Review: The Enchanted Swans by Christy Nichols

EnchantedSwans

Net Galley – March 7, 2017                                      ebook, 282 pages

Published March 8th 2017 by Tirgearr Publishing    ASIN:  B01N9VB6PZ

Rating: 3-1/2*

In pre-Celtic Ireland, Fionnuala, a fae princess, born in a loving household to a kind king and his beloved queen was born to a life of luxury.   She knew her duty loving her family and adoring her parents.  Unfortunately, at the age of ten, her mother struggled and died in childbirth leaving Fionnuala, her brother Aed, and now, newborn twin brothers to care for.  Fionnuala’s father was completely devastated and withdrew from all who cared for him including his children.  He went from completely withdrawn to bouts of rage over losing his beloved wife.

Fionnuala was worried about her father but was strong having promised her mother to care for her brothers.  Eventually the high king issued a proclamation that her father would have to choose a bride from one of two step-daughters of the king.   Not only that but the daughter who was not chosen by her father would be wed to the young man Fionnuala had set her sights on.

Not only were Fionnuala’s dreams ripped from her by these proclamations but the woman to whom her father married turned into a vicious viper and threw a curse upon Fionnuala and her brothers -– turning them all into swans.  Their stepmother was caught and would not cancel out the curse but for another time penance of 600 more years, she would allow them to speak in their normal voices.

The story then follows the swans lives over the next 900 years, through all their ups and downs, learning to live as swans along with the royal retainers who lived near their watery home in order to care for them and keep them safe.    Naturally, the story covered so many issues of trying to live within the confines of each body of water they were attached to.  The writing was very good although some of the names and terms used slowed down the pace as I tried to pronounce the words in my head the story was interesting.   THE ENCHANTED SWANS was original, but after all the trials and tribulations they lived through for 900 years the ending was a terrible let down.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Bound Together by Christine Feehan

BoundTogether

(Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart #6)

Net Galley  – March 21, 2017 Mass Market Paperback, 1st edition

Publication: March 21st 2017 by Jove ISBN13: 9780399583933

Series:  Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart #6 Rating: 5*

Viktor Prakenskii has for the last five years put his life and love on hold in order to take down one of the most feared motorcycle club from the inside.  Along with wanting to take down the seemingly untouchable head of the organization Viktor wanted desperately to stop the exploitation of innocent children who were being sold into lives of perversion and shame.   But most of all Viktor wanted to reclaim his wife, Blythe Daniels whom he had left behind after he’d murdered her stepfather.

***  First of all, I have to say how sad I am that this is the last book of this remarkable series of the Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart.  To say this was remarkable is almost an understatement, but I personally will definitely miss all the wonderful characters whom I’ve come to love.

Blythe hadn’t heard a word from Viktor in five years and had never even informed her sisters of the quickie marriage she and Viktor had embarked on all those years ago.   When he showed up in Sea Haven after no word in all that time Blythe was full of emotions and least of all was the physical response he invoked just by being in the same vicinity as she.

With Viktor came his ‘family’ a group of damaged souls whom Viktor had grown up with and protected as best he could.  This group were all ready to kill and die for Viktor and would not and by and see him hurt – by anyone.   As far as Viktor was concerned, Blythe was the key to both his and his ‘family’s’ future.  Viktor know that with Blythe’s gifts of healing and compassion she would be able to help him and his family heal from years of hellish abuse.

Bottom Line:   With fantastic writing and super strong characters, BOUND TOGETHER, is the cherry on the top of this amazing series.   I only hope that Ms. Feehan finds it in her heart to do another series similar to this and focus on Viktor’s other ‘family’ of misfits and how they go on with their lives.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Beloved Beast by Karyn Gerrard

beloved-beast

Series: Ravenswood Chronicles   Book 2 of 2      Paperback: 196 pages

Publisher: Lyrical Press (February 28, 2017)        ISBN-13: 978-1601836625 Rating: 5*

I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked up BELOVED BEAST by Karen Gerrard, based on the title, but having read this author before I figured it would be good.  I wasn’t wrong and luckily for me … good turned into GREAT!

In the early 1800’s a very debauched Viscount Ravenswood lost his life, only to be revived  some time later as a new man with a new name and yearning for love.  Only now the once handsome man was horribly scarred with a monster like visage.  He married a woman he fell deeply in love with and they lived a quiet life together blissfully happy for 37 years before he lost her.   Luke knew that you didn’t get second chances on meeting your soul-mate more than once in a lifetime.  One other fact was for some unknown reason, Luke was not aging and still looked like a young man while friends aged out and died.   Watching the people you cared for age and die was a penance he was finding difficult to bear.

Now as a spy Luke was being asked to assist a young woman, Gillian Brown, whose spying activities in pre-war Germany had been discovered making her a target.  Luke found himself caring for her more than he should and recognized that she was finding him equally fascinating.   But knowing his own reality could he put his heart on the line and love again?  But first, he had to get Gillian out of the country and safe from the clever assassin whose job it was to silence her forever.

Bottom line:  Extremely fast paced, interesting and original plotting.   I truly enjoyed every page of this lovely spy thriller…   Highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Lady of Silver by Shona Husk

ladyofsilver

Publisher: Lyrical Press (February 21, 2017) ASIN: B01G0GBDTO

Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services Rating:  4*

Detective Dale Morgan is really up against it.  He’s got a murdered young woman found on the city’s outskirts with her blood drained.  He honestly believes she was murdered by a fanatic in town that is the leader of cult of vampire wannabe’s.  Only the killer is extremely efficient and leaves absolutely no clues at all.  Now Dale has his reasons for not believing in psychics and the woo-woo types of folks who peddle and con the public but he also knows that he has to try to find some/ any leads he can by going to interrogate one of the psychics that has given the police assistance in the past.

To humans, Saba Venn is a psychic, but she’s Albah, a race long forgotten by humans but who live amongst them, her powers fueled by blood and silver.  She agrees to help Detective Morgan, if it means stopping the vampire cult she believes is behind the killing. But the attraction she feels with Dale is immediate, and as their relationship intensifies she begins to doubt she can keep the secret of who and what she is from him.

*** Very interesting take on another type of Vampire world of humans and other worldly beings.   Saba is very unique – quite beautiful and naturally Detective Morgan in spite of his skepticism of thinking psychics are merely con artists, he can’t deny the feelings Saba has brought forth.   He realizes his mistake soon after she proves to him she could glean facts from just a small sample of the victims blood.   Unfortunately, in realizing Saba was the real deal, Dale had broken a small protective barrier she had and now the killer knew who she was and would be able to find her.

This was an overall short and fast read that can be read in one sitting.  I find that when the writing is succinct with a lots of  action the pages fly by, especially when each chapter kind of leaves you at the edge of a cliff and you just MUST see what happens next.   The world building was interesting, and the story held enough interest to keep you reading it straight through!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Wanted by Betsy Schow

wanted

Rexi Hood has a problem. As the perpetual sidekick in the fairy tales, she’s destined to be Forgotten. Her name will be wiped away and no one in Story will remember her. Rexi is determined to be more than a sidekick, however. She’s the daughter of Robin Hood and an outlaw. All it will take is a devious plan- and a whole lot of luck- but maybe Rexi can avoid being Forgotten.

WANTED is the second book in the Spelled series and I highly recommend reading SPELLED first. The events in WANTED strongly depend on the reader understanding the ongoing story threads as well as the character development already established. In fact, I wish Betsy Schow would have given us a short recap of the past events as it took me a while to reorient myself to the intriguing world she has crafted.

I really wanted to like Rexi as her underdog role appeals to me. I cheered her desire to become the hero of her own story, rather than disappearing from all memory as a forgotten sidekick. Unfortunately, WANTED seemed overly convoluted at times as the story twisted and turned, and then twisted and turned yet again. To further confuse things, Rexi’s own identity becomes dangerously entwined with Dorothea’s and it became difficult to distinguish what in the world was going on.

I finished WANTED with mixed feelings. The ending, although somewhat abrupt and unexpected, leaves me hopeful about the third book in the Spelled series. There are elements of WANTED that reminded me of the magic in SPELLED that first enchanted me and I’m hopeful Betsy Schow can rekindle those aspects in the third book.

Review: Power Game by Christine Feehan

powergame

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 464 pages

Publication: January 24th 2017 by Berkley

ASIN: B01KGZVSZO           Rating 5*

Once more I was completely mesmerized by this latest book in Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalker series.  POWER GAME is the 13th book in this series and every bit as memorable as the very first book I read.  For those not familiar with the series the Ghostwalkers are members of an elite classified government experiment. The Ghostwalker experiment is run by a medical genetic genius, Dr. Peter Whitney whose methods leave much to be desired as he enhances the psychic abilities of an elite squadron, transforming their natural telekinetic powers into unique military weapons.

In this tome,  Ms Feehan focused on Captain Ezekiel Fortunes who is called on to save some hostages that have been taken prisoner by radical terrorists. Not a difficult rescue like the many they had participated in before.  The difference is that this rescue is a trap – a  set-up for capture or to be killed.

Another of Dr. Peter Whitney’s super soldiers was Bellisia, who had been out on assignment and learned that one of the Ghostwalker teams (later discovering it was Ezekiel’s team) was being set up she managed to escape her handlers and made her way to New Orleans and the Louisiana Bayou to first find out if they were loyal to Whitney; and if not, she would warn them of the plot against them.  What surprised both Ezekiel and Bellisia was the physical attraction that was undeniable and something they would have to deal with as many of the other Ghostwalkers had been genetically matched to one another.

As a matter of course, there are plenty of adventuresome scenes of fighting and eluding people who were out to harm the Ghostwalkers and the women and babies that were hidden in the bayou.   Naturally, the triplets of Wyatt and Pepper were described beautifully leaving the reader wanting to scoop them up in your arms and hug them tight – absolutely adorable.  The sensualness of Ezekiel and Bellisima was hot and steamy. And most of all the pace was quite swift in that I couldn’t put this book down and read it in one sitting!   AWESOME – AWESOME – AWESOME!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: An Import of Intrigue by Marshall Ryan Maresca

animportofintrigue

A murder has been committed, but the clues seem to be more red herrings than helpful. Inspector Third Class in the Constabulary, Satrine Rainey, and her partner, Inspector Minox Welling, will have to sort through the various cultural differences to determine who the murderer is. Meanwhile, Minox is struggling with his uncircled mage abilities and may be more hindrance than help. Can Satrine and Minox uncover the real murderer before the tensions in the Little East neighborhood explode past their breaking point?

AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE is the second book in The Maradaine Constabulary series and is probably best appreciated in the context of the series. Marshall Ryan Maresca now has several books set in this fantasy world as there is another series, Maradaine, with yet a third series soon to launch.  Each book adds another element to the overall world building and so far I’ve enjoyed them all.  I have to admit that The Maradaine Constabulary series is my favorite of the two series as I love the detective aspect.

Marshall Ryan Maresca takes AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE in an interesting direction. We’ve had glimpses of the various cultures that inhabit his fantasy world but AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE gives us a hard and close look at the differences and tensions steaming under the surface.  The plot is a timely one, considering today’s current political tensions, and I like how Marshall Ryan Maresca doesn’t sugarcoat the prejudices and ignorance that can exist.

Minox is my favorite character out of all of Marshall Ryan Maresca’s books to date. Minox struggles quite a bit in AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE as his powers, coupled with his family’s history of mental health issues (although they aren’t identified as such in this fantasy world) are starting to become problematic for him. I’m curious to see how Marshall Ryan Maresca is going to continue to develop this plot, especially considering some of the revelations we learn.

And Satrine… if you ever wondered how Satrine had the skills and grit to enter the Constabulary the way she did, AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE will answer those questions. I love the glimpses we get into Satrine’s past although I now have many more questions as well.

Marshall Ryan Maresca continues to impress me with each new book. I’ve fallen in love with the world of Maradaine and I look forward to seeing what we’ll learn from the new series. Highly recommended!

Review: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Promise of Fire

Publication Date: August 2, 2016       *     Published  by Sourcebooks Casablanca

ISBN13: 9781492626015           *         Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1

Rating: 5*

Catalia “Cat” Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant / soothsayer known as the Kingmaker. Smart-mouthed Cat has no interest in her powers and would much rather keep herself under the radar, far away from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her with a magical rope even she can’t escape from,  she may not have a choice…

Griffin is determined to bring peace and prosperity to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. Discovering that Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn.  Griffin has put up a lot along the trail from Cat’s insults and punches and has treated her as kindly as possible.  Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly even as it appears he’s falling in love with the little wildcat!

Through out the entire book I was totally immersed in the story and was thrilled with each nugget of Cat’s magical abilities as they came out.   However right up until the last, the secret of who Cat truly is was never revealed. Other than the horrendous childhood Cat had endured from her maniacal insane mother and the fact that Poseidon was her father, who and what Cat truly is was never revealed.  [A really good teaser because you know I have to get future books to discover the secret!]

Not that following this series is going to be anything but a pleasure based on the writing, the characters, and the fast pace. I can definitely say this was an awesome first book in the Promise of Fire; Kingmaker Chronicles  and I can’t wait to read more of this wonderful series.

Bottom line:   A great start to what appears will be a captivating new series!  Highly, highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau