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review 2019-10-13 23:18
Some Thoughts: Firelight
Firelight - Kristen Callihan

Firelight

by Kristen Callihan
Book 1 of Darkest London

 

 

Once the flames are ignited . . .

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented.  Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities.  Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity . . .

Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man.  Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride.  Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime.  When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied.  Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue.  For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.



Hmm... so going by what I recall of the prologue novella of this series, detailing some of the scattered tangents between Miranda and Archer before Firelight's story line...  I'm not certain this book really came off the way I'd been expecting it to.  I guess I'd been expecting something maybe a bit darker, maybe a bit more paranormal... maybe some more explosive fiery goodness...

Firelight is most definitely more romance than it is anything else.  There was an appropriate look into Archer's dark thoughts and Miranda's own misgivings.  There was a murder mystery.  There was even the typical society happenings.

I guess what I'd hoped to see was more of Miranda exploring her dark secret--her ability to summon and control fire.  And maybe I would have liked for Archer's dark secret to not have been dragged out for quite so long, only to be stuffed with a lot of sweet nothings spoken between Miranda and Archer about how much they love each other despite their secrets... BEFORE they even knew each other's secrets.

So yes, as a romance, this wasn't a terrible one if you can overlook some of the insta-lust, the insta-love, the over-intense possessiveness between our main characters, as well as their inability to think past their libidos for a good percentage of the book.  Also, even for the fact that, having read Ember, you KNOW that Miranda is not a young virgin, she certainly does act like one and I found myself wondering if the story was being rewritten or something.

Meanwhile, for that entire first half of the book, I'm not entirely sure I really understood what was actually going on in the romance between Miranda and Archer.  Their relationship came off kind of standard and boring, to be honest.  And it isn't until halfway into the book, when Miranda stops being meek, that their relationship starts feeling more sure-footed.

On that note, the excitement DOES start about halfway into the book at that same time that Miranda stops being meek, with more exploration of the murder mystery, the secrets pertaining to the West Moon Club and Archer's past, and then Miranda even starts taking charge of herself by hopping into the investigation.  This then eventually leads to Miranda's powers of fire manipulation making more of a show.  Because for the first half of the book, I'd wondered if we were going to capitalize on one of the biggest plot devices of this book at all when Miranda's powers are only ever mentioned in passing by her and her sisters.

But at that point in the story line, I think everything starts getting interesting.

There's a great premise in this book, as well as in this series, and by the end of the book, we've been introduced to the next book's main hero, who is obviously a werewolf, what with his references to the moon, and emphasis on his super strength and fast healing abilities.  I'm not entirely sure that our author was all that subtle about that, and I sort of wished she had been, because those mentions all seemed kind of forced.

Anyway, despite the slowness of the book's beginning, I rather enjoyed the book.  Save a fix for the pacing of the conflict, I think this could have been a great book, and I'm curious enough about the rest of the Darkest London world to continue on.

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2019

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/10/some-thoughts-firelight.html
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review 2019-08-19 02:48
Brief Thoughts: Ember
Ember - Kristen Callihan

Ember

by Kristen Callihan
Darkest London #0.5 (novella)

 

 

Prequel to Firelight.

After a fire consumes the Ellis family fortune, the beautiful and resourceful Miranda finds herself faced with an impossible dilemma: enter a life of petty crime or watch her family succumb to poverty.  But once her fiancé learns of her descent into danger—and of the strange, new powers she's discovered—saving her family may come at the high price of her heart.

When Lord Benjamin Archer's one chance for redemption is destroyed by corrupt London antiquarian Hector Ellis, he vows to take what Ellis values most—his daughter Miranda.  Forced to hide his face behind masks, Archer travels the world hoping to escape the curse that plagues him so that he can finally claim his prize.

But once Archer returns home to London, will it be revenge he seeks?  Or will the flame-haired beauty ignite new, undeniable desires?



In preparation for Halloween Bingo 2019, I'm reading a few books and novellas that are either the first book or, in this case, a prequel to a book I want to read for the game.  I figured, what better book to read for the Darkest London square than a book from a series titled Darkest London, which follows a girl with a supernatural gift for creating fire?  Apparently, there's also a mystery involved in said book so I'm super excited to read it.

And so, I decided to go ahead and read Ember, which is the prequel novella to Firelight (the first book in the series), and found it intriguing enough to keep me hooked, even if the outline of the novella itself was a bit chaotic.  I'm also not sure that the novella did much for me as a story if it weren't attached to a book I'm interested in reading, and which has gotten enough positive critique for me to want to keep moving forward.

For a little while, I was having trouble following the novella's story's events, especially with the hopping timelines that didn't seem to have any reasoning behind them.  The brief tangents following Archer were pretty confusing, and didn't feel like they contributed much to the story.  I DID find that I liked Miranda, but that was the extent of how I felt about all the characters.  I didn't much care for Miranda's at-present lover nor her father.  And I'm not certain I saw how Miranda's and Archer's tangents fit together.

Maybe it'll all make sense in Firelight, since the novella is supposed to give more of an insight into the first book of the series, according to a lot of reviews I'd skimmed out of curiosity.  So I decided to get it read.  So rather than being a historical romance with a paranormal twist, the conclusion of Ember was rather open-ended and bittersweet.  There's so much unresolved conflict going on in Miranda's life that I'm tempted to just hop right into the book to get at a possible Happily Ever After... or at least a more satisfying resolution for her.

After all, there are still more books in this series I can read for the Darkest London square, right?  The series is seven books long, and any of them would fit the square... and then some!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/brief-thoughts-ember.html
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review 2019-03-25 23:58
Ember
Ember (Darkest London, #0.5) - Kristen Callihan

I'm glad I went with the suggestion to read the prologue in Firelight before reading this. The prologue of Firelight is referenced in this (Miranda and Archer meeting). Having made a lasting first impression on each other, they go their separate ways. Archer trying to find a cure for his affliction. Miranda stealing per her father's directive. 
Miranda's father is as asshole. I thought the difference in timelines distracting (they are off by 2 years- Archer's taking place 2 years later). It was sad what Martin did, but was a really a favor since he was only focuses on Miranda's looks and not on her as a person.

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review 2018-10-12 00:20
Another delightful edition to the Darkest London Series...
Winterblaze (Darkest London) - Kristen Callihan

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BOOK BLURB~

Winterblaze

Kristen Callihan

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Once blissfully in love...

 

Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy's secrets are revealed, leaving Winston's trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections...

 

Their relationship is now put to the ultimate test...

 

Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy's love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I liked this so much more on Audio…with it, the slow sections are so much easier to get through.  I've previously read this series in eBook format, and I've struggled through the first two books. But now that I've found the audio version on Scribd...this has become a much more enjoyable read/listen.  Once you get to the meat of the story, it really is quite awesome…even for paranormal (just to clarify, I haven't been feeling the paranormal stories lately).  The dark, historic London paired with Kristen Callihan's superb writing makes the paranormal aspects, and let's not forget the sizzling sex scenes either, come to life.

 

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

~MY RATING~

4STARS - GRADE=B

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4/5

Main Characters~ 4.3/5

Secondary Characters~ 4.3/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 3.7/5

Addictiveness~ 3.5/5

Theme or Tone~ 3.8/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 3.8/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4/5

Originality~ 4/5

Ending~ 4/5 Cliffhanger~ to be continued...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Book Cover~ I like the newer one better…

Narration~ ☆4☆ for Moira Quirk, she was excellent, but this could have been top-notch with the addition of a male narrator.

Series~ Darkest London

Setting~ London

Source~ Audiobook (Scribd)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

I used this for Darkest London Square in Halloween Bingo 2018

 

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review 2018-09-22 18:20
Count Dracula
Dracula - Bram Stoker

So there's a reason why Dracula is a classic horror story. Stoker created the vampire that is still a thing in 2018. Why do writers come back again and again to the tale of a creature that was all about murder and mayhem?I tend to love Stoker's look at Dracula and vampires the most. I always side eyed writers that made vampires poor tortured and sad and alone. Stoker's first look at Count Dracula shows us a cunning character who is focused on wrecking Johnathan Harker's life and those connected to him.

 

"Dracula" focuses on Count Dracula who travels from Transylvania to England (London specifically) in order to spread more vampires. Fighting against him is Johnathan Harker, his new wife, Mina along with friends of the couple (Doctor John Seward, Quincey Morris, and Arthur Holmwood). The latter group also comes across a vampire slayer (whatever, that is what I am calling him) Abraham Van Helsing. 

 

I think the saddest character in this is Lucy. She's best friends with Mina and has attracted many marriage proposals. When she finally agrees to marry Arthur, it would be seem that her life is perfect. However, she seems to be growing weaker and weaker and is sleepwalking. John calls in Van Helsing who suspects what is going on, but doesn't inform all parties. The end of Lucy always made me feel bad.


We also have the character of Renfield who is creepy as all get out. Reading about him collecting bugs, spiders, sparrows, and wanting a kitten or cat and finding out what he was eating and feeding to other animals was a bit much for me. 

 

The book cuts things up by showing us the journal or diary entries from many of the characters. I can't really argue against this style of story-telling. It allows us into the characters heads. I do wish at times that we could have gotten more dialogue between characters though. Sometimes it just reads as flat sometimes. The flow was up and down. I think switching between characters/entries takes you out of the story at times. 

 

I do wish that more movies/tv shows had been more faithful with the original work since you do get a sense of the camaraderie that has developed by all parties in order to stop Dracula especially when he ends up cursing Mina with vampirism. 

 

The ending shows what happens after they all confronted Dracula which I liked. 

 

 

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