Genre: Fantasy

Guest Review: Bluebeard’s Curse by Regine Abel

Posted February 13, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Bluebeard’s Curse by Regine AbelReviewer: Tracy
Bluebeard's Curse by Regine Abel
Series: Dark Tales #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: February 15th 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 82
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three-half-stars

King Eric Thorsen, also known as Bluebeard, is once more widowed. Like all the others before her, his late wife succumbed to the lure of the curse that plagues him and threatens the realm. Willing maidens gather at the castle in the hope of becoming the next Queen. However, that title comes with a steep price: the King’s new bride must first resist temptation for one year and one day, or die trying.

Eric is tired of getting married.  He’s at a ball and he has to pick a new bride – his 28th bride to be exact.  All of his previous brides have died as he is cursed.  The bride must outlast the curse for 1 year and then it will be broken but so far the longest one has lasted only 6 months.  When Eric sees Astrid he’s intrigued.  She’s not his normal type but he can’t take his eyes off of her.  He thinks that maybe because she’s not like the others she can break the curse.

The pair marry and Astrid seems to be doing well but soon the temptation starts to get to her.  Eric has done the worst thing possible and fallen in love with Astrid.  Knowing she will probably die tears him apart but he hopes she can beat the curse.  Unfortunately, other people get involved and after that breaking the curse may become impossible.

Bluebeard’s Curse was a good story.  It was definitely different from your average romance and had a bit of a twist that was unexpected.  I wasn’t quite sure what the time period was or where it was set – seemed like an old Viking story but I wasn’t sure.  Despite that the added paranormal twist/curse was a wonderful aspect to the story.

Eric and Astrid were pretty great characters although since the book was so short it really focused on the “now” and didn’t get too much into their pasts.  We knew why Astrid had gone to the ball to be picked for the bride and eventually we learned of why Eric was cursed but that was about as deep into the past as we got.  Their relationship was the main focus it was definitely erotic as Regine Abel wrote some pretty wicked sex scenes.

Overall I liked the book a lot.  If you’re looking for a short fantasy/paranormal read that doesn’t involved vampires or werewolves then this would be a good one to pick up.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads

Posted October 17, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Race the Darkness by Abbie RoadsReviewer: Casee
Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads
Series: Fatal Dreams #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: October 4th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy
Pages: 352
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three-half-stars

First in a gripping paranormal romantic suspense duo by a Golden Heart finalist debut author whose clinical work gives her chilling insights...

Cursed with a terrible gift...

Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn't have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.

A gift that threatens to engulf them...

Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except...there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

Xander Stone was cursed with a gift (oxymoron, isn’t it?) when he was struck by lightning. Not only was he terribly disfigured, but he can hear people’s thoughts. He uses his so-called gift to help law enforcement to get the criminals that they can’t get just by sitting across the table from the criminals. It proves highly effective.

Xander has been hearing a woman’s voice for years, a voice begging for help. He chalks it up to who he has called “The Bastard in his Brain” screwing with him and has ignored it for as long as he has heard it. One night when he goes on a beer run, the Bastard somehow turns him toward a place that he’s never been and never had any desire to go. It’s there that he finds two women being held captive. Xander is shocked and dismayed when he realizes that one of the women is the voice that he’s been ignoring in his head for all those years. Now, he determined to get her out alive, his life be damned.

Isleen Walker and her grandmother have given up hope. Having been taken captive eight years ago, all they know is that their time is coming to an end. The psychopath, Queen, is starting to spout off even more crazy stuff than usual. When Xander shows up at their own personal hell, Isleen can’t believe what she’s seeing. The man that she’s been dreaming about for years. Xander Stone is her own personal savior, the man that her grandmother said was coming. The man that would save her.

Although Xander saves both she and her grandmother, there is still someone out there that wants to kill them both. Someone that thinks their demons. Xander is instantly drawn to Isleen and can barely bring himself to leave her side. She’s the only one that can quiet his brain, the only one that he feels any peace with. As for Isleen, Xander is the only one that she feels safe with. Their relationship is prophesied though they don’t know it. These two have so much to overcome and the only way they can do it is together.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

three-half-stars

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Lightning Review: Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 19, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Lightning Review: Midnight Soul by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly
Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley
Series: Fantasyland, #5
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: August 15th 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 645
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three-stars

Against his will, Noctorno Hawthorne, an undercover vice cop, finds himself embroiled in magic, mayhem and parallel universes. Too late, he meets an amazing woman only to find she’s destined for his identical twin in another world.
And things aren’t going real great there.
Noc is recruited to help save that world.
What he doesn’t know is his destined love resides there.
Franka Drakkar wears a mask. A mask she never takes off to protect herself in a world of malice, intrigue and danger.
When Franka meets Noc and he discovers her secrets, convinced she carries a midnight soul, having shielded herself from forming bonds with anyone, she struggles with accepting his tenderness and care.
When Noc meets Franka, over wine and whiskey, her masks slips and Noc knows it’s her—only her—and he has to find a way to get her to come home with him.
And then make her want to stay.

I’ve been anxious for Noc’s book for ages, though I admit I was surprised his heroine was Franka. I expected (hoped?) it would be Valentine. Shows what I know.

I do not recommend starting here. The storylines from previous books are interwoven and really bring this novel together. Plus, I feel like the majority of the novel was spent on secondary and previous characters from the other books.

It took me quite some time to fall into this story. Generally KA grabs me right away, but I struggled through the first quarter or so of the book. I found parts to be somewhat predictable (esp for someone who has read a lot of KA), but I enjoyed the romance and, more, enjoyed the return trip to Fantasyland. We caught up with all the previous characters and had some closure from some that weren’t coupled yet (the other Circe!). While I don’t recommend this as a starting place for those who are new to Ashley or this series, I think fans will enjoy it.

3 out of 5

three-stars

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Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Posted August 22, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Fire Touched by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly
Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #9
Also in this series: Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: March 8th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance, Paranormal, General, Action & Adventure, Contemporary
Pages: 352
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four-half-stars

Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer...   Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.   Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?   *Library Journal
From the Hardcover edition.

When last we left Mercy and Adam, his ex-wife, Christy, had spent several weeks making Mercy’s life hell, they’d fought a volcano god and Mercy brought a Tibicena (a mythical dog that guarded the volcano god) into the pack.

I was fairly frustrated with Adam and Mercy both by the time I finished Night Broken, the previous entry in this series, so I started Fire Touched with caution. I’m happy to report all my concerns were addressed well before the halfway mark. This entry brings new trouble to the Pack, but also clears up some lingering issues from previous books.

Mercy gets a call from her human cop friend Tony asking for help with a “huge monster” that’s perched on a bridge, eating cars and people. The pack races over there and discovers it’s a Troll. After battling it and sustaining heavy injuries to many pack members, Mercy claims the city as pack territory and vows to defend it. As the Fae are still trying to prove their power to the humans who refused to see them as anything more than meek pushovers, this causes major issues. Especially after Mercy grants sanctuary to a child the Fae desperately want, as he’s been living in Underhill for years and seems to be accepted their in a way they no longer are.

Mercy has settled into the pack now, and people are beginning to look toward them more for support and protection. Claiming the Tri-Cities as pack territory was the right move, but she gets a lot of flak for it from the pack, since they weren’t consulted (and neither was Adam) before she made her declaration. I really enjoyed seeing Mercy take on more leadership in the pack. Not that she wasn’t hands-off before, but her place in the pack seemed more secure, as did her role as Adam’s mate and Alpha.

The plot featuring the Aiden, the Fire Touched boy was especially intriguing. The twists and turns of the plot made for an engaging read.

One thing did make me very sad, however.

View Spoiler »

Aside from that, there was quite a bit of humor. I laughed out loud several times while reading, especially in the beginning.

Fire Touched was a fascinating, thrilling tale from start to finish.

4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars

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Guest Review: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Posted August 18, 2016 by Whitley B in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: A Promise of Fire by Amanda BouchetReviewer: Whitley
A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 448
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dnf

Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

This book actually has a lot going for it. Really. The world is interesting, Cat is a great feisty character and it seems like she has a rich past full of secrets to discover. I’m intrigued by her magic and by the history of the world it’s set in. I liked the tone and pacing. It had the makings of a perfect “me” book.

But I just couldn’t get past that opening. Basically, Griffin kidnaps Cat for her magic because he needs her to help him keep his recently-conquored kingdom together. Cat, understandably, does not like being blackmailed and kidnapped and then restrained all the time so she doesn’t disappear. I’m fine with all that, but what I don’t like is how it dragged out. The idea is that Griffin isn’t a “bad guy,” he’s just doing what needs to be done for his kingdom, has good intent, so pragmatic and direct it goes into grey areas, yadda yadda. Fine. BUT. The opening was too harsh, too smash and grab. There was no attempt to get Cat on his side, it was just “Bam, you’re mine, I’ll kill your friends if you keep fighting.” Followed by…nothing. No attempts to calm her down, woo her to their cause, explain things to her, nothing. He was too aggressive at the start and then he followed it up by doing zilch to make up for his (quite frankly) horrible actions. I could have handled it if either half of that sentence had changed. If he’d grabbed her then tried to make nice, or if he’d tried to convince her first and only resorted to force as a last (ish) resort. I mean, he wouldn’t be a hero or anything because kidnapping is still shitty, but at least I could roll along with it.

And Cat, bless her, put up a fight the whole way. Which is great and well she should because she’s been kidnapped and threatened, but that just means that Griffin’s douchery is front-and-center every time I open the book. And that’s really exhausting. It got to the point where my reading time was actually making me anxious. So, nope, DNF.

So close to a really good thing, and I’m sure others will have a blast with it, because it does have a lot going for it. But I just couldn’t get past that initial bit.

Rating: DNF

dnf

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