My 2014 Reading Challenge Progress

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I had a deep and insightful post planned, but that’s not going to be ready until next week at least. This time I actually have a good excuse, though. I’ve been taking my very first college course as well as writing a book. So it is justified!

Anyway, I challenged myself to read 77 books this year and here’s my progress so far! I’m currently 1 book behind schedule, but I hope to remedy that with Fallen Embers by C.S. Marks which I will hopefully have finished by the time this post goes live. Without further ago, here’s what I’ve read so far!

Evanescent by Gabriella Lepore Shadowheart by Tad Williams Shadowrise by Tad Williams Mary Mary Quite Contrary by Cameron Jace Blood Apples by Cameron Jace Snow White Blood Red by Cameron Jace Beauty Never Dies by Cameron Jace Ladle Rat Rotten Hut by Cameron Jace Ashes to Ashes and Cinder to Cinder by Cameron Jace Witch Song by Amber Argyle Daughter of the Red Dawn by Alicia Michaels Forbidden Forest by Tenaya Jayne Redemption by Erica Stevens Knight Assassin by Rima Jean Windswept by Jadie Jones Queen of Sheba by Roberta Kells Dorr War by Jennifer Anne Davis Katie's Hellion by Lizzy Ford Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes The Golden Cage by Kaitlyn Davis The Shadow Prince by Stacey O'Neale ЯED by Jennifer Anne Davis Alpha Moon by Rebecca A. Rogers War is a Racket by Smedley D. Butler On Shadowed Wings by Amanda DeWees Betrothal by Mande Matthews The Soul Bearer - and other poems by Bex Pavia The Key by Jennifer Anne Davis Dracian Legacy by Priya Kanaparti The Immortal Prince by Jennifer Fallon Caprion's Wings by T.L. Shreffler Ashes, Ashes by M.A. Bronson Mark of the Mage by R.K. Ryals Defiance by Melissa Sasina Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes Shadowplay by Tad Williams Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne Vulture by Rhiannon Paille Desert Rose by J.L. Mbewe Shadowmarch by Tad Williams

So have you read any of these? Do you want to read any of these?

Review: Forbidden Forest (Legends of Regia #1) by Tenaya Jayne @TenayaJayne

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Born in shame. Cast from society. Shape Shifter/Elf hybrid, Forest must fight for any respect she can get. Targeted in her youth by a vampire noble who placed an illegal slave mark on her, she is forced to obey him, no matter what.

Slipping the grip of her master and abandoning the prejudice of Regia, her native world, Forest takes a job on Earth, guarding the portal, using her skills as a warrior to enforce Regia’s laws. Now, called home for a black ops mission, Forest must put aside her own prejudice to transport the vampire prince, Syrus, through enemy territory in a time of war.

Prince Syrus, mage and master of the Blood Kata, wants Forest more than he’s ever wanted anything. In spite of their mutual mistrust, their attraction cannot be denied. Through the danger of their mission, and the secrets they both keep, it doesn’t matter what they feel. Forest is forbidden.

 Blurb and cover from Goodreads

5 out of 5 stars

And we have another winner! Another book that basically made me useless to the world and emotionally traumatized my little readerly heart. Highest marks to the author.

The plot:

One of my absolute favorite things about indie books is that I’ve noticed that they tend to be more “to the point.” There’s none of this big, looping, long, boring string of Stuff before you get to the good parts. (No offense to traditional, some of my favorites are traditional.) Anyway, this book was action packed, romance packed, suspense packed, just over all packed.

One thing that did bother me was the omniscient perspective. There were parts where perspective was swapped through the course of a scene and I felt like it should have been more consistent or maybe broken up to make it clear who was talking.

The characters:

Syrus and Forest are simultaneously adorable, hot, and hilarious together. Their banter and Syrus’ enthusiasm for human paraphernalia were so cute and I love the idea of the big bad vampire prince scrounging the pantry for Froot Loops, that’s not something you hear about every day.

I liked how their relationship was equal—there wasn’t one dominating the other. A lot of times—particularly in vampire romance—there’s the alpha male stuff. It’s fine every now and again, but it was refreshing to have a vampire love interest who’s a master in martial arts and also lovingly tells his girl what a bad@$$ she is.

There is a laundry list of characters who need to have an unfortunate meeting with Buffy or perhaps the Winchester boys in a back alley—Leith, Philippe, Christiana, Zephyre, it goes on—so there will be plenty of baddies to get their just desserts come the next books.

I very much want the next book, it’s just a matter of how soon I can get it. And the book after that. And the prequel novella. Really, I just want them all.

Find Forbidden Forest on Goodreads

Find Forbidden Forest on Amazon

Find Forbidden Forest on BN.com

Friday Freebie #33 Fanged Princess (Fanged Princess, #1) by Elisabeth Wheatley

Okay, just humor me on this one. I’m sure you’re all sick of me going on and on about how Fanged Princess is now forever free, but…Fanged Princess is forever free!

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I will not let my brother suffer the same loss…

Hadassah’s father, the Vampire King, punished her harshly for her choice to love a human. Now her brother, the only person in the world who still matters to her, has fallen for a human girl. Determined to keep the girl safe, the three of them flee from their home in New England and find themselves cornered with their father’s minions closing in. If they want to escape, their only hope may be to join forces with the mortal enemies of their kind…

Be ensnared in this dark tale of enduring love, revenge, and suspense from teenage author, Elisabeth Wheatley.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

Download Fanged Princess for free! (perma-free)

I have a riddle for you!

Hello, world, I have a riddle for you.

What’s permanently free on all venues and in Amazon’s Top Ten? FANGED PRINCESS, of course! Thanks to all you phenomenal folk who made it possible!

18981955

I will not let my brother suffer the same loss…

Hadassah’s father, the Vampire King, punished her harshly for her choice to love a human. Now her brother, the only person in the world who still matters to her, has fallen for a human girl. Determined to keep the girl safe, the three of them flee from their home in New England and find themselves cornered with their father’s minions closing in. If they want to escape, their only hope may be to join forces with the mortal enemies of their kind…

Be ensnared in this dark tale of enduring love, revenge, and suspense from teenage author, Elisabeth Wheatley.

Find FREE for:

Kindle

Nook

Smashwords

iBooks

Review: Daughter of the Red Dawn (The Lost Kingdom of Fallada #1) by Alicia Michaels @fantasybyalicia

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These are dark times in the land of Fallada, and I fear that they will only continue to grow darker. Only the return of those we’ve lost will even the score.
It will begin with first line of the prophecy, which foretells of a red sun over the desert sky…
–Adrah, Queen of the Fae

On the outside, seventeen year-old Selena McKinley is like any other teenage girl. Yet Selena has always felt as if she doesn’t belong and is counting the days to graduation and her freedom from the small town that makes her feel so out of place, when the arrival of a stranger turns her world upside down. Selena will learn just how different she is and the truth of where she comes from.
A lost princess, they call her, the catalyst for a war involving a world that Selena was taken from as a child. An evil queen obsessed with her own beauty with a plan to enslave the human race.…the notion seems so silly, yet Selena knows in her heart that it is true. Then there is Titus, the shape shifter whose blue eyes and claims of destiny hold her heart captive. Can Selena find the strength to do what she must while following her heart?

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

4 out of 5 stars

I love this series. I read the prequel novella awhile back and finally got around to reading this one. The mythology, the whole “other world” premise, the romance—I am so in love.

The plot:

Okay, so the plot could have been better. I thought the build up of trust between Selena and Titus should have been a little more gradual than it was. I greatly enjoyed the storyline and their romance otherwise, I just wish that aspect had been lengthened out a little bit more.

At the 95% mark, I panicked. It looked like there was going to be cliffhanger or worse, a tragedy. I put down my Kindle and stared at it nervously, kneading a pillow and wondering if Ms. Michaels was going to so thoroughly break my heart as she did with Beyond the Iron Gate. Finally, I picked it up and finished it.

I can’t tell you how it ended, but I’ll just say that while it didn’t explore everything I was hoping it would, I was not disappointed.

The characters:

Selena and Titus were adorable together. Aside from the whole development of trust that I mentioned, I thought their relationship was presented very well. Oh, and the whole “I want our wedding night to be the first time” just made me go *swoon*. (I’m a southern girl and I dig that sort of thing.)

I did not like Zoe. Period. She seemed really shallow to me and I couldn’t stand her. When she left the story, I was ready to throw confetti shouting “good riddance,” but then I don’t usually like the girl’s best friend-type characters. She had a few key point scenes, yet I still wished she’d leave. Sorry, Zo.

Adrah is awesome. She’s like a hardcore, warrior woman version of Galadriel and I liked her just as much.

There were centaurs, spear-wielding fae, werewolves, eccentric German writers and a fantasy world I’d love to visit. I adore this series and I’ll certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a fantasy fairytale!

The next book has a love triangle mentioned in the blurb and I kind of cringed at that. One thing that does make it funny, though, is that it involves a character in this book who is such an arrogant prig and I can’t wait to see him as a lovestruck swain. I’ve adored these books so far and I really, really want to continue the series, so I’m thinking I’ll give it a shot anyway.

Find Daughter of the Red Dawn on Goodreads

Find Daughter of the Red Dawn on Amazon

Find Daughter of the Red Dawn on BN.com

Friday Freebie #32 Daughter of the Red Dawn (The Lost Kingdom of Fallada #1) by Alicia Michaels

This book is an excellent lower YA fantasy with hints of romance. My 5-star review is forthcoming.

17258853

These are dark times in the land of Fallada, and I fear that they will only continue to grow darker. Only the return of those we’ve lost will even the score.
It will begin with first line of the prophecy, which foretells of a red sun over the desert sky…
–Adrah, Queen of the Fae

On the outside, seventeen year-old Selena McKinley is like any other teenage girl. Yet Selena has always felt as if she doesn’t belong and is counting the days to graduation and her freedom from the small town that makes her feel so out of place, when the arrival of a stranger turns her world upside down. Selena will learn just how different she is and the truth of where she comes from.
A lost princess, they call her, the catalyst for a war involving a world that Selena was taken from as a child. An evil queen obsessed with her own beauty with a plan to enslave the human race.…the notion seems so silly, yet Selena knows in her heart that it is true. Then there is Titus, the shape shifter whose blue eyes and claims of destiny hold her heart captive. Can Selena find the strength to do what she must while following her heart?

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

Download Daughter of the Red Dawn for free! (perma-free)

Help make Fanged Princess permanently free!

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I finally went and did something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I hopped on over to Smashwords and uploaded Fanged Princess, listing it for free. It has been accepted into their premium catalog, which means it shall be available for Nook, Sony, Kobo, and Apple, all for free! But since Amazon is, well, Amazon, I need you help to make it free for Kindle, too.

It’s simple. Just hop by Fanged Princess’ Amazon page and use the “tell us about a lower price” feature, using either the link from Smashwords or BN.com. That’s it and thank you! <3