Category: ARC Review

Category: ARC Review

The Heart of the Forest: Review

The Monster of Selkirk Book 2The Heart of the Forest
 by C.E. Clayton
(The Monster of Selkirk, #2)
Publication date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Book Reviews- Liked it Alot

Liked It A lot

Synopsis:

Content Rating: Adult content including scenes of violence and LGBT mentions. No sexually explicit content.

Tallis is learning how to deal with loss and violence as she and her friends traverse the forests of Selkirk trying to find the reason behind the elven uprising. Not to mention why they keep hissing her name. But the further into the forests they go, Tallis is finding that the elves’ depravity can still surprise her, and thoroughly test the bonds of friendship, family, and love.

Tallis’s journey eventually leads to answers they’re not prepared for. Now Tallis begins to wonder just who she really is, and if she’s the evil that will end up destroying Selkirk. But she cannot stop to process these revelations, as an unforeseen betrayal lands those she loves at the feet of the very monster responsible for all the hurt, and heartbreak.

Coming face to face with her foe, Tallis discovers all too late she has no idea how to deal with this level of pain, and death. One way or another, the monster’s path ends here, and all Tallis can hope to do is bring those she loves safely out of the heart of the forest.

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Review:

When I saw this book in the email from Xpresso Books I knew right away I wanted to read it. The description said it was necessary to read the first book, although it would be offered along side book 2. For the VERY FIRST TIME, I decided to try out this thing where you don’t read the first book, but just jump into the second. While it worked and I enjoyed the book, I think I did miss out on something by not reading the first book. There were quite a few time near the beginning of the book that I was sort of puzzled by one thing or another. Especially when it came to the elves their descriptions and their actions/motivations just puzzled me. I wondered if these were elves in name but a completely different more animalistic species. As I kept reading though all my questions were answered and I soon settled down into the book.

The Heart of the Forest was paced a bit differently from the typical “quest” fantasy. So much of the story happens inside Tallis’ head, that time doesn’t always seem clear. And that’s okay. Sometimes books featuring a quest like this tend to be too much and then this happened and then this and next that. Having a feeling of time kinda twisting around made the journey more interesting.

Each character really got some depth in this book. Tallis is a deep thinker, but someone who doesn’t shy away from action. The revelations and events in this story are not ones she just easily accepts. So many time the reluctant hero ends up accepting their fate seemingly all too easily and while they may moan about it they still end up as the hero everyone lauds. I am so, so glad that didn’t happen in this book. Tallis struggles. She has real mental and physical hardships to overcome and she doesn’t always make the “hero’s choice.” In a way she makes the real choice, the choice her character should make because of her personality and history.

Thomas and Donovan are both great characters. Donovan the true knight, who just wants to do the right thing. Thomas the ex-monk who should be conflicted by his morals, but whose faith in Tallis overcomes all of that. Rosslyn is a hoot. At the beginning we see her as a character who takes action, who jumps into thing, perhaps a bit too quickly. By the end of the book her personal journey has taken her beyond rash action, but still left her a lively force for action. I enjoyed the journey each character made in themselves.

I can’t give away the ending, but I loved it. I loved the way the characters really stayed true to themselves and the story. I wish I could say more but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Bottom Line:

An absolutely satisfying fantasy read. If you like character stories I would definitely recommend this one.

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Inferno: Review

Inferno (Fourth Talisman, #5)
By Kat Ross
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: March 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Book Reviews - Loved ItLoved It

Other Titles By Kat Ross:

The Fourth Talisman Series:
Nocturne
Solis
Monstrum
Nemesis

The Fourth Element Series:
The Midnight Sea and The Blood of the Prophet
Queen of Chaos

Dominion Mysteries
The Daemoniac
The Thirteenth Gate

Synopsis:

Content Rating: Adult content including sex and violence. Contains LGBT content.

In the last volume of the Fourth Talisman series, the worlds of the living and the dead collide in a final confrontation that will leave Nocturne and Solis forever changed….

Three talismans adrift.
Two mad kings.
One poisonous crown.

As dark forces gather at the Rock of Ariamazes in Samarqand, Nazafareen discovers that there are worse places than the afterlife. The twisted creature pulling the Vatras’ strings is holed up in the deepest level of the Dominion—and only she has the power to follow him there, though at the potential cost of her own soul.

Prophecy claims the three daeva clans must unite to face their greatest enemy again, but two of the talismans have vanished and the third is a child more used to skulking in the shadows than leading an army. Meb the Mouse might be their last hope—if anyone bothers to take her seriously.

And within the confines of the Rock, a dying king makes a pact with the devil, setting in motion a chain of events that could spell doom for friends and foes alike.

WARNING: This book contains twists and turns, richly deserved comeuppances, shocking revelations, knock-down, drag-out fights, obsessive stalkers, some very nasty monsters…and, of course, true love.

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Review:

Buckle up! Cause this is one crazy ride to the finish…

But wait! If this is your first time hearing about the Fourth Talisman Series, you are in the wrong place. This is the ending not the beginning. Go back and read my review of Nocturne, the first book in the series. (Or skip to the bottom of the post and enter the giveaway for a copy of Nocturne.)

Light Spoilers Ahead (after all this is the last book in the series.)

After 8, count them 8 books with Nazafareen and Darius and 5 books on the world of Nocture/Solis we finally come to an end, and WHAT AN END! I must say after the way Nemesis ended I was kinda of worried. More than worried, I was sweating bullets! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Inferno.

However, it was absolutely worth the wait. I know that Kat Ross poured her heart into this book and it shows. The book is at times almost lyrical. The world building that has been so excellent to this point really brought everything in the book together.

The relationships between characters gave us so many satisfying moments throughout Inferno. Darius and Nazafareen have always had a great relationship, that although complicated at times, never left us questioning that they were OTP (one-true-pairing for those who don’t know all the online ‘ship talk. 😉) Their relationship takes several fun and satisfying turns in the book, but the relationships that really shine are several of the others. I’ve always loved the adult (as in mature not x-rated) relationship between Mina and Culach. Things got pretty interesting when Victor (Mina’s ex) showed up, but even that relationship as complicated as it is and with all the literally crazy stuff Victor does it felt fulfilled in this story. Then there is the friendship between Meb and Culach. Both bringing out the best in each other. Culach helping Meb find the courage to become queen and Meb helping Culach find the courage to fight again despite his blindness and loss of elemental power.

It’s just great stuff people. And really makes reading ALL the books worthwhile! I could go on and on because the relationships and the webs between characters have so much power in Inferno.

I will go on to one more relationship because it’s also wonderfully adult and complicated and has a very interesting outcome in the book. Nico has at times been a villain and at times a hero, his relationship to Domitia is complicated because in the Kiln you don’t make many friends. Throughout the series we see this relationship splinter as Nico came to better understand the world outside the Kiln. His betrayal of her wasn’t a shock, as he knows her thirst for power would eventually lead to all of them in chains. But what is surprising is his reaction to seeing her again (and to how her father deals with her)… it’s one of the more real moments in the crazy series of events that bring the book to a close. Time kind of freezes on these two friends as she lays dying and says… “Let go of my f***ing hand.” Perfect.

There was not a relationship moment in the series that didn’t lead to a pay off in Inferno. I haven’t even scratched the surface… the Maenads, or Javid for instance, but before this review gets too long let me give you the…

Bottom Line:

Inferno is the pay off readers deserve. Go get this series and binge read it. It’s an absolutely must-read fantasy series. Especially for readers who want some depth in the relationships and a new fantasy world setting.

I’m going to blog more about Inferno, because I didn’t even get to touch on the ending, so stayed tuned…

“She saw two tall figures vault over the ship’s rail. Raven hair and silver. They stood together like avenging angels and wherever their gaze fell, monsters died.”

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Era of Undying: Review

era of undyingEra of Undying
by Emilie Knight
Published January 19th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
My Rating:
Book Reviews - Loved ItLoved It

Synopsis:

Content Rating: Adult content including scenes of gruesome violence. No sexually explicit content.

There hasn’t been a Blood Warrior for decades. Everyone assumed they were extinct and couldn’t return. Turns out they were just in hiding. Pen chose to revert back to her nomadic life after the death of her family. Life was always safer that way, away from people. Now she’s been caught and odd occurrences have been happening in Ichorisis. People are surviving horrible injuries and illnesses that they shouldn’t be. Now that Pen is under custody of one of the several kings she’s been sent to fix the problem. Whether she wants to or not.

Review:

  • I received a copy of this book from the author.

The Era of Undying is a little bit like Avatar the Last Airbender meets Torchwood Miracle Day (which I still haven’t finished watching yet.) Pen is a Blood Warrior, a person who can use their own blood as a weapon, basically bending it to her will to use as a whip,  a lock pick, or to harden and use a sword or ax. But because of persecution of the previous Blood Warriors Pen keeps her gift a secret, attempting to live on the edges of society.

Added to that is the fact that people haven’t been able to die recently. They are surviving terrible illnesses and injuries (even beheading) without dying. Even the King is not immune. It seems that the goddess of death has gone AWOL. As the Blood Warrior Pen may be the only one who can survive a trip to the underworld to figure out whats going on and return death to the world.

It’s a very interesting and intriguing premise for a story.

The story hits the ground running and doesn’t let up. The energy in the writing really held me, causing me to speed through it. I enjoyed the characters, the world building and the mix of mythology in the book. Pen and Tellus are an interesting pair each with complicated emotional backstories and motivations.

The author does a great job playing the “what if” card in the undying scenario, each person handling it according to their own morals and ideals. Some praise it as a gift, others as a curse, some seek to take advantage of it and others dive into despair.

Bottom Line:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Era of Undying. The action didn’t let up and the twists kept me interested.

Goodreads / Amazon

Nemesis: Review

Nemesis (Fourth Talisman, #4)
by Kat Ross
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: October 20th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy

Book Reviews - Loved ItLoved It

Synopsis:

Content Rating: Adult content including sex and violence. Contains LGBT content.

In the fourth volume of the Fourth Talisman series, Nazafareen risks everything on a desperate gamble to stop the Vatras once and for all…

With Meb safely among her own people, Nazafareen has finally embraced her dangerous fire magic. She is the Fourth Talisman, destined to free the heirs from the wards binding their own extraordinary power. With Nocturne and Solis poised on the brink of war, the choices she makes will decide the fate of mortals and daevas alike.

Determined to confront Culach and make amends, Nazafareen goes to Val Moraine, setting off a chain of events that ultimately leads her deep into the perilous wasteland called the Kiln and the faceless enemy waiting there. But the ancient hatred that shattered the world a millennium before is stronger and far more devious than she and her companions imagine.

Is the Viper truly dead? And can Nazafareen triumph without facing the darkness that lurks within her own heart?

Review:

It is so hard to review a book like this, because I don’t want to give any spoilers away. Let’s just say that if you have any inkling of interest in the series you should go buy it. Go buy it now! Don’t even finish reading this review, just click on this link and go buy it.

The emotional investment I have in these books is crazy. Having been with Nazafareen and Darius for seven books now has been incredible and their story only keeps getting better. There’s more drama, more action, more crazy villains, and more reasons to love Kat Ross’s world build in Nemesis, but it won’t mean much if you haven’t put the time in. At the very least get started with Nocturne, because Nemesis isn’t a book you can just jump into.

This book builds to a crescendo in the series, which is hard to believe considering what the action has been like in the other books. Tensions are running high as true evil finally shows itself. From the mountain of Val Moraine down into crypts filled with secrets, to the Umbria where a showdown results in unbelievable tragedy and into the dangerous wastelands of the Kiln this book keeps you hooked with action, drama, great characters and an imaginative fantasy world. It’s unlike any other fantasy I’ve read.

Once you pick up this series you won’t want to put it down. I keep saying it because it’s true, “Kat Ross writes binge worthy fantasy.”

Bottom Line:

That ending… GAAAAAA!!! Kat Ross what have you done to me?! And when does Inferno come out? I needed it yesterday.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Read my reviews of Other Kat Ross Titles:

The Fourth Talisman Series:
Nocturne
Solis
Monstrum

The Fourth Element Series:
The Midnight Sea and The Blood of the Prophet
Queen of Chaos

Dominion Mysteries
The Daemoniac
The Thirteenth Gate