Review of Hunted: A Stepbrother Romance Novel by Olivia Long and Olivia Hawthorne

Hunted: A Stepbrother Romance Novel
By Olivia Long and Olivia Hawthorne

Star Rating: 

Genre: Romance
Number of Pages: 196

Date Started: June 16, 2016
Date Finished: June 16, 2016

Synopsis:(From Amazon)30333481
Chloe has to watch Chase sleep his way through hundreds of women while she secretly harbors her crush on the hot ex-Marine. She could never have him, so why can’t she just move on?

Chase can run away from the truth all he wants, but when the rest of the world is telling him he can’t have the one woman he has ever truly wanted, that’s all he can think about now. He’ll break all the rules just to get what he wants.

But now he is on the run from his long time enemy, and when he learns that Chloe is also in danger, all hell breaks loose. Can he save her before it’s too late? And can he make the world accept their love?

*Filled to the brim with angst, drama, and dirty sex, so please don’t read if you’re not into hot bad boys and steamy scenes that will curl your toes and make you want to take a shower.

Review:
I briefly remember thinking there was something about this book that bothered me in the beginning… and I quickly forgot as I continued reading what is a very well done romance.  This story isn’t just a case of longing, it isn’t the taboo stuff that everyone thinks of, that they grew up as kids and then decided they wanted each other.  Chase and Chloe met when they were both in their late teens, and as such, found themselves caring a bit too much for people whose parents were dating.  Their parents were given ample page time, and helped drive the plot in their push for Chase and Chloe to spend more time together as family.

Chase’s past was well thought out, well written, and expertly tied together his absence from the family life as well as his current predicament.  Chloe’s age and inexperience also played a large part in why, as adults, they were still thrown together by their parents.

As for the romance– in the beginning, it was very good, steamy, taboo– perfect.  As the rising action got higher and higher, the intimacy continued to be juicy, but jarring, because the situation in which Chase and Chloe find themselves calls for diligence, and rolling around in the sheets is the opposite of what they should be doing.

Looking for more steamy stepbrother romance?  I found Stepbrother Dearest tantalizing, juicy, and taboo.  See my review here, and the Amazon link for the book here.

Author Bio: (From Amazon)
What Amazon tells me of Olivia Long and Olivia Thorne is that they are the same person, and that’s it.

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Review of First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher

First Lord’s Fury
Codex Alera Book 6
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy

Number of Pages: 784

Date Started: May 23, 2016

Date Finished: June 15, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)6316821

For Gaius Octavian, life has been one long battle. Now, the end of all he fought for is close at hand. The brutal, dreaded Vord are on the march against Alera. And perhaps for the final time, Gaius Octavian and his legions must stand against the enemies of his people. And it will take all his intelligence, ingenuity, and furycraft to save their world from eternal darkness.

Review:
Despite being quite longer than the previous book, this book was what I was waiting for!  There was action, adventure!  There were twists and turns and times when you were unsure if the people you though you could trust were actually trustworthy or not!  Finally, a resolution to this whole series!  And yet…

Not impressed.  Although the ultimate confrontation was great and I enjoyed the tie ins, there was a bit left undone, and I was simply not a fan of one of the biggest sudden twists towards the middle-end of the book, and found it quite irritating that the particular event’s ability to happen had seemingly never been thought of(though Sextus has thought of it…)  I’m glad that the epilogue happened as it did, but I also found that all of it was just so… predictable.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a happy ending, but this seemed almost a bit too… ideal.

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

Review of Token of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Token of Darkness
Den of Shadows
By Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Star Rating: 

Genre: YA Modern Fantasy

Number of Pages: 208

Date Started: April 16, 2016
Date Finished: April 18, 2016

Synopsis:(From Amazon)286629_token_of_darkness
Cooper Blake has everything going for him—until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she’s a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her.

No one from Cooper’s old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself. . . . But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighboring school who can hear strangers’ most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible.

Review:
I can’t explain adequately how let down I was with this book.  I grew up with Atwater-Rhodes original Den of Shadows books: In the Forests of the Night, Demon in my View, Shattered Mirror, Midnight Predator– this was something different entirely.  I expected something on par with those books, which I had devoured multiple times during my young adult years, but this book was far from the mark.

It was great getting to see someone taken from a public position and show that they aren’t all that they appear to be, but the cheerleader scene is massively overdone in that regard.  There were some moments of true fright where as a reader you must wonder if the characters will survive, but the story overall seemed generic.  The characters are not fleshed out at all, and are stock characters– they fit in their niche of what you would think if you mentioned a stereotypical fill-in-the-blank.  It’s missing that spark and originality that Atwater-Rhodes books generally have.  It’s missing that dose of reality.

Honestly, a story that’s very much among the same vein but that I enjoyed a lot more is The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade, so maybe give that a shot instead.

ameliaAuthor Bio: (From Amazon)
Amelia Atwater-Rhodes wrote her first novel, In the Forests of the Night, when she was 13 years old. Other books in the Den of Shadows series are Demon in My View, Shattered Mirror, Midnight Predator, all ALA Quick Picks for Young Adults. She has also published the five-volume series The Kiesha’ra: Hawksong, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror List Selection; Snakecharm; Falcondance; Wolfcry; and Wyvernhail. Visit her online at www.ameliaatwaterrhodes.com. <– except this blog author checked, and this link merely brings you to the Penguin website.

Review of Princeps’ Fury by Jim Butcher

Princeps’ Fury
Codex Alera Book 5
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy
Number of Pages: 640

Date Started: February 15, 2016
Date Finished: May 23, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon) Princeps_fury
Under Tavi of Calderon, heir to the crown, war-torn Alera rebuilds while politicians and nobles vie for power. But from the south comes news: the dreaded Vord have come to Alera. For a thousand years, Alera and her furies have withstood every enemy and survived every foe.

Review:
I haven’t too overly much to say about this book except: this book dragged.  It was a trudge to force myself through this book, which is probably why not only did it take me quite a while to finish it, but I also read several other books before finishing it.

Like usual, there were moments when you really wanted to see what was going on from one character’s perspective while jolted back to another character.  While everything that happened was necessary, it seemed to take a very long time for anything in particular of substance to happen and stick.  There are a lot of little victory, and some very heavy losses.

After reading this book, I knew I had to finish the series, and I hoped it wouldn’t be as much of a trudge as this one.  (It wasn’t.)

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

**This review has been edited based on faulty dates. (6/16/2016)

Review of Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher

Bryony and Roses
By T. Kingfisher

Star Rating: 

Genre: YA Fantasy

Number of Pages: 216

Synopsis:(From Amazon)bryony
Bryony and her sisters have come down in the world. Their merchant father died trying to reclaim his fortune and left them to eke out a living in a village far from their home in the city.

But when Bryony is caught in a snowstorm and takes refuge in an abandoned manor, she stumbles into a house full of dark enchantments. Is the Beast that lives there her captor, or a fellow prisoner? Is the house her enemy or her ally? And why are roses blooming out of season in the courtyard?

Armed only with gardening shears and her wits, Bryony must untangle the secrets of the house before she—or the Beast—are swallowed by them.

Review:
I will give Kingfisher this: her concept was original.  I enjoyed how the rose played into the story, but in the end, a lot of the crowning originality of this novel played far too little too late a part in the story.  I am likely overly cynical of this novel, as I would be of any Beauty and the Beast retelling since it’s my favourite fairy tale, but part of my distaste is because T. Kingfisher’s The Seventh Bride (which you can read the review for here, and look at the book’s Amazon listing here) took many fairy tale elements and yet created a whole new world and story that was completely unique, which was what I had hoped for in reading Bryony and Roses.

Bryony is such a harsh name for a character most often referred to as “Belle” or “Beauty”.  Throughout reading the book, I found the name rather jarring.  Bryony is a wild climbing vine with green flowers, and not the most common of names.  The name Bryony could be seen as foreshadowing towards both the character’s abilities and the ending, which is in a way, quite clever, but it seemed very dissonant from the tone of the novel otherwise.

Bryony and Roses does follow closer to the original story of Beauty and the Beast than the Disney version most are familiar with.  Instead of merely being an angry, irritable beast, this beast has interests and wishes to make Bryony happy, and always asks her if she’ll marry him.  There is still a hint of Disney’s magic castle, but Kingfisher’s reasoning for that is quite sound, and not discovered until the end of the novel.

One thing I very much liked about this version of Beauty and the Beast is that Bryony herself was the one who entered the castle and had to give herself up to the beast since she’d taken refuge there.  The book does a good job of fleshing out the characteristics and personalities of Bryony’s father and two sisters (yeah, Beauty had two sisters– Disney forgot to tell you that).  The personalities of the father and sisters are reversed from what they were in the original story, which made for an interesting twist.  Having Bryony love and care about her sisters, and having her presence be detrimental to their well being, made more sense as to why she was so upset about having to leave the life she knew before.

The true gem of this story was the function of the rose.  Unfortunately, the mystery that could have and should have been building for the entire novel was quickly explained away, despite having been the whole reason behind why everything is as it is.  Had more time been spent on what was only glossed over in regards to the rose, I think the quality of this novel would have greatly improved.

Author Bio: (From Amazon)
T. Kingfisher is the vaguely absurd pen-name of Ursula Vernon, an author from North Carolina. In another life, she writes children’s books and weird comics. She has been nominated for the World Fantasy and the Eisner, and has won the Hugo, Sequoyah, Nebula, Alfie, WSFA, Coyotl and Ursa Major awards, as well as a half-dozen Junior Library Guild selections.

This is the name she uses when writing things for grown-ups. Her work includes multiple fairy-tale retellings and odd little stories about elves and goblins.When she is not writing, she is probably out in the garden, trying to make eye contact with butterflies.

www.tkingfisher.com

Where I’ve Been

Here’s a brief update for all of you lovely adoring fans out there, that I’m sure have been quite concerned for my sudden website absence.  If you follow me on Facebook you’d know that I’ve had a minimal presence there, mostly posting various memes about reading.  So, what have I been up to?

During the past few months my husband and I have fully moved into our new house.  I’ve been working on several projects,  one of which being Pas de Deux and as always, reading.

This is where most of you that have been with me for a while might think, oh goodness, she’s going to go through a stage of mass reviews for all the novels she’s gone through but been too busy (or lazy) to put up sooner.  Yes and no.  I continued to work through a series I started last year, and part of it was quite dragging.  In truth, I’ve only got about four new reviews to do.  Worry not, this number will hopefully increase drastically.