Book Stop: ARC Review: A Wicked Reputation by Liana Lefey

A Wicked Reputation by Liana LeFey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC

Publish Date: February 25, 2019

Series: Once Wicked #3

Genre: Historical Romance

3.5 stars rounded up because even though the plot was pretty straight forward and simple it was a really fast enjoyable read! Sometimes I just need a reminder of why I fell in love with historical romances in the first place and this book sent me straight there. The balls, the gowns, the gossip, the attitudes, the drama, and…. the passion!

This is book 3 in the Once Wicked series and can without a doubt stand alone. I have not read books one and two but after reading this book I would not be opposed to going back and seeing who books one and two are about! This book was almost a play on being the opposite of what historical romances normally entail. In this book is the illusion that the daring scandalous courtesan is after some unsuspecting benefactor rather than a rake after some sweet innocent. I liked the difference though I’m not sure that, realistically men dragged their known mistresses off to ton balls.. that seems a little too scandalous to be accurate historically, but it made for a great read! I had no problem falling right into the story, and even though the secrets were slow reveals I was caught up pretty quickly in the intrigue of it all. I am all for a rule breaker, and any woman that can bring a rake to heel, so this book was a win for me!

Diana, ruined by a petty rumor from her betrothed is cast out by her uncle and left to fend for herself, rather than deal with any dishonor fighting said rumor could bring. Innocent but unable to prove herself Diana must figure out a way to make ends meet. Entering into a mutually beneficial relationship in which Diana gains financial freedom in an intricate plot to protect her benefactor’s secrets, she posses as his mistress and learns the ways of a courtesan. Traipsing about court flaunting her status in her uncles face bringing herself some semblance of revenge she is well versed in the arts of coquettishly maneuvering herself out of others clutches and for those she can’t out maneuver her charming benefactor takes care of on the dueling field. That is until everything she has been building threatens to collapse when, overly curious, Lord Lucas Blackthorn becomes enthralled with her, and is not as easily convinced of her act. Not only that, but the feelings he awakens in her threatens to destroy her newfound family, and makes her remember all the things she once wanted so long ago.

Great, fast, simple read. Very easy to sink into and become involved. The characters were pretty rounded and the feelings seemed intense. I am excited for this series, and I hope to run across more by this author!

I requested and received a copy of this for honest review purposes via NetGalley and the publisher Entangled Publishing, LLC. Many thanks for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this work.
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Book Stop: ARC Review: Vivatera by Candace J. Thomas

Vivatera by Candace J. Thomas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: Shadesilk Press

Published: August 8, 2010

Series: Vivatera #1

Genre: YA, Fantasy

2.5 stars rounded up here. Whew, this book is sitting on what I feel is a mountain of potential with the plot concept/premise. Unfortunately for me the way it was executed really put a damper on all that potential. The main problem, for me, is that all the backstory and world building actually occur at the end of the book, almost like an afterthought. Throughout most of the book I was agonizing over the lack of backstory and world building, thinking this must be a spin off of sorts.. I checked twice to make sure it was actually the first in the series. Even if an author wants to do a slow reveal on word building and backstory and maybe keep certain things to the end as a mystery there has to be something in the beginning alluding to the fact that eventually we might get some answers. There were also several instances where climactic parts of the story would vaguely end without much detail and cut to another chapter. I personally obviously like details and explanations of how things have occurred.

These things in particular needed to be at the beginning.. or at least hinted about, and revealed throughout the plot: A hint of or the actual prophecy at the beginning of the book, or at least a description of the different races so we know what they are throughout the book, that way when they do something “different” it makes some sense, or explaining vaguely towards the beginning.. maybe in a prologue or something the events that have lead us to now, like the old kings history, or the history of how the magic came to be in this world, or the history of the stones themselves…. Not having this information really hurt the plot in my opinion because it took away from the actual story which was really interesting and could have been riveting.

We have some really abrupt insta love in this story. That isn’t really my thing but I can get on board if it seems to have some sort of foundation but here it really didn’t have enough of anything. It was a tad jarring even where it popped up in the story, it seemed to be necessary for Naomi to exit camp but not for Reynolds? Either way, I feel like there should have been more prior to the proclamation.. like maybe a recognition, or maybe even dreaming about a boy hero.. or something.

That all being said.. There was enough explanations at the very end of the book to answer most of the questions I had and to ease some of my anxiety and frustration. I am sad at where the book ended, things were just starting to make sense and we come to an abrupt end just as I started to feel we were actually getting somewhere. I am torn between wanting to see what will happen next for these characters and not wanting to put myself through it..

Received a copy via NetGalley and the Publisher Shadesilk Press in exchange for an honest review.
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Book Stop: ARC Review: The Stone’s Heart by Jessica Thorne

The Stone’s Heart by Jessica Thorne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: Bookouture

Published: January 19, 2019

Series: The Queen’s Wing #2

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Scifi, Romance

I requested and received an AR copy of this book via NetGalley and the publisher Bookouture for reviewing purposes. Many thanks for allowing me to read and review this work!

I must be honest. I did not read the blurb for this book before requesting it. Having read the first in the series I jumped at the chance to further explore the world. That being said it kind of threw me when I realized that though Bel and Con are present in this new adventure the book was more a continuation of the world with new character’s story brought to the forefront. In my opinion this book could probably stand alone, but having read the first one did add some enrichment, and backstory in. I love that we got some minor continuation of Bel and Con’s story but at the same time a whole new set of circumstances for our characters here.

Our FMC in this story is Petra, who after the last book and her efforts has been promoted to general for Bel and Con’s military. Bel and Con still preparing for wedding attempt #2. Petra is tasked with guarding Zander, Bel’s brother, while visiting for their wedding. Petra and Zander have some history which is brought to light. Zander arrives from the Empire, followed closely by Lord Teel, one of the Empress’s most favorite courtiers, and company. Turns out Zander may be on the run from the Empress’s plots and schemes and interestingly enough to Con, ever the nerd <3, the Empress has some technology and mecha they are somewhat familiar with. As Petra becomes more involved trying to protect Zander not only from the Empress’s schemes but also from her own past, Lord Teel manages to wheedle his way in. As if all this isn’t enough an old foe of Anthaese long since buried, has reawakened and is now claiming vengeance in the form of a religious uprising. We really got to learn even more about Anthaese’s history in this story and we get to see more of our “dragons” as well as some set up for further dragons.

I felt that the story itself was good and very enjoyable combining the magic of the world with the scifi tech. What kept me from loving it, I think, was the new characters I think. I think it was the lack of diversity of personalities and a lack of depth, neither Petra nor Zander are incredible or stand out really. There was just a lack of passion and intensity throughout the whole story that I think would have been very emotion provoking had it been present. The action and adventure were there, but it was just a little superficial failing to really grasp me and keep me invested even during the most climactic parts. I think that if the author had played up Petra, Zander and even Teel’s characters more and made them deeper it would have had a stunning effect. Even Bel and Con didn’t suck me in quite like in the first story. Where I would have experienced such profound heartbreak and even horror during certain parts of this story, it just didn’t really hit me emotionally like the scenes should have.

I really like this world and look forward to seeing what the story has for us next, however I would really like to see some passion, and intensity in the characters in the next story. Make me really feel it.
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Book Stop

Mark of the Brannon by Emma Shelford

Publisher: Createspace

Published: October 2014

Series: Breenan Series #1

Mark of the Breenan by Emma Shelford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a good, light, and enjoyable read! I felt like not only did the author give us a taste of a complex world I think it was done pretty well. I may be biased due to the fact that I love a fairy or fae book so I’m kind of a sucker. I think that this book had a little extra something, a little uniqueness that made it really enjoyable learning about the world. There were also some very unique concepts in the story that kept it fresh. I had absolutely no trouble falling right into the story. Honestly, I felt the author did a good job with the world building, during the first parts of the story I had absolutely no problem picturing every scene especially early in the book. I will say that once we “took a trip” so to speak that though I didn’t really feel like I couldn’t picture the scenes, there were a lot of places where there seemed to be a ton of information dumped on both the characters and the reader… the characters seemed to have no problems just going with it which may be a tad unrealistic… but hey its fantasy.. lucky for you tha’ts what I like.

I really liked our FMC Gwen who has a shy reserved personality throughout the most of the book but through her journey has started to really come out of her shell. Aidan, surprisingly I’m a little on the fence with. Its suprising because I switch book boyfriends at least twice a day. 😉 I really was into him up until we took a trip to the other world. For some reason, once we got there he seemed to kind of take a back seat… though he was there the whole time he didn’t really get to develop like Gwen did and by the end of the book I felt like he lacked intensity, especially since the other male characters in the book were super intense and mysterious. Even Bran, with his playful, class clown, bad boy thing he had going was higher on my list by the end of the book.

Our FMC, 18 year old college student Gwen, comes from a single parent home, constantly longing for her mother who after a brief session with her father, deposited a new born Gwen on his steps never to be seen again. Left with only a portrait drawn by her father, and the name Isolde, Gwen and her father have spent a lot of time searching for her with no luck. Not only does she not know her mother, she also has a problem when she gets over emotional, things happen with no explanation. In an unlikely spurt of adventurousness Gwen travels overseas to England for, what seems to be an exchange type program though it is not really described in detail. Cut to England, where Gwen and Ellie are learning about “British stuff.” On a trip around the local village and surrounding area Gwen comes into contact with some things that bring her “powers” to the surface which is both confusing and intriguing to her. Her we come to an area that was never explained nor did the story come back to it… The lady with the purple door. Unexplained mystery here. While exploring the local village they come to a pub and meet Aiden local bartender extraordinaire..but that isn’t the only stranger they meet. Ellie has an unexplainable draw to Corann and is fierce about her devotion right after meeting. Gwen is uncomfortable and wary of Corann. During a “ball” at the school Ellie is seen leaving with Corann and Gwen and Aiden decide to follow.. leading them on a journey they aren’t likely to forget. Gwen comes face to face with her past… and some new future possibilities.

All in all I thought the story was entertaining, and light making it a great quick read. I would definitely be interested to see what else is in store for Gwen in the series!

* I was given the opportunity to join the advanced reader team for this book through Book Sirens and the author Emma Shelford in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank both for the opportunity! *

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