Category Archives: Review

The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

The Gilded King promo slide(1)

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Gilded kingTitle: The Gilded King
Author: Josie Jaffrey
Series: Book 01 of the Sovereign Series
Publish Date: Expected Publication June25, 2018
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Provided by Author

Publisher’s DescriptionIn the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.


Luna Lovebooks says… Luna_Lovebooks_100

‘Of course. You want to hear the fairytale, don’t you?’

Ms. Jaffrey quickly became one of my favorite authors when I read her Solis Invicti Series. I, of course, jumped at the chance when she asked me if I would be interested in reading the first book in a new series set in the same world, where the events of the Solis Invicti are mere legends and fairy tales. Hey, all fairy tales have a seed of truth right?

Two stories are brilliantly melded into one without shortchanging the other. We read of Julia in the Blue. A world of humans ruled by Nobility in the last city on Earth. Julia is well written in her struggle to keep with the status quo but also her wonder at what really lies beyond the walls of the Blue. This internal battle continues even after she is assigned to be an Attendant for a young Silver named Lucas, who also questions their world.

But we also get to catch up with an old acquaintance, Cam, in the Red – a wasteland filled with death (or so the humans of the Blue believe). Cam searches for Emmy and it is through this search that we learn about the events that happened in between the two series. We also learn that the Red really is a dangerous place as the monsters of the previous series have grown in numbers – but for a horrifying reason.

This tale is told through Julia and Cam’s alternating point of views and when the Red starts to bleed into the Blue and world collide, it is explosive. We get both Cam and Julia’s emotions and insecurities and hopes and maybe even budding romances.

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Characters and world are both well written. The only issue I had is that while these are two separate stories, I feel like you really should read the Solis Invicti series before this one. It is not necessary, but I feel like you will get more out of the secondary characters if you have their background and the history behind the fairy tale. Overall I enjoyed this promising new start but I didn’t devour it the way I did the prequel series. I give it 4 silver studs.

Other recommendations…

Solis Invicti Series by Josie Jaffrey, The Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Secret Keepers Series by Jaymin Eve

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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The Seer’s Daughter by Athena Daniels

This seductive supernatural thriller is as sexy as it is captivating. The Seer’s Daughter is a perfect blend of suspense, paranormal and romance. A brutal murder brings together a young woman and a detective with two very different beliefs.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

seersTitle: The Seer’s Daughter
Author: Athena Daniels
Series: Beyond the Grave 01
Publish Date: November 9, 2015, Sunset Coast Publishing
Genre: Thriller/Paranormal Romance
Source: From the publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionTo save her, he must let go of everything he ever believed.

Upon returning to her hometown for her grandmother’s funeral, Sage Matthews is terrorized by a series of strange events. She dismisses each eerie occurrence as a by-product of her overwrought emotional state, until it becomes chillingly clear that something not of this world is desperate to get a message—or is it a warning?—through to her…

Detective Sergeant Ethan Blade comes to Cryton, South Australia, to catch a serial killer. When Ethan meets Sage—the latest victim’s beautiful granddaughter—his attraction to her is explosive and inconvenient. He knows she’s not crazy, but Sage’s theory about the murders is unbelievable.

With the handsome detective rejecting her ideas, Sage embarks on the supernatural journey that her grandmother started. What she discovers shatters everything Sage ever knew about herself—and who she really is.

Ethan’s routine case quickly turns personal when he discovers Sage is the killer’s next target. For her, he’ll break all the rules and cross every line. But how can he protect Sage from an evil he cannot even conceive of?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

“Mother of all things holy, the man knew how to kiss! Every inch of her skin was on fire and aching for his touch. She ran her hands across his shoulders and down his chest, resenting the thin layer of fabric that kept her from the warmth of his skin. Tugging at the bottom of his T-shirt, she caressed his taut abdomen, then slid her fingers up and across the rippling muscles of his chest. The contact was electric, and she reveled in the low sound it elicited from him.”

This is the first book I have read by the author and to be honest it probably will not be the last (and not just because of the cliffhanger ending). The romance is steamy but it isn’t overpowering. The main focus is the investigation into Sage’s grandmother’s death. Sage begins to believe her Nan was killed by some supernatural force, while Detective Ethan Blade thinks more logically. The blending of these two beliefs from logical serial killer to demon possession is amazing.

There were two elements that bothered me a little. One was the fact that Sage spent a little too much time grieving over Nan. I understand that it was a sudden and tragic death and they were super close, but I felt like she should have gotten angrier and wanted to catch the killer far sooner than she did. The second element was the inconsistency of the family’s popularity. It is established that no one visits the shop or send cards and that Nan’s circle was small. But suddenly everyone loves Nan and her funeral is attended by a multitude of people? It was just a little hard to believe.

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Despite these two shortcomings, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and they don’t take away from the novel, just makes you pause and question. I cannot wait to dive into the rest of the series over the next few months and see where the Beyond the Grave series takes us! I give this particular novel 4 pendants.

Other recommendations…

Check out these other great reads!

Scarred by Elizabeth Montgomery, Don’t Wake the Dead by C.C. Wood, Ironic Sacrifice by Brooklyn Ann

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

The Broken Ones by Danielle L Jensen

Marc and Penelope get their own story – but their doomed fate spells disaster for them and everyone around them.

Title: The Broken Ones
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Malediction Trilogy
Genre: YA High Fantasy 
Publisher’s Description:
Prequel to the USA Today bestselling and Goodreads Choice finalist Stolen Songbird.

Below Forsaken Mountain, a plot is being hatched to overthrow the tyrant king of Trollus, and Marc is the right-hand man of its leader.  His involvement is information more than one troll would kill to possess, which is why he must keep it a secret from everyone, even the girl he loves.

After accidentally ruining her sister’s chance to become queen, Pénélope is given one last opportunity by her father, the Duke d’Angoulême, to make herself useful: she must find proof that the boy she’s in love with is conspiring against the crown. If she fails, her life will be forfeit. Now Marc and Pénélope must navigate the complex politics of Trollus, where powers on all sides are intent on using them as pawns, forcing them to risk everything for a chance at a life together.

Except being together may turn out to be the greatest risk of all.


Kat Mandu says…

The Broken Ones is a prequel to the Malediction trilogy, a series that features a hidden and cursed city called Troullus, which is full of trolls and ancient magic. Marc, who is the best friend to the lead character in the trilogy, is one of the narrators in this book. Penelope, who is mentioned in the trilogy but never really plays a big role for obvious reasons, also lends her voice to the story.

It’s exciting in the way that you get to hear more about the backstory of Marc and Penelope, but if you’ve read the whole trilogy like I have, you already know what’s going to happen. Their history has a lot of impact on Marc’s character in the trilogy, especially when it comes to romance. He’s always the one trying to spur Tristan into loving with all his heart and going for it. It’s very fun when you hear them bicker because the boys are like an old married couple.

Penelope is new, so I’m going to talk about how much I enjoyed that her character was so different than everyone else in Trollus. With her affliction, she wasn’t as strong or intimidating as all the other trolls, especially like those in her family or Tristan’s. She doesn’t come close to having a lot of power, so it’s up to her to use other skills that can get her what she needs. She’s sneaky and strategic, even if her father is always one step ahead. Plus, she genuinely loves Marc, even though she knows it’ll end badly for her. And what can I say, I love dedicated characters. I don’t know what it would be like to grow up in her position, pitied and expendable to those she feels should love her.

The one downside for this book for me was that I already knew what was going to happen. There were no surprises, no suspense, and no cliffhangers. It was almost too predictable, despite the political mind games being played and the beautiful romance. Regardless, this world is still wonderfully built and the magical system is always intriguing. The author always delivers a very vivid tale of power, politics, and romance. It’s a sad ending – but leads into a new beginning.  

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

I’d recommend authors like Holly Black, Sherry Thomas, and Morgan Rhodes.

 

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Terminal Core by Lynn Steigleder

Science fiction meets the wild west in this stand-alone novel by Lynn Steigleder

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

terminal coreTitle: Terminal Core
Author: Lynn Steigleder
Series: Stand Alone
Publish Date: April 18, 2016
Genre: Space Western
Source: Provided by Author

Publisher’s Description: Aon, a solid core planet made from the priceless and most dense element in the galaxy, caladium, is under silent attack. Plans are made by off-worlders to dissolve the unbreakable core using crude oil obtained from 19th-century Earth. Once the oil is refined, the byproduct, gasoline, will soften the caladium, allowing it to be collected. It is soon discovered the core is made from living beings created from caladium itself. The off-worlders employ a band of corrupt inhabitants to carry on this work. They find themselves in a constant struggle with a small coalition of Aonians bent on saving their homeworld. Both factions clash with the indestructible core creatures. With horrendous beasts one step behind and deadly pitfalls ahead, the coalition struggles to finish its journey, hoping to ensure their races’ survival.


Luna Lovebooks says… Luna_Lovebooks_100

There were several elements that I liked and enjoyed about this novel. For starters, the world building was very interesting. In many science fiction novels, readers either spend time on Earth with advances in technology, or readers go into space and rarely get a look at what Earth is like. In Terminal Core, readers get both. I really enjoyed the mix of western meets sci-fi. The fact that it was unusual also appealed to me.

I had a hard time following the plot as the book is divided into short chapters and each chapter jumps from character to character. This would normally be fine, but a few times, I was thrown for a loop when it seemed like a character died and then a few chapters later would start talking again. I think if the chapters were a bit longer it would have worked out much better. Some of the book is very telling and not showing.

Many of the characters are well written. However, readers are given little time to explore and learn to love or hate them. There are just too many. Character development is okay, but trying to get to know them and care about what happens to them is difficult because there are so many of them. Many are likable for the most part, and a few you would grow to hate if given the chance. 

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Even though the plot can be hard to follow, everything does come together in the end. Characters meet up or die and the world is saved. For me, this book was just ok. It jumped around too much, and with so many characters, it was hard to keep track of who was who. For this reason, I give this novel three cores. But don’t let me pdissuade you. If you think the premise sounds good or like Space Westerns, then by all means, pick up this unusual book.

Other recommendations…

Try these other great reads: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland, West by Carys Davies, Taming Chaos by Anna Carven

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell

Historical Romance.  Governess and Duke.  Not a simple romance, but a life story from a fascinating woman meeting a abused and neglected duke.  It’s a story that I could not put down.

Title: What a Difference a Duke Makes
Author: Lenora Bell
SeriesSchool for Dukes #1
Publish Date: March 27, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:  Wanted: Governess for duke’s unruly children

Edgar Rochester, Duke of Banksford, is one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in England, but when it comes to raising twins alone, he knows he needs help. The only problem is the children have chased away half the governesses in London. Until the clever, bold, and far-too-enticing Miss Mari Perkins arrives.

Lost: One heart to an arrogant duke

Mari knows how to wrap even the most rebellious children around her finger. But their demanding, wickedly handsome father? He won’t be quite so easy to control. And there’s something else she can’t seem to command. Her heart. The foolish thing beats so wildly every time the duke is near.

Found: A forbidden passion neither can deny

As his employee, Mari is strictly off-limits. But what if she’s the one breaking all his rules? In the game of governess versus duke, how can Edgar maintain his defenses when the only thing he wants to do is let the tempting beauty win?

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


 

Nervous Nellie says…

I told you I’d break your bloody nose.  Now get in the carriage and leave, you craven piece of maggot droppings.

That’s a Duke defending a Lady, that’s what that is!! Awesome romance.  Plain and simple.  Two common folk that lead a not so uncommon life.  The Duke is a tradesman.  The Governess is an orphan.  Both are emotionally damaged, but then again, how can they not be when they were abused as children.  There is no cliffhanger and there is a very feel good and satisfying ending.  This is definitely a book to get lost in for a few hours.

Photo by Alexander Petrenko / alexstudio.ch

I actually met Lenora Bell.  I did! Scout’s honor and all that!  Let me tell you that she would totally fit in the era she loves to write.  SHE belongs on the cover of the books she writes as she is as pretty as any cover model, as kind as any of her heroines.  She’s also an amazing historical writer.

I bought her series The Disgraceful Dukes when I saw her in the Kansas City Kisscon.  Her next book in this School For Dukes series won’t be out until September 18, 2018, which will feature the sister of the hero Duke from this book.  Now, that’s going to be a blast because India is someone I would LOVE to have as a friend in real life.

Ok, about this book.  It was a great vacation to take on a beautiful spring/summer day sitting outside in my lawn chair.  Mari is a strong, independent 20 year old that has to make her way in the world alone.  She gets dumped on by the proprietor of the governess-for-hire service and gets her trunk stolen on the first day she’s in London.  Her life kicks into overdrive after that.  Chasing two youngsters who are feeling misplaced and unloved is quite a challenge, but Mari knows a thing or two about feeling misplaced and unloved.

Edgar, Duke of Banksford, has had enough crap happen in his life to rival Mari, which makes them a perfect match.  He doesn’t know what to do with children.  Hell, he doesn’t even know what to do with himself.  He’s trying so hard that he’s spinning his wheels.  Then comes Mari.

Everyone needs someone to share the bad things as well as the good things.  Someone who knows the secrets and will keep them as well as defend them.  These two are perfect matches, but sometimes it takes the boldness of the woman to take the first steps.  Mari is the one that tugs the Duke along his path whether he wants to or not.  She is his hero and mine too.

 

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