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.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Red by Kate SeRine

Red (Transplanted Tales, #1)

Synopsis from
“My name is Tess Little. But everyone calls me Red.”

Once upon a time, a spell went awry, stranding Make Believe characters in the ordinary world. Since then, Tess “Red” Little—a/k/a Little Red Riding Hood—has worked as an Enforcer for the Chicago branch of the Fairytale Management Authority. But, consider yourself warned—she’s not just some waif with a basket of goodies. All grown up and with nothing to lose, a gun and combat boots is more her style. And Red’s new assignment threatens to be short on happily ever afters…

Someone is murdering transplanted Tales in gruesome fashion. The list of fictional characters capable of such grisly acts is short and includes more than one of Red’s old flames. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s another complication, in the form of sexy, enigmatic Nate Grimm, the FMA’s lead detective and part-time Reaper. Used to following her own rules and living life on the edge, Red has managed to avoid taking on a partner until now. But Nate’s dark side makes him perfect for a case like this. That is, if she can trust him. Because if there’s one thing Red knows for sure, it’s that believing in the wrong person can have big, bad consequences…

My Review
This was my first book by Kate SeRine, so was a little unsure what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The take on the fairytale and Literary characters in our own Ordinary world was hilarious. I loved how the characters kept some of their fairytale personas, but at the same time tried to blend in with the Here and Now. I found the fact that Snow White was a Madame with her own brothel/stripclub just brilliant and Cinderella and Prince Charming didn't quite have the Happy Ever After we expect!

Tess Little, aka Little Red Riding Hood, is an Enforcer for the Tales, ensuring they all stay on the right side of the law and do not reveal their existence to the Ordinaries. When several seemingly unconnected murders of Tales characters occur, Red has to find out who it is before it goes public! To help her along the way is Nate Grimm, a Reaper, turned investigator, with whom Red feels an undeniable crush. She knows she can't get involved with him, but she can't help lusting over him.

Red did seem to have a colourful past and several of the victims or suspects, she had been involved with in one way or another, but I wasn't expecting the mastermind to be who it was. I did think it was the last man in the hospital (without giving too much away).

I really enjoyed this author's writing style and the pace moved quickly but not too fast.

I loved the ending and it was left with a cliffhanger, enough of one to whet your appetite but not enough to leave the story hanging too much and to leave you too frustrated. I've added the next book in this series onto my wishlist and am looking forward to reading it soon!

I want to thank the author and publishers for providing me with a copy via NetGalley to review, but this review is all my own opinion :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Once Wicked Always Dead by T. Marie Benchley

Synopsis from
Molly Madison’s life is shattered with the sudden death of her beloved parents and the revelation of her husband Phillip’s affair—with another man. Molly heads west to Montana, resolved to run the family ranch, the Ghost Bear, and to move on with her life. Her attraction to Clayton Leatherbe, the ranch foreman, is instant, but before a romance can blossom, the ranch falls prey to sabotage by wealthy land developers determined to drive Molly out, and Clayton learns of a family secret that could put the ranch—and Molly’s life—in jeopardy. A sharp mystery that deals with the themes of family secrets, betrayal, love, and loss, Once Wicked Always Dead is a strong debut from an author with literary blood in her veins.

My Review:
I haven't read a murder-mystery thriller in ages so thought I would try this one seeing as I've had it from Netgalley for absolutely ages. It was ok, but not great. I actually got bored of reading it about halfway through and was constantly looking at the percentage marker on my Kindle to see how much more I had to go. I hate to feel like this about books, but I managed to get through it and actually it didn't end too badly and definitely not the way I expected.

Molly's parents die in a tragic accident leaving her as the only heir to their cattle ranch in Montana, a place her husband wants her to instantly sell to aid his political career, but somewhere she feels at home and really doesn't want to lose. Then to make matters even worse, her husband's secret lover reveals their affair to Molly, and all her worries about her marriage are completely explained when Philip's lover is revealed to be his male assistant. Of course the news gets out and Philip's career and marriage is basically over. Molly runs off to the ranch, determined to make a new start.

However, this new start does not turn out at all well for Molly. There are several offers on her ranch but she doesn't want to sell - she wants to carry on her father's legacy and is determined to prove that a woman can do the job just as well as her father did. But...someone is determined to undermine her and tries several attempts to ruin her plans and the ranch. To help her cope with all the underhand tactics is Clayton Leatherbe, the ranch foreman, who catches Molly's eye, but he has a few secrets of his own and tries to help Molly with her problems, without actually telling her about them! This romance was a little aside and not really the main plot, but the last sexual scene was quite sweet even though it ended badly!

Alongside all of this is a serial killer who only kills paedophiles and abusers, but takes an interest in Molly's husband's lover as well and causes him a great deal of pain and embarrassment. Eventually it was revealed who this killer was and it wasn't who I expected at all.

The plot was actually quite good, but I felt this story lacked action. It felt quite slow and even though it was pretty obvious who was sabotaging the ranch, none of the characters really suspected him until it was a bit too late! Sloan, Philip's original lover, I thought was completely crazy and really disliked his last scene in the field. I really didn't feel it leant anything to the story at all, other than leading to his demise, which would have happened anyway! And I'm not convinced by Molly's turnaround towards her husband and his new lover. I don't believe I would have been this laid back about meeting him after finding out about his first affair and inviting him to stay with me.

Anyway I would like to thank the author and publishers for sending me this book free through Netgalley.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Seducing the Demon Huntress by Victoria Davies

Synopsis from
Trick or treat, survive until the night's complete.

For most people Halloween is a night of candy, costumes and revelry but for Kerilyn, it’s the most dangerous night of the year. Hailing from a line of demon hunters, Kerilyn’s family has long been hated by the ruling lords of the Netherworld. On All Hallow’s Eve, the deadly brothers are released from their realm, along with their subjects, the spirits and the demons. Like every good hunter, Kerilyn fortifies her home with spells and tricks to keep her safe. But there is one man no spell can protect her heart from.

Arawn, Lord of the Spirits, has appeared at her fence every Halloween for years. While the handsome lord may turn her head with his heated looks and seductive words, Kerilyn knows without a doubt that should she ever invite him in, her life would be forfeit. But when his brother, the Lord of the Demons, kidnaps her niece, Kerilyn must leave her sanctuary. Now she has a choice. Can the man she’s dreamed of for years be trusted, or will the spirit lord help his brother destroy her?

My review
I really enjoyed this short story, but my only gripe with it was that it was just a little too short, so I am hoping there will be a follow up detailing how Kerilyn and Arawn get on in the Spirit world.

Kerilyn is the last of her hunter family. She knows that Hallowe'en is not just a fun night, going out trick or treating and that instead she must stay indoors with all the jack o'lanterns lit to stop the spirits from getting to her.

Arawn is the Lord of Spirits and has visited Kerilyn for the last nine Hallowe'en nights. He is determined to get her to open her gate and invite him in, but she finds him harder and harder to ignore each year.

This year is different though. Her niece has been kidnapped by Arawn's brother, the demon king and there is no-one else who can save her. This means Kerilyn has to leave the safety of her house for the very first time on Hallowen'en night. Will Kerilyn be able to get to Sarah in time? Will Arawn help her or lead her straight to the demon king's trap? Kerilyn doesn't know whether to trust what Arawn says or not, but she knows that she is going to go down fighting either way.

This was a lovely romantic story, with a great action plot alongside it. Although Arawn showed Kerilyn exactly what he felt about her, I can completely understand her reservations about him. Will definitely be on the hunt for the next book if there is one!

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and would like to thank the author and publisher for the opportunity to read it!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Moonglow by Kristen Callihan

Synopsis from
Once the seeds of desire are sown . . .

Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her. Yet her new-found freedom is short lived. A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy's door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors . . .

Their growing passion knows no bounds . . .

Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society. But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets. Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead. As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret, and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.

My Review
This was the second book in the Darkest London series and was just as good as the first, if not a bit better. This one revolved around Daisy, sister of Miranda from the first book and Lord Ian Ranulf, who also appeared in the first book. Daisy really didn't like Ranulf at all after he tried to come between her sister and her husband-to-be at the time by making frequent passes at her, so when Daisy finds herself involved in a werewolf attack and Ranulf saves her, he is the last person she wants to be near.

Ranulf is a lycan, a half man, half wolf who has not yet made the full turn into a werewolf. If he ever does there's no return for him! Living in London, exiled from his lycan clan after refusing to take the leadership of it after his father died, Ranulf just wants to live a normal life, but Daisy changes all of that. There is a werewolf attacking and killing humans, all of whom smell like Daisy and Ranulf knows that unless he keeps her safe, she will soon be on the werewolf's killing spree list! One problem with that! Daisy doesn't want Ranulf to keep her safe, but soon enough she starts to care and feel for him, even though at the same time she doesn't really like him.

I loved how the romance built up between these two. There was no denying there was a lot of passion between them and even though Ranulf had tried to build these impregnable walls around himself, Daisy still managed to worm her way into his heart. Loved the ending as well - I did think that maybe Daisy would do what she did in order to be with him. I didn't expect the werewolf to be who it was as well, so a nice twist in there too.

Daisy was a great character. Although set in the Victorian times, she was certainly no push over for Ranulf and gave him as good as she got. He was very funny as well - very sarcastic at times, my kind of humour!

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and would like to thank the author and publisher for the opportunity to read it!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Firelight by Kristen Callihan

Synopsis from

Once the flames are ignited . . . 

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity . . .

Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.

My review

This book doesn't fit neatly into any one category but it is mostly historical romance with a touch of paranormal thrown in for good measure.

Miranda has a gift, which she sees as more of a curse - the gift of creating and manipulating fire. Archer is a very strange and mysterious man, wearing a mask to hide his face, supposedly to hide his disfigurement and inflicts fear amongst men and passion amongst women everywhere he goes. Miranda's father sells her off to Archer as his bride and Miranda, when given the choice by Archer, readily accepts if nothing more than to escape her father's constant bitterness and anger towards her.

She doesn't know what to expect when she marries Archer, but she certainly doesn't expect her feelings towards him to develop so quickly or so intensely. And boy were they intense for most of the book! She is thrown into noble society, full of powerful and rich men, but when these men start being murdered and all the evidence points to Archer, Miranda knows she must help find the real killer, even if it means putting herself in danger and using her most feared powers.

I loved the mysteriousness of Archer. I was constantly begging the author to reveal what he was - he was stronger than average, so indicated some some of supernatural being, but when it was finally revealed it was so not what I expected. Just a man playing God really!

Loved the big baddy at the end as well - took me a while to work out that one too! Looking forward to reading the next book in the series now!

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and would like to thank the author and publisher for the opportunity to read it!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Synopsis from
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

My Review
Atticus O'Sullivan is an Irish Druid, an original Druid from 2100 years ago, but currently living in Arizona with his dog, running a herb shop. He's actually been on the run for a few hundred years now from one of the old Celtic gods, but unfortunately that god has now found out where he is and is sending everything he can after Atticus to retrieve a very powerful sword which Aenghus Óg believes should be his. Attitcus has basically had enough of running and decides he likes Arizona too much to move again so he's going to fight the battle this time, only he has to make sure he can win against the gods and all his hellish demon creatures! Lucky for him he has some powerful friends to help out against his enemies and against those who stabbed him in the back. As Atticus would say "Never trust a witch!"

Although there was a lot of mythology in this story, it didn't distract from the read at all, it was fed in nicely without overloading you with information. I loved the style of writing and found it moved at a nice, brisk pace. I totally loved the conversations between Atticus and his dog Oberon (yes he can talk to his dog through his druidic powers!). Oberon is just so funny and all he cares about is getting his own harem of French poodles!

A completely different style of story to what I usually read, mostly because the main protagonist is male, but a fantastic read all the same. Looking forward to reading some more in this series!

I did receive this book free from the publishers through NetGalley, but my review is my own opinion. Thanks to the author and publishers for my copy!