The Sin City Collectors is such a fun series! For those who don't know, it's a series of novellas written and self-published by a bunch of author frie...moreThe Sin City Collectors is such a fun series! For those who don't know, it's a series of novellas written and self-published by a bunch of author friends. So far, there are novellas by Amanda Carlson and Kristen Painter, but more authors will join later on. Each novella is set in the same world, and featuring a different pair of main characters.
This time around we meet Diesel, a werewolf who completely looses control on the full moon, and Sofia, a witch hunted by an incubus. Once again a fun installment with great characters! With only 120 pages to build the plot and romance happens pretty quickly, but these two characters already met because they are part of previous novellas so it makes even more sense when the passion unravels.
Diesel was a great alpha male and even though I didn't fall unconditionally in love with him, I liked him just fine. He has an history that scarred him and made him more real and I liked his determination and desire to protect. His affliction also made things interesting. I really, really liked Sofia! I think she's fun, smart and brilliant. I loved how she dealt with Neve (a dhampir from a previous novella) and her attitude issues. She isn't a damsel in distress even though she needed help and I command her for it.
Fun but somewhat predictable, the plot still provided great entertainment. It's hard to build something intricate with such a small number of pages, but the story was well rounded and the conclusion satisfying.
If I had one small complain it would be the secondary characters name. Diesel's brother is called Luke, and they work with a gargoyle called Jake. Both names were just to similar for a comfortable read, I kept confusing the two of them.
It seems novella #5 will feature Ginger and Luke and I can't wait to read it!(less)
I don’t review books I don’t finish very often, mostly because I usually stop fairly early in the novel, but I read 60% of Love Potions before I decid...moreI don’t review books I don’t finish very often, mostly because I usually stop fairly early in the novel, but I read 60% of Love Potions before I decided to give up and I taught it deserved a review.
Love Potions is about an immortal warlock who falls in love at first sight with Lydia, mortal granddaughter of a self-proclaimed witch, and his terrible attempts at seducing her. I have some big issues with this novel, and the first signs of trouble appeared when Lydia first met Erik. She was all wet and bothered the first time she sees him on the street and she almost gave him a blowjob the second time she saw him, on the same day, albeit this time because of a spell going wrong. None of this felt natural and it bothered me. Speaking of spells going wrong, this one isn’t the only one, and the other ones don’t sit so well either.
Aside from the falseness of Erik and Lydia’s romance, my main issue was the almost nonexistent plot. I’m afraid to say the bit about shadow forces trying to control Lydia to destroys Erik’s family is just a sorry excuse to support the shaky romance. Even after 60% read I felt like the story wasn’t going anywhere, which is why I stopped altogether. My shelf is full of great books waiting to be read, I just didn’t want to invest more time reading this one, unfortunately.
On a positive note, I enjoyed Lydia’s personality. She is funny, independent, strong and resourceful. I also liked the light banter the MacGregor siblings had going on and Charlotte’s loveable character. Michelle really created a great bunch of characters so it’s that much more disappointing that the plot was poorly executed.
Did you finish this book? What did you think? Would my opinion be any different had I persevered?(less)
Avery Roe's destiny has always been to be the next Prince Island witch. The whale hunters depend on her grandmother's magic to protect them at sea, an...moreAvery Roe's destiny has always been to be the next Prince Island witch. The whale hunters depend on her grandmother's magic to protect them at sea, and Avery is anxious to take over. Unfortunately her mother has other plans for her and is ready to stop her from becoming the next witch at all cost. Salt & Storm is the amazing story of a determined girl chasing her dreams.
Kendall Kulper's debut novel is an extremely original tale. She crafted a very potent and engaging lore and I have to command her for it. I loved how magic was passed down from mother to daughter and that a mystical element turns them into witches. Some perceive it as a blessing, others a curse, but the fact is, they can wield very powerful magic and the entire island depends on them.
The plot follows Avery's quest to reach her grandmother and become the next witch to stop her own murder. You see, she's a dream teller and she foresaw her own death. She is ready to anything to try and stop the prophecy, but her mother, determined to stop her from becoming the witch, won't make it easy. The young Roe goes as far as bounding with a strange tattooed stranger and using his wild magic to try and achieve her goal.
Of course the story needs a little romance and this foreigner will do just fine! Tanned, handsome and wild, Avery didn't want anything to do with him at first, but I loved witnessing their growing love and passion. Their story was full of surprises and I'm sure you'll love them as much as I did.
Surprisingly, the ocean held a very special position in this story, almost like it was an actual character. It is magical, mystical and dangerous and every character, even the sea witch herself, better beware of its power.
The conclusion was nerve-wracking and completely stunning and I would definitely recommend this great novel, especially if you love historical fiction with a flare of magic.(less)
Queen of Hearts is the second novella in this multi authors novella series, and unlike what I expected this one is featuring a new set a characters, C...moreQueen of Hearts is the second novella in this multi authors novella series, and unlike what I expected this one is featuring a new set a characters, Claudette and Jason.
I really enjoy this series and the world where it’s taking place. It surprising how authors manages to write such rich stories with so few pages, especially when each story is written by a different author but it works perfectly. Even though Carlson and Painter each have their own flair, the transition between both novellas was really smooth and I can only command them for it.
The plot really was a fun ride with Claudette falling for her target and turning all white knight on him. Of course they fall for each other a bit too quickly, but it can’t be helps with a 100ish pages story. They developed a nice chemistry though and I enjoy it. The introduction of grimalkins and gargoyle was a pretty nifty idea!
The conclusion was stressful but once again satisfying and I can’t wait to know who will be featured next and which author will write that story!(less)
Forsaken by the Others, the previous book in the H&W Investigations series, ended with a bang and this installment starts right where we left off....moreForsaken by the Others, the previous book in the H&W Investigations series, ended with a bang and this installment starts right where we left off. Shia is now in custody of Max and her future is most uncertain. Royce has absolutely no idea where she is, so any hope of rescue is out the window. She will have to step up her game if she wishes to be free again, but can she do it on her own?
I am a big fan of this urban fantasy series, and miss Haines' writing, and I was pleased once again with this new installment. Despite Enslaved by the Others being the sixth book in the series Haines managed to keep things fresh by completely out-rooting Shia. She is taken away from her allies, planted in the middle of no-where, in the grasp of her worst enemy so it's completely different from previous set up. I enjoyed witnessing her take matters in her own hands and do the best she can to get out of trouble.
Arnold finally makes a new appearance in this installment, and I was extremely happy. I've been waiting for so long to see more of him! Thank you Jess :) On the other hand, Royce is once again pretty absent from the premises, so I hope book seven will show more of Shia and Royce and their growing relationship. On that matter, Kensington hasn't bought more books for the moment, but it's probably only a question of time before it's a done deal. I urge you to purchase this novel to increase the sales and the chances of getting anymore novels in the series!
The plotline was steady and gripping and I enjoyed meeting new characters. The conclusion proved to be satisfying if not terribly surprising. If you haven't started this series yet, I strongly suggest you do. And please, don't let the not-super-appealing covers put you off, those are great novels!(less)
Lili Proctor is kind of a school reject because she’s allergic to just about everything, has seizures, and her mother is the town fool because she spe...moreLili Proctor is kind of a school reject because she’s allergic to just about everything, has seizures, and her mother is the town fool because she speaks non sense all the time. Her best friend is the school’s most popular boy and when he finally shows interest in her he messes everything up and cheats on her. This emotional wreckage will bring Lili to agree to the unthinkable and she will find herself in another reality.
The beginning of Trial by Fire is your typical contemporary YA novel. Nerd loves popular boy, when she finally goes to her first party it backfires, etc. Really, it didn’t do it for me and I almost stopped reading right there. Where are the witches?? I kept reading though and while it’s definitely not my favorite read of the year, it managed to draw my attention for its originality.
I really liked the concept of alternate realities and how every decision results in the creation of two different worlds, creating billions of alternative realities, a metaphorical breath away from each other. And while I didn’t like the beginning, it was necessary to be able to really appreciate the difference between Lili’s old reality and her new one, and get a feel for how different Tristan is in both worlds.
I was drawn by Lili’s quest to find her way back to her own world and loved how she learned how to navigate this new world and how she learned to manipulate magic. What I didn’t understand though, is why exactly Lilian brought her onto this world. There are hints of answers, but nothing really solid to grasp. Which kind of bothered me.
One of my favorite aspect really is how magic works in the world. It’s very different from anything I’ve seen before and I liked how it takes more than one person to really work something powerful. The concept of mechanics is highly original.
Character wise I really liked them all. Each had something different, even the two versions of a same person were different enough that they really felt like two different persons (which they are..).
Josephine cooked one hell of a cliff-hanger for us and I am really curious about what will happen next, but it’s not the ‘please kill me now’ kind of suspense and I prefer it that way. I would definitely recommend this title!(less)
Kelsea was sneaked out of the castle as a baby to be raised by two weathered and very smart people. Her very life was threatened by her uncle, thus he...moreKelsea was sneaked out of the castle as a baby to be raised by two weathered and very smart people. Her very life was threatened by her uncle, thus her being raised away from court in secrecy, and when her nineteenth birthday comes calling her late mother’s guard knock on her door to escort her back to her throne. Assassin’s are out to get her and she must win the heart of her people if she wishes to rule her country successfully.. if she can survive.
The Queen of the Tearling is a thrilling debut novel by Erika Johanson and I’m sure this novel will gather a tremendous fan base!
Based in a dystopian setup, this high fantasy novel was pretty original! My only problem with this novel though is that the details of what they call ‘the crossing’ are a bit hazy. People were forced to leave the old world behind and crossed an ocean by boat to get to this new world. They couldn’t bring over much technology, nor medicine and they find themselves in medieval times. It’s not all that clear what happened to make them crossover, and it seems to new world is in another dimension or something, I honestly don’t know, which is a big flaw.
Despite this major issue, the plot is very interesting and engaging. Kelsea is first brought to the castle, and not without action, mind you!, and starts her Queen life with a bang. She then has to strive hard to take the right decisions for her people, dodge assassin attemps, and build her Queenship from scratch. I was honestly riveted to the pages and I loved watching Kelsea grow from a young innocent girl to a queen in a matter of weeks. I also appreciated her bodyguard/adviser.
I usually love my novels with some romance and surprisingly I enjoyed the fact that here is none in this novel. Ok, Kelsea has some kind of crush on her kidnapper, but it’s irrelevant to the story and barely worth mentioning. The focus is all about how she will overcome to obstacles to break her people free and I enjoyed it.
The Queen of the Tearling is kind of a long read but I wasn’t bored one minute and even though I disagree with the “The Hunger Games meets Game of Thrones” promo line, I would suggest this novel to fantasy fans. I can’t wait for the next installment!(less)
Andi has always been invisible in court and it was perfectly fine that way. Everything changed though after she met a strange man in the Wilds. Her fa...moreAndi has always been invisible in court and it was perfectly fine that way. Everything changed though after she met a strange man in the Wilds. Her father accuses her of treason and shows a side of him she had never seen before. Her invisibility is now a thing of the past because Rayfe (the strange man) will stop at nothing, not even war, to have her, and bring her back to be Queen of his magical land.
The Mark of the Tala was the first book I read by Jeffe Kennedy and I really liked it. The fantasy fan that I am was pleased with the set up, the story, the magic and the original lore! I liked that Kennedy introduced the Princesses but jumped right onto the action with a violent encounter between Andi and Rayfe. It really set the tone for the rest of the book and showed Andi's strong personality. The author managed to keep me riveted the the page despite the long distance rides and siege, which isn't easy. The tension got my blood running despite the fact that there wasn't that much action.
I really liked the characters and how different the sisters were, but I have to confess I wished Andi didn't compare herself to her sisters so much. It was a bit redundant at times, but on the other hand, it showed how self-conscious and vulnerable Andi feels, so I understand why Kennedy did it. Andi is determined to do the right thing, and so much changes are going on within herself that she questions her sanity and I think the author portrayed it well. I have to say I fell in love with Rayfe right away and I have to command his courage and determination, even if his methods are sometimes questionable.
Rayfe's people were a very original type of shape-shifter and their land is simply amazing. I really love the world Jeffe created and I truly hope we see more from it in the following novels, it felt so rich and magical!
I loved every page and the conclusion simply left me stunned. I'm really anxious for the next novel, but I have to say I wished it still featured Andi. I feel like there is much more to learn about her - and her mother - and I hope that the next book will accomplish that even if Amelia (the youngest princess) is the main character. I would definitely recommend this series, and I am glad that The Tears of the Rose releases in November! I won't have to wait long.(less)
Be ready to launch in a world of tradition, arranged marriage, strong religious convictions and magic. Lia is promised to a Prince she’s never met bec...moreBe ready to launch in a world of tradition, arranged marriage, strong religious convictions and magic. Lia is promised to a Prince she’s never met because her parents want to create an alliance between their two kingdoms. The relation between the two has been strained, and with the barbarian’s treat being stronger than ever, they need to unite and present a strong front. Lia won’t have any of it though and runs away with her maid to a faraway seaside village on her wedding day. What she doesn’t know is that the prince and an assassin managed to track her there and they’ve both decided to intrude, undercover, in her new life. Which of the boys will earn her heart and trust?
This is the first novel from miss Pearson I’ve read and I absolutely loved it! I don’t know if her other novels are just as good, but I’ll definitely have to find out. I just love high fantasy and I was definitely served with this one. It was also very unique because it is set in a dystopian world! It’s the first novel I’ve read that combines both genre, and I was happily surprised! The world that once were was destroyed by the gods to eliminate corruption of the heart. The survivors, called Remnants, built the world has Lia knows it, along with their religious beliefs. I found it was highly original, and I hope we discover more about it in the following novels.
The characters were a real treat. Lia isn’t your typical noble woman. She is capable, strong and determined. She is also loving and compassionate and I just loved every aspect of her. She strives hard to build a life for herself away from the court and politics and she proved to be very resourceful. Kaden and Rafe were both very interesting but I can’t tell you more about each without spoiling anything, so I won’t say!
My favorite aspect of the book is how easily Mary led me astray. See, the novel is told from three perspectives: Lia’s, the assassin’s & the Prince’s. The only problem? We don’t know which of the boy is which! Pearson leaves breadcrumbs all along and there is two distinct trails, which leave us to decide for our own which boy is the prince and assassin. I dove in head first, convinced boy A was the assassin, not realizing my mistake until the big reveal (at about 60% of the novel). I was so convinced I was right that I thought the author had made a mistake (it was an eARC after all..), going as far as going back to re-read some parts and realized I was fooled. It was then that I realized that there were clues leading to the truth but I was so engrossed in my perception that I had ignored them. Sheer genius if you ask me! I wanted to re-read the whole thing now that I knew the truth!
I was also completely engrossed in the plot. I loved watching Lia acclimate to her new life, see her interact with the boys, and witness her determination after she was kidnapped and dragged across the world. I left involved in every step of her journey, wondering how she would get herself out of this or that situation and I loved it.
Pearson was cruel enough to end her novel on an epic cliffhanger and I have no idea how I will survived until the next installment! I read Kiss of Deception in March (even though you are just seeing it now, to respect publisher’s request) and I guess book 2 will be released in July 2015. It’s one hell of a long wait! I would suggest this read to fans of Maria V Snyder & Kristin Cashore, I’m sure you’ll love it!(less)
In a not so far future, the water levels has increased dramatically, flooding entire cities and contaminating water sources. Ren lives in what used to...moreIn a not so far future, the water levels has increased dramatically, flooding entire cities and contaminating water sources. Ren lives in what used to be Manhattan and she fights to survive. Fresh water is a valuable resources not available to the likes of her and her friend is terribly ill. She is an undercover scouting agent for the government, a job she dreads but it’s a necessary evil if she wants to purchase medicine for Aven. Her world turns upside down though when she stumbles into a source of fresh water after a crash.
As you know, I am a dystopian fan, and I loved that this novel was based on a plausible future. With global warming being a current concern, I thought it was smart of Frankel to exploit it, and bring it to a whole new level. How will human’s greediness rule the world when the most important resource of all – water- becomes rare? A terrible illness was also born during these dire times and the way authorities handle the situation is simply animalistic. Humanity’s depravity was loud and clear in this novel, exposing our darkest side.
I have to say I struggled a bit at first because Frankel throws us smack in the middle of her world, with no explanations nor glossary to rely on. Still confused after three chapters I thought of giving up on the book but I’m glad I did not. I got hooked after Ren crashed her vehicle during a race, nearly dying, and discovered a fresh water spring. From then on, the plot was engrossing and I kept on turning the pages. A bit later, Aven fell really ill (I won’t give you any details so I don’t spill the beans) and the plot became a race, keeping me breathless. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering if Ren and her unlikely allies would reach their goals.
I enjoyed the characterization very much even though there were slight flaws. Ren is a very dedicated friend and nothing can stop her from helping her ‘sister’ Aven and I appreciated it. On the other hand, she has this big crush on Derek and Jordana lead us to believe that he has always been very distant from her in the past, and all of a sudden he acts like a good friend rescuing her, going as far as being helplessly in love with her… I didn’t buy. Also, one of the riders hates Ren with a passion, and it was really out of the blue, as if she needed an enemy so the author conjured one. On a positive note, I loved Callum to piece, he was such a great guy!
Some of you might know I am a lab technician and the way Callum and Ren try to cure the blight is simply impossible, which kills me. I know common populace don’t know the subtlety of blood transfusion, which is FINE! I mean, I studied three years for that… but. You just cannot take someone’s blood and give it to anybody! You have just as many chances of killing them from your act than saving them from their illness. Sorry for the rant, I had to say it because MANY authors do that mistake and it’s a pet peeve of mine. And you can’t produce medicine on a grand scale is just a few hours… just sayin’!
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and its originality. The conclusion was really shocking and I can’t wait to see what happens in the following novel (which is still untitled, as far as I know). Fans of dystopian books will find something to like, and as a bonus, there are no love triangle! *yay*(less)
I’ve been anxiously awaiting for this title to release in America since I saw the UK cover back in 2013. The powerful armed girl with the flames in th...moreI’ve been anxiously awaiting for this title to release in America since I saw the UK cover back in 2013. The powerful armed girl with the flames in the background really spoke to me and I love historical fantasy, which seems like a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, even though I did enjoy the book, I ended up slightly disappointed. Let me tell you all about it!
The premise is at first very engaging. A young gentlewoman is now of marrying age and assists bals to find a suitable husband. Unfortunately she is victim to a lot of gossips since she was found next to her murdered mother, in a pool of blood, the year before. The whispers peg her guilty of killing her mother, and even though she didn’t commit that murder, she’s a killer just the same, a faerie killer. I thought the whole proper lady front killing faeries at night was a great idea, and her partner in crime was also very engaging.
I also liked the historical set up and I loved that it was set in Scotland instead of the oh-so-common London. There was also a strong steampunk theme that despite being very important to the story, didn’t overwhelm me like I feel so often when it comes to tinkering. I don’t enjoy being swamp with technical descriptions of weird contraptions and thankfully, May wasn’t overbearing in that department.
Now comes the first element that bothered me. I felt like May didn’t pay enough attention to match the dialogues with the time period. Aside from the over-present ‘aye’ there wasn’t much old vocabulary to speak of. Honestly, you could hear most conversations in a contemporary setup and not bat an eyelash. Aileana also possessed a very modern spirit, I didn’t feel like she belonged to this time period and that’s when I started feeling disconnected.
Now the relationship between Aileana and Kiaran, despite having strong feeling about it, I don’t know how I feel exactly. Sometimes I really felt for Kiaran, other times I wanted to smack him in the head, or even better, shake some sense into Aileana. I really just don’t know what to think of that faerie, even after finishing this novel. Also an honorable mention to Derrick, her pixie, which I thought was quirky and cute.
Now the part where I thought I crossed in an alternative universe, or thought that I was missing part of the manuscript (which isn’t impossible with an eARC)… the end. Where is the end??? May stops the book in the middle of the final battle. It would deserve caps lock, but I’ll try to behave. Really?? Why would any editor let this slide? It’s not a cliffhanger, it’s an unfinished book and it annoyed me very much. I even went online to make sure the joke wasn’t on me, but readers from UK (where it was published September 2013) also complained about it, so it’s not an unfortunate mistake. That would be reason enough for me not to read book two, and I honestly don’t know if I will.
In conclusion, The Falconer has an interesting premise, with fun and highly detailed lore, but some flaws I couldn’t ignore. If you wish to give it a try, I would suggest you wait for the second book to release, that way you won’t have to deal with the frustrating ending of this first installment.(less)
I had the immense honor to be a beta reader for this novella, a strike of luck really because I stumbled upon Amy’s requests for early readers, and le...moreI had the immense honor to be a beta reader for this novella, a strike of luck really because I stumbled upon Amy’s requests for early readers, and let me tell you, I didn’t have any negative feedback to give her! I really enjoyed this novella and it fits right into the spirit of this amazing series.
The events of this story take place about 5 years after the events of Assassin’s Gambit (Spy’s Honor, the second book in the series is actually a prequel, in case you didn’t know), and while you could technically read this novella first, I’m afraid you might be a little lost and not completely grasp to importance of some events.
We meet Nalica and Justien, two giant archers from the country side, competing in a festival for a high position of guard of the city. It’s a very coveted price in a world where mercenary for hire isn’t as popular as it used to be and I truly loved that this novella featured archery almost exclusively. I followed each step of the tournament from the edge of my seat, and the conclusion simply baffled me!
I really appreciated the growing complicity between our heroes, and while they were quick to business, as I guess it was the custom back then, I really think they fit well together. They faced some moral issues and they didn’t always agree so it made for interesting exchanges.
I’d also like to mention that despite the series being published by Signet, this novella is self-published, and Amy designed this cover herself. I think she did a pretty fine job!
If I had a small downside to mention, and it’s no big deal really, it’s that I don’t really get the title. Archer, yes of course, but sin? Neither heroes committed a sin I can think of, but really, it’s just a detail!
This novella is for sale for less than a dollar and it’s worth every penny. You should definitely give it a shot, especially if you liked Assassin’s Gambit.(less)