Friday, May 18, 2018

Review: Three Dark Crowns Novellas by Kendare Blake

I recently listened to On Dark Throne on audio and learned that there were two companion novellas that go with the series.  My library had them on ebook so I put them on hold and read them when they came in.  They are pretty short, so you could read them in a sitting or two depending on how much time you have to devote to reading.  I really enjoy this series and I'm looking forward to book three when it comes out.  These are nice companions to the series, not required, but fans of the series will appreciate what they have to tell and enjoy being back in the world.

I read these individually, but there is a bind up that includes both of them called Queens of Fennbirn.  I combined my review because they are fairly short and I don't want to spoil to much if you haven't read the first two full books or the novellas.


The Oracle Queen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was really excited to read this as the Oracle Queen is mentioned several times in books 1 & 2. This is the true story of what happened to the Oracle Queen Elsabet. This was OK, but it wasn't everything I was expecting. We get the story, and it is full of the typical plotting and political aspirations of the various members of the Black Council. The Queen is the Queen, but everyone around her aspires to be in
charge and tell her what to do with her power.

I wanted more from this than I got. It has the potential to add so much to the series, but I'm left wanting. We do learn some new things, but I'm not sure if they will impact the story going forward or add anything to the series. Elsabet doesn't ever use her gift, she gets a dream but thats it. Thre is a ton of backstabbing and plotting which after reading the rest of the books in the series you should expect, but usually that is accompanied by fantasy elements and action. There isn't much action in this, just politics until the end when there is a flurry of action and then its all over.

This is a decent novella, I just wanted more from it. I'm glad I read it and learned what I did about the Oracle Queen, but I just feel like the execution could have been better.





My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a nice little companion novella to Three Dark Crowns and One Dark Throne. If you've read those this gives a glimpse into the Queens as young girls living at the Black Cottage. If you haven't read the other books this contains some spoilers, if you have it doesn't spoil anything you don't already know.

We get to know each of the girls a little as they are first split up from each other and taken to each of their foster families when they are 6. We learn a bit about each of the families and how the girls were treated as children. We know how they act and are treated as grown women about to fight for the crown, but they weren't always "part of the family".

This particular novella didn't really expand the world or any of the information from the first two novels. We do get some more information on the characters and some of the events that happen to the queens as children that mold them into the women they become when we meet them in Three Dark Crowns. It is a nice companion, as a fan of the series I really enjoyed it. It isn't required information to understand what is going on in the series, but it was a nice treat.

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Review: Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Furyborn Furyborn by Claire Legrand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This releases on May 22, 2018.  If you enjoy fantasy I recommend it.  Be warned, it has some more adult/mature content even though it is marketed as Young Adult.  I feel it leans more New Adult/Adult.


I really enjoyed this, and I can't wait to see what happens next. It follows two different perspectives, which typically is not my favorite but I liked how it was done here. Because the perspectives aren't the two love interests alternating back and forth and they are in different time periods, you get two distinct storylines that aren't muddled by their feelings for each other. I do think that it slowed the pacing down a bit though, just as I was getting invested in one character’s story we would switch and I would lose interest in what was going on in the other timeline. I think had we stayed with one character a little longer it would have kept the flow of the story going. The prologue sucks you in, and you think the characters are completely unrelated, but as things unfold we learn that they are very much connected.

We follow Rielle, who has since she was 5 has been hiding her abilities to control the elements. Some people can control one element but she can control all 7. Her father has had her hide her ability and train to control it after an accident when she was a child. When she is exposed, she is put through excruciating trials to see if she is the prophesied Sun Queen, come to save the kingdom from the angels when the gate trapping them finally falls. Angels in this world are evil creatures, and they were defeated by Seven Saints at one time, trapping them behind a gate. The prophecy foretells that the gate will fall and the angels will return, and that two queens will rise, one of blood and one of light. The Blood Queen will destroy the world and the Sun Queen will save it. Rielle undergoes the trials thinking that she is the Sun Queen, as she can control all 7 elements and she wants nothing more than to protect her kingdom. She also wants her best friend Audric, whom she’s been in love with forever. He of course is the Crown Prince of the kingdom and engaged to her other best friend Ludivine. Rielle and Audric’s romance is fairly predictable, and at times over the top. Ludivine is always there to support Rielle, and I really loved her as a side character. As Rielle undergoes the trials, she has some extra help, but I don’t want to spoil it. It’s a plot twist you have to read for yourself.

Eliana is an assassin working for the empire and rooting out the rebel faction the Red Crown. She’s noticed that women around town keep mysteriously disappearing, but she doesn’t let it stop her work rooting out members of the Red Crown until her mother becomes one of the women that is taken. When Simon, also known as the Wolf and high ranking member of the Red Crown, tracks Eliana down and proposes that she help him on a mission in exchange for his help finding her mother. Eliana hesitantly accepts his offer in exchange for protection for her mother and young brother Remy. As her story unfolds we learn that she has some secret powers of her own, and while her meeting with Simon may have seemed convenient for both of them, we learn that he has known her since the day she was born. He knows her true identity and that she is more than just an assassin. There is a hint of a romance between the two of them.

Pros:
• The telling of the story from the dual perspectives was done really well. I’m usually not a fan, but I liked how they were done. Typically dual perspectives are bogged down with the characters mooning over one another from the romance perspective, but we don’t get that here. I liked that they were 1000 years apart, but still tied together.
• I loved the mythology. I am a mythology junkie, whether it is a creation of the author or based on myths and legends of old. I really liked what Claire Legrand did here with the angel mythology and the different magical powers people can possess. I hope we learn more about it in the future, we got a little but I want to know more.

Cons:
• The pacing was a bit slow for my taste. This book is pretty long; Goodreads says it’s over 500 pages. There is a ton of action, fighting, crazy magic trials, assassins, and evil angels for all intents and purposes I should have not been able to put this book down. I did not find that to be the case. I liked it, it’s really good, but I didn’t fly through it
• The ending. We start with the fall of Rielle, and then the book goes back and tells her story from the beginning but we never get back to the beginning. I assume we will get to that in the future books, but it is a pet peeve of mine when I don’t feel closure from a book. I was left without a sense of closure when I finished.
• This book feels confused with regards to the sex. Is it adult or YA? It is listed as YA, but I disagree. It felt YA up to a point then it switched and got pretty adult pretty fast. It is pretty violent so it gets a point for adult right there. The sex is pretty graphic and steamy, so this should not be a YA book. I don’t mind steamy, but a book should be one or the other, if you are a YA book keep the sex and mentions of sex vague and non-descript, if you are an adult book I feel like you can get away with more description.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

One Dark Throne One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
Narrated by 
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this sequel. We pick up a short time after book 1 leaves off with the queens back in their respective towns with their respective foster families. With each of them having survived the quickening ceremony, they have all retreated to continue plotting each other's demise. Only one queen can survive afterall. Mirabella is angry that Arsinoe attacked her at the Quickening, or so she thinks and she wants revenge on her sister. Katharine wants to kill everyone after her ordeal in the Breccia Domain with Pietyr. And Arsinoe has discovered that she has a gift afterall, even if it isn't the one she expected and she's still using Madrigal's low magic to assist her. The sisters are still oddly bonded by their love of one another from their childhood, but their upbringing and plotting around them is driving them toward the ultimate goal to kill each other.

We get to know each of the queens a little more in depth in this installment, each chapter taking place in their respective towns. The plots to take down the sister queens only gets more intricate as each of the foster families want their queen to be crowned. We get to know Jules alot better as well, she is such a bit part of Arsenoe's story, but she essentially becomes a main character herself.

It is really hard to write this review without giving too much away, there are so many things that happened in the first book and that happen in this book that tie things together. There is a ton of action, alot of plotting, and lots of surprises. I really enjoyed this and I'm looking forward to see where the next book takes us. There should be a world expansion and more plotting and chaos.  I hope we get some closure to some of the plot lines in the next book.  There were a lot of things left open, but there are plenty of hints that we'll get more information if we are patient.


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PRE-ORDER: Cocktales by The Cocky Collective








Cocktales, a limited-release anthology of original, never before published material, from some of your favorite bestselling authors is coming May 26th!

Cocktales Anthology

Publishing Date: May 26th

Cover Designer: CD Reiss

Each story was specifically written for this anthology.
The goal of the Cocktales Anthology is to raise funds to fight against obstruction of creative expression. Specifically, what we believe are obstruction attempts through the trademarking of common (single) words for titicular use in books / or as a book series (eBooks, print, and audio).
Cocktales will only be available May 26th-August 26th.

Pre-order your copy today

Add to Goodreads

Contributing Authors Include

Nana Malone, USA Today Bestselling author – Foreword
Dylan Allen – 'Cocked and Loaded'
Jana Aston, NYT, WSJ, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Double Cocked'
Whitney Barbetti – 'Cocksure Grin'
Author Sawyer Bennett, NYT, WSJ, USA Today Bestselling author – 'A Wicked, Cocky Plan'
K.f. Breene, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Magical Cock and Bull'
Ruth Clampett, Amazon top 20 Bestselling Author – 'Don’t Get Cocky'
L.H. Cosway, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Illusionist Seeks Neanderthal'
Mariah Dietz – 'Landmines'
Amy Daws, Amazon Top 25 Bestselling author – 'Cock and Balls'
BB Easton, Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author – 'Cocky BB: Two Boys, One Prom.'
Jaymin Eve, USA Today Bestselling author – 'The Cockier the Dragon, the Harder They Fall'
Emma Hart, NYT and USA Today Bestselling author – 'Tricky Bond'
Staci Hart, Amazon Top 10 Bestselling author – 'Cockamamie'
Jessica Hawkins, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Cocky Couture'
Julie Johnson Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author – 'Culinary Cock-Up'
Karpov Kinrade, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Crimson Cocktail'
Adriana Locke, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Swag'
Lex Martin, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Love & Hate at the Stallion Station'
Aly Martinez, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Going Down'
Katyi McGee - USA Today Bestselling author – 'Cocksure Co-Star'
Corinne Michaels, NYT, WSJ, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Cockblocked'
Liv Morris, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Getting It Up'
Red Phoenix, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Her Cocky Russian'
Daisy Prescott, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Confessions of a Cockblocked Wingman'
Jessica Prince – ‘A Cocky Corruption Engagement’
Meghan Quinn, Amazon Top 20 Bestselling Author – 'Fight or Flight'
CD Reiss, NYT and USA Today Bestselling author – 'Cocky Capo'
Penny Reid, WSJ and USA Today Bestselling author – 'Beard and Hen'
Julie Richman, USA Today Bestselling author – 'The Color of Love'
Aleatha Romig, NYT, WSJ, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Aligned'
Kennedy Ryan, Top 40 Amazon Bestselling author – 'All'
Kylie Scott, NYT, WSJ, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Short Story with Mal and Anne from The Stage Dive Series'
Sierra Simone, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Until the Cock Crows'
Tara Sivec, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Chocolate and Cockup'
Kate Stewart, Amazon Top 30 Bestselling author – 'The Golden Sombrero'
Leia Stone, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Cocky Alpha'
Karla Sorensen – 'Tristan & Anna: A Bachelors of the Ridge short story'
Rachel Van Dyken, NYT, WSJ, USA Today Bestselling author – 'Cocky Mafia'
April White, Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author – 'Code of Conduct'
*ALL* net profits will be donated to:
Authors already impacted by creative-obstruction (10%), and Romance Writers of America (RWA) (90%) as a general donation intended for their Advocacy Fund.
*Disclaimer: This anthology is not being conducted on behalf of RWA, nor does RWA endorse this anthology or effort. They have, however, graciously agreed to accept the funds.
For more information, visit: https://www.cockyauthors.com

CT_PO1

Monday, May 14, 2018

Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things

The Slow Regard of Silent Things The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a delightful, pecular story about a strange character named Auri. We meet Auri in The Name of the Wind, and I found her fascinating. I loved getting to know her a little better. While we don't really get may details as to why she is doing what she is doing in The Underthing or how she came to be there, we get to see her interacting there and just doing her thing. Though I would love to get more of her origin story at some point, she is a truly unique character and I'd love to know more about her. It is an odd tale, but I found it to be beautifully written and I loved the narration by the author himself. It was very poetic.

This story is not plot based whatsoever. Honestly I don't even think there is a plot, it is purely character driven and we just follow Auri around as she goes about her business in her particular way. Each day has a purpose and each item she finds has a place. Sometimes she is driven by something that is going to happen or a thing she needs to put somewhere. Mostly she is just driven by her unique personality and drive to just be herself and do what she does to survive and keep herself occupied.

I really enjoyed that Patrick Rothfuss himself narrated the audio.  It really lent something to the listening experience.  I enjoy his writing style.

I will say that if you prefer plot based works with character development and world building, this might not be for you.  This is more poetic and nonsensical.  I enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

COVER REVEAL: As Dust Dances by Samantha Young



The New York Times Bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series and PLAY ON returns to the world of the arts in this intense and emotional standalone romance about love, sacrifice, and surviving both. AS DUST DANCES will be releasing on August 7, 2018 on all retailers!

 
Cover designed by by Hang Le.

About AS DUST DANCES (Coming 8/7/2018):

Once upon a time Skylar Finch was the lead singer of a hugely successful American pop-rock band. But fame made her miserable. When years of living a lie suddenly ended in tragedy, Skylar fell off the map.

Eighteen months later she’s sleeping in a tent in a cemetery in Glasgow, making just enough money to eat by busking on the streets. She manages to avoid recognition, but not the attention of one of Glasgow’s ambitious A&R executives.

Killian O’Dea works at Skyscraper Records, Scotland’s most successful record label. Raised by his uncle and owner of the label, Killian’s upbringing would have been devoid of affection entirely if it wasn’t for his loving sister. Killian is unflinchingly determined to bring the label more success than ever, and the young homeless woman who busks on Buchanan Street is going to help him do that. Her music speaks to him in a way he refuses to over-analyze. All he knows is that if it can touch his dark soul, it’ll set everyone else’s alight.

Skylar makes it clear that she doesn’t want to sign with him. But when she experiences the dangerous reality of a woman sleeping rough, Skylar has no one else but Killian to turn to. An undeniable connection forms between them. But Skylar doesn’t want the career Killian is trying to forge for her, and when her past comes back to haunt her Killian will be faced with a decision that could ruin him. He must either free Skylar from his selfish machinations and destroy everything he’s ever worked for, or lose a woman who has come to mean more to him than he ever thought possible…

   

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS TODAY!

     



About Samantha Young: Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017 Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for Hero. On Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015. Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.  

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

COVER REVEAL: The Varlet and the Voyeuer by Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway





The Varlet and the Voyeur, an all-new standalone in the USA Today bestselling Rugby Series from Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway is coming June 14th!


He kept his salacious secret for years. But soon, everyone is going to be reading about it in their morning paper…

THE VARLET (and the VOYEUR)
William Moore is a long way from home. A farm boy from Oklahoma, he’s now the most well-respected member of the Irish rugby team. But appearances are often deceptive, and Will isn’t the clean-cut, all-American good-guy everyone imagines him to be. He’s got a secret, one that will tarnish his reputation forever.

THE VOYEUR (and the VARLET)
Joesy Kavanagh is a self-proclaimed mess, but she’s finally get her shi…uh, act together. She’s set her sights on becoming a veterinarian, but there’s one teeny tiny road bump. Her living arrangements are coming to an abrupt end, leaving Joesy homeless and in need of a job to pay her way through college.

THE PLAN
What he needs is a companion to keep him on the right path.
What she needs is an apartment with free rent.
Will is convinced Joesy will make the perfect companion, since she’s brutally honest and basically ‘just one of the guys.’  Joesy is convinced she can ensure Will doesn’t succumb to his voyeuristic proclivities by keeping a scrupulous eye on him.
Except, what happens when the varlet is tempted by the voyeur, and vice-versa?!
Perchance something very, very volatile. And vexing.
The Varlet and the Voyeur is a full-length romantic comedy novel, can be read as a standalone, and is the 4th(and last) book in the USA TODAY bestselling Rugby Series.


Pre-order your copy today!
There will be no pre-order on Amazon. 'The Varlet and the Voyeur' releases June 11th on iBooks, Nook, and Kobo, then it goes away from those retailers forever! It then releases into Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Kindle on June 14th where it will stay.

 Add to GoodReads: https://bit.ly/2jqFMiU


Start the Series of standalones with The Hooker and the Hermit!





Meet Penny Reid:
Penny Reid is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

Connect with Penny:
Twitter: @ReidRomance



Meet L.H. Cosway:
L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favorite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books.

She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories.
Connect with L.H. Cosway:

Twitter: @LHCosway