Tag: Fantasy

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


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews

Posted August 23, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sweep of the Blade by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #4
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2), One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3), Clean Sweep
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 16, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pages: 315
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Maud Demille is a daughter of Innkeepers—a special group who provide ‘lodging’ to other-planetary visitors—so she knows that a simple life isn't in the cards. But even Maud could never have anticipated what Fate would throw at her.

Once a wife to a powerful vampire knight, Maud and her young daughter, Helen, were exiled with him for his treachery to the desolate, savage planet of Karhari. Karhari killed her husband, and Maud—completely abandoned by his family—has spent over a year avenging his debts. Rescued by her sister Dina, she's sworn off all things vampire.

Except... In helping Dina save the world, she met Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr, one of the most powerful vampire houses. One thing led to another and he asked for her hand in marriage. She declined. Arland is not used to hearing the word ‘no;’ and try as she might, Maud can't just walk away from Arland. It doesn't help that being human is a lot harder for Maud than being a vampire.

To sort it all out, she accepts his invitation to visit his home planet. House Krahr is extremely influential and Maud knows that a woman—a human, with a very questionable past—who's turned down a proposal from its most beloved son won't get a warm reception. Maybe she’s not sure about marrying Arland, but House Krahr isn’t going to decide for her. Maud Demille has never run from a fight, and House Krahr will soon discover that there's a lot more to Maud than they’re expecting.

Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews is the 4th book in the InnKeeper Chronicles. Books 1-3 were told from Dina’s point-of-view, and were centered in her Inn, Gertrude Hunt, in Red Deer, Texas. This novel takes us into the Holy Anocracy, as Maud travels there to see if she can make a life for herself and Helen with Lord Arland, Marshall of House Krahr. I read this as a free serial on the author’s website, but this review is for the expanded, fully edited version. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the full release for months. This is my favorite of all Andrews’ series (maybe) and I adore Maud, Arland and Helen.

Maud DeMille, daughter of Innkeepers, has spent the past two years surviving on a hellish planet, paying a blood debt after her husband gets them all banished from his House and eventually ends up dead. As the human wife of a Vampire, she had to work hard to prove herself to House Ervan, and now that her husband is dead and her sister rescued her from Karhari, she isn’t keen to put her or her child back in with another House. But Arland, Lord Marshall of House Krahr, makes her feel things she never thought she’d feel again. So she’s back in the Holy Anocracy, trying to decide if she can earn a place in his clan, or if she’ll have to walk away from him forever.

…they pitched forward and conquered the final stair. “As I was saying,” Arland said, a sheen of sweat covering his face, “if I had to fight nine knights every week for the pleasure of you berating me, I would do it gladly.”

“You are an idiot. I abandoned my sister and a perfectly good inn and traveled halfway across the galaxy for an idiot.”

Arland’s devotion to Maud and Helen came across so well it was hard not to want Maud to fall right in with his plans for her to marry him. But I understood her hesitation completely. She’d been burned once and lost – literally – everything when her husband betrayed not only his House, but her and their daughter as well. Her need to take things slow and go cautiously with their future made perfect sense. I loved Helen in the previous books, and she was just as wonderful here. I also loved Maud’s devotion to her, and how well developed their relationship was.

“And he said I wasn’t good enough to be his enemy. And I said, ‘I’ll punch you so hard, you’ll swallow your teeth, worm.’”

Maud hid a groan. “Where did you hear that?”

“Lord Arland.” Oh goodie.

The political intrigue, evil vampire machinations and kickass fight scenes only amplified an already amazing story. The world-building is so detailed I honestly felt like I was right there on the planet with them. Watching Maud find her place with Arland amongst his clan was lovely. She’s so kickass, I can’t help but adore her.

“They did call me something on Karhari.”

“What was it?” “Maud the Sariv.”

“What does that mean?” Karat asked.

“On Karhari there is a summer wind that comes from the wastes. Nobody knows how it forms, but it comes out of nowhere and it picks up thorny spores from local weeds. When you inhale sariv’s breath, the spores enter your lungs and cut you from the inside. There is no escape from this storm. If you are caught in it without protective gear, it will kill you. They called me that because I paid the blood debt I owed to my husband’s killers.”

I also loved what an asset she was as Maven, and how we got to see Nuan Cee again. The way she was with the Tachi, and her knowledge of so much, was wonderful.

Vampire worldview, condensed into three sentences: If it’s not food or a pet, kill it, because it might be poisonous.

There’s quite a bit of humor, along with a whole heaping lot of fight scenes with just enough romance thrown in to keep my heart happy.

Overall, this was another stellar Innkeeper novel. I can only hope the authors continue the series. I want more!

“What I’m trying to say is, I see you. I would love you if you were a vampire or a human, because of who you are. You don’t need an inn or a broom to fascinate me. You only have to look my way and you’ll have all of my attention.”

Something fluttered in her chest. Something left over from before Karhari and her marriage.

She tilted her head and gave him a narrow smile. “What if I were a werewolf?”

He sucked in air, pretending to think it over. “I would love you still.”

Rating: 4 out of 5

Innkeeper Chronicles

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

Posted June 21, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Vision in Silver by Anne BishopReviewer: Casee
Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Series: The Others #3
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, Written in Red
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Length: 16 hours and 4 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Others freed the cassandra sangue to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before; both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…

This is my favorite series on audio. Alexandra Harris is an amazing narrator. If you’ve ever thought about giving audiobooks a try, but haven’t taken the leap yet, this series is where to start. You won’t regret it.

Vision in Silver is the third book in The Others series. The cassandra sangue have been freed, but they’re not free. They’re not free of the demons that they’ve lived with their whole lives and they don’t know how to live in a world without structure and order. The HFL (Humans First and Last) movement are really stirring up trouble for The Others and not just where the cassandra sangue are concerned. They’ve forgotten their history as well as the fact that they are prey.

Racism against terra indigene and their human friends is running rampant in Thaisia. A human that is found to be a “Wolf lover” will find themself in more danger from their own race than from the Others. Humans working for the Lakeside Courtyard are finding that they are being evicted from the homes and that they are banned from stores where they usually shop. Simon Wolfguard is the protector of all that reside and work at the Courtyard and he will not let his humans be treated like criminals by their own kind.

Meg, for all intents and purposes, is still a baby to the world. All she wants to do is protect those that she has come to care about and it doesn’t matter to her how she does it. To her, cutting has become necessary to protect the Courtyard and to protect Simon. Although she does feel the euphoria, it’s more about helping her friends than anything else.

Simon and Meg’s relationship did progress insofar as they realized they actually have a relationship. Their friendship is just so heartfelt. These two care about each other very deeply. They have formed a bond that has nothing to do with sex and it’s just really sweet to see the whole thing unfold.

We also learn more about the Others in the Wild Country and what they are capable of. Yeah, they can do a lot of damage. Simon has a big burden to bear when it comes to protecting the humans and showing the Others of the WC that some of them are worth saving.

All in all, a great addition to this incredible series.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The Others

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Wild Country by Anne Bishop

Posted May 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Wild Country by Anne BishopReviewer: Holly
Wild Country by Anne Bishop
Series: The World the Others #2, The Others #7
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, Vision in Silver, Written in Red
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

In this powerful and exciting fantasy set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, humans and the shape-shifting Others will see whether they can live side by side...without destroying one another.

There are ghost towns in the world—places where the humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the shape-shifting Others.

One of those places is Bennett, a town at the northern end of the Elder Hills—a town surrounded by the wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live and work together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfgard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children—one of whom is a blood prophet—hope to find acceptance.

But as they reopen the stores and the professional offices and start to make lives for themselves, the town of Bennett attracts the attention of other humans looking for profit. And the arrival of the Blackstone Clan, outlaws and gamblers all, will uncover secrets…or bury them.

Wild Country is the 2nd book in Anne Bishop’s World of the Others series. Though it’s set in the same world as the Lakeside Courtyard, and features many characters we’ve come to know and love, it’s set in Bennett, which readers of the Lakeside Courtyard books should recognize. This is the book I thought we’d get after Etched in Bone, as it runs parallel to the events there.

It took me the entire week to read this book, which is completely unheard of for me. It jumped around quite a bit, so I think I had a harder time connecting with it than I did with the previous books in the series. Still, I love this world and I was glad to see some of my favorite characters return. Wild Country picks up about the time Cyrus Montgomery arrives in Lakeside in Etched in Bone. We see the events that happen in Lakeside from a different perspective and see more about the inhabitants of Bennett.

In the land of Thaisia, there are very few human controlled towns, and no human controlled lands. The Terra Indigene – The Others – control everything that comes from a natural resource. Shapeshifters live in Courtyards in human controlled cities to keep an eye on what the humans are doing, and to act as a go-between for The Elders – the truly terrible Others that live in the wild country. The Humans First and Last movement brought death and destruction to many towns by attacking The Others, thinking the shapeshifters were the only Others out there. Bennett was one of the towns The Others made an example of. Tolya Sanguinati agrees to go to Bennett to try to reestablish the town, with the help of Intuits – humans who have an overdeveloped sense of intuition and often “know” things before they happen – and shapeshifters. They agree to allow some humans into the town, but The Others are distrustful.

Wild Country follows Jana Paniccia, Jesse Walker and her son, Tobias, Barb Debaney, and Tolya Sanguinati, all of whom we were introduced to in the previous series. I was ridiculously excited to see how Jana would fare as the first female cop in Thaisia, and how Barb would do with all the animals in Bennett. The whole series is really dark, but the overall tone is still..hopeful, I guess. Like, all of this bad shit happens, and all these dark things are explored, but each book ends in a…not happy, but hopeful place. I didn’t really get that here. The world is very well drawn, I feel like I’m living in Thaisia with the characters, but I didn’t end it feeling super happy or glad for them.

There wasn’t as much humor in this book to balance out the darker aspects, so it didn’t end on the hopeful note Etched in Bone and Lake Silence did. The lack of trust the The Others have in the humans made perfect sense, but I wanted to think they’d realize some were different – especially those who put their lives on the line for The Others. I also thought Jana and Barb would have more common sense, or better intuition about danger. I was frustrated with them on a number of occasions.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book, because I did. I absolutely loved how Virgil Wolfgard came to see Jana as his pack, I loved the cast of characters and the way this story played out in connection to Etched in Bone. Bishop is a master at world-building, and like I said, I could easily imagine everything that was happening on the page. Though this isn’t my favorite in the series, I can’t deny it was well done.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

The Others

World of The Others

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

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, Wild Country, Vision in Silver, 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
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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


Tagged: , , , , , , ,