Author Archives: MrsJoseph

About MrsJoseph

I'm a hardcore fantasy reader....when I'm not a hardcore romance reader, lol! I read a little bit of everything and I'm more than willing to give my opinion on it all... I try to be nice in my reviews but nice doesn't mean "positive." I have complete ideas on how the books I enjoy should flow...so don't be surprised if I don't love your work. All my reviews are checked by Benji the Wonderpup...so please excuse the paw prints.

Guest Review: Game of Souls (The Quintessence Cycle #1) by Terry C. Simpson

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Your soul is your magic. The nobility will stop at nothing to steal it.

Keedar Giorin still remembers the night soldiers killed his mother. The Night of Blades. He was three, but the memories are written in his mind in blood, flames, scales, and his mother’s mad cackles.

Assigned by his father to save two young noblemen or risk a repeat of the massacre on his home in the Smear, Kasandar’s most lawless district, Keedar dives headlong into the mission. He uses his most secret skill, a magic that could bring the King’s Blades hunting him, a magic that could be a death sentence if reported to the wrong ears.

But even that risk is part of his father’s calculated plan. A plot to determine who was behind his mother’s death, while securing a new ally for their guild, and seeing their people rise from squalor and oppression to strive for the identity and power they have all but forgotten.

Plans, however, do not always follow the path drawn out. What will Keedar do when a count takes interest in his magic? Where will he run to when the hunt begins? Can a young man now growing into his power find a way to defeat the most ruthless of assassins?

As he watches the accursed Day of Accolades take away more children from the Smear, Keedar promises that one day he’ll stop the nobles’ exploitation of the under classes. On the same day, he encounters Winslow, a noble risking the Smear to win a chance to train with the King’s Blades. Together they become caught in a dangerous game of power, the Game of Souls.

The world the author has created in Game of Souls is fairly well sketched out. In the continent in which the story takes place there are several racial groups or kingdoms that are either at war or uneasily at peace. Our story is set mainly in the city of Kasandar in the kingdom, Kasinia. A map is thoughtfully included for the times when place names and races become a little confusing.
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Song of the Beast by Carol Berg

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Aidan: the most talented bard of his generation, beloved of gods, follower of dragons and cousin to the king, is imprisoned and tortured for 17 years.

Why? Aidan is clueless.

Song of the Beast follows Aidan as he struggles to live after 17 years of torture and abuse. It also focuses on Aidan’s journey to learn why he was imprisoned.

I didn’t expect to like this book. When I read the blurb I thought, “Sounds sad, not for me.” (I’m a wussy. No dark and gritty for me) The only reason I read this one was because it was the Fantasy Aficionados book of the month pick. As a Mod…I’m sorta supposed to participate. 😉

After jumping through hoops galore to borrow this book from my library…I still put off reading it for a day or two. Finally, I sat down one day to thumb through it…and I looked up several hours later. Finished.

Carol Berg is a wonderful storyteller. The way she crafts her words are something to stand up and notice.

I was right…this is a sad story. Aidan is a ruined wreck of a body when he gets out of prison. His triumphs – for the most part – are far and very small. The story itself is rather bittersweet…and there’s some major betrayal going on. And that’s what makes Berg so powerful an author: I HATE everything I just mentioned in a book! Seriously, I am very much a wussy reader who hates sad stories. But I could not put this book down. I doubt that I’ll reread the entire book but I did reread a few sections and the end already (thus the 5 stars).

Spoiler Below. Highlight the words to read the spoiler – but be warned! This will spoil the entire book for you.

The way that Narim stalked and set up Aidan throughout his life was simply disgusting to me. Someone should done the world a favor and stuck a knife in his back.

Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines

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I first heard about Jim C. Hines via a mention the Dear Author blog. Jim Hines created a hilarious poem based off of the early 1990’s controversial rap song Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot. I laughed so hard when reading his poem Baby Got Books that I had to chase down his blog.

I learned that Jim Hines wrote comedic fantasy in the same vein as The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Another Fine Myth. Delighted, I poked around his back list to locate a good starting place. I decided to start with Goblin Quest and I’m so happy I did.

I’ve been in a bit of a reading funk this year. There’s not been much that has caught my attention. But this? This was wonderful! I had so much fun while still getting every single bit of a typical fantasy adventure. !!!

I loved Jig. He’s a great character. It was funny to read the point of view from someone who is normally considered “the bad guy.” Instead of being the bad guy, Jig is a totally awesome good guy. He helps others, he loves and cares, he’s smart and canny.

I’ve purchased the rest of the books in this series. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for Jig the Goblin Hero.

Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood

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Have you ever read such a good [fantasy] book that by the end of it you believed in magic…if only a little? Or maybe watched Star Wars, episode 2 and walked away from it feeling that if you only found a Master and practiced your latent Jedi powers would manifest? What about reading one of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels and then find yourself shopping for a trench coat and a skull? Or walking away from an episode of Firefly itching for a sixshooter and a spaceship…?

If so, this is the book for you. Geekomancy is a love song written by a geek for geeks. This book is pure comedy wish fulfillment for the person who wishes that the force really exists.

Ree Reyes is a screenwriter (see “barista”) who suddenly finds herself in a world in which magic exists…and that the geeky TV shows, books, movies and games that she has always loved powered that world.

Ree jumps into this newfound world of magic and danger with both feet…and of course she gets slapped sideways, lol. Ree has does has help, however. Her introduction to “Geekomancy” (the use of magic fueled from the world of Pop Culture) is by Eastwood, a scruffy old Geekomancer who becomes her mentor. She also hooks up with another character that totally stole the show for me, Drake, a Steampunk inventor and adventurer extraordinaire. I ♥ Drake. As you wish. 😉

Ree and Eastwood’s task is simple (on the surface): find out who is causing a string of teenaged virgin suicides and stop them before they kill again. But…as anyone who’s ever read any Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Comic books or played any MMORPGs…things are never quite as simple as they seem.
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Blood, Smoke and Mirrors by Robyn Bachar

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Even a bad witch deserves a second chance.

Wrongly accused of using her magic to harm, the closest Catherine Baker comes to helping others is serving their coffee. Life as an outcast is nothing new, thanks to her father’s reputation, but the injustice stings. Especially since the man she loved turned her in.

Now the man has the gall to show up and suggest she become the next Titania? She’d rather wipe that charming grin off his face with a pot of hot java to the groin.

Alexander Duquesne has never faltered in his duties as a guardian — until now. The lingering guilt over Cat’s exile and the recent death of his best friend have shaken his dedication. With the murder of the old Titania, the faerie realm teeters on the brink of chaos. His new orders: keep Cat alive at all costs.

Hunted by a powerful stranger intent on drawing her into an evil web, Cat reluctantly accepts Lex’s protection and the resurrected desire that comes along with it. Lex faces the fight of his life to keep her safe…and win her back. If they both survive.

Warning: This book contains one tough and snarky witch, one gorgeous guardian, explicit blood drinking, magician sex, gratuitous violence against vampires and troublemaking Shakespearean faeries.

Please Note: There are some small spoilers in this review. If you want no spoilers at all, please do not read this review.

This book went down the crapper so quickly after 40% that it damn near gave me whiplash. O_o The difference between the two parts of this book are SO VAST that I have separated them: Book I, Part I and Book I, Part II

Book I, Part I (the first 40%) of this book is pretty damn good. There are some points that I issue with, however:

Why is Cat qualified to become Tatiana?? Why is she one of the only few in the world eligible? The author never says.

Cat makes lots of decisions without thinking. She told Lex to screw himself about her becoming Tatiana…but then changes her mind a page later for no reason and runs to do it. No explanation given to the reader for the abrupt 180 change of heart.

WTF is up with Lex turning Cat in to be tried (before book starts)? That isn’t cool. And then for him to get back with her by only saying, “I’m sorry, I didn’t think it would go down like that” was total BULLSHIT. Where was he for the last 3 years as she struggled to get by? There was NO GROVELLING. None at all!! Are you freaking SERIOUS?! She became an Outcast because her bf betrayed her and he didn’t even have to grovel?!?!? We had the ‘I love yous” happening by 40%. I call Shenanigans. I also do not buy their relationship. At all. And BTW, I actually kinda hated Lex.

This is the biggest issue I had with Book 1, part 1: Cat is the daughter of a witch and a necromancer. Her father killed her mother and tried to kill her. Her mother/guardian is killed when she was scheduled to be out all night. Her father wants world domination and is willing to go through her to get it. She is the only one able to stop her father. Cat has super strong powers that even she hasn’t explored the limits of.

Did that sound familiar to you? If you’ve ever read the Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews then it sounded really, really familiar. But don’t get your hopes up, it’s not in the same league.

Other than the items I listed above…book I, part I is actually a pretty good (and fast) read. I’d give it 3.5 stars.

Then we have Book I, Part II (insert ominous music here)

WTF happened here???! After Cat kills her father and becomes the Tatiana it feels like an entirely new and completely different book starts. The damn thing even changed plot points! WTF. The entire section with the vampire Zach Harrison holding Cat hostage was BS. Why the fuck was she there to begin with? She makes such STUPID decisions!! It is at this point that Cat goes from being a funny, snarky witch with a brain to a TSTL romance heroine without the sense God gave a Nat who finds herself in the middle of [something like] a love triangle with a vampire. Even though she and Lex ‘are in looove.’

*faceplam*

I’ll stop ranting about this section now because I’ll end up spoiling the entire thing…but let’s just say it was about 50% of the entire novel and it all SUCKED ASS. I was shocked and saddened by the way this great story wound up in WTFsville so quickly. I spent the rest of the book screaming and yelling at Cat to stop being TSTL.

And the ending. Can it get any more rushed than that??! The ending was so fast and rushed that I felt like I had whiplash.

I don’t think I’ll continue the series.

Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly

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waking up married Photobucket Blurb:

Her first thought: “Who are you?”

It’s the morning after her cousin’s bachelorette party in Vegas and Megan Scott wakes up with the mother of all hangovers. Even worse, she’s in a stranger’s penthouse having woken up with something else as well—a funny, arrogant, sexy…husband!

Up until now, finding even a boyfriend had seemed impossible—been there, got the broken heart, sworn off men for good. Then a few martinis with Carter…no, Connor Reed and she’s gone from first meet to marriage in one night!

Megan wants a lawyer. But Connor’s shocking bombshell?

“I don’t want a divorce.”

This should have been a 4-5 star read but there were a few draggy moments in the middle that pulled the rating down.

For the most part…this is a rather cute story about finding the love of your life when you aren’t looking for it. The H/h meet in Vegas and wake up married…but that’s just the beginning.

Both characters have major hangups left over from childhood that has made forming permanent romantic relationships difficult (if not impossible). Watching them learn to trust and enjoy each other was a delight.

What started to feel flat for me was the constant effort by the heroine to “show her worst moments” so that she could run the hero off. It happened…two times to many for my personal enjoyment.

The other thing that pissed me off was the final Big Misunderstanding. (Spoiler, go to page two to see.) There were enough moments of foreshadowing for the reader to guess what the Big Mis was going to be. What surprised me was the execution of the Big Mis. I…just wasn’t feeling it.

So, the Big Mis. was a big FAIL for me.

But DAMN I loved the ending! HAWT and romantic! Plus I love the fact that her back biting cousin and friends saw that gorgeous man in love with Megan.

IF YOU CLICK THIS LINK TO PAGE 2 A BIG ASS SPOILER/RANT WILL FOLLOW. DO NOT READ THIS. ALSO, VULGAR LANGUAGE

Willams Sonoma Soup of the Day by Kate McMillan

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soup of the day Photobucket A colorful, calendar-style cookbook, Soup of the Day presents 365 recipes—and daily culinary inspiration— for soups and stews to match any season, occasion, or mood. Lavish photographs and a colorful graphic design add visual appeal to these fresh and fabulous recipes celebrating a favorite dish.ENDLESSLY VERSATILE, soup is perfect for any season and every occasion. What better way to capture the essence of spring than by simmering freshly shelled peas and fava beans in a fragrant broth accented by bracing mint and refreshing lemon zest? In summer, a cool gazpacho made by whirling perfectly ripe tomatoes, juicy cucumbers, and vibrant red peppers is fitting for a hot and humid day—no pot necessary! When the air turns brisk, soup nourishes and satisfies like no other dish. In autumn, white beans mingle with sturdy greens in satisfying, peasant-style pots, and starchy squashes and root vegetables blend into silky purées. Winter brings even more soul-warming fare, such as chilis and stews featuring sausages and other hearty meats and thick vegetable soups scented with woodsy herbs.

I have to admit to a weakness for soups.

A major weakness.

A weakness so strong that I started eating pork again (after a 10+ year hiatus) so I could get a tomato based crab soup mixed with a cream based crab soup.

Yeah. It’s like that.

This book drew me like a moth to a flame, lol!

There is only a HB version available for purchase…but I’m currently reading the ebook for review purposes. My God! These color photos makes me want to drool…and buy the hardback.

Also, I’d like to point out that it is currently Winter. I’m so not feeling the spring/summer soups right now.

I’ve completed several soups from this book. The instructions are clear, concise and easy to follow. The color photos are beautiful (and mouthwatering). The soups that I have made have been tasty and filling.

The problem that I had with this book is that – like Williams Sonoma, itself – it is not everyday accessible. A lot of the spices used are expensive and hard to locate. These are not soups that you can throw together using what’s in your (well stocked) pantry. Most of these soups will require a bit of prior planning. A lot of the soups are exotic to the “regular” palate, as well. I can’t see making a lot of these soups for children or a family weeknight dinner. A lot of these soups are more like “special occasion” soups – like using one of the (four) pumpkin soup recipes for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
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