Monday, June 16, 2014

Influential Magic by Deanna Chase


Synopsis from Goodreads:
It’s tough being a faery in New Orleans, a city fraught with vampires… especially when their very existence drains your life-force.

Willow Rhoswen, owner of The Fated Cupcake and part-time vampire hunter for the Void is having a rough week. Four years after her twin brother’s mysterious death, Willow’s life is threatened and the director saddles her with a new partner—her ex-boyfriend, David. To her horror, he’s turned vamp, which causes her physical pain whenever she touches him… and any other specimen of the undead.

In order to save Willow’s life, David agrees to turn double agent against the most powerful vampire organization in New Orleans. Or so he says. And she’s convinced they know something about her brother’s death. Unsure where David’s loyalties lie, she turns to Talisen, her childhood crush, to help her solve the mystery.

Caught between two gorgeous men and a director who’ll stop at nothing to control Willow’s gifts, she’ll have to follow her instincts and learn who to trust. Otherwise, she risks losing more than just her life.

My review:
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, other than it might be a YA book, but it wasn't at all. I actually really enjoyed it - it's fast paced, nerve-wrecking in places with a fair amount of romantic tension too.

Willow is a fae, with sparkly wings and a sweet nature. She runs a bakery well known for its heavenly goodies that are bespelled to do a range of things and she also works for the Void agency, a supernatural police force. After a trip back to her home town, she returns to find out that her pathetic ex-boyfriend, who dumped her by text, has been turned into a vampire and he has a dire warning for her: someone wants her dead. There's no real indication of whom that might be nor why, but Willow's not one who wants to die easily.

Her aunt is the Director of the Void agency, but she's a nasty piece of work, or is she? There's more to her than we know until the end. Her best friend Phoebe is a witch and loves taking on dressing up roles to find the information she needs. Talisen is her brother's best friend that Willow has had a crush on for years, but with the reappearance of David and old feelings returning, will Willow make any decisions about which man she wants? But the best side character has to be Link, Willow's shih tzu dog who turns into a hulk of a wolf when he's angry or if Willow is being threatened. Love it!

In order to find out who's behind the murder plot, Willow makes some rash, sometimes stupid, decisions that seem to end her up in more trouble than she was. The vampires are all involved and the Void agency is not a good place for Willow to be either. Many secrets are revealed at the end of the book,, some of which were a great surprise.

Willow was an odd character to like - she wasn't your usual kick ass heroine. She was much more peace loving than everyone else around her and really didn't like the idea of using violence to get the information she needed. However, sometimes you got to do what you've got to do. I much preferred Phoebe's feisty nature.

I will read the next book in this series and hope that the love interest between Willow and Talisen picks up. I did receive a copy of this book from Netgalley and would like to thank the author and publishers for letting me have it!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Volatile Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons #4) by Sandy James


Synopsis from
Sarita Neeraj has never felt like a real Amazon. Compared to the obvious strengths of her sisters, her Water powers seem small as her stature. She’s determined to prove herself—unfortunately, all that gets her is captured by an enemy.

Ian serves a twisted goddess, preferring this to an empty afterlife. He’s taken Sarita hostage to coax the other Amazons from their safe haven. But in his ancient Scottish castle, the passion and love Ian finds for Sarita resurrect his honor, until he chafes at the dark will of his mistress.

Sarita has finally found happiness—but before she can enjoy it, she’s “rescued” by her furious sisters. To save Ian from destruction at the hands of the Amazons, Sarita must risk wielding magick that could change her very nature. Only then can she prove the Water Amazon is the strongest of the four—and save them all from destruction.

My Review
This last book in the series was a great ending to this story. It was fun, dangerous, thrilling, funny, sad, scary and downright emotional in places.

Sarita Neeraj is the Water Amazon and sees herself as the weakest of the four of them. Her powers are not quite as strong as the other Amazons - she can freeze things and can heal her sisters, but not much else. However, all that changes in this book with the reappearance of Helen, the former earth Amazon turned evil goddess, who is a constant threat to the world.

When Sarita goes to capture an escaped demon, she wakes up to find herself in a strange castle with the man of her dreams. Literally. She has been having very hot, sexual dreams about this exact man recently, but he thinks she is someone else. Someone he needs in order to carry out his revenge. But when the heat rises between the two of them and things get a little too hot, Sarita has to reveal who she really is. When she is taken away from Ian, she cannot stop thinking about him and knows she has to get him back, but at what cost?

The four Amazons have also been outed by Helen, who will stop at nothing to kill them and they need to find a way to defeat her once and for all, but she's not an easy kill by any means. The patron goddesses actually do step up to help them in their task as does Frejr even though it's obvious there's more to his actions than he lets on as usual.

I did like Sarita as the main character in this book. She really did grow as an Amazon and fought her own personal demons as well as real ones! The only thing I didn't like was the Stockholm syndrome idea of her falling in love very quickly with her kidnapper. I know he was the lover in her dreams, but those dreams were just that, dreams and I do think it was weird falling for him in that situation. I know this is a PNR book, so it had to happen, but still...Ian was a bit of a nobody really once he met up  with Artair. He didn't have any particular powers or skills, other than using a sword, but the men in these books don't really need one as the girls have them all! He did come across as a bit wet at times, but I guess that was partly due to being thrown into the 21st century so quickly.

Loved the ending and the potential for a new series based in the same world, but with new characters. Would love to read a series about the SOGs!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway by Karina Cooper


Synopsis from
Although I have only been part of Society for two years, I am already desperate to escape its confines and eager for adventure. The world my deceased parents have left me is nothing more than a gilded prison, and I will do anything to escape the boredom, even become a collector of bounties.

My name is Cherry St. Croix, and I may be young, but I am old enough to know when I am in over my head. My first collection seemed easy: Mr. Strangeway’s debts have come due, and the purse for his capture is hefty. Yet the wastrel remains one step ahead of me, and my efforts are hampered by another collector after the same coin. What’s more, a simple hunt becomes the forefront of a conspiracy that leads me on a chase through London’s low-class streets.

Not only does my pride demand success, but the well-being of many rest upon the choices I make—failure is not an outcome I can live with.

My Review:

I don't normally read Steampunk, but seem to have acquired most of this series through Netgalley so thought it would be worth giving it a go and you know what? I really quite enjoyed this one, although it didn't appear as Steampunk-y as other Steampunk books I have read, but maybe because it's a novella so there wasn't much time/space to develop the Steampunk world. There were hints of it though so I'm guessing more will be revealed in the main books.

Cherry St Croix is a Society girl, but has had a difficult life in her young 15 years of age and having been abandoned before she finds trying to become a lady pretty boring and hates virtually everything that Society expects of her. After overhearing a conversation about collectors - people who collects others debts for them, usually from pretty unsavoury characters, she decides she would quite like this collector job to be a secret part of her life.

She sets off on her first job, which does not go too well for her at all. In fact, she doesn't collect her quarry at all, but instead pairs up with him to do a completely different job against the man who posted the collection note instead! She does start to get a feel for what collecting is all about and how dangerous is might get for her as well, but that doesn't scare her off at all. In fact, it makes all the more determined to be the best female, the only female, collector in all of London low!

Although this book was fairly short, I thought it was a great insight to this genre, especially for the likes of me who does not read it all that often. Cherry was a great character, feisty, determined and really didn't have a clue how much danger she  was putting herself in, but kept on going regardless. I will very likely read the rest of this series at some point.

I did receive this book from the publisher through Netgalley but this review is my own honest review!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Silver Crescent By Debby Grahl

 Available from The Writer's Coffee Shop and Amazon (B&N, Kobo and iTunes - available soon)


Betrayal, murder and a stolen fortune bring Elise Baxter to Cedar Bend, Michigan, on a quest to solve a family mystery—and recover the missing treasure.

Max Holt impulsively buys a crumbling Victorian mansion and fulfills his dream of restoring it as a restaurant and inn. Aware of its reputation for being haunted, he adds to the mystique by building a garden path of old tombstones, one of which belongs to the original owner of the house, Cyrus Mosby—the man whose legacy Elise has traced, and who allegedly stole her ancestral share of a Colorado silver mine over a century ago.

Following clues gleaned from old diaries and a visit from the spirit of her great-great-grandmother, Elise seeks out Max and his inn. Not knowing if she can trust Max with her family secret, Elise pretends her interest is in researching Cyrus, whose own violent death remains a mystery.

An intense attraction between Max and Elise leads him to believe she may be the girl of his dreams. But when he discovers her true interest in him and his inn, memories of a past betrayal threaten to end their passionate relationship. Elise, finding herself falling in love with Max, fears her deception may cost her more than she is willing to lose.

Once persuaded the stolen silver is hidden somewhere in the inn, and captivated by the idea of a treasure hunt, Max and Elise begin the search together, aided by the resident ghosts, Cyrus and Virginia.

The treasure hunt seems like a harmless adventure until someone tries to steal the diaries. Unknown to Max and Elise, there are others—including an evil presence—who are driven by greed and will stop at nothing to unlock the mystery of the Silver Crescent.

Introducing Debby Grahl:

Debby Grahl lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband, David, and their cat, Tigger. When she’s not writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach, and having a glass of wine at sunset. Her favorite places to visit are the Cotswolds of England, Captiva Island in Florida, New Orleans, New York City, and her home state of Michigan. She is a history buff who also enjoys reading murder mysteries, time travel, and of course, romance. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books. Debby belongs to RWA, Florida Romance Writers, Hearts Across History, and Lowcountry Romance Writers.

Connect with Debby

This has been a TWCS Blog Tour! 
My Review
I received this book from the publishers through Netgalley, but this review is my own! Elise is a news reporter and rather than take the comfortable job of working at her father's newspaper, she heads off on her own and takes a job in the small town of Cedar Bend, but her real task is to find out what happened to her ancestors and their treasure of silver from the silver mine rush many many years ago. 
Max Holt is a rich, handsome, but arrogant man, who will stop at nothing to get what he wants and what he wants right now is to turn this crumbling old mansion into a fancy restaurant and inn. He feels drawn to the house and the idea of having a haunted restaurant appeals to him and his bank balance. He drags along a few friends to help out with the house and soon both him and the house become the talk of the town.
Elise manages to upset Max at their first accidental meeting and is horrified when it turns out that he owns the house she has to investigate and search, but rather than telling him her plans, she lies to him and pretends she really wants to find out about Cyrus Mosby, the owner of the house, who was found dead, possibly murdered along with another unknown man, who may or may not have been her long lost uncle. How they were both killed nobody knows and there are no real reports at the time of their deaths either. Lucky for Elise though that Cyrus' ghost and that of his wife are around to help her out, even if they do give vague clues at times. 
I loved the banter between Elise and Max at the beginning and watching it develop into a rather fast paced romance. I also loved the craziness of Elise, Max and his friends once they were all told about the silver and the fact that it may still be hidden in the house somewhere - they were like animals on a hunt and stopped at nothing to find it. I won't tell you whether they did or not, but it was funny reading about them knocking down walls and falling down stairs and seeing clues from the ghosts appearing right in front of their eyes. 
I also really like the fighting amongst the ghosts too and the things one of them would do to try and scare the humans, who would just not be scared away no matter what he tried to do. 
This was a funny romance and I was desperate at the end to see of Elise and Max really would find the treasure (and what a twist to the story it was at the end) and to see whether they would stay together or not. I would very much recommend reading this book whether you like romance, ghosts or a mixture of both. 
I would also like to thank Debby Grahl and her publishers for inviting me on my first book tour too!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Immortal Rider by Larissa Ione


Synopsis from
The signs are everywhere...disastrous world events. Evil rising up, unleashed upon the innocent. The prophecies were there...but no one listened. Until now. The time has come for those who can either usher in Doomsday...or prevent it. They are here. They ride. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Arik Wagner, a soldier with the U.S. Army's paranormal unit, the R-XR, kissed a girl and liked it. And then he went to hell as punishment. Where he's spent weeks being tortured...and plotting revenge.

Limos, Horsewoman of the Apocalypse, isn't your average girl. She's immortal, dangerous, and her fiancé is Satan himself. In a moment of weakness, she gave in to her desire and kissed Arik, triggering her fiancé's wrath - and his claim on her. In order to save Arik, and theworld, Limos must make a dangerous pact with her recently turned evil brother, Pestilence. A deal that might just cost her her soul...and her heart.

My Review
The second book in this series is about Limos, aka Famine, the Horsewoman of the Apocalypse and Arik, a human and brother of Runa, the werewolf from the Demonica series.

Limos is a hard ass warrior - she has to be she one of the four Horsemen and is half demon and half angel, but she's also a spoilt little princess having grown up with her mother Lilith in Sheoul, where she didn't get to experience a "normal" childhood. Arik, on the other hand, is a human whose childhood was pretty horrific and ran away at the age of 18 to join the army followed by joining up with the R-XR (government supernatural agency) later on.

He ends up kissing Limos at a party and she kisses him back, but with dire consequences for him - he is immediately dragged off to Sheoul and tortured like crazy for a month or so, whilst his torturers are trying to make him say Limos' name. Limos feels guilty, but doesn't really do much to help him as she knows she cannot really spend much time in Sheoul because her betrothed, husband-to-be is none other than Satan himself and he will capture her if she does.

Eventually Arik escapes with a little help from a demon and Pestilence (if you can call his actions help) and Limos finds him. He forgives her rather easily in my opinion, although I don't really think she knew what would actually happen if he kissed her. She does know what will happen if he tries to remove her chastity belt though, which only her husband can remove - cue big loophole in her marriage contract!

After Pestilence's many interruptions and world devastating events, Limos and Arik get together, but their wedding day is far from being the happiest of their lives as it should be. Limos has to finally reveal her hidden, most darkest secrets to her brothers.

Oh and Thanatos almost broke his seal, but it didn't break to everyone's surprise and now the race is on to work out what will cause his seal to break. I didn't like Reagan's "Wham-bam-thank-you-man" act though - made it pretty obvious to him she was screwing him over in one way or another.

I really enjoyed this action packed book with a lot of romance and a fair few heated scenes as well. I thought Limos and Arik's relationship was sweet, if not a bit too rushed in my opinion, but I guess that they had to move fast to stop Satan and his cronies! I just wonder what Satan's payback will be now...And will they ever work out what will step or redeem Pestilence back into his Reseph form? I thoroughly enjoy Larissa Ione's writing style, which made me lose a lot of sleep reading this book - I just couldn't put it down!

Can't wait to read the next one in this series!

I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley and would like to thank them for it.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep


Synopsis from
When a terror from the past threatens Gin’s friend and body-disposer, Sophia, Gin will stop at nothing to protect her, even if it means walking straight into a killer’s trap. Meanwhile, the rocky romance between Gin and Owen reaches a turning point—can they reunite and rekindle their love? Or will the things Gin has been forced to do in her line of work as the deadly assassin the Spider keep them apart forever? Assuming, that is, she survives long enough to find out...

My review
This was one of my favourite books of this series. I just love the world of The Spider, but this one was more heart-wrenching than usual. Gin did have to do her usual assassinating, but this time it was more personal than it has really been for a while now, ever since she killed nasty old Mab Monroe.

The beginning of this book sets the scene for rollercoaster ride that is The Heart of Venom. When Sophia, Gin's cook and body disposal expert, rushes into Jo-Jo's salon, where all the girls are having a pampering day and screams "Run!" you know it's not going to turn out well for someone. Unfortunately that someone wasn't the bad guy at first. Harley Grimes, the man of Sophia's nightmares, the man who tried to destroy her in the past, the man who caused her voice to be the way it is, has returned! And this time he intends on keeping Sophia no matter what. Only Gin's not going to let that happen, no sir-ee!

After Sophia is taken, Gin intends on storming Harley Grimes' place with no plan, no back up, but a heap of weapons, but that's just not enough. She needs information and she does realise in time that going in completely unprepared won't help. The rescue attempt is helped out by two men she never expected to help her, Owen Grayson and Warren, an old friend of Fletcher's, without whom she would never be able to find Grimes' camp. The rescue mission kind of goes well, in that Sophia is rescued, but Gin manages to get caught and now it's her turn to be rescued, but does she need it or can she escape herself? She's The Spider; we all know what Gin is capable of doing!

I loved the feel of this book, back to the gritty, dangerous world of the ruthless Spider. There were a few times throughout this book, when I wasn't quite sure if Gin would truly make it through what was happening to her.

My favourite quote of the book came from Finn though - "Why paint when you can eat pie instead?". My thoughts exactly about decorating!

Looking forward to reading the next book in this series, which is all about how Gin became the secretive, dangerous assassin we all love!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James


Synopsis from
The last thing Rebecca Massee expects on her wedding day is to go from jilted kindergarten teacher to Amazonian Earth warrior. But when she causes an earthquake after her groom says I don’t, she discovers that not only does she possess incredible powers, she is one of four lost chosen sisters who must fight to keep humanity safe from rogue gods and demons. Luckily she has help: ruggedly handsome Scottish warrior Artair MacKay, her protector and teacher.

An immortal, Artair has trained countless warriors for more than four hundred years. He understands Rebecca’s confusion at the new world she’s been thrust into and worries she is too emotionally vulnerable, but that doesn’t stop his growing feelings for the beautiful and fearless woman.

When an evil force threatens to destroy the Amazons, Rebecca must claim her full powers--but they come at a cost. Can she sacrifice the man she loves if it means saving the world?

My Review
As the first book in this series, this wasn't a bad start to what I think could be a very interesting story. Rebecca Massee is your average, quiet, lovable kindergarten teacher who unfortunately finds herself being jilted at the altar by her mommy-loving fiance who hasn't got the guts to tell her he no longer wants to marry her without a bottle of alcohol to back him up. She whacks him one and then an earthquake erupts, quickly follow by a hunk of a Scotsman in a kilt appearing at the church doors to whisk her away. Rebecca, not being the impulsive type, does just the opposite of what she would normally do and walks off with him, only to regret it soon after. Just who is this strange man and why does he insist that it's time for her to join him?

Rebecca finds out that she is to become the Earth Amazon, one of four female warriors based on the four elements of the world - Earth, Air, Fire and Water, but there's no way in the world she wants this. She's not strong, physically nor mentally and has no desire whatsoever to kill anyone. She just wants her life to go back to the happy one it once was, but nope that's not allowed. Rebecca helps to find the new Fire Amazon and eventually accepts what she is becoming and the powers that come along with her new status. It also helps that her Sentinel, her warrior teacher as it were, is a hot, handsome, rugged man. Despite how attracted she feels to Artair, Rebecca can never share her feelings or be with him as it's not the way of an Amazon.

When the previous generation of Amazons are attacked and either killed or stripped of their powers, Rebecca and the other three Amazons have to fight back and find out who is behind all this, only it is not whom they expected at all.

This was an interesting take on a strong female lead and I liked the fact that these women are independent, powerful superheroes! My only real issue is the fact that apparently "everything that makes them women was taken away from them" - i.e. they can no longer have children. Now I am one of those women who have CHOSEN not to have children - does this make me less of a woman??? I'm certain some people would agree that it does, but heck I don't want to read that in a book. How about jumping into the modern day world and realising that not everything revolves around having kids!!!

The romance between Rebecca and Artair was obvious, but still pretty sweet. I think their love story was a nice added extra, but would have preferred more of a focus on the Amazons and their history.

I will read the rest of this series as I would like to find out about the other Amazons and what will happen to the bad guy in the future.

I would like to thank the author and publishers for providing me with an ARC copy of this book through Netgalley.