Monday, January 22, 2018

Review: Shadow Warrior by Michelle Diener

Title: Shadow Warrior
Author: Michelle Diener
Series: Sky Raiders #3
Publication: January 22nd 2018 by Eclipse

Genre: Science Fiction
Purchase Links: Amazon 
Rating: 4/5

Taya and Garek have survived the worst of what the sky raiders and their own fellow Illians have thrown at them. But now, they’ll have to deal with both their enemies working together.

As three of the Illian states close in on what they see as the weakness of West Lathor, Garek and Taya have to shore up their defences, call in favors, and forge friendships with whoever they can to protect their friends and family. When the signs that there is an alliance between an Illian liege and the sky raiders becomes harder to ignore, they have to face the fact that they may be defeated.

The arrival of a new group of sky raiders, looking for information and help, opens up a new possibility. Garek sees no choice but to make a deal with the devil, but the gamble is, will the enemy of their enemy help them, or betray them?


Oh my gosh, this was such an amazing ending to an equally amazing trilogy! I can't believe how totally absorbed I was with Shadow Warrior. I even stayed up late because I just needed to finish this book. And that's not something that happens to me a lot anymore. The action is what made this a huge page-turner but the varied characters and their final battle against the sky raiders is what really made this book special. I was more than hooked!

Shadow Warrior was easily my favorite book out of all three, which is another thing that doesn't happen a lot to me because usually I'm not the biggest one of last books in a trilogy or series so it's a pretty huge deal that this one was my favorite. The cover is also a big contender for my favorite book cover of 2018. I just love it so much.

The first book was a little bit of a rocky start but the characters in the books, especially Taya, have grown on me so much. I also thought Garek was beyond amazing in the story but Taya definitely stole the spotlight. The character developement of her was so incredible, you could just see her growing through the three books. She was absolutely badass and fearless in this book. I adore her!

As the last book of the Sky Raiders trilogy, Shadow Warrior was an excellent conclusion. If you're looking for an action-packed sci-fi adventure with a strong heroine an swoonworthy hero in the lead, this is the trilogy to start!




Author bio:
Michelle Diener writes historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. Having worked in publishing and IT, she’s now very happy crafting new worlds and interesting characters and wondering which part of the world she can travel to next.
Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

When she’s not writing, or driving her kids from activity to activity, you can find her blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter, at Google+and Facebook.

Check out my reviews of Michelle's other books:

{Science Fiction)
Sky Raiders (Sky Raiders #1) — 3/5★ 
Calling the Chance (Sky Raiders #2) — 4/5★ 
COMING SOON: Shadow Warrior (Sky Raiders #3) 

{Science Fiction}
Dark Horse (Class 5 #1) — 5/5★ 
Dark Deeds (Class 5 #2) — 5/5★ 
Dark Minds (Class 5 #3) — 4/5★ 

{Science Fiction}
Interference & Insurgency (Verdant String) — 4.5/5★ 

{Paranormal}
Breaking Out Part I (part of Entranced Halloween Box Set — 4/5★ 
Breaking Out Part II — 4/5★ 

{Fantasy}
The Golden Apple (The Dark Forest #1) — 4/5★ 
The Silver Pear (The Dark Forest #2) — 5/5★ 

{Fantasy}

{Historical Fiction}
The Emperor's Conspiracy (Regency London #1) 5/5
Banquet of Lies (Regency London #2) 5/5★ 
A Dangerous Madness (Regency London #3) —5/5★ 

 {Historical Fiction}

 {Historical Fiction}
In a Treacherous Court (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker #1) 5/5
Dangerous Sanctuary (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker #1.5) 5/5
Keeper of the King's Secrets (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker #2) 5/5
In Defense of the Queen (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker) 5/5



Saturday, January 20, 2018

Stacking The Shelves: January 20, 2018

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly bookish meme hosted @ Tynga's Reviews & Reading Reality.



Bought:
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller


Bought:
The King by Skye Warren

For Review:
Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt


For Review:
Interference & Insurgency by Michelle Diener — 4.5/5{My Review}
Shadow Warrior by Michelle Diener 


For Review:
Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James
2020 by Kenneth Steven



Have a great weekend and happy reading, everyone! ♥


Friday, January 19, 2018

Review: Interference & Insurgency by Michelle Diener

Title: Interference & Insurgency
Author: Michelle Diener
Series: Verdant String
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication: January 14th 2018 by Eclipse
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Rating: 4.5/5

The Verdant String Series

The seven planets of the Verdant String, the green, fecund sources of life spanning five solar systems, comprise the Verdant String Coalition. This is the setting for a new science fiction romance series from award-winning science fiction romance novelist Michelle Diener. While the people of the Verdant String know they have a common ancestor, a group of explorers who colonised the planets at the same time a thousand or more years ago, the mysteries of who they were, and where they came from, persist.

Interference (A 25,000 word novella introducing the world of the Verdant String)

Interference can go either way . . .

The tiny moon of Cepi is on a countdown to destruction, and while Nyha Bartali has been persuaded to take her four wards for a final look at the archaeological wonder, now she's eager to leave. The only problem is, someone has other plans--plans to exploit Nyha and her girls' status as the betrayed orphans of the Verdant String in order to give them time to steal Cepi's secrets.

Nyha and her wards' value as survivors of the destruction of Halatia means it would be political suicide for any leader of the Verdant String to endanger them again--something the hostage-takers know very well. What the hostage-takers don't know is that Nyha and her girls have more help than they realize.

Mak Carep knows his team's presence on Cepi is the last flex of Arkhor's muscle before the moon is blown to bits. Arkhor has interfered on Cepi since it discovered the ruins four hundred years ago, but sometimes, interference can have unexpected consequences. When Nyha and her girls are taken hostage, Mak and the rest of his special forces team are the only ones who have any hope of rescuing them, and they're ready and willing to do what Arkhor does best . . . Interfere.

Interference was first published in the Orphans in the Black Anthology in July 2017.

Insurgency (Insurgency is a 45,000 word short novel set in the Verdant String series)

The Parnian city of Var is under siege. Buildings are being targeted by insurgents whose only aim seems to be destruction. Nick Bartega is part of the Protection Unit team investigating the explosions, but with no discernible pattern, and no one taking responsibility, he and his colleagues have hit a blank wall.

That is until his neighbor, Tila, is caught up in the first real mistake the insurgents have made. Cornered, forced to take Tila's whole office hostage, the insurgents are surrounded and out of options, until they use Tila as their shield.

Tila sees herself as Parnian first, Halatian second, but her dark blue hair, and the strong emotions her very existence provokes in others means the insurgents see her as the perfect hostage. No one on Par wants to give the order that might catch her in the crossfire. They'd rather let the insurgents get away.

But Nick, and his commander, Drake, see the first glimpse of a pattern in the insurgents behavior. Not that long ago, Halatians were used as hostages in another incident on the tiny moon of Cepi, and the parallels are hard to ignore. So is this attack on Var an isolated incident, or is there a bigger conspiracy at play?

Whatever the truth, Nick isn't prepared to leave Tila in the insurgents hands. And he's prepared to break any rule, and disregard any order to do it.

Interference: 4/5★
Insurgency: 4.5/5★


Interference:

Interference was a really great introduction to the world of the Verdant String. I'm always looking forward to Michelle Diener's next science fiction book because it always has a great cast of characters, especially her main characters. It obviously was no different with this novella. I adored Nyha and Mak and loved their chemistry together. I also have got to say that even though it was only a 25,000 word novella I still thought the story has really great world building. It was very well-written and also action packed, with a little bit of romance that definitely makes the reader want more. Nyha even ended up being one of my favorite characters that I've read about from this author. I just loved how although she knew Mak could help her in the bad situation she ended up in, she also was determined to save herself and the ones she loves. "He was a lifeline, the only one she had, but she needed to work on a way out of this without him, too. She couldn't depend on being saved."
It was just a really good story and a huge page-turner!


Insurgency:

Insurgency was in one word: unputdownable! I loved it even more than Interference and I already thought that story was really amazing. 

Insurgency features two new characters named Tila and her new neighbour Nick, whom she connects right away. Nick is part of the Protection Unit team investigating explosions that have been going around in the city of Var. Tila is a Halatian (I already knew a lot about the Halantians from Interference so I was really glad this book was also about one). Unfortunately being Halatian causes her to be abducted by insurgents. Of course Nick doesn't hesitate to go after her along with his commander Drake. 

Needless to say this story was pretty action-packed, which I loved. There was never ever a dull moment and I just kept wanting to read the next page and the next and the next until I had finished the book. I adored the two main characters. I loved the "tension" that surrounded them and their blossoming actraction towards on another. This book isn't heavy on the romance but I love the subtlety that the author created between these two. 


Overall, Interference as well as Insurgency were two really good stories and a fantastic introduction to the Verdant String series. The worldbuilding was really incredible so I can't wait to read more of this world and the people in it.  




Author bio:
Michelle Diener writes historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. Having worked in publishing and IT, she’s now very happy crafting new worlds and interesting characters and wondering which part of the world she can travel to next.
Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

When she’s not writing, or driving her kids from activity to activity, you can find her blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter, at Google+ and Facebook.


Check out my reviews of Michelle's other books:

{Science Fiction)
Sky Raiders (Sky Raiders #1) — 3/5 
Calling the Chance (Sky Raiders #2) — 4/5★ 
COMING SOON: Shadow Warrior (Sky Raiders #3) 

{Science Fiction}
Dark Horse (Class 5 #1) — 5/5★ 
Dark Deeds (Class 5 #2) — 5/5★ 
Dark Minds (Class 5 #3) — 4/5★ 

{Paranormal}
Breaking Out Part I (part of Entranced Halloween Box Set — 4/5★ 
Breaking Out Part II — 4/5★ 

{Fantasy}
The Golden Apple (The Dark Forest #1) — 4/5★ 
The Silver Pear (The Dark Forest #2) — 5/5★ 

{Fantasy}

{Historical Fiction}
The Emperor's Conspiracy (Regency London #1) 5/5
Banquet of Lies (Regency London #2) 5/5★ 
A Dangerous Madness (Regency London #3) —5/5★ 

 {Historical Fiction}

 {Historical Fiction}
In a Treacherous Court (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker #1) 5/5
Dangerous Sanctuary (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker #1.5) 5/5
Keeper of the King's Secrets (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker #2) 5/5
In Defense of the Queen (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker) 5/5


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review: King Arthur: A Life From Beginning to End by Hourly History

Title: King Arthur: A Life From Beginning to End
Author: Hourly History
Publication: September 19th 2017
Genre: Nonfiction, History
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4/5

Dating back to the fifth century, the legend of King Arthur, his Queen Guinevere, and the Knights of the Round Table is an integral part of British national mythology. From its beginning as a few lines of Latin text written in a sixth-century monk’s hand, Arthurian legend has blossomed over the years into a unique universe built on the real foundations of Britain’s Dark Ages and the principles of ancient chivalry.

Liberally expanded over the years to include romantic entanglements, an imaginary ancient empire, and the threat of the supernatural, the legend of King Arthur remains as engaging today as it was in medieval times. King Arthur’s life, whether it happened or not, cuts to the core of the Matter of Britain and reveals the heart of Britain’s fanciful idea of its origin.


I actually really liked this short book about King Arthur and where his myth came from. It doesn't go into deep about it all but it's only 37 pages so it's to be expected. 

The story of king Arthur and the knights of the round table has been a favorite of mine for ages so I really liked learning more about where it supposedly all started, which is around the time that the Romans left Great Britain and the remaining people needed a hero. 

The book also goes into the different stories that surround the legend of Arthur and maybe it's just me but I couldn't help but notice how some of these stories, though not all of them, were very similar to some Greek myths that we all know very well. For example, I couldn't help but draw parallels between King Arthur and Hercules. It was striking actually.

For a free book, King Arthus: A Life From Beginning to End was a pretty good one. It was a really quick read as all Hourly History books are since they can be read in way less than an hour and can be read in one sitting even. 




Check out my other Hourly History reviews:



More Hourly History reviews to come soon!



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. It's based on Waiting On Wednesday hosted at Breaking the Spine.



The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
Expected publication: March 6th 2018 by Harper Design

Featuring beloved characters such as the Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, and the Snow Queen, a deluxe full-color edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytales, illustrated with stunning drawings and interactive artwork from MinaLima, the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter film franchise—the perfect companion for fans of the Disney live-action film The Little Mermaid which will include a mix of songs from Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken.

Nearly two hundred years after its publication in 1837, Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless fairytales continue to inspire young imaginations. This beautiful unabridged edition brings together many of the Danish writer’s favorite stories that have become literary classics, including "The Little Mermaid", "Thumbelina", "The Snow Queen", "The Princess and the Pea", "The Ugly Duckling", "The Emperor’s New Clothes", and more.

The thirteen stories in The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales are illustrated with specially commissioned artwork and ten exclusive interactive features including:

A dial with six mermaids
A Duckling transforming into a swan
Mattresses that pull away to reveal a pea
The Snow Queen’s palace
Gorgeously designed, this keepsake illustrated edition—the fourth book in Harper Design’s series of reimagined children’s classics—will be treasured by readers of all ages for generations to come.