Tag: Zebra

Review: Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken

Posted April 9, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Dragon Actually by G.A. AikenReviewer: Holly
Dragon Actually (Dragon Kin, #1) by G.A. Aiken
Series: Dragon Kin #1
Also in this series: Light My Fire, Dragon on Top, Bring the Heat, Bring the Heat
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: September 1st 2008
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 336
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

It's not always easy being a female warrior with a nickname like Annwyl the Bloody. Men tend to either cower in fear - a lot - or else salute. It's true that Annwyl has a knack for decapitating legions of her ruthless brother's soldiers without pausing for breath. But just once it would be nice to be able to really talk to a man, the way, she can talk to Fearghus the Destroyer.

Too bad that Fearghus is a dragon, of the large, scaly and deadly type. With him, Annwyl feels safe - a far cry from the feelings aroused by the hard-bodied, arrogant knight Fearghus has arranged to help train her for battle. With her days spent fighting a man who fill her with fierce, heady desire, and her nights spent in the company of a magical creature who could smite a village just by exhaling, Annwyl is sure life couldn't get any stranger. She's wrong...

Annwyl the Bloody is sister to the evil king of the realm. She’s been fighting his troops for years, slowly gathering support to form a rebellion meant to overthrow him. When she ends up on deaths doorstep outside a dragon’s den, she doesn’t expect to live. Either her brother’s soldiers will kill her, or the dragon will. But she isn’t going to go down cowering. She’ll go out as she lived, fighting for all she’s worth.

Fearghus the Destroyer is an antisocial dragon. He prefers being alone in his den to dealing with humans or other dragons. But Annwyl the Bloody intrigues him. Not only does her reputation proceed her, but she’s the only human he’s ever met who doesn’t cower from Dragons. She’s fierce and bold, and he can’t stop himself from wanting to heal, take care of and spend time with her. He knows if she wants to defeat her brother he needs better training. She has to learn to control her rage.

When Fearghus tells Annwyl he has a Knight who can help her hone her skill with a sword, she’s skeptical. But she can’t deny the man has skill. Still, for all of her attraction to the Knight, she prefers the company of the dragon.

This was such a good book. I loved how bloodthirsty and kickass the heroine was. She wasn’t a shrinking violet who needed to be saved. I loved Fearghus the dragon. He was so cute. Every time he and Annwyl snuggled I got all melty. I struggled more with her relationship with the Knight. They had a contentious relationship that didn’t really lend itself to softer feelings.

View Spoiler »

Still, I really enjoyed the story, the heroine and the dragon. This was a great start to what I hope will be a great series.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Bring the Heat by G.A. Aiken

Posted August 29, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Bring the Heat by G.A. AikenReviewer: Tracy
Bring the Heat by G.A. Aiken
Series: Dragon Kin #9
Also in this series: Light My Fire, Dragon on Top, Bring the Heat, Dragon Actually (Dragon Kin, #1)
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: August 29th 2017
Pages: 416
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

HE SAYS . . .

I, Aidan the Divine, am . . . well, divine. My name was given to me by the Dragon Queen herself! I’m a delight! Cheerful. Charming. And a mighty warrior who is extremely handsome, with a very large and well-hidden hoard of gold. I am also royal-born, despite the fact that most in my family are horrendous beings who don’t deserve to live. And yet, Branwen the Awful—a low-born, no less—either tells me to shut up or, worse, ignores me completely.

SHE SAYS . . .

I’ll admit, I ignore Aidan the Divine because it annoys him. A lot. But we have so much to do right now, I can’t worry about why he keeps staring at me, or why he always sits so close, or why he keeps looking at me like he’s thinking about kissing me. We have our nations to save and no time for such bloody foolishness . . . no matter how good Aidan looks or how long his spiked tail is. Because if we’re going to win this war before it destroys everything we love, we’ll have to face our enemies together, side by side and without distractions. But if we make it out alive, who knows what the future will hold . . .

Our story takes us to the ongoing battle between the God Chramnesind’s followers/Zealots and the rest of the world.  They’ve been taking over/killing anyone who won’t claim Chramnesind as their God and that’s anyone who gets in their way.  Annwyl, her children aka The Abominations, her husband Fearghus and his entire family are fighting along with any nation they could get to fight with them.  Despite that it seems that the Zealots are winning the fight .  Things during the opening battle start to go all wrong…Annwyl is sucked into a well that suddenly disappears, mountains start collapsing and witches are singing spells all around them.

Branwen the Awful is fighting with members of the Mì-runach when the mountain they’re standing on collapses.  They manage to get away and plan to get back to their battalions but are intercepted by Brannie’s cousin Keita the Viper.  After being told by her aunt, Queen Rhiannon, and her mother that she must go with the Mì-runach and protect Keita while she heads to the Eastlands, Brannie is pissed.  She wants to get back to her men but ends up “protecting” Keita instead.

While they travel and run into trouble after trouble we read about what’s going on at the front, on the queen’s mountain, Annwyl who’s in hell, and with other characters. Brannie and Aidan, who are great friends decide that as a diversion they’ll sleep together but it means nothing and when Brannie is done, she’s done – no questions asked.  Of course Aidan is going to agree to anything he can in order to be with Brannie (we can tell he loves her).  But when it comes time to call it all off are either of them truly ready to say goodbye?

This was another fabulous story.  I loved how Aiken made this pretty much a fight for your life with a love story thrown in.  It’s tough and gritty and there’s not a lot of romance.  I don’t expect romance, however, as I know that most of the dragons in her stories aren’t the sweet, romantic types.  If she had tried to throw sappy romance into the story I would have been greatly confused. Lol.

The battle scenes as well as the behind the scenes plotting was awesome.  The dragons of Garbhan Isle, the Iron Dragons, the Daughters of the Steppes, the Eastlanders (whatever they are) added so much to the story and made it interesting, intriguing, humorous and sexy.  If you’ve loved the Dragon Kin series then you won’t want to miss this book.  If you haven’t read the series then I wouldn’t recommend starting with this book as you’ll be damned confused.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Justice Ascending by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted January 27, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Justice Ascending by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Justice Ascending (Scorpius Syndrome #3) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Scorpius Syndrome #3
Also in this series: Mercury Striking (Scorpius Syndrome, #1), Shadow Falling (Scorpius Syndrome, #2), Storm Gathering (Scorpius Syndrome, #4), Winter Igniting (Scorpius Syndrome, #5)
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 400
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Before surviving the Scorpius bacterium, Tace Justice was a good ole Texas cowboy who served his country and loved his mama. After Scorpius, the world became dark, dangerous, and deadly... and so did he. The Vanguard medic is stronger, faster, and smarter than before, but he's lost the line between right and wrong. His passion is absolute, and when he focuses it on one woman, there's no turning back for either of them.

Sami Steel has been fighting to survive right alongside Tace, convincing the Vanguard soldiers she's one of them. In truth, Sami is a former hacker turned government agent who worked at The Bunker, where scientists stored both contaminants and cures. Only she knows the location, and she's not telling. Yet when sexual fire explodes between her and Tace, she'll face even that hell again to save him.

Tace Justice was introduced in Mercury Striking as an affable, yet strong character. He was a down-to-earth good ‘ol boy who landed in the inner circle of Jax Mercury. As a field medic, his skills are in demand in post-apocalypse Los Angeles. When he is infected with the Scorpius Syndrome, he doesn’t get Vitamin B in time to come out on the other side of the virus unscathed. Tace doesn’t much care, but he knows he’s different. He’s not quite a Ripper, but he believes he’s on his way to becoming one.

Sami Steele has secrets. Big secrets. But she’s not sharing the biggest of them all. She knows where the Bunker is. The Bunker that everyone thinks the cure for Scorpius Syndrome is. They might be right, but Sami isn’t leading them into hell, which is exactly what the Bunker is as far as she is concerned. Yet when Tace seems to be one of the few that rejects the Vitamin B, Sami knows she can no longer keep quiet. Only at the Bunker can she find the way to save him.

Tace was happy to remain strictly co-workers with Sami until he was infected with Scorpius. After that, all bets were off. His obsession with sex moved onto an obsession with Sami. Not just with Sami, but with her safety. He is so intent on keeping her safe that he is risking his own safety, something that Jax isn’t so keen on. He doesn’t like his lieutenants fraternizing and he lets them know it. Nothing can keep these two apart, not even Scorpius.

I’m digging this series. Post-apocalypse romances really get to me because you strip everything down to survival. So falling in love in a week doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. Nothing is out of the ordinary when it comes down to it. You’re stripped to your core and it’s survival of the fittest. I can’t wait to see what Zanetti comes up with next.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Scorpius Syndrome

four-stars


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Guest Review: Kill Without Shame by Alexandra Ivy

Posted January 20, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Kill Without Shame by Alexandra IvyReviewer: Jen
Kill Without Shame by Alexandra Ivy
Series: ARES Security #2
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Five brave military heroes have survived the hell of a Taliban prison to return home—and take on civilian missions no one else can. They’re the men of ARES Security. Highly skilled, intimidating, invincible, and one by one, tested again and again…

Lucas St. Clair’s prestigious family had a political future neatly planned out for him—one that didn’t include his high school sweetheart, Mia Ramon. Under their pressure, Lucas gave her up. But since surviving captivity, he’s a changed man—and a crucial member of ARES Security. When he discovers a dead man clutching a picture of Mia that bears a threatening message, his fiercest protective instincts kick in, and he knows he must go to her.

Mia has never forgiven Lucas for breaking her heart, and she’s convinced her feelings for him are in the past. But it’s soon clear that isn’t true for either of them. Now, determined to solve the crime and keep Mia safe, with his ARES buddies backing him up, Lucas will have to reconstruct the murder victim’s last days—and follow a lethal trail that leads right back to the fate of the woman he still loves…

“A fantastic blend of romance and suspense…thrilling to the end.” --Mary Burton, USA Today bestselling author on Kill Without Mercy

In Kill Without Shame, we meet yet another amazing security team of badasses, this time called ARES. The members are all former military guys who were held prisoner together in Afghanistan. Lucas St. Clair is one of them, though unlike the rough backgrounds most of them have, Lucas comes from a rich political family. He turned his back on that life for good after coming back home, and now he’s rich and successful all on his own. When he finds out his high school girlfriend Mia is in danger, he immediately rushes to her side. He left her once, but he never stopped loving her (naturally), and now he has to convince her that not only can he keep her safe but he wants back in her life for good. Mia and Lucas have to figure out who wants her dead and put a stop to their plans.

This was a fun and interesting book! As you can probably guess, it doesn’t exactly break new ground, what with the secret team, the “I dumped you for your own good but I never forgot you” that Lucas has going on, and the headstrong but smart heroine. Still, I enjoy those stories so for me this one worked. I liked that Mia doesn’t immediately roll over and let Lucas in. She doesn’t trust him at first, nor should she. Well, she trusts his skills at keeping her safe pretty quickly, but she doesn’t trust his intentions and makes him work to regain that trust. Even better, Lucas understands why she doesn’t trust him and doesn’t push her or get mad at her for her reticence. He knows he screwed up, and he knows he needs to earn her back. I did also appreciate that his reasons for leaving her originally aren’t totally bogus (just a little bit, ha). Looking from the outside in, we readers can see neither Lucas nor Mia was really ready to handle their love yet. We can see that time to mature and some tough life experiences for both of them have made them stronger and better prepared to be together.

I liked the mystery in the book. There are some pretty big twists and turns, and even though I could kind of figure out who the villain might be fairly early, that person’s motivations weren’t quite clear at first. The book isn’t action-packed but the pace was fairly steady. Unfortunately, Lucas and Mia do something profoundly stupid towards the end, which was out of character and unnecessary except as a way to allow the villain to get to them in a dramatic fashion.

For me, this was a solid book in a new-to-me series, and I’ll be looking forward to more.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

three-half-stars


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Review: Shadow Falling by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted September 23, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shadow Falling by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Shadow Falling (Scorpius Syndrome, #2) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Scorpius Syndrome #2
Also in this series: Mercury Striking (Scorpius Syndrome, #1), Justice Ascending (Scorpius Syndrome #3), Storm Gathering (Scorpius Syndrome, #4), Winter Igniting (Scorpius Syndrome, #5)
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 400
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Before the Scorpius Syndrome tore through North America and nearly wiped out the population, Vivienne Kennedy was the FBI’s best profiler. The bacteria got her anyway. But she survived. She recovered. And when she woke up from a drug-nightmare of captivity, her skills as a hunter of men had gone from merely brilliant to full-on uncanny. Her mysterious rescuer wants her to put them to the test. But no matter how tempting he is, with his angel’s eyes and devil’s tongue, Vinnie knows she shouldn’t trust him.
If the FBI were still around they would rate Raze Shadow as one of the bad guys. His military training can’t wipe out his association with the Mercenaries, the most feared gang in a thousand miles. His loyalties are compromised. He won’t even tell Vinnie his real name. But there’s no FBI in the new America of fear and firepower, only instinct and risk.
And the way his arms wrap around Vinnie tells its own story. Whatever else Raze is concealing, he can’t hide his desire . . .

I am really loving this series. I love post-apocalyptic books. How would I be in a post-apocalypse world? How would you be? I think I would die in the first wave of deaths. Holly wouldn’t. I’ve seen the survival gear in her trunk. Maybe I wouldn’t. I would just need to find her car. Which would be hard considering we love several states away from each other.

Back to the review. I really enjoyed this book, but I liked Mercury Striking more. That’s where we are first introduced to Raze. He was as shady in that book as he is in his own book. When Vanguard goes to rescue Lynne from the Ripper President of the United States in Mercury Rising, Raze finds Vivienne Kennedy. Vinnie has been held prisoner by the President because he thinks she knows where the Bunker is. The Bunker is thought to have supplies and hold the cure for the Scorpius Syndrome. The problem is that Vinnie has no idea where the Bunker is. By the time she’s rescued, she’s been abused and drugged beyond imagining.

Raze is immediately drawn to Vinnie. She is vulnerable and his protective instincts immediately come to the forefront. It’s almost too bad for Vinnie that Raze is going to turn her over to the Mercenaries.

The next part of the review contains spoilers, so read on at your own risk…

View Spoiler »

Vinnie knows that Raze isn’t what he seems, but she can’t help but be attracted to his need to protect her. Feeling safe is a precious commodity in this new world and the only time she feels safe is when she is with Raze. Vinnie also knows that the drugs have done something to her brain, but Raze doesn’t seem concerned that she’s going crazy. Talking to her dead aunt is something that is of great concern to Vinnie, but Raze thinks nothing of it.

When Raze’s betrayal does come to life, Raze fights like hell to keep his place in Vanguard, keep the girl, and get his sister to safety. I would have respected him much more if he would have gone to Jax from the beginning, but he redeemed himself when he finally manned up and did it after View Spoiler ».

It’s official, I’m hooked on this series. I can’t wait until the next book comes out.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Scorpius Syndrome

four-stars


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