Publisher: Penguin

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
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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
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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: Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

Posted August 5, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Storm Cursed by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Rowena
Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #11
Also in this series: Frost Burned , Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen , Moon Called, Blood Bound , Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed , River Marked , Frost Burned, Storm Cursed , Night Broken, Fire Touched
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First, Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In this powerful entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves...

My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter.

And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn't stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word.

We will die to keep it.

My binge read of this series is officially complete and I’m super glad that I made the time to read all of these books. This book was just as great as the other books and I’m still on a Mercy high after finishing this one.

So Mercy took it upon herself to stand up on a bridge where they just killed a big ass troll who was making trouble for the innocent citizens of their little town and put the world on notice that if anyone made trouble for any of the citizens in their territory, it won’t end well for them. She took on the protection of every single person in the Tri-City area so her and the pack have been super busy. Their latest call came in about some zombie goats that is just outside of their city but Mercy isn’t one to shy away from helping someone who needs help so she drags Mary Jo, fresh off a fight with a goblin, to go to Mesa and round up some zombie goats. Mercy’s spidey senses start tingling when they get there because someone is turning animals into zombies and only witches can do that. Witches that practice black magic, the bad kind of magic so, with everything on their plate already, Adam and Mercy have to find this witch…especially since this witch has to be responsible for killing off the entire coven of the resident witch, Elizaveta, who is still in Europe from the last book.

In this book, the humans and the fae are trying to come to terms with a peace treaty and they need help from the local werewolf pack. Adam and his pack have been tasked with making sure the humans are safe from the fae and Mercy is tasked with being the liaison between the groups.

Patricia Briggs has done a great job with this series. I find myself looking forward to each new book that comes out in the Mercy Thompson world because I know that I’m going to get a smartly written adventure story peppered with all kinds of colorful characters that you’ll be rooting for one minute and wanting to choke the next. I’ve become emotionally invested in each and every single character in this series and that didn’t slow down one bit in this book. My heart went out to those we lost in this book and I cheered for those that achieved their end goals in this book. Mercy and Adam are a formidable team and I absolutely adore seeing them in action…together. Now that their pack ain’t trippin’ where Mercy is concerned, things have been so much better for Mercy and the pack she should have had all along, she has them now so I guess I’ll forgive them for being little bitches in the other books. LOL.

This book is another thrilling urban fantasy and Mercy continues to kick ass so you know that I was a happy camper. So while this wasn’t my favorite book in the series, it’s still a solid story and I’m glad that I read it. You guys should read this series if you love strong women doing the damn thing on the daily. Mercy stays kicking ass and taking numbers. Everyone should know her and love her as I do.

4 out of 5

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Mercy Thompson

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young

Posted August 1, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha YoungReviewer: Holly
Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #5
Also in this series: On Dublin Street , Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Castle Hill, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Fall from India Place , Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street , Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) , On Hart's Boardwalk, Down London Road
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 336
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street comes a seductive story of forgiving the past and making up for lost time.…
Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wake-up call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude to win her heart.As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good.…

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

This review was originally posted on Oct 15, 2014.

I fell in love with Cole in Down London Road. I’m so glad he got his own book. He was everything I expected. I wasn’t sure what to make of his heroine at first, but she ended up being his perfect match.

Shannon moves to Edinburgh to start over. She’s had a pretty rough go of things lately and she needs a change of scenery. She applies for several jobs but the only interview she gets is at the tattoo shop INKarnate. When the owner offers her the position she’s thrilled to have found something so quickly. But she’s also terrified of accepting. Tattoo shops are bad boy hangouts and she’s a bad boy magnet..and not the good, sexy kind of bad boy, either. The lie, cheat, steal and beat on you kind.

When she meets Cole, the shop manager, she’s dismayed to feel an instant attraction to him. He doesn’t help things by coming on to her pretty strong. The last thing she needs in her life is another player like Cole. She wants to avoid him as much as possible, but when she moves in with another tattoo artist from the shop and gets pulled into their friend circle, it’s really hard. Cole won’t let up until she eventually slaps him down, hard. Then she realizes she made a mistake. Cole isn’t a player like all her exes. He’s actually a pretty great guy. And while she isn’t looking for a relationship – she isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to trust a guy again – she knows she has to make things right with him. Except once she does, once she lays out her secrets to him, Cole becomes even more determined to have her. Keeping him at bay isn’t easy, but she knows she has to. Because the alternative is opening her heart, and she just can’t do that.

This isn’t what I expected from Cole’s book. First, I thought it would be from his point-of-view. Second, I thought there would be more angst on his side of things. At first I was disappointed in the direction Young went with the story, but as the novel progressed I realized it was played just right. Though Cole had some drama growing up, he had strong role models in his sister, her husband and their circle of friends. He was firmly grounded. Had Young made up some kind of angsty drama for him, I would have been disappointed. His pursuit of Shannon early in the book was almost uncomfortable to read about, since we saw it from her perspective and she wasn’t exactly charmed (or, more to the point, didn’t want to be). Once she bares her soul to him, though, I thought he treated her exactly right.

“Delicate, beautiful, fragile. I want to protect you while at the same time I want to shatter you,” he murmured against my lips, “but only in the best way possible.”

The way he acted toward the end frustrated me, but knowing where he came from (based on the way he was raised in Down London Road) made his actions tolerable. Shannon had a great amount of inner strength. Despite her family turning their backs on her and mistreatment by former boyfriends, she was determined to get back the girl she used to be.

Tears stung my eyes, and my mouth trembled as I glared out at the city. If it was the last thing I did, I would buy those acrylics and use them . . . and somehow, hopefully, along the way I was going to find the girl I’d lost because of him.

I had a lot of admiration for her. Especially as her relationship with Cole developed and she owned her behavior. She had the occasional setback, but she was quick to admit when she was wrong.  That isn’t to say she didn’t frustrate me at times, because she did. I wanted her to see how great Cole was sooner, and then to give in to the inevitable between them immediately. That wouldn’t have been realistic based on her past, however.

Shannon’s friendship with her roommate (a tattoo artist at INKarnate), Rae, as well as the relationships she develops with her other co-workers was great. It was good to see her spreading her wings and getting back out there. I always love it when the heroine has friends outside her relationship. Speaking of Rae, I really loved her. She was bold and brash, yet compassionate and caring when she needed to be. That didn’t stop me from being seriously pissed at the way she acted toward Shannon during the main part of the conflict. I’m not going to go into a huge rant here about it, but..I expected better from her. There’s a surprising amount of humor laced throughout. Shannon has a great sense of humor. There were times, especially when dealing with Cole’s family, that I was literally laughing out loud.

“Jo, sheathe the mother- bear claws.” He said it in such an authoritative tone I wasn’t surprised when she snapped her mouth shut. Cole’s fingers tightened their hold on my waist. “Shannon is my business, not yours.”

“And you’re my business,” she argued, glowering at me.

Awkward. ” Everyone stopped talking and looked at me.

I blanched.

“Did I say that out loud?” Cole nodded, shaking with amusement. Joss, Hannah, and Liv burst into laughter and even Jo’s scowl cleared as her lips twitched.

Speaking of Cole’s family, it was really great to see his interactions with Hannah and the rest. His relationship with Hannah had come under fire in the past, so I wondered how Shannon would deal with it. Her quick acceptance of their friendship was great, as were Cole and Hannah’s reactions to it.

I couldn’t imagine anyone being mean to Hannah. She was so lovely. “Why would she start on Hannah?”

Cole grinned. “You like Hannah, don’t you?”

“Eh, yeah. She’s a pregnant superwoman. She’s a teacher, she’s a mum, she’s a stepmum, she’s a wife, and she’s smart and organized and caring and somehow manages to be all those things while looking absolutely amazing. I kind of want to be Hannah.”

All-in-all, this was a great addition to the series. Cole was everything I expected him to be, and Shannon’s personal growth, as well as their developing relationship, really pulled me in. This book is emotionally charged, funny, sweet and full of depth. I couldn’t put it down.

4.25 out of 5

On Dublin Street

four-half-stars


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Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Posted August 1, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Fire Touched by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Rowena
Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #9
Also in this series: Frost Burned , Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen , Moon Called, Blood Bound , Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed , River Marked , Frost Burned, Storm Cursed , Night Broken, Storm Cursed
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 350
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who...always remains true to herself” (Library Journal). 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?

Fire Touched is the ninth book in the Mercy Thompson series and it follows Mercy as she gets roped into helping a young boy who is fire touched. The young boy is Aiden and he has been stuck in the fae’s Underhill and was given powers that the fae will do anything to keep at hand. Mercy’s friends Zee and Tad are back around and they’ve brought Aiden for safe-keeping. Mercy has already made it publicly known that the Columbia Basin Pack will fight to protect anyone in their territory that needs protection. That declaration has brought trouble brewing for Mercy and Adam where the Marrok is concerned. The Marrok cannot support Mercy and Adam in this endeavor so they’re on their own from here on out. They do not have the protection of the Marrok and reading this book, I didn’t know what to make of it. I mean, I understood why Bran had to do what he did but I wasn’t happy about it.

I will say that I’m no longer pissed off at Adam. As angry as I got at Adam in Night Broken, when he finally snaps in this book???

The way that he snapped on everyone was a long time coming. I read that scene at least three times before I finished the book because I needed to. I get why he handled things the way that he did and I even understood that he had to do it the way that he did because of the kind of person that Mercy was but I still wasn’t a happy camper while it was all going down. To me, Adam was her person and he should have had her back at every turn and I didn’t feel like he had her back in the last book but all of that is behind us now because ooh wee, Adam more than has her back now and everyone knows it too.

I really like that Mercy has so many people at her back whether she wants them there or not. I love that her moral compass is unwavering and seeing her wrangle a bunch of supernatural beings into being better people just makes me so happy. I love that she supports Adam no matter what and that he trusts her enough to keep herself safe even when the shit she gets herself into scares the crap out of him. They are a true partnership and it was good to see them back on track.

Each book in this series has tackled different sets of groups and this one features Mercy and Adam with the fae. Mercy and Adam are determined to keep a small fire-touched boy away from the abuse that he suffered at the hands of the fae and I love how they don’t back down from anyone. Seeing them try to figure out a way to keep the peace at the same time as save the world, made for an entertaining book and because I wasn’t super pissed at anyone anymore, I was able to enjoy the backstory a lot more. Patricia Briggs continues to shine with this series and she continues to write compelling stories that I want to read so I’ll keep on reading them. I liked seeing Tad and Zee again, along with getting to know young Aiden. He seriously cracked me up in this one, especially when he got into so much heat with Jessie. His attitude was hilarious. The pack isn’t on my last nerve anymore so that’s progress and I’m super glad that I read this one. It’s made me anxious for more.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Mercy Thompson

four-stars


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