Tag: Fantasy

Guest Review: Betrothed by Wanda Wiltshire

Posted April 19, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Betrothed by Wanda WiltshireReviewer: Tracy
Betrothed (Betrothed #1) by Wanda Wiltshire
Series: Betrothed #1
Published by Pantera Press
Publication Date: July 1st 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 341
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two-stars

Amy Smith has always known she was different. Severe allergies, fragile health and taunts at school have made life an endurance test for the adopted seventeen year old.

When Amy starts having strange dreams, everything changes. Night after night, she becomes trapped in a shroud of black - a void of silence but for a male voice calling for a girl named ‘Marla’.

One night, the darkness clears, Leif is revealed and Amy discovers that she is the girl he has been searching for.Immediately the two are swept up in a passionate yet forbidden love. Leif isn’t like the other boys Amy knows. Breathtakingly gorgeous, he speaks with her telepathically … not to mention, he can fly …

Desperate to find a way to be with her, Leif tells Amy of the terrifying threat to his Fae homeland, the danger to the people, and of an unforgivable betrayal to his King. He urges her to seek her true identity…. But Amy is confused... isn't it all just a dream?

Amy has always felt different than the other kids in her school.  She has severe allergies and can hardly eat anything.   The kids at school have always taunted her except for a small core group of friends – especially her best friends Jack and Hilary who are always there for her.

For the last few months Amy has been dreaming about being lost in a dark place with a voice calling for a girl named Marla.  When she finally meets this man in her dreams she falls in love almost immediately.  He says he is a prince of the Fae and that Amy, whose real name is supposedly Marla, is Fae as well.  He tells her that she is his betrothed and that they will be together in the Fae kingdom as soon as he physically locates her.  Of course there is one glitch…his father, a king, forbade Marla’s parents from having children and she did anyway and then hid her away.  The prince, Leif, thinks that he managed to get the decision overturned.

Marla is understandably confused by everything she hears so searches for her true identity.  It actually points to the fact that Leif could be telling her the truth.  She also believes he’s a figment of her imagination so when he shows up and she finds that he’s actually real she’s blown away.  Now that Marla knows who she is she can’t wait to get to the Fae kingdom and be “normal.” Of course there are many things standing in her way.  Her human adoptive parents, the whole “I really wasn’t supposed to be born” thing and then of course Leif’s father who hates her who will stop at nothing to keep Marla out of Telophy.

Betrothed had a decent blurb and I was interested in the premise when I read it. Unfortunately there ended up being too many things about this book that just didn’t gel well with me.

My main issue was Amy/Marla – throughout the book.  She drove me batty with her indecisions.  With Leif is was insta-love.  Of course in the Fae the men are born and then send part of their soul out to find their soul mate, or in this instance betrothed, and then she’s born.  There is no greater love in their culture.  I don’t normally mind insta-love but the fawning and falling all over Leif was ridiculous.  Maybe it was her age (17) but whatever it was had me rolling my eyes on a regular basis throughout the book. Leif I didn’t mind so much because he definitely more mature than Marla was.

I also had a huge issue with Leif’s father – one of the more important kings in the Fae land.  The author made it so that every woman loved the king and wanted to be with him.  They couldn’t refuse, either.  What a load of rot.  That drove me crazy, especially when the author had the king using his kingly influence against Marla.  It was just downright creepy and disgusting and kind of icing on the cake for this book.

I kept thinking that the end would make it all come together in the end but that didn’t happen either – we were left hanging with Leif and Marla completely apart (because of the bastard king).  So not only do we get a frustrating story, the author ends it with no HEA.  Ugh!

Overall I found the book…frustrating.  The writing wasn’t horrible but I really disliked the story a lot, sorry to say.

Rating: 2 out of 5

two-stars

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Guest Review: The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Corwall

Posted April 5, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia CorwallReviewer: Tracy
The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall
Series: A Highland Fairy Tale #3
Also in this series: Beauty and the Highland Beast, When a Laird Finds a Lass
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Romance, Historical, Magic, Scottish, Fairy Tales & Folklore
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four-stars

Laire MacLeod’s father has married a mysterious widow who is a vain beauty that deals with potions and spells. Laire does not drink them with the rest of her family and is the only one who could see through her stepmother’s games. When Laire flees to find help from her Uncle the Lady’s huntsman follows her with orders to kill. Laire must survive in a dangerous new city and find the antidote to a poisonous potion before it is too late.

Iain Lindsay is cursed. He is bound for seven years to be the hunter of a Lady who uses him to bring back birds to use in her potions. When Laire MacLeod escapes the Lady’s nets, Iain tracks her to Edinburgh, where she’s found shelter with an unusual band of thieves, but he cannot bring himself to harm her. Instead, he finds himself falling in love with the MacLeod beauty.

But a Highlander’s oath is his bond, and the price for helping her is death, both his own, and of those he loves.

Laire MacLeod is frightened for her family.  She is one of 11 daughters – her father has been married 8 times.  Laire has loved all of the different women in her father’s life until he married Bibiana.  Laire knows that there is something strange going on with her.  Her sisters aren’t acting normal.  Her father is so entranced by Bibiana that he can literally not take his eyes off of her.  Laire decides that she needs to get away and seek help for her family before Bibiana does something horrible to them but Bibiana sends her huntsman after Laire.

Ian Lindsay, once a Laird in his own right, is bound to work for Bibiana for seven years.  That time is almost up and he wants desperately to get away from the witch, for that’s what she is, a witch.  When he is sent out to find Laire and bring back her heart he doesn’t want to do it.  He was attracted to Laire and doesn’t want to hurt her but he also knows there is no naysaying Bibiana.

Ian follows Laire to Edinburgh and plans to kill her but when he gets there he starts to see the potential of a real life and not one that involves Bibiana.  Laire is determined to find something that will stop Bibiana from hurting her family and she won’t let anyone stop her, no matter what it takes.

The Lady and the Highlander was a great book.  It was magic and fantasy blended so nicely with a Scottish highland romance.  The story was a take off of Snow White but I thought the way that Cornwall wrote the story was very original.  The “dwarves” weren’t dwarves at all and were actually child thieves.  I’m not sure what it was about the story that drew me in so quickly but I thought it was a charming story.  Yes, it was nutty as we didn’t really understand what Bibiana was doing to the people until later but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.

Cornwall definitely has a gift for rewriting fairy tales.  I’ve enjoyed her interpretations of Beauty and the Beast as well as The Little Mermaid as well as this book.  I hope she continues writing the Highland Fairy Tale series because she’s writes them really well.

Rating: 4 out of 5  

four-stars

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Review: Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 14, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Silver Shark by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Silver Shark (Kinsmen, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kinsmen #2
Published by NYLA
Publication Date: September 16th 2011
Pages: 96
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three-stars

Claire Shannon is a killer. She uses no weapons, only her mind.
Born on a planet locked in a long war, Claire is a psycher, a woman with the ability to attack minds and infiltrate a biological computer network where psychers battle to the death. But when the war abruptly ends, Claire must hide her psycher's ability to survive. She is deported to a new planet, a vivid beautiful place, where she meets Venturo Escana, a powerful psycher, whose presence overwhelms both her mind and her body.
She thought she had left war and death behind, but now she must fight for her new life and this battle might just cost her everything...

Claire Shannon was born on the war planet Uley. For eons two companies fought over the right to use the planet’s resources, which meant nothing existed there but war and death. It was a gray planet with very little to do but fight, prepare and sleep. Claire is a trained Psycher, someone who can enter the bionet (think psychic plane, like the internet, Matrix style) and navigate through to access data and/or kill enemies. She’s a soldier. All comforts have been given up for the sake of the war. When the war suddenly ends, Claire hides her true self so she isn’t killed on sight (psychers are considered much too dangerous to be allowed to live) and ends up getting deported. Her new planet is filled with light and color, sounds, textures and strange flavors. For someone who lived with nothing but gray, it’s a lot to take in. But she’s determined to fit in and do her best.

She’s given housing, clothes and a job at the outset. She becomes the personal assistant to Venturo Escena, a  self-made businessman and psycher himself. She needs to fly under the radar so she isn’t killed for being a psycher herself, but she’s a true leader, she can’t help but push for more – for herself and others. It isn’t long before she’s indispensable to Venturo…or before she’s half in love with him. When one of her countrymen comes to her for help, she knows she can’t turn them away, even though it means possible exposure of who and what she really is.

The romance is secondary to the rest here, but it really worked. Andrews’ excels at building complex, multi-layered worlds. Both planets were easily imagined, as was Claire’s determination to live and succeed in her new life. I do wish this had been longer, or that there were more books in the series. At 96 pages, this ended much too soon. The conflicts were resolved, but I wasn’t ready for it to end.

3.5 out of 5

three-stars

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Guest Review: Dragon Soldier by Mell Eight

Posted March 10, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Dragon Soldier by Mell EightReviewer: Tracy
Dragon Soldier by Mell Eight
Series: Supernatural Consultant #5
Also in this series: Dragon Consultant, Dragon Deception, Dragon Dilemma, Dragon Detective
Published by Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: March 8th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Shapeshifters, m/m
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three-half-stars

The aftermath of the last battle has left Nickel weak in bed and grounded for the next decade. Despite being in trouble, Nickel wants to return to the battle as soon as he can, but thoughts of Platinum, the dragon helping to nurse him back to health, keep distracting him.

Platinum can't believe how much his life has changed. He went from being a lonely fugitive on the run to part of a family in only hours. The last few days have been his happiest, especially now that he's met Nickel. He knows it's only temporary, though. The enemy that kept him captive for most of his life isn't finished with him yet, and even Platinum and Nickel's combined powers might not be enough to save them.

In the last book Nickel was hurt by a scientist who had stolen dragon magic.  He is put into a medically induced coma so that he can heal, which he does, but it’s a very slow process.  (In the blurb is says “the next decade” but I’m thinking it just seemed like a decade to Nickel because in truth it was only about a month or so, not 10 years.) Nickel wants nothing more than to get back in the game of finding the horrible scientists that are torturing dragons and stealing their magic. Unfortunately he has to get his strength back in order to do that.  One that that makes it all worthwhile is Platinum.

Platinum was taken from his mother at a very young age and grew up for the last 16 or so years in captivity.  He was tortured and operated on almost daily until he escaped.  Well, he thought he escaped but it was all a plan by the scientists to lure another dragon in.  Luckily they didn’t succeed.  Platinum is now living in Mercury and Dane’s home with all their kits, and his twin who was saved 10 years earlier.  He’s getting much needed schooling, helping Dane at his office and mostly looking after Nickel.  When Nickel awakens Platinum knows that there’s something special between the two of them and when Nickel says “mate” he knows that feels right.

Both Platinum and Nickel need to find their place in the world they live in.  Each of them want to find and stop the scientists but once that’s done where do they each go from there?

Dragon Soldier was another lovely look into Mercury and Dane’s little dragon family.  Adding Platinum into the mix made a huge difference in the lives of Platinum and Nickel, even though the younger kits just went with the flow.  🙂

I really loved Platinum and Nickel together.  There’s was a very new relationship but was very comfortable.  Watching the pair get to know each other but yet find comfort in the other was quite sweet and I liked the way Eight wrote this little slice of their lives.

The smaller kits like Lumie, ‘Ron and Alloy are still up to no good.  I’m still hoping we’ll get to see them grow up cuz there’s a lot of mischief in those three bodies that I’d love to read about. 🙂

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Bluebeard’s Curse by Regine Abel

Posted February 13, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Bluebeard’s Curse by Regine AbelReviewer: Tracy
Bluebeard's Curse by Regine Abel
Series: Dark Tales #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: February 15th 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 82
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three-half-stars

King Eric Thorsen, also known as Bluebeard, is once more widowed. Like all the others before her, his late wife succumbed to the lure of the curse that plagues him and threatens the realm. Willing maidens gather at the castle in the hope of becoming the next Queen. However, that title comes with a steep price: the King’s new bride must first resist temptation for one year and one day, or die trying.

Eric is tired of getting married.  He’s at a ball and he has to pick a new bride – his 28th bride to be exact.  All of his previous brides have died as he is cursed.  The bride must outlast the curse for 1 year and then it will be broken but so far the longest one has lasted only 6 months.  When Eric sees Astrid he’s intrigued.  She’s not his normal type but he can’t take his eyes off of her.  He thinks that maybe because she’s not like the others she can break the curse.

The pair marry and Astrid seems to be doing well but soon the temptation starts to get to her.  Eric has done the worst thing possible and fallen in love with Astrid.  Knowing she will probably die tears him apart but he hopes she can beat the curse.  Unfortunately, other people get involved and after that breaking the curse may become impossible.

Bluebeard’s Curse was a good story.  It was definitely different from your average romance and had a bit of a twist that was unexpected.  I wasn’t quite sure what the time period was or where it was set – seemed like an old Viking story but I wasn’t sure.  Despite that the added paranormal twist/curse was a wonderful aspect to the story.

Eric and Astrid were pretty great characters although since the book was so short it really focused on the “now” and didn’t get too much into their pasts.  We knew why Astrid had gone to the ball to be picked for the bride and eventually we learned of why Eric was cursed but that was about as deep into the past as we got.  Their relationship was the main focus it was definitely erotic as Regine Abel wrote some pretty wicked sex scenes.

Overall I liked the book a lot.  If you’re looking for a short fantasy/paranormal read that doesn’t involved vampires or werewolves then this would be a good one to pick up.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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