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.

Lord of the Fading Lands (Tairen Soul Book 1) by CL Wilson

1584974Remember how much I loved The Winter King by CL Wilson? Well, I went out (introvert code for online) and bought the first book in her first series, Tairen Soul.

So, now I’m sucked into a five book series…my blog appearances over the next week will be spotty. Rather than review each book, I’ll lump them into a series review when I finish all of them.

But I’ll review the first now, because I can’t wait to rave about it.

Lord of the Fading Lands is the first book in the Tairen Soul series. What the heck is a Tairen? A magnificent, fire-breath cat with wings. Some tairens are actually Fey who are Tairen Soul and can transform into tairen. The tairen is depicted on the cover of the book, so basically I’ve been picturing a panther with wings. You can also Google ‘tairen soul’ and find a bunch of awesome fanart.

I digress.

The story focuses on Ellysetta (I will refer to her by her nickname, Ellie, here on out because I dislike the name Ellysetta), who is the woodcarver’s ginger-haired daughter, and King Rain, who is the king of the Fey (he is also depicted in the cover art, but I pictured him as a black-haired Legolas). The tairen are dying, which means the Fey will die with them. In a vision, Rain sees he must visit Celeiria to find the key to helping the tairen.

Oh boy, does he. Ellie’s soul calls out to him and he realizes she’s his truemate—the mate of his soul. The rest of the book focuses on Ellie’s adoptive background, their courtship, and a bunch of crazy political stuff involving soul stealing Mages, bossy lords, and catty ladies. There is plenty of magic and fantasy to go around.

I absolutely loved this book. Wilson’s storytelling is fantastic, and I think I enjoyed this one even more than The Winter King.

The worldbuilding is phenomenal. The history and background between the Fey, Celeiria, and Eld (the land of the Mages) is incredibly rich and full of detail—but not so much detail all at once that the reader is overwhelmed. I found myself clearly picturing Ellie’s house, the castle, the Fading Lands, Eld, and the bordering cities. The magic platform was fantastic, too. There are six different forms of magic—Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Spirit, and Azrahn (dark magic). Some Fey are better at certain elements, and some have mastered all five. Azrahn is forbidden.

The character building was even better. As it did in The Winter King, the perspective shifts from character to character. Though it primarily focuses on Ellie’s point of view, it frequently switches to Rain’s, too. It even gave a peek at Bel (Ellie’s bloodsworn guard), Lauriana (Ellie’s mom), Den (her terrible ex-fiance), and several more characters, giving the story a rounded approach. Even though I knew what the other side was planning or thinking, there were plenty of plot twists to keep me engaged and staying up wayyy past my bedtime.

There were several sex scenes, but not nearly as many and as descriptive as in The Winter King. Their courtship is less about the sex and more about establishing a relationship.

The odd thing was that the book took place over the series of two or three days. I’m used to books that cover months, so it was different to cover such a short period of time.

I highly recommend this book—I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Definitely a 5/5 on Goodreads.

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The Winter King by C.L. Wilson

10485751After three long years of war, starkly handsome Wynter Atrialan will have his vengeance on Summerlea’s king by taking one of the man’s beautiful, beloved daughters as his bride. But though peace is finally at hand, Wynter’s battle with the Ice Heart, the dread power he embraced to avenge his brother’s death, rages on.

Khamsin Coruscate, Princess of Summerlea and summoner of Storms, has spent her life exiled to the shadows of her father’s palace. Reviled by her father, marriage to Wintercraig’s icy king was supposed to be a terrible punishment, but instead offers Kham her first taste of freedom—and her first taste of overwhelming passion. – Goodreads

Growing up (and to this day), my Oma always keeps a “smut” book in her bathroom. Throne reading. For as long as I can remember, there has always been some paperback novel depicting a shirtless, ripped man and some girl falling out of her dress. With swirly letters. And pastels. My mom would only read them on vacation.

One time, I tried to read one. I was horrified and immediately cast it aside, wondering why anyone would ever read something so terribly written, boring, and awkwardly “steamy”.

After reading Alyssa’s review of The Winter King, I was hesitant to buy this. After all—the cover definitely features pastels, swirly font, and awkwardly intimate people (though clothed—I figured even the Winter King would have to draw the line at freezing temperatures). But she said it was a fantastic high fantasy read, so what could I say? I wanted to try it out.

It was awesome. Though my husband made fun of me mercilessly for reading “booknerd porn”, it was much more than the several pages of passion that kept me hooked.

First of all, I loved Wilson’s writing style. She flipped between characters flawlessly (though it was jarring at first, as there were no chapter breaks or lines…just one paragraph to another and boom). The story flowed, the dialogue was fantastic, and I truly felt like I knew the characters.

I was concerned that it would be a Stockholm Syndrome story, though Alyssa’s review said otherwise—so I wasn’t too worried. It wasn’t. It took Kham and Wynter a while to get to know one another, which was nice.

The magic structure and worldbuilding was fabulous. I could definitely tell the cultural and physical differences between the people and land of Summerlea and Wintercraig.

My only gripe: I hated Wynter’s name. The Winter King is named Wynter? For real?

This read definitely for mature readers only. The sex scenes were somewhat poetic, but definitely a little graphic if that type of thing is not your cup of tea. If you’re looking for a great high fantasy romance read, this is the ticket. I’m excited for book two! I rated The Winter King a 5/5 on Goodreads.

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