I'll be doing a proper review closer to the release, but like pretty much all Reid books, I loved it. This series really gets something in me. Maybe iI'll be doing a proper review closer to the release, but like pretty much all Reid books, I loved it. This series really gets something in me. Maybe it's the small-town girl in me. Maybe it's the well-written, complex male characters who remind me so much of some of my male relatives and friends. IDK. But it's so good. I you haven't picked up Truth or Beard, you should do that. And if you like that? Just preorder this book immediately....more
Damien and Sari will be releasing on July 12th, but until then, if you want some new words, you can head over to my Wattpad page at https://www.wattpad.com/user/ElizabethHunter to read the first full novella in their book, DREAMS. I'll be posting a new chapter of that story every Thursday!
“You’re calling me naive?”
“Yes.” She leaned forward. “You may be older than me, but you’re still the noble Irin warrior of ages past. This world is not black and white. It never has been.”
“You think I don’t know that?”
“You think every scribe has a conscience and a code of honor because you do.”
He looked away from her.
“Not every scribe is noble. Not every Irin wants the Irina back. Not every one of your brothers would sacrifice himself to protect me or any of my sisters.”
“I know I’m no saint. None of us are.”
“No, you’re honorable. And decent. And good.”
“And I love that about you,” she continued, even as her throat started to close. “I love your honor. I love your decency. But Damien, the world is not like that. It’s a hard, cruel place with countless shades of grey. People are selfish and weak. We do things…” She choked. “We do horrible things because we think it’s the only way to survive.”
Damien turned back to her. “There is nothing you can do that would make me love you less, Sari.”
She gave him a bitter smile. “That’s because you don’t know what I’ve done.” ~ Copyright 2016, Elizabeth Hunter All rights reserved. ...more
There are three things you need to know about Penny Reid:
1. She is a very talented writer with a very distinct voice. She is also hilarious. 2. She haThere are three things you need to know about Penny Reid:
1. She is a very talented writer with a very distinct voice. She is also hilarious. 2. She has slight mental problems. I say this in the most loving way possible because she is a friend of mine. (But for real, Penny? You keep warning people away from this book because you think they might not like it because it's not a typical romance. I mean, really? I hate to spoil your delusions, but you have never written typical romance.) 3. She is probably a spy. (Of course, she cannot admit this, because then she'd have to kill us all. And she's really nice and would probably regret having to do that. So just assume the spy thing and don't question her too closely.)
WAIT THERE ARE FOUR THINGS!
4. She could probably be an awesome thriller writer if she wanted. (see #3)
If you like romance that feels real, if you like deliciously attractive heroes with inappropriate senses of humor, if you like heroines that scare you a little with their awesomeness (but also you really want to have over for coffee because you feel like you could totally be friends with them) BUY THIS BOOK.
If you like reading about relationships that go way past the surface and beyond the "...and they lived happily ever after" of most romances, then buy this book.
No, it's NOT what you're expecting. But it will still feel familiar. And that's a good thing. No, it's a great thing....more
I was very pleased over the holiday break to be able to read an ARC of Trueheart by Mel Sterling. Full disclaimer: I am friendly with Mel on Facebook,I was very pleased over the holiday break to be able to read an ARC of Trueheart by Mel Sterling. Full disclaimer: I am friendly with Mel on Facebook, and we have a lot of mutual friends, but you guys know I don't recommend anything I haven't read and loved for myself. The plus to having author friends is that I get to read these kind of awesome advanced copies ahead of time and give you guys a heads-up! (And trust me, you guys want the heads-up on this one.)
Trueheart is the first in a new series called Portland After Dark. It was ripping good fun, and a contemporary fantasy I'd recommend to all my readers. Fast-paced action pushes the reader through an intricate and intriguing plot, while a well-drawn romance anchors a fantasy world I'm eager to revisit. I stayed up until 2am to finish.
Sterling's world is well developed, and she captures the macabre beauty inherent in fae mythology. It's beautiful. It's grotesque. It's violent and fragile, all at the same time. Likewise, her characters and their relationships, both romantic and adversarial, rang true.
Well-drawn protagonists are always what make a fantasy world for me, and Tess and Thomas were perfect (in lovely, imperfect ways.) Tess is smart, loyal, and alternately awed, attracted, and repulsed by the fae world she's forced into. And while the hero, Thomas, may not be (fully) human, Sterling expresses both his humanity and his otherness, which made him doubly intriguing as a character. I loved them both, and was very satisfied by the ending.
Trueheart is set in Portland, Oregon, and while the insertion of old-world fae mythology might seem incongruous in many modern cities, Portland—damp, earthy, surrounded by woods and rivers—is the perfect setting for Sterling's imagination. The supernatural and the realistic mingle in subtle ways that mirror the creeping ivy of Forest Park, and her writing brings the world to life. It's lush and elemental, but not so dense as to hinder the pace of the book.
It was a beautiful romance, but the side characters were just as intriguing as the leads, and I think Sterling has left herself a lot of world to play with in the following books. The teaser of the second book, Ironbound, made me eager for more in this world.
I don't usually do star ratings, so I'll just say that I highly recommend this! It was great fun and beautifully written. Mel Sterling is an author I'll be following.
Trueheart releases on January 12th, but you can pre-order it now! It's only $3.99, which is a steal....more
Surprise! I wrote an Ava and Malachi story for the holidays. I was feeling sentimental and missing these two. Hope you Irin readers enjoy this littleSurprise! I wrote an Ava and Malachi story for the holidays. I was feeling sentimental and missing these two. Hope you Irin readers enjoy this little holiday treat! It's a fairly hefty short story, but not quite a novella. It was wonderful to catch up with Ava, Malachi, all the singers in Prague, and even Vasu (yes, that troublemaking Fallen just had to poke his nose in).
I hope you enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year....more
Every love story is different because every person is different. And if love is anything, it's connection. A giving of oneself tOh, Reid. You kill me.
Every love story is different because every person is different. And if love is anything, it's connection. A giving of oneself to another person. So that giving, that connection, takes a different form in every love story. But it's rare that one author can capture the uniqueness of disparate love stories while simultaneously making them relatable as Reid has done with the Knitting in the City series.
Ninja at First Sight is gorgeous. Sweet. Tender. Brave. Real. Greg and Fiona are magnetic. Read this little novella and enjoy it. Then go listen to Peter Gabriel's "The Book of Love" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZQIf... and cry a few happy, longing tears before you immediately preorder their full novel Happily Ever Ninja.
I might like this series even more than the original Hidden series that started with Lost Girl. Though it's setAnother gem from Colleen Vanderlinden!
I might like this series even more than the original Hidden series that started with Lost Girl. Though it's set in the same world, you could easily start here. The interplay of ancient gods in modern Detroit is worked out beautifully, and the increasing depth of the mythology and expansion of the world (there's a lot more travel and history in this series) serves as an exiting backdrop to the action, which Vanderlinden has always written well. The relationships, both of romance and friendship, are what center this book for me. If you're not familiar with the author's work, you could start with Guardian or go back to the beginning with Lost Girl.
Recommended for fans of kickass urban fantasy or paranormal romance....more
Seriously, though, the brilliance of Penny Reid is that she not only will make you laugh, but she'll make you thinkI laughed so hard I scared my dogs.
Seriously, though, the brilliance of Penny Reid is that she not only will make you laugh, but she'll make you think. I love all her books, but Beauty and the Mustache was my favorite in her Knitting in the City series, and this new series, The Winston Brothers, expands on a lot of what I loved so much about that book. Reid is not only incredibly funny and smart, she captures the nuances of relationships on so many levels. Not just the layers of romance (and the romance in this book was really gorgeous and real), but the complicated dance of siblings, the bittersweet bonds of small town life, and the ache of dreams.
I felt Jessica. I KNOW Jessica. (I probably WAS Jessica when I was younger.) And if Duane had turned his charm on me, I would have been helpless to resist. And not only because of the beard. (Though I do love my bearded heroes.) I cannot wait for the rest of the Winston Brothers to have their turn in the spotlight, because every single one of them is a character in the best sense.
This book was wonderful. I highly recommend it....more
I am so excited to announce THE SCARLET DEEP, the first Elemental World novel in over two years! (Yikes, hadn'tHey, guess what? I wrote another book!
I am so excited to announce THE SCARLET DEEP, the first Elemental World novel in over two years! (Yikes, hadn't really put together that it had been that long.) It'll be out on July 7th and I'm pretty happy about it. I had a blast writing this book. It was so fun to dive into this world again and head back to Dublin and London to hang out with Murphy, Anne, Carwyn, Brigid, and a bunch of other favorites. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it....more
Lost Letters and Christmas Lights is an all new Christmas novella featuring Giovanni and Beatrice from the Elemental Mysteries. It shares the page witLost Letters and Christmas Lights is an all new Christmas novella featuring Giovanni and Beatrice from the Elemental Mysteries. It shares the page with Grace Draven's gorgeous new story, Sunday's Child in ALL THE STARS LOOK DOWN.
Writing Gio and Beatrice is always a fun time, and adding in the romance between Fina and Zeno made this novella a dose of pure happy for me to write. I love these characters, and I know they're reader favorites. I hope you enjoy reading Lost Letters as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Before I get into my review of West, the sequel to Campbell, there’s something you should know. Author C.S. Starr and I have been friends for a while.Before I get into my review of West, the sequel to Campbell, there’s something you should know. Author C.S. Starr and I have been friends for a while. And while we’re not talking about current events and the shameful lack of Mountie romance written (you probably don’t want to know), we get to read each other’s books before they're published. Which is why I’m woooooefully late on this review. I read West months ago and planned something closer to the actual publication date, then promptly forgot about it. Because I’m a forgetful doofus.
The good news is, I loved West! Even more than I liked Campbell. So it was easy to remember all the stuff I liked about it for this review.
West returns to the post-apocalyptic world of the Campbell Trilogy a few years after the close of the first book. The teenagers who were running the world after everyone over the age of thirteen died off at the beginning of Campbell are now in their 20s. They’ve matured. They're trading. Traveling. Continuing to maintain civilization for the younger members of society. Some are becoming parents. Society has limped forward and Starr does a great job transitioning the reader into the time change.
Tal Bauman has returned to Los Angeles to take over the reins of leadership, while Lucy Campbell has returned to the Midwest to oversee the vast and sprawling territory that is Campbell. Their relationship can best be describes as... complicated. The war between Campbell and East has continued after the provocations in the first book, and while we don’t see any of the direct conflict, by the time West opens, you can tell both Tal and Lucy are weary. They were dragged into a conflict that neither wanted, and years later, no one seems to know how to end it.
Lucy and Tal are older in this book, both in life experience and in years. Both characters continue to be a provocative mix of naiveté and cynicism. They’ve both experienced things by their 20s that have hardened them. They both have few reference points for the future. If the question of Campbell was “Who should lead?” then the question of West is “How should one lead?”
By pushing those questions forward and exploring them, the premise of the series really shines. It’s not all violence and action (though there is a lot of action) but it’s the political maneuvering, the relationships, that keep you reading well past your bedtime.
Starr has expanded her point of view characters in this book, and while I’m not a fan of too much head-hopping, she balances it well here. She’s chosen intriguing supporting characters from the first book, like Rika and Bull, so I loved the multiple viewpoints. The book jumps almost immediately into a crisis situation that tests Tal’s new leadership, while Lucy is embroiled in a political climate that is slowly becoming more and more toxic.
The politics are intriguing. The action is compelling, but it’s the relationship between Tal and Lucy that remains the heart of the series. Both leaders. Both incredibly strong personalities. They’re also incredibly different. You can see why they’re drawn to each other, and yet the obstacles seem insurmountable through most of the book.
The ending left me breathless. I had shivers, it was so well done. I cannot wait to read East and find out what’s been going on in that very shadowy corner of Starr’s world. East territory, so far, has been a big mystery. I can’t wait for more.
So, my recommendation is, if you liked Campbell, or even if you were just intrigued by the world, read West. I don’t think you’ll be sorry....more
I will preface this review by letting you know that CS Starr and I have been friends for years. In fact, she very generously helped to edit my first bI will preface this review by letting you know that CS Starr and I have been friends for years. In fact, she very generously helped to edit my first book, A Hidden Fire, which should tell you how much respect I have for her as a writer and an editor.
And it would be dishonest of me to say that I didn’t enjoy her debut effort, Campbell, more because I know her. But that’s only because I’ve known for years how effective her writing is, and I’m so glad I finally have a chance to share it with my readers.
Now, let’s talk about Campbell.
In the growing world of New Adult literature, I’ll be completely honest: I’ve mostly read NA romance. Which is a shame, because New Adult should encompass all kinds of genres, just like Young Adult fiction does. Campbell is a New Adult dystopian novel with strong romantic themes. It’s the first book in a trilogy. Mostly, it’s a striking debut effort.
After a chilling prologue that introduces the reader to a world where everyone over the age of twelve has died in an unnamed plague, Starr builds a layered world where children have raised themselves. They have survived. They have formed rudimentary governments and economies. Though ten years have passed since the adults died off, civilization is only starting to come together. It’s a world that is both familiar and alien.
Lucy Campbell and Tal Baumann have taken very different paths to adulthood in this new world, but when they come together, you can sense their connection immediately. Despite the suspicion, there’s humor. Understanding. I loved their dialogue, even when they were mad at each other. Their relationship isn’t easy to define, but I like that, too.
Lucy is the leader of a faction that has taken over much of the North American Midwest. It’s also a growing faction that is pressing farther west. Tal is a lieutenant to the leader of the West. Rumors abound, as communication has broken down, but when Tal is sent to Campbell to form a tentative diplomatic relationship, what should have been a routine visit turns into much more.
Lucy and Tal are thrown together in an uneasy alliance against shared enemies. But where have those enemies come from? Neither trusts the other; trust is dangerous in this world. The stakes are high, as thousands of survivors look to their new leaders to create a stable life. The political machinations of both characters make them alternately noble and unlikeable. But being likable doesn’t always make you a good leader, and that’s a lesson that Lucy, in particular, has learned very well.
Both Tal and Lucy are dynamic characters. One of the strengths of New Adult stories is their ability to explore characters in rapid change. In the case of Campbell, it’s more than just characters striking out into the world on their own. In Starr’s world, they’re creating civilization, almost from scratch. Tal and Lucy have survived, but how they build their world, and the personal connections they form along the way, are what will keep you glued to the page.
Campbell isn’t an easy book. There is violence. Profanity. Betrayal. There is also connection. Survival. Loyalty. Even love? In a world where children have had to raise themselves, what kind of adults would they become? What kind of leaders would they make? Campbell is a gripping read, highly character driven, yet full of action. I stayed up way too late reading it. (And I didn’t regret it the next morning.) CS Starr is an author to watch....more
Loved it! Had a soft spot for Rip and Esme in the first book and I really loved this novella about them. Sometimes, a novella is the perfect length, aLoved it! Had a soft spot for Rip and Esme in the first book and I really loved this novella about them. Sometimes, a novella is the perfect length, and this story really suited it. Highly recommend this whole series....more
Another great adventure from Brook! I'm loving novellas lately, so this was perfect.
I could read another dozen stories with Archimedes and Yasmeen, jAnother great adventure from Brook! I'm loving novellas lately, so this was perfect.
I could read another dozen stories with Archimedes and Yasmeen, just because they're such fascinating characters and their relationship is so layered. I think they're my favorite couple from the Iron Seas series. Wonderful action and intrigue in this novella. Loved the length, loved the story, love the humor. (Hot? Oh yes. Please and thank you Archimedes.)
Highly recommend this whole series, but especially this novella and Heart of Steel, their first book. I'm hoping Brook will write more novellas or shorts with these characters, because they're just made for adventure and there are so many possibilities.
I don't think I ever left a review for Once Burned, which I really liked, however I *had* to leave one for Twice Tempted, which I LOVED. Frost just kiI don't think I ever left a review for Once Burned, which I really liked, however I *had* to leave one for Twice Tempted, which I LOVED. Frost just kicked everything about this series up, and I tore through this book.
One of my pet peeves with paranormal romance is when a heroine suddenly finds herself thrown into a world she's unprepared for and immediately rises to the occasion, kicking ass and taking names like a seasoned superhero. Unless there's a precedent, I find it throws me out of the story. For Leila, I thought she held her own admirably well in the first book, but she wasn't some instant badass. And I appreciated that. Even with the trauma in her past and her abilities, it would have struck me as unrealistic. In Twice Tempted, she really comes into her own, emotionally and physically. Her powers have developed. She's gained perspective and emotional guts. (Big time emotional guts.) Great character development for her. Her scene in the armor room gave me shivers. Wow. She also has a great dark humor that matches Vlad's.
'I sighed. "You saw the corpses on the lawn, didn't you?"'
And Vlad... I'm trying not to fan myself. I love Vlad. I may like him more than Bones. (Shhhhh...) He's old and, thank goodness, he reads that way. Frost doesn't soften him, but she does allow him to change. For him, there had to be a catalyst for changing after so many years of life, and I buy that it's Leila's love. He's always read like a very carefully banked fire to me. To see that passion really let loose in this book was fantastic. The love scenes were incredibly hot, but also incredibly intimate. And some of his dialogue. *sigh* So understated, but so powerful.
"...you left me because I wouldn't verbalize my emotions. That will probably happen again, but if you could feel what you mean to me, Leila"—his voice deepened—"words wouldn't matter."
I just... no words. Read this book. Read Once Burned first to get the full effect. You'll be glad you read both. Fantastic work I highly recommend. Looking forward to any and all books Frost wants to write about this pair. Can't wait!...more