Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review: Born In Blood by Alexandra Ivy @NetGalley

Title: Born in Blood

Author: Alexandra Ivy

Series: The Sentinels #1

Publication date: December 31st, 2013

ISBN: 9781420125146

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
In a stunning new paranormal romance series—even edgier than her bestselling Guardians of Eternity books—New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Ivy lures readers into the dark, seductive world of the Sentinels—humans outcast by their hidden abilities, treading the line between life and death, good and evil, pleasure and pain...

Born In Blood

Sergeant Duncan O’Conner has seen it all before. A beautiful erotic dancer is found murdered in her home—no suspect, no motive. But there’s one clue: she’s missing her heart. It’s enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro—one of the dead-channeling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It’s a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desperate measures.

Unlike the other “high-bloods” in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer’s final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie’s skills to the test, O’Conner’s career at risk, and both their hearts on the line... literally.

Review:
I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Alexandra Ivy is a name I have come to know from being involved in a paranormal romance book club and finding the genre to be one of my favorites of all time. I had never read any of her work and was hungry to sink my teeth into the first in one of her new series. The synopsis brought to light a whole new world of fantasy that was moderately unique. Other authors have done similar things with worlds were humans and superhumans coexist and are aware of each other, but not to this extent. I was anxious to wrap myself in a new world with new rules and new fantastical creatures to learn about.

Duncan is a cop first and foremost. Nothing else matters to him except his drive to bring justice to those harmed in his hometown of Kansas City. He is one of the few humans that hold no true animosity to the high-bloods (a group name for superhumans such as psychics, diviners/necromancers, and witches). He would rather keep his cases from involving the freaks, but he understand that sometimes his department needs a bit more help than mere humans can offer. Enter Callie Brown. She is a diviner who can enter the minds of the recently dead and view their last moments of life in hopes of finding the animal that murdered them. Duncan has always found Callie irresistible and is determined to coax her into his bed. Freak or not, she is the most dynamite woman he has ever laid eyes on. He can almost forget the dead girl with the missing heart and no signs of trauma to explain the disappearance. Almost.

Callie is called in on another of Duncan's case. With her tattooed mountain of a guardian following her every move it's hard to really get to know the handsome cop... especially when they only ever meet when some poor soul has lost their life. She is inside the mind of the dead, heartless woman when she comes face-to-face with a necromancer of great power. She realizes this is not an ordinary case. She must find this necromancer and stop him before his ability to turn corpses into walking, talking zombies threatens not just the human world but the world of the high-bloods as well.

Callie and Duncan are forced to wade the tranquil waters of a horrifying case set in motion by a psychotic high-blood and a budding romance between them. Humans and high-bloods are not supposed to mix, but there may be more to this particular human than meets the eye. Can Callie and Duncan find a balance between the mutual hatred of their kinds to both stop a madman and nurture the connection growing between them?

Let me first say, I am a romance fanatic. If a story doesn't have at least a hint of romance in it, I rarely want to read it. This book did not have that problem. There was plenty of romance to go around... in fact, too much romance to go around. The romance between Callie and Duncan ruined the reading experience for me, to be frank. I hated the fact that Duncan always said EXACTLY the right thing. It was always poetic and heartfelt and that just doesn't happen in reality. Sure, men can be sensitive, but from the moment they were alone Duncan was confessing how deeply he felt for her and the had only really talked this one time. Too fast, too corny, and too unbelievable. Callie's reserved nature was a bit more spot on as far as romances go, but even she had her moments of eye-rolling antics.

Now, the single saving grace that kept me reading and kept me moderately interesting despite speed reading through the romantic scenes was the world created. I liked that humans and high-bloods tended to look down their noses at each other as if they were more superior than the other. I liked the various mystical races created. I liked Fane's hard ass personality more than the author probably intended. In short, everything but the two main characters and their relationship.

I would recommend Born in Blood if you prefer sentimental romances where the characters are the epidemy of perfection in their relationships.

Available at:
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Review: Dollface by Renee Rosen @ReneeRosen1 @penguinusa

Title: Dollface: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties

Author: Renee Rosen

Publication date: November 5th, 2013

ISBN: 9780451419200

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
America in the 1920s was a country alive with the wild fun of jazz, speakeasies, and a new kind of woman--the flapper.

Vera Abramowitz is determined to leave her gritty childhood behind and live a more exciting life, one that her mother never dreamed of. Bobbing her hair and showing her knees, the lipsticked beauty dazzles, doing the Charleston in nightclubs and earning the nickname "Dollface."

As the ultimate flapper, Vera captures the attention of two high rollers, a handsome nightclub owner and a sexy gambler. On their arms, she gains entrée into a world filled with bootleg bourbon, wailing jazz, and money to burn. She thinks her biggest problem is choosing between them until the truth comes out. Her two lovers are really mobsters from rival gangs during Chicago's infamous Beer Wars, a battle Al Capone refuses to lose.

The heady life she's living is an illusion resting on a bedrock of crime and violence unlike anything the country has ever seen before. When the good times come to an end, Vera becomes entangled in everything from bootlegging to murder. And as men from both gangs fall around her, Vera must put together the pieces of her shattered life, as Chicago hurtles toward one of the most infamous days in its history, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Review:
I received a physical copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

I have always said I would never find a historical fiction book that involved romance that I actually liked. Most of them seem to be what I call "bodice rippers" with Fabio types on the cover whisking them women away in an age I have no hopes of finding relevant to my own life. However, I have always had a fondness for the 20's and thought being dragged into the world of flappers and mobsters would be an amazing read. Which is why I made a point to get a hold of the publisher in hopes of reviewing this book as soon as I could. Luckily they took a chance on me and sent me the book.

Vera's world was filled with working constantly just to stay afloat. She is living in a rooming house with her best friend, Evelyn, and all she can think of is finding a way of never chasing the almighty buck. She wants to be comfortable and escape her past where her father was murdered and dismembered and her mother was forced to take over the family business in a man's world. She watched her mother's struggles and swore she would never have that life.

Enter Shep Green. He is a smooth-talking rich nightclub owner who wanders into Vera's world and shows her the life she always dreamed possible. She was all set to picture a future with Shep until the fateful night she realizes Shep is more than just a nightclub owner. He is a gun-toting member of the North Side Gang. After seeing what a gang did to her father, she had no desire to get involved with such a man.

Then comes Tony Liolli. He is passionate and wild. He is everything Shep wasn't. He doesn't treat her like a doll (to which Shep hammers such a thing home by called Vera "Dollface"). Their romance is a lusty tangle of sex and all the excitement Vera had longed for. She continues things with Tony even after Shep's persistent attempts to win Vera back finally cause her resolve to falter. Come to find out, Tony is also a gangster... a gangster of Shep's rivals, the South Side Gang.

Now Vera is torn between two rivals wondering who she could make a life with. The passionate gambler who causes her heart to race or the steady nightclub owner who could protect her from anything that threatens her safety. Little does Vera know that her love life is the least of her worries. The life of a gun moll is dangerous and her life is hanging in the balance.

I didn't know I would find this book as appealing as I did. I found Vera's nievity to be a bit irritating at times and I wished she would stop flip-flopping between the two men, pick a side, or walk away. Her constant dancing between the two men made me want to shake her (as does must love triangles). I found I liked Tony a bit more than Shep. I was rooting for Tony all the way and while I hoped Vera would just get out of the mobster life, I was intrigued by the entire world. I knew a bit about the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and the working of Al Capone, I didn't know the specifics and this was a great history lesson on top of a great romance.

All in all, I really liked this book. I think anyone who wants to learn about Al Capone, the roaring 20's, or just wants an usual love triangle that doesn't involve vampires and werewolves, will love this book.

Dollface is a story with a sweet name but a bloody story line rooted in reality.

Available at:
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Friday, December 13, 2013

Book Tour Review + Giveaway: Crystal Fire by Jordan Dane @jordandane @harlequinteen


Title: Crystal Fire

Author: Jordan Dane

Series: The Hunted #2

Publication date: November 26th, 2013

ISBN: 9780373210930

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Because of what you are, the Believers will hunt you down.

A storm is brewing on the streets of LA, one that has intensified since a tragic and deadly confrontation claimed an innocent life.

While Gabriel Stewart trains his army of teen psychics to stop Alexander Reese--the obsessed leader of the Believers--the fanatical church becomes more bent on the annihilation of all Indigo and Crystal children. They're silencing the voices of the telepathic hive, one soul at a time, with frightening experiments cruelly executed on vulnerable minds.

When the Believers torture a mysterious homeless boy, Oliver Blue, they brainwash him into betraying his own. The boy becomes a deadly pawn to take Gabriel down. As the fires of chaos burn around him, Gabe is running out of time. He'll need to confront his past--and the man who made him--before the hope of peace for the future is silenced forever.

Review:
I received an e-copy of this book from the blog tour host in exchange for participation in the tour and an honest review.

To be fair, I may have decided to read this book mainly on cover appeal. I saw the wispy fire-like cover and was intrigued to say the least. Then I learned it was the sequel to a book I had long been wanting to read. Despite the fact I would need to read two books to participate in the tour. I accepted the challenge happily. I dug into the first book in the series straight away and quickly hopped in the sequel eager to find out what happened next.

In the first book the series, we are introduced to a motley crowd of children and teenagers alike who present with psychic abilities. They are believed to be the makings of evolution and seen as not quite human by the non-Indigo people known as the Believers. Rayne searches for her brother and comes face-to-face with a powerful psychic boy named Gabriel in the first book. They are seen preparing for war against the Believers and Ward 8 of a mental hospital in which experiments and torture is performed on these unusual children.

Gabriel has gone from loner to leader of the pack of Indigo children in the matter of a few short months. He knows that he is to do battle with a organization that has more advantages than he could ever imagine. He must prepare his Indigo family for a battle that will surely come at any moment. All the while, he starts sensing the presence of another strong psychic child who is in desperate need of his help.

Oliver Blue has only ever known how to run. When he is captured with a young girl who sought him out to find her long lost friend, he was subjected to sensory deprivation torture in hopes of weakening him enough to be manipulated by his captors. When the Believers ask him to find Gabriel he does so, but finds himself conflicted with turning the boy who he feels an unusual connection to in to the people who have been the source of his living hell.

Soon enough the battle is on and Gabriel must decide whether he is to trust the mysterious Oliver or leave him to the people who will surely be his undoing.

I was kind of on the fence about the first book. I think it was because the other book was all about discovering what Indigo children are and how to avoid being captured and this one is about those same scared children standing up for themselves and waging war on the adults that want to end their existences. I like strong characters and them running around petrified and cowering from the Believers irked me a bit. This was definitely better.

I like the introduction of Oliver and Caila (awesome spelling of the name). It was nice to see a few new faces. I absolutely loved Oliver's wit. Especially when he started saying he was not going to die in pastel hospital pajamas that make him look like the Easter Bunny. I wouldn't want to die in pastels either. Well put, Oliver. Caila started out as a strong main character and then somewhere along the way she dropped off and became insignificant. I don't know if the author got tired of her or just didn't want to keep her in the series. I was a big disappointed in that. I liked Oliver and Caila's interactions.

All-in-all, a fun read. Better than the first and hopefully not as good as the next (if there is a next).

Crystal Fire is a riveting sequel that will show the devastation of discrimination in a world where all the Indigo children want is to live in peace.

Available at:
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Rest of the Series


Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane (The Hunted #1) - Goodreads / Amazon


About the Author:
Avon/HarperCollins launched Jordan Dane's debut suspense novels in a back to back publishing event in Spring 2008 after buying the 3-book series in auction. Pursuing publication since 2003, Jordan had received awards in 33 national writing competitions and was an energy sales manager in the oil and gas industry prior to selling. Now she is following her passion and writes full time.

Ripped from the headlines, Jordan's gritty plots weave a tapestry of vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. She loves challenging a reader's moral barometer with the borderline ethics of her characters and their flawed personalities—dark, angst-ridden antiheroes pitted against unforgettable villains. Publishers Weekly compared her intense pacing to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag—"romantic suspense that crosses over into plain thriller country with tight plotting and exceptional male characters, both bad guys and good."



Rest of the Tour

December 2nd:
Kelly P's Blog - Promo Post
Magic of Words - Excerpt 
Read it in Houston - Excerpt

December 3rd:
Dark Novella - The truth behind the character of Caila Ferrie

December 4th:
V's Reads - Review
Imagine a World - Review
Mom With a Kindle - Film Casting
The Cover Contessa - Swoon Scene: Kendra & Rafe

December 5th:
Falling For YA - Excerpt
Addicted Readers - Excerpt

December 6th:
Le' Grande Codex - Excerpt
Books and Bindings - Excerpt

December 9th:
Alwaysjoart - Excerpt

December 10th:
Team Nerd Reviews - Promo Post
The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club - Guest Post: Imagery in Crystal Fire

December 11th:
Books I View - Review
I Heart YA Books - Review
Bookish - Swoon Scene: Gabe & Rafe

December 12th:
Bookloving Hippo - Review
Crossroad Reviews - Spotlight
Lovely Reads - Review

December 13th:
JeanzBookReadNReview - The Believer's Mysterious Ward 8
Happy Indulgence - Review

Giveaway!!
(10) Finished Copies of Crystal Fire (US/Can)



Hosted by:

Book Tour Review + Giveaway: World of Ash by Shauna Granger @dyingechoes @NereydaG1003 #worldofash


Title: World of Ash

Author: Shauna Granger

Publication date: December 2nd, 2013

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
There are two inherent truths in the world; life as we know it is over, and monsters are real.

The Pestas came in the night, spreading their pox, a deadly plague that decimated the population. Kat, one of the unlucky few who survived, is determined to get to her last living relative and find shelter from the pox that continues to devastate the world. When it mutates and becomes airborne, Kat is desperate to avoid people because staying alone might be her only chance to stay alive.

That is, until she meets Dylan. Dylan with his easy smile and dark, curly hair, has nowhere to go and no one to live for. He convinces Kat there can be safety in numbers, that they can watch out for each other. So the unlikely couple set off together through the barren wasteland to find a new life--if they can survive the roaming Pestas, bands of wild, gun-toting children, and piles of burning, pox-ridden bodies.

Review:
I received an e-copy of this book from the blog tour host for participation in the tour and an honest review.

With the threat of the world ending just last year still heavy in my mind (not that I believed such things, of course), I have found my way into a lot of post-apocalyptic reads. I find the devastation of a world destroyed or life as we know it being threatened to be of particular interest. Watching characters turn to their most basic instincts and fight to stay alive. Isn't that what makes for a good read? To watch a life decimated only to look up and realize everything is right in the world of reality? Makes people grateful for what they have, and I with Thanksgiving having just past, I was in the mood for a book that made me grateful for an easy existence.

World of Ash hits the ground running from the very first sentence. Kat is a young girl who is on her own. Her parents are lost to the disease that has claimed a majority of the world. She only knows of an uncle who lives off the grid and in the safety of his "hippie" lifestyle on Washington. She is desperate to get to him and his hydroelectrical oasis of a state. She is forced to face groups of survivors who have decided to take whatever they can from whomever they please without any regard for those people they leave stripped of all their supplies. After one particular incident leaves Kat even more frightened than before, she chooses to avoid people as a whole. That is until Dylan stumbles up to the doorstep of the house she is squatting in.

Dylan is desperate for help for his last surviving friend, despite the clear evidence that his friend is already infected. He made his way to a town doctor's house for help and only finds Kat in the physician's place. Soon after he loses his friend to the pox and is left to wonder what to do now. Kat is his lifeline. She is the first person his is confronted with after losing everyone he knows and he clings to her. He begs her to let him come along with her to which she reluctantly agrees.

After that moment, Dylan and Kat are in it together. They are a unlikely duo set on reaching Kat's uncle in hopes of finally being safe. But the world is harsh and dangerous and they must trust in each other more than ever. With a budding romance cementing their connection to each other Dylan and Kat are on a trip for salvation that may just be their doom.

I had heard superior things about the author Shauna Granger. Her Elemental series is still resting heavily on my TBR and I was anxious to see how her writing was. I was sucked in pretty quickly. There was danger around every corner. I found myself squealing a few times over a few of the close calls Dylan and Kat had in their journey. My heart raced, my brain became scattered with scenerios and how I would handle them myself, and my finger could not dance quickly enough across the screen of my e-reader.

I did not know the book was going to leave on a cliffhanger so that was a big disheartening. I saw the percentage on my e-reader growing higher and higher and I knew there wasn't going to be a resolution in the last 3% of the book. I was devastated. I wanted to continue on further. I wanted to see what happened next. Cliffhangers can be the worst... but then there's the joy one can feel with knowing another full-length book is on the horizon.

World of Ash will rivet its readers with a tangible fear for the characters in the story and the reality that a world of devastation is not such a far off concept.

Available at:
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About the Author:
Like so many other writers, Shauna grew up as an avid reader, but it was in high school that she realized she wanted to be a writer. Five years ago, Shauna started working on her Elemental Series. She released the first installment, Earth, on May 1, 2011 and has since released four sequels, with the series coming to an end with Spirit. She is currently hard at work on a new Urban Fantasy series, staring a spunky witch with a smush-faced cat named Artemis.






Rest of the Tour

December 2nd: 
World of Dreams - Guest Post: Write What Scares You

December 3rd:
Kelly P's Blog - Excerpt #1
WOrKs of FiCTion - Review

December 4th:
Alwaysjoart - Excerpt #2

December 5th:
The Lovely Books - Review

December 6th:
A Dream Within A Dream - Why I'm Scared of the Zombie Apocalypse

December 9th:

December 10th:
Fic Central - Review
AbookandaLatte - Review

December 11th: 
Bookcrushin - Review
Word to Dreams - Review
Vailia's Page Turner - Review & Interview

December 12th:
Every Free Chance Book Reviews - What I'll Want/Need for an Apocalypse
Leeanna.me - Review
Justified Lunacy - Review
Victoria Simcox's Blog - Excerpt #4

December 13th:
NightlyReading - Review
Book Lovers Life - Review

December 14th: 
Giveaway!!
(2) Signed paperbacks of World of Ash (US only)
(2) eBooks of World of Ash (INT)




Hosted by:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Review: Wings of Fire by Caris Roane

Title: Wings of Fire

Author: Caris Roane

Series: Guardians of Ascension #3

Publication date: August 30th, 2011

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
By night, the winged warrior Antony Medichi fights the death vampires that threaten his world. By day, he hunts the rogue vampires who invade Mortal Earth. But deep in his heart rages the fiercest battle of all--his soul-searing passion for the one mortal he is sworn to protect... the one woman he is doomed to love.

Parisa Lovejoy is so beautiful, and so powerful, that Anthony cannot fight the feelings she arouses. But his unexpected love only intensifies his strength as her Guardian--a strength that is put to the ultimate test when Parisa is abducted. Her captor, Commander Greaves, enslaves mortal women for their blood. If Parisa hopes to survive--and ascend--she must forge an even deeper bond with Antony... in the flames of eternity.
Caris Roane's Wings on Fire is sizzling, passionate paranormal romance.

Review:
I bought this book for participation in my local Paranormal Romance Book Club. 

Since my book club has found this series interesting we are continuing on throughout the series and following the Warriors of Blood as they find their breh hedden mates. I am always curious about the differences in each of the love stories. Normally they have a general romance feel to them where there are obstacles in the way of a couple coming together and it is a matter of them getting over those hurdles to be together and live happily ever after. I wanted to see what happened to one of the warriors I liked from the start, Warrior Medichi.

The last book left off where Parisa had been kidnapped right from under her Guardian's nose. This book continues on with that story line by showing Antony struggling to cope with Parisa's absence and his desperation to find her at any cost. He foregoes sleep and other activities he once enjoyed in order to hunt down leads on where he can find the woman who stole his heart. When he finally gets a lead worth following he can't get to Parisa soon enough. 

All the while, Parisa is in a luxurious hell. Yes, she is well taken care of (when she obeys) but a gilded cage is still a cage. She looks up at the sky in the gardens she frequents and longs for the courage to spread her wings and fly away. The man keeping her, Rith, is a powerful one and she knows if she even attempts it she will not get far and will surely die because of it. Rith seems to be chomping at the bit to rid his home and his world of her existence. All she can do is practice her flying skills and live for the one moment at night where she can reach Antony through her voyeurism powers. 

War is raging and Antony and Parisa are only two people smack in the middle of it. But destiny has more in store for the two than just a love that knows no bounds. Antony and Parisa are foretold to bring peace to their world through their royle wings. Can Antony get to Parisa and save her before not just their future is demolished but their world as a whole?

I didn't like this book as much as I had hoped I would. In every book there is some sort of commitment issues that cause the two people to shy away from their mate bond. Usually it is centered around the man's guilt over losing a loved one (normally a wife or child). But it seemed in this book, it was more so Parisa who had the issues and pulled away. Don't get me wrong, Antony had his issues too (big ones), but Parisa was the main person to try to end what was developing between them. I didn't understand it. Her back story is centered around her never having friends or lovers because she traveled a lot. Uh, okay? So that means you can't finally have both of those in a very handsome package... why? I just didn't understand it which made the whole push-and-pull of their relationship a bit frustrating. I found myself rolling my eyes on a number of occasions when Parisa would start retreating.

Parisa is not my favorite female lead by any stretch of the imagination. I actually found her kind of obnoxious which almost ruined the entire book for me. But... I am a sucker for this series. I can't put them down even when I am raging at their characters. I love the world as a whole and getting to see some of my favorite characters, like Kerrick, Marcus, Havily, and Alison, makes it a great series. I love when previous characters still appear and carry on with their stories (albeit in less detail). 

The series is a big thumbs up, Wings of Fire was a middle of the road for me solely based on Parisa being a headcase.

Available at:
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