Hollen the Soulless (Dokiri Brides, #1) by Denali Day – Review

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About Hollen the Soulless by Denali Day

He’ll mark her flesh. She’ll claim his heart.

Always the dutiful daughter, Lady Joselyn is weeks away from marrying a rival lord in order to save her house. However, she suddenly finds herself in the clutches of an ancient beast she’s only ever heard of in legends. More terrifying than that is the beast’s master, a wild man who insists Joselyn is his bride by right, and plans to seal his claim in blood.

Wyvern-rider, Hollen, has finally captured the woman of his dreams, though he quickly learns waiting for her was less than half the battle. His new bride wants nothing to do with him and Hollen knows he only has one chance to change her mind.

Their wills pitted against each other, Joselyn will go to any lengths to free herself from this savage and fulfill her marital contract. Her father’s life depends upon it. To win her over, Hollen will do whatever he must, even if it means keeping secrets.

Even as she plots her escape, Joselyn begins to wonder if one can also be bound by a duty to their own heart.

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Review of Hollen the Soulless

Denali Day is a new-to-me author that I am very happy to have discovered.  Believe it or not, I was a little tenuous in requesting the ARC.  It turns out Denali Day can write up a storm!  In this expertly written story, I found a world of amazing characters struggling to live a life of honor.  The struggle comes because one person’s honor is another person’s torment.

Joselyn is such a strong woman.  She grew up believing she is meant to serve her family and her people despite the fact that her family never did much for her.  Hollen is also strong, as a leader of his people, the Dokiri. But he is gentle with Joselyn.

The thing is, Hollen did abduct Joselyn.  I refer to this type of a story as a ‘Mars Needs Women’ story.  That is, Hollen’s people only birth male children, so they need females from outside the tribe.  And how do they get those women?  They abduct them.  Their rituals coincide with that of their gods, which is not to make it seem okay but to explain their methods.  I can’t say I am crazy about this aspect of their culture.  With the exception of that whole abduction thing, the Dokiri tend to treat the women very well.  My wish is for the author to find another way to introduce these men to good women.  I will say that the terms of the abduction turn out to be more favorable for the women and I will leave it at that.

Hollen the Soulless is billed as fantasy romance.  While most fantasy involves some kind of magic, sorcery or witchcraft, this book has none of that.  It does include mythical creatures such as the wyverns that Hollen and his brothers ride.  It also includes strong cultures and exotic locations that are not of this world.  The romance element is the biggest part of this book.  The fact that it takes most of the 497 pages for Joselyn and Hollen to finally see eye-to-eye only makes me love this book more.  And while there are lots of intimations of sex between loving and consenting adults, there is no explicit sex.

Hollen the Soulless is a very well told story.  I plan to continue with this series.  I see that Hollen’s lonely brothers will all need to find love too!

Many thanks to the author who provided a copy of her book via Booksprout in exchange for my honest review.

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Deal With the Devil (Mercenary Librarians, #1) by Kit Rocha – Review

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About Deal With the Devil by Kit Rocha

The United States went belly up 45 years ago when our power grid was wiped out. Too few live in well-protected isolation while the rest of us scrape by on the margins. The only thing that matters is survival. By any means. At any cost.

Nina is an information broker with a mission: to bring hope to the darkest corners of Atlanta. She and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to help those in need. But altruism doesn’t pay the bills—raiding vaults and collecting sensitive data is where the real money is.

Knox is a bitter, battle-weary supersoldier who leads the Silver Devils, an elite strike squad that chose to go AWOL rather than slaughter innocents. Before the Devils leave town for good, they need a biochem hacker to stabilize the experimental implants that grant their superhuman abilities.

The problem? Their hacker’s been kidnapped. And the ransom for her return is Nina. Knox has the perfect bait for a perfect trap: a lost Library of Congress server. The data could set Nina and her team up for years…

If they live that long.

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Review of Deal With the Devil

Wow! What a great new series. The rousing kickoff of the The Mercenary Librarians is a winner all the way around.

Deal With the Devil is a non-stop action, post-apocalyptic scifi thriller. There are evil corporate overlords and supersoldier enforcers. Nina, Knox and their friends are the bright stars in the neighborhood (or wherever they venture to), helping out in their quiet, peaceful ways and also in their not so quiet, deadly ways. These are the honorable heroes of the futuristic Atlanta.

Nina is a lovely kickass heroine. Literally. And figuratively – she doesn’t take any crap. Her team is just as smart and tough as she is. They find themselves working with a group of renegade supersoldiers, headed up by Knox. Knox and his team are every bit as smart and kickass as Nina’s team.

Secrets though. Not everything is as it has been made to appear and betrayal is imminent. The trouble is, the boys and the girls are starting to like each other, making betrayal taste bitter. What about honor?

Nina and Knox are an intense couple. Their romance is doomed, but they decide to live in the moment. I have a feeling this happens a lot in post-apocalyptic SE United States. Their teams are comprised of equally interesting people, including an assassin and a potential serial killer. Sounds bad, doesn’t it. I assure you, they are perfect for their teams. I’m guessing the assorted team members will get their own romances in future books in this series.

Each chapter begins with logs and memos about test subjects that one assumes are the characters in the story – before they broke away from their overlords. The test subjects are numbered and though sometimes it is easy to figure out who they are referring to, sometimes it was a little confusing. Thankfully, the main part of the story, with real names, was quite easy to follow and was really all I needed to enjoy this great Scifi adventure.

Oh joy! I’ve discovered a new-to-me Scifi Romance author. And look at the series title: Mercenary Librarians. How is someone like me, a librarian that loves Scifi romance, going to not read this?

One more thing – that is a singularly awesome cover!

Thanks to the publisher who provided a copy through Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

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A Touch of Ice (The Towers of the Earth, #4) by Nita Round – Review

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About A Touch of Ice by Nita Round

To have a future, one must face their past.

Magda, Ascara and Lucinda must draw upon the strength of their trinity to seek out the truths of the past that hold the key to their future.

They travel north, to Magda’s place of birth amongst the Oceanics. For Magda, this is an unwelcoming place, a reminder that she was banished and dealt a cruel fate. Named Stoner and landlocked, for an Oceanic this is a dishonour and a fate worse than death. To return to the float again would place her life, and those with her, at risk.

In the freezing waters of the far north, Magda finds herself defending her honour and birth right.  She must succeed as their fate depends upon it. Failure is not an option, the costs are too high.

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Review of A Touch of Ice

With A Touch of Ice, we travel to Magda’s homeland and learn about her past and her amazing future.  Previous books have hinted at Magda’s unusual talents and her past.  I was pleased to get this glimpse into the world that Magda was pushed out of.  As with any character that you have come to love, any detail about what makes them tick is soaked up.

Part of what makes Magda tick is the trinity of Raven, Fire and Ice.  The trio will be even closer.  Support when needed, holding back when needed, even admonishing occasionally and always loving.  There is something very compelling about these three women and their relationship and I love to see it develop.

In this story, the trio comes face to face with the clockmaker.  And it is not what you would expect.  It is terrifying and wonderful.

In this story an old friend is determined to be a betrayer (I saw that one coming).

In this story, a new tower is discovered.  Well, the series is called The Towers of the Earth.

In this story, advanced technology arises.  I did not expect that, but considering the source, it made sense.

In this story, there are more details about the Father and the Mother.   I really want more on that subject, but maybe that will come in the further telling of the tale.

In A Touch of Ice, the ongoing plot gets more complex.  If I think back to book 1, which I read as a mystery and not much more, I am amazed at how far the story has progressed.  And every time I finish a book in this series, I think the story just keeps getting better.  And I become that annoying person who is impatient for the next book in the series.  While A Touch of Ice does have a complete story in it, it is evident that there is still much more to come.  I quite won’t call it a cliffhanger.  I do recommend you read these books in series order.

While the overall story arc of The Towers of the Earth is intricate and fascinating, these books are ultimately about three strong women who will do anything for each other.  Which is the true appeal for me.

Thanks to the author who provided a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.

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