A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
I am BEYOND excited to be able to share Renee’s playlist for THE WRATH AND THE DAWN with you today!! She’s picked some amazing songs that feel perfect for this book. Take a listen! And then enter for a chance to win below!
A new powerful thriller from the globally-embraced author of Between.
Ten years ago, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, seven-year-old Samantha and her next door neighbor, Remy, watched as a man broke into Sam’s home and took her younger sister, Turtle, from her sleeping bag. Remy and Sam, too afraid to intervene at the time, later identified the man as Sam’s sister Gretchen’s much older ex-boyfriend, Steven, who was sent to prison for Turtle’s murder.
Now, Sam’s shattered family is returning to her childhood home in an effort to heal. As long-buried memories begin to surface, Sam wonders if she and Remy accurately registered everything they saw. The more they re-examine the events of that fateful night, the more questions they discover about what really happened to Turtle.
Master storyteller Jessica Warman keeps readers guessing in this arresting page-turner.
About the Author:
JESSICA WARMAN is the author of Breathless, Where the Truth Lies, Between, and Beautiful Lies, which have received seven starred reviews among them. Between was published in a total of twelve countries around the world. Jessica has an MA in creative writing and recently moved to Houston, Texas. Find her online at www.jessicawarman.com and on twitter @jkwarman.
I have such a treat for you guys today! Jessica Warman is here to tell us about her Top 5 favorite murder mysteries! I have to say, I’m a big fan of both Stir of Echoes and The Lovely Bones, which also made me cry, haha. Here is her list…
Fall Into Darkness, by Christopher Pike
I struggled to choose just one Christopher Pike book for this list, and I considered giving all five spots to him. His books were the highlight of my early teens, full of the sex and gore and viciousness that was missing from safer books in the same genre, and they were also engrossing stories with sturdy plots and great characters. Christopher Pike was like RL Stein’s slightly older, better looking and more intellectual cousin. I think Fall Into Darkness (whose first hundred pages alone includes: the murder of a young, beautiful heiress; a dramatic courtroom trial; lots and lots of shenanigans that take place on a literal cliffside; insurance fraud, and a scrappy but clever teenage heroin addict) is the only Pike novel that ever became a movie, and it was a disappointing adaptation that didn’t do justice to its wildly clever source material. Someone should do a remake.
Stir of Echoes (movie):
I remember this coming out around the same time as The Sixth Sense, and how they had such similar storylines (both movies involve a middle-aged guy solving a creepy mystery with the help of a little boy, which… you’d think they would have tried to space those release dates out a little further). I must have been going to the movies every time I had the chance around that time, because I think I saw them both in the theater within a few days of one another. I also remember thinking it was crazy that The Sixth Sense was so much more successful. It’s a good movie, but much of The Sixth Sense’s appeal hinges on its surprise ending. Watch it more than once and there isn’t much meat to the actual story, whereas Stir of Echoes sort of emulsifies into something better and deeper upon repeat viewings. Plus it is insanely scary. I put fingernail marks in my boyfriend’s arm.
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
I stayed up all night reading this while I was about seven months pregnant with my oldest daughter. I felt like a masochist – this book gets its word tentacles wrapped around your feelings without being pushy or manipulative about it, which makes the emotions hit that much harder. I was in bed crying, miserable for the characters’ suffering like they were real people, but I couldn’t put it down. When I think “amazing murder story” (even if it’s not technically a mystery), this is the first book that comes to mind.
Turn of the Screw, Henry James
Let me admit this first: the “classics” in literature are not always my cup of tea. I know these books all have value for their own reasons, but I tend to enjoy contemporary fiction much more. I find this to be especially true with the horror/suspense genres; I have a hard time relating to the story and narration, etc., because…. Well, ya know, the stories take place such a long time ago, and now we have things like the Paranormal Activity franchise designed to terrify us, so my palate isn’t as refined as it could be when it comes to scary.
Yet. This story (more of a novella than a book) was published in 1898. It has no blatant descriptions of gore or torture or anything remotely improper. Instead, everything is implied. I read this as a teenager while home alone late one night, and I was so afraid that I cried. (Not sobbing into my pillow or anything – come on, now – but more like some tears and a pathetic whimper or two.)
It, Stephen King
Do I have to explain this one? The book is almost 1,200 pages about a freaking immortal, murdering clown who can generate spontaneous fangs and furry monster claws. Hey little girl, why dontcha go for a ride on your tricycle along the sidewalk in our safe, small New England town? HERE COMES PENNYWISE THE CLOWN TO MURDER YOU – OH LOOK, NOW YOU’RE GONE AND YOUR MOMMY IS GOING TO CRY FOREVER. Does that sound scary? Because it’s scary, okay? My mother let me check this book out of the public library in 1990. I was nine years old. WHAT WAS SHE THINKING? I also recall my parents’ total indifference to my older brother and me watching the TV miniseries when it premiered later that year, which… I guess it was a more innocent time back then, and kids were allowed to watch whatever they wanted on television? I don’t have a good explanation.
A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.
It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.
Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber's mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.
All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.
Arden from JOYRIDE is your average (hot) southern (hot) country (hot) boy who used to love fried chicken and waffles as his favorite meal—until he met Carly Vega. Carly isn’t big on cooking, but what she does remember from when her mother was still here is how to make Huevos Rancheros—a super easy, delicious recipe that can be used to bribe Arden to do whatever you want him to. Here’s how to make it:
Small corn tortillas
One small avocado
Fresh lime juice
1.) Prep the ingredients before you heat up the oil to fry the tortillas: Thoroughly rinse and then dry the cilantro before you chop it. Heat up the refried beans and shred or crumble the Queso Fresco. Dice up the avocado and sprinkle with lime juice and salt, wash and chop the scallions. Set all these aside, as they will all serve as toppings for the fried tortillas.
2.) Slowly heat up a skillet to fry an egg in. The goal is to make an over-easy egg that’s ready to place on the tortilla once it is assembled with the other toppings.
3.) Slowly heat up a small amount of vegetable oil in a skillet (enough to cover a tortilla). When the oil is ready, place one tortilla in the oil and fry on both sides until crisp. This will happen very quickly so don’t walk away from it! Drain on paper towels and salt as soon as it comes out of the oil. Fry your next tortilla(s) the same way, and so forth until you have enough to feed Arden.
4.) Top fried tortilla with refried beans, queso fresco and all other toppings as desired. Place the over-easy fried egg on top and finish with another sprinkle of chopped cilantro.
5.) Enjoy talking Arden into anything at this point!
"Ignorance is bliss…until there's blood involved."
Drenched in blood and sitting in the sweltering interview room of a Thai police station, Kayla Finch knows that Sam, the love of her life, is dead. It doesn't matter that there's no body. All that blood can mean only one thing.
It isn't the first time Kayla's had blood on her hands. After finding her brother dead by his own hand, she tried to outrun her grief by escaping to Thailand. Heartbroken, the last thing she expected was to find love on the smoggy streets of Bangkok. But everyone Kayla loves seems to wind up dead.
Returning home to England, Kayla is left with a barely-functioning family, a string of gruesome nightmares, and the niggling feeling that nothing is as it seems. And as she confronts her brother's suicide, she starts to suspect that something is very wrong.
Three months. Two tragedies. One connection: there's more to both cases than anyone is willing to admit. And Kayla's determined to uncover the truth…no matter what the cost.
First of all, if you love twisty, intense psychological thrillers, you must read Run Away! It was definitely out of my reading comfort zone and while I had a few personal issues with it, I’m glad I read it.
The opening is straight up fantastic- it’s descriptive, intense, and filled with suspense. I could feel Kayla’s distress, see the blood drenched carpet, feel her anxiety at being questions by Thai police. It definitely grabbed my attention.
I loved the structure of the book with alternating past and present chapters. They go from Kayla currently in England to her experiences three months earlier in Thailand. It kept me turning the pages, always on a cliffhanger. I’m not sure I would say that I connected with any of the characters, but Kayla and her friends had a good dynamic and I liked the diversity of the group.
One surprise is that the language was not Americanized at all, it’s very British (the author is from England). I liked the added authenticity but didn’t expect it for some reason! I was also surprised at how crass the language was at parts, in a rather descriptive way. There was also heavy mention of suicide, drugs, sex, attempted rape, and debilitating illnesses- it was very NA and not my usual cup of tea. However, Laura Salters is such a brilliant writer that it made me want to figure out how the mystery was going to unfold because let me tell you, I had NO idea how it all fit together. And I always love that. I absolutely raced through the last 25% of the book.
In a nutshell: If you are a fan of mysteries, psychological thrillers, world travel (Thailand in particular), twists, and heavy themes/elements, you will really enjoy Run Away! And just throwing it out there: people named Oliver are the worst (see also: The OC).
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.
But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.
Miranda Kenneally sure knows how to get me every. time. She knows how to write good people in tough situations. I root for them, fall for them, every. time. Breathe, Annie, Breathe was no different.
I loved Annie. She was tough and vulnerable, and determined. Her dedication to the marathon training was really admirable, considering she was never into running. The pains that came along with the training scared me from ever thinking of attempting it myself, but who knows. Right now I’m just trying to make a 5K without passing out. Now, her reason for wanting to run this marathon was just heartbreaking. I could really feel her grief throughout the book. But those moments of happiness that were brought on by new friends and new experiences really made my heart swell with happiness for her.
Jeremiah Brown is one of those new friends I mentioned. If you read Things I Can’t Forget you may remember him. He was Matt’s younger, player brother. Matt Brown is one of my favorite boys ever. He’s just the best kind of guy. Anyway, this book takes place a few years after Things I Can’t Forget. Matt & Kate are out of college, and Matt helps train people to run in marathons and such. That’s how Annie meets Jeremiah and I have to say, I was skeptical that Jeremiah would be what Annie needed. I mean, he was a player, no? Well, people grow up eventually, and he certainly seemed to have done some growing. It must be a Brown thing, because he made me swoon just as much as Matt did. These two will be the death of me!
I loved how slow Annie and Jeremiah took their developing friendship… but I was ready for them to be more than friends pretty much from the get-go. HAHA But that’s just what I wanted, not what was right for them, or what was right for Annie, to be more precise. They have this one hot, explosive moment early on, which had me fanning myself and grinning like a fool, then it’s a lot of sweet and fun between the two. I loved it all.
Sidenote: Having listened to all audiobooks in this series the last couple of weeks, I can say with certainty that Annie has been the character who swears the most. HAHA I just found that tidbit super amusing. Girl loves her f-bombs. And, I mean, who doesn’t?
Audiobook Notes: The narration was on point. Great timing and accents. Nancy Wu delivered perfect emotional portrayal of this story. Highly recommend it on audio!
About Miranda Kenneally
Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband. Visit www.mirandakenneally.com
The eagerly-awaited conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy delivers another action-packed and romance-filled adventure.
Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.
Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince's clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?
First off, this is such a hard review to write without spoilers because I want to talk about EVERYTHING!!! *Ahem*
Lion Heart was everything the last book in a trilogy should be. It was epic in scope and emotion, it was fast paced but let you savor the special moments, and it brought a sense of closure. I love these characters fiercely and they go through hell AND high water to get to where they are but it makes their journey that much more amazing to read. Plus I loved the addition of new secondary characters, especially the banter between Allan and David.
I really love that this trilogy is a historical fiction retelling of a very popular legend. I love English history and Robin Hood is always fascinating. I love how AC Gaughen twisted it to make Scarlet such a powerful, important female figure in the myth. I’ll admit to have trouble not picturing Prince John as a lion though. Too many viewings of the Disney movie I guess!
I don’t want to spoil anything but if you haven’t read this series, you need to. The language takes some getting used to but it adds such an authentic flavor to the story. And the characters are simply amazing. Scarlet is one of a kind.
(Totally Scarlet, except she needs more knives.)
There is a lot of heartbreak but there’s also healing, hope, strength, dresses with space for hidden knives, and KISSING. Lots of kissing!
(If you only knew how badly I wanted that firefly ring when I was younger…)
I do wish that there was one more chapter or epilogue to tie up a few threads but I was satisfied for the most part with where Scarlet’s story is left. If you enjoy lots of deep emotion and shippy goodness, vile antagonists, and historical fiction, you must read the Scarlet trilogy. Lion Heart might be my favorite of them all.
HELLO! Bout of Books week is here! That means I’m going to try read, listen to an audiobook maybe, connect with other Bout-of-Bookers, and maybe even participate in some challenges!
What is Bout of Books?
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team
Be sure to also follow me on Twitter and Goodreads for live updates! (I know, soooo exciting. ) And FOR SURE follow the read-a-thon hashtag (#boutofbooks) to see everyone’s updates!
Read as much as possible – I don’t have a set number of books though, so I’ll just read whenever I can.
Have fun connecting – I’ll be following the hashtag on Twitter for this one.
Participate in some challenges – Just whenever possible.
This post will hold all updates and any challenges I end up participating in will be here too, so be sure to visit throughout the week!
One of two companion novels from beach-read favorite Rachel Hawthorne, this cute, romantic paperback original is about a good girl who falls for a bad guy.
Avery knows better than to fall for Fletcher, the local bad boy who can’t seem to outrun his reputation. Fletcher knows he shouldn’t bother with college-bound, daughter-of-a-cop Avery. But when their paths cross, neither can deny the spark. Are they willing to go against everything and let their hearts lead the way? Or are they just flirting with disaster?
Trouble from the Start releases simultaneously with companion novel The Boyfriend Project. These heartwarming paperback originals are the perfect summer reads, great for fans of Jennifer Echols, Lauren Barnholdt, and Susane Colasanti.
Trouble From the Start has that classic Young Adult contemporary feel, like the one I get when reading a Sarah Dessen novel. There’s something nostalgic about it…
I love stories of couples from different backgrounds. Avery and Fletcher couldn’t have had more different lives. She comes from a loving family, with a cop for a dad, applies herself to her studies, doesn’t do typical teenage things like drinking or dating, and pretty much has had her future set from an early age. Fletcher, on the other hand, has one parent who is mean drunk, has a low self-esteem, randomly hooks up with girls, doesn’t believe he has much of a future, so school’s not his thing.
So how do these two form a relationship? A bad situation puts them living in the same house. Grant it, he stays above the garage, but it’s still the same house. I thought it’d be a tricky situation to navigate but Rachel Hawthorne does a good job at balancing it. Because this book is dual POV, we get first hand knowledge of what these two are feeling and thinking. Sometimes Fletcher’s POV was really sad. He doesn’t feel worthy of a lot of the good things happening in his life since moving in with Avery’s family, and it just made me so sad for him. Avery is a great support and he actually really helps her loosen up and see that life doesn’t have to be so serious.
Another great aspect of this story is Avery’s family. They’re loving and supportive and open. Avery’s relationship with her dad was so touching. And the compassion and trust in that man was just plain ol’ amazing.
Trouble From the Start is a companion novel to The Boyfriend Project, which I’m interested to read for the sole purpose of redeeming Kendall’s character in my eyes. Kendall is Avery’s best friend and she got on my nerves so bad, y’all! LOL To me, it feels like maybe The Boyfriend Project comes before Trouble From the Start, even though they don’t HAVE to be read in order. Timeline wise though, I think it comes first and I can’t wait to read it and more books from Rachel Hawthorne in the future.
Rachel Hawthorne, who also writes as Lorraine Heath and Jade Parker, is the daughter of a British beauty (her mother won second place in a beauty contest sponsored by Max Factor® during which she received a kiss from Caesar Romero-who played the Joker on the old Batman TV series) and a Texan who was stationed at Bovingdon while serving in the air force. Lorraine was born in Watford, Herts, England, but soon after moved to Texas. Her “dual” nationality has given her a love for all things British and Texan. She enjoys weaving both heritages through her stories.
When she received her BA degree in psychology from the University of Texas, she had no idea she had gained a foundation that would help her to create believable characters—characters that are often described as “real people.” She writes for both adult and young adult readers. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Americana historicals. Her novels have been recognized with a RITA, Romance Writers of America’s most prestigious award for excellence, a HOLT medallion award honoring outstanding literary fiction, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, five Texas Gold Awards, the Golden Quill Award, the Rising Star Award as well as other awards and recognitions. Her novels have been selections of the Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Club. Her novels have appeared on bestseller lists, including USA Today, Waldenbooks, and most recently, the New York Times
HAPPY THURSDAY! Last night on Idol, the remaining girl contestant sang a weird version of Misery Business and it just made me want to listen to the original and reminisce about the good ol’ punk pop days. This is one of my favorite songs to sing while driving. I just basically lose it and pretend I’m a rockstar, lol. So anyway! Here’s this oldie but goodie.
I’m so excited to welcome my fellow-Texan-now-New-Yorker friend, Jenn Dee, to the blog for you today! I’ve known Jenn a few years now and can totally vouch that she knows her stuff, so listen close, because I know I will! I’ll be in New York this year for BEA, so I’ll take any tips that come my way. (And if you’ll be there, we should meet!)
The first time I went to BEA was four years ago. I’d never been a driver on a road trip. I’d never road tripped cross-country. I’d never been to BEA and I’d definitely never been to New York City. I definitely went into the whole she-bang like a total noob. My mental plan was to get myself and my car cohorts to the island and once my Prius was parked, my duty was done. In the city, I had no idea where I was going (or even where I was). I’m pretty sure I ate at Junior’s at least three times in the 7 days I was here and I’m sure there were a few Subway meals in there too. I also hadn’t properly anticipated what it would be like to walk in the late May summer sun and humidity after walking around the Javits. In short, this is a really concise list of things not to do.
Four years later and my life couldn’t be different. I’ve been asked to take part in Estelle’s BEA Part of It series because I like live here and have for two years. Disclaimer: I live in Manhattan so, these are all Manhattan-based.
Best place for non-New York-y food: Duke’s (560 3rd Ave – in between the Flatiron and Union Square)
I’ve only recently discovered this place, but I am such a fan. Awesome happy hour, great atmosphere and pancake-fried Oreos. What more do you need? Pro tip: try the Firefly. And the Waffle Sundae, but make sure you eat a light dinner if you opt for this. I say this in hindsight.
Best dessert place that’s kinda far from Midtown, but totally worth it: Treat House (452 Amsterdam Ave – Upper West Side)
Gourmet rice krispie treats. Need I say more? I really, really don’t. Backup: Koffeecake Corner (30 W. 17th) Nutella milkshakes. That is all. 2nd Backup: Insomnia Cookies (there are a ton of these around, but if you need a warm, gooey cookie at 1 am… well, look no further)
Biggest gayest ice cream: Big Gay Ice Cream (61 Grove St. – West Village & and there’s one in East Village too, but who goes to the east side?)
This might actually be the best place in the world. I’d go for either the Salty Pimp or the Bea Arthur. You can’t go wrong.
Most unique bar: Jekyll and Hyde Club (91 7th Ave – West Village)
A kitschy horror-themed bar.
Best outdoorsy area: Bryant Park
Near Times Square, but not so near that you want to die. Food trucks galore and it is so pretty! Bonus: the main library branch is right on the other side! So pretty!
Other things I say you should do:
See a Broadway show. Just do it. Want a recommendation? Aladdin. Or Something Rotten.
Go to Times Square. See the sights, then leave quickly.
Maybe stop at the Disney store and M&M store first.
Go to the Highline. This makes a ton of lists, but I also recommend it!
Walk along the bottom of Central Park. Columbus Circle. FAO Schwartz. That hotel that was in Home Alone 2… everything.
A little about Jennifer Dee, taken directly from her Twitter bio: “I mess around with books for a living and that’s pretty awesome. Publicity for the non-flying bird publisher by day, general nerd by night.”
YOU GUYS! I have SO many series I need to finish! Like, lots! Many of those I’ve only read the first book but I KNOW I won’t continue them at this point. Some of them may because I didn’t love the first book, others have taken to long, and others I’ve just lost interest in… Here we go!
Demonic gladiators, ruthless mafia villains, and a race on the brink of distinction: What will become of them? One proud leader wields his power to unlock dark mysteries in the third in this fierce, sensual new paranormal romance series.
When the head of the Five Clans of the Dragon Kings wants something, he gets it. Raised among the most privileged of his dying race, Malnefoley conceals a devastating tragedy from his youth. Now, many call him the Usurper because of his unconventional rise to power. His influence is waning while the Dragon Kings must solve the puzzle of their slow extinction. So when a particularly important captive escapes his compound in the Greek mountains, Malnefoley leaves nothing to chance. She is his prisoner to retrieve.
The woman is known as the Pet, a former associate of a sadistic doctor from the Asters, a human crime cartel. Her loyalties cannot be trusted, even when she claims to hold the secret to conception—an invaluable secret for a race unable to procreate. Neither can her unique gift from the Great Dragon be believed. She’s a soothsayer, able to see glimpses of the future. Her quest is to find and save a Cage warrior on the verge of her first match—a young woman whose destiny is bound to a timeless prophecy.
Malnefoley has no respect for the ancient superstitions that brought about his childhood trauma. His only goal is to return the Pet to his compound and use her knowledge for the betterment of their people. Yet her restless energy and raw sensuality are as intriguing as her predictions about the rise of the Great Dragon. He dares not trust the crafty fugitive’s loyalties, but as their treacherous chase turns passionate, can he even trust himself?
The Dragon Kings are an ancient race of powerful beings that look human, except for a slight glow of their skin. There are five different clans of Dragon Kings and each have special powers: Clan Garnis (aka the Lost) have enhanced senses, reflexes and speed. Clan Indranan are telepathic, Clan Pendray (aka the Reapers) are berserkers and have incredible strength, Clan Sath can steal or borrow other Dragon Kings’ powers, and are also known as the keepers of secrets and knowledge. Lastly, Clan Tigony (aka the Tricksters) are the most powerful of all the clans and can bend electricity to their will, they are also quite charming and known for being great negotiators. The clans are governed by the Council, and the leader of the Council is the Honorable Giva, the current Giva is Malnefoley of Tigony.
The Dragon Kings are facing extinction since they are unable to conceive children. Three human cartels have surfaced and the human cartel known as the Asters have found a way to extort them by enslaving Dragon Kings and pitting them against each other to fight to the death. These fighters are known as Cage Warriors and the winner gets an opportunity to conceive a child. The Asters enslaved a female Dragon King simply called the “Pet” with a unique gift that allowed her to glimpse the future, the success of conception was due to this soothsayer gift. Her stay with the Asters was not a pleasant one as she was their captive and had her share of torture at the hands of the Asters’ sadist doctor. The Pet was captured by the Giva and kept her imprisoned until she glimpsed an important vision, and escaped. She knows she must retrieve an ancient weapon to assist and save a Cage Warrior she has yet to meet. She sets off on a path that her visions have opened for her until she is interrupted by the Giva himself. Malnefoley is furious that she has escaped and taken with her knowledge that could save his people so he vows to bring her back. Only problem is, the Pet is not having it. She also knows that Malnefoley is destined to be her lover, she has seen them together in her visions. Malnefoley of Tigony is the most powerful of Dragon Kings and also one of the most gorgeous. The Pet must continue her mission and she will not let the Giva get in her way. The Pet’s background is a mystery to the Giva, he does not know what clan she is from or what her abilities are. There aren’t many people that believe in her gift and she is reluctant to tell him since she is certain he will be skeptical. She needs to convince Malnefoley to believe in her and help her continue this mission, and she is very aware it’s going to be a long shot.
I jumped into this book without having read the previous two in this series and what I found was an exciting and action-packed story. There are series where it is nearly impossible to jump in half-way and be able to follow the storylines, I was stoked that this wasn’t one of those. I’m sure I am missing some background but I felt that the story gave you enough detail to follow the Pet’s story arc without any huge question marks. The Pet is such a brave and strong-willed character, which was surprising knowing she had been someone’s puppet for years. She is beautiful and an amazing warrior with a unique gift. How must it have been for her to glimpse her and Malnefoley in the throes of passion and having no clue how they would get there? She knows he despises her for her involvement with assisting the Asters. Barely knowing someone and glimpsing such passion would definitely shock me to the core. Malnefoley’s powers are something like Storm from the X-Men he can call electricity to him from nearby friction or from just rubbing pieces of clothing together. The scenes where he shows us his power were incredible.
I have not read anything by Lindsey Piper (also known as Carrie Lofty) before, but let me tell you her writing is fantastic. This world she has built is intense and detailed and these characters are profound and captivating. I was in love with the Pet from the start, and once I got to know Malnefoley and his inner thoughts I couldn’t help but be drawn to him. If you are looking for an intense, action-heavy, paranormal story, you need to pick this one up. I can’t speak to the whole series so far but this one alone was so entertaining. What I also loved about this story is that yes, there is a romance but there is so many other things going on that it only intensifies the rest of the story. It doesn’t feel like just a romance, it is so much more than that but I will say the “sexy times” are definitely electric (both figuratively and literally)!!! If you like paranormal stories with intense romance and action, I definitely recommend this one! Have you read this one yet? Thinking about reading it? Let me know in the comments below!
About the Author: Lindsey Piper is the alter ego of award-winning historical romance author Carrie Lofty. Readers and critics are wild for the “red-hot” (RT Book Reviews) Dragon Kings series, her unique first foray into paranormal fiction. She lives and writes in Chicago. Visit her online at LindseyPiper.com and CarrieLofty.com.
I’m continuing to kick butt with my my fantasy challenge, which is mildly surprising to me! I also managed to read more this month, even if a couple of the books were short.
The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin – 3 stars. Lovely, melancholy, slightly distant from the reader. Beautiful illustrations. And more than anything I’m convinced ice dragons (or an ice dragon) will have a role to play in The Winds of Winter.
A World of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – 5 stars. See my review on Goodreads here. If you love A Song of Ice and Fire even a little bit, you need this book. It’s absolutely fascinating and overwhelming in the best way. Lots of details though we don’t get to learn everything because it’s written by a “maester” i.e. bias and gaps in knowledge. But we do get to learn a lot and it’s incredible! I’m convinced I could write term papers on the history written here. And the illustrations are sooooo beautiful. I will happily reread chunks of WOIAF to hold me over until Book 6.
The Shattered Court – 3 stars. See my review on Goodreads here. The cover lust was strong with this one! And the story sounded fabulous. Unfortunately, I feel like it only took off during the last 25% of the book. There was a lot of roooomance and sex and thinking about sex- not a lot of magic. While I wouldn’t say there was much real fantasy here, the historical tone and romance made for a mostly enjoyable read.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – 5 stars. See my review on Goodreads here. The first time I remember reading this was in 4th grade when my teacher read it to the class. It’s always been a favorite of mine. I absolutely love Roald Dahl’s language and word usage. The puns, the silly writing style, the made up words are all so vibrant and descriptive and delightful! Oh how I love the candy names, I wanted to eat everything!!! I’m sure JK Rowling must have gotten some inspiration from him because Wonka’s candies would have fit right in at Honeydukes.
Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen – 5 stars. My review will be going live on the blog in a couple weeks! Stay tuned! Preview: Lion Heart was everything the last book in a trilogy should be. If you enjoy lots of deep emotion and shippy goodness, vile antagonists, historical fiction, and legend retellings, you must read the Scarlet trilogy. Lion Heart might be my favorite of them all.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – 5 stars. (Also for the #flightsoffantasy and #365DaysofYA challenge) See my review on Goodreads here. Only Sarah J Maas could make me care about fairies in not one, but TWO different series! The thing I found most striking about A Court of Thorns and Roses is that it is clearly a Sarah book while being independent from Throne of Glass. I don’t want to delve too much into the plot or consequences but suffice to say it is heart pounding, exhausting, wickedly romantic, viciously brutal, and a pleasure to read all the way around. I also really loved spotting the Beauty and the Beast influences, of which I found many. They were woven into the story in the most delightful way. Also…. Tamlin is miiiine! I can’t see where the trilogy is headed- I have an inkling for book 2- but I’m excited to be along for the ride.
Trouble from the Start by Rachel Hawthorne – This reminded me so much of the recent YA’s I’ve come to love: My Life Next Door, Open Road Summer, and anything Sarah Dessen. Not too heavy, but some depth nonetheless.