Monday, March 14, 2016

C. F. Fruzzetti and M. I. Pearshall - The Light Bringer's Way

The Light Bringer's Way
(The Light Bringer's Series)


By C. F. Fruzzetti and M. I. Pearshall


Available on Amazon






Product Description (from Amazon)

In book two of the The Light Bringer series, THE LIGHT BRINGER’S WAY, Whitney and Reid arrive home after their first mission and Whitney is left wondering if and when her eyesight will return. More of Reid’s secrets are revealed and Whitney discovers together they can accomplish more than she ever imagined. THE LIGHT BRINGER’S WAY deftly weaves a physical journey of adventure through Africa rife with dangerous obstacles to obtain an ancient spear of pure energy with an emotional journey of love, trust and belief. The dark and deadly path she must travel down calls on Whitney to use her strengths to survive but will she once again be able to turn adversity into advantage? Each second counts in this young adult adventure as more truth comes to light and Whitney finally discovers Karen’s hold on Reid...or does she?

About the Author (from Amazon)

Best friends since childhood, Carolyn Fruzzetti and Meghan Pearsall always knew that they would work together on a creative endeavor. In 2011, they formed Pure Energy Books and released SUNDIAL, the first novel in a young adult series.
Originally from Alexandria, VA, Carolyn currently resides in Arlington, VA with her husband and two daughters. Carolyn has a B.S. in Public Administration from James Madison University and is a professional culinary graduate of L'Academie de Cuisine.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Rachel

Overall, I enjoyed book 2 of this series almost as much as the first one. The romance department rivets up a notch or so, and so does the action and adventure. The story picks up almost immediately at the closure of book one, so there is no interruption of the story line. In fact, the entire book takes place in very few weeks times and culminates on Halloween where the book ends with a bombshell of a discovery. The foreshadowing of this discovery is throughout both books, but believe me, you will probably miss it just like I did! Of course, the authors already have their third installment available, so no waiting to see how this will move the story along.

The story has the same setting, with another overseas adventure, this time stylized after Indiana Jones. There is even a mine train ride! The plot was excellent, speed without being too rushed, details without drowning in them, info dumps were kept to short clips in a fashion that made them seem natural. There were tons of new information that will thrill and amaze and keep you riveted at the edge of your seat for most of the story.


Basic Plot


The story opens with hours of the last books ending. The mission has been completed, but Whitney is now blind. Of course, she doesn't let that stop her. She may be blind, but she still has her intuition and she is perfectly healthy otherwise. She finds herself in a fight with Reid and manages to best him, proving to herself and others that she will manage life being blind if she needs to.

The group returns home and life resumes right where it picked up. Everyone in the high school believes Whitney was absent due to an allergic reaction to nuts, if only they knew the truth. But things don't really go back to normal, events have been set in motion, and nobody is safe, especially not the ever independent Whitney. Reid certainly has his hands full trying to keep her safe. Whitney isn't very sure she can trust Reid yet either, just what kind of hold does Karen have on him, rumors have it that she is his girlfriend and she wants him back.

But life is not going to drift back to "normal", by Chapter 3 there is a family emergency that has Reid whisking Whitney as well as her best friend Blair and Patrick off to the yacht. There they meet Reid's aunt, and she has a job for the 4 teens. The plane leaves in two weeks. She also drops some history and background into Whitney's lap and is shocked that she had no idea any of this was happening. Imagine discovering that most of what you thought was true about your life and the world around you was just a cover up for a whole sub world of people with special talents like Whitney and Reid.

The four teens arrive at their destination, where the adults will keep an eye on them as best they can, and begin to work their way toward the retrieval of a special artifact. Of course, the plans go awry almost as soon as they get settled. Que the Indiana Jones music, because shortly after they leave the plane in Chapter 8, the action will involve deep caves, molten rivers, poison darts, melting floors, mine trains, secret riddles and much more. Time is ticking. Nothing is as it seems. And everyone must face fears and learn to work together. The only other option is failure and death deep inside of the mountain puzzle.


As a whole, I enjoyed the "old world" explanations of history and how whole races of secret people with amazing talents have been manipulating legends and history from the earliest days of history. Peoples who hear more than others, see more than others, can predict time, and many more. Whitney was in for more than a few shocks and surprises.

The genre stayed true to the first book. A lot more kissing, but about the same as far as action, no gore - although their were bones. Language was mostly clean. Self Control was still a big theme, and so was learning to trust others and the importance of good communication. Whitney had a lot to learn about keeping secrets, and when it was important to share feelings rather than keeping them secret.


Genre/Theme:  Paranormal, CIA, Adventure, High School, 1980s, Sci-Fi
Reading Level:  TEEN - middle school and up
Profanity: Usually None .... but occasionally leans toward
 MODERATE - mild words & a few stronger expletives  (the text is really quite clean)
Sexuality:  MILD - descriptions of affection/desire   (lots of kissing)  some skimpy clothing and some wet clothing
OBVIOUS - 
there is a shower seen that is "interesting", it's an outdoor shower, so Whitney is fully dressed.  Quite a bit of snuggling and touching.  Also one accidental nude scene at the beginning - no descriptions - but to explain would be a plot spoiler, it involves a shared shower and accidentally walking in on the other person.
Other: The last several chapters are very intense – 
Indiana Jones adventure style, ESP and other skills


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Claire Banschbach - Adela's Curse

Adela's Curse 
Faeries of Myrnius


By Claire Banschbach


Available on Amazon






Product Description (from Amazon)
A curse. A murderous scheme. A choice.

A witch and her master capture a young faery and command her to kill their enemy. Adela has no choice but to obey. If she does not, they will force the location of her people’s mountain home from her and kill her. To make matters even worse, the person she is to kill is only a man struggling to save his dying land and mend a broken heart.

Count Stefan is a man simply trying to forget the woman he loves and save a land crippled by drought. When a mysterious woman arrives at his castle claiming to be a seamstress, he knows she is more than she seems.

Adela enlists the help of Damian, another faery, to try and delay the inevitable. He insists she has a choice. But with the witch controlling her every move, does she?

About the Author (from Amazon)
Claire Banschbach was born and raised in Midland, TX, the fourth of eight children. She was homeschooled through high school and is now a proud member of the Texas A&M University class of 2014. An avid reader of Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and many other adventure novels, Claire was prompted to begin writing her own fantasy novel at seventeen after several years of daydreaming.

She continues to write in her spare time (and often when she doesn't have spare time). When not scratching out stories and homework with pen and pencil, Claire partakes in the joys of watching the Boston Red Sox, Aggie football, and playing volleyball. She hopes her strong foundation in God will continue to guide her writing.

She is currently working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Texas Tech Health Science Center.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

I love fairies, have always been fascinated by magical people with wings, so when when Claire asked me to review Adela's Curse, I naturally jumped at the opportunity to read a new spin on the magical, mysterious folk.

Admittedly, it wasn't until last night that I actually sat down and devoured the book, but it wasn't the story's fault that I delayed so long. I was looking for a block of time that I could fully devote to reading, since it was in PDF format, and I didn't want to loose my place.

Reading this story was like coming home. It wasn't a grand, epic adventure, but a sweet fairy tale that can almost trick your mind into thinking you've read it before, yet still remain completely original. It's not a long story, though longer than your average fairy tale. Personally, I think Claire's writing style suits this sort of story better than the epic.

Adela was a sweet heroine. Considered average at best among the fairies, she prefers to spend her time in the forest, caring for the plants, for that's where her talent lies. However, when an act of kindness traps her in a witch's power, she finds herself forced to act as no self-respecting fairy ever would - lies, schemes, murder even.

There is a bit of a love triangle in the story, but one that made sense. Adela is forced to win the heart of Stefan, but at the same time, she and Damian grow closer as he tries to help her out of the magical entanglement.

The worldbuilding was excellent. I loved Claire's take on fairies, and I just wish I could have seen more of the world.

I'd recommend this story to anyone who enjoys fairy tales and fantasy.




Genre/Theme: Fantasy, Christian


Reading Level: CHILD - children's literature to
TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: NONE - not even hinted at - a few kisses, but that's as far as it goes.
Other: 
There's a lot of magic, of both the dark and light variety. Also, there's a nice battle scene at the end and people get hurt.




Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke - The Crossways

The Crossways
Time Captives


By Morgan Elizabeth Huneke


Available on Amazon






Product Description

“M’lady, it has been fairly well confirmed that the Redona was hidden away by the merfolk at the conclusion of the Great War instead of destroyed as was commanded. My brother has confirmed to me Joseph’s belief that it was concealed at the Crossways.”
Toarna pressed her fingertips together in thought. “It must be recovered and destroyed as was at first intended.”

Emily, Allan, Jill, and Joey have been reunited with their long lost ancestors. But with that reunion comes the true beginning of their quest: free the rightful king of Calhortz so that he may be restored to his throne. The Redona, the only object that can free him from his long imprisonment, is rumored to be concealed in The Crossways, a mountain across the sea which cannot be entered.
A slave since birth, Adriel’s resentment and hatred towards the strytes only grows as his family is continually ripped from him. He longs for the freedom the Time Captives are prophesied to bring, but he doubts their existence, just as he doubts God’s love. Circumstances in Calhortz are so dire. How could they ever improve?
Who can enter The Crossways? Will the king ever be freed? Or will the slaves of Calhortz lose all hope of freedom before it is even offered to them?


The Crossways is the second book of the Time Captives trilogy, a tale of faith, family, fantasy, and a fight for truth and freedom.

About the Author

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics. She is the author of Across the Stars and The Experiment.

You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

Having quite enjoyed the first book of the series, I automatically shot an email to the author complaining about why I couldn't just read book 2 already (she and I had been chatting quite a bit - I don't normally do this with authors!), and she asked if I'd like to beta read book two. I said yes, and I loved it even more than the first book, despite tearing it to shreds with edits. I then read an edited ARC version.

While this series still doesn't quite make it to my "favorites of all time" shelf, it has the distinction of being one of the most unique portal fantasies I've ever read. Fourteen children, not all from one time, but all from the same family, had been brought to the world of Calhorz, in twenty-year increments, and frozen at the age of twelve, thus earning themselves the name "Time Captives." Now that they're all here, things are finally set in motion and they can begin freeing the land from the oppressive Strytes, starting with rescuing the true king, who is trapped on an island by a thing called the Bresmi, which can only be deactivated by a thing called the Redona, which is hidden a place called the Crossways. Lots of fun adventure going on there, as they escape from the Crannig Castle dungeon, and make their way across the sea.

But the true heart of this story is Adriel. A slave of the strytes, Adriel's life has anything but easy, and he's earned the title of a rebellious slave. The one bright point in his life is his younger sister, Rae, his only remaining family member - but even she is stripped from him when they're both sold, she to be a playmate to a young stryte, he to be a gladiator. His struggle with faith is so real and raw ... it might have brought tears were I a more emotional reader.

The backstory involving Eleanor was also intriguing, and heartbreaking, though I honestly wanted to throw her against the wall and tell her to wake up and count her blessings. Still, as her arc isn't finished yet, I suppose I can withhold my judgement a wee bit longer.

Worldbuilding was exciting. The author took more of a scientific approach to the fantasy world, which is something I always enjoy, and the world itself was such a delightful mix of eras, and peopled with interesting races. I enjoyed getting to know more about the world.

And ... I really don't have anything negative to say about the book (beyond throwing Eleanor against that wall). The writing style is a bit stiff, but it's been a vast improvement since the author's first book. Since I had the opportunity of beta reading the story, I was able to bring the issues I had directly to the author, and she dealt with them for the final version.

In short, this is a sweet little story that is another wonderful addition to the portal fantasy genre, and one that kept me up way past my bedtime reading multiple times. (And has me up way past my bedtime writing this review!) I enjoyed reading it both times, and I wish I had had this series back in my pre-teen years.



Genre/Theme: Fantasy, Christian


Reading Level: CHILD - children's literature to
TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: NONE - not even hinted at 
Other: 
Some fantasy fighting and death, but nothing gory




Thursday, June 11, 2015

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke - Creighton Hill

Creighton Hill
Time Captives


By Morgan Elizabeth Huneke


Available on Amazon





Product Description (from Amazon)

“No one can mysteriously disappear leaving no trace. It isn’t realistic.”
“You’re right, Emily,” her grandfather said thoughtfully. “It isn’t realistic. However, a good many things happen in this world that are not realistic, things supernatural.”


Emily, Allan, Jill, Joey, and Anna have grown up on their grandfather’s tales of ancestors who mysteriously disappeared from Creighton Hill, the plantation home that has been in their family for centuries. When Grampa’s death forces them to move into Creighton Hill, the truth about the supposed disappearances is the first thing on their minds. Allan, Jill, Joey, and Anna’s, that is. As for Emily, why must they keep at their supernatural hogwash?

Could it be that their family really does just have an unusual history of early deaths? Most people seem to think so. But Grampa’s research has uncovered something different.

When mysterious writing matching descriptions found in ancient accounts begins appearing to the children, they know something’s up. They must find out what really happened to their ancestors, and work together to discover the reason behind the mysterious writings.

Creighton Hill is the first book of the Time Captives trilogy, a tale of faith, family, fantasy, and a fight for truth and freedom.


About the Author (from Amazon)
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics.

To find out more, visit her website: www.morganhuneke.com

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra


Portal fantasy is one of my favorite subgenres of fantasy. I love exploring fantasy worlds, and getting to share the culture shock with the main character is always nice. Unfortunately, I very rarely come across one that truly sticks out with a brilliant new twist.

Creighton Hill, with the Time Captives the series itself is named for, did.

I've been following this author for a while now, and quite enjoyed her first novel, Across the Stars, though there was definite room for improvement, so when she asked for ARC reviewers for Creighton Hill, I volunteered.

The heart of the story is pretty typical of the genre, a group of kids are pulled from this world into another one, and at the bidding of a prophecy, sent to fight some terrible evil with some really neat weapons. However, instead of all of the kids coming from the present day, saving the world, then popping back to discover that no time has passed at all, the Hubbard family has had a child go missing every generation since the 1800's.

Even more interesting is the fact that once the children arrive in Calhortea, time looses all affect on them, leaving them frozen at the age of twelve, and impervious to most injuries.

Most of the book is about Joey and his siblings, who are the modern generation of Hubbards. They're your typical Christian family, apart from the fact that they've had aunts and uncles disappearing for the two hundred years. However, there are flashbacks to George and Abigail, who had been two of the first to disappear.

The world itself was delightfully unique and well-built. We mostly get to know the Strytes and Kalicans in this book, but I'm looking forward to meeting more interesting creatures in the sequels.

I think the only issue I had with the book was that, at times, the conversations were a bit stiff. However, the sheer high-concept idea more than made up for it in my mind.

Also, a few of the characters were a bit flat, but with the sheer number that were in the book, it was hard to give them all proper development - I look forward to getting to know them better in the successive books.



Note: Based on writing style, I would recommend this more to younger kids, as I think I would have enjoyed this even more had I read it at ten or twelve myself - it's certainly the sort of story I would have loved!

Genre/Theme: Fantasy, Christian, Historical


Reading Level: CHILD - as a readaloud, TEEN
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: NONE - not even hinted at 
Other: 
There was some fighting, including some death and an execution, but nothing was ever described 




Tuesday, March 31, 2015

E. D. Phillips - Midnight Captive

Midnight Captive



By E. D. Phillips


Available on Amazon






Product Description (from Amazon)
Phaedra is cursed to sleep until true love wakes her. Hermione has a dark secret.

When Prince Sheridan discovers the two princesses wandering the woods outside the castle at night, he begins to wonder if there is more to Phaedra's curse than is readily apparent.

With the help of a minstrel out to prove a point, they must discover the secret before the princesses are trapped forever in the night.

About the Author (from Amazon)

No description available.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

I'm always on the lookout for good, new fairy tale retellings, so when a friend of mine contacted me asking if I wanted to take part of the release of Midnight Captive, I was thrilled ... though a bit wary. The three fairy tales it retells are Sleeping Beauty, The Pied Piper and The Twelve Dancing Princesses, three potentially darker tales, and its title and description didn't promise much light. As much as I love fairy tale retellings, I don't like it when they're dark and twisted.

I needn't have worried. After putting off reading for nearly two months, I sat down and read it in three sittings, in less than twenty-four hours. It isn't a long book, but I haven't been in a reading mood these last few weeks, and it takes a good book to keep me interested. I'm happy to report that Midnight Captive was one. Even in the darkest moments of the story, light shone through, and the effect was beautiful.

Of the three stories it retold, The Pied Piper remained the most intact, as the book was actually more a sequel to the tale. The other two were blended together, twisted by the Piper's strange magic and whims. Every night he summons the two princesses to dance with him from midnight to early morning, and neither can say a word about it during the daylight hours. Phaedra, because she sleeps though the whole day, Hermione, because she gets faint, or even sick when she tries to confess.

Princes have been coming from throughout the land in attempt to awaken the sleeping Phaedra, but few even suspect that Hermione is also caught by the curse. Prince Sheridan only realizes it because he sees them on their way back one morning, and Alyn, the minstrel, has his suspicions roused by Hermione's hatred of music.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book, it twisted beautifully, and I honestly had no idea where it was going when I first opened it (partly because I had forgotten the description, other than the fact that it was about Sleeping Beauty and involved a few other tales). Even though it blatantly stepped away from the plots of both Sleeping Beauty and the Twelve Dancing Princesses by the end, I still quite enjoyed it, because at its heart, it was a sequel to the Pied Piper. I quite enjoyed the nods to a few other tales, in particular Cinderella and Rapunzel. And I'm quite sure that Alyn the minstrel was inspired by Allan-a-Dale from Robin Hood's Merry Men.

However this was the author's first book, and a NaNo novel (as the acknowledgement implies), and it showed. The conversations could be brilliant, but sometimes they became redundant, as could the internal monologues. Hermione had to describe in great detail every dress she wore - which was possibly interesting if you're a dressmaker or fashionista - but I'm not. Some of the plot could have been strengthened, and there were a few plot elements, that, though they were brilliant, could have either left out and the story not missed them, or should have been mentioned sooner.

Also, I would have liked to see a bit of closure for the romance. It was well done, and I really liked the emphasis on sacrifice, but there wasn't any closure.

But I don't hold any of that against this lovely story. Indeed, I'd recommend it to pretty much anyone who loves fairy tale retellings. It's not something I'd read aloud to my younger siblings, but it's certainly something I would have adored as a younger teen.

Genre/Theme: Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy


Reading Level: TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: NONE - not even hinted at 
Other: 
Hermione sometimes throws up after attempting to tell others about the midnight escapades. Violence-wise, it's pretty clean until right at the end, which involves battles with harpies and the pied piper himself.  




Friday, March 6, 2015

Claire M. Banschbach - Rise of Aredor

Rise of Aredor
Rise of Aredor


By Claire M. Banschbach


Available on Amazon




Product Description (from Amazon)
Lost in a foreign land and separated from his family, Corin does his best to survive as a slave in the household of a Calorin lord. With newfound friends he fights for survival in ambushes and wars. For one act of bravery, he is awarded his freedom and returns to a home that has been invaded and ravaged by the Calorin armies. When Corin sets foot on Aredor's shores, he has one goal in mind: find his family. He is driven into the forest, where he is reunited with childhood friends. From the shelter of the woods, they begin a spirited rebellion against Corin's former cruel master, who now holds sway over Aredor. Follow Corin's path in his quest to free his imprisoned brother, find a father who has vanished, and ultimately free his country in The Rise of Aredor.

About the Author (from Amazon)
Claire Banschbach was born and raised in Midland, Texas, the fourth of eight children. She was homeschooled through high school and is now a proud member of the Texas A&M University class of 2014. Though she loves reading and writing, her professional goal is to become a physical therapist in order to assist people in leading a full life. When not scratching out stories and homework with pen and pencil, Claire enjoys watching the Boston Red Sox and Aggie football, as well as playing volleyball. She hopes her strong foundation in God will help to guide her writing.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

From the first time I heard about this book several months ago, when the author posted in a forum I frequent asking for reviews, I wanted to read this book. Unfortunately, I was rather overwhelmed at the time, and had to turn down the offer. However, last month she contacted me again, and since my plate was relatively emptier, and she's about to release the sequel, I agreed to it.

I read it in one night, staying up well past midnight to do so, but more because I was reading a PDF file and didn't want to loose my place, than because of the story itself. I was thoroughly intrigued by the premise, but it jerked awkwardly, especially at the beginning,  

The basic plot? The book's description did a pretty good job of sharing it. I don't know if I could do any better without telling you the whole book. The first half was a lot of set up and battle scenes, and could probably have done without a few of the chapters. The second half was about how Corin frees his native country from the oppressive power of the country that enslaved him. So, in a way, it's kind of a Joseph story, but more fighting.

A lot of reviewers are comparing the story to The Horse and His Boy, and it's a comparison it fully deserves. After all, if you have a missing prince named CORIN, made a slave in an Arabian-esque country called CALORIN (Calormen, anyone?) ... yeah, obvious connections can be made there, yes? However the writing style was very different from Lewis. It read more like a Henty novel, save for the fact that it didn't take place in actual history, and our hero wasn't married at the end. Good characters that can be sometimes hard to connect with, and an intriguing, twisting plot that took forever to get going.

A lot of readers are comparing the second half to Robin Hood, and I can see that ... but it reminded me more of William Wallace, since they weren't fighting off an oppressive government, but rather oppressive invaders.

But as much as I love Henty and Narnia, they didn't mesh well in this book. The magic of Narnia is the delightful world, and the rich truths that Lewis conveyed. The magic of Henty is the in-depth history and all of the historical figures that the hero rubs shoulders with. Rise of Aredor had neither, as its world is quite fictional, though realistic. While God - called Lleu - did have a presence in the book, He was usually only mentioned when things were going terribly wrong and they could no longer do it on its own. I would have liked to have seen the characters ask His guidance when making their troubles, to have seen a bit stronger faith. It made sense in the first half, but in the second, I would have really liked to have seen the characters asking Lleu's guidance BEFORE they made all of their grand schemes.

I did like the book, not enough to put it on my list of favorites, but enough that I'm tempted to buy a copy for my cousins (three rowdy boys who would love this sort of story) for Christmas, and enough that I'm eager to read the sequel, which is waiting for me on my Android. The author has a lot of potential, and I can't wait to see where the series goes.

Note: For some weird reason, I thought there were going to be eagle riders in the book. (Not sure where I got the idea, might have been the fact that I didn't look at the cover closely enough, and it got confused with another picture I'd also seen about that time). There were none. So ... yeah, slightly disappointed there.

Genre/Theme: Adventure, Non-magical Fantasy, Christian, 


Reading Level: TEEN - upper elementary to middle school 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language 
Sexuality: NONE - not even hinted at. Not really any romance, either. 
Other: 
There was some drinking, including some drunken enemy soldiers, however it was no more prevalent than in a typical medieval historical fiction. QUITE a bit of fighting, and torture (including, but not limited to, whipping and a poisoned knife), and the main character spends most of the book injured. Nothing graphic, but there's a LOT of it.




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Rachel Rossano - Honor

Honor
Novels of Rhynan Book 2


By Rachel Rossano


Available on Amazon




Product Description (from Amazon)
The Earl of Dentin excels in his position as Securer of the Realm. But the king’s order to pluck an orphaned child from a loving home unsettles Dentin. When a dark-eyed woman challenges his honor regarding the mission, Dentin finds himself unable to justify his actions or get her out of his mind. Something about her lack of fear intrigues him.

Lady Elsa Reeve attempts to avoid the marriage of convenience her brother and mother demand of her. She understands the need to pay off her brother's massive debt. She only wants her family to consider her wishes in the process.

As Elsa becomes further entangled in a snare of her brother’s creating, only one man defends her. But can she trust Dentin, her unlikely champion, and his motives? With a murderer on the loose, Elsa’s fate in jeopardy, and a traitor plotting against the king, Dentin finds his priorities shifting in an unexpected direction.

About the Author (from Amazon)
Rachel Rossano specializes in clean romantic fiction set in historical-feeling fantasy worlds. She also dabbles in straightforward historical romance and not-so-strict speculative fiction.

A happily married mother of three small children, she divides her time between mothering, teaching, and writing. She endeavors to enchant, thrill, entertain, and amuse through her work. A constant student, she seeks to improve her skills and loves to hear from readers.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

After reading and reviewing Duty, the first novel of Rhynan, I was eager to learn what happened next, and was thrilled when the author offered me a review copy. It did take me a while to actually get to read the story, but that was not for lack of eagerness. I just had a VERY busy last two weeks.

Once I opened up the book and immersed myself, I couldn't put it down ... except that I had to go to bed. First thing the next morning, I was reading again, and was finished by noon. The plot twisted here and there, and while I'll admit that I could see where it was going by the time I was halfway through the book, things were just so convoluted, I still couldn't put it down!

Dentin, the hero, is not a young man, nor does he have many friends. As the Securer of the Realm, he holds many secrets, and has gained more than his share of enemies as he performs the king's bidding. And, as the book opens, he fears making an enemy out of one of the few friends he has, as the king desires to take custody of the child Sir Irvaine and his wife have been fostering, and thus gain a level of control over him.

Elsa, the heroine, is caught in a situation typical of medieval heroines. Though her father has promised her choice in her marriage, her brother wants to marry her off to pay his "debts of honor," and her mother is pressuring her to marry soon - after all, her younger sister has just been married, why hasn't she?

Normally, their paths wouldn't cross, nor would he take especial notice of her ... but she has taken interest in the young boy he must pluck from his foster parents and - though she doesn't know it - has become entangled in a plot involving the princess herself. Although he's just trying to keep her safe, he finds himself caring for her - as he has never cared for a woman before.

When her father's murdered, the game changes completely. Her previous marriage choices disappear as her brother promises her to one of the most despicable men in the kingdom, thus dooming her to a life of misery.

Compared to the previous book, this story had the better plot. As much as I loved Duty, there were a few moments I lost track of what was going on. With Honor, I was frustrated by the multitude of secrets, but I always had a firm grasp of what was going on. Part of this was the fact that we had narration from both the hero and the heroine. I would have preferred it if the author hadn't used first person for both of them, but it was well marked, and there were only a few times where I lost track of who "I" was.

I will say that I preferred the romance of the first book, however. Elsa and Dentin were sweet, but I think it went a bit too fast, especially for two people who didn't fall in love easily. Also, Dentin called himself "unmarriagable" because of something in his past, but I don't think we ever learned exactly what it was. I would have liked a bit more closure in that area.

Worldbuilding was well-done. It's set in a fictional medieval set of countries that, apart from the fact that didn't actually exist, could well be our own world. We see more into the politics and power-play in this book, and I enjoyed seeing how she built the laws of her country.

I loved the story, just as I have loved everything else of Rossano's work that I have read. I'm thoroughly looking forward to the next book!


Note: A sweet romance for those who love romance, and filled with lots of political intrigue if that's what you prefer.

Genre/Theme: Romance, Christian, Non-magic fantasy


Reading Level: Mature TEEN - high school to college 
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language. Several distasteful characters swear, but we're never told what, exactly, they say
Sexuality: SUBTLE - hinted, but not explicit. Kissing and a few veiled references to the marriage bed. 
Other: 
Lots of fighting, including a duel to the death. There are no battles, as in the previous book, most of the power-play is political. Elsa receives some abuse from her potential husband. 




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