Friday, May 31, 2013

Book Review: Forget You by Parker Blue

Forget You A short story about Shade, the shadow demon

Forget You (Demon Underground Series) by Parker Blue

Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: April 10, 2013
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Pages: 31 pages
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

This fascinating short story provides fans of the Demon Underground series with a chance to enter the point of view of Shade, the beautiful, sad shadow demon who has been the romantic interest of the series' heroine, Val, for three of the four books so far.

Shade is 16 at the time of this story, four years before the events of the first four books, in which Val is 18 and Shade is 20.

At the time of this story, Shade is known by his birth name, Shawn. He is living with his father and his twin sister Sharra. His father's nickname for Shawn is "Shadow Boy," and Sharra is his "Sunshine Girl," so called because of Shawn/Shade's melancholic nature and Sharra's sanguine disposition.

Their father is one-fourth shadow demon and the siblings are one-fourth shadow demon. A distinguishing trait of the shadow demon's appearance is swirling energy clouds obscures that their face. It only becomes visible if a non-shadow demon touches them, and ever since their mother ran off a while back, none of them have been able to see each other's faces.

Shade/Shawn and his family have always lived an isolated life because of their inability to blend in with regular humans, but since their mother left, life has been horribly lonely. Shade/Shawn is depressed and angry, and finally one day he can't take it anymore. He confronts his father, and their argument releasea his and his father's powers in a way that brings down disaster on their family.

Shade is one of my favorite characters in this exciting YA, urban-fantasy series, and Parker Blue has offered in this story a terrific opportunity to get to know him more deeply. His is a very tragic family history, and this story deepens even further my interest in Shade and his further adventures in this wonderful series.

These are the books so far in this series, with Forget You listed first because it is a prequel:

Forget You (Demon Underground Series, prequel)

Bite Me (Demon Underground, #1)

Try Me (Demon Underground, #2)

Fang Me (Demon Underground, #3)

Make Me (Demon Underground, #4)

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book through Net Galley.

I rate this book as follows:

Hero: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Urban Fantasy Plot: 5

Fantasy World Building: 5

Writing: 5

Overall: 5

Book Review: Miser of Mayfair by Marion Chesney

Miser of Mayfair Cover Terrific, humorous, Regency novel

Miser of Mayfair (A House for the Season, #1) by Marion Chesney

Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: originally published in April 1987
Publisher: St Martins
Source: Purchased
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

This is the first of six books in the Regency-romance series, "A House for the Season." The complete series is:

This first book sets up the central core of this series. A group of servants, for various personal reasons, are miserably bound to their employment at Number 67 Clarges Street in London's Mayfair, a house notorious for being unlucky and haunted because a past owner, the Duke of Pelham, hung himself there, and a woman who lived there was murdered. The current extremely wealthy Duke of Pelham pays no attention to this property, leaving its disposition--including the salaries of the servants that go with it--completely at the discretion of Jonas Palmer, the duke's agent. Unfortunately, Palmer is a bully and an embezzler. He tells the duke he is paying good wages to the staff, but actually gives them barely enough money to survive on and pockets the difference. This constant state of poverty makes it impossible for them to fulfill their heart's desire, to buy an inn and run it as a group.

This plan feels quite workable to the staff because over the years they have banded together and formed a family of affiliation, headed by the 30-something butler, Rainbird, a former acrobat, magician and juggler. Rainbird is clever, kind and helpful to every decent person who comes into his orbit, not merely the staff, but tenants of the house.

The rest of the staff include a housekeeper named Mrs. Middleton, whose "Mrs." is an honorary title since she is a middle-aged spinster born to an impoverished curate; a brilliant chef who is a barbaric Scotsman named Angus MacGregor; a handsome, vain, and cowardly footman named Joseph; a chambermaid and skilled seamstress named Jenny; a beautiful, languorus, blond housemaid named Alice whom Rainbird frequently has to protect from lecherous guests; a sweet, innocent, teenage scullery maid named Lizzie, and the preteen pot boy, Dave, a former climbing boy whom Rainbird rescued from a cruel chimney sweep.

The staff of Number 67 Clarges Street are overjoyed when they hear they are to get tenants, only to learn that Mr. Roderick Sinclair, a middle-aged man with a beautiful, young ward named Fiona, is a terrible miser and refuses to entertain--depriving the staff of the "vails" (tips) which could augment their meager wages. But all is not as it seems with the presumably empty-headed Fiona, fortunately for the staff.

As always, this book, like all of Marion Chesney's Regencies, has a strong touch of the bizarre in its comedy, which can be quite startling to the uninitiated, and quite funny when you get used to it. Also, in spite of the many oddball events in her romances, Chesney does a great job of authentically portraying the Regency era, and her main characters are always sympathetic. In this series, the family of servants led by Rainbird are a terrific throughline linking it together. Every one of them, even vain Joseph, grows across the series, and each is lovable in his/her way. And the two lovers in this particular book are quite sympathetic. Finding out what Fiona is really like, compared to what everyone has always thought of her--until meeting Rainbird and crew--is an amazing experience.

I read this book as a Kindle edition. It is well formatted and edited, making it easy to read.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 4

Hero: 4

Rainbird and Crew: 4

Historical World-Building: 5

Writing: 4

Romance Plot: 4

Comedy: 4

Overall: 4