Saturday, December 09, 2017

First Line Fridays #16: Dragons!

I know, I know the title is inaccurate and it's actually Saturday morning. I just did not get around to the post yesterday. Today I am featuring a book a read a while back, Mercy's Prince by Katy Huth Jones which is the first in a series of 5 books set in a fictional country loosely based on 12th century Britain. It has knights, battles, romance, people that very closely resemble Scotsmen in kilts and DRAGONS! Various breeds of the beasties including cute little ones that can be kept as pets, and deadly ones which can fight with weapons like men: and legendary Great Dragons, are key to the story. 

As second son of the King of Levathia, seventeen-year-old Valerian desires the quiet life of a scholarly monk. But when he fails to save his older brother in battle, Valerian must instead become crown prince. While a traitorous knight schemes against him, Valerian meets Mercy, a pacifist Healer with whom he can speak mind-to-mind like the great dragons.
Their bond emboldens Valerian to seek out the legendary dragons and ask for their help against the monsters who killed his brother. Can Valerian survive the traitor's assassins long enough to find the dragons? And if he does, can he convince them to lay aside their hatred of humans and help him save the land from destruction?

Makes for a great story: and it turns out the chief dragon is named Albionix: which I think is an amazing name. What's more he, like most of the other Great Dragons can talk and communicate with humans: but only some humans.  Yup, shades of Eragon and Dragonheart: but with Bible verses at the beginning of each chapter, which actually work really well.  Are you getting the idea that I like dragons yet?  

The first two lines are:

"Something scaly crawled across Valerian's cheek. He started awake, shivering in his cloak where he lay curled up on the bare ground"  


I have four more books to go in the series: which should be utter bliss. PLUS there is an audiobook of this one, with a British narrator. Until next time, Happy reading and happy Saturday.

Friday, November 24, 2017

First Line Fridays #15: The Edict by P.J. Keyworth

That time of the week again! Of course,  we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK, but I can still wish all readers in the USA my best wishes for the day. We're eating duck in blackberry sauce, follow by lemon tart for tonight, its not a special occasion, just a girl's night in, with a movie rental from Amazon video for after.
Sadly, I have also had to take my computer in for repair, because it had a little accident. With all my links and bookmarks on it, being without it is a pain. The 'quotation' button on the computer I am using now does not seem to work, so please bear with me on the odd formatting of this post.

Today I'm featuring the first line of a new book from British author Philippa Jane Keyworth. She is author of three Regency novels The Widow's Redeemer (2012), The Unexpected Earl (2014) and Fool Me Twice (2016), and has another book coming out in exactly a week. Its fantasy, and because its different from her other titles, the author has used her initials instead of her full name.

I have the pleasure of being one of the Advanced Readers for 'The Edict' and I plan to start on it soon.

Amidst robberies, prison breaks, palace intrigues, and an oncoming war, the struggle for peace rests on the shoulders of unlikely allies...

The Reluwyn Empire of Emrilion spans from the Northern Moors to the Tao Desert. The Laowyn, a people chosen by the Spirit, are subject to the Regent’s harsh rule on behalf of the Prince and a raft of oppressive Edicts is about to tip the scales toward rebellion. The Laowyn Resistance defend against persecution but the Regent Garesh’s stranglehold on power is unrelenting. In a bid to solidify his position he arranges for the Edict of Maidens to gather all eligible brides for the Prince’s choosing that the royal might ascend the throne as King with Garesh at his side as rightful power-wielder.

Kiara, a Laowyn woman whose race remains a secret, is chosen for the Prince but before she can be taken she escapes under the guise of a boy. Falling from one captor to another she eventually comes face-to-face with the man she loathes and suddenly two very different worlds collide.

The Edict is an epic fantasy and love story forming the basis of a trilogy that will see the fantasy world brought to the brink of destruction with only a chosen few capable of protecting it.

The first lines read:
"Before the guttering fire was allowed to flicker into oblivion, a small servant scurried over to bank it with fresh logs. Smoke billowed out from the irritated fire but did little to cover the stench of fever, and now in these late stages, of putrefaction."

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

November 7th, 2017, 320 Pages, Thomas Nelson
Print, ebook, and audio
Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life. Working as an engineer, she genuinely enjoys her job and her colleagues – particularly a certain adorable and intelligent consultant. But something is missing. When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways.

But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath. While Isabel rests and delights in the leisure of a Regency lady, attended by the other costume-clad guests, Mary uncovers startling truths about their shared past, who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who now stands between them.

Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts.

I don't tend to read contemporary fiction, unless its timeshift or crossover. I just don't really get on with it, and I think, in part that was the case with this book. I just don't much care for contemporary American settings.

Even the connections with Jane Austen's work did not always grab me, and the central plotline was well done but there was something about Isabel's character. She just never rang true with me: seemed more like a stereotype or a stock character, and never really fully developed. She seemed to spend the entire book just being really unpleasant and bossy, or apologetic.
Even the whole memory loss thing didn't always seem plausible: did Isabel really lose her memory or was she faking, and I mean how could she really think she was living in the nineteenth century when surrounded by modern technology. I don't know if this was the impression that the author was intending to give, but its the one I got.

The details about Jane Austen's Bath were interesting and authentic, but I think you have to have visited some of the sites, and be very familiar with her books to really understand some parts of this book. It's no bad thing, it's just that I'm not that familiar with them. Finally, there were a few mistakes, with the British characters using Americanisms like 'vacation' and 'fall', which usually jar me out of the story.

This was not a bad book by any means, or uninteresting, it just wasn't totally my cup of tea. I know many people love books by this author, and they should like this one as well.

I requested this title from Thomas Nelson via Booklook Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
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