In the latest Novel of the Elder Races, two souls who have long buried their passions are about to be consumed…
Ever since their scorching affair ended years ago, Julian, the Nightkind King, and Melisande, daughter of the Light Fae Queen, have tried to put the past behind them—and distance between them. But when a war breaks out between Julian and Justine, a powerful Vampyre of the Nightkind council, they find themselves thrown together under treacherous circumstances…
Kidnapped as leverage against Julian, Melly is convinced that her former lover won’t be rushing to her rescue. But when Julian gives himself up to save her, they both end up Justine’s captives. Armed only with their wits and their anger, Melly and Julian must work together to escape. But will they be able to ignore their complicated history, or will the fiery passion that once burned them blaze again?
I have to admit I wasn't sure how I felt about this one in advance. Julian seemed too much of a jerk hero when it came to how he was towards Melly. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about enemies to lovers, but prior to reading this one, I felt like his behavior against her was too much. And then on the flip side, from initial impressions I found Melly to be too immature for my tastes, so I wasn't sure how this one was going to work out for me. Luckily while both of those issues are there at the start of the book, they actually worked really well and made things more interesting as the book progressed. Melly has an outward immaturity, but an underlying core of steel showing there's much more than meets the eye to her. And Julian had reasons for being so much of a jerk, but when push came to shove he swallowed his pride and risked everything. So these "flaws" actually wound up enhancing the story in the end, and that's the best kind.
With the amazing tension, high stakes risk, and off the charts steam, this one should have easily been a five star read. Unfortunately the plot itself held it back from that perfect rating. While things felt high stakes with the risks against both Melly and Julian, there just didn't feel like there was a lot of forward momentum in the book. It just felt like it was all high stakes that were focused so much more on than the outcome. There was this whole build up that kept me on the edge of my seat, but the resolution kind of fizzled at the end. The entire book is spent wanting the villans to "get there's" but when that actually happens, well it was rushed and just overall wasn't satisfying enough after all that build up for me. I just wanted more from it, and that's why this one is a solid four star for me.
Overall while the resolution just wasn't enough for me, I enjoyed every other moment of this book. I read it in one sitting as I just couldn't put it down. Fans should be more than pleased with this latest installment in the Elder Races series as no one does enemies to lovers like Thea Harrison. No one.
First in a new fantasy series from the author of the Novels of the Half-Light City.
Entangled in a court ruled by tradition and intrigue, a young witch must come to terms with newfound power and desire—and a choice between loyalty and survival.…
The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.
Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.
Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power.…
I have to admit that I'm sometimes leery of straight fantasy books due to the world building bogging things down. There's just typically too much to learn with all the very different world "rules" than ours from the start that I quickly lose interest. However, I really enjoyed M.J.'s Half Light series, so when I saw this new series, I knew I'd be giving it a try. I'm really glad that I did, and in fact I enjoyed this one so much it makes me want to be a bit more open to fantasy in the future just to make sure I don't miss really good reads like this one. There was just the right amount of world building to balance things out where I was intrigued and not left in the dark. Add in the yummy romance and the really interesting plot, I was hooked.
I do have to make mention a plot hole that is still sticking out to me. Since it happens early on I can talk about it without worrying about spoilers, but I'll still be a bit vague just in case. The Princess sends Sophie out with the royal guard with the implication that she had a bit of precognization. It just seemed like she sent Sophie out knowing there was some reason that she had to be out of the castle even if she didn't know why. But what bothers me is that the Princess then acted surprised/annoyed at the outcome of Sophie being out of the castle during the attack. I just felt it rang a bit false which frustrated me. That being said, I did read and ARC so perhaps that little tidbit will be fixed by the final version.
Now onto the romance. Ooooh boy did I love this one, and honestly this played a large part in me being so hooked on this book. They started off really cold towards one another, but then once things started it was utter fireworks. Of course then there were circumstances that didn't make it easy for them, but the tension and the yearning made it oh so yummy. I just loved every moment of it.
It's been awhile since I've felt so quickly attached to a new fantasy series, so it was exactly the read I needed. And that ending? A doosy. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book, and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a new series to fall in love with.
Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can't forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he'd signed his own death warrant.
Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order's headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember's own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.
A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?
I'm not the biggest fan of love triangles. Most time they just annoy me rather than make me feel torn like the character does. However, there are sometimes where there is enough reason behind the heroine being torn that I don't mind it, which is the case here. Ember's own identities between her human and dragon self are like two completely different people, so it makes sense that each side of her would be drawn to a different thing. Unfortunately however, despite understanding that conflict, I frankly do not feel much of an attachment to either hero. There's just a disconnect between myself and the characters that made it hard to really get attached or sucked in to the romance, which made the whole thing somewhat of a let down. I just think that for there to be a love triangle, there just needs to be more of a connection and stronger built romance rather than just the words of attraction. I just didn't feel the pull.
Ember is a tricky character for me. On on hand, she's fiesty strong and refuses to follow authority blindly, which I love about her. I can easily seeing her becoming a true character to reckon with as she gets a bit more experience under her belt. But that same rebellous nature about her annoyed me as well. Several times throughout the last book and this one as well it felt like she was disobeying and going against what was asked of her just for the sake of "bucking" authority. There were a few times her behaviour/reactions were completely and entirely reckless for no reason other than to be stubborn and reckless it seems. For example, they are on the run from both St. George and Talon at one point, and she is asked to stay put and out of sight for her protection so they don't get caught. Of course, she gets "stir crazy" and goes out risking all their lives just because she was bored. It made her seem selfish and immature, and frankly put me off. I prefer a character to rebell for a purpose rather than immaturity. That being said, she's still very young and naive, and as more and more things happen I have a feeling she'll grow.
I have to admit I'm a bit frustrated with this series. It has all the makings of a completely great read, between the unique world, interesting cast of characters and the rotating first person narrative that really works for me, plus a fast paced plot to boot. However, the execution of everything isn't quite what I had hoped, between the love triangle disconnect, and the overly reckless heroine, I just can't sink into these books as much as I would like. Don't get me wrong, they are interesting and entertaining reads, but I just feel like there's unrealized potential not being met here, but hopefully the future books correct that.
From the bestselling author of Winterbirth comes a magnificent new epic fantasy about The Free - the most feared and revered band of mercenaries the kingdom has ever known . . .
They are the most feared mercenary company the kingdom has ever known.
Led by Yulan, their charismatic captain, the Free have spent years selling their martial and magical skills to the highest bidder - winning countless victories that shook the foundations of the world. Now they finally plan to lay down their swords.
Yet when Yulan is offered a final contract, he cannot refuse - for the mission offers him the chance to erase the memories of the Free's darkest hour, which have haunted him for years.
As The Free embark on their last mission, a potent mix of loyalty and vengeance is building to a storm. Freedom, it seems, carries a deadly price.
The Free by Brian Ruckley is the story of the last contract a group of mercenaries take before their retirement. Although the summary makes the story sound fairly straightforward, and even dull, the story holds up, and exceeds such a narrow summary.
The setting for the story is a kingdom which is being torn apart by civil war as the nobility rebel and depose the royalty. This is problematic for a number of reasons, including the fact that the royal family’s accomplishments including preventing the southern regions “Orphans” from invading by way of threatening to unleash a Permanence, called The Bereaved on them. Then there are the neutral parties in this civil war, the magic users, or the ‘clevers,’ who are able to use elemental magic for their own agendas.
The Free is a band of mercenaries comprised of clevers, warriors, and their Permanence, the Clamour has nearly completed their last contract, having been hired to fight for one of the noblemen against the last of the royalty. The Free are eager to be done fighting, in particular their leader Yulan, who is looking forward to a quiet retirement. But then Yulan is offered a final contract, one which promises a large sum of gold, but also allow them to clear the slate of an old humiliation.
A great deal of the plot sounds like a collection of familiar tropes, and to round them out is a young peasant named Drann, who is the reader’s way into this band of mercenaries but whom will soon find himself in over his head. Other characters are interesting, but at times may feel as if they have been gathered from familiar stories with little alteration.
As a whole, the book has enough action and worldbuilding for it to be a quickly moving story, but the predictability of some of the characterizations and plot elements may not appeal to some readers.
(Received a copy from the publisher)
Romantic and action-packed, The Replaced is the gripping second installment in the Taking trilogy.
Kyra hasn't been the same since she returned from her mysterious five-year disappearance. Now, on the run from the NSA, Kyra is forced to hide out with others who, like her, have been Returned. Yet she is determined to find Tyler, the boy she loves who was also abducted—all because of her. When her group intercepts a message that Tyler might still be alive but is in the hands of a shadowy government organization that experiments on the Returned, Kyra knows it's a risk to go after him. What if it's a trap? And worse, what if the returned Tyler isn't the same boy she lost?
Perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and the Body Finder series, The Replaced is both chilling and explosive, with creepy, otherworldly elements and twisty, psychological thrills that will have you questioning what exactly it means to be human.
I need to take a moment and pause before really getting into the review to express frustration that the dreaded love triangle yet again is rearing its ugly head. It's especially frustrating in books like this where the first book "sells" you so much on the romance, like it did with Kyra and Tyler. Then magically this third wheel romance gets thrown in book two to complicate things. In fact this unwarranted love triangle (and some issues I had with Kyra that I'll get into in a bit) brought my rating down. It's a shame because I remember really enjoying the first book, but this one just didn't spark the same due to my frustrations.
Perhaps I don't fully remember how Kyra was in the last book, but this time around she seemed particularly dramatic, and she just fell flat for me. There was one reaction to a reveal that seemed over the top, especially considering it was something I felt she should have already long realized. Then of course she spends a lot of the book utterly distraught over Tyler and where he was, what happened to him etc. Which was in direct contrast to the addition of the love triangle, and just left me scratching my head. So much more of this book was spent in her head and her lamentions, and it just bogged things down for me.
Negative things aside, I did like the direction things were heading by the end (love triangle aside) and I found the reason behind her differences from the other Returned an really intersting twist. The cliffhanger ending is a pretty big whopper and has the potential to make for a whopper of a final book if things speed up a bit and Kyra gets out of her own way and returns to the kick butt heroine from the first book. It's funny, typically cliffhangers can almost ruin books for me due to the frustration, but in this case I think that final twist is what sold me on being excited for the last installment after this one was a bit lackluster. So here's hoping it all ends with a bang.
Meet Siobhan Quinn—Half vampire, half werewolf, and retired monster hunter. Or so she thought…
Three years have passed since Quinn turned her back on Providence, Rhode Island’s seedy supernatural underbelly, walking out on Mr. B. and taking a bus headed anywhere. She hoped her escape would give her some peace from the endless parade of horrors. But a dead girl who quarrels with the moon can’t catch a break, and, on the streets of Manhattan, Quinn finds herself caught between a rock and a hard place. Again.
What do you do when you’re stuck in the middle of a three-million-year-old grudge match between the ghouls and the djinn, accidentally in possession of a hellish artifact that could turn the tide of the war, all the while being hunted by depraved half-ghoul twins intent on taking the object and ushering in a terrifying Dark Age?
Especially when you’ve fallen in love with the woman who got you into this mess—and you ain’t nobody’s hero…
Cherry Bomb is the third and final installment in Caitlín R. Kiernan’s (writing as Kathleen Tierney) series about a vampire-werewolf named Quinn. This series seeks to ‘re-fang’ the paranormal genre, as it were, one gorey and expletive-heavy passage at a time. It both mocks the romantic niche that vampires have been crammed into like ill-fitting coffins, and is both unabashedly sexual and intolerant of anyone who seeks to lie to themselves about price one pays to live forever.
The book opens three years after Quinn walked out on Mean Mr. B. and Rhode Island both, and she now resides in New York. She settles, as much as is possible for her, into a relationship, which she chafes and, this is short-lived, pun fully intended, when she meets Selwyn Throckmorton, an antiquities dealer one night in a BDSM club.
Unfortunately, it seems that the very thing that drew Selwyn to approach someone she knew wasn’t human has also lead to her getting involved in trading ghoul artifacts with individuals one would do well to avoid. Nobody with any sense would wander into a feud between ghouls and the djinn, but then, this is Quinn’s life, and these things happen to her as a rule.
Unlike the previous books in this series, Quinn’s dry sense of humor has a distinctly darker tone, which makes sense given what’s happened to her, but it also ties into the rest of the story, which is much more aggressive as progressively more unpleasant things happen to people and creatures who may or may not deserve what happens to them.
It’s essential to remember that as a protagonist, Quinn is not intended to be admirable, and she is aware of how far from the role of a traditional hero she walks. On the other hand, Quinn is definitely not infallible, and even though the audience may be able to see Selwyn as the trouble she most assuredly is, Quinn, from time to time, allows emotion to get the better of her.
On the one hand, it’s a shame that this series has ended, but it is preferable for it to end strongly, rather than drag on for years, with characters becoming progressively unrecognizable. At the end of the day, the audience knows Quinn, inside and out, as well as anyone can know a character who would sneer at them, swear, and spit her defiance, and that is in and of itself satisfying.
(Received a copy from the publisher)
There Be Monsters Here. . . It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power. I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick. But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her...
Wow, I really enjoyed this. Not only is there a fresh and unique world, but there's magical mobster families to boot. Add in a really strong heroine and I was hooked. I really couldn't put it down once I started. If it wasn't for the slightly heavy/descriptive world building that slowed things a bit at times, (also that I had figured out the "twist" almost right away long before the characters did) this would have been a solid five, which is no small feat for a first book in the series for me.
Even if the world behind the story hadn't of been so interesting, the main character, Lila still would have more than sold this book for me. She's sarcastic and strong, and incredibly brave. It really amazed me how much she's been through, and while she comes off as uncaring at the start of the book, that's only the surface. Her actions more than proved themselves throughout the book despite how she tried to pretend otherwise.
If this first book is any indication, I can easily see this series outshining the Mythos Academy books by far. It has all the elements to kick off a truly awesome series with plenty of potential; a fascinating and completely unique world, a stellar cast of characters, and a fast moving plot. So, if you are looking for something fresh and unique in the paranormal YA genre, you'll definitely want to but this one on your list asap.
Cursed to be a jinni for a thousand years, Leila nears the end of her servitude—only to be bound once again against her will. Will she risk all to be human?
Born in ancient Persia, Leila turned to her house Jinni, Kouros, for help escaping an arranged marriage. Kouros did make it impossible for her to marry—by cursing Leila to live a thousand years as a Jinni herself.
>If she can remain unBound, Leila's curse will soon be over. But Ozan Sawyer, a Magi with the ability to See, Call, and Bind jinn has other plans.
Oz needs Leila to help him penetrate Pittsburgh's steel-soaked magic, a juice potent but poisonous to supernatural creatures, in order to find a missing girl with her own mysterious connection to Kouros. Unfortunately for Leila, becoming Bound to Oz may risk more than just her chance to be human once more—it could risk her very soul...
Jinn and Juice is the first in a new series by fantasy writer, Nicole Peeler, set in a world of immortal curses, powerful jinni and belly dancing.
I read a lot of paranormal, in fact it makes up probably 95% of all my reading. So that being said, the same all types of paranormal creatures can get a little stale at times. I love finding gems like this one where the paranormal type is something different than the normal vamps and weres, etc. Plus I have a soft spot for Jinnis so I really had high hopes for this one. I'm happy to say the book lived up to those hopes completely. Sure there was the typical slower start due to world building and learning the characters, but overall Nicole Peeler did a fabulous job of setting up this world and keeping the pacing and plot interesting. There was a good mix of the otherworld and this one adding dimension and limitless possibilities, which I loved.
Before I talk about the characters I want to mention the romance. It's funny, at first I was leery of the whole potential romance due to the almost "stockholm" feel, but then as the book went on I actually started to get frustrated at the lack of romantic momentum. Once I realized it wasn't nearly as stockholm as it originally seemed, then I wanted to see more. Unfortunately the characters themselves were stuck too much in that mindset. Considering the way this one ended, I'm not sure how things are going to be in the next one, but considering the definite spark in this one, I'm really hopefully. But romance aside, getting into the other characters, I was really impressed with how well fleshed out the whole cast was. I love that they were a group of really close knit misfits, and I was instantly rooting for all of them. It isn't often that you fall right away for the entire cast, so I really enjoyed that in this one.
I'm always looking for new urban fantasies featuring non-typical paranormal characters to add to my reading lists, and this series perfectly fits the bill. I'll definitely be looking forward to the next installment. Hopefully the wait won't be too long as I need more of this Jinni, stat.
Award-winning author Juliet Marillier “weaves magic, mythology, and folklore into every sentence on the page” (The Book Smugglers). Now she begins an all-new and enchanting series that will transport readers to a magical vision of ancient Ireland...
In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she'll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.
Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.
With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.
Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier is the first book in the Blackthorn and Grim series, and offers an array of characters and a protagonist, Blackthorn, who is dealing with wrongful imprisonment, and begins the story having to set aside pursuing vengeance against a man who caused her a great deal of pain and suffering in return for the fey helping her to escape. Upon being released from prison, she travels to Dalriada, followed by a former prison mate, a man named Grim. There she lives, duty bound to help anyone who comes and asks for her assistance.
Meanwhile, another plot thread follows Oran, the crown prince of Dalriada, who is waiting for Lady Flidais, his bride-to-be. They have never met, and from her letters and a single portrait, he has concluded that she is the love of his life. However, when Lady Flidais arrives, she resembles her portrait, but soon proves that she is very different than her letters suggest. Now envisioning himself trapped in an unhappy marriage, Oran has no idea how to extricate himself from this marriage, but he has heard of Blackthorn, and her talent for solving tricky problems. Blackthorn and Grim must then use a combination of magic, cleverness, and bravery in order to solve the prince’s problem.
While the characters are interesting and the situation sufficiently tricky enough to provide plenty of story for them to unravel, there is a bit of a gap between the setup and its execution. At times the plot moves relatively slowly, and some readers may be impatient for more things to happen.
The story is told through the perspectives of Blackthorn, Grim, and Oran, which can be tricky for some authors to juggle, but this does allow for a greater amount of insight into various aspects of both events and the world. The first book in a series has a lot to cover, and if readers find some questions are left unresolved, they will undoubtedly be eager to pick up the next book in the series.
Demon summoner Kara Gillian is on the wrong side of the law, and there's evidence to prove it. Too bad the courts don't accept "fighting demonic forces" as justification for murder and mayhem.
Yet Kara has problems that go way beyond her legal woes. When the enemy demonic lords spur their human accomplices into high gear, master summoner Katashi aggressively pursues their goal to establish a permanent gate between Earth and the demon realm. To hell with the consequences for humanity.
The line between ally and enemy blurs as Kara gathers the remnants of her posse to prevent a devastating demonic incursion, but a shattered trust may cost them the war and put Kara behind bars. With treachery rife, and her loved ones in danger, Kara must call upon the essence of who she truly is in order to rally back from a crushing loss.
And if she can't, the world is going straight to hell.
This one is going to be a bit difficult to review. While I never found myself losing interest, and was continually able to stay easily focused on the story, it just wasn't as engrossing as I would have liked. The book seemed to meander throughout a lot of different things to the point where there just didn't seem to be any focus. Don't get me wrong, it was an enjoyable read, I just don't feel like there was a clear plot or even resolution of much of anything by the end especially with that cliffhanger. Granted, she's written some pretty nasty cliffhangers in the past, but this time around I'm not sure it was necessary or really warranted. I just wasn't sucked in enough for the cliffhanger to have had that full sucker punch effect. Typically that leaves me desperate for the next book but this one just didn't have the momentum for that to work.
One thing the book did get really right for me was Kara. She's been through so much and I really enjoy seeing how much she's matured. While it's hard to watch her have to make the hard decisions, she's really become a power to be reckoned with. Then of course the rest of the cast of characters are pretty fabulous too, and they are all fully three dimensional throughout. That's more than a little impressive considering just how large the cast has become. In many series, I forget who the older characters are between books, but this time around I had no trouble jumping back in, which goes to show how real the characters seem. My only complaint in the character department is that there wasn't more time with Mzatal, but hopefully that will change in future books.
In the end, VENGEANCE OF THE DEMON was a decent read that kept me entertained, but I can't help hoping for the next installment to return to the engrossing style of the previous installments. This still is a great series that I'd love see more great reads from, so here's hoping.