Friday, December 15, 2017

Review: Deadly Sweet

Deadly Sweet Deadly Sweet by Lola Dodge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was filled with awesomeness – yummy baking, action galore, and a journey of self-discovery for the very awesome Anise.

Anise is a girl who has been barely scraping by. Her life living with her mother is good, but they are both struggling to make ends meet. To make matters worse, they live in a world where being discovered as a witch instantly marks you as “evil.” Sure, there are some bad witches out there, but most aren’t what they’re portrayed to be by the media. Throw all that in with Anise trying to get ahead in the baking industry while battling her teenage hormones and you’ve got a pressure cooker ready to explode (or oven? Is that more relevant here?).

One event ends up outing Anise and sending her running to her only other relative for help. Lucky for her, her great aunt Agatha happens to be a super powerful witch and massively successful baker. While this seems like a great place to make a new start, there are additional dangers lurking for poor Anise. With great power (or baking prowess) comes great… list of people gunning for her. Turns out, by becoming Agatha’s apprentice, she’s inherited the last apprentice’s enemies.

So while Anise is trying to figure out how to please the more experienced bakers in the store, she’s also trying to make friends, avoid getting killed, and figure out why her assigned bodyguard is so surly. This book definitely leaned more heavily towards a paranormal mystery than romance, which is a bit of a departure for me. That being said, I still really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to see where Anise heads next. I also want way more answers about… everything! I’ll definitely keep my eyes open for the next installment.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review: The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories

The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not usually a short story reader, but I really enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse universe so was willing to take a risk. I’ve read a few other collections of the short stories from Sookie’s world and wasn’t disappointed. This was a good set that took you back to a familiar world. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend this as a starter set for this series.

I don’t think I’m going to review each story individually, since you wouldn’t pick this up to just read one or two. Overall, going back to where the series began(-ish) was nice. I admit to not really enjoying the end of the series, but seeing Sookie as an optimist, still working on discovering the details of the supernatural world was a nice reminder of how wonderful it could all be. You can really see the change in her character as time progresses in these stories.

Overall, some of my favorites were the ones where Sookie gets to use her powers for good. Two Blondes was fun – but Pam is always fun to go on adventures with. Dracula Night also showed Sookie flexing her human muscles. Lastly, Playing Possum gives you a really nice look into the dynamic Sookie and her only other telepathic relative have. That one was particularly fun to read as you almost never get to see them on their own. There was a lot of dark thrown into the story, but it was all worth it for a happy ending. If you enjoyed the series at all, you’ll like these little stories, too. Definitely a nice addition to the world.

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Review: Magic Binds

Magic Binds Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m so sad to have finally caught up to the most recently released book in this series. I could easily read another 10 of these books and never get tired of the Kate and Curran show.

This book was pretty much all the build up to the showdown we’ve been waiting for since the start of the series. No, this isn’t where it ends. No, you don’t get everything tied up in a neat bow. But, yes, there is a lot of life and death danger thrown into one book. Just about everyone gets thrown into this mess, with the exception of the dog. We finally get the much needed Saiman in good Saiman fashion. I’m not really even sure where to begin except with the looming danger. Sure, it’s always there, but in this case the witch oracle has predicted almost certain death for Kate, her future imaginary kid, and/or Curran. Everyone could die, but what else is new?

In an effort to change the future (i.e. Back to the Future style), Kate tries to make some pretty terrifying choices to go outside what’s expected. This leads us back to some pretty terrible places, tests Curran and Kate’s relationship, and leads to some pretty surreal family discussions. Kate is still really powerful (scarily so) and after her dad kidnaps Saiman, it’s pretty clear that war is on the horizon. This book managed to make me almost… sympathetic to Kate’s dad. Yes, he’s really evil. Yes, I know I shouldn’t like him, but somehow the author tricked me into it!

The book ends pretty much how you would expect it to end (you know, since this isn’t the last book in the series), but I spent a lot of time waiting for some really horrible things to happen. With that in mind, it was almost… disappointing (?) that not that many people died. Is that horrible? This book series has messed with my expectations.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Review: Dangerously Dark

Dangerously Dark Dangerously Dark by C.J. Burright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just dove right into this series at book 3 and was blown away! Immediately upon finishing this book, I added the rest of the books in the series to me “to-read” list. This world was just filled with so much quirky goodness – how could I not? I want to know each and every story leading up to this one!

So, this story was Quinn’s tale. She’s always known she was different, plagued with nightmares and infatuated with a boy who once protected her in her dreams. That might sound strange to anyone but Quinn, but it’s her world and her life that is shaped around these beliefs. On one of her “alone time” vacations in a secluded cabin, she gets the strangest visitor – a grown-up version of the boy from her dreams. Yes, he tries to kill her. Yes, he’s covered in blood. No, that doesn’t stop her at all from cleaning him up and giving him shelter. She’s not completely an idiot so there are restraints involved, but Quinn trusts her very strange gut and it doesn’t lead her astray.

Zaire is a member of a divided race. There’s the good-ish guys and the bad guys and while he seems like the type of guy who should be wearing a white-ish hat, the kidnapping of his only living relative has had him working for the baddies for a little while now. Some decisions he made when he was spending time with his young nephew are coming back to bite him now, though. It seems that creatures who survive off other people’s nightmares shouldn’t starve themselves. The consequences essentially give him a death sentence unless there is a miracle out there. Said miracle exists in the form of Quinn, his matched dreamcaster.

These two lit up the pages with their stubborn, frustrating, sexual chemistry. While Quinn appears more than willing to take the plunge, Zaire is very busy playing the martyr. There is a lot of action and some truly strange visitors that end up changing their minds in the end. We get a really great HEA that just made me love this book even more. As I said, I’m going to quickly dive back into the previous books to see what wonderful tales I missed along the way.

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Review: Enchant

Enchant Enchant by Micalea Smeltzer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Usually I don’t give 5 stars (especially not more than once a month) but this book absolutely had me hooked. From page 1, I was in love. This just goes to show you – you never know what to expect when you open a new book.

Mara is a small town girl, raised by a single parent, and plagued by nightmares. Her mother died early in her life, so she’s pretty much just relied on herself and her father to get along. On the day of her graduation, some seemingly innocent decisions end up sending her into a fugitive scenario. She’s on the run from the magical baddies, but it could be worse. At least she’s matched up with her hottie protector who vacillates between super annoying and super flirtatious (or are they the same thing?).

Theodore (said hottie) is a guy who is sworn to protect Mara, the chosen, with his dying breath. Things get infinitely more complicated when it appears that everyone might be out to get them and they are trying really hard not to act on the forbidden feelings they have for one another. While trying to navigate the high school-like environment, there are dangers and drama hidden around every corner.

This book was jam packed with world building that had me absolutely absorbed. There’s magic, love triangles, BFFs, dances, and such a wonderful wealth of characters. Starting with Dani, Mara’s small town friend, and moving all the way to Winston, a fellow chosen, there are just so many side stories I want to know more about. While this book didn’t exactly end on the worst cliffhanger ever, I am still dying to know what happens next. Where will the next book pick up? Who will we meet then? Will old characters resurface? So many questions! I’m in love with this book (and hopefully a long and wonderful series) and cannot wait to continue reading.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Review: Animal Instincts

Animal InstinctsAnimal Instincts by Patricia Rosemoor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a really unique paranormal read. It felt like we dove into the second or third installment in a series because of the rather developed characters and story. We hit the ground running, meeting Skye and Shade, a pair of twins with interesting telepathic abilities. Shade, a cop, has a skill more geared towards police work, while Skye is able to communicate with animals. After breaking up some illegal animal fighting, Skye bumps into Luc, a stranger who has an inexplicable control over some wild animals.

Luc is a conflicted half breed who is straddling the human and "kindred" world. In this book, the word kindred refers to a group of demon-like creatures who can shapeshift. This book was filled with a really unique mythology and a mystery that had me guessing until the very end. The romance was nicely paced, as opposed to your typical love at first sight stories. It was heavier on the romance and mystery and light on the smut (although there was some). This was a great stand alone book to introduce yourself to this author.

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Review: Hunter Moon

Hunter Moon Hunter Moon by Joanne Mallory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is one of romance, action, and oodles of magic. I admit to not really remembering the first book in this series until the author refreshed my memory a bit. For that reason alone, I think this book can be read as a standalone without starting with book 1 of this trilogy. That being said, I really enjoyed the first book in the series, so I will always recommend starting from the beginning.

Jessica is the sister of our friend from the first book. We join her in a somewhat parallel timeline to that of Book 1, with bits of insight along the way. She’s busy at work, attending fundraisers and setting up museum showings (a task her magic makes her uniquely qualified for) when she meets Sebastian. Sebastian is a new hire in her department who is not “in the know” about their magic world. He is also sinfully attracted to Jess. They hit it off exceedingly well but that’s about when Jess’s brother calls her away on family duties.

After taking a brief break in their courtship, they resume with even bigger sparks when she returns. Oh, and there’s also vampires and demons out to get them. That makes it a little hard to hide things from Seb and Jess is forced into some sticky situations. Overall, this book was a really fantastic and quick read (things that don’t often go together) that gave me enough of this world to have me clamoring for the next book. I can’t wait until the grumpy brother meets his match!

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