Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Kalayna Price”

Malin’s #CBR4 Reviews #70-74: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost, Timeless by Gail Carriger, Grave Memory by Kalayna Price, The Thief and The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

More of my backlog being cleared, here are five more reviews:

Book 70: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost. First book in new series of paranormal fantasy books, where a girl who channels electricity and can read the history of objects, and the vampireVlad Tepesh (who hates being called Dracula) fall in lust and get into hijinx. 4 stars.

Book 71: Timeless by Gail Carriger. Fifth and final novel in the Parasol Protectorate series. Fluffy fun. 3 stars.

Book 72: Grave Memory by Kalayna Price. Third book in a well-written paranormal series I discovered through Felicia Day. 3 1/2 stars.

Book 73: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. I wasn’t very impressed with this book the first time I read it, and nearly stopped reading half the way through. Boy, am I glad I stuck with it. Essential young adult literature. 4 stars.

Book 74: The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. I loved this one the first time I read it, and even more on a second reading, when I really knew how clever and wonderful it was. Everyone should read this book. 5 stars.

Malin’s #CBR4 #50: Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

This is the second book in the Alex Craft series, and I’m yet again resorting to a plot synopsis from Goodreads because while I love these books, I apparently suck at making them sound exciting to others:

After a month spent recovering from a vicious fight with a sorcerer, grave witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil thanks to the disappearance of Fae Investigation Bureau agent Falin Andrews and a shocking “L” word confession from Death himself, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But her new case turns out to be a deadly challenge.
The police hire Alex to consult on a particularly strange investigation in the nature preserve south of Nekros City. The strange part: There are no corpses, only fragments of them. A serial killer is potentially on the loose, and Alex has no way to raise a shade without a body, so she’ll have to rely on the magic of others to find leads. But as she begins investigating, a creature born of the darkest magic comes after her. Someone very powerful wants to make sure the only thing she finds is a dead end—her own. 

Looking at it, that still makes the book sound a bit lame. It’s not. It’s really very exciting, and if I hadn’t had to do actual work, I would probably have read the whole book in one sitting, having the husband bring me food so I didn’t have to waste precious reading time acquiring nutrition.

I really liked Grave Witch, where Alex Craft was introduced. In the sequel, Kalayna Price expands on the world she created, and lets the reader find out more about Alex’ family and friends, the complicated hierarchy of the Fae, more about the soul stealers and complicates Alex’ love life a whole lot more. Love triangles tend to either frustrate or bore me, but in the case of Alex, Falin and Death, I’m actually struggling to see who she should pick, as both guys are deeply intriguing and clearly care greatly for Alex, to the point where they will both do rather ill-advised things in order to prove their love for her.
This book is even more action packed and tense than the first one, and because I’ve already come to care a lot about all the central characters, the suspenseful scenes affected me even more. I now eagerly anticipate the third book in the series, which is out at the start of July.
4 and a half stars out of five.

Malin’s #CBR4 Review #49: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

Plot summary from Goodreads, because I’ve been trying for about half an hour to recap this in a decent way, and failing miserably:

As a private investigator and consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she’s on good terms with Death himself—who happens to look fantastic in a pair of jeans—nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high profile murder when she’s attacked by the ‘shade’ she’s raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around…

To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something—though it’s certainly not his dislike of Alex—but Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer wielding a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life…and her soul.


I picked up this book because it was the first book featured in Internet geek queen Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Hangout, an online book club that features exactly the sort of stuff I love to read. Never one to let a chance to add another first person narrated female paranormal heroine series to my already looong list (doing a rough count in my head, I think I’m currently following and enjoying 15 different ones), I was still pleasantly surprised by Grave Witch.

The world building is nice, and there are no vampires or werewolves anywhere. The paranormal races introduced so far are witches and the Fae (who come in a variety of wicked and devious and intriguing). Then there’s the soul collectors, of which Death is only one of several (they made me think of the reapers in Dead Like Me, which is never a bad thing. There are a whole range of different types of witches, as well, with different skill sets and abilities.
Alex is a great heroine. She’s determined and independent, and has changed her name and become estranged from her father and sister because her witchy powers would not help her dad’s political career. Unlike a lot of paranormal heroines, she’s not super powerful or the best in the field at what she does, but she takes pride in her abilities, and will unfortunately often push herself to the limits of her endurance to help her friends. Using her powers takes a definite physical toll on her (she can go temporarily blind if she overuses her grave magic), which also makes a nice change from a lot of other books out there.
As well as an engaging, and well rounded (she’s got her fair share of flaws) heroine, the book has a very cool cast of supporting characters, including the seemingly unavoidable love triangle. Detective Falin Andrews starts out as an annoyance to Alex, but sparks obviously fly, even when Alex knows she should probably stay away from him. Her long friendship with the soul collector she calls Death is also changing, after he literally pushes her away from a bullet. As she’s the only one she knows who can see him (and his “colleagues”), it can create complications in the romance department though.
The story really grabbed me, and I hated having to put the book down. I don’t think I’ve been as excited by a series since Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series or Patricia Briggs’ early Mercy Thompson books. Absolutely recommended to fans of paranormal fantasy with romantic elements.

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