Song of the Samodiva (Annika Brisby: Book 5) by Emigh Cannaday

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Publisher: Black Feather Publishing

Date of publication: March 29th, 2022

Series: Annika Brisby

The Flame and the Arrow—Book 1 (review here)

The Silver Thread—Book 2 (review here)

The Scarlet Tanager—Book 3 (review here)

The Darkest of Dreams—Book 4 (review here)

Song of the Samodiva—Book 5

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Fae

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

What do you call an assassin who’s had a change of heart?
A coward?
A hero?
Or Talvi Marinossian?

Just when Annika thought she and Talvi were headed off into the sunset of marital bliss, duty calls. Pushed to the limits of his moral code, Talvi must choose between the empire he serves and the woman he loves.

But first, a detour…straight into the half-demon heart of enemy territory, where Talvi enters into a perilous arrangement with the ruler of the largest kingdom in the Ellunian Empire—

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Fallon Blackwood

Sacred Son of Sinaryos

Admiral of the Royal Sinaryan Navy

Keeper of the Chimeras

And through his ancient bloodline, a direct descendant of the first demonborn dark elves.

In other words, he’s not someone you want to let down.

In no uncertain terms, Prince Fallon warns Talvi that if he can’t keep his end of the bargain, he won’t be the one who suffers the most. Taking her husband’s advice to “just be her charming self,” Annika must do everything she can to survive her stay at Blackwood Castle. Faced with deadly chimeras, a sadistic prince on the prowl, and a court whose opinion of her changes like the tides, it might take more than the song of a samodiva to win them over.

For Talvi and Annika, the stakes have never been higher.

* This final installment of the Annika Brisby series contains darker content than previous books.


First Line:

Talvi Marinossian felt a small swell of nausea rising and falling in harmony with the waves that lapped at the wooden dock below his feet

Song of the Samodiva by Emigh Cannaday

I was so excited when the author announced that there would be a book 5 in the Annika Brisby series. I was even more excited when I saw that Talvi and Annika would finally be together again. Then, my heart sunk because the author announced that she was ending this series. So, when the author sent out advanced reader copies to her team, there was zero hesitation on my end to read this book. I am happy that I did because this was probably the BEST book in this series.

Song of the Samodiva is the fifth book in the Annika Brisby series. You cannot read this book as a standalone. You need to start at book one to understand any relationships (except for Fallon and Novi’s) and backstories. You will be confused if you start with this book. The relationships and backstories are so intertwined that starting the series at book five will turn you off. So consider yourself warned!!

I am going to put a trigger warning up. If you have been following my blog for any time, you know that I only put trigger warnings up if I feel it needs it. Song of the Samodiva needs it. The triggers are attempted rape, rape with fingers (I wasn’t sure how to word that), kidnapping, alcohol use, drug use, and PTSD. If any of these triggers you, I strongly suggest not reading Song of the Samodiva.

Song of the Samodiva starts shortly after the events of The Darkest of Dreams. Talvi and Annika are on their way to the kingdom of Sinaryos to talk to Crown Prince Fallon. They have news that might be of interest to him. The only thing is that Fallon and Talvi are from rival kingdoms, and they DO NOT trust or like each other. The news that Talvi is so eager to tell Fallon: Dillion, the true Crown Prince, is alive and being held in the same prison that Talvi had just been released from. Fallon sends Talvi to break Dillion out of jail with a group of his subjects. To ensure that he comes back, Fallon holds Annika hostage. While Talvi is off on his mission, Annika tries her best to stay out of trouble. But trouble seems to find Annika, and it finds her in a big way. Or will she end up paying for both her and Talvi’s mistakes? And more importantly, can Talvi bring Dillion home?

It took me a minute to realize that the author brought together the characters from the Novi Navarro series and the Annika Brisby series. The way she brought them together was fantastic, and I was so happy to see Novi and Fallon together and happy. I also realized that Annika needed Novi’s perspective (along with a couple of other characters) to unravel the prophecy given at Talvi’s birth. I was super excited when it was finally revealed, and I can’t wait to see what future Novi Navarro books will do with it.

I loved how the author wrote Annika’s character for this book. She was funny, sweet, and strong when she needed to be. She walked a wire-thin line in Fallon’s court, and she did it with grace. It helped that she could sing and play the guitar like no one’s business. I did worry for her after the events at the theater. Let’s say that I thought that her and Talvi’s love story would never get the second chance that it needed.

Talvi wasn’t around for a good part of the book. After he told Fallon about Dillion, he was shipped out to rescue him with many Sinaryans’ who hated him. There was a point in the book where I wondered if he was coming back.

The plotline with Annika, Novi, and Fallon was wonderfully written. I was taken aback by how attracted Fallon was to Annika UNTIL I realized that she was part samodiva. That race of fae is inherently attractive to any/all fae. So, Fallon’s reaction to Annika (as well as the kiss/blood sharing) was very typical. What wasn’t typical was what Annika did after (not that I blamed her) or her punishment.

The plotline with Talvi and the Sinaryan Navy was just as well written when the focus was on him. I can’t say that I was surprised by what happened once the boat got to prison. I was disappointed but not surprised. Then there was nothing until the end of the book. Nothing was mentioned about any of those people with Talvi getting in trouble. I will go out on a limb and say “Maybe,” but I’m not sure.

There was a subplotline with Heron that didn’t make sense to me. I understood why the author chose to write him in, but I wonder how Heron and the other assassin will tie into the Novi Navarro series if that’s where the author is going.

The sex scenes were just as graphic as in the other books. I wasn’t expecting any less. The sexual tension that was inherent with Annika was woven into every scene.

The end of Song of the Samodiva was interesting. The author left so much open with Fallon and Novi. But she also wrapped up Annika and Talvi’s storyline (and the series) in a way that I loved!!!

I would recommend Song of the Samodiva to anyone over 21. There are the triggers I mentioned above. There is also graphic sex, language, and violence.

WWW Wednesday: May 4th 2022

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

I know it’s been a hot minute since I have done one of these (March 30th, can you believe that!!). So let me catch you up on everything that has been going on:

  • Miss R is having surgery at the beginning of July. She’s getting her adenoids and tonsils out. I just found out today that she doesn’t have to a pre-op COVID test (she hates those).
  • BK, the kids, and I went to MA over Easter break in April. We drove 16 hours to and 14 hours from (the 16 hours is because BK decided he wanted to drive around NYC and point out different shops…sigh. Then we got lost or stuck as BK put it). It was a good time. I got to meet my niece and nephew (1 and 3). I hadn’t met them yet because of, you know, COVID restrictions.
  • Since the mask mandates have gone away in our schools, everyone has been getting sick. Colds have been running rampant in my household. I also got some weird 24-hour stomach flu last weekend.
  • We are preparing to go on vacation in 3 weeks. We’re heading to FL for a week. It should be a blast. We have Legoland waterpark, visiting my sister and my MIL, going to the beach, and just chilling at the resort planned. If we have time, we might hit up Seaworld or Animal Kingdom.
  • I am preparing for end-of-school activities—-which isn’t much this year. Miss B gets out of school, technically, a week earlier than Mr. Z and Miss R. But that’s because she doesn’t have to go to school when she isn’t taking end-of-course or grade testing. Mr. Z isn’t having anything that I am aware of (maybe an award ceremony?). Miss R is having ice cream (or in her case popsicles because she’s lactose intolerant) and playing outside on the last day of school. They usually have a picnic but are not doing it this year because, again, of COVID restrictions.

So, that’s been me, in a nutshell. I can’t promise that I will start doing WWW Wednesdays weekly but I will try!!

As always, please let me know if you have read these books and what you have thought of them


What I Recently Finished Reading:

Extraordinarily tense and deliciously mysterious, Anna Downes’s The Shadow House follows one woman’s desperate journey to protect her children at any cost, in a remote place where not everything is as it seems.

A HOUSE WITH DEADLY SECRETS.

A MOTHER WHO’LL RISK EVERYTHING TO BRING THEM TO LIGHT.


Alex, a single mother-of-two, is determined to make a fresh start for her and her children. In an effort to escape her troubled past, she seeks refuge in a rural community. Pine Ridge is idyllic; the surrounding forests are beautiful and the locals welcoming. Mostly.

But Alex finds that she may have disturbed barely hidden secrets in her new home. As a chain of bizarre events is set off, events eerily familiar to those who have lived there for years, Alex realizes that she and her family might be in greater danger than ever before. And that the only way to protect them all is to confront the shadows lurking in Pine Ridge.

What I am currently reading:

All things must come to an end. For some, it is only the beginning.

What books I think I’ll read next:

Get ready for lost wills, broody dukes, and scorching hot kissing all over London.

Constance Lysander needs a husband. Or, so society says. She’s about to give birth to her late husband’s child―a man who left her with zero money, and two other wives she didn’t know about. Thankfully, she has her Aunt by her side, and the two other wives have become close friends. But still―with a baby on the way, her shipping business to run, and an enemy skulking about, she has no time to find the perfect match.

Enter Jonathan, Earl of Sykeston. Returned war hero and Constance’s childhood best friend, his reentry into society has been harsh. Maligned for an injury he received in the line of duty, Jonathan prefers to stay out of sight. It’s the only way to keep his heart from completely crumbling. But when a missive from Constance requests his presence―to their marriage ceremony―Jonathan is on board. His feelings for Constance run deep, and he’ll do anything to make her happy, though it means risking his already bruised heart.

With Constance, Jonathan, and the new baby all together, it’s clear the wounds―both on the surface and in their relationship―run deep. But when the nights come, their wounds begin to heal, and both come to realize that their marriage of convenience is so much more than just a bargain.
Is he an enemy?

Dillon Young is proud that she inherited her aunt’s ranch. The problem: someone is trying to run her off and is willing to do whatever it takes. Strange, dangerous things keep happening. Dillion suspects her no-good neighbor and fellow wealthy rancher Hank Stephens. Never a man to get his hands dirty, he sends others to get the job done. So, when the irresistible Cal Bennett is found passed out drunk on her property, Dillion is on high alert. Until someone takes a shot at her and Cal springs to her rescue. When the hard-bodied, no-nonsense-talking cowboy points out that she may need some help, Dillion is inclined to reluctantly agree.

Or a lover?

Waking up on a stranger’s property with a shotgun in his face is not Cal Bennett’s idea of a good time. Never mind that the woman on the other end of the barrel is one of the most fiercely beautiful women he has ever seen. Things get more interesting when he finds himself shielding her from flying bullets. It’s clear that this smart, savvy woman could use a hand and he is all too happy to lend any part of his body she requires. His proposal: pose as lovers until they find out who is after her ranch. As the danger rises and secrets are revealed, the passion explodes between them. There is no turning back.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of That Summer comes another heartfelt and unputdownable novel of family, secrets, and the ties that bind.

When her twenty-two-year-old stepdaughter announces her engagement to her pandemic boyfriend, Sarah Danhauser is shocked. But the wheels are in motion. Headstrong Ruby has already set a date (just three months away!) and spoken to her beloved safta, Sarah’s mother Veronica, about having the wedding at the family’s beach house on Cape Cod. Sarah might be worried, but Veronica is thrilled to be bringing the family together one last time before putting the big house on the market.

But the road to a wedding day usually comes with a few bumps. Ruby has always known exactly what she wants, but as the wedding date approaches, she finds herself grappling with the wounds left by the mother who walked out when she was a baby. Veronica ends up facing unexpected news, thanks to her meddling sister, and must revisit the choices she made long ago, when she was a bestselling novelist with a different life. Sarah’s twin brother, Sam, is recovering from a terrible loss, and confronting big questions about who he is—questions he hopes to resolve during his stay on the Cape. Sarah’s husband, Eli, who’s been inexplicably distant during the pandemic, confronts the consequences of a long ago lapse from his typical good-guy behavior. And Sarah, frustrated by her husband, concerned about her stepdaughter, and worn out by challenges of life during quarantine, faces the alluring reappearance of someone from her past and a life that could have been.

When the wedding day arrives, lovers are revealed as their true selves, misunderstandings take on a life of their own, and secrets come to light. There are confrontations and revelations that will touch each member of the extended family, ensuring that nothing will ever be the same.

From “the undisputed boss of the beach read” (The New York Times), The Summer Place is a testament to family in all its messy glory; a story about what we sacrifice and how we forgive. Enthralling, witty, big-hearted, and sharply observed, this is Jennifer Weiner’s love letter to the Outer Cape and the power of home, the way our lives are enriched by the people we call family, and the endless ways love
can surprise us.
Sworn by Oath
Kagen Vale is the trusted and feared captain of the palace guard, charged with protecting the royal children of the Silver Empire. But one night, Kagen is drugged and the entire imperial family is killed, leaving the empire in ruins.

Abandoned by the Gods
Haunted and broken, Kagen is abandoned by his gods and damned forever. He becomes a wanderer, trying to take down as many of these
enemies as possible while plotting to assassinate the usurper–the deadly Witch-king of Hakkia. While all around him magic–long banished from the world—returns in strange and terrifying ways.

Fueled by Rage
To find the royal children and exact his vengeance, Kagen must venture into strange lands, battle bizarre and terrifying creatures, and gather allies for a suicide mission into the heart of the Witch-king’s empire.

Kings and gods will fear him.

Kagen the Damned

Stocking the Shelves: March 13th through March 36th 2022

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Welcome to Stocking the Shelves. Every Saturday, I will be posting what books I got this week. Stocking the Shelves is hosted by Reading Reality. So, here is my list. Let me know if you have read any of these and what you thought!!


Indie Authors/Publishers:

All things must come to an end. For some, it is only the beginning.

Full blurb coming soon!

NetGalley:

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