Usually, I don't rate anthologies very high-- average rating, about a 3.5 or so is common for me. But with Highlander Christmas, there was no doubt inUsually, I don't rate anthologies very high-- average rating, about a 3.5 or so is common for me. But with Highlander Christmas, there was no doubt in my mind that it would receive a 5 Star rating when I finished the last page!
When you get three very talented, very popular authors together, and have their stories all published in one book, you're sure to get one spectacular novel out of the deal! And with Highlander Christmas, that's what happened!
I don't even know where to begin-- all three stories were great, and I so loved reading each and every one!
Dawn's story, the first in the novel, could quite possibly be my all-time favorite of the three, if I had to choose. I almost forgot that her story was supposed to be a novella, part of an anthology, and therefore shorter in pages than usual-- you can't even tell! Why? Because the characters came alive in the pages, flourished and developed, and the connection, the love, between hero and heroine was clearly there, and very well done. Something that, usually, can be a bit challenging to accomplish in a shortened novel.
But Dawn, well, I already knew from her previous work that she could do it, and once again she managed to grab me from page one, and wrap the magic of her story-telling around me until the very end. Touching, passionate, and witty, I loved her "Winter Heat", which will definitely help to keep a reader warm during the upcoming winter evenings, snuggled up by the fire with this book!
Next up was Sophie's "Yuletide Enchantment". Now, I've not yet read any of Sophie's contemporary romances, but I've been anxiously awaiting her upcoming paranormal series-- and this short novel is a bit of a prequel, I guess you could call it, for said series.
After reading this one, my mind was still a bit numb-- wow! I thought the plot/theme alone was very unique, not the usual ones filling the shelves today, and the story flowed nicely-- again, I almost couldn't tell it was a novella instead of a full length! The only problem, if you could call it that, is that the story teased me, leaving off at the end, and torturing me until the first novel, Velvet Haven, comes out this next year! *Cries* Otherwise, the characters were well done (and the hero, by the way, is very yummy!), there was plenty of romance, action, and a good dash of magic to captivate the reader!
The last story was Cindy's "A Christmas Spirit". I've read one of her books before, and I did enjoy it, so I had a fairly good idea of what to expect in this one-- and again, I wasn't disappointed. Although, to be honest, out of the three I would have to say this one would receive my lowest rating on it's own (but no lower than 4 stars, if that!), it was only because I didn't quiet feel the pull between the hero and heroine in her story. It was there, but it felt like it was a bit, well, rushed, like most novellas, and it only came in stronger at the very end. But I do enjoy her writing still, I always find a few witty areas and more than a few "Aw!" ones as well.
5 STARS! Over all, these three well-known authors worked their magic over the reader, pulling them in, and holding them in thrall until the very end. Wonderful, enchanting, and passionately written, these three paranormal Christmas novellas will leave you wanting only one thing: the hero to have as your own! Move over, fated heroines, you're going to have competition soon! ...more
Everyone knows that society splits itself into two groups-- the "In Group" and everyone else. But what if the "In" group went deeper than just old monEveryone knows that society splits itself into two groups-- the "In Group" and everyone else. But what if the "In" group went deeper than just old money and good looks? Prepare to be initiated into a society in New York that's only been whispered about for hundreds of years...
What should have been yet another YA novel about the upper-crest teens in a big city turned out to be much, much more. Though Dolby only skimmed the surface in this book, he left us with enough tiny hints and interesting turns that suggest that beneath the Society's superficial surface lies something much more sinister and complex.
If I have one "complaint" about the writing, it was the fact that Dolby switched from one character's POV to another-- without a break in paragraphs, cue, or other kind of heads up for the reader. And the POV's could change as many as three or four times-- in only a few chapters!
Now, I don't mind reading a story from more than one person's POV, but I don't like getting lost in every chapter as the author switches without telling us so. By doing this, he also short changed the characters as well-- I didn't connect to any of them as much as I would have liked, and they weren't as deep or developed as they should be. Where was the main character for this book? I wanted to say it was Phoebe, but even her character wasn't as complicated as she should have been.
This could have been easily fixed, I think, if the author had only changed the layout of writing, sticking with one or two characters' POV, and set aside a certain chapter for each one. This would have allowed not only the character development, but kept the story from seeming choppy.
Despite this one flaw, I did thoroughly enjoy Secret Society--- the mystery of what exactly the Society is, what they're hiding, grabbed my attention and held it until the very end. I'd love to read more from this author, and I hope that he's got plans for a sequel or two, since this one left us on such a cliff hanger...
4 STARS! Overall, a great read for anyone! A refreshing take on an all-too-true cliche that money and status equals power-- and how some people will do anything to keep their secrets. Don't miss out on this one-- prepare to be initiated this September when Secret Society hits store shelves! ...more
Besides the beautiful cover art, The Swan Kingdom itself was a dazzling story, a remake of a fairy tale but done in Marriott's own way. Full of magic,Besides the beautiful cover art, The Swan Kingdom itself was a dazzling story, a remake of a fairy tale but done in Marriott's own way. Full of magic, set in a fantasy world that you can practically picture just by reading the book, and with an added dose of action and adventure to keep the story alive, this book is truly worth your time to read.
Marriott does a wonderful job with the characters, especially Alexandra , our heroine for this journey through the Kingdom. is a good example of a strong young woman, one that does not whine and allow others to push her around. She's got courage, and she's not afraid to face her fears-- even if that means her new (evil) stepmother. In a way, Alexandra reminds me a lot of Yelena, from Poison Study (by Maria V. Snyder), which is a compliment, really. If you enjoyed Snyders' magical world, then I'm sure you'll love The Swan Kingdom as well.
I enjoy reading new takes on old fairy tales, and this one is no different. This time, the base for the novel is the story of the young boys, turned into swans by their stepmother, destined to stay cursed forever. Unless, of course, Alexandra , who was spared this curse (though still exiled from the kingdom), can save them and reverse the spell. Along the way, she meets new friends, finds more adventures, and, of course, falls in love, too.
My only qualm lies in the romance- it felt a bit lacking most of the time, even for a YA novel. I wish Marriott had added more to this, showed us how they really fell for each other.
The story flowed nicely, though there were a few action sequences where I almost felt a bit lost. But just as quickly, the confusion was gone and the writing was clear again. A few tiny flaws, but no where near enough to destroy the story or the readers' enjoyment!
4 STARS! For a first novel, Zoe Marriott did a wonderful job, and I'm looking forward to many future books from her. She has a talent for writing, and a unique story to tell the readers. Added to that her good fortune in cover art designs, and you've got a rising start to keep your eyes on!
Another captivating cover-- and story-- by the talented Zoe Marriott! Prepare to be engulfed by the fire in this one--- Daughter of the Flames is evenAnother captivating cover-- and story-- by the talented Zoe Marriott! Prepare to be engulfed by the fire in this one--- Daughter of the Flames is even better than her first novel, with more action and romance, yet still containing the magical quality that grabbed my attention in The Swan Kingdom.
Once again, Marriott's characters are very well developed and a joy to read about. Zahira (or Zira) is even more of a kick-a$$ heroine than Alexandra (from Swan Kingdom). Fiery, passionate, training to be a warrior priestess but suddenly destined to be queen of her people, she's everything you could ask for in a heroine. She's not perfect, her life has been hard, but you can easily relate to her-- and isn't that one of the best things you can say about a character?
And with such a strong heroine, you need a hero that can match her, right? Sorin, the Lord she falls for (despite that fact that he's the "enemy" at the beginning) fits the job perfectly. He's not a wimp, but he's not too rough either--- the right medium between the two, combined with the sweet moments he has with Zahira, makes him a good choice for a husband. I can easily see why Zahira would fall in love with him!
Even better, you can clearly watch them connect, getting to know and trust each other, instead of just falling straight into lust like some other books. Although, for a YA novel, the romance does get fairly heated at times... But nothing too graphic, for those of you that are worried about it! It's a nice addition to the emotional connection you can see between them, without making their love seem cheap.
To sum it up, this is a mesmerizing story, set in a fantasy world, with a good dash of all the requirements for a perfect novel: action, suspense, romance, and the fight between good and evil. In other words, Daughter of the Flames has it all! The touching romantic spots, the adrenaline-laced fighting, and the enchanting descriptions-- together these will keep you up all night just to finish the book!
And, as much as I enjoyed her previous novel, I have to say that Daughter of the Flames is much better-- and one that you definitely shouldn't miss if you love a good fantasy novel, YA or not!
4.5 Stars! Who needs paranormal worlds all the time when you can lose yourself in a good fantasy romance like that of Daughter of the Flames? No matter the age, if you enjoy a good magical story, this is the book for you! If nothing else, the covers themselves are breathtaking-- and the story? Even more so! ...more
I don't usually throw the words "Spell-binding", "Luscious", or "Amazing!" around lightly-- so when you see all three of them, plus many more similarI don't usually throw the words "Spell-binding", "Luscious", or "Amazing!" around lightly-- so when you see all three of them, plus many more similar ones, in my review, you know you're in for one heck of a book!
First off, Magic Under Glass is a wonderful example of fantasy and fairy tale combined-- it reminds me of the (early) Disney movies, not because it's "childish" (far from it) but because of Jackie's ability to weave the story around the reader, completely emerging us into Nimira's world, and combining a great romantic element to it as well. Much like "Beauty and the Beast" enchants the romantic/fantasy lover in young girls, this book rekindles that same feeling, even for those of us that thought we had long since grown out of this stage!
Speaking of movies, Magic Under Glass is one of the few books I wouldn't mind seeing turned into a movie, which isn't something I usually want to happen to my favorite books. However, no movie is needed, since Dolamore paints such a beautiful and lush portrayal of the novel, characters, and pretty much every element that made the story so wonderful! Spell-binding is putting it lightly-- once you pick this book up, you won't want to stop, so be prepared to set everything else aside for a day!
I really enjoyed reading the interaction between Nimira and Erris, their friendship (and later, their love) was easy to see, and nicely done. And Erris... well, he's an interesting character, since he's neither the automaton that everyone believes, nor human, but, in fact, the long lost Prince of the fairies. He's such a sweet, and slightly tortured, young man, that I can see how Nimira falls for him. By the end of the novel, I too had developed a bit of a crush on Erris.
The details, both in the characters, the setting, and the story itself, are, simply put, spectacular! I can find no real fault in any of Dolamore's writing, except for I wish I could get my hands on the sequel now, so I can find out more about Nimira and Erris! Otherwise, she manages to capture the readers attention from the very beginning, and right away you'll find yourself entangled in the magic and whimsy aura of Nimira's world, not wishing to leave, even when the story comes to a close.
4.5 STARS! For a debut novel, Jackie Dolamore does a truly magical job at creating a world that will leave the readers breathless, craving more of strong-willed Nimira's story. A heavy dash of magic, a touch of mystery and suspense, and to round it all out, a lush dose of romance combines almost effortlessly into a one of a kind book that I have no doubt anyone will love. Don't even let the "YA" genre fool you-- I would recommend this to older readers just as easily as I will the younger. Everyone loves a good fairy tale, and Magic Under Glass definitely fits the requirements for a good classic!
For a quick read, Modern Day Witch Hunt wasn't half bad. However, I can't say that it was my favorite either.
I think the main thing that lowered theFor a quick read, Modern Day Witch Hunt wasn't half bad. However, I can't say that it was my favorite either.
I think the main thing that lowered the rating for me was the lack of connection between the characters. I know, this is an 'erotica' novel, not straight romance. But, for me at least, romance is still a key part of erotica novels as well. Maybe the sex takes a front seat for a while, and it's much more explicit, but the romance should still be there. Right?
Despite this flaw, the writing in general was good. Howell does a nice job at describing the setting, allowing the writing to flow, et cetera. However, the one thing I would have liked a bit more detail on is the magical world this was set in. I wanted to know so much more about the 'Watchers', what they are, and especially a bit more about Luca's past. There's so much potential with this plot line, but it was like we only got a skim from the surface of it, when I wanted to submerge myself in the world instead. If this part of the book had been expanded a bit more, with a lot more details -- and characters too (really, I don't remember any besides h/hr!) -- I'm sure my rating would have gone up more.
Even though it was a novella (short novel), I felt like the basic plot for the book was a bit too rushed. The build up, the back ground information, it didn't quiet flow as smoothly as I would have liked. Maybe it would have worked out much better if this had been a full length novel instead.
BUT, I still liked the book, and I'll still look for Howell's future books. A few flaws here and there won't throw me off the author for good. And it could be that I was looking forward to more of a romance novel at the time that I picked this up-- it's an opinion only, so I can't say the problems I had with the book are completely the author's fault.
3 STARS! If you like to read erotica novels, then maybe you should put this one on your next wish list. A nice, quick read, Modern Day Witch Hunt manages to tease your interest, but in the end, it leaves you wanting more-- maybe a future book about the Watchers introduced in this one? If only Halloween wasn't over, I'd suggest this as a good one to read that night.
The “Epic of Gilgamesh” comes alive with the vivid descriptions, characters, and crisp writing talent of Shauna Roberts! Although it is a retelling ofThe “Epic of Gilgamesh” comes alive with the vivid descriptions, characters, and crisp writing talent of Shauna Roberts! Although it is a retelling of an ancient myth, one that perhaps not all of us are as familiar with as, say, King Arthur, Like Mayflies in a Stream is written in such a way that it gives a fresh voice to an otherwise ordinary tale.
If you enjoy a good historical novel, or if you are already interested in anything related to mythology, then this is the book for you! No matter the age, from teens to adults, this makes a quick, fascinating read. Roberts provides a look into the past, during a time long ago, but connects the characters to the reader in such a way that you almost forget this is taking place centuries ago-- it feels real, and it's believable. As they say, human nature doesn't change much, even over thousands of years, but the strong connection to the characters is mostly because of Roberts' skills at weaving a story together.
My only criticism, if you can call if that, is the descriptions were a bit much at times. Not necessarily a bad thing, but due to my personal preference, there were times when Roberts' almost painted the scene too vividly-- such as during the battles or gory scenes. Again, this is more of personal preference, since I'm not one for gory movies/books and the scenes I talk about from Like Mayflies in a Stream are actually pretty tame compared to many stories out there.
4 STARS! After covering the “Epic of Gilgamesh” in my mythology class last semester, this was an interesting retelling of the story. I enjoyed the story Roberts created around the epic tale while still allowing the reader to glimpse the original “myth” beneath the story. Very well written, entertaining, and quick-- this is not like most historical novels, which cover 700 plus pages and seem to drag on instead of flow smoothly. A good recommendation for anyone, history fans or not, as a refreshing break from the normal paranormal and fantasy novels out there.
Only a very special book can make you fall in love with a genre again. It Takes Two to Tangle did just that, rekindling my love of historical romance. Only a very special book can make you fall in love with a genre again. It Takes Two to Tangle did just that, rekindling my love of historical romance. Theresa Romain has a talent, a rare ability to blend beautiful writing, great characters, delicious banter and a lovely romance, all in one perfect package.
ITTtT is simply beautiful, inside and out; the cover sweeps you away to Regency England as does the story contained inside. Within a few chapters, I knew it was to be a favorite of mine, and I look forward to enjoying Romain's books again in the future.
I loved how the sparks flew between Henry and Frances. There were more than a few such passages that I marked, though I won't be sharing them today, as they were fairly long--sorry! You shall just have to trust me--if you love wit and banter in your romance (and who doesn't?) then you will love this book!
As wonderful as the story and characters are, it is Romain's writing that captured my attention the most. She has a way of writing that turns a seemingly simple scene into a powerful one.
Truly, her writing is gorgeous and it made me feel as if I were there with Frances and Henry. Well done, Ms. Romain, and thank you for this delightful story!
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For my full review, including favorite book quotes, please visit my blog, TBQ's Book Palace.
I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.
Wow. That is all I can say--wow. Kat Bastion managed to surprise me, more than a few times actually, throughout Forged in Dreams and Magick. I was nev
Wow. That is all I can say--wow. Kat Bastion managed to surprise me, more than a few times actually, throughout Forged in Dreams and Magick. I was never sure what the outcome would be, much like Isa. I was swept along on an epic and magical journey, and I loved it. Every twist, every turn, every "Oh no, why did you do that?".
I fell in love with Iain. It would be hard NOT to though! He's sexy, he's loyal, he's an alpha male through and through. Oh, and he's a Highlander. Really, need I go on?
The prose leaves you breathless, providing a beautiful picture for the reader, revealing every detail about the worlds Isa travels between. And the chemistry between Iain and Isa! Well done, Bastion, well done! :) I don't want to give away anything, so I won't go into detail about the plot. But know this: the story is not easy, and you will be caught off guard a few times. Trust me though, it all works out in the end, and while Forged in Dreams and Magick does not end on a cliffhanger, there will be a few more novels and novellas, so don't think that the last page is the end! From what Bastion has mentioned to me, there will still be ample parts in future books where big twists are thrown into the mix. I. Can't. Wait!
Beautiful writing, clear voice, a lovely--and very unique!--story....Forged in Dreams and Magick is full of brawny Highlanders and breathtaking description. Bastion's debut is pure perfection, a combination of romance, magic, emotion, adventure and surprising twists and turns. This is a truly unique romance that should not be missed! I will be (politely) badgering Ms. Bastion for the next installments in this series, and I recommend this book to anyone looking for a grand adventure, a passionate romance, and a skilled author who has only just begun to share her talent!
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For my full review, including favorite book quotes, please visit my blog, TBQ's Book Palace.
I received an e-ARC of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
*NOTE* There are two wonderful giveaways Kat is running for FiDaM--one is for my blog only and ends Sep 30th! If you are interested in winning an ecopy of this book, click over to my full review for the giveaway details!
Jessica Scott has managed once again to rip out my heart. She caused me to pull a “There's something in my eye” moment many a times while reading thisJessica Scott has managed once again to rip out my heart. She caused me to pull a “There's something in my eye” moment many a times while reading this novella. But she also made me laugh and smirk. I'll Be Home for Christmas is a heart-warming holiday romance that will drag you through every emotion before reaching the last page.
Ms. Scott is very talented at what she writes. I've inhaled every one of her books so far, and adored each and every one, I'll Be Home for Christmas being no exception. I was beyond thrilled when I heard that Carponti was finally getting his story told. I've been in love with him from book 1, intrigued by the glimpses of his character, and especially drawn to this tricks and jokes. I was not disappointed by this book at all. Scott did an amazing job, yet again, of writing a romance that is very real and emotional, and incorporating the military lifestyle into the story. She knows what she's writing about, and it comes through in her books.
I'll Be Home for Christmas is a quick read, yes, but the story is still well developed, and the emotional roller coaster Vic and Nicole (as well as many of the secondary characters) go through is very powerful. Prepare yourself—mark off a few hours of your time to enjoy this book, and bring a few tissues, just in case you find that you, too, have something caught in your eye. A rare combination of sweet, sexy, funny, emotional and yet dealing with a very serious, and real, situation, I'll Be Home for Christmas is a must read for any fan of this genre!
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For my full review, including favorite book quotes, please visit my blog, TBQ's Book Palace. Kame and Pat gave this one 5 stars as well--and we did a discussion of the novella, so be sure to head over and check it out! ;)
I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.