fantasy

Review: The Carnelian Legacy by Cheryl Koevoet

The Carnelian Legacy
Author: Cheryl Koevoet
Publisher: WestBow Press
Genre(s): Fantasy Romance, YA
Sources: BookLook Bloggers
Purchase: Kobo
Rating: fourstar

Marisa MacCallum always believed that the man of her dreams was out there somewhere. The problem is—he’s in another dimension.

After the death of her father, eighteen-year-old Marisa’s life is on the verge of imploding. She seeks comfort on her daily ride through the woods of Gold Hill, but when a mysterious lightning storm strikes, she is hurled into the ancient, alternate dimension of Carnelia where she is discovered by the arrogant but attractive nobleman, Ambassador Darian Fiore.

Stranded in a world teeming with monsters, maniacs and medieval knights, Marisa is forced to join Darian on a dangerous mission to negotiate peace with his archenemy, Savino da Roca. Along the way, she sees his softer side and quickly falls in love. But when she learns that Darian is locked into an arranged marriage, her heart shatters.

When Darian’s cousin Savino falls for her charms and demands her hand in exchange for peace, Marisa is faced with an impossible choice: marry the enemy of the man she loves or betray them both and become the catalyst for a bloody war.

Disclaimer: I received this book courtesy of the author via BookLook Bloggers. In exchange I am giving a honest review that is in no way affected by such.

I will admit that, at first glance, I wasn’t very impressed with The Carnelian Legacy. Judging the book by its cover proved, as it often does, to be a bad idea. Behind the bland cover was a riveting story that I fell into just as quickly and without warning as Marisa falls into the world of Carnelia! Immediately I felt sympathy for Marisa; she’s just lost her father and suddenly she’s entirely out of her element in a world where she is an utter stranger. There’s something so human about her that I couldn’t help but adore her from the very start.

The rest of the cast of characters in The Carnelian Legacy were just as good as Marisa. Cheryl Koevoet has created some fun, interesting characters that are very lifelike and three dimensional – which I always appreciate. Too often the damsel in distress angle leads to weak women and overbearing, aggravating tough guys. I didn’t find this to be the case with anyone in The Carnelian Legacy. They are just as well-rounded as the world Mrs. Koevoet has created. I found myself  loving her setting! It’s such a fantastic world that immerses the reader in the blink of an eye!

And the plot! I love intrigue, especially political intrigue, and she has written an engaging story that had me unable to put the book down! I love books steeped in secrets and that’s what you get with The Carnelian Legacy. Mrs. Koevoet has put her heroine in some tough situations and I loved watching Marisa getting out of them! She was a really great character and the relationship development between her and Darian was really fun to watch develop. He reminds me a bit of Mr. Darcy but in all the best ways!

If you like an adventure with a clean, satisfying romance in a well-developed fantasy world, then The Carnelian Legacy is for you. It’s a fun read and I think Mrs. Koevoet will keep readers satisfied with her work for a long time.

Also, the cover for the next book, The Carnelian Tyranny, is simply gorgeous! Can’t wait!

 

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Before Midnight by Jennifer Blackstream

Before Midnight
Author: Jennifer Blackstream
Publisher: Skeleton Key Publishing
Series: Blood Prince #1
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Fantasy,
Source: Author
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: fourstar

Loupe always dreamed of getting married. She yearned for a caring husband who would take her away from her servant-like existence at home with her stepmother and two stepsisters, a man who would love her forever. Those dreams ended the day she was bitten by a werewolf. Now she’s a mindless beast on the night of the full moon—a condition that forever prevents her from sharing a marriage bed. Not even the attentions of a handsome and endearingly strong prince can convince her that the life she wants is still possible. 

Etienne is a prince in need of a werewolf. A werewolf himself from birth, Etienne and his family have protected their kingdom with tooth and claw—literally—for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the spell of a well-meaning witch is slowly turning him human. Only the bite of a cursed werewolf, one who was not born with the beast inside, can save him from becoming human. He has no time for anything that will not lead him to a cure for the cure. Not even the beautiful maiden whose gentle nature soothes his soul can take his mind from his goal. 

Love cares little for the best laid plans or the impossible. A grand ball. The stroke of twelve. A magic “slipper.” All kinds of things can happen when you don’t leave the ball…Before Midnight.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author as part of a R2R in the Lovers of Paranormal Goodreads group. This doesn’t affect my review and the following is my honest opinion.

I started Before Midnight knowing it was inspired by the story of Cinderella (And looking forward to a retelling of the fairy tale!) so, unlike some other reviewers, it was actually the prologue that caught me off guard. I knew the series was interconnected but the way that Jennifer Blackstream chose to do so has me very intrigued. From the first sentence I was surprised – in a very good way – and the initial intrigue had me devouring the book itself.

And Cinderella meets werewolves? Sounds like a delicious combination to me!

The story of Loupe and Etienne shares some of the themes of the original Cinderella and while I feel like it could have been fine without them, I loved the idea of the ball and the twist Ms. Blackstream put on the slipper. I thought it was a very creative idea and retelling that was never predictable! The characters she created are intriguing (I am itching to know more about the other princes in the prologue!) and both Etienne and Loupe were dynamic in their own ways. You might argue that Loupe was timid and weak but I felt that the growth and development for her was logical and made sense considering her upbringing and history. She is a kind woman and what can I say, I’m a sucker for puppies and her empathy for them had me smiling. And a handsome prince playing with cute little animals? Extra points for the adorable! On the subject of  Etienne, he was a very interesting prince; I have a weakness for werewolves and Ms. Blackstream put a very fun spin on them with her first prince! His dual nature and his struggle to handle his emotions as a human left me wanting to know more of him.

My only gripes are that it wasn’t long enough which, in several parts, made it feel a little rushed. I wanted more of them both and more background to it all. Some of the scenes and some of the characters would have, in my opinion, benefited from more time on the page. Loupe’s stepmother had me wondering; I’d have liked to know just how she and Loupe’s father ended up together or more of where she comes from. My hope is that as the series builds we might have some answers to questions I’m left pondering.

Overall though it was a great read. A fun story with characters that interested me and left me hoping to see them again – even if only in brief snippets in later books. I recommend it; it was worth the read!