Lizardmen, Silent spellcasters, and Brutal fighters – Fave Reads August, 19

By September 16, 2019 Recommended Reads

I’ve finally got another rec post completed! (I’m losing my touch–I’ve been writing this post for about ten days lol)

Now that I’ve completed my Myth of Omega series, I’ve been able to get back to doing some solid reading.

I missed it so much!

In my Dark Halo group, we have a regular weekly “What are you reading” post that’s keeping my TBR pile busy, and I was asked when I was going to be going back to these rec posts. I thought I might as well start them again and see how long I can continue them. The main reason I stopped is that I don’t like reading while I’m writing first drafts–I need my mind to be solely in my own world during that time, especially when on a deadline–jumping between stories and worlds doesn’t work for my brain!

But thankfully, I was able to delve into some great books in August. Here are the top few that I loved.

 

1 – Top Read (Tie)

The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith (Alien Sci-fi Romance)

 

Amber Bierce had nothing left except her sister and two tickets on Earth’s first colony-ship. She entered her Sleeper with a five-year contract and the promise of a better life, but awakened in wreckage on an unknown world. For the survivors, there is no rescue, no way home and no hope until they are found by Meoraq—a holy warrior more deadly than any hungering beast on this hostile new world…but whose eyes show a different sort of hunger when he looks at her.
It was his last year of freedom:
Uyane Meoraq is a Sword of Sheul, God’s own instrument of judgment, victor of hundreds of trials, with a conqueror’s rights over all men. Or at least he was until his father’s death. Now, without divine intervention, he will be forced to assume stewardship over House Uyane and lose the life he has always known. At the legendary temple of Xi’Matezh, Meoraq hopes to find the deliverance he seeks, but the humans he encounters on his pilgrimage may prove too great a test even for him…especially the one called Amber, behind whose monstrous appearance burns a woman’s heart unlike any he has ever known.

 

This book was an experience and a half. One of my friends adores R Lee Smith and she recommended me this book multiple times, but always with a warning, so I was curious about going into it. Well, fuck me. I don’t know if any warning would have prepared me! lol This was an extraordinary story. The world-building is phenomenal. From the culture, religion, history, world events, language, technology… everything had been thought through and tied together so well from beginning to end. It’s an epic tale, and one that is hard to forget.

After enjoying Ruth’s Bonded, I didn’t think I would find another “alien-that-looks-like-an-alien” romance story that I’d liked so much, but I loved loved loved Meoraq! He had all the arrogance, confidence, and condescending manner of the best heroes, but his sense of honor was seriously admirable. I loved how much he adhered to his beliefs, how much he stuck to his word even when things were difficult, and how much he cared about the h, Amber. The slow-burn relationship between the two of them was so beautiful. I loved their banter and how she tumbled her way into his heart without either of them even realizing it was happening. I also loved the way he dominated and owned her, as well as settled her when she needed it. It became clear that he knew and understood her better than she knew herself, and that understanding sometimes caused him anguish.

But there’s so much more to this story than the romance. The world itself is a character, and the story-telling is so meticulous that by the time you get to the end, you feel like you’ve been on a journey so far from anything you were expecting. I really enjoyed how the significance of some aspects of the story changed as the story progresses.

I wouldn’t say this is a dark romance as such, but it’s set in a dark world. Smith doesn’t shy from unsavory situations or topics, and they are present from beginning to end, as well as the dark natures of both humans and aliens. But what I love about this story is that the romance between Meoraq and Amber truly shines. It’s the beacon of everything there is to love about romance; beyond species, beyond culture, and beyond beliefs. That’s what transcended everything for me, and that’s what makes it so worth it.

 

1 – Top Read (Tie)

The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon (Fantasy Romance)

Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive.
The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.
My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.
But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?

 

There comes a time when a book that’s been burning a hole in your e-reader pokes you and says, “Now’s the time.” And this little gem did just that this August. This is another book I’ve heard people raving about for ages, and when I settled in to read it, I understood why. This is one of the best Fantasy Romances I’ve read for a while.

Harmon’s writing style is gorgeous and poetic. Her magical spells were put together so beautifully, even when they were supposed to be clumsy, and I loved the set up of magic in this world and how it affected society and culture. Once again, the story-telling is superb, and draws on the history of the society to weave an unpredictable tale, filled with mystery, action, and intrigue. I couldn’t put it down.

Our heroine, Lark, doesn’t speak, but she’s intelligent and feisty, and her relationship with the hero was so more layered and complex than I expected. It didn’t unfold the way I assumed it would, and I was on the edge of my seat, eager to see how it was going to pan out. I LOVED the initial underlying chemistry between the hero, Trias, and Lark and the way they fell for each other. This is a couple you really root for–they are great together. I also enjoyed how entwined their lives are and how fate and prophecy seemed to touch them without making the story predictable. I have to also mention that, although sex happens, this is a clean story, but if you want a compelling story, world, and couple, you’ll still enjoy this one. I adored it.

 

2

Crucible of Cain by Torie Grace (Dark Contemporary Romance)

The Possessive Collection is about dangerous men and the women who become the object of their obsessions.
Abagail woke up to a living hell. She was surrounded by killers, and a faceless voice had told her she would be given as a prize to one of them. After they had fought to the death.
Cain knew that there would be a lot of death before he could claim his prize. And he would be more careful this time. He wouldn’t lose this one. He wouldn’t make the mistakes he made before. He would make sure this one lived.

 

A fantastic read with a great “beat-his-chest” kinda possessive hero! He was full of contrasts; animalistic yet sensitive, strong yet gentle, fierce yet sorrowful, and dominant while still being unaware and ignorant of so many things. I also loved the heroine, Abagail. She was brave and smart and invested in the hero situation when she didn’t have to be. I was intrigued by the hero, but Abigail really impressed me as the story went on. The couple was disconnected in a lot of ways, but I loved seeing them battle through their situation and slowly come to understand and protect each other. It’s dual POV, so we get to be inside both character’s heads and see how they react to their situation.

Although this is another dark world, I love the concept and how the hero came to be how he is. Those baser urges and instincts are just what I like in a hero and it was full throttle in this story, which is great since it’s contemporary and not due to paranormal or alien urges. I can’t WAIT for the next story, which hopefully will be centered around another male who was darker, meaner, violent, and more damaged than the hero.

I found this book when I saw one of my friends chatting with the author in a facebook group about this book, so that’s why I jumped in at book 2, but it is a standalone. So if you’re looking for something contemporary with a possessive, animalistic, brutal, fighting machine, try this one.

***

Thanks for checking out this post! There were more books that I read in August, but I couldn’t pick between them to include just one more in this post. Feel free to friend me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading. I’m behind on my reading for September, so we’ll see if I get manage to get a post out! I’m currently trying to order my TBR list but I’ll still take any steamy Fantasy Romance recs! Pop them in the comments or share with me on Goodreads and hopefully, I’ll have some great ones to rave about some for my next blog, if I get time to read them in time! 🙂

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