Tag: Milla Vane

Review: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

Posted September 14, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla VaneReviewer: Holly
A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Series: A Gathering of Dragons #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Format: eARC, Audiobook
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 555
Length: 15 hours and 16 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil - until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.

Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.

Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…

I’ve been waiting for Milla Vane (aka Meljean Brook) to return to writing for years. When this book popped up on NetGalley, I actually squee’d out loud. Then I started it and…wasn’t in the mood. It had nothing to do with the book, I just wasn’t feeling a dark epic fantasy at that time. Fast forward to this month; I saw the audiobook and decided to purchase it. I’m really glad I did. I ended up loving the narrator.

Maddek is determined to avenge the death of his parents at the hands of a neighboring kingdom. When the traditional path is closed to him because of the alliance, he decides to take his revenge in another way…by killing the heir to their thrown. The problem? Yvenne is nothing like he expected. She’s small, weak and nothing like the warrior queen he expected. She’s also just as determined to bring her father down as Maddek is. Though he trusts her not at all, he agrees to take her as his wife if it means being able to kill her father and brothers.

The overall theme of this novel is very dark, and so are the actions of both characters. Maddek was bent on revenge and could see nothing else. Yvenne was determined to kill her father and claim her kingdom. She was also determined to make Maddek into a king, whether he wanted it or not. Yvenne was fierce, for all her physical frailty. I loved how she stood up for herself, and wielded her tongue like a weapon. I liked their dynamic, though his vow that he would rip her tongue out if she spoke of his mother was frustrating. I understood Maddek’s need for vengeance, but I didn’t love the way he treated Yvenne. I wish he’d have wised up a little sooner. In the end, I forgave him because Yvenne did.

I did think it moved a bit slow in parts and the world-building took some time, but I enjoyed the book as a whole.

3.75 out of 5

A Gathering of Dragons

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

Posted February 2, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Alright, I’m going to be honest. When Milla Vane first announced she was going to write a Barbarian Fantasy Romance back in 2014, I had to take a minute. I mean, I love everything she writes, but Barbarian Fantasy Romance??? I ended up loving The Beast of Blackmoor (Found in the Night Shift Anthology), however, and I’ve been jonesing for more ever since. IT’S FINALLY HERE! I’m so ridiculously excited for this new series.

Sunday Spotlight: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla VaneA Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
Series: A Gathering of Dragons #1
Also in this series: A Heart of Blood and Ashes
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 560
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil--until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.
Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents' murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king's daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.
Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones--because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own...

Excerpt

“Our queen and king and two Dragons murdered.” A dozen warriors, who were also mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. Maddek stopped pacing, his chest a ragged ache, his family’s silver crest burning around his thumb. “How can I let this remain unavenged? I cannot.”

“You must.”

“The alliance has run its course if this corruption and betrayal can stand and the council stands with it, because nothing will stand if our allies cut our legs out from beneath us.”

“And what would you put in the alliance’s place? Warriors are stronger when they stand together—and Parsathe is stronger if we stand with the southern realms. Even if one of those realms is rotten.”

“Only one? With Aezil on Rugus’s throne, Zhalen’s rot will not be contained within Syssia—and some say that Aezil is worse than his father.” Not only murdering his cousin to gain his throne, but also studying dark magics and seeking power through blood sacrifice. “These are the kings we stand with?”

“If we must,” Nayil replied. “Kings rise and fall. It is not for them that we fight, but for the people who live under their rule.”

That was truth. So was Maddek’s reply. “Then it would be better for all if I took Zhalen’s head.”

“And if your vengeance destroys the alliance—”

“Then we will remake it anew.”

For a long moment, only another heavy sigh was Nayil’s response. Then the older man said, “You will be my king, Maddek. I hear your words—and I hope you hear mine when I advise you not to make any decisions in grief and rage. If you must vow to avenge them, I advise that you also do not speak an oath in haste. Silver-fingered Rani has taken your parents, so nothing can change their course; only yours can be determined now.”

And his course might determine the course of every Parsathean. Maddek inclined his head. Though his heart yearned for blood, he could not deny the wisdom of the man’s words.

“Your journey home will pass through another full turn of the moon,” Nayil continued. “Use that time to reflect upon the path you will take. That is my advice to you: think hard and well upon your next steps.”

“I can promise that.” Another harsh laugh escaped him. “I know not how I will think of anything else.”

“Nor I. I have not these many days and nights.” A rueful smile curved Nayil’s thin mouth before a grave weariness flattened his expression again. “When you are Ran, you will speak for every Parsathean. Perhaps you should let every Parsathean guide your voice—for Ran Ashev and Ran Marek were not only your parents but also our queen and king. When we gather, we can tell our brothers and sisters what befell them. We can tell them of the council’s investigation and of the lies we suspect. We will tell them the consequences of vengeance and the threat of the Destroyer. If they demand blood, I will stand with you.”

That was also wise advice. “And if there is not a consensus?”

“Then it is your place as Ran to speak for us. We will abide by your decision. So think upon what it must be. Think upon it as a son and as a king.”

He would try. But he was not a king yet. Only a warrior.

Now his warrior’s heart grieved anew. His parents, too, had been warriors—and every warrior knew death would one day come. If not by steel, then by claw or plague, or the ravages of age. Countless dangers could have befallen his parents. Before Maddek had arrived in Ephorn, he hadn’t known what danger it had been, but he could have accepted any of them.

He could not accept treachery and dishonor.

And Maddek had believed that in the council’s haste to send word, they simply forgot to tell the cause of his parents’ deaths to the Tolehi captain who’d borne the message. But now Maddek understood.

If the queen and king had sickened, or been attacked by bandits, or become a meal for the fanged beasts that stalked the Burning Plains, such information would have been passed along, too. But the council had not told Maddek what Zhalen had done because they had not wanted him to charge north with the Parsathean army at his back and with vengeance burning in his heart.

Yet vengeance burned hot, anyway—and only one thought stoked the furnace of his mind.

Someone would pay.

A Gathering of Dragons

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: February 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Milla Vane

Milla Vane suckled at the plump teat of 80s fantasy movies and was never properly weaned. Under a pen name, she is also an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of steampunk and paranormal romance. Milla currently resides in Oregon.


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Giveaway: Night Shift Anthology (ft Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Milla Vane)

Posted November 24, 2014 by Holly in Giveaways | 7 Comments

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Night ShiftTomorrow the Nigh Shift anthology, which features never-before-published stories from Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin and Milla Vane (aka Meljean Brook), releases. All four stories are wonderful (see Tracy’s review). We’re excited to offer our readers a chance to win one of two copies!

New York Times bestselling author, Nalini Singh delivers a smoldering story with “Secrets atMidnight,” as the scene of Bastien Smith’s elusive lover ignites possessiveness in him that is both feral and ecstatic. Now that he’s found his mate, Bastien will do anything to keep her.

 

Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, brings readers “Magic Steals,” a novella that follows a shapeshifting tigress and jaguar shifter as they must uncover the truth about the mysterious disappearances occurring around them.

 

National bestselling author, Lisa Shearin, explores Makenna Frazier’s first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations in “Lucky Charms”—and her first assignment is more than she bargained for when bodyguard duty for a leprechaun prince’s bachelor party goes horribly wrong.

 

And Milla Vane brings readers the story of a warrior princess, eager to earn a place among her people in “The Beast of Blackmoor.” But when she arrives to tame the Beast of Blackmoor, she discovers that the “beast” is hardly a monster, but rather a barbarian warrior who seeks to do a little taming himself.

Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter. US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This title is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Guest Review: Night Shift by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin and Milla Vane

Posted November 17, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Night Shift by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin and Milla VaneReviewer: Tracy
Night Shift by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, Milla Vane
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: November 25th 2014
Format: eARC
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark...

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh delivers a smoldering story with Secrets at Midnight, as the scent of Bastien Smith’s elusive lover ignites a possessiveness in him that’s as feral as it is ecstatic. And now that he’s found his mate, he’ll do anything to keep her.
In #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews’ novella, Magic Steals, when people start going missing, shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau and jaguar shifter Jim Shrapshire must uncover the truth about the mysterious creatures responsible.
From Milla Vane—a warrior princess must tame The Beast of Blackmoor to earn a place among her people. But she quickly discovers that the beast isn't a monster, but a barbarian warrior who intends to do some taming himself. 
It’s seer Makenna Frazier's first day on the job at Supernatural Protection and Investigations, and her first assignment is more than she bargained for when bodyguard duty for a leprechaun prince’s bachelor party goes every which way but right in national bestselling author Lisa Shearin’s Lucky Charms.

 

Tracy’s review of Night Shift by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin and Milla Vane

(Kate Daniels #6.5, SPI Files # 0.5, Psy-Changeling #12.5, Barbarian #1)

I have to say that I’m a total fan of anthologies. I’m not always sure what I’m gonna get and I like that.  This story introduced me to 2 new to me authors (or so I thought) and that’s always a good thing.

Nalini’s story was wonderful, as per her usual. I loved that it was a story of Bastien finding his mate and that not too many outside forces were trying to keep them apart. Kirby thinks she’s human but her scent, as well as a few other freaky things that keep happening, are saying that she’s shifter as well. The story was very sweet and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these two characters.

In Andrews’ novella I got to read about Jim and Dali once again and that made me very happy. I was a little surprised in this story that their relationship hadn’t been completely solidified, as I thought it already had been in their previous story (did I miss something?). Seeing them work together and reading about Dali’s talents was awesome though. It made me laugh and smile and I couldn’t put it down.

Lucky Charms by Shearin was the shortest story in the book and definitely not a romance, which is what I was expecting. Mac’s first night on the job with SPI is filled with crazy happenings and she’s not so happy when she finds out there’s a proverbial target on her back. This story, while cute, was obviously the prequel to an already established storyline. I felt like it wasn’t a standalone but just a teaser/taste of what I could get if I chose to continue reading the series. I can’t say I’m a fan of that particular ploy at all.

Milla Vane’s story surprised the heck outta me, I must say. When I first started reading I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the story or not. At first it seemed the story was a bit shocking but for shock value alone however as I continued reading I started enjoying the world that the author built (and the shocking parts). The barbarian, Kavik, was a seriously tortured hero who was in love with a woman he’d dreamed about for years but never met. When he sees her in person he’s excited until he starts believing she’s there to humiliate and/or kill him. Despite these beliefs the two can’t seem to stay away from each other and in that harsh destructive world two people found each other. I ended up really, really enjoying the story and can’t wait to read more set in this world.
(FYI – I just went to Milla Vane’s Goodreads page to see if she had any other books and lo and behold I found out that Milla is an alternate name for Meljean Brook. Now I know one of the reasons I loved the story so much. Hello. It’s Meljean! Love her. :))

Overall a pretty great anthology with just a little blip in the 3rd story. This is definitely a book I’d recommend to any paranormal romance lover.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the author is exchange for an honest review.

four-stars


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