Tag Archives: YA Fantasy

Battle for the Land’s Soul Just Launched!

I am SOOOO excited! The seventh and final book in the Andy Smithson series just released! Battle for the Land’s Soul marks the epic conclusion of my first series and has been five years coming. To say that I’m thrilled with how it turned out would be a gross understatement for Andy and company fought harder, endured more adversity, and remained committed to the Land’s future in a way that makes me proud to be their creator. While they had adversity thrown at them before, things really got difficult in the epic conclusion. Read for yourself how things turned out and whether their dreams became reality or not.

Synopsis
Good vs Evil. Destiny Demands the Battle be Fought. But at What Cost?

It’s clear Abaddon, the evil shape shifting ruler of Hadession, Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, must be dealt with if Oomaldee’s citizens are to ever live in peace. But how? What lengths will Andy have to go to in order to wage war against a being whose power stems from evil itself? Will Abaddon plunge the land into darkness or will light triumph?

Battle for the Land’s Soul is the seventh and final novel in the Andy Smithson coming-of-age, epic fantasy adventure featuring page-turning action and terrifying villains. This truly is the age old struggle of good vs. evil, and the stakes couldn’t be higher for the outcome will determine the Land’s very future. Don’t miss this epic conclusion!

Get the eBook now at:
Amazon
Google Play
Apple

Get the Paperback now at:
Amazon

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Review of The Crown’s Dog by Elise Kova

crowns-dog-cover-smFirst off, what an awesome cover! I love how Jax is captured. The Crown’s Dog is the first book in The Golden Guard Trilogy (a prequel series to Air Awakens that I absolutely LOVED! You can read all my reviews for that series here.)

SUMMARY (from back): A coastal summer is turned upside down by a violent murder, and a quest for lost pirate treasure turns into a hunt for the killer.

Jax Wendyll is the crown’s dog. As punishment for the unspeakable crimes that torment him to this day, his life has been conscripted to the Empire Solaris. However, in an Empire afflicted by peace, his duties are relegated to unquestioningly aiding the antics of the youngest prince, Baldair.

Erion Le’Dan, a nobleman’s son, expects a quiet summer visit to the Imperial Palace, his only agenda to visit with his unlikely friends. But Jax’s discovery of the legendary pirate Adela Lagmir’s old workroom inspires a hunt for her long lost treasure.

The pursuit of Adela’s truth takes the three men to the Imperial summer manor, built along the old pirate mainstays. When Adela’s trident is branded into a murdered servant, Prince Baldair’s summer amusement of treasure-hunting becomes a hunt to find the killer. But, as mysteries compound, the ghosts of Jax’s past may not be the only things haunting them.

WHAT I THOUGHT: If you’ve read Air Awakens, you know the name “Crown’s Dog” refers to Jax Wendyll. He’s a good-hearted character who is quirky and unbalanced as a result of his past that torments him. We see him in action in this book and his deeds are definitely consistent with his later life. I love this character for he’s not afraid to breach convention and we see that on full display as he “deals” with the antics of a 16-year-old Prince Baldair who has yet to make a name for himself. I particularly loved the end of the book where events make him the “elder” identifying with Baldair and Erion’s inexperience with their first kills.

Speaking of Baldair, we find him at the awkward age of sixteen with too much testosterone and not enough sense, behaving impetuously. I loved how Kova sets up the tension between he and his older brother, Aldrick, which clearly reveals his motivations and undisciplined behavior. I guess the only surprising thing was the lack of any parental involvement–of course that would have destryed the entire storyline (LOL!). While I doubt he would agree, when my son was 16, he required adult intervention/supervision to avoid doing stupid things that would impact his life longer-term. The Emperor clearly has other things occupying his attention…but what of Baldair’s mother? We never see her in action.

And then there’s Erion. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him in action. The Air Awakens series alludes to him and then we see him up at the front, but only cameos. This is the first time I saw him in action in a way that allowed me to understand him motivations and I loved it. I really got the sense of his political motivations and how he wrestled with exploiting his relationship with the prince for his own and his family’s gain. That, and his ties to the history with his homeland that had been conquered by and incorporated into the Solaris Empire.

All in all, the plot was engaging–who can’t appreciate preying on people’s fear of ghosts–and the characters made it a very enjoyable  read. I’ll definitely be reading the next book in this trilogy!

I give The Crown’s Dog 5 stars!

Buy The Crown’s Dog on Amazon. It’s in Kindle Unlimited, too!

FREE EBOOKS: If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to download two FREE EBOOKS: 1) the Prequel and 2) the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Enjoy!

Book Review of The Beauty of Darkness by Mary Pearson

BeautyofDarknessThe Beauty of Darkness is the third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles by Mary Pearson.

SUMMARY (from back): Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous – what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I loved how Mary Pearson wrapped up this trilogy for the most part. In the third book we see more growth in Lia, the main protagonist, as she must overcome disbelief of those around her and assert herself as the leader of Morrighan even though it assuredly means she will die.

Driven by an ancient prophecy, Lia wrestles to overcome the neigh-sayers around her, says “no” to her heart, and plants a stake in the ground that she would save her people.  The courage of conviction that would take speaks volumes about this character who teens can look to as a role model.

Pearson does an awesome job managing the tender relationship between Lia and Rafe. The two sovereigns are stuck in a political conundrum, both their countries needing their leadership, yet as the reader, I felt for them. I longed to see them together.

And with that, I loved how Kaden and Pauline came to love each other. I was cheering duringteh last chapter when Kaden is holding Rhys and he kisses Pauline. Ah… be still my heart. A great ending/beginning for them.

There were two parts I didn’t like about this book. First, I didn’t like how the last battle was resolved. As with epic battles, Lia finds herself between a rock and a hard place, but Pearson extricates her too conveniently for my liking. I hate it when that happens. Lia should have had to dig her way out, not be rescued by the nebulous extraneous third party that does play much of a role at all in the book. I wanted more.

My other gripe was, I didn’t understand why Lia, during the final battle, had to fall off that cliff. It seemed an unnecessary add-on. But this isn’t a major issue.

Overall, this was a great conclusion to this series and I was satisfied. I give this a 4.5/5.0!

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to scroll to the top of this page and sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Book Review of The Crown’s Game

TheCrownsGameA fun tale with a hint of Russian history mixed in. That’s how I summarize The Crown’s Game by debut author Evelyn Skye.

SUMMARY (from back): Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side. And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know.  The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

WHAT I THOUGHT: The concept of a wizarding duel is what hooked me on the book. Well, that and the amazing cover. That said though, I felt like the book didn’t quite live up to the expectations set.

The book started out slow. The first half was filled with introducing characters etc, and I nearly put it down. But with the promise built up for the book, and the fact that it’s traditionally published, I hung in there.

I enjoyed the three main characters: Vika, Nikolai and Pasha. Vika and Nikolai are enchanters while Pasha is heir to the throne of Russia. The three end up in a love triangle, which I didn’t mind, but my problem is I don’t feel like I got t o know the characters well enough to cheer for any of them. Things happen, but I’m left feeling incomplete. I wanted more depth.

As for the plot, this, too, disappointed. I was never clear why either character chose to do what he/she did each turn. Short of one-ups-man-ship, I found what they did creative, but lacking context other than, do the next move bigger.

Then there was the ending. I was hoping neither protagonist had to really die, that their magic would save the day somehow. I was disappointed.

This is the debut of YA author Evelyn Skye so I will give her that, yet with it being traditionally published, I’d hope for more.  I give this book 3 stars.

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to scroll to the top of this page and sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live. Also, leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Cover Reveal… Drum Roll Please…

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Liz Long, an amazing author friend of mine, is celebrating today as she reveals the super awesome cover of the third and final book in her Heroes of Acania trilogy and I’m leading a cheer squad for her!! Check it out!

SuperNova (HoA #1), Fortune’s Favor (HoA #2),
Unbreakable (HoA #3) Heroes of Arcania Trilogy
COVER REVEAL May 26th, 2016

Book One:

SuperNova
The streets of Arcania are overrun with crime, deteriorating as a madman named Fortune makes himself at home. He shows no mercy, striking down anyone in his path – including Nova Benson’s little sister. Devastated, Nova vows to seek justice for her family, but aside from her freak strength and impenetrable skin, how is she supposed to stop a monster like Fortune?

Cole Warner wants to help people. Entrusted to keep his family’s secret, he’s also frustrated at having to hide his gift. He knows he could do more to help in the fight against Fortune. If he could convince his sister Penelope to join him, they might even have a chance at beating him. When Cole meets Nova, he realizes his whole world is about to change. And he’s going to welcome it with open arms.

Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan.

Then again, neither was becoming a superhero.

PREORDER ON AMAZON

Book Two:

Fortunes FavorNova will learn it takes more than sheer strength to be a superhero. Her world implodes when Fortune strikes back for all the trouble she’s caused. His dangerous games put everyone around her at risk, especially when he decides to turn Arcania against its precious Heroes. Nova wants to protect Arcania, but how does she save a city that doesn’t want her help?

Cole has no idea how to deal with his sister Penelope, especially now that she’s learned the truth about their family secret. Thanks to Fortune, she’s headed down a dark path, one with no return. Torn between helping Nova and protecting his sister, Cole will be forced to make a choice. Tensions rise as Cole and Nova discover war will come to Arcania if they don’t get Fortune off the streets…or preferably six feet under.

Nova and Cole might have each other, but will they lose everything else in their mission to save Arcania?

PREORDER ON AMAZON

Drum roll please…Book Three:

UnbreakableNova started the fight against Fortune for simple revenge, but now it’s turned into something much bigger. Arcania’s criminals are at each other’s throats, putting the city right in the middle of a warzone. She’ll have to work with a few unlikely allies to end Fortune’s games once and for all. Nova thought she understood what it meant to be a superhero, but will she have to lose herself to truly defeat Fortune?

Fortune has given Cole a choice, one with unbearable consequences. When Cole takes matters into his own hands to save his sister Penelope, he realizes too late he’s another pawn in Fortune’s games. Fortune will use Cole’s gift against his enemies…including Nova. Cole will have to become the hero he always wanted to be if he’s going to protect the love of his life.

Nova and Cole could finally save Arcania from Fortune’s deadly games, but are they willing to sacrifice each other?

PREORDER ON AMAZON

ABOUT LIZ

LizLiz Long is a proud graduate of Longwood University. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her day job includes writing for a magazine publisher in Roanoke, VA.

The Donovan Circus series has best been described as "X-Men meets the circus." Adult horror story Witch Hearts tells the tale of a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. New Adult PNR A Reaper Made is about a teen Reaper who gets caught between falling in love or saving her sister’s soul. All titles are available for paperback or ebook on Amazon.

To learn more about Liz (including more information on her books, plus writing, marketing, and social media tips), visit her website: http://lizclong.com.

Please Welcome A New YA Fantasy into the World!

Every once in a while I have the privilege of helping a fellow author celebrate the birth of a new creation! Today I am doing just that with my friend Annie Douglass Lima and her latest book The Gladiator and the Guard! Please join me in welcoming a new YA fantasy book into the world!

sword isolated on white background; Shutterstock ID 109466807

She writes:

I’m excited to announce that my young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach.

First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

sword isolated on white background; Shutterstock ID 109466807


What is the Collar for and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil. It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

Click here to order The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon!

  And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

Bensin, a teenage slave martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

 Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard in Kindle format from Amazon!

 Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats)

Annie Douglass Lima

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel. 

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach!

Or find the giveaway at this link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ad2fd99a3/?

 

Review of The Rose and The Dawn

TheRoseandtheDawnI loved The Wrath and The Dawn, and could not wait for this second book in The Wrath & The Dawn series by Renee Ahdieh!

SUMMARY (from back): In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

WHAT I THOUGHT:  I have great respect for authors who can craft tight, flowing sentences and such great writing, as I’ve come to expect from Renee Ahdieh, filled the pages of this book 🙂

In this book, I appreciated the author giving us more depth into some of the co-stars of the series: Tariq, Rahim as well as Despina.  In fact, she gives us a great shock with Despina for I never expected to find out what I did about her. That, combined with another shock related to Khalid at the very end, made the book one I’d recommend reading.

Despite my excitement at the release of this book, I have mixed feelings about this second installment. The Wrath and The Dawn posed an awesome conflict with a king forced to kill his wife at dawn every day until a curse had been fulfilled. The premise intrigued me and I thought the author’s narrative proved consistent and compelling with Shahrzad standing up and refusing to allow it to continue.

This book, to me, lost the focus and pace. In this installment, the curse is addressed although we never truly find out (we are left to infer) that the curse is broken. I found the pace dragging for the first 25% of the book with characters doing a lot of sitting around, waiting. Only after that do we finally get the plot truly moving.

I also found the end dissatisfying with how the author wrapped up the story with Shahrzad’s father, a conflict that I thought a lot more could have been done with. Initially there is the set up that the guy won’t let the book out of his sight, and all it takes is a daughter to spike his tea and that conflict is fixed. I was disappointed that the author chose not to make this into a much bigger problem before the book’s resolution. It could have been epic.  But all we see is a weak character when he had so much potential. The end of his character arc wasn’t any better. I won’t say what exactly happens to him, but it certainly wasn’t epic.

I give this 4 stars!

Buy The Rose and The Dawn on Amazon

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to scroll to the top of this page and sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live. Also, leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Cover Reveal for Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova!!

From time to time I get to help one of my favorite authors, Elise Kova, reveal the cover for her next completely amazing novel. This time it’s for Crystal Crowned, the last book in her Air Awakens series. I have mixed emotions about this cover reveal because it marks the end of this completely amazing series. I have found it to be a rare series that never fails to send me on an emotional roller coaster then leave me with a book hangover…And I don’t want to see it end. But the cover is so beautiful and you can’t help loving it….

CrystalCrowned

Release Date: July 12th 2016
Crystal Crowned Synopsis

Long live Solaris.

One bloodthirsty ruler has been overthrown by another, casting the shadow of death over the Solaris Empire. Vhalla Yarl stands upon the stage of fate, prepared to do battle one final time. Fragile alliances will be tested and new bonds will be formed as the world is reshaped. She fights as the champion of peace, but when the night is darkest will she be able to pay the price of a new dawn?

PREORDER LINKS:

    

About the Author

3f36c-elise2bkovaElise Kova has always had a passion for storytelling. She wrote her first novella, a high-fantasy, in sixth grade. Over the years she’s honed her love of literature with everything from fantasy to romance, science fiction to mystery, and whatever else catches her eye.

Elise lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida, where she’s currently working on the next installment in her debut YA fantasy series: Air Awakens. She enjoys video games, anime, table-top role playing games, and many other forms of “geekdom.” She loves talking with fans on Twitter (@EliseKova) and Facebook.

Follow Elise Kova on Goodreads

Follow Elise Kova on Amazon

My Website: http://www.EliseKova.com

My Social Media:

AND RIGHT NOW SHE HAS A GIVEAWAY GOING FOR A COVER PRINT FROM THE AIR AWAKENS SERIES!! Just click this link:
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Review of The Wrath & The Dawn

TheWrathTheDawn TheWrathTheDawn2

 

 

 

 

 

 

This cover is SO cool and is just one reason I love this book so much!! I was very familiar with the red cover and when I went on Amazon to download it I found this new version…and that’s when I realized the image behind the original red cover. I’d never noticed before. How beautiful and fun is that?

SUMMARY (from back): A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

WHAT I THOUGHT:  The plot is what grabbed my attention first, but the writing and slow reveal of a deep and dangerous mystery kept me intrigued. The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling of 1001 Nights (sometimes called the Arabian Nights).

I found the heroine, Shahrzad, to be a delightfully intelligent woman who, despite being filled with a narrative of avenging the death of her best friend Shiva, for the most part, manages her emotions and bides her time. This plotting allowed the author to slowly unfold the depth and mystery of her husband, Khalid, king of  the land and uncover why he murders his latest wife each morning. Books with overly emotional female protagonists tend to drive me crazy for I don’t see most women behave that way, and this author painted our heroine with grace and dignity.

The author adds more depth to Shahzad as she reveals some of the inner turmoil she experiences as love, and its tendency to overwhelm reason, have her falling for the very man she has committed to destroy, and guilt threatens to overcome…but she fights that battle.

Plot: If I overthink the plot this story would have very little appeal, for what emperor kills his wife every morning just to have a new woman replace her during the day? But since this is a retelling, I chose to just go with it and see where I ended up. And I would say it was a very enjoyable journey.

I particularly loved the scene where the relationship between Shahzad and Khalid is clarified and made different for both of them. They both understand their relationship can never be the same from that point forward. I do wish the author had developed Khalid’s thinking prior to this more fully so we better understood the gravity of this choice for him, as I think it would have completely rocked his world, but we don’t get a peek, only a hint that “something’s” afoot…darn 😦

The swoon factor is well done throughout as the pair confront their own inner turmoil. I loved the intimacy and vulnerability they both showed and how the author slowly developed not just a sexual relationship but slowly revealed the very essence of who each character is. Well done.

It’s clear book one sets up the next for we are left wondering how Shahzad will be reunited with her love and more. But this will be a short wait as the next installment is set to release April 26th. I’ve already pre-ordered mine and you’ll probably, too, if you choose to read this book!

I give The Wrath & The Dawn 5 Stars!

Buy The Wrath & The Dawn on Amazon

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to scroll to the top of this page and sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live. Also, leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!

Review of The Winners Curse

TheWinnersCurse_CoverI’ve been on vacation after the sudden passing of my mom so I’ve been a bit quiet lately. But I’m back and I have to say I loved this novel, the first in the The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski!

SUMMARY: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love. They were never meant to be together. As a general’s daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can’t help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

WHAT I THOUGHT: The world the author creates is one where one people have conquered another and turned their captives into slaves. This situation lasts for a decade, but when the captives rise up and retake power, everything turns upside down. I loved how the author helped the reader empathize with the captives…how would it feel if your freedom was suddenly taken away and you were made a slave to the victor. Would you swallow your pride and suddenly serve the needs of your captor? Would you do even the most menial of tasks? And for a decade with no promise that things will ever change?

This is the situation Arin finds himself in, a slave of the victor, bought and sold at the whim of his captor. Kestrel, a young lady of the victor’s side buys him on an impulse but never treats him disrespectfully as some. Their relationship grows and love takes root.

But things are too good to stay as they are (especially to keep readers engaged), and when Arin leads a rebellion he helps topple the rule of his people’s oppressors, throwing Kestrel into his possession…how the tables are turned and she detests it. The author does a great job at keeping the opposite and colliding worlds before the reader and having us “feel” the other’s position.

As for characters, Kestrel is a dynamic and growing heroine. The author starts her as a naive socialite and through consequences of her own making, she must learn from her mistakes and ignore her peers and society’s expectations as she struggles to create a path for herself and her future.

Arin is also a dynamic and engaging character. I loved how the author slowly reveals his past, helping us see and feel how he must have felt being dehumanized by his captors. I particularly loved the scene where we find that Ibex’s house was his before the takeover…oh feels… What a great character!

And then there’s  the swoon-worthy quotient…this book is slow building in a relationship that readers are sure to love. I can’t wait to see how it is deepened and grown in the next book.

I give this 5 stars!

Buy The Winner’s Curse on Amazon!

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST, be sure to scroll to the top of this page and sign up to be notified the instant a new post goes live. Also, leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

FREE EBOOKS: I also invite you to download the free ebooks of the Prequel and the award winning Book one in the Andy Smithson epic fantasy series. Would you leave a review on Amazon after you read them? Thanks so much!