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Alissa

Alissa

The Archer's Heart

The Archer's Heart - Astrid Amara Nice story, actually one of the best M/M romances I've read and it's epic fantasy based on a non-Western setting to boot.

Unfortunately, it also brings the notion of "contrived plot device" to a whole new level: while I truly appreciated the attempt to create a developed story, my expectations rose accordingly and considering the narrative's flaws, I'm conflicted as to how to rate this book. The logical reader in me says 2.5/3 stars, on a gut-level is a full four stars.

I enjoyed this three-part book and I warmly recommend it to any fan of the genre.

House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4)

House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4) - Steven Erikson And nature ever strives for balance. But balance was not a simple notion. Redress was not simply found in the physical world. A far grimmer equilibrium had occurred ... between the past and the present.

The Bird and the Sword

The Bird and the Sword - Amy Harmon A bittersweet fairytale, narrated by the melodic inner voice of a protagonist in search of herself. The story is simple (with some twists nonetheless) but very compelling, and the narrative is soothing, though dark at times. I liked the themes, the characters and the epilogue. Recommended for a light and fresh read.

“Swallow Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, daughter. Stay alive.”

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince - Robin Hobb The only lie I ever told her was my undoing, and hers, and the Stablemaster’s. Such is the power of a lie given to one you love.

Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3)

Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3) - Steven Erikson 'War has its necessities, Korlat, and I have always understood that. Always known the cost. But, this day, by my own hand, I have realized something else. War is not a natural state. It is an imposition, and a damned unhealthy one. With its rules, we willingly yield our humanity. Speak not of just causes, worthy goals. We are takers of life. Servants of Hood, one and all.'

Deepwoods

Deepwoods - Honor Raconteur The guild members, as characters, have a lot of potential. I also like the theme of diversity, but this book has basically no plot and too much good will.

Cut & Run

Cut & Run  - Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban Yes! An engaging crime novel which also "happens" to have much emphasis on romance. The mystery is easy to crack but that's not the point, I had such fun! The narrative flows smoothly, the characters are believable and truly remarkable.
This book stands alone but it's the first of a series, which I plan to keep on reading.

Servant of the Crown (The Crown of Tremontane Book 1)

Servant of the Crown (The Crown of Tremontane Book 1) - Melissa McShane Mh, no. The premise is interesting and I can't resist the lure of book-related things in my reads, but this one sadly fell short on all accounts. Flat cookie-cutter characters, little worldbuilding, no momentum, unbelievable behaviors, a thin plot, the word "blotchy" repeated 24 times to describe the heroine's lone mundane feature -her cheeks when flustered, unremarkable writing...at least the descriptions were nice.

The main character is so beautiful and wealthy and titled that all men she encounters just want prestige, money and/or flesh from her, while all she wants is for them to see her as a person. She only cares for her work in the publishing business because it's her passion. Then she is suddenly cast in the role of a lady in waiting to the queen mother and meets the crown prince, who obviously makes a lewd comment in a very public place where her smarting outrage is duly noted. Of course the prince is most handsome and a total rake. To avoid a scandal the ruling queen, the prince's sister, contrives the perfect plan: prince Anthony North and countess Alison Quinn are to appear together in very public places once a week. And so they do. The prince keeps ogling and complimenting and the heroine keeps reminding the reader of how tiresome this all is because she is a person, not boobs and hips with an head attached. Ok. Of course amid the flirting the prince also shows a new side of himself where he doesn't salivate all over her and magic! She starts to see that deep down there is more to him that meets the eye, not that she complains too much about what meets the eye:

"She looked ahead at North, who made a fine figure despite his character flaws, his broad shoulders, the fine muscles of his back and his…"

"He really was handsome, not that it mattered to her at all, with those cheekbones and the strong curve of his jaw, the way his eyebrows swooped just the tiniest bit at the inner corners to draw attention to his absurdly blue eyes."

This goes on and on with constant reminders about how nice are the spells when he shows his genuine smile and doesn't say anything suggestive; how sad it is that "It won’t last [...] he’ll be back to his old self when I see him next." (or, let's quote another "Perhaps he has changed, she thought, but we’ll see how long it lasts.")

Consequently:

"North looked down at her, and smiled, no hint of a leer in those attractive blue eyes. He really was too handsome for his own good. Alison resolved to be friendly."

Yeah. There is also a library somewhere in the story. I almost DNF it at 50%. Then the story picked up and it was okay, but too late to convince.

Deadhouse Gates

Deadhouse Gates - Steven Erikson I see now that the unnamed soldier is a gift. The named soldier –dead, melted wax –demands a response among the living ... a response no-one can make. Names are no comfort, they're a call to answer the unanswerable. Why did she die, not him? Why do the survivors remain anonymous –as if cursed –while the dead are revered? Why do we cling to what we lose while we ignore what we still hold? Name none of the fallen, for they stood in our place, and stand there still in each moment of our lives. Let my death hold no glory, and let me die forgotten and unknown. Let it not be said that I was one among the dead to accuse the living.

A Royal Affair

A Royal Affair - John  Wiltshire I'm really into M/M romance lately. This is historical fiction with fantasy elements, and I enjoyed both the story and the characters. Nothing particularly deep or memorable, but I had a nice time with this novel -which also has a fair share of battles!- and my only qualm is about the length: a little editing would do marvels.

Unveiled

Unveiled  - Courtney Milan After the most excellent The Duchess War I was looking forward to more by Courtney Milan, it's so rare to find good romance books! Unfortunately, Unveiled was a disappointment because while the writing is good, the whole story hinges on absurdities, and I understand love at first sight and stubbornness, but please! The characters didn't work for me and I failed to care.

Entreat Me

Entreat Me - Grace Draven Ms. Draven, you truly know how to weave a gripping romance story (because there is romance, and there is a story). I really enjoyed this standalone, and I'm looking forward to more of yours.

Heart Of Fire

Heart Of Fire - Kristen Painter Seriously? 2 stars because I read it pretty quickly, so something kept me turning the pages. There is very little in terms of plot, and the characters are flat stereotypes, with the male lead who's totally unbelievable.

Zero at the Bone

Zero at the Bone  - Jane Seville I'm really starting to like M/M romances and this one is a very good pick! 3.5 stars rounded down because it dragged a little, some editing would easily solve the problem.

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)

Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson Through the gamut of life we struggled for control, for a means to fashion the world around us, an eternal, hopeless hunt for the privilege of being able to predict the shape of our lives.

The Augur's Gambit

The Augur's Gambit - Stephen R. Donaldson This long novella is a veritable study in names :) I love court treachery, romance, complex players and subtle machinations, particularly out of the pen of an incredibly talented (and cynic) storyteller like Donaldson. Again, I got hooked immediately and the wording is exquisite.

Your knowledge of my dealings does not concern me. In truth, I require it. It will aid the accuracy of your auguries. But I fear your grasp of my intentions. It will make you dangerous.