Reading Challenge: Rowena's Summer Reading Challenge

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

Posted September 18, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean BrookReviewer: Rowena
The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Series: The Iron Seas #1
Also in this series: The Iron Duke (Iron Seas, #1), Fire and Frost, Tethered (Novella), The Kraken King Part I, Here There Be Monsters (Iron Seas, #0.5), The Kraken King (Iron Seas, #4), Heart of Steel (Iron Seas, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 5, 2010
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power - and fear - of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.

But when Mina uncovers the victim's identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans-and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen, as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.

Ugh, August was a really bad month for me, on the reading front. I had such big plans of finishing my Summer Reading Challenge and this book ended up being one of the only books on my list that I read. Sigh. In good news though, I really enjoyed this book. It took some getting used to because I don’t read a lot of steampunk books so it was hard for me to picture everything but the more that I listened, the more that I talked to Holly, the clearer the picture of the steampunk world that Brook created for these characters came to be and this book ended up being a lot of fun and super steamy.

So, when The Iron Duke saved the world from activated nano agents, he became a national hero. He used that hero-worship to build himself an empire and all was well until a dead body drops onto his steamship and brings Detective Mia Wentworth to his doorstep (or whatever they call their doorsteps on the steamships). Mia’s got a case to solve and for, maybe the first time in her life, Trahaearn sees Mia, the woman and not Mia, the woman with horde blood in her veins. Mia can’t afford to be distracted from her work because her family relies on her financial support but you can’t stop love when your destiny is to love the Iron Duke.

The strongest part of this story, for me, was Mia. Her character was wonderfully written and I was here for every single thing that she went through. I loved the woman that she was and I really loved seeing her grow into the feelings that she was developing for Trahaearn. She meant business and she knew what she was about and I couldn’t help myself. I cheered for her from beginning to end. I wanted her to get everything her heart’s desired because she deserved it. She was a genuinely good person and she was fair and when that scene happened, I was shocked and at first, I didn’t know how to feel though my heart hurt for Mia. I was glad with the way that Meljean Brook handled that and how everything came together.

I enjoyed the narration of this story too. I was able to easily follow along with what was happening, even when it took me a little bit to picture everything in this steampunk world. This book had me gripped from beginning to end and though it wasn’t my favorite read of the Summer Reading Challenge, I still really enjoyed it and look forward to continuing this series. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

The Iron Seas


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Posted August 27, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Written in Red by Anne BishopReviewer: Rowena
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, Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Wild Country, Vision in Silver
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 18 hours, 32 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

18 hrs 32 mins

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.

I’ve been hearing lots of good things about this series and though I’ve been curious, I haven’t been curious enough to try the books out for myself. Well, the girls made sure to fix that problem right away by adding it to my Summer Reading Challenge. I’ve got to admit, I’m not at all mad that I read this one. I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narrator did a great job of telling this story.

The world that was created for The Others is really complex and so colorful that it took me by surprise at first because I wasn’t expecting it. It’s also very different from all of the other paranormal worlds that are out there in Romancelandia and I really liked it. It was different from the other series, in that these paranormal creatures are super scary. Sure, in the other paranormal worlds, the shapeshifters are mean but we don’t really see it. Not like we do with the others. So, The Others are shapeshifters and they are dangerous creatures. Super scary. They eat humans and govern themselves. Human laws don’t apply on their lands and that was exactly why Meg Corbyn needed the job as the human liaison. She was on the run from her past and she needed somewhere to lay low until she figured out what she would do next. Simon Wolfgard runs the business district at the Lakeside Courtyard and though he can smell that Meg is keeping secrets, secrets that might show up on his land and endanger his people, he can’t turn her away. He hires her to be the human liaison and as he gets to know her, he realizes that she’s different from the other humans that come around…and he’s drawn to that.

Meg is determined not to get caught and taken back to her prison of being her captor’s blood prophet again so she’s throwing herself into her new job and keeping her head down. She hadn’t anticipated on how by simply doing her job and being kind, she would grow so attached to everyone around her. It’s not easy at first to be around so many others because they don’t hide their distaste for humans and their distrust of her…but when she starts inserting herself into their world, they all become super protective of her.

This was an interesting introduction to the world of the Others and though it took me a long ass time to get into the book, I’m glad that I stuck with it because it ended up being good. I liked seeing Meg form bonds with everyone in the Courtyard and even though Simon got on my nerves for most of the book, I still really liked him in the end. I’m definitely interested in continuing this series.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

The Others

The World of the Others

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon

Posted August 23, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra GannonReviewer: Rowena
The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon
Series: A Kinda Fairytale #1
Also in this series: The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale, #3)
Publisher: Star Turtle Publishing
Publication Date: July 31, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 576
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Queen: Guinevere must save Camelot. Ever since Arthur died, the evil Scarecrow has been trying to marry her and gain the crown. If she and her daughter are going to survive his mad schemes, Gwen needs to find Merlyn’s wand. Fast. Unfortunately, the only man strong enough to help her on her quest is Kingpin Midas, a flashy, uneducated mobster dealing with a curse. Gwen is a logical, rational woman, though, and she can draft one hell of a contract. She’s pretty sure she can come up with an offer not even the kingdom’s greatest villain can refuse.

The Kingpin: Anything Midas touches turns to gold. Literally. The curse has helped him to rule Camelot’s underworld with an iron fist. He has more money and more power than anyone else in the kingdom. He’s convinced there’s nothing he can’t buy. One look at Gwen and Midas knows that he’s about to make his most brilliant purchase, yet. He’s about to own the one woman in the world he would give anything to possess. All he has to do to claim her is somehow win a war against the smartest man in Camelot, hide his growing feelings from Gwen, deal with his overprotective bodyguard’s paranoia about the queen’s hidden motivations, and adjust to a five year old demanding bedtime stories from a gangster. Simple, right?

The Contract: Gwen’s deal is simple: If Midas marries her, she’ll make him King of Camelot. It’s a fair bargain. Midas will keep her enemies away and she’ll give him the respectability that money can’t buy. She never expects Midas to agree so quickly. Or for their practical business arrangement to feel so… complicated. Midas isn’t the tawdry, feral animal that Arthur railed against. He’s a kind and gentle man, who clearly needs Gwen’s help just as much as she needs his. In fact, the longer she’s around Midas the more Gwen realizes that their “fake marriage” might be more real than she ever imagined.

This was one of Holly’s choices for me to read for my Summer Reading Challenge and if it wasn’t for her, I probably would have never picked up this book. I’m glad that I read it all the way through because it took me a while to warm up to the story. The world that Cassandra Gannon created for these characters reminds me of Shrek and I’m not the biggest fan of the Shrek movies. I’ve only watched the first one and I’ve only watched it once because it wasn’t my favorite so that explains why it took me a while to warm up to everyone, except Avalon, and everything. I’m glad that I stuck with this book because I ended up liking it and LOVING King Midas.

So Queen Guinevere must save Camelot from the evil clutches of the mean Scarecrow, who is trying to force her into marriage so that he can become King and rule the land. He’s up to no good and with King Arthur out of the picture, Scarecrow means business. Guinevere needs to find Merlyn’s wand to protect her and her daughter. The only person that can help her and keep her and Avalon safe is King Midas so Guinevere runs to him.

Midas is the ruler of the Underworld and he’s also cursed af. Everything he touches turns to gold. Everything. He’s the richest man in the world because of the curse but that isn’t enough for Midas. One look at Gwen and he realizes that he wants her as well. She’s all class and class is something that Midas has never had. When Gwen comes to him for help, he knows he’s not going to turn her away. When she proposes marriage, Midas is all in. He’ll do whatever it takes to own the biggest prize he’s always wanted. He’ll take on the Scarecrow and win this war for her.

This is a marriage of convenience romance and I thought Cassandra Gannon did a great job of pulling this story together. There was a lot to tackle but I didn’t feel that anything was rushed and I wasn’t confused or anything like that. It took me a little bit to get into the story but that was more of a personal preference that kept tripping me up than anything to do with the actual writing or story going on here. The world Gannon created for these characters is colorful and it’s fun and once I got over myself and just read, I enjoyed it.

The romance between Gwen and Midas was a lot of fun and super sweet. I adored seeing Midas fall deeper and deeper in love with Gwen, all the while, trying to hide his feelings. It was really sweet to see how quickly he fell for both Gwen and Avalon. I just, seriously, I adored the hell out of him. OMG, I love him. I also really enjoyed Gwen’s character. I didn’t think that would be the case early on but I did warm up to her and loved seeing her fall just as deeply in love with King Midas as King Midas did with her. I loved how they had each other’s back and how they were a team, taking on the bad guys….even though, for years, Gwen thought Midas was one of the bad guys.

This was a sweet story that was light but full of goodness. I’m definitely planning on reading the other books in this series and kudos to Holly for making me read this one.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

A Kinda Fairytale

Happily Ever Witch

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper

Posted August 5, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly HarperReviewer: Rowena
How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
Series: Mystic Bayou #1
Also in this series: How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1), Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues, How to Date Your Dragon, Selkies are a Girl's Best Friend
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Length: 6 hours, 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Anthropologist Jillian Ramsay's career has taken a turn south.

Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open (how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps?), the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana on a fact-finding mission. While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they're preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations. Mermaids and gator shifters swim in the bayou. Spirit bottles light the front porches after twilight. Dragons light the fires under crayfish pots.

Jillian's first assignment for the League could be her last. Mystic Bayou is wary of outsiders, and she has difficulty getting locals to talk to her. And she can't get the gruff town sheriff, Bael Boone, off of her back or out of her mind. Bael is the finest male specimen she's seen in a long time, even though he might not be human. Soon their flirtation is hotter than a dragon's breath, which Bael just might turn out to be....

How to Date Your Dragon is the first book in Molly Harper’s Mystic Bayou series and it’s the first book that I tackled on my Summer Reading Challenge for this year. It’s one of Holly’s picks for me and though I wasn’t all that interested in reading this book, I’m glad that Holly picked it because it was a fun paranormal romance that I enjoyed from beginning to end.

Jillian Ramsay works for the League for Interspecies Cooperation and her latest assignment takes her to Mystic Bayou in Louisiana. The League has growing concerns that the humans are going to learn all of their supernatural secrets and in an effort to kind of handle everything before it becomes a problem, Jillian is to learn all that she can from the folks of Mystic Bayou about how they live in peace with each other. Easy peasy, right? Well, it would have been easy if any one of the folks would have talked to her but she’s having trouble getting folks to open up to her and the only way that she can fix that is to stick around, get to know everyone and make them comfortable with her enough that they’ll start talking. She seems to get along with everyone except the town’s sheriff, who won’t get off her back. She butts heads with Bael Boone at every turn and while on one hand, she wants to punch him in the nuts, on the other, she wants to kiss his brains out.

What a fun treat this book turned out to be. Molly Harper did a great job of introducing a world that had me laughing one minute and happy sighing the next. While Jillian was in town, the people she was interviewing were showing up dead so there was a bit of a mystery going around with us trying to figure out who was killing all of our supernatural friends. I thought that was handled pretty well and I really enjoyed the lighter side of paranormal romance that this world seemed to be. I’m used to a more darker paranormal world and I really love the intensity of those darker paranormals but Molly Harper created an interesting world for the folks of Mystic Bayou and I liked it.

I thought the romance between Bael and Jillian was fun and I loved how pissed Bael got when Jillian didn’t seem to catch on to how important it was that he showed her his hoard. And his dragon name? BWAHAHAHAHA, too freaking funny. I’m curious to see who else gets a romance because I would love to see Zed’s story. I really enjoyed getting to know him.

This was a fun introduction into Molly Harper’s work and I’m glad that I read it because I do plan on continuing this series and reading more books from Molly Harper. I like her style and am ready for more. I definitely recommend this one.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Mystic Bayou

four-stars


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