The Qwillery | category: G.A Aiken


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019

I can't believe July is over. The month has evaporated just like all the water I keep putting on my tomato plants (lets just ignore the fact that my tomatoes keep turning black!) Unlike my wilting toms I have been quite productive and read a couple of really good books. I am 'booking reading smug' this month as I got through more books then I expected. I am one of the Qwillery's agents for the next SPFBO and I wasn't sure that I would get much read but I managed to read some of my own books and some of the SPFBO books. Hurrahs!

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
First up is Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan. I have to admit that I listened to the audio version rather than read it. The characters really come to life through the narrator Billy Howle. If you are still aren't sure about audio books then this is a safe bet.

The story is set in an alternate 1980's England with a backdrop of the Falklands war. The main character, Charlie has so far successfully avoided having a real job and drifts through life following the news about the Falklands and secretly pining over his next door neighbour Miranda. When Charlie inherits some money he decides to buy one of the very first synthetic humans - a male named Adam. Despite designing Adam's personality with Miranda it's not long before Charlie is relegated to the third wheel when a love triangle starts to form. It's not long before Charlie starts to regret his impulse purchase. The story really starts to evolve when a secret from Miranda's is exposed which tests her relationship with Charlie and leaves Adam grappling with the morality of the situation.

For me, the story had two main themes. The obvious one - whether a machine, regardless of how human it appears, can truly think and act like a human. This was a question that Charlie regularly tried to grapple with and something that becomes Miranda's undoing. The second theme was the different types of love - romantic love, love for a friend, love from a child, love for your parents/family. McEwan explores these different types of love through the lens of the machine - Adam. Again, another exploration of whether a machine can love or understands what it means to love. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. McEwan is a master at creating characters that you don't always like but can always relate to. The science was plausible. You could also believe, based on McEwan's, prose that you were reading non-fiction rather than fiction in his explanation of how technology evolved to create a living, breathing android. Adam puts Star Trek's Data to shame. If you need a book that gets you thinking then I highly recommend Machines Like Me. This is going to be in my top books of 2019!

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
My next two books are courtesy of the publishers via NetGalley. I used to get the majority of my books from NetGalley but I haven't had much luck finding anything I want to read that wasn't a 'wish for it'. First up is Thea Harrison's American Witch. Molly Sullivan's life has turned upside down. On the same day she discovers her husband has been unfaithful, again she also discovers that she has new powers awakening. Josiah Mason, a very powerful witch and leader of a secret coven has offered to help Molly manage her powers but can she trust him? Molly finds she doesn't have a choice when both her husband and her divorce attorney are brutally murdered. A deadly secret links Molly's husband and Josiah's sworn enemy. They decide to join forces to bring down someone who hides in the shadows and who is merciless and cruel. Its not long before what draws Josiah and Molly together isn't just the hunt for the killer but their explosive mutual attraction. Will they survive long enough to see if their romance has a chance?

I didn't realise when I requested this book that it was also in the same world as the Elder Races although none of the characters from that series popped up. My disappointment was that I was really hoping for something completely new. Overall, the story was a bit of a re-hash of Harrison's other novels - boy meets girl, boy and girl don't get along, boy and girl become attracted against all odds and despite immanent threat to their 'persons', boy and girl fall in love for ever and ever. Molly does in the end stand up for herself and become a power in her own right. The love interests were just a bit too one dimensional for my like. If you are looking for something to read at the beach then this may be a book to consider.

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
Book number 2 from NetGalley is The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken which is the first instalment in The Scarred Earth Saga series. The story starts out with lots of violence that follows the death of the old King where his sons go on a rampage of killing each other and anyone loyal to them in order to gain the throne and the power that it represents. However, a prophesy tells of a queen who will ascend the throne ....a daughter of a farmer. As the different factions fight it out the story switches to Keeley Smythe, the big and powerful blacksmith who likes nothing more than working her forge and loving her family. When a band of kilt wearing mountain warriors come to her small village she doesn't at first realise how much she will depend on their help and protection. Especially from the gruff but hunky Caid. When the prophesy seems to point to Keeley's bookish sister Beatrix as being the intended queen she has no choice but to defend her family from the royals who don't want to see a farmer's daughter on the throne. Luckily she has some help because she is going to need it.

The Blacksmith Queen is written in a similar style to Aiken's Dragon Kin series with fun loving characters, strong female heroines, and super natural beings. Keeley is fun, strong (both physically and mentally) and knows her power. The romance really didn't make an appearance until near the end of the book which was refreshing and the sex scenes weren't as 'detailed' as in some of Aiken's other books. What is also different is that there are chapters from Caid's POV which gives a different perspective and works well when Keeley wasn't able to be part of the scene (no spoilers here). There is also a very good twist involving one of the baddies that I wasn't expecting and makes me really want to see how this character gets their comeuppance. I am very likely going to continue with this series and if you are a fan of her other books I suggest you give The Blacksmith Queen a go.

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
The final book I am going to tell you about - a novella really - is Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews. This is a novella and part of the Innkeeper Chronicles series. The story is told, this time, from Maud's (Dina's sister) POV. Maud has travelled with Arland to his home world along with her daughter Helen. There is a big wedding planned between two, former rival vampire Houses which House Kaur are hosting. In the backdrop of Maud's reluctant romance with Arland there is something much more sinister at play and it's up to Maud to uncover what the other Houses are really up to and to protect her daughter and Arland's family in the process.

If you follow my posts you will know that I have already read Sweep of the Blade when it was released as a serial. I love this series and especially Dina, the Innkeeper. I have to admit that I didn't enjoy this serialised short story as much. I thought the plotline and the prose were tightened up from the serialised story to the book which made for a much sharper and enjoyable story line. There are also a few of the gorgeous drawings throughout the book which have been one of my favourite parts of reading these books. Even if you have already read the serialised version I urge you to give the published version a go. I am confident you will love it.

That is all for me for July. I hope you have had as many good books to read as I have had. Keep your fingers crossed that I have as many reviews in August for you. Until then Happy Reading.

Machines Like Me
Nan A. Telese, April 23, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
New from Ian McEwan, Booker Prize winner and international bestselling author of Atonement and The Children Act

Machines Like Me takes place in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first synthetic humans and—with Miranda’s help—he designs Adam’s personality. The near-perfect human that emerges is beautiful, strong, and clever. It isn’t long before a love triangle soon forms, and these three beings confront a profound moral dilemma.

In his subversive new novel, Ian McEwan asks whether a machine can understand the human heart—or whether we are the ones who lack understanding.

American Witch
American Witch Trilogy 1
Teddy Harrison LLC, April 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 476 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the first in a new spellbinding trilogy…

Power can change a person…

For months Molly Sullivan endures the inexplicable: electrical surges, car breakdowns, visions. She even wonders if she might be the cause… and wonders if she might be crazy. Then she discovers her husband has cheated on her. Again. Now Molly realizes she is a newly awakening witch and a woman pushed over the edge.

Revenge can shape a person…

Josiah Mason is a Powerful witch and the leader of a secret coven with a shared goal: to destroy an ancient enemy who has ruined many lives. Josiah lost years to this man, and his sole focus is revenge. He’s prepared for every contingency—except encountering a beautiful new witch who understands nothing of the immense Power building within her or the attraction she wields over him.

Danger can bring them together…

When divorcing her husband, Molly uncovers a dangerous secret he’s willing to kill to protect. She turns to Josiah for help, and they discover a connection between Molly’s husband and Josiah’s enemy.

As they work together, a spark ignites between them that threatens to become an inferno. But Molly is done compromising herself for any man, and Josiah’s mission is his top priority. And the enemy is cunning, cruel, and drawing ever closer.

As the danger escalates, so does the tension between them. Is a lasting relationship possible? Will either of them live long enough to try?

The Blacksmith Queen
The Scarred Earth Saga 1
Kensington Books, August 27, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken.

The Old King Is Dead

With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.

Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned.

Sweep of the Blade
Innkeeper Chronicles 4
NYLA, July 16, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 314 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019
Maud Demille is a daughter of Innkeepers—a special group who provide ‘lodging’ to other-planetary visitors—so she knows that a simple life isn't in the cards. But even Maud could never have anticipated what Fate would throw at her.

Once a wife to a powerful vampire knight, Maud and her young daughter, Helen, were exiled with him for his treachery to the desolate, savage planet of Karhari. Karhari killed her husband, and Maud—completely abandoned by his family—has spent over a year avenging his debts. Rescued by her sister Dina, she's sworn off all things vampire.

Except... In helping Dina save the world, she met Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr, one of the most powerful vampire houses. One thing led to another and he asked for her hand in marriage. She declined. Arland is not used to hearing the word ‘no;’ and try as she might, Maud can't just walk away from Arland. It doesn't help that being human is a lot harder for Maud than being a vampire.

To sort it all out, she accepts his invitation to visit his home planet. House Krahr is extremely influential and Maud knows that a woman—a human, with a very questionable past—who's turned down a proposal from its most beloved son won't get a warm reception. Maybe she’s not sure about marrying Arland, but House Krahr isn’t going to decide for her. Maud Demille has never run from a fight, and House Krahr will soon discover that there's a lot more to Maud than they’re expecting.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 13, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - August 13, 2013

Greetings, I trust you have all had a good week. I was wondering, based on the weather, if we had fast forwarded to November. It was pelting down with rain, freezing cold and windy for the early part of this week. Normally, that makes me want to cuddle up with a good book. The books I have tell you about this week were a bit mixed. I mentioned last week I am part of the beta review group for Michael J. Sullivan's newest instalment in the First Empire series. Time flew when I was reading it, but alas I can't tell you what I thought about it. So what else did I read to take my mind off the weather?

Melanie's Week in Review - August 13, 2013
Both books I am going to tell you about came via NetGalley. Lucky me! Bring the Heat is the 9th instalment of G.A. Aiken's Dragon Kin series. Each book of this series features the romantic entanglements of two of the characters set in the back drop of a variety of wars between dragon clans and over the final few books the war brought about by the zealots who support the god Chramnesind. Nearly all of the main and supporting characters have been paired up, whether human or dragon. In Bring the Heat the hot and steamy is between Branwen the Awful and Aidan the Divine. They have been sent on a secret mission with Keita the Viper that may well win the war....if they don't kill each other first.

Aidan and Branwen aren't the only stars of this story. Nearly every character in the series gets their time in the spotlight starting with Annwyl when she gets sucked into a well that leads directly into hell. While she fights through the many hell dimensions the story switches to other characters including the twins (Talan and Talwyn), Queen Rhiannon with quite a bit of time with Dagmar and family also. It seemed that a majority of the story focused on characters other than Branwen and Aidan which in my opinion was all for the better.  There just didn't seem to be a spark between these two characters and the romance was a bit forced. Aiken wraps up the overall plot arc and gives us a HEA for all the characters. I am assuming this is the final book of the series though I do not know if it is. Overall, I have enjoyed this series purely for the fact that it never takes itself too seriously. Earlier books were more amusing than the latter ones but there are enough scenes with the 'funny' characters to liven things up.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 13, 2013The Heir of Illaria is Dyan Chick's first instalment of the series of the same name. Young Wilona discovers that everything she thought she knew turned out to be a lie. Rather than being a poor orphan living with her grandmother it turns out that she is none other than the Princess of Illaria. She has been hidden from the Necromancer King who killed her family. With the help of the clandestine organisation the White Ravens, Wilona's mission now is to defeat the King and restore her family to the throne.

I haven't read youth fiction for awhile and thought I would give Heir of Illaria a go. I also loved the cover. I was quite disappointed with the story however. While I thought the premise of the necromancer king was a good one the story itself was very predictable. In fact, I guessed many of the things that happened in the story. I believe this would be a good book for young readers, especially those who are new to fantasy.

That is it for me this week. Sorry, there are no big winners for me...well none I could tell you about :) I hope you have had more luck than I have. Let me know what you have read and loved this week. Until next time...Happy Reading.

Bring the Heat
Dragon Kin 9
Zebra, August 29, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - August 13, 2013
He Says…

I, Aidan the Divine, am, well divine. My name was given to me by the Dragon Queen herself! I’m a delight! Cheerful. Charming. And a mighty warrior who is extremely handsome with a very large and well-hidden hoard of gold. I am also royal born, despite the fact that most in my family are horrendous beings that don’t deserve to live. And yet, Branwen the Awful—a low-born, no less—either tells me to shut up or, worse, ignores me completely.

She Says…

I’ll admit, I ignore Aidan the Divine because it annoys him. A lot. But, we have so much to do right now, I can’t worry about why he keeps staring at me, or why he always sits so close, or why he keeps looking at me like he’s thinking about kissing me. We have our nations to save and no time for such bloody foolishness…no matter how good Aidan looks or how long his spiked tail is. Because if we’re going to win this war before it destroys everything we love, we’ll have to face our enemies together, side by side and without distractions. But if we make it out alive, who knows what the future will hold…

Heir of Illaria
Illaria 1
Illaria Publishing, January 21, 2017
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 270 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - August 13, 2013
In Illaria, there is a fate worse than death.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been taught to fear the Necromancer King. He controls the kingdom of Illaria with dark sorcery and the constant threat of his undead army. I never thought I’d have reason to cross his path. Everything changed the day his guards tried to kill me. That’s when I found out my whole life has been a lie. By joining a resistance group called the White Ravens, I’ve claimed new roles. Princess of Illaria, sorceress in training, and threat to the Necromancer King.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015

Happy 1st of November and a belated Happy Halloween. I love Halloween but barely get enough trick or treaters to get through the 4 bags of candy the hubinator bought to dish out. I am sure to on a week long sugar rush after eating the leftovers. It's a sacrifice that I will just have to suffer through. But you probably want to know what I read this week.  Please note, the unintentional theme in all of the books I read.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015
I have had a fairly unproductive week this week both in the quantity of books read and my satisfaction in reading them. The hubinator and I went to Amsterdam for a long weekend so I didn't really get that much time to read. One short story I did find while waiting to board the plane was Dragos Goes to Washington by Thea Harrison. This is the first in a three party story that takes place after the events of book 8 Midnight's Kiss. All is not well in the relations between the humans and the supernatural species and Pia and Dragos have to attend a summit in Washington to try to broker a better relationship between all parties. Sounds fairly straightforward until the vice president's husband is murdered in their house. To complicate matters Pia decides to she wants to have another baby and a majority of the book is spent with the couple trying to get pregnant. This short should have an R rating as there is an awful lot of sex described in minute detail. In fact the murder plot and the wider plot of the troubles between the humans and everyone else didn't really feature until 3/4 of the way through. I think I will stick to the main novels going forward as a bit of erotica I don't mind but not interested in it taking over the plot.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015Continuing on with the sexy theme I was having a look on NetGalley and discovered that the next book in the Dragon kin series by G.A Aiken.  Feel the Burn centers on the inevitable love story between Gaius Domitus, the one eyed lord who we met in an earlier in the series and Kachka, one of the Daughters of the Steppes. Gaius is determined to seek the revenge of his sister's imprisonment by his relatives and Kachka wants nothing to do with the lazy and pampered lord. Their romance unfolds in the backdrop of the continued war with the god Chramnesind. Every character we have met so far makes an appearance and quite a bit of the story involves Anwyl, the twins and the very powerful young witch Rhi. These regulars combined with the Daughters of the Steppes makes for an amusing read (in parts).

Overall, I thought this book was OK. I certainly enjoyed it more than the previous instalment which involved Kachka's sister - the one eyed Elina and the dragon Ceyln. There is more going in this story than just the romance between the two lead characters and further development of the wider plot arch involving the half dragon/half human twins. This is a quick and easy read with much more in way of both plot and character development.

I also started Raptor which is the 6th book of the Dragon Blood series by Lindsay Buroker. I am not sure I am going to be able to finish though. The main character Cas is sooo whiny and feeling sorry herself that it is making for a rather boring read. I may give it another go this week or it may hit one of my very few DNF.

That is all for me this week. I hope you have had a more enjoyable week in reading. Until next time Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015

I can't believe there is only 27 days to Halloween (which I love) and I haven't turned the heating on yet. Hurrah. God bless a good Indian summer as it has been beautiful this week and lots of time to read outside. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
I discovered that Blood Dark had been released which is the 5th book in Lindsay Pryor's Blackthorn series. We return to Caitlin and Kane who were the stars of book 1 Blood Shadows. Caitlin  returned to her job at the Vampire Control Unit despite being instrumental in the downfall of her former boss, her stepfather, and former boyfriend due to the evidence she uncovered of their nefarious activities. She isn't exactly popular with most of her colleagues nor was her decision popular with her lover and vampire king-pin Kane. Kane didn't want her to return to her former life especially when dangerous creatures from the fourth dimension start to appear and threaten everything and everyone he loves, including Caitlin. This is all against the backdrop of the prophecy of the rise of a master vampire, the role of the serryn and the opening of the fourth dimension and the hell it would unleash. While their relationship all seems trivial in comparison, it is the cornerstone to the prophecy itself and the fate of Blackthorn.

I have a love/not-so-love relationship with this series. I think that the heroines in this series are brutalised a bit too much by their respective love interests to truly fall in love with them but the overall plot arc is too interesting to miss out on. The tension really ramps up in this instalment as we re-visit Caitlin and Kane's relationship. For approximately the first half I thought I was reading the cross between JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood book or and E.L James Fifty Shades with all the kinky/post-near-death experience/vampire sex the hero/heroine were having. I am not that much of a fan of erotica and it was verging a bit too close to that for me. However, from 50% onwards (reading the Kindle version) the plot came into the fore and overtook the romance as Caitlin finds out something about Kane that changes almost everything she has ever thought about him or herself for that matter. Pryor includes a number of rather clever recaps for the reader which I found very useful as sometimes the prophecy, which is central to the overall plot, is a bit confusing. Overall, I found it a good read. It would have been a great read had it not been for all the erotica but I am still looking forward to book 6 where I hope Pryor starts to bring the plot arc together.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
Book number 2 for me was Red Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire. I can't believe this is the 9th in the October Daye series. Once again our hero knight finds herself in another near death experience or two. Just when Toby thought that her life was going to be a little less dramatic after the events of the last 8 books she ends up in the Kingdom of the Silences on a diplomatic mission that might not be that diplomatic. I did enjoy it but seriously, McGuire needs to give Toby a little break. Its another marathon for Toby with barely any sleep, barely anything to eat and lots more blood/bleeding. Also, dear reader...don't attempt to read this while eating...especially anything in a bacon or ham food group. Might never touch meat again.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
Remember when I said a few sentences ago that I don't like erotica? Well I have been making the exception for the Dragon Kin series by G.A. Aiken.  I have been finding the sex scenes interspersed with some rather funny scenes although in the last few books there have been fewer funny scenes and the dragon sex scenes get a bit too repetitive. Dragon on Top is technically book 0.5 of the series which tells the story of events before the main Dragon Kin series. In this one it features the love story of Ghleanna the Decimator and Bram the Merciful. Readers of this series will remember these two characters as the parents of main characters in the main series but here in Dragon Kin we find out how they get together. As per the other books in this series it involves mayhem, death, sex and well....dragons. In this instalment Ghleanna the Decimator is sent to escort Bram the Merciful on an important diplomatic mission when they are attacked and Ghleanna almost dies. Left alone in an underwater world with potentially more dangerous dragons the pair must find a way to get rescued while fighting their growing attraction to each other. The typical tale of how opposites attract. Rather standard fare for Aiken and I hope she returns to the main story, as despite the quick read, these are becoming a bit too stereotypical.

Well folks that is all for me for this week. I hope you have had an equally good week and congratulations to The Qwillery on its 7th anniversary earlier this week. Until next week Happy Reading.

Blood Dark
Blackthorn 5
Bookouture, September 21, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 396 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
‘There are guardian angels, and there are monsters with wings’

Caitlin Parish should have been the last person to fall for a vampire. A member of the Vampire Control Unit, her relationship with master vampire Kane Malloy had explosive consequences. Caitlin’s colleagues count her as the enemy. And now she’s going back.

Kane has made powerful enemies of his own – and is being targeted by the head of the Global Council, Sirius Throme. With the stakes higher than ever before, Kane knows caring for Caitlin makes him vulnerable. Worse, her decision to return to VCU feels like betrayal.

With Throme threatening to tear Blackthorn apart, and the prophesied vampire leader finally revealed, Kane and Caitlin must both fight with everything they have to stop an all out war. But they’re fighting on opposite sides…

Right when she needs him most, Caitlin makes a shocking discovery about Kane. Has he been playing her all along? And can she trust him with her life when he won’t even trust her with the truth?

The choice Caitlin makes will change the game in Blackthorn forever.

A Red-Rose Chain
October Daye 9
DAW (September 1, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life — and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

A Red-Rose Chain is the ninth installment in Seanan McGuire’s urban fantasy October “Toby” Daye series.

Dragon on Top
Dragon Kin 0.5
Zebra, October 27, 2015
eBook, 176 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015
Try a little dragon tenderness.

I am Ghleanna the Decimator. I am a warrior. A soldier. I know no fear. No pain. No mercy. I do, however, know acute embarrassment! How could I not after getting dumped by a bastard dragon in front of my own troops? So I tuck tail and return to my cave, drowning my sorrows in ale—as is my family’s way. But instead of leaving me to my misery, I’ve been summoned to the Dragon Queen’s court.

As if my life wasn’t pathetic enough, Her Majesty now has me escorting the highborn Bram the Merciful through dangerous territories—not exactly the best use of my military training. And just so he can negotiate with enemy dragons instead of battling them? Honestly, what has my world come to? Then again…Bram is quite easy on the eyes. And the perfect distraction for what ails me. Perhaps I’m looking at all this the wrong way. Maybe there is a place for a little “mercy” in my life…

Previously published in Supernatural (Zebra, September 1, 2011) featuring stories by Larissa Ione, Alexandra Ivy, Jacquelyn Frank, and G. A. Aiken.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014

I am baaaaccccckkkkk. I may have to change the title of this to Melanie's Two Weeks in Review.  I hope you haven't missed me too much.  I went home to Canada and had a great Thanksgiving with my family and now back in the UK to a very mild October. I am not only recovering from jetlag but also the clocks going back.  I used to love the extra hour in bed but now I just lament hardly ever seeing the sun! Anyway, I digress.You are probably thinking you wish she would just get to what she read!

Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014
I started my holiday with Binary by Stephanie Saulter which is the second book of the Gemsigns series.  Saulter was part of the Debut Author Challenge in May this year with her first book Gemsigns which I reviewed. I loved this first book and book 2 didn't disappoint. I will be writing a full review of Binary so I don't want to give too much away. I would advise you to start reading Gemsigns if you haven't already.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014I decided that I needed quick and easy reads while I was on holiday so I popped over to NetGalley to see if they had any HEA for me to read. I found Light My Fire by G.A. Aiken. I have been reading the Dragon Kin novels despite them being a bit too 'erotica' for my liking. I found the first two or three novels (I started at the second novel About a Dragon) amusing and with enough humour I could forgive the non-stop sex. The further I get into the series the more I am getting a bit bored. I feel that Aiken needs to pair off almost every character in some 'stop it, I love it' tale. Light My Fire was set about 10 years after How to Drive a Dragon Crazy and tells the story of Celyn the Charming and the human Elina Shestokova from the Outer Plains. Celyn was your fairly typical drop dead gorgeous dragon who has something to prove and paired with Elina who I thought jumped out of From Russia with Love. Their love story was quite dull but I did enjoy the passages dedicated to Gwenvael and Dagmar who have featured in the last few novels. Normally, Aiken focuses the story from the female lead characters but even in the sub-plots there was much more male dominance in this instalment. I also thought that Aiken almost repeats the ending of book 5 in this book which made me wonder despite the wait, whether this one was a bit of a rush job.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014
Book 2 from NetGalley was 'Til Dragons Do Us Part by Lorenda Christensen. I was hoping that this was going to be a 'feel good' read as I was going to read it during my flight back. I was glad this was a quick read as boy, it was boring. This is the story of of Savanagh, dragon shifter and art thief. One last heist may well be her very last of everything. Savanagh needs to steal a famous painting from a another dragon's horde but all her plans look like they are going to be foiled by the hunky head of security, Cameron.

The cover is definitely the best part of this book as the plot line was dull, dull, dull. Savanagh was just too good and caring to be considered a famous thief. Cameron was slightly more believable but only just slightly. It was pretty clear that he wasn't that good at his job as he totally missed the fact that a dragon shifter was posing as a wedding planner. I haven't read the other books in this series so perhaps they are better than this one but I don't think I will attempt to find out.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014I will only tell you about one more book that I read on my return. My third NetGalley treat was The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes. I was super excited when I read that Patrick Weekes also writes for my 2 all time favourite video games - Mass Effect and Dragon Age. This first instalment of the Rogues of the Republic series brings together the 'dream team'. The baroness/ex-soldier/thief Loch assembles a motley crew to pull the biggest heist ever. She is determined to steal back the priceless elven manuscript from the man that killed her family and turned her into an outcast. Together with a unicorn, a death priestess, a talking war hammer, a magician and a boy with a mysterious birthmark Loch embarks on a journey to break into the most impregnable fortress ever - Heaven's Spire. 

This is a great read which I thoroughly enjoyed. Weekes has combined great characters, humour and adventure. There is also a smattering of romance for those of you who don't want to read about swashbucklers. In parts I felt like I was reading a script from Dragon's Age but as I love these games it wasn't a problem. Weekes really knows how to create great characters and ones  you want to spend more time with. I am really looking forward to what happens next. Also, I LOVE the cover!

That is it for me. I am sure to have more to tell you about next week as with the clocks going back I have a whole extra hour to read something new! Until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013

I am back in the UK after 10 days in Canada and suffering from jetlag. Its quite a coincidence then that my WIR has a flying theme. I didn't plan it but nearly every book I finished this week involved creatures that could fly. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013
I finished the second in the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh, Archangel's Kiss. I quite liked it but perhaps not as much as book 1. I think that the world where vampires serve angels is an interesting concept. I don't think anyone has done that before but I am not sure as I  haven't read that many angel series. I would have liked a bit more history as to why that was the case and I wasn't entirely sure whether angels needed blood to survive. The angels also didn't appear to serve anyone, apart from themselves and seems on the whole to be quite power hungry but that is one of the reasons why I like the series so far. Book 2 teased out Elena's tragic past which I thought was almost better than the Lijuan plot. Not to be undone I then decided to read book 3, Archangel's Consort which further developed Elena's and Raphael love story. I wasn't terribly fond of this book however, as I thought that the 'sexy' bits took over the main plot about the awakening of Raphael's mother. The world seemed to be falling apart around them with 'mother' induced hurricanes and volcanoes but that didn't stop the lovebirds from staring longingly into each others eyes throughout the novel. There was a bit more about Elena's past but this was much less dominant in the plot. I have decided against reading anything further in this series as the books that follow focus on secondary characters and I am not convinced I will like them.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013Two books magically downloaded onto my Kindle (well my iPad really) while I was away. The first one I A Tale of Two Dragons by G.A. Aiken which is a novella within the Dragon Kin series. For some reason I find this series to be quite amusing but not so much the case with this story. This was the story of Braith and Addolgar and is set before the main books of the series. I thought it was OK but have enjoyed some of the other stories more so. The second book that appeared was Kinked by Thea Harrison which is book 6 in the Elder Races series. I actually read this book on the plane on the way back and got me wishing I was a harpy. Ayral got all the good lines and most of the action. This book is quite 'saucy' so if you like the love interests to prefer candlelight dinners to whips then perhaps choose another book.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013
The only book I read that didn't have an avian theme was Blood Roses by Lindsay. J Pryor. This was the second in the Blackthorn series. I discussed my unease with the love scenes in my WIR last week between the two main characters and I was even more uncomfortable with the ones in Blood Roses. This book centered around Leila who is a serryn which is a vampire killer (not quite Buffy) and Caleb who is a not so coincidentally, a vampire. Leila rushes into Blackthorn to rescue her sister who has become entangled with Caleb's brother and ends up locked up by the moody and handsome vamp. I was not happy however, that once again the heroine is locked up, handcuffed and generally belittled by her soon-to-be love interest. Whereas Caitlin from book 1 uses sex to get information Leila didn't seem to have much choice in the matter and Caleb was constantly threatening her. It was overtly male dominant and I couldn't actually see what Leila could find to love in Caleb as he was never very nice to her....even at the end. These books are odd as the beginning and endings are really intriguing but are let down by the middle when the two love interests come together. There is too much aggression from the men which I don't really like that much. I am undecided if I want to finish the series based on book 2 but the overall plot is really good and I don't want to miss out on what  happens next. I am not sure when book 3 is out so I may have some time yet to make up my mind. I love the cover though and think it is gorgeous.

I got a few more books finished this week to last but was very naughty and didn't read either of the books I took to with me on holiday specifically to finish.  I am currently reading Kindred and Wings by Philippa Ballantine (back to the flying!) and hope to have it ready to review soon. That is all from me as its time for this jetlagged lady to get back to her book. Until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Month in Review - July 2019Melanie's Week in Review - August 13, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - November 1, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - October 4, 2015Melanie's Week in Review - October 26, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - November 10, 2013

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