Category Archives: 1 Treasure Box

A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box
Merry Gentry series, Book 1
Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Thus edition (February 26, 2002), Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 0345423402, ISBN-13: 978-0345423405

Is this a fantasy or a book about sex? Merry Gentry is princess of the Faery courts and the ancestor of five fertility gods and goddess’.  She is mortal, unlike the other faery creatures she is related to because she has mixed blood which includes Human, Brownie, and Sidhe.  She is of both the Seelie and Unseelie courts. This story takes place in modern times, but in this world Faery creatures exist and not only are they recognized but they have celebrity status. Merry spends a huge portion of the book having sex with various people, including Human, Faery, Unseelie and Goblin.

There are 8 books in the Merry Gentry Series.  This series revolves around Meredith NicEssus, also known as Merry Gentry.  Laurell K. Hamilton has also written nineteen books in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series as well as numerous other books.  A Kiss of Shadows is told in the first person narrative with Meredith’s voice and thoughts. These are all considered Urban or Contemporary Fantasy. These books also fall under Erotica as there is plenty of sex in each and every book.

Initially, Merry is incognito living in LA and working as a private detective for the supernatural community as she hides from the Faery courts. However, after working on a case that involves humans who worship Faery she gets dragged back into the Faery community.  I thought this book was just OK, I did not think it had enough story or plot to really keep me engaged or wanting to come back for more.  The beginning of the book was intriguing but I felt it went downhill as the book progressed. There were some interesting concepts and I liked the concept of life as a Faery.

If you enjoy reading a book that primarily focuses on sex and is set within a contemporary fantasy genre, then you will enjoy this book.  I did not think there was enough plot and will not be reading the next book in the series.

Traitor to the Blood by Barb and J.C. Hendee

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Saga of the Noble Dead

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box
Noble Dead, Series 1, Book 4 (S1B4)
Publisher: Roc (January 2, 2007), Sold by: Penguin Publishing, Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 591 KB, Print Length: 416 pages, Language: English, ASIN: B000S1LE6K

The story has a great beginning with our unlikely heroes protecting the peasants that are being slaughtered by the tyrants forces. We get more insight into Leesil’s history, he has come back home to the town where his family was held captive and forced to become assassins. Leesil is searching his past in hopes of finding his partents.  He ran away from them to escape his horrific existance, but at a potential cost of his parent’s lives. This book looks closely at tyranny and what it does to the people that have to live under it, how it decimates hope and destroys community.

Barb and J. C. Hendee have written two series in the Saga of the Noble DeadTraitor to the Blood is the fourth book in the first series. This series has Margiere, a dhampir; Leesil, a half-elf; Wynn, a young scholar and Chap, a fay-creature in the form of an intelligent dog as the protagonists. There are six books in Series One. Series Two has Wynn, the scholar from series one; Chane, an undead vampire; and Chap’s offspring as the protagonist.  Currently there are 3 books in series two. There is also a third series expected at some point in the future.

The story line did not really progress much with this book.  There was very little action in this book and not very much happened. Although I did enjoy the action scene in the beginning as well as the escape scene at the end. I was a bit frustrated with the plot idea that it is better to keep an evil tyrant alive than allow the country to fall into mayhem and civil war if he was to die.  I thought this was rather stupid.  Why would this happen? If the tyrant can keep things together, why then can not someone else?  But we need to accept this premise for the story to continue. We do get to learn a bit more about Leesil and his past.  It was also rather surprising to learn that Chane did not die. During this book we come to realize that the Evil Enemy is being sought my many different groups.

The story did have a conclusion to the plot-line of searching out Leesil’s parents, but it did not resolve anything about the Evil Enemy.  I haven’t been overwhelmed with this series, I am not sure if I am going to read any more books.  There are so many other, better series out there.  Maybe one day I will try again as I am curious see how it all ends.

To Purchase: “Traitor to the Blood” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

The Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series The Night Watch

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box
Fourth Book in the Night Watch Series
Publisher: Anchor Canada (June 12, 2009), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 519 KB, Print Length: 400 pages, Language: English, ASIN: B0031TZB56

This is a highly entertaining modern fantasy novel that is written in an unique manner.  The main protagonist is Anton Gorodetsky, a light magician, who is a member of the Night Watch and as such it is his job to solve problems that occur in the supernatural community.  In this book, an innocent young man was murdered in Scotland and it appears that he was killed by a vampire.  But as Anton investigates this murder he finds out that something else much more dire is occurring.

This is the fourth book written in the Night Watch Series or Watch Series.  Sergei Lukyanenko has written numerous short stories, book series and novels. All his books were originally written in Russian and several including this series have been translated to English as well as several other languages. This book is in the contemporary fantasy genre since it takes place in modern times but still involves supernatural beings known as Others.  These “Others” include Witches, Magicians, Enchantress/Sorceress, Vampires, Werewolves, etc.   The book is told in three different stories each one seemingly stand alone, yet tied to each other and in combination completing a larger story.  These stories are told using the third person narrative, mostly from Anton’s point of view but also from the view of other characters in the book.

The stories all comprise the missing, hidden artifact of the great and famous Merlin, known as the Crown of All Things.  Someone is searching for this artifact and will do almost anything to find it including murder. It is up to Anton, using his magical skills as well as his detective reasoning to discover what the artifact is, who is looking for it and why they want it.  We also learn more about the world that Anton lives in, including all the levels of the Twilight and how they are accessed. By the end of the third story all is revealed, however I was still unclear as to exactly what happened. Perhaps it was too subtle for me,  or perhaps something was lost in the translation.

If you have read the other books in the series, then you will probably want to read this book since it is the next installment and a continuation of Anton’s antics. However, I did not enjoy this book as much as the other books in the series. I enjoyed the first two stories in the book, but I found the third story to be a bit unclear.  I would be interested to hear what you thought of the third story.

Magic in the Wind by Christine Feehan

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box
Drake Sisters, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley Books; First Printing edition (September 27, 2005), Paperback: 103 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 042520863X, ISBN-13: 978-0425208632

This book introduces the Drake sisters, there are seven of them and Sarah Drake is the oldest. They are a family of witches.  It also introduces Damon Wilder, an unusual man with a mysterious past, who falls in love with Sarah.  It is the story of their joint battle against evil.

Christine Feehan has written several series and numerous books. There are seven books in the Drake Sister Series. Magic in the Wind is the first book in the series and it is a short novel only 103 pages long. It falls into the contemporary fantasy genre and can also be considered a paranormal or even a paranormal romance. It is written in the third person narrative focusing primarily on Damon Wilder and Sarah Drake, the two protagonists in the book.

The story was entertaining, but I thought it was predictable. The characters were moderately interesting but not very compelling.  Damon Wilder has a haunted past with murderers seeking him out.  Sarah as a witch, helps him fight these evil people and in the process they develop a relationship.  We also get to know a bit about Sarah and her family background.  If you want a quick read this is a good book since it is short.  If you enjoy reading paranormal romance you will probably enjoy this book. I gave it only 1 treasure box since I wanted to keep going to see how it ended yet I did not think the story was very captivating.

Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box
The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 3
Publisher: New York : Hyperion Books For Children, 2006, Paperback: 501 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 0786818611, ISBN-13: 978-0786818617

Bartimaeus is a cynical, 5,000 year old, wise-cracking djinni whose master is a young magician (Nathanial) who is a successful member of parliment.  But things are not going well for the government. This is the story of the governments downfall and how Bartimaeus and Nathanial, along with Kitty’s help (a very interesting and resourceful commoner) deal with the problems.

This is the third book in The Bartimaeus Trilogy series, there are currently a total of four books, three in the trilogy with a prequel. All the books are children’s fantasy books. The story is told in modern times and it takes place in London, but in this world there are magicians who get their power by controlling and enslaving powerful djinni from the chaos plane. The story is told in the first person narrative with Bartimaeus’ voice and thoughts as we follow him around. Bartimaeus also tells the story in the third person narrative when we switch over to Nathaniel or Kitty’s  saga. Bartimaeus can also refer to himself in the third person when he takes on various animal or human forms.

This book deals with slavery and the repercussions that can occur when the people who are being suppressed fight back.   It shows the injustice of this vile activity.  The book starts out with Bartimaeus being greatly reduced in power because Nathanial has been mistreating him, he has only allowed him to return to the other place to rejuvinate a couple of days over the last three years. The government is in trouble because the commoners are rebelling from the inequalities between the magicians and the commoners, also the war in America is going badly for the government. The Prime Minister is protecting his position instead of protecting the country. We find out what happened to Kitty and watch her as she grows in strength, intelligence and power. We learn a lot more about the other place, the home of the djinni.

The story was not as exciting as the first two books, although there was a fair bit a mayhem towards the end of the book. Kitty, Nathaniel and Bartimaeus all show growth within their characters. The story was interesting and it gave a very unique view of the other place, the land of the djinni. Jonathan Shroud addresses the issues of slavery, suppression and inequality with this story, he also shows these things being overcome. It is a tale of goodness overcoming evil selfishness.  The story is part of a trilogy, yet it is also stand alone. 

I enjoyed the story but I did not think it was as good as the first book. There was not as much humour and it had a rather sad ending. Although it is considered a children’s book, I would recommend it to everyone except really young children. They would find it too scary since it involves murder, slavery and there is a fair bit of violence in it. If you enjoy a good story with a bit of humour that is in the fantasy genre and has a social message, then you would enjoy this book.

The Golem’s Eye by Jonathan Shroud

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Book Review: 1 Treasure Boxes
The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 2
Publisher: New York : Miramax Books : Hyperion Paperbacks For Children, 2005, c2004, 562 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10-0786818603

Bartimaeus is a cynical, 5,000 year old, wise-cracking djinni whose master is a 14 year old magician’s apprentice and a junior member of parliament.  Once again Nathanial (the apprentice,) and Bartimaeus must solve several problems which are affecting London. The first one is the resistance, this is a group of commoners who are rebelling against the magicians.  The second issue is the devastating destruction that is being released by an unknown entity.

This is the second book in The Bartimaeus Trilogy series, there are currently a total of four books, three in the trilogy with a prequel. All the books are children’s fantasy books. The story is told in modern times and takes place in London, but in this world there are magicians who get their power by controlling and enslaving powerful djinni from the chaos plane. The story is told in the first person narrative with Bartimaeus’ voice and thoughts as we follow him around. Bartimaeus also tells the story in the third person narrative when we switch over to Nathaniel’s or Kitty’s saga. Bartimaeus can also refers to himself in the third person when he takes on various animal or human forms.

This book takes a good look at discrimination.  It shows us what the world would be like if there was a powerful ruling class that thinks it is above the law and consequently mistreats the common people.  It shows the common people fighting back and it really makes us feel angry at the injustice. Kitty is a major player in the resistance and this book gives us a really good understanding of Kitty and what drives her. The results of Kitty’s battle are quite sad by the end of this book. Nathaniel, being a magician’s apprentice is part of the ruling class and in this book, he becomes corrupted by the power he is given. Although we do get glimpses of his good side towards the end of the book. There are two major problems that he is trying to solve with Bartimaeus’s help.  The first is the resistance, the second is a golem causing great damage.

Bartemaeus has an interesting view on life and his reflections are humorous and enjoyable to read. It is interesting how the story unfolds.  We learn more about the resistance.  We learn more about the history of the world that the story takes place. There is not a lot of growth in Nathaniel’s character, although he is a much more powerful magician.  We become concerned by the decisions he makes. The story is exciting and there are several battle scenes as well as a chase scene.  The story is part of a trilogy, yet it is also stand alone. 

I enjoyed the story but I did not think it was as good as the first book. There was not as much humour and Bartimaeus played a smaller role. Although it is considered a children’s book, I would recommend it to everyone except really young children. They would find it too scary since it involves murder and there is a fair bit of violence in it. If you enjoy a good story with a bit of humour that is in the fantasy genre and has a social message, then you would enjoy this book.

Night Sins by Tami Hoag

Book Review:1 Treasure Box
First Deer Lake Novel
Publisher: Bantam; First Thus edition (December 1, 1995), Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 055356451X, ISBN-13: 978-0553564518

A little 8 year old boy, Josh Kirkwood, has been kidnapped by a clue leaving madman.  It is up to Megan O’Malley, a new officer and Police Chief Mitch Holt to find the boy before it is too late in the small Minnesota town of Deer Lake.

This is the first book in the Deer Lake Series, there was a second book written in this small town, but with different characters called Guilty as Sin.  To date Tami Hoag has written 14 suspense novels including one of my favourites, Don’t Kill The Messenger (see my review at http://books-treasureortrash.com/?p=741.)  She has also written 16 romance novels. Night Sins is written in the third person narrative focusing primarily on our protagonist Megan O’Malley.  The narrative also switches over to Mitch Holt at times as well as our prime suspect and a few of the other characters in the book.

The subject was sad because a small boy has been kidnapped. It tells the tale of a town and family as they deal with the tragedy.  The story covers Officer Megan O’Malley in both her personal and professional life as she tries to find the boy and his kidnapper.  There is also a love story mixed in with the sadness, between Megan and Mitch.

I found that the characters were somewhat one-sided, although there was more depth in Megan and Mitch’s characters.  The story takes place in the mid 1990s and so it is a bit dated. I liked the sexual tension build-up between these two, although I am not sure it is believable. The book takes us on a roller coaster ride as we follow Megan as she tracks down the kidnapper. The ending was ambivalent but still satisfactory. Although it did not answer all the questions, it left gave enough information for us to draw own conclusions.

The story was interesting, but it was not compelling, so if you have nothing better to do and you enjoy reading a bit of suspense then you will enjoy this book.

For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box
The Hollows, Book 5
Publisher: HarperCollins (Mobi-Pocket February 2007,) 420 KB (560 Pages,) ISBN 978-0-06-128921-7

Rachel has a lot on her plate and with the help of her friends is kept busy fighting off werewolves and demons while at the same time trying to solve a murder.  This is the continuing story of Rachel-the witch, Ivy-the living vampire and Jenks-the pixie as they work together fighting against evil and helping their friends.

For a Few Demons More is the fifth book in The Rachel Morgan/The Hollows Series. Currently there are nine books in the series, with another three or four expected to be released in the future. This series is a modern day story that centers around inderlanders: witches, weres, vampires and others including the occasional demon, so it falls into the Contemporary Fantasy or Urban Fantasy genre. It is told in the first person narrative from Rachel Morgan’s point of view, she is the main protagonist.

I liked how this book began but I felt that as the book progressed the quality of the story declined. I thought the writing in the opening sequence was exciting, even though it did not make a lot of sense that Newt would know that Rachel had the Focus. I thought the story first fell apart when Rachel made arrangements to meet with both werewolf groups at the same time. I thought it was very unprofessional and rather stupid, considering she thought they were behind the murders currently taking place.  The fact that doing so resolved several issues and brought much to light seemed just a bit too convenient. And it was very unrealistic that no one died in the process.

I get a little tired of Rachel berating herself. How could I be so stupid bla, bla, bla. The book goes on too long about Ivy leaving for some unknown reason.  Also what kind of friend is Jenks to blab to Cheri that Rachel bit Kisten.  No wonder Rachel didn’t trust Jenks in the previous book with the knowledge of what Trent is which was also painful reading.

The story seems to jump around a lot, from weres being killed, the Focus, Trent’s wedding, and Ivy disappearing without really solving anything. But the story does slowly progress and eventually Rachel is able to resolve all of the outstanding issues.  There are a few sad spots in the story as well.

I always enjoy reading the parts concerning the demons, I find these parts are the most interesting and exciting. I am also curious to see where this series is going so I will probably read the next book in the series, although I felt this was not as good as the other books in the series.

 

Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box

Emily Giffin’s 3rd novel

This book covers a different topic in the chick-lit scenario.  It is about a nice, successful woman named Claudia Parr who doesn’t want to have children.  It is the story of her path. She is 30 years old and has given up on meeting a man who shares her desire when she meets Ben, another wonderful person, with whom she finds a soul connection.  However, things start going sideways and we read about how Claudia deals with the challenge.

I liked the characters, although I did not feel they had a lot of depth.  The story was entertaining but it was not very compelling. I thought the premise of the story was entertaining and I liked how it all played out.  The story was not predictable although it was a bit formulaic.  For these reasons I gave it a 1 treasure box rating. 

I did enjoy her first two books, Something Borrowed and Something Blue.  I also like that she writes her stories with a different slant, so I will give her next book a try.

Purchased Power by Dennis Sheehan

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box

I enjoyed this first, stand-alone book by a new author and it will be interesting to see what else he comes up with. The book grabs your attention from the first page and the adventure holds your interest throughout the whole book. I really liked the protagonist John Moore. He is smart, attractive, ingenious and is a very good protector for Rebecca. The book starts out with John sailing alone from San Francisco to Hong Kong with a few adventures along the way. He decides to stay in  Hong Kong for numerous reasons, including the event that forced him to make the trip in the first place. Many things happen to John in Hong Kong including falling in love. From here the story slowly unfolds introducing the various players and events that drive it along.

The story is filled with suspense and has many layers of corruption and intrigue. I enjoyed reading about life in Hong Kong where we are introduced to John’s new friends.  There is lots of action in the book and one part with torture that I found to be very graphic and somewhat disturbing. I really enjoyed the sailing trip that John and Rebecca took from Japan to Canada and found it to be exciting, thrilling and filled with beautiful imagery.

Although the book was well written, I found it to be unpolished. I also thought there were a few plot holes in the story relating to releasing the coveted information. For this reason the book lost one treasure box.

I was disappointed with the ending of book, I thought it was rushed and a bit confusing and for this reason the book lost another treasure box.  Overall I thought the story warranted 3 treasure boxes as it shows lots of imagination and was generally well thought out, but due to the problems outlined above I had to give the story a 1 treasure box rating.