Mark of the Mage by RK Ryals-3.5*

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Books never die, but they can be forbidden.

Medeisia is a country in turmoil ruled by a blood thirsty king who has outlawed the use of magic and anything pertaining to knowledge. Magery and scribery are forbidden. All who practice are marked with a tattoo branded onto their wrists, their futures precarious.

Sixteen year-old Drastona Consta-Mayria lives secluded, spending her spare time in the Archives of her father’s manor surrounded by scribes. She wants nothing more than to become one of them, but when the scribes are royally disbanded, she is thrust into a harsh world where the marked must survive or die.

My thoughts before I read the book: – Okay so this is just another one of those books where the heroine is professed to save the world. I am sure she’ll be spineless and weak but hey since I haven’t found good written material for a while I’ll take a chance on this book.

10% into the book:- The heroine isn’t spineless or weak or a fuckin bleeding heart.

25% into the book:- The direction that the book is going into is one that I like.

45% into the book:- The hero isn’t an asshole and the heroine is not afraid to be full of rage

60% into the book:- Ha! I knew that was gonna happen.

85% into the book:- This is….interesting

After reading the book:- Damn! I like it!

So Drastona is an illegitimate girl born to a nobleman by a dragon rider with healing powers and powers of a mage. She can talk to the trees and the animals and she can influence the weather. She is also not a martyr type or weak type.

This was a surprise because not every writer-especially a YA-writes a strong and determined protagonist.

Kye…..well, Kye is Kye. He is the bastard son of the slimy-monkey-ball-sucking King. He is also a strong male character without arrogance or cockiness. I would like to know him more.

Now, since I liked the book why give it a 3.5*?

Well that is because I don’t like where the author is going with Kye and Stone’s relationship. The two of them don’t seem right for each other.

In my eyes a fucking-after-battle-buddies is a more appropriate relationship for them.

Regardless, I am going to read the next book.

And there were dragons!!!!

Demon Lost by Connie Suttle-3.5*

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The first thing that I am going to say about this book is…..I never expected it to be so uniquely amazing.

The plot goes:

Reah Desh is a chef in one of her family’s restaurant. She works there with her abusive brother, who she was given to at eight years of age because the man that she thought was her father, turned out to be her grandfather and her brother, the one who physically, emotionally and mentally abused her, raped her mother and was her real father.

Oh and, not to be forgotten is the fact that her grandfather had twenty six sons and seven wives who were alive.

She is the best chef in the realm but she has never gotten the appropriate recognition because her brother stole all the credit and she was too afraid to leave.

That is, until she was conscripted in by the RAA-Reth Alliance Army or some such-and she left for training. But because she was too short and light she was given kitchen work there too until she was transferred to the Governor’s house to do the same.

There, a bastard cook in a fit of immature and misplaced jealousy tampered with her pod during a drill and sent her flying into space and onto and non-Alliance planet.

Here she comes into the greedy grasp of two slavers who then take her to an army outpost on Mendil. She is a cook for the army here too.

This is where she meets her first mate-Aurelis-who is going by the name Aris.

And then there were spawn. They are mindless people a lot like zombies but with a brain. Reah is an expert marksman and she is quickly conscripted into helping the Rangers-the wizards who can see the spawn-and go off with them to hunt these spawn with ranos tech rifles.

The mother bitch of all spawn-the Ra’Ak-attacks the Crown City-where everyone in moved when the life outside its walls grows too dangerous and the spawn begin taking over villages and town. This is the first time that Reah shifts into her High Demon form and kills the bastard Ra’Ak.

But she is hurt in the process and is taken to Le-Ath Veronis, the planet that the Vampire Queen rules with her seventeen mates. They recognize her for who she is and it isn’t long before the ASD, the President of whose organization happens to be one of the Queen’s mates, comes to know of her survival and her presence on one of the Aliiance planets.

So she is conscripted to work for the ASD-Alliance Security Detail-as a special agent.

She then severs all her relationship with her former family and settles in to wait out the five years of service.

Okay so that was the plot.

Generally, I don’t read books like this and I was sure that this was going to be a disappointment. I was prepared for another one of those books with an asshole of a hero and a damsel of a heroine but I was pleasantly- really pleasantly-disappointed.

Sure Reah lived in an abusive household but she grows and matures under the careful care of these new people in her life. Her character grows steadily throughout the book and she continues surprising.

There was also the fact-the fact that gained this book an extra .5*-that the plot didn’t portray the main female protagonist as some savior of the world or its only hope or some such shit. Sure she was important but that was because she was a High Demon female. A rare breed indeed. There was also no “Oh I am so helpless! Come save me someone! Oh there is blood on the floor! I am going to faint! Oh that man was holding a rifle! How could he not have a conscience! Oh my people were killed in bombings! But surely the enemy is only misunderstood!” shit.

Also her first mate, Auri, is not an asshole but a nice man. I like that in the love interest of the protag. He is strong and a lion of a man but not over bearing or coddling when the former and the latter are not warranted.

Also, the book was not just about the heroine or the hero. There are bigger things going on and a bigger plot taking place. That is one of my favorite qualities in a book.They are part of a bigger universe-literally-and that universe is more important than the lost of them.

All in all, I liked this book and I am looking forward to reading its next installment.

And quite frankly-multiple hot males, some of whom are aliens-mated to one female? Why the fuck wouldn’t I read the next book?

King Hall by Scarlett Dawn

I have waited a long while to write this review. I discovered King Hall around December last year and, I exaggerate not, it was just as good the fifteenth time I read it as it was the first.

Meet our prodigies:-

Lily Ruckler

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Ezra Zeller

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Pearl Cooper

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Jack Collins

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Okay so to say that I was shocked would be an understatement.

I had recently reread all of the Shelly Laurenston and her altego GA Aiken books and I was hooked into the concept of alpha female. I have discovered it is my favorite genre since then but all ranting aside….

Holy lord and his mother….

This book was amazing. I went into it thinking it was going to be another one of those not bad but not good books but it took me by surprise and smirked at me while I was down on the ground and reeling from the sheer awesomeness that is Scarlett Dawn.

Lily Ruckler is a hybrid child, vamp and shifter, but in no way did she hog the book like the Ember from Darkness did. This book had a plot and that plot was good. SD let us get acquainted with all of her characters in this first book and didn’t make the heroine virgin.

Thank the holy lord for that.

Not to mention, after the tragic incident in which Lily lost her mate, she didn’t pull a Bella. She went out there on a….ahem….spree of fucking.

And oh my god that scene where she confesses that she had sex with a bird shifter and had bird for dinner after it?

Hilarious!

Lily was just an NA with all the new adult problems and no solution for them. But she grew up and owned the shit when it was clear that she was going to be the next Queen Shifter.

The bonds of friendship that this book demonstrates are to perfection. All of them love each other like family and all of them are open about it. All of them have a space of their own in the book and all of them get a voice.

And thank god that there were no miscommunication problems.

There were some spectacularly common scenes like the Graduation and then there were some spectacularly cool scenes like the building of the dome of water.

There were fights, babysittings, action, tears, hot daddies (read:Antonio and Cahal), backstabbing bitches, fangs, hot men and their hotter than shit bodies and thank god, not much drama. This book had everything, every little step of the transition that Lily made from being a Sophomore to a badass (know what I mean? huh?huh?huh?) Prodigy Shifter.

My favorite thing about this book is that it’s heroine is not a helpless and spineless little bitch with too many hot men pining after her and her blushing virtue.

Cuz Lily had no virtue to speak of.

She has a sexual life, a Queenly life, a behind-the-walls life and she kept it all balanced with her focus on being queen, and she got the degree.

Speaking of degrees….

Was I the only one who wet my panties at Lily’s and Ezra’s dance or what?

And OMG all those embarrassing scenes with King Kincaid and King Venclaire catching Lily and Ezra together?

Ridiculously hilarious!

I can go on and on about my love of this book and Ezra and I do love him. Why would I not? He’s perfect.

None of the heroes are assholes. There are no communication problems. Through it all, they know that the three people they can depend on are the other three of their Quartet.

That scene when all of them are charged with changing diapers?
And then when all of them fall asleep in the limo on the way to Washington DC?
Oh and when they wake up on top of each other, with more than a few wandering digits, while they are camping?

I have laughed, cried, held my breath and cursed more times than I can count while reading this book and I can honestly say that this book will stay with me throughout my adulthood like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson remained with me throughout my childhood.

I am going to read this book again and again and again and hope to god that I never run out of books like this.

Twice Bitten-Chloe Niell

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So…on the quest to find books that were as stimulating as the Forever Evermore I stumbled across Chloe Neill and started the Chicagoland Vampires series.

And while Merit doesn’t even come close to Lily Ruckler or Caro Jules, she has a spine, she can dance, she is good with a sword, she has pride and doesn’t chase guys who have made it explicitly clear that they don’t want her.

On the other hand her romanticism of Ethan Sullivan is not something that I can take easily. He keeps hurting her and like a naive little girl she keeps falling for him.

Ethan Sullivan…he fits your typical paranormal hero to a T. Asshole, pretty, standoffish, strong, ‘Master’, revered, ex-gf issues……you get it. While you could debate originality in Merit’s character, Ethan is not at all original and quite frankly, a disappointment. Scarlett Dawn puts effort into making her characters different and she succeeds. But Neill has followed the same line as countless other urban-fantasy authors and, while the book was good, it’s nowhere near best.

The plot was also easy to follow without much suspense or much stimulation coming from any of the characters. The sex scene was written like in one of the YA books. I have to say, Scarlett Dawn and Ilona Andrews do it much better.

This book therefore has a 2* rating from me.