A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The King’s Dragon (Fire and Valor #1) by W.M. Fawkes and Sam Burns — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

This was one difficult for me to rate. I think I may have rated The Amulet Stone by Mason Thomas too low. If I had rated that one higher, I would likely have rated this one higher too. I been reading a lot of fantasy this year, so it’s difficult not to compare them all even though they are all very different.

 

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5 When King Edmund dies, Reynold becomes king. After several decades of peace and prosperity, this starts a cascade of events that will see the kingdom of Llangard in a more precarious position, and many uncertain who is friend or foe. Reynold’s cousin Tris is well respected at the castle, […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The King’s Dragon (Fire and Valor #1) by W.M. Fawkes and Sam Burns — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Exile Prince (The Castaway Prince #2) by Isabelle Adler — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 This is a short novella starting six months after the previous story, The Castaway Prince. You could read this as a standalone with no issues, but it would be more enjoyable read in order. Prince Stephan of Seveihar is living in the southern kingdom of Segor with his lover […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Exile Prince (The Castaway Prince #2) by Isabelle Adler — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review:Anhaga by Lisa Henry — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 This is written in the third person point of view of Aramin, or Min, who I wasn’t sure had anything to recommend his character except his adopted nephew Harry. This is the first clue that he has a heart in his cynical, morally flexible shell and if he lashes […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review:Anhaga by Lisa Henry — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Possibilities by Nicole Field, A King’s Council 1

possibilities400

I would rate this 4.75 stars.

This is a new to me author and I bought this based on the blurb. I would say this takes about 90 minutes to read. The writing syle is crisp and focused. It’s the story of a king who doesn’t want to be, was never intended to be, actually king. Hiring his jester is one of his many new duties, but it’s the one that ends up being his most personal. I love the idea of the King’s Jester being a trusted friend and confident. This author is great at building tension: court politics, longing for someone, establishing trust, and navigating power dynamics (not BDSM). Fairy tales can get away with many things that other books can’t. For instance, yes I did find it shocking they were left alone so soon. What if they were an assassin? What if they were a spy? But in this world, the jester school is well respected and trusted. This is meant to be a sweet fairy tale, so there is no room for that here. It’s a personal tale between two people based on mutual respect, a peek into their bubble. I am torn about whether I want another book, because this is perfect as it is in my opinion.

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Healing Glass (Gifted Guilds #1) by Jackie Keswick — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 This is an intriguing fantasy novel about the political machinations amongst the Craft Guild. Most of the story revolves around a city made of glass that is suspended over the ocean. When the Craft Guild arrived and needed shelter they took it over, but the glass in the city is failing and no […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Healing Glass (Gifted Guilds #1) by Jackie Keswick — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Lord Seabolt (Four Families #2) by Megan Derr — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 I think this could be read on its own without missing anything, but the emotional impact would be greater if Finder Tolan was read first. This takes place eighteen years later. Goss is now twenty. His father Tolan is now Master Mage for the Crown. His other father Shaw […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Lord Seabolt (Four Families #2) by Megan Derr — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: A Deceptive Alliance by Sydney Blackburn

adeceptivealliance-cover

The cover art is by Natasha Snow.

 

 

I would rate this 4 stars.

The book starts out with Kel marrying Princes Darian’s proxy, Duke Savoy, dressed as his sister who has run off. But this was Kel’s solution to the crisis, and it might have been an unwise one. I’m sure you see the problem right away–if Kel falls in love with the Prince, the Prince is still actually married to Isabel. This has a touch of Shakespeare to it that is quite fun, but the idea that his sister would be able to sneak up on a royal guarded caravan and switch places with him en route to the other kingdom seems ridiculous.

What I didn’t like was Kel’s justification that it was a better situation for Isabel having an arranged marriage since she might at least have the chance of falling in love with her husband (since she is heterosexual) whereas in his arranged marriage he had no chance (since he is gay and not bisexual). She could also be married to a violent man would would abuse and control her so, that is a crappy thought to write for Kel to have–especially since he is about to become the lord and master of his own estate. I’m unclear here whether the author means to make a statement on how some cis, gay, rich, white men think about women, or if this is entirely thoughtless. It’s a few sentences, but I didn’t like it and it took me totally out of the book. Gratefully, much of the book focuses on Kel realizing how much his sister was constrained by societal expectations and he experiences his own sexual assault, which hopefully makes him more sympathetic.

Over the journey to the city of Seagate in Pervayne, Kel as Isabel, becomes close with Dare, the Prince’s esquire. But Dare is not who he seems either. While I was happy with the way everything happens when it is discovered that Kel is a man, it was also strange that they act like they are actually married rather than acknowledging the prince is actually married to Isabel. This is eventually brought up upon the arrival of the real Isabel, but quickly dismissed.

There is no getting around that Kel is in the traditional female role of giving up his name, property, title, and his job, for this marriage. That’s why when everything doesn’t go as planned, I liked getting to see Kel as himself. Even though there is a place for the non-binary in this society, known as Kindred, that is not really who Kel is.

There is so much to like here that I find myself being critical because it could have been even better with just a little tweaking. Still, I enjoyed what was here and could see myself reading it again. There is a charm about it. If you like romance books set in a medieval type fantasy setting such as those by Megan Derr, I would recommend trying this.

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Review: Shadow Realm by Jackie Keswick, Dornost Saga, Shades 2

shadow realm cover
Cover Art by Emma Griffin

I would rate this 4.25 stars.

Here is the link to my review of the first story, Sword Oath, which I thought was a prequel, but turned out to be book one. It was a short read and I would recommend you read it first as it establishes who Madan and Serrai are and how they came to be where they are. There are worse things than death, it seems.

When Madan and Serrai were given their choice by the Fates, they didn’t get to read the fine print. Now, their afterlife is not quite what they expected. They’ve been in the Shadow Realm three years. The details are teased out as the reader is thrown into the action. There are so many interesting ideas here that could be explored, but are presented like tapas. I wouldn’t mind dinner.

Given a dangerous task by Grace, the youngest Fate, Madan and Serrai each have their own part to complete. The alternating POV help us understand each characters thoughts and motivations as well as building the tension. While Serrai holds the veil open, Madan has to find the Shades who have escaped. This reminded me of a medieval, pagan, fantasy version of that tv show named Brimstone with Peter Horton, only Madan only has to find 4 Shades and not 113 souls. Once again, I enjoyed that epic high fantasy feel, in a short story. Normally I don’t like so much of a book being in the characters’ (or the author’s) heads with little dialog–here it is essential as most of the battles they face are psychological. The Fates also like to mess with them and have their own agenda. Again, it comes down to the love they have for each other and the author shows that well in a way that makes me root for them. I can’t wait for the next adventure. I also wouldn’t mind other adventures as the world building continues. These could easily be keep as short stories set in different realms/time periods, or interwoven between the living and the dead as novels.

The cover art is by Emma Griffin and fits in with the series, put looks more spooky than the cover of the first book, which is fitting.

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: A Dance of Water and Air (Elemental Magicae #1) by Antonia Aquilante — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5 Due to rising tensions with their neighbor, Tycen, the King of Thalassa is pushing an alliance with Aither on their western border. The king’s son Prince Edmund is to marry Aither’s Queen Hollis and conceive within two years. The author nicely sets up some political intrigue at court in […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: A Dance of Water and Air (Elemental Magicae #1) by Antonia Aquilante — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: The Imposter King By Wendy Rathbone, Imposter 2

Imposter King Cover
Cover by: Jay Aheer

This is the second book in the Imposter series. For my review of The Imposter Prince, go here.

This book starts out with an intimate moment for our two MCs, the HFN we saw in book one. But, we know that Prince Darius is not who he seems to be and danger still lurks even though Prince Malory would wish otherwise. When King Millard wants Dare to go see his father and find out if he still intends war between their kingdoms, Dare is sure everything is going to fall to pieces.

The best part of this book is the attraction and love between Mal and Dare because I was invested in their situation. There is a lot of sex at the beginning, but I feel it was to make the horrifying parts more so by comparison. The descriptions of the scenes were better in this book than the first book. The weird scenes with Stix are, well, weird. This seems to be the author justifying that there was a reason for what Dare went through with Stix in the first book–a value that we will perhaps see later in the story. I’m not sure I agree. The angst factor is high and the drama is OTT. There is intrigue within the intrigue. I was pleasantly suprised by the plot. I don’t want to give anything away, but it was interesting to see who Mal was in a different set of circumstances. I like the plot twists and felt they were well done–surprising, but not out of left field. It did take a strange turn for a minute near the end and I was worried it was wandering into the paranormal. Thankfully, it evened back out with a really great plot twist.

This was vastly more entertaining than the first book. The writing was much more accessible. There were some typos. Be warned that with the plot twists, things get very twisted looking back on all the events. Frankly, Dare is a saint. There is a hard won happily ever after for the end of this duology, but you are going to have to get through the first book to enjoy this one, so I kind of wish the first one was reedited to make it more stylistically in keeping with this one.

I would rate this 4.50 stars.

Warnings: this duology covers dark subjects in both memories and on page so if you are concerned please see the tags, although they will be spoilers.

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