Genre: Fantasy

Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Posted April 19, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Murder of Crows by Anne BishopReviewer: Casee
Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Series: The Others #2
Also in this series: Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Vision in Silver, Marked in Flesh, Etched in Bone, Written in Red
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 430
Length: 14 hours and 13 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

As a human residing among the Others of the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Lakeside's shape-shifting leader, Simon Wolfgard wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.

Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent of reclaiming their blood prophet - and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

This series is so freaking good. And the narrator? Holy crap, she’s amazing. I loved this book, the way the series moved forward, just everything about it.

Meg is now a trusted member of the Lakeside Courtyard. She proved herself in Written in Red when she warned the terra indigene of the threat that was coming to them. She put herself in harms way for one of them and even the vampires love Meg.

Meg is finding that she needs to speak prophecy now more than ever. Before, it was about feeling the euphoria that comes with the cut. Now it’s about helping the terra indigene and stopping the Controller. The Controller will stop at nothing to get Meg back. She is the most valuable cassandra sangue that is in his possession and losing her means losing money.

When crows are murdered it is traced back to a drug that has been put into food by humans. They are trying to kill anyone related to The Others. It’s also discovered that blood from a cassandra sangue is not good for The Others. It makes them feel a little too good. In other words, they’re worthless and helpless both at the same time.

Simon and Meg had a small crisis in their growing friendship. Meg can accept Simon as a wolf, but when it comes to accepting him as a man? It’s not so easy. Simon doesn’t understand why Meg changed once she saw his human form naked. All he does know is that their relationship changed and he misses his friend. Their friendship is so innocent in a way that it’s hard to even want them to get into something romantic. You can just tell that Meg is Simon’s person.

It soon becomes time to save other cassandra sangues that are under the control of the Controller. After a prophecy where Meg sees the location of her “home” for most of her life, Simon and The Others go for blood. When Simon sees the cell that Meg lived in almost her whole life, it almost breaks him (see, she is his person).

This is a great second installment to The Others. I am so happy that I started this series and I am really looking forward to getting back to it. I just don’t want it to end too soon, so I’m taking my time.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The Others

four-half-stars


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Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Posted March 29, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Written in Red by Anne BishopReviewer: Casee
Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Series: The Others #1
Also in this series: Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Vision in Silver, Marked in Flesh, Etched in Bone, Murder of Crows
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 433
Length: 18 hours and 33 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

When Holly first told me I absolutely needed to read this series, I was hesitant because it isn’t my usual fare. I like a hefty dose of romance in the books I choose to read and Holly straight out told me that The Others had romantic elements, but it technically wasn’t a romance series. Then Tracy jumped into the fray and told me that I had to read it. Tracy and I have very similar reading tastes, so I decided to listen to both of them and picked it up on audio. Holy crap you guys. This book is amazing. It was a little boring at first with the world building, but I could tell right from the beginning that I was going to love this series.

The Others have been around for as long as anyone can remember. Long before humans. The terra indigene rule as they see fit. They grant resources to humans at their discretion. At the same time, the humans aren’t completely powerless. With the resources that The Others grant them, they build. They build cities, transportation, create electricity. All things resources they grant to The Others at their discretion. There is shaky peace between humans and The Others, but that’s about to end.

Meg Corbin is a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet. When she takes a blade to her skin and cuts it, she can see prophecy. It is told that a cassandra sangue doesn’t live much past thirty. The compulsion to cut often outweighs self-preservation. When she arrives at the Lakeside Courtyard to inquire at the Human Liaison position, it is clear that she is on the run from something or someone. Simon Wolfguard is the head of the Lakeside Courtyward. While he wants to turn her away, something about Meg won’t let him do so.

Meg and Simon tiptoed around each other in this book. Which was okay. It worked. I think my favorite part of the book was Meg and Simon’s nephew, Sam. Sam was just a little boy when his mom was murdered. For two years he has been in wolf form and scared to come out of the cage that Simon let him have to feel safe. It was Meg that got him to come out of the cage, risking the anger of the entire pack. Their relationship was so sweet, it brought on all the feels.

When Meg sees a prophecy telling of a fight coming to the Courtyard, Simon has to decide if he’s going to protect her or turn her away.

I also need to mention that Alexandra Harris is one of the best narrators I’ve ever listened to. Hands down.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The Others

four-half-stars


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Review: Ariana by Ash Dylan

Posted March 1, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Ariana by Ash DylanReviewer: Holly
Ariana by Ash Dylan
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 26, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 132
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Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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three-stars

Princess Ariana, stuck in a tower for fifteen years, can only inherit her kingdom if she cuts her hair and marries. She spends her days killing every suitor she meets and refusing to cut her hair for anyone.

Devin, a warrior king from a neighboring country, thinks he has what it takes to woo the princess. Though he has enjoyed a no-strings-attached relationship with his bodyguard, Devin wants to move on, worried that his deeper affection is not reciprocated.

But Tan, the king’s loyal bodyguard, has kept his true feelings a secret and will do anything to protect his love from a deadly princess. He lost another loved one fifteen years earlier, and he refuses to let the same fate befall his king.

When Devin and Tan spend a night in Ariana’s tower, they realize an unlikely arrangement could lead to them living happily ever after. But first, Ariana needs to learn to trust them. And Devin and Tan need to make it through the night alive.

This polyamorous MMF novella, set in a post-apocalyptic America, has 30,000 words, an unapologetic heroine, two bisexual heroes, three HEA’s, and several happy endings.

I saw a friend talking about this on Twitter and knew it was the book for me when I read “She spends her days killing every suitor she meets and refusing to cut her hair for anyone.” in the blurb. Yassss.

I loved the concept of a tough, kickass Princess heroine who refused to humiliate herself for anyone. For 15 years she’s lived in a tower for the good of her people, and though that chafed, she didn’t resent them for it. I don’t know that I bought into Devin as a warrior, but that’s probably because we were told he was more than shown.

The MMF relationship worked for me and I enjoyed the main characters. There were some flaws with the world-building (namely that there wasn’t enough of it to truly give this a post-apocalyptic feel), but I really liked the way the story developed and the romance between the three. The BIG CONFLICT was predictable and didn’t do a lot for me, nor did the final resolution, but overall I rather enjoyed the way the story came together.

I’m looking forward to the next novella, which looks to be a FFM.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

I believe this is the start of a series, but I can’t find any additional information about it on the author’s website, Amazon or Goodreads.

three-stars


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Review: Never Deal with Dragons by Lornenda Christensen

Posted February 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Never Deal with Dragons by Lornenda ChristensenReviewer: Holly
Never Deal with Dragons by Lorenda Christensen
Narrator: Leslie Bellair
Series: Never Deal with Dragons #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: July 22, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 209
Length: 7 hours and 40 minutes
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Consoling a sobbing dragon and serving pig buffets are just part of the job for Myrna Banks. Working for a mediation firm, it's her job to get humans compensated for damages caused by the dragons who now rule. But her "typical" day is interrupted by Trian Chobardan, an old flame who sneaked out of her bed two years ago, taking her heart and a handful of classified documents with him.

Myrna would love to show Trian the door, but he's been sent by North America's reigning dragon lord for help negotiating a truce with a powerful rival to avert war. Myrna agrees to help, even though she'll be stuck with Trian as a partner.

As the two work together, Myrna finds Trian to be surprisingly supportive—and still irresistibly attractive. Though her brain tells her not to forget his betrayal, her body feels differently. When they learn the enemy dragon lord is planning something no one could have imagined, Myrna has to learn who she can trust before she loses not only her heart, but her life.

Never Deal with Dragons is the first book in Lorenda Christensen’s Never Deal with Dragons series. This was an impulse grab from the Audible Romance Package. It’s currently $1.99 for Kindle. It grabbed me from the start. Leslie Bellair narrated and did an excellent job. She made it easy to fall into the story.

Myrna works for a mediation firm in a post-apocalyptic future society where technology has basically been wiped out and dragons rule the earth. She settles disputes between humans and dragons. When her ex stole some sensitive documents from her a year ago, her fast-track to the top career came to a screeching halt. Now she’s stuck working as assistant to an incompetent creep, with no end in sight. She isn’t too happy to see her ex when he shows back up. Especially when she realizes he’s really the head of security for the Dragon in charge of North America – a position he held when they were together, though she didn’t know it. That isn’t the only thing she didn’t know…Trian is hiding a pretty big secret. One he never wants her to find out…

I really liked Myrna. She was strong, competent and full of snark. The world was really interesting and drew me in right from the start. These aren’t dragon shifters – they’re actual dragons who only have one form. They were accidentally created in a lab during World War III (yes, 3). They’ve risen to the top of the food chain and now rule in seven different territories. While I enjoyed the fresh take on an old theme, I did struggle a bit to catch up. The world felt very much like our own today, except there was a lack of technology – including electricity, etc. While we were told about this, I didn’t really see evidence of it in the writing. In that case, I believe it was a tell, not show. Still, I can’t deny I was interested in finding out more about the world and how humans and dragons learned to co-exist.

I did struggle with the romance. I didn’t really feel a true connection between Myrna and Trian. I never truly understood the deep emotional connection between Trian and Mryna. They had physical chemistry, but why they loved each other remains a mystery to this reader (listener?). The second half got bogged down with a suspense plot I wasn’t all that interested in. The narrator kept me invested in the story, but I’d rather have had more of the romance (and definitely more grovel from Trian!) than we got.

Still and all, this was a light, enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to the second book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Never Deal with Dragons

three-half-stars


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Review: Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Posted February 12, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: Lake Silence by Anne BishopReviewer: Holly
Lake Silence by Anne Bishop
Series: The World of The Others #1
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 402
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In this thrilling and suspenseful fantasy, set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, Vicki DeVine and her lodger, the shapeshifter Aggie Crowe, stumble onto a dead body . . . and find themselves enmeshed in danger and dark secrets.

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

Like many others, I was disappointed when I realized Lake Silence was going to be set in the world of The Others, but wouldn’t feature any of my favorite characters from the Lakeside Courtyard. While there is a passing mention of some of the characters, this novel features a new cast. Soon enough I was wrapped up in the story, however, and I ended up loving it. This read like one of the “Crowgard Cozies” the Lakeside Female Pack was so enamored with.

Vicki DeVine got a rustic resort near Lake Silence in her divorce. For the past few months she’s been working hard to restore it. Per the terms of the original sale, Vicki has to be very careful in how she renovates. The Others – shape-shifting beings who rule the Earth – were very specific in the deal with her husband’s ancestors and she doesn’t want to do anything to anger them. When her boarder, Aggie (a crow shape-shifter), turns up with a human eye, Vicki discovers a murder took place near her resort. While a human detective wants to pin it on her, The Others protect her. They’ve come to see Vicki as someone who can help teach them about the humans.

Vicki’s marriage was not a good one, and she’s still dealing the trauma of living with an abusive man for too many years. For her, the resort is a refuge. A place to rebuild her life as well as the crumbling cabins and overgrown grounds. I enjoyed Vicki’s personal growth over the course of the novel, as well as getting to know The Others who reside nearby. There are hints of a romance between Vicki and the owner of the bookshop in town, but merely hints. I wonder if Bishop will return to Lake Silence at some point in the future?

I was fully engrossed in the novel, and very much look forward to the next installment.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Others

four-stars


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