Friday Freebie #41 Dark Ranger (Many Kingdoms #1) by Dawn Napier

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Dark Ranger is the first book in the Many Kingdoms trilogy, a familiar fairytale world of monsters and wizards, evil and magic. Garrett is a Ranger of the Light, a sworn guardian of the natural world and its inhabitants. His duty is to root out evil and destroy it before it can destroy the land he cherishes, but he finds it difficult to identify that evil in himself. His heart is broken by the brutal murder of his beloved, and his thirst for revenge leaves him vulnerable to the manipulation of the blood-wizard, Scythe. Fellow rangers Wren and Nolan are determined to reclaim their friend’s soul and bring him back to the Light. They are aided by a wandering dwarf and a wild fairy who longs for humanity. But as the companions discover, even magic can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

Download Dark Ranger for free! (perma-free)

Friday Freebie #40 The Key (True Reign, #1) by Jennifer Anne Davis

I know I’ve featured this before, but the publisher just switched distributors, so we’re trying to get the rankings back up. Read my interview with the author here. (This series is on my Shelf of Awesome. Do read it!)

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Within these pages lie kingdoms with castles and princes who fall in love with fair maidens, but make no mistake−this is no fairytale.

His father’s kingdom is on the brink of upheaval and at the center of it all is an ordinary girl who could be the key to its undoing. When faced with the ultimate choice, will he choose the girl he’s falling in love with or the kingdom he has sworn to protect?

An ordinary girl with an extraordinary past. All she wants is to be free. What she doesn’t realize is that freedom comes with a price she can’t afford to pay. She’s forced to accept the proposal of a prince she despises, even though her heart belongs to someone else . . . his brother.

Seventeen-year-old Rema lives in a brutal kingdom where travel between regions is forbidden, people are starving, and looking at someone the wrong way can mean death. Nineteen-year-old Darmik is the king’s son and Commander of the King’s Army. He spends his days roving the island, doing his father’s bidding and trying to maintain control over the people.

When a chance encounter throws Rema and Darmik together, they share an instantaneous connection, but any sort of relationship between them is strictly forbidden. Darmik’s brother, the Crown Prince, notices Darmik’s interest in Rema and, in a calculated, political move, blackmails her. Faced with an impossible choice, Rema is forced to sacrifice her heart in order to save her family.

As Rema is taken to the palace with the Crown Prince, Darmik confronts the growing rumor that a legitimate blood heir to the throne exists and is trying to overthrow Darmik’s family. In Darmik’s quest to hunt down and kill the threat, he discovers that nothing is as it seems. Locked in the king’s castle, Rema finds herself a key player in a massive power struggle. When Darmik shows up, she’s not sure if she can trust him. The line between friends, enemies, and loyalty becomes blurred. As truths are unlocked, Rema understands that she just might be the key to finding the rightful heir and restoring peace to the kingdom… if she can manage to stay alive long enough.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

Read my glowy review of The Key

Download The Key for free! (perma-free)

{Interview} Jennifer Anne Davis, author of THE KEY @AuthorJennifer

Today I have the awesome, amazing author of the True Reign series as well as The Power to See and The Voice. The Key, the first in her young adult light fantasy series, is currently free on all channels, so grab it while you can!
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You are the author of the light Young Adult fantasy True Reign series as well as paranormal suspense and contemporary. Do you think there is a consistent theme or element in all your stories? What has led you to write such diverse genres?

There most definitely is a consistent element in all my stories, regardless of genre. I always write about a strong female character that is up against seemingly impossible odds. However, she is able to overcome adversity by believing in herself, never giving up, and learning to trust her family and/or friends. However, I will say that after writing such varying genres, I’ve discovered that my strength is in fantasy, and I plan to stick with these types of books in the future.

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What has been the biggest highlight of your career as an author?

Having my first book, The Voice, win some awards! I’m honored that it received an award from The Romance Writers of America a few years back, it’s a finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards (YA category), and the winner of the San Diego Book Awards: Best YA Novel. When I first started querying this book, I didn’t have much success. Many agents told me that no one would read a book about a broken girl who learns to overcome her past to be a role model for others. I finally found a publisher who believed in the story and I’m thrilled by the reception the book has received. It’s immensely gratifying.

Has there ever been a time when a reader drew a conclusion from one of your books that was completely different from what you intended? What was it?

Yes. For The Power to See, I’ve had some readers upset that it’s an actual book with a plot and not about sex. Since the main character is in her early twenties, the book falls into the illustrious New Adult category. Many people automatically assume the books is a romance novel, and that’s far from the case. The Power to See is a crime drama. While there is a romantic element in the novel, it is not the driving force of the book.

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Complete this sentence: Before I start writing a new novel, I must…

Think about the story and characters for a solid month before I can even think of writing. I have to get to know my characters, understand who they are, what their personality traits are, what they look like, etc. I think about them in different situation and settings until I get a good feel for the book and the plot starts to unfold in my mind.

Oddest thing to have inspired you:

That’s a tough one. I’m not sure. I know watching my kids at MMA makes me want to write a lot of kick-butt fight scenes.

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Will Scarlett or Robin Hood?

Will Scarlett

What’s a question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview? What’s your answer?

Honestly, I don’t know. I am a very private, quiet, boring person. Interviews typically frighten me because they take me out of my comfort zone.

Bonus question: Can you tell us anything about what to expect in the True Reign spinoff series?

I’ve just started to write the synopsis for that one! I don’t want to give too much away, but the story will be told from Allyssa’s point of view (first person). Allyssa is Rema and Darmik’s daughter. She will be the strongest female character I’ve ever written and I can’t wait for you to meet her! She is going to be loads of fun to write.

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Also, Nathenek will play a major role in the book as well. He acquires a unique apprentice who causes all sorts of mischief in the book. The evil villain will be someone you don’t expect! The spinoff will be filled with action, adventure, and some sweet romance.

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Jennifer graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. Afterwards, she finally married her high school sweetheart. She is currently a full-time writer and mother of three highly energetic children. Her days are spent living in imaginary worlds and fueling her own kids’ creativity.
Stalk Jennifer
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Review: Evanescent by Gabriella Lepore

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“Then it is settled,” Felix declared. “Come hell or high water, when this is all over, at least one of us here will not make it out alive.”

When Bronwen Snow is pulled from her cottage in the middle of the night, she finds herself seeking the help of three mysterious boys who reside in an abandoned castle deep in the hillside. With only a hasty handwritten note and a vague sense of dread to guide her, Bronwen is forced to put her trust in the eccentric and willful Felix Cavara and his eternal curse – immortality.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

5 out of 5 stars

If anyone wants to see a perfect example of snark and sass with sweet romance, I’m shoving this in your face. This book was wonderful, even if the ending did leave me pouting a bit. A loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it’s one of those I’ve wanted to read for awhile, so when the freebie promotion came around, I couldn’t resist.

The plot:

This book is a pretty quick read, about two and a half hours-ish. I kind of wanted more expansion on the nature of the magical, who had made the magical weapons, who had sent the Severan (can’t remember if this was explained or not), etc. On the other hand, this story really didn’t need to be bogged down with details, it flew just fine on its own.

The characters:

Like I said, great sass. Bronwen and the boys were utterly adorable and the immortality jokes were especially funny. I kind of wish this was a series, just because I enjoyed it so much.

This story is one of immortality about the downsides. The boys have lived for around two hundred years and have wanted to die for about a hundred and eighty. (On a side note, I think it’s interesting that people keep writing these stories about the drawbacks of immortality when it has been the dearest wish of people generations and ages over. Anyway.)

A fun read and I am now very curious about the author’s other works. If I ever get my demented Amazon account sorted, I’ll have to visit her author page.

Find Evanescent on Goodreads

Find Evanescent on Amazon

 

Friday Freebie #39 Before Midnight (Blood Prince #1) by Jennifer Blackstream

This week I have for you a werewolf/Cinderella retelling that is glaring incriminatingly unread from the depths of my Kindle.

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Loupe always dreamed of getting married. She yearned for a caring husband who would take her away from her servant-like existence at home with her stepmother and two stepsisters, a man who would love her forever. Those dreams ended the day she was bitten by a werewolf. Now she’s a mindless beast on the night of the full moon—a condition that forever prevents her from sharing a marriage bed. Not even the attentions of a handsome and endearingly strong prince can convince her that the life she wants is still possible.

Etienne is a prince in need of a werewolf. A werewolf himself from birth, Etienne and his family have protected their kingdom with tooth and claw—literally—for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the spell of a well-meaning witch is slowly turning him human. Only the bite of a cursed werewolf, one who was not born with the beast inside, can save him from becoming human. He has no time for anything that will not lead him to a cure for the curse. Not even the beautiful maiden whose gentle nature soothes his soul can take his mind from his goal.

Love cares little for the best laid plans or the impossible. A grand ball. The stroke of twelve. A magic “slipper.” All kinds of things can happen when you don’t leave the ball…Before Midnight.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

Download Before Midnight for free! (perma-free)

Review: Land of Shadows (The Legend of the Gate Keeper #1) by Jeff Gunzel

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The gorgeous lands of Tarmerria are full of magic and beauty. But the virtually lawless cities contain no shortage of darkness and greed. A land where daily survival in the harsh realm takes priority over all else. But the world is about to change. The ancient prophecies, written during a time long forgotten, just might be true after all.

Join in as unlikely companions from completely different worlds set out on the adventure of a lifetime. A search for answers. A search for the truth.

This book is intended for mature audiences

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

3.5 out of 5 stars
Great idea, great premise, interesting execution, dire need of editing. I liked this book enough to say I’m curious about the rest of the series, but it’s more than a little disappointing because I think if a few things were fixed I could love it.

The third person perspective was close in some places and omniscient in others and that irritates me in any book. There were three or four perspectives that could have been cut altogether and not been missed. In some places the author tells instead of showing and I think there were a lot of opportunities for good scenes that were missed. Mr. Gunzel came up with a fantastic idea, I just feel it wasn’t followed through.

The plot:
The plot was decent. It didn’t drag and for the most part was pretty focused. I saw most of the twists coming, but that’s forgivable. The world building was measured at about just right and I don’t recall any holes in the storyline.

On a side note, it is definitely for mature reader as the blurb states. There wasn’t detailed description of certain things, but this is still not something I’d hand to anyone under fifteen.

The characters:
It has been some time since I have read a warrior-girl type who I not only liked, but who was my favorite chracter. This is one thing Mr. Gunzel must be credited with—writing a human, sympathetic virago. I adore Jade and if I read any more of the books, it will be to find out what happens to her.

I didn’t like Eric so much. He was okay and the early development of his character was pretty good, there was just this thing at the end of the book that has kind of colored my judgment since.

There is a demon hybrid with exceptional villain potential and his puppet master with even more. The more I think about it, the more I consider downloading the next book.

I did yearn for a fat red pen when reading this book. I saw lots of ingredients for a good fantasy, there are just a plethora of flaws that badly need weeding. This is one I hope the author will consider reediting and re-releasing, because it really has potential.

Find Land of Shadow on Goodreads

Find Land of Shadow on Amazon

Find Land of Shadow on BN.com

Friday Freebie #38 Song to Wake to (Levels, #1) by J.D. Field

This is a book I read and loved a few months before I started posting reviews on here. It tells the Arthurian legend from the angle of what happens when Arthur actually is reborn in modern-day England. Now you really want to read it, right? Right?!

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 The boy you love is a legend.
Literally.

Now he says that you’re one too. 

Blurb and cover from Amazon

Download Song to Wake to for free! (perma-free)