A Month of Reading: April Book Reviews (Part Two)

Picking up where I left off yesterday, today’s batch of books include both fantasy and romance titles:

FantasyShadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell and White Sand Volume 1 (graphic novel).

RomanceFire in His Kiss (also fantasy), the new Beauty novella quartet (also fantasy), Sonata for a Scoundrel, and Wrong Turn, Right Direction.

Reviews are in order of date read. (My star ratings are explained here.)

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Fire in His Kiss  by Ruby Dixon 4.5-Stars

I reviewed the first book in Dixon’s newest post-apocalyptic dragons-on-Earth series last month and while it was enjoyable, I was left unimpressed with the world building and had hoped Dixon would start explaining why, or at least who, these dragons are. With Fire in His Kiss she managed to do just that.

“Emma pulls out her gun with shaking hands and points it at Dakh. ‘W-what the f*ck is he?'”

This book reveals quite a bit about the dragons’ past lives before they were forced onto Earth. The exact cause of the cataclysmic event called the Rift is still unknown, but that’s okay–for now. We also discover ways that non-fort dwellers are hiding from attracting the attention of dragons.

“This is about my survival, and I’m just going to have to suck it up. Women have been trading their bodies for safety ever since the Rift. I’m no different from any of them at the end of the day.”

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A Month of Reading: April Book Reviews (Part One)

Another month flew by with me reading a bunch between courses, work, side work, and remembering to occasionally sleep. For Netgalley I reviewed a new release, Making Waves, a couple weeks ago and have another review for Pieces of Me (releases in May) coming up likely on Wednesday.

Like last month I don’t have time for a lot of individual reviews, so instead I’m giving a summary and overall impressions for each book. There’s quite a few books this time so this will be divided into two posts, one tonight and one tomorrow. Today’s titles include:

RomanceHow to Lose a Duke in Ten Days, So I Married a Highlander, Making Waves, Duke of Pleasure, The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland, Haunted on Bourbon Street (also fantasy/paranormal), and Barbarian’s Lady (also fantasy).

Reviews are in order of date read. (My star ratings are explained here.)

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How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days  3-Stars
So I Married a Highlander 1.5-Stars
What Happens in Scotland Series #1 & #2, by Kate McKinley

This short regency romance introduces us to Pippa Welby, daughter of a wealthy tradesman who is against marrying into higher society due to their treatment of her, and Lucas Alexander, the ninth Duke of Arlington. Lucas meets Pippa at a ball but gives her the impression that he is aloof to her existence, when really he desires to make her his. So he concocts a plan that makes sense only to one of the most powerful men in London: announce their engagement ball and invite Pippa to it.

Things heat up quickly between the two, and though Lucas’s motives were questionable for a while, things get sorted out and these two lovebirds get their happily-ever-after. The characters are both likeable, but both could use more development (a constant problem in shorter novels).

“I just want you by my side, Pippa, however I can get you. I don’t know how to do this. If I want something, I take it. I always find a way. But this, with you… us… I feel so damned lost.”

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A Month of Reading: March Book Reviews

Unlike most semesters, I found time to read during the mid-semester crunch, and so I took full advantage of it. Between reading and obsessively trying for 100% achievement completion in Banished I don’t have time for individual reviews, so instead I’m giving a brief summation of my impressions for each book. Titles include:

RomanceBarbarian’s Redemption, Fire in His Blood, Collide, Apricot Kisses, seven books from the Morna’s Legacy series, Scandalous Desires, and It’s Complicated.

FantasyOnly the Stones Survive, The Graveyard Book, Collide (heavy genre overlap), A Darker Shade of Magic, and A Gathering of Shadows.

Reviews are in order of date read. (My star ratings are explained here.)

Only the Stones Survive by Morgan Llywelyn 1.5-Stars

It took me two weeks to finish this book, and then only because I brought it as my only form of entertainment (by that point, nearly halfway through it) on a trip with a four hour layover followed by a four hour flight. I’m still not quite sure what this story was about. The characters were forgettable and far too numerous for the book’s length and the plot dragged. Every time it finally would get interesting, the viewpoint would shift. I give the story one star for its world-building and a half star for being readable (even if it was boring). If you’re into Irish mythology the book may intrigue you, otherwise I’d give it a pass.

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Review: Venom & Vanilla

Venom & VanillaVenom & Vanilla by Shannon Mayer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Venom & Vanilla is my first Shannon Mayer book. I obtained it through the Kindle First program November offerings.

I’m not certain how you can have interesting storybuilding then completely trash it with your characterization, but Shannon Mayer managed to do just that with this book. While tempted to give this one star, I chose two because despite considering to stab my Kindle thanks to the heroine, the core story was intriguing enough to actually finish it.

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Review: The Emperor’s Soul

The Emperor's SoulThe Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read The Emperor’s Soul ($4.99 on Amazon) back in February 2015, and re-read it as the first story introduced in Sanderson’s Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection.

The story follows Shai, a Forger that can copy and change items by rewriting their history. Imprisoned and about to be executed, the arbiters offer her a deal: Forge a new soul for the emperor in exchange for her freedom. During the months she has to complete this task she discovers the depths and deceits of those who surround the emperor.

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