Publisher: Self-published Publish Date: Out now How we got this book: ARC from the author
Do you believe in dragons? Werewolf cop Rick Lupone would say no . . . until a dying faerie tells him the fate of his city depends on him. If he can’t protect a mysterious woman in peril, everything may be lost. The only discovery more shocking is that the woman he’s meant to save is his high school crush, Cass Maycee.
Half fae Cass didn’t earn her Snow White nickname by chance. All her life, her refusal to abuse fae glamour kept men like Rick at arm’s length. Now something new is waking up inside her, a secret heritage her pureblood father kept her in the dark about. Letting it out might kill her, but keeping it hidden is no longer an option. The dragons’ ancient enemies are moving. If they find the prize before Rick and Cass, the supe-friendly city of Resurrection just might cease to exist. This blurb came from the author’s website.
E: When I got a note from Holly letting me know about Hidden Dragons I had to say. I mean the combination of Holly, dragons, and her Hidden world and I couldn’t resist. As I have said previously I have enjoyed Holly’s writing for a very long time. I followed her from traditional to self-publishing and continue to have the same level of enjoyment. It is evident that she puts a lot of time and effort into ensuring that the published book is a very high quality and I appreciate that. It allows me to sink into the world, story, and characters without becoming distracted by administrative errors. Hidden Dragons goes back to Resurrection and the werewolf police team that started this series. I have enjoyed the different personalities within the pack and how they are slowly finding rather unusual partners. In this particular story a long hidden high school crush gets the opportunity to bloom under dangerous conditions.
Has: I love the Hidden world, the characters and world-building that Holly created is rich and imaginative. So I also felt the same way when I heard that dragons were going to be featured in the next installment in this series. And oh how they added a fantastic tone to the story as well as highlighted the more fantasy elements of the series which was more paranormal in feel.
The main couple, were also great! I loved that we got to see more of the Lupone brothers and Rick who is the main hero in this book really shines as the beta cop who finds himself protecting his high-school crush. While Cass who also reciprocated his feelings during school is a fun and intelligent heroine and I loved the moment when they both realised their feelings for each other which was very sexy and sweet. Emma Holly has a real gift with sensual scenes and the romantic tension between Cass and Rick was fantastic!
E: Watching the unfolding of their relationship especially the realization that each had admired the other was a lot of fun. I also found myself intrigued by the mixture of legend, children’s tv/fairy tales, and what was actually happening. Holly also put an interesting twist on the dangers or benefits of accepting a gift from the fae. I thought Rick did a great job as a Beta hero by demonstrating the caring and also tenacious aspects of his personality. He was strong enough to protect but felt no need to have the monopoly on good ideas. At the same time he wasn’t going to let Cass get away with ignorance and refusing to acknowledge that she knew the answers to their problems.
Cass was also an intriguing character. She had several other half-Fae friends that she was close to but she avoided any emotional or other entanglements with men. And yet despite that closeness she spent most of her adult life away from Resurrection, her home. She also never pushed her father for information or to involve himself more in her life. However, one of the things I didn’t like about her was that when she was stressed, she defaulted to using her fae glamour or power. The same power she used as an excuse to stay away from men. I am going to talk about that a little more later because I think it was an important plot thread.
Has: I really like the emphasis and the details that Emma Holly gave to the reader, especially with the mythology of the fae such as lying which Cass experienced a backlash everytime she lied to herself or to others. The little details like this really cemented the world-building for me. And I liked that we learn more about the fae because in previous books, the fae were a race which appeared to be mysterious and enigmatic and I loved that we got more insight into their race and their origins in Resurrection.
I really like Rick, because he was in the sense, a true protector without any of the alphaholish characteristics but I find that most of Holly’s characters especially her heroes, are more likable and well developed. I think for me, I wished there was more of a buildup to their realisation of their feelings and I would like to have seen more of their feelings before they commenced with their relationship because it was a bit sudden.
I think with the way Cass dealt with her glamour and fae abilities was true to herself because it was something she used unconsciously. It was not till she was living on the Outside in the human world, she realised the impact and repercussions of her power especially on how she changed her ex-fiance. I thought that was an interesting aspect of her character and how tricky the fae can be. If she was more manipulative and selfish, it would have been a totally different story. I think I found her father’s agenda to be more problematic especially with the way he regarded Cass’ mother and the fallout over that relationship which was a huge price to pay.
E: I agree I loved finding out about the origins of Resurrection and some of the people who lived there. I also understood Cass’ father’s agenda much more because his life, his family’s life was devoted to his particular rule. And he had to do everything he possibly could to fulfill his side of the bargain. Yes, I am deliberately on the vague side here so I don’t spoil a large portion of the book.
I had much more of an issue when after everything Cass and Rick had been through she didn’t have any qualms about threatening to use her fae power on him if he didn’t agree to do what she wanted. For someone who professed to hate use her power on people and knew what it felt like to have someone use their power on her this was a huge shock. I also felt like she completely betrayed the trust that Rick had in her and only when she saw Rick’s reaction and that he had been formulating a plan that would accomplish what she wanted did she seem to understand the gravity of her actions. This struck me as the action of someone who needed to grow up a bit more. I don’t think she properly groveled and regained Ricks trust even though he professed to believe her when she said she had learned her lesson. I still felt that under stress she would revert back to using her power regardless of the consequences.
Has: Oh I definitely agree with you about that aspect of Cass but I do think she had genuine reasons on why she did threaten to use her powers like that. But I liked that this was an interesting source of conflict between them and I think if she ever did do something like this then its a loss of trust and that would have damaged her relationship with Rick. And that would be irreparable. I do think they both realised that towards the end and it was a contrast with her parents and how they dealt with the impact of her father’s abilities. It is not easy to be with a fae who has powers that could glamour and manipulate the people around them. But I do think Cass sees this is important that she cannot rely or even use her powers subconsciously.
E: Holly continues to provide entertaining reads. She also ensured the both the tension and stakes were high and continued to get higher as the story continued. One of my favorite scenes was when Cass decided to set boundaries on what she would and would not allow purebred Fae to do. She seemed to signify that they could no longer look down on and discount what half-Fae could accomplish. As I said earlier I did have some issues with Cass and her lack of groveling along with Rick’s acceptance. Yes, he did stay away from her for a while but I still wanted a stronger resolution. Overall, I enjoyed my visit back to Resurrection and spending time with the werewolf cops. I look forward to Holly’s next installment.
I give Hidden Dragons a B.
Has: I definitely agree that Emma Holly is a solid and entertaining author, and I continue to love each new story in the Hidden universe. While there was some issues with Cass and her father who I suspect might also be in the running for his own story in the future, I found the source of conflict was an interesting conundrum. The world-building was also fantastic and Emma Holly further develops the mythology about the mythical inhabitants in Resurrection. And Hidden Dragons definitely offers a different overtone in this ongoing series, which had a sweet and passionate romance which had great touches of humour!
Publisher: Carina Press Publish Date: 7 Oct How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
A human trapped in the world of Faerie, in possession of magic I could not control, I made a bargain for my life: to let the dangerously sensual fae noble known as Rogue sire my firstborn. And one does not break an oath with a fae. But no matter how greatly I desire him, I will not succumb. Not until I know what will happen to the child.
Though unable-or unwilling-to reveal the fate of human-fae offspring himself, Rogue accompanies me on my quest for answers. Along the way he agrees to teach me to harness my power, in exchange for a single kiss each day and sleeping by my side each night. Just as I am about to yield to temptation, I find myself in a deadly game of cat and mouse with an insane goddess. Now my search for the truth will lead me to the darkest of all Faerie secrets. This blurb came from the author’s website.
E: So a while ago I read and absolutely loved the first Covenant of Thrones book, reviewed here with Has Rogue’s Pawn. I enjoyed it so much that I started pestering poor Kennedy about the sequel. Time passed and she notified us that she would be writing more in this series so I was really excited and then she made me wait. Happily Rogue’s Possession is now out and I have to say that once again Kennedy blew me away. I stayed up into the wee hours of a workday morning because I was so hooked. I am recommending that you read the first installment before you start this one because they are very closely entwined.
Has: I also had a very sleepless night finishing this book because the world that Jeffe Kennedy created was so rich and full of seductive and imaginative details that I just didn’t want the book to end. But I so totally agree about reading or rereading in my case the first book, Rogue’s Pawn because this installment really felt like the middle of the story and it was a true follow-up in the trilogy. And this is a series which has rich and vivid characters and an intricate plot, and I loved that the dreamy but dark overtones from the first book continues to be strong in Rogue’s Possession.
E: Gwynn has been struggling with the rules of the world she stumbled into, sometimes winning and sometimes losing. Agreements and interpretation of agreements are all subject to how much power you have, allegiances, and how well you are able to think around the obvious linear answer. Gwynn is at a severe disadvantage because of agreements made in the first book and her lack of knowledge about exactly what her magic can do. She serves Lord Falcon as his battle mage doing what he says while attempting to minimize loss of human life and therefore loss of herself. She also has an agreement with Lord Rogue that she will allow him to sire her firstborn child. He is very eager to make this happen in the fullest extent possible but she negotiated several years before she is required to comply. This also means Rogue has a vested interest in keeping her alive and in as good health as possible. As she starts more intimate magic lessons with Rogue she starts to question why he is so insistent on fathering a child with her only to discover that he can’t tell her. But he is willing to bend/workaround/play with the rules as much as possible to help her discover the answer.
Has: This is one of the reasons why I really adore this series, because Gwynn is an intelligent and engaging character and actually used her wits to get out of difficult situations. And like in the first book, her logic and scientific reasoning is a touchstone in a crazy world, where the fae do not play by logical rules, but I do love how flustered or puzzled they become when Gwynn manages to turn the tables on them. I have to say my favourite scenes are when she has to outsmart the fae, who are pretty wily and tricky to interact with, and it was fun to see all the negotiation and sidestepping questions to get information. But I think the best ones are when she deals with Rogue and the way they flirt with each other by exchanging favours but within the boundaries they set for each other. The tension between them which I thought was hot and sizzling in the first book, was an inferno for this one!
E: I enjoyed the transition from discovering an entirely new world to one of discovering more about its inhabitants, what drives them, and exactly how even the little things Gwynn does have a ripple effect that grows as time passes. Gwynn also came more into her own with both negotiation and finesse in her magic skills. However, nothing, especially in this world, is gained without paying a price and Gwynn continued to learn that lesson. She was forced to face one of her deepest fears, move beyond her experience to take control of the situation, and allow others the right to exercise their own free will. I was really impressed at how much Gwynn grew over the course of this installment from a bewildered person who was basically a puppet with power to someone who was willing to bend the world rules to achieve what she wanted. I also enjoyed her interactions with Rogue even more this time. The initial power imbalance was starting to level out and Rogue’s perception of Gwynn had changed from looking at an obligation who was making things harder to a desirable individual who could become a partner.
Has: Yes! I loved that her character grew so much from the scared and confused woman to a woman who is embracing her magic and using her wits and not taking prisoners. I definitely agree with you that she was more of an equal footing with Rogue, in fact I felt that he was catching up with her a lot of the times especially in the first half of the book. I also liked the hint of things to come with her abilities coming to the fore and that it provided an interesting contrast with Rogue and his own hidden abilities. I really loved the synchronicity of that especially on how it interlinks with their power dynamics. I also definitely agree and loved that Gwynn faced up to one of her major fears in this book, and again highlighted how much growth and changed she underwent, but at the same time she didn’t lose her sense of humanity and empathy.
I also adored the new characters that were introduced such as Athena who joins Gwynn’s ragtag crew of friends and servants. It was interesting to see the follow-on effects from when Gwynn initially changed Athena to her becoming more self aware and developing a more serious and kick ass personality that lived up to her namesake. And Walter the Wizard, who like Gwynn found himself in the land of the fae and is a sorcerer, and was part of several of the most humorous scenes in the book which had me chuckling away. They both added colour and humour to the cast of established characters who were alive and so very vibrant that they leaped off the pages for me. I have also fallen more in love with Gwynn’s pet familiar, Darling. He really shined in this book and was part of one of the best combat scenes and who added his own twist in a lot of levels in the David and Goliath myth – when you read this scene you would agree with what he asks of Gwynn later on!
E: I loved the variety of challenges that Kennedy threw in Gwynn’s path and I have strong hopes that the next book will allow the aspects of Rogue’s character that I caught glimpses of in this story to come to more prominence. Kennedy created and continued to expand a very visual lush different world. She kept the action, tension, and romantic elements nicely entwined as the story progressed. Kennedy also included a couple surprising twists towards the end, well they surprised me even though looking back I could see the trail of crumbs. This was another great installment that was well worth waiting for. Now I can’t wait for the next one! I give Rogue’s Possession an A.
Has: Rogue’s Possession for me was a fantastic followup to the first book, and unlike other trilogies – this didn’t fall into the pitfalls of middle book syndrome but actually answered some questions and pushed the plot further as well as developing the characterization. I am also left on tenterhooks to see how things are played out because the ending brought many things into play, which I can’t wait to see what happens next. But overall, this installment was really highlights that this is one of the most imaginative, seductive and darkly sensual fantasy romances I’ve ever read. There is a real emphasis on the characters and the plot as well as the world-building which is explored in much more depth but retains the surreal and dreamy tone with great touches of humour as well as darkness. While the romance, which has a real sexual frission is more cerebral but leaves me wanting for the next book and I suppose the best things in life are worth waiting for! But overall I loved how this book ended which was beyond perfect and I cant wait to see what happens next with the eccentric and colourful characters that Jeffe Kennedy has created. This is definitely one of the most unique series I’ve read!
Publisher: Seventh Star Press Publish Date: Out now How I got this book: ARC from the publisher
I vividly recall making my way through my father’s collection of de Camp, Burroughs, Howard, and Moorcock. I found myself fascinated by the fights, the life and death struggle, the importance of keeping your word, the value of revenge or justice, and of course the spoils of war. As a result when I was given the opportunity to review Thunder on the Battlefield whose forward says it was inspired by some of those same authors I had to say yes. I decided to start with Volume Two because a key element of each story is Sorcery which with a little stretch could apply to Science Fiction/Fantasy. Each of these stories also has a person or people doing incredible things for love, ok so it might not be love for a significant other like romance usually included but love nonetheless. Therefore, if you follow my mildly twisted logic this does fit in with our SFR Month. Volume One with the central theme of Swords will be reviewed next month.
NEGOTIATION by Jeffe Kennedy This was unexpected. I found the choices the heroine made fascinating and logical given the options that were open to her. This was certainly an example of playing the long game instead of reaching for a quick short victory. I am super curious to see if/how she will get around one of the stipulations and the results. I think I need to check out this series because it looks like it contains some very interesting aspects.
THE FOURTH RULE by Alex Hughes Ooh the price of command, trust, stubbornness, errors in judgment, and how fickle the willingness to follow through hard times really is. This was a short very poignant story and I think it is a good thing the heroine is determined because she has a rough path ahead of her.
THE RUINS OF ST. LOUIS by Selah Janel Very fascinating world and adventure. Again, there was betrayal but there was also comradeship and adventure. I really enjoyed the twist at the beginning and the sense of hope as well as forbidden romance that was threaded throughout this novella. I need to find out if Janel has written more in this world with these characters because this really caught my attention.
MARK OF THE WARRIOR Steven Grassie Sometimes it is the battle we fight on our own that means the most. The hero’s sacrifice will never be known to those he sacrificed for but he knew why and that is what matters sometimes. A very touching story.
ANGELS OF SCRAWL by James R. Tuck And now I completely understand why one of our other reviewers enjoys Tuck’s writing. This novella really did take me back to the days when I first found several of the authors that Tuck mentions in his forward. I enjoyed the twists and the strength of family.
THE CHERUBIAN, THE LINDWORM, AND THE PORTAL by M.B. Weston A very interesting look at a perspective of how humanity is protected from outside evil. In this particular case it was without betrayal but still involved the pain of command and sacrifice for something other than self. In this particular case I do wish I knew more about this particular world before jumping into the battle. It took me a while to figure out that some of the main characters were angels and not people fighting.
GRINDING THE GEARS by Brady Allen This one also reminded me of the Conan stories but it was written more like someone recounting the story of a legend that then merged into the actual event complete with the hero’s thoughts/feelings. As a result, I had a hard time believing in the altruism of the hero. I really wanted to know what was it in for him.
BLACK ICE by S.H. Roddey Very interesting. Once again we have a heroine and sidekick battling against terrible odds to try to save her people even though she never quite fit the role they wanted her to take. She had a lot of trust and faith in her sidekick even though she was blatantly the more dominant of the two. There was a sudden about-face at the end that I am not quite sure I believe is a true change. The potential is there but at this stage I am taking that individual skeptically.
THE TWO FIRES by Steven S. Long: This was a different take on sorcery as power from the Gods. It took a couple of different aspects and combined them together. Well written but not my favorite because there was mention of errors made during the crusades but no attempt to rectify them. Only the certainty that the victors had the more powerful God. I did like the manifestation of power but I think I like the idea of the victors becoming a bit corrupted by the civilization they conquer. I also thought a certain individual changed his mind a bit too easily about providing troops.
ACROSS THE WILDS by D.A. Adams A very fascinating almost coming of age story. I enjoyed the drive that the hero had as well as everything he faced on his journey. The descriptions were very interesting and I enjoyed the different micro-ecosystems. This is another world that I hope the author either has or will continue to write in.
DARK GENESIS by Mark Taverna: Oh magic and the power and corruption that you bring. An intriguing take on what someone will do when their existence is threatened and then what they will do when they realize what they have done. Not an entirely pleasant story to read but very moving.
WHORE OF JERICHO by Steven L. Shrewsbury: Some serious twists in this story. I enjoyed the well thought out justice. The antagonists certainly had it coming. And the final twist was perfect. This really was a great way to end this anthology. It provided a link from the barbarians of the fictional past to a much more recent past.
Like any anthology, Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery had some stories I enjoyed more than others. I enjoyed reading it overall because it was both a nice change from what has become my usual reading and a reminder of what inspired my imagination as a child. I have also found some authors whose backlist I need to explore which always makes an anthology a win.
I give Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery a B (less)
Publisher: Samhain Publish Date: Out now How I got this book: ARC from Lit Connect
They just might survive…if they don’t kill each other first.
Once the future Segestriidae maven, Kaidi lived a privileged life. Now she spends her nights haunting cities ravaged by the plague. Spade in hand, she stalks rows of freshly dug graves for corpses…and then she takes their heads.
Her new life is caked in blood and spattered with gore, but it’s hers. At least until—to her fury—she’s caught napping.
A plague survivor by the skin of his teeth, Murdoch risks his neck to solve the mysteries left in its wake. Bodies have gone missing. Guards have left their posts and never returned home.
When he rouses a female dozing among the dead, he’s unprepared for the violence of her response. Or his. Beneath the grime, she’s lovely. Too bad the blood under her fingernails belongs to his clansmen.
He has no choice but to follow this alluring creature deeper into her world of winged beasts and flesh-eating monsters. She holds the knowledge he craves, but the price is high—and they may both pay for it with their lives.
Warning: This book contains one heroine in desperate need of a bath and one hero willing to wash away her sins. Expect threats, swears and general cursing. Love is a slippery slope, and these two are sliding. This blurb came from the author’s website.
In April of last year I was browsing Samhain’s list of weekly releases and noticed a story called A Hint of Frost. I read the blurb and found myself intrigued by the description of the world and the characters. So I started reading and immediately found myself even more intrigued because the characters had some spider-like tendencies among them possessing fully functioning spinnerets. I mean you don’t encounter such characters unless they are the villain normally. I couldn’t put the book down through its various twists and turns and immediately started looking for information about future books set in the same world. Happily Edwards has continued writing because I have enjoyed each installment. As a result when we received the request to participate in her blog tour/review I leapt at the chance. This latest installment has continued on Edwards’ path of keeping me both intrigued and entertained.
This thing called the Yellow Death has spread quickly across the country killing animals and people alike. Although, men and women aren’t dying or even getting infected at the same rates nor is this disease hitting all of the different enclaves with the same force. The remaining leadership has been scrambling to determine causes, prevention, and even cures against what seems to be a losing battle. Add in politics, secrets, tradition, mistrust, events that are so farfetched they must be seen to be believed, and a great mixture of strong personalities and I couldn’t stop flipping the pages.
Kaidi’s life took a very drastic turn away from the life she grew up expecting with the arrival of the Yellow Death and its aftermath. She discovered a secret kept by her promised husband and ran in fear of her life to some distant relatives. As the Yellow Death spread, she also stumbled upon an ugly aspect of the disease yet when she tried to convince those who knew her of the additional problem no one believed her. So Kaidi decided she would do everything she could to save other cities from what she discovered by beheading fresh corpses. As I am sure you could imagine this was a bloody, gruesome lone task and I had the impression that as time passed Kaidi was having a hard time holding onto the memories that she once had a different life. It was so fascinating to see bits and pieces of her personality start to emerge from the horror her life had become yet she never lost sight of what she was trying to prevent and her duty to her people. The way she was able to give on some things and yet continue fighting on others despite her obvious fears. How innocent she was in the game of politics and yet how fiercely she tried to play the game for what she wanted.
Murdoch was also dealing with a lot. He survived the Yellow Death but lives in a city where most of the women died and some of the surviving men are randomly vanishing. He was tasked to solve the issue of the disappearances but based on concerns about raising fear among the populace had to remain very discreet about his mission. I loved seeing this strong man struggle between his loyalty to his rulers, the worsening menace, and his growing attraction to Kaidi. Even when his suspicions about certain things were proven correct he meekly accepted his punishment without knowing how harsh it would be because he had done it for his people and his ruler. Seeing him shift from being so incredibly by-the-book into someone who was willing to take a chance for the greater good and yet pay the price was pretty amazing.
Edwards also threw in some very interesting side characters. I really hope one, well, make that two in particular get their own stories because they fascinated me. Both had some unexpected depths and secrets. In addition to new side characters, some previous ones made their appearance and played some significant parts. I enjoy seeing the stars of previous installments because they add a sense of connection to the world as well as allowing a glimpse into their evolution. Responsibility can change people to a certain extent so seeing the results of that weight on Murdoch’s rulers from their story just showed how Edwards isn’t letting her characters stagnate even when their time under the spotlight is over.
I haven’t really talked much about the plot here because I think discovering the twists and turns in this particular installment are crucial. If I say much beyond the blurb, I think it will spoil the story. I did really enjoy how Edwards introduced a few new aspects and how they seemed to tie into a suspicion voiced by a character in an previous installment. I am curious to see how this discovery will play out and the resulting chaos. I really enjoyed reading A Time of Dying and I look forward to what Edwards brings to this world next.
Publisher: Entangled: Covet Publish Date: Out now How I got this book: ARC from the publisher
Luciana de Luca has a PhD in sass and gemology–and a problem. Her twin brother’s gambling debts have gotten out of hand, and a mob enforcer is blackmailing her to rob the latest, greatest mega-casino on the Strip. Although Lucy has worked her whole life to get away from her family’s grifter past, to save her brother, she dons three-inch heels and a sluts-r-us dress and struts into Alec’s Gerald’s casino, determined to put her long-forgotten thieving ways to the test again.
Alec Gerald, a shape-shifting dragon, has built the Crown Jewel casino to provide sanctuary for his people amongst the flash and awe of Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the sexy little thief trying to rob his gem exhibit turns out to be his mate, and he must woo her before he loses his dragon form forever. With enemies in every corner, and the all-important mating ceremony looming, Alec and Lucy must learn to trust each other, before time runs out for Alec and the rest of the dragons. This blurb came from the author’s website.
I was browsing Netgalley when the title of this book caught my eye. I saw the word “Dragon” and as I have mentioned before I have a serious addiction to dragons. I read the blurb and thought this story had the potential for some laughs, some suspense, some angst, and DRAGONs. In short I thought it was something I would enjoy so I requested it. Unfortunately, things did not work out as I hoped and I ended up having several issues with this story mainly the heroine, the pacing, and how things end with her brother.
I did really enjoy the thought of a huge Vegas casino complete with shows, various entertainment rooms, gambling, gem exhibits, shops, and great architecture. Given the expectation of Vegas adding dragons to the mix in plain sight and chalking it up to illusion/magic made me smile each time I thought about it. I loved how humans were scared and disbelieving at the first sight of a dragon but easily accepted that it was part of the show and not real. Made me wonder how much is out there that we refuse to see because it doesn’t fit our mental image of what we “should” see. Alec does a great job of playing on that throughout the book yet it ended up almost biting him in the rear a few times when it came to Lucy. I also liked his struggle between what his dragon self was telling him and what his human brain was telling him when it came to dealing with his attraction to Lucy. I was not as happy when his dragon self provided the stronger impulse and took Lucy’s role-play as her acceptance of their future together. This led to some easily avoidable issues between the two of them.
Lucy received a much more mixed response from me. I loved the fact that she was a gemologist, knew how to pick pockets and locks, and could stand up for herself against Alec. But, that did not outweigh the things I found about her that I did not enjoy. In my opinion, she took an extended journey in the TSTL category when she continually tried to help her brother, Joel, and his schemes with the Vegas mobsters. This was after a lifetime of him using their childhood misery as a prod to convince her to join in. He seemed to tell her several times that he was never going to stop trying to gamble or get rich quick illegally. Yet she kept telling herself that he would stop after each one when instead he dragged her deeper and deeper. It seemed like Lucy was a smart intelligent individual but when her brother came around she started drinking stupid water and didn’t stop until he left. Even when she was committing or planning to commit crimes for him, she knew it was wrong and it wasn’t going to fix things. Lather, rinse, repeat. I had hopes that when she called Joel begging for his help and he refused that she would see the truth about him but she didn’t. It took the threat of losing her memory about dragons before she finally started believing that she needed to stop enabling Joel and his schemes. Because of her extended stay in TSTL territory I was unable to actually like Lucy as the heroine. I am not upset at her family loyalty and trying to help her brother but what really bothered me was the extent of her help into illegal actions whose consequences threatened her dreams, not those of her brother.
I mentioned earlier that I had a problem with the pacing of this story. The bad guy, major source of external conflict for both Alec and Lucy, was killed about two thirds of the way into the story. This meant for the last third, the action and emotional suspense was powered by internal conflict with a sprinkling of Joel on the side. This part really did not work for me because I felt the internal conflict was a result of not communicating and Lucy’s obsessive misplaced loyalty. Both of which dragged out for far too long. Alec never accepted responsibility for his portion of their lack of communication and even when Lucy did make her decision to stop assisting her brother, she did it very quietly and subtly while leaving the door wide open for him to come back into her life without cleaning up his act. Even though he almost ruined his sister’s life he got away with the possibility of his own HEA, no punishment, and no lessons learned. This offended my sense of justice because I felt that he would continue to try to coerce his sister the next time one of his schemes started failing.
Scott built a fascinating world with the dragons and their structure. Each extended group had different abilities corresponding to the different elements and had matching colors. They also tended to live in separate parts of the earth but Alec was trying to unite them in one safe location. I also found it fascinating that only at certain intervals in a certain ritual could dragons find their mate. Male dragons without a mate eventually lost the ability to shift into a dragon while female dragons did not suffer from the same problem. I thought this was very interesting and allowed the women to determine how things would go not the men. I was curious about the interval between mating ceremonies, if it was with the same partner each time, if a partner died during the interval what happened to the survivor, and a few other things. I was also curious about the reasons behind some of the supporting characters and their search for a mate or avoidance of a mate. A few of Scott’s characters also mentioned magicians and magic and hinted at the possibility that magical abilities of a sort were in the blood of both Lucy and her brother Joel but nothing more was said about it. This also left me wondering.
Luck of the Dragon has a neat premise and a fascinating world. I think Scott has a wide range of characters and possibilities to continue writing in this particular world. However, I found that her characterization and pacing to be problematic so I was unable to enjoy this story as I had hoped. Given how the blurb hit several things that I tend to enjoy and the result of my reading, I am not sure if I will pick up another of her books without reading some reviews first.
Publisher: Zebra Publish Date: Out now How we got this book: eARC from the publisher via Netgalley
In this brilliant new novel in the Deadglass series, a fierce young woman’s quest entangles her in an apocalyptic endgame—and unexpected desire…
Grace Mercer’s unmatched wraith-killing ability made her the unofficial defender of a city shattered by supernatural catastrophe. So there’s no way she’ll allow the new regent of Seattle’s most powerful dragon shifter clan to “protect” her from a vicious evil stalking the ruined streets—and keep her from the freedom she’s risked everything to earn.
Leif’s science-honed instincts tell him Grace is the key to keeping shifters and humans safe. But helping this wary fighter channel her untapped power is burning away the dragon’s sensual self-control and putting a crucial alliance at risk. Soon the only chance Leif and Grace will have to save their world will be a dangerously fragile link that could forever unite their souls…or consume all in a storm of destruction.
This blurb came from Goodreads.
E: I had the first book in this series on my wishlist for a while because I thought the premise looked very fascinating. When this came up for review I went ahead and asked for it because I was reminded of my interest in the series. When I went back to read Hearts of Darkness I realized that I had read the prologue last year and thought the world building was complicated and potentially very interesting. Plus there were dragons. The first book ended with a sudden shift in the world order. The previous ruler was killed and a large portion of the infrastructure destroyed in a huge battle and the aftermath. Leif grew up interested in science and technology not in ruling so all of a sudden he has inherited his brother’s kingdom and its associated problems. The humans don’t trust the dragons or the Kivati. The Kivati and dragons are mortal enemies. The dragons think the humans are below them. However, all three species are at risk from an ancient god named Kingu who has been pulling strings as he tries to return to earth in a corporeal form. If they want the world to survive they have to start working together which is almost impossible.
MiscJoy: I also thought the premise looked fascinating and was excited to get a review copy of Hearts of Shadow. What hooked me in, however, was the author’s writing style. I enjoyed Brady’s voice and approach to the story development. She kept the writing active and the pace moving forward. Even though I had a few quibbles here and there, I can forgive much when the author’s writing style is strong.
I enjoyed how Grace and Leif’s characters developed both individually as well as together. I got a sense of who each character was as a person before the romance fully blossomed. I liked Grace’s spunky (if at times, stubborn) attitude and her courage in the face of overwhelming odds. I also enjoyed Leif’s progression from reclusive-scientist-cum-reluctant-leader to someone who fully embraced the challenge set before him. I admired both Grace and Leif’s willingness to make tough choices and find solutions to the dangerous dilemmas that faced them.
E: Leif’s political innocence really showed throughout this book and was evident from the very beginning because he thought that if he provided a logical plan/explanation than the others would see the necessity of working together to defeat their common enemy. However, the other leaders were used to playing politics so they didn’t believe anything Leif said. They reacted as if he was trying to arrange the situation to benefit him as his brother would have done. As a result Leif was forced to rely on one of his brother’s advisers who was an expert in playing the political game and who appeared to have his best interests at heart. I loved watching him transition from a pure geek to someone who understood the power he held and would use it as necessary but not in a self-centered manner. He was also a romantic at heart which I just loved.
Grace didn’t trust anyone. She had been abandoned and abused most of her life. She was extremely skilled at fighting and killing and knew some rune magic as well. All of that made her more determined to free herself from her indenture while doing what she could to save people from becoming a wraith or wraith food. As a result of her treatment from Leif’s brother Grace did everything possible to avoid him and when that didn’t work she tried to provoke him into behaving the way she expected. It was a lot of fun to watch her start to trust, learn what additional skills she provided to the struggle for survival, and decide if she was going to really live or just exist.
MiscJoy: Yes, it was great fun watching both their walls come tumbling down:-) Vulnerability is such a difficult place to get to and yet necessary for two people to come together. I thought these two characters arrived at that place of union in a realistic way and it was great fun to watch it happen.
Brady created an interesting world of blended mythologies. The Dragon society hailed from the Norse mythologies while the danger posed by Kingu came from Babylonian sources. While I appreciated this new and interesting mix, the presentation felt a bit ungrounded to me and I was confused a good bit of the time. At one point, I even had to go research the mythologies myself because it wasn’t clear to me what was “real” and what might be artistic license. I never really figured out what mythology the Kivati hailed from. The references to ravens and Thunderbirds could have been a loose tie to Norse mythology (think: Odin and his ravens), but they also could have been Native American. I *think* that the Kivati were in the Seattle area prior to the Dragon’s arrival one hundred years ago, but there wasn’t anything specific to really key me into the Kivati’s origins in a way that felt concrete. Having said that, I still found the world intriguing.
One little nit about Grace that got to me was how negative she was about her physical appearance (despite all evidence to the contrary). She was often comparing herself to other woman and falling short – her too skinny hips, her flat chest, her too thin lips, etc. And frankly, none of those “flaws” seemed all that “flawed” to me. I’m not sure if this was the presence of author bias leaking into the narrative or if it was used purposefully to show character-growth. There has got to be another way to show a character’s progression from insecurity to self-confidence than by focusing Grace’s internal dialogue on a litany of where she thinks her physical attributes fall short. There is one scene where Grace looks in a mirror to analyze herself and wonders what Leif is attracted to as if her only attractive quality is her physical appearance. While I acknowledge that this is not an uncommon thing for us women to do to ourselves, we never got to come full circle and see Grace acknowledge her value as a whole person.
E: Like Joy I found the world-building intriguing and also confusing. I can’t add much to Joy’s description of the various pieces so I am not going to try. Having read both the prologue and the first book I thought I was somewhat clear on the world until Brady included the story of Kingu, what he was after, and why. Kingu did not seem to fit into any of the pre-established mythology so I found myself floundering a bit although I enjoyed his story.
I did not have as large an issue with Grace’s view of herself because all she had ever known since the death of her parents when she was a child was abuse but it would have been nice to see that perspective also shift. I was more disappointed in the lack of growth and page time for Lucia. She had more page time in the first book (not the heroine) then in this second book (also not the heroine) but she suffered the most damage and she was a key character in the first book. Given her role there I was expecting to see her in a more prominent position here. Brady did provide flashes of her personality in the last fifth of the book when all of a sudden Lucia decided to have a backbone but to me that was too little too late. I also thought that Lucia’s betrothed regressed in his character with the actions of this book as well.
I think that Brady has created an interesting series but it currently suffers from uneven characterization and what appears to be an overly complicated world. I like the conflict between dragons, other shapeshifters, and humans because it adds to the tension but I also think that at some point the rulers need to work for their people instead of against. Leif and Grace have consolidated some sort of order amongst the Dragons but they compose a small percentage of the population. From the way that Brady ended Hearts of Shadow a significant struggle still lies ahead.
I give Hearts of Shadow a C.
MiscJoy: I’m with you there – I was like “who/what is Kingu and where did Tiamat come from all of a sudden and how does that all connect to the established Norse mythology?” and I spent much of the first half of the book quite confused about it all. But the second half of the book began to gel a bit more for me in that regard (in part due to my own research into Kingu and Tiamat) and I liked where Brady went with the mythology in the end even if it was an odd mixture. I thought the tension in the climatic ending to Hearts of Shadows was well done. I didn’t realize how invested I’d become in the main characters until I found myself misty-eyed at a poignant scene during the battle. I also agree with E that the secondary characters in this book were not fully formed leaving me wondering who they’d become, what their current motivations were in this story and why were they only playing cameos — all things I never really figured out as it pertained to Emory Corbette, the leader of the Kivati’s even though he seemed to play a pivotal role (albeit behind the scenes). Perhaps the next book will go into more detail about what’s happening there.
Problems with mythology and nits aside, I really enjoyed this story, the interesting worldbuilding and both Grace and Leif as individual characters as well as their relationship together. Despite the areas I found confusing, for me, I always come back to the writing. As I said earlier, I can forgive much about the story itself when the writing style speaks to me. I will look forward to the next book because many threads have been left dangling and I hope that some of the things I found confusing here will be cleared up.
Publisher: Tor Publish Date: Out now How we got this book: ARC from the publisher
A world in peril. A bond deeper than love.
Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world – a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she’d struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.
Reincarnated as a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy – creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone – oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love – Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.
But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man she loves.
This blurb came from the author’s website here.
E: When I read the blurb to Ghost Planet I found it fascinating. The thought of a new world, symbiotic ghosts, and of course a struggle for planet control intrigued me. I went into this without any expectations and I am glad because Fisher took her story in directions I never imagined. The combination of the ghosts, how they were treated due to the Ghost Protocol and what happened if/when people broke the rules was something else. This reminded me of some of the older science fiction exploratory novels of my childhood with the seamless addition of some romance.
Has: I totally agree with you about this book going into unexpected ways and I adored the premise which was refreshing and oh so haunting. The opening chapters of when Elizabeth finds out her fate and coming to terms to it had a stark and sad tone and I felt that Sharon Lynn Fisher really captured the emotions of grief and loss in a bittersweet way. In a lot of ways, this reminded me of a combination of Ghost and Solaris but Fisher injected her own unique twist on this premise and I freaking loved it!
I also loved Elizabeth’s stubbornness and determination in not succumbing into her fate and fading away and despite the melancholy tone which I have to say the setting of a New Seattle really adds to the overall theme of the story – there were also touches of humour, passion and life which helped to balance the book. The start of the romance between Murphy who is the psychologist who created the Ghost Protocol and ends up breaking all the rules to fall in love with Elizabeth was a fantastic and I loved how themes of love, grief and hope was explored via their unusual bond.
E: I agree the way Fisher started up the story with the initial attraction and then all of a sudden the change… I really liked how this was a case unlike most of the others but the logic fit. I also think that Elizabeth’s background was what enabled her to resist what the Ghost Protocol was designed to do. It also gave her a unique perspective that came in handy as the twists and turns continued. One of the early signs of that was how Elizabeth while promising to stop pestering Murphy started talking to other ghosts and reminded them that they were still alive in a sense with the ability to eat, feel, etc. That the ghosts could talk to each other and therefore experience some contact.
Of course rebellion doesn’t come without a price and that price is initially steeper then either Elizabeth or Murphy could have imagined. They got a very good display of how science can over weigh any thought of human decency but then the ghosts aren’t “human.” I have to admit that I thought the way a few scientists used Elizabeth’s knowledge of science and lab protocol against her inspired in a sick sort of way.
Has: And this is why I loved how Fisher explored these themes in the book, because it really delved into what grief and love is about and what if there was a second chance in regaining someone you lost? But it also didn’t have to be someone a person knew well or was very close to. I liked the fact the planet/alien entity also offered potential possibilities and seeing that Murphy and Elizabeth who were almost strangers on earth but had a second chance was interesting and I loved the dynamic they created with each other. It was also ironic but important to see that here is a human colony settling in an alien planet but trying to control and shape it into their ideas and conventions and not respecting or embracing on what it could offer. That message really rang out loud for me and it was important to see how it panned out over the course of the story but without it being a heavy-handed or preachy.
E: I liked that aspect too. I think it can be important sometimes to remember that just because we have a way of doing things that doesn’t mean that other ways are wrong or won’t work they are just different. One of the other aspects I liked was how Fisher showed things from different angles. We had the more benign side with the Ghost Protocol, then the dark side of the Ghost Protocol and experimentation, and then the ugly side of the flip in power/control that can occur when rage and hurt find an outlet without control. Fisher also showed through Elizabeth that no one had really made any long-term documentation of the results when a settler and ghost were permanently separated for failure to follow the Ghost Protocol. The ghost wasn’t really of concern but the reaction to the former settler was never considered. The long term reaction could have provided some evidence that things weren’t necessarily as the settlers thought they were… It took the combined effort of a lot of different people, ghosts, and outsiders to actually make a difference on Ghost Planet.
I loved how the solution wasn’t a single individual or idea but a combination. As I said earlier this reminded me of the science fiction of my youth. I want to say thanks to Fisher for proving that I still have that love and giving me several hours of enjoyment. I hope she provides more. I give Ghost Planet an A.
Has: Ghost Planet for me was a such a surprise, because although I didn’t have high expectations even though it had an interesting premise. I was surprised HOW much I really liked it because of how it approached themes of love and loss but exploring it in a wonderful way. When a character states “People Die. Love Doesn’t” – this really sums up the book and the characters for me. Despite it being a SF romance, this goes beyond a high tech and high speculative premise because it really examines the full spectrum of human emotions and what it is to be human. And at its heart, there is a fantastic romance, which has flawed but real characters who have been given a second chance at love and by finding it they become truly alive and I loved that message.
This has definitely become one of my favourite books this year and it is a standout debut by Sharon Lynn Fisher who has a fantastic voice. I highly recommend it because it was fresh, and different and it was chock-full of emotions. I want more please!
3.5 I think. Very interesting premise and world. I just think it got cluttered towards the end. I am interested to see future stories set here because...more3.5 I think. Very interesting premise and world. I just think it got cluttered towards the end. I am interested to see future stories set here because there are a few people I would love to see get a HEA.(less)
Delilah has certainly decided to start growing up. I really liked how this out of all the Delilah centric novels has spotlighted her growing awareness...moreDelilah has certainly decided to start growing up. I really liked how this out of all the Delilah centric novels has spotlighted her growing awareness of the changes in her life. Galenorn has repeatedly stated through her novels that the three sisters are actually quite young in Otherworld terms and this really brought that home. (less)
Publisher: Harlequin Luna Publish Date: Out now How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
The end of her journey is only the beginning…
The Barrani would be happy to see her die. So Kaylin Neya is a bit surprised by her safe arrival in the West March. Especially when enemies new and old surround her and those she would call friends are equally dangerous.…
And then the real trouble starts. Kaylin’s assignment is to be a “harmoniste” – one who helps tell the truth behind a Barrani Recitation. But in a land where words are more effective than weapons, Kaylin’s duties are deadly. With the wrong phrase she could tear a people further asunder. And with the right ones…well, then she might be able to heal a blight on the race.
If only she understood the story…. This blurb came from the author’s website.
Hi, my name is E, and I really love Michelle Sagara’s writing. I have been a huge fan of her Chronicles of Elantra series since I discovered it **mumble** years ago. Following Kaylin Neya’s life and exploits as she just tries to do what she thinks is right provides me with hours of reading and re-reading pleasure. Usually there is a brief break between installments if only to let Kaylin heal and rest before diving headfirst into her next adventure but Cast in Sorrow picks up immediately after Cast in Peril ended. I thought that Sagara had left Kaylin and company in a relatively calm place to rest and recover but I was wrong because the nonstop action continued.
I found it very interesting to see how Sagara highlighted the difference between the Barrani who lived in the city of Elantra, traveled to the West March with Kaylin, and those who never experienced Kaylin before. Their very difference in outlook and strict adherence to formality was in sharp contrast to what she had experienced before, even in the High Halls. Some of that I think is because the West March is so very far away from the High Halls and it is another of those ancient Barrani holdings that exists for a definite purpose. The people and land of the West March were also scarred by the events of Teela’s childhood and its reverberating aftereffects.
The combination of Kaylin’s frustration and willingness to ask questions as she tried to learn her role and solve a few mysteries did result in some information about Teela, Barrani culture, and Severn. As a result, I am really curious about the rest of what Severn did when Kaylin left Nightshade so many years ago. But as events progressed it seemed like Kaylin couldn’t do anything right even when the results of her action were positive. It also seemed as if many of the usual laws, customs, and inviolable places within the West March lost their usual effect. The Barrani were besieged by enemies from both outside and within putting much of what made the Barrani themselves as a people at risk. When Kaylin’s pet dragon started demonstrating more of what made him equally feared and coveted I thought the stakes were even higher for Kaylin as the “Harmoniste” than anyone expected.
My review isn’t doing this story justice because so many things developed and some lingering questions from early in the series were finally answered. I loved learning more about Teela, Nightshade, Severn, and the dangers of tampering with things just because. I also found the inclusion of if not love than family loyalty despite all the Barrani said against those feelings played a prominent theme. One of the core elements of Kaylin’s personality continued to shine throughout all of her struggles because she never backed down from trying to protect those she felt deserved protection regardless of her personal feelings towards them. In fact some of her difficulties were caused by that protective instinct. Kaylin learned some serious lessons about what the Barrani will do in pursuit of their own desires. She also learned the importance of developing a strong enough will to hold her own against those who wanted to control her and against a hungry dragon. I think the Barrani and by extension, Elantra will never be the same.
Cast in Sorrow was a multilayered book. Kaylin was forced to make some hard choices. The Barrani had their lives abruptly changed so it will be interesting to see the future effects of the recitation. They also displayed weakness before two humans, which might have some repercussions in the political arena. Kaylin learned some of Teela and Severn’s past which I am sure will come into play in later installments. Nightshade also learned that directing or trying to manipulate Kaylin resulted in a roller coaster ride that deviated from his planned path and ending. After exhibiting some disturbing characteristics, Kaylin’s pet dragon changed into something that was still small and dragon-shaped but with unknown abilities. With everything that happened during this journey I am curious about the state of things with the Hawks and in the Fiefs because I know they did not remain static. Sagara’s storytelling ability continues to keep me hooked on this series.
3.5 Interesting fantasy world and premise. Started it weeks ago but got caught up in things. Baker certainly puts the hero and heroine through a lot b...more3.5 Interesting fantasy world and premise. Started it weeks ago but got caught up in things. Baker certainly puts the hero and heroine through a lot between the traditions of their culture and the mechanisms of a lot of corrupt people. Interested in checking out the others in this series.(less)
Between 3.5 and 4. Slightly rough around the edges but first book in a series is usually rough. Enjoyed the premise and the contrast between the innoc...moreBetween 3.5 and 4. Slightly rough around the edges but first book in a series is usually rough. Enjoyed the premise and the contrast between the innocent appearing cop and the jaded Staff Sergeant along with the non-typical gender roles. Will read the next one.(less)
I really loved the novellas by Day and Brook. I wasn't as thrilled by the other two. I also found out good news on twitter last night. Day is going to...moreI really loved the novellas by Day and Brook. I wasn't as thrilled by the other two. I also found out good news on twitter last night. Day is going to write novellas for all of her hero's brothers *grin* I can't wait! Brook had another great inclusion in her Iron Seas world. It brought back mention of some familiar characters and how they impact those that are less flamboyant.(less)
Publisher: Self-published Publish Date: Out now How we got this book: ARC from the author
Something sexy is afoot at Rackham’s School for Young Ladies Half-faerie, half-elf Hans Winter broke the heart of the wrong princess. Cursed to live as a statue at a school for human girls, only true love—and true bravery—can free him.
December Worth never met a rule she didn’t want to break, as the numerous institutions that have expelled her can attest. Bravery she can handle. Love she’s less sure about, especially if it involves believing in fairytales.
A kiss seems like the last thing these lonely souls would share, until one night in the cemetery where Hans stands trapped, Fate brings stone and flesh together . . . This blurb came from the author’s website.
Has: I am a fan of Emma Holly’s books, because she can sure write erotic romance which are hot and very sexy. But I have to say I am really drawn to her fantasy erotic romances, because she combines imagination and heat in a delectable way. Winter’s Tale is set in her Hidden world, where the fae and other magical beings exist albeit hidden in the modern world. Winter’s Tale is a bit of a departure though because like the title suggests, it is more of a fairy-talesque take which has elements of other fairy-tales which I enjoyed. December Worth, is a young girl who is sent to live in a variety of boarding schools, because she rejects to be conventional from her more restrictive parents, And in the latest school she is sent to – she encounters a mysterious statue of a man who is be-spelled in a curse and he holds a promise of true love which she holds the key to unlocking.
I found this was a cute and sexy read and I loved the fairy tale tone and feel of the story. I also liked December’s character, who was rebellious, snarky and fun and I wished this story was longer because I would have liked to see more of her in action. Winter’s Tale was also slightly different from Emma Holly’s other books, because it had a dreamy like quality and although I enjoyed the tone because it did fit the story really well. Although I wished there was a lot more expanding the plot, especially in developing the romance which was rushed for me.
E: Like Has I have also been a huge fan of Holly for a very long time. She has the ability to provide a high heat level while developing her characters, their world, and carrying forward a plot. The combination of those things is what has kept her on my autobuy list. Holly does not shy away from including paranormal aspects or characters in her stories. Even when they are melded into a more familiar earth-like world she ensures that they are noticeably not human. The distinction makes her worlds even more solid to my imagination. Winter’s Tale is set in a different part of Holly’s Hidden series world and gave me a different perspective than that of the shapeshifters.
While I enjoyed Winter’s Tale, I also wished it was longer. December’s character was so much fun. Watching her transform from spoiled, bored, too smart for her own good to someone who took fairy-tales so seriously that she risked her life was a lot of fun. I just wish it was more gradual. I really enjoyed December’s inner monologue because it provided a lot of insight into her character and why she could possibly be the one to break Hans’ curse. I also wanted to know what happened to some of the students and instructors, their pasts and futures because they seemed stuck at the school for a particular reason. I was really intrigued with this particular setting and saw the potential for some branches or just some fleshing out in the supporting cast I wanted a longer story.
Has: I agree! I think there was huge potential for exploring that aspect. I liked the New Adult feel because it was very much about coming of age and exploring sexuality especially with December because she basically grew up and matured over the course of the book. But I was disappointed that this was glossed over because the back-story was interesting and even though fairy-tales have insta-love – I found it hard to believe that Hans and December had true love especially when it tied in with breaking of the curse, because of the story’s length which was so short. I would have also liked to see more of Han’s back story especially on how he got cursed and would have loved to see more of the fae world because it would have added more depth to the story.
E: Yes I was more able to by December’s love because Hans was the first person who actually saw her value but I wasn’t as sold on Hans’ love. During his story to December while I understood that he had been wronged I wasn’t sure that his time as a statue taught him how to love. Hans was not in a very good position throughout most of the book but I did enjoy how he was able to use his mind to work with December to prove to her that he was real not just a dream. I also liked the fact that he valued December as more than a chance at freedom. He was also pretty intent on ensuring she enjoyed herself **grin** despite his years of frustration. Hans had some real potential as a character that I hope we get to see in a later book.
Has: Yes! I found this was my main gripe about the story, because we never really got to see how he felt about her and when they were together, it was either facing danger or making love, and I would loved more of the emotional aspect being developed. And unlike December’s character which really stood out for me, I found Hans a tad undeveloped because I never got a real sense of his characterisation. But I think this was due to the short length of the story, and their scenes together was sizzling and I liked the underlying sweetness in the tone as well when he was with her. I think because there was so much promise and potential if this was expanded this would have been a stellar story.
Overall, despite the short length and some undeveloped factors, I did enjoy Winter’s Tale, because it was a sweet romance with erotically charged scenes which added to the dreamy and fairy-talesque feel and tone. Which added a lush sexiness to the romance – I really hope we get to revisit those characters, because December stood out for me because she was such a fun heroine!
I give Winter’s Tale a C+
E: Winter’s Tale provided a very entertaining glimpse into how capricious both humans and fae can be. It showcased December who was the poster child for difficult and let her shine. It had magic, conspiracy, hot smexytimes, the power of love, and a seriously creepy boarding school. I enjoyed reading Winter’s Tale even though I wish it was longer so I could have enjoyed the journey they characters took as they matured. Holly remains on my auto-buy list because she consistently delivers a story I can lose myself in regardless of the length. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next in her Hidden world.
Publisher: St Martins Paperback Publish Date: Out now How I got this book: ARC from the publisher
Even during a truce, Dr. Petra Robichaud has her hands full as the M*A*S*H surgeon to an army of warring gods—especially when Medusa herself turns up pregnant. Petra has no idea what to expect when a gorgon’s expecting, but she won’t let it turn her to stone. As the healer-hero of an ancient prophesy, it’s Petra’s job to keep the peace. But as the lover to a warrior demi-god, she knows how impossible some jobs can be…
Commander Galen is sexy, strong, and sworn to lead his team to hell and back. But when he announces to Petra that he can no longer risk her life for his love, the doctor is on her own…Until a mysterious new entity—in the form of a hot-blooded male—enters the picture. Can he be trusted? Can he be resisted? Meanwhile, an oracle delivers another prophesy that places Petra back on the frontlines with the man she may be bound to for eternity—in love, or in war… This blurb came from Goodreads.
When I received this book in the mail the blurb looked like it might be interesting. I went on-line to look at the first book, Immortally Yours, and decided that I really should read the first book before attempting the second. I enjoyed the first book so I went ahead and agreed to review Immortally Embraced. While I continued to enjoy the overall complexity of the world that Fox has created, I didn’t like what she did with some of the main characters. There will be some spoilers for this book in this review because they are what caused me to not enjoy this book as much as I hoped.
The events in Immortally Yours resulted in a truce between the Older and Younger Gods. Petra’s M*A*S*H unit has gone back to routine health care, as routine as you can have with immortals, half immortals, mortals and a wide assortment of various other species. Commander Galen was punished for his participation in the events that led up to the truce by losing his immortality. He and Petra are still closely involved and she has hopes that the truce will last and so will their time together. Unfortunately near the beginning of the book Galen is called back to serve and he cannot tell Petra where he is going or what his mission will be. They both think he has received a death sentence so he tells Petra he has to end their relationship now so he does not jeopardize her safety. She has a fight with him and he leaves. A few days later she receives a not on the door asking her to go to a meeting places used for clandestine gatherings. She thinks she is meeting Galen so she hurries there only to discover someone else.
Her former boyfriend Marc, a dragon shifter, who was reported dead and buried 10 years earlier. Marc was drafted by the Older Gods and he had determined that he needs Petra’s special forbidden skill to solve a mystery so he shows up to convince her to take a trip to the enemy camp. The pattern for their meetings is insta-lust, fight, act on insta-lust, say never again and repeat. Marc’s arrival seemed to completely knock any thought or mention of Galen out of Petra’s mind and in fact the book. It appeared as if Galen did his part in book one and needed to vanish before he ruined the arc of the series.
I think that Fox has created a really interesting world populated with creatures out of legends and nightmares. Her world provides a good flavor of some of the things that make a military deployment different from anything else. The added complexity of the reader never quite knowing if alliances and allegiances are going to remain the same kept things fresh. Petra’s interaction with her co-workers and how the supporting characters interacted together fleshed out the entire camp. I think my favorite scenes have become the ones involving the Oracles and the Paranormal News Network (PNN).
Some interesting developments occurred in the stalemate of sorts between the Older and Younger Gods, along with improvements in healthcare. What I am having an extremely had time resolving is the situation with Petra, Galen, and the “mortal” she meets in this book. I personally do not like what Fox did and that changed my entire viewpoint. I could not buy into Petra’s actions towards anything except straight medical or casual interactions as a result of this. I ended up spending at least half the book flipping pages in disbelief hoping that things were not going as they did.
Sadly I am probably not going to continue reading this series because I no longer trust the author to stay with the story she spent significant word-count developing and drawing me in.
Re-read, re-release found a few things that bothered me, open-ended issues that I can't remember if they are addressed later in the series. Will have...moreRe-read, re-release found a few things that bothered me, open-ended issues that I can't remember if they are addressed later in the series. Will have to wait until they are re-released.(less)
Short but very complex installment in this world. I don't think the villains were the only individuals who will decide to take that particular chance...moreShort but very complex installment in this world. I don't think the villains were the only individuals who will decide to take that particular chance and break the rules. I did really like how a certain creature has started to play more of a role and I loved the puppy :).