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a little bit norse and little bit rock and roll

Too Wyrd: Runespell Series: Book 1 Kindle Edition
by Sarah Buhrman
Disclaimer: I received and electronic copy of this book for review purposes

I don’t even know where to start with how fantastic this book is. The depth and breadth of knowledge of Norse Myth? The deep and hilarious discussion of magical quantum theory? The discussion of the Hero’s Journey held between the reluctant heroine and her herald? In jokes and pop culture references, from Aladdin to Spiderman splattered about

This book is both funny and, coming from a real Pagan/Heathen, realistic in terms of our beliefs. It reminds of my personal literary addiction, the Godhunter Series!

Nicola begins her epic quest with one simple purpose, to get her step-sister away from the pseudo-Norse cult being led by Nicola’s ex who also happens to be the dead beat father to Nicola’s beautiful daughter. She is also a Heathen with the power of energy manipulation. That epic quest balloons into saving the world from Ragnarok combined with every other religion’s end of the world. The discussion about this particular scenario is worth the entire book.

And for once, we have a magickal person who doesn’t have a meltdown when faced with magickal beings! I’ve wanted that for ages!

The characters are well crafted, including the immortals who pop in and out. The world-building is amazing, real but just off that little bit to keep it safely in the Urban Fantasy category.

A serious 5 out of 5

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Ashen does for Epic Fantasy what Hunger Games did for dystopian adventures

Ashen: Chronicles of Warshard Kindle Edition

by Katherine Bogle

Katherine Bogle does for epic fantasy what Suzanne Collins did for dystopian adventure – she gives us a complex heroine faced with life-altering trials wrapped in a distinctly complex world.

I was blessed with the opportunity to read an ARC in exchange for a review. The story of Adni swept me away in a heartbeat. It was the girl’s inner strength and the incredibly rare exploration of the heroine’s journey, that does indeed reach out to all women, young and old.

Adni’s magic is perhaps the most unique I’ve met, and I’ve been reading about magic since the, ahem, the ’70’s gobbling up Xanth and Darkover with equal passion. More importantly, Adni’s relationships with family and Julian are special. The relationship with Julian and Adni is so natural and beautiful, a love story for LGBTQIA young adult readers and us old fogies who enjoy the genre as well.

If you enjoy story telling, character and plot this is for you. Please note, that while this is the third in a trilogy, it and the other two books are written well enough to stand on their own or in any order, so perhaps a interlocking series would be a far better term.

5 scaly stars out of 5

Literary Crack!

Elementals: The Wrath of the Fury Kindle Edition
by Michelle Madow 
An intelligent story, with a perfectly built, deep and complex world and a heroine that everyone of any age can connect with.
I don’t know if I am happier I found Ms Madow’s work now or that *I happier that I have all of her books to look forward to? Honestly, I’m a little of both!
I really can’t wait to dig all the way into the Elementals – a series of novels about the descendants of the Olympian gods who are now witches.
This, the Wrath of the Fury, is the kick off story, and like any good dealer, Ms. Madow gave us the first bit free just to fully addict us and I am. The last time I was this addicted it was the Godhunter Series and I’m already jonesing for the next one of those!

Like all great literary crack, Madow’s work hooks you instantly. Opening up with a visit to the desert to see a comet and revealing that the narrator, and her friends, are all witches is a great hook!
Short enough to gobble up after school or if you are just a teensy older, like me, with a glass of wine after dinner, but deep enough to keep you craving more, I give this short story 5 shiny shooting stars out of 5.

Too short and too shallow

Lazan (Rathier Warriors) (A Sci Fi Alien Abduction Romance)
Nov 25, 2017
by Stella Sky

One of the best things about e-books is that sub-genres can be born, crafted and well-loved. The Alien Abduction love story is one of the newer versions out there that I just adore.

Lazan is the start of an amazing love story, however just the start. The two lovers, one human woman and one Rathier Warrior, are intriguing and the world that Ms. Sky has created is fascinating.

But the story is to too short to truly grab and hold you. Yes, there are other stories, but the main story of two Rathier Warrior brothers who stumble onto a human women while they are all are a bit lost on a prison planet is the title and should be the the beating heart. And it would be, if so many interesting threads were spooled out and woven further. For instance, the story of the mother and why she is locked up. Or even why in a warrior society, adultery is so vile that it is a life sentence. There has to be a reason for these things other than hey, wouldn’t it be a cool conflict? Also, the characters are just beginning to breathe when the story ‘ends’ on a huge cliffhanger. The father, one of the key factors, we are told about but never ‘see’ him enough to truly understand his behavior.

The human woman is supposed to be brave and strong enough to go out into space but seems to be frightened of her own shadow – we never get enough of her past to grab onto.

This short novella along with the others in the compilation would make good reads for a cold night in bed with a good wine, if you only have a short time before sleep, but unless the future Rathier’s explore more of their society and the current human society, which I assume they will come into contact with because of the end of this book, they will be simple reads, easily forgotten as you move on to something deeper.

This book is Book Nerd acceptable.
3 stars out of 5

Sexy, Steamy, full of intrigue and action

Above This Grave (The Cloven Pack Series: Book Three)
Sep 25, 2017 | Kindle eBook
by D. Fischer

I reviewed complimentary ARC of this book

The third in a scintillating, sexy, steamy shifter series filled with unique characters and intrigue.

While this is the story of Flint and his mate Irene, foul-mouthed, opinionated and very very pregnant Kenna is still my favorite and I am glad she is included. Her labor scene is hysterical and how I imagine my own would have gone, if I had kids. (the word episiotomy stopped any kind of childbirth in my future)
Irene is also fascinating, as you can feel how she is fighting both the intrigue/danger she has found her self in and the attraction to her mate, Flint. Particularly, since Flint is stuck in his wolf shape due to a trauma that happened in book two.
While these books can be read out of order or alone, they read better as a series and in order. That way you know who the villain is, why that villain is who they are.
Ms. Fischer does a wonderful job building her world, and in this book, we get a run down of who made whom and who was in charge of what. That conversation was well written and natural.
The book is written entirely in first person, but with multiple POV’s so be careful not to stop mid chapter to sleep or eat or do homework or whatever, you will spend a ton of time trying to figure out why Evo was talking about contractions when it was really his wife!

The ending is both a HEA and a cliffhanger leading to book four!
This book is Book Nerd Approved
5 furry stars out of 5

FUnny sexy steamy shifter romance

Out of the Darkness (The Cloven Pack Series: Book Two) Kindle Edition
by D. Fischer 
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book

Sometimes men are dense, particularly when they are part wolf! Benjamin is definitively in that category! While Brenna has always known he is her mate, he has got a clue. He is too wrapped up in in his responsibilities as the Cloven pack beta to notice.

That is until an old enemy, known as the One, and her cult of personality appear and threaten the pack and Brenna.

Then the sizzle factor picks up, the passion grows and true love blossoms. And there is a surprise pregnancy!

There are several shifting point of views that tie back to book one, although they can be read as standalones, it is far more enjoyable to read them in order as you can see the characters develop, from Kenna learning to fit into the to her mate’s struggle with his newly gained telepathy to Ben’s catching a clue there is enough humor to breakup the tension occurring between the rogues and the pco

This book is Book Nerd Approved.
5 furry stars our of

A Gifted Curse

A Gifted Curse (The Cloven Pack Series: Book One) Kindle Edition
by D. Fischer 
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Poor Makenna, After being abandoned as an infant, she is passed from foster home to foster home, all because she seems to have a sixth sense. She can tell when someone is lying. She also seems to have a second personality. One that is consistently diagnosed because of near-constant anxiety attacks. Because of this, she has closed herself off from the world, working as a Private Investigator.

Little does she know, she is a wolf shifter. Not only that but a Queens!

Mackenna is one of the most brilliant characters I’ve had the privilege to meet, as are her entire pack. Kenna is foul-mouthed and soft-hearted. Strong-willed and lonely. She is the distillation of what every woman feels. And for the first time, when she meets Evo, she finally fits in.

The plotting is brilliant if at times a little transparent. The world-building is handled well and the take on the wolf-shifters and the power structures within the packs is fantastic.

Alternating POV’s between Evo and Kenna gives us a view into their growing love and their nervousness at this. The villains as completely evil, sociopathic and cruel.

This steamy shifter story boils the readers blood and makes them turn page after page without a pause!

Only the transparency of the who a couple of the villains are lowers the rating from 5 to 4 furry stars.
This book is Book Nerd Approved!

Tarnished City

Tarnished City (Dark Gifts) Kindle Edition
by Vic James (Author)
I voluntarily received a copy of this book for review.
Tarnished City is a book for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent, with strong female leads trying desperately to save her family and her people. Addictive as it is a fast and dark read, I can’t recommend it enough. A darkly troubling story, filled with intrigue an the most dangerous emotion – hope, it was impossible to put it down as you can never tell who will be the hero and who will be the villain. However, this is not a book for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, as some scenes make the original Wicker Man seem like a Disney movie.
Having never had the pleasure of reading Gilded Cage, I was new to this amazing dystopia that I hereby christen as Techno-Regency, kind of like Steam-punk, but the Ton picked up and dropped smack dab into the 21st century.
The Ton (the Skilled or those with Magic), in this case, use the Orwellian newspeak title of Equals while they rule the Unskilled or magicless with a merciless hand, treating them as slaves. Which is appropriate as one of the two allied nations is the Confederate States of America.
This is the tale not only of the whole of Britain and its search for freedom for the Skilled, but that of two families, one Skilled the other Unskilled. Because of this, heroes become villains and villains heroes.
This book falls into the category of un-puttdownable, and I read it in one sitting, not even stopping for dinner.
5 shiny stars out of 5. I can’t wait to read Gilded Cage and the third in the series
This book is highly approved by the Book Nerd.

A poor mash up of splatter punk and a Faerie tail

Renegade Red: Book Two of The Light Trilogy
by Lauren Bird Horowitz

A highly disappointing, over the top use of poetic language that often doesn’t make sense sun up this novel. Also, Ms. Horowitz breaks the single most important rule of the Fae (Fey, Faerie, Fay, Gentry), do not eat or drink their food. Not only that, Noa seems to survive on several pieces of bread and an apple as she goes through trials that are clearly inspired by the Hunger Games and Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. She often breaks bones, several time compound fractures. She climbs mountains, wal`s over acid and all number of things without sleep or food.

Judah and Callum, her ‘loves’ are just as screwed up as she is and for a sixteen year old, Julia has an unnatural connection to her baby sister who really isn’t her baby sister but Callum and Judah’s baby sister. In fact, the entire purpose of the story is to find Sasha/Lily.

The novel begins in a strange school where imagination is forbidden. If one indulgeous in it, they vist the great Otec or as the kid call him the Man with White hand. He is build up as Darius, Judah’s and Callum’s father. Wrong. And yet, for a school where art is forbidden, Noa know`s what an expressionist painting is,

Then they slip into Faerie to find that the colors are ghetto-ized and being slaughtered for the use of their power, apparently for the use of their father who is a clear. And again we are led astray with the ciooizl

All in all, this ranks as a really bad trip down the rabbit hole or a really bad acid trip. Characters are inconsistent, often pretty pretty foul.

Ms.Howoritz claims to be a poet and occasionally uses some terms such as “girl-beast” repetitively to try to reach that feeling. These phrases feel forced as do the repeated escapes that should leave her bloody and shredded. Poetry shouldn’t be as forced as Ms. Howoritz. Fantasy `should not drift into horror and gore-porn unless you are Stephen King

The climax is ridiculous and quite frankly silly. Billed and advertised as a YA, this novel crosses over at times into horror and splatter punk with people being liquefied or turned to dust or used for their magic.
Two stars out of five This book is not Book Nerd Approved

Scottish fey-steampunk

The Falconer: Book One of the Falconer Trilogy Kindle Edition
by Elizabeth May
I received a complimentary copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest exchange,

Scottish faeries (no where near as nice as their Irish or Welsh relatives) were magically trapped beneath the earth by women who wee known as the Falconers. Through the centuries, the magic has weakened and the Falconers have died out.

All except two. Aileana and her mother. On the night of her coming out, Aileana watches something, a dark fairy rip her mother’s heart out. When she is discovered by the aristocracy, elbow deep in her mother’s blood, Aileana is suspected of murder and made an outcast.

That is until Kiaran, a High Warrior Faerie, recognizes her for what she is and begins training her.

Ms. May does an excellent job of giving Aileana quirks. She has a pixie who uses her dresses to make his own clothes and has the hobby of inventions that she puts to work to destroying the evil faeries with her mentor Kiaran,

Ms. May’s world borders on steam-punk, with DaVinci flying machines and stun guns alongside corsets and arranged marriages.

Fight scenes take place in the freezing cold, as we draw close to the Winter Equinox, the time the seal breaks. Ms. May paints the violence and frenzy of human on Fae fight with a talented brush. Blood and mud and rain and snow all mix to create an ephemeral battlefield filled with icy fog. Aileana fights like a madwoman and at the same time she is the perfect Victorian lady, drinking tea and picking out a wedding dress. Meanwhile, she is falling for Kiaran. Ms. May twists the plot into a labyrinthine story.

Ms. May also uses the Scottish version of the Fae as opposed to the Irish or the Cornish. This is a fabulous twist. Although, warning for Americans, all Celt added letters and you may need to go to google translate to pronounce a word or a dozen. It is is well worth it.

The characters, well they are fantastic. I love the pixie and want one of my own. The gadgets, the stitchers, the automatic tea pot and so on truly hint at a cross between Dr. Who and Downtown Abbey.

I am sad to say there is no HEA. In fact, there is no true ending, we are left with a dark, creepy cliff hanger where the burgeoning love between Kam (Aileana) and Kiaran may or may not be destroyed.

An excellent coming of age, heroine’s journey with humor and corsets! This book is Book Nerd Approved

5 out of 5