Monthly Archives: October 2015

Shirewode by J. Tullos Hennig

Shirewode by J. Tullos HennigTitle: Shirewode (The Wode, Book 2)
Author: J. Tullos Hennig
Published: September 8, 2013
Pages: 390
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★★★

His family gone and his home destroyed, Rob was left for dead and that should have been his fate. Except fate decided it wasn’t his time. So he takes to the Wode, taking up the mantle of the Horned Lord, and doing his best to defend the few of his people left and the surrounding villages from the corrupt government and the church. Thinking Rob was lost, Gamelyn complied with forced exile by his brother and joined the Knights Templar. But now he has returned on a very specific mission, and he won’t let much stand in his way. Even when the two find each other again, their past may not be enough to break down the walls of pain that have built up between them. Except there is one thing that might be able to bring them back together–Marion is alive…

I can’t even begin to express how much I absolutely love this series. Not only do we get a thrilling and well-written take on the Robin Hood legends, but things seem so real, so well-researched, and just amazingly presented. The familiarity of the story, the fantasy elements, and the relationships just make for an incredible combination. The characters are so gritty and real–there are no soft edges here. I found it very difficult to put this one down; each little twist in the story just drew me in even further.

I am extremely excited to know that there is more to the story…

 

Worth the Price by E.G. Lyton

Worth the PriceTitle: Worth the Price (Circle of Friends, Book 1)
Author: E.G. Lyton
Published: July 16, 2012
Pages: 143
Publisher: Heart on Heart
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Vernon Rocheford, Earl of Quilton, has no desire to get married–well, since society would only allow him to do so with a woman. As a man of station, he is able to participate in a dalliance here and there whilst avoiding scandal. But when he pops into the Parthenon, a brothel that caters to men with his interests, one evening, he spies Sebastian Worthing. Seb has decided to auction off two years of companionship to get the money to keep his mother and sisters from falling into utter disgrace after the death of their father. Vernon is not at all interested in such an arrangement, but after he looks into Seb’s eyes and is reminded of a former lover and he worries what might happen to him if he goes home with one of the other bidders, Vernon decided to help Sebastian out after all. But what Vernon intends to be a quick exchange of cash and more of a two-year friendship than anything else quickly turns out to be more than he bargained for.

A rather unique Regency romance that pulled me right in. There’s an interesting and unexpected backstory here that is revealed slowly and smoothly over the course of the book. And it’s not difficult at all to really feel for Sebastian and the place he’s ended up.

There were some moments when character point of view threw me just a bit, but not enough to really distract from following the story.

I’m looking forward to picking up the next book in this series…

 

Mourning Heaven by Amy Lane

Mourning Heaven by Amy LaneTitle: Mourning Heaven
Author: Amy Lane
Published: September 7, 2012
Pages: 200
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Author Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Peter’s childhood was really a mixed bag. After ten years of traveling from town to town with his mother as she struggled to provide for them, she left him with his aunt and cousin in Daisy, California. While Daisy is a small town with “small town values”, Peter took some solace in his cousin, Michael, who he knew would always take care of him. And then there was Michael’s friend, Bodi, who treated Peter like a brother of his own. Although Michael’s relationship with Bodi (which turned out to be more than friendship) left Peter feeling a bit jealous, he was happy that the two of them had each other. But when a tragedy struck that left Bodi running from Daisy and Michael broken, Peter’s world changed. And then it changed again when Michael enlisted and left Peter with his distant and homophobic aunt. But now Michael is gone, and it’s time for Peter to take charge of his life. He needs to deliver the news to Bodi, and maybe, somewhere he can find a way to move on and move past a town that nearly destroyed the lives to three young men, the future of two families, and the memory of a young girl…

Amy Lane knows how to write those books that just hit you right in the gut. The raw emotion that she can invoke with words is one of the reasons I find myself coming back to her stories again and again. There’s a reality that one just cannot shake in the worlds that she creates–and this is no exception. The characters here are very well-developed and consistent, the world they live in is well-designed, and the plot itself is both interesting and well-paced. I read this in one sitting as I found it difficult to put it down.

That said, I did find the arguments that Bodi and Peter have to be rather tiresome. It’s basically the same thing over and over again in different words. While I understand, based on their personalities and circumstances, that is going to happen to an extent, there did come a point when I realized “well, they’re going to have this same argument in about 8 more pages…” The arguments between Peter and his aunt are similar in that they rehash the same things, but there is a progression and escalation that I didn’t really see between Bodi and Peter. But it works for the story overall, and I found it less bothersome as I finished the story and looked back at it as a whole than I did in the moment.

Definitely worth checking out if you like strong stories that pull at your heartstrings and make you ache for everyone involved…

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Black Beauty by Constance Burris

I’m excited today to be a stop on the blog tour for Black Beauty by Constance Burris. I reviewed her book Coal in mid-August as part of the Diverse Book Tours program, and am glad to both be able to read and review more of her work!

Review

Black Beauty by Constance BurrisTitle: Black Beauty
Author: Constance Burris
Published: September 26, 2015
Pages: 176
Publisher: Constance Burris
Author Website: link
Rating: ★★★★☆

The youth of the Vista Apartments haven’t exactly had perfect childhoods–it’s not the best of neighborhoods–but they do the best they can for themselves. And all of them have been warned to avoid their neighbor, “Crazy” Jade. Voodoo priestess? Witch doctor? Witch? Depends on which person you ask. But there is definitely something about her that makes that warning one that everyone should heed for there are dire consequences for any to stumble too far into her path.

What an interesting read! The intersecting lives of everyone involved in this story make for a very interesting introduction to the world in which this all takes place–lots of background on everyone comes organically from learning how they connect together. And even though the main plot of the story builds to where a reader might think it would go, there are some unexpected twists at the end that definitely surprised me.

For those how have read Coal (which I definitely recommend), this also serves as a nice prequel. While it’s not set in the same place and time, it provides some important backstory…and I’ll just leave it at that. Personally, I would like to know what happens to some of the characters that we leave here…maybe they will show up again in the Everleaf series…

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

Author Profile

Constance Burris is on a journey to take over the world through fantasy, horror, and science fiction. Her mission is to spread the love of speculative fiction to the masses. She is a proud blerd (black nerd), mother, and wife. When she is not writing and spending time with her family, she is working hard as an environmental engineer in Oklahoma City.

Giveaway!

Constance is giving away two Amazon gift cards ($10 USD each) and two e-book copies of Black Beauty as a part of this tour. Sign up below!

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