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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 

Early Review: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

Racing Savannah - Miranda Kenneally

Racing Savannah was a pleasant surprise for me. I had read Catching Jordan earlier this year and I was eager to try out another book by Ms. Kenneally. I’ll admit that I know nothing about horses and horseracing yet I still enjoyed this book.

 

I think that what I liked best about this book was the main character, Savannah Barrow. Savannah is a spunky 17 year old high school senior who is quite gifted when dealing with purebred horses. Savannah has not had an easy life. Her mother died of breast cancer and her father’s current girlfriend is pregnant. Money is scarce and Savannah desperately wants a job at the Cedar Hills farm where her father works and where she and her family live.

 

The story is told from Savannah’s point of view. Her character feels so authentic. Savannah is strong and caring, and she puts the financial welfare of her family first. Savannah also knows what she wants, even though it may not be possible. I loved how she was able to “tame” a crotchety purebred horse and how she determined the source of that horse’s discomfort.

 

Savannah’s love interest Jack Goodwin came across as a real player at first. Jack’s family owned the farm but his father put him in charge so he could learn the business. Jack is good looking and his father warns him about consorting with staff. Needless to say, there is an attraction between Savannah and Jack. At first Jack wants Savannah to be with him in secret. I loved how Savannah rejected that idea outright. This is a girl who is strong and who doesn’t put up with crap.

 

The secondary characters were also interesting. I loved the camaraderie between Savannah, Rory and Vanessa. Rory was a hoot and he made me laugh especially when he told Savannah that he couldn’t possibly date her because she was too short.

 

Racing Savannah was a fun peek into the world of purebred horseracing. Even though I’m not a horseracing fan, I was able to enjoy this book. I’ll have to make sure that I find the other books in this series and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

 

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

 

Review posted at Badass Book Reviews

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/early-review-racing-savannah-by-miranda-kenneally

Release Day Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

Crash into You - Katie McGarry

I’ll admit I wasn’t too keen on a book about Isaiah. After all, he wasn’t the most sympathetic character in the first two books. In a way, it kind of took me by surprise as to how much I did enjoy this book.

 

From the outside, this is really an unlikely pairing of characters. Isaiah has been bounced around from foster home to foster home. He’s full of anger and angst. His mother has been out of jail for two years, but has not contacted him. Rachel comes from a wealthy middle class family and is surrounded by material things – a nice home, nice clothes, and a very nice little sports car. Rachel’s mother has issues: we’ll get into those later.

 

The story is told from Isaiah and Rachel’s alternating points of view so we get a chance to be inside that character’s head. Isaiah is so messed up and so very angry, but Rachel is just as messed up. In fact, Rachel’s family has got to be the most dysfunctional family ever. Rachel’s mother is still grieving over the death of her oldest daughter to leukemia over 17 years ago. Rachel is forced to speak at charity events on behalf of her deceased sister and serve as a surrogate daughter. In many ways, Rachel reminds me of a child conceived to be an organ donor. It’s just wrong. No child should have to take on that kind of responsibility in life.

 

Rachel’s entire family suffers from her mother’s grief. Her brothers walk on eggshells around their mother, never wanting to upset her. The situation has taken a toll on her brothers as well, although not physically. I hated her brothers – they never stood up for Rachel, and when they stole her hard earned money, I felt like screaming.

 

Rachel suffers from panic attacks, especially before she has to speak at a charity event. She spends a lot of time at these functions. Unfortunately she spends  most of the time she is in the bathrooms, throwing up.

 

In many ways, Isaiah’s mom is emotionally unavailable as well, leaving a very angry young man behind.

 

The car racing aspect seemed a little forced. I’m not sure that I can believe that a father who did not know how to drive a stick shift would buy such a car for his daughter. It doesn’t seem that realistic. I also did not like Eric story line. Surely a girl from an upper middle class family would find a way to get help.

 

I adored Abby and how she insinuated herself into Rachel’s life, even going as far as to going to a Goodwill store to buy a used school uniform so that Rachel’s family would accept her. Abby was awesome and I’d love to see a book about her in the future.

 

It was also nice to see cameo appearances of the other characters from this series. It’s so nice to see them enjoying their little happily ever afters. I can’t wait to read the next book Take Me On, coming out in May, 2014.

 

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

 

Christal and I discuss this book over at Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/503217153

Review: Come Alive by Karina Halle

Come Alive - Karina Halle

Finally, we get a glimpse inside Dex's mind. Dex is one horny dude and his mind is only on Perry.

 

In this installment of the Experiment in Terror series (book 7 already!), Dex and Perry have been threatened with the cancellation of their web series unless they take on someone to supervise. Guess who the supervisor is? None other than the douchecanoe himself - Maximus. Dex and Perry reluctantly accept his help and the three are off to New Orleans to investigate a haunted house. What follows is the usual scary freaky stuff that Ms. Halle does so well. This time, there's a little bit of Voodoo and zombies involved.

 

No one writes horror like Ms. Halle. It's not always the gory horror - it's the foreshadowing and atmosphere that is scary. Because of Ms. Halle, that middle of the night bathroom run has started to make me nervous. I also like the tie in with her other series - The Devils - where we first met Max.

 

Oh, and did I mention the hot and steamy sex? Dex and Perry go at it like bunnies when they are not investigating ghosts and voodoo zombies.

 

This is an addictive series. If you have not yet picked up the first book - Dark House - for free on Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords - what are you waiting for? I bet you can't just read one.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/597039199

New Release Review: Dragos Takes a Holiday

Dragos Takes a Holiday - Thea Harrison

For fans of Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series, this short little novella offers the reader a glimpse into Pia and Dragos’ happily ever after. Yes, I’m a sucker for that sort of thing and these two are one of my favorite paranormal romance couples, so given the opportunity to share in their happiness, I’ll grab it. The story takes place three months after the birth of their little peanut, Liam. Dragos has got to be the cutest dad and Pia is a loving mom. Little Liam is so sweet as well.

 

The thing about this series is the strength of the women. Sure, the men are these big brawny alpha males but the women make the man (and the decisions, ha!). Pia decides that Dragos needs a vacation from his responsibilities and in the sneakiest way possible, she leaves all sorts of library books about sunken treasure all over the apartment. The Dragon side of Dragos can not resist and soon Pia, Dragos, and Liam are off to a Bermuda vacation, along with Eva and Hugh.

 

The thing about sunken treasure is that there are always other interested parties involved. Soon, a problem arises. I didn’t really get a danger vibe from these villains. They kind of were just there, not really a threat to big, bad Dragos. What I loved was that the little peanut came into some of his powers (I’m sure that there will be more) and he was majestic (as well as cute).

 

In any case, no Elder Races book would be complete without some sexy times with our lovely main characters. These two still manage to sizzle, despite having a newborn around.

 

Dragos Takes a Holiday was a fun paranormal romance read. This is the ideal winter vacation on the beach read. The Elder Races are always a fun read for me. I’d recommend that the series be read in order.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.

 


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

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/early-review-dragos-takes-a-holiday-by-thea-harrison

Review: The Angel Stone by Juliet Dark (Carol Goodman)

The Angel Stone: A Novel (Fairwick Chronicles #3) - Juliet Dark, Carol Goodman

I first fell in love with this series when I read The Demon Lover. I liked how the author created a magical world nestled in the Catskills Mountains at a fictional college. I could picture in my head the college buildings covered in ivy, the quaint little town surrounding the college and the lush green of the hills surrounding the town. Then, when I met the town’s inhabitants, I was intrigued. Fairwick was not your ordinary town. The inhabitants were quite special.

 

The Angel Stone picks up right where The Water Witch left off. Callie McFay is teaching a course at the “new” Fairwick College. Things just aren’t the same since the door to Faerie was closed. There’s a new Dean at the college and his agenda is a little sinister. Callie and her colleagues vow to defeat the Dean and his supporters who happen to be nephilim. Callie learns that she must retrieve the Angel Stone, an opal with special powers, in order to defeat the nephilim. Problem is, the stone was last seen in 17th century Scotland.

 

There’s a bit of a rich dark, Gothic feel to this book. The author layers myth and folklore together to form a compelling narrative. The story is told mostly from Callie’s point of view. There are some intriguing dream sequences that felt almost too real when Callie awoke to sprigs of heather in her bed.

 

I liked how the element of time travel was handled in this book. Callie realizes that since she is a doorkeeper, she can use the hallow door to travel to Faerie. In Faerie, she rescues William Duffy from the fae queen and they travel back in time to 17th century Scotland in order to find the Angel Stone. I loved the scenes in Scotland (yes, I am a sucker for a brawny highlander).

 

The magic was so cool, especially the weaving of the plaid. I loved how the witches worked together and combined their powers to help defeat the nephilim.

 

The Angel Stone had a diverse and eccentric cast of characters. Not only did it include the usual supernatural suspects – witches, vampires, fae, etc., the book also had a character with Down’s syndrome (go, Jessica!) and another who suffered from a mental illness.

 

I enjoyed The Angel Stone and I’m keeping my eye out for more books by this author, who also writes as Carol Goodman.

 

Series Reading Order:

  1. The Demon Lover
  2. The Water Witch
  3. The Angel Stone

 

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

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/review-the-angel-stone-by-juliet-dark

New Release Review: The Devil's Reprise

The Devil's Reprise - Karina Halle

Regina and I discuss this book on Badass Book Reviews.

 

It's 1975. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, and general debauchery follow Sage Knightly who is now on a solo tour in Europe. The Devil's Reprise picks up right where The Devil's Metal left off and it hits the ground running.

 

This is a fast paced book about life in the fast lane. All the blood, sweat, and tears that go into organizing and pulling off a rock and roll tour and the deals and sacrifices that must be made - all in a backdrop of the chaos that is the band on tour. In true Karina Halle fashion, nothing is as it seems - there is an element of the supernatural to this book, and whoa, is it ever creepy.

 

Sage Knightly is now on his own. He's managed to break off a deal he made earlier in his life but he is still in a self-destruct mode. He misses Dawn terribly, but can't reconcile the fact that he could love someone.

 

Meanwhile, Dawn is stateside and missing Sage. Things are looking up for Dawn. Her article on the band Hybrid was a resounding success and her career prospects are looking good. Her father has stopped drinking and her brother has been miraculously cured of his Tourette's. Dawn is invited back to chronicle Sage's first solo tour.

 

Strange things begin to happen and Dawn notices a few scary things. In Europe, even stranger and creepier things begin to happen. Now, I'm a real wimp when it comes to horror books. I do not intentionally pick them up, however, Ms. Halle has a way of writing horror that kept me turning the pages and reading on and on.

 

Oh, and let me just add - there are some very hot sexy scenes in this book.

 

I enjoyed this series immensely and I am sad that it's over. Luckily, there are more books by this author that I have yet to read. I'm looking forward to catching up on those. If you have not yet experienced the awesomeness of Karina Halle yet, the first book in her Experiment in Terror series Dark House is available for free on Kobo, Amazon, and Smashwords. Bet you can't just read one book!

 

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

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/755114914

New Release Review: Skulk by Rosie Best

Skulk - Rosie Best

Not sure how to rate this one. It was OK, I guess, just not that memorable. It's not to say that it was bad, either. I'm on the fence about this one.

 

In a typical young adult novel, the parents are often disengaged or absent. Meg's parents are horrid. Her father is described as "...a vague pinkish presence at the the dinner table..." The mother was a rabid control freak, counting every calorie her daughter consumed, and locking her in a cupboard when she did not behave or ate too much.

I had to like Meg. I've struggled with weight issues all my life. Having someone micromanage your diet does not help. In fact, it kind of makes you want to eat all that is forbidden. Poor Meg. Having parents such as hers, how does she cope? She becomes a graffiti artist. While on one of her late night graffiti runs, she witnesses the death of a young man. Before he died, he handed her a stone. Meg then becomes a shifter.

The organization of the shifter world was interesting, however, I could not figure out why they disliked each other so much. Each type of shifter had their special stone, and the villain was collecting these stones to increase her power. Skulk had an interesting premise and would be suitable for young adult readers.

Thank you to Strange Chemistry for a review copy of this book.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/686806742

New Release Review: World After by Susan Ee

World After  - Susan Ee

A few of us discovered the awesomeness of Angelfall about 2 years ago and ever since then we’ve waited with bated breath for the long awaited sequel, World After. Was it worth the excruciatingly long wait? You betcha! World After delivers so much, it’s even better than its predecessor. Now, you are probably asking yourself, how can Ms.Ee top the awesomeness of Angelfall? She did – and in a most entertaining, edge of your seat, fantastic way.

 

World After easily falls into my top reads of 2013. Too bad it didn’t make the deadline for the Goodreads Choice Awards. This book would have easily blown away the competition.

 

OK, enough gushing.

 

The world is a mess. The angels have destroyed cities and have left destruction and chaos everywhere. World After picks up immediately where Angelfall left off. Our heroine Penryn really doesn’t get much of a break in the action – she is the center of it throughout. The world is a mess and the San Francisco area is littered with destroyed bits of technology. Penryn’s mom is still her crazy, paranoid self – only in this book, she takes on the role of a crazy terrorist, thwarting the angels’ plans in ways that only Penryn’s mom seems to get away with.

 

We learn more about Paige and what has happened to her. Throughout the first book, Penryn is constantly searching for her little sister Paige, who was taken away by the angels. Paige is a character that instills sympathy in the reader because of her disabilities. Now Paige has become something else, and there really is more than meets the eye. I’m curious to see what will become of this character in later books.

 

One of my favorite things about this book (aside from Raffe) was Raffe’s sword. I loved the dream sequences where the sword showed Penryn Raffe’s story. What an intriguing way to move along the story and provide background. Penryn’s was of hiding the sword in plain sight was genius and her nickname for the sword made me chuckle.

 

A word about Penryn. She is by far the most authentic young adult heroine out there. She is kick ass, fierce, a true warrior – yet underneath, she is just a teenager with some difficult life issues. Penryn has a soft side to her; she cares for the people around her.  Her thought processes show an amazing maturity to a young woman who has had to grow up way too fast.

 

As for Raffe (still one of my favorite things about this book) – I missed him terribly in the first third of the book. Things did look up when he did show up. I think most of us would agree – more Raffe!

 

World After was definitely worth the long and agonizing wait. Fantastic job, Ms. Ee! Please don’t make us wait so long for book 3.

 

Check out our Group Discussion of this book on Badass Book Reviews. There's still time to enter the giveaway!

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/229960882

New Release Review: Cracked by Eliza Crewe

Cracked (Strange Chemistry) - Eliza Crewe

The girls at Badass Book Reviews discuss our thoughts about this book. Check it out! My review: Cracked by Eliza Crewe literally cracked me up. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist). I adored the main character Meda whose observations of humans and their yappy pets made me chuckle. Picture the voice of an evil genius coming from a pretty young girl and you have Meda. Meda is unique - she is the only one of her kind and her proclivities as a soul eater has led her to have an isolated childhood. Like, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to eat the soul of your best friend, right? Anyhow, all Meda knows is that she eats souls and that she prefers the souls of bad guys:

"I eat what leaves with the soul at the kill. The life. The demons get it from hell, I get it from assholes.

Meda befriends some kids who think that they need to save her. They take her to a Templar school where along with the entire faculty, she battles an army of demons. The battle scenes are intense and action packed. This is a strong start to Ms. Crewe's Soul Eater series. While it is not perfect, the book is well written and will keep you chuckling throughout. I can't wait to read more books by this author.

Once again, another hit from publisher Strange Chemistry who keep on sending me some fantastic books to read.

Thank you to Strange Chemistry for a review copy of this book.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/721982183

Review: Thin Air by Rachel Caine

Thin Air  - Rachel Caine

I usually don't read books in a series back to back. However, after that ending in Firestorm, I just had to continue reading. So I picked up Thin Air. Poor Jo! She really gets banged up a lot and in this book, her memories have been taken away. Imagine waking up naked and freezing and having no idea who you are. Lewis and David to the rescue. 

This is really a cool series. I especially like it when Jo is in the Aether in Oversight and how the author describes what Jo can see. It's beautiful. I also enjoy the author's sense of humor - she gives Jo just the right amount of snark. And the villains - oh, so nasty - especially Eamon and Ashan. I also loved the musical playlist at the end of the book. That's quite a nice selection of music. 

There's some bittersweet moments for Jo as well and my heart broke for her. I'll have to pick up the next book soon.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/228566486

Review: Firestorm by Rachel Caine

Firestorm - Rachel Caine

This really is a unique urban fantasy series by Rachel Caine. Once you've read these books, you'll look at the weather just a tad differently and wonder if that big cloud is carrying a grudge or if that lightning bolt was really after you.

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Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/228566474

New Release Reviews: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals has a really neat premise. Imagine Criminal Minds for young adults. The Naturals are a crack team of teenagers with special abilities who are being trained by the FBI to solve cold cases. Each of these teens has some kind of talent in reading crime scenes: the ability to profile, analyse, or use the powers of deception. 

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Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/group-review-the-naturals-by-jennifer-lynn-barnes

New Release Review: Parasite by Mira Grant

Parasite - Mira Grant

Parasite was not an easy read for me. The beginning of the book was slow and I couldn't help but feel completely grossed out by the thought of a tapeworm ensuring one's health. Have you ever seen what a tapeworm looks like? Do yourself a favor - DON'T GOOGLE IT - you really need a strong stomach. (no pun intended).

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Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/early-group-review-and-giveaway-parasite-by-mira-grant

Review: Blood Challenge by Eileen Wilks (World of the Lupi #7)

Blood Challenge (Lupi Series #7) - Eileen Wilks

I don't know how she does it, but each installment of Eileen Wilks'World of the Lupi series gets better and better. I think that what sets this series apart is the intricate world built by the author. The World of the Lupi series includes all sorts of magical creatures and humans with special magical "Gifts." One such human, Lily Yu is a touch sensitive - she is able to identify a magical gift by touch. Her mate, Rule Turner is a werewolf and leader of one of the werewolf clans. Lily and Rule are one of my favorite urban fantasy couples. Lily is an FBI agent in their Magical Crimes Division and she is strong and fiercely independent. Lily also has an interesting heritage and her "grandfather" has ensured that she have special powers. 

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Novella Review: Entwined by Kristen Callihan

Entwined - Kristen Callihan

Kristen Callihan's Darkest London series is one of my favorite historical paranormal romance series. The author captures the atmosphere of early 19th century England very well and adds in her own touches of magic and a little steampunk. Add in an unlikely couple and this series is a very enjoyable read.

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Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/novella-reviews-close-to-you-and-entwined

Novella Review: Close to You by Stacia Kane

Close to You: A Downside Ghosts Story (A Heroes and Heartbreakers Original) - Stacia Kane


Close to You is a fairly short novella set in Stacia Kane'sDownside Ghosts world. The story begins rather playfully as Chess and Terrible play hide and seek in a junkyard, then in a true Downside Ghosts manner, things get spooky fast. Leave it to the pesky ghosts to ruin the fun.

It's always nice to visit with my favorite dysfunctional couple and I enjoyed watching their relationship progress. The story itself is dark and gritty and the song "Close to You" endlessly repeating adds a surreal feel to the narrative. I never would have thought such a syrupy song could be so haunting and serve as a backdrop to a ghost story. 

I enjoyed this short story immensely but since I am a greedy reader, I want more Chess and Terrible. I would have loved more sexy times for them. I do appreciate snippets of their life as I patiently await the next installment of the Downside Ghosts series. 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a review copy of this book.

Christal and I have a joint review of this novella and Entwined on Badass Book Reviews.

Source: http://badassbookreviews.com/novella-reviews-close-to-you-and-entwined