Tag: Fantasy

Lightning Review: Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 19, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Lightning Review: Midnight Soul by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly
Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley
Series: Fantasyland, #5
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: August 15th 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 645
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three-stars

Against his will, Noctorno Hawthorne, an undercover vice cop, finds himself embroiled in magic, mayhem and parallel universes. Too late, he meets an amazing woman only to find she’s destined for his identical twin in another world.
And things aren’t going real great there.
Noc is recruited to help save that world.
What he doesn’t know is his destined love resides there.
Franka Drakkar wears a mask. A mask she never takes off to protect herself in a world of malice, intrigue and danger.
When Franka meets Noc and he discovers her secrets, convinced she carries a midnight soul, having shielded herself from forming bonds with anyone, she struggles with accepting his tenderness and care.
When Noc meets Franka, over wine and whiskey, her masks slips and Noc knows it’s her—only her—and he has to find a way to get her to come home with him.
And then make her want to stay.

I’ve been anxious for Noc’s book for ages, though I admit I was surprised his heroine was Franka. I expected (hoped?) it would be Valentine. Shows what I know.

I do not recommend starting here. The storylines from previous books are interwoven and really bring this novel together. Plus, I feel like the majority of the novel was spent on secondary and previous characters from the other books.

It took me quite some time to fall into this story. Generally KA grabs me right away, but I struggled through the first quarter or so of the book. I found parts to be somewhat predictable (esp for someone who has read a lot of KA), but I enjoyed the romance and, more, enjoyed the return trip to Fantasyland. We caught up with all the previous characters and had some closure from some that weren’t coupled yet (the other Circe!). While I don’t recommend this as a starting place for those who are new to Ashley or this series, I think fans will enjoy it.

3 out of 5

three-stars

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Guest Review: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Posted August 18, 2016 by Whitley B in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: A Promise of Fire by Amanda BouchetReviewer: Whitley
A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 448
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dnf

Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

This book actually has a lot going for it. Really. The world is interesting, Cat is a great feisty character and it seems like she has a rich past full of secrets to discover. I’m intrigued by her magic and by the history of the world it’s set in. I liked the tone and pacing. It had the makings of a perfect “me” book.

But I just couldn’t get past that opening. Basically, Griffin kidnaps Cat for her magic because he needs her to help him keep his recently-conquored kingdom together. Cat, understandably, does not like being blackmailed and kidnapped and then restrained all the time so she doesn’t disappear. I’m fine with all that, but what I don’t like is how it dragged out. The idea is that Griffin isn’t a “bad guy,” he’s just doing what needs to be done for his kingdom, has good intent, so pragmatic and direct it goes into grey areas, yadda yadda. Fine. BUT. The opening was too harsh, too smash and grab. There was no attempt to get Cat on his side, it was just “Bam, you’re mine, I’ll kill your friends if you keep fighting.” Followed by…nothing. No attempts to calm her down, woo her to their cause, explain things to her, nothing. He was too aggressive at the start and then he followed it up by doing zilch to make up for his (quite frankly) horrible actions. I could have handled it if either half of that sentence had changed. If he’d grabbed her then tried to make nice, or if he’d tried to convince her first and only resorted to force as a last (ish) resort. I mean, he wouldn’t be a hero or anything because kidnapping is still shitty, but at least I could roll along with it.

And Cat, bless her, put up a fight the whole way. Which is great and well she should because she’s been kidnapped and threatened, but that just means that Griffin’s douchery is front-and-center every time I open the book. And that’s really exhausting. It got to the point where my reading time was actually making me anxious. So, nope, DNF.

So close to a really good thing, and I’m sure others will have a blast with it, because it does have a lot going for it. But I just couldn’t get past that initial bit.

Rating: DNF

dnf

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Review: Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh

Posted June 6, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Allegiance of Honor by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling #15
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, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Play of Passion, 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: June 14th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 496
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four-half-stars

The “unparalleled romantic adventure”* of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as a new dawn begins for the Psy-Changeling world…  A staggering transformation has put the Psy, humans, and changelings at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: old enemies, new allies, wary loners.   But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten, and it threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: a child who is both Psy…and changeling.   To find the lost and protect the vulnerable—and to save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?   *Publishers Weekly on Shards of Hope
From the Hardcover edition.

There’s a note from the author at the beginning of this book noting that, for her, the series is split into parts. Shards of Hope ended Part 1. Allegiance of Honor acts as kind of a segue into Part 2. Although I tried to keep spoilers for this book to a minimum, it’s impossible not to mention spoilers from previous books in the series. I tried not to go overboard, but if you haven’t read the previous books, you may want to skip this review. 

Since Silence has fallen and the Trinity Accord was formed, a lot of changes have happened. A Psy-Changeling child was born, alliances are being formed between humans, Psy and Changelings, and the major powers in the world have shifted. Where before the Psy were considered the most powerful beings in the world, the humans have made it known they aren’t weak, and the Changelings have stepped up and won the trust of the general public.

That isn’t to say all is peaches and cream, however. There is still plenty of mistrust between the three races, and everyone is constantly on guard. Since the Trinity Accord was formed in haste, there are a lot of holes that need to be plugged to make it a true, solid partnership agreement. And Naya, Lucas and Sasha’s daughter, the first Psy-Changeling baby born in the open in a century, is both loved and loathed. Many seek to use her as leverage to control the Changelings, or see her as a target to eliminate to cause Chaos and eliminate the Trinity Accord.

This novel doesn’t focus on one couple, but rather touches on pretty much all the previous unions from the series. As each couple tries to find traction in this new world, they face interesting and unique problems. Bo Knight is still working to prove the humans are a power in the world. Sasha and Lucas Hunter are trying to formalize the Trinity Accord and protect their new daughter. Mercy and Riley are expecting their Pupcubs to be born any minute. Hawke and Sienna are still waiting for the perfect opportunity to kill Ming LaBon. Ming is trying to gain a foothold in the Trinity Accord so he can work on eliminating it from the inside out. Miane Leveque, the alpha of the BlackSea changelings, is working to find the rest of her missing pack. The threads featuring Father Perez were particularly interesting.

When Singh announced last year that Allegiance would revisit past characters, I was concerned it would be choppy or kind of boring. The story was woven in such a way, however, that the suspense of each individual trial and tribulation kept me hungry for more. Suspense, drama, humor..this novel has it all. Fans of the series will love reconnecting with previous couples as well as seeing certain plot points advance.

I can’t wait to see what Singh has in store for us next.

4.25 out of 5

Reading Order

Slave to Sensation
Visions of Heat
Caressed by Ice
Mine to Possess
Hostage to Pleasure
Branded by Fire
Blaze of Memory
Bonds of Justice
Play of Passion
Kiss of Snow
Tangle of Need
Heart of Obsidian
Shield of Winter
Shards of Hope
Allegiance of Honor

four-half-stars

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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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