Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Audio Book Review: High Fantasy

High Fantasy

By:  Harmon Cooper

Publish Date:  December 26, 2015, Audiobook Release June 1, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 5 hrs 49 mins
Narrated By:  Jeff Hays

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  3rd in The Feedback Loop series; 1st Book ~ The Feedback Loop, 2nd Book ~ Steampunk Is Dead

Impression:  Dive into a gaming fantasy world to find answers

Synopsis:
The third installment of The Feedback Loop Series is out now!
Quantum Hughes and the Dream Team dive to Tritania, an MMORPG fantasy Proxima World filled with dragons, orcs, swords, floating continents, and magic attacks. With the clock ticking, and his problems in the real world growing, including his legal troubles and his blossoming relationship with Frances Euphoria, Quantum is forced to make a decision that could change his life forever.

The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. Steam, The Loop, Tritania and the real world – four worlds collide in the third installment of The Feedback Loop Series.

The thin line between dream and reality is pixilated.

First Sentence:
Aiden is in a basketball jersey with the initials M.A. across his back.

Purchase At:
Amazon

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Jeff returns to continue with the series as narrator. Cool! I've grown to know the voices he's assigned the characters and enjoy the vast cast he can voice in a book with this many characters that speak. Totally mind blowing! It's great to hear. He also has Quantum's personality locked down, along with all the characters we've grown to enjoy. Another amazing job in vocals and audio.

Quantum likes a challenge, like trying to attack and kill with unconventional weapons in the loop. lol. Him and Aiden have a great friendship. I have enjoyed Aiden, aka Morning Assassin from the first book. I'm glad we get to carry on with many of the secondary characters that are created for in games. You wouldn't think they would have personalities, but goodness do they have them. And Quantum's interaction with them brings them to life.

Frances isn't as highly present in this story as previous one. But she still knows how to play Quantum in what needs to be done. In listening to the audio book, we can hear and get the feel of the excitement of Frances on the pain medicines in the hospital. And see her interact with Quantum in the real world. But with her accident and not diving into the loop it opens the opportunity for us to meet and interact with other members of The Dream Team. We do get to spend time with Zedic Woods. Zedic seems rather cool when we meet him. And he's in a band, which we get to "see". I like him thus far.

Oh, the FDA guidelines for foods and drinks. lol. This is terrible. The government regulates types of food and amounts one should eat. Quantum doesn't follow these guidelines and hears about it constantly. It's a continuous battle for him to get what he wants. It would get on my nerves too. I feel Quantum's irritation when he reads these emails as I'm irritated for him.

Other than fighting with the FDA, Quantum seems to be settling into real life. He's not as sassy. He seems to have found the balance in fighting in the Proxima worlds and living. We get to see Quantum interact with more people, and he does well.

I feel we get a closure to one piece of the story with Quantum. With his Proxima world he's lived in for eight years and finding Strata Godsick. This book also leaves open the next mission started here, finding Strata's son. We are left looking forward to the next book with plans of what they are to do.



****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Post #176

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I didn't post last weekend because we went away to a wedding, and when we arrived I was BEAT. lol.

This week has been a blur as we attempt to get caught up on things. It's been crazy, and I don't think we got accomplished what we'd hoped. Ugh! My husband was off at one job this week, but worked his second as well, so that kinda changed the routine around here too. I'm really hoping this week will be back to a semi-normal routine. Kiddo has started football camp and college soon and I've been busy with wedding photo touch-ups.

This week I plan on getting through the wedding photo touch ups and working on pay editing work. My book has been set aside with all that we've been doing so maybe I'll get back to it after the photos are done. I've also received an inquiry about doing sit down photos for a friends daughter's baby's 1st birthday. I'm going to do it! :D Exciting.

Our local used book store will be closing. She's not getting the book stock in or selling as much with the ebooks now. She doesn't have a definite sell date as it depends on when her store sells. She could be open weeks or months or a year. I went with my husband we he picked up a few small books on making furniture and items and I picked up two books. I think I'm going to try to get there on Saturdays to pick up a book or two. She has many I want.

I need to get through my emails and get organized. I'm hoping to do that this week.

I plan on getting some visiting in this week, so hope to see ya all on your blogs!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Fit Booker:

Goal:  Workout in any form of exercise (or on Wii Fit) 2x's a week. (to feel better and hope to drop a few pants sizes)

How did I do last week... Seriously!? What's exercising?!?! lol. It's been to chaotic around here to get exercising in. How do others do this? Raise a family, work, AND exercise? O.o


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews


Current Audiobook:
Greatshadow by James Maxey

Current Podcast Book Listen:
Stonebriar Casefiles: Bad Alchemy by Laura Nicole Spencer (You can listen for free too!)


Finished Last Week: 
Assassin's Rival by A.F. Grappin


Audiobooks from Audible:
High Fantasy by Harmon Cooper
The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
Beacon by Chess Desalls

Finished Podcast Book Listen:
Nothing yet.


DNFed:

~~~~~~~~~~

Last Two Weeks on the Blog:


Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)
Guest Posts:



Posts:

Spellbound in a Flash:
I've started back up again! I'll work on more pictures.


Challenged Writers:
July Update. How'd Camp NaNoWriMo go?


Around the Internet...



Reviews:
Malaise Falchion: The Spade Case Files by Paul Barrett

"This story is plain fun. You have your fantasy beings - Orcs, Ogres, Dwarves, Elves and more. Then you have your noir mystery feel as Spade is a PI. Then you throw in skeletons and zombies! LOL! Yes! What a combo in one story!"


Queen of the Night by Craig Schaefer

"This book is...just... wow. Craig does an amazing job of taking us through the end of the book and then some, tying up all threads. I had to take a few days to digest all I experienced in this book. Wow."


Unleash by Lauren Harris

"Somewhere along the way, I fell, with Helena, for Jaesung. And grew to love the characters here - Helena, Krista, and all present. I love the magic created here with the mandalas. There is a blend of different cultures in this creation that have me loving it. Very interesting. I look forward to more books with Helena and her friends."


Assassin's Rival by A.F. Grappin

"I liked the way the book moved through the months with Luc. We know of the classes, see examples, but we don't get stuck getting the classes. Thank you. This is done in the best way to show us the classes but keep the book moving with Luc as he grows here, and lives through troubles that stir with fellow brothers and sisters. And there is troubles."



Podcast Review:




Mama Bitchstress Reviews:



GIVEAWAYS:


~~~~~~~~~~

This Week to Come on the Blog:


I will write up two reviews and schedule.



~~~~~~~~~~

Received In Last Two Weeks:
(Note: Links to Amazon are buy links where I could earn commission, in case you are interested.)


For Review Consideration:
The Dragon Lords: False Idols by Jon Hollins
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Guardians of the Galaxy meets The Hobbit in this rollicking fantasy adventure series. 

The Dragons who once ruled over the land are dead.

The motley crew that stumbled through that revolution are rich and praised as saviors.

Everyone gets to live happily ever after, right?

Right?

Well, it might have worked out that way if the dragons in Kondorra had been the only ones. If they hadn't been just the tip of the spear about to fall upon the whole world...

The Tourist by Robert Dickinson
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
"A novel that's as fresh and compelling as it is high concept....Immensely enjoyable." ---SFX (four stars)
THE FUTURE HAS ALREADY HAPPENED.
It is expected to be an excursion like any other. There is nothing in the records to indicate that anything out of the ordinary will happen.
A bus will take them to the mall. They will have an hour or so to look around. Perhaps buy something, or try the food.
A minor traffic incident on the way back to the resort will provide some additional interest - but the tour rep has no reason to expect any trouble.
Until he notices that one of his party is missing.
Most disturbingly, she is a woman who, according to the records, did not go missing.
Now she is a woman whose disappearance could change the world.
With breathtaking plot twists that ricochet through time, this is the most ingenious conspiracy novel you will read this year.

Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Taran Wird, who commands the power to wield fire and lightning, is an oddity in the supernatural world. But neither Taran nor her unique sisters compare to the bizarre entity known as Destiny. And Taran is assigned to protect her.

Born of two witches, Destiny is revered among the supernatural elite for her acute ability to predict the future. Her biggest prophecy involves Taran’s sister, Celia, whom Destiny decreed will bear children strong enough to take on the evil that’s rising. Yet Destiny is not alone in her predictions, or individuality.

When Johnny Fate, a rock star among humans and a male version of Destiny is discovered, his powers and Destiny’s clash, triggering the start of Destiny’s demise and altering the fate of Celia’s unborn children.

Taran, her werewolf lover Gemini, and their allies must determine if it’s Fate who will decide what will become of Celia’s children, or if their lives and the world will perish with Destiny.


Audio Books Requested for Review:
EverRealm by Jake Bible
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
In the 23rd century, the world is at an end, and a group of gaming and programming friends decide that their only way to survive is to discard their bodies and send their minds into the quantum matrix of a virtual gaming world. They have created the Domains and there they plan to reside forever. 

Except, the nightmares of reality have followed them into their new quantum dimension and those nightmares threaten to destroy it all! 

Now it is up to one of them to help navigate the quantum platform known as EverRealm, a fantasy MMORPG of epic proportions, in order to complete a quest he neither wants to complete nor knows how. With the help of his friends, and a lot of luck, he will have to face trials and tribulations like he's never faced as a player! Because now it is no longer a matter of Game Over, but of life or death! 

Can he survive it all and come out a winner? The only way he'll know is if he plays the game to the bitter end!

Hero of Thera by Eric Nylund
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
BE A HERO IN THE ULTIMATE GAME 
Are you a top-rated gamer? 
Then you might have the skills to play the Game … where players are sponsored by actual demon lords, gods and goddesses, or Lovecraftian nightmares. 
Enter Thera, a real kingdom at the crossroads of many other worlds, but with all the augmented-reality interfaces, character progression, and game mechanics that players know and love. 
And the stakes of The Game? 
Nothing less than Creation—every world in every universe and reality. 
So … no pressure. 
Thus Hector Savage, gamer extraordinaire, comes to Thera. Nothing can prepare him, though, for the schemes of Abyssal Lords, 
rampaging barbarian ghosts, and a host of nefarious forces who want him dead—before he can even make fifth level!

Paying the Price by Terry Mixon
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
No good deed goes unpunished… 

Admiral Jared Mertz and Princess Kelsey Bandar saved billions of lives and staved off an invasion of the Terran Empire, but not everyone is cheering their success. Their triumphant return sets off a chain of events that threaten not only their lives, but everyone they hold dear. 

Crown Prince Ethan Bandar, heir to the Imperial Throne, will stop at nothing to claim his birthright. He won’t allow anyone to stand between him and ultimate power. Not his sister. Not his half-brother. Not even his father. 

Kelsey, Jared, and their battle-hardened allies must fight to survive his insidious attacks and race to stop a looming civil war. With the future of humanity on the line, can they save the world they love from blood and fire?


Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:
Book:
Dominion Rising: 23 Brand New Novels
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Find the Science Fiction and Fantasy reads you’ve been craving! Whether it’s alien invasion or dark fairytales, heart-pounding galactic adventures or cyberpunk romance, Dominion Rising will satisfy with a thrilling mix of 22 BRAND NEW FULL LENGTH novels set in fantastical realms. 

Sword and sorcery, far-flung galactic empires, alternative history, epic magic, slipstream futures: this collection of carefully selected, exclusive novels is sure to please and delight readers of speculative fiction. 

Over five thousand pages packed with aliens, faeries, vampires, gargoyles, warriors, telepaths, space pirates, starship captains, hapless mercenaries, street urchins, robots, cyber-enhanced humans, badass heroines, and lost princesses. These award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and International bestselling authors have left no stone in the science fiction and epic fantasy universe unturned to bring you the very best escape from planet Earth. 

All the novels are only available in the Dominion Rising collection, so grab a copy today!

Winter of Ice and Iron by Rachel Neumeier
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
In this gorgeous, dark fantasy in the spirit of Jacqueline Carey, a princess and a duke must protect the people of their nations when a terrible threat leaves everyone in danger.

With the Mad King of Emmer in the north and the vicious King of Pohorir in the east, Kehara Raehema knows her country is in a vulnerable position. She never expected to give up everything she loves to save her people, but when the Mad King’s fury leaves her land in danger, she has no choice but to try any stratagem that might buy time for her people to prepare for war—no matter the personal cost.

Hundreds of miles away, the pitiless Wolf Duke of Pohorir, Innisth Eanete, dreams of breaking his people and his province free of the king he despises. But he has no way to make that happen—until chance unexpectedly leaves Kehara on his doorstep and at his mercy.

Yet in a land where immanent spirits inhabit the earth, political disaster is not the greatest peril one can face. Now, as the year rushes toward the dangerous midwinter, Kehera and Innisth find themselves unwilling allies, and their joined strength is all that stands between the peoples of the Four Kingdoms and utter catastrophe.

Venom by Jennifer Estep
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
What kind of assassin works pro bono?

It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. 

To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. 

At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.

Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.

But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead. 

Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too. 

The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead. . . .


Audio:




Free Ebooks:
(On my Kindle and Nook App) Links to books under title. They may or may not be free at this time.
Save Me by Anna Santos
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Young Camille’s dreams are shattered when she’s rejected by the ruthless and abusive Alpha of the Shadow Pack. Her only chance at survival is to arrive in Paris and pray that what her brother told her about the angels is true. 

Chased and almost killed upon her arrival, she’s saved by the mythical creatures who protect the city. Plus, Fate gives her a new mate. The one she always dreamed about. But with a price. 

Jacob had been waiting a long time to be matched to a rejected soul so he could break his curse and become a full angel. Camille is everything he’d been looking for in a mate—she has a good heart and she’s extremely brave. Running against time, they have thirty days to fall in love or he will turn into stone, forever. 

Peril strikes when Alpha Simon wants to reclaim Camille. In a mad quest for power, he wages war on the other packs. Now more than being saved, Camille needs to be the savior.

The Hostage Bargain by Annika Martin
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
When small town girl Melinda Prescott is taken hostage by three hot bank robbers, she quickly discovers that a life of bank heists, luxury hotels, and kinky menages is way more exciting than working on the family farm. She should be scared of her dominating, fierce captors…but there’s something wicked inside her that’s craving to obey their every dark desire.

Melinda eagerly throws in with her three smoldering fugitives…and soon realizes that these are no ordinary bank robbers—and that bad guys aren’t always who they seem. But will her delicious captors overcome their own demons enough to let her in? And can these underdogs fight an evil conspiracy that’s larger than all of them?

Warning: This book contains a sexy bank-robbers-and-their-captive sandwich, light bondage, spanking, teasing hints of domination, and a little play-time in a hot tub. Oh, and some all-too-delicious alpha heroes who bend the heroine to their will.

Bound: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery by Kirsten Weiss
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Bound by magic, bound by love, bound by murder… 

The Bonheim triplets live seemingly ordinary lives, hiding their magic from the neighbors in the small, mountain town of Doyle, California. But when a body is found in big sister Jayce’s coffee shop, Karin, the practical one, is determined to prove Jayce innocent. 
A murder isn’t the only bizarre event in Doyle. Why are hikers vanishing in the nearby woods? Why are some people cursed with bad luck and others with good? And why is Karin’s magic the weakest of the three sisters'? 

As Karin digs deep to uncover the truth and regain her magic, her family is thrown into peril. Will her power return too late to save the people she loves the most, or will it be the cause of disaster? 

Bound is Book One in the Witches of Doyle Trilogy. 

Spells included at the back of the book!

The Watchmaker's Daughter by C.J. Archer
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
India Steele is desperate. Her father is dead, her fiancé took her inheritance, and no one will employ her, despite years working for her watchmaker father. Indeed, the other London watchmakers seem frightened of her. Alone, poor, and at the end of her tether, India takes employment with the only person who'll accept her - an enigmatic and mysterious man from America. A man who possesses a strange watch that rejuvenates him when he's ill.

Matthew Glass must find a particular watchmaker, but he won't tell India why any old one won't do. Nor will he tell her what he does back home, and how he can afford to stay in a house in one of London's best streets. So when she reads about an American outlaw known as the Dark Rider arriving in England, she suspects Mr. Glass is the fugitive. When danger comes to their door, she's certain of it. But if she notifies the authorities, she'll find herself unemployed and homeless again - and she will have betrayed the man who saved her life.



Free Audio Books/Stories:


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Reviews to Come:

Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
Spark by Starla Huchton
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #5 - Old Sinner's Bones
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
High Fantasy by Harmon Cooper
The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
Beacon by Chess Desalls

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Book Review: Assassin's Rival

Assassin's Rival

By:  A.F. Grappin

Publish Date:  January 2, 2017

Format:  eBook, 65pgs

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  2nd book in Deadly Studies series; 1st Book ~ Assassin's Victim

First Impression:  Entertaining start for Luc to assassin school.

Synopsis:
Luc Bertrand's old life as an orphan is long behind him. He's been adopted by the strange Auguste Fosse, who has promised Luc a special education. The academy trains assassins. Determined to get revenge on whoever killed his family, this school is the perfect place for him to train for his life's work. All isn't roses, though. The other students don't approve of Luc's arrival. He's too old, and the competition for Fosse's attention and tutelage is fierce. Having enemies who are being trained to kill can be dangerous, and Luc is years behind them in skills.

First Sentence:
Luc didn't see his sponsor when he stepped off the train in Reims, France.

Purchase At:
Amazon 

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I received this book from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Ah! I enjoyed the starts of this book, and as it continued. Luc is traveling to his new school, of which Auguste Fosse accepted him at. To train to be an assassin. I found I felt more invested and excited about this book than the first. So if you read the first and wasn't sure about continuing, do continue. This book was more entertaining for me. I am almost inclined to mention to start the series with this book. You'll get the feel of what happened to Luc in the first one. But there is a history there.

I enjoyed the movement of this book. We see Luc starting to watch and listen around him, and following someone at the mention of the dreaded Knights Templar. His drive to make them pay for what they did to his family making him act.

I found it cute the first lesson of Luc's when he meets many of his new brothers and sisters at the school. This was neat and a great way to see what the kids know (have learned) and what Luc will be learning to do. My attention was caught and I looked forward to the studies here, as there are friends and potential bad influences made at their first meeting. Competition all!

I liked the way the book moved through the months with Luc. We know of the classes, see examples, but we don't get stuck getting the classes. Thank you. This is done in the best way to show us the classes but keep the book moving with Luc as he grows here, and lives through troubles that stir with fellow brothers and sisters. And there is troubles. The lessons we see are rather interesting and are connected to what happens to Luc along with introducing us to the world Luc is now part of as he learns his way. There are a few assignments that are neat to see him learn. Like climbing! Where he does that is interesting.

I have the next book and looking forward to it!



****If my thoughts helped you, please click Yes at Amazon. Thank you!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Book Review: Unleash

Unleash

By:  Lauren Harris

Publish Date:  May 5, 2017

Format:  Book, 302pgs

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  1st book in Spellhounds series

First Impression:  Magical blend of hellhounds with a young girl learning about herself and friends.

Synopsis:
Craving a gritty, kickass heroine? If you like guns, magic, & heartbreaking drama, you NEED this book! Get the book reviewers are calling "Visceral" & "At times hilarious and heartbreaking"

Orphaned. Hunted. Pissed as hell.

Helena Martin doesn't know who she hates more, the sorcerers who fired the magic-laced bullet or the gang-lord master who used her mother as a shield. It's not the price she expected for escaping magical slavery, nor is the unstable power now pulsing in her veins.


Caught between her former master's hunters and the Guild Sorcerers determined to kill them, she finds a safe haven at a dog rescue willing to take in a different kind of stray. But Helena's newly-unleashed power is a beacon for her enemies. And they're threatening the first place she's ever thought of as home.

First Sentence:
No matter how many times I did it, my hands shook every time Gwydian made me kill.

Purchase At:
Amazon 

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I received this book from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Helena just wants to be free to live a semi-normal life with her mother and pack. When things go wrong in a planed rescue from her slaver, Helena is left alone and on the run. She wants nothing to do with her magical slaver or the Guild that was to help them escape. Helena finds herself caught between the two groups and dodging being caught. One will get to her first but she'll have to chose which one.

Lauren starts us right in with a spell being cast. A spell worked with a mandala and blood sacrifice. Oh this is a neat combo. We get a taste of the two together that makes us curious to learn more about how this works, and worries for Helena and her mom! And to hate Gwydian! The first chapter stirs strong emotions for and with Helena. And they don't stop there. I grow to care for friends with Helena through this book when she stops to hide out and wait for her pack to arrive.

When things start to get hairy with the Guild Sorcerers and news of Gwydian's group reach Helena, the growth of something Helena never had, friendships and a feeling of home, stops her from doing the one thing she knows she should do. Run. While waiting for her cousin, Morgan, to arrive in this town, Helena grows bonds with two special people - Krista and Jaesung.

Oh Jae! I absolutely love him! There are hints that he's more than just human. But is he really? Whether he is or not, he's an amazing character! He's so kind and has a great sense of humor to balance out the serious moments. Yet he seems to sense more than what's being said. Krista couldn't be better as a loving friend. She is there for Helena, as is Jae, when things get rough. They also understand that Helena needs time to come to them with what is going on or has happened in her life, so they give her that. I fell in love with them both. They are great "people".

Okay. Now that I've gushed over the love of the characters I want to mention something more about them. Not only are they awesomely written but they are not your average characters of white world. Nope, and that's the added bonus to them being amazing people with their glowing personalities. I'm mentioning this because there are people that look for diverse characters in books, and Lauren has that here. Jaesung is Korean, came to America when young with his mother. He had some great obstacles to overcome. Krista is gay, but her girlfriend has her own troubles which Krista is living through too, depression. Lauren has written characters that people will care about as they are real and have troubles to live with.

This is YA, but how old should the reader be? I say read it and you decide. There is death and Helena does have to kill to protect herself. There are a few heated scenes, but you don't get intimate details.

Somewhere along the way, I fell, with Helena, for Jaesung. And grew to love the characters here - Helena, Krista, and all present. I love the magic created here with the mandalas. There is a blend of different cultures in this creation that have me loving it. Very interesting. I look forward to more books with Helena and her friends.



****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon. Thank you!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Audio Book: Queen of the Night

Queen of the Night

By:  Craig Schaefer

Publish Date:  June 26, 2016, Audiobook Release August 19, 2016

Format:  Audiobook - 11 hrs 3 mins
Narrated By:  Susannah Jones

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  4th in The Revanche Cycle series; 1st Book ~ Winter's Reach, 2nd Book ~ Instruments of Control, 3rd Book ~ Terms of Surrender

Impression:  Worth every moment of reading or listening. Wow.

Synopsis:
It all ends here.

It ends as Livia Serafini returns to her homeland with an army at her back, an exiled refugee turned ruthless conqueror, bringing war and witchcraft to any who dare stand in her way. It ends as Renata Nicchi and her ragged band of hunters and outlaws infiltrate a city under siege, making a last, desperate bid to save her lover from the jaws of the criminal underworld and be reunited at last.

And as the Owl and her coven work to unravel the mystery of Wisdom's Grave, a doom from the past threatens to consume them all. It ends here, in the final chapter of the Revanche Cycle, under the spreading shadow of darkness. In a land where poison is king, only one can become the queen of the night.

First Sentence:
The night before landfall, Amadeo Lagorio dreamed of dying.

Purchase At:
Amazon 

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Once again what grips me at the beginning of this fantasy story is the descriptions. Wow. I know fantasy books are detailed, but Craig's ability to make these descriptions lifelike and unique is breathtaking. Craig does NOT linger on things, he describes them and moves on as they relate to what's in the moment and scene. The first description we open with is awe striking, the vision of the city and the crystal tear. The crystal tear is what gripped me.

Susannah. I want to applaud you. This is one amazing narration. Susannah has amazed me through out this series. Susannah may use subtle differences but they speak loudly. Each character has their own heart and drive and it comes through in Susannah's voice. One thing I find amazing in a narrator is when I don't hear them. That sounds wrong to say, but in the essence it's that their narration IS the story and the characters. Susannah does this. The story speaks loudly through her and she lets it. Amazing job.

The story is told from numerous POV's. BUT! Hold on. Don't let that discourage you. The story follows a straight line, giving you all the information that fits together even though it's from different view points. It's easy to follow and it's great to see all sides of a working plan. To see who's planning what and how it's affected by another's plan. We know the spokes of that plan wheel and see how it all pans out for all involved. And who wins and why. So awesome! Of the POV's he have, we get to spend lots of time with our favorites from the series - Amadeo, Livia, Cardinal Marchello Accorsi, Felix, Renata, Mari, Owl, and many more.

I was so excited to get back into this world and everyone's corrupted stories. I had to know who would fall the hardest, and to witness it all happen. I found I wanted to yell at the characters, telling the ones I love that it's a trap, he lied! But it wouldn't help.

For me, this book feels a lot like Renata's book. Dang that woman has grown. She's brilliant and full of ideas to sneak around. She's really learned quick and changed. Felix has really grown as well. We saw him start down his dark path in the last book, and he continues there. But there could be one light that keeps him from fully drowning in the dark, Renata.

We follow the characters through their lives. For many these are their darkest days. We lose a few along the way, but in the paths they follow it's the only ending they could have.

This book is...just... wow. Craig does an amazing job of taking us through the end of the book and then some, tying up all threads. I had to take a few days to digest all I experienced in this book. Wow.



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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Audio Book Review: Malaise Falchion: The Spade Case Files

Malaise Falchion: The Spade Case Files

By:  Paul Barrett

Publish Date:  November 15, 2016, Audiobook Release April 25, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 8 hrs 33 mins
Narrated By:  Jack Wayne

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  Stand-alone (I think)

Impression:  Noir fantasy with spice.

Synopsis:
Disgraced during the Demon War, Dwarf investigator Snazdaggin Kundarik (Spade to his friends) wants nothing more than a desk to sleep on, a bottle of grog to drink, and the occasional easy case for quick pay.

Then a mysterious female Elf from the posh side of town shows up and offers him exoneration for his past sins and lots of gold. All he has to do is follow her brother and report his activities. Simple, right?

He should have known better. The simple job soon spirals out of control. Spade finds himself sucked into intrigue, powerful magic, and the hunt for a weapon powerful enough to end the world. Ill-prepared, Spade forges on with the aid of his hapless sidekick and a reluctant female warrior.

Will he survive long enough to save the world and get his grog?

First Sentence:
There are a hundred thousand stories in Mage City.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles 

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

I was pleasantly surprised when listening to this story. Jack did a gruff, rough type voice for Spade and it feels to fit him and the story perfectly from the first word. Then when Crizlyk comes in I'm impressed with his voice. It's different, and feels to fit the size of the being. All the characters have their own tones along with personalities that fit them with the descriptions given in the story. Words and vocals work together to give us a complete feel for the characters in their situations. There was something small I noticed in the audio book through. There are times when Jack sounded different than his normal narration of the story telling. Almost like the section was cut out and a recorded section seamlessly spliced in. What I heard was a different tone than the story around it. It was a small catch and I'm not sure if that's what it is or my iPod, but I caught it in different sections through the story. But don't let this take away from the story as it's well done all around.

Okay. This story is plain fun. You have your fantasy beings - Orcs, Ogres, Dwarves, Elves and more. Then you have your noir mystery feel as Spade is a PI. Then you throw in skeletons and zombies! LOL! Yes! What a combo in one story! And there are the small jokes I enjoyed, like Crizlyk biting the Orcs. lol.

We get the adventure in Spade's case that includes fighting with wands, magic, and fists on ground and in the air. So much damage! lol.  Awesome fights as we view the world.

Spade is a dwarf that has his own secret ability, but with the way it makes him feel he doesn't use it much. He also is one that loves to drink and maybe not shower as much. It also seems his brains fall when a beautiful woman is in sight. He missed the clues in a few scenes. I had picked up early on who the culprit was, and I was right.

There was a point in the book where I was waiting for the conclusion. Anticipation? Maybe. But I was ready to get to the end.

Something this book touches on is prejudice. The goblins and hobgoblins have been treated like the dark dirt that no one wants to even step on. They are tired of being treated so poorly with no rights. Though they go to an extreme that's not good, but it raises thoughts on the subject. And can be related to subjects in the world. I like that in the fun there was something solid tucked in there.

This story is different in that it's a fantasy with a noir mystery feel to it. I really like that blend! And there is spice to the characters. Spade is one that doesn't take or give bull. He's a straight shooter with a dry sense of humor. This was well done as his personality is one that's not going to be liked by many other characters. And we see that. But everyone still needs to work together because if not, things are going to get messed up with to many hands working in different directions because they all don't know what's going on. (Mostly Spade will be a problem if he's not told the truth because he's working his case.)

I would enjoy following Spade along on more adventures. I liked him and his friends. Plus, here are hints that there is more to a history of a friends people and I would like to learn more about that. I do hope to see more books!



****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!