Saturday, January 25, 2014

(W)REC(K) A BUNDLE: To Love A Shifter

*I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review*

For the very first time, Marian Tee has her own book bundle consisting of all her comedic, heart-wrenching romantic lovelies- and there are two out now! The first boxed set, To Love a Shifter, has all her yummy shifters who make hearts pound, eyes, pits and pussies wet (yes I said pussy), but most importantly, enforce a strong belief in a kind of love that is both obsessive and pure. Because we all want to belong somewhere, and we all seek out our own special Alphas waiting for us to lighten up their worlds, just like Misty, Caylie, George, Deli, and Dazzle did for their men.

After reading this, you can bet your perdy socks that you will finish: out of breath; over-steamed; out of tears; and dreaming harder than ever for that unsuspecting guy that could be stalking with his sleek self a lot closer to home than you originally thought. Don't keep the predator kitty waiting, open those doors and windows!

Now, the first five books: The Werewolf Prince and I, A Royal Heartbreak, Suit and Fangs, The Demon Duke and I and Evren: Enter The Dragonette are titles I've already gushed about, cried over and reviewed the fuck out of on my blog. Marian won me over a long time ago with my first lovely, The Werewolf Prince and I with the Alpha Domenico Moretti whose plans originally were to use one of his sweet employees in an elaborate plot in his Were-Politics, except time spent with the terribly naive and innocent Misty Wall changes it all. Every carefully thought-out plan unravels where Misty is concerned, and the more she makes his heart beat, the harder he pounds into her, unused and unsure of all this new found blood suddenly making his organs pulse with vitality and... dare he think it, love? =^~^=

Misty was my very first heroine to be so ignorant of all the cynical rules of bad-assery. Instead of a coldly collected, cautious and doubtful woman who'd experienced much of reality and was changed because of it, I got a young woman who had dealt with more hardships than the regular status of a normal citizen and still whole-heartedly believed in having a good heart. It was like a breath of fresh air. All the shit that life threw at her didn't deter her from getting her happy ending, she simply washed it off, smiled, and thanked the gods for the wonderful shower of Ultimate Positivity. I'll say that none of Marian's girls are quite like Misty, nor are any of their stories. You'll definitely want to check her out, especially when her story continues in A Royal Heartbreak.

Suit and Fangs is a spin-off from Misty and Mr. Moretti's world a few years later in the future and takes on a younger perspective of two young vampires who have problems of their own. Luka is a very dangerously handsome Caros, and the only girl he's ever cared for, Caylie, despises him with a passion. It's the way he planned to have her think of him. He hates it, but it's their only option, because it's either that or accept her young love, have his possessive obsession with her body and soul consume him, and kill her solely for the cruelly satisfied idea of having her all to himself. One of those psychotic "hide you away from the world cause only I can have all of you" kind of things. But Fate doesn't let him get his way. She puts them both in a situation that rises the stakes (no pun intended) on not just their hearts, but their lives.

And gosh, The Demon Duke and I? Totally delectable! It was a whole new world that the talented Tee created, and I instantly fell in love with it. For one thing, it had all my favorite weaknesses: the old-time essence of renaissance skirts and carriages; the royal power of dukes; wicked witches and foul-mouthed geek bloggers... and... I'm forgetting something... Oh, right. Mother-Fucking-Hot-As-Hell-Alphas. Dudes were like four hot powerful friends straight out of an ani- anim- anime- ..... HOLY SHIT.
*runs out door*
*runs back in*

I just thought of something and had to run out to ask the author, but yeah, back to the story. Silviu is a demon duke who's lived long enough without a heartkeeper to keep him from Hell, but when George wanders into his dark domain, everything is suddenly changed. Now instead of dying and leaving his three friends to defend his city from the other power-hungry creatures, he has to not only protect George from assassins, but convince the woman herself that he is hers, and she is his. His lover, his companion, his salvation: his heartkeeper.

"Say what? Does he mean 'housekeeper'?"
*No, George, honey. Heartkeeper. A housekeeper won't gain his demon half a soul.*

Evren: Enter The Dragonette was one of her youngest and earlier works, and although I thoroughly enjoyed the drama in this little morsel as well, I didn't enjoy the romance that much. Deli is not the brightest crayon in the box and may even be a little shallow at times, but it doesn't stop her from having a good heart and wanting real love like any other girl. That real kind of love gets announced by a pair of brothers who rescue her from an attack and make her Evren, and although she's found a soulmate and kinship with one brother, it's the other one who's captured her heart. Lucian, however, has got to be the most sceptical one of all when compared to Marian's other guys, and he doesn't exactly play the part of Prince Charming. But that's always the case, isn't it? If it isn't dramatic, it isn't worth it. Personally, I would've flayed the little lizard a little more before forgiving him, but I guess that's why he got Deli for a Light- she'd be the only one to ever put up with his crap.

And now... for the new story that I hadn't read before.

This basically sums it up. It's kinda perfect, actually:
sobbing GIF photo: Brb sobbing SOBS.gif

Awakened: The Zombie Who Loved Me

Back-up dancer, Dazzle White, must find a way to protect her heart. Her bodyguard Varthan, a zombie-slash-Viking-warrior, is bent on seducing her. That wouldn't have been so bad if only he wasn't doing so because he considers it his "duty" to teach her about the art of lovemaking.
* * * * *

First of all, I commend-commend-COMMEND you, Marian, on that little twist at the end! I just loved the way you planned it out. Varthan and Dazzle are so good together, she's the perfect girl to convince this Viking Draugar that he can overcome 1000+ years of being conditioned to not believe in love.

When Varthan first came to Dazzle's rescue after getting attacked in the alley by a granny goblin, he was a ten-foot body of rotten but dangerously strong meat. Without her glasses, she was practically blind to his "original form" that he shifts into, and was therefore blind to his hotness that is Viking. Varthan explained to Dazzle the bare minimum of their situation, but after she convinced him to let her go do her job before she got fired for skipping out, she finished the concert, sought him out with new contacts and-

Hubba-hubba. With her sight restored, Dazzle finally sees the Draugar that was once a Viking warrior before he was turned to protect the skat, treasures of the Goddess who were forever blessed from harm. Now Dazzle knows that she's in danger of love at first sight, but he's a zombie! Surely it's some kind of trick... but it isn't. Draugar were the roots of the zombie rumors, gossip particularly spread by their priestess Elsine. As he'd demonstrated earlier, Draugar have the ability to shift forms: whether it be the younger versions of themselves before they died; the versions of their older selves, had they survived well into their golden years; or even their special ten-foot zombie forms, a version that both started all the zombie myths and would've been their possible futures had they been infected with a vicious illness. The whole dead-guy-look is really just a disguise for their warrior selves, and it's a rather swell one, when you think about it.

Varthan takes her to the isle where his kind reside, and there she meets their priestess, whom she loses all her trust with when the woman takes her down to their prison and abruptly shoves her into a cell with one of their evil captives. Both she and Varthan freak out, but when the monster in the shadows only writhes in pain, Elsine takes her back out and proudly announces the proof of Dazzle's line being blessed by the Goddess. Elsine thinks she's made her point about Dazzle being safe from those who wish her direct harm, but for Dazzle, she's just added another category to her list of Untrustworthy people.

"That old lady was a goblin?" I was never, ever going to trust anyone above sixty. Ever.

Then she pushed me inside.
What the---
After helpless old grandmothers, mini blond bombshells were the next type
I'd never let my guard down with. Ever.

Dazzle still doesn't trust the priestess, but she gets a little hopeful when the petite blonde tells her that Varthan was in a major panic for her safety. Maybe it's a sign that he likes her? Maybe, maybe! Kite's up and flying high! Right? WRONG. When they're leaving Draugar Isle, they share a passionate kiss on the plane that quickly rises his hands to her pants' buttons, but she hastily stands up and tells him it's too fast. And then he comes back and says with confidence, "I am the man meant to take your virginity."

Say what? The way he says it sends her thoughts towards dark assumptions, but she has to ask, and when she does inquire about the number of times he's 'deflowered his skat' in the thousand years he's been a Draugar, he tells her. She does not like the answer. Before he met her, when he was a warrior meant to protect the treasures of the Goddess, he'd taken eight skat's virginities. He'd told her that he never believed in love, and when those other eight skat were nothing but women he helped learn about pleasure, the last thing she wants to be is Student Number Nine on his list. She might be in love with him, but she does not want to sleep with him just to be later forgotten and unloved.

During their time together of avoiding goblins and remaining safe, they get into a fight with the lot of them. She helps Varthan fight, despite his yelling and threats to stay in her hidey-hole, and when the fight is over, they yell at each other. And she accidentally let's it slip that she could be falling for him. Oops.

Now he knows that she seriously likes him, but when they're in bed (long story) he reveals that the eight women he protected only used him for pleasure. They loved the sex they gave him, but could never love a monster they feared. That hurts Dazzle, and she tells him that she could never hold his form against him. She loves all of him, for if not for his scary form, he would not have been able to save her as he always does. And then she realizes that she really does loves him, and she tells him that she's changed her mind. About the 'you can't take my virginity' speech she'd given him earlier. However, before she can tell him what she meant, he takes it to mean that she's changed her mind about loving him, and he starts ravaging her in an almost angry, possessive way, saying that she'll never want another and will always be his, and then he- well, makes her toes curl, and after he deflowers her...

   "Still thinking about changing your mind?" he asked.
   "I just did, didn't I?" I asked sleepily. "I let you deflower me."
   I forced my brain to work. My eyes flew open. "Varthan... surely..." I shook my head. "Varthan, you didn't think I had changed my mind about you? About my feelings?"

They're both a little stunned at the misunderstanding, but he admits that he doesn't think he'd survive if she left him, and although it isn't a declaration of love, it's the best she could get from a Viking who didn't believe in love in the first place. The epilogue comes, and in it, they're back on Draugar Isle, asking Elsine about making Dazzle immortal so she can be with Varthan forever. However, there aren't many easy ways to make a human immortal. The first way to give her immortality is to have her pledge herself to being a Draugar and wait until she dies a warrior's death. Obviously, Varthan shot that bird down. The second way to give her immortality, Elsine tells them, is to have them prove their love to each other. Again, an immediate reaction from Varthan has Dazzle flinching, because they both know that Varthan struggles with the L-word. He is hesitate in this option, but Dazzle agrees immediately to the challenge and the dangers and asks how they must prove their love.

In order to gain immortality with the one she loves, she must go to every single one of his lifetimes with a different skat and make him choose her over the other woman. The dangerous part? If she fails once, she's stuck in that time period forever. Dazzle's ecstatic that no goblins are involved. Varthan, on the other hand, is furious. They have sex afterwards to distract themselves from the scary future, and once calm again, he tells her that he wasn't a good man in the past, and worries that he'll cost her their grant of immortality. However, she tells him to trust in them, and with his arms wrapped around her, he sends kisses all over her back tenderly, something that he'd never done before. It ends with:

"Whatever happens, know that you are the only treasure in this life I shall never give up."

UGH, THAT LINE KILLS MEEEEEE. It's not bad, it's actually the sweetest fucking thing ever! What I'm worried about is all the heartache that he's probably thinking she'll get when she meets all the Different Faces of Assholes in his past lifetimes. I mean, think about it! She'll have to go back in time to when he was assigned to a skat, a skat that he is partnered to protect and "love"! What's going to happen when another skat appears? Will he ignore Dazzle because she isn't his assigned treasure to protect?! Will their love triumph and he'll choose her over his assignment, thus proving their love?!?!

I've gotta say that I'm pretty sure he'll choose her every time, otherwise this love story will have no point! But if that's the case, then you can only assume that there's going to be many other ways to cause heartbreak in the readers. And I. Am. Not. Looking. Forward. To. It.

I loved this story so much. God knows I cried in every chapter! Hell, I even daydreamed worst case scenarios and made myself cry even more! T_T This touched me so much because she loves him, but how can you survive from a fall with someone who still thinks his feet are firmly planted on the ground? She doesn't really have any real proof that he loves her, only her trust in the possessive way he loves and her belief in love itself. It's such a nail-biting ending.

But you know what this means? This means that we'll see them fall in love with each other a whole bunch of times! YAY! There will be times when we wanna sob our eyes out, sure, but let's not dwell on the sad parts. =^~^= *thinks positively realllllllly hard*

This was such an amazing read, and although I wish it were a full-length (300000000 pages) novel, it was still a very deliciously temptated masterpiece that touched all parts of emotions for me. I laughed at Dazzle's humor. I cried when Varthan couldn't return her love. And I burned through the paragraphs when Varthan showed her his love in the way he protected her, made love to her, and worried over her. It's obvious to me that he just doesn't know what love is, but that might just be me. XD

To Love a Shifter is a beautiful boxed set and one of Marian Tee's first bundle of all her books. Since I love all her books, I completely adored the fuck out of this. I'd recommend it to the world, but since everyone's got their kinks and peeves, I recommend this to those who love alphas, innocently naive women, hot sex, funny moments and sweet dialogues, but most of all, moments when that Dark Knight discovers his Sun, Moon and Stars for the first time after eons of cruel darkness.

Her second book bundle that is a part of this celebration is called Eternally Seduced, and I'll be tackling that down when I get that chance. I look forward to the last two- ooo the suspense!

Happy Reading

Friday, January 17, 2014

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Forever Dead

Nocte Defunctorum... 

Also known as Night of the Dead. One night of every twenty years vampires can come into the human world and take Potential Mates. Audrina Knight has every intention of staying human, and not getting involved with vampires... unlike her best friend and classmates.

But just when she thinks she's in the clear, she is taken from everything she knows and loves into a world of dark fantasy she could have never imagined. Forced to compete for the love of the vampire prince himself, Nicholai Romano, Audrina must find a way to escape this world. But what happens when Audrina actually starts to have feelings for this cruel prince? Even worse... will she compete against her best friend for a love she doesn't want?

Full of twists and turns, Forever Dead is filled with love, hate, murder, sex and everything else in between. But the real question is, do all stories have a happy ending?
- Goodreads

Audrina is a girl with a good head on her shoulders who, unlike her classmates and the rest of the town, hates the thought of being outside during Nocte Defunctorum. If you're caught in public, before the twelfth strike for the next day, you're a free-for-all for the vampires who seek out flesh.

This was an intense read because the vampire bachelor prince is not nice. He hates humans, but he understands that as a prince and future king, he needs a queen, and so he chooses a bunch of them and then has them go through tests to weed out the ones who are strong and those who won't survive. For one thing, he has sex with all of them because a human who can't adapt to the liquids he gives them is a dead one, and therefore not adequate. Audrina originally wanted to fail on purpose to escape, but a girl told her that no one left the castle alive, and so she decides to win all the challenges in order to survive, all the while slowly falling for the sadistic vampire.

Sadistic... yup that's him. Nicholai is actually kind of an asshole in this, but when he turns up the heat, you feel it. Audrina certainly felt it, and it mixed a nice little margarita with her hatred for him and his treatment of the other girls.

Forever Dead was a bachelor story like The Selection with the dark flavor of The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire, and that drew me to the story. Add in the fact that it's a vampire prince with a sadistic streak, and you've got yourself a unique intake on The Bachelor. Although this was a great book, I feel that it could've been better, and here's why.

Errors were found throughout the book, especially towards the end, and some plots didn't add up. There was a huge error of misplaced paragraphs in the book I purchased, and then there's the sense of  the plot again to think about. For one thing, she fell for him, but then he had sex with her best friend, and that- along with a lie of rape -lead her to bringing him down for his enemy. That bit with her bf made my stomach ache because he's supposed to be in more-than-lust with her or something, so that was a turn off for me. And then there's the fact that although he hates humans and witches, he still acts hot and cold with her. Audrina's "love" for him was a little fickle considering that she turned on him with just someone's word to back it up. I think that if she really loved him, she wouldn't have believed such a horrible thing. She would've at least talked it out with him or something, but that doesn't happen, and so it makes me believe that it's not really love between them, but merely something more than an infatuation.

The end ruined the good feeling for me because the plot kind of just went everywhere. Nothing was clear or clean cut, and it was a lite messy for me.

Despite all the errors and weird plots, I still had fun with this dark streak of a bachelor style novel. I recommend that you try it out, as long as you don't take his having sex with others to heart too much. It was something I learned the hard way.

Happy Reading =^~^=

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Hereditary

Beatrice Harrow has the blood of a tainted creature running through her veins. It makes her more powerful, more beautiful and more despised than any other being in the human kingdom. So she is naturally suspicious when the ever-smiling Cale and his comparatively tacit counterpart, Prince Hazen, befriend her.

Armed with an ability that is becoming more threatening to her own health by the day and a repertoire of surprising friends that may or may not have her best interests at heart, she quickly finds herself struggling against forces much bigger than any of them. How long until her tenuous connection to each kingdom is severed, and she is forced to choose between humanity and the tainted creatures?


This was a great book! OMG I love it so much. It has everything I love:
  • Magic
  • 'old world'
  • fantasy races ie elves, fae, synfee
  • killer chick
  • hot guys

Beatrice "Bea" Harrow is a synfee, a deadly race that was driven into another world a long time ago for fear of their alluring beauty and rumored hunger for flesh. Bea isn't a full one, her mother being a synfee and her father being human, but when her mother dies, her dad joins the Black Guard and she is sent to school to better harness her powers. She's special for being a synfee, but even among her own kind, she's special. Along with having bender abilities and the power to control fire, wind and water, she has the Force.

It was- for lack of a deeper understanding -a connection to the energy
in what flora surrounded me.

When she's happy, daisies appear, and when she's mad, dark clouds form in the sky to match her anger with rolling thunder and lightning strikes. Bea tries to tone it all down, however. She'd inadvertently created a glamour around herself to not only suppress the golden features that make up her synfee heritage, but contain the things that made her dangerous: her compulsion, the dark edge in the back of her mind. Her hunger.

When Bea goes to the Academy, Cale is the first to befriend her. She eventually is put with Cale and Prince Hazen to help each other out during a class assignment, and from there, the story gets more juicy. Hazen has his own click of "cool people" despite having a strong connection with Cale, though it isn't until later that we find out they like to be in each other's minds to calm their own.

Bea will soon come into her own, but she'll die if it isn't done right. Nareon, a full-blooded synfee, stalks her in order to save her when the dark edge becomes too much for her to handle. He seems to want something from her, but she has no idea what it is. It isn't until after her 18th birthday- weeks after, once she wakes up from a coma -that she finds out why. Nareon is the dark king of the synfee, and their lands are being targeted by other Forces. He needs Bea. I actually liked this relationship a lot, because despite the man being evil with intentions of using Bea to secure his throne and power, he fell for her. She figured out that he loved her mother, and therefore fell easily for herself, and it's because of that kindness that she can't help but like him back.

This was such a great book, it had me on edge the whole time, wondering what was going to happen. I liked the academy and the students that gawked at her wherever she went. I also enjoyed the weird relationship she had with the other guys in her life. Cale, who is basically her white knight in shining armor, is attracted to her, though she doesn't share the feeling. Prince Hazen, who is always so cool and aloof with her, slowly warms up to her presence but still plays the field. He was the hardest one I had to come to terms with, because in the beginning, I thought she'd end up with him, but then he'd be kissing and having sex with an elf, Kaylee, a girl whose mind is- according to Hazen -uncomplicated. She's still a bitch to Bea, though, so I don't like her. But that's not the point.

The point is, she and Hazen don't go through the usual "love at first sight" spiel. If anything, they're friends first, and then- well, 'better' friends. It's obvious that he gets jealous at the attention she gets or gives where other men are concerned, but at the same time, he continues to stay with Kaylee. Then there's Harbringer, the retired professor and dude who ended the war between humans and synfee and banished the tainted race. He's a young, hot prof with the powers of copying others', and he isn't immune to Bea's charms. His attraction to her was a little weak to me, it didn't convince me enough. Hazen and Cale, I could understand. Nareon, too. But Harbringer? It could be that it was because he saw her at her weakest and it endeared her to him, but that's just me digging, and if I have to dig...

Just like Hazen was the hardest to contemplate, Bea and Harbringer's 'coming together' was my favorite. There was one part in the book where Bea got drunk and was taken outside the palace rooms by a guest, who was rather rough with her despite her weak protests. She blacked out just before he pulled her dress up, and then she woke up with roots hugging her near a tree. I immediately knew that she'd been raped and the plants were trying to keep her safe, and when pages passed and her home got invaded by the castle guards who'd found the body days later, they had Harbringer read her mind. At the time, he didn't care for her all that much. The only thing he knew about her was the charm she gave off for looking 'lost' and her weird relationship with Nareon. But when he searched her mind from that night, and he made her see the rape that her mind had subconsciously closed off, something changes. Once her family and friends find out what happened and help her get through it, she meets with him again at the Academy, and his attitude towards her if obviously different. He's more wary, but he finds her brave for the strength she showed after having gone through such a horrible act of violence.

The rape was unexpected because this was recommended to me by a friend who likes to keep it pretty PG-13, and at first, I couldn't understand why the rape was added into the book. It didn't make her better, it turned her darker and less sure of herself. I think, however, that this was her surviving life, and don't get me wrong, she does get better over time and regains a little of her old self. If she's going to help Nareon with his kingdom and the battle against his enemies, she'll need the thick armor. It was all pretty heady.

The ending was also unexpected, but good. Putting her on the throne while still keeping Nareon around by having him be a part of her was interesting, but I wish I hadn't read the second book's sneak peak. That beginning was rushed with a lot of things suddenly happening, but aside from that, this was a great book.

It was so unbelievably awesome. The style of writing made it all easy, simple and quick. The characters were lovable and hate-worthy, and I enjoyed the world they lived in. What stood out the most for me was her relationship with all the guys. I thought she'd fall for one of them, but she ended up just 'being' with them. There was no complicated commitment or issues, and I thought it was refreshing. I recommend this to everyone, YA fans being the youngest, and there are a few swear words and not-so-PG-13 scenes, but it was still pretty tame. I may or may not read the second book, depending on my friend. I'm waiting for her to tell me how it goes.

Happy Reading =^~^=

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Paradise Damned

The final book in The Descent Series.

Elise Kavanagh is being held captive without weapons or allies.
The only way out of the garden is to kill God Himself.

James Faulkner's son has been taken by Metaraon, but James is caught in Limbo
and helpless to save him.

An army of half-angel, half-demon hybrids is converging on the gates of Heaven,
where the Union prepares for a final battle.

The end has arrived.

- Goodreads

This made me feel like I got ripped apart and undone in the Garden but with a big smile on my face and I'm so confused and content but sad.... *sighs*.
On with the review!

Elise woke up in James's place with a familiar face looming over her, and with a smile she greeted him with a feeling of longing. "Adam," she called him, and the Godslayer forgot all about her former life. She's in the garden again, and this time, He intends to keep her. The garden is no longer a place that resembles the beauty it once was when she'd first been taken to Him. She knows it's all an illusion, and with every fighting chance she has, Elise must constantly tell herself that she is Elise Kavanagh, and she needs to escape. But the garden changes so many times, it's hard to keep track of what's real and false. And then there's her dear friend and old roommate Betty, whom Metaraon had brought back to life to 'help convince' Elise in killing Him once and for all.

So many things are revealed and laid out in this, and we finally understand what happened. Elise was chosen even before she was born to be the one to kill Adam, who has taken on the role of 'God', and this novel is the day that she is forced to accept her destiny.

I thought this was a great ending, but at the same time, the saddest. Elise goes through a lot, and now that I've seen everything that's happened to her, I can understand why she is the way she is. I also understand why James acted the way he did as well, though it's still a bummer. I get that his coven was the one to prep Adam's brides, but at the same time, I'm wondering how he could live with betraying her. I'm so torn. On one hand, the coven's his family and he swore an oath, but on the other hand, he's known Elise for years now. He fell for her! So how... *shakes head*. Their paths are both very long and wide roads- I really hope they find their way back to each other!

Paradise Damned was intense, and I liked Reine's take on God and the garden and such. For those who are a little religious, I think you'd enjoy this because it isn't actually God she's having to kill, but Adam. I'm pretty spiritual, but even I had my doubts about liking this when it mentioned a Godslayer. I know, it's weird, but still- :P

I recommend this series to those who who like the angels/demons thing, with action and adventure.

Happy Reading =^~^=

Friday, January 10, 2014

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Struggle

New Adult Contemporary Romance.

Eva Clark has seen a lot in her 22 years. While running from her bruised past, she meets Nathan Brown... IT guy by day; hot, tattooed kick boxer by night. With his rock solid body, deep male voice, and dark brown eyes, Nathan is both irresistible and impenetrable.

The more Eva tries to get close to Nathan, more he tries to push her away. What secrets is Nathan hiding from Eva? Can true love be resisted?

Recommended Reading Age 18+
Word Count: 38,000
Approximate Page Count: 150

- Goodreads

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This was a 3.5 stars for me, but since there's no such thing, I chose to rate it 3-"It was OK"-Stars. The synopsis really sold me the story, but I think the book needs a lot of work.

Nathan is a major playboy, but when you get to his back story, you understand why. He was hurt by an ex lover and decided to reinvent himself in order to move on, but then he meets Eva, and now he has to change his playing ways. I thought it was a good effort on his part, but the drama that came up from his hot/cold attitude was a little tedious. It also put a strain on Eva, who often cried whenever something was too much for her. I have nothing against women who cry a lot, but it's not something I prefer to read about.

Eva has had a bad past regarding her abusive ex, and because of that, she hates violence. Add the fact that she's injured and will most likely have to give up a scholarship results in an overwhelmed woman. Nathan is the exception to all things violent as long as he keeps it in the ring, and it's love at first sight for them, though neither understand what it is 'til much later.

I would've enjoyed this more if there weren't so many errors. In the beginning, it was hard to ignore the change in past and present-tense, but once the author settled on past-tense, other things started to bother me. Some words were misspelled, and the sentences were awkward. It wasn't very flowing because of the errors, and although the dialogue was ok, it only added to the oddity.

Another thing that didn't do it for me was the way the story was executed- I thought there was a lot more "telling" than "showing", which I think is one of the reasons why I didn't completely fall for their love. It was fast and felt rushed at one point, like when they fought and he reverted to his hunting ways. He stopped it before anything serious happened, but his sudden run in with Eva with the woman still there followed a very unconvincing "oh, I forgive you" moment, where everything goes back to normal.

I think the author was trying to show how one (or two) can survive through the hardest of struggles, but the errors in the book made it hard to enjoy the lesson. If I were to avoid the errors, I don't think I'd enjoy the story that much only because of a few things that Eva and Nathan did throughout their relationship. I didn't agree with their actions and thought it only added to the drama. One exmple is Eva running away from Nathan and Jacob (her ex) when they start fighting. Her reason for running and then ignoring Nathan is that he stared the fight again when she told him to stop the first time. That told me that she didn't appreciate his defending her, but her ex threatened and insulted them, she can't expect him to not hit him. I don't think he deserved the cold sholder, but again I can't fault them too much because this thing is titled "Struggle" after all. At the same time, I feel that their antics would've been justified if the positive things had outweighed them, which they didn't (execution, I think).

Overall, this was a new adult romance that didn't really sell me on the 'romance' part, but I blame the execution and errors. This needs work, so I wouldn't recommend this until it was smoothed out.

Happy Reading =^~^=

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I Have a Twitter!

Oh! So I have a Twitter now, and seriously, I never thought I'd see the day those words ever left my (virtual) mouth. I used to hate Twitter with a passion because they were just FB statuses, but the light is shining a little different for me now.

For one thing I have the excuse that I'm mostly using it for other authors and my reviews here on Servant's Heart. But you know what? It's kind of fun. 

I like writing what's on my mind, but I also love to RT (that means retweet) stuff I find funny or interesting. I definitely like to RT things that sound like they'd be good in books. You wouldn't believe the number of theories I've found that would be so awesome for the foundation of a storyline. *~* I'm sorta hoping someone else will be inspired enough to write a brilliant book based off of them so I can enjoy it. XD That sounds super lazy but hey, it's a pretty selfless thought- the writer would be benefiting, no? ^_- So that's a surprising bonus that I found while on Twitter. If you're ever in the neighborhood, hit me up and find out if my feeds are interesting enough to follow.

Ugh- following. That's another thing. I follow people for two reasons.
  1. Their feeds are interesting
  2. I like what they generally do and want to support them

Some people follow me, and I'll follow back to give them the extra number, but then they'll unfollow me. They're adding a whole bunch of people and then unfollowing them so it looks like they have a whole bunch of followers! Hell to the No! That bugs me to no end, and if anything, it's driven me to go through my list of who I'm following just to make sure such a thing hasn't occurred again. I've come across five people like that so far.

I'm learning not to look at the number of followers, though, and have decided to only follow if their feeds are interesting. I will occasionally fall victim to the second reason listed above, but then that other crazy urge to double-check followers comes back, so it sorta evens everything out, you know?

I hope I didn't scare you away. XD If you want to check out what I've been sharing with my followers, look up era_moonchildI've recently changed my profile, and I didn't realize it until afterwards, but it's got a mermaid/sea theme to it, which is awesome cause I love mermaids.

Happy Reading =^_^=

Should I Write Spoiled Reviews?

Lately I've been wondering if people- authors mostly -get mad when I spoil their book in my review. When you think about it, I'm giving readers a reason not to buy their book anymore. Why should I purchase this book when I can find out all about it here? It's those kind of lines that scares me into not adding in spoils, but that's hard for me. What's a real review from me without some spoilers? How do I convince people why they should buy the book in the first place?

I wrote these reviews to begin with because I had a hard time choosing books to purchase. Every once in a while, I would come across a book I didn't like because of the way the story changed or because a pet peeve came into play, but couldn't return it. Having to keep books I didn't love wasn't exactly the happily-ever-after for me. It only made me more paranoid. As I continued shopping, I grew more afraid of purchasing a book that would disappoint me, and with every book hunt on the websites, a thought would always follow with me.

"Where can I find spoiled reviews?"

A lot of reviews rarely spoil books, but the ones that do were my favorite. I'd devour them whenever I was lucky enough to come across one. Not only did it tell me the "hellz yes's" and "ah, fuck no's" of the book, they told me things that didn't sit well with them or drove them crazy with lust. I love reading about their complete reactions and the lists of reasons why. I feel like I'm getting a great preview of the book and knowing that my money will be well spent.

Now, spoiled reviews haven't always been 110% groovy. There were times when I read a rotten one and was conflicted with what I read. The review was good enough to make me buy it, but at the same time, I felt like I'd cheated myself out of discovering the awesomeness on my own. It was like ruining a surprise party for myself.

So I get some of the pros and cons of spoiled reviews, but in the end, I have to ask myself one thing:

"Would I want a blog of spoiled reviews of my favorite books?"

The answer has always and will probably forever be, 'yes'. I do want to know what will happen, and it's mostly because I don't trust someone's 5-Star rant about how great the flow was or how deep it touched them. Everyone's got limits and book-orgasm meters. If anything, I go for the 1-2-3-Star reviews to see what they say about the book that had it being rated a onesy in the first place, and most of the time, I'm not disappointed in their outlined reasons for disliking their purchase. I mean, don't get me wrong, there's a lot of pointless and stupid reviews that have no reason for being counted as a low-rated customer review, but I find that the lower-raters dish out more things about the book than the ones rating 4+. And there's nothing wrong with high ratings and general "it was so good"- but I don't want general, and to be honest, I don't like being a cookie-cutter.

So despite having anxiety attacks about getting confronted, I'll continue to spoil in my reviews. I've decided to change the way I review, though, and will try out slight spoilers with most of the post being about how I felt and why. I'll try not to give every detail of the book away (unless I feel VERY passionate about it, then 'oh well')

Happy Reading, Wreckers =^_^=

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Defying Fate

Elise Kavanah has exorcised demons, slain gods, and come back from the dead. And she's done it all with the help of James Faulkner: a powerful witch, and the only person Elise has ever loved or trusted.

But now the worst has happened. The Treaty protecting humanity from war between angels and demons has fallen. Elise has been taken by her greatest enemy and imprisoned in madness. And James may be responsible for it...

- Goodreads

Get your copy of Defying Fate, the sixth installment of The Descent Series, to follow James Faulkner and the rest of the cast as long-awaited questions are answered, heart-wrenching secrets are finally revealed and explained, and loyalties are laid out for final judgement.

Okay, is the title some kind of irony? "Defying Fate"- hmm, that didn't exactly go down with James giving her up to Him!!!!! *screams*

But that's in the last installment, so I guess I should stop complaining already.

This book was like "Dark Union" in the filler sense but at the same time, it wasn't. It was more like a "okay here's the whole back story of their existence" mixed with "previously on..." with a different POV via James to let you know what's going on with the others while Elise is doing her own thing (which is then shown in the final installment). So in a way, part of this is sort of like the first half of Paradise Damned, explaining what happened to effect the other characters that Elise comes across while in the Garden.

Although this is a filler and has NO POV of Elise's, it's still a very informative book that let's you know just what the hell this series has been building up to. And most of all, it tells you why James shouldn't be hated (too much) what with everything that's happened. I'm still annoyed with him and the way he got mentally pumped up with saving Elise AFTER his son stressed that particular importance out. I felt like he was just doing what came natural to him, which is to save Elise, but wasn't mentally... idk, approving himself of it 'til afterwards. He has serious guilt trips going on here, and he should! But then shouldn't, but then should because of what he let happen- ugh it's major whiplash. And it's hard to hate to hate him, because everything that's lead up to this moment makes sense.

I couldn't believe the revelation that is James Faulkner, and frankly, I don't know if I feel like spoiling it-
*gasp- what the fuck, no spoilers?*
*I've been in a weird funk these past few days with spoiling major plots.*
*but- you always tell all...*
*I'm wondering if that's been irritating some people, lately, so I don't feel too comfortable doing this.*

Anyyywayyss.... Defying Fate is something you do no want to skip out on, especially if you're already so far in the series. I was impatient with it because I seriously needed to know what was happening to poor Elise, but I managed, and you will, too. Just think of it as more side stories to be graced with. Think of it as prolonging this good series that you don't want to see end just yet.

Happy Reading =^_^=

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Dire Blood

Elise Kavanagh died while killing the mother of all demons, and her fight should be over. But nothing is ever that easy where the Godslayer is concerned. Elise has been resurrected--and she came back as a demon.

Now the most powerful witch in the world, James Faulkner, has been dragged to Hell and accused of violating an ancient treaty. The punishment is eternity in Hellfire. Elise is the only one who can save him. But it means following him into Hell to face inhuman urges, the secrets in her past, and the horror in her future.

The Godslayer's fight isn't over yet. It's only just beginning...

- Goodreads

Total game changer, here!!!

Elise is back (well most of her, since Yatai took her arm, so she's only got The Mark on one of her hands now), and it's all thanks to Yatam's blood, The Father of All Demons' life force running through her veins. She gets her stuff back from the Union's base with Anthony only to run into a ten-year-old kid looking for his parents. And the little dude's got paper magic, a powerful style only James had been privy to. She, Anthony and Nathaniel hide out and, once and for all, Anthony leaves. It was probably her "asking" him to go with her to Hell to get James that set it for him. And seriously, good riddance. He's a human who took too long to realize that she didn't really need him, let alone love him. Sure, she sacrificed herself to save him, but that was due to a guilty conscious always nagging on her about putting her friends in danger. That little voice in her head was mildly surprising, as we all know she can be a very blunt bitch, but it's not too surprising; she's a boss-ass bitch, not a heartless one, despite popular belief.

It's a rough way to find out that her aspis is a father, and just before young Nathaniel tells her that he sought her out specifically to help him get his parents out of Hell, the Union captures them and secretly tricks Nathaniel into having him give a certain demon in Dis a message. The paper magic copied from James's very own by a Union member turns out to be a portal changer and you can bet your ass Elise was pissed at Zettel for having given Nathaniel such a dangerous thing. It would've opened up on the kid and killed him if he'd been holding it when it activated. Yeesh! This is one of the reasons why I cannot stand Zettel. He is like the bad guy that has no redeeming qualities, except maybe maybe his bond with his aspis (who is equally annoying).

Zettel, a Union member (and pain in my ass) sends Elise and Nathaniel to Dis, and she finds out that not everything is right in the sixth ring of Hell. There's a rebellion, and the leader reveals himself to be the main judge who was kicked out and replaced by a hooded fraud. That right there was a nice touch that I hadn't seen coming. Elise searches through Hell with Nathaniel to look for her aspis and Hannah, the kid's mom, and when she finally gets to the palace, she runs into someone she never expected to see.

Her mother, Ariane. But she doesn't recognize her newly-turned-demon daughter, and at first you're like "What the hackles?" However Ariane has not seen her daughter since Elise was taken to the Garden all those years ago, so it's understandable that she wouldn't automatically recognize her daughter, especially after she died and came back 'slightly' different. Still, she doesn't give her a second look, at least not until the very end when she and James are macking on each other. "What?" you might be saying. Yes. They kiss. More times than one.

Isaac, Elise's father, and Ariane are not the happy couple I had assumed them to be. Ariane's fucking the hooded figure who turns out to be the angel that stirred up all this shit, and when Isaac finds out their secrets, he gets killed. His death was to keep the secrets secret, but he was also a touchstone among many to help upkeep the Laws intact so that no angel and demon could pass into the other worlds. Metaraon, the angel, wants all the touchstones gone so he can break the Laws.

Elise saves James and Hannah, and they're all taken back to the rebellion's hideout. She gets tattooed here in order to gain access to all the locked doors in the palace, and requests James to do it. It's here, with her skin bare and his hands at work, that they finally get to talk. James still can't believe that she's Elise come back to life. For one thing, she's now got black hair and pale skin compared to the red locks and freckles he was used to. She looks and feels different. She looks like Yatam. But Elise convinces him that it's really her, and something in him changes. James had had to live in a reality where Elise was dead, and for days he'd thought about all the regrets he had from over the years spent with her. Things he wished he'd done different. Things he wished he'd told her. He refuses to make the same mistake again, so he kisses her.

Their make-out sessions come up every once in a while from here on out. Metaraon manages to have all the touchstones slaughtered at James's high trial, and the Union is just another pain in the ass. When Elise meets up with James at the palace just after the touchstones are dead and she kills Metaraon, they kiss, and Ariane sees that. She can't believe her daughter's alive, but most of all, she can't believe the sight of them together. The utter look of anger she shoots at James foreshadows yet more crazy shit, and she destroys the only portal that allows people to go in and out of Hell.

It ends with Elise getting tricked by the real judge into giving him some of her blood to get out of Hell, only for him to tell her that as the 'Father of all Demons', she'd always had the power to go home. All she had to do was want it badly enough.
*I know, Elise says the same thing.*

James kisses her with enough heat for her to want to be with him at home, and poof, they end up at his dance studio. She asks him how long he's loved her after his confession, but when he actually says it, it doesn't sound like a confession. It sounds like an apology. They finally get together, but yet another foreshadow looms over them, in the form of her little voice telling her that something feels wrong. After they have sex, she watches him while he sleeps and he goes upstairs to make breakfast. She gets up a little later and goes to follow, but ends up in a grey void, and then He is there, and he takes her, but not before she mentally cries out to James.

The scene flips to James's POV, and he's staring out the window sensing her movement when suddenly, he feels her disappear. Then he realizes what's just happened, and his shoulders slump.

"Finally," he sighed.

OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!??!??!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!??

Obviously there is more going on than I am being told. T_______T I freaked SO HARD and immediately bought the other books.

In this book, we learned yet a little more about the whole big picture. James had lived with Hannah, Ariane and his sister Christine for a while when they came to study with his aunt whom he'd lived with. They got visited by Metaraon and this guy named Landon, who chose among the three witches to bare a child with Isaac, the kopis. Ariane was chosen and got pregnant at sixteen, and James met his future kopis about a decade later, though it was brief since he walked in on them training and Isaac shielded her from his view a second later. Within that gap period, James had fallen for Hannah and was going to marry her, but then a visit with Landon made him "see" whatever secret we still don't know about, but it changed his mind enough to realize that he has a destiny, and it doesn't include Hannah.

Oh, and did I mention how much everyone treats James differently? Like, seriously- there's a huge emphasis on how much importance James has. A lot of people treat him as if he is a powerful and dangerous thing, or a guy with a major destiny.

So as far as I know, James is powerful and has a destiny that involves Elise and his son, and the fate of the world. They didn't want him anywhere near Elise, which explains Isaac shielding a young Elise from him, drilling into her little mind never to have an aspis, and the present-time Ariane freaking out when she saw him kissing her. I think there was a prophecy (well another one) about Elise destroying the world if James somehow hooked up with her, or got involved in any way. I think. I don't know. God, now I'm second-guessing myself. T_T

We definitely find out Elise's purpose. Isaac and Ariane were chosen to bare a prophetic child who would be conditioned as a weapon; as a Godslayer. Then they were to send the 'weapon' to Him, who had been given human wives all this time to sate himself. She was to kill Him, but instead she'd been eating apples from the Garden to give herself her memory back and so later acquired the angel Samuel's help, and escaped back to Earth in Russia, where James then found her. And they'd been together ever since. There's still some major plot holes in this, but everything is slowly coming together, and it's so exciting.

Elise is a little more emotional now, and more sympathetic, compared to the way she was before. A lot happened in this book and overall it was awesome. I'm so enamored with this series. The author did a great job of luring me in, cause I'm spending money on prices my cheap-ass normally would've run away from.

I recommend this series to those who loved the synopsis and HIGHLY suggest you go read the first book (IS FREE, NO?) as well as the rest, otherwise this book won't make much sense. Different POVs are in here as well as the other books (don't think I mentioned that in my other reviews), there's sex in this, and some might not like the way Elise is. Annnnnd I've wasted enough time on this review. Now I'm gonna go read why I shouldn't want James to croak over and FUCKING DIE.

. . . . .

Happy Reading. =^_^=

Monday, January 6, 2014

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Damnation Marked

There's a shadow in the earth deep below Elise Kavanagh's territory. A shadow is falling upon local demons to devour their flesh and harvest their souls. And it's coming for Elise next.

The Union has an easy way out. They want to send Elise into hiding again with her former partner, James Faulkner. All she has to do is surrender the territory and trust that they can protect the ethereal ruins, the dark gate, and the city she's come to know as home.

Greater powers have other plans for Elise and her fabled power as Godslayer- plans that mean surrendering her life and blood to the most powerful demon alive. But if she descends, there's no turning back. Once she gazes into the abyss, it will gaze back into her... and Elise will be damned forever.

- Goodreads

This was intense.

Damnation Marked was amazing, and a lot of stuff happens. Some I hated. Some I loved. A lot had me going, ".... O.O ....."

This book was great like all the other ones, and it's the beginning of the end for Elise's world. The Mother of all Demons has had enough of living, and unfortunately for Elise, the demon woman decides to end the world- and her own existence -in Elise's backyard. There are a lot of action scenes and drama between Elise and James, and we get a glimpse of Elise's past in the Garden.

I thought this was a powerful part in Elise's life. The world is ending and the only way to save it is with her blood. Her Godslayer's blood. Her relationship with Anthony ends, and I thought it was about time, because they were two completely different creatures trying to stay together. Elise was a cut-throat kopis operating on a completely different level, and Anthony- in all honesty -was just too sweet (though he had his annoying moments) a human to be involved with such violence, especially when he couldn't handle it.

Sacrificing oneself is a major character development plot, and although Elise struggles with the 100% acceptance at first, the guilt of ruining her friends' lives because of what she does ultimately had her decide to save the world. She couldn't run like she'd wanted to, and I thought it was grown-up of her to choose others over a life of running with James, the man she loves. Yet at the same time, she managed to also make it practical, which is what she is.

The writing flowed nicely and the cast has grown on me long enough to feel what they're feeling even when a small glass window comes to leave me as an audience rather than a participant. The book goes back and forth in time to explain the plot of the day with enough mystery and suspense to keep you interested. Eventually, you get familiar with the years frequently visited and it actually becomes a little fun, like detective work.

One of my favorite parts is the end, when James tries to convince Elise to leave the city with him so they can run away together, be together. She agrees and they get on the helicopter, but her guilty conscious weighs down on her at the last minute, and she decides to save the ones she has left behind and then kisses James goodbye.

A sad smile. "Always."

*Och. That broke my heart.*

And then she jumps out of the helicopter to sacrifice herself. Yatai is a little more crazy now. She kills her brother and steals Elise's arm to open the gate to continue her self-destruction, but not before the effects of their Godslayer blood takes its turn, and then Yatai dies once and for all. Elise bleeds out and dies at the feet of the statue holding Lilith's essence, and the Union finds her body. Malcolm, a kopis she and James knew (and Elise's ex-boyfriend) is the commander in charge and calls James to tell him the bad news.

The text that Anthony gets from Ben the Psychic was clever! I liked how Elise died and then Anthony gets a text of coordinates with a 'say hi for me'- oooo~ The whole thing was great.

I recommend this book if you're interested in this kind of genre/action. I will warn you that some parts aren't exactly normal, as in if you're not very open-minded, a few Elise scenes won't make you happy. There's sex (yum!) and a very powerful heroine who gets shit done, no matter the situation.

Happy Reading :)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Dark Union

Every fifty years, the most powerful ethereal and infernal beings convene on Earth to resolve conflicts with mediation by kopides - humans born to police relations between Heaven and Hell. They're meeting in Elise Kavanagh's territory this year, and she used to be the greatest kopis in the world. But she's not invited.

An old friend, Lucas McIntyre, asks her to attend the summit in his place. But when she arrives, she discovers that a human faction called The Union has taken charge of the summit, and they're not playing nice. Worse yet, someone has killed a prominent Union member, and now they're demanding blood.

Elise has to bring justice to the summit in Dark Union, a 33,000-word urban fantasy novella featuring a decrepit ghost town, angry men with guns, and even angrier angels.
                                          - Goodreads

One moment, please. I need to rant.

Oh my God, as soon as Elise was introduced, I immediately disliked her. What the hell happened?! She went from cold and detached to downright BITCH. I get that she doesn't want to deal with getting people killed or anything like that, but when the demon bartender that she visits frequently begs her for help for the 100th time, she gets ANNOYED at the demon! ANNOYED!!! The woman's being bullied, beaten and stolen from and she's annoyed at her constant begging! OH MY GOD!!! If she's gonna be so cold-hearted, then stop acting like she gives a SHIT! She can't go from worrying and taking care of a beaten demon to then getting irritated at having to hear her ask for help! Is she a fucking robot or asshole fiend from Hell?! What the FUCK?! I'm sorry but you do not go from feeling enough sympathy to help someone to not feeling anything when you don't feel like helping on another matter. Chick doesn't even feel bad! She just gets mad! I don't believe it!


Okay. While James is in California meeting Stephanie's parents, Elise and Anthony go to the summit as her friend and his wife. Lucas's aspis is ready to give birth and might have some complications, but there's something he doesn't tell her. He is going to be charged for the murder of a Union member. Elise gets that lovely news when she and Anthony are abruptly taken by Zettel, the guy running the operation and a huge pain in her (and my) ass. He immediately knows that something isn't right, what with Elise looking like a kopis than an aspis and the fact that the "married couple" look far from such a thing.

Zettel has a psychic that he keeps with him and the boy doesn't escape because the Union pays his parents- wow, what nice parents! -and the dude's collared, so it's not like he gets far anyway. This boy, Ben, can see the future, and for a while now, he's been having visions of the future. But most of all, he's had a lot of visions of Elise- visions of her whole life, in fact. Including the time when she will destroy the world.

The summit never gets done because the angels and demons refuse to show up at the meeting (lol) but then an angel visits to let them know why none of them are coming, and when Elise sees the angel, she realizes she knows him. Nukha'il was the angel the Night Hag had one of her people buy, and he was a huge help to Elise. He recognizes her as well and has her be the human representative, and when she agrees, he also agrees to be one for the angels and meet up with a rep for the demons. Zettel already doesn't like her, so the thought of her being able to call the shots really bugs him. Hehe.

The meeting starts with just the three of them and they discuss the matters of the gates opened under her city. The demon, who possesses her friend's cat to be a part of the world and communicate, seems very familiar. Thom! ^_^ She agrees to take care of it and allows a little help. Elise really doesn't want anyone taking over and coming into her territory.

It ends with her visiting the demon who'd been begging for her help in the beginning and helping her out. Yay. =^_^=

So really, all that happens in this book is the meeting, an awesome intro to the Union, and the psychic who sees Elise destroying the world. O.o Oh, and her and James's connection. That's a pretty messed up thing, considering that she loves the dude in her own Elise way and he's visiting his girlfriend's parents. Ugh.

I recommend this book to those who like this kind of stuff. I suggest you check out the other reviews on the sites, though, so you can check for any pet peeves. Elise is pretty blunt and comes off as heartless, but she's just messed up. She's actually endearing once you get to know her. I'm in love with this series.

Happy Reading :)

Friday, January 3, 2014

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: The Darkest Gate

When Elise Kavanagh retired from demon hunting, she swore it would be permanent. But an attack from a powerful necromancer forced her back into the business, and now she's trying to balance her normal boyfriend and normal job with everything supernatural.

Mr. Black is a demon hunter gone rogue. He's enslaving angels and stealing ethereal artifacts in pursuit of forbidden immortality. An old grudge drives him to make his final stand in Elise's territory. Destroying her life and killing her friends isn't the goal, but it's a definite perk.

A demonic overlord offers to join against Mr. Black and protect Elise's loved ones. All she needs to do is ally with the demons she's sworn to kill, at the cost of her morals - and maybe her immortal soul. But once she crosses that line, there's no turning back.

Nothing is sacred when Heaven and Hell collide on Earth...
- Goodreads

Loved it! But there was still some reluctance in me towards the characters again...

Elise and James set off a huge power pulse that caught everyone's attention, including an old enemy that they thought had died in a fire long ago: Mr. Black, a retired French kopis who had searched for Elise to get a special bowl for him in order to open the gateway to the angel's realm. As a young woman not even eighteen yet, Elise had given him the bowl in exchange for cash only to take it back from him, and as a result, had fled the burning house with James.

Just like the first book, this one goes back and forth between the past and present to explain what the plot is leading towards and why certain things are happening. I don't know if it's because I'm used to the style now, but it really worked for me. In the present, a little while after they kill Death's Hand, Elise finds out that her office was trashed and burned down, and that someone had been scaring her clients away. At first she believes it's this nightmare and major pain in the ass, but when her roommate Betty is attacked and their place is set ablaze, she turns to James for help.

He offers his studio for her, Betty and her normal boyfriend Anthony to use. It also happens to be the time he tells her that he and Stephanie have moved in together, and in a new home that he is reluctant to tell her more about, btw.

She's hurt that he didn't tell her, and because of that, she decides to keep all the shit that goes on to herself. She doesn't tell him about her work or credit cards. She doesn't tell him when the Night Hag recruits her to do her bidding in exchange for her loved ones' safety. She tries to do it all on her own. And that's Not. How. It's. Supposed. To. BE!

Their relationship seems even more messed up, and that depresses me. Elise is beyond annoyed with her normal bf and only has him around to pass the time or sate an itch when her hormones go a callin'. It's like she only has him around to continue the "normal living" that James so desperately yearns for. It's why he's with Stephanie. James told Elise he had a life before he had to go search for her up in Russia, but at the same time, despite him wanting the whole picket fence and everything, he still holds Elise close. When Stephanie gets offered a job in California, she tells him to move with her, but he refuses to leave Elise, so his girlfriend turns it down. But then she tells him that they should buy a house, and it's then that he realizes what she's doing: she's not just trying to get them away from all the craziness, she's trying to get him away from Elise. And on a certain level, he understands where she's coming from, because he knows how much trouble Elise is. And yet he still stays with her.

I love their bond of kopis and aspis, sword and shield. Partners. It's the purest kind of partnership, but for Elise it evolved to something more. When James found her in Russia, she trusted no one and believed that she was and would always be alone and on the defense. But he never left her side, and because of the time they spent together, she grew to love him. He became the only one she needed in life, and for a small moment in those first few years of being together, she'd been enough for him.

But now he's older and they're settled, and he tells her- he fucking tells her that she isn't enough. He wants more. He wants the life he had to put on hold for her, and that's a low blow. The whole story is basically about her having to work with demons to keep her loved ones safe and find a way to kill Mr. Black, and in between those times, we're finding out some stuff about her past and getting a front row seat at the unspoken drama between her and James.

In the end, she and James end up with an even stronger bond between each other. She'd demanded they join powers to go against the Hag but he refused because it was too dangerous. As a result, their usual short-term 'joining' became a permanent thing, and now they can sense each other's emotions and shit. She lost Betty to the bad guy's bullet, pretty much shit on Anthony, and didn't change. If anything, she only got more depressing and cold.

Okay. I loved the things we're told from this installment. While Elise is taking orders from the Hag and stalking Mr. Black, we learn that the reason why she wears gloves is to hide the symbols on her hands that mark her as.... are you ready? Godslayer. Those twelve bodies that she was found near back in Russia when James first found her? They were angels. As it turns out, she'd been held captive by a deity they call 'God' and was rescued by the twelve angels who helped her escape. They died saving her from God, the infamous 'Him' they'd referred to in the first book. Now, we don't know how she was taken by God in the first place, and the mystery about James and a possible connection to Elise's past he has is still left unchecked. However, that might be the next "reveal" we get graced with in the next installment.

We also meet an interesting character named Thom, who plays as the Night Hag's witch. Oh- FYI the Night Hag is the big boss of the area they all live in, so she's like, a big deal. Kinda like what Jean Claude is to St. Louis. Thom is unnaturally beautiful and does his own thing, playing both the "obedient" helper to the Hag and aiding Elise in odd ways. He's a powerful being and in the end tells James to watch over Elise because "she's his". O.O Oooo This might not be the last of him. I'm glad, too, cause he's kinda hot. XD

This was a 5 star rating for me, but the fifth star felt reluctant, and that's because despite enjoying this book, the characters still felt off to me. I was a little closer to feeling them, but there was still a glass wall between us. This was an improvement, but I'm wondering if it was only because of the added drama.

What I hated most in this book was that Betty died. :( Just when I was getting to like her, she dies!? Ugh, and what's worse, she was the only person that Elise may have genuinely liked, and that's a huge thing. But now she's gone and Elise is practically taking 100 steps back from her improvement in accepting others that aren't James, James or James.

The thing I found the most interesting was Elise's confrontation with James when she finally questions him about why she isn't enough for him anymore. Their situation isn't exactly shits and giggles, but she tells him that no one but him matters to her. She could easily leave everything and everyone behind. So why can't he? It made me sad (ugh deja vu) hearing James say that he wasn't getting any younger and wanted the solidity she couldn't give him, but if he feels that way, then- UGH!

I recommend this seemingly frustrating and coldly beautiful read to those who like UF, demons and angels, and sorta cold-hearted bad-assery. Elise is a little cut off from everyone not named James but at the same time gets shit done. And who knows, maybe in the next one, she'll get better.

Happy Reading :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Death's Hand

Policing relations between Heaven, Hell and Earth is messy and violent, but Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner excelled at it--until coming across a job so brutal that even they couldn't stand to see one more dead body.

Now they've been pretending to be normal for five years, leaving their horrific history a dark secret. Elise works in an office. James owns a business. None of their friends realize they used to be one of the world's best killing teams.

After years of hiding, something stirs. Bodies are vanishing. Demons scurry in the shadows of the night. A child has been possessed.

Some enemies aren't willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead...

- Goodreads

This was an interesting story with a lot of action and inhabitants of the demon world. Elise and James are a pair of fighters who deal with all things demonic, but one moment of saving the world from the Goddess of Death seriously messed up Elise. She was tortured for what felt like hours, but despite wanting to die and be rid of the pain, she managed to kill the woman and save the world from demons and chaos. They may have saved the world, but they both lost something precious that day, and Elise called it quits.

Five years later, after finally settling into a 'normal' life, the possibility of a child being possessed coaxes a reluctant Elise out of early retirement. She still refuses to help or admit that the child could be possessed, but because of James' constant requests in helping, she agrees to help where she can. The moment she checks on the child, however, she realizes that something is amiss, and she does a little detective work on her own to figure out what the hell is going on.

I liked reading it, and the whole thing was interesting enough, but the characters fell flat for me. The only time anything ever felt remotely juicy was during the prologue, the very ending when she saved James after almost losing him, and when the fighting scenes commenced. Hell, the fighting scenes were more detailed and impacting to me than the conversations or 'conversations' that went on between Elise, Anthony, James and Stephanie. Elise is slightly jaded so I get her attitude, but I still couldn't connect with her beyond the mutual understanding. A lot of this book was more "telling" than "showing" and it got me skipping some paragraphs to get to the main points. James and Elise's romantic interests with other people was an interesting set for drama, but because a lot of "love"- or whatever else you'd call it -wasn't that obvious between them, the thing didn't work out as much as I'd have liked it to. I just wish there was more romantic stuff between Elise and James, but if that wasn't what the author was going for, then everything makes sense again, and I can just take their relationship as nothing but a very strong partnership.
*No, I'm pretty sure they're supposed to be in love.*
*But they didn't... there was no jealousy drama, no tension.*

If they're supposed to be in love or something, then the flatness of the characters mars my fascination of the story for me. I still like it, but I'd love it more if the characters acted a little more... I don't know, just- more. When it becomes obvious that James and Stephanie are hooking up, Elise doesn't really do anything to show how she feels about that. She gets territorial and a little more grouchy than usual, sure, but she never really says anything about it. There's no description about what she feels, no comment towards James about it at all. Hell, I was yelling at James more than she was, and I haven't even known the dude for that long! Then there's her and Anthony. When she tells James that she has a date with him, he freezes for a few moments, but then accepts it. I took that to mean that he obviously cared, but with the way they both act about it being okay, I was like, "Is that really okay, then? Maybe he really does just want her to be normal and date normally and blah blah blubido." T_T

Elise mentioned loving him but knowing, via James, that they will never be together romantically. I don't know why, but if I missed the explanation while skipping some boring parts, I'll have to go back and read it again. 

At the moment, fast-paced books are my thing because my brain can't take books with detail that don't relate to the plot, or details that are supposed to give character to the book but don't. What I basically got from this book is that James and Elise are retired because of some deep shit that they got into five years ago, but still practice on the side (James more so than Elise). The death goddess they thought Elise had killed years ago is back and is using a necromancer to help her find a body to take over, and James becomes that target. Elise saves him and brings him back from the dead, and it ends with them holding hands in his dance studio and watching the normal world pass by as they decide to stay instead of run and await the dread that came with their decision.

So overall this was a good read I'd recommend, but some plots in the story confused me, like the once-in-a-while regards to "He" (who is that???) or the reason why Elise was found amongst those frozen bodies back in Russia all those years ago (what was that about?)... However, I did skip through some chapters, so I may have passed these explanations, so then shame on me, I suppose. Some readers might not like the way Reine goes back and forth between the past and present without warning. This book needs some editing here and there, but it's free on Amazon right now, as is the boxed set of all three books at the moment, so I don't feel so cheated. I'm definitely going to read the second book because I want to know what's going to happen next.

There's no sex in this or any swearing (from what I remember) but it's demons and violence, and the action scenes really pulled me in.

Happy Reading :)

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Shadow and Bone

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom's magical elite- the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina's childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can't she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.
- Goodreads

I read the first five chapters that's free on Amazon, and I couldn't get enough. As soon as Christmas came and went, I bought my own copy and devoured it!

When I first read this, it gave off the feeling that all popular books give off. This came out last year and I have no idea how I'd missed it. Alina is thrown into this world of riches and luxury that she used to yearn for, but after being taken from Mal and the only real world she knew, she resents it at first. She misses the only guy who'd ever been there for her since their younger years in the orphanage. She misses the surety of what the next day brought and the comfort in it.

Alina is an interesting girl to follow, and she is almost cynical without really coming off as such. She's certainly blunt, which I like, and she doesn't allow herself to whine, yet another plus that is awfully refreshing. The relationship between her and Mal is great. I loved that they grew up together and always had someone to turn to throughout the years, and when the present showed them possibly going in different directions? Awesome. Who doesn't love reading about two people going on different paths in life? She's a mapmaker and he's one of the greatest trackers in the land. She's a little anti-social and Mal is Mr. Popular. And yet despite their differences, they still stick together, even when she has moments of doubt or he's off knocking boots with another girl.

Their separation was sad for me even though it was brief and her life with the Grisha was swift. Her growing crush on the Darkling was also interesting, and I was falling for the Grisha right along with her. Their being a couple also sounded perfect, too, you know? He's the Darkling of shadows and she's the Sun Summoner- light and dark, opposites attract and all that jazz. Again, she wasn't like the others and fawning all over him, but she did act like how any other normal girl would when around a hot guy long enough, lol. Bardugo did a fantastic job of putting in all the drama and enticing ideas without overstepping the line and having her characters or plots come off as annoying. The book was a fantastic read through and through. And when the Darkling turned out to be using her? Totally blindsided me!
*Snort. Liar.*

Okay, that's not quite true. I was surprised that the Darkling ended up being the bad guy, but when he started doing stuff for her, I'd have a thought or two about him using her for something. The inkling never stuck, though, so his real intentions were still startling. I was so sad that he wasn't going to end up with Alina, but then Mal came back and his time with her made me think, "Why did I give up on them being an item again?"

If I had to point out bad things about this book, it'd be Alina's attitude of giving up. As the Sun Summoner, she has great power that could save them from the Shadow Fold. However, she oppressed it for so long without realizing it, so now she's having a hard time calling upon it on her own. At one point, she gets fed up with constantly failing and disappointing her teachers at the palace, so for a while she goes "fuck it" and waits for the Darkling to help her out. I'm not too irritated with that because I'd be bummed out too if I kept failing over and over again.

My favorite "ah-ha!" moment from this book would be the reason why Alina had oppressed her gift. See, everyone is tested at a young age to determine whether or not they're Grisha. When Alina and Mal were visited by some Grisha at the orphanage, their little selves had sensed that this was a crucial moment that would break them apart, and so when they were separated and tested, Alina forced down her power so she could stay back with Mal. The mystery as to why she wasn't discovered as a Grisha in the beginning is the whole book's major question (for me it was, anyway) and so when I found out why and the how's of it, I totally melted.

The writing style flowed nicely and the pace was great. There's no sex in this YA book, as the most risque thing in here is the Darkling getting a cop feel of her thighs. This managed to be a love triangle without it actually being a love triangle. That's an awesome thing for me since I don't normally enjoy reading about these shapely relationship problems. I recommend, and honestly have no idea how I missed this book, since it's been out for a while now. XD

Happy Reading :)