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Review – Born in Blood – Alexandra Ivy

born in bloodBorn in Blood
Author: Alexandra Ivy
Series: #1 in the Sentinals series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: Jim Frangione
Run Time: 10hrs 56min

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
Sergeant Duncan O’Conner has seen it all before. A beautiful erotic dancer is found murdered in her home—no suspect, no motive. But there’s one clue: she’s missing her heart. It’s enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro—one of the dead-channeling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It’s a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desperate measures.

Unlike the other “high-bloods” in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer’s final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie’s skills to the test, O’Conner’s career at risk, and both their hearts on the line…literally.

Review:
When I was approached by Recorded Books to participate in their reviewer program I was intrigued and when I saw the wide variety of books and narrators I was in heaven. So I figured I would try a new to me author and a new to me narrator to kick things off. Haha, I’m a bit nuts what can I say. I know you are probably thinking, new to you for both of them, they are both popular in their respective skills, but for some reason I’d just never gotten around to reading or listening to anything done by them. But anyways onto the book/narration…

The first book in a new series I find is normally the weakest, especially in Paranormal Romance/UF because there is significant world-building that needs to go on, and it can’t all happen in one book without a huge information dump. I appreciated how Ms Ivy approached this – there was a steady flow of world building and characterization through-out the narrative. I never felt like I was getting over-loaded.

The use of a necromancy and individuals having the ability to see dead people and what they experienced prior to death was kind of cool and not something I remember coming across in a romance novel before (at least not when it isn’t just the evil person involved in it). I will admit that Callie did irk me on occasion, she seemed a bit goody-goody at times, but she grew on me as the story progressed. But I fell in love with Duncan, the H, from the get-go. There was something about him that just drew me to him. Maybe it was how he didn’t necessarily demonize those with special abilities since he didn’t have any – he may have been skeptical, but he was willing to work with them.

The story itself was well developed and enjoyable – I was kept guessing on what was going to happen next – which made me appreciate the writing skills of the author – i wasn’t bored while listening. That being said, I know a lot of people love Jim Frangione as a narrator, but it took me a while to warm up to him. Overtime i’ve come to realize that I prefer dual narration audiobooks (yes, I know that they are more expensive/time-consuming to produce) – but I know very few men who narrate the female voice well and vice versa. And while I really liked Jim’s interpretation of Duncan, I found his voice for Callie to be ear-grating for the first couple of hours until I got used to his tone/candance. His pacing was good – I never felt the need the either speed up or slow down the narration, and his vareity of voices worked well with the book – there weren’t so many that they got mixed up, but he could make them all unique in their own way.

Overall, I’d be interested in reading another book by this author (be it in the next in the series, or another book) and listening to other books narrated by Frangione. I gave both the book and the narration 3 stars.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2014 in Audiobook Review

 

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Review – A Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses – Molly Harper

witch's handbook of kisses and cursesA Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses
Author: Molly Harper
Series: #2 in the Half Moon Hollow series (spin-off of the Jane Jameson series)

Review Copy Provided by the Publisher Via Edelweiss

Description:
Nola Leary would have been content to stay in Kilcairy, Ireland, healing villagers at her family’s clinic with a mix of magic and modern medicine. But a series of ill-timed omens and a deathbed promise to her grandmother have sent her on a quest to Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky, to secure her family’s magical potency for the next generation. Her supernatural task? To unearth four artifacts hidden by her grandfather before a rival magical family beats her to it.

Complication One: Her grandfather was Mr. Wainwright and the artifacts are lost somewhere in what is now Jane Jameson’s book shop.

Complication Two: her new neighbor, Jed Trudeau, who keeps turning up half naked at the strangest times, a distraction Nola doesn’t need. And teaming up with a real-life Adonis is as dangerous as it sounds, especially when he’s got the face of an angel and the abs of a washboard—can Nola complete her mission before falling completely under his spell?

Review:
I have come to the conclusion that one never knows what exactly they are going to get when they pick up a Molly Harper book to read and that is what makes her books so enjoyable. In this one, we were introduced to the fact that not only were there Vampires and Werewolves in her world, but also Witch’s – which as far as I know, have not been introduced before (but I haven’t read all of the Jane Jameson books, so maybe I am missing something). This book also marks the second in her spin-off series, Half-Moon Hollow (although, there is also a .5 book in the mix – so does this make it truely book 2, or maybe it should be book 3…). Anyways…she will be continuing on my auto-buy list in the future.

In this installment, we meet Nora, an Irish witch – who has come to Half-Moon Hollow to find several artifacts that will help her family seduce their magic and the power over a rival family for another generation. And as it always seems to be, this rival family and Nora’s has been in a feud for generations, but from the sounds of it, no one really remembers the who/how/why of it coming to be…

Witch’s Handbook was filled with the typical Molly Harper snark – where you about pee your pants laughing at a random comment, and then before you can stop, another one hits you and it just keeps on rolling through. Although, admittedly, I didn’t find as many quotable quotes in this one, as I have in previous ones. It was funny without being highly memorable (if that makes sense).

I loved both Nora and Jed as characters and am definately looking forward to reading more books with them in the future. It was also nice to see Jane and her cohort. Although, I will warn you, there are spoilers for later books in the Jane Jameson series (if you are like me and are pitifully behind on those)…so don’t say I didn’t warn you. But it isn’t like they are needed to enjoy the book, rather, they just add to the world-building. Overall, I’d give this a strong 3.5, but rounding up to 4. But I would warn about drinking while reading – you may cause damage to your book, kindle or other e-reader.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – Death and the Girl Next Door – Darynda Jones

death and the girl next doorDeath and the Girl Next Door
Author: Darynda Jones
Series: #1 in the Darklight series

Description:
Ten years ago, Lorelei’s parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on.

High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school’s designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can’t have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real?

Review:
I have to admit when I started Death and the Girl Next Door, i wasn’t sure what to expect. I think I was one of the few people who didn’t fall madly in love with the other series by this author (Charley Davidson), although it has grown on me as it has progressed. And when i saw the description of D&tGND (since the title is too long to continue typing), I was worried that it was going to be super similar to Charley Davidson but more YA-ish. Thankfully, it was not so, and I ended up enjoying it a bit more than I expected.

At first, the whole angel of death thing, I wasn’t so sure about…but as you got to know Lorelei as a character, I came to like her, and then having 2 sexy guys (protectors) looking after her (Cameron and Jared), whew. Her friends were also entertaining and I’m really want to find out more about them in the future. The say the book was action-packed was an understatement – it was definitely a roller coaster of a ride, with more ups, than downs through-out.

I think my biggest complaint about the book is that some of the world-building was a bit confusing – while I realize that there are going to be several books in the series – I felt a bit lost, and it wasn’t until I got closer to the end that I saw how much development had gone on. while I don’t want an info dump on the world-building, it needed a bit more…either way, I am intrigued enough, that i will be picking up the next book when it comes out in March. Overall, I’d give it a solid 3 stars. A good but not great intro to a new series (yes, I am very picky), but I think anyone looking for a YA paranormal/urban fantasy will like it.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – I’m the Vampire, That’s Why – Michele Bardsley (@michelebardsley)

i'm the vampireI’m the Vampire, That’s Why
Author: Michele Bardsley
Series: #1 in the Broken Heart Vampires series

Ebook provided by the author

Book Description:
Broken Heart is the city with the highest rate of divorce and highest percentage of single parents in Oklahoma. And I, Jessica Matthews, have been a member of that club ever since my husband dumped me for his twentysomething secretary and then had the gall to die in a car accident.

Now I’m not just a single mother trying to make ends meet in this crazy world….I’m also a vampire. One minute I was taking out the garbage; the next I awoke sucking on the thigh of superhot vampire Patrick O’Halloran, who’d generously offered his femoral artery to save me.

But though my stretch marks have disappeared and my vision has improved, I can’t rest until the thing that did this to me is caught. My kids’ future is at stake…figuratively and literally. As is my sex life. Although I wouldn’t mind finding myself attached to Patrick’s juicy thigh again, I learned that once a vampire does the dirty deed, it hitches her to the object of her affection for at least one hundred years. I just don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of commitment….

Review:
So, funny story how I came to get an ebook copy of this. I had seen it reviewed on Goodreads by a friend of mine and was intrigued, so I went looking. I saw that Amazon had later books in the series as ebooks, but me with my OCD likes to read all books in a series in the same format. So I emailed the author to ask her. she was super-nice, but told me that her publisher hadn’t negotiated ebook rights – however, she had a PDF of the book for her followers and would happily send it to me – I jumped on the opportunity. That was two years ago…somehow, the file got lost in the magical world that is my gmail account…and then a couple of weeks ago, I was searching for another email and came across the file – and decided what the heck and read it (plus it fit into like 3 reading challenges that I was doing).

I think there were several times where I about pee’d my pants, I was laughing so hard at Jessica’s (mis)adventures of becoming a vampire. The idea of blood being able to be flavored as chocolate was funny – I wonder if beer or coffee would work equally as well, if you like those? Guess it goes to prove that because of the amount of chocolate I eat, my blood probably would taste like it.

The conflict between the Vampires and the bad guys were interesting – but a bit more history would have been nice. I got to the end of that and was like, oh, i’m done…then realized I was only at the 60% point, so I knew that there was much more that was going to happen. But towards the end it started to get silly – it was like sequence after sequence of something bad happening…you would finish one part, think all was good, and then something else would happen. And the whole book took place over like a 2 week period (I think)…but that being said, I am intrigued enough that I am going to check out the second book, but I will likely get from the library, rather than buying. 3 stars overall.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review – Highland Guardian – Melissa Mayhue

Highland Guardian
Author: Melissa Mayhue
Series: #2 in the Daughters of the Glen series

Book Description:
Ian McCullough is neck-deep in his own trouble. A half-mortal descendant of Faeries, he’s been a Guardian for more than six hundred years, but he’s never encountered a woman like Sarah. Assigned to protect her, he finds the job tougher than he could have imagined. Oh, he can handle the stalker, and even the renegade Faeries trying to kidnap her. But falling in love means forsaking his role as Guardian — which is some-thing he could never do.

But there is no denying the passion that exists between two souls fated to be together.

Review:
Sometimes when you dig through your ancient purchases file you find a good read – I think I bought this book like 3 years ago not long after I got my kindle and I went crazy buying books. Then I promptly forgot about it until recently when I came across a recommendation for the first book in the series and I remembered that I had enjoyed the first book in the series, and had bought at least the next few to read. So I dug it out. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the read. Fae’s in general are a favorite paranormal creature of mine to show up in books and are often overlooked in the craze of vampires and werewolves that seems to dominate paranormal romance currently.

In terms of character development, I liked Sarah the main female character, but there was just something about Ian that irked me – its hard to describe – maybe it was because he was fae and had that immortality thing going on – but I’m not sure. The cast of secondary characters were also fun and I can’t wait to read later books in the series to see if they re-appear. I have a feeling (although its been a while since I read the first book) that the characters in that one did make an appearance in this one – but I can’t remember…(whoops)…

Overall, cute read if you like paranormal romance and are looking for something new to try out. If you like the Fae storyline, you could also check out Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series (Paranormal Romance) or Fever Series (Urban Fantasy) or the first book in Charlotte Featherstone’s Sins and Virtues series – Lust. I’d give Highland Guardian 3.5 stars.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review – Burning Alive – Shannon K. Butcher

Burning Alive
Author: Shannon K. Butcher
Series: #1 in the Sentinel Wars series

Book Description:
Three races descended from ancient guardians of mankind, each possessing unique abilities in their battle to protect humanity against their eternal foes-the Synestryn. Now, one warrior must fight his own desire if he is to discover the power that lies within his one true love…

Helen Day is haunted by visions of herself surrounded by flames, as a dark-haired man watches her burn. So when she sees the man of her nightmares staring at her from across a diner, she attempts to flee-but instead ends up in the man’s arms. There, she awakens a force more powerful and enticing than she could ever imagine. For the man is actually Theronai warrior Drake, whose own pain is driven away by Helen’s presence.

Together, they may become more than lovers-they may become a weapon of light that could tip the balance of the war and save Drake’s people…

Review:
I wanted to like this book so much, but it was a disappointment. It had been recommended several times to me on the Paranormal Romance boards over on Amazon and for the most part, there are a good of people there that I trust when it comes to recommendations – but for some reason this there just seemed to be something missing.

I had been reading Burning Alive for maybe 3 or 4 chapters and from what had occurred in the story, it seemed like I was missing some kid of back story…so I can off to goodreads to check and see if there was maybe a prequel that I was missing, but nope. So I had to content myself with scratching my head and hoping that more about the world was explained later one. While as it progressed more of the world came out, but by the time I finished it, I was still so confused about the world, I was glad to see the book done. I normally have a rule about reading at least 2 books in a series before deciding if I want to continue it or not, but I’m not sure if I want to spend the money on buying the second book. If my library has a copy I may go that route, otherwise, I don’t see myself reading another one. Overall 1.5 stars…

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review – Timeless Desire – Gwyn Cready

Timeless Desire
Author: Gwyn Cready

Review Copy Provided by Publicist, Blue Dot Literary

Book Description:
Two years after losing her husband, overworked librarian Panna Kennedy battles to distract herself from crushing Grief, even as she battles to deal with yet another library budget cut. During a routine search within the library’s lower levels, Panna opens an obscure, pad-locked door and finds herself transported to the magnificent, book-filled quarters of a handsome, eighteenth-century Englishman.

She soon recognizes the man as Colonel John Bridgewater, the historic English war hero whose larger-than-life statue loomed over her desk.However, the life of the dashing Bridgewater is not at all what she imagined. He’s under house arrest for betraying England, and now looks upon her a beautiful and unexpected half-dressed visitor as a possible spy.

Despite bad first impressions (on both sides), Bridgewater nonetheless warms to Panna, and pulls her into his escape while both their hearts pull the other headlong into their soul-stirring secrets.Very quickly Panna is thrown into a whirlwind of high-stakes intrigue that sweeps her from Hadrian’s Wall to a forbidding stone castle in Scotland. And somewhere in the outland, Panna must decide if her loyalties lie with her dead husband, or with the man whose life now depends on her

Review:
I have to say that I laughed out loud when I got the request from the publicist to review this book. Just the day prior, I had brought one of Gwyn’s other books, Aching for Always to read for a challenge (I needed a book that had a word that rhymed with Breaking in the title) and I had previously read and enjoyed Gwyn’s other books, so I jumped on the chance to read an ARC of her newest book and Timeless Desire didn’t disappoint.

The one thing that I liked about this book was the use of the library as the method of traveling back in time. I don’t know whether it was supposed to be an analogy to how books can transport us elsewhere, but for me that is what the library as part of the storyline represented (or maybe I am just thinking too deep into it – which is entirely possible). The way the conflict in the historical part was written also made in interested in reading some historical stuff about Hadrian’s Wall (which will have to be added to the ever-increasing Mt. To-Be-Read). If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know.

But as I am writing this review, I realize that some of the stuff I want to say in completely spoiler-ish, so close your eyes if you don’t want to know what happens…just kidding!! I wouldn’t do that to you guys. All I can say, is that I recommend both Timeless Desire and Gwyn’s other books if you are looking for a lite paranormal with time travel for a read. It only took new a day and a bit to read it (probably would have taken less time, if I didn’t have this silly thing called work that I had to do during the day).

Links to purchase the book from all major booksellers can be found by clicking HERE

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Book Review

 

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