A MelanieM Review: Magic Ties Together by Nina Begonia

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Ira has one eye, a back-alley accuracy charm, and a policy of taking what he can get.

Lajos has a sword, a stoic façade that crumbles quickly under pressure, and a mysterious past.

When a routine monster attack leads to the men being magically bound together, unable to part without being violently ill, Ira is horrified. Worse, the link means they can sense each other’s every emotion. And as time goes on, Ira starts to wonder which emotions are truly his, and which are just a result of the magic…

I just love fantasy and always search out new stories and new authors. So I had high hopes for Magic Ties Together by Nina Begonia.  It had a neat, interesting premise that linked the couple right from the start…a type of magic handcuffs.

But while this story did contain some nice elements and places where my interest was definitely piqued, for the most part, it was jammed full of just a weird mixture of not enough world building (had no idea of the sort of world these characters really existed in) and one in which we got far too many extraneous details.  Really should have been the other way around.

The characters started having sex almost immediately, because the bracelets “made them do it”.  Trust me, not sexy at all.  Then there were hodgepodgy creatures whose physical descriptions made even less sense than some of the world building (what there was).

The characters had potential but didn’t seem to reach it imo.  This story is 100 pages yet it felt as though the author was trying to jam 500 pages worth of things the author had in mind for the story that just kept flowing on, regardless of whether it fit or not into the current scenes or storyline.

The ending was probably the best thing about this story.  It was the most pulled together.  The characters felt as though they might actually care about each other but everything leading up to it is such a narrative quagmire.

Not a story I would recommend.

Cover art: Aisha Akeju.  Gorgeous cover, definitely eye catching.

Sales Link:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 103 pages
Published April 4th 2018 by Less Than Three Press (first published April 2nd 2018)
Original TitleMagic Ties Together
ISBN139781684312382
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: The Wanderer (Chronicles of the Riftlands #1) by Rowan McAllister

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

After centuries of traveling the continent of Kita and fighting the extradimensional monsters known as Riftspawn, mage Lyuc is tired and ready to back away from the concerns of humanity.

But the world isn’t done with him yet.

While traveling with a merchant caravan, Lyuc encounters Yan, an Unnamed, the lowest caste in society. Though Yan has nothing but his determination and spirit, he reminds Lyuc what passion and desire feel like. While wild magic, a snarky, shapeshifting, genderfluid companion, and the plots of men and monsters seem determined to keep Lyuc from laying down his burden, only Yan’s inimitable spirit tempts him to hang on for another lifetime or so.

All Yan wants is to earn the sponsorship of a guild so he can rise above his station, claim a place in society, and build the family he never had.

After hundreds of years of self-imposed penance, all Lyuc wants is Yan.

If they can survive prejudice, bandits, mercenaries, monsters, and nature itself, they might both get their wish… and maybe even their happily ever after.

I really enjoyed The Wanderer. It ticked a lot of boxes for me and I just couldn’t put it down.

I liked both Yan and Lyuc immediately. They’re very different but make a wonderful couple. I really enjoyed their relationship dynamic and it was pretty obvious that they cared for each other. I really enjoyed watching their relationship blossom and especially Yan changing and growing in character.

But my favourite character by far was Lyuc’s traveling companion and friend. He’s so cool and he really added to the story.

The fantasy part has all the potential to become truly epic. It’s not exactly a brand new idea, but the author definitely made it work. The world building was well done and I immediately fell into the universe. It had me intrigued and I definitely want to find out more. This is just the beginning, after all.

There weren’t all that many sex scenes. While I don’t always need tons of sex to enjoy a book, I think this could have used a bit more. It’s implied that Yan has had some not so great experiences in the past and that he’s used sex as a favour to get out of trouble. It felt like he immediately went from “sex as a favour” to “sex out of love”. There was no slow change over time and that’s a bit of a shame. But that’s all I have to complain about.

Long story short, I absolutely loved “The Wanderer” and I can’t wait for part two. This really has the potential to become a really epic fantasy story with a wonderful relationship. I just hope the author will keep the current couple and won’t introduce a new one. I really liked our trio.

I really like the cover by Stef Masciandaro. It makes me smile and fits the story perfectly.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640802360
Series Chronicles of the Riftlands #1

A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Gryphon King’s Consort by Jenn Burke

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Love takes flight.

The sudden death of the Gryphon King throws the kingdom of Mythos into uncertainty, and Crown Prince Luca rushes both his coronation and an arranged marriage to a man he’s never met. Eirian is young and idealistic, and while they both want what’s best for their people, their philosophies couldn’t be more different. While Luca believes in honoring tradition, Eirian is determined to infuse modern values into their kingdom of magical creatures. When given the choice between loyalty to his husband and his own crusade, Eirian makes a decision that might doom their marriage.

Still, Luca is committed to making their union work, and that means forgiving his brash consort. But when Eirian becomes the target of a deadly conspiracy, Luca must act fast—or forever lose the chance to explore their burgeoning love.

I don’t honestly remember reading anything from Jenn Burke before but if The Gryphon King’s Consort is typical of the tales I can expect from this author, then I’m off to search for other stories to read.  It’s full of gryphons, all sorts of magical beasts, political intrigue, an arranged marriage, and happily, a romance that leads to a love that’s forever after. I mean these beings live a long, long time!

Be still my heart!

A story from Dreamspinner Press’ Dreamspun Beyond line, Burke does a lovely job of laying down a complete alternate universe.  She delivers on the history of the hidden world of magical beasts revealing themselves to humans, the resultant wars and the peace accord that survives to present day.  Also the factions within the Mythos kingdom, the Modernists and the Traditionalists.  It’s a neat believable divide albeit complete with magical beasts (which I adore btw).  Also, a touch I appreciated is the connection a King has with his people.  It’s something I wish more heads of state had these days.  That scene was marvelously touching and pulled the reader further into Luca’s character and his new role as King.

Even the author’s take on gryphons and their ability to shift into different creatures is wonderful and used to great effect here within the storyline, along with all the other hosts of magical beasts/beings we meet here and the rituals or parts of their cultures that Jenn Burke has created for the story.

And all that serves as a foundation and stage for her two main characters, Luca and  Eirian (as well as some memorable secondary characters).  I felt both men/beings were so well done.  The story is told from both perspectives and works extremely well that way.  The reader can see what the emotional cost of an arranged marriage is as far as trust, lack of friendship, personal knowledge  and even missing simple comradeship can be between two people.  Especially when the affairs of state seem determined to keep them apart.

This is, quite simply, a slam bang fantasy romance!  One you can immerse yourself in and be quite startled at how quickly you’ve come to the end.  I loved it and was sorry to see it over.  If you are a lover of fantasy and romance, here’s a story for you!

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.  I like the cover, definitely catches your eye.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Expected publication: December 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635339208
Edition LanguageEnglish