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…]

Review: Warlord by Nia Mars

Reviewed by Ronelle

Lukar Xon is one of the Emperor’s most brilliant and feared warlords. He’s won battle after battle, war after war, and the conquering of Tembria is no different…until it is. Because instead of being sent off to the next war as expected, the Emperor gifts him with a governorship and a princess.

Meela is the heir to a fallen kingdom, and the conqueror’s prize. But she will bow to no one–certainly not to the barbarian who killed her father and captured her planet. She might have to surrender her body to the warlord, but she refuses to surrender her heart. [Read more…]

Review: Naughty Phantasia by various authors

Reviewed by Ronelle

I’ll start this review by stating that I did not finish all the stories, either because they didn’t interest me (“Valentine”, “How the Alien Stole Christmas”) or because I found the plot/characters unappealing (“Alien Rights”, “The Ghosts of Substation #69”). Overall, though, I enjoyed the collection and appreciated the variety. Some of the stories put more focus on external plot, while some focused almost exclusively on romance/sex.

Rather than go over each story individually, here are some of my favorites/notables from the Naughty Phantasia anthology:

WEAPON OF CHOICE by Katherine Kingston

Selvya’s gift for controlling fire made her a weapon in the hands of unscrupulous men. The king’s commander offers a chance for revenge and redemption, but it’s a risk she’s not sure she can take. [Read more…]

Review: A Crazy Little Spring Called Love by various authors

Reviewed by Ronelle

A collection of fantasy and paranormal romance shorts all revolving around the theme of spring. The heat level varies, as do the settings and time periods. Also, I’m presenting these in the order I read them, as my ARC didn’t actually auto-start at the first story for some reason. I’ll also stress that this was an advance copy, so hopefully some of my complaints will have been addressed in the final publication. [Read more…]

DNF Review: The Fuchsia Lakes by Michelle Dare

Reviewed by Ronelle

A powerful knight and a beleaguered queen join forces to save her people and kingdom. Balance must be restored and betrayal rooted out, but even amidst such chaos, fate and love will have their way.

Plagued by memories of their previous encounter, Elliott Azure was more than ready to be in the presence of the enrapturing queen again. At twenty-three, Karis Fuchsia became queen of a land she wasn’t ready to lead. But with Elliott by her side, she felt protected for the first time in years. [Read more…]

Review: Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon By Kerrelyn Sparks

Reviewed by Sara

Raised on a secluded island in order to hide her magical gifts, Gwennore (Gwen), one of four women, is an innocent in all ways. However, since her sisters have started marrying, she’s seen enough of the world to know that she should hide her magical abilities and that, as a Woodwyn Elf, she is reviled and pitied.

When her niece is kidnapped by dragons of the Norveshka region, Gwen refuses to let go and finds herself in the Norveshka court where curses, plagues, and madness are threatening to destroy the country. With her gift of healing, she discovers that the so called curse is illness and that she is uniquely gifted to help the people, no matter that they don’t trust her. There’s one catch, in order to help she’ll need to pretend that she’s lovers with the gorgeous and playful General Dravenko. [Read more…]

Review: The Beast and the Sibyl by AJ Adams

Reviewed by Ronelle

When a vicious Beast is dragged into the village, Bliss knows she should mind her own business. After all, everyone knows that the Beasts are violent and dangerous…but he is still a living creature and her conscience won’t let her turn away from the cruelty of the villagers. And so she steps in, unknowingly putting her on a path of life-changing consequences.

When Siv first lays eyes on Bliss, he knows she’s one of them. That pale hair and those big blue eyes are Skraeling through-and-through. He wants her and is determined to have her as his mate, objections be damned. The time he spends hidden in her home, healing from the horrible wounds inflicted by the villagers and their Patriarch, is time he can use to convince her to leave with him…or so he thinks. [Read more…]

Review: The Shift of the Tide by Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

As much as I’ve enjoyed this series –and I still do– this was probably the weakest installment for me at this point. This was primarily for two reasons: the hero and the heroine.

Wait. Wait. Stay with me. Let’s talk about the heroine first. This is Zynda’s book. She’s the Tala cousin to Ursula, Andi, and Ami. (If you don’t know who those women are, now seems like a good time to direct you to start this series at the beginning. I can’t imagine this sixth installment would be a satisfying standalone.) Anyway, Zynda has always been a character who has played her cards close to the vest, and in this book, her secrets are finally revealed. She is looking to meet up with the dragon freed in Dafne’s book in order to learn how to shift into a dragon herself. She believes this Final Form will give her the ability to guide her people into better fertility and healthier babies. [Read more…]

Review: The Edge of the Blade by Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

I have to say that I was very curious about what kind of heroine Jepp was going to be. One of Queen Ursula’s Hawks, she has been part of the Twelve Kingdoms since the very beginning. The only thing we really knew about her was that she was a great scout out and really, really enjoyed having sex. Unfortunately for her, she jumped into bed with Harlan’s brother, Prince Kral, without understanding the consequences. In the Dasnarian culture, there is no such thing as a one night stand. Either you become a man’s wife, his concubine, or his bed slave; Jepp has no interest in being any of those things. Therefore, it was totally awkward when Kral found her in bed with another guy. Even more awkward than that, was when she was tapped to go back to his home country with him to be a spy for Ursula.

All of that is backstory. This book follows Jepp as she and Kral sail into Dasnaria and attempt to navigate this society that oppresses women in ways Jepp has never even imagined. For goodness sake’s, this culture doesn’t even let women wear shoes. And Jepp is this fiercely independent, firecracker of a woman. She is a fish out of water in every way possible. [Read more…]

Review: Exchanged by Dante Silva and Vanessa Mozes

Reviewed by Ronelle

Aubriel has loved Elston since they were children and admired him for his dedication as a paladin to their god. She sadly learns his true colors when it comes time for him to choose between her and the treasure she unwittingly leads him to. His betrayal is shocking, but it also has unintended consequences in the form of the fey lord, Callannon Thray.

When Callannon arrives to defend his treasure, he’s surprised to find a beautiful elven woman already defending it for him. Aubriel is everything he’s wanted but failed to find in a fey woman—kind, honest, trustworthy—but there’s one problem: she’s mortal.

When she agrees to go with him to the fey realm, Callannon has no choice but to hide her mortality, not only to protect her from those who would use her against him. Among enemies and amid political turmoil, Callannon and Aubriel must hide the truth of her mortality or risk Callannon’s ruin and Aubriel’s freedom. [Read more…]