Tag: Fantasy

Review: Radiance by Grace Draven

Posted September 21, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Radiance by Grace DravenReviewer: Holly
Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1) by Grace Draven
Series: Wraith Kings #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 297
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four-half-stars

THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

This was an adorable story. If you’d told me prior to reading this that I’d think a dude with gray skin and yellow eyes would be adorable, I’d have called you crazy. Yet here we are. Brishen was adorable. I loved the main conflict – that they’re different races and find each other hideous.

“You find me ugly, don’t you?”
“Hideous. A hag of a woman. And you? You don’t think me a handsome man?”
“Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father’s mace.”

She’s human and he’s Kai. They’re to be married at the edict of their respective kings. Neither is looking forward to being married to a monster. He calls her a hag and she calls him a dead eel. That may not sound like the makings of a great romance, but it was. I loved their banter and how they came to see each other in a different light.

Ildiko was strong and practical. I loved how she embraced her new life and kept an open mind. Brishen was kind and thoughtful, especially when it came to Ildiko. They made a great team together. Their romance was very sweet, despite their differences. I love how they chose to support one another, rather than being angry because they were forced into the marriage.

“You are also a princess of the blood through marriage, a member of the royal family. My wife. Every Kai in that room owes you their allegiance and respect. I will cut out any tongue that would try and besmirch you, Ildiko.” He pressed his lips to her palm. The tiniest crack appeared in her serene composure.

Her mouth twitched with the hint of a smile. “Or bury an axe blade in their heads?”

His guilt over his inability to rescue her from his own family eased a little at her humor. “I’m adept with spear and sword as well. Just name who you want me to skewer for you.”

The majority of the book is spent on Ildiko learning about Brishen and his people, as well as settling into her new life. While it could have been slow and boring, instead it was sweet and engaging. Early on Brishen and Ildiko decide they need to be a team if their marriage is going to work. I loved their solidarity and how adult and mature their romance was. Though there is some minor outside conflicts, that’s not the focus of this book and I loved it.

Brishen was adorable. Ildiko was perfect for him. Together they were unstoppable.

4.25 out of 5

Wraith Kings

four-half-stars


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Review: Chosen by K.F. Breene

Posted June 11, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Chosen by K.F. BreeneReviewer: Holly
Chosen (The Warrior Chronicles, #1) by K.F. Breene
Series: The Warrior Chronicles #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 412
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three-half-stars

It is said that when war threatens the world, one individual will be selected by prophecy to lead the Shadow Warriors out of the Land of Mist and reclaim the freedom which has been stolen.

Shanti has grown up under the constant threat of war. Since she helped her people defeat a raiding party by using a special power, she's been a hunted woman. Carrying rare abilities and an uncanny fighting aptitude, Shanti is the only hope of salvation for her people. The problem is, she doesn't believe in her own divinity, and when she flounders, she nearly fails in the duty hanging so heavy on her shoulders.

It seems like any other day when Sanders and his band of misfit boys find a foreign woman clinging to life in the wastelands. Oblivious to the weapon they now have in their possession, they are content to harbor the mysterious woman until she is well enough to continue her journey. But when the war spreads its arms and lands on her borrowed doorstep, Shanti has no choice but to reveal her secrets, plunging her saviors into danger.

If they band with her, they will face certain death. But to trade her to Xandre, the warlord desperate to add her to his war machine, would be to give up their entire way of life.

I read and enjoyed the Fire and Ice/Magical Mayhem series by K.F. Breene. When I saw this series on KU I figured I’d give it a try. It’s darker than the previous books I’ve read by the author, but I enjoyed the world and the main characters.

Shanti is a badass warrior. Her people have all been murdered and she’s trying to get to her extended family to fulfill the prophesy that will reunite her people and bring peace to the land. When she’s found half-dead and brought to a new land, she’ll have to fight to get her strength back up and try to earn the trust of the Captain so he doesn’t turn her over to her enemies.

I really enjoyed Shanti and her interactions with her saviors. The story did drag on quite a bit in the middle, but the anticipation of what was to come kept me reading. There’s potential for a romance that really worked, and I’m curious to see what happens with Shanti’s quest in the future.

3.5 out of 5

Warrior Chronicles

three-half-stars


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Review: Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks

Posted May 4, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn SparksReviewer: Holly
Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon (The Embraced, #3) by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #3
Also in this series: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days (The Embraced, #1), So I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced, #2), So I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced, #2), Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon (The Embraced, #3)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 448
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three-stars

From the brilliant imagination of Kerrelyn Sparks comes a bold new fantasy romance series in which passion and magic collide. Behold the Embraced…

Gwennore has a talent. An Elf able to track down the cause of an illness and heal it, she’s a valuable asset to her people. When the kidnapping of a young girl thrusts Gwennore into the very heart of the realm of the dragons, she discovers not only a place of power and magic, but also a haunted land, plagued by an ancient curse that all but ensures extinction to the royal family. But when she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, they strike a bargain—save the country from its cursed illness, and he will return the kidnapped girl. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon, but never did making a deal with the devil feel so good…

Silas has no way of curing the family he’s loyally served for years. But when a beautiful elf, long considered the enemy of the dragons, comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to passion and desire in a way he’s never felt before. But can he trust a sworn enemy to save the very existence he holds dear? And can their love survive those that threaten to tear them apart?

Gwennore was raised with 5 other women – her adopted sisters – in a convent on the Island of Moon. They were abandoned by their family’s because they were born Embraced (with magical powers). Gwennore is an Elf who can magically sense illness in others. She’s been training as a healer, but she isn’t as knowledgeable as she’d like to be. Still, when she’s accidentally kidnapped and realizes the realm is suffering under a curse, she agrees to help figure out the cause. General Silas Dravenko, aka General Gorgeous – has nothing to do with that. Really.

Silas is immediately attracted to Gwennore. He’s willing to do whatever he has to do to keep her close. The truth is, he needs her help. His Queen is being poisoned and his family is living under a curse. If Gwennore can help him figure out what’s really going on, he can’t pass that up. If he gets to spend time with her in the meantime? All the better.

I really liked Silas. He was such a great character. His jealousy was cute and I loved how he kept trying to get Gwennore to admit he was just as awesome as her favorite dragon. I also really liked the 8 rules for dating a dragon.

I wanted to like Gwennore just as much, but I didn’t really connect with her the way I did the previous heroine. She rarely used her talent and not much was explained about it. She constantly waffled, suffering from major bouts of self-doubt and angst, then standing up for herself. Her constant back-and-forthing got old, fast. The romance between them moved very slow. I wanted to see them get together, but honestly by the end I wasn’t very invested in them.

The end was too rushed and I really struggled with a lot of inconsistencies in the story. None of the major conflicts of the books were resolved to my satisfaction. I don’t want to include spoilers, but I will say I was highly dissatisfied with the brief paragraph in the epilogue that magically fixed everything. There wasn’t enough dragon in this for me, either. I’d have loved to see more.

There were parts I enjoyed (mostly Silas and his struggle with Gwennore’s love for the dragon), but overall I was underwhelmed. I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous book.

3 out of 5

The Embraced Series

three-stars


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Guest Review: Kelpie Blue by Mell Eight

Posted May 2, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Kelpie Blue by Mell EightReviewer: Tracy
Kelpie Blue by Mell Eight
Series: Out of Underhill #1
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: March 21st 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: M/M, New Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 228
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four-stars

Mama always said, don't go near the lake. Rin already knew the forest was filled with dark things, but aside from Mama no one had warned him about the lake. One day, Rin wanders off to the lake, where a beautiful blue horse asks him to go for a swim, and Rin learns too late it may not be a swim he survives.

Kelpie Blue is an enchanting little story about Rin and his kelpie boyfriend Blue.  It follows along with their lives, but it also gives us an insight into how they met, etc., by having Blue read Rin’s diary (and add his own commentary which is pretty damned funny). We get a taste of Underhill in this story as we find out the truth about Rin’s father and those who would hurt Rin, Blue and Mama to get what they want.

I loved this story.  I really liked just about everything I’ve read by Mell Eight and this was just a fun, lovely story.  Rin and Blue were so damned cute together and I loved that Rin didn’t even have a thought about not falling in love with Blue just because he was a kelpie. Blue cracked me up with his comments in the diary as well as his thoughts and words throughout the book.

I wish we’d gotten to spend a little more time in Underhill in the book, but I understood why it was necessary not to do so.  I’m incredibly curious to see what the next book will bring us.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Out of Underhill

four-stars


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Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Posted April 17, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Written in Red by Anne BishopReviewer: Holly
Written in Red (The Others, #1) by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #1
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 487
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four-half-stars

Enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities - vampires and shape-shifters among them - who rule the earth and whose prey are humans.

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 a job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she's wanted by the government, he'll have to decide whether she's worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

Meg Corbyn is cassandra sangue, a blood prophet, who can speak prophecy when her skin is cut. Because the blood prophets become addicted to the euphoria that veils their mind when they speak prophecy, many years ago it was decided benevolent ownership of them when be given to caretakers “for their own protection”. The majority of whom then used them for profit. For 24 years Meg has lived in such a compound, being used and abused by her owners, taught only what she needed to know to speak prophecy. Until she becomes desperate and escapes. She ends up in Lakeside at a Terra Indigene (The Others) Courtyard. The Others are Earth Natives who rule the continent of Thaisia. They allow humans to lease the land from them, but they have Courtyards in each major city so The Others can keep an eye on what the humans are doing.

Simon Wolfgard is an “Other”, a Terra Indigene (Earth Native), who can shift into the shape of the wolf. He’s the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard. To The Others, humans are just clever meat. Meg is a human, but she doesn’t smell like prey. This intrigues him enough that he hires her to be their Human Liaison. He knows she’s keeping secrets and lying to him, but it isn’t long before she’s won the hearts of all the residents of the Courtyard, including his. When her secrets come to light he’ll have to decide if she’s worth possibly going to war to protect.

Equal parts humor, intrigue and horror, Written in Red sucked me in from page one. The world-building in the first few chapters was somewhat dense, but Meg’s interactions with The Others and her struggle to settle in to life outside the Compound kept me glued to the pages. From there things only got better. Simon’s struggle to pin down why he reacted differently to Meg who smelled like not-prey; His nephew Sam and the emotional trauma he suffered after the death of his mother; Meg befriending everyone in the Courtyard, most of them in spite of themselves; The Elementals (who control the weather) and their Steeds…all of this, and more, pulled me in. I was fully immersed in the Courtyard and the lives of those who inhabit it. Bishop tackles heavy issues like racism and abuse, yet does it so expertly I didn’t feel preached to – or at.

I immediately picked up the second book in series.

4.25 out of 5

The Others

four-half-stars


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