Title: The King’s Traitor, The Kingfountain series #3
Author: Jeff Wheeler
Themes: Ambition, loyalty, love, duty, trust. Again a strong theme of Richard III, King Arthur, and this time the Little Mermaid.
The lives of Owen Kiskaddon and the king Severn Argentine have been intertwined since he was first taken to the king’s court as a frightened little boy. Almost twenty years later, his mentor is dying, his boyhood love is married to another man, and the king he serves has become the monster he was long rumored to be.
Owen’s latest errand for the king is a highly personal errand – he’s sent to propose marriage to the young Duchess of Brythonica. The idea is to provoke an outraged rejection, use that as a pretext for war, and strengthen the kingdom. Owen has little enthusiasm for the task, but even he is not expecting to have his proposal accepted. Duchess Sinia is nothing like he expected. She’s Fountain Blessed, like Owen himself, and her magic permeates the land. Brythonica is full of fertile fields, happy peasants, and a mysterious wood.
This book was so full of action I can’t possibly cover it all, but Wheeler has a talent for taking an already tense situation and making it more suspenseful. There were a few times that I thought the characters were not cautious enough, that they were making obvious mistakes. But I could forgive that, since the characters were so well developed that I truly cared about them. They didn’t all survive, but I won’t spoil it by telling you more. If you haven’t tried this series, I would recommend it for anyone who loves fantasy or history. I’ve heard some people who were put off by the fact that the protagonist is only 8 years old in the first book, however I don’t think that lessened my enjoyment of the book at all. It starts with The Queen’s Poisoner, and there’s a related trilogy after. 4/5 stars
Book Review: The Hundredth Queen, Book 1
Author: Emily R. King
Kalinda is an orphan, hoping to pass her trials and stay at the temple and train forever. Unfortunately in her world, benefactors of the temple can come select girls at any time to join their households as servants, as concubines, or as wives. Kalinda is sickly and repeatedly told she is ugly, so she figures her only chance at leaving the temple is as a servant. But when she is chosen to leave, it is as a wife to the rajah. His 100th wife. This is important because the 100th wife has religious significance and the cruel rajah plans to use his marriage to force the other wives and concubines to fight for his favor and win his approval. Such a fight is always to the death.
This book was free as a member of Amazon prime and I was excited because they never have genre fiction. Unfortunately, I was left only confused and unsatisfied. Kalinda is about to be forced into marriage with a cruel man she just met. She’s been raised in a virtual convent. You’d expect there to be some lesbian relationships, even if it’s only hints. But there’s nothing like that. You’d expect her to have some questions about physical relationships with a man, about sex, about, let’s spell it out, rape. There’s not much mention of that either. Her best friend is also forced into marriage with a man against her will and she’s beaten. That gets slight mention, but the sexual assault that the reader knows must be going on? Nothing.
Kalinda is such a special snowflake in this that Captain Deven, her bodyguard, falls in love with her at first sight, and she’s reckless enough to be seen talking to him intimately all the time. Then she’s surprised when he’s caught and punished. The only reason I finished this book is because I was curious about the magical aspect, and that wound up being a little confusing. I will admit that I was sick when I read it, so it might have made more sense and I might have enjoyed it more on another day. But then again, I might have been more critical, so who can say. All I know is that I wouldn’t recommend it. I got it free and I would have been grumpy if I had paid for it. 2/5 stars.
Title: Puss Without Boots, Fairy Tale Kingdoms #1
Author: Shari L. Tapscott
Genre: fairy tale romance
Themes: true love, magic, work, trust
Suzette, also called Etta, is the youngest child of the miller. Now that her aunt has passed, she left the mill to the oldest child, the donkey to the middle child, and Suzette – well, she gets the cat and some money – to buy boots for the cat. Suzette is less than thrilled. She uses the money to buy herself some boots.
But a few weeks later when Etta takes her first day off, she discovers that this is no ordinary cat. Puss can talk. He doesn’t mind about the boots, but he had definite plans for Etta. Plans that involve teaching her to hunt and stop spending time with the new chocolatier, Beau.
I really liked this book. After a string of books that I was only lukewarm about, this one won me over with it’s charming story and characters. Etta is such a refreshing change from so many stupid characters! And Beau, I mean come on, he has a chocolate shop! Plus their relationship developed slowly enough that I really cared about them as a couple.
This was a very quick read. I’m definitely recommending this one if you like clean fairy tale romance, and I’m pleased to see that she has several other books out. The next one is about Rapunzel.