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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

Fingerprints of You
Terry Ribera, Kristen-Paige Madonia
Progress: 76/256 pages
The Clouded Sky
Megan Crewe
Progress: 66 %
Oathbreakers
Mercedes Lackey
Progress: 46 %

Dive

Dive: A Novel - Stacey Donovan

Dive is a truly poignant book about love and loss, friendship and family. The story revolves around Virginia, a 15yo girl who is going through one of the worst times of her life. And because personal tragedy is never enough, just about everything around her seems to be rising against her. Isn't that the way it always seems to be in life? This truly is what made the book so relevant to me as a reader, a person has been through their own fair share of loss and personal tragedy. Perhaps because of that, I read this a little differently. For me, it was the feeling of not being alone.

 

This is a book that is extremely character-driven. We spend the book inside the head of Virginia, feeling her confusion, her pain, and even her moments of joy and happiness. Through her we get to know her parents, her siblings, and her friends. And every one of them is a very different person. Her mother is a bit of a drinker and that is getting worse by the day, putting Virginia in positions she should never have to be in at her age. Her father seems to be a bit on the oblivious even before he becomes so sick. Her brother Edward (and I love the random use of rude takes on his name throughout the book) is pretty apathetic most of the time. But it is her little sister, Baby Teeth, that shines. She is smart and quirky and, in some ways, the true heart of the book. Virginia is understandably overwhelmed and I think she spends much of her time a bit emotionally. And if all of her family problems aren't enough, her dog is run over and her best friend starts being unreasonably mean and avoiding her, just when Virginia needs her the most. But then there is Jane, who unwittingly becomes Virginia's anchor.

 

At the center of the story is Virginia's fear and sadness. It is overwhelming and pervasive, just as it is in real life. She is barraged with so many things, each one of them enough to take her down by itself. But she is dealing with all of it all at the same time all by herself. There were moments that this was not an easy read because of the depth of the emotions, but it is a powerful read. It is also a read with unexpectedly funny moments and moments of happiness and joy. It is a book that truly gives you the feels!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11750

Changes

Changes - Mercedes Lackey

Although I love the Valdemar saga, one of my favorite series that I go back to over and over again, I have to admit that this this installment of the Collegium Chronicles is my least favorite thus far.  I still love Mags, as well his friends Lena and Bear, but this particular book dragged for me.  Although his quest to find answers about his past was the focus of the novel, I think I enjoyed the stories of Lena and Bear and other characters more.  Their stories had much more of an arc to them, whereas the main point of Mags' storyline was simply a carry-over from the previous novel.

 

The other thing that dampened my enjoyment was Mags' dialogue.  This is the third book into the series and, if anything, his accent was worse.  And that made reading difficult sometimes as I had to stop to puzzle out exactly what it was that he was saying. I understand the point behind the accent, but it was almost unreadable at times

 

My Recommendation

 

While this is not my favorite book in the series, I still feel that it is an importa part of the saga as hold.  It is also a necessary read for the next two in the series.

Source: http://ttp://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11509

I Am the Messenger

I Am the Messenger - Markus Zusak

I am the Messenger is one of the more bizarre books I have ever read. It is one of those books that caused me to question myself continually about why I was reading it, yet, at the same time, I couldn't put it down. Even now, having finished it, I am not sure how I feel about it. But it sticks with me, so that is a five-mug read in my opinion!Ed Kennedy is a rather ambitiousless young guy, a cabdriver with no real future ahead of him. He is hopelessly in love with Audrey, something that she seems to not know. He is completely devoted to her and to his dog, Doorman. Doorman is a character in and of himself. He's addicted to coffee, old, smelly, and basically the canine equivalent of Ed himself. The product of routine and stagnation inthat routine.

 

But then one day, things change for Ed when he inadvertently foils a bank robbery. He receives a card in the mail with mysterious instructions and this is how he becomes the messenger. And what is the messenger? Part guardian angel, part avenging angel. He follows the instructions on the cards given to him, not knowing who is behind them. For the first time in his life, he has purpose.

 

I enjoyed that theme and that is probably what kept me reading. But the rational part of me kept questioning... who would blindly follow such odd instructions? Especially when sometimes they are less helpful, and more violent. But I love the bluntness of the character, the unabashed portrayal of a person who, for most of his life, is just there. Nothing special. All of the characters were like that... blunt. Their edges weren't smoothed for the sake of likeability. They were who they were and they reminded me of people I knew. They were real. And that is what kept me reading!

 

My Recommendation

 

It is a strange book and I think that is what I loved most about it. I found it to be refreshing and I appreciated the brutal honesty of the characters.

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11505

Intrigues

Intrigues - Mercedes Lackey

I am a huge Mercedes Lackey fan and the entire Valdemar series is one of my all-time favorites to binge on every few years. I love the story lines, the mystery, the intrigue, the characters. I pick up one of these books and I am transported to a totally different world and I love it!

 

Intrigues is the second in the Collegium Chronicles series and continues to focus on Mags, a former mine slave. I have loved this character from the beginning. He was neglected and abused, as well as woefully under educated, during his years at the mine. He saw things and went through things that would have broken most people, yet somehow his spirit stayed alive and stayed strong. Instead of using his lack of education and lack of knowledge about the world as an excuse to give up or to complain, he finds a way to use it to his advantage. There is an undeniably good message in that.

 

The mystery and intrigue is at high levels in this book, with Mags' past at the center of a lot of it. He is a person without a past. No one knows who he is or where he came from until a foreign operative seems to recognize him. And that moment of recognition puts Mags in the spotlight, and not in a good way.

 

My Recommendation

 

I love all of the Valdemar books and this one is an important part of the series. Not only does it give some information about the Collegium, it focuses on a character that is different from many of the others that have been the focus of other series within the saga.

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11496

Smoke SIgnals

Smoke Signals (Tulsa Thunderbirds Book 2) - Catherine Gayle

Smoke Signals is the second book in the Tulsa Thunderbirds series, a spinoff and companion series to Catherine Gayle's fantastic Portland Storm series. And like all of the books in these two series, this novel combines love, steamy romance, hockey, and real life issues that hit hard.

 

I love hockey and I love novels about hockey. And I have no small amount of love for the attention to detail that Catherine puts into the hockey aspects of the book, making it not only absorbing for long-time fans like myself, but putting in just enough explanation into her writing to make it easy for hockey noobs to understand, too. But as much as I love the hockey, it is the characters and their stories that really make the difference. The characters are so real, so well-developed, that you truly become connected to their stories.

 

This book revolves around Ray "Razor" Chambers, who we originally meet in the Portland Storms series. When he goes to Vegas for his best friend Bab's wedding to his long-time love Katie, he expects only to be there for that important day and to see old friends. What he doesn't expect is that is entire life will change. But change is what happens when he meets the gogeous Viktoriya Dubrovskya. Gorgeous, a porn star, and one of the most broken women he has ever met. And his only mission from that moment is to protect her and to help her, no matter what she or anyone else says about it.

 

Like all of these books, Smoke Signals is raw and emotional and Catherine doesn't shy away from real issues and real problems. This is probably one of the more graphic novels in the series and that is less about the steamy factor and more about the very real issues that Viktoriya goes through over the course of the story. I found it hard to read at moments, but that wasn't because of the book itself or how it was written. It was because it was just difficult to imagine the kind of hell that human beings can put each other through and the circumstances that put people into the positions they find themselves. The author has a knack for finding these issues and highlighting them through her characters in a way that may make you uncomfortable and emotionally raw, but also in ways that truly make you think.

 

My Recommendation

 

Great romance, great hockey, and a great story! It's emotional and at times uncomfortable to read, but it is a book that makes you think and see the world a little differently.

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11492

Foundation

Foundation - Mercedes Lackey

One of my favorite parts of the Valdemar epic saga are the Collegium so I love that there is now an entire series based on them! Foundation is the first in a (so far) five book series set in the Collegium. While Mags is the center of the series from the Herald Collegium, the Bardic and Healer Collegiums are also at play through Mags' two best friends.

 

Mags has spent his childhood as little more than a slave, a paid worker in name only. He has been neglected and abused his entire life and seen those around him treated the same way. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that he had a natural knack for finding the "sparklies," life would have been even worse for him. But no matter how bad it has been for him, he has still remained kind and loyal, often sacrificing what little he has for others. And then one day, his entire life changes when a white clad Herald and a seemingly crazed horse come charging into the mine to claim him. At first, he is terrified, completely uinaware of what is happening to him. He doesn't realize that this will prove to be the best thing to ever happen to him.

 

I love Mags,one of my all-time favorite characters in the Valdemar series. He is uneducated, but far from unintelligent. When he is finally exposed to knowledge, he soaks it up like a sponge, ever aware of how little he knows about the world around him. He has lived a life of mere survival, never experiencing anything other than mistreatment at the hands of the mine's owner.

 

This is one of my favorites, full of mystery and intrigue and emotional characters!

 

NOTE: The books in this saga were not published in chronlogical order, but it is on her website here, about 3/4 of the way down the page.

 

My Recommendation

 

Admittedly, I am a Mercedes Lackey junkie, but this is one of my all time favorite series within the entire saga.

 

FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions.

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11483

Juniors

Juniors - Kaui Hart Hemmings

I loved everything about this book! The setting, the story line, the characters... all of it!

I originally picked this book because I have a soft spot for all things Hawaiian. I lived there 18 years ago and I am about to move back, so I love to read about the place I love so much. As a Hawaiian herself, the author shows a little of the Hawaii that exists away from the tourists, and that is the Hawaii that I love so much.

 

But even aside from all of that, the story line is wonderful. Lea is the epitome of Every Girl. Her mom is a minor actress and that has meant a lot of moves, a lot of first days as the new girl. It has also meant spending a lot of time in her mother's shadow, She is brilliant, but a bit isolated from her peers and unsure of herself socially. She also has a keen sense of who people are at the core, but even for her, that sense can fail her.

 

Her mother and she have recently moved back to Kailua and soon her mother's friends have invited them to live in the guest house on their property. It is an invitation into a whole new world, and while it has its perks, Lea clearly feels out of place. And that is why I loved her character. Even exposed to all of the wealth, she remained true to herself. She unexpectedly becomes close to both the son and the daughter of her mother's friends and even as she is becoming a part of that world, she still refuses to become anything other than who she is. And I loved that.

 

While Lea is the focus of the story, the supporting characters are just as important as she is. Danny, her childhood best friend from short trips to the islands, is her rock now that she is living in Hawaii full-time. He is the bridge between the world she has always known, the Lea she has always been, and this new world she is experiencing for the first time. Whitney is the daughter living in the main house and she is nothing like Lea thought. Will, her brother, is also different than what she had once thought. Those two characters really set forth the meaning of the Tolkein poem "all that is gold does not glitter." These characters are ones that are easily identifiable in one way or another an that drew me into the story.

 

This is a story about friendships, relationships, and staying true to yourself. It is about hard choices and doing what is right no matter what the consequences. It is a story that goes beneath the surface and shows that things are not always as they seem to be. It is a beautiful story with fantastic characters.

 

My Recommendation

 

This is a great story with interesting characters, a beautiful setting, and a wonderful story line that is real and identifiable. A great read! I gave it 4.5 mugs!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11478

Paper Towns

Paper Towns by Green, John (2009) Paperback - John Green

As with anything and everything I have read by John Green, I greatly enjoyed this book. No, I didn't sob my way through it as I did with The Fault in Our Stars, but it was moving in its own way. This is a book that can't be easily categorized as any one thing... a romance, a friend read, a mystery, a coming-of-age read. It isn't any one of those things, but a combination of all of them.

 

Q has lived next to Margo his entire life, a childhood friend that eventually became his unrequited first love. As they grew up, their worlds became farther apart. She was the popular girl and he was a bit on the geeky side. He is obsessed with her, blind to anything that could possibly mar his love for her. One night, she climbs into his window in the middle of the night dressed and coerces him (not that it took much coercing!) into an unexpected adventure. It's a night that gives Q a renewed hope for a future with Margo. But then the next day arrives and everything turns on edge. Everything Q thinks he knows about Margo is turned upside down and now he has to follow clues, clues that she left for him, in order to find answers.

 

As Q finds and follows the clues Margo has left, his character grows so much. He learns as much about himself as he learns about Margo. One of the most important themes of this book, in my opinion, is that what we see in a person is often very different from the reality. We see the surface, what we want to see. And that can make us blind to anything else that could tarnish that perception. And then when the veil is removed, it leaves you bewildered. That is Q's journey. But this is also a book about friendship. A group of his friends and hers come together and the stupid cliques of high school, at least in a small way and in a small moment, are ignored Family dynamics also play a key role in the unfolding story, and how those dynamics can affect a person.

 

There is so much to enjoy about this book. There are no easy answers, no perfect solutions, no perfect people. And that is a good thing because that is how life and the people living really are.

 

My Recommendation

 

As with all of his books, I definately recommed Paper Towns! These books are full of relatable characters and a story that engages every emotion.

 

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11436

The Summer Marked

Summer Marked - Rebekah L. Purdy

I truly enjoy this series! I loved The Winter People and I love this sequel just as much! The author creates characters that are so complex and so realistic. Even as dark as the story is, it is beautiful with its weaving of our own reality and the dark reality of the Fae world. It is a far cry from the Disneyfied version of faeries and that is something I look for in fae novels.

 

The Summer Marked picks up not long after The Winter People ends. Salome, Gareth, and Nevin have returned to the Fae realm and it quickly becomes obvious that it is not going to be the eternal bliss that Salome had believed it would be. This is compounded by the fact that she is struggling to find her place as a transplanted human in a faerie world that most don't even believe exists. I love the mythology that the author uses to build her world and the unique ways in which she uses it. The realm was traditionally ruled by a single monarch that came from one of the four courts: Summer, Winter, Spring, Autumn. The idea is that a rotating court of control keeps power in check. However, things happened in the past that took down three of the four courts and now the last, Summer, is in danger. And it is this history that comes back and threatens to ruin the Fae world.

 

Many of the characters from the first novel are back in this one, with some surprising twists that truly change everything. I love that Salome grows in this book, coming into her own and not just being there because of love. She takes on the problems of the Summer court and makes them her own in surprising ways. She is faced with decisions that no one should have to make, but she makes them. Even as things seem to be happening to her, unexplainable things, she puts aside her worries in order to be there for her new people. There is a strength in her character that is beautifully written and rather inspiring.

 

This installment is told from the alternating points of view of Salome and her best friend Kadie. It is almost as much Kadie's book as it is Salome's. Kadie is the epitome of a complex character. It is difficult to get a true reading on her and that is why she is such a realistic character, even in a supernatural world. In realitty there is really no black and white in humanity and Kadie's character embodies this.

 

There are themes of love and forgiveness, trust and betrayal, sacrifice and second chances, I loved that the strongest theme was that of sacrifice for the greater good, the selflessness that a decision like that requires. This is an important message and it was clear without being at all "preachy."

 

My Recommendation

 

I highly recommend this book! It is a beautifully written book with a story that is extremely engaging!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11432

Magic's Price

Magic's Price - Mercedes Lackey

While I have loved this series, I think that this one is my least favorite of the three. I love Vanyel's character as much as ever, even with all of his stubbornness. For me it was Stefan's character, as well as bits of his back story, that just didn't do it for me. Luckily, more of the story focused on Vanyel and that made me happy!

 

Vanyel is as protective and fiercely loyal as everl He is also always willing to risk himself for the greater good. But Stefan... I wanted to love him, and I did like him, but there were moments that even that was a struggle. He was such a foikl to Vanyel. Vanyel is loyal and noble and honest and I felt like Stefan skirted the edge of nobility and honesty. As a Bard, he had the means to use his Gifts to peacok a bit, to influence others, and to gain personal wealth. And while he used his Gifts in very good ways, he also tended to use them in ways that weren't. And the attitude was always one of surprise when ethics were pointed out to him. That was largely unbelievable to me, considering the back story of the Bards and their training. And he did a whole lot of manipulating of Vanyel himself. He just didn't get the drive that a hero has to save the world. In actuality, Stefan was probably the most realistic character in the novel. He was flawed and he was really just a regular guy with some musical gifts. But in the context of a high fantasy novel, he just seemed to be the odd man out.

 

However, I did love the story. In true Vanyel style, he was driven hero of the story that risked himself repeatedly to save the kingdom and those he loved. He is the character that I always felt deserved to be truly happy and I am not sure he ever got that in life, not really. There were a lot of twists and turns in this book, some a bit predictable and some far less so. There was one regarding Stefan that I am truly not sure how I feel about, although it does answer a lot of questions. And the ending was a bittersweet one that I appreciated!

 

My Recommendation

 

True, it was not my favorite of the series, but it is an important part of the overall saga. I do recommend it for invested readers of the series.

 

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11427

Magic's Promise

Magic's Promise - Mercedes Lackey

This book takes up long after the end of Magic's Pawn and Vanyel is exhuasted by the wild magic and trauma that he has been through. He is almost an entirely different person in this book, changed and matured with the experiences of his past. As much as I loved the first book, I think I love Vanyel as a character even more in this book.

 

Over the years, he has become everything he was meant to be... and all of the things his father would never have imagined. He is a hero of Valdemar and has dedicated his life to keeping its people safe, even at his own expense. He is told to take some leave to rest and recuperate and goes to the most unlikely place,... Askevron Manor. But it isn't long before he realizes that there are things happening just beyond the borders that threaten everything.

 

Once again, I think Vanyel and his circumstances are universally relatable. I love Vanyel and I love his story. He is such a sympathetic character so it is easy to root for him throughout the story. Even after everything he has done for the kingdom, his parents still can't see him for who he is. His father is still dismissive and his mother is still throwing her ladies at him. And as a person, despite all that he has been through, he still has so much to learn about life, love, and moving forward after grief. This book also answered a lot of questions about some characters from the first book, particularly the family priest and the weaponsmaster. They were extraordinarily hateful in the first book with no real explanation as to why that was so extreme.

 

As with the other books, this one is full of twists and turns and intrigue. I think that there is an added level of suspense in this particular book because Vanyel is, as the series title suggests, the last of his kind. He is the last Herald-Mage. So much rides on him and there are moments when you wonder, even knowing there is another book in the trilogy, if he is going to survive.

 

My Recommendation

 

I highly recommend this series if you love high fantasy and rich, relatable characters!

 

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11424

Magic's Pawn

Magic's Pawn - Mercedes Lackey

I love all of the series and singles that make up the entire Valdemar saga, and this one has always been one of my favorites. Vanyel is a character that I think, in some way, is a universal character that we can all identify with in one way or another.

 

Vanyel Ashkevron is the eldest son of a rather minor noble in the out country. His father is a rigid man, believing very firmly in certain things. And if you do not fall into his idea of what should be or what is right, then you are somehow lacking. This describes the relationship between Vanyel and his father for most of his childhood. His brothers and cousins, while not stupid, were far more interested in weaponswork and women than intellectual pursuits. Vanyel was intelligent and a gifted musician that took after his mother far more than his father. None of these things raised him in the eyes of his father. His mother, however, celebrated most of these things. She was a flightly woman who knew all too well how to play all of the "womanly" games and she loved having a son who could entertain her so well. However, she spent a lot of time throwing her lady's maid at him, despite his repeated assurances that he was not interested, often creating a bit of a mess for them both.

 

When Vanyel's father finally tires of trying to change him, he sends him to his aunt in Haven, a rather brusque woman who is a Herald. Vanyel knows, even as he lives the prison that ihis own home has become, that he is really only trading one prison for another. But things at Haven aren't what he expects and his life changes so very much.

 

I absolutely love the blend of characters in this book. No matter what your life story is, there is a character in this book that is relatable. No two characters are the same, giving a rich tapestry of characters in a wonderful story. I have heard many complain about the rather whiny attitude of Vanyel throughout the book. They are not wrong; he is whiny. But it is totally appropriate for the story. He is a young teenager, a fact easy to forget, and the reality is that he has a lot to whine about. I love that the character isn't portrayed to be perfect, that he is portrayed as realistic.

 

My Recommendation

 

As with every book in the Valdemar series, I am in love with this book. Such a wonderful epic read!

 

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11421

Shattered Blue

Shattered Blue - Lauren Bird Horowitz

I'm not going to lie... half the reason I requested this galley from NetGalley was because of the location of the story. It takes place in the Monterey Bay area, one of my former stomping ground in my former soldier life. I love the area and I was happy to read a book that took me back there, even just for a little while. And to make it even better, the story was engaging and I am ready for the next book in the series!

 

The Fae mythology in this book is of the darker variety, which I enjoy so much. The fae in this story are not Disneyfied, but live in their own world with their own strife and struggles. Humans are generally nothing more than an energy source, than cattle. In fact, the human reality is often used as almost a prison for wayward fae. Struggles in the fae world have come into the human world amd the story unfolds.

 

The story is told in three parts: Noa, Callum, and Jonah. What I found interesting was the way the POVs were written throughout the book. In the first part, the POV is strictly Noa's and we learn so much about who she is as a person through her own eyes. The second part, although Callum's part, is told through both Noa's and Callum's POVs. The final part was told, at different points, from all three POVs. Here and there, there was also a bit of narrative from some of the other characters adding their voices. It was a truly interesting way to present the story.

 

Noa is a fantastic female protagonist. Life for her has been hard. She has been through some terrible times and she is still struggling to find her way and her place in the aftermath. Sadly, her family has kind of checked out and it is her little sister that seems to be her lifeline. Callum is more than a little mysterious, blowing hot and cold for Noa for reasons that are just as mysterious. And then there is Jonah, cast as the bad boy... but is he really?

 

I loved the anticipation that never lagged throughout the book. There were so many twists and turns that kept me turning the pages. And some of the twists came out of nowhere and I love to be surprised!

 

My Recommendation

 

This was truly an engaging story! I love fae stories and especially those that use a darker mythology, like this one. This is a book that I highly recommend!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11416

Pushing Send

Pushing Send - Ally Derby, Jaqueline Ross

Pushing Send is a yung adult novel with some very deep and intense situations, especially appropriate in this day and age.

 

Hadley's life has be turned upside down yet again as she and her family have moved again to a small town in New York. Her father lost his job after an accident and now her father has addiction issues. This leaves her nother as the sole breadwinner, overworked and continually making excuses for Hadley's father. All of this has meant that Hadley has not only had to grow up fast, but it has really damaged her ability to trust others. As a result, she just tries to fly under the radar and keep to herself. But being the new girl in a small school, it is hard to remain anonymous for too long. Soon after she moves, she meets Lana, her neighbor and soon her best friend. She also meets her older stepbrother Paxton, with whom she becomes friends as well.

 

It was at this point that I thought this was going to be the typical love story between a somewhat geeky, socially awkward girl and the gorgeous jock, but there is so much to the story. Pax likes Hadley and thinks she's a good influence on his sometimes tumultuous little sister. Their friendships are unexpected, as Hadley could not be more different. Lana and Paxton are well off and have had a lot of advantages in life, whereas Hadley and her family are struggling, financially and emotionally.

 

Things go better than Hadley expected for awhile, until something happens that ruins everything. It is at this point that everything goes into a horrific doward spiral for her and it becomes almost overwhelming. Just about everything that could go wrong does.

 

There are some important plot lines in this book, particularly appropriate for our time. It highlights the downside of such a digital age and how it can ruin lives. It shows how quick people are to assume the worst, to judge. There is also an important theme of mental illness and how much that can go unnoticed in teenagers. There are also themes of love and forgiveness, compassion and understanding. These plot lines and themes are well considered and important to the time.

 

However, there were times when it almost felt like various parts of the book were written for different demographics. It was something that was very noticeable to me, even as I enjoyed the overall story. It was only when I was preparing to write this review that I realized that this was written my a middle-school girl and her mother, which explains those variations. It also explained the massive fangirling going on throughout the book, although that was appropriate to the age of the main character. But if you haven't read the series fangirled (The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, The Fault in Our Stars, etc.),, you will find spoilers to those novels.

 

The only other thing that gave me pause was the time jumping. The book takes place over roughly 2 years and there were several moments when the time jumped forward. While I think the jumping was necessary for the story, I wish there was some kind of indication from the beginning like an italicized six months later or some such thing so as to eliminate confusion.

 

My Recommendation

 

All in all this was a good story that touched on some important issues, even with the couple of things that jumped out at me. I am hoping that there will be a sequel because I want to know more!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?page_id=6061

The Silver Gryphon

The Silver Gryphon - Larry Dixon, Mercedes Lackey

The Silver Gryphon is the last book in the Mage Wars trilogy, the first in the epic Valdemar saga. The first book in the series was pure high fantasy, the second less magic and more intrigue, and this one is a tale of survival. It also contains one of my favorite quotes from any book, ever...

 

“In a calm, clear voice, she suggested that the wyrsa in question could do several highly improbable, athletically difficult and possibly biologically impractical things involving its own mother, a few household implements, and a dead fish.”

 

A dozen or so years have passed since the end of The White Gryphon. Unlike the first two books, this one does not center solely on Drake and Skan. Instead, this one focuses on Tadrith and Silverblade, the children of Skan and Drake respectively. The two are partners in the Silvers, the pseudo military/law enforcement service of White Gryphon. They have been in training and now it is time for them to go out on their first scouting mission. Their parents are so notorious that both of them are more than willing to leave, to be out from under watchful eyes. But things go badly for them almost from the start and they end up lost and alone, injured and being pursued by forces they have never experienced.

 

This is more of an action novel than one of magic and mystery. Although I enjoyed the story and I love the two new characters, it just wasn't as much fun to read. Yes, there was a bit of mystery and some great action, but overall I felt like it just didn't move the story forward as much as the others. It was good for character development, except for the fact that this book is the one and only one in the series that discusses these two characters.

 

My Recommendation

 

No, this wasn't my favorite in the series, aside from the great quote. But it is still enjoyable for a fan of the Valdemar series.

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11370

The White Gryphon

The White Gryphon - Larry Dixon, Mercedes Lackey

The White Gryphon picks up several years after the end of The Black Gryphon. The war is over and the everyone has fled to different parts of the world. Skan, Drake, Winterhart, and Zaneel have escaped together, along with many others of Urtho's former realm. They have made their way south through treachorous land and through tremondous magical storms. Magic is still unpredictable at best, but they have found a home and resettled, using magic to build whenever they can. Skan has become a hero and the new city is named after him, White Gryphon, cut into the cliffs over looking the ocean far below.

 

They have all made a good life for themselves, albeit a hard-fought life. Skan and Zaneel are mates now, as are Drake and Winterhart. Skan and Drake have found themselves the dubious "leaders" of the city and it bores Skan to tears. He is almost grateful when their newfound society seems to be under attack from the Haleigh Kingdom, upon whose land they have unwittingly settled.

 

Magic is unpredictable and what there is of it has changed. This not only affects how the characters weild it, but it also affects many of the characters themselves. Many of those who had once been powerful mages now found themselves with the magic of the lowest level, if that. Conversely, many of those who once had little magic find themselves able to perform magic that would have been beyond their reach before the change. That is a big part of this novel, the changes in power and dynamics and how many of the characters react to that change.

 

It also changes the underlying feel of the plot. Yes, there is still magic and fantasy, but the focus was more on the mystery and intrigue that came with the Haileigh people. While Skan and Drake attempt to negotiate with the Haileigh in order to keep their city, it seems that there are those out there that would sooner see them fail. One after another, Skan and Drake seem to be guilty of crimes they both insist they did not commit and the intrigue begins.

 

While I enjoyed this book, there were a couple things that were a bit offputting for me. For one thing, the female characters really took a back seat to the main cast. They didn't really have their own stories in this book, almost just acting as props for the male characters. I also felt a little uncomfortable with the way the mystery and intrigue with the Haleigh worked itself out. The faith of the dark-skinned Haileigh prevented change without ceremony and ritual, limiting their willingness to search for the truth when Skan and Drake are accused. They were portrayed to be somewhat backward in their culture, portrayed as almost primitive in their thought processes. It took the paler Gryphon citizens to swoop in and create change. That just felt awkward to me.

 

My Recommendation

 

Despite my misgivings, I love the continued story presented in The White Gryphon. Great high fantasy! I gave it 4.8 mugs!

Source: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=11367