Friday, May 30, 2014

The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles #4) by Kady Cross

Series: Steampunk Chronicles #4 (last book)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: 5/27/14
Source: From NetGalley and Publisher for review
In 1897 London, a final showdown is about to begin. 
London's underworld is no place for a young woman, even one who is strong, smart and part-automaton like Mila. But when master criminal Jack Dandy inadvertently breaks her heart, she takes off, determined to find an independent life, one entirely her own. Her search takes her to the spangled shadows of the West End's most dazzling circus. 
Meanwhile, taken captive in the Aether, Griffin King is trapped in an inescapable prison, and at the mercy of his archenemy, The Machinist. If he breaks under the hellish torment, The Machinist will claim his powers and control of the Aether itself, and no one in either world will be safe-especially not Finley Jayne and her misfit band of friends. 
Finley plunges headlong into the Aether the only way she knows how, by temporarily dying. But she cannot parry The Machinist's maneuvers for long. To defeat him for good, Griffin will have to confront his greatest fear and finally come face-to-face with the destructive power he wields.
My thoughts:
This is the final installment in the Steampunk Chronicles. For those that have been following the story all loose ends seemed to be pretty wrapped up. There were two stories within this book. One was with the Machinist, Griffin and Finley. The other had to do with Jack Dandy and Mila. I have to be honest, I wasn't too happy with splitting the focus. I would have rather have one book and one novella. The Jack/Mila storyline could have easily ended up as a novella. The ending also seemed rather rushed. One minute there was no hope and the next everything is HEA. Not that I'm complaining too much, I need my HEA. :) I will say that it does feel complete and that is so good for an ending series book.

The book was an easy read and those that love this series from the beginning will enjoy this installment as well. I give this book 3 stars. While I enjoyed each story, I wanted to me immersed into each story. I didn't want to be taken out and rejoin the adventure I had left only moments ago. I enjoyed seeing more of Jack, but even he didn't seem to shine as brightly in this book. Again, I am thinking it is because my attention was split. I do recommend it to those that enjoy a fun steampunk series and those that have joined Finley from the beginning... you don't want to miss this one at all.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Lost (Lost #1) by Sarah Beth Durst

Series: Lost #1
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Published: 5/27/14
Source: From publisher for review
Award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst has been praised for her captivating novels that merge the darkly imagined with very real themes of self-discovery and destiny. In The Lost, we'll discover just what it means to lose one's way.

It was only meant to be a brief detour. But then Lauren finds herself trapped in a town called Lost on the edge of a desert, filled with things abandoned, broken and thrown away. And when she tries to escape, impassible dust storms and something unexplainable lead her back to Lost again and again. The residents she meets there tell her she's going to have to figure out just what she's missing, and what she's running from, before she can leave. So now Lauren's on a new search for a purpose and a destiny. And maybe, just maybe, she'll be found. 
Against the backdrop of this desolate and mystical town, Sarah Beth Durst writes an arresting, fantastical novel of one woman's impossible journey and her quest to find her fate.
My thoughts:
This is a story about a woman who wants to run away from her life and gets her wish. She finds her self in Lost a place where lost things are found. It is also a place where you find what you lost. This is essential since you cannot leave until you find it. In a way this was a retelling of a mix of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan. The reference to Peter Pan is quite evident with the Finder being named Peter, but then again, that may just be a personna he adopted.

I really enjoyed these characters. Granted at first it took a bit of getting used to because so many of them seemed crazy. Still, as Lauren starts to find some semblance of sanity within the insanity certain characters start to really grow on you. I was a bit concerned at first since even though Peter really grew on me, you didn't get to know him well. Ms. Durst does not often write series books, but standalones so I thought I wouldn't get more Peter when I realized at the end that this is a series. So relieved since I really want to know more about this character. Luckily, Lauren, our heroine, feels the same way.

I give this book 4 stars. It's a strange turn to a strange town but it holds a lot of promise to what new adventure will come. I personally can't wait for the next installment, The Missing, slated for later this year. I recommend this book to those that enjoy retellings and renewed chances at life. It is an adult book, but can be read by all.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Banishing the Dark (Arcadia Bell #4) by Jenn Bennett

Series: Arcadia Bell #4 (final)
Published: 5/27/14
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: From publisher for review
Complicated does not begin to describe Arcadia Bell's life right now: unnatural magical power, another brush with death, and a murderous mother who's not only overbearing but determined to take permanent possession of Cady's body. Forced to delve deep into the mystery surrounding her own birth, Cady must uncover which evil spell her parents cast during her conception…and how to reverse it. Fast. As she and her lover Lon embark on a dangerous journey through her magical past, Lon's teenage son Jupe sneaks off for his own investigation. Each family secret they uncover is darker than the last, and Cady, who has worn many identities—Moonchild, mage, fugitive—is about to add one more to the list.
My thoughts:
I didn't realize this was the final book until I got to the end and there was an epilogue. There was no question that this is the final book to the series. This knowledge totally bummed me out since I just love these characters so much. As I have said before, you rarely get parental involvement in this genre, but you have it here with Lon and even Cady who loves Jupe as much as the rest of the readers. So nice to see a good family unit.

In this final book, she is still seeking knowledge of what her parents did to conceive her. Trying to find out not who she is, but what. I don't want to give more away than that since some of you aren't quite up to this book. Oh and why not? Seriously, those that haven't read this series really need to get on it. You only have 4 books and all are filled with adventure and people to care about. /side note... ;) Anyhoo... back to this story... The book is adventure to the end and everything is wrapped up. You aren't left wondering what happened, but are fulfilled in the questions you were seeking with Cady. The only feeling you are left with that could be considered bad is not wanting to let them go knowing that with Jupe there HAS to be more adventure awaiting them. :) Still, it is satisfying and you do get a peek into the future with that epilogue.

I  give this final book 4 1/2 stars. This is a wonderful series and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. I still need to read the Roaring 20s series and I do think I will have to get on that to get my Jenn Bennett writing fix. :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Audiobooks and Bargains!

Hm... well, it's not an audio review, but I had the graphic already so... ;)

This is to remind people about the free audiobooks by SYNC! It started last week and sorry if you missed the first audiobook. This week is:
Just go to the website for the download link. I have no affiliation with the website, I just think it's cool to get freebies. :)

Don't forget lots of giveaways with the nominations including g/c and a year to audible! Just click on the banner to get the info. 
Have fun listening! :)

Also... The Mythos Academy ebooks are on sale until the 27th! They average $2.99 but Amazon has them for slightly cheaper (from Jennifer Estep):
KISS OF FROST, book 2:
DARK FROST, book 3:

You have any bargains you have run across? List them in the comments, plz. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Lost (Celestial Blues #2) by Vicki Pettersson

Series: Celestial Blues #2
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Available Now
Source: TBR pile
Griffin Shaw and his wife were both murdered fifty years ago. Now a minor angel, Grif's been granted permission to solve the mystery of his own death... if he helps the Pure angels guide those souls who might otherwise be Lost. 
Souls like Jeap Yang, a drug addict in his final moments of life. Grif knows that death is coming, but he cannot intervene. However, Grif's mortal lover, reporter Katherine "Kit" Craig, isn't constrained by angelic protocol. If she can stop a death, she will. 
But as Kit is about to find out, there are things more traumatic and evil than murder. A strange new drug is literally eating tweakers' flesh from their bones, and Kit's crusade to get it off the streets is set to propel her and Grif into a battle with a vicious drug cartel. They'll have to scramble to stay alive, stay together, and choose their own fate... before it's chosen for them.
My thoughts:
 The second in the series (yes, I have read them in order so far, but then it's not hard... it's only #2! LOL) and we find ourselves back with Grif and Kit. In this story Kit's obsession with rockabilly is toned down a bit and I have to admit, I found it more charming that way. Kit is also extremely naïve in this book and sometimes it seemed to get in her way. I felt there was purpose in this to show how pure of heart she was, but it also seemed to not go with her personality otherwise. She was a smart reporter... being naïve just didn't seem to compliment her reporter personna. Grif is still obsessed with his and his wife's murder which gets in the way of the relationship between the two. Throughout all of this they find themselves sleuthing out a new drug problem that has hit the streets which strips the flesh from the body as well as highly addictive. They try to figure out who is behind the drug while no one on their suspect list is who they claim to be.

I give this book 3 stars. I enjoyed the plot as a whole, but I did find that Kit got in her own way in this book. I didn't like the ending (no cliffie) but I wasn't supposed to like it and now can't wait to find out what happens next. Luckily the next book will be published very soon. I recommend this series for those that like a PI mystery with their PNR.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Blog Tour/ AimeeKay Review: See You In Hell by Demelza Carlton

seeyouinhell (1)
See You in Hell (Mel Goes to Hell) by Demelza Carlton

 Book Description:
 Hate your job? Try working in HELL! Melody Angel takes a job as a temp at the HELL Corporation. Surrounded by eternal bureaucracy gone mad, demons who love making life miserable, and dying for a decent coffee, it may take a miracle for Mel's mission to succeed. She must find out what evil plans the Lord of Lies has up his sleeve and stop him, using any means necessary. Lucifer and his minions are out to take over the world, but there's more than money at stake when the Devil drives.
Adding trouble and temptation to Mel's job is Luce Iblis, the damnably hot CEO, who has set his smouldering eyes on the new office angel and is determined to claim her, body and soul. Can ultimate evil and angelic perfection escape a limbo of desire and find a paradise of their own?
Goodreads  | Amazon

AimeeKay's Review:

Oh my God! See You in Hell is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. I think it's an amazing beginning to what looks to be an awesome series.

Let's start with the characters. While the story is told from Melody Angel's point of view, the author did a great job of brining all the other characters to life. So much so that I got quite attached to a few of them and I really hope they make an appearance in the next book. I also loved watching the interactions between Mel and her coworkers. Especially how the demons reacted to some of Mel's less angelic features. For example: Did you know angels have sex??? Apparently demons didn't know that either. Mel herself is really sweet too. But not in an overly sappy way. She's just a nice angel. At the same time she's smart and confident and it was great fun watching her maneuver through HELLs corporate environment.

As for the story itself. I thoroughly enjoyed the premise of See You in Hell. Basically the minions of hell are running a corporation on earth that has been handling the privatization of multiple aspects of government; health care, environment, prisons etc. It's the job of Mel and her fellow angels to make sure that HELL doesn't take over earth. I think the best part of all of it is how the author kept me laughing on every page. Whether it was a simple one liner or a complex tale of alien rock lobsters, I just could not stop laughing. I have not read a book this funny in a really long time.

I definitely recommend picking this one up for the summer. The only suggestion I have is to pick up the novella prequel, Welcome to Hell. Not reading it won't detract from your enjoyment of See You in Hell, but last I checked it's still free on Amazon and so worth the added enjoyment. As for me I'm definitely giving See You in Hell 5 stars and I can't wait to see where Mel's next job takes her!

Author Bio:
Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish. She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.
Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world. The Ocean's Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by her suspense thriller Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn't leave her alone.

Connect with the author:
$20 Gift Card (INT)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Binding the Shadows (Arcadia Bell #3) by Jenn Bennett

Series: Arcadia Bell #3
Publisher: Pocket Books
Available Now
Source: TBR pile
Renegade mage and bartender Arcadia Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is unhinging. When a citywide crime wave erupts, Cady's demon-friendly tiki bar is robbed by Earthbounds wielding surreal demonic abilities that just flat-out shouldn't exist. With the help of her devilishly delicious boyfriend, Lon Butler, Cady sets out to find the people who wronged her—but her targets aren't the only ones experiencing unnatural metamorphoses. Can Cady track down the monsters responsible before the monster inside herdestroys everything—and everyone—she loves? If she survives this adventure, one thing is certain: it's last call for life as she knows it.
My thoughts:
 Ah the 3rd book in this series and I'm still loving the characters. My only suggestion to Lon is to not be so taciturn when it comes to your emotions with the ones you love. Ah, but Lon is learning and is more open with Cady and his son then he was in the beginning of the series. Yes, there is a dad involved with his family! Something you don't often see in UF. Not only that, but Cady is continually creating a tight family of her own. Seeing her family get bigger did put a smile on my face.

Of course there is action and it didn't let up until the end. Oh and that ending!! Let me just say it really isn't a cliffie, but it drops some knowledge that will make you perhaps a bit bug eyed or have to physically close your mouth. Oh can't wait to find out more about that! Luckily the next book is almost here and I have it in my hot little hands. :)

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I really enjoy the characters in the book... especially Jupe, Lon's teenage boy. He is still the heart that holds them all together and I personally can't wait to see how he handles the revelation at the end. (*evil laugh* since I'm not telling you...) I recommend this series to those that enjoy UF with some great characters.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Odin's Ravens by K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr

Series: The Blackwell Pages #2
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: 5/13/14
Source: From NetGalley and Publisher for review
Seven kids, Thor's hammer, and a whole lot of Valkyries are the only things standing against the end of the world.

When thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen, a modern day descendant of the Norse god Thor, was chosen to represent Thor in an epic battle to prevent the apocalypse he thought he knew how things would play out. Gather the descendants standing in for gods like Loki and Odin, defeat a giant serpent, and save the world. No problem, right? 
But the descendants' journey grinds to a halt when their friend and descendant Baldwin is poisoned and killed and Matt, Fen, and Laurie must travel to the Underworld in the hopes of saving him. But that's only their first stop on their journey to reunite the challengers, find Thor's hammer, and stop the apocalypse--a journey filled with enough tooth-and-nail battles and larger-than-life monsters to make Matt a legend in his own right. 
Authors K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr return to Blackwell in the epic sequel to Loki's Wolves with more explosive action, adventure and larger-than-life Norse legends.
My thoughts:
 I admit, the reason I picked up the first book, Loki's Wolves was because Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr were the authors. I don't often read MG, but sometimes it doesn't matter what audience it targets, since a good story is a good story no matter what age. :)

I can start with my biggest complaint... it took too long to get here! You were left with a big cliffie from the last book and this one picks right up where you were after the first one. It took me only a moment to remember what had happened even if it was a while ago... I'm just impatient and wanted that adventure. It starts off strong and doesn't let up. Like the last book, the spellings of the norse gods and objects have not changed for ease of reading for the age group it targets. I appreciated that in the last book and appreciate it here as well. I love books that don't talk down to kids (even if I couldn't for the life of me pronounce any of the words correctly).

As far as the ending with this book? Yes, there is a cliffie, but I was expecting it. Still, it wasn't as heart stopping as the last, but it does it's job and makes you want the book even more. I do like the way the book is heading and the adventure it provides. Therefore, I give it 3 1/2 stars and I am looking forward to the next adventure leading to Ragnarök.

First book in the series:
Loki's Wolves

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Queen of Dark Things (Dreams and Shadows #2) by C. Robert Cargill

Series: Dreams and Shadows #2
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Published: 5/13/14
Source: Edelweiss and Publisher for review
Six months have passed since the wizard Colby lost his best friend to an army of fairies from the Limestone Kingdom, a realm of mystery and darkness beyond our own. But in vanquishing these creatures and banning them from Austin, Colby sacrificed the anonymity that protected him. Now word of his deeds has spread, and powerful enemies from the past—including one Colby considered a friend—have resurfaced to exact their revenge. 
As darkness gathers around the city and time runs out, Colby has to turn to forces even darker than those he once battled for aid. 
Following such masters as Lev Grossman, Erin Morgenstern, and Kim Harrison, C. Robert Cargill takes us deeper into an extraordinary universe of darkness and wonder, despair and hope to reveal the magic and monsters around us . . . and inside us.
My thoughts:
 I did not read the first one, but sort of knew what to expect after reading a few reviews of the first book. It was twisty like the first one is described and I didn't get lost. Yes, I knew I was missing story, but it was only important to know that things happened in the first book, not exactly what.

The book switches timelines quite frequently and is also interspersed with excerpts from a "book" that explains the mythology of various dark things. While it was quite interesting and kept me reading, it also kept me at arms length from the characters. I was never fully immersed into the plot despite my continued interest. I also need to say that even though it also skips timelines without fanfare, you don't get lost. I questioned it when it first happened, but it was obvious that is what happened and it gave you information you needed for the quest Colby was to embark.

In the end I give this book 3 stars. I actually enjoyed it and loved how the author brought together all kinds of mythology and folk tales to life. I especially enjoyed seeing La Llorona and Coyote. Coyote has always been my fave and because I know the La Llorona legend so well, I enjoyed seeing his dealings with her.

I recommend this to people who want something really different and like retellings of different mythology.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dark and Deadly: Novellas 5-8

Rogue's Passion
by Laurie London
Series: Iron Portal #2
Hidden within the rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest, Iron Portals separate the modern and ancient worlds. Only a chosen few, Warriors of the Iron Guild, know their locations. 
For years, Olivia Crawford has kept a low profile in order to keep her para-ability secret. If the army finds out she’s a Healer-Talent, they’ll force her to work for them—just like her brother who was taken as a boy and never seen again. 
But when a terrible explosion rocks New Seattle, she risks everything to save the injured, including a handsome stranger with secrets of his own. 
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 her…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…
My thoughts:
I'd have to say that this one was really more like a full novel than a novella. A quick read full of alpha male who is soft when it comes to kids and animals. Yes, he has a deerhound who is loyal to him and he to the hound. :) Olivia is a girl with a healing secret. In this book the army is the bad guy and they are out to find people with "talents" so they can become invincible. Asher is one of the warriors in charge of keeping his people safe who happen to exist on the other side of a portal. As you suspect, passions are ignited and love is found. A sweet book with 2 people you want to root for. It was short so you didn't get too frustrated with the alpha male, but long enough to give you a good story. I give this book 4 1/2 stars and I really want to read the rest of the series.

The Forbidden Life of Alex Moore
by Erin Quinn
Series: The Beyond
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.
My Thoughts:
This one was a pretty short novella, but it still packed enough punch to get me interested in the series. Alex and Lilly were interesting enough for me, but I totally admit, it was the hellhounds and the dogs in the novella that totally won me over. Love how things change and that is the theme in which, I believe, that the series will revolve. I'm not entirely sure where the novella lies in the series, but the excerpt for the first full book in the series is book one, The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love and in the back it is listed as book 2. I'm guessing #1.5? :) I give this one a 4 and was totally won over by a hellhound, a great dane and a little pomeranian. :)

The Mating Heat
by Bonnie Vanak
Series: Werewolves of Montana #0.5
The all-new, never published prequel to the Werewolves of Montana series. Enter the sensual world of the Lupine, where the burning drive to mate claims all... 
After an explosive kiss that awakened a burning passion, Lupine Kara Mitchell is certain she will never see Ryder Carrington again. Her alpha father punished them for their illicit love and Kara fled their home with her brother Aiden to start a new life in Montana. Left scarred by her father’s ugly cruelties, she is certain no Lupine can ever love her. When Aiden faces financial ruin, she risks going back to find her family’s cache of gold and is captured by Ryder. 
Former Omega werewolf Ryder Carrington spent ten hellish years living under the thumb of his cruel, violent leader. After killing his alpha in a Challenge to save the pack, Ryder now rules, but needs a mate to bring peace to his fractured people. Kara is his and his alone. He will never let her go, despite Aiden’s demands to release her. Ryder will do anything to claim her, even risk an all-out pack war that could cost them everything… 
Warning: This is a romance novel containing explicit sex and language. Not intended for anyone under the age of 18
My thoughts:
I have to admit I wasn't sure about Ryder at first. He endured a lot and loved Kara, the former alpha's daughter who had been scarred. My problem is that I thought, at first, he might try to force her to be his mate. He did seem to vacillate between wanting to take her and wanting to woo her. As the story went on he saw how damaged she was and never forced her to do anything but face the pack with her damaged face so she could see that she would be accepted. As the story goes on you see that his want of her is what read as thinking about forcing her and he would never do that. So, yea, in the end he totally won me over. The world isn't fully developed in the book and there will be lots of questions left after reading this novella. However, that is often the reason for beginning novellas and usually the world gets more fleshed out in subsequent books in the series. In the end I give the novella 3 1/2 stars and recommend it to those that want to peek into this PNR shifter world.

by Caris Roane
Series: The Blood Rose Tale #1
Mastyr Vampire Zephyr, a one-man fighting force, struggles to save the life of a woman who despises his warrior ways.

He won’t give up his warrior life to please a woman…

Zephyr can’t keep away from Alesia and feels obligated to keep her safe. They’d broken up, unable to reconcile painfully opposing views on what should be done to the evil Invictus pairs. But when several wraith-pairs attack her diner, he flies her to safety, taking her home where they’re trapped together for the entire day. His chronic blood-starvation problem surfaces and it soon becomes apparent that she’s the key to taking away decades of suffering. But if she offers to take care of his needs, will he be drawn in once more only to have her disapproval ruin the moment yet again?

Surrendering is dangerous…

Alesia wishes Zephyr would just leave her alone. 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. But when several deadly Invictus pairs attack her diner, Alesia has no choice but to go home with Zephyr, something she’s promised herself never to do. Trapped all day with the powerful warrior, she finds it hard to resist the comfort of his arms and the sensual feel of his lips pressed to hers. Will it hurt to offer to meet his blood-needs just this once or will surrendering leave her more vulnerable than ever?
My thoughts:
This was a quick and short read. Alesia and Zephyr both knew each other and had a previous relationship so the relationship didn't have to be built from the beginning. That helped because it was so short. The blurb really tells you everything you need to know about this short story. What I enjoyed about it was the growth both went through in understanding each other. Not just one, but both and found a true compromise in which they could both enjoy and go forward in life... not only in their personal lives, but in their professional life. It is the kind of ending that you wish there was more. I give this book 4 stars and I'm curious about this world.

I have to say on the whole I really enjoyed this novella set. Even a couple of these were what I would consider full length novels. This is a set of books for adults (a few of them were very hot and all had smex in them) who enjoy PNR. It is a great introduction to series you have either been curious about or are actual introductions to a new series. I highly recommend you get this series while it is still .99! The price is soon to be raised soon.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dark and Deadly: Novellas 1-4

I'll be splitting this review into a few. After all the stories, you get a look into the series the novellas occupy. That way you can be sure you want to dive into the world and romance provided by each author. Don't forget you can get this set for .99¢ at your favorite ebook retailer for a limited time!
Source for all stories: From publicity for review

Author: Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound #2.5
Elizabeth Chapman is saved from an armed robber by a giant Kodiak bear who shifts into a large, well-muscled, and fully bare human. But when it's revealed that the robber is the brother of a dangerous criminal, Elizabeth finds herself the target of a vendetta.

Ronan, the Bear Shifter, takes her to Shiftertown, where she finds that mateless Ronan takes care of Shifters who have no families or clans of their own. Having grown up in foster care herself, Elizabeth can only admire how protective Ronan is, even while she chafes at the confinement.

But Ronan will only let her leave the safety of Shiftertown if he becomes her 24/7 bodyguard. Elizabeth finally agrees. The trouble is, the sassy human Elizabeth is triggering Ronan's long-buried need to find himself a mate.
My thoughts:
I was surprised that this was a short, but full story about a kodiak bear shifter and his newfound mate. i was really expecting a very short novella just introducing me to the series. I've been curious about this series and I feel like I got a good look into this world. In this story Elizabeth if running from her past and taking care of her sister when Ronan saves her life during a robbery. She finds herself in danger because she lived and so Ronan immediately decides to help her even further with her problem. Of course this is a PNR so the romance was a bit fast, but still interesting. The couple ended up making me smile more than once and the other characters surrounding Ronan also captured my attention. I give this book 4 stars and feel like it was a fun PNR shifter novel and I do think I'll be reading more in the Shifters Unbound world.

Alejandro's Sorceress
by Alyssa Day
Series: Warriors of Poseidon
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.

My thoughts:
This novella takes place in the world of the Warriors of Poseidon series. I couldn't find a novella number but it is obviously part of that world since it has some of the same Atlantians within the book. I haven't read the series but do have it on my wishlist. This wasn't a hard book to get into if you, like me, haven't read the series yet.

The romance is fast, but it is also cute. I would have liked to spend a bit more time with the couple and get the romance a bit more developed, but even without that, I found that Rose, the garden witch, to be a great character. She is strong and doesn't take crap from the alpha males. I give the story 3 stars and I think it will amp up your interest in the world of Atlantis since we only get a wee peek into that world. There is a short epilogue that had me smiling for the couple in the end.

by Felicity Heaton
Series: Vampire Erotic Theatre #5
A vampire with a past stained with blood and a soul tainted with darkness, he is perfect in his self-control, never surrendering to his darkest desires. Now a beautiful witch in the shadowy fae underworld threatens to reawaken long denied hungers and tempts him with carnal pleasure. 
Payne despises the incubus side of his mixed genes and refuses to give it free rein, but when the wickedly sexy Elissa offers him a possible way to help a friend, he finds it difficult to resist paying the price, even if it will be his undoing—one night of passion at her command. 
Elissa is a witch down on her luck until Payne comes crashing into her life. The dangerously handsome male is the key to fulfilling a promise she made, but he is also forbidden, and surrendering to the wildfire passion he stirs within her means risking ruin and death. 
When one incredible night of fulfilling their deepest fantasies leads to more than just a pathway to keeping a promise and saving a friend, will they be able to overcome the barriers that stand between them and forever?
My thoughts:
The synopsis really tells the plot. What is nice about this book is that although the smex happens quickly (but then what do you expect from an incubus?) the relationship takes some time and they reveal to each other things that both of them have hidden from others. By the end of this novella I was smiling and even though there is a lot of smex, there is a tender moment here and there as well. I give this novella 4 stars and it is book 5 in the Vampire Erotic Theatre books. These books seem to have interesting characters and not just smex. :)

Darkness Falls
by Erin Kellison
Series: Reveler #1
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.

My thoughts: 
This one is going to be hard for me to review. In fact, this author was the reason I wanted to review this group of novellas. Her Shadow books are one of my favorite series. In this start of a series, it was a short read, but not always an easy one. The world was hard to follow but after a while, you did get used to some of it and so some of it flowed even though you didn't quite feel like you had a complete grasp of what was going on. I feel that this will clear up as the series goes on. It was also quite short and so you are left with a lot of questions. It also works in wanting to continue the series because I wasn't ready to leave and wanted some completion of the story I started. What was great about this series was the characters. Although I am not completely sure about Malcolm, I  know he is someone to root for and want the best for him. Who I really enjoyed was Jordan once her walls started to come down and her wicked sense of humor came forward. I give this book 3 stars, and I am intrigued enough to want to continue the series and find out more about these characters and the world in which they exist.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Aimeekay review: The Hungry Family Slow Cooker Cookbook by Christina Dymock

Available Now
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Source: From publisher for review
It's every busy mother's dream-come-true: dinner that makes itself! With the help of your trusty slow cooker and these healthy, easy recipes, like Peppery Cilantro Salmon, Sausage Stew, and Dark Chocolate Mini Cakes, you can put dinner on the table even on the craziest of days. Don't let the whirlwind of life stop you from feeding your family the food they deserve -- delicious, home-cooked meals straight from your slow cooker.
AimeeKay's thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading and using The Hungry Family Slow Cooker. I loved the size and the pictures. I tried quite a few of the recipes in the book, and while I'm not sure if they look quite as good photographed as the food in the book they did come out quite tasty. I also liked the fact that the author took time in the beginning of the book to really explain the uses and types of slow cookers; from the reasons for using
Steak and Potatoes
one, the different types that are available, to how to care for them. She really took the time to walk a newbie through it. I have been using slow cookers for years, but I have to say that I really would have appreciated instructions like this in the beginning. lol.

I only had two problems with the book. One is the chapter on Seafood, Pork and Other good stuff. I really didn't like how the recipes were organized. Personal preference, but I would have preferred if it had been first one, then the next, then the next. Maybe all seafood, then the pork, then the other? But instead they were intermingled. Again, personal preference, nothing to lose a star over or anything.

The second problem I had was with some of the recipes. I tried to vary which ones I tried. I definitely plan on trying more. For the most part the recipes are very easy. They all took me less than 30 mins to prep. For someone capable of moving a bit faster that prep time would probably be even shorter. Anyway back to what bothered me. After all the effort the author went into to explain slow cookers in
Pork Tenderloin
the beginning of the book she kind of let the reader drift in the recipes. For some of them it would have been nice to know that different cuts of meat would have been ok to substitute for the ones stated in the recipe. For others, items are mentioned, that if it wasn't for Google, I wouldn't have known what they were. A great example of this is the roasted chicken recipe. The author says to place 3 ramekins in the cooker to help prevent the chicken from soaking in its own juices. In this day and age it took me less than a minute to pick up my phone and google ramekins and see what they were. Since I have cooking experience it took me about two minutes more to pull similar items out of my cupboard and use them instead. But I tell you if it had been ten years ago? Um yeah, I wouldn't have had a clue. Of course when I mentioned ramekins to my mother she knew exactly what they were without Google..... I'm just saying that without Google I would have had to wait to complete the recipe, something that isn't always possible when it comes to certain ingredients. I think that with all the effort that was put in at the beginning the author would have thought to go into more detail on the items used in the recipes.

Overall I think the book is awesome. I tried quite a few of the recipes and plan to try more. The recipes are generally easy to prep and get started and all of them that I tried turned out wonderfully.

Monday, May 5, 2014

18+ Reads: The Bush Riders #1 and #2 by O.A. Brand

Title: High and Wild
Series: The Bush Riders #1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Available Now
Source: From publisher for review
The first exciting novel in a series of erotic westerns featuring two undercover agents, Bear Haskell and his sometimes sidekick, Raven York. 
Bear Haskell is a rough and tumble Texan and veteran of the Civil War who fought on the side of the Confederacy. Raven York is a proud Yankee from a wealthy eastern family with aristocratic ties to Scotland. Dissatisfied with her life as a rich, well-traveled, and educated heiress, Raven headed West against her family’s wishes and went to work for Allan Pinkerton as an undercover agent. 
As Pinkerton’s top agents, Bear Haskell and Raven York get all the toughest assignments: tracking down killers, kidnappers, con artists, bank robbers, and train bandits of every stripe throughout the West. But the two couldn’t be more different and are constantly at odds with each other. While they do not care for each other personally, they respect each other’s work. And, they hunger for each other in the bedroom.

Conflicted by their professional and ravenously sexual relationship, Bear and Raven do not confine their sexual adventures to each other. In fact, Pinkerton strictly forbids his agents from becoming personally or sexually involved with each other. Still, their paths are clearly intertwined, and the two must find a way to work together as they navigate—and trip over—the often humorous muddle of sexual temptation against the backdrop of the late-nineteenth-century West.
My thoughts:
This is a erotic western, a bit different than what I usually read so I thought I'd give it a try. The story is centered around Bear Haskell, a Pinkerton solving mysteries across the west. The adventure had a few twists and turns and even though the mystery is easily solved, it is entertaining. The smexy parts were written by a man. It is his perspective and he is a womanizer who women seem to want even if it isn't in her personality. His smexy scenes top every section with every curvaceous woman. No romance and no real connection. So, if you are looking for that kind of book, you might want to pass. If you want a book where the women just can't resist, then this is your book.

I did appreciate that the book didn't seem to demean women despite their inability to resist Bear. Still, I would have liked at least Raven to be able to deal with him on more than one level. This was attempted, but didn't quite connect to that level. The only other problem I had was that despite the background characters having many ethnicities, he did use the term half-breed more than once which bothered me. It is still considered a derogatory term.

I give this book 2 1/2 stars. I recommend it to those that want a male perspective on the erotic genre.

Wild to the Bone
Series: The Bush Riders #2
Publisher: Pocket Star
To Be Published: 5/26/14
Source: From Publisher for review
Following fast on the tail of High and Wild, this second book in the erotic historical western Bush Riders series offers some rough-and-tumble fun, featuring two undercover agents who are wild for each other. 
Bear Haskell, a Texan veteran of the Civil War who fought for the Union, can’t stand that he has to work with Raven York, a proud Yankee and wealthy heiress who went against her family’s wishes to become an agent. But as Allan Pinkerton’s top two undercover agents, they must set aside their differences and learn to work together.

Tracking down killers, kidnappers, con artists, bank robbers, and train bandits throughout the entire Wild West isn’t easy. And constantly being at odds with each other only fuels the tension—sexual and otherwise—between Bear and Raven. Conflicted by their professional and ravenously sexual personal relationship, the two decide to see other people. But, unable to keep completely out of the way, Raven’s path intertwines with Bear’s on a job, and together they must navigate the often humorous muddle of temptation against the backdrop of the late-nineteenth century West.
My thoughts:
The second installment is pretty much like the first book. However, it seems like this one takes a slightly more adventurous tone. Yes, every smexy woman still can't resist Bear Haskell... for unknown reasons. Yes, he is probably the nicest guy around (which isn't saying much) but I still don't get why he is so irresistible. However, the adventure outside the smex is a bit more twisty than the last one. In fact, I would have probably enjoyed the book much more if the erotic sections were taken out and the adventure was worked on a bit more.

In this book the author seems to have a problem with any woman deemed middle age. Granted, there was some of that in the first book, but there is so much more with this theme in the second book. Seriously, don't get it and it actually got on my nerves a bit. On the positive side, I did like Raven as I did in the first book and there are some strong women here. So that was nice to read.

In the end I give this book 2 1/2 stars. It is much like the first, but with a bit better adventure. What these books remind me of is the episode of Friends where Joey and Chandler discover they have porn on the tv. To me, Bear Haskell in the real world would suddenly discover that women don't suddenly throw themselves at him for no reason. That gave me a chuckle and reminded me of the vid below. I will say this... if you take it tongue in cheek kind of read you might get a kick out of these books.

Friday, May 2, 2014

After the End by Amy Plum

Series: After the End #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: May 6, 14
Source: Edelweiss and Publisher for review
She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future. 
World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there. 
At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life. 
When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie. 
Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.
My thoughts:
 I was actually expecting a dystopian but that isn't what I got. I am NOT disappointed at all though! :) In this book we follow two alternating POVs of Juneau and Miles. While this isn't my favorite way of reading a book, it seems to really work here. Juneau she lives in a secluded area of Alaska being told they are the few survivors of a war that happened 1983. When her clan is kidnapped while she was off hunting, Juneau has to set forth in the land unknown and finds that there was no war. Now she has to find out what happened to her clan as well as what is the truth and what are lies.

Miles is a spoiled rich kid who is used to getting his way. In his defense he does it to get what little attention he can from his father. His father is ruthless in the ways of business and also in the way he handles his son. He seeks Juneau because he believes she has some secret he can exploit for his business. Miles sets out to capture Juneau to prove to his father he is trustworthy. When he catches up with Juneau he also sets out on his own journey to find out who he wants to be as well as what is truth and what are lies that he believed his whole life.

This book has a magical quality about it which reminds me a bit of the magical realism genre. What really captured me here was their dual journey to strip off what they have been told and to find out for themselves what they truly believe and who they want to become. This is the part that captured me to the point I didn't want to put down the book. The pages flew by...

There were still things I wanted to know like I would in any good story. Would love to have more background, especially of Juneau, but I feel like we will get more of those answers as the series moves on. In fact, you are left with more questions than answers when the book ends. And yes... warning... there is a major cliffie in the end. :(

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. That cliffie will kill you if you are like me and hate them, but you will love the developing romance between the characters. No insta-love here. :) I recommend it to those that love a good adventure with a bit of magic thrown in.