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Fantasy Anthology Review: Seasons of Sorcery by Jennifer Estep, Grace Draven, Amanda Bouchet and Jeffe Kennedy

Seasons of Sorcery: A Fantasy Anthology


ecopy thanks to the authors

Synopsis from Goodreads
WINTER'S WEB BY JENNIFER ESTEP
An assassin at a renaissance faire. What could possibly go wrong? Everything, if you’re Gin Blanco. This Spider is trapped in someone else’s icy web—and it seems like they don’t want her to leave the faire alive . . .

A CURSE FOR SPRING BY AMANDA BOUCHET

A malevolent spell strangles the kingdom of Leathen in catastrophic drought. Prince Daric must break the curse before his people starve. A once-mighty goddess trapped in a human body might be the key—but saving his kingdom could mean losing all that he loves.

THE DRAGONS OF SUMMER BY JEFFE KENNEDY

As unofficial consort to the High Queen, former mercenary Harlan Konyngrr faces a challenge worse than looming war and fearsome dragons. His long-held secrets threaten what he loves most—and he must make a choice between vows to two women.

A WILDERNESS OF GLASS BY GRACE DRAVEN

The stretch of sea known as The Gray rules the lives of those in the village of Ancilar, including widow Brida Gazi. In the aftermath of an autumn storm, Brida discovers one of the sea's secrets cast onto the shore—a discovery that will change her world, mend her soul, and put her in the greatest danger she's ever faced.


Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository

8.5/10

* * *
 WINTER'S WEB  is alright. A solid 7/10, and as I stopped following Gin's adventures a long time ago, it was difficult for me to get back to this world. Still, a cool look at what can go wrong at Renaissance Fair and an enjoyable description of ridiculous costumes for main heroes.

Holiday Anthology Release Day Review: The Stars Afire by Elizabeth Hunter

The Stars Afire by Elizabeth Hunter 


ecopy courtesy of the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
A new anthology of short fiction featuring your favorite characters from the Elemental Mysteries.



In Lost Letters and Christmas Lights, Christmas in Rome wasn’t quite what Giovanni and Beatrice had in mind, until a set of misplaced letters leads them back to their library in the heart of Italy. Serafina Rossi hadn’t expected vampires for Christmas, but the thought of meeting the cantankerous and intriguing ally of her employers was more than she could resist.


Giovanni Vecchio has a headache, and Richard Montegu is it. In Finding Richard, Giovanni and Beatrice head east to New York City in order to take care of a little problem who’s been spotted off-off-Broadway.


Giovanni and Beatrice return to Italy in Desires of the Heart. With their nephew growing older every year, Giovanni and Beatrice travel to Rome for the holidays, this time with a new vision for their future and the future of their family.


THE STARS AFIRE is a short story and novella anthology in the Elemental Mysteries series by Elizabeth Hunter.
 It includes previously published short fiction, as well as all new stories featuring Giovanni and Beatrice.



  Amazon US | Amazon kindle US

8.5/10

* * *
 This was a lovely re-read of previously published short stories, plus three new ones which I've really enjoyed! Elizabeth also threw in a sneak peak of Blood Apprentice in the end (a new Ben and Tenzin book which comes out soon), and oh boy, it wet my appetite! *grins*

Sci-Fi Series Review: Breakaway and Breakeven by Michelle Diener

Breakaway by Michelle Diener (Verdant String  #1)


review copy courtesy of the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Sofie lives in the shadow of Felicitos--the tethered way station built to funnel Garmen's mineral wealth up to the top of the atmosphere, where it's loaded onto space ships. Because Garmen is a breakaway planet, not part of the Verdant String Coalition, the companies that control it are free to run things as they see fit, and Sofie is part of the resistance that wants to end their rule.

Her main goal, though, is to get away from Garmen altogether, and leave the drudgery and violence behind her. That goal is complicated by her involvement with Leo Gaudier, a shadowy crime lord whose ability to cheat the companies that own Garmen is something she admires. And when she stumbles on a terrible new direction the companies are taking, a secret alliance that will endanger everyone she cares about, she sees her chances of escape slipping away.

Leo is all too aware he doesn't know enough about Sofie, something his own security detail is not slow to point out, but he can't keep away. When Sofie reveals her links to the resistance, and shows him those in control of Garmen have begun swimming in dangerous waters, he realizes his plan to overthrown them in a careful operation of a thousand cuts is no longer workable.

The time has come for a single, lethal strike--and that will not be without consequences . . .

 
Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository

 Breakeven by Michelle Diener (Verdant String #2)


review copy courtesy of the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Dee had been fighting one war, only to find herself caught up in another . . .

When circumstances leave Dee stranded on the Breakaway planet of Lassa, she has to choose--take the easy way out, or stand and fight an enemy much like the one she left behind on her home world of Garmen.

For Sebastian, leading the Lassian resistance has come at a heavy price. Forced to gamble the last of his resources on a risky ploy to get some leverage over the Core Companies that run Lassa, he stares defeat in the face when it fails. There's no backup plan left. Nothing more to work with. And all around him, people are starving, and it looks as if the Cores have entered a deal with a hostile alien force, to enrich themselves even more.

But Dee inspires him. Even though it's his fault she's on Lassa to begin with, her courage and steady calm are the assets he needs, and unbeknownst to both of them, she has with her the key to bringing the Cores to their knees.

Now they just have to turn the lock in time.

 Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK

8/10 or 4/5 

 A solid four star series for me, guys! Dynamic, tightly written and easy to read in one go. I sure hope that they will somehow tie to Class 5 series in the end, which were immensely entertaining on their own.

BREAKAWAY is a story of Sophie and Leo fighting evil corporations (Cores) running havoc on Garmen, a breakaway planet Cores pretty much own. Leo plays a self-made successful businessman, who in reality works to undermine Cores power and profits. Sophie is a proper action heroine and can be insanely brave and reckless which doesn't fit her sleek and stylish image of beautiful blonde working for higher ups of Garmen. In reality she is a Resistance agent who is binding her time to collect enough information to bring the Cores down.

Fantasy Romance Review: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven

Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven (Fallen Empire #1)


Egalley thanks to Ace Books

Synopsis fromGoodreads
A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.



  Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The BookDepository

9/10

* * *
Guys, guys, this book is amazeballs! I totally cried at the end. First of all, this is Grace Draven we are talking about: an author I always trust to deliver.

Secondly, the story is ruthless and at the same time, kind, bittersweet and raw. I kept thinking of Spartacus, with a smidgen of C.L. Wilson and Elizabeth Vaughan in that sense, that the main hero is a conqueror himself. Or he goes from a slave to a conqueror. And the main heroine... Holy crap, peeps! I loved her spirit and the depth of her self-awareness.

Romantic Comedy Review: Level Up by Cathy Yardley

Level Up by Cathy Yardley (Fandom Hearts #1)


ecopy from the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Geeky introvert Tessa Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to get promoted to video game engineer– including create a fandom-based video game in just three weeks. The only problem is, she can't do it alone. Now, she needs to strong-arm, cajole, and otherwise socialize with her video game coworkers, especially her roommate, Adam, who’s always been strictly business with her. The more they work together, though, the closer they get…

Adam London has always thought of his roomie Tessa as “one of the guys” until he agreed to help her with this crazy project. Now, he’s thinking of her all the time… and certainly as something more than just a roommate! But his last girlfriend broke up with him to follow her ambitions, and he knows that Tessa is obsessed with getting ahead in the video game world.

Going from friends to something more is one hell of a challenge. Can Tessa and Adam level up their relationship to love?



  Audible US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK

8/10


 Fun, easy, upbeat series with the right amount of geeky humour to suit the fans of The Big Bang Theory with a dash of  New Girl. I blitzed through three books I had and would have happily munched on more.

September New Book Releases I'm Dying To Read!

Guys, I know I suck! Sorry for the internet silence for the past month, but it's been the busiest on the farm and there are no breaks from long hot days. By the time I'm in bed I have 30 mins of reading max and I'm asleep...

Anyway, as soon as it cools down, I expect to pick up reviewing again. Phoenix Unbound is amazing, pre-order it! Especially if you enjoyed Elizabeth Vaughan's Warprize or C.L. Wilson's The Winter King. This has that kind of feel to it. I luuurved it! 
What are you dying to read this month? Dish it out! :)

August New Book Releases I'm Dying to Read

Some epic releases this month, yes? I am nervous about the last Kate Daniels, peeps... It will truly feel like the end of an era, which is why I'm avoiding any reviews or previews. What are you dying to read in August? Let me know.


Time Travel Mystery Review: An Urchin of Means by April White

An Urchin of Means by April White (Baker Street #1)


ecopy from the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Ringo Devereux knows far too much for a man of his times. There’s no simple explanation for it that doesn’t involve improbable conversations about the future, and Ringo’s advanced understanding of three-phase generators and the secret histories of his city are not things he can discuss with the Victorian Londoners around him. Even his origins as an orphaned street thief are far too dangerous for a young gentleman of means to reveal.

An encounter with a ten-year-old pickpocket, and a luncheon with Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle draw Ringo back into the shadows of his criminal past. A stolen gemstone, a suspicious pawnbroker, and a damning bundle of letters are mysteries that require Ringo’s thief’s instincts, his obscure facts, and the help of a little girl with the skills of deduction like his.

But are these crimes as random as they first appear? What do a covert affair and a blue carbuncle have in common? Ringo knows too much, but someone knows more, and the identity of a mysterious red-haired woman is perhaps the most diabolically complicated plot of them all.



  Audible US/UK | Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The BookDepository


8.5/10

Ladies and gentlemen, if you loved following Ringo's adventures in The Immortal Descendants series, you will adore the man this series honed and distilled him into now!

Contemporary Romance Review: Ink by Elizabeth Hunter

Ink: A Love Story on 7th and Main by Elizabeth Hunter


ecopy from the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
It’s everything but business as usual.

Emmie Elliot hadn’t expected to come back to Metlin, California. She definitely didn’t expect to stay. She returned to her childhood home with a mission: Sell the building that housed her grandmother’s book store and move on with her life.

But life doesn’t always go according to plan.

To reopen her grandmother’s book shop, Emmie will need a hook. She’ll need a strategy. She’ll need an… Ox?

Miles Oxford doesn’t have much interest in quiet bookstore owners. He’s a tattoo artist without a space to work, and the last thing he wants is to get involved with anyone after his last disaster of a relationship. Work and pleasure don’t mix for Ox, but since he doesn’t have any interest in the cute girl with the bold business proposal, he should be safe from any awkward complications, right?

She sells ink. He tattoos it. Unusual? Yes. But a book shop/tattoo studio might be the ticket for both Emmie and Ox to find success on their own terms. As long as they keep their attention focused on business.

Just on business.



Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository


9/10

* * * 
"She couldn't say no when someone asked for a book recommendation. It was a compulsion."

I think to me this was a love story between a reader and their passion for books. Elizabeth just had to get inside a bookworm's head and show what's bubbling under the surface. And I luuurved it! From nerdy t-shirts to cosy sassiness of Emmie's mugs, including her care for her gran's bookstore and unstoppable desire to make it work again. Duh, never discount romance readers! We are a force to be reckoned with. *grins*

Fantasy Audiobook Review: The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman

The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library #4)


audiocopy courtesy of Audible Studios

Synopsis from Goodreads
After being commissioned to find a rare book, Librarian Irene and her assistant, Kai, head to Prohibition-era New York and are thrust into the middle of a political fight with dragons, mobsters, and Fae.

In a 1920s-esque New York, Prohibition is in force; fedoras, flapper dresses, and tommy guns are in fashion: and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon political contest. It seems a young Librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can't extricate him, there could be serious repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.

Irene and Kai are locked in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They'll face gangsters, blackmail, and the Library's own Internal Affairs department. And if it doesn't end well, it could have dire consequences on Irene's job. And, incidentally, on her life...



Audible US/UK | Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository

8/10

* * *
I always really enjoy listening to Genevieve Cogman's stories. The world-building of The Invisible Library is very original, and because it's a multitude of alternative worlds, I don't imagine we, as readers, would ever tire of it.

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In case of zombie apocalypse

Hey, guys! I feel like I should say this just in case :)
If you'd like to sponsor a fellow book addict who sometimes can't sleep at night worrying that she won't have enough books to read if internet goes down in the event of zombie apocalypse (I'm convinced it's one of the top five ways to go for human race) you can donate through Paypal to olivesandacorns at gmail dot com or buy a book through any of the links provided with my reviews which will send me a small percentage from the sale. All proceeds will go towards my enormous TBR. I will also shelter you on the remote farm in Portugal when zombie apocalypse starts provided you survive getting there. There will be books, yay?
Thank you! Love you all

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