Wednesday, December 26, 2012

In a Fix by Linda Grimes

Synopsis from
The start of an original new urban fantasy series starring human chameleon Ciel Halligan

Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.

This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable... that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancé is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.

Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended.

Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.

My Review

Ciel Halligan is an aura adaptor, which basically means that she can change her appearance to that of any other person as long as she has had physical contact with them and has absorbed some of their energy. She has her own business standing in awkward situations for her clients so they don't have to deal with their own problems. Her current client wants her to get a marriage proposal from her boyfriend, but what starts off as a fairly straight forward job ends up being an absolute nightmare of one instead.

Ciel's best friend Billy and her long-time crush Mark as also adaptors and are also involved in her small job, which through Mark's job in the CIA turns out to be an international problem involving kidnapping, drug dealing and planned murder.

Although I enjoyed the light banter between Ciel, Mark and Billy, I did think she was a rather immature character. She played her role of the babied little sister very well and I half expected her to pout her bottom lip out all the time in a strop. She came across as a typical spoilt little rich brat and I got really irritated with her a lot of time. She was constantly told what to do to keep her safe by Mark, who was the leader on this mission, but she defied him at every turn and ended up being caught by the bad guys over and over again. When was she going to wake up and realise that she was making life difficult for everyone?! Although she did come in very handy towards the end, so she did redeem herself a bit!

I really liked the idea of the adaptors and would like to read another book in this series about a different character or Ciel again if she matures a bit more!

I would like to thank the author and publishers for allowing me to receive and review an ARC copy of this book through NetGalley.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter by Richard Parks

Synopsis from
In an ancient Japan where the incursions of gods, ghosts, and demons into the living world is an everyday event, an impoverished nobleman named Yamada no Goji makes his living as a demon hunter for hire.

With the occasional assistance of the reprobate exorcist Kenji, whatever the difficulty — ogres, demons, fox-spirits — for a price Yamada will do what needs to be done, even and especially if the solution to the problem isn’t as simple as the edge of a sword.

Yet, no matter how many monsters he has to face, or how powerful and terrible they may be, the demons Yamada fears the most are his own!

My Review
This was my first ever venture in reading anything about Ancient Japan and some of their mythology and I quite enjoyed it! Yamada no Goji is a demon hunter, but not the demons of modern day urban fantasy books, but ancient Japanese demons who can shapeshift into various forms, some of whom are dangerous and some can be quite helpful, for a price! Not knowing anything about this period of history I wasn't sure what to expect, but the author has obviously done his research and everything was explained fully and was well written too.

This book consisted of several short stories all revolving around our hero, who, with frequent help from his priest friend Kenji, aids those in need to solve supernatural mysteries. Yamada is well known for his discretions and his love of sake and whilst not a rich man, certainly knows his demons and ghosts! Each short story follows on from the previous and they all flow very well. I liked Yamada as a character - he was very realistic and likeable. Kenji, his almost side-kick was amusing at times too.

The only problem I had with this book was the female characters. There were no major female characters, which wasn't a problem, but those that did appear were not the strong characters I usually like to read about; they tended to be quite devious instead. I guess that is just a sign of the times in which this book was written in though.

I would like to thank the author and publishers for providing me with a copy of this book through NetGalley.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mark of the Witch by Maggie Shayne

Synopsis from
A lapsed Wiccan, Indira Simon doesn't believe in magic anymore. But when strange dreams of being sacrificed to an ancient Babylonian god have her waking up with real rope burns on her wrists, she's forced to acknowledge that she may have been too hasty in her rejection of the unknown. Then she meets mysterious and handsome Father Tomas. Emerging from the secrecy of an obscure Gnostic sect, he arrives with stories of a demon, a trio of warrior witches-and Indira's sacred calling. Yet there's something even Tomas doesn't know, an inescapable truth that will force him to choose between saving the life of the woman he's come to love-and saving the world.

My review

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to fans of witch books.

Indira is a former Wiccan witch who has lost her faith in the Craft after calling for her soul mate for 3 years and never finding him. However, she is being plagued with strange dreams in which she is a witch in ancient times and is pushed to her death of a cliff by a man she loved. Her friend, Rayne, a high Priestess, performs a protection ritual over her and suddenly Indy's powers spark up again.

She is approached by a priest, who saw a video taken of Indy using these powers without her remembering what she was doing and convinces her that he can help her stop the dreams. He turns out to be the brother of her friend Rayne and stupidly, in my opinion, agrees to travel across the country with him to find a solution.

She finds out that between Tomas, the priest and another priest Dom that she is the key to unlocking or destroying a great evil, but things never run smoothly and Indy finds out more about the dreams, what they mean and what she needs to do about them. Rayne, luckily, is on hand to help her, but things get quite scary for them all, especially for Indy in places, right up to the end.

I really enjoyed the writing style of Maggie Shayne, never having read anything by her before and felt that the plot moved at a good pace, picking up and dropping off as needed.

I loved the character of Indy. She truly didn't want to believe what was happening to her and her gut instincts were always right. Dom was what I expected from a completely insane old man who believed that he and his God would save everyone - a complete bigot if ask me, but he added the necessary evil to the story! Tomas, I just couldn't decide about. You could tell he really wanted to believe in Dom's far-fetched story at the beginning, but the more he got to know Indy and the more they found out about who she was, the less inclined he was to believe. I really was shocked by his attitude at the end where Rayne was concerned, but then all was revealed.

Looking forward to reading the next book in the series and the prequel if I can ever get a hold of it in the UK.

I would like to thank the author and publisher for sending me a review copy through NetGalley to read. This review is my honest opinion.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinks

Synopsis from

When Tobias Richard Vandevelde wakes up in hospital with no memory of the night before, his horrified mother tells him that he was found unconscious. At Featherdale wildlife Park. In a dingo pen.

He assumes that his two rambunctious best friends are somehow responsible, until he discovers that they're just as freaked out as he is. Then the mysterious Reuben turns up, claiming that Toby has a rare and dangerous 'condition'. Next thing he knows, Toby finds himself involved with a strange bunch of sickly insomniacs who seem convinced that he needs their help.

It's not until he's kidnapped and imprisoned that he starts to believe them - and to understand what being a paranormal monster really means.

My Review:

Even though the main protagonist in this book is a 13 year old boy, it didn't particularly feel like a YA book.

Toby wakes up one morning, butt naked in the dingo pen of the local zoo with absolutely no recollection of what happened the night before or how he ended up in the pen. He believes his friends have played a bad joke on him, but they have no clue either. Several tests at the hospital later reveal no further clues as to what went on nor an explanation for his memory loss.

When a priest and his friend, Reuben, turn up on Toby's doorstep claiming he has similar symptoms to Reuben, Toby reluctantly lets them in his house to hear their ludicrous claims - he's a werewolf. Neither he nor his mother believe them at first, but Toby is intrigued and arranges to meet Reuben later one to prove that he is lying, only Toby can't because he is starting to believe it all.

While Toby is trying to forget the whole episode, he is "arrested" by two "policemen" who don't take him to the police station at all, but out to the middle of the Australian desert and to an underground prison which leads to a werewolf fighting pit. The kidnappers intentions are clear - they intend on getting Toby to fight to the death with another teenage werewolf, but Toby has other ideas. Luckily Reuben has suspicions about what has happened to Toby and calls for reinforcements and after a long struggle to get away, even more secrets are revealed.

I thought this book was hilarious in places - the sarcastic, childish at times, comments from Toby and his friends kept me quite amused! I would have liked to see Toby actually turn into a werewolf, but that didn't happen - maybe in the next book?

I did receive this book free from NetGalley and would like to thank the publishers for allowing me to review this book honestly.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Before The Fall by Sable Grace

Synopsis from Goodreads
Zach was once the Order of Ancients’ most feared warrior, beating back the hounds of hell to protect the unsuspecting human race. But since he left the Order ten years ago, he’s been living as a mortal . . . until now. The gates of the underworld are breaking open, and Zach is needed in the fight once again. But before he can answer his summons, there’s one person he refuses to leave behind. Shanna may think Zach has a screw loose, spouting all this “hounds of hell” nonsense, but he has to get her to safety. The journey to the Order’s headquarters is a dangerous one, and even a warrior like Zach might not be strong enough to keep the darkness at bay.

My review:
This short little story is set before the first book in the Dark Breed series and tells the story of the night that Hell opened and all the dark breeds infiltrated the world.

Zach Merchant is an ex-member of the Order of the Ancients, the group of people who fight against the Dark Breeds. He left the Order 10 years ago after a fight with a Lychen, a werewolf by another name, left him with such severe injuries that he almost died.

One night, he receives his summons from the god Ares to return to battle, but before he does, he knows he has to save the one person he has ever loved, but the last time he tried to explain all this otherworldly-ness to her, she left him, thinking he was crazy. Will he be able to convince her to come with him and try to escape this time?

The journey to the portal for them both was not easy and Shanna finally starts to beieve what is going on around and helps to fight back.

I did think the ending was a bit quick and jumped too far forward, but I guess with this short little novella, it has to. I just expected Zach to go back into the fight rather than go off with Shanna and do what they do!

I would like to thank the author, publisher and NetGalley for this free ARC.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blood Rights by Kristen Painter

Synopsis from
The lacy gold mapped her entire body. A finely-wrought filigree of stars, vines, flowers, butterflies, ancient symbols and words ran from her feet, up her legs, over her narrow waist, spanned her chest and finished down her arms to the tips of her fingers.
Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle’s body bears the telltale marks of a comarré—a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world…and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.

Now Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.

My review:
Chrysabelle gets this book off to a great start - she's on the run after finding her vampire patron dead, killed in a way only a comarré could, with a lethal blade that would behead him, but not turn his body to ash; a blade that only a comarré can wield. Chrysabelle is one such comarré, a human hybrid covered in gold shimmering tattoos, bred for the pure existence of providing untainted blood to vampires in return for youthful looks and long life. Although she only looks about 20, Chrysabelle is over 100 years old.

However she wasn't the one who killed him, so now she's on the run to save herself from being killed by the vampire Tatiana who is next to rule the vampire House, to which Chrysabelle's patron was affiliated.

Chrysabelle runs off to her aunt's house, an ex-comarré herself, who in turn sends her to find another vampire Mal for help. This vampire is anathema, a vampire who was once a noble but is now an outcast. Their initial meeting does not go at all well as Chrysabelle stakes him and when they meet again, they both have issues and prejudices that they need to overcome if they are to work together and help Chrysabelle to prove her innocence.

I really liked the build up between Chrysabelle and Mal - there was no romance at all between them, almost a pure hatred for one another, but at the same time a dependency on each other in order to survive. I do think and hope that something will blossom between them in time especially as they are now bound to each other, despite neither of them wanting to be and unless they find a way to break that bond, they are stuck together indefinitely.

When Chrysabelle's aunt is kidnapped and used as bait to entice Chrysabelle to Tatiana's mansion, Chrysabelle enrols the help of Mal, Dominic, another anathema vampire friend of her aunt, Doc, Mal's half were companion and Fi, a ghost, turned human again who was formerly bound to Mal in her ghost state. This strange army go up against the very strong Tatiana, her sidekick Mikkel and a demon of sorts. Not everything went according to plan, but Chrysabelle and Mal made it out alive so hopefully they'll be able to continue the story and carry on the good fight!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next one in the series. I would like to thank the author and publishers for letting me review this book honestly through NetGalley.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blood Rock by Anthony Francis

Synopsis from
Dakota Frost is back, and the ink is about to hit the fan-again.

Graffiti comes to life in the dark heart of Atlanta’s oldest cemetery, slaying one of the city’s best loved vampires before the eyes of his friend Dakota Frost. Deadly magick is at work on the city’s walls, challenging even the amazing power of Dakota’s tattoos to contain it. The hungry, graffiti magick loves to kill, and the Edgeworld is no longer safe from its own kind.

Dakota begins a harrowing journey to save those she loves and to discover the truth behind the spreading graffiti-even if that truth offends the vampires, alienates the werekin and creates police suspicion of her every action.

Saving Atlanta may cost her everything, including custody of her “adopted” weretiger daughter, Cinnamon. But failure is not an option. If the graffiti isn’t stopped, Cinnamon could be the next victim.

My review:

Well Anthony Francis has done it again! I totally loved Frost Moon, the first book in the Skindancer series and wasn't sure if his next one would live up to the same expectations, but boy did it ever!

Dakota Frost is a magic tattoo artist who uses her skin dancing magic to make her tattoos come to life to aid in any way she needs them to. She is called to a very bizarre crime scene where her vampire friend Revenance is being held captive and tortured by...wait for it...a graffiti tag on a cemetery wall. Try as she might with all of her powers, but she cannot set him free before the sun catches hold of him. This is a rather new, strange and very dangerous form of graffiti and no-one knows what to do to stop it. Of course it is up to Dakota to find out! Revenance wasn't the first vampire to die in this way either and soon it becomes apparent that this graffiti magic is becoming a very large problem in Atlanta, where non-one, not vamps, weres or humans are immune to it.

On the side Dakota also has problems with the police - they want to charge her with the murder of the serial killer in the last book so she's on the run. She breaks up with her Special Agent boyfriend, sleeps with a vamp, falls out with Saffron her vampire ex-girlfriend, her daughter is diagnosed as a genius and with Tourette's simultaneously, loses said daughter and gets kidnapped by 2 different sets of vamps. This book sure didn't slow down on the action at all. I really felt for the poor woman as she never seemed to get a break until near the end.

I totally love Dakota - she feisty, strong, willing to defend those closest to her and also has a sensitive side. I love the image I have of her in my head as well - completely tattooed, huge multi-coloured mohawk and a fab leather vest coat! I wanna be Dakota Frost LOL

I can't wait for the next book in this series to come out!

I would like to thank the author and publisher for allowing me to review this book free of charge through NetGalley.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kawaga

Synopsis from
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

My review
Although this is classed as a young adult book, I didn't think it was really. OK so the main character was a teenager, but I felt it veered more towards adult urban fantasy than just YA. I'm not a great fan of YA books in general, but I am a fan of Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series, so I was hoping this would be as enjoyable, but I was wrong. It was better than the Iron ?Fey series, much better.

Set in a future world where vampires run the world and humans are either bloodslaves, registered to a vampire master, or Unregistered scavengers living on the brink of the vampire cities, doing whatever they can to survive, begging, stealing, even killing for food.

Allie is one such Unregistered, who hates the vampires with a passion - her mother had been a registered and died through a combination of an illness and donating her monthly supply of blood to the vampire king of their city. Ever since then Allie has lived in the abandoned buildings of the city and has a little gang of her own. One of her jobs is to hunt out food and when she can find none in her usual scavenging places, she decides to go past the city walls to the Ruins, where the Rabids live - vampires turned into rabid, flesh eating, crazy zombies.

Allie's luck was in to start with - she found a hidden basement full of tinned food and bottled water. She managed to get back to the refuge she's living in after a close encounter with a vampire, who for some reason doesn't bite or kill her. She convinces her gang to go back for the food, but that's where her luck almost runs out. A very close encounter with some Rabids, leaves her with 2 very simple choices - either die or turn into a vampire, the thing she despises the most. She chooses the latter of the two evils and becomes that which she never wanted to be.

Her life takes a turn of strange events and she meets up with a roaming group of humans, none of whom suspects what she is. This group are on the way to find some human only place called Eden, which may or may not exist and Allie travels with them as far as she can, but the Hunger in her keeps rising. She knows she must drink human blood soon before she turns into a raving monster, so she does, only to get caught and cast out.

Things go from bad to worse for this group and Allie helps them as much as she can, even if they really don't deserve her help. Along the way she soon discovers that she may be a vampire, but she sure doesn't have to be a monster.

I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next one in this series. I doubt it would happen but I would like to see if Allie and Zeke ever meet up again. I know Allie has to go and help Kanin, her sire, but will she do that alone or with the help of another vampire?

  I would like to thank the publishers and author for allowing me to receive it for free through NetGalley.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

Synopsis from
A daring new departure from the inspired creator of The Vampire Chronicles (“unrelentingly erotic. . . unforgettable.”), the Lives of the Mayfair Witches (“Anne Rice will live on through the ages of literature”), and the angels of The Songs of the Seraphim (“remarkable.”). A whole new world—modern, sleek, high-tech, and at its center, a story as old and compelling as history—the making of a werewolf, re-imagined and re-invented as only Anne Rice, teller of mesmerizing tales, conjurer extraordinaire of other realms, could create it.

The time is the present.

The place, the rugged coast of northern California. A bluff high above the Pacific. A grand mansion full of beauty and tantalizing history set against a towering redwood forest.

A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer. . . an older woman, welcoming him into her magnificent, historic family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency . . . A chance encounter between two unlikely people . . . an idyllic night—shattered by horrific unimaginable violence. . .The young man inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness . . . A violent episode that sets in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation as the young man, caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing who—what—he will become, soon experiences the thrill of the wolf gift.

As he resists the paradoxical pleasure and enthrallment of his wolfen savagery and delights in the power and (surprising) capacity for good, he is caught up in a strange and dangerous rescue and is desperately hunted as “the Man Wolf,” by authorities, the media and scientists (evidence of DNA threaten to reveal his dual existence). . . As a new and profound love enfolds him, questions emerge that propel him deeper into his mysterious new world: questions of why and how he has been given this gift; of its true nature and the curious but satisfying pull towards goodness; of the profound realization that there are others like him who may be watching—guardian creatures who have existed throughout time and may possess ancient secrets and alchemical knowledge and throughout it all, the search for salvation for a soul tormented by a new realm of temptations, and the fraught, exhilarating journey, still to come, of being and becoming, fully, both wolf and man.

My review:
I've not read an Anne Rice book for years, since the Vampire Chronicles, so I was really looking forward to this one, and it did not disappoint. Although it was a werewolf book, it was more than that.

Other reviewers have stated how Reuben was a bit up himself, but I really liked him. He was a charming, good looking young man, with a bit of family money behind him. I mean he was 23 and drove a Porsche, but that does not necessarily mean he was self-conceited or selfish or anything else - he just had money. He did come from a fairly high achieving family, mother is a top surgeon, father is a poet (can't remember what he did before that though!), brother is a priest and gave up all his money for the priesthood and Reuben felt that he hadn't actually achieved much in his short life, so maybe he should have been a bit more grateful for his life, but still I liked him. He did cheat on his girlfriend quite early on in the book, but actually I didn't like Celeste from the beginning. She was always putting him down and making comments about his job as a reporter and I would have cheated on her too if I was him. I didn't think they were right for each other at all and as we found out later, she did the same to him too, so that makes them equal right?!

Anyway on to the actual story! Reuben goes out to visit Marchant, a middle-aged woman who has just inherited an absolutely huge, gorgeous old house up on a hill overlooking the sea at Nideck Point. I so wanted to go and visit this house - the descriptions of it were just amazing. Marchant had inherited this house from her uncle, an explorer who had been missing for years, now presumed dead. She was selling the house and wanted Reuben to write a newspaper article on it to generate some interest. However that interest all changed when she was killed, by her jealous brothers no less and consequently Reuben was saved by a man wolf. This "saving" changed Reuben - he gained the wolf gift and soon found he could change into a humanoid wolf type creature. This story basically told of his journey through the development of his gift, how he used it to protect those in need and how he finally came to accept it. There wasn't such much of a single story plot, typical bad guy, good guy stuff, although there were some bad guys and some good guys.

I loved this new twist on the legend of the werewolf in that they were not full shapeshifters, but rather a half human - half wolf who still maintained his human conscience when in wolf form, could talk and have wolf/human sex, which did creep me out a bit. These ones, Morphenkind, could sense evil and hear voices crying for help from miles away and Reuben managed to save those in need several times. However as usually happens with vigilantes, he was glorified to superhero status by some and hunted by others, including some "doctors", who had a major part to play in Marchant's uncle's disappearance.

Without giving too much away, Reuben meets other Morphenkinder, one of whom explains the history of their kind, being the first one to transform and I totally loved this myth building. I want another book just on this first one of their kind.

Laura, the love interest after the fiancée Celeste, I thought was a bit weird. She liked sex with the Man Wolf in wolf form for starters! She seemed to completely accept Reuben for who he was very easily, despite knowing that he has killed people, ok not innocent people, but still he has killed. She moved in with him in the blink of an eye and seemed to have no real personality that came through the book. I just thought she was a bit drab, but maybe that is the balance that was needed between Reuben and herself. And I think she's the main reason I didn't give this book a 5 star rating - she didn't enthral me much at all. In fact I didn't really care what happened to her at all.

I thought this book was really good. Love the fact that Anne Rice is back on the writing scene as it were with a fantastic new story and hopefully new series! Can't wait to find out if there is going to be a sequel.

Thank you to the publishers and author for allowing me to receive and review this book honestly through NetGalley.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh

Synopsis from
Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.…

As the dark Lord who condemns souls to damnation in the Abyss, Micah is nothing but a feared monster wrapped in impenetrable black armor. He has no idea he is the last heir of Elden, its last hope. Only one woman knows—the daughter of his enemy.

Liliana is nothing like her father, the Blood Sorcerer who’d cursed Micah. She sees past Micah’s armor to the prince inside. A prince whose sinful touch she craves. But first she has to brave his dark, dangerous lair and help him remember. Because they only have till midnight to save Elden.

My review:
This is the final book in the Royal House of Shadows series and this one was the best of them all.

Liliana transported herself to find Micah, the youngest brother of the royal family of Elden, but rather than find herself in the woods near his castle, she found herself in the castle itself in front of Micah, or the Lord of the Abyss as he now is. He instantly puts her in the dungeon and it is now her task to try to make him remember who he is and tell him what he must do in order to restore Elden to its former glory.

Unfortunately for Liliana, Micah doesn't even remember his name, let alone anything else about his previous life, so she has a hard task in front of her. He is hard, cold, moody and downright scary, but Liliana isn't afraid, not after what she has been through. She convinces him to let her cook for him, so she doesn't have to spend the nights in the cold dungeon and soon they begin to feel a deep attraction towards one another. Liliana believes this cannot be real and she thinks she is rather ugly and deformed. The idea of Beauty and Beast runs through this book, but which one is which I haven't yet worked out LMAO!

She also begins to tell him stories about himself and his brothers and sister, although at the time he doesn't know who these people are and whilst he loves hearing about them, they also enrage him at one point, causing him immense pain.

The Blood Sorcerer is also on the hunt for Liliana, for she is his daughter and no one defies the Blood Sorcerer, but she keeps this little bit of information from Micah, believing that he will kill her when he finds out who she really is. The Blood Sorcerer sends his army out to attack the castle and find her, but Micah uses his powers as the Lord of the Abyss to defend it and the people of the village and so they have a temporary defeat. Liliana eventually tells him what he doesn't really want to hear, but he now has only a short time to return to Elden. And off they go on a perilous journey back to the destroyed kingdom of Elden.

He does manage to defeat the Blood Sorcerer, but I do think the actual fight scene was very short and over before you knew it. I know Micah is meant to be powerful, being an heir to Elden and all, but the Blood Sorcerer was also meant to be very powerful and he was overthrown very quickly. His spell lifted off the land. Micah's brothers and sister returned and everyone lived happily ever after!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and this series and loved how it all tied together in the end battle against the Blood Sorcerer.

Thank you to the publishers for allowing me to review this book honestly through NetGalley.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lord of the Wolfyn by Jessica Andersen

Synopsis from
Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden.

To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance.

Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.…

For practical Reda Weston, nothing could explain how reading a sexy version of "Little Red Riding Hood" catapulted her into another realm—face-to-fang with the legendary wolf-creature who seduced women. A wolf who transformed into a dark, virile man….

Dayn cursed the Sorcerer that turned him wolfyn and damned him to a lonely fate. As a beast, he mated with women to gain strength.

Strength he needed to rescue his royal parents. But as a man, he craved Reda's heated, sizzling touch. With little time left, Dayn had to either embrace his wolf to save his kingdom…or fight it to save his woman.

My review:

This is the third book in the Royal House of Shadows series; this time focussing on Dayn, the second brother of the kingdom of Elden.

Reda Watson, a police officer who has just lost her partner in a bungled convenience store robbery, has finally found the book she has been searching for. A very old version of Red Riding Hood, one which her mother used to read to her before she died. After reading this book she wakes up to find herself in a world not of her own, having travelled through a vortex using a spell her mother had taught her.

She meets Dayn, the second eldest prince from Elden and he realises that she is the one, his guide, who can open the vortex and transport him back to Elden to defeat the Blood Sorcerer, who killed his parents and took over his home kingdom. Dayn is a vampire the same as Nikolai, his brother from the first book and he lives in close community with a pack of wolfyn, werewolves in other words. However, they have no idea he is a blood drinker, except for the wise old woman who he confided in and they cannot know simply because they will kill him if they do.

Reda and Dayn have a strange relationship. There is the usual attraction between them the you would expect from a PNR, but she came across as being a bit wet to be honest. Maybe the idea that she was constantly being a coward didn't enthral me to her at all. Dayn needed a guide back to his kingdom and when she turned up that was all he focussed on, not really caring if she would ever return to her own world or not. But as can be expected they fall in love and blah blah blah!

Then out of nowhere some blood sorceress called Moragh turns up trying to find some special artefact which she needed to be able to rule Elden instead of the Blood Sorcerer, but I thought that the Blood Sorcerer was the ultimate evil and to be able to defeat him all four of the Elden siblings needed to be back in the palace. This seemed a bit of a random thing to just plonk into the middle of the story, but I guess it meant that the wolfyn would find out about Dayn being a blood drinker and therefore start the ball rolling as it were.

Dayn and Reda have a bit of a trek across the realm in order to find another vortex, which would transport them both to their respective homelands. Obviously things never go to plan and Dayn has to reveal his other nature - he is a wolfyn, having only ever called upon that power within himself once before. This sends Reda into a panic, ensuring that he had bespelled her into feeling for him the way she does after only a few days, but nope he didn't. She felt that way all by her little self!

Eventually they make it back to Elden, although not together and Dayn realises who he needs to be in order to finally defeat the Blood Sorcerer and they head into the castle for the final showdown.

This was an ok book, not quite as good as the first one, which is my favourite in this series so far. I'm guessing that the conclusions are all revealed in the final book and the siblings all finally return to defeat the Blood sorcerer.

I still have no idea where the wolfyn idea came from, because there is no mention of this at all in the other books. It has been said several times that the king was a blood drinker, whilst the queen was a healer mage, but wolfyn was not at all spoken of. It was almost as if they needed a different type of character for this episode in the series and again plonked it in without explanation. Something needed to be said about his heritage a bit more.

I would like to thank the author and publishers for receiving this ARC free from NetGalley and my review is completely my own!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe

Synopsis from
Princess Breena had been dreaming of her warrior lover when she was ripped from her Elden castle and thrown into a strange, dangerous realm. Lost and alone, she prayed for survival and vengeance for her stolen kingdom. She found both in a woodland cottage…in a dark bear of a man.

The golden-haired beauty had eaten his food and slept in his bed when Osborn found her. Though he wanted to awaken his virgin princess to carnal pleasures, Breena wanted more—including his warrior skills. Skills the once-legendary mercenary had long buried. Now Osborn had a choice—risk his life or deny his princess her fairy-tale ending.

My review: 
This is the second book in the Royal House of Shadows series and focusses on Brenna, the princess of Elden. She wakes up after being magically whisked away from the scene of her parents' gruesome demise with an urge to follow a certain path. She knows she must survive and take revenge but at the moment she's not sure why and against whom she must take this revenge. Onwards she plods through a forest, clearly marked against intruders by the bare skulls hanging up. She stumbles across a wooden cottage and the scene that follows made me chuckle - it was Goldilocks and the Three Bears paranormal style. She enters the unlocked cottage, eats some oat porridge, breaks a chair and then goes to sleep in one of the beds. When she is awoken a while later, the gruff, angry man is the man of her dreams, literally. She has been dreaming of this warrior and the passion between them for a while now, but he is nothing like the man in her dreams. He also recognises her as the woman who has been invading his dreams and whilst he feels an attraction towards her, does not want to get involved with her at all.

Osborn is the oldest of 3 brothers, the only survivors from an slaughter on his village by whom he believes were soldiers/vampires from Elden. He is a berserker, following a ritual of manhood at the age of 15 in which he had to kill a bear and join their spirits together. He can call on his Ber when wearing the pelt of the bear he killed and develops an almost uncontrollable rage and strength, against which no-one will survive. Osborn's 2 little brothers were cute. They needed a big sister or mother figure in their lives and were so desperate for Brenna to stay even when Osborn made it clear that she should leave.

There is a great attraction between Brenna and Osborn right from the minute they meet. He believes she only wants him for his berserker power and the revenge she wants to take. She believes that he is her warrior, the man in her dreams who would protect her at all costs. Their relationship is not quite a smooth ride and even at the very end, I thought Osborn was going to leave her for good.

Brenna came across as a typical "princess". She only wanted Osborn to fight for her against those who killed her parents and didn't really care about him and his brothers initially. It was obvious she had a very good upbringing (she didn't know how to cook for example, something in this world, women would have done if they had to) and her selfishness irritated me a bit at the beginning. She did eventually start becoming more independent. Her own magical powers developed a bit, although we didn't see a great deal of that and she did learn how to fight with a sword, taking many hours practising and training physically. But ultimately Osborn, her warrior, had to save her!

Osborn was an angry man! Yes he had to go through 2 life changing events in the same day - his Bärenjagd (the bear killing ritual) and the battle in his village which cost him the lives of his parents. Not something I can imagine was an easy thing to do. He also had to bring up his two brothers on his own and became an assassin to help feed them, but boy he could have smiled some times! With Brenna's help, he realised that he had sheltered his brothers too much and was not preparing them to become the men and Berserkers they have be.

I was also a little confused to the timing of this book. Nikolai, in the first book and Brenna's brother, had been kept in the witches' palace for 20 years as time moves differently there, but this one seemed to take place immediately after Brenna's teleportation. Not sure how all the books will merge together or even if they will. I hope so! Would be good to see all 4 siblings back together, taking on the Blood sorcerer.

This book was ok. I liked it, but didn't think it was great. I think because it was so short the relationship between Brenna and Osborn was developed fully and the characters themselves were not fully developed either. I will be reading the rest of this series as I want to find out about the other 2 brothers from the kingdom of Elden - Dayn and Micah.

I would like to thank the publishers for providing this ARC free through Net Galley.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter

Synopsis from
Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with a need for vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.

Nicolai the Vampire is renowned for his virility, but in a cruel twist of fate “The Dark Seducer” has become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina—stripped of his precious timepiece and his memory. All that remains is a primal need for freedom, revenge—and the only woman who can help him.

When the wanton vampire summons Jane Parker, she is helpless to obey. She's drawn to his dark sexuality and into his magical realm. But for this human, all is not a fairy tale. For saving Nicolai could mean losing the only man she's ever craved...

My review
I received this ARC free through NetGalley, but this review is totally my own!

Jane is a scientist of sorts, who has been studying and experimenting on vampires, proper blood suckers. After recovering from a horrific car accident, which killed her entire family and left her crippled for several months, she finds an old leather book on her doorstep. She begins to read it and finds that it is about a man called Nikolai, the same man she has been having naughty dreams about.

One night whilst dreaming about Nikolai, she wakes up in another world, in another body and soon meets the same man, chained to a wall being kept as a sex slave for a pair of princesses, one of whom Jane now appears as. Nikolais knows who she really is and demands that she help him to escape from the clutches of Laila, her "princess sister". The world Jane finds herself in is nothing like her own world. It is made up of witches, who the princesses are and vampires, who Nikolai is. He does drink blood, but also wields magic as his mother was a witch. Unfortunately for him, Laila has had his powers bound and his memories erased so he doesn't know who he is or why he has this strong need for vengeance, although he doesn't yet know who against.

Together Jane and Nikolai escape, encountering ogres who almost rape Jane before Nikolai finds her again. Everyone recognises Nikolai for who he really is - the prince of Elden. His memories start to return with the help of drinking Jane's blood and they soon fall in love. However, there is a curse upon Jane. She will leave and return to her own world if she falls in love with him. But luckily for them both, Jane manages to absorb some of Nioklai's powers, in particular one which allows her to teleport between the two worlds.

Laila is determined to find her "sister" and the stolen slave and Jane has to trust Nikolai to save them both. Jane helps by doing something she didn't believe was possible, only to find herself stuck back in her own world, never to return to her beloved Nikolai. Of course there's a Happy Ever After and Jane leaves her world behind to spend eternity with her man!

A nice little PNR with a decent story line as well. Not all about the romance, but enough action to keep me happy! I liked the two main characters - Jane was not going to lie down and take Nikolai's demands ALL the time, although she did like taking some of them! Laila was an evil conniving so-and-so, but you need a baddie in these kind of stories!

This series is made up of 4 books from various authors, all, I think, about the the 4 royal siblings of Elden. On to book 2 then!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Redemption by Eleri Stone

Synopsis from
Blamed for a heinous crime and banished from his tribe of Jaguar shifters, Adriano will do anything to buy back his rightful place—even steal a priceless artifact. First, he'll have to seduce Sophie Martin, an archaeologist researching the temple ruins and the one person who stands in his way.

Sophie wants to uncover the artifact as well—not to sell it, but to study it. It could unlock all the secrets of an ancient and mysterious civilization. But it's hard to focus on her work when the distractingly sexy Adriano is nearby.

What begins as a seduction quickly turns into mutual passion as Adriano's touch awakens a side of Sophie she'd kept hidden—and arouses his Jaguar instincts. To preserve his people's secret and earn his redemption, Adriano needs the artifact. But when a rival thief kidnaps Sophie, Adriano will be forced to choose—between the people who rejected him in the past, or the woman who could be his future…

My Review:
Adriano is a Yaguara, a jaguar shapeshifter, who has been exiled from his tribe following a huge war between the pure-blood and the half-blood tribes. He believes that if he finds some ancient bloodstone, he will be able to buy his way back into his tribe, so off he goes and joins an archaeological dig with a group of humans. He doesn't interact with humans at all and has never taken a female one before, not even for a quick one night stand. However, Sophie soon has him lusting after her in ways he never believed possible. He just can't stop thinking about her and is determined to have his way with her any which way he can.

Sophie, the quiet studious girl, is determined to solve the mysteries of the Clavin artefacts to help her gain the grant she so desperately wants in order to stay out in the field. She is a strong minded woman, but at the same time, quite shy and meek. She likes being the one in control, but when Adriano takes control of her sexual needs, she succumbs to his power easily.

At first, Adriano tries to distract Sophie from her studies so that the history and knowledge of his people stay a secret, but when Sophie follows, who she believes is Adriano, into one of the areas of the dig site late at night, he can no longer keep that part of his life a secret from her. I loved the fact that although we as readers knew all about Adriano's other side, Sophie did not have the faintest clue and was completely shocked by it all. She does accept him for what he is and tries to understand what is going on, but everything is happening so quickly that she has no choice really but to just get to grips with it all.

This story was a great PNR - hot sexy male alpha type, strong female character, a storyline that actually went somewhere rather than just copious amounts of sex to fill the pages, but some hot sex scenes too!

Looking forward to reading more of this series, even though I didn't realise this was supposed to be book 2 of it!

I received this book from Carina Press through NetGalley and would like to thank the publishers for the opportunity to review it honestly.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Feast Harvest of Dreams by Merrie Destefano

Synopsis from
Madeline MacFadden ("Mad Mac" to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she's always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.

But Maddie doesn't remember the dark parts -- and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area's terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the Harvest. . . the time to feast.

Once again Maddie's dreams -- and her soul -- are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during Harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own.

My Review
I actually quite liked this book, but there were so many questions left unanswered at the end that I could only give it a 3 star rating.

Maddie takes her son and dog back to the little mountain village she visited as a child to get over her writer's block, caused by her divorce and her ex-husband's new wedding to her former best friend. What she finds there is not what she expected at all.

Ash is a darkling, a shape shifter of sorts who can change his skin into any human skin he can envision. He is also the guardian of Ticonderoga Falls after a curse was placed on the village and all the people in the village carry his mark. No other darkling can feed on them without his permission. This was my first problem with this book. The idea of the darklings was an interesting one, different from other shape shifters, but they were never properly explained. They were described as being bigger than humans with long claws, sharp teeth and wings, so whilst I knew what they looked like, I still didn't really know what they were.

The darklings harvest people's dreams, but there was no description of how they did this. They also have a power of magic to make people fall asleep so they can harvest these dreams. When Ash's two cousins drain a man of his dreams, Maddie finds him flat, as if all the insides had been drained out of him and he has 2 puncture wounds in his neck. Are they vampires? Do they drain the blood to access the dreams? No idea!!!

Each short chapter takes the point of view of a different character and whilst I didn't like this at first, the style grew on me and it was interesting to see how the different characters interpreted the events.

There was no real romance in the book and whilst Maddie claimed she was attracted to Ash, there was no reason for it. He also fell for her, but again no reason as to why. Yes 2 people can be attracted to each other, but to claim to love each other without a relationship even being started was strange to me.

An interesting story, with original ideas, that just need a bit more explanations and fine tuning really.

I received this book as a ARC from Netgalley and would like to thank the author and publishers for allowing me to review honestly.