Review: Dorian’s Game (The Cat’s Eye Chronicles, #0.5) by T.L. Shreffler

Dorian’s life has always been a bit quiet and uneventful — that is, until he meets Adelaide Warde.

Determined to find a sacred relic in the nearby mines, Adelaide enlists Dorian as a guide. However, there is another in search of the relic — a mysterious traveler named Crash, who hopes to use the relic to escape his past.

Suddenly caught up in a conflict he wants no part of, who will Dorian help? The woman who has stolen his heart, or a stranger in need?”

*Fans of The Cat’s Eye Chronicles can now read the story of how Burn, Dorian and Crash met, and how Volcrian’s hunt truly began!

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

My rating: 5/5

I fell in love with this series years ago when I lived in the middle of nowhere and had to use my library’s WiFi to download books on my Kindle. This series has been an addiction, an obsession, an escape, and an inspiration.

The plot:

This is one of those stories where I thought I knew where it would go and that’s not where it went at all. Readers of the series know generally how it ends, but there were still many questions and surprises. It was incredibly how the author pulled it off.

The pacing:

Shreffler has developed a remarkable pacing ability. These stories feel much longer than they are (in a good way) because there is so much we discover. She writes in a way that keeps the reader engaged and guessing.

I read this in a single day, getting up at 5 a.m. to read if before school, cramming 5 minute reading sessions between classes, and late into the night.

IT WAS THAT GOOD.

The characters:

Dorian didn’t really connect with me in the first book. I didn’t really develop an emotional connection. In this one, that all changes. We get to see more of his personable history and thoughts and it was truly moving.

The rest of the cast was no exception. The familiar characters became more lovable and the new ones quickly became sympathetic. I came to care deeply even for the ones I knew would die and even some of the villains. The complexity, individualism, and development of the cast was incredible.

Overall:

I am still so, so, so in love with this series. It’s amazing to see how far this author has come and I can’t wait to see what she does next! I wholly recommend anything by her and she’s one of perhaps only three of my “auto buy” authors.

Top Five Favorite Author Bromances

type-1161949_1920

Authors are (often accurately) stereotyped as introverted observers of the world around them. However, no man (or woman) is an island and no art is ever made in a vacuum. Authors need support groups, too, and literary friendships are to thank for most of our language’s great classics.

J.R.R. Tolkien & C.S. Lewis

It’s no secrets these two legends were friends. Their weekly meetings with a group of fellow creatives at Oxford are near legendary in their own right. These gentlemen would all gather at a local pub and shoot ideas off one another for hours.

If I had a time machine…

Sarah J. Maas & Susan Dennard

Better known as the YA authors of Throne of Glass and Truthwitch, these two ladies have been friends since before they both broke into the spotlight. I’m sure it’s no coincidence sororal friendship plays such a huge part in both their books!

Robert E. Howard & H.P. Lovecraft

You may not know their names, but you know their characters: Conan and Cthulhu. Howard wrote repeatedly to Lovecraft, often speaking of his difficulties with publishers and characters alike.

It’s because of this friendship we know much of Howard’s feelings towards his work and what he was thinking during certain projects. For example, he often complained about the sexualization of the Conan stories.

(I’m almost glad he never saw where the franchise has ended up.)

Charlotte Brontë & Emily Brontë

The Brontë siblings were all writers, including Emily and Charlotte’s brother and third sister. Growing up the sheltered children of a remote village pastor, the Brontë children were often left to their own devices with only one another as playmates.

Raised in the ethereal landscape of England’s moors, the young Brontës all developed splendid imaginations. These imaginations are to thank for Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Though all four of the Brontë siblings died young and without children of their own, their literary legacies have been enshrined in print, TV, and film and are studied in classrooms around the world.

Lord Byron & Mary Shelley

Yes, the mind who brought us the first Sci-Fi novel and the enigmatic, womanizing poet were friends (perhaps more?). Legend has it that the pair began writing Frankenstein and Manfred one rainy evening in Switzerland as part of a bet.

Interestingly, Byron’s friend and physician, William Polidori, was also there. Polidori, though virtually unknown, is credited with writing the first vampire story, simply titled “The Vampyre.”

The muse was strong that night!

What are some of your favorite author friendships? Artist friendships? Let’s hear ’em!

Review: Orpheum (Orpheum, #1) by D.S. Murphy @Creativindie

28933298.jpgI always knew music was powerful. Even though I rebelled against the marathon forced practice sessions that turned my adolescence into a prison camp, there were moments–even in the mechanical repetition of practice–where I stopped being a robot and felt a kind of transcendence, a connection to something deeper.

But that was before I learned what music really was, and that it was capable of more than just pretty feelings. That it was a weapon, which could cause great pain and destruction; that it was deeper and older than humanity; and that there were forces in the world that wanted to reclaim it for themselves.

And there’s something beyond the music, something darker and more violent. Something waiting to be invited, something only I can control. I’m more powerful than I ever could have imagined, but the price is something – and someone – I can’t bear to lose.

This is PART ONE of the first book in the series.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

My rating: 4/5

I thought I didn’t like this book. I was thinking it was alright, but I wasn’t involved in the characters.

Then it turned out to be a sampler and I WAS FURIOUS. I WANT THE WHOLE BOOK. I WANT THE REST OF THE DAMN STORY, DAMN IT.

The plot:

This is an author who emphasizes the importance of story in writing to build emotional connect. I was thinking it wasn’t working out that well, but my outrage upon reaching the end says otherwise. You win, Murphy.

The world building in particular was unexpected and different. I read this just a few weeks after a trip to Eastern Europe and I think that was a big part of what kept me reading even when I wasn’t “feeling it.” You don’t often think of Greco-Roman history in Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania, but it’s there along with Ottoman.

I have read about Orpheus and the maenads and it was thrilling to find a story that incorporates them so originally. I certainly didn’t expect incorporation of sparagmos and that got a big “hell yes” from me.

The characters:

Samantha reminds me of a lot of young people I’ve met. They devote themselves wholeheartedly to one path, not considering there could be multiple paths to the same goal. It frustrates the hell out of me, but it happens. Nonetheless, it took me a while to warm up to her.

I’m really not feeling the attraction between her and the love interest. I know it’s supposed to be there, but…it feels forced. I think it would be a better story if it were YA fantasy and the romance was just allowed to develop over the series.

Besides the love interest, I do think the side characters were empathetic, even the villains. It’s strange, come to think of it.

Despite my issues, I do want to read the whole thing. Joke’s on me for not reading the end of the damn blurb. All the same, SOMEBODY BETTER GIVE ME THE WHOLE BOOK.

Find Orpheum on Goodreads

Find Orpheum on Amazon

What Books Get Wrong About Horses by Jadie Jones

jez-timms-287590

They say to write what you know.

I don’t entirely agree with this notion. In my case, as a Georgia born and raised horse girl, that should mean horses, religion, fried food, and southern accents.  My current work in progress is a serial killer crime thriller set in rural Oregon, and I’ve never met a serial killer (that I know of, anyway.)

However, there is some truth in it. When we write about something we know inside and out, we bring an authenticity to our characters and their worlds that someone speculating about the same topic may not fully understand.

Like a doctor watching Grey’s Anatomy, “horse people” can typically tell in a chapter or two whether or not a “horse story” has been written by someone who has actually worked with the animals versus someone who has admired them from afar.

I polled a few of my fellow professional equestrians to see what horse-related glaring errors stood out to them in novels where horses are featured. I warn you, we east-coast english trainers are a snarky bunch, who apparently love our horse stories, especially when they portray the life of horses and those who care for them in a realistic light.

1. Super vocal horses.

I now live with three horses, and have seen hundreds in my life time. My horses whinny at me—because I feed them twice a day. So when they see me, it’s like seeing the hotdog vendor at a ballgame.

This is not love or affection.

This is: hey food lady, throw me something good. Some horses are more vocal than others. I have a thoroughbred mare right now that squeals and hollers and carries on for days when there’s a new horse on property, while other horses only whinny for food or if they see another horse coming.

Horses will “blow” if they feel threatened, snort if they have dust up their nose, but seldom does a horse whinny to its rider while being ridden, or nicker in their hair, etc. I have had horses who will “groom” back if you scratch an itchy spot, but this can lead into a not so pleasant rake of the teeth—which hurts like #*%^ when it’s on your scalp. I’m just saying.

2. Galloping for miles and miles and miles.

In real life, this could seriously injure or kill a horse that isn’t bred and/or conditioned for endurance, and even still, there’s a limit.

Also, riding on a galloping horse takes strength and balance. I’m not sure I could ride a galloping horse for a solid hour without any breaks into a different gait, much less half a day.

3. That the big expense is buying the horse.

No. Just no. Unless you’re buying a $100,000+ imported warmblood, your monthly expenses are quickly going to make that initial purchase price look like you overspent at the dollar store.

And even if you dropped a hundred grand on a fancy horse, chances are you aren’t going to keep it in your backyard.

Board is expensive, ranging anywhere from $250-$2500 a month. Horses’ feet need to be trimmed/shod every 6-8 weeks.

Routine vet care is several hundred dollars a year, and emergent care will quickly rack up thousands of dollars in bills. Supplements, tack, supplies… I swear being willing to “go for broke” is an expression begun in the aisle of a horse barn.

We don’t travel much or have nice furniture, and the last time I was in a salon of any sort was about two years ago because a lot of our “spending money” gets eaten (and then pooped out, which I have to then clean up…if we’re going for honesty here.)

4. Along with the expense, horses are a very time-consuming hobby.

They require more attention and maintenance than almost any other domestic livestock/pet/etc. I can think of. So when these protagonists have horses and also an abundance of free time, it’s a big red flag.

Most horses eat twice a day.

Some horses require more frequent, smaller meals.

And whatever goes in must also come out, so every day, that protagonist better have a pitchfork in her hand or money to pay someone else to do it. Some horses are blanketed for wet and/or cold weather. Tack needs to be cleaned. Trailers maintained. Aisles swept. Feed/hay ordered. Troughs/buckets checked, dumbed, scrubbed, refilled.

Flies. So many flies.

If you’re in a farm with no flies, you’re either in a really nice, fully insulated barn, or you’re in a fantasy world.

Now I’m thinking if I ever write a fantasy novel with a barn in it, I’m going to have a fantastical explanation for not having a single fly, because that sounds like heaven…

5. The never-ridden-a-horse-before-girl is the only one who can tame the never-ridden-and-dangerously-aggressive horse.

This is a sweet concept, but it’s a situation where said rider is going to end up in the dirt over and over if she’s lucky, and then the hospital when that luck runs out.

Yes, some people have more natural talent than others. That could be said for any sport. However, the basketball is going to give anyone who holds it an equal opportunity, and isn’t going to be offended if you bumble around while you learn to handle it.

Most horses care.  An unbroke horse is really going to care.

This actually leads to a legitimate problem when a horse enthusiast reads a book about another horse enthusiast who adopts a wild mustang/ex race horse/horse bound for slaughter, and then expects the horse to be so grateful for being adopted that the horse will let them do whatever whenever, and that it should follow them around like an oversized puppy and never take a wrong step.

A horse has no idea what you expect of it when you buy it. To be frank, people die and are injured for life in this industry—professionals who have had decades of experience and sat on thousands of horses.

No one is immune to gravity.

Becoming skilled takes time and the help of an educated rider/trainer. This leads to a lot of confused, frustrated, “green-broke” horses who then end up changing hands over and over, or even back on the auction block, and can be such a negative experience for the horse-enthusiast that their dream of owning/riding a horse becomes a thing of the past, especially if they were hurt badly in the process.

6. And if the said wild/dangerous horse loves you, it is going to come find you in the burning barn/dark woods full of wolves and cougars/dangling from a tree branch over a river and help save your life.  

Nope. That horse is more likely on the hunt for a patch of green grass. It’s considered nice when a horse doesn’t run off after dumping you.

7. Mismatching tack.

And no, I don’t mean clashing colors.

When it comes to horses, what you can “dress” them in could fill a catalog—and does… many, many catalogs.

There are also many disciplines of riding: western pleasure, gaming, racing, English pleasure, hunter/jumper, dressage, western dressage, equitation, competitive trail riding… the list goes on and on.

When a rider in a story is grabbing the horn of a western saddle before kicking her horse over a four foot jump in a show ring, we have a problem.

It would be like a doctor asking for a drill instead of a scalpel to cut open a surgical patient. The key here is this: whatever it is you’re writing about, make sure you’re studying up on your details.

8. Position.

I don’t even know where to start. Wait, yes I do. There’s a book series my daughter loves about a girl and a mystical pony.

They have an “instabond” (which I’ll touch on next) and this girl who has never ridden before learns how to maneuver on horseback.

Now it helps that this girl and this pony can literally speak to each other, and I appreciate that the author makes her struggle a bit. However, as girl and pony are approaching a very large otherworldly obstacle, this girl pinches her knees in, draws her leg up, and leans up the pony’s neck several strides out in preparation to jump.

In the real world, one of three things would happen:

  1. This is an awesome pony who is considered a “babysitter, and can take a joke, so it finds the distance on its own and has a nice flat jump and a balanced landing so they make it to the other side unscathed.
  2. Pony adds in an extra half step (called a “chip”) because there’s no contact from the rider and all her weight is too forward so the pony has to throw in a step due to lack of balance and impulsion, and then the rider is probably at least going to fall on the pony’s neck or get wacked in the face.
  3. Pony throws on the breaks and drops its head, and the girl flies off and jumps the jump all by her lonesome. If you are going to have your characters ride, and you do not ride the discipline you’re writing about, I would highly advise at least reading one training book focused on the discipline you’re using in your story.

9. Instalove/instabond.

Many readers take issue with the “Insta-love” connections that seem prevalent in current YA/NA lit, especially fantasy novels.

The same can be said for “insta-love” depicted in fantasy novels where the horse and protagonist are in beautiful harmonious sync from step one.

Now, I have “fallen in love” with a horse on sight before. But these horses have never “fallen in love” immediately with me (or possibly even ever. I’m still on the fence about whether “love” is an appropriate word here, but for this sake of this point, we’ll consider  it a strong bond.)

I also know what I’m looking for. I like a dominant mare with an uphill build, a shorter back, a low hip, expressive ears, a more refined head, and kind eyes.

This does not mean under any circumstance that I am going to know everything about this horse before I get on, or even during the first ride, or the tenth. A lot of horses are like onions in that they are layered, and you’re not going to ask a horse to perform every task you expect of it on the first ride (unless you’re trying a horse to buy, then by all means run that critter through the gauntlet.)

Still, as you develop your own communication with the animal, what you understand about each other, what you ask of each other, and how you answer will evolve. This is a process.

It does not happen in a single ride. Ever.

There are exceptions to every rule, and a story to prove it. Otherwise, where would these fantastical ideas come from?

I fully believe our imaginations are searching a collective unconscious for long forgotten histories and truths, and I have no doubt somewhere, some time ago, a girl saw a wild horse grazing in a field, and she jumped on, and when they raced away it was utter magic for all who saw it.

Why else are we all still mystified and enamored with that indescribable, undefinable thing that happens between humans and horses?

About the Author

Jadie JonesYoung-adult author. Equine professional. Southern gal. Pacific Northwest Transplant. Especially fond of family, sunlight, and cookie dough.​​

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Check out her latest release below!

Tanzy Hightower is not crazy. At least, that’s what she tells herself. Crazy looks more like her mother, who studies each sunrise with the same fascination other women give tabloid magazines in the grocery store checkout line. Crazy sounds like the woman on the radio claiming there’s a whole separate world existing parallel to our own. Still, Tanzy can’t deny the tingle of recognition she feels each time she sees her mother standing at the kitchen window, or hears the panic in the woman’s voice coming through the speakers of her father’s truck.

Tanzy intends to follow her father’s footsteps into the professional horse world. But the moment she watches him die on the back of a horse in an accident she feels responsible for, everything changes.

On the first anniversary of his death, a fight with her mother drives her back to her father’s farm in the middle of a stormy night. Neither Tanzy nor life as she knows it escapes unchanged when she is struck by lightning and introduced to a world… unseen, and receives proof her father’s death was no accident.

Two strangers seem too willing to help her navigate her new reality: Vanessa Andrews, a psychiatrist who believes lightning chooses who it strikes, and Lucas, a quiet, scarred stable hand with timing that borders on either perfect or suspect. But Tanzy has secrets of her own. Desperate for answers and revenge, Tanzy must put her faith in their hands as her past comes calling, and her father’s killer closes in.

There Are NEVER Two Sides to Any Story

amazing-beautiful-beauty-blue

“Two sides to every story” is a phrase I hear thrown around a lot—in politics, relationships, history…and writing.

Authors talk all the time about showing “both” sides to a conflict or event in their stories. While I give them partial credit, that’s a little under-ambitious.

In real human events—wars, kids’ soccer games, elections, marriages, Supreme Court trials, first dates, and everything else—there is a lot more going on than either group will know/realize/admit.

I don’t believe “two sides” ever gives a whole story.

I would even say there are no “sides,” only the perception of sides.

In a family argument, members might split into two factions, but each person will probably have their own take on why they’re fighting at all.

What I see in arguments is people tend to split into two groups with their own (mostly true) versions of the situation. But neither is the whole truth or pure truth. Omission and falsehoods inevitably get thrown in.

As someone who writes almost entirely from single perspectives, it can be hard to express complicated scenarios. I try to show that there are things the protagonist doesn’t understand/know, but it’s really up to the reader to spot that.

Every story we read is but a slice of a much bigger story.

Even the most in-depth, detailed tome leaves out more than it includes. The fact is, it’s simply impossible to know everything that happened, even for the author, even in an imaginary tale.

The exact slant of wrinkles in the skin, the instant a person made up their mind, the number of door mice beneath a hardwood floor, the sharpness of the tools used to harvest the tea on the table—something is always unknown.

Unknowns may be great or small, but they are never absent.

When it comes to the “whole” story, the protagonist doesn’t know, the writer may not know, and the reader can only guess.

Mystery is one reality that no fiction can change.

ARC Review: Fallen (Shadows of Regia, #1) by Tenaya Jayne @TenayaJayne

35848121.jpg

I will not submit to the man who killed my best friend…no matter what destiny says.

Half vampire and wealthy playboy, Maddox lives his life in the public eye and thoroughly enjoys his bad reputation. But what most people believe of him is not who he really is. Life has always been easy for Maddox, but now a dark figure moves through the shadows slaughtering innocent young women, and the evidence points at him as his exes start turning up dead with his name carved into their skin.

Erin hates everything Maddox stands for and when her best friend becomes the most recent in the line of mysterious killings, she has no doubt the rich lothario is responsible. Torn by grief, Erin decides to take matters into her own hands and she will stop at nothing to make Maddox pay.

But when the two rivals finally come head to head, neither is prepared for the sparks that fly or the eternal bond that destiny weaves between their souls. Maddox is desperate to keep Erin by his side and prove to her his innocence. Erin would rather die than submit to being his destined life mate… And her death is just what the killer has in mind.

This is a full novel. Book 1 of 3 in The Shadows of Regia Trilogy.

My rating: 4.5/5

I’m honored to be an early reviewer for this first book in the Legends of Regia spinoff series. I was a huge fan of the original seven books and just this author in general, so of course I jumped at the chance to review!

The plot:

The development of Erin and Maddox’s relationship was amazing. I think their story arc was actually the best one this author has written yet. She did a fantastic job pacing the characters’ personal growth and their inner insecurities/complexities. I was truly impressed.

I docked this book by half a star because of the anticlimatic resolution to the antagonist(s). The main villain of the story had a great deal of potential, but I really felt it wasn’t carried through. I’ve seen the author can do so much better and I was a little disappointed. However, the book was a wholesale success otherwise and I think this trilogy is off to a strong start.

The characters:

Erin has a great deal of conflict in her character, especially with regard to her bond with Maddox. The suspense with her character was nearly overwhelming, but that made it that much better. I appreciated that she had as much character development as Maddox and grows the same as he does.

Maddox has some glaringly obvious character flaws, but the potential for decency are clearly present from the beginning. His reform wasn’t instantaneous like some PNR heroes and I was SO GRATEFUL.

We also get to see some of the original series’ couples’ married lives and it was so sweet! It’s great to have a snapshot of the world 20 years after it was saved, if nothing else. Not all the problems are solved and there are some new ones, but you can see how the struggles of the original series paid off.

The world of Regia is back with a new generation and a new series you don’t want to miss!

Order on Amazon

My Moldovan Misadventure 2017

Last month, I took a trip to Moldova.

Moldova is a third-world, landlocked nation wedged between Romania and Urkaine. I had only heard of it in one movie, had a vague idea of it being close to Russia, and otherwise knew nothing.

I’ve debated posting about it.

I have a great many conflicting feelings about the trip.

The people I stayed with were wonderful. I went as part of a mission trip from my church, but I didn’t feel I brought anything to the group.

Aren’t people supposed to come back from mission trips reaffirmed and gushing about all the good they did and spiritual transformation?

Did I make meaningful connections and experience revelations? In some ways. I was mostly the awkward American who smiled too much.

In the middle of the trip, I got so dehydrated I ended up in the hospital. That meant a two-hour trip to Chisinau, the capitol, to find and ER with English-speaking doctors.

(I’m fine, just mad at myself for not drinking water like a moron.)

I don’t feel I brought anything positive, just a drain on resources. I didn’t really help and I don’t make friends easily even without language barriers.

But like I said, the Moldovans were all very kind to me at the church, the camp, and everyone with the local ministry, KBC Ministries.

As for the country itself…everywhere we went felt bleached, worn out. There’s a tiredness and a heaviness to most the population. Hopelessness. I don’t know how else to describe the feeling.

I was told by one young man that everyone in the countryside wants to go to Chisinau, and everyone in Chisinau wants to go to America or Western Europe.

I spoke to one young woman just a few years older than me who remembers the Soviet Union.

Right after the Iron Curtain fell and nationalist anti-Russian fervor swept the country, hundreds of people were murdered just for speaking Russian. It’s something you don’t hear about in the US.

The Moldovan people my age I was able to talk with worry about the same things as American people my age: what will I do with my life, how will I get a good job, will I be happy?

From what I gathered, older Moldovan people complain about the same things I’ve heard from American seniors, mainly: why isn’t the government paying for my healthcare? (Regardless of how one feels about that.)

Moldovans bag their sour cream, their government makes mine look reputable, and their traffic lights are on posts. I still don’t believe they’re as different from us as we or they think.

I think I do want to go back someday. I met some lovely people and have some new Facebook friends I’d like to see again. I’m just waiting to see when the right time will be.

Review: Blood Lock (Legends of Regia, #6) by Tenaya Jayne @TenayaJayne

30047477.jpg

After her sister’s brutal murder, Sabra swore vengeance. But now, her brother has sold her as mate to the highest bidder. Defiant of the custom, and unwilling to submit, dangerous trouble lies ahead. In order to survive, she’s forced to accept the help of her mortal enemy.

On the eve of the Savage Solstice, the werewolves hold a tournament. A fight to the death. The victor will become the new pack leader. In a culture where women have no rights, Sabra will challenge tradition and fight in the tournament. She will need all of her rage, strength, and training if she is to have a chance. But most of all, she’ll need her heart, and it just may have been stolen by the man she hates more than anything.

The wizards are coming… All of Regia’s best minds are working tirelessly to come up with a plan to save their world. A blood lock is set in place to hold the enemy back. But if it fails… Will Forest’s daughter hold the key to Regia’s survival?

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

My rating: 5/5

This book was part of my weekend Regia binge and the emotional sucker punch was possibly the worst. My involvement in this couple with their separate and individual battles kept me glued to my Kindle.

The plot and pacing:

As far as story structure, I think this might be the author’s seminal work. We have three main plots being juggled: Sabra’s plot, Shreve’s plot, and their relationship’s plot. Everything that happens raises the stakes and all the characters’ interactions heighten the tension to some extent. I absolutely loved the way this book was put together and the bittersweet romance made it impossible not to love.

The characters:

Sabra is a badass, let’s just put it that way. For once, I have found a story where the female breaking out of society makes sense. There’s a set up to it and an explanation of her motivations.

I absolutely love Shreve. Good lord, I love Shreve. His quest for morality and goodness are touching, compelling, and at times downright heart wrenching. Watching him struggle to have a relationship with his newly found family, trying to help Forest through her difficulties as a new mom…it was beautiful.

This is a sweet romance with a heavy dose of moral dilemmas, self-sacrifice, and hardcore fight scenes. I absolutely love this series and I 100% recommend!

Find Blood Lock on Goodreads

Find Blood Lock on Amazon

Find Blood Lock on BN.com

What is an Antihero?

disc-445271_1920.jpg

We have recently seen a shift from the traditional idealistic hero toward what is touted as the antihero. Antiheroes are less moral, generally more ruthless, and less admirable.

Webster’s defines an “antihero” as “a protagonist or notable figure who is conspicuously lacking in heroic qualities.”

Deadpool, Arya Stark, and Malcolm Reynolds are all examples of less-than-moral people who we nonetheless love.

Still, the term “antihero” makes no sense to me.

In the end, all those examples I listed have their boundaries. They do go after those they see as guilty without remorse. They do inflict terrible atrocities on their enemies.

At the same time, they are almost always avenging or protecting the victims of their own victims. Then again, we have seen villains with codes, out for justifiable revenge as well.

This begs the question, when does a hero become an antihero and when does an antihero become a villain?

From my own observation, heroes and antiheroes tend to put doing the right thing first and do bad things as a side effect. The villain does bad things first and does good as a side effect.

This line becomes so murky, it can be hard to see straight. Arya Stark and Deadpool are both out for revenge and do inexcusable things as a result. But I have yet to see either called an outright villain.

Meanwhile, characters like the Lord Ruler of Mistborn have wholly reasonable, even humanitarian motivations, but no one doubts they are villains. The definition is fluid.

In the end, I believe the only difference between an antihero and a villain is how the reader feels about the character.

If you like her/him more than her/his victims, then you can say “antihero” instead of “villain.” If you like the victims more, then you say “villain.”

Review: Burning Bridges (Legends of Regia, #5) by Tenaya Jayne

27575518.jpgThe deadly game continues…Kidnapped, tortured, and used as bait, Forest’s life hangs in the balance as Copernicus moves forward to claim the throne. In the shadows, an army of slaves, waits to deal Regia’s new republic a killing blow.

After the insurgent’s first strike, a wave of rage builds through the races. No one is ready to lay down and hand Copernicus what he wants. But time is running out for Syrus to save Forest and their baby.

Turned into a drone, and weighed down with guilt, Redge tries to break free of the grasp of the insurgents. The only person who can help him is the woman of his past.

Lives will be lost, reluctant heroes will rise, and past flames will be rekindled. Regia must rise against Copernicus, but on the horizon, an even darker shadow lengthens over the land.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

My rating:  5/5

Book #4 ended in a cliffhanger because Tenaya is a cruel monster who loves to torture us. Ergo, I downloaded the next book and got to reading! (What choice did I have?)

The plot:

I would have liked to understand more about Journey’s homeworld and the dynamics there. It seemed to be that there weren’t enough consequences for her decision to break the law and return to Regia. Other than that, I loved everything about this storyline. It was a sweet, heartfelt adventure about rediscovering young love in one plot line, finding redemption in another, and Forest and Syrus weathering yet another hurricane in their relationship.

The characters:

Journey is beautiful in every sense of the word. Her description, her personality, her heart. I LOVE HER SO MUCH. Her appearance in Regia throws a wrench in some major villainy, which made it all that much better. Hardcore with a gentle heart and borderline pacifist, she’s a good contrast to the martial heroines we’ve seen so far (not that I’m complaining).

I had no idea Redge could be this awesome. His undying love for Journey and the mental repercussions he experiences as a blood slave were gritty and intense. I was glad Tenaya expanded on Syrus’s best friend as much as she did. It not only gives depth to Redge, but to Syrus as well. His relationship with Journey and how it impacted everything else in his life were

Syrus needed to be upsided in the head with a shovel once or twice, but other than that, he and Forest were perfect as always. We see more of Forest and Rahaxeris’s relationship and I loved that part. Also, the complicated repercussions of the Rune-dy’s experimentation AND SHREVE PRECIOUS CHILD I WILL SPEAK OF HIM IN THE NEXT REVIEW OH YES.

This series continues to be amazing and if you’ve read it, you’ll agree. If you haven’t, may I ask why not?

Find Burning Bridges on Goodreads

Find Burning Bridges on Amazon

Find Burning Bridges on BN.com