Friday, March 31, 2017

Series Review: Blood Cross & Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter

I am a late comer to the Jane Yellowrock series, having started after I was introduced to the world in Faith's new spinoff series, Soulwood. But I am enjoying Jane and Beast so much, that I am in the middle of a binge read/listen. The big problem with binge reads for me in a series like this is that the stories start to run together and I can't remember what happened in which book - so that is why you may see a couple of these review posts where I am reviewing the books together.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Guest Review: Wild Wicked Scot by Julia London

Series:     Highland Grooms #1
Pub. Date:Dec. 27, 2016
Length:378 pages

A Highlander and his impetuous young bride discover their marriage of convenience isn't what they expected it to be when poor decisions, family drama, and politics interfere.

Aaran McKenzie was decisive, protective, and had a touch of pride and temper that didn't help their with his new young wife. Her leaving him in the dust shortly after their wedding doesn't help his heart or his confidence. It was hard not to like Aaran because he's..well, he's just a lot more likeable than Margot. A smarter man would have tossed in the towel sooner, but props to Aaran for taking his marital vows seriously. His devotion to his clan and their well-being stood out dramatically among the political pettiness being played out.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Audiobook Review: Slightly Scandalous by Mary Balogh

Series:     Bedwyn Saga #3
Pub. Date:Jan. 17, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Rosalyn Landor
Length:11 hrs 55 min

Slightly Scandalous is the third book in the Bedwyn Saga, following a large aristocratic family in the early 19th Century. Tt was not until after I finished this audiobook that I realized that the heroine was actually introduced in a prequel to the series, which I did not know about. I wish I would have read A Summer to Remember first, as that story is such a huge part of Freya Bedwyn's history.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Series Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Roshani Chokshi is a new-to-me author and one to go on my auto-buy list. I initially received an advanced review copy of Crown of Wishes, not realizing it was the second book in the series. So that is what led me to pick up The Star-Touched Queen, Chokshi's debut novel, and I was blown away. What an outstanding entree into the writing world!

Monday, March 27, 2017

ARC Review: The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

Series:     Tales of the Black Lily #1
Pub. Date:March 27, 2017
Length:300 pages

I can't tell you how excited I was when I learned that Juliette Cross was writing a series of retellings. I fell in love with her Morgons in the Nightwing and Vale of Stars series, so I couldn't wait to see what she would do with beloved characters from our childhood. And let me tell you... this is definitely Cinderella like you have never seen her before!

I won't rehash all of the world building because Juliette gives you a nice prologue giving the history of her fantastical realm of Varis featuring, much like the original fairytale, a hierarchical class system. The royal family consists of vampires, which are served by aristocrats, which are in turn served by peasants. Like many historical societies, the social stratification inspired a rebellion in the most harshly treated of the society. It is this framework of revolution in which we find The Black Lily

Friday, March 24, 2017

Audiobook Review: If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell

Series:     Disgraceful Dukes #2
Pub. Date:Jan. 17, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Beverley A. Crick
Length:9 hrs 14 min

The Disgraceful Dukes series continues with If I Only Had a Duke featuring funny and endearing characters, reluctant romance and steamy interludes. The narrator, Beverley A. Crick, gave us an exceptional performance. She was a dab hand at Irish and Italian affectations (even when they were supposed to be bad), and was believable as both female and male personas. I will definitely look for more of her work in the future.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Guest Review by Julie: A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

Series:     Veronica Speedwell #2
Pub. Date:Jan. 10, 2017
Length:338 pages

An intriguing mystery, a colorful cast of suspects, and our charming duo of amateur detectives made A Perilous Undertaking a smashing good read! 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ARC Review: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Series:     Blood Rose Rebellion #1
Pub. Date:March 28, 2017
Length:416 pages

Blood Rose Rebellion is the first installment of a series by the same name, by debut author Rosalyn Eves. This historical fantasy story features a society with magical abilities intermixed with the activities leading up to the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. The population is separated and defined by their magical abilities, with the upper echelon Luminate hoarding the magical reserves for themselves and shunning those with lesser or no magic. The Romani also play a big part in this story - separated from both the magical and mundane by prejudicial views toward the gypsy way of life.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ARC Review: It Started with a Kiss by Ella Quinn

Series:     Worthingtons #3
Pub. Date:March 28, 2017
Length:320 pages

The ginormous Worthington family is back in this third installment of the series, with a strong-willed young heroine and a prideful hero in a refreshing love at first sight scenario. While I don't believe its absolutely necessary to read the earlier books... I would recommend reading at least the first book, Three Weeks to Wed, to get the background on the very large blended family of eleven!!! children. Grace and Matt (the children's guardians) showed that romance was possible even when responsibility is weighing you down.

Monday, March 20, 2017

ARC Review: The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston

Series:     Call of Crows #3
Pub. Date:March 28, 2017
Length:400 pages

The Crows are back for the third installment of the series, and I think this is my favorite thus far. This series is action-packed and full of Norse Gods and their minions that kind of protect humans, but not really. These crazy warriors are all about the glory of battle, and are somewhat single-minded in that focus. They are mostly violent vikings who like to fight, fly, screw and eat. The minions are split into clans based on the god they serve... the Crows serving Skuld and the Ravens serving Odin. The Norse Gods don't feature overmuch in the series, but seem to pop in and cause trouble from time to time.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Audiobook Review: Rebel by Eve Langlais

Series:     Space Gypsy #3
Pub. Date:Feb. 14, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Chandra Skyye
Length:9 hrs 22 min

The Space Gypsy Chronicles continues with this third installment of the series, picking up where Sinner left off, with our protagonists escaping an imploding Lac'uus by the skin of their teeth. Our dynamic trio is now floating in space in a very small life pod just hoping for a rescue by someone who is more interested in money than enslaving or eating them.

I seriously love both Rafe and Mikhail. While their personalities differ slightly, they are both humorously oversexed alien bipods. The banter between the two is great... they outwardly hate one another but secretly have tender familial feelings toward the other. Mikhail was really the more sympathetic character of this installment... he is feeling much more turmoil over his feelings toward Rafe and Emma alike. This drew me into his character and created a stronger connection than the shallow sexpot pit fighter that we met in Sinner

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Guest Review by Julie: A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Series:     Veronica Speedwell #1
Pub. Date:July 12, 2016
Length:368 pages

Veronica is quite the unusual young lady. She's feisty, extremely opinionated, sarcastic, and lacking in feminine pursuits-like needlepoint and husband catching-and she happens to be a lepidopterist (person who studies butterflies). 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

ARC Review: Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter

Series:     Fairy Tale Retellings #1
Pub. Date:March 15, 2017
Length:342 pages

Beauty of the Beast is an adult retelling of the classic fairytale featuring a likable heroine and tragic hero set in a historical, fictional French village. This is a story to pick up when you are looking for a meandering leisurely romantic tale with rich detail. I sadly have not read the original Beauty and the Beast, so I can't compare this retelling with anything but the Disney movie... something I hope to rectify in the near future.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

ARC Review: Hisses & Honey by Shannon Mayer

Series:     Venom #3
Pub. Date:March 7, 2017
Length:240 pages

In this final installment of the Venom trilogy, things are going to come to a head between our sssuper duper heroine, Hera, and half of the Greek pantheon. Alena Budrene, Drakaina and baker, has moved on from being the reluctant savior of Seattle and is taking charge on multiple fronts. Not only does she have to worry about Hera's next hero, but she also needs to deal with the vampires, her relationships (both love and familial), a raging Aegrus virus, and the latest psychopathic monster created by Merlin. At least her divorce is over and done with, even if her lousy ex is still hanging around.

ARC Review: Fangs & Fennel by Shannon Mayer

Series:     Venom #2
Pub. Date:Jan. 10, 2017
Length:258 pages

The Venom Trilogy is back with our super duper heroine's continued battles against her soon-to-be-ex-husband, a segregated society, and a supernatural goddess. This urban fantasy series is a melting pot of humans, supernatural and mythical creatures. I enjoy the light-hearted take on this segregated society that highlights social issues and inequality between the species.

In Venom & Vanilla, our heroine, Alena Budrene was changed into a supernatural after she contracted the Aegrus virus and was slated to die. Requesting to be made into something special, sorcerer Merlin made her into a greek monster, the Drakaina, a venomous snake that is two stories tall. Alena then begins her battle against her cheating husband who left her to die and steal her inheritance, in addition to battling the Goddess Hera and her champions.

Monday, March 13, 2017

ARC Review: Souljacker by Yasmine Galenorn

Series:     Lily Bound #1
Pub. Date:March 7, 2017
Publisher:Diversion Books
Tantor Audio
Length:292 pages
9 hrs 42 min
Narrator:Cassandra Campbell
Source:NetGalley / Publisher

This story runs the supernatural spectrum from Fae to Demons to Vampires to Witches to Weres to regular old run-of-the-mill humans. Vampires are the dangerous underbelly of society on the cusp of a power play to make them more powerful than any other species/race. Weres seem somewhat insular and tend to think with that mob/pack mentality that is probably innate to their nature. While we don't have much info on the witches, besides Dani, they seem to be of the lone wolf variety, mixing with all the species (except vampires) at will.

The Fae were my favorite aspect of this story, and the reason I wanted to read the book. I am a sucker for a good Faery tale. The Fae did not feature heavily in this first installment, but I believe that will change in the future. Lily has a special bond to the Wynter Faery Queen, and we did get a brief visit to the Wynter court. That was probably my favorite part of this book so I hope more trips to Faery happen in the future. All the references to Wynter and her court made me think this was a spinoff series as they were mentioned like we should know who they are... but I haven't confirmed or denied the spinoff aspect as of the time I am writing this review. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Audiobook Review: Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost

Series:     Night Prince #4
Pub. Date:Feb. 28, 2017
Narrator:Tavia Gilbert
Length:9 hrs 8 min

Let me start out this review by raving about the narrator. Tavia Gilbert has done such a great job with this series. She portrays every character as a distinct individual and has no problem switching between male and female personas. The performance of this last installment of the series conveyed the appropriate emotions and held my attention for the entirety.

***Please excuse any misspelled names in this review. Listening in audio makes it hard to reference some of the unfamiliar/uncommon names/places/etc.***  Also - SPOILER ALERT - this review may contain slight spoilers for earlier books in the series.

BookShots Mini Review: Bedding the Highlander by Sabrina York

Pub. Date:March 7, 2017
Length:160 pages

This is the first time I have tried any of the BookShots novellas, and I can definitely see their value when you want something super quick that you can finish over a lunch break or waiting on an oil change, etc. Bookshots are essentially novellas of every sort (around 150 pages), and the Flames imprint focuses on romance stories, both contemporary and historical. I like this idea, and I think I will check out more of them in the future, although I wish that they were available on Kindle Unlimited.

I love Sabrina York's Untamed Highlanders series, so I thought her novella would be a good place to start. This story falls in the arranged marriage trope, with some deception and mistaken identity thrown in.