A Curse Awakened is a wee story set before the Weird Girls series by Cecy Robson begins. It is number 0.4 in the series. It is that because there is already a prequel novella out there, introducing us to the four sisters and their unusual powers. This novella shows us how they came about their powers. Well, some of them anyways.
One of my favorite things about these characters is how they are strong yet still quite vulnerable and innocent. In the full-length books they are fairly new to their abilities and that is quadrupled in this novella. In this book, they have powers but not nearly all of them. We are finding out how they gain access to all they can do. I found this to be very interesting. It was nice to see the dawn of who these girls are today, if I can say it that way.
Since this is a Weird Girls book, there is, of course, tons of action. I have to admit that I giggled quite a bit near the end of the first fight scene in this book. The girls are just too cute in their innocence! The fact that they are a little awkward and klutzy helps the humor. It’s nice to see truly how far they have come from this novella to the third full length book. And it’s made me even more excited to read the fourth book, A Cursed Bloodline, available November 18th 2014. Cecy is also good at including at least one “oh my goodness I can’t believe that just happened…and out of nowhere!” moments in her stories and this is no exception. It’s a good one.
If you are a fan of this series, then I definitely recommend you read A Curse Awakened. It ties into the series very well. If you have not read any of these books, I would almost start with either the #0.5 novella or the first full-length book and save this novella for a bit into the series. I just find it means more after reading some of the hardships the girls have had to endure. It puts things even more into perspective.
The Weird Girls series is fun, funny, gripping and exciting. Definitely a series urban fantasy fans need to try.(less)
Rock Addiction is the first book in a new contemporary romance rock star series by Nalini Singh. First off, I have to say that this series was introduced as a new adult series but there is no way that is NA. The heroine is 24. The hero is 29. There is sex in this book. Lots of it. It’s good and hot and well written, but there is a lot. I once read that romance books have about 3 sex scenes in them and erotica books have at least 5. Well this book has 5…and then some. So really, to me, this is an adult erotica title.
Molly is the heroine and Fox the hero. Molly is a librarian and it attending her publicist-sister’s party where she sees Fox. He is the lead singer for the biggest rock band on the planet…and she finds him yummy. But she feels there is no way he would ever be interested in her. Little does she know, Fox noticed Molly the moment she arrived at the party and has vowed to make her his…and not just as a one night thing. So he follows Molly into the elevator when she leaves and tells her he’s going back to her place with her. And she says yes.
He’s a total stranger and she says yes. They didn’t even talk to each other before that moment in the elevator! Ok, not the worst thing to happen in a book. The kicker for me was that Molly, wait for it, is a virgin. And she agrees to sleep with Fox as a one night stand (her idea, not his) because he’s hot. She waited 24 years to lose her virginity and she’s going to do it, no second guesses, with this guy. Yes, Fox is yummy and great, but still. This particular event happened not very far into the book…and it’s what told me how this book would go.
For me, there were many things about this book that didn’t quite work. The biggest thing, unfortunately, was the chemistry. Molly and Fox were hot between the sheets but I didn’t quite feel them otherwise. I believe it’s because all of the moments you usually need to completely feel connected to a character or a couple, those candid sweet moments you witness or the dialogue that gets you knowing a character’s personality beyond their demons, was missing. Obviously these things happened because Fox and Molly fell hard and fast for each other but as readers, we didn’t witness any of it. Almost all of their time together on the page, they were spending it fooling around. We got to watch loads of that, but I personally need more than that to click with characters – especially in a contemporary romance setting.
Molly, I didn’t really get. Her father is a disgraced politician. She was hurt by the fiasco and media circus that was her life when her father’s transgressions came to light (she was quite young when it all went down) and is not wanting to be thrown into the media’s spotlight once again, even though this time it would be for a favorable reason. She mentions this…a lot. On top of her father being a piece of work, her mother was a severe alcoholic. Because of this, Molly is afraid of becoming an addict herself. This makes sense. Worrying about being addicted to alcohol like your mother, makes sense. Worried about being addicted to everything and anything, odd. To me anyways. Because of this, Molly and I didn’t connect. She was sweet and all, but no spark between her and I.
Fox was yummy but, as I mentioned before, I didn’t get much from him other than his demons. I am almost hoping that we see more of Molly and Fox later in the series because I feel we missed out in this book. I would really like to see them in another light, because the bones were there. You could tell they cared for each other but you didn’t see why really. And that is something we might get to see from them as secondary characters.
You might be surprised to read the words “I am hoping to see” coming from my…keyboard. Yes, even after giving this book a low rating, I feel I want to continue with the series. Maybe not right away, but someday. Nalini introduced the other members of the band as well as Molly’s best friend Charlotte and one of Fox’s friend Kit and left us with just information to leave me wanting more. In fact, I was more interested in Charlotte and T-Rex’s story than Molly and Fox’s – yet another example of how this particular book didn’t work for me. Their story is going to be told in the third book released in this series.
Next up is Rock Courtship, a novella about David and Thea, Molly’s sister. We see glimpses of their story in this installment and it should be fun to see the whole thing play out in their own book. One thing worries me a bit though. We learn in this book that Thea and David have to deal with a difficult ‘thing’. Even though we don’t find out exactly what that ‘thing’ is, I worry it’s going to go the stereotypical route. I really hope that is not the case and that the author surprises me.
Overall, Rock Addiction was not quite what I hoped it would be. I found it too sappy, a bit too long, filled with too many clichés and lacking in some important component for me to enjoy a contemporary romance story. Hopefully the rest of the books in the series will not lack like this one and I can just file this as a first book in a new series that hadn’t just found it’s groove yet.
Poison Promise is the eleventh book (eleven!) in Jennifer Estep’s excellent Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. I always look forward to reading a new installment from this series because, simply, it’s excellent. I love these books, these characters and these stories.
I am always amazed how easy it is to fall back into one of these books. Part of that is how wonderfully these characters are written and how they grip you completely while you are reading. It’s also due to the fact that Jennifer does not spend 1/3 of a new book rehashing events from past books. I am grateful for that because if you are a religious follower of a series, you don’t need to spend that much time being reminded of things.
Gin is such a great character. We have watched her grow and mature so much over the course of the series. It takes strong writing chops to make readers not only sympathetic towards but also adore a character who is an assassin. Jennifer does just that. Gin is one of my favorite characters to read because she is very intelligent, loyal, independent and strong.
Finn is always a character I look forward to running into. He is serious when he needs to be but most of the time he provides the comic relief. Owen is yummy as always and all of the other supporting character we look forward to seeing are all accounted for and still doing great. Well, there was one character I wanted to smack a time or two…and it’s not who any of you would expect.
Bria was dealing with some pretty insane resentment and revenge issues and was so not herself in this book. I actually didn’t like her much in this installment. At all. No, she was not supposed to be liked or anywhere near her usual self so in that respect, she was written well, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to shake her and ask her what the hell. She was completely selfish and I think Gin was a bit too forgiving of her. I’m curious to see if any of this will appear in the next book, but I feel not.
A new character is introduced in this book. Silvio is his name and man did he turn out to be a complete surprise. And it looks like he’s sticking around. I am very interested to see what he brings to this close knit circle of friends and to Gin’s life in general. It will be interesting to say the least. But he is a solid character that I enjoyed reading and I am glad that his role is going beyond this one book.
As with any Elemental Assassin book, the pace is crazy-excellent in this book. And of course, there is a ‘final showdown’ near the end. I did find this dual to be a bit cartoonish but it was very entertaining nonetheless. I will say that how Gin er…’took care of things’ shall we say, was done in a way that was never seen before. Gone are the days of complete secrecy. And the way the final fight is done is all in an attempt by Gin to curve the attempts on her life. She is getting a bit tired of that and wants to do something about it. Not sure if it will work – we’ll have to wait until the next book, Black Widow, to see. But it was nice to see Gin try to take matters into her own hands. Not that she doesn’t do that normally…it’s hard to explain without giving too much away so to know what I am talking about you’ll all just have to read the book. ;)
The first five books in the series followed a very distinct story arc that finished in a climactic way in Spider’s Revenge. Since then each book has focused on discovering a popular supporting character’s backstory, developing Gin and Owen’s relationship and/or learning more about Gin all while solving a mystery or two. Well, it looks like that newer direction the series took is about to change. We have finally met a mysterious character who, up until know has only been known by their initials and never in person, and it looks like this might be the beginning of a new storyline – one with long-ish term potential. It will be interesting to see how Jennifer distinguishes this arc from the one in the first five books because on the surface, much seems the same. But when you look at clues here and there you see that things can get so much worst for Gin than ever before. Should make for some excellent reading.
Overall, I was very pleased with Poison Promise. Things are definitely not going to quiet down for Gin and her friends any time soon and I for one, am grateful for that. Is it bad that I want Gin to have crap to deal with? The more crap Gin encounters, the more books there will be and where Jennifer is contracted for 12 books total right now (so if you do the math, that makes the next book the end of her contract), I would not mind seeing this series go well beyond that.(less)
My jaw hit the floor, I giggled, I cried, I laughed and I balled. Repeatedly. This book was perfect and it ended the series perfectly. I am so proud o...moreMy jaw hit the floor, I giggled, I cried, I laughed and I balled. Repeatedly. This book was perfect and it ended the series perfectly. I am so proud of Sierra for being able to finish the series so well. Everything was dealt with and it all made sense. And even if you don't agree with Secret's ultimate choice, as far as the men are concerned, you will not be able to argue that the choice is good and it suits Secret well. One more time, this book was perfect. Full review closer to release date. 5plus stars. (less)
Shattered is the seventh book in Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles series, and the first to be offered in hardcover.
As usual, the story is busy and crazy and intense. But it’s also smart and witty and funny. Atticus is funny, yes, but the funniest character this time around has to be a long-lost man from Atticus’ past who happened to reappear at the end of the previous book. He’s been away for centuries and seeing him trying to acclimate to modern times is quite hilarious. But Kevin didn’t stoop so low as to make this character seem weak while trying to adapt and I was happy for that. One of the things I enjoy most about this series is how very clever and smart it is. It does not treat its readers as though they are simpletons. And it’s storylines and characters are never dragged down to an uncharacteristic level either.
Another of my favorite things about this series is how Kevin writes the supernatural creatures in his world. He adds such clever spins on them! We are introduced to the Yeti in this book and I just loved them. There are hints that they may be back in later books and I sure hope so.
I also absolutely love how the gods are portrayed in this series. In these books, all the gods are real and we have met many of them. And none are as you would expect them to be. Kevin adds such a human factor to them, even though it is completely obvious that they are most certainly not human. There are many scenes in this particular installment that show just how vulnerable these supreme beings truly are. These are the moments that ground you as a reader and show you just how relatable these characters are.
Shattered is told quite differently than any other book in the series to date. It is told from three different perspectives…and these perspectives tell pretty much three different stories. Atticus tells one story while on his journeys. Granuaile tells another story on her journey to find her father and battle demons and the mysterious stranger tells the last story. His is slightly intertwined with Atticus’ story but Granuaile’s is not. That’s right, Atticus and Granuaile are not together in this book, hardly at all, and I found myself missing that. It was nice to see that Granuaile is strong enough now that she can take care of herself on magical quests and such but I still missed watching her with Atticus. They are so amazing together – all mushy in their own non-mushy Shakespeare way – and I always look forward to reading their banter and of their travels. It was not horrible that Kevin chose to write the book this way, it was just different. I have no idea if the next book will be written this way too because certain events in this book suggest that time apart may be a good idea. As usual, I am left wondering what can possibly come next for our favorite Druids. I’m just happy they weren’t running or being chased a lot this time around. That was a nice change for the series.
I mentioned about how it was nice to see Granuaile and how strong she’s become. I am very impressed with how Kevin has written her character throughout this series. She has grown so much! There is one chapter in particular involving Granuaile and her father that made me tear up for her. The raw emotion she is feeling is written in a way that you feel it too. Completely. Kevin captured that perfectly.
Overall, Shattered felt like an important chapter in this series’ telling. We find out what Loki is up to and we see what other gods are prepared to do about it. It feels like a ‘setting-up-for-something-big’ book and I hope that it is. Because I would just love to see Atticus and Granuaile, along with Oberon and Orlaith (LOVE those hounds!) kick some Loki arse. These books and these characters are on my favorite list for a reason: they are brilliant. Clever writing and engrossing story-telling, it’s impossible not to get completely absorbed into the world Kevin has created. It’s a grand place to be and if you have yet to try it, I urge you to do so.
Cliffhangers. Some cliffhangers make you go “OMGOMGOMG!!!”. Some make you go “Oh dear God no, No, NOOOOOO!!!” and some others make you want to throw your book across the room. Some make you want to scream at the top of your lungs while others make you calmly put the book down, sit back in your chair and have you say “whoaaa”.
The end of this book will make you say “whoaaa”.
Sixth Grave on the Edge is the sixth book in Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series. This is easily one of my favorite series. I love the mysteries that are one of the focus points of the books, I love the supporting characters and how real they feel, I love Reyes and his relationship with Charley but mostly, I love Charley.
Charley is a character that is so much more than she appears to be. She comes across as flighty and undependable but really, she is loving, witty, loyal and smart. And boy is she funny. I love her humor. If readers don’t connect with this series it’s usually because of Charley’s humor. But for me, it’s just right. Very sarcastic and fun. Charley is the Grim Reaper and I really enjoy how that aspect of her is portrayed in these books. Very unique. In every book Charley learns something new about her abilities and it’s no different this time. I can’t wait to see all that she can do.
Reyes. Holy hell on a cracker is he ever sexy in this book. I mean, he’s always alluring and hot, and yes he is even always sexy, but this time around he is like sexy on steroids! Day-um! He is another character that is hard not to be drawn to. He’s just so gosh darn nice and amazing and hot and smart and… *sigh* I love Reyes.
Cookie is Charley’s best friend. She has always been a great friend to Charley but I found that in this book she steps it up a notch and is a super extra amazing friend. I love reading their friendship. They really are a super team.
As usual, the main story involves around a couple of mysteries that Charley, who is a PI, is trying to solve. I always find the mysteries to be very well written. They tend to completely grip you and keep you on the edge of your seat. This time around Charley is trying to find a demon who eats souls for a client who is missing his (love that demon character!) while she is trying to find someone who is in witness protection to ask her some questions. On top of her PI investigations, we have Reyes mysteries and Charley mysteries and Uncle Bob’s mysteries… There is, as usual, a whole lot going on but it never feels forced or too much. Darynda is excellent at weaving everything together and turning it into one smooth and highly addictive story.
Most of the time, the main mysteries are solved by the end of the books but this time around, there is one mystery that is not and it’s a doozy. It involves Charley’s dad…and that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Something else that stood out about this latest book for me were all the confessions. I almost want to call this “the confession book”. So many things come into light (ha! light!) and many from people I never expected confessions from!
In a past book, Rocket, another excellent character, explained a premonition he had. Not that we understood what it all meant but we do get a glimpse of what it was about in this book. And Ooo!
Speaking of past books, I am well aware that the last book ended with quite the jaw-dropping moment but I don’t want to tell you whether or not you will get an answer for that particular moment. I wouldn’t want to spoil anything…but I will say read this book because it’s worth it.
Back to Charley the Grim Reaper for a sec. How it works is, when they are ready, the departed can pass through her. As they pass, Charley can see their life through the departed’s memories. There is one particular ‘passing’ in this book that brought me to tears. It was just beautiful.
All in all, Sixth Grave on the Edge was an absolutely amazing read. These are stories and characters I have trouble parting with once I reach the end of the latest installment. In fact, I didn’t want to let them go this time around so I started listening to the audiobooks. I started with First Grave on the Right and am absolutely loving the narration and reliving the stories. This really is a stunning series and Darynda Jones is an incredibly talented author. For me, this series is a must-read.(less)
Julie: Then Came You is the fifth book in Jill Shalvis’ Animal Magnetism series. I am a late comer to this series, having started with the last book, Rumor Has It. Anne loved that book so much I knew I just had to read it. And after reading it I can see why it enchanted her the way it did. I may not have adored it as much as she did but it did draw me in enough to want to continue with the series and to one day go back and read from it the beginning. In this latest installment, we are back at the animal hospital to witness two doctors as they meet “again” and fall in love.
Anne: As Grif would say, “Jill, you never disappoint.” Well, it would be Kate, not Jill, but you get the idea. I get excited every time I know a new Jill Shalvis book is coming out. When I actually get it, I wriggle with joy and I want to read it right away. This series set in a small town, with animals, is wonderful. There is a new vet, Wyatt and a new vet intern, Emily, along with all the other folks I know and love.
I like Wyatt. He lives with his sisters and I find them fascinating. He is caring and giving and strong. I do find it annoying that he won’t express an opinion because he doesn’t want to influence the other person, since he wasn’t given choices when he was young.
Julie: I absolutely loved Wyatt’s relationship with his sisters. Some of my favorite scenes in the book involve him and his sisters even though I did find them eerily similar to Tara and Chloe in Jill’s Lucky Harbor series. But those two women are fantastic characters so to see their ‘twins-of-sort’ in this series was no bother. There is such love and admiration there and it’s all hidden under biting words and snarky remarks. Their scenes together were a lot of fun to read.
I agree with you about Wyatt. As much as I loved Wyatt, and I did really like him, I was also a bit frustrated at times with his incapability of telling people exactly how he feels and what he thinks. Yes, I understand the ‘why’. I know it’s because of his childhood and how his parents carted him around to wherever they felt like going, but c’mon. You’re an adult now. I just thought that by now he would understand how choices are really made and how they really work.
Anne: The private scenes with Emily and Wyatt together are just ridiculous enough; they are funny. They do work well together and treat each other well. I also adore the backdrop of their families.
I understand Emily. Sometimes a person needs to have a somewhat rigid plan to get through hard things in their life. She does what normal, good people do. They do the best they can, make the best of what they have. I do this myself, focus on the tasks and stuff down the emotions. It’s easier to live in your head than your emotions. And sometimes when you feel so strongly after holding it all back for so long, it overflows. Emily can’t stop herself and how she feels about Wyatt. It’s not in her plan. But she IS with him.
Julie: I am also someone who has trouble when “the plan” isn’t followed so I did understand Emily. Sometimes we just need the other person to say specific words to make our feelings real. And when we don’t hear what we need, we don’t have the fuel to change ‘the plan’. I liked Emily a lot. She was so cute! And I too really enjoyed their scenes together.
As much as I really enjoyed Emily and Wyatt, what I did not appreciate was Evan. I didn’t find him necessary to the advancement of the story and often wondered what he was even doing there.
Anne: That whole part of the plot was not needed, other than to give the story something other than a sexy romance, with two people working out their various personal issues with their family and friends in the mix. I guess overall it was maybe a little too real life, in that respect, since there was not huge drama, other than the internal issues both Wyatt and Emily faced. I don’t mean to minimize anyone’s issues but they weren’t life-threatening. They were more like preconceived notions formed as children which they had both outgrown as adults, once the ideas were examined.
Julie: You are exactly right. The whole Evan plot felt like it was thrown in there just to add drama that someone felt the story was missing. But that person wasn’t me and I really felt it did nothing for the story except take time away from Emily and Wyatt. I don’t know why sometimes people think there has to be a ‘big bad’ in every book. Sometimes just the issues inside a hero or heroine’s head are enough of an obstacle for the couple to overcome.
That being said, I don’t feel like every single scene in a book needs to advance the story to be effective. Jill wrote quite a few scenes in this book that did not add to the plot or bring the story forward. What they did do is add a layer to the character the scene featured. I loved this! I felt these scenes could have been seen as ‘slower’ moments in the story but for me, they added so much! They helped make Emily and Wyatt so much more real for me.
Anne: I completely agree. Not every scene needs to advance the plot. It is great to add depth to the characters. OK, I have to say this. There were just a few sentences of Grif and just that made me shiver with pleasure. I’m not sure I will ever get over Grif. A glimpse of him was my favorite part of the book! Ridiculous but I’m that attached to him.
Julie: It’s great that you are still so attached to Grif! It means that Jill did a great job with the hero from the last book. She really does write great heroes and heroines.
Anne: This book was a great addition to the series. It added some new characters to this wonderful little town. It sets up things for possible future couples with people about whom I definitely want to know more. I’m thinking of you, AJ. And any book by Jill has the sweet sexyness and humor which are so satisfying.
Julie: I’m with you. Then Came You was a really sweet book. It has a similar vibe to Forever and a Day, my all time favorite Jill Shalvis book, so I was all over that. Jill really does have a knack when it comes to writing this genre. All of her characters feel like people you could easily meet at the grocery store or at work and her stories feel like tellings of events anyone could go through. Her books are relatable with a side of fun and fantasy and Then Came You fits that description perfectly.
No Accounting For Cowboys is the second book in Leah Braemel’s The Grady Legacy series. I have to say that I had a lot of trouble clicking with this book. That probably mostly has to do with the fact that this is a book number two and that I did not read book number one before picking this one up.
Now, before you all scold me (which I know you are mentally doing right now ;)) I must defend my actions. I was told that this is a stand-alone book and that I would be fine not having read book one. But the more I read the more I think that isn’t quite true. I am a detail and character driven reader and where I don’t feel I missed much on the character development side of things, I do believe I missed a lot in the ‘why would such and such be doing such a thing’ side of things and the ‘why is he such a douche and why is there so much friction between these two’ side of things. Yes, things are explained-ish but I feel I needed more. I needed to witness the whole situation first hand and not just hear about it after the fact.
Jake is the hero of this book. He is a rancher and a budding country music musician. This really is Jake’s book. What I mean by that is yes, there is a romance and yes we do get to know Paige quite a bit, but I felt that the real focus of the book is Jake and where he is in his life, having to make some pretty serious decisions. I didn’t mind this. I felt this was a slightly different sort of contemporary romance.
Where with your ‘usual’ romance, you get to know the hero and the heroine equally with the focus truly being on both of them. But in this book, you get to know Paige but you follow Jake. Is that making any sense lol? I found this to be an interesting way to write a contemporary romance. Almost fresh. And Jake is a good guy. I just wish he was going through his own crap and not just recycling the crap his brothers and family went through in the first book.
From what I gather through this book, it seems that a lot of the major plot points from book one repeated themselves in this book just with different characters living through them. I found this a bit odd. I mean, there are tons of challenges that our poor hero could have gone through. He could have lost a toe in a tragic cow riding incident or found out he was really half Canadian. But instead betrayal was had, feelings were hurt, conclusions were jumped to and fighting ensued…and all revolving around pretty much the same issues as in book one. As I said, odd.
I liked Paige. I didn’t quite grasp the severity as I feel I was supposed to of her being from one family and Jake being from another (it was an attempt at a Romeo and Juliet sort of thing) but again, that may have been because I missed the first book. I liked her strength and her personality. I feel she meshed well with Jake even though I didn’t quite feel crazy chemistry between the two. But their rapport was good.
Overall, even though I felt that the plotlines were somewhat recycled from the first book and the characters weren’t as magnetic as I like in my contemporary romance books, No Accounting for Cowboys wasn’t all bad. I enjoyed the insight into Jake’s budding music career and found that quite interesting. If you like ranchers and burgeoning country music stars, you may like this one. Just be sure to read book one first.
Shadows of Fate is the first book in the new Shadow Born series by Angela Dennis. In the world created for this book, humans are aware of paranormal creatures. They are also the minority. Nobody wants the humans to become extinct so a special ‘peace keeping’ unit was created and everyone tries to live in a semblance of peace. I have not read many books where the paranormal creatures outnumber the humans so, for me, that was a neat little twist. What was also very unique was that paranormal creatures come from parallel dimensions and have crossed to Earth during The Fall, a war where the Veil was compromised.
Not that we learn or read much about the humans in this world. This book definitely focuses on the supernaturals. Brenna is a Shadow Bearer. She has magic and hunts/fights demons for the IRT (the ‘police’). She starts off coming across as quite the badass with a huge heart yet we learn quickly enough that she also has a very vulnerable spirit. She has not had an easy life. She was banished to the earthly plane as punishment for something she had no control over doing almost one hundred years ago. But she is strong and has carved out a life for herself here. She is the type of character you want to see do well and strive. I enjoyed reading her quite a bit even though I found her character swayed from strong to unsure a little too easily at times.
Gray is another Shadow Bearer and has pretty much come out of nowhere. Brenna thought she was the only Shadow Bearer on Earth for almost a century but then nope, up comes Gray. I did have a bit of trouble connecting with him in the beginning as his character was sort of thrown into the story. He suddenly starts almost bossing Brenna around and what surprised me is she mostly lets him. They have a history yet I didn’t quite feel this. As I mentioned, I like Brenna and I did grow to like Gray but I didn’t quite feel Brenna and Gray together. The chemistry was a little short for me.
Who the ultimate bad guy is sort of surprised me but not really at the same time and the story leading up to his reveal was solid. People close to Brenna are dying and she needs to figure out why and who is responsible. This book is a bit on the darker side so many people die quite horribly. But the why behind it all is interesting to discover. This book was definitely filled with twists. None of which particularly surprised me but again, fun to read.
Being the first in a new urban fantasy series means there are a lot of details shared with readers in order to set up the characters and the world. I have to admit that sometimes it was a bit much and other times, it’s like there wasn’t enough information. Some things didn’t quite fit while others found me thinking ‘okay, we know already’. I feel all of this was because this is a book one and that things will balance out in the next installment, Fading Light, due to release September 23rd 2014.
There were many interesting side characters that really added to Brenna’s character development and to the story as a whole. Sam, Mira, Seraph and Heidi all intrigued me and kept me reading.
Overall, I found Shadows of Fate to be a decent beginning to a new urban fantasy series. The bones are solid. I feel if the author builds the main characters, makes them more solid, and smooths out some details here and there, this series holds the potential to be great.
What is the first thing I did after finishing Against the Dawn, the fourth book in Amanda Bonilla’s Shaede Assassin series? I went to my good friend twitter and sent this message to Amanda:
@amandabonilla #youareevil That is all ;)
She responded by telling me that she knew but that I still loved her and she was right. After reading a book as exciting as this, it’s hard not to.
I have to say that for me, this book was filled with poor first impressions that change dramatically throughout the book.
Darian. First impression in this book was that she went through a horrible ordeal in the last book and she’s dealing. But she is bordering on not dealing well which means she’s letting it get to her…which to me didn’t suit. Next impression was that she is doing great and is finally learning that opening up to people does not make you weak. She understands where her heart is and where her loyalties lie and won’t budge from that. She continues to be a strong character that I enjoy reading…even though it would be nice if she was able to catch a break every once in a while. *grin*
Xander. First impression was that he is a spoilt child who is pouting because he is not getting what he wants. Next impression was pretty much the same thing. I just didn’t understand why no is not no for him and why he is putting everything on the line! I really didn’t get that. But my final impression of Xander was OMG! Now I am actually thinking I may have been a bit, *gulp*, wrong about him. Don’t get me wrong – I will never be on team Xander – but I was still shocked by him and now I need the next book.
Lorik. First impression was that he is a selfish man stuck in the life of a college aged boy. Next impression is that he is a bit of a jerk. Final impression was…more of the same with a bit of wha’??? thrown in. Lorik blindsided me and now I need the next book.
Tyler. First impression was that he is awesome. Next impression was that he is awesome. He is so good for Darian!!! He’s a Jinn and I just absolutely adore how Amanda writes her Jinns. So unique and interesting. And Tyler is so drool worthy.
There are a few other characters that were awesome from the beginning and remained so to the end. Asher, oh how I love that guy! I want him to have his own novella with a HEA because I am dying to learn even more about him and I feel he deserves to be happy, romance novel style. There is also Raif who is a great friend to Darian. He is someone else who I want to read more about…and I believe that is in the works already. If not, it should be ;)
I was happy to see Tyler’s novella tie in here and there in this book. Lost to the Gray was released last year and where I don’t feel you need to read it to be in the know for this (or even the last) book, it definitely sheds some light on a few things. And it makes you smile when you realize there are connections. That’s also where you first meet Kaii.
Kaii. Holy cow could there be a more mysterious character?! Okay, yes, I am aware that there are a few extra mysterious characters out there is literary land but this one…well you don’t even know if Kaii is male or female! I want more and I want to know more now.
The story was crazy in a very good way. It went this way, it went that way, always keeping you guessing and always making you wonder how everything ties in and the why behind it. Very well done.
The reason why I wanted to tweet Amanda and give her sh*t was because the way this book ended…the way this book ended…THE WAY THIS BOOK ENDED! And that is all I’m going to say about that.
Overall, I was very happy with Against the Dawn. It was a wonderful continuation of this series. I honestly have no idea where the story is headed and I can’t wait to join Darian in the next installment to see just what is going to happen next.
Black Rook is the first book in a shiny new series by Kelly Meade. For those of you who don’t know, Kelly Meade is actually Kelly Meding, author of some of my favorite urban fantasy tales. If you are wondering why the name change, tune in tomorrow at the same time and same place. I interviewed Kelly and my first question is about this very topic.
The Cornerstone Run trilogy is about a group of loup garou but mostly focuses on the McQueen family. This is slated to be a trilogy and each book will focus on a son of the Alpha. We have Rook, Bishop and Knight. Black Rook is, you guessed it, Rook’s story.
Oh, and I was forgetting to mention that this is a paranormal romance series so where the overall story will be continuing from book to book, each installment will have its own HEA. In this case, her name is Brynn and she is a Magus.
The story starts off with Brynn traveling to visit Rook and his family because she foresaw in a vision that her father was going to be murdered and it looked like Rook is slated to be the killer. What a way to meet someone, eh?! Where sometimes wolf shifters are portrayed as being rash and violent, I enjoyed how logical and intelligent Kelly’s were. Rook and his family trusted Brynn and helped her decipher what she saw. And in turn, she helped them. It’s a nice relationship and it really made it easy for me to like the loup garou of the Cornerstone Run.
I enjoyed Brynn. It’s easy to think of her as weak or meek when you first meet her as she is shy, way out of her element and used to being told her abilities are unreliable, but as you read on you see that there is definite strength there. And the twist about her background and her link to the villains was well done. Can’t say I saw much of that coming when I cracked open this book.
Rook was an alpha-male but not too hardcore and I appreciated that. I think if he were too gun-slinging-action-movie-hero it just wouldn’t make sense with Brynn. Rook is not sure of his future. Not only is he the youngest McQueen boy but he is also technically slated to become the next Alpha. But his brother Bishop has been training to be Alpha his whole life where Rook has been a musician. Rook has to decide whether or not he truly wants to be in charge and ‘take’ the position away from Bishop. The reason Bishop would not really have a say is because Rook is a black wolf where Bishop is a gray wolf…and I’ll get into the color thing in a bit.
I found the story to be very interesting and very…Kelly Meding/Meade-ish. Meaning it was quick and crazy and people died and things came up that made you wonder where the hell the idea for such a thing came from. When I finish one of Kelly’s books my first thoughts are usually muffled by my head banging on a wall and it was no exception this time around. Of course I mean all this in the very best of ways. But I will say that it was maybe a bit less severe seeing that there was a romantic HEA thrown in. That made the story have a sense of closure, even amid the chaos of the ongoing storylines.
Kelly did put her own spin here and there on her shifters to make them her own. My most favorite thing was how she used the color of the wolf to indicate where he or she stands in the pack and his or her strength. You have black wolves who are enforcers and Alphas, gray wolves who are considered common and white wolves who are calming and a huge asset to any run. The white wolf was the most intriguing of them all to me and in this case, that would be Knight. His book is last and I can’t freaking wait. But I don’t feel I will fret too much because Bishop’s book is up next and due out in October 2014. I am very curious to see how his story will pan out. We have already met Bishop’s HEA and right at this moment I can’t see how the hell they are actually going to be able to have a happy ending. But such is Kelly’s way – twisting and turning our brains until it is inside out only to fix everything back into place after telling one hell of a story.
So overall I really enjoyed Black Rook. The McQueen family is wonderful and I look forward to spending a couple of more books with them. This series is a PNR series but it reads a bit more like an urban fantasy story with a side of romance. And seeing that UF is my favorite genre, I was completely okay with that. Kelly shows us that, no matter what name she writes under, she is an exceptional storyteller, layering characters, stories and action like a dream. Fans of shifter, fans of Kelly Meding, fans of urban fantasy and fans of romance with a side of kick ass should give this series a try. It’s well worth it.(less)
One Night More is the first book in a new contemporary romantic suspense series by Mandy Baxter. The name may not be familiar but if you are a fan of urban fantasy, you’ve probably read her books before. Writing kick ass UF chicks, she uses the name Amanda Bonilla. But for writing kick ass contemporary chicks who are smart, sassy and go-getters, she uses the name Mandy Baxter.
One Night More is book one in Mandy’s US Marshals series. Now I’m not American so I can’t tell you really what a US Marshal does but from this book I gather he is a person trained to guard and protect. And poor Harper, after being in the wrong/scary place at the wrong/scary time, needs to be guarded and protected.
Galen and Mandy had one crazy hot night right before he leaves for a one year assignment in Paris. Thanks to a couple of misunderstandings, the night ended uncomfortably for both. But neither stopped thinking about the other. Mandy did a great job with Harper and Galen’s chemistry. You felt it immediately and you could tell how much they pined for each other even though both thought they really shouldn’t. I loved the scenes where they just sat and talked. Or even when they argued and quipped. The conversation was very easy and natural and for me, that is something I enjoy a lot in a contemporary romance story.
Harper is a reporter and that means, of course, that she will do what she can to get the truth for a story. She has a feeling that a certain politician that everyone trusts is hiding something and is determined to out him. She confronts him…and he gets shot while she is talking to him. Harper is now in danger and that’s where Galen comes back into the picture. I like reporters in books on a whole but I find there is always one or two times in a story where I shake my head because they jump into a stupid situation just to help themselves along. Harper does have a small moment or two in this book where I thought “should you really be doing that?” but they weren’t so annoying and I never wanted to smack her. I was glad for that because I did like her quite a bit.
I also liked Galen. The little misunderstanding that drove Galen to be a pissered at Harper for a year and making him leave her bed sooner than he had originally hoped was a little odd for me – I assume that a man like him would confront someone rather than escape due to assumptions – but it did make their reunion a little more exciting so I just went with it. Also, Galen is a man so his ego came into play, I’m sure. But overall, I liked him. Galen was not too macho and he worked well with Harper.
The story was quite entertaining. Lots of good questions come up, as it should be in a romantic suspense story, and answers slowly trickle in. Some answers add new questions while some reveal some important details. This was romantic suspense done right. It’s a politically based mystery/who done it and I was both surprised and not surprised by who the ultimate villain was. It fit the story.
We were quickly introduced to the hero of the next book in the series, One Kiss More (releasing March 2015). Landon seems like the type of hero I really like in my contemporary romance books: yummy and smart with a great sense of humor. I can’t wait to read his book.
While reading this book, I kept thinking to myself “this feels like a Julie James book” and that is a huge compliment. I love Julie’s voice and style and Mandy’s style is very similar. The flow is excellent, the story is well put together and the characters are very well developed. If this first installment is any indication, One Night More is the start of a fantastic contemporary romance series. Mandy Baxter is an author to watch.(less)
Bitten is the first book in Kelly Armstrong’s hugely popular Women of the Underworld series. I am going to keep this review on the shorter side since I feel I’m the only one in the world who had not read this series up to now ;)
Let’s start by chatting about Elena. She possessed all of the qualities I like in a UF heroine. Strong, smart, vulnerable and full of growth potential. I like how she is fighting the losing battle of leading a ‘normal’ life. I liked her coming to terms with things and look forward to seeing what is next for her. What she goes through emotionally is very well written. You truly feel like you are inside her head, living what she is living and feeling what she is feeling.
Clay. Let me be honest with you. I have heard about this gentlemen for ages. “Clay is yummy.” “Clay is drool-worthy. ” “I want to lick Clay.” These are just some of the things I was told about Clay. But when I first started reading, I did not feel this way about him. I actually found him a bit annoying because he acts like a spoilt child! But as you keep reading, you learn the ‘why’ behind what he does and says and things start to make more sense.
There was not a build-up to Clay and Elena’s relationship because there was already a past there. I did miss that though – I like witnessing the ‘dance’. But they have insane chemistry and I can see how they can end up as being one of my favorite UF couples.
Jeremy was a very strong character and I liked the other members of the North American werewolf pack. And Phillip leaves me wondering if this is the last we’ll see of him or if there is more there to know. It can really go either way so I guess I’ll keep reading to find out.
What all of the characters have in common is how they were written. I am noticing that Kelley has a knack at bringing her characters to life. And I’m not just talking about flat people on a page that you follow as they eat, sleep, have sex and so on. Kelley’s characters jump off the page and grip you as though they were in the room with you. A very important talent when writing UF and Kelley definitely possesses it.
The story is very interesting. Tons of action and twists and turns. I like the world and how Kelley wrote her werewolves. And the lore is interesting.
I was warned that this book was filled with information. Not completely surprising seeing that it’s the first in an urban fantasy series. But yes, I did notice that there is quite a bit of info dump in this one. However I did enjoy how the dumping occurred. It was not only done at the beginning of the book. It sprinkled in the first half – I would say – and done by some characters explaining things out loud, by Elena flashbacking and by just witnessing Elena’s observations of what and who is around her. So even though the info drop is big, how it was presented made it bearable.
After reading Bitten, I am very drawn by Elena and Clay and want more of them. I know that this series changes its focus in later books but right now I can’t fathom wanting to read about people other than Clay and Elena. I will mostly likely change my mind as I get more into these books but right now, that is where my head is at. As of now, I am liking the characters and the premise. I want more. And isn’t that the ultimate sign of a good first book in a series.
Forecast is the second book in Rinda Elliott’s Sisters of Fate series. This is a series that follows three sisters, each ‘gifted’ with a Norse goddess’ soul. It is not a happy relationship, the sisters not wanting anything to do with these souls trapped inside them. But these souls are there for a reason: to take over the sisters’ bodies and minds and fulfill their destinies when the end of the world arrives.
Or is that really the case?…
Well, the end of the world is here…and it’s brutal. Rinda does not hold back here folks. If this is really how the end of the world is going to be, I want no part. But it does make for one hell of a ride! I found this book to be less action-driven than the last book but that does not mean it was quiet. There were still obstacles to overcome while running away from giant waves and crazy snow storms. In Florida.
On top of that, each sister has the ability to see the past, present or future in visions they can’t control. Very cool…but difficult to explain. The whole idea of the triplets and their abilities and connection to Norse mythology is all very fascinating. Rinda does a good job there.
Other than dealing with the end of the world, going into time-freezing trances in order to predict a time and the goddess trapped in their psyche, the sisters must each find a boy who has a god’s soul living inside them. You see, mom has gone a little crazy and thanks to a prophesy, thinks one of her daughters will get killed by one of these boys and has disappeared in order to find them…and kill them before they get to the girls. *insert dooms day music here*
Will the girls find the right boys? Are the boys murderous crazy-guys? Is the mom going to get to them before the girls? Will the end of the world keep happening putting the entire world in trouble? Will one of the sisters indeed get murdered? So many questions and getting the answers is proving to be ton of fun.
Where Fortold, book one, tells the story of Raven finding Vanir, Forecast follows Coral as she tracks down Taran. Taran holds the soul of Tor. Very interesting to see how the personalities mesh – the god and the boy. I love how the god or goddess’ personalities shine through the personalities of the person who is holding it. That’s a neat detail I appreciate. And I like how the god’s companions are there but underwent new twists. All very interesting details Rinda included in this series that I look forward to discovering.
Coral was a very good character. She inherited her mother’s witch powers and is learning how to use them. I liked seeing her grow more confident as the story progressed. The romance between Coral and Taran is very sweet and I find they balance each other very well.
In book one, Raven calls Coral and Kat (sister number three). We get glimpses of what is going on with Coral and Kat during those phone calls. It was neat to get the whole story behind the calls to Coral while reading this book and it will be equally neat to read exactly what is going on with Kat during the calls to her when Forsworn releases December 2nd 2014. I like that all three books take place at the same time and that the sisters will come together in the next book for the final battle. At least that’s what I’m expecting…
I love how different this series is. I really enjoy Rinda’s voice and her pacing is excellent. These are very quick moving stories and even with a little bit resolved at the end of each book so far, there is much left to discover and learn.
Forecast is an excellent continuation of the series and I am counting down the days until the third and final book comes out.(less)
Searching for Perfect is the second book in Jennifer Probst’s Searching For… series. I have to say that in no means do I find this author’s writing to be flawless. There are quite a few thing that sort of make me scratch my head in her books. But there is something about her stories that keeps me coming back. Her characters, although not incredible, are strong enough that I always find myself thinking of them after I put the book down and want the best for them. So for those reasons, I keep reading.
This book tell the story of Kennedy and Ned. Kennedy works for Kinnections, a matchmaking agency, along with the heroines from books one and three. Ned…well Ned is a rocket scientist. An actual rocket scientists. Girls who turn to goo over extra geeky characters, proceed to do so now.
Ned is the ultimate geek but is he ever captivating! He had me shaking my head, giggling like crazy and wanting to hug him all in one scene. And man, when he and Ken get it on…he is h.o.t! I completely enjoyed him.
Kennedy is also a strong character. I liked her in the first book and that certainly has not changed in this second one. I found she possessed many of the characteristics that I look for in a contemporary romance heroine. She is damaged but not so much so that is became daunting to read her.
The main issue I had with this book was that nearing the end, it was almost a carbon copy of the first book in the series. Ned is tired of being alone at the end of his long days and is looking for someone to be serious about. He decides to try out a speed dating event that Kinnections is hosting. That is where he meets Kennedy, who is organizing it. She spots him and sees that he needs desperate help. They spend lots of time together and grow closer until sex happens and love follows. But Kennedy does not feel worthy. Those of you who have read the first book see the pattern here. The only difference is that book one has the hero feeling unworthy and this time around it’s the heroine. But, when sh*t hits the fan, the heroines keep working, looking for the perfect woman for the men they are in love with. Yum…yeah… Great that they are professional and all but does it really have to be the same in both books?! Will it be the same in the next one too? And that part, the part where the heroine is miserable while the hero goes out on tons of dates, dragged a bit too much for me in this installment. Thinking back, I found that there were quite a few similarities between the author’s Marriage books. Maybe writing similar plots from book to book is the way she writes a series… But it was a little frustrating for me to read.
Fans of Jennifer’s Marriage to a Billionaire series will rejoice as there are cameos from pretty much every major character in that series. And we see quite a bit of Gen and Wolfe! I am dying for their book and hope upon hope it comes soon. To be teased about them in two series…not fair but very effective lol.
Overall, I did enjoy Searching for Perfect. I actually found this to be Jennifer’s strongest book (of the ones that I read) to date. As I said, I can’t put my finger on why but there is something about these books that keep me coming back for more…even though they almost all read the same. I really liked Ned and I found he and Kennedy together was fantastic. Great chemistry. I can’t find any info about book three but when I do, I will certainly add it to my to-read pile. This series is a good weekend/beach read. Something you don’t have to invest much time or effort in but that will leave you smiling in the end.
I have no idea what to rate this book. In order to decide, I am doing something I don’t think I’ve done before while rating a book from a long-running series: I am going to Goodreads and looking at how I rated past books. While looking at each book’s rating, I am asking myself “Did I like this one more or less than that one?” Hopefully with that, by the end of this review I will have a rating I feel comfortable sharing.
The King is the twelfth book in JR Ward’s hugely popular Black Dagger Brotherhood. This series has been called ‘crack’ because of it’s addictive qualities but I am left to wonder if many will ‘get clean’ after this book and settle on a non-BDB life. I am telling you now, I am not one of them. I will read the next book, but I may skip some scenes because there are a few characters that I really don’t care about. They are unlikable and flat in my opinion and I just…don’t care. This is also one of those series that people either love with a passion hotter than the summer sun or hate with the same passion. A good example of this: I once asked Jason to read the first book, Dark Lover, to review it for the blog. I thought it would be amazing to get his point of view on it. Well, he never made it past the first 6 pages! Couldn’t get into the slang and found it too violent. *snort* But I, after discovering this series shortly after the release of Lover Avenged (book 7), stocked up on boxed meals for my family the day a new BDB book came out so I could just read read read. The butterflies the morning of a new release were intense!
And because there is tons to talk about in this latest book, this review will be long. Just a heads up lol.
The tone of the book. Let’s start here. This is a very different book for this series. There is some fighting, yes, but it’s minimal and not extra exciting. That means the tone is not as ‘high-octane’ as most of the other books. I actually didn’t mind that. I was starting to feel like the fighting was getting the same from book to book.
“Advertising”/name-dropping. I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to fancy brand/designer name things so most of Ward’s ‘product placement’ went way over my head. But it was there and it was abundant. I know the reason is to make us see that a) these guys are wealthy and can get whatever they want and b) to make the World even more vivid and real. Easier to relate to and envision. But there is a limit and Ward pretty much reached it by the 50% mark of this book.
Plotlines. This time we have the Warth and Beth and the kingship thing, we have the Trez and Selena and the Shadow queen’s daughter thing, we have the Xcor and Layla thing, we have the glymera and Band of Bastards doing annoying things thing, we have the Assail and Sola and her kidnapping continuing from the last book thing, we have JM and the seizures thing, we have the Wrath’s parents thing and to top it off, we have a little bit of iAm and a little bit of Lassiter. *takes deep breath* So yeah…just a few things going on. (see 573 pages)
The slang. I didn’t find it as annoying this time which is a good thing. Except for ‘abso’. Do people actually say that instead of ‘absolutely’? I don’t think I’ve ever heard it. Maybe it’s a U.S. thing…
The prologue. I was quite confused at first but then the twist is revealed and bam! I found it quite smart.
Now, let’s get into characters. Let’s start with one that actually surprised me -
Wrath. I have always liked him but I can’t say I ever absolutely adored him. But after this book, he has grown on me a lot and the reason is that he has finally matured as a character and grown up. I loved watching him evolve. Were some of these scenes a bit boring? Yup. But the end result was great. I am actually looking forward to seeing if he sticks to this ‘new Wrath’ in the next book because this is a good guy and a great king.
Beth. She’s cool. I like her. She is a good match for Wrath – I have always found this.
JM. What. The. Heck? He is in quite a few scenes and something is happening to him but it is never revealed WHY! Why not? Why have him go through all this only to drop it completely by the end of the book. Didn’t get that. At all.
Saxton. I really like him. A lot. I wasn’t even a huge fan of his in past books (I was indifferent I suppose) and I even thought he was being mounded into a problem-guy but all thoughts along those lines are gone. I like him.
Layla. I like how she has grown balls but she still has a way to go for me. Not sure how I feel about her and Xcor (still) but by the end of this book, I like how he is with her. I’m curious to see if he will continue to soften and if she will continue to un-soften. Maybe then I’ll actually picture them as a match.
Xcor. He is actually the subject of my ‘giggle worthy quote’! Who would have thought?! Also, he makes a decision at the end of this book that I’m happy with because really, it was getting tired. Hopefully he will stick to his decision and that it won’t just become someone else’s thing. Someone such as…
Throe. *sigh* Not sure I’m liking where his character is going. This worries me.
s’Ex. Yup. She went there. He’s…nothing new for this series. All sex and evil but is he really…you know the drill. He is undoubtedly be in the next book and I can’t seem to care either way. But ‘s’Ex’. Really?!
Assail. I just don’t care about this guy. He interested me a bit in the last book but in this one, not at all. I don’t understand why people are so in awe of him. And I don’t understand why Ward has him snorting up the coke. It cheapens him as a characters, if that is even possible. I like that he goes all macho alpha when around Sola, that is one thing about this series that makes me giggle in a good way, but after two seconds I’m over it and I’m back to ‘I don’t care’.
Sola. Same really. I don’t dislike her but I don’t enjoy her either. Can’t seem to find the love here. All I am curious about here is how Ward will make her and Assail able to have a HEA. I don’t care how they will get there, just how she will become immortal seeing that she is human now. And I like her grandmother. She’s fun.
Trez. I do like that he is maturing by the end of the book but…*sigh* I have always liked him in past books but in this book I didn’t feel much for him. Maybe the next book will change my opinion seeing that it’s about him and his brother.
Selena. Very curious about this one. I was wondering how Ward would make her different from Layla and we see how in The King. I find it very interesting and I’m glad that in the next book we’ll see it all play out.
iAm. OMGILOVEDHIMINTHISBOOK!!! There wasn’t much of him but when he was on the page, I paid attention. I smiled more for him than I think any other character in this book. And his scenes with Beth, aww….
“Goddamn Cat”. LMAO! Love it!!!
Lassiter. As usual, his scenes are memorable and hilarious. I didn’t like him much originally when first meeting him in this series because I found him to be just another character who was too full of himself but he has grown on me.
The scene which involves Lassiter. I can’t say much else without giving anything away, but let me tell you, this is the scene that made me both remember why I used to love these books so much and why I don’t seem to be feeling them as much anymore. The answer for both is the same: the Brother’s camaraderie. The Brothers and how they interact with each other, their loyalty and respect for each other, is what made the first few books in this series go great. That chemistry is hard to beat. In this scene with Lassiter, you see that friendship and bond again and it totally made my day. But it also reminded me how we don’t really have that anymore in this series. In order for this series to grow and keep going, Ward had to, of course, introduce new characters. Some, such as Qhuinn and Blay, fit it perfectly where others, such as Assail and the Band of Bastards, not so much. And the reason in my opinion is that these new characters – and their sidekicks – don’t have the same chemistry as the Brothers do. So that magic is missing from the characters that are carrying this series forward and that means from the books themselves.
So there you have it. My looooong review of The King. I didn’t dislike the book. I was not as cranky as some after reading it – but I didn’t love it either. I had to put it down once in a while, you know to eat and sleep and such, and found it was quite easy to put down. I remember reading Lover Mine and refusing to stop reading for anything. And I remember going to see Jason after I was done with it sobbing because the book was so great and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. Not so much this time around.
I will read the next book, The Shadows, but I will be honest with you: if I read a scene or two with Assail and Sola and find them as meh as in this book, I am skimming their scenes. And when I skim a book, it’s an automatic ‘less than 3 star rating’ from me. And I really hope it does not come to that because it would make me sad and I would miss this series if it gets to the point of feeling like work to read it and I’d have to give it up.(less)
What an adorable story! Falling for Max is the ninth book in Shannon Stacey’s cute Kowalski Family series. These books are filled with a very strong family and friends unit. You feel welcome into their fold every time you crack open a book. We have followed each and every Kowalski fall in love and with the past few books we are witnessing close family friends doing the same. This time around we follow the mysterious Max as he meets his ultimate mate in Tori.
At this point in the series, the mystery of ‘who and what is Max’ is a little less of a mystery since we find out what he does for a living in a previous book. It’s not nearly as malevolent as people of Whitford imagined it to be. Up until that moment, the joke was he was a serial killer since he works in his basement which is equipped with a security system and mostly keeps to himself. But not all of the small town residence know his job by the beginning of this installment so the jokes and speculations are still flying when this books starts off. I loved how, even though he’s shy and awkward, Max is able to go with the flow and even show a strong sense of humor when it comes to the rumors about him and his life.
That is one thing that surprised me about Max – his humor! What a wonderful sense of humor he has. And when he gets together with Tori, their banter is awesome. Tori is funny in her own right so they really do match up well there.
The premise of this book is a simple one: Max is feeling lonely and decides he needs to find a wife. He tries his hardest but he really is a bit gauche. He is so cute! Tori notices Max’s failure at talking to the opposite sex one day while working at the diner. She offers to help Max to feel more at ease talking to women. I have to say, I love this type of story. I love the shy and awkward man seeking the help of a friend. I love when they grow closer and then even closer only to eventually find out that they are perfect for each other and not for anyone else. It’s not a new idea but it’s one I enjoy when done well. And Shannon does it well in this book.
Max and Tori really are well suited and the chemistry is instant. I love how Max was a bit of a geek but not a computer geek like we see more and more in books these days. He was lovable and kind and very smart. If not a little stupid when it came to women. And Tori, watching her ‘get’ Max completely. Loved that.
We see all of your usual suspects from past books in this latest installment which is always nice. The way Shannon writes all of the residents of this small town makes you hope you see them all in each and every book and when you do, it’s like icing on the cake.
This is a book nine but you could get away with jumping right in with this one. Of course you won’t feel any excitement over seeing past characters but the main story is strong enough to stand without the past books. But if you like sweet contemporary romance books with light humor and wonderful happy endings then be sure to read the entire series. Books three, six and nine are my favorites.
All in all, Falling for Max was exactly what I hope a book by Shannon Stacey will be: sweet, light and fun. I really enjoyed watching Max grow more comfortable in his own skin. Tori doesn’t change him but she makes that he feels good and that was a great point for me. No one should have to change too much of themselves in order to find love and that that was the moral-of-sorts of this story made it all the better for me. I will be re-reading this book in the near future, I’m sure as it put a big smile on my face over and over.
Foretold is the first book in Rinda Elliott’s new Sisters of Fate young adult series. I am quite the fan of Rinda’s Beri O’Dell urban fantasy series. I find that series to be gripping and unique. I also love the depth with which she writes her characters. When I found out she was writing a YA series I thought I should check into it even though young adult isn’t one of my go-to genres anymore. And once I read the blurb, I wanted to read it. I knew that if Rinda put just half of what she puts into her UF series into this new one, Sisters of Fate and Foretold would be good.
And it was.
The Sisters of Fate series follows triplets who were each born with the soul of a Norse goddess inside them. This has given them the ability to see into the past, present and future. Their biggest fear is that once the end of the world begins, the goddess will take over their bodies and free will and they will essentially cease to exist as themselves. If that’s not enough, there is a prophecy stating that one of the girls will be killed by a warrior during the end of the world. Fun all around. Well, Foretold begins when the end of the world does. In this series, Raven, Coral and Kat are not only attempting to not be taken over by crazy goddesses but they are also trying to figure out what is up with their mother, who has vanished, on top of trying to find this warrior who could be wanting to kill them. They have three suspects where the warrior is concerned so they branch off, each sister searching one boy out. The sisters feel that, as they were born with a goddess’ soul, these men may have been born with a god’s soul.
Foretold follows Raven as she tries to find her ‘possible warrior’ Vanir, a boy with two wolves. There is an instant connection between Raven and Vanir. Their chemistry is intense. There is no sex in this book (because it’s YA after all) but the level of chemistry rivals many adult books that I have read. It is incredibly well written.
I really enjoyed Raven. Yes, she is a ‘teenager’ but she’s smart and knows what needs doing. She does not whine or annoy, which I really appreciated. Not once did I want to smack her and that is important to me while reading a YA heroine.
Vanir was good to read too. Yummy (for a teenager) and, as with Raven, not over the top. I also loved the relationship he had with this brothers. And the wolves, too cute.
The story is non-stop! A truly exciting ride. Made me hope that if there ever truly was an ‘end of the world’ that it does not go as it does in this book. It is not fun, people. Not fun at all. And to see how Vanir, Raven and her sisters cope with it all is great. And even though this is only book one, there is one hell of a twist (or five) and there is a bit of closure at the end of this one. I liked that. A bit of a breather before continuing on with the madness in the next book.
As you can tell, I was quite impressed with this book as a whole but the part that excites me the most is how this entire series will come together. Each sister will have her own book and much of each book takes place during the same timeline. So some of the phone conversations we see in Foretold, we will also relive in Forecast (the next book due out August 2014) and pieces of the first two books will appear in Foresworn when it releases, but we’ll see them from different points of view. That, to me, is really cool. So for that, and because this book was really good, I will definitely be checking out the next installment.
Overall, I truly enjoyed Foretold. I had a feeling Rinda would give us wonderful and thorough characters along with unique and interesting storylines and I was right. That is exactly what she did. I am thoroughly intrigued by this series and I look forward to reading more.(less)
Ever After is the fourth book in the absolutely awesome Transplanted Tales series by Kate SeRine. I have never read anything like this series. Fairy Tale and literary characters come to life and live among us, blending in the best they can and taking on career paths you would not expect. At all. So fresh and entertaining, these books never cease to both surprise and amaze me.
Ever After follows an intriguing character we’ve met previously but don’t know much about. We know him as Gideon, aid/guard/muscle to the Seelie fairy king, but who he ‘really’ is surprised me greatly. It’s so fun and completely unexpected! I won’t tell you specifics but I will tell you that it has to do with Robin Hood. That is his HEA after all.
Robin Hood, in Kate’s world, is Arabella (Bella) Locksley. As in Miss Arabella. As in, a woman. And her story is way more intricate than you would imagine. She was well written and you feel her and Gideon’s chemistry right away. She and Gideon made a good match.
Gideon is, as always, awesome. Kate did a good job writing how torn he is between doing what part of his heart is telling him and what the other part of this heart is telling him. I felt he and Bella made a good match and I liked how his story, while sad, wasn’t too over-the-top. Well, I suppose if it were real like it would be considered insane but where book heroes are concerned, it wasn’t too extreme.
I loved the twists the fairy court presented and I adored the Merlin and Arthur aspects to the story. Yup, Merlin and Arthur! Merlin was such a fun character! (Yes, we meet him and you can’t not smile when he’s on the page)
The fairy king surprised me in this book. In a good way. And man I hate the queen! Also, not at the very end but close enough, there is one scene…yeah… Just when you think you know how everything is going to go down, shock. Not world-changing but my jaw hit the floor nonetheless.
Kate is now working on two, yes two, new series. That means that this is the last book in the Transplanted Tales series…for now. And you can tell while reading it. It’s written somewhat like a final book, featuring heroes and heroines from past books in some pretty fun and impressive scenes. Like a reunion of sorts, wetting our need to know how these characters are doing and giving us a bit of closure at the same time.
I love how this series takes me by surprise. How Kate imagines her characters, their path from their ‘stories’ to their new realities, is always fun and unexpected. Her imagination never ceases to blow me away. The fact that the stories are well written, well paced as well as entertaining makes the Transplanted Tales a must read series.
Ever After leaves the series is a very nice spot, ready to pick up again or not. I am definitely on the ‘please write more of these books someday’ team. Ever After reminded me how well these books are done and I don’t want to see it come to an end quite yet.(less)
Red Blooded is the fourth book in Amanda Carlson’s Jessica McClain series. If one of your favorite parts of this series is that you are dumped right in the middle of the action the moment you crack open the book and it doesn’t let you down until the very end then you will not be disappointed in this one. There is no settling into these books, let me tell you. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I can’t say that I noticed much growth in Jessica this time around but we do see her powers grow and change. That is one of my favorite parts of reading this character – where Amanda is leading her is fun to guess and discover. All of the characters that we have come to like make appearances in this book. Roarke, of course, and Jessica’s brother are focuses. The book is about how Jessica is preparing to go into the Underworld to rescue her brother so it’s no surprise that he plays a big role in this book. What did surprise me was how much of the story took place with just Jessica on the page.
Ray, not usually one of my favorite characters, was actually decent in this installment. Selene (yes, she makes an appearance again) took his place as the character that drove me nuts this time. She committed some pretty insane crimes in the last book and she is being punished for them…but she’s acting like the victim and that was the part that made me shake my head. SHE is the one who sold her soul and now she’s complaining that she doesn’t belong there and blah blah blah. Puh-lease and cry me a river. But there is a new character that made up for my frustration towards Selene. She keeps you guessing and I feel you will all like her.
I really liked Amanda’s take on the Underworld. The creatures are creepy and the different areas are well thought out and very cool…in a yuck sort of way. We are talking about Hell after all. I also liked how the Prince of Darkness is well groomed and pristine and demands his demons be that way as well. Another little twist that made Amanda’s Hell stand out to me.
With barely a moment to breathe, Red Blooded keeps you entertained by keeping you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning to the very end. My only wish is that maybe the action chill out a little bit for the next installment so we can focus more on Roarke and Jessica’s relationship. They have great chemistry and you can tell they care for each other but there really hasn’t been much page time with just the two of them in any of the books of this series and I feel it would be nice to get more of that. If the ending to this book is any indication (yes, this book ends with a moment that leaves you demanding the next book now), Pure Blooded should be another fun and high octane read when it releases in 2015.(less)