Joint Review: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven

Reviewed by Jen & Ronelle

Jen: I first fell in love with Grace Draven’s writing when I read Radiance a few years back, and though I have liked some of her books better than others, I can say that she consistently creates worlds that are interesting, unique, and completely immersive. That is certainly the case here. From the lands, to the cultures, to the religions and rulers, everything comes together seamlessly in Phoenix Unbound. And each of those elements are a vital part of the whole.

Our heroine, Gilene, is a fire witch. She is able to manipulate fire and illusions to her will, but she doesn’t use them for her own benefit. She uses them for her village. Every year, the Empire forces all of the towns to give up a portion of their women as tributes and sacrifices. The so-called Flowers of Spring are first given to the gladiators to be used, then sacrificed on the pyre to gain the favor of the gods. For years now, Gilene has been changing her appearance to serve as one of the tributes. The fire won’t kill her, after all, but she suffers plenty… first being raped, then enduring burns and scars for using her gifts. [Read more…]

Review: Siren’s Calling by Piper Drake

Reviewed by Debz

I didn’t think this through when I decided the start this series from a randomly placed novella. The premise of the book seemed interesting though. I’m a fan of mythologies and epic fantasies and I’m now basically an expert in all things faeries, vampires and werewolves so I thought I should check this one out.

This is a novella in the middle of a long-established series by different authors and for anyone wanting to read this book, I think it’s better to have a background of all the other novels before you start this one.

This novella follows Amae Waters, the banished daughter of the Sea God. She has been living in the human world (Seattle) and working to help preserve water life and sea creatures and preserving the eco system as a mermaid. [Read more…]

Review: Exile of the Seas by Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

When I tackled the first installment of this trilogy, I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about it. All of the other books I’d read from Jeffe Kennedy were fantasy romance and Prisoner of the Crown was… not. It chronicled the Princess Jenna’s early life and descent into an hellacious marriage to a sadist who reveled in abusing her. Then it followed her as she made her escape and sailed away from the only life she ever knew. It was the first act of her story and it was very difficult to read.

This second act is something different altogether. It is Jenna’s journey as she reinvents herself and becomes stronger. It was extremely well-done and perhaps the best thing I have ever read by this author.

The book picks up right where the last one stopped, with Jenna on the ship, a bundle of fear and ignorance. Women in Dasnaria are purposely uneducated about the world, forced to stay in the little boxes where they’re kept. But then Jenna meets Kaja, a priestess of Danu, who changes everything. She teaches Jenna the most basic skills… how to understand the Common Tongue, how to count, and how to hold a knife. And she helps her adopt a new identity, a priestess with a new name –Iveriel— with vows of both silence and celibacy. [Read more…]

Review: The Dragonian’s Witch by Meg Xuemei X

Reviewed by Elise

I am Freyja, the First Witch. I was born with a cruel curse: anyone I touch with my bare skin will die an agonizing death. That is, until a formidable, drop-dead gorgeous Dragonian prince invades my forest home.

The prince’s lust burns hot and bright for me, yet he resists, wanting his destined witch more. The oracle promises the witch will be his true queen and bring him the greatest kingdom on Earth. Knowing he’s the only man who can touch me, I crave his scorching caress. But I’ve sworn never to reveal that I am the witch. Not until he chooses me above her.

When the mating frenzy drives both of us to the brink of insanity, someone has to give, but it won’t be me’ [Read more…]

Review: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas

Reviewed by Elise

When I heard about the release of this book, I was bitterly disappointed. What started as a novella for the author had turned into a full length novel. The release would delay the the final book in the Throne of Glass series. This is one of my favorite book series and I have enjoyed every book so far.

Tower of Dawn follows the journey of Chaol Westfall as he seeks to recover from a devastating injury sustained during the final confrontation with the King of Adarlan and collapse of the Glass Castle. In addition to healing, Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, rightful Queen of Terrasen, has given him the task of making allies with those that rule the Southern Continent.

If I am being honest, I never really liked Chaol. His choices throughout the previous books have been dubious. Ultimately, his prejudices and equivocation cost him the things he held most dear. He has tried to make amends but it just never seemed like enough. The idea of reading an ENTIRE novel based on a character I wasn’t particularly fond of did not fill me with joy. I found myself picking up the book only out of loyalty to the series I adore. I had a preconceived idea of how the story would progress and I am delighted at how completely incorrect I was. [Read more…]

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Reviewed by Ronelle

When nineteen-year-old Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, she never expected it would change her life forever. That same night, a beast-like creature bursts into her home and demands retribution for it. He gives her a choice: join him in the treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends or die. At her family’s terrified urging, Feyre chooses life and exile, soon discovering that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate and they spend more time together, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s even been given about the Fae. But lurking on the borders of Tamlin’s lands is an ancient, wicked shadow and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever. [Read more…]

Review: Madfall by Grace Draven & Dana Marton

Reviewed by Jen

I’m such a fan of Grace Draven’s that any story with her name that crosses my path automatically finds its way into my TBR. This dragon-themed anthology features a reissue of a previously released novella, but it’s one I haven’t read.

Draconus tells the story of Leida, a woman who was once the favorite of a dragon lord. She ran away with a small piece of his treasure and as this novella begins, she has been located and dragged back to face him for her crimes. Magnus would be within his rights to kill her for stealing from him, but he would much rather keep her alive and in his grasp. It takes no time at all to realize these two still want each other desperately; his anger and her fear quickly give way to the desire and sexual undercurrent between them. There is a fair amount of on-page loving, and it’s pretty steamy. [Read more…]

Review: Queen of Shadow by Suz deMello

Reviewed by Ronelle

Janus is a planet lacking both tilt and spin, and its Shadowlands divide the violently hot Lightside from the perpetually cold Darkside. Because of the world’s peculiarities, birthrates are low and indiscriminate mating encouraged.

Unless you’re the Queen of Shadow.

Audryn, made queen upon the deaths of her family members, has reached the time when she must either choose a King to rule with her or fail to bear an heir, casting not only her realm but all of Janus into chaos. As nobles in all three realms vie for her hand and favor, and though she trysts with many, none have struck her as the right choice. She briefly considers Kaldir, the Prince-Scientist sent by the Children of Light for a time… [Read more…]

Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Reviewed by Debz

This novella is set after the third book in Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Throne and Roses series and if you’ve read A Court of Wings and Ruin, you can jump right in. After the final battle against Hybren his armies and the three human queens, this books begins in the aftermath with Feyre, Rhysand and the crew picking up the pieces and rebuilding.

Especially after the attack on Vellaris, Rhysand and Feyre as the High Lord and Lady of the Night Court have their hands full, helping the people rebuild and restart their lives. They also have to make treaties with the other courts; and make sure none of the other Lords encroach on the human lands. All this to do, and it is almost time for the biggest celebration in the Night Court, Winter solstice.

The book is not just told from the POV of Feyre and Rhysand; there are chapters centered around the Morrigan, Cassian, Azriel, Elain and Nesta . All the painful memories and emotions about the horrors suffered during the battle are laid bare on the pages. Most prominent amongst them is guilt; guilt for the battle in Vellaris, a city which had previously been sheltered from the outside world for so long. Guilt for the number of Illyrian men who had to die to stop Hybren and mainly guilt that the lives of most children will never be the same. [Read more…]

Review: Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

Reviewed by Sara

A multifaceted fantasy, Song of Blood and Stone’s main character, Jasminda, is an orphaned goat farmer attempting to survive in a land where her race and magical ability mean she is a pariah. When she saves the life of soldier Jack she is thrust into an epic journey to save the nations of Lagrimari and Elsira and set right a century’s old wrong.

Jack is more than a spy or soldier, he’s the prince regent of Elsira and in the kindness and resolve of Jasminda, he’s found love, but can he and Jasminda be together when the nation, history and his own mistakes work against them?

More than once I’ve reviewed a book and complained about too much going on within the plot. While Song of Blood and Stone has a lot (A LOT!) going on, including the romance of Jack and Jasminda, Jasminda finding belonging, the story of Oola and Eero, the war with the True Father, etc, all are woven together to create what really is a complicated, but cohesive and truly epic story. I never once felt overwhelmed with the amount of plot points, but was eager to read more. [Read more…]