Before the River Styxx

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House of the Rising Son by Sherrilyn Kenyon is really good. I kinda see it as the bridge between Archeron and Styxx, as the whole thing is about the previous lives of the two main characters within the novel Styxx, Styxx himself and his lady love Bethany.

So waaaaaaaaay back in the day when Atlantis was still around and kicking, the Atlantean goddess of justice Bathymaas decided to create her own little army of heroes to help keep law and order in the multiverse when the usual law keepers the Chthonians decided to wage a civil war on themselves.

Famed for her lack of emotion which made her ideal in dispensing justice as it made her 100% impartial, however she went and fell in love with one of her mortal soldiers Aricles. Apollo found this out, and being the colossal dick that he is in the series, decided a little bit of vengeance for being ‘humiliated’ by the couple when Bathymaas refused his advances and Aricles clocked him when Apollo tried to rape her.

And what does Apollo do? Arrange an archery contest.  The target a moving stag, winner is the one who kills it.  Bathymaas wins, and discovers the stag was actually a shape shifted Aricles and she has just killed the man she loves.

That was a brilliant idea. Unjustly kill the lover of the goddess of justice who not only has the power to kill you, but has just discovered emotions and now has every right to go bat shit vengeance on your ass.

Yeah no one said Apollo was smart.

Anyways at the end of the day Bathymaas was taken out instead, because the death of Apollo would mean the death of the world since he is so closely aligned with the sun. And when she was reincarnated, in an attempt to keep her from going postal again, her heart was split in two with one half given to a reincarnated Aricles in the hopes the soul mates would find each other again.

So yeah. Really really good. You learn of this story in Styxx first, but this gives a more in depth look into the couple’s previous life background and I quite enjoyed it.

But we’re moving on to full length novels once again folks. Trying out another Kobo freebie with Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason, first in the Heroes of New Vegas series.


When Dr. Elliott Drake emerges from a cave after traveling fifty years through time, the world as he knew it in 2010 is gone. Cities are overgrown jungles, and what’s left of civilization has been repressed by crystal-wearing immortal beings. But even more unsettling: Elliott has acquired an extraordinary ability–the power to heal.


But even that gift, in a world that lacks the technology and infrastructure of his past, is a two-edged sword for Elliott.

Jade Kapiza, who was once imprisoned by the immortal beings, has been in hiding for years. But now she’s determined to help the human race fight back against the control of her captors. She can trust no one…but when Elliott comes into her life, he pushes at her defenses and begins to tear down the walls she’s built so carefully.

Yet the mysterious doctor seems to have secrets of his own. Can Jade trust Elliott with her heart, even as they risk their lives to save a band of innocents?

And can Elliott find a new place for himself–a home–in this new, ravaged world?



Come Too Soon

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Dragonswan by Sherrilyn Kenyon is a short story/novella that was written early on in the Darkhunter saga and I think is technically classified as #0.5. However based on the main character I honestly think it would work better closer to the current timeframe of books.

Sebastian Kattalakis is a dragon hunter in the 21st century searching for a lost tapestry that his sister wove.  Grandson of the king who started this whole thing by splicing human and animal souls, he bumps into a lovely little human historian and we can guess where things lead from there.

This would have worked well expanded upon and set as its own full length installment within the series, especially since the most recent and upcoming novels have been and are all about the dragon line of Accadian/Kattalakis.

But other than being too short and left wanting more, it was good. We’re actually going to check out another short story/novella by Kenyon next with House of the Rising Son.

The eldest son in a family of three boys, Aricles had no desire to be a soldier, even though his fighting skills were among the best in the world. He was more than content on his small Atlantean farm, living a quiet, uneventful life. But when his brother is determined to don a soldier’s uniform, Aricles joins him with a promise to their father to bring his brother home in one piece. What he never counts on is how much their new lives will forever change them, or what the risk of a forbidden love will ultimately cost him.  

Missing Gems

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Outtakes from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost is a short story anthology for lack of a better word, set in the Nighthuntress world.

What it really is however, is a collection of scenes that the author Jeaniene Frost had originally written to be published as part of her series within literally all the books, but were taken out of the final draft for a variety of reasons. They needed to cut down on size, publisher thought it slowed the story down, author changed her mind, etc.

I loved it. There’s a bit of back story from Cat and the vampire Gregory who kinda sorta kidnapped her, behind and around the scenes of when she left Bones and them working for the government, it was all fantastic.

The lengths ranged from short little snippets of story to a full fledged novella and they were all awesome. I did not realize how much I had missed Cat and Bones until I read it, and it’s actually making me want to go back and reread the series.

Keeping up the romance theme again, and still sticking with short stories we’re going to check out Dragonswan by Sherrilyn Kenyon next.

Channon (Shannon with C) MacRea has spent years studying the legendary Dragon Tapestry, deciphering Old English symbolism. One evening delectable Sebastian Kattalakis appears — a dragon slayer trapped between two worlds — claims to hold the key to solving the tapestry’s mysteries. Channon follows him into a fantastic alternate world of magic, danger, and adventure.

Bridge to an End

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Third and final in the Paladins of Shannara trilogy of short stories by Terry Brooks, The Black Irix takes place in between the events of The Sword of Shannara and The Elfstones of Shannara.

This one lies right in the middle of the trilogy personally. I liked Black Irix better than Weapon Master’s Choice, but not as much as Allanon’s Quest.

We come to Shea and Flick Ohmsford, two years after the events in the Sword of Shannara. Shea is dying from the contact with the darkness that was the Warlock Lord, and in desperation Flick goes to a medicine woman (witch?) who gives him a potion for Shea to drink and warns of one more adventure for the brothers, despite Shea’s constant vows otherwise.

So Flick feeds Shea the potion, he gets better, and lo and behold a few months later who should ride on into town? The sly, charismatic theif Panamon Creel, an old friend and comrade with a proposition: help him reclaim the Black Irix.

The Black Irix is the highest award within the Troll nation, one not lightly given out and one that essentially give the wearer political power to sway most any discussion. Their rock troll comrade Keltset was a bearer of one such award, and sadly he did not survive the adventure for the sword, being crushed in a rockslide/avalanche. It was assumed his Irix was buried with him, but a mercenary collector Kestra Chule has it, and Panama wants to steal it back to return it to Keltset’s people.  But he needs Shea and the Elfstones to do it.

So after much avowing and swearing to never go on any other adventure ever again, Shea goes on this one last one in honor and memory of their fallen comrade. And of course Flick goes with him.

So where Allanon’s Quest was like a prequel/prologue to Sword of Shannara, Black Irix is like a sequel/epilogue to the same and overall it was pretty good. My only thing is that even though it is listed as the third in the series (mostly likely due to when it was published) it’s technically the second if you consider the timeline of the world itself.

As for me, I’m on a bit of a short story kick now. We’re looking at the anthology Outtakes from the Grave next.

Indulge your love of paranormal super couple Cat and Bones with this ultimate “director’s cut” collection of deleted scenes and alternate versions from the first four novels in the Night Huntress series, complete with author commentary on each selection. Includes: the original beginnings of Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave, At Grave’s End, and Destined for an Early Grave: a chapter written in Bones’s point of view; alternate versions of sections of Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave, and Destined for an Early Grave; the “white wedding” scene between Cat and Bones that never made it into the final books…and much more!


Who Fights For the Lost?

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Second in the Paladins of Shannara, a trilogy of short stories but Terry Brooks, The Weapon Master’s Choice takes place in between the stories of The Elfstones of Shannara and The Wishsong of Shannara.

This one I did not enjoy as much as Allanon’s Quest. I think it’s partly because it’s been so long since I read either Elfstones or Wishsong I had completely forgotten who the main character Garet Jax was. I seriously was like ‘who the hell is this?!?’ for the first like two chapters of the book before I gave in a googled him and he’s just a companion to Jair Ohmsford on his in Wishsong.

But it was still good. Garet is discovered by a mysterious woman who wants his help to save her people against a warlock vampire (yeah yeah I know) and after being attacked by six men whom Garet easily kills, he is convinced to follow along and see what he can do to help her people who just so happen to live in one of the most remote and inhospitable places within the Four Lands.

But there’s always this air of mystery about her. She hides herself in her cloak, she doesn’t speak much of her people like who they are or why they have chosen to live in such a remote location.  Obviously something is up, but thankfully it’s nothing too nefarious.

I honestly skipped a lot of it because I wanted to learn her secrets and what all she was hiding. One thought was that she was a druid, or at least druid trained since she was able to do some interesting healing and combat things most other people would not be able to do but that’s never confirmed so it was a bit frustrating for me.

I liked it in that it gave a bit more into Garet Jax’s overall character (would have affected me more if I had actually remembered the dude), but there were too many things left unexplored or unexplained here that made it a bit wanting for me.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep going and finish off this particular trilogy with the Black Irix next.

An old friend urges Shea Ohmsford to take a dangerous risk in the concluding story of this gripping Shannara eBook series by New York Times bestselling fantasy master Terry Brooks.

Shea Ohmsford has had quite enough of quests. A year after surviving a harrowing odyssey, he is still plagued by troubling memories and dreams. A mysterious trafficker in spells and potions provides a restorative nostrum for the stricken Shea . . . along with a warning: Shea will break his vow to never again leave Shady Vale. And then the potion-maker’s prophecy comes to pass.

A thief, adventurer, and notoriously charismatic rogue, Panamon Creel unexpectedly appears in the Vale with a request for his long-time friend, Shea—journey into the untamed Northland, infiltrate the stronghold of a sinister dealer in stolen goods, and capture a precious artifact: the sacred Black Irix. Creel wishes to return this treasure to its rightful owners. Shea cannot refuse such a just cause. But what lies behind the black castle walls they must breach? And will this quest truly be their last?


Bridge to a Beginning

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First in the Paladins of Shannara a trilogy of short stories by Terry Brooks, Allanon’s quest takes place in between First King and Sword of Shannara.

I was so excited to read this one, it’s been a while since I have read any Shannara, let alone been excited to do so.

Allanon’s quest is…well…a story about Allanon. Right at the beginning, when he first learns that the Warlock Lord is/has returned to threaten the Four Lands again, Allanon searches for a living heir to the Shannara legacy, one who would be able to weild the sword and defeat the Warlock Lord once and for all.

We actually come into his quest for the heir almost at the end. He’s been searching a while for any living decendants of Jerle Shannara, and it’s been a good news/bad news situation.  Good news: he finds them.  Bad news: the Skull Bearers, minions of the Warlock Lord, have found them all first and killed them.

So Allanon is at the end of his rope, and it comes in the form of an old elf who once was the historian/librarian of the royal archives in Arborlon. One who has no love for his people or the world for that matter.  But kind of thankfully circumstances lead to him actually being helpful after first betraying Allanon to a Skull Bearer (not mad though since we saw some pretty cool druid abilities during that battle) before telling Allanon of one last descendant.  The last to be exact.

This story ends as Allanon rides off to find Shea, and if this was a full length novel or if it had been included with Sword of Shannara, turning the page would have had him arriving on Shea’s doorstep.

So all in all a good read. I liked this little side story focusing on my favorite druid throughout the saga, and I think it melded very well with the rest of the overall story.  Seemed almost more like a prequel than anything else.

And with that I think I’ll just rip right along and read the second one, The Weapon Master’s Choice next.

His extraordinary—and deadly—skills have earned Garet Jax renown and infamy as the man called the Weapons Master. Rootless, solitary, and endlessly sought after, he roams the Four Lands, loyal to none but himself . . . and whomever can afford his services as warrior, assassin, and avenger for hire. But Lyriana is unlike any who have come to him before: as beautiful as she is bold, as enigmatic as the distant city she is desperate to save, and possessed of an intangible, irresistible allure that entices even the hardened Garet Jax more than any amount of gold or silver ever could.
But the challenge she comes bearing may give even the celebrated Weapons Master pause. The remote city of Tajarin, Lyriana’s home, is being laid to waste by an immensely powerful and boundlessly evil warlock of the deadliest order. With the populace enslaved and no champion to stand against the invader, Tajarin will soon be wiped from the map—perhaps only the first city to fall. Whatever hope exists rests in the deft hands, lethal blades, and unerring instincts of Garet Jax. With righteous fury in his blood, and feelings he has never before known in his heart, he will face the most dire of enemies, and dare the blackest of fates, for the mysterious woman at his side—whose deepest secrets have yet to be revealed

Three in One

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So this was not what I expected it to be.  Marti Talbott’s Highlander Series Book 1 is actually a collection of three short stories focused on the lives of three different women tied together in different ways.

Anna is the abused daughter of an English nobleman who is married off against her will to a highlander lord who vows to protect her but must first get past the barriers she has erected to protect herself.

Rachael is Anna’s little sister, rescued from a house of horrors and now grown enough to begin her own search for a mate, although she is more interested in sneaking around and putting her life on the line to save her clan than she is in settling down.

Charlet is wanted by English and Highlander alike, famed across the land for her beauty.  As an adopted member of Anna and Rachael’s clan, it is up to them to keep her safe from those who would use thy mysterious circumstances of her birth to further their own ends.

Anna’s story I LOVED. I was so excited to read about Rachael and Charlet, but they really let me down.  For whatever reason I was not engaging with them as well as I did with Anna, and I would up skimming most of their tales.

I think part of the disconnect is the fact that they all followed the same formula.  Independent female, female abused and left helpless, male comes along to help, gets protective, they fight over it, she falls for him, he puffs his chest.

Like all three of them followed that exact pattern.  Maybe if the plots had varied a wee bit I might have been more interested, but as it was this is another one I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for as it was one of the free books I got off the Kobo site.

I’ll get to finish Maestro eventually, but before that I found a few Shannara short stories in ebook form so I want to get through those real quick.  Allanon’s Quest, first in the Paladin’s of Shannara series is next.

The history is thus: The once-Druid Brona, seduced by his pursuit of dark magic, was forever transformed into the Warlock Lord—whose evil would be the downfall of the Four Lands and the death of the Races. Against him, the Elven King Jerle Shannara wielded the fabled sword that bore his surname and triumphed. Or so it was believed. But though the Dark Lord was driven out . . . he was not destroyed.
The Druid Allanon knows only too well the prophecy passed down to him by his late master: that eventually the Warlock Lord will return. Now, after hundreds of years, that day seems imminent. And the time is at hand for the Sword of Shannara to once more be brought forth from its sanctuary to serve its ancient purpose. All that remains is for a blood descendent of the Elven house of Shannara to carry the blade into battle.
With ever more portents of doom on the horizon, Allanon must seek out the last remaining Shannara heir, who alone will bear the burden of defending the Four Lands’ destiny. But with agents of darkness closing in from behind, unexpected enemies lying in wait ahead, and treachery encroaching on every side, there can be no certainty of success. Nor any assurance that this desperate quest will not be the Druid’s last.

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