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Brooke Reviews has commented on (9) products.

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker

Brooke Reviews, August 24, 2009

ecause I can't write a Summary that will do this Victorian Gothic tale justice this is from Leanna Renee Hieber's website:

What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria’s Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She knew simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow-white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gifts. But this arched stone doorway offered a portal to a new life, an education far from the convent—and an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death….

My take:

The Guard is a group of six who were given special powers so they could protect London from the supernatural, or at least evil spirits that lurk about causing trouble. When they were given these powers there was also a prophecy about a seventh member that would be added to their group. There were many clues that would lead them to this seventh member, and it just so happens there are two women that almost fit the prophecy. The group must chose, and if they chose incorrectly, well, very bad things will happen.

Miss Percy Parker is a lovely tale. Whenever I try to describe this book I always go back to the words "lovely" or "beautiful". Beautiful is quite fitting as it's in the title of the book, right? Percy Parker is a great heroine to follow. She knows nothing of the prophecy, and nothing about her past or the powers she holds. She only knows that she's odd, in that she sees ghosts and that she somewhat resembles them with her pale skin, hair, and eyes. When I say she is a great heroine to follow, I mean that she grows through the whole story - with the help of her Professor - and it's very nice to see this shy young lady grow stronger and into more of a woman.

Professor Alexi Rychman is a very mysterious man to those on the outside, but on the inside he's lonely, and desperate to find this seventh member. One who he believes he is supposed to be in love with. He has tough choices to make in this book, and the whole time I'm screaming to myself, "Come on Alexi! You know what to do!"

It was hard to sit on the "outside" of this book. I just wanted to jump in and help these characters out. I guess wanting to be involved in the story is a good thing right? There are more characters than Percy and Alexi, and all have their separate quirks and personalities. While reading, you can get a good feel for each one, and their likes/dislikes, desires, and powers.

Another aspect of the story was that of The Ripper. I love this twist, I've always been interested in Jack the Ripper, and had the privilege of learning more about him in a class over the summer. That's besides the point though. This part was a great addition to the story.

Leanna Renee Hieber's education on everything Victorian shines in this tale, and it was a pleasure to watch it all unravel. I look forward to many more LOVELY books from her in the future. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is alluring and haunting and should NOT be missed.

You can visit Hieber's website for a trailer, excerpts, and prologue.
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Demon Inside by Stacia Kane
Demon Inside

Brooke Reviews, August 22, 2009

It's been three months since Megan Chase learned that she has part of a demon inside of her. Three months since she became the leader of a demon "family". Three months since meeting Greyson Dante, and she still doesn't know what to do about any of these things. What she does know is that her demons are being killed, and by killed I mean brutally destroyed by something more powerful than she. Although her and Grey have great chemistry, she's still unsure of his feelings towards her. Are they purely physical or something more? Him being secretive and unable to share personal information as well as telling her exactly what is going on, lead her to be afraid to share her own personal information, and definitely doesn't want him to know about her failure in keeping her demons alive.

When Megan returns to her hometown, Grant Falls, for the reading of her father's will, the force that is killing her demons follows her there not only leading her to find out just who is responsible for the way she is now (only human without a personal demon on her shoulder, part of demon inside of her), but what she has to do to get her demons back and gain control of her "family" once again.

Thoughts:

There is no way I would tell you to pick this book up if you haven't read the first. It'd be near impossible to figure out everything that has happened. Plus, the first book is so damn good that it's worth it. This one started off with action, action, and more action. I wasn't prepared for things to start that way, but it was a welcome surprise. Megan is such a likable character, she's someone that I would want to be friends with. IF I wasn't afraid of getting killed just by going shopping with her. Her only downfalls are not being able to communicate with Greyson, and not wanting to punish her demons the way they need to be. She's obviously head over heels for the Greyson, but she fails to let him know how she is feeling and that she needs help because she is scared/nervous. I guess not wanting to punish your demons doesn't seem like a downfall, but if she wants them to stay happy, and to stay with her she needs to be able to do so.

It was great to travel to Grant Falls with Megan, but it wasn't great to meet her AWFUL family and other people in town. YIKES! What a bunch of judgemental, snobby, and rude people! It's no wonder she left to make it on her own. Kudos to Stacia Kane for making me HATE Megan's mother. Seriously, I don't often just HATE characters, not even bad guys. This woman takes the cake.

Every page of Demon Inside is filled with greatness, and I don't really have any complaints about this book. It was fun to read just like Personal Demons, and Stacia Kane sure knows how to weave an exciting tale!


Also, don't let these covers fool you. They may look like romance covers, but they are so much more than this. Although the romance in them is quite nice... :D
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Witch's Pawn
Witch's Pawn

Brooke Reviews, August 22, 2009

Charity Jordan is the producer for one of the most popular soap operas on daytime television. But she has a past that haunts her. Many years ago her sister was murdered in front of her, but she doesn't remember it happening. She has blocked the event from herself, and doesn't know if she is responsible for the death or if there was another unknown force involved.

When Charity's head writers come up with a new Gothic storyline for their show, they decided to shoot on location in Bender's Crook, Massachusetts, her hometown and where the events of her past will come unraveled and send her life and soul on a downward spiral.

When Charity and crew arrive at the mansion where they intend to shoot, she finds a portrait of Estelle dela Bordeaux, who is said to be a witch that set a curse on the descendants of the ones who took part in her murder 200 years before. As people begin to turn up dead, her friends, co-workers, and towns people start to suspect Charity. But has Charity simply gone mad or is there something more vile and evil at work in Bender's Crook?

When I was asked to review Witch's Pawn, I was excited to read this storyline. It's no secret that I've watched soaps with my mom since I was a kid, and I've always wished for more dark and Gothic storylines. I think the plot and ideas behind Witch's Pawn are interesting and fun. But I had a few problems while reading it. It seemed like the story could have been tightened up with a bit more editing. The way the plot unraveled could have had better flow, the characters wouldn't be so vapid, and the witch could have been more evil. The characters were pretty one dimensional, and I didn't feel attached to any of them, not even Charity the main character. If the characters who got killed off were more likable I might have cared more. I feel like the pull between Estelle and Charity's souls battling for the same body could have been taken further, and I was just left wanting more, and not in a good way.

Overall I would say I was disappointed with this book, and my one wish would be for better writing to back up the authors great ideas.
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Magic Bites Kate Daniels 01 by Ilona Andrews
Magic Bites Kate Daniels 01

Brooke Reviews, August 22, 2009

Kate Daniels lives in urban Atlanta. Magic is unpredictable here, as it's always fluctuating. This is how Kate, a mercenary, makes her living. Killing or capturing the bad guys who wreak havoc during the magical disruptions. When Kate learns of the death of her guardian she takes it upon herself to find the killer. This sticks her right in the middle of the two power structures in the city. The People and the Pack. Fighting whatever darkness is loose in the city will be tough with everyone breathing down her neck, and staying alive long enough to find the killer will be even tougher.

***

It took me a while to read this book. I've had it on my shelf for a long time. Which is a shame! The world building is rich and dark, and sucks you right into this alternate Atlanta. I love the spin on the different power structures of "the People" and "the Pack". Andrew's vampires are frightening, not the kind you want to run into in a dark alley or in broad daylight, that's for sure. They are disgusting creatures, that are controlled by The Masters of the Dead from afar. The best part though is the Magic. The fluctuations, and not being able to do something as simple as drive a car, people having to ride on horseback, not being able to turn on an electric lamp, and unable to use guns! Magic and technology are battling against each other in Magic Bites, but for people who know how to channel that magic, like Kate, and use it to their advantage, this battle can be a good and bad thing.

Lets get to Kate. Daring, smart, brave, strong, fierce, I could use so many words to describe her and all would be deserving. She's also got a sharp tongue, bad temper, and issues in her romantic life. I'd have to say she's a "well-rounded" character who won't fail to be exciting for readers.

The romance is there in this book, but it doesn't take a front seat. It's mostly hidden in the small moments...a look here, a teasing remark there. I'm interested to see where and what Kate ends up doing in book two, Magic Burns. Maybe she'll even explore the options for romance that surrounded her in this book, in future books.

This one had a slow start for me. Not boring, just not very attention getting. Kate sitting and drinking by herself in her kitchen didn't really grab me. But once I got to know her better, and the world created, I was hooked!
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Unshapely Things by Mark Del Franco
Unshapely Things

Brooke Reviews, August 22, 2009

In The Weird, a neighborhood in Boston, fairy prostitutes are turning up dead. Their hearts have all been taken and left in their place - magical stones. There are two groups that cover crimes in Boston & The Weird: The Guild, who are the fey run law enforcement, and then the human law enforcement. The Guild, uninterested in these murders leaves the solving up to the humans. Working with the humans is Connor Grey, a druid who was left crippled when he lost almost all of his powers in an accident with a radical terrorist elf. He was taken off The Guild, and put on disability. Connors got a lot to deal with while trying to solve this case: Not being respected by the fey community, not being liked by the humans, and not having his full magical abilities to put to use. By trading information with a few of his close allies Connor figures out that these aren't random murders, that the dead prostitutes are a part of a ancient ritual that will open a portal and destroy the world.

My thoughts?

First of all this book was released in 2007, and it has taken me this long to catch up on it! I love getting a taste of a guys perspective in Urban Fantasy, a genre where women reign supreme. Mark Del Franco has something great going on in The Weird, and that's hero Connor Grey. You gotta love him. He's on the outs without his powers, and many times hearing how he acted previously when he had his powers make it nice to see him knocked down a peg. He's surrounded by a great cast of characters. All three ladies he is FRIENDS with are intriguing and strong. Maybe a possible love interest in one? I vote for Meryl. Also, his friend Stinkwort, aka Joe, a Flit, is one of the best characters. What is it with small characters and their fantastic attitudes. Absolutely loved him Joe! His human partner and friend Murdock is straight forward, and is content to put Connor in his place whenever necessary.

The case, hearing the back story on the Fae races, and about Connor's past were all interesting. Although, sometimes the descriptiveness got to be a bit much. I'm on the side where there is such a thing as TOO much detail, and it seemed like since this was the first book in a series Mark wanted to set up The Weird so that he didn't have to do it in future books. At least I hope that's what he did. I'd compare the characterization in this series to the Dresden Files, and the world building to Kim Harrison's Hollows. Both very good series, so Connor Grey is in good company, but maybe not on the same level yet.

Overall this was an enjoyable read for when I found myself in a reading slump. Now I'm back on the reading train and chugging right along!
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