Monday, August 25, 2014

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

**Book 1 * Book 2 * Book 3 * Book 4 * Book 5**

This book takes place just before the American Revolution gets into swing. Jamie is already able to sense that war is coming, even with Claire, Brianna, and Roger warning him that it will be. The dissatisfaction of the colonists is becoming apparent, and Jamie treads carefully.

See, he has this problem where he swore and oath to the king of England in order to be freed from prison. So he feels a sense of loyalty there. But at the same time, Claire has warned him that the Loyalists are not the winning side of the upcoming war. The majority of Highlanders though are on the Loyalist side, so for a long time, Jamie treads the line between sides very carefully so that he doesn't lose his friends and family. But eventually, he reaches a point where he absolutely has to declare himself. And he loses people.

But there is so much more to this book than a preparation for war. Claire has found an apprentice of sorts in Malva Christie, Tom Christie's daughter. But then she turns up pregnant, claiming that it is Jamie's baby. She claims it was while Claire was deathly ill (she actually almost dies in this book). He adamantly denies it. Then, Malva is found dead in Claire's garden and she is accused of her murder. Jamie is also accused because the entire Ridge has heard the rumors that Jamie is the father of Malva's unborn child.

There was so much drama related to that plot line that I loved what happens to wrap it up. It was pretty interesting when you learn who the father of Malva's child is and who murdered her.

Brianna ends up kidnapped by Stephen Bonnet. He's planning to auction her as a slave to the sugar plantations in the Indies. I was shaking with a combination of fury and fear for Brianna during that entire part. But, it's ok. Stephen Bonnet gets what he has deserved for several books.

The end was a little sad. The family had to separate due to Brianna and Roger's daughter being born with a heart defect. So their family had to go back to the present for her. I'm hoping that the next book makes me feel more comfortable about that decision.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Fiery Cross

**Book 1 * Book 2 * Book 3 * Book 4**

This book took me some time to get through. Mostly because I read a bunch of books at once. And that this is a long book.

Claire, Jamie, Brianna, and Roger are all together, but there are the early rumblings that signify that war is coming. The Regulators mob and kill people in towns, so Jamie and Roger end up rounding up a militia for the governor of North Carolina. Even though Jamie kind of sees what the Regulators are trying to say, he has a duty to the governor. For now.

Roger has it hard in this book. Not only is he dealing with the uncertainty of his son's paternity (is he Roger's or not? That's still a little undetermined, but more settled by the end of this book), he ends up hanged (don't worry, he doesn't die), and just random stuff gets thrown in his way. He loses his identity for a while and you will agonize with him as he tries to figure out who he is again. Brianna has to figure it out too, so their relationship is a little up in the air.

Claire is working to make penicillin  for use on Fraser's Ridge. It takes a long time and she goes through a lot of mold batches before she starts seeing results.

A character that left a while back returns (no telling though). There are happy times and not so happy times. Also, Jemmy (Roger and Brianna's son) starts repeating everything...including swear words.

Overall a great book. Looking forward to reading the next one.

The Iron Knight

**Book 1 * Book 2 * Book 3**

Oh my god! I totally loved this book...eventually. It started off a little shaky, but ended very strong.

The shaky part? Well, Ash is on a quest (with Puck) to get a soul/mortality so that he can be with Meghan in the Iron Kingdom. Now, this is not a bad thing and I spent a long time hoping he'd get that soul. But when the seer who is supposed to guide him to the End of the World where the Testing Grounds are (the place he can earn a soul) turns out to be Ariella, the long dead love from his past, I got really confused.

Then I got angry. See, Ash made this vow that he would do anything to return to Meghan, or he'd die trying. But when Ariella is thrust back into his life, he feels conflict over his decision. Does he forsake his vow and cause his essence to unravel to be with his first love, or does he keep his word and try to get back to the love who has made him the man he is? Ariella sure doesn't make it easy. In fact, she is essentially trying to make him choose her over Meghan. I did not like her character.

I still don't and the book is over.

But Puck and Ash work past their issues, mostly because Ariella wasn't dead, so Ash doesn't have to kill Puck. Ash goes on his epic quest and deals with a lot of things from his past and in his possible future that make him wonder if Meghan is worth all this trouble.

But it ended so well that I just sat there hugging the book to my chest. Even after the little "ha ha, fooled you!" part of the book. I spent two chapters swooning just to have the rug ripped from under me. But they made up for it.

Now, there's a spin off series that follows Ethan (Meghan's little brother) as a teenager. I need to read that at some point.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Iron Queen

**Book 1 * Book 2**

I can't even explain how much I am loving this series. So at the end of the last book, Ash and Meghan were banished from the Nevernever because they won't renounce their love for each other. Meghan means to go home to her family, but never quite gets there.

See, there's the new false Iron King causing destruction and chaos in the land of Faery. He wants Meghan because she has the magic of the former Iron King, Machina, who she killed at the end of the first book. So, she has all these Iron fey trying to capture her to take her to this false king. On top of that, she's able to communicate with the gremlins, and other Iron fey are trying to hold her hostage so that the false king can't get her.

All the while, Ash is trying to protect her and Puck, who also got himself banished, is trying to help her figure out her glamour. She manages to rescue the man who raised her until she was six from a banished fey who had been keeping him in the Between.

Everything gets all crazy, and she has to figure out her feelings for Ash and how they can stay together, while working through the problems that inevitably arise.

The ending was a big tease, and I'm so excited to read the next book (and I'm glad I grabbed it from the library when I picked up book 3).

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Iron Daughter

**Book 1**

I had so many emotional ups and downs reading this book. I hit all the major ones: happy, sad, excited, angry, furious, terrified, hopeful, etc. Not just that, but I got emotionally attached to a few characters. Namely Meghan and Ash. So I had several moments where I thought my heart was going to break.

Anyway, Meghan begins this book essentially trapped in the Winter Court because of her deal with Ash from the last book. Oberon wants to rescue her and take her back to Summer, but because she made a deal, he can't really help her. She's in love with Ash, but as soon as they got to the Winter Court, he distanced himself and she begins to question whether he really loves her like she thought he did. Not only that, but his brother Rowan starts messing with her and gets her to admit that she loves Ash, which will be used to his own advantage.

Then, chaos. The Iron fey are back and they're stealing the Scepter of the Seasons and Meghan is the only witness to this. War is declared between Winter and Summer because Winter believes that Summer took the scepter. No one believes Meghan when she says it was the Iron fey, and she becomes a block of ice.

She then has to go on this quest to recover the scepter with a motley crew of help. Ash (on and off), Puck (eventually), Ironhorse (who was originally an enemy), and Grimalkin (a mischievous cat) assist Meghan in her quest and she has to deal with all sorts of emotions and personal problems along the way.

The end was amazing because she (and everyone else) discovers something interesting and unexpected about her abilities as faery.

I so want to read the next book to find out what happens next. So, until I get to the library, I'll pine over my favorite fey.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Scarecrow of Oz

**Book 1 * Book 2 * Book 3 * Book 4 * Book 5 * Book 6 * Book 7 * Book 8**

This is another of those Oz books with a title that's a bit misleading. The Scarecrow is not really the focus of this story. Instead, we focus on two completely new characters, with the introduction of another new character, and a smattering of characters that appeared before.

Now, I'm not saying that the Scarecrow doesn't appear, because he does, and he is pivotal to the development of the story. But really you mostly follow the adventures of Trot and Cap'n Bill, both from California, throughout these fairy lands. They meet an Ork, which is like a featherless bird. The Ork follows them for a time, and then comes and goes through the rest of the story.

A majority of the book takes place in Jinxland, which is technically part of the Land of Oz, but it is separated by mountains and a bottomless crevice. This little country is ruled by a cruel king named, um, Krewl. Yeah. That was a really transparent name. It could have been a little less obvious that this character was going to be the bad guy.

I definitely didn't love this Oz story, but I also didn't hate it. I was just really ambivalent about it. I have come to the realization that the early Oz books were really good, but as L. Frank Baum wrote more to please his audience, the stories got kind of mediocre. I truly think that this series should have ended before this point, but here we are, and there are still more Oz books to read.