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I Belong


Giveaway: The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin

March 1st, 2017 @ 12:10 am
Posted by Kristie under Giveaway Tags: , , ,

Lisa ShearinGet ready for another series read through! This time Roxanne is reading the SPI files from Lisa Shearin! Check back everyday for the review & giveaways for this series.

The Grendel Affair is the 1st book in an exciting newish urban fantasy series! Step into the world of Mackenna and Ian and the SPI Files. You will meet werewolves, elves, goblins, but none of them will be what you think they are! Mac is a seer which means she can see through all glamours and see the supernaturals for what they really are. Her partner Ian is not only tasked with keeping her alive, but helping train her so that she can fight as well as he can. In world full of dark mages, dragons and magic be prepared to be swept away on one wild ride.

One lucky reader will win a copy of The Grendel Affair! This giveaway is provided by ACE/Penguin! This contest is open to U.S. addresses only.

About Lisa:

Lisa Shearin is the New York Times bestselling author of the Raine Benares novels, a comedic fantasy adventure series, as well as the SPI Files novels (The Brimstone DeceptionThe Dragon ConspiracyThe Grendel Affair), an urban fantasy series best described as Men in Black with supernaturals instead of aliens. Lisa is a voracious collector of fountain pens, teapots, and teacups, both vintage and modern. She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her husband, three spoiled-rotten retired racing greyhounds, and enough deer and woodland creatures to fill a Disney movie.

You can visit Lisa around the web here: Website | Twitter | Facebook 

Want to read more from Lisa Shearin?

Magic Lost, Trouble Found Armed & Magical The Trouble with Demons Bewitched & Betrayed Con & Conjure All Spell Breaks Loose Wedding Bells, Magic SpellsTreasure & Treason (Raine B...Night Shift (Kate Daniels, ...The Grendel AffairThe Dragon ConspiracyThe Brimstone DeceptionThe Ghoul Vendetta

______________________________________________________________________

contest

This giveaway is provided by ACE/Penguin!

One lucky reader will win a copy of The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin!
(US only)

The Grendel Affair

Available December 31, 2013 from Ace/Penguin

About this Book:

We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn’t exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us…

When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out—usually saving my skin in the process.

Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret’s out and everyone’s time is up.

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Review: The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin

March 1st, 2017 @ 12:08 am
Posted by Roxanne under Review Tags: , , , ,

The Grendel AffairTitle: The Grendel Affair

Author: Lisa Shearin

GenreUrban Fantasy

Series: SPI Files (Book #1)

Publication Date: December 31, 2013

Format: Paperback, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425266915 (Ace/Penguin)

ISBN-13:  978-0425266915 (Ace/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Roxanne

Synopsis:

We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn’t exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us…

When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out.

Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret’s out and everyone’s time is up.

Quick & Dirty: A seer in New York city and myth come to life…

Opening Sentence: “Most people grabbed a coffee on the way to work.”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Mackenna is a seer from Wierd Sisters, NC, but she moved to New York to get away from her family’s legacy only to find herself fulfilling it by working for the SPI (Supernatural Protection & Information). She is on the hunt for a nachtgnome when a strange vampire addresses her by name, but before she can really be afraid or find out what is going on, a many faced homeless man walks by and literally frightens the vampire away, then he disappears. Ian (her partner) joins her and they attempt to catch the nachtgnome when they stumble across a dead body.

Soon they find out he isn’t the first one, and he is carrying a picture of Mackenna on him. Once they figure out who the man was in the store they were in, they track down the owner to find out why he was in the store. Mac finds out that he was going to sell the man the arm and the head of a supernatural creature.  One called Grendel, from the epic Norse poem of Beowulf. When her bosses accuse her of being a traitor, Mac realizes this whole situation is quickly spiraling out of control.

Although they soon figure out that it is Mac’s doppelganger, Mac knows that things are in the works. Someone or something is ripping apart humans and supernatural creatures like it’s easy, and they appear to be trying to gather the remains of Grendel. Soon the SPI and Mac know that they have a major fight on their hands, will they be able to save New York?

This book combined some of my favorite things, a little Celtic stuff, some Norse stuff and well just a lot of paranormal stuff. This series is absolutely fantastic. Mac is funny, loves cookies and trying really hard to learn her new job. She is surrounded by werewolves, dragons and yes, a descendant of Sigurd makes an appearance. Sigurd is a really famous Norse Warrior, in case you are not as obsessed with mythology as I am.

There was actually zero romance in this one, and I am not sure if I loved that or if I am a tad disappointed, but overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was fast paced and action packed. A fantastic start for a series, and I for one can’t wait to see where this goes.

Notable Scene:

“I did some panicked fumbling through my brain’s filing cabinet for what I knew about vampires and daylight. Younger vamps couldn’t take the light at all. Middle-aged ones could be out in the light, but “time to turn so you don’t burn” was literal with them. Vamps older than five hundred years had no problem being out and about during the day, but shades were advisable.”

SPI Files:

1. The Grendel Affair

2. The Dragon Conspiracy

3. The Brimstone Deception

4. The Ghoul Vendetta

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FTC Advisory: Ace/Penguin provided me with a copy of The Grendel Affair. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Flamebound by Tessa Adams

February 26th, 2017 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Roxanne under Review Tags: , , , ,

FlameboundTitle: Flamebound

Author: Tessa Adams

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Lone Star Witch (Book #2)

Publication Date: December 3, 2013

Format: Paperback, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0451415051 (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0451415059 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Roxanne

Synopsis:

After Xandra’s nasty run in with the Arcadian Council of Witches—where she was almost killed and her boyfriend, Declan, was almost framed for it—her plan is to lay low and figure out why its members would torment the people they are supposed to protect. Declan, temperamental and protective warlock that he is, doesn’t feel so reticent. And when violence erupts again, there’s no stopping him from pursuing revenge…

When a council member is murdered in a fashion that screams dark magic, Declan claims someone else beat him to it. Xandra doesn’t want to believe he could commit such a brutal act, but she knows he has a dark side—one that his former love interest Tsura understands better than she ever will. With Tsura back in town, Xandra doesn’t know whom to trust. And a killer targeting witches and wizards is still at large…

Quick & Dirty: Trying to find a missing girl, and her family is under attack. Can Xandra and Declan figure it out?

Opening Sentence: “What are you doing?”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Xandra and Declan are mated, but she just really wants some time to figure out why the ACW attacked her and tried to frame her boyfriend. Before she can really catch her breath Nick comes to her and asks for help finding a little girl named Shelby who was kidnapped. Xandra asks Lilly for help and she does a reading, all the while Xandra has a bad feeling about this. She is surprised when she connects with her psychically, but she still can’t figure out who has her and why.

Before she can figure that all out she is compelled to find a body and when Xandra and Lily arrive, she is not shocked when Declan shows up and helps them find the body. When it turns out to be a member of the council she is sure Declan is involved but he claims someone beat him to it. Then another body turns up and it is a race against time to figure out who is killing council members.

Then when her family is attacked Xandra is sure it is retaliation for the attacks against the council. Can Xandra find Shelby? Can Xandra find out who is killing the council before her family is attacked again?

This book picks up shortly after the first one, and is pretty good. It does have so much going on, and jumps back and forth between things pretty quickly. In between all the action, Xandra and Declan are getting even cozier. I like the series, although it doesn’t quite live up to it’s full potential and never fully explains what is going on. By the end of this book it still isn’t quite clear why the council went to such horrible lengths to attempt to kill Xandra in book 1.

Xandra and Declan aren’t fully explained either. We know they are Soulbound from book 1, but their power and the reason they were bound at birth isn’t fully explored either. I was left wanting a little bit more.

Notable Scene:

A chill runs down my spine at the words, and the singsongy way Lilly says them. Her body’s right in front of me, but I know that she’s gone far away. I want to scream at her to come back, to tell her that it’s dangerous, but she wouldn’t thank me for it. This is what she does–what I asked her to do. It’s not her fault that I’m suddenly filled with an overwhelming trepidation, a sickness in my stomach that warns me this reading isn’t going to end as well as I had hoped.

Lone Star Witch Series:

1. Soulbound

2. Flamebound

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FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Flamebound. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: What’s Broken Between Us by Alexis Bass

February 25th, 2017 @ 1:16 pm
Posted by Michelle B. under Review Tags: , , , ,

What's Broken Between UsTitle: What’s Broken Between Us

AuthorAlexis Bass

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: December 29, 2015

Format:  Hardcover, 304 Pages

ISBN-100062275356 (HarperCollins)

ISBN-13: 978-0062275356 (HarperCollins)

Reviewed byMichelle

Synopsis:

A year and a half ago, Amanda Tart’s brother got behind the wheel drunk and killed his best friend. Today, he’s coming home from prison.

Amanda’s been the one living with the fallout, made worse by her brother’s recent unapologetic TV interview. People think he’s a monster. Still, she loves him. It’s her dark secret, until she starts getting close to Henry again–whose sister is paralyzed from the accident.

A year and a half ago, her brother destroyed his life. Now Amanda has to decide if she’ll let his choice destroy hers.

Quick & Dirty: A difficult subject overshadowed by too many elements.

Opening Sentence: PJ: Tell us in your own words what happened that night.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

There is something to be said about a sensitive topic in the Young Adult genre. There are many conversations to be had about the formidable years in high school, and the stories set during these years. For the most part, we readers, in this age group or not, relate. Alexis Bass’ What’s Broken Between Us pushes the envelope between safe and not, going on the brink of a reader’s comfort level.

What’s Broken Between Us is about Amanda – a young girl, attempting to blend in with the high school. But unfortunately, that is next to impossible, for Amanda lives in the shadow of her brother’s, Jonathan, actions. A night spun out of control leads to a fatality that is not easily forgiven. A year later, Jonathan has served his sentence and is finally out, and ready to move beyond his past.

Amanda was someone that wasn’t so easy for me to relate to. Amanda had so much inner turmoil to sift through. Her actions didn’t always portray what she felt, and at times I didn’t understand why certain things were done the way it happened.

Henry, for me, was a bit easy to get to know. His vulnerability was an open book, easy to grasp and comprehend. While it seemed he became the instigator or the interrogator, I could follow his thoughts and see what he wanted to know. Grief is a strong thing, and closure isn’t always something easily obtained.

Death is always a touchy subject, especially when it is caused by someone else, in such a manner. I am a lot older than Amanda, Jonathan, and Henry, and putting myself in their shoes – bringing myself back to that age – it made me feel uncomfortable.

In the end, I couldn’t completely relate and get into What’s Broken Between Us. There were too many details and plot points to sort through. One thing would lead to another and it catapulted the scene into another dramatic event.

Unfortunately, What’s Broken Between Us was not for me.

Notable Scene:

It’s all wrong, and I wonder if Graham can sense it too. A boy taking me out – all night, to be exact – wouldn’t have gotten away without a few threats from my older brother.

Jonathan stands there silently, leaning against the banister at the bottom of the stairs, watching as Standard Dad continues to take pictures and Mumsy instructs me on how to stand. I watch him right back. The forlorness seems to start at his toes, hitting his knees, then his hips, then his shoulders, finally presenting itself on his face. I wonder if he’s thinking about Grace. How at least he was able to give her the ultimate Garfield High experience, invites to the best parties, front-row seats at the football games, before he took away all the rest.

“Amanda, smile,” Mumsy says. And I do, because this is supposed to be a happy occasion, and I don’t want to ruin it.

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FTC Advisory: HarperCollins provided me with a copy of What’s Broken Between Us.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

February 24th, 2017 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Zed under Review Tags: , , , , ,

Long May She ReignTitle: Long May She Reign

Author: Rhiannon Thomas

Genre: YA Fantasy/Mystery

Series: N/A

Publication Date: February 21, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 432 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062418688 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062418685 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Zed

Synopsis:

The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant to be queen. Twenty-third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of the court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

She may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, she knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom—and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisers. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

Quick & Dirty: A scientist for a queen and a deadly golden cake.

Opening Sentence: A hundred doves burst out of the pie.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Freya wants nothing more than to spend her days as a scientist, experimenting in her lab. But when most of the court dies at the King’s banquet, she becomes Queen by default. She was 23rd in line for the throne but through sheer bad luck, all previous heirs are dead and there’s a handful left to take the throne but Freya has the most legitimate claim.

“I mean no disrespect, Your Majesty,” Susan said, “but I do wish you hadn’t told her that. It’s no good to give them false hope. What these children need is food, a home, a chance for work when they’re older, maybe. Hope won’t keep them alive.”

It’s an odd story and I really liked Freya’s character; her awkwardness and logical thinking. Being queen means she’s stuck in a position she didn’t want, never imagined and that many of ‘her people’ are unhappy about. Plus, the real murderer is still out there and she needs to prove her innocence in order to be accepted as ruler.

I expected Fitzroy to be a bit of a troublemaker because initially he was an anomaly but he soon turns out to be pretty, well,  boring. He helps Freya lots with her experiments and it’s evident to all but her that he likes her, but besides being an admirer he didn’t add much to the story. Madeline and Naomi are Freya’s supportive best friends and I felt that they complimented the story well.

“Well, I assume it means you like me. But how do you like me? It’s an imprecise word, really, don’t you think? I mean, do you like me like I’m your friend, or do you like me like you-like me in a different way?”

My problem with Long May She Reign was that the book dragged longer than necessary. I’m sure the main points could have been covered in a far shorter space of time. Freya took an age to first accept her position as queen and then even more time to do something productive; her reign was as fun as watching paint dry. The story lacked humour, which for me is a must-have. I appreciate the serious undertone of ruling a Kingdom without supporters and trying to find a murderer but I’ve read bleaker tales that have managed to keep me engaged with a smile.

Notable Scene:

My father knelt with a group of men and women I vaguely recognised – some of the king’s old advisers, I thought. Torsten Wolff knelt by another pew, and Fitzroy. A smattering of people.

This couldn’t be everyone who had survived. It couldn’t be. The others must have simply stayed away, unwilling to see me crowned queen. That was all.

Don’t lie to yourself, I thought, anger rising out of nowhere. No one else was left.

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FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Long May She Reign. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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