Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Talker 25 by Joshua McCune

Series: Talker 25 #1
Publisher: Greenwillow
Published: 4/22/14
Source: NetGalley and Publisher for review
Debut author Joshua McCune's gritty and heart-pounding novel is a masterful reimagining of popular dragon fantasy lore, set in a militant future reminiscent of Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker and Ann Aguirre's Outpost. 
It's a high school prank gone horribly wrong-sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon-and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Chilling, epic, and wholly original, this debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in chilling secret, and where a gruesome television show called Kissing Dragons unites the population. Joshua McCune's debut novel offers action, adventure, fantasy, and a reimagining of popular dragon lore.
My thoughts:
 This book seemed to have everything: dragons, a heroine named Melissa... paranormal abilities, but I still don't know how to review this book.

The first half of the book was pretty good. A girl finds that she has the ability to talk to dragons and a mess occurs until she finds herself on the wrong end of the government... or government like organization. She learns a lot about a once feared entity and finds that they are quite interesting and magnificent. Things escalate until she is captured by the military organization that is intent on obliterating dragons from earth. She is then forced to help them decimate the species.

That is where I couldn't really go on.

But then I still had to know the fate of at least one of the dragons... so I skipped ahead.... and regretted it. But I still had to know so I skipped some more... and found out what I needed to know.

Why I couldn't go on is often the quickest reason I DNF books. Even though they are imagined creatures (but then so are the animals in the fictional realm of books) I just can't stand to read about their torture. There was a LOT of torture going on in the second half of the book. Now I need something light and fluffy to read so I can get that "taste" out of my mouth.

Here is the thing. I don't think this is a bad book at all. It is me, the reader, and what I personally like and hate to read about. I don't like animal torture (little kids too, but you rarely see that in books, especially in YA... if it is there it is just suggested and not in detail). I now know I don't like mythical creature torture done in a way that makes me cringe. I know not everyone will feel the way that I do and I have no doubt that others will love this book because it is very dark and harrowing. Oddly enough, if I find that the second book is sans torture, I would be glad to read it to see what happens. I think I would have to find out first before I dive in though. :) I won't give this one stars since I don't think it is fair when I didn't read the whole book.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dark and Deadly Blog Barrage!

Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance Boxed Set is now available worldwide for a special introductory price of only $0.99!

This ebook boxed set of eight hot paranormal romances by eight New York Times and USA Today best-selling romance authors features powerful alpha male bad boys who will satisfy your darkest, most deadliest desires.

Here’s more about this fantastic eight book boxed set, including an excerpt from one of the stories.

Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at:  

Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance
By Jennifer Ashley, Alyssa Day, Felicity Heaton, Erin Kellison, Laurie London, Erin Quinn, Bonnie Vanak and Caris Roane
Eight hot paranormal romances by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Alpha-male bad boys will fulfill your darkest, most deadliest desires in these stories about shifters, werewolves, vampires, magic, special powers and other realms. But only if you dare…

BODYGUARD by Jennifer Ashley
Elizabeth Chapman is saved from an armed attacker by a Kodiak bear who shifts into a tight-bodied, naked human male. Ronan takes Elizabeth to Shiftertown, becoming her 24/7 bodyguard. The mateless Ronan has adopted a houseful of orphaned Shifters--having grown up in foster care, Elizabeth is touched by his protectiveness. Ronan only wants to keep Elizabeth safe, but the sassy woman is triggering his long-buried need to mate.

He’s a warrior, hardened by years of protecting his town from vampire attack. She’s a garden witch who sees the world in shades of sunshine and delight. Opposites don’t only attract, they go supernova in this sizzling tale of magic and mayhem.

BEWITCH by Felicity Heaton
A vampire with a bloodstained past and a soul tainted with darkness, Payne is perfect in his self-control, never surrendering to his darkest desires. Now a beautiful witch in the shadowy fae underworld reawakens long denied hungers and tempts him with pleasure. When one incredible night of fulfilling their fantasies leads to more than just keeping a promise and saving a friend, will they be able to overcome the barriers that stand between them and forever?

DARKNESS FALLS by Erin Kellison
Agent Malcolm Rook is hunting for people with the rarest of talents—the ability to master dreams. He finds the undeniably gifted Jordan Lane, but she’s wary of mysterious Rook and resists his pursuit as long as she can. Yet the dreamwaters they enter are too exhilarating to resist, and attraction soon ignites electric passions. Delving too deep stirs a nightmare, one they must defeat, or be forever lost to darkness. 

ROGUE’S PASSION by Laurie London
Blaming himself for the death of a friend, Iron Guild warrior Asher Kane vows to bring those responsible to justice. After he’s hurt on a mission and nursed back to health by a beautiful yet mysterious woman, this dangerously sexy bad-boy finds himself falling for Olivia…even as he struggles to stay away. But stalking them on the streets of New Seattle is a cruel and vengeful evil—one that threatens to destroy them both…

Alex’s mission: Kill the hellhounds that have invaded earth and return to his home in the Beyond. But from the start, things go horribly wrong. The hounds are cunning and a human female witnesses their attack—she intervenes and saves Alex’s life. Now he must keep the alluring Lilly alive while fighting his desire for her. When passion flares, Alex risks all to protect her and defend the forbidden life he craves.

THE MATING HEAT by Bonnie Vanak
Werewolf Kara Mitchell fled with her brother Aiden to Montana after their alpha father punished her for kissing sexy omega werewolf Ryder Carrington. Left scarred by her father’s cruelty, Kara believes no one can love her. After killing his alpha to save the pack, Ryder now rules, but needs a mate. His blood runs hot for Kara. Ryder will do anything to claim her, even risk an all-out pack war that could cost them everything…

TRAPPED by Caris Roane
Mastyr Vampire Zephyr, a one-man fighting force, struggles to save the life of a woman who despises his warrior ways. She’s been a thorn in his side, but he has one goal: to keep her safe. For Alesia, however, she just wishes he’d leave her alone since she can never approve of his profession. She broke up with him months ago and wants to start a new life. The trouble is, he’s still the one man who can curl her toes.

Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at:  

Payne could feel the questions bubbling inside her and he knew that she wouldn’t be able to resist voicing them forever. He wanted her to. She was beautiful, bewitching, and he couldn’t deny that he was attracted to her, but whenever she mentioned his incubus side, he wanted to leave and forget helping Andreu and Chica.

He could be their only hope though. Elissa could be their only hope.

They reached the edge of the woods and she paused and faced him.

“Have you ever submitted to someone?”

Payne froze and blinked hard. He had to have heard his petite, enchanting Elissa wrong. She couldn’t have just asked what he thought she had. The dark colouring on her cheeks said that she had and was regretting it.

He forced a shrug. “Once or twice.”

His stomach clenched. He hoped that answer would satisfy her.

The frown on her face said it hadn’t. “I don’t believe you’ve ever really submitted to someone. It isn’t in your nature. That’s part of your problem... neither side of you can submit. Both sides crave control too much. The incubus and the vampire.”

Payne couldn’t deny that and he didn’t like that she had seen it in him so quickly after meeting him. His version of submission had been letting women go on top. Hers seemed far more threatening, and alluring. Surrendering complete control to a woman? The very thought had him as hard as steel in his jeans but at the same time made him want to flee.

She swallowed, her sexy throat working overtime, and braved a step towards him. Her eyes were dark in the low light but he didn’t miss the challenge they issued.

“Submit to me,” she said and he almost choked, barely stopped himself from making a scene that would only render him weak in her eyes, stripping him of his masculinity.

He wanted to tell her that there was no way he was going to do such a thing and that he would find some incubi and ask them about finding the den and his grandfather. He still tensed inside whenever he thought about that. The ring he needed was not only in the clutches of an incubus. It was in the grip of his grandfather, a man he had hated without ever knowing.

He must have looked as though he was going to ditch her because she launched forwards and grabbed his wrists.

Elissa looked up into his eyes, that sense of fear, desperation and hope in them again. She needed him.

He needed her, but he couldn’t indulge such desires. What she was suggesting was dangerous.

“One night of passion at my command. It will help you. It will help us both. The only way to find the incubi hideout is to embrace your incubus side and let it take control. You’ll sense the location and be able to teleport straight there.” She paused for air and tightened her grip on him and he could feel her trembling. “Please, Payne. We both need this. Please. Surrender to your desire.”

He knew his eyes were positively glowing at the prospect but he couldn’t stomach the thought of allowing his incubus side to take dominance over his vampire one. He shook his head.

“You’re afraid.” She didn’t say it in a mocking way but that was how his heart heard it, and he couldn’t deny it. It wasn’t fear holding him back though.

“It isn’t that,” he said calmly and her grip on his arms eased. “I cannot do it. My incubus side will want to dominate you as well as the vampire in me.”

“That’s only because you’ve never really embraced it. You constantly want to reject it. It’s the whole point of the exercise... you need to embrace that side of yourself if we’re going to stand a chance of discovering where the other incubi are hiding.”

Payne despised how easily she could see through him to the truth he tried so hard to hide. What else could she tell about him whenever she looked at him? He hoped she couldn’t see some things, like the black stains on his soul.

“You just want to get into my pants.” He gunned for charming even though it was hard to smile at her when his insides were in turmoil, his heart and head tearing him in too many directions.

She smiled and it was dazzling, alluring and just a little bit wicked. He had the feeling that her one night of passion had absolutely nothing to do with helping him connect to his incubus side so he could find this place of the incubi. She really did want him. Why? What did she see in him to make him worthy of her that he couldn’t?

He had tried to figure her out back in her temporary home. Whenever she had glanced his way with desire darkening her beautiful eyes, he had tried to understand what it was about him that made her look at him that way. He had snarled at her, gnashed his fangs, and hurt her, and she had still found ways to touch him, still smiled at him, still wanted him.

He didn’t understand her at all.

“I’m only asking for one moment with you, Payne.”

One moment too many and one thousand too few.

Payne stared at her, knowing his eyes were brightening and unable to stop the reaction. He couldn’t take it anymore. He was so hard for her, too far gone to care about the danger or the details. She was offering him a moment with her and he needed it. He had never needed anything so fiercely. She might break him though. He had never submitted to anyone because it wasn’t in his nature, but he would try for her, because right now he would do anything for a taste of this exquisite beauty before him.

He would try to stifle his incubus side to protect her. He couldn’t embrace it though, not as she wanted.

He had only embraced his incubus side once in his lifetime and it had awakened something terrible within him.

That night, he had lost the only woman he had ever loved.

Grab the boxed set for just $0.99 to read this story and seven others…

Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at: 

A giveaway of the previous boxed set, Dark and Dangerous is up for grabs. It is available in .mobi or ePub. To enter, just fill out the rafflecopter form below. Since it is an ebook bundle, the giveaway is international. 

Dark And Dangerous - Six-in-One Hot Paranormal Romances

by Jennifer Ashley, Bonnie Vanak, Caris Roane, Laurie London, Erin KellisonFelicity E. Heaton

Good luck!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Far Gone by Laura Griffin

Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: 4/15/14
Source: Edelweiss and publisher for review
To save her only brother, Andrea Finch must face down a criminal mastermind, the FBI, and her own demons in this thrilling novel from the author of the bestselling Tracers series. 
Police detective Andrea Finch is a rising star in her department until a split-second decision derails her career. Disgraced and disillusioned, she's on leave from her job when she gets an urgent call from her younger brother. She'd prefer to ignore his latest plea for cash, but this time instinct tells her something is very wrong. Andrea's search for answers takes her to a dusty Texas border town where danger lurks in plain sight and nothing is quite what it seems. 
FBI agent Jon North is working undercover in west Texas investigating an unsolved murder that may be linked to a broader plot. But when the evidence points to Andrea&amp's brother, Jon finds that persuading the stubborn cop to help will be harder than cracking his toughest case. 
Andrea must find a way to do what's right while protecting her only sibling. As the clock ticks down on a deadly plot, Andrea and Jon race to confront a heartless killer who will stop at nothing to deliver a final, terrifying message.
 My thoughts:
I enjoy Laura Griffin's Tracer series and so I was quick to get this one for review. It has all the elements for a good romantic suspense and it also has a strong female lead. All are aspects to Laura Griffin's work I enjoy. The lead male character is alpha male with a strong protective streak, but he is also compassionate. They are both workaholics with romantic pasts that never quite worked. Sparks fly and both have to wade through their emotions to come to the conclusion that they don't want to be with any one else.

The mystery part wasn't so much a who done it, but more thriller type with a home grown terrorist. Andrea finds her brother mixed up in the whole thing which also makes her mixed up in Jon's case. A case he is virtually flying solo on since he has not convinced the FBI that his suspect is the correct one. Despite Jon not wanting Andrea involved, he finds that she is invaluable in getting the case solved and the FBI on the correct track.

I give this book 4 stars. The thriller part isn't something new, but still interesting. The romance is interesting in the way the two come together and they make a good match for the other. I don't know if this is a series, but I could see this book either be a standalone or part of a new series. I recommend it to those that enjoy romantic suspense and thrillers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sunrise (Ashfall #3) by Mike Mullin

Series: Ashfall #3
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Published: 4/15/14
Source: From NetGalley and publisher for review
The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors' constant companions. 
When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever — and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish. 
This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.
My thoughts:
This is the final book in the Ashfall trilogy. I had the privilege to read the other two books and I was looking forward to this one. One thing I do want to mention... when I read the first two, I read them back to back. Don't read all these books one after another. It's not that they aren't good, but they were so dark, I needed a palate cleanser in-between the books and I know a lot of people who might need something fluffy for that cleanser.

This one is as dark as the first two. What I liked about these is that it pulls no punches. Yes, you could go into the book and tear down some parts saying that it isn't realistic for some characters to get out of predicaments or injuries that easily... but you can do that in any fictional book. Still, I haven't seen it where you aren't sure that even the main characters will make it out alive and certainly unscathed. All secondary characters are all redshirts (sorry, Star Trek reference, if you aren't a nerd like me, just ignore) so you won't know who survives until the end. The stakes are as high as they have been in the other books and the danger is as bleak. It also feels like an never ending bid for survival... which is realistic. Even so, in this book we do get small snippets of light and a few people who finally come around.

There were some aspects that bothered me at first like when Alex would leave the colony to go on scavenge hunts. This was addressed in the book so I was pleasantly surprised and it added another dimension of politics to the survival story. Also, like in the other books, my favorite part was Alex and Darla's relationship. There is little misunderstanding between them because they are more mature than most and discuss problems before they actually become a problem. Yes, they fight, but they fight fairly and with the want to understand the other. I wish more books had relationships like this in them.

I give this book 4 stars. The book isn't without it's faults. I didn't love the ending, but I certainly didn't hate it. It just felt incomplete to me. Still, I feel that this is a great addition to the series and would love to have a novella to know how the colony fares and what they learned about what happened in the world after this book.

Monday, April 14, 2014

House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Publisher: Harper Teen
Published: April 15, 14
Source: Edelweiss and publisher for review
Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.

My thoughts:
This was a cute witching story that I would consider for younger YA crowds would enjoy. The interactions between the characters were a bit younger than I would feel at the older YA level would enjoy. The storyline is an interesting one. Not as dark as you would have expected, but yet still mysterious enough to keep me reading.

I had ideas about parts of the mystery and I did like the way the ending happened, but most of it was predictable. I didn't mind since I got my complete HEA. There is a hint of a love triangle, but it doesn't come to fruition and Jo, our heroine, choses wisely and confidently. It's at least the conclusion to an almost triangle we often want in a book like this.

In the end, I give this book 3 stars. It isn't as dark as I thought it would be, but it is an enjoyable young witch coming into her powers kind of book. It also has some great friendships that endure separation and some heartache.