Love this one. One of my favorite Harry/Draco romance theme: Veela. Mmmmm possessive Draco! Beware there is mention of past rape, so watch out for triLove this one. One of my favorite Harry/Draco romance theme: Veela. Mmmmm possessive Draco! Beware there is mention of past rape, so watch out for triggers. ...more
This is the third book in the series. I loved it, but keep in mind that this one is quite wordy and could have used a bit of an editor, but otherwiseThis is the third book in the series. I loved it, but keep in mind that this one is quite wordy and could have used a bit of an editor, but otherwise great. Note that it leaves on a cliff hanger, and there is no notice of the next one. ...more
This week is a series I have not finished, but I have been reading non-stop for over a week. And this series is MASSIVE.
When I say this series is massThis week is a series I have not finished, but I have been reading non-stop for over a week. And this series is MASSIVE.
When I say this series is massive, I mean massive: at 1,376,466 words, you get your fill. It is Harry Potter fan-fiction, which as you know, I love me some fan-fiction. If you want to check out the direct link go here. Archive of Our Own is a wonderful place, and if you are in need of great free reads, this is a great place to start. I have been reading some One Direction, Sterek, and Harry Potter fiction like crazy.
The Life Cycle series is one that begins somewhat in the Harry Potter universe, but we move quickly into an alternate universe.
Harry Potter is rescued by unlikely new allies from his abusive Aunt and Uncle’s home. From there, Harry discovers that he has a new mate, Draco. But what other changes in Harry’s life can he expect and is he ready for it? Can he and Draco rise to the challenges ahead?
Harry is good at hiding his problems; he has been hiding them for years. However, as much as he thinks his body can heal, his spirit is dying. As he becomes trapped in is own mind, someone, Draco discovers that there is much more to Harry than his fame.
Harry’s head started to move back and forth, and he groaned and started to shake. Draco stilled his hands. “Potter? Can you open your eyes?”
“No, I’m sorry… I know I deserve it, but please… stop hitting me.” Harry was clearly trapped in his mind, in his pain.
Draco growled deep in his throat, and glared at Harry’s relatives. “No one deserves to be treated this way! Especially not Harry Potter! Do you know who this boy is?” He yelled, still cradling Harry’s head in his lap. “He is the Savior of the Wizarding World! He is the only one who can save us!”
This becomes one of the challenges of the book and the series: is Harry good enough to have everyone’s faith put on his shoulders? One of the themes of this book revolves a great deal around Harry’s character development.
I love Draco. He is the warrior, the passionate fighter who is completely devoted to Harry and their destiny. Draco too, matures and becomes who he is meant to be, but I saw less of character development with Draco. From the beginning of the story we see the connection between the two. Despite all of the action and subplots, we have a huge theme of love and devotion:
There was something else though. He knew deep down t his ache was caused by something else, perhaps someone else. Draco sighed and dropped his forehead against the cool glass of the window. As soon as his eyes closed, a flash of pained and frightened green eyes flashed into his minds eye, causing Draco to gasp and clutch at his chest with that hand.
“Potter?” he whispered.
What is interesting of this fan-fiction is that we still have the same Draco character we know from the movies and books, yet we see him walking down a different path than what the movies show us. He is still dark, but his love and devotion to Harry and Harry’s vision keeps him on the “right path”.
The world building in this series is amazing. The author builds multiple universes revolving around the Ukatae culture. It is too much to go into detail here, but briefly they are ancient magical creatures. They once were leaders and plentiful, but inner turmoil and strife has left them all but extinct. Now, it is up to Draco and Harry to lead and build a new world.
The first book is about Harry and Draco resolving the wizard conflicts we are familiar within the books and movies. The second book is a mixture of wrapping up that issue and building the tension of the “new bad guy” of the Ukatae plot lines. Be prepared for a lot of sub-plots. But, at least for me, I was never bored with them and I did little skimming. Sometimes with fan-fiction we can see where an editor might be able to cut, and while I can see that with the second book (God was that long), the first and last book are pretty tight.
Keep in mind that you will want to read straight through, so I would go ahead and download all three at once. Also, accept the fact that you will not be able to read this in a week, let alone a day. Pace yourself, you will need it.
What could be better?
If anything, the series could use some editing, there is a lot of sub-relationships that we see, both in the wizard world as well as Ukatae. However, at the same time, they move the plot forward and with every relationship that we see evolve, we learn more about the culture. So, I would find it hard to eliminate any of the relationships from the books.
Also, these characters are DARK! If you have any type of problem with ambiguous morality, then this series might not be for you. I would not say they are “evil”, but they are not “goodie-goodie”.
This is another example of why fan-fiction is so important. It is a great place for new writers to get a launching board into creating their own worlds and develop their own voice. I can see with Windseeker’s imagination going somewhere with their writing. We need fan-fiction like this and places like Archive of Our Own to give people a place to grow.
Such a well written series. I look forward to reading more by this author. ...more
Full Disclosure: This book was given to me by the author for a fair review. My opinions are always mine, and I strive for a honest review.
James L. WolFull Disclosure: This book was given to me by the author for a fair review. My opinions are always mine, and I strive for a honest review.
James L. Wolf’s Chaining Flame is a novella at 16,230 words, and I would consider it more of an erotic novella as opposed to a gay romance. So what does this mean? Well, there is not a lot of time to spend on developing characters or relationships, so the author usually chooses to advance the relationships through sex. In my opinion, that does not automatically lessen or improve my enjoyment of the book, but rather I leave that up to the author to keep me compelled with their writing.
Ilamaych is a war spoil turned slave, and is now on the road to the market. While traveling with fellow slaves and slavers, he is bought by a seemingly innocuous farmer, Earen. Ilamaych knows very little of the people here or of his new Master Earen, other than that Earen is attracted to him. But while Ilamaych strives to understand his new role, he is torn away from Earen only to discover yet another destiny. With these new changes, comes another potential lover, Ficus. Will Ilamaych’s life ever be the same?
I see this novella written into three parts (Ilamaych’s perspective, Earen’s perspective, and Ficus’s perspective). As we see through each character’s eyes, we begin to understand their backstories and the world around them. Because this is an erotic novella, I expected most of the development to be sexual, and while that was true, I found it more sexy and intriguing than smutty.
Ilamaych’s view is from what I would consider the reader’s viewpoint. We are not from this world; it is scary and new. We understand Ilamaych’s sadness, despair, and fear. Wolf does an excellent job of pulling us into the story immediately:
His leathers were filthy beyond anything Ilamaych would have ever tolerated given a choice. He was embarrassed by the smell and nudged them into an abject pile with his feet. The man sat in a rough-hewn chair and watched, stroking his scruffy beard. He did not comment. Ilamaych bore his gaze uneasily.
So, we get that feeling of non-consensual sex and slavery. As the story unfolds, including very sexy scenes, are we aroused? Do we feel disgusted? What does this mean? Are all three of these characters going to get their “happy every after”? Are they worth it?
For me, Earen was pretty assholian in the beginning of the book, but by the end he has the farthest character development. We are encouraged not to give up on him:
Earen wished he could touch Ilamaych’s hand or shoulder; some form of physical contact. After being alone for so long it had been astonishingly easy to draw someone into his little world.
I feel by the conclusion of the novella Earen deserves love and a second chance at life. We do not see enough of Ficus’ storyline, and Ilamaych is more of a “typical submissive” character. I could say more about the characters, but I do not want to spoil some of the story and surprises.
The Sex Scenes: These scenes are certainly erotic and graphic. While I would not call it “BDSM”, I would say that triggers and themes you would find in a BDSM novel can be found here. I would absolutely say that if you do not like BDSM type novels you would find the sex and relationships uncomfortable in Chaining Flame. Also note this is poly relationship, so if you are only after monogamy and churches this might not be for you.
The World Building: Right from the beginning of the novella, I was pulled into this world. The author impressively drew me into the backstory and concerned for Ilamaych’s wellbeing. How did he get to where he was? What would happen to him? It opens so mysteriously that you are compelled to keep reading.
What Could be Better:
Too Short: By definition, novella’s are short; which means that it is up to the author to give us as much information, plot, and development as he can before the end. I actually thought this book was well paced. Wolf spent enough time at the beginning to develop the world, Ilamaych, and Earen. The middle and ending sections we have Earen’s character development and the beginning of external conflict. While I think the addition of Ficus was important for the ending plot, he addition felt rushed. We knew little about him and did we truly care about his part of the relationship? A full length novel would have given us the chance to build his character.
Before reading Chaining Flame, I knew nothing about James. L. Wolf as a writer, so I jumped at the chance to read someone new. I was pleasantly surprised (the cover had that typical low-press composite feel that would have repelled me on the shelf). The book was well written with a robust world for the length of novel. I finished this book probably in less than 2 hours because I was that enthralled with the read.
That being said, there was room for improvement. If this had been a full length novel, I would have given it as 3 star because of the lack of development of the relationship and Ficus. But, this is a novella, which is designed to give us more of a “snippet” and power packed story, which was delivered. I will say that this has aroused my curiosity about Mr. Wolf’s writing and I will check out his other novels. If you want a hot, quick, BDSM-style fantasy read, give this one a shot!
This is a re-read, but my opinion has not changed!
Harry is full of anger and it shows. Finally an angry tirade is interrupted by an old laThis is a re-read, but my opinion has not changed!
Harry is full of anger and it shows. Finally an angry tirade is interrupted by an old lady and she tells him: “Bellow, bluster… your rage is insignificant. No more than the mewing of a kitten. Do not be afraid. He will save you. Calm you. Love you.” Now, Harry finds himself turned into a black kitten at the feet of Draco Malfoy. Is this relationship real or just a result of a curse?
Harry’s character is much of what I would expect from the movies. He is once again put into a position of undergoing an unknown threat and he rises to the challenge. He has been crushed down by this angry he can’t control:
“The evil … it’s like this malignant force.” Harry sighed deeply and looked at Draco. Receiving the encouraging smile that he needed, he continued. “I’ve been struggling with… these feelings of anger for a long time.”
Now Harry has found someone he can rely on and while being a kitten, he can stop being the hero.
Draco’s character is a matured version of what we saw in the movies. To be fair, I have not read the books, so I can only go on the character we found in the movies. But Draco is forced to mature and has left the past where it belonged. But we still see him as his sassy self:
The door slid closed as he realized that Harry Potter, rather than getting off at the floor for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, still stood in the lift, stabbing him with a glare. This might have intimidated someone who didn’t know the Auror as well as Draco felt he knew Potter. Or someone who hadn’t hosted the Dark Lord of Terror and Insanity in his home.
Draco understands where Harry is in his life, dealing with these curses. He understands unexpected anger and Draco is the perfect person to help him heal. I love his nurturing character, something that shows growth from the character we saw from their past.
I love when I open a book and can have a simple, warm love-fest. While there are problems and conflicts, the relationship is not really one that we need to worry about. This gives the author time to focus on the actual mystery story.
The scenes between Draco and Harry were great, there was a sweetness between them that we obviously did not have in the Harry Potter world. Making characters that resemble, but are not exactly like who they were in the books/movies is a risk. What happens when they are so different from the “bible” so to speak?
What could be better?
The plot is fairly simple. What concerns me the most is that Draco’s character is really nothing like what was in the series: he is no way a selfish asshole. Which makes this book entertaining, but makes the character more of “inspired” rather than developing an established character. At the same time, we see the author has created a character of their own, which is what is expected.
I love fan-fiction, and I certainly love being able to see established characters and seeing someone else can do with the basic ideas. This book is a nice fluff-fest, which if you need to feel happy and light, then this book is for you. No real drama here, just lots of cuddling with a cute black kitten. ...more
I have been on a serious Harry Potter fan fic read for the last two weeks. This book is one of the best. It takes it after the movies/books, which givI have been on a serious Harry Potter fan fic read for the last two weeks. This book is one of the best. It takes it after the movies/books, which gives it an original storyline. Ginny is portrayed in a bad light here, but at the same time it was realistic.
This is a novel that is more fantasy than romance. So for those who are expecting similar read as her Kiss series, they might be disappointed. For fulThis is a novel that is more fantasy than romance. So for those who are expecting similar read as her Kiss series, they might be disappointed. For full disclosure this novel was given to me for review by the author, Rhys Ford. However, my review is unbiased and based on my opinion only.
Kai Gracen is a “Stalker,” a licensed hunter of bad things like Black Dogs, feral animals, mercenary for hire. When he gets a job he can not refuse to pick up a pregnant human, he finds more than he bargained. With him is a sidhe lord name Ryder of the Clan Sebac, High Lord of the Southern Rise Court and Third in the House of Devon. But with Kai’s help, the mission will fail and Kai must learn to rely on the help of Ryder.
The first thing with this book you have to understand is that there is much world building and back story. While the beginning of the book starts in action (a Ford trademark), there is a chapter or so needed to get into the world.
This is an alternate universe type world set in California. However, there are things like Black Dog (vicious killers created by the unsidhe folk for hunting), breeding dragons, magic, and elfin races.
We see the story through Kai’s eyes. This is excellent in many ways, it heightens the mystery and increases the tension. However, it is also makes our understanding based on Kai’s views which is often tainted by his self-contempt. But what we get from Kai is a man who has learned to make the best out of what he has been given, yet never pushing for more of a life. He will be satisfied with his current life.
While Kai might be gorgeous on the outside, it is the quality of a man’s interior that he reflects:
A real Stalker knew all of the tricks and never played them. Having a firm reputation for being reliable and honest was nearly as good as being a keen shot.
As we see with Ryder’s character, a true hero is measured for what is within him not without.
We gain insight from Kai at first only by what he sees in Kai, which is superficial at first:
He was handsome and strong-featured. Eons of fine breeding carved his face into the beauty an elfin was known for; a sensual mouth and strong aquiline nose provided a foundation for his deep green eyes. In a human, they’d be unnatural, a fiery emerald with flickers of opal and black set into the folds of his pupil. For a sidhe, they were pretty but unremarkable, save for their thick dark lashes.
Ryder is at first someone who appears merely an ordinary side, but what because extraordinary is his devotion to his own mission and his friendship with Kai.
The writing, as with all Rhys Ford novels is the strong point. She manages to give us a rich portrayal of the world around the heroes and yet does not make it bogged down with details. She gives us just enough detail to keep our interest, but doesn’t spoil the mystery. There is much I would like to put here that I can not because to ruin that would ruin the story. Needless to say, I suspected many things that were not uncovered until 2/3 of the way through the novel.
I also love the philosophical quotes sprinkled throughout demonstrating the Ford’s skill.
“Good luck with that,” I said. “There’s always crazy and mean in people. Doesn’t look like it matters if they’re elfin or human.”
What could be better?
A Five Star review gives me very little to find wrong with a novel. I suppose the only thing that I wish I could have the viewpoint of Ryder, but this one way perspective is the way Ford writes. So, there is very little that I would change about it.
It is hard to really say how this will end as this is only the first book. While we are left with a “satisfactory” ending, it definitely is a cliffhanger ending. Also keep in mind that while there is a romance aspect to this book, it feels more fantasy than romance. I imagine that the relationship will build when we get into book two.
I very pleased with this book, as always I love how this author writes...more
For me, when I think S.J. Frost, I think either musicians or vampires; so I was immediately interested to see how she worked with fantasy. Her novelsFor me, when I think S.J. Frost, I think either musicians or vampires; so I was immediately interested to see how she worked with fantasy. Her novels usually contain romance, music descriptions, a world building, sex, and a deep emotional commitment between a group of friends. When you read a Frost book, you can expect a large cast of characters.
With all of these descriptions, it could easily translate into fantasy. I believe that she succeeds here.
Garrett is a biologist and environmentalist who attempts to save a portion of forest before it becomes deforested. In his quest in the remote wilds he finds something supernatural and beyond anything he could expect. Bryson saves him and takes him back to his world where even more danger lurks. Can they make their relationship work and will they have enough time to save both worlds?
The strong points in this novel is in the writing and descriptions. I love how Frost describes these magical things like dragons and unicorns. Take this first look at the new world by Garrett:
No larger than a cat, the dragon pushed off its side to sit up, and was scooped into the man’s arms. Its scales were white, but as the light hit them, an iridescent sheen glistened over them. Two ivory-colored horns spiraled out from the back of the dragon’s refined, small head, which was held up on a long, slender neck. Triangular spikes, the same ivory color as the horns, ran down the back of its neck, back, and tail. The tip of its tail ended in a spear-like point.Another strong point is something that we see in all of her series, the concept that friends are your family. In both Conquest series and her Instincts series, she builds families out of friendships. I love how she shows love and affection easily given between men. The fact that this friendship is so passionate and strong, but it is not written in a sexual manner, rather in comfort and camaraderie.
What could be better?
Believe it or not, this is not a 5 star review because there was too much sex. One of the greatest things about Frost’s writing is that she is not afraid of giving the readers some sexy and hot scenes. The emotional connection between Jesse and Evan is one of the most intense scenes through sex (Conquest series). But maybe it’s just my image of fantasy books, but I tend to want a great deal of world building and not a lot of sex.
That being said, I will say the sex wasn’t until about 1/2 through the book, so there was plenty of time for us to get the world building and plot established before they jumped into the bed. My complaint is just toward the end I started skimming the sex scenes, and I was not overwhelmed with their emotional connection. To be fair, I could be spoiled by Jesse and Evan.
Overall, this is an amazing story and I am very excited about seeing this world unfold. I think that Frost has built a solid foundation for a series and I wonder who the next story will revolve around. I loved the descriptions, the friendships, and the love story. The action scenes were incredibly vivid and there were times when I felt like I was watching a movie.
I recommend this book to anyone who has read a Frost book and I certainly think that any fantasy M/M readers will like this book as well....more
Fantasy is so rare to find in romance, no matter what the "slash". Good world building is even harder to find. In many ways this is re-telling of theFantasy is so rare to find in romance, no matter what the "slash". Good world building is even harder to find. In many ways this is re-telling of the classics like beauty and the beast and The Gift of the Magi. Mainly the concept of sacrifice for justice and love as well as that beauty is beyond what you can see.
This was a beautiful story and such a well written story! A must read....more
I have to say that this author knows how to create an intriguing world. I loved the character of Jude. He is someone that we all can relate. He does nI have to say that this author knows how to create an intriguing world. I loved the character of Jude. He is someone that we all can relate. He does not know his own appeal and folks just want to be with him.
Now, that being said, I did feel like the ending was rushed. This book could easily been twice as long as we went through the war. To me, it was a waste of a chance and we could have had some great character development. As it was, it was pretty much, "grrr you mate! I protect!". Mehh.
Overall, I enjoyed the book though and will continue to seek out books by this author!...more