Daughter of Rage and Beauty: Review

Daughter of Rage and Beauty
Berserker Academy Book 1
by Amy Pennza
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance

The sagas claim you can’t fight fate. I’m determined to prove them wrong. They say your twenties are supposed to be the best years of your life.
Clearly, they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Because right now, my life is in shambles. As the daughter of one of the most powerful berserkers in the world, I should be taking my place among the noble guild of berserker assassins. By now, I should have mastered my emotions and conquered my rage—all the better to use it as a weapon when called upon to kill.
But I’m not just Harald Berregaard’s daughter. My mother was a nymph, which makes me a magical mutt. When I was born, my father thought I might possess the best traits from both races.
He was wrong.
Now he’s shipping me off to the Berserker Academy, where the unofficial motto is “graduate or die.”
Nice, huh?
With the stakes this high, I can’t afford to get distracted. Too bad the academy’s headmaster keeps showing up at the most inconvenient moments, reminding me how much I suck at magic. And fighting. And basic conversation.
It doesn’t matter that he does it with a smile. Or that his eyes fire silver when he’s amused . . . or aroused. Hauk Sigridsson has his own problems. He’s not going to be one of mine.
On the other hand, he’s offered me a way to accelerate my studies and make it out of the academy alive. I just have to help him steal a priceless rock and defeat one of the most powerful immortals to have ever lived.
No big deal.
I’m in way over my head, but I’m determined to survive. They say you can’t fight fate. I’m going to show fate exactly what I’m made of.


The story opens with Elin approaching BjØrneskalle Castle, home to the Berserker Academy (think of it as an assassin’s university), in a car with her father. The tension in the story builds as they get nearer and nearer – A fantastic hook in! It had me. I needed to find out what was going to happen and what this Berserker Academy was all about.

Elin is our POV character: She comes across as sweet, yet powerful and was easily likeable. Elin mother was a nymph, so she’s half Fae – She soon finds that this is disliked by some of the other students. For the first half of this book I felt Elin was younger than her 21 years. She had lived a life away from most of the berserkers, being home schooled up until the start of the book. Elin had spent her whole life being put down by her unsupportive hatful father, Harald, and being at the Academy was the first time she was able to live out from under his thumb. But early on I kept thinking she felt younger, and I’ve put this down to the Vampire Academy mixed with Norse mythology vibe that was going on – FYI I was loving that vibe, it just felt more high school than university.

Hauk our love interest: Hauk Sigridsson, the headmaster of BjØrneskalle. I never really got a gage on how old Hauk was. As the reader we surmise that he came into his high position at the Berserker Academy due to his superior fighting skills and his legendary Mother’s supreme warrior reputation, not his age. It is only remarked that age is hard to determine with Mythicals, and that the eyes are the only way to tell. It is said he had young eyes.

Hauk trains one on one with Elin, at first seemly to help her catch up and adjust to academy life. This storyline changes as Haul asks Elin to accompany him on a dangerous quest. A quest that involves traveling into dangerous lands, dealing with deadly Fae, fighting desire and recovering the prized immorality stone.

I must say that I did love that gender did not factor into how good of a warrior you were. The girls and the guys were equally kick ass.

There were events near the end of the book that I didn’t see coming. I actually said Oh Shit out loud at one point. A book hasn’t blindsided me like that in ages – cheers to you Amy Pennza.

The classification: This book is listed as Adult Urban Fantasy Romance. I assumed there would be graphic sex coming at some point and that’s why this was classed as an adult book, rather than New Adult. The sex doesn’t come to later in the book and it is primal, it’s hot and heavy and at one point I stopped and thought – Yes, I can see why she’s made Elin 21 or the whole thing Hauk wouldn’t have worked, and I don’t think I’d have been comfortable reading those scene knowing the character as any younger. I don’t think you necessarily need to be an adult to read this story. 17-year-old me would have loooooved this book. I mean come on, kids these days are watching worse stuff on the internet, at least Hauk and Elin care about each other and aren’t some pool boy and horny housewife combo – that’s all I’m saying.

All in all, I did enjoy this book. The writing flowed well and the fast, yet steady pacing made for a quick and entertaining read. I would happy read more works by Amy Pennza.


About the author: Amy Pennza has been a lawyer, a soldier, and a copywriter. She’s worn combat boots and high heels in the same 24-hour period–and she definitely prefers flip flops. Actually, she prefers going barefoot while writing steamy romances about strong women and alpha men with hearts of gold. After years in Tornado Alley, she now makes her home in the Great Lakes region with her husband, kids, and more baskets than any one person should own. (You can never have enough.)

Find her at her: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Goodreads

Thank you to Silver Dagger Book Tours for my review copy.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Sealer’s Game: Review

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Sealer’s Game (Sealer Saga #1) by Kathy Coleman
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publication: October 22nd 2019
Publisher: Kathy Coleman
Source: Review copy via Xpresso Tours
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ✵✵✵

Hell hath no fury like a goddess scorned…

As Champion, Carita of Bel Auryn thought she would spend her days fighting demons. Instead, she is drawn into the latest scheme of the Moon Goddess, Ruby: a contest to choose a man who will have the “honour” of fathering her child. When Ruby encourages Carita to choose a man for herself, she picks the man she is most drawn to–and immediately regrets it.

Lucian Veradayne is the Lord of Death. He knows he must win Ruby’s game at any cost. It doesn’t matter that he has avoided her for two thousand years. Nor that she tried to kill their first child. And it really doesn’t matter that he would much rather woo Carita. The Soul Well has given Lucian a prophecy: he and Ruby must have another child. A child who will save the world.

Dealing with their mutual attraction will be the least of Lucian and Carita’s problems. They are not the only ones who have been drawn into Ruby’s game. Someone else wants to win. Someone who wants Ruby dead. Will Carita and Lucian be able to protect her long enough for a victor to be named? And if they succeed, will they be able to walk away from each other to ensure the prophecy is fulfilled?

Sealer’s Game is a 55,000 word fantasy romance novella about the King of the Underworld, a kick-butt warrior priestess, and a ruthless goddess who will stop at nothing to get her own way. It contains language, descriptions of violence, and sexual themes that may not be appropriate for all readers. Recommended for ages 18+.


Where to start. I wouldn’t call this an 18+ read. More like a 15+. A mature audience warning, rather than being rated R. I’ve read darker battle scenes and stronger sexual themes in YA. It’s the baby murder in the prologue, that gives it the MA15+ warning from me.

I’m going to have to address it straight up. I found the Prologue destressing and would have stopped reading the book had it not been that I was part of this blog tour. I am glad I kept reading because overall, I did end up being entertained and found the Sealer’s Game to be a quick, easy and enjoyable read.

The realm most of this story takes place in in Zynedia. Kindred are to Zynedia, what humans are to Earth. Earth does exist but it is another realm. A Sealer is what the gods are, their species, like human, or kindred, or bear, or rabbit etc. There is a Greek style Underworld and the dead from Zynedia and Earth end up there. The Sky realm isn’t visited in this story, but I’m sure it will be explored as the story continues in later books. My explanation might seem confusing, but it’s quite easy to follow as the story progresses. Remember I called it a “a quick, easy and enjoyable read.”

The story cycles through three points of view; Ruby, Carita and Lucian.

The first character we meet is Ruby. We’ve just meet Ruby and she’s already murdering a baby she just gave birth to. Yep it took me a while to come back from that and I never really ended up warming to her character (big shock there).

I think in the Prologue you are supposed to feel Lucian is the bad guy? But being that he tried to save the baby and was willing to love it anyway, he felt more like a good guy, even though he was the ruler of the underworld. Lucian Veradayne, the Lord of Death. Hades, he is essentially Hades. There are Greek god vibes all through this book, and that I was into. Even when Ruby was explaining the different realms to Carita and her history with Lucian. I was still left feeling he was the good guy.

To Ruby, Men are nothing but playthings, which I was okay with – It’s the graphic baby killing bit where she lost me. The ice-cold goddess seemed to warm to her mortal servant, and they sort of became friends, kind of.

And that leads us to Carita. Carita is a kindred (think human). I liked Carita. She was traded to the moon temple by her royal parents as a child, for a potion to allow them to conceive a health son. She was a damn princess before becoming a priestess. Hello warrior princess, I see you. She’s spent her life training to be a strong warrior so one day she might be picked by Skye Goddess Ruby as her champion (Champion = protector/maid/squire/toy/go-kill-that-man. Murder slave!)

Conclusion. This book has a Hitmen, secret agreements, fierce women and a prophecy that demands the birth off a child who is of both the underworld and the sky realm – who of cause will be the key to saving all the realms. Harrah! By the end I did feel like all three of the POV characters were hard done by thanks to the damn Prophesy – but that’s prophecies for you. And yeah, I did have some issues with it, but overall! I did end up being entertained and found the Sealer’s Game to be a quick, easy and enjoyable read.

Did the baby get conceived? What becomes of Carita and Lucian’s feeling for each other? You’ll have to read Sealer’s Game to find out.


AUTHOR BIO: Kathy Coleman lives in a little town in Ontario with her parents, one younger brother and two mischievous little dogs named D’Argo and Coco. She attended Trent University, majoring in English and Cultural Studies. 
When she is not being kept awake at 3 a.m. by characters who refuse to quit talking, she can be found performing karaoke at charity events, updating her book blog I Write, I Read, I Review, shopping, or playing video games.
Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Beltway Betrayers: Blog Tour

Beltway Betrayers
Taylor Marsh
Publication date: May 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Psychological Thriller

There’s a secret.

A woman is heard whimpering in a parking garage.

A dark side to the powerfully rich is exposed.

And Alex Gantry is at the center of it all.

After several frightening events that shook Alex’s world, things have settled down.

So it seems…

Elite life coach, Alex Gantry, is enjoying her new life in the Washington, D.C. Beltway.

T.J. Gale, who’s part greenpreneur, part leader of a quick-strike unit of former military and intelligence professionals, has set her heart aflame.

Alex and T.J. are in love.

Enter Jett Spence, a man who once was part of T.J.’s world but who is now an unknown, because no one can tell whose side he’s on.

Two thousand miles away in Hollywood, Alex’s old haunts, the powerful producer Brian Marks is falling apart because he’s lost her. The woman he never thought would leave him is now in the bed of a younger man.

In New York City, T.J.’s ex-wife, Lisa, is looking to get even with the woman she thinks destroyed her marriage. Her vengeful father Davin Dalaney is eager to help because T.J. is no longer willing to ignore his criminal profits.

Brian is intent on getting Alex back.

Lisa wants to make her pay.

And T.J. is attempting to keep her safe.

Alex believes she can take care of herself, but being with T.J. has taught her it’s not always that simple.

From the Washington, D.C. Beltway to Los Angeles, California, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Goodreads

Author Bio:

Taylor Marsh writes smart, arousing romance while deciphering world events. She lives in the Beltway area of Washington D.C.

“Beltway Betrayers,” Book 2 of The Beltway Series, will be out in May 2017 and Book 3 of this series will be out in the fall.

She is a former Broadway performer and beauty queen who was the Relationship Consultant for LA WEEKLY, then the nation’s top alternative newsweekly. Taylor is the author of two traditionally published non-fiction books, “The Hillary Effect,” and her memoir, “The Sexual Education of a Beauty Queen.”

Taylor was profiled in The Washington Post and The New Republic for her coverage of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primary season. She became a contributor to The Huffington Post in 2006, and has written for Washington, D.C.’s The Hill, as well as for U.S. News & World Report and for Zócalo Public Square in Los Angeles, among others. As a seasoned entertainer, communicator and speaker, Taylor has also been interviewed by The Los Angeles Times, Al Jazeera Media Network, The New York Times, BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, among other outlets.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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Top 10 List

10 Favorite Books By Taylor Marsh, Author of Beltway Betrayers

Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

Post-Mortem, by Patricia Cornwell

Grace and Power, by Sally Bedell Smith

River God: A Novel of Ancient Egypt, by Wilbur Smith

Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry

An Unfinished Life, by Robert Dallek

Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller

The Gold Coast, by Nelson DeMille

The Bourne Identity, by Richard Ludlum

M is for Malice, by Sue Grafton

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Cover Reveal: The First Year by Genevieve Gannon

The First Year
Genevieve Gannon
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication date: April 24th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

The first year of marriage is hard no matter what. Throw in jealous exes, high-pressure careers and two wildly different families, and the degree of difficulty goes up a few more notches. Determined to beat the odds, one couple comes up with a plan to keep their romance alive – but life has other ideas.

Saskia is an up-and-coming jewellery designer, waiting tables at a trendy cafe to keep her fledgling company afloat. Andrew is a corporate lawyer who wants to be known for more than his family’s money. They’re passionate about their work and each other, but with Andy’s job in jeopardy and Saskia’s jewellery label taking off, the pressure is taking its toll.

As life pulls them in different directions, the two of them are forced to decide: Just how important is their marriage? And how hard are they willing to work to protect it?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

Author Bio:

Genevieve Gannon is a Melbourne-based journalist and author. Her writing was first published in the St Monica’s Primary School newspaper, The Monical, in the form of a mince pie recipe she completely made up. She lifted her standards of journalistic integrity and wrote stories for music and fashion street press magazines while at university before moving to Canberra to do a journalism cadetship. In 2011 she joined the national news wire, Australian Associated Press, where she covered crime, politics and entertainment. Her work has appeared in most major Australian newspapers including The Age, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph.

Genevieve apologises unequivocally to any of her fellow students and their parents who tried to bake mince pies using the recipe she wrote when she was 10. But if you’re putting four cups of plain flour and four cups of self-raising flour into pasty that doesn’t call for butter, you’ve only got yourself to blame. She currently lives in Melbourne where she is a court reporter. At night time she writes romantic comedies. Husband Hunters is her first novel.

Website / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Review: How Not to Fall in Love, Actually by Catherine Bennetto

29991690Life is 10% planning, 10% design and 80% totally winging it…

A hilarious debut for all fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Lisa Owens.

General Adult Fiction
Published: 01 Feb 2017
* * *

Emma has a job in television which is distinctly less glamourous and exciting than it sounds. She’s managed to claw her way up the ranks from Tea-Maker and Rubbish-Collector to 2nd Assistant Director (heavy on the ‘assistant’. Even heavier on the ‘2nd’).

So when she finds she’s accidentally very pregnant and at the same time accidentally very sacked (well, less accidentally: she did tell her boss to stick his job up his bum), she knows things are going to have to change.

Luckily she’s also accidentally the heir to a lovely cottage in Wimbledon, with a crazy Rottweiler-owning octogenarian as a neighbour and a rather sexy boy as an accidental tenant. But this baby is coming whether she likes it or not, and she needs to become the sort of person who can look after herself let alone another human being – and quickly.

Hilarious and heart-warming, How Not to Fall in Love, Actually will make you laugh, make you cry, and will reassure you that perhaps your life is not that bad, actually…

What people are saying about How Not to Fall in Love, Actually

‘It’s fresh, young and very exciting. A fuzzy, warm and sparkly story by a very talented author. I can’t wait to see what else Catherine Bennetto has in store for us’ Simona’s Corner of Dreams

‘A phenomenal cast of characters and some real laugh out loud moments. Brilliant!’ Heidi Swain, author of The Cherry Tree Cafe and Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market

‘More bubbly than a big glass of champers and just as fun. How Not To Fall In Love, Actually is bright, breezy, and the perfect way to beat back the winter blues‘ Georgia Clark, author of The Regulars

* * *

MY THOUGHTS: 

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

We follow Emma as an accidental pregnancy makes her stop and take stock of her life, which up to that point had only consisted of a shitty job, a shitty apartment and a shitty boyfriend.

At the start we met 27-year-old Emma just before she finds out she is pregnant. The story covers the months that she is pregnant, with the book ending just hours after the baby is born.

It took me the first half of the book to really get into the story, but I think that’s more because of the fact I was only squishing in a few pages here and there. I managed to get enough sit down time to finish the second half of the book in one day and found myself really enjoying it.

The leading Lady: Emma did at times come off as self-absorbed and whining. But she was pregnant and being pregnant is hard even with a loving and supportive partner and here she was trying to go it alone, so she is forgiven. Emma matures in the second half of the book and I ended up really liking her and wanting her to have a happily ever after. *spoiler alert: she gets her happily ever after*.

The impregnator/ex-boyfriend aka Ned: By the end of the first chapter I already disliked Ned, he came off as a lazy good for nothing leach. But chapter six proved him to be an absolute asshole with him draining Emma’s bank account before her overly trusting pregnant ass even thinks to remove his access.

The supporting cast: The book had some rather amusing background cast members; Emma’s infuriating and over the top mother, the nosey old couple next door and green thumbed Joe were standouts for me.

While the story was predictable at times it still gave me the warm fuzzies.Image result for warm and fuzzy memeThe writing was humours, flowed easily and was a joy to read. I will be keeping an eye out for Catherine Bennetto works in the future. star.4

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

8909152Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Published April 14th 2011 by Dutton Adult

Synopsis mk3

“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . “

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

+Goodreads buttonMy Thoughts mk3 I am seriously fan girl-ing right now, I just went and followed all Rowell’s social medias so I could stalk her, umm I mean see what book she has coming out next.

I was in love with this book by the first few pages. I think this is the fastest I’ve ever devoured a book. I got the book that morning and read it all that day. That’s a new record for me. (i’m writing this review two days later). I came up for air, once, to put up a Goodreads update – Page 48: Loving this book and thinking “why have I not read any Rainbow Rowell until now”.

I finished the book late-ish Friday night – Page 322: Love Love Loved this book. I’m jumping up and down and smiling, LOVED IT – review to come 🙂. I only open it it intending to have a look and reading it later when I was on holidays. Just the first few pages had me hooked and I didn’t go to bed until I’d finished it. I loved Rowell’s writing, her humour, snappy dialogue and devour-able prose.

The Main Characters: Lincoln O’Neill, Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder; I love them all and they are now my imaginary best friends 😛 what I wouldn’t give to have a working friendship like Beth and Jennifer’s. The characters are all 28 (my age) and it’s nice to see other people not having there s**t together. It’s a funny, heart-warming story that feels real. My favorite books usually involve magic, mythological or paranormal creatures, but Rowell’s left me feeling happier than any book has in a long time. I was smiling like I’d just won the lotto when I finished the last page.

The story swaps between Lincoln “page shots” of Beth and Jennifer’s emails and Lincoln in the 3rd person. The story is set back in 1999/2000, the whole point being that people didn’t have iPhones etc. back then so we see the two female leads converse using inter office email. Then there is the poor smuck Lincoln that has to monitor those inter office emails. At this time 1999/2000 I was in high school and they did monitor your computer use, I know this because I got in trouble off the librarian once for some “inappropriate” story I was writing.

The girls are immediately like-able. But for me Lincoln became the star of the show. He was lonely and stuck in a rut. He hated his dead end job that made him feel like a perverse nut job. Now I can see why some people mightn’t like this, they might write Lincoln off as a creepy loser. But I love how we get to watch him grow, watch him try to be a better person and succeed. He gets out of his rut, he gets his s**t together and he gets the girl, the right girl! Go Lincoln Go!

I love Lincoln, yeah so what if he fell for Beth while reading her emails –Ah hello, he gave Jennifer his MacDonald’s while he changed her flat tyre in a storm, super hero! – Beth did some Lincoln stalking as well, so meh, all’s fair in love and war. I did some house drive by stalking when I was younger LOL and he married me, my husband the silly man.

So Five Stars. I’m going to leave it at that because if I try to tell you anymore about the story I’ll give it all away.

5sAuthor’s Links mk3 Rainbow Rowell writes books.

Sometimes she writes about adults (Attachments and Landline).

Sometimes she writes about teenagers (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Carry On.).

But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

Website – http://www.rainbowrowell.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rainbowrowell

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rainbow.rowell.author

Instagram – https://instagram.com/rainbowrowellbooks/

Tumblr – http://rainbowrowell.tumblr.com/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4208569.Rainbow_Rowell