Review: Scent of Magic by Maria V Snyder

Scent of Magic (Healer #2) by Maria V Snyder 

Publishers: Harlequin MIRA
Published Date: December 18th 2012
From: NetGalley
My rating:
 5 out of 5

Hunted, Killed—Survived?As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.


Another of my favourite books from 2011 was A Touch of Power. What affected me most was that Avry was not born to be a fighter or a killer, she's a healer, she has no agenda whether the sick are on one side or the other. She's really tuned into the forest and trees, and the peace and death lilies. The backdrop of flora is great. And her love interest is the awesome Prince Kerrick (of course she doesn't know he's a prince in the beginning). He's also a forest mage which is really cool! Their side-kicks were a fun, friendly bunch and at the end of TOP our fearless warriors are on the verge of battle against Tohon, who epitomises evil! Now that Prince Ryne has awoken from his magical stasis, thanks to Avry, everything-all preparation for the oncoming war should go to plan, right? Hmm. Dead wrong. Dead, because Tohon has found a way to resurrect soldiers, who, for the time being are impossible to kill. So the odds aren't good. Wrong, because all the powerful people choose sides. Some people on the good side such as High Priestess Estrid refuse to kill POW's. Jael is also on the good side, and that can't be all good because she killed Flea in the last book and attempted to kill Avry.

So, in the beginning of Scent of Magic Kerrick and Avry decide to split up and go their separate ways. Neither of them want to, Kerrick especially doesn't want to leave Avry, but Avry wants to reunite with her sister desperately. Her sister who despises her.  They both begin their travels but both end up on very different adventures. My favourite part was Avry getting her new identity and the troops not recognising her, even her own sister and of course, Jael. Avry sets to work training the troops with forest warfare and Kerrick, once he's left his family journeys north to march head on and drive the North Tribes back from invading.

A few new characters join the fray, Avry gets to know the troops and Sergeants a little better though she hates lying to them about who she really is. Things all come to a head when Cellina meets Kerrick and surprisingly lets him go. However her message gets passed down that she actually had her ufas (I'm guessing they're like wolves) kill him. When Avry finds out she's devastated.

Eventually the twists and turns of the story have you wondering who is really trustworthy and who is being really devious.

In the end Kerrick and Avry finally meet up again but its a bittersweet moment as the end of the story leaves you hanging..

I loved this story, I devoured this book and all the while the story continued I prayed that the two main characters would eventually reunite their love. Sadly it was only in the final chapter but what a journey they had both been on.
I'm now eagerly anticipating the next book.

You can reach Maria V Snyder here:

Review: Radiant (Unearthly #2.5) by Cynthia Hand

Radiant (Unearthly #2.5) by Cynthia Hand

Publishers: Harper Teen
Published Date: December 4th 2012
From: Bought
My rating:
4 out of 5

Clara is desperate to get away—from the memories that haunt her in Wyoming and the visions of a future she isn't ready to face—and spending the summer in Italy with her best friend, Angela, should be the perfect escape. . . .

For as long as she can remember, Angela has been told that love is dangerous, that she must always guard her heart. But when she met a mysterious guy in Italy two years ago she was determined to be with him, no matter the costs. Now she must decide whether she can trust Clara with her secret, or if telling her the truth will risk everything she cares about.

Alternating between Angela and Clara's perspectives, Radiant chronicles the unforgettable summer that will test the bounds of their friendship and change their lives forever
Another series I love (and I'm eagerly anticipating Boundless) is the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand. Many of you were unhappy with how things ended with Tucker, Clara's very popular love interest, and this book briefly glides over some of the hurt and heartache she's feeling.

I think this story deserved to be told. In Unearthly and Hallowed we have lots of brief snippets about Angela's boyfriend from Italy but never a clear indication of whether it's something that we should be concerned about or even if it plays any part in the overall story. What we read in Radiant is that it IS serious and I can only think that in the end Phen will arrive into the main story to help or hinder (not quite sure which!)

So the story basically tells of a few weeks that Angela and Clara are in Italy for summer vacation before they both head off to Stanford. Angela sneaks out one night after a chance meeting on a train. Clara noticed the cute man Angela was trying to run from and guessed, using her empathic skills, that this is THE man from Angela's cryptic past.

One thing leads to another, Clara is finally introduced to him but she's not sure about Phen. He's a full on 100% angel and while he neither is a white or black wing, Clara senses that in the end its only going to end up one way. Angela's heart will be broken.

Radiant is a short story, very sweet. As I said earlier we get to hear how Clara is doing now that Tucker is no longer in her life, but what I was most upset about is the lack of thought about Christian Prescott. She doesn't think of him at all. In fact he's really only mentioned in a narrative by Angela at the beginning. This confused me because I thought with Clara and Christians new found 'connection' he would have appeared as at least a small blot on the radar.

Anyway, if you're a fan of the series then you definitely must read!

-CB x
You can reach Cynthia Hand here:

Review: The Battle for Arcanon Major by Alexandra May


Published Date: January 13th 2013
My rating: 5 out of 5

“As daughter of our ruler I grew up in the crossfire of an ongoing war... All I’d ever wanted to be was a great warrior and ultimately lead my people into victorious battles."

With only a small army at her command Halíka Dacomé, a skilled warrior and daughter of the Elemental King, is ready to lead one final battle to save her planet. A battle against the savage, bloodthirsty Primords who want to extinguish the diminished race of Elementals once and for all.

But before battle commences her father is given an ultimatum from the enemy leader, Arfron Uhnok. If the king agrees, Halíka Dacomé must marry Arfron Uhnok to prevent further bloodshed. If the king disagrees they, as a race, will all perish.

Horrified by her fathers decision Halíka Dacomé leads her army onward regardless of the consequences. Because her heart belongs to another. A love that blossomed many years ago. A love that her father has forbidden.

Halíka faces her toughest battle yet and learns that not all battles are those fought with a sword...

The Battle for Arcanon Major is an epic love story set against the backdrop of war and is the first Prequel to Elemental: The First

Another book I championed last year was Elemental: The First. I was eagerly awaiting the sequel and surprised when Alexandra May decided to publish another book first. I can't wait for the sequel but when this came up at Net Galley I was intrigued.

And I read it in about 4 hours straight. It comes right into the story, at a crunch time and then just as you think you know how it's going to pan out, everything changes! The ending is one of the saddest I've read in a long time, and I'm very glad this is only number 1 of the Lost dacomé files because I'm dying to find out what happens next.

So, without giving away too many spoiler, Halika Dacome is threatened with a union with the opposing war lord. But they have other plans. Just as an agreement is met, lots of important people are murdered in front of her eyes and her father is spared on the assumption that all the Elementals are going to die anyway. But Halika doesn't believe that, she thinks they stand a chance of winning the war against the enemy. When her childhood friends arrive they bring war ships that enable her to stand a fighting chance. She also begins her bittersweet romance with Nerido Xipile (who I thought she hated from the first book Elemental: The First).

Anyway just as everything seems to be going to plan, it all falls apart. And not in a good way. There's an interesting chapter right at the end called Double Cross and that's exactly what happens. Except its not from all the people you expect, well it is and it isn't. You'll find out if you read it.

The world building and royal/political systems, the way of life, and the sheer characterisations in this book are mesmerising. I felt every high of happiness, and every low when it all went wrong. I even had a wobbly chin at the end when the Scribe finishes the story.

Absolutely this is a book to read. It doesn't matter if you enjoy Sci-fi or not, the story is of the characters and not of the world they live in.

5 out of 5 - I loved it!

-CB x
You can reach Alexandra May here:

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Review: Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

Publishers: Atria Books
Published Date: September 18th 2012
From: Bought
My rating:
 4 out of 5
Hardships and heartache brought them together…now it will tear them apart.

Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.
The First 20%
We go straight into the story, now told from Will's point of view. After the sad death of Julia, Layken's mum in the last book Slammed, we are a few months into a normalish routine sort of life. Will and Layken have resumed their romance. Eddie and Gavin are still best buds with them. Kel and Caulder are still best friends and we have some newcomers into the street, namely Kiersten and mother Sherry. The antics and regular in-house jokes begin with an interesting way to swear without swearing, thanks to Kiersten.

But Will, who has now started his degree, has to be careful. The previous girlfriend, Vaughn (who dumped him after his parents died) is now in one of his classes and is desperately keen to start up a friendship/relationship again. Will closes her down, he's in love with Layken but Vaughn keeps pushing. Sadly, Will doesn't do the right thing and tell Layken about her. Instead he thinks that no harm will come of it if Layken doesn't find out, after all, it isn't as if he's interested in Vaughn.

Lake and Will still haven't slept together and it's a big thing for them. They've held off in respect for Julia but now is the right time and they're both eager to forge into the next stage of their relationship. They plan it, down to the very hours until they're together.

But plans such as these really go ahead without complications. 

The Main Characters

We see a slightly different side to Layken in this book. She's still vulnerable from Julia's death. She does come over as slightly immature. That is until you get to the awful part where she walks into Will's bedroom and he's with Vaughn. Ultimately she shows courage, and what she asks from him is not an unreasonable request. I did expect her to kick up screaming, which she did, but once the anger had subsided she became quite wise.

Will continues to be sound and solid, albeit making a very unsmart decision and driving Lake away. After the accident he does show the reader what he is capable of and while he is still a young twenty-something, his family life means everything to him.

The Story
I enjoyed how much these characters had progressed since Slammed. They've interwoven their lives around one another and when something terrible happens to one, it happens to them all. They prove that family isn't bound by blood, it's bound by those around you. Will and Lake learn valuable lessons in Point of Retreat. Mostly about their relationship but also about coping with young boys, Eddie's surprise confession, and also friendship with childhood friends doesn't necessarily last into adulthood.

The End?
Great final happy ending.

I knew this book would be great and I was so glad to finally hear from Will's POV. His poetry is amazing so I knew the book would carry his narrative well. This book is still sad, and has some really annoying moments when you want to knock their heads together. But individually you feel the character's pain just as we did in Slammed. But all of the character's kicked their doom and gloom into touch and came out on top. I'm so glad I read this book!


You can reach Colleen Hoover here:
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Review: The Unfailing Light (Katerina #2) by Robin Bridges

The Unfailing Light by 

Publishers: Delacorte
Published Date: October 9th 2012
From: Bought
My rating:
5 out of 5
Having had no choice but to use her power has a necromancer to save Russia from dark forces, Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, now wants to forget that she ever used her special powers. She's about to set off to pursue her lifelong dream of attending medical school when she discovers that Russia's arch nemesis--who she thought she'd destroyed--is still alive. So on imperial orders, Katerina remains at her old finishing school. She'll be safe there, because the empress has cast a potent spell to protect it against the vampires and revenants who are bent on toppling the tsar and using Katerina for their own gains. But to Katerina's horror, the spell unleashes a vengeful ghost within the school, a ghost more dangerous than any creature trying to get in.

The First 20%
We start with a sneaky Prologue that at the time of reading means nothing but an awful tragedy. Gradually you begin to realise that the enemy of the Tsar, Konstantin, is involved, albeit with his daughter--and suddenly we're cast back into the wonderful story that began with The Gathering Storm. We know things are going to go array almost immediately when Katiya glimpses Grand Duke George Alexandrovich whilst she's on holiday with her family. After a few heart-fluttering moments he insists that she return to Smolny, her school, instead of attending University in Zurich which happens to be her lifetime ambition. While the Grand Duke insists it is only for her safety, Katiya is unsure and feels like the Imperial family are holding her against her will, even forbidding her to leave the school. Things take a turn for the worse when Katiya accidently comes across an ancient throne hidden in some caves and reads out loud the decription written in an ancient language. She's transported to a place called the Graylands-an inbetween place of life and death-where she comes face to face with the dreaded Konstantin (wannabe/was Tsar). She escapes with the help of an unknown young man.
Eventually her holidays end and she does indeed return to Smolny. But things are different there also. Now there's a ghost to deal with and the secretive Princess Alix.

The Main Characters

Katarina Alexandrovich, or Katiya, continues her adventures as she did in the last. She never once thinks for herself, always of others. And there's no point in mystery or intrigue in her life because she will immediately dive into them whatever way she can to solve them.
The one thing I do love is that she epitomises Russian High Society, she's very well educated and always on the lookout for more interesting foreign texts to read, always wanting to learn more. But the quaintness floods in every now and again. Sometimes she doubts that someone such as George can really hold her heart. She hopes it's true. Gradually through the story she hears tales of what George is doing in Paris and it's not all good.

The Story
I loved the first book, and eagerly awaited this one's release. The story is centred around Smolny again. We have more characters from the school coming into the story. Now we have were-wolves, vampires, the undead revenants, dark and light faeries and our own heroine as a Necromancer. We also hear about the antics of Katiya's brother and the various Order's. As we go on we also begin to doubt who is sincere and who is being traitorous. The clues are all there, and there are more than a few surprises. Suffice to say that i loved this book. Anything to do with Imperial Russia holds my interest, and the author did a fantastic job of informing us and spinning us a great yarn.

The End?
Oh boy. It's always about a boy, isn't it? George is seriously injured. As he walks away from Katiya I'm seriously wanting to know what happens next!! It isn't going to be good because the enemies are all still alive!

It took less than a day for me to devour this. I had only one moment, around 30%, where I was wondering which direction the story would take. However, I continued and was so far in without realising. Brilliant, amazing world-building, fun glittering balls, handsome love interest-what's not to like!!


You can reach Robin Bridges here: