Monday, October 1, 2018

Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

Series: Crown of Shards #1
480 p.
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Published: Oct. 2, 2018
Source: From author for review
Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance. 
In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten. 
But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre. 
Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move. 
But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.
My thoughts:

This book came to me after a long reading slump so I admit I was a bit worried that I would have trouble really getting into the book. Honestly I had nothing to worry about... in fact I had a hard time putting this book down. It is also a great book to get into fantasy. A lot of the YA fantasy lately has really made the fantasy genre accessible to those that worried that it was just too heavy handed for them. However, this didn't solve the problem if you just didn't like YA. This book is the best of both worlds. It is accessible as the YA fantasy but the main characters are adult.

I also loved the characters in how they grew throughout the book. Evie, our protagonist, is young but she is an adult and one that is open to change and hardship. She might complain at first but she quickly learns that survival is only part of her journey. She also learns that the inane skills she learned as being the court stand-in surprisingly work to her advantage and make herself valuable. I really love how those things worked into her survival and it also felt very natural.

I think my only complaint is that I would like to have really gotten to know a bit more about this world. While there is enough to tell this tale it also seems like so many of the realms called out to me and I just wanted to know more. However, this might be a good thing as most people tend to shy away from fantasy that is mostly worldbuilding and little storytelling. This feels more like a UF story where we get more of the worldbuilding as the story progresses. In fact a lot of it feels a bit more UF than high fantasy but since I love UF it really works for me.

I don't want to say too much as I fear I would spoil the book but I do give it 5 stars. I will say again that this is the fantasy I had been waiting to read; the accessibility of YA fantasy but has adult characters. I think this is a great book for those that want to try the fantasy genre.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Crafty Catch Up

I made a few things lately and I thought I'd share.

First I made a Grace Travel Satchel* by RLR Creations (affiliate for pattern at Craftsy) for my mom:


The blue on the inside is ripstop and should be easy to clean. The loops on the inside is FOE (elastic) to hold her bottles and should be tall enough for full sized shampoo and lotion bottles. Zip in the front and both sides (hard to see) complete the satchel. It served her well.

I also made her a crossbody purse as she needed something light and easy to carry. I made a Triple Zip by Sew da Kine. She picked out all the bling and so I call it the golden dragon.


I added a credit card slip pocket but everything else was as the pattern was written. The zippers are "metallic" nylon which really makes it more fun. There are gold spots on the teal on the inside. Yep, this one is golden!

The last craft I am sharing is a tag collar I made for the big boy.


He goes through collars and isn't gentle with them (I have no idea how he goes through them!). I usually get him a leather collar (he likes leather... seriously) and I don't sew leather. I spied a tag collar on Etsy and thought I can do that! So I made him one. I have a d-ring on one side and a small lobster clip on the other. It can slip over his head but I thought I'd just give it that extra assurance I can get it off of him if needed. It is only a 1/2" wide and is secured with chicago screws. He seems to love it and it isn't heavy at all. I don't use his collar when I need to leash him so it works well. Monster pup has taken it off of him a couple of times but he just tells me and I go get it and slip it back on. I think I did good. LOL

So what crafty things have you done lately?

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*affiliate links have been noted

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Silent Bloggy

It's me!

Sorry I've been silent and I miss visiting everyone's blog. A lot has happened. I admit I do have time for the blog but as a lot of you know that it can be stressful keeping it updated so I let it slide. My mom had a procedure and there was a complication but that was fixed (vague I know, but my mom is private). She has another problem but hopefully that one will be an easy fix as well. Please send lots of vibes, prayers or just positive thoughts please!

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I had yet to get monster pup spayed because of everything going on but it finally got done. She did well. Didn't have to use the cone of shame... until... it was almost healed! She suddenly decided it was a good thing to lick and it looked angry. She earned that cone of shame!
A very bad girl!
My big boy also had a problem. He has acute kidney failure. I started giving him Only Natural Kidney Support (not an affiliate link, just wanted to share the info). It seems to be working well and his numbers (except the creatine) seem to have gone back to normal. Not a cure by any means but it seems to have kept him stable and feeling good. I'm ecstatic about that!

A few other smaller things happened but it all just added up to me being absent from the blog for a bit. I'm going to try to get at least a couple of posts up. It might be a bit stressful but it feels good to talk to all of you!

I think I need a vacay! Anyone want to go? 

Hope everything has gone well for everyone! I should be visiting shortly!
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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall

Series: Immortal Guardians #8
260 p.
Publisher: Author/Indie
Published: July 10, 2018
Source: From author for review

He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.

When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.
My thoughts:

This is a fun PNR/UF that I have enjoyed since the first book. If you haven't read them, you are missing out on some laughs, adventure and romance. I do suggest starting with the first book in the series to really get to know all the characters and it also helps to make sense of the overall series arc.

In this book we go a bit back in time to an incident that hurt the guardians. This is Stanislav's story and what happened to him during the incident and 2 years later. Stan is a man of honor and it shows throughout his story even when he manipulates to survive. He finds his equal and while she doesn't have his strength, she is no wilting flower. I liked how these two worked together and it was easy to believe the romance. I loved also how both waited until he was healed to further their relationship. My only complaint would be that I would have liked a reunion scene with Jax (you'll see who that is. when you read it... LOL) but I still really loved the epilogue which made it a perfect end to the story. Still, I wouldn't have minded a few hundred more pages... but then I always want more of a story I'm enjoying.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. It had been too long since I was back in this world and every time I visit I enjoy myself. If you are looking for a humorous romance with some kick ass adventure, I do suggest this whole series.
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There is a few more days to enter for the prize pack! Just go HERE for the post and how to enter.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Dianne Duvall's Immortal Guardian Series


Favorite Quotes from the Immortal Guardians Series 

Hello! Thanks so much for joining me. I’m happy to be here today, celebrating the release of AWAKEN THE DARKNESS. If you like powerful preternatural heroes, strong heroines, action scenes that will keep you flipping pages well past your bedtime, and romance that is alternately steamy and sweet and laced with humor, then I think you’ll enjoy this book. 

To whet your appetite for Aidan and Dana’s story and to give you a glimpse of what you’ll find in my Immortal Guardians series if you’re new to it (don’t worry—each book can be read as a stand-alone, you’ll just know more about the secondary characters if you read them in order), I thought I would list my Top 10 Favorite Quotes from the Immortal Guardians Series: 

10 
“You stabbed me in the ass?” 
—Bastien, DARKNESS DAWNS 

9 
“What did you think I would do? Ask her if I could braid her hair after we gave each other facials and painted our toenails?” 
—Marcus, NIGHT REIGNS 

8 
“Is this going to get weird? Like kinky weird?” 
—John, IN STILL DARKNESS 

7 
“I did NOT need to see that. I mean I REALLY did not need to see that. Jenny, honey, grab one of my daggers and poke out both my eyes.” 
—Richart, NIGHT UNBOUND 

6 
“I’m not antisocial. I just want to be left alone.” 
—Roland, DARKNESS DAWNS 

5 
“All right. All right. Settle down. We’re all glad Sarah stabbed Bastien in the ass.” 
—Seth, PHANTOM SHADOWS 

Ooh. That’s so cool. Even in your thoughts, your voice deepens and gets all growly when you’re turned on. Before he could respond, she made a sound of impatience. Damn it. Now I’m turned on. 
—Susan, AWAKEN THE DARKNESS 

“I’ll blush as soon as the desire to decapitate you has passed.” 
—Lisette, NIGHT UNBOUND 

“Well . . . if you didn’t want me to tranq anyone, you shouldn’t have given me the damned gun.” 
—Dana, BLADE OF DARKNESS 

1 
“Great. There goes our security deposit.” 
—Sean, DARKNESS RISES 


I have many other favorites, of course, but these are at the top of the list. :-) 
For fans of the series: Do you have a favorite Immortal Guardians quote that isn’t mentioned here? 

For readers who are new to the series: Which of these did you like the best?





Awaken the Darkness 
(Immortal Guardians #8)
by Dianne Duvall 
Kindle Edition, 414 pages
Publication: July 10th 2018 by Dianne Duvall

Return to the "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly) world of New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall's Immortal Guardians.  

He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.

When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.


 Don't miss a heart-pounding moment of Dianne Duvall's "utterly addictive" Immortal Guardians series!



Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians series and The Gifted Ones series. Reviewers have called Dianne's books "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly), "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "extraordinary" (Long and Short Reviews), and"wonderfully imaginative" (The Romance Reviews). Her books have twice been nominated for RT Reviewers' Choice Awards and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews,and/or Night Owl Reviews.  

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she creates in her books. 

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit DianneDuvall.com. You can also find Dianne online . . .


(1) $50 Amazon Gift Card
(1) $25 Amazon Gift Card 
(1) Immortal Guardians Prize pack