Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

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Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she’s drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because, every time she closes her eyes, she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan. Yes, she did imprison him for all eternity, but come on. How is she supposed to solve a missing persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hellbent on murder when the devil’s son just won’t give up?

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Charlotte Davidson, grim reaper and private investigator with a penchant for trouble, returns.  Still hilarious, still exciting, but now that I’m three books in, the shine is starting to wear off.  Issues are arising for me, specifically with the relationship development between our mighty heroine and her boy toy Reyes Farrow.

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The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager into a powerful monarch and a visionary leader.

And as she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, she has transformed her realm. But in her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies – chief among them the evil and feared Red Queen, who ordered the armies of Mortmesne to march against the Tear and crush them.

To protect her people from such a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable – naming the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place, she surrendered herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign from her prison in Mortmesne.

So, the endgame has begun and the fate of Queen Kelsea – and the Tearling itself – will be revealed…

With The Fate of the Tearling, Erika Johansen draws her unforgettable story full of magic and adventure to a thrilling close.

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Never thought I’d give a book in this series anything less than a 5/5 but good lord if that ending didn’t just ruin the whole thing. I loved everything right up until the last chapter. That last chapter made me question the existence of this entire series, this series I loved so much. I still love it, but I feel I’ll have to love it without that last chapter, like cutting out an ex-boyfriend from an old picture.

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The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

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Sixteen-year-old Nick and his brother, Alan, are always ready to run. Their father is dead, and their mother is crazy—she screams if Nick gets near her. She’s no help in protecting any of them from the deadly magicians who use demons to work their magic. The magicians want a charm that Nick’s mother stole—and they want it badly enough to kill. Alan is Nick’s partner in demon slaying and the only person he trusts in the world. So things get very scary and very complicated when Nick begins to suspect that everything Alan has told him about their father, their mother, their past, and what they are doing is a complete lie.

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This is one of those stories that seems like it’s going to go one way, then it veers off road, over a ditch, through a tangle of brambles, and suddenly you’re somewhere entirely different.  While I had issues with the merely competent writing style, some underdeveloped characters, and the presentation of the world, The Demon’s Lexicon was an enjoyable read, the beginning of a series I definitely feel compelled to continue reading. Continue reading

Lost by Sarah Beth Durst

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It was only meant to be a brief detour. But then Lauren finds herself trapped in a town called Lost on the edge of a desert, filled with things abandoned, broken and thrown away. And when she tries to escape, impassable dust storms and something unexplainable lead her back to Lost again and again. The residents she meets there tell her she’s going to have to figure out just what she’s missing–and what she’s running from–before she can leave. So now Lauren’s on a new search for a purpose and a destiny. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll be found…

Against the backdrop of this desolate and mystical town, Sarah Beth Durst writes an arresting, fantastical novel of one woman’s impossible journey…and her quest to find her fate.

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I feel a certain affection for Sarah Beth Durst because I’ve read so many of her books, and I’m a huge fan of her sense of humor.  The tricky bit about reading multiple books from the same author is that you start to build up an expectation, a standard of excellence, and every book of theirs should reach that standard.  It’s hard not to compare their books against each other.  But I’d have to say that The Lost comes with Sarah Beth Durst’s signature humor, but lacks the certain je ne sais quoi that I’ve come to expect from her other books. Continue reading

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

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Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another.

Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

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This book is more than just a pretty cover.  Neil Gaiman wasn’t too far off in his blurb: “Maria Dahvana Headley is a firecracker: she’s whip smart with a heart, and she writes like a dream.”  Magonia is something electric–a lightning strike with gold-edged feathers that leaves the echo of song in its wake.  Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop, and I tore through it in a single day.  There was so much to pull me in: great narrators, a fantastic new world, and writing that was so on-point, I was alternately green with jealousy and giddy with this new series. Continue reading