Book Reviews

Onyx & Ivory (Rime Chronicles #1) by Mindee Arnett

Onyx and IvoryTitle: Onyx & Ivory (Rime Chronicles #1)
Author: Mindee Arnett
Rating: ★★★★

I received this in the May 2018 FairyLoot box.

Traitor Kate

Kate Brighton, member of the Relay (aka Rime Postal Service), inherited her new name after her father took a go at assassinating the high king. Every day poses some troubles with nightdrakes on the prowl to devour any Relay members and their horses if they don’t make it behind castle walls on time. But Kate has a secret…she is a wilder: she can use magic to influence the minds of animals. However, if she is caught, the same beautiful magic could quickly lead to her death.

In moments like these, atop a horse and flying over the ground, she glimpsed her old life. She became Kate Brighton again. Daughter of Hale Brighton, master of horse to the high king. She was free. A girl with a future. Someone who mattered.

Things take a turn when Kate saves the life of Corwin Tormane (with the help of magic), the high king’s son and her former lover. Unbeknownst to the lie behind the secret weapon, Corwin invites Kate and her two closest friends to accompany him to Norgard in hopes that with their help (and the manufacturing of this new secret weapon), the people won’t have to live in fear of the drakes any longer.

The uror sign was a horse. One half of his body was inky black, the other white as ivory.

The sign of the uror was always equally half black and half white, and always would appear when it was time for an heir to be named king. Edwin and Corwin were tested for their “worthiness as heir”, bringing them to multiple decisions and tasks, many times making them re-hash not-so-pleasant moments of their lives.

What is Kate’s father’s secret? What led her father on his attempt to assassinate the king?What will Kate do with her secret power? Will she ever tell Corwin, and if she does, what will happen? Who will become the heir?

Was anyone else’s favorite Dal? He was funny, serious when needed, and always trying to brighten the mood. Then again, I tend to always like the supporting characters more than the protagonists.

The world is black and white and all the shades of gray in between

A war storm is brewing. Who will win? What devastation will come from this brawl? 

Besides for the opening scene (ugh! it almost made me cry…I used to ride horses) and infidelity (oh, how I hate thee), I really enjoyed this novel. Also, the cover is absolutely astonishing. 

MAY 2018 FAIRYLOOT

Book Reviews

Shadowsong (Wintersong, #2) by S. Jae-Jones

ShadowsongTitle: Shadowsong (Wintersong, #2)
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Rating: ★★★ 

Since I read Wintersong, I figured I must read Shadowsong.

Once there was a little girl, who played her music for a little boy in the wood. She was an innkeeper’s daughter and he was the Lord of Mischief, but neither were wholly what they seemed, for nothing is as simple as a fairy tale.

After deciding on life at the end of Wintersong, we come to find Liesl trying to figure out her purpose and how to live without the Goblin King in the conclusion of the duology.

The story begins when Liesl receives a mysterious letter from her brother living in Vienna. Finally figuring out that Josef is a changeling, his demeanor starts to change. Liesl’s relationship with Josef is changing, while her lack of closeness with the Goblin King is proving her inability to produce without inspiration. In order to bridge the gap between the worlds, Liesl is forced to find a way back into the Underground.

“Take me,” I whisper. “Take me back.” The green and gray of the Goblin King’s eyes flash white and blue, white and blue, the pupils shrinking to a pinprick of black. The corners of his lips curl, close-so close-to mine. As you wish, my dear. As you wish. A breath, a sigh, a kiss, and we are met.

By giving away his bride, the Goblin King has made himself less human. However, there are times when glimpses of Liesl’s austere man come out to play. 

It isn’t life that keeps the world turning; it is love.

Once in the Underground, Liesl is given a choice between saving her brother and the man/goblin she loves. Who will she choose? If she chooses her brother, what will happen to the Goblin King? If she chooses the Goblin King, will she ever see her brother again and how will their relationship change? Is there a way to save both?

Your music is a bridge. Play it, and we shall always be together. Play it, and I shall always remember. You. Life. What it means to love. For your music was the first and only thing in this world that kept me human, the first and last thing I give back to you.

The ending was predictable, but I wasn’t disappointed in it. It was, perhaps, the only part of the novel I actually enjoyed. To say I was disappointed by the novel as a whole, would be an understatement. There was just so much more potential to go a different direction with the second book…and I wish the author would’ve.

Personally, I have had a really hard time getting into this novel. And, unfortunately, I think it started a book slump with me :(. I found it extremely hard to get into, and after finishing, struggled to find the purpose of this novel. I felt that the series would pretty much be the same without it besides for the very end. I’m not really one for character growth in a novel and this specifically focuses on Liesl’s journey to find herself (talk about a bore! considering she changes who she is as a person). Perhaps S. Jae-Jones should’ve focused on how the Goblin King came to be? I mean, really, don’t people really just care about him?

 

Book Reviews

King’s War (The Kinsman Chronicles, #3) by Jill Williamson

King's War

Title: King’s War (The Kinsman Chronicles, #3)
Author: Jill Williamson
Rating: ★★★

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

To get a little background, please see my reviews of the first two books in the series: King’s Folly and King’s Blood.

 

THE RELUCTANT KING: PART 7

I had a hard time getting through this section. I’m starting to dislike some of the characters and not enjoy those chapters. Give me some action!

The new king is having a hard time getting the support of his subjects. Not being able to relate due to his priest upbringing, he is having trouble honing his fighting skills. Subject to the perception of his people, he experiences much disdain. Not only that, but he cannot seem to make the correct moves in order to appease the large masses. His wife, Mielle, does not seem to help with her discerning heart; she has accused the incorrect people of being in the wrong. 

Meanwhile, will an alliance between Jazlyn, Charlon, and King Barthel be made? Who is the “Deliverer” and who is the “Deceiver”? Are the prophecies wrong?

 

A DELIVERER COMES: PART 8

The war is looming and Trevn is preparing himself to ride into battle with his men, hoping to gain some respect at the same time.

Low and behold, more traitors are among us. Barthel is luring young Shanek to be in his alliance by hosting events where he can bring his crush and troublemaker, Amala. Captain Agoros and his wife are plotting to dethrone Trevn so their son, Oli, sworn to protect Trevn, can become the “rightful” king. Is Oli in on the plan or will he stay true to his word tot Trevn?

Islah, Rogedoth’s (aka Barthel) “dead” queen is not so dead. She is also known as Grayson’s grandmother. And she happens to have many secrets, secrets that may help the Armanians to take down Barthel.

Who can I not stand? Mielle. Honestly, she reminds me of Daenerys Targaryen, who most of you know I cannot stand from the books. If she would just do what is best for the Armanians and not try to rush into saving everyone else, half of these wars wouldn’t happen!

But, I can’t decide who I like more: Grayson or Oli. They are both so selfless and sweet, yet entirely misunderstood. I just want to hug them!

The two Rurekan kings who were poisoned are now healed. An assassination attack on the king. Someone almost committing suicide in order to better the Armanians. Two new people accepting Dominion of great shadirs. What’s next?

The readers are left with Mielle and Grayson being captured by Lady Mattenelle.

 

WARRIORS OF THE VEIL: PART 9

The “Deliverer” and the “Deceiver” bring us an all-out battle. But who will win?

A new realization has occurred: Shadir can be sentenced back to the Lowerworld.

Will Arman come to the rescue and save the Armanians from the wrath of Rogedoth and the shadirs?

Where does the end of the war lead us to?

Book Reviews

King’s Blood (The Kinsman Chronicles, #2) by Jill Williamson

King's BloodTitle: King’s Blood (The Kinsman Chronicles, #2)
Author: Jill Williamson
Rating: ★★★★

I received the ARC King’s War from NetGalley. It is the third book in the series, so I figure I probably need to read the first two, amirite?! Check out my review of King’s Folly

Every fall is an opportunity to stand.

We last find our beloved characters aboard ships taking them to the “new land” after facing Arman’s wrath.

KINGDOM AT SEA: PART 4

Charlon has taken the form of Lady Zeroah in an attempt to trick Wilek to help her bear the “Deliverer”. However, once Mielle asks Trevn to receive her necklace, the real Lady Zeroah is found. But is it too late for the Armanians? Has Charlon achieved her goal?

Meanwhile, Trevn and Mielle are cute as always. I really admire Trevn and his mission to understand the functions of the ship, to be just like you and me. And he is just so respectful of Mielle and it is so apparent how much he really adores her (heart eyes smiley).

Wilek is tasked with taking over authority as the King’s sickness worsens. But will this just put him in more danger?

Gentlemen, get your tuxes! Ladies, put on your dresses! A royal wedding is about to happen!

And then…the next chapter a sea monster attacks!

What will happen with Charlon? Is she pregnant? Will most of the ships make it to land before the serpents destroy them all? 

 

MAELSTROM: PART 5

Two royal weddings. Multiple births and more on the way. So much deception. And so many deaths.

Mreegan and the mantics now have the “Deliverer”. Traitors loom on all sides. With the death of one of the sârs and the king close to death, who will gain control? Five realms, one leader…a fight to be King.

Poor Hinck! He literally got the short end of the stick. Always doing things to help others, he is also punished worse and worse each time. Rogedoth is on his trail that he is a traitor and Wilek’s spy. What lengths will he go to in order to keep his secret? Will his family ever learn the truth? Will him and Pia (she is my favorite) ever be together?

Land ho! The chapter ends with both the Armanians’ and Rogedoth’s ships ready to step ashore this unknown land.

Where is Mielle? What will happen with the “Deliverer”? Did the ships land on the same island? Is war looming?

 

VOICES OF BLOOD: PART 6

Different is special. And being special is a blessing.

The “Deliverer” is growing at a rapid rate, his new strength and powers surging the older he gets. But with a adolescent body and a child’s brain, he doesn’t see the consequences of his immature actions. Will this lead to trouble down the road, or worse, death?

Trevn seeks to find his lost bride. Along the way, he encounters giants. But which side do the giants’ alliances lay?

Our beloved Wilek is declared king and announces his loyalties to one god, Arman. How will his people react: will they follow or choose to abandon his rule? And was his wife and baby poisoned? Who is behind all of this?

Charlon, “Mother”, gives free reign to Shanek, the “Deliverer”. But will this only hurt the outcome? Now that she is Chieftess, what trouble lays ahead for her?

Originally, I was going to give this novel only three stars, however, the last two chapters changed my mind completely. Williamson pulled a George R. R. Martin on me. I didn’t even realize I liked this character that much until she ripped out my heart, threw it on the ground, and stabbed it continuously. And then, to try to gently pull a fast one on me in the last chapter. I’m book burning mad, but can’t do that since this is a library book…I already hate the next novel and I haven’t even started it yet.

Anyways…War is brewing. Who will take over control of the island?

Book Reviews

King’s Folly (The Kinsman Chronicles, #1) by Jill Williamson

King's FollyTitle: King’s Folly (The Kinsman Chronicles, #1)
Author: Jill Williamson
Rating: ★★★★

I received the ARC King’s War from NetGalley. It is the third book in the series, so I figure I probably need to read the first two, amirite?!

Written as a prequel to the Blood of Kings trilogy, the Kinsman Chronicles takes us to a time before Jesus walked the Earth when kings ruled the world, specifically evil kings.

Five different lands. Five different traditions. One will reign over all.

DARKNESS REIGNS: PART 1

We are graced with the story being told from the perspectives of the below four characters:

Wilek
The “Dutiful” – strives to help the people and do what is “right”. Eldest son of King Echad. Favored as being chosen as the Heir. Hates human sacrifice, especially because the King sacrificed some of his own sons. In love with his concubine, but engaged to Lady Zeroah. 

Trevn
The “Curious” – climbs and jumps across buildings, lives in the moment. Youngest son of King Echad. Destined to become a priest, but falling for Lady Zeroah’s companion. 

Mielle
Companion to Lady Zeroah. Friend of Trevn. 

Charlon
Orphaned and taken in under Chieftess Mreegan, however, destined to take over the role. Prophecy states she will bear the “Deliverer”.

Why must a lady sit around and wonder whether or not a man admires her? If he will not say so, why can’t I? Then I’ll know. And if he doesn’t admire me, I won’t have wasted days pining over the question.

Ugh! Does this not ring true to any of you women out there?! I’m old school, so I like the guy making the move. Sometimes guys can be so vague instead of being forward for fear of hurting ones feelings. Life would be so much easier if everyone was direct! I feel bad for Lady Zeroah…her fiancé is in love with his concubine and she is still trying her hardest to please him.

 “I will hear no more, Zeroah. We have been over this. The palace is filled with conniving women. If you do not grow a spine, once you are rosârah, women like Lady Lebetta will destroy you. You must learn to play the game. This…” She gestured to Zeroah’s tear-streaked face. “This is how you lose.”

This just makes me sad. People can be so mean, but the only way to overcome them back then was to “best” them, or act like the actions don’t matter. And I don’t like Lady Lebetta…seems entitled, or insecure and jealous…wasn’t sure. I mean, if I was Lady Zeroah, I probably would’ve ditched Willek by now, but times were different.

 

THE HEIR WAR: PART 2

Four of the Five Woes are upon us: earthquakes sinksand, floods, and now fire from the mountains.

“There are two types of pain, Sir Kalenek,” Onika said, fingers lingering on the pinched scar just above the line of his beard, “that of lifeless existence and that of growth. Let go of the pain, embrace growth, and only beauty will remain.”

Four new characters’ points-of-view join us in this section:
Kalenek
Lost his wife and child to the war. Sent by Wilek to find out the meaning of the rune Lady Lebetta drew, he meets Jhorn, Onika, and Grayson. On their journey back, he runs into an old friend.

Hinck
In love with Lady Eudora. Sent by Wilek to infiltrate Janek’s circle. 

Inolah
Wife of Rurekan Emperor Nazer, she has two sons and a third on the way that her husband does not let her see. However, she meets a friend to help her and her sons escape. Priestess Jazlyn came to talk to the Emperor about stealing woman and girls from her nation, only to let her terror reign on the lands when Nazer refuses to give payment for his men’s actions.

Qoatch
Eunuch to Priestess Jazlyn. 

We also have our original protagonists:
Wilek
Held prisoner by Charlon. The supposed “Father” to the “Deliverer”.

Trevn
Romantic connection with Mielle, Lady Zeroah’s honor maid. Betroathed to Lady Zeroah if Wilek is found dead. Destined to fulfill Father Tomek’s duties after he is poisoned for keeping the book of Arman. Figures out that Prince Mergest is Pontiff Barthel Rogedoth (possibly behind the death of Father Tomek), and possibly the father of the second oldest of King Echad’s sons, Janek. 

Mielle
Honor maid to Lady Zeroah. In love with Trevn.

Charlon
Destined to take over the role of Chieftess. Prophesized to be “Mother” of the “Deliverer” if she has the courage to force Wilek to have her “be with child”.

 

THE END OF ALL THINGS: PART 3

Arman is mad and sh*t is about to go down!

Wilek
His own father sacrificed him to Barthos, but with the help of Harton, he defeated the god. After his victory, his father declared him Heir. 

Charlon
Impersonating Lady Zeroah, she plans to trick Wilek into fulfilling the prophecy.

Trevn
Tasked with protecting the Book of Arman he copied. 

 

Will everyone on the ship make it to the “new land”? What will happen to those who were unable to board the ship? What is the deal with Trevn’s mother? Did Charlon and Mreegan make it on one of the ships? Where did Rogedoth and his gang disappear to?

Book Reviews

Wraith Lords of Zeiglon (War of the Staffs, #2) by Steve Stephenson & K.M. Tedrick

Wraith Lords of ZeiglonTitle: Wraith Lords of Zeiglon (War of the Staffs, #2)
Author: Steve Stephenson & K.M. Tedrick
Rating: ★★★★

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Let me just say that this cover is bea-u-tiful!

Not very often do we find ourselves favorable of the second novel in a series. This, however, was not the case in the War of the Staffs series. Wraith Lords of Zeiglon brings us right back into the magical (literally) world of Muiria.

For my review of the prior novel in the series, please see here. We find ourselves, along with Tarquin (Parthian Prince turned Borderer) and Celedant (wizard), back on the path to finding the missing piece of the “Staff of Adaman”. Currently, vampiric warlock Taza has doomed the land of Muiria to the wrath of evil. 

Along their journey, they make new friends and also face gruesome monsters sent from all reaches of the world. Bringing together many races (humans, elves, dwarves, wizards, dragons, and more) of the world, they band together to bring the demise of Taza and all of the other evil forces (orcs, Shadow Lords, giants, etc.) prowling about Muiria. 

Ohhlala…love is in the air! And it is not how I predicted it…I don’t think. Just a dash of love spread across this battle-enticing novel, which makes it just the right amount for me (not too hot, not too cold).

One thing that may be difficult for readers who haven’t read the first novel in the series is keeping all of the characters straight and knowing their history. It was much clearer keeping who’s who in Wraith Lords of Zeiglon.

While reading Wraith Lords of Zeiglon, I couldn’t help compare it to Lord of the Rings. The “good” side always seems to be the humans, elves, dwarves, and a few races in between. While the “bad” always seem to be orcs and giants.Why can’t orcs and giants ever be good? But, I digress. The two stories seem very similar to me, however, this novel includes dragons (generally, always “good”) and vampires (typically “bad”…besides for Twilight pretty much). Who isn’t a fan of dragons, amirite (purposely spelled wrong)?!

As I said earlier, the second book in a series is generally the fluffer leading us to the final hoo-rah! That was not the case with this novel. We get action scene upon action scene in almost every chapter of the novel and I LOVED it! Give me some more! I am interested to seeing where the authors take us in the next novel. This one was very action-packed, so I hope the next is the same.

Will Tarquin continue to be the missing piece of the acquisition of the “Staff of Adaman”? Will Celedant be the key to helping Tarquin achieve the prophecy? Who will be lost in order to help the greater good? How much damage will this war cost? Will Taza ever be stopped?

Book Reviews

Twisted Traffick (Twisted Trilogy #2) by Geza Tatrallyay

Twisted TraffickTitle: Twisted Traffick (Twisted Trilogy #2)
Author: Geza Tatrallyay
Rating: ★★★★

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Twisted Traffick is the second book in the “Twisted” trilogy (You can find the link to the review of the first novel in the series here). We find ourselves back at it with Greg Martens, the author, and now wife, Anne Rossiter. Anne is called back to assist her former Interpol boss when her Russian friend, Julia Saparova, also known as Adam Kallay’s former stripper girlfriend, is missing. 

Generally speaking, the second novel in a trilogy holds a lot of filler. It gears us up for the final installment. This, however, was not the case in Twisted Traffick. And if anything, it makes it a little better of a read due to the fact that the readers now know most of the main characters. 

Delving back into the uranium heist business, we find ourselves with Hetzel, Polyakov, and all of their friends once again. This time… in the human trafficking industry. In fact, these same men have taken Julia. But not only her, the criminals are targeting the families of parents holding jobs at the Mayak Corporation, or those similar, where uranium contamination was at an all-time high. These parents were provided with a story that these horrible  men would find jobs and a better life for their children. So, who wouldn’t want to do that for their own children?! Little did they know, their children (conveniently all females were accepted into the program) were sent into sex trafficking unbeknownst. I can’t even to begin the fathom the guilt that the girls’ parents felt.

This was anything but a filler story. It was a story within itself and could definitely be read as a standalone for someone not having read the first story. I think that is the key to any good novel. I’m curious as to what the last novel in the trilogy holds. Let’s all hope Julia finds a nice guy, right?! She seems to have the worst luck!

Tatrallyay not only provides us with the history and reality of life in post-Soviet Russia, but with an entertaining back story of how our foes came to be and how they are connected with some of our main characters.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. Romance doesn’t play a major role in the story. The characters are realistic and well-described. I think the topic is one that more people should know about. Fortunately, for the reader, it was not too graphic, but enough to understand the implications that people suffered from these horrible monsters. A great read for someone who is looking for a little more substance than those who mainly resort to fiction!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Geza

Born in Budapest, Hungary, Geza escaped with his family in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution, immigrating to Canada the same year. He grew up in Toronto, attending the University of Toronto Schools, where he was School Captain. He graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Human Ecology in 1972 (after taking a break in his studies to work as a host in the Ontario Pavilion at Expo70 in Osaka, Japan). Geza was selected as a Rhodes Scholar from Ontario, attending Oxford University and graduating with a BA/MA in Human Sciences in 1974; he completed his studies with a MSc in Economics from London School of Economics in 1975. Geza represented Canada as an epée fencer in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

Geza’s professional experience has included government, international organizations, finance and environmental entrepreneurship. Since 2004, he has been semi-retired, managing investments mainly in the clean energy sector and devoting himself to his family and his writing. Geza is a citizen of Canada and Hungary, a green card holder with an American wife, a daughter living in San Francisco and a son in Nairobi, and currently divides his time between Barnard, Vermont, and San Francisco.

The third book in Geza’s ‘Twisted’ trilogy, TWISTED FATES, will be coming out in June. Besides the three “Twisted’ thrillers, Geza has published an e-thriller, ARCTIC MELTDOWN, and has another international political thriller, THE RAINBOW VIINTNER, under contract and due to be published later this year.

Besides his novels, Geza had had two memoirs published: FOR THR CHILDREN, the true story of his family’s harrowing escape from Stalinist Hungary during the Revolution in 1956, and THE EXPO AFFAIR, the story of three Czechoslovak girls he tried to help defect to Canada at EXPO 70 the world’s fair in Osaka, Japan in 1970.

Geza’s poems have been published in journals and two of his poetry collections – CELLO’S TEARS and SIGHS AND MURMURS – were published by P.R.A. Publishing. You can find more out about all these books at www.gezatatrallyay.com.