Review: The Captive by Grace Burrowes

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Series: Captive Hearts #1
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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  1. Persistent women are some of my favorite. And Gillian doesn't disappoint. After her husband passes away, she takes her life in her own hands. She's self sufficient and reliant on herself. Gilly is secure in her lot in life and now that her abusive husband has died she's ready to get on with it.
  2. With Gilly we get an amazing counterpart in Christian, the Duke of Mercia. Christian was a prisoner of war and the torture he faced at the hands of the French would have broken and killed a lesser man. But Christian survived, granted not the same man he used to be. 
  3. Gilly and Christian have a good chemistry. Christian was married to her cousin who passed away. And while Christian was with the French, she was spending time with his daughter. Once Christian is released, Gilly helps him come back into his own and really become a better man than he was before he was captured. 
  4. There is some conflict, which I really like. For some reason it's not a good romance for me unless someone is pushing the other away at first. 
  5. And things are hot between Christian and Gilly once they come together. The tension leading up to that?? Fantastic.

Overall I was really loving this book. I'm going to check out more of the Captive Hearts series when they start coming out. This is the first book I've read by Burrowes and I will be checking out more as soon as I can. 

Review: Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong

Monday, April 28, 2014
Series: Women of the Otherworld #13
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: July 26, 2012
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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The Women of the Otherworld series started off bumpy for me with Bitten. For some reason, when I first read it about 4 years ago, it wasn't my cup of tea. I came back to this series though and absolutely fell in love with all of these characters. Paige and Lucas started out being my favorites but as the series progressed, I couldn't pick a favorite now if I tried. From Elena and Clay, to Eve and Kristof, to Savannah, Adam and back to Paige and Lucas, I love them all so much (including the ones I didn't mention).

When I finished Living with the Dead on April 13th, instead of pacing the rest of the series and spreading it out like I have been, I decided to just go full force and finish up the series. Less than 10 days later I picked up Thirteen and the beginning note from Kelley had me tearing up (lame I know). I didn't start this series at the beginning and I haven't known it for as long as others but it's easily in my top 3 of favorite book series ever.

I honestly couldn't be happier with the way this book went. Well, if Kelley told us she was just kidding and Women of the Otherworld would never end, I'd be happier. I know there are spin offs and what not but we all know that's not the same. But more about the story, I liked getting the glimpses of the fight from everyone's point of view. And a fight it was, this entire book was a complete fight. From the beginning to the end and everything in between, they fought. There was so much going on the entire time but I really thought everything was cohesive and came together. Throughout the entire book, I knew what was going on and I didn't feel lost by all of the activity.

The fact that all of our "main" characters stayed alive was a big deal for me. I mean, it was touch and go for some people. And the things that did happen were pretty shocking but I guess that's what happens during war. I have been so involved in these characters and there were some things that happened that I was absolutely livid about. The treatment and pure disrespect and utter crap that was sent their way made me so mad. And while we get closure so we're not just left hanging, there is really plenty enough room to come back to these characters later on.

What this boils down to is I'm happy with this book and write more, Kelley!

Review: Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong

Friday, April 25, 2014

I think the easiest way to do this and really sum up how I felt about this book is this...

It was so amazingly good, so good. I posted something on our Facebook Page that I'm going to share here.

I finally am starting Thirteen, the final book in the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong and just reading her intro has me a bit misty. This is going to be a hard book for me. As a reader who hardly ever (never) re-reads books, this is definitely that series for me that I will continue to come back to again and again.

I'm so sad to know that this series is coming to an end and Spell Bound was absolutely spectacular. I need to know how Thirteen goes but I don't want it to end. 


Review: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Series: Women of the Otherworld #11
Release Date: July 27, 2010
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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Waking the Witch finally features Savannah Levine. Half witch, half sorcerer with notorious parents and foster parents, she's been someone to look out for. We all know who Savannah is and we all know the struggles she's had to face. But as the favorite "little sister" to the majority of the players in the supernatural counsel she's been really lucky. Super powerful and finally an adult she's looking to make a name for herself beyond who raised her and who created her. So when Paige and Lucas go on vacation and leave Savannah in charge of the P.I. business, she's in heaven. When a job walks through the front door, she's even happier.

The job takes her to Columbus, Washington, which on first glance seems like a hole in the wall small town. And it is. However once she's been there for a few days she realizes it's more than that. Three women have been murdered and Savannah was brought into the job because there are signs that it may have been a supernatural ritual involved. With several different suspects involved and unidentified supernaturals in town, Savannah's first job isn't going to be easy.

Although Savannah is intent on taking the job by herself, she really wants to prove herself and her investigative skills she does get some help. Jesse is the guy who brought the job to her and Adam is around. Savannah has been in love with Adam since she was a kid and although she realizes that he might not feel the same way, they're really close. She also gets some unexpected help from a Dallas detective.

Once all the strings get untangled, everything seems pretty cut and dry in Columbus. However, there's definitely someone in the background who is watching and waiting. We get a clear idea from the end of this book that this story isn't over yet, just progressing in a more sinister manner. I don't really know what's going to happen next but it makes me pretty anxious. I have a feeling that things are just going to get more intense from here.

Review: Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong

Monday, April 21, 2014
Series: Women of the Otherworld #10
Release Date: October 1, 2009
Publisher: Orbit
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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Continuing on with my Women of the Otherworld series binge, I've finally made it to Frostbitten. And just for a little back story here, when I first read Bitten I wasn't the biggest fan of Elena and Clay. But with each book I've grown to love them more and more. Frostbitten was a great Elena/Clay story. There was so much progression in the characters and in their relationship. It also gives us a pretty clear direction to where the pack is heading.

There is trouble in Alaska and Elena and Clay are of course off to take care of it. But it seems like Alaska is a breeding ground for trouble and mythical things that even werewolves can't believe in. With mutts and former pack members running around Anchorage and missing girls that are most likely tied to the mutts, it's Elena and Clay's job to clean up the mess. But things are definitely more than they bargained for. They're on a back and forth chase with the mutts who are smarter and more organized than most non pack.

All kinda of things are happening. Elena being molded into being Alpha, the worry and stress over what that might do to the relationship between Elena and Clay. We were reminded a lot in this book that Clay isn't just the brute pack enforcer that he's always been. He's usually feared by others but we've been told that he's an amazingly understanding, wonderful husband, a patient, loving, indulgent some what soft father, and an academic. It seems like it throughout the book it was really enforcing the fact that Elena and Clay were a partnership no matter what.

I think that what this book was really about was progressing Elena and Clay as characters and really preparing us for what's going to happen next. I hope we really get to see Elena later on, maybe when the twins are older?? That would be so cool. Elena all settled in as Alpha and the twins getting into young adult shenanigans. I don't know but I really just love this group of characters and I can't wait to see what's going to come next for them.

Review: Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong

Friday, April 18, 2014
Series: Women of the Otherworld #9
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: January 1, 2008
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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The Main Things I Liked:

  • Each chapter is a new POV. We flip back and forth between Hope Adams, her best friend Robyn, and a LA detective Finn. Being able to get multiple points of view from the same story is really interesting and I'm a fan. 
  • Being able to make those connections to other characters from this series. Of course with Hope comes Karl, so we get a vague mention of Jeremy, Elena, Clay, and Jamie Vegas. We also hear about Paige, Lucas, and Eve makes a connection with Finn at the end of the book. The Cabals are also prominent. 
  • Hope's story really took the forefront in my mind. I think her story is progressing into something that's going to be amazing. I can't wait to see what happens next for her and Karl. Robyn gives Hope another facet that we haven't seen before. But Robyn isn't there just to build up Hope's plot, Robyn is her own character and has her own story. 

The Main Things I Didn't Like:

  • Robyn is kind of wishy-washy in some places and really firm in other places. It seems pretty situational, which in my opinion is good because it's not constantly. I know this is just my own pet peeve, wishy-washy is just not for me. 
  • Adele. She was our uber villain in this one. And there were quite a few things she did that were just foul. I get that villain's are supposed to be bad. But there were just some things that I could not get past. I didn't want to read about it, it's heinous on a completely different level. 
  • Hope and Karl. They're way more mature than I ever would be and let's just leave it at that. 

With all this said, I'm moving immediately on to the next book in this series. I feel like I've been slowly moving through with other books in between. I've just hit that spot where I need to binge, I absolutely need to know what's happened and I need to know now. I'll be following up with reviews so if this series isn't for you, you might want to stay away for a week or two. (But you shouldn't)

Review: Ghouls Rush In by H.P. Mallory

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Series: Peyton Clark #1
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Reviewed By: Amber R.

Plot: Peyton Clark is starting over in New Orleans. After finally cutting ties with her controlling ex-husband, she finds out that an estranged relative left her a historical home in the Big Easy. This is the perfect opportunity for Peyton to get her life back. Once she sees her new house, it's obvious that no one has taken care of the home for years so she sets out to renovate. Hiring her charming, handsome neighbor as general contractor they set out on getting her house back together. It becomes clear that a run down house wasn't the only thing her great aunt left her. It seems like the house is haunted and Peyton is out to solve a hundred year old murder. 

What I liked: Peyton really comes into her own after her divorce, or back into her own. I think mostly everyone can relate to being in a bad relationship that makes you feel like you're not yourself. Or at least I can.

I liked the easy progression between Ryan and Peyton. They're friends and while they're attracted to each other, they don't push it or rush into anything.

The ghost aspect of the book was really fun. Too many times in series I've found ghosts to be too one dimensional. And I really think we get depth with the ghost characters.

Anything with New Orleans I'm there. I love the atmosphere, I love the culture, the history, and even though I haven't been (yet!) it's one of my favorite cities.

What I didn't like: Peyton is quickly enamored with Drake. I think she just finds him too handsome and too charming too fast. And then her decision she made at the end with him, I was just not a fan of. I don't think she realizes the repercussions. 

Final Thoughts: The end of this book left us open to so many additional possibilities. And there were a couple things left hanging. I'm definitely going to read more in this series. I've always been a fan of HP Mallory and I want to see where she takes this series.

Review: Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding

Monday, April 14, 2014
Series: Dreg City #1
Publisher: Dell Pub Co
Release Date: Jan, 2009
Reviewed By: Amber R.
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Three Days to Dead was a great beginning to a new to me series. There are so many spins on the urban fantasy genre that I would have never thought of and I honestly can say that I've never seen anywhere else. When you add in a great story and amazing characters you get the start to an amazing series. Plus we get an ending that could literally take us anywhere.

When Evy Stone wakes up in a morgue in a body other than her own, she knows that things have gone terribly wrong. She knows that she's a bounty hunter who works in a group of three, she knows that she ended up dead somehow, she knows that there is almost no one she can trust, but in order to get back her missing memories and find out the things she needs to know she needs shoes first.

She eventually meets up with the leader from her group, a Triad and they begin to piece together what happened to Evy. But because of unfolding facts, they realize that they have almost zero allies and they must prove a conspiracy that is bigger than anything either of them realize. There are of course other obstacles because just that couldn't be enough. The body that Evy got thrown into is being recognized. Chalice was a popular lady, at least in some ways. Not too mention she only has three days to figure everything out before she dies for real.

My day was decidedly much worse, so I did the first sensible thing that came to mind. I stole her tennis shoes.

One of the many Evy quotes that made me love her. She's bad ass. She's hilarious. She's in a new body that doesn't understand what she wants it to do. She has all the qualities in a heroine that I need to really connect to them. And while we have vampires, goblins, elves, etc. we get an interesting spin on them that I haven't picked up in other urban fantasy series.

I'm going to be reading on in this series as soon as I can. I can't wait to see what happens next. The way that this book ended, the possibilities for what's going to happen next are seriously endless. 

Review: Everdark by Elle Jasper

Friday, April 11, 2014
Series: Dark Ink Chronicles #2
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Signet
Reviewed By: Amber R
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Book Info

I don't know you guys. I was super excited after Afterlight. I was so ready for a new (to me) series that I was really into and just completely loving. I think this series might have the opposite of First Book Syndrome. FBS is where the first book in a series is kinda slow and not that great but then the books after are fantastic. Well I loved Afterlight and this book was more frustrating for me than anything.

So the plot is there and I really liked where about 85% of the story is going. However, I was so annoyed by Riley and Eli and Victorian, who are the three main characters. In the last book, Riley is attacked by Victorian and his evil, murderous brother. After the attack she has vampire "tendencies", also the brothers have a special link with Riley's mind. And Victorian is obsessed with her and really thinks he's in love with her. He's making her have dreams of him and interacting with her in her mind. Eli, being a vamp and having special powers, can read her mind and knows this is happening. And although he realizes that she can't do anything about it, he's MAD at her and JEALOUS. It's so annoying, how immature can he get?? He's a billion years old and he's acting like a jealous kid. Eli ends up leaving town for a couple days to follow up on some leads they have to stop the brothers. Riley is mad at him the entire time and then as soon as he comes back, she's fine again.

Okay so obviously this is all the review is going to be about but it's so so so annoying to me. I can't stand wishy washy. And this is beyond just having some tension for drama in the story or anything like that. It honestly didn't make any sense and I had no idea how it helped the story along. It didn't help Riley and Eli's relationship grow or change. And don't even get me started on the last two chapters. I have no idea what happened and I read it three times. I just did not understand how all of a sudden we got to where we are.

I'm going to read the next book, I'm hoping this was just me being annoyed. And the series really didn't flip in one book but we'll see.

Review: A Bloody Good Secret by Sierra Dean

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Series: Secret McQueen #2
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Reviewed By: Amber R.
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A Bloody Good Secret is the 2nd installment in the Secret McQueen series by Sierra Dean. I started reading this series by chance sometime this month and I have no idea how I've been missing it for the last several years.

Secret is a bad ass half vamp/half werewolf who is an assassin for the vampire tribunal. After almost dying and revealing her deepest secret to a werewolf king and his best werewolf friend, she decides to go on sabbatical. But she didn't tell anyone where she was heading or even that she was leaving.

She finally gets tracked down by Sig, leader of the tribunal. After some unnecessary roughness,Sig convinces Secret that she needs to come back to town. She was given a warrant for the arrest for her mentor, Holden. And Sig is making sure that she comes back to town to finish what needs to be done. Secret has obvious reservations, Holden has spent a good portion of the last billion years or so dedicating his life to the tribunal. Sig even agrees but there's very little that he can do. So it's up to Secret to prove Holden's innocence.

Once she gets back in town she learns that Lucas (werewolf king) worked with Sig to track her down and find her. And obviously, she's ticked. Secret feels like he should have let her come to terms with things on her own and make her own choices. Lucas disagrees and feels like she should have put his needs with the pack before everything else. And he lays it on super thick, he's actually mad at her for not doing everything the way he thought it should have been done. I don't understand how these obligations fall to Secret in the first place. Although Lucas and Secret might have some crazy hormonal connection, he doesn't own her. Secret isn't part of the pack, she hasn't been raised as pack, she doesn't know the implications, or know the "rules" and Lucas was entirely heavy handed.

Holden is coming to Secret in her dreams and a couple times while she was awake. And I have to admit, I'm a big fan of Holden. And I kinda want there to be a Holden/Secret or a Sig/Secret mash up soon. I know she's getting it on with Desmond but we all know that they aren't made of the right stuff to tough it out. Plus Secret is definitely coming into some stronger powers, more responsibility. Things are changing and I don't really think that Desmond is going to be able to change with the times. We're left on a crazy cliffhanger and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Review: In the Service of the King by Laura Kaye

Monday, April 7, 2014
Series: Vampire Warrior Kings #1
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne Cravings
Release Date: February 1, 2012
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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Okay so Kael is the vampire king. Shayla is one of the many virgins offered up to him on a semi-regaular basis so that he can drink their blood to sustain life. Apparently these virgins all have a choice and decide that this is what they want to do. He doesn't kill them or anything, he doesn't even drink from them. Since his mate died over 300 years ago, it seems he's been super celibate. That is until Shayla is one of the virgins offered and he is immediately overcome by desire and feelings for her that he doesn't want. So he blindfolds her, doesn't explain really whats going to happen and is all around cold to her. When he takes her blood, it hurts which it's not supposed to. Kael is overcome by desire and ends up kissing her, nicking her tongue with his fang and then drinking her blood and making her have a mind blowing orgasm simply by kissing.

Shayla is just willing to do whatever he wants immediately. She doesn't hardly ask him any questions or anything. I get that he's the vampire king but cmon. She was getting her degree but when she decides to mate with the king, that all changes. Because it's not safe for her to be out in the open. So while she brings it up and Kael is basically like welll maybe we can do that, there's not any kind of answer. Shayla gives up her entire life in a matter of hours for this guy.

I don't know but it all just seemed too unrealistic. Everything moved too quick and there wasn't any of that real connection that I like to see. Plus Shayla was way too submitting for me. This wasn't really for me and although it's a novella, I don't think I'll read any further with this series.

Review: Once Upon a Kiss by Jayne Fresina

Friday, April 4, 2014
Series: Book Club Belles Society #1
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Reviewed By: Amber R.
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From the beginning this book was silly, fun, and just what I was looking for. Justina Penny is a young woman living in a small country town outside of London. The youngest daughter of the town doctor, she is high spirited and has an imagination that would be anyone to shame. She keeps a journal that she writes in every night and it's hilarious. She runs around with her very proper and pretty older sister. And Jussy, as she's called, has muddy boots, ripped pinafores, and hair all over the place. In a perfect world, she would be left alone to do what she wants. Her mother won't stop comparing her to her perfect sister but Jussy is used to it, loves her sister, and basically ignores her mother.

When a Mr. Wainwright suddenly comes to town to settle the estate of his recently deceased great-uncle, the town becomes flipped around. All of the marriage minded mothers are forcing their daughters at the man. But Darius is of a mind to never marry. He's very serious, stoic, and he always does what is expected. Jussy has had the misfortune of meeting Mr. Wainwright once before. And somehow becomes quite settled with seeing him almost daily once he's in town, much to her disdain. She simply doesn't like the man and Darius thinks that someone needs to get her to behave properly. But isn't that how all the good things start?

There were so many people in this book I was ticked off at. Jussy's mother, Darius' sister in law and her friend, Jussy's "Sherry", and I'm sure more as well. They're all so meddling. I was really glad to see Darius calmly and coolly ignore his sister in law and mostly everyone. The relationship that bloomed between them was so sweet and funny and heartbreaking at certain points. It was also steamy hot at certain points too, don't get me wrong. I loved their relationship and I honestly just want to read more. With these two you know that there are just more adventures to be had. I wish there were more books with them and I'm really sad there isn't. If you are a romance fan, you need to check this book out, it was perfectly perfect.

Review: Afterlight by Elle Jasper

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Series: Dark Ink Chronicles #1
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Reviewed by: Amber R.
Author Info

Okay guys. I was so into this book, you don't even know. I don't know if it was the tattooed babe as our heroine, or the Savannah heat, or the Gullah influences, or what but I loved this book.

Riley is a reformed bad girl. Throughout her teenage years she partied, did drugs, drank, went to clubs, whatever you can think of she probably did it. The murder of her mother when she was 17 really turned her life around. Her surrogate grandfather and Gullah practitioner took her to "Da Island" to detox her and when she came back, her entire life changed. She became a tattoo artist and opened a shop with her best friend, she took over custody of her younger brother, and really just became a strong, capable woman.

One fateful night when her brother was running around town with his friends her entire life changed. Hanging out in cemetery never really turns out good and this time is no different. A pair of weak vampires are set free from a crypt but their strength is quickly rejuvenating. Especially with help from Riley's brother and his friends, who are basically their lackeys. Things become clear to Riley with the help of her surrogate granddad and a group of humane vamps who live in town.

The oldest son of the vamps, Eli is hot. Like, crazy hot. And the heat between him and Riley was enough to set everything on fire. I loved everything about their relationship. They were hot and sexy and of course snarky. My favorite, I know. Mainly they were both trying to focus on their mission to save her brother and contain the rogue vampires on the loose. But somethings cannot be denied.

This was one of those books for me that once I finished, I immediately wanted to read the next book in the series. I'm holding off but it will be coming soon. The story left us with an opening for any number of things to happen and I need to know what happens next as soon as possible.
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