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Alice Janell

Whovian Browncoat. Fantasy author. Avid knitter and pretend cooking show host. Please send Milky Way Midnight Minis.

Great world building, but no clear plot...

Storm Glass - Maria V. Snyder

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. And some parts, I truly loved. The magic system and the world building are great. The characters and the story, however, didn't pull me in the way I was hoping.


I didn't realize until much, much later that this book is a spin off of another series. A lot of this book talks about Yelena and all the wonderful, heroic things she has done, and not knowing this was a spin off of Yelena's story, I kept growing annoyed with all the talk about Yelena. This was supposed to be Opal's story, but half of it feels like Opal telling the reader about Yelena's story.


Another thing that made it difficult to really get into this book (I mean, look how long it took me to read this -- nearly a month, which is a looong time, for me) was that I never did pin down the plot. There were a lot of mini plots/quests, but nothing over all that made me invested in following Opal's journey.


Perhaps things will be made clearer in future books of the series, but being that I couldn't truly get into this one, I doubt I'll continue reading this series.


Some dark subjects, but a good read.

Sanctum - Sarah Fine

Despite touching on some heavy and dark subjects (rape, death, suicide, depression), Sanctum was a pretty good book.

First, I loved that Lela Santos is Hispanic. Though living in foster care she's not entirely positive about her heritage, I did like her nod to maybe being Puerto Rican. Of course, I'm biased there. ;)

And she was an interesting character, too. For being so tough and badass she was also very broken and vulnerable. So was Nadia, the seemingly perfect preppy girl. Despite the main plot of the story revolving around Lela's love for her best friend (sisterly, platonic love), we don't see a lot of Nadia. I wish she'd been fleshed out a little more.

The romance between Lela and Malachi was sweet, but I wish it hand't of built so quickly. Lela is vulnerable because of her past and her intimacy issues come stem from being raped by a former foster father and I felt that she was too comfortable around Malachi a little too quickly. It was clear that the trauma had haunted Lela for YEARS and in the span of days she was in love with Malachi.

Despite a romance that felt a little too rushed, the story was well-written. I like that in the end, Lela realized she not the solution to Nadia's depression. Those were demons Nadia needed to work out on her own.

Really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Phenomenal. Stunning.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone  - Laini Taylor

Ok. Wow. Just wow.


Despite not being totally into the romance (I liked it, but was not blown away by it), this book was amazing.


I adore the different worlds Laini Taylor created. It's dark and elegant, luxurious and dangerous. Phenomenal. 


The writing was fantastic, too. It's been awhile since I've devoured a book in a day, but I could not put this down. I can't wait to read the others in the series.

Slow start, but worth sticking with.

Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas

A bit of a slow start, but it picks up the pace. To be honest, I got bored with some of the trials in the middle of the book and was more interested in the mystery of the evil in the castle.

I pegged the right bad guy from the start, but I found myself wishing it had been a certain someone who makes an escape near the end. Would have been an interesting twist if it was him, that's for sure.

Still, I really enjoyed this book. I loved that as much as Celaena is known for behind this bad ass assassin, she's still essentially a young woman and a little bit girlish. However, I would have liked her to be a little bit more of a bad ass. We're told that she's the best assassin ever, but we don't see a lot of that skill. Maybe in future books?

Fans of young adult/new adult and high fantasy novels should enjoy this.

On Sale!
On Sale!

Exciting news! 


UNTOUCHABLE is only 99c on Amazon from Feb. 1 through Feb. 7


If you enjoy fantasy and unique twists on classic fairytales, you'll probably enjoy UNTOUCHABLE



I'm heading on vacation for the holidays in a few days (New Zealand, here I come!) so I'm in a happy/excited/happy/excited mood.


So from now until the end of the month, UNTOUCHABLE is just $2.99!!


Amazon | BN | Kobo |SW

UNTOUCHABLE is (finally) live on Kobo!

UNTOUCHABLE is a fairytale fantasy inspired by German and Inuit folklore and mythologies as well as the holiday ballet, The Nutcracker.


Also available on Amazon, BN and in print.

Krampusnacht & St. Nikolas Day

Talking about St. Nikolas, the Krampus (aka the Christmas devil), my time in Germany and how it influenced writing UNTOUCHABLE.

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love - Rachel Aaron Some truly great info in this book. Though Aaron describes herself as a very plot-centric writer, I think a lot of these techniques can be used to writers who prefer not to do a lot of heavy plotting (like me).

Will definitely be experimenting with these techniques.

Untouchable (Everwinter, #1) available November 5, 2013


A thief with a dangerous secret…


Aneira Frost is a master thief who's being noticed by the wrong people. She's hired by a client she can't refuse for a job she can't fail --  steal a nutcracker from the King of Pohl or die. But when the object she's stolen turns into a Guardian of the North inexplicably appears in her house one night, his past and her greatest secret puts both their lives on the line.


A Guardian running from his past…


Freed from a curse after thirty years, Nikolas Claus wants nothing more than to pick up the pieces of his broken past, bury them and move on with his life. He accepts the help of a beautiful, mysterious blonde — until she betrays him to the man responsible for cursing him. But when Niko learns the truth about his beautiful thief, he’ll be forced to confront the shadows of his past.


A prince denied his throne…


Rattagan wants one thing: revenge on the King of Pohl. Dreams become a reality when he discovers the thief he hired is actually an untouchable — someone with the ability to break any magic spell. But he’s not the only one with plans for Ani. In exchange for helping the Winter Queen release a long-forgotten evil, Rattagan will have the throne he’s always wanted…and so much more.

Source: http://alicejanell.com/books-2/everwinter-series/untouchable-2

Enclave (Razorland, #1)

Enclave (Razorland, #1) - Ann Aguirre


Enclave - Ann Aguirre This book was like crack --- addicting, fast-paced and gritty.

Oct. 27, 2012: Doing a reread of Enclave so I can read Outpost.

Poison Princess (Arcana Chronicles, Book 1)

Poison Princess - Kresley Cole

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

A Game of Thrones  - George R.R. Martin If you're a fan of epic/high fantasy (think Robert Jordan and his Wheel of Time series), you'll enjoy these books.

Lots of political intrigue and plenty of battle scenes.

I would have rated this five stars, except 1) All the names get really confusing at the beginning. It took me a good third of the book to get used to all the names and remember who was who. 2) SOOO much death. No character is safe!

I dislike getting to learn/like/love a character only to have them die.

Still, this is a great read. Definitely looking forward to the rest of the series.

The Dark Highlander (The Highlander Series, Book 5)

The Dark Highlander - Karen Marie Moning This series has gone so far downhill. It'll be a long while before I read the last two books (if I even bother).

It's a shame, because my guilty romance novel pleasure are Highland romances. But this...

I can overlook a lot of annoying things in a book, but I could not get past how FUCKING IDIOTIC Chloe is/was.

Things Wrong With Chloe:
1. She's a virgin. Virgin heroines are OK if they have a genuine reason to be a heroine. But having a modern woman who is smart and feisty and is still a virgin just isn't very believable to me. This also bothered me because Chloe was the third virgin heroine in a row in this series. Can we change up the character profile a bit?

2. Chloe is unprofessional. She went snooping around some man's apartment. You were told to drop off the book and leave. There were some superficial reasons that led Chloe to stay, so I can kind of overlook this.

3. Chloe is held against her will by Daegus, and does not care. Just because a man is hot/sexy/attractive/using Magnum condoms, does not make it OK to basically be kidnapped.

4. Chloe makes ONE (count 'em: ONE) attempt to escape Daegus.

5. Even though she's pretty much been kidnapped, she agrees to fly to Scotland with a perfect stranger because she wants a stamp in her passport. Rather than leave to go pack on her own (and I don't know, do something smart like go to the police), she stays at Daegus's penthouse and he goes to her apartment to pack for her.

6. While Daegus is gone, a stranger shows up and Chloe fights off the stranger with a fucking sword! WHAT?! You wouldn't fight Daegus to escape the penthouse, but you'll fight another stranger? IDIOTIC C--T.

7. Chloe's favorite book....is book one in this EXACT SAME SERIES. Honestly? That's just cheap. At the very least her favorite book could have been another Highlander romance...there are lots to choose from.

It just gets worse and worse. I honestly stopped reading about 100 pages from the end because I could not take the characters any more.

The romance just wasn't believable and even that close to the end of the book, they "loved" each other for superficial reasons.

I really loved the second book in this series, but the rest of the series just gets progressively worse.

Just because you are a big, well-known author doesn't give you the right to get lazy with your story. I'm really very disappointed with this...and I can look past a lot of shit for the sake of a story that has a man in a kilt.

Midnight (Dark Age Dawning Series #2)

Midnight  - Ellen Connor This is the second book in the Dark Age Dawning series (the first is "Nightfall"), but you don't necessarily need to read book one to understand book two. It helps, but book two follows a different set of characters -- only of which is introduced in the first book. Of course, fan girl that I am, I highly recommend you read book one first. ;)

"Midnight" is as explosive as "Nightfall", though I didn't find it nearly as gritty or dark as the first book. That disappointed me a little bit and it's the main reason I gave "Midnight" 4 stars instead of 5. Where book one explored a world turned to chaos in an "every man, woman, child for themselves" kind of way, "Midnight" is more about groups of people coming together and building their own mini-civilizations.

This is what Rosa has done in Valle de Bravo. She's in charge and her word is law. She's got cojones, and everyone knows it. With the help of her bravos, she brings in food, whiskey and other supplies. In return, everyone swears fealty to her and lives in relative safety within the borders of Valle de Bravo.

I really liked Rosa. I loved that she was tough and had a set of steel cojones that put her above all the men around her. Still, she wasn't without her flaws. Because she's had to be so tough, she doesn't trust the changes that are coming with the new world. She's got a strong prejudice against shifters -- which we saw in book one aren't all bad -- and she has to keep herself at arms length from the men around her. That means no steamy one-night-stands and definitely no relationships. She can't afford to be seen as weak and emotional and she sacrifices herself for the good of her people. You can't help but admire her for that.

But even tough-as-nails Rosa can't deny her attraction to Chris, the doctor who appears in Valle de Bravo after traveling on his own for so long. Their attraction is near-instant, and it's strong, but Rosa can't trust Chris right away. He could, after all, just be using her as a stepping stone to be in charge of Valle de Bravo himself -- he wouldn't be the first to try. But Chris is patient, which we saw a bit of book one. What we didn't see in book one was Christian's flirty bad-boy side.

For some reason, I had Chris pictured as a scraggly, kind of dumpy type of professor. I certainly did not imagine him looking like the man on the cover. I do now, though. Ha!

For tons of action and a slight "wild-west-in-chaos" feel, "Midnight" is definitely the book you want to read. There may not be as many hellhounds as in book one, but the dust pirates are definitely a threat and there are more characters to become involved with.

Four stars!