A Promise of Fire

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

4.5 stars!

“People talk about fight or flight? That’s nonsense. It’s fight and flight.”

I love fantasy romance, it always delivers such fun!

A Promise of Fire is a mythological fantasy romance about a woman who can detect lies, among other abilities. This makes Cat very valuable to the rulers of the world who want to use her for their own gain. When the brother of a Queen recognizes Cat as a Kingmaker, he and his warriors capture her to bring her to their Queen.

Griffin wants to use Cat for peace, but a lifetime of hardship has Cat convinced that is not possible. It’s up to Griffin to sway her.

“Now that that’s settled, you’re coming with me.”

“Never in a billion suns. Not even if Zeus showed up as a swan and tried to peck me in your direction. I wouldn’t go with you even if my other option was Hades dragging me to the Underworld for an eternal threesome with Persephone.”

After seeing this book on lots of Best of 2016 lists, I wanted to give it a shot. I’m glad I did because it was a fun and wild read. Lots of reviews have noted Cat as annoying, and I can see where people would think that, but to me she was feisty and fierce. Could she have made better decisions? Yes. But her life circumstances never really taught her the “right” way to live, she had to learn on her own.

Griffin….. oh my Griffin

I love a romance where the man has to convince the girl to love him. His courtship of Cat was fun, and it was frustrating at times, but he never wavered.

I loved the mix of mythology and fantasy, the mystery behind who Cat really was, the relationship of Cat with the warriors and the royals. Basically I really enjoyed this book. So much so, I ran to my local Barnes and Noble to pick up the next book before I was even done reading!!!

“I conquered a kingdom and found a treasure.” His voice turns gravelly, low. “I won’t let you go. Not now. Not ever.”

The Bird and the Sword

The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

4.5 stars!

“Swallow Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ’til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ’til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, daughter. Stay alive.”

Amy Harmon just has this way with words, she infuses beauty into them. She takes words and gives them substance, she makes them pretty.

The Bird and the Sword is a high fantasy novel following a young woman named Lark. When she was a child her mother died to protect her, taking the fall for an ability Lark has so that Lark would not be killed. Now grown, Lark has not spoken since the day her mother died and she is heavily protected by her father. When King Tiras comes and takes Lark as collateral, Lark is swept away to a new place, one where she learns more than she ever could before.

Words are her power, and the knowledge of words was kept from her until now. And Tiras becomes aware of Lark’s power and needs it to help save everyone’s lives. But can Lark save Tiras from his own curse?

“You glow, Lark.” His hand climbed back up again and swept over my unbound hair. I swallowed, suddenly close to tears. Then why does no one see me? “I see you,” he said.”

I loved this book. Plain and simple. Harmon’s work can be a hit or a miss for me, before this book it was about a 50/50 split on the 4 books I had already read. I am a huge fantasy fan so despite my reservations I was intrigued. On top of that so many people have recommended this book and I basically waved them off, putting it off even longer.

As of late I have have trouble finding a romance novel that is worth my time, that doesn’t sound like everything else out there. THIS is that book, the one that is so uniquely special it blows all other books out of the water. Harmon’s magical writing style, not once did I skim, not once did I want to put the book down and I stayed up until 2 am finishing this novel. For a woman who normally writes contemporary, she nailed the world building required for a high fantasy novel. The imagery was stunning, I felt as if I was in this world myself.

So if you are hesitant to read this book for any reason, I say let your reservations go and try it anyway. That’s what I did, and it worked out wonderfully for me.

“I think I will keep you.”

Devil in Winter

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

4 stars!

“Mysteries of attraction could not always be explained through logic. Sometimes the fractures in two separate souls became the very hinges that held them together.”

Devil in Winter is probably the most hyped historical romance novel I’ve ever come across, and while I really enjoyed it, I didn’t love LOVE it like everyone else did.

This is the story of Evie the wallflower, cursed with a stutter she has spent much of her life on the side. Once her home situation becomes life threatening she approaches Sebastian St. Vincent with a proposition: marriage. St. Vincent needs money and Evie needs a way out and the two run off in the night and elope. Sebastian realizes quickly that he desires Evie very much, but with his reputation Evie won’t do more past the consummation of the marriage. So they make a deal, if he can go celibate for three months, Evie will succumb to him.

“It’s impossible,” he snapped.

“Why?”

“Because I’m Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. I can’t be celibate. Everyone knows that.”

I think this is one of the best historical romances I’ve read, but as I said before I didn’t love it quite like everyone else. It had too much instalove for me and Sebastian’s sudden interest in only Evie didn’t really convince me, I wish I had seen him getting to know her more along the way. Basically more character development between the two main characters.

Positives were I couldn’t put this book down, from the very first page I needed to read it straight through. I also thought it was interesting that Kleypas placed this book primarily in a gentleman’s club instead of all the English estates and manors we have become accustomed to in this genre. I can tell Kleypas did her homework and I found the setting just as interesting as the plot.

I was able to read this without having read the first two books and while there were moments were it took me a moment to put everything together this book can be read as a standalone. I am definitely intrigued by the other characters and want to check out their stories asap!

“I want to fill every part of you, breathe the air from your lungs and leave my handprints on your soul. I want to give you more pleasure than you can bear.”

The One Real Thing

The One Real Thing by Samantha Young

4 stars!

A great start to a promising new series!

Samantha Young is one of my all time favorite authors, it’s rare when she delivers a book I don’t enjoy. While this book is definitely a change of pace compared to her past books, I enjoyed it all the same.

Jessica Huntington is a doctor for a woman’s correctional facility where she finds a few letters that are forty years old who never reached their intended recipient. Her vacation time is coming up soon, so she decides to spend it at Hart’s Boardwalk so she can return the letters in person. Upon arriving she meets bar owner Cooper Lawson, and there is an immediate attraction between them. Both have pasts that make them hesitant to begin a new relationship, but they both feel a strong pull. It’s just a matter of both of them overcoming their pasts to make this work.

I think this book shows what a wonderful writer Samantha Young is, everything was very refined and worded beautifully, and her attention to detail was amazing. Yes, the beginning is slow like other reviewers have mentioned, but to me that’s only if you are expecting romance right away. This is a slow burn novel but you don’t have to wait until the very end for results. I also feel that much of this novel was set up for the entire series, and Young needed to set the stage for her readers.

Cooper and Jessica were very sweet together, but I found myself more interested in the side characters at certain parts and found there was a little bit too much drama between the two of them. Yes they both had past issues, but I kind of expected them to work them out a bit smoother since they were in their thirties and not their twenties. I really want to know more about Bailey, Tremaine, Emery and Cat! All fantastic side characters with a lot of depth to them.

Overall I think we can come to expect great things from this series, I know I am very excited for the next book because I am already half in love with those characters.

ARC was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Roman Crazy

Roman Crazy by Nina Bocci and Alice Clayton

4 Roman stars!

“It wasn’t love or lust, but something we both recognized as a possibility of something.”

Leaving behind a painful divorce in the states, Avery heads to Rome to forget her problems and spend time relaxing with her best friend. On her first night there she’s shocked to run into someone from her past at a welcome dinner thrown for her. Marcello was a man Avery was involved with when studying abroad in Spain, a man she was never able to forget. But Marcello doesn’t seem very happy to see her, and Avery finds old feelings beginning to surface the more times she spends with him.

“Tell me what happened nine years ago, when you left to go back home and forgot all about Barcelona. And me.”

I’m a long time fan of Alice Clayton and I love new authors so I was beyond excited to read this new book with her and Nina Bocci. Icing on top of the cake? Second chance romance is my favorite of the romantic genres. Bocci and Clayton even one upped this by making it a second chance travel romance which I love even more!

Reading this book I felt like I was transported to Rome, a city I love. I feel the authors nailed the feel of the city and the country of Italy, describing perfectly the scenery and the culture. The food descriptions also made me incredibly hungry, so don’t go into this book with an empty stomach!

This book was so much more than a romance, it was a woman’s journey to find herself after many years of being lost. As much as I loved the romance with Avery and Marcello, I equally loved seeing Avery’s personal growth and her struggles with who she wanted to be after so many years of pushing her true self aside for others. Many women, single, married or divorced can relate to and empathize with Avery’s search for herself.

This book will make you want to fly to Italy and find your own Italian soulmate! I can’t wait to read more from both of these authors, together and separate, in the future.

“For the first time in a very long time, I felt treasured.”

ARC provided by authors in exchange for an honest review

The Forgotten Mountain

The Forgotten Mountain by Heather Lyons

4.5 stars!

“Madness—that old, dear friend of mine—has come home for a visit. And I welcome its return with open arms.”

In this third installment in The Collector’s Society series, Alice of Wonderland must act fast in order to save those closest to her. Things become more dangerous as the members of the society uncover more truths, and unexpected information comes forth about those who have acted against them and seek to do more harm.

It’s up to Alice and her people to find more answers and to save timelines in danger of being destroyed. Though the odds are against them, the fight has become personal and Alice will stop at nothing to keep those she cares about safe and unharmed.

“To follow blindly is to yield possession of your own compass.”

This is such a special and creative series, I cannot think of anything else out there like it! I love Lyon’s interpretations of characters and stories from classic novels that we are already familiar with. I love the idea that characters have a hidden story outside that which we see, a very unique retelling/new creation.

In this book we got lots more answers as to who was deleting the timelines and how, now we just need the why. Whenever I read this series I always find myself wanting to run off and read or reread classic stories mentioned within. My favorite character is Grimsdyke the spider; if he wasn’t a spider I would hug the crap out of that little creature. If only we could all have a cool spider assassin to keep us company wherever we went.

Action packed and thrilling from the very first page, this is a series you cannot miss out on! The ending was crazy! I cannot wait to read the next book.

“If this isn’t a fairy tale, then I don’t know what else to call it.”

Copy of the book was provided by author in exchange for an honest review

TCSbutton copy

 

THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY SERIES BY HEATHER LYONS

 

✿ THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY (The Collectors’ Society, #1)

 

From the author of the Fate series and The Deep End of the Sea comes a fantastical romantic adventure that has Alice tumbling down the strangest rabbit hole yet.

 

After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life. An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though. Soon, shes whisked to New York and initiated into the CollectorsSociety, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.

 

Its there she discovers villains are afootones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings. Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the CollectorsSociety race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?

 

* This is the first book in the adult romance/fairy tale Collectors’ Society series.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/CollectorsSocietyUS

Amazon UK:  http://bit.ly/CollectorsSocietyUK

iBooks:  http://bit.ly/CollectorsSocietyIBOOKS

Kobo: http://bit.ly/CollectorsSociety1KOBO

B&N: http://bit.ly/CollectorsSocietyNOOK

 

✿ THE HIDDEN LIBRARY (The Collectors’ Society, #2)

 

Sometimes, the rabbit hole is deeper than expected . . .

 

Alice Reeve and Finn Van Brunt have tumbled into a life of secrets. Some secrets they share, such as their employment by the clandestine organization known as The CollectorsSociety. Other secrets they carry within them, fighting to keep buried the things that could change everything they think they know.

 

On the hunt for an elusive villain who is hell-bent on destroying legacies, Alice, Finn, and the rest of the Society are desperate to unravel the mysteries surrounding them. But the farther they spiral down this rabbit hole, the deeper they fall into secrets that will test their loyalties and pit them against enemies both new and old.

 

Secrets, they come to find, can reveal the deadliest of truths.

 

* This is the second book in the adult romance/fairy tale Collectors’ Society series.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/HiddenLibraryUS

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/HiddenLibraryUK

iBooks: http://bit.ly/HiddenLibraryIBOOKS

Kobo: http://bit.ly/HiddenLibraryKOBO

B&N: http://bit.ly/HiddenLibraryNOOK

 

✿  THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN (The Collectors’ Society, #3)

 

After years spent in Wonderland, Alice Reeve learned the impossible was quite possible after all. She thought she left such fantastical realities behind when she finally returned to England.

 

Now Alice has become a member of the clandestine CollectorsSociety, and the impossible has found her again in the form of an elusive villain set on erasing entire worlds. As she and the rest of the Society race to bring this mysterious murderer to justice, the fight becomes painfully personal.

 

Lives are being lost. Loved ones are shattered or irrevocably altered. Each step closer Alice gets to the shadowy man she hunts, the more secrets she unravels, only to reveal chilling truths. If she wants to win this war and save millions of lives, Alice must once more embrace the impossible and make the unimaginable, imaginable.

 

Sometimes, the rabbit hole leads to terrifying places.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/ForgottenMountainUS

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/ForgottenMountainUK

iBooks:

Kobo: http://bit.ly/ForgottenMountainKOBO

B&N: http://bit.ly/ForgottenMountainNOOK

 

✿  THE LOST CODEX (The Collectors’ Society, #4 / coming soon!)

 

Allies, once inseparable, splinter until they break apart.

An insidiousness carves its way through Wonderland, challenging the lands very existence.

Battle lines will be drawn as pages, long languishing in darkness, are finally illuminated.

Swords will clash, blood will be spilled, and lives will be lost.

For what is written can still be erased.
Buy Links coming soon!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather Lyons is known for writing epic, heartfelt love stories often with a fantastical twist. From Young Adult to New Adult to Adult novels—one commonality in all her books is the touching, and sometimes heart-wrenching, romance. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website: http://www.heatherlyons.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/heatherlyonsbooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_heatherlyons

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heatherlyonsbooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6552446.Heather_Lyons

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hymheather/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/29oQIt2

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/2Lkij

Midnight Soul

Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley

3.5-4 stars

“You don’t think you’re perfect but you are, Frannie. Every inch.”

Midnight Soul, the final book in the Fantasyland series, is the story of Franka and Noctorno Hawthorne. Noc, the parallel universe (our universe) of the Tor from book 3, has traveled from our modern world into the Fantasyland one. Franka has a dark past, known for being conniving she recently had been guilty of treason in an effort to save her lover. After helping out in the events at the end of book 4, Franka has redeemed herself of her crimes but not of her reputation. Noc sees through her hard facade for the woman she is beneath and the two begin a wonderful friendship.

Franka holds a secret past no one could have ever imagined, and once it comes to light her options have changed. Noc wants Franka to come with him to his world and Franka wishes for a new adventure. It’s just a matter of her overcoming her grief and of Noc convincing her to stay…

Misunderstood heroines are my favorite kind of heroines. Franka is a character who in the past had been introduced as a villain and has been unkind to other characters. I love that we got her side of the story, how she showed others what she wanted them to see and not who she really was. I loved that Noc saw through her act for who she was, even when no one else did. From the beginning he was a great hero, and the best part? He didn’t act like a dick in this book. Yippee!!

This book was definitely different from the other books in the series (which I recommend reading in order). It was almost a reversal with Franka discovering what we consider our world instead of being placed in the fantasy world as the previous 4 books are. I really loved the redemption of Franka, but I felt like Noc and Franka lost the focus of the story once that was over. Much of the story was about the other Circe and Dax, and even Valentine. I would have loved this book more if the focus has remained on the main couple and their love story rather than their involvement in the lives of others.

Fantasyland is hands down my favorite series by Kristen Ashley, I’ve never read anything like it. If you haven’t read this series, you need to!!!

“I love you.”
“Thank fuck.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

4.5 Cassiopeia stars!

So, do I really need to write my review? Because Shelbyalready wrote the perfect one and mine will basically be a reiteration of hers. And everyone else’s was amazing too. So I’ll try. Here I go.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is a book that not everyone will like but it totally worked for me. I don’t normally read new authors because I am an evil skeptic, but I took a chance on this one because I saw so many glowing reviews and I am so glad I did. Bryn Greenwood is stunning, her writing style breathtaking. I was completely riveted from the first page, this is a story that latches onto the mind and doesn’t let go.

This book is the story of Wavy and Kellen told from multiple point of views. I was impressed by all of the different voices and perspectives Greenwood was able to bring into this book and how they all viewed Wavy differently. It was fascinating watching Wavy’s trainwreck of a childhood, how her parents totally messed her up. But the bright light in her life was Kellen who loved her and took care of her.

Some people may be bothered by their relationship, it surprisingly didn’t bother me. Greenwood managed to execute it in a non-creepy way where I was rooting for this unconventional couple the entire time. I wish the end had had more of a conclusion, I was happy with getting the answers we needed but I wanted a little bit more. This is definitely a book and characters I won’t ever forget, not anytime soon.

ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review