Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Series Review: The Rhodi Saga by Megan Linski




Megan Linski

Today Connie's Bookmark is a stop on the official Rhodi's Saga blog tour. This groundbreaking new series was just released at the beginning of September. They are all now available to purchase in both print and ebook. I've already had the pleasure of reading them in advance. Here are my thoughts on each book.





Flight. Hyperspeed. Clairvoyance.

These are some of the powers gifted to the Rhodi, an ancient sect of assassins who defend Crescentia, a dystopian world with a dying hope.

Dyliana Fairsson is one of them. After losing her parents to a suspicious accident, she and her twin brother, Devin, join the Rhodi to avoid starvation. Under the direction of her master, Dylan struggles to learn the strength of her magic …as well as hide the growing scars on her wrists. Can Dylan become the warrior, the hero, she’s destined to be? Or is she fated to fall from the light into the darkness?

The first installment in the epic fantasy series by bestselling author Megan Linski, Rhodi’s Light is an action-packed thrill ride that will leave readers begging for more.



I was really anticipating this series because Megan Linski has earned herself a spot on my favorite authors list ever since her Arabian fantasy "Kingdom From Ashes". This new series doesn't seem to be much like that at all in terms of tone, setting, and era. The overall "feel" of the setting and characters, with their dormant magic and dark pasts, reminds me of a modern Final Fantasy universe. (think FF13-2 or 3) I definitely felt nostalgic all throughout reading it and I'm DYING to play FF now!

But anyway, the first installment in the Rhodi's Saga has good qualities, as well as a few things I hope improve with the next book. For example, Linski puts us in a very unique, yet somehow familiar world, with out the reader getting to explore much of it. And I don't mean like they didn't go anywhere. It's just that I would have liked to have known more about culture a little about the people in the background, not just the handful of characters we get to interact with. The Rhodi are another thing. Their history is very intriguing, but they're so secretive, no one knows who they are. So I didn't really understand why they mattered to the Hunter's Guild so much. Or why they continued even after their numbers nearly died out.

But speaking of characters, Linski doesn't fail to make great ones. The main characters, Dylan and Devin, who are twins, felt very realistic since they were close, but not presented as carbon copies of each others mind, body, and spirit, like so much of media would have us believe. The two definitely had different personalities and that was very refreshing. Dylan has a darkness in her. One she's trying to overcome. I think that's something we all can appreciate. But don't worry, there's no shortage of comic relief with the teens and their quirky friends. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with Taladin's soft heart and the other characters all got my attention, too. The villains didn't really get fleshed out until the end and even though they were the main problem, I felt their influence was lacking throughout the story. But at the end of book one, it's clear what the villain's motives are.

Overall this book just felt like the introduction to something bigger. There are still questions to be answered. Still places that need to be filled in on my mental map. There are definitely still things the Rhodi need to do and I'm tagging along for the ride.

4 Stars
* * * * 






 Forced into hiding.
Desperate to find their masters.

In the past few months since the attack on their home, twin assassins Dylan and Devin have grown restless. With the Rhodi facing extinction, they search for their masters Talidin and Tavana, only to discover they’ve gone missing. With nowhere to turn, the twins seek help from a pair of mysterious spies, only to find the trail gone cold, marked by hints of torture and destruction.

Dylan and Devin piece together the events that led to the disappearance of their fellow Rhodi. As their enemies close in for the kill, Dylan discovers that some things are impossible for a Rhodi…but not for a tigress.

The stakes and romance are heightened in this epic dystopian sequel to Rhodi’s Light. Bestselling author Megan Linski brings readers a young adult fantasy with magic, mystery, and an epic adventure that races quickly to a breathless conclusion.



I was much more enchanted with "Rhodi Rising" than I was the first book. The story was set at a much quicker pace and the action came out of nowhere! One minute, they would be just hanging out, doing what teenagers do, and the next something would attack and there would be Crafts and shapeshifting all over the place!

We get to explore a new country, as well as learn more about the original one. I especially enjoyed the Celtic theme of Dunedinne and the characters that were introduced there. They were a fresh, comic relief, as well as devices of strong character development for our girl Dylan. A bit of romance is what "Rhodi's Light" lacked and "Rising" makes up for it.

The ending came with a twist I wasn't expecting, which is always much appreciated. The book sets everything up for the (what I hear is) epic conclusion, but stands on it's own with page turning plot and lots of action and adventure.

5 Stars
* * * *




Cities burn.
Governments fall.
Lives are lost in a desperate the Rhodi are losing.

The world has been devastated by the tyranny of the Red Huntress. To save Crescentia, Dylan and Devin attempt to decipher the mystery of the ancient letter their ancestors left behind, the only hope of salvation for their kind. Dylan continues to fight foes both on the battlefield and within her own mind, all while wrestling with the confused feelings she has for Enfys, the alluring spy who has become devoted to her cause.

In the epic conclusion to the thrilling Rhodi Saga, one brave warrior will stand in the way of corruption, to take place before her destiny…or her death.

Rhodi’s Lullaby is the third installment in the suspenseful young adult dystopian series fans and critics are calling an original masterpiece in the epic fantasy genre.



It's really hard for me to write a review on the third book in the series since it's almost impossible for me to not hand out spoilers, so in case you haven't read this book yet, I would skip this review.

When I'd started this series I had originally said that it reminded me of a modern final fantasy game. Not so much any more, since the setting is more fleshed out in the third book and we have a better sense of the of the environment. That said, the world is holding onto it's own now and feels much more original.

The third installment in the story opens with the cast preparing for a wedding, which is nice, since the story has been a bit dark so far. But it's clear with the impending war and tensions in the crowded house rising that things are about to get a bit chaotic. Especially when an antagonist quickly decides to change sides. Not everyone is agreeable to the change.

My favorite part about this book was actually more of a side story. Devin and Nellie's tragic love story carried me through the pages and was more emotional for me than anything in this book chuck full of feels. I appreciated how almost every single character went through their own struggles and journey, (probably why the darn thing was so long) but I happened to enjoy Devin and Nellie's the most.

The ending was satisfying, giving the readers a very unexpected twist and fulfilling conclusion. I felt like it wrapped up the other two books nicely. 

All of that said, it did take me quite a long time to get through this one. Granted, like 90% of the planet's population, I'm super busy and have little time for books. But when I really gravitate towards a story, there's no stopping me on finishing it. I've had that happen with several other of Megan Linksi's books. Just not this series so much. It was a bit slow, and I just didn't connect with many of the characters like in her previous books. By the third book, I figured out that it was the voice, which is so important to me. Her voice doesn't flow in third person the way it does in first person or passive.

None of that is enough for me to give up on one of my favorite authors though. She has a vampire/werewolf series coming out next year, which normally isn't my thing, but there is an added element of an Anastasia retelling which I just can't resist. I hear it's first person too, so my hopes are high. 

4 stars
* * * *


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Book Review: The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

The Sin Eater's Daughter


Melinda Salisbury


A startling, seductive, deliciously dark debut that will shatter your definition of YA fantasy. Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she's engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn't a member of the court. She's the executioner.As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she's taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he's able to look past Twylla's executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla's problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies-a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?


This book has been on my TBR ever since I saw the cover and read the blurb. Unfortunately I read a not so great review from one of my favorite reviewers, so that discouraged me a bit. I still had it on my Goodreads list, so I got an email when a giveaway was happening. I won! I received an autographed hardcover copy in the mail and I'm SOOO happy that I had the opportunity to read it.

Although this story takes place in a faraway kingdom long ago, (my favorite setting) it took awhile to get going. There was just enough intrigue to keep me turning the pages, however a good chunk of the book was gone before it felt like the story was getting somewhere. And I can't quite put my finger on it, but the beginning also seemed a little dark for me and kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. Not because of the story or the writing. Both were fantastic. I just kind of felt gloomy after I'd close the book. Also, just a side note, it also felt like the story couldn't decide if it wanted to have a supernatural element or not. One minute, gods and magic exist, the next they don't, wait yes they do...maybe? Oh, but this other magic is definitely legit. I was confused, but maybe that was okay because so was the main character.

I almost quit. But I could tell something was brewing and I wanted to be a part of it. Once the story got going and I got used to the world, it didn't feel weird anymore. I loved the intricate plot and how all those little things that didn't seem to mean anything all came back in the end. After the rocky beginning, I was surprised by how much I thought about the book during the day and couldn't wait to get home to read it.

The Sin Eater's Daughter is full of shock and is the perfect hopeless romance. I finished the book last night and immediately added The Sleeping Prince to my TBR and Christmas list. If you love unique magic, castle drama, and don't mind a slow start, definitely give this a try.

 4 Stars

* * * * 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Review: The Witch's Curse, by Megan Linski

The Witch's Curse


Megan Linski 




"The scream of a dying girl was the singular sound that changed my life, forever."

When Briar enters the Eldermere Woods alone, she never could've imagined the danger that awaited her there. As a young witch, she's sought by hunters who desire her blood, a group of radicals who wish to eliminate all magical creatures. When Briar discovers a fellow witch slaughtered in the forest, her boring afternoon is changed into a fight for her life.

With the help of her dragon shifter love, Thomas, Briar must find a way to stop the witch hunters from destroying her town of Thorny Brook. But is her magic strong enough to defeat her most dangerous enemies? Full of danger, fantasy, and fun, THE WITCH'S CURSE is another thrilling installment by bestselling author Megan Linski.



You may have noticed that I read a ton of Megan Linski. Well that's true.
1. Because she's amazing.
2. She writes like 12 books a year.
3. She usually lets me read her stuff for free in advance for only the promise that I will review it. 

But everyone can get this little novella for FREE by signing up for Megan's VIP list! Trust me, it's worth it. ;)

This was a fantastic little read (only about an hour long) that just left me wanting more. I really hope Linski decides to make this a series of novellas.

The world building is excellent, especially since it is crafted in such a short amount of words. From the cover, I thought it was set in modern times, but it's clear as you read on that this takes place in a medieval village of sorts. The small town is made up of witches, shape shifting dragons, normal villagers, and those who oppose magic all together. Briar, a young witch, has to hunt down her peer's murderer in order to keep her peaceful town safe. Great stuff. I really hope I get to read more.

Again, the only way to read this mini novella by signing up for Megan Linski's VIP list at her website

5 Stars

* * * * * 



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses


Sarah J. Maas



She stole a life. Now she must pay with her heart.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.



Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales to be retold, so this book has been on my TBR for a while. When a reviewer said that fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses would like my book, it moved to the top of my list. Just for the record, if you like ACOTAR, you might like my book, but strictly speaking, ACOTAR is better. :)

This book had me from the first page and I couldn't put it down. It was the perfect setting for me, an old mystical world with magical secrets and lots of cottages and castles. The writing and narrative were top notch, revealing just enough information at just the right time.

The world building was fantastic. Right away you could tell that the more beautiful things were, the more dangerous they were. I absolutely love Maas's interpretation of Beauty and the Beast. She was able to provide the nostalgia of the classic fairytale, with a darkness appropriate for the adults fans have grown into. And she managed to do it while removing most of the Stockholm Syndrome vibe. To warn more conservative and sensitive readers, the book is steamy at times and I feel not appropriate for younger teens.

But can we talk about Feyre for a second? I went back and forth on her, not ever really deciding if I liked her or not. It was as if the author took Katniss out of the Hunger Games, gave her a bit more of an attitude, and dropped her in a fairytale. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a strong, independent female protagonist, but she just seemed really negative about a lot of stuff. One thing I didn't like about the plot is that she would make dumb decisions, or deliberately do what the other characters told her not to do, just so terrible things would happen that moved the story along. Despite the fact that I liked the story and the twists, that tactic felt cheap.

The other characters were very well rounded out. At times I didn't know who to love, and who to be afraid of. Especially Lucien. I heart Lucien. Stay away. He is mine.

I simply must read the next book. Trouble is, since I read this one in paperback, my mighty principles tell me I must wait until A Court of Mist and Fury is out in paperback next spring. This is truly a dilemma. 

4.5 stars