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KRLGA @Smada's Book Smack

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  • 22
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  • 60
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  • Barking up the Wrong Bakery

  • Happy Tails Dog Walking Mysteries, Book 1
  • By: Stella St. Claire
  • Narrated by: Machelle Williams
  • Length: 5 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 35

Olivia Rickard would kill to keep everything just the way it is. Changing the status quo has always been disastrous for Olivia, and now everything is changing at once.... What Olivia needs is a distraction, and she’s found one in stumbling upon Yvette Dunn dead in her coffee food truck - drowned in a vat of fresh coffee. Olivia starts out as an unlucky bystander to the crime, but she’s forced to dig in deeper when it looks like her sister could be involved in Yvette’s death.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Cozy Mystery

  • By kelly lauffenburger on 03-20-18

Cozy Cute Romantic Mystery

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-01-18

I am always looking for fun cozy mysteries that mix endearing realistic characters, humor and a twisty enough mystery to keep me guessing (Janet Evanovich and Gemma Halliday set pretty high bars for my expectations). This sounded like a perfect new series for me to jump into so I was excited to start listening.

Olivia was kind of a hot mess. Her life is perfect (in her eyes) but she is on the verge of change in multiple aspects and it completely freaks out. Her love of mystery novels causes her to be super helpful aka nosy and involve herself in everyone's business. I liked how dedicated she was and an overall good person. Her antics with her dogs, sister and friend entertained me and I feel like Olivia was very much so a real person.

The mystery was interesting with a nice twist, but this is very much a romance book that just so happens to have mystery component. I felt so bad for Andrew- he really was the perfect boyfriend and Olivia was basically a crazy beast to him. The more sweet things he did or said, the more Olivia pulled away or did something else crazy. He might just be a saint- I mean she did try to impulsively break up with him multiple times in the beginning of their relationship and he just kept ignoring her (which is hysterical and maybe messed up... but it seemed to work out). I wanted to shake Olivia and her irrational fear before something terrible happened.

The narrator had a nice clear voice and her enunciation was perfect. She was able to really bring Olivia to life and give her personality. My one complaint was that all the character's voices basically sounded the same. Maybe I have been spoiled, but I love when the narrator has distinct voices for each character and it is very clear as to who was talking, and that was not apparent all the time in the book. Sometimes the point of view in the book would switch from Andrew or even the killer's view, but I was never certain what character it was suppose to be.

I look forward to reading/and or listening to the rest of the books in the series because this was cute and fun (and full of dogs so instant win!- and the pet psychic scene was my favorite part of the story!) and I would love to see what happens next for Olivia and Andrew. Be aware though, this book will cause desires to cuddle with dogs and make you want some fresh scones and muffins...mmmm...

  • Hunting in Bruges

  • Hunters' Guild, Book 1
  • By: E.J. Stevens
  • Narrated by: Melanie A. Mason, Anthony Bowling
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30

With a desire to prove herself, protect the innocent, and advance within the ranks of the Hunters' Guild, Jenna Lehane hits the cobbled streets of Bruges with blades at the ready. Someone, or something, is murdering tourists and dumping their bodies in the city's scenic canals. With the help of a mysterious stranger, Jenna begins to piece together clues that are dotted throughout the city like blood spatter. Determined to stop the killings, Jenna delves into a bloody local history that only raises more questions - but some secrets are best left buried.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Fast Paced Urban Fantasy

  • By Adriana B on 04-14-18

New Urban Fantasy Spin-off Series

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-28-18

I have been eyeballing the Ivy Granger series by this author for a while now so when I saw that there was a new series set in the same world but with a different character, I was excited to jump in. Since this was my first foray into this world, I had no idea what to expect but I found the world to be interesting. Jenna at times mentions Ivy and a little bit of hunter history that probably means something if you have read the previous series, but I did not feel like I was missing out on anything. This was a very fast paced, intense and action packed urban fantasy and I would love to read more in this series- and now I have the perfect motivation to pick up the Ivy series for real (I even already own them).

Jenna was so freaking blind- or naive! For such an intense super-hunter, she was so blind to the truth that was right in front of her. And yet, her discovery of the truth was a huge deal for the main character that was a big part of the plot. I knew the truth from the moment the character was introduced (which was almost the beginning of the book!) and was just waiting for Jenna to understand- and I had to wait almost the entire book for that moment. Sorry, rant over, but it did drive me insane. Overall I enjoyed Jenna and her determination, even if at times she was so oblivious!

I really enjoyed the narration technique used for the audiobook, it was the first time I have encountered that method before. The story was narrated by a female character and a female narrator was used to read the book. But then whenever a male character was in the book speaking, a male narrator was used for their voices. It made it seem more like a dialogue and I appreciated it. Both narrators had great enunciation and dialect and I enjoyed listening to the story.

  • Watcher

  • The Watcher Series, Book 1
  • By: AJ Eversley
  • Narrated by: Chelsea Stephens, Steve Campbell
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

As a Watcher, Sawyer Russo has sworn to protect her fellow humans. But the Bots and Carbons that overran her city are evolving, and are picking off her comrades one by one. Embarking on a desperate mission to save humanity from extinction, Sawyer discovers that the line between friend and foe is no longer easily drawn when one of her own betrays them. Faced with a choice between fulfilling her vow and avenging those who have fallen, she must ultimately decide who can be saved...and who can’t.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved this!!

  • By Natalie @ ABookLoversLife on 10-19-18

Dark Dystopian

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-24-18

After the war, Sawyer has spent the last ten years of her life being the best Watcher that she could possibly be. She trains, she works hard, and she avoids any sort of emotional connection to other people- because why get attached when they will just die anyway? When her team brings back a group of survivors, one of them, Kenzie, keeps popping up in her space. When she is tasked with training him to be a Watcher also, she has no choice but to let her guard down and start to care. But little does she know, her safe little bubble will once again be in jeopardy- from an enemy she never expected.

This was a very fast, action packed (super depressing) shocking read. There I said it! I was expecting some action and maybe a little fatalistic (what do you expect from the doom and gloom synopsis?) but wow was this pretty sad- all over the place from torture, to death of main characters, to betrayals (as long as Chevy survives I can handle anything though!).
I would love more backstory as to how the world got this way because the end result was super unique and completely messed up. Yep, I do love myself some dystopian and a new spin on the typical is just what I am looking for. This was my first read by Eversley and I liked her writing style and concepts so I will be picking up more of her books in the future.

The story was dual narrated by the two main characters, Sawyer and Kenzie. I enjoyed Sawyer as a person, you could really emote with her and experience the struggles she felt. The narrator brought her to life and made her seem like a real person- which, really, is hard to do in a post-apocalyptic fictional world. The male narrator that voiced Kenzie was not my favorite though. Kenzie's voice sounded at times robotic and monotone (which I do wonder if it was done on purpose...) but the narrator's other character voices had lots of feeling and personality behind them. I will say that I am not sure how I feel about Kenzie though in general...(I was holding out for a Kyle love connections).

Keep in mind that this was the first book in a trilogy, where the ending is not really a cliff hanger, but there are still so many unanswered questions and problems- the nice part is that the trilogy is already complete so you can grab the next book and jump right in.

  • Deadly Shadow

  • A Paranormal Suspense Thriller (The Assassin Chronicles, Book 1)
  • By: Kim Cresswell
  • Narrated by: Robin Siegerman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29

Consumed with grief over the tragic death of her husband, FBI Agent Victory McClane is obsessed with finding Ohio's serial killer, "The Wrapper". When another young woman turns up dead and the victim is linked to Derrick Lynn, son of the secretary of defense, Victory finds Derrick has all the right answers and is a little too helpful. Derrick has a secret: He's a government assassin who uses his unusual paranormal skills to eliminate targets. Determined to keep his own secrets buried, he offers to help find the Wrapper. But can Victory trust him?  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good start to series

  • By Deborah on 08-11-18

Police Murder Mystery with a dash of supernatural

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-18-18

FBI agent Victory has been on the trail of the serial killer The Wrapper for years but has never been able to stop him. When his latest victim is found, Victory knows she needs to step up her game because he is escalating. his kills. Derrick runs a successful business, but nobody knows about his other job where he is a paranormal assassin working for the President and Department of Defense. When the two's lives suddenly intersect. suspicion and danger are the outcome.

I am completely intrigued by the idea of a secret branch of the government that uses paranormal gifts. I grew up hearing rumors of those things, like remote viewers and unethical LSD experiments that were all debunked, but I had to read a book that had a legit agency in work. Add in the police procedural portion of the book after a serial killer and there was no way I did not want to read the book.

The narrator used some interesting vocal changes for certain parts that I had never experienced before, giving an air of authenticity to the story. For example, when someone yelled down a hall, the narrator was farther away making it sound like it was from a distance. Also, when there was a radio playing a podcast or a phone call, the narrator used an affect to making is sound like it came from a radio or speaker. The one negative thing that I encountered about her narration was the male main character Derrick's voice, it was really terrible and gravely like he had a throat injury. Her other male characters were great, but his voice was my least favorite.

This was a very fast, engaging read, but boy was it way more depressing than I anticipated it being. The main character, Victory, has a very hard, tough life that just gets worse. I would like to continue the series, if there is more to come, because now I am invested and curious, but if I had know how this would play out, I am not sure I would have picked it up to read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Hunted

  • Hunter Circles Series, Book One
  • By: Jessica Gunn
  • Narrated by: Shannon Condon
  • Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 20

I'm Krystin Blackwood, and I've only ever been good at one thing: killing demons of Darkness. But at 24, I'm about to face my toughest challenge yet: shifting from working alone to joining a team of three other Hunters. Newbie Hunters. They don't know their magik, they barely know their place in the world, and when they find out the secrets I've been carrying, they'll definitely decide it's safer if they don't know me. But unfortunately for them - and me - Darkness has other plans.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • New Urban Fantasy Series

  • By KRLGA @Smada's Book Smack on 10-28-18

New Urban Fantasy Series

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-28-18

**3.5 Stars**
I love any and everything Urban Fantasy and the cover for Hunted is just so very freaking gorgeous! I purchased an ecopy as soon as it was first available (but had not gotten the chance to read it yet) and when I was offered the opportunity to listen to the audiobook I jumped at it. As a side note, I had a hard time connecting to the audiobook and I am not 100% sure why. Just for some reason I found my thoughts drifting while I was listening multiple times and had to re-listen to a good chunk of the book. I think I many have enjoyed the story more if I have read my ebook instead of listening.This was a super fast listen though, easy to get through in just a few sittings.

The world building was great, so detailed and interesting, an underlying demon problem that is being fought right under the unsuspecting human's eyes. Ooh, and the prophecy of the chosen one... It was so complicated I could not help but be interested in the turns and twists of the story and I have so many questions. What a great way to hook a reader into needing the next book!

Kristen and Ben are the two main characters, switching between narration and view points as the story went on so we get to see inside the minds of both characters. I did not really care for Ben as a character overall and would love to have him not be the love interest for Kristen, who seems really cool, powerful, mischievous when bored, at times very insightful, and always interesting. He was a little one-note feeling, all impulse and brawn with very little thought, to me but maybe his character will develop later on in the series. There felt like there might be a love triangle/square brewing which I am a little concerned about, but I would love a love-match with Shawn and Kristen... (I can't wait to learn about Shawn!)

This was not a big point to the story but I kept thinking about the timeline (predominantly since Ben literally kept bringing it up...all the time, at least once per his chapter narrations). Ben's son Riley just turned 2, but he was kidnapped 2 and a half years ago when all the magical craziness entered Ben's life...which 2 and a half years ago was when his wife left him... ooh-kay, so was she pregnant when she left him? But it also mentions that she told him she was pregnant and asked if he wanted to be together while he was still normal in college, which is when I assume they got married, and I know the baby was kidnapped within the first few weeks of his life...ok, here is where I get hung up again. Can someone please provided me with a timeline because I am way too hyper focused on this useless detail like a crazy? But in my defense it is hard to overlook when Ben mentions it every chance he gets.

The ending left lots of doors open so I would like to come back and see where the next battle with take the team.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Semester Aboard

  • More than Magic, Book 1
  • By: Elizabeth Kirke
  • Narrated by: Starla Huchton
  • Length: 14 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 14

Jen Maddox is a few days into her summer study-abroad program. She sees something that isn’t humanly possible. Jen would have thought that it was all a dream if not for the fact that Charlie, Dani, Mariana, TS, and Thomas are making every effort to cover it up. Suddenly, the five of them are everything but normal, and Jen is determined to figure out what they’re hiding. There’s something on the ship. Something dangerous. Suddenly, everyone on board is threatened by a creature that Jen never even believed existed. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • AWESOME BEGINNING TO VAMPIRE SERIES!

  • By Victoria Haugen on 08-20-18

A different kind of supernatural adventure

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-15-18

Jen is so enthused to be on her summer abroad college cruise experience, fully ready to sink her self into classes and the cultural encounters. But when she sees something explainable one night pertaining to a group of students, she doubts herself. But then they start following her around, making sure she doesn't tell anyone what she saw, Jen realizes that there may be more going on than she signed up for.

I really enjoyed this story, it was a completely unique idea with great world building. And it was kind of like a story within a story, which I think helped to keep me fully engaged. Not only do we have the backbone of the book of a summer long cruise for college students (which sounds fantastic- where can I sign up??) to experience a new land, go on excursions, and have classes- but we have the whole supernatural discovery going on, AND then there was a mystery and action to help fill in all the gaps! I can hands down say that I have never read a book like this before.

This was like an adult, slightly more diversified version of Harry Potter. There was a school for all kinds of magical creatures starting from first grade to senior year that all magics attend (cough cough except Jen). And when I say all kinds of magical creatures, I mean it! There are different kinds of vampires, witches, mermaids, werewolves, and all kinds of elementals (like water, fire, ect.) They attempt to live in harmony together, but when that does not pan out- they send in the magical police (which most of our characters belong to) to stop the evil- which seems to usually be a vampire. I liked that Jen knew nothing about this world that she apparently has a connection to and the reader gets to learn all about it right along with her. It was a slow world building that took the length of the book to fully flesh out and I appreciated that.

The narrator did such a great job of bringing ALL the characters to life! I was never confused as to who was talking or how they felt because each of the 6 main characters were given their own voice and personality so perfectly by the narrator. I loved the accents and inflections used, all done so well it was almost like having an ensemble cast performing the audiobook for me. I was super impressed with the narrator, and would love to listen to more books read by her in the future.

Overall I found this to be a fun, well developed fantasy audiobook. I really liked the characters and the world created here and I would love to read the rest of the series- or listen to them!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Keeping Kyler

  • By: Siobhan Davis
  • Narrated by: Craig Barness, Sinead Collins
  • Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19

Kyler Kennedy is in the wind. Shocked and upset, he has taken off on a solo mission - to track down his mom's ex and demand answers. Faye understands what it's like to have your world turned upside down. Determined to support her boyfriend, she gives chase, yet nothing could prepare her for the ugly truth. Ky has always been plagued with inner demons, and as he falls apart, Faye finally discovers what he's been hiding from her - from everyone.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Faye and Kyler defeat obstacles

  • By Jonella A. Moore on 04-01-18

Book 3 in a Messy NA Romance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-06-18

Book 3 picks up right where book 2 ended, with Kyler inadvertently learning a family secret that completely destroys what he knows about himself. Kyler runs away to confront his past, not feeling that he is worth Faye's love yet. Faye knows how much he is hurting and is willing to fight endless battles to get to his side, causing her to finally learn about the demon that has haunted him for seven years. But they could never have guessed about the trouble that is brewing for those they love.

This was actually my second time reading this book, but this time I listened to the audio book. Wow, I completely forgot how much goes on in this book as well as how freaking messed up everything is! Would you like some murder, blackmail, abuse, family drama and some hot romance all smooshed together? Well, look no further because this series has it all- and this book takes the cake with some intense drama.

I really liked the audio version predominantly because the narrator who did Faye's voice and her super cute Irish accent. I would not be surprised if I randomly slip into an atrocious Irish accent of my own occasionally now. I have read the trilogy and this was my first listen and I enjoyed both version very much.

This book is the third book in a series that must be read in order to really appreciate the story fully. Each book builds on the events from the previous book to give a complete picture, and reading this book would make no sense without the first two. I highly recommend that you pick up the first two books before even trying this one.

This series, especially this book, is like reading an incredibly engrossing teenage soap opera (or I guess pretty much any show set in a high school on the CW channel). Just when you think the characters are going to get one minute to breath and potentially be happy, something devastating or at least shocking happens to start the chain of worry again. I blew through this book in an afternoon because I just couldn't help myself and I needed to know more.

Soooo, can I give a teeny tiny spoiler and say that the sexual tension that has been spilling all over the place in the last two books finally has some sort of resolution (ahem, climax if you may)? It has been so steamy at times between Kyler and Faye that I feel like a bucket of water is needed to cool off my ereader during the last two books, and that was without any actual sex occurring. Well, if you like some hot scenes, then you will not be disappointed with Keeping Kyler. Not just the sexy time, but the words of love pour off the pages. These two are not afraid to admit their feelings to each other and everyone else (even if at times I want them to stop the oversharing of their hearts because it is so raw it makes me uncomfortable).

Yes this is a romance first and foremost, but it has so many more elements to it such as mystery. There are so many moving parts and questions that needed answers as well as crimes and villains to sort out that the romance at times took a backseat to proving someones innocence. This is last book in the Kyler trilogy and it ended with hope and happiness, a nice change from the first two books.There will be standalone books in the Kennedy boy's series, but this is the end of Kyler and Faye's story. I can't wait to read the other books in the series and see what messes they get into, but I really hope I get to see more Kyler and Faye at least in the background being happy together.

  • Tell Me

  • By: Abigail Strom
  • Narrated by: Leora Ben-Zev
  • Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 101
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 83
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 83

Shy bookstore owner Jane Finch grew up hiding in the margins of her own life while her vibrant, adventure-loving sister, Samantha, dominated every plotline. She's made peace with it, unlike Sam's business partner, Caleb, who's always nudging Jane to go after what she really wants. Why should she care what blunt, brash Caleb thinks? They've never had much in common, except for Sam. After tragedy strikes, they don't even have that.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved it!

  • By Kindle Customer on 09-14-18

Sweet, emotional romance

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-29-18

Jane has always been the plain boring younger sister, overshadowed by her gorgeous vivacious older sister Sam. Sam's business partner Caleb has always seen Jane though, but he will never act on his feelings. When a devastating tragedy brings them together unexpectedly, the two have to figure out what they want from life- and if they want each other.

I do love romances narrated by both the love interests, it really helps me to get invested and see the whole picture. Their romance was just so destined, yet Jane and Caleb kept butting heads and missing opportunities I just wanted to scream. The two had such strong feelings for the other for years, yet assumed they were alone in the feelings or believed it would not work out. They complimented each other but refused to ever give in, both for fear of not being good enough, but in other ways.

Anne of Green Gables has become one of my recent happy obsessions this last years and the fact that it played a role in this book made my heart so happy. It was just so sweet and relatable I was a sucker. And geez the correlation between Anne and Gilbert and Jane and Caleb was so perfect. And I totally believe that Anne of Green Gables is a book everyone can love, even the most unlikely of readers. And the fact that Caleb quoted Anne was endearing. Side note, read Anne of Green Gables if you haven't already, you will not be sorry.

This was such an angsty, emotional, romantic read (and there were a few moments where both characters were frustratingly stubborn!). I blew through the story in one sitting because it was a quick read and I was compelled to, pretty sure it would have the HEA I wished for, but with enough doubt that I had to keep reading just to make sure. I loved both the characters and wanted them to be happy. I really enjoyed this story and I want to check out more reads from this author.

  • Dance of Thieves

  • By: Mary E. Pearson
  • Narrated by: Karissa Vacker, James Patrick Cronin, Ann Marie Lee
  • Length: 16 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 150
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 141

A formidable outlaw family that claims to be the first among nations. A son destined to lead, thrust suddenly into power. Three fierce young women of the Rahtan, the queen's premier guard. A legendary street thief leading a mission, determined to prove herself. A dark secret that is a threat to the entire continent. When outlaw leader meets reformed thief, a cat-and-mouse game of false moves ensues, bringing them intimately together in a battle that may cost them their lives - and their hearts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantasy, Adventure and Romance!

  • By KRLGA @Smada's Book Smack on 08-10-18

Fantasy, Adventure and Romance!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-18

My thoughts jumped, my own words taunting me, The thing about a mark is they’ve created lies in their head, a story they’ve invented that they desperately want to believe, a fantasy that merely needs to be fed.


Kazi grew up on the harsh streets, becoming a thief to survive- a dang good one, at that. But now, she was chosen by the Queen to be one her elite guards, but an impulsive move may coast her that. Kazi has the opportunity to redeem herself by going on a mission of importance for the Queen, the person who has so much undeserving faith in her. Jase has just lost his father and now became the ruler of his people, spending his first night as ruler wallowing in his grief and alcohol. When the two have an altercation in streets, they never anticipated being kidnapped by slavers. Banding together (both emotionally and literally by shackles- even though they are enemies- Kazi and Jase have to find their way home and to the truth of their people's conflict.

The world building was amazing and layered, with all the regions and wars as well as histories and people so lovingly craftes. I really wanted a map so I could place all the locations mentioned in the story physically since I am a visual person. This is a book that I would love a map for! And yes, this is a spin-off, but it was such a complete world, plot and characters that there was no need for previous books (but you should read the Remnant Chronicles because they are fantastic!). This was such the perfect blend of court politics and intrigue, betrayal, lies. adventure and feels!

Oh my gosh, Dance of Thieves ended up being so romantic! Seriously, I had no idea what this story was going to be like, but I knew I was going to read this new spin-off series because I enjoyed the Remnant Chronicles so much. Gah, it was so freaking romantic and hug worthy at times, I felt like I needed to swoon- or at least force Kazi to (so not her style though but appropriate for the situation, I think).

“I love you. I love you with every breath, with every thought that’s inside me . I’ve loved you from the first time I kissed you on that ledge. Even before that.”

I shook my head trying to pull away. “Jase, no—”

But he pulled me closer and didn’t stop. “When I asked, What is this? I already knew. I knew what I felt, what I was certain you felt, too, but I was afraid to say it, because it was all new to me. It seemed too soon, too impossible. But everything about us didn’t just feel right, it felt like something rare, something delicate that I was afraid of breaking. Something that only comes along once in a lifetime.”

I loved Kazi, but let's be honest- she may be a kleptomaniac. The girl did have an interesting habit of collecting the most random of trinkets of all varieties. Sure, she is a product of her upbringing, and you do what you need to to survive, but really she is a master thief. She has the most prickly of shells, but inside she was a lonely sad little girl. I loved her riddles, people maneuvering skills and her loyalty. The banter and love between Kazi and her 2 sisters in arms was perfect, you could see the love and bond between the girls and that they would gladly go into battle for each other, no questions asked.

Jase had such a strong moral compass that always pointed true- even though the morals of his people did not always line up with what other thought was right. I did really enjoy the dynamic between Jase and his family, you could see the love as well as the ruler boundaries that were probably hard to hold at times. He was just given a new, terrible and great responsibility yet he held up like a champ (for the most part). He was so caring towards Kazi, even though their purposes were at odds. (sniff sniff)

Ps I loved seeing "the Queen", who I know as Lia be her insightful, protective, queenly self. I will admit after the ending of The Beauty of Darkness, I was hoping for at least a little mention of a romantic connection with a certain wonderful guy, so the ending made my heart ever so happy...

“Do you suppose,” he finally whispered, “that this could be part of making … the best of it?”
...
I was as loyal to her as he was to his family, and I would betray him when the time came. I would bring his family and dynasty to their knees. His world was about to end.
The best of it.
We were only making the best of it.
For now.

The story felt magical and epic and I never wanted it to end. But as per all of Mary's books, the heartbreak and betrayal was strong too. There were moments where I thought my heart was ripped out of my chest, all I hoped for was a HEA...that may not be how this story ends. That last chapter though! I seriously do not know how such a beautiful and real moment could fall apart into such utter heart-wrenching chaos. Sorry for all the words, but I feel like I have a lot to say when it comes to my love of this book, this author and this world. I am so tied in knots, wanting to know where the story will go next. There is no doubt that I will be picking up the next leg of the adventure in this duology as soon as possible.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Rogue Queen

  • By: Emily R. King
  • Narrated by: Lauren Ezzo, Scott Merriman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 523
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 454
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 454

Despite the odds, Kalinda has survived it all: Marriage to a tyrant. Tournaments to the death. The forbidden power to rule fire. The icy touch of a demon. That same demon now disguises itself as Rajah Tarek, Kalinda's late husband and a man who has never stopped haunting her. Upon taking control of the palace and the army, the demon brands Kalinda and her companions as traitors to the empire. They flee across the sea, seeking haven in the Southern Isles. To take back the empire, Kalinda will ally with those she distrusts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brace Yourself - No Spoilers.

  • By A Novel Nerd on 02-14-18

Book 3 in a YA Fantasy Adventure

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-18

The Rogue Queen picks up where the last book left us, with Kali and her small group of companions are on the run from the Voider, the demon that was unleashed at the end of the last book, who took the place of the dead Rajah Tarek. Kali fights a sickness brought on by the touch of the Voider, causing weakness, injury as well as an imbalance of her fire gift. The group knows that a dangerous war is brewing for their empire, of good versus bad, that will have surprises and betrayals. But the real question is who will survive?

Gah, Kali made so many choices that I wanted to reach into the pages and force her to take back! Sure, I understand the idea of the good of the empire (thank goodness for all you that I am not in charge of an empire because I vote love over the good of all...) but it was so difficult to support what was happening, especially when I could sense the underlying darkness. This book made my heart hurt with the emotional upheaval that took place. The men in Kali's life pretty much got whiplash from the ups and downs of this roller coaster relationship and my heart really broke for all of them. Nothing has ever been easy for Kali.

Sigh, how I missed Deven, and his loyalty and even disposition! Deven was the second narrator in the book and I was ever so happy to get his voice again, I needed his point of view to keep me going in the face of so many hard choices. Can I just mention how happy I was that Deven made a choice based on what he felt was right and not from his emotions due to the guilt trip a certain powerful Kindred gave him? Deven has always been the vice of reason, the paragon of virtue and I love that about him- no matter what has happened, what love is lost, he will always fight for what is right. Sniff, sniff.

I loved seeing characters from all different parts of the past books pop up, all showing how everything is tied together and that the fate of the empire for everyone is in question (Natessa and Yatin make me so happy!). The tension just kept building and building throughout the book- I was literally on the edge of my seat while reading, grasping the book with both hands, white knuckles, waiting for the moment everything would come crashing down around these people I have become invested in. Sure there was some nice fighting and action thrown in to, but I feel like the body of the story was setting me up for the huge climax in the plot.

There is just one book left in the series and with the number of surprises Emily has thrown at me and these characters, I have no idea what will happen next- everyone's fate is questionable. I can only hope for a HEA for Kali, but I am ever so worried as to what devastation will come (the ending!). I hold my breath and very willingly jump into the last leg of this magical, dangerous journey. I hope I can survive it too!