Tag Archives: Fantasy

Advance Review- The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

The Book charmer

Title: The Book Charmer

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Magical Realism/Romantic Elements

Author: Karen Hawkins

Publisher: Gallery books, July 30, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

**

I loved this book! It is not usually my go-to genre so I’m happily surprised that it was such a good read. It is very heartwarming as the protagonists have a very troubled background and for, Grace, also a very troubled present day that at times the troubles seem insurmountable. The magic of the Dove family is just delightful. I wish I had a Sarah to hand me some books,  a Mama G. to give me some wisdom and a quaint town like Dove Pond to visit. I truly liked the people of Dove Pond, even the ones that were not so likable. This felt like the first book in a series and I’m hoping for more books about the Dove Family and Dove Pond.

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Release Day Review- Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald

Time after Time

Title: Time After Time

Genre: Historical Fantasy Love Story

Author: Lisa Grunwald

Publisher: Random House, June 11, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 416

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 3

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

On a clear December morning in 1937, at the famous gold clock in Grand Central Terminal, Joe Reynolds, a hardworking railroad man from Queens, meets a vibrant young woman who seems mysteriously out of place. Nora Lansing is a Manhattan socialite whose flapper clothing, pearl earrings, and talk of the Roaring Twenties don’t seem to match the bleak mood of Depression-era New York. Captivated by Nora from her first electric touch, Joe despairs when he tries to walk her home and she disappears. Finding her again—and again—will become the focus of his love and his life.

Nora, a fiercely independent aspiring artist, is shocked to find she’s somehow been trapped, her presence in the terminal governed by rules she cannot fathom. It isn’t until she meets Joe that she begins to understand the effect that time is having on her, and the possible connections to the workings of Grand Central and the solar phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, when the sun rises or sets between the city’s skyscrapers, aligned perfectly with the streets below.

As thousands of visitors pass under the famous celestial blue ceiling each day, Joe and Nora create a life unlike any they could have imagined. With infinite love in a finite space, they take full advantage of the “Terminal City” within a city, dining at the Oyster Bar, visiting the Whispering Gallery, and making a home at the Biltmore Hotel. But when the construction of another landmark threatens their future, Nora and Joe are forced to test the limits of freedom and love.

Delving into Grand Central Terminal’s rich past, Lisa Grunwald crafts a masterful historical novel about a love affair that defies age, class, place, and even time.

**
A tremendous amount of research went into this novel. Ms. Grunwald
makes the reader feel the pulse and rhythm of the daily city within a city that is Grand Central Terminal. I was so impressed with the story of the terminal that I immediately upon finishing the book went to look up the history and photos of the terminal.

I originally thought this to be a time travel book but it is more of a fantasy. Nora died in a train crash at the terminal in 1925 but on a certain Manhattan solstice day she comes back to the terminal. She meets Joe who falls in love with her and the major plot of the book is how they can remain together. The reader must suspend disbelief in order to accept that a ghost can have a physical body and that the Biltmore Hotel doesn’t know who is sleeping in their rooms. Somehow Ms. Grunwald makes us believe all sorts of impossibilities.

I did enjoy this book, especially the history of the Terminal. The heroine/ghost was a bit flighty at times and I didn’t like her actions at the end. I couldn’t help but feel that Joe would have been so much better off without her. The fact that the author created such feelings in the reader is revealing that she is a true master of her craft.

**

Some Grand central Terminal photos of light beams that  play an important part in Nora’s travels between worlds  :

Grand Central Station light beam

Grand Central Station sunbeams

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Release Day Review- Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield

Once Upon a River

Title: Once Upon a River
Genre: Historical Fiction/Gothic/Fantasy
Author: Diane Setterfield
Publisher: Atria,Simon and Schuster Digital, Dec. 4, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 480
Rating: 5
Sexy Rating: 5
Violence Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed.

Those who dwell on the river bank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? But answers proliferate nonetheless.

Three families are keen to claim her. A wealthy young mother knows the girl is her kidnapped daughter, missing for two years. A farming family reeling from the discovery of their son’s secret liaison, stand ready to welcome their granddaughter. The parson’s housekeeper, humble and isolated, sees in the child the image of her younger sister. But the return of a lost child is not without complications and no matter how heartbreaking the past losses, no matter how precious the child herself, this girl cannot be everyone’s. Each family has mysteries of its own, and many secrets must be revealed before the girl’s identity can be known.
**
Infused with the lyrical prose of Diane Setterfield, this mysterious, magical book kept me turning page after page, after page, after page (yes, 480 pages to be exact). I did think the book could have been shorter without losing any of the pacing or characterization, but that is my only complaint. It is a true rendering of the late Victorian era along the Thames River. Much research went into this book which gives the reader the feeling of living alongside the river and the many characters. The river is the main character which runs through the lives of each secondary character; kind and determined Robert Armstrong, the hopeful Vaughans, psychologically and physically damaged Lily White, the well adjusted Inn keepers Joe and Margot and son Jonathan and Rita the nurse who stands in as the village doctor, plus a villain steeped in evil. All play intricate rolls in the mystery that is the lost and found four year old girl.
I have looked forward to reading another book by this author since I read her wonderful novel THE THIRTEENTH TALE; ONCE UPON A RIVER did not disappoint. It is moody, frightening, uplifting, engrossing, perfectly nuanced and superbly constructed. I highly recommend this book.

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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- 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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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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Release Day Review- Named of The Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

Title:  Named of the Dragon

Named of the Dragon

Genre: Contemporary Romance (mystery, suspense, paranormal, history)

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, Oct. 6, 2015

Pages: 322

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:         

SOMEWHERE IN THE HEART OF LEGEND LIES THE KEY TO HER TERRIFYING DREAMS

The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its crumbling castles and ancient myths, seems the perfect distraction from the nightmares that have plagued literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw since the loss of her baby five years ago.

Instead, she meets an emotionally fragile young widow who’s convinced that Lyn’s recurring dreams have drawn her to Castle Farm for an important purpose–and she’s running out of time.

With the help of a reclusive, brooding playwright, Lyn begins to untangle the mystery and is pulled into a world of Celtic legends, dangerous prophecies, and a child destined for greatness.

**

This is very much a romantic suspense novel with touches of the paranormal just like most of Kearsley’s books.  The setting is Wales and the characters are for the most part English.  Not only do we get a mystery but also some insightful looks at Welsh history. Once again Kearsley touches on all of my favorite tropes; romance, mystery, suspense and learning something new.  The author has combined a real life setting with fictional characters and plot.  Once you start reading you are immersed in the setting, time and place.  It is not apparent that there is evil lurking but there is something that is just a bit off.  As an involved reader you will try to help Lyn figure it out but it is often elusive and difficult to know who to trust. This is truly a wonderful book from a supremely accomplished author.

I recommend this book to all who like a good mystery and a happy ending with doses of history thrown in for good measure.

This edition is a re-issue of the book first published in 1999.

 

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Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, E-Book, History, Mystery, Suspense

Recent Release Review- Light My Fire by G. A. Aiken

Title: Light My Fire (book #7 Dragon Kin Series)

Light My Fire

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Author: G.A. Aiken

Publisher: Zebra, Nov. 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

The trouble with humans is that they’re far too sensitive. Forget you put a woman in the local jail for a few months–and she takes it so personally! And yet she is the one trying to assassinate the queen. And now I’m trapped with Elina Shestakova of the Black Bear Riders of the Midnight…gods! That endless name!

But what am I to do? I am Celyn the Charming with direct orders from my queen to protect this unforgiving female.

Even more shocking, this unforgiving female is completely unimpressed by me. How is that even possible? But I know what I want and, for the moment, I want her. And I’m sure that she, like all females, will learn to adore me. How could she not when I am just so damn charming?

**

A humorous addition to Aiken’s much loved Dragon Kin Series. The dragons are arrogant, and often silly and at times extremely violent and very sexy. The humans are often powerful and at times at the mercy of the dragons. This book centers on the dragon Celyn the Charming and the human Elina a failed warrior from the Steppes of the Outerplains. It is difficult to like Elina since she is unrelentingly dour. Celyn on the other hand is all hot stuff when in his human form….oh, did I forget to mention that these are dragon shifters? Actually Celyn is “hot stuff” when he’s a fire breathing dragon also. I have been a fan of this series from the beginning so the bounce-around of the vignettes in the book did not bother me. However, if you are new to this series please start with the first book since this book brings in all the characters of the series and the uninitiated might just get a bit lost. The main plot is often sidelined so that we can have a laugh or some action at the expense of the Dragon families. Long time readers will probably like this a lot but newbies may find it confusing.

My recommendation, if you are new to the series, start from the beginning with DRAGON ACTUALLY. And if you are not new than don’t hesitate to enjoy this welcome addition to the series.

Here is a description of DRAGON ACTUALLY (BOOK#1 Dragon Kin Series):

Dragon Actually by G. A. Aiken

It’s not always easy being a female warrior with a nickname like Annwyl the Bloody. Men tend to either cower in fear – a lot – or else salute. It’s true that Annwyl has a knack for decapitating legions of her ruthless brother’s soldiers without pausing for breath. But just once it would be nice to be able to really talk to a man, the way, she can talk to Fearghus the Destroyer. Too bad that Fearghus is a dragon, of the large, scaly and deadly type. With him, Annwyl feels safe – a far cry from the feelings aroused by the hard-bodied, arrogant knight Fearghus has arranged to help train her for battle. With her days spent fighting a man who fill her with fierce, heady desire, and her nights spent in the company of a magical creature who could smite a village just by exhaling, Annwyl is sure life couldn’t get any stranger. She’s wrong…

Dragon Actually

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Advance Review- Chained By Night by Larissa Ione

Title: Chained By Night (Book #2, Moonbound Clan Series)

Chained By Night

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Fantasy

Author: Larissa Ione

Publisher: Simon and Schuster, Sept. 30, 2014-Preorder available

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

THE FUTURE OF HIS TRIBE

Leader of the vampire clan MoonBound, Hunter will do what he must to save his people from extinction—or worse, a torturous eternity as vampire slaves and subjects of human experimentation. To keep his enemies at bay, he has agreed to mate a rival clan leader’s daughter in return for peace between the clans and an ally in the looming war with the humans.

THE LOVER OF HIS SOUL

But survival comes at a price. First, Hunter must break an ancient curse by successfully negotiating three deadly tests. Then he must resist the searing passions of the gorgeous vampire warrior he despises but is bound to mate. Will Hunter stay true to his word? Or will he risk everything for the woman he really loves: the vampire seductress’s identical twin sister?

**

It is a violent and deadly world that the Moonbound Clan must navigate. Hunter has vowed not to be the monster leader his father had been. But it is difficult at best to resist his vampire rages. He is determined to be honorable in a totally dishonorable world. His betrothed is from a clan where her father is the despotic ruler and she has been raised to obey and is calculation and evil personified. Her sister on the other hand is not at all like that. She has a deformed leg that has made her an outcast in her own clan, shielded only because her father is chief. Because of her traumas in her clan she is compassionate and nothing like the others in her clan and Hunter falls in love with her.

This is the second book in the Moonbound Clan Series. The first BOUND BY NIGHT introduced the world of vampires and humans in the USA. Set in the Pacific northwest, Ione sets the stage with vivid images of the forests of this area where the vampire clans exist, constantly avoiding humans who want to capture them for slaves and trying to maintain peace between clans. She creates a fantasy world where magic exists along with demons and vampires.

This is a page turning read. It is chock full of action, adventure, violence, fantastical monsters and monstrous vampires and humans. The pages turn quickly as I was anxious to find out how the author would bring about the happy ending that I knew would happen but which seemed far beyond the reach of the protagonists. The fast pace and sizzling sexual tension kept me reading long into the night. This is a standalone novel but it does have characters that are in the first book. I think the world of the Clans and the dynamic between humans and the vampires can be understood more fully if you start with the first book in the series.

I highly recommend this book and this series to Paranormal Romance fans

 

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Deet’s life- Bad Lip Reading’s parody of Game of Thrones

This was so funny.  If you are a Game of Thrones fan I’m sure you will like it.

 

 

 

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