I was very pleasantly surprised at how good this book was and definitely recommend adding it to your tbr pile.
Minstrel’s Serenade is book one in a new series by Aubrie Dionne. It takes place in a fantasy setting in what looks to be a Medieval like era. Princess Danika is Ebonvale’s new ruler, her father was killed in the winning battle against the necromancers, who faces the new oncoming threat of the wyverns (think dragons) and their mother the She-Beast. Constantly by her side helping her to defeat these beasts is Bron, her Chief of Arms and bodyguard. Bron, having moved up the ranks from humble beginnings and grown up beside Danika takes his job, shall we say, very seriously. In their quest they are also joined by Nip, a boy that survived his village being destroyed by wyverns and holds secret knowledge on how to defeat them, and Valorian, a prince from the House of Song who through his musical abilities can defeat beasts and a good candidate to become Danika’s husband.
This is mostly a road adventure as they are traveling to gather materials to beat the wyverns and then traveling to defeat them. Dionne does a good job of world building, however, since this is fantasy I wish there had been a map or glossary of places and terms so I could immerse myself fully into the story. In the beginning, half my attention was diverted to trying to picture where all these different houses or kingdoms were in relation to each other and figuring out what these new creatures or things resembled. This does only last for around 30% of the story and then you get the hang and flow of things.
This is a clean romance but there is plenty of longing, tension, and chemistry between the lead characters. Danika has strong feelings for Bron but feels she should put her kingdom’s needs first and marry Valorian. Bron, being the broody stand up soldier he is, feels his farm boy lineage would never be good enough for Danika. Valorian? Well, Valorian has feelings for Danika but ends up getting the shaft a lot. Sorry Valorian, maybe you’ll get your own story in the future.
Danika is a wonderful strong , level headed (gets a bit wishy washy dealing with her love triangle at times), and smart female character. Bron is enduring, always there for Danika, and all that is the strong silent broody type. Their push/pull relationship and longing for one another will have you begging for them to have their happily ever after.
As I said, this is a mixture of action, fantasy, and romance. Neither the fantasy or romance side over powers the other and I can see this mightily appealing to both genres. I will definitely be following this series and keeping a lookout for the next one. I personally hope for a grown up Nip :)
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.(less)
I am not an avid reader of this general type of genre (we'll call it steampunk, but this book crosses into many) so anything I have to say or think ab...moreI am not an avid reader of this general type of genre (we'll call it steampunk, but this book crosses into many) so anything I have to say or think about it comes from a very fresh and outside view.
If I was asked to describe this story in as few words as possible, I would have to go with Alice in Wonderland....on steroids. I tagged this book on my selves as Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, and Time Travel. It's a whole bag of wackadoodle. This wild crazy world however, needs what we call, world building. This being the first book in the series (there is a short story that gives a causal introduction to the series) it suffers from the slow pace and awkwardness this creates. Don't get me wrong, the author creates a fascinating world you want to read about, but the character's storyline gets dragged down.
The characters are unique but I'm not sure I ever felt connected to them. Letitia is a woman in the modern world who ends up stealing a necklace that transports her to "Sang", a parallel universe if you will, whenever she falls asleep. Criminy is a "bludman" (loosely a vampire) in Sang who created the magic necklace. The necklace is suppose to deliver his one true love. So we have the instalove, well on Criminy's part anyway. This is where I think the story was the weakest. As the story is told in first person from Letitia's point of view, we just get a lot of "this is weird" and "you're weird". Understandable since this world has "bludbunnies" (a'la Holy Grail) and a man claiming to be her soulmate. The whole scenario makes dialogue between Letitia and Criminy very wooden and you miss the how, what, and whys of two people falling in love.
With all that said, I still enjoyed this book.....somewhat limited. It reminded me and brought out similar feelings I had while reading Stephen King's The Dark Tower series (for the world building) and Shannon K. Butcher's The Sentinel Wars (for romance/characters). Would say it's worth your time to give it a go whether you're a fan of the genre or not. I was intrigued enough that I will definitely be continuing with the series in the future.(less)
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Evernight is b...moreI received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Evernight is book 5 in the Darkest London series that is romance, paranormal, historical, supernatural, mystery, suspense, and steampunk. I'm not usually a big reader of paranormal, supernatural, or steampunk but I am starting to love each book in this series more than the previous; do not be scared away if you also don't usually read books with these elements. Kristen Callihan has created a world that is wildly imaginative and intricate with captivating characters. This book is dangerously close to being the best I have read so far in 2014.
If you have read the earlier books in the series you will remember Holly Evernight, Will Thorne, and the horrific circumstances that brought them together. This picks up a couple months after the previous book and Will is on the hunt for Holly to exact revenge for the part she played while he was a captive. When he meets up with her, he is unpleasantly surprised that any advantage he might have had are useless against Holly. This is due to Holly being an elemental; while also being a genius inventor Holly can control metal. Will was originally half human and demon but now having a clockwork heart made out of platinum that over time seeps throughout his body turning him all metal, he is consequently at the mercy of Holly. Will finds a relief and control over the metal in his body that he never had without Holly and Holly finds a protector against unknown assassins trying to kill her; thus we have our two protagonists bound together.
I have now thrown out the terms, elemental, demon, and clockwork heart, which if you haven't read the series could make you feel confused and overwhelmed. There is no way for me to shortly and coherently summarize all the components that make up this incredible world Ms. Callihan has created. Suffice to say there is the group Suppression of Supernaturals (SOS) who Holly works for and is dedicated to protecting humans from rogue supernaturals and the Nex, a group of supernaturals who wouldn't mind revealing themselves to humans and being in charge, who Will previously worked for. The battle of these two groups is the main tree that the rest of the story arcs branch from but we also have the Ghosts in the Machine (GIM) former humans who have died but been brought back to life with clockwork hearts that flitter between both sides, a bigger spotlight in this book on the fae, and introduction to the Alamut, a group of shadowy assassins. There are also appearances by past main characters that involve a werewolf, more elementals, and a half angel. Again, this can all sound overwhelming but Ms. Callihan does an amazing job of describing, introducing, and interweaving all of these components, without info dumping, world building in such a way that everything is so fantastical. This book would definitely be better read as part of the series so everything is understood but I'm here to tell you the main couple, Will and Holly, are great enough together for someone to randomly pick this book up and read as a standalone.
Holly is a very composed and literal individual, which probably stems from her being a genius and tinkering with mechanics all the time. She also suffers from agoraphobia due to her imprisonment where she meets Will. Will is used to decadence, dirty talk, and general shenanigans due to his demon side. There is some resentment from Will as he blames Holly for what he has become because she created his clockwork heart but that dissipates fairly quickly as he realizes she was as much a victim as him. The way he teases and brings out her feisty side will have you grinning ear to ear and the poignant scenes with such deep heartfelt emotion between the two will have your heart feeling two sizes too big for your chest. Holly tries to keep a wall up enough times that you may find yourself getting angry at her before she finally gives in while I know readers are going to fall helplessly in love with Will. Their out of the bedroom and in the bedroom scenes are scorching. The sexual chemistry made up of anticipation, push/pull, desire, and the way Will calls Holly "love" and dirty talks, will have you fanning yourself. This couple also has such lightness to them when they are together that reading about them is immensely pleasing.
Everything happening is so intriguing that there is never a dull moment and I never wanted to put the book down. I did feel Holly recovered from her agoraphobia pretty quickly and the ending felt somewhat rushed as certain things seemed to be wrapped up with too tidy of bows; these are rather small complaints, though. Even with all the complex story arcs swirling around Will and Holly they were dynamic enough to remain front and center, never over powered by the story. This series started off good and only improves with each book; this latest one is my favorite. Whether you like paranormal, supernatural, or romance this series and especially this book more than delivers. I will definitely be anxiously anticipating the next in the series which will be about Adam, the father of the GIMs and Eliza, Holly's cousin.
Look this book is readable because Teresa Medeiros is a good writer. On the other hand, some serious "Jane Eyre" moments going on here.
Way too many p...moreLook this book is readable because Teresa Medeiros is a good writer. On the other hand, some serious "Jane Eyre" moments going on here.
Way too many plot points and characters. -Harriet -Ned Townsend -Ghost -Old crone teacher
The paranormal aspect definitely could have been omitted. The beginning of the story and first couple chapters were great with Hayden and Lottie displaying fantastic friction, sexual tension, and chemistry. Their competing dialogue had me highly anticipating their relationship. Unfortunately, the chemistry disappears as soon as they get married. The story switches to Lottie feeling lost in Cornwall and dealing with Hayden's bratty but oh so misunderstood daughter. Even though I thought the book was pretty mediocre and was anticipating the ending it still ended up feeling abrupt.
Read up until Hayden and Lottie get married, it's all down hill from there. (Haha, maybe this was a philosophical/political point from Medeiros)
Medeiros has way better books out there, this one is can be skipped. (less)
Other books in this series I have complained about how there was too much story and not enough focus on the romantic relationship/aspect and now I'm g...moreOther books in this series I have complained about how there was too much story and not enough focus on the romantic relationship/aspect and now I'm going to say this book had too much romantic relationship/aspect.
I missed the fast paced story over here!, story over there!, this series has been delivering. I guess this one could be looked at as a nice slow down and catch your bearings addition.
Anyway, Grace and Torr get their highly anticipated time together (lots of time together) on the planet Brenya whisked Grace and Tori off to. Grace doesn't remember Torr, due to consequences of her accepting the disks she placed on her and Torr's back to heal him, and Torr is forbidden by Brenya to tell Grace anything about their past.
This leads to a buddy adventure of Grace and Torr trekking around the planet fighting beasts, looking for crystals to protect the women on the planet, longing looks from Torr, and battling desires. Like I said, there isn't any real addition to the overall story arc, just some down home lovin' happening.
I missed Dabyr :( This book was good and soothing but had a dash of boring to it. I'm looking forward to the next installment (ugh will probably be a year away, CRUEL) and having things ramp up again.
I'm all a tingle wondering if it will be Sanguinar, Slayer (paired with Joseph ;), or Nicholas/Tori next.
*If you couldn't tell by my review, you must read the other books in the series to have any earthly or Theroni idea what is going on.(less)
Deliciously Gothic. Suffers somewhat from being the first book in a series, meanders a bit in the middle where the past story is being told and then...more Deliciously Gothic. Suffers somewhat from being the first book in a series, meanders a bit in the middle where the past story is being told and then the series is being setup. A book that cries out to be read during a cloudy dreary day. Very interested in reading Suffex's story, next in the series.Recommended for individuals wanting a dark and broody story(less)