Kallista Dane-Fire Born

Once upon a time, there was a virgin queen. No, it wasn’t Queen Elizabeth I of England. No, her name was Melisandre, Queen of the World of the Seven Stars, and heroine of Kallista Dane’s latest book, Fire Born. This is the first book in the Queen of the Seven Stars series, and since it’s a reverse harem with 5 guys, I’m predicting at least 4 more books to come. Works for me.

So, Melisandre has just learned that her father has died, and at the tender age of almost 18, she’s now planning her coronation. Her vizier, who she sees as almost an uncle or grandparent, comes in, kicks her butt out of bed and tells her to suck it up because they have to go see the Oracle the day after the coronation, and her people need her to be Queen and not a lump in the bed. Of course, Meli doesn’t like that, but that was Antonius’s goal. He’s gruff, blunt, and acerbic, and she pretty much loves the old man. However, everyone knows that Oracles aren’t real, so she’s willing to humor him.

Meanwhile, in a cave, an old woman calls Drayke to her. She encourages him to walk through the fire. Melisandre is watching, in her dream, and she sees him walk through the fire and thinks that he’s dead. Right up until he burst out of the flame as a dragon. Now, I love this because drake is another name for dragon. I love things like that.

When Meli finally gets to the Oracle, she finds out that she is going to have to fight the Lord of Darkness, and to do that, she’s going to have the help of 5 mates. The dragon, the warrior, the mystic, the wizard, and the rogue. So, yeah, pretty much a D&D party. She’s going to have to train to fight so that she can lead the fight, otherwise the darkness will take over her world.

Six years later, Melisandre has been training, and she and Antonius have been studying the prophecy and the things that her ancestors have written about it. Now, the Oracle summons Drayke and tells him that it’s time for him to go to Melisandre and to start to fulfill his part.

I really like Melisandre. I think that she’s a avery strong woman. Kallista tends to write strong female characters, at least I think so. Melisandre is going to very much be the heroine in the story in more ways than one, I think. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens as she goes to find more of her mates and as they all learn to interact with each other and how to share their lives together. I’m pretty excited for the rest of the books to come out. I’m hoping that Kallista doesn’t keep us waiting for too long.

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If there’s anything I’ve learned from Disney, it’s that you don’t trust the viziers, so I was kinda worried about Antonius there for a minute, but then he started sexing up the Oracle, so I stopped worrying about him overly much. I want to think that he and the Oracle are part of the group that trapped the bad guy in the first place, but I’m probably not right, but wouldn’t that be awesome?

I’m really interested to see how each of the guys is going to adjust to being added into the mate group. I mean, Drayke may be the only one who gets to spend any one-on-one time with Meli. Unless she goes off on a quest with each guy separately and then they get all get together at the end, but I don’t see how that would work very well. guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

That’s all I have to say today. Go on over to King Zon and take a look at this one. You won’t regret it. Happy reading! And don’t forget that we have giveaways coming up on the FB page this weekend!

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Ilona Andrews-Iron and Magic

Ilona Andrews is a husband and wife team, Ilona and Gordon Andrews. They write one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series, the Kate Daniels series. The last book in that world comes out later this year. I’ve had it on pre-order for nearly a year. That’s how much I love this series. So, when they announced that they were writing a story around Hugh D’Ambray, I was excited, because it meant that we would get more of that world, but also I was interested to see how they would take one of the baddies from Kate’s world and make him likable in any way. I have an interesting relationship with Hugh. I both hate him and love him. Hate him because he wants to hurt my Kate and love him because he’s a great bad guy. Horrible things have been happening to Hugh lately, and I wanted to see how well he could manage them. Well, let me tell you, I was not disappointed at all. Iron and Magic was all that I could’ve wanted and even more.

So, here’s where we start. Hugh is drinking himself to death. He’s been abandoned and all he can do is drink to try to feel better, to try to forget, to try to feel anything. The remaining leaders of his Iron Dogs track him down and tell him that he needs to man up, stop drinking, and help them. The Iron Dogs are being hunted, are hiding, running, and starving. When Hugh is sober enough to listen to them, they decide that they need a base, and one of his advisors has found one for him.

Deep in Kentucky, Elara is queen of her castle. She watches over her people to make sure that they are OK and does everything she can to keep them that way. But when Roland’s Legatus keeps trying to buy her castle, she knows that she needs an army to fight him. She doesn’t have an army, but Hugh does. Hugh doesn’t have a base, but she does. It’s a perfectly incovenient marriage made in purgatory.

When I say marriage, I speak literally. In order to bring everything together, they marry to seal the deal, just like alliances have been made over thousands of years. It doesn’t mean that they love each other or that they even like each other. As long as they are married, it’s all good.

The female characters written by Ilona Andrews are generally strong, fearsome, devious, and delicious. See Kate, Nevada, Andrea, Aunt B, etc. Let’s add Elara to that list. She is very strong, both as a character and as a magic user. She knows who she is, what she is capable of, and what she will do in order to keep her people safe. That makes her even stronger, in my opinion. She’s very smart and tends to have plans within plans. She doesn’t let her right hand know what her left hand is doing, or let Hugh know everything she knows. Elara is definitely going in my favorite female characters list.

Hugh is different from the Hugh D’Ambray we know and loathed/loved in the previous books. He’s rebuilding himself, and figuring out who he really is and what he really wants to do. Elara makes him think certain things through and figure certain things out, which I didn’t even see until Elara shoved them in Hugh’s face, and then I was like damn, how’d I miss that.

Their marriage is like a crazy monkey knife fight sometimes. It’s awesome to watch. I can’t wait to see where it is going.

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Oh so many things that I could say down in my lovely spoiler section. Hmmm… What shall I say?

I need to know more about Elara. She’s hiding so much. Who and what is she?

OMG, Erawan. That was fucking awesome. Just so fucking awesome.

Hugh and Roland. Wow!

I want to see Hugh and Kate and Curran get together and talk somehow. I think that would be epic. Especially after the epiphanies that he’s had.

OK. That’s all for this one. If you love Kate Daniels, urban fantasy, sword and sorcery books, this is a must have. Go check it out. It’s available at all the booksellers. Happy reading!

Katie Douglas-Bound to the Highlanders

Dear Katie Douglas, can I move to Glenaesh? I promise that I have no problem with 2 gorgeous Highlanders wanting to be my husband. I’d even be willing to sign up for a sexy Londoner. I promise that I will take good care of them.

So, as you may be able to guess, we’re looking at Bound to the Highlanders by Katie Douglas today. This is the second book in her menage series that takes place in Victorian era Scotland, in a small Highland village called Glenaesh. The village is near the sea, so there are a lot of fishermen. There are also a lot of hunters. These are both very dangerous occupations. Because of that, the people in this village have developed a tradition of 2 men marrying one woman. That way, if something happens to one of them, then the other will be able to take care of their wife and any children.

Glenaesh is close to the spirit world, and the way that the marriages are made is that on Midsummer’s Eve they have a huge dance. Everyone shows up. Towards the end of the evening, the children all leave and the magic starts. People are drawn into the circle to dance and their spirits are bound together with the other people in their marriage. That’s what happened in Fiona, William, and Graham.

Fiona’s family came from the village but her parents moved to London and away from the village and looked down on the traditions. But her parents are now dead, so she moved to her aunt and uncle’s house. Her aunt explained the traditions of the village to her. After being there a month, her aunt also talked her into going to the dance. Fiona was told that as long as she didn’t go into the circle, it would be fine. She’s all fine with that, since she just sent Martin a letter in London, inviting him there and hoping that he would ask her to marry him.

William is a hunter. He’s considered a little weird in the area. He’s quiet and stays out in the woods as much as possible. He has a little house out there. He has a sad family history and he doesn’t want a wife because of that. So when Fiona, slightly under the influence, talks to him, he is surprised.

Graham is the go-to man in the village. He fixes anything that breaks down, and in his spare time, he invents things. He hasn’t really wanted a wife either. But what the 3 of them doesn’t mean a whole lot when it comes time to dance. The music draws them into the circle and the dance ties them together. Only, Fiona also feels a tendril that goes out from where they are down and away toward London. Makes you wonder about other people, now doesn’t it?

Oh, William made me so mad at first. OK, so did Fiona and Graham. Yeah, none of them expected this thing to happen, but he walked away from it. I get that neither of the men wanted a wife let alone one that they had to share, but I don’t get why they didn’t at least expect that it could happen, considering the village’s traditions. But, I’m glad that Fiona got some time with both William and Graham before anyone else may or may not have shown up and gotten involved.

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Oh, when Martin showed up, I got mad at Fiona for leaving with him, but I have a feeling that he wasn’t going to give her a whole lot of choice in it. OTOH, marrying him in a church and having married Graham and William in the circle means all bases are covered. Pretty sure that no one else is going to be able to walk into that marriage at all. LOL.

I’m looking forward to finding out about the wolves, because I know that there is something. I didn’t miss the little bit about Fiona seeing the wolf change from a wolf to a man who looked like Frazer for a moment. So, we’re going to have to see about that, won’t we?

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. You should definitely go and read this one. Happy reading!

Lee Savino-Owned by the Berserkers

Lee’s back with her Berserkers. They are a bunch of Viking and ancient Celtic warriors who were changed into wolves by magic. They have three forms, the man, the wolf, and the monster. The Berserkers walk a fine line between being sane and crazed. The monster can eat away at their sanity. Because of that, most of the Berserkers have paired up in brother bonds, to help keep their sanity intact. It wasn’t until the Alphas found their woman and found out that she was something called a spaewife that they learned that spaewives can mate with them and can control the beasts. There were originally four sisters, but then the Berserkers found out about an abbey filled with orphans who are spaewives. So, they raided the abbey and took all the orphans with them.

In Owned by the Berserkers (Berserker is a fun word to type), we get the story of another one of the orphans, Fern, and her mates, Svein and Dagg. This book flashes back and forth between the present and the past. We get to see what happened at the raid and what’s currently happening.

At the raid, Svein and Dagg discovered Fern and carried her away. They knew that she was her mate and they decided that they were going to be very careful with her and woo her before they told her. All Fern knew is that she felt safe with them and that being with them held off her visions of the skeletal monster who wanted to have her. She got to spend just a few blissful days with them before that monster, the Corpse King, decided to attack. He managed to make Svein and Dagg crazy and cause them to do things they never would otherwise.

Now, Fern lives with all the other unmated spaewives and orphans. They live in a lodge on the mountain, isolated from all the Berserkers so that they don’t cause any problems. When each of the women goes through the heat that each spaewife goes through, she is mated to the Berserkers who are their mates. The women get to see some of the already mated women from the orphanage, but other than that, they are kept under close guard.

Fern has problems though. One is that her visions of the Corpse King are coming back and they are coming back stronger. All she knows is that she was safe with Svein and Dagg. And there are wolves that are howling around the edge of the mountain. She’s been feeding them on the sly, but she finds out that they are to be driven away after a blizzard. That’s when Fern knows that she has to do something.

Fern, Dagg, and Svein are going to be my second favorite trio, after Sage, Rolf, and Thorbjornn. Fern is an incredibly strong character. She knows that she has to do something and she goes out and does it, even after she’s been warned that the wolves howling at the mountain are monsters with nothing left of their humanity and that there’s a horrible blizzard on its way. She goes out and does it anyway and nearly dies from the weather, but succeeds at her overall goal. I was sad about some things in this story, because, well, they are sad things. I was also worried about some things. But, overall, I was hopeful and knew that Fern would be successful in her goals. She was too determined to win for her to manage to fail. If you haven’t read any of the┬áBerserker books, you could read each as a standalone, I guess, since each is a story in and of itself, but they are all part of a larger story, and you will like them more if you have read the ones before it.

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I’m looking forward to seeing how Fern’s new power is going to fit in with the rest of the story. I do love that the women are powerful and that they are actually powers in their own right, not just because they are mated to a Berserker pair. I think that’s pretty awesome.

I’m looking forward to seeing Juliet’s story. I know that Jarl has something to do with it, so it’s going to be interesting to see. She may be the first Berserker bride without a flower name. Maybe she needs to have a name change.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check out both the Berserker Saga, for how the story began, and the Berserker Brides for how the story is continuing. You won’t be sorry! Happy reading!

Aria Adams-The Belle Jar

Aria Adams is a pen name for Katie Douglas. It’s the one where she writes dark stuff. And the Belle Jar is dark. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it sure as fuck isn’t any kind of fairy tale. It’s dark, horrific in places, merely scary in others, but it has glimmers of light in it. It’s a great story and I loved it.

Marea lives in Darkholm, which isn’t a very nice kind of place to live. Her mother was burned as a witch and the people of her village keep accusing her of being a witch. The only thing that has saved Marea from being burned is the fact that her mother had the foresight to have a chastity ring inserted on Marea. This ring went into her bits, making sure that she would retain her virginity. No one could figure out how to take the┬áring off, and frankly, Marea is pretty happy about that, because it proves she’s still a virgin and never had sex with a demon, meaning she couldn’t be a witch. But the fact that she’s a redhead doesn’t endear her to the people in her village.

In the dark and evil woods near their village, is a castle. Every 7 years, the denizens of the castle demand a sacrifice. This year, the village has decided that it’s going to be Marea, so they bundle her into a sack and pop up onto the doorstep of the castle. When she’s taken out of the sack, she’s confronted by monsters who pop her into a bell jar and begin doing terrible things. She manages to survive that part, but more and more horrible things happen.

I loved the story. Aria managed to put a lot of different layers in it and to leave you wondering what’s going to come next. I wasn’t sure what Marea was going to do when she got stuck with horrible choices. When your choices break down into a handful of shit or a bigger handful of shit, there’s not really any good choice for you to make. I’m pretty sure that Marea would’ve been happy if handfuls of shit had been her choice.

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I love the dichotomy of the castle boys and the mirror boys. It was really interesting to see. I’m not sure if it made it any easier for Marea or not. I mean, she had someplace to escape to, but when she came back to the castle, she had something terrible to deal with. I would think that each time she was able to go to the mirror, it would make coming back so much worse.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go read it, but make sure you have a comfy blankie with you while you do.

Alta Hensley & Zoe Blake-Red & the Wolves

Alta and Zoe have released Red and the Wolves, the second book of their 3 RH dark romance fairy tales. These are not fairy tales to read to your children. In fact, you might not even want to read them around your children. The steam rising off your Kindle might cause them some concern.

So, are you can probably guess, Red is the reimaging of Little Red Riding Hood. Only when the Big Bad Wolf wants to eat Red, he’s not thinking about dinner. And it’s more like Big Bad Wolves, 5 of them, and they all have designs on Red.

The village where Red is born and grows up is surrounded by a tall wall and thick forest. In that forest, there are 5 magical wolves. Back in the day, 500 years ago, the village elders used magic to create the wolves from some of the villagers. They were needed so that they could fight the darkness that threatened everyone. Every so often, the Blood Moon rises, and when the Blood Moon rises, the village sacrifices a villager to the wolves.

Red’s grandmother is a village elder. Too bad it had never been any kind of bonus for her. Her grandmother, the evil old hag, hated Red’s father and since her mother died at birth, it fell on the hag to raise Red. She made sure that not only did Red know how worthless to everyone she is, she also made sure that the village made her an outcast. It doesn’t help that Red stands out because of her very red hair either.

When the Blood Moon rises, the elders say that it’s time for a sacrifice. All the other sacrifices have been chosen from the oldest unmarried males in each household. This time, the hag manages to push through a change, it’s the oldest unmarried person from each household. In this case, Red would be in the group and is the only woman there. And we can guess what’s going to happen, otherwise, this would’ve been a really short book.

Red gets turned out of the village and is left to the tender mercies of the wolves, named Canis, Beo, Grimm, Rood, and Helm. Or, are they men?

OK, it’s time. I love, love, love the names of the guys. I picked up some of the references with the names, but I don’t know if all of them have some kind of significance. I love the books that do that. I love the books that don’t. I love the books. I just think it adds in an extra layer of fun to have various names of characters referring back to other things. Red is a very strong character and is willing to stand up for what she believes in, in my opinion. She doesn’t always listen well, but that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? The guys are very strict and very intense. There is some heavy dubcon going on here, IMO, at least at first. The book is swelteringly hot, with all the good stuff going on. Each of the guys has a distinct personality, and it’s interesting to get to know them. We also get a peek at Snow White and her guys.

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I love that Red wants to let the people of her village know the truth. The guys deserve to have the truth known. After all, theirs was the true sacrifice.

I wonder if they were to have babies, would they be able to shift back and forth from human to wolf? That would be such an awesome start to a werewolf legend.

OK, go check this one out. Happy reading!

Stella Moore-Cassandra’s Curse

We had Stella Moore on here not too long ago. And here she is again. However, this time, Stella has given us a different genre with a paranormal romance filled with love, romance, and spanking. So, let’s talk about Cassandra’s Curse.

This Cassandra, while Greek, has nothing to do with the Cassandra of Trojan fame, even though she was cursed too. Different woman, different curse. Our Cassandra was cursed many, many, many years ago by another immortal witch. Cassandra had stolen Iliana’s man away from her, so Iliana was going to make her pay by cursing her into an amulet until someone can manage to break the curse. Until then, she has to serve the man who owns the amulet, in whatever way he wants her to. She has been doing this for hundreds of years. Cassandra serves a man, and then is locked away in the amulet for a time, and then years later, someone else gets the amulet, and the cycle starts back over.

One day, Wyatt is wandering through an antique store, looking for the perfect present for his mom. Well, in this case the perfect present is the one she told him to pick up, a beautiful amulet from this particular shop. Wyatt haggles with the owner and buys the necklace for his mother. When he gets it to his house, he decides to take it out and look at it. Then a note falls out of the box. He reads the note, and poof, out pops Cassandra. She tells him that she’s a witch and has been cursed to the amulet and now she must serve him in whatever fashion he tells her to.

OK, it’s that time. This is a lovely story. There is some spanking, just enough to add some spice to the story. Cassandra and Wyatt work well together, and he’s good with teaching her how to handle the world that has changed since she was last out of the amulet in the 1860s. It’s an interesting story with a good premise and Stella gave me something that I really enjoyed.

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I was surprised when some of the people turned out to be the people that they were. It was a nice surprise and it worked out really well for the story.

I adore Wyatt’s mom, she’s a pretty awesome character and I’d love to see more with her, because why the hell not.

I’m hoping that we can get more stories about Wyatt and Cassandra, maybe just a quick novella catching us up on them?

Go check this out over on the Zon and tell me what you think! Happy reading!