Moon Spell (The Tale of Lunarmorte #1) by Samantha Young


10439599Blurb:
 Enter a world of fierce wolves, stunning magic and romance…

It’s bad enough feeling different among the human crowd, but feeling different among wolves?

No one said returning to her pack would be easy, especially after ten years without them, but seventeen year old Caia Ribeiro is unprepared for the realities of the transition. Raised in a world where kids aren’t scared by bedtime tales of the bogeyman but by the real life threat of enemy supernaturals who might come creeping into their community to kill them in their sleep, Caia is used to the darkness; she’s used to the mystery and the intrigue of the ancient underworld war she’s bound to by chance of birth. What she’s having trouble with are pack members treating her with wary suspicion, the Elders tucking secrets behind their backs out of her sightline, and her young Alpha, Lucien, distracting her, with a dangerous attraction, from her decision to uncover the truth.

But as the saying goes ‘the truth will out’ and when it does, Caia will only have so long to prepare herself before the war comes pounding on their door threatening to destroy the safe, secret lives of the wolves… and the girl they protect.

YA Paranormal Romance recommended for ages 16 and up.

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4 stars

I don’t like any of the covers.  I think they don’t really have any relevance to the story.  And I disagree with the age rating but that is just me.

Soooooo, this book really took me for a ride!  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  The only thing I had a hard time with was ALL the back story.  My goodness another book could have been written for all the information I had to learn. Why do authors do that? ::shrugs::

Lucien was a typical alpha male.  I admit to having a weakness for the shifter variety.  He came off as very solid and approachable to me.  Not necessarily the traits I’ve come to associate with alpha’s.  I really like how their romance blossomed naturally and slowly.  But, bad Lucien for keeping secrets, and not just like minor ones, but MAJOR ones.  If it was me, I would have dumped your ass with no looking back.  But I’m a cold hearted SOB.

Caia was a bit harder to read.  Having only known isolation her whole life I could really feel her apprehension with being thrust into this new world.  She handled it very well I think. Not really giving into what people thought of her.  She never caved or backed down from a challenge.   And although she had a hard time fitting in initially, she didn’t let that stop her from doing what she knew to be right. She risked others wrath to make sure people knew where she stood.  I liked that about her character

There was heaps of political intrigue and espionage.  I actually really love that in my fantasy books, it gives it a deeper layer to sink into.  More meat for the story ya know? At any rate, I’m really looking forward to the second one.

Curly Carla_small

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Wind Warrior by Jon Messenger

Wind warriorBlurb: THE EARTH GIVES WAY TO THE SEA,

THE SEA BOWS BEFORE THE WIND,

THE WIND FEEDS THE FLAME,

THE FLAME BURNS THE WORLD OF MAN DOWN TO THE EARTH.

The sleepy town of White Halls harbors a dangerous secret. On a picturesque street, two houses down from a lovely little park, in a quaint little home with a wraparound porch, lives a family that seems rather normal. Sure, their twenty-year-old son, Xander, still lives at home, but he’s going to college and dating the leader of the schools top sorority. It’s all very… normal.

However, when a man is miraculously saved from being hit by a bus, Xander’s life turns in to the living embodiment of the tornadoes he can suddenly create with a flick of his wrist. Whether he wants this gift or not, Xander must learn to use his new ‘super power’ quickly if he wants to survive. For his kind is a dying race, and when this sleepy town has a sudden influx of new, blonde, fire wielders, no one is safe, especially Xander. It doesn’t help that one of these blondes happens to be the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Xander can’t deny the instant connection he feels to her so, when she tries to kill him, it certainly makes things complicated.

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4 Stars

THIS BOOK IS FREE!

This book was a bit short for my tastes.  But it was a very engaging story that I read with ease.  I kinda feel a bit like there was no closure.  Nothing was really answered enough for my tastes.  This is my second book by Mr Messenger and it was a nice change in between reading my other books.

Xander is pretty cool.  He has a good head on his shoulders and we get taken into the action almost right away.  The emotion in this book is lacking, hence the minus one star.  I didn’t really feel the attraction between him and… well, anyone in the book.  The only thing that really stood out emotionally for me was the head butting he had with his father.  Hello kindred spirit!  I feel so hard on that one Xander!

The fire caste were some great bad guys.  Very violent and angry, but we still never find out why.  We didn’t really learn much about why they wanted to kill all the wind caste and take over.   And that left me wanting.

Curly Carla_small

Vengeance by AE Watson

vengeanceBlurb: A man once told me there are infinite places love will take you, but revenge is the business of hate and there is only one place hate will take you, the end. The end of you and the end of everything you once stood for. His words still echo in my mind, next to the images of the millions of places I might have gone.

Vengeance

Amillia Morgenstein wants nothing but freedom. Freedom to choose the man she marries and the life she lives. She wants nothing but the boy she can never have, Maddox.

Her world is turned upside down when her brother betrays their whole family, in a deal to trade Amillia to a Duke name Herrick and overthrow their father.
Broken hearted and fleeing her burning village, she rides away on the back of her closest friend, Artan.

In a neighboring city, rumors of a red-cloaked assassin flood the streets. An assassin who targets only the rich and the wicked. The trail of blood left behind leads back to the burned out doors of a once flourishing kingdom, now ruled by a tyrant.

Broken hearted and bound by vengeance, Amillia finds herself falling for something, she never thought she would have again. Grayson’s blue eyes and sarcastic smile have her fighting the feelings she has, just as someone from her past reappears. She fights for her heart and the hope no one discovers her biggest secret.

How far would you go for the ones you love, the ones you lost?

Mature Content!!

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4 Stars

Okay, I’m a HUGE fan of Tara Brown a/k/a AE Watson a/k/a TL Brown a/k/a Erin Leigh a/k/a Sophie Starr.  Whew! I thinks that it.  Yeah, she has loads of pen names, I know.  But I love them all. The Reborn Series is an top ten ultimate favorite.

This one didn’t disappoint either.  Although I must say that Millia’s mindset of ‘all or nothing’ got a bit old throughout the story.  She wanted it all and if she couldn’t have it then it was like she couldn’t have anything.  I have a hard time dealing in absolutes so it was very difficult not to want to slap her.  Also, I found her a bit self centered.  But that is to be expected considering she has always been allowed to do whatever she wanted growing up and the fact that she’s only 18.

This story was great.  It was packed with lots of violence, and magic was at play around every corner.  Everyone had some kind of magic that affected their role, and it kept surprising me what those roles were.  AE has a tendency to alter the way my mind thinks about what is expected of a protagonist in a story.  Usually leaving me meloncholy at the end of the story.  This one was no exception.

This story made me so angry.  I was upset at Grayson’s behavior towards the end.  I was angry at Maddox for leading her on then pushing her away.  I was upset that her love life was dictated by her role and not by personal preference.  Why does love have to be so complicated?

As per usual, this wasn’t just some average love story, it had a slew of twists and turns throughout along with a dash on intrigue as well.  Millia is a proficient killer and never hesitates to extract vengeance when needed.  Thats one of the things I loved most about her was her unwavering confidence that what she was doing was just.  She left a trail of broken hearts in her wake.  Although her blind acceptance of help from stangers was, at times, irritating, she was able to get out of most scrapes with little to no help, making her strong in substance but weak when it came to matters of the heart.  It was an interesting contrast.

Go forth and read ALL her books.

Curly Carla_small

Star Dust by Ali Winters

Synopsis:
28515382A case of mistaken identity triggers a reign of terror.

A Star Princess of Soleis, bound by tradition, is forced to fulfill an arrangement made prior to her birth. During the Tauri masque, Oriana meets a handsome stranger, but soon finds out he is not who she thought.

Prince Lucian, unfamiliar with the treaties of the Universe, must restore the reputation of his world and prove his kingdom is not behind the attacks.

No one knew an innocent mistake could lead to the destruction of the solar system. Worlds are conquered, lives torn apart, and destruction reigns, while Oriana, unknowingly, holds the key to salvation.

Now, a Princess who needs saving must save herself, the man she loves, as well as the rest of the Universe, before it is destroyed beyond repair.

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My Review:
3 stars — I received a free copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

This one just wasn’t quite my cup of tea.  I enjoyed the uniqueness of the setting and the world that Ms. Winters developed, but my bread and butter for stories is always characters, and I just wasn’t enthralled with either Oriana or Lucian.  I think I just tend to be more drawn to sassier heroines, and as such Oriana came across a bit drier to me…  It was like I was missing the sparkle from her personality…I wanted something more there.  Occasionally I did get glimpses of it, but just not enough to satisfy me (and mostly not til the end of the book).  I think I was stuck on the stupid detail of her age as well.  It wasn’t until the end of the book where the delightful solar system map is (LOVE those details btw, and the chapter titles?? GORGEOUS) that I discovered that Soleis is the closest planet to the sun (closer than Mercury), and so 100 Soleis years is significantly less days than I was expecting (b/c I was still thinking Earth years — and so I was wondering what she was doing with herself for 100 Earth years of time and not having learned anything about ruling and whatnot, or so it seemed). I mean, I knew it was her coming of age, so 18 year equivalent, but I guess I just thought they lived a lot longer, and…well, you know, I got confused and started wondering things that are kind of irrelevant now.  But it still does seem kind of crazy to me that she was that sheltered from all political life…but wait Lenore, does it?  Hmmm…brain won’t shut off.

And Lucian was hard for me to read…I don’t know if it was the mood I was in while reading, but occasionally he just came across somewhat jerk-ish, and so I just didn’t find myself falling in love with him.  Truthfully, of all the secondary characters, I was most intrigued by Erik.

I found the pacing to be a bit off for me as well.  I can’t tell if it’s a me thing or not, but it just didn’t feel like it was building to one big climax for a while there, and I was missing some tension or something.  It just felt like they were doing one thing, then the next, then the next, and I guess I wanted something…it sucks when you don’t know what makes books work for you, you just know when they’re not working for you, you know?  I’m so articulate today, you’re all welcome.

I also found that the hints given to the readers were too big sometimes (about her pendant for example), and so after a few hints I just kind of got frustrated…maybe it’d be different if the characters were noticing the hints too, but they were still oblivious.  I don’t know.  You know what, I don’t know what I’m saying anymore.

So yeah, TL;DR, most of this book just didn’t work for me.  I found the beginning with the ball to be a bit long, I reached the first bit of action and was actually REALLY drawn in (almost cried and everything, there was a lot of emotion in that part and it was really effective), then I lost my verve for the story for quite a while, and then it ramped up again at the end with the climax.  Sorry for all the rambling.  I tend to do that when I don’t enjoy something that I was expecting to, like I’m justifying my thoughts to myself.  *rolls eyes*  Do I have a complex much?  😛

EDITED TO ADD: after talking to my husband, I want to emphasize that this is NOT a sci-fi novel.  I think my brain had a hard time wrapping around that since it’s set on other planets and stuff, but then I had a hard time suspending my disbelief b/c there were so many things that couldn’t happen b/c of science, you know? (like you just can’t live on half the planets, some because they are made of GAS, and some b/c of being too close to the sun, etc).  So just think of this as a FANTASY novel and NOT sci-fi, and it might work better for you.

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Ride the Wind by Starla Huchton

Synopsis:
25417530Once upon a time, I made a promise to a stranger. Though I’d never seen her face, I cared for her above all others.

Once upon a time, I broke my vow. In trying to save the one I loved, I condemned her to a cursed life and stripped her of all freedom in a single, misguided step.

Once upon a time, I set out on a journey. Though it might never earn me forgiveness, I would set her free or die trying.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25417530-ride-the-wind
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1kAsf6A

My Review:
4.5 stars — Well that was utterly enchanting. Oh, and before I go on, I received an ARC from the author for me to review!

I have to admit some truths before I begin:

Truth #1 — while the concept of the Flipped Fairy Tales that Ms. Huchton writes have had me completely intrigued since I met her at UtopYa this year, this is in fact my first book by this author. And it won’t be my last.

Truth #2 — I know NOTHING about the original fairy tale this book is based off of. About halfway through the book I became curious, and started to look it up, but I didn’t want to ruin the story for myself, so I held off.

Truth #3 — this book is so totally out of my wheelhouse, that I’m actually surprised by my thorough enjoyment. What do I mean? I’m a modern setting/writing kind of girl. I tend to steer clear of historical books and high fantasy, and I prefer…I don’t know how to describe it…. I just can get a bit lost and lose interest when the manner of speech and voice is more formal? maybe? I just end up sticking with contemporary settings, or if they’re futuristic settings, then more casual or “normal”. I’m probably bumbling this up, but please tell me you know what I’m talking about? So this book was a little bit outside of the norm for me. I think it’s that usually I find it really hard to relate to the characters if I can’t imagine myself in the story. So I’m desperately trying to figure out what made this story stand apart for me. B/C I couldn’t really see myself in the story, but I was epically immersed all the same.

I think my enchantment starts with the unique and captivating plot. I was telling my husband about the story and mentioned that it was a bit more fantasy like. But one thing that stands apart is that the hero doesn’t have magical powers and this destiny to be a great hero. He’s just a boy who holds strong convictions, has a beautiful heart, and suffers for the mistakes he makes. So he’s kind of an everyman in some ways. He’s so easy to empathize with, and you’re given ample opportunity to get to know him in the first half of the book. And in that way you’re invested in him as a character and so you root for him through the second half of the book. And I just realized I started this paragraph talking about plot and have somehow devolved into talking about my favourite part of a book — characters. (Oops.) It’s not that Lukas is without flaws. But he’s endearing all the same. And the same goes for the Elk and Erata — flawed characters, but with enough heart to make us love them. And it’s not just the main characters that stand out. Lukas meets so many people along his journey, and they all had their own unique voice.

The world building in this story was also strong — we traveled to so many different places, and I could imagine each one. I even feel like I spotted the setting (and a character) for the next Flipped Fairy Tale, so I’m anxious to learn if I’m right about that.

I have but one complaint — and it’s really more about my personal taste than anything. I could have used a smidge more in the romance department. What can I say, I’m a diehard romantic — and I just felt more in the friendship chemistry department than in the romance one….either that or I just wanted MORE. But maybe it wouldn’t have fit in with the story, what do I know?

This was a solid YA adventure. If you’re a fan of fairy tales AT ALL, I definitely recommend this read….you won’t be disappointed, and if you’re like me, you’ll be looking to read the rest in the series to devour a bit more magical awesomeness.

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Wolves of the Northern Rift by Jon Messenger (Magic & Machinery #1)

wolves of the northern riftSynopsis: Magic is an abomination. It spread from the Rift, a great chasm hundreds of miles long that nearly split the southern continent in two. The Rift was a portal, a gateway between their world of science and the mythological world of magic.

On the northern continent of Ocker, King Godwin declared that no magical monstrosity would be allowed within their borders. The Royal Inquisitors were formed to investigate reports of mystical occurrences and, should they be found, to destroy them.

Inquisitor Simon Whitlock knows his responsibilities all too well. Along with the apothecary, Luthor Strong, they’ve spent two years inquiring into such reports of magical abominations, though they’ve discovered far more charlatans than true magical creatures. When assigned to investigate Haversham and its reports of werewolves, Simon remains unconvinced that the rumors are true. What he discovers in the frozen little hamlet is that the werewolves are far more real than he believed; yet they’re hardly the most dangerous monster in the city.

Get it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/20okpy0

This book is FREE!!!!

Add it to your TBR list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23119473-wolves-of-the-northern-rift

4 stars

This book is free! It’s a steampunk/fantasy book. It’s different than other steampunks because I don’t recall them having magic in them as well. The pace of this book started out slow for me. It was entertaining but it was a little hard to get into. It was very formal and the characters were very proper to me but I think that’s what it was supposed to be. About halfway through the story started to pick up a little more.  The story was well written but for some reason I couldn’t get in to it. It didn’t have enough action and intrigue in it for me. I will say that the dialogue in this book was great.  The manner of speaking was kinda funny at times because it was like insults masked with proper speaking.

Some of the character quirks were amusing as well.  The way that Simon always had his top hat canted to the side was a clear indication of his minor buck to conformity. He was a bit like Sherlock Holmes in his manner and deductions.

Luther, the apothecary, had a deliberate subtleness to his character. He was working hard in the background, allowing others to think he was less knowledgeable.  The author had me fooled in the beginning with Luther.  Kudos to him for that.

The big bad was written well because I had no idea he was going to be so monstrous in the end.  And the way the author described magic was very original.  His grasp of world building and descriptive writing is firm.  There was nice give and take with the action, the ups and downs gave me a real sense of the difficulty of their plot.  All in all, I enjoyed this read.  It’s outside of my normal genre’s and I’m glad I read it.

Favorite quotes:

“Nothing personal, but I’m not overly concerned about her physical well-being at the moment.  I’m far more concerned with your physical well-being.  Bleeding or not, if she comes around while you’re treating her wounds, nothing will stop her from reverting to her previous murderous intent, which, in case I need to remind you, was trying to eat your face.”

“Then it’s settled. We’ll leave tonight, collect Mr. Orrick, send the telegram, steal a flamethrower, create an aerosolized version of your concoction, and free the werewolves.” Simon sighed.  “We have a busy night ahead of us.”

Curly Carla_small