Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Nina Croft Guest Post: The Blending of Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Today I am so happy to have Nina Croft visiting! I have loved her Dark Desires series since before it was called the Dark Desires (see my review of the first four books when they were just starting to change the name here) and devour each new story as soon as I can get my hands on it. One of the things I have always loved most about it was the perfect blend of science fiction and fantasy. There is a vampire sharing a ship with a genetically modified plant lady, time travelling dragons, cyborgs, and werewolves. It's the best of both worlds! So, today I am sharing a post from Ms. Croft about the sci-fi and fantasy worlds that inspired her.

Top 10 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Worlds

There are so many fantasy and sci-fi worlds that have inspired me over the years. Fantasy has been my favorite genre since I first read Lord of the Rings a long, long time ago. And sci-fi became a close second when I fell in love with Han Solo as a teenager.

But here are the books, films and TV shows that I return to again and again and which constantly inspire me…

1. Dr Who – I’ll start with this as it was the first science fiction or fantasy world I came across. I’ve been watching the show for as long as I’ve been watching TV, and growing up, all I ever wanted to be was the Doctor’s assistant. It’s a world built to keep going (the regeneration aspect is just brilliant.) Doctor Who recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and it gets better and better.

2. Lord of the Rings – I first read this when I was about ten years old, and I remember the wonder of being immersed in a different world. It’s still a favorite and I loved the movies (Aragorn—sigh).

3. Aliens – Best sci-fi film ever!

4. Star Wars – Han Solo! I need say no more. Except that it’s a fabulous adventure story and a wonderful world.

5. Walking Dead –I love post-apocalypse stories. The end of the world as we know it, add some hot guys, and what more could you want?

6. Anne Bishop’s Black Jewell’s Trilogy. For world building, I think this is up there with The Lord of the Rings. Rich, sensual; she brings her fantasy world to brilliant life.

7. Dune – by Frank Herbert. Science fiction at its best. One of my favorite books and one I go back and read again and again. The world is so complex but so totally believable.

8. Game of Thrones – I’m totally in love with the TV series and still have the books to look forward to. Another example of complex and believable world-building.

9. Narnia by C.S. Lewis – Another I read first as a child and still return to.

10. Firefly – And I’ll finish with the best TV show ever and the main inspiration behind my Dark Desires series! I was watching this (for about the third time) when I decided I wanted to write a space opera, complete with a crew of misfits, and the Dark Desires series came into being.

Check out the newest book in the Dark Desires series:

Flying Through Fire
by Nina Croft
Dark Desires #6

About the Book:

For ten thousand years he’s done his duty. Now he wants something for himself…

Winged monsters have been seen in the skies, and a pestilence follows in their wake, threatening the very survival of mankind. Only the crew of the Blood Hunter knows where they come from, and only one man has the power to send them back—Thorne, a human/dragon hybrid in possession of mental powers beyond comprehension.

Candace Decker doesn’t need anyone to look after her—she’s a badass werewolf more than capable of protecting herself and those she loves. All the same, she’s always been drawn to Thorne’s strength. In an uncertain world, he’s the one man who makes her feel safe. And what Candy wants, she usually gets.

But while Candy is tenacious, Thorne’s willpower has been honed over ten thousand years. He might want her, but the last thing he needs is an infatuation with a young, impetuous werewolf. Candy makes him lose control, and that could have disastrous consequences.

As the threat escalates and they become separated by time and space, Candy must find a way back to him, because while Thorne alone has the power to defeat the dragons, only together can they finally bring peace to the universe.


Amazon - B&N - iBooks - Kobo - Goodreads

About the Author:

Growing up in the cold, wet, north of England, Nina Croft spent a lot of time dreaming of faraway sunnier places and ponies. When she discovered both, along with a whole load of other things, could be found between the covers of a book, her life changed forever.

Later, she headed south, picked up the perfect husband along the way, and together they volunteered to work in Africa. There they discovered a love of exotic places and a dislike of 9-5 work. Afterward they spent a number of years travelling (whenever possible) intermingled with working (whenever necessary.) Eventually they stumbled upon a remote area in the mountains of southern Spain and the small almond farm they now call home.

Nina spends her days reading, writing and riding her mare, Gencianna, under the blue Spanish skies—sunshine and ponies. She reckons this is proof that dreams really can come true if you want them enough.

Connect with Nina:

Website - Twitter - Facebook - Pinterest - Facebook - Goodreads - Newsletter

Thank you to Entangled Publishing for putting this promo tour together.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Book Review: Dragonmark by Sherrilyn Kenyon

by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Genre: Fantasy / Romance / Urban Fantasy / Paranormal

Ages: 16 and up

Note: So, I haven't written a review in a long time. I have meant to, but work and my own writing have taken precedence lately. This book, however, made me so mad that I had to write a review just so I could stop complaining about it to everyone in my immediate vicinity (plus, it practically wrote itself in about 10 minutes I was so mad). I hate to do it, because Ms. Kenyon has long been a favorite of mine (particularly her League novels), but it had to be done. There are mild spoilers in this review.


Centuries ago, Illarion was betrayed– a dragon made human against his will, then forced to serve humanity as a dragonmount in their army, and to fight for them in barbaric wars, even while he hated everything about them. Enslaved and separated from everyone he knew and from his own dragon brothers, he was forced into exile in a fey realm where he lost the only thing he ever really loved.
Now he has a chance to regain what’s been lost― to have the one thing he covets most. But only if he gives up his brothers and forsakes the oaths he holds most dear. Yet what terrifies him most isn’t the cost his happiness might incur, it’s the fact that there is just enough human in his dragon’s heart that he might actually be willing to pay it and betray everything and everyone– to see the entire world burn in Dragonmark, the next blockbuster Dark-Hunter novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon.

My Thoughts:

I cannot remember the last time I felt so disappointed and angry after reading a book. I love Sherrilyn Kenyon, have read all of her books including the out of print, difficult to find ones. Not all of them have been great, but Dragonmark was just...bad.

I was so excited when I started Dragonmark, wondering what twists and turns and new character angst she would spring on me this time. It started out okay. Edilyn and Illarion were sweet and fun, if not quite as deep or exciting as I was hoping for. If there was less intensity to their story than Kenyon's usual style, though, I was sure that would improve as they became more developed. I just did not realize that development was never going to come. Instead, the hero and heroine become separated and almost the entire remainder of the book is a nearly word for word repeat of scenes from the previous two books in the series, with only the most halfhearted attempt to show them from Illarion's perspective. I waited for some sort of great personal revelations on Illarion's part to justify this, as there were in Styxx, but there was nothing. At the very end - and by that I mean the last thirty pages or so - there was finally a return to new material, but it was far too late to save this book.

What bothered me nearly as much as this lazy recycling, was the knowledge that if anyone picked up this book as their first Dark-Hunter series, it would look like an insane mish-mash of partial stories. It assumes that you have read the previous two books, Son of No One and Dragonbane, and yet it repeats them anyway. My first experience with the series was Acheron and, while I definitely missed out on some references, it at least made sense as a cohesive story.

If Illarion and Edilyn's story had been a novella containing the first 150 and last 30 pages with only a tiny bit of what came between, or if it instead followed Edilyn's POV, which sounded pretty interesting in the tiny glimpse I got of it, this book would have been fine. Nowhere near the best in the series, but anything would have been better than this. I went from eagerly hoping for books about a dozen or so other characters in the DH world to hoping Kenyon hurries up and brings on the apocalypse she's been threatening for so long so she can focus on the Chronicles of Nick and League novels, since she clearly has little interest in actually writing new DH material.

I will still be reading Ms. Kenyon's books - I LOVED Born of Legend and Invision, which makes it all the more surprising that this book was so bad - but the anticipation I always felt upon opening one of her books will now be tempered by fear that it will turn out to be another Dragonmark.

1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

Probably a 7-8. I was honestly too horrified to pay much attention to swearing. Lots of mid-level words, a couple of f-bombs at least.

I'd rate it a 6. It was pretty mild for a Kenyon book; only a couple of semi-descriptive scenes.

I rate it a 5 for some fighting and death, but, as with the sexuality, it was pretty mild by Kenyon standards.

                                      Lieder Madchen