Book Review: Second Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book Two) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Second Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book Two) by Susan Kaye Quinn

A Fantasy Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (06/30/14)

Summary:

Does Samir have its own skyship? Aniri fears the worst but she has more pressing issues at the moment: her impending marriage. She questions her love for him. Was it only built on the adrenaline of adventure? She won’t have time to think about it because her sister, future Queen of Samir, is rumored to have been poisoned and Aniri is quick to rush to Seledri’s aid.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Airship, Mountains, Barbarians, War, Threats, Royalty, Duty, Romance, Duels, Intrigue, Secrets, Love, Alternate Reality, East Indian, Arranged Marriage

My Review:

The action in this book is tempered by the back and forth thoughts and feelings Aniri has for her marriage. If you have ever felt the butterflies and reservations of an engagement, you are sure to sympathize with Aniri. Or is she just being childish? It’s interesting to watch her try to push her personal troubles aside to help her sister, when those troubles follow her around everywhere she goes. She cannot escape her own fate, her own feelings, or the feelings of her soon-to-be-husband.

I really liked how the plot unfolded in Samir with Seledri’s husband, Aniri’s father, and the ever intrusive ex-courtesan. His re-introduction into this story made me roll my eyes, but he added so much more tension than Aniri could ever create just by herself.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on June 30th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Susan Kaye Quinn’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Tempered Hearts (Hearts of Valentia Book 1) by Starla Huchton and S.A. Huchton

Tempered Hearts (Hearts of Valentia Book 1) by Starla Huchton and S.A. Huchton

A Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (08/08/16)

Summary:

Darius, the crown prince, is in an arranged marriage to Arden. Arden is kind and compassionate, but Darius has already given away his heart. In this political match, Arden tries her best to win over Darius. She has an effect on all those around her, but cannot seem to find the way to Darius’s heart.

Keywords:

Monarchy, Rulers, Power, War, Destruction, Rebuilding, Heart, Love, Family, Passion, Peace, Chemistry, Race Relations, Kingdom

My Review:

Again, Huchton nails the dialogue and the speeches. This book feels like a good quality fantasy book with realistic yet easy to understand dialogue. This is a hard fantasy book that everyone, even readers who aren’t typically fantasy readers (like me) will enjoy.

Both the story and the plot were solid. They weren’t predictable, but they made sense. Huchton writes a character driven story and since her characters are perfectly defined, realistic, and interesting the story is also well defined, realistic and interesting.

What really keeps me picking up book after book by Huchton are the characters and their relationships with each other. But mostly the characters. Huchton writes the female main character I’ve always wanted. Strong but flawed, like any good protagonist! I love how much I get into the characters’ heads.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 08/08/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Third Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book One) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Third Daughter (The Royals of Dharia, Book One) by Susan Kaye Quinn

A Fantasy Novel published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. (12/31/13)

Summary:

In a kingdom where the first daughter will inherit and the second daughter is a just-in-case replacement, the third daughter has more freedom to choose her life’s course. For Aniri, she’s ready to step away from the kingdom and marry for love, but fate and duty will not leave her alone. The threat of war and politics makes every daughter count and Aniri must consider a marriage proposal and alliance with the barbarian prince of the north.

Keywords:

Fantasy, Airship, Mountains, Barbarians, War, Threats, Royalty, Duty, Romance, Duels, Intrigue, Secrets, Love, Alternate Reality, East Indian, Arranged Marriage

My Review:

This book was easy to read. It had an intriguing and fun plot and the characters were full of personality. The book had a lot of action and kept me hooked!

I liked how this book was diverse – it featured an alternate world that is fantastical, but also is similar to an exotic India. The characters were also based off of people from India.

I liked how the main character, Princess and Third Daughter Aniri, was both active and passive in her story. She was pushed along by her environment and the elements of the story’s plot, but she was active in how she dealt with her fate. She was given a choice to marry the barbarian prince or not, even though she felt that selfishly choosing to marry her own lover was never a choice for her. She actively sought out knowledge about the prince and the so-called flying war machine. She was her own person with her own thoughts. Though at times she displays extreme good luck and perseverance where most of us would falter and fail, she is a larger than life character in a larger than life story.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services Inc. on December 31st, 2013 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Susan Kaye Quinn’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Spilt Milk: A Collection of Stories by D.K. Cassidy

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Spilt Milk: A Collection of Stories by D.K. Cassidy

A Short Story Collection published by Pluvio Press (08/15/14)

Summary:

This short collection of flash fiction contains 12 pieces with a variety of characters, some of them appearing in each other’s lives.

Keywords:

Magical Realism, Fantasy, Short Stories, Anthology, Children, Different POV, Different Characters, Twisted

My Review:

I prefer longer form reading material, but I very much enjoyed the writing style of these short fictional pieces. My favorite part of this collection was the minimalist sentence structure that contained beautiful descriptive language that resonated out loud. I would have liked even more connections between the characters and situations of all the stories, but I enjoyed the clever connections that were there. I really liked the diversity of the characters and their thoughts.

This novel was published by Pluvio Press on August 15th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

D.K Cassidy’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Final Life (The Transhuman Chronicles Book 1) by Rose Garcia

Final Life (The Transhuman Chronicles Book 1) by Rose Garcia

A Young Adult Paranormal Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (05/15/12)

Summary:

Dominique is the new girl in town. She thought having to move across the country during her last year of high school was bad enough, but lately she’s been having visions of a red desert accompanied by a bad feeling. The visions become more frequent and the feeling of foreboding gets worse. Is there something going on or is she just crazy?

Keywords:

Survival, YA, Action, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Science Fiction, Love Triangle, Friendship, Death, Moving, School, Psychics, Ouija, Fate, Chosen One, Afterlife

My Review:

There wasn’t much I liked about this book. It was written well enough to read until the end, but was full of issues. The love triangle setup was obvious and not very well put together. The tension just wasn’t there.

The plot was abrupt and rocky. The characters were thrust into the plot of the Pures versus the non-Pures.

I didn’t/don’t know enough about main character Dominique to identify with her before mysterious things start happening to her and I don’t really care. Dominique was a weak main character who seemed to do whatever she shouldn’t. The most emotion I got from her was her being worried about dying, but then she immediately sneaks away from her protector without a second thought.

The world building rules were not well defined and confusing. Some people know about the Pures and some don’t? The info dump between Dominique and her parents to explain what was going on was not very clever. Through this info dump we find out that she is The Chosen One, which is such a tired trope and not done well in this book at all.

This book is urban fantasy parading as contemporary fantasy romance. It was short enough and grammatically accurate enough to read all the way through.

 

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on 05/15/2012 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.00

Links for more information:

Rose Garcia’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: The Kiss of the Blue Howler by Victoria Bastedo

The Kiss of the Blue Howler by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy novel published by Amazon Digital Services (06/03/2017)

Summary:

“But life in a cavern was all-inclusive.” (Page 297)

Life Underneath is full of wonder. For the son of the elader of Ishtish, Xerai, life is simple. He is the Instinctive and must protect the people of Ishtish with his powers of instinct. One evening, he finds Zephyr, a mute ThoEn who can only speak through pictures she paints around her. She is lonely and afraid and doesn’t trust Xera, but when she doesn’t come with him to town before nightfall, the Blue Howlers will get her. The Blue Howlers have never been so aggressive and Xerai, along with Zephyr, will have to figure out what’s wrong before it’s too late.

Keywords:

Instincts, War, Abilities, Kingdom, Underwater, Underneath, Companionship, Friendship, Loyalty, Leader, Sacrifice, Loss, Love, Water, Visual, Creatures

My Review:

Bastedo has an ease of storytelling that is unusual in so many authors! It is so easy to read this story, even trying to understand this new world she has painted for us.

The story and the imagination just keeps growing and all the elements are interconnected in a logical way that gives the story more depth and intrigue as the novel unfolds. The conclusion tied up all loose ends and ended as magically as it began.

Though Zephyr is mute, she is able to fully communicate. I love how this apparent ‘disability’ isn’t a hindrance to Zephyr interacting with others around her. It is so awesome to have diverse characters like Zephyr.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 06/03/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

Book Review: Wild at Heart: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 5) by Starla Huchton

Wild at Heart: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 5) by Starla Huchton

A Fantasy/Fairy Tale Adaptation published through Amazon Digital Services LLC (04/09/17)

 

Summary:

Princess Belinda yearns for the freedom of the outdoors. She wants to soar like a bird or run like a wolf. She feels trapped in the castle. So she leaves. Using an enchanted cloak, which allows her to turn into an animal for thirty minutes, she leaves her home. Traveling for days and unhappy with her human body, she arrives at her sister’s castle. Still restless, after meeting with a hermit who grants her wish for freedom, she can now transform into an animal form for as long as she wants. Freedom at last, but at what cost?

Keywords:

Fairy Tale Adaptation, Contemporary Fairy Tale, Magic, Wards, Glamour, Survival, Family, Love, Romance, True Love, Strong Female, Adventure, Travel, Walking, Wolf, Animal Transformation

My Review:

This book takes a character from a previous book and tells a new fairy tale. I wish I’d remembered more from that previous book as I couldn’t remember much context when Erata came up in the story. Thankfully, most of the story centered around Belinda.

I absolutely loved how Belinda was portrayed. She was flighty and had a head for adventure. She was headstrong and stubborn, rushing headlong into things. She grew so much during this story and it was fascinating to see her change and grow.

Again, all the dialogue and any time a character was trying to teach another character were superb.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services LLC April 9th, 2017 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Starla Huckton’s Website

Book Review: Feyland: The Twilight Kingdom (Feyland Trilogy Book 3) by Anthea Sharp

The Twilight Kingdom (Feyland Trilogy Book 3) by Anthea Sharp

A Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel published by Anthea Sharp (12/15/12)

Summary:

Feyland is ready for release, just as soon as beta testing concludes. Jennet, her dad, Tam, Roy, and several others have been chosen for the team. With an excuse to be in-game, it should be easy for Jennet to prove that Feyland is dangerous, but at first glance the game appears… normal. Still, it doesn’t take long for Jennet and Tam to get sucked back into the real Feyland. The realm of faerie still wants nothing more than to break free into the regular world.

Keywords:

Fae, Video Game, Worlds Collide, Evil, Gaming, Class Distinctions, Tech, Gamers, Friendship, Prototype, Mischievous Characters, Danger

My Review:

This book and this series will make anyone want to be a gamer! The excitement and camaraderie of playing an epic fantasy adventure seem very appealing. Though I am not a gamer, I really enjoyed the up close view of Jennet and Tam playing through Feyland.

As someone who doesn’t like to read epic fantasy, I thought this series was an excellent bridge between fantasy, contemporary and dystopian literature. It was fascinating enough to keep me interested in the gaming/fantasy sequences and the details in the world building were well-done.

I was glad that the relationship between Jennet and her father was resolved in this final book and that the relationship between Jennet and Tam was pushed and explored more. Roy also developed quite a bit between where we first see him and at the end of the series.

Overall a great and exciting book and series to read!

This novel was published by Anthea Sharp on December 15th, 2012 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Anthea Sharp’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Feyland: The Bright Court (Feyland Trilogy Book 2) by Anthea Sharp

Feyland: The Bright Court (Feyland Trilogy Book 2) by Anthea Sharp

A Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel published by Anthea Sharp (05/21/12)

Summary:

Jennet barely escaped the clutches of the evil Dark Queen of Feyland, with the help of Tam Linn in the Dark Court, but the game is still set to release. The land of faeries is still attempting to step through the boundary of Feyland to wreak havoc on our world. Roy, the son of the CEO of the game company provides another complication as he appears to glamor all those around him, except Jennet and Tam. Not only do they have to figure out a way to stop Feyland’s release, they now have to figure out a way to stop Roy and his illusions.

Keywords:

Fae, Video Game, Worlds Collide, Evil, Gaming, Class Distinctions, Tech, Gamers, Friendship, Prototype, Mischievous Characters, Danger

My Review:

I started reading this second book in the series as soon as I put down book one and it took very little time to get back into the magical realm of Feyland and the world and lives of Jennet and Tam.

I was excited to see more of Marnie as she gets more time and importance as a friend in this second book. Of course, the growing friendship and budding romance between Tam and Jennet is also quite exhilarating to watch. I absolutely love slow to develop romances, especially ones based on more than just attraction.

One of the greatest little details about this book (and series) is the fact that I see gender equality. The book isn’t all about the greatest female who must take upon herself the mantle of saving the world (almost every dystopian book ever). Feyland is more than just a female main character. Tam has as much action time and importance as Jennet. Then there is the fact that the CEO of the gaming company is a woman and the most famous celebrity simmer is female. Huzzah! Finally those in power and those in charge are not just male! And their genders didn’t even matter!

I loved this second book and the ending was perfect. I can’t wait to read the final book in this series.

This novel was published by Anthea Sharp on May 21st, 2012 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Anthea Sharp’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: The Dark Realm (Feyland #1) by Anthea Sharp

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The Dark Realm (Feyland #1) by Anthea Sharp

A Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel published by Fiddlehead Press (12/11/13)

Summary:

“Sometimes we don’t really have as much control over things as we think. We’re in this together now.” (Kindle Location 1991).

Jennet went against her father’s wishes when she played the in-development immersive sim game Feyland. When she lost the boss level, the Dark Queen boss took Jennet’s life force. To regain what she lost, Jennet must find a champion in real life who will play the game with her. She finds Tam Linn, but it takes everything she’s got just to convince him to trust her. There is more at stake than Jennet realizes and the game is becoming more and more real.

Keywords:

Fae, Video Game, Worlds Collide, Evil, Gaming, Class Distinctions, Tech, Gamers, Friendship, Prototype, Mischievous Characters, Danger

My Review:

Sharp does a fantastic job balancing the amount of prose set in Feyland and the amount of prose set in the real world. Both realms were alive in their own way. There were so many fun details about the sim tech and the differences between the classes in the real world and such great description of playing Feyland.

The premise felt a bit rushed in the beginning and the first chapter was a slog, but after that I was sucked right into the plot. I couldn’t put the book down after that.
The characters each were independent, but they had to work together to survive and succeed. There were moments of damsel-in-distress (the whole premise is she needs a knight to save her), but Jennet holds her own again and again and proves her worthiness as a strong female main character.

This novel was published by Fiddlehead Press on December 11th, 2013 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Anthea Sharp’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter