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I Belong

Review: Burn by Suzanne Wright

August 26th, 2016 Kristie Posted in Review No Comments »

Burn SWTitle: Burn

Author: Suzanne Wright

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Series: Dark In You (Book #1)

Publication Date: November 26, 2016

Format: eBook, 301 Pages

A-SIN: B018GWS5GE (Piatkus/Little Brown)

ISBN-13: 978-0349413150 (Piatkus/Little Brown)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

Part of a small demon lair in North Las Vegas, tattooist Harper Wallis lives a pretty simple life. That changes overnight when she discovers that her psychic mate, or ‘anchor’, is a guy who’s rumored to be the most powerful demon in existence. Compelling, full of secrets and armed with raw sexuality, Knox Thorne is determined to claim her as his anchor, creating a psychic bond that will prevent their inner demons from ever turning rogue. The billionaire also wants Harper in his bed. She’s not so sure she wants either of those things. No one seems to know what breed of demon Knox is, only that he’s more dangerous than anything she’s ever before encountered. But he refuses to walk away. And when an unknown danger starts closing in on Harper, it seems that Knox is the only one who can keep her safe.

As Prime of his Las Vegas lair and a successful businessman, Knox Thorne is used to being in control. He’s also used to people fearing and obeying him. Harper does neither, which unexpectedly amuses him. Unpredictable, elusive, and complex, she draws Knox and his inner demon like nothing ever has. Knox is used to getting what he wants, and he wants Harper. He’ll have her, and he’ll keep her safe from the threat that looms over her. Because Knox protects what’s his. He won’t allow anyone to take her from him. Even if it will mean letting the demon inside him rise and wreak the havoc it was created to make.

Quick & Dirty: Dark paranormal romance/urban fantasy set in a world of demons that I really enjoyed.

Opening Sentence: From her seat in the large dome, Harper Wallis winced along with the other spectators as one of the contenders in the combat circle collided with the ceiling.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Demons are a part of the newest series by Suzanne Wright. If you have a love for the strange and possibly evil demons then you will want to read this series. Suzanne sets up a secret world of demons that seems as if it could be true. The romance is hot even if it is a bit of the insta-attraction. I don’t want to call it love, especially since one of the characters within has a hard time with that word too. I’ll delve more into the aspects of why their relationship was like that later in the review.

Harper Wallis is a demon but not just any demon. She is a “secret” hybrid that everyone around her underestimates. When I say “secret” that just means she doesn’t advertise what type of demon she is. They think that she is an imp (trickster) demon since that is what her family is but that imp trait has only made Harper stronger since she knows all their tricks. One night, Harper’s cousin gets into a bit of trouble and Harper takes her place in the battle ring.

Knox Thorne is impressed by Harper’s fight. When he brings Harper in for a “meeting”, he can’t get Harper to divulge why she stood in for the fight. As she leaves they shake hands, touching for demons is something that isn’t done without permission, and the impossible happens. Knox and Harper get the internal sensation that they are each other’s Anchor. When Knox realizes that the impossible has happened he doesn’t want to let Harper out of his sight but her stubbornness makes him realize that he is going to have to win her over before she will agree to be his Anchor.

Demons is this world are an amalgam of different types of creatures that are all “demons”. Examples include imp, cat, hellhound and many more. They have their human side and then they have their demon side which is almost a whole different person but they each carry characteristics of the other. Every demon has an anchor whether they find that person or not. An Anchor boosts the power for each demon making them stronger so when they find them they usually team up but not always. One thing about Anchors is that they are often lovers at some point but they are not Mates, sometimes Anchors can be Mates but that is rare. There is also a hierarchy that the demon world adheres to but in this story that hierarchy is being threatened with change that may or may not work.

Harper is a strong-willed, stubborn woman who has grown only to rely on herself. For the most part, I enjoyed her character. She wanted to keep her independence and she didn’t want the responsibilities of being an Anchor let alone an Anchor to the strongest known demon in the world. She is attracted to Knox but she tries to not act on her feelings. She fights off several attempts on her life while being drawn deeper into Knox’s world, she has to make a decision if she wants to stand by his side or forget about the attractive, moody demon.

Knox has many responsibilities as one of the strongest demons in the world. He has grown his empire with his loyal crew. He is moody and a loner. He doesn’t want the world to know what kind of a demon he is so it is one of the deepest, darkest secrets in the demon world. He has always assumed that he would be alone, he never figured he would meet his anchor let alone someone who could possibly be his mate. He didn’t bargain for the fight he would have with the stubborn Harper.

The story is dual point of view between Harper and Knox. My only complaint is that sometimes the thoughts would jump from character to character in the same paragraphs. I would have to reread because I would be like wait that character couldn’t have said that.

Overall, this was a fun, dark and sexy read. I enjoyed the growth of the characters relationship.  I went into this series thinking that it would be a paranormal romance that jumps to different characters but after reading the synopsis for Blaze, the second in the series, I think this is more of an urban fantasy, paranormal romance hybrid which I love. I absolutely can’t wait to see how these characters will grow in the next book.

Notable Scene:

Isla, having overheard the little exchange, peered at Harper. “And who is this, Knox?”

As he slightly tugged on her wrist, Harper stepped forward. Figuring it was best to get it over with, she said, “Hi, I’m Harper, Knox’s anchor.”

For a few seconds, Isla didn’t respond at all. Then her face hardened, her body tensed as if to spring, and her eyes bled to black. The demon glared at Harper with a promise of pain. Knox, Tanner, and Levi gathered closer to Harper protectively even as Harper’s dark protective power rushed to her hands, ready to deliver some soul-deep pain. Still, her inner demon literally charged to the surface and took control.

Alarm shot through Knox when a chill surrounded him and Harper’s demon rose to the fore. As it glared at the predator that lived within Isla, he saw a fierce temper – saw an entity that would protect Harper against absolutely anyone or anything.

“Don’t,” it warned Isla’s demon. “You won’t find me the easy prey you assume me to be.”

“You are nothing,” scoffed the other demon.

Harper’s demon smiled cruelly. “You are not what you pretend to be. I see it. I see what you are.”

Dark In You Series:

1. Burn

2. Blaze

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FTC Advisory: Piatkus/Little Brown/Hachette provided me with a copy of Burn. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: His to Take by Shayla Black

August 22nd, 2016 Roxanne Posted in Review 1 Comment »

His to TakeTitle: His to Take

Author: Shayla Black

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Wicked Lovers (Book #9)

Publication Date: March 3, 2015

Format: Paperback, 4393 Pages

ISBN-10: 042525125X (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0425251256 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Roxanne

Synopsis:

Racing against time, NSA agent Joaquin Muñoz is searching for a little girl who vanished twenty years ago with a dangerous secret. Since Bailey Benson fits the profile, Joaquin abducts the beauty and whisks her to the safety of Club Dominion–before anyone can silence her for good.

At first, Bailey is terrified, but when her kidnapper demands information about her past, she’s stunned. Are her horrific visions actually distant memories that imperil all she holds dear? Confined with Joaquin in a place that echoes with moans and breathes passion, he proves himself a fierce protector as well as a sensual Master who’s slowly crawling deeper into her head…and her heart. But giving in to him might be the most delicious danger of all.

Because Bailey soon learns that her past isn’t the only mystery. Joaquin has a secret of his own–a burning vengeance in his soul. The exposed truth leaves her vulnerable and wondering how much about the man she loves is a lie, how much more is at risk than her heart. And if she can trust him to protect her long enough to learn the truth.

Quick & Dirty: A murdered family, a missing girl, can he put it all together and save her before it’s too late?

Opening Sentence: “Night pressed in, along with the rage crushing his chest.”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Joaquin is on the hunt after his friend is brutally murdered because he took a case and discovered girls were being murdered. Joaquin knows that he is running out of time to find the right woman. After coming to his family for help, he quickly finds Bailey and decides that she is the woman he is looking for. So he kidnaps her, and she is not too happy about it once she wakes up. Joaquin explains that he believes that she is Tatiana, the missing daughter of a murdered Russian scientist. Bailey doesn’t believe him until he starts to describe her dream and he tells her that’s how the murders really happened.

Bailey discovers Joaquin is hiding her in a BDSM club and despite all the danger surrounding her life she is secretly intrigued. As they both delve deeper in the BDSM community and try to unravel why someone is so threatened by what she could remember they find themselves falling in love. Will they be able to figure out all of their deepest desires and help Bailey remember what she has worked so hard to forget?

Whew! This book is hot and steamy and so good. I have reviewed a later book in this series, so some of the names seemed familiar when I was reading this one. I just don’t think the BDSM aspect was in the later book so I was little surprised by that, however, still hot and a great book. Joaquin is a part of the NSA and he overhears some chatter between two people that have a connection to his friend’s death and the client’s death as well. He knows something serious is going, but just can’t get all the pieces together. Bailey is okay, probably one of those rare instances or maybe because the book was told from his point of view, she was just kind of not filled out enough for me.

The mystery though…one never gets tired of Russians doing hinky stuff or spy things. I mean seriously, look at that FX show The Americans, we clearly love this stuff. Bailey was adopted, only she doesn’t know that or remember that fact. She does have a recurring nightmare or dream about being covered in blood and being found by a couple. I want so badly to scream some of the spoilers, but I will hold my tongue. Needless to say, I didn’t see that coming at all.

I enjoyed every minute of this book, the mystery was great, the love was good, the sex was on point. I really can’t complain at all. A great way to spend my afternoon!

Notable Scene:

“It was probably stupid, but a pang hit Bailey’s heart. He’d lost someone he must have loved dearly at a young age. How solitary had he been since? How much had he been hurting because of it? Bailey wished she could help Kata- and Joaquin- because she knew what it felt like to be without family. She knew the pain of holidays spent around a Christmas tree by herself, about passing the milestones of life and not having the people she loved to share them with.

Just like she knew that Kata was subtly asking her to help heal Joaquin. It hurt even more to shake her head.”

Wicked Lovers Series:

1. Wicked Ties

2. Decadent

3. Delicious

4. Surrender to Me

5. Belong to Me

5.5 Wicked To Love

6. Mine to Hold

6.5 Wicked All The Way

7. Ours to Love

7.5 Wicked and Dangerous

7.75 Forever Wicked

8. Theirs to Cherish

9. His to Take

9.5 Pure Wicked

10. Wicked for You

11. Falling in Deeper

11.5 Dirty Wicked (November 8, 2016)

12. Holding on Tighter (February 7, 2017)

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

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Review: Red Right Hand by Levi Black

August 21st, 2016 Kristie Posted in Review No Comments »

Red Right HandTitle: Red Right Hand

Author: Levi Black

Genre: Horror/Urban Fantasy

Series: Red Right Hand (Book #1)

Publication Date: July 26, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 0765382482 (Tor/Macmillan)

ISBN-13: 978-0765382481 (Tor/Macmillan)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

Charlie Tristan Moore isn’t a hero. She’s a survivor. On a night when her demons from the past are triggered, she arrives home to something even more harrowing-an attack by three monstrous skinhounds, creatures straight out of nightmares. She fights but is outmatched. Just as hope seems lost, in sweeps The Man In Black, a rescuer even more monstrous and unlikely, dressed in a long, dark coat that seems to have a life of its own and with a black-bladed sword held in his terrible, red right hand.

Her rescue comes at a cost. She must become his new Acolyte and embrace a dark magick she never knew she had inside her. To ensure she gives it her all, he takes her friend and possible love, Daniel, in thrall as a hostage to her obedience. The Man in Black, a Lovecraftian chaos god, claims to be battling his brethren gods, other horrors who are staging an incipient apocalypse. But is he truly the lesser of all evils or merely killing off the competition? Either way, will Charlie be strong enough to save herself, Daniel, and possibly the entire world?

Quick & Dirty: Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will want to check out this action packed homage to his creatures.

Opening Sentence: The cheap alcohol burned as it splashed down my throat.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Red Right Hand by Levi Black is a dark urban fantasy/horror that often rides the line of uncomfortable and grotesque. If you are squeamish, this book is not for you. I was really excited to get my hands on a copy of this book. I really enjoy the darker side of things but I felt this one was a little over the top at times. The writing is very descriptive so much so that I often got lost in the action and this book is action packed. I would have to re-read passages just to make sure caught what happened. There were also a few times where if I would have kept reading, my confusion would have been answered too.

Charlotte Tristan Moore has hidden mystical powers that she never knew about. When she is attacked by a group of skinhounds, her life is forever changed. As a descendent of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Charlie becomes a pawn in a “gods” quest to make sure the human world isn’t destroyed. Nyarlathotep aka the Man in Black aka the Crawling Chaos has saves Charlie from the skinhounds because she has the sight to find other creatures/”gods” like himself. In order to keep Charlie doing as he wants, Nyarlathotep has also enlisted her boyfriend Daniel because of his own family history of god worship which helps give these dark and demented gods their power.

Charlie is an angry woman. She has lived through something no young woman should have to live through. As a result, it has kept her from living her life. She has done little things here and there to help her take her life back but she still can’t move on from the memories of that night. She uses anger and sarcasm as a shield.

Nyarlathotep is a man of few words. He’s very cryptic and often finds Charlie’s sarcasm funny. He has no problem using Charlie and Daniel as pawns as long as he can get them to do what he needs them too. Nyarlathotep also has a strange flowing coat that seems to have a mind of its own. A coat that seems strangely attracted to Charlie.

Red Right Hand is quite action packed. The events take place over the course of two days. During that time, Charlie has quite a few epiphanies about how she lives her life, her feelings towards her boyfriend Daniel and doles out a little revenge of her own.

This novel is for fans of H.P. Lovecraft. Some of his creatures are showcased within the story. Unfortunately, I haven’t read any Lovecraft so I’m not entirely sure how true it is to the original. This novel is more of a fan fiction, saying that H.P. was actually seeing things that are affecting our world and now Charlie has to destroy those strange creatures.

As with all things, Charlie may not have the full story of why Nyarlathotep is using her. Things are not as they seem. The overall story was entertaining but I had a hard time staying focused on the story with all the descriptiveness. The ending actually has me intrigued to where Charlie’s story will go from here. I do want to know what happens next. If you are a fan of horror and darker stories then I definitely say give this one a try but if you don’t care for dark stories, stay away from this one.

Notable Scene:

“Charlotte Tristan Moore, I am not the only one who will seek you out now that your gift has been activated. There are other things, things that crawl and slither at the edge of night, things that would find you. They wil come, and they will not have the mercy I have shown.”

“Mercy? I haven’t seen any mercy from you.”

“I spared your life from the skinhounds. I have not slaughtered your friends in their sleep, even though I could. I have not sought out everyone you love and care for and reduced them to mewling pieces of meat that cry for death as a relief from the tortures inflicted upon them.” His red right hand tapped the tabletop. “You will not receive such kindness from those that will seek you without my protection.”

“Wait a minute, you’re the one who Marked me! If these things come, it will be because of what you did to me.”

“That does not matter.” He stuttered in my sight again, suddenly standing without having stood. “What matters now is your choice. Serve as my Acolyte and be protected, or refuse and die.” He reached out his hand, his red right hand, to me.

My eyes narrowed. Anger twisted in my belly like a snake.

“You’re a bastard.”

The Man in Black chuckled in amusement.

Red Right Hand Series:

1. Red Right Hand

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FTC Advisory: Tor/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Red Right Hand. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Her Best Shot by Shannyn Schroeder

August 19th, 2016 Roxanne Posted in Review No Comments »

Her Best ShotTitle: Her Best Shot

Author: Shannyn Schroeder

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Hot & Nerdy (Book #1)

Publication Date: September 29, 2014

Format: ebook, 105 Pages

IBSN-10: 1601833334 (Kensington)

IBSN-13: 978-1601833334 (Kensington)

Reviewed by: Roxanne

Synopsis:

With college graduation looming, three childhood friends vow to make spring break their last blast of pure fun. But at least one of them didn’t count on such incredible heat…

Layla Sharpe is definitely more math ninja than bikini babe, and her future has been calculated with razor precision. Convinced to let loose over spring break, Layla is finally ready to party—until her car breaks down halfway to her destination, leaving her stranded in Georgia with a mouthwateringly hot pool shark. She knows more than enough about angles to learn the game, but this week she wants him to appreciate her curves…

Phin Marks has never met a girl like Layla. She’s more Star Wars geek than seductress, and when he offers her a place to stay while her car is in the shop, he’s counting on the attraction between them to set the nights ablaze, no strings attached. But every moment he spends with Layla makes it harder to let her go. Can he persuade her to gamble in the most dangerous way possible…on forever?

Quick & Dirty: One MIT girl heading for fun, and one pool shark avoiding trouble, what can go wrong?

Opening Sentence: “Layla Sharpe held her composure until she reached her car.”

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Layla Sharpe is just about to graduate from MIT, when she makes a call to the NSA about an internship and it turns into a job offer. She calls her friends Felicity and Charlie and they make plans to celebrate over spring break. Layla decides spur of the moment she is going to drive all the way to Texas. While driving there her car breaks down, and she ends up in a bar for drink while waiting to hear how bad it will be, when she notices Phin playing pool with another person. Soon he is offering to help her learn, and help with her car! Then her backpack is stolen and Layla loses all her money.

However, Phin comes to the rescue, as he actually works at the place where her car is being fixed, and he offers to let her stay with him. Soon they fall into bed, and Layla falls in love. So does Phin, but he doesn’t want her to make huge changes to her life so he takes some drastic steps to ensure Layla heads back to MIT to graduate. Will they see each other again? Will their love find a way?

This was a cute quick read. My guess is the girls in this series are nerdy and hot, and all the guys are a little bit bad and smoking hot! I am not 100%, but that’s the vibe I got from this one. Since I am a bit of a fangirl, I did love this book. It was super cute, and while I am not a fan of instalove, I kind of overlooked it because it was such a good read. I will say I thought it was odd that a girl as smart as Layla would be willing to leave school and make huge life decisions five seconds after meeting a guy.

That is my only complaint though, because Phin was a good guy and totally unwilling to have her ruin her life for him. Felicity and Charlie were only minor characters in this one, and I was hoping Layla would actually make it to hang out with them. I wanted to know more and learn more about them, especially since they are the focus for the other books.

Notable Scene:

“Phin nodded. He didn’t know what he’d been thinking, offering to play with this girl. She had trouble written all over her. He’d noticed her as soon as she entered the room.

First, this bar rarely had pretty girls walk through; second, she paid as much attention to the game as she did the players, so he wasn’t quite sure what she was looking for.

Her short, dark hair was a mess, and she wasn’t wearing any makeup. She wore her clothes comfortably, and he liked the Star Wars joke on her shirt. The problem was he’d managed to avoid trouble for a long time. She was different, and that alone caught his attention.”

Hot & Nerdy Series:

1. Her Best Shot

2. Her Perfect Game

3. Her Winning Formula

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FTC Advisory: eKensington provided me with a copy of Her Best Shot. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

August 18th, 2016 Zed Posted in Review 2 Comments »

Queen of HeartsTitle: Queen of Hearts

Author: Colleen Oakes

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Queen of Hearts Saga (Book #1)

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 306 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062409727 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062409720 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Zed

Synopsis:

The first novel in Colleen Oakes’s epic, imaginative series tells the origin of one of the most infamous villains—the Queen of Hearts.

This is not the story of the Wonderland we know. Alice has not fallen down a rabbit hole. This is a Wonderland where beneath each smile lies a secret, each tart comes with a demand, and only prisoners tell the truth.

Dinah is the princess who will one day reign over Wonderland. She has not yet seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father’s approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal breaks her heart and threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland’s dangerous political game. Dinah must stay one step ahead of her cunning enemies or she’ll lose not just the crown but her head.e.

Quick & Dirty: A disappointing retelling.

Opening Sentence: ”Oh, my future Queen, you’re late!”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

The Queen of Hearts is Dinah’s story (who knew that was her name???). We’ve all heard of her at some point, the crazy queen from Alice in Wonderland who commands the heart cards and is always screaming ‘off with their heads!’ Well, this book tells the story from her eyes and it is quite unexpected.

Dinah lives with her cruel father, the King of Hearts, and her mad brother, Charles (aka the Mad Hatter). Charles isn’t sane enough to be king and so by default Dinah is heir to the crown. She begs for her father’s love and admiration but soon realises that he is a horrible dictator and cares only for power. That wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for Vittoire, the King’s bastard daughter. He brings her into their house and she is everything Dinah is not: pretty, dainty and loved by everyone including their father.

I am a huge fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton’s take on the story and the Splintered series by A.G. Howard (a darker more punk/gothic retelling). So I hoped I would love this book as much, especially as I’ve read some positive reviews…

Sadly, the story dragged. It wasn’t until the trip to the black towers that I began feeling engaged with the storyline. I felt sorry for Dinah but I didn’t think there was anything spectacular about the plot. It felt to me like characters that were already loved by everyone we’re being reused in another story.

Cheshire was more cunning than I remembered but aside from him, none of the characters were exceptional. My love for all things Alice will continue and though the author tried to make the setting as bizarre and quirky as possible, I just didn’t think it was enough.

Notable Scene:

“Easy? It’s madness. This is a suicide mission. And for what?”

Dinah raised herself up from the bench and took his arm gently. “For the future queen to have the upper hand before her coronation. For not wondering what if? For answers that have never been given to me, and never will be. For the possibility of understanding something about this place.”

“And if I lose my head?” Wardley asked.

“Then I will be very sorry,” she said. “It is a lovely head.”

Queen of Hearts Saga:

1. Queen of Hearts

2. Blood of Wonderland

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

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