Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: The Bewitching Tale of Stormy Gale

The Bewitching Tale of Stormy Gale
By Christine Bell

First published: 28 May 2012 by Carina Press
Series: Stormy Gale #2

Read: 1–14 May 2012
E-ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads | Amazon | Carina Press

London, 1841
There I was, retired from time pirating, enjoying a full if somewhat conventional life as a wife and mother. Then a chance encounter with a stranger drew me back into a world I'd thought I'd left, quite literally, in the past. From his odd behavior and even odder answers to my questions, I knew Phineas Grubb was up to something. I should have trusted my instincts--before he pulled out a time-travel mechanism and dragged my brother, Bacon, back with him...

Salem, 1698
The infamous Witch Trials may have ended a few years earlier, but the people of Salem are still pretty touchy about outsiders that appear in town as if by magic. Thanks to Grubb, my brother's been accused of witchcraft and thrown in jail. Now it's up to me and my husband, Dev, to save Bacon's bacon before the hysteria starts up again, and the course of history is altered forever...

My thoughts

Regular readers of The Turn of the Page will undoubtably have heard me gush about the first book in this series, The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale. I loved the fresh, fun story of the time-travelling Stormy and have been eagerly awaiting the sequel for a year. I'm happy to say it didn't let me down.

A few years have passed since the events of the first book, and Stormy has settled down in Victorian London with her husband Dev and their little daughter and abandoned time-pirating for good. But when she discovers a mysterious man looking for a large amount of mercury, one thing leads to another and before long Stormy's brother Bacon is trapped in Salem in 1698 and Stormy and Dev have to devise a daring plan to save his bacon (yes, I've been wanting to use that pun for a long time).

The plot is action-packed and fast-moving, but what really drives the story are the characters; especially Stormy. I said in my review of Twisted Tale that I would love to have her as a friend, and that hasn't changed. Providing a 21th century perspective on 19th century London, her narration is filled with modern references (I'd miss Google too) and is often laugh-out-loud funny. She may be hot-headed and prone to acting before thinking, but she's also witty, clever and fiercely loyal to those she loves. Speaking of which, I was happy to see her dashing husband Dev, the Loony Duke of Leister, play an active part in the story, keeping Stormy level while proving to be quite the resourceful time-traveller himself.

Bacon is such a lovable dork and I loved getting to know him more. He's very kind and sincere, as well as funny – without really meaning to. For instance, in the beginning of the story his girlfriend has broken up with him, and Stormy suggests it might have something to do with his surname "Frogs", to which Bacon solemnly replies: "She said it wasn't that either. It wasn't until I went to her house last night and serenaded her with my digeridoo that she told me the real reason she left me." (Dev and I both had serious trouble containing our laughter at that mental image.)

As with the first instalment in the series, my only complaint is that it is a little on the short side. At 138 pages it is longer than Twisted Tale, but it's still a novella. I think a bit more time for both the plot and the characters to develop wouldn't have gone amiss. Although if I'm honest, the main reason I wanted it to be longer is because I was enjoying myself so much I didn't want it to end.

Bottom line: If you're looking for a fun, thrilling, character-driven story with steampunk elements, this is the book for you (but I advice you to read Twisted Tale first for a bit of background as well as a great story).

My rating:

The Stormy Gale series:
  1. The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale (2011)
  2. The Bewitching Tale of Stormy Gale (2012)
Christine Bell online: Website | Twitter

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Review: Hounded

By Kevin Hearne

First published: 2011 by Del Rey
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #1

Read: 1–14 May 2012

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil. (Goodreads)

My thoughts

This was such a fun book to read! It's fast-paced and witty and kept me clicking the next button late into the night. I haven't come across any books featuring Irish mythology before, and it made for a nice change from the usual vampires and werewolves, though the latter do exist in this story as well.

Atticus is a great main character. Despite his old age and his powers, he never comes across as arrogant or condescending; rather the opposite. He has learned to adapt to the time he's living in, and his voice - the book is told in first person - is very much 21th century. His witty comments made me laugh out loud frequently, and the conversations with his Irish wolfhound Oberon are especially hilarious. Oh yeah, and he can do some pretty cool magic.

The minor characters - and there are quite a lot of them - are all very interesting, especially the Celtic gods who all seem to be after Atticus for one reason or another. The action is practically non-stop with lots of twists and turns. The story is a bit gory at times and there is some swearing, but unless you're really squeamish that shouldn't detract from the experience. And it certainly was a thrilling experience - I can't wait to continue the series to see what trouble Atticus will find himself in next.

Bottom line:
If you're looking for a fresh, fast-paced and fun urban fantasy, I can definitely recommend Hounded.

My rating:

The Iron Druid Chronicles:
  1. Hounded (2011)
  2. Hexed (2011)
  3. Hammered (2011)
  4. Tricked (2012)
  5. Trapped (2012)
  6. Hunted (2013)
Visit Kevin Hearne's website to learn more about the series!

Monday, May 14, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

I didn't finish anything last week! I'm already 6 books behind in my challenge of reading 42 books this year. It doesn't look good. I still love to read once I sit down and focus on it, but usually I end up doing other things instead of reading. Clearly I need to sort out my priorities.

I've almost finished Hounded by Kevin Hearne, the first in the Iron Druid Chronicles, and I absolutely love it. Irish mythology isn't something I knew much about beforehand, and it's very interesting to read about other beings than vampires and werewolfes (though these do feature as well). Also, it's witty and action-packed and I'm already looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Technically I'm also reading Les Miserables (abridged version in Norwegian), but I put it aside to concentrate on Hounded. Try as I might, I never seem to be able to alternate between two books. I always end up putting one aside until I've finished the other.

I think it will be Her Majesty's Will by David Blixt that I received for review through NetGalley. It's a historical mystery with William Shakespeare as a spy - sounds intriguing!

What are you reading this week?
Related Posts with Thumbnails