Posts Tagged ‘Reviews by Vanessa Christenson’

Posting my Top Ten cuz people have asked and, yes, they are listed in a particular order (however they’re subject to change should something better come along)–my favorite is listed first, because I’m not mean. I’m also not going to claim that any of these are The Best Books Anyone Should Read, but if you agree with my reviews, you would probably enjoy these, too.

#1. PALADIN of SOULS by Lois McMaster Bujold (2005)

Dowager Queen Ista’s life’s purpose has changed: she’s now a widow, her daughter is married, and her invalid mother is gone. At the start of the book she’s a wrung-out and heartbroken woman who wants to escape a painful past. In a desire to leave her family’s estate and find a new purpose, she cooks up a pilgrimage and takes to the road with a female courier as her handmaiden, the priest of a half-demon god, and a small escort. Now finally–finally!–Ista’s true personality can emerge from a woman who’s lived in the shadow of her family to someone with confidence and presence who must lead her entourage through difficult circumstances. There’s magic, gods, demons, fascinating characters, scenery pertinent to the story, and a big problem only Ista can solve. It helps that Bujold’s prose is crisp and she provides a steady stream of revelations. I read this book about once a year to help me remember that just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you can’t have adventures or learn something new about yourself. (more…)

Twin sisters Melina and Iris aren’t your typical teenagers. For one, they are half-Japanese (a father they never knew) living in a village in modern-day Montenegro. They’re exceptionally beautiful and talented, Melina with music and Iris with color and art. And they have magic.

Some might call them witches. Their mother calls it the “gleam” and when they do magic together it’s called “eating the moon.” Whatever it is, they are otherworldly women living in a village where they hopefully won’t get too much attention.

However, after accidentally exposing their magic in front of a neighbor their mother Jasmina forbids the girls from doing their magic–especially Iris, whose flashy magic is the most noticeable. And they must never, under any circumstances, fall in love.

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From the cover: “Decades after economic and environmental collapse destroys much of civilization in the United States, the Coast Road region isn’t just surviving but thriving by some accounts, building something new on the ruins of what came before. A culture of population control has developed in which people, organized into households, must earn the children they bear by proving they can take care of them, with symbolic banners awarded to demonstrate this privilege. In the meantime, birth control is mandatory.”

Our main character, Enid, is from the community called Haven, and works as an investigator–she mediates disputes and investigates offenses against those living along the Coast Road. In her mid-twenties, she’s considered young for the job, and her first big case is to investigate the suspicious death of a young man treated as an outcast.

Strangely enough, in the post-apocalypse life murder is rare. Strict controls of being able to prove your worth as a contributing member of the community means people are focused on surviving and earning the right to have offspring. While for the most part this concept works, too many chafe at the restriction, hence the need for investigators. (more…)

Once upon a time Misery was a holy warrior who came between humanity and evil. But eight years ago she left the Sentinels and since then has been using her earth magic to do odd jobs to pay the bills and stay one step ahead of her old boss. She currently finds herself in Denver and is finally starting to feel like life could be normal again, even if her roommate is eccentric. Finally, Misery thinks she might get ahead with a lucrative job for the Chimera Lord of Denver–and it may take every friend, resource, and bit of luck she has left to pull it off.

But something is rotten in the city of Denver when she discovers that lesser fae are going missing, and instead of skipping town when a Sentinel hunter tracks her down, she decides that sticking around is the only option. She just hopes pursuing the kidnappers won’t get her killed…again.

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From the back cover: “Someone, somewhere, is reading a magic book that is reading them right back. The line between fantasy and reality is breaking down, and real life is becoming a fairy tale: bored office workers are turning, quite literally, into zombies, bullies into black knights, and squatters beneath bridges into trolls. John Charming and his motley band of monster hunters are racing to find the real villain of this story, following the yellow brick road through a not-so-wonderful wonderland. And if they can’t find Reader X before the mysterious grimoire is closed, there won’t be a happily ever after again.” (more…)

It isn’t the end of the world, but the Four Horsemen of the Apocalyse in their current incarnation as young men must use their new powers to stop the demon Samrael and save the incarnation of Famine from the rift where Samrael was sent at the end of SEEKER. Now in the second and final book of this duology, Daryn, must find a way to save Sebastian–and do it without the sight, which she depended on to tell her the future.  (more…)

We’ve followed Lady Trent from the mountains of Vystrana to war-torn Eriga to the high seas to the deserts of the Akhia all for the sake of studying dragons. Now here we are at the fifth and final novel in this fantastic series, WITHIN THE SANCTUARY OF WINGS, and finale well worthy of Isabella and company.

After years of making a name for herself as a result of her study of dragons, Isabella, Lady Trent, has settled into a routine of study from her home in Scirland, supporting her husband’s linguistic endeavors, and encouraging her son’s education. While she’s happy with her life, she yearns for the adventure associated with her scientific finds that changed the face of the study of dragons. But what else is there for the woman who’s done everything?

Until one fateful day when a man brings her the story of the remains of a strange species of dragon found in the snow of the highest mountains in the world. Unfortunately in order to see it, she would have to travel to a territory claimed by Scirland’s enemies. Remember, this is Isabella we’re talking about, and little things like being banned from a country or traversing the highest mountain range will never deter her from her profound curiosity for all things dragon. (more…)