Grim by M.K. Eidem

Grim by M.K. Eidem was a novel I discovered on various blogger lists over the years. As a Sci-Fi romance, it’s a bit unique from what I typically read and I’ve been craving more stories set in outer space lately.

18468256King Grim Vasteri is the strongest, most feared warrior in the Tornian Empire. He has been sent by his Emperor to find and retrieve compatible females for their dying civilization. Lisa is a widowed mother of two little girls who finds herself and her daughters suddenly in high demand. Will the most feared warrior in the Empire keep and protect them? Or will he allow another to claim them?

King Grim Vasteri is the strongest and most feared warrior in the Tornian Empire. He is the King of Luda, blood brother to the Emperor and his line will die with him. He will have no offspring for no female would join with him for once he was scarred he was considered ‘unfit’. The Tornian Empire has been dying ever since the great infection caused the birth of females to become a rarity. Since then they have been searching the known universes for compatible females. The Emperor’s discovery of a compatible female on a slave ship changed that. He’d ordered Grim to find his Empress’ home world so more ‘unprotected’ females could be obtained, knowing Grim would never be allowed to Join with one.
Lisa Miller is a widowed mother of two little girls, Carly and Miki. Her husband died just a year ago, after a long battle with cancer and she misses him immensely. Friends want her to start dating again but in her heart, she knows there isn’t a man on the planet she could love like her Mark. Who could love their girls like their own. Therefore, she’ll stay alone.
When Lisa is discovered ‘unprotected’ at her husband’s grave, she wakes on an alien ship heading for an alien world. Refusing to accept this she confronts the large males, demanding she be returned to her children. Seeing his chance to have a female, Grim agrees to accept and protect her offspring, if she agrees to Join with him and only him. Realizing this is the only way she can retrieve her children Lisa agrees and the Tornian Empire changes forever.

This book was beautifully cliched and I loved it. The Tornians are these tender, buff alien men that just want to procreate. Their females are bitches and mistreat the men horribly. Cue the females of Planet Earth to shake things up. Any sense of implausibility was thrown to the wind as I was reading and that’s what I love about Sci-Fi. You just have to accept what the author throws at you. With every revelation, I just had to go with the flow.

The aliens don’t understand their females? Sure, I buy it.

The aliens are shy around earthlings? Okay, why not?

Aliens don’t understand female orgasms? Well, I guess that’s something men of any species share.

I loved that Lisa was a mama bear and the children didn’t detract from the romance but added to it. I loved the clear theme of determining someone’s worth and I giggled with manic glee during the political showdown near the end. The romance was a bit sudden but I was still swooning as Grim and Lisa fight for understanding in their relationship.

If I’m not mistaken, Grim is a self-published novel and that both inspires me and creates understanding. As a self-proclaimed grammar nazi, I couldn’t help but notice the various typos and grammatical errors. I noticed that other reviewers have commented on this topic, but while I was reading, it was easy to understand what was written and since it was self-published I was able to overlook it, especially because I enjoyed this novel so damn much.

STARS: 4 out of 5

And I Darken by Kiersten White

Finally! I’ve been wanting to read one of Kiersten White’s novels, and I’m glad I started with her most recent book, And I Darken, which is being released today.

27190613NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL.

And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

From the moment I read the synopsis, I knew this was the book for me. Plus, that title. I am totally in love with it. I was fortunate enough to read this book early because it was included in a giveaway from the Book Addict’s Guide (Thanks Brittany!). There is just something about reading an ARC that fills me with unending glee.

From the very first page, I realized that there is no “glee” in this book unless it’s the savage, evil glee of a recent blood letting. In other words, Lada is a bad ass, with an emphasis on bad. She’s the kind of twisted character that you can’t help but root for, but are also very, very afraid of. If I ever met Lada on the street, I’d turn and run.

This story was dark and beautiful and gut-wrenching. I can’t tell you how many times I had to put the book down in order to untie the knot coiling in my stomach. Lada and her brother had such a complicated sibling rivalry. It was heart-breaking and endearing at the same time. Throw in their competition over the heir of the enemy empire and its just a recipe for disaster. I can’t even describe the angst and gut-punching revelations. It can only be experienced.

I loved that Lada fought so fiercely for every bit of her independence, and even though I wanted her to fall to her feminine “feelings,” I can’t help but applaud her strength. The cast of characters reminded me of the conniving, deceit, manipulation and cunning from Game of Thrones.

I don’t know how to rate this book because I thought it was really good, but it was a painful read. I’m pretty sure I’ll have permanent scars from the angst in this novel. It was entertaining. It was original. It was a relentless onslaught of feels.

Lada has killed my ability to review this book in the only way she knows how — viciously and without mercy.

 

 

Play by Kylie Scott

Kylie Scott is my spirit animal.

I understand she’s a human being and all, but in my imagination, she’s this great, mythical flying tigress that etches her stories into weathered stone.

Play is the second book in the New Adult Stage Dive series, which follows a member of the band on their epic journey to find love. Play is about Mal, the drummer, and I couldn’t stop laughing.

19095025Kylie Scott returns with the highly anticipated follow-up to international bestseller Lick.

Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl.

Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls—especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn’t end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?

I listened to the audiobook, so picture me cruising down the highway head thrown back in guffaws of laughter (while simultaneously watching the road, cuz ya know, driving.) I’m sure I looked ridiculous, but I was having a really good time listening to this book. (BTW, if you’re the guy in the black Mercedes that made eye contact with me on I-75, I wasn’t laughing at you. I promise.) Kylie Scott already writes funny books, but Mal Erickson takes the cake for the most hilarious character. His ridiculous comments, inability to feel shame and gut-punching comebacks were pure amazingness. You should read this book on the comedic merits alone, but I digress.

I love that this book gives you everything you’d expect from a rock star novel while still grounding the story in reality. Scott really digs into the reality or surreality (Is that a word? Microsoft Word says no, but we’re going with it.) of dating a rock star, but peels back the human layers, exposing the raw emotions. Everyone loves a bad boy rocker that’s broken, and Scott delivers the quintessential damaged soul every. single. time. But it also feels fresh and original. The authenticity of Scott’s characters is what makes her unique in this genre.

I don’t know what else to say, but I laughed out loud, I swooned, I cringed in sympathy. This book was a fun, crazy ride that any and all New Adult fans will enjoy.

STARS: 5 out of 5

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica was a recent book club read that I’d never normally pick up on my own, but I really enjoyed it.

18812405“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”

One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems.

The Good Girl had me turning pages late into the night because I HAD to know what happened next. It was darn near painful to be separated from it. If I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. This suspenseful tale is brilliant, not because of the plot, but because of the way it was told in alternating points of view from before and after the “event.” Also, you never get to see inside the main character’s head until the very end, which was bloody awesome.

This terrible tale weaves a web of deception based on people’s perception, whether it’s the reader’s perception or the different secondary character’s. I was surprised at the amount of urgency built based on the back and forth between perspectives. Usually, alternating points of view bog me down, making me read more slowly or put the book down between chapters, but this novel had me turning pages faster and faster waiting for the shocking reveal.

The reveal at the end wasn’t as shocking as Gone Girl, which this book has been compared to, but it shares the same sense of misguided heroine in search of acceptance. If you like suspenseful thrillers, this is the book for you. If you’re like me, where your heart can’t take the suspense for fear of a genuine heart attack, this book may still be for you. The build up is electric and the pay off is totally worth it.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: Starfall by Melissa Landers

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Starfall by Melissa Landers, which will be released on Tuesday, February 7, 2017.

25026403When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage to a bloodthirsty prince and prevent a coup, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a lowly ship hand, she finally has the chance to return home and make peace, but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend… with occasional benefits.

Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee, including Solara and Doran, are planning a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, they find Cassia ruling her home planet, having imprisoned the rogue prince who would have overthrown her family. Deep down, Kane knows that Cassia can’t rule her world and be with the bastard son of a business man, but he’s also sure she returns his feelings, and that makes the circumstances all the more painful. When the outer realms are threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew rally to protect the population from widespread enslavement. The reunion forces Cassia to consider who her true family is and if she can live without the boy who has been there for her through thick and thin.

I really enjoyed Starflight and I’m ready for another epic space adventure with the Banshee crew. I’m always a sucker for heroines fleeing arranged marriages and the less-than-qualified heroes that love them, even if it means from afar. I’m excited to hear more about Cassia and Kane’s story.

Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

I am so glad The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows was the final book in the Orphan Queen duology. I would have cried if I had to wait for a third book. I needed the satisfaction of knowing what happens to Wil and black knife, and I’m very satisfied indeed.

22909838Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.

Because this book was the final book, it was long, coming in at 531 pages, but it flew by. The Orphan Queen ended in a very dire situation, and The Mirror King picks up right where it left off. The danger and chaos never stops until the heart-melting ending.

There were a couple twists in this book that I did. Not. See. Coming. In the first book, I kind of had an idea of who Black Knife was, so I anticipated the twists, but this book was shock after shock. My new favorite wedding scene (that is only rivaled by the infamous Game of Thrones “Red Wedding”) is in the middle of this book. I’m sure I stared at the wall my mouth agape for an indefinite period of time.  I’ve never been so shocked/happy/heartbroken/terrified in one moment before. I was impressed. Who comes up with this type of stuff?!? Jodi apparently does. The King’s secret was another twist that threw for me for a loop and there’s another mind-blowing reveal that I can’t even allude to or it will spoil this book for you.

I LOVED this book. It had romance. It had action. It had kickass fight scenes and horrifying representations of kingdom politics in motion. The wraith-made boy made this book for me ­– his desperation to please, his misinterpretation of desires and his ultimate sacrifice. It makes me want to write a whole thesis on what makes a person a person in fantasy literature. (It’s the English nerd in me.)

If you’re a fan of YA fantasy, this is the book for you. The Mirror King blew all my expectations out of the water and I was left teary-eyed, heart full, at the end.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: And I Darken by Kiersten White

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of And I Darken by Kiersten White, which will be released on Tuesday, July 7, 2016.

25324111No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she’ll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.

This. looks. AWESOME! An Anti-Princess? A sibling rivalry? This sounds like an epic story, and if it’s anything like the dark and spellbinding cover then I am IN! I’ve always heard about how great Kiersten White is as an author, but I’ve never had the opportunity to pick up one of her books. I think with And I Darken I’m going to make sure that happens. Plus, isn’t that a kickass title? I’m so ready to read this.