Melting Stones – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, we’re finally up to the final review for the Circle of Magic universe!

There’s one more book planned to make this a quartet rather than a trilogy. And I seriously hope that book is better than this one. This is the one book I actually didn’t enjoy. So much so that I’m not re-reading it.

I just can’t.

It feels so different to all the other books and I don’t like that none of the original four aren’t in it. Potentially my dislike for this book is because Evvy is still quite young and the book is aimed at that younger age group. Compared to the other four who’ve grown up therefore making the books geared that little bit closer to my age.

Maybe because Evvy is younger I no longer connect to her, whereas I’ve grown up with Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar. Either way the writing FELT different to me and in a way the overall story felt too dramatic and over the top compared to Tamora’s other works.

In terms of whether you should read this one or not, personally. I’d say skip it. From what I can tell it adds no benefit to the overall universe’s story and so won’t impact your reading of anything else.

On the flip side. This is the second last book published in this world. So it stands to reason Tamora’s writing will have changed over time. I’m sure everyone’s does.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The Boundary Fence by Alissa Callen.

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Song of the Soul – Lisa Kessler

Welcome back everyone, I can’t believe we’re finally at the end of the series! How?! Why?!

I’ve loved this series more and more as I’ve gotten further into it. Normally this isn’t the case. Especially when each book built on the last one and none felt like the ball had been dropped.

Every character had a reason for being. Every character had a purpose at every part of the journey, and it didn’t feel like it was sticky taped together or anything.

The way Lisa was able to pivot the story from hate and revenge to forgiveness and love was amazing. Even though I’m not sure how “believable” the very ending bit was, especially given how much Lisa stressed that there was only one set of Muses born each generation.

I also would’ve liked to have known what ended up happening with the Gods. We can only assume the ended was what the Muses were trying to achieve. But how did their relationships change? Did they change their views on anything?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing The Daugher of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner.

Dance of the Heart – Lisa Kessler

Welcome back everyone, I loved this book, even though it felt very light on with the romance.

All the pieces are falling into place. The gods are in play, the masks are taken off, the bad guys and the good guys are redefined, and its action packed the whole time!

Although I loved the romance of the early books, I’m loving how it’s developing even more. The changes in dynamics based on the information that’s available is amazing.

I even got a surprise at the end!

The start of each book we figure out who the next Guardian and Muse couple are. Yet this time we find out at the end of this book. And the way we find out is so cool! With 2 gods, 7 Muses, 7 Guardians and some kids present it was not the discovery I expected.

And his gift! OMG!

I can’t wait to get to the final book to understand how and why he has that gift!

I feel like that final couple of chapters overrode everything else about the book that was great. It was all just so unexpected that it’s all my mind is latching onto and wanting to focus on. Especially because it’s driving me nuts trying to figure out what’s left to cover in the final book.

You know when a series feels like it’s reached its end, but you know there’s still another book, episode or movie to go? That’s how this feels!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing Daughter of Victory by Kerri Turner.

Always Been You – Lasairiona E. McMaster

Welcome back everyone, I feel like I’m kinda getting back into my groove. Having a couple of weeks not having to work 50+ hours certainly helped!

I’ve gotten to the final book in the AJ Williams trilogy, meaning I’m also at the end of both Lisa’s and AJ’s stories. In a way I’m glad it’s the end. Purely because 6 books about the same two people can be a lot. But I was also super pumped about finding out his side of that final turbulent book.

I spent a fair while wondering how much we’d see, including how he’d get divorced. I gotta say I wasn’t as emotionally invested in this book as some of the others. I think this comes more from how eager I was to know his side of the Mexico trip and his divorce than anything else.

Overall, I found myself underwhelmed by the emotional upheaval AJ went through and the way it was written. Other than the moments involving Lisa (much of which was taken directly from her books), the emotional rollercoaster that I’m used to experiencing just wasn’t there.

I got the feels in all the right moments, just as intended. Yet I found myself just waiting for all the moments with Lisa to see what AJ was thinking and feeling. When you’re reading a book, I don’t believe you should be waiting for moments to happen. Instead, I think you should be enjoying the moment you’re in and the story.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Dance of the Heart by Lisa Kessler. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years.

Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation.

With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

Battle Magic – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, although this book is set before the other two in this quartet it was published after them.

And it shows.

I had to re-read this because I’ve only read it once so couldn’t remember it well enough to write this review. Since I know Will of the Empress so well (I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve read that one) some of the phrases, scenes etc were expected. Yet it didn’t feel as dramatic or intense as Briar made it out to be in Will of the Empress.

Given how much time was spent focussing on the lead up to the war, there really wasn’t enough time left to devote to proper descriptions of the war. By the time we got to the main war we were lucky to get one chapter to a battle that raged days. And then the Emperor wasn’t even there for the war to end!

Since I’d forgotten what happened I thought we were going to miss out on finding out how the war would end. Then in the space of what felt like a few pages it was all over. It was definitely an unsatisfying ending. I felt jibbed by that ended.

When the magic and development of the people was done so well throughout the book, I can’t believe how badly it was finished. At the same time, quite a few of the magical moments were so similar to ones in the Will of the Empress that I now want to re-read that again. While also hating on the fact that Tamora so easily “copied and pasted” those aspects. I think more effort could have been put in to make them more different so each book is unique.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Just Another Silly Love Song by Rich Amooi.

Holding Out for a Hero – T.E. Kessler

Welcome back everyone, I’m desperately trying to keep up with my commitments. Especially those I made with Rachel.

I love sci-fi, alien romances and romances in general. So I jumped on the opportunity to read this series, one I hadn’t heard of before. In some ways this book is amazing, and then in others I hated it and felt the writer was immature, out of touch and generally needed help writing romances.

The politics, the intrigue, the action. It all kept me engaged, interested and wanting to read more.

What fell apart for me was the romance and sex scenes. They felt weird, out of touch and unrealistic. What really made this obvious for me was when Nacifer’s kinkiness came out. I’ve nothing against that kind of sexual antics, but it felt weird to bring it out within a couple of days of properly meeting and starting to date someone.

You’ve barely begun to explore each other’s bodies. How can you be bored enough to need to move onto other exploits so soon?

I also realised at that point that the book spans less than a week. I get instant attraction, lust etc. But love to the point of willing to die for the other, break oaths, turn your back on your own species? It just felt weird to me.

I also found the language used in all of the sex scenes was clinical, rushed and generally made me think the author was a guy trying to get into the female psyche. You know when guys try to talk dirty and as a woman, you’re like “that just feels gross, no, just stop talking, that’s not sexy”. That’s how I felt reading those sex scenes.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Tina Kessler writes steamy romance for the 18+ market and is the pen name of Louise Wise.

Louise Wise is a British author from the Midlands in England. Her debut novel is the acclaimed sci-fi romance titled EDEN, which was followed by its sequel HUNTED in 2013.

Forthcoming, JELVIA: NOT HUMAN series is themed on the above Eden and Hunted books.

  • HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO book 1
  • SURVIVING HER DOMINANT book 2
  • SPIDER book 3 will be released late spring, 2020.

Wise took the decision to write under the name of T. E Kessler for her JELVIA: NOT HUMAN series to separate them from her regular novels to the mature material. Her other works include:

  • Eden (sci-fi romance) – slight sex references
  • Hunted (sci-fi romance) slight sex references
  • A Proper Charlie (romantic comedy)
  • Oh No, I’ve Fallen in Love! (dark, comedy romance)
  • Wide Awake Asleep (time travel, romance)

Wise enjoys writing comedy and finds a place for it in ALL her books. She has written numerous short stories for women’s magazines such as Take a Break and Woman’s Own.

Devoted to Destiny – Lisa Kessler

Welcome back everyone, the Muse Chronicles are back and the trend of the storyline changing has continued.

In the previous book — Light of Spirit — I noticed a trend where the Order of the Titans was included more, and their focus seemed to be shifting. In this book, it feels like it’s about 30-40% of the book. Which means the series is becoming less about the romance, and more about the action.

I’m not against this trend, but it wasn’t expected so I’m still trying to figure out if that was planned or not. It doesn’t feel like the romance is suffering because of it, so maybe it was planned.

A few pieces are also starting to fall into place that tells me why certain decisions were made by some characters in previous books. Although (thanks to me being sneaky) I know who the final guardian is, I’ve got NO IDEA who the next one will be even though we’ve been introduced to them in previous books for the last 3.

Maybe we’ve met the next guardian, but we just don’t know it yet? Which is kind of driving me crazy wanting to read the next book, but I need to wait coz I have a few other books I need to read first.

When I think about the feeling I want to be left with when I finish a book in a series, the feeling I want is an obsession to read the next book NOW! To me that says the books was great, I’m still hooked, and there’s a clear intent for the story that I want to know about.

Fingers crossed I can hold out on reading the next book so I don’t fall behind on the reviews I’ve agreed to between now and the next book!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing The Gin Lovers Guide to Dating by Nina Kaye.

Worth Fighting For – Lasairiona E. McMaster

Welcome back everyone, I seem to be scheduling most of the AJ Williams trilogy on Saturdays!

We continue the story by picking up with AJ midst depression crash. In Lisa’s books all we knew was that he wasn’t responding to her and that his phone was broken, and his wife took his laptop charger with her. Reading AJ’s perspective was kind of shocking.

I know down swings can be bad, but I had no idea loss of time etc could be a part of it. The was Lasairiona was able to describe his emotional state of mind, his physical reactions and his general surroundings made me feel like I was standing next to him, seeing his house and what he looked like.

One of the things I liked about his opening book Game Changer, was that we got to see his thoughts throughout everything. That gave us the difference between Lisa’s trilogy and his. Yet it felt like we didn’t get as much of his thought processes this time.

When we did, it was usually him talking to himself to try and behave better, especially in his reactions to Lisa. Yet he often ignored his own advice. At least that’s what it felt like to me.

If you know you should act a certain way, or say certain things, then why would you? That reasoning was missing and jarred me a little bit coz it just made me hate AJ a little bit. Knowing what’s coming (kind of) in the final book next month means I can’t totally hate him. But I honestly couldn’t comprehend how someone could be so selfish and self-absorbed, yet somehow have so many friends and family love him so much.

It just didn’t make sense to me. 

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

The Will of the Empress – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, after finishing the second quartet in the Emelen world I’m on to the final quartet. Even though there’s only 3 books published… And the 4th is an unknown as to whether it’ll ever get written and published…

I love coming back to this book. I think it’s probably my all time favourite book by Tamora Pierce. Even if the writing isn’t technically great and there’s some moments that feel clumsy and almost contradictory.

Throughout this book Tamora has woven a sense of female empowerment. From the ruler of the largest nation being a woman who doesn’t need to be married, right down to a victim of domestic violence doing what she needs to do to get out of that situation.

Every step of the way we see women showing it’s OK to be who you are and to make the most of your life without a man holding you back. Reading this for the first time when I was 16 and just starting to get a sense of my place in the world and where I wanted to go. This was amazing. It was so liberating to know that I could do anything, and be anything I wanted if I worked hard and didn’t let others hold me back.

Although it’s 14 years later, and I’m almost 30, it’s still great to be reminded of this empowerment. Especially when I’m feeling a bit down or like I’m struggling to achieve what I want. Reading this and getting that reminder that I can make it happen is such a great feeling.

Thank you for reading, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Worth Fighting For by Lasairiona E. McMaster.