Book Review: Hearts in Exile

17788233Title: Hearts in Exile
Author: Mysti Parker
Release Date: June 2013
Length: 274 pages
Series?: Tallenmere #3
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

In Tallenmere, fate has a way of catching up with you…

Somewhere, hidden in the waters of the Southern Sea, lies an island unlike any other. Within the amber glow of its pyrogem-laden cliffs, legend says the very heart of the dragon god Drae keeps the island, and its occupants, alive.

Loralee Munroviel, daughter of Leogard’s High Priestess Arianne, had no idea what she would face when she arrived by boat ten years ago and was left alone in exile. All she knew about Draekoria’s inhabitants was written in one tattered notebook. Now, her life revolves around keeping Drae’s descendants happy. Never in her life did she imagine being a Dragon Keeper.

Captain Igrorio Everlyn, known as Sir Robert to his unit of Holy Paladins, has faced his share of hell, battling the evils of Emperor Sarvonn’s tyranny and the dark god Tyr’s abominations. But none of that compares to the ten years of hell he’s been without Loralee, presumed dead.

One freak storm changes everything. Now the two of them must fight to reestablish the delicate balance of the island before the dragons take things into their own hands. Through it all, they discover the secrets that kept them, and their hearts, exiled for a decade.

Review

This is the third book in the Tallenmere series, but the first two are not pre-requisites. The second and third books are like spin-offs, so you won’t miss out on anything you really need to know.  The novel starts in the present, and then goes back in time to the reason why Igrorio comes to the Temple. The novel follows this time until present time.

How do you thank someone who saves your life when you’re not sure if you want to live?

I adore this book. It is a wonderful story, and well written. I fell in love with Loralee and Igrorio. They are strong, creative, loving and resilient characters. The Plague has struck the land. Igrorio has lived through his own hell until meeting Loralee at the Temple. Her mother gives up on him, but Loralee refuses to follow suit. She has hope, and she nurses him back to health and is in charge of his recovery. They are young, and form a strong bond with one another. They go on a hunt for the long-extinct dragons to help pass the days.

I wasn’t sure how two young men who excelled in beating the shit out of each other showed potential. 

But Loralee is living with a very short fuse, that starts off the moment Igrorio arrives at the Temple. There is an unsettling dispute between her parents, her mother holds some imaginative power over the king to bend him to her will, and her sister is a hateful, deceitful, cruel person. This hate and deceit set in motion events that cannot be undone.

***

I found a kindred spirit in Loralee; I think she is a lot like me. She knows something will work, but is refused to be given the chance to prove it, so she does it in secrecy to have research to support her claims. She is removed from Igrorio’s day to day interactions, so she devises a way to still have a time with him. She is put on trial for saving Igrorio with her newly found Spark from Mother Inessa and must prove herself to her hard High Priestess mother. She is forced to follow in the footsteps of her mother, and punished for falling in love by betrothing her to Igrorio’s best friend. She has a sister that would just as soon stab her in the chest to get what she wants…and essentially, that happens in the novel. Ivy and Arianne Munroviel tell all that Loralee is dead – but they and King Leopold know differently.

Some mistakes go on to haunt us for the rest of our lives. 

Loralee’s ten years on the island of Drae tending to the dragons has changed her, in so many ways. She comes to the island with one more secret, and it is lost to the island. When Igrorio washes up, I am surprised at the changes in her – and the forgiveness she has granted to her sister and her mother for all she’s endured and lost. It would be a hard thing to do, but I had to remind myself that ten years have passed, and she is living to fulfill the purpose of the Keeper of the dragons. Indeed, I had my own issues with my mother, and anger and hatred that lasted a decade, and like Loralee, I got tired of being angry and hurting myself more. Being away at college helped ease our relationship, and Loralee explains this time and distance aspect to Igrorio.

What also engrossed me about this book was that it delves into the society and culture of the world in which Parker has created. There are delicate matters that could upset the balance of the kingdom, and one of those things is the betrothal of the next High Priestess. For his sake, Igrorio has done his best to be the model citizen to be chosen for Loralee. He has impressed her father to give his name for recommendation, but ultimately it is King Leopold’s and her mother’s choice. The novel also closely examines Loralee’s relationship with both of her sisters, and each of her parents, as well as Igrorio. These moments reveal so much about each character.

The novel also touches on Igrorio’s relationship with Sir Francis. In the second book, the pair are sent to work an assignment together and there is small insight into their relationship, in that it is clear that they know the intricacies of the other. Ironically, it does not start out so, and in the third book it goes through their very rough and troubled meeting.

I highly recommend this book.

No, silly, you can’t saddle a dragon.

About the Author

200025_103787076370825_4452630_nMysti Parker (pseudonym) is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya’s Song, was published in April 2012. The highly anticipated third book, Hearts in Exile, has already received some great reviews. The Tallenmere series has been likened to Terry Goodkind’s ‘Sword of Truth’ series, but is probably closer to a spicy cross between Tolkien and Mercedes Lackey.

Mysti’s other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, and Christmas Lites II. Her flash fiction has appeared on the online magazine EveryDayFiction. She has also served as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s six week free course, F2K.

Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review: Serenya’s Song

Title: Serenya’s Song
Author: Mysti Parker
Release Date: April 201220628483
Length: 288 pages
Series?: Tallenmere #2
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

No one ever said love was easy…

Serenya Crowe may be a half-elf commoner, but she’s no ordinary woman. With the ability to interpret dreams, and a birth defect that forces her to wear gloves, she’s endured gossip and the cruelty of her husband, Sebastian, The Earl of Summerwind. All she’s ever wanted is to live a quiet life and raise a family. When she meets the new stranger in town, her world and her heart, are turned upside down.

Wood-elf Jayden Ravenwing is an ex-secret agent who wants nothing more than to forget matters of the heart. He left the bustle of Leogard and his failed marriage to make a fresh start in Summerwind. He never planned to fall in love again, especially with the enchanting Serenya Crowe.

When a strange portal opens on the Crowe property, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in the town may die.

Together, he and Serenya must overcome an ancient evil, and their own inner demons, to save Summerwind and find the love they’ve always dreamed of.

Review

I had no idea where this book was coming from prior to finishing the first book, A Ranger’s Tale, because there was no one in the first book named Serenya…until reading the epilogue. The epilogue of A Ranger’s Tale is set five years later, and Serenya’s Song takes place during that passage of time, so the epilogue kind of gives away a big detail from Serenya’s Song.

Serenya’s Song is kind of like a spin-off of A Ranger’s Tale: several characters return, and it follows a character’s life from A Ranger’s Tale.

In A Ranger’s Tale, Caliphany’s second husband, leader of the secret government agency L.I.O., has the king annul their marriage. Although his L.I.O. coworker Lilly does care for him, in the second book she has moved on and is engaged herself, so some amount of time has passed.

Jayden Ravenwing is broken and done with the world. He wants to reside in peace and fulfill the musician’s dreams within him. Little does he know the woman he knocks down with his horse one dark knight is the muse for his soul, his fine arts counterpart. and he will go to the ends of the earth for her.

But Parker has definitely added a twist and some serious mystery in the mix. Serenya’s father rescued her after birth, fleeing an unknown pursuer. She is now a grown woman and experiencing some very odd and unusual things. Her titled husband is controlling and manipulative, and insanely jealous. He knows something about what is happening to her, and is exploiting it while keeping Serenya controlled.

Jayden has found a very dangerous element that could cause massive destruction to Summerwind, and is keeping an eye on things in the area. Then some very strange things start occurring. He calls in for reinforcements and sets up an investigation, and things get even stranger.

I felt that the focus in this novel was more on Serenya than Jayden. She is an extremely compassionate, loving character. She is beautiful, a musician and artist, and can interpret dreams, but she as born with a distinct deformity: claws. I was disappointed throughout the novel at each point in which Serenya would not stand up to her husband, and took and responded to his forced advances. She lives as a titled woman in a beautiful house and pretends to have the perfect marriage, but that is all far from the truth. She is powerless, and eventually finds power (although, I don’t think she realized she was again being used and in essence, powerless), but makes a better choice. Her decision strikes me oddly given all of her giving in, but it is a decision that saves Summerwind and those she loves.

About the Author

200025_103787076370825_4452630_nMysti Parker (pseudonym) is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya’s Song, was published in April 2012. The highly anticipated third book, Hearts in Exile, has already received some great reviews. The Tallenmere series has been likened to Terry Goodkind’s ‘Sword of Truth’ series, but is probably closer to a spicy cross between Tolkien and Mercedes Lackey.

Mysti’s other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, and Christmas Lites II. Her flash fiction has appeared on the online magazine EveryDayFiction. She has also served as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s six week free course, F2K.

Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

A Ranger’s Tale

9781612351209_p0_v2_s600Title: A Ranger’s Tale
Author: Mysti Parker
Release Date: April 2010
Length: 257 pages
Series?: Tallenmere #1
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

In the fantasy world of Tallenmere, an elven noblewoman longed to leave her gilded cage. A half-breed former pirate wanted nothing more than to escape his guilty past. Easier said than done… 

Caliphany Aranea, nearly a century old, leads an enviable life as high elf King Leopold’s niece and daughter of Sirius, Leogard’s most famous wizard. Yet, being forced to follow in her father’s footsteps and being betrothed to a man she doesn’t even like makes her want a taste of life outside the city walls. 

As a young boy, half-elf Galadin Trudeaux witnessed his parents’ death at the hands of pirates. After being raised by those same murderers and forced to do their bidding, he escaped and now lives an honest life as a sea merchant and ranger. 

When two brutes at Leogard Harbor attempt to kidnap Caliphany while she dreams of faraway lands, Galadin comes to her rescue. Impressed by his skills, she asks him to train her as a ranger. Though he is hesitant at first to train a woman of her class, Caliphany’s hefty sack of gold finally persuades him. Unfortunately, her father is not amused, and the two must escape before Caliphany faces a forced marriage and Galadin faces a noose. 

From that moment on, to the finale, where Caliphany must decide where her heart truly lies, she and Galadin embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Only if they can survive the trials ahead, will they find a love that stands the test of time. 

Review

This book is more than meets the eye. Do not be fooled by the cover! (You may find it with a slightly different cover, and a slightly different beginning.)

Caliphany has grown up her entire life living a privileged life, as the niece of the king. But right under his nose her father torments her with his cold cruelty, even locking her away at times. After the death of her older brother at a young age, she has been in line to take over as a Mage to teach wizardry – and betrothed to an annoying intellectual boy she grew up with.

Since following in her father’s footsteps is a requirement, a family legacy, doing anything else is out of the question. Caliphany is terrified to openly defy her father, but while he’s away she asks a very resourceful, skilled Ranger to teach her how to survive in the wild and use various weapons…and falls in love in the process. Only, fate would have it’s ugly way when everything seemed perfect.

Caliphany is forced to make many decisions about herself, her life and her future and must truly determine where her heart lies.

Once Caliphany’s life seemed on the up-and-up, I smelled the bigger issue from a mile away. I had an inkling of what the disaster was that was going to strike, and the closer I approached it when reading, the more painful it became for me to read. I will say this though: Parker did surprise me in the turn of events that take place once Caliphany returns home.

Once back at home, Caliphany’s relationship with her father undergoes some TLC. It’s surprising how certain life events can change someone. But, as fate would have it, things don’t remain that way for long, and a very unsuspecting character thinks to take it all.

I tremendously enjoyed reading this first installment of Parker’s Tallenmere series. I found Caliphany an interesting mix of a character: scared of her father, yet defiant in a “safe” environment (aka when he’s gone and she thinks he won’t find out). She shows an amazing amount of compassion and is given a lot of trials to struggle through. She is put in several compromising and tough decisions.

About the Author

200025_103787076370825_4452630_nMysti Parker (pseudonym) is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya’s Song, was published in April 2012. The highly anticipated third book, Hearts in Exile, has already received some great reviews. The Tallenmere series has been likened to Terry Goodkind’s ‘Sword of Truth’ series, but is probably closer to a spicy cross between Tolkien and Mercedes Lackey.

Mysti’s other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, and Christmas Lites II. Her flash fiction has appeared on the online magazine EveryDayFiction. She has also served as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s six week free course, F2K.

Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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