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Reading is my addiction... I read paranormal romance, urban fantasy, science fiction and fantasy, young adult, romance and historical romance. I am part of the blogging team over at Badass Book Reviews: http://badassbookreviews.com 

New Release Review: Forsaken by Jacquelyn Frank

Forsaken  - Jacquelyn Frank

There's something to be said when you finish a book and immediately want the next book in the series. Jacquelyn Frank's The World of the Nightwalkers books is just that kind of series. The Nightwalkers are a breed of supernatural beings that dwell in the night. Each book focuses on one specific couple. The lead couple in Forsaken is the human mercenary Leo Alvarez and his Night Angel love interest Faith.

 

The story picks up immediately after the events of the previous book where Leo was introduced to the world of the Nightwalkers in a rather nasty and painful way. Leo is scarred, both mentally and physically. He is recovering at the Nightwalkers' Arizona compound surrounded by his "family" Docia (Tameri) and Jackson (Menes).

 

In this book Leo and Faith seek out the assistance of a powerful Djynn after an attack on the compound leaves Jackson mortally wounded. I think I enjoyed this part the most - Gray the Mavid was a very impressive character. I loved how Leo and Faith had to bargain with the djynn who wanted them to go on an impossible task in order to secure his help.

 

Leo and Faith were wonderful together. The attraction is strong and Leo fights it constantly. At some points, I thought that Leo was being an ass. Their love does win out and the sex is hot and steamy. The ending brought tears to my eyes, it was so nicely done.

 

Apep the villain just gets more and more evil as the series progresses. He is also so very full of himself, too. Apep took on the form of a woman and he ponders the limitations of this form:

"This form is so limiting," Apep observed, once again inspecting himself in the mirror. "I can't sense things as well as I should. It's seriously curtailing my omniscience. However as time goes on it should improve. I am, after all, me."

I think that one of the things that I love about this series is that it is based upon Egyptian mythology. Each Nightwalker carries the soul of an Egyptian god and is hosted within a human body. The human blends with the Egyptian soul and benefits from that soul's power and knowledge. I also like the variety of paranormal creatures in this series. There's gargoyles, flying horses, djynn, angels and more.

 

Forsaken is a strong addition to The World of the Nightwalkers series. I'm so glad that Forged is coming out in April.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted at Badass Book Reviews.

 

Note - trigger warning - there is a male rape scene in this book.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/new-release-review-forsaken-by-jacquelyn-frank

Early Review: Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur

Circle of Fire  - Keri Arthur

So here I was getting all excited that I found something new and fresh in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance genre. Then I realized that this series was originally published in 2001 and 2009 under the same name. Well, it's still a new-to-me series, so I guess I can go ahead with my gushing.

 

It's so much fun to find fresh, new books in urban fantasy. I mean, how many different ways can you do the vampire/werewolf thing? Circle of Fire is a solid start to the Damask Circle series. In fact, I loved being in this world. I literally devoured the book in one sitting. 

 

I think I enjoyed this book because it was a different take on the same old stuff. The main characters had intriguing abilities. Maddie Smith was an untrained psychic with the ability to start fires. Jon Barnett is a shape shifter whose main form is a hawk. 

 

This world is juxtaposed with our human world. Humans look down upon those with gifts and special abilities. Maddie was untrained because her family, then her late husband all tried to repress her gifts. The result was disastrous for Maddie. Discrimination runs rampant against the gifted and paranormal. Jon works for the Damask Circle, a special agency or police force for paranormal creatures. He is currently investigating the disappearance and murder of teenagers at the full moon.

 

This is not your ordinary romance. Jon appeals to Maddie to rescue him by appearing to her as a ghost-like image. Despite her reservations, Maddie drives out to Tauren Bay and rescues Jon from a well. Together, they begin to investigate the kidnappings (Maddie has a personal stake - her nephew is one of the missing), putting themselves in danger.

 

The plot moves along fairly fast. Jon and Maddie race against the clock to rescue the kids before the new moon. The villain is quite powerful and scary as are some of the townspeople.

 

My only reservation about this book was that I wanted to smack Jon upside the head a few times. I couldn't understand why he would deny his feelings for Maddie for so long. Darn commitment issues.

 

Circle of Fire was a fast paced, action packed read. I can't wait to get to the next book in the series Circle of Death.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Dell for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/early-review-circle-of-fire-by-keri-arthur

Early Review: The Troop by Nick Cutter

The Troop - Nick Cutter

What appears to be a routine camping trip for five teenage Scouts and their leader becomes a nightmare in the style of a classic Stephen King horror book.

 

Let's step back a moment. I'm a mom. I do have a son in Scouts and he's about the same age as those boys. I literally had to think twice about sending him on his next Scout overnight trip. Yes, this book had that kind of effect on me. Thankfully, his Scout overnights are nowhere near a remote island off the coast of Prince Edward Island.

 

I think that what appealed to me about this book was that the boys were portrayed as normal kids from a cross section of their little town. There's Newton - a fat, sensitive kid with a very popular alter ego on the internet. Kent is a jock and the son of the local police chief. Ephraim has had a difficult childhood. His father is absent and in jail. Max has self control issues but he is the coolest in all the crazy situations the boys find themselves in. Then there's Shelley who likes to play mind games with his friends. I think that Shelley was the scariest character just because he had sociopathic tendencies.

 

Let's get to the scary part. Whoa, I think I probably should not have read this book so close to Parasite by Mira Grant. I don't need to be afraid of monsters - it's the parasites that really freak me out. So when a hungry stranger crashes their camping trip, things quickly go downhill. Tim the Scout leader is the town's doctor so he tries to treat the man who was eating literally everything in sight including non-edible things. The man dies and Tim cuts the man open (in the name of science, no less) and a thing comes out of the man's stomach! Gross! Yuck! You can guess what happens next. More infection, more craziness. Of course, the radio is busted, so no one can call for help. This was an electronics free camping trip - no cell phones were allowed. And the kids actually listened, so no calls for help. Oh, and how did the stranger reach the island? A boat that is conveniently not operational. And then there's a big storm brewing.

 

I enjoyed the writing style. At the beginning of each chapter the author included some part of the investigation, the inquiry transcripts, lab reports, and even an advertisement. The writing style did remind me of Stephen King a little bit and the author does thank Mr. King for inspiring him at the end of the book. This book has a major ick factor. If you get queasy, you may not enjoy this book. Parasites are icky.

 

The Troop will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's a fast paced character driven survival story. It'll make you think twice before you set off on a camping trip on a remote island....

 

Thank you to Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/early-review-the-troop-by-nick-cutter

New Release Review: Taste of Darkness

Taste of Darkness - Maria V. Snyder

I've been a fan of Maria V. Snyder's Healer series for quite a while now. When the opportunity to read and review the third book came along, I jumped at the chance. The Healer series focuses on Avry, a remarkable young woman who is a healer in a land ravaged by plague and war.

 

In Taste of Darkness, Avry shines. She has matured since the previous books. She is no longer an outlaw, healing young children in hiding. Instead, Avry is well-respected and a source of exasperation for the men in her life: Prince Ryne and Kerrick. I loved how Avry was openly defiant of the Prince. Kerrick adores Avry, and would do anything for her. The other men in her life, the Monkeys, look up to Avry for leadership. Of course, Tohon is still around and he continues to invade Avry's dreams, taunting her.

 

Taste of Darkness starts off slowly. There is little recapping of the events of the previous books. I would recommend reading the books of this series in consecutive order with as little gap in time as possible. There's a huge cast of characters to keep track of, but I've come to expect that in the fantasy genre. Have patience, I think that this is the best book of the series. Taste of Darkness is an action-packed adventure, with lots of twists, turns, and betrayals.

 

I think what I loved about this book (and the series in general) was the intricate world created by the author. It has a middle ages feel to it, yet it touches upon biological warfare. The magic in the series in intriguing, spanning all sorts of abilities: life, healing, persuasion, and the like. Even the vegetation of this world becomes a character. Giant identical lilys, capable of swallowing a man whole have a sentient connection to the land and those characters with magical abilities. The romance aspect was there in the story, not really in the forefront, but an integral part of the story nonetheless. Oh, and a word about our villain. Tohon has got to be one of the more deliciously evil characters out there.

 

Taste of Darkness was an enjoyable read and a satisfying end to the series. The author is an excellent storyteller and I can't wait to read more of her books in the future.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/new-release-review-taste-of-darkness-by-maria-v-snyder

Audio Book Review: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Wallbanger  - Alice Clayton

This is a review of the audio book - and boy, was it ever hilarious. The narrator brought all of the characters to life, even the orange furball named Clive had a particularly feline voice. 

Poor Caroline has lost her O. To make matters worse, her apartment walls are very thin and she hears a lot of the action going on next door. So much so, that she nicknames her very gorgeous neighbor "Wallbanger." 

This is a a very cute romance. Lots of misunderstandings, spats, and baking. I loved how Simon woo-ed Caroline. He was so romantic - what girl cold refuse a trip to a beach house in Spain? Kudos for including Clive the cat for some comedy relief. Just picturing that kitty cock blocking scene makes me laugh uncontrollably. 

Loved the ending. It was perfect. Loved the inclusion of Clive's point of view as well. 

Nicely done. Perfect light vacation reading. 

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/800246913

Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Written in Red  - Anne Bishop

This is a review of the audio book.

First of all, thanks to all my GR friends for recommending this book. It really was a pleasant surprise and I enjoyed it immensely. What a very different take on vampires and werewolves. I loved it. 

The audio book was very well done. The narrator brought all the characters to life with different voices and she did so quite convincingly. 

If you are bored of the usual vampires and werewolf books out there, this is one book that should break up the monotony. Highly recommended.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/581751418

New Release Review: Reaver by Larissa Ione

Reaver - Larissa Ione

Throughout the Lords of Deliverance series, Reaver was one of my favorite characters. He always seemed to be on the side of good, fighting scary demons, and he helped to thwart the imminent apocalypse. In Reaver, we finally learn more about Reaver’s background and his earlier relationship with Verrine.

 

Reaver is epic and action packed. Most of our favorite and not-so-favorite characters from the Demonica series make an appearance in this book. Reaver is essentially a rescue mission, where Reaver (going against the archangels’ instructions, risks all to journey to Sheoul to rescue Harvester. (I won’t go into the why – it gets spoilery too fast – but needless to say, these two have some interesting history – *zipping lips now.* The book then becomes a fast paced escape from the many regions of Sheoul with Satan’s armies in fast pursuit. There were so many demons, each scarier and deadly than the one before. The world building is so convincing, so well done, that as you read the story, it feels as if you are there, in the middle of the action.

 

Of course, exacerbating the situation is the meddlesome Gethel, a former watcher who is really up to no good. Yup, really bad things could spawn from Gethel.

 

We get a glimpse into Reaver’s past as Yenreith, where he was not the nicest character and how he hurt the young and impressionable Verrine by just being a stupid male. Some juicy revelations follow. (Yes, you really must read this book).

 

As mentioned above, there are some great cameos from our favorite Horsemen. It’s nice to see a touch of Happily Ever After for some of them, although their fate is intertwined with that of Reaver’s. We even get to see our favorite demon doctor and his staff over at UGH – Underworld General Hospital.

 

Amazing. Epic. Fantastic. Can’t wait for the next book – Revenant’s story.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check out the publisher's giveaway for a Kindle Fire.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for a review copy of this book.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/new-release-review-and-giveaway-reaver-by-larissa-ione

New Release Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Clean Sweep -  Ilona Andrews

Leave it to the husband and wife writing team of Ilona Andrews to come up with a fresh new series revolving around an innkeeper of a seemingly innocuous bed and breakfast. Sounds kind of mundane, right? When you read anything by this author, you know that there will be some kind of magic and a host of interesting, if not freaky scary, creatures involved. And don’t forget – the snarky sense of humor. Ilona Andrews writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read. I’m always reading passages out loud to my family and literally laughing my head off.

 

The story begins as a third dead dog is discovered in the quiet Avalon subdivision in Red Deer, Texas. Our innkeeper Dina is saddened by the death of another dog and she instantly suspects one of her neighbors, Sean Evans who happens to be a werewolf. Later, Dina encounters the creature that was responsible for the kill and whoa, does the story become interesting.

 

Dina takes the creature back to her inn. On the outside, the inn appears to be just a regular house, but inside it certainly isn’t. It’s almost a sentient being. The rooms can be reconfigured in any way that Dina wishes and the technology is out of this world. Literally. Dina also has some magical powers while she is near the house.

 

I loved the authors’ take on the origin of werewolves and vampires. It was so very different from the usual stuff out there. I also loved Dina’s little dog Beast, a shih tzu with very sharp teeth.

 

Clean Sweep is a solid start to the new Innkeepers series. Keep them coming, please!

 

Favorite Quote:

"Protocol was important. It kept everyone civil and limited the disembowelment to a bare minimum."

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/791221180

New Release Review: Ashes to Ashes by Karina Halle

Ashes to Ashes (Experiment in Terror #8) - Karina Halle

First things first - if you have not yet started this series, what are you waiting for? Book 1 Darkhouse is free on Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords. Get it. Read it (preferably in daylight). Bet you can't just stop at one book.

 

The Experiment in Terror series is one of those pleasant reading surprises. It's a series that grabs you, keeps you enthralled, and leaves you wanting more. Ashes to Ashes is the eighth book in the series and our protagonists have been through a lot in the past eight months. (How can it only be eight months? It feels like so much longer).

 

Part of the attraction of this series is the relationship between our main characters Perry and Dex. As stated above, these two have been through so much together (and apart). This is not your typical relationship - these two are intense. And when they get it on...sparks fly. What I love about these two is that they learn from their mistakes and their characters keep on growing and maturing (except when Dex behaves like a teenage boy). Dex is beginning to see a future for himself that includes Perry. Unfortunately, his timing sucks.

 

In Ashes to Ashes, Dex and Perry, along with new team member Rebecca, head back down to Oregon and visit Uncle Al. It's a nice touch revisiting the place where Perry and Dex met. They then head over to an old TB sanatorium to investigate a haunting. Oh, does Ms. Halle know how to stage her settings well. Isolated sanatorium on a hill on the Oregon coast, shrouded by fog - I'm already creeped out and we haven't even entered the building. Add in some malevolent entities playing ball, secret tunnels, restricted floors - are you scared yet?

 

I've come to enjoy the appearance of Pippa in these books. Her presence always seems to foreshadow something and while her warnings are cryptic, they always make sense by the end of the book.

 

Probably the most scary thing about this book was Dex and Perry's visit over at Perry's house. Let's just say that Perry's parents are not the most supportive and their dislike of Dex is toxic. Kudos to Little Fifteen - Ada for serving as a buffer.

 

Ashes to Ashes is the best book in the series so far. I'll be really sad to see this series wrap up but I feel confident that Ms. Halle will keep on wowing us in the future. It's going to be a long wait for Dust to Dust (May 2014).

 

Check out Badass Book Reviews today where Regina and I discuss this book. We are also a stop on the Expresso Tours Blog Tour of this book, so go ahead and enter to win a nice prize pack.

 

Thank you to Xpresso Tours and the author for a review copy of this book.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/597039274

Early Review: The Spider by Jennifer Estep

The Spider - Jennifer Estep

I’ve often wondered about Gin’s early days and how she learned how to be one of the most lethal assassins in the Ashland area. The Spider goes back 10 years as we watch a young Gin Blanco go after her first target.

 

The story begins in the present when a mysterious package arrives. When Gin finally opens the package (after checking for magic, explosives, and explosive magics), she finds a bouquet of black roses inside with a cryptic “Happy Anniversary” message. Only one person would send Gin those roses and Gin begins to reminisce.

 

Gin tells the story of her first hit on the Vaughn family. Gin was still living with Fletcher and was learning her trade from The Tin Man himself. Finn provided the financial background and assisted during fight training. When Fletcher is approached for the hit, something just doesn’t feel right, but Gin continues to tail her mark.

 

What follows is the story of Gin’s early days when she was younger and more naïve. Gin gave her heart easily to Sebastian Vaughn, the son of her target. It was nice seeing a happy and more care-free Gin. As an added bonus, many of the supporting characters from the present day series appear in cameo roles. Owen appears as a knight in shining armor (well, he had a car and he was in the right place at the right time). Gin even meets a young girl who was a dead ringer for Bria.

 

You can really see the growth in Gin’s character from this book. Gin is young and more impulsive. She really wants to prove herself. Now she is much more meticulous and takes the time to properly research her marks.

 

The writing is kind of fun. The author likes to describe everything, so if that’s not your cup of tea, you may want to skip this series. Gin likes to cook and some passages read like recipes. Have a snack ready as you read. I wish the author would go ahead and publish the Pork Pitt cookbook already. There is still a lot of repetition of eye colors but that’s just the charm of this series. The story is good and it should keep the reader engaged.

 

The Elemental Assassins series is full of magic, corrupt officials, and really good barbecue. If you have not yet had a chance to start this series, give it a try. Gin is one kickass heroine.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/early-review-the-spider-by-jennifer-estep

Early Review: Sempre by J. M. Darhower

Sempre (Forever, #1) - J.M. Darhower

Disclaimer: I read and loved this book when it was a fan fiction called Emancipation Proclamation. It was so very different from canon and the author highlighted the very real social issues of human trafficking, slavery, and organized crime.

 

Sempre is a very long story. In fact, you could probably call it a family saga. It’s a little bit The Godfather mixed in with a lot of teenage angst. Sempre is the story of two teenagers raised in very different circumstances: A mafia prince named Carmine DeMarco and his love interest Haven Antonelli.

 

Haven was raised as a slave living with a mafia family on a remote ranch in California. Until she is “rescued” by Dr. Vincent DeMarco, Haven endures all sorts of abuse by her “owners.” She is worked to the bone, malnourished, scarred, and has even witnessed the repeated rape of her mother and the murder of another child.

 

When Haven is brought to the DeMarco home in North Carolina, she is understandably skittish. It’s kind of odd, how she arrives, as if she is to be their servant. Dr. DeMarco is very cryptic about why Haven has come to live with the family, never telling his boys anything about her. Slowly, Haven adjusts to life with the DeMarcos, cooking and cleaning for the family. She soon attracts the attention of youngest son Carmine, even though she is more skittish around him.

 

Carmine is an interesting character. Essentially, he is a loose cannon, full of anger and rage. Carmine takes teenage angst and brings it to a whole new level. He’s loud, brash, and impulsive. Carmine believes in punching first, asking questions later. Carmine wallows in self-destruction and his is constantly at odds with his father. In contrast, Carmine’s older adopted brother Dominic is his total opposite. Dominic is calm and easy going.

 

Dr. DeMarco’s character is very compartmentalized. In North Carolina, Dr. DeMarco is a devoted father, doctor, and respected member of society. When he goes to Chicago on business, Dr. DeMarco becomes a totally different person. He holds a high position in the mafia and must follow the instructions of the Don who wants Carmine to join the organization. We do see the darker side to Dr. DeMarco in the North Carolina home and unfortunately, Haven bears the brunt of that moment.

 

I liked how the author reworked the original fan fiction. This was not just a replace names with new names, there were some editorial changes which helped move the novel along. I did find that the book was very long and at times the pacing was a little slow, almost a slog to get through until the last third of the book when the bullets started flying everywhere. I think that this book would benefit from another editorial pass before publication.

 

Sempre would appeal to those who enjoy family sagas and angsty teen romance. I’m looking forward to reading the next book Sempre: Redemption coming out in April 2014.

 

Thank you to Edelweiss and Simon and Schuster for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.Check it out!

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/early-review-sempre-by-j-m-darhower

Release Day Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars - Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars surprised me. I'll admit that I was dangerously close to setting the book aside. Just as I was ready to do so, things began to happen - fast.

 

These Broken Stars is a survival story first, a love story second. Two characters from remarkably different backgrounds are marooned on a mysterious planet, the sole survivors of a huge intergalactic spaceship crash. They must work together in order to survive.

 

The story is told in alternating points of view of the main characters Tarver Merendson and Lilac LaRoux. Tarver is a decorated military hero who was on board the Icarus as a special guest. Lilac is the pampered heiress and daughter of the richest man in the galaxy, who happened to own the Icarus. Lilac is used to the finer things in life - fashion, parties, and her entourage of admirers and security detail. Interspersed in the narrative is the transcript of the inquiry into the crash with Tarver being interviewed by his superiors, mostly about his relationship with Lilac.

 

The first person point of view allowed the reader a chance to be inside the characters' heads and to understand their motivations. For example, Lilac comes off as standoffish, almost bitchy, but in her mind she is behaving that way to protect others from the wrath of her father.

 

I adored Tarver and Lilac. Their skills complemented each other. Tarver is strong, practical and well versed in survival skills. Lilac, despite her upbringing, has some surprising engineering and demolitions skills, prompting me to call her a female version of MacGyver.

 

The romance aspect was well done. These two characters are on a long journey together and as they continue on their journey, they learn to work together in order to survive. Their friendship blossoms into a romance once they trust each other. No insta-love here.

 

There are a few interesting twists to the plot, one of which was resolved a little too quickly for my taste, but I am still happy with the outcome.

 

These Broken Stars was a wonderful, captivating, breathtaking read. This is a must read for young adult readers. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Disney Book Group for a review copy of this book.

 

Christal and I discuss These Broken Stars at Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/541382854

Review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep - Stephen King

The Shining has a sequel? Bring it on!

As you can see by the comment above, I was very excited to hear that The Shining had a sequel. Just how could Mr. King top the book (and movie) that caused me so many nightmares during my teenage years? Just that image of Jack Nicholson with his crazy face and that axe - shudder. And little Danny Torrance muttering REDRUM...still scares me.

Well Danny's all grown up now and has experienced all sorts of trauma. He's a recovering alcoholic living in New Hampshire and he still has a bit of that Shining. There's also a special little girl living in the area and she can do all sorts of wonderful things. Abra communicates with Danny psychically.

Now the bad guys were an odd lot - kind of like psychic vampires who needed to harvest the essence of those who had The Shining - they called it Steam. The leader of the bad guys Rose, was one scary b*tch. Rose is very interested in Abra. 

I listened to the audio book version narrated by Will Patton. The narrator did an amazing job, bringing the characters to life and changing his voice for each character. It is a very long audio book but I found that the time passed very quickly. 

Stephen King fans will enjoy this book immensely. If you have not read The Shining, you do not need to do so before you read this book - it works well as a stand alone title. You will want to go back to read The Shining later on (and maybe even add The Shining to your Netflix queue). 

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/718167220

Early Review: Dragon Awakened by Jaime Rush

Dragon Awakened - Jaime Rush

After a slow and shaky start, Dragon Awakened hit its stride and became quite the enjoyable read for me. I had a little difficulty getting my bearings at first – the lingo was a little different from what I am used to in paranormal romance and urban fantasy. As soon as I figured it out, (and this could just be me) I was captivated by the story.

 

The author builds an intriguing world that is hidden from the Mundanes (that would be us regular folks). Dragon Awakened has a population of Crescents who are people with magickal abilities. The Crescents originated from a sunken island in the Devil’s Triangle. They must live close to the Devil’s Triangle in order to replenish their magick through the Deus Vis. Conveniently, most of this magickal population lives near Miami.

 

The magickal people are called Deuces. Think sorcerers or mages. There are also all kinds of dragon shifters as well. To further complicate things, a bunch of deadly demons have been summoned to Miami in order to kill off one of our main characters.

 

The story begins as Ruby Salazaar witnesses the murder of her uncle and guardian by magickal means. Ruby has no idea that she possesses any magickal abilities and is surprised to find out that she needs to awaken her dragon. Cyn Valeron takes Ruby under his wing to mentor her in all things dragon. Only this relationship is about to get complicated. It seems that dragons are a lusty lot, especially newly awakened dragons. Ruby’s dragon is very much attracted to Cyn. Cyn feels as if he has found his soul mate, however there is a little complication to the relationship.

 

The story is told with excerpts in between chapters from the Book of the Hidden. The Book of the Hidden is a kind of history book which tells the story of the Princess Garnet and her Dragon prince. The events in The Book of the Hidden mirror the events in real life and it follows the progression of Garnet’s (Ruby’s) and the Dragon prince’s (Cyn’s) relationship.

 

I loved the main characters. Cyn was so strong and tough, yet he had feelings of remorse for the events of his past. Cyn’s dragon was magnificent and lethal, a real fighter. Ruby was a quick learner, embracing her dragon and running with her. I loved Ruby’s fiercely independent side and how she fought alongside Cyn. Cyn and Ruby’s relationship was nicely done. No insta-love, mated pair, soul mate moments. Rather, a yearning by their dragons for each other while their human sides got to know each other. And whoa, when they do get together, it’s pretty hot.

 

Dragon Awakened is a solid start to Jaime Rush’s new Hidden series. I’m looking forward to reading more books in this series. (And I just found out that there are 2 prequels which I need to go back and read!).

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/early-review-dragon-awakened-by-jaime-rush

Early Review: Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan

Shadowdance - Kristen Callihan

I’ve been a fan of Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series from the first book Firelight. The author creates an intriguing world of 19th century London and adds original elements of the paranormal with just the right touch of steampunk. The writing is beautiful, evoking all of the senses. The featured couples are incredibly interesting and in the spirit of 19th century England, the sexual tension between the main characters is delectable. When these characters finally get together, they sizzle.

 

Shadowdance focuses on Ian Ranulf’s mysterious ex-valet Jack Talent and his love interest Mary Chase. Both characters had supporting roles in the previous books. Jack has been through a lot. The events of Winterblaze have deeply scarred him, both physically and mentally. Mary is a Ghost in a Machine, or a GIM, a person who has a clockwork heart and can leave her body and travel in spirit. This unlikely pairing is fraught with problems, namely that these two characters try to fight off their mutual attraction.

 

Jack and Mary are forced to work as a team in order to find the serial killer known as The Bishop of Charing Cross. Mary and Jack are hesitant to work together. Both are suspicious of each other. In fact, Mary suspects that Jack is the killer. There’s no insta-love here. These two bicker like little children. The banter and competitive nature between these two is quite entertaining. There is an underlying attraction, however they don’t trust each other and are quite annoyed that they have to work together.

 

A few words about the writing: I loved how the author was able to convey the atmosphere of London during the late 19th century. As I was reading the book, it felt as if I was right there in London, I could see, smell, and even hear the sounds of the city. Ms. Callihan can take a simple scene and add texture and dimension to it. I love the sense of humor that the author inserted into narrative and the cute double entendres which made me chuckle.

 

I’m a sucker for all things steampunk. I liked how the author integrated her own elements of steampunk into the story. In addition to the Ghosts in Machines, there were some freaky mechanical men as well as some other interesting devices.

 

The Darkest London series is a fun historical paranormal romance. There’s plenty of action, humor, and sexy times to keep you entertained. The books get better and better as you read on in the series. The books are best read in order starting with Firelight. Shadowdance is now my favorite and I’m very excited to hear that there will be more books in this series.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for a review copy of this book.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/early-review-shadowdance-by-kristen-callihan

New Release Review: Long Live the Queen by Kate Locke

Long Live the Queen  - Kate Locke

My Review: I’d forgotten just how much I enjoyed this quirky little series. The vocabulary does take some getting used to, however there is a glossary at the end of the book which does explain quite a lot. Long Live the Queen is the third book in Kate Locke’s Immortal Empire series and I think that it is the best book so far.

 

The Immortal Empire series is based upon a slightly alternate history of the British Empire. Due to the plague, there have been some genetic mutations resulting in the aristocracy and their full blood status. These full bloods are either werewolves or vampires. At the top of the food chain are the goblins, a furry, mole-like population of creatures who love their meat, especially the human kind. The goblins are my favorite creatures just because of their presence everywhere. They make the best spies.

 

In this version of the British Empire, Queen Victoria is the monarch and has been for about 175 years. Yup, the Queen is a vampire. Humans are not too happy about the situation and The Human League has been wreaking havoc everywhere. Some historical figures do appear in this book and you should be able to recognize them, however they sure do behave rather differently in this book.

 

The steampunk elements are cleverly done. A rotary is a mobile phone, Tracknav is their equivalent of GPS, digigrams are text messages, and so on.

 

The main character Xandra Vardan has matured since the first book. She’s more at ease as to what she has become and has accepted her leadership role. She still sees herself as a monster and she kind of likes that aspect of her personality. Xandra’s relationship with Alpha werewolf Vex is progressing nicely and they seem very happy together. Xandra is not as impulsive as she once was and I was surprised by her diplomatic skills. Xandra’s interactions with Queen Victoria were hilarious. Xandra walked a thin line between pissing off the monarch and working with her. Xandra is both snarky and badass and she gets away with a lot of things an average citizen would not get away with. The adversarial relationship was quite entertaining. What’s even funnier is when Xandra unwittingly rescues a human and creates a winning PR outcome.

 

There is a lot to like about the Immortal Empire series. If you enjoy steampunk with a touch of paranormal then this is the series to read. I can’t wait to read more books in this series.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Orbit Books for a review copy of this book.

 

Check out my review on Badass Book Reviews and enter for a chance to win a copy of this book.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/new-release-review-and-giveaway-long-live-the-queen-by-kate-locke