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The Caffeinated Diva reads...

Hi, my name is Kim and I am addicted to books. See? I can admit it!! 

Currently reading

Magic Slays
Ilona Andrews
Progress: 50/308 pages
Off the Ice (Juniper Falls)
Julie Cross
Progress: 12 %
The Country of Ice Cream Star
Sandra Newman
Progress: 365/580 pages
Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird)
Claudia Gray
Progress: 16 %
The Serial Killer Letters: A Penetrating Look Inside the Minds of Murderers
Jennifer Furio
Progress: 25/320 pages
Wild Seed
Octavia E. Butler
Progress: 96/320 pages

Magic Dreams

Magic Dreams - Ilona Andrews

This is the novella I've been wanting! The story of Dali and Jim. It is something that was teased in one of the earlier novels, but I've been wanting this story. It is the romance of two unlikely people and I loved it.

 

I have loved Dali from the moment we met her. She is so quirky! She's a shifter, one of the most celebrated in the shifter world. But she's a vegan. Yes, a vegan shifter. And shifting isn't easy for her. And on top of that, she is practically blind. She has self-esteem issues of the highest sort and compensates by drag racing, despite her eyesight. I love her. And then there's Jim. Usually surly, he's the head of security for the King of the Beasts. And, for once, he has to rely on someone else to help him. Enter Dali.

 

The romance is sweet and rife with all those bizarre issues that exist in relationships. And then if the romance is between shifters? Well, things only get more complicated.

 

Overall: This is a great side story to the series. They are two very different characters and their relationship is just one I rooted for.

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12618

Seriously Shifted

Seriously Shifted - Tina Connolly

I really love the premise of this series! In the world of Seriously Shifted, witches are not good. Not all of them are evil, but there is a defined since of superiority that allows them to live by rules of their own. But Camellia is determined to change that. Her mother is on the borderline between good and bad, mostly bad, but Cam wants more than that for herself. And she is learning that there s a fine line sometimes between good and evil. And that is the underlying message of the novel.

 

The adventures in this book really force Cam to think about what it means to be a good witch. How far is too far to go in the name of "helping" someone? Do the ends justify the means? And then there is the whole pesky concept of free will. The book is quirky and mostly light-hearted, but it asks some important questions.

 

Overall: I really enjoy this series. It is a lot more light-hearted than I usually read, but it's fun. It's a YA novel, but it reads more like a middle-grade.

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12615

The Sun is Also a Star

The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

The Sun is Also a Star is the second novel by Nicola Yoon and I loved it every bit as much as the first. There was just something about this book that got to me. And, in retrospect, this is surprising, because a big part of it centers around something I usually hate. Instalove. Instalove that takes place in a span of 24 hours. But somehow, in this story and with these characters, it worked.

 

Natasha and Daniel are two very different people. Natasha is wise beyond her years and highly intelligent. She's a practical soul that believes in science and facts, not love and fate. She's also an illegal immigrant that feels more at home in the US than in Jamaica, the country of her birth. And she is just hours from being deported when she meets Daniel. Daniel is the polar opposite to Natasha. He is just as wise for his years, but he believes in fate and destiny. He's a poet and has a dreamer's soul. But he is first generation American in a Korean family. And his family has very strict expectations for his future. It's a future he doesn't want, but until Natasha, it is the only one he thought he had. Yet the differences between them fall away over the course of a single day.

 

But The Sun is Also a Star is more than a book about love, even first love. It's a book about family and choices and fate. It's about finding your own way in the world, your own place. Natasha is fighting to stay in the US, unhappy that she losing everything she loves and a future that is bright because of someone else's mistake. Her journey is about family and forgiveness, even acceptance. But Daniel's journey is different. His is about living his own life in his own way, despite his family. And meeting each other is a chance moment that changes both of them forever.

 

On the surface, this book is a sweet romantic story. But it is also a book that makes you think. It makes you think about your own life and your own choices. The choices that led you to where you are right now and the choices still ahead of you. It makes you think about those random moments that can totally change the course of your life. It's about all the ways family can make a difference in your life, good or bad.

 

Overall: This is a book that deserves to be taken at more than the surface. It is a book that deserves to be thought about, to be considered. I definitely recommend it!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12590

Magic Bleeds

Magic Bleeds - Ilona Andrews

I think Magic Bleeds, the fourth novel in the Kate Daniels series, is my favorite. I loved everything about this book. The story, the characters, the mythology, the action. All of it combined to make a novel that was hard to put down!

 

Kate Daniels is probably my favorite female protagonist. She is fierce and strong. She knows her own mind and she isn't afraid to speak it. She is smart and independent. She is funny and brave and everything I want to be.

 

All of these things make her the kind of person that won't back down from a fight when it is for something she believes in. And that is truly the premise of the novel. She finds herself fighting the battle of her life and it forces life-changing decisions on her, decisions she never dreamt she would be in a position to have to make.

 

This story, while just as full of action as the others, felt somehow more personal. Kate has spent a lifetime avoiding personal relationships, whether romantic or friendships. But there comes a time when those things develop and now she has to make the worst kinds of choices.

 

A lot of questions are answered in this book, but by no means is the story over!!

 

Overall: The best yet!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12581

Magic Mourns

Magic Mourns - Ilona Andrews

Magic Mourns is a companion novella in the Kate Daniels series. This one tells the story of Andrea Nash, Kate's best friend and a Knight of the Order.

 

Although Kate is in the book, this story is almost exclusively about Andrea. While it is possible to enjoy the series without reading this, I personally liked learning more about Andrea.

 

Andrea's history is not a happy one, but it goes a long way to explaining who she is as an adult. She is a woman who feels like she has to prove herself each and every day. And while her reasons might not be your typical ones, I think it is a response that many women can understand.

 

There is also quite a bit more romance than in the other books. But perhaps romance is the wrong word. Romance among shifters can be a combination of stalking, violence, dysfunction, and love. Oh, to be a shifter...!

 

Overall: This is a short read, but it a good one. I enjoyed Andrea's story!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12577

Magic Strikes

Magic Strikes - Ilona Andrews

This series just gets better and better! Magic Strikes is the third book in the Kate Daniels series and I loved it just as much as the others.

 

In this one, Kate has been drafted to work in the Order as a sort of liaison between the Pack and the Order. She is on shaky ground with them, even though her mentor was a Knight of the Order and held in high esteem. But Kate quit before earning her Knighthood and is a bit of an authority-hating rebel.

 

These books are action-packed and thoroughly engrossing. But for me, the characters are what really bring me in. We learn more about Kate, her past, and why she is the way she is. The story of Kate is fascinating and tragic at the same time. Curran plays a big role in this novel and I love his character, too. It would have been too easy to make him the alpha male, all brawn, and no brains type. He is an alpha male, but he is so much more than that. He is smart and just and surprisingly amusing. Derek, one of my favorite shifters in the story, is significant in this novel. I loved his story almost as I did Kate's.

 

The mythology is fantastic in these books. The way it is woven into the mythology of the world is creative and seamless and adds a really rich layer to the entire series.

 

Overall: This has quickly become one of my favorite series and it is one I highly recommend!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12574

Magic Burns

Magic Burns - Ilona Andrews

Magic Burns is the second book in the Kate Daniels series and I loved it just about as much as I did the first. Magic comes and goes unpredictably in the world of Kate Daniels, but every seven years there is a magic flare. During those times, the magic runs wild and brings with it even bigger magical issues.

 

Because of the flare, the stakes are higher for Kate. The flare is the one time that ancient gods and goddesses can manifest on earth and they take advantage of that. Once on earth, it is a battle for power and Kate is stuck right in the middle of it.

 

I love the characters in these books. Kate is smart and fierce and surprisingly funny. Her love-hate relationship with Curran, the Beast Lord, is equal parts hilarious and sexy as sin. We learn a bit more about Kate and her past in this book, although I still have more questions than answers. That just makes me even more ready for the next book.

 

I think Curran might almost be my favorite part of this book. He has no idea what to think about Kate. She's stubborn and unyielding and he has no idea how to handle. As the Beast Lord, he is used to subservience, but he doesn't get that with Kate. She has zero problem mouthing off to him and as much as that frustrates him, he loves it, too.

 

Overall: This is a great series and I feel like it is just getting better!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12571

Magic Bites

Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews

I don't read a lot of urban fantasy, but I loved Magic Bites! The action is fantastic and it features a badass heroine. Mix that with a ton of paranormal lore and mythology, and it is a truly engrossing read.

 

The world of Kate Daniels is a post-apocalyptic one, but different from most in fiction. The apocalypse wasn't the fallout of war, famine, or strife. It was the downfall of technology. A wave of magic came over the world and changed everything. Now it comes and goes, leaving technology sketchy at best. But more than that, it has left the world teeming with new creatures and new battles.

 

The paranormal aspects of this world are fantastic. There are a lot of the usual suspects of the paranormal world, but they are given a new spin. Vampires are not sparkly, but piloted by necromancers. And the world of shapeshifters is expanded and fascinating.

 

Kate is a mercenary in Georgia and it is her job to fix these magical problems, whether it be something dangerous, or just something messy and inconvenient. It's a thankless job, but it's one she's very good at. And it lets her be what she wants.... alone.

 

She is a fantastic main character. She's strong and badass, but smart and witty, too. For a book with so much action, there is a lot of humor. Her one-liners and her inner dialogue had me laughing more than once.

 

Overall:  This is a book with a smart, kickass female lead and I definitely recommend it! Tons of action and an amazing world!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12567

Seriously Wicked

Seriously Wicked - Tina Connolly

I ran across Seriously Wicked on the e-library site for my local Army library and fell in love with the cover. But they didn't own the book. I recommended it, and the next in the series, for purchase and, much to my delight, the library purchased both of them.

 

It is a quirky, quirky novel, which is something I appreciated! Camellia Hendrix is not your normal 15 year old high school girl. Instead, she is the apprentice/slave to Sarmine, whom she refers to only as "the witch." How she came to be under the control of Sarmine is sketchy at best and doesn't help the already rocky relationship between the two. To say that the witch is not maternal would be a vast understatement. Her idea of punishment is to turn Cam's hand into noodles, wrap her in vines, turn into a statue, and much worse. Clearly a case for child protective services, but the witch insists the punishments teach lessons and are character-building. Cam's best friend is quirky in her own way, smart and accepting of Cam's secrets. And then there is Devon, whose character went through all kinds of mayhem.

 

The characters, even if you hated them, were interesting and well-developed. Because the novel was fairly short, each one of the characters played a significant role in the story. Kelvin, Jenah, even her teacher... each one of them was significant to the plot. Cam's character was fantastic, a strong female personality without any of the emo-angst I hate. Instead, she met diversity with a smile and a quip. She adapted to her circumstances and found a way to make the best of it. I loved the fact that no matter how much she was oppressed, and she was, she still made it her mission to protect others. And there were plenty of unexpected moments along the way.

 

Overall: The book is marketed as a YA novel, but although I enjoyed it, I felt like the tone of it was a probably bit younger than that. Seriously Wicked is fun, light-hearted, and quirky read full of witches and magic.

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12557

The Fifth Petal

The Fifth Petal: A Novel - Brunonia Barry

The Fifth Petal is the second book in The Lace Reader series.  I really enjoyed the first book, especially with its setting of Salem and the witch history.  This novel is set several years into the future and it features some new characters along with some from the first book.

 

Callie is at the center of this book, having come back to Salem after decades away.  Salem holds a lot of memories for Callie, many of them too horrible to want to revisit.  But coming back forces her to confront her demons, both inside herself and those around her.

 

Like the first novel, the story blends magic, history, and thriller elements to create a rich story.  The characters are so quirky, even if you didn't like them.  The local witch at times seems harmless and at other times the femme fatale.  The romantic hero is one moment the privileged son of wealth, the next passionate about his work.  Callie is a healer, who uses sound and singing bowls as her healing modality.  And there is even a bit of old world feuding that has persevered for centuries, manifesting itself in unexpected ways.

 

I loved the story, but there was a lot going on at times that made it a lot to track.  There really were two major plot lines, that while they overlapped from time to time, could really have been two different stories.  One other thing to love... I loved Towner in the first novel so seeing her character's life now was wonderful.  She was such a tragic character in the first that it was good to see her happy in the second.

 

All in all, a great read!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12323

The Lace Reader

The Lace Reader - Brunonia Barry

I got the ARC of The Fifth Petal (review coming soon) from NetGalley, not realizing that it was the second novel in the series. So I purchased The Lace Reader. Being fascinated with all things Salem and its witchcraft history, I was really interested to see how it played out in this novel. And I absolutely loved it!

 

There was so much for me to like about the story, not the least of which was the structure. Prefacing each chapter was a snippet from a journal kept by one of the characters, called by the same name as the novel itself. More than just a random passage, they provided moments of foreshadowing for the rest of the book. Interesting, too, was the unique usage of perspective. I have read many books in alternating points of view, but not in this way. Towner’s chapters were all in the first person, while Rafferty’s were in the third. I have never seen the change in person as well as the change of POV. It was an interesting choice that I found I really liked.

 

Sometimes I read a novel that has ties to actual history and I find the ties too weak to be true relationships, skewing the history so much that it might as well be an alternate reality or history. Or the book will feel more like a history book than a novel. I found neither of these things to be true in any way. The nods to history were those that have long since been established, framing a story that was incredibly engrossing. The story was more than the Salem witches hook. It truly was the story of Towner, almost a coming of age, despite the fact that she was already an adult. It is a book filled with sadness, secrets, heartbreak, and fear, but it is also a book of acceptance, understanding, and love.

 

The characters in this novel are extremely varied. From Rafferty, the practical-minded cop with an open mind, to Towner, the tragic and damaged main character. The villain is truly frightening and reprehensible. May is one of those characters that makes you hate her at the same time as you may love her. But together, they create a cast that really drives the story.

 

Overall:  It is not always a happy story, to be sure. There is a lot of pain and sadness. It isn’t always easy to read, with Towner’s story and the flashbacks to her childhood. But it is a beautifully written story. Such a great read!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12490

The Diabolic

The Diabolic - S.J. Kincaid

The Diabolic is the first in a new series of the same name by author S.J. Kincaid. The book is science fiction in every sense of the world. It takes place in the distant future that in no way resembles are own. The power structure is an Empire and it is based on a sun religion. The Grandoliloqy are the nobility of the empire and control all of the technology, and thus all of the people, within the empire.

 

The theme of religion and science/technology is key to this story, as is the questioning of what it means to be human. Just as in real life, ideologies differ and cause fracturing. Nemesis, a genetically created girl, has one purpose for her existence… to protect her master, Sidonia. Diabolics are stronger than the average humor and bred to feel no love or loyalty to anyone beyond their master. Her mission puts her into the middle of the growing galactic unease in unexpected ways.

 

Prior to reading this, I saw a lot of complaints about different aspects of the story. One was the seemingly senseless brutality. Yes, there is a lot of brutality. But I didn’t find it to be unnecessary. I thought it was very much in keeping with the Diabolic concept. Emotions breed compassion and without it, brutality happens. It was entirely appropriate for the nature of the characters.

 

Another complaint was about Nemesis herself, and her character’s emotional journey. She was genetically enhanced to be something more than human, or at least something different. She was bred to be virtually emotionless. As I mentioned earlier, her character explores what it is to be human. I think many people saw her as a genetically different being than human, whereas I saw her as an enhanced human. Love and compassion and empathy are vital human emotions that, given the opportunity, will rise. This is why I loved her changing nature.

 

Overall:  I really loved this book. When I got it, I thought it was a standalone, but I am happy that it is going to be a trilogy. Can’t wait!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12479

Just Juliet

Just Juliet - Charlotte Reagan

Just Juliet is one of those novels that just left me with mixed feelings. It is a story that has promise and a cast of diverse and what could be interesting characters. There were moments when I felt like the story was rich and engaging, and other moments that felt flat to me. I think some of that feeling was due to the fact that there really wasn’t a lot of conflict involved. There were moments, yes, but most of the true conflict occurred for supporting characters before this story even began.

 

That being said, as characters, I liked Scott, Lena, and Juliet. They were believable characters. Lakyn was not the most likable character, but definitely the most legitimately tragic and probably one of the most believable in the book. Lacey was a little over-the-top with her lack of compassion and self-proclaimed bitchiness. Matt, Georgia, and most of the other supporting characters just seemed to fade into the background.

 

Overall:  All in all, not my favorite read. I think it had promise, but it just didn’t work for me.

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12456

Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything - Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything is the debut novel from author Nicola Yoon. It is the story of a girl named Madeline who hasn’t left her house in over seventeen years. She has SCID, an autoimmune disease that is very rare and leaves her allergic to just about anything and everything. Her entire world is her mom and a nurse named Carla who is truly her only “in real life” friend. But then a family moves into the house next door and suddenly her world has expanded to include Olly. And that makes her want more than the walls of the home that has always been her prison.

 

There is nothing not to love about this book. Madeline’s character is tragic, but she is smart and has learned to make a life for herself. It may not be filled with the adventure she craves, but she has found a way to live with it. But even with this life-threatening disease, she is still a teenage girl with crushes and everything else that goes along with that. Olly’s character is just as tragic, with a life that is less than ideal, with problems of his own. Yet somehow, the two form a bond that is at times funny, at times heart-wrenching.

 

There is no question that this is an emotional read. Their individual stories can pull at your heart strings, make you alternately sad and mad. But there is also a lot of sweetness and a lot of smart humor. It is a romance, to be sure, but it is also a coming-of-age story with a lot of twists.

 

I loved the uniqueness of the book, from the diversity of the characters to the format of the book itself. Instead of the all-American white girl, Madeline is multiracial, part Japanese and part black. And the format was interesting, chapters interspersed with sketches, diary entries, medical logs, IMs, and emails. It was a little bit of extra narrative that was really a big part of bringing them both to life for the reader.

 

Overall:  I can’t deny that I ended the book in tears last night. And this morning? A very definite hangover. This is an amazing read that I recommend from the bottom of my heart!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12448

Fireworks Frappe

Fireworks Frappe (Cupid's Coffeeshop Book 7) - Courtney Hunt

Fireworks Frappe is the 7th novella in the Cupid’s Coffeeshop series. This installment is the love story of Ava, the twin sister of Amy whom we met in an earlier novella. She has come home after years away for her sister’s wedding and is dreading it. As it always seems to happen, when you are already down, life kicks you yet again. And this is true for Ava.

 

I liked this story… right up until a point near the end. And that’s where it lost me a little. It went from 0 to 60 in the span of a paragraph or two. But it was still a sweet love story.

 

Overall:  While it wasn’t my favorite of the series, it is still a fun read and I am ready for the next!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12444

Berries and Cream Chai

Berries and Cream Chai (Cupid's Coffeeshop Book 6) - Courtney Hunt

Berries and Cream Chai is the 6th novella in the Cupid’s Coffeeshop series.  It is the first one in which one of the three coffeeshop owner’s is the focus of the love story.  It is Joe’s turn to find love, the diehard bachelor who has never had a serious relationship.  His story is like a lot of our own, burned by love badly enough to not believe in it any more.  But for him, the love that burned him wasn’t his own romance, but that of his parents.  That’s something I can understand.  So his story was really one that I found relatable and inspiring.

 

Joe has spent his adult life living like a nomad.  No roots, no ties.  Living in the moment from one adventure to the next, never staying in one place for very long.  At least, not until his grandmother’s will forced a change.  But even though he is abiding by her terms, if only for his cousins, he is aching to get back on the road.  But that was before he met Molly who changes everything for him.  Molly has a story of her own that leads her to upend her life in order to find new happiness.  The two of them together is really a sweet love story.

 

Overall:  I think this is my favorite of the series so far.  I really like Joe and his story and, while it was a bit instalovey, I felt like it worked for a character like Joe’s.  A great addition to the series!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12438