Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guest Review: Leontine reviews Bound by the Vampire Queen by Joey W. Hill

Bound by the Vampire Queen (Vampire Queen Series Book 8) 
~Joey W. Hill 

Paperback: 464 pages 
Publisher: Berkley Trade 
Publish Date: December 6, 2011 
ISBN-10: 0425243443 
ISBN-13: 978-0425243442

From the author's website:
Sworn to obedience, compelled by loyalty, and threatened with damnation for betrayal, Jacob entered Lady Lyssa’s servitude as a human servant. Now he is a vampire, but still bound to Lyssa, who has found herself struggling with the capricious powers that have come alive in her paternal Fae blood—and challenged by two enemies… 

While the Vampire Council threatens to take away Lyssa and Jacob’s newborn son, the Fae Queen has ordered Lyssa to appear before the Otherworld court to face inescapable charges. The Fae have nothing but contempt for vampires, but to serve her, protect her, nourish her, and pleasure her, Jacob will follow his lady into hell itself. No one—neither Fae nor vampire--will compel him to break the oath he made to serve a vampire queen forever.

Bound By The Vampire Queen is the third installment revolving around the relationship of Vampire Queen, Lyssa and servant, Jacob. Which is why I want to warn you all there will be a certain loss of reading pleasure if you haven’t read the previous installments in this relationship! I don’t know how Joey W Hill does it but again she managed to concoct a story where new characters affected me to the core and to my surprise I found a Fae world that enthralled me. I already felt connected to Lyssa and Jacob due to the previous two installments; The Vampire Queens Servant and The Mark Of The Vampire Queen. The trials and tribulations overcome in those two stories and the strengthening of their love and passion struck a chord with me. So I wondered what more Joey W Hill could dish out for them to deal with.

The beginning of Bound By The Vampire Queen signaled new troubles and together, Lyssa and Jacob had to travel to the Fae world. Not only did I get to meet a fearsome Unseelie queen, Rhoswen but also a wizened Seelie king, Tabor. There were danger filled quests for both Lyssa and Jacob to fulfill. The world Joey W Hill erected in my mind’s eye was one filled with magic, nature in all its majestic splendor and of course a range of otherworldly inhabitants. It was enthralling to be a spectator of this magical place with its own rituals and customs. While a lot is drawn from common myths and legends, Joey W Hill gave her own twists on it making it a unique part of the world in this series.

I was able to sink my teeth in this new setting where my love for fantasy was satiated. The quests contained high-risk elements which made me flip the pages rapidly. The essence of these Fae creatures held an air of dangerous power and they were fickle enough to keep me on edge. But what blew me away was the mystic night of Samhain. It was the epitome of Seelie and Unseelie magic coming together in such an emotion rife momentum. I just couldn’t keep it together and cried for at least two pages. This is a trait of Joey W Hill I will always cherish her for. Her ability to affect me, to make all the good and the bad matter in her stories.

Because Lyssa and Jacob had their share of challenges again it evolves their relationship even further. They really give off that vibe of all-consuming love with a capital L that makes me sigh on various occasions throughout the story. There is no repetition but new choices to make and it kept me so very invested in the outcome. All the things thrown at this couple made me wonder; will they or won’t they make it? Which was another reason for me to keep reading the chapters away. Of course, in true erotic form as only Joey W Hill can give it to me, they also shared enough blazing hot passion to singe the pages. I never grew tired of the sultry heat flaring between them and various other characters. It is a visceral response to the dangers they face, the love they feel and it stills a hunger for a certain relationship dynamic.

Even though in the beginning I had to read a few chapters to “get in to” the story told it was the political scheming by Lord Keldwyn which instantly flagged a warning signal. The intrigue surrounding him set me on edge in a good way and got me wondering what plot development lay ahead for me to discover. What added to the joy of meeting the familiar cast of characters again were the dialogues which brimmed with attitude and banter. Especially among Lyssa, Jacob, Mason, Gideon and Deagan. Also the interaction between Jacob and Lord Firewind, a water horse, was a fantastic battle of male pride and will power. It makes these characters distinctive and memorable leaving me with a want for more stories in this series.

Joey W Hill’s imaginative writing skills makes her Vampire Queen world come alive with atmospheric settings and unforgettable characters. Bound By The Vampire Queen is an installment in this series which just draws you in and with bated breath you follow the perils, adventures and romance development. Lyssa and Jacob have put their mark on this series, and righteously so!

Favorite Quotes:

“My lady,” he said again, and this time instead of an honorific, he was saying it as it was meant. My lady. His love, his heart. His temptress, his tormentor.
Meeting her gaze, a rueful smile on his lips, he hooked the hose, skinned them down his legs, took them off with his boots and put it all aside, bracing his feet to stand before her completely bare of everything except the cross brand, the lashes on his back, and that third servant mark. He knew it always did something to her, seeing him stripped of everything but those three things. Her servant. Her slave. Her lover, bound to her for eternity.
My Rating:


Leontine's Book Realm

Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead

Shadow Heir
~Richelle Mead 

Paperback: 352 pages 
Publisher: Zebra; Original edition (December 27, 2011) 
Language: English 
ISBN-10: 1420111809 
ISBN-13: 978-1420111804 

From the author's website:
Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land's prophecy-haunted queen, there's no refuge for her and her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld...

The spell-driven source of the blight isn't the only challenge to Eugenie's instincts. Fairy king Dorian is sacrificing everything to help, but Eugenie can't trust the synergy drawing them back together. The uneasy truce between her and her shape shifter ex-lover Kiyo is endangered by secrets he can't--or won't--reveal. And as a formidable force rises to also threaten the human world, Eugenie must use her own cursed fate as a weapon--and risk the ultimate sacrifice...

Shadow Heir picks up where Iron Crowned left off:  Half-human, half-fae, and Queen of two fairy lands, Eugenie Markham is pregnant with twins, the boy twin has been prophecied to lead the Otherworld to overthrow the human world.  Because of this, many of the Fae want her dead, others want her protected.  After an attack, Eugenie decides to continue her pregnancy in the human world in order to have access to medical care and keep her babies safe from her enemies.  She gets an urgent message that all is not well in the Otherworld, and knows she must go back and help find a solution before or her friends may not survive.

Dorian is still trying to make her his queen, and Kiyo is still trying to kill her, but the problems in the Otherworld are so bad that an uneasy truce has been drawn between them.

My thoughts:
A WTH? ending to a fabulous series.  I've loved this series from the first book and am sad to see it end.  Shadow Heir was, for the most part, an enjoyable read.  I didn't know how Ms. Mead was going to work the pregnancy into the storyline, but I shouldn't have worried... I thought the story flowed nicely through her pregnancy and after, and the storyline worked for me.  We met some new characters and got to say goodbye to some old friends, but the trio of Eugenie, Dorian and Kiyo were a strong focal point to the story.  I love reading about the Otherworld and it's inhabitants, so I definitely got my fairie fix.

Now, there were a few things that I didn't like:  I kind of felt like the babies were born and then disappeared from the storyline completely - it was such a huge plot point in previous books that I felt like they were just pushed aside without much fanfare.  The main issue for me, however, was the open ending.  Ms. Mead drops a HUGE plot twist on the readers and then just ....ends.  Without resolution.

So, I finished this series a little frustrated.  BUT, it was such a good series I would absolutely recommend it - the Dark Swan series is full of magic, action, and a red-hot love triangle; just... be prepared for the pseudo-cliffhanger ending.

My Rating:

This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.