Thursday, March 31, 2016

#Thursday Review - No One Know by J.T. Ellison (Mystery Thriller)

Series: Standalone
Format: E-Galley, 368 pages
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery

The day Aubrey Hamilton’s husband is declared dead by the state of Tennessee should bring closure so she can move on with her life. But Aubrey doesn’t want to move on; she wants Josh back. It’s been five years since he disappeared, since their blissfully happy marriage—they were happy, weren’t they?—screeched to a halt and Aubrey became the prime suspect in his disappearance. Five years of emptiness, solitude, loneliness, questions. Why didn’t Josh show up at his friend’s bachelor party? Was he murdered? Did he run away? And now, all this time later, who is the mysterious yet strangely familiar figure suddenly haunting her new life?

In No One Knows, the New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Nicholas Drummond series expertly peels back the layers of a complex woman who is hiding dark secrets beneath her unassuming exterior. This masterful thriller for fans of Gillian Flynn, Liane Moriarty, and Paula Hawkins will pull readers into a you’ll-never-guess merry-go-round of danger and deception. Round and round and round it goes, where it stops…no one knows.

Five years ago, Aubrey Hamilton's husband Joshua disappeared without a trace while attending his friends bachelor party. No One Knows what really happened to him. No one really knows if Aubrey had anything to do with his disappearance, or if she is keeping a deep dark secret from Josh's mother Daisy who despises her. Aubrey knows one thing for sure; The State of Tennessee officially declared Josh dead, and her monster in-law intends on fighting her for the insurance monies that are due any day.

Let's have an honest chat about this book, shall we? This story is an absolute trip from start to finish. From the moment the story opens, we see a distraught and angry character named Aubrey Hamilton being told that her husband is officially dead after 5 years missing. From there, we get flashbacks of Aubrey's life, and I have to say that I would have given this lady a hug or two for everything that she experienced in her younger years. The connection between Josh and Aubrey is true. Josh was always there for Aubrey, even in her darkest days in foster care with only Tyler to save her from bullies.

Either by her own hand, or others, Aubrey really goes thru the ringer with her own life, and her job as a teacher after Josh disappears. She's forced to defend herself against a rogue District Attorney and an arresting officer who both believe that she's guilty of murder. But the worst of the worst when it comes to her own personal antagonist Daisy Hamilton. I have nothing nice to say about Daisy. She showed absolutely no emotion for Aubrey after she lost her parents, and later when she and Josh became a couple. Daisy is 100 percent sure that Aubrey is guilty as Sin for Josh's disappearance. She goes to extraordinary lengths to claim the insurance monies that Josh left for Aubrey. Money that Aubrey never wanted. 

No One Knows is mostly told from Aubrey's prospective, but there are others like Chase Borden, Daisy, and Josh himself through flashbacks that take place from 5-20 years in the past. Each makes their appearances felt. Chase as a reporter looking into the truth about Josh, Josh as he spirals out of control, and Daisy, well I've already spoken enough about her.

The author does a good job of getting you to feel all sorts of emotions for Aubrey, some good, some bad, but really lays it on readers by the time you get to the final 3 chapters. I dare say I love good twists, and this particular twist just floored me to the point where my mouth hung open for a good 5 minutes. It also left me questioning how any of what happens makes any sense. Ellison really does psychological stories well. You really have to wonder if you can trust any of the characters in this story.

Quote of the book:

"Fairy tales don't come true. Parent's die and leave you alone in the world. Little girls get molested. Lover's die; husband's die, and disappear, then try to pretend all is well."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

#Cover Reveal - Faith Hunter's Curse of the Land (Book # 2 in the Soulwood series)

I'm a bit late to the ball park with this reveal, but I always say better late than not at all! I'm happy to help reveal the cover to Faith Hunter's new series called Soulwood. If you are already a die hard reader of Jane Yellowrock's, then you have already met Nell Ingram. I really look forward to this new series! 

Ready for it?

Set in the same world as Faith Hunter’s New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, the second Soulwood novel tells the story of a woman whose power comes from deep within the earth...

Before Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she had no one to rely on, finding strength only in in her arcane connection to the dark woods around her. But now she has friends in the newly-formed PsyLED team to keep her grounded—even if being part of the agency responsible for policing paranormals presents dangers of its own...

After training at the PsyLED academy, Nell returns home to her woods to find the land feeling sick and restless. And that sickness is spreading. With the help of her team, under the leadership of agent Rick LaFleur, Nell tries to determine the cause. But nothing can prepare them for the evil that awaits: an entity that feeds on death itself. And it wants more

Available for pre-order!

#Wednesday Review - Artificial by Jadah McCoy (Science Fiction)

Series: The Kepler Chronicles # 1
Format: E-Galley, 272 pages
Release Date: April 4, 2016
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Source: Publisher
Genre: Science Fiction

She struggles to feel human.

In 2256, the only remnants of civilization on Earth’s first colonized planet, Kepler, are the plant-covered buildings and the nocturnal, genetically spliced bug-people nesting within them: the Cull. During the day, Syl leaves her home in the sewers beneath Elite City to scavenge for food, but at night the Cull come looking for a meal of their own. Syl thought gene splicing died with the Android War a century ago. She thought the bugs could be exterminated, Elite city rebuilt, and the population replenished. She’s wrong.

Whoever engineered the Cull isn’t done playing God. Syl is abducted and tortured in horrific experiments which result in her own DNA being spliced, slowly turning her into one of the bugs. Now she must find a cure and stop the person responsible before every remaining man, woman, and child on Kepler is transformed into the abomination they fear.

He struggles not to.

For Bastion, being an android in the sex industry isn’t so bad. Clubbing beneath the streets of New Elite by day and seducing the rich by night isn’t an altogether undesirable occupation. But every day a new android cadaver appears in the slum gutters, and each caved in metal skull and heap of mangled wires whittles away at him.

Glitches—androids with empathy—are being murdered, their models discontinued and strung up as a warning. Show emotion, you die. Good thing Bastion can keep a secret, or he would be the next body lining the street.

He can almost live with hiding his emotions. That is, until a girl shows up in the slums—a human girl, who claims she was an experiment. And in New Elite, being a human is even worse than being a Glitch. Now Bastion must help the girl escape before he becomes victim to his too-human emotions, one way or another

Artificial, by author Jadah McCoy, is the first installment in The Kepler Chronicles. The story is told in the first person narrative by one of the last remaining humans, Sylvia, as well as an alternating narratives with a pleasure android named Bastion who becomes her friend and ally in a world that hates Organics. This is a science fiction story set in the year 2256. This is a world where there are few remaining humans left after androids rose up and sacked their creators into near extinction. 

Those that remain like Sylvia, Lucca, & Serge scrounge for food during the day, and live in Elite City's sewer sanctuary at night where they are suppose to be relatively safe. Safe being a relative term. In this creepy and disturbing world, there are formerly human creations called Cull who have been spliced together with a variety of beasties like flies, spiders, and roaches thanks to genetic warfare. 

Syl is a reckless character at times, but she can more than hold her own against the beasties and those who want to create a disturbing creature out of her. She's made mistakes that have cost people their lives, and has run away when things get too hot to handle. After running away, getting caught, and experimented on by a diabolical android using genetic splicing to become a Cull, Syl finds herself cast off by her human friends, and ends up in an entirely different world that is nothing like the one she came from. 

This is a world where humans are bought, sold, and exterminated like cattle. This is a world where anyone who has feelings or sympathies for humans are called Glitches. Meet Bastion who lives in New Elite. Bastion is an android who uses pleasure to make a living. When he finds Syl, he's not sure if he's brought home a ticking time bomb, or his own salvation. Bastion and Syl both have their hatreds towards the other. Syl with reason since androids are exterminating her kind, and experimenting on them. History hasn't allowed for human / android interactions in many years. Yet, the friendship that grows between the two goes a long way into Sylvia's next step in this series as well as a question about what being a human really means. 

Since there were so few reviews before I requested this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. I actually found myself briskly flipping through this book to see what happens to Syl and Bastion next. I was pleasantly surprised by the world that McCoy created as well as the characters who are far from flawless, but have their moments. I have to say the ending may have shocked me a bit, but only in the sense that I need to know what happens next. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

#Tuesday Review - The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins (Young Adult, Fantasy)

Series: Eurona Duology # 1
Format: E-Galley, 416 pages
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Wendy Higgins, the author of the New York Times bestselling Sweet Evil series, reimagines a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale with The Great Hunt, a dramatic, romance-filled fantasy with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.

When a monstrous beast attacks in Eurona, desperate measures must be taken. The king sends a proclamation to the best and bravest hunters: whoever kills the creature will win the hand of his daughter Princess Aerity as a reward. The princess recognizes her duty but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger—she was meant to marry for love—until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. And while there’s no denying the fiery chemistry between them, Princess Aerity feels that Paxton’s mysteriousness is foreboding, maybe even dangerous.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He is determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the secrets he’s buried begin to surface against his wishes.

The Great Hunt, by Wendy Higgins, is the first installment in the Eurona Duology. This is a story that is presumed to be a reimaging of the Grimm Brothers short story called "The Singing Bone." The duology is set in what is known as Eurona, and the Kingdom of Lochlanach (Waterlands). There are actually four other kingdoms that call Eurona home including Toresta (Ridgelands), Zorfina (Drylands), Ascomanni (Coldlands), and Kalor (Hotlands). 

*If you get a copy of the hardcover edition, there is a nifty map in the beginning outlying each kingdom.*

The Great Hunt tells the story about a Great Beast that has never before seen in these lands. The Beast has ravaged the land, leaving soldiers, and village men alike ravaged but not touching any of the women. After her cousin Lady Wyneth watched the love of her life be killed by the great beast and his soldiers find themselves losing the battle to the beast, King Charles asks his daughter Princess Verity to put away her desire for love and happiness, and be betrothed to the hunter who defeats the Great Beast and once again makes things safe for those living in the Kingdom. She agrees with a heavy heart.

The Great Hunt is a story that is told in multiple POV's but you would benefit mostly from Verity, Wyneth, and Paxton Seabold's one of two brothers from a poor family who volunteer to undertake the dangerous job of killing the beast and marrying the princess. There is, however, a whole lot more than just winning Verity's hand at stake. Eurona is a land that has quelled the use of magic in most kingdoms. There are still those called Lashed Ones, who still use magic, including Lochlanach's Royal Lashed one. But, thanks to a villain with links to a past long ago forgotten, things are about ready to get to get even more deadlier in Eurona.

The Great Hunt takes a huge step away from "The Singing Bone" which was about two very different brothers, and two very different outcomes. In this story, the two brothers, Paxton and Tier actually get along fairly well. If you remember any other characters outside of Verity, Vixie, Wyneth, and Paxton , remember Tier Seabold, Mrs. Rathbone, Lieutenant Harrison, and Lord Leif Alvi. These are the secondary ones that the story focuses on outside of Verity and company. They are the ones who make the story interesting.

Outside of Verity who is strong, and decent, and caring to a fault, Paxton is the most intriguing and the character who has the most to lose if his secret comes out. His relationship with Verity goes from smothering hostility to something a whole lot more. Paxton has his issues, but you really can't blame him after discovering his secret and why he keeps his distance from others. I actually felt a whole lot of sadness for Wyneth with the loss of her lover, and then finding possible romance with another man who may end up marrying her cousin.

Since this is the first of two books, there is a pretty damning cliffhanger which makes sense with another book on the way. I don't necessarily like endings like this, but I do hope that the next book closes up all mysteries and questions quickly and efficiently. 

Aerity had never felt more nervous in her life as he made his slow approach. She wasn’t accustomed to feeling this way, her body out of sorts, her thoughts scattered. She was glad to have the silks to cling to.

Paxton took his time. Aerity thought she should say something, perhaps a witty quip, but she was afraid she’d sound breathless. She didn’t want him to know how he affected her. He walked a circle around her, moving nearer, his eyes scrutinizing every element in that curious way of his. Aerity kept very still. No lad other than Harrison had dared to get this close. He stopped in front of her and looked skyward. His eyes trailed up the silks to the ceiling and he reached up, his fingers and palm wrapping around the smooth fabric, feeling his way down. When he got to her hand he let go, never touching her.

“I wonder,” he said quietly. His eyes roamed over her hair and face, her robe cinched at the waist. If he thought she looked silly he didn’t show it.

“You wonder what?” She was horrified to hear that she indeed sounded as breathless as she was. Curses.

Paxton’s hand drifted over the hair at her shoulder, his fingers gathering a mass of light red strands and winding them gently about his palm until her long tresses were a loose knot around his strong hand. She could feel the light tug at her scalp as his fist slightly tightened. Her chest fluttered at the sight of his thumb running back and forth over the taut hair there. She suddenly wished she could feel that caress.

Monday, March 28, 2016

#Monday Review - Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs (Science Fiction, YA)

Series: Future Shock, # 1
Format: E-Galley, 272 pages
Release Date: April 1, 2016
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co.
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Elena Martinez has hidden her eidetic memory all her life--or so she thinks. When powerful tech giant Aether Corporation selects her for a top-secret project, she can't say no. All she has to do is participate in a trip to the future to bring back data, and she'll be set for life.

Elena joins a team of four other teens with special skills, including Adam, a science prodigy with his own reason for being there. But when the time travelers arrive in the future, something goes wrong and they break the only rule they were given: do not look into their own fates.

Now they have twenty-four hours to get back to the present and find a way to stop a seemingly inevitable future from unfolding. With time running out and deadly secrets uncovered, Elena must use her eidetic memory, street smarts, and a growing trust in Adam to save her new friends and herself.

Future Shock, by author Elizabeth Briggs, is a young adult, science fiction, time travel story that features 17-year old Elena Martinez. Elena is a Mexican-American teenager who has been in and out of foster care since her father was sent to prison for a horrific crime. When readers first meet Elena, we get to know that she is a person who is very smart, in fact, she has a eidetic memory that perhaps causes more problems that helps. 

Perhaps it is because she doesn't want to stick out any more than she does because of her skin color and her tattoos. Elena knows she needs a job, and quickly because she turns Eighteen in a few months and be released from the system to be on her own. After a surprise visit from Lynne Marshall, who works for one of the largest tech companies in the world in Aether Corporation, Elena is given the opportunity to make a difference and make more money than she can imagine. 

Four others are chosen to go along with Elena: Adam O'Neill, Chris Duncan, Trent Walsh, and Zoe Chang. 3 of the 4 are outcasts and fellow foster care kids who have their own issues and problems. 1 is a genius with a bright future ahead of him. A future that sees him doing remarkable things. These kids are chosen to travel into the future TEN years to take notes on future technology and bring back anything they can get their hands on.

There were each chosen for specific skill sets. They are each given backpacks filled with supplies, and are told not to attempt to look up their future selves for fear of returning with Future ShockElena, because of her eidetic memories, is expected to remember everything that she sees when she comes back. The kids are expected to spend 24 hours in the future before returning to the present. In that time, only 12 minutes will have actually passed by.

There is also a huge catch however. When the kids arrive in the future, 30 years has actually passed, not ten! But, after discovering that only one of them will survive the next few days, Elena and her crew have little if any control over what happens next. Who can Elena trust, and will she be able to make it back to the present where her future is cloudy and not set?

Let's talk about the diversity in this book, shall we? First, I am A-Okay with Elena being a Latina lead character who is both intelligent, a bit high strung, but protective of others, and one who isn't afraid to back up her looks with her actions. Zoe is also unique in that she has a girlfriend, but she considers herself to be bisexual. Again, totally not complaining. 

Future Shock is filled with twists and turns and a major mystery that remains clouded until the last moment. I love books that explore time travel, especially when they talk about the Grandfather Paradox, or even the Butterfly Effect of doing something to upset the space-time continuum. With the way this story wraps up, you would think the author intended for this to be a standalone novel. 

However, further research, IE exploring authors web page, clearly indicates that there will be a second novel to be released September 1, 2016. Who it will feature, is beyond even my guessing. I'm not sure what a second book would cover since most of all angles and mysteries are pretty much covered by the time you turn the last page. I guess we shall see if this book does well enough for a second installment.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

#Saturday Review - Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs/Tracy Deebs (YA Science Fiction)

Series: The Hero Agenda # 1
Format: Hardcover, 308 pages
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Library
Genre: YA, Science Fiction

Kenna is tired of being "normal". 

The only thing special about her is that she isn't special at all. Which is frustrating in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary— which she hates.

She’s secretly working on an experiment that will land her a place among the Heroes, but when a Villain saves her life during a break-in at her lab, Kenna discovers there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to good and evil and who she can trust.. After all…not all strength comes from superpowers.

Powerless, by authors Tera Lynn Childs (Fins, Medusa Girls) and Tracy Deebs (Tempest), is the first installment in The Hero Agenda duology. The story is narrated by Kenna Swift, a teenager who has grown up among villains and superheroes. In fact, her own mother Jeanine is a famous scientist who has developed a slew of toys for superheroes, and her father was once one of the best superheroes around before being killed. 

"Three days ago, I was an ordinary girl in a superhero world. It wasn't ideal, but it was tolerable. It was normal. It made sense. Black was Black and white was white. Good was good, and bad was...bad. Villains were bad. Now, everything is Topsy turvy. Nothing makes sense."

If that weren't enough, her best friend Rebel Malone (Telekinesis) and ex-boyfriend Jeremy (Technopath) have incredible powers as well. Kenna isn't necessarily powerless thanks to her own mothers secret formula that has made her impervious to all superpowers. Even so, Kenna secretly decides that she will design her own formula that will make her more than normal and thus able to fight her own battles when the time comes.  

But, after encountering three villains searching her mother's lab for one of their own, and they don't kill her, in fact one just happens to save her life twice, Kenna begins to question her prejudices towards the bad guys. With her best friend Rebel dating a villain, and her mother vanishing without a trace, Kenna begins the treacherous journey of discovering that things aren't always greener on the other side of the highway. It will take a combination of both villains and so called heroes to join together and discover what the Superhero Collective is really up to.

Let's talk about the secondary characters. I loved Jeremy even though he is clearly a geek with major conspiracy theories which, after you take a moment to think about, don't seem all that far fetched. Rebel is the best friend who has known about Kenna's secret for almost as long as they've known each other. With her dating Dante, the so called villain, Kenna begins to doubt everything she's told.

The romance between Draven, a so called villain, and Kenna is a bit on the predictable side. It was fun watching them hatch out their differences. It was fun watching Kenna stand up for herself and not have rely on anyone to help her. But, almost from the moment they met, you knew they would end up together. There is a bit of a comic relief to the book as well. That comedy comes from Nitro, who is also supposed to be a villain.

Yes, this book is action packed and filled with questions that any good conspiracy theorist would love to acknowledge. Yes, there is a cliffhanger ending that just grabs you by the neck, and forces you not to look away. Yes, readers will love Kenna because she proves that you don't need special abilities to save yourself from those who are much more powerful than you are. Yes, there are plenty of secrets that I will not spill since it's a major point in the story where Kenna gets a major wake up call.  

I do have the second book called Relentless ready to go on my Kindle, but will wait closer to the actual release date before posting my review. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

#Stacking the Shelves / Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged # 9 Happy Easter!

Bought Borrowed and Bagged is all about the latest additions to your library – virtual or actual, with books that are  bought, borrowed, won or ARCs  you will be reading soon. Bought Borrowed and Bagged is a homage to to Barron’s Books and Baubles from Karen Marie Moning’s amazing Fever series, and is hosted by Braine over at Talk Supe. 

Thanks for stopping by!
Not much to report this week which is wicked cool!
Happy Easter! Don't eat too much chocolate!

Reviewed THIS Next Week: 

Tuesday - Broken Chains by Lauren DeStefano (YA, Science Fiction)

Wednesday - The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (YA, Fantasy)

Thursday - Vanished by Elizabeth Heiter (Mystery, Thriller)

Nil by Lynne Matson (YA, Science Fiction) - Talk Supe Blog

Saturday - Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs/Tracy Deebs (YA Science Fiction)

Scheduled for Next Week: 

Monday -  Future Stock by Elizabeth Briggs (YA, SyFy)

Tuesday - The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins (YA, Fantasy)

TBD - Nil Unlocked by Lynn Matson (YA, SyFy) - Talk Supe Blog

Wednesday - Artificial by Jadah McCoy (Science Fiction)

Thursday - No One Knows by J.T. Ellison (Mystery, Thriller)

Friday - The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows (YA, Fantasy)

Saturday - Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter (UF) Blog Tour

*Received from NetGalley/Edelweiss*


*Received from Harper Voyager*

*Received from Author*


*Borrowed from Library*


*Past weeks Amazon Deals*


#Friday Review - Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier (Celtic Mythology, Magic, Historical-Ireland)

Series: Blackthorn & Grim # 1
Format: Hardcover, 434 pages
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Roc
Source: Library
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology

Award-winning author Juliet Marillier "weaves magic, mythology, and folklore into every sentence on the page" (The Book Smugglers). Now she begins an all-new and enchanting series that will transport readers to a magical vision of ancient Ireland...

In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she'll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.

Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.

With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.

Dreamer's Pool is the first installment in the Blackthorn and Grim series by new to me author Juliet Marillier. This is a series that is steeped in Celtic mythology, magic and set to the backdrop of medieval Ireland. Marillier weaves her story via the narratives of Blackthorn (not her real name), Grim (a rather large man who she met in prison and becomes her constant companion and protector), and Prince Oran of Dalraida who is eager to meet his new betrothed. 

Marillier puts the question to readers, what would you do if you were locked up for a year, faced numerous instances of brutality by guards, and then faced your own execution after speaking out against acts of abuse against women by the Chieftain of your country? What if that same Chieftain was responsible for murdering your family? Would you give up your right to vengeance? Or, would you agree to 7 years of service in which you can only use your skills for good, and you may not refuse anyone who asks for your help, and lastly, you must put away your urge to seek vengeance for the length of this contract? 

This is the situation that Blackthorn is now facing. She is required to take a new name, and travel a long way to the kingdom of Dalraida where she will become the healer/wise woman that they have been without for ages. While living in Winterfalls, she has to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, and ensure that she sticks to the agreement she made with a fae named Conmael. By her side is the prickly giant named Grim who traveled from Dalraida with her, and will become her bodyguard and one she can truly trust and rely on.

I dare say that Blackthorn took a while for me to warm up to her. I feared that it would take a long while before the author would reveal the truth behind Blackthorn's background and devastating losses that made her desire vengeance. She is quick to anger, she loathes being in the situation she finds herself in, she really doesn't understand what Grim sees in her, and the whole 7 years of putting away her vengeance is just itching at her scalp for her to run away even at the risk of adding additional years to her agreement. 

Meanwhile, Prince Oran of Dalraida is eagerly anticipating the arrival of his new bride Lady Flidais. Oran has fallen in love with her portrait, her letters, and the fact that they have nearly everything in common. But, when a strange accident happens, and Oran meets a totally different Flidais from the one he expected, Oran finds himself in a difficult situation. How can he turn her away knowing that her home is under constant attack from a neighboring country? Who can he reach out to in order to find out what is wrong with Flidais before they are married and successors to the King and Queen of Dalraida?

Grim is probably the most underrated character in the book. Called bonehead by his prison mates and guards, Grim has had more than his fair share of chances to make his own way in the world. The lady, as he calls her, is facing a 7 years agreement and Grim will follow to ensure that she survives. Grim is adorable. There I said it. I loved how the villagers took to him, and gave him odd jobs to do. I loved how he stood by Blackthorn no matter what the situation they found themselves dealing with. 

I have to say that I enjoyed this world immensely, and will be continuing on with the series. I love the setting, the characters, the magical environment, the realistic treatment of certain characters that isn't brushed over by the author, and the fact that these characters, for the most part, remain interesting right to the bitter end. I am happy that there wasn't any romantic situations for Blackthorn at this point. I dare say it is way too soon to even be considering that angle.