Tag: Fantasy

Review: Dark Promises by Christine Feehan

Posted April 26, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Dark Promises by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee's
Dark Promises by Christine Feehan
Series: Dark Series #29
Also in this series: Dark Wolf, Dark Carousel
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: March 15, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 384
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two-half-stars

Gabrielle has had enough of battles, of wars, of seeing the man she's engaged to nearly lose his life when it isn't even his fight. Once Gary was a gentle and very human researcher. Now he's a fearless and lethal Carpathian warrior with the blood of an ancient lineage coursing through his veins—a man Gabrielle still needs and dreams of with every breath she takes. All she wants is a life far away from the Carpathian mountains, far from vampires and the shadows cast by the crumbling monastery that hides so many terrible secrets. But Gabrielle soon learns that promises made in the dark can pierce the heart like a dagger.

And she isn't the only one in search of answers in the corners of the unknown...

Trixie Joanes has come to the Carpathian mountains in search of her wayward granddaughter, fearing that she has been lured there by something unspeakable. Instead, Trixie has stumbled onto the path of a desperate woman on the run. And they're all fated for the lair of a mysterious ancient with revenge in his soul and the undying power to make bad dreams come true.

Spoiler Warning: This review is littered with spoilers. Read at your own risk.

This book was a travesty of unimaginable proportions.

Before I really get into that statement, let me tell you that Dark Prince was the first paranormal I ever read. I have been a reader of the Dark Series almost from the start. I’ve read all the books in the series (with the exception of novellas). There have been some hits (a lot) and there have been some misses (a lot). The misses have been spectacular and they’ve come quite frequently in the last few years. The earlier books were much, much better than the recent stuff that has been put out.

This book was about Gabrielle and Gary Jansen, the humans-turned-Carpathians that are ready to start their lives together. Or was it about them? No, it wasn’t. When Gary tried to bond to Gabrielle, the hell if it worked. Not only that, but with each word that he uttered, his emotions and the colors around him faded away. Gary has only been a Carpathian for all of a month and he lost his ability to feel and see colors when he lost Gabrielle. Gabrielle still believes they can live a human life for 50-60 years before they find their respective lifemates. She loves Gary and she’s not giving him up.

For Gary’s own safety, Mikhail sent him away to a monastery deep within the mountains. Along with the Ancients, Mikhail and Gregori feel that this is the only place that Gary will find peace…after a couple centuries of sleeping. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t realize that Gabrielle wouldn’t give up so easily and she follows. What happens next is probably the best part of the book. One of the Ancients wakes and recognizes Gabrielle as his lifemate. He can feel, see in color. Everything that comes along with finding your other half. Of course, it doesn’t go as he always thought.

View Spoiler »

In the meantime, Trixie Joanes has come to the Carpathian mountains to find her granddaughter, Teagan. What she doesn’t expect is that some hot guy that looks thirty years younger than her claims that she’s his lifemate. What I did not like and would not tolerate is that Trixie is sixty years old. My mother is sixty years old. I skipped over every single part with Trixie and Fane. My mother is sixty years old, did I mention that? I was texting Holly the whole time reminding her that there was a secondary story going on with a sixty year old woman. Oh, I liked her. She was a million times better than Gabrielle, but I couldn’t get over her age.

In the end, I am thrilled that I got this at the library. I was so impatient I almost bought the darn thing. I would have hated myself for all of eternity. How’s that for dramatic?

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

two-half-stars

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Guest Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 29, 2016 by TG in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. SnyderReviewer: TG
Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study Series #4, Soulfinders #1
Also in this series: Night Study
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: February 24th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary, Literary, Romance
Pages: 416
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four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue.

Once, only her own life hung in the balance...

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands--and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job and his life are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret--or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is--while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous...

Okay so I want to start this off by saying that Poison Study is my favorite book of pretty much all time. So I was nervous going into Shadow Study. What if it ruins the first books for me? What if the characters suck?

They didn’t. This book didn’t do anything but make me love Poison Study even more. Now then, on to the review.

My main impression of this book was that it was setting up for the next one. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I almost felt like there was no true climax. But the conflicts in this story are definitely fresh and new, and the character development is worth the “to be continued….” Feeling.

Also Valek’s backstory. That’s all I have to say.

I’d give this a solid 4/5 for character development and writing, with points taken for the somewhat anticlimactic ending.

four-stars

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Review: Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh

Posted March 23, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Caressed by Ice by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Caressed By Ice by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling #3
Also in this series: Caressed By Ice, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, The Magical Christmas Cat, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Slave to Sensation, Tangle of Need, Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter, Shield of Winter, Visions of Heat, Mine to Possess, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, Hostage to Pleasure, Shards of Hope, Shards of Hope, Heart of Obsidian, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Play of Passion, Allegiance of Honor, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Shield of Winter, Shards of Hope, Allegiance of Honor, Allegiance of Honor, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: September 4th 2007
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General
Pages: 368
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five-stars

The author of Shards of Hope and Shield of Winter presents a Psy/Changeling novel in which two people who know evil intimately must unlock the good within their icy hearts…As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Lauren was forced to do terrible things in the name of his people. Now a defector, his dark abilities have made him the most deadly of assassins—cold, pitiless, unfeeling. Until he meets Brenna…Brenna Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted—and had her mind violated—by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope, yet her sensual changeling side rebels against the inhuman chill of his personality, even as desire explodes between them. Shocking and raw, their passion is a danger that threatens not only their hearts, but their very lives…"The alpha author of paranormal romance."--Booklist

Too often when a hero is written as dark, tortured, badass,etc, in a series, we get his book only to realize he’s just a big ole softie on the inside (ref J.R. Ward’s Zsadist and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Zarek). That isn’t the case with Judd. He’s cold, unemotional and a stone cold killer. He’s exactly the same at the end of this book as he is at the beginning, with the small exception of his actions/feelings for Brenna. I love him. I love that Singh didn’t try to tame him or melt him. He’s perfect the way he is.

Brenna’s struggle to deal with the trauma of her kidnapping and torture at the hands of a killer were heartbreaking and inspiring. I thought her actions and feelings seemed very genuine for someone in her position. Her struggle to overcome her past really showcased her trust in, and developing feelings for, Judd.

Something I wish had been addressed is her desire to keep everyone out of her head and how that was changed /affected by the mating bond. Clearly Judd was in her head after their mating, but Brenna didn’t seem to struggle with that at all. Given her feelings on the matter prior to the mating, I’d have liked it to be addressed.

The world is imaginative and engaging. The writing is lovely and paints a vivid picture of the barren landscape inside Judd prior to Brenna, the strong brightness of her personality and the explosion of color in their combined relationship. This remains my favorite book of the series.

4.5 out of 5

Reading Order:


P.S. Judd is my boyfriend. I have the button to prove it.

five-stars

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Review: Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 22, 2016 by TG in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Night Study by Maria V. SnyderReviewer: TG
Night Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study Series #5, Soulfinders #2
Also in this series: Shadow Study
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: February 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary, General
Pages: 400
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four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder transports readers back to the realms of Sitia and Ixia in an exciting new Study novel full of magic, danger and intrigue. 
Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's life has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia is safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.  
Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek…secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

So, I want to start off once again by saying that the first 3 books of the study series are my absolute favorite books. I talk about them all the time, and I could probably quote Poison Study line for line. When I heard new books were coming out, I had some mixed emotions. That constant fear that the sequel will ruin the prequel is very relevant, but once again the book held true to the tone of the first trilogy.

That isn’t to say however, that I was 100% satisfied with this book. The first 30 pages were hell, because I was convinced that this was where the sequels quit being cool. Thankfully Snyder knows what she’s doing (I hope lol) and redeemed the first chapters with the rest of the book. Even a true skeptic like myself could understand why the things that happened were necessary (and in character!)

Overall the developments with Valek and Yelena’s relationship soothed my shipper heart, and the new characters kept things good and spicy.

So I’d give this book an 4/5 for spice and intrigue, taking points off for the first 30 pages of hell.

four-stars

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Guest Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers

Posted February 12, 2016 by Whitley B in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Starflight by Melissa LandersReviewer: Whitley
Starflight by Melissa Landers
Series: Starflight #1

Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 309
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three-stars

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

This was quite a fun book, and I did enjoy the storyline and even the romance.  But I feel like every side character was phoned in, and the science fiction setting was not used to its full potential.  Plus, the final climax wrapped up a subplot instead of the main plot and apparently thought I wouldn’t notice.

First off, I did really enjoy the two main characters.  Solara is a tough, gifted mechanic who’s determined to make a new life for herself.  Doran is an entitled rich kid who desperately needs to be taken down a few pegs (and then that actually happens).  Both of them have some good nuance to their personalities, and I especially liked Doran freaking out about Solara’s criminal past (it’s over the top, but supposed to be and makes sense).  As the novel goes on, they complement each other well and their growing affection is … well, would have been sweet if Doran hadn’t laid on the jerkitude quite so strong at the start.

The setting felt very much like the series Firefly, with a quirky crew on a ramshackle, beat-up ship off to the outer edges of space to do slightly nefarious things.  Which, great! I love that shtick. It’s just…it was Firefly.  And that’s it.  Anything that wasn’t covered by that show was basically the same as modern day.  There were so many little details exactly the same as our time period that it just weirded me out a little.  (For instance, senior portraits. Not sure why that stands out in particular to me, but it does.)  I didn’t feel like this book added anything new to the genre, because it was just a vague veneer of sci-fi pasted on top of a contemporary base.  The side characters felt the same way.  They were quirky, they were kind of fun, but they were thin and nothing we haven’t seen before.

The plotline of the book was quick and action packed and interesting.  I was not fond of the “Solara accidentally married a pirate” bit, mostly because it was so awkwardly shoehorned in there.  (Also, the gross patriarchy required to make it work.)  But everything else worked.  It was a rollickin’ fun adventure.  Again, until the end, when this big major plot came to a head…and a subplot got wrapped up instead.  Now, it’s a series, so leaving things open ended is fine.  Except in the last chapter everyone acted like the whole “Doran was framed” thing got settled.  It…didn’t.  It got more information, but it certainly didn’t get even a fraction of settled.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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