Review for Viking Fire by Andrea R Cooper

roses2

My Rating:  4/5

Author:  Andrea R Cooper
Title: Viking Fire

Genre:  Historical Fiction/Romance

Background:

Amazon Description:
856 Ce, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.

Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?

Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe – Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?

With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.

Sensuality Level: Sensual

Opinions:

Kaireen is a headstrong lady who doesn’t shy away from challenges. In the beginning of the book, she is against marrying Bram – a Viking – because she doesn’t trust him or them. Vikings have been ravaging the coasts of Ireland. She believes the marriage is a rouse for the Vikings to take their land and enslave/kill the people. For the time period, Kaireen is outspoken – which gets her in trouble. When tragedies strike, she finds out what Bram is really up to.

A neighboring clan has sworn peace with Kaireen’s family. However, trouble begins to brew within the walls. The bad guy(s) in the book are just that bad. They are not too multi-dimensional. Within the story, something else is going on underneath everything: Elva does not always act as a servant should. But, what exactly is going on? In summary, the book has some mystery, adventure/fighting, and romance.

The romance in the book is fairly standard for this time period: The defiant girl doesn’t which to marry but cannot get out of an arranged marriage. Bram is not a bad person as the reader learns fairly quickly. However, there are times when he forces himself on Kaireen such as kissing her – despite her saying no. Granted, this was probably common for the time period, but I’m not a fan of making it seem romantic. It’s technically sexual harassment. Regardless, Kaireen doesn’t seem to be upset by it, so I let go.

If you like historical romances set in Ireland/Vikings, you might want to try this book.

Standalone or Part of a Series: Standalone

Review for Witchling by Ari Harper

witchling

My Rating: 3.5/5

Author:  Ari Harper
Title: Witchling

Genre:  Young Adult/Paranormal

Book Blog Tour and Scanvenger Hunt!

Itching For Books
This review is part of a book blog tour for Ari Harper’s Witchling. The tour is hosted by Itching for Books who is also hosting a giveaway for this book (click below):

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Series: Curse of Kin #1

Released: November 29th 2012

Publisher: Lycaon/Breathless Press

Purchase: Amazon

About the Author

Ari Harper never wanted to grow up.

To offset the limitations of aging ungracefully, she created her own set of unique worlds where she can be and do whatever she wants.

Gods, witches and demons surround Ari while she spins her magic, doing mainly what they tell her to do. Given a chance, she prefers to work amongst chaos, which is good because she is constantly surrounded by children, all clamoring for attention. Some of them end up in her stories, some of them even get to die grisly deaths or be cast away to another realm.

www.ariharper.com

Okay, now here’s my review for the book!

Background:

Amazon Description:
Nera is a normal teenage girl living in Ireland, or so she thought until she discovers the family secret.. now her world is forever changed.

Descended from a long line of witches, she discovers she is the one who has to stop the curse that has taken the life of every girl before her.

And if that isn’t enough, she must learn to use magic from the man called Bones. He is the son of Mari, Queen of the Witches…and a god. It is Bones who has been entrusted to teach her the skills she needs to stay alive, which wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t have an uncanny knack for pushing her buttons.

Can Nera succeed and resist the charms of the man who gets under her skin at every opportunity?

Opinions:
Witchling is the first book in a series. It follows Nera in her adventures when she discovers her family’s secrets. Finding out you’re a witch can be intense enough, but finding out you’re a witch and the only one to stop a 800 year old curse is another. Together with her uncle and friends, Nera must focus on training and enhancing her abilities to save not only the people she loves but the world.

Characters:
The story is written in first person following Nera. Nera is a spunky girl who is not afraid to tell you what is on her mind. This has the tendency to get her into some trouble – especially with her protector, Bones. She’s not your typical girly girl, but loves to run and be athletic. This gives her edge when she trains to help break a 800 year old curse that plagues her family. Although she is a strong character, she still has some growing up to do. At times, I felt that her five year old brother was more mature than her. Perhaps, it is the teenage hormones, but her bickering was a little much at times in the book. Jasper, her uncle that is cursed, lives in an old castle – his family home. He is a loveable character who is also like a father figure to Nera and her friends. He has some magic and helps train Nera for the upcoming battle, but it is Bones (real name Brian) who is the main trainer. Brian is not only Nera’s trainer but protector. They are destined to be together forever – part of the job requirement of a protector. This doesn’t bode too well with Nera who starts a fight with him at any opportunity she can. She doesn’t like being bossed around, and Bones does just that.  I think my favorite character out the book was Roman, Nera’s brother. He’s a smart little boy and very mature for his age. He also plays a small part in this whole story. The characters in the book are eclectic – human, gods/goddesses, witches, demons, and even a dog. You never know who has powers in this book.

Plot:
The plot mainly focuses on the prep work for defeating Edrith (which will break the curse.) Training does not always go so well and there are attacks that stop their progress. They only have a short amount of time before Edrith attacks Nera, and that puts some strain on relationships. The story itself moved along well – there is always something happening – although I found the main components of the story a little repetitive. What I mean is the scenarios might be different but the underlining current was the same. The climax of the book does hold the battle that they have been training for; the story does not cut off at a cliffhanger before that. The story was entertaining, but I would have liked to see a little more background explained with some of the characters. There were also a few things that were not tied up at the end that I thought should have been. (I can’t really go into details about that because they would be spoilers, so I will leave the comment like it is.) One loose end that could have been addressed in the book (that is not really a spoiler) is how Jasper could live all that time in his castle without anyone questioning it. I understand that it is a little remote, but the man drinks a ton of tea (and obviously eats.) Surely, people would notice if a man came into shop and never changed, right?

The Bottom Line:
Overall, I like the book. If you like young adult books with a paranormal twist, then you might want to try this book out.

 

Review for The Guardian Duke by Jamie Carie

the guardian duke

My Rating: 3.5/5

Author:  Jamie Carie
Title: The Guardian Duke: A Forgotten Castles Novel [uncorrected proof]

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Background:

Amazon Description:
The Guardian Duke is award-winning novelist Jamie Carie’s most exciting story yet, a uniquely arranged Regency-era romantic adventure where hero and heroine know each other through written letters but have yet to meet.

Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, is ordered by the King to take guardianship over Lady Alexandria Featherstone whose parents are presumed dead after failing to return from a high profile treasure hunt. But Alexandria ignores this royal reassignment, believing her parents are still alive and duly following clues that may lead to their whereabouts. Gabriel, pressured by what are actually the King’s ulterior motives, pursues her across windswept England and the rolling green hills of Ireland but is always one step behind.

When they do meet, the search for earthly treasure will pale in comparison to what God has planned for both of them.

Opinions:
The Guardian Duke is a historical fiction set in England’s Regency period. Lady Alexandria, or Alex, lives in Northumberland. Her parents are treasure hunters and are usually gone for long periods. This time, they have been gone for almost a year. King George assumes that they are dead and orders the Duke of St. Easton, Gabriel, as her legal guardian. Gabriel lives in London and is one of the wealthiest men of his time. Alex does not believe that her parents are dead and ventures out to find them by following clues of where they were last seen. Gabriel is struck by a weird illness which renders him deaf. He discovers that Alex is in danger and quickly goes to bring her to London with him while skirting his illness among other delays. When he gets there, he finds her missing and must go after her. The Guardian Duke is the first book of a series.

Characters:
The story is written in third person following Lady Alexandria and Duke Gabriel. Alex is a headstrong girl who has lived away from society befitting her station. Her home is a crumbling castle that resembles more of the medieval period than the regency era. She considers herself a mistake, because her parents are always out on treasure hunts – leaving her alone with the servants. Now that her parents are missing – because she refuses to believe they are dead – she goes out to find them. She wants to prove to them that she is old enough and ready to be a part of their world. She meets some friends as well as some enemies along the way. Not only does she travel the farthest she’s ever been in her entire life, but she must also avoid her new guardian – a duke – who is trying to find her. Duke Gabriel is a smart man, who loves music. At the very beginning of the story, he becomes deaf, which comes and goes throughout the novel. This hurts his pride, and he tries to hide it the best he can. He soon learns that his new ward – whom he lets stays at her castle for the time being because of his affliction – is in danger because of a stolen artifact that her parents were trying to find. He sets out to find her, all the while becoming infatuated with her through her letters. When he discovers that she is not at her home but ran off to Ireland, he follows. The characters are well-written and are multi-dimensional. They each have secrets and fears/issues to overcome.

Plot:
The plot moved along well. There is mystery, as well as, subtle Christian messages. We have Alex trying to find clues to her parents; mysterious stalkers following her; a duke trying to find her; and friendly stranger that are willing to help her. I am a little disappointed on where the book stopped. I do not believe that the book answered any of the questions it initially set out. I understand that there will be a sequel, but some things should have been addressed by the end of this first book. I will say that it did not, however, end in the middle of a climax.

The Bottom Line:
Except for how the book ended, I enjoyed the story. If you like historical fiction with a little mystery (set in the regency period), then you might like this book.