Review – Knight Awakened

Review of Knight Awakened

This book by Coreene Callahan was initially found through a recommendation of Knight Avenged, which is Book Two in the series. I loved the trailer. An excellent mix of sound and song to stir the blood allowing you to commiserate with their distress. Plus, I was very impressed with their use of effects to make the pictures seem more dramatic and alive.

This led me to discover Book One. Me being a creature of habit, I must read them in order. So, I will be reviewing both books for the website. While this video wasn’t as inspiring, I couldn’t ignore the first book in the series.

Knight Awakened (Circle of Seven series, book 1) - book trailer

 

Synopsis:

In AD 1331, warlord Vladimir Barbu seizes control of Transylvania. But in spite of his bloody triumph, his claim to the throne remains out of reach. The king of Hungary opposes his rule, the Transylvanian people despise his brutal ways, and the high priestess needed to crown him has vanished without a trace. But Barbu hasn’t come this far only to be thwarted by a woman. He unleashes his best hunters to track her down and bring her to him—dead or alive.

For Xavian Ramir, killing is the only life he has ever known. Torn from his family when he was a child, he was trained from an early age to be an elite assassin. But now he longs for something more, vowing to start anew after one last job. The bounty on his target’s head is enough to set him up for good—if he can resist the long-dead conscience that stirs to life when he meets his beautiful mark.

Afina Lazar never wanted to become high priestess, but the brutal murders of her beloved mother and sister leave her no choice. Now she is running for her life, desperate to protect the magical amulet entrusted to her care. But when Barbu’s assassin comes for her, she realizes her only chance of stopping the warlord’s rise to power is to convince this enigmatic—and handsome—hunter that she is more valuable alive than dead.

Dramatic and fast-paced, Knight Awakened is a stirring love story between two people searching for a second chance in a magical world of assassins, warlords, unearthly beasts, and nonstop adventure.

My Thoughts:

You have phenomenal sexual tension between the two characters, and I love the action scenes. Throw in a prophecy, some dragons and a bit of mysticism and you’ve got this book in a nutshell.
The author’s vivid scenes draw you in with each twist and turn. An awe-inspiring feat that many authors find difficult. Her world building skills are enough to leave even the most skeptical going wow. Her fighting scenes are an originality I rarely see in romance novels.

The antagonists consist of two men that aren’t connected. One is greedy and tenacious while the other is just pure evil. One the heroine’s enemy, the other our hero’s. There’s a darkness that surrounds the story, but yet she allows a gentle light to seep in giving you hope for something better. That wonder of what will happen next is what pushes you forward, to find out what new adventure they face.

Some Hmm Moments: I found myself questioning a few events. Like where did the child go? After certain events, she just kind of disappears from the book. Or why did one of the two antagonists hire assassins if he wanted her captured? Just a few oddities I seen in the tale.

I read some of the other reviews and I noticed more than one complaint about the whole “traitor in his trews” line. I have to say I enjoyed that visualism. Though, I don’t mind a bit of nasty talk, from time to time it’s refreshing to see it phrased this way. I give her extra points for her play on words.

My Favorite Character: Though, I liked most of the secondary characters, my favorite was Henrik. You knew from the first meeting there was more to him than what he showed his comrades. I’m very much looking forward to reading his story.

Xavian: This assassin turned rescuer was known as Ram to his friends. I enjoyed the main hero. He had this whole wounded vibe going on that made you want to comfort him and yet at the same time admire his tenacity. He’s strong and confident with a take no shit attitude, but a creamy soft center. You know he’s got a soft gooey inside from the knowledge of all the orphan boys he’s rescued, then taken care of. He didn’t have to provide for them. He could’ve tried to pawn them off on others, but instead he provides a home for them. I admire that and it makes me enjoy him so much more. On a side note: I think I’ve been eating too many hohos…

I loved the connection between the two main characters. Though, Afina’s constant negativity is grating at times together they just worked. Her insecurities mixed with his tough, no–holds–barred attitude just worked. She was the softness that he needed, while he was the strength she yearned for. Together they made each other whole.

The one thing that really impressed me about Afina was her strength, when it mattered. She was hard on herself and woefully insecure, but when she needed to fight, she did what she must and refused to back down. It was an admirable quality, to my way of thinking, and I enjoyed the grittier side of her nature.

Overall this was a great fast paced story with lots of action and a fair amount of sexual tension. It’s definitely more fantasy than historical with the dragons and sorcery. Still it was a great read and I would not hesitate to recommend it. I give it 4 hearts.

(4 / 5)

Review – Torment by Lauren Kate

Review of Torment by Lauren Kate

This week’s Book Trailer Wednesday pick is Torment. This is the second book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. In some ways, I liked the special effects of this book trailer better than the first, but my desire to continue the story prompted my purchase more than the trailer itself.

TORMENT by Lauren Kate

Synopsis:

Hell on earth.

That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.

It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.

What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series… where love never dies.

My Thoughts:

In some ways, I liked this book better than the first. The author gave us a lot more details on the back–story, but left enough of the mystery unanswered to keep reading the next story.

There are several new characters in this book, as well as a few of the old ones. I got excited when they brought Arriane into the story, but her position in the storyline was minor. Just a bit disappointing since she’s my favorite for the series. The author managed to bring more truths to light about Cam, which made me question my opinions of him.

In Torment, Luce spends most of her time with either Miles or Shelby.

Miles: Miles is a classmate that befriends Luce on her first day and makes her feel less of a freak. He comes from a very old respected family. The percentage of angel blood is minimal, but he still classifies as a Nephilim. He admits to wondering at times why they even allow him in the school.

Shelby: Luce’s roommate at the new school. She’s a human–angel hybrid that was raised by a single mom. I didn’t really like her at first, but she grows on you. She comes off as spoiled, jealous and just downright mean.

The introduction of the Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans, adds an interesting new aspect to the series. I found the interaction between her and Miles sweet. Overall, the entire encounter with this new group has brought about a metamorphosis in her character that I truly enjoyed. No longer is she simply this girl that has love on the brain constantly. She finally starts asking the hard questions, and learns to find answers for herself. She develops an assertiveness that makes you want to cheer and say it’s about dang time.

My favorite aspect of the book is still the whole demon verses angel theme. I love the way the author writes. She puts so many things into question about the possibility of a misinterpretation between who is actually good or evil.

Although I enjoyed both Fallen and Torment, I’ve decided to only review the two books in the series. I did purchase the third book, but I had a hard time reading it. It was just too much teenage drama for me by book three, which jumps out of my enjoyment zone. My dislike of certain types of story lines isn’t the author’s fault. Therefore, I believe it would be unjust to both the book, and its possible readers to review it. My daughter loved the books, so if you enjoy YA paranormal, I do highly recommend the entire series. I give this 4 stars.

(4 / 5)

 

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Review of Fallen

This week’s Book Trailer Wednesday pick is Fallen by Lauren Kate. While my initial interest in this book wasn’t because of the trailer it did play a deciding factor in my choice. I found this book trailer while searching for a new book series for my teenage daughter to read. It was offered in a list of suggested reads, but the book cover was what first caught my eye. When I saw that it had a book trailer I immediately clicked the link. The video whet my appetite enough to want to read it myself.

I know this book sits at a higher price range than my average read, but in my daughter’s case, her books are always more expensive. She will not read an e-book, she claims to like the smell and feel of a real book in her hand. The thrill on her face when she reads a new story is priceless in my opinion.

FALLEN by Lauren Kate

Synopsis:

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret… even if it kills her.

 

 

My Thoughts:

I found the whole premise of this book fascinating. While I’ve not read many books about angels in general, the originality of this storyline left me intrigued throughout. There were certain aspects that were obvious from the start, while others you were left to figure out as time went by.

The main character was likable. I didn’t notice any blatantly annoying traits in Luce that might make a person roll their eyes. She was a typical confused teen with a lot of craziness going on around her. I felt the descriptions of the shadows were well thought out.

Favorite Character: My favorite character was Arriane. She has just the right mixture of crazy and humor.

Quote: “You’re my love, Lucinda. For me, you’re all there is.”

Quote: “Not so long that I’ve forgotten that you’re worth everything. Every sacrifice. Every pain.”

The story wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed it and believe my daughter will as well. My biggest complaint would have to be the parents. It just didn’t seem plausible for such supposedly loving parents to abandon her at the hospital. The state of neglect explained by the author made the possibility of the camera sabotage sustainable.

It had a good ending for this type of ongoing series. While not all our questions were answered, the author wrapped it up nicely so we would be ready for the next release. I still hold enough questions about the history that I’m not waiting for my daughter to ask for the next book.

Overall, this story was a great teen romance. While there are a few fighting scenes, there’s no real violence and the romance is clean. Both characteristics make this an excellent choice for my teen. It also holds enough intrigue to entertain even an adult, if you like this kind of book. I give it 4 hearts.

(4 / 5)

If He’s Wicked by Hannah Howell

Review – If He’s Wicked

This week’s Book Trailer Wednesday pick is If He’s Wicked by Hannah Howell. This is Book One in her Wherlocke series. As a fan for nearly two decades of her work, it was exciting to find one of her book trailers on youtube.

If He's Wicked Book Trailer


Synopsis:

She Saves His Life…

For Chloe Wherlocke, it all begins with a vision–a glimpse into the future that foretells a terrible plot against Lord Julian Kenwood and his newborn son. Chloe’s psychic gift allows her to save the child from certain death, but the earl remains in grave peril…

But When He Steals Her Heart…

Julian Kenwood knows someone is trying to kill him and he suspects his scheming wife and her lover are behind the plot. But Julian is shocked when Chloe, a captivating, dark-haired stranger, warns him that sinister forces are indeed at hand–and exposes a devastating secret that changes his life forever…

Will She Resist–Or Surrender?

As Chloe reveals her plan to save Julian, neither can deny the attraction that grows each moment they’re together. Chloe knows the highborn earl could never love her as she loves him. But when danger strikes closer than ever, Chloe must risk everything–or lose Julian forever…

My Thoughts:

As I mentioned before, this is the first book in the Wherlocke Series. At this time, the series holds a total of five books. As a previous fan of both the Murrays and her vampire series, I look forward to reading this series. I’m still reeling at how I possibly missed a series that started in 2009.

While a good start of an obviously well liked series, I have to admit it wasn’t my favorite by Hannah Howell. I had a lot of difficulty keeping with the story. It didn’t have the draw that I usually feel when reading a book by one of my favorite authors. The “I can’t/don’t want to put it down” feeling. It just wasn’t there for me this time, and I find I really can’t pinpoint what it was missing.

The story has a mixture of romance, mystery and suspense. She even threw in a few murders and political machinations in the form of treason. The characters were likable. I found I liked Chloe’s innocence mixed in with a bit of spice. Her lack of stuffy, aristocratic behavior was refreshing as well. The heat between her and Julian was ice melting, but yet there remained a gentleness to their relationship. Both sweet and spicy, an intriguing mix.

I found myself surprised by the evil portrayed in the antagonists. They were pure evil with nothing redeemable, which I found a bit unusual. Although, I think this change helped keep the story from being typical for me.

I enjoyed the way the author took the same old historical style romance and added the paranormal twist to it. Like most of the Wherlocke family, Chloe has a gift. The heroine has the ability to see into the future. As the description says, this gift is the basis for saving the hero and his child.

Favorite: I adored the interaction between Julian’s son and Chloe. Her natural instincts, when it comes to motherly affection, appealed to me.

Disappointed: I wanted to hear more about the other family members and their gifts. More on the family history in general would’ve been a nice bonus. I felt like it was a missed opportunity.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read. Despite the fact, it took longer for me to read than normal, I’m very interested in continuing the series. Right now, it’s only $4.50 on Amazon for 352 pages. I give it 4 hearts.

(4 / 5)

His Judas Bride by Shehanne Moore

Review of His Judas Bride

I wanted to find something in the historical romance genre once more. In my search, I came across this book trailer and thought it showed potential. Plus, I’m a sucker for a man in a kilt. The price tag is a bit higher than I generally pay, but once in a while the premise of a story will intrigue me enough to bypass my stubborn nature. This was one of those cases.

His Judas Bride book trailer

Synopsis:

To love, honor, and betray…

To get back her son, she will stop at nothing…

For five years Kara McGurkie has preferred to forget she’s a woman. So it’s no problem for her to swear to love and honor, to help destroy a clan, when it means getting back the son she lost. But when dire circumstances force her to seduce her fiancé’s brother on the eve of the wedding, will the dark secrets she holds and her greatest desire be enough to save her from his powerful allure?

To save his people, neither will he…

Callm McDunnagh, the Black Wolf of Lochalpin, ruthlessly guards heart and glen from dangerous intruders. But from the moment he first sees Kara he knows he must possess her, even though surrendering to his passion may prove the most dangerous risk of all.

She has nothing left to fear except love itself…

Now only Kara can decide what passion can save or destroy, and who will finally learn the truth of the words… Till death do us part.

My Thoughts:

I liked this historical romance. If I had to pick one word to describe the book in its entirety that would have to be deep. There was a lot of deeply felt emotions dealt with in this novel, not just a romantic love either. The author took the character’s life tragedies and used it to build a foundation. Something solid that would last through time, not a fleeting ember that needs constant attention because of its delicate state.

I have to admit, while I enjoyed the story there were times that the character’s thoughts were confusing and I had to reread parts to grasp what was being said. In my opinion, this isn’t a book you can just sit down and flit through without any real concentration. There is a lot of depth to the thoughts inside both the hero and heroine’s minds that takes more than a cursory glance. I found it difficult to read with distractions from the outside world.

This book isn’t fast paced, it’s a slow build, that teases the senses. There is a great deal of loss, mistrust and intrigue to keep the reader occupied. Eventually, the romance ignites into a bright flame. It leaves you feeling breathless. Theirs is a love that will last through the times. A story to be carried on through the generations.

This was a difficult book to rate for me. I enjoyed the story. The romance was all consuming and the author did a great job with the characters. There was such a serious dark edge to it, that I found myself tense constantly. It’s not really a book to spend the afternoon relaxing, but then I wonder if that’s what the author intended. Her words were powerful and moving in a way I haven’t witnessed in historical romance in ages. I give it a 4 hearts.

(4 / 5)

Ravenswynd Legends by Sharon Ricklin Jones

Ravenswynd Legends Review

This week’s Book Trailer Wednesday pick is Ravenswynd Legends by Sharon Ricklin Jones. I broke from the historical romances for a day to read this story, feeling I needed a short respite. This is Book One in a paranormal romance series that revolves around vampires. To date, this series consists of four books.

Ravenswynd Legends (Book 1)


Synopsis:

There’s a legend… about a party… hosted by vampires. An event so exclusive — the invitation is by word of mouth — with strict rules that must–be–followed. So what happens when your best friend is invited and practically begs you to go along with her?

You go, of course!

Stepping over the edge of darkness and deep into the secret world of vampires, twins, Elizabeth and Melinda discover that their friend, Fiona was right: the legend is real.

Everyone’s having fun at the masquerade party, but all Elizabeth wants is to get through the night and return to her charming new love interest. However, as the evening grows ominous, chances are, they may never get home…

Melinda is getting drunk, Fiona’s gone missing, and a nightmarish clown is stalking Elizabeth. And even more terrifying — this sinister vampire thirsts for much more than what’s flowing through her veins.

Instead of a carefree evening of dining, dancing, and drinks — there will be danger, there might be hard decisions, and there may be despair.

But… there definitely will be blood.

My Thoughts:

As the first book in a series, Ravenswynd Legends was a great introduction in my opinion. A nice, clean, vampire romance that anyone can enjoy. This is not your typical vampire tween escapade. It tells the story of three women: Fiona and twin sisters Melinda (Lindy), and Elizabeth (Lizzy). This is a first person narrative with Lizzy starring as the main character.

The beginning was hard for me to follow, well maybe not follow as much as remain focused. The main character’s inability to stay locked on one moment was dizzying. Her thought process flitted around like an airhead on a sugar high, very distracting. About the time of the actual party things smoothed out and became easier to follow. The story reeled me in once more and held me captivated, curious to know where the author would lead us next. The story surprised me with the depth of its descriptions.

There were a few spots I might have been tempted to roll my eyes, due to its sappy nature. Considering the era most of the vampires were born in, I didn’t feel it was too overly done. Even the rendition of poetry added to the overall emotion of the story. I especially liked how she slipped Poe’s work into the storyline, it truly fit the mood.

My least favorite character – You would think my least favorite person would be the antagonist, but you’d be wrong. I can almost feel sorry for him. No, I greatly disliked the twin sister, Melinda. She was selfish and self–centered. She pretended concern for her sister, but really she seemed more worried about how Lizzy’s decisions, might affect her own life. She really rubbed me the wrong way.

Favorite Part – What I truly liked most about this story is the vampire folklore. It’s not your typical storyline. While I tend to find entertainment in the twilight style stories, mostly for a good laugh, my true addiction stems from the older legends. I found the turning process in general intriguing. Sorry, I won’t give away details, but I think most true addicts of vampire lore will enjoy the twist.

This is a full length novel, 260 pgs, with a nice price tag. As of this review the price on Amazon is only $1.99, a great bargain. The sneak peek of book two was just pure evil. I had to go buy it. Over all it was a sweet vampire story that I would recommend to others. I give it 4 hearts.

  (4 / 5)

Fate’s Monolith by Sky Purington

Fate’s Monolith

While the book’s prequel influenced my choice for this week, I did watch the trailer before I made my final decision. The trailer piqued my interest enough to garner my promise to read the next installment for this week’s review.

Fate's Monolith- The MacLomain Series-Book 1- Trailer.wmv

Synopsis:

Arianna Broun, a Scottish born colonial American has been haunted by the reoccurring dream of a phantom Scottish warrior. Her infatuation with the dream intensifies until All Hallows’ Eve, when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. After several bizarre encounters she runs to her safe haven deep in the woods. When dawn comes too early, Arianna is eager to go home. But fate has other plans.

Laird Iain MacLomain has long awaited the arrival of his promised bride. She claims to not be the woman intended for him but she fits the description given him of her, all fire and defiance. That defiance will end up costing them everything and rips them apart. However, a Scottish Chieftain with magic at his disposal is capable of most anything. Will he hold Arianna in his arms again or is she lost to him forever? Only time will tell.

My Thoughts:

I knew from the first short story that the author had a lot of potential. I have to say Book One of this series was in no way disappointing. The author’s talents shone through with glowing intensity. This book featured in–depth descriptions, the rich development of characters and slow glimpses of a past that was intriguing to witness.

Enthralled I read the story from start to finish, waiting anxiously for each event to unfold. I loved the true historical nature of the book. The way the author throws in a bit of fantasy mixed with true history is mesmerizing.

Though I will not be reviewing any more books from this series, I definitely plan on reading them all. I’m presently working on Destiny’s Denial, Book Two in The MacLomain Series. Fate’s Monolith is a great book and enjoyable read. I give this 4.5 hearts.

(4.5 / 5)

The King’s Druidess By Sky Purington

The King’s Druidess

I pulled this from my list of book trailers over the weekend. When I went to purchase it on Amazon I was surprised twice. I learned it was a short story, approximately 50 pages. I was also pleasantly surprised to find it for free.

The King's Druidess Trailer

Synopsis:

Chiomara Ruadh, Druidess of Ulster, will not be swayed from prophecy. If the Gods of Ireland request that she couple with the king, so be it. If it is also their wish that he marry another woman, who is Chiomara, a simple Druid, to stand in their way?

Erc Breac, king of the Dalriada, can only think of Chiomara. Her beauty is surreal and the tales that follow her across the land unsurpassed. But that is not enough when faced with the obligations of a king. His people must come first. His future wife and queen, Macha, must come first. Yet, fate is a slippery thing. Will Erc risk the whole of his kingdom for what lays in his heart?

 

My Thoughts:

This short tale was a prelude to Sky Pruington’s MacLomain Series. This fast paced short story performed its purpose well. It set the stage for future time travel books.

There was the king who was also a magi, the druidess who was in love with him, and several gods along with the goddess Brigit. I found the concept of the three rings and what they meant for future generations intriguing. I try hard not to release any spoilers beyond what is in an author’s description so I won’t reveal any more about the story.

Though, I liked this story and the premise it sets for a future series, I felt it was a bit rushed in spots. It felt to me as if a few extra paragraphs, in certain key areas, would have given the story enough depth to round it out nicely.

The story line piqued my interest enough to buy the boxed set. I will be reviewing Book One, Fate’s Monolith next week. It has an interesting book trailer, and this short story whet my appetite for more of the series. I give it 3.5 hearts.

(3.5 / 5)