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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Review: Elizabeth Vaughan


Warprize is the first in Elizabeth Vaughan's Chronicles of the Warlands series. It is also a debut book for me of hers. The book has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read honestly for years. Having finally picked it up, and devouring every page, all I can do is ask myself why I waiting so long to read this book!

Xylara "Lara" is a princess of Xyland. Her older half brother is the current ruler and he is in the middle of a war with the "firelanders" as the Xylander's call them. Lara has defied custom and convention by becoming a healer for her people. This is something uncalled for because of her royal heritage. However, her father allowed it when he was alive, and though her brother doesn't like it, he allows her to continue her work. During the war she is helping with the wounded Xylander warriors, but she is also caring for the prisoners of war. She is the only person with the guts to help them against the King's wishes, but she feels the duty to help all in need because of the oaths she took.

While helping the foreign warriors, she initially begins learning their language to help treat them better. Lara is one of only a few who can communicate with them. Then she discovers that one of her patients is of the higher ranks. She worries that his position will cause her brother to execute him, so she keeps his secret while healing him. After this, she is confronted in the market by a man named Keir who demands to know of her patient's condition and to pass along a message to him. She refuses to pass any information, but does update him on the patient's condition. But by telling the POWs about her conversation with Keir, it seems they've gotten the message regardless.

Very soon after, Lara is happy to hear that peace negotiations are taking place. Until she discovers that she is to be sacrificed to their King as a slave as a part of the agreement. She agrees to the condition (though her brother never even truly asked her) to save her people. Lara is surprised to discover Keir is the king. So he takes her back to his camp. And thus begins a relationship between two people of different cultures that don't completely understand each other. It is also starting with lies. Lara struggles to learn her place, and she is terribly confused.

This is a book written in the first narrative, which is something I typically don't enjoy. However, this story line was best suited with that narrative since the reader is trying to understand this unique culture with her, and it didn't bother me in the slightest. While I loved the supporting cast the most, Keir did end up growing on me. Lara was strong and brave but also naive and too cautious to ask questions. For the most part, I liked her though. The story is full of unknowns that pull the reader in because they want to understand. 

I am excited to have finally read this romantic fantasy, and I cannot wait to continue the series. I only wished I had picked it up sooner!

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | Apple |


Friday, February 22, 2019

Feature and Giveaway: Bad Influence by Stefanie London


He’s the bad bachelor who inspired it all…

Annie Maxwell had her whole life figured out…until her fiancĂ© left her when his career took off. If that wasn’t bad enough, every society blog posted pictures of him escorting a woman wearing her engagement ring. To help the women of New York avoid guys like her ex, Annie created the Bad Bachelors app. But try as she might, Annie just can’t forget him…

For bank executive Joe Preston, his greatest mistake was leaving the love of his life when she needed him most. Now, all he wants is to make things right—and she won’t have him. But when Annie’s safety is threatened by a hacker determined to bring down her app, Joe is the only one she can turn to. He’ll have to lay himself on the line to prove to Annie that he’s a changed man. But will their hard-won bond survive the revelation that Annie is the one pulling the strings behind Bad Bachelors?

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | Apple |

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Guest Post with Author Leddy Harper and Giveaway

Leddy Harper had to use her imagination often as a child: she grew up the only girl in a family full of boys. At fourteen, she decided to use that imagination to write her first book, and she never stopped. She often calls writing her therapy, using it to deal with issues through the eyes of her characters.

Harper is now a mother of three girls, making her husband the only man in a house full of females. She published her first book to encourage her children to go after whatever they want, to inspire them to love what they do and do it well, and to teach them what it means to overcome their fears. You can learn more about Harper at www.leddyharper.com or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Leddy.Harper.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Guest Post with Author Kat Martin and Giveaway

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, BEYOND CONTROL, hit both big lists … NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST as well as the USA TODAY BEST-SELLING BOOKS LIST. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

ARC Review: Love's Call by C.A. Szarek


Love's Call is the second book to C.A. Szarek's The King's Riders series and the first book I've read of Szarek's. I was hopeful that coming into the series having not read the first book, that I wouldn't be lost, and I wasn't. I believe whenever they referenced the first book, they explained very well what happened. While this was a good thing since I didn't get lost in the story, it did make me wish I was reading that book instead of this one.

Ansley (I LOVE that name) is a Senior King's Rider. Basically she is a messenger for the king. The King gives her a message that needs to go to one of his Duke's with all possible haste. She leaves immediately with her "bonded" wolf companion, Ali, and she pushes her horse hard. Along the way Ali brings her to a stop because there is a girl in bad shape lying on the ground gasping for help. While she starts to try to figure how she was going to get the girl on her horse to safety, a large group of armored men show up. So far this story has really gotten me interested.

Leargan, the man leading the group of armored men, is the captain of the Duke's personal guard. They were out on patrol when they came across the two women. After cautious introductions, the men help Ansley get the girl back the the Duke's town. One of the personal guard, Roduch, seems intensely drawn to the hurt woman, and immediately considers it his duty to take care of her. He recognizes her as a woman he has seen in dreams and visions. Leargan is also immediately taken with Ansley, and Ansley is amazed to discover Leargan there, as she has been half in love with him for years. At this point I am still very intrigued to see where everything is going.

Upon getting to the Duke's home, they immediately get a healer to work on the poor unknown girl who is in such a rough state. After she has been seen to Ansley is able to deliver her message and find sleeping quarters. The next morning, the Duke shows the message to Leargan, and it says that the king and Ansley's father want Leargan and Ansley to get married. While Leargan admits being attracted to Ansley and a willingness to obey his king he isn't sure how she will take being ordered to marry him. He doesn't let her know about it for the time being. Also, that same morning, the mysterious hurt woman wakes up and tells them all her name is Avril, and starts to tell them the abuses that happened to her. It enrages everyone, and they all want vengeance on the man responsible.

This is where the book starts to die down. It focuses mainly on the romance between Ansley and Leargan while Avril gets more and more comfortable to share what she can of her situation. Ansley is annoying. Her thoughts and actions reminded me of a 13 year old girl in a 22ish year old's body. I also later learned how much of a hypocrite she is. Leargan seemed a pretty good guy, but he makes some bad decisions. The two struggle to communicate. And they go from 0 to 60 with the beginning of a kiss to almost being intimate every time they're together. Roduch and Avril's patient and slow time of learning each other and gaining trust grabbed my attention so much more.

As for the magic, there really isn't very much explaining and it seems used in odd ways not really helping the story as much as it could. No one seems worried about being hurt because the healer will have you back to normal in no time at all, and he even can manipulate your body's functions how he wants. I saw great potential in the bonding some characters had with wolves, but that really never amounted to much after the beginning when Ali found Avril. They just acted mostly like domesticated dogs in every other scene. 

With how much the characters talked about the adventures of the first book, all the action in this book was so anticlimactic. Nothing really was any sort of struggle, and I never felt once that I didn't know how the story would go. It was very disappointing. I do hope that the aversion I have to this book is a fluke in comparison to the rest of Szarek's work, because this story had amazing potential at the first. I am very interested to read the first book in the series after hearing about it from this one. I think I might someday try it out.

**ARC provided by NetGalley**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | Apple |