Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Book Shelf: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2) by Laura Sebastian

The Kaiser murdered Theodosia's mother, the Fire Queen, when Theo was only six. He took Theo's country and kept her prisoner, crowning her Ash Princess--a pet to toy with and humiliate for ten long years. That era has ended. The Kaiser thought his prisoner weak and defenseless. He didn't realize that a sharp mind is the deadliest weapon.

Theo no longer wears a crown of ashes. She has taken back her rightful title, and a hostage--Prinz Soren. But her people remain enslaved under the Kaiser's rule, and now she is thousands of miles away from them and her throne.

To get them back, she will need an army. Only, securing an army means she must trust her aunt, the dreaded pirate Dragonsbane. And according to Dragonsbane, an army can only be produced if Theo takes a husband. Something an Astrean Queen has never done.

Theo knows that freedom comes at a price, but she is determined to find a way to save her country without losing herself.


More on Goodreads.....


Review:

Lady Smoke is Laura Sebastian’s second novel and the follow up to her YA fantasy debut, Ash Princess, whisking readers once more into a world of danger where one young woman will do anything to save her people, even if it means risking her heart and life in the process.

As the rightful Queen of the land of Astrea, Theodosia Houzzara sparked a flame of change when she escaped the clutches of the cruel Kaiser and ended her decade long imprisonment as his glorified pet and symbol of humiliation. As the Kaiser continues to hold her people enslaved, Theo and her closes companions travel across the seas, with the Kalovaxian prince Soren as hostage in order to form an alliance and obtain an army capable of helping take back her kingdom. Yet gaining her freedom does not mean she is safe, and with a bounty hanging over her head, Theo will need to form a political alliance as soon as possible, even if it means offering her hand in marriage to suitors who want nothing more than a piece of the fabled ash princess and the magic her land holds….

After finding myself drawn into the lush and vivid fantasy world Laura Sebastian wove with her debut novel, I was excited to return to it with its sequel, Lady Smoke. Seeming to implement elements of various fantasy series, the Ash Princess Trilogy may not seem overly unique or different, but is still highly entertaining and enjoyable. Sebastian weaves different elements of danger, romance, magic, action and mystery into the story which follows a strong and personable main character.

Lady Smoke continues to unfold through the eyes of heroine Theo, a young woman who is tasked with finding a way to liberate her people from the enslavement they have suffered since the Kalovaxian’s invaded and conquered the land of Astrea. Theo is quite a likable protagonist. She’s intelligent but natural and willing to sacrifice if it means saving her people. Having seen her mother murdered at the hands of the Kaiser, Theo has been an unwilling captive who has recently tasted freedom for the first time. In a lot of ways Lady Smoke marks the start of Theo finally beginning to discover who she is—both as a person with her own hopes and desires and a Queen who must put her people first.

Theo is supported by a strong cast of characters. As the Queen of Astrea, Theo has a small group of close confidants she trusts including Blaise, Artimesia and Heron who readers will recall from the first novel as well as love interest Soren and friend Erik. Laura Sebastian introduces a few new faces to the series including elusive pirate Dragonsbane whose connection to Theo runs blood deep but whose motivations remain a mystery. Personally I think all of Theo’s friends are solid characters, especially Art who is a strong and capable female with hidden vulnrabilties.

As the Kalovaxian Prince who appears to have stolen Theo’s heart despite her complicated feelings for childhood friend Blaise, Soren is the picture of a steadfast friend and love interest to our beloved heroine. After betraying his father, Soren has become a close advisor and source of comfort to Theo and its impossible not to tell they are falling for one other. Though he should be “the enemy” Soren is proving himself day by day and continues to come to terms with all the brutality his father was responsible for.

Though Lady Smoke focuses more on Theo’s desperation to secure an ally through a political marriage, Laura Sebastian does manage to pack the story with plenty of developments. It was intriguing to see some more aspects of the world Theo and her comrades exist in including neighbouring kingdoms and their leaders.

The Truthwitch meets The Winner's Curse, Lady Smoke builds to a climactic ending which will turn the tides of the series. Theo has an even bigger fight on her hands as an old acquaintance rises to power with deadly results. I for one can’t wait to see what Laura Sebastian plans for the third and final instalment in the trilogy, Ember Queen and will be looking to read it as soon as it releases.

Rating:
Source: Sent for review by publisher (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Format: Paperback
Australian RRP: $16.99
Release Date: February 12th 2019
Buy: Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Final Thoughts: Very entertaining; I'm ready for the next one!


Monday, February 18, 2019

Owl Post #228


Inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, Owl Post allows us bloggers to showcase the books we've bought, won or received throughout the week and is hosted by Brodie over at Eleusinian Mysteries. We all know that the Owl Post is the fastest way to send and receive mail and they certainly make me happy every time they drop a book off.
 
Happy Monday book lovers and welcome to another Owl Post :)
 
I Bought:
- King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Leigh Bardugo's latest release is soooo pretty. You can't tell from the picture but it's all gold foiled and shiny. Oh and I got myself a signed copy from Booktopia which is extra sweet :)

- Invision by Sherrilyn Kenyon 
More Sherrilyn Kenyon  in preparation for her visit to Australia next month--can't wait!!

What did the owls bring you recently?


 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Free Ebooks

Hello book lovers! Hope you've all had a fantastic week! I have a bunch of Amazon freebies to share with you today. Enjoy :)

Gateway by Christina Garner
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Infected by Tara Ellis
High School Magical by Deirdre Riordan Hall

Duty Bound by Christina Bauer
Frost Legacy by Jennifer Ann Reed
Ignite by Kaitlyn Davis
Blood of Stone by Jayne Faith

Wolf's Bane by Aimee Easterling
Relics and Runes: A Limited Edition Urban Fantasy and Fantasy Anthology
A House of Cards by Savannah Skye
Chosen by Denise Grover Swank

Never Save a Demon by J.D. Brown
Dragon's Oath by Eve Laird
Fangs & Fairy Dust by Joynell Schultz
Renegade Valkyrie by Stacy Claflin 


Did you manage to snag something new?
I know I did!




Thursday, February 14, 2019

Book Shelf: Imposter (The Royal Trials #1) by Tate James

Three trials. Three weeks. Three Royal Princes.

It should have been an easy task, for a skilled mercenary like Rybet Waise. Simply break into the royal palace, and rescue her friend from the executioner's block. But when Rybet accidentally qualifies for the Trials, she finds herself with little choice but to see them through.

A thin veil of etiquette, elegance and glamour hides the true nature of the Trials. Behind closed doors, they are brutal and bloody, and to fail means to forfeit her life.

Thrust into the limelight and forced to compete with the Kingdom's elite sweethearts, unlikely allies emerge and bonds are formed. But someone will stop at nothing to see her fail.

After all, she's nothing but a dirty pond-dweller.

Rybet will do whatever it takes to survive until the Golden Ball, Princes be damned.


More info on Goodreads......


Review:

Imposter is the first novel in the Royal Trials series by Tate James and is an entrancing reverse harem fantasy with a kick-ass heroine, plenty of excitement and sizzling romantic chemistry.

Rybet Waise is a pond-dweller, surviving in the water infested slums of the Kingdom of Teich. A mercenary working for a crime lord, everything goes to hell when Rybet’s friend is caught by palace guards during a heist and scheduled to face the executioners block. Determined to save her friend, Rybet breaks into the palace but the rescue attempt goes wrong, with Rybet accidentally qualifying for the Trials. A series of tests, the Trials sees a small group of select young women compete to potentially win the hand of one of the three royal princes. Rybet wants nothing to do with the young men whose hearts she should want to win, but when it becomes clear the Trials are far from the tests of etiquette and elegance they are promoted to be, Rybet will need to find a way to outlast the bloody and brutal testing if she hopes to survive.

Here’s the thing about me; I like fidelity. I like mahogany. I don’t like romantic confliction and I HATE love triangles. So reverse harems are not normally my thing. I don’t like seeing my heroines involved with multiple men at the same time nor do I enjoy seeing the struggle being involved with multiple men has one her feelings and desires. I like things straightforward; one guy, one girl committed to each other. BUT boy did I ever love Imposter!

Tate James has been given the honour of writing the first reverse harem that I not only finished but absolutely adored. Introducing readers to a mysterious world that has a lot of potential and possibility, Tate James creates a storyline of court politics and deception where not everything is as it seems and one capable and tenacious heroine must manage to survive when the only options are death and becoming a prince’s bride; all while she attempts to navigate her developing and equally as strong as each other desires for three enigmatic and delectable men.

Imposter is told through the eyes of eighteen year old Rybet, someone who I really did like. Despite being in an imaginable position, Rybet adjusts really well, all things considered. Not having lived a life of luxury like the other competitors, Rybet has an edge that coupled with her intelligence and determination made her a force to be reckoned with. There was obviously areas where she struggled, but she still tried, in her own way, even if her mouth tended to get the better of her where authorities were concerned.

I think the reason I enjoyed this novel so much despite the reverse harem aspect not normally being up my alley was that Tate James really paces the relationships between Rybet and her three strapping men. The physicality of each relationships builds slowly and isn’t too sexually charged; just the perfect amount of attraction and desires sizzling between them all. All three men in question are so different but oh, so appealing. I was eager to devour each of the interactions they had with Rybet as they were sharp, biting exchanges with fantastic dialogue and sexual tension. I personally don’t think I could choose between them myself and am actually glad in this instance that Rybet doesn’t plan, or have, to.

In the heart of The Selection with a slightly sexier twist, Imposter was a great kick-start to the Royal Trials series. Tate James had me hooked from beginning to end and as she concludes Imposter on a cliffhanger, I for one am absolutely dying for the second novel, Seeker to come out so that I can read the next chapter of Rybet’s journey straight away!

Rating:
Source: Read via Kindle Unlimited
Publisher: After Glows Publishing
Format: Kindle ebook
Release Date: September 24th 2018
Buy: Amazon
Final Thoughts: A reverse harem that is defintely worth a read--I can't wait for more!


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday #258

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine where you can spotlight an upcoming release that you're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on.....
 
The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett 
Releases on: September 10th 2019
 
The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in this thrilling tale filled with magic and set in the mysterious Carpathian Mountains where a girl must hunt down Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring in order to save her father.

Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

Thoughts:
I have to say.......This. Sounds. Awesome! Not only to I love anything Dracula/Vlad the Impaler but this looks like it has magic, mystery and romance--right up my alley! Definitely going to be keeping my eye out for this one!

What do you think of The Lady Rogue? Do you want to read it?
And what are YOU waiting on this week?


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Release Blitz: Sing It, Sam by Jennifer Ryder

Happy Release Day to Sing It, Sam by Jennifer Ryder! Emotional and heart wrenching, Sing It, Sam is a powerful standalone tale that will definitely make you feel all range of emotions!
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Jane Rhynehart has a cosy shack in the pumpkin-obsessed town of Willow Creek, and a new job—if only she was able to write like the other women in the local writers’ group. But how can Jane write the perfect romance when she’s never experienced love?
After a lengthy stay in hospital, budding singer and songwriter Sam Marshall ends up as a resident in Willow Creek Nursing Home. Jane soon becomes his guiding light. But how can he be a man for her when he relies on so many others day-to-day?

Will Sam turn out to be the perfect muse to help Jane write her epic romance? Will Jane be the one to teach Sam how to truly live? Does love truly know no barriers? 


Add on Goodreads or check out my 4 star review

Purchase:


Jennifer Ryder is a bestselling author of the Spark Series and Surfers Way Series. She loves to write about boys on dirt bikes, detectives and strong females who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want.

Living on a rural property in New South Wales, Australia, she enjoys the best of city and country. Her loving husband is ever willing to provide inspiration, and her two young cherubs, and sheep that don't see fences as barriers, keep life more than interesting.  


Visit:


 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Book Shelf: Sing It, Sam by Jennifer Ryder

Jane Rhynehart has a cosy shack in the pumpkin-obsessed town of Willow Creek, and a new job—if only she was able to write like the other women in the local writers’ group. But how can Jane write the perfect romance when she’s never experienced love? 

After a lengthy stay in hospital, budding singer and songwriter Sam Marshall ends up as a resident in Willow Creek Nursing Home. Jane soon becomes his guiding light. But how can he be a man for her when he relies on so many others day-to-day?

Will Sam turn out to be the perfect muse to help Jane write her epic romance? Will Jane be the one to teach Sam how to truly live? Does love truly know no barriers? 


More info on Goodreads.....


Review: 

Sing It, Sam is the latest release by Jennifer Ryder and is a romantic and emotional story of love and loss and the power of being ready to take chances and move forward.

Wannabe author Jane Rhynehart lives in the pumpkin-obsessed town of Willow Creek. Beginning a new job at a nursing home, Jane is hoping her new position as well as a writers support group will help her pen the perfect romance. Too bad she doesn't have any experience with romance herself. Enter Sam Marshall. After a lengthy hospital stay, budding singer and songwriter Sam has become a resident at the Willow Creek Nursing Home. Suffering debilitating pain and lost to the effects of his illness, Sam has shut himself away from people and spends all his time alone in his room. Until he meets Jane. Determined to draw Sam out of his shell, Jane soon becomes Sam's guiding light, but when he's reliant on people everyday, can he be the man Jane needs? Will Jane be able to teach Sam to live? And will love be the saving grace both young people desperately need?

Now while I’m going to do my very best to avoid giving away spoilers as much as possible, I do have to say that Sing It, Sam absolutely broke my heart. Beginning and developing with all the elements of contemporary romance that I enjoy, Sing It, Sam eventually built to a heartbreaking and unexpected ending. Emotional and harrowing, the final few chapters in Sing It, Sam gripped my heart and squeezed it for all the emotions it held, making me feel every painful and agonising emotion.

Set in a small Australian town, I really enjoyed that Jennifer Ryder explored and highlighted real issues in Sing It, Sam. She created likable characters in both main characters Jane and Sam as well as the nursing home residents who are unique and vivacious personalities. I appreciated her inclusion of a neurological disorder that isn't as well known as some--this made me go away and think about it's implications and ramifications.

Well written with moments of hilarity, friendship and beautiful romance, Sing It, Sam is an emotional ride that will leave you heartbroken but hopeful that the characters will one day find happiness they deserve within their lives.

Rating:
Source: Sent for review by Give Me Books Promotions and the author (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Published by author
Format: Kindle ebook
Release Date: February 11th 2019
Buy: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Final Thoughts: Heartwarming and heartbreaking--Sing It, Sam defintely brings the feels.