So Stephan knows a bloke named Robin, and on the road they meet and befriend a couple of pickpockets with hearts of gold named Allan and Little John. Hmmmm... I wonder where this is going. Look, if you want to write a Robin Hood retelling, then do that. Don't make them side characters. It's just distracting. And really, after reading The Wode series by J Tullos Hennig, there's just no way this can come close to that series. This really just made me want to reread The Wode instead.
I'm by no means an expert of this time period, so I didn't know the battle of Messina was recounted inaccurately or that King Richard admired Saladin, or any other number of things that others have noted are poorly researched. However, it did feel off that Henry and Stephan and Robin all treat Richard like just another dude bro, and that Henry and Stephan are such experts at a longbow when that was rather a rarity back then.
I did like the banter between Henry and Stephan, and I could buy that they'd befriend a couple of wayward pickpockets once they proved they wouldn't rob them blind in the middle of the night. There's a lot of promise here, but the writing wasn't particularly gripping and it lacked detail. Even the action scenes were kind of boring me.
Time to move on!
(Side note: The KU selection has not been particularly promising so far. So many DNFs.)
I eally enjoyed this little story.
Ling Shuang, a daughter of a nobleman, is about to be married to a complete stranger. She is not happy with this arranged marriage. She already has a lover and they made plans for their future life together.
On her way to her betrothed's house, Ling Shuang forces her male servant, Jie Yi, to put on a female dress and makeup and play a role of a bride. She also gives him a cheap pearl bracelet as a small bribe. They part, Yi to go and get married to the stranger, and Ling Shuang to reunite with her lover.
Tian Yang doesn't want a wife. He remembers his own beautiful aristocratic mother running away to find a better life, far away from the children and the ranch which belonged to their family. This betrayal is so deep, that Tian Yang is determined to undermine any future marriages, arranged or not. When Jie Yi arrives, claiming to be Ling Shuang, Tian Yang take him to a remote warehouse/hut to test his new bride. But Jie Yi, as beautiful and delicate as he is, doesn't mind the hardship; after all, he grew up a servant.
Over a few weeks, Tian Yang finds himself suddenly drawn to the beautiful young lady, who seems to be perfect for him and is not afraid of hard work. One day, with two young people living so close together, things finally get out of hand. Yi's secret is discovered. Petrified, he leaves the little hut.
In the meantime, Ling Shuang shows up at Tian Yang's ranch, claiming little Yi robbed her blind, left her sick on the road and pretended to be her in order to take her place. Her proof? That little pearl bracelet....
Fun begins :)
As far as BL novels go this was pretty decent, with plenty of twists and turns. The ending was a bit disappointing, with numerous relatives complaining 'oh, my god, two men together! No, it's OK you can stay, but oh, my god, maybe you should leave...' Round and round and round it went.
Translation was confusing at times, but I can't hold it against the book or the person who translated it. All I can say is "thank you for you hard work" :)
It's certainly been an interesting, if not a long, month! Phew, I thought January would never end! Fortunately I got through some great books and was able to write two reviews each week. This new routine really helped me stay on top of things. Let's take a look at all the bookish goodness, shall we?
Splatterpunk Fighting Back by (multiple) - This analogy has eleven individual stories written by different authors. Going in, I was only vaguely familiar with Duncan Ralston, having previously finished Woom. I never would've discovered this had it not been for Horror Aficionados on Goodreads, of who appointed it the January group read with author invite. I was lucky enough to ask some of the authors questions whilst trying to gain more insight into their brutal tales, and I had a blast! The best thing, though? All proceeds of this book go to charity! (Rated: 4/5)
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay - Another one I wouldn't have picked up if not for the Horror Aficionados group. Being the January group read, I was pleasantly surprised by this one! (Rated: 4/5)
The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter - I started this long-running series in 2011, and it's still ongoing. Whilst I really enjoyed it at the beginning, my enjoyment waned several instalments ago, however I can't just give up without finishing it, can I? Ludicrous! (Rated: 2/5)
What Hides Within by Jason Parent - I found this on Netgalley, and I'm glad I did! Bloodshot Books accepted my request, and I promptly read and reviewed it. (Rated: 4/5)
Morium by S.J. Hermann - I was requested to read and review this novel by the author. Being my last read of January, this one takes priority and will be the first review of February. See my request information here. (Rated: 3/5)
Blood Song by Cat Adams (WORST READ)
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
Stephen by Amy Cross
The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards
Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds (BEST READ)
Woom by Duncan Ralston
What Hides Within by Jason Parent
Dark Space by Kevis Hendrickson
Other than that, January was a decent month for me personally. I'm enjoying reading more, getting out more, and generally trying to put more effort into my day-to-day life. I thank everyone who made this past month all the better, including the wonderful authors I had the chance to speak to! Here's hoping for a book-tastic February!
When Princess Vilhelmina Dragomir is awakened from her hellish sleep with a blood kiss from a handsome stranger, she learns that much has changed while she’s been away. The armies of the Black Lily and the vampire Crown have amassed and are on the brink of war.
No romantic entanglements, no family. Mikhail Romanov, Captain of the Bloodguard, took a vow when he joined the Bloodguard. But he never planned for the gut-punching attraction he would feel for the untouchable princess. He must keep his focus, though. In order to avenge his family, it’s essential he help Mina claim her crown and keep his damn hands off of her.
But Mina sets her heart on the elusive captain, and keeping his focus on the great battle ahead becomes harder and harder. While they're making plans, the evil King Dominik has been making some of his own. This time, he will show no mercy to the Princess…
The Emerald Lily is the fourth and final book in the Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross.
Danger, Intrigue, Subterfuge, & Romance.
This series captured me from the very first book with it’s unique twist on fairy tails and vampires. I can’t express how much I’ve loved this series, diving into the books, and being taken away. In The Emerald Lily we get Sleeping Beauty, which is my favorite fairy tail, next to Beauty and the Beast.
WOW! I didn’t think Ms. Cross could surprise me anymore then I’ve already been in this series, but she did. I was not expecting the mind-blowing and extraordinary moments delivered throughout the story and that introduction gripped me and gave a taste of what is to come.
I loved Mikhail who is the Captain of the Bloodguard, a renegade vampire group and Princess Vilhelmina Dragomir who has been cursed and put into a blood sleep by the evil Queen.
Cross teases us throughout the book about a secret that Mikhail has been keeping as well as what our Fair Princess is to become in order to save the humans and vampires who have suffered under the evil Queen and her son’s rule. I was not expecting several of the heart-stopping moments or the secrets that came to life. Even when the final battle happens, we know in war not everyone comes out alive or unscathed, and those loses had me in tears.
I absolutely loved the story about how the hearthstone came to be. I loved seeing everyone come together; Cinderella (The Black Lily), Red Riding Hood (The Red Lily), Snow White (The White Lily), and now Sleeping Beauty. It all felt like a wonderful way to conclude. Loved the hidden secrets and was surprised by what Vihlemina becomes.
The Emerald Lily delivered on all fronts and concluded the series marvelously. I’m sad to see this series end, but wow what a way to end it all.
Rated: 5 Stars
*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy provided by Entangled Publishing, LLC via NetGalley with the sole purpose of an honest review. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.
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Juliette is a multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance. She calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab named Kona. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance–brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more books set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.