While the premise was interesting, I found myself skimming a lot.. The characters all felt very flat, and the "love" that our heroine kept insisti...moreMeh.
While the premise was interesting, I found myself skimming a lot.. The characters all felt very flat, and the "love" that our heroine kept insisting she felt seemed so shallow and possibly even forced... I never really felt her falling in love; she hung out with this guy for a short time them *bam* she's in love with him. Not falling in love, no, In Love. *shakes head*
I also figured out the twist only a few chapters in, even though it wasn't "revealed" until the very end. I don't know if that's a commentary on the author's skill, or merely the fact I read too bloody much lol I probably read too much :P
It felt very YA even with all the (fade to black) smexin that was so prevalent..
Now, don't get me wrong, it wasn't awful by any means. I think it was just a case of NMS
What worked for me: Loved the concept behind Starfane (er, the world, not just the novel lol).. I also enjoyed (to a point) the love triangle/quadrilateral that Lauren was rocking there.. The snippets of werewolves, vampires, shape shifters, fairies, unicorns, and dragons was fun as well :)
What didn't work for me: Shallow characterizations, promiscuity of the heroine, and the ease of which she (and the male characters, actually) Fell In Love all annoyed me, and really detracted from the story IMO.
Also, there was way too much talking and not enough action. There were several instances (and I admit, this is where I ended up skimming), where we read along as something happens to the heroine, then we have to read a full accounting of the action as she tells someone else about what just happened.. A simple "she filled him in on her experience with such and such" followed by a transitional sentence or two to give the reader an anchor point as to exactly where they are in the conversation would've flowed much better as we read it.
Also along those same lines: I may be an immature person, I don't know, but reading a bunch of characters handling strong emotions like love, passion, jealousy, hurt, anger, and rejection, all by very calmly and maturely talking everything out is very very (very) boring. There were very few times in the entire story that a character acted out their anger rather than just kind of... explain it away. I'm not saying everyone needed to be melodramatic or soap-operaish, but still, stiff courtesy in the face of strong emotions doesn't keep my attention as a reader. Add to that the unbelievable swiftness of all the ILY's in the story, and I'm going to have to say 2 1/2 Stars
This has got to be, hands down, my absolute FAVORITE fantasy romance series that I've read so far.
The worldbuilding is simply breathtaking -- L.J. McD...moreThis has got to be, hands down, my absolute FAVORITE fantasy romance series that I've read so far.
The worldbuilding is simply breathtaking -- L.J. McDonald manages to breathe such life and vitality into this world without bogging the reader down with superfluous details.
There is definitely a romance aspect, though it's not too high on the steamy end. Plenty of fighting and epic battles abound, however, and it's hard to even notice that the lovemaking is kind of tame ;)
I would urge both paranormal romance fans and fantasy fans alike to read both this book and the sequel, The Shattered Sylph (which I stupidly read first, not realizing it was a series lol)
Expected Release Date: September 5, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Dorc...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit Romanceaholic.com.
Expected Release Date: September 5, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Dorchester Publishing Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://ljmcdonald.blogspot.com/ My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, Sylphs Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Warm
I struggled so much in writing this review, because I wanted it to remain spoiler-free — so much so that I found that I couldn’t even write a good synopsis without giving away crucial spoilers.
While I think I’ve managed to achieve that goal, that leaves so many little things that I took great joy in that I couldn’t mention because of it. As a fan of the series as a whole, I greatly appreciated the fact that this book focuses less on a specific “couple”, as previous books did, and far more on the residents of Sylph Valley in general — their relationships, how each individual life affected the others, and how the entire community came together during a crisis.
As a side note, I am dying for Thrall to feature in a book. While he was only mentioned in passing in this book, he is easily the most anticipated of characters on my part, and I hope that he gets a very happy ending.
Overall, while it didn’t blow me away due to the plethora of character deaths, the abuse of the sylphs, and the sheer annoyance I had with Solie for not preventing the whole mess, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I will be reading the next installment in the series once it’s released.
**spoiler alert** Ahh I had the most epic review written and my bloody computer decided that NOW was the time to shut down for an automatic update! *g...more**spoiler alert** Ahh I had the most epic review written and my bloody computer decided that NOW was the time to shut down for an automatic update! *grumbles*
The second installment in this series (the first being The Battle Sylph), Shattered Sylph picks up four years after we left off...
I do love me a tortured hero, and let me tell you, Ril is tortured in spades.. He was drawn to this world under the pretext of finding a queen (mate) only to be forced to witness her brutal murder and was subsequently forced into slavery for several years. He only managed to escape madness by falling in love with Lizzy when he watched her being born (now now people, settle down, it's not squicky, I promise!) He always wanted to take her as his queen and lover (not always the same thing mind you) as soon as she was old enough (and, er, after he'd hopefully by then killed her father, who is the man who murdered his queen and was therefore bound to)..
Wellll as you may have figured out by reading the first book, things didn't quite work out that way (hence the spoiler warning lol) -- he was bonded to a different queen, and was able to taste freedom for only a short time before being horribly injured in the epic battle at the end of Battle Sylph, which left him broken, weakened, and unable to change forms or fight without great pain.. This makes him pretty much useless as a battle sylph since it's their purpose in life to, er, battle..
So anyway, physically weakened and feeling generally worthless, he of course doesn't feel he's worthy of Lizzy and backs off from her (disregarding her own feelings on the subject of course)..
Then lo and behold, Lizzy gets herself kidnapped by slavers who wisk her off halfway around the world and sell her into a harem for a buttload of other (enemy) battle sylphs (whom I can't help but picture in my head as some of the creatures from Monsters, Inc., thanks to the fact that my children insist on watching that movie every. single. day. But I digress).
Soooo it's up to Ril, Leon (his "master" to whom he's still bonded since bonding is for life, but has rescinded all orders and set him as free as is possible with a sylph), and this stupid punk kid Justin who's got the hots for Lizzy to go rescue her.
Some readers have complained that what happens to Lizzy is completely unbelievable, in that she manages to escape the worst of what could have potentially happened to her. I say this is Romancelandia and I for one have no problem with setting aside my disbelief and allowing this type of thing... If I wanted to read a story where my heroes and heroines were unable to escape horrific and/or irreversible damage, I'd read a non-fiction story or some chick-lit. As it is, I was glad that things worked out as they did.
My one true regret from this novel was that 89 had to be destroyed. I don't think I've ever, in the history of reading novels, felt so much compassion for a villain -- a rapist and murderer especially! My heart just broke though from the very short glimpse into his mind and reasoning, and I really wish that he'd been somehow incapacitated or whatever and given the chance to bond in the end with the new Queen and maybe have a chance at redemption. I understand why that couldn't happen (and really, the poor guy was crazy as a soup sandwich so it was probably an act of mercy in the end to kill him off), but I'm such a sucker for a tortured hero that I think he was redeemable.
As with the first book in the series, I say any fan of The Princess Bride or Stardust would thoroughly enjoy these novels.
Uber-Solid 5 Stars (and I can't wait for the next one in November)
While I normally strictly choose to read and review romance novels, I decided to give myself a small break and pick up The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abr...moreWhile I normally strictly choose to read and review romance novels, I decided to give myself a small break and pick up The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham, which is a traditional fantasy novel with no romantic elements.
I am so incredibly glad that I did.
Abraham's gift of words weaves an intricate tapestry of politics, conspiracy, action, and intrigue that draws you in and won't let you go until the very end.
Each characters' actions create tiny ripples that reverberate across the Kingdom, setting into action forces well beyond their control. Lush worlds are built and destroyed, with a colorful cast of both major and minor characters interwoven into a web of political intrigue that dazzles the mind.
A naive young ward of the Bank entrusted with a fortune far beyond her ability to protect, a disenfranchised war hero leading an unlikely band of mercenaries, an awkward bookish youth thrust unwillingly into battle, and a cocksure nobleman bordering on treason in the name of loyalty to the kingdom, all become both unwitting pawns and at times willing cogs in the machine as the various stratagems and conspiracies play themselves out.
While the multitude of characters may have been a bit confusing at times, and some of the descriptions and periods of inaction may have caused the text to drag a bit at times, overall this was an incredibly well-written, captivating read, which I highly recommend to all fantasy lovers. A solid 5/5 Stars, and I am anxiously awaiting future installments to the series. (less)
Expected Release Date: April 26, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN Aut...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: April 26, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN Author’s Website: http://susangrant.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Lost Colony series Steam Level: Steamy
The Tassagon are a warrior people — superstitious and rowdy, they fear the Kurel’s sorcery, and in turn, fear the Kurel people themselves. The Kurel are a peaceful people, who live quite differently from the Tassagon people, and having been forced to live in a ghetto where few Tassagon people will enter, they and their “sorcery” are frequently used as scapegoats for everything from plagues to bouts of bad luck.
Tao, a Tassagon, returns home a war hero after a long campaign fighting the Gorr — a ruthless (and furry) alien species thought to be completely feral, with only the few alphas able to think and communicate on a human level. Celebrated by the people, he’s regarded with suspicion and jealousy by Xim, his king, who has long since felt both insecure and jealous of Tao’s ability and renown. A careless slip of the tongue provides all the excuse that Xim needs to accuse Tao of treason, and he’s immediately thrown into the dungeon to await both torture and public execution.
Elsabeth is half Tassagon, half Kurel, and having had her parents murdered by Xim’s men several years prior, has joined the rebel movement whose goal is to depose Xim and place Tao on the throne in order to unite the Tassagon and Kurel people.
Forced to work together towards a common goal — that of removing Xim from power and of ultimately uniting the human tribes against the Gorr — Elsabeth and Tao learn to put their prejudices aside until not only are they able to embrace the best of both societies, but also to find a passion and love that neither of them ever expected.
Overall, I was highly impressed. This is my first Susan Grant novel, and I have to say that it most certainly will not be my last. I am absolutely dying to read more in this series. I want so badly to read about the Riders, as well as the Sea Scourge (I love pirates!), and cannot wait for the next installment. I highly recommend this for readers who love Romantic Fantasy, and am happily adding this series to my own auto-buy shelf.
Expected Release Date: May 31, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequi...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: May 31, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequin TEEN Author’s Website: http://www.kadycross.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1 in the Steampunk Chronicles Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Chaste
First things first, is that not an absolutely gorgeous cover?! I love it. I know, I know, you can't judge a book by its cover, but let's get real, a lovely cover does tend to draw a reader's attention at the start.
I think I came to two very different realizations in reading this book. First, I forgot how little patience I have for the rampant silliness of YA novels. Second, and probably most importantly, I'd forgotten just how much fun a good YA could be.
I did love the main premise, and of course, I was completely enamored with both the "bad boy" love interest and the incredibly awesome attire (where can I get a steel corset?!). While much of the story was more fanciful than I typically read, even in Steampunk and PNR, it was a very fast, fun read.
In the end though, while I certainly enjoyed it, but I wasn't blown away. The presence of the love triangles, the disorganized presentation of various powers and inventions, and immaturity of the main characters definitely detracted from what could've been an absolutely brilliant novel.
To be fair, the main characters were in their teens, and as such I can be a little more forgiving for immaturity and horrible decision making, but even so, I found it rather distracting.
I admit, I read the entire series in order, back to back, over the course of a few days, so honestly, I'll likely never write a full review for any of...moreI admit, I read the entire series in order, back to back, over the course of a few days, so honestly, I'll likely never write a full review for any of them, since they pretty much all blend together into one massive story for me.
Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the main thing that kept it from being a higher rating was the fact that it did take something like 500,000 pages (ie the whole 5-book series) to get to a happily ever after ;)(less)
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: Samhain Publishing Imprin...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: Samhain Publishing Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: moirarogers.com My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, And The Beast Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
Three long years ago, Ciar, the High Lord of the Forest, left his lands for battle. He left behind the Sabine, the woman he loved but had refused to mate for fear that he would die in battle and leave her alone for the rest of her days. However, his mother never approved of Sabine as her son’s lover and potential mate, thinking the lowborn wolf was no match for her royal son. His mother’s witch cursed Sabine, with the intent that Ciar would forget about her and mate with someone more “worthy” of the match. The curse backfired, however, and instead of merely causing Ciar to forget her, now everyone who has contact with her is destined to forget her.
When Ciar returns from war, he’s furious to discover that not only is Sabine not waiting for him, but that his mother and all those around her claim to have no idea who he is talking about when he asks after her. Seeking her out, he comes across Sabine in a broken-down shack where she has been living since she was cast out of the castle after Ciar’s departure.
Refusing to touch him, for touch merely speeds along the curse, Sabine reluctantly agrees to travel with Ciar to the palace to attempt to convince the witch to break the curse, but even refusing touch is not enough to prevent Ciar from falling victim to the heartbreaking curse.. Overall, I of course adored it. I love the world in which there are different kinds of shifters who warred amongst themselves but have now gained a measure of peace, and where different species have different “mating magic”. I also loved the premise with the curse, and how incredibly horrific it would have to be to live with it, never having a single friend, or really being able to interact with other people.
On thing I do question, is will there be a sequel involving Farran and Iloria?? The next book up in the series according to the authors’ website is Kisri (which I already have pre-ordered, and so should you) and centers around the lion shifters mentioned in this book. I’m desperate to find out what will happen with Farran and Iloria in the future, and really hope that they have a sequel planned for them. So Moira Rogers, if you’re reading this, HINT HINT ;)
Expected Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Entangled Publishing Impr...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Entangled Publishing Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://melaniecard.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
I don't normally start reviews off this way, but I honestly think that this was one if not the best books I've read all year, and since it's almost July at the time of my writing this, that's definitely saying something.
In Ward's world, magic is commonplace and some things that we take for granted are completely forbidden, such as surgery. Having always wanted to be a physician, Ward was kicked out before completing his training because of his penchant for grave-robbing -- a distasteful but necessary occupation for one who wants to study the illicit practice of surgery. Now forced to be a Necromancer for the rich, his job is to bring back those who have recently died for fifteen minutes so that their families can make peace with the deceased.
Hired by a rich man to wake Celia Carlyle, he is astonished when not only does she insist that she's been murdered rather than having been simply "ill" as her family suggests, but she also sleeps with a dagger under her pillow, dresses in men's clothing, and attempts to escape out the window. Knowing that her disappearance will result in an accusation of grave-robbing, he follows her trying to convince her that she must return. Instead Celia invokes Ward's Physician's Oath -- an unbreakable vow to help all those who ask for assistance, and one punishable by eternal torture in the afterlife if broken.
Making his decision, he follows her, having to re-wake her several times as the fifteen-minute limit of the waking spell is reached. At risk of permanently disturbing the "balance" between the worlds, he performs a dangerous spell to attempt to allow her to remain "awake" for a longer period, when something goes wrong. In addition to the fact that he's been forced to improvise with the required ingredients for the spell, he is interrupted before he can be certain his spell has been completed, but when Celia regains consciousness and helps to fight off their attackers, he assumes that everything worked as it should have.
However, it soon becomes apparent that his intended spell did not yield the expected results, as Celia shows no signs of decay, and in fact, actually seems... healthier than before.
Complicating matters is his own undeniable attraction towards her, but relations with the dead are strictly forbidden, and despite the fact that she eats, breathes, and walks, there is no denying that she had died and is therefore completely off-limits.
Add to that the fact that Celia is obviously not simply the pampered daughter of a rich noble, and Ward is soon drawn into a dangerous world of forbidden magic, assassinations, and deception.
One point of note is that while I have labeled this as Young Adult for my own convenience, it is more of a New Adult/Upper YA Fantasy. Not having read a lot of Young Adult in my life, I'm not certain just how important this distinction is, only that it was made and I felt it was wise to point it out. I think the biggest difference is that the main characters are no longer teenagers, but are instead both in the first stages of real adulthood, complete with all of the complications that come along with that stage of life
I admit, I'm actually having a hard time believing that this is a debut novel. Ms. Card's website and Goodreads profile list this as her only work, but I wonder if she's written any previous novels under a different name. I must do some Googlefu and see what I can discover, because I'm absolutely in love with her writing style and am thirsting for more.
It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that I will be preordering any and all future books in this series, and I have a feeling I will be fangirling all over this one for a long time to come.
Recommended for fans of kick-butt heroines who reluctantly soften as they mature, heroes who actually have to work to earn the title, and an intriguing paranormal-fantasy universe to explore.
Expected Release Date: June 21, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Samhain I...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 21, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Samhain Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://moirarogers.com My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, And The Beast series Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone Steam Level: Steamy
Fed up with waiting meekly while the war between the shifter clans leaves her vulnerable to greedy suitors bent on capturing both her wealth and beauty, Kisri, the cousin of the king, disguises herself as a boy with the help of a magical charm and blends in with various soldier camps in an attempt to reach her cousin before she is taken in a forced mating. Spoiled by her doting cousin, she knows that he will offer her the protection of his house and allow her to choose her own future mate, and can only hope that she can continue her subterfuge until she reaches him.
Unfortunately for her, it is not long before her true identity is discovered in Ennon’s camp, and he is summoned to his tent do discover to his consternation that he recognizes the girl — Kisri — from when she was still a child.
A child no more, Ennon cannot help but notice her beauty, and knows that despite her apparent ability to take care of herself, she still needs protection. He immediately sends word to the king’s camp of her presence in her camp, and is soon bidden by the kin to personally protect and escort her to the king’s camp.
To make matters worse for him, Kisri knows that while her cousin may be much more lax than other men in regards to how he lets her live her life, he will still expect that she will enter into a mating with her virginity intact, and decides that this will be her last chance to experience pleasure before being forced to choose a man to spend the rest of her life with. She sets out to seduce Ennon, and while she may be inexperienced, she’s quite enthusiastic in her endeavors, and it isn’t long before Ennon’s resistance breaks and they give in to the heat between them.
Yet he knows that even as the king’s right-hand man, he’s not meant for the likes of Kisri, and that he will face banishment or worse for daring to break the king’s edict.
Overall, I of course adored it. Then again, if Moira Rogers wrote a treaties on the virtues of their new refrigerator, I’d still probably preorder it, so I may be a wee bit unobjective here
Recommended for fans of cool shifters with a nice twist on “mating” mythology, a woman who doesn’t let inexperience get in the way of what she wants, and a noble hero who cannot help falling for the one woman who is forbidden to him.
3.5/5 - Review held for now at the request of the publisher. This book is being re-edited and has been rescheduled for a December release, and I will...more3.5/5 - Review held for now at the request of the publisher. This book is being re-edited and has been rescheduled for a December release, and I will likely read the new version when it is available.
Expected Release Date: September 19, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Ca...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: September 19, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina Press Author’s Website: http://www.shawnathomas.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Warm
The daughter of a prostitute, Selia has run her family’s tavern since her mother’s death, and is determined to keep her establishment an honest one. Along with her simple half-brother, she saves the life of a man being attacked by thieves, only to discover that the injured man is not a “man” at all, but is instead a Svistra, a race of blood-drinking brutes who have her world poised on the brink of war.
Allowing her brother to tend him against her better judgement, Selia soon discovers that there are more to the Svistra than meets the eye, and that despite rumors the the contrary, her patient appears to not only be civilized but also possesses a somewhat gentle nature. Knowing that she must keep his presence a secret from the townspeople and the soldiers marching through, she secrets him away in the barn during his convalescence.
When a press-gang takes all the men in the village, including Selia’s gentle giant of a brother, Selia makes it her mission to track them down and rescue him. It doesn’t take long before she realizes that no matter how skilled she may be with a knife and a bow, she is no match for the wilderness that lies between her and the military outpost where her brother has been taken.
When Jaden, the Svistra man she rescued, in turn saves her from a certain death, Selia is not sure what to expect. Claiming that he owes her a Blood Debt for her having saved his life, Jaden vows to help Selia rescue her brother, whom Jaden also counts as a friend.
Their goal is not an easy one to achieve, however, because in addition to the perils of the forest, Jaden’s own people occupy the land ahead of them. As the son a Svistra commander, cast from his clan for his “traitorous” peace-loving ways, there is a price on Jaden’s head as well, and he knows that if his people capture Selia, there is no end to the horrors she will face.
Together, Selia and Jaden must elude the Svistra, cross toxic wastelands, and fight their own growing attraction in order to not only rescue her brother, but to prevent a war that will destroy both their peoples.
This story was an absolute treat! Ranging from fantasy adventure to romance to complicated issues such as race relations and politics, I quite literally couldn’t put it down and read it in a single sitting.
Jaden was delicious, and Selia is resourceful and cunning but still retains enough vulnerabilities to allow the reader to relate to her. The action scenes are wonderful, and throughout the novel, the threat from both the Svistra and the humans against Selia and Jaden add a delightful sense of tension to the story.
Recommended for fans of fantasy worlds on the brink of war, of peacekeeping heroes who are nonetheless powerful warriors, of tenacious heroines who steal the spotlight, and of finding love against impossible odds.
I'm once again torn on a rating -- there was a lot wrong from a "literary" standpoint, and yet I literally couldn't put it down. Review to follow, 4/5...moreI'm once again torn on a rating -- there was a lot wrong from a "literary" standpoint, and yet I literally couldn't put it down. Review to follow, 4/5 Stars(less)