Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1)
THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined. THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light. Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1) Details

TitleRadiance (Wraith Kings, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 13th, 2015
PublisherGrace Draven
Rating
GenreFantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy Romance, New Adult, Magic, Paranormal Romance

Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1) Review

  • Navessa
    January 1, 1970
    "You find me ugly, don't you?""Hideous. A hag of a woman. And you? You don't think me a handsome man?""Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father's mace." *falls over laughing*The above takes place between our two main characters, Brishen Khaskem, a Kai prince with gray skin, solid yellow eyes, razor claws for fingernails, and teeth meant for tearing flesh, and Ildiko, a human woman who happens to be the niece of a king. They're "You find me ugly, don't you?""Hideous. A hag of a woman. And you? You don't think me a handsome man?""Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father's mace." *falls over laughing*The above takes place between our two main characters, Brishen Khaskem, a Kai prince with gray skin, solid yellow eyes, razor claws for fingernails, and teeth meant for tearing flesh, and Ildiko, a human woman who happens to be the niece of a king. They're destined to marry, and for that, everyone pities them. The two races find each other physically repulsive, and as you can tell, that extends to our MCs. While their appearances couldn't be more different, their souls share a kinship. They're both witty, intelligent, and quick to laugh. Which basically means that their interactions are frigging hysterical. They first meet just before their wedding, and recognizing this kinship in each other, form an alliance based on mutual respect and honesty. I KNOW, HOW REFRESHING, RIGHT?! Their marriage is one that will secure an alliance between their kingdoms, and while both were pushed into it, neither one resents it. BECAUSE - HOLY CRAP - THEY'RE BOTH DESCENT "PEOPLE". What follows can only be described as one hell of a love story, set against the backdrop of a world balanced on the brink of war. As there is no physical attraction between them (at first *waggles brows*), Brishen and Ilkido form a fast friendship. This love story is a slow burn, a realistic joining together of two souls with more meaningful things to draw them to each other. Like compatibility. I just blew your mind, didn't I? Trust me, this book blew mine. It was so incredibly refreshing to actually buy into a relationship for once, an ACTUAL relationship, and not just people lusting after each other for no frigging reason aside from the OMG, ABS/OMG, BOOBS that dominates most romance novels. My only complaint is that I wish there were more to this. I wish Draven delved deeper into this world. I wish there were more descriptions of journeys, surroundings, and cities. But honestly, that tells you just how much I enjoyed being in this world. And how sad I was to leave it. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
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  • Jessica's Totally Over The Top Book Obsession
    January 1, 1970
    5 Woman of day Prince of night Stars Some Spoilers “You find me ugly, don’t you?” Brishen had faced abominations on the battlefield without flinching, leapt into the thick of the fighting against creatures born from the nightmares of lesser demons. Not once had he been tempted to run away in fear. Now, his leg muscles rippled with the urge to flee. He clenched his teeth instead, prayed he wouldn’t start a war with their newest ally and answered honestly. “Hideous,” he said. “A hag of a woman.” 5 Woman of day Prince of night Stars Some Spoilers “You find me ugly, don’t you?” Brishen had faced abominations on the battlefield without flinching, leapt into the thick of the fighting against creatures born from the nightmares of lesser demons. Not once had he been tempted to run away in fear. Now, his leg muscles rippled with the urge to flee. He clenched his teeth instead, prayed he wouldn’t start a war with their newest ally and answered honestly. “Hideous,” he said. “A hag of a woman.”-Ildiko and Brishen Wow this book....my feels....OMG! So a couple years back Radiance reviews were blowing up my news feed, so of course I check out the synopsis and put this book in my maybe list. See I am a hardcore romance reader and when I got the deets on this book I thought it would be more Fantasy and very little romance. But as time went on this book still kept popping into my mind so I decided to go to Youtube and try to find a review of Radiance on there. There I found one of my favorite booktubers, Fangirl Musings, did a review on it and I was totally sold. I went straight to Amazon and bought me a copy. Here is the link if you would like to watch it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDwd6... “You don’t think me a handsome man?” She shrugged. “I’ve only seen your hands and eyes. For all I know, you’re hiding the face of a sun spirit in that hood.” Brishen scoffed at the idea. “Hardly.” He’d never lacked female company, and his people thought him well-favored. Certainly nothing as wretched as a sun spirit. He slid the hood back to his shoulders. The woman’s eyes rounded. She inhaled a harsh breath and clasped one hand to her chest. Her mollusk skin went a far more attractive shade of ash. She remained silent and stared at him until he raised a hand in question. “Well?” She exhaled slowly. The space between her eyebrows stitched into a single vertical frown line. “Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father’s mace.”-Brishen and Ildiko So 13 hours later here I sit wanting to kick my own ass for having waited so long to pick this book up. It was a sweet, totally different and emotional read that has me running straight back to Amazon to get book 2! “Will you be that for me, Ildiko,” he said. “That beacon in the void?”-Brishen Ildiko was the human niece of the Gauri King. Brishen was the 2nd born prince of the Kai kingdom and he was not human. They were to be married to form an alliance between the Kai and Gauri. The thing I was most drawn to in this story was the fact that both the hero and heroine think each other ugly. Like scary ugly lol. Brishen was so sexy. I don't care that he had grey skin, solid white eyes with no other color in them, and blades for teeth and nails he was damn sexy! He was so protective and respectful of his wife Ildiko. He may not have thought she was pretty but he was honest with her and was faithful to her. He supported her and treated her well from the very start. I loved how his admiration for her grows to such a strong love. Ildiko was amazing. She was married to a scary looking non human and shipped off to live with his people and she shined. She was all alone, the only human in Kai, with an evil Queen mother- n- law that treated her like crap and tried to kill her. She was mocked, and ostracized, but she never let anyone get the best of her. She stood up for herself to the queen, stood proud among all the stares, and was brave when it was called for. She was also supportive and caring to her husband. She did her best to be a good wife to Brishen. “You are also a princess of the blood through marriage, a member of the royal family. My wife. Every Kai in that room owes you their allegiance and respect. I will cut out any tongue that would try and besmirch you, Ildiko.” He pressed his lips to her palm. The tiniest crack appeared in her serene composure. Her mouth twitched with the hint of a smile. “Or bury an axe blade in their heads?” His guilt over his inability to rescue her from his own family eased a little at her humor. “I’m adept with spear and sword as well. Just name who you want me to skewer for you.”-Brishen and Ildiko Ildiko and Brishen had a slow burn love. They started with friendship and respect and fell madly in love with each other. I thought the sex in this book was passionate and sweet and I was glad they waited until they fell in love before having a sexual relationship. Brishen and Ildiko had such a great and strong relationship it was palpable. Something that made me laugh was Brishen thought Ildiko's eyes looked like parasites rolling around in her skull so she would cross her eyes just to freak him out. The secondary characters in this book were great too. I really liked Brishen's cousin Anhuset and I also really liked Brishen and Ildiko's neighbor and friend Serovek. I think there is a love connection there and I can't wait to see if I'm right. I want to say that I truly hated Brishen's mom. She was a nasty bitch and I laughed at the end when she got hers. I held off on reading Radiance because I thought it would be heavy Fantasy and low romance I was wrong. This book is a light Fantasy and it's main focus is this sweet couple falling in love. I'm on to book 2..... “It’ll be hard not to tease your folk sometimes.” Brishen couldn’t imagine how she might go about such a thing. He had no idea if the Kai and the Gauri even knew the same jokes or found the same things funny. “What do you mean?” He almost leapt out of his skin when Ildiko stared at him as both of her eyes drifted slowly down and over until they seemed to meet together, separated only by the elegant bridge of her nose. “Lover of thorns and holy gods!” he yelped and clapped one hand across her eyes to shut out the sight. “Stop that,” he ordered. Ildiko laughed and pushed his hand away. She laughed even harder when she caught sight of his expression. “Wait,” she gasped on a giggle. “I can do better. Want to see me make one eye cross and have the other stay still?” Brishen reared back. “No!” He grimaced. “Nightmarish. I’ll thank you to keep that particular talent to yourself, wife.” -Ildiko and Brishen
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  • Clara
    January 1, 1970
    ** 4,5 "AMAZING SLOW-BURN FANTASY ROMANCE" stars ! **Once again, I came upon this book completely by chance, read the synopsis, and that was it ! I read it and to my surprise, I ended up loving this book so much that it’s actually hard for me to find something I didn’t like about it ^_^ What’s this book about ? This is a Romance set in a Fantasy world. Ildiko and Brishen are forced into a marriage to strengthen alliances between their two kingdoms. The thing is, both of them are from two diffe ** 4,5 "AMAZING SLOW-BURN FANTASY ROMANCE" stars ! **Once again, I came upon this book completely by chance, read the synopsis, and that was it ! I read it and to my surprise, I ended up loving this book so much that it’s actually hard for me to find something I didn’t like about it ^_^ What’s this book about ? This is a Romance set in a Fantasy world. Ildiko and Brishen are forced into a marriage to strengthen alliances between their two kingdoms. The thing is, both of them are from two different races : one is human, and the other is Kai (grey skin, fangs instead of teeth, black claws instead of nails and yellow eyes with no pupils). So obviously, from first sight, they are both repulsed by the other’s appearance. But despite that, they’re still going to find a connection of minds and spirits. To me, this book was how you do a great slow-burn and realistic fantasy romance when the two main protagonists are forced into marriage. What was refreshing and so good about it was that it didn’t follow the usual trope about forced marriage. What I mean is that even though both MC were repulsed by the other’s appearance, they actually didn’t start off hating each other. From their first meeting, and because of their open-mindedness, they quickly connected thanks to a shared sense of humor and smart mind. What I loved then is that the first months through their marriage, they’re very good and platonic friends who like to make fun of both their races and families and respect the other one very much. But slowly, through getting to know the other one better with time, they’re going to form a deeper connection leading finally to desire slowly blooming between them. They’re going to see past their differences and find the other to be actually quite attractive in their own way. And from that moment, passion between them explodes and sparks fly ! I was worried during the first half of the book because the romance was quite slow and I was afraid they would lack passion and powerful emotions, the ones that create the butterflies in the belly, but I didn’t need to worry because everything came in full force at some point and I found myself so involved in their beautiful, sweet yet passionate and hot relationship ! I felt so invested in their couple, I could feel their adoration for each other, how they respect the other one, how they faced things together. Another thing I loved was this book was free of unnecessary drama, meaning jealousy, distrust, misunderstandings etc… There’s was none of that, and it was so refreshing ! As for the characters ? Well, once again, I was pleasantly surprised to find I never got annoyed either by Ildiko nor by Brishen. Ildiko was such a lovable female character ! She was sweet, funny, brave and open-minded. I loved how hard she tried to adapt to her new world and people, how she would easily make fun of how different she was from the Kai ! She was really easy-going and witty, but most of ALL, she never made stupid or reckless decisions, and THAT was refreshing and so enjoyable ! There’s really nothing I didn’t like about her ! I loved how much she adored Brishen despite their differences, how she became his partner and lover, how she was always there through the bad things. Brishen was such a swoony and lovable male character ! What I liked the most is how he was not your typical alpha male, being overly possessive and jealous or manhandling his girl all the time. Brishen was none of that : he was sweet, very respectful of Ildiko, he would always have sweet gestures towards her. He became dedicated and addicted to Ildiko, he loved her spirit and humor with passion. But he also could be cocky and get you hot with his dirty words as well as with his words of adoration ! The plot in itself was mainly focused on the romance, but I found the fantasy elements to still be quite unique and very intriguing, full with magic and politics. But with the epilogue, you could feel the fantasy aspect of the story is going to be more important in the sequel, which I can’t wait ! Also, I hope we're going to get more of Anhuset/Severek in the sequel because I can feel they could be just as amazing as a couple ;)Overall, if you’re looking for an amazing fantasy romance which is able to separate itself from the usual trope, if you want sweetness, as well as passion and hotness, but also an intriguing fantasy world, look no further, this book is for you !
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  • Penny Reid
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book on the way to and then back from a business trip (on the plane) and it was exactly right for my *reader mood*. Great writing.Great story.Great world-building.Great characters.If you're looking for a fun romantic fantasy, with NO INSTALOVE, and smart characters, then this is the book for you.READ IT! You won't regret it.
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  • Jilly
    January 1, 1970
    Dear book, please marry me. Much like the characters in this story, I don't even mind that you have a super ugly cover. I love you anyway.Love, Jilly.This book is the best thing ever. It's like Beauty and the Beast if they were both beasts. Beast and the Beast. Oh man. We need that movie. Someone call Disney!The story begins with our couple on their wedding day. They are two different species and are being married off to set an alliance in place between their kingdoms. He is grey (not sure how m Dear book, please marry me. Much like the characters in this story, I don't even mind that you have a super ugly cover. I love you anyway.Love, Jilly.This book is the best thing ever. It's like Beauty and the Beast if they were both beasts. Beast and the Beast. Oh man. We need that movie. Someone call Disney!The story begins with our couple on their wedding day. They are two different species and are being married off to set an alliance in place between their kingdoms. He is grey (not sure how many shades. let's say 49 or so), has giant razor-sharp teeth and claws, and alien eyes that are all one color. Here is what she says about his appearance: "Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father's mace." She looks like a normal girl to us. Red hair, white skin. Basic. But, to him, SHE is hideous. Her teeth remind him of horse's teeth. Her eyes, having whites and pupils, freak him the hell out. He sees her eyes and sees this:But, they are both good-natured, and funny, so they immediately like each other's personality. They decide to be friends and you will love them as friends. They are adorable! They tease each other: She drew a circle on his chin with her fingertip. "Your skin color reminds me of a dead eel I once saw on the beach.""Wolf," she said softly."Horse," he replied just as quietly. There is danger all around them. Not everyone is happy about this alliance between their kingdoms. Also, his mother is kind of a bitch and may or may not try to kill her new daughter-in-law just for the hell of it.Her: "your mother is...." Him: "A soulless creature with a thirst for murder." At first, I thought, "Hey, who's mother in law isn't a soulless creature with a thirst for murder?" But, this lady made the rest of the other mother in law's have to hang their heads in shame. They need to up their game if they want to live up to the precedent she is setting.As the book goes on, these two ugly creatures fall in love, and it's a romantic tale of finding the inner beauty of your one true love.I guess you can say that this hideously ugly book cover is just like the story. Horrible, even to the point of embarrassing-looking on the outside, but amazing and beautiful within.Yada yada yada.... inner beauty...Even more true.
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    MY BLOG Melissa Martin's Reading List THERE JUST MAY BE SOME SPOILERS AHEAD SO BRACE YOURSELF! So Ildiko and Brishen are set up to be married so they can do all of that political crap from the ages that supposedly seals a deal with kingdoms. But.... Ildiko is a beautiful human and Brishen is a handsome Kai and both races think the other is ugly as sin. That would suck monkey butt! The Kai are scary to look at because they have nacreous eyes, which are without a pupil or iris. They just glow at y MY BLOG Melissa Martin's Reading List THERE JUST MAY BE SOME SPOILERS AHEAD SO BRACE YOURSELF! So Ildiko and Brishen are set up to be married so they can do all of that political crap from the ages that supposedly seals a deal with kingdoms. But.... Ildiko is a beautiful human and Brishen is a handsome Kai and both races think the other is ugly as sin. That would suck monkey butt! The Kai are scary to look at because they have nacreous eyes, which are without a pupil or iris. They just glow at you. You know, you could really freak people out good at Halloween in the dark with those eyes. I would be jumping out at people left and right.. anyway... they also have sharp teeth and when they smile at you it looks like your about to be devoured by something from hell. And long nails and grey skin. But Ildiko and Brishen meet right before their marriage in the garden and they didn't even know it until Ildiko gets ready to go inside and Brishen hears her name being called. Brishen enjoyed their conversation so much that he wants to talk to Ildiko before the wedding so she knows it's him. They share a moment in the garden and they didn't feel so horrified around each other and they were "honest".. yep.. I know it's a foreign word, but they were "honest" and told the truth about how they feel being around each others kind. They told each other how hideous they thought the other was and did that throughout the book until a turning point. ♣♣♣♣♣A hard pounding on the door warned them their private meeting was over. Brishen presented his arm to Ildiko. "Ready to get shackled, madam?"She rested her hand in the crook of his elbow. "Try not to smile too widely, Your Highness. You'll scare the children in the crowd>"♣♣♣♣♣Their eating habits are different too and I just loved these parts! ♣♣♣♣♣"Brishen, there will be a riot if you spit it out."He clamped his lips tightly closed and swallowed. There wasn't enough wine or ale in the world to kill the revolting smear coating his tongue, but he drained his goblet and Ildiko's before signaling a servant for more. The Kai continued to watch him, and he glared at every one of them until they picked up their own utensils and braved their potatoes.The cheese plate almost did him in, and he had to ask Ildiko twice if the ones speckled a greenish-blue weren't actually bits and pieces of fermented corpses. Her explanation of how the cheese was made had him wishing they'd served fermented corpse instead.♣♣♣♣♣None of the King or Queens of each family are happy but it's the way it is, I must say Brishen's mom is a bitch beyond all bitches. I will let you read the book about her! On the way back to their home they get attacked by some of these other peeps because they didn't like the two making the union. No, I don't remember their names, it start with a B, bastards in my opinion. Either way, some of the Kai were killed and a whole bunch of bastards. They did a little ceremony with the Kai warriors that I thought was really cool. "Read the book." Oh and Brishen is pretty good with an axe :) Along, the way they had to spend the night and Ildiko and Brishen got to learn even more about each other by talking. I really liked how they got to know each other slowing before the um..other stuff. And their banter together is the best. See below ↓♣♣♣♣♣She drew a circle on his chin with her fingertip. "Your skin color reminds me of a dead eel I once saw on the beach."Brishen arched an eyebrow. "Flattering, I'm sure. I thought yours looked like a mollusk we boil to make amaranthine dye."♣♣♣♣♣Ildiko loved Brishen's home and the Kai were getting to know her and kind to her. Amhuset is Brishen's cousin, his lieutenant and second in command. She's a bad ass warrior. Ildiko had to get used to their schedules and sleep mostly during the day as it hurt the Kai's eyes and stay up all night. Party at the castle... well they did have one when they invited some humans they liked across the way in another castle. Unfortunately, Brishen and Ildiko have to be looking over their backs all of the time as these two people who were once never really thought about, are now targets to evil ones that want them killed. But... on the good side.. they finally found that after so long getting to know each other.. they weren't so hideous, they had feelings.. feelings.. and then...They realized they loved each other and the sex was awesome! Lord have mercy! Well.. they couldn't kiss proper or he would have sliced her face into little pieces but they figured some stuff out :)Then one day they are out and about coming back from town and all hell breaks loose and they get attacked again, only this time the Bastards are using arrows that have some kind of poison that paralyzes you. Some bad things happen, their human friend comes to their aide and when they find Brishen, this is Ildiko's command! ♣♣♣♣♣Ildiko stared at Brishen, at the shallow rise and fall of his chest as he breathed gurgling breaths. He stank of blood and agony. The wind lifted a strand of his hair, and she caught it between two fingers. It stuck to her skin, matted with gore. Sheh didn't care who hired animals to unleash their savagery. "Kill them," she said in a flat voice. "Kill them all."♣♣♣♣♣Then if Brishen's damn mother didn't come and visit him after he was better, not all the way as he was mutilated. I'm not saying how or what or what she did but OMG I want them to end her! I got so freaking mad!!!!! I really loved this book and I am looking forward to the next one! I hope it comes out soon!
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  • Warda
    January 1, 1970
    Ugh, I enjoyed the heck out of this book! It doesn't have the most compelling plot, but it was addictive and the two main characters, Ildiko and Brishen, were mesmerising. The main aspect I loved about this book is how the author pretty much shunned the whole idea of outer beauty having any sort of relevance over inner beauty. These two characters are married off to each other for the simple reason of forming an alliance and security between their two lands. They're not attracted to each other, Ugh, I enjoyed the heck out of this book! It doesn't have the most compelling plot, but it was addictive and the two main characters, Ildiko and Brishen, were mesmerising. The main aspect I loved about this book is how the author pretty much shunned the whole idea of outer beauty having any sort of relevance over inner beauty. These two characters are married off to each other for the simple reason of forming an alliance and security between their two lands. They're not attracted to each other, but find a common ground in order to push past that ordeal. They have mutual respect and admiration for their individuality. Another thing was the fact that the characters were of different backgrounds and cultures, which should have caused a rift. Yet they manage to overcome and see past what's socially acceptable within their culture and adapted to their situation as best as they could, accepting each other for who they are. It did take me almost 50% till I started connecting with the overall story and still I wished the plot and world were more developed. As well as the characters. I wanted more layers to it all, but was given only a brief glance into it. I'm hoping this is explored more in the sequel.
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  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    January 1, 1970
    Once upon a time a Mollusk and an Eel fell in love…. Okay so it isn’t quite that. Ildiko and Brishen are two people who are insignificant to their families. They both have always known that they would be used by their families in order to form alliances. They just didn’t realize that they would be forced to marry outside their race to do it. Ildiko thinks that Brishen looks a little like and Eel and he believes her to look a bit like a Mollusk. Still it could be worse. “You don’t have to answ Once upon a time a Mollusk and an Eel fell in love…. Okay so it isn’t quite that. Ildiko and Brishen are two people who are insignificant to their families. They both have always known that they would be used by their families in order to form alliances. They just didn’t realize that they would be forced to marry outside their race to do it. Ildiko thinks that Brishen looks a little like and Eel and he believes her to look a bit like a Mollusk. Still it could be worse. “You don’t have to answer of course, but do you think the Kai prince will hate his wife?”…. “I think the prince expected to marry a Kai noblewoman and father children one day. He never imagined an arranged marriage with a human woman to seal a war and trade alliance between Bast-Haradis and Gaur. He might resent the circumstances thrust upon him, but I doubt he’ll bear any ill will toward his future wife. She’s as much a pawn in this as he is.” Brishen frowned. “Unless the bride is a foul-tempered harpy.” That statement is one reason I LOVED this book. This isn’t the marriage Brishen really wanted but instead of being a jerk to his new bride he accepts that they are in this together for better or worse and it would be more advantageous to make a friend of his new wife. They start out with a unique friendship and that simmers and grows until each sees the beauty of the other in a different way. <--I love stories like this.If that wasn’t enough there is also the danger of Brishen’s own mother, warring kingdoms and magic. I’m not sure what scared me more the raiders or Brishen’s mother. She is a fantastic evil creature and a bit creepy too. “Your mother is...” “A soulless creature with a thirst for murder and an intellect greater than any other in the kingdom.” Brishen poured wine for himself in another goblet. “It makes her a ruler unmatched in both malice and strategy. My father would have been overthrown decades ago without her by his side.” *Shivers* she is disturbing.Ildiko was a fantastic female character. She is forced to marry someone she finds visually repugnant and leave her home and her race to go live in a new land. But she doesn’t wallow or complain she takes it all in stride and make the best out of the circumstances given to her. She becomes an ally to Brishen and tries to be the best wife possible to him.A few of my favorite moments:❀ - Meeting the Queen for the first time and trading barbs.❀❀ - The moving pie (yuck)/ or the potato incident❀❀❀ - The meet cute in the garden ❀❀❀❀ - Actually getting down to the nitty gritty *wink wink* bow-chicka-wow-wow❀❀❀❀❀ - And the complete Awe moment….(view spoiler)[ “We were unimportant, you and I. We weren’t supposed to mean anything to anyone.” A slow, deep sigh escaped his lips, and his right eyelid opened, revealing a glowing, lamplight gaze. Brishen’s voice was hoarse from disuse but still clear. “Woman of day,” he said slowly. “You mean everything to me.”No amount of blinking this time held back Ildiko’s tears. They streamed down her cheeks to drip off her chin and onto Brishen’s shoulder. “Prince of night,” she said in a watery voice that echoed another moment when she’d greeted him with the same words. “You’ve come back to me.” (hide spoiler)] *happy sigh*BUT THAT ENDING…..I wasn’t expecting it. The epilogue came out of nowhere and WOW. My jaw was on the floor and now I have to wait a year for the next book. I’m so ready and I have found a few friends to hold my hand because it looks like it might be a bumpy ride.
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  • Brandi
    January 1, 1970
    Well let me just get comfortable over here in my island – population three – who doesn’t think this book is AHAMZING. Come, come, grab a moss-covered rock to sit on and try not to worry about how dark and lonely it is while I tell you my thoughts. But first, how in the hell do you pronounce her name? I never settled on one way and it was pretty annoying. The premise of the book is nothing new: royalty of different nations must wed to bring an alliance to each of their nations and eventually t Well let me just get comfortable over here in my island – population three – who doesn’t think this book is AHAMZING. Come, come, grab a moss-covered rock to sit on and try not to worry about how dark and lonely it is while I tell you my thoughts. But first, how in the hell do you pronounce her name? I never settled on one way and it was pretty annoying. The premise of the book is nothing new: royalty of different nations must wed to bring an alliance to each of their nations and eventually they fall in love. Even with the differences in cultures (because, well, one is human and the other is not – which I thought would be way cooler than it was) this story isn’t new, exciting, or different. The girl was too perfect: beautiful but humble, selfless, loyal, funny, empathetic, trusting, and generally just good. The guy was too perfect: handsome, kind, honest, tender, funny, loyal, understanding, and selfless. The evil mother-in-law that the girl is of course brave enough to not be cowed by. The instant connection between the main characters. The humor that only served to play into the perfectness that is our couple. I’ll stop now but you get the point.They’re both spare heirs and refreshingly (see how perfect they are) they aren’t embittered by their roles and how they must marry outside of their choices. Now, in fairness, I really did like that about them both. It really was refreshing if not for everything else illustrating how bubble gum happy things were. So, one of the biggest selling points I saw over and over in other reviews was how refreshingly honest their humor was since neither race found the other to be attractive. They show this by insulting each other with brutal honesty right in the very beginning and then peppering the story with this cute little aspect of their relationship. Well, I found it boring. I wasn’t drawn in and in love with either character. I kept waiting. And waiting. And – well you understand. For someone who found his new bride hideous he was profoundly affectionate from the start. Touching her all the time and lamenting about her amazing character and resiliency. But seriously, I mean touching all. the. time. He would play with her hair, he would touch her face, he would talk about wanting to be with his wife (from the get go!), and how he derived comfort from her sleeping with him (platonically). It wasn’t quite insta-love but it was absolutely insta-connection. Also, how extraordinarily convenient that human and kai anatomy be the same, amiright? Which reminds me (view spoiler)[I did indeed like that the girl wasn’t a virgin. It was even perfectly fine with me that she hadn’t had great sex in her past, though totally predictable, but their sexy times with him guiding her and talking about what she liked was done well I thought. (hide spoiler)].Everything was too easy. She assimilated to her new culture with no regrets or depression or anything remotely negative. There was no soul searching, there was no drama, there was just – bubble gum happy easy-all-the-things. Even with the “bad” stuff that happened I was like, that’s it? I mean sure, (view spoiler)[ it was horrible that Brishen was tortured, (hide spoiler)] and so quickly at that, but he didn’t suffer any kind of negative psychological effects from it. There was never a time when either character dug deep into emotional issues. If you’re just wanting a filler book that takes up space this isn’t a bad one to choose I suppose. I’m just wanting more I guess. I would almost consider this contemporary romance for how predictable it was.Overall I don’t think this is the worst book I’ve ever read (hence rating it as meh, its ok) but I wouldn’t suggest going into it thinking you’re going to find some anti-trope book that breaks the mold.
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  • Armina
    January 1, 1970
    Buddy read with Gavin Before the Epilogue I was thinking this deserves 4 stars if only because of the amazing main characters and their relationship. After the Epilogue - I'm not so sure anymore. Leaving it on 4 stars for now. Full review to come.February 27, 2015A fantasy romance! Count me in! And some reviews say the cover is ugly but I love it! It was actually the cover that got me interested. I was just grabbing some eBook freebies from Amazon and spotted this by chance. God moves books in Buddy read with Gavin Before the Epilogue I was thinking this deserves 4 stars if only because of the amazing main characters and their relationship. After the Epilogue - I'm not so sure anymore. Leaving it on 4 stars for now. Full review to come.February 27, 2015A fantasy romance! Count me in! And some reviews say the cover is ugly but I love it! It was actually the cover that got me interested. I was just grabbing some eBook freebies from Amazon and spotted this by chance. God moves books in a mysterious way! ^_~
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  • Dilinna
    January 1, 1970
    My heart is literally double its size....this book was not good for my health at all! I loved it so so much....Ildiko and Brishen are the cutest couple ever.....amidst their circumstances..i fell helplessly in love with them😍😍😍😍😍😍. Thanks again to my darling Hiba for recommending this book
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  • Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink
    January 1, 1970
    My heart is just so ready to explode. This book....has officially won first place on my "most adorable books" shelf. Not only was this the sweetest and most heart felt story I've ever read... it was completely unique. A breath of fresh air. Not to mention... completely hysterical. Needless to say... this was nothing like I was expecting. If you love fantasy/magic/quarreling kingdoms but you need a break from your typical YA plot line.. give this one a go. When I first read the synopsis... honest My heart is just so ready to explode. This book....has officially won first place on my "most adorable books" shelf. Not only was this the sweetest and most heart felt story I've ever read... it was completely unique. A breath of fresh air. Not to mention... completely hysterical. Needless to say... this was nothing like I was expecting. If you love fantasy/magic/quarreling kingdoms but you need a break from your typical YA plot line.. give this one a go. When I first read the synopsis... honestly it just sounded like another typical Beauty and the Beast or Hades / Persephone retelling except weirder. This is not the case at all. From the very first chapter you'll see how different this is. In a nutshell...Ildiko (human) is married off to Brishen (Kai) to form an alliance between two kingdoms. The two races see each other as completely appalling. Once married, their alliance is seen as a threat by other bordering kingdoms. Ildiko and Brishen not only face the challenges of adapting to each other's physical appearance.. but in learning new traditions, and most importantly... staying alive. Honestly, I don't want to give away more than that. Take my advice...go into this blind and just enjoy. Ildiko & Brishen's interactions are not only hilarious, but completely heartfelt. Honest. Endearing. Their marriage... well it puts us all to shame. I can't tell you how many times I teared up. In addition to the plot and characters- the world building was completely unique and engaging. I wasn't swamped with overwhelming detail, but I felt alive in their surroundings. Young readers, please note... This is definitely NA/Adult. In my opinion, it is actually quite tame but please note that going into this. My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Etsy
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  • Sh3lly
    January 1, 1970
    Maybe more like 3.5 stars, but I'll round up for the reasons below.This is an unfolding love story in a fantasy setting. Bristen is a member of the royal Kai family and heir to the throne, but far enough down the chain that he will never be king. Ildiko is the young noblewoman he is arranged to marry, whose only worth is being married off in a political alliance.They discover they actually like each other - as friends. This is sort of a vague Beauty and the Beast re-telling, only both people vie Maybe more like 3.5 stars, but I'll round up for the reasons below.This is an unfolding love story in a fantasy setting. Bristen is a member of the royal Kai family and heir to the throne, but far enough down the chain that he will never be king. Ildiko is the young noblewoman he is arranged to marry, whose only worth is being married off in a political alliance.They discover they actually like each other - as friends. This is sort of a vague Beauty and the Beast re-telling, only both people view the other as the beast. To Brishen, Ildiko's human eyes look like separate disgusting entities, parasites, moving around in her head. To Ildiko, Brishen is the stuff nightmares are made of, with his gray skin, long claws, a mouth full of sharp teeth, and glowing eyes.. But they appreciate each others honesty, humor, and intelligence, so they form a friendship and try to make the best of their marriage. Of course, since this is a romance, stuff happens, and things change.I enjoyed the world-building in this. The Kai people were interesting to read about. I really appreciated the fact that there was no "virgin trope," which most romances seem to have. Also, the two leads were friends first, and their platonic relationship was believable. Neither character was annoying or did stupid things. Again, that is always refreshing. If you are looking for a more relaxed (slow-paced) intelligent fantasy romance with a slowly evolving relationship, this is for you. There is a dash of magic, although it was a bit under-developed, in my view. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, but nothing major. I am definitely interested in seeing what happens next in this world. Review also found at: https://theparanormalpaladin.wordpres... Original post:Buddy read with my MacHalo freakazoids. I don't do fantasy romance very often, but this one looks like my kind of thing.
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  • Jen Davis
    January 1, 1970
    I probably never would have picked up this book if not for the glowing recommendations of some of my trusted fellow bloggers. I know that you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the sad fact is, sometimes I guess I do. And if I would have ignored this book, I would have really missed out on a great fantasy romance.This is my very first book by Grace Draven. The good news about that is, if this story is any indication, I'm going to have a grand time rolling around in her backlist. D I probably never would have picked up this book if not for the glowing recommendations of some of my trusted fellow bloggers. I know that you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the sad fact is, sometimes I guess I do. And if I would have ignored this book, I would have really missed out on a great fantasy romance.This is my very first book by Grace Draven. The good news about that is, if this story is any indication, I'm going to have a grand time rolling around in her backlist. Draven has created two interesting and likeable characters, who fall in love against the odds. It is a slow burn, but all the more satisfying for it... because I believed in it, which is no small task considering the circumstances.Ildiko and Brishen are both expendable members of their respective royal families. Their marriage was cultivated as a political alliance. That wouldn't be a big deal except that they are from different species who find each other hideous. Though each of them is considered good looking by their own people, they are entirely unappealing to one another --at least in the physical sense. Fortunately, these two are able to look past that. Brishen sees the political aplomb, courage, and humor in his new wife, as Ildiko sees the honor, integrity and strength in him. It's inside the bonds of a growing friendship and mutual respect that romance blooms.The world building here is very well done. It's an alien landscape, but Draven sets it up as naturally as breathing. We really learn our hero and heroine best when it's against the backdrop of their families and cultures.There are also plenty of things happening to keep the plot moving. There are political machinations, assassination attempts, and ancient magics. But at the core, this a romance, and one I adored. I loved the way Ildiko and Brished treated one another. I loved that they were ugly to one another, until they were not. I loved the intensity of their intimacy, once it entered the picture. In fact, I can't think of anything I didn't like, except that it ended leaving me feeling like there should have been more. I walked away feeling a little incomplete, but I guess that guarantees I'll be back for more when Eidolon (book 2) comes out.Rating: A-
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  • Tessy Ijachi
    January 1, 1970
    Actual Rating is 3.5 starsThis book was so unbelievably cute. I either smiled or cooed when I was reading it. The relationship between Brishen and Ildiko was just so amazing. They were really honest with each other and I appreciated that. ”She hadn’t chosen this husband of hers, nor had he chosen her, but fate or kind gods had brought them together, made them friends and then lovers.” Since this story gave a premise of an arranged marriage, I went into it expecting a lot of arguing, angst and h Actual Rating is 3.5 starsThis book was so unbelievably cute. I either smiled or cooed when I was reading it. The relationship between Brishen and Ildiko was just so amazing. They were really honest with each other and I appreciated that. ”She hadn’t chosen this husband of hers, nor had he chosen her, but fate or kind gods had brought them together, made them friends and then lovers.” Since this story gave a premise of an arranged marriage, I went into it expecting a lot of arguing, angst and hatred between the two MC’s but they were surprisingly mature about the situation and that's one of the reasons I liked this book.The characters were okay, I liked them enough and found that they had personalities but not that much, I hope they develop more in the second.The writing was good as well, It was easy to get into and not at all confusing.Am still confused about how to rate this book, but it ranges from 3.5 to 4 stars I guess?While I found the romance cute, I wanted more politics and maybe a little more death(view spoiler)[When Brishen was kidnapped, I expected the action to last a little longer cause it was so short. (hide spoiler)]Another reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is because they seemed to talk about some stuff in past tense when it has already happened. I would've preferred if it was narrated from the present.I would recommend this to people looking for a romance that's not cheesy but still cute.
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  • Tweebs♥️ (hiatus)
    January 1, 1970
    "You find me ugly, don't you?" she said. "Hideous." he said. " A hag of a woman." Another peal of laughter met his words. Brishen wilted, relieved she took no insult in him so bluntly validating her assumption."And you," he said. "You don't think me a handsome man?""Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father's mace." dear future husband, if we don’t have this type of relationship then you’ll need to take notes from this book. M "You find me ugly, don't you?" she said. "Hideous." he said. " A hag of a woman." Another peal of laughter met his words. Brishen wilted, relieved she took no insult in him so bluntly validating her assumption."And you," he said. "You don't think me a handsome man?""Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father's mace." dear future husband, if we don’t have this type of relationship then you’ll need to take notes from this book. Might as fact, I'll demand a re-do on our relationship and our first meet better be as beautiful and moving as Brishen and Ildiko's. Like, so beautiful and moving that our love story gets shared among millions of people and we become a hashtag. look at me putting all this pressure on a non existent dude for a non existent love life I've been putting off writing this review for the longest time and well....I have my reasons, okay?? We'll just blame school because I blame it for everything. For example, my dark circles and the fact that I don't get the 8 hour required sleep. So, what made me write this? Other than the fact that I had to google kittens to give me some motivation, but I needed you guys to know how much I adore this book. Radiance, was a pleasant surprise. I found myself completely enthralled by the characters. I would adopt them in a heartbeat but like I can't even afford books right now so they kind of have to wait awhile. I never expected to pick this book up and discover it to be so addicting and enjoyable. I tried to read as slow as possible but honestly I'm not guilty about reading this in one sitting. i'm actually guilty about neglecting my hmwrk but i'm a procrastinator anyway. I'm supposed to do these things. It's the only requirement of being a full time procrastinator. Let's break down my thoughts about this book?? THE PLOT ► What's it about??? Well, It's about these two characters, Brishen and Ildiko, who are in an arranged marriage to form a political alliance between the Human and Kai kingdoms. Both characters do not bring any significance to their own kingdoms hence why this marriage was formed. They were brought together by their own kingdoms but will discover they are destined for each other. You think it's going to be a happy book about love? Nah, not even close. Well, it is about love and also a kind of a typical plot with conflict, drama, and a bit of magic but yet so refreshing at the same time, does that make any sense? Read it and find out :) “This should never have happened, Brishen. We were unimportant, you and I. We weren't supposed to mean anything to anyone.""Woman of day," he said slowly. "You mean everything to me.” ►Alright guys......Do you ever just read a book and you're so consumed by the characters that you forget to focus on the actual plot??? ► Yup that was me :) ► I realized how consumed I was and thought, "let me take a step back and actually focus on the plot" . I did that and found it to be a bit.....lacking and not as developed BUT THIS PROBLEM DIDN'T EVEN BECOME A PROBLEM UNTIL I PULLED MYSELF AWAY AND TRIED FOCUSING ON THE PLOT !! I tell you, these characters are that captivating. ►But I loved how the author showed us that appearances don't matter; it's the inside that does. You don't have to be with someone pretty, because honestly what's the point? I rather be with someone ugly with a beautiful heart than someone who is pretty with an ugly heart. And you'll learn that lesson in this book because I did. “She made him strong; she made him weak, and in that moment, she nearly put him on his knees. ” THE COVER: ► Honestly, the biggest turn off. ►I was NOT into it. I was NOT feeling it. ►But listen, I'm a changed person now and I'll get to that shortly so stay tuned !! “I'm serious, Brishen. Promise me you'll not get yourself killed or maimed out there.""I can't make that promise, Ildiko, but I can swear to do my best to come back with all arms and legs attached."She frowned. "Your head too, if you please."Brishen laughed then. "My head too.” THE CHARACTERS ► oh my gracious ► oh my goodness► oh my gosh ► oh my lord► OH MY GOD ► I think I should be okay now because oh my gawd what did i sign myself up for?? I think I loved these characters more than my own siblings. I never expected to invest so many feelings into this book like excuse me, is there something on my forehead that says "I love to suffer" ?? because wow i'm not complaining. I suffered beautifully. ►Between us, if you're reading a book and it fails to make you feel like you didn't know what your life was before these characters came in then do me a favor and toss that book aside. It's not doing its job. You know what book will fulfill that ??? This book. ► Let's start with my child, Brishen. Can we have a moment of silence and just appreciate him?? I've been an absolute sucker for Brishen since the beginning because he is funny, loyal, courageous, kind, understanding, friendly, kick ass, and 1000 other qualities which would take me 3 years to list . He is a precious blueberry muffin and I'd totally eat him. ( That was such a bad joke pls ignore me). He is perfect in every way and just...... book boyfriends. I should just become a collector because that's all I do in my life. I just collect book boyfriends left and right. ► Now Ildiko................this woman. She was like a breath of fresh air and also loyal, hilarious, bad ass, sarcastic, and understanding. I loved her from beginning to end. She wasn't those typical characters that just chill and only exist to be annoying af. I just.........I've adopted to many characters but one isn't going to hurt, right??? ► Anhuset and serovek are those types of characters where you can't even prepare for them like good luck. Yeah I'm serious that's all I'm giving you about them. Just Good luck. #ishipthem #what #whosaidthat #notme►Honestly, the author will make you fall in love with each character as you progress through the story. It's not like you were given a choice. I didn't even make it past chapter 1 before I declared my love for these characters. me to me after finishing this book “Sleep here each day, Ildiko.” A sweet warmth suffused her. She entangled her legs with his and hugged his arm to her waist. “As you wish. Just don’t steal the blankets.” Well, that's it folks. That's all I can say about this book unless you have 3 years to spare because I can go on :) But I hope you will give this book a chance and maybe love it more than me…...but that’s unlikely ;p Now, leave me be while I go cry about Brishen and how I need him in my life like a fish needs water.
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  • Snow
    January 1, 1970
    6 BRISHEN starsA simple as it sounds, I call dibs, ladies! LOLThis Kai Prince is simply...dear GodThere's nothing I didn't love here - the plot, the characters, the descriptions, the action, the LOVE, the attraction greater than the superficial features..."bigger than life love story" between two individuals who couldn't be more different, physically, in kinship, in culture, in everything that distinguished them they found the connection beyond it all.An arranged marriage.An alliance between two 6 BRISHEN starsA simple as it sounds, I call dibs, ladies! LOLThis Kai Prince is simply...dear GodThere's nothing I didn't love here - the plot, the characters, the descriptions, the action, the LOVE, the attraction greater than the superficial features..."bigger than life love story" between two individuals who couldn't be more different, physically, in kinship, in culture, in everything that distinguished them they found the connection beyond it all.An arranged marriage.An alliance between two kingdoms. Arranged marriages were the fate of nearly all aristocratic Gauri women, each one made for power, for trade, for good of country. Ildiko. A young Gauri royal member set of to become a wife to a KAI prince. She's become a duchess, a Kai hercegese. BUT her position as a spare will remain the same.BrishenA KAI Prince, a younger son. He never imagined an arranged marriage with a human woman to seal a war and trade alliance between Bast-Hardis and Gaur. what started off as an obligation - where both parties find the other hideous and ugly,The physical differences between human and Kai were obvious and in some ways, extreme...her acceptance helped her look beyond his startling appearance to the man himself. She'd held tight to that philosophy: see past the surface to the tides below.they have to adjust and learn about each other, their cultures, traditions, different and unique way od conduct "We're growing used to each other. My kin will grow used to you and you to them as well." the interactions between Ildiko and Brishen are based on mutual acceptance that goes beyond the appearance The contrast of gray skin and black nails against hers emphasized their physical differences, yet sorrow was sorrow.Dreadful in appearance, lethal in combat, Brishen was all that was cordiality and dignified royalty in every interaction with her. expanded into a keenship and a sense of acceptance that went deep even if the outside features spoke against it, She was ugly; she was beautiful, and she was his. "My Ildiko." then friendship, "..I think we all seek companionship, wife. Sometimes it's physical; sometimes it's much more....Loneliness is an empty void. We look for that friend in the light....Will you be that for me, Ildiko? That beacon in the void?" then comfort and understanding Something flared between them, a sense of camaraderie, of belonging.While Brishen didn't find her beautiful, it was obvious to him the Gauri men did. Still, he didn't regret this union. Ildiko was unique and witty, and he enjoyed her company.An intuitive sense of the vibrant soul and great heart that lay behind the ugly exterior? only to be revealed as a deep mutual loving and compassion. "I will conquer kingdoms for you if you but ask it of me, Ildiko." they share a mutual admiration for each other that grows each step of their destined way together and that admiration runs deep... While Ildiko had the heart of a warrior, she was untrained, untried, and unprepared to fend off an attack from a determined assasin. He'd lay down his life for her, protect her with sword and axe, teeth and claws if necessary. even when they are trialed by their differences in a constant battle of doubts, trials and fails, the fact that they have grown into each other seeking comfort and a sense of belonging can't escape them... "I'm not human, wife.""But you're still mine, husband." so when the boundaries of friendship and comfort turn into the desire interwoven inside of them from the most honest and purest of places, the want and the need is undeniable... "I am no poet possessing honeyed words...but you have always known me to be forthright with you.""I want you, Ildiko. Want to sink so deep into you that neither of us will know where one ends and the other begins." "What is it, Ildiko? What do you see?""My beautiful husband. I see radiance." "What will I teach you?""Patience. Endurace.Ecstasy. His need for her ran like molten streams just under his skin BUT just when they found each other within each other, the malice doesn't sleep, there are devious plans forged in front of their eyes, in their presence...just to unleash the danger that would destroy them all...Simply phenomenal story, captivating characters...I am eager to continue with Brishen and Ildiko's story as they are about to encounter another task to dwell upon, survive and find each other all over again...in the chaos and mess of an unleashed dread...BR with milady Denisespecial thanks to Kazy who generously pointed out this book to me...
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  • Bex (Beckie Bookworm)
    January 1, 1970
    “I’m not human, wife,” he whispered into the darkness. Shock rounded his eyes at Ildiko’s response, slurred with sleep and nearly incoherent. “But you’re still mine, husband.”.So this is a reread, I absolutely devoured this duet first time around so a reread was always on the cards with this one.Sometimes a second going through can be disappointing and doesn't have the same original impact.Well, I am so pleased to say that was not the case here, I bloody devoured and adored this just as much thi “I’m not human, wife,” he whispered into the darkness. Shock rounded his eyes at Ildiko’s response, slurred with sleep and nearly incoherent. “But you’re still mine, husband.”.So this is a reread, I absolutely devoured this duet first time around so a reread was always on the cards with this one.Sometimes a second going through can be disappointing and doesn't have the same original impact.Well, I am so pleased to say that was not the case here, I bloody devoured and adored this just as much this time around.This is up there with my favourite reads of all time a beautiful love story that resonates with such care and adoration, love and acceptance.I could actually feel the emotion resounding off the page at me.I also adored the lyrical quality that ran through the narrative here it's one of my favourite aspects of this book, the language here used is just so descriptive and charming in its deliverance.Theirs was an agreement based on the beginnings of friendship, respect and an intuitive understanding of each other that still left him slack-jawed with amazement. He refused to taint that accord by inviting vulgar conjecture.So this is most definitely a fantasy novel one set in a fictional universe but if you like historical fiction this really did have a medieval feel to the whole story.If it wasn't for the Kai themselves and the magic this could have been any arranged marriage back in the days of old.The setting, the weaponry the day to life this very much had that flavour about it.The premise here is simple an arranged marriage between two separate royal households to cement an alliance and as a gesture of good faith.But in this case, we actually have two separate species: Ildiko is human and all that entails and Brishen is Kai not so much.Brishen has grey skin, unmoving yellow eyes long claws that can slash his enemies to ribbons and scarily sharp teeth with fangs.He moves by night: Ildiko by day opposite ends of the spectrum.“Woman of day,” he said slowly. “You mean everything to me.” No amount of blinking this time held back Ildiko’s tears. They streamed down her cheeks to drip off her chin and onto Brishen’s shoulder. “Prince of night,” she said in a watery voice that echoed another moment when she’d greeted him with the same words. “You’ve come back to me.”Ildiko and Brishen where do I start, I loved these two Lovers from such different cultures both open-minded and willing to bridge the gap between two very different species the humans and the kai, loved seeing these two very different people fall for each other their personality's and character shone through, both managing to find the beauty in each other's differences it was wonderful to be an observer in there melding of hearts.This is not a high angst tale and I really did appreciate the simplicity of there connection.That's not to say nothing happens here, there is plenty of action but it's mostly confined to what's going on around our newlyweds.I don't really want to give to much away within the storyline but there was definitely enough here to keep me turning the pages and also go back for a second read.I only re-read books again that have touched me in some special way and this is one of those times.I really can't wait to read the next book after that fantastic finale.Funnily enough, I myself have my own kai at home my 11-year-old son no sharp teeth and claws on him through.Give this book a chance it really is one I recommend highly.Reviewed By Beckie Bookwormhttps://www.facebook.com/beckiebookworm/www.beckiebookworm.com
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  • Anna (Bobs Her Hair)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars Ildiko brushed a feathery strand of his hair away from his eyes. "He pleases me greatly. This handsomest of eels." His cheekbones angled sharply under her palms. "So says this hag.""Who is most beautiful in the darkness." Brishen kissed her then.... It's so hard for me to find good fantasy romances that I can enjoy. What I loved about "Radiance" is Draven's natural voice. She packs so much into this short novel while constructing an interesting world without it being complicated. The h 4.5 stars Ildiko brushed a feathery strand of his hair away from his eyes. "He pleases me greatly. This handsomest of eels." His cheekbones angled sharply under her palms. "So says this hag.""Who is most beautiful in the darkness." Brishen kissed her then.... It's so hard for me to find good fantasy romances that I can enjoy. What I loved about "Radiance" is Draven's natural voice. She packs so much into this short novel while constructing an interesting world without it being complicated. The hero and heroine also do something unusual. They begin as friends, displaying a mutual respect for one another. Their relationship steadily evolves into something more. They play the game of court politics; out-maneuvering their opponents. And I must say Ildiko's monster-in-law was a formidable player. The tension crackled when she was on the pages! My favorite parts are the scenes showing their physical and cultural difference. Both Brishen and Ildika are very attractive people...within their own race. No matter that each considers the other ugly this is becomes a moot issue. I loved how their perceptions altered! And I loved how Draven made eyes a humorous issue. After dabating on whether to round up or down, I've come to the conclusion that this story packs so much I had to go up. "Radiance" left me wanting more of this world. I continue to go back and re-read certain scenes. I see how this novel could have ended with a happy ending (mother-in-laws not included), yet I'm glad Draven left it open.
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  • Deborah Obida
    January 1, 1970
    Buddy reading with Kiah, my March Tbr twin.After more than one week of proscastinating this review, am finally writing one, a short one. Well this book wasn't what I expected at all, don't get me wrong it was a fun read and I really enjoyed the romance. In fact the romance is the only thing I liked in this book, the politics was kind of meh to me.The world building is average, it was neither great nor bad, just okay. The characters are amazing, but like most dual romance POV, their thought revol Buddy reading with Kiah, my March Tbr twin.After more than one week of proscastinating this review, am finally writing one, a short one. Well this book wasn't what I expected at all, don't get me wrong it was a fun read and I really enjoyed the romance. In fact the romance is the only thing I liked in this book, the politics was kind of meh to me.The world building is average, it was neither great nor bad, just okay. The characters are amazing, but like most dual romance POV, their thought revolve around each other 80% of the time, I would have loved if other characters was more involved in this.I really liked that the author didn't make the couple fight all through the book, like it happens in most arranged marriages, instead they seek to understand and get to know each other, which is the mature thing to do.Despite all this am not sure I'll be continuing this series, I liked the way it ended, before the epilogue though, I just don't care about the politics or the coming war.
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  • Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestI read this book for the Unapologetic Romance Readers' New Years 2017 Reading Challenge. For more info about what this is, click here.We read this as part of a monthly "theme read" in my romance book group. The subject was slow-burn romances. I love slow-burn romances, when it's done well, that is, and when I saw that this was a fantasy romance, I was even more excited. More so, because most of my friends loved it, and one of them compared Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestI read this book for the Unapologetic Romance Readers' New Years 2017 Reading Challenge. For more info about what this is, click here.We read this as part of a monthly "theme read" in my romance book group. The subject was slow-burn romances. I love slow-burn romances, when it's done well, that is, and when I saw that this was a fantasy romance, I was even more excited. More so, because most of my friends loved it, and one of them compared the author to R. Lee Smith.Don't be thinking that this is alien-smut, though. For most of the book, it's actually quite chaste. Ildiko is a "Gauri" human woman and Brishen is a "Kai" man (something I imagined as being like a "dark elf"). The two are lesser nobility, and are being married to forge an alliance between their kingdoms.They actually meet first in a garden, and both are charmed by each other despite the animosity between their two races. They're delighted, then, when it turns out later that the "stranger" they each had met is actually their husband/wife-to-be, respectively. Even though neither finds the other attractive (though both are considered the ideal form of beauty for their own race but ugly to each other's races), they know that they've got a good deal, and appreciate one another's humor and kindness.The best thing about RADIANCE, for me, is that it's about two very kind, humorous, nice people falling in love with one another not because of their looks but because of their deeds. The relationship that develops between them is at first amicable and platonic. When Ildiko goes to court with Brishen, he's impressed by her bravery and her determination to conform to his people's ways, and in return attempts to help her get through the worst ordeals (like eating scarpatine pie - picture a chicken pot pie, only made with giant scorpions instead of chicken, and the scorpion is still alive). Draven also portrays culture shock well, with both characters feeling lonely and frustrated with their faux pas.What killed this book a bit for me was the last 10% when something sad happens. I think that probably put some people off the book - especially those who like super happy, picture perfect endings. It didn't bother me as much, but it was enough to put a damper on my previously untempered joy. One of the people in the romance group also pointed out that the epilogue will confuse you if you don't want to read the sequel, as it doesn't really add anything to the story (which ends on an HEA note) and is pretty much solely intended to set up the sequel.I really enjoyed RADIANCE, though. The characters and the writing were great, and for a story where pretty much nothing happens except for the characters interacting with each other - this is largely a character-driven piece - the world and the characters are developed enough that it was still a interesting read. Anyone who is tired of romance novels where the characters act like assholes to one another should pick up RADIANCE. 4 stars!
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  • Gergana
    January 1, 1970
    FINALLY! A Romance that doesn't make me cringe, gag, roll my eyes or giggle at the absurdity of it all! A Romance that begins with platonic relationship and gradually develops into something beautiful and deeper! Although Radiance doesn't make it into my list of "Favorites", it definitely deserves all of my 5 stars! Why? Because it's one of the very few books in this genre out there that focuses on building the emotional connection between the two characters way before they even consider physica FINALLY! A Romance that doesn't make me cringe, gag, roll my eyes or giggle at the absurdity of it all! A Romance that begins with platonic relationship and gradually develops into something beautiful and deeper! Although Radiance doesn't make it into my list of "Favorites", it definitely deserves all of my 5 stars! Why? Because it's one of the very few books in this genre out there that focuses on building the emotional connection between the two characters way before they even consider physical attraction. Maybe I haven't read enough Romance books to make such a statement to begin with, maybe your taste for Romance is different from mine, maybe I've been too tired of reading books where the male lead is mean, manipulative and abusive towards the heroine, but I don't care! I give Miss Draven two thumbs up for giving me something unique and wonderful! Let me tell you how different Radiance is from all the Romance books I've read so far.✦A PLOT! There is one.✦Two characters that, at first, find each other despicably ugly, but are impressed with each other's personality.✦A Male lead who is NOT: -overly protective, -overly controlling, -overly jealous, -overly too good-to-be-true and so on.(Meaning, he doesn't suffer from low self-esteem, mood-swings, narcissism or anger-management issues)✦A Female lead who DOES NOT: -constantly depend on her man, -believe (and actually IS) hated by most female side characters with no reason at all and does nothing to remedy this. -mindlessly jealous -envious of prettier women -wait for someone else to fix the world's problem(Meaning, she is a well rounded, mature, intelligent and self-possessed woman). ✦Pacing - story never drags! ✦Secondary characters that are just as interesting.Conclusion:Will I read the next book? Yes!Will I reread this book? Probably not. Like I said, I was pleasantly surprised, but Romance really isn't my thing to begin with. Although Radiance was a mix between Romance and Fantasy, I need even more action, world-building and excitement from my books.Will I recommend to friends? Sure thing! If you feel like having a break from all the alpha-male fictional characters out there, give this one a go.Will I buy the Hard-Cover/Paper-back? Hmmmmmmm...I don't know. The Cover IS really beautiful and I wouldn't mind having it on my shelf. But since I'm not planning on rereading, I'll wait for now.
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  • Gavin
    January 1, 1970
    This was an enjoyable fantasy romance. The pace was fairly sedate and for the most part pretty light hearted. Brisen and Ildiko are "spares" in their respective families royal lines. A marriage is arranged between the pair as a way to seal the alliance between the kingdoms of the Kai and Gauri. The alliance is needed for both in order to keep their warmongering neighbours the Beladine at bay. The problem is that the Kai are not human! The Kai and the humans have subtle, but glaring differences i This was an enjoyable fantasy romance. The pace was fairly sedate and for the most part pretty light hearted. Brisen and Ildiko are "spares" in their respective families royal lines. A marriage is arranged between the pair as a way to seal the alliance between the kingdoms of the Kai and Gauri. The alliance is needed for both in order to keep their warmongering neighbours the Beladine at bay. The problem is that the Kai are not human! The Kai and the humans have subtle, but glaring differences in appearance that result in the majority of each race finding the other repellent or scary or both. I liked both Brishen and Ildiko as characters and they made a great couple. I loved the slow burn nature of the romance. They liked each other as friends at first and grew over time to love and desire each other.Outside of the romance not a ton happened, but there was hints of political strife and some interesting magical happenings. This aspect of the story was more interesting than super engaging. All in all I enjoyed this book without being fully engaged by the story. Rating: 3.5 stars. Audio Note: Gabrielle Baker did an acceptable job, but nothing more. She had an irritating lisp and her cadence was a bit weird at times. She did do a decent job with the characters voices.
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  • ♡Karlyn P♡
    January 1, 1970
    So far this is fantastic! In true Grace Draven style, it has me sucked in completely. I can't wait for the rest of the story!Radiance is a serialized fantasy romance rich with world building, great characters and her trade-mark humor. Chapter 1 - Feb 23rd Chapter 2 - March 3rd Chapter 3 - March 10th Chapter 4 - March 17th Chapter 5 - March 24th Chapter 6 - March 31st Chapter 7 - April 6th Chapter 8 - April 14th
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  • Svetlana
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 ~ a good read. the ending creeped me out so I might read the sequel
  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Just wow. I'm so glad that Kaynan urged me to read this RIGHT NOW. This is an incredibly good book, and I had a really hard time putting it down to deal with (very necessary) tasks, like: getting kids ready for school, helping with homework, making dinner, bedtime routines, and playing with the kids...Oops.The very best part of this book is the two main characters, Brishen and Ildiko (how the hell do you pronounce her name?? Every time I see it in the text I took 5 seconds to try to reason Wow. Just wow. I'm so glad that Kaynan urged me to read this RIGHT NOW. This is an incredibly good book, and I had a really hard time putting it down to deal with (very necessary) tasks, like: getting kids ready for school, helping with homework, making dinner, bedtime routines, and playing with the kids...Oops.The very best part of this book is the two main characters, Brishen and Ildiko (how the hell do you pronounce her name?? Every time I see it in the text I took 5 seconds to try to reason it out before moving on. I'm quite sure I'm saying it wrong in my head).Brishen is the spare prince of the Kai. Ildiko is the niece of the Gauri king. Both are unimportant in their respective kingdoms. Left aside to be used as pawns in some negotiation or another. A negotiation, it turns out, that finds them wed to each other.I don't think there's anything particularly spectacular about either character alone. They're both nice, kind, honorable people. They face life rather than bemoaning their circumstances. They don't take their frustrations out on those that are undeserving of them, and the genuinely try to be good. In fact, it's kind of hard to find a flaw with either of them. But that's okay. Because the true love that I have here is them together. Together, Brishen and Ildiko are amazing. They are one-hundred-percent honest with each other. Their love is built on friendship and mutual care and respect, not attraction and the desire to have sex at every other turn. They learn each other, they are honest with each other, and - to start - they find each other hideous. "You find me ugly, don't you?"Brishen had faced abominations on the battlefield without flinching, leapt into the thick of the fighting against creatures born from the nightmares of lesser demons. Not once had he been tempted to run away in fear. Now, his leg muscles rippled with the urge to flee. He clenched his teeth instead, prayed he wouldn't start a war with their newest ally and answered honestly."Hideous," he said. "A hag of a woman."Another peal of laughter met his words. Brishen wilted, relieved she took no insult in him so bluntly validating her assumption. He didn't even know her name, but he liked her and didn't wish to hurt her. Assured she wasn't planning to flounce off and send a pack of offended relatives after him, he turned the same question on her."And you," he said. "You don't think me a handsome man?"She shrugged. "I've only seen your hands and eyes. For all I know, you're hiding the face of a sun spirit in that hood."Brishen scoffed at the idea. "Hardly." He'd never lacked female company, and his people thought him well-favored. Certainly nothing as wretched as a sun spirit. He slid the hood back to his shoulders.The woman's eyes rounded. She inhaled a harsh breath and clasped one hand to her chest. Her mollusk skin went a far more attractive shade of ash. She remained silent and stared at him until he raised a hand in question. "Well?"She exhaled slowly. The space between her eyebrows stitched into a single vertical frown line. "Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father's mace." How could I *not* love them after that meet-cute??Because their marriage is to secure and alliance there's obviously some other machinations going on in the book, but really this is the story about Brishen and Ildiko growing to love each other. Two outcasts that find true love and companionship in each other. The slow burn of their budding relationship was so refreshing. Without attraction and sexual desire mucking up the works, they form their relationship organically - on friendship and respect. Who'd have thought that could work so well? Don't get me wrong, I love the attraction and sexual tension as much as anyone (and you get some of that here too, don't worry), but can't there be a time and place? Can't our characters have something more to fall back on than ... well, their backs?This book says, emphatically, YES!I said that this is really the story of Brishen and Ildiko's falling in love, and that's probably where my only real complaint lies, too. I love their story. A LOT. But I do wish that we'd gotten more of the world, more of the threatening war, more of the politics, more of the cultures of both peoples. And then we get to the ending. After such a sweet moment between our heroes, that epilogue hit me over the head and shocked the hell out of me! What? Where did that come from?? Things just got real!I NEED to see what happens next. Eidolon, please. Gimme.
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  • Roshani Chokshi
    January 1, 1970
    HEART EMOJIS. Immersive, sweet, and a sensitive portrayal of how love breaks down boundaries of perception. Bonus points for the fact that this has a marriage of convenience trope. Legit my FAVORITE thing.
  • Sheharzad ⚘
    January 1, 1970
    alright alrig ht A L R I G H T*throws Radiance at you* READ THIS BOOKI am at such a loss for words?? Lord help me with this review because this book was MADE for me. Do you know how long I've been waiting to read this? 2 years BUT IT FELT LIKE 1000000000000000 YEARSI've been waiting to get my hands on this beauty for so long and it did not disappoint, my friend, because:- The characters? So pure and perfect. - The romance? Took the meaning of 'slow burn' to a whole new level and it was glorious. alright alrig ht A L R I G H T*throws Radiance at you* READ THIS BOOKI am at such a loss for words?? Lord help me with this review because this book was MADE for me. Do you know how long I've been waiting to read this? 2 years BUT IT FELT LIKE 1000000000000000 YEARSI've been waiting to get my hands on this beauty for so long and it did not disappoint, my friend, because:- The characters? So pure and perfect. - The romance? Took the meaning of 'slow burn' to a whole new level and it was glorious.- The plot? Could've been there more but I am not complaining because this. was. freaking. delightful.- The ending? Dude. MY HEEEAARRRTTTTT IT'S DEAD ON THE FLOOR IN FRONT OF ME, A SHATTERED, FEELS-FILLED RED MESSBut all that will be explained soon. But first, a summary:This beautiful tale is about two people, Ildiko, a human (like you and I, ofc), and Brishen, a Kai (people with grey skin, fangs, yellow eyes, and black claws but similar to humans!), who are arranged to marry one another for a political agreement. Both are of no value to their respective kingdoms, Gaur and Bast-Haradis, so when unexpected trouble finds the couple, both find sanctuary at Brishen's fortress, Saggara. Despite being repulsed by each other's appearance, Ildiko and Brishen learn to see past one another's exterior to make the best of their new relationship. In addition to the hurdles of developing a relationship, political forces work to destroy the new allegiance. Ildiko and Brishen must fight for themselves and their people as threats become very real and danger becomes abundant. I feel like the best way to talk about this beauty is in a list so I PRESENT THEE THE INFAMOUS LIST OF THINGS™:- Ildiko: ya'll. She. Is. So. Damn. Amazing. She's a strong-headed, direct, loving, and rational woman. She knows how to handle herself. She can outwit the snarkiest of assholes. She's complete shit at all things martial but man can she stand her ground. I loved her character from page 1!!! I understood her character super quick and loved her throughout the entire book ❤ what a woman- Brishen: UUUUGGHH SOMEONE GIVE ME BRISHEN!!! Respectful, confident, intelligent, and badass af, this Kai warrior-prince is just. perfect. He's a beautiful, easy-going gentleman with not a single bad bone in his body and he's the teensiest bit insecure about his looks around Ildiko (view spoiler)[especially after introducing her to Serovek and that whole ordeal of losing his eye (hide spoiler)] but he's totally got it under control and it doesn't define him. AND HE'S JUST SO RESPECTFUL OH MY GOD. He's never overbearing, controlling, or any of that shit and ugh he's such a gentleman I love love love him!- Anhuset: ahhhh!!! What a ruthless, take-no-shit, general! Although she's a secondary character to the leads Ildiko and Brishen, I was invested in her. I cared about her story, her opinions, and why she is the way she is. She wasn't just a filler character, no, sir, nope. DIMENSION. BACKGROUND. PURPOSE. Her character had it all! Her unfaltering loyalty to Brishen? Goals. She's his cousin but is more of an older sister. SHE'S SO BADASS AND DOESN'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT SYMPATHY (view spoiler)[ie. when Brishen was training with her after being tortured (hide spoiler)] like yeess, sweetie, you're doing amazing- Serovek: alright kids sit the fuck down and listen to me. I love this man. Okay? I. Love. Him. He's basically the human version of Brishen but a lot more flirty and ruthless and it's amazing. He's loyal, gorgeous, confident, and a fine warrior with easy humour and all this obv makes Serovek the glorious Bae™ he is. He, too, had dimension, background, and purpose and I was all for it. Anhuset and Serovek? This ship has sailed into the freaking horizon with all its banter, badassery, and sexual tension. Anhuset & Serovek man. Have you ever heard of more ruthless ship? I think not. I NEED THEM TO BE TOGETHER OK THEY'RE SO PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER.- sooooo despite the wonderful cast of characters, the plot was, I admit, a bit slow. I wasn't bored or anything but not much was happening in some chapters. Overall, I read Radiance as a journey of a relationship: how it develops, how the characters face challenges together, in what way do both individuals change/grow, etc. So by reading it in that manner, I wasn't bored nor did I find it tedious- oh and Brishen's mother, whose this youthful queen bitch named Secmis, needs to be freaking skinned. actually #theworst - idk if it was just the edition I read (I borrowed an ebook from my public library) but there were a handful of grammatical errors. I was a little shook when I found how many there were but it didn't distract me too much from the story - the pacing of the book was interesting. Again, I was a little surprised that we seemed to be jumping days, weeks, even months but the gaps were filled, as in what had happened in those days, weeks, and/or months was explained. Dunno, the time jumps happened kind of quick for me but I got used to it by midway-ish through the book.- that being said, the slow burn romance made sense. Let's talk about appearances. It's a bit difficult looking at Ildiko and Brishen through the other person's eyes because I found myself feeling what Brishen or Ildiko felt when they looked at the other's mollusc-pink skin and pupils or fangs and yellow eyes. Their disgust was hilarious! The fear! The teasing! The acceptance! Ahh, that was definitely pleasing to read about.- oh my god the amount of pain my favs had to go through!!!! @ all the assholes in the book: JUST LEAVE THEM ALONE! LET THEM LIVE IN PEACE IN SAGGARA!! WHYYY MUST THE WORLD TURN AGAINST THESE PRECIOUS CINNAMON ROLLS?! my heart fucking broke! - I CRIED ANGRY TEARS, FEARFUL TEARS, ANGUISHED TEARS- I LAUGHED SO HARD I ALMOST CHOKED - I. FELT. SO. MUCH. The reason why I'm giving this a 5 star despite the itty bitty shortcomings is that this filled me with joy. It was sweet, beautiful, transformative, and a heartwarming and heart-wrenching journey so obviously this deserved all the stars in the world ❤❤❤ "Woman of day," he said slowly. "You mean everything to me.""Prince of night," she said in a watery voice that echoed another moment when she'd greeted him with the same words. "You've come back to me."
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  • Jacqueline's Reads
    January 1, 1970
    5 say what starsRadiance had a ton of raving reviews and I’ll be honest the cover? I had this on my list of books to read for a long time and I decided to tackle it.From the first page, I loved this book. It was 100% romantic with a good slow burn and low angst. It was my perfect read. I loved that it was different and it totally put me in that lovey mood.Ildiko is human and Brishen is not. I’m not sure what Brishen is, but he has gray skin, black hair, yellow eyes and long claws. I know, work w 5 say what starsRadiance had a ton of raving reviews and I’ll be honest the cover? I had this on my list of books to read for a long time and I decided to tackle it.From the first page, I loved this book. It was 100% romantic with a good slow burn and low angst. It was my perfect read. I loved that it was different and it totally put me in that lovey mood.Ildiko is human and Brishen is not. I’m not sure what Brishen is, but he has gray skin, black hair, yellow eyes and long claws. I know, work with me. I love that he’s different. In this world there are different species. Brishen and Ildiko are going to get married, but they don’t know each other.What I love about this book is that there are no filler pages and boring parts. When you start the book, Brishen and Ildiko are almost married. I love that. What I also love is that this is a friends to lover romance with mild angst. Radiance sucked me up within the first page and I couldn’t put it down. As I was reading it, I was kicking myself in the butt for not reading it sooner. I was just consumed by this book and the romance is unbeatable. It has a slow burn like no other, but it’s so good. Overall, if you want something different and you want a top notch romance, then book is for you.
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  • Denisa
    January 1, 1970
    This book felt something like thisI absolutely loved it! It was exactly what I needed right now.It felt a lot like a fantasy, it had a pretty interesting world builder (although of course, the focus was the romance) and the plot was so much more interesting than I expected. I absolutely loved the names (except Ildiko, that one sounded strange in my mind), think it's one of the few times when I actually thing "wow, this name sounds so damn good!". Still, what I appreciated the most was the story. This book felt something like thisI absolutely loved it! It was exactly what I needed right now.It felt a lot like a fantasy, it had a pretty interesting world builder (although of course, the focus was the romance) and the plot was so much more interesting than I expected. I absolutely loved the names (except Ildiko, that one sounded strange in my mind), think it's one of the few times when I actually thing "wow, this name sounds so damn good!". Still, what I appreciated the most was the story. The writing was great, so it didn't feel like a long book (although I see why people said that) and the plot made it an absolutely brilliant romance/fantasy/whatever. It even had some politics and wars in it! And well, you all know I kind of like my blood with my romance...Great book, I'd recommend it to anyone who's in the mood for a different kind of romance book.
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