A MelanieM Review: Prince of Air and Darkness (The Darkest Court #1) by M.A. Grant

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Phineas Smith has been cursed with a power no one could control.

Roark Lyne is his worst enemy and his only hope.

The only human student at Mather’s School of Magick, Phineas Smith has a target on his back. Born with the rare ability to tap into unlimited magick, he finds both Faerie Courts want his allegiance—and will do anything to get it.

They don’t realize he can’t levitate a feather, much less defend the Faerie Realm as it slips into civil war.

Unseelie Prince Roark Lyne, Phineas’s roommate—and self-proclaimed arch nemesis—is beautiful and brave and a pain in the ass. Phineas can’t begin to sort through their six years of sexual tension masquerading as mutual dislike. But Roark is also the only one able to help Finn tame his magick.

Trusting Roark’s mysterious motives may be foolish; not accepting his temporary protection would be deadly.

Caught in the middle of the impending war, Phineas and Roark forge a dangerous alliance. And as the walls between them crumble, Phineas realizes that Roark isn’t the monster he’d imagined. But their growing intimacy threatens to expose a secret that could either turn the tide of the war…or destroy them both.

As a lover of fantasy, I had two thoughts upon finishing this story.  First, I wanted to immediately tell Free Dreamer she had another story to read and secondly, I bemoaned the fact that I had to wait for the next book in the series to come out.  What a gripping story!  I can’t wait to see where this saga is going because if the next tale is anywhere half as amazing as Prince of Air and Darkness, then this series is going to be one whopping adventure!

There is several elements and a couple of twists I adore here with the Fae courts that the author plays with.  While not a twist, Grant’s Fae aren’t the lovely faeries you might expect.  Instead they harken back to the Fae of old Irish mythology.  Those you don’t make bargains with, with little use for humans other than as pets.  Cruel, manipulative, beautiful, and layered.  These are the Fae of M.A. Grant and I love them.  Furthermore, in most novels the Seelie of the Summer courts tend to sway towards the “good/light” side and the Unseelie of the Winter Court towards the “bad/dark” side, here the waters are murkier.  It’s more about balance and individuals, than black and white, good and evil.

Even the torture done might not have had all the ramifications known, even to those doling out the torture.

The ley lines too, which are a common element in fantasy tales, here get a special Grant treatment which I need much more of.

With all of this as a foundation and framework, the heart of the first story is the convoluted relationship between the Prince of Air and Darkness, one of the three sons of the Queen of the Unseelie,Roark Lyne, and a  magical human, Phineas Smith.  Phin is fighting hard to learn to control his power over the ley lines, something he must do to graduate.  If he doesn’t, the consequences are dire.  For himself and his family.  Mostly for himself.

I won’t go further because that ventures into areas that give away too much information.  This is such a complicated tale that twists back on itself, with layers upon layers of secrets, that it’s such a pleasure to read and discover it for yourself.  The characters are so well done, the writing tightly constructed, so full of elements that even as you are pulled along by the events, you want to stop and go  back to examine tiny bits and pieces strewn along the way.  But of course, the pace is quick, the action wild and exhilarating.

And it all leaves you wanting more.  From what I can tell, there’s two more stories in the works.  One at least for this year.  Maybe one for each brother of the Unseelie court. That would make sense to bring the balance back into place.  However many books there will be,  I will be waiting.  If you are a lover of fantasy fiction,  pick this one up and wait with me.  I highly recommend it. Prince of Air and Darkness (The Darkest Court #1) by M.A. Grant is just fantastic!

 Cover art by Carina Press art department.  I wish Carina Press would give credit to its artists but here I think parts of this cover is a miss because it’s ravens that play a major part in the story.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: February 25th 2019 by Carina Press
ASIN B07GB7WD2G
Edition Language English

Series The Darkest Court :

Prince of Air and Darkness

The Marked Prince – to be published

The Iron Crown – to be published

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: The Consumption of Magic (Tales From Verania #3) by TJ Klune and Michael Lesley (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

As is usual with TJ Klune’s stories in this series, one needs to first sit down and strap on a seat belt, and then pop on headphones if you are fortunate to be able to listen to the audiobook version narrated by the outstanding voice of Michael Lesley. Be prepared for nineteen hours of crazy sidebar dialogue (mostly courtesy of Gary, Tiggy, and Kevin), of fantasy and the world of wizards and dragons, and finally, of brilliant execution of the written word. It all comes together here, but since there’s one more book in the story, a word of caution: if you are afraid of heights you’d better take your meds—the cliffhanger in this book is a doozy!

Without going into intricate details, I’ll summarize by saying that Sam takes on not only the Great White dragon, but also Lady Tina DeSilva, and worst of all, Myrin. Working with, and sometimes against, wizards Randall and Morgan, Sam and his company of misfits entertain readers with various funny and frightening adventures. We get to revisit Dimitri, the Fairy King, and oh, how I love the voice Michael Lesley uses for him! And we also get quite a bit of time with Gary, Tiggy, and Kevin, all of whom have unique and spot-on voices. Good news for fans: Gary has decided to give Kevin a second chance and the hilariously lewd scenes that take place are a highlight of the story. I find it hard to choose my favorite character in this series, but I think Kevin the dragon is at the top of the list as of now. That faintly Scottish accent with his constantly lascivious words and actions make him quite amazing, in my opinion.

The Kingdom of Verania is in danger; Sam can’t seem to get all five dragons on board to face the dark wizards; there’s more danger from a previously unexpected source; and Myrin has escaped—proving to be the greatest danger of all. Add to that the voices Sam hears in his head, some good, some bad, like Vadoma’s negative predictions that seem to be coming true, and readers are in for a highly entertaining, often nail-biting, sometimes hair-raising adventure. Michael Lesley’s thousand voices accompanied by very clever sound effects makes this a definite audiobook winner.

One last thing—this series builds one book upon another, so this can’t be read as a standalone. However, I do recommend taking the audiobooks on vacation since listening to this series will greatly enhance the joy of any vacation.

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The cover by Paul Richmond features a man’s hand with wisps of smoky vapor swirling in the air around it and forming a dragon-like figure. Bright and colorful, this cover is very attention-getting and definitely represents Sam’s magic and his gathering of the dragons.

Audiobook Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:
18 hrs 18 mins

Audible Audio, 19 pages
Published April 30th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published November 20th 2017)
Original Title The Consumption of Magic
ASIN B07CNNDHPX
Edition Language English

DSP Promo Ana Raine Captive Wings (Anima #2) by Ana Raine

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Captive Wings (Anima #2) by Ana Raine

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Blake Dorner

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press |   Amazon  |   Barnes and Noble 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Ana Raine today on tour for the second story in her Anima series, Captive Wings.  Welcome, Ana.

 

Inspiration for Captive Wings

I live in Michigan and there is a constant joke that there are only two seasons: construction season and wintry season. But for those of us who brave the construction and shut down roads, there are beautiful state parks and flowing ponds, lakes, and rivers.

It was on one of these adventures to my local Metro Park that I came up with the idea for Hidden Wings. There were two swans in the center of the path and a small group of people who hadn’t dared pass by even though there was nowhere else to go. Swans are often characterized as small, fragile and helpless, but in that moment, I saw the true strength that lies within those majestic creatures.

A few weeks later, I went back to the park, but this time there was only one lone swan floating in the pond. The fight had seemed to ebb away and there was a hollow look of sadness about the creature that made me think he had been abandoned. In the romance world, bear or wolf shifters are predominant because of their predatory, protective nature. But swans are not just graceful birds with slender necks, but creatures of beauty who fight for their mates and are broken when separated.

Further research into Irish mythology extended my knowledge of fairies. I created the idea of a Dryma Fairy whose soul is tied to a tree. It seemed only fitting that the protectors of these trees would be the strong swans who captivated me that fateful day.

 

 

Captive Wings (Anima 2) by Ana Raine

Blurb:

Liberation from one master might mean enslavement to another.

For centuries, the Kuro swan shifters have been the unwilling servants of the Dryma faeries. That changed when Prince Tristan of the Dryma attempted to sacrifice himself for Royal Kuro Kanji—his lover and mate.

The Sidhee, seeing Tristan’s actions to free the swans as a betrayal, launch a devastating attack that leaves most of the Kuro and Dryma dead or imprisoned. The fate of the swans rests entirely on Kanji’s shoulders, and he must somehow devise a plan that will protect both his partner and his tribe as the war with the Sidhee rages. It won’t be easy for mortal enemies to become allies, and Kanji is beginning to despair of ever waking Tristan from his deathlike slumber. And neither the Kuro nor the Dryma can compete with the Sidhee when it comes to brutal violence.

When Kanji finds a small boy asleep at the bottom of a lake, his hope for reuniting with Tristan is rekindled. But what is the boy, and can his magic turn the tide against a seemingly unstoppable enemy?

 

 

About the Author

Ana Raine writes because she loves to believe in magic, dragons, and that there is more to life than what human eyes can see. Ana lives in Michigan where when it’s not snowy and wet, there are beautiful state parks and lakes to visit. When she was eighteen, she married her best friend and they live with their two cats, Mason and Misaki. Ana has celiac disease, but that hasn’t stopped her from learning how to cook and bake so she can eat tasty treats. Fudge, enchiladas, and anything involving yucca/cassava are her absolute favorite.

Ana has studied in Osaka, Japan where she learned about theater and drama. She would love to go back after she is sure her Japanese is efficient enough. Ana loves anything to do with foxes, especially Arctic foxes. One day, Ana will find a way to incorporate her love of foxes into a novel, but until then, she’ll stay focused on fairies, shape shifters, and mythology.

Feel free to stop by her blog for tasty recipes, freebies, and more.

Blog: anarainebooks.blogspot.com

Twitter: @AuthorAnaRaine

E-mail: anaraine@rocketmail.com