Friday, August 26, 2016

Book Review: Hidden Design

Hidden Design

By:  Tia Tormen & CK Stone

Publish Date:  September 1, 2016

Format:  eARC

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  Stand alone

First Impression:  Urban Fantasy with erotic moments.

Synopsis:
An ancient Prophecy, foretold millennia ago . . .
Child of the Traitor
Conceived in Betrayal
Shall pierce the Veil
And destroy the Hidden

Mikki Daneen is living the life she's always dreamed but she hides an extraordinary gift--the ability to perceive her clients' most intimate desires. A secret liaison brings death and destruction to Mikki's life, but she's not the only one in danger. Mikki must uncover the secrets of a culture she never knew existed, and expose the true betrayer. Will her psychic visions be able to help her find the evil that is driven relentlessly to slaughter, before it's too late?

Hidden Design, The Prophecy, is a full-length contemporary fantasy/thriller novel that contains elements of romantica.

The story is set in New York City where Mackenzie Daneen is a successful interior designer, in part because she can psychically link into the most secret desires of her special clients and give them exactly what they want. Mikki is on top of her world until an old boyfriend/FBI agent asks her to glean details on a kidnapping suspect, Seth Harkinson, by using her psychic ability. When she learns more than she bargained for, her life starts falling apart. Through Seth, she uncovers the truth; she may be the child the prophecy speaks of. She runs for her life from a demon-possessed beast that is hell-bent on hunting down and killing the innocent children who possess magical gifts; children of whom the prophecy may speak.

While she and Seth fight for their lives, they discover they have a connection that runs deeper than either of them imagined.

First Sentence:
Mackenzie Daneen wheeled her red Mercedes Coupe into the parking entrance for the Federal Building.

Purchase At:
Amazon 

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was offered a copy of this book from the author or publisher for review.

Mikki is asked to consult on an FBI case by her old friend, Paul. A girl has gone missing and the man he has in custody gives him bad vibes. Paul thinks Mikki's psychic ability might help give some small clue to evidence to Seth's involvement. But Mikki finds Seth is talented at controlling his emotions and thoughts, even as she works her hardest to get a vision from him. Mikki, an interior designer, faces her worst nightmare. Someone, or something, has destroyed a few rooms she's created for special clients. Thankfully no one's been hurt, yet.

First, and it's seen in the first chapter, this is definitely an adult content book. We get different sex scenes, f/m, f/f, f/f/m. This book is about sex magic. This in one magic I usually struggle with in books. Most of the time I find it off putting as the connection of sex and characters doesn't seem to connect for me, BUT here, the sex scenes (being rather descriptive) are part of the plot. Mikki has found that her psychic ability is amped up when involved in intimate moments with others. She uses this to her advantage, even when alone to try and divulge visions from clients. Her special creations are based on what she learns the client truly wants when she is intimate with them. Mikki uses this knowledge to learn about what's happening involving her and about her special ability, which marks her as an Adveni and more.

In the romantic side of the story, some moments are to fast for me like the lead up is missing. One example is Mikki meeting Jacques. He suddenly is all over her. There felt to be no lead up to it, just suddenly when at her car his hands are up her shirt. And Mikki is okay with men treating her as such, to get ideas for designing their places. I suspect he was told of Mikki's ways from another she did work for, but I don't know that for sure. As the book went, the moments had better flow into them.

The first chapter made me curious about Seth and the case of the missing teens. I wanted to know how it all fit together, and it seems Mikki is the link. I wasn't drawn into the characters lives and feel the total investment as I have in some books (though this might be the sexual pull of the characters which isn't usually my read), but I wanted to know what the story was, to solve the mystery, to learn about the magic.

Mikki is caught up in her life, living the high life of a well known interior designer. Mikki doesn't want to help Seth save the children, which she learns are more than what she thinks they are. But in the end Mikki starts to come around, realizing what she's done and what she could do. I did like Paul, her FBI friend. He is working hard and trying to make a solid case for finding the girls. He is a good guy. Even Seth, who was Paul's guilty party, is one I liked. Seth has a reason for what he does and, even though it's not always at the best from others eyes, it's for the good of the people involved. Seth has a good heart and I liked that.

This book is not my normal read, but I wanted to keep going for the mystery and to see the Adveni more. After the mystery was solved and the big climatic ending we see Mikki come to a new place in her life. This felt a bit too big for me. It felt like it was overboard and didn't connect with anything. I get the feeling this is to take the characters to a new level and a new direction. Something for them to research and learn more about, as the prophecy could very well be true and starting with Mikki.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Audio Book Review: Ancient Magic

Ancient Magic

By:  Linsey Hall

Publish Date:  April 6, 2016, Audiobook Release July 19, 2016

Format:  Audiobook - 7 hrs 0 mins
Narrated By:  Laurel Schroeder

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  1st in Dragon's Gift: The Huntress series

First Impression:  Three girls with no past and adventure in their future.

Synopsis:
I’m good at two things: finding treasure and killing demons. Lying low is a close third—but not because I want to be good at hiding. I have to be. I’m a FireSoul, one of the unlucky few to inherit a piece of the dragon’s soul. Being born with the dragon’s covetousness should be a sweet gig - I have the power to find and steal any type of treasure, including the powers of other supernaturals.

But it doesn’t come without a price - stealing powers requires that I kill, and others would destroy me if they discover what I am. In a world full of magic, hiding my species is the only way to survive. Finding magical artifacts is the only way to pay the bills. It’s a dangerous job when you can barely use your magic, but that’s one of the things I like about it.

When Aidan Merrick, the most powerful shifter in the city, hired me to find an ancient scroll, I didn’t want to take the job. His immense amount of power reminds me of too much of murky memories from a past I can’t remember. But I don’t have a choice. The scroll reveals what I am. And if anyone finds out, I’m dead.

First Sentence:
Blood. I rubbed my tongue against the top of my mouth.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  Book Depository

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com, at my request.

Cass and her sisters, Nix and Del, woke in a field not remembering anything, for when they try the feel pain, other than they are FireSouls and have Magica powers. They are running from an evil someone.

Ten years later, the three sisters have settled in Magic's Bend. They have their shop, Ancient Magic, where they sell duplicates of artifacts with the magic transferred to it. Cass is known as one of the best hunters of treasures, which is how they get their stock for their shop, and Aidan Merrick comes to ask her to do a job for him, and a date now that he's met her. The item to find, the Scroll of Truth, which sounds familiar to Cass but sparks pain when she tries to remember about it. Learning about this scroll, she finds that it possesses her and her sisters dark secret and must destroy it before anyone reads it.

I've listened to Laurel once before. She has a young feel to her that fits the characters. Aidan has an Irish accent, and Laurel does that with a slightly lower tone to be male. Even when coming across other beings and characters, Laurel adds to her voice to make them sound slightly different. But most of all, I like the way Laurel sounds relaxed as she speaks and also brings a calm feel to Cass. Though when Cass is nervous we get that feel in Laurel's voice as well.

I liked diving into this new world. There is magic of all kinds here, and there's a system to it. FireSouls are those that kill to steal magic from magica, and also have a part of a dragon's soul in them. Which shows in the way they hoard items, what they feel are treasures. The girls don't feel as though they are FireSouls yet they have the signs of it. They don't remember how they got their powers but life as good people getting by each day.

The job for Aidan takes Cass to Ireland, the place the person she and her sisters are running from, could be living still. We don't run into the man they are running from directly, but we do see there is something more with their past, though we (and they) don't know what that past is, yet. I love the introduction of the world and characters here. We meet them and adventure with them, and I've become curious of all their secrets.

Cass was a believable character for me. She knows she and her sisters have to be careful and not let their secret out, but she's human too. She has feelings and they cloud the best of intentions, even on the inside, which makes some decisions for Cass harder than usual. I love that Cass loves food. And Aidan knows the way to her heart, food. Aidan is the perfect gentleman. He says the right things and he lets Cass know he's interested in dating her, throughout the story. At times Aidan even made butterflies in my stomach.

Aidan is a special person in the supernatural world. Oh wait until you see him do his magic! Neat what we see. (I don't want to tell you as it's cool to see.) From first meeting, Aidan has asked Cass out on a date. But she's resisted, though she does find him attractive. And that attraction grows as the story goes, even for me.

I really enjoyed this story, it was fun and relaxing for me. I look forward to more books with these characters and their secrets.



****If you found this review helpful, please click yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Author Post: What Fairy Tales Taught Me

I'm thrilled to invite KT Bryski back to the blog to share on her newest stories with us, Six Stories, Told at Night.



Hi! I’m KT Bryski—Canadian author, podcaster, and playwright. I’m so thrilled to be back on Mel’s blog—it’s a delight every time. :)

I’ve recently released a one-woman audio drama: Six Stories, Told at Night. Five traditional Canadian folktales interweave within a larger framing narrative. Our heroine Sam is trying to save her friend JoĆ«lle from the Faerie realm, and the only way to enter the Otherworld is to tell the Faerie Queen a story she’s never heard before. Hence, my folktales.

In preparation for this project, I read a lot of fairy tales. That said, I’ve been reading fairy tales for as long as I can remember, so it really wasn’t too different. You might say that I’ve been steeped in them. So what has a lifetime of reading fairy tales taught me?

Take the first step

For an adventure to happen, you actually have to…you know, set out on an adventure. Fairy tales usually start in a place of calm and stability: the family farm, the castle, the once upon a time. And then something happens.

And then, you have a choice. Stay by the fire and pretend things are still the same?

Or leave the safety of your cottage and venture into the woods?

There are always helpers

Sometimes, it’s a fairy godmother. Sometimes, a talking cat. Sometimes, it’s a giant’s wife, or the mysterious old crone down the lane, or a kindly king. Sometimes, it may even be your neighbour, your former high school teacher, your best friend.

But there are always helpers. Even (especially?) when you feel most alone.

Magic often comes disguised

Much like the polar bear who’s actually a prince, or Donkeyskin labouring in the kitchens (I know she’s not magically disguised, bear with me), the best things aren’t always apparent when you first see them. Sometimes, it takes a while to recognize the magic. The key is to never stop looking for it.

The deep, dark woods is never where the story ends

The deep, dark woods is the testing ground. It’s the descent to the underworld, where our hero or heroine undergoes figurative (and sometimes literal) death and rebirth. But for all the fear, trials, and pain, the deep dark woods is never the end of the story. It’s the hour of the wolf, the darkness before daybreak.

So when you find yourself there—push through. Even when the shadows are at their fullest, it is never, ever the endpoint.

A real “fairy tale ending” is transformation

So the story’s over, and you’ve got the castle, the gold, and the glory. That’s a fairy tale ending, right?

Not necessarily. Remember how the deep, dark woods is a place death and rebirth? The ending of the fairy tale is the hero/ine transformed. It’s like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis—after a time of darkness and change, you emerge as something else. Something that can soar.

Transfiguration isn’t always pretty. It’s not always gold and glory. But ultimately, I think it’s more satisfying.

Thanks again for having me, Mel. You can check out Six Stories, Told at Night wherever fine podcasts are found—and navigate the woods with our heroine.

Cheers!
KT

KT Bryski is a Canadian author and podcaster. She has short fiction in Daily Science Fiction, and stories forthcoming from Strange Horizons and Apex. Her audio dramas “Six Stories, Told at Night” and “Coxwood History Fun Park” are available wherever fine podcasts are found, and she is currently at work on her next novel. KT is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing. As you may have guessed, she also has a mild caffeine addiction. Visit her at www.ktbryski.com.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Audio Book Review: The Machines of Bellatrix

The Machines of Bellatrix

By:  Cary Caffrey

Publish Date:  November 4, 2013, Audiobook Release May 4, 2016

Format:  Audiobook - 9 hrs 57 mins
Narrated By:  Kristin James

Genre:  Sci Fi

Series:  2nd in The Girls from Alcyone series; Book 1 ~ The Girls from Alcyone

First Impression:  The girls are hunted, and Sigrid is determined to keep them all safe, at any cost.

Synopsis:
Alcyone is gone. The Independent stronghold on Scorpii is destroyed. Sigrid and her sisters have fled the Federation to make a new home on the remote world of Medea.

But with a price on her head the size of a planet, and pursued across the galaxy by the Council for Trade and Finance, Sigrid knows she and her sisters are not safe. As long as there are those who would seek to control them, hunt them, they will never be safe.

Unless Sigrid can stop them first.

But to stop them, Sigrid must first find them. But how? And where? Her only clue is a mysterious coded message; one that could serve as either warning or invitation; one that will lead Sigrid to a factory world at the very edge of Federation space, and to a deadly confrontation with her most dangerous enemy yet: the machines of Bellatrix.

First Sentence:
The TGV sped along, cruising at a pedestrian 782 kph.

Purchase At:
Amazon 

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I requested a copy of this audiobook from the narrator, author, or publisher for an honest review.

Sigrid, Lady Hitomi and all the girls have a price on their heads. But they need supplies badly in order to continue building their new home and survive. Sigrid is sent to acquire these, and ends up taking a job for supplies that are beyond valuable to them now, to learn that she was tricked. Now, the coordinates to New Alcyone is in the hands of another looking to make some serious cash. The deception opens up the possibilities of trouble for the girls. There are others hunting the girls of Alcyone, and have their own projects in process. And Sigrid is determined to keep them all safe, at any cost.

Dr. Farrington is determined to continue researching what Lady Hitomi Kimura has done with the girls. He's determined to do more than she did. Running to Bellatrix, he finds there are others here with their own facility, and working on what he wants to do.

Kristin is a favorite voice of mine. She does many different tones, accents, and emotions in her voices as we listen to the story. All these differences present help differentiate characters for me, and makes them more individual and personalized. As always, Kristin's voice is crystal clear in speaking and no background noise as well as seamless in flow. A pleasure to listen to.

This book starts like the previous ends, and my kind of story. Action and danger at each decision. I believe the girls would be in trouble if Sigrid doesn't act, yet it was her action that could bring danger to their doorstep and gives Sigrid the reason to correct what was started. There are slower times as they plan to protect New Alcyone by finding those after them. But I felt this was attracting due to the setting up of the people in positions and clues to where they are going and what they will look for. This book kept that feel throughout the story, adding more weight and backing to who Sigrid is after, and why.

We learn there is new research being done, and these prototypes might be more dangerous. The things these doctors are doing! They are just mad! But it's the next logical step in what they started to create with Alcyone. Scary.

This book feels more adult to me than the first book as well. The first book was them growing up and training, this is Sigrid and the first set of girls as they fight to survive. There are intimate moments with Sigrid and Suko. The private moments are rather detailed, so definitely adult content. These two ladies have a solid relationship and we see the romance between them through the book. Suko flirts more than Sigrid in stressful moments, but it helps them and us get through the serious moments and reminds that there is love there.

We do get addition POV's with Sigrid. In doing so we learn different directions and plans of others, slowly they come to light as we go through the book, all coming together. I feel there is more story and drive in this book where in the first book we got more of the girls growing up and training, which felt slow to me.

The ending... Oh my! Sigrid... Wow. I can't tell you but it takes the story to a new direction and makes me worry. What has happened? Oh, we were lead to this by everything in this book pointing to here, but it's still a shocker when we get there.

I was engrossed in this story the whole time. For me, this book was better than the first and I'm pleased I continued with the series. Where Sigrid is now... oh I am soooo looking forward to the next book!



***If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Post #141

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ugh. I'm running late on my normal time schedule for days and Sunday. I rarely do, or get the opportunity to, sleep in. Today, the stars were aligned and both happened. I slept in! As it feels great, it also works my nerves as I feel as I'm behind in everything. *sigh*

Surgery went well on Wednesday. I was in and out like clockwork and went hope shortly after waking. Yes, my family and I are those that wake from anesthesia and rush out the door. We just can't wait to leave and feel the energy to do so. I went back to work on Thursday as there was no pain. Hard to believe no pain, but there really wasn't. I did feel a touch of pressure and uncomfortable, but I believe that was from swelling inside, another thing my body does like to do - swell. So Friday I could take Advil and it helped with the swelling. The test results also came back Friday morning. There is NO cancer and NO pre-cancer cells. Woot woot! That's always great to hear.

Kiddo has been busy wit two-a-day football camp and a scrimmage yesterday. So now I'm also a touch sun burnt. lol. That might be why I slept in this morning... hmmm...

Other than that it's time to try to get back on schedule with writing, reading, visiting, and commenting.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Fit Booker:

Goal:  Workout in any form of exercise (or on Wii Fit) 2x's a week. (to feel better and hope to drop a few pants sizes)

How did I do last week... I got 1 days of exercise in last week. One with trainer. I'm not allowed to do strenuous activity or even treadmill or lifting for two weeks. *sigh*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
Tempered Hearts by Starla Huchton
The Side of Good / The Side of Evil edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail


Current Audiobook:
The World Beneath by Rebecca Cantrell

Current Podcast Book Listen:
Stonebriar Casefiles: Bad Alchemy by Laura Nicole Spencer (You can listen for free too!)


Finished Last Week: 
Nothing yet

Audiobooks from Audible:
Extracted by Sherry D. Ficklin & Tyler H. Holley


Finished Podcast Book Listen:
Alight by Scott Sigler (You can listen for free too!) 

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Last Week on the Blog:


Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)



Guest Posts:




Posts:

Spellbound in a Flash:
This week I posted pictures of my birthday flowers: Birthday Sunshine, Flowers


Challenged Writers:
I'll post at beginning of September, but you can always see previous posts.

Around the Internet...


Reviews:
Queen Mab by Kate Danley
"In the end, Kate's words and Julian's voice brought pools to my eyes, all works in my heart with the way this ends. Kate has done a splendid job of mixing what Shakespeare created with Romeo and Juliet and Queen Mab with her own story involving Queen Mab and the reason she's the way she is. I thoroughly enjoyed the story while I listened to it."


Harbinger by Philippa Ballantine
"We see the world as it's falling apart around our characters. Things are not looking good, and they may not all live to see what happens to the world when the Otherside crosses over. Maybe they don't want to see it. But they all will do everything in their power to stop it from happening."

Podcast Review:




Mama Bitchstress Reviews:



GIVEAWAYS:



~~~~~~~~~~

This Week to Come on the Blog:


I have 2 reviews (maybe 3).


~~~~~~~~~~

Received Last Weeks:


Review & Review Consideration:



Audio Books Requested for Review:
Apocalypse Machine by Jeremy Robinson
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
THE HUMAN RACE STARTED THE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION ON EARTH. 

A chain of subglacial volcanoes erupt in Iceland. The melting ice floods the countryside. Poisonous gas descends on Scotland. A tsunami devastates the Norwegian coastline. An ash cloud rises into the atmosphere, blotting out the sun across Europe, ushering in a new Ice Age. Dozens of nuclear power plants, flooded by ocean water, experience meltdowns. Millions perish. Many more are displaced. All on the first day. 

On the second day, a series of earthquakes moving in a straight line, reveal the presence of something massive, walking across the landscape. Concealed by a thick, radioactive ash cloud, the ‘aberration’ heads west, toward Russia. 

Abraham Wright, a science writer for Modern Scientist, who wants nothing more than to be reunited with his family, finds himself at the center of the United States’ response to the crisis. Under his new title as Assistant Science Advisor to the President, Wright is sent to Europe with a team of Army Rangers, where he uncovers the truth about the ancient behemoth laying waste to the world: there have been five mass extinctions on planet Earth, and the aberration has been present at each. 

On the third day, the world fights back. 

And loses. 

Separated from his family by continents and oceans ravaged by countless disasters and populated by strange new life, Wright struggles to survive in an evolving world. Hoping to uncover the key to mankind’s redemption, he fights for answers, and to reach his loved ones—before the human race’s extinction. 

THE APOCALYPSE MACHINE WILL FINISH IT. 

Highlander Raven by Melanie Karsak
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Destined to become Queen of Scotland.

Bound by blood to the Celtic gods.

Scotland, 1026--Gruoch, descendant of the line of MacAlpin, should have been born into a life of ease. But fate is fickle. Her father's untimely death, rumored to have been plotted by King Malcolm, leaves her future uncertain and stained by the prophecy that she will avenge her family line.

Escaping to one of the last strongholds of the old Celtic gods, Gruoch becomes an adept in arcane craft. Her encounters with the otherworld, however, suggest that magic runs stronger in Scotland than she ever imagined.

Haunted by dreams of a raven-haired man she's never met, Gruoch soon feels her fate is not her own. She is duty-bound to wed a powerful lord, if not the Prince himself; however, she's not sure she can stop her heart when she meets Banquo, a gallant highlander and druid.

Fans of Outlander and Mists of Avalon will relish this sweeping Scottish Historical Fantasy that tells the tale of Gruoch, a woman struggling to escape her fate without blood on her hands.

Queen of Night by Craig Schaefer
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
It all ends here. 

It ends as Livia Serafini returns to her homeland with an army at her back, an exiled refugee turned ruthless conqueror, bringing war and witchcraft to any who dare stand in her way. It ends as Renata Nicchi and her ragged band of hunters and outlaws infiltrate a city under siege, making a last, desperate bid to save her lover from the jaws of the criminal underworld and be reunited at last. 

And as the Owl and her coven work to unravel the mystery of Wisdom's Grave, a doom from the past threatens to consume them all. It ends here, in the final chapter of the Revanche Cycle, under the spreading shadow of darkness. In a land where poison is king, only one can become the queen of the night.

The Witch of Roan Mountains by Blaire Edens
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Maeve McMahan, a criminal defense attorney, has just blown the case of her career. When she returns home to the mountains of North Carolina to clear her head, she moves back in with her grandmother. On an easy hike, she meets the one woman she never expected to see: Delphine, The Witch of Roan Mountain. 

Accused of a terrible crime she didn’t commit, Delphine has been haunting the county since just after the Civil War and she can’t rest until her name is cleared. She’s counting on Maeve’s help to get to the bottom of the century-old mystery. 

Campbell Hyatt, a sheriff’s deputy, has never gotten over his first love, Maeve. When her grandmother breaks her leg, Campbell’s on duty and he finds Maeve at the top of Roan Mountain, convinced she’s seen a ghost. A cop who doesn’t believe in ghosts, he thinks Maeve needs to be focused on her grandmother not an old legend that hits a little too close to home for his liking. 
With Maeve’s car out of commission and Granny stuck in the hospital, Campbell and Maeve are thrown together in a quest to find out why Delphine was branded a witch. It will take both of them to get to the bottom of a nineteenth century story love story that may impact them more than they realize. Can they banish a ghost without rekindling an old flame of their own? 



Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:
Book:



Audio:
Black Rose by K.L. Bone
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
“May the Black Rose protect you in life and avenge you in death.” – Vow of the Black Rose

Six hundred years ago, the Muir Court was wiped from existence, destroyed by an elite group known as the Black Rose Guard. Their Captain, Mara, has a reputation of being a harsh woman who leads the guard with a fierce formality. During her long years, she has known pain, loss, heartache…and one great love.

Edward was the Captain of the Royal Guard of the Ciar Court. He loved her once. However, it was a love that faded the day he met young Liza, the Princess who stole the heart he had once sworn belonged to Mara alone. Liza was also the woman Mara was fated to protect. When the Queen learns of her daughter’s forbidden love for Edward, she devises a series of punishments, torturing Edward while her daughter is forced to watch. In a an act of desperation, Mara takes Liza’s place and looks on helplessly as Edward endures torments which break his body and Mara’s soul.

All of their pain is put aside when Liza is murdered by the rulers of a rival court. Haunted by her failure to protect the Princess and adhering to tradition, Mara takes the vow of the ‘Black Rose.’ It is an ancient oath which compels those under its power to abandon the lives they knew for the sake of a single goal: vengeance. Her quest leads her on a dark path of violence, rage, and bloodshed.

Tormented by a fate they can neither accept nor escape, Black Rose is a tale of retribution, love, and above all, honor—at any cost.

Heir of Koloso by K.L. Bone
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
“Fear to the fearless. Hope to the hopeless. Mercy to those who hate you. Death to those who love you. That is your destiny, Princess of Kale, Princess of Koloso, heir to both.” – Prophecy of the Kalian Twins 

The struggle for the throne intensifies as twin Princesses Ameria and Mariana are forced to contend with their bitter rivalry and haunted past. In this sequel to Heir to Kale, the sisters learn that they must first expose the secrets of their past before they can begin to unveil their shadowed destiny. 

Awaiting the Temple bout which will determine her fate, Princess Mariana struggles to unite a Kingdom long bereft of leadership. She must navigate a labyrinth of rival families, powerful lords, and the ever-widening rift between those who serve the Temples and those who do not. Unprepared and still grieving the loss of her mentor, Mariana must decide for herself what is right for the kingdom and who, if anyone, can be trusted. 

Meanwhile, Princess Ameria is more determined than ever to discover the true identity of her father’s killer and is willing to risk everything in order to find the answers she seeks. Embarking upon a quest which takes her from gleaming Temples to darkened castles, she endeavors to learn the truth about her family, the Prophecy, and the future of the Kingdom. Eventually turning to her estranged grandfather, the powerful and dangerous Lord Riccard, Ameria uncovers a truth about her family’s past from which will threaten to challenge the very foundations of her beliefs. 

However, as the sisters come closer to revealing their past and the prophecy which haunts their future, the wraiths watch from the shadows, an ever-present reminder that time is running out and that the fight for the throne looms upon the horizon.



Free Ebooks:

(On my Kindle App) Links to books under title. They may or may not be free at this time.
Revolutionary Magic by Thomas K. Carpenter
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Exile. Princess. Thief. 

After years of running from the Emperor of Russia's assassins, Ekaterina "Kat" Dashkova has finally found an unlikely home in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Benjamin Franklin. 

When a mid-level government official is found wandering colonial Philadelphia without his clothes—and his last two years of memories—Ben and Kat suspect otherworldly forces at work. Neither of them know that a dark revolution lurks beneath the veneer of civilization, ready to unleash its malevolent magic unless Kat makes a grim sacrifice. 

SuperNova by Liz Long
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
The streets of Arcania are overrun with crime, deteriorating as a madman named Fortune makes himself at home. He shows no mercy, striking down anyone in his path – including Nova Benson’s little sister. Devastated, Nova vows to seek justice for her family, but aside from her freak strength and impenetrable skin, how is she supposed to stop a monster like Fortune?

Cole Warner wants to help people. Entrusted to keep his family’s secret, he’s also frustrated at having to hide his gift. He knows he could do more to help in the fight against Fortune. If he could convince his sister Penelope to join him, they might even have a chance at beating him. When Cole meets Nova, he realizes his whole world is about to change. And he’s going to welcome it with open arms.

Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan.

Then again, neither was becoming a superhero.


Free Audio Books/Stories:


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Reviews to Come:

Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
Spark by Starla Huchton
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #5 - Old Sinner's Bones
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
Solomon's Seal by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Machines of Bellatrix by Cary Caffrey
Ancient Magic by Linsey Hall
Hidden Design by Tia Tormen
Alight by Scott Sigler
Extracted by Sherry D. Ficklin & Tyler H. Holley

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Book Review: Harbinger

Harbinger

By:  Philippa Ballantine

Publish Date:  June 30, 2013

Format:  Paperback, 305 pgs

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  4th in Book of the Order series; Book 1 ~ Geist, Book 2 ~ Spectyr, Book 3 ~ Wrayth

First Impression:  They have to fight to the finish now, for all in their world's sake.

Synopsis:
The Deacons of the Order are all that stand between the wicked spirits of the Otherside and the innocent citizens of the Empire. They are sworn to protect humanity, even when they cannot protect themselves…

After the Razing of the Order, Sorcha Faris, one of the most powerful Deacons, is struggling to regain control of the runes she once wielded. The Deacons are needed more desperately than ever. The barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead is weakening, and the Emperor has abandoned his throne, seeking to destroy those he feels have betrayed him.

Though she is haunted by the terrible truth of her past, Sorcha must lead the charge against the gathering hordes of geists seeking to cross into the Empire. But to do so, she will need to manipulate powers beyond her understanding—powers that may prove to be her undoing…

First Sentence:
Smoke blew off the once-admired canals of the capital of the Empire of Arkaym.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  Book Depository

My Thoughts and Summary:
When an attack hits the northern citadel they're staying, Sorcha and Merrick see the lines upon lines of souls of the dead, geists and geistlords, waiting to cross and wreck havoc and death upon the world. Sorcha and Merrick will face what they truly are, learning their powers and limits, as they race with Raed Rossin to save the world from the breach happening again. There is one man working all the powers he can to bring the geists and more to this world for him to rule.

I have waited long enough to read this one. It's bitter sweet as I love this world and characters, and this is the last book. *sigh*

We see the world as it's falling apart around our characters. Things are not looking good, and they may not all live to see what happens to the world when the Otherside crosses over. Maybe they don't want to see it. But they all will do everything in their power to stop it from happening. There are even a few geistlords that live upon the human realm and don't want the Otherside to cross, as they have to many enemies there. You know one of these geistlords as the Rossin. The Rossin has his own set of plans that do parallel what the Deacons and Raed want, not to let the geists cross.

We see Sorcha face her other half. She finally remembers her childhood, that was blocked from her. But we see her have to work with who and what she is. She's special and can help or destroy all. Merrick, ah yes. We've known he was unique and powerful in his own way. And here we learn why, combined with what we see with him in the previous books. As I love both of these characters for what makes them special, I also love Raed. He never asks for to much. He does not want to rule, and remains of that mind. He would like to be freed of the Rossin, but not at the cost of the world, and sail the sea. The Rossin has his own plans and wants to be free too. I enjoy seeing these characters pass through different phases in their life and coming to peace with where they end. The events that leave them where they are, makes it easier for us and them to accept the peace.

Now that I'm finished I'm thinking back on the ending. I am starting to think the ending is longer than I originally thought it was. I think it started the final battle when Sorcha and Raed, individually, fought the last man between opening the breach letting all the geists and deadly powers into the human realm. But when we get to the grand finale, I felt it happened to fast. Even reading it felt like there were things skipped over in those flash moments that ended it all. That was a little bummer for me. But what lifted the ending was seeing how the characters plan to go on with their lives. There is an ending, a peace in a way. However, there is always that small spark that is left that leaves a small opening for the world and characters as they could be visited again by the author.

I don't want to say to much more as this is the concluding book of the series and I want you to enjoy it in your adventure with the characters and their big conclusion to attempt to save the world.



**If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon. Thank you!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Audio Book Review: Queen Mab: A Tale Entwined with William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet

Queen Mab: A Tale Entwined with William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet

By:  Kate Danley, William Shakespeare

Publish Date:  May 11, 2013, Audiobook Release July 11, 2016

Format:  Audiobook - 6 hrs 25 mins
Narrated By:  Julian Rhind-Tutt

Genre:  Fantasy, Romance

Series:  Stand alone

First Impression:  A twist of fae to the world of Romeo and Juliet.

Synopsis:
"Oh then I see Queen Mab hath been with you..."

Everyone knows Romeo & Juliet, but what if it isn't the whole story? What if Queen Mab, mentioned in only one speech in the entire play, is actually responsible for all the tragedy about to strike the Houses of Montague and Capulet? And her love for Mercutio the key to everything...

Weaving Shakespeare's original text into a new story, fans of The Woodcutter will love this latest retelling by award-winning author Kate Danley. Experience the romance of Romeo & Juliet from a different point of view - through the eyes of the bringer of dreams... Queen Mab.

First Sentence:
Her golden hair tangled in his fingers.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.

The ruse to distract Queen Mab and away from her home to steal a sacred magical bull, creates a centuries long feud between Mab and Faunus. Each powerful being has picked a wealthy house, Montague or Capulet to continue the battle offering their protection, but one House will fall while the other rises. Mab is caught in meddling in the human world and punished for it, until she is touched by love like she tried to ruin. After centuries of competition between Mab and Faunus, which separated the two houses that were once dearer than blood relations to each other, Faunus suggests one last go. For all the power Mab has lost, to walk in daylight one again. Each must find a champion, but love gets in the way.

Okay, the first thing I noticed as I listened to the first words of the story, the seductive voice of Julian. *sigh* His accent and flow of his rhythmic tone had me at the first sentence. He uses his breath with the words to draw me to the feeling of the romance present with the characters. Good gracious! I wanted to listen to him for ever! Okay, the quality of the audio - it's splendid. It was clear and clean, nothing to distract for his amazing voice. Julian also did slight differences for the characters that indicated their emotions and personality as he spoke for them.

I do enjoy the poetic flow of descriptions written by Kate. It's similar to Shakespearian and, as the fairy descriptions do, has a unique feel to drawing images in our minds. Even what they do in action has a hidden meaning to get to what they want. And the fairy beings have centuries to wait for what they truly want, as they are immortal. And that the do here.

In the beginning things feel simple, the fae and their mischievous ways and Mab reck her revenge on those involved. Easy to understand and follow, which gives us the grace time to slip into thinking used to the speak of poetic words. We get the history and important events leading up to the big show of what happens with Romeo and Juliet. Bringing us the details from a few different POV's that tells what the characters are working toward, what they desire in doing all they've done. We mostly get the POV of Mab, but we do slip to Juno's head as well as Faunus too.

Oh, even Queen Mab has an equal out there that puts her in her place. Mab is not the only powerful being in the realm. Learning this in the story, we see Mab suffer from coming toe to toe with another powerful being. And there are lessons to be learned. In the fairy way, things twist and turn to bring those involved to do opposite what they thought they would do. There is always one pinning for power, and will do anything for it.

For what do the fairy of old compete over? Power? Affection? It seems that love is at the root of all, to feel or not feel love. But, the question is who was scorned deepest, as it seems several are seething to get revenge for the lack of love in their live. Love seems to be one emotion to easily manipulate to get what you want, yet you stand the chance of losing to love as well, which can be good and bad and what Mab learns here.

I found I was tearing up at one death. Saddened for the lose of life and the lose of a love that was finally felt. In the end, Kate's words and Julian's voice brought pools to my eyes, all works in my heart with the way this ends. Kate has done a splendid job of mixing what Shakespeare created with Romeo and Juliet and Queen Mab with her own story involving Queen Mab and the reason she's the way she is. I thoroughly enjoyed the story while I listened to it.

When I finished this story, I thought this could be one that young adults could listen/read as well. There was no terrible language or overly intimate scenes. It's about finding love. This could easily be read/listened to by all ages.

Who was the true player of these games? In the end I wonder if it wasn't Juno, who knew all needed to learn lessons and come to who they are. I would gladly listen to this story again, not only for Julian's voice but also for hearing the twists to the story as I would now know how it ends and could pick up some smaller details in the wavy road we take.



*If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!