Genre: Fantasy

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Kill the Queen, Jennifer Estep 5 stars

October 2, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, Edelweiss 0

Kill the Queen, Jennifer Estep 5 starsKill the Queen by Jennifer Estep
Published by HarperCollins on October 2, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic, Romantic, Action & Adventure
Pages: 480
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
five-stars

Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

I’ve been a fan of Estep’s Elemental Assassin series for years, so when I saw that she had a new fantasy series coming out, I was intrigued.   While I read a lot of PNR/UF series, I hadn’t read much in the Fantasy genre so I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into with the Crown of Shards series but I am happy to report that I was very pleasantly surprised.

Crown of Shards envelops the reader into a vivid world where politics and power are center stage.  Being a member of a royal family isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be for Everleigh Blair.  Her parents were assassinated, and after being shuffled in and out of various family member’s homes, she has found herself living at court where she’s discovered that anything and everything will be used against her.  As a result she’s hidden not only her emotions but also her true powers from everyone.

I tremendously enjoyed watching Evie discover her own potential after so many years spent living in a shadow.  It was easy to empathize with her desire to maintain the life she had built for herself when events around her were pushing her back into the world she desperately wanted out of.  I will say that Evie came across as more of a teenager vs an adult well into their 20s.  I’m not sure whether that was intentional and a way to reflect the impact of the life that she had lived or whether that was just my interpretation but it took some mental gymnastics for me to reset.  As a romance reader, I would have loved to have loved it if there would have been more romance in this book.  At one point I thought the relationship with Sullivan and Evie was finally going to turn the corner and give me something to swoon over, but alas I have to wait with my fingers crossed for future books.

Kill the Queen is a wonderful read full of characters and powers that will leave readers counting down the days until another installment in the Crown of Shards series is available.

five-stars

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Magic Triumphs – Ilona Andrews 5 stars

August 28, 2018 Ace, Boookluvr Reads 2

Magic Triumphs – Ilona Andrews 5 starsMagic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Published by Penguin on August 28, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance, Paranormal, General, Action & Adventure
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

I don’t think I can possibly review Magic Triumphs without telling you a little bit about my journey with the Kate Daniels series as a whole.  You see, Stephanie aka @sac402 for those of you are on twitter, had recommended lots of books to me over the years.  Some I have immediately picked up and devoured while others she had to nag me repeatedly to get me to read.  Hilariously, those books/series that she has to fight me on generally end up being some of my favorites and land on my comfort reread list.

The first book in the Kate Daniels series, Magic Bites, was one of the books that Steph had to badger me about.  She had struggled getting through book one herself but swore the series was amazing after that and insisted that I read it.  I started and stopped Magic Bites five times before I finally finished it because it just wasn’t clicking for me.  I just couldn’t figure out why Steph and so many others that I knew loved the series.  That was until I started reading book two.  From that point on I couldn’t get enough.  I plowed through the rest of the series and couldn’t wait for the next installments to come out.   Additionally, I reread the entire series at least twice a year.  I finally understood the love that everyone had for this series.

Leading up to reading Magic Triumphs, I read the entire series again.  I am always blown away by all the plot points that are in each of the books that played a part in this final book.  I don’t know how they managed, I just imagine their walls are covered with post-it notes.  And while it is sad to that Magic Triumphs is the last chapter in the series, Kate and Curran enjoy their HEA after everything they have been through!

I loved the different sides of Kate that we got to see in this book.  Kate has always been such a badass and ready to take on whatever crisis comes her way, but seeing Kate as a mother brought a whole new element to her character.  I loved seeing her worried about everyday situations like all first time moms and having members of the pack give her grief about it was a hoot!

I was reminded again why there is no better man for Kate than Curran.  I can’t imagine anyone as unflappable as him especially with the chaos that comes with being connected to Kate.  Gods, warlords, dragons, no sweat.  He literally eats all of those challenges for breakfast.

I had pretty big expectations for what Kate and Curran’s child would be like but I didn’t do him justice.  I loved the fact he was just as innocent as you would expect a toddler to be while still being the perfect combination of Kate and Curran.  Can you imagine the trouble that a toddler who can shift into a lion, hold his warrior form and create blood claws is going to get into?  I have my fingers crossed that we will get to see more of him in adjacent series.  If Curran thought Kate drove him nuts forcing him to count to ten, just imagine what Conlan will do!

One thing that I always had trouble imagining with this series was how the Roland story arc would ever be resolved.  The power dynamic was too unbalanced between Kate and Roland for me to ever see her beating Roland in a battle and given that his life force was tied to hers, it isn’t like he could decide to let her win (not that I think he would).  I also couldn’t ever see Kate taking that final step to kill Roland even if it wouldn’t result in her own death.  Kate has struggled with her feelings for Roland sure, but she also loved him and I think she would have always hesitated to take that final step.  I should have known that Ilona would not disappoint. The way they resolved the Roland situation was absolutely perfect.   It allowed the conflict to be resolved while leaving the door open for story arcs in The Iron Covenant and Grey Wolf series.  I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll  leave it at that.

So as is only appropriate, thank you Steph for bring this series into my life and beating me over the head with it until I finally read it.

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Bone Driven – Hailey Edwards 5 stars

May 31, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, Uncategorized 1

Bone Driven – Hailey Edwards 5 starsBone Driven by Hailey Edwards
Series: Foundling #2
on May 31, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Epic, Romantic, Action & Adventure
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars
two-half-flames

'Edwards creates amazing fantasy worlds that the reader becomes completely engrossed in' (Goodreads)

The bayou is burning, the battle is just beginning - and Luce Boudreau is smack in the middle of no-man's land . . .

Life as a cop in Canton Town, Mississippi, is never dull - particularly when hiding deep within you is a demon bent on the apocalypse. Luce is doing her best to pretend her two worlds aren't crashing into each other, but what should be a routine arson investigation takes a shocking turn when Luce discovers a link between the suspects and her own dark secrets. There's no turning back, even though her search for the truth threatens to burn her old life down around her.

Lines are being drawn in a war Luce barely understands, and she just might be on the wrong side of them. Now she must embrace her powerful destiny, or the ones she loves most will pay the ultimate price.

Book Two in the powerfully addictive fantasy series The Foundling, perfect for fans of Ilona Andrews, Jenn Stark and Helen Harper

What readers are saying about Hailey Edwards:

'A fantasy of a five-star read!' Amazon reviewer

'This is a well written and entertaining story, full of humour and suspense, that I found to be a terrific read.''A fast-moving journey filled with the unexpected.' (RT Book Reviews)

'Hailey Edwards has exceeded all expectations.' (Goodreads)

'Well-plotted fantasy with intriguing characters, heart-pounding action, suspenseful intrigue and subtle romance. (RT Book Reviews)

'Edwards has this way of writing that makes you feel like the narrator is talking to you and that you're old friends.' (Goodreads)

'The world building is fresh . . . The characters are well-drawn and easy to root for. And the romance really hits the spot. '(Red Hot Books)

'One of the most interesting books i have read in a long time, it starts off pretty normal but when the shocks start coming they don't stop and Luce ends up feeling from one revelation after another.' Amazon reviewer

'One aspect of her writing I enjoy is her ability to take the mundane and with a few changes, turn it into something unique and unexpected. She builds dynamic character bases, using common mythology but takes it one step further using previously unseen species or imbibing currently known species with skills and know how that offers readers something new in the paranormal world.' (Smexybooks.com)

As you can see from my rating, I absolutely loved Bone Driven.  It picks up about a week after Bayou Born and we find Luce trying to put pieces of her life back together after beating off War.   Unfortunately Luce finds it’s impossible to go back to the simple small town life she craves.  Not only is War still out there, but there are new Charun  everywhere she turned and even people she loves aren’t immune to the evil that seems intent on awakening Conquest.

My heart broke for Luce in this book.  Not only do the losses continue to pile up around her, but it also seems that everyone wants a piece of her.  While Cole, Tom, Miller and Santiago want to protect and help her, they also need certain things from her that Luce doesn’t entirely understand or isn’t ready to give them.  Wu and Kapoor are both playing a long game that we don’t yet understand but it can’t be good for her or the coterie.  Maggie still loves her but also can’t yet forgive her entirely for the choice that Luce made.  Her attempts to straddle both her existing and new worlds strains her friendship with Rixton to the breaking point and there is nothing she can say to fix it when deceiving him means keeping his family safe.

Luce’s family is targeted again in the battle to bring forth Conquest.  How much more pressure will she be able to take before the guilt and pressure push her permanently into the cold space that will bury her humanity once and for all?

While I didn’t have this issue,  a number of reviewers for Bayou Born had indicated that they struggled with the pacing.  Let me assure you, you will not have any pacing issues with Bone Driven.  The non-stop action and emotion had me glued to my kindle, I even snuck it out during a graduation ceremony.

five-stars

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Bayou Born – Hailey Edwards 4 stars

May 30, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2017, Uncategorized 1

Bayou Born – Hailey Edwards 4 starsBayou Born by Hailey Edwards
Series: Foundling #1
on October 17th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
two-flames

"Edwards [creates] amazing fantasy worlds that the reader becomes completely engrossed in." GoodreadsHer beginning may be our end . . .

Deep in the humid Mississippi bayou, a half-wild child is dragged from the murky waters. She has no memories, no family and is covered in mysterious markings. Adopted by the policeman who rescued her, Luce Boudreau follows him onto the force, determined to prove herself in the eyes of those who are still suspicious.However, there's more of a battle ahead than Luce could possibly imagine. She may be an orphan without a past, but no one - including Luce herself - could ever be prepared for the truth of her dark, powerful destiny . .

"Well-plotted fantasy continues to engage the reader with its intriguing characters, heart-pounding action, suspenseful intrigue and subtle romance." RT Book Reviews

"The world building is fresh ... The characters are well-drawn and easy to root for. And the romance really hits the spot." Red Hot Books

I love all things PNR and UF, and I often have trouble identifying the line between the two genres when a series contains romantic elements, especially when the UF story results in a HEA.  While it’s too early in the Foundling series to know whether I will get that HEA, I’m certainly keeping my fingers crossed.

Bayou Born is an exciting new entry into the UF genre.  I haven’t been as excited about a UF series since I was first introduced to the Mercy Thompson series.  Bayou Born presents reader with a world and magical characters unlike anything else I have ever read.  There are no shifters or vampires here, not that there is anything wrong with either of those.   You would pry my shifter books out of my cold dead hands, but it was nice to read something so unique.  I won’t give any spoilers here, as the discovery of exactly what Luce and the men from White House Security are is an integral part of the story.  My only complaint is that we find out so late in book 1 that I felt like I just had a grasp on the world we were being presented with when the book ended which resulted in months of pining for book 2.

 

Stay tuned for my review of Bone Driven.

four-stars

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Hot and Badgered – Shelly Laurenston – 5 stars

March 27, 2018 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2018, Sent, Steph 1

I received this book for free from the publisher . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hot and Badgered – Shelly Laurenston – 5 starsHot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston
Published by Kensington on March 27th 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Shifters, Action & Adventure
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.   Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .

My reaction once I saw the title for this book and knew it was about HONEY BADGERS:

via GIPHY

This might be one of the ways I imagine our favorite honey badgers:

via GIPHY

But I am torn on how to review this because I loved it so much and don’t want to even partially spoil anything so…  it is LIST TIME!!!

Why do I love this book so much?  Well..

  • We get to see HONEY BADGERS…  I mean come on now who wouldn’t love it just for this alone.
  • A certain character I love gets their ass kicked and… also gets what’s coming to them from another source as well.  When a mama says “I hope you have a kid just like you”, pray this doesn’t happen.
  • Bo!!!!!  Yes Bo is back in all his OCD glory.
  • Kyle!!!!!  We gets lots of psycho Kyle and man oh man did I miss him.
  • The sisters are divine!
  • Lock makes a fun appearance.
  • A certain overly focused older genius makes an appearance.
  • I really hope that one of the sisters ends up with my favorite panda.
  • We get another species that I didn’t expect but should’ve cause he’s just priceless and I can’t wait to see more of him in future books.
  • Another bear shifter so you know what he’s especially good at *waggles eyebrows*
  • A love story that makes sense even as the world around them goes crazy they just work…

Now on to my warnings..

Read this ONLY with people around you that won’t get distracted by snort laughing as you hit some of the funniest parts.

Don’t read this while DRINKING ANYTHING…  Yes I do mean DRINKING ANYTHING…  You will spit take a few times if you do and there is a distinct possibility of laughing hard enough where it will come out your nose.

Be prepared to want MORE NOW as this book reminds you of why you love this series so much and so badly missed the world that Shelly has built for us.

So…. just go ahead..  buy it and prepare to not get anything else done until you’ve read it.  Also…  I might be a WEE bit excited that Shelly will be the keynote speaker at a RWA luncheon this summer.  I will try to contain my fangirling but…  yeah…  I WILL BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS SHELLY… *hyperventilates* I’m cool…  I’m cool…  I’ll be cool….

five-stars

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Burn Bright – Patricia Briggs 4 stars

March 25, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2018 2

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Burn Bright – Patricia Briggs 4 starsBurn Bright by Patricia Briggs
Published by Ace on March 8th 2018
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

In her bestselling Alpha and Omega series, Patricia Briggs "spins tales of werewolves, coyote shifters, and magic and, my, does she do it well" (USATODAY.com). Now mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham face a threat like no other--one that lurks too close to home...

They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok's pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.

With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf--but can't stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills--his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker--to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn.

Patricia Briggs was one of the first authors I read when I was introduced by a friend to the PNR genre.  I am a big fan of both the Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series so I was thrilled to have an opportunity to review Burn Bright.

I have loved watching the relationship between Ann and Charles develop over the series and adored that in Bur Bright we get to see how much Anna had grown.  Anna was so broken when she first came to Charles so I loved that in Burn Bright Anna was so much stronger and got to be someone who was actively protecting some of the most vulnerable members of the Morrok’s pack.

The Wildlings were such an interesting group of wolves and I hope we get to see them in the future.  It’s a fascinating contrast to have characters that are simultaneously broken in some fashion while still being incredibly dangerous.  Briggs did an outstanding job of making the reader feel both compassion and fear for each of the Wildlings we met.

Bram’s wife Leah is a character I have mostly despised through both series, but in Burn Bright my feelings have softened a bit.  In Burn Bright we get to glimpse the  softer side of Leah.  Ultimately Leah makes decisions that are for the best of the pack and I think I finally understand that the reason that Leah is so hateful is because she truly loves Bran and doesn’t get the same love back from him.  Therefore everyone else that Bran shows any affection for is just a reminder of what she doesn’t get from him.  Seeing that Bran had to leave rather than deal with Leah himself when he believed that she was the traitor gives me hopes that perhaps we will get to see the two of them get closer in the future.

I won’t spoil who the traitor was, but I will say I was so disappointed to find out who it was.  I would never have guessed that it was this wolf which I suppose was the point.  It’s just hard to find a character that you have enjoyed wasn’t at all who you thought they were.  My only consolation was that the back story that explains why this wolf was a traitor was masterfully done.

As always I look forward to the next installment into the world of Mercy, the Marrok, Charles and Anna.

 

 

 

four-stars

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Archangel’s Viper – Nalini Singh 5 stars

September 26, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, Read in 2017 2

Archangel’s Viper – Nalini Singh 5 starsArchangel's Viper by Nalini Singh
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on September 26th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, General, Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh's breathtakingly passionate Guild Hunter world with the story of a woman who isn't a vampire or an angel...or human...   Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it's not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman--it's the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.   Now, someone has put a bounty on her head...   Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael's private guard, and he's as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly's. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself--because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening...   No one is safe.

You’ll have to pardon my fangirling for a moment, but with some books/authors it simply can’t be helped.  I love Nalini Singh’s PNR books!  It doesn’t matter if I am in the middle of another book, when a new Guild Hunter or Psy-Changeling  book comes out I immediately start reading it.  PNR worlds can be tricky (especially first books) because so much of the story centers on the building or description of the world and I can find myself struggling to feel connected enough to the main characters of the story because I am so focused on the world.   I am always amazed that given how detailed the worlds in both series are, I didn’t feel that frustration or disconnect from the story.  Nalini’s world always seems to provide the detail needed to connect you to her characters rather than take away from the.  She does such an outstanding job bringing details like color, texture, taste and emotion to life in her books that you can almost feel the backdrops she describes.  Every description brings you further into the world of her characters and bonds you to them so that you feel every emotion along with them.  Given that, it’s no wonder both series are a favorite re-read for so many readers.

Archangel’s Viper was such a wonderful installment to the Guild Hunter series.  I have been looking forward to seeing Holly and Viper since Holly was introduced to us as Sorrow.  Their back and forth banter made me hopeful that they would be paired up later in the series once Holly had time to heal, so I was thrilled when this book was announced.

I loved seeing how far Holly came since we last saw her.  Her confidence, determination and attitude were delightful.  The emphasis on her clothing and accessories gave us a glimpse not just into who Holly is today, but who she was prior to being thrust into the world of angels and vampires.  The back and forth between Holly and Viper made me smile because they truly had a dynamic that was simply their own.  When the everyone else was still treating Holly with kid gloves in some ways, Viper never shied away from treating her like his equal.  Whether that meant telling Holly truths she may not want to see, or physically testing her limits, it showed us how much confidence Viper had in Holly’s ability to exist in their world.

My favorite elements of this story (without spoilers) were:

  • Ashwini programming ringtones in Holly’s phone.  I love seeing the playfulness between such powerful beings.
  • All the nicknames Holly and Viper had for each other.  To others these may have seemed like insults, but in the end it was a way for the two of them to establish a subtle intimacy before they even realized what was happening.
  • Holly’s dislike for Viper’s sunglasses.  I love that a feature that made Viper seem so alien was something that never deterred Holly.  She was not only fascinated by his eyes and their behavior, but could read his eyes ina  way that other’s seemed unable to do.  While Viper didn’t believe his eyes reflected emotion in the same way that most eyes do, with Holly that wasn’t the case.
  • The details of Viper’s home that called out to both he and Holly.  Given that otherness of Viper I don’t think I realized how important it would be that whoever he ended up with would be drawn to some of the same comforts.
  • Viper absolutely melted my heart when he cooked for Holly.  Seriously, a vampire that doesn’t eat who goes out of his way to not just prepare food, but meals that were either centered around dishes that he knew Holly liked based on observing her or those that were a bridge to his own past.  Each one was prepared with such care that it was one of the most romantic scenes I have ever read.
  • The flavored blood that Ashwini sent with Venom.  This to me is an example of such a subtle detail making a world of difference to the story.  Listening to Venom describe the flavors and the memories associated with them (especially given his taste for flavored blood) humanized him in a way that I wasn’t prepared for.
  • The glimpses into Holly’s relationship with Dimitri.  Given his painful past, I love that he has become a father figure to Holly and Naasir.
  • Holly and Viper playing in Central Park.  That scene did such a good job showing us how alike Holly and Venom were, and it was the first time we got to see Holly let her abilities surface in a playful way.
  • That Venom gave Holly his true name.  To me it was symbolic of his final wall coming down between them.  It was the moment where I knew that Holly had his heart for eternity no matter what came next.

Fans of the Guild Hunter series will not be disappointed with this latest installment, and I dare say may find Viper their favorite hero in the entire series (sorry Dimitri 🙂 ).  To those that haven’t read any books in the series yet, I have only one thing to say… What Are You Waiting For?!

five-stars

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Audiobook – Goddess with a Blade – Lauren Dane – 4.5 stars

July 17, 2017 Audiobook, Listened to in 2017, Steph 1

Audiobook – Goddess with a Blade – Lauren Dane – 4.5 starsGoddess With a Blade by Lauren Dane
Published by Carina Press on June 6th 2011
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance, Paranormal, General
Pages: 265
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Rowan Summerwaite is no ordinary woman. Physical vessel to the Celtic Goddess Brigid and raised by the leader of the Vampire Nation, she's a supercharged hunter with the power to slay any vampire who violates the age-old treaty.

A recent string of murders has her at odds with Las Vegas's new Scion, the arrogant and powerful Clive Stewart. The killings have the mark of Vampire all over them, and Rowan warns Clive to keep his people in line—or she'll mete out her own brand of justice.

Though her dealings with Clive are adversarial to say the least, Rowan is intensely aware of her attraction to him. But she can't let it distract her from her duty—to find and battle the killer before more women die.

73,000 words

Ok I know I am late to the party on this series but I ADORED the banter between our leads as they fight their attraction to one another and the strong dislike they also have regarding their roles in society.  There is something refreshing about characters who are open and honest about who they are with no apologies for their actions if they are what is needed.  They both apologize for items that are out of line but they do not back down as they do what they were meant to do.

Rowan is the vessel for an ancient Celtic goddess and was raised in the service of the First.  The First is an ancient vampire who considers Rowan to be his daughter even though she now is tasked with killing those vampires who kill humans or break the treaty that keeps the various races in balance.  She’s tough and is not looking for anything other than to make sure that the new North American Scion understands what she’s supposed to do and stays out of her way.  She meets Clive and immediately dislikes him not only for being a vampire but for being an insufferable, stick-up-his-ass jerk who thinks he is all mighty and powerful.  She works to figure out who is this latest rogue vampire with help from her crew but keeps having to deal with Clive and the attraction that she feels for someone she shouldn’t want.  I loved watching her jump in to things without regard for her own safety but seeing Clive try to get thru to her how much she means to those around her was enjoyable.

Clive is such a damn asshole… yes… a damn snobby, stick-in-the-mud and stick-up-his-ass asshole.  Yet, I found myself enjoying him as we got to see more of who he is.  He’s not fond of meeting this Hunter as she killed his predecessor (yes it was definitely deserved) but he’s taken aback as he finds himself drawn to her.  He’s very protective of his people and very fierce when it comes to protecting the Vampire Nation even as he knows there are things Rowan should be let in on in order to more efficiently and effectively do her job.  I loved seeing his fierceness as he fights to get her to not go off on her own trying to find the killer in their midst but ultimately failing as she will do her job no matter the cost.  Clive is someone you learn to love as the series progresses as he may be a fuddy duddy in some respects but damn if the man cannot get dirty with the best of them.  There is a reason why he is in the position he is in and it isn’t just because he is a good businessman.  He’s ruthless and deadly but when it comes to Rowan he is such a damn romantic man.

The good news is by waiting so long to start the series all the books are out so you can read them back to back but I do warn you … you will scream when you get to the last one and I hope that Lauren Dane is able to get back to this world soon as I adore the characters and want to see more of the story that is still out there.

four-half-stars

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The Unyielding – Shelly Laurenston – 5 stars

March 28, 2017 Kensington, Read in 2017, Sent 1

I received this book for free from . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Unyielding – Shelly Laurenston – 5 starsThe Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston
Published by Kensington on March 28th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General, Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars
five-flames

Stieg Engstrom, Angriest Viking Ever, has got big problems. The human Viking Clans of earth are in danger of being obliterated—along with the rest of the world—and the only one who may be able to save them is a super pain-in-the-ass Crow. Most people annoy Stieg, but this is the one woman he really can’t stand…

Erin Amsel loves being a Crow! Why wouldn’t she when the other Viking Clans are so hilariously arrogant and humorless? She’s not about to let all that come to an end! She just didn’t expect to be shoulder to shoulder in battle with Stieg. Then again, he’s so easy to torment—and also kind of cute.

With the future of the world riding on them, Stieg knows he’ll have to put aside his desperate need to kiss the smirk right off Erin’s face. Wait. What? He didn’t mean that—did he? No! They have one goal: To conquer the idiots. Because nothing bugs Stieg more than when idiots win. If only he can keep himself from suddenly acting like one…

Are you ready for more Crow craziness?  Are you sure?  Are you really, really sure?

Well, buckle up for some more fun with the ladies and men who are trying to keep the world safe from some really insane deities.

Erin is up to something…  ok..  so she’s always up to something but this time she’s REALLY up to something.  She’s caught by someone that she honestly can’t stand at a moment when she really did need help (soooooooooooooooo not liking admitting that) but who she gets is someone that she can’t easily manipulate or ignore.  I loved getting to know more about her and understanding where the personality traits that drive everyone else insane came from.  She’s not willing to admit what Stieg comes to mean to her but he knows and accepts her for who she is.  I love her smart mouth but also found that behind this is someone who cares deeply for those around her and is willing to do what it takes to keep people safe.  There are moments when you just want to strangle her but the moments are broken up by laughter as she even knows that she’s doing it on purpose.

Stieg was so much fun to watch.  He’s driven but the way he tries to tell her not to do something in the beginning made me put down the book for a bit to laugh.  He’s not what he seems either which is why their pairing makes so much sense.  His relationships with others including shifters made me smile but it was the damn goat that made me almost lose it.  You’ll love meeting her but also love the way that he struggles to come to terms with what Erin starts to mean to him.  I will admit there is a part of me that wanted a more overt claiming but honestly these two are perfect for one another.  The way that the relationship just is… not forced… just natural made me smile.

Now… when is the next one?  I really wanna see how this new threat plays out cause…  DAMN MAN.

Also, Shelly…  if you ever decide to make more totes…  yeah… I NEED ONE… also… Vida…  thanks again!!!  I won’t see you this year at RT but thank you for letting me continue to share the love of these stories.

five-stars

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A Promise of Fire – Amanda Bouchet – 4.5 stars

August 1, 2016 Read in 2016, Snagged at Con, Sourcebooks 1

I received this book for free from the publisher . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Promise of Fire – Amanda Bouchet – 4.5 starsA Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
on August 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic, Romance, Paranormal
Pages: 448
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

There is only 1 problem when you get an ARC in May for a title that doesn’t release until August…

YOU WANT THE NEXT STORY NOW NOW NOW!!!!

Many of you know that I started reading romance only a few short years ago (*cough* 5ish *cough*) but until then my reading was almost always Sci-Fi/Fantasy or mysteries….  This story made me happy because it weaves some romance in to an interesting High Fantasy world which made my internal younger self so happy.

We have a world ruled by people who wield magic except for in the forgotten kingdom that just experienced something noone thought could ever happen….  They have a warlord without magic who managed to overthrow the tyrants and put his sister in charge of the realm.  This is something that is amazing to the people but as we get in to the story we just really don’t understand how unusual this is and how much of a change this could mean for the people in this entire world.  This is a world of the Gods where dragons exist and power is corrupting.

I found the idea of someone who was more than what she appeared to be fascinating but mainly I was intrigued by trying to figure out exactly who she really is.  Cat is part of a huge puzzle that I just want to solve but enjoy finding out the bits and pieces that the author teases us with as the story unfolds.  She’s powerful, extremely sarcastic and very slow to trust people around her but the thing that drew me to her was the fact that you know she’s so severely hurt that all she really wants is to be loved, cared for and have something she never got growing up…. unconditional acceptance.  She made me laugh at times with her speak/act first then stumble as she realizes she’s not completely in her element around these people.  I also appreciated the sheer honesty (other than her feelings for Griffin) with everyone around her.

Griffin was absolutely mesmerizing to me as you could see that he wanted her from the get-go and not just for her unique power.  He’s an ass at times but as you get to know him it makes sense why he is acting that way but at the same time you want to strangle him as he tries to keep her safe by stifling her.  I enjoyed seeing him struggle with his alternating need to hurt her for her stubbornness and kiss the fight out of her because of his attraction.  He’s also hard to read in some respects as you aren’t certain if he really sees her or her power and what she can give him.  I liked that when he was wrong he admitted it but I also appreciated how he honestly was trying to do what was best.  He’s going to be fun to watch in the future stories and I cannot wait to see what happens as he finds out more about his Cat.

The other people in the story also fascinated me as well as the weaving in of the Gods such as Poseidon and Zeus but seeing things in a different way in this new world.  I enjoyed learning about the kingdoms but mainly am going to enjoy seeing how the world resets itself in this time of change.  I also look forward to seeing more of the Betas and seeing them find their partners or even just getting to know more about them and Griffin’s family.

Now…

When do I get to read book 2?????  Huh…  huh… huh…

four-half-stars

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