Saturday, May 28, 2011

Devon Monk's Dead Iron: The Age of Steam

Dead Iron (Age of Steam #1)Dead Iron by Devon Monk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The old west during the age of steam. In this world people capable of creating both useful and decorative objects from gears, cogs, and wire are known as Devisers. In the east they are civilized and display their devices as the intricate works of art they are. In the west the rail is slowly creeping its way across the country, and the frontiersmen work and wait for the wonders of the east to arrive with the trains. This is a tale of true love and true evil. Of curses, murder, grief, and vengeance. Of greed, heroism, chaos, and hope. You will easily recognize many of the elements in Ms. Monk's story. The Rail Man, forging his way across the landscape, hurrying toward his ultimate goal, allowing no one to stand in his way. The Gunman, cursed to live alone and trying desperately to atone for his sins. The Beautiful Widow, thirsty for revenge following the death of her love. Devon has taken these iconic elements and re-imagined them into a wonderful steampunk saga filled with magic and curses, good and evil, horror and hope. If you like sweeping epic tales of struggle and triumph mixed with magic, mayhem, zombies, witches, and werewolves, you will definitely enjoy Devon Monk's highly imaginative "Dead Iron."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tracy Madison's By Magic Alone

By Magic Alone (Magic, #4)By Magic Alone by Tracy Madison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meet our heroine, Julia: owner of Introductions, a dating service. Julia’s two best friends are Kara and Leslie. And then there’s Verda, the owner of Magical Matchups, a rival dating service that is stealing Julia’s clients. What’s a savvy businesswoman to do? Send in spies, of course. BFF’s Kara and Leslie infiltrate Magical Matchups to see if they can figure out the secret of Verda’s success. Our story begins with the three friends meeting to discuss what the spies have uncovered. What they tell Julia sets off an inevitable series of events that will culminate into a very satisfactory ending and create a wonderful romance you will end up re-reading, I assure you. Toss in Verda’s handsome grandson Scott, and you really have something magical happening. Scott just happens to be Leslie’s ex-boyfriend – the One That Got Away. Leslie wants him back, but Verda is convinced that Julia and Scott are fated soul mates. Tension, misunderstandings, and mayhem ensues.

I really enjoyed this story. It’s the fourth book in Tracy Madison’s Magic series, but you really don’t have to have read the first three to enjoy this story. When you first meet Julia, she comes across as one of the most repressed characters you’ve ever read. And Scott! Well, he’s the quintessential jerk. I didn’t actually care for either of them at first, but the reasons behind their behaviour become clear quickly enough and you will warm up to (and start rooting for) both before long.

Of course, the most important character doesn’t show up until the middle of the book. One of Julia’s clients, Zita Hildebrandt, goes on a date set up by Julia. Her date is a pediatrician named Daryl. Daryl really likes Zita and thinks the date was fabulous, but Zita’s experience was quite different. However, being a lovely and fair-minded individual, Zita agrees to give Daryl another shot. On their second date, they each bring along a friend. As it turns out, Zita falls for Daryl’s friend Adam, and Daryl falls for Zita’s friend. So in the end, Zita gets her well-deserved Happy Ever After. How did I end up in this book, you ask? Well, I won a contest. But that certainly didn’t bias or prejudice me toward this book! Oh, no, not at all! This truly is an enjoyable read and I highly recommend it.