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text 2017-06-27 16:07
Currently on loan from the public library!
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong
The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story - Douglas Preston
Often I Am Happy - Jens Christian Grøndahl
Down Among the Sticks and Bones - Seanan McGuire
The Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry
The Great Hunt - Robert Jordan
How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease - Michael Greger,Gene Stone

Somehow, I have ended up with a stack of very large books, plus I'm reading to a deadline.  All of them have holds on them. 

 

This may become like fishing--catch & release.  I'll see how much I can read over the Canada Day long weekend.

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text 2017-03-07 13:00
The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins Release Blitz + AMAAAZING GIVEAWAY!

 

I am so excited that THE GREAT PURSUIT by Wendy Higgins is available now and that I get to share the news!
 
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Wendy Higgins, be sure to check out all the details below.

 

 
This blitz also includes a giveaway for some amazing prizes! So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
 
Title: THE GREAT PURSUIT (Eurona Duology #2)
Author: Wendy Higgins
Pub. Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 512
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
 
 
In The Great Pursuit, the dramatic sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Great Hunt, Wendy Higgins delivers another thrilling fantasy filled with dangerous enemies, political intrigue, searing romance, and a princess who is willing to do everything to protect her kingdom. 
 
One hunt has ended, but the pursuit for love and justice continues.
 
The kingdom of Lochlanach has traded the great beast that once terrorized the realm of Eurona for something far more dangerous: the ire of powerful Lashed woman Rosaria Rocato. Rosaria demands that Eurona overturn the laws prohibiting magic, or an innocent will be killed each day.
 
Despite the king’s resistance, Princess Aerity believes they must make peace with the Lashed, and though she’s accepted a betrothal to the man who took down the beast, she cannot help thinking about Paxton, the Lashed man who stole her heart and disappeared.
 
Aerity soon discovers that Paxton has joined Rosaria’s army in the war against her family. Though her feelings for him are still strong, her duty to her kingdom and her family is stronger—especially when her parents are kidnapped and she has to step up to the throne and once again put aside what’s best for her in order to do what’s best for her people. Paxton and Princess Aerity must fight to see what is more powerful: their love or the impending war between the magical Lashed and the non-magic humans.
 
Grab the eBook 1 THE GREAT HUNT for just $1.99!
 
 


 
Excerpt


CHAPTER ONE

A new beast roamed the kingdom of Lochlanach, killing at will. A second unnatural monster created by the hands of Rozaria Rocato, granddaughter of the most infamous and hated Lashed One of all time. Princess Aerity Lochson’s mind was a blur of piled-up worries as she rushed from High Hall of the castle, away from the frightened commoners and guests who’d come for her betrothal ceremony, and toward the office of her father, King Charles. She turned at the sound of heavy footsteps behind her and found both her childhood friend Lieutenant Harrison Gillfin and her betrothed, Lord Lief Alvi, following. Lord Alvi looked every bit the hero—his broad stature striking, with elk furs about his shoulders and a black kilt to his knees above leather boots. His blue eyes were filled with bright passion and hunger, but those emotions were not for her. They were for the beast. The new hunt.

He had killed the first creature, thereby earning her hand in marriage. The thought twisted Aerity’s stomach with discomfort and turned her mind to the man who’d disappeared weeks before when the beast was killed—the Lashed man who’d taken her heart with him and would likely never return. She clenched her jaw. This was no time to think of Paxton Seabolt or her drowned desires. The kingdom was suffering again—rendering everything she’d sacrificed to have been in vain.

Her eyes shifted from Lord Alvi’s to Harrison’s and found a fierce, protective comfort there. Harrison stood tall, lean, and capable. Never faltering. The thought of her noble friend fighting yet another beast filled her with sharp fear. So many lives had already been lost, including Harrison’s cousin Breckon, who’d been the true love of Aerity’s cousin Wyneth. Half a year was all it had taken to trample the dreams and futures of so many.

Aerity gave the men a nod to follow her. She lifted her long white skirts and moved quickly down the tapestry-lined hallway to her father’s office. Guards and soldiers ran past, shouting orders, fully armed with bows, swords, and lines of throwing daggers strapped across their uniformed tunics.

She opened the door without knocking. No fewer than twenty faces shot toward her. She recognized the burgundy red hair of her mother, along with her aunts and uncles, military elite, and royal advisers. Her father invited them in with a quick flick of his fingers.

When the door closed he asked her, “What is the state of things in High Hall?”

“The people seemed to have calmed for the moment, Father,” Aerity said. “And supper is being served.”

“Your daughter gave a rousing speech,” Lord Alvi pro- claimed in his rumbling voice. “She is to thank for the calm.” Aerity’s face flushed with heat at the unexpected compliment. Then he put a heavy hand on her shoulder and pulled her close. Aerity fought the urge to shrug away. For the sake of the kingdom, she had made a commitment to become his bride, and she would follow through regardless of what her heart wanted, and regardless of the fact that she was certain feelings had grown between Lief and Wyneth.
“Did she?” The king’s eyes softened with pride, and her mother, Queen Leighlane, smiled at Aerity and Lief, no doubt thinking what a lovely couple they were. If she only knew.

Behind them Harrison cleared his throat. “Are we to begin hunting the creature, Your Majesty?”

King Charles nodded, his face lined with anxiety. “Aye. But most of the hunters have dispersed.” Or been killed, Aerity thought with sorrow, remembering the men who’d come from all over Eurona and even a huntress who’d lost her life.

“I can have a message sent to Tiern Seabolt,” Harrison said. “I’m certain he would return with haste.”

Aerity’s abdomen tightened. Tiern was Paxton’s younger brother. He’d nearly been killed by the first beast and had been saved by Paxton’s Lashed magic. It was the very reason Pax had fled the kingdom—using magic was illegal, even to heal. Aerity didn’t want Tiern to hunt again. She didn’t want Paxton’s sacrifice to have been a waste.

“And his older brother?” the king asked.

“Nay.” Harrison paused. “He disappeared after the hunt. We don’t know his whereabouts.”

“Must you call Tiern back?” Aerity asked. When her father’s eyebrows drew together she emended, “He’s . . . so young.”

“He’s the same age as you, Daughter,” the king reminded her. “Seventeen. A man who’s already proven himself in the hunt.” Aerity pressed her lips together and nodded. She could not keep Tiern safe any more than she could force Harrison to stay out of harm’s reach. Their heroic hearts would urge them forward.

“Can we send word to the Zandalee?” Aerity’s uncle Lord Wavecrest asked.

The king shook his head. “I’m afraid not this time. The letter from the Rocato woman stated that her creatures have now been released in all the lands of Eurona. The Zandalee will be needed to fight in their own drylands of Zorfina.”

A fearful silence fell over the room. Each kingdom was on its own with its own beasts to battle now. Lochlanach was a quaint kingdom of fishermen and crop villagers, farmers, that had enjoyed many years of peace. The people had risen together to fight the first beast, but how much more could the king expect from them? It was too much. To imagine this kind of horror inflicted on innocent people all over Eurona sickened Aerity.

“Perhaps another proclamation?” Lord Wavecrest suggested carefully. At this proposal from Aerity’s uncle, the men in the room glanced around at one another, and the hairs rose on the princess’s arms. The queen caught her daughter’s eyes, and they both went still.

The last proclamation had offered Aerity’s hand in marriage to whoever killed the beast. The only thing left to give was the second princess, Aerity’s fifteen-year-old sister, Vixie. Her father stared down at his desk.

“No.” Aerity stepped forward, out of Lord Alvi’s embrace, her body trembling. “You cannot offer Vixie’s hand.”

The king’s hazel eyes, filled with regret, rose to hers. “I have nothing left to give.” With Vixie’s hand would come her dowry of lands. Using Vixie as a prize would surely smother her soul. Aerity wouldn’t stand for it.

“And why should you oppose it?” her uncle Preston asked haughtily. “The first proclamation provided you with a fine match. It can do the same for Vixie.”

Aerity stilled, forcing back the torrent of words that flooded her mind: unfair, poor match, confinement, no joy, no love. She was to endure those things for her kingdom, but the thought of Vixie losing her freedom to choose her future . . . it gutted Aerity. She knew how it appeared to the world—that she’d landed a handsome, noble, brave lord—but the heart didn’t care about appearances. It wanted who it wanted.

“And then what?” Aerity asked. “Who shall we offer for the next beast, and the one after that? Your own Wyneth? Or perhaps six-year-old Merity?”

Lord Wavecrest scowled.

“Enough, Aerity,” Queen Leighlane said quietly. Aerity met her mother’s eyes and felt an understanding there. No one knew better than the two of them how this would crush Vixie’s spirit. These men couldn’t possibly understand.

“Vixie’s nearly sixteen,” Lord Wavecrest pressed. Aerity wanted to claw out his eyes and force him to stop speaking.

“A proclamation offering Vixie’s hand will be my very last resort,” King Charles said, standing taller. “It is my hope that the people will rise of their own free will to protect their families and lands as they did in the last hunt. I will not hinder them with further curfews.”

Lord Wavecrest shook his head and crossed his arms. Aerity breathed a temporary sigh of relief.

“Sire, we should address the other part of the Rocato woman’s letter.” This was from the king’s oldest adviser, Duke Gulfton. This duke had been the closest adviser to Aerity’s grandfather King Leon. His views on the Lashed were legendarily conservative and strict, and he was a proponent of keeping the Lashed lists up to date. All persons with Lashed capabilities and their families were notated in the records and checked regularly for markings.
The stooped man wore a sea-green robe around his shoulders and a perpetual serious frown on his face. He leaned on his cane. “We cannot do as the Rocato woman demands. We cannot burn our records of Lashed Ones in these lands, or give them rein to take over our kingdom.”

A few of the other older men murmured their agreement.

Harrison stepped forward. “What if we made a copy of the list? Then it wouldn’t matter if one was destroyed.”

“I’ve got scribes copying pages as we speak,” the king responded. “But the Rocato woman has called for the records to be burned by sundown. The copy won’t be complete. There are thousands of names.”

Thousands of persons with Lashed blood in Lochlanach. Amazing, Aerity thought. Only a small percentage of those on the list actually had magic, though. Paxton’s family was not on the list. Aerity wondered how many others of magical blood had been able to elude the system.

“How will the madwoman know the difference?” Duke Gulfton asked. “Burn papers to appease her, then kill her and her monsters once and for all. End of story.”

“Here, here!” a few men shouted, as if it were that simple. As if they wouldn’t have done it by now if they could.

The king’s jaw was set. “I have a terrible feeling this woman has eyes and ears everywhere.”

The room quieted and a sense of unease spread as heads turned and everyone eyed the others present. Her father’s council was a small group of family and a mere handful of wise advisers, all landowners, who’d been loyal to the kingdom since her grandfather ruled. She couldn’t imagine this group being compromised.

“With all due respect, gentlemen,” Lord Alvi said to the room, “we will find every beast and even Rocato herself, but we cannot guarantee immediate success. The last hunt took two months.”

“Aye,” Harrison added. “And she’s threatening to kill seven men each week.”

“You’ll have to work faster this time,” Duke Gulfton told them.

The room tensed. During the last hunt they’d had a hundred men. They’d sought the monster nearly ten hours a night and spent the days scouting and preparing. The lands of Lochlanach stretched far and wide. Yet people like Duke Gulfton were expecting a miracle of the sea.

Queen Leighlane cleared her throat. “The fact of the matter is that we’re going to have to at least put on a show of honoring her wishes. We need to buy time as we plan.”

Another elder, Duke Streamson, asked, “What are you proposing, Your Highness? Rocato is demanding that all Lashed be allowed to freely work magic.”

Magic that wasn’t all bad, Aerity thought. Magic that had saved Tiern and could save others. If only she could get them to embrace that.

“I have an idea.” Aerity’s brain whirred as all eyes turned to her. “What if we set up a public area just outside the royal lands and invited Lashed from throughout the kingdom to come, and any Unlashed who wishes to seek their healing can receive it?”

Duke Streamson made a choking sound. “Round up the people of Rocato to turn against us in one place? That’s precisely what she wants!”

Aerity rushed on. “I don’t believe all Lashed are ‘her people.’ The entire area would be heavily guarded so that if any Lashed got out of line, they could be dealt with immediately.” The old dukes scoffed at her.

One of the military advisers stepped forward. “Our numbers are not as large as they once were. Our troop sizes have been modest in the past fifty years. I’ve got to keep men patrolling the seas and borders, and we’ve lost many in the past months. I worry that a large-scale showing of the Lashed will bring crowds.”

The room broke out into fervent debate. Those who were against Aerity’s idea were adamant, passionate in their fears. Those in favor seemed on weak, shaky ground.

“Given permission to put their hands on innocent people, it could be a massacre!”

“What if the Lashed overwhelm our guards?”


“They’ll rise up throughout the lands!”


“. . . commoner revolts . . . war . . .”


Aerity felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to see Harrison, his light brown eyes showing the never-faltering respect he seemed to hold for her. She gave his hand a quick squeeze of gratitude before he released her. Aerity caught Lord Alvi watching the exchange with curiosity, so she turned her gaze forward again—she would let him think what he wanted.

“Enough!” King Charles’s voice silenced the room. “I will think on it. I must put safety first. I’m not ready to overturn our laws—” Aerity opened her mouth to argue that she wasn’t suggesting a complete overturn, but a one-time, enclosed, secure circumstance. Her father held up a hand to stop her. “This blasted parchment from Rozaria Rocato is bound to have our people in terror. If I take the stability of our rules away, it will cause chaos. Tonight on the lawn we will burn whatever pages my scribes have managed to copy, to keep Rozaria satisfied, but the original lists remain with us. I pray to the sea this works.”

He looked at the hunters. “Lord Alvi. Lieutenant Gillfin. Gather as many hunters as you can and begin hunting this new beast immediately.” They nodded and took their leave. Aerity watched them go, swallowing a dry lump in her throat. The king looked to his military advisers. “I want every soldier on duty, and round-the-clock patrolling of royal lands. I want Rozaria Rocato, dead or alive.” He turned to his top castle guard. “Send messengers to the other four lands to let them know of our new foe and to find out their circumstances.”

Without another word, the king swept from the room with Queen Leighlane and a line of advisers close behind.

Aerity felt the brush of velvet on her arm and peered

down at the old man beside her. It was Duke Gulfton, his eyes glistening. “I mean no disrespect, Princess, only a piece of advice. In times of fear and upheaval, absolute routine and stability in the law are called for. Any slight change can set the people off.”

“As I recall,” Aerity said steadily, “Mrs. Rathbrook healed your ailing heart last year.” Mrs. Rathbrook was the royal healer—the only Lashed allowed to work magic.

He grasped the top of his cane with both hands. “Aye.”

“Should we not allow the people of this land to benefit from magic as you have?”

He looked down at his hands, nodding solemnly. “Not all Lashed are as trustworthy as Mrs. Rathbrook. You saw the Rocato woman face-to-face. You know the evil of which she is capable.”

“I suppose everyone is capable of evil, Duke Gulfton. None of us is immune, Lashed or not. But I choose to believe the best in people until they show me otherwise.”

Duke Streamson, waiting in the doorway, cleared his throat. Duke Gulfton peered up at Aerity and patted her hand. “Once they show you otherwise, it is often too late. As a rule it is not safe to take such chances. Seas help Lochlanach in our time of need.”

As Duke Gulfton shuffled away, Aerity whispered in return. “Seas help us, indeed.”


About Wendy:

Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series from HarperTeen, the high fantasy duology The Great Hunt, and her independently published Irish fantasy, See Me. She is a former high school English teacher who now writes full time, and lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her veterinarian husband, daughter, son, and doggie Rue.
 
Wendy earned a bachelor's in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a master's in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford University. She is represented by Jill Corcoran of the Jill Corcoran Literary Agency.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Giveaway Details:
 
(2) Winners will receive the grand prizes (The Great Hunt Paperback and The Great Pursuit hardback from HarperTeen, and signed swag from Wendy Higgins! Plus an ARC of ROAR by Cora Carmack!), US Only.

 

 
(5) Winners will receive signed sets of swag - International!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

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review 2017-02-11 21:44
The Great Treasure Hunt - Jim Spillman

As I mentioned in my review of The Oil of Israel: Prophecy Being Fulfilled, I've had this folder of Zion Oil info for so long I don't remember where I got it. I really think they should direct people to read this book first. Reading the other info first, I was just bored and wondering why they were so convinced they will find oil in Israel. The Great Treasure Hunt really explains it well and makes me think there's something to their theory.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-07-26 06:41
The Great Hunt - Wendy Higgins

Contrary to what the description says, this is not a retelling of the Singing Bone. In the original tale, the older brother (Paxton) was wicked and killed the younger brother (Tiern) after he killed the boar (terrible creature) and then the older brother (Paxton) took the boar and claimed the hand of the princess as his reward. Years later a shepherd sees a bone and uses it to make the mouthpiece of his horn, but whenever he plays the horn it sings a song about how the younger brother killed the boar, only to be killed by his older brother. The king eventually hears the horn singing and questions the older brother who doesn't deny that he killed his younger brother and is, himself killed and buried in unhallowed ground while the younger brother's bones are found and buried in the churchyard. Except the fact that there is an animal and whoever kills it will get the hand of the princess, and there are two brothers involved, there really isn't much in this book to claim that it was inspired by the Singing Bone. And granted this is only the first book of a duology, but given the fact that neither of the brothers killed the beast, and they are on good terms with one another, I find it extremely doubtful that the second book will be able to convince me that this story is a retelling of that story.

 

The good: I thought that Aerity was a good character. Most of the time when female characters are faced with an arranged marriage they whine, sulk or run away. Aerity, for once looks at the problem, weighs the good an arranged marriage will do for her people to the pain it will cause herself, and chooses to accept the burden. I also liked Tiern. He was a sweet and unassuming character who genuinely meant well. Unfortunately, he had almost no reaction to learning that his brother was a lashed, and I didn't think that was normal character behavior. Speaking of the lashed, I found the idea very interesting, and it was the one world-building portion of the book that I thought worked well. I also thought that the first scene was very moving, and it made me feel as thought Wyneth had just lost the love of her life.

 

The hunting scenes were enjoyable. I was convinced that the men knew what they were doing, and the boredom, followed by a few moments of action seemed believable.

The bad: Wyneth spends a couple of weeks mourning for the man who, in only a few minutes (reading via audiobook) I had been convinced she loved deeply, then a pushy jerk of a guy admires her, and pushes a little to hard to convince her to be in love with him or start an affair with him. I would have thought that was an interesting twist in the story if she hadn't reciprocated, but because Wyneth is immediately cast into something of an America Singer (from The Selection series) character ("My heart is broken...but I'm in love with this guy who I just met who is a little too possessive of me...but my heart is broken,") and that kind of ruined both her character, and the good first scene.

 

I hated Paxton. Yes, he is lashed, which is a difficult thing to be right now. No, he's not interested in having children and potentially giving them the magic that makes his life so difficult, but does he have to be such a blasted jerk? His first interaction with Aerity is to leer at her, and in almost every interaction after that he is a complete jerk, and she still falls in wuv with him. Given how unpleasant he is, but also how cute he's supposed to be, my only guess is that Aerity is deeply in lust with him, because even when people have instalove, the other person has to be at least a little bit nice first. Then Paxton spends most of the book being mean to Aerity, but then suddenly decides that he's in wuv with her too.

 

The end was frustrating. Not because of the sequel setup or the fact that Aerity ended up being engaged to the creep who has fallen in lust with her cousin, and her cousin has fallen in wuv with, in fact I thought that was a good set up. Aerity was being forced to truly give up something she wanted for her people, rather than being just lucky enough to get what she wanted, and the premise of a man who was interested in someone else in the castle, and too pushy to be considered a gentleman, being the man Aerity married is, in fact, a very interesting one. But the end fight scene felt forced somehow. Aerity catches up to them, and manages to stab the beast in it's vulnerable spot, but it doesn't die, and instead bats her and knocks her out and breaks her ribs. Then it kills Tiern, and Paxton gives up killing the beast, and his chance to be with the girl he wuvs, who also wuvs him, to "save" Tiern, but Tiern is already dead and Paxton brings him back to life. If Paxton could bring his brother back to life, why wouldn't he have waited a little longer and killed the beast and then done it? It would have made so much more sense if Tiern had been almost dead, instead of dead. Also, for some reason, after all of the tracking and hunting, and fighting with the beast, the fight seemed too fast. It went from, even after having discovered the beasts vulnerable spot, a large group of hunters and warrior women still couldn't kill the beast to three men and one strong-in-character-and-body-but-not-very-practiced-in-fighting girl were able to kill it. And even though Tiern died and Aerity was knocked out, for some reason, the fight still didn't seem dangerous.

 

I don't have high hopes for the romances, or the fairy tale this book was supposedly based after. Still I did enjoy parts of the book, so I'll give the second book a chance to prove me wrong.

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review 2016-07-25 00:00
The Great Hunt
The Great Hunt - Wendy Higgins Contrary to what the description says, this is not a retelling of the Singing Bone. In the original tale, the older brother (Paxton) was wicked and killed the younger brother (Tiern) after he killed the boar (terrible creature) and then the older brother (Paxton) took the boar and claimed the hand of the princess as his reward. Years later a shepherd sees a bone and uses it to make the mouthpiece of his horn, but whenever he plays the horn it sings a song about how the younger brother killed the boar, only to be killed by his older brother. The king eventually hears the horn singing and questions the older brother who doesn't deny that he killed his younger brother and is, himself killed and buried in unhallowed ground while the younger brother's bones are found and buried in the churchyard. Except the fact that there is an animal and whoever kills it will get the hand of the princess, and there are two brothers involved, there really isn't much in this book to claim that it was inspired by the Singing Bone. And granted this is only the first book of a duology, but given the fact that neither of the brothers killed the beast, and they are on good terms with one another, I find it extremely doubtful that the second book will be able to convince me that this story is a retelling of that story.
 
The good: I thought that Aerity was a good character. Most of the time when female characters are faced with an arranged marriage they whine, sulk or run away. Aerity, for once looks at the problem, weighs the good an arranged marriage will do for her people to the pain it will cause herself, and chooses to accept the burden. I also liked Tiern. He was a sweet and unassuming character who genuinely meant well. Unfortunately, he had almost no reaction to learning that his brother was a lashed, and I didn't think that was normal character behavior. Speaking of the lashed, I found the idea very interesting, and it was the one world-building portion of the book that I thought worked well. I also thought that the first scene was very moving, and it made me feel as thought Wyneth had just lost the love of her life.
 
The hunting scenes were enjoyable. I was convinced that the men knew what they were doing, and the boredom, followed by a few moments of action seemed believable.
The bad: Wyneth spends a couple of weeks mourning for the man who, in only a few minutes (reading via audiobook) I had been convinced she loved deeply, then a pushy jerk of a guy admires her, and pushes a little to hard to convince her to be in love with him or start an affair with him. I would have thought that was an interesting twist in the story if she hadn't reciprocated, but because Wyneth is immediately cast into something of an America Singer (from The Selection series) character ("My heart is broken...but I'm in love with this guy who I just met who is a little too possessive of me...but my heart is broken,") and that kind of ruined both her character, and the good first scene.
 

I hated Paxton. Yes, he is lashed, which is a difficult thing to be right now. No, he's not interested in having children and potentially giving them the magic that makes his life so difficult, but does he have to be such a blasted jerk? His first interaction with Aerity is to leer at her, and in almost every interaction after that he is a complete jerk, and she still falls in wuv with him. Given how unpleasant he is, but also how cute he's supposed to be, my only guess is that Aerity is deeply in lust with him, because even when people have instalove, the other person has to be at least a little bit nice first. Then Paxton spends most of the book being mean to Aerity, but then suddenly decides that he's in wuv with her too.
 
The end was frustrating. Not because of the sequel setup or the fact that Aerity ended up being engaged to the creep who has fallen in lust with her cousin, and her cousin has fallen in wuv with, in fact I thought that was a good set up. Aerity was being forced to truly give up something she wanted for her people, rather than being just lucky enough to get what she wanted, and the premise of a man who was interested in someone else in the castle, and too pushy to be considered a gentleman, being the man Aerity married is, in fact, a very interesting one. But the end fight scene felt forced somehow. Aerity catches up to them, and manages to stab the beast in it's vulnerable spot, but it doesn't die, and instead bats her and knocks her out and breaks her ribs. Then it kills Tiern, and Paxton gives up killing the beast, and his chance to be with the girl he wuvs, who also wuvs him, to "save" Tiern, but Tiern is already dead and Paxton brings him back to life. If Paxton could bring his brother back to life, why wouldn't he have waited a little longer and killed the beast and then done it? It would have made so much more sense if Tiern had been almost dead, instead of dead. Also, for some reason, after all of the tracking and hunting, and fighting with the beast, the fight seemed too fast. It went from, even after having discovered the beasts vulnerable spot, a large group of hunters and warrior women still couldn't kill the beast to three men and one strong-in-character-and-body-but-not-very-practiced-in-fighting girl were able to kill it. And even though Tiern died and Aerity was knocked out, for some reason, the fight still didn't seem dangerous.
 
I don't have high hopes for the romances, or the fairy tale this book was supposedly based after. Still I did enjoy parts of the book, so I'll give the second book a chance to prove me wrong.
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