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Dec
13

Review: Collected by Shawntelle Madison

Review: Collected by Shawntelle Madison Collected Author: Shawntelle Madison  Release Date: Sept. 30, 2012 Publisher: Amazon Digital Coveted Series #0.5 Genre: Urban Fantasy, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Free on Amazon About the book:      Natalya Stravinsky, the charmingly neurotic werewolf from Coveted, is featured in this prequel novella. Before Thorn Grantham returned to South Toms River, New Jersey, Natalya lived alone with her stash of holiday trinkets. Her life takes an interesting turn when she faces a difficult challenge: to find a stolen figurine she’d recently won from a magical creatures auction website. It should be simple, just demand for it back from the pesky thief. But a set of events occurs that puts not only her life at risk, but her family’s as well. What I’m talking about:      The novella, Collected, takes place about 7 months before Coveted, the first book in Ms. Madison’s wolf-shifter urban fantasy series. Although technically a prequel to the series, it was released after the Coveted, and I think can be enjoyed either before or after the first book. However, for me, already knowing the idiosyncrasies of our heroine made this story more enjoyable.      Once again, our story is told from the first person point of view (POV) of Natalya (Nat) Stravinsky. Nat is a rogue werewolf, kicked out of her pack and virtually alone. She is also a tad neurotic and suffers from OCD, making her an even greater outcast. She lives to feed her collection of hard-to-find or one-of-a-kind holiday decorations. Nat was looking forward to the delivery of her newest “treasure” only to discover its package has been taken from her home. She begins to track down the culprit with a single-mindedness that is fierce, although she battles her need for cleanliness and order against the “unsanitary” conditions of the woods, which makes for entertaining reading.      After successfully tracking down the thief, Nat agrees to a dangerous mission in which she works with/for not one but two different nefarious creatures. Nat recruits her younger brother Alex and his buddy Miles to help her break into a Leprechaun-run factory and fulfill her bargains to win back her prize.      I like our heroine, Nat, so much more in Collected than in Coveted. Although she’s got her disorders and is far from perfect, she doesn’t come across as the broken, beaten-down woman she did in Coveted. This time around she’s determined and no longer wishy-washy. She goes up...
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Dec
11

Review: Magic for a Price by Devon Monk

Review: Magic for a Price by Devon Monk Magic for a Price Author: Devon Monk  Release Date: Nov. 6, 2012 Publisher: ROC Allie Beckstrom #9 ISBN: #978-0451464866 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       For most of her life, Allison Beckstrom has used magic and accepted the heavy price it exacts. But now that all magic is poisoned, it’s no longer just using people—it’s killing them.       With Portland about to descend into chaos, Allie needs to find a way to purify the wells of tainted magic beneath the city. But the only options left to her are grim: attempt to close down magic forever, or follow her father’s plan to set magic into the right hands—even though she’s learned to never trust his word.        Now, Allie will have to make a choice and face the darkness of her own deepest fears, before time runs out for them all… What Una is talking about:       How do you write the review for a final book in a series?  How do you sum up nine novels worth of mystery, challenge and sacrifice?  Without giving anything away, without ruining the first-time reader experience, while trying to convey how awesome it is?       I know beginnings are new and exciting while endings tend to be sad.  However, with this last installment in the Allie Beckstrom series, I am not sad.  Ms. Monk has delivered the final novel in Allie’s story arc befitting the type of woman Allie is – with all the rewards due and sacrifices accepted. With Magic for a Price we have come full circle with Allie, and in the future we will look to the series continuing through a different set of main characters (but they aren’t “new”).       I know I have mentioned it a few times in reviewing this series, but I will repeat myself, I apologize.  The Allie Beckstrom series I discovered quite by accident.  While glancing (gleaning every word on blog pages – searching for snippets) at another author’s webpage –cough-Ilona Andrews-cough– I saw a blog post for a book giveaway.  Who doesn’t want a free book from an author they like…  Well, I start looking at the blog post that was a cartoon sketch of the upcoming plot of a book.  To this day I still am not sure if it was Ms. Andrews or Ms. Monk (although I do believe...
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Dec
7

Quickie Review: Miracle in New Hope by Kaki Warner

Quickie Review: Miracle in New Hope by Kaki Warner Miracle in New Hope Author: Kaki Warner  Release Date: Dec. 11, 2012 Publisher: Penguin Genre: Historical Romance, Novella, holiday Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley About the book:      Amidst the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains in 1871, Daniel Hobart keeps to himself—a man with a hole in his heart that matches the scar on his face. But when Daniel starts having visions of a young girl crying out for help, he begins to fear that solitude may have caused him to lose his mind. Determined to find out the truth about the mysterious girl, Daniel travels into New Hope and learns that she’s the missing daughter of widow Lacy Ellis.      After a year of heartbreak, Lacy isn’t sure what to make of Daniel’s claims of seeing her daughter. But when he sets out to find Hannah on his own, Lacy decides to join him, allowing herself one last chance to hope. And as they retrace the long-cold trail of Hannah’s disappearance, two broken people manage to take some small comfort in each other, and in the possibility of a miracle… What Ang is talking about:      I loved Miracle in New Hope right from the beginning. I found it to be a gripping page turner, even if the pages were on my Kindle.      The descriptions were so vivid I found myself shivering in the cold as we traveled the rugged Colorado mountain passes and grateful for the relief the fires offered at the end of long journeys.      The characters were just as well written with real wounds. I found myself cheering for Daniel and Lacy as they dealt with intense hurt and damage, then struggled through their desires to heal and move forward with their lives. Hannah’s character was an interesting twist that tied everything together with just the right touch of mystery and heart.      Overall I found Miracle in New Hope to be a perfectly delightful and emotional read, full of the kind of romance and magic you want at Christmas time all year long.If you pick it up and read I’m certain you won’t be disappointed! I wasn’t. Ang’s Rating: Personal favorite – a must read (A+)   Purchase Info: Miracle in New Hope...
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Dec
6

Review: Dying Art by Shirley Wells

Review: Dying Art by Shirley Wells Dying Art Author: Shirley Wells  Release Date: Nov. 12, 2012 Publisher: Carina Press Dylan Scott Mystery #5 Genre: Mystery Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       Dylan Scott vowed never to return to the dreary town of Dawson’s Clough. But one visit from a beautiful ex-lover and he’s back in Lancashire, investigating a possible murder. The police think Prue Murphy died during a burglary gone wrong, but her sister isn’t so sure—and neither is Dylan. After all, the killer overlooked the only valuable thing in Prue’s flat.       So who could have wanted the quirky young woman dead, and why? Dylan’s search for answers takes him to France, where he discovers Prue’s family didn’t know her as well as they thought they did. And the more he digs, the more secrets he unearths—secrets someone would kill to keep buried… What I’m talking about:       Ex-police office Dylan Scott is an amazing detective with a proven track record. Unfortunately, there isn’t a high demand for solving mysterious deaths. That is until Dylan’s old flame, Madeleine “Maddie” Murphy comes tumbling into his office looking for help with the investigation into her sister Prue’s murder.       Back in Dawson’s Clough, Dylan sifts through the clues, meeting the main players, including Prue’s shady landlord, the owner of a not-very-successful wine bar, and the widow of a renowned artist, who may or may not have been friends with Prue. And as always, Dylan must juggle solving the crime with his family life, and this time, an ex-lover who wants to win Dylan back into her bed.       Oh, I LOVE the Dylan Scott Mysteries! There is just something about the almost anti-hero that has me cheering for him all the way. Dylan is a good man, and we’ve seen this time and time again, over the course of five stories. His life is far from perfect, but he makes the most of it. He loves his wife and kids and works hard.       I’ve said this before, but one of my favorite things about the Dylan Scott books is that we view the crime scene and plot development from multiple points of view. One would think that this would “give away” the murderer, but it actually has the opposite effect. The reader is left wondering “whodunit,” because everyone either seems to be hiding something, or totally innocent. The multiple POVs...
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Dec
6

Review: The Farm by Emily McKay

Review: The Farm by Emily McKay The Farm Author: Emily McKay  Release Date: Dec. 4, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade The Farm #1 ISBN: #978-0425257807 Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal) Format(s): Paperback (420 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…       And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.       Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…       Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race… What G & U are talking about:       The Farm is the first book in a new post-apocalyptic young adult series.  From the first page, you will be drawn into the plight of Lily and her sister, Mel.  However, do not base your opinion on the book blurb above…there is so much more to The Farm than it suggests.  This is a young adult novel for the more mature teen, high school age or older.  There are some serious topics discussed and some violence.       The world as we know ended six months prior to the beginning of The Farm, a time conveniently referred to as “Before”.  A pathogen was accidentally released, causing some humans to become mindless blood craving beasts: Ticks.  To protect the last vestiges of humanity, teenagers were gathered up and placed on “farms” for their protection.  However, all is not what it seems.  There is so much more going on than what Lily can fathom.       Although told from predominately Lily’s point of view, The...
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Dec
4

Review: Heart of Atlantis by Alyssa Day

Review: Heart of Atlantis by Alyssa Day Heart of Atlantis Author: Alyssa Day  Release Date: Dec. 4, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Warriors of Poseidon #8 ISBN: #978-0425245774 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Alaric, Poseidon’s High Priest, has made a vow to Quinn, the woman he loves and the leader of the Resistance: to save her friend Jack before his last bit of humanity has been drained. Should Alaric succeed, there’s one danger-he may lose Quinn to the love of the man whose life he saved… What I’m talking about: I have been waiting for this story since the very first Warriors of Poseidon book, Atlantis Rising. Ms. Day has been building the case for our heroes, Alaric and Quinn, from the very start. They’ve had a lot to overcome, including the long-held belief that the High Priest of Atlantis must remain celibate, a war between vampires and human kind, and Quinn’s near-death experiences. I mention all of this to you because my expectations ran high going into this story! Not to mention, Heart of Atlantis is the final book in Ms. Day’s series about the hardened warriors of Atlantis. If you are like me, you always hate to see a series you love end, but sometimes, it needs to happen. *NOTE* This review contains spoilers from the first seven books in this series. The book begins with a prologue that relives some of the final moments in the previous book, Vampire In Atlantis, where in the heat of battle, Quinn’s most trusted advisor and closest friend, Jack (a tiger shifter), is killed. His human side was lost, but his tiger side remained. Quinn won’t leave Jack’s side and Alaric vowed never to leave Quinn’s side. The trio journeyed to Mt. Fuji, Japan, to a quiet, hidden retreat. There they encountered a woman who claimed to be the spirit of the portal (the portal is the “gate” the Atlanteans can call up and use to move from place to place.) Alaric renounced his duties to Atlantis and Poseidon, the sea god himself. After six weeks of “recovering,” the group was attacked by flying monkey shifters. They also discovered that there was a pretender-to-the-throne, Ptolemy Reborn, who has the final jewel needed to raise Atlantis from the deep. He also appeared on national television, outing Quinn as the leader of the human resistance group, therefore putting her existing in peril. Knowing that they had to give up their seclusion,...
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Dec
3

Review: Angel In Chains by Cynthia Eden

Review: Angel In Chains by Cynthia Eden Angel In Chains Author: Cynthia Eden  Release Date: Nov. 27, 2012 Publisher: Kensington Brava The Fallen #3 ISBN: #978-0758267634 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      As a fallen Angel of Death, Azrael is cursed to walk the earth alone in search of redemption. One night, as he wanders the streets of New Orleans, he discovers a woman surrounded by panther shifters.  No longer able to contain the anger simmering within, Az summons his dark powers and attacks, determined to protect this innocent human from certain death.      Only Jade Pierce is no delicate flower.  She’s spent years learning to survive and fight the evil forces sent by her ex-lover who refuses to let her go. But after seeing Az in action, she figures she could use a little supernatural help. And so she plans a course of seduction guaranteed to arouse his interest and his angelic passions… What B is talking about:      Jade Pierce may be human, but she’s also deadly, strong, and clever. A survivor first and foremost, she’s lived her life on the run from her psychotic shifter ex for years. As much as she’d like to see Brandt dead, she knows she can’t kill him on her own, and has gotten very good at knowing when it’s time to escape. Getting close to anyone else has only led to the destruction of those she cares about, and standing up to Brandt was never an option she could allow herself to consider. Until she met Azrael.      Though he now roams the streets of New Orleans as a “fallen,” Azreal spent his entire heavenly existence bringing death to those whose time on earth had ended. Once the commander of angels, Az will do anything to get his wings back, but something about the fiery woman he’s decided to help makes him think that Heaven isn’t what he really needs after all. As much as he wants redemption, Az soon discovers that temptation is even better.      Angel in Chains is essentially a rescue story at its onset, but becomes much more than that by the end. Jade and Az both have ulterior motives for joining forces, and have no qualms about using each other to those ends. Jade wants protection from Brandt, and Azrael believes that saving her will be his redemption and path back to Heaven. But, as their story progresses...
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Nov
30

Review: City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

Review: City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte City of Dark Magic Author: Magnus Flyte   Release Date: Nov. 27, 2012 Publisher: Penguin Series: City of Dark Magic #1 ISBN: 978-0143122685 Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense Format(s): Paperback (464 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.       Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide. What VampBard’s talking about:       Feeding the musician with her favorite composer?  Yes, please!  Sure, the blurb talks about Beethoven, but I never dreamed that Magnus Flyte would create such a compelling plot surrounding the mystery of Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved!       I took notes on the characters in this novel. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get my wires crossed.  Eventually, I did stop taking notes; I figured that I would be able to keep things straight because I had fallen completely in love with the characters created in City of Dark Magic.       I adore Sarah.  This tenacious heroine of our story had more guts than I initially gave her credit.  Beginning the story, she appeared to be an insecure music historian, trying to find her own way in the shadow of her mentor.  When she received her invitation to curate the Beethoven collection in Prague, I felt she began coming out of her shell.  Sarah, however, was no prude.  The girl likes sex, and she’s adventurous!       Nico.  A little person.  He’s positively ancient, too.  His teasing bites of snark kept me chuckling and on my toes.  No.  There wasn’t anything kinky about Nico.       Max, however, began the story shielded in mystery and...
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Nov
28

Review: Nightingale by Jennifer Estep

Review: Nightingale by Jennifer Estep Nightingale Author: Jennifer Estep   Release Date: July 12, 2012 Publisher: Self-published Bigtime Superheroes #4 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): E-book Book Source: Author About the book: Anxious brides. Drunken businessmen. Panicked partygoers. As Bigtime, New York’s premiere event planner, Abby Appleby is capable of handling almost any crisis, but even she’s not prepared when she finds herself in the middle of a fight between superhero Talon and his ubervillain nemesis Bandit. Abby manages to save Talon, but the superhero is temporarily blinded, so she takes him back to her loft, where the two wait out a snowstorm. During a blizzard that shuts down the city, Abby and Talon grow close, and he starts calling her Nightingale because of her love of music and singing. But Abby is afraid of what Talon will think when he can see the real her, so she conceals her identity from the sexy superhero, and they go their separate ways. However, Abby discovers that Talon is looking for Nightingale, looking for her—and so is Bandit. The mercenary ubervillain thinks that Abby has information that belongs to his boss, the mysterious Tycoon. Abby knows that she’s in serious trouble and that not even Talon—or the Fearless Five—may be able to save her … What G & U are talking about: The Bigtime Superheroes series is, as described on Ms. Estep’s website, “book candy.”  We really feel this is a great description of this e-book series.  If you love comic books, superheroes and ubervillians, then you really should check out this series.  Gikany and Una started, by chance, with A Karma Girl Christmas.  We enjoyed the story so much; we were pleasantly surprised to be able to have a chance at reviewing the latest book in the series, Nightingale. Abby is your dependable gal Friday.  She always makes it happen, never lets anyone down and gets the job done. Despite all her hard work and determination, she is very good at being behind the scenes. She feels invisible, unlike the high society darlings, she feels like a wallflower that just blends into the background — easily dismissed and overlooked.  Poor Abby has given up on love – between her super senses and being so average – she has thrown herself into her business.   However, everything changes when she has a chance encounter with Talon – one of Bigtime’s superheroes. Talon is not like most of the superheroes in Bigtime.  He is not imbued with super senses...
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Nov
26

Review: Dire Wants by Stephanie Tyler

Review: Dire Wants by Stephanie Tyler Dire Wants Author: Stephanie Tyler  Release Date: Nov. 6, 2012 Publisher: Signet Eclipse Eternal Wolf Clan #2 ISBN: #978-0451238467 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (400 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      The supernatural world is rising up against the human one. The weretrappers want control, and only the immortal Dire wolves stand in the way of total destruction. Stray, a Dire, and his long-lost brother, Killian, emerge as the leaders of their pack. To keep themselves and the humans safe, the Dires need a witch as powerful as Seb, who betrayed the Dires to work for the weretrappers.      They find what they are looking for in Kate, a human who survived a horrible car accident that left her back scarred with a handprint no one else can see. Stray senses Kate’s abilities as a witch and recruits her to help the Dires — all the while knowing she is so powerful they will need to kill her once she helps defeat the weretrappers.      Stray doesn’t expect the powerful connection that he feels with Kate, or his irresistible need to protect her. They cannot hide their feelings for each other, and what once was taboo now seems inevitable… What I’m talking about:      Dire Wants is the second story in Ms. Tyler’s wolf-shifter series, The Eternal Wolf Clan. The overall story centers around the Dire Wolves, a small group of immortal wolf-shifters, each with special abilities, that are burdened with protecting the earth and humans from the evil paranormals, such as witches and demons. They differ from regular weres in that they cannot be killed, are stronger and more violent-natured, and are governed by a mythical god-like group known as the Elders. This story picks up immediately after the first book, Dire Needs.      Our book opens with a brief prologue giving the reader a snapshot into the childhood of our heroine, Kate. Clearly she’s gifted with some sort of “powers,” and her mother abuses Kate, claiming Kate is doing the devil’s work. Kate’s life changes dramatically the day she survives a massive car accident that takes the lives of her parents.      We flash forward to current day where Kate is unknowingly being used by Leo Shimmin, ring leader of a warped group of weretrappers bent on destroying the Dires and using the weres to take over the humans. Kate is rescued by Dire Brother, Stray, who finds...
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