Love Triangles, die! DIE!!!

The literary device infamously known as the love triangle has been around since the days of the Greeks and cropping up like a scourge ever since. It’s become a trademark of the Young Adult Paranormal Romance genre and I cannot stand it. Personally, I think that the vast majority of the time the love triangle serves no real purpose other than to make me want to take a sledgehammer to a watermelon.

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Love triangles, like vultures or cockroaches, have their uses. Sometimes one fits a story (whether I like it or not). If the love triangle is the extension of another conflict as in the question of which of two factions one should choose, it can even be beneficial to the story. I must concede that I have in the past read love triangles I liked, but of all the books I have read, I can count them on one hand. The thing that kept me from hating the love triangles in each case was not being sure who should end up with who or even who was in love with who. Once it becomes clear who the heroine/hero should end up with, the triangle feels like unnecessary drama and I despise drama.

I spend most of my time reading about a love triangle wishing that the heroine (because that’s who’s usually at the center of these things) would just make up her bloody mind and pick a guy. It’s usually pretty clear from the get go who she should/will/I want her to pick and the heroine’s indecision drives me a bad kind of crazy. Perhaps that’s a good thing because it means I’m emotionally invested, but it’s hard to see it as such when I’d like to hit someone in the face (usually the character I don’t want to get picked).

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Maybe it goes back to my own personal loathing of shopping, I don’t know. I could just be fangirl-zilla, standing by my matchmaking of fictional characters like a rabid wolf. I could just be unreasonable. The fact remains, love triangles get under my skin like little else. I can endure reading about whatever obstacles a couple has to go through—monsters, wizards, political intrigue, meddling power players, even death—so long as a love triangle isn’t involved.

If the success of Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, Tiger’s Curse, or most any other YA Paranormal Romance is an indicator, love triangles are not so passionately loathed by everyone. I understand that a love triangle adds a special something for some readers, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. In my not-so-humble opinion there are exceptions, but love triangles in general suck.

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ARC Review: Vulture (The Ferryman and the Flame, #3) by Rhiannon Paille @RhiannonPaille

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How far would you go to betray everything you’ve ever known?

Kaliel didn’t think second chances came with this much turmoil. Exiled from her home, surrounded by strangers and in love with a boy she barely recognizes, she can’t take it. She has her best friend, a new mentor, and a chance to win the war against the Valtanyana, but it’s all wrong. Desperate to salvage some semblance of her former life, she makes a deal that shatters everything.

 Blurb and cover from Goodreads

4 out of 5 stars

Thanks to Rhiannon for an ARC of Vulture! She knows I’ve been wanting it for awhile.

This book took me sometime to finish because I have read the previous books and I knew this one was going to have an ending to put Shakespeare’s tragedies to shame. Still, I bit the bullet and forced myself to keep reading even as I wanted to keep living in blissful denial. Despite the heart wrenching conclusion, I expect to be one of the first to snatch up Mercy when it comes along.

The plot:

The bad (the serious bad) takes a goodly amount of time to roll around and I was wary of letting it lure me into a false sense of security. There are sword fights and attacks and magical struggles so it wasn’t as if everyone was lying in fields of dandelions, but I was waiting for a very specific type of calamity and, yep, it happened. The plot trots along and there weren’t any parts I found slow despite the 400+ page printed length. (Yes, there were sex scenes in here and I skimmed/skipped them as per my usual modus operandi.)

The characters:

I laud Paille for not adding a love triangle into this. That is one source of angst I cannot abide and this story already has plenty of that.

Kaliel has a bit of trouble grasping just what happened to Krishani after her death and I wish she’d been just a tad more understanding. The poor slob went through purgatory when she was killed, he needs her. I also wish she’d been more ready to embrace her power as the Amethyst Flame and fight the Valtanyana, but looking back, she’s never been eager to fulfill Tor’s designs, even in the First Era. What she did was understandable and made sense for her character, even when it had me internally screaming “nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!”

Krishani is much better off than he was in the last book, but is still plagued by the malady of the Ferryman when he doesn’t perform his duties. He’s now willing to do them so he can be with Kaliel, but there is still an impressive amount of friction between him and Tulsen.

Pux gets a love interest in here and I really don’t like that. I would have preferred for him to remain the perpetual, never-grow up, Peter Pan type. He always just struck me as so boyish and childlike it honestly never occurred to me about him falling in love. Oh well.

I started to hate Klavotesi less in this one and didn’t want to smother him in his cloak quite as often. Perhaps it was because I more understood here why he was pushing for the things he was and towards the end he showed something akin to…humanity in his internal monologues.

If you like Epic Fantasy and New Adult Romance, this book is for you. But brace yourselves, because you might end up needing chocolate at the end.

Find Vulture on Goodreads

Find Vulture on Amazon

Friday Freebie #20 The Shadow Prince (Mortal Enchantment #0.5) by Stacey O’Neal

If you know of any Kindle freebies today or on other Fridays, I’d love to hear about them!

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This prequel novella is FREE and available on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble!

Every sacrifice has consequences.

Sixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission:

Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king.

Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he’s capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

I’m reading this right now and thoroughly enjoying it so far! Review in the works.

Download The Shadow Prince for free! (perma-free)

Chivalry’s dead, but this is Fantasy, it can come back to life

There was a time when it was practically requisite for the hero of any Fantasy tale to be a gallant character who lived by a code usually reminiscent of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. These heroes were often unrealistically perfect and virtuous, embodying good to the point of being laughable. They rode around in spotless armor, rescuing damsels as a matter of course and slaying monsters to liberate their lady loves.

Then people started writing heroes with flaws—dark knights, black sheep, bad boys—whatever you would call them—and female characters stopped being the archetypical damsel in distress in need of salvation every other chapter. Female characters started being able to take care of themselves, whenever they need rescuing now it’s generally frowned upon, and the man protecting the woman simply because she’s a woman is all too often misinterpreted as misogyny. Somewhere in there, people started thinking it was always because the men thought the women too incapable to fend for themselves. In part because of this, chivalry gradually died out in stories (and society too, but that’s for a whole other discussion).

I’m not saying the whole Arthurian paradigm should be reenacted in literature, but I miss the tales with men who viewed disrespecting a woman as an act of dishonor—regardless of her status, etc. Being a gentleman is entirely underrated and it’s possible for a character to be one while still being a bad@$$, just as it’s possible for a character to wield a sword and still be a lady.

Lately, Fantasy has undergone a shift where the lines between good and evil are becoming increasingly blurred or erased altogether. I think this sucks and that people need to remember when we forget the difference between good and evil is when the world goes wrong. If there’s no longer room for chivalry in Fantasy, I say we make room.

I’m not saying they should start having all the men be perfect saints, but I think having a set of ideals—protect the weak, shield the innocent, keep your word, etc.—helps guide one on the straight and narrow. (Plus, you have to admit characters with a code of honor are just set up to be awesome.) If chivalry is dead, I think it’s time for a resurrection. Seriously, what is the matter with it?

Review: Second Stone (Souls of the Stones, #2) by Kelly Walker @KWalkerWrites

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You are only a pawn if you don’t know the game you are playing.

In the second installment in Souls of the Stones, the stakes are higher, the romance is hotter, and Emariya’s power as a Cornerstone is growing.

DETERMINED TO MAKE SENSE OF THE BETRAYALS, lies, and her undeniable attraction to Torian, Emariya and her prince begin the journey to Sheas to confront her uncle and bring her father home.

Only days after leaving the castle, devastating news threatens to tear Torian and Emariya apart. Overcome by guilt, Emariya wants to repair the rift between them but first she must answer one important question: why can’t she wake up?

A DEADLY FORCE HAS COME FROM THE SEA to claim its daughter, and if Torian wants to save Emariya, he’ll first have to find a way to forgive her…and himself. That’s easier said than done when both his sister and Emariya are counting on him at two separate ends of their world and the only people who might know how to help him are hiding in exile.

TO WIN THE BATTLE FOR THEIR LIVES, they will first have to win the battle for Emariya’s mind. Only then can she rise up strong enough to face what she has to do.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

4 out of 5 stars

So, Cornerstone was a bit of a long and winding road in the beginning, but I really wanted to know what would happen, hence I downloaded the next two books. And I had a blast! The world needs more Epic Fantasy Romances. It just does.

The plot:

These books are marked as Romance and this one does more living up to that label. Still, there are plenty of dangers, battles, political considerations, and magical entanglements that keep it true fantasy. There is more exploration here of the Stones and what they can do and Emariya’s gifts, as well as an unexpected twist as to who Reeve’s accomplice is. This plot moved along faster than the previous book’s and I dove straight into the final installment after I finished.

The characters:

I liked Emariya. I honestly did. But at the same time she drove me nuts. I don’t expect her to be a warrior princess, but she kept getting into fixes because she was headstrong and then had to be rescued. I really wished she had been quicker to realize that, just maybe, she should listen to Torian and Garith. But oh well.

Torian is reeling from the loss of his sister and understandably angry at Emariya. All the same, he still protects and watches out for her and is willing to do whatever it takes to save her when she falls into a magical illness.

Garith—oh, the poor lovable guy. I can’t get over his selfless devotion to Emariya. It’s just so damn sweet and a tad masochistic. I was passionately hoping he’d get his HEA in the end, even if it didn’t involve Emariya.

The full scope of Reeve’s treachery comes to light here as well as the fickleness of the Warren’s Rest nobles. We also get to see an interestingly different side of Reeve when he meets Terin.

This is a series I am very fond of and, despite knowing that the novellas will end in tragedy, I do mean to read them. This series is perfect for people with a passion for high fantasy and romance!

Find Second Stone on Goodreads

Find Second Stone on Amazon

Find Second Stone on BN.com

Friday Freebie #19 On Shadowed Wings (Ash Grove Chronicles short) by Amanda DeWees

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In this short story set in North Carolina, high-school senior Gail and college student Jim are drawn together on Beltane night when they team up to seek a mysterious butterfly hatching–and save a little girl from danger

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

Read my review of On Shadowed Wings

Download On Shadowed Wings for free! (perma-free)

And they lived happily after—just kidding, they’re all dead

The “happily ever after” ending, or HEA, is a relatively new invention in storytelling. If one had tried explaining the concept to a Greek poet, the well-meaning individual would have most likely been laughed out of the country. Shakespeare showed he had no problem with tragedies and let’s not even mention the great Russian authors.

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It has only been within the past two hundred years or so that the HEA became commonplace. While one could find non-tragedies before then, they were for the most part rare and lesser known than tales that ended in mass murder and general mayhem. Then came along the stories where the characters you loved survived to the end, got married, had babies, and lived to be surrounded by adoring children and grandchildren and old and fat and happy beyond imagining—the ultimate HEA.

But lately, I’ve seen the tragedy cropping up again just like a plague. Writers seem to be getting kicks out of killing off dearly beloved characters. From John Greene’s teary endings to George R.R. Martin’s the infamous slaughters, J.K. Rowling’s massacre to Suzanne Collins’ end-of-trilogy herd thinning, authors are going rogue.

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Sad endings can be beautiful in their own way. Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne was one of these. Rhiannon Paille’s The Ferryman and the Flame epic fantasy romance series is basically one tragedy after another and the reader becomes all the more emotionally involved for it. I concede that sometimes a tragedy at the end can be more powerful and in some cases more believable. My favorite movie of all time ends with pretty much everyone either dead or fleeing for their lives. Still, in general I prefer happy or bittersweet endings.

I don’t want everything to be sunshine, puppies, and daisies. There have been one or two series that I finished thinking “more people should have died” because I think that would have fit the tone of the stories better. But the books I fangirl over and have hope for an HEA—the ones that I preorder months in advance and keep me up late at night—those had better end with my OTP’s getting together and the bad guys getting their just desserts. So long as that happens, I am content. If not, I sink into a cesspool of emotions and rot there for days or weeks until I find something to distract me.

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Books are supposed to get your feelings into play and when feelings are involved, there’s bound to be sadness. I suppose I can’t call foul when an author breaks my heart or a story doesn’t turn out quite the way I want. Still, when a story is written well I end up caring about the characters, so of course I want them to find what they’re searching for in their lives. That might be too much to ask in some cases, but to authors everywhere I would like to point out that happy endings are good. Of course, they have to be believable, but there is nothing wrong with happiness!

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