Author: Casee

Review: Wicked Ride by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted January 17, 2022 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wicked Ride by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Wicked Ride by Rebecca Zanetti
Narrator: Brock Thompson
Series: Realm Enforcers #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 279
Length: 10 hours and 51 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

If you love the Dark Protectors, these wicked hot Realm Enforcers are for you!
Alexandra Monzelle is a hard-fighting, heat-packing Seattle vice cop, and she’s not much interested in being protected. Her short skirt and sex-kitten heels are tools to lure her suspects into talking about the deadly new drug hitting the streets. She can take care of herself and then some. Unfortunately, she can’t seem to get that through to Kellach Dunne.
Kellach is a fresh import from Dublin, and he’s landed at the heart of a vicious motorcycle club that deals in guns, narcotics, and mayhem. He’s all male, all rough power—and all interference in her damn investigation. Maybe he’s one of the good guys. Maybe not. Lex knows an affair with an immortal like him would risk everything. No matter how delicious he looks…

Kellach Dunne is in Seattle for one reason. Kellach is an Enforcer for the Coven Nine. It is his responsibility to uncover who is trying to kill his fellow witches. Aside from beheading, the only way to kill a witch is a mineral called planekite. Planekite hasn’t been been mined for hundreds of years. Now someone is using it as a weapon, not just to kill witches but to test on humans.

Alexandra Monzelle is a Seattle vice cop. She has no idea the supernatural even existed. What she does know is that there is a dangerous new drug hitting the streets. Lex sees things in black and white. Kellach Dunne is definitely part of the darkside and she will do whatever it takes to bring him down. Then she finds out who & what he really is.

Kellach is instantly attracted to the pretty cop. He wants her, but she’s not only human, she’s a cop. A cop that is trying to bring down Kellach and the MC he is a member of. Lex doesn’t know that Kellach is undercover. Not until the supernatural world is revealed to her. Lex soon realizes Apollo is far more than a street drug killing people. It’s a drug that could kill Kellach. Lex will do anything to get Apollo off the streets.

I enjoyed Kellach and Lex, though Lex did get to be a little much. She just made decisions that didn’t seem right to me. Running into danger with the supernatural beings she just found out existed? Check. A drug-dealing father that is in prison? Check. I really did like Kellach and the rest of the the Dunne family. Although this isn’t my favorite book in the series (I’ve read them all by now), I thought it was a good start to a really good series.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

Realm Enforcers

three-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: The Immortal by Gena Showalter

Posted January 16, 2022 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 1 Comment

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. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: The Immortal by Gena ShowalterThe Immortal by Gena Showalter
Narrator: Max Bellmore
Series: Rise of the Warlords #2
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 384
Length: 11 hours and 16 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter delivers The Immortal, the second dark and sexy book in her Rise of the Warlords series, featuring a cold, merciless assassin and a stubborn harpy warrior... one fated to die by the other's hand.

Halo Phaninon, assassin of gods, is as cold and merciless as a machine. For victory, he crosses any line. When tasked to kill twelve of mythology’s fiercest monsters in twenty-four hours, Halo eagerly accepts. Except, each morning he awakens to the same day, forced to relive new horrors. Only one other person retains their memory—the beauty who threatens his iron control.

Ophelia the Flunk Out hates her disaster of a life. She’s the family disappointment, a harpy warrior without a kill and powerless—or is she? Nearly every night she’s doomed to repeat her own murder, but each morning she arises to spar with Halo, the ruthless warlord increasingly determined to save her…and lure her to his bed.

Halo’s insatiable desire for the stubborn Ophelia drives him wild…and he only craves more. If he remains in the time loop, they stay together. But if he escapes, they lose each other forever.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

A faraway realm Long ago

“Emotions are our greatest enemy.” With an unhurried stride, the headmaster paced before his charges. Students of the Order. The train of his voluminous black robe dragged behind him.

The most notable acolyte—Four—stood shoulder to shoulder with nine others in a perfectly straight line. Each boy wore a colorless tunic and loose pants; each kept his eyes focused ahead, chin up, hands locked behind his back and bare feet pressed to¬gether. None dared to take more than eight inhalations per min¬ute. The allotted amount.

Though a mere twelve years in age, Four already towered over the others. As the son of an eight-foot-tall war god, he might grow bigger than even the headmaster. If that happened…

Headmaster dies screaming.

The stern, merciless male possessed crimson skin and obsid¬ian eyes without any whites; the instructors were exact copies of him. Their only differences came from the symbols etched into their faces. Symbols that glowed when they contemplated any kind of punishment.

Headmaster never ceased glowing. “Say it,” he commanded now.

“Emotions are our greatest enemy,” the boys echoed in unison, monotone.

Four meant those words with every fiber of his being. What he wouldn’t give to rid himself of any softness. To no longer suffer the torment of grief and loss. Perhaps then he might fi¬nally forget his tenth birthday. The day invaders murdered his mother and carted him to the Order.

Here, orphaned children of “myth and legend” learned to assassinate kings and gods. The best executioners received rewards. Those who floundered were often used during target practice.

“Today, you will prove you mean what you say.” Headmaster continued his unhurried back-and-forth stride, drawing out the suspense. Testing his students, always testing. In the empty white room, his footfalls proved silent. “Shall I tell you how?”

“If you wish, Headmaster,” the boys responded, again in unison.

Four’s stomach churned, bile singeing his chest. He’d felt sick all morning. Even before he was summoned from his quarters—a small cubicle containing only a bed, nightstand, and handful of books he’d received for exemplary behavior. A sparse prison he’d come to appreciate. The less you owned, the less others could use against you. But not by word or deed did he reveal his physical discomfort. He knew better.

What would Headmaster force the students to endure today? Or worse, to do?

His skin glowed brighter as he passed Four. Five, the boy to his right, released an almost imperceptible whimper.

In a blink, the headmaster returned to the lad.

Four didn’t move. He willed his heart to maintain a slow, steady beat, lest a glaze of sweat dampen his skin, giving him away.

Headmaster purred, “Are you afraid, Five?”

Each student was known only by a number. A reminder of a terrible truth: we are easily replaced.

“No, sir,” Five said, but a slight tremor proved him a liar. “I fear nothing.”

“I’m not certain I believe you.” Headmaster lifted an arm and snapped his fingers. “But there’s a way to learn the truth.”

Instructors observed the proceedings from the back wall, lined up just like the students. A lone male eased into motion, closing the distance to stand beside his superior. Dread gave the sterile air a sharp bite.

“Whip him,” Headmaster ordered. “He’s to receive twenty lashes. If he makes a noise, cut out his tongue. If he sheds a tear, blind him.”

No one in the room revealed an outward reaction as the instructor padded behind Five. But inside, Four waged a fierce war. He liked the boy and protected him whenever possible. Of the ten students in their group, Five was the kindest. Unlike the others, he shared his rewards, no matter what they happened to be. Food. Soft blankets. Special weapons. But Five was also the weakest among them, and he was about to suffer untold agonies. Could he maintain his silence until the end of the whip-ping? Could anyone?

As the instructor unhooked a barbed rope from the belt of his robe, Four fought the urge to safeguard his friend. He knew better. He’d made this mistake once before, with another student. The moment he had intervened, he’d made everything worse. At least Five wasn’t being given an animal to raise and later kill.

The first strike landed with a whoosh. Relief sparked as silence stretched. The second and third strikes fell. Five did well, his face remaining a blank mask.

Headmaster leaned down, putting himself at eye level with his victim. “With every lash, you are being rid of your secret shame. Thank me for this opportunity.”

“Thank you, Headmaster.”

Whoosh. Crack.

Whoosh. Crack.

After the seventh strike, Headmaster slowly slid his attention to Four. He canted his head, staring hard. The symbols in his skin glowed brighter and brighter.

Four revealed nothing.

“Tell me what you think of Five’s situation,” the evil male cajoled.

“I cannot.” The calmness—the coldness—of Four’s tone chilled even him. “I think nothing of his situation.”

“Is that so?”

Whoosh. Crack. Whoosh. Crack.

Calm. Steady. Breathe in, out. “That is so.”

After searching Four’s face, Headmaster withdrew a dagger from a hidden pocket of his robe and offered the hilt. “Kill him.”

Four blinked twice. “Sir?”

“You will kill Five, or I will kill you. The decision is yours. You have one minute to decide.”

As Four held the male’s gaze, he knew two things with ab¬solute certainty. If he hesitated to do this, he would die today. If he revealed a single emotion, he would want to die.

With iron resolve, he accepted the weapon, his grip steady. He stepped backward and to the right, moving between the instructor with the whip and Five. Staring at his back—at the blood wetting his tunic.
I can do this. Four had delivered many deaths the past two years, his kill list more than double the length of anyone else’s. But then, he was born for this. And yet…

He felt as if a part of him died each time he stole another’s life.

Would he act anyway? Oh yes. Without hesitation.

Four stepped forward. Mere inches separated his chest and the ravaged back of his newest target. He reached around and gripped the boy’s chin, angling his head to the side. With his free hand, he pressed the tip of a blade into the upper dip of Five’s sternum.

A mewl of fear escaped his friend, and the churning in his stomach intensified.

“Your time runs out,” Headmaster stated.

Four blanked his mind, a grueling skill he’d worked hard to perfect. One by one, his thoughts faded to the background, his emotions dulling until he felt nothing. Only a cold, gnawing void. He calmed, and his breathing evened out. This? This was nothing. A single death among hundreds.

As the boy opened his mouth to protest or plead, Four met Headmaster’s obsidian gaze—and plunged the dagger deep. He twisted his wrist at the end. Bone cracked.

Five stiffened against him, choking sounds leaving him. In seconds—an endless eternity—he collapsed, crashing to the floor.

Blood spurted from the wound, splattering the motionless body, the floor. Four…didn’t care. He survived, whatever the cost.

One day, things would be different. Until then, Four could only bide his time…

Warm liquid pooled around his feet, and his inner cold thawed fast. The sickness returned to his belly.

“What is this I smell on you, hmm? Fear?” The headmaster swooped in and ran the tip of his nose across Four’s neck while inhaling. “No, not fear, but something.” He straightened and motioned to the instructor with the whip. “Give him twenty lashes.”

Reveal nothing. “Thank you, Headmaster.”

Already in position, the instructor struck without delay. Whoosh. Crack.

Pain splintered through Four, shooting across each of his limbs.

Whoosh. Crack. Whoosh. Crack.

He held Headmaster’s gaze until the end—and smiled. “Thank you again, Headmaster.”

Scowling, the male grazed two black claws across his cheek. “Whatever you’re feeling will boil over as soon as I turn up the heat.” Walking away, Headmaster spoke to the instructor. “Give him twenty more.”

Excerpted from The Immortal by Gena Showalter, Copyright © 2022 by Gena Showalter. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Rise of the Warlords

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: January 2022

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 Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld, Otherworld Assassins, and Angels of the Dark series, as well as two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine. She was interviewed on Nightline and has been mentioned in Orange is the New Black. Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees.


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Worst of 2021: The Books

Posted January 7, 2022 by Casee in Features | 2 Comments

It’s that time of year again. The time where we come together and look over the books that we’ve read over the course of 2021 and list our favorites. Today’s list will include all of our least favorite books that we read didn’t read in 2021. Join us for a week of reflecting on our favorites and not so favorite reads, authors, heroes, heroines, and series.

Casee

I had more DNF’s last year than I have in the last five years combined. The whole adage “So much to read, so little time” really forced me to decide that I need to be more selective. I don’t need to stick to it until the bitter end unless I want to.

When Heroes Fall by Giana Darling: I don’t love or hate mafia romances. I love the characters more than the trope. This one was a bit over the top for me & I threw in the towel pretty early.

Vigilante by Jessica Gaziala: This one pains me. I’m a huge Jessica Gadziala fan. I absolutely could not stand the hero. I don’t even remember his name. I do remember that he was insufferable.

Violent Delights by Jessica Hawkins: I don’t remember why I DNF’d this one, but I vaguely remember it being the heroine I had a problem with. And the whole cartel thing really didn’t work for me here.

Explosive by K.E. Osborn: I DNF’d this one at 72%. I was annoyed as I was reading the book, but I liked the hero. Considering who she was and what happened to her, the heroine’s story should have been more poignant or something. Instead, she made decisions and started doing things that were so out of character that I had a hard time suspending my disbelief. A big no from me on this one.

Trigger by J.L. Drake: I remember exactly why I DNF’d this one. It happened early on in the book, which I am forever grateful for.

Holly

I was a lot better this year about quitting books if I wasn’t into them or if they weren’t working for me. Still, a few slipped through. A couple of these weren’t bad reads, they just didn’t live up to my expectations for them.

Red by J.E. Taylor: This was pretty bad all the way around. The writing was choppy and the story was disjointed. There was no clear direction the story was moving and it ended very abruptly.

Heart on a Leash by Alanna Martin: This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. The cover, the premise…all of it appealed to me. Sadly, the whole family feud was really over the top and just killed it for me. Not a bad book, but definitely not as good as I was hoping for.

Hardest Fall by Juliette Cross: I didn’t dislike this book, it just wasn’t what I was hoping for. I loved Bone, the heroine, in the first book and expected something different than I got from her. This was definitely a case of my expectations getting in the way, but still. It was disappointing to not get the story I anticipated.

The Monster MAS*H by Angie Fox: Parts of this worked for me, but there were a lot of inconsistencies in the story and the writing, so it didn’t feel like a cohesive book. Plus, the ending was…not my favorite.

Apprentice of Magic by K.M. Shea: This was a DNF for me. I didn’t understand the motivations of either character, the attraction between mentor and student felt a little icky (even if it wasn’t explored) and more importantly, I just didn’t like the main character. She was pretty awful.

That’s a wrap on 2021. Thanks for reminiscing with us this week!


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