Genre: Urban Fantasy

Review: Bound Together by Christine Feehan

Posted March 13, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Bound Together by Christine FeehanBound Together (Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart, #6) by Christine Feehan
Series: Sisters of the Heart #6, Sea Haven #13
Also in this series: Water Bound, Spirit Bound, Air Bound, Earth Bound, Fire Bound, Turbulent Sea, Hidden Currents, Magic in the Wind, The Twilight Before Christmas, Oceans of Fire, Dangerous Tides, Safe Harbor, Turbulent Sea, Hidden Currents
Published by Jove
Publication Date: March 21st 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
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four-stars

The Sea Haven series comes to a climactic end as the mysterious man from Blythe Daniels’ past re-enters her life. Don’t miss the final Sea Haven novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling “queen of paranormal romance” (J. R. Ward).
For five years, Viktor Prakenskii has put his life on hold in order to take down the world’s most feared motorcycle club from the inside. But carrying out the insane violence and seeing the club’s exploitation of the innocent has brought his traumatic past roaring back. And there’s only one cure: to see the wife he left behind...
Blythe Daniels thought she’d never see Viktor again after he murdered her stepfather and left without a word. She rebuilt her life without him, becoming a personal trainer and physical therapist...becoming strong enough for others to lean on. But when Viktor comes back to Sea Haven, he’ll make Blythe question everything she thought she knew about good and evil—and the dark desires of the heart...

This is the final book in Feehan’s Drake Sisters/Sea Haven spin-off, Sisters of the Heart.

Five years ago Blythe Daniels married Viktor Prakenskii after knowing him a week. Then he busted her step-father as a pedophile and left her to deal with the aftermath without a word. Although she’s never been able to get over him, she doesn’t consider them married and wants nothing to do with him. So when he unexpectedly shows up in town and lays claim to her in public, she’s pretty furious. And confused. Especially since he claims he left her a letter explaining everything – and his excuse for disappearing is pretty damn good. Still, opening herself up to him after the trauma she suffered because of him isn’t high on her priority list.

Viktor always intended to return for Blythe, but he had to finish his undercover op first. He didn’t expect it to last as long as it did, but he knew she’d be waiting for him. He had no idea the trauma she suffered while he was gone. While dealing with their final target, he also needs to win Blythe back and convince her they’re meant to be.

This wrapped up some loose threads from the previous books in the series, and we got to see all the previous couples again, which is nice. I really liked the action and the MC element. I’ll be curious to read more about them in the future. Viktor and his MC had become a family. I really enjoyed their interactions with each other, and watching them warily begin to accept his blood-brothers.

As for Blythe and Viktor, I liked them as a couple, but something about their romance didn’t work for me. I think it was the rushed feeling as they came back together. I would have liked to see more of them alone, discussing their past issues and getting to know each other again.

There was a good amount of humor. I cracked up several times. Especially when it came to Blythe and the MC. I’ve always enjoyed the relationship between the sisters, and now the brothers as well. Feehan writes great family relationships.

I’m sad to see the series come to a close, but I’m happy to see Feehan is continuing on with Viktor’s Torpedo Ink MC brothers.

Feehan finishes the series on a high note. I was definitely left wanting more.

4 out of 5

four-stars

DNF Review: Flirting Under a Full Moon by Ashlyn Chase

Posted March 9, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

DNF Review: Flirting Under a Full Moon by Ashlyn ChaseReviewer: Holly
Flirting Under a Full Moon by Ashlyn Chase
Series: Flirting with Fangs Trilogy #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: April 2nd 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 342
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dnf

If Brandee Hanson ever wants to go from waitress to photographer, she'll have to take some once-in-a-lifetime shots. But when she catches the gorgeous private investigator, Nick Wolfensen, on camera— transforming into a werewolf—she is thrown into a world of vampires, shapeshifters, and other paranormal misfits.

In order to keep his secret and stay clear of the supernatural council, Nick will have to convince Brandee not to release the photo. Fortunately, he was looking for an excuse to spend more time with the beautiful waitress anyway.

I saw a recommendation for this series on Instagram. It looked cute and kind of fun. Instead I found it to be over-the-top campy and pretty ridiculous.

Brandee is a waitress at a dive bar that caters, unbeknownst to her, to paranormals – werewolves, vampires and the like. One of the regulars constantly flirts with her, but she isn’t looking for a one-night-stand and Nick is known to run from any type of relationship. When they end up working together to find her missing cousin, she realizes there’s more to Nick than she initially thought. But strange things keep happening and she isn’t sure she can trust him.

For Nick’s part, he’s been playing the field while he waits for his Mate. Which, it seems, Brandee is. But he’s forbidden from telling her he’s a shifter, and Mother Nature is watching him closely.

I really wanted to like this, but it was just too silly for me. Brandee made ridiculous decisions that put herself and others in danger, with no thought whatsoever to the consequences. She didn’t ask questions when she should have and trusted much too easily. The hero was kind of overbearing, but honestly with the way she acted I don’t know how he could stand to be around her.

She also has the annoying habit of replacing “Oh, my god” with silly phrases. It was meant to be cute and kind of endearing, I think, but instead it was distracting and annoying.

“But we have to call the police,” Brandee said. “Oh, my obstruction of justice.”

“Oh, my first date jitters…”

“Oh, my Little Red Riding Hood.”

There were also gems like this:

“Are they feeding you, sweetheart?”

“Yeah. Cheese and crackers.”

Crap. With my lactose intolerance, I’ll be less than the perfect hostage. Although with all the burping and farting, they might just let me go.

Chase, Ashlyn (2013-04-02). Flirting Under a Full Moon (Flirting with Fangs Book 1) (p. 41). Sourcebooks. Kindle Edition.

I tried to stick with it, but once Mother Nature came on scene as a trash talking bitch, I just couldn’t. I had to quit at the 25% mark. There is definitely an audience for this type of book, but I’m not it.

DNF

dnf

Review: Stolen Magic by Marina Finlayson

Posted February 23, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Stolen Magic by Marina FinlaysonReviewer: Holly
Stolen Magic by Marina Finlayson
Series: Shadows of the Immortals #1
Also in this series: Murdered Gods
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 262
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three-stars

Lexi Jardine may be a thief, but she’s not stupid. When a crooked fireshaper wants her to steal a ring from the boss of his order, she knows it’s a one-way ticket to sleeping with the fishes. Her answer is to drop off the face of the earth.

Safely hidden in a quiet seaside town, she just needs to keep her head down and pretend to be a regular human. Since her only magical ability is the power to control animals, that should be easy, right?

Then a new fireshaper shows up in town. He’s hot as hell but oddly hostile. With his suspicious eyes watching her every move, her safe haven starts feeling more like a trap. When her best friend disappears, Lexi knows the time for hiding is over. The fireshapers might be more powerful, but Lexi’s not one to abandon a friend. It will take everything she’s got to save them both from the flames.

The world is broken up into Shifters (who change shape), Shapers (who control the elements) and Humans. Lexi is a little more than human, but not a Shaper or Shifter. She and her best friend, cat shifter Syl, have been hiding in a sleepy seaside town for the last several months to escape a Fire Shaper who wants them to steal a powerful magical artifact from the leader of the Red Adept, the ruling Shapers council. When another Fire Shaper, Jake Steele, shows up unexpectedly in town, Lexi knows she should keep running, especially after he takes notice of her and starts asking some pointed questions. She’s happy for the first time in years, though, so she talks herself into staying. As things heat up, Lexi finds herself getting in over her head – spending more time with Jake, meeting Vampires and getting wrapped up in a nefarious plot to steel magic from Shapers and Gods everywhere, In the end she and Jake will have to decide if they trust each other enough to work together.

This was a fun read. It wasn’t perfect – Lexi was almost too-perfect, aside from making questionable decisions (though her best friend often talked her down before she did anything truly stupid), but I enjoyed the premise. The world-building is shallow, but I was interested in finding out what was going on. Finlayson didn’t reinvent the wheel, but the mythology was fun to get back into. The action was good and I liked the budding romance between Lexi and Jake. This isn’t a deep read, but I was entertained.

Until it ended on a cliffhanger. Then I was just frustrated. The conflict was cleared up, but there were a lot of unanswered questions about the heroine and the overall story arc. I really wish this had been labeled as a cliffhanger. It wasn’t labeled as “Part 1”, either, but rather as “Book 1.” That seems rather disingenuous when this read as the first part of a full story.

I immediately bought Book 2, Murdered Gods, but it, too, ended on a cliffhanger (and felt even shorter and less complete than this one did). Book 3 isn’t out yet. I doubt I’ll be continuing the series.

3 out of 5

three-stars

Review: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

Posted January 24, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9) by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #9
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us into a dangerous and exhilarating world where a deadly, beautiful archangel and his once-mortal consort are caught in a fury of twisted darkness…
One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.
Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…
Nothing will ever be the same again.

It’s been two years since the Cascade has reared it’s head..two years Elena and Raphael have used to strengthen their forces while they wait. And wait. And wait. Elena doesn’t want war, but the inaction is killing her. They all know the other shoe is going to drop..if only they knew when. Lijuan has disappeared, which means Raphael and the other archangels are called before the Luminata . The mysterious group was charged with calling the Cadre together if and when an archangel goes missing, as a vacuum can occur if an archangel’s territory is felt unattended. Though most believe Lijuan has chosen to Sleep, no one can be sure, which means she may be able to attack while they’re gathered together. Plus, having all members of the Cadre together presents it’s own problems, since archangels can only be near each other for short periods of time without causing power imbalances.

Elena’s roots are something of  a mystery. Singh has hinted in past books that things are not exactly what they seem with her, and after revelations in the previous book, Elena feels this may be a good time to learn more about her mother’s family. The Luminata is said to have extensive libraries, and, as it happens, is located near Morocco, where Elena’s mother was from.

Archangel’s Heart opens another door to this complex world Singh has created. While Elena and her past are at the heart of the story, storyarcs from previous novels are explored, as well new new intrigues. We learn more about Aodhan, Elena’s past and some of the other archangels and how their territories are run.

Another killer book in the series. I continue to be amazed at the attention to detail here. The world-building is stellar. It never fails to pull me in.

4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars

Review: Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Posted January 19, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magic Binds by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #9
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)
Published by Ace
Publication Date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…

Kate and Curran have finally set a date for their wedding, but planning a wedding is hard work, especially when you’re trying to grow a business, defend land you never meant to claim and deal with your soon-to-be husband’s former pack.

Now that Kate’s father has moved in at the edge of her land and called a truce, he keeps poking at her, hoping to incite a reaction. She’s mostly able to resist going after him directly until he kidnaps Saimon, a demi-god and former sort-of friend of Kate’s. Roland is bleeding him dry in his bid for more power, and Kate knows she can’t leave Saimon to his fate..especially since that would mean giving dear old dad power over her. The witch oracle has warned Kate she has devastation in her future, but she can’t sit back and do nothing. Plus, she’s changing. Since she claimed Atlanta as hers, she can feel pieces of herself slipping away. She doesn’t like the person she’s becoming, but she isn’t sure how to stop the change from happening.

Of course Curran still has her back. No matter how she acts or what challenges they face, Curran accepts Kate as she is. She also has a lot of support from her friends and psuedo-family. Despite herself – or maybe in spite of herself – Kate has formed stronger bonds and attachments than she ever expected.

These characters are so multifaceted. Take Roland for example. He is Evil Incarnate. The Killer of Innocents. The Scourge of the Earth. The Builder of Towers. Yet he has flashes of goodness, too. It’s clear he cares for Kate in his own way, and wants a relationship with her. I know there’s no way he can ever be redeemed, but a small part of me holds out hope I’m wrong, while another part anxiously awaits the day Curran rips him to pieces for hurting Kate.

This was such a fantastic read. I can’t believe how fresh and exciting this book was, considering we’re 9 books into the series. I was sucked in from page one. There was a surprising amount of humor considering the darker overtone of the book. I literally laughed out loud several times.

My heart hurt, my blood pumped and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. I can’t wait to see what Andrews has in store for us next.

4.5 out of 5

 

four-half-stars