Tag Archives: PNR

Book Review: The Silent

This is so much later than I intended it to be, and I probably owe Elizabeth Hunter an apology and a martini (or three), but here it is!

The Irin Chronicles (specifically The Scribe) were my introduction to Elizabeth Hunter. I’m pretty sure I read it at the insistence of my PSM, who occasionally introduces me to something good (and other times, according to my Facebook memories from today, insists I read shark-shifter romances that turn out to be not so good). She obviously hit the ball out of the park with this one.  Now here we are, 3 years later (I read it in 2014) and I’m reviewing an ARC of The Silent for you. (I’ve reviewed the third and fourth books in the series previously, in case you’re interested.)

The Blurb

They are called kareshta, the silent ones.
But the silent are waking.

Kyra has lived her life in the shadow of a powerful Grigori brother. She’s ignored her own desires for the good of her family, but an unexpected request from Thailand sends her on a mission that could change her life and alter the fate of free Grigori all over the world. Sons of the Fallen hidden in the mountains of Thailand have adapted an ancient human magic for their own purposes. Will this practice bring peace or lead to even greater danger for the Irin race?

A simple diplomatic mission sends Leo to Bangkok, but he didn’t expect to see a familiar face in surveillance photographs. He’s tried everything to drive Kyra from his mind, since he was convinced the gentle kareshta wanted to hide from the world. How did she turn up halfway across the globe, living with Grigori who may or may not be Irin allies?

Leo has bided his time. He’s given Kyra her space.

But this scribe is ready to hear a kareshta sing.

The Cover

 

The Review

Ugh. This was so good. (<—this was literally my entire review for a week.) I’ve never been to Thailand, and haven’t even much cared about the idea of going. There are so many other places on my bucket list that SE Asia doesn’t even register. But now? Now I want to go. So thank you, Ms. Hunter, for costing me future money. (Seriously. Thank you!)

Like all the Irin Chronicles, the world building in this book is just incredible. I’ve long enjoyed Leo but hadn’t much paid attention to Kyra before. I’m disappointed in myself and went back and reread The Secret just to make sure I could properly appreciate her.

I really enjoyed the character development of Kyra throughout this book as she goes from someone who is strong but willing to hide her light (out of necessity) to a commanding presence.

And the sex? Whoa. Elizabeth Hunter brought the goods this time. I wouldn’t have thought a “losing your virginity” sex scene could be so…steamy. *fans self*

The Verdict

I’m never not going to recommend that you head out and buy everything Elizabeth Hunter’s ever written. This series is so amazing, and trust me when I say you want to read every single book in it.

The Disclaimer

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Book Review: Light’s Shadow

Light’s Shadow is the third (and final?) book in the Copper Falls trilogy by Colleen Vanderlinden. I have been anxiously waiting for this once since I finished the second in the series. I knew I wouldn’t have long to wait, because Colleen is a magical writing machine! She publishes fantastic stories every day! (That is an exaggeration, of course. It’s more like once a week.) (I’m not actually sure how often, I just know that her prolificness leaves me in awe. I’m beginning to suspect that her “home school” is just a book sweatshop.) (KIDDING!)

Although I picked this up via my Kindle Unlimited subscription, I should disclose that Colleen is a friend (and my editor) and we are locked in a fierce contest to see which of us can kill the most characters. She did alright in this book, but she really could’ve done better. Too much saving!

Disclosure: I am writing this pre-coffee, so there will probably be more parentheticals than are legally allowed.

The Cover

That hair! That dress! Those bosoms!

 

The Blurb

Born of the Light. Corrupted by Shadow.

After spending her entire life as a servant of the Light, Sophie Turner no longer knows where she fits into a world in which she’s been forced to become the very thing she’s come to hate. She doesn’t know herself anymore, and can’t seem to reconcile her strong belief in the tenets of Light as Shadow magic flows through her body, seducing her, tempting her to do the very things she swore she’d never do.

At the same time, her relationship with Calder Turcotte, the man she’s loved for practically her entire life, is on shaky ground. The things she had to do to break his curse haunt them both, and there’s a distance between them now that she doesn’t know if they can ever bridge.

All of that is bad enough, but when the alpha of the Copper Falls wolf pack ends up dead, Calder finds himself under suspicion for his murder, and it becomes abundantly clear that the quiet life Sophie and Calder crave is further from their reach than ever.

And when an ancient enemy returns to make his final move against Sophie, finally fulfilling his mission, she’ll be forced to rely on the tenuous alliances she’s made, as well as the Shadow magic she detests and distrusts, to save everything that matters to her.

A story of eternal love, forgiveness, and strength, Light’s Shadow is the final book in the Copper Falls paranormal romance trilogy.

The Review

I love the cover – it’s nice to see a more…buxom…woman gracing our fantasy stories (and not just your fantasies, Steve). I also really like Sophie. She’s a realistic blend of soft and strong.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners, wise-cracking, my-weaknesses-are-secret, kick-ass heroines as much as the next person, but Sophie has human weaknesses, and that makes her more realistic. (As realistic as a witch who can throw you out of windows with her brain can be, anyway.)

Her relationship with Calder builds along fits and starts of misunderstandings, deliberate (but necessary) heart-breaking deception, and temper tantrums. I get this. This (except for not being able to break trees with my mind) (and the deliberate but necessary heartbreak) is me (down to the fantastic tatas).

The story winds along at a very good pace, speeding along and then slowing down to let you catch your breath. Although I figured we were in a HEA situation (regardless of body count), there was nothing predictable about the path we took to get there.

There were some scenes that made me gasp out loud and shake my fist in a vaguely threatening manner. Things that pierced me to my soul. People had to make hard decisions and my heart broke more for those decisions than they did for Calder in the second book.

The Quotes

“I’ve never been insulted by someone quoting Emily Dickinson before. That’s new,” Sophie said, looking up at the gray clouds above.

“I try to bring a little class to my insults. Sometimes, anyway,” Esme said.

That delights me, because who doesn’t love an educated, snarky witch? (According to Giles, Emily Dickinson is a pretty good poet…for an American.)

She wasn’t perfect. He knew that. She could be cold and standoffish. She could say things sometimes, not realizing how much they hurt. And she had a bad habit of closing herself off from everyone exactly at those moments in which she needed them most.

To be honest, she sounds pretty damn perfect – at least according to that description. (Or does she sound like me? Out of my head, Vanderlinden!)

The Verdict

This book is a fantastic end to a fun and interesting trilogy, and you should go out and get it immediately. It’s on Amazon (and Kindle Unlimited), and I don’t think you’ll regret a thing. Solid 4.5 stars.

BRRRAAAIIINNNSSS

 

I wish I had any left. I have, with the exception of yesterday which was a shitshow on a personal level, been editing like a madwoman. However, I am still not as far along as I need to be to send this to my readers by Monday.

It’s not the end of the world if I don’t get this to my readers by Monday. But, I have a pretty tight turnaround to get changes made and then to my editor and I want to give them as much time as humanly possible.

So, to say that I’m stressed is pretty much an understatement.

The best way, by far, to relieve stress is to move. But try convincing my brain of that! My brain insists it’s better to stare at the screen and panic. (This is why I need to seek out alternate brains…my is obviously delusional.)

On a brighter note: I’m having so much fun with my people! Eleanor is really growing into her role, Florence is so much wiser than I can ever hope to be (“I’m confident in my own power, but not stupid. I won’t reject help.”), Raj is a sexy, delightful rogue, Isaac is fighting so many of his own demons and still goes the extra mile for Eleanor, and Finn is…a bag of dicks. Let’s be honest.

For all of my Raj fans out there–and I know you’re there–don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter. Starting next week, you’ll get monthly installments of Raj’s life. (Once the whole thing is complete, I’ll publish it in novella form and have it available on Amazon. Now’s your chance to get the inside scoop.)

And of course, for anyone who hasn’t picked it up yet, The Cardinal Gate is available on Amazon in Kindle (and on Kindle Unlimited) and paperback. If you’ve read it, I’d really appreciate a review! Thanks, and happy reading!

 

Book Review: Devils and Details (Ordinary Magic 2) by Devon Monk

I first encountered Devon Monk through her House Immortal series. When I saw  the first Ordinary Magic book recommended by a friend earlier this year, I snapped it right up. And then didn’t read it until the end of July. This was another of those books that pulled me in with a fun story and some interesting world building, and I was pretty excited to find out that the second in the series was being released in September. One-click preorder!

The Premise

Ordinary Oregon is home to a lot of interesting residents. Supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves, a Valkyrie, et cetera, as well as vacationing gods. The gods must give up their god powers and become mortal for the duration of their stay, but that doesn’t mean they give up their personalities…and they are still gods.

Keeping the town in line is the Reed family. One member of the family serves as the guardian – the one responsible for making sure the god powers are safe while the gods reside in Ordinary. Currently that person is Delaney Reed, police chief of Ordinary. Her sisters – also officers – assist with keeping the peace.

The Blurb

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea…

Police Chief Delaney Reed is good at keeping secrets for the beach town of Ordinary Oregon–just ask the vacationing gods or supernatural creatures who live there.

But with the first annual Cake and Skate fundraiser coming up, the only secret Delaney really wants to know is how to stop the unseasonable rain storms. When all the god powers are stolen, a vampire is murdered, and her childhood crush turns out to be keeping deadly secrets of his own, rainy days are the least of her worries.

Hunting a murderer, outsmarting a know-it-all god, and uncovering an ancient vampire’s terrifying past isn’t how she planned to spend her summer. But then again, neither is falling back in love with the one man she should never trust.

The Cover

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The Review

This series is fun. The writing is good, the world building is good, the chemistry between Delaney and Ryder is good. I liked the first in the series a little better, but this still got four fun stars in my book.

Delaney does drive me a little crazy, though. I know she’s new to being both the police chief and the guardian of the god powers, but sometimes she makes very dumb decisions. She’s nowhere near approaching TSTL (too stupid to live, a common problem in a lot of fantasy novels), but would it kill her to lock her door? NO! It would not.

For someone who is supposed to be a strong female character, she is very easily manipulated and slow to see the truth of things, even when they’re pointed out by other characters. Since most of my issues with her as a character also seem to bug her sisters and other close associates, I’m not sure why they’re necessary to her. I get wanting to have some flaws in your lead, but I will never understand taking unnecessary risks (at least not more than once) and ridiculous secrecy.

All that being said, I really did enjoy the story. I like the history that’s coming out regarding the vampire clan (Old Rossi might be one of my favorite vamps ever – a thousand year old blood-sucking hippy nudist yoga teacher?). I am (of course) exceptionally fond of Bertie – the Valkyrie who organizes all the town festivals and strong-arms everyone into volunteering.

This was a fun, easy read and I will definitely be picking up the next in the series when it’s released next year!

The Quote

I am enjoying the relationship between Ryder and Delaney, even if I want to lock them in a room tied up with Wonder Woman’s lasso so they just fucking tell each other the truth and stop hiding information for the good of the other person, etc.

Yes, I’d caught that Ryder almost said “love” when he was offering to keep our secrets secret. I shoved that way, way back in my brain so I could think about it later. But I could already tell my heart was drawing little swirls and flowers and smoochy faces around that faltering admission.

  • Delaney

Bonus quote because it made me laugh:

That sounded like hippy-dippy stuff, or maybe vampy-wampy stuff.

  • Delaney

The Verdict

My issues with the book were slight enough to not be real issues at all. It was an enjoyable read. After all, who doesn’t want to spend time on the Oregon Coast with Odin (who is a terrible chainsaw sculptor) and Thanatos (who tends towards ridiculous shirts, and runs a kite shop with a questionable font choice that brands it “Happy Kills”)?

Definitely a solid choice for some fun reading.

Book It! Eidolon by Grace Draven

A few days ago, I was kickin’ it writer style at the RT Convention in Las Vegas when I got a FB message from Grace Draven asking if I was interested in an ARC of Eidolon. After taking the time to be grateful that she couldn’t hear me squee through the internets, I replied that of course I would be happy to get one. And there went the rest of that day. And night. And a bit of the next day.

If you haven’t read the first book in her Wraith Kings series, get thee to Amazon and Kindle that shit immediately. (I know that technically Kindle isn’t a verb in this sense, but lower-case kindle is, so just roll with it.)

I had been counting the days for this book release. I’ve read and re-read Radiance, I’ve listened to Radiance, I’ve made sacrifices to the dark gods.

And the wait and human sacrifice were totally worth it. Eidolon was brilliant.

The Blurb
In a bid for more power, the Shadow Queen of Haradis has unleashed a malignant force into the world. Her son Brishen, younger prince of the Kai royal house, suddenly finds himself ruler of a kingdom blighted by a diseased darkness and on the brink of war. His human wife Ildiko must decide if she will give up the man she loves in order to secure his throne.

Three enemy kingdoms must unite to save each other, and a one-eyed, reluctant king must raise an army of the dead to defeat an army of the damned.

A tale of alliance and sacrifice.

The Cover
eidolon cover

The Review
I was already very attached to the main characters – Brishen, the spare Kai prince and his human wife Ildiko. Their marriage was one of politics, uniting two disparate peoples with extra royals they had lying about. Each species finds the other rather abhorrent. From their looks to their eating habits, they are really and truly very different. Brishen and Ildiko managed to look past that, though, and not only found a way to reach alliance, they found partnership and love.

Happily settled far, far away from the main Kai palace, home to Brishen’s family including his rather evil mother, their future is looking pretty darn good.

Until of course the aforementioned evil mother decides to level up. A horde of unstoppable demons are unleashed on the land – starting in the royal palace – and they destroy everything in their wake.
As the only surviving member of the royal family, Brishen must not only save his country, but become a king – and no Kai king can have a human wife.

The Wrap-Up
This book kept my heart rate up and my ass on the edge of the chair. I read a lot of wonderful fantasy authors, and if you don’t have world-building skills, you don’t rate high on my list. Grace gets double points for not only setting her world up magnificently, but doing it from scratch.

I have the feels for Brishen and Ildiko and I was really, really worried about them while reading.

I enjoy the way Grace is able to portray not just the romantic relationship between our two main characters, but also their partnership and friendship. Anhuset, Brishen’s cousin, is perhaps one of my favorite characters in the book and I just want to get drinks with her and talk about men and weapons.

Grace does such a good job of making complete characters – not just the main characters, but those that, while important for the purposes of the story, are not ever going to step into leading roles; at least not in this series.

The only thing that I have trouble with is keeping track of everyone. To be fair, I’m pretty crap at names in real life, even when I’ve met a person a dozen times, so to expect myself to keep track of characters in a book is probably pushing it.

The Quote
Grace is such a beautiful writer that it was hard to keep this narrowed down. In the end, the following really hit me right in the old feelers.

“If you were granted one wish, what would you wish for?” he whispered.
She swallowed hard past the knot of tears lodged in her throat and blinked hard to clear them from her vision. “I wish…” She inhaled and started again. “I wish for you to grow old with me.”

RIGHT? Who’s cutting onions in here?

The Verdict
Go. Go forth and read. You will not be sorry.

The Disclaimer
I received a free advanced reading copy of Eidolon, which in no way influenced my review. I’ve since also paid for a copy, because that cover, amiright?