****Review copy received for an honest review.****
There is something undeniably addicting about Amanda Carlson's writing. Combine that with her new pe****Review copy received for an honest review.****
There is something undeniably addicting about Amanda Carlson's writing. Combine that with her new peppy lead, Phoebe Meadows, who is a new born Valkyrie and you've got a hit. Phoebe kind of reminds me of the FRIENDS Phoebe, not just because of the name but they both are quirky gals. Ones that I like. Though admittedly no one can be as quirky as the FRIENDS Phoebe and Phoebe Meadows is brighter.
I will say upfront that Struck reminds me a lot of Full Blooded. The plot, feel, and pacing is the same. Plot wise it's just shadowing, not copy and pasting. The feel is more like the flavor of an author's writing style, because Struck is admittedly more funny and lighthearted. Though there are plenty of dark elements and themes. Pacing is fast and a wild ride that Carlson is well known for.
Phoebe annoyed me at first, but she quickly grew on me. She's a book bestie now. As she ventures through the realms and comes into her powers I couldn't not like her! Phoebe is hilarious, fun, sweet, and genuine. She's not magically a bad ass. She fumbles, learns, and grows. Which, with the books I've been reading lately, is something I greatly appreciate.
The male love interest was pretty awesome. He's alpha and polite. Well most of the time. I had a few issues with some of his ideas about Phoebe and her blade. (Not some kind of pun.) I feel like Carlson didn't over do it. Fen is relatable and you understand what motivates his actions.
Struck, to me, has enough Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance elements to please fans of both. I love the quirkiness of the story and humor. Not to mention the mythology of the world is steeped in Norse lore, but has Carlson's own magic touches. Oh, my gosh! The characters. I won't spoil anything but I can't wait to meet other mythological creatures/beings of Norse lore. Finally I have a Valkyrie story to look forward to. For years I've been waiting for someone to write a book/series that I would like with Valkyries as leads. (I was starting to think that Valkyries were cursed/jinxed for me.) I look forward to the rest of the books in the Phoebe Meadows series. Not to mention the twists and turns of the plot! Yeah!
Sexual Content: Yeah, I'd say so. Sexual humor, talk about torture and rape. Nothing too scary.
I've kind of been an jerk lately about the Immortals After Dark books. Lately a few have been missing the mark with me, but overall still solid. My isI've kind of been an jerk lately about the Immortals After Dark books. Lately a few have been missing the mark with me, but overall still solid. My issue has been with how each installment's romance has 5 steps that they follow. I'm not going to get into them, because I'm not going to be a meanie. Nope. Because in between those “5 Steps” I was still having fun. The romance was still building, and for each read it normally does. The world is building. Character growth is happening. I feel the feels! Well it's still a great read!
After that epiphany and finally realizing that I didn't want to be a mean bookworm I decided to enjoy Sweet Ruin. (And any future books of this series.)
Because this is a game changer! It is frustrating jumping around the Ascension, the Lore being imprisoned on an island, and all those open cliffhangers. (MacRieve anyone!) Then boom totally new turn. All the new elements introduced here—sighs—are too good. I'm eating it up. Sweet Ruin was just what the series needed to rejuvenate the series. Despite all those open plots. The introduction to the Morior and Orion the Undoing is a breath of fresh air for plot possibilities. Not to mention that it's awesome seeing beloved characters through the eyes of Jo and Rune.
Jo is brilliant. She may be clueless about certain things, but she knows her self. She knows what she deserves and she doesn't take no. She gets what she wants; or she's smart enough to know when it's time to walk. No self hating. Well at least for things she knows aren't in her hands. Her love for her brother Thaddeus is beautiful. Both when they're young, and when they are reunited! Getting to know more about Thaddeus was such a treat. It's just nice to see a decent female lead again, I haven't been fond of the last few.
Rune is an interesting male lead. And when I found out he was quite the whore, I thought it was a cheap gimmick. In the last book the female got around and now it was time for a role reversal. That was not the case. Rune is one of the most fascinating male leads since Lothaire (at least for me). He felt more thought out and not quite as “me caveman” as is Cole's specialty. It was refreshing to see the male POV on sexual abuse. It felt real and I loved his revelations in the end. It's a great message on self love and worth.
Jo and Rune are amazing together. Sure Cole has a formula, but the magic of her books has always been her characters. Romance tends to follow a pattern and I love these characters—and world—too much to miss out. Not to mention that Cole's writing is solid! The snark, accents, flavor of each character, and the crazy-amazing-ness of the IAD is on point! Cole knows how to write a good book, if she uses her formula to do so why not? It works, it's good. And I shan't be judgy any longer.
I've been vague because I want readers to go in being absolutely surprised—and very delighted—by what Cole is bringing to the table. Nix is pretty epic here and I wonder if we just met her fated male? But I think that's too on the nose. The whole cast of the Morior that was introduced are characters I would very much like to get to know and see get HEAs. Not to mention that I want to see Nix take them away from Orion. How are Nix and Orion going to duke it out?!!!! No, really, it is going to get epic. Plus, I'm dying to know who is going to be next. Especially since there was a FURY in one of the showdowns. What the flying books!? Way to tease us Cole. I'm in for wherever this series is going to go. Because the characters are awesome; the world is super-duper-fun awesome; there's decent plots and world building shit going on here!
Sexual Content: Plenty of sexual humor and bedroom scenes. Duh. That's how we Cole fans like it.
***Review copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.***
Susan Krinard is a new to me author, but once I heard that there would be Valkyries***Review copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.***
Susan Krinard is a new to me author, but once I heard that there would be Valkyries I was all up in this book! Norse mythology! Um, yes please. A classic trickster Loki that can change shape into anything he wants, male or female, making for a pretty steamy and deceptive read! Sexy scandals. Check. Did I mention Valkyrie?? This title had everything that makes me foam at my metaphorical mouth! Then a few pages into the book it hit . . .
Valkyrie titles must be jinxed for me. Especially, the characters. To be honest I think Krinard was trying to make Mist the mythical legend—AKA the Valkyrie in question—more human. She isn't aware of how stunningly gorgeous she is, or when men are openly lusting after her. Mist also suffers from serious self doubt. Now I'm not saying those are bad qualities. But Mist is old. I mean she's a walking fossil old. At a certain point in her centuries old life I'd expect her to realize that "girls got sex appeal." One huge mistake in her past causes her to question every step she takes after that. It's just so unrealistic. Yes, it's good to question yourself. But not to a point where you would blindly trust a stranger, who clearly has evil intentions. Or to ignore your instincts when a "clue" just up and slaps you across the face. Mist has to be rescued numerous times, comes off as really-really stupid, and while her genuine kindness makes her endearing it can't save her character.
That stranger I mentioned above just happens to be a elf named Dainin. Who is a emotionless, cold hearted guy, who just happened to start Ragnarok. Of course he was tricked and is now living with a monster inside him. So for the write price he'd betray Mist. The majority of the book is set up to show what a hotty Dainin is, his suffering, and his eventual arrival to the point that he needs to help Mist out. Of course I can't forget that he would allow someone else to pay for his sins. Or the way he is willing to betray Mist. It's purely evil and it over shadows every move he makes, even when he's finally willing to die for Mist. Clearly he's the love interest in this series. One that I'm not feeling. He's a great character and highly fascinating, but it just doesn't work out for me. He still deceives Mist even after he realizes that he needs to help her. Hot N cold, sing it Perry.
This book was fairly long. But I felt like I just read the first half of a novel, where it's trying to frantically build up the world while making plot progress. For me there's barely anything that truly happens. Boredom is a feeling no reader should ever feel. The mythology was half baked at best and I felt that Krinard stepped back on a few of her "rules" of magic. There's too many questions running about at the end. Is Norse mythology the only true mythology of this world, are there others? How do they tie in? And on, and on! Plus, Loki's name gets mixed up with a few of the other characters. You can't have errors like that! Not when there is a character that can become anyone. I spent a good time wondering if it was an error, or if it was actually Loki.
In the end this title has potential I'm really curious as to what will happen in future books, but I'm only continuing if the next title can transform this series into what it could be. The action is tons of fun, even if Mist really never brings the heat. There's an interesting romance developing, even if I'm not that into it. The main reason for reading Mist is for Loki. Man is he scandalously delicious! Probably one of my favorite literary renditions of him. Come for the Norse mythology, stay for Loki.
Sexual Content: Nothing overly graphic, but there’s some sex and some naughty-naughty by Loki.
Fans of Immortals After Dark have been looking forward to some MacRieve twin time for a while. Or at least I have. They're both amazing and after a glFans of Immortals After Dark have been looking forward to some MacRieve twin time for a while. Or at least I have. They're both amazing and after a glint of Uilleam, or Will, trying to escape from some Succubus. To be honest it was time for some Lykae loving.
The instant I met Will and his tragic past unveiled I was in love. He's the perfect kind of angst that me likes! When he met his fated woman on a chopping block he immediately swoops in to save her. Chloe is an impressive woman, and I loved her. She's worked hard for everything she's wanted and it's finally paid off when she gets a chance to play soccer at the Olympics and represent the USA! That is until she finds out she's turning into an immortal. When events lead her to being up on the auction block and into Will's arms. Will can forgive her being the daughter of his enemy, but when the mystery of Chloe’s immortal side is “revealed” . . . well things go south for me.
Of course, we all knew what it would be. It’s classic Cole plot drama, if the reveal shocked you . . . shame. More classic Cole plotting this reveal then makes the circumstances make them feel like the other betrayed them, then they actually do. They fight, torture each other, and then overcome it all and fall in love. Yeah. Except this time Will is an unmitigated-toxic-horrendous jerk!! Will takes an amazing woman and pulls her apart. He nukes her, the wreck left behind is awful. Then this amazing woman Cole has created takes it all. No really. She justifies Will's every move. At one point she does get to the point where she's had enough. But she comes back for more.
Chloe is too strong of a woman to just sit back and take that crap! To justify what Will is and has done to her. Sure Will realizes that he's prejudice and what he 's done to Chloe is wrong. It happens in every Immortals After Dark book. It's the formula that we the readers come begging back for. This time it goes to far and I personally can not handle it. There is no way someone like Chloe would take that crap and make excuses! No. It's like she was transformed into a new character. There's being kind and smart, knowing that there is something dark driving the man you thought you could love. Then there's just plain cruel abuse that no one should put up with.
Despite that Cole still pulls off a hot, steamy, read. It's hot. How-why-who-knows? It was weird loathing the romantic story—which is the whole point of this read—but still fanning yourself from the flames. The supporting cast was amazing. Especially getting back into the Lykae world.
In the end, this is the first time I actually found myself disliking a book in the Immortals After Dark series. Yes, the couples tend to be really rude, abusive, and horrible too each other until they can accept one anther. Usually bordering the line and always allowing redeeming qualities to shine through. Not so much here. Will did not deserve Chloe, and I loath that Chloe was introduced as a strong and smart female to only be altered into a doormat. Thankfully the other characters and the world around the characters were enough to help make things tolerable. Looks like maybe the other MacRieve twin is up later—thought who knows when—and here's hoping things get better. From the setup, and that huge cliffhanger of wonderful cruelness, things are looking up for this series.
Sexual Content: Steamy-steamy ladies. Though some of the sex is degrading.
In my mind, Lothaire has been the ultimate bad boy for the IAD. He’s clearly 100% evil villain and no matter what nefarious plots he's carried out I'mIn my mind, Lothaire has been the ultimate bad boy for the IAD. He’s clearly 100% evil villain and no matter what nefarious plots he's carried out I'm always metaphorical swooning on my feet for him. So to say the wait for this book has been unbearable is a terrible understatement. After finishing it I can clearly state that Cole is still my poison of choice! However, this book wasn't what I expected. For a character like Lothaire though, it would be tough to get it (him) just right. However, stating all that I will say this book surpassed my expectations, while also underwhelming them. (Yeah, I know I'm confused too.)
Elizabeth is the perfect soul mate for Lothaire. She's a standard redneck Hill-billy, but she's got all the smarts and wits to balance it out. Sure she eat squirrels, but she can still out wit La Dorada. It bothers me that—yet again—another Cole leading lady is a virgin. (Girls can have fun too!!) However, unlike some of the other IMA virgins she falls in the category of very sexual. Her reasons for saving it are, thankfully, not a mystical crisis. She was easy to relate too as she's not wealthy, but she's happy with the life she's lived. Elizabeth's strong will is perfectly shown as she battles the evil vampire goddess Saroya who inhabited her body at 18 years of age. Saroya ruined her life as her serial killer tendencies took over when ever the goddess took over Ellie's body.
Lothaire was just as devious as I had originally thought. He refuses to accept that Ellie is his Bride because of his ever present hatred for mortals. Instead he fixes on Saroya. It's interesting watching his arrogance, madness, and plots fall into place as he discovers Ellie as his mate and finally excepts her. He's completely evil to her. In fact, I actually started to become annoyed with him. When the couple finally put aside they're differences I felt like Lothaire really didn't change that much. I did not feel like he truly accepted Ellie as a human, and he conceded a bit to her family. What annoyed me more is that Ellie came off with better one liners then Lothaire. All of his truly good dialogue seemed to be reminiscing from other characters telling Ellie about what Lothaire had done in the past.
Still I felt like this book held it's own considering how many expectations I had riding on it. Thad the half vampire, half shade is pretty steady character in the book and I love him more. This book builds up the Dacian realm well enough that I'm looking forward to the spinoff series. Nix gets page time and it's really nice seeing some of the dynamics that Lothaire and her share. I'm desperately awaiting Nix's book, as much as I fear it. In the end this is another solid IAD entry to the series. While I feel like Cole is depending way too much on her formalistic plot that makes up EVERY book in the IAD series, I'm a sucker for it.
Sexual Content: This is a Cole book, you have to know by now!
Valkyrie Rising made it on to my reading radar with just it's title alone. Valkyries are creatures that I love reading about in paranormal settings. GValkyrie Rising made it on to my reading radar with just it's title alone. Valkyries are creatures that I love reading about in paranormal settings. Going into this book I was already a happy and excited reader. It was painful to slowly realize that I didn't enjoy this book at all, mythology was great but the rest just went up in flames before my eyes. The fact that VR killed my reading mojo in what I like to refer to as Shera's-mad-book-craze-hunger.
Ellie wasn't annoying, in fact I like her a lot. Which is a point in favor for this book. What I didn't like was that her brother, that she loves so much, is entering danger land and she didn't try harder to find out what was going on. Plus, her grandmother new the storm was coming, but opted to leave out Ellie even though this was the summer that she was going to tell her about her true heritage. The idea that someone as smart and old as Ellie's grandmother could be that stupid was just . . . sloppy. Something that the author used to force the plot along so that it was Ellie against the Gods!
The romance infuriated me. Tuck is a playboy and it's clear he has one epic crush on Ellie. However, Ellie knows it can't be real because Tuck is a player. Through out the book there was nothing that actually convinced me that Ellie should like him. He's the bad boy with a big secret and it all feels so contrived. The fact that he's liked Ellie and still has been a player just leaves a bad after taste. Then the nice doctor kid gets rolled as annoying third wheel. It's so sad that I actually like Loki more, who is clearly out to use and abuse Ellie. In addition, Ellie is supermodel beautiful but she lacks so much confidence that she just feels like prey to any guy who compliments her. I feel that she’s a strong and smart enough girl to realize certain things about herself.
The one thing that was a good base for VR is Ellie's love for her brother Graham. Ellie dad isn't in her life and Graham has stepped up into the father roll. Protecting her and basically making decisions for her. At times it's annoying. Ellie has to grow up and confess her feeling to Graham, at other times it's the only real emotions (and storyline) that this book offered.
In the end, I can't give this book the 1 star that I want to. The writing is pretty good, and the basic idea behind the book is worth a twirl. However, everything else feels like it just happened because that's what a paranormal YA read like. It's trying too hard. Looks like I'll be waiting for "that Valkyrie" book for a long while. Here's hoping someone else can write a great series about them.
Sexual Content: Some sexual humor, there’s some kissing! Clean.
For debut titles there is a certain amount of leniency that you will allow a writer. You can overlook things that would normally bug you because thisFor debut titles there is a certain amount of leniency that you will allow a writer. You can overlook things that would normally bug you because this is the debut title introducing a whole new world. Well, Estep used that get out of jail card on her debut YA book, Touch of Frost, which I enjoyed despite it's over obvious plot. This time around Estep makes all the same mistakes, but I can't overlook them this time.
The plot “twists” and climaxes were so obvious that I almost wanted to put the book down. I knew everything that was going on before the author even introduced the new characters. After a while I kept thinking, surely an author of Estep's caliber could not write something this predictable? Right? Before even a little hint could be put out there I knew where this story line was going. Yes I'm over emphasizing it, but who wants to read a book that you can predict from the first page.
I'd like to say that this time the great cast of characters saved the book and that I enjoyed them fully. However, I really can't. Gwen is annoying in her “I'm just a gypsy and need to prove myself” mind set and her obvious stupidity. The whole time she was lusting after Logan while he's trying to get over her, was boring. Jealousy as a plot devise for developing a love story has never been something I've been interested in. It only ever seems to make the characters look ridiculous and pull out traits that make them seem unredeemable. Besides that, Logan shacking up with another girl while he's obviously in love with Gwen did not earn him any points—unless you like your men slutty.
Sure I'm greatly disappointed with this second title in Estep's new YA series, but I did enjoy it. After all she is the creator of the Elemental Assassins series, it's clear this author has mad skills. It's just that I was expecting her to tap into into those—many times mentioned—skills and produce something other than comfort food for the paranormal genre. There's progress in Kiss of Frost that is clearly going to lead up to an amazing plot, kick ass battles, and a yummy love story. Just at this point it's nothing that you couldn't have thought up yourself.
Sexual Content: Kissing, talk about sex and hooking up, and some sexual humor. Pretty clean all and all. Nothing that will shock the kiddies.
In the world of Urban Fantasy I’ve come to acquire a sweet tooth for certain things. Vampires and werewolves, Valkyrie, unique takes on witches, fairiIn the world of Urban Fantasy I’ve come to acquire a sweet tooth for certain things. Vampires and werewolves, Valkyrie, unique takes on witches, fairies, well done (and I mean really well done) love triangles, demons, and most of all Greek Mythology are a guaranteed purchase. Jennifer Estep’s debut into the YA world of Urban Fantasy (or paranormal YA) instantly made my list with it’s promise of Greek Mythology and Valkyries!! Her Elemental Assassin series already made my must-purchase-at-all-costs list and I just new this author would dazzle me.
Gwen is an interesting change from the Assassin in Esteps adult series. She’s weak physically and has a clear moral compass that she lives by. While most people might run to safety after finding a dead body with its throat sliced open, Gwen would rather make sure that the victim really couldn’t be saved. While I had been hoping for a strong kick-booty heroine to add to my YA shelves, Gwen clearly has other strengths to admire. Not only does she have nerves of still, but she’s a nerd girl—with comic books, nerd references, and hoodies to go with—and I can’t say no to a fellow nerd.
After the death of her mother Gwen is pulled into Mythos Academy. Where Valkyries, Amazons, Spartans, and other mythological legends go to school to learn how become Patheons, who fight against the Chaos. Basically the the good (Patheons) Vs. evil. Gwen doesn’t know why she’s been pulled into Mythos, she’s not a warrior. She’s a decedent of Gypsies, all of her family members just have a magical quirk. Her grandmother can see the past and future, her mom could tell when someone was telling the truth, and her gift is . . . well a little more awkward. She can touch any object and get it’s whole live story, that includes people.
A lot of the book deals with Gwen's sadness over her mother passing, blaming herself for her mother’s death, and learning to be happy again. It also deals with her self-doubt about her place in the Academy, and her worth. The way she kept knocking herself down over the potential love interest was annoying. Considering that the only guy she kissed was fantasizing about another girl, it’s understandable.
It’s a nice addition to the realm of teen heroes. Gwen is gaining her footing, building up sidekicks—er, I mean friends. Catching the eye of the hot guy, and get this he’s a Spartan. (Yes, 300 is mentioned and joked about.) Big secrets (which are way too obvious to the reader) come out of the closet and Gwen is learning she has what it takes to be a true Champion of the Gods.
The book’s plot and “giant twist” was so obvious that I wanted to strangle, the author for thinking that her readers would be too stupid to see it. Estep’s dazzling writing, fantastic characters, cool world, and the allure of the “magical school” helped to appease me. This series has room to grow, places to explore. In the end this wasn’t what I was expecting from Jennifer Estep, yet it was just what I needed. With ancient gods choosing champions to battle it out and deceit at every corner, it spells wicked fun!
Sexual Content: Teens are getting it on and BJ are the norm. Gwen doesn’t participate in any of this, but the kids are definitely frisky critters.
3/5- Adored it, just a few minor details held it back.
Paranormal Romance is pretty new for me, so I was a little shy of a series about finding soul mates. The setup for this tale is between a Lykae king (Paranormal Romance is pretty new for me, so I was a little shy of a series about finding soul mates. The setup for this tale is between a Lykae king (werewolf), Lachlain, who has been imprisoned by the Horde (evil vampires) to be burned a live again and again, because he's immortal. Finally escaping when he catches a sniff of his mate, Emma, who turns out to be half vampire/half Valkyrie. Then the plot thickens. Lachlain needs to take his mate to his homeland in Scotland before the next full moon. Because a Lykae without his mate on these nights will stop at nothing to get to her. Emma does not require the mate for life setup and grudgingly (forced) goes along, thinking there's a pot of jewelry at the end of this journey. All the while Valkyrie are being attacked by the Horde, and the Horde is looking for one particular Valkyrie halfbreed . . .
Emma, or Emmaline, ended up being a very refreshing character. She was timid and scared of pretty much everything. Personally, I hate weak characters, but it's really fun tagging along and watching Emma grow up and find her inner strength. Once she faces a memory of getting forcefully burned as a child, so she could learn the dangers of the sun, she's on the path to inner discovery. Her whole relationship with her Valkyrie family changes. She realizes that they've always have loved her and have treated her like one of them. Even though the majority of them have dedicated their lives to killing vampires. Emma finally finds out who her mystery dad is (which was not a surprise) and taps into her inner bad-booty Valkyrie gifts. It's fun watching her leave behind her sheltered life, even if it is because of a insane Lykae who's kidnapped her.
Lachlain was a very interesting character. He had spent 3,000 years looking for his mate, when he is captured by the Horde in a rescue attempt for his younger brother. Revenge is the only thing that keeps him going during his century of burning torture. He only accomplishes his escape when he smells his mate nearby, basically chewing off his leg to get to her. It's interesting watching Lachlain battle his insane hatred for vampires, when instinct is telling him Emma is his mate. For me, his craziness seems more like rudeness and a case of dominance/control issues. It made it really hard at times to sympathize or like him.
Even after they're mated they still need to learn to trust each other and actually progress in their relationship. Which was nice because I was afraid Emma was just going to roll over and play good little mate. Instead she got a back bone and the relationship really bonded between the two and I just fell in love with the couple.
A Hunger Like No Other is told from the points of views of Lachlain and Emma. There are some other characters who step in and give us a little perspective. Annika, Emma's adopted mother, and Bowen, Lachlain's best friend. Annika's narration really adds to the information we get on the Valkyrie clan. And let's be honest just the word Valkyrie sounds great, so any other information we get on any of these ladies are great. Bowen shows an interesting perspective on the relationship between Emma and Lachlain, and what is in store for a Lykae who looses his mate. All of the characters in this book are fantastic and I wan more, more, more! Bottom Line:
This story ended up being more complex then I could have imagined a silly PR being. All of this is accompanied by Cole's great sense of humor, and she had me laughing out loud. I love it when I book can be funny and balance the dark and gritty elements. Even though Lachlain wasn't for me, I feel in love with the couple and look forward to future books. Because honestly, I love the whole love can conquer all mentality. The other also has a great way of making the characters seem a little more real and less like mythical beings, where emotions are concerned anyway. This is a reread for me and it hasn't even been a full year since I've first read it!