Archive | Magic RSS feed for this section

Books I Want: November 2012

26 Oct

Provoked by Rebecca Zanetti (Nov. 1, received copy from Netgalley)

A TIME FOR WAR…
A casualty of the war between the demons and the vampires, Jase Kayrs has been missing for six long years. His older brothers want answers—but they’re going to have to get them from an unlikely source. For when Kane Kayrs tracks down Amber Freebird, what he finds is a blonde, vegan pacifist who has no intention of using her skills in his war…

A TIME FOR LOVE…

Amber enjoys her life of chaotic freedom and has no intention of falling in line just because a sexy-as-sin vampire insists on order. Unfortunately, he discovers she may be the only hope they have of finding his brother, and there’s no way he’s going to let her go—even if it means mating her to gain her cooperation. The two are as different as can be, yet when the dominant Kane and the untamed Amber finally unite to rescue Jase, they just may find that opposites really do attract… Continue reading

Review: Provoked by Rebecca Zanetti

25 Oct

3 of 5 scoopers

Provoked by Rebecca Zanetti
Kensington (Nov. 1, 2012)
ebook: $6.99
ISBN: 9781601830203
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “Amber, I like you. Against all rational thought, I like the way you think, the way you move, even the way you feel everything too strongly. And I want to have one night with you–not to relieve some stress, although it would–not to cement your help, although it might–and not to further any of my rather pressing goals. I just want to get inside you  and drive you crazy until you scream my name.” (p. 114, e-galley)

A TIME FOR WAR . . .

A casualty of the war between the demons and the vampires, Jase Kayrs has been missing for six long years. His older brothers want answers-but they’re going to have to get them from an unlikely source. For when Kane Kayrs tracks down Amber Freebird, what he finds is a blonde, vegan pacifist who has no intention of using her skills in his war . . .

A TIME FOR LOVE . . .

Amber enjoys her life of chaotic freedom and has no intention of falling in line just because a sexy-as-sin vampire insists on order. Unfortunately, he discovers she may be the only hope they have of finding his brother, and there’s no way he’s going to let her go-even if it means mating her to gain her cooperation. The two are as different as can be, yet when the dominant Kane and the untamed Amber finally unite to rescue Jase, they just may find that opposites really do attract . . .

Provoked is book five in Rebecca Zanetti’s Protector series. (Tempted is 2.5 in the series.) I read books two and three, but skipped four as it didn’t sound interesting to me. Unfortunately skipping the book may have hindered my understanding and appreciation for Provoked.

Provoked brings back characters introduced throughout the series. There’s a look at the now 14-year-old son of Cara and Talen, a check-in with Dage and Emma and a look at what’s been happening to the missing Kayr brother Jase for the past five years. Provoked can be sweet and has plenty of action, but my favorite moments revolve around Janie/Zane/Kalin and the Jase situation. I’m excitedly waiting for both of those books.

While I didn’t hate Provoked, I’ve gotta tell you that Amber is not my favorite heroine in the series. She kept thinking about how uneducated and poor she was compared to everyone around her. The first few times I was okay with it but when it occurred over and over I wanted to smack her.

Kane was alright. I liked reading about the level-headed Kayr brother. He was sexy, intelligent and exactly the man for the self-depreciating Amber. I will admit that Amber made huge strides in her emotional health by the end of the story I was I was no longer annoyed by her. Since I wasn’t in love with the main characters you’re probably wondering what made me stick with the book. The secondary characters. They hooked me.

I’m glad I read Provoked. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. I did get a look at two books I want to read. I hope they come out soon. *Hint Hint*

Review: Enslaved by Elisabeth Naughton

23 Oct


4 out of 5 scoopers

Enslaved by Elisabeth Naughton
Sourcebooks (Nov. 6, 2012)
Mass market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9781402262159
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “All her life she’d been alone. Even the few times she’d been in love, she’d still been alone, because she’d never opened herself all the way. She’d never admitted who she really was, never confessed her hopes and dreams, never shared her soul. This time, she would. This time, everything was different.” (p. 296, e-galley)

After being rescued from the Underworld, Gryphon is plauged by strange voices and an evil foreboding. He believes that his only hope for salvation is to track down the goddess who cursed him…until he meets Maelea.

A prisoner with no bars, Maelea encounters Gryphon on her quest to find Olympus. He’s about to test her loyalty to the gods, and she’s ready to find out if he still has a heart worth saving…

It’s hard to believe that Enslaved is book five in Elisabeth Naughton‘s Eternal Guardians series. I’m not a fan of Greek mythology, but I’ve really become addicted to this series which incorporates bits and pieces of the past with its modern word. I highly recommend starting this series with book one instead of jumping in with Enslaved. Every book is about a different couple, but we’re given information and introduced to a variety of characters prior to starting their story. For example, we read about Gryphon’s experience in Hades and learn all about Maelea’s existence in book four, Enraptured.

After reading all the damage done to Gryphon in Enraptured and learning of Maelea’s predicament I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Enslaved. I knew a story about two horrendously damaged people would be good reading and I was right. The emotional trauma paired with the feelings of loneliness made them a perfect match once they realized the attraction between them. Maelea has always been alone not out of a desire but because she was cursed by the gods. Her father, Zeus, didn’t acknowledge her and her mother, Persephone, didn’t have much to do with her either.

Her constant migration and inability to let others get close to her made me want more for her. Just imagine how she felt living forever with no family and no constant partner or friends. Then BAM! there’s Gryphon who was tortured and is now infected with the voice of a villainess. He is purposely separating himself from his friends and family. Sure it’s out of a need to protect them from him, but he feels dirty and dangerous. He used to be completely different. His transformation from light to dark is affecting everyone–but Maelea.

As the two find peace in the world and within themselves there are so many other things taking place. The villainess from book one is still around. Atalanta still wants the Orb of Kronos and is using Gryphon to get it. The gods are making a play for the Orb, as well. They are trying to get it through Maelea. One of the story lines that began in book one will finally be concluded in this book.

Enslaved is equal parts romance/relationship and action moving the book/series forward. It’s also a nice change from the average vampire or shifter paranormal romance. It’s a decent addition to a comfortable series that is on my auto buy list.

Review: Untamed by Sara Humphreys

22 Oct


3.5 of 5 scoopers

Untamed by Sara Humphreys
Sourcebooks (Nov. 6, 2012)
Mass Market: $6.99; ebook: $6.99
ISBN: 9781402258497
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “You can’t make me fall in love with you and expect to get away with it.” (p. 301, e-galley)

The Amoveo are an ancient race who’ve lived secretly among humans for thousands of years. They are beautiful and incredibly strong but their race is extremely fragile–each has until the age of 30 to find their soul mate, before their bodies start to die a slow, painful death.
Layla Nickelsen has spent her life running from a mate she didn’t choose, until William Fleury finally confronts her. Normally stoic and unemotional, William finds himself befuddled by Layla: his growing feelings for her and his driving need to protect her. And Layla has to admit that William might be everything she’s always wanted after all…

Have you started reading Sara Humphreys’ Amoveo series yet? I did a while back and I don’t regret it either. It’s a predestined mate, shifter style romance series that sometimes is just what I want. Untamed is book three in the series. I think it can be read as a stand alone.

Imagine shifters living in the same world as you and I. As with most cultures/peoples there are those who are content with intermingling with others and those against it. This internal “purest” battle makes a ginormous jump from secretive to in-your-face by the end of the story, but that really doesn’t help the characters of Untamed. It does tell us the direction the series will be going in the future.

Characters: The heroine Layla was introduced in book two, but the reader really gets to know her in Untamed when she returns to her roots in rural Maryland. It’s clear from the beginning that Layla is half Amoveo, but if you’ve read previous books you know half-Amoveos are thought to be scarce. There are secrets and people in Maryland who I expect to make appearances in future books. The hero, William, has always come across as a stuck up lawyer. He has reason to be aloof, but his interactions with his would-be-mate just might turn him into the sexy man-next-door. It was nice to see him let loose a little. Layla’s brother and a girl from Layla’s past are secondary characters to watch.

The Chase: Right away we are taken into a shared dream between William and Layla. That chase doesn’t stop until the book is over. The story keeps moving forward as William tries to prove himself to his mate. He worked hard to show he was worthy of her and she worked just as hard to maintain her independence by refusing to mate with him. It was nice to see the “duh” moment Layla has toward the end of the story when she is forced to face the facts.

What else?: I’m not sure how I feel about the secondary character plot line. The reason behind the issue seemed silly and unbelievable. It pulled me out of the romance as I wondered if I was really supposed to care. Also the villain aspect of the story was slow to evolve which made the story seem uneven. The first half of the book was relationship based. The second half of the book involved other characters and added danger. The danger never felt daunting. I never wondered when the “bad” was going to happen or worried about a formidable villain. I’ve come to expect more threats in my paranormal romance so the lack was glaringly obvious to me.

Did I like it?: Yep. I didn’t love it, nor will I re-read it though. Untamed feels like a stepping stone book to me. Yes, each book in the series is about a different couple and we get a complete romance between Layla and William.  However, this book is important to the big story arc which connects all of the books in the Amoveo series. Pivotal Amoveo events occur, but not until the story is almost over.  I didn’t get really interested until the action picked up.

Review: Ironskin by Tina Connolly

16 Oct

DNF

Ironskin by Tina Connolly
TOR/FORGE (Oct. 2, 2012)
Hardback: $24.99; ebook: $11.99
ISBN: 9780765330598

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation”—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her scars and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio…and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things are true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of a new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

Ironskin is Tina Connolly’s introduction to a fantasy world which is recovering from a war between humans and the fae. During the war the fae would fling curses at humanity. Those scarred by the curses can prevent the curses from spreading by covering the marked area with iron.

This is another book that I wanted to love. I didn’t. I didn’t even make it very far before deciding to put it aside. I was bored. Plain and simple. I’ve read that it’s supposed to be a rewrite of Jane Eyre. Don’t bash me, but I didn’t like Jane Eyre. I’m not into updating or rewriting old stories either. Had I known it was a retelling of anything I never would have requested the story. As such, I’m not going to rate it. I’m leaving it firmly in the Did Not Finish category.

For those of you who loved it or take pleasure in retellings, Tina Connolly’s website says a sequel is scheduled to be released in 2013.

Word Search: Paranormal Book Titles

5 Oct

Paranormal Book Titles

T W D A T V R C I T Q T S D C 
V E U R S K C B I S H C C E O 
D D R W A H T R Y E Y I Q Y Y 
A E L C R G O D R X G G Y A O 
D D N A E F O E U A I A Q R T 
T D X R L S S N M F Z M Q T E 
W Z A W U T G L B V V D V E S 
S I O Y O B A N Y O A E M B M 
D H P R T T E L I D U K E L A 
I B E K E J F C L P P N U E T 
C R P M Z Q X E N L E I D G E 
V E N S L A V E D O O E T N K 
E U F E J W R F C K G K K A Z 
G M Y S O U L T O S A V E J N 
H Q D E M I A L C E T A M Y Q
ANGEL BETRAYED
COYOTES MATE
DRAGON BOUND
ENSLAVED
GUNMETAL MAGIC
HOWL FOR IT
INKED MAGIC
KEEPING SECRET
MATE CLAIMED
MY SOUL TO SAVE
ONCE BURNED
THE RESTORER

Solution (Highlight to View)


T + D + + + + + + T + T + D C 
+ E + R + + + + I + H C C E O 
D + R + A + + R + E + I + Y Y 
+ E + C + G O + R + G G + A O 
+ + N + E F O E + A + A + R T 
+ + + R L S S N M + + M + T E 
+ + + W U T G L B + + D + E S 
+ + O + O B A N + O + E + B M 
+ H + R + T E + I + U K + L A 
+ + E + E + + C + P + N + E T 
+ R + M + + + + N + E I D G E 
+ E N S L A V E D O + E + N + 
+ U + + + + + + + + + + K A + 
G M Y S O U L T O S A V E + + 
+ + D E M I A L C E T A M + + 

(Over,Down,Direction) 
ANGEL BETRAYED(14,13,N)
COYOTE SMATE(15,1,S)
DRAGON BOUND(3,1,SE)
ENSLAVED(2,12,E)
GUNMETAL MAGIC(1,14,NE)
HOWL FOR IT(2,9,NE)
INKED MAGIC(12,11,N)
KEEPING SECRET(13,13,NW)
MATE CLAIMED(13,15,W)
MY SOUL TO SAVE(2,14,E)
ONCE BURNED(10,12,NW)
THE RESTORER(12,1,SW)

Coming Soon: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

4 Oct

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.TBR March 5, 2013

Review: Mate Claimed by Jennifer Ashley

1 Oct

3.5 out of 5 scoopers

Mate Claimed by Jennifer Ashley
Penguin (Oct. 2, 2012)
Mass market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9780425251010

Favorite Lines: “He took a step back, shed his jacket, and stripped off his shirt. “Feast on me,” he said.” (p. 192, e-galley)

Eric Warden knows that half-Shifter wildcat Iona is passing for human, living without a Collar in the human world. He also knows that if she does not acknowledge her Shifter nature and her mating hunger, it could kill her. Iona finds the mysterious and dangerous Eric, a wildcat and leader of his Shiftertown, haunting her dreams, but she vows never to “come out” and take the Collar, fearing backlash against her mother and sister for hiding the fact that she’s Shifter. But Eric is a compelling Shifter male, and Iona’s hunger calls to him.

Jennifer Ashley is back with her paranormal romance series which often features well endowed male shapeshifters. Along with full length novels Ashley has published a couple of novellas that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Book four, Mate Claimed,  in her Shifters Unbound series follows Eric Warden, the leader of a shiftertown who has found a half-wildcat shifter posing as human. That shifter is so much more though. She is his potential mate if she can let go of her human disguise long enough to take a chance at happiness.

Love:One of the things I enjoyed about Mate Claimed was watching the heroine try to avoid the happily ever after trap. She knew she lusted after a man to the point where her body throbbed around him, but she didn’t want it to mean more. She fought the insta-mate connection in a world where she would have been stigmatized. No it wasn’t love that would do it, but the revelations that love would bring about. Iona’s was never registered as a shifter and shifters are being threatened. People often change in love, unfortunately revealing a secret to the world isn’t the easiest thing to do.

Characters: Old and new characters emerge in this new installment. Readers of Wild Cat get to see its couple as time passes and we get to meet a new type of shifter, as well as some pretty killable bad guys. The villains aren’t the evil bad guys that I normally love to hate, they’re the bureaucratic type that I can’t seem to get away from lately. Both the hero and heroine are stubborn yet steady characters.

Plot: The government is merging shifter towns while purposely ignoring the issues that come with a society set up upon dominance. This is an issues that touches on more than money and the shifters will have to keep their noses clean to scent the hidden agenda.

Overall: Mate Claimed is a passion-filled, solid romance book and a nice addition to the paranormal romance world. However,  don’t see myself re-reading often, if at all. I read the story quickly without forming any emotional attachment to the characters. There was only one character I wanted to know more about and I’m happy to get my way as he is book five’s, Tiger Magic, hero. That book will be released in June of 2013. In the end, I liked Mate Claimed, but I enjoyed the novella Hard Mated better.


Review: Last Vamp Standing Kristin Miller

30 Sep

4 out of 5 scoopers

Last Vamp Standing by Kristin Miller
HarperCollins (Aug. 28, 2012)
Mass market: $6.99; ebook: $3.99
ISBN: 9780062207845

Favorite Lines: “Ariana, I’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’ve tried resisting the urges, but I’ve never made it long. In fact, resisting them seems to make things worse. I’ve blocked out and woken up in pools of blood, unsure where I am or what I’ve done.” (p. 203, e-galley)

Tortured by demonic voices, Dante’s soul is as black as they come. But when he meets Ariana—an innocent vampire fighting demons of her own—he second-guesses everything he’s ever known about sacrifice, passion, and soul-scorching love.

Before Dante wages war against Crimson Bay’s greatest threat, he must make a choice: love Ariana the way she deserves, risking her life in the process—or fight to protect her, unleashing the monster he’s determined to bury.

I’ve been enjoying Kristin Miller‘s Vampires of Crimson Bay series and couldn’t wait to read book three, Last Vamp Standing. In the previous book, Vamped Up, we got to know a little bit about Dante. Enough that I knew his story would be good.

Last Vamp Standing is the final book in Miller’s Crimson Bay trilogy. Do not read it as a stand alone. It is where all the previous stories have been leading and to a final show down with the series’ bad guy Savage. It takes place primarily in the secret land of the hidden vampire haven Black Moon. Living inside the walls of Black Moon are elders, but surrounding the haven are a mysterious people.

The heroine, Ariana, takes on a huge roll in her haven. She is revered by those around her but that leaves her alone. She doesn’t feel part of the elders living there as they all seem to defer to her. Her haven has an exclusive “elders only” rule so when  her love interest Dante tells her of the Crimson Bay area vampires’ needs she doesn’t see how she can help. Ariana also doesn’t know that she’s part of an elaborate scheme which affected her past and affects all of the vampires’ futures.

Dante is our tortured hero. Dude has some serious issues, but can’t hide his fascination of Ariana. He is a protector so expect him to fight his base urges in hopes of saving her from himself. In previous books the reader was able to see Dante in action and read of other vampires’ reactions to his unvampire-like abilities. By the end of the trilogy expect to have a clear understanding of where Dante comes from and where he belongs.

It took me a while to get into Last Vamp Standing. I think if I’d have been able to put down book two, Vamped Up, I’d have had an easier time slipping back into the world. However, once I reestablished myself in Crimson Bay I couldn’t put Last Vamp Standing down. I like knowing books having a clear ending and that is exactly what Miller gives with this installment. All my questions have been answered and I’m ready to move on to Miller’s newest work.

Review: The Daemon Whisperer by Candice Bundy

25 Sep

3.5 out of 5 scoopers

The Daemon Whisperer by Candice Bundy
Lusios Publishing (Oct. 1, 2012; Available on Amazon)
ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9780985418502
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “I am very attracted to you, Meri, despite all the times you’ve lied to me and called me a bastard. I see someone with tremendous potential and a tenacity to match my own. I won’t take advantage of your binding. If you want things to continue as before, it’s up to you. I’ll follow your lead.” (p. 138)

Meriwether Storm discovered the grisly remains of her parents on their living room floor when she was only fourteen, the result of a failed daemon summoning. Meri immediately swore vengeance on the daemon who’d killed her parents, but there was only one problem–she had no idea which one had committed the atrocity.

Before their untimely deaths her parents had trained her intensively in the arts, and Meri used her skills to follow in their footsteps, ever seeking the daemon’s name. Now, despite her years of searching, she’s no closer to the truth and her time is running out. Will she accept a deal from a daemon if it means finally learning the truth? When retribution is the only thing that drives you, how much are you willing to sacrifice before you lose yourself to the cause?

My thanks to the author, Candice Bundy, for sending me a copy of The Daemon Whisperer to review.

The idea behind The Daemon Whisperer is a good one. In the future society is controlled by different corporations instead of governments. In this world live people who can summon daemons from Sheol (their world). Usually daemon summoners are short lived. Daemons are violent, demanding and tricky. Summoners must be careful with the wording they use and always be a step ahead or they will die in a painful manner. After every summoning the summoner is left with a new tattoo from the daemon dealt with. No one know what will happen if the summoner runs out of bare skin to be tattooed.

Meriwether has been summoning daemons for years. She is careful, but doesn’t expect to live out the year as she’s running out of bare skin. Early on in the book she is contacted by a handsome daemon who looks nothing like those she has dealt with in the past. He offers her an opportunity she can’t resist, assassinate an arch daemon and in return he will give her the name of the daemon wo murdered her parents. This prospect pulls her from all she’s ever known and introduces her to a world she never dreamed she’d be part of.

For the most part I enjoyed reading The Daemon Whisperer. Meriwether was straightforward. She knew what she wanted and went after it. She had realistic thoughts about the world and didn’t allow moral issues to prevent her from moving forward. She was ruled by a need to get revenge on the daemon who destroyed her family. As the book progressed she transformed from being a person who only relied on herself to trusting others to assist her. It was nice to see her grow.

The Daemon Whisperer is an urban fantasy novel with a strong romance storyline. The heroine finds love and companionship, as well as a completely new life and outlook on life. I only have a few criticisms to voice. One, toward the end of the book the editing is off. Extra words are used erroneously. For example, “Once of the other daemon hunters were incapacitated…”. That happens a few times.

I also felt like the story went on a few chapters too long. Instead of wrapping up the story it was like reading the first few chapters of a new book. We’re given a possibly life altering dilemma and a new violent situation, but not time to follow up. Had the story ended before those new things were introduced I would have been satisfied. Instead I felt like I missed something. The originality of The Daemon Whisperer kept me flipping pages and interested enough to pick up book two, The Madness Path, when it’s released. I’m hoping it will expand on some parts of the world building which are mentioned, but not explored.