Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Winter Queen by Amber Argyle

Mortally wounded during a raid, seventeen-year-old Ilyenna is healed by winter fairies who present her with a seductive offer: become one of them and share their power over winter. But that power comes with a price. If she accepts, she will become a force of nature, lose her humanity, and abandon her family.

Unwilling to pay such a high price, Ilyenna is enslaved by one of the invaders, Darrien. While in captivity, she learns the attack wasn’t just a simple raid but part of a larger plot to overthrow her entire nation.

With the enemy stealing over the mountains and Darrien coming to take her to his bed, Ilyenna must decide whether to resurrect the power the fairies left behind. Doing so will allow her to defeat Darrien and the other invaders, but if she embraces winter, she will lose herself to that destroying power—forever.

The synopsis and cover totally drew me to this book. After reading the Amazon “sample” I was hooked and wanted to keep reading. It’s one of those books that is hard to put down, you want to keep reading to see what will happen next and how everything will work out. I liked our heroine Ilyenna, she puts others needs above her own. She doesn’t back down and tries to do the right thing. She has it pretty rough throughout the book and I admired how she was able to stay strong. I also liked our hero Rone. He is loyal, brave and kind. I like that he continued to put Ilyenna first, even above his own needs. I liked their relationship, it did save the book for me. I thought they had good chemistry and I was rooting for them to be together. I had read some reviews that mentioned the violence, but I guess I still wasn’t expecting so much or so detailed. It seems like it was non-stop from start to finish. It seemed like so much time was spent on the violence that the rest of the story suffered. The politics and romance were overshadowed by beatings, wars and pain. I ended up skipping a couple fight scenes at the end because I was just burned out. Too much violence for my taste. I also thought the end wrapped up rather quickly. Especially in regards to Ilyenna and Rone’s relationship, it was rather sudden. The fairy elements were okay, but I’m still on the fence about how everything ended up in that regard. Overall, an interesting read. While I liked the overall story the violence was a big turn off for me. Content: There is sex before marriage and a pregnancy results. Aside from kissing, everything fades to black and there is no details. There are a couple attempts at Ilyenna’s virtue, but nothing goes too far. There is a lot of war, beatings and other violence.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

You Are Mine by Janeal Falor

Serena knows a few simple things. She will always be owned by a warlock. She will never have freedom. She will always do what her warlock wishes, regardless of how inane, frivolous, or cruel it is. And if she doesn’t follow the rules, she will be tarnished. Spelled to be bald, inked, and barren for the rest of her life—worth less than the shadow she casts.

Then her ownership is won by a barbarian from another country. With the uncertainty that comes from belonging to a new warlock, Serena questions if being tarnished is really worse than being owned by a barbarian, and tempts fate by breaking the rules. When he looks the other way instead of punishing her, she discovers a new world. The more she ventures into the forbidden, the more she learns of love and a freedom just out of reach. Serena longs for both. But in a society where women are only ever property, hoping for more could be deadly.

The synopsis for this one totally drew me in. I’m a sucker for marriage of convenience stories and high fantasy, so this was a nice mix of both. I got sucked into the story right away and had a hard time putting it down. It’s a little slow moving, knew going in that it was the first in a trilogy so that didn’t bother me too much. The subject matter was pretty heavy though.

The world building was unique. The country of Chaldonia has some very backward ideas about women. They are treated poorly, actually that’s an understatement. Women are nothing more than property, and not property that is treated well. Our heroine Serena especially had a hard life with a very abusive father. They have no rights and are really nothing more than baby breeders and punching bags. It was disturbing, but even more so when you think of the countries and religions around our world that do treat their women in a similar fashion. It’s heartbreaking to know there are women out there going through similar things. I am glad that the author wasn’t overly descriptive of the punishments and abuse. You know what has gone on, but nothing is overly detailed.

The romance was a bit lacking for me.  I think if the romance had been showcased more it would have lightened an otherwise pretty serious book.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say this is a downer, but it is definitely more on the serious side and the treatment of women is at times pretty disturbing. Again, nothing is overly detailed, but the overall mood is oppressive. I liked the end, the last chapter or so things happen that leave you happy and hopeful for Serena’s future. I am curious about continuing the series and look forward to seeing what will happen next. Overall, I enjoyed the book. I liked that it was unique and the characters were likable. The world building and writing was well done, easy to get into and hard to put down.

Content: Clean. Nothing more than kissing, but it’s clear a woman’s main purpose is producing heirs, especially male heirs. Some violent themes, but nothing overly descriptive. Some abuse, but again, nothing too descriptive. 
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