Book Review: The Blacksmith Queen, The Scarred Earth Saga – Book #1

Author: G.A. Aiken
Book Name: The Blacksmith Queen
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Series: The Scarred Earth Saga
Order: #1
Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Humor
Overall SPA: 5 Stars
5 Stars

 

 

Blurb:  The Old King Is Dead
 
With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.

Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned …

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 5/5 Stars
Believability: 5/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 5/5 Stars

When I first saw this book was the start of a new series, I was a tiny bit concerned it wouldn’t follow what I’ve come to know and love about G.A. Aiken’s style. You never really know for sure what you’re getting into with a new series and the blurb doesn’t quite do this justice, falling on the more serious side. Fans of the Dragon Kin series will be happy to know this series is set in that same world. Though there isn’t any kind of crossover just yet, the potential is there for future books.

Everything I’ve always loved about a G.A. Aiken novel is in this one. All the over the top, effortlessly badass female characters. The phenomenal, irreverent snark and humor layered into those intensely grotesque battle scenes. I don’t know another author that can make me laugh so hard about someone getting their head smashed to a pulp. Those things really shouldn’t ever be funny, but because of the way she writes, I cannot read and drink anything at the same time.

I was really surprised this went the direction it did with Keeley’s and Beatrix’s relationship. At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I really did. It felt different for this author (unless I’ve forgotten something or missed a book in the past) to go that route.

Even though this is the same world as the Dragon Kin series and you get to see similar beings (dragons, centaurs), they are still unique to the part of the world this book is founded in. So, while similar in setting and general feel, it still has the sense of newness that I thoroughly enjoyed. The next book in this series cannot come soon enough.

For those new to G.A. Aiken, no need to worry. You won’t feel lost. If you love a little magic, a wide range of interesting types of characters, battle scenes and lots of humor (the kind that gets everyone looking at you funny when you snort, choke or belt out your most embarrassing laugh), you absolutely should be putting this one on your TBR.

*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Feel the Burn: Dragon Kin, Book 8

Feel the BurnAuthor: G. A. Aiken
Book Name: Feel the Burn
Series: Dragon Kin
Order: 8
Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Humor
Rating:  Excellent/Favorite
5+stars


Blurb:   War makes strange bedfellows.

I, Gaius Domitus, one-eyed rebel dragon king of the Provinces, know that better than most, since I have to fight off half my ungrateful family on a regular basis to keep law and order here in my lands. But I never expected to have to consort with a barbarian human woman.

Kachka is beautiful, if you like them fierce–and of course I do. But she keeps complaining about how spoiled and decadent I am, and how a feared Daughter of the Steppes has no time for foolish dragons. I think she likes my eye patch, though. It is quite dashing. With death always at our tails, we take our passion like we take our allies. As they say, love the barbarian you’re with…

Review:  G.A. Aiken, who also writes as Shelly Laurenston, has suck a knack for writing these crazy, ridiculous and insanely hilarious characters that, no matter how awful they may seem, you can’t help but love them.  I never laugh so much as when I read one of her books.  Feel the Burn is no exception.

Kachka is an absolute riot.  The female dominated culture she comes from, just adds yet another element to her insane personality in the way she and her companions, especially Zoya, view and treat men.  Seriously loved Zoya and a couple of the other new additions to the series.

After reading this one, and getting the reminder of how much I do love these books, I’m adding these to my “must purchase upon release” list.

Dragon Fall: Black Dragons, Book 1

Dragon FallAuthor: Katie MacAlister
Book Name: Dragon Fall
Series: Black Dragons
Order: #1
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Rating:  Really Good
4+stars



Blurb:  YOU FLIRT WITH FIRE…

For Aoife Dakar, seeing is believing-and she’s seen some extraordinary things. It’s too bad no one else believes her claim a supernatural murder occurred at an outdoor fair. Returning to the scene for proof, Aoife encounters a wise-cracking demon dog-and a gloriously naked man who can shift into a dragon and kiss like a god. Now thrust into a fantastical world that’s both exhilarating and terrifying, Aoife is about to learn just how hot a dragon’s fire burns.

WHEN YOU DATE A DRAGON

Kostya has no time for a human woman with endless questions, no matter how gorgeous or tempting she is. He must break the curse that has splintered the dragon clans before more of his kind die. But his powerful attraction to Aoife runs much deeper than the physical-and there may be more to her than even his sharp dragon eyes can see. To survive the coming battle for the fate of his race, he needs a mate of true heart and soul . . .

Review:  It had been quite some time since I’d read a Katie MacAlister book that fell into one of the many connected series that this book is in.  Either I don’t remember something on the important side, or I missed a book or two, so it took a little bit to put what I did remember in perspective against what was going on in this book.  Once I did, though, I dropped right into it.

As with so many of her other books, this was insanely hysterical.  I think it is because there is so much of that crazy running rampant through the book that I find it a bit easier to overlook the insta-love that goes on.  It may be insta-love, but it sure isn’t perfect.  All that isn’t perfect is tossed around with loads of attitude and spunk and totally inappropriate tangent conversations that can’t help but crack you up.  It is the humor I love the most about this.

The characters themselves would be absolutely lost and useless without the humor and attitude, though.  Kostya is hugely pompous in a way that would normally be grating and annoying, but it is presented so that instead of hating the guy, you are laughing at him.  Aoife is kind of a doofus, but again, as a hugely funny doofus.

This was a perfect humor break needed after some heavier books.

Beast Behaving Badly: Pride Series, Book 5

Beast Behaving BadlyAuthor: Shelly Laurenston
Book Name: Beast Behaving Badly
Series: Pride Series
Order: #5
Genre: Romance/Fantasy
Rating:  Excellent
5+stars

 

Blurb:  Some men just have more to offer. Like Bo Novikov, the hard muscled shape shifter hero of this wildly funny, deeply sexy new novel from Shelly Laurenston, part polar bear, part lion, pure alpha. . .

Ten years after Blayne Thorpe first encountered Bo Novikov, she still can’t get the smooth talking shifter out of her head. Now he’s shadowing her in New York, all seven plus feet of him, determined to protect her from stalkers who want to use her in shifter dogfights. Even if he has to drag her off to an isolated Maine town where the only neighbors are other bears almost as crazy as he is. . .

Let sleeping dogs lie. Bo knows it’s good advice, but he can’t leave Blayne be. Blame it on her sweet sexiness or his hunch that there’s more to this little wolf dog than meets the eye. Blayne has depths he hasn’t yet begun to fathom, much as he’d like to. She may insist Bo’s nothing but a pain in her delectable behind, but polar bears have patience in spades. Soon she’ll realize how good they can be together. And when she does, animal instinct tells him it’ll be worth the wait. . .

Review:   This was another reread for me.  I seriously needed something I knew I was going to enjoy so this was a perfect choice.  There are quite a few books in this series that I like, but Blayne is probably one of my favorite characters of the series, so I had to pick her book for this reread.

My first time around reading this book when I hit a part that had my hubby looking at me like I’d lost my mind because I busted out laughing, I knew that wouldn’t be the only time I’d read this book.  It is so rare for any book to crack me up like that.  I’m not really sure any other book or series has even come close.  These, I’m snorting and cackling and laughing the whole way through.

Blayne is insane.  Seriously, crazy, but in such a cool way that if you had the chance you would totally be her.  Everyone thinks she is this cute, crazy, but harmless girl and she normally is.  Do not ever piss her off, though, or that crazy turns into something not so cute and very deadly.  I love that she can be an absolute ditz but that isn’t all she is.  Bo is his own brand of crazy.  When paired with Blayne, you’d think that they were completely wrong for each other, but they absolutely work.

In a way, I’d kind of forgotten how much I loved this series.  Every single character is really their own brand of crazy.  I love how this shifter world creates an environment where all the things we wish we could do in the real world, but don’t for societies sake is totally okay for these shifters.  Like that jackass that pissed you off by cutting you off in line?  It is totally okay to shove them on their ass and stomp on them on your way by.  What better way to get out your aggressions than with shifter roller derby or shifter hockey?

I don’t have this series in my personal collection, but after this reminder I think it might just have to go towards the top of my wish list because just one read isn’t going to be enough.