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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 2016-10-25 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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review 2016-09-08 07:01
Zombies in Edwardian England: Ella, the Slayer | Review
Ella, the Slayer: Serenity House, Book 1 - A. W. Exley,Gabrielle de Cuir,Skyboat Media

While I enjoyed some parts quite well, in the end this YA Historical Fantasy was disappointing.

 

The flu pandemic of 1918 took millions of souls within a few short weeks. Except it wasn't flu, and death gave them back.

 

Seventeen-year-old Ella copes the best she can by caring for her war-injured father, scrubbing the floors, and slaying the undead that attack the locals. Like rats, these vermin spread pestilence with every bite. Ella's world collides with another when she nearly decapitates a handsome stranger - one who is very much alive.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $6.98 (must purchase Kindle first, prices may change)

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


Source: I received this book free in return for an honest review, courtesy of Audiobook Jukebox.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Ella, the Slayer by AW Exley, read by Gabrielle de Cuir, published by Skyboat Media (2016) / Length: 8 hrs 21 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 of 2 (so far), in the "Serenity House" series. Both book are available on audio. Book #3, Alice, the Player, is currently scheduled to be released in November 2016.

 

SUMMARY:

I am giving this book a 3.5 star rating because, while I had some issues with the earlier parts of the book, for the most part I was enjoying it until her actions and choices in the end completely ruined it for me. If you don't like characters who do completely illogical things that endanger themselves and others, just to set up conflict in the next book (?), then you probably won't like the ending either.

 

CHARACTERS:

Ella: I am conflicted about her. I liked who she was as a person - the way she interacted with the other servants, wanted to tell the truth, and took care of her invalid father; but I had problems with the decisions she made (and not just at the end).

 

Seth: I like him and feel that the book would have benefited from more of his POV and background. I feel that some of his actions towards Ella weren't appropriate for a gentleman of his era.

 

Ella & Seth: Although I think they are a good match, I also had problems with the way this relationship developed especially considering the time period.

 

PLOT:

It started well and did a good job of establishing both the characters and the history. It was paced more as a romance than a zombie thriller until towards the end. As I said, I really disliked pretty much everything after the action climax.

 

HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:

  • Henry
  • Ella & Seth working together
  • Ella and her father

 

I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: A bit gory for me (but not unexpected, and probably not gory enough for true zombie fans) / The younger stepsister being almost nice (that is just too derivative of other recent Cinderella retellings) / Ella's choice to continue a relationship with Seth when she thinks he's probably engaged to someone else.

 

NARRATION:

While it wasn't bad, I didn't love the narration despite liking the sound of her voice. It felt a bit over enunciated and over emoted to me at times. It's possible that I'm just not used to the way they spoke in that place & time. The English accents sounded good to me, an American, and the speed was typical (I listened on my usual 1.25)

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Ella, the Slayer (Serenity House #1) by AW Exley, read by Gabrielle de Cuir, published by Skyboat Media (2016) / Length: 8 hrs 21 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

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