Review of Honour Bound by Helen Harper

Honour Bound
Highland Magic Book 2
By Helen Harper

Star Rating: 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 290

Date Started: November 24, 2017
Date Finished: November 26, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Integrity Taylor should have been a Clan princess. Instead she’s lived a life on the very periphery of society. Now that she’s learnt more about her heritage, however, and the magic that she’s capable of wielding, she’s not going to hide in the shadows any longer. The once-in-a-generation Sidhe Games are going to provide the perfect opportunity for her to win back her birthright – and the fact that she’ll be going head to head, toe to toe and mouth to mouth with golden haired Byron Moncrieffe might just be the icing on the cake.

Review:
This book enthralled me and got me invested far quicker than the first in the series. Watching Integrity try to fit in with the people she’d been a pariah to, and seeing how she slowly gained other’s trust was interesting.

Bob was great in this book, and I quickly came to like Angus as well. While it seems that Byron and Integrity may be fated to be together I certainly wouldn’t mind her spending more time with Angus.

There’s a great set up behind the veil for the next book and this book is quite action packed. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy the games since it seemed like an excuse to get all the sidhe together, but I found the interactions of contestants entertaining and quite a good addition to the story line, allowing characters previously thought as one sided villains to be more fleshed out.

Did find a couple of grammatical errors, but perhaps only two. While the story wasn’t thrilling, it was decent, and while parts of the challenge didn’t seem original (because many series have challenges perhaps) they weren’t necessarily bad.

The ending has a twist I didn’t expect(more like hoped for yet didn’t think it would come to fruition), but it set up an interesting dynamic between Integrity and Byron for the book 3.

 

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
After teaching English literature in the UK, Japan and Malaysia, Helen Harper left behind the world of education following the worldwide success of her Blood Destiny series of books. She is a professional member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and writes full time, thanking her lucky stars every day that’s she lucky enough to do so!

Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland.

She currently lives in Devon in the UK with far too many cats – not to mention the dragons, fairies, demons, wizards and vampires that seem to keep appearing from nowhere.

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Review of Gifted Thief by Helen Harper

Gifted Thief
Highland Magic Book 1
By Helen Harper

Star Rating: 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 348

Date Started: November 22, 2017
Date Finished: November 24, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Orphan. Runaway. Thief.

Since the moment I was ripped from my mother’s womb, I’ve been an outcast amongst my own kind. The Sidhe might possess magical Gifts, unbelievable wealth and unfathomable power but I don’t want a thing to do with them. I ran away from their lands in the Highlands of Scotland when I was eleven years old and I’ve never looked back. I don’t need a Clan. I’ve got my own family of highly skilled thieves who mean more to me than any Sidhe ever could.

Unfortunately for me, the playboy heir to the Moncrieffe Clan has something I desperately need. To get it back, I’m going to have to plunge myself back into that world, no matter what the consequences may be. I suppose it’s just as well I have sense of humour. I think I’m going to need it.

Review:
Perhaps I was too lost in The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic world because I found this hard to get into. While the setup wasn’t bad, it took me quite a while to feel connected with the story.

I enjoyed Integrity’s determination and loyalty to her morals and her family. She’s a good heroine that’s easy to empathize with. I found the secondary characters equally amusing. Although some might find that they treat each other callously, I thought the way her real family interacts was realistic.

It was frustrating that at one point she gained great leverage, but then did nothing with it– it was as if it only mattered for that one chapter. While it served to bring forward other things, it was annoying to not see more happen because of it.

Towards the end I started to become more invested in the novel, but it seemed over too soon, with nothing truly resolved. A good set up for the next book, but not exactly satisfying. Although it may seem there are a decent number of pages in the book, the end of the book is a preview of the next in the series.

I plan to read the entire series, but I do not think it’s on par with The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic. Slow to start, but once I became involved, I looked forward to seeing what else might happen.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
After teaching English literature in the UK, Japan and Malaysia, Helen Harper left behind the world of education following the worldwide success of her Blood Destiny series of books. She is a professional member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and writes full time, thanking her lucky stars every day that’s she lucky enough to do so!

Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland.

She currently lives in Devon in the UK with far too many cats – not to mention the dragons, fairies, demons, wizards and vampires that seem to keep appearing from nowhere.

Review of Fallen by Ann Hunter

Crowns of Twelve Book 3
By Ann Hunter

Star Rating: 

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Fantasy
Number of Pages: 253

Date Started: November 19th 2015
Date Finished: December 3, 2015

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
One prince. One mistake. One… chicken?
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A twisted retelling of the fairy tale, The Frog Prince, featuring your favorite villain from The Subtle Beauty & Moonlight, Sylas Mortas.

What would YOU do for love?

17-year-old Prince Sylas of Killeagh wants what every one else wants: control over his own life. When he tries to run away from home and escape an arranged marriage, the last thing he expects is to fall in love with a robber in the woods. Hiding behind a mask, the robber girl seems to lead a life of freedom Sylas has only dreamed of. Their adventure comes to an end when the Castle Killeagh guards hunt Sylas down and he’s forced to return home. He convinces his parents to allow him to find the girl again and consider her as a candidate for marriage, but he only has until the next full moon to find her, or all bets are off.

Death has a name, and it is Crwys. As a ban sidhe, her job is to visit the great houses of The Summer Isle and keen out the living to prepare them for death. King Sionnach has far outlived his days and it is time he cross to the Unliving World. When she arrives, a young prince named Sylas intervenes and offers to go in his grandfather’s stead. This break with tradition, and selfless sacrifice, move Crwys into loving Sylas, who looks so much like a shadow from her past. But when he crosses her to be with his true love, he invokes the wrath of a woman scorned.

Rós is just a little, aura-seeing, red hen whose master believes she is chosen by the gods. Her arrival at King Sionnach’s court is insignificant to Sylas at the time, but their destinies are interwoven. Can she help Sylas save himself from the curse Crwys has planned for him? Or will he become a fallen frog prince?

In this unexpected love story, Happily Ever After may not always begin with Once Upon a Time.

**THIS BOOK CONTAINS SOME MATURE SCENES NOT SUITABLE FOR ALL READERS.**

 
Review:
I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for writing an honest review.  In receiving the book as such, I had not actually seen the official cover of this book until I went to grab it for today and I must say I was quite surprised!

The characterization throughout this book is straight on, with an excellent coming of age experience for Sylas, who has to learn his responsibilities as the crown prince, and not just as someone who can do whatever they want.  When Sylas finally does take up responsibilities (ones that perhaps he shouldn’t have) he finds himself locked into a complicated battle with Crwys, who is locked herself in her past and refusing to move on.  While Sylas tries to do what he thinks is just to save his kingdom from heartache and despair, he realizes that everything comes with a price.

Through about 60% of the book there is no mention of anything relating to frogs.  The story has so aptly ensnared that by the time the mention of the twisted fairy tale comes into play, there are already solid feelings in place about all of the characters thus far.  The greenness adds another dimension to the story, and the way in which it is accomplished adds depth to the addled state of mind of an aged crone.  Crwys was by far my least favourite character, and I felt no remorse in what ultimately happened to her.

There was only one particular place that I found myself not fully reading and skipping ahead, and that was one area with repetition of the same saying again and again.  While I understand why it was done, I was quite happy when it ended.

The names were somewhat of a deterrent to my overall enjoyment of the book, not because they weren’t lovely, but because with some of them I spent more time trying to figure out how to say them than truly identifying the name with the person.  Though it was a bit annoying, the names were quite pretty, and completely appropriate given the Celtic mythology seamlessly entwined with both the original story Hunter presented as well as the take on a fairy tale.

While the stories in this series are fairy tale inspired, they are also completely unique in a way that I have never really seen before and could stand on their own without any mention of fairy tales at all.

Author Bio: (from Amazon)
Multi-award winning author, Ann Hunter, is the creator of the young adult fantasy series Crowns of the Twelve (including the novels The Subtle Beauty, Moonlight, Fallen, with A Piece of Sky, Ashes, and The Rose In The Briar to follow). She likes cherry so
da with chocolate ice cream, is a mom first and a writer second, has a secret identity, and thinks the Twilight movies are cheesier than cheez whiz (which is why they are her guilty pleasure!)

She lives in a cozy Utah home with her two awesome kids and epic husband.

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT HER HOMEPAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/authorannhunter

AND MAILING LIST:
http://eepurl.com/VZsFn

 

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