Diamond Marked (Tale of El’Anret #1-3) by Melody Klink

Summary

Inside a mortal girl lies the heart of the Queen of Diamonds, true ruler over El’Anret, the world of Faerie.

Inside a Half-Human, Half-Fae boy lives the soul of a Stag King, mysterious and powerful creature of legend, capable of transforming worlds… or destroying them.

And neither of them belong.

In a world of myths and monsters, it will take them both to usurp a renegade queen— one who stole the crown and made the whole of El’Anret bend to her will.

The Faerie world will never be the same.

DIAMOND MARKED: The Tale of El’Anret combines the stories of the Faerie and Mortal worlds into a single collection. Queen of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds, and King of Diamonds are included in their Author Preferred text editions.

Part 1: QUEEN OF DIAMONDS

I didn’t realize it at the time but this was like watching the first season of Once Upon A Time – terrible but necessary. And just like that first season I don’t know if I would have continued reading from this first ‘section,’ it was very YA and the writing was stilted and somewhat boring. At parts it was even over the top and full of YA tropes. Even though the first book wasn’t very good, it didn’t stay that way. I’m not going to give too much away but I am going to say that I appreciated the end of this. That it wasn’t ‘happily ever after’ and that there were consequences for their actions. I did not connect with Leigh or Gideon which may have been the biggest problem.

Not very good but if you can get through this, I promise the next two parts are worth it. – 2.5 stars

Part 2: JACK OF DIAMONDS

As disappointed as I was in the first book, that quickly faded once Jack comes into the works. It becomes more complicated as it sheds its overly YA skin and takes on a whole new form of awesomeness. Suddenly it is highly imaginative, the plot opens up and even gets a little dark. It was engaging and I found myself turning pages and staying up later than I should to find out what happens. The irritation with the young character in the first section is balanced out here and Jack is such a likable character. I was also really happy to see Leigh come into her own.

I absolutely love this one the best – even with the cliffhanger at the end. – 5 Stars

Part 3: KING OF DIAMONDS

A great conclusion to these short novellas. This book went much darker and showed some overall elements of society that go poorly. That evil wins when good people do nothing. The world also expanded and grew and the battle scenes at the end, though a little long, were awesome. I felt like I finally had a great picture of what the author was trying to portray. The writing also improved and had better flow. Though Leigh’s undying love I came to like Gideon.

It also had a very sweet after ending that was very satisfying. I’m not always happy about those, but in this instance it was wonderful. – 4 Stars

Overall:

If you are going to buy them, you might as well get this box set and read them all the way through. Where Leigh felt a little flat, Jack eventually balanced her out and she came into her own. The world building greatly improves from book to book, as does the writing.

Rating:

4 Stars

Overall I enjoyed this collection of stories. The further I went into the story the more I enjoyed them. If you like YA stories that have fairies – this is a worth while read.

I received this book for a free and voluntarily review.

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Asael’s Nature (A Series of Angels #3) by Joel Crofoot

Summary

When the fallen angel Asael returns to earth, he slips back into his old ways as the angel of punishment by performing in night clubs until he gets an interesting new client – a demon who enjoys his punishment shows.

Isda, a young healer, gets dragged into the ongoing war for her research into a new drug and attracts the attention of demons. Asael is assigned to protect her and the relationship begins to bloom, but her feelings are at odds with everything she has been told about how to behave, and can she compete with the demon that shares a passion of his?

Characters

Asael is adorable. I don’t know any other word that describes him perfectly. Yes he is sexy and dominating but for some reason he just was too cute! Isda was a great balance for him. It was really nice to have such a smart female lead. Then there was Heather and Audrey. Audrey is a demon that is starting to rise like Jahi did—I was impressed with her and I hope to see her in future romances. Not to mention her super cute friendship with Heather.

Plot

There was more going on here then just the romance, but I’ll talk about it first. Asael and Isda have this attraction that sizzled off the page. If you like a little dom and sub, this had it in a tasteful way. Asael There was Audrey’s story and the demon’s plan. Not to mention Heather and one of the angels…I won’t ruin it for you. It was very enjoyable.

Overall

If you loved the last two books, this one is a for sure great read. If you haven’t read them, they bring so much more to this third book so go and get them so you can read this one! I can’t wait to see where the author is going with this story but I’m in suspense about the next book!

Wonderful writing that is easy to follow. Interesting characters who are starting to feel like your friends that you get to visit with every new book. Even the few inconsistencies from book 1 & 2 to book 3 were easy to overlook because of how good this is. I was a little disappointed by that, but it was so minor.

Rating

5 Stars

I loved it! Another amazing book in the series that I’m looking forward to the next one.  If you love you Paranormal Romances, this is a must read!

I received this book for a free and voluntarily review.

Genesis: The Battle Within (Pillars of Creation #1) by David J. Tucker

**Cannot be read as a standalone**

Summary

“I am all that is left of the man Genesis. I exist in the dark so Earth’s last candle may burn …

“They rebuilt me, tortured and forged me, to be a harbinger of hope. But still they want more … they always want more. My sect – Earth’s one true religion – trains us to be elite assassins, yet they celebrate us as their beacons of hope and peace … what a farce we have become.”

For Genesis, survival has become an art he has honed well. As a Roach from the slums of Earth he learned to thrive amongst repression and pain, well enough to escape and be adopted into an ancient, powerful sect, which acts as the spearhead for all humanity. But to belong, he must adopt the ways of a heretical master, navigating the deadly apprenticeship and world of the Immortals, and somehow still hide the darkness that beckons him.

Characters

I’m going to start this off by saying I really liked Genesis. He was such a rewarding character to follow. There is this constant battle within him that really highlights the surviving core values of the man that was before the other two ‘aspects’ got involved. The longer the book went the more I liked him and just wanted to know his story. I also liked his AI, Me’lina, especially as the book went on. That being said I struggled with some of the other characters. Rotas was awesome but her story just seems to drop off about mid book. Osiris just monologues for what feels like half of the book which is something I just couldn’t get past to actually connect or even form an opinion of the character. There are a few other characters but these are the primarily.

Plot

You could tell from the way the book was going that it was just building to a bigger story. There were times it felt like it was a way to introduce the world and characters. From the information on the back of the book I felt I was a little mislead on what the book was about. Furthermore I felt there were scenes and sections purely created to give the author a platform to give the information to the reader, not necessarily relevant to the plot. It was amazing the amount of detail the author had in the world and the depths it went to, but it was too much and not all of it relevant. This could have been amazing if it had only dispersed the information more and weaved it in better and made it relevant. For example, I thought Osiris’s had way too much page time.

In the end I think this book was about Genesis and his inner struggle. It was about him changing via an encounter with a particularly nasty alien. It was an origin story done in flashbacks and inner musings.

Overall

This book is massively creative and the world that was built was expansive and imaginative. That being said the world building was sometimes done in info dumps which were a struggle to get through. I didn’t think I’d see the day that a character outdid the monologue done by Ian Malcolm in The Lost World; but this book does and not for the better. It created a lecture format of reading about the book, more of a text book about the world then a fictional novel where you could get immersed in the story.

There were some amazing action scenes though they do run a little long they were well done. It was very much a science fiction with aliens, space battles, and nano technology.  It reminded me of the video game Destiny in parts and more than once I thought “This would make an awesome video game.”

Rating

3.5 Stars (rounded down)

“It was okay” aptly describes what I think of this book. Despite its shortcomings it was impressively thought up story and world. Although it is amazing concept for a video game it fell a little short in the book arena.

I received this book for a free and voluntarily review. More reviews at creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com.

Gamma by M Wiggins

Summary

Often broody, suspicious of those he doesn’t know well, islander, Alec Ellison, has spent his whole life hiding what makes him different. Then uninvited newcomers arrive to bring him to his rightful home, a world where he is so much more than DNA. Oppressive or not, though, life on Gamma is all he’s ever known and leaving doesn’t come easy for him. When he learns that the island and its inhabitants will likely be destroyed if he leaves, he struggles to decide if free will is worth the senseless loss of life.

There are only three ways onto Gamma, an island where liberty is an abstract facade: you’re born here, arrive by invitation, or you sneak in. Invited newcomers are rare and serve only two purposes: to keep the existing population from growing bored, or to increase the population with their approved genetic blue-print. Either way, once an islander, always an islander, and leaving the petri dish is not an option.

The Stone Davis Corporation owns all, controls all, and makes all your decisions. You accept what they give, and what they take away, but understand that management takes way more than they give. Everything you know is a lie. To escape is to resist and no battle worth fighting has ever come cheap.

Wherever law ends, tyranny begins. A war is coming, and GAMMA is the cradle of its genesis.

Characters

There are almost too many main characters in this book to talk about them all but I’ll try to touch on the main ones. Meg changes a lot through the book and I was most conflicted about her character. Although I liked her sometimes I didn’t like some of her choices and I felt like she was a slave to the plot rather than a driver behind it. Alec is probably my least favorite character, he continually disappointed me throughout the book. I was unsure of Tavis at the beginning (am I the only one who had a hard time not reading Travis? I thought she was a he at first). However, by the end of the book she had grown on me. Jack…I’m still now sure about Jack. I liked him sort of in the start, but something about him always…just didn’t sit right. Favorite character by far was Sebastian. I loved the relationship between him and Tavis. I can’t talk about any other characters without giving stuff away, but be aware there are lots of them.

Even though the characters became unique and interesting, it was difficult to read at times be of the constant POV shifts. Trying to keep up with who’s point of view was very confusing. It would sometimes change multiple times in a chapter. I’d be in Tavis’s head then Sebastian’s and then Jack’s without any warning or transition.

Plot

I’m not sure this book knows what its plot was. It was a dystopian sci-fi, with a focus on meta humans, but it wasn’t that simple. There was romance (more so in the beginning) then later. It was more of a family saga with a sci-fi twist. The biggest issue was all the minuta. I felt like I was drowning in useless scenes and day to day activities more than once that I couldn’t always figure out how that had anything to do with where the book was going. However, there were more than a few scenes and plot points that caught my attention and really shined. This plot was more about the characters then the story, which was evident by the progression of the plot. The characters were all distinct but the plot had a few logical fallacies.

The author held a lot back and introduced new ‘secrets’ that were revelations on the characters and help drive the plot. I wasn’t sure all of the were necessary and some of them felt convenient. Again I think that is because this book was more character driven then plot driven.

Overall

I’d like to start off by saying I don’t like really long books and this book was over 600 pages and took me 10 HOURS TO READ! If you love long intense sagas, this is for sure something you’d love. I struggled through it on more than one occasion. What was worse, after the big conflict there is a character who proceeds to monologue for pages on end as part of the resolution’s. It was all very predictable in more than one way but also complicated. I wasn’t necessarily surprised by some of the developments – they’d been hinted at – but it was subtle and could be easily overlooked.  If all of the chapters could have been more like the epilogue I would have enjoyed it more.

That being said I was impressed by the sheer dedication to detail. It didn’t leave anything to the imagination (for good or bad). With the exception of the setting. The world building was very vague. The complexly woven story and the many twists and turns created a interesting structure. Overall it felt like a very long origin story, which I expect is the first in an equally lengthy series.

Rating

3 Stars

It was okay. This was a speculative fiction that delves deep into the characters lives and felt like a historical saga of their progression. If you like the deep dive into characters lives and thoroughly detailed scenes, then this book is for you.

I received this book for a free and voluntarily review. More reviews at creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com.

The Tudor Heresy by Samantha Burnell

An Introduction to the Tudor Mystery Trials

A gripping Historical Adventure set in 16th Century Tudor England. Elizabeth Tudor needs a hero. Murder, Mystery & Intrigue with a Splash of Romance.

Based on actual historical events, an epic tale of a young Tudor nobleman’s courage as he tries to keep his future Queen safe in one of England’s most turbulent eras.

If you enjoy Tudor Fiction by Phillipa Gregory and Alison Weir then ‘A Queens Spy’ is perfect for you. A fascinating insight into Tudor England and the life of Elizabeth I before she sets foot on the steps to the throne.

The story unfolds in 16th Century Tudor England

Richard Fitzwarren is a Tudor nobleman with a dubious past who takes risks for a living.

His close friendship with Princess Elizabeth leads to his banishment to France, but when he returns he remains loyal to her.

At his side is Jack, his bastard sibling, and their relationship is a troubled one due to a family secret and their opposite personalities.

Will he keep the future Queen safe?

Overall

I would like to start off by saying I love Tudor history. I jumped at the chance to read this and it was very enjoyable. It was a bit jerky at times following from one year to another without any introduction or transition, but I appreciated the writing style was very succinct and to the point. This made for a quick read. The brutality of the era was well depicted. I could for sure see reading and enjoying more about Jack and Richard as Elisabeth comes to power. There were a few POV shifts, but it felt more of a narration so it didn’t feel jarring after the first time it happened. The verbiage felt right for the era and I was impressed with correct terminology being applied in more than one place.

Rating

4 stars

Overall a very enjoyable historical short story to whet ones appetite. If you are in need of a short story to pass the time – I’d recommend this one!

I received this book for a free and voluntarily review.

Wandering Storm

Summary:

Loud banging resounded throughout the house. The housekeeper pushed a servant aside and wrenched the door open angrily. A man stood on the threshold, dripping rain and mud and blood. A stormy night brings Wandering sailors to a sleepy farming town in the High Kingdoms. (Short Story in the Tales from the Circle Series)

Overall

This had a very interesting setting, on the high seas, but some of the imagery of the setting was lost on me. After the rocky beginning some of it cleared up and I was able to connect more with this fantasy based novel. This seems like it was a short story meant to go to a bigger story and without knowing the bigger story, this was not as clear or enjoyable.

I enjoyed the second half of the story more, even though I was still a little lost, I was captivated! This is where the author’s ability really shined. The settings, the plot coming together, and the characters taking on more life. It was an interesting narration. I wouldn’t say this is a young adult, but it is clean enough that young adults could easily enjoy.

Rating

3 stars

It was okay. A little unformed, but vividly fascinating! I think if I had read the main book and then this one, I would enjoyed this more.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Perfect Timing by Jeffery J. Smith

Summary

Accidentally transported to the future, caterer Crik escapes house-arrest with Tepper, his possible distant descendant. While pursued by volunteer vigilante Voltak, goofball Crik explores Geotopia-where buildings grow, people incorporate animal powers, smart phones know it all, and vehicles defy gravity-seeking clues. If he can discover, understand, and articulate the future’s public policy that works right for everybody, he can prove he was their founder, the lone agent of change who put society on its path toward universal prosperity and harmony with nature. If he fails to convince the Futurite Authorities, they wouldn’t return their unexpected visitor to the exact second he left-something their law requires-to the moment when a hail of gunfire was bearing down on the luckless caterer and college dropout…would they?

Characters

There are two main characters – Crik and Tepper. I didn’t like Crik, which made the book really difficult to get through. I think he was supposed to be a funny character but for me he was just annoying. Tepper was alright, but she felt two-dimensional, almost like she existed as an interaction for Crik’s antics and nothing more. In the end I didn’t connect with the characters. However, if you like plucky characters then maybe you’ll enjoy his silliness. There is also a plethora of support characters.

Plot

I’m going to start off by saying that I’m not a fan of time travel books. I did like the premise of this one at first but that quickly faded because of the future we visit. It was very bizarre and lacked any seriousness. Made the entire premise seem like a gag story. Actually reminded me of Idiocracy at parts, which is why it felt more like a commentary of society then a sci-fi. I’d say there were for sure science fiction parts, but that seemed like a sub-plot at best.

Overall

I couldn’t connect with the characters or the plot. Although imaginative, the entire book was just too weird for me. Perhaps because it just felt randomly weird. Furthermore I felt like a ping pong ball, being thrown all over the place but not all of it felt plot relevant. I had to take frequent breaks because it felt illogical and disorganized. There were rabbit hole that just seemed to go nowhere. I’ll admit part of it could have been the syntax of the ‘future’ humans. Which was not always followed up by enough clarification.

The ending was interesting – although somewhat predictable, it wasn’t super cut and dry and I liked that. It was a redeeming piece after the rest of it. I think it could have been fun, but for me it was trying too hard and just didn’t hit me in the funny spot. However, if you love silly humor— this will likely leave you in stitches!

Rating

2.5 stars (rounded down)

In the end the combination of bizarre and time travel, mixed in with the plot left me bored. If you like time travel, gag stories with plucky main characters, this is for you, it just wasn’t for me.

I received a copy in exchange of an honest review.