Author: G.A. Aiken

Guest Review: The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

Posted August 30, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. AikenReviewer: Tracy
The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken
Series: The Scarred Earth Saga #1
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken. The Old King Is Dead With the demise of the Old King, there's a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king's sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it's all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.

Luckily, Keeley doesn't have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned ...

Keeley is a blacksmith and loves what she does.  She comes from a long line of female blacksmiths and doesn’t plan on ever doing anything else. She has a large loving family and loves taking care of them as well.  When she finds out that her bookish (and she feels, not too smart) younger sister, Beatrix, is prophesied to be the next Queen, Keeley is a little skeptical, but totally supports her sister.  When one of the sons of the recently deceased king shows up to execute Beatrix (they want no one on the throne but themselves), Keeley protects the family, along with her War Monk sister, Gemma, and four Centaurs called the Amichai that show up to protect Beatrix as well.

Keeley and Gemma get their family to safety after being attacked, and then make their way to the Witches of Amhuinn to verify with their seer that Beatrix is in fact the true prophesied queen.  When their Seer stands before Beatrix she states that yes, Beatrix will be queen, but then she points to Keeley and states, and so will she.   Beatrix isn’t happy about this additional prophesy at all.  She takes off and no one knows where she goes after trying to take matters with Keeley into her own hands.  After the witches stronghold is attacked, an injured Keeley is taken to the Amichai’s homeland to heal.

Keeley doesn’t want to be queen but after much deliberation and arguing she finally resigns herself to the fact that this is what needs to happen to save their lands.  She then heads out to drum up an army.

This book was a good one.  Set in Aiken’s Dragon Kin world yet far removed from the dragons.  In fact Keeley had only heard rumors about dragons being real.  I liked the characters and the beginning of what I hope will end up being a fantastic series.

I liked Keeley a lot despite the fact that she was rude at times and completely vicious when it came to fighting.  Besides that she was a pretty darned happy person and liked to smile.  People would underestimate her because she was a blacksmith and a fighter, and happy, thinking she was dumb, but she was actually quite brilliant.

During the course of the book Keeley starts falling for one of the centaurs named Caid.  He falls for her too and endures endless teasing from his siblings.  It’s hilarious.  While they “get together” in this book there’s only a tad bit of what would be considered romance.  Neither Caid nor Keeley are the romantic type so take that into consideration.

Overall I liked the story.  There was quite a bit of action in the book (read: fight scenes) but it worked for what the characters were trying to accomplish.  The Dragon Kin series books were definitely romance, with each book having its own hero and heroine – which was what I was expecting with this book.  Despite my disappointment in not getting a true romance, I thought it was good.  This book ended without a conclusion, so we’ll have to wait until the series continues before I can find out what happens to Keeley as queen and with her and Caid.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken

Posted April 9, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Dragon Actually by G.A. AikenReviewer: Holly
Dragon Actually (Dragon Kin, #1) by G.A. Aiken
Series: Dragon Kin #1
Also in this series: Light My Fire, Dragon on Top, Bring the Heat, Bring the Heat
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: September 1st 2008
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 336
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

It's not always easy being a female warrior with a nickname like Annwyl the Bloody. Men tend to either cower in fear - a lot - or else salute. It's true that Annwyl has a knack for decapitating legions of her ruthless brother's soldiers without pausing for breath. But just once it would be nice to be able to really talk to a man, the way, she can talk to Fearghus the Destroyer.

Too bad that Fearghus is a dragon, of the large, scaly and deadly type. With him, Annwyl feels safe - a far cry from the feelings aroused by the hard-bodied, arrogant knight Fearghus has arranged to help train her for battle. With her days spent fighting a man who fill her with fierce, heady desire, and her nights spent in the company of a magical creature who could smite a village just by exhaling, Annwyl is sure life couldn't get any stranger. She's wrong...

Annwyl the Bloody is sister to the evil king of the realm. She’s been fighting his troops for years, slowly gathering support to form a rebellion meant to overthrow him. When she ends up on deaths doorstep outside a dragon’s den, she doesn’t expect to live. Either her brother’s soldiers will kill her, or the dragon will. But she isn’t going to go down cowering. She’ll go out as she lived, fighting for all she’s worth.

Fearghus the Destroyer is an antisocial dragon. He prefers being alone in his den to dealing with humans or other dragons. But Annwyl the Bloody intrigues him. Not only does her reputation proceed her, but she’s the only human he’s ever met who doesn’t cower from Dragons. She’s fierce and bold, and he can’t stop himself from wanting to heal, take care of and spend time with her. He knows if she wants to defeat her brother he needs better training. She has to learn to control her rage.

When Fearghus tells Annwyl he has a Knight who can help her hone her skill with a sword, she’s skeptical. But she can’t deny the man has skill. Still, for all of her attraction to the Knight, she prefers the company of the dragon.

This was such a good book. I loved how bloodthirsty and kickass the heroine was. She wasn’t a shrinking violet who needed to be saved. I loved Fearghus the dragon. He was so cute. Every time he and Annwyl snuggled I got all melty. I struggled more with her relationship with the Knight. They had a contentious relationship that didn’t really lend itself to softer feelings.

View Spoiler »

Still, I really enjoyed the story, the heroine and the dragon. This was a great start to what I hope will be a great series.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Bring the Heat by G.A. Aiken

Posted September 15, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Bring the Heat by G.A. AikenReviewer: Jen
Bring the Heat by G.A. Aiken
Series: Dragon Kin #9
Also in this series: Light My Fire, Dragon on Top, Bring the Heat, Dragon Actually (Dragon Kin, #1)
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: August 29th 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

HE SAYS . . .I, Aidan the Divine, am . . . well, divine. My name was given to me by the Dragon Queen herself! I’m a delight! Cheerful. Charming. And a mighty warrior who is extremely handsome, with a very large and well-hidden hoard of gold. I am also royal-born, despite the fact that most in my family are horrendous beings who don’t deserve to live. And yet, Branwen the Awful—a low-born, no less—either tells me to shut up or, worse, ignores me completely.

SHE SAYS . . .I’ll admit, I ignore Aidan the Divine because it annoys him. A lot. But we have so much to do right now, I can’t worry about why he keeps staring at me, or why he always sits so close, or why he keeps looking at me like he’s thinking about kissing me. We have our nations to save and no time for such bloody foolishness . . . no matter how good Aidan looks or how long his spiked tail is. Because if we’re going to win this war before it destroys everything we love, we’ll have to face our enemies together, side by side and without distractions. But if we make it out alive, who knows what the future will hold . . .

My minute or so of lazy Googling didn’t give me a definitive answer, but this book feels like a partial conclusion (or at least a pivot point) in G.A. Aiken’s long running Dragon Kin series, since it resolves a couple conflicts in the series and checks in with tons of past characters. If you haven’t read the whole series, I’d argue you can still pick up the book and enjoy yourself, but I do think you’ll get more out of it if you’ve read at least a couple other books from the series. (You especially should read book 1 because that’s Annwyl’s book, and I love me some Annwyl!)

This time, the hero is Aidan the Divine, and the heroine is Branwen the Awful. If you’ve ever read a Dragon Kin book you know the names are totally ridiculous (and OMFG so hard to keep track of), but I do love the way the women are usually given brutal and powerful titles while the men often get the pretty and silly ones. In the grand tradition of the series, Branwen does indeed live up to her brutal name. She’s a tough, deadly military leader, but I really loved that she also has a lightness that some of the other heroines of the series don’t have. And Aidan is a cute match for her. He’s gorgeous and kind, and he is clearly smitten with Branwen even at the start of the book. He knows he has to wait patiently for Branwen to come around, though, and it showed how perfect a match he was for her.

But, this series isn’t really about relationship development. There’s no deep dive into characterization, no slow build up of tender feelings. All the books follow a similar formula, with lots of sex and lots of the woman being too busy kicking butt to realize that maybe she actually likes the guy attached to the penis she’s been enjoying, until she finally gets a clue and it’s the end. The appeal of this series for me is the way it’s so female-centric. The tone was set in book 1 with Annwyl, who is the baddest of all the badass warriors. (Seriously, she makes a major appearance in this book and she literally single handedly conquers hell. This lady ain’t messing around.) There’s been a lot of talk about female rage in fiction recently, and this series has that in spades. The women don’t get victimized, don’t get pushed around, don’t get dominated. They are the meanest, the strongest, and the smartest, and they rule the world. It is an incredibly satisfying fantasy, and I love to pick up a Dragon Kin book after I’ve read a few too many books about women getting held back, abused, slut shamed, and murdered. 

I think this book is one of my favorite installments in this series because I liked seeing the past characters and I enjoyed Branwen and Aidan. If you’ve read any of the others I think you might like it too. If you have read some and didn’t enjoy them, or if you don’t like raucous, funny, violent fairytales, you should probably move along.

Grade: 4 out of 5

 

four-stars


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Guest Review: Bring the Heat by G.A. Aiken

Posted August 29, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Bring the Heat by G.A. AikenReviewer: Tracy
Bring the Heat by G.A. Aiken
Series: Dragon Kin #9
Also in this series: Light My Fire, Dragon on Top, Bring the Heat, Dragon Actually (Dragon Kin, #1)
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: August 29th 2017
Format: eARC
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

HE SAYS . . .

I, Aidan the Divine, am . . . well, divine. My name was given to me by the Dragon Queen herself! I’m a delight! Cheerful. Charming. And a mighty warrior who is extremely handsome, with a very large and well-hidden hoard of gold. I am also royal-born, despite the fact that most in my family are horrendous beings who don’t deserve to live. And yet, Branwen the Awful—a low-born, no less—either tells me to shut up or, worse, ignores me completely.

SHE SAYS . . .

I’ll admit, I ignore Aidan the Divine because it annoys him. A lot. But we have so much to do right now, I can’t worry about why he keeps staring at me, or why he always sits so close, or why he keeps looking at me like he’s thinking about kissing me. We have our nations to save and no time for such bloody foolishness . . . no matter how good Aidan looks or how long his spiked tail is. Because if we’re going to win this war before it destroys everything we love, we’ll have to face our enemies together, side by side and without distractions. But if we make it out alive, who knows what the future will hold . . .

Our story takes us to the ongoing battle between the God Chramnesind’s followers/Zealots and the rest of the world.  They’ve been taking over/killing anyone who won’t claim Chramnesind as their God and that’s anyone who gets in their way.  Annwyl, her children aka The Abominations, her husband Fearghus and his entire family are fighting along with any nation they could get to fight with them.  Despite that it seems that the Zealots are winning the fight .  Things during the opening battle start to go all wrong…Annwyl is sucked into a well that suddenly disappears, mountains start collapsing and witches are singing spells all around them.

Branwen the Awful is fighting with members of the Mì-runach when the mountain they’re standing on collapses.  They manage to get away and plan to get back to their battalions but are intercepted by Brannie’s cousin Keita the Viper.  After being told by her aunt, Queen Rhiannon, and her mother that she must go with the Mì-runach and protect Keita while she heads to the Eastlands, Brannie is pissed.  She wants to get back to her men but ends up “protecting” Keita instead.

While they travel and run into trouble after trouble we read about what’s going on at the front, on the queen’s mountain, Annwyl who’s in hell, and with other characters. Brannie and Aidan, who are great friends decide that as a diversion they’ll sleep together but it means nothing and when Brannie is done, she’s done – no questions asked.  Of course Aidan is going to agree to anything he can in order to be with Brannie (we can tell he loves her).  But when it comes time to call it all off are either of them truly ready to say goodbye?

This was another fabulous story.  I loved how Aiken made this pretty much a fight for your life with a love story thrown in.  It’s tough and gritty and there’s not a lot of romance.  I don’t expect romance, however, as I know that most of the dragons in her stories aren’t the sweet, romantic types.  If she had tried to throw sappy romance into the story I would have been greatly confused. Lol.

The battle scenes as well as the behind the scenes plotting was awesome.  The dragons of Garbhan Isle, the Iron Dragons, the Daughters of the Steppes, the Eastlanders (whatever they are) added so much to the story and made it interesting, intriguing, humorous and sexy.  If you’ve loved the Dragon Kin series then you won’t want to miss this book.  If you haven’t read the series then I wouldn’t recommend starting with this book as you’ll be damned confused.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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