Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Lead Heart By Jane Washington

Title: Lead Heart
Author: Jane Washington
Series: Seraph Black #3
Genre: Romance, YA, Fantasy, Magical Powers, love triangle (hexagon?)
Source: ARC
Pages: 317
Rating:4 Stars

Available at:

The past few months have reduced Seraph Black to a permanent state of fight, and now it is all that she knows. She is fighting her friends and family to go off on a suicide mission to rescue Silas, she is fighting the fragmented memories that clamour for recognition inside her mind, and she is fighting a guilt so magnificent… it might just force her to betray the very people that have sacrificed so much to keep her safe. 

She had asked for space, and it had been given to her in the most heart-rending of ways, leaving only one of the four brothers remaining by her side. 

Miro Quillan is her last hope. 

Without him, she may never get her pairs back. 

I have so much to say in this review that I am going to just jump into it.

We all left Watercolour Smile with a desperation to find out what would happen to Seraph and her boys (specifically that of Silas). I was foaming at the mouth to get my hands on this ARC, and despite the havoc going on in my life, I devoured reading it as soon as I could. There was so much that was amazing in this book, but there were somethings I also found lacking.

Starting off with the short list of things I did not particularly love about this instalment, I had a terrible time getting into the beginning of this book. I had reread Watercolour Smile to get myself excited, and jumped into Lead Heart finding myself losing momentum very quickly. I lost it enough that I was able to put it down and leave it for a couple of days until I worked up my curiosity again. So let me warn you now, this third novel in the series does not continue from right where we left off, but rather several months later… with absolutely nothing being accomplished on the saving Silas front, or even their lives other than graduating and starting in on university. I feel like this was an extremely poor choice, not for only preference reasons on my own behalf, but rather because the fluidity of the series as a whole. If you read them in succession, this novel kind of takes a full brake stop, and you have to work your way back into the series again. I feel like the approach taken at the beginning would have been much more effective with some more flashbacks or something of that regard to show us what was happening in those pivotal moments after Silas sacrificed himself for Seraph. Saying all of that, the fluidity (and I suppose you can say part of the plot) was (were) the only real issues I had with the novel, because once it got going, it was amazing!
Let’s talk about character/ relationship development. As a main character, Seraph isn’t the strongest I have read about. She largely lets the men (and her friends) in her life make and/or heavily influence the choices she makes. One of the things I really loved about this novel (leading out from the previous book) is that Seraph was much stronger of a character. She held much more independence from the men in her life (it helped that two of them don’t remember loving her, and another is taken captive), and she maintains that independence and tenacity throughout the novel and I assume she will into the next. I loved watching her relationship with Miro grow. It had been lacking in the previous two novels for several reasons that are described, and to be honest I never really rooted for him until this novel. Jane Washington set up their relationship perfectly, and their development from student/ teacher to friends/ actually more than friends is something that is beautifully displayed and really fascinating to develop. Oddly enough, I didn’t love Silas in this book. In all the ways I fell in love with him in Watercolour Smile I felt lacking in Lead Heart. I am not sure if that was to make room for her relationship to grow with Miro, but I would have liked to see more of the Silas we all fell head over heels with, and less arrogant, lying asshole.

CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE STALKER! I am not going to say much her for Spoiler reasons, but we FINALLY get to know who he is and what his deal is with Seraph. A lot more makes sense here, and I frikken loved it. The only issue is that I don’t strictly recall if the stalker (who shall remain nameless in this review) is ever really named in the first two novels, even off handedly. We know he went to school with her and the boys, but not much else. I wish there had been more clues to his identity earlier in the series.

Lastly, let’s talk about the writing because at least here I have no negative comments to make. Jane Washington is an amazing writer and she continues to amaze me with her talent. While I did mention how I felt the fluidity of the novel was lacking, the plot did not suffer by it and we get to an amazing ending that invites another novel (and I think the last novel if I read things correctly). There is no MAJOR cliffhanger, but rather a ending with many ends that have yet to be tied together tightly.

Overall, I stand by my statement that the Seraph Black Series is a must read. The books build and build and build and I have a feeling that they are going to build to an amazing conclusion that only Jane Washington knows at this point. Lead Heart gave us everything we needed (even if it took a while to get there sometimes) and even gave us some things we didn’t know that we wanted. 4 stars for Jane Washington’s Lead Heart.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Luke's Dream by Melissa Haag

Title: Luke’s Dream
Author: Melissa Haag
Series: Judgment of Six Companion Series #3
Genre: Romance, YA, Werewolf, Magic Powers, Girl Power
Source: ARC
Pages: 222 Pages
Rating: 4 stars

Available at:

Luke’s been kicked in the teeth by fate enough to know: nice guys finish last.  He’s done being nice and waiting for his due. 

Finding Bethony, another potential Mate, was supposed to be his chance at a true Mate. However, she’s young and afraid and needs time to get to know him first. Bethony has different plans. She’s willing to Claim Luke, but only to stop her terrifying dreams; she’s not interested in love or romance.

The closer the pair get to the Compound, the deeper the danger becomes. Luke isn’t the only wolf looking for Bethi. He must choose between Bethi’s safety and peace of mind, or his dream of finding a true Mate.

Getting this ARC was probably the best day of my entire summer. For those who don’t know, Melissa Haag has been writing companion books for all of the novel’s in her main Judgment of Six series. The plot is the same, the story and perspective is COMPLETELY different. This particular book is Luke’s perspective of (Un)wise [my review of which you can read HERE].

(Un)wise is possibly the most difficult book to get through in the original series, mainly because there is A LOT of flashbacks of the girl’s past lives. Important? Very. Frustrating? Incredibly. You just want to skip over all the back story to get to the events in the present, but those back stories affect the present and the rest of the books in the series, so you absolutely need to read them. The good news is that Luke’s version of the story does not have all those pesky flashbacks. The bad news is that without those pesky flashbacks Luke’s perspective on things is about 80 pages shorter. Without those 80 extra pages, the book feels EXTREMELY short, almost like it is missing something (which I suppose it technically is, but it makes sense because Luke would have no direct knowledge/ experience of those flashbacks). This is one main reason why this book is rated 4 stars in my eyes and not 5. The biggest point of (Un)wise was those flashbacks, and without them it is more a love story than anything else.

Now let’s get one thing straight, I was never the biggest Luke fan originally. I think the main reason for that is because, as I have said before, (Un)wise is hyper focused on plot so learning about the love interest takes a bit of a back burner in comparison to some of the other books in the Judgment of Six series. The great thing about the Companion series is that you can really get to know the leading men in a way that you are just not able to in the Judgement of Six series. With the companion series, you are able to fall in love with your favourite men all over again because you get to see the story through their eyes. You get to see how much they love their women and their blind devotion and their drive to protect their mate is something beautiful. This is especially true for Luke, mainly because we know almost nothing about him even though he makes brief appearances in Hope(less), (Mis)fortune, (Un)wise, and (Dis)content. We finally get to learn more about him, not only his backstory, but his personality and we finally get to understand his thought process about certain decisions (JUST LET HER CLAIM YOU *cough*, did I say that out loud?). However, saying that, the second and final reason why this book got 4 stars instead of 5 is because Luke’s reasons for not letting Bethi claim him are shaky at best. I know people who disagree with me, but I was just as frustrated with his lack of explanation in this book as I was in (Un)wise. She was clearly suffering, by the end she was clearly falling for him, and STILL he protests! I didn’t blame Bethi for wanting to beat him up sometimes, because I was ready to reach through those pages and beat him up myself.

Now, I have talked a little smack over here, but I promise, this book had ENDLESS humor. Ever wonder why Luke has such a weird reaction to when Bethi talks about her boobs? Yeah, you get the answer to that one, and I promise the whole thing is hilarious. Ever wonder why Bethi’s dreams are sometimes better than others? Yeah, you get the answer to that one too, and it’s absolutely endearing. All of your questions from (Un)wise were answered, and I promise that Melissa Haag makes those answers fascinating to read. Her writing has always been on par, but she continues to outdo herself with every book.

The last thing I will mention is that the ending of Luke’s Dream is slightly different than the ending to (Un)wise. When Melissa originally wrote (Un)wise she was under the impression that Isabelle’s story would be next (aka (Dis)content), however she ended up back tracking an explaining Charlene’s story first in the prequel (Un)bidden. (Un)wise ends with the lead up to (Dis)content, Luke’s Dream ends with the lead up to Thomas’ version of (Un)bidden. It makes more chronological sense. Did that all make sense? I hope so, if not, you’ll get it when you read it.

Now that you’ve taken the time to read this review, I have no idea what you are waiting for, GO BUY THE BOOK! You’ll love it, even if you haven’t read (Un)wise.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Crystal Crowned Review + an Interview with Vhalla and Aldrik

** At the end of this review there is an Exclusive Excerpt and a short interview with no one other than the two characters we fell in love with from day one, Vhalla and Aldrik. Read on and Enjoy!***

Title: Crystal Crowned
Author: Elise Kova
Series: Air Awakens #5 (Final)
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Elemental, Magic, Romance, Swords, Medieval
Source: ARC
Pages: 305
Rating: 5 stars

Available at:

Long live Solaris. 

One bloodthirsty ruler has been overthrown by another, casting the shadow of death over the Solaris Empire. Vhalla Yarl stands upon the stage of fate, prepared to do battle one final time. Fragile alliances will be tested and new bonds will be formed as the world is reshaped. She fights as the champion of peace, but when the night is darkest will she be able to pay the price of a new dawn? 

At the beginning of every series, there comes an end. Every reader wants to get there to find out how it all turns out, and every reader dreads the moment of those final few pages when you realise, this is the end. This was my reaction to Crystal Crowned. There have been very few characters out there that I have loved more than Vhalla and Aldrik, and it has been a great ride getting to know them, fighting alongside them, and falling in love with them. And now that that intro has been said, the review:

If there is one thing you learn about the characters in this book it's that they are strong. Despite all the odds against them, Vhalla and Aldrik found a way to be together. Even though their world is in chaos, they can find solis in each other and the friends that remained at their side through it all. While there is a lot of heart break and a lot of impossible decisions, Vhalla and Aldrik remain together, even when they don't agree on the other's decisions. I was really happy to see this. They had both grown as characters, something we had seen in Water's Wrath, but now we get to see the grow as a couple as well. If there is one thing that Elise Kova does well, its character development! Vhalla is no longer the shy girl she was, and she is no longer afraid to as the hard questions, even if it means fracturing a friendship to get the answers she needs. She is no longer scared of the truth, even when it makes her look at her friends in a new, less pleasant light. She is not afraid to admit that she has no idea what she is doing as Queen, but that she will damn well try her hardest to be the best Queen for Solaris. Vhalla grows magnitudes in this book, she puts her friendships and her relationship to the test, and she manages to steer a path that ends well (or as well as one can hope for given the circumstances) And the character development is not only for Vhalla, but even the secondary characters that we loved. I won't delve too deep into that, you'll have to witness Elise's mastery unfold before your own eyes to experience it first hand. 

As far as plot goes, be prepared for it to all be thrown out there! Elise Kova holds no punches as she finishes the Air Awakens series. Her writing is amazing as usual, and we definitely get a resolution at the end (and a bit of a surprise in the epilogue), but it was so much more than that as well. At the end of Water's Wrath we were left with a lot of questions about both the characters that we loved *cough* Daniel *cough*, as well as what was going on with Vhalla's powers and the actual crystal crown. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say that 1) Elise did a great job of subtly foreshadowing the events of this book, and 2) you get your answers I promise. It is a credit to Elise that the reader can both love the end of a series, and hate it because it's over. She has done and amazing job 

I couldn't be happier with how Crystal Crowned turned out. Yes, it's the end of a series, but you never know, we might see these two in the future. Maybe some short stories (she says hopefully). This series has been amazing and it came to a beautiful, climatic end that I am positive everyone will be pleased about. 5 stars for Crystal Crowned, and a huge thank you to Elise for the ARC of this amazing series! 

You can read my review of Air Awakens HERE, Fire's Falling HERE, Earth's End HERE, and Water's Wrath HERE

Exclusive Excerpt

With just the one weapon and a leather jerkin, she struck a course northward. Given all the reports she’d been receiving, it seemed like the most logical location for her Emperor. A red sunrise streaked across the sky, mirroring the crimson land before her.
The casualties had been heavy, heavier than she expected given the number of soldiers who had been in the Western force surrounding the city. But the hulking corpses of giant winged beasts offered a chilling explanation. Teeth longer than her body jutted out from their massive jowls. They had almost canine-like heads but with thick leathery skin pulled taut against oddly shaped muscles. Some had two arms, some had four, one even had six. They had the wings of a wyvern and scorpion-like tails. It was a creature that the Gods had never intended to exist, and the now-dormant crystals embedded in their bodies glinted like dull obsidian in the sunlight, slowly cracking into dust.
A handful of men and women were surrounded, forced to their knees. Soldiers waited around them, sorcerers and Commons alike, ready to execute the traitors who had ridden in to kill them all on the backs of monsters. The lean figure of a man was mounted before the lot—an Emperor casting judgment on those who fought against his throne.
“. . . forsake the false king.” Vhalla could hear Aldrik’s words as she approached. “Those who give information will be rewarded with their lives.”
No one spoke.
“You protect a coward,” Vhalla called out, announcing her presence. Aldrik turned in surprise as she rode up next to him. “You stand with a man whose power comes not through his own merit—as he would have you believe—but through theft.”
“What would you know?” one of the kneeling sorcerers demanded, curiosity drawing the words from him.
“I know all too well,” Vhalla replied quietly, “because I was the one whose powers he stole.”
Now she had their attention.
“Victor could not open the caverns on his own; he wasn’t strong enough to manage the crystals. I know because he needed me to help him do it. When he had what he wanted, he stole my magic to make him immune from the taint.”
“Lies!” one sneered. “The taint only affects those of weak will, Commons, and lesser sorcerers.”
Desperation carved the way for stupidity in the hearts of men.
“You can’t possibly believe that. Is that what Victor has told you? That you are the strong ones and immune?” She shook her head with a bitter sorrowful laugh. “He has written you off as expendable with his lies.”
“Are you really the Windwalker?” a timid voice asked from among them.
“I was.” Vhalla spoke only to the man who had asked. “I was the Windwalker until he stole my powers. Now I am a Commons. It was my magic that unleashed this monster upon the world—”
“Vhalla . . .” Aldrik had a cautionary note.
“—but because of that, no one will fight harder than me to do what is necessary to right that wrong.” The words hurt. They hurt like the wind still hurt on her cheeks, plain and un-magical. But it was finally the right kind of hurt. The hurt of a confession that needed to be said. “This is but a night. The sun will rise again, and I stand with the dawn.”
She looked to the Emperor. His eyes were a chameleon over the past few weeks, constantly changing to match the woman she was becoming.
“Who will stand with the sun?” He tore his eyes away from her to make his final demand.
The man who had asked his timid question stood slowly. “A false king sits on a false throne.”
“You disgrace sorcerers,” another loyalist spat. “You’ll follow a liar and a Commons.”
“Strength channels its own magic,” the man said in reply, looking directly at Vhalla.
“Who else will stand with us?” Vhalla demanded.
Two more stood.
“Why take pity on them?” a Western soldier finally spoke. “They fight against your Empire. Put them to death.”
“Because a wise woman taught me that no soul is beyond saving,” Aldrik replied easily.
Vhalla’s chest tightened, instantly thinking of Larel.
“Those who stand with us, live; those who do not, die. Make your choice. Dawn comes and it will wait for no man.” Aldrik turned back to Victor’s sorcerers.
Two more stood, five in total. That was all who were spared. Vhalla bore a silent witness to the other sorcerers who died for Victor’s ideal. Men and women who had become so tainted with his lies that they valued his dogma more than their lives.

Vhalla counted every man and woman put to death. Twenty-three in total. She shifted in her saddle and felt the sword pulling heavy on her shoulder. The next time she saw Victor she would stab him herself, Vhalla resolved, twenty-three times.


Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she s not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).

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And now, an interview with Vhalla and Aldrik! 

INTERVIEWER: Vhalla, you went most of your life not knowing that you held any kind of magic, if you could go back to that time where you were oblivious to your powers, would you still choose to be a sorcerer? Why or why not?
VHALLA: I try not to think about what “could have happened”. Only the Mother has the power to alter fate. At least, that’s what I choose to believe.

INTERVIEWER: How do you think magic affects your relationship? Do you think if neither of you ever possessed magic you would still find your way to each other?
VHALLA:I’m relieved to say that I don’t think magic affects too much of our relationship. After spending time without it, I know that the bond we share is deeper than even sorcery. Though, I don’t know if I would’ve ever met Aldrik had I not been a sorcerer…

INTERVIEWER: We all know how much Aldrik had hurt you after he agreed to an arranged marriage in exchange for your pardon, but was there ever a moment that you seriously imagined your future and Aldrik was not in it? Did you ever think that you and him would never be together in some shape or form?
VHALLA: I didn’t know what to think. So much happened in Shaldan. I thought I knew who I was and where I was headed and realized that I didn’t know anything. I questioned everything. I honestly didn’t even know if I would return to the palace for a while. Part of why I went to the Crossroads was because I thought I may head to the Academy of Arcane Arts in Norin.

INTERVIEWER: What was the hardest part about coming back to the castle after you had been gone for so long after the war?
VHALLA: How normal everything seemed. It felt as though I had completely changed and the castle hadn’t. Of course, that wasn’t true… Roan had changed, the guard had changed… But the walls and paintings and everything were so familiar even though I didn’t feel like the girl who’d left.

INTERVIEWER: Aldrik, you and Vhalla initially came together because of the bond that was formed when Vhalla saved your life. Assuming that that bond had never been formed, do you think that you still would have found your way to Vhalla? Do you think you still would have fallen in love with her if she wasn’t a sorcerer?
ALDRIK: I think it nearly impossible to say. I certainly did not make it a habit to fraternize with common folk. However, to indulge your hypothetical on the matter... I had previously met a young woman in the library, so it's not impossible to say that could happen again.

INTERVIEWER: We have all seen the struggles you have faced, both internal and external, because of your love for Vhalla. If you could go back and talk to the past you, is there something you wish you could tell him to make things easier?
ALDRIK: To trust the woman before him, to trust everything about her… Her magic, her capability, her right to make her own decisions. I wonder how much I could have spared her from if I was not so intent on keeping everything to myself, confident that I alone could manage the best path for both of us. I should have never tried to take that right from her.

INTERVIEWER: If you were not the crowned prince, and you and Vhalla were both commoners who happened to be in love and possess magic, what do you imagine your life together would look like?
ALDRIK: Much quieter.

INTERVIEWER: Was there ever a moment after you had signed away your freedom for Vhalla’s that you ever thought you would never be able to be with her again? Was there ever a moment, before or after that moment, that you believed that you had probably lost her forever?
ALDRIK: I never deserved her in the first place, not as the man I was. So I never expected to be able to place her by my side as she deserved.

INTERVIEWER: If you could go back and change one moment for yourself­– something you said or did, or maybe something you failed to say or do­– what would it be?
ALDRIK: I should have explained everything from the beginning to Vhalla. I didn’t understand how keeping people at arm’s length can be just as dangerous as holding them close.

Thank you for reading! A big thanks to Elise for indulging us in these questions and taking time out of her writing to answer them! I hope you all enjoyed <3