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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Arrow's Flight by Mercedes Lackey


Arrow's Flight is the second book in the Heralds of Valdemar Trilogy.

Talia could scarcely believe that she had finally earned the rank of full Herald. Yet though this seemed like the fulfillment of all her dreams, it also meant she would face trials far greater than those she had previously survived. For now Talia must ride forth to patrol the kingdom of Valdemar, dispensing Herald's justice throughout the land.

But in this realm beset by dangerous unrest, enforcing her rulings, would require all the courage and skill Talia could command- for if she misused her own special powers, both she and Valdemar would pay the price!






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As I will likely note in future reviews of other books in the Valdemar/Velgarth saga, I've often found that the middle books in the various trilogies are often the weakest. Such is not the case with this one, however, for I feel it is stronger than the first book, though probably not quite as strong as the one that follows it. The story of Talia's intern journey is engaging, frustrating, and heartbreaking by turns. She must experience one of the darkest times in her life thusfar on this trip, though as usual she comes through it with flying colors and stronger than she's ever been.

Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey

Arrows of the Queen is the first book in the Heralds of Valdemar Trilogy.

Chosen by the Companion Rolan, a mystical horse-like being with powers beyond imagining, Talia, once a runaway, has now become a trainee Herald, destined to become one of the Queen's own elite guard. For Talia has certain awakening talents of the mind that only a Companion like Rolan can truly sense.

But as Talia struggles to master her unique abilities, time is running out. For conspiracy is brewing in Valdemar, a deadly treason which could destroy Queen and kingdom. Opposed by unknown enemies capable of both diabolical magic and treacherous assassination, the Queen must turn to Talia and the Heralds for aid in protecting the realm and insuring the future of the Queen's heir, a child already in danger of becoming bespelled by the Queen's own foes!


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I have read this series, along with most of the other series that make up Lackey's Valdemar universe, several times over the last twenty-odd years, and they never really get old for me. Having decided it was time to do another read-through of the whole saga, I debated about whether or not to cover them here on my blog since they are rather different from the majority of the things I review here. The fact that they still stand among my favorite books of all time, and that they have played a significant role in my life in various ways convinced me that they deserved my attention here as well. My reviews of them may not always be as extensive as some of my reviews for more recent works are, but I'll do my best to offer up at least a handful of comments about each one as I read them again (though please don't ask me how many times I've read some of them because I stopped keeping count long ago.)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dragon Moon by Nulli Para Ora


A business trip to China. A fight for their lives. Will Angelique and David become pawns in a werewolf war or does fate have something else in store?

David Johnson and Angelique Meadows are colleagues on a business trip to China. They’ve worked together for years, but neither has been able to admit their true feelings for the other. This business trip represents a landmark deal in their careers and an opportunity to reveal the truth of their hearts. Just as love blooms, disaster strikes.

The man they’re meeting with is Yuen Gao, CEO of a multi-million dollar company. The world sees him as a successful businessman. His pack sees him as their Alpha. Rogues, secret experiments, and the undeniable pull of his mate force him to reveal his secret. Is his love strong enough to overcome the pain of loss?

Hearts unite and break as trusted friends become enemies behind the scenes. Love longed for is lost to be replaced by a bond deeper than words. Loyalties are tested as ghosts of the past step into the present.

Can true love survive when forbidden hearts are reconnected?


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I wish I had read this one earlier for several reasons, primarily because then I wouldn't have had all of the author's later work to compare it to. To put it a bit bluntly, her later work is much better than this book in my opinion. Such is to be expected, however, when comparing a good author's later works to her freshman novel -- the freshman work will generally suffer by comparison. Still, this book is not without it's merits, for it is full of strong characters, intriguing plot ideas, and shows that even in this early book the author already had her characteristic knack for shining a revealing light on difficult social and relationship issues. She doesn't shy away from examining the harsher and more painful issues that often arise in complicated relationships, but pays due homage to them reminds us that love means accepting the bad along with the good and that building a strong relationship takes work and dedication. Love and biological imperatives like a werewolf's mate bond are not necessarily enough to make a relationship work.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Predator's Fire - An Interview With Rosanna Leo


When Nina Suzuki discovers the body of her best friend Janine, her world turns upside down. Things go from bad to worse when Janine’s corpse seems to transform into that of a large, brown wolf. For the first time, Nina is faced to confront all the clues indicating her BFF was not what she seemed. A letter from the dead woman opens Nina’s eyes to a strange, new world. The same letter warns of a sinister group called the Alpha Brethren, and urges her to find Killian Moon of the Ursa Fishing Lodge and Resort on Gemini Island.
 

Killian Moon is a jaguar shifter and teen mentor at the Ursa Lodge in Northern Ontario. He may be a comfort and inspiration to confused teen shifters, but he also has a fiery past. His past comes back to haunt him when human Nina arrives at the resort, demanding to speak with him. Demanding answers. Can he trust her with knowledge that will not only change her life, but possibly endanger those around him?
 

As Killian begrudgingly tutors Nina on all things shifter, their mutual curiosity flares into passionate need. Once they touch, once they succumb to desire, there is no going back. Killian realizes Nina is his mate and they both begin to comprehend the terror threatening those on their shifter-friendly island. He is forced to confront the tragedy in his family and determines to protect Nina at all costs.
But can they protect everyone they love from a cult of dangerous shifters, intent on horror and destruction?


Where to Buy



I have read, loved, and reviewed all of the books in Rosanna Leo's Gemini Island series thusfar, and I couldn't let the latest entry in the series go by without acknowledgement here. As I was involved in the editing of this book, however, I do not feel it would be right for me to post a review of it. So despite it being a departure from what I usually do here, I asked Rosanna Leo if she would be good enough to do an interview with me about the book. She graciously accepted and sent me an excerpt to post as well. Follow me past the jump to read on :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Driftwood Deeds by Laila Blake

When journalist Iris Ellis visits a sleepy seaside town to interview recluse screenwriter Paul Archer, he offers her insights into never acted upon fantasies of dominance and submission. Too curious to deny herself a taste of them, Iris gives herself up to Paul's gentle guidance, but when she realizes that a taste can never be enough, she must find the courage to ask for what she needs or risk losing it all.
 
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I picked this one up after reading another friend's review of it, so I knew what to expect from it, though I found as I was reading it that it wasn't really what I expected. I think I expected something more explicit, a little more hardcore on the BDSM, and while it does get quite explicit in places the overall tone is much more sensual than overly erotic. And the writing here is very sensual indeed with the author doing a superb job of conveying every detail of scenery and sensation from the smell of the sea as they walk along the beach to the more intimate skin-on-skin sensations as the two main characters come together.