Publisher: Kensington Books

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The Tears of the Rose – Jeffe Kennedy – 4 stars

May 4, 2015 Kensington, Read in 2015, Sent 0

I received this book for free from the Author . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Tears of the Rose – Jeffe Kennedy – 4 starsThe Twelve Kingdoms: The Tears of the Rose by Jeffe Kennedy
Published by Kensington Books on 2014-11-25
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical
Pages: 336
Source: the Author
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four-stars

Three sisters. Motherless daughters of the high king. The eldest is the warrior-woman heir; the middle child is shy and full of witchy intuition; and the youngest, Princess Amelia, she is as beautiful as the sun and just as generous.

Ami met her Prince Charming and went away to his castle on the stormy sea-cliffs--and that should have been her happily ever after. Instead, her husband lies dead and a war rages. Her middle sister has been taken into a demon land, turned into a stranger. The priests and her father are revealing secrets and telling lies. And a power is rising in Ami, too, a power she hardly recognizes, to wield her beauty as a weapon, and her charm as a tool to deceive. . .

Amelia has never had to be anything but good and sweet and kind and lovely. But the chess game for the Twelve Kingdoms has swept her up in it, and she must make a gambit of her own. Can the prettiest princess become a pawn--or a queen?

For a chance to win a paper copy of The Talon of the Hawk please go here.

I am going to admit something…  This is my least favorite sister of the series but her book is well done.  I didn’t dislike her as strongly after this as I did by the end of the last book but she still isn’t the favorite one of the trio.  I also found the way this story unfolds to be intriguing and it left me ready for MORE.

We know Ami as the spoiled one… the favorite daughter of the High King who has always gotten what she wanted.  She’s managed to find a man who adores her but then has her perfect life ruined by his death.  She’s driven to find out who killed her precious true love and when she finds out it was her sister…  well then her sister is evil.  I got why she was upset but her refusal to even listen to those around her trying to get her to understand what happened just served to enforce the spoiled rotten view of her.  Her adoration and devotion to being the spoiled princess devoted only to her Goddess and her now-deceased love takes a bit of a beating as she starts to be intrigued by a monk in white that seems to push her to be more than just a pretty face.  As she finally starts to open her eyes to the world around her we finally get to see a woman emerge that may prove to be a formidable foe for the challenges that lie ahead.  I enjoyed seeing her finally realize that her actions have true consequences and that she needs to make her own mind up in order to truly see what is waiting for her in her future.  She’s stronger than I expected once the worst of the bratty child goes away.

Ash…  I enjoyed this scarred man who wasn’t swayed by the bratty princess but pushed her to be something more.  He’s such a sweet man under the scars and attitude but mainly his heart shines thru to show a man driven by duty and love.  His strength and unique talents serve this tale well plus set up some action we see in the next book.  I loved how he didn’t accept her originally and actually wasn’t afraid to show her how badly she has acted over the years.  He shows her that life didn’t end when Hugh was killed but that she not only could live again… she could find a love that in most respects is truer than the one she thought was perfect.  He wants her not the avatar… not the beautiful princess..  not a woman to be spoiled and worshipped but…  a woman with flaws and all that is true to herself and not a puppet on a string.  His sacrifices for her were amazing and beautiful.

Overall this is a good story with a few surprises but mainly I found this to be a big redemption for a character I wasn’t fond of in any way, shape, or form from the last book.  I liked how she was changing and was very glad to see her come out of her spoiled background.

four-stars

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The Mark of the Tala – Jeffe Kennedy – 5 stars

May 29, 2014 NetGalley, Read in 2014 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Mark of the Tala – Jeffe Kennedy – 5 starsThe Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy
Published by Kensington Books on 2014-05-27
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

Queen Of The UnknownThe tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, heir to the kingdom. The youngest, the sweet beauty with her Prince Charming. No one says much about the middle princess, Andromeda. Andi, the other one. Andi doesn't mind being invisible. She enjoys the company of her horse more than court, and she has a way of blending into the shadows. Until the day she meets a strange man riding, who keeps company with wolves and ravens, who rules a land of shapeshifters and demons. A country she'd thought was no more than legend--until he claims her as its queen. In a moment everything changes: Her father, the wise king, becomes a warlord, suspicious and strategic. Whispers call her dead mother a traitor and a witch. Andi doesn't know if her own instincts can be trusted, as visions appear to her and her body begins to rebel. For Andi, the time to learn her true nature has come. . .

I have to say I adored this book and love that it is the first in a trilogy.  The world that was built was fascinating in its complexity and beauty yet harsh in its way of dealing with the the differences between races.  There is a lesson embedded in this story about tolerance and understanding needing to take the place of fear and the unknown.

We meet three sisters who are as different from one another as they can be but this story focuses on the middle child who has spent her life invisible to those around the throne until a fateful day when her life changes and she becomes something/someone to notice and either fear or love.  Andromeda is content in many ways to stay in the shadows but when she happens upon a man who says strange things to her about being his and more than she knows she is… her life will never be the same.  She’s surprisingly strong and while her nature is to be out exploring and in the wilds around the castle her father and sisters keep her grounded to the castle and try to make her in to something.  She never feels like she is good enough but when she does choose to actually come out of her shell the things she decides are ultimately the best course of action.  I liked her strength and the way she fought against the thoughts of others to ultimately make her own path in life even as it felt to her like she was betraying everyone in her family.  She really was being true to not only herself but to her family and those she loves with all of her heart.  Watching her come in to her own and truly embrace her unique heritage was beautiful and I look forward to seeing how this plays out in the other two stories.

Rayfe.. *sigh* such a wonderful man to get to know as slowly yet quickly as Andi gets to.  I loved seeing this strong man not only be patient with Andi but also watch him be so tender with her at times when she really didn’t seem to appreciate it.  He didn’t know when he first approached how little she actually knew about her heritage but also didn’t have all the time to make sure she didn’t feel rushed in accepting her new role in life.  He’s sexy as hell and while Andi put up a good front with others we knew she’d fallen for him the moment she met this incredible man.  He’s suffered for years in order to do what was best for his people and seeing him finally get the happiness he deserved made me smile.  He’s highly intelligent and driven to restore his people to their former strength and give them the safe haven they deserve but luckily for him he found his true mate in Andi.

My interest is piqued by how Jeffe is going to manage to get me to love the youngest spoiled brat of a sister but I trust her to open her up and let us see something other than a brat in her story.  I loved the older sister even as I scowled at her because as you’ll see she is hiding a lot from the world which means peeling back the layers will prove to be highly entertaining.

Special thanks to NetGalley.com and Kensington for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  I loved it!!  Also thanks to Jeffe for saving me a copy at RT…  It is on my keeper shelf along with a beautiful snow globe of the title.

five-stars

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Bite Me – Shelly Laurenston – 5 stars

March 25, 2014 Kensington, Read in 2014, Sent 1

I received this book for free from the publisher . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Bite Me – Shelly Laurenston – 5 starsBite Me by Shelly Laurenston
Published by Kensington Books on 2014-03-25
Genres: Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
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five-stars

Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots. When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life’s irritants is a finely honed skill. Until she gets stuck housing her nutso cousin and dealing with her dad’s untimely and unexplained demise.

That’s where Vic Barinov comes in—or his house does. Vic can’t step outside without coming back to find Livy devouring his honey stash and getting the TV remote sticky. It gets his animal instincts all riled up. But he’ll have to woo her at high speed: all hell is breaking loose, and Livy is leading the charge…

How much do I love this series?  Well enough that when I thought I had lost Vida’s (Publicist Extrordanaire) business card that I scored at RT in Kansas City I wanted to bawl.  Luckily I found it and she’s got a great amount of patience for when I SQUEE about anything Laurenston.  As much as I love this series and am sad to see it paused until sometime in the future (perhaps) I can understand why Shelly might need a break.  I want more from this group of people she’s been wonderful enough to share with us and I hope a chance to step away will bring her back to them in the future.

This installment focuses on Livy and Vic but there are so many cameos by past characters that you get a great chance to visit with people we all love.  Livy’s family is INSANE but you can’t help but appreciate how they band together when needed in order to avenge their own.  We get to see Ronnie Lee and Bren’s child in this and love the glimpse in to the madness that will come as they navigate parenthood.  We also get to see KYLE!!!  The boy made me laugh so hard so many times that I’m glad I have a no drink policy while reading Laurenston books.  He’s priceless and I hope we get to see more of him in the future.  Also you’ll love Vic’s partner.. NOT HIS PARTNER but ya know his partner… and his lovable ways.  The man made me giggle with his ability to get under Vic’s skin but in a way that makes him lovable.

The love story in this one was very sweet and does take a while to get to the steamy parts but for these two it works.  Livy hates feeling trapped and Vic, well Vic, is just willing to amble along and patiently wait for her to decide what she wants.  He’s very accepting of his feelings for her and seeing how he let’s her be who she is with only slight nudges to compromise as needed to get the end result she needs to feel whole.  He’s just very supportive of her and really does get her more than her own family does.  His gestures to her mean the world to her and I found myself sighing many times at the meaning behind them.  Livy is smart enough to recognize what she has with him even as she denies it but her denials come across as more fighting the inevitable than mean-spirited or cruel.  They both recognize what they have and while they might fight it a bit there is nothing better than when Vic’s wild side comes out.  I love love love his CAT!!!

I have to add that I probably laughed hardest at the interactions of Bo and Vic during the story as I’m sure anyone who reads this will agree.  They are too damn funny and seeing how Lach handles it is just perfect.

Overall this is a wonderful installment in the series that I hope you will go out and grab.  If you haven’t read this series…  GO BUY THEM ALL NOW!!!! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT AT ALL!!!

Special thanks to Vida for sending me a copy of this early and I’m amazed you didn’t hear the SQUEE!! when it came in.  I know you also made many other reviewers happy when you sent them their copies as well.  I so owe you at RT this year!!

five-stars

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