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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
20

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Dragon Kin Series Book: Dragon Actually Author: G.A. Aiken Narrator: Hollie Jackson Audio Speed: 1.5x & 2x Series: Dragon Kin #1 Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Source: Tantor Audio I have heard very good things about G.A. Aiken’s Dragon Kin series, so when I saw it was being release on audio by Tantor media, I jumped at the chance to review the titles. Dragon Actually, the first story in this paranormal/fantasy romance series is actually two books in one. The primary story, Dragon Actually, creates the settings and develops a world full of waring humans and powerful dragons. The second, short story, Chains and Flames, shares the backstory of two dragon characters we meet in the primary tale. Dragon Actually shares the story of Annwyl the Bloody, the bastard sister of the current, malevolent king. She is the fearless and heralded leader of the rebellion, which is growing with each passing day. However, her brother, with the help of a powerful warlock, grows close to capturing Annwyl. Just as some of his troops are about to deliver the mortal blow to Annwyl, Fearghus the Destroyer, a powerful dragon, steps in to save her. Dragons are rarely seen these days, and many believe they are just a myth, something the solitary Fearghus thinks is just fine. However, after he feels compelled to save Annwyl, nursing her back to life and agreeing to assist in her battles against her brother, he finds he cannot stay away from her. Overall, Dragon Actually is a solid and entertaining paranormal/fantasy romance. I like the mythology and admire the strong female hero. Annwyl is her own person and doesn’t apologize for her attitude or behaviors. She is known as “the bloody” for a very good reason, cutting down her enemies without remorse as any male leader would. Fearghus is the only male who could be her equal and that makes them a good fit. I enjoyed their companionship and the times they let their guards down to talk. I did feel that there was a high “cheese-factor” in this story, both in the romance and in the interactions between several of the characters. I felt the story was dated in terms of tone, and my tastes in PNR have changed in the past 10 years. One thing I did not care for was the abruptness of the ending! Without giving spoilers, the ending felt incomplete. I would have liked...
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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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Oct
5

Review: Vick’s Vultures by Scott Warren

Review: Vick’s Vultures by Scott Warren Vick’s Vultures Author: Scott Warren Reviewer: Nima Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: I had some high expectations for Vick’s Vultures after reading the blurb.  It seemed like the scope promised was just too big for 223 pages.  I’m happy to report that relative newcomer Scott Warren rose to the hype.  This is a really good sci-fi read in a market flooded with the paranormal.  It embraces the traditional space opera, but brings fresh ideas to the future Warren has imagined. The writing is not only tight, it is consistent and approachable.  Warren assumes an intelligent reader, not bothering to identify common sci-fi nomenclature like FTL (faster than light) upfront, but writes in such a way that everything makes sense eventually.  He is good at showing us the story rather than telling it.  Blessedly, he stays away from information dumps and like flaws of other sci-fi writers.  Most significantly, it’s plausible—a desperately important factor if you’re going to make Earthlings your heroes. We love an underdog and Warren plays to that by making Earth the unlikely victors in a galaxy of far superior aliens with empires that span thousands of worlds. Those aliens have been in space for millennia and developed technology we can’t even dream about—which is why Captain Victoria Marin is trying to steal, or “salvage,” as much alien tech as she can and bring it back to Earth for reverse engineering. Even though Warren is a male author, he’s made his captain a woman.  Kudos.  She is also old enough to wear her authority well without playing into stereotypes of age.  Double kudos. Warren mixes races and genders in the seamless style of Star Trek.  It’s just not a thing.  Thank you for that.  All that authority and experience are called upon when Vick responds to a distress signal, hoping to salvage new tech.  She gets way more than she bargained for in the rescue of First Prince Tavram.  She’s now thrown in the political landscape of the “big three” alien races who consider the “lesser empires” to be beneath their notice.  Before the end of the book, at least one of these races will acknowledge the lesser human race. **Minor Spoiler Alert** With superior tech, the aliens have also forgotten basic hand to hand combat skills and ground warfare. Privateers like Captain Vick are backed by military personnel. Warren uses his own military background to give Vick’s crew authenticity.  Working to Earth’s advantage, the aliens...
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Sep
26

Q&A + Review: The Bloodsworn by Erin Lindsey

Q&A + Review: The Bloodsworn by Erin Lindsey The Bloodsworn Author: Erin Lindsey Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: A-  What We’re Talking About: Gikany and Una have waited somewhat impatiently for the final book in this Bloodbound trilogy.  We were not disappointed.  The Bloodsworn is our favorite book of the series. What makes this series so captivating is the characters.  All three main characters (Alix, Liam, and Erik) developed over the course of the three novels.  Gikany and Una enjoyed discussing the changes that Alix, Liam and Erik each underwent as the series progressed.  We watched them grow in both confidence and decisiveness.  The heartache they felt after making tough choices grounded the novel.  Not only do the characters have depth, but their individual journeys also help connect the reader to the story. A theme that runs through the entire series is the necessity of choosing to be a good man or a good king.  Sometimes the choice a king faces means deciding between doing what his conscience dictates and what is best for his kingdom.  At first glance it seems they would be the same thing, but this series explores how it is not always so.  It was fascinating to watch as Alix and Liam not only supported Erik as he faced these decisions, but as they faced them as well. We enjoyed the multifaceted mythologies, politics, and cultures of Alden and the surrounding kingdoms.  It was gripping to watch as Alix navigated another kingdom and its culture as she tried to save her king and kingdom.  The suspense of her adventure behind enemy lines was nail biting. The Bloodsworn is an engrossing and captivating final novel.  We were on the edge of our seats while our heroes fought against formidable odds to save Erik and the kingdom.  Their loyalty and courage were awe-inspiring.  If you enjoy suspenseful fantasy with politics and war, you should read the Bloodbound series.  We look forward to more from this author. Our Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot Our Series Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot / B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: The bonds of family, love and loyalty are pushed to their limits in this thrilling conclusion to the epic saga started in The Bloodbound… As the war between Alden and Oridia draws to its conclusion, the fates of both kingdoms rest on the actions of a select group of individuals—and, of course, the unbreakable bonds of blood.. Unbeknownst to most of Alden, King Erik, in thrall to...
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Sep
21

Review: Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black

Review: Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black Ninth City Burning Author: J. Patrick Black Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: C  What We’re Talking About: Ninth City Burning is the debut novel of J. Patrick Black.  This science fiction story was fascinating and easily visualized, if only Gikany and Una enjoyed reading it. Truly, we loved the overall premise – a science fiction story about a post-apocalyptic Earth battling back an alien species in order to avoid extinction.  The discovery of a new resource, Thelemity which most of us would describe as magic, is critical in the battle between these two factions.  It is utterly engrossing.  The novel begins with the assumption that we are winning, when in fact we discover, the hard way, we may be about to lose.  We watch as Earth makes a desperate move in order to survive the approaching alien horde.  Does this sound riveting? It was in a sense. Gikany and Una really enjoyed the overall world and the premise.  We just didn’t like reading it. An on-going preference of ours is that we prefer multiple points-of-view novels written in third person.  (We apologize if this will sound awfully academic).  In third person, it is easy to move from character to character, place to place while allowing the story to flow.  However, this is a novel from seven different character’s perspectives, all written in first person.  The story suffers from a lot of “stop and go.”  Each chapter is title with the character that will be narrating.  Now some consecutive chapters are from the same viewpoint, but not always.  The story doesn’t flow well regardless of how gripping the premise.  It was difficult in the beginning to orient to the world as we were in four different perspectives of the “current” world.  There is no background or prequel summary, we just start in the middle of each of the character’s lives.  It wasn’t until about 25% where several narrators encountered each other that we were able to fully comprehend the “what” and “where” of the story, including chronology.  Though each character was unique and fascinating, we feel that not all of the points of views were necessary. The mythology was completely fascinating and intriguing.  The science involved with Thelemity – an element that we would think similar to magic — is utilized in technically advanced engineering.  There is a pivotal moment near the end that questions the war.  With the politics we encounter, it makes us wonder if it is true...
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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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Aug
2

Review: Forever Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

Review: Forever Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon Please help TWITA welcome guest reviewer, Kymbo. An avid reader, Kymbo is also the teenaged daughter of our own Ang. Forever Doon Author: Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon Reviewer: Kymbo Rating: C What I’m Talking About: I’ve read the Doon series from beginning to end. Not being one for fairytales with the whole princess and prince thing, I was surprised at how much I thoroughly enjoyed the first two titles in the series. After the first two though, I started having some fairly major issues with the novels. I felt as though the target age for the series changed to a younger audience, as if series was being dragged on, like the authors lost their focus and were unclear where it was going, and like the classification of the novels changed. Forever Doon, like the three before, was a multiple point of view book. Although there is nothing wrong with that, there is a point when it isn’t needed. Forever Doon was told from four different points of view. It was clear why it was told from three of the four, but the fourth viewpoint seemed excessive, to the say the least, and completely unnecessary. Two of the characters were with each other throughout the entire novel, and having both points of view was just each story being retold, most of the time word for word. The fourth viewpoint did not add any extra insight or necessary details through the whole novel all it did was up the word count, and I firmly believe if it doesn’t add to the story it should be left out. Maturity was another topic I often found myself thinking about as I read this book. The main characters are all said to be high school graduates and well above 14, yet I often felt as though they were acting like they were middle-schoolers. Not only was the language used, such as “skellies,” immature and childish, the way character on character conflict was solved was immature. Many times the characters would simply yell at each other instead of actually figuring out the problem, and then it would magically disappear like it never happened. It was almost as though a few of the characters were developing, but not in a way that fit the story. I expected them to mature as they faced various conflicts and it felt like the opposite was happening. I was hoping that because the series was originally planned for four...
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