Publisher: Berkley

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

Posted September 18, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean BrookReviewer: Rowena
The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Series: The Iron Seas #1
Also in this series: The Iron Duke (Iron Seas, #1), Fire and Frost, Tethered (Novella), The Kraken King Part I, Here There Be Monsters (Iron Seas, #0.5), The Kraken King (Iron Seas, #4), Heart of Steel (Iron Seas, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 5, 2010
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's Summer Reading Challenge
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Series Rating: four-stars

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power - and fear - of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.

But when Mina uncovers the victim's identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans-and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen, as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.

Ugh, August was a really bad month for me, on the reading front. I had such big plans of finishing my Summer Reading Challenge and this book ended up being one of the only books on my list that I read. Sigh. In good news though, I really enjoyed this book. It took some getting used to because I don’t read a lot of steampunk books so it was hard for me to picture everything but the more that I listened, the more that I talked to Holly, the clearer the picture of the steampunk world that Brook created for these characters came to be and this book ended up being a lot of fun and super steamy.

So, when The Iron Duke saved the world from activated nano agents, he became a national hero. He used that hero-worship to build himself an empire and all was well until a dead body drops onto his steamship and brings Detective Mia Wentworth to his doorstep (or whatever they call their doorsteps on the steamships). Mia’s got a case to solve and for, maybe the first time in her life, Trahaearn sees Mia, the woman and not Mia, the woman with horde blood in her veins. Mia can’t afford to be distracted from her work because her family relies on her financial support but you can’t stop love when your destiny is to love the Iron Duke.

The strongest part of this story, for me, was Mia. Her character was wonderfully written and I was here for every single thing that she went through. I loved the woman that she was and I really loved seeing her grow into the feelings that she was developing for Trahaearn. She meant business and she knew what she was about and I couldn’t help myself. I cheered for her from beginning to end. I wanted her to get everything her heart’s desired because she deserved it. She was a genuinely good person and she was fair and when that scene happened, I was shocked and at first, I didn’t know how to feel though my heart hurt for Mia. I was glad with the way that Meljean Brook handled that and how everything came together.

I enjoyed the narration of this story too. I was able to easily follow along with what was happening, even when it took me a little bit to picture everything in this steampunk world. This book had me gripped from beginning to end and though it wasn’t my favorite read of the Summer Reading Challenge, I still really enjoyed it and look forward to continuing this series. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

The Iron Seas


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Sunday Spotlight: Dark Illusion by Christine Feehan

Posted September 1, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 6 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

I started reading the Dark series waaaaay back in 2000. My son was a newborn and I needed to find something to do while I stayed at home with him. I headed into a used bookstore (you know, back in the day when they had used bookstores) and saw Dark Prince displayed. It is the first book in the series. I picked it up and ended up reading it in one day. Dark Illusion is the 33rd book in this series. Although at times it can get monotonous, I still love it. I’ve really enjoyed this new story line that CF has going on. If you have been looking for a good paranormal, this is a good place to start.

Sunday Spotlight: Dark Illusion by Christine FeehanDark Illusion by Christine Feehan
Series: Dark #33
Also in this series: Dark Illusion
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 400
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Series Rating: four-stars

A mage and a warrior must see beyond their facades and embrace the bond that links their souls in this powerful Carpathian novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

At any other time, Julija Brennan would find solace in the quiet of the Sierra Mountains, but now the mage is in the race of her life. Having broken free from her controlling family, Julija's attempts to warn the Carpathians of the coming threat has failed and put a target on her back—and those who hunt her are close behind...

After centuries locked away in a monastery in the Carpathian Mountains, Isai Florea can't believe he's finally found his lifemate—the missing half of his soul. The second he sees Julija his world blazes with color. But despite their explosive connection Julija rebels against what she sees as Isai's intent to control her and rejects the bond that would prevent him from becoming a monster.

As their unfulfilled bond continues to call to them both, Julija and Isai aim to complete the task that brought them together. They are used to facing danger alone, but now the mage and the ancient warrior must learn how to rely on each other in order to stop a plot that threatens all Carpathians...

Exclusive Excerpt

The world looked very different when one was soaring through the air in the middle of the night. Julija found herself laughing, elated, exhilarated. I love this.

Pay attention to what you are doing, kislány hän ku meke sarnaakmet minan. Stay focused.

Was there panic in his voice? Julija thought there might be and that made her laugh all over again. The stars were brighter this far up. Everything below her seemed very small. The cats were running flat out on the rocks below, Carpathian blood calling to them. They would find Julija and Isai before dawn when Isai found a place for them all. In the meantime, she could do a few crazy tricks, like try to do somersaults in the air.

Julija. You will behave yourself. Pay attention. Do you have any idea of all the things that could go wrong?

I want to kiss you right now. She did. Kissing him sounded wonderful. Completing. That was exactly what she needed to make flying the best thing that ever was. She thought about his face. The lines etched deep. The strong jaw. Aristocratic nose. That long hair, pulled back in his braid with cords tying it every few inches. Always neat. Never ruffled. She laughed all over again. Your feathers seem a little ruffled now. Her laughter grew. That was true—and funny.

The larger owl dropped down to cover the female with one widespread wing. I think you have truly lost your mind, woman. Stop laughing.

There was no stopping, not when she was this happy. Are you crazy? This is—wonderful. Perfection. I can’t believe how flying feels. I could do this all night.

It is your first time, sívamet. There was a hint of a smile coming through the panic along with resignation. You will tire easily. Please keep your mind focused on what you are doing. If you lose the image, even for a moment, you will fall from the sky.

She knew that, and it should have scared her, but it didn’t. She’d always had the ability to give details her full attention. She was aware of everything around her. She’d had to be. Her father was very exacting of all of them, but of her in particular. Her stepmother was very cruel; knowing where she was in the house at all times had saved Julija from many beatings. She wasn’t going to think about her. Nothing was going to mar her enjoyment of flying through the air on silent wings.

Stay with me. Your owl has excellent hearing and vision. We are looking for Iulian’s trail. I was searching for him when I discovered you. I tried reaching out to him, but he didn’t answer. Neither, when the theft was first discovered, did he answer the prince, Gregori or Tariq.

I felt him up until about forty-eight hours ago. He felt . . . sad. Very sad. His sorrow weighed him down.

You said you connected with him when he was with his lifemate.

She was very tired. She must have been in her eighties or nineties and alone in a nursing home. He held her until she passed.

Isai was silent for so long she was becoming alarmed. In the body of the owl she twisted her neck, although the eyes could see his owl very clearly.

What are you thinking, Isai?

The entire time he was close to you, you could connect with him?

Yes. I felt his emotions, even though he could not. She settled into a pattern, flying close to him, allowing the larger bird to keep her nearly beneath his wing.

Was that common for you? Feeling the emotions of others?

Automatically, her owl observed everything going on below her. For the most part, there was little movement of humans or even mages on the vast acreage laid out below them. Twice she’d seen hikers, but when Isai had dropped low to ensure they were truly hikers, both times they’d been legitimate.

To feel other’s emotions, yes. To connect so strongly with a Carpathian male? No. That was the first time and it was extremely strong. I was shocked that he didn’t seem aware of it.

You were behind him by several days and yet you were able to pick up his trail again once you were here in Yosemite?

Yes. The pull was extreme again. There was no getting away from it. He was broadcasting sorrow so deep, at times all I could do was weep for him. That was the truth as well. His brother, Iulian, had moved her beyond all self-centered thoughts. Beyond anything. His sorrow was that deep.

Then suddenly that trail abruptly ended?

Again, she twisted her neck to look at him. His voice had been pitched exactly the same, but she listened for any little inflection. Something was off. He was going somewhere with his inquiry, not just trying to find a detail she missed.

I don’t believe he was selfishly looking to keep the book. It didn’t feel that way to me at all. What are you thinking?

The same thing you are. He took the book to protect it. He had to have had a plan. My blood calls to his, yet it goes unanswered. The book was sealed with the blood of sacrifice. To keep that blood sacrifice from calling to the any member of the high mage’s family— He broke off.

Julija knew what was coming. She’d entertained the idea she knew was moving through Isai’s mind. She wanted desperately to stop him from voicing it. Already she could feel the beginnings of sorrow in his mind. She couldn’t stop herself. She had to delay the inevitable, even if it was just for a few minutes.

Dark Series

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: September 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Christine Feehan

Christine Feehan is a #1 New York Times bestselling author multiple times over with her portfolio including over 40 published novels, including five series; Leopard Series, Dark Series, Ghostwalker Series, Drake Sisters Series, & the Sisters of the Heart Series. All five series hit the #1 spot on the New York Times bestselling list as well. Her debut novel Dark Prince received 3 of the 9 Paranormal Excellence Awards in Romantic Literature (PEARL) in 1999. Since then she has been published by various publishing houses including Leisure Books, Pocket Books, and currently is writing for Berkley/Jove. She also has earned 7 more PEARL awards since Dark Prince.


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day

Posted August 15, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa DayReviewer: Tracy
Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day
Series: Warriors of Poseidon #7
Also in this series: Atlantis Awakening (Warriors of Poseidon, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 311
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The most unexpected of all allies to Poseidon's warriors has proven to be the fiercest-Daniel, a vampire and Night Guild mage. But even the strongest alliance can be destroyed when a vampire's oath crosses paths with a maiden's quest, and an eleven-thousand-year-old desire is reborn.

Ready to face the dawn and die after 11,000 years as a vampire, Daniel walks into the Reflecting Pool on the Washington Mall and ends up in Atlantis, at the mercy of Serai, a long-dead warrior princess he could never forget.

Yet Serai is not dead. Centuries earlier she and several others had been magically put into suspended animation to ensure the continuation of the Atlanteans. But the magical jewel that keeps them safe has been stolen, and, now awake, Serai must find it to save the other sleeping women.

Together, Daniel and Serai search for the stone and renew their relationship, stalked by an evil that isn't about to let them succeed.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on Nov 15, 2011.

Daniel was just a blacksmith’s apprentice in Atlantis when he met the beautiful Serai. It was love at first sight and they longed to be together. Unfortunately many things happened to keep them apart. Atlantis was attacked, Daniel turned into a vampire, Atlantis submerged into the ocean and Serai put into stasis to one day be awoken to marry High Prince Conlan.

Eleven thousand years have passed since that time. Daniel is ready to face the dawn and end it all when he finds himself not only alive but in Atlantis and facing the women he thought long dead. He is mesmerized once again and eager to help her with whatever she needs.

Serai broke out of the stasis but she doesn’t want to be put in and knows she must get out of Atlantis immediately. She was told that Daniel died all those years ago and when he appears before her she’s shocked. They fight together to find a gem from Poseidon’s trident, the Emporer, and try to save the other women in stasis.

This is book 7 in this series and my least favorite of the bunch. While it was an interesting story to a point and continued the overall story arc that will be concluded in future books, it just lacked that extra something that made it captivating. The story was good but I found myself kind of well, bored at points.

I really liked Daniel and of course Serai was a strong female character but they were a bit melodramatic for me. Yes, I know that they’d been apart and thought the other dead – I would probably be very vocal about my feelings too if that happened…but it just didn’t have a truly realistic feel to me.

While the story was good and had a bit of an extra romance with the vampire Nicholas and the witch Ivy it unfortunately just fell a bit short from the other books in the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen

Posted August 11, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Michelle Hazen is a new-to-me author, but I’m crazy excited for Unbreak Me. The early reviews have been great and the blurb makes me think this is my kind of jam.

Sunday Spotlight: Unbreak Me by Michelle HazenUnbreak Me by Michelle Hazen
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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A contemporary romance about a New Orleans cowboy battling systemic racism post-Hurricane Katrina and a woman recovering from a public trial following a sexual assault.

What could two troubled souls from different walks of life have in common? Maybe everything.

Andra Lawler lives isolated at her family’s horse ranch, imprisoned by the memories of an assault in college. When she needs help training her foals, she hires a Haitian-Creole cowboy from New Orleans with a laugh as big as the Montana sky.

LJ Delisle can’t stand the idea that Andra might be lonely—or eating frozen TV dinners. He bakes his way into her kitchen with a lemon velvet cake, and offers her cooking lessons that set them on the road to romance. But even their love can’t escape the shadow of what they've been through. Despite their growing friendship and his gentle rapport with the horses, LJ is still an outsider facing small-town suspicions.

Before they can work through their issues, LJ is called home by a family emergency. In the centuries-old, raggedly rebuilt streets of New Orleans, he must confront memories of Hurricane Katrina and familiar discrimination. And Andra must decide if she’s brave enough to leave the shelter of the ranch for an uncertain future with LJ.

Excerpt

She leaned against the refrigerator where it stuck out from the counter, and closed her eyes. She was not imagining the double meaning to his every word. Nobody’s mind was lower in the gutter than LJ’s. He was flirting with her, had probably always been flirting with her, according to her father. It was just a different brand of flirting than she knew what to do with. All possibility, no pressure. And he was certainly doing it on purpose. The man missed nothing. Not the tiniest flick of a horse’s ears, not the morning he brought her coffee because her belt had missed one loop on her jeans and he figured that meant she’d been in a rush that day.

What bothered her was how easy it was. He’d invited himself into her kitchen and her life from virtually his first day on the ranch.

“You took this job for the horses, right?” Her voice came out a little faint, and she opened her eyes to see him frown at her.

“I certainly didn’t take it for the pension plan.”

She bit her lip, hesitating. Watching her, his expression changed.

“Ah.” He laughed. “Don’t flatter yourself, darlin’. You were something else, riding that fancy stallion like you both belonged in the Olympics. But it was Taz who ran away with my heart that first day. That and all this.” He nodded toward the window. “Big sky full of second chances.”

Her stomach twisted, uncertain whether she was relieved or offended he hadn’t taken the job because he wanted to pursue her. Then the second part of his statement caught her, and her eyes narrowed.

“Do you need a second chance?” she asked slowly.

“Doesn’t everybody?” He flicked off both burners and stepped close to her all in one smooth movement. One hand landed on the refrigerator, above her head; one on the counter, next to her hip. He was near enough to let her feel his body heat, but not caging her in. She could step out from under his arm easily, and with a surge of her pulse, she almost wished she couldn’t. LJ stood so close his body was her entire world. Cozy but thrilling. She wanted him pressed against her so she could drown in that bizarre reaction, breathe it in and glory in it.

He ducked his head, his drawl a lower pitch than usual. “What’s on your mind, beautiful?”

She could only blink, as if steam were effervescing out of the air between them and she couldn’t quite see.

“You keep asking all these questions.” He licked his bottom lip, a quick slick of tongue over that mouth of his. “Why don’t you ask me what you’re really wanting to know?”

“The cooking lessons.” Her mouth was so dry she had to swallow before she could continue. “Was that flirting? Is that why you offered in the first place?”

His hand dropped, the inside of his wrist warming her shoulder as he opened the fridge. Taking her other shoulder, he spun her around. “See that?”

She stared, puzzled. Milk, orange juice. Cheese and eggs and containers of leftovers and some lettuce that was starting to go off.

“That’s what a fridge is supposed to look like.” He let the door fall closed. “I like you.”

She didn’t move. He was right behind her, the closed fridge giving them no excuse to keep looking in its direction. They were too close for anything except hugging, her bottom so near the front of his jeans that she couldn’t even shift her weight without touching him. This was the point where she should pull away.
He tapped one finger against the fridge door. “I would have done that much even for somebody I didn’t like. As for the rest?” His knuckles skimmed down the back of her arm so lightly that the rough yarn of her sweater woke up her entire body, her skin rippling with goose bumps. “Now that might be flirting.”

“Might be?” she asked breathlessly.

His breath stirred her hair, as if he’d bent a little closer. “Depends on if you want it to be.”

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: August 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Michelle Hazen

Michelle Hazen is a nomad with a writing problem. Years ago, she and her husband ducked out of the 9 to 5 world and moved into their truck. She found her voice with the support of the online fanfiction community, and once she started typing, she never looked back.

She has written most of her books in odd places, including a bus in Thailand, an off-the-grid cabin in the Sawtooth Mountains, a golf cart in a sandstorm, a rental car during a heat wave in the Mohave Desert and a beach in Honduras. Even when she’s climbing rocks, riding horses, or getting lost someplace wild and beautiful, there are stories spooling out inside her head, until she finally heeds their call and returns to her laptop and solar panels.


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Review: Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh

Posted July 25, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wolf Rain by Nalini SinghReviewer: Rowena
Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #3
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Wolf Rain
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us on a new adventure in this next novel of the Psy-Changeling Trinity series…

The end of Silence was supposed to create a better world for future generations. But trust is broken, and the alliance between Psy, Changeling, and human is thin. The problems that led to Silence are back in full force. Because Silence fixed nothing, just hid the problems.

This time, the Psy have to find a real answer to their problems–if one exists. Or their race will soon go extinct in a cascade of violence. The answer begins with an empath who is attuned to monsters–and who is going to charm a wolf into loving her despite his own demons.

Wolf Rain is the third book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity and we’re back in the SnowDancer’s Den as this story features Hawke’s Lieutenant Alexei and the E Psy that he saves from captivity, Memory. Memory was kidnapped when she was just 8 years old and when she was rescued by Alexei, she was 23. That’s a long time to be held a prisoner in a tiny bunker hidden on SnowDancer land.

Once she’s rescued, Alexei and Memory become close as they try to run down Memory’s kidnapper and while Alexei and his pack are running leads down, Memory is taken to the compound where she joins a bunch of E Psy’s like her that need training on how to use their powers. Sascha comes in to help Memory with her mind shields so that if she never runs across her kidnapper, she’d be better equipped at fighting him on an even battlefield. All the while, these two are fighting an attraction that is fast overwhelming both of them. Alexei comes from a family of rogue wolves and he won’t put his pack, or anyone else in danger by taking a mate. I really enjoyed seeing the way that Nalini Singh tackles all of Alexei’s and Memory’s problems. She kind of just pulls all these strings together until the characters figure their shit out and I thought this story was well written.

One of the things that I loved about this book, and this series, really, is that we see so many of our favorite characters from the previous books play active roles in these newer ones. I loved that Memory had to work with Kaleb Krychek and Ivy Jane, along with Sascha and the other E’s to take down the bad guys. I also liked seeing our SnowDancer and DarkRiver friends. The entire time that I was reading this book, it felt like a warm hug from friends that you haven’t seen in a long time but are so happy to see again.

The romance between Alexei and Memory was a lot of fun. I loved seeing Memory come into her own. I loved seeing her fight to get back on her feet after so many years in captivity. I really loved seeing her and Alexei butt heads, fall in love and then figure out a way to be together. I loved that Mercy was hellbent on fighting for Alexei and when all was said and done, Alexei felt the exact same way about Memory. Memory’s fashion sense made me pause because homegirl loved wearing all of the colors in one outfit but other than that, I adored her. My heart hurt for Alexei’s situation and I was so happy when they worked together on trying to figure out if he’d go rogue just like his family did.

This is another great paranormal romance with characters that will light up your world so if you’re in the mood for action, steamy romance and lots of fun characters, this is the book for you.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

Psy-Changeling Trinity

four-stars


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