The Flame and the Arrow
by Emigh Cannaday
Published by Createspace on October 22, 2010
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble
"Don't do it, Annika," he taunted. His eyes were no longer bright and charming but dark and intense, yet they still twinkled. He was tempting, but was he harmful?
Aspiring rock star Annika Brisby thinks she knows where her life is going until she steps through a broken portal that leaves her stranded in a realm of fairies, vampires, and other mythical beings. Unable to return until it's repaired, she's rescued by wood nymphs who believe her sudden arrival is no accident. After being taken in by a prominent family of elves, Annika finds herself struggling to resist the seductive spell of their youngest son, Talvi. Equal parts arrogant and alluring, the notorious heartbreaker seems like the perfect distraction for her homesickness. Her new friends warn her that she'll probably regret ever laying eyes on him, and what begins as a casual fling quickly burns too hot to handle. By the time Annika learns the consequences of their forbidden trysts, Talvi's already under her skin and dangerously close to her heart. But on the journey home she discovers that there's a mountain of secrets that he's not telling her, and Annika can't help wondering who's really in danger.
* Previously titled Balkan Magic, The Misadventures of Annika Brisby
The Flame and the Arrow is the first novel in the Annika Brisby series by author Emigh Cannaday. The story follows Annika Brisby, an aspiring rock musician who is thrust into an alternate realm that is home to various magical beings- i.e. wood nymphs, elves, vampires, druids, etc. While Annika navigates this new world and tries to figure out a way home, she also must contend with her feelings for the dark, amusing, and alluring Talvi- the youngest son of a prominent and large family of elves. Annika becomes embroiled in the mystery and turmoil of this new realm and embarks on an action-filled journey fraught with danger, intrigue, passion, and love.
Annika is a strong, independent, and adventurous character that handles being in a new and magical world fairly well- all things considered, I probably would not have reacted in the same manner she had. Talvi, while narcissistic, arrogant, and somewhat manipulative, really starts to grow on you the more you read. Talvi’s character development throughout the novel really balanced out the flaws in his personality- after all, as much as I’d like to think otherwise, no one is perfect. Annika’s friendship with the wood nymphs and Talvi’s family added a layer of warmth that I truly enjoyed. And Annika’s interactions with Talvi? Purely poetic! Their witty banter and sexual chemistry practically sizzled from the pages and made it impossible for me to put the book down.
Normally, when a story has a large number of secondary characters, I find it difficult to keep track of who is who and their place in the plot. However, the many characters in this story not only added to the whimsical and fluid storyline, but were easy to remember. By the end of book, I already couldn’t wait to grab the second one and become reacquainted the Annika, Talvi, and the others. The Flame and the Arrow was a compelling and imaginative read filled with fantastical beings, grand adventure, explosive passion, and a generous dash of humor.
Five stars! I Dare You
by Shantel Tessier
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on April 18, 2018
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What do you do when the devil has you in his sights? You show him that you can play his game. Austin Lowes is new to town. She's running from a mom who hates her to her dad who cares nothing about her. Only a few months and she will be free, or at least, that's what she hopes ... until she meets him. Cole Reynolds is the devil disguised as a man. He wants her fear, he wants her blood, and he wants her soul. Just a little game, he says, I dare you. Will Austin survive him, or will she lose herself and the game? Secrets are revealed and justice will be served, but at what cost? Who survives and who doesn't?
Review of I Dare You
I Dare You is a novel written by bestselling author Shantel Tessier. The story follows Austin Lowes, a high school senior who is shipped off to live with her absent, cold father. Austin’s childhood has been a tumultuous and dark experience as she was left to be raised by her mother who struggles with drugs and alcohol, and her mother’s abusive boyfriend. Her father was never around, as his relationship with Austin’s mother was brief and devoid of emotion. Austin’s introduction into her new life living with her wealthy father and his young wife Celeste is memorable- in fact, it’s Austin’s introduction to Cole Reynolds that instantly hooked me!
Cole Reynolds is a wealthy, high school senior who struggles with the demons of an unfortunate and haunting past mistake. This mistake, coupled with a promise he made to a friend, leads him down a dark and turbulent path that coincides with a momentous and chance meeting with Austin. Austin and Cole’s first meeting is fraught with serious tension, danger, and undeniable heat- I can still remember holding my breath as they struggled to read one another and navigate the challenge they presented. I knew instantly that this was a story that was going to keep me up at night…
And it did. And I was SO not disappointed.
Cole and his close friends need Austin to keep their secrets- and to ensure this happens, Cole pulls Austin deep into a twisted and dangerous game he plays with his friends. Unfortunately for Cole and the others, Austin is clever, strong, and more than capable of holding her own against them. She uses her wits to beat Cole and the others at their own game, all while being pulled into their dark plans and her burgeoning and undeniable attraction to Cole. The interactions and exchanges between Cole and Austin are fluid, charged, and addicting. The chemistry was palpable and intense- I found myself unable to stop thinking about their relationship as I went about my day. The second I got home from work, I was snatching up the book and pouring through it again.
The secondary characters were memorable and nearly as interesting as the two main characters. Cole’s friends were fascinating- especially Deke (who I really enjoyed!)- though I wish I had gotten some more time to delve a little further into their backstory. The shocking plot was riddled with mystery, intrigue, action, and sexual intensity! All the makings of a five-star story…
Five stars! The Peer and the Puppet
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on July 20, 2018
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Borrow the bike. Win the race. Collect the cash. It should've been an easy job. Ran out of town with a broken leg and a lawsuit, my mother's latest flame swoops in like a knight in gilded armor. Blackwood Keep is a place I don't belong, and I'm not the only one who knows. To the boy across the hall, my savior's only son, I'm a stray looking for a bone.
He's lord of the manor.King of the academy. And number one on my shit list.
I have no intentions of becoming a happy family with the social climber and her wild daughter. A bottle of Jameson and a cracked skull gets my problem shipped to reform school, but I didn't bank on her returning.
Four's out to get even, and she almost had the perfect plan: expose the privileged kid moonlighting as a gangbanger. She's smart, but she'll have to be smarter. Sending her away won't be good enough this time. I'm going to have to tame the little troublemaker. To the girl across the hall, the one without a name, I'm nothing without my silver spoon.
She's lady of the trailer park.Queen of the swamps. And my new favorite pastime.
The Peer and the Puppet is a standalone romance, however, the series is one story. The plot introduced in Four and Ever's story will continue in the following novels. No cliffhangers.
The Peer and the Puppet is the first novel in the When Rivals Play series by author B. B. Reid. The story follows Four, a high school student with a passion for racing (albeit illegally) who lives with her emotionally distant mother- whom she calls by her first name. Four’s mother meets a wealthy gentleman who encourages them to move in with him and his son Ever after an unfortunate experience involving Four and her favorite pastime. Unfortunately for Four, this move means leaving her school, the automotive workshop (her favorite place), and everything she’s ever known. Ever, the teenage son of Four’s mother’s boyfriend, is less than thrilled to have Four or her mother living at their home. His first meeting with Four is charged and painful…literally. This sparks an instant dislike and unspoken war between them that eventually has Four being shipped off to boarding school.
But Four comes back and Ever once more has to contend with unwanted feelings towards her, all while trying to infiltrate a dangerous gang in order to follow the metaphorical ghost of his mother. Meanwhile, Four struggles with her own reluctant attraction towards Ever, while navigating the complicated relationship she has with her mother and her interest in racing. As the battle between them becomes heated with more than just intense dislike, Four and Ever slowly begin to exchange armor for forbidden touches and moments of shared passion. Their witty dialogue simmers and intensifies until words become lost in nothing but mingled sighs and whispered dreams. It was beautiful to watch their love unfold. The character development of Four and Ever is admirable and flawless- they both grew and changed perfectly throughout the story.
The spine-tingling danger and intrigue of illegal street racing and the violent, dark workings of gangs and other villainous characters added a compelling and heart-pounding layer to the story. The secondary characters such as Vaughan (Ever’s best friend), Jamie (Ever’s cousin), and Tara (Four’s best friend) were all fascinating and added depth to the relationships- as well as helped artfully move the plot along. It is my hope that these secondary characters are either more thoroughly discussed in future books, or have novels of their own. The Peer and the Puppet was a compelling, addicting page-turner that left me hooked, breathless, and wanting more!
Five stars! Fear Me
by B.B. Reid
Published by B.B. Reid Pages: 332
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I don't believe in fairy tales and Prince Charming.
I believe in fear.
He taught me how to be afraid.
We first met on a playground on a wonderful summer day. It was the first time he hurt me and it wouldn’t be the last. For ten years, he's been my tormentor and I've been his forbidden. But then he went away, and yet I was still afraid.
Now he's back and wants more than just my tears. You see...he thinks I sent him away so now he wants revenge...and he knows just how to get it.
Warning: Fear Me contains sensitive themes.
Summary / Review
Fear Me is the first novel in the Broken Love series by author B. B. Reid.
The story follows Lake, a high school student who has been living with her aunt since her parents disappeared when she was a young child. When Lake was in elementary school, she had an unfortunate experience with another student named Keiran- an interaction that led to a long, and tortuous “relationship” between the two characters. Keiran, considered Lake’s tormentor, had a dark and twisted childhood until he was left to be raised by his distant uncle and cousin. With a foundation of experiences built upon death, abuse, endless despair, and haunted memories, it is not surprising that Keiran’s first response to meeting someone like Lake is a negative one.
What follows is a dark tale of obsession, guilt, passion, and redemption.
As Keiran and Lake struggle with the demons of their past while contending with their unusual feelings for one another, forces that pose a danger of their own threaten to destroy them. Lake is strong with her sense of loyalty to her aunt and best friend- a loyalty that often forces her into situations that, at times, made me cringe. The emotional trauma Lake endures as a result of her love for those she cares about was admirable- though I did wish she would have had a little more strength in character to fight back against some of the situations she was forced into. Keiran was a complex character- he is definitely one I struggled to accept for a good portion of the book. I had to constantly remind myself through some scenes that the first portion of his life was incredibly traumatic- not entirely an excuse for some of his actions, however, I understood them to some extent.
I just couldn’t stop reading Fear Me
While a lot of the darker scenes in the story may cause some controversy, I would admit to not being able to put the book down. The characters were deep, complex, fascinating, and grew nicely as the story proceeded. Lake brought a glimmer of light to someone as dark and tortured as Keiran- and Keiran brought a great deal of strength to Lake’s character. The plot was riddled with sizzling experiences, tension, passion, and danger- a heady combination. The writing was so well done that I was able to feel a whole slew of emotions as I burned through the chapters…
Four stars for Fear Me!
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