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review 2016-11-18 17:47
An Improvement: The Alliance of Isian | Review
The Alliance of Isian: The Isian Series, Book 2 - Serena Clarke,Carolyn Kashner,Red Mountain Shadows Publishing

A pleasant, clean, YA/NA fantasy romance.

 

War is coming and all the kingdoms must choose a side. Isian decides to make an alliance with their long-time enemies in order to defeat a common enemy. So Isian sends a proposal, offering their daughter to the prince, in order to ensure an alliance. Princess Gabrielle and her new husband, Prince Alec must learn to work together and trust each other in order to triumph in the approaching war. With a mysterious beast attacking the kingdom, their lives in danger, and overcoming their vast cultural differences, will love grow despite their trials?

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I received this book for free from the publisher. My opinions are my own.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

The Alliance of Isian by Serena Clarke, read by Carolyn Kashner, published by Red Mountain Shadows (2016) / Length: 7 hrs 30 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #2 of 3 in the "Isian" series, but could easily be read as a standalone. Number 3 is not yet available on audio.

 

SUMMARY:

In my review for Book #1, I wrote how that book didn't really appeal to me until the final third of the story. Thankfully, this book was more enjoyable almost from the start. I still feel that there isn't anything outstanding here, and that the dialog often seems too contemporary, but it was a sweet fantasy romance.

 

I have tagged the book with diversity, as Gabrielle and her family are POC and their country has different customs & culture.

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review 2016-11-12 16:29
When Your Sanctuary is Threatened: Tris's Book | Review
Tris's Book: Circle of Magic, Book 2 - Tamora Pierce,Tamora Pierce,the Full Cast Family

This MG Fantasy doesn't shrink from the truth about Pirates.

 

Earthquake damage leaves Winding Circle vulnerable to pirate attack, so everyone - including the young mages-in-training Tris, Briar, Daja, and Sandry - is working to strengthen the community's defenses. When Tris's cousin Aymery comes to visit, he advises the "weather witch" to return to the family that exiled her, but she doesn't wish to leave her friends to face the threat without her.

As the onslaught begins, two things become terribly clear: The pirates have a powerful new weapon, and they have an accomplice within Winding Circle. But the attackers have failed to reckon with the fury of a young mage betrayed once too often and her very stubborn, very loyal friends.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


 

BOOK DETAILS:

Tris's Book by Tamora Pierce, read & published by Full Cast Audio (2004) / Length: 5 hrs 31 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #2 of 4 in the original "Circle of Magic" series, all of which are available on audio. There are also additional books (only some of which are on audio) with the same characters.

 

**This review may contain spoilers for the previous book.**

 

SUMMARY:

One of the things I like best about this series is the way that the children work with & along side their adult mentors as well as together. That really starts to be solidified in this book as they make both good and bad choices in that regard.

 

Another strong point of the series is the message that choices/actions have consequences. Tris & the others continue to deal with the emotional results of the ones they make in this book for many years.

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review 2016-11-08 15:47
NYC is Weirder than You Thought: Enchanted, Inc | Review
Enchanted, Inc.: A Novel - Shanna Swendson,Eva Wilhelm,Audible Studios

A fluffy Adult Contemporary Fantasy that resonated with me (since I lived in NYC for 4 years, although I never saw any fairies)

 

Katie Chandler had always heard that New York is a weird and wonderful place, but this small-town Texas gal had no idea how weird until she moved there. Everywhere she goes, she sees something worth gawking at and Katie is afraid she's a little too normal to make a splash in the big city. Working for an ogre of a boss doesn't help. Then, seemingly out of the blue, Katie gets a job offer from Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., a company that sells tricks of the trade to the magic community.

 

For MSI, Katie's ordinariness is an asset. Lacking any bit of magic, she can easily spot a fake spell, catch hidden clauses in competitor's contracts, and detect magically disguised intruders. Suddenly, average Katie is very special indeed. She quickly learns that office politics are even more complicated when your new boss is a real ogre, and you have a crush on the sexy, shy, ultra powerful head of the R&D department, who is so busy fighting an evil competitor threatening to sell black magic on the street that he seems barely to notice Katie.

 

Now it's up to Katie to pull off the impossible: save the world and - hopefully - live happily ever after.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $6.48 (must obtain Kindle copy first, prices may change)

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


BOOK DETAILS:

Enchanted, Inc by Shanna Swendson, read by Eva Wilhelm, published by Audible Studios (2014) / Length: 10 hrs 31 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 of 7 in the completed "Enchanted, Inc" series. All of them are available on audio.

 

SUMMARY:

I'm not a huge fan of Urban Fantasy, since I don't really like "dark" and so much of that genre merits the description. It was a real pleasure to find this comedic city based fantasy.

 

I wasn't pleased with the love triangle that developed later in the book, however.

 

CHARACTERS:

Katie: I like that she totally willing to the let the stronger people protect her from the "scary bad guys," yet jumps in whenever she can.

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review 2016-10-29 15:45
Just this Side of Reality: Nim's Island | Review
Nim's Island - Wendy Orr,Kate Reading,Inc. Blackstone Audio

An enchanting MG Contemporary Fantasy

 

Nim lives on an island in the middle of the wide blue sea, shared by only her father, Jack, a marine iguana called Fred, a sea lion called Selkie, a turtle called Chica, and a satellite dish for her e-mail. No one else in the world lives quite like Nim, and she wouldn't swap places with anyone.

But when Jack disappears in his sailing boat and disaster threatens her home, Nim must be braver than she's ever been before. And she needs help from her friends, old and new.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

This audiobook is regularly priced at just $5.95 on Audible.

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


BOOK DETAILS:

Nim's Island by Wendy Orr, read by Kate Reading, published by Blackstone Audio (2008) / Length: 2 hrs 25 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 of 3 in the Nim series. It is the only one available on audio.

 

SUMMARY:

It could be argued that this book is not really fantasy, it is just a book about a very imaginative little girl who is good with animals. That's probably true; but it reads more like a fantasy than a straightforward contemporary, so I feel comfortable reviewing it here on the blog.

 

Although the book is very short, it feels longer (in a good way). And it is strong in all three areas I generally review (see below).

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review 2016-10-25 16:41
Wagner meets... The Sleeping Beauty | Review
The Sleeping Beauty: Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, Book 5 - Mercedes Lackey,Gabra Zackman,Audible Studios

This Adult Fantasy, which mixes various fairytales with "The Ring Cycle," is one of Lackey's better 500 Kingdoms novels.

 

Heavy is the head--and the eyelids--of the princess who wears the crown...In Rosamund's realm, happiness hinges on a few simple beliefs: For every princess there's a prince. The king has ultimate power. Stepmothers should never be trusted. And bad things come to those who break with Tradition....

 

But when Rosa is pursued by a murderous huntsman and then captured by dwarves, her beliefs go up in smoke. Determined to escape and save her kingdom from imminent invasion, she agrees to become the guinea pig in one of her stepmother's risky incantations--thus falling into a deep, deep sleep.

 

When awakened by a touchy-feely stranger, Rosa must choose between Tradition and her future...between a host of eligible princes and a handsome, fair-haired outsider. And learn the difference between being a princess and ruling as a queen.

 

The moral of the story? Sometimes a princess has to create her own happy endings....

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


BOOK DETAILS:

The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey, read by Gabra Zackman, published by Audible Studios (2013) / Length: 11 hrs 5 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #5 of 6 in the "Five Hundred Kingdoms" series. These books can easily be read as standalones.

 

SUMMARY:

Although I feel that Ms Lackey's newer books lack the narrative tightness & emotional punch of her earlier work, this one is the one I like the most. I enjoy the characters, even the disreputable ones, and find more of the story to be interesting.

 

Note: it is not necessary to be familiar with "The Ring Cycle" at all. Ms. Lackey does an excellent job of presenting the slightly altered details she has based this on.

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