You Jane by Elizabeth Fountain

JANE
You Jane by Elizabeth Fountain
Publisher: Burst Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (147 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Jane Margaret Blake’s problem isn’t her drinking. Sure, she’s missing work, and forgetting she’s already fed her cat, who’s getting a little fat. But Jane’s real problem is the reason she drinks: she writes stories that come true and wreak havoc in her life.

In her “fables” animals, people, angels, and the Universe itself conspire to destroy Jane’s last chance to be with her old love, or, just maybe, to bring her into the arms of a new love. Years ago, a fable pushed Jane’s best friend Charlie into marrying another woman. Now another fable shoves Charlie’s little boy in front of an angry dog – or worse, a wicked spirit bent on getting Jane and Charlie to face the truths they’ve spent a lifetime avoiding.

As her drinking and writing spiral out of control, Jane must finally discover how to write her own happy ending.

It’s hard to heal without acknowledging exactly what’s been broken. Will Jane be able to face her demons before it’s too late?

Jane’s flaws are serious and deep, but there was something about her that made me smile from the very first scene. There is something to be said for a protagonist who wrestles with her demons without having any indication beforehand of whether or not she actually stands a chance of beating it. It’s not necessary for me to like a protagonist as long as I believe in their mission and feel comfortable rooting for them. What surprised me the most about Jane was how quietly she grew on me as I plunged ahead into scene after scene with the hope that she’d be successful in her mission.

There were some issues with the pacing. The plot jumps from past to present so often that at times I had trouble remembering what Jane had been doing with her life before the last flashback. The flashbacks themselves gave me a clearer understanding of why Jane made certain choices, but they would have been even more powerful had there not been quite so many of them.

I really enjoyed the fables Jane comes up with when she goes into an altered state. They were original and beautiful. Just like traditional fairy tales, some of them had meanings that weren’t always immediately apparent. Attempting to figure them out was a nice interlude from the sad themes in this book, especially once the dark side of Jane’s personality becomes more apparent.

You Jane was one of the most thought-provoking stories I’ve read in a long time. This is a good choice for anyone in the mood for something that asks as many questions as it answers.

Unreliable Histories: A Tale of Cartography, Magic and Other Perils by Rob Gregson

 

HISTORIES
Unreliable Histories: A Tale of Cartography, Magic and Other Perils by Rob Gregson
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (324 Pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

If you enjoy tales of epic battles, fearsome dragons and dark, brooding evil, then you’ll almost certainly enjoy the works of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, who, in addition to being very good at that sort of thing, had possibly the most splendid name in the history of the fantasy genre.

On the other hand, if you have a penchant for lovelorn vampires, feisty warriors and unnecessarily cryptic ancient prophesies, then you should have absolutely no difficulty in finding something suitable – albeit not in this particular novel.

But on the other hand (and this being a work of fantasy, having three hands is not entirely out of the question) if your keenest wish is for a strange and digressive saga about cartography, magic and perhaps just the small matter of changing history itself, then you’ve hit upon a niche in which this book is largely without peer.

What would you do if you discovered that you have a history, one in which you were a participant, but which you now have absolutely no knowledge of? This is what Myrah discovers, and she has an understandably hard time believing it.

Of course, two total strangers informing you that you’ve participated in some great quest carries very little weight in comparison to the certain knowledge that you’ve never done any such thing. However, there was also the fact of her occasional sense-scape departures and the two strange but especially telling encounters with herself—during which even she appeared to be saying much the same thing.”

The Western Reaches is a wild new world where it appears that history can, and in fact is, being re-written. Myrah and her friends get caught up in a dangerous adventure without fully understanding what their mission truly is. Myrah’s uncle sums things up admirably when he said:

“As I understand it, you plan to pursue some enormously ambitious but poorly conceived scheme that will almost certainly entail a long and dangerous expedition across uncharted territories, with little or no idea of what awaits you therein.”

Unreliable Histories is a fantastic adventure, filled with excitement, a healthy dose of humor, and a rich use of words to create a reality. Or is it real? Myrah is a wonderful character, complex, thoughtful, bumbling along at times, but still firmly convinced of her path even when she can’t figure that path out. Her companions, Alaethar, big, friendly, and harmless, but with a surprising ability to protect her, and Nevigorn the Enlightened, a wizard who knows things, sort of, are well-defined and very interesting characters as well. Alaethar has a hard time believing in a past which he can’t remember, in spite of the evidence that he really did have a different past. Nevigorn has no trouble with that, but he focuses on “Here,” saying that “there’s only what’s Here. If you’re not Here, then you’ve gone.” Myrah has to navigate her mission with the aid of her companions, something which isn’t always easy, but which is always exciting and frequently humorous.

Unreliable Histories is the first book of The Written World, a world which I found to be totally captivating. I am eager to return to this world in the second book, The Endless Land, and follow Myrah, Alaethar, and Nevigorn on their further adventures. Unreliable Histories comes to a satisfying end, after a lot of magic and excitement, and it works fine as a stand-alone. However, having entered into Myrah’s adventures, I’m very eager to continue with her.

Lovers of fantasy, especially those who enjoy the study of words and philosophical musings on reality, will love exploring the Western Reaches with Myrah and her friends.

Up The Tower by JP Lantern

UptheTower

Up the Tower by JP Lantern
Publisher: Brainstorm Publishing
Genre: Futuristic/Sci-Fi, Dystopian, YA
Length: Full (247 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Snapdragon

In the dystopian slum of Junktown, death is commonplace, trust is a liability, and friendship is a curse. But disaster brings everybody together. A cloned corporate assassin; a boy genius and his new robot; a tech-modified gangster with nothing to lose; a beautiful, damaged woman and her unbalanced stalker—these individuals couldn’t be more different, but somehow they must work together to save their own skin. Stranded in the epicenter of a monumental earthquake, there is only one way to survive. These unlikely teammates must go…UP THE TOWER.

Up the Tower offers us the events following a disaster in the future City of St. Louis. There is that which is familiar in any American city – the ordinary lives, the everyday events. Then there are the futuristic elements, like the mega-corp of the police department, and cultural ones, as well. Then, there is the sudden life-altering change, showing us the impact of the disaster on individuals.

The opening sets the stage, from a distant, perhaps arms-length perspective. I felt interested, yet uninvolved. Abruptly–and this author can handle “abruptly”–we plunge into the ‘ordinary’ lives of these future people.

The quick, frank yet conversational style can occasionally become quite confrontational and tense. Yet, some things are reported matter-of-factly; we accept the strict classes of people almost without second thought. You’re a shareholder–in luck! Or no–a gangster, too bad. It’s the luck of draw, or what you can afford to pay for in this not-quite-familiar future world.

We meet ‘Ore’ first – horrible and horrifying as she is, you do kind of feel for her. She’s tough, but maybe she is what her world made her? Even Victor (I mean, he’s an assassin!) manages not to be a simple, black-and-white character. You can understand his effort to avoid thinking of the dead people; we want to believe some part of him cares. All Mr. Lantern’s characters are distinct beings; more than distinct, they are unique and …well… incredibly individual.

There is even a romance mixed in, along with a sense of character’s insecurity- perhaps a sample of the style is the best way to share:

Today was Gary’s day. He could feel it in his bones. Somehow, someway, he’d run into Ana. He dressed with vigor. Form-fitting khakis. A button-down shirt. His hair slicked back into a neato pompadour. Leather jacket hanging loosely around it all, hiding the outline of pudge that had been steadily building ever since he finished high school. He looked killer. He looked hip. He was neato, daddy-o. That was how they said it, right?”

Strange world though it seems, anyone can identify with Gary’s hope, as well as his efforts to fit in.

Events in Up the Tower are important, yet are given less attention. It is the results that are important. Even the disaster at the start is merely reported, not so much lived and felt.  Junktown, within St. Louis, is central, but never well described.

The style is far from my favorite, but Author JP Lantern manipulates readers emotions like a magician. In fact, but for a few moments of confusion here and there, I might well have assigned it five stars. Although listed for young adult readers,  anyone of any age who likes the genre should enjoy Up the Tower.

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Beyond the Ocean Blue by A.G. Smith

BLUE
Beyond the Ocean Blue by A.G. Smith
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (198 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

An archaeologist has found a book which tells of a fallen civilization called America, so he sets out to discover its remnants, though fears he may only find the air of myth.

He reaches a foggy shore patrolled by ghost crabs. It feels like a dead continent….

Given enough time and the right set of circumstances, any civilization could fade into the mists of history. Eventually people might wonder if it ever really existed at all. If only Doc could finally prove his theory about whether or not America is or was once a real place.

The blurb puzzled me when I first read it because it was much shorter than what I typically see for books in this genre, but within a few chapters I realized why it was written this way. This is the kind of tale that has so many twists and turns that it’s hard to discuss the plot without giving away spoilers. Sufficed to say that there is a lot of exciting stuff that happens to Doc, the main character, while he’s on his quest to find a civilization that has been the cause of so many different spirited debates in his own community.

It took some time for me to settle into the flow of this story. The pacing is slow in the beginning. At first I had trouble figuring out what was happening in it because the setting and tone of the first few chapters is nothing at all like what I was expecting to read based on what the blurb mentioned At times I wished the plot would give me a glimpse of Doc’s future as well so that I could have a few more clues about how everything fit together.

One of the things that originally made me such a big fan of science fiction was its willingness to criticize modern culture. At its best, this genre both mirrors what’s currently happening and gives a stern warning about what might occur if nothing changes. Given my earlier comments about not wanting to spoil any of the plot twists, I can’t provide any specific examples of what the author does with this style of writing. It is something I was happy to discover, though, and had I known this tale included it I would have been even more interested in reading it than I was already.

Beyond the Blue Ocean is a good choice for anyone who prefers science fiction that hasn’t been blended with any other genres.

Castaways in Time by Robert Adams

TIME
Castaways in Time by Robert Adams
Castaways in Time #1
Publisher: Mundania Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Full length (215 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

A WHIRLWIND IN TIME

It was a storm to end all storms, and when it was over Sebastian Foster and his five unexpected house guests–all refugees from the fury of the wind and rain–should have been happy just to be alive. But when the clouds finally cleared, the world outside Bass’s home was no longer the twentieth-century America they all knew.

Instead, through some bizarre twist in time, the six of them had ended up in England’s past. But it was a past that never existed in any history book, a place where the Church was waging a holy war to depose Arthur III and make his nephew king of England and Wales.

Thrust into this barbaric world of bloody combat, the time travelers were quick to realize that their modern weapons and knowledge could change the whole course of this England’s future–and maybe help them find their way home again–if the warring factions didn’t destroy them before they even had a chance to get started…

Does Bass have what it takes to survive hundreds of years in the past?

I’ve always thought the idea of traveling into the past was an interesting premise. The possibility of time travel always stirs up a multitude of questions in my mind. Would modern men and women be able to survive the harsh realities of the past? If so, what impact would modern knowledge of medicine and technology have on the past? Would time travelers advance civilization more quickly? What would be the cost of such actions? With these thoughts buzzing around in my mind, I eagerly dove into Castaways in Time curious of how my questions would be answered in this tale.

Bass is a very humble and honorable man, and I liked him almost immediately. His military training and experience with weapons make him a perfect, if accidental time traveler. His ability to keep his wits about him in a crisis definitely saves him and allows him to not only survive, but thrive in a time so different from his own. I am amazed at how quickly Bass, Krystal and some of the others acclimate to living in such a foreign environment. I would have expected them to miss the comforts of modern life more or to make a concentrated effort to return to their own world. However, Bass immediately throws himself into the thick of things in this parallel Earth and hardly gives another thought to his own past.

I do wish the relationships in this story would have been a bit more developed. It is clear that Bass cares deeply for Krystal and the men he fights alongside, but very little of the book is spent cultivating those bonds. The bulk of the book is devoted to describing the many long battles Bass finds himself in, and there are several lengthy passages that explain the history of this world and some of the ways it differs from our own. This slowed the pace of the story quite a bit, but since I enjoy history, this was not a big issue for me. However, the pace was also slowed by the language contained in the story. I found the dialects of the various groups hard to follow. I had to read very slowly to be sure I understood what they were saying. It was also hard for me to keep all the names and ranks of the nobility and various family lines straight. This is definitely not a book to race through. Time and patience are required to enjoy this tale.

Despite this issue, I enjoyed reading Castaways in Time. I particularly liked the ending. It was satisfying but it also raised more questions in my mind about the how Bass ended up in a parallel world in the first place. My curiosity is piqued and I’ll be starting the next book in this series very soon

Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski

JONES
Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing=
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery, Horror, Historical
Length: Full Length (233 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he’s now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.

But Jones’s investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh. Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings. Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous. From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.

As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city’s stranglehold on liquid spirits. Death couldn’t stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.

Cracking this case is a tall order. Braineater Jones won’t get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity.

The only thing worse than being murdered is waking up the next day with no memory of who you are or why there’s a gaping hole in your chest.

It took a little while for the character development to start happening in this book, but once it did I was glad for the delay. Building up such detailed descriptions of the personalities of the people involved first made their evolutions even more rewarding than they would have been otherwise. There were several developments that I didn’t see coming, especially when it came to the main character’s quest to discover his past.

One of the many mysteries that Braineater Jones has to unravel during the course of his adventures is who he was before he died. It was fun to see him slowly gather clues about his past, but I would have preferred for him to have a more humanizing undead name as he did it. I understand why the author wanted to start off with a character who has had literally everything from his former life stripped away. The name Braineater was too campy and distracting for my tastes, though. Braineater had some surprisingly empathetic streaks in his personality, and he deserved a zombie name that better represented that.

Mr. Kozeniewski has a tongue-in-cheek writing style that works incredibly well for this kind of tale. I didn’t read the first chapter so much as I absorbed it. Sometimes he made me laugh, cringe, and then gasp within a matter of minutes. This was my first introduction to his work. Based on how much I enjoyed it, I’ll be keeping a keen eye out for what he comes up with next.

I strongly recommend checking out the glossary at the end of this book to anyone who isn’t familiar with 1930s slang. While I knew many of those terms already, it was also helpful to look up the zombie-related jargon that is specific to this universe. Including the glossary was a great decision, and I’m glad that the author alerted me to its existence in the foreword.

Braineater Jones is one of the most entertaining horror novels I’ve read in 2014. This is a great choice for anyone in the mood for a genre-busting thriller!

Pillow Talk by Ruth J. Hartman

PILLOW
Pillow Talk by Ruth J. Hartman
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (111 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

What happens when a tooth fairy falls in love with her dentist?

The dental community may never be the same.

***

Trixie Trident has a secret. Everyone knows she creates one-of-a-kind jewelry during the day. It’s what she does on her night job no one would ever guess. She’s a tooth fairy. Not the tooth fairy, just one of many. It would take her whole life just to combat the many misconceptions people have about TFs. Like how nobody wears tutus or uses a wand. Or stands three inches high. Nope, Trixie looks just like any other woman in her mid-twenties. And she’d tell people all of that stuff. If she was allowed to. But she’d sworn a sacred tooth fairy oath that she’d never tell a soul. And she hadn’t. Except for her best friend, who would never breathe a word to anyone.

Gray Keebler meets Trixie when she comes to his dental office as a new patient. He’s had lots of single women patients before, but not one has ever sparked his interest like Trixie. What is it about her that’s so unique? He can’t quite figure it out but he’s determined to try, even when she turns him down for a second date. Trixie is attracted to Gray like she’s never been to any man before. He’s what she always dreamed of in a man. And they even have the subject of teeth in common. But a relationship with the gorgeous dentist can never be. How could it when she’s a tooth fairy? Not only can’t she tell him, but he’d never believe her anyway.

Some secrets are easy to keep. Others require a lot more effort. Can you guess which kind Trixie is dealing with?

Trixie’s awkwardness was endearing. It worked well with everything else that was revealed about her character, and it also made her relatable. It was especially entertaining to see how her flaws affected her attempts to flirt or even to socialize in a large group. Having special powers doesn’t guarantee that everything else in your life will fall into place after all!

There is a secondary character in this tale who consistently acts in a seriously unprofessional manner. At times it was difficult for me to suspend my disbelief and climb all the way into the plot due to the some of the stunts that she pulls. They were just too over the top for someone in her position, especially given how the other characters respond to what she tries to do. It would have been helpful if more time had been spent explaining what was going on in this subplot.

The chemistry between Trixie and Gray took a little while to show up, but once it did it was undeniable. Their personalities and quirks are so similar that it some ways it was as if they’d known each other for years instead of only a few weeks. Sometimes there’s something to be said for pursuing someone who acts and thinks a lot like you do.

I’d recommend Pillow Talk to anyone in the mood for something lighthearted and fairly short.

Her Mad Hatter by by Maria Hall

HATTER
Her Mad Hatter by by Maria Hall
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Paranormal Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (129 pgs)
Heat level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Waratah

Alice is all grown up. Running the Mad Hatter’s Cupcakery and Tea Shoppe is a delicious job, until fate–and a fairy godmother with a weakness for bad boys–throws her a curveball. Now, Alice is the newest resident of Wonderland, where the Mad Hatter fuels her fantasies and thrills her body with his dark touch.

The Mad Hatter may have a voice and a body made for sex, but he takes no lovers. Ever. But a determined fairy godmother has forced Alice into Wonderland–and his arms. Now, as desire and madness converge, the Hatter must decide if he will fight the fairy godmother’s mating–or fight for Alice.

So sad… a young girl who was thought of as crazy because she called for the Mad Hatter and he came to her, if only in a dream. As she grew up, she turned out so very different than what was expected of her.

How exciting! I’d tell potential readers to close their eyes and take a walk in the magical world that Ms Hall created here, but then they wouldn’t be able to read this fantastic storybook retelling of a classic. So I’ll say this; open your mind and travel with Alice to her wonderland, and feel what she does: the excitement, the amazement, even the unbelievable. I found this story so intriguing and emotional. Reading Alice in Wonderland as a child, I never thought of the Hatter as really being mad or sad, but in Her Mad Hatter I could almost feel his sadness and loneliness ooze off the pages.

Hatter, such a soulful, older-than-time man, has been through so much as he’s waited for “The One” that will keep him sane. However, as Alice makes her way to him does the Hatter even care anymore? Is he washing his hands of the whole mate thing and resigned to his fate?

Oh my goodness, there’s this one character, the fairy G Danika, I loved her!! She was so much fun, simply wonderful and I loved her personality. I can’t wait to see how she handles her other “Bad boys”.

This delightful book is the first one in the series. It’s just the right length and the story moved along well without ever getting boring. It gives me a whole new look on old but dear fairy tale. The author had me witnessing some sadness, heartache, passion and eventually, a lot of love. I’d recommend this to anyone that loves fairy tales.

Eaten: The Complete First Season by Michael La Ronn

EATEN
Eaten: The Complete First Season by Michael La Ronn
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (234 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

An empire of processed foods on the verge of world domination. A broccoli terrorist with nothing to lose.

New Eaton is a futuristic metropolis where obese humans live lavishly among processed foods. Vegetables are second-class citizens, used for sinister experiments that keep the city alive. A trio of salt, sugar, and fat called the Triumvirate rule with brute force to keep the vegetables in submission.

Brocc is a broccoli with a mysterious past whose only goal is to take down the Triumvirate, even if it means sacrificing himself. He and his terrorist group, the Vegans, launch a devastating attack that throws the city into chaos.

But when things go wrong, Brocc takes an innocent human hostage in order to save himself, creating a power struggle with the Triumvirate that will change the fate of all food forever.

This is the first book in Michael La Ronn’s sci-fi fantasy saga, Eaten. It’s an exciting blend of fantasy, action/adventure, and cyberpunk, with humor added for taste.

VEGETABLES JUST GOT COMPLICATED.

If these vegetable freedom fighters have anything to say about it, the revolution definitely will be televised!

The blurb was much shorter than what I’d normally expect to read, but it provided enough details about the zany plot to snag my attention immediately. This is one of the most creative premises I’ve come across in a long time. I couldn’t wait to see what Mr. La Ronn had in store for his characters. Sometimes less is more, though, so once I was a chapter or two in the action I was glad that the author kept so many of the twists and turns a secret.

It would have been helpful to know a little more about the physiology of the foods who are also characters. I was never quite sure if they were all intended to be members of the same species or if every type of food was its own unique species. Some foods have children who strongly resemble them while others don’t. I found the differences between those families to be a little distracting, although it is a minor criticism of an otherwise engaging adventure.

I really enjoyed the worldbuilding in this story. The produce puns made me smile, especially when the characters themselves treated those names or terms seriously. Somehow this style of humor is even better when it’s used with a straight face. It was also intriguing to see Kendall, the main character, slowly explore the various levels of the empire he calls home. He’s spent so much time in one small part of it that he seems to be nearly as surprised by everything else that is out there as this reader was.

Eaten: The Complete First Season was so much fun to read that I had a hard time putting it down. This is a great choice for anyone who loves the playful side of science fiction.

Branded by Étain by Jianne Carlo

BEASTS
Branded by Étain by Jianne Carlo
The Beasts of Bärvik Book One
Publisher: Taliesin Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (68 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Bittersweet

Can a princess tame a beast?

Princess Étaín of Caul Carlinne remains unsullied by her violent past. When she chooses Brand of Bärvik as her mate, has she brought havoc and destruction to her people?

I had heard good things about Jianne Carlo and had been meaning to read something by her for quite some time now, so I could not resist when I saw this was up for grabs. I’m glad I did.

In very few pages, Jianne Carlo spins a delightful tale of love and adventure that transported me back in time. The author’s way of writing is wonderful as it easily and without unnecessary embellishments set up the time period and drew me into Étain and Brand’s world. It is a world of dreams, magic, dangerous heroes and treacherous enemies.

Étain and Brand are delightful. Especially, Brand. He’s intelligent, courageous, handsome, romantic, a warrior, alpha… He is dreamy and I fell in love with him from the moment he appeared on the page (I can still picture those blue eyes concealed behind a hood…). His character doesn’t fall flat, but grows with each turn of the page just like Étain’s.

When I first met Étain I discovered a woman who was highly intelligent but also ridiculously chipper. I wasn’t sure if I really liked her, but the author did a wonderful job of developing her character and I quickly warmed up to her. Even more so, when her magical gift was explained and the reason for her unnatural constant happiness came to life. By the end of the story, I loved her.

With such characters, it is not surprising that the love story is marvellous. Out of bed, they have a very natural and sweet rapport. Whilst, sexually, Ms. Jianne Carlo mixes up the alpha possessiveness with a young girl’s naivety and curiosity and creates sizzling scenes that had me aching for more.

Branded by Étain can be read as a standalone, for I didn’t discover it was the beginning of a series until I finished it. I’m happy there will be more to come, for I was indeed curious about some of the secondary characters.

Branded by Étain is a quick erotic fantasy read that left a good taste in my mouth for many days.