Review: The Outcast Prince (Court of Annwyn, Book 1) by Shona Husk

outcast princeCaspian Mort can feel the history in anything he touches, a gift he inherited from his father, the Crown Prince of Annwyn. Devastated over his ex-wife’s infidelity, Caspian has withdrawn from human contact except when working as an antiques dealer.

While assessing the contents of the historic Callaway House he encounters the beautiful Lydia Callaway and senses that her home is haunted by a banished fairy. But what does the dangerous exile want? Unbeknownst to Lydia, she’s the owner of the last remaining portal to Annwyn—a mirror hidden somewhere in the house. To keep Lydia safe, Caspian will have to divulge the secrets of his heritage, and risk losing his heart again.

Husk has taken one of my favorite mythologies and put her own twist on it. I love everything about the Fae; from their arrogance and contempt for humans to their militant need to uphold tradition and the politics of the court. I especially like the idea that fairies are dark and dangerous creatures and want nothing more than to trick you out of your soul. You will get all this and more in The Outcast Prince.

I read Husk’s Goblin series and instantly fell in love with her dark storytelling style. I was happy to see she continued this in The Outcast Prince. The heart of the story is the romance between Caspian and Lydia. They may be from different worlds, but their struggles with family secrets and heartbreak connect them on an emotional level. You will enjoy the romance of two people willing to take one last chance at love even though it could break them completely. I really appreciate the fact that Lydia is the sexual aggressor in the beginning instead of the clichéd human enchanted by fae magic. And Caspian’s psychometric ability adds a unique complication to their relationship.

If this was nothing more than a romance I wouldn’t have been satisfied. There are many secondary storylines and intriguing characters we are teased with. They have bearing on Lydia and Caspian’s situation, but also have you wanting to go deeper and discover their secrets. The next book in this series will be about Verden, the Hunter of Annwyn. We only get a taste of him, but I can’t wait to take a bigger bite. Unlike Caspian who is half fae, and therefore has a soul and a moral compass, Verden is full fairy and in Annwyn he is to be feared. I can’t wait to see his icy exterior melted.

There are enough urban fantasy world building elements to make me happy, but not so much it will turn off the die-hard PNR fans. There is a lot of sexual tension and only a couple of sex scenes. The only complaints I have are in the romance part of the story. During their first sexual encounter things were “butterflies in my stomach” sexy and then an erotic term was used and it jarred me right out of the moment. But that is just me. I don’t like erotica terminology. There is a formula feel to the romance trope, but the uniqueness of Husk’s spin on Fae mythology more than made up for it with me.

If you love PNR this book is for you. If you are like me and prefer urban fantasy, here is a chance to expand your romantic horizons a little.

Favorite quotes:

It would be very easy to fall and not think about the landing. Too easy. And he knew how destructive and devastating the impact of loss could be.

and

Caspian’s eyelids flew open. Lydia stood in the doorway looking like a beautiful thundercloud.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Outcast Prince (Annwyn)

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Review: The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, Book 4) by Julie Kagawa

Genre: YA Romance

Spoilers ahead… do watch out!

Summary: Ash made a promise to find a way to be with Meghan in her Iron Court so that they could be together. He’s decided that the only way to do this is to become a mortal and to accomplish this he must gain a soul. Puck, Grimalkin, the Big Bad Wolf, and one extra (who’s too special to spoil) come along on his quest and it’s a good thing too for the journey is treacherous and goes to the farthest, deepest, wildest regions of the Never Never.

Review: The conclusion to the Iron Fey series is dynamite! It didn’t go where I thought it was going at all. I really thought the path for Ash to be with Meghan was turning himself into an Iron Fey the right way. After all he had a copy of sorts in place in the Ash look-a-like Iron Knight. But nope… not even close… in fact the duplicate doesn’t make an appearance ever (did I miss him getting killed off in an earlier book???)

I also thought Puck would join the quest to become Iron too. This was also wrong. Puck joins the mission to get Ash a soul, but he doesn’t seek one for himself. He’s there to make sure Ash survives and if he doesn’t then he’s there so he can tell Meghan what happened to Ash and say he did everything he could to keep the guy alive for her.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Ash seeking mortality, though it does fit the Little Mermaid Syndrome trope in a very unique way, so I am glad that Kagawa ensures that Ash doesn’t become merely mortal. He’s much cooler with his sword skills. ;)

Favorite Part: Ash seeing what it’s like to live with Meghan the Iron Queen as a mortal in her court and his confusing reality with fantasy. Can we see their son’s story? Please?! Or even one last sequel – Ash as he is at the end of the series in Meghan’s court and say one more adventure – perhaps getting Puck to join?

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Iron Knight (Harlequin Teen), The Iron Knight (UK)

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Review: The Iron King (Iron Fey, Book 1) by Julie Kagawa

I am in love with the Iron King by Julie Kagawa. Her novel is full of sumptuousness. Its details and world building are lavish and exciting. Her characters draw you in like Satyr pulls in unsuspecting humans to dance until they collapse from exhaustion, except in Kagawa’s case you come out happy and anticipating the next installment.

If I had to guess, the future of the story will involve a love triangle. At the moment I am 100% completely for Team Ash. He’s the type of character I just love to love. He’s aloof, slightly moody, hard to figure out and of course the more forbidden love interest, being an Unseelie prince. He’s Winter to Meghan’s Summer. The best thing about him? He’s unwilling to give up where others would quit without a second thought.

Puck (aka Robin Goodfellow) is the other love interest and as he’s yet to declare his feelings toward Meghan (if he truly has any of the romantic sort) I am afraid I’m not rooting for him. However, he is an excellent character and would make a good hero, far better for Meghan than Jacob Black for Bella Swan. He’s the merrymaker, the best friend, and the one most likely to fully have Meghan’s interests at heart.

Meghan is a great heroine. She rises to the challenge of rescuing her younger half brother from the fairy world and faces each obstacle with determination to not let it be the thing that stops her from completing her self imposed mission. Her greatest weakness is in fact her greatest strength. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to save those she loves (kind of like Harry Potter in that respect) and is unwilling to leave her friends behind. It will get her into trouble, but it’ll also be her salvation in the end.

This is just one novel from Harlequin’s new Teen line and honestly, they hit the nail on the head when it comes to young adult romance. Iron King was perfect in all aspects. I have no complaints other than that it ended and I must wait to read Iron Daughter.

Rating: 5 Stars

Buy: The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)

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Review: One Thousand Kisses (The Fey Realm, Book 2) by Jody Wallace

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

The Fairy Court doesn’t stand a chance with Primary, Embor Fiertag in the ranks – he is a fun kind of guy, kind and normal for a fairy male, but he hasn’t bonded with a mate yet, and some of his kind are getting worried about him. As he is the Primary, he has a need to find a mate but he doesn’t admit to it, but there are other things he would like to get sorted out first – find the ones who made an attempt on his life, and see if he can get re elected. It’s a tall order, even for someone like him – but he can do it – hopefully!

This novel has a really good start, with a nice dose of good humor showing the main character Embor who has his hands full with a mystery toddler who insists on flying away even when he doesn’t want her to. As Embor is more used to court life, he finds he isn’t used to dealing with children or babies, so this encounter is something new for him. When he finds her mother, Anisette, all the worrying is over, but not the humor.

The story is set in a fantasy realm, yet uses some more modern language to mix with the humor, and Jody gives readers plenty of that to be going on with in the story, the reader can be assured of that. There is a good amount of fantasy violence, fairy drug abuse and bad language that propels the story forward in context, rather than it just being in the story. The fairies in the story are also aware of the real world around them in modern America, so there is some kind of familiarity for the readers too.

The one thousand kisses in the title refers to a book called The Thousand Kisses which is a guide for fairy people to use if they want to find a bondmate – lots of rituals are in there, but it isn’t something Embor wants to use. He does have an interest in Anisette, but will she find what she wants with him? She does use the rituals in the book after all. Many think this is the only way to find a bondmate, yet others have not followed the book’s teachings and found mates and bonded successfully. Embor, others think has no sex drive or interest in women, but he does have feelings for Anisette so why doesn’t he do something about it?

Readers will find a lot to like about this novel that looks at relationships in a fairy realm under fairy rule with fairy rules thrown in.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: One Thousand Kisses

Review: Across The Veil by Lisa Kessler

by Sharon S., guest reviewer

Across the Veil is a wonderful little short story. I usually don’t read short stories unless they are by an author I know, about characters I know. There is just not enough time to slip into a new world and care about the characters.

Lisa Kessler was able to capture my interest in this world (I want to know about it) and write a romance that felt real. It made my heart go a pitter-patter <G>. It is less than 26 pages, but there is a lot of story in there.

The story is about a Fae princess that leaves her home (in another dimension) to escape having to marry Faldo, who she doesn’t love. She also left behind the one man she did love, his brother Keth.

Keth and Talia shared a moment of passion and Faldo found out. It was within his right to have her put to death because she was betrothed to him. So to protect Talia, Keth pushed her away thinking she would marry Faldo and be safe.

It has been 5 years since she left and Faldo tracks down Talia, looking for Keth. He never forgave his brother for the betrayal and has grown hateful and bitter. Talia and Keth must work together to save each other.

Kessler is a talented writer and I look forward to the release of her first novel. Keep an eye out at LRP for an interview with Kessler as well as a review of Night Walker.

Here is the blurb for Across the Veil

Princess Talia from Summerland has been hiding across the veil in the human world for the past five years.

Starring in a hit television show as human actress, Natalie Thurmont, her charmed new life is shattered when the past comes knocking on her door.

You can visit her at: http://lisaslair.com/

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Across the Veil

GIVEAWAY ALERT: Lisa Kessler has offered an ecopy of Across the Veil to one lucky reader. Leave a comment to enter! Last day to enter: June 18, 2011.

Review: Forever Vampire by Michele Hauf

by Sharon S., guest reviewer
 
I had no idea how much I would enjoy this story! Hauf’s voice is a breath of fresh air for me. I would describe this book as an enchanting dark fairy tale (with real faeries <G>). The author has built an Urban Fantasy world that is unique and vivid consisting of Vampires, Werewolves and Faeries. She does a great job of introducing you to this world without making you feel like you are being spoon fed information. There is great pacing to the story and a twist at the end.
 
I was totally enchanted by our lovers, Valliant and Lyric, even their names are fairy tale like <G>. Vail (swoon) is a vampire that grew up in Faery, but recently got thrown out. Now this is where is gets complicated <G>. He wants to kill his birth father, has never met his birth mother Viviane (she is insane from being raped by Vail’s birth father) who is married to a Were/Vampire hybrid, Rhys (and they have a son, his half brother, Trystan), and his faery step mother made him believe vampires were filth. He has issues <G>.

Lyric, is a member of a lying, thieving vampire mob family. She grew up wanting the fairy tale life, complete with a prince to love her forever. She gave up on that dream because in her vampire world, everything and everyone has a price, you use and get used all the time. She is loved by her mother and brother, but there is a hole in her heart.
 
Faeries and Vampires hate each other. So when these two meet, there are sparks, and where there are sparks…there is erotic sex <G>. I love watching these two flirt and play like two horny teenagers. While trying to figure out who they are and how to live in a world where they don’t fit in, they realize where they belong is together and that is all that matters. Made my heart sing.
 
Read about the other books in Hauf’s Beautiful Creatures World.
 
Author’s Website: http://www.michelehauf.com/
 
Rating: ★★★★★
 
Buy: Forever Vampire

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Review: As You Wish by Gabi Stevens

by Sharon S., guest reviewer

This is the second book in the Time of Transition Trilogy.

The cover of this book got my attention and the blurb sealed the deal, but it wasn’t the story for me. There is nothing wrong with the story, matter of fact it has a cool premise. There is a world of magic, Arcani, that is separate and hidden from our world.  It is a modern fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast, but with fairy godmothers.

The characters just didn’t connect with me and I couldn’t get interested in the story. If you take the sex scenes out I would say this would make a nice YA story. The sex scenes were detailed, but too much like real sex, if that makes sense <G>. I noticed lots of people loved this book and some didn’t. If you are more of a dark Urban Fantasy lover this might not be the book for you.

Time of Transition Trilogy order:

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (because the premise is really cool)

Buy: As You Wish

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What is the Little Mermaid Syndrome?

*This post does not deal with the medical condition; it deals with the literary condition.

littlemermaid

The Little Mermaid Syndrome is the desire to be part of another’s world.

A fictional character under the influence of LMS would go any length to become like the one they desire. This coveting is usually driven by love. In other cases the driving emotion is obsession.

Conditions:

The ripest situations for the LMS are in Fantasy and Paranormal genres where partners are more likely to be unmatched. By unmatched I mean a plain/weak human and a beautiful/strong supernatural being.

In these cases it is usually the human who wants become like their partner. Rarer is for the magical being to desire to be become human or have the means to become human. Plainly put it is a simple fact the LMS goes only one way.

Why is this?

I think it is all part of the escapism fantasy. We tire of the normal and are looking beyond our world for something better; be it vampires, werewolves, fairies, elves, or selkies. The idea behind this is that being connected to one of these more exotic beings or being one makes our world that much more exciting and ripe for adventure.

Human (normal) –> Vampire (supernatural)

Human (normal) –> Lycanthrope (supernatural)

Thumblina (normal, despite being supernaturally tiny) –> Fairy (supernatural)

The exception to the rule is the Little Mermaid.

Mermaid (supernatural) –> Human (normal)

This is because the human in this tale is clueless to the existence of the preternatural world. The mermaid must make herself known because their interaction would never happen otherwise as they do not exist in the same habitat. One lives on land and the other in water. It’s not like with vampires or werewolves which appear completely human and can intermingle in the same locations.

Witches and wizards are to my knowledge the only magical beings that could instill the LMS in their partner and do nothing about it. You’re either born with magic or you’re not. There’s no gray area.

Books featuring LMS:

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