Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Audio Book Review: Remnants and Shadows

Remnants and Shadows

By:  Jacob Cooper

Publish Date:  June 9, 2015, Audiobook June 15, 2015

Format:  Audiobook - 1 hrs 40 mins
Narrated By:  Michael Kremer

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  .75 novella in The Dying Lands Chronicles series; 1st Book ~ Altar of Influence: The Orsarian War

Impression:  Deeper outcomes of an important moment.

Synopsis:
This short story takes place during the timeline of Altar of Influence: The Orsarian War. The reader is highly encouraged to read the afore mentioned title first.

Thannuel and Moira have been promised to each other since birth. Just as they are growing, both as individuals and together, the Marishee probe deep into Arlethia and strike at House Kerr, attempting to abduct Thannuel and assassinate Moira. While the attempt barely fails, it leaves them questioning their relationship and deeply contemplating their future together.

Amnoch, master of the hold guard for House Kerr and member of the furtive Gyldenal Order, sets out on a quest to discover more about the Marishee, disciples of the enigmatic Thoulden-sha, the Oracle of Mari-shaden. As The Resurgence continues to gain traction among the people of Senthara, Amnoch’s mission unwittingly becomes a fulcrum between the Living Light and The Ancient Dark. Remnants of things long forgotten since The Turning Away lie hidden and await him, shadows of an unknown threat too great to ignore.

First Sentence:
The air burned in Moira's lungs as she ran hand-in-hand with Kalisa.

Purchase At:
Amazon

Audible


My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review, at my request.

The night that started as a lovely date and ended in a battle for Thannuel and Artious also was an important night to Moira. She realized she loves Thannuel and she wants to marry him. But does he feel the same for her? She thinks so, from the look of fear for her when they were attacked and how he put himself in harms way so she could get away. Amnoch also goes on his own mission, seeing new sides of the world.

Michael's voice gives me shivers, the good shivers, when I listen to him. Michael enhanced the touching moments between Thannuel and Moira. Such a lovely moment. *sigh* His voice was full of emotion. Then when he was in the moment of dispair or trouble, his voice deepens in emotion and sound to go with the words and set of the moment. I liked the echo he added to the Desert Wraths as well, but I wished he'd followed through all the moments the Desert Wraths spoke with the echo. Nice touch to catch the listeners attention.

When I first started this short story I wasn't sure where in the time of the first book, Altar of Influence: The Orsarian War, this would be placed. It only took a few moments for it to click into place. This is after the attack in the alley where Thannuel learns of an ability he's able to do when fighting.

This world has a long history with the Living Light, The Ancient Dark, The Ancients, and Those Forgotten. I'm slowly learning pieces and the history, but I want more. This short story does start to draw new pieces to the fold. We get glimpses of the economy of the area along with widening the world and history with clans and The Ancients. We also get to see a new creature of the land. It's interesting the way they are connected and in so bring some light to the world along with more curiosity for what was and what will come.

This short story has an emotional feel to it. All good, bringing us closer to the characters and fills in a few tiny holes we are curious about with the characters. Amnoch makes me smile when he talks of the two boys, Thannuel and Artious. We see touching moments for both couples mixed with humor as well. I loved the balance of the love and fun between all four; Thannuel, Moira, Artious, and Kalisa. We get to see how Thannuel feels of his mind splitting when he talks to Artious about it. He also talks of how he's coping with what he's learned, which is still a struggle.

I'm becoming more and more curious of the world and history here, along with what is to come of Thannuel and Artious. Those two men are special, and I'm wanting to see where life goes for them. But I'm curious of this fantasy world and want to learn what I can. I look forward to continuing with the series.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Audio Book Review: Altar of Influence

Altar of Influence: The Orsarian War

By:  Jacob Cooper

Publish Date:  October 28, 2014, Audiobook November 20, 2014

Format:  Audiobook - 10 hrs 18 mins
Narrated By:  Michael Kremer

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st in The Dying Lands Chronicles series

Impression:  Fantasy where the characters grow into fine men and learn there is more to the world, and to them.

Synopsis:
Sacrifice. The single act capable of bringing both death and life simultaneously.

Thannuel Kerr is handsome, young and brash, fumbling through childhood toward his inevitable inheritance: the next Lord of the Western Province. He struggles to accept his arranged marriage and to grow into the man he must become. The journey toward that end, however, is fraught with more peril than he could possibly imagine. In the remote reaches of the Realm, an unknown, silent threat is growing. The Thoulden-sha of Mari-shaden is gathering his disciples, those who have relinquished their bloodlines to the Ancients and embraced Those Not Remembered, a forgotten race that inhabited Våleira long before the Age of the Ancients.

As Thannuel learns more about his heritage, he begins to understand why powers that seem greater than anything the world of Våleira has ever seen are targeting him. As a young man, he and his beloved intended, Moira, will face assassination attempts, civil war, and foreign invasions that could tear the Realm—and Våleira itself—apart.

Sacrifice. It is what the Thoulden-sha demands. It is what the world desperately needs. To save all he loves, Thannuel will be called upon to lay himself upon the Altar of Influence.

First Sentence:
The Thoulden-sha waited for the full first moon to rise above the darkening horizon with his knife in hand.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  Book Depository

Audible


My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review, at my request.

A darkness is coming to the world. The Thoulden-sha is also working to bring the Mari-shaden back to the world with his sacrifices upon his altar. The Thoulden-sha needs the blood of one clan to bring the Mari-shaden back to the world, however the young man who should be easy to catch is growing stronger and fighting Thoulden-sha's advancements. Thannuel doesn't know he's special and learns slowly over the years of what he can do, and his ancestry. Moving to save the islands that have been invaded by the Dark Marauders, Thannuel and the Arlethian army will face things they never thought possible and destroy the darkness that is present.

I really enjoyed Michael's narration of this story. His voice is strong and easy to listen to. Michael has a way of drawing out a few words with a roll of his voice. They are the perfect words in the right moments. It draws you into his voice. Michael performs slight character voices and grows with the characters age and attitude changes, Thadduel is a perfect example of this growth vocally. He also has accents for different locations in this world. I do think I could listen to Michael tell stories for ever. I can see why he's popular with fantasy stories.

The one thing with audio that I still struggle to get are chapter headings. In this book they feel important as there are years between some. It would be easier to catch these if I was reading. But, thank you Jacob, in the chapters you learn the age of Thannuel and Artious or the years that have passed as you go, so you are caught up with the years easily.

Jacob writes the story as the world is solid and known. There are hints and details of the world given in the way the people live along with the reason Thoulden-sha is after Thannuel. I appreciate this as a read because I do not feel there are major information dumps and the world is as it should be and unwavering in its ways and cycling. But there were a few details I didn't realize until later in the book, but it was added when it fits and explains things a bit more gradually. This story is a prequel to the first novel, so many people probably knew what the world was like in starting this book.

There is a touch of magic here. (Well with Thoulden-sha, more than a touch.) I love that the people we focus on here are of a wood land. They have their connection with the land, Valeira particularly as that's where the Light resides, and can feel vibrations through the land where they stand or feel. There is also a magic for healing from the Luminates, but the Light seems to be fading. The trees can even talk to them, though not in the same sense as we think of talking. The Thoulden-sha is a dark magic as his is granted to him from Mari-shaden and strengthened with the spilling of blood. There are hints of others touched with special talents here as well.

The story starts when Thannuel and Artious are young boys and grows as they age along with the troubles in the world. It has a Young Adult feel to it at first, but it grows with each character and chapter. I liked the set up in the beginning and had an inkling of a feeling of who will become good friends and help each other. Also that one is of a clan that will be in danger and need to be the person he can be. I was anxiously waiting for it to all come together, then fall apart for the characters.

I found I was taken with the people in this world. Thannuel's father is a good man and tries to teach his son well of the kind ways. Thannuel represents his father's ways well as he grows. Oh the secret that Thannuel didn't know of. And I'm guessing his family didn't know of! It's interesting what he can do, and it grows in the story as well. Then we have Antious. He's a wonderful friend and cohort for Thannuel. I get a kick out of their friendship. Antious is strong in his own ways.

The chapters are long chapters. Even in audio form, they are long. But we get a few POV sections in those long chapters.

There is a touch of everything in this fantasy story, youth, love, war, battles - on sea and land, magic, and strange creatures. The world feels strong and large. I enjoyed the creation of the world and characters here. I did have a feel of what would happen in the story, but this is set with a classic fantasy feel and one I grew attached to the characters of. I do hope to continue with this series and see where next they will go, what the dark trouble is that is brewing in the forest of light.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Post #98

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

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Ugh. I'm so sorry! It's been a rough week to get anything done. I am starting to think I need to take several weeks in August as a down time for me as I don't get around here much when football camp is going on. That's what happened. I'm going to do my best to try and reply on all the posts for the last week (or two) that everyone's commented on. And tonight I'm hoping to get some visiting in.

This week seems to be a bit calmer, as I look forward, but I don't know what will come to pass. It's the first week of school and parents always have their piles of homework too.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Fit Booker:

Goal:  Workout in any form of exercise (or on Wii Fit) 2x's a week. (to feel better and hope to drop a few pants sizes)

How did I do last week... I did get to exercise this week.
   Tuesday:  walk the track for about 3.22 miles for 1 hour.


Episode ?:
I repeated the same episode from last week as I didn't have my head phones while walking. So I didn't get a new episode in. I'm hoping to get back on track this week and get to the next episode I have downloaded and waiting for me.


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What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan


Current Audiobook:
A Witch's Path by N.E. Connooly


Current Podcast Book Listen:
None, now back to Audio books


Finished Last Week: 
Pure Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Audiobooks from Audible:
Altar of Influence by Jacob Cooper
Remnants and Shadows by Jacob Cooper
Curse of the Alpha by Tasha Black


Finished Podcast Book Listen:
Nothing

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Last Week on the Blog:


Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)




Posts:


Around the Internet...


Reviews:
Invito Rex by Brand Gamblin


Winter's Reach by Craig Shaefer


Schemes by Krista D. Ball


Podcast Review:





Mama Bitchstress Reviews:



GIVEAWAYS:



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This Week to Come on the Blog:

I have my 3 reviews scheduled for next week. Woot woot! Can't wait to share these!
   Altar of Influence
   Remnants and Shadows
   Curse of the Alpha

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Received Last Weeks:


Review & Review Consideration:
Hazard of Shadows by Mike Phillips
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Book Synopsis:
The enchanted creatures of legend still exist, hidden away in the secret places of the world. They take refuge from an age of camera phones and government labs, from people who won’t let them live in peace. One of these last places of safety is known as the World Below.

Ancient powers are at work. The Lords of Faerie seek to revenge the death of Baron Finkbeiner and recover the mysterious Blade of Caro. Hidden in the shadows, they await a chance to strike. The chance arises when an old enemy escapes the splinter realm in which he is imprisoned. Anxious to settle the debt, the Faerie Lords send him to finish the Lady Elizabeth and her Champion once and for all.

After leading the revolution against the despotic ruler of the World Below, Mitch Hardy has taken the throne. He never wanted to be king. The whole idea of a government by right of combat sits poorly with him. Growing evermore uneasy with his new position, he begins laying the framework for self-rule. The enchanted peoples have known nothing but kings, but are adapting quickly to this new idea of governing their own affairs. It goes well, but Mitch’s plans are interrupted by the arrival of old enemies. Soon he is fighting for his life against a hellish enemy, the likes of which he never imagined.

Battle Mage by Stephen Aryan
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
'I can command storms, summon fire and unmake stone,' Balfruss growled. 'It's dangerous to meddle with things you don't understand.'

BALFRUSS is a battlemage, sworn to fight and die for a country that fears his kind.

VARGUS is a common soldier - while mages shoot lightning from the walls of his city, he is down on the front line getting blood on his blade.

TALANDRA is a princess and spymaster, but the war will force her to risk everything, and make the greatest sacrifice of all.

Magic and mayhem collide in this explosive epic fantasy from a major new talent.

Audio Books Requested for Review:
Curse of the Alpha by Tasha Black
PICK UP AT AMAZON (1st 2 episodes are free)
Goodreads Synopsis:
Step into a world of shifters, witches, ghosts and romance...

Ainsley Connor has turned her back on her past.

Her perfect life as a successful real estate agent in Manhattan makes her memories of growing up as the daughter of a werewolf seem like a dream. But when a tragic accident forces her back to her unusual hometown, she can't repress her inner wolf any longer.

Worse, the pack needs her to settle down and pick a mate. But how can she choose when the tiny college town is full of sexy shifters, all vying for her attention?

And the shifters aren't even the strangest thing about Tarker's Hollow...

˃˃˃ In Episode 1...
Ainsley Connor is on a mission to get back to the penthouses of Manhattan before the full moon. Will the pack manage to stake their claim on her before it's too late?

˃˃˃ In Episode 2...
Ainsley learns about the danger facing the pack, and discovers that someone she trusts is hiding a dark secret. Will she be able to restrain the beast inside as it struggles to break free?

˃˃˃ A Continuing Story...
Curse of the Alpha: Episodes 1 & 2 are the first novellas in the Curse of the Alpha serial. Think of them like episodes of a TV show. They tell their own story, but you will need to read more parts to get the full tale of Ainsley Connor, a female werewolf, and her struggle to come to terms with her past, and accept her true nature and her role in the future of the pack. It is romance with sex, and is NOT intended for readers under the age of 18.

If you don't like serials and/or romance with sex, then this is probably not for you!


Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:
Black Rose by K.L. Bone
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
“May the Black Rose protect you in life and avenge you in death.” – Vow of the Black Rose

Six hundred years ago, the Muir Court was wiped from existence, destroyed by an elite group known as the Black Rose Guard. Their Captain, Mara, has a reputation of being a harsh woman who leads the guard with a fierce formality. During her long years, she has known pain, loss, heartache…and one great love.

Edward was the Captain of the Royal Guard of the Ciar Court. He loved her once. However, it was a love that faded the day he met young Liza, the Princess who stole the heart he had once sworn belonged to Mara alone. Liza was also the woman Mara was fated to protect. When the Queen learns of her daughter’s forbidden love for Edward, she devises a series of punishments, torturing Edward while her daughter is forced to watch. In a an act of desperation, Mara takes Liza’s place and looks on helplessly as Edward endures torments which break his body and Mara’s soul.

All of their pain is put aside when Liza is murdered by the rulers of a rival court. Haunted by her failure to protect the Princess and adhering to tradition, Mara takes the vow of the ‘Black Rose.’ It is an ancient oath which compels those under its power to abandon the lives they knew for the sake of a single goal: vengeance. Her quest leads her on a dark path of violence, rage, and bloodshed.

Tormented by a fate they can neither accept nor escape, Black Rose is a tale of retribution, love, and above all, honor—at any cost.



Free Ebooks:

(On my Kindle App) Links to books under title. They may or may not be free at this time.
Wicked Game by Sasha White
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Family means everything to P.I. Alexis Signorino. After being orphaned at a young age she grew up running rampant between her uncles garage and the biker bar next to it. When bar owner Jimmy D, a man she thinks of as family, is charged with murder there’s nothing that can stop her from running to his rescue.

Going home isn’t easy, but she slides smoothly into the role of cocktail waitress in The Crib, and begins searching for the real murderer. When Devon Kaye strolls into the bar, not only does her libido kick into high gear, so do her instincts. There’s much more to the criminally hot biker than meets the eye. Her gut says the sexy mystery man isn’t the murderer, but he’s definitely hiding something.

The questions are piling up, and Lexy is determined to find the answers even if it means indulging in some sinful acts along the way.
 

Artificial Absolute by Mary Fan
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Jane Colt is just another recent college grad working as an Interstellar Confederation office drone—until the day she witnesses her best friend, Adam, kidnapped by a mysterious criminal. An extensive cover-up thwarts her efforts to report the crime, shaking her trust in the authorities. Only her older brother, Devin, believes her account.

Devin hopes to leave behind his violent past and find peace in a marriage to the woman he loves. That hope shatters when he discovers a shocking secret that causes him to be framed for murder.

With little more than a cocky attitude, Jane leaves everything she knows to flee with Devin, racing through the most lawless corners of the galaxy as she searches for Adam and proof of her brother’s innocence. Her journey uncovers truths about both of them, leading her to wonder just how much she doesn’t know about the people she loves.




(On my Nook)



Free Audio Books/Stories:




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Reviews to Come:

Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester
Danube Waves by Katharina Bordet
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
Heartstealer by K.T. Bryski
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
7th Son: 7 Days anthology by J.C. Hutchins
House of Grey 6 by Collin Earl
The Secret World Chronicle: World Divided by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere
The Secret World Chronicle: Waiting On by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere
The Secret World Chronicle: Revolutions by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol. 4: #3 The Black Empress
The Jester by Michael J. Sullivan
Professional Integrity by Michael J. Sullivan
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #4 - Down by the River
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #5 - Old Sinner's Bones
Pure Blooded by Amanda Carlson
Altar of Influence by Jacob Cooper
Remnants and Shadows by Jacob Cooper

Curse of the Alpha by Tasha Black

Friday, August 28, 2015

Audio Book Review: Invito Rex

Invito Rex

By:  Brand Gamblin

Publish Date:  December 1, 2013

Format:  Podiobook

Genre:  Neo-Victorian

Series:  2nd in Noblesse Oblige series; 1st Book ~ The Hidden Institute

First Glance Feel:  Dizzy who is one of the best at being a lower lord now has a true challenge and a bigger con to pull off. But is it a con?

Synopsis:
In a fantastic world not too far ahead of us, Victorian sensibilities have brought back the monarchy, with a caste system that is lethally enforced. Dizzy is a con man, a commoner who makes his living impersonating the nobility. But one wrong turn leaves him trapped in the most dangerous place of all, the palace of the king. Invito Rex is the futuristic steampunk sequel to "The Hidden Institute".

First Sentence:
"As the boy becomes the man, so he must bear new burdens of sufferance and sacrifice.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Noble

Listen At:
iTunes  /  Podiobooks

My Thoughts and Summary:
The Dowager Queen is very well known by the nobility. Dizzy is about to meet her. He's nervous for what she will tell him, or what she could do to his cover as Earl of Viborg. Disraeli Augustus McCraken III is a con-artist. He posses as lower Earls, and only socializes with such. He doesn't push his luck with the high noble houses or the King. Captain Gallant Trumble has other plans. He will find and arrest any fraud of royalty, and it's his mission to prove the Earl of Viborg is not who he says he is. The Kings advisers beat Captain Trumble in the chase and take Disraeli Augustus McCraken III in their custody. Dizzy must now fit into the shoes he never thought he'd even attempt to try to fit.

Oh my god! This ended like that?! I...*breath* It's a big cliffhanger. I rushed to the authors site and signed up for the authors newsletter to find out when the next book is coming. THERE HAS TO BE A NEXT BOOK! I want to know!

In visiting the authors site, I found he's shared the first chapter of the next book: The Absent Emperor. Thank you Brand!!!

This is Dizzy's story. Oh Dizzy, Oh Dizzy, Oh Dizzy. The troubles he gets himself into, but this one isn't completely at his doing. This is the ultimate con that Dizzy needs to pull off.

I do enjoy Dizzy. He's a creative man. He's not completely Royal in his nature of speak and actions. But his thinking in actions and decisions seem brilliant. He tries his hardest to fit the shoes of his predecessor, Cadvan. Dizzy makes me smile at his actions when he decides how he'll act and what he'll do.

The first chapter felt a bit full of things that I wasn't sure what was going on or the direction of the book. Chapter two was the one that set the ways of the world here. Chapter two was the one to clarify things for me and set things straight. I liked this chapter and what happens. It was all down hill for me from there. I was hooked and couldn't stop listening. I did find there were a few times at the beginning that a bit more details were given that felt to slow things for me, but as the book went on we did need those details. The detailing didn't happen for long, so read through them as it will all come together and you'll understand.

I wasn't sure who was conning who here. To see Dizzy take the crown as his own is amazing. He's a fun character and when he decides he'll be himself, things fall into place and work wonderfully. I wasn't even 100% sure he was to inherit the crown. We do get the definite answer to that question.

In this book we see the design and rank of the nobles. This is a breakdown to know how people are classed and how the students of The Hidden Institute sees who they are to work for, or in Dizzy's case who he will work to be. This book also has more of the automatons showing up and the ways of the world. I enjoyed seeing that there is many interesting things in this world with electronics and such that are interacted with more so in this book.

Each chapter has an insightful lead in. It all, in some way, connect to the rule and the King. It might be something a king did or knew or relations. There is information on Royals and their connection as well. This is interesting as it gives a deeper insight into many things. I wasn't sure what they were hinting at, until I started seeing how they were connected to those in the story and what was happening. And even with King Augustus III. I grew to anticipate these as the book went on, as it gave many great details.

As I've said, I'm signed up for the authors emails. I'm wanting more of this world and Dizzy. I want to know what Dizzy's ultimate plan is and how things work out. Can't wait for more!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Audio Book Review: Winter's Reach

Winter's Reach

By:  Craig Schaefer

Publish Date:  November 11, 2014, Audiobook July 28, 2015

Format:  Audiobook - 11 hrs 24 mins
Narrated By:  Susannah Jones

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st in Revanche Cycle series

Impression:  An epic fantasy full of conspiracies in close proximity. Everyone has an enemy, or one desiring what another has.

Synopsis:
Pope Benignus is dying, and the man who takes his throne will hold the reins of an empire. Conspiracies swirl like shadows around Livia, the pope's daughter, who refuses to be anyone's pawn: chasing the whispers of a deadly coup, she vows to expose the truth and save her church from disaster. Livia has secrets of her own, though, and one wrong move could cost her life and her soul.

Felix is the scion of a dying merchant house, a man with just one chance to save his family and the woman he loves. His last hope lies in the snowbound hell of Winter's Reach, a former prison colony turned "free city" under a brutal tyrant's reign.

Livia and Felix have never crossed paths, but they've both been snared in a far greater web than they can imagine. They -- along with a pair of veteran bounty hunters, an exiled politician, and a sadistic coven of witches -- are cogs in one man's apocalyptic plan for revenge. A plan which, if it succeeds, will leave an entire nation in flames.

First Sentence:
The family estate reminded Felix of a giant's rotting corpse, laid out under skies smeared a filthy gray.

Purchase At:
Amazon 

Audible


My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.

Felix is determined to set his families financial debts straight so he can marry his love, and not the merchants daughter he was arranged to marry that will save his family. He has a plan. According to old records, the dangerous free city of Winter's Reach has Alum mines being unused, and he plans to strike a deal with the Mayor to make money for him and her. However, others don't want him to get to those mines. Lodovico Marchetti is of the current family that has the control of the Alum market, and plans to keep it that way at any action. The witches have their own secret and plan to keep it that way. Then we have the church that is slipping into the wrong hands as the Pope is on his death bed. In all this a pair of hunters are out to do their job and working to forget the past of deeds they wish they didn't do.

Susannah is a gentle voice to listen to. She's done a lovely job with voicing the emotional rise and falls of the characters in the book and telling the tale of this world beaming with conspiracies. She doesn't do different voices for the many characters present, but she does pose different attitudes for each one. But she has told the story with heart. By the end of the book I felt I was sitting around a fire listening to an old tale, and wanting to hear more.

Where do I start? This is an epic fantasy with the many characters that are in play here.

All of these families are dangerous. They have desires and needs that they will do anything to get or keep in their favor. The lives of different groups of people heading in the same direction, though for different reasons. The political pull in the world is evident. Those with enough money and connections can make anything go their way. Everyone has their own motivators for their goals - love, guilt, lose - all the emotions pushing people to do more. The world not only has the evils of mans desires but also dangerous creatures and weather.

The Rossini family has no one to deal with, others are held on tight strings. Felix is to marry into the Grimaldi family to make a strong alliance. Felix has another idea. Winter's Reach. It's a free city now, but once was a prison colony where mines were built in the mountains, and is rich in Alum. Felix does what he wants for his reasons, but then becomes pushed to do more. And he decides to take new avenues to get what he wants.

Lodovico Marchetti... oh he's one we love and love to hate. He is the power hold in Mirenze right now. He makes the market go as he wants, and for him, as he holds the biggest Alum mine production. Alum is a mineral used in about everything. But, Lodovico has another plan in motion with his 'friend' Carlo at the church. He wants more, and revenge...

Carlo, Livia, Amadeo, and Benignus. They are all part of the church. Benignus is Pope and he's dying. The question is who will take over his throne when he's gone. There is discord among the Cardinals over this. Carlo, his second child and only son, is who is expected to do so. But he's not what we would think of as Pope material, and others think so too. However, he could be one used as a tool by others. Livia is the daughter and more than ready to stand up as Pope, however she's a female. In this world, females are not thought of more than marrying off for mergers and alliances. But, people don't realize she's more dangerous to their plans than they give her credit for. She is one to watch out for. Amadeo. Ah. I did enjoy him very much. He's a priest and one of the ones to have the most growth in this book, for me. I enjoyed his journey and how strong he's become.

I think the ones I enjoyed the most are Mari and Werner. This duo is a wonderful set. I love the care they have for each other. The hunters are not a couple, but more a father/daughter feel to them. Mari is a hurt girl. She suffers from PTSD from the death of her family and many of her home land. Werner found her and brought her back from the brink of the edge. Werner has given Mari something to strive for, and she does just that. She has morals to her ways and does her best to live by them. However both have moments in their past that haunts them, and could be a danger to them now.

Oh! I can't forget about the witches! They are cruel. The actions they take! Oh wow. Makes me cringe. We don't get all the dealings with the witches just yet. But they are here and we know what they are looking for, or at least Owl. I'm looking forward to seeing more of them in the future books!

The writing draws the visual world in a magnificent poetry, this caught my attention at the opening of the book. This is echoed throughout the book, usually at the beginning of a chapter.

I did find myself curious about the Empire here. We didn't get much in way of past details of coming to power, nor the relationship the throne of the church has with the Empire's king. There were a few things in the world building that I would have liked to have seen or learned more of, but I'm hoping that will come in the future books.

Everyone has an enemy, or one desiring what another has. There is always someone after another or another's material possessions. The different plots in the city by different people start to cross paths and collide as each person works for their own results. It seems the strongest of will and cunning will survive.

As in epic fantasy fashion, I'm left anxious for what's to come. Craig has drawn the world and characters to bring them all to this moment. Some are in precarious places and don't know it. Others are heading into a wind storm and don't know it. Some are expecting to create the wind storm. Oh I want to hear more of this world to see what happens with them all! Will the make it?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Review: Schemes

Schemes

By:  Krista D. Ball

Publish Date:  August 2, 2015

Format:  eBook

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  4th in Tranquility series; Book 1 ~ Blaze, Book 2 ~ Grief, Novella 2.5 ~ Interlude, Book 3 ~ Fury

Impression:  Bethany is back! They want to move on, but what they did could bring the Elves after them.

Synopsis:
Bethany returns to Taftlin to uncover a plot to assassinate King Arrago and Prince Henry. She enlists some interesting allies along the way, including an elderly duchess with a sharp tongue and an eager apprentice knight, and together they race against the clock.

First Sentence:
Arrago,

I've arrived in Wyllow and have settled in as best as possible.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I received this book from the author for my enjoyment, as I requested and love this series.

After over a year of dishonorable respect at Wyllow, Bethany and Lendra are on their way to return to Taftlin. She could feel the Elves were shifting in power and someone would make a move soon. On their travels an attempt on Bethany's life is made, and she uncovers a plot to assassinate King Arrago and Prince Henry. Bethany turns to the few people that are still loyal to her along with her new allies in the North to keep everyone safe.

We start with a year of letters that makes us worry of what's happening in Wyllow, where Bethany has been to talk to the Council of the war and what happened to their beloved Goddess, Apexia. These letters get us worrying and set the stage for what's to come. Things have not gone well in this year for Bethany, along with her dearest friends. The Elfin Council has made their own decisions on rumors and events while Bethany and others had fought wars. Something is stirring as they try to discredit Bethany, and the enemy she made in Lord Jud seems to be involved.

Bethany is back!!

This is the Bethany I love. She's fun, mouthy, and ready to kick arse. The old Bethany. Her rough jokes, erm desires? to break legs. lol. She does not back down. She's come up with nicknames for people and she is quick lipped when she is pushed. She is quick to action when she spots things unfolding around her. Poor Arrago, but he loves her and goes with the flow knowing exactly how Bethany is, and loving her for it. Arrago...wow, he's had to stay at his throne and try to keep going with the letters about what was happening in Wyllow. Strong man. But, he'd have to be strong and relaxed at the same time to be with Bethany. Which he is. Arrago has made changes in Taftlin in his short time as king, and some people are not happy.

We get what we want with Bethany and Arrago, but they have to work for it. There is always trouble brewing somewhere, and this time it's aimed at them.

We see more Myra with Bethany. She has become a wonderful character. She's got her own zest and personalty that brings a smile to me. She's taken some lessons from Bethany. lol.

We don't get to see Jovan or Erem in this story. We hear about them... Jovan is safe and laying low. Erem is... well, we don't know. No one knows. That's where this book ends and readies us for the next series involving these new powers.

No one knows of the grace that Bethany, Erem, Jovan, Kiner, and Arrago have received. Even Lendra too. But at the end of this story, we see it start to manifest and what can be done. Cool! This story also works as a transition to the next series and adventures in this world. A whole new story is to come our way!

For this, I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT SERIES WITH THEM!!

Krista has brought fun to the characters in a plot to assassinate the king and the strong knight. I enjoy this blend so much.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Post #97

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

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My brain isn't quite working yet this morning. It still feels idle and stuck on park. lol. It's been a long weekend of football stuff and hasn't ended yet. Last week was the early rise football camp for kiddo and then the evenings were spent looking for football spikes (which he blew out his new RGIII's he bought and wore for a month or so) or going to chiropractor or going for something he needed. We did finally find football spikes, although they were not the ones he wanted. Dicks Sporting Goods online kept trying to get me to order the shoes on line. Ha! I can't do that! Every shoe fits different and we don't know what fits until he tries it on. I refuse to spend all the over night fees (because he NEEDS shoes for practice) to find out they don't fit. They really should have more shes in the stores. I also found out from the local stores they have been sold out of football cleats since June! Seriously!?! But he has something to wear and we got him an ankle brace for his other foot too. We are hoping this will help and he's set.

This week is another football week of go-go-go to come. lol. Oh well. We do love the season.


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The Fit Booker:

Goal:  Workout in any form of exercise (or on Wii Fit) 2x's a week. (to feel better and hope to drop a few pants sizes)

How did I do last week... I did get to exercise this week.
   Tuesday:  walk/slow job on the treadmill for about 2.49 miles for 41 minutes.


Episode 6:
I'm out on a supply run. I'm to pick up wire supplies from New Canton, the town we don't seem to get along with. Janine has a contact there and it's to be waiting for me when I get there... The Rebels of the city are to help us as they are going to want to leave with the way the city is being run. Ha! It's a trap! I'm now on the run!


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What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
Pure Blooded by Amanda Carlson
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan


Current Audiobook:
Altar of Influence by Jacob Cooper


Current Podcast Book Listen:
None, now back to Audio books


Finished Last Week: 
Nothing

Audiobooks from Audible:
Winter's Reach by Craig Schaefer


Finished Podcast Book Listen:
Nothing

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Last Week on the Blog:


Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)




Posts:

Around the Internet...


Reviews:

Podcast Review:





Mama Bitchstress Reviews:



GIVEAWAYS:



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This Week to Come on the Blog:

I have my 3 reviews scheduled for next week. Woot woot! Can't wait to share these!
   Schemes
   Winter's Reach
   Invito Rex

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Received Last Weeks:


Review & Review Consideration:



Audio Books Requested for Review:
A Witch's Path by N.E. Conneely
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
After a near death experience, Michelle has vowed to do her job, magical assistance for the police, and leave the heroics to someone else. Besides, life should be settling down for her since the trolls have been captured and the sorceress was neutralized. Unfortunately, the power behind the sorceress wants her dead, Elron starts acting funny, a magical creature wreaks havoc on a town, and there’s trouble with the werewolves. As if that wasn’t enough, the clans have started to notice her power and she has more reasons than ever to fear the clans.

Things go from bad to worse when Michelle’s best friend is abducted, and she must decide between her friend and her vow to stay out of dangerous situations.




Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
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Goodreads Synopsis:
“Fear to the fearless. Hope to the hopeless. Mercy to those who hate you. Death to those who love you.” – Prophesy of the Kalian Twins. 

In the land of Kale there lies a delicate balance between the powerful Temples and the rulers from an ancient, royal bloodline. The Temples are ruled through combat, determined by a series of tournaments. Of these tournament champions, sixty are chosen to become Defendants, an elite team charged with protecting the realm from all enemies. Selection to this team is considered the highest of honours and leadership of the team is decided only once every thirteen years. 

Princesses Mariana and Ameria, twin daughters of two such champions, are taken as children to separate, yet equally powerful Temples. Through years of rigorous training both are educated in the arts of combat, swordplay, and the ancient traditions of the Temple Gods. Both eventually obtain the rank of Kalian Champions with the expectation of one day serving upon the coveted Defendant Team. 

Then, not long after their seventeenth birthday, the childless King declares that one of the sisters must succeed him as the future Queen. As the race for the throne begins, the sister’s long standing rivalry intensifies, leading both upon a dangerous path that threatens not only their lives, but the fate of the very kingdom. 

Unbeknownst to the twins, this treacherous path to the throne is the elaborate collaboration of an ancient prophecy and two creatures charged by the Gods themselves ensure it comes to pass. As primeval powers awaken, the two sisters must struggle to learn the truth behind the prophesy and search for a way to change their inevitable fate. 

Heir to Koloso by K.L. Bone
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Goodreads Synopsis:
“Fear to the fearless. Hope to the hopeless. Mercy to those who hate you. Death to those who love you. That is your destiny, Princess of Kale, Princess of Koloso, heir to both.” – Prophecy of the Kalian Twins 

The struggle for the throne intensifies as twin Princesses Ameria and Mariana are forced to contend with their bitter rivalry and haunted past. In this sequel to Heir to Kale, the sisters learn that they must first expose the secrets of their past before they can begin to unveil their shadowed destiny. 

Awaiting the Temple bout which will determine her fate, Princess Mariana struggles to unite a Kingdom long bereft of leadership. She must navigate a labyrinth of rival families, powerful lords, and the ever-widening rift between those who serve the Temples and those who do not. Unprepared and still grieving the loss of her mentor, Mariana must decide for herself what is right for the kingdom and who, if anyone, can be trusted. 

Meanwhile, Princess Ameria is more determined than ever to discover the true identity of her father’s killer and is willing to risk everything in order to find the answers she seeks. Embarking upon a quest which takes her from gleaming Temples to darkened castles, she endeavors to learn the truth about her family, the Prophecy, and the future of the Kingdom. Eventually turning to her estranged grandfather, the powerful and dangerous Lord Riccard, Ameria uncovers a truth about her family’s past from which will threaten to challenge the very foundations of her beliefs. 

However, as the sisters come closer to revealing their past and the prophecy which haunts their future, the wraiths watch from the shadows, an ever-present reminder that time is running out and that the fight for the throne looms upon the horizon.



Free Ebooks:

(On my Kindle App) Links to books under title. They may or may not be free at this time.
From Gods by Mary Ting
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Did you just see a flash of lightning across the sky on a clear sunny day? It’s not from Mother Nature. It is most likely from Mason Grand, swoon-worthy demigod, one of Zeus’s descendants. 

Skylar Rome is supposed to be having the best summer ever before she heads off to college. Little did she know, her whole life was about to change while visiting her cousin. Nearly drowning at the beach due to unknown forces, one of the Grand brothers she’d just met, Mason, saves her life. Cool, collected, mysterious, and dangerously good-looking, Skylar is drawn to him from the start. Though she knows he is the type of guy good girls stayed away from, it seems he is always saving her life, and the attraction was inevitable. 

Upon meeting the brothers, strange things begin to happen. When she accidentally kills one of the brothers, it throws her life into turmoil, as they search to find the answers. Implausibly, she gets caught up in a world of the decedents of ancient gods, all who have super powers. Not only is her discovery difficult to accept, evil beings are after her. Running out of time and running for her life, she must unravel a mystery. What do they want from her? Forced into a battle set into motion long before she was born, will she find the answers, or will she die trying?

Red Snow by Christine Sutton
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
When Kayla embarks on a drive from Washington to Texas, she is just doing her job. When the black 1967 Impala starts showing up at every turn, she starts to think it might be more than coincidence. When the mysterious driver leaves her a note, she is engulfed in a race for her life. Kayla is tasked with defeating vampires, werewolves and evil witches that threaten to destroy her happiness and her very life! Will she get her happily ever after, or will she fall victim to the evil that courses through her veins? Red Snow is an urban retelling of a classic fairy tale. Previously published as Red.




(On my Nook)



Free Audio Books/Stories:




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Reviews to Come:

Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester
Danube Waves by Katharina Bordet
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
Heartstealer by K.T. Bryski
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
7th Son: 7 Days anthology by J.C. Hutchins
House of Grey 6 by Collin Earl
The Secret World Chronicle: World Divided by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere
The Secret World Chronicle: Waiting On by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere
The Secret World Chronicle: Revolutions by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee, Veronica Giguere
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol. 4: #3 The Black Empress
Invito Rex by Brand Gamblin
The Jester by Michael J. Sullivan
Professional Integrity by Michael J. Sullivan
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #4 - Down by the River
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #5 - Old Sinner's Bones
Schemes by Krista D. Ball