Publisher: Self-published Publish Date: Out now How we got this book: ARC from the author
Do you believe in dragons? Werewolf cop Rick Lupone would say no . . . until a dying faerie tells him the fate of his city depends on him. If he can’t protect a mysterious woman in peril, everything may be lost. The only discovery more shocking is that the woman he’s meant to save is his high school crush, Cass Maycee.
Half fae Cass didn’t earn her Snow White nickname by chance. All her life, her refusal to abuse fae glamour kept men like Rick at arm’s length. Now something new is waking up inside her, a secret heritage her pureblood father kept her in the dark about. Letting it out might kill her, but keeping it hidden is no longer an option. The dragons’ ancient enemies are moving. If they find the prize before Rick and Cass, the supe-friendly city of Resurrection just might cease to exist. This blurb came from the author’s website.
E: When I got a note from Holly letting me know about Hidden Dragons I had to say. I mean the combination of Holly, dragons, and her Hidden world and I couldn’t resist. As I have said previously I have enjoyed Holly’s writing for a very long time. I followed her from traditional to self-publishing and continue to have the same level of enjoyment. It is evident that she puts a lot of time and effort into ensuring that the published book is a very high quality and I appreciate that. It allows me to sink into the world, story, and characters without becoming distracted by administrative errors. Hidden Dragons goes back to Resurrection and the werewolf police team that started this series. I have enjoyed the different personalities within the pack and how they are slowly finding rather unusual partners. In this particular story a long hidden high school crush gets the opportunity to bloom under dangerous conditions.
Has: I love the Hidden world, the characters and world-building that Holly created is rich and imaginative. So I also felt the same way when I heard that dragons were going to be featured in the next installment in this series. And oh how they added a fantastic tone to the story as well as highlighted the more fantasy elements of the series which was more paranormal in feel.
The main couple, were also great! I loved that we got to see more of the Lupone brothers and Rick who is the main hero in this book really shines as the beta cop who finds himself protecting his high-school crush. While Cass who also reciprocated his feelings during school is a fun and intelligent heroine and I loved the moment when they both realised their feelings for each other which was very sexy and sweet. Emma Holly has a real gift with sensual scenes and the romantic tension between Cass and Rick was fantastic!
E: Watching the unfolding of their relationship especially the realization that each had admired the other was a lot of fun. I also found myself intrigued by the mixture of legend, children’s tv/fairy tales, and what was actually happening. Holly also put an interesting twist on the dangers or benefits of accepting a gift from the fae. I thought Rick did a great job as a Beta hero by demonstrating the caring and also tenacious aspects of his personality. He was strong enough to protect but felt no need to have the monopoly on good ideas. At the same time he wasn’t going to let Cass get away with ignorance and refusing to acknowledge that she knew the answers to their problems.
Cass was also an intriguing character. She had several other half-Fae friends that she was close to but she avoided any emotional or other entanglements with men. And yet despite that closeness she spent most of her adult life away from Resurrection, her home. She also never pushed her father for information or to involve himself more in her life. However, one of the things I didn’t like about her was that when she was stressed, she defaulted to using her fae glamour or power. The same power she used as an excuse to stay away from men. I am going to talk about that a little more later because I think it was an important plot thread.
Has: I really like the emphasis and the details that Emma Holly gave to the reader, especially with the mythology of the fae such as lying which Cass experienced a backlash everytime she lied to herself or to others. The little details like this really cemented the world-building for me. And I liked that we learn more about the fae because in previous books, the fae were a race which appeared to be mysterious and enigmatic and I loved that we got more insight into their race and their origins in Resurrection.
I really like Rick, because he was in the sense, a true protector without any of the alphaholish characteristics but I find that most of Holly’s characters especially her heroes, are more likable and well developed. I think for me, I wished there was more of a buildup to their realisation of their feelings and I would like to have seen more of their feelings before they commenced with their relationship because it was a bit sudden.
I think with the way Cass dealt with her glamour and fae abilities was true to herself because it was something she used unconsciously. It was not till she was living on the Outside in the human world, she realised the impact and repercussions of her power especially on how she changed her ex-fiance. I thought that was an interesting aspect of her character and how tricky the fae can be. If she was more manipulative and selfish, it would have been a totally different story. I think I found her father’s agenda to be more problematic especially with the way he regarded Cass’ mother and the fallout over that relationship which was a huge price to pay.
E: I agree I loved finding out about the origins of Resurrection and some of the people who lived there. I also understood Cass’ father’s agenda much more because his life, his family’s life was devoted to his particular rule. And he had to do everything he possibly could to fulfill his side of the bargain. Yes, I am deliberately on the vague side here so I don’t spoil a large portion of the book.
I had much more of an issue when after everything Cass and Rick had been through she didn’t have any qualms about threatening to use her fae power on him if he didn’t agree to do what she wanted. For someone who professed to hate use her power on people and knew what it felt like to have someone use their power on her this was a huge shock. I also felt like she completely betrayed the trust that Rick had in her and only when she saw Rick’s reaction and that he had been formulating a plan that would accomplish what she wanted did she seem to understand the gravity of her actions. This struck me as the action of someone who needed to grow up a bit more. I don’t think she properly groveled and regained Ricks trust even though he professed to believe her when she said she had learned her lesson. I still felt that under stress she would revert back to using her power regardless of the consequences.
Has: Oh I definitely agree with you about that aspect of Cass but I do think she had genuine reasons on why she did threaten to use her powers like that. But I liked that this was an interesting source of conflict between them and I think if she ever did do something like this then its a loss of trust and that would have damaged her relationship with Rick. And that would be irreparable. I do think they both realised that towards the end and it was a contrast with her parents and how they dealt with the impact of her father’s abilities. It is not easy to be with a fae who has powers that could glamour and manipulate the people around them. But I do think Cass sees this is important that she cannot rely or even use her powers subconsciously.
E: Holly continues to provide entertaining reads. She also ensured the both the tension and stakes were high and continued to get higher as the story continued. One of my favorite scenes was when Cass decided to set boundaries on what she would and would not allow purebred Fae to do. She seemed to signify that they could no longer look down on and discount what half-Fae could accomplish. As I said earlier I did have some issues with Cass and her lack of groveling along with Rick’s acceptance. Yes, he did stay away from her for a while but I still wanted a stronger resolution. Overall, I enjoyed my visit back to Resurrection and spending time with the werewolf cops. I look forward to Holly’s next installment.
I give Hidden Dragons a B.
Has: I definitely agree that Emma Holly is a solid and entertaining author, and I continue to love each new story in the Hidden universe. While there was some issues with Cass and her father who I suspect might also be in the running for his own story in the future, I found the source of conflict was an interesting conundrum. The world-building was also fantastic and Emma Holly further develops the mythology about the mythical inhabitants in Resurrection. And Hidden Dragons definitely offers a different overtone in this ongoing series, which had a sweet and passionate romance which had great touches of humour!
Publisher: Samhain Publish Date: 22 Oct How I got this book: ARC from the publisher
Beri O’Dell is on a mission. She has to rip back into a hell dimension fast, but needs two things first—the blood of an ancient and a fix for her friend Blythe’s magic, which careened out of control after the battle with the Dweller.
Finding ancient blood isn’t easy when the old ones are rare and unwilling to donate. She needs to find Blythe’s former mentor…except the woman has lost her mind and joined a traveling band of singing witches.
That’s not the only magical monkey on her back. Nikolos is imprisoned, and after a screwed-up spell lets her witness the horror that has become his life, her fear for him grows by the day. Now there’s another problem—a powerful being unleashed during the battle with the Dweller likes her gluttonous new existence, and will kill anyone who threatens it.
But Beri has a few tricks up her costumed sleeve, even if it means mining the darkness of her soul to set everything right…and get Nikolos back in her arms.
Warning: Sleazy ancients. Random fires. Nosy teenage hackers. Hints of off-screen torture. Battles with…Beri doesn’t know what. And one scary boyfriend who keeps inching toward insanity. This blurb came from the author’s website.
I reviewed the first Beri O’Dell book, Dweller on the Threshold, earlier today and because its events lead directly into this story there will be spoilers for the first book. Beri and her friends, well those that survived the battle with the Dweller, were recuperating as they tried to figure out how to fix everything that went wrong. Blythe’s magic was completely out of control resulting in random fires and spells that didn’t quite work as intended. Her mentor, the only person who might know how to fix the issue, was missing. Beri has wounds that aren’t healing because Blythe can’t spell them so poison from the demons’ claws is slowly spreading throughout her body. During the battle with the Dweller, several unknown entities escaped from hell and need to be hunted down before they cause too much damage. Nikolos sacrificed himself to kill the Dweller so he was in hell undergoing horrific torture intended to completely transform him. Beri was determined to somehow manage to fix everything, but it would take all she had and then some to even get close.
I was really excited to read the second installment because Beri wasn’t exactly in a good place and I wanted to know how she was going to deal with all of the issues. I am glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed. Things started off with a touch of humor but quickly turned serious when it became evident that someone or something really wanted Beri, Blythe, and Elsa dead or severely incapacitated. It seemed as if Beri had once again found herself in the middle of a supernatural mess. Together the group decided to focus on finding Blythe’s mentor so she could fix her magic, which would be needed to heal Beri as well as control the elemental needed to hold open a portal to hell. At the same time, they would also look for an Ancient to donate a little blood required for the ritual. The plan seemed simple enough except things kept becoming more complicated.
Once again, I enjoyed the interactions throughout the entire group. Threads of sexual tension continued to flow between certain individuals because they still avoided addressing their past history. Several times, I caught myself laughing at the rather vigorous discussions between Beri’s brother and the necromancer. I thought that the growing closeness and friendship between Beri and the other members of the group meant that she was healing emotionally from the trauma of her childhood and allowing herself to care about others. In addition to revisiting the core group from the first book, I met a few more very interesting characters. I liked how they played key roles and seemed to find their own niches within the group. **Not so subtle hint** I would love to see them appear in future stories.
As much as I thought things looked tense and uncertain as events approached their climax in the first book, somehow Elliot managed to increase my concerns about the possibility of accomplishing everything Beri wanted to achieve as the story opened. The denizens and powers of hell were not easily persuaded to relinquish their toys and they enjoyed whatever anguish they could cause so the closer Beri came to rescuing Nikolos the harder things became. Elliot did include enough hints that I figured out one of her twists this time but I was so focused on it, I missed any clues she might have included about her other twists.
I found Blood of an Ancient an enjoyable follow-up to Dweller on the Threshold. One of the things I enjoyed about this story is how Elliot continued to expand her world and pull in just enough reality to ground the dark fantasy. Her use of myths, legends, and familiar interpretations of certain environments such as aspects of hell made it easy for me to visualize what was happening. I am really pleased that she is planning on writing more Beri O’Dell books not just because of where this one ended, but because I find them a refreshing read. She is able to walk the line that appeals to both my romance and my fantasy/adventure reading sides, which is a lovely change. She also ensures that she ends things with enough at stake that I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Quick Thoughts - Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins Absolutely loved reading this story. I pre-ordered it I think on recommendations from some individuals o...moreQuick Thoughts - Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins Absolutely loved reading this story. I pre-ordered it I think on recommendations from some individuals on twitter and I am so glad that I did. Given this past week it was the perfect story to read leaving work.
A WOMAN OUT FOR BLOOD Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories—along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there’s one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most . . .
A VAMPIRE OUT FOR REVENGE A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his soul obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation—a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever. *Blurb from Goodreads*
MinnChica: Ever since I picked up my first Ione book, I’ve been hooked. I’ll admit I was a little leery about the new vampire series (because I’m just a little burnt out on vampires), but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this book. I picked it up after I put the baby to bed, and found myself shutting down my eReader at 1 in the morning. The characters were so engaging, the world was so unique, and the romance was tumultuous, to say the least! I can’t wait for more in this series!
E: I have been addicted to reading about vampires since elementary school or junior high. I was attracted to the danger, the menace, the air of the forbidden, the subtle or overt sensuality, extra senses coming into play during “critical moments”, paranormal powers, and I could keep going but lately vampires appear watered down, missing their umph. I still have my favorite authors whose vampires still inspire the combination of fear and attraction but I have become increasingly wary of trying new ones out of disappointment. I have read her Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series and really enjoyed the spin she placed on demons, shifters, angels and the like so when I found out that she was starting a new series and that it involved vampires I had to give it a try. I am so glad that I did because Ione brought back everything that was missing and then some! I was so engrossed in the story that anyone who wanted my attention had to physically touch me because I didn’t hear or see anything that was going on around me. I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2.
Has: When I heard that Larissa Ione has started a new PNR series featuring vampires, I was very intrigued. I think she’s one of the best authors who writes in the genre and like E I was feeling a bit tired on Vampires. But I loved the rich and gritty tone of the Demonica series, I knew BOUND BY NIGHT would hopefully live to my expectations and it certainly did! The setting and premise behind the vampire mythos that Larissa Ione created was different and fresh and I loved how she set up a world where vampires were enslaved due to their abilities by humans. I felt this brought a fresh take to the mythos and I really liked how that was developed throughout the book, especially how it tied in with Native American mythology.
MinnChica: I absolutely adored Riker. He was strong and sexy and yet totally vulnerable at the same time. Dealing with the guilt surrounding his mate’s death was so wonderful to see, especially as Nicole had to deal with some of the same issues. I loved the way they started as enemies, that they were hesitant around each other, and gradually started a friendship, a partnership, and then so much more. The romance was absolutely brilliant, and the characters fabulous. Plus, Ione knocked it out of the park with the secondary characters. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!
E: Riker was a lot of fun. His thoughts, memories, guilt, and how he punished himself for years was very intriguing. I also liked how Nicole had her thoughts, memories, guilt, and fear of him personally not to mention as a species to deal with. Their interactions together were never quiet and peaceful yet each had a reluctance to permanently damage the other. I loved the scenes when Nicole decided to step up and either take what she wanted or to make a stand once and for all. One of my favorites was the “Thank you” scene. Like MinnChica I enjoyed the secondary characters as well. Not only am I looking forward to the next book but I really want Myne’s story. He was such an ass in the beginning but by the end of the book I was cheering for him.
Has: Oh man that scene *fans self* it was definitely up there in my favourite scenes in the book! I also really liked Riker, he stood out for me as a hero and I liked he didn’t have the hole element in the alphahole. Even though he was on opposing sides with Nicole, who was human and the company that she owned was responsible for the enslavement and torture of the vampire race – Riker never became unlikeable or overbearing when he interacted with her. And I liked how loyal and protective towards his clan but still hung-up over the death of his mate. It was a nice twist on the tables with Nicole who chases him and I really liked the scenes when she unapologetic seduces him and is open with her sexuality. That was so refreshing!
Nicole also really surprised me because I thought she would be more passive in dealing with the aftermath of her abduction. But I loved how defiant and smart she became especially when she learned of the truth of her family’s involvement with the company and its secret experimentation towards the vampires. She never fell into the TSTL pitfalls or being too whiny with the fate she ends up with. She focuses on the things she could change especially when she learns how badly the vampires are faring due to humans and helps them with her scientific background.
One of my favourite scenes in the book, is when she took charge in the lab where they were torturing the captured vampires and surprised Riker who let her lead. It cemented the romance for me because even though it was early days in their relationship, but I liked how Riker admired Nicole which helped to overcome his suspicious feelings about her and her past. Although I do think they fell in love a bit too quickly, their sexual and emotional chemistry was sizzling and vivid! And their love scenes – and I have to salute Larissa Ione over the Thank You scene was very very memorable!
MinnChica: All in all I thought this was such a wonderful and fabulous new series by Ione. I loved the world, the different take on vampires, and the cast of characters are so vibrant, that I can’t wait to read more. While I love all the Demonica books, I think this new series may have surpassed it in my mind. The world building is so fun and unique and I’m anxious to see how the clan resolves all their ongoing issues. The romance was so well done, each and every character was one I fell in love with even more, and I think I’ve found a new series that I’m going to be chomping at the bit to get! I give Bound by Night an A
E: I really enjoyed reading Bound by Night. Ione’s vampires had their share of suitable evilness, menacing ability, and sexuality yet they also had a caring side. I also enjoyed how the humans were portrayed from the vampire perspective. Both sides had some preconceived notions about the other which were in turn reinforced by behavior on both sides. As mentioned earlier I enjoyed the interaction between not just Nicole and Riker but also between the secondary characters. Ione has created a very fascinating world and characters that I am excited to continue exploring. I give Bound by Night an A.
Has: The supporting characters were also vibrant and colourful, such Myne and Hunter, as well as the eerie and scary leader of the ShadowSpawn clan who gave me the chills. The world that Larissa Ione was gritty and dark, and I loved the idea of the enslaved vampires and the conflict it brings when they try to break free from their enslavement. But the rich characters and mythology especially on the origins of the vampires made this a fantastic start to the series. I was left wanting more especially towards the end which promises to be a fun followup with Hunter, the leader of the vampire clan as the main lead.
Bound by Night for me was a great start for a brand new series. I felt that Larissa Ione’s take on vampires in this book, was different and added a new twist to the genre. But it had her trademarks of fast paced action, memorable characters, sexy chemistry and rich world-building. This is a new winner of a series for me!
Publisher: Carina Press Publish Date: 7 Oct How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
A human trapped in the world of Faerie, in possession of magic I could not control, I made a bargain for my life: to let the dangerously sensual fae noble known as Rogue sire my firstborn. And one does not break an oath with a fae. But no matter how greatly I desire him, I will not succumb. Not until I know what will happen to the child.
Though unable-or unwilling-to reveal the fate of human-fae offspring himself, Rogue accompanies me on my quest for answers. Along the way he agrees to teach me to harness my power, in exchange for a single kiss each day and sleeping by my side each night. Just as I am about to yield to temptation, I find myself in a deadly game of cat and mouse with an insane goddess. Now my search for the truth will lead me to the darkest of all Faerie secrets. This blurb came from the author’s website.
E: So a while ago I read and absolutely loved the first Covenant of Thrones book, reviewed here with Has Rogue’s Pawn. I enjoyed it so much that I started pestering poor Kennedy about the sequel. Time passed and she notified us that she would be writing more in this series so I was really excited and then she made me wait. Happily Rogue’s Possession is now out and I have to say that once again Kennedy blew me away. I stayed up into the wee hours of a workday morning because I was so hooked. I am recommending that you read the first installment before you start this one because they are very closely entwined.
Has: I also had a very sleepless night finishing this book because the world that Jeffe Kennedy created was so rich and full of seductive and imaginative details that I just didn’t want the book to end. But I so totally agree about reading or rereading in my case the first book, Rogue’s Pawn because this installment really felt like the middle of the story and it was a true follow-up in the trilogy. And this is a series which has rich and vivid characters and an intricate plot, and I loved that the dreamy but dark overtones from the first book continues to be strong in Rogue’s Possession.
E: Gwynn has been struggling with the rules of the world she stumbled into, sometimes winning and sometimes losing. Agreements and interpretation of agreements are all subject to how much power you have, allegiances, and how well you are able to think around the obvious linear answer. Gwynn is at a severe disadvantage because of agreements made in the first book and her lack of knowledge about exactly what her magic can do. She serves Lord Falcon as his battle mage doing what he says while attempting to minimize loss of human life and therefore loss of herself. She also has an agreement with Lord Rogue that she will allow him to sire her firstborn child. He is very eager to make this happen in the fullest extent possible but she negotiated several years before she is required to comply. This also means Rogue has a vested interest in keeping her alive and in as good health as possible. As she starts more intimate magic lessons with Rogue she starts to question why he is so insistent on fathering a child with her only to discover that he can’t tell her. But he is willing to bend/workaround/play with the rules as much as possible to help her discover the answer.
Has: This is one of the reasons why I really adore this series, because Gwynn is an intelligent and engaging character and actually used her wits to get out of difficult situations. And like in the first book, her logic and scientific reasoning is a touchstone in a crazy world, where the fae do not play by logical rules, but I do love how flustered or puzzled they become when Gwynn manages to turn the tables on them. I have to say my favourite scenes are when she has to outsmart the fae, who are pretty wily and tricky to interact with, and it was fun to see all the negotiation and sidestepping questions to get information. But I think the best ones are when she deals with Rogue and the way they flirt with each other by exchanging favours but within the boundaries they set for each other. The tension between them which I thought was hot and sizzling in the first book, was an inferno for this one!
E: I enjoyed the transition from discovering an entirely new world to one of discovering more about its inhabitants, what drives them, and exactly how even the little things Gwynn does have a ripple effect that grows as time passes. Gwynn also came more into her own with both negotiation and finesse in her magic skills. However, nothing, especially in this world, is gained without paying a price and Gwynn continued to learn that lesson. She was forced to face one of her deepest fears, move beyond her experience to take control of the situation, and allow others the right to exercise their own free will. I was really impressed at how much Gwynn grew over the course of this installment from a bewildered person who was basically a puppet with power to someone who was willing to bend the world rules to achieve what she wanted. I also enjoyed her interactions with Rogue even more this time. The initial power imbalance was starting to level out and Rogue’s perception of Gwynn had changed from looking at an obligation who was making things harder to a desirable individual who could become a partner.
Has: Yes! I loved that her character grew so much from the scared and confused woman to a woman who is embracing her magic and using her wits and not taking prisoners. I definitely agree with you that she was more of an equal footing with Rogue, in fact I felt that he was catching up with her a lot of the times especially in the first half of the book. I also liked the hint of things to come with her abilities coming to the fore and that it provided an interesting contrast with Rogue and his own hidden abilities. I really loved the synchronicity of that especially on how it interlinks with their power dynamics. I also definitely agree and loved that Gwynn faced up to one of her major fears in this book, and again highlighted how much growth and changed she underwent, but at the same time she didn’t lose her sense of humanity and empathy.
I also adored the new characters that were introduced such as Athena who joins Gwynn’s ragtag crew of friends and servants. It was interesting to see the follow-on effects from when Gwynn initially changed Athena to her becoming more self aware and developing a more serious and kick ass personality that lived up to her namesake. And Walter the Wizard, who like Gwynn found himself in the land of the fae and is a sorcerer, and was part of several of the most humorous scenes in the book which had me chuckling away. They both added colour and humour to the cast of established characters who were alive and so very vibrant that they leaped off the pages for me. I have also fallen more in love with Gwynn’s pet familiar, Darling. He really shined in this book and was part of one of the best combat scenes and who added his own twist in a lot of levels in the David and Goliath myth – when you read this scene you would agree with what he asks of Gwynn later on!
E: I loved the variety of challenges that Kennedy threw in Gwynn’s path and I have strong hopes that the next book will allow the aspects of Rogue’s character that I caught glimpses of in this story to come to more prominence. Kennedy created and continued to expand a very visual lush different world. She kept the action, tension, and romantic elements nicely entwined as the story progressed. Kennedy also included a couple surprising twists towards the end, well they surprised me even though looking back I could see the trail of crumbs. This was another great installment that was well worth waiting for. Now I can’t wait for the next one! I give Rogue’s Possession an A.
Has: Rogue’s Possession for me was a fantastic followup to the first book, and unlike other trilogies – this didn’t fall into the pitfalls of middle book syndrome but actually answered some questions and pushed the plot further as well as developing the characterization. I am also left on tenterhooks to see how things are played out because the ending brought many things into play, which I can’t wait to see what happens next. But overall, this installment was really highlights that this is one of the most imaginative, seductive and darkly sensual fantasy romances I’ve ever read. There is a real emphasis on the characters and the plot as well as the world-building which is explored in much more depth but retains the surreal and dreamy tone with great touches of humour as well as darkness. While the romance, which has a real sexual frission is more cerebral but leaves me wanting for the next book and I suppose the best things in life are worth waiting for! But overall I loved how this book ended which was beyond perfect and I cant wait to see what happens next with the eccentric and colourful characters that Jeffe Kennedy has created. This is definitely one of the most unique series I’ve read!