Stolen Magic by Mary Jo Putney

Stolen MagicStolen Magic by Mary Jo Putney
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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So bad. I’m giving two-stars because it’s possible the narrator is partially to blame. The way he did the female voices really made them sound like ninnies. I listened for 30 chapters and just couldn’t press on for 5 more to finish.

Our hero is transformed into a unicorn by a rival mage and escapes. Bad guy uses Meg, a simpleton with virgin blood, to bait & recapture him. So blah blah blah, they escape & she’s freed from a spell that made her ugly & dumb. A drop of her blood changes him back to a regular ole naked man, but he goes all unicorn when he loses his temper.

So, hero is super attracted to Meg in unicorn form. They make out a bit in human form, he transforms to uni, and is embarrassed by his obvious arousal in horse form. That was a bit icky. Also, the narrator’s tone just made things feel pervy, like maybe this is actually unicorn porn.

More blah blah blah boring plot & details about magic. I do not care -at all – whether or not the two mains end up hooking up. Then, I glanced at my TBR pile and realized that life is too short for books I don’t care about. I feel cheated, because unicorns should be awesome.

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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

YAY for buddy reads!

Wow! This was a treat. I might not have stayed with it if not for the buddy read. Complex world building was a lot to take in, and I had a hard time getting into the crime syndicate part of it. I was really hooked by the time we got to Sheol I.

Paige was a great MC, kind of a breath of fresh air. No mooning over boys or worrying about her appearance. She’s a clever, talented survivor who thrives on danger. She’s got skillz, and everybody wants her for her rare clairvoyant ability.

I loved her BFF, Nick. Not so much love for her mime-lord boss Jax. His character is interesting, written like a bit of a sociopath (remember, most sociopaths aren’t killers, they just can’t feel or fathom empathy).

I thought her friendships in Sheol I were too quick & deep. Who knows, maybe being in dire straits together can do that.

The Rephaim were my favorite part of the story. Nashira is a b*tch & a half. Warden. Hmm, he was a intriguing character, all those secrets. I like a rule breaker. There was ONE part where he said, “Always..” and I permanently pictured him as Severus Snape because of it!!! So, that killed any romantic inclinations I might’ve been having for the bad guy.

The ending felt rushed. I’m rooting for Warden to fail at his final task. Picking up the next book right away!

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Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning

Beyond the Highland Mist (Highlander, #1)Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Underwhelmed. I didn’t like the MC, Adrienne, & hated the alpha man, Hawk. I can’t believe how many times Hawk, Adrienne, & other characters (even Fairy dudes!) mentioned the size of his wang, comparing it to a horse. Eww. Hawk also wears no undies beneath his kilt and rides horses that way. Sounds uncomfortable. And unsanitary. I did enjoy side characters, plot was predictable. 2 stars.

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Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1)Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finnikin of the Rock was AMAZING! This was my first Melina Marchetta book, but it certainly won’t be my last. I love how much depth her characters have. Good with a little bit of wickedness. Horrible but redeemable. Hope lost & regained. Evanjalin was capable of such mercy & tenderness, yet did whatever was necessary to attain her objective. She’d kill in the blink of an eye, no hesitation. She was selfless in an admirable and intelligent way. So many books have me wanting to slap the heroine for being such a martyr!
I can’t say enough about Finnikin. This story is told mostly from his POV & it’s wonderful. In the beginning, I kind of thought he was hotheaded & immature. When I learned about his first kill at age 9, it made me cry. He’s flawed & perfect at the same time!
When I first met Froi, I hated him. When he got sold to slave traders for a horse, I cheered. By the end of the book, I actually cared about him.
Captain Trevanion, Sir Topher, Lucian, Tessadora. All these characters were fully fleshed out & elicited a wide range of emotions from me. The world building, er, kingdom building was fantastic. I’m anxious to read Froi of the Exiles & Quintana of Charyn which are both set in this world. Strangely, I’m having a hard time imagining contemporary YA by this same author. I’ll certainly be reading those books too!

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The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy

The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the TalaThe Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

King Uorsin has three daughters. Princess Ursula, heir to the throne, is all hard edges. She’s a cunning warrior with a sharp mind. Princess Amelia, youngest and fairest, gets her golden prince, Hugh. Andi, well, she’s the invisible middle child. She escapes the the stifling castle every chance she gets to explore on horseback.

It’s on one of these wandering rides that she encounters a dark, frightening outsider. She buries her dagger in his shoulder and flees, but it’s too late. He knows who she is.

Rayfe is the Tala King, and he demands that Uorsin honor his long ago promise. The princesses are half blood, as Uorsin took a Tala bride on the condition that one of his daughters would wed their King. The Tala possess magic and can shape shift. Uorsin has destroyed books and rewritten history, painting them as demons. He’s never intended to honor the bargain he made, and refuses Rayfe. He tries to hide Andi at Prince Hugh’s stronghold and thus begins a seige. Andi is the daughter that bears the mark of the Tala.

Rayfe is determined to marry Andi at any cost, the survival of his kingdom hangs in the balance. He pleads with her. He tries to force her hand, angry with her indecision. He soon finds that he can boss all he wants, but Andi decides things for herself. She finally concedes, in order to save lives. Andi needs the help of her newfound ally, Dafne, because her father won’t let his powerful daughter go. Dafne was terrific!

She raised her eyebrows, giving me a pointed look. “This is why it’s perilous to ignore a librarian.”

I loved the Tala and their foreign ways. Andi comes into her own, finding backbone and opening her eyes to the misdeeds of her father. Her mother’s people, her husband King’s people, are her people. Her father and Hugh’s armies are coming, and she needs to unwind her mother’s secrets before it’s too late.

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