad to FINALLY see Bill again, since we heard about him in the last couple of novels but it was more a passing mention. I’m not certain Bill actually loves Sookie or is more infatuated with the idea of her, but we’ll see in the long run.

I love the fae connections in this novel, though I wish we had gotten to see more of them and learn whatever they are up to, which is likely the plot of the next novel.

I was quite disappointed that Sam’s brother’s wedding, which has been mentioned in I believe three books, was completely glossed over and nothing said about it except a few brief mentions that Sookie went with him.

While I think Sookie still has to do quite the bit of introspection to figure out who SHE is and what she feels/thinks/believes, it was nice for her to be there for Tara and to have a really human moment, and it was especially nice to see that some supernaturals can appreciate those basic life moments too.

charlaineAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
For information on Charlaine Harris, please view her Amazon author page here.

Review of Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Dead in the Family
Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood 10
By Charlaine Harris

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy

Number of Pages: 368

Date Started: January 22, 2016
Date Finished: January 23, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)dead-in-the-family
After enduring torture and the loss of loved ones during the brief but deadly Fae War, Sookie Stackhouse is hurt and she’s mad. Just about the only bright spot in her life is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman. But he’s under scrutiny by the new vampire king. And as the political implications of the shifters’ coming-out are beginning to be felt, Sookie’s connection to one particular Were draws her into the dangerous debate. Also, though the doors to Faery have been closed, there are still some fae on the human side-and one of them is angry at Sookie…very, very angry…

Review:
In this novel Sookie seems to be drawn into far too many directions. It’s hard to truly get a grasp on anything going on, because there are too many side stories to keep track of.

Eric’s maker had an appearance, and all in all I did find that story interesting, except it seemed far too quick. Usually characters are introduced and have a long lasting effect.

I didn’t think any of the mysteries in this were something that people couldn’t easily deduce from reading previous novels, though the one with the Weres really didn’t matter that much in the overall scheme.

Hopefully the series gets back on track instead of going X-Men and becoming only about the varying human/supernatural relations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for equality, but that’s a very different direction than what the series has been about overall thus far.

charlaineAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
For information on Charlaine Harris, please view her Amazon author page here.

Review of Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Dead and Gone
Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood 9
By Charlaine Harris

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy

Number of Pages: 320

Date Started: January 21, 2016
Date Finished: January 22, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)dead-and-gone-ch
When the weres and shifters finally come out, the residents of Bon Temps, Louisiana, must deal with the violent aftermath. But a far greater danger threatens. A race of unhuman beings-older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves-is preparing for war. And Sookie will find herself an all-too human pawn in their battle…

Review:
Ah, back to the usual swing of a Sookie Stackhouse novel! While not quite back up to par, this novel was far better than the last one, and I hope that the next will bring it back up to the level the previous books were at.

This novel had a mystery within a mystery which was quite stellar. There were some vampire tricks, and a few Were situations. All in all, this was a great story.

This story does a lot behind the scenes, and a lot of time is spent being introduced to concepts just to have them dashed away in very close succession to the reveal. There was a lot of things that didn’t necessarily need to be added, though I believe they will likely be pivotal in the next novel.

charlaineAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
For information on Charlaine Harris, please view her Amazon author page here.

Review of From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

From Dead to Worse
Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood 8
By Charlaine Harris

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy

Number of Pages: 321

Date Started: January 21, 2016
Date Finished: January 21, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)from_dead_to_worse
After the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the manmade explosion at the vampire summit, everyone—human and otherwise—is stressed, including Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who is trying to cope with the fact that her boyfriend, Quinn, has gone missing.

It’s clear that things are changing—whether the weres and vamps of her corner of Louisiana like it or not. And Sookie—Friend to the Pack and blood-bonded to Eric Northman, leader of the local vampire community—is caught up in the changes.

In the ensuing battles, Sookie faces danger, death, and once more, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood finished flowing, her world will be forever altered.

Review:
This book was drawn out. It was hard for me to sit and read it. There were so many loose odds and ends all trying to make their way together, and although the mysteries usually are somehow congruent there were several different story lines meshed into one telling and not really well put together.

There was no romance to speak of, though there were several times I wondered if Sam was going to man up and kiss her, or if Eric would sweep her off her feet. While I approve of women getting out there and being okay on their own, I almost wonder if the lack of a relationship is what drove the book to be so random, to fill space.

While I’m certain she will forgive him in the next book, I’m still quite mad at Jason. If you read this novel, you will be too.

Looking forward to reading the next one, and hoping that it fits together in the usual way of these novels instead of the jumbled mess that this particular story presents.

charlaineAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
For information on Charlaine Harris, please view her Amazon author page here.