Friday, January 15, 2016

Review: Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier

Title: Dreamer's Pool
Author: Julie Marillier
Series: Blackthorn and Grim, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 4 November 2014

Award-winning author Juliet Marillier "weaves magic, mythology, and folklore into every sentence on the page" (The Book Smugglers). Now she begins an all-new and enchanting series that will transport readers to a magical vision of ancient Ireland...

In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she'll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help. Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.

With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.

The first Juliet Marillier book I read was Shadowfell, and I adored it. I adored that whole series. I've been anxious, ever since, to pick up another book/series by her for a long time.

Finally, I was able to squeeze this start to a new fantasy series in. Dreamer's Pool is the first book in the Blackthorn and Grim series. And the two title characters, I absolutely adore.

We first meet them both in a prison. Blackthorn thinks tomorrow is to be her "day in court," so to speak. Unfortunately, the powers that be have different plans - ones that will result in Blackthorn never seeing the light of day. Grim has the cell across from her. His only thought is of her safety, even when he knows what is to happen.

That night, a mysterious visitor appears offering a deal that's too good to be true. Yet, what choice does Blackthorn have but to accept it. This delays her vengeance and justice for seven long years, but the alternative - no justice at all - is unbearable. So Blackthorn accepts, and makes the long journey north as bid....with Grim following along behind.

This is told in multiple first-person points-of-view. There's Blackthorn, Grim, and the prince of Dalraida - Oren. I really enjoyed all of their voices, even though Grim's stuttered way of thinking did take me a bit to get used to. I appreciated how different their voices truly were, how unique they were to themselves. And I can't help but want to know more - especially about Grim's past.

The story itself meanders a bit to get to the point. For a good deal of the book I know what happened, even if I can't figure out how. So it was slightly frustrating that it took so long for everyone else to figure out. Granted, we had everyone's point-of-view, and they only had their own, but still, that's one of the disadvantages of this kind of storytelling.

All the same, I did enjoy the pace and the world. This is a beginning, a fairy-tale-like set-up to this new world. We get bits and pieces, and just the barest mention of magic. I'm dying to see what Conmael is up to (and who he actually is to Blackthorn). I already mentioned wanting more of Grim's past. And I'm eager to see Blackthron settle more into herself - though I know (and am glad) that her thirst for justice/vengeance will not wait for eternity....maybe just long enough to see it done.

Dreamer's Pool didn't grab me quite as completely as Shadowfell did, but I am definitely happy I read it, and excited to go on in the series.

Grade: C+

Amazon | BN | kobo | Book Depository | Goodreads

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Title: The Deal
Author: Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus, Book 1
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 24 February 2015

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy...

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

...and it’s going to be oh so good.

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

What in the name of hell took me so long to read this?? I would say I don't know what I was thinking...but the truth of the matter is that I do. I was going to say that New Adult and me don't really get along, but the truth of the matter is that I'm incredibly gun-shy about it. First, I've read a MILLION reviews of NA books from friends, and they horrify me. Second, NA is - primarily - contemporary romance; not my favorite genre. Third, I'm not a fan of angst, and there's usually plenty of angst to go around in New Adult. So, I get them, because they sound good, but then they languish on my shelf for ages until I finally pick them up.

No matter how much I love Elle Kennedy's Out of Uniform series (and I seriously love that series - don't judge me that it's more sex than story, at least for the first half dozen books - it's fun AND sexy as fucking hell), it still took a friend's amazing updates to make me excited to pick this up. I have mentioned that I'm not a fan of NA, right? I want to be, I swear I do, and I've actually had pretty good luck - but that's probably because I'm incredibly picky, and only read the NA that my trusted friends vouch for.

And then, even when I'd decided to read it, I waited until I had some buddies to read it with. Because I'm a coward. And, if it sucked, I needed someone to bitch with and commiserate with.

First things first, because when I opened the book and read this sentence - on the first page - I wish I'd had a little warning.


The heroine in this novel was raped, five years before the start of the book, but it is mentioned fairly frequently. She's still dealing with it, and it comes up in discussions, thoughts, and memories in regards to some situations. And I'll talk about it a lot in my review below.
Related Posts with Thumbnails