Review: The Tears of the Rose by Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

It was the love story between Ami and Ash that made me jump in to the backlist of this series. They were the couple featured in the anthology Amid the Winter Snow, set much later in the series. I was so taken with them and with the world building in that novella that I went back to start the series from the beginning. Overall, I found the book captivating and I read it all in one sitting much like the first in the series. It wasn’t exactly like I expected, though.

Obviously, the novella meant massive spoilers. I feel like I would have enjoyed the surprises of this book much more if I didn’t know what was going to happen. That is not the book’s fault, so I won’t complain about that, but I will give my small gripe that I wish there was more time devoted to the romance that made me read the series in the first place. I understand it; there are reasons it takes so long for the love story to get off the ground, but that doesn’t change the fact that I wanted more of it… and much like book one, this ended too abruptly for my taste. Even though the larger arc will continue in the next book, this romance won’t. [Read more…]

Review: The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

I was turned on to this series with the novella Jeffe Kennedy included in the Amid the Winter Snow anthology. It was good enough that I needed to go check out the back list in The Twelve Kingdoms and I was not disappointed. This was a good fantasy romance that reads quickly and easily enough that I devoured it all in one sitting.

Princess Andromeda is the middle daughter sandwiched between two other princesses who seem far more remarkable. Her older sister is strong and powerful, the heir apparent to their father’s kingdom. Her younger sister is an unparalleled beauty. Andi, meanwhile, tends to fade into invisibility. That is, until she meets Rayfe. [Read more…]

Review: Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Reviewed by Jen

I have mixed feelings about (what I assume is) this final installment of The Kingmaker Chronicles. I absolutely loved the first book, A Promise a Fire. Book two was strong as well. My issue here is that I felt like this book was a little all over the place and the ending was a bit anti-climactic.

This story picks up right on the heels of Breath of Fire. Cat and Griffin are king and queen of Thalyria and expecting a baby. Cat now has her younger sister with her and a powerful new guard in the form of a former Thalryian Princess. All that is left to do is to conquer her evil mother.

But things take a detour right off the bat. First of all, I have to admit being a little overwhelmed by all of the characters. I honestly couldn’t remember who all of these people were and it hasn’t even been that long since I read the last book. A little reminding would’ve gone a long way to help me marshall my thoughts. Then there’s the fact that a big betrayal happens at the beginning. It felt more like a plot device to reveal the identities of two undercover Gods than to move forward any other arc. In fact, what happens with the offending character seems to just fall off into nowhere. I kept expecting it to come full circle, but it never did. [Read more…]

Review: Amid the Winter Snow by Grace Draven, Thea Harrison, Elizabeth Hunter & Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

This anthology was a great mix of new worlds and familiar favorites for me.

In the Darkest Midnight is set loosely in the world of Grace Draven’s Wraith Kings, though this story stands up completely on its own. It follows young Jahna, a nobleman’s daughter with a sizable birthmark, who falls head over heels for her brother Sodrin’s instructor in swordsmanship. Radamir is a swordmaster of Ilinfan, a line renowned for its skill. He has committed to four years training Sodrin, but he is quickly taken by the intelligence and fortitude of the young woman derided by others for her appearance. It isn’t romantic between them, at first, as Jahna is only 15, but over time, they form a friendship and much later, it develops into something more. This is a very slow burn and I was a little put off at first by how long Jahna was too young for their relationship to take off. But Draven does a fantastic job crafting the longing Jahna feels for Radamir. By the time they got together, not only did I want it, I needed it to happen. Now that’s over, I’m still wanting more. [Read more…]

Review: The Sea King by CL Wilson

Reviewed by Jen

I wanted to like this book. I read and enjoyed CL Wilson’s Tairen Soul series and I liked The Winter King, the first installment of this series fairly well. However, one of the issues I had with that book felt even more pronounced in this one and it really hampered my enjoyment.

It was obvious. And by that I mean everything was obvious, from the villains, to the romance, to the “twist” in the (second) epilogue. You will see it all coming from a mile away. And maybe that wouldn’t be so bad if the names weren’t so cheezy and saccharine (and again… obvious) like Wynter, the Winter King who controls ice. Or the sisters named after the Seasons who hail from Summerlea. (*cringe*) [Read more…]

Review: Mage Slave by RK Thorne

Reviewed by Ronelle

Crown Prince Aven Lanuken has grown tired of the various potential brides paraded before him. So far, none has truly called to his heart and he begins to wonder if his desire for a woman who will be more friend than follower will ever be realized. He wants a partner he can trust with a dangerous secret that’s kept him trapped in a dark mountain fortress his entire life.

Miara has been a mage slave for most of her life and she, too, wants more… more than being helpless against the orders of her Masters, more than spending her days trapped within the confines of her prison. When she is dispatched to kidnap the prince of the neighboring realm, she obliges—though it’s not like she has a choice. The brand that holds her, and every other mage in the Masters’ clutches, drives her to go in, get the man, and bring him back. Liking him, much less falling in love, is not part of the plan. But the Balance has a way of… well… balancing things. [Read more…]

Review: Breath: A Dark Fantasy MFM Menage Romance by Jean Lowe Carlson

Reviewed by Ronelle

Gryffine lives a solitary life, devoid of human touch, and all because of a curse. When the simple touch of your lips will kill someone, you tend to hold yourself apart…except for the one night a year it is nullified.

On one such night, Gryffine meets the dashing bartender Jessup, who steals her from her isolation and returns her pleasure. Yet when Gryffine’s soulmate arrives on her doorstep with her same curse, can she refuse the pull to be with this dark lover… and her own demise? [Read more…]

Review: WarDance by Elizabeth Vaughan

Reviewed by Jen

It’s been a while since I read the original Warprize books, but I do remember that I enjoyed them very much. The first three centered on the Warlord Keir and his Warprize, Lara. A fourth book featured two side characters. This fifth one does as well. I remember that I always liked Simus. He was one of Keir’s Warriors; he was charming and larger than life. He is still a charmer here, but I feel like he has toned down a little as he takes the mantle as the hero of this story.

This book is a continuation of Warcry. Well, sort of. I’ve since learned that there was another Elizabeth Vaughan series woven into this world that plays in to the story as well. I didn’t read the Epic of Palin series, so there were a few holes in the story that I just had to gloss over and move past. [Read more…]

Review: The Undying King by Grace Draven

Reviewed by Ronelle

Tineroth and her immortal king have long since passed into legends. Few now believe the tales, though they are still told in fearful whispers. But for Imogen, the Undying King is her only hope of breaking a curse that has isolated her from the world since birth. When her foster mother dies after leaving her the map and key to Tineroth, Imogen will seek out the unknown in hopes of having a normal life.

Trapped in time and between worlds, Cededa is languishing in his immortality. Haunted by the revenants of his past and damned to be the guardian-prisoner of Tineroth, he’s given up hope of ever being free or finding the sweet relief of death. He must live with the passing millennia—and their ever-present regrets. But when the daughter of a woman who once helped him comes striding across the bridge to his city, his existence will change forever. [Read more…]

Review: Fantasy of Freedom by Kelly St Clare

Reviewed by Elle

Why do all the good series have to end?! Really? Why?!?! *sigh*

This fourth book in The Tainted Accords series wraps up Olina’s journey, which spans three worlds, and has more ups and downs than a rollercoaster.

Olina and Jovan, with the backing of Jovan’s army, the barracks fighters and Olandon are set to wage war on Tatum Avanna- Olina’s psychotic mother. It’s now or never- the people of Osolis are being starved to death by their evil ruler and now that Olina knows, she can’t just sit by and let it happen. It’s time to go to war and take her spot as rightful ruler of Osolis. And in doing so, create peace among all three worlds and their people. No problem right? [Read more…]