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Thursday, 26 March 2015

Line and Orbit - Sunny Moraine and Lisa Soem

  • Author: Sunny Moraine and Lisa Soem 
  • Editions: Paperback and E-book
  • Publisher:Samhain Publishing, 2013
  • Science Fiction/ Space Travel 

What he’s been taught to fear could be his destiny…and his only hope.

Adam Yuga, a rising young star in the imperialist Terran Protectorate, is on the verge of a massive promotion…until a routine physical exam reveals something less than perfection. Genetic flaws are taboo, and Adam soon discovers there’s a thin line between rising star and starving outcast.

Stripped of wealth and position, stricken with a mysterious, worsening illness, Adam resorts to stealing credits to survive. Moments from capture by the Protectorate, help arrives in the form of Lochlan, a brash, cocksure Bideshi fighter.

Now the Bideshi, a people long shunned by the Protectorate, are the only ones who will offer him shelter. As Adam learns the truth about the mysterious, nomadic people he was taught to fear, Lochlan offers him not just shelter—but a temptation Adam can only resist for so long.

Struggling to adapt to his new life, Adam discovers his illness hides a terrible secret, one that the Protectorate will stop at nothing to conceal. Time is growing short, and he must find the strength to close a centuries-old rift, accept a new identity—and hold on to a love that could cost him everything.


I might have finished this book in a day and sort of wished I had spent more time on it as it was so brilliant and beautiful. will definitely need to give it a second read to see all the details i've missed on my quick speed through. But this book was gripping and was filled with action on every page so it was impossible to put down - I did try, promise. 

The hero to this tale iOS Adam Yuga who has been genetically modified to be perfect. He has the job, the car and the house but when his physical shows that he has a default he is fired and thrown aside as imperfection is not tolerated on Protectorate. Adam is left to die until Lochlan (Lock) shows up and saves Adam from the Protectorate as he has stolen money in order for him to keep on living. Lock is an aragont Bideshi a race who left Protectorate many centuries before. But Adam is still sick and is slowly diying and only the Bishishi will help him. 
This book is unlike anything I have ever read and as I said previously I could not put it down. it is a wonderful mixture between The Host and Avatar the movie. I enjoyed the slow build to Lock and Adams relationship, they were perfect for one another and I loved the changes they made to one another as the novel goes on. 

I must say a predictable ending but I still needed to see what happened and I was not put off by the books predictability. The only slight imperfection was the Protectorate's point of view as I got bored by their tales and just wanted to read about the Bidishi. This was also not helped by the flimsy reasons for killing and pursuing Adam across the galaxy. 

However overall I adored this action packed novel and can't wait to have another read through in a few weeks. Recommend to anyone who loved The Host, Avatar, Stargate Galatia (not that I've seen it but Ive heard its similar) and anything to do with space travel.  

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Havemercy - Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett

  • Author: Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett 
  • Editions: Paperback, Hardcover 
  • Publisher: Random House/ Del Rey Presidio Press 2008 
  • Steampunk 

This stunning epic fantasy debut introduces two exciting new authors—and a world brimming with natural and man-made wonders, extraordinary events, and a crisis that will test the mettle of men, the boundaries of magic, and the heart and soul of a kingdom.

Thanks to its elite Dragon Corps, the capital city of Volstov has all but won the hundred years’ war with its neighboring enemy, the Ke-Han. The renegade airmen who fly the corps’s mechanical, magic-fueled dragons are Volstov’s greatest weapon. But now one of its members is at the center of a scandal that may turn the tide of victory. To counter the threat, four ill-assorted heroes must converge to save their kingdom: an exiled magician, a naive country boy, a young student—and the unpredictable ace who flies the city’s fiercest dragon, Havemercy. But on the eve of battle, these courageous men will face something that could make the most formidable of warriors hesitate, the most powerful of magicians weak, and the most unlikely of men allies in their quest to rise against it. 

Are we sure that Rook is not in love with Thom? I know their brothers but the sexual tension between these two made me question their whole relationship. Okay now thats out of the way this book was brilliant. I haven't read anything really good in a long time and this was a book I could sink my teeth into. Wish the second one had arrived in the post already I cannot wait to start Shadow Magic. 
Havemercy is a epic novel set in a world strife with a war that had been raging for hundreds of years and finally seems it be coming to a dramatic close. Thom and Rook were by far my favourite story and characters, as they hate each other but secretly want each other and then suddenly BOOM their brothers. I don't think this was the best idea on Jones part as they are clearly attracted to one another. I just read 500 pages of how they want to be with the other but no its only because secretly they knew hey were brothers :/
Royston and Hal were a lot less complicated and I enjoyed their tale a lot, it just didn't have the fierceness that Rook possessed, I can definitely see why Thom is so attracted to Rook. 
Jones writes relationships very well and this is where the book excels. All four characters interact with one another but Rook and Thom's story is together and Hal and Royston's tale is linked. They just cross over towards the end as Thom and Hal becomes friends, but this works really well. 

I would recommended this book to anyone who loves Steampunk and of course dragons and magicians, but they are almost sidelined to the beautifully drawn characters and the world building that Jones does so well. What a brilliant read, finished it in 4 days. Definitely deserves 5 stars.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A Royal Affair - John Wiltshire

  • Author: John Wiltshire 
  • Editions: Paperback and E-book
  • Publisher: Dreamspinner Press 2014 
  • LGBT Historical Fiction 

Doctor Nikolai Hartmann represents himself as a learned man of science who believes wholly in the rational and scientific above all else. In reality, he is a man haunted by an unusual past and running from his own nature. While the Reformation transforms much of Europe, it has yet to touch Hesse-Davia; this is a land mired in superstition with cruel punishments for crimes such as witchcraft and sodomy.

While traveling to the dying king s bedside to offer his medical expertise, Nikolai is set upon by a bandit. Reaching the king s ancient stronghold, he discovers his mysterious brigand is the beautiful, arrogant Prince Aleksey. Aleksey is everything Nikolai is not: unguarded, passionate, and willful. Despite their differences, Nikolai feels an irresistible desire for the young royal that keeps him in Aleksey s thrall.

But Hesse-Davia is a dangerous world for a newly crowned king who wants to reform his country and for the man who loves him."

This book is unlike anything I have ever read, it  is unpredictable with great world building. A Royal Affair is set in a middle European world called Hessa-Davia, which is cruel and seems more medival than Nikola Hartmann is used to. I read an except on my kindle, and was instantly hooked and bought it in paperback, what a brilliant decision!! 

At first Niko could be seen as being a the lone grumpy healer, while Aleksey could be seen as a spoiled prince. However the sexual tension between the two kept me reading on tenterhooks till the end. I always enjoy a slow build in a relationship and these two danced around their feelings for a while until finally they understood each other. The best part was that they both grew together until you couldn't imagine the one without the other. The style of writing that Wiltshire uses is different from anything else I have read, as foreshadowing and speaking directly to the reader is a technique Wiltshire uses freely. 

Overall the book was thrilling and emotional with a solid plot that did keep me feverishly reading. However I found the ending a little rushed. Yet I feel I need to re-read the novel to see if my criticism is valid, but I felt the build to the climax of the story was over far too quickly, with no room to mourn the tragedy.

Overall however I would give this novel a 3.5 Stars, and would recommend it to people who love tragic fairy tales and betrayed princes. I am now a John Wiltshire fan and apparently their is a sequel to this novel. 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Archer's Heart, Astrid Amara

  • Author: Astrid Amara
  • Editions: Paperback and E-Book 
  • Publisher: Blind Eye Books 2008 
  • LGBT Historical Fiction  

In the ancient kingdom of Marhavad, noblemen dominate the lower castes, wielding mystic weapons, known as shartas, against any who oppose them. For generations the rule of Marhavad’s kings has been absolute. But now the line of succession is divided, and whispers of revolution are heard in even the royal palace.

Keshan Adaru, an outspoken man of unearthly charms, welcomes these changes. All his life he has foreseen an uprising that will shatter the castes and end the tyranny of the old laws. His visions have driven him but now, at the brink of their fulfillment, he finds himself obsessed with Prince Jandu Paran-- a man whose entire family must be destroyed if the kingdom is to be freed.

Tarek Amia would gladly see Jandu Paran brought low. Born the son of a charioteer, Tarek has no love for the royal princes who have slighted and insulted him all his life. Only Keshan’s philosophies have elevated him from the brutal ranks of common soldiers. Tarek owes Keshan his devotion, but he is a pragmatic man and when he discovers Keshan’s reckless affair he realizes that Keshan may have to be sacrificed for the sake of his own revolution.

Young Prince Jandu Paran has never concerned himself with court intrigue. His life has been dedicated to the lordly art of archery and mastering the immense powers of the shartas. Handsome and arrogant, he is sure that no man can surpass him and yet Keshan Adaru’s mere touch brings Jandu to his knees. But his desire for Keshan is more than forbidden; it threatens to destroy Jandu’s pride, position and family. In the midst of this turmoil, an unspeakable event forces Jandu to redefine the meaning of honor and loyalty.

And now, as armies arise to war, each man must decide where his allegiance lies and what he will sacrifice in his heart and on the battlefield.

5 Stars (Wish I could give it more)

After re-reading The Arche'rs Heart I think I fell in love with it even more. Considering I thought this book was one of the best I had read in 2014, this was quite an achievement. 

The Archer's heart is such a pleasure to read. This beautiful fantasy novel draws on elements of the Mahābhārata and is set in a land, not dissimilar to India, called Marhavad. It is a tale of caste, magic, betrayal, adventure, war and love. I spent a week rushing off to bed early just so I could read more! After I read it on my Kindle I had to buy it in paperback, even though it is now out of print, am so glad that I did.This book deserves to be read in paperback. 

The Indian influence that saturates this novel is beautiful, and a nice change, as most fantasy books I have read have European roots and groundings, and so this epic novel was a breath of fresh air. Astrid Amara builds this world beautifully and with the magical elements that blend seamlessly with the historical feeling of this novel, it is truly a rare gem of a book.   

Prince Jandu Paran, may seem at first a spoilt brash boy, but don't let this deter you. He may be ignorant of the problems plaguing his country but this novel is all about his journey as he grows into a man who is strong and worthy of his title, with the help from Keshan Adaru. Keshan is a man who is gifted with The Sight and therefore change is at the forefront of everything he does. He is determined to abolish the caste system and have all men and women equal in society. He is charismatic and beautiful and the romance between Jandu and Keshan was one of the reasons why this novel works so well. 

This book will always have a very special place in my heart, as I don't think I can explain how much it moved me. The Archer's Heart is unique and beautiful with excellent world building and lyrical text. I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys historical romance and a love story that will always be with you.   

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Half Pass, Astrid Amara

  • Author: Astrid Amara 
  • Editions: Paperback and Ebook 
  • Published: Samhain Publishing 2011
  • M/M Contemporary Romance 

He looks good on a horse, but it's hard to love a man with a big ego and a small alibi.

Paul King's inheritance is named Serenity Stables, but for him it's far from serene. He has one plan for the crumbling facility: unload it as fast as possible. But two months on the market, and he's still mucking stalls and dreaming of his old life back in San Francisco.

It doesn't help that he seems to have misplaced a horse. Not just any horse—Tux, a million-dollar Warmblood who, despite lacking opposable thumbs, has an Olympic medal to its name. So does its Brazilian trainer, Estevan Souza, a man whose darkly sexual, smoldering glances almost make Paul forget his horse phobia.

Intriguing as Paul finds Estevan, distractions are piling up. The boarders are picky. The arena roof is leaking. His drunken cousin is wreaking havoc. Tux's owners are threatening to sue. On top of that, a bucket of blood points to possible murder.

Suddenly, Estevan's glances are looking more suspicious than sinful. And, if Paul can't come up with a plan to save Tux, he could lose not only his chance with Estevan, but his life.

I have always loved Astrid Amara's work, from The Archer's Heart to The Devil LancerI have adored her novels. However Half Pass was the first of her contemporaries I have read, and I was not disappointed. This book is crammed with gorgeous characters and plenty of will they wont they tension. And of course their are lots of HORSES! The mystery of this novel made me giggle. There is nothing better than nasty villains or three but don't worry no spoilers. This book is too good to think about spoiling it for you.  

Paul King, returns to his hometown Lyden, Washington after living in San Francisco for six years after his relationship disintegrates and he is fired from his job. His aunt Beth has died and Paul has inherited her stables. At first he intends to run it until he can find a new owner who he is happy with as Paul is petrified of horses, after a nasty accident years ago. Paul finds friendship with the horses and Estevan, the Brazilian trainer working at Serenity Stables and seems to find his place back in the town he grew up in. 

I liked the slow build of the relationship and how difficult it was for Estevan really showed throughout this novel. Astrid's love for horses really shon through this narrative as each one was well written with their own district characteristic. Overall an enjoyable narrative.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Greenwode J Tullos Hennig

  • Author: J. Tullos Hennig 
  • Editions: Paperback, E-book, Audiobook 
  • Published: Dreamspinner Press (originally published 2013)
  • Genre: M/M Historical Romance 

"The Hooded One. The one to breathe the dark and light and dusk between.... "

When an old druid foresees this harbinger of chaos, he also glimpses its outcome. A young peasant from Loxley and his sister will be the greenwode’s last bastion of the Old Religion, but a young and devout nobleman could well be their destruction: Gamelyn Boundys, whom Rob and Marion have both befriended.

In a risky bid for happiness, Rob dares his god to reinterpret the ancient rites, allow Rob to take Gamelyn as lover instead of rival. But in the eyes of Gamelyn’s Church, sodomy is an abomination... and the old pagan magics are an evil that must be vanquished.

This new and enchanting take on the Robyn Hood legend had me captivated from start to finish. Rob is the son of Adam Loxely the forester of the Wode and firmly believes in the Pagon Gods. He is being groomed to take his father place as the Horned Lord the King of the forest. Gamelyn is the third son of a nobleman and enclosed in the christian church. When the two meet they swerve on to a path filled with confusion, love, danger and betrayal. These characters challenge the Gods path for them,  and try to define their own fate, but is it really possible to go against a God?

This story takes the well loved legend of Robin Hood and gives us a rich, descriptive tale of his beginning and his doomed love affair with Gamelyn. Both Rob and Gamelyn are worlds apart, but they will fight fiercely to be together in a world that frowns on homosexuality. 
The conflict of this novel is much more spiritual than you would first believe. The pagans of the forest just want to be left alone, while the church demands the demise of the heathens and is ever trying to convert everyone to the White Christ. Set in 1190's when the church ruled higher than any king, one Pagan and One Christian are drawn together against all odds, finding a love that is forbidden by the ever dominating church. Robyn Hood fights against the Gods, and his family and goes  against what is expected of him to be with Gamelyn, the man he loves. 

Gamelyn is stuck in a world that would d never allow him to love Robyn; a nobel man and a peasant, or two men, in the church's eye it is forbidden. And this shows in Gamelyn's anguish as he tries to resolve his belief in God, with what he sees around him. 

I have read this series three times now, and love it because this tale takes the legend and gives it a twist. I love the way it shows the clear distinction between peasant and noblemen, pagan and Christian. Both sides are portrayed brilliantly by Hennig, as she draws us into the conflict of a time that is cruel. 
This book takes the Robyn Hood legend and gives it a whole new standing by looking to the beginning of his tale. 

I would recommend this to anyone who loves myths and folk law, historical romance, fighting for love against all odds, betrayal and devastating endings that leave you with a glimmer of hope.