Monday, 30 March 2015

Stone Cold Touch

Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements, #2)

Stone Cold Touch by Jennifer L. Armentrout is the second book of The Dark Elements series.

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life- no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who's pretty sure things can't get worse.  Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss.  The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets.  And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning.  Because suddenly Layla's powers begin to evolve, and she's offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden.  Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever.  She's finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay...

The Breakdown:
1.  I am pretty sure JLA can do no wrong when it comes to writing, and this book is no exception.  I love this world she has created that has a black and white of good and evil, but the heroine is clearly in the grey area somewhere in between.  I love that JLA shows in this book that what is viewed as good does not make them good people, and what is seen as evil has more too them than expected.

2. I really love the character of Layla, partly because she has the most awesome name in the world. She is very real feeling, despite her very unique heritage.  She as insecurities and crushes just like any normal girl. Well, okay, maybe not exactly like a normal girl.  Oh, and when needed, she can kick some major ass.

3. Not going to lie, I am having trouble picking a favorite between Zayne and Roth.  On the one hand, there is Zayne, who has always been there for her, always protected her.  Who despite the other Wardens' feelings, has never doubt that Layla is a good person.  Then there is Roth, Prince of Hell, you don't get more bad boy than that, but he, too, has faith in Layla.  Despite him pushing her away in the book, there is definitely some hot chemistry between them.  Plus what he tells her at the end of the book is heart-stopping romantic.

4.  Speaking of endings, this book has quite a few surprises thrown in at the end.  I am still reeling from some of them, and so many questions about what is going to happen next. How will everything that happened effect the Wardens and Layla's relationship with both Roth and Zayne?  I already can't wait for the next book. Oh, and bonus in by copy was the extra scene from Zayne's POV, which was fantastic.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Bound By Flames

Bound by Flames (Night Prince, #3)

Bound by Flames is the newest book in Jeaniene Frost's Night Prince series.

Leila's years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education.  What she didn't learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all.  Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin...

Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own.  It isn't like Vlad to feel fear, but he does... for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad's greatest weakness.  As a friend and foe alike align against him- and his over-proctiveness drives Leila away- Vlad's love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both...

The Breakdown:
1. I am a fan of Frost in general, but I have to admit that I don't love this series as much as the Night Huntress series.  That being said, I still enjoy these books.  This book was a fairly quick read for me because I had to know where all the players fell in the end.  There was definitely some serious intrigue going on in this book.

2. I do like seeing how both Vlad and Leila deal with their relationship.  Vlad dealing with caring for someone so deeply again, and walking the fine line between protecting and smothering.  Leila learning to deal with Vlad's seriously old fashion ideas about where his wife belongs in a fight.  This definitely leads not only to fights, but also, at times, very entertaining conversations between them.

3. Hooray for the Bones and Cat cameo, although it is very brief. Oh, and the surprise that Frost throws in the end, all I can say is I really did not see that coming.  It will be interesting to see what that does to the conclusion of the series in the next book.

To Read or Not to Read:

Friday, 27 March 2015

The Dragon Conspiracy

The Dragon Conspiracy (SPI Files, #2)

The Dragon Conspiracy is the second book of Lisa Shearin's SPI Files.

We're Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI.  We battle the real monsters of myth and legend, but this Halloween, we're searching for diamonds...

A gala opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has attracted the upper crust of Manhattan- and thieves.  A trip of vile harpies attacks crowd and steals the stars of the exhibition: a colorful cluster of seven cursed diamonds known as the Dragon Eggs.
In the right mage's hands, each stone can pack a magical wallop.  Together they have the power to "cure" the supernaturals of the tristate area- but for many those vampires and werewolves, that means turning into dust.

I'm Makenna Fraser, a seer for SPI.  With help of my partner, Ian, and the other agents, I have twenty-four hours to prevent total global panic, find the diamonds, and save the supernatural community. No biggie...

The Breakdown:
1. I enjoy Shearin's quick and fun reads of her SPI files.  She packs both action and humor into her books. I love the quirky supernatural characters that make appearances in these books, and I absolutely adored Makenna, Mac, Fraser.

2.  Mac is a charming girl, but a bit of an awkward crime fighter.  She retains her small town Southern roots while still making it in the big city. It is amazing to watch her charm a thousand year old Gorgon.  I, also, love the way she is fiercely loyal to those she cares about and does whatever she can to help them.

3. I love that Rake Danescu, who was in the story in Night Shifts, makes it back into this book.  The is a dark and mysterious goblin that has the hot bad boy vibe going on.  There is some serious sexual tension going on between him and Mac, and just plain tension between Ian and him.  I am interested to see what Shearin does between him and Mac, and see the part he plays in the bigger story that is developing in these books.

4. I really enjoyed the twist that Shearin puts on the Gorgon legend in this book. I am, also, really love how there is a bigger picture developing in the stories and can't wait to see how Shearin will tie it all together.

To Read or Not to Read:

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Fire Sermon

The Fire Sermon (The Fire Sermon, #1)

Debut author Francesca Haig's The Fire Sermon is the first book of the series of the same name.

When Zach and I were born our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes.  We were perfect.  They would have been disbelieving: nobody dodge the split between Alpha and Omega. Nobody.

They were born together and they will die together.

One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.

The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear.  Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.

The Alphas are the elite.  Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they're free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.

Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation.  But Cass has a secret: on that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.

The potential to change the world lies in both their hands.  One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they're not careful both will die in the struggle for power.

The Breakdown:
1. I am a fan of post-apoclyptic tales, but this one had some issues for me.  Haig's story dragged a bit in several places, especially at the beginning.  She spent about a hundred pages backgrounding for Cass childhood and her years in the Keeping Rooms.  I really felt that the childhood could have been more concise.

2.  I did think that Cassandra was a little bit of a cliche name for a seer.  I vacillated between liking her and thinking she was annoying. On one hand, she really did not believe in the us versus them for Alpha and Omegas.  She saw both as people. And despite everything he has done, she really does care for her twin. On the other, she is much too quick to believe the best of everyone, too trusting.  Then there is the fact, she can't seem to figure why she is a threat to the Council.  She is a powerful, and yet, she is clueless why that could be helpful to the Omega resistance, and why the Council wants to use her.

3. I did really enjoy the characters of Piper and Kip.  I thought that both brought out the best in Cass when they were with her.  I really liked their discussion on the island. I did, however, have an inkling about Kip's origin, but was quite surprised to find out who his twin is.

4. I have to say overall, I liked the story even with its problems.  I am interested to see where Haig takes the series, and if she reveals why the Alpha and Omega twins came into existence.

To Read or Not to Read:

Monday, 16 March 2015

The Grendel Affair

The Grendel Affair (SPI Files, #1)

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin is the first full length novel of her SPI Files series.

We're Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI.  Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn't exist? We battle them and keep you safe.  But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us...

When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent.  I'm Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI.  I can see through an disguise shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with.  I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out- usually saving my skin in the process.

Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city's subway tunnels.  And the murder's not human.  The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel- yes, that Grendel- shares his ancestor's hatred of parties, revelry and drunkards.  And with New Year's Eve in Time Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly.  Because if we don't find him- and the organization behind him- by midnight, our secret's out and everyone's time is up.

The Breakdown:
1. This was a fun and fast read.  Shearin has a nice balance of action and humor in this book.  I am so glad that it was just as enjoyable as her short in Night Shifts.  There were several places in the book that had me laughing out loud.

2. I find the character of Mac awkwardly lovable.  She reminds me a little of Evanovich's Stephanie Plum.  She is an excellent seer, but not so great with the physical aspect of the job.  I especially love the partnership between her and Ian.  They seem like a team that fits very well together, with some undercurrents of sexual tension.

3. I loved that Shearin brought in old world monsters for this book.  Who did not have to read Beowulf in high school or college? So it was interesting to see her take on Grendel.  I loved the mystery of who was behind it, and the mysterious guy with the grudge against Ian.  I am definitely interested to see how all that will pan out in the series

To Read or Not to Read:
Read, especially for a nice quick vacation read.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Storyspinner

The Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles, #1)

Debut author Becky Wallace's The Storyspinner  is the first book of her Keeper Chronicles.

Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer's life can get tricky.  And in Johanna Von Arlo's case, it can be fatal.  Expelled from her troupe after her father's death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva.  Too bad they don't get along.  But while Johanna's father death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren't so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess- the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over.  But they aren't the only ones looking for her.  And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up- girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

The Breakdown:
1. I really enjoyed this book.  Wallace's style reminds me a lot of George R.R. Martin with the changes in perspective and the intrigue about the throne, magic, and missing princesses. Most of the book is split been the Keepers and their search for the princess, and Johanna and her life outside the troupe.  Wallace does a great job of pulling these two stories together in the end.

2. I liked the budding romances in the book.  Not only between Johanna and Rafael, who admittedly could not stand each other at first.  I loved how they slowly developed respect for each other that ends up going deeper.  There is also the attraction between the Keepers, Pira and Leao.  Theirs is an awkward attraction with each not really sure how to deal with their feelings.  I am excited to see where these relationships go in the series.

3.  I love that Wallace does such a fantastic job really developing multiple characters.  None of her main characters felt  one dimensional, which is an amazing feat considering there were five characters that had chapters from their perspective.  Plus her supporting characters were also phenomenal.  I especially loved Dom, Rafael's younger brother.  He is funny and charming, but he also steps up and is protective when he needs to be.

4. Oh, and Wallace does write some villains that I know I am going to love to hate in Duke Inimigo and Vibora. They are definitely plotting something terrible and I can't wait to see how everything plays out in the series.

To Read or Not to Read:

Monday, 9 March 2015

A Wicked Thing

A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing, #1)

Debut author Rhiannon Thomas's A Wicked Thing is the first of the series of the same name.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return.  All the books say that she should be living happily ever after.  But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead.  Her "true love" is a kind stranger.  And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her.  With her wedding drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

The Breakdown:
1.  I am a big fan of the re-imagined fairy tales, and I really love what Thomas has done with this one. What happens after Sleeping Beauty wakes? The thought of what is expected of Aurora is terrifying.  First, everyone she has ever known is long dead, and everything has changed.  She is expected to be madly in love with a boy she does not know.  Then she suppose to save a kingdom that needs more than just a smiling princess to have peace.

2.  There were times I was torn between really liking Aurora, and being very frustrated with her.  I know that she is lost in this world, but sometimes she just let's her opinion and desires fall without ever fighting for them.  Then there are the times were she is fiery and so much more self aware, that is when I really like her best, especially when she really finds her voice at the end.  I honestly enjoyed her every interaction with Finnigan.  I thought he brought out the best in her.

3. Speaking of Finnigan, I very much enjoyed his character, he is prince with a dash of rogue pirate thrown into his personality.  I thought that he and Aurora had great chemistry between them.  It felt like a thin line between love and hate for them.  Although, I did like her and Tristan together, too.  I was a little sad when he could not see beyond his bitterness to truly care for her.  Then there is poor Rodic, her "true love."  While there was not a love chemistry between them, I could see them building a strong friendship.  It will be interesting to see where Thomas takes these relationships in the series.

4.  Thomas has this story full of twist and intrigue.  She kept me guessing on what everyone's agenda is, and why they wanted to use Aurora.  Some of them, I am still guessing.  Plus there is the whole witch, Celestine, who cursed Aurora to begin with.  I don't think she is exactly what people thinks she is.  I have a whole theory on her, and I can't wait to see if it is true or not.

To Read or Not to Read:

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Bonus Book: What If

What If (If Only..., #2)

What If by A.J. Pine is the second book of her If Only... series.

Sometimes it takes letting go of the past to find out who you want to be.

During his semester abroad, Griffin Reed, almost gave his heart to a girl who loved someone else.  Lesson learned.  Now he's home, where following in his father's footsteps may nit be what he wants, but it's what his parents expect.  It might be taking the easy road, but doesn't see a way out.

Something that could have killed Maggie Kendall took away the person she used to be instead.  Her condition makes her dependent on sticky notes, photos, and medication just to get through each day.  The last thing she needs is a distraction- or someone new to disappoint.

What they refuse to see is they are perfect for each other.  Maggie makes Griffin want to be a better man, and he makes her believe a future is possible.  But these two have to find a way to share the secrets ripping them apart, if they're ever going to have a chance at happiness.

The Breakdown:
1. I really enjoyed Pine's If Only, so I was pretty excited to see Griffin get his own story.  I loved watching Griffin's change in this book, from the rebel without a cause to a responsible adult.

2.  Maggie and Griffin really fit together so well.  They were better people together. Him finding himself a what he wants to do with his life, and her re-discovering the Maggie before the tragedy.  She made him want to be better.  He made her live life again.

3. Some random things I loved about this book.  First, the copious amount of Gilmore Girl references.  Second, that Griffin was reading Storm of Swords, my personal favorite of the Song of Fire and Ice series.  And last, but most definitely not least, the hot picture of Griffin reading in bed shirtless with glasses.

4. Oh, almost forget, loved the catch up with all the Aberdeen gang.  And I simply adored Griffin's sisters. I really hope that they get books, especially Nat, there is so much more I want to know about her and her daughter Violet.

To Read or Not to Read:

Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Ruby Circle

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)

The Ruby Circle is the final book of Richelle Mead's Bloodlines series.

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires.  The protect vampire secrets- and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Bloodlines series.  When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis.  Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

The Breakdown:
1. Mead's Bloodlines is one of my favorite series.  She definitely ends this one with a bang.  There are a couple of unexpected twist in this book that had me yelling at the book.

2. I actually really like the dual perspective between Sydney and Adrian.  Mead does a good job of pulling it off.  They each have such a unique view of the world, and I like getting to their separate reactions to a situation. I love how Mead uses this to also show how much they love each other.  It just works well for these books.

3. Mead does an excellent job in the book in keeping unexpected things coming.  From who took Jill and why, to the secret that is learned about spirit magic.  I was honestly shocked by who was behind Jill's kidnapping.

4.  The ending to this series was just perfect for the characters.  I thought the epilogue was wonderful, and it really brought everything to a nice close.

To Read or Not to Read:

Monday, 2 March 2015


Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)

Fairest by Marissa Meyer is a novella of her Lunar Chronicles.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her "glamour" to gain power.  But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story- a story that has never been told... until now.

The Breakdown:
1.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, I am a huge fan of Meyer's writing.  Who knew that writing a story from the villain that I love to hate would work so well.  There were times I felt sorry for Levana.  I really loved getting to know her back story.

2.  I find it interesting that Levana does not start out the monster in the story, but rather it is her sister, Channary/ Cinder's mother, who is the real monster.  It was definitely a gradual process for her, and it is amazing how much she justified to herself.

3. I loved that this book came out before Winter, so that Meyer introduces the complexity of what will be Levana and Winter's relationship.  How Winter came to be her step-daughter, and why Levana takes care of her.  This book makes me even more excited for the release of Winter this fall.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Bonus Book: Foresaken

Forsaken (Otherworld Stories, #13.4)

Foresaken is a novella by Kelley Armstrong set in her Otherworld universe.

Being Alpha of the North American Pack is like being a small-town sheriff- nobody wants the job, but someone's gotta do it.

For the most part, Elena Michaels likes it just fine, even if it means dealing with arrogant misogynists in the werewolf world who are convinced that a woman isn't up to the job.

The she could handle.  What she never expected was a deadly threat to her eight-year-old twins. That her little girl could go missing in the night.

The enemy thought he was dealing with a hysterical mother.

Mother, yes.  Hysterical, no.

Elena was Alpha for a reason. And nothing would stop her from getting her child back.

The Breakdown:
1.  Armstrong's Otherworld verse is one of my favorite to read stories from.  From the Otherworld series itself, to her YA stories set in the same verse.  And I always love stories about Elena and Clay.  I particular liked this one because she really showed the twins, Logan and Kate, and how they have grown and developed.

2.  Interesting to see how well Elena has fit into her role as Alpha, and how her and Clay handle that dynamic as a couple so well.  She is strong and savvy in that role.  I loved seeing her deal with the British pack so well at the end.

3.  Interesting to see how the American Pack has expanded since the beginning of the series, and how much like a family they have become.  Although, reading this story made me realize that I have missed a couple of stories introducing new pack members, like Morgan, and more of Reese's back story.

To Read or Not to Read:
Read if you're a fan of Otherworld.