Posts tagged “steampunk

Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard: A Review Post

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. And as always, spoilers are handled with extreme caution!

The talented Susan Dennard, author of the Something Strange and Deadly series – which began with the first installment of the same name, if you don’t count the prequel A Dawn Most Wicked – concludes her series with the final installment, Strange and Ever After.

The Blurb:

In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus…all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

The Review:

I’ve been on this “strange and deadly” ride since the beginning and, despite some frustrating turns, I did not want it to end. Ms. Dennard has created a darkly compelling world of complex characters and intricate conflict. And Strange and Ever After was a fitting conclusion for this series.

Strange and Ever After, although I tale of romance at heart – if you’ll excuse the pun, also has enough adventure to keep the most restless of readers turning the page. Where we first got to visit 1876 Philadelphia, and later Paris, we are now taken to the pyramids of Egypt. Of all the worlds we’ve explored in this series, I think Egypt is my favourite – but, really, who could resist mummies and magic?

With enough world-building to make the escapist in all of us happy, I think Strange and Ever After is one very perfect summer read!

RATING - 4

Rika Ashton

(aka Sometimes YA Book Blogger)

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All Those Books…Just Enough Time

It’s time for another quick update. I’m almost done with my back list of ARCs, but I’ve got a few more reviews to go. The next batch of amazing books – some of which I had to BEG for – include some of my favourite authors.

First off, I was given a copy of Hunt the Darkness by Alexandra Ivy with a request to complete the review sometime after the release date, so I’ll likely be posting a review for that this weekend.

The vampire Roke is raw, sensual, always in control. Yet somehow he’s allowed the unthinkable to happen: a nymph-like witch named Sally has used her magic to trick Roke into mating with her. The pair will remain bound for eternity unless Sally breaks the spell. The trouble is, she has no idea how…

Mating with Roke was an accident; at least that’s what Sally keeps telling herself. She’s on the hunt for her demon father, whose identity holds the key to releasing the spell. The search won’t be easy with Roke shadowing Sally’s every move. As they mate with a ferocity that leaves them both aching for more, Sally isn’t sure if her world is more dangerous without Roke – or with him…

The next novel with a review to be released after that will likely be Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard. The publication date for this novel is July 22, 2014, so I’ll be aiming to post a review a little after that. This is a final installment and I don’t want to spoil anything.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Then we’ll be getting a review of Kresley Cole‘s Dark Skye, which will hit stores on August 5th, 2014. I guaranteed a copy of my ARC for this novel after much hassling, bargaining, bribing, begging – and quite possibly blackmailing, but I should be able to get you a review of this a few days before the publication date. 😉

Eternal Obsession

As a boy, Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body – and left an even deeper impression on his soul.

Endless Yearning

Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.

Can the heat of desire burn brighter than vengeance?

With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?

Finally, I’ll be writing a review for How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries (release date August 19th, 2014, which means the review will be released at least a day before.)

Lady Zoe Keane’s father is pressing her to marry a cousin she’s never met. As Lord and Lady Olivier’s only child, spirited Zoe will one day inherit the title of countess and their Yorkshire estate, the land she adores—but she wants to marry for love. Then an unsolved family mystery shatters her world: is it possible Zoe’s birth mother was actually a Romany named Drina? Desperate to know her true lineage, Zoe hires the Duke’s Men to search for the woman who will determine her destiny.

Tristan Bonnaud is the man for the job, and not because the roguish investigator cares about a spoiled aristocrat and her inheritance “problem.” To protect himself from his villainous half-brother, Tristan needs to track down his Romany horse trader friend who has information about a decade-old scandal—and this young beauty’s far-fetched case is just the excuse he needs.

But if untangling the past isn’t risky enough, the sizzling attraction drawing the scoundrel to the lady is the most dangerously seductive surprise of all. . . .

Rika Ashton

(aka Blogger With No Middle Name)


The Kraken King by Meljean Brook: A Review of Parts 1 and 2

Disclaimer: I received the first two parts of this serialized novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Also, because this is a serialized novel, there may be spoilers about part one in the part two review. 

Got my hands on my first every Meljean Brook novel – or rather I should say serial novel – a few weeks ago.

PART ONE

The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster is the first part of a eight part serialized novel, set in an alternate universe with steampunk elements:

A former smuggler and thief, Ariq—better known as the Kraken King—doesn’t know what to make of the clever, mysterious woman he rescues from an airship besieged by marauders. Unsure if she’s a spy or a pawn in someone else’s game, Ariq isn’t about to let her out of his sight until he finds out…

After escaping her fourth kidnapping attempt in a year, Zenobia Fox has learned to vigilantly guard her identity. While her brother Archimedes is notorious for his exploits, Zenobia has had no adventures to call her own—besides the stories she writes. But when she jumps at the chance to escape to the wilds of Australia and acquire research for her next story, Zenobia quickly discovers that the voyage will be far more adventurous than any fiction she could put to paper…

The first part was exiting and mysterious – a lot of secrets to go around. As the reader, we know a few that Zenobia is keeping, but Ariq is almost completely in the dark. We know that Zenobia is travelling as Geraldine, a widow, though of course she’s actually a spinster who pens novels. Zenobia agrees to the journey, thinking it’ll be dull, but it actually morphs into an adventure like the ones she writes about.

And in comes Ariq. He rescues Zenobia, who wants nothing more than to stay off his radar, but that only makes Ariq more determined and intrigued.

Zenobia and Ariq have amazing character chemistry right of the bat and are pretty much on the same level when it comes to all the banter in the novel. (I swear when they one-up each other during some of the dialogue, I channeled Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory – “Bazinga!”)

But basically, the first part of the novel served as a teaser for all the great things to come in the later parts…and, boy, am I ever excited!

PART TWO

The second part of the novel, The Kraken King and the Abominable Worm, was equally as entertaining:

As they continue their expedition across Australia, Ariq is determined to stay close to
Zenobia and figure out what kind of game she’s playing—even as his admiration for the enigmatic woman starts to override his suspicion.

For Zenobia, revealing her identity to a man who once made his living outside of the law is out of the question—even though Ariq’s dashing looks and blunt manner are distractingly appealing.

But before anyone’s secrets or desires can be exposed, an unexpected attack threatens to destroy them all…

OMG! The world building in this series! My inner escapist geek couldn’t have been more delighted.

We also get to learn more about the characters in part two, such as how Ariq earned the nickname of “The Kraken King” and Zenobia’s quick wit and bravery. And I was actually starting to like Helene, Zenobia’s travelling companion, by this part of the novel. And the lust between Zenobia and Ariq continues to scorch.

The only complaint I could possibly have about The Kraken King is that it is a serialized novel and the wait for part three is going to be killer. Not that it’s going to stop me from rereading parts one and two again and reliving the adventure we’ve been introduced to. I give parts one and two of The Kraken King 5/5 – they were a strong start to an original story and I can’t wait to see what the next parts have in store!

RATING - 5

And to see all the animated covers go here.

Rika Ashton

(aka “I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to read a novel by Meljean Brook!”)

P.S: To learn more about the new review policy and how to make a request, go here.