Friday, 24 January 2020

Twelve Kingdoms Reread:The Mark of the Tala

This is the book that started my love for this series! I love Andi so much and can really understand how she feels. There have since been other great heroines to fall in love with, even some who I totally couldn't stand before reading their book, but Andi will always have a special place in my heart.

Here's my review I wrote back the first time I read it. Notes on rereading at the end.

The Mark of the Tala (The Twelve Kingdoms #1)
by Jeffe Kennedy

What is it about:
Queen Of The Unknown

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, heir to the kingdom. The youngest, the sweet beauty with her Prince Charming. No one says much about the middle princess, Andromeda. Andi, the other one.

Andi doesn't mind being invisible. She enjoys the company of her horse more than court, and she has a way of blending into the shadows. Until the day she meets a strange man riding, who keeps company with wolves and ravens, who rules a land of shapeshifters and demons. A country she'd thought was no more than legend--until he claims her as its queen.

In a moment everything changes: Her father, the wise king, becomes a warlord, suspicious and strategic. Whispers call her dead mother a traitor and a witch. Andi doesn't know if her own instincts can be trusted, as visions appear to her and her body begins to rebel.

For Andi, the time to learn her true nature has come. . .

What did I think of it:
Voodoo Bride and I are big fans of Jeffe's work, so we were very happy when we heard about this trilogy. We were even more happy when Jeffe sent us an ARC of The Mark of the Tala.

This is a wonderful story.

I loved reading how the three sisters interact with each other. It was very recognizable. I could relate with how Andi felt, and why she seeks her solace away from court and family.

And that's how she meets Rayfe. I wasn't sure what to think of Rayfe at first. He's mysterious, a bit dangerous, but very intriguing. I really liked how Andi is torn about him and what happens as well. There might be an immediate attraction, but by no means insta-love. Instead Andi does the sensible thing at first: defend herself, and run away.

Then Andi discovers important secrets have been kept from her, and suddenly two countries are fighting over her.

I really love how Andi tries to do what is right, even if that means doing things her family doesn't approve of. She is faced with difficult choices, and is willing to sacrifice herself for those she cares about.

The complex relationship between Andi and Rayfe is also great to see develop. There's attraction, but Andi isn't foolish enough to mistake that for love. She keeps on her guard, and I loved seeing the two of them slowly getting to know each other better.

The ending was satisfying, but also leaves lots of things open that made me wonder what will happen next for the three sisters. All in all this is a beautiful story that captured me and has me eager for more. I can advice this to anyone who loves Romantic Fantasy. I will most certainly reread this book often, and I'll eagerly await the next book in this trilogy.

Why should you read it:
It's a wonderful Romantic Fantasy read.

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Notes on rereading:
Knowing more about the other characters and what will happen sure doesn't make me feel more lenient towards some of them. Jeffe sure knows how to write great and believable sibling interactions that give me all the feels!

Next: The Tears of the Rose

Thursday, 23 January 2020

On McPig's Radar - The Unspoken Name

An orc priestess turned wizard's assassin!?
You bet I pre-ordered this book when I heard about it! And it releases next month! Can't wait to get my greedy trotters on it!

The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates #1)
by A.K. Larkwood

A. K. Larkwood's The Unspoken Name is a stunning debut fantasy about an orc priestess turned wizard's assassin.

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard's loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

Expected publication: February 11th 2020
buy from bookdepository

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Twelve Kingdoms Reread: Negotiation - Book Review

Next up in my chronological reread is the short story Negotiation.

I must say that I'd advice people who are new to the world and series not to start with this one, but to read it after The Mark of the Tala, as I think you'll enjoy it more that way.

My review might have slight spoilers.

Negotiation (The Twelve Kingdoms 0.5)
by Jeffe Kennedy

What is it about:
A wounded warrior trapped by the sorceress who knows him better than he does himself…

General Uorsin escapes the last devastating battle, only to find himself alone on a mountain, feverish and no closer to finding the paradise that drives him on. Salena, greatest shapeshifter and magic-worker of her people, springs the trap she’s set to protect her land—and to prevent the ravager Uorsin from ever reaching it.

Together, they spend a night setting the terms that will determine not only the rest of their lives, but the fates of the peoples of the Twelve Kingdoms—and the thirteenth.

What did I think of it:
This short story is about the two people who shaped the heroines of the Twelve Kingdoms trilogy as well as the future of the Twelve Kingdoms. And to be honest: I don't like either of them.

I'm not saying I don't love this story. It's beautifully written and gives a really perfect glimpse of what set things in motion, as well as giving insight in Uorsin and Salena. I loved seeing how it all began.

These two are stubborn both in their own way. Salena is a strong woman, willing to sacrifice herself for her land, but she has no compassion or sympathy for people who aren't as strong. Uorsin powerhungry and greedy, and he doesn't care about the lives of those who stand between him and his goal. It was interesting to see them collide and fight for control.

All in all this is a great prequel that gives you that extra bit of information about the events that lead to The Mark of the Tala and all that comes after.

Notes on rereading: It's interesting to see Salena through her own eyes instead of the eyes of people who look up to her.

Why should you read it:
It's a really cool prequel story to the Twelve Kingdoms.

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Next: The Mark of the Tala

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Teaser Tuesdays - Druid Vices and a Vodka

Totally love this series!

Too many dudes in distress and not enough time-or enough power-to save them. They needed a superwoman, and it was becoming all too clear I wasn't up for the task.

(page 168, Druid Vices and a Vodka by Annette Marie)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, 20 January 2020

The Wicked We Have Done - Book Review

The Wicked We Have Done (Chaos Theory #1)
by Sarah Harian

What is it about:
Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.

If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.

Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.

She doesn’t plan on making friends.

She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.

What did I think of it:
I really enjoyed Eight Will Fall, so when I saw Harian wrote a series called Chaos Theory I decided to give it a try. I found the first book on and dove into it.

And what a cool read!

I was immediately gripped by the story and couldn't put the book down. Just as in Battle Royale and The Hunger Games a group of young people get put into a controlled environment and not all may come out alive, but there's where the comparison ends.

The Compass Room is a place that will test the morality of the people in it and will decide if they are redeemable or if they're so morally corrupted they need to die. But is the Compass Room always right?

The story switches between the now, where Evalyn is in the Compass Room, and the past, slowly revealing the events that landed her there. I was eager to find out more about her past and rooted for her to survive the tests the Compass room throws at her. There were several other characters I rooted for as well, and others I really did not like. Then people started dying!

I flew through this book and loved every second of it. You bet I'll be keeping an eye out for more books by Harian!

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome and suspenseful NA read.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Twelve Kingdoms Reread: Warrior of the World - Book Review

Warrior of the World (The Chronicles of Dasnaria #3)
by Jeffe Kennedy

What is it about:
Just beyond the reach of the Twelve Kingdoms, avarice, violence, strategy, and revenge clash around a survivor who could upset the balance of power all across the map...

Once Ivariel thought elephants were fairy tales to amuse children. But her ice-encased childhood in Dasnaria’s imperial seraglio was lacking in freedom and justice.. With a new name and an assumed identity as a warrior priestess of Danu, the woman once called Princess Jenna is now a fraud and a fugitive. But as she learns the ways of the beasts and hones new uses for her dancer’s strength, she moves one day further from the memory of her brutal husband. Safe in hot, healing Nyambura, Ivariel holds a good man at arm’s length and trains for the day she’ll be hunted again.

She knows it’s coming. She’s not truly safe, not when her mind clouds with killing rage at unpredictable moments. Not when patient Ochieng’s dreams of a family frighten her to her bones. But it still comes as a shock to Ivariel when long-peaceful Nyambura comes under attack. Until her new people look to their warrior priestess and her elephants to lead them...

What did I think of it:
This book is so good!

After all Ivariel has been through she now must find a way to heal and to find the place where she belongs. It was heartachingly beautiful to see her slowly open up to those around her and to Ochieng in particular. Did I tell you how awesome I think Ochieng is? He is everything and more she needs to heal from what's been done to her.

But she didn't find her freedom to become dependent on yet someone else, however awesome and sweet he might be. Ivariel needs to find out who she wants to be, and how she can conquer her fears. When a new threat reveals itself she is put to the test. Who will she be and how will she react?

The ending of this book is everything I hoped for, and I blinked away some happy tears, I can tell you! This trilogy is beautiful, emotional, and so worth it, whether it's your first encounter with this world or you're already familiar with the Twelve Kingdoms.

Notes on rereading: This story keeps getting hold of me, and I keep rooting for Ivariel and I experience all the emotions, even though I know how things will turn out. It's so good!

Why should you read it:
It's a wonderful and satisfying Fantasy read.

Next up: Negotiation, although I'll probably catch up on some other books first.

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Thursday, 16 January 2020