In the Old Country, they called them the Gentry: ancient spirits of the land, magical, amoral, and dangerous. When the Irish emigrated to North America, some of the Gentry followed only to find that the New World already had spirits of its own, the manitou. Now generations have passed, but the Gentry still wander homeless on the city streets. Gathering in the shadows, they bide their time and dream of power. As their dreams grow harder, darker, fiercer, so do the Gentry themselvesappearing, to those with the sight to see them, as hard and dangerous men, invariably dressed in black. Bettina can see them. Part Indian, part Mexican, she was raised to understand the spirit world. Now she lives in wintry Kellygnow, an artists colony a world away from the Southwestern desert of her youth. Outside her nighttime window, she often spies the dark men, squatting in the snow, smoking, brooding, waiting. She calls them los lobos, the wolves, and stays clear of themuntil the night one follows her to the woods, and takes her hand Once again, Charles de Lint weaves the mythic traditions of many cultures into a seamless cloth, bringing folklore, music, and unforgettable characters to life on modern city streets.
I am embarrassed to admit that I forget about Charles de Lint. I have books by him on my TBR pile and keep my ears open for new releases, but then I forget to tell people that I love him and everyone should read him. How can I forget to do that? I mean, really, everyone should love him and read him. It is as easy as that. Now, I would not suggest reading him in quite the manner that I read him. I apparently have no idea on the order of things and have read this series very out of order. This book is part of the Newford series. It's not a series in a conventional sense, though, because each book technically can stand alone, but there are things at play in the background that you will miss if you haven't read the books in their correct order. Having not read any of the series in the correct order yet, I leave you to figure that out on your own!

I will read high fantasy, as I am sure you have noticed if you read my blog, but once in a while it is really nice to read a plausible fantasy novel. Now, that is not to say that fantasy novels are necessarily farfetched, but if they are high fantasy they are normally set in alternate realities or something along those lines. There is urban fantasy and paranormal fantasy if you want something slightly believable in fantasy, but I am not about to get overly excited about the idea that I could be involved in a zombie invasion. I prefer to leave that in the books. With de Lint's writing, though, bad things do happen... It's just not the same as a crazy werewolf. The stories are based in a lot of folklore and mythology. This one in particular had a lot of native and Irish beliefs mixed into it. That might sound like a strange combination, but de Lint pulled it off. I think I got off-topic somewhere along the lines. I was going to say that I liked Newford because I can picture myself there. Who is to say that what the characters in his books live is not happening around us right now? Those that know are not saying, and those that disbelief are generally the ones that it is not happening to, right? Think about it. I like to, anyways!

The only other adult novel that I have read in this series is The Onion Girl. It is technically later in the series, so I went backwards with this one. Characters are similar between the two, though, so you get a taste of what they were like before they became the characters in the later novel. If you read the books in the right order, though, you will get to The Onion Girl and will add on to what you learned earlier in the series. This is how you read a series. I still need some practice. The way that de Lint chose to write this book, there is not necessarily a main character. Some might argue that it is Bettina, but I think that there are several main characters in the book. The chapters are told from different points of view; which is something I really like about de Lint's novels. He always pulls it off seamlessly!

I have talked a lot in general, but I should probably get around to talking about the book itself. There is a great blend of everything in this book. There is adventure, action, danger, romance, villains, heroines, heroes, disbelievers, believers, double-crossers, musicians, artists, revenge, and so much more. Bettina has been drawn to Newford for a reason that she cannot figure out. Gifted with the ability to heal, it is this skill that will be drawn on eventually. Her grandmother raised her to believe in a world 'outside' our own, but when her grandmother walked out into the desert during a thunderstorm and never returned she stopped practicing what she was taught. She has essentially lost herself and is slowly on the path to reclaiming herself. A little romance thrown into the mix probably doesn't hurt anything, either. During the course of her self-discovery she meets a whole new group of people that will become part of her story.

My favourite character was probably Ellie. She is a sculptor whose friends believe in a fairy tale land, but she is a disbeliever. It turns out, though, that she is not all that she appears. There is a great deal of magic in her that will become very essential to the events of the novel. One of her closest friends will make some difficult decisions that have serious reprucussions and she will find herself caught up in the middle of them. My other favourite character was Miki. She works in a music store, but she is also a gifted musician. She is a bit of free-spirit. You cannot help by love her by the time the book is over. There is also her boss, Hunter, who gets caught up in all of this quite accidentally. It turns out that being a nice guy does not always work out so well for you! (Well, it seems that way, anyways.) Add in the Creek sisters and Tommy and you have a fantastic cast of characters. I didn't hate any of them. There is also Bettina's wolf, but we are not really sure what to make of him for most of the novel. He gets some blood pumping, though.

Then, there are the forces of evil. In this case they are the Gentry. We meet them very early in the book, but we don't really get to know what they are until a lot of pages have gone by. They are interesting characters, but I couldn't help thinking of Lord of the Rings. It really makes no sense, but that's okay. It makes sense in my mind! They bring with them even more characters, though, but I don't really want to spoil too much of the novel. Really, there is just so many people and things going on that it is really hard to talk about everything. It's actually a very complex book when you think about it. By the end of it, you have really got to know the characters. I liked that. It doesn't take away from the story, either, which is nice. It was a really good story!

So, overall this was another great de Lint novel. I liked The Onion Girl better, but not by a lot. I look forward to more de Lint in the future. (I am going back and starting from the beginning!) On another note, don't the covers to de Lint's books look fantastic? He has a great cover artist!

Clay Bennett is a powerful DarkRiver sentinel, but he grew up in the slums with his human mother, never knowing his changeling father. As a young boy without the bonds of Pack, he tried to stifle his animal nature. He failed...and committed the most extreme act of violence, killing a man and losing his best friend, Talin, in the bloody aftermath. Everything good in him died the day he was told that she, too, was dead.

Talin McKade barely survived a childhood drenched in bloodshed and terror. Now a new nightmare is stalking her life--the street children she works to protect are disappearing and turning up dead. Determined to keep them safe, she unlocks the darkest secret in her heart and returns to ask the help of the strongest man she knows...

Clay lost Talin once. He will not let her go again, his hunger to possess her, a clawing need born of the leopard within. As they race to save the innocent, Clay and Talin must face the violent truths of their past...or lose everything that ever mattered.
Reason for Reading: I've been bitten by the Nalini Singh bug. Really, I woke up last weekend and had the strangest burning in my stomach. I quickly realized I needed to read some Singh.

The blurb above did a good job of describing what goes on without being spoilerish. And I don't really want to dole out spoilers for the series, I mean, there's a lot of complicated stuff going on with the Psy Council and some mysterious figure called the Ghost. oooohhhhh

My Thoughts: Ok, I need to be brutally honest here. The first half of this book almost had me ripping out my hair. I found Talin and her fear of Clay to be very very frustrating. I just couldn't get past how afraid she was! I just wanted to smack her. Also, I found Clay too...too much - his beast was always ready to pop out and wanted to scream and roar for his mate and blah. It was like we were being told Clay was on the edge to create some drama but I just wasn't feeling it because Talin's fear was so annoying all on its own. Clay's drama was just another annoyance.

Also, Talin comes to Clay to find one of her missing children (she works for an organization called Shine that helps disadvantaged children). Only they actually don't go about finding anyone until well after page 100. Because the first 100 pages is all about Talin's drama.

Can you see now why I was annoyed?

Fortunately, things pick up in the last half of the book. Talin eventually realizes that Clay would never hurt her (duh). Once that happens, my frustration melted away and I got into the story and could not put it down.

But - and there is a but - in all the other past books, there's been a lot of action. Like going after the Psy, actively going after them. In Mine to Possess, the resolution was handed to our characters almost on a silver platter and I wanted some action! That's my only beef with the last half of MtP.

I'm giving Mine to Possess a C+. Even after all the frustration, I still had a big smile on my face when I finished the last page.

As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Lauren was forced to do terrible things in the name of his people. Now a defector, his dark abilities have made him the most deadly of assassins—cold, pitiless, unfeeling. Until he meets Brenna...

Brenna Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted—and had her mind violated—by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope, yet her sensual changeling side rebels against the inhuman chill of his personality, even as desire explodes between them. Shocking and raw, their passion is a danger that threatens not only their hearts, but their very lives...
Sometimes I can really kick myself for letting a book languish and collect dust in my TBR Monster for so long. But you know, there's always a right time for something and the stars were in alignment so there you go - I finally got around to reading the 3rd in Nalini Singh's Psy/Changeling Series.

And I do deserve a kick in the butt.

Why? Because I enjoyed it so much!

In Visions of Heat (book 2) there was a Psy serial killer that was targeting young female changelings. Brenna was the only victim to survive, but not without some severe psychological scars. The most damaging I believe was her inability to shift to her wolf form - an intrinsic part of who she is, stolen. Among all her rescuers that day was Judd, a Psy assassin who dropped out of the Net to protect his family.

In the aftermath of the events from Visions of Heat, Brenna has been looking for answers to what happened inside her mind from Judd. Brenna believes that there may be something wrong with her that maybe Sascha didn't pick up during the healing, namely the fact that there's a dead Changeling in the compound and Brenna swore she saw it happen. Which leaves everyone nervous, namely the killer.

So now there's another murderer on the scene and the Psy Council is creating a new version of the PsyNet that resembles a hive-mind (think the Borg) and they're trying to manipulate the wolves and leopards into taking each other out, which puts tension on the truce between the two clans. And right in the middle of all this is one strong-willed Changeling and one cold Psy assassin.

With all the scheming and plotting, I thought I'd get confused. But I didn't. A fact which attests to Ms. Singh's strength in world building. Because even behind the PsyNet, there's the Ghost, a mysterious figure who is keeping the Psy Council from progressing too far with their hive-mind. It all blends together and builds up and the reader is caught right up in it. I can see a big improvement in the writing from Slave to Sensations. Things were much smoother here.

As much as I found the greater complicated picture interesting, the real story for me was Judd and Brenna's relationship. This was the heart of the book and I loved these two characters.

Brenna only survived what she did because she has a will so strong she made herself heal faster than everyone thought possible. And despite her strength and steely determination, everyone is treating her with kid gloves with drives her crazy. Her experience changed her but it also left her vulnerable, and she finds herself seeking comfort from the emotionless Psy, Judd. And Judd, with the abilities he has put together with the training he endured is a block of ice - no emotions, no closeness. But slowly Brenna starts to get through all his shields.

Eventually, he looks forward to seeing her, he becomes protective of her and he doesn't shun her casual touches. Even if it causes him pain to open himself up to Brenna, he does it, he can't help himself. And he knows that with his abilities he can kill her with a thought, so he welcomes that pain - anything to keep Brenna safe from himself.

Caressed by Ice is an excellent read and a great installment to the series - I enjoyed it more than I did VoH. I thoroughly enjoyed it and if you haven't already picked up this series, what are you waiting for?

A solid B+ from me!

Lil is an old woman who spends her days shelving rare books in a tiny Manhattan bookstore and lonely nights at home in her apartment. But Lil has an intriguing secret. Tucked and bound behind her back are white feathery wings–the only key to who she once was: the fairy godmother responsible for getting Cinderella to the ball to unite with her Prince Charming.

But on that fateful night, something went terribly and beautifully wrong. Lil allowed herself the unthinkable: to feel the emotions of human beings and fall in love with the prince herself, going to the ball in place of Cinderella in her exquisitely gorgeous human guise. For her unforgivable mistake, she was banished to live among humans, far from her fairy sisters and their magical underwater world. But then one day she meets Veronica–a young, fair-skinned, flame-haired East Village beauty with a love of all things vintage and a penchant for falling in love with the wrong men–and suddenly it becomes clear to Lil that she’s been given a chance at redemption. If she can find a soul mate for Veronica, she may right her wrong and return to the fairy world she so deeply longs for. . . .
Talk about taking forever to review a book! I started this book, paused in reading, and then finished it a bit later, so it feels like it was a long time ago that I read it. Instead, it was only a matter of months ago... (Oh, is that all? I am sure you are thinking that!)

Title and author of book: Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon

Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? Fantasy. Fairy-tale retelling.

What led you to pick up this book? The title. I think I might have seen a couple reviews, too, but it was the title that first drew me to reading it.

Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending! See above...

What did you like most about the book? Let me show you. This is the first paragraph in the book:
I loved arriving at the bookstore first thing in the morning, when the streets were still quiet, the sun half risen, and the whole place felt like a secret meeting room. I liked walking through the still-dark city, as if I were wading through air--the buildings like shadows looming on either side of me, the streets rushing forward in black rivers. There was something about the empty store, too, the books piled all around, that made you want to whisper and walk as slowly as you could. The city was always on top of you, pressing in, but the moment you stepped inside Daedalus Books, it felt like you'd closed your eyes and gone to sleep.
The minute I read those words, I was in love! That is how I feel, but I don't work at a bookstore. As a book lover, I am going to be drawn to another book lover. It is just how it works, and I think Turgeon caught my attention very successfully! I also enjoyed the story. It was a different take on the on fairies, even if it was a retelling of the very famous 'Cinderella' story. Haven't you ever wanted to hear the Godmother side of the story? It is about time, really. The characters in this book were great, too.

What did you like least? You know, this book really should be on my top reads of the year. I loved the original story! I think she sold me on the book theme, really. It wasn't hard to keep my attention after that.

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books? This is my first. I plan to read more, though.

What did you think of the main character? When you are young, even now really, you must've had moments where you wished for your very own fairy godmother to come and help you with all of your problems, right? Well, now we are learning that life was not so simple for this fairy godmother. We are learning what it was like to be a fairy and be assigned the job to make the prince fall in love with a girl that has lead a very rough life. I felt for the main character. Life had not been kind to her because the 'popular' version of the story is not the real story (according to her). This was the secret revealed and I really fell in love with the main character.

What about the ending? By now you are probably wondering why if I had so many good things to say about this book, I didn't include it in my top reads of the year. Very simply... I can't make up my mind about the ending! To be very truthful, I hated the way the book ended. The problem is, I am not sure it is because it was a bad ending, or if it was more that I was very invested in the story and the character and felt like her at the end. It could have been a horrible ending, but at the same time, it could have been a very brilliant ending. Even months later I can't make up my mind. Sometimes I wish I had stopped before the ending and still was reveling in the magic of the story, but at the same time, reading the ending was necessary. I think the ending was a let-down for me. It's the only reason I didn't love this book. Everything else, for me, was perfect!

I still think you should read the book. It is such a magical tale and I can think of so many regular readers of my blog that would probably quite enjoy the story. If you do read it, though, be sure and email me about the ending. I would love to hear what other people thought!

My thanks to Random House for this book! Cross-posted at The Written World.

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About Me

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Since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with books. Early photos show me with a book in hand, even if it was not exactly my reading level... My first word was a made-up word meaning 'book', actually. I suppose I had my priorities at an early age... Over the years my interest in books has become one of the defining features of who I am as a person. You can probably call me a bookworm. While I have other interests, reading will always be the one I talk about the most, even if I am not focusing on it as much as I used to.