Rapid Reviews: Captive Prince Series by C.S. PacatCaptive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Published by Penguin Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Amazon US

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomises the worst of the decadent court at Vere. But in the lethal web of Veretian politics, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen is caught up in a dangerous play for the throne, he must form an alliance with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: he must never reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else . . .

We’ve been slacker bloggers lately, but hey – life sometimes gets in the way. Ali’s got a few minutes to dedicate to this awesome series though!

Shiiiiiiitttt…this series! It has so many things I love. Male/Male romance, it’s fantasy, it has action and intriguing twists and turns and secret plans and shiiiiiiitttt, just so much goodness.

Damon is basically an exiled prince, sold by a usurper as a slave to a rival kingdom. Damon finds himself slave to Prince Laurent, his enemy in all things.  Damon’s true identity is a secret he holds close, for his own survival. Survival that relies on becoming a vital tool for his new, extremely calculating, owner – who happens to be in a fight for his own crown.

I love a good slow burn romance but I’ve never read any like this. If you’ve read Mariana Zapata and thought that was slow, you don’t know anything. The Captive Prince series is slower. But please, please, please don’t let that deter you. Pacat’s writing is so strong, the plot so thick and the world so interesting that you won’t mind it. Well, some of you will (probably a lot of you), but I sure didn’t. I loved every excruciating  minute while waiting for Damon and Laurent to give in.

Be warned, they don’t give in for quite some time. Like…book two. Half way through. You might get a kiss then. This is not erotica. It’s molasses slow, slow burn romance without extremely gratuitous sex. I’ve read historical romance with ankle touching that is more erotic. If you’re expecting the typical M/M smut, this isn’t it.

Book one was probably my least favorite. In fact, I’d say the books got progressively better as the series goes on. I look forward to future titles from Pacat, as I really enjoyed her voice. 



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Blog Tour: Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley [Review, Excerpt + Giveaway]

Blog Tour: Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley [Review, Excerpt + Giveaway]Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley
Series: Fantasyland #5
Published by Kristen Ashley August 15, 2016
Genres: Romance, Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Wildest Dreams
Also by this author: At Peace
Amazon US

Against his will, Noctorno Hawthorne, an undercover vice cop, finds himself embroiled in magic, mayhem and parallel universes. Too late, he meets an amazing woman only to find she’s destined for his identical twin in another world.

And things aren’t going real great there.

Noc is recruited to help save that world.

What he doesn’t know is his destined love resides there.

Franka Drakkar wears a mask. A mask she never takes off to protect herself in a world of malice, intrigue and danger.

When Franka meets Noc and he discovers her secrets, convinced she carries a midnight soul, having shielded herself from forming bonds with anyone, she struggles with accepting his tenderness and care.

When Noc meets Franka, over wine and whiskey, her mask slips and Noc knows it’s her—only her—and he has to find a way to get her to come home with him.

And then make her want to stay.

While I was excited to jump back into this otherworldly place with magical creatures and epic fairytale romances, I was also hesitant to bid adieu to a world that I fell for hard and fast. I mean, who seriously enjoys saying goodbye to a world and characters they have fallen in love with? Not I. But even with a bit of a resistance, I dived in whole heartedly into Midnight Soul and discovered that even villains can be redeemed and find their own HEA.

The choice of having Franka Drakkar as the heroine for the final installment of this series was a bit of a peculiar choice, in my opinion, since Franka has pretty much been that villainous bitch from the very beginning. While I enjoyed her as a villain, I personally wasn’t sure how much I would like her as a lead. But once I started reading, I grew more and more intrigued and wanted to know more about what made her such a stone-cold, black-hearted bitch. I think villains are always the most complex characters in a story and I was curious to see how many layers there were to this thick-skinned venomous woman. 

“You are not one fuckin’ thing like they think you are, are you?”
“I’m exactly what they think I am.”

It didn’t take KA very long to have me in tears while I watched her break down Franka’s walls and reveal to us the reasons why Franka was so selfish, ruthless and conniving. Kristen gives you a front row seat to Franka’s hellish reality and this one particular scene left me in some serious tears. As painful as it was to see Franka be brought down so low, it’s what we (as readers) needed to see to understand why Franka needed to play the devious and malicious character. And discovering the root of all her evil wasn’t only eye-opening for me, but also for Noc and all the other main characters in this series. Their reactions were palpable and I especially loved seeing Frey’s response and reaction to discovering what had been going on with his cousin for so many years. I already loved the guy and seeing him being the protective cousin made me love him even more. 

“What makes a hero is the one that’s left standing when the others are dead. Or the one that gave his life so the others could live. That’s a fuckin’ hero.”

Now what I really loved the most about the romantic pairing in Midnight Soul was that Kristen Ashley shook things up a bit by pairing a man from the “real” world and a woman from the fantasy parallel world. I think it just made more sense that Franka would end up being with a man not from her world. A man who hadn’t seen first-hand her malicious ways and didn’t have any preconceived notions about her character. Noc’s patience and steady support during Franka’s transformation is what really makes your heart flutter. He definitely shows a lot more patience than KA’s other heroes, but in Franka’s state, it’s just what she needed.

While I admired the fact that Noc took his time with Frannie (as he liked to call her because he thought that Franka sounded too harsh) and I think it was the right decision, this is where the story lost me for a bit. Compared to the other books in the series, Midnight Soul definitely moves at a much slower pace. The couples no longer have to fight evil tyrants or wicked witches, so the meat of this story was solely Franka and Noc’s romance and giving us a look at the lives of the previous couples. While I loved catching up with the previous characters and appreciated seeing Franka and Noc’s relationship evolve from friendship to love, I was hoping there would have been a greater story arc before we got to the epilogue. The story does pick up during the second half of the book and this is the part that I really enjoyed. KA kinda gives a throwback to book one by showing us Franka’s reaction to the “real” world. Yes, KA mixes things up again by bringing the fantasyland character to our world. Just like how I enjoyed reading Finnie’s reaction to fantasyland, Franka’s reactions to our world was really cute. It really makes you realize how we sometimes take for granted all the little luxurious we enjoy  like a modern toilet or getting a mani and pedi.

“You don’t have a midnight soul, Frannie. Your soul is so bright, I look too close, I’d be blinded.”

Saying goodbye to characters is always hard but Kristen Ashley does a magnificent job in telling Franka and Noc’s journey to happily ever after; and delivers one hell of a send off for the rest of the Fantasyland couples by giving us one of my favorite ever KA epilogues. While Midnight Soul might have started on a slow note for me, Ashley solidly delivers a fitting ending for a series that I have grown to love in such a short period of time. As always, KA kills the epilogue and really left me satisfied and happy for all the characters in this series. She also gives us a taste of a budding romance that I’m hoping she’ll eventually turn in to a novella. For fans of this series, this is a do.not.miss.read. 

MS Teaser 1

~ ~ Excerpt ~~


“You need to leave,” I declared.

His brows drew together a moment before his expression showed clearly that comprehension had dawned.

Sadly, comprehension might have dawned but he didn’t leave.

He crouched by the bed and offered in a soft voice, “You need me to carry you to the other room so you can have a bit of privacy?”

Dear goddess.

He thought I needed a chamber pot.


What was happening to my face?

Dear goddess!

The heat I felt in my cheeks could be nothing other than me blushing.

I didn’t blush. I’d never blushed. Not even when I’d set about seducing my first lover at age sixteen.

I needed to be quit of this man as soon as possible.

“No…I…do…not,” I bit out.

“Sure?” he asked kindly.

“I need you to leave, Noctorno,” I used his full name in an effort to irritate, something that worked if the flare in his eyes was any indication, “so Josette can prepare me. We’re away to Kristian’s this morning.”

Another drawing of his brows before he asked, “What?”

“After my toilette, Josette and I are to my sleigh so we can begin our journey to my brother’s home.”

His eyes got bigger as his mouth inquired peculiarly, “Are you high?”

“No,” I answered his ridiculous question unnecessarily, “Indeed, I’m low. As you can see since I’m lying abed.”

For a second he just stared at me.

Then he threw his head back and burst into loud, deep, beautiful laughter.

I wanted to throw something at him.

Unfortunately, in my current position, this was not an option open to me.

“I fail to see what’s amusing,” I noted.

He controlled his mirth only to mutter, “I’ll explain it later.” He went on more distinctly, “Frannie, you’re not goin’ to your brother’s today. Or tomorrow. Or until you’re fit. Then, maybe Valentine will spirit you there, or whatever the fuck that’s called. But for the foreseeable future, your ass is in that bed and you’re resting so you can heal.”


Who did he think he was, telling me what I would or would not do?

“As you’ve determined,” I began, “this is not the first time I’ve been in this condition so I do believe that I know best what I’m capable of and…”

I stopped speaking because he came slightly out of his crouch so he could put his face into my face and he was no longer looking mirthful.

He was looking angry.

Very angry.

“That was when you had no one lookin’ out for you but that’s not the case anymore. So this is how it’s gonna be,” he announced.

He then, to my shock, irritation and outrage, announced how it was going to be.

Like he had the right to tell me how it was going to be!



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About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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Review: Wildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley

Review: Wildest Dreams by Kristen AshleyWildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley
Series: Fantasyland #1
Published by Kristen Ashley August 5, 2011
Genres: Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 536
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Midnight Soul
Also by this author: At Peace
Amazon US

Seoafin “Finnie” Wilde was taught by her parents that every breath was a treasure and to seek every adventure she could find. And she learns this lesson the hard way when they perish in a plane crash. But she never forgets and when she discovers there is a parallel universe where every person has a twin, she finds a witch who can send her there so she can have the adventure of a lifetime.

But upon arrival in the Winter Wonderland of Lunwyn, she realizes she’s been played by her twin and finds herself walking down the aisle to be wed to The Drakkar.

Thrown into inauspicious circumstances, with years of practice, Finnie bests the challenges and digs into her adventure. But as Frey Drakkar discovers the woman who is his new wife is not Princess Sjofn, a woman he dislikes but instead, his Finnie, a free-spirit with a thirst for venture just like him, without her knowledge he orders his new bride bound to his frozen world, everlasting.

But at the same time Frey plunges Finnie into a web of political intrigue that includes assassination plots, poison, magic, mystery and… dragons.

I seem to be in a perpetual reading slump and the only thing that really brings me joy these days is a Kristen Ashley novel. It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE fan of Kristen Ashley; I think Kristen could write about paint drying and I’d probably enjoy the shit out of it. The woman has a way with her words that totally connects with me and has me feeling all the butterfly flutters in my stomach. It could also be that her over-the-top Alphas just DOT IT for me. So when I realized a few weeks ago that the fifth and final book in the Fantasyland series, Midnight Soul, would be coming out soon, I thought that now would be a good time to read the books that I’ve been collecting (hoarding) for the last few years.

Wildest Dreams is unlike anything that Kristen Ashley has ever written. In this series, Ashley takes you away from her typical backdrop of Denver or the Colorado mountains, and brings you to a fantastical parallel world where elves and dragons exist, animals can speak to you, and Kings and Queens rule. Don’t get me wrong, I love KA’s contemporary romance world, but Fantasyland has elves and dragons. Elves and Dragons!! How could I not quickly fall in love with this world?

“You, everything about you, is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Seofine “Finnie” Wilde’s adventurous heart and deep love and admiration for her deceased parents has her seeking the help of a powerful modern day witch to transport her to a parallel world where she switches places with her “twin,” Sjofn, in order to see her parents again. She eagerly jumps into her new world with minimal questions and lands just in time for her to marry Frey Drakkar, leader of the dragons and elves. Finnie obviously gets more than what she bargained for and this new adventure has her falling for a sweet & loving jackass and becomes a pawn in a dangerous game of thrones. 

“I was going to stay with a man I loved in this fabulous world that had elves and dragons. And I was going to do it forever.”

Even if you aren’t big on fantasy or paranormal romance, Wildest Dreams still has all the elements that makes it a Kristen Ashley novel. From the badass Alpha hero, sassy and adventurous heroine, swoony romance and elements of danger, this book is bound to take you on a fantastic fairytale reading adventure. Like with all other KA stories, Ashley captures all the major and sometimes inconsequential moments that shows the growth in Finnie and Frey’s relationship. Nothing is ever fleshed out quickly, and all of KA’s couples always have to learn every single nuance about each other. 

Together, Finnie and Frey are a funny, adorable and sweet couple. Individually, they are pretty badass. It was easy to admire Finnie’s strength and her willingness to learn new things and jump to a new adventure. Frey is a quintessential KA Alpha male. He’s protective and bossy, but is also very sweet and devoted to Finnie. If Alpha males are your thing, then you’ll definitely love Frey. On top of that, he’s the leader of the freaking elves and dragons. Dragons!!

“There are reasons we walk this earth. I’m coming to realize mine.”

I shouldn’t have waited to long to read this series but I’m glad that I finally did. Kristen Ashley delivers an exceptionally sexy, romantic fantasy book that swept me off my feet and brought me to a fairytale world that I never wanted to leave. KA leaves a few hints on what happens in the nest installment and I cannot wait to dive in further into this fantastical world. 



About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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RERUN Review: Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning

RERUN Review: Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie MoningBeyond the Highland Mist by Karen marie Moning
Series: Highlander #1
Published by Dell November 4, 2009
Genres: Romance, Historical Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 375
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon US

He would sell his warrior soul to possess her. . . .

An alluring laird...

He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart—until a vengeful fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm's length—but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve.

A prisoner in time...

She had a perfect "no" on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the barriers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne's reservations were no match for Hawk's determination to keep her by his side. . . .

After reading the Fever Series, I was curious as to what Karen Marie Moning’s other novels had to offer. Once again, KMM did not disappoint! The novel heavily relies on time travel and fantasy elements to drive the story. And what a fun and delicious story it was!

Beyond the Highland Mist starts off in the Fae Island of Morar where Fairie Queen Aoibheal, speaks praises about a mortal man named Hawk to her King and Court Fool. Hawk is known throughout his kingdom as a legendary warrior and lover to hundreds (maybe thousands?) of women. She tells of stories about his manhood, that at half-mast would make a stallion envious and at full-mast steals a woman’s mind from her body (yup…already got me gulping). Feeling sick to his stomach with the thought of his Queen lusting after a mere mortal, the Faerie King in a fit of jealousy orders the Court Fool Adam Black to find a way to punish Hawk. Adam muses that the best punishment for Hawk was to bring to upon him a woman who not only would resist his perfect countenance, but also his sexual prowess.

Enter Adrienne de Simone, a twentieth-century woman scorned by an ex-fiancé, who has vowed never to be made a fool of my beautiful men. On one eerie night, she is plucked from her present-time Seattle home, and dropped onto the lap of a sixteenth-century Scottish Laird, Red Comyn. Thinking that Adrienne has been some sort of miracle dropped from the sky, Red Comyn coerces Adrienne to pose as his recently dead daughter, Janet, and marry Sidheach “Hawk” James Lyon Douglas, Laird of Dalkeith Upon-the-Sea, in order to fill an order by King James.

Neither party is keen to the arranged marriage. Hawk even sends his best friend, Grimm, as a proxy to his wedding (I nearly fell out of my seat laughing at the ridiculousness of sending another man to stand in place of the groom). Of course Hawk and Adrienne are instantly attracted to each other (once they finally meet each other), but neither is eager or willing to admit it at the beginning. Immediately after the wedding, someone continually tries to take Adrienne’s life. To make matters worse, Adam Black has decided to place himself in the equation and tries to lure Adrienne from Hawk. The sudden love-triangle elevates Hawk’s bit of jealousy and we are succumbed to Adam and Hawk’s pissing contest throughout the duration of the book.

Beyond the Highland Mist is a wonderful blend of magic, humor, otherworldly things and time travel all wrapped inside a medieval romance. The Faerie world that Moning has created leaves the reader thinking that they are a genuine race who’s magic and allure exceeds every ones expectations. The protagonists are truly multi-dimensional. Hawk is an example of a true alpha-male.He’s handsome, strong, masculine in every way, but has a past that makes him vulnerable. Of course his ways of wooing our heroine was egotistical and barbaric, but then I had to remind myself that, that’s just how things were during the medieval times. Adrienne is beautiful, strong and independent. A woman scorned during her present life, she found it difficult to let her guards down while living in the past. There were times where I found her a little shrewd and too blind of her own feelings, but as a woman I could understand her predicament.

Overall, Beyond the Highland Mist has all the elements of a good romance novel without all the cheesy and greasy aspects of other romance series. It had a great mix of enchantment, sexual tension and good ol’ romance PLUS an endearing and lovely mother-in-law. So if you’re into beautiful men clad kilts, romance and sexual tension then I suggest you pick this book up.



About Karen marie Moning

Karen Marie Moning was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1964, the daughter of Anthony R. and Janet L. Moning. The family moved to a self-sustaining farm in Indiana when she was six years old, where she spent her youth raising cows, horses, tobacco, corn and other crops with her sisters and brother.

An alum of the Immaculate Conception Academy, at seventeen she attended Purdue University where she completed a BA in Society & Law, with minors in Philosophy, Creative Writing and Theatre, while working full time as a bartender and computer consultant. She intended to go to law school but after an internship with a firm of Criminal Attorneys, decided against it. For the next decade, she worked in insurance, where she wrote intercompany arbitrations and directed commercial litigation. At the age of thirty, she decided it was time to get serious and do what she’d always wanted to do: write fiction novels.

Beyond the Highland Mist was published in 1999 and nominated for two RITA awards. She then published six more novels in her award-winning HIGHLANDER series, and received the RITA Award in 2001 for The Highlander’s Touch.

In 2004, she began writing the #1 New York Times bestselling FEVER series. The books have been optioned twice for potential franchise development by Twentieth Century Fox and DreamWorks Studios, but the rights are currently held by Moning who has expressed a desire to one day see it as a television series. Her novels have been published in over thirty countries. She divides her time between Ohio and Florida and is working on two future projects for Random House Publishing.

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RERUN Review: A Matter of Fate by Heather Lyons

RERUN Review: A Matter of Fate by Heather LyonsA Matter of Fate by Heather Lyons
Series: Fate #1
August 25, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 558
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon US

Chloe Lilywhite struggles with all the normal problems of a typical seventeen-year-old high school student. Only, Chloe isn't a normal teenage girl. She's a Magical, part of a secret race of beings who influence the universe. More importantly, she's a Creator, which means Fate mapped out her destiny long ago, from her college choice, to where she will live, to even her job. While her friends and relatives relish their future roles, Chloe resents the lack of say in her life, especially when she learns she's to be guarded against a vengeful group of beings bent on wiping out her kind. Their number one target? Chloe, of course.

That's nothing compared to the boy trouble she's gotten herself into. Because a guy she's literally dreamed of and loved her entire life, one she never knew truly existed, shows up in her math class, and with him comes a twin brother she finds herself inexplicably drawn to.

Chloe's once unyielding path now has a lot more choices than she ever thought possible.

Rerun Reviews features reviews by Debbie, previously published on Keep Calm Read Romance or Talk Supe — and reviews by Ali previously published on GingerRead Reviews.


Chloe’s life is a carefully planned out. Every detail from her schooling to her career, from birth she’s been told what she will do, who she will be. She is told it is in Fate’s hands. Now she’s being told who she loves has also been carefully planned out, but her heart isn’t so sure about Fate’s choice.

Chloe met Jonah at a young age, in her dreams. She has spent years growing up with him and loving him, but never believing he is real. A year after he abruptly disappears from her dreamworld, he walks into her math class. She can’t believe he is real and she is terrified of the pain of losing him all over again. The idea of him not knowing her scares her into distance and silence.

Jonah didn’t come to town unaccompanied though, he brought his twin brother Kellan with him. Chloe feels a strange connection with both boys and does not have the same fears where Kellan is involved. Jonah doesn’t attempt to speak to Chloe either, but Kellan does, unleashing a complicated and heated love triangle.

Chloe’s distress over the love cards Fate has dealt her is only one of her problems. She’s slated to become the most powerful magical creature on the Council, the people that run the world. It’s her unique powers that make her the main target for a group determined to take their revenge on all magical creatures.

A Matter of Fate is a modern day twist of magical powers, star crossed love and a dash of mythology. I’m not talking magic the likes of newts eyes and bat wings brewing in a cauldron. I’m talking X-Men type powers. Mystical fireballs, creating lightening storms or earthquakes, inflicting debilitating viruses or emotions; all in the name of taking down your enemies. The fight scenes Lyons wrote were action packed excitement and quite stunning.

On the flip side of all these powers is the good that balances them out. Those that can inflict you with the plague can also heal your wounds. Those that can inflect deep depression can also make you fell pure bliss. If you can destroy you can create. You get the picture. The building of these powers and the world they belong too was enthralling. I love a good dose of paranormal and fantasy and A Matter of Fate has both.

There are so many characters introduced here that some were all together underdeveloped, I’m hoping some of them will take more of a center stage in future titles. However, some were very well developed and I loved them. Kellan and Karl were favorites of mine.

Now, I should probably comment on the love triangle as some of you love them and others loathe them. I am not usually a huge fan of them. I hate love conflicts just for the sake of there being a conflict. I can say that though not all of the aspects of this impossible situation worked for me, other aspects truly did. At the beginning of it I was mentally screaming at Chloe for being so silly and scared but the deeper the story got, the more invested I became in it, the more heartbreaking it became. This is not conflict for the sake of conflict. Even though I saw the true reason for the strife coming pretty early on, it didn’t matter, I was knee deep into wondering how it would be hashed out and honestly was pleased that there was not contrite happy ending. It wouldn’t have done the story justice.

I’m pleased I had a chance to read A Matter of Fate and look forward to finding out what happens with these characters in A Matter of Heart.

About Heather Lyons

Heather Lyons is known for writing epic, heartfelt love stories often with a fantastical twist. From Young Adult to New Adult to Adult novels—one commonality in all her books is the touching, and sometimes heart-wrenching, romance. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

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

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
May 5, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: Audio
Source: Purchased
Amazon US

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers 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, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

I’ve had blogger buddies telling me to read Maas for ages. When A Court of Thorns and Roses came out earlier this year, they raved. RAVED. While I love me some Young Adult Fantasy, it’s not my go to.  So, Maas has been on the backburner.  Waiting for my mood.  Which, finally hit.

Now, I should clarify…I would not classify A Court of Thorns and Roses as Young Adult.  It’s more mature than most YA, but it’s not full on adult fantasy either.  It’s somewhere in that new adult middle ground. 

I should also clarify that I didn’t read this book, I listened to it.  And let me say, the narrator, Jennifer Ikeda, did an excellent job.  I’d absolutely listen to her again. 

Now that the housekeeping is done, let me tell you what I thought.

I really kind of loved it.  Is that a good enough review?  No? Sigh…okay.

Maas created a greatly fantastical world that was actually very easy to imagine.  Humans know fairy’s exist, they know where they are, and they are forced by age old treaties to keep their distance.

Feyre knows the rules but she also knows she may have to bend them in order to care for and feed her father and two sisters. However, bending leads to breaking and breaking leads to consequences.  In her case, being taking by a Fae lord to his kingdom where she is to live out her life.  Never seeing her family again.

What Feyre doesn’t know, is that Tamlin’s kingdom is cursed and he’s in danger of losing it all.  With little hope for a future outside of Tamlin’s protection, she reluctantly finds a way to cope and adapt to her new life and the people in it.

And reluctantly fall in love with it all.  Even with the threat of losing it, too.

A Court of Thorns and Roses has all the elements that appeal to me in a fantasy.  Creatures that straddle the line of good and evil, trickery and deceit, action and romance…especially if it’s a bit forbidden or taboo. It has a quiet sexiness to it, something every good Fae story should have, in my opinion.

It also gave me a strong character in Feyre.  I adored the girl.  I’d love to say that Tamlin was as strong for me, but he wasn’t. He did have some great moments though.  Some awkward and some just down right swoony.  But, it was actually ‘the other guy’ that held my attention more.  WHICH, only made me love this book all the more.  It gave it more conflict but not in an obnoxious love triangle way.  Because it isn’t that. 

And though it’s not a super happily ever after, it doesn’t leave you with a huge cliffhanger either.

All in all, ACOTAR is just a fantastic read and I am really (REALLY, REALLY) looking forward to more.  I also really need to go read Maas‘ other titles…so off I go!

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Review: Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

Review: Menagerie by Rachel VincentMenagerie by Rachel Vincent
Series: Menagerie #1
September 29, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US

From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent comes a richly imagined, provocative new series set in the dark mythology of the Menagerie…

When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger's Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she's forced to "perform" in town after town.

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other "attractions"—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she'll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

Renowned author Rachel Vincent weaves an intoxicating blend of carnival magic and startling humanity in this intricately woven and powerful tale.

If you picked up Menagerie expecting to find a story similar to her Soul Screamers series, you won’t.  You will still find some of the bold moves Vincent takes as an author, you won’t, however, find much of the humor or light heartedness that was always present in that series.  Menagerie is NOT a Young Adult title, it is not a Romance. It’s Fantasy, full on Fantasy…with all the dark and dangerous things that lurk in that genre.

Delilah was a bank teller, a settled girlfriend, a happy friend when she was taken to the Menagerie for her twenty-fifth birthday.  Mitzger’s Menagerie, known for it’s wonderfully horrible monsters, is not the place Delilah wishes to spend her birthday. It certainly isn’t the place she would ever expect to live.  But witnessing the cruelty suffered by one young shifter cryptid turns mild mannered, bank teller Delilah into something…other. 

“Three hundred one thousand babies were born in hospitals in across the United States in March of 1980.  Not one of them made it home from the hospital.”

Now, she’s sold to the Menagerie. She’s nothing more than property, less than human, yet nobody knows for certain WHAT she is. All she knows is that she can’t survive a life of imprisonment, forced to perform at will or stand by while others are treated so brutally and carelessly.  Delilah’s will to make a better life for creatures cast aside by society and her sheer determination to not let captivity take her dignity from her starts a small fire inside of some at the traveling circus and when that fire takes hold, it could destroy them all.  Or, free them all.

Vincent creates such a dark and tortured world with this story.  It’s sad, very immoral and at times, extremely gruesome.  It’s a trip down an ethical rabbit hole, every move has consequences, even the ones made for the greater good. This is the part of the story I loved. 

I deal in morality, not in law.

I also loved that it’s written in a bit of puzzle, Vincent leads you down the path – leaving little bread crumb clues here and there, but you still have try and come up with the answers.  It’s all so very cryptic at times.

I think the only thing it was really missing for me was in the pacing of it.  I’d went through stages of being glued to the pages, to times being almost bored.  In the wide picture, I see the need for some of the added chapters that don’t bring much to the story as your reading, but I wish they would have been as impactful as other chapters were.   

Outside of that though, the world is great, the characters are mostly amazing (Rommily…that girl needs a book all of her own) and the story has just enough macarbe to give you the chills without actually terrifying you.


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About Rachel Vincent

A resident of Oklahoma, Rachel Vincent has a BA in English and an overactive imagination, and consistently finds the latter to be more practical. She shares her workspace with two black cats (Kaci and Nyx) and her # 1 fan. Rachel is older than she looks-seriously-and younger than she feels, but remains convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan.

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