Daughter of No One by Sam Ledel

I never read fantasy novels, I just am not interested in all the world building. I feel like the majority of the time you spend so much time of developing that aspect of the book that everything else can end up taking a backseat. As much as this is a fantasy novel, with the elves and the fae, what you also have is an old-fashioned adventure filled with mystery and a slow burn romance.

Jastyn Cipher and her mother were cast out of the village by the royal family. Jastyn’s mother had a child with a fae and therefore broke one the kingdom’s laws. After spending quite some time in shackles the mother and young child have been shunned by their community for decades. Jastyn despises the royal family. Unfortunately, Jastyn’s younger sister has fallen ill and nothing the Alchemist mixes will fix what she ails from. Going to the queen to beg for her healing powers is not something this young woman wants to do but at this point she has no other options.

Princess Aurelia Diarmaid wants more than anything to break out of the castle and experience the world outside of its protective walls. Her parents have kept the princess safe but have also clipped her wings and made her feel trapped and restless.

Our two main characters are a study in contrasts. Jastyn is considered less than a commoner. Her life has been filled with barely meeting basic needs has toughened her and made her a skilled outdoorswoman. Aurelia wants for nothing but as much privilege as she has something is missing.

The world building and fantastic elements are all there. Ledel makes them believable and paints you a picture as the story unfolds. Where I think the book really takes shape and leaps to the next level is the dynamic between our leading ladies. There is an excellent lesfic drama/romance unfolding between the two young women. Everything is stacked against them and that is obvious from their initial meeting. Attraction, longing gazes, a simple touch, it all begins to stoke the fires of a would be romance. You cannot help but love these two brave heroines who are thrust into chaos and an adventure. With Jastyn, I loved all that vulnerability and the crushing hopelessly on someone who is completely above your stature in society. It is just enough angst to keep you rooting for the impossible. With Princess Aurelia, you love that she is nothing like Jastyn thought her to be. Aurelia is capable, smart, compassionate and is absolutely fearless in the face of danger.

Sam Ledel has definitely set up an epic adventure of star-crossed lovers. This book one of a trilogy doesn’t leave you with a cliffhanger but you are definitely going to be left ready for the next book. The romance is just blossoming, they are not a couple this is one where we are going to have to work for it a bit. As a non-fantasy lover, I adored this book and am ready to read where Ledel takes us next. This book is quality writing, great pacing, and top-notch characters. You cannot go wrong with this one!

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Tinderbox Under Winter Stars (The Tinderbox Tales Book 2)

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to read more about the adventures of Elise and Nessa. I adore these two characters, not to mention you know when you pick up a book by Emma Sterner-Radley it going to be fantastic.

When we left these two amazing ladies at the end of Making a Tinderbox, they were on the move to escape the Queen of Arclid. Fleeing Nightport to head to the bitter colder climate if Storsund. They are hoping to go so out of the way that the Queen and hopefully, her spies cannot find them.

This book is full of adventure and you see and feel Nessa and Elise struggle to find their footing both in their new world. Sterner-Radley describes everything in such detail you can see the setting unfold before your very eyes. Everything is new, so different from what these two ladies have ever experienced. You feel their wonder and trepidation. I tend to pull away from books where there is a lot of world-building because often times the author forgoes the human interaction. Never fear Elise and Nessa’s relationship are still the forefront of this book.

Nessa and Elise are dynamic characters. They just find a way inside your heart. This book has it all, Adventure, intrigue and above all else a fabulous romance. This is one series I will treasure and look forward to Emma Sterner-Radley has in store next.

5 out of 5 stars

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Tread Lightly by Catherine Lane

Tread Lightly by Catherine Lane is an absolute delight. You have fairy godmothers, guardian angels, and a whole lot magical moments. Not only are these ladies fighting demons from another dimension but they also have to dance to the tune of self-absorbed millennials.

Claire is a fairy god-mother, who has been helping to create the greatest love stories. She helped Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Kate Middleton all find their perfect match just to name a few. Lately, it hasn’t been so easy, her charges aren’t as interested in their soulmate as past princesses. They have demands and want proof you say who you really are. They also want Jimmy Choos!

Claire becomes entangled with a guardian angel, Tamiel on a case that has a ton of red flags. First off the fairy godmothers are strictly prohibited for fraternizing any way with a guardian angel, who knew! Of course, this just adds to Tamiel’s intrigue. Together these two fight not only demons but alternative facts that both of their organizations have been peddling for centuries. It’s a grand adventure!

This book is light, it’s fun and features one bad ass wand. Yup, you heard it here, a wand! Who knew an inanimate object could steal the show, but it does. This novella was a little gem.

4 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylva-publishing.com

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Breaking Legacies by Zoe Reed

Breaking Legacies by Zoe Reed is phenomenal! It has everything you want and need all wrapped up in one glorious tale. This is easily, EASILY one of the best books I have read in 2016! The romance gives you the feels, the characters are strong dynamic women, it’s just so freaking good.

Kiena Thaon is a nineteen-year-old woman who is beyond skilled as a hunter and tracker. Her family is dirt poor, left to starve after her father was killed after being labeled a traitor to their king. While the family’s name has been ruined, Kiena has learned to provide by taking what she can from the forest. Her family would die if not for the provisions that she provides. Her skills have been honed out of the direst necessity. What is amazing about Kiena is her graciousness and selflessness. She is one of those characters that while her life has been so difficult, she never lets those hardships jade her. Her spirit captivates you as the reader. Think of her as a Katniss Everdeen type character. She takes the role as the hero, not because of machoness but because that role falls on her. You love her for her vulnerability as much as her strength.

Ava Gavestonis is the other main character in Breaking Legacies. When we first meet her she is a runaway princess that Kiena has been hired/forced to find. Her father, King Hazlitt wants her brought back to the castle immediately. Ava is nothing like the stereotypical princess Kienna thought her to be. Ava is witty, smart, compassionate and by no means Kienna’s sidekick. No, this woman matches her, they are so different but absolute equals. There are no little women in this book y’all! When Kienna realizes why Ava is running from her father, she must help her on her quest south. This is where a domino effect happens, and a revolution becomes their reality.

I think what really sets this book apart from so many others is how multilayered it is. Zoe Reed has given you a long detailed story. She never cut corners to save space. Seriously this book is way bigger than 99% of others in the genre. Reed takes her time and draws the characters out. Backstories are cleverly crafted, the scenes are set, and you feel the story as much as see it as you read. What I loved most of all, and I am talking really loved, is how the character’s chemistry between each other is just dynamite. It just jumps right off the page! You have sexiness, cuteness, agonizing loss and courage all rolled into one epic adventure. Just so damn good!

Breaking Legacies
by Zoe Reed
Link: http://a.co/iVF9dwu

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The Shewstone by Jane Fletcher

Patience is a virtue. This was told to me over and over as a child growing up. Let me tell you me younger self had no time for this. I had places to go, things to do an endless ball of energy. As I have gotten older my patience level has grown leaps and bounds. The Shewstone requires this virtue but I can tell you if you wait it is so very good.

Eawynn Achangrena is the daughter of a nobleman. They only limitation to that birthright is she happens to be his illegitimate daughter. Her father has ideas or grandiose, he wants to increase his standing in society so having a bastard daughter will not do. At the tender age of six, Eawynn is taken by her father to the Temple of Anberith to live and be raised by the priestesses, to become one later down the road. While Eawynn has all of her needs met, her life is dull and she is encompassed by a feeling of detachment and boredom. Her temple job is guarding the Shewstone, which basically means cleaning the room it is housed in all day.

Matt is a street kid, a runaway from a terrible abusive father. She lived on the streets stealing food to keep from starving to death. On day after being chased down in the streets she hides under a cart and breaks into a home. Eating all she can until she is caught red-handed by the home owner. Luckily for Matt, Edmund Fleming, takes her in and hones her natural skill, thievery.

The book can basically be put into two halves. The first is Matt infiltrating the Temple of Anberith, under a false identity to scope out the place and figure out the best course of action to steal the Stewstone. Of course Matt and Eawynn have terrific chemistry and feel pulled towards each other. Life however gets in the way of this romance, both have jobs to do and neither is in a place for any type of romantic encounter. Eawynn is Matt’s ticket to the Shewstone and she holds the very key she needs to unlock it from its gilded cage.

The second half of the book is more fantasy in nature and more of an action adventure.  While the romance is still there it definitely takes a back seat to the fantasy elements. Still very good but I found myself missing the character thoughts and relationship push/pull.

Overall, I loved this book. I was hooked on the plot and the characters are absolutely delightful. This is a really good book. Sometimes I felt it was a little slow but I was far from bored. I can promise you that you will love Eawynn and Matt.

4 out of 5 stars

ARC from Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books

The Shewstone
by Jane Fletcher
Link: https://amzn.com/B01FUM2XUC

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Beneath the Waves by Ali Vali

This is my second book by the author Ali Vali.  The first, The Devil Inside, didn’t really do much for me, so I have overlooked most of this author’s work. The reason I picked this book is the cover. I thought it was absolutely stunning and I was intrigued. I though the book was going to be about diving, and well it does have that aspect. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that the book would be about a kingdom of women running the lost city of Atlantis and their heir becoming involved in the Gulf Coast’s oil industry.

Kai Merlin is the heir to Atlantis kingdom. This empire is 100% women who guide Earth’s population in unsuspecting ways. Kai after graduating from the Academy, Kai chooses her mission, accompanied by to mega great white sharks, to go to the Gulf Coast to work and guide offshore drilling to become conscientious of the environment. She must also right a wrong that she did while she was a young girl that forever changed the lives of two human children.

Vivien Palmer is one of those children. When she was eight years old she witnessed a girl near her age emerge from the water, talk to her and her brother and then swim away right into a huge swarm of sharks. For years, Vivien has searched for clues as to who this girl could have been and if she survived the possible shark attack. Vivien is also the daughter to Palmer Oil, yup you guessed it, an offshore drilling company.

I was confused for most of this book. I didn’t really understand what was going on at times especially if it involved the Atlantis portion of this book. Kai’s people, to me, ran together. There a mothers, grandmothers, an all-seeing lover, and countless other random characters making up Atlantis. They became jumbled in my brain and I felt completely disconnected. The information that I took from their scenes was minimal, jumbled and more puzzling than anything. There were times when I literally checked my Kindle to make sure it wasn’t skipping pages. Nope it was in working order.

I give credit to Vali for creating a world so unlike any other. The premise was as great as the cover. It just didn’t translate well to me the reader.

2.5 out of 5 stars

ARC from Netgalley and BSB

Beneath the Waves
by Ali Vali
Link: https://amzn.com/B01E852Z5U

Broken Wings by L.-J. Baker

Broken Wings by L.-J. Baker is a fantastical tale involving fairies and dryads. As much as it is a fantasy and romance this book deals with some pretty hefty issues as well. Everything from life as an illegal immigrant, class differences, and especially abuse. All of these subjects are discussed in an interesting way that brings depth to our characters, and gives the story dimension.

The main character of the story is a fairy named Rye Woods. Rye works two sometimes three jobs as a laborer to pay the bills and to keep her teenage sister Holly enrolled in her nice private school. It is very difficult for Rye to make ends meet. Everything Rye has ever done is to protect and raise Holly. You see, Rye escaped from Fairyland as young adult woman, and as she escaped she took her kid sister with her. Rye fled after being forced to renounce being gay and facing harsh punishments and torture. Rye’s past has caused her to have very low self-esteem and she has a ton of internal baggage.

Flora With is a dryad (which apparently is tree nymph person, I had to Google this) who is well known for the artistic tapestries she creates. Flora has done well for herself financially and lives a luxurious lifestyle. Flora is immediately attracted to Rye, and pulls out all the stops to get Rye to notice her.

Rye and Flora jump into a sexual relationship very quick. This relationship is the first in many years for Rye and as amazing as it is, it brings up a lot of issues Rye struggles with. She doesn’t want to feel like she owes anyone anything. Even a simple gift of dinner out from Flora causes her to struggle.

While I loved the interactions between the characters the amount of struggle and communication issues became overwhelming to me. Rye while being very intelligent could be quite dense sometimes. Her lack of communication skills with both Flora and her sister became tedious sometimes.

Overall the story is well written and interesting. I enjoyed it being a very modern day tale but in a fantasy setting. I will say the last few chapters were very good and really sealed the book for me.

3.75 stars

Broken Wings
by L-J Baker
Link: http://amzn.com/B0046W6TLW