Tag Archive | Fantasy

New Fantasy Novel by Camilla Monk: Still

Still by Camilla Monk

Science Fiction/Fantasy

 

I received a free copy of this book, but was under no obligation to review it. I decided to review it because it’s pretty kicka$$

Still

Overall Rating: 4 (XOXO)

 

Quick & Dirty summary: Emma is used to people giving up on her, but the one person she hasn’t been able to give up completely doesn’t know she’s about to show up on his doorstep. After arriving in Rome to see her estranged father, Emma winds up bumping into her stepsister unexpectedly. The perfect stepsister her mother loved more than Emma. So, it’s a surprise to Emma herself when she puts herself in jeopardy to keep Lily safe from her creepy boss. Another surprise? The hunky blind bum who keeps showing up at the most awkward times.

I really liked this book. Camilla Monk is a fantastic writer. I’m sucked into her books immediately, which is an important skill when writing a fantasy novel. While Emma is a bit rough around the edges, she is an entirely sympathetic character. I rooted for her the entire time.

This book reminds me a bit of Percy Jackson, but with a kickass female heroine in place of Percy. I really like Faust, and I loved the banter between Emma and Faust. There is no “real” romance. There is attraction, flirtation, and a kind of weird psychotic love between Lily and her boyfriend. But this isn’t the traditional romance where the relationship between hero and heroine drive the plot. Instead, it’s much more about Emma’s scars, her personality quirks, and her innate goodness, despite being a little rude.

I cannot wait for the next book in this series. If you’re worried about this, don’t be because this book does not have a cliffhanger ending the way Spotless does. This novel wraps up pretty cleanly, with the exception that it hints pretty heavily about what the next adventure will be. But the ending is entirely satisfying.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $3.99)

So, this is a bit steep since I have no idea how many books Monk plans on writing in this series. If it’s 3, that’s $12 total for the series, which isn’t too bad. The book is a standalone, so you can read this one without HAVING to buy the other books, so…. Yes, it’s worth buying! BONUS: it’s in the Kindle Unlimited Program, so read it for free.

Something else you might enjoy:

Try Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series. It’s a series that takes on all of the traditional myths and puts them together in a fascinating world where evil isn’t necessary a demon. Note: this is a full-fledged adult romance series. There are sexually explicit scenes.

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10 Books by Charlotte Stein

Romance and Erotica by Charlotte Stein

Past Pleasures
All Other Things
Addicted
Closer
Run to You
Never Loved
Intrusion
Almost Real
Doubled
Never Sweeter

I have been on a Charlotte Stein kick. I first found her through my public library when I was just figuring out how to use OverDrive five years or so ago. I quickly read everything they had by her and in the past month I’ve had a chance to catch up books that have been added over the years. Some of these titles are older, but I had never read them. Her most recent release on this list is Never Sweeter.

So in general all of these books are fun to read. Most of it is erotic in the traditional sense. Heavy on the sex no matter how short the novel. But what I like about her books is there is always a psychological element, the exception, perhaps, being Past Pleasures. I’ve written a blog post about Never Loved, which you can find here. I re-read Never Loved during my Stein binge, along with Intrusion, which is why it’s listed here again. The Dark Obsessions line of novels is really good and they deal a lot in taboos. It’s important to note that after reading 10 of her books in close succession, I can say without a doubt that Stein is not a formulaic writer.

Never Sweeter

My favorite of all of these books is definitely Never Sweeter. I do not like enemies to lovers stories. Let me be really clear—I don’t even read them if I get a sense of that in the blurb. But for some reason I decided to read this one and I’m so glad I did. It’s kind of a crazy book. And by crazy I mean, it is almost incomprehensible to me how Stein turns Tate into, not only a sympathetic character, but an adorable, vulnerable, sweet character who I love!

Of course the book has really intense sex scenes. That’s kind of a given when you read Stein. More than that, though, the sex really adds depth to the psychological aspects of the book. The confusion, the hesitancy, the vulnerability—they all get highlighted and enhanced by the physical relationship between the characters.

I’ll be continuing to stalk Stein at my public library. I hope they add more of her books to their collection because she’s a prolific writer. As I mentioned briefly, though, she is never boring. None of her books feel similar to me and no matter how short or how long, I am always engrossed in her stories.

 

Final Book in the Strange Luck Series

It’s out! A Darling Secret, the third and final book in the Strange Luck Series by Amie Irene Winters is out today. Below is my book review.

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Strange Luck Series by Amie Irene Winters

Young Adult/Fantasy

 

A Darling Secret

 

I received an advanced copy of this novel. I choose to review the book because I enjoyed it and think you might too. You can read reviews of the first two novels by clicking their titles below.

WARNING: This is the third novel in a three book series. Book 2 ended in limbo, so some of the summary of Book 3 will be a spoiler if you haven’t read the first two books.

Read my reviews on the first two books: 

Strange Luck (Book 1)

Nightmare Birds (Book 2)

Overall Rating: 3.5

Quick Summary: After the thrilling ending of the Nightmare Birds, Daisy Darling is driving into the unknown. While she has her twin sister at her side and a crew of family members she didn’t know existed, Daisy is scared at all she must still face. A part of her just wants to go back to the way things were before, but she knows that cannot happen. She must face the Realm of the Shadow Gods and help to destroy an evil she never saw coming.

 

This is a fantastic ending to an exciting and thrilling series. Amie Winters continues to offer up surprising twists in this last installment, along with a very sweet and satisfying ending. Of particular note is the great evil that rules the Realm of the Shadows Gods. Complex even in its horror, the villain of this series is not a simple caricature of the devil.

I found the beginning of the book to be a bit slow, primarily because Daisy kept breaking down. This is understandable, given everything she’s been through, but it seemed a bit out of character for her. In the end though, I thought the difficulty Daisy has at the beginning of the book add a bit more depth to her romantic relationship, especially since the climax of the novel has her facing off with the Shadow Gods with only her twin sister at her side.

Thinking about this series in its entirety, I am awed at the imagination of Winters. Each book offers a different world to explore. It lives up to the fantasy genre and offers interesting twists on old classics like witches, evil, and the afterlife.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $2.99)

If you’ve been reading the series then of course you need to know how it ends. Luckily, if you have Kindle Unlimited, the entire series is free. All three books can be bought bundled together for $8.97, which for an ebook is a lot, but compared to paperback novels is a steal.

Something else you might enjoy:

I love Cat Winter’s young adult novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds. It has a fantasy feel with an added historical element. You can read my review of Winter’s book here.

The Singer and the Charlatan

The Wicked Instruments Series by D.C. Fergerson

Fantasy

 

The Singer and the Charlatan (book 1)

Singer and the Charlatan

Overall Rating: 3.5

 

Quick & Dirty summary: Leanne Moonbeam doesn’t know much, but what she does know is that she is determined to be a famous singer, the most famous singer known in Newland. When she gets entangled with a rag tag group on a flawed quest, hilarity ensues.

This is a light-hearted, funny quest. The primary conflict of the novel is finished in book one, but there is a larger story arch that isn’t revolving around Leanne’s identity prompting me to search out and read book two. Since book one delivered in sketching out interesting secondary characters and a possible love-interest, I’m looking forward it.

Leanne is talented, neurotic, and easy-going. The secondary characters are alternately bloodthirsty, naive, insane, and ridiculous. All of the characters together form an odd rendition of Dorothy and gang in the Wizard of Oz. I’m not terribly clear if there is a deeper meaning to this book or series, but regardless, I think it’s great to take the book as it is. An entertaining book well outside of what I normally read. It’s a blessing, but above all, it is (really, really) funny.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle FREE)

Yes, right now the book is free. I’m not clear on whether this price is temporary or not, but it’s worth getting at that low, low price.

Something else you might enjoy:

I don’t know. Do you have any suggestions?

Cover Reveal: Book 3 in Strange Luck Series

A Darling Secret

Strange Luck series, Book 3

Coming September 22, 2017

ADarlingSecret_3DCover_AmieIreneWinters 

Learn the fate of your favorite heroes and love-to-hate foes in the thrilling conclusion to Amie Irene Winters’ bestselling Strange Luck series.

Before the Theater of Secrets was formed, before the Nameless was built, before Daisy Darling learned of her magical bloodline, there was the Realm of the Shadow Gods—ruled by the most powerful and wicked creatures known.

For nearly two decades, Daisy’s twin sister, Rose, was held captive by the Shadow Gods and survived. Now Rose has come to find Daisy to stop their impending evil from spreading into the human world. But Rose bears a terrible secret that has the power to destroy everything.

In the devastating Realm of the Shadow Gods, dark magic holds no bounds. Daisy will risk everything to save those she loves, but will the truth finally break her?

 

Unlock the final book in the Strange Luck series with A Darling Secret.

 

Pre-order today, read it September 22, 2017.

 A DARLING SECRET_FullJacket_JPG

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A Darling Secret excerpt:

A slow, creeping fear wound its way around me.

Tiptoeing around the mysterious plain, too afraid to call out, a surprising wisp of music came floating through the air. It was a jingly little melody—like a music box—followed by soft voices.

I paused. Through the violet-stained sky and swirling rainbow mist I saw something moving. My eyes narrowed as I stealthily approached an illuminated cave.

Shadows were gathering there.

 

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A Darling Secret Amazon link:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074JVRWH4?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

Curious about the first two books? Read my reviews of them:

Strange Luck

Nightmare Birds

 

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Bio:

Amie Irene Winters was born and raised in California but now lives and writes in western Pennsylvania. She is the author of the bestselling Strange Luck series.

When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dog, baking desserts, or breaking a sweat in kickboxing class.

To learn more about Amie and her books, visit amieirenewinters.com.

Amie Irene Winters Headshot Cropped

Sign up for my mailing list here! You’ll only get emails when I have a new release coming up, a sale, or a giveaway.

 

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Social media links:

Website: http://www.amieirenewinters.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00XZ88V5A

Blog: https://golden-cricket.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aiwinters

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13851542.Amie_Irene_Winters

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amieiwinters/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmieIWinters

Website: http://www.amieirenewinters.com

Downloadable Bookmarks!

Paige at Books and Belle and Penny at Pebblepen put together a great blog tour where you can download a printable bookmark with the blog’s top 4 book recommendations in a particular category. Another blog had already covered the romance genre by the time I joined, so I thought I’d tackle classics, since I am a member of a classic lit book club in real life. Here are my top 4 book recommendations on a beautiful bookmark Penny designed.

Classic Lit bookmark

Be sure to visit the other blogs on this tour to see their recommendations and download their bookmarks. It’s totally free and fun to see what other’s recommend!

Fiction – Bookish Betsy (Betsy) –

Classics – Love Serially (Christine) –

Poetry – Fables and Tea (Hannah) –

LGBTQIA – Magical Reader (Lori) –

Fantasy – Books and Belle (Paige) – & Pebblepen (Penny) –

Magical Realism – The Introverted Book Nerd (Danielle) –

Romance – Little thoughts from little people (Eleanor) –

Sci-fi – Pebblepen (Penny) –

Thriller – Books and Belle (Paige) –

Historical – The Introverted Book Nerd (Danielle) & Pebblepen (Penny) –

Horror– All the Bright Places Blog (Beth) –

Here’s a hint at what you’ll find:

printable bookmarks all

First Book in The Hundredth Queen Series

The Hundredth Queen Series by Emily R. King

Fantasy

 

The Hundredth Queen

 

This is the first book in a new series. The ending leaves the story unresolved. The second book is scheduled to release on Sept. 26, 2017.

 

Overall Rating: 4 (xoxo)

 

Quick & Dirty summary: Kalinda has spent her entire life in the care of the temples. As an orphan, she’s lucky that she was taken in by the Sisterhood, especially since she’s afflicted with mysterious fevers. When King Rajah Tarek selects her to be his 100th queen, she has no choice but to accept. But before she can wed the king, she must fight any challengers who want to take her place. Her only ally is her guard, Captain Deven Naik. But her challengers are not the only threat looming and Kalinda isn’t sure she’ll be able to survive.

This is an exciting introduction to a new series. It took me a bit to settle into the story, but there is a lot of intrigue and mystery involved. It’s true to the genre in that there are magical things that happen which adds a lot of excitement.

I enjoy Kalinda and Deven together. They make a good couple and there is a slow burn between them. There is quite a bit of political commentary throughout the novel, as the social structure in the book’s world is very patriarchal. The interesting thing about it, though, is that it’s recent.

I have high hopes for the rest of the series. Emily King seems to have laid quite a bit of groundwork, so I think future books will be even better.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $4.99)

I was able to get this as a Kindle First book, meaning I got it for free. Since this is just the first book in a series, five dollars is a lot to pay knowing that there’ll be more books. I’d recommend petitioning your library to buy the book or waiting until the series is complete to buy it as a box set. But it’s a very fun series and well worth the read.

Something else you might enjoy:

This book really reminded me of The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon. Harmon’s book, though, is much more about language and fate, than this one, giving it a bit more depth to its imagery.