romance

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

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A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
Random House: September 20, 2016
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

The view was nice, but the food was bad.
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A Shadow Bright and Burning is a YA historical fantasy novel and while entertaining, I didn’t think that Bright and Burning offered readers anything new. We’ve got some romance and some personal turmoil being the chosen one. Both of which many will recognize if anyone’s pictured up a fantastical YA read at some point in the recent past.

Miss Henrietta Howell is a young lady with a secret. Henrietta can control and create fire, something that she is struggling to conceal. After all there are no lady sorcerers anymore, not since the last one started a war. Naturally, Henrietta is discovered. Instead of punishment, Henrietta is thought to be the chosen one, prophesied to end the war with Ancients. While not everyone is convinced, Henrietta is taken to London to study, learning things about herself, her past, and those closest to her. (more…)

Who’s the Winner in “The Hating Game”

27213238The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
William Morrow: August 9, 2016
Genre: Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

Outstanding Adventure!
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The Hating Game is an absolutely delightful contemporary romance, which is an unusual pick for me, but one I do not regret since it is one of the best contemporary romance novels that I’ve read in a long time. If you’re in the mood for something light yet smart and sassy, The Hatting Game is a must read.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman work together. Both are assistants to two CEOs of a publishing house that has merged and it was not an amicable amalgamation. For Lucy and Josh it was pretty much hate at first sight. Lucy tried to befriend Josh and when that didn’t work, the hating game was born. When you sit across from your mortal enemy each and every day it’s quite natural to turn your mutual animosity into a childish game. However, things start to change when both Lucy and Josh are considered for a new position within the company. The best person might win, but it just might be at the expense of a newfound romance.
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Campy Fun in “Sweet”

22718736Sweet by Emmy Laybourne
Feiwel & Friends: June 2, 2015
Genre: Horror; Young Adult
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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Sweet is a weirdly awesome horror tale. It’s both funny and unrealistic, and the author owns that campy tone, making for an all around enjoyable read.

Over the course of six days a celebrity-filled cruise will embark on a televised experiment. Passengers on the cruise ship have been invited to try Solu, a new dietary supplement that results in dramatic weight loss. With Solu you can eat whatever you want and still lose those persistent pounds. Naturally, this drug is not quite what it claims to be, and soon the addicted passengers are ready to do anything for their next fix. (more…)

“The Heroine Complex”, Take 2

27209443Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
DAW: July 5, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Free From Publisher

The view was nice, but the food was bad
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At the beginning of June Stacey reviewed and raved about Heroine Complex, having loved the main character, Evie’s personal growth. My reaction to the book was quite different.

The concept of this alternative San Fransisco where humans have gained strange abilities is an intriguing one, as is the fact that a select few in this world have developed powers, and some are even able to channel those abilities into a sensational career as a superhero. Evie’s best friend since childhood, Annie, was able to successfully transform herself into Aveda Jupiter, San Fransisco’s beloved heroine because of her telekinetic powers she developed after an earthquake. Of course, every heroine worth her salt needs a back up team, and that’s where Evie comes in. Evie, with powers of her own, prefers to stay out of the limelight, managing the more mundane aspects of Aveda’s life and basically ignoring the fact that she even has powers. However, when Aveda is injured Evie is forced to take centre stage and start to reconcile her own feelings towards her volatile abilities. (more…)

“Flamecaster”: A Revenge Read

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Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima
HarperCollin: April 5, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

Beach Vacation
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Flamecaster is the first book by the much-hyped Chima that I’ve read. I’ve wanted to read Chima’s Seven Realms series for a long time, but alas, time, there is never enough. Instead, I decided to jump right into Chima’s new series, which I understand is connected to the Seven Realms series. Having not read the other series, I think I can safely say that Flamecaster can be read as a standalone series.

Flamecaster follows the adventures and revenge plots of four people. There’s Ash, a young prince who’s family has been targeted by a rival king. Like Ash, Jenna’s friends have been murdered by the same king, and now she is being hunted down by the king because of the mage mark on the back of her neck. Lila is playing multiple sides, but it’s anyone’s guess who’s side she’s really on. And perhaps the most mysterious of all, Destin Karn, son of the powerful general that serves the dastardly king seems to have his own operation running that is contrary to his king. Each of these characters have their own motivations, but what ties them all together is their hatred for the current king of Arden. (more…)

Returning to a Favourite World with “Allegiance of Honor”

26089799Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh
Berkley: June 14, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance; Urban Fantasy
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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Since my recent conversion to the cult of Nalini Singh a couple of years ago I have anxiously awaited each and every new addition to Singh’s Psy-Changeling series. Throughout this series Singh has created a rich futuristic world that is full of all kinds of race tension, but also fabulous romances. I can’t think of another series that so well combines complex world building with fully developed romantic relationships. Nalini Singh, she is a master, and this is again proven with her newest book, Allegiance of Honor and its shift for the entire series. Allegiance propels the series into new territory while also giving readers a glimpse into the lives of so many of the beloved characters of the series. (more…)

A Promise of Fire: Romance, Thinly Disguised

27015399A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Sourcebooks Casablanca: August 2, 2016
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Source: Free from publisher

Beach Vacation
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Reading this book felt like eating too much candy and regretting it afterward.

It has all the romance tropes you could want (and probably more): a heroine with a terrible past and unique skills who has to hide from the world for political reasons, a hero who doesn’t tell her who he is for his own political reasons, a kidnapping, instant attraction, bickering between the hero and heroine, and gradual trust.

It’s set in a fantasy world, and the heroine, Cat, has run away from her family to avoid becoming like her ruthless, malicious, sadistic, abusive and power-hungry mother. She’s been with the circus since she was 15, until the day the local warlord, Beta Sinta – the most powerful man in the kingdom she’s visiting at the time – discovers her. They meet, sparks fly, he abducts her, and they learn to get along through forced closeness (he captures her with a magical rope she can’t escape from). He’s a decent guy, though, a good one, and completely alien to Cat, since she grew up surrounded by terrible people. So the abduction, kidnapping, and travel to his castle in another city is okay – because neither he nor his men mean her any harm. (more…)

Let Down in the “Forest of Ruin”

25174874Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong
HarperCollin: April 5, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

The view was nice, but the food was bad
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Forest of Ruin picks up where Empire of Night left off: the empire is on the verge of war, Moria and Ashyn are separated and those that they care about are in imminent danger. Having LOVED Empire of Night, I anxiously awaited getting my hands on the final book of the Age of Legends trilogy. Did Forest of Ruin live up to my expectations? Well…no, no, it did not.

As soon as I cracked open Forest of Ruin it seemed that something was different. The tone seemed off and everything I liked about the second book seemed to not work for this time around. What I loved about Empire of Night was the author’s use of multiple perspectives. Both Ashyn and Moira get equal page time and readers are immersed into the twin’s perspectives and their very different personalities. I really appreciated this narrative style in the first two books, but I didn’t find either sister that interesting this time around. For me, the problem lays in the fact that Ashyn and Moira didn’t really seem to change that much in the final book. Ashyn continued to be reserved yet quietly strong, and Moira continues to be brash and impulsive. There was very little progression in either girl’s character development that reading their separate narrative felt like a re-hashing of Empire of Night. (more…)

Gunmetal Magic has guns, shapeshifters, and romance

12288282Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
Ace: July 31, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Source: Free from Library

I’d go there again!
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It’s strange and interesting to read about Kate through different eyes, and to get into her best friend Andrea’s head. Andrea has her own voice, apparent from the very first page with her enthusiasm and expert knowledge about everything guns and weapons.

Andrea is a fun heroine, and a good match for Kate. She struggles with her past, with her feelings for Raphael, and with the bouda clan. Her determination for independence wars with her desire to save others. As beastkin instead of a shapeshifter, as a former Knight of the Order dismissed because she’s not human, she struggles to find a place where she belongs.

The big plot is very similar to the plots in the Kate Daniels books. An ancient Egyptian god decides now is an opportune moment to take back his power and become a god again in thousands of followers’ eyes. Another god opposes him and hatches his own schemes for world domination. As Andrea and Raphael, her estranged mate and the alpha male of the bouda clan, investigate the murder of several of Raphael’s metal reclamation employees, they uncover both gods’ plans and endanger themselves trying to prevent the slavery of thousands of people by said gods. (more…)

The Heartbreaking “Winner’s Crime”

20443207.jpgThe Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Farrar Straus Giroux: March 3, 2015
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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On Monday, I posted my review of The Winner’s Curse, and naturally, I jumped straight into book two, The Winner’s Crime. From the first page, it was clear that this was not going to be a happy book. There was such a sense of sadness and hopelessness about The Winner’s Crime, that I struggled to read it. But, read it, I did.

The Winner’s Crime picks up directly after the events of The Winner’s Curse. Kestrel is now engaged to the crown prince of Valoria; which is the price she must pay to the emperor for his agreement to back off in warring against Herran. For Kestrel, this means that she must convince Arin that she cares nothing for him, a fiction that Arin eventually believes.

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