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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

'You're smile lacks meaning.'

The Wicked Heir (Spare Heirs #3)  by Elizabeth Michels


                                       
  
'You're smile lacks meaning.'
And just like that Fallon St. James' life takes a different course.

I really liked St. James but struggled with Lady Isabelle Fairlyn. In someways she seemed too childlike for St. James. At moments I found it hard to relate to her. She seems so young with a head (and diary) full of a young woman's dreams. We're told her diary is full of swooping letters with 'silhouettes of flowers and swirls of ink fashioned into vines.' However there are moments when Isabelle is no shrinking violet. (And that's when I like her). She is searching for her true love. At about the age of sixteen she fixated on another Spare, Mr. Kelton Brice, as that person. Isabelle  is now three years older. To her Brice is the epitome of the perfect partner. She has plans for him!
His friend and fellow Spare, Fallon St James, just doesn't cut it. He's too serious and brooding  in appearance and manner. He doesn't smile and he can be quite off putting. But appearances can be deceptive and Isabelle discovers previously unlooked for depths in this gentleman she terms piratical.
St James is the leader of the Spare Heirs Society, a secretive organization that has influence spread in all sorts of places. He needs to focus on the Society and its various tentacles to ensure its profitability.
When Isabelle is threatened by Reginald Grapling, a man who has mysteriously escaped from prison; a man previously hunted and brought to justice by the Heirs, Fallon must act quickly to find him and at the same time protect Isabelle. Fallon may be trying to save Isabelle but who will save him from the powerful attractions he feels for her?
In the end their story is one of action, mystery and a reluctant romance.
Isabelle's twin sister Victoria has her own story, that plays out somewhat here. She seems to me to be a very interesting character. I am looking forward to her involvement with the Spares.

A NetGalley ARC

*** 1/2

...' love is rare and special.' But can he acknowledge it?



                               

Chloe Somerton knew what poor was. Being poor as a young child had led her into illegal activities. Now the past was behind her. Chloe's sisters had married well and this was her time. Chloe had set her sights on the pleasing, wealthy, young earl, Lord Henry Sefton. (As Chloe was young as well this hardly seemed difficult to me. On the other hand Chloe's 'hand to mouth' existence as a child has made her older in experience of the not so charming side of life.)
Chloe had not reckoned with Henry's mentor--Michael Keswick, the Duke of Cameron. Michael is an emotionally battle scarred veteran of Waterloo. His scars, worn on the inside, are not obvious but just as deadly and damaging. Michael has a duty to his dead friend's son and thwarting Chloe becomes a central game. 'Chloe Somerton [might be] the picture of beauty, grace, and innocence,' but Michael recognizes her from the past and is determined that his young charge shall not succumb to her wiles. What he fails to recognize is the frisson of attraction that sizzles between himself and Chloe.
Chloe throws down the gauntlet. The battle is on. As Chloe attempts to bring Lord Henry to heel, she realizes that all is not well with Michael. Knowing how terrible memories can effect one's behaviour, Chloe finds herself compulsively drawn towards helping Michael despite the knowledge that he can destroy her. As the tug of their attraction for each other grows Chloe finds herself in a different sort of peril and Michael finds himself emotionally out of his depth where Chloe is concerned. And what of his responsibilities towards Henry? Hovering over all this is Michael's fear that in his traumatic episodes he will harm someone. That fact stops him from seeking his own happiness. 
Gabrielle has used the historical background, the returned veterans of the European Theatre, combined with the plight of the poor, to effect. A pleasing end to the Somerton sisters' stories bringing (to my mind) a version of Beauty and the Beast revisited.

A NetGalley ARC

****

Misinterpreted love

Denying the Duke (Lords & Ladies in Love #3) by Callie Hutton


                               

Patience suffered! Suffered a lost love, suffered an unenviable betrothal to a man who preferred courtesans, suffered a brutish father and then had to suffer marriage to a man who didn't give her choices.
As she considers her situation she realizes her whole life has been one of no choice! What Patience wants is to be courted! Is that too much to ask?
Alex, bemused and frankly out of touch, as he is fresh from six years as a soldier, firstly at Waterloo and later working with the war office. His latest assignment was to bring home a traitor--Lord Loverly. It was on the voyage home that Alex discovered his brother had died in highly salacious circumstance. Alex was now the Duke-a Duke with many problems. How to confront his situation and his brother's wife, Alex's youthful love. Added to that is the news that Loverly has escaped. He is now a threat to Alex's person and also Patience's.
Which all means that the situation is ripe for misinterpretation and bungled communication between Alex and Patience.
I was intrigued by the couple of mentions of Loverly's daughter who has disappeared. Are we going to come across her in the future? Mmm!
Frankly there were times when I was just plain annoyed with the two central characters.
It feels that denial works both ways. Alex really wants to deny the dukedom but just plain can't and Patience wants to deny Alex if he can't treat her in the way she wants, which she finds hard to give voice to.

A NetGalley ARC

***

Friday, July 7, 2017

Turbulent seas of love and danger!

Addicted to the Duke (Imperfect Lords #1) by Bronwen Evans


                            

A terrible burden sears the soul of Alexander Sylvester Bracken, Duke of Bedford. Driven by guilt and the fear of opium addiction, Alex will sail into danger taking his past and future with him. Death seems sweet but maybe not as sweet as Lady Hestia Cary.  
Six years ago Alex rescued Hestia from his deadliest enemy, the Turkish pirate Murad. Hestia fell irrevocably in love with Alex. Alex needed to steer clear of Hestia. He is a danger to both her and himself.  Now Hestia's father is seemingly dead. Hestia is in danger from her father's heir and her heart is in danger from Alex. For her safety Hestia will accompany him on the voyage. The journey to the Mediterranean will test Alex's resolve with every league sailed. 

A NetGalley ARC

****

Old hurts and new mysteries exposed!

Scandalous Ever After (Romance of the Turf #2) by Theresa Romain



Certainly this Romance of the Turf story took a different direction. Old yearnings, death and mysteries play out between Wales and Ireland.
Lady Kate Whelan was widowed when her husband was killed in a steeplechase race. She's the daughter of a Welsh racing baronet, Sir William Chandler. Kate had been married to an Irish Lord, Conall Ritchie Durham, the late fifth Earl of Whelan. Con's best friend was a Welshman, the laconic, humorous Evan Rhys, a noted antiquities expert. I loved Romain's turn of phrase, such as when she described how Evan and Con first met and the pranks they got up to.   As Con states, it was from a 'trellis of such events ... did their friendship cling and grow.'
Evan has been in love with Kate since he first met her. They had been the best of friends. Evan however has not seen Kate since Conall died, two years ago. He blames himself for Con's death. 
I enjoyed Evan's wry, self separating burst of humour and the way Kate responded in kind. I  enjoyed his conversations with himself with regard to Kate.
The hurt of Evan's retreat and of Kate's puzzlement to that action lies between them. 'Con's death had [indeed] changed many things.'
Returning to Ireland with Kate prior to leaving for Greece, errant thoughts and emotions previously tamped down rise to the surface.
Horses do play a part in this story, although the plot line takes off into unexpected places. They are more a back drop to the action. Action that unfolds into old grievances and revenge.
The tension and connections between these Kate and Evan are well played and all results in an excellent read. 

A NetGalley ARC

*****

Captivating and dangerous--in more ways than one!

Lord of Lies (Fallen Ladies #3) by Amy Sandas


                                

I loved this Fallen Ladies episode. There was something about the energy between the enigmatic and fascinating Dell Turner and Portia Chadwick that really exploded off the page.
Clever and intelligent Portia is a restless soul looking for more than the acquiescent debutant's role. It seems Dell is the answer.
Their meeting is under difficult circumstance. Lily, Portia's sister has just been kidnapped and Portia's somewhat doddering great aunt Angelique takes her to someone who might help, the mysterious Nightshade!
The story is littered with other interesting characters. Hale, a boxer and his search for his daughter Claire, Thomas the young contact agent for Nightshade caught my eyes, as did a young boy met in the latter part of the story.
From the ballrooms of the ton to the brothels in the dank alleys of London--the action ranges high and wide, fast and dangerous.
I was so caught up with this story that I am about to reread the others in The Fallen Ladies series to review the dovetailing of the stories that the puzzle of the Chadwick sisters presents to us.

A NetGalley ARC

*****

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Treason and true love!


The tale of two innocents really with a whole lot of feelings and not really knowing what to do with them. Well that changes somewhat (thanks to the 'French' pamphlet) Captain!Lady Magdalen Keith, the illegitimate daughter of a consummate Jacobite, the Earl Marischal of Scotland, has raced to London to try to free her father from the Tower. Although a representative of Aberdeenshire in the new British Parliament, the Earl was arrested after Prince James' abortive attempt to land his armada at the Firth of Forth.
Navy lieutenant Lord Aiden Murray is commander of a Scottish vessel that has been enfolded into the English navy. He's a virgin and wants to put that part of his life to rest. Aiden and Maddie originally meet at a masquerade at her father's castle in Stonehaven.
Between trying ro rescue Maddie's father, hiding their Jacobite leanings, and court intrigue in the guise  of a delectable widowed countess, things become very active--almost too so. 
A slow start, the story picked up and had some 'on the edge of your seat' moments as Aiden  and Maddie flee into the highlands.

A NetGalley ARC

***

A pleasing read!




                            


Quite a beautiful story about a man who doesn't fit into the role thrust upon him and a woman betrayed by choices thrust upon her.
Bran Crowther, Earl of Knighton can't stand to be back in England. Indeed he figuratively and literally is chafed by the burden. He fled the constrictions and oppressiveness of England and his family at a young age. He found himself in Barbados. Now duty has called him back.  Dubbed a defiant child by his mother, Bran is touted as the Defiant Duke.
Joanna Shaw now had freedom from a doomed marriage but what will she do? There is a definite attraction between Jo and Bran. Bran needs an heir and Jo's eight year marriage resulted in no children. 
These two hurt souls come together healing each other, although with some mishaps on the way.

A NetGalley ARC

**** 1/2

Puzzles and intrigue!


A bit of a slow start leads into an interesting plot where a somewhat OCD heroine who has difficulty lifting her gaze from mathematical pursuits into the real world.
Lady Daphne Forsyth has led a difficult life hampered by a father who used her mathematical genius to line his own pockets.
Now, having been left a share of her benefactress' estate and relishing the puzzle set for her to solve Daphne, finds herself with acquaintances, other young women equally as gifted in differing areas of expertise. For a lonely focused young women this is 'passing strange.'
The challenge concerns the legendary Cameron Cipher that supposedly relates to a fortune in a hidden Jacobite treasure trove.
What Daphne wants most though is to develop different skills. An entanglement with her benefactress' nephew the Duke of Maitland (not though marital) she feels will be a useful experiment. Well that just throws Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke. Talk about having the tables turned. 
Couple this conundrum with solving a puzzle that will lead to hidden treasure, throw in a murder and the story becomes a satisfying regency romp--if somewhat unusual.

A NetGalley ARC

****

The favoured few--their stories continue

Three Weeks with a Princess (The Improper Princesses) by Vanessa Kelly

 


                               

Lia Kincaid has been raised by her grandmother, the mistress of the Marquess of Lendale, on the Lendale estates. Lia Kincaid is the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of York.
The new marquess, Lia's childhood friend, Jack Easton is concerned for Lia's welfare. Lia feels she should continue in the women of the family's footsteps and become a courtesan. She need a protector and perhaps Jack would be a good first choice to practice with. Jack is shocked and tempted but this is his childhood friend. Added to that, it's imperative for Jack to marry wealth.
Lia flees to London and her mother, a famous actress, with the thought of a life treading the boards. Things of course becomes so much more entangled!
I found Jack somewhat insipid character and Lia is almost too good to be true.
Despite these short comings an interesting plot develops in this latest contribution to the trials and tribulations of three illegitimate princesses.

A NetGalley ARC

*** 1/2

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Startling, engrossing!




                                


Once more Terry Brooks focuses our eyes towards the Four Lands.
There's a strange new brand of magical warriors stalking the lands. Former High Druid Drisker Arc has been targeted by assassins.  A young woman with the magic gift of wishsong, Tarsha Kaynin, seeks out Drisker Arc to learn more about her abilities. At Paranor, the Druids are blithely ignoring threats. Dar Leah is sent to investigate but politics and jealousies get in the way.
We are witnessing the return of past artifacts and magic gifts and the names of people we've long loved, including the appearance of a young rascal Shea Ohmsford! (stay tuned I'm sure).
And yes I was glued to the pages and was left bereft and eagerly awaiting the next instalment!

A NetGalley ARC

*****

A moonlight meeting, a marriage and a battle!

The Reluctant Highlander: A Highland Romance (The Highland Series #1by Amanda Scott



                               

1420's Scotland. Lady Fiona Ormiston is a winsome stubborn lass and Sir Àdham MacFinlagh a thoughtful highlands  warrior.
The opening scenes are amusing. Fiona has a penchant for swimming where she shouldn't at a time that's definitely suspect. As a knight, Àdham sees it as his duty to rescue a damsel whom it seems doesn't think she needs rescuing.
King James is bent on encouraging 'tactical marriages' where former enemies might be brought together, strengthening the kingdom. Fiona and Àdham fit into that category. But will taking Fiona back into the highland wilds be a blessing or a curse?
Of course there are plots within plots and Fiona and Àdham Rae going to have their hands full in dealing with each other and the dangers that lurk beyond their horizon.
The thing is Fiona doesn't have too good a sense of direction. This is a mixed blessing at times.
The story flows well.  An enjoyable romantic historical highland novel.

A NetGalley ARC

*** 1/2

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Passion and petulance with a good dose of perfection!

Ruining Miss Wrotham (Baleful Godmother #5) by Emily Larkin

  


                             

Mordecai Black and Nell Wrotham. What a tale and what a pair!
He is a large man with a large heart and dark secrets. A perfect foil for Nell.
Nell is one in a line of daughters going back in time who is given a wish by a faerie godmother--not the sweet old lady short, rather the eyes flashing and lightning crashing sort!
And a faerie godmother gift was something to be thought about. But then life gets in the way and suddenly the gift Nell thought long and hard to ask for just didn't meet the circumstances. All else became moot. But how is Mordecai going to take the apparition of Nell's gift. After all what a godmother gives cannot be taken away!
I loved the dance between Mordecai and Nell. A scintillating read from go to woe!

A NetGalley ARC

*****

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Oh Yes! Say Yes!

Say yes to the Scot: A Highland Wedding Box Set by May McGoldrick, Sabrina York, Lecia Cornwall and Anna Harrington  

A great collection of historical highlander novellas that combine to make an arresting and oftentimes humorous read.

HOW A LASS WED A HIGHLANDER by Lecia Cornwall
Opening story is an enchanted love story complete with a heroine who is always becoming lost and a hero who has hard choices to make. A cleverly enticing story somewhere between A Midsummer's Night Dream and Outlander without the time travel.

A MATCH MADE IN HEATHER by Anna Harrington
Ok clever title!
1809-1819 Ten years pass. A lot can happen in that time ... And it does! Spurned by 'The only woman he’d ever loved and wanted to marry,' Garrick Townsend found himself face to face with Arabel Rowland, with years of loss and vengeance between them. If only the Heather could talk.

A MIDSUMMER WEDDING by May McGoldrick
1484 Elizabeth Hay had been contracted to marry Macpherson of Benmore Castle, the Black Cat of the Highlands, for more than five years. Now she wanted out of that contract with the Highland Lord, little more than a pirate. Fate and floods and the interference of a Queen might help put paid to the betrothal--or not? This is the prequel to the Macpherson Clan saga. 

THE SCOT SAYS I DO by Sabrina York
A youthful romance left both parties with unresolved angst and disappointments. Years later Duncan and Catherine meet again. This time the stakes have upped. Cat finds herself desperate to save her brother from debtor's prison. Will Cat choose the solution from the man who spurned her so long ago or seek another path?

A NetGalley ARC

**** 1/2

Friday, June 9, 2017

Interesting premise!

The Darkest Corner (Gravediggers #1) by Liliana Hart



                              

Smart and funny in a gothic, out-of-body sort of way. We have US funded anti terrorists working for a faceless black op organization that operates outside of legal parameters. Putin gets a mention. That keeps things topical!
Rifting off those various SEAL type stories that have gorgeous, high adrenaline types who save the day, the gravediggers are somewhat different because they go to death and back to be reborn (not in a paranormal way, good old experimental drugs not found in the FDA list). These men are taken from organizations from the CIA to Mossard.
Their contact and boss is Eve Winter, a cold hearted queen of 'b's' who cannot be trusted! 
In charge of this team is the hunky Deacon Tucker.
Then there's Tess Sherman, a third generation Russian Mafiosi brat who is apparently drop dead gorgeous although she sees things through a lens of her self-convinced imperfections.
Tess is a mortician, and yes it gets a tad gruesome!
Her mother is a piece of work, and her grandmother is delicious. The Russian connection becomes an important focus in the story
I just keep thinking that Joanne Woodwood would have had a much better time of it in 'Rachel, Rachel' if her circumstances were as Tess's.
Combining action, humor and steamy romance with a touch of the macabre makes this is an eventful read.

A NetGalley ARC

****

Witty!

... a puzzler!

Her Favorite Duke (The 1797 Club #2)  by Jess Michaels


                           

The beginning of this episode of The 1797 Club has promise, although it raised questions. Engaged to the wrong Duke at a young age by her brother James to one of his best friends, Meg had to endure seven years of an engagement that had not one jot of romance. Her heart has always been Simon's. Simon returned the feelings silently. They are however the best of friends. When they are caught out overnight in a storm their life changes. Now is the time to seize the moment. After all Meg is compromised and Simon must step up to the plate. Which he does but instead of being relieved Simon mopes around feeling guilty for have betrayed a brother Duke. The beginning had promise, the last part dragged out a bit. The resolution was predictable. The puzzle? Why wait seven years, why punish yourself when you've gained the prize--the woman you've always loved, why try to destroy that by decrying the what is now? The answers are complicated but too slow in the coming.
Themes of love, betrayal and honor (alongside those steamy love scenes that hallmark Michael's novels) underpin all, but there's not enough oomph in the overall story to really grab your interest.

A NetGalley ARC

***

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Unfulfilled promise

Eloping With The Princess (Brotherhood of the Sword #3) by Robyn DeHart

  

                              

The characters of Viscount Jason Ellis and Isabel Crisp have strong promise. Ellis we had met in  'Undercover with the Earl.' I found the potential for an excellent story with the added twist of powers vying for Victoria's throne was somewhat undeveloped. But I must recognize that this novel only runs to fifteen chapters. 
If you haven't seen the series built around the young Victoria then you maybe won't realize the tensions around her becoming queen. To use the back room struggles when Victoria ascends to the throne is clever. Whilst acknowledging this with the limited plot development, DeHart could have built so much more on that historical fact, and given us more substance and fulfilled the inherent promise. Rather we were caught up in the laboured push and pull of to consummate or not.
Still this continues the Brotherhood plots and the series is based on an interesting premise.

A NetGalley ARC

** 1/2

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Tense action and dangerous outcomes!

Desperate Fire (Angel in the Whirlwind #4) by Christopher G. Nuttall


                              


Despite some Commonwealth opposition, the final showdown with the Theocracy is given full approval after the true madness of that Empire's reactions to loss are revealed. The harsh reality is exposed when the Theocracy explodes seeded nuclear devices on an occupied planet just as the Commonwealth is set to liberate it, ensuring the planet and its inhabitants to total destruction. Kat is left handling a humanitarian crisis on one hand and the political ramifications on the other.
Operation Hammer is devised. Kat Falconer as a Commodore of the fleet and second-in-charge will have to call on all the cunning, stealth, and giftedness she has in the final showdown. The Commonwealth takes the fight to the very centre of the Theocracy's domain--to their home planet Ahura Mazda. The battle will be hard fought. Lives will be lost and treachery is a heartbeat away. The true madness of the fanatical leaders actions will continue to be exposed.
Kat is facing some of the hardest moments of her life, both on the personal and professional front.
The resolution left me with similar feelings I had at certain times in the Honor Harrington series. I found myself hanging on the edge of remorse and frustration, and relief that there would be more to come.
Another grand and surprising finish to Kat's ongoing challenges.

A NetGalley ARC

*****

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A reluctant highwayman and his erstwhile victim


                             
When Lady Alice Worthingham and her mother are robbed by a highwayman, Alice doesn't play the meek and mild victim. The action that follows is highly unorthodox and the Surrey Bandit aka the Viscount, Lord Callum Arundel has unknowingly met his match!
I liked Lady Alice, I liked Lord Callum.
I just wasn't drawn into their sphere in the way I wanted to be. Sure the dramatic potential was all here. The poor relation who became a viscount, blackmailed into committing crimes to keep his family safe. The beautiful, somewhat eccentric Lady who discovers his secret. A Lady drawn to him like a moth to a flame. A Lady who felt slighted by him in an earlier encounter, who seeks to punish him and in doing so finds herself playing with fire.
Except that fire seemed contrived. An HEA ending that didn't quite jell for me.
A note that leapt out at me was Victoria's use of the word 'golly.' It just didn't seem to fit. Although I did look up when the usage came into being. Apparently it was, 'First recorded in 1840-50; euphemistic alteration of God.' (from dictionary.com). Thanks to Tamara Gill for learning something new!
However I venture to say that this is very strong language for a young woman of those times--to me it was somewhat 50's, by Golly Gosh! 
I did somewhat see the villain in the piece early on. The way that played out was satisfying and in keeping with the leading characters.
As I said in a previously reviewed title in this series. A somewhat farcical play with added heat.
I go back to my original reaction, this story just did not hang together in the way I had hoped it would. It's potential was under realized. But, 'all's well that ends well.' 

A NetGalley ARC

***

Monday, May 22, 2017

Goose Girl reimagined!



                           

Dickerson continues to take a well known fairy story and reimagine it to life in a new way. This time Grimm's tale of the Goose Girl is reborn. Lady Magdalen is to marry Steffan, the Duke of Wolfberg. This marriage will help lift her province out of poverty. En route she is forced by her maid and maid's father to exchange places. Agnes her maid will now marry the Duke. However at the Duke's castle, the wicked Lord has seen to it that his son Alexander will take Steffan's place. Men are sent to kill Steffan. Fortunately that plot fails.
Steffan and Magdalen have to find a way to regain their respective proper places and come to a mutual understanding of what love and worthiness truly is. I liked Magdalen, but Steffan left me somewhat unmoved. He certainly has more growing to do than Magdalen.
Theirs is not a straightforward path. However both Magdalene and Steffan have right, faith and endurance on their side. And after all this is a 'fairy story'.
I must say that Magdalene has far more compassion for Agnes, the maid who betrayed her, than I would have.
At times I found the going a little strained. I understand the perspective underlying Dickerson's faith based writings and applaud her for it. I sometimes felt that there was an over inclusion of Magdalen and Steffan's references to scripture and the God's will, leading to a somewhat stilted reading process that interfered with the flow of the storyline. What had all the hallmarks of being a nuanced literary endeavour just didn't eventuate to its full potential. 
Dickerson's works do however continue to break new grounds in the realms of Christian fiction specifically, and fiction more generally, and that's very promising. 

A NetGalley ARC

*** 1/2

Unusual!



                             

I thought about the word 'charming', but that's not quite right. Sorrow Marchand is not charming, she's spirited and insightful and attuned to others. Her world is not 'charming.' It is however forthright, kind and true. We really don't see much of Sorrow's interaction with the ton. What we do see is her interaction with her very unusual family--one that is certainly far from any family her fiancé, the Honorable Bertram Carlyle, has envisioned. We do see is the growth of Bertram and Sorrow's relationship into one of true understanding and appreciation, and for Bertram the coming into being his own man. Until now he's been at the beck and call of his domineering father, Lord Newton. The early arrival of Bertram's father does put Sorrow through her paces. He's a very overbearing man who's completely thrown by the menagerie that comprises Sorrow's family. There's a lot to unpack in this interesting novella about love and worth and acceptance. Again I come back to the word unusual! 

A NetGalley ARC

****

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Diabolical events unfold!

Legion (The Talon Saga #4) by Julie Kagawa


                           

Dragon twins Dante and Ember are each seeking freedom in their own ways. 
But shall the truth set them free?
Unfortunately each has a different truth and a different moral compass as to what they are willing to do for that freedom.
The wrym leader is a fright. Her plans far reaching and devastating.
A fight is looming between Talon and the order of st George, yet are they not both pawns in the games the Elder Wrym,  CEO of the Talon is playing? Dante is now the Elder's right-hand man. But 'the weight of her gaze [is] suffocating.' The Elder truly is terrifying.
Dante never feels as important as Ember and once again he's proved right. There is one piece of the Elder's plan missing. The Elder gives Dante an order,  ' “Ember Hill must be retrieved." '
But even Dante does not know the depths of the Elder's play. A move that will ratchet the situation up to a whole new threat level.
The renegades and St George cohorts are under threat.
The legion of mindless dragons, pawns in the Elder's plans are waiting in the wings, to be deployed in an all out strike against Talon's enemies.
Unexpected turns, betrayal and loss, dog the pages 
Soldier Garrett seems to be so much more--difficult I know. The accommodations that Riley makes are staggering given their initial measure of each other.
Riley is a softie underneath all that hardness, again a dragon searching for his own truth.  Ember is so much part of these two that it hurts.
The renegades find an unexpected ally. However the future of all is dimmed as this powerful phase of events unfolds.
Another triumphant addition to the series, with more twists and turns than imagined.

A NetGalley ARC

*****