Posted in Middle Grade

Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword

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Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword by Keira Gillett, narrated by Michele Carpenter.

 

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

I was given a copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for my honest review. These thoughts are my own. I have not been paid for this review. 

 

Zaria Fierce and Enchanted Drakeland Sword is the second book in the Zaria Fierce trilogy. This story follows the aftermath of Hart being stolen by Olaf. Hector comes for Zaria and her friends for another adventure into the heart of many lands in Norse mythology.

Zaria continues to be haunted by nightmares and self blame regarding the loss of Heart, the Staglord of the Elkenfolken’s son, Hart. All of the children set off in hopes to find the Enchanted Drakeland Sword and find where Hart is being kept by Olaf. Along the way, they meet many Giants, some who are helpful and others who are not. Eventually they make their way into the land of dwarves.

Zaria keeps having these visions where she sees a spector of sorts who looks like her. She is sleeping in her bed when it wakes her up. It tells her it is slowly turning into her and will eventually make his way up to surface with people of Earth and will fool them all into thinking he is her. He then flees, which causes Zaria to follow after him down the dwarvan tunnels through a hidden magical door. Once through, she finds Hart, and frees him with her newly acquired Drakeland Sword. Only, it wasn’t Hart, it was Koll, the deadly dragon Olaf is desperate to free from the Under Realm where he has been trapped for thousands of years.

To save from any spoilers, I will end the synopsis here because the adventure is worth the read, or listen. The narrator is fantastic, bringing each of the characters alive. Each character is well written and has continual growth. The reason I gave this 4.5 stars, instead of 5, was simply because Zaria was almost whiney, and it got annoying after a while. Also, out of all 3 books, this one was my least favorite. I felt that it did not accomplish as much as book 1, and book 3 (review to come soon). I felt it took me longer to get through and I needed frequent breaks. It is worth reading, and getting through, because book 3 was spectacular and a fantastic way to end the trilogy.

Final thought: This is a great series filled with Norse folklore adventures for young readers, but can be enjoyed by all

Posted in Erotica

At His Mercy

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Synopsis-blog-pic

Angel in his arms . . . Devil at her heel

One last, no-strings night of indulgence. That’s all Tristan wants before he begins a much-needed new chapter in his life. Instead he finds an innocent angel in pink who brings him to his knees.

Isabella is done hiding from the world . . . and her haunting memories. Discovering courage in the arms of a perfect stranger, she finally lets go and sheds her inhibitions.

To Isabella’s shock, she soon learns that Tristan is more than her mystery man—he’s her professor. But Tristan isn’t the only person who’s found Isabella on campus. A dark figure from her past has come back for her. Now Tristan will risk anything to protect Isabella . . . even if it costs him his life.

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At His Mercy by Shelly Bell

Ratings: 5 Stars

I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and participation in this book blitz.

From the very first page, I knew this book would be a 5 star read. There was so much hot and so much sizzle, I had the highest of hopes from the get go. This book did not disappoint. This book moved in a consistent flow and there were never any dull moments. It really keeps the reader entranced.

When Isabella walks into the play party for the first time and Tristan lays his eyes on her, the reader can see the steam come off the page. The chemistry throughout the story is super hot and super steamy and perfect. Watching the struggle between Isabella and Tristan when they discovered the student-teacher status was really difficult, and I had hoped they would move through it and just proceed forward.

This story kept me hooked and I could not put it down. I hated when I had to put it down to do anything else.

My favorite quote in the story is “that’s why the submissive role is so alluring to people with demanding careers. Giving control to someone else doesn’t make you weak.” This really hit me hard, because it is something I had to acknowledge in my own life a long time ago. This story and it’s contents is well researched and well written. The BDSM is light, but still enjoyable. If this is a reader’s first time reading a book about BDSM, this would be a great opener.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A sucker for a happy ending, Shelly Bell writes sensual romantic thrillers. When she’s not working her day job, taking care of her family, or writing, you’ll find her reading the latest romance.

 

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Posted in Middle Grade

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest

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Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett, narrated by Michelle Carpenter.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

I was provided a free copy of this book in audio format by the author in exchange for an honest review. I have not been paid for this review.

Zaria Fierce is a story enriched with Norse folklore. It is full of trolls, elves, giants, and the like can all be found in this story. This story was a very short listen, and the narrator was amazing. Carpenter’s voices were spot on, helping bring every character to life, my favorite being Christoffer.

One of the biggest indicators for a potential 5-star rating for me is when a story is captivating from the very beginning. The only downfall to listening to this story being narrated, is that there are illustrations in the book. BUT! No fear, Gillett provided the book trailer links, and there you can see the lovely illustrations!!

Every character in this book has something particularly charming about them, including some pretty interesting secrets, which become helpful throughout the story. This ragtag team find themselves in some pretty hot water in every world they enter into, but yet they are resourceful enough to get themselves out of these situations. For a bunch of 13 year olds, that is not bad. I did peg who Zaria was from the beginning, but it was fun to watch it all unfold.

This story is great for children, or adults! As an audiobook, I can hear it filling up the time spent together in a long car ride. In book form, I can envision parents reading chapters to their kids before bed at night. I am looking forward to enjoying more adventures of these friends in future books!

I know this is a short and sweet review, but it was a heartwarming story, with a great narrator. It is fun for all ages, and mixes Norse folklore into the story in such a fun way. The narrator is fantastic and helps aide in bringing the story to life for the listener. It is worth the time to read or listen to. I also LOVE strong, heroic, female lead characters, and Zaria is a great leading lady!

 

Posted in YA Book Reviews

RoseBlood

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RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

 

RoseBlood came to me via one of my OwlCrate boxes. I immediately started to read it because I had enjoyed Howard’s Splintered so much, I just knew RoseBlood had to be just as good. Well, this was sort of a miss for me. I have never read or even watched The Phantom of the Opera so I know some things may be lost on me. I was intrigued by the story and had been looking forward to reading it when I first received it.

I want to end on a positive note with my book review, so I will start with what I didn’t like. The pace was not great. It was so slow starting out that it wasn’t until about halfway through the book, things got exciting. Also, completely pace related, but the climax of the story was kind of anti-climatic for me. The entire culmination of events happened in a few short pages, and then the last 10ish or so pages was how Rune dealt with the aftermath. Also, at the end, all is forgiven…and I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. Finally, the ink is red. This may seem like such a small minute detail, but it often hurt my eyes and I would constantly have to focus harder on the words. I get that it was supposed to enhance the eeriness and nostalgia to the story, but it got to be uncomfortable.

So things that I liked. I really enjoyed the budding relationship between Etalon and Rune. I wish I could have had more Etalon than was given. I am glad for how it ended, and would have been distraught had the ending been different. I would love to read a story about Etalon, but more exciting than RoseBlood. I liked Rune, even though I wished her history was a bit more beefed up. I really liked Aunt Catherine and wished she had a larger role during the story…she had a larger role at the end, but would have been nice to have her around more. I mean, I understand why, without giving any spoilers, but I still would have liked it. I feel she could have added some comic relief when needed :).  As a reader, it is important to feel the connection between Etalon and Rune, because, as the story infers, it is electric and intense. I felt that way reading their interactions. This is the biggest reason I rated up instead of down.

 

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Soulmated

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Soulmated by Shaila Patel

Goodreads rating: 5 Stars

 

I received a copy of Soulmated from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for this review. These opinions are my own.

 

Soulmated is the story about an Empath (someone who is often sensitive and affected by the energy or emotions of others around them) prince, Liam, who is on a quest to find The One in which he will become Soulmated with. The two would then become very powerful in the Empath community, of which there are MANY in the Council and even Elders who are leary of Liam finding a Soulmate because of the power the couple will have. Liam is searching for a female who his dad has visions about, someone on the cusp of becoming an Empath herself. Which leads him to a small town in North Carolina, where he meets Laxshmi, or,  “Lucky.” The two go on one hell of an adventure which takes the reader on a wild and emotional ride.

This book will literally steal your heart and capture your soul. This book left me so hungover, I felt like a junkie desperately searching for my next fix. This book left me so shattered, I couldn’t breathe, see, or think after I finished. The last time I felt this raw after a book was when I read I’m Still Here in 2014.

The story is very beautifully written, making the reader feel every raw emotion. It was such an easy read, but didn’t feel “simple” at all. I like to do most of my ratings on how I feel or connect with a book, and this book just sucked me in. I was a goner from the very beginning. It is one of those stories I want everyone to read because it is so great, but also want to keep it all to myself like a jealous lover (I will rip off a ladybug’s wings, I swear it, I will) afraid to let anyone else close.

This book can be enjoyed by high school and older. It is a young adult, but does not feel “kiddish” like some young adult books can come off like. I didn’t find myself frustrated with Lucky and her constantly wallowing in her head. I think Patel really wrote the story in such a way that it didn’t put the story down because the character couldn’t stop questioning every little action….because of what Lucky was experiencing, it made the constant self-doubt very understandable and acceptable. I loved reading the changes in Liam as he grew towards Lucky. I equally loved reading how Lucky really came into herself.

I LOVED Lucky’s mom…I know Lucky and her mom are constantly at war with each other, but I really enjoyed her. My one real qualm with the book is the Indian terminology used, not because there were Indian terms in it, but because for majority of the terms used, I had no idea what it was and my Kindle would not translate it, or would give a translation to some other word that I knew was not correct because it wouldn’t fit with the sentence. There also was not a dictionary of those terms that I could find in the book, which may have been helpful, especially because they appeared to be slang terms. I didn’t knock down the rating for this primarily because I didn’t feel like not knowing the terms took away from the story. Some of the words were types of endearment, and some were directed towards people, but I didn’t understand why, and that was mainly it.

So, as a recap….find the book Here on Amazon and give it a go!!!! Seriously!!

Posted in YA Book Reviews

The Seafarer’s Kiss

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The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I would like to think the author for this opportunity.

 

The Seafarer’s Kiss is a retelling of the Little Mermaid, and though this story is largely about mermaids, I feel it is more accurate that this tale is a retelling of Ursula. I say this largely on my knowledge of Disney’s version. Similarities between The Seafarer’s Kiss and The Little Mermaid include: The Little Mermaid and Ersel (The Seafarer’s Kiss) both saving a human from a shipwreck, they both desperately want to leave their underwater kingdom for the land, their love of all things human, and both stories have a Sea Witch (in The Seafarer’s Kiss, the Sea Witch is Loki).

Ersel (sounds like Ursula, doesn’t it??) is not a princess. She is anxiously waiting The Grading, where someone from Aegir’s court comes and determines the mermaids who come of age’s fertility and how many children “eggs” they can hatch to keep the population up. Once the number is released, this number follows them forever. If the number is high, then the males began fighting for them as mates. Ersel is desperately afraid and her dream is to leave the icy glacier their kingdom is situated and experience the rest of the world. Prior to The Grading, she meets and protects and young woman named Ragna, which she falls in love with. Eventually, she is found by her former friend, who betrayed her becoming a guard for the evil king, and is informed that she no longer had a choice but to become her mate. After The Grading, she makes a deal with Loki, knowing she should not. This deal went awry and she was turned into a “monster,” her fins turned into legs similar to Ursula’s. In order to prevent any potential spoilers, she is banished and takes up residence in a boat that has been shipwrecked since Ersel was a child. Loki visits her again to strike up a new deal in order to get her fins back, or something else she desires. Ersel then moves forward in the story with this new deal in mind.

I will not give away the end, but the second part of this story was much better than the first part. I felt that the story was a bit boring prior to Ersel’s banishment. I felt the relationship with Ragna came off kind of forced (from a writer perspective, not that Ersel was forced into a relationship by Ragna), specifically the intimate interactions the two encountered together. I also had a hard time connecting with any particular character and I felt disappointed with the end of the story.

Even though I feel this story is 3.5 overall, I still gave it a 4 star rating because I felt the retelling was a very unique aspect. I felt the imagery of the story was great, and for the  most part, I could visualize along with the story’s narrator. I especially liked the Norse aspect of included in the story. By the end of the story, I still thought this would be a great segue into Ursula/Sea Witch territory for a retelling!

This story is a pretty quick read and flows easily. It is just over 200 pages and can be easily knocked out in a day, depending on the kind of time a reader has to give it. I do wish it was a bit longer, in order to add more into the story to help connect, but if there is a sequel, I will definitely read it. At the end of the day, I would recommend this to others. Just because I did not connect, does not mean others will not. A lot of people really enjoy the book, I just wish there was more and felt parts a bit boring and hard to get through. I enjoyed the author’s writing style, which is important as well.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Troy High

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Troy High by Shana Norris, Narrated by Khristine Hvam

Rating: 4 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

I selected to listen to Troy High over reading the physical book due to the narration style of Khristine Hvam. Hvam brought this Homer’s Iliad retelling to life narrating the intense feud between the Troy High Trojans and the Laseed High Spartans. When the school rezoning happened and one of the popular, beautiful Spartan cheerleaders, Elena, becomes a Trojan teenager, it is only the beginning of a series of increasingly unfortunate events. Putting forward into motion these events, Elena begins dating the protagonist’s, Cassie, brother. Elena decided the perfect time to tell her Spartan on-again-off-again boyfriend, was during one of the first Spartan football games of the season. For the Spartans, this meant war.

Cassie is a sophmore in high school. She goes unnoticed until Elena comes to the school. Elena and Cassie become fast friends, even though Elena’s Spartan boyfriend is the older brother of Cassie’s BFF (whom she secretly wants more with), Greg. Once Elena befriends Cassie, Cassie grows a new found popularity, that she is not wanting to let go of. Once Elena break’s up with her Spartan boyfriend, the Spartans launch a series of pranks against the Trojans. Not to be outdone, Cassie’s 2 older brothers Perry and Hunter lead the charge in retaliation against the Spartans. Caught in between is Cassie and Greg, each on opposing sides, trying desperately to remain friends.

There were very intense moments within the story, especially the culmination of the gifted Trojan Horse from Spartan’s 10th Grade Council at the Homecoming game. I felt that the story was easy to follow along with. I felt that, even though there were times Cassie came off whiney, many of the students dealt with very real issues that we have all experienced in some capacity in high school.  I felt Cassie’s inner struggles about whether or not Greg reciprocates her feelings were very easy to relate to as I am sure at some point we have all been there.

I really enjoyed the narrator. Hvam has narrated many high rated series such as Daughter of Smoke and BoneVampire Academy, and Shade of Vampire. She was able to adequately portray and narrate emotions for the characters and the gut wrenching, intense pranks/experiences.

I am glad the end happened the way it did, but I was starting to question it at some point. I really didn’t know for a while if it would end how I desperately needed it to. This may not be the best written book you will ever read, but it was quick, enjoyable, and brought a new way to retell a classic like Homer’s Iliad.