Review of The Fae King’s Curse by Jamie Schlosser

Synopsis:
Kirian and I were just twelve years old when I pulled him from the icy waters of the creek behind my house. As he looked in my direction with unseeing lavender eyes, I quickly realized our age was just about the only thing we had in common. He spoke with an accent, he had pointy ears, and he was so beautiful it made my heart ache. Oh, and he claimed to be a fae prince cursed by witches who stole his sight.

I thought he was crazy from hypothermia. Turns out, he wasn’t, and for some reason he keeps coming back. But a day in my world is a year in his. Every time I see him, he’s older. Wiser. Hotter.

Over the past six years, I’ve tried not to fall in love with him because the terms of the curse are clear: If he doesn’t wait for his fated mate in all ways, including an innocent (or not-so-innocent) kiss, he’ll be blind forever.

So when Kirian kisses me and pulls me through the portal to his realm, I make it my mission to do some damage control. It’d be a whole lot easier if he wasn’t determined to marry me… And if someone wasn’t trying to murder me every step of the way.

The Fae King’s Curse is a full-length novel with no cliffhanger.

Review:
I will say this book has a nice slow burn, though some of the major plot twists were a bit obvious. I actually really loved how Quinn wasn’t your typical heroine; she had faults, and she didn’t think being transported to a magical place was going to make everything and everyone suddenly accept her–far more realistic than what happens in most novels. I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. The other world was brilliant and well described. While I did think there were several well done intimate scenes, the mention of constantly always being in need seemed a bit much and almost like an excuse to bring up sex when there was more pressing plot points going on.

I certainly have some expectations for Damon’s story and I look forward to reading on!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Disowned: A Cinderella and Snow White origin story by M. J. Haag

Synopsis:
Not all fairy tales are ribbons and roses.

In a world where the measure of a person rarely goes beneath the surface, Margaret Thoning refuses to play by its rules. Unwilling to compromise her ideals, she walks away from everything she’s ever known to risk her heart and her life for the people who matter most.

Welcome to the Tales of Cinder and Snow.


Review:
So I read this after the Cinder trilogy. Oops. I will say that it did not detract from how much I loved the novella, and I will say I think I actually liked it more because it answered a lot of questions that Eloise and Kellen had–answers I would have already known had I read this first. It is a sweet little tale, and it gives us a really nice background on how Margaret got involved in magic, and just what she was willing to do for the royal house, and to have the life of equality that she wanted.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Damnation: A Cinderella Retelling by M. J. Haag

Synopsis:
Abused but not beaten, I will break the curse.
With the reason behind her mother’s death revealed, it’s a race for Eloise to exact her revenge and prevent her stepsisters from marrying the prince. However, amidst the glittering jewels and colorful ball gowns, the royal court holds secrets of its own that will devastate Eloise and strike a final blow to her plans. Betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust, Eloise questions how far she’s willing to go for revenge.


After all, in the game of kingdoms, everyone is a pawn.

Review:
Ooo, we had the heat, the romance, and enough twists and turns that I wasn’t sure exactly how it might end. I absolutely loved the twist with Prince Greydon, and I had expected it since the first book so I wasn’t terribly surprised. I loved how drawn to the right thing Eloise stays, and how she has to fight with her heart to consider if the things she has had to do for survival make her bad, or if she is bad to wish the things others have done onto them. There were so many neat twists and turns, and I especially loved the part with her hair. It was never fully explained but lovely all the while.

In the end I am left with a couple of questions: I wonder if Eloise and/or Kellen end up as magic users, if Eloise kept her second promise to Rose, and when Kellen’s book is going to be out! I am impatiently awaiting the continue of this series.

All in all, while I loved this series and thought it was very different and dark but in other ways from The Beastly Tales, I wouldn’t necessarily say you’d like this one because you liked the other. I clearly tend to love fairy tales and retellings, but while these may be in the same universe, the feel, story… everything is quite different. That doesn’t make it better or worse, and I love them both quite a lot, just don’t expect you’re getting the intensity and same level of adult themed content from this series as the last. That being said, this is in no way a clean story; just not as… detailed or sexually oriented.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Disdain: A Cinderella Retelling by M. J. Haag

Synopsis:
A single blow shattered my life of glass. They shouldn’t have left me with the shards.

Eloise knows the name of her mother’s murderer, but she cannot speak it. A curse keeps her silent and locked in the tattered remains of her once charming life. Though magic holds her tongue, it doesn’t quell the smoldering spark of her anger or her need to learn the reason behind her mother’s death.

However, games of magic have dire consequences. Desperate to keep those she loves safe from the repercussions of her actions, Eloise must make a bold gamble with her safety that could win her everything or destroy her forever.

Two lives hang in the balance. For, if Cinder fails, Snow will fall, too.

Review:
This book is certainly darker than the first, as promised. Eloise knows more than she should, but she’s proven herself to be quite resourceful. There are so many things left unsaid that you merely will have to read on to learn about. I love her resourcefulness and wit, and cannot wait to see what the third book has in store!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Defiant: A Cinderella Retelling by M. J. Haag

Synopsis:
A dark, twisted Cinderella retelling that fans of Sarah J. Maas and/or Melanie Dickerson are sure to enjoy.

Magic can have deadly consequences.

When the sudden and suspicious death of Eloise’s mother points to forbidden magic, Eloise is determined to bring her mother’s murderer to justice. She will stop at nothing to find the killer…even if the clues lead right to the palace gates and the prince’s manservant, Kaven. He is irrational, volatile, and prone to knocking women off horses. Given his personality, it should be easy to find the proof she needs to place him in irons.

However, when dark magic is used, nothing is as it seems, and Eloise is about to learn that nightmares often hide behind fairy tale lives.

Fans of the Beastly Tales will not want to miss this new addition to the same world. Filled with magic, unexpected foes, and brooding, impossible men, this Tale of Cinder is sure to leave you burning for more!

Review:
I bought this book as soon as I finished The Beastly Tales, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to fall into another world like that one; so in depth and gripping. So I waited, and finally- the time came to crack this open. Without any more preamble, I quite loved it. This story wasn’t all that similar to The Beastly Tales from my perspective. There was a good set up of characters, a nice revolving door, and there was no mention of anything of a particular adult nature in detail until I believe chapter 16. That being said, the set up and landscape are brilliant, and I found myself immersed and enthralled from the start. I had my suspicions about what was going on, and I was pleasantly surprised that I had not managed to figure out exactly what was going on. I quite love how the bookseller knows the difference in taste of books between the two girls, and never judges them or says anything about it, other than “these books are good for you, these are good for your sister”, and nor does he attempt to censure them. Amazing man! There is mention that the next books are darker, and I look forward to seeing what that entails. Off to buy the next…

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz

Synopsis:
1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration–museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!

But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo’s desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart’s desire or lose the love of her life forever?

Review:
Do you ever buy a book, and put it on the shelf, and know you want to read it, but you’re sure you’ll know when? This book was everything I didn’t realize I needed. I could hardly put it down. I read it quite quickly and found myself completely enthralled in it. While I know the original subject matter quite well, this is the first retelling of the story I’ve read, and I have to say I absolutely adore it in every way. Despite having an idea of how I thought (and wanted!) things would turn out, there were still so many twists and turns that I didn’t anticipate and I was left saying this isn’t how it is supposed to go! (Sometimes out loud!)

This book is, by far, one of my favourite retellings of an original novel/story. It kept the feel and joviality of the first one, and it capitalized on points that seemed to have been shoved to the wayside in the original, which, as said so many times, might have been because the author of the original, Alcott herself, hadn’t wanted to marry everyone off. There is also so much about how it can be so difficult to make the words come out and force yourself to write, and how often when you do it comes out wrong and messed up and I feel that I, and every other author out there, can deeply empathize with that! All in all, I adored this novel, and highly highly recommend you read it if you love Little Women.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Protector’s War: A Novel of the Change by S. M. Stirling

Synopsis:
Rising from the ashes of the computer and industrial ages is a brave new world. Survivors have banded together in tribal communities, committed to rebuilding society.

In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, former pilot Michael Havel’s Bearkillers are warriors of renown. Their closest ally, the mystical Clan MacKenzie, is led by Wiccan folksinger Juniper MacKenzie. Their leadership has saved countless lives.

But not every leader has altruistic aspirations. Norman Arminger, medieval scholar, rules the Protectorate. He has enslaved civilians, built an army, and spread his forces from Portland through most of western Washington State. Now he wants the Willamette Valley farmland, and he’s willing to wage war to conquer it.

Unknown to both factions, however, is the imminent arrival of a ship from Tasmania bearing British soldiers.

Review:
Holy hell did this take me a while to get through! There were points that I was really excited to read on, but there were many that I skimmed or just couldn’t wait to get through. Despite this being about the protector’s war, we didn’t really see the protector or get a great look at anything to do with him. Now, I think it’s great that the protector was being screwed over by the Mackenzies and Bearkillers, but I still just do not particularly like one of the characters, and I certainly don’t like the way Rudi ties the two groups together, especially since it became so well publicized (thanks Mike!). I had expectations for our three Englishmen since the beginning, and while we aren’t sure about the younger yet, I’m a little sad that I believe I got them wrong- however, I didn’t think that when I made the original guesstimate.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of The Masked Fae by Shari L. Tapscott

Synopsis:
Never make a bargain with one of the Fae.

It’s a rule everyone knows…and yet it’s one Alice’s family seems to ignore. After her brother loses their entire family fortune in a wager he cannot afford, Alice ventures into the Rose Briar Woods to make a deal with the formidable Fae marquis who now owns her family’s estate—a portrait in exchange for her brother’s freedom.

But instead of Lord Ambrose, the young artist meets a mysterious masked man who saves her when her carriage is attacked by goblins. Even though he warns her to leave the woods, Alice finds herself working in the marquis’s manor.

Right away, Alice realizes Lord Ambrose is not what she expects. He’s kind when the Fae are supposed to be cold, and he’s generous even though he wants to be rid of her. And more, he’s hiding a painful past—one that seems to have something to do with Alice herself.

Soon, Alice is torn between the handsome marquis and the dashing masked bandit who continues to visit her in the evenings, but her heart tells her something is amiss.

Because it seems very likely the two men Alice is taken with just might be the same man…

The Masked Fae is a breathtaking fantasy romance with a touch of angst and plenty of chemistry. Each book in the series is a complete story, and although it’s best to read them in order, there are no cliffhangers.

Review:
This book had me from the beginning. It wasn’t a heavy or hard read, and flowed well. The characters had great depth, and were engaging. I was quite excited to learn more about the way Alice’s fate mirrored another, and many times found myself finding little Alice in Wonderland motifs across the book, which was quite fun. I loved all the twists and turns, and how attention is paid to her virtue. Great read; loved it.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Synopsis:
Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth have grown up in enemy countries locked in a long-standing fight for dominance over their shared planet. When Akos and his brother are kidnapped by the ruling Noavek family, Akos is forced to serve Cyra, the sister of a dictator who governs with violence and fear. Cyra is known for her deadly power of transferring extraordinary pain unto others with simple touch, and her tyrant brother uses her as a weapon against those who challenge him. But as Akos fights for his own survival, he recognizes that Cyra is also fighting for hers, and that her true gift—resilience—might be what saves them both.

When Akos and Cyra are caught in the middle of a raging rebellion, everything they’ve been led to believe about their world and themselves must be called into question. But fighting for what’s right might mean betraying their countries, their families, and each other.

When the time comes, will they choose loyalty or love?

Review:
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this book but from the beginning I was pulled in. The story flowed well, and I quite enjoyed learning about all of the different characters and nuances between the different countries. It was neat having a heroine who didn’t need to be saved, at least, not physically. The way Cyra and Akos counterbalance each other is unique and refreshing. The way that grief and guilt is dealt with is realistic and heart wrenching; in a word, perfect. I quite enjoyed reading and I cannot wait to read on, so much so that I made sure to buy the sequel (since I had the first in paperback) before finishing this one!

An interesting note here is how Cyra’s situation mirrored rather similarly that of Katsa in Graceling, and yet the stories are not at all the same.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Fated by K. M. Shea

Synopsis:
I thought I hated not fitting in. Turns out I hate having a target on my back even more.

Someone wants me taken out. To accomplish that, they leaked the secret of my magic to all the Packs in the Midwest. Now, almost every Alpha in the region has traveled to my hometown in hopes of convincing me to join their Pack.

And some of them don’t seem to think I should have a choice.

Greyson won’t stand for that—something he makes deadly clear to the other Alphas. What they don’t know is that I’m his long missing mate. But wolves and hunters are enemies, and my hunter magic blocks me from accepting the bond…even though I’m starting to wish I could.

Our incomplete mate bond is a constant drain on Greyson. Its existence puts him in danger—something he stubbornly ignores.

But as risky as our bond is, I have to stay focused on the biggest threat at the moment.

Whoever shared the secret of my powers wants to destroy our Pack. And we’re about to find out how far they’ll go to make that happen.

Fated is the final book in the Pack of Dawn and Destiny urban fantasy trilogy and is part of the Magiford Supernatural City world. It features werewolves, hunters, and fae, and is filled with humor, adventure, and a sweet romance that will have you laughing outloud.

Review:
I waited so long for this, it felt like forever, but like all of K. M. Shea’s books it felt just like walking back home as I rejoined the world of Magiford. I was so ecstatic to see how much Pip grew in this book emotionally. There was so much she had to really think about before she could do much, and getting to see that internal struggle that we all face when we aren’t sure where we fit, or if we should fight for what we care about and believe in, was great. I loved getting to see more of Leila from the Court of Midnight and Deceptions books, which I loved and got me truly hooked on this series (and are likely still my favourite of the three trilogies set in Magiford, though I have loved them all)! It was great seeing Greyson as a person beyond his faults, and accepting of faults he may have. I loved the ending, loved the series, and this was definitely worth waiting for! I do hope we continue to see the other two hunters in future Magiford book series.

And thank you Mayor Pearl!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯