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Currently Browsing: romance
Jan
31

Review: The Forests of Dru by Jeffe Kennedy

Review: The Forests of Dru by Jeffe Kennedy The Forests of Dru Author: Jeffe Kennedy Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B+ What We’re Talking About: The Forests of Dru continues the story of Oria and Lonen, who are now finally in Dru and facing new issues.  Overall Gikany and Una liked the story, although it is starting to have a serial short story feeling. Unlike the first book, which seemed like a complete novel, the subsequent books have felt more like novellas.  We could liken the format to a television series: the first episode is longer to set up the series and then the following episodes are shorter.  Each book ends in a cliffhanger. Although this series feels like a series of short stories, the story continues to flow and build.  Oria and Lonen are still learning about each other and how to work together.  We love the trust and love that continues to strengthen and encourage the development of their relationship.  Especially as it seems the coin has flipped – Lonen’s right to rule is being questioned and Oria is deeply distrusted by the Destrye.  Oria is able to experience what the Destrye has suffered at the hands of her people and what they must do to survive.  Although we are only given snippets of the continuing plot, the tension mounts as Oria searches for a source of sgath so she can eliminate the threat of the Trom and end the war between the Barans and the Destrye. Even though The Forests of Dru was short and the series is starting to feel like a series of novellas, we continue to like it.  The Sorcerous Moons is a captivating series.  We eagerly await the next installment. Our Rating:  B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: An Enemy Land Once Princess Oria spun wicked daydreams from the legends of sorceresses kidnapped by the barbarian Destrye. Now, though she’s come willingly, she finds herself in a mirror of the old tales: the king’s foreign trophy of war, starved of magic, surrounded by snowy forest and hostile strangers. But this place has secrets, too—and Oria must learn them quickly if she is to survive. A Treacherous Court Instead of the refuge he sought, King Lonen finds his homeland desperate and angry, simmering with distrust of his wife. With open challenge to his rule, he knows he and Oria—the warrior wounded and weak, the sorceress wrung dry of power—must somehow make a display of might. And despite the desire...
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Jan
4

Review: The Edge of the Blade by Jeffe Kennedy

Review: The Edge of the Blade by Jeffe Kennedy The Edge of the Blade Author: Jeffe Kennedy Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Since meeting Jepp in The Twelve Kingdoms series, Gikany and Una have been eager to experience her happily ever after.  After The Pages of the Mind, we were intrigued to see how Jepp would handle going from bodyguard and warrior, to spy and diplomat.  Overall we liked her story even though it was more of a cerebral than an emotional journey. Gikany and Una love this world, especially as the series has expanded to include other kingdoms and cultures.  Although we were given a glimpse of the Dasanarian culture in previous books, it is nothing like being immersed in it.  Considering the heavily male dominated culture, Jepp is completely and utterly the wrong choice for a diplomat.  Despite being an excessively skilled and talented scout and soldier, she is not subtle.  However, Ursula chose her for a reason (most likely guided by her Dasanarian consort, Harlan) and had quite possibly planned to use her as a backup if Daphne failed.  Jepp is a clever woman, and is able to complete her mission, even though it does not go as she anticipated.  As the novel closed, we were surprised by the turn of events are eager to see what happens next. We did have trouble connecting with Kral, Jepp’s lover.  He is most definitely a product of his upbringing and culture.  Although, if his brother Harlan could change, we had hope he could as well.  Even though Ms. Kennedy redeems him by the end, we never felt the emotional connection between Jepp and Kral.  Although the emotional connection wasn’t there for us, seeing the cultural differences and watching a man realize the glaring flaws of his culture was gripping.  Despite loving Jepp because she was so different from the women of his culture, Kral still seemed to (until the VERY end) want to place her into a slot of his world.  This is something that would have made Jepp utterly miserable. Although The Edge of the Blade started a tad slowly, it was a rocking roller coaster by the end.  The overall story, and the cultural and political storylines were gripping even if the emotional connection for the reader between Jepp and Kral was muted.  We continue to love this series and look forward to the next book. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: A HAWK’S PLEDGE  “The Twelve Kingdoms...
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Dec
15

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: What a Dragon Should Know by G.A. Aiken

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: What a Dragon Should Know by G.A. Aiken Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Dragon Kin Series Book: What a Dragon Should Know  Author: G.A. Aiken Narrator: Hollie Jackson Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Dragon Kin #3 Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Source: Tantor Audio What a Dragon Should Know expands upon the richly entertaining lore of mighty dragons and the humans that love them. Picking up after the conclusion of the previous book, the story primarily focuses on the love story of Gwenvael the Handsome and Dagmar Reinholdt, the only daughter of the Reinholdt, also known as “the Beast.” Annwyl the Bloody, heavy with her twins who are literally sucking the life from her, sends Gwenvael to the Northlands on her behalf to discover if the Reinholdt will make a worthy ally. When Gwenvael discovers that the Beast is actually an extremely intelligent and wily female, he is forced to adjust his approach to the situation. Dagmar has spent her entire life as the brains behind her father’s success, staying in the shadows while she manipulates events to her advantage. So when Gwenvael acts unpredictably and treats her with respect, even reverence, Dagmar isn’t sure how to best respond. Striking a bargain with Gwenvael, the pair head out of the Northlands with important information to share with Annwyl. I absolutely adored the pairing of Gwenvael and Dagmar. Two underestimated souls, both play to the misrepresentations and conventions their families have placed upon them. They use these stereotypes to hide their true intentions, striking blows upon their enemies. Both love their respective families and would do anything to protect them. Right from the start the pair recognizes the strengths of the other; never disrespecting the other, even if they do try to outsmart one another. Their passion ignites as Gwenvael and Dagmar open up and fall in love. I just adored their verbal sparring and joint masterminding. Outside of the romance, the entire story is multifaceted and filled with complex layers of political maneuvering.  I found myself engrossed and enjoyed just listening to the plot unfold. While I did find myself lost a couple times and trying to remember who was who  more than once (lets face it, there are too many similar sounding names), the character development and bonds cemented over the course of the series made for stronger connections and deeper enjoyment of this tale. In addition to Gwenvael and Dagmar, What a Dragon Should Know shares the continuing romance of Brastias and Morfyd. I was pleased...
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Dec
7

Review: The Memory Thief by Sarina Dorie

Review: The Memory Thief by Sarina Dorie The Memory Thief Author: Sarina Dorie Reviewer: Una Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: The Memory Thief is a different type of steampunk series.  This Victorian era science-fiction novel is an interesting world.  Suffice to say, I enjoyed it and look forward to the next one. First, let me say that this was more mystery/adventure romance than science-fiction. Though it is science-fiction, the science and steampunk qualities are in the background. The plight of Felicity in recovering her memories is gripping. The planet and history of the Jomon people is rich and fascinating. I really loved the world I found myself in. The memory moss, the intriguing creatures, and the evolution that has obviously taken place are all quite intriguing.  I truly found myself lost in the world. The novel is told from Felicity’s viewpoint and utilizes flashbacks. Some of the flashbacks are consciously done when she is partaking in a memory swap. However, some chapters are started with a moment from the past. Though they are interesting and give background to the novel, I felt that they stunted the flow of the story a little, but not enough to inhibit my enjoyment. I enjoyed the courtship between Felicity and Nipa (the ruler of the Jomon tribe). Though some of the novel is fairly easy to figure out, I was still surprised by some of the past. Felicity’s strength of character is equal to her kindness to the indigenous people. I enjoyed her intelligence, especially when up against Nipa’s cunning. Nipa’s character was equally charming and ruthless.  I enjoyed trying to figure him out. Felicity’s intended, Merriweather, seems to be a filler character.  It is not surprising when the Jomon use him as a patsy.  However, he grew on me.  He seems very out of place in the world, and in the novel, especially in Felicity’s eyes.  He is very naïve and innocent.  More innocent than I would think an aristocratic male would be in Victorian England.  However, I think there is more to him and I hope to learn it in the next novel. I am reluctant to give anything away, but the emotions of the novel caught me off guard.  This book is about remembering and recovering from the past. The past is more than just events, but emotions as well. Once I finished the novel, I could see how the novel dances slowly to the truth. I really enjoyed the flow and the overall crafting of...
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Nov
1

Review: The Tides of Bára by Jeffe Kennedy

Review: The Tides of Bára by Jeffe Kennedy The Tides of Bára Author: Jeffe Kennedy Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: This is going to be a pretty vague review as The Tides of Bara is in essence a transitional novel.  It follows Oria and Lonen as they flee Bara and attempt to reach the Destrye.  Although if felt like nothing really happened, Gikany and Una liked it. When we say that very little happened, we mean that none of the overarching plot lines are resolved.  There is a touch of action, quite of a bit travel, and a steamy interaction, but really, Oria and Lonen travel from Bara to Dru. What does happen is a tremendous amount of character development. The novel centers on Oria, Lonen, Oria’s Familiar Chuffta, and Lonen’s horse when they are stranded in the desert.  There is a lot of growth that occurs between all four of them as they learn to lean on each other.  This growth is critical to the novel and why we must be so vague.  This development is awesome and we found it gripping. Although it could be argued that nothing happens, this transitional novel is more than just getting from point A to point B.  The growth within the group is interesting as it is critical.  They need to learn to trust and depend on each other to survive their next challenge – seeing if the Destrye will accept Lonen’s sorceress wife. We continue to like the Sorcerous Moons series.  The latest installment, although transitional in nature, was a gripping and at times humorous read.  If you enjoy fantasy and intriguing worlds, you just need to check this one out! Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: A Narrow Escape With her secrets uncovered and her power-mad brother bent on her execution, Princess Oria has no sanctuary left. Her bid to make herself and her new barbarian husband rulers of walled Bára has failed. She and Lonen have no choice but to flee through the leagues of brutal desert between her home and his—certain death for a sorceress, and only a bit slower than the blade. A Race Against Time At the mercy of a husband barely more than a stranger, Oria must war with her fears and her desires. Wild desert magic buffets her; her husband’s touch allures and burns. Lonen is pushed to the brink, sure he’s doomed his proud bride and all too aware of the restless, ruthless...
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Oct
17

Review: Fish out of Water by Hailey Edwards

Review: Fish out of Water by Hailey Edwards Fish Out of Water Author: Hailey Edwards Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: If you haven’t been following my reviews of Hailey Edwards’ Black Dog books, GO! GET ON THAT! Fish Out of Water is a plot resolution from the spinoff Gemini series, featuring Cam. It DEFINITELY needs to be read after Hell or High Water—seriously, don’t mess with the series order, folks. I had a lot of questions about Harlow at the conclusion of the third title in the Gemini series, and Fish Out of Water clears them all up for me. It was super nice to see Harlow again. I must admit, I really adore her. Her snark and personality are intact (eventually) and I liked being in her head. It was a great way to see what makes her tick. I will admit, I’ll never look at mirrored aviators the same way again. **swoons** It’s no secret that I’ve worked with a large mental health population in my real life. When we were introduced to the Edelweiss Mental Institution, the setting of the novella, in one of Cam’s stories, I was cool giving it a shot. After all, it’s a place for paranormals and isn’t going to parallel life at all, right? Well, because this is a spoiler-free zone, there’s a megaton of parallels to real life—with a paranormal twist…and that’s all I can say. If I’m looking for a great paranormal read, I know I can count on Ms. Edwards to deliver. With a host of paranormal baddies—and good guys, too—I actually adore the world-building. Harlow’s story here was no different. I though the plot picked up nicely where Harlow stepped out of the Gemini series—and the end of Hell or High Water—and led us to the ‘here and now’ well. You guys, I had a DEEP need to know what happened to Harlow. I feel like a kid in a candy store after reading this title. And…the first Lorimar Pack book, Promise the Moon, is slated for publication at the end of October. **grabby hands** YAY! More Dell!!! My Rating: A+ Personal Favorite About the Book: Harlow Bevans was a changeling mermaid working as a diving consultant for the Earthen Conclave. Then he came along. Charybdis. A serial killer who possessed her body and wrecked her mind. Now she’s an inmate—patient—at Edelweiss Mental Institution.  When a haunting song lures her to the scene of a brutal murder, the calm of the past...
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Aug
16

Review: Oria’s Gambit by Jeffe Kennedy

Review: Oria’s Gambit by Jeffe Kennedy Oria’s Gambit Author: Jeffe Kennedy Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B+ What We’re Talking About: After the cliffhanger in the previous book, Lonen’s War, Gikany and Una were eager to start Oria’s Gambit.  We enjoyed it though it was a completely different feel from the previous novel. We go from a fast-paced novel filled with battles, negotiations, and confrontations to one that is a battlefront of politics and maneuverings filled with anxious waiting and debating.  Though it was still very gripping, it was a change from the pace of the previous novel.  In Oria’s Gambit, Oria and Lonen race to obtain the throne in Baran in order to protect Lonen’s (and Oria’s) people from Oria’s youngest brother, Yar. At first we thought Yar to be a typical youngest child, indulged and spoiled.  It was fitting he seemed entitled since he came into his power early.  However, through the course of this novel, his cruel nature comes to light (at least in Una’s point of view).  He is more than just selfish.  It is interesting to note that maybe because of Oria’s magical “flaw,” she is more compassionate and humble.  It seemed her brother Nat – who came into his power late, showed a similar humility that Oria’s other two brothers seem to lack. We continue to enjoy Lonen and Oria’s journey.  They both genuinely care for one another.  The banter between them (and including Chuffta – still our favorite character) is endearing as is the palpable tension between Lonen and Oria.  Lonen’s sensual teasing is passionate as it is sweetly compelling.  Their relationship flows just as seamlessly as the plot.  Though it does not end up where we predicted, due to another cliffhanger ending, and we are eager to see what is next. Gikany and Una continue to enjoy this world, and with Oria’s Gambit, we are further immersed in the Baran culture.  We look forward to the next novel, not only to see what happens next, but we hope to see more of Chuffta (as well as Lonen and Oria). We also hope that we will experience more of the Destrye culture.  If you enjoy fantasy with some slow-burn romance, you may have to give this series a try! Our Rating:  B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: A Play For Power Princess Oria has one chance to keep her word and stop her brother’s reign of terror: She must become queen. All she has to do...
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Aug
9

Review: Hell or High Water by Hailey Edwards

Review: Hell or High Water by Hailey Edwards Hell or High Water Author: Hailey Edwards Reviewer: Vampbard Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: What? You haven’t started reading Hailey Edwards’ Black Dog series? You guys…get on that. I know, every time Ms. Edwards releases a title in the series or a spin-off series, I say the same thing. I MEAN IT. In the latest release in the Gemini series, Hell or High Water, there’s all the feels, and I honestly wish I could’ve holed up somewhere and devoured the story in one sitting. If you HAVE been reading this series, there’s a lot of awww and booyah! moments. There’s more than one oh, HECK no! happening as well. And…a whole lot of crazy, awesome, and wonderful things that gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling by the end. Don’t get me wrong, we still get Cam & Cord in some kick-ass stuff, and some help from Theirry (Black Dog titles). It seems like Cam’s plot arc has resolved, however (take THAT, Charybdis!). We have the promise of Lorimar Pack books (go, Dell!!!) and what’s this I see on Ms. Edwards’ website? Is Harlow getting a book?!? *grabby hands* I really liked watching the evolution of the pack—the Lorimar pack. Cam & Cord’s relationship development was spectacular. What I like about this couple is that they don’t immediately jump into bed because they’re attracted to one another. They’re definitely a slow burn relationship, and it makes their ultimate connection that much sweeter. And the way she portrays Cord as an Alpha male is refreshing. He’s still all growly and leaning toward the bossy side, but he lets Cam pull up her big girl panties and she’s ‘allowed’ to have an opinion without him getting all super-alpha-grumpy. Readers of the series know Cam has lived with her aunt since she was eight—when her twin died. Oh, you guys. We find out why! Totally zipping my lip—spoiler-free—but desperately want to discuss! Definitely didn’t see this coming. Not. At. All. I think what really left an impression on me with the Gemini titles—especially Hell or High Water—is the concept of family and belonging. It’s seriously powerful. Thoughtfully written. We’re all born into a family, which usually contains a specific set of conditions or complications. Especially if you’re fae, living in the human world. We also have a connection to other groups of people, illustrated by the warg pack here. These are the family we choose for ourselves, our tribe. These are the people...
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Aug
8

Review: Lonen’s War by Jeffe Kennedy

Review: Lonen’s War by Jeffe Kennedy Lonen’s War Author: Jeffe Kennedy Reviewers: Gikany & Una Rating: A- What We’re Talking About: Lonen’s War is the debut novel in the new Sorcerous Moons series.  We enjoyed this new fantasy world and with the cliffhanger ending, we are eager for more. First and foremost we love this world.  The rich fantasy mythology that Ms. Kennedy created is mesmerizing. The sorcerous Baran is at odds with the non-magical barbarian Destrye.  The novel begins with the Destrye invasion of Baran.  We follow Lonen, the third son of King Archimago, leading one faction of the Destrye while Oria, the only daughter of King Tav sits fretting in her tower.  The story is told from these two opposing viewpoints.  This allows us to understand each different kingdom; its beliefs, values, and political structure.  We absolutely loved this aspect of the novel. Though we like Lonen and Oria, the character that stood out most to us is Chuffta, Oria’s familiar.  This dragon-like creature was absolutely fascinating and endearing.  Chuffta is more companion and advisor than pet.  Though wise, he is still considered young for his kind and a good match to the young princess.  This relationship is critical to the novel, especially knowing that Chuffta accepted this role that was offered by the Queen.  Unfortunately we cannot comment too much about the other characters as it would give away much of the plot.  The contrast of Lonen’s relationship with his family compared to Oria’s is a distinctive and interesting dichotomy. This is a wonderful first novel in an exciting, thrilling and rich fantasy world.  We eagerly look forward to the next novel to find out what happens next.  Luckily, we don’t have to wait long, as Oria’s Gambit is to be released shortly. Our Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: An Unquiet Heart Alone in her tower, Princess Oria has spent too long studying her people’s barbarian enemies, the Destrye—and neglected the search for calm that will control her magic and release her to society. Her restlessness makes meditation hopeless and her fragility renders human companionship unbearable. Oria is near giving up. Then the Destrye attack, and her people’s lives depend on her handling of their prince… A Fight Without Hope When the cornered Destrye decided to strike back, Lonen never thought he’d live through the battle, let alone demand justice as a conqueror. And yet he must keep up his guard against the sorceress who speaks for the city. Oria’s people...
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Jun
16

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Steel’s Edge Author: Ilona Andrews Narrator: Renée Raudman Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: The Edge #4 Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance Source: Purchased Steel’s Edge centers around Richard Mar (introduced in book two), brother of Kaldar. Richard has been around the block, and his life hasn’t been very easy. He doesn’t necessary fit in with his family, so he’s found meaning in tracking down and destroying the illegal slave industry, which was responsible for the torture of his younger cousin Sophie. Stumbling into the Edge after being fatally wounded, he’s fortunate that Charlotte de Ney, a powerful healer, finds and saves him. Charlotte is a noble blue blood from Adrianglia who moved to the Edge after a devastating betrayal left her worried about the dark magic within her. Luckily, Charlotte was taken in by Eleonore Drayton: Rose, George, and Jack’s grandmother. After three years, Charlotte has been accepted by the Edgers and lives a quiet life. But when Richard Mar crashes into her life, everything changes. Now Charlotte is compelled to join Richard on his dangerous quest. As the final book in Ilona Andrew’s wonderful Edge series, Steel’s Edge takes readers on an exciting journey and gives closure to some long running storylines without losing site of the book’s central storyline. Richard and Charlotte’s crusade against the slavers is action-packed, edgy, and thrilling. The execution of the ultimate plan kept me glued to the proverbial pages of the book. The entire plot was well-thought out and masterfully executed. My heart was racing at times. But wait… there’s more! I adored Charlotte and Richard’s romance. They are two damaged individuals that don’t have to hide their true natures from one another. Their attraction is strong, but their love for and acceptance of the other is what makes their romance so engaging. I loved where their story ended; it was fitting for their journey. Steel’s Edge also tackles a couple storylines that have run throughout the series. The first is that of John Drayton, father of Rose, George, and Jack. He abandoned his children to find fortune and treasure after their mother died. The second is that of Spider and The Hand, the longtime nemesis of the Mar family. While neither storyline takes up much page space, the authors do great justice to both. Once again Renee Raudman works her magic with the story, bringing to life these characters. She adds just the right...
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