Assassin’s Heart By Sarah Ahiers

Title: Assassin’s Heart  Author: Sarah Ahiers
Series: Assassin’s Heart   Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: Four Stars

WARNING this book will contain spoilers. Sorry not sorry.

For a debut novel this is just unreal. I have to say that I am so impressed.assassinsheart two.jpg

Assassin’s Heart is a fast paced, action packed, thrilling story that somehow crosses
fantasy and reality together. Normally in the many fantasy books I’ve read over the years they are all set in a extremely otherworldly dimension this novel however is set in a world that is relatively normal and human, the only difference is the culture and touch of magic that manifests itself in ghosts and gods.

The world and how unique it is was to your normal run of the mill fantasy was almost enough for me to love it instantly.

Sarah Ahiers writing technique is descriptive and thorough, there is not one detail that is left out of a scene whether it be emotion or physical. She’s also extremely suspenseful and in so many scene’s I found myself holding my breath. And to top it off she’s just brough forth some really new idea’s. SOOO many cool things were happening in this book. 

Normally I hate books that blubber on about religion and gods too much, but in this book those topics were only touched on where necessary for the story. I also liked that Ahiers made the Gods and Goddess’s real, they worshiped them not because they were a figment of their imagination but because they had proof that they existed. For example Safraella pushed the ghosts out of the city, offered people a way to pass on without becoming a ghost and was able to reincarnate.

Lea was a great character, she was smart and funny and made mistakes yet, but most importantly did not carry the dreaded pet character flaw, stupidity. Her mistakes were human errors not dumb decisions. 

I really enjoyed learning about this new world and the way it functions and I loved that Ahiers was able to use a book trend such as assassins and turn it into a completely individual novel. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but since Throne of Glass, there has been some pretty horrific rip offs of assassins and fae stories lately so this was refreshing.

Even though I already knew it was coming, I was disappointed at how weak Val’s character was. He started of very likable and sweet, I was fooled at the start myself thinking maybe he tried to prevent it from happening and is being held captive by his own family but it was made clear that his character was an indecisive, self absorbed, asshole whose selfish decisions had so many consequences. 

Assassinsheart one.jpgI’ve noticed something about Ahiers, she is fond of her three letter names, Lea, Val and Les..

I’m not going to harp on about Les too much but he was a strong character and definitely contributed to the plot in a positive way. I think that he was necessary for Lea to grow and develop in the book which I feel is vital, if a character has no room for growth and development, what are we even reading? Besides he was cute.

I really can’t fault much about this book and I’m trying to figure out why I only gave this book four stars and not five and I can’t remember. I’m a naughty blogger and hate taking notes, it kills my jam. But for now I’ll just say that I loved this book and the only reason it got a four stars is because well… I save fives for stories that blow my mind.

I will say though, that Assassin’s Heart ended beautifully, it’s not often that I can read a standalone book and be satisfied with the ending and I’d thought this was a standalone book. I truely would have been content to leave the story with the way it ended because it was touching. I didn’t want it to end because the world and characters are amazing and there is still so much that can be done with it so I was so excited to find out when writing this review that it is actually a series!! yay!

I also have a YouTube  channel if you’d like to check it out because of course, every little bit helps!

Thank you for reading!

Till next time,

xoxo Book Dragon Ash

 

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Title: Heartless  Author: Marissa Meyer  Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retelling   Rating: Two Stars

WARNING there will be spoilers. Sorry not sorry.

Okay I’ll admit, I was totally under prepared for this book.

I knew this was an Alice in Wonderland retelling but I didn’t realize how much I dislike Alice in Wonderland until I read this book. I’ll give you an example, for instance, I just had to question google about whether it was Alice IN Wonderland or Alice AND Wonderland… Mhmm. I guess its not my favorite fairy tale. I’ve also just realized that this retelling is actually the story of how hearts got their crazy queen and not about Alice herself.. Either I’m not as much of a book worm as I thought or this book just sucks and I’m just no good with retelling’s.

This book is fairly well written and the characters are each interesting, even the story itself was intriguing, but – there was always a but coming – I really did not enjoy this book.

I’m not sure if my problem lay in the Alice in Wonderland retelling issue and that I’m not a big fan of that fairy tale or if it’s a bigger issue about the actual story, execution and plot. You see aside from the actual world that this novel takes place in I’m not wholly sure how this is an Alice in Wonderland retelling, my memories of Alice in Wonderland are scarce and that’s probably one of my issues. BUT I feel like if I’m picking up a standalone book, whether it’s a retelling or not, I should be able to read it from start to finish without getting confused. I got utterly lost all throughout this novel which really began to tick me off because I liked the characters and the setting which was surprising. I found as a reader that in some scenes I would get detail overload and in others I would get such a lack of information that I couldn’t make sense of the scene.

I adored Jest and loathed Catherine which is a terrible combination in a book. I just found Catherine to be boring, stupid and frustratingly annoying. Every decision she made I found really unintelligent – to put it nicely – and the last few scenes just threw the dirt on the coffin of this book for me.

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When Jest was decapitated I almost screamed in annoyance because he was the only decent thing about this book and he only died because she made yet another stupid decision that literally everyone had warned her not to do. Her excuses for going through the door into Peter the pumpkin eaters door were mediocre at best. For me Jest died in the most undignified way, he deserved to die with his head on his shoulders. But I guess it ties in with the whole “Off with his head!” mantra, again not my cup of tea.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t bother reading the last 30-40 pages because I was so angry and felt that the only good thing about this book had just been literally axed so knowing that it ended badly I just skipped to the last page and read that. I guess I can’t say too much on the ending because I didn’t read the whole thing but it was morbid. I don’t always need a happily ever after however I do need some sort of purpose or point to the books I read, some sort of goal by the character or theme of growth and development from the author and I just felt like this book fell short of all my expectations in every way.

I’ve not yet read Marissa Meyer’s other books, Cinder and such and I’m currently on the bench deciding if I should bother giving them a go. If any one of you can convince me otherwise please do! I’ve read so many good reviews on her other series so maybe this was just a one off flip for me?

I also have a YouTube  channel if you’d like to check it out because of course, every little bit helps!

Thank you for reading!

Till next time,

xoxo Book Dragon Ash

Empire by Lili St. Germain

Title: Empire   Author: Lili St. Germain   Series: Cartel Trilogy   Genre: Adult, Crime, Thriller   Rating: 5 Stars 

WARNING – THIS REVIEW DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS

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Okay so I’ve you’ve been staying tuned in my blog posts you’ll know I have a love hate relationship with this series. I cannot make up my mind with this. I LOVE IT and I hate it fiercely. 

I have come to one conclusion though. You could easily read each of these books as a stand alone novel. 

I begrudgingly gave this book a five stars and it’s not because I liked it. It’s because Germain really deserves it, Empire truly was an amazing book. I just hated every aching second of it. Now if your a follower of mine you’ll know that I loved book one, book two was okay but I wasn’t happy with the turn of events and book three has destroyed me. You see my main issue was that I was prepared for a true love story with sex, passion and happy endings. I AM NOT GETTING THIS.

Now the reason this book gets five stars is because it was brutal, it was honest and it was just plain freaky. I thought that book one was a little soft and perhaps didn’t show the cartel very realistically. I wanted it to be more scary and real and I got my wish ten times over and I wish I could take it back. This book was so messed up.
       The human trafficking was told in more detail this time and it was heartbreaking to know that Dornan did what he did for Marianna. To know that his destruction was because of the family he was born into and the woman he was trying to protect. This really upsets me because I loved Dornan’s character and really thought this series would be about them combating the cartel together. I honestly have never ever seen a character get so thoroughly destroyed, torn to shreds, become completely unrecognizable in my entire reading life. It was so sad. I couldn’t believe it, with every page I was wiping tears away. He became a monster and Marianna’s actions were understandable. But that didn’t stop me from wishing their ending was happy together, that somehow they’d over come it.

I was so annoyed that Marianna didn’t get a happy ending with either man in the end. I know I didn’t really like John as much as Dornan but if she wasn’t going to end up with Dornan, Germain could have at least given my heart a break and give Marianna, John damn it. My heart was a bleeding mess this entire book and I was so under prepared for it. 

Finally – because I guess I should talk about something other than love interests which you can tell I’m clearly hung up on – I could not believe the last few scene’s of Empire. I’ve never read a cartel/criminal book before and I’m not sure if I’m even classifying this in the right genre but like honestly. What was Germain thinking letting Dornan’s sons gang rape John’s daughter? A girl they’d grown up with, practically a sister? WHAT WAS DORNAN THINKING WHEN HE DID IT?!?!?!?!?! It took some serious tea and biscuits to get me out of the morose mood this scene put me in. I had to get in the bath and scrub at my body because I was feeling dirty just from reading it. John did wrong by Dornan but who the hell shoots a guy in the balls and rapes his daughter.

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Okay last point.

I don’t know if Germain thought she was doing her audience a favor by giving the novel the ending she did but it definitely did not work in my books. The last chapter we find that Marianna has managed to escape and she is with her son, also she is with her young daughter, John’s daughter. I thought this was so sweet. It was touching to at least have that last bit of John after watching him get cut up like cattle. BUT I was not happy to find out that John’s older daughter, Marianna’s daughters half sister was still alive. I would have rather she remained dead. It had been six years and they thought she was dead all this time but really she has most likely been a sex slave to Dornan and his boys. I don’t know who thought it was a sweet way to end the book, act like her being alive was a mercy, me, I’d rather be dead than have to live like that for six years.

What am I even supposed to do with that information?!?!

Okay so as you can see my hate for this book is personal and preperational. I just was not ready for this. But it was well written, it was executed perfectly, it was thorough and it was realistic. It deserves a five because of all those things and more. I just don’t know if I’ll be reading a Germain book any time soon.

I also have a YouTube  channel if you’d like to check it out because of course, every little bit helps!

Thank you for reading!

Till next time,

xoxo Book Dragon Ash

 

Kingpin by Lili St. Germain

Title: Kingpin   Author: Lili St. Germain   Series: Cartel Trilogy   Genre: Adult, Crime/Thriller   Rating: Four Stars

WARNING – THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS SOZ GUYS.
I just need to vent my frustrations out on this one.

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Okay so if you read my first review on Book One Cartel you’ll be aware how much I liked Dornan. If you haven’t read my review of book one, do so now. Anyway, I gave the book a three stars. I kind of feel like I should have given that book more because I enjoyed the characters more in that book but it just didn’t have enough story line for me to justify a fourth star as much as it kills me. This book I can honestly say I disliked this book even more for many reasons which I am about to go into now BUT I have to admit to myself, despite my personal preferences, Kingpin just had a better plot than Cartel. There was just more drama, more risk and danger and a more realistic portrayal of cartel life. 

With that said, that is practically the only reason this book gets the fourth  star compared to book one. Now please don’t kill me because I know a lot of you love this series and Germain as an author but I’m totally going to just come out and say everything that I felt was wrong with this book and I’m sorry but there I loved.

Yes I know that is weird considering I gave the book a four but my rating is not based on personal preference its based on plot, description, suspense, character growth or purposeful lack there of in this case and of course the very realistic portrayal of how screwed up the cartel is.

OKAY. Here we go. My number one issue with this book is that we ended Cartel, book one, on such a sweet note. Dornan and Mariana were in love and full of passion and lust and everything else. Kingpin picks up TEN FREAKING YEARS LATER. I have a real issue with this, some of you may not, if you don’t please tell me why so I might try to overcome this issue which has been plaguing my dreams for a week. Because Germain for some crazy unknown reason decided to pick the story up ten years later we’ve miss Dornan and Mariana’s whole honeymoon stage. I was expecting more love and lust and passion and steamy sex scene’s with emotion in them in this book but NO. She’d been practically held prisoner for ten years while he came and went from his own private brothel whenever he pleased. WHAT THE HECK?

I haven’t done much research on this book so sorry if there was a legitimate reasoning for this decision but I just sat there on my lounge with the book in my hands and was like, what on earth just happened? Why is the story picking up from ten years later instead of right where we left off? You cannot seriously tell me that in ten years nothing happened that was worth mentioning in the second book? Yes, I know there were brief mentions throughout the book of things that occurred during those ten years but I feel it would have been more effective to have the second book be about Dornan and Mariana and how they avoided his father’s watchful eye and how she learnt to deal with her dramatic life changes and what the cartel did on a daily basis. Instead I was thrown a major curve ball that I was just not prepared for. 

John.Kingpin image

Okay, I liked his character in Cartel but I didn’t like it enough for me to want him to be her love interest. I was still drooling all over Dornan when I picked up this book so it was a sure slap in the face to read how Dornan was hardly ever around and only came and went when he wanted sex. Because the book took place ten years after I’d left off reading I also found that we did’t effectively get to see/read Dornan and Mariana’s gradual demise, their drifting apart. This could have been executed differently, over four books even so that this change was felt and conveyed better to the reader. It would have been so much better to show Mariana and Dornan slowly grow apart as he took on more in the cartel and she longed for the life that was stolen from her. Instead we were just told of how she/he felt and had to just accept the fact. This made the novel feel very disjointed to me as a reader and the change in situation was so sudden and jolting. Yes it was communicated effectively and defiantly came across realistic but because of the gap in time we just didn’t get to feel it as much as I would have liked.  

I will admit that it was great that we saw Mariana get some of her fire back. We were told how feisty she was in book one but watched as she was quickly and quietly tamed by Emilio and Dornan. I was glad to see she was taking charge a little more, sneakily planning an escape and stealing money.

The scene with Murphy was so freaking crazy and sooooo screwed up that I was flicking the pages on autopilot completely aghast. That was when I realized this book was not going to go the way I thought it would. From that scene onwards I knew we were leaving the erotica behind and taking on the crime, drugs and murder full time. Don’t get me wrong there was still plenty of sex but the story line took over this book unlike book one which I felt was more about lust and sex than anything else. That dear followers is why this book gets a four stars. Yes I don’t actually like it so much but I was actually reading a story this time with a proper plot not just erotica that was trying to catch on to a Fifty Shades of Grey craze and failing badly.

I think my favorite scene throughout this whole book would have to be when Mariana had called John asking for his help in getting rid of Murphy. When he helped her clean up the mess, dispose of the body and held her in the shower fully clothed while she broke down. That was an intense scene and the only scene that made me go, oh I love John. I need him in my life. It was real and raw and disturbing but mostly it was touching. The way she was in so much shock she couldn’t get her body to do what she wanted and how John had to carefully undress her.  His lust despite the disturbing situation and and her reaction, it all just came across natural, to want to find solace in each other. I loved this scene so much and way more than any normal person should. For goodness sake, she had the blood of a dead man on her and a corpse in her bedroom right behind them. 

I do believe this was a good book, its not a great book and not a series I would recommend to someone who was wanting a love story like I was. I begun this series thinking it was a love story, with erotica and danger but love trumping all. I was so shocked to find it otherwise and I think that may be another reason this series hasn’t rested well with me. I just wasn’t mentally prepared for what was to come and perhaps that was naive of me, I was reading a book about the cartel for goodness sake!

As normal I really could go on with more issues and more things that I love/hated but I think I’ve dragged on enough.

I also have a YouTube  channel if you’d like to check it out because of course, every little bit helps!

Thank you for reading!

Till next time,

xoxo Book Dragon Ash

Cartel by Lili St. Germain

Title: Cartel   Author: Lili St. Germain   Genre: Adult, Crime   Rating: 3 stars

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So these next few reviews are going to be hard for me because well I read all three of them within two days and not my thoughts are all jumbled and my feelings between books one and three vary so damn much. I’ve decided I’ve got a love hate relationship with these books.

I will start by saying if you’re like me and were led to believe that this series is an action packed love story, they lied. Book one, Cartel has the love story in it but the series is not a romance one. It is NOT another  version of 50 Shades of Grey. It’s got sex, drugs and scary cartel crap and yes even has a love story woven in there but there is no way this book – or the whole series – is a romance novel.

Now I’m only saying this because I was not mentally prepared for this series and I’d hate for any of my fellow readers to be like me. With that said I will splurge the rest of my thoughts over this review of Cartel, then my other two reviews on Kingpin and Empire.

WARNING THIS WILL NOT BE A SPOILER FREE REVIEW.

I also read this as an E-book so some of my quotes on pages may differ to yours.

This Lili St. Germain has really crafted something unique here. The novel is set in a very dark, disturbing and realistic world, it is harsh, cruel and unforgiving but it is probably a very honest representation of Colombia and the cartel gangs. I’ll be honest, it scared me the stuff in this book but I knew it was based on some portion of reality because stuff like this does happen so I was glued to the pages instantly.

Its honestly great to be gripped from the first page and that’s what Germain did. She had you in the drama and action immediately. She really didn’t break you in easy, she is a relentless author who captures you from the first word on the first page. I honestly have to admire her gumption,  one of the first scene’s introduces our main character with her partner in an alleyway locked in a moment of fierce passion. LIKE MAN, you have some series courage to open your book with that. I’ll confess, I’ve not read any other Germain books before and I know she’s got a few so I’m not sure if she’s always this gutsy but it sure as hell had me taken by surprise there for a bit. Now I’m not complaining I love an author who takes risks. But, there were a few issues I had with this opening scene.

Firstly, we lost Este in a very dramatic way but I found that for such a pivotal moment in the book we needed more detail. More emotion. Both characters were cute and caring but one moment they’re having sex while they can hear gunshots and the next they’re casually strolling in the opposite direction. They’re not concerned about the gunshots, which yes might be commonplace where they were but human nature is a fickle thing and running from danger is a natural reflex that I don’t think was emulated enough at the time. In addition, I felt like one moment Este was there and the next he was dying which I think was intentional but I also feel was not described with enough detail to let the reader feel and see what Mariana was seeing and feeling. I felt like I was watching through binoculars or something, observing from a distance both in feeling and in description.

Now I absolutely admired Mariana’s resolve at the start of this book, she was gutsy and a firecracker and that’s what drew Dornan to her along with her beauty. Unfortunately we lost that character a little too quickly, yes there were plenty of reasons why Mariana submitted to her owners but I feel for someone who was born and bred in Colombia in the cartel/drug gang lifestyle she just gave up to quickly. I might be along in these opinions but hey, she took multiple beatings from Daddy Dearest all her life, learnt how to fight and dish it back but she can hardly throw a few punches or take any from anyone else?

My next issue is that the first scene of Emilio talks him up like a big scary cartel drug lord, which is communicated perfectly but on page 9 he says “If you crossed the cartel, you got a bullet, simple as that. But your family, your wife and your kids, would go unharmed. At your funeral, a cartel lackey would deliver your wife a couple hundred bucks to get by on.” it went on like that for a another sentence or so but you get my drift. This was such a stupid comment because not once in this book did Emilio adhere to this so called moral code. In fact at every turn he would threaten and probably would have followed through with those threats which were the exact opposite of leaving the family unharmed.

I love Dornan. I’ve always been a sucker for the bad guy, the one who can redeem himself and is just sexy and dark and mysterious. Dornan is the perfect combination of bad and good and I find him quite dominating but still tender in some ways and I love that contrast. Though Mariana and Dornan’s connection was instant I felt it was natural and seamless. Their scene’s together were realistic and tempered nicely and very steamy which was just a bonus.

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I at times felt like there was not enough going on and got a little bored, if not for the sex I think I might not have been so addicted to the story. I think there probably could have been a bit more to the plot than there was and for a book that is 240 odd pages long almost every page or chapter should have had some pivotal information or action. These books are only small, all three of the books in this series add up to one or just over one, of my normal novels so there should not have been a dull moment. 

All in all, I enjoyed this book but I will forewarn you –

Books two and three are nothing like book one and will take a totally different turn. I almost wish I’d stopped at book one as I was happy enough with the story. Books two and three are probably better in terms of plot but you might find yourself disappointed.

Stay tuned for my review on Kingpin and Empire!

If you did enjoy this review, please do remember to give it a star and don’t forget to hit follow if you’d like to keep updated for when I post new rambling blogs!

I also have a YouTube  channel if you’d like to check it out because of course, every little bit helps!

Thank you for reading!

Till next time,

xoxo Book Dragon Ash

Author Interview with Scott Bergstrom

AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT BERGSTROM

Author of The Cruelty

Hello my faithful Bookies,

I’m so excited to share with you my exclusive author interview with Scott Bergstrom who’s debut novel The Cruelty is out now.  

If you haven’t done so already, do yourselves a favour, go and get The Cruelty now. There are so many theme’s throughout this book and it may surprise you to find that these themes are eye opening. Also it’s nice to have a strong female protagonist, but if you want to know more about this book see my review in this link.

I spent quite some time mewling over these questions because as any avid fan would, I had MANY but I also wanted to bring you, my followers, insightful and exclusive information as to how Scott created his masterpiece.

Before I jump into the interview I just wanted to say a special thanks to Scott for taking the time to answer my questions, it has been an honour and a privilege to speak with you.

And thank you Anna for setting it up!

So without further ado…..

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How did the idea for The Cruelty come about, were you always captivated by spies and assassins or did the idea come to you in some special way?

I’ve always loved thrillers. Growing up, my parents always had them lying around. So I started grabbing those great paperbacks off my parents’ nightstands, probably when I was way too young for them. The first kernel of a plot for The Cruelty came when my mother, who was working for the State Department, volunteered for a posting in Baghdad. To say the least, I was very concerned for her safety. But the specifics of the plot came to me when I was travelling on a train between Berlin and Prague. I found myself in the train’s corridor, staring at the handle for the emergency brake. I wondered, what would happen if I pulled it? That scene is still there, in the middle of the novel, and everything before it and after it came from that one question.

When you first began writing The Cruelty was it always your plan to write for the young adult audience? What appealed to you with YA fiction verses adult fiction? 

The theme of self-discovery is one we all wrestle with throughout our lives, but particularly when we’re young. That idea of growth, of searching for and finding one’s self, is something that is well-suited to YA and that YA does very well. At the beginning of The Cruelty, Gwendolyn is a cynic who doesn’t believe in heroes, even saying they belong only in ‘paper worlds.’ But when her father disappears, she discovers she needs to become precisely that—a hero—if she’s going to bring him home.

I love Gwendolyn, she’s a very strong character for so many reasons. What made you decide to make your protagonist a female teenager? Is there a message you particularly wanted to convey through choosing a female lead?

The character of Gwendolyn came to me a year or so before I started writing The Cruelty. I was working on a non-fiction book about architecture, when she showed up in my imagination one day. Certain specific qualities of her are based on my wife, most predominantly her courage, but the smaller aesthetic details are my wife’s as well, such as the red Doc Martens she wears, and her dislike of skirts and make-up. As far as the message, it applies regardless of gender, and it’s that human bravery and heroism are real, or can be, with enough determination.

You’ve come so far and I’m sure learnt so much since self publishing, winning publishing contracts worldwide and film rights which are some major feats. Did your experiences while going through these publishing processes prompt you to make any unplanned changes from your original self printed editions?

There was a long gap between when I finished the novel and the time it was accepted for publication. During that time I had a chance to think about the story and fix the things that bothered me about it, things I thought I could do better, or themes I could make more explicit. I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with my editor at Feiwel, who was a wonderful guide, pointing out areas that were unclear, or poorly rendered, or could simply be made tighter.

 

The Cruelty is full of action, self development and growth, strength and change as well as perseverance, courage and loyalty, there is so much a reader can take out of this book. And I found many scene’s particularly realistic and touching.

Is there a particular scene you found the hardest to write or one that is perhaps your favourite?

 My favourite scenes are the ones that describe particular places, such as the warehouse in Berlin, or the secret police station. I stumbled upon these places in my travels purely by chance, before I ever knew they would be part of a story. They were so fascinating with their strange beauty and history that I couldn’t help but imagine the stories that might take place inside them.

We got to hear a lot about the incident in which Gwendolyn lost her mother, will we get to uncover any more mysteries surrounding how that event came to take place in the next book? Could she perhaps have been a spy as well?

Funny you should ask! While the actual incident in which Gwendolyn’s mother dies doesn’t play much of a role in the sequel, we do learn a lot more about her mother, and the context in which Gwen grew up. As for whether or not her mother had been a spy, too—well, let’s just say Gwen’s skills run in the family.

What can we expect to see in your forthcoming book The Greed?

The Greed, which will be coming out in February of 2018, picks up about a year after The Cruelty ends. We find Gwendolyn in a new country, with a new name, trying to wrestle with what it means to be a fugitive always looking over her shoulder. There’s a new adventure, set in a variety of countries, and Terrance comes back in a very big way. 

Lastly if there was one tip you could give aspiring authors, what would it be?

Here are two things I’ve learned from other writers far more experienced that I am. One: The more you write, the better you get, especially if you have critique partners whose opinions you take to heart. Two: Keep going. No matter what. Writing day after day, continuing to research agents and send off queries, even in the face of rejection after rejection—that takes persistence, and in my opinion, there’s no substitute for it.

Thanks for reading!

Scott & Ashleigh

Reign of Madness by Kel Kade

Title: Reign of Madness   Author: Kel Kade   Series: King’s Dark Tidings   Genre: YA, Fantasy   Rating: Five Stars

Okay, so after re-reading my mediocre attempt at a review of book one I’ve realized that book two just needs way more attention. For some seriously addictive and full on books I need to take a little more time on explaining why I’m loving them so much.

With that said, I’m sorry guys but this will not be a spoiler free review!

I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews on this book, people either love it or hate it. I can see why people are divided over this and I’ll tell you why. Kel Kade has created an unbeatable character, that means that there is not much self development that can go on in this book other than perhaps social learning. I’ll explain, I had been hanging out since book one to try and figure out how many rules there were, how many skills you could master etc, I wanted to know precisely how many Rezkin had mastered . So I had been listening on audible (because again I didn’t read this I downloaded the audible version which is by the way pretty kick ass. Nick Podehl is an awesome narrator.) and noting down the biggest number of rules I’d heard Rezkin mention every time I’d scribble down whatever he said then finally he just told me flat out how many skills. Are you ready? He follows all 258 rules, had mastered all 27 major skills and 63 minor skills. Yes you heard me. So with that in mind you can imagine how hard it is to beat an unbeatable opponent and I think that is where some readers struggle. There might not be enough learning and development of skills throughout the book for them to relate to the character in any way. It also makes the story line or plot predicable and unrealistic in some cases. 

In saying that, it hasn’t bothered me in the slightest. Book one was all about finding his purpose, what is he supposed to be doing and also navigating friendships and the outworld. Book two is all about developing those kinship’s and finding out who he is and what he is meant to do. So as much as he couldn’t be defeated I think these hurdles made Rezkin vulnerable and  likable.

I was completely hooked on Rezkin’s many characters he played. Every time the Raven came out to play and terrorize I was biting my lips in anticipation. I know it’s bad but I love how calculated Rezkin is when playing the Raven, he’s dark and dangerous and deadly. It’s almost hard to believe that the Raven and Lord Rezkin are one and the same. I think that might be another reason I didn’t mind that Rezkin was the unbeatable character. He is really quite sweet and gentle when it’s needed. For example, when he play’s Lord Rezkin and is protecting Frisha’s honor or proclaiming the obligations the nobles have to their people. I think those ideals make him human where the Raven makes him godly or demonic.

On the other hand Rezkin has so many secrets from everyone that I’m really surprised he managed to keep track of who knew what. In the end I began to get a little annoyed that he told the master swords woman who he was so easily, I don’t believe she had earned the right to know what he had treated as such privileged information. Frisha didn’t even know and he only told that lady (her name starts with a U, I have no idea how to spell it – one downside to audible.) because of Paulus.  Everyone else either earned that right or discovered it themselves. 

I really like Kai’s character. Someone has to push back at Dark Tidings rules and plans somehow hey? He can’t win every war or fight, not everything should go his way and I loved that Kai has is own plans and motives that are still loyal to Rezkin but show that there is another way to be doing things also.

I’ll admit I was a little disappointed when Paulus died, he was one of the better characters and I sat there wondering why Kai hadn’t gone and got everyone on the boats then stayed to protect his liege. Am I the only one?

The main peeve I had with this book was that some things were explained over and over and over. To the point where the repetition was almost ridiculous. Whereas some things weren’t explained enough. I found myself asking where is that character from? I don’t remember them boarding the boat or joining the group, who is that person? But perhaps that was because this was an audio book and I can walk around doing my house chores while listening and my concentration has slipped in those places? I dunno!

As you can tell by my rating though, I loved this book. It’s dangerous and daring and deadly. Hardly any smoochy stuff and I like that for a change. I think its really well written for a self published novel and applaud Kade for doing such a good job on it. There is certainly never a dull moment. I personally would love to see Kade published by a major publishing house as I think they would clean this story up to perfection with him. The plot is just too good for them to pass up!

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Thank you for reading!

Till next time,

xoxo Book Dragon Ash