Tag Archives: 2.5 stars

Blood, Smoke and Mirrors by Robyn Bachar


blood smoke and mirrors Photobucket

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.’


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.


Review: The Vampire’s Warden by S.J. Wright



23 year old Sarah Brightman has been running the family B&B alone since her father died of cancer three months prior. Just as Sarah is starting to get used to her heavy load of responsibility she is told that her mother – who she thought had died 14 years ago – is alive. And that her father had left her a journal with details that she needed to know. Five minutes after this bombshell is dropped on Sarah, she finds a wounded young man on her property.

This young man is Alex and he was sent by Sarah’s mother to help her – because she was the new Vampire Warden. The Vampire Warden maintains a sacred plot of land that allows vampires to rest in peace without threat…and it is also a prison. No vampire can enter or leave without the Vampire Warden’s permission.

The Vampire’s Warden has an interesting and different take on vampire stories. There are quite a few issues that I had with this novella but it was a very…readable book at the same time. While there were quite a few times I put the book down and had to force myself to pick it up again; I also found myself reading large amounts very quickly.

The beginning of the book starts in a very clunky manner – both with the writing and with the plot. There’s a great deal of random info dumping without really giving any clear information about the backgrounds of the characters or the conflict.

Sarah has just learned that her mother is alive after 14 years of believing her dead…and that is the exact moment that Alex appears at her home. Before Sarah ever speaks to Alex she has some strange reaction to touching him: she falls into some trance or something and begins to see visions.

“My chest tightened and hazy haunting images rose up before me. These figures were pure pain, a collection of tortured, hopeless souls.”
–page 15

This type of unwieldy writing is very present in the beginning of the novella but as the book goes on the author catches her stride and it smooths out quite a bit.

The reason why Sarah sees visions when she touches Alex or why Alex was found hurt outside her home is never explained.

I found it a huge leap and an eye-rolling experience to read that little “coincidence.” Her father has been dead for 3 months…why is everything happening now?

Alex tells Sarah that he was sent to her by her mother before she ever cracks open the journal left to her by her father…at which time Sarah throws a hissy fit and stomps off. Sarah does this quite often, actually; she’s quite good at it. Sarah is left a journal that explains everything…but she runs off to demand answers from Alex before really reading the damn thing – only to stomp off again as soon as she hears something she doesn’t want to hear. The really funny part about Sarah’s hissy fits is that she gets over them rather quickly and then adapts to whatever the situation is. Alex shows up, tells her he was sent by her dead mom but no other background info – so Sarah takes him at his word and gives him a job. *face palm*

The author set up a lot of plot strings that she left dangling…but not in a “sequel” kind of way. The characters also felt very flat and unreachable. I didn’t really care about any of them because I had no real emotional connection to them.

The only character that was really interesting was Michael – and his part was small(er) and shrouded in mystery. There was a lot of mystery surrounding Michael:

    – What did Michael do to get imprisoned?
    – What’s with the connection between Sarah and Michael?
    – How does Michael get such fabulous and oh so very vampire-like changes of clothes? Michael is first described as wearing black jeans and a v-neck t-shirt the first time we meet him. Jeans didn’t start to become common till the ’50s and even then they were thought to be rebellious (except as work clothes). Jeans didn’t start to be worn regularly until the late 1960s. Every time Michael’s clothes were mentioned I would think… “How does he get changes of clothes and how the hell does he have black jeans when he’s been stuck in a meadow in the country since 1947??”

Speaking of mystery, there are a ton of questions that were left unanswered – the book ends abruptly in what seems to be the middle of the story arc. The disappointing part about that is the author was just catching her stride and the story was getting much more interesting.

I know that that this is a series but I doubt I’ll pick it up. I smell a love triangle coming and that’s not my thing.

All in all – it’s a decent (very) short read if you’re into YA angsty vampire stories and you can ignore the items I mentioned above.

2 ½ Stars!

Note: I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program