Review: Midnight Soul (Fantasyland, #5), by Kristen Ashley

Midnight Soul (Fantasyland, #5)Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The fifth, and final (?), book in the ‘Fantasyland’ series, ‘Midnight Soul’ tells the story of Franka Drakkar and Noctorno “Noc” Hawthorne. Like earlier books in the series, this book features two characters that are from parallel worlds. There is plenty of magic and fantastical elements throughout. Yet, despite all of that, I found this to be just an “okay” read.

While Kristen Ashley worked hard to redeem Franka Drakkar in this book, for me the damage was done. I pitied her, but I never really grew to like her. As a result, I never really felt fully invested in her story.

Similarly, “Noc” was not a character that I ever really felt a strong connection with. After all, wasn’t he supposedly in love with Cora just a couple of books back? He was a nice guy, but to me, he came off as kind of desperate and lonely. Franka seemed to be the only option because all the “better” heroines had already been spoken for.

Even though I never felt bonded to these characters, I did appreciate having Franka’s history revealed. My heart went out to her and it explained a lot about her nasty behavior. She wasn’t a character that was easy to love, but at least I felt like I understood why she worked so hard to push people away.

This book also stood out from the others in that Franka goes to Noc’s world and not the other way around. I guess it is consistent in the sense that the woman always seems to follow the man to his world, but Noc was the first hero from this world. As a result, this book had a different “feel” to it.

While this book is supposed to be the last in the series, I wonder if that is “firm”. There were several teases and loose ends left over. Mainly, this book seemed to pave the way for another book centered on the other Circe and Dax.

If this is truly the last book, then I’m a little bummed. Theirs is a story that I’d love to read. If another book isn’t coming, it seems kind of cruel to tease us readers like that. Maybe we’ll get a novella or something at least.

Overall, this was a middle of the road type of story. I liked it, but nothing about it was particularly compelling. I listed to all of the audiobooks for this series back to back, so it could be that I was just on ‘Fantasyland’ overload by the time I got to ‘Midnight Soul’. Whatever the reason, this one ended up being my least favorite of all the books in the series. It was okay, but nothing that I couldn’t live without.

View all my reviews

Review: Wildest Dreams (Fantasyland, #1), by Kristen Ashley

Wildest Dreams (Fantasyland, #1)Wildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every once in awhile, I crave a story with an over-the-top Alpha and a sassy heroine. I know that I can always count on Kristen Ashley to deliver when I’m in a “caveman” sort of mood. Her heroes are always uber-masculine and about as far from metrosexual as you can get. Though what they lack in sensitivity, they make up for in pure, primal sex appeal.

True to form, ‘Wildest Dreams’ did not disappoint on any of those fronts. In fact, travelling to this alternate universe felt much like travelling back in time by a few hundred years and then throwing in a plethora of supernatural elements. This story takes us to a world where there are ancient royal families ruling over their lands; where travel is by horse and wagon; and where witches, elves and dragons exist. ‘Fantasyland’ is an apt name for this series and I am already hooked.

The first book in the series, ‘Wildest Dreams’ introduces us to this magical world. The descriptions were so vivid that I felt like I had been transported, right alongside Finnie. I listened to the Audible edition of this book and I thought that the narrator did a fabulous job. I am glad that I chose to listen vs. read this time around. If, like me, you enjoy a good audiobook from time to time, this is a great selection.

Kristen Ashley has built an alternate world, where everyone has a “twin”. Although they may have a physical twin in this alternate world, the personalities and other characteristics are certainly not identical. With the help of a witch and a large dose of magic, people in this world may communicate with people in this alternate world, or even travel between worlds. That is how this story begins.

Seoafin “Finnie” Wilde has plenty of money, but has lost the most meaningful people in her life – her parents. Ever since her parents died in a plane crash while on one of their adventures, Finnie has been heartbroken. She misses them more than anything and like them, Finnie is always up for an adventure.

When Finnie discovers the existence of an alternate world – a world where there are living versions of herself and her parents – she decides she is going to go there. Communicating with the “her” in this other world through a powerful witch, she comes to an agreement with her to trade places for one year. Despite the pleas of her best friend, Finnie pays a fortune to the witch and sets out on the biggest adventure of her life.

Only, when Finnie arrives in this new world she quickly discovers that the other “her” hasn’t been completely forthcoming about everything. Stepping into the shoes of Princess Sjofn, she is set to wed the fiercely intimidating and ultra- male, Frey Drakkar immediately upon her arrival in this new world. Finnie doesn’t even have time to read the note that Princess Sjofn left for her before she is marched down the aisle. She’s been duped.

To make matters more complicated, it is clear that Frey Drakkar does not care for Princess Sjofn. In fact, he seems to barely tolerate her presence. After whisking her away to a remote cabin far away from her parent’s castle, he promptly takes off, leaving her to fend for herself in this new land.

Determined to make the best of the situation, Finnie makes the most of her time while Frey is away. She befriends the inhabitants of the nearby small town and bides her time until his return. She cleans their cabin and makes it a cozy home.

When Frey returns, he is shocked to see that the pampered princess has morphed into a completely different person than the one he knew. She is kind and funny. She performs manual labor that the old Sjofn would have thought was beneath her. Perhaps most importantly, she denies that she prefers women lovers over men. He doesn’t know what game she’s playing at, but he intends to find out.

With the changes in their relationship, the two begin to grow closer. As you can imagine, Frey is initially interested only in bedding his beautiful bride. Finnie wants to take things a bit slower. Of course, there are plenty of misunderstandings and awkward moments along the way as the Finnie of this world tries to blend into the life of Princess Sjofn of that world.

Eventually, Frey discovers the truth. However, he and Finnie are already deeply in love by that point. In fact, he has realized that she is his prophesied soul mate and their union signifies the beginning of a new era where the dragons will awaken again. Did I mention that Frey commands dragons and talks to elves?

Overall, I thought that this was a fantastic story. I enjoyed every minute of this fantastical world that Kristen Ashley created. I fell in love with Frey and Finnie. I cannot wait to see where else this series will lead. I will be starting the second book immediately.

View all my reviews

Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2), by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like the first book, ‘Crown of Midnight’ proves to be an action-packed, addicting, thrill ride. Having won the king’s competition, our favorite femme fatale has begun her work as the king’s assassin. However, she’s got a trick or two up her sleeve.

As this story progresses, Celaena delves deeper into the forbidden histories of the people that the king has conquered. Knowledge is power and she intends to get to the bottom of the bizarre, magical happenings around the castle. She discovers timeless secrets and underground alliances working to win freedom for the thousands of oppressed people under the king’s rule.

Meanwhile, relationships are changed drastically. Distancing herself from Dorian, Celaena and Chaol grow closer. A series of betrayals rocks Celaena to her core and causes her to doubt everything and everyone.

More truths are revealed, as Caelena digs deeper into the mysteries around the palace. Supernatural forces come to light. Celaena and Dorian each have powers that are revealed. The truth about Celaena’s heritage is also shared at last, greatly changing the dynamics of this story.

Overall, I loved this story. It continues to hold my attention and keep me on the edge of my seat. I will definitely be continuing this series.

View all my reviews

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2), by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I finished ‘A Court Of Thorns And Roses’ I knew exactly what I wanted to see happen…or so I thought. In this follow-up book, I can honestly say that Ms. Maas gave me absolutely nothing that I expected, but everything that I didn’t know I needed. I loved the way things played out in this book!

In most cases, I don’t do well with my main characters changing love interests. However, even though I didn’t see it coming at the end of the first book, it worked for me. Why? Maybe because the characters had grown up some and grown apart in the process. Maybe because Tamlin morphed into an unrecognizable douche. Maybe because Rhysand was just impossible not to love. Regardless of the reasons, I was never so happy to embrace an “out with the old, in with the new” attitude.

With that being said, a part of my heart still holds a spot for the Tamlin I fell in love with in the first book. Lucius too, for that matter. With the exception of Feyre, all of my favorite characters seem to have lost themselves in this book. As a result, the story turned in an entirely new direction, with a new cast of supporting characters.

However, I loved the direction this story went. The new cast of characters were fantastic. Feyre really shined in this book, as she came into her own as a powerful immortal. Tamlin may have broken my heart, but Rhysand mended it.

Overall, I loved it! It does end with another twist, so I’ll be anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next book. I’m sure Tamlin will try to redeem himself, so it’s bound to be interesting. I can’t wait!

View all my reviews

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1), by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! I loved this paranormal fantasy! Although this isn’t my usual genre, I find myself reading a fair amount of paranormal reads lately. Luckily, I saw some great reviews for this book on friends pages, or I might have missed this gem.

From a young age, Feyre has had to bear the responsibility of providing for her crippled father and two helpless sisters. On her deathbed, Feyre’s mother made her promise that she would keep them together and take care of them. When her father’s poor choices cost the family their wealth and status, Feyre is forced to take drastic measures to ensure her family’s survival.

One day, Feyre is hunting in the forest when she kills a large wolf. Unknowingly, she sets off a chain of events that will alter the course of history for the Fae and humankind. The wolf was no regular wolf, but rather a faerie in disguise.

When the faerie’s friend, Tamlin, comes to Feyre’s home to seek justice, she sacrifices herself. She agrees to live her life in the faerie’s territory, forsaking her family, or else she faces certain death. Knowing that she will be unable to fulfill her promise to her dead mother, Feyre leaves with a heavy heart.

From early childhood on, human children are told stories, warning them of the Fae’s cruel treatment of humans. Expecting to be tormented and live a life of unknown terrors, Feyre is surprised to find that her captor provides her with a life of opulence and plenty. No longer does she have to scrounge for food or wood for heat. In fact, she isn’t expected to work or do anything other than whatever she wants within Tamlin’s lands.

Soon, Feyre realizes that there is more going on in her new home than the innocuous activities that meet the eye. There is a darkness that is slowly seeping into Tamlin’s territory, slowly draining his powers and holding his subjects captive. Feyre is not the only one imprisoned in this strange land.

As Feyre spends more time with Tamlin, she finds herself growing fond of her captor. She can relate to the sacrifices that he’s made for the safety of his subjects. Begrudgingly, she comes to realize that her hatred for the Fae may have been entirely unfounded.

In time, Tamlin and Feyre act on their desires. However, just as they are beginning to explore a romantic relationship, the troubles in Tamlin’s lands come to a head. He chooses to send Feyre home, rather than see her become a victim of the same magic that has cursed his lands for years.

Back at home, Feyre realizes the danger that Tamlin is in and knows that she cannot leave him to face that fate alone. She would rather die with him than live without him again.

From the start, I loved every minute of this story. Even when I thought Feyre was acting like an ungrateful, petulant child, I understood why it was necessary for the storyline. The supporting characters, such as Tamlin’s best friend, Lucien, were also captivating and well-developed.

Overall, I loved this story! There was plenty of action and suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat. There was a beautiful love story. Feyre and Tamlin were intriguing characters that had me rooting for them from start to finish. I wouldn’t change a thing!

Now, I’m dying to read the second book. Unfortunately, it isn’t due to be released until May of 2016. If it’s half as good as this one is, it’ll be well worth the wait.

View all my reviews