Reviews

Review: Stroke the Flame by Elizabeth Briggs

Book Review

Stroke the Flame by Elizabeth Briggs
(Her Elemental Dragons #1)
Fantasy, Romance, Reverse Harem
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Synopsis
Four sexy dragon shifters. A huntress with a dark past. A bond that could save the world.

I’ve spent my entire life running from my past and staying out of trouble. That’s how I’ve kept alive ever since my parents were killed by the Black Dragon, who’s ruled the world under her oppressive talons for as long as anyone can remember.

But it’s hard to keep a low profile when four handsome strangers turn up in your village claiming you’re destined to save the world. According to them, they’ve been chosen by the gods to become elemental dragons—and I’m their mate.

Which means one day I’ll be the most powerful dragon of all, able to control all four elements. Assuming I can unlock my powers first…by getting intimate with each of my sexy mates.

Auric, the clever prince. Jasin, the cocky soldier. Slade, the protective blacksmith. Reven, the mysterious assassin. And me. We’re the only ones who can bring balance to the world and overthrow the Black Dragon—if she doesn’t tear us to shreds first….

What I thought
I received a copy of this book from the Author, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This is the first book in the Her Elemental Dragons Series. This is a multiple POV story you get to see things from all five points of view. Oh and this is a Reverse Harem story. I have never read anything quite like this before and I really enjoyed it.

Being the first book in a series this one sets up the basis for the world that we are in. I loved how this book was not info-dumpy. The Author cut out all the fluff and we get just the story. This made for a great straight forward read, especially with everything that is going on this is what I needed.

In this book, Kira is just trying to get to know her mates before she has to bond with them. I really enjoyed the fact that she wanted to get to know them and was not just along for the ride. It appears that each of these books will focus on a different mate. I can’t wait to watch this group come together and they learn to trust each other.

The audiobook has two narrators one for the male perspectives and one for the female perspective. The only issue that I had was when the male narrator tried to do a female voice…it just didn’t work for me.

My Rating: /5

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Reviews

Review: Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Book Review

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
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Synopsis
A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

What I thought
Thank you Macmillan Audio and Netgalley for giving me an audio copy of this book for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I picked up this book all that I knew about it was that it was a YA fantasy inspired by Persian mythology and a Rappaccini’s Daughter retelling. I was sold by that concept alone. Oh and it’s a standalone. I had not read anything by this author before so I was amazed at the beautifully enchanting writing of this book. This book was very atmospheric, I had no issues imagining every aspect of the story.

This is the story of Soraya, a girl that was cursed as a baby to be poisonous. The only living thing that she can interact with is flowers. I found Soraya to be a very frustrating character due to her making a lot of really bad decisions and could be very naive; however, what do you expect from someone that was forced to hide away with little to no interaction for her entire life.

The heart of this story is Soraya’s journey of self-love and acceptance. Soraya has spent her life not liking herself due to the way that she is. During this story she is able to see that what made her so different is also what makes her special. Which is a wonderful theme for a YA book.

I really enjoyed the narrator of this book. The way that she read the story pulled me in. She was able create the voices that seemed to fit each character.

My Rating: /5

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Reviews

Review: Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen

Book Review

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts
by Nancy Campbell Allen
(Steampunk Proper Romance #4)
Fantasy, Steampunk, Romance, Historical
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Synopsis
A steampunk retelling of Cinderella.

Emmeline O’Shea is determined to save the world—single-handedly, if necessary. A strong voice for societal reform, she is the natural choice to deliver a key speech at the end of the International Shifter Rights Organization’s week-long Summit in Scotland.

But when a death threat arrives at Emme’s home, she is immediately placed into protective custody, watched over by none other than her personal nemesis, Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed. The two have crossed paths many times, with disastrous results, but now they will have to work together in order to reach the Summit before midnight of the last day in order to ensure legislation is passed to protect the Shifter community.

As unseen enemies close in around Emme and Oliver, they struggle to reach Edinburgh by any means necessary, only to find Emme’s vindictive stepsister, Oliver’s vampire brother, and a dangerous political minefield awaiting them in Scotland.

Even more difficult is their own refusal to admit that the fiery animosity that once burned between them might be turning into the heat of romantic passion. Could a straitlaced policeman determined to uphold the law and an outspoken activist willing to break the rules ever find true love? Or will all their dreams shatter like glass when the clock strikes midnight?

What I thought
Thank you Shadow Mountain Publishing and Netgalley for an ARC copy of this book for an honest review.  All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.

Quick note:  This book can be read as a standalone; however, I highly suggest that you read these books in order.  You will not be lost by any means, but they build on each other just enough that you get so much more out of them in order. And…well…spoilers.

Hands down this is my favorite book in this series.  I now want to go back and re-read the first three books and then read this one again. This is a Steampunk, Proper Romance, Retelling of Cinderella.  Oh, and it’s a hate to love romance, my absolute favorite thing to read.  Once I started reading this book I did not want to put it down.

In this story, we focus on Emme and Oliver.  We get to see how they have interacted in the last 2 years, mostly through conversations and memories. There is a fine line between hate and love both are very strong emotions which they are discovering. There was just something about the way that Emme and Oliver integrated with each other that I loved.  I love how all of the people you have met so far seem to all come together in this book. I had all the feels while reading this book and it made me feel so much better in general.

My only concern is that I think because so much came together in this book that it may be the last one.  I really hope that is not the case.

My Rating: /5

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Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Book Review

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
Fantasy
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Synopsis
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours. 

What I thought
I was worried when I first picked this book up that my expectations for it might have been too high.  I have only heard positive reviews about the book.  I am happy to report that I was not disappointed.

Reading this book made my heart feel so full.  

The best way to put it is that the book gave me hope in the middle of 2020.  This book could not have been released in a better time.

Sorry, I know this is short but no words I write seem like enough to convey how much I loved this book. 

My Rating: /5

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Review: The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

Book Review

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington
(The Licanius Trilogy #1)
Epic Fantasy
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Synopsis
It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs – once thought of almost as gods – were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs’ fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion’s Four Tenets. A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience.

As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought – and lost – before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests.

But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

What I thought
This is one of my favorite books that I have read this year.  This book was so good I did not believe that it was a debut novel at first. 

I had not heard of this book until Audible sent me an email because the audiobook was for sale.  I did not purchase the audiobook, but something about the synopsis got me and I just had to pick it up a few days later.  Funny enough I picked it up on a weekend and the next week I was asked if I wanted to join the July buddy read for it.  It’s like I was meant to pick up this book now. Once I started reading it I could not put it down.  Really I had to leave the book at home so I wouldn’t be tempted to read it at work.

This book has multiple POVs and I want to say as of now that our main cast is: Davian, Caeden, Wirr, and Ash. Each of the characters has major roles that are playing out in this story.  I am not sure how popular/unpopular this opinion might be but my favorite right now is Ash. There have been hints dropped that make me feel like she is going to have a much larger role in future books. 

This story has a rich history and a magic system that is fairly easy to understand.  This does have the “chosen one” trope but is the chosen one who we are led to think it is? I have my own opinion on how this may play out but we will see.

Has anyone else read this book?  Let’s talk about it in the comments below!

My Rating: /5

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Review: Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys by B.G. Hilton

Book Review

Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys
by B.G. Hilton
Steampunk, Fantasy
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Synopsis
Hungover aristocrat Edward “Charlie” Decharles awakens in the back of a steam-cab, only to discover that the driver has been murdered. Unused to feeling responsible for anything, he feels compelled to find the killer. As he investigates, he meets “The Amazing” Gladys Dunchurch, a stage magician’s assistant whose employer has disappeared – and not in a good way. They form an alliance – Charlie will help Gladys with his considerable resources and Gladys will help Charlie with her even more considerable brains.

Soon they discover that their respective mysteries are not only connected to each other, but related to other seemingly unrelated strangeness transpiring in London – the murder of an astronomer, an attack on a patent medicine factory, a mysterious cult in an idyllic town, and reports of deadly creatures in the London sewers.

Charlie and Gladys find themselves pitted against dead-eyed assassins, murderous pirates, wingless flying machines, and perhaps even creatures from beyond this Earth. And lurking behind it all lies a sinister cabal that knows the secret origin of the steam-powered society that powers their world. Can our heroes save the day, or will the fallout from that secret destroy two worlds?

Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys is a fun, witty Steampunk adventure yarn, featuring a cast of eccentric characters. 

What I thought
This book was received from the Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I was a little worried in the beginning of the book when everything was being set up, I was not sure how I felt about everything that the author was trying to accomplish. However, as the book progressed I began to really like it. It was really a fun read. The witty banter, mostly from Gladys, made the story that much more enjoyable.

This is set in a more traditional steampunk setting aka London; however, the author added in extraterrestrial beings. Yes, steampunk with aliens who would have thought that this would have been something that I really would have enjoyed.

I enjoyed Gladys’s character and I would love to see a book based on Charlie’s mom’s detective stories. I can’t help it, it sounded Holmesian. Gladys are Charlie’s opposites in so many ways and that is why they work so well together. They are able to progress through the story due to the differences and strengths.

The only thing that didn’t sit right with me was the constant telling of how dim everyone thinks Charlie is. No one really saw his potential so he moved through life as if he really didn’t have any. I just feel it was stated way too often.

If you would like to read a steampunk with an alien twist you really should give this one a try.

My Rating: /5

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Review: Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger

Book Review

Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger
(Delightfully Deadly #2)
Steampunk, Fantasy, Romance
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Synopsis
A vampire hive descending into madness. A beautiful spy with a sparkly plan. The bodyguard who must keep them from killing each other.

New York Times bestselling romantic comedy author Gail Carriger brings you a charming story of love, espionage, and Gothic makeovers set in her popular Parasolverse.

SPY

Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott, code name Honey Bee, is the War Office’s best and most decorative fixer. She’s sweet and chipper, but oddly stealthy, and surprisingly effective given the right incentives.

VERSUS KNIGHT

Sir Crispin Bontwee was knighted for his military service, but instead of retiring, he secretly went to work for the War Office. Mostly he enjoys his job, except when he must safeguard the Honey Bee.

Neither one is a vampire expert, but when the Nottingham Hive goes badly Goth, only Dimity can stop their darkness from turning bloody. And only Crispin can stop an enthusiastic Dimity from death by vampire.

In a battle for survival (and wallpaper), Dimity must learn that not all that sparkles is good, while Cris discovers he likes honey a lot more than he thought.

“This intoxicatingly witty parody will appeal to a wide cross-section of romance, fantasy and steampunk fans.” ~ Publishers Weekly, starred review (Soulless)

Spinning off from the Finishing School series, featuring deadly ladies of quality, this story stands alone, but chronologically follows Poison or Protect before the start of the Parasol Protectorate Series. It’s Cold Comfort Farm meets Queer Eye meets What We Do In The Shadows from the hilarious author of the Parasol Protectorate books, perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Jodi Taylor, or Meljean Brook.

Delicate Sensibilities?

Contains fraternizing vampires and one very curious young lady, who asks about seduction, sometimes in detail but mostly in retrospect. May also involve excessive use of velvet, melodramatic poetry, and the strategic application of interpretive ballet.

What I thought
We finally got a Dimity book!!!

I loved Dimity in the Finishing School books and I always wondered how her story would play out since you could tell that killing was never going to be her thing. I mean she faints at the sight of blood. She was always the fixer putting things back to rights after her friends made a mess of things.

This book had me sucked in from page one. Dimity may have gone in and fixed the hive but when it came to each of the hive members she listened and supported them as they found what made them happy. Which in the end did more for them than new curtains ever could have.

I don’t want to say much more since it is a novella and I don’t want to spoil the whole story for you.

My Rating: /5

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