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Book Review: A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland (2nd Read)

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Romance, Time-Travel, Historical Romance
Series: MacLeod, book 1
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Summary (via Goodreads):
Scotland, 1311. James MacLeod was the most respected—and feared—laird in all of Scotland. He loved his men like brothers and his land with a passion. And he allowed no women to cross the threshold of his keep…

New York City, 1996. With an indifferent fiancé and a stalled writing career, Elizabeth Smith found passion and adventure only in the unpublished romance novels that she wrote. Until a Scottish hero began calling to her…

Elizabeth longed for the man of her dreams. But she knew she was overworked when she began hearing his voice—when she was awake. To clear her mind, she took a walk in Gramercy Park. She dozed off on a bench—and woke up in a lush forest in fourteenth-century Scotland. A forest surrounding the castle of James MacLeod, an arrogant and handsome lord with a very familiar voice. Elizabeth would turn his ordered world upside-down and go where no woman had ever gone before: straight into his heart…


My Review:
A great beginning that will lead to more amazing stories and adventures (from someone who’s read virtually every book from both family tress; MacLeod and De Piaget).

The story is slow to start but soon takes off. Elizabeth and Jamie’s relationship is turbulent and curious from the beginning. There’s instant attraction but it takes much trail and error before they come to realize what it is they’re feeling. You come to see that the two – perhaps fated? – couple are indeed similar in grumbles, passions and loyalties.

There’s not much external danger; the conflict centered on the relationship between the main characters. But it’s a development that’s sometimes funny and adorable to watch – and of times ridiculous (in a good way).

I love the beauty of the setting – it has long since made me want to visit Scotland if ever given the chance. That combined with wonderful secondary characters made the reading experience that much more pleasant. Lynn Kurland writes a romantic yet harsh depiction of 14th century Scottish highlands, making A Dance Through Time a wonderfully told story.

Other Lynn Kurland Books Reviewed:
Dreams of Lilacs (de Piaget Family, book 16)
Ever My Love (MacLeod, book 10)
From This Moment On (de Piaget Family, book 9) (2nd Read)
Stars In Your Eyes (de Piaget Family, book 17)


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Recommend Magic-Centric Book Series

Today’s post is sort of a continuation from a recent post I did on the common types of magic I’ve observed in fiction. I went through the archives of books I’ve read and found the best series centered around magic or incorporate it in some way. I highly recommend these books and authors.


Circle of Magic – Tamora Pierce

*all books by this author I’d recommend as additional examples


Study – Maria V. Snyder

My Reviews: Book 4 | Book 5 | Book 6

*all books by this author I’d recommend as additional examples


A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms – Lynn Kurland

*showing only book covers 1-3 of 11


Snow Like Ashes – Sara Raasch

My Reviews: Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3


Graceling – Kristin Cashore

*showing book 1 and 2 (only have read) of 3


Wings – Aprilynne Pike

*showing books 1-4 (only have read) of 5


All Images via Goodreads:

Circle of Magic


A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms

Snow Like Ashes



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Book Review: Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles, book 3
Rating: 1 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: No


Summary (via Goodreads):
Who is Catalia Fisa?
With the help of pivotal figures from her past, Cat begins to understand the root of her exceptional magic, her fated union with Griffin Sinta, and Griffin’s role in shaping her destiny.

Only Cat holds the key to unlocking her own power, and that means finally accepting herself, her past, and her future in order to protect her loved ones, confront her murderous mother, and taking a final, terrifying step–reuniting all three realms and taking her place as the Queen of Thalyria.

What doesn’t kill her will only make her stronger…we hope.


My Review:
This book was a huge letdown for me.

Where did the Cat from Book 1 go?

The Cat in this book spent the entire novel stubbornly refusing to see the truth that was right in front of her, a truth that several people had pointed out to her throughout the entire series but she refused to believe. On and off again it would seem like she was coming around to her destiny but then something would go wrong and she’d back peddle several steps.

There came a point where I wondered if she would ever get it. I understand her reluctance but if you can’t believe yourself or the most important person in your life (Griffin) or a god(s), then I don’t know what she’s going do. We spend way too much time in Cat’s head listening to her litany of self-victimization. Yes, this series is written in  First Person so internal thoughts are a given but this was too much and annoying.

Why are characters endlessly talking?

Scenes also stretched longer than they should – like several chapters to do just one scene – because characters spent way too much time talking instead of getting to the point. Some times all this talking was at inappropriate times like in the middle of a fight. It really detracted from the reading experience. For example, the first scene was – if I remember – about 60 odd pages, and the entire book is only 380 pages. It made me wonder because we spent so much time on that first scene – which would have been great if there hadn’t been so much talking – would there be enough remaining pages to really tell the story. Not really. This might be comparing apples to oranges but I see things like this in anime often. Characters will watch a bad guy power up for a certain amount of time and just stand there watching instead of doing something to stop the bad guy. That’s what it felt like I was seeing here at times.

Why is the antagonist so weak after so much hype?

The main antagonist is Cat’s mom, Andromeda, the Queen of Fisa. Based on what Cat tells us, her mother has been this intimidating, cruel, powerful, invisible force looming over the horizon. Clearly, she would be the final boss, so to speak. I was really looking forward to what the inevitable confrontation with Cat’s mom. I am so disappointed by not only those confrontation scenes but Andromeda’s character was sorely weak for a supposedly all-powerful antagonist. Reality of whatever scenes Andromeda was in didn’t fully match up with what Cat had been describing all along.

The above things I mentioned just didn’t make sense on the whole. After so much preparation for a final battle there ended being nothing. Seemed like a cop-out ending to me, too easy of a conclusion. I was close to marking this book as DNF. This wasn’t the conclusion I expected nor the conclusion I believe this story deserves.


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Book Review: The Winter King by C. L. Wilson

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Romance Fantasy
Series: Weathermages of Mystral, book 1
Rating: 2.5/5
Recommend to Others?: No


Summary (via Goodreads):
After three long years of war, starkly handsome Wynter Atrialan will have his vengeance on Summerlea’s king by taking one of the man’s beautiful, beloved daughters as his bride. But though peace is finally at hand, Wynter’s battle with the Ice Heart, the dread power he embraced to avenge his brother’s death, rages on.

Khamsin Coruscate, Princess of Summerlea and summoner of Storms, has spent her life exiled to the shadows of her father’s palace. Reviled by her father, marriage to Wintercraig’s icy king was supposed to be a terrible punishment, but instead offers Kham her first taste of freedom—and her first taste of overwhelming passion.

As fierce, indomitable Wynter weathers even Khamsin’s wildest storms, surprising her with a tenderness she never expected, Kham wants more than Wynter’s passion—she yearns for his love. But the power of the Ice Heart is growing, dangerous forces are gathering, and a devastating betrayal puts Khamsin and Wynter to the ultimate test.


My Review:
I had high hopes for this book. Based on the premise (seemed like the kind of books I like) and author (I’m familiar with her work and think she’s great at world-building), I thought this would be a really good read. Post-read, I’m kind of disappointed, and only kind-of because there’s 594 pages and much to consider. There’s more to the story than what the synopsis offers. That made rating this book difficult, but I’ve settled upon a middle of the road score.

Wynter is everything you want in a romance novel protagonist: loyal, handsome, intelligent, strong, family-oriented. He is the bright snowy part of the novel. However, he is can be very blind to what’s in front of him, easily persuaded to put Khamsin in an “other” box despite his vows, and one too many times (in the beginning) assumes things and gets outwitted. Still, he is one of three likable characters in the entire story.

Khamsin is stubborn and rebellious to a fault – often childishly so, in my opinion – but kind and loyal deep down. I think being boxed in the princess-trapped-in-a-tower trope and her stubborn/rebellious nature was off-putting from the get-go. One can attribute the wildness in part to her weathermage powers – storms – but I’m not entirely convinced. But I do root for her when she attempts to be apart of her new world despite the wicked backlash she  receives just because she’s from a different country.

The biggest dislike I had of the book was the tone of suspicion and hate that drenched the novel – and this was happening on both sides (Wintercraig and Summerlea) equally. The open prejudice. The hostility towards someone an outsider. The assumptions made about someone based on their nationality and family ties. The hunger for power at any cost. War only served to deepen such views – again on both sides. Much of the death, betrayal, and destruction might have been avoided as Wynter tried to do for many years. It all made my heart hurt.

The cover – as pretty as it is – bothered me because the two people on it are not what is described in the book. Wynter is described as seven feet tall with golden skin and long white-ish hair. Khamsin could be a little shorter, the volume of her hair is right but is missing the noticeable white streaks. Not a big deal on the whole, but for some reason it bother me.

I would still read books by C. L. Wilson, but I do not plan to read book 2 of this series.



My Top 11 Most Romantic Books of All Time

Image by Christina @ The Bookshelf Corner

A year ago today, I wrote a post about my fictional crushes. Today I wanted to do a Top 11 list of the most romantic novels I’ve read. I’ve read many novels with romance elements or are part romance, but I have read widely much (looking back on this list) solely romance novels. Choosing books for this list was somewhat difficult but I believe I’ve chosen the best of the best, the feels of all feels, that made my hopelessly romantic heart soar. **images are linked back to original sources**



Dreams of Stardust by Lynn Kurland
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (my review)
A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland



Once and for All by Sarah Dessen (my review)
The Very Thought of You by Lynn Kurland


From This Moment On by Lynn Kurland (my review)
The More I See You by Lynn Kurland


When I Fall In Love by Lynn Kurland
With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland


Paintbrush by Hannah Bucchin (my review)
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (my review)



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TBR At A Glance – 2/12/18

Image made in Pixlr and Paint

Currently Reading

  • Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet


Reading Next

  • A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland (2nd Read)
  • With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland (2nd Read)
  • Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce (hopefully)


Recent Reviews


Reviews This Week

  • Feb 15 – The Winter King by C. L. Wilson
  • Feb 16 – Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet


Reviews Coming March 2018

  • (ARC) Blood Veil by Megan Erickson
  • (ARC) Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen
  • (ARC) Henry Hodge Needs A Friend by Andy Andrews

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Writing Playlist #11: Love and Romance

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay

Today’s writing playlist features a few select romantic/love songs to inspire ideas for romantic stories.


“A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri

“As Long As You’re Mine” – Wicked

“Can You Feel the Love Tonight” – The Lion King | Elton John

“Endless Love” by Luther Vandross

“For the First Time” – Tarzan

“Greatest Love Of All” by Whitney Houston

“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

“Rewrite the Stars” – The Greatest Showman

“We Both Know” – Safe Haven

Past Playlists:
Disney (pt.1)
Disney (pt.2)
On Repeat (pt.1)
On Repeat (pt.2)
Can’t Stop Singing