Alone in a world on the brink of war…two unlikely allies will discover a love greater than time.
Exiled from her home, powerful oracle CosminaSynopsis:
Alone in a world on the brink of war…two unlikely allies will discover a love greater than time.
Exiled from her home, powerful oracle Cosmina Cordei holds the key to uniting those protecting mankind from evil. But just as she makes her way into the holy city to perform an ancient rite, the enemy closes in for the kill…
Drawn by a destiny he won’t accept, elite assassin Henrik Lazar detests the mystical curse handed down by his mother. But when the sorcery in his blood is activated and past pain comes back to haunt him, his new abilities come into play and he must learn to control them.
Rescued by Henrik in the heat of battle, Cosmina must decide whether to trust the assassin who loathes the goddess she serves or face certain death on her own. Forced into an untenable position, Henrik is left with a terrible choice—protect the magical Order he despises, or deny destiny and lose the woman he loves forever.
4.5 stars rounding up.
I'm really enjoying this series. For whatever reason, it just works for me. It's not the most unique PNR and it's got the usual tropes that make a paranormal romance what it is. However, I'm still loving the series despite that. I like the characters and I like the magic. The men are all pretty sweet with their women and they just want to be loved, even when they think they don't deserve it. The women try hard to depend on no one but themselves, but they can't seem to help themselves when the guys come along. It's usually because they've landed in an impossible situation. They don't have much choice but to accept help. That's not to say that they lose all independence and cannot defend themselves, because I don't consider that to be the case. The Blessed are not helpless. They may not all be warriors, but they usually have some way of defending themselves.
Cosmina was a good example of this. She's pretty damn good with throwing knives as well as using them in close quarters combat. She's just unlucky that the Al Pacii are the ones that have been made her enemies now. Even still, she's determined to see the mission the Goddess gave her through even though she's practically bleeding to death thanks to an arrow in the arm from Halal. If Henrik, Shay and Andrei (with Tareek and Kazim as backup) hadn't tracked their former comrades to White Temple, Cosmina would have been a goner. As it is, her mission is a success and she even ends up helping the guys despite barely being able to stand on her own and ending up temporarily disabled. The thing Cosmina struggled with the most is over the way she wanted to rely on Henrik despite having lived on her own for the past five years. She's used to being cautious and keeping her guard up, so trusting Henrik so soon seems wrong to her. However, thanks to her gift, she comes to accept this on her own and without too much annoying introspection. Once she does accept it, even when she wants to cling, she refuses to. She goes balls to the wall and with no remorse. I admired that about her. And when Henrik does do something to hurt her, she doesn't wallow in bitterness forever. She also doesn't mope. She continues her mission and saves one of her fellow Blessed. When Henrik does come to his senses, she doesn't forgive him easily. She makes him tell her how he feels. Good for her.
I adored Henrik. I liked him from book 1 and his character was pretty consistent here. We learned some more about his past, though I would have preferred that he revealed in to Cosmina directly instead of the way that she found out. I'm glad that scene wasn't as angsty as it could have been, though. Thanks to Cosmina, Henrik was able to overcome a lot of bitterness with regards to the Goddess of All Things. It doesn't happen right away, so it felt right to me once it did happen. Having someone like Cosmina love him went a long way to helping him heal. He'll likely still have some issues (for a strong guy, Henrik has some strong fears), but at least he isn't alone anymore. You could really tell how alone he'd been feeling when he felt relieved not to be the only guy stuck with magic. He never wanted magic, but now that all of the others seem to have it, too, I think he'll better adapt to his new abilities. It helps that he doesn't detest the Goddess anymore, for sure. My main problem with Henrik is that he fell into the same trap that Xavian fell into with Afina. He thought he wasn't good enough to be with someone like Cosmina. It made him think a little too much. I wanted him to just decide one way or another and stick with it. He was really sweet with her, though and he wasn't overbearing. He was alpha, but not in a really annoying way. Plus, I liked that he enjoyed bantering with her and really seemed to get into it when she took control.
We also got POVs from Tareek, Cristobal, a Blessed named Nairobi and Halal in this book. Halal gets himself upgraded, but so far, it hasn't given him too much of an advantage as the Seven have been upgraded as well. Plus, those dudes have three dragons on their side. Still, I'm sure Halal will get some licks in soon enough. He probably won't lose all the time. I really dislike that guy and the Prince of Shadows can go kick rocks. Tareek is still fiercely protective of Henrik thanks to their history, but he's got scars of his own that he has to overcome. He starts to begin to here, but I'm sure we will see him grow more over the course of the series. We get a few POVs from Cristobal as well and at first, he's terrified of the changes he's going through. His are really invasive, but the end result is pretty deadly and incredibly useful. It seems he's also got himself a connection with Cruz and I'm sure that will come in handy, especially now that Nairobi has arrived. Is she the one the voice Cristobal was hearing was telling him to find? With the way he was acting towards him after Cosmina saved her, I'm inclined to think so. I'm assuming that their book will be next. Nairobi seems like a pretty self-sufficient type of woman and headstrong, too. I have a feeling that Cristobal will have his hands full with her.
I'm glad that we got to see all of the guys get some decent amount of page time in this one. In book 1, I kept completely forgetting about Kazim and Razvan because I'm pretty sure they didn't have any speaking lines in that one. We actually get to see a nice deal more of Kazim and I rather like him. Razvan I'm not sure about yet because while we got see his awesome new abilities, we didn't see a whole lot of him. That should change as the series progresses. I was happy that there was plenty of Andrei and Shay. I really like those two. I wonder what Andrei's issue with water is, though. I'm really looking forward to when he finds his own mate. He didn't think Henrik getting attached to Cosmina was a smart move, so I'm wondering how hard he will try to resist falling in love. I really want to see him fall hard. I also look forward to seeing what type of woman Shay will fall for. He's the youngest of all of them, but he's damned deadly still and I like his sarcasm. I also like that he took to his new magic really well. So did Kazim and Xavian. I can't wait to see what happens next....more
In AD 1331, warlord Vladimir Barbu seizes control of Transylvania. But in spite of his bloody triumph, his claim to the throne remains out ofSynopsis:
In AD 1331, warlord Vladimir Barbu seizes control of Transylvania. But in spite of his bloody triumph, his claim to the throne remains out of reach. The king of Hungary opposes his rule, the Transylvanian people despise his brutal ways, and the high priestess needed to crown him has vanished without a trace. But Barbu hasn’t come this far only to be thwarted by a woman. He unleashes his best hunters to track her down and bring her to him—dead or alive.
For Xavian Ramir, killing is the only life he has ever known. Torn from his family when he was a child, he was trained from an early age to be an elite assassin. But now he longs for something more, vowing to start anew after one last job. The bounty on his target’s head is enough to set him up for good—if he can resist the long-dead conscience that stirs to life when he meets his beautiful mark.
Afina Lazar never wanted to become high priestess, but the brutal murders of her beloved mother and sister leave her no choice. Now she is running for her life, desperate to protect the magical amulet entrusted to her care. But when Barbu’s assassin comes for her, she realizes her only chance of stopping the warlord’s rise to power is to convince this enigmatic—and handsome—hunter that she is more valuable alive than dead.
Dramatic and fast-paced, Knight Awakened is a stirring love story between two people searching for a second chance in a magical world of assassins, warlords, unearthly beasts, and nonstop adventure.
Giving this 4.5 stars and rounding up.
I really enjoyed this and got sucked into it pretty quickly. I enjoyed Xavian and Afina quite a bit. They frustrated me at times, but that's pretty much to be expected in a PNR and it's better than them never doing anything wrong. Besides, I really liked Afina, so I was quite happy that she didn't do typical dumb heroine things. Xavian had some typical alpha male hero tendencies, but I still really liked him.
The story starts out with Xavian right outside where Afina has been hiding out with her sister's two-year old daughter Sabine. Xavian has been sent to retrieve Afina for the man who wants her. Xavian doesn't know why Vladimir Barbu wants Afina and he shouldn't care, but he gets curious. It also turns out that another man has sent Xavian after Afina (though this turns out not to be what he expected) and Xavian isn't too sure about what he's going to do exactly until he does it. The next thing you know, he's stealing Afina and Sabine away to take them to his keep Drachaven. In the beginning, Afina is both drawn to Xavian and terrified of him. She doesn't know why she wants him and berates herself for it on more than one occasion. What she is sure of, is that she has to take Sabine and get as far away as possible. She's being hunted and for all she knows, Xavian is taking her to the man that is hunting her. The one time she does try to escape, she gets herself into some serious trouble. Lucky for her, Xavian knew she would try and was following her when it happened. That's when we really start to learn what it is about Afina that makes Vladimir want her so badly.
For Xavian's part, he could be hot and cold. He really, really wanted Afina, but felt he had no right to her. So when (view spoiler)[they sleep together the first time and he discovers that she's a virgin (hide spoiler)]man is he pissed. To him, she's been lying the whole time and Xavian cannot abide by lies. He isn't nice to her after that. He was doing it on purpose because he was pissed that what he felt was a lie caused him to break his oath, but he was pissed at himself, too. Luckily, Afina gets herself into trouble after that and he rescues her and that doesn't last too long. He does try avoiding her later on in the book even after learning about the connection they have because he seriously thinks that someone like him doesn't deserve someone like her. Afina sets him straight on that front, though. I was proud of her for that. She wouldn't let him hide from her.
There were a couple of unexpected discoveries. I was especially surprised by Henrik's connection to everything. I wasn't actually expecting the Goddess they talked about to interact with them, either. So now we have a band of former assassins fighting the good fight. Somehow, all of the women they'll end up will be helpful to that in some way, I'm sure. I'm looking forward to getting to know more of the Seven better. So far, I've got a little bit of a handle on Cristobal, Henrik, Andrei and Shay, but I totally forgot about Kazim and Razvan unless they were mentioned during a fight. We never really saw Xavian interact with those two. I am really curious to know if the dragon shifters will get their own books. I'd love to see Garren especially fall in love.
I'm sure we'll be seeing more of that bastard Halal. I don't like his POVs because I just don't like him, but they at least add to the story. He'll probably be around for the whole conflict as other than the Goddess's nemesis, he's the Big Bad. I hope that Xavian and his crew can keep too many more boys from falling into that asshole's hands, but I'm sure there will be setbacks along the way.
I'll be following along to see what happens. I just hope there won't be too long of a wait between the rest of the books like there was between this one and book 2. Nearly two years!...more
What begins as Constable Dallin Brayden escorting the prisoner Wilfred Calder back to Putnam quickly turns into a flight for both their livesSynopsis:
What begins as Constable Dallin Brayden escorting the prisoner Wilfred Calder back to Putnam quickly turns into a flight for both their lives. Political betrayal and malicious magic lurk behind every bush and boulder in their flight across the countryside, resulting in Dallin becoming more protector than gaoler, and fostering a growing connection between him and his charge. Haunted by dreams not his own and pursued by just about everyone, Dallin begins to understand that he’s not just protecting Wil out of duty anymore.
As the shadow of Wil’s previous life as a captive and tool continues to loom, the shadow of the man who kept him prisoner looms larger. Forced into a terrifying battle of both will and magic for not only his life, but his soul, Wil discovers that the Aisling is sought by more powerful enemies than the Guild and the Brethren: ancient gods and soul-eating spirits seek what lives inside him as well. And it seems his only salvation may well be Dallin and his goddess, the Mother, against whom Wil has been warned all his life.
Very good sequel. Even more comes to light here and our heroes slowly grow closer. And fall hard. It was wonderful to read....more
Fen Jacin-rei finds himself again on the run after discovering the reality of what he is and why the gods won t let him go. His one source ofSynopsis:
Fen Jacin-rei finds himself again on the run after discovering the reality of what he is and why the gods won t let him go. His one source of support, Kamen Malick, is suddenly unavailable, and now hounded and chased by ghosts who want to drive him into insanity and keep him there, Fen will have to face life all alone.
Or maybe not. Old enemies and new allies seek to control Fen, now known as Kamen s Untouchable. It s going to take everything Fen s got to figure out who he can trust and who he should fear. It might take more than what Fen s got to discern who is even real.
This book is just as crazy as the rest. Book 1 is definitely the most sedate of the series. This one sets about punching us in the face with revelations. Hell, it punches the characters in the face with revelations, too. About themselves and each other.
Fen is basically still running about with no direction in this book, but he pretty much holds his own considering wtf he's been up against. We learn a lot about Fen's past lives and why he has had so many. More than one character has mentioned before that he's lived too many lives and when you find out the why of it, you just can't help but have your heartbreak for him once again. A lot about Jacin suddenly makes sense once the events of that first life are put into context. All I can say is that Raven is one stone-cold son of a bitch. Somehow, Jacin survives it all. It takes him forever to do, but he finally admits that he needs Malick. And just like that, Malick is back. He's gone for half the book, but he comes back ready to throw down and he soooo does. Malick can be so scary at times, but it's so fucking hot that I don't care.
Shig gets plenty of her own POVs, too and it's nice to get to know Shig's thoughts. She's feeling pretty restless and not a little bit resentful of the Fen brothers and no longer feeling the loyalty to Malick that she used to have. She ends up with her own decisions to make and I think it was for the best that things go the way that they do for her.
Samin was feeling overwhelmed with playing leader while Malick was gone, but he did a pretty good job of it. And he told some immortals off which made me want to stand up and clap. I love that he feels fatherly towards Morin and Joori. You can tell they appreciate it, especially Morin. Morin really comes into his own and has is own role to play as one of Wolf's-own. Joori still had a lot of growing up to do. He has his moments where he does the right thing during those times where Morin tells him to just let Jacin be, but it isn't driven home for him until the end of the book. He finally gets to a place where he cannot pretend anymore and he doesn't like it, but he does finally accept it.
The way that things play out for Malick and Jacin came as a surprise to me. They managed to pull off a bit of a coup. It doesn't make Jacin any less out of danger, but he has real choice now. Something Malick has been trying to push on him from basically the start of the series. And he finally comes to terms with that. He also comes to terms with Malick's love and whether or not he deserves it. He even finally makes his own confession in his own way. And that was a perfect way to end the book. The gods will never be done with Jacin, but he and Malik won't be bullied like before. I wouldn't mind a follow up book just to get a chance of how some other things play out, but I appreciate that Carole didn't drag out the series. We get a HEA and that works for me....more
Still recovering from the events in Ada, Fen and Malick have apparently gotten all the reprieve they're going to get on their voyage to TambaSynopsis:
Still recovering from the events in Ada, Fen and Malick have apparently gotten all the reprieve they're going to get on their voyage to Tambalon. Shortly after stepping ashore, old ghosts resurface and new dangers arise.
Dealing with past lives and legendary beings is somehow just as critical as tracking down the vicious creatures that have been abducting and murdering citizens of Tambalon. With the threat of banpair all too close, Malick is put at odds with those who should be his allies, in order to protect Fen and hand him the choices the minions of the gods don’t necessarily want Fen to have.
This was a wild ride. This book blindsided me and it happened fairly early on. I couldn't even believe it. I should have because of course Carole would do that to Fen. I should not have been surprised that she did it, but it was SO left field that I never suspected she would go there. But she did. She went there. I wanted to wail even knowing he would be back, but what it did to Fen nearly made my heartbreak. It left him too open and vulnerable and nearly all of the ground that Malick had made with him got lost in the process.
The enemy this time was pretty ruthless. It didn't help that all of the other Temshiel and maijin had their own plans for Fen. Fen has been revealed for what he truly is and that could be a dangerous thing, indeed. They didn't know whether they should use him or kill him. And with a certain someone out of the way, it made it all too easy to get to him. He was purposefully being driven even more crazy than he already was and the sad thing is, it took way too long for everyone to realize what he was seeing wasn't in his head. It took Shig pointing it out once she realized the same shit was happening to her.
A lot of this book had our poor, bedraggled wolf pack running about with their heads cuts off. They had no choice because the one that could best protect them couldn't be there and as they were all mortal, none of them had a fucking clue. And the gods' minions certainly weren't going to be overly forthcoming. Hell, it was one of those minions that ended up making the situation so bad in the first place and all because she thought she needed to teach Malick a lesson. I wanted to throttle that bitch, so I cheered when Xari went off on her.
Jacin spends most of the book running from "ghosts" and trying to be taken somewhere against his will. Malick spends most of the book gone and I was screaming for him to come back and rescue Jacin. Joori, Morin, Shig and Samin actually managed to hold their own for the most part. They did get some help from some immortals and some of them were actually pretty okay, especially Naro-yi.
The book ends on a bit of a cliffy, because you just know that Fen is about to learn something even more important about himself, but... You don't get to find that out until book 4.
This book actually has one of my most favorite opening segments. We get to learn a bit about how Malick's life was like as a mortal and just what it was that brought him to Wolf's attention. We see how he sees himself a Malick, Kamen and Kamen Malick and how that relates to the ways in which he wants to save Fen, Jacin and Fen Jacin-rei. Kamen is Wolf's-own, but Malick is Fen's and that's how it should be. Seriously, I fell even more in love with Malick in this book and he isn't even in the majority of it....more
The amorality of gods makes it hard to tell bad from good and right from wrong. Fen Jacin-rei doesn’t care. All Fen cares about is saving hisSynopsis:
The amorality of gods makes it hard to tell bad from good and right from wrong. Fen Jacin-rei doesn’t care. All Fen cares about is saving his family, and he’ll sacrifice anything that gets in his way. Including his own soul.
No longer willing to wait for the machinations of the gods’ minions, Fen accepts the trade Kamen Malick offers. Together they set out to rescue Fen’s family and kill the man who betrayed them. But Fen is an Untouchable, one whose mind hosts the spirits of long-dead magicians, and with Voices of the Ancestors screaming in his head, Fen finds it harder and harder to stave off madness.
Malick has his own reasons to hand over everything Fen wants and equally compelling reasons to withhold everything Fen needs. In over his head with his timing as bad as ever, Malick must devise a way to do his god’s bidding without breaking his god’s laws—and keep Fen sane and on Malick’s side in the bargain.
I felt this sequel was quite strong. I couldn't put it down. I just seriously, seriously love these characters.
I wasn't sure how long it would take for Asai to get what was coming to him and I certainly did not see it going down how it did. From the description of book 3 (spoilery blurb!), I knew about one character death, but the other two were a shock. Well, one of them wasn't so much of a shock except for what lead to that death. I get why she did it, but if only she'd listened to Malick, maybe so many of them wouldn't have had to die that day.
The book actually starts off with plenty of action. They go to get Fen's brothers and sisters and Joori takes an instant dislike to Malick. He assumes Fen is paying for Malick's help with his body. They're attacked my maijin as they're leaving and so Asai learns that it's Malick he's dealing with. Things just keep kind of going wrong from there. There are some good moments, but Fen is continuing to struggle with the Ancestors' voices and Malick is trying to do the right thing without getting himself sent to the suns.
It seemed on multiple occasions where everyone was blaming him for something just because of what he is. They all kept treating him like he didn't give a damn about Fen at all. After all he'd done or tried to do, it just kept pissing me off. The man couldn't get a damn break. If that wasn't bad enough, someone he never thought would betray him tried to go behind his back and when he found out about it, they made things even worse.
It was a miracle Fen got through all of that, but he barely did. Then they were off to Yakuli's where Fen thought he'd finally get what it was that he really wanted only to have it taken away. Now he's something even more than he was, but he's struggling with life. He has no purpose anymore (as far as he knows) and he can't deal. It was frustrating everyone, but he started showing signs of life again. I don't know if he can hold on to it, though. Somehow, I doubt it. He's not ready. Sometimes, I wonder if he ever will be....more
Constable Dallin Brayden knows who he is, what he's about, and he doesn't believe in Fate. 'Wilfred Calder' has no idea who he is, what he'sSynopsis:
Constable Dallin Brayden knows who he is, what he's about, and he doesn't believe in Fate. 'Wilfred Calder' has no idea who he is, what he's about, and has been running from Fate for as long as he can remember. When Wil is brought in for questioning as a witness to a brutal murder, and subsequently flees, Dallin is dragged by duty into the chaos of ancient myth, fanatical religion, and the delicate politics of a shaky truce between two perpetually warring countries, all of which seem to hinge on the slender shoulders of the man he knows is not Wilfred Calder.
The eventual capture of Dallin's quarry only makes matters worse. Wil is prickly and full of rage, rebellious and lethal, and tells an unbelievable tale of magic and betrayal that threatens to rock the carefully cultivated foundations of Dallin's world. Leery and only half-believing, Dallin finds himself questioning not only his own conscience and his half-forgotten past, but the morality and motives of everyone around him, including those who hold the power of his own country's fate in their hands.
This looks to be another series of Carole Cummings's that I will become obsessed with.
Wil and Dallin intrigue me. There's more to the both of them than either of them know. Their first meeting isn't exactly a hit and neither is the second. It isn't long, though before Dallin realizes that the situation he's found himself in is much bigger than he ever expected. All he wants to do is do his job, not get mixed up with magic and political messes. All Wil wants to do is live freely and not be hunted like a rabbit. Too bad neither of them really gets what they want.
There's some good action in this book. No romance, yet. Wil doesn't trust near enough for that and Dallin's trying his hardest to be patient with Wil. Even once Dallin seems to accept his role in Wil's life he still gets frustrated more often than not. Dallin needs answers. He can't just accept that Wil is magic and that the Mother and Father are involved in this. He does believe Wil about his life being in danger, though. How could he not when he's run into those Brethren dudes multiple times? Seriously, those guys are whacked.
It's not too long that Dallin really has to face that everything that's happening is real. Too real. Once he gets punched in the face with it, there's no turning back. He'd already decided to help Wil, but now he really has to help him.
I enjoyed watching these two kind of circling around each other so warily. Especially Wil. I couldn't blame him for not being trusting. He had one hell of a crappy life. He's already decided that he'll choose himself over anyone else, but he seems to not mind Dallin too much. There's potential here for these two to get close if only Wil will allow it.
We pretty much learn things at the same pace that the characters do as both of them are basically starting at zero on the knowing things scale. I kind of liked it this way. At least, despite not knowing anything, they weren't going around making dumb mistakes. The ending of the book wasn't so much as shocking to me as it was to poor Dallin. I am very much going to enjoy watching how things progress from here....more