Review + Giveaway: Kings or Pawns (The Kings 1) by J. J. Sherwood

Kings or Pawns by J. J. Sherwood
Published by Silver Helm on July 5th 2016
Genre(s): Fantasy, Political
Pages: 383 pages
Format: eBook
Source: Author
The first book in JJ Sherwood's Steps of Power epic fantasy series. The Kings, Book I: Kings or Pawns is a political intrigue that spirals into an action and adventure series as the final events unfold.

8,994 P.E.—The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and the Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem ascends the throne as king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and bold, Hairem is determined to undo the council’s power, but the brutal murders by an assassin loosed within the city threaten to undermine the king’s ambitions.

As corruption and death threaten to tear Elvorium apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war.
Here, everything was resilient. Here, everything had learned to survive.
HOLY CRAP. New favourite fantasy book right here. This book surprised me in all the right ways. I honestly did not think I would have enjoyed such a politic-heavy book, but I LOVE this book. The world creation is amazing, the characters are fantastic, and great writing tops it off! This read is a fully fledged five star for me.

Review: A Solitary Romance by Violet Sparks

A Solitary Romance by Violet Sparks
Published May 30th 2016
Genre(s): Romance
Pages: 230 pages
Format: eBook
Source: Books and the Bear

Daydreamer Katrina Crimshaw just met the man of her dreams, again. A chance encounter with Robert LaSalla, the co-worker she admired from afar years before, brings the past alive for the shy auditor. Will she be able to juggle her secret life with her career and changing work situation?

Katrina leads a comfortable life with a loving family and close work relationships. She finds an outlet for her creative side by blogging about her passion for jewelry under a pseudo name. There's no room for romance in her life until she runs into Robert LaSalla, the man who caught her eye when she was just out of college and still stinging from a broken engagement. Although she hasn't seen him in years, he still intimidates her and sets her heart pounding. As unexpected opportunities arise from her blog, she finds herself drawn to a charming British museum director, while unforeseen circumstances throw Robert back in her path and upset her well-ordered life. When passion flares, will she let love slip through her fingers again?

A Solitary Romance is a clean romance that will set readers’ pulses racing.
Don't get me wrong, I love a good drama, and I think this book has just the right amount of it. However, the plot, characters, and writing style were disappointing, generating a one star for this novel.

The story did not give me a great first impression. The novel opened up with a scene of a grown man acting like a Saturday morning cartoon character. Yes, I understand there are characters that are of a more comedic nature, but the whole scene just felt out of place, especially since the plot did not dive further into that particular character's background. Needless to say, it did not hook me in at all. The rest of the plot is underdeveloped. The general story line is there; a romance full of misunderstandings, soul-searching, and trust issues, but I still have lots of unanswered questions.