The Sea King by CL Wilson

He wasn’t supposed to choose her…

Seafaring prince Dilys Merimydion has been invited to court the three magical princesses of Summerlea. To eradicate the pirates threatening Calberna and to secure the power of the Sea Throne, Dilys vows to return home with a fierce warrior-queen as his bride. But politics has nothing to do with unexpected temptation.

She didn’t dare wed him…

A weathermage like her sisters, Gabriella Coruscate’s gentleness exemplifies the qualities of her season name, Summer. Yet her quiet poise conceals dangerous powers she cannot begin to wield. Better to live without excitement, she reasons, than risk her heart and lose control— until an irresistible Sealord jolts her awake with a thunderclap of raw desire.

Until evil threatens everything they hold dear…

When pirates kidnap Summer and her sisters, Dilys is in a desperate quest to save the woman he loves. Only by combining his command of the seas with the unleashed fury of Summer’s formidable gifts can they defeat their brutal enemies and claim the most priceless victory of all: true love. – Goodreads

This is one of those embarrassing reads that you don’t admit to reading when people ask you what you’re reading. It also makes me thankful that you can’t see the cover on my Kindle, as it’s reminiscent of the romance novels I remember seeing at my Oma’s house.

I reviewed The Winter King by CL Wilson two years ago and was obsessed. Like, 5/5 stars-and-on-my-favorites-shelf obsessed.

Less obsessed with this one, but I still seriously enjoyed it.

Though set in the same world with some of the same characters as The Winter King, you could read this as a standalone and be fine. I was nervous because, again, it had been two years since I’d read The Winter King and couldn’t remember half of the characters.

This one is focused on the other sisters of Summerlea. Dilys is the Sea King of Calberna and was promised a bride during the war that happened in The Winter King (aka the one I don’t remember). So, Dilys rolls up to Summerlea and starts courting them. He initially writes off Summer, because she’s super kind and doesn’t really give off the whole “warrior bride” vibe. However, she’s just been keeping her dangerous powers on the downlow.

Cue the romance, the magic, the kidnapping, the treachery.

The book was fairly fast paced, and I found myself really enjoying Summer’s character and her development over the course of the book. Dilys was also pretty cool, though for taking a bride as a “prize”, the extreme feminism of his culture was a little bit confusing to me. Not a turnoff, just odd.

There was action, sex, and romance; pretty much what’s depicted on the cover. I wasn’t disappointed, and I look forward to more books from CL Wilson.

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His Fair Assassin: Dark Triumph and Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

9943270I’ve already posted a review of Grave Mercy, but I felt the need to follow up with a review of His Fair Assassin sequels.
The second book, Dark Triumph, was released last year. Mortal Heart, the third, was released last month. Naturally, as soon as I finished Grave Mercy, I seized these (well, downloaded them from Amazon) and read them within a plane ride and a half (and then some).
The second and third books do not focus on Ismae, but on two of her convent sisters.
The second book follows Sybella, who is the daughter d’Albret, a major player in the first book. I won’t spoil his role and background for you, because I really recommend reading Grave Mercy. D’Albret is basically a giant, evil jerk—which gives him a lot of credit. Sybella is an extremely deep, damaged character. She had so many layers and mysteries, I definitely felt like I was on the rollercoaster of emotions with her. While dealing with lustful, incestuous siblings, 20522640murderous family members, and a whole slew of other issues, Sybella’s assassin/spy assignment from the convent is to watch over her treacherous family’s holding.
The third book is from Annith’s point of view. Annith was raised in the convent, but is the last of the girls to be sent on assignment. In fact, the abbess of the convent has decided to make her a seeress—aka the least exciting job at the convent when you’ve been raised to kill people your whole life. Instead of moping around and accepting orders, Annith leaves the convent to create her own destiny.
I absolutely loved these books, as they built off of the first in the series and gave an all-around view of what was happening during the storyline of the first book. The only thing that threw me off was the timing—the second and third books both start several weeks or months behind the first book, so it takes a few minutes to orient yourself as to where you are in the timeline.
I highly recommend this series. It’s a definite 5/5 in my book!
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The Catalain Book of Secrets by Jess Lourey

23597977I’m not sure how to come up with words to do this book justice—magical? Intriguing? Eccentric?

It was a fantastic read, full of rich detail and beautiful metaphor. In fact, the only reason I bumped a star off of this book was because it had too many metaphors and too much flowery writing for my taste. Though absolutely appropriate and well done in many parts, it became overdone after a bit and actually began to turn me off from the writing.

The Catalain women are several generations of witches with magical powers—Ursula makes potions, Helena creates magical candies that can inspire patience, love, and much more, Jasmine can infuse her amazing cooking with feelings and spells.

When Ursula is a young girl, her mother tricks her into helping her murder her father. In revenge, he casts a curse over Ursula and her future children.

The book jumps through time to present day and switches points-of-view between all of the Catalain women to paint a vivid picture of their emotions, powers, and scars. Lourey does a seamless job of switching between women and painting a image of who they are at the core. All of the characters felt full, and nobody fell flat. I felt equally for each woman and didn’t choose favorites—in fact, it made me respect each one more because you knew what their past was and how it impacted their present day.

I would definitely recommend this book. Once you get past the flamboyant writing style, you’ll find a beautiful, well-written story about a group of gifted women who are trying to heal. I rated it 4/5 on Goodreads. The Catalain Book of Secrets is due to be released on January 1, 2015.

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I received a free copy of this book through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.