Enchanting Fantasy Romance Reviled and ignored by her father, punished for her very existence, Khamsin Coruscate, Princess of Summerlea, hasn't had anEnchanting Fantasy Romance Reviled and ignored by her father, punished for her very existence, Khamsin Coruscate, Princess of Summerlea, hasn't had an idyllic life. Up until Summerlea lost the war with Wintercraig, though, Khamsin thought there were some lines that her father would never cross, despite his loathing of her. Tragically, she was wrong.
The Winter King, Wynter Atrialan, is in Summerlea to dictate the terms of surrender and peace following the three year war he'd waged on the kingdom. In recompense for the murder of his brother and heir, Wynter intends to take to wife one of the three beloved and revered Summerlea princess.
Instead of marrying one of those favored daughters, however, Wynter finds himself wed to a princess he hadn't even known existed.
Perhaps Wynter should have taken umbrage with the Summer King for the double cross, but he can't help but be pleased with the switch. There's something about Khamsin Coruscate that stirs his blood and brings a heat that Wynter has long since given up on feeling. Perhaps the fiery Khamsin is the key to breaking the hold that an evil god has on his soul before that evil is unleashed on them all.
I usually prefer more urban in my fantasy romance, but every once in a great while I get a yen for the swords and horses variety. Wilson's The Winter King satisfied that yen nicely. It's exactly the sort of tale I most favor in the genre, a story that focuses heavily on or revolves around the trials and tribulations of a heroine who, through whatever circumstance, is forced to endure terrible things, but in so doing is forged into a strong, independent women who more than holds her own.
Toss in a tormented hero as an alpha-male love interest and at least one loveable sidekick to add a touch of comic relief and I'm a happy reader. Call it formula, but it's one that works for me every time.
Between Khamsin's wretched life with her family and the devastating magic she can't control, Khamsin was a sympathetic heroine from the start. She was also stubborn and willful, and there were a couple of times I wanted to give her a good shake, but she was genuinely honorable, noble and kind, with a quick wit and intrinsically fun nature that kept her likable, even when her behavior got a bit frustrating.
And I loved how Khamsin matures and her character evolves over the course of the book's events.
I can't say I was as fond of Wynter. I liked him most of the time, thought he had some excellent alpha-male moments, and the chemistry between him and Khamsin was off the charts, but his personal losses goaded him into taking some severely questionable actions to give him the power to wage a brutal war that lasted three years and caused the lives of many. And the magic he wields as a result has the sort of consequences that kill entire kingdoms. All of them.
Then again, if he wasn't trying to prevent those consequences, he wouldn't have had any cause to meet Khamsin, so I can at least appreciate the plot-driving of it all.
It would have been a true shame, too, because the two of them together was my favorite thing about the story. Beyond their excellent chemistry and all the yummy sexy times that led to, I loved almost everything about how their relationship starts, then develops and grows as they get to know one another a bit better. Their relationship is fraught with trust issues, which is not normally something I enjoy, but when it comes to Wynter and Khamsin, the absence of trust issues would have been far more glaring. Their romance was much more believable and realistic with them.
There's a flip side to that, though, and it caused the only significant disconnect I had with the book.
This is a very, very long book. I don't want to spoil anything about the climax, so I'll just say that I was disappointed that the trust issues I had loved so much throughout most of the book became such a serious impediment and source of intense aggravation for me during the climax. The misplaced trust just ended up feeling out of character for those concerned and it made the subsequent events doubly frustrating to read.
It sort of took the bloom off the rose for me at the worst possible time, and the end of the book came too quickly after that for me to gain back some of the enjoyment I had lost. Honestly, though, that was my only significant issue with the whole book. I did have a minor issue with the too-linear and simplistic world building, what with the king of the wintery kingdom of Wintercraig being named Wynter and all, but that's strictly a personal preference thing. I would have appreciated a more sophisticated backdrop for what was, truly, an enchanting read when all was said and done.
Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me through the Amazon Vine program. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own. ~*~*~*~ Reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another....more
Surprisingly Robust and Sexy Novella Three years ago an anonymous night of passion with a sinfully sexy man served as both comfort and solace to journaSurprisingly Robust and Sexy Novella Three years ago an anonymous night of passion with a sinfully sexy man served as both comfort and solace to journalist Grace Grainger. Memories from that night have helped her weather three, year-long tours with combat troops in Afghanistan, so when she gets separated from her patrol and caught behind enemy lines, she expects those memories will help her get through another night until she's rescued.
What she doesn't expect is her rescuer to be the same man who helped make those memories.
That others may live. That is the pararescuer creed, one Master Sergeant Josh Travers has lived by for years. Then the rescue mission he's on goes sideways and Josh finds himself cut off from his team and stuck behind enemy lines with the last person on the planet he thought he'd stumble across in Afghanistan. He hasn't seen that face, those eyes, or that body for three long, hot, sweat-and-danger soaked years, but he's never forgotten her.
Now Josh has to do his job to the absolute best of his abilities and get them both the hell out of there, or those memories are all that he and Grace will ever have of each other...for the too-brief time they'll survive.
While military-themed romance and romantic suspense aren't truly favorites of mine, there are a few series with that theme that I have and do enjoy. If this prequel novella by Curtis is any indication, I will be adding the Alpha Ops series to that short list.
I can't say I was crazy about the beginning of this story, though. The introduction of main characters Josh and Grace wasn't to my personal taste. I struggled with Grace's deception about her identity and Josh's evasions with his, as well as the deliberate intention of both of them to hit it and quit it. It was all just a bit too impersonal and calculated for me to fully enjoy, regardless of the personal demons riding them at the time.
Thankfully, that's all I disliked. Despite the setup, I actually liked both Josh and Grace as characters. They felt refreshingly realistic to me, with flaws and peccadilloes craftily woven together with personal strengths to bulk up their characterizations and add impetus to the romance arc of the story. Maybe there wasn't as much complexity as I would hope to see in characters in a full-length novel, but for a novella, I was well satisfied and quite pleased by both of them.
It didn't hurt that Josh and Grace do a lot more than get groiny in this novella, and are more then the sum of their sex scenes. There's quite a bit of story going on around them, with both a war and a hostile environment threatening their lives constantly. It made for a tense, suspenseful read, and I loved that Grace had just as important a hand in their survival as Josh did. This wasn't a story about an uber-alpha warrior riding to the fair maiden's rescue. Grace more than held her own, often gave as good as she got, and I loved her for it.
There was actually quite a lot to love about this novella. Too often stories of this length are a crap shoot for me. Either they're too light on characterization and story and end up feeling superficial and rushed or they focus too heavily on the relationship of the characters and don't offer nearly as comprehensive an external conflict. This one had a very nice balance of both that ended up leaving me just as satisfied by the story as I was by the sexy good times.
In fact, Curtis obviously did significant research to flesh out her story and her characters, and the care taken with the military elements of the story in particular were a high point as a result. If she can write a novella that feels this authentic, robust, and complex, with characters who are more than cookie-cutter stereotypes, I honestly can't wait to find out what she can do with a full-length book. With the first of those, Over the Line, set to release in early October, I'm happy to say I don't have to wait long.
Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by Forever Yours publisher Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group via NetGalley. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own. ~*~*~*~ Reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another....more
Not my favorite in the series by far. I love this series, like most of the characters I've met and those that I haven't liked, I've loved. Until now.Not my favorite in the series by far. I love this series, like most of the characters I've met and those that I haven't liked, I've loved. Until now. I loathed Jack in this book. Loathed. Him. And I wasn't crazy about Larissa, who made some pretty stupid choices too many times for me to forgive, and was way too quick to excuse some of Jack's truly reprehensible behavior. I get that she loved the guy, but damn...to not even take him to task for what he did to the kid and Taryn? No. Sorry. Just...no.
I'll post a full review soon, but I'm sad to say what could have been a very endearing chapter in the Fools Gold saga did more than fall flat for me. It was sacked for a loss on fourth and goal....more
Yay! By far my favorite of the series to date, and the first time I can say I truly hope this series continues. I LOVE the characters in this book - aYay! By far my favorite of the series to date, and the first time I can say I truly hope this series continues. I LOVE the characters in this book - all of them - and enjoyed Thane and Elin's story - and even though I had a few issues with some elements, I'm very pleased to say that I didn't feel proselytized to death like I did in the previous book.
This is the first time in the series I felt things starting to click in that old and much adored Showalter way, and this is my favorite of Showalter since...wow...well, lets just say it's been many years since I read a Showalter story I enjoyed as much as I did this one.
~* 3.5 Stars *~ The humor and the characters are what made this book tolerable. I loathed and felt vaguely insulted by the message, wasn't impressed wi~* 3.5 Stars *~ The humor and the characters are what made this book tolerable. I loathed and felt vaguely insulted by the message, wasn't impressed with the overall plot, and question the apparent contradiction in angel mythos introduced in the first book. That said, I can't get enough of the Trio of Terrible that are Thane, Xerxes, and Bjorn. They steal every scene, and the only reason I'm planning on reading the next book in this series is because I know Thane's story is next. Overall, though, this wasn't even as consistently entertaining as the first book, and I wasn't totally sold on that one, either.