Requested ARC Review: The Highest Tide by Marian Perera

Format: E-bookthehighesttide
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Eden, #4
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Hero: Jason Remerley
Heroine: Lera Vanze
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 17, 2015
Started On: August 29, 2015
Finished On: September 08, 2015

Jason Remerley is a brothel health inspector, who runs into Captain Lera Vanze at The Velvet Court. From the first moment Jason lays eyes on the beautiful red haired Lera, Jason has a deep gnawing need to have her, regardless of the consequences. Lera believes that even a scarred woman like her should be able to fulfill her physical needs, which is why when she encounters a man who entices her more than a simple pay for sex kind of transaction ought to, Lera gets more wary than ever.

Of course Lera finds out, which makes the matter of traveling on the same ship on a mission that seems to be filled with dangers of its own kind doubly perilous. Jason has his own agenda in tagging along on the trip while Lera’s sole mission is to protect Kovir, the Seawatch operator that is recruited for the mission. While The Highest Tide is book 4 in the Eden series, this can be read as a standalone without much of a difficulty. However, I’d still say that this series is best read in its order as each of the books so far has been pretty great reads!

While Jason might not be the type of hero that I’m used to going gaga over, his shrewd intelligence, his focus on doing right by whatever he is tasked with, his determination when it comes to Lena; all of that makes for pretty alluring qualities if you ask me. There is a calmness to him that just feels like an oasis from the vicious storms that rage outside and perhaps one of the reasons I fell for him was that.

Marian has a penchant for writing strong heroines who sometimes tends to outshine the heroes with their abilities & strength of character. Lena was definitely one of them. Scarred with a past to match, Lena was set for a life of sailing warships until Jason came along. Any courtship more presumptuous on Jason’s part would have definitely not worked on Lena. Having encountered Lena in the previous novel, readers are introduced here to her more ‘giving’ side by the feelings of concerns she shows for Kovir, the Seawatch operative under her care, looking out for him like she’d do for a child of her own or such. From a brothel to the high seas, to being stranded in an island strapped with explosives, Lena and Jason’s courtship is definitely one for the books and one that I enjoyed.

There is quite the backstory linking Jason to the villain which I found entirely fascinating. Villain was definitely psychotic, not to mention downright scary in his ability to unleash his more sadistic tendencies which gave the story that added edge that Marian’s stories are equipped with. I would say that The Highest Tide is a pretty interesting addition to the Eden series. Marian definitely has got the talent it takes to awe and woo the reader to indulge in her alternate worlds. I for one definitely can’t wait to see where this journey is going to end.

Final Verdict: Marian never fails to amaze me with her ability to create beauty from utter chaos. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Without looking away from him, she reached for the door and her fingers brushed over smooth hard wood. She didn’t know if she meant to anchor herself with that, something solid to hold on to while she walked out, but her body decided before her mind could. A twitch of muscle, a flex of fingers, and the door swung shut.
Click.
Jason’s eyes dilated, dark with need, and he met her the rest of the way. His free arm went around her waist. Her body jolted from the touch, though that only made her press more closely against his tall frame, and her skin prickled as if a tide of sensation both hot and cold at once had rushed beneath it. The sheet might as well not have existed.

“Ah, Lera.”
The whisper was raw, his voice deepening to a growl, and it made her lean into him, needing more. His thigh pressed between her legs, and she twisted just enough to feel his erection, hard as an anchor against her belly. He shuddered, and his teeth found the softness of her throat in retaliation. Then he sucked on her flesh. Her nipples ached to be mouthed like that, suckled until she was wet and bucking with need, until she pushed him to his knees before her so he could press his face between her thighs, making her cry out before he pulled her down to him and mounted her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Samhain | eBookMall | ARe | iTunes

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Requested Review: The Farthest Shore by Marian Perera

Format: E-bookthefarthestshore
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Eden, #3
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Hero: Alyster Juell
Heroine: Mirande Tayes
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 26, 2014
Started On: December 15, 2014
Finished On: December 20, 2014

Alyster Juell is the captain of the steamship Checkmate, involved in a race between Denalait ships and a Dragan schooner. Captain Alyster appears in the second book of the series, i.e. The Deepest Ocean, my favorite Eden book thus far. Alyster’s excitement over the race is a given and when he finds a stowaway on board, none other than Mirande Tayes (Miri), one of the reporters that he had met the previous night, Alyster’s first reaction is to distrust her on every level.

The truth about Miri’s past and where she comes from is the reason behind Miri’s fate that ends her being onboard Alyster’s steamship as a stowaway. Miri bargains with Alyster to keep her onboard until they reach a port where she can make her way. Alyster who has misgivings about a reporter he distrusts is left fighting an attraction born out of respect for Miri proves her mettle and shows him that she is unafraid of hard work to make her way when required.

Meanwhile, the war that has waged for years between the Tureans and the Denalaits rears its ugly head in the midst of the race, the Tureans willing to use every dirty trick under their sleeve and then some to “win” in a war that has seen its fair share of casualities and damages on both sides. The war has done nothing but create a divide the likes of which we find in the real world today, racial divides that seem insurmountable at best which is the situation that comes to light between Miri and Alyster.

Marian’s ability to create and combine the creepy with the mystic, the romance with the world building continues to amaze me with every story that I read from the Eden series. The Farthest Shore combines all of the above to give a spellbinding read that keeps the reader on tenterhooks until the very last page.

The fate of the little girl under the Turean command, that holds so much power in her hands is one that filled me with unease and fascination quite at the same time. I cannot help but want to read her story somewhere along the way, perhaps Marian might end up giving readers like myself one sometime in the future.

Alyster as the hero is a bit of a laid back version compared to his brother who has a reckless streak a mile wide. The commanding side to Alyster is a direct contrast to his beta-ish nature, both of which makes for a compelling hero. Though Alyster has a hard time coming to terms with who Miri is, the honesty with which he and both Miri handle the situation is one that deserves a mention. Miri is a courageous heroine, whose penchant for being truthful and upfront with Alyster before anything serious could happen between the two of them endeared her to me in more ways than one. Waiting for more stories from the world of Eden.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Marian’s world building of Eden offers endless possibilities for fascinating tales of intrigue, excitement & danger!

Favorite Quotes

“A lot can happen in a few hours.”
“Alyster…” she began. She wasn’t sure what she intended to say, perhaps just tell him that it was the wrong time and place for whatever he was trying to do—and she knew now that he didn’t only want her to trust him. She also knew that she should not have said his name for the first time like that, in a voice that showed altogether too much need, betraying both a loneliness and a longing that she had never allowed herself to show before. But by then it was far too late.

He’d shaved, so the skin grazing her ear was velvety-rough, his teeth hard against her earlobe.
That time it was she who made a sound instead, a whimper she couldn’t stifle, and her arms went up around him.
“Yes,” he said, his voice as raw as if he had fought not to say anything at all, and when he kissed her again there was no gentleness about it. But she didn’t need that now. She needed to forget about everything, needed the pain of the past and the darkness of that night wiped out in a desire so fierce she couldn’t think any longer, needed him.

“I’ve never known a woman quite like you,” he said quietly.
Again she hesitated. Only the faintest edge of moonlight from the open hatchway showed the soft waves of her hair and one shoulder in the darkness.
“A woman who was half-salt?” she finally replied, and he had the impression she’d used the pause to make certain only a cool edge of disdain showed in her voice. He didn’t think he’d allow her the chance to get a shield up again. He didn’t think he wanted there to be anything between them again, at least not for that night.
“Half-idealistic and half-exasperating and all remarkable,” he said, and closed his hands around her shoulders, pulling her against him.

Over a rushing sound in his ears, he heard her groan low in her throat, and he managed to break the kiss so they could breathe again. They were both panting as if they’d been nearly drowned.
As he wanted to drown in her, wanted to sink into her until she was gasping and helpless under him. There was no need to search for her mouth a second time. She kissed him back, one arm sliding up around his neck, and her fingers caught in his hair. He shuddered, and his mouth went to her throat.

“Do you want me?” He barely recognized the sound of his own voice.
In the darkness, he heard her swallow, and the sound made him take a quick step back before he could lose the last vestiges of control and push her up against the wall. “Yes.” The word sounded like a sigh, albeit a sigh dragged out of her with a fishing gaff.
A tension he hadn’t realized was present drained out of him. “Then come to my cabin,” he said, and walked away.

A whimper trapped in her throat, she bent her knees, trying to force his mouth closer to her, but she might as well have been trying to shift a mountain. He made a sound that might have been a laugh if it hadn’t been so raw with need, and buried his face between her thighs. The roughness of the stubble on his face made his mouth feel more sensitive and sensual, and he impaled her with his tongue.
The world vanished in a soundless explosion. Her body jerked in a climax so fast and hard she couldn’t even scream. Her spine locked rigid, her head fell back as wave after wave of clenching release slammed into her, and he drew out the last shudders as he licked her swollen, spasming flesh.

“Now,” she whispered, but he only shifted position, and his tongue played slowly over her other nipple. She squirmed, unable to bear the ache between her thighs. “Alyster, now—” He came into her deep and hard, stretching and filling her. She cried out, a sound as much plea as it was pleasure. Her arms tightened around him to hold him where she needed
him, her hips rose to meet his fierce thrusts, and she was close, so close, so—
“Miri,” he groaned against her ear, and that was enough. Everything in her tightened at once, clenching and rigid, and Alyster pulled back before driving in again, faster now as if he had lost all control too.

“Ride me, Miri,” he whispered, and she lifted herself above him. The slick slide of his naked flesh against hers made him set his teeth, and when he pushed back into her, it felt even better. She braced her hands against his chest, rising and falling again and again, meeting his thrusts in a rhythm that was steadily growing faster, more out of control.
“Now—” The muscles of her face tightened too, her eyes closing as she surrounded him and withdrew, relentless as the tide. Her thighs were trembling against his hips, squeezing them, as she impaled herself completely. “Alyster—”
Yes, Alyster thought and thrust up as hard as he could. It was enough.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | Samhain | eBookMall

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Requested ARC Review: The Deepest Ocean by Marian Perera

Format: E-bookthedeepestocean
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Eden, #2
Publisher: Samhain Publishers
Hero: Darok Juell
Heroine: Yerena Fin Caller
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 2014
Started On: May 19, 2014
Finished On: July 2, 2014

The Deepest Ocean by Marian Perera is the second book in her Eden series, and what a book this turned out to be. For someone like myself who doesn’t read much of fantasy novels, to be drawn into the world that Marian creates tells a story in itself. I am quite selective in the authors that I read when it comes to fantasy romances, perhaps because my imagination falls short of what the author is actually trying to convey with the worlds they create. But with Marian’s illustrious words, lets just say that there was a moment or two where I questioned myself on why I do not read more of the genre.

Darok Juell is the captain of the warship Daystrider who is instructed by the Commander of the Guardian Fleet of Denalay to take on board a woman whose identity remains a secret even to him until Yerena Fin Caller turns up at his ship right before it is supposed to depart. Darok finds himself fascinated by the Seawatch operative who informs him that her only duty is to guide and guard the ship in its journey. The tattoo that completely surrounds Yerena’s left eye tells a story in itself, a direct contrast to her otherwise nondescript nature and appearance.

Yerena is considered a weapon of Denalay, one of the countless men and women trained to serve the Unity the whole of their lives. Reared from a very tender age to become the weapon she is, Yerena commands a great white shark that is the closest to anything the she considers as hers. Her “unconventional” bond to the shark had gotten her many a thrashing, the result of which is the cold, aloof and controlled operative that is presented to the rest of the world.

The mission ahead is a perilous one, the impulsive and at times brash Darok paired with a Seawatch operative that is the furthest thing from brainish. Darok enlists Yerena’s help in crossing the Strait of Mists into the Iron Ocean in order to outrun the Turean pirate ships whose one sole mission is to destroy the Daystrider before it reaches shore. Yerena hides one aspect of her mission from Darok even though he makes Yerena question all the rules by which she has lived her entire life. Darok entices Yerena into giving herself into his caresses, kisses and  touches powerful enough to move her into giving him everything she has to give. And in the midst of it all rages a battle of megaly proportions that seems to challenge the combined experience and talent of Yerena and Darok, delivering a tale that stays with you long after you are done.

Having read Marian’s first book, I was surprised and delighted with the thread of sensuality that is interwoven into the fabric of the story. Yerena being seduced by Darok and the tables being turned added that sensual edge to the story which truly made The Deepest Ocean stand out when compared to Before the Storm, the first book in the series. With a few surprises up her sleeve, Marian definitely keeps the reader guessing, the pages turning and most of all the action almost going on nonstop in this tale that totally blew me away! Definitely and most highly recommended for lovers of the fantasy genre.

Final Verdict: Epic storytelling from start to finish. Marian is a voice not to be missed in this genre!

Favorite Quotes

For a moment she said nothing, but then her lips twitched. “No one’s compared me to a crab before.”
Darok grinned. “If it helps, I think you’re a lot prettier than most crabs.”
She laughed, and Darok drew his breath in. He hadn’t known until then how the warmth and lightness of laughter could change her face. The reflections of fire danced in her eyes, and the relaxation of her usual control made her mouth so different, lovely and sensually shaped. He only realized he had stepped forward when her lips parted in surprise, and he only knew he was holding her when he felt the softness of clean linen and the taut muscles of her arm beneath his hand. But he knew exactly what he was doing when he bent his head and covered her half-opened mouth with his own.

Darok’s senses were swimming when he lifted his head with an effort and looked down at her face. Her lips were full and moist, still open as she caught her breath, and he hardened at the sight. Wrapping an arm around her waist, he pulled her against him and bent to kiss the pulse pounding in her throat.
“Darok—” The word was a gasp, and he wanted to hear it again, wanted to hear it as he drove into her. He bit her throat just hard enough to wring a moan from her, then gently licked the mark he had made and blew on it. Yerena’s body swayed, her knees buckling, and Darok pushed her up against the wall as he lifted his head to kiss her again.

“Yerena.”
His voice was low and deep, turning the consonants of her name into a purr, and it was the only warning she had before his arm went around her waist, pulling her against him. His fingers were splayed against her hip, but his other hand cupped her face, lifting it. Yerena felt the warmth of his breath on her lips and held on to him for support as her eyes closed involuntarily.

She licked the pad of her thumb and rubbed his nipple. His eyes opened at once, and her smile was no longer secret as she reached down. She wrapped her hand around the throbbing length of his shaft, and he groaned.
“This is how much I want you,” she said, and rose up on her knees just enough to guide him into her.
The first touch of iron heat against the wet folds of her sex made her jolt as if the ship had struck a sandbank, but she recovered and began to impale herself slowly. She wanted him in her, wanted them joined so deeply that nothing would be able to tear them apart…at least for that night.

Darok released her and reached for her braid, which had fallen over her shoulder. The ribbon tying the end came off, and he drew his fingers through the mass of her hair, letting it fan over her shoulders and fall across her breasts.
“You’re beautiful, Yerena.” His voice was hoarse. “And wet.” He claimed her other breast, fondling it with his palm before his thumb rubbed the nipple. “I’ll make you wetter.”
That time she didn’t gasp when he pulled her forward, when he sucked on her. She groaned instead, and Darok made a rougher, lower sound that vibrated up from his throat into her skin.

“Darok!” Her voice was a raw whisper, shaking. “Now, please, now—”
He entered her with his tongue that time, as deep as he could, and her flesh tightened around him. She made no sound other than a wrenching sob that was nowhere near enough for him. He pulled away and rose as the hazel eyes were opening in disbelief, and when her legs closed around him to pull him back, he went with her and sank hilt-deep into hot convulsing flesh.

He bent his head and covered her mouth with his in a kiss so thirsty and possessive that it made her sway against him, trembling with need as her body caught fire from his. Her free hand clenched in his shirt. His tongue slid over hers, and she softly sucked on it until he moaned, low in his throat.
He tasted of rum and limes, strong and bitter and intoxicating at once.

She lay with her eyes closed, still breathing hard. The light sheen of wetness across one breast felt cool, but Darok’s upper arm lay across her other breast, warm and heavy. Aftershocks pulsed through her flesh, and she knew he felt those just as intensely although he lay quiet and sated beside her, motionless except for his breathing. They were joined in an intimacy that went far beyond the physical, and she acknowledged it with a cold despair settling over her heart.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Samhain | ARe

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Review: Before the Storm by Marian Perera

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Plus Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Eden Trilogy, Book 1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Hero: Lord Robert Demeresna
Heroine: Alexis Khayne
Sensuality: 2.9
Date of Publication: April 6, 2010
Started On: December 6, 2010
Finished On: December 8, 2010

I have never been one to indulge much in the world of fantasy romances, though I know that the world of romances and the happily-ever-after it offers is nothing much more than a fantasy in itself. However, I am talking about an altogether a much different kind of fantasy in this instance, stories where authors spin elaborate and fantastic worlds of their own making, within which mythical creatures of all types reside in, and the sky is literally the limit in what can take place in such a world. Though many read and rave about books such as the Lord of the Rings series or the Harry Potter, I have never had the urge to go buy myself a copy and indulge. And when Ms. Marian Perera approached me and asked whether I would review her book entitled Before the Storm, needless to say, I was a bit apprehensive at first, not knowing what I was going to find once I entered into the realms of the fantastic world that she has created in this trilogy.

The heroine, Alexis Khayne is someone who is treated practically as dirt by her master Stephen Garnath, the ruler of the indestructible coronet city of  Radiath, a man who is hellbent on acquiring power by any means possible. Alexis is known as the Black Mare, mare the term being used for whores, and Alexis is the tool used by Stephen to make use of and allow his friends and foes to make use of whenever he pleases. Alexis has learnt long back to hide what she feels behind a calm facade of nothingness beyond which lives a soul yearning to be free of the shackles with which she has been bound to Stephen since she had agreed to be his paramour. A woman with nothing left to lose, the ability to even bear a child taken away from her, Alexis’s salvation comes in the form of the Bloody Baron, Lord Robert Demeresna.

The baron of Dawnever Robert is the fair and just ruler of his people of the Dawnever Province which lies on the land’s edge. It was said that Robert’s fields were filled with scarecrows made from crucified men and that he had once impaled an opponent, driving an iron spike through the man’s pelvis which had in turn earned him the name Bloody Baron, a name which Robert uses to his advantage. Robert knows of and is wary of the war that he knows is definitely coming his way, in Stephen’s plans to conquer the Dragan cities and become the ruler revered and feared alike by everyone. To this end, Stephen employs a man named Ohallox, an Iternan magician who uses his abilities to help Stephen along in his nefarious mission.

When Stephen presents Alexis to Robert, both Alexis and Robert are equally surprised, apprehensive and wary of the gesture. Never having been presented to a man before in such a way, Alexis is at first scared out of her wits to be presented to someone known as the Bloody Baron to take her away and do with her as however he pleases. Robert and his trusted companion Mayerd, another Iternan sorcerer who had lost all his abilities, thanks to the heartbreaking betrayal he had suffered at his wife’s hands, make short work of allaying their suspicions regarding Robert’s unexpected gift for the time being as they both know that somewhere along the way Alexis would be used to gain the upper hand in a war that was fast approaching.

The last thing Alexis expects is to be left alone with no advances forthcoming of any nature from Robert. Accompanying him and his soldiers in the lengthy journey from Radiath to his home, Alexis plots and plans her escape which becomes thwarted at the last minute. And it is during the days that follow that Alexis learns of Robert’s true nature, and for the first time in her life, Alexis yearns more than anything to be possessed by a man, a man who shows not the slightest interest in her. However, desire and yearning takes a backstage when Stephen strikes like a viper, using the most unlikely of weapons, nearly destroying Robert and his allies with his vicious attack.

The battle that is waged is a fierce one, with Robert’s army sadly outnumbered by Stephen’s greater and much powerful armed forces. However, the one thing that Robert has on his side is the use of weapons from the Quorum, the mighty high lords who use religion as their tool (as most religious scholars do in the real world), their steam bellowing weapons and explosives making the story come alive in a whole different way.

And in the midst of all this, unwanted though at first, an attraction blooms which later grows into something much more as magic, ingenious weaponry, treachery and good old heroism comes into play to win a war against all odds.

Likes:

1- Though it was at first hard to get a grasp on what was happening and who was who, as soon as I knew what was happening I loved the fantastic world that was created in this novel. Ms. Perera might just have turned me into a fan of fantasy romances with this one and I do thank her for the opportunity to read a fantastic novel which otherwise I may never have tried out. The descriptions of the world they inhabit are done so well that at times I felt as if I were watching a fabulous movie starring an ethereal world that at times I couldn’t for the world of me pull my eyes away from the screen. Kudos to Ms. Perera for a job well done. I am just amazed to say the least of the ingenuity of a mind capable of creating a world such as this one.

2- Robert. Mind you, he is the 1st beta hero that I have loved. His possessiveness when it comes to Alexis comes to light in subtlety which made it much more sexier in fact! And it was refreshing to read about a hero who is not afraid to admit that he does not have a vast amount of experience when it comes to wooing and satisfying women in bed. So with the tables turned, with Alexis being the experienced one makes for a good change from the norm.

3- Alexis Khayne. From her unusual name to her strong nature which refuses to break even under the most extenuating circumstances, Alexis is an admirable heroine if there ever was one. She doesn’t spend time on the what-ifs of life, but rather accepts what she is dished out, and love when it does come calling, Alexis doesn’t spend time contemplating on hows and whys, but rather accepts it even though Robert at first apologizes for the fact that he can’t help himself in wanting her. Beautiful, capable, strong and with a mind of her own, Alexis is a heroine I loved right from the very beginning.

Dislikes:

For me, this story was a bit lacking in the romance department. Not that I want explicit sexual content in every other page of the story, but the one thing that makes any sort of romance an excellent one is the sense of awareness and the sexual attraction that simmers, flows and ebbs between the two characters as the story unfolds. Just a tad more in the romance department, and this would have been a 5 star read.

Recommended for: Fans of fantasy romances. The setting here is fantastic, the characters multifaceted and the adventure non-stop!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo | Samhain

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!