Category Archives: Fantasy

Advance Review- Matchmaking For Beginners: A Novel by Maddie Dawson

Matchmaking for beginners

Title: Matchmaking For Beginners: a novel
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Author: Maddie Dawson
Source: Free from “Amazon First Reads” for Prime members, otherwise $4.99 on Kindle
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing, June 1, 2018
Pages: 378
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5 (behind closed doors)
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.
When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps.
And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.

**
There is a bit of magic in the way Blix and Marnie can see auras and “sparkles” that lets them know what couples belong together and those that should get out of the relationship. Maneuvering those that should be together has been elderly Blix’s life work and now that she is at the end of her life she wants to pass on her “projects” to the only person she has ever met who is qualified for the task, Marnie. Reluctant Marnie finds that she is manipulated into a life that she didn’t expect.

Oh my! This is a gem of a book and an absolute delight to read. I was smiling most of the way through, unable to put it down and so sorry to see it end. If you are an Amazon Prime member you can read this book for free now. If you are not a Prime member, at $4.99 it is still a steal but you will have to wait for its release on June 1st. Don’t wait! Go ahead and preorder if you must, I’m guaranteeing one of your best reads of 2018.

 

 

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Advance Review- The Pisces by Melissa Broder

The Pisces

Title: The Pisces
Genre: General Literature/Fantasy
Author: Melissa Broder
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Hogarth, May 1, 2018
Pages: 288
Rating: 2
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

Lucy has been writing her dissertation on Sappho for nine years when she and her boyfriend break up in a dramatic flameout. After she bottoms out in Phoenix, her sister in Los Angeles insists Lucy dog-sit for the summer. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube on Venice Beach, but Lucy can find little relief from her anxiety — not in the Greek chorus of women in her love addiction therapy group, not in her frequent Tinder excursions, not even in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection.

Everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. But when Lucy learns the truth about his identity, their relationship, and Lucy’s understanding of what love should look like, take a very unexpected turn. A masterful blend of vivid realism and giddy fantasy, pairing hilarious frankness with pulse-racing eroticism, THE PISCES is a story about falling in obsessive love with a merman: a figure of Sirenic fantasy whose very existence pushes Lucy to question everything she thought she knew about love, lust, and meaning in the one life we have.

**
“Obsessive love”? I think it was more like obsessive lust. Okay, maybe some love but for the most part this is the story of a woman who went off the rails and searched for love in all the wrong places. The worst place was the ocean. That’s where she met the merman, Theo, whose siren call (his charm and attention to her) she could not resist.

I did not like this book and I think the reason is that I didn’t like any of the women and I did like Theo and he disappointed me. Besides, this is a very depressing book. I’m on a personal campaign to read books that are uplifting and the blurb led me to believe this would be one of those. Unfortunately it isn’t. The author is accomplished at turning a phrase but what comes across is someone who is very unhappy. This is just another man-bashing tirade. Not once did I find anything “hilarious”.

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Advance Review- Eight Simple Rules For Dating A Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks

8 simple rules for dating a dragon

Title: Eight Simple Rules For Dating A Dragon: A Novel of the Embraced ( #3)
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Author: Kerrelyn Sparks
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, March 27, 2018 (preorder available)
Pages: 435
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating:5
Description from Amazon:

TRUTH—OR DARE?
Gwennore is an Elf able to track down the cause of a certain illness and heal it—a valuable asset to her people. But when she is thrust into the realm of the dragons, she discovers a haunted place of power, passion, and magic—one that is plagued by an ancient curse. When she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, Gwen knows she’s entered a whole new world of trouble. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon. So why does making a deal with the devil feel so good?
Silas has no way of saving the royal family he’s served for years. But when a beautiful, innocent elf comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to desire in a way he’s never felt before. But how can he trust a sworn enemy. . .and how can he live without her, in Eigh’s t Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks.

**
This was a bit of a slow start for me but once I got about 100 pages in, it took off. Silas was battling with his brother about the curse on the royals and their people. Silas believed it to be poison and his brother believed it to be an ancient curse. Silas enlists Gwennore’s healing ability to prove his theory. Gwen agreed to stay until she solved the mystery but she was falling for Silas and their love was forbidden because she was of enemy elf lineage.

This book reads like a fairytale but a fairytale with some sexy times. It is total escapism since everything is like a fantasy. I liked the light-hearted feel of the book and enjoyed the tension and mystery concerning the curse. Some of the book is too farfetched for even a fantasy, like a Mead and hot pepper drink to cure the plague, but it was still a most fun read. Dragons might just be my next book boyfriends.

 

 

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Review: The Rules Of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic

Title: The Rules of Magic (The practical Magic Series)
Genre: General Fiction
Author: Alice Hoffman
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Oct. 2017
Pages: 384
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 3
Violence rating: 2
Description from Amazon:
From beloved author Alice Hoffman comes the spellbinding prequel to her bestseller, Practical Magic.

Find your magic.

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

**
I did not love this book as I had Hoffman’s first book, Practical Magic, and the movie by the same name. That said, this was still a page turning read. When you have magical powers there is adventure, mystery and problems. This is also a story of love. I look forward to more in this series.

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Advance Review- The Red by Tiffany Reisz

The Red

Title: The Red: An Erotic Fantasy
Genre: Contemporary Erotica Romance/Fantasy
Author: Tiffany Reiz
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: 8th Circle Press, July 11, 2017 (preorder available for Kindle)
Pages: 212
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5++
Violence rating: 4 (all sex is consensual but very often rough)
Description from Amazon:

** Paperback Not Available for Pre-Order, But Will Be For Sale on Release Day (July 11, 2017) **

The Red is a standalone novel of erotic fantasy from Tiffany Reisz, international bestselling author of The Bourbon Thief and the Original Sinners series.

Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother’s art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it’s in the red. She soon realizes she has no choice but to sell it.

Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year.

The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting…but surely her mother didn’t mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red…

**
This is labeled a “Fantasy” but Mona isn’t sure if her involvement with Malcolm is reality or fantasy. She will do what it takes to save her mother’s art gallery and if that means submitting to Malcolm then how hard could it be when he is devastatingly handsome.

There is constant suspense and mystery that is intertwined with all of the extremely erotic encounters of Mona and Malcolm. I initially thought Malcolm was real, then a fantasy, then real and I kept going back and forth wondering. That kept me turning pages to find out what was the outcome of this mystery.

I am a fan of Tiffany Reisz’ books ever since I read the wonderful THE HEADMASTER. She is a wonderful storyteller and there is no one better at writing erotic sex scenes. This is a romance even if not the usual vanilla type. If you are at all squeamish about BDSM, then you will want to skip this one. However the story is compelling enough so that you will like it anyway.

 

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Recent Release Review- Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

breath-of-fire

Title: Breath of fire (The Kingmaker Chronicles, book /32)

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Author: Amanda Bouchet

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Jan. 3, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 448

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

SHE’S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD… BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

“Cat” Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat’s tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what’s a warrior queen to do when she knows it’s her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world—for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin risk sacrificing everything they’ve fought for. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom…or die trying.

The Kingmaker Chronicles: A Promise of Fire (Book 1) Breath of Fire (Book 2) Heart on Fire (Book 3, coming Fall 2017)

****

I could not wrap my mind around the disjointed way this book was written.  It starts off with Griffin trashing his bedroom with Cat there and stalking off.  Then she leaves to heal her broken heart in another room.  He comes back and says she got it all wrong.  I don’t think so. From there we go on one action packed adventure scene to the next full of violence and thrills. But it felt like just scenes linked together.  Certainly scenes that were interesting but really didn’t feel like a cohesive story. I kept setting this book aside because it just wasn’t holding my interest.  It took me forever to finish.

This book got a rating of 3 from me because if you are really into the Greek myths and like Game of Thrones then this book is “okay”.  But for me personally it rated a 2 “disappointing”.

 

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Advance Review- A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Title: The Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, book #1)

A Promise of Fire

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Author: Amanda Bouchet

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Aug. 2, 2016 preorder available

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 448

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

KINGDOMS WILL RISE AND FALL FOR HER… BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

Catalia “Cat” Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods-and her homicidal mother-have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm-until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.

Kingmaker Chronicles Trilogy: A Promise of Fire (Book 1) Breath of Fire (coming January 2017) Heart on Fire (coming Fall 2017)

**

This is a new book series by a new author.  If you like Fantasy like Game of Thrones then you will surely like this novel. It has magic, for Cat is of the Magoi and she has secrets that must be kept or she will die.  Griffin, not Magoi but Hoi Polloi, is able to discern some of her secrets and should have been able to figure out the rest but he doesn’t. For 90% of this book Cat is trying to get away from, avoid, or deny attraction to Griffin.  Together they encounter a dragon, a three headed dog, soldiers bent on killing them and more.  Cat is a kick-a&^ woman who saves not only Griffin but also his side kick guards Kato, Flynn and his brother Carver as well as Griffin’s royal family. There are Olympian Gods to deal with, especially Poseidon and Hades as well as Zeus.

I enjoyed this book, the action and adventure were first rate and Griffin made a sexy, steamy hero as well as Kato, Flynn and Carver who I’m sure we will see more of in future books in the series.  Cat was annoying in the extreme.  I understood her background made her cautious but it went on way too long with her denial of Griffin. That is the only negative I have about this book.

I recommend this book to Fantasy and Paranormal Romance fans. It’s a good read with plenty of adventure.

 

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London Library Bars- Yeah!

Bar library london

Found on BuzzFeed  16 Library Bars in London

Now this is my idea of a fun way to drink my wine.  Usually I favor Pinot Grigio but in these settings I may have to go with a Pinot Noir or Merlot or even two fingers of a single malt. completely ensconced in my book I may not even notice the famous author sitting by the fire.

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Advance Peek- Damian by D.B. Reynolds

Coming June 15,2016 Damian (Book #1, The Stone Warriors) by D.B. Reynolds

Pre-order Available on Amazon.com

Damian

It was a time when gods walked the earth, when armies fought not for bits of land, but for the very existence of humanity. On such a battlefield, five formidable warriors stood against an evil greater than any the earth had ever seen. But evil is not an honorable foe. Betrayed by someone they trusted, the warriors were cursed, one by one, tossed into the maelstrom of time, imprisoned in stone, their freedom resting on nearly impossible conditions. Until . . .

Damian Stephanos honed his skills in battles fought with magic as much as swords. Caught by a deadly spell that left him trapped for centuries in darkness and obscurity, he is finally freed, only to discover that his enemy still lives. Determined to find him—and to free his brothers in arms—he first must fulfill his blood debt to the woman who released him from his torment. Unfortunately, being so close to this enticing female is another type of torment altogether . . .

Cassandra “Casey” Lewis is a hunter. Possessing the rare ability to sense magic, she spends most of her time shadowing arcane collectors, and more often than not, stealing the dangerous artifacts she pursues. Her job is risky, especially when she’s stealing from one of the most powerful sorcerers alive. But having a gorgeous warrior by her side is a definite bonus. He’s great in a fight . . . and in other places, too.

Following a trail of dead bodies, the two of them must join forces to track down the sorcerer who cursed Damian, and who now plans to turn an ordinary magical device into a deadly weapon. Risking everything, including their hearts, they’re about to discover that trusting each other might be the hardest thing of all.

From Deet: You all know I’m a huge fan of this author and I’m waiting on pins and needles for this new series. There is no mention in this blurb of Nick Katsaros, the sorcerer from the Vampires in America series, and more recently the COMPELLED novella, but I’m hoping he makes an appearance. 

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Advance Review- Compelled by D.B. Reynolds

Title: Compelled: A Cyn and Raphael Novella (Vampires In America, 10.5)

Compelled

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Fantasy

Author: D.B. Reynolds

Publisher: ImaJinn, April 29, 2016 pre-order available

Pages: 128

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

VAMPIRE . . . Raphael is a power like the world has never seen, the force behind the first ever alliance of North American lords, Cyn’s mate, lover, master.

SORCERER . . . Nick Katsaros, deceptively charming, ancient and commanding, driven by vengeance and a devastating loss, Cyn’s friend and one-time lover.

HUMAN . . . Cynthia “Cyn” Leighton, beautiful, sexy, and smart, the woman both men desire.

It was only a few months ago that Raphael lay helpless and dying, taken by treachery, while Cyn fought to save him. Unexpectedly, it was Nick who provided the key to his freedom. In exchange, he secured a promise that they would help him find and recover the same magical artifact that had been used to imprison Raphael. But when he calls on them to keep that promise, it will be Cyn who pays the price. Torn between the two powerful men, struggling to keep them from killing each other, she undertakes a desperate search that will find her fighting for her life against a madman who wants her for himself.

**

Once again, in the fabulous Vampires In America series, we are treated to our favorite lovers, human Cyn and vampire Raphael. This time they have sorcerer Nick Katsaros calling in a promise to help him find the magical Amber Manacles. Can Cyn keep Raphael and Nick from causing each other bodily harm? The power of Raphael bounces off the page.  The mysterious Nick is more subtle and his power seems more controlled than Raphael. But then Raphael is jealous of Cyn’s past with Nick.

I personally can’t get enough of Cyn and her vampire but this deeper introduction to Nick is putting him on my book boyfriend radar.  Who wouldn’t want an ancient, all powerful, handsome as sin sorcerer? Well, hells bells, this guy is certainly no Dumbldore.  And since Cyn is already totally occupied by Raphael that leaves Nick up for grabs and I call dibs.

This is a quick read, only 128 pages, but it is full of steamy scenes and lots of action all well written by D.B. Reynolds.  Nick will get his own series so we don’t have to say good-bye.  My only objection is that I wanted more.  Also that Cyn really wasn’t very smart and she made a big mistake.  I really like Our Cyn to not make these big faux pas.

Can you tell I’m totally invested in this series??  I highly recommend this swift paced, superbly entertaining novella as well as the entire series. This is a standalone novella with informative reference to past interactions between the characters.

 

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