Thursday 31 October 2013

The Sharpest Blade by Sandy Williams (Shadow Reader #3)

Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: December 31st 2013
POV: Female - First-person, Present tense
Smut-O-Meter: 5 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Torn between two worlds.
Torn between two lives.

McKenzie Lewis’s ability to read the shadows has put her—and …those she loves—in harm’s way again and again. The violence must end, but will the cost of peace be more devastating than anyone ever imagined?

After ten years of turmoil, the life McKenzie has always longed for may finally be within her grasp. No one is swinging a sword at her head or asking her to track the fae, and she finally has a regular—albeit boring—job. But when a ruthless enemy strikes against her friends, McKenzie abandons her attempt at normalcy and rushes back to the Realm.

With the fae she loves and the fae she’s tied to pulling her in different directions, McKenzie must uncover the truth behind the war and accept the painful sacrifices that must be made to end it. Armed with dangerous secrets and with powerful allies at her side, her actions will either rip the Realm apart—or save it.


This was the final installment of this amazing series, and it was a great way to go. This series has always been non-stop action and thrills, with dozens of characters and constant changing of settings. So much is going, like an Urban Fantasy. But with the amount of romance in it, it also feels like a PNR.

I love McKenzie as a heroine. She held her own against the fae. She couldn't beat them in a fight, but she could keep her wits about her, and she was never afraid to do what she had to for the fae she sided with. But her number one trait, is the fact that she made a decision in regards to the love-triangle at the end of book 1, and she never went back. She never regretted it. She never even bent a little bit. Even though she may have loved them both once, she will never betray the one that she chose to love now. More YA heroines need to be like her.

I informed readers in my first two reviews that although this is an adult series, there is no objectionable material for younger readers besides a few F-bombs. But this book is the first in the series to have a sex scene, although it remains fairly clean, being described in the vaguest of terms. But it does not fade to black.

I love this fae world and the idea of shadow readers and the fae powers. It was a combination of the familiar fae world and the new. Basically, I feel the exact same about this book as I did the first two in the series. Either of my other reviews could be applied to this one. I highly recommend this book to fans of fae, strong heroines, and action-packed romance.

“...between two rapid beats of my heart, someone else's breaks.”

Sunday 27 October 2013

Charming by Elliott James (Pax Arcana #1)

Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: September 24th 2013
POV: Male - First-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 2 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


John Charming isn't your average Prince...

He comes from a line of Charmings — an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chainmail and crossbows to kevlar and shotguns, he was one of the best. That is — until he became the abomination the Knights were sworn to hunt.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, he tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. One that shouldn't change just because a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar... Right?


I haven't read a lot of Urban Fantasy in the past, but I saw this on NetGalley and I decided to try it because the premise sounded unique, and I read a lot of PNRs, and how different can that be from UF? UF is a bit more mature, darker, more violent, and less romantic. But I still loved this book, it was a lot of fun, action-packed, and still a little romantic. I love John. He was so funny and just a fascinating person, after everything he has been through that he turned out the way that he has. Sad and cynical but still full of jokes and willing to fight for a future for himself.

his book was really cleverly written. I loved all the characters, and the dialogue, and the way that John's narration knew it was a narration, and would sometimes address the readers directly. There were so many wonderful, quotable moments. A large amount of this book is highlighted on my Kindle.

But I should be more specific. I loved all the characters beside Dvornik. He was a complete "ass-hat", as John would call him. It really bugs me that I don't understand how he ever had a relationship with Sig. Its not just that I don't like him, but I don't think it was explained well enough. I really don't get it and it took away from my enjoyment of the book a bit. I wish their relationship had somehow been made more believable.

The romance in this really surprised me, since there usually isn't a lot of romance in UFs. There wasn't as much as in the average PNR, but it was still romantic and totally cute. I loved the way that John and Sig acted like teenagers around each other. Probably because of the fact that Sig already had a boyfriend, it made them shy and hesitant, like teenagers who are afraid of admitting their feelings. I am really looking forward to what will happen between them now. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series.

“I was sad but it felt like the sadness was pouring out of me instead of poisoning me. I felt like I had been sleeping in the dark, not knowing I was in a coffin until someone pried the lid off. It hurt, but it was good, the way love is supposed to be.”

Saturday 19 October 2013

Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe (Fireblood #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Romance
Publication Date: December 17th 2013
POV: Female - First-person, Present tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


To save a kingdom, Zara must choose between a prince who could be the answer and a rising rebellion that threatens to take control.

When Zara Dane is chosen to marry Prince Sebastian Hart, son of the man who ordered her father’s capture, Zara knows she must fight to save everything she loves from ruin.

Being betrothed to the prince means a life trapped behind the towering stone walls of the Camelot-forged realm. Under the watchful eye of the prince's first knight, Sir Devlan Capra, changing her future becomes difficult.

When an unlikely rebel reveals the truth about the deadly secrets that fuel King Hart’s twisted world, Zara’s path to rescue her father becomes clouded by deception. The Rebels clear her path by forcing Zara’s hand with an ultimatum: sway Prince Sebastian to join the Rebels, convincing him of his father’s evil nature, or they will take him out.

But Zara is uncertain about a future under the Rebels’ command and where the prince’s heart truly lies. She must decide who to trust, what to believe, and what she’s truly fighting for before the king destroys all of Karm, including her heart.


This book really grabbed me by the heart and would not let me go. Although I have one major issue with it which is the cause of the 4 stars, and I will get to that later. I was tempted to even move it down to a 3 because it was kind of a major issue. But I really enjoyed the story so I couldn't do it.

First of all, the story was totally captivating and I just could not put this book down. I read way past my bedtime. For the first part of the book it was fascinating but in a subdued sort of way. I thought it would be about Zara coming to terms with her position as Queen and using her influence over Sebastian to try to make a better kingdom--while also loving someone else. But then the rebels were introduced to the story and it became so much more complex. There was so much more going on than I gathered from reading Unveiled.

When I first saw the cover for this book I really liked the appearance of the characters. Zara was gorgeous but there was something about her that still looked strong. But I didn't even know the half of it. Zara was amazing, and so was Devlan. The cover made him look strong but kind, and he was. He was so protective of Zara and it made me like him instantly, before I really knew anything else about his character. They had so much chemistry that I felt like they couldn't even be in the same room with Sebastian or he would be able to see it simmering between them. Their romance moved faster than I first anticipated, which I am very glad for. I wasn't sure at first what the romance level would be in this.

Now my problem with this book was Sebastian. And the problem was that I liked him. He was a tormented character from the beginning but I never bought him as a villain. Not that I was 'Team Sebastian' or anything, but I saw the goodness in him that Zara seemed to see in the beginning. I felt sorry for him whenever she rejected him. He was an ass to her sometimes, especially when he hurt her, and I don't agree with some of his actions, but I certainly do not think that Zara's actions were justified either. She treated him worse than he deserved. And when she lost faith in him in the end, she jump to the extremes about him being worse than his father. I really thought she was getting through to him when she told him all her secrets. I could see him beginning to open his eyes. But then it was ruined and I think he started to act a little out of character. Its hard to believe he would do some of the awful things he did in the end, without really understanding where it came from. We never met King Hart and we never saw Sebastian interact with him so its hard to believe that that darkness had been seeded in him by his father. We never saw where it came from, we were just told "he's Hart's son" and are supposed to know that that is enough to make him evil. And Zara's actions in the end make me incredibly sad. Its hard to accept what she and the rebels did. But if I had seen Sebastian as a true villain, as I get the impression I was supposed to, then I assume none of it would have bothered me. So it doesn't ruin my feelings for the other characters. I can see what Trisha Wolfe intend, the book just didn't bring me there like it was supposed to. But overall I don't like how his character was handled. He was either portrayed too kind in the beginning, or not evil enough in the end. It all just left a sour taste in my mouth.

Besides that I loved how things turned out in the end. I really enjoyed seeing Fallon and Xander and the roles they played in this story. It was a huge HEA all around and I especially enjoyed the epilogue. Zara and Devlan seemed to be in a perfect place for them. I am not sure where the story can go from here, but I am excited to find out.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

On Midnight Wings by Adrian Phoenix (The Maker's Song #5)

Genres: Adult, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Romance, Suspense
Smut-O-Meter: 1 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


A desperate search. A dark and dangerous journey. And every step could destroy everyone Dante loves.

Only one mortal woman can save him . . .

As Dante Baptiste’s true identity as both True Blood and Fallen ripples throughout New Orleans, he and Heather struggle for their lives against different foes, fighting their way back to each other. To free herself from her father’s treachery, Heather accepts help from an ally–and steps into even greater danger. Dante, lost to his brutal past, wavers between his own sense of self and the Bad Seed-programmed S that lurks within, between the never-ending Road and the Great Destroyer. And the danger of becoming both.

. . . unless the fallen reach him first.

Lucien searches frantically for the lovers, all too aware that time is running out. Dark forces continue to gather, eager to possess and manipulate the young vampire for their own ends. The fate of mortals, nightkind, and the Fallen pivots around Dante as he struggles to piece together his shattered psyche and gain control of his power before he rips all three worlds asunder.


I love this series and the complex world Adrian Phoenix created. I love it as much as I did after reading book 1, A Rush of Wings, and being totally blown away. And I love Heather, and Dante, and Lucien more and more with each book. But I feel like the story is really getting drawn out.

Its just been a constant stream of Dante being kidnapped and tortured by vampires, psychopaths, evil angels, the government, other branches of the government, eviler angels, etc, etc. I am really getting tired of it. I guess this is all leading towards pushing Dante into becoming the Great Destroyer and then probably being saved by Heather, but I don't like seeing quite so much of it. Its starting to all seem the same.

Although the more Dante is tortured and pushed to his limits, the more I love him. I LOVE DANTE SO
MUCH!!! But its not even in a swoony book-boyfriend kind of way. I just love him so much as a person and admire his strength. I sort of have two separate lists of favourite heroes in my head. One is book boyfriends, and one is just heroes--male leads whose romantic relationship, or lack thereof, has no effect on my love for them. Dante would be on the latter, along with heroes like Ender and Eragon. But make no mistake, I am most certainly swooning and drooling ALL OVER his daddy. (At least, this is how I imagine him in my head)

I love Lucien and I look forward to seeing him protect his son further, now that Leviathon has awakened. I also want to learn more about Annie's baby. That wasn't really addressed at all in this book. Is Annie the only one who knows who the father is? As well as the father. He seemed to have figured it out real quick. Things could get interesting. But please, don't focus the next book on kidnappings and failed rescue attempts! It took all of this book for Heather to track down Dante after he was kidnapped at the end of the last one. It was so frustrating!

Saturday 12 October 2013

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha #1)

Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: June 5th 2012
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.


Its been a very long time since I have read a YA fantasy this good. I have been on a search for one ever since I read Graceling over 2 years ago. All the popular ones that I have read in that time just could not live up to it for me. They were just all the same. Although there were some things about Shadow and Bone that were familiar, it got a lot more right than most.

I love the world in this book. It was interesting and well developed. Although I was a bit confused about the setting. It seemed too much like Earth to be High Fantasy, but too little like Earth to be any kind of historical fantasy. But putting that aside and accepting that it is a unique combination of Earth-inspired High Fantasy, it was really well built and fleshed-out and immersive.
The story may have been a bit familiar, with a girl finding out that she has had a strange power her whole life that she never knew about, and then being whisked off to train her new abilities. And there was a bit of the 'Sorting Hat Syndrome', with the Grisha being categorized according to their abilities. But the way their magic system (yes, its magic, as much as the Grisha might want to deny it) works was really interesting and different.

I also loved all the characters. I found Alina very realistic and relatable. She was not perfect. She had a lot of abandonment issues, but she was consistent and human. She is miles more interesting than Celaena, who I always found nearly too vain and haughty to tolerate, and perhaps even better than Katsa who seriously kicked-ass, but was so stubborn and independent that she began to annoy me. I also loved Mal, who, like Alina, wasn't perfect, but his faults were realistic and didn't take away from his character. He was brave, and loving, and loyal, and constant. Even if Alina hadn't known it at the time, he was constant.

The Darkling was a fascinating character. Although I never fully accepted him as a love-interest and wasn't too surprised by what happened in the end, he was still a great, complicated character. He was ancient and the depth of his experience and knowledge is unfathomable. I knew it was impossible for someone like that to truly be caught up in a moment and let down their guard and act like a boy. He was larger than life, charismatic and intimidating and awe-inspiring all at the same time. Even now he still is. None of those traits are exclusive to good or evil. He is perhaps my favourite character in the book, regardless of where he will go from here. I really look forward to finding out where that will be.

“I'm not like you, Mal. I never really fit in the way you did. I never really belonged anywhere." 
"You belonged with me.”

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2)

Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction/Alternate History, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: June 18th 2013
POV: Female - First-person, Present tense
My Rating: 5 out of 5


With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess's quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.


This was even better than the first book, which I totally loved! But I had been thrown off a bit by the alternate history which I had not been expecting, and it took me awhile to reorient myself before getting into the story. But this time, I was prepared and ready, anxious even, to jump back into this story and the unique world Jessica Spotswood has created.

The story of the Cahill witch sisters can't be contained! Its not about three sisters passing unnoticed in a small town with a vague idea that they may be important one day. They are no longer three witch sisters who are important, who can change the course of their futures--and of their friends and their country--with each choice they make, with the allies they choose, the people they trust. They are now living the prophecy, living the fates that were given to them. And it seems like it is only a matter of time before the last part of the prophecy comes true... and one of them dies. Will it be revenge, jealousy, or just an accident?

I could not predict what would happen next, and I am extremely fearful for Cate. Their situation is tearing the sisters apart and destroying their lives. I don't want any of them to die, but I hope, if anyone, its Maura. Although I hope she feels some guilt before she dies. I don't think I have even the tiniest bit of sympathy left for her. In book 1, she was just the annoying sister, but now, she is a blight! Considering how amazing and adorable Finn is, he has to be back in book 3, and the blurb does seem to have a bit of hope in that area. I cannot wait for the final book in this epic series!

“You, in the moonlight, in this library, in this dress--" He's barely touching me, but it feels as though he's already undressed me with his eyes.
"Its the most beautiful thing. Like a dream." His voice is hoarse and full of wonder.
"Then its my dream, too," I confess as I claim his lips with mine.”

Sunday 6 October 2013

Screaming in the Silence by Lydia Kelly

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: October 27th 2010
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 4 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Could you fall in love with the man who kidnapped and raped you?

After being struck by a car, Raleigh finds herself taken captive by three men who live in a remote cottage by a lake. Locked in the basement and raped, she soon discovers that her desperation is leading her to believe in and trust one of her captors. Kaden is handsome and at times protective, but will he save her from his partner, who wants her dead? And can she have feelings and fall in love with a man who kidnapped and raped her?


At the very beginning of this story, Raleigh wakes up in the trunk of a car next to her friend's body. They were hit by a drunk driver who, along with two other passengers, put them in the trunk of their car to dispose of the bodies, not realizing she was still alive. Once they realize she is still alive they lock her in their basement while they try to figure out what to do with her. Kaden, one of her kidnappers, stands up for her against the ringleader, Ray. He keeps some of her secrets, prevents the others from raping her, gives her food, and he eventually makes it clear that he wants more from her. She agrees in exchange for his continued protection. But things get complicated when feelings get involved and they both begin to want so much more than their situation can allow.

"All you care about is the control and power..."

Kaden is certainly not free of guilt in this. He has done some terrible things to Raleigh, worse than Ray in a way. And at first I assumed any feelings he had for her were the result of delusion and instability, and any feeling she may have had for him were the result of Stockholm and fear. But as time went on I could not believe that I was beginning to see Kaden in a new light, and by the end of the book I felt like they really did love each other, which has me really surprised. I really, really enjoyed seeing the incredibly unique way I was brought to this point. I have never read anything like this before; it was a memorable experience and it had me crying in a few places. The constant inner battle I had with myself—warring over whether or not what they were doing was healthy, whether or not I should be wanting it to happen at all—it was a wonderful experience and I definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of unconventional romances. 

"You protected me and gave me reason to hope..."

Just FYI, this is not a BDSM or erotica. There is violence and abuse as a result of the kidnapping, but nothing else. Although there is some semi-graphic sex. Maybe about the same level as an NA novel. Although this is not NA. Both leads are grown adults.

"Against my better judgement and sense, I love you..."

Friday 4 October 2013

Poisoned Web by Crista McHugh (Deizian Empire #2)

Genres: Adult, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: November 11th 2013
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 7 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


The fate of the empire hangs on one slave breaking her silence…

As the Deizian Empire prepares for the upcoming wedding of Emperor Titus Sergius Flavus and Azruha, one mystery remains unsolved—the sudden and unexplained death of the former emperor. And as her wedding gift to Titus, Azurha wants to give him answers. She suspects an unknown poison was involved, and her search for the truth enlists two unlikely allies.

Modius Varro’s thirst for knowledge caused an uproar in Emona three years ago and exiled him to the border town of Madrena. But when Titus falls victim to the same poison, his expertise in medicine becomes essential in solving both the riddle of the former emperor’s death and finding a cure to save the current one. His search leads him to far reaches of the Alpirion realm, to an ancient culture shrouded in secrets, and into the arms of one slave who must break her silence to save the empire.


I really enjoyed this book and still love the world of the Deizian Empire. Modius and Izana make a great pair and I just loved them together. Izana was such an interesting character. I loved how confidently she seduced Modius despite being a slave. She was a very strong woman, but she was very different from Azruha. She wasn't physically capable, but she was incredible brave and self-sacrificing. Willing to do anything for the people she cared about and the empire.
Modius was a great character too. He was both highly educated and physically capable due to his previous military training. But he was also very loving. I think that was probably my favourite thing about him. How easily he accepted Izana and opened his heart to her. He had no hesitation due to the fact that she was a slave.

This story wasn't as action-packed and intensely suspenseful as Tangled Web, but it was still a great part of the story of the Deizian Empire that is told in this series. It was definitely worth it to see Modius and Izana fall in love, and to know that there are more great people like Azruha and Titus, and that there is hope for the empire.

 I can't wait to read Galerius and Claudia's story. I really didn't expect the next story to be about them. I was thinking it would be about Marcus. But I definitely look forward to learning more about the glowering Galerius and seeing Claudia redeem herself. 

"Her smile chased away the gloom with its brightness. "There's nowhere else I'd rather be." 
And right then, he knew he'd forgive her just about anything so long as she looked at him that way."

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