Joint Review: Seasons of Sorcery

Reviewed by Jen & Sara

Jen: I read all the shorts in this anthology, as I am familiar with all of the authors. (Sara will jump in for Grace Draven’s story.

Winter’s Web by Jennifer Estep – This is classic Elemental Assassin and in just small novella, fans of the series will find just about everything they would get in a full length book, minus the progression of the larger story arc. Gin and her buddies are attending a Renaissance fair and volunteering to help out the guy that runs the thing (and also works for Owen.) While there, Gin realizes something is amiss and ends up facing a plot targeting one of our main characters.

Delicious food references? Check. On page shout out to the title? Check. Sophia’s Goth fashion? Check. Finnegan rougishness? Check. Owen’s violet eyes and Gin’s grey ones? Double check. We even get the obligatory line on her birth control. Speaking of which, I did feel like the sex scene at the end was out of place. I love a good on-page tumble as much as the next girl, but this one didn’t advance the story. And for what it’s worth, it felt like the longest/most in detailed love scene I’ve read from these characters. (But hey, depending on your tastes, that could be a positive or a negative.)

[Read more…]

Sara’s Favorites of 2018

by Sara

Overall, 2018 was not a great year for me as far as books and reading went. I felt like I struggled to be interested in a lot of the books that came out this year and then was let down by some favorite authors whose books elicited little more than a “Meh, it was ok” from me. These books, listed below, are the books that broke through my reading malaise and wowed me.

Thirsty by Mia Hopkins – I’ll be honest, I was prepared to hate this book. However, what I found when I got down to reading it was an original and sexy redemption story.

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole – This Contemporary Romance is one of the times when it’s safe to judge a book by its cover. Just like its cover art, A Princess in Theory is a vibrant and beautiful romance. Funny and heart-felt it, it warmed my heart to see the geeky girl get the prince and be able to use her enormous and sexy brain.

[Read more…]

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: 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: For Crown and Kingdom by Grace Draven and Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve really enjoyed Jeffe Kennedy’s Twelve Kingdom books, and it was an anthology that led me to it. Imagine how excited I was to see this story nestled in another anthology with one of the same authors who took part in Amid the Winter Snow! I was already a Grace Draven fan, thanks to Wraith King series, so I’m always down to read something else from her.

Let’s start with the Kennedy short. The Crown of the Queen is a novella told from Dafne’s point of view, but be forewarned, this is not a romance. (I think that comes in the next book.) Instead, this is like an extended epilogue to The Talon of the Hawk. It takes place immediately after Ursula took the life of her father, the king. Dafne has been hanging out in Annfwn for the past few weeks, but when she gets to Ordnung, Ursula still has not been crowned High Queen. The entire story follows Dafne’s efforts to guide Ursula through the process of taking the throne. [Read more…]

Sara’s Favorites of 2017

2017 felt like a good year to hide under the covers with a good book. Here’s what did it for me this past year.

UF/Romantic Fantasy

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews
The last (contracted) book in Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series hit it out of the park. Everything from the smoldering romance between Nevada and Rogan to the revelations of series secrets were flawless.
If you like detailed worldbuilding and original plots you should totally read this series. [Read more…]

Ronelle’s Favorites of 2017

This list was a little hard to put together because, to be frank, I read a lot of not-so-red-hot books this year. BUT there were a few that stuck out and that I enjoyed enough to put on my 2017 list! Here they are, in no particular order:

Poison and Mercy by EC Elvedeane
Not, in fact, a safe read for “girls”, but a really good choice for adults of either gender who enjoy strong heroines, steampunk, and erotica.

Golden by RL Mosswood
I finally took the plunge into M/M romance this year and my first attempt was not a good one. I won’t name names, but let’s just say the constant use of adjectives making it sound like characters are being electrocuted is not sexy.

But I digress.

“Golden” was novella-length, yet it still managed to develop a compelling relationship and intriguing plot. The reverse-harem was surprising and The Dragon managed to be pretty intimidating even though she isn’t physically present for the vast majority of the story. [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 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: Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven

Reviewed by Ronelle

As a Bonekeeper, Nathaniel Gordon haunts the borders of two worlds, acting as guardian for the dead and deterrent for grave robbers. Hideous experiments have rendered him barely human and society shrinks in horror from what he has become. The life he once led is over, the woman he once loved beyond his grasp…or so he thinks.

Standing at her father’s graveside, Lenore Kenward knows that from this day forward, her life will never be the same. Grave robbing runs rampant in London, so when the mysterious Guardian of Highgate appears at her side, she doesn’t hesitate to beg his protection of her father’s remains. But there’s something about this stranger…something achingly familiar. [Read more…]