Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

Blood keeps spilling as the third book takes it up a notch and ushers in a whole new line of secrets, romances, and deadly twists.

Title: Gathering Darkness
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Darkness, Book 3
Publish Date: December 9th, 2014 by Razorbill
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionWar brought them together. Love will tear them apart.

Alliances form across Mytica and beyond as royals and rebels alike race to hunt down the Kindred—the four elemental crystals that give their owners god-like power. The stakes have never been higher for Magnus and Cleo, who are brought together by a life or death decision that will lock their fates and change the course of the kingdom forever.

THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo slays with sweetness—and a secret that might control Lucia’s magic—as she and vengeful Jonas lead the hunt for the all-powerful Kindred.

THE KRAESHIANS join the fray. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the vast kingdom across the Silver Sea, prove to be just as ruthless as they are charming as they manipulate their way to victory.

THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally, in the flesh, with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred.

And which side will Prince Magnus choose, now that everyone he’s been betrayed by everyone he’s ever loved?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

Magnus has been betrayed by his father, who harbors secrets about his true lineage and also had his mother killed, and by his sister, who knows the truth about his feelings and now feels nothing but repulsion from him despite their old bonds.

Cleo has a goal in mind—befriend Lucia, gain power over her and her magical abilities, and win back Auranos. And for the most part, it works until Lucia discovers the truth and goes berserk.

Jonas, with Cleo’s help and a shady new friend, is trying to find the kindred before anyone else and save his friends in the meantime. But trusting the wrong people is only going to get him in big trouble.

Lucia is awake, alive, and ready to get control over her elementia. But when the boy she loves is killed by all the machinations of the people she loves, she’s ready to go dark side.

So all these characters have their own agendas right now, and it makes for a very interesting mix. This is the first book in the series that really gripped me to my core so that when I was working away from the book, I found I really wanted to get back to it, wanted to read more to find out what would happen. I almost thought it was a five-star book.

But the romance just didn’t do it for me. At this point, Magnus seems to be throwing his love around anywhere the wind blows. He still cares for Lucia, though in honesty, he’s almost over her. He decides to sleep with Amara, who turns out to be his enemy. And then at the end, he and Cleo kiss at random. Like, what the hell? Plus, Lucia gets her own romance in Alexius, sleeping with a guy she barely knows and will probably be the end of her (which he is, who could have guessed?). And Nic, who wants Cleo and Ashur? Ashur, who kisses him, confuses him, and suddenly he’s in love with him?

Man, half of it just seemed… forced or there just to be a simple plot. I know for certain that the other half of it was there for plot twists. Like Magnus sleeping with Amara. That much I knew was a mind game. But the rest? Predictable and sometimes unnecessary. It distracted me from the main plots of the book.

But it still gets a four from me anyway!

Series list and reviews…

Some links will become active as future reviews are published.

Other recommendations…

Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse; Renee Adieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn; Jodi Meadows’s The Orphan Queen series.

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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 8/19/18

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

Back with new releases again…they keep writin’ them, we keep readin’ them!

Kris Michaels just released Asp (see August 15 post – I thought the book was fab), and here she is working double time getting another story out!  Check out the newest release.

Title:  A Backwater Blessing
Author:  Kris Michaels
Series: The Kings of Guardian and Hearts Desire crossover
Released:  August 9, 2018
Description:  When Cole, Mr. FBI, and Logan, local cop and reigning Ice Princess, hook up to solve a case of Mississippi corruption at the highest judicial levels, sparks fly. Their attraction is hotter than the sultry southern sun. She wants to hate him—but she can’t. And Cole would never commit career suicide by staying in a backwater Mississippi town…not for any woman…especially not for Isabella Logan Church.

***ALERT:  I asked the author for position in the line up of the The Kings of Guardian books and here’s what she said…

This story takes place while Joseph’s book is happening. Davis then makes an appearance in Jasmines book and in A Hearts Desire. So I really can’t make it a .5, it is just Cole’s backstory.~Kris Michaels

 

Another Kris Michaels announcement:  She’s releasing another book on October 31.  It’s a cool anthology of the digital sort.  There are nine authors that are going to submit different stories in the SEALs of Paradise series.   The series will be released during September – October 2018. Check them out when you can.

Title:  Hot SEAL, Single Malt  
AuthorKris Michaels
Series:  SEALs of Paradise
To Be Released: October 31, 2018
Description:  A sense of duty drove Gunner Kincade’s twenty years of service as a Navy SEAL and after his Pops had a stroke, that same sense of duty drove him back to Half Moon Bay to help his old man run his bar, The Wayward Walrus. He meant to surprise Pops with the news he’d retired and was home to stay. It didn’t exactly work to plan. Pops had hired a tiny fireball by the name of A.J. Erickson. Before she’d even learned his name, A.J. managed to sic the local police on him, drown him in dirty mop water and crush his privates, and to his chagrin, she wasn’t going anywhere. Pops had sold her twenty percent of his bar.

After she healed enough to leave the east Texas hospital and testify against her ex-boyfriend, A.J. packed up and drove west. Answering Silas Kincaide’s help wanted ad seemed an answer to a prayer. The old gentleman needed her skills and it didn’t hurt they got along like a house-a-fire. She settled in and made Half Moon Bay and the Walrus her home. After the physical abuse she’d suffered in Texas, she’d honed her ninja skills and though tiny, she stood her ground and defended the Walrus from a trespassing, six-foot-four, muscle-bound, hulk. When Silas introduced the hunched over male, the one cradling his balls, as his son, Gunner, she about died from mortification. Things went downhill from there.

What’s an ex-SEAL to do when a diminutive fireball worms her way past all the bruises she’s inflicted and into his unwilling heart?

 

Next in line is a series that I haven’t started yet (bows head in shame).  It looks so very good and I love Bec McMaster‘s writing.  It’s like I need to have a full time job just reading books!  Anyway, check it out!

Title:  To Catch a Rogue
Author: Bec McMaster
Series: London Steampunk: The Blueblood Conspiracy #4
To be released:  October 30, 2018
Description:  An impossible heist. A thief and a rogue. But will she steal his heart, instead?

The Company of Rogues finally knows the identity of the mastermind behind a plot against the queen—but their enemy is still one step ahead of them. When he kidnaps one of theirs, the Rogues plan a daring rescue mission that will lead them into the heart of the bloodthirsty Crimson Court.

It’s a job for a master thief, and there’s nothing Charlie Todd likes more than a challenge. To pull off the impossible, Charlie needs a crew, including the only thief who’s ever been able to outfox him.

He broke her heart. But now she must risk it all to save his life…

Lark’s spent years trying to forget her past, but the one thing she can’t ignore is the way a single smile from Charlie still sets her heart on fire. When he proposes they work together again, it feels just like old times, but she has one rule: this is strictly business.

It’s Charlie’s last chance to prove he can be trusted with her heart. But Lark’s keeping a deadly secret. And as passions are stirred and the stakes mount, it might be the kind of secret that could destroy them all…

Ocean’s 11 meets Dracula, in this sexy paranormal heist by USA Today Bestselling Author, Bec McMaster. If you like sexy paranormal romances, steampunk shenanigans, and plenty of action-adventure (vampires, dirigible flights, and steamy rooftop chases), then dive into this thrilling heist with Charlie and Lark.

You could say I’ve been catching up on my series books as of late.  I really am excited about that because it’s like a family reunion.  The next series update is from Teresa Gabelman and her The Protectors series.  The one thing I loved about this book is that there is trouble in paradise for one of the vampire couples.  You know how you read along and are supposed to believe that each mated pair will be happy with one another for eternity?  You know and I know how unrealistic that is.  I mean every couple has their spats.  This story showcases a new and freshly minted couple AND it does show a fissure in a couple that is not the prime focus of the book.  It makes it more real life, in my opinion anyway. And more to that is that Steve learns his super power and the wedding goes on.  Oh, and I had to go back and read Sloan again.  Couldn’t resist.

Title:  Ronan
Author: Teresa Gabelman
Series: The Protectors #12
Released:  July 30, 2018
Description:  Most think that newest VC Warrior, Ronan McDonald, is just a laid back cowboy. What they don’t see is the inner turmoil that only his small ranch and horses can tame. At least that was the way it had been until a witch with a beauty none could deny walked into his life.

Running has been Kira Grail’s life for as long as she can remember. It isn’t until she meets a VC Warrior that she realizes she is growing weary, but the forces chasing her will never bend.

Ronan doesn’t believe in witches or curses. What he does believe is that only he can keep Kira safe. Together they fight to bring the once powerful warlock, Orjyll, to his knees releasing the women of the Dragonfly Coven. During their perilous journey Kira vows to keep her distance, but the vampire cowboy has other plans.

 

The last update I have today is the new Chloe Neill series.  Heirs of Chicagoland #1 starts out with Merit and Ethan’s little girl all grown up.  It’s so weird.  Not in a bad way at all.  It’s just that I’m welcoming a new generation to take my favorite vampires places.  It’s just weird.

I’m half way through the book but I had to stop and go back and read Howling for You and Slaying It.  (My reviews will be upcoming).  It’s makes me feel old to go back to when Keene was a tiny baby and Elisa was not born yet.  What makes me feel even more strange is that their parents haven’t aged a bit.  I’m not sure I’m cut out for this vampire life.  Anyway, I’ll be reviewing it all very soon, so if you are interested keep a weath’er eye.

Title:  Wild Hunger
Author: Chloe Neill
Series:  Heirs of Chicagoland #1
Released:  August 14, 2018
Description:  As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

 

Asp (Guardian Security Shadow World #2) by Kris Michaels

Guardian Security’s Shadow World reveals Asp.  The Shadow World operatives have nothing.  No real relationships, no ties. All they have is their job and their closest friends are other assassins.  How does one drop their guard long enough to let someone else in?

Title: Asp
Author:  Kris Michaels
Series:  Guardian Security Shadow World #2
Publish Date: July 31, 2018
Genre:  Military Romance
Source: reviewers purchase
Publisher’s Description:  As a Shadow, Asp planned his assassinations with meticulous care. His work required one thing, that the Council direct his kills. The coded target became a “sanctioned hit” and that distinction was vital.

His most recent assignment took him to a remote area of the Andes Mountains in Colombia. He completed his assassination according to plan – more or less – but no amount of careful planning could have prepared him for the dire circumstances he found himself in. As he faded in and out of consciousness due to a life-threatening bullet wound, he knew he might not get home. He’d resigned himself to dying alone, just not this soon.

Lyric Gadson was an unwilling expatriate. She’d trade her grandfather’s farm in the foothills of the Andes for her old life in Jacksonville, Florida in a heartbeat. But, the cost of a return ticket was out of reach, and Lyric found herself maturing from carefree teen to responsible woman on a remote Colombia banana farm. When her beloved grandfather failed to return from his yearly pilgrimage to his wife’s shrine, Lyric thought nothing of packing her kit and hiking into the Andes mountains to find him. She found her grandfather—and an unconscious man near death. Her decision to stay and care for the dying man would usher in the greatest love of her life, but it could also threaten everyone else she held dear.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In some cases…spoilers. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

This is a new series, a spin off of The Kings of Guardian series.  These men (so far) are assassins who take care of the sanctioned kills of super bad people.  This story does have some swearing, some sex but no cliffhanger.  There are also guns, scary situations and an impossible kind of love that becomes possible.

Kris Michaels writing ranks right up there with a lot of great writers.  Susan Stoker, Teresa Gabelman and Tina Folsom are just a few.  This story is well thought out and is written so well it’s very hard to put down.  As a matter of fact, the pages practically turn themselves.

Since I’ve never been an assassin or been in a situation where I had to hold up in a cave and heal after a gun shot wound, I can’t say if this story is believable or would actually happen like it does in the book.  With that said, I believe it.  I can’t imagine the amount of hours of research that this author has put into her books but like I said, they are so well written and action packed that I felt like I was a mouse hidden in the backpack coming along for the ride.

There is no doubt that this is a 5 star.  Every time I finish one of Michaels’s books I think that it can’t get any better, but by the time the next book rolls around and I read it – it gets better.  Cheers to an amazing author.

Our reviews in this series…

 

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Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

Limeros is victorious – but Auranos and Paelsia now have to deal with the consequences of their actions in book one. Now Jonas and Cleo must take a stand against some very powerful enemies. And Magnus will have to decide what is more important to him – love or duty – as he’s forced to marry a woman whose life he destroyed.

Title: Rebel Spring
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Falling Kingdoms, Book 2
Publish Date: November 27th, 2013 by Razorbill
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: After a bloody siege, Auranos has been defeated, its young queen orphaned and dethroned. The three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But the allure of ancient, dangerous magic beckons still, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the whole world over…

At the heart of the fray are four brave young people grappling for that magic and the power it promises. For Cleo, the magic would enable her to reclaim her royal seat. In Jonas’s hands, it frees his nation, and in Lucia’s, it fulfills the ancient prophecy of her destiny. And if the magic were Magnus’s, he would finally prove his worth in the eyes of his cruel and scheming father, King Gaius, who rules Mytica with a punishing hand.

When Gaius begins to build a road into the Forbidden Mountains to physically link all of Mytica, he sparks a long-smoking fire in the hearts of the people that will forever change the face of this land. For Gaius’s road is paved with blood, and its construction will have cosmic consequences.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

Jonas becomes the leader of the rebels and a very, very wanted man. Cleo has just lost her family and throne and is now a prisoner in her own home, forced to marry Magnus. Lucia slumbers deeply for mysterious reasons. And Magnus is trying to figure out where his loyalties really lie.

The plot is still thickening in this one as people really start to see new sides to new characters. Lo and behold, the Limerian king actually had a magical guide, telling him to slaughter everyone that stood in his way, a guide that has ties to Alexius, who visits Lucia in her dreams, and Lucia has the ability to do practically anything with her powers. Hmm… the mysteries surrounding this one deepen.

Plus, here’s a kicker. Jonas and Cleo are trying to set aside their differences (Jonas kidnapped Cleo in the first one and he does it again in this one) and team up. But of course, things don’t always go according to plan. Jonas isn’t the best strategist, and so he often leads his comrades into very dangerous, unlucky situations. Cleo may be getting better at lying and faking her way through most of the things she’s facing, but even she can’t silver-tongue the King of Blood.

And there’s a lot of blood. That’s for sure. Lots of action in this, plus I’m finally starting to lean towards certain characters more, which is what the author was probably trying to do. Get readers to root for certain characters, root for a certain side. I find that I’m actually the least fond of Lucia. Because she hasn’t witnessed a lot of hard times in her life (she was the favored child, spoiled by her father but hated by her mother), she seems like a naive brat who throws tantrums whenever she doesn’t get her way. And now she’s giving whatever darkness she has within her time to play.

Four stars for this one – I’m really starting to get hooked at this point.

Series list and reviews…

Some links will become active as future reviews are published.

Other recommendations…

The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard; Snow Like Ashes series by Sara Raasch; and Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas.

The Book of Dust Volume 1: La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman

Before Lyra started her adventures, her coming was foretold. See how it really started in La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman, a new book in the same world as His Dark Materials.

Title: The Book of Dust Volume 1: La Belle Sauvage
Author: Phillip Pullman
Series: The Book of Dust 01
Publish Date: October 19, 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Digital library book

Publisher’s DescriptionMalcolm Polstead is the kind of boy who notices everything but is not much noticed himself. And so perhaps it was inevitable that he would become a spy…

Malcolm’s parents run an inn called the Trout, on the banks of the river Thames, and all of Oxford passes through its doors. Malcolm and his daemon, Asta, routinely overhear news and gossip, and the occasional scandal, but during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm catches wind of something new: intrigue.

He finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust—and the spy it was intended for finds him.

When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, he sees suspicious characters everywhere: the explorer Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a daemon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl—just a baby—named Lyra.

Lyra is the kind of person who draws people in like magnets. And Malcolm will brave any danger, and make shocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through the storm.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Agent Annie says…

5 stars isn’t enough praise for this book. Having loved the original trilogy, His Dark Materials, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Lyra’s early life. So much so, that I went from this book right back to the original trilogy. Pullman did a fantastic job of creating a much larger role for very minor characters in the original. This also felt much more like a straight adventure tale rather than a moral tale with an adventure.

The flight from the nunnery that Malcolm and “the kitchen girl” make is absolutely heart pounding. I literally was up until the wee hours reading to make sure they were OK. However, the tension lasts until practically the last page, so it was hard to know when to put it down and take a breath. The evil character and his daemon, the disabled hyena, that pursues the young people and baby Lyra are villains straight from your worst nightmares. The one thing that kept me from despair was knowing that Lyra makes it to Oxford and is taken in.

Other recommendations…

I highly recommend the whole body of work from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials!

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