Phoenix Unbound (Fallen Empire #1) by Grace Draven – Book Review

Alpha Heroes

I love a beautiful cover. I swear, they get me every time! If there is one thing I have learned as an avid reader is that you never, NEVER, cut corners when it comes to the cover. Spend the extra money and not only will it look fabulous, but it will also draw in more readers. At least this reader 🙂


Published: September 25, 2018

Pages: 400

Stars: 1 our of 5

Synopsis:
Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire’s capital–her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village’s tithe has been the same woman. Gilene’s sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire’s most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion–and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire–and burn once more.


Review:
Ok, I know what you’re going to say, my rating is not the norm. Actually, I’m about as far away from the norm as I can get. Maybe this book hit me at an off time, I don’t know. There were some really great scenes and the emotions in the beginning were raw and absolutely perfect. And then the middle of the book came and everything dragged. I found myself skipping paragraphs and decided to put the book down after I skipped an entire scene. 

How Audio Books Saved Me in 2016 - That's Normal

Gilene’s character was strong, determined, and had some pretty cool moments. But In the end, I was never able to buy into her character. She had these convictions for why she must sacrifice herself but none of them held any weight to the reasons why she should save herself. But what about her family? The family who watched her get kidnapped and did nothing to help her or go after her. Even when she is presented with the plan to go after the root cause of all of their problems, she says she can’t. 

Frustrated GIFs | Tenor

Azarion’s character was enjoyable but I felt like there was an invisible switch that came on – every word and action coming for Azarion in regards to Gilene was strictly business. There wasn’t any flirting and it was clear Azarion was not interested. And then all of a sudden, light switch, he became more than interested. The flow and timing in this book was just all around off. The chemistry between Azarion and Gilene was murky and forced.

There is one scene in particular that seems very familiar to me and reminded me of another book. Overall, I was disappointed in the book.  There was either a lot of plot holes or there were a lot of extra scenes that added nothing to the book except filled a void.

Maybe another day, another time, I will try this book again.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Otherwise – Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson #12) by Patricia Briggs – Book Review

The Making of Smoke Bitten — The Art of Dan dos Santos

If chaos was an entity, what would it be like to stumble upon them? Would you run screaming for the hills because I’m guessing I would. Hey, no judgement! That is not something I want to ever meet. Patricia Briggs never disappoints.


Published: March 17, 2020

Pages: 352

Stars: 5 out of 5

Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, faces a threat unlike any other in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman.
My only “superpowers” are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I’m going to need them.

Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived.

Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything–even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory.

It won’t, can’t, remain.

Not if I have anything to say about it.

Smoke, or Snake's Head by Krawat93 on DeviantArt

Review:
I love Zee and Tad. They are the definition of true friends. They don’t judge Mercy on what she wears, how she looks, nothing superficial. They love her for her heart and character. The friendly banter between the three of them is amazing to read and so fun. But we can’t all be like Zee and Tad. And Christy is as far from them as one could get.

Christy, Christy, Christy. Oh how I hate her so much. Every time Mercy and Adam seem to struggle, it is no surprise Christy is somehow involved.  It’s irritating how some of the Pact still support Christy over Mercy. It honestly boggles the mind. Christy attacks Mercy any chance she gets and she hurts Adam and Jessie all the time. It’s abuse!

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How can someone who made Adam hate himself be held higher than the woman who loves and supports him unconditionally?? Even after everything Adam and Mercy have been through, Adam still won’t go to her first but instead believes gossip and second – no fourth – hand information. But don’t worry, Christy isn’t actually in this story. Although the damage she caused Adam, all the emotional abuse she did to him, yeah that’s in this story. It’s awful how the people we love, how they see us turn into how we see ourselves. We all knew how Christy saw Adam, how afraid she was and how he scared her.. I won’t say anymore beyond there are lasting effects when people close to you continually push you down and manipulate you through hurtful words. Words have such power, choose wisely the ones you use.

Pixilart - Words Hurt by CeCe062812

If you were like me and thought everything with the Hardesty witches and Elizaveta was resolved, well relatively resolved, you would be wrong. Let’s say it looks like there are some lingering… situations that still need to be addressed. And if you haven’t connected the dots already, this is underlining currant that’s raking havoc to Adam and Mercy’s relationship.

Since we are on the subject of Adam, how he treated Mercy was hurtful and absolutely awful! The further you get in the book you realize he was being his overprotective alpha self – which by the way still isn’t okay. Throughout the book I went from being irate at Adam, to wanting to be mad but couldn’t, and back to being mad. I guess knowing what is happening to Adam, I can understand part of why he is shutting Mercy out but it still doesn’t make sense to me. By Adam shutting Mercy out, he is preventing her from helping him and also helping the pack when they are in trouble. Let’s not forget the tremendous amount of rejection Mercy constantly feels all thanks to Adam avoiding her and closing her out. Yes, Adam is hurting and not thinking clearly. Does making Mercy hurt help? No, you ignoramus! It’s shocking how difficult things get between Adam and Mercy. At one point I thought thing between them couldn’t get any worse, and then they did. Like Mercy says, I shouldn’t test the fates like that 🙂

does it get worse gifs | WiffleGif

I won’t lie when I say I was both glad and curious to find Wulfe was once again going to be a forefront character in this book. Wulfe can be a scary, borderline sociopath and we also know he is a vampire, wizard, and witch..

Not mere luck. I am stalking Mercy. Of course I was around, because that’s what stalkers do, or so I’ve read. It’s my new hobby. – Wulfe

Reading this I couldn’t help but giggle. Finally, maybe I will get to see what Wulfe is all about and his interests in Mercy. But in the end, I didn’t get my answers and he only became a lot scarier.

I have always liked Ben’s character. His British accent and his constant expressive language, what’s not to love. Sure he is brass at times but has a huge heart and cares deeply. I find it interesting that when tragedy strikes Ben, I find myself completely wrapped up in the story and hoping Briggs doesn’t kill him off. But when the same tragedy strikes Stefan, I am more indifferent. It’s not that I don’t like Stefan’s character. Maybe it’s more that his character doesn’t create that emotional pull from me.

Final thoughts – This is the kind of book that gives you goosebumps after reading the last sentence. Closing this book, I am reminded yet again of the immaculate work Patricia Briggs does. She is such a gifted writer. There are those writers who push out 4 books a year and they all follow the same predictable script. Briggs thankfully is not one of those writers. Smoke Bitten is far from predictable and the plot is complex. There was so much going on and it all worked beautifully together. I don’t know many authors who can write like this. I love the world building and the depth of all of the characters. There is so much emotion pulled into this book. Typically books this far in a series lose their connection with the audience. That connection that first drew the reader the series tends to grow flat when you get to book 12 in the series. This is not one of those series. I absolutely love it just as much, maybe more as I did when first starting off with the series. 

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Otherwise – Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson #11) by Patricia Briggs – Book Review

Angelo mio — Storm Cursed sketch covers by Dan Dos Santos

This is what happens when you take a hiatus from reading – you forget everything. Or maybe that also has to do with the concussion I sustained after the car accident.. I can’t remember where the last book started or ended. So here I am, reading the book for a second time. I do think it speaks volumes on Patricia Briggs’s writing ability, her ability to continue to captivate and continue to pull in her audience. I mean, book 11 people!! I am sure we have all read those series that just get sad. Some you can’t finish, some you make yourself finish because of the time and emotions you have put into the book but then regret finishing it. Let me tell you, this is not one of those series.


Published: May 7, 2019

Pages: 384

Stars: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:
My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter.

And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word.

We will die to keep it

Mercy Thompson World Series Guide - Under the Covers Book Blog

Review:
As you remember in Silence Fallen, Mercy was captured and it was very much the ordeal getting her back. Fast forward to this book and now Mercy is training with a cutlass. Not only that, but she is having to carry it around wherever she goes… A cutlass…

Engravable French Naval Cutlass

I guess carrying this around with her helps everyone stay calm about her ability to protect herself.. A cutlass… This seems a bit out there and out of character for Mercy. Maybe it’s a connection to the pirate game that they mention half a dozen times in this book.. I am a bit over the game and hearing about it. But also understand it’s their ‘thing’.

I both love and hate Mary Jo. If she would just let up on Adam needing someone like his ex, someone delicate and human, I would really like her. First and foremost Adam’s ex, Christy, is the worst! She is cold, self centered, and manipulative to the bone.. Maybe it’s the manipulation piece that explains why Mary Jo can’t let go of Christy. Regardless, Adam wasn’t happy with Christy and he need more, someone like Mercy. Someone who isn’t afraid of him, makes him feel awful for being who/what he is, and someone who truly loves him. It does bother me how the Pact still hasn’t fully accepted her. Why is this still going on? I find it odd how Mercy is fierce in some situations but let’s others (ahem, the Pact) walk over her in other situations.

This book has so much going on, it’s hard to know where to start. You discover more of Sherwood’s background and see just how powerful he is. Old and new allies step forward to take down a greater threat than they have seen in the past.

Have you ever wondered why Mercy finds herself getting caught between one awful situation after another? Yes, part of it is her father, coyote, but still she can never catch a break.

“I decided then and there, without consulting my husband, that we did consider Mesa a part of our territory. If I continued this trend, I was going to make us responsible for half the state. “

I know Mercy cares about others and wants to protect everyone, but when will the line be drawn? She keeps taking on more which then makes her – and the Pact – responsible for more, and sooner or later she is gong to bite off more than she can handle. This is the one point I slightly agree with the Pact on.

Regardless of Mercy’s big heart, there is a bigger reason why she can’t seem to catch a break and this book clarifies that missing link. Storm Cursed has taken every battle, every confrontation, everything that has been brewing in the previous books in this series and connected it all together. Now instead of each book having an isolated battle, you discover the enemy behind them all and just how powerful of an enemy that is. It’s absolutely brilliant!!

Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs

I am so torn when it comes to Wolfe. Anyone else feel this way? He is such a scary psychopath. But there is a side to him that interests me. The more I read about him, the more mixed emotions I have for him. We discover more about Wolfe’s magic and it’s not what I expected it to be. Maybe that’s because he’s also a vampire which in a way is magic itself? Even though he is frightening and unpredictable, I found myself smiling and even laughing a little at some of the scenes.  I also found great sadness in the kind of person he was and who he is now. He is such a complex character and it will be interesting to see what Patricia Briggs does with him. I really hope Mercy doesn’t have to end up killing him.

And then there’s Elizaveta. Wow, I don’t even know where to begin with her. I can’t say I liked her as a character but after reading this book I can now say with 100% certainty that I really don’t like her. So many secrets she kept hidden.. Then there was the kiss and what followed next had me glued to each word! I could not believe what I was reading. Wow, just wow. I wish I could say more but I don’t want to give away too much 🙂

It did feel like some of the same information was over shared in this book. Yes, we get Mercy isn’t happy about the bond to Stephen. We know the in’s and out’s of how magic affects her differently. I guess it felt like there was some filler information that wasn’t needed. Overall I enjoyed this book. As always, Patricia Briggs doesn’t disappoint. Her writing is captivating and I love the depth she puts in each of her characters. I always get sucked in reading her books and for good reason. This book did feel like it was headed for a bit of a slump. But the ending pulled it together. I am looking forward to the next installment.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Otherwise – Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Wicked Hour (Heirs of Chicagoland #2) by Chloe Neill – Book Review

PDF] Wicked Hour By Chloe Neill Free Download.. | BaracBook | VK

We all have those few Authors who never disappoint and for me, Chloe Neill is one of those Authors!! I love her imagery, story telling, and the depth of her characters. While this book is not as intense as Wild Hunger, it was easy enough to slip into the book and get lost between the wonderful pages.


Published: December 3, 2019

Pages: 341

Stars: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:
Vampires were made, not born—until Elisa Sullivan came along. As the only vampire child in existence, she grew up with a heavy legacy, and tried to flee her past. Then circumstances drew her back to Chicago, and she stayed to keep it safe. With shifter Connor Keene, the only son of Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, at her side, she faced down a supernatural evil that threatened to destroy Chicago forever.

After the dust from the attack has settled, Elisa is surprised when Connor invites her to a usually private Pack event in the north woods of Minnesota, and by the warm welcome she receives from some of Connor’s family, even though she’s a vampire. But the peace doesn’t last. The shifters tell tales of a monster in the woods, and when the celebration is marred by death, Elisa and Connor find themselves in the middle of a struggle for control that forces Elisa to face her true self—fangs and all.

Review:
This is one of those books I find myself trying to write a review but realizing I took very little notes. Funny how a good book can capture so much of your attention.

The majority of this book takes place in Minnesota and if you have ever been there, you have heard about “Minnesota Nice”. I think it’s hilarious to find it quoted in this book and applied so perfectly.

Minnesota Nice | ReverbNation

I am not a cat person but I absolutely love Eleanor of Aquitaine!! She is spicy with so much attitude. Not to mention how Elisa and Lulu treat her –

“We went cautiously inside, closed and relocked the door, then peeked around the corner – a vampire and the daughter of two sorcerers checking the battlefield for their frenemy.”

Salem Cat Gif GIFs | Tenor

On a quick side note, I really love LuLu’s character. She is one of those people that everyone should have in their lives. She is someone who will push us when we know we should but struggle to take that first step. I can’t wait to see if something develops between her and Alexei. It does seem like something is there but not sure exactly what..

The book begins as Connor asks Elisa to accompany him to something no vampire has ever been allowed to be apart of. Why wouldn’t Elisa want to go? The interesting thing is Elisa tries to convince herself she is going strictly as a professional and not because the guy she is seeing asked her to come be apart of something that’s special to him and his family.

My heart pounded, as it if understood something the rest of me hadn’t yet. “What kind of prince do you want to be?” He looked up at me, blue eyes shinning as if they were lit from within. “The kind that’s good enough for you.”

Although Elisa is in a relationship, a controversial one might I add, with Connor, she is a bit dense and really needs Connor to spell things out for her. I will say, there are some situations that come up in this book that would make me question Connor’s commitment/interest. But regardless, I am a sucker for romance and I love that Connor is confident enough to say these things.

It probably doesn’t help that not many are happy about the Connor and Elisa’s relationship. They’ll have to overcome hundreds of years of bias, fear and judgement. That’s what makes Connor’s invitation that much more controversial. Pack rules specifically outline who can and cannot attend ceremonies, let alone be together. I’ll give you a hint, vampires are not part of that list. I do love how confident Connor is and how he takes a stand for what he wants. It’s no surprise that he wants both Elisa and the Pact. It’s interesting how the Pact responds to him.

I wondered if that reaction bothered Connor. Not the pause, but the implicit acknowledgement that he was different. Pact, but different.

In this case, Chloe Neill isn’t referring to the same kind of difference that Elisa is hiding. This particular scene shows how isolating it can be when you are looked at as the potential next leader. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to enter a room – a room full of friends, family, those closest – and instead of smacks on the back and handshakes, Connor is met with silence once everyone realizes who walked in. In Wild Hunger, you get to see the transformation of Connor going from playboy to someone to take serious, someone who has their own path they will walk. In Wicked Hour, you see the path Connor walks is separate, isolated from the rest of his Pact. Although this path is made harder by having Elisa by his side, it doesn’t seem as lonely.

We all know Elisa isn’t a typical vampire. First off, she was born and not bitten. Second, as she likes to refer to it, she has a monster dwelling inside her. Another thing that separates her from other vampires is her dislike for politics and engaging in verbal warfare.

I understood battle, and I understood politics. But I liked on of those a lot more than the other. I wasn’t looking forward to this war of words. words were often pointless, and politics just an irritating ego game. Give me a sword any day.”

I really loved this quite because I also am not one for politics. But I think it is safe to say politics is an essential part of vampires. And for Elisa to rather fight with a sword than battle with words, I can’t help but see how that is more of a shifter mentality than that of a vampires.

Elisa faced a lot of challenges throughout this book and because of those, she has had to make some difficult choices. There is one particular challenge that struck a cord with Elisa’s moral compass. Which led her down the path she never imagined being on; led her to do the unthinkable.

Blog types crying zac efron GIF - Find on GIFER

I don’t believe in giving away the entire book while writing a review. So I apologize ahead of time if this is cryptic. But I am worried if I say too much more, that I will be giving away a big part of what happens in this book. I will say Chloe Neill did an amazing job describing the inner turmoil Elisa was dealing with. But this is one of those situations where if you read the Chicagoland Vampires Series, you have a better understanding exactly how difficult this situation was.

“Do you want me to tell you that you did the right thing?” (said Ethan, Elisa’s Dad)
So much, I thought. So much it made my chest ache. “Yes.”
“You did the right thing, ” he said, his answer coming quickly. “But that doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences. And those can be the hardest consequences to bear – the ones we face because we’ve done the right thing, the hard thing.”

The passage that follows this quote briefly describes why Elisa is twisted inside over what happened while also giving a quick overview of what you might have missed in the Chicagoland Vampires series. I liked that Chloe Neill added this but it really doesn’t give it justice.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I love the relationship between Connor and Elisa. I love the mystery and action. I am looking forward to the next book in this series!!!

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Otherwise – Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Wild Hunger (Heirs to Chicagoland #1) by Chloe Neill – Book Review & Top Quotes

Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland, #1) | Bound to Be Me

Okay, so this is the third time reading this book. F.Y.I. still loving it.. life has thrown a lot at me lately and I ended up walking away from books. Part of walking away was due to the needing to focus on life and trying to get back to a calmer state. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that another part, maybe even a bigger one, was due to losing the enjoyment I once felt when I read. Today is the first day I could even pick up a book and that reading even sounded interesting. But getting back to the book at hand.


Published: August 14, 2018

Pages: 352

Stars: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:
As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.


To find my original review, click here 🙂

There has just been too much time (just over a year) that has passed between reading this book and the second. I felt I was due for a reconnect and refresher before digging into Wicked Hour. So since this is my third round with this book and I already have a review down, I thought I would highlight some of my favorite passages. This post does contain spoilers so please refer to my spoiler-free book review (link just above) if you are considering reading this book. If you’ve already read the book, by all means continue on..


As she bit her lip, Elisa looked up at Connor and saw the flush of embarrassment on his cheeks. She didn’t like being teased – or not that much, anyway – but she really didn’t like that look on his face. She stepped forward, putting her small body between Connor and his father. “It was my fault,” she said.

This passage came out of the Prologue and it’s the first insight into who Elisa is, what she stands for, with a little clue of her weakness for Connor. Elisa is the type that will never stand bye while someone else takes the blame. Even if she only played a little part in what happened, she will always do the right thing. Always stand even when it is the hardest thing to do. It’s one of the things I admire about her character.


“There are some decisions that we make, and some that are made for us. Sometimes you accept the path that’s offered to you, and you live that path – that life – with grace. And sometimes you push forward, and you chart your own path. That decision is yours. It’s always been yours.”

“Doesn’t matter if the road is hard,” Connor finally said. “The road is the road.”

The first quote comes from the famous Ethan, Elisa’s Father, and was in the very beginning of the book. There are always two paths you can take, even when it only looks like there is one. The primary focus of this quote is Elisa and deciding what path she will walk, who she will be now that she is all grown up. But underneath all of this, something that is not as obvious – is the struggle Connor faces throughout this book. He has been given a path that if played by the rules, he will get everything he has always wanted. The second quote is found at the very end, the Epilogue, when Connor decides his path is not the one handed to him but one most will not approve.


“It’s not an advantage to be numb to terrible things. It means we can’t feel. When we can feel, and we do it anyway, we show our bravery. And terrible times are when we need to act most of all. That’s when we do the most good.”

This quote comes from Merit, Sentinel and Elisa’s Mother. Although I think this quote stands on it’s own, I feel I need to still say it. What is happening in the world today is awful and we have to fight to continue to feel. Because without feeling, there is no action and that is what we need most right now – action! This quote leads into the what I feel is a prominent theme throughout this book – Prejudiced, racism, and privilege.

“‘Killer’ is in the shifter’s name, for god’s sake” (quote from Dearborn)
“It’s a family name, Gabriel said.. “There’s history behind it that has nothing to do with this.”

“That was the other penalty of the deal made with the mayor, the other promise exacted from Cadogan House… (all the vampire houses) They were, basically, allowed to exist. Ironic, considering the House had been in the city longer than any of its humans had been alive.”

“But it’s their city, too, and they’re entitled to the same rights as humans. Including being considered innocent until proven guilty.” (Elisa)
“That’s surprisingly naive for a vampire.”
“It’s not naive,” I said. “It’s the ideal. If we don’t live up to it, we’ve failed.

“You put your life on the line because the fairy would have killed her. And instead of thanking you, she insulted you. She’s the monster. Not you.”

When I first read this book, I thought this theme was more of an underlining idea, not one that is throughout the book. Oh, how I was ever wrong! This book is hits home to the struggles many face today. I love how Chloe Neill went here.

In the book – Whether it’s certain vampires who regard shape shifters as less, shape shifters who regard vamipires as the nothing more than dirt, humans who hold themselves as more superior than all other race – the theme of injustice is strong throughout this book. When one community, one race holds privilege and disregards the life of another race as unimportant, it’s wrong.


“We could end up dead.” (Elisa said)
“That’s true for you every time the sun rises. The only thing that matters is what you do in the dark.” (Connor)

“You are braver than me,” (Elisa mimics the excuse Seri used when her and her house abandoned Elisa in town)
“Is it wrong if I say there’s something bitchy about that? Like she’s using it as an excuse. ‘Oh, you’re just braver than me.” (Lulu said)

I love these two quotes because it highlights the difference of a true friend. A friend will not pity you or make you feel bad because your convictions are strong. No, a true friend will always build you up and help you stand stronger when times are tough.


“I don’t mind rescuing you the first time,” he (Connor) said. … “But you don’t really need rescuing, Lis. You just need a good partner.”

“I didn’t expect… I didn’t expect you, Lis.” … His eyes were dark, stormy, and unfathomable. And he didn’t say a word.

“I thought you were leaving,” I said (Elisa)
“I was. And then Theo called, said you’d been taken to the castle…”
“I guess I owe you for the second rescue.” … “What – What is this?”
“I don’t have the foggiest idea, brat.” He looked down at his linked fingers. “Confusing?”
“Yeah,” I said
“But also maybe…” He trailed off,a nd then he turned to me again, and then his hand was on my cheek, pulling me closer, and his mouth was on mine, hard and hot and possessive.”

Of course I had to pull some of my favorite moments between Connor and Elisa. There is this entire scene on page 300 -301 that makes me giddy every time I read it. This is the moment Connor and Elisa figure it out, figure out what they have between each other. I gave a small snippet in the last quote above but I promise it doesn’t do the passage justice. I am a sucker for a good romance but what really gets me is when both characters are strong, independent, and they each respect each other because of that. Elisa is not some damsel in distress and Connor’s confidence doesn’t come off as an asshole who doesn’t care. There is strength is being able to show vulnerability and emotions. These are strong characters with depth to them.


“We all carry expectations,” Seri said quietly, her eyes suddenly clouded. “Sometimes our own, sometimes others’. Both can be heavy.”

“My smart and kind and beautiful girl.” He (Ethan) liked to say that, had been saying it for years, and had always put “beautiful” last. Whether it was true or not, he’d tell me it was the least important of the three. “You are smart,” he’d say. “You should be kind. And if you are, you’ll always be beautiful.”

These are just quotes that I feel stand on their own. Almost food for thought..


Well, that’s it for this book. I feel like I could go on and on about how much I love this book but I promise I will save you from all of that.

If you’ve read this book, I would love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite quotes/moments from the book?

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Otherwise – Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Veiled Magic (Veiled Magic, #1) by Deborah Blake – Book Review

What to say, Hmm. What to say.. Yup, that pretty much sums up the book for me. I think most people liked the book. Not sure if any LOVED the book but most liked it.


1

Author: Deborah Blake
Published: November 17, 2015
Pages: 280

Stars: 2 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
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Barnes&Noble
Synopsis:
Since Witches came out of the broom-closet in the early 21st century, they have worked alongside humans as police officers, healers, stock traders, and more. But they aren’t the only paranormal entities in our world…

Police officer and Witch Donata Santori spends her days interrogating dead witnesses by summoning their spectral forms. Normally the job is little more than taking statements and filing reports. But when she’s called in on the case of a murdered art restorer, she finds herself suddenly in possession of a mystical portrait that both the human and paranormal communities would kill to get their hands on.

Unable to take on the forces hunting her alone, Donata seeks help from two unlikely and attractive allies: a reluctant shape-changer and a half-dragon art forger. But as the three of them hurry to uncover the truth about the powerful painting, Donata realizes that she’s caught in the middle of not one but two wars—one for possession of the painting’s secrets and one for possession of her heart…

Review:
Donata is a cop with witch powers. Although unpleasant, she is able to talk to dead victims in order to help solve crimes. Given a chance of a lifetime, Donata jumps at the possibility to prove herself to her boss and solve a simple painting heist gone wrong. But of course the painting is more than it seems and donate’s life gets completely turned upside down.

The plot is somewhat slow going and at times the flow is choppy. I feel like I need to share with you that there is an annoying love triangle in this book

I really wish there was a disclaimer for that sort of thing. And how on earth does Donata not see that these men are seeking out her affection. I really hate characters that come off as that naive, clueless.

I’ll be honest, I put the book down for a few days, a week or so, and didn’t think much about it. When I finally remembered I was reading this book, I realized there had only been two more chapters to read before the book was over. I’m really not sure what this book accomplished or what the point was. Donata was practically in the same spot she started in.

My overall feelings about the book is of indifference.

I didn’t love it or hate it. This was an enjoyable, okay book but not something I would invest more time into reading. The author did a lot of telling us instead of showing the reader through dialogue/action. This drives me crazy. I just couldn’t really get invested.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts. Did you love the book, hate it, want to read it.. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Incandescent (Knights RebelsMC, #1) by River Savage – Book Review

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This is the second time reading this book and I’m a little disappointed because I don’t love it as much as I had before. I still enjoyed the book but I’m not sure motorcycle club/gang books are really my thing. This also shows how timing is everything when you read a book. You can read something and it hits just perfect. But when you pick up the book a couple years later, you hardly remember why you enjoyed the book to begin with. Funny how that works..


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Author: River Savage
Published: August 9th, 2014
Pages: 301

Stars first time reading the book: 5 out of 5
Stars second time reading the book: 3 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble (Currently free for Nook)


Synopsis
:
Phoenix ‘Nix’ Knight thought pulling his club out of the illegal shit his Pops got them into was difficult.

Until he meets Kadence.

Kadence Turner has no business lusting over a student’s father, especially the president of the Knights Rebels MC. Nix is crass, obnoxious and dangerously sexy and for some reason, Kadence can’t seem to hate him for it. The bossy biker breaks down her defenses, but unlike the old Kadence, the woman she is today won’t give in without a fight.

The tension is undeniable, the attraction fierce. A man that wants what he wants and a woman that will fight him every step of the way.

“What did I do to deserve you?” I wonder aloud, feeling like this woman just doesn’t stop bewitching me.
“Nothing really. You bossed me into dating you. Fucked me good, and then you wouldn’t leave me alone. Now you’re stuck with me.” 
― River Savage, Incandescent

Review:
As I was saying above, I enjoyed the book but wish I hadn’t bought it. Who knows, maybe if I feel the desire to want to read this book for a third time, the timing might be right and I might love it all over again.

I feel like there are commonalities between all MC books – dominant men with a ‘bad boy’ image, club rules with a brotherhood that is thicker than blood, a sometimes degrading but mostly dirty mouth, and a vocabulary that is mainly made up of profanity.

To an extent, I don’t really mind these aspects. But it’s how uneducated the characters sound that disconnects me from these types of books. Well, that and how ghetto dramatic everything is. That can get a little old..

The attraction between Nix and Kadence comes on kind of strong. It doesn’t take long for things between them to start heating up. Kadence has a history of falling for the wrong men, particularly men who are part of a motorcycle club. Kadence has an interesting personality. On the one hand she is timid and nice. But on the other hand she has a short temper and stands firm to her decisions. I wish her character would have had more… more depth maybe, I don’t know. On the surface level, I totally got who she was and what she was about. I just wish there was more depth in her character.

Nix is all alpha male and has the body to match his cocky persona. Nix’s character is strong, he has a dirty mouth, and he is very demanding. The book switches between the perspective of both nix and Kadence. When I would be reading from Nix’s perspective, I felt like I was following his line of thinking but then he would say something from left field that would completely throw me. There were times he would say something that would be the complete opposite of his internal monologue. All of this made him sound like he was saying things just to come off as a bad biker dude. It didn’t really line up for me.

The action in this book is fun and helps keep the plot moving. The sex between Nix and Kadence is demanding with a D&S tone. If you’re into that kind of stuff, then I’m sure you will at least enjoy some of the sexual aspects from the book. But if you don’t like dirty talk, derogatory comments, spankings, or controlling sex, maybe skip this book. There were times I struggled with what I was reading – the feminist in me not enjoying some of the comments. I had to keep reminding myself of the roles both characters were playing.

The author doesn’t really show the reader but more tells the reader about different aspects from the book. For example, Allison (Zayden’s mom) is a bad mom. We know this because those words are said in Kadence’s head during the visit at school. But the author doesn’t really show us that. Yeah, Allison wasn’t as engaged but she didn’t do all that much to show us she was a bad mom. I don’t know if this is making sense. But when authors do this, it drives me crazy! Show me through examples, dialogue, scenes – don’t just tell me how it is.

Overall, the book is fun for those times when you want a raunchy, sexy romance. Just don’t go into this book thinking you will find more.

Djinn by Sang Kromah- Book Review

I am not really sure what happened to this post.

I wrote it months ago but instead of publishing it, for some unknown reason, I saved it for later. There it sat until now, waiting to be rediscovered. But the odd thing, is the book never really left my thoughts. I have found my thoughts drifting back to this book, and thinking about what happened and wondering about what next. I think that speaks volumes for the book and something to consider when thinking about whether or not you want to read it.

djinn.jpg

This book is about deception, never knowing who to trust, and a destructive prophecy. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. Looking forward to the sequel. 


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Author: Sang Kromah
Published: March 20, 2018
Pages: 343

Stars: 4 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
Amazon (Part of Kindle Unlimited)
Barnes&Noble
Synopsis:
Some believe that at birth, we’re each born with a guardian attached to us, watching from afar, but never seen. Truth is, there are certain people, special people, born of this world and of the other, who need that extra protection. They go their entire lives, unaware of the other world, and unaware of the existence of their own personal watcher, watching from afar. But what happens when fate takes a turn for the worse, and The One who needs the aid of a watcher most can’t be found to be protected?

Bijou Fitzroy is strange. With the unwanted gift of being an empath, she has spent her entire life as a sheltered recluse, homeschooled by her secretive and overprotective grandmother, who never allows them to stay in one place long enough for Bijou to settle and make friends. When Bijou and her grandmother move to Sykesville and she starts to attend the local high school, Bijou’s world begins to crumble. Town locals begin to disappear and the creatures from her nightmares begin to take shape in her reality. She finds herself at the center of a war she never knew was being fought all around her.

Review:
I feel for Bijou! Never having a friend unless you count the faceless man from her dreams. She has never known who she is and is left struggling to discover her purpose. To say Bijou is an empath would be a lie because she is so much more than that. As I’m reading this book, I thought I’d figured out exactly who she is. But by the end of the book, I’m not really sure because things are left unclear. 

And then there’s Sebastian. Once the author introduces him, you know right away this character is going to be important. From the first encounter when Sebastian and Bijou meet, there are strong emotions and conflicting actions. Sebastian is a complicated mystery that slowly unfolds throughout the book. By the end of the book, I know I like the surface level of his character but I can’t say I really know anything about him. In all honestly, I felt that way about most of the characters throughout this book. Beyond Bijou, the author didn’t really go in depth with any of the characters. 

A quote from the book that really stood out to me –

“Why would I want to be like everybody else when I can be myself?.. Being normal is highly overrated.” – Sebastian. 

This book is heavy on the mystery and initially I thought the book would be perfect for young adults (YA book lovers) and maybe even those in high school. Yet there are elements within the characters and plot that appeal to me. And the further I get into the story, the more I find myself enjoying the book. Especially around half way to two thirds of the way through – I didn’t want to stop reading. I was so curious how the book was going to end, I kept thinking ‘one more page, one more chapter’. I felt like the author really gained her momentum around this part of the book too. 

But there were a couple things that I didn’t really enjoy about the book. Some of these things were corrected the further you got in the book. But some did not.. 

Let’s break these down:

1. The main character is sheltered from everything going on around her. Her grandmother, Gigi, has sheltered her from who she is and Sebastian continues to shelter her while also trying to protect her. Everyone talks in code or makes cryptic comments. Not to mention all the weird and suspicious looks everyone is constantly giving her. The thing that really bothered me was at first she doesn’t pry, doesn’t ask what that look meant or what in the world is going on.

As I was reading this book, I was getting so frustrated. The plot is truly captivating but why must the heroine be so naive. And then I get far enough into the plot when things begin to change – thank goodness! Bijou finally gets mad and demands answers.

If you were borderline on liking Bijou’s character in the beginning of the book, you are going to love her now! Somehow she has transformed from this docile weird girl into a stronger woman whose finally ready to take charge of her life. This is the exact moment that I didn’t want to put down the book. I’m really glad the author didn’t leave Bijou as docile and weak. 

2. The next thing that struck me wrong is this concept of instant love. Bijou has known Sebastian for three days and she is already in love with him. At first I thought the only reason for this instant love for him is because he looks her in the eye and he acts somewhat protective of her. But that didn’t make any sense because he hasn’t even been overly nice or gone out of his way to flirt with her. I don’t want to ruin the book, so what I’ll say is this – Trust me, it’s more than that. The author clarifies this better later in the book even though you kind of guess this along the way. But then there’s this twist that I absolutely hate and this concept of instant love is back in the fold of things once more. I am not a fan of this. 

Because there is such a strong division of either hating this or loving it, I feel like I have to mention the author ended the book with a possible love triangle. I know what some of you are thinking.

I’m not thrilled about this either. I’m curious to see where the author takes this. But nonetheless, it’s not enough to dissuade me from reading the sequel. The plot is intriguing enough to look past this. 

The author does a nice job describing all the anxiety, clicks, and awkward social rules that can be found in a small town high school setting. I think some of the characters actions were a little dramatic and over the top, but that may just be me. 

 Overall I did enjoy the book and I am interested in reading the sequel. If you didn’t notice my many references I’ll say it again, I did enjoyed the plot. There were times I didn’t want to put the book down and the day I finished the book I kept wondering what would come next. I would say those are some of the qualities every author hopes their reader will walk away with. I wasn’t crazy about the instant love or the love triangle and I think the characters could use more depth. I only say that last part because I do like the characters but I want to know more about their personality. Bijou’s character is borderline annoyingly thick headed but she’s slowly growing on me. 

Comment below and share your thoughts with me. Until Next Time, Happy Reading 🙂

Magic in the Blood (Allie Beckstrom, #2) by Devon Monk – Book Review

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I couldn’t stop thinking about book one, Magic to the Bone, and decided to jump into the next book in the series. This book was a fun one to read and packed full of emotions. With close to 7,000 ratings and over 300 reviews, Magic in the Blood is holding solid at 4 stars. If you haven’t already, check out my review of book one. This just might be the series for you 🙂


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Author: Devon Monk
Published: May 5th, 2009
Pages: 368

Stars: 4 out of 5

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Other books in the series:
Magic in the Bones (Allie Beckstrom, #1)

Where to buy:
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

 

Synopsis:
In the second book in Devon Monk’s Allie Beckstrom series, when the police’s magical enforcement division asks Allie to consult on a missing persons case, she finds herself drawn into an underworld of criminals, ghosts, and blood magic.

Working as a Hound—tracing illegal spells back to their casters—has taken its toll on Allison Beckstrom. But even though magic has given her migraines and stolen her recent memory, Allie isn’t about to quit. Then the police’s magic enforcement division asks her to consult on a missing persons case. But what seems to be a straightforward job turns out to be anything but, as Allie finds herself drawn into the underworld of criminals, ghosts, and blood magic.

Review:
I feel for Allie! Losing important memories and walking around fearful of losing more would be terrible. I am also saddened by the loss of what could have been and what was between her and Zayvion. Ugh, starting over would suck, especially when you can’t remember anything but the other person can. But in all honesty, it was kind of fun watching Allie fall in love with Zayvion again. I am a sap for a good romance.

I really do like Zayvion’s character. But he is just as mysterious as ever. I was really hoping the author would give us more information about him. Don’t get me wrong, there is something sexy and fun about a mysterious guy. But by book two, there should be some known aspects about him. I mean, he doesn’t have to be an open book but he shouldn’t be a complete mystery either. And what is with the constant flip-flopping of moods?!?! One moment, he’s acting all cute and is determined to date Allie.. then the next moment, he’s dangerous, cold, and holds too many secrets. I feel like this is getting old and it why the book lost one star.

Allie is really outside her element and in way over her head in this book. She has all this Magic but constantly struggles to control it. She has this huge gap in her memory, conflicting feels for Zayvion, and so many people are after her. She just can’t catch a break! And not to mention her ‘Daddy’ issues continue to haunt her. Even in death Allie can’t seem to catch a break from her Dad.

Allie isn’t one to have a lot of friends. Add in her trust issues and you can see how this might complicate things in the friends department.  Which makes it all the more worse when one of the few people she has in her life that she calls a friend is hounded and found to be using blood Magic. But of course not everything is as it seems…

And in case you were wondering, this book has some good twists that keep the pages flying by. Wouldn’t expect anything less from Devon Monk 🙂

I really like this series. Allie is strong, stubborn, and has a beautiful heart. If only she valued her life more. The risks she takes are too high and are always life threatening. Does that make her brave or stupid.. I don’t know.

And the ending, holly hell, the ending is awesome. I promise not to give anything away, but let me say it’s not so much a cliff hanger but your reaction to it is all the same. I don’t think I’ll be able to pick up book three fast enough.

Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom, #1) – Book Review

This is one of a couple books a store clerk talked me into buying. Unlike the others, this one was actually a pleasant surprise 🙂 For me, this book was a page turner – didn’t want to put down and stayed up way too late kind of book. I love a good series that you don’t want to put down.


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Author: Devon Monk
Published: November 4, 2008
Pages: 355

Stars: 4.5 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
Amazon

 

Synopsis:
Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune – and the strings that come with it. All magic use has costs — hers include migraines and memory loss. She finds a boy dying from a magic Offload with her father’s signature, then her father is murdered. Allie’s search for the truth calls on her country friend and the handsome man originally assigned as her bodyguard. Someone is forging magic signatures — and hers is on her dead father.

Review:
The book opens with a very much down on her luck Allie and the death of a young boy. For Allie, being twenty-five, broke, and in debt does not make for a comfortable life. Add a crazy and powerful – very powerful – father into the mix, and Alli’s life isn’t great.

All Ailli’s ever known and associated her father with is hate. I can’t imagine having such strong and negative feelings for someone whose supposed to love and care for you. That makes me so sad and I mourn the missed relationship that could have been.

Allie’s character is strong and by far imperfect. In fact, she makes a LOT of really stupid decisions based on some impractical logic of hers. But she has a big, loving heart… that can also get her into trouble. Allie is a hound with an impressive ability to trace a spell back to the person who sent it. The downside is every time she or anyone uses magic, it comes at a cost. For every spell cast, there is an Offload of equal measure. Small magics might result in a migraine; large-scale magics might mean death for the caster. As you can imagine, Allie uses a lot of magic in this book and is constantly battling the Offload.

Allie’s character is complicated and honestly has a continual string of bad luck. She is accused of murder, discovers magic isn’t black and white but can do many improbable things, gets betrayed (A LOT) and is constantly fighting for her life. Her life is tough, she has been through a significant amount of trauma, and at times she can come off a little jaded. To say the decisions she makes doesn’t always makes sense, is an understatement but one that makes sense considering the amount of trauma she has been through.

Okay, I will be the first to say I hate the instant attraction kind of story plots. But there is something about the writing and the way the author describes the passionate kiss between Allie and Zayvion, that makes me want more. To be honest, I think their connection is part of why I like this book so much. Zayvion’s character is strong, sexy, and so very complicated. It’s almost like Allie and Zayvion are both broken and work so well together because of it.

The book is written in third person, passed tense, which for some reason makes this book stand out from the rest of the books I’ve recently been reading. I will say the author added twists within the plot I didn’t see coming and that’s refreshing. One of the things that stands out from the plot is Magic and the mystery behind it all. I find it all very fascinating and my curiosity is peaked.

This book really caught me by surprise. I am interested in this series and wondering where the author will take it. I loved the connection between Allie and Zayvion. I still don’t think we’ve gotten the full picture of who Zayvion is, but I am looking forward to finding it out. This might become one of my new favorite series. Time will tell 🙂