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Rabid Reads

Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. I also offer virtual assistance to authors and web maintenance services. rabidreads.ca

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Sinner
Maggie Stiefvater
Forged by Desire
Bec McMaster
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Reading progress update: I've read 17%.

Forged by Desire - Bec McMaster

Review: Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

Review: Dark Spots by Melissa F. Olson
Dead Spots
Series: Scarlett Bernard #1
Author: Melissa F. Olson
Publisher: 47north
Published on: October 30, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: 293 pages, eBook
Provided by: Purchased
four-starsfour-starsfour-starsfour-stars
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Scarlett Bernard knows about personal space: step within ten feet of her, and any supernatural spells or demonic forces are instantly defused—vampires and werewolves become human again, and witches can’t get out so much as a “hocus pocus.” This special skill makes her a null and very valuable to Los Angeles’s three most powerful magical communities, who utilize her ability to scrub crime scenes clean of all traces of the paranormal to keep humanity, and the LAPD, in the dark.

But one night Scarlett’s late arrival to a grisly murder scene reveals her agenda and ends with LAPD’s Jesse Cruz tracking her down to strike a deal: he’ll keep quiet about the undead underworld if she helps solve the case. Their pact doesn’t sit well with Dash, the city’s chief bloodsucker, who fears his whole vampire empire is at stake. And when clues start to point to Scarlett, it’ll take more than her unique powers to catch the real killer and clear her name.

I follow Amber Lynn Natusch(Author),on Facebook, and when she mentioned how much she loved this book on two different occasions recently, I had to check it out. I was pretty shocked to learn it was the author’s first book, because it sure reads like it’s from a more experienced author.

 

Scarlett Bernard is what’s known as a Null in the paranormal world. Whenever she comes in contact with a paranormal creature within a certain radius, the creature loses it’s powers and becomes human again. She lives with Molly, a vampire that was turned at age seventeen. Since Molly doesn’t want to spend eternity looking like she is underage, she wants to live around Scarlett so that she can age some of every moment she spends as a human. Of course she also wants to be able to walk in the sun when they leave the house together. Scarlett works for the head of the vampires, the alpha of the werewolves, and the head witch of the area. She cleans up crime scenes done by paranormal elements. I thought this premise was really unique. Understandably,most of the paranormal characters do not want to have anything to do with her or get close to her.

 

I love urban fantasy, and to me it’s only second to paranormal romance-usually. This book is an instance of really well written urban fantasy, with a component of paranormal romance, by way of an almost love triangle. I know that sounds confusing, but that’s my way of saying that there’s not a real romance, but there’s certainly some crushing going on between two males with this heroine. Jesse is a homicide detective that gets pulled into the paranormal world when he stumbles upon a horrific murder scene that Scarlet has just arrived at. Eli is a bartender werewolf that is a sort of booty call for Scarlett. He doesn’t want to be a werewolf so the reader(and Scarlett) wonders if that’s the real reason he wants to be with Scarlett. When she is assigned by her boss to work with Eli to hunt the murderer, and has to work with Jesse on the same case, things do get interesting and ultimately very dangerous. Most of the time I was team Jesse, but the more I got to know Eli, I decided I wasn’t team anyone. They were both great options for Scarlett-at least I thought so.

 

This book has some really bad villains. Dashiell, as head of the vampires in Los Angeles, may be her boss, but there’s no love lost there. If anything, she is in as much trouble with him as she is with the murderer. Will,the alpha of the local pack, is pretty much the opposite, and seems like a pretty nice guy. Of course the murderer goes into the bad category, and since this is a mystery, I am not naming names.

 

This book checked a lot of boxes for me. It was a mystery-thriller, with paranormal characters and the possibility for a romance or two to come in the rest of the series. I loved the premise, the characters, and thought it was a extremely well written mystery. Oh, and I didn’t even mention very much about the witches. I know some readers don’t enjoy the mystery-urban fantasy type reads, but I found this to be a good book and definitely worth the read. I need to find the time to read the next one, which I definitely plan on doing soon! FYI-There are already three books released in this series.

 

Lorna

Source: http://rabidreads.ca/2014/07/review-dark-spots-by-melissa-f-olson.html

Paranormal New Releases: July 22nd

Paranormal Romance:

Administrative Control
Administrative Control
(Immortal Ops #6)
by Mandy M. Roth
Paranormal Romance
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

Captain Lukian Vlakhusha is having issues with his newest target, Peren Matthews. Something about her has left him staring at her picture and wondering what it would be like to touch her soft skin. When the time comes for the team to strike, Lukian senses danger and aborts the mission. He makes an attempt at meeting Peren and is set in his place by an independent young woman who knows what she is, and isn’t, looking for in a man.

Lukian is having trouble telling Peren that he’s what she fears most, a werewolf. Can they make the passion that burns between them last, or will Lukian’s condition be too much for Peren?

Shape shifter Romance: Contains adult situations, paranormal themes, violence, and is not intended for the faint of heart.

 

Shifter’s Claim Part 3
(Shadow Shifters #4)
by A.C. Arthur
Paranormal Romance
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

Giving her body to Sebastian “Bas” Perry was inevitable, but sacrificing her heart wasn’t in the plan. Now, as they face a killer together she wonders just how far she will go to be with this man.

Sebastian “Bas” Perry is in too deep—with Priya and with a rogue that’s out for revenge, but this sexy shapeshifter will protect Priya Drake from all paranormal terrors…by any means necessary in Shifter’s Claim Part III, from The Shadow Shifters series by A.C. Arthur.



Urban Fantasy:

Poison Promise
(Elemental Assassin #11)
by Jennifer Estep
Urban Fantasy
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

In book eleven of her New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series, author Jennifer Estep continues “one of the best urban fantasy series going on the market” (Fresh Fiction).

Gin Blanco is hard-nosed, sexy, and lethal. Nicknamed “The Spider,” she’s a stone elemental assassin who brings her unique mix of magic and tact to every assignment, no matter the target.

There’s a new drug on the streets of Ashland, and its name “Burn” sums up the potent effect it has on its users. When one of her restaurant employees is threatened by dealers of the drug, Gin steps in to set things straight…

 

Veiled Target (Veilers #1)
by Robin Bielman
Urban Fantasy
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

Never take Fate along on a date. The kiss goodnight could be deadly.

Tracking down Veilers—non humans—is only a sideline for Tess Damon. Vengeance for her fiancé’s murder is her reason for living. But with two botched jobs on her record, if she fails to eliminate her next mark, she’s dead.

She’s not afraid to die, but not before she gets even. Too bad fate has a really bad sense of humor.

Hugh Langston, a wolfen half shifter, lives to keep both humans and his pack safe. But when rogue humans kidnap his apprentice, his rescue mission is compromised by a hot-as-hell, kick-ass woman who makes him think only one thing: mine.

Tess tries to ignore her feelings, but temptation trips her up. Especially when Hugh figures out he’s her next target and forces her into an inconvenient alliance that tests all the laws against their attraction.

Now, with the line between good and evil getting blurrier by the minute, it becomes clear Tess’s only hope of living to see another day—and finding a murderer—lies with the one man she’s supposed to kill.

Warning: Contains one obscenely hot alpha and the woman who wants to love him before she kills him. Look out for a blind date, scorching sex, humor, lies, and untamable attraction.



Fantasy:

The Stolen
by Bishop O’Connell
Fantasy
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

Tonight, for the first time in over a century, a mortal child will be kidnapped by faeries.

When her daughter Fiona is snatched from her bed, Caitlin’s entire world crumbles. Once certain that faeries were only a fantasy, Caitlin must now accept that these supernatural creatures do exist—and that they have traded in their ancient swords and horses for modern guns and sports cars. Hopelessly outmatched, she accepts help from a trio of unlikely heroes: Eddy, a psychiatrist and novice wizard; Brendan, an outcast Fian warrior; and Dante, a Magister of the fae’s Rogue Court. Moving from the busy streets of Boston’s suburbs to the shadowy land of Tír na nÓg, Caitlin and her allies will risk everything to save Fiona. But can this disparate quartet conquer their own inner demons and outwit the dark faeries before it’s too late?



Young Adult:

Endless (Shadowlands #3)
by Kate Brian
Young Adult
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

Rory Miller didn’t just fall in love with Tristan Parrish. She fell in love with the idea of forever. He was the one who told her the truth about her existence in Juniper Landing: that her mortal life is over, and she will now spend eternity on the island, helping others in limbo move on. But like Juniper Landing, a bright island with dark secrets, Tristan is too good to be true. The mysterious, heartbreakingly beautiful boy Rory thought she knew is responsible for unthinkable evil—sending good souls to the Shadowlands in order to get himself a second chance at life on Earth. He has already claimed Rory’s friend Aaron and her own father, but when Tristan sends her sister, Darcy, to the Shadowlands, too, Rory decides to take matters into her own hands. She will do anything to save her family, even if it means going to hell and back.

 

One Past Midnight
by Jessica Shirvington
Young Adult
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

Sabine isn’t like anyone else. For as long as she can remember, she’s had two lives. Every twenty-four hours she ‘Shifts’, living each day twice. In one life, Sabine has everything: popular friends, expensive clothes, perfect grades, and the guy everyone wants. In the other, Sabine’s family struggles with finances, and she and her friends are considered rebels. But then she meets Ethan. He’s gorgeous, challenging, and he makes her feel like no one ever has before.

All Sabine really wants is the chance to live one life. When it seems like this might finally be possible, Sabine begins a series of dangerous experiments to achieve her goal. But is she willing to risk everything—including the one person who might actually believe her?

 

The Fire Wish (The Jinni Wars #1)
by Amber Lough
Young Adult / Fantasy
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . .

Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.

 

Strange and Ever After
(Something Strange and Deadly #3)
by Susan Dennard
Young Adult
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

It has been a tumultuous time for Eleanor Fitt since life as she knew it in Philadelphia came abruptly to an end. While the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and Daniel—have helped her survive her brother’s violent death and an invasion of Hungry Dead, Eleanor has lost just about everything.

And now, Jie is missing—taken by the evil necromancer Marcus. Eleanor is determined not only to get her back but to finally end this nightmare. But to do so, she must navigate the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt amid the rising Dead, her unresolved feelings for Daniel, and her volatile relationships with Joseph and Oliver, her demon. And it won’t be easy. Because Allison, her friend from Philadelphia, has tagged along, becoming strangely entangled in Eleanor’s mission.

It will take all of Eleanor’s powers of black magic, and all of Daniel’s and Joseph’s trust, to succeed. But there will be a price. People will have to suffer the consequences of what Marcus has done, and what Eleanor, Oliver, and the Spirit-Hunters will do to stop all this deadly chaos.

 

Extraction (Extraction #1)
by Stephanie Diaz
Young Adult / Sci Fi
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

“Welcome to extraction testing”

Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her 16th birthday when she’ll be tested for Extraction, in the hopes of being sent from Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life. What she finds initially at the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon’s lethal acid—but life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet’s leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers—and that means Logan, too. Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet’s leaders don’t want her running—they want her subdued.

 

Dissonance (Dissonance #1)
by Erica O’Rourke
Young Adult
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

In this inventive romantic thriller, Del has the power to navigate between alternate realities—and the power to save multiple worlds.

Delancey knows for sure that there is more than one universe. Many more. Because every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world is spun off the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed—all of these choices create alternate universes in which echo selves take the roads not traveled. Del knows all of this because she’s a Walker, someone who can navigate between the worlds, and whose job is to keep the dimensions in harmony.

But Del’s decisions have consequences too. Even though she’s forbidden from Walking after a training session goes horribly wrong, she secretly starts to investigate other dissonant worlds. She’s particularly intrigued by the echo versions of Simon Lane, a guy who won’t give her the time of day in the main world, but whose alternate selves are uniquely interested. But falling for Simon draws Del closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide—a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.



Science Fiction:

Prototype (Archetype #2)
by M.D. Waters
Sci Fi
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

The stunning debut that began with Archetype— and has readers buzzing—concludes in Prototype, when a woman’s dual pasts lock onto a collision course, threatening her present and future.

Emma looks forward to the day when she can let go of her past—both of them. After more than a year on the run, with clues to her parents’ whereabouts within her grasp, she may finally find a place to settle down. Start a new life. Maybe even create new memories with a new family.

But the past rises to haunt her and to make sure there’s nowhere on the planet she can hide. Declan Burke wants his wife back, and with a little manipulation and a lot of reward money, he’s got the entire world on his side. Except for the one man she dreads confronting the most: Noah Tucker.

Emma returns to face what she’s done but finds that the past isn’t the problem. It’s the present—and the future it represents. Noah has moved on and another woman is raising their daughter.

In the shocking conclusion to M.D. Waters’s spectacular debut, Emma battles for her life and her freedom, tearing down walls and ripping off masks to reveal the truth. She’s decided to play their game and prove she isn’t the woman they thought she was. Even if it means she winds up dead. Or worse, reborn.



Carmel Signature

Source: http://rabidreads.ca/2014/07/paranormal-new-releases-july-22nd.html

Reading progress update: I've listened 633 out of 633 minutes.

Charming - Elliott James

Started off strong, I loved the paranormal elements (except for the Valkyrie—no more Norse mythology please!), and the author's writing style, but the love triangle eventually took over the story. However, it WAS resolved, so yes, I will be listening to DARING. Full review to follow.

Early Review: Poison Promise by Jennifer Estep

Poison Promise - Jennifer Estep

Poison Promise
Series: Elemental Assassin #11
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Pocket
Published on: July 22, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: 416 pages, eARC
Provided by: NetGalley

Amazon | Book Depo | Chapters Indigo | Kobo | GoodReads

I specialize in making death wishes come true.

Pop quiz. Which do you think is deadlier: Burn, the nastiest drug ever to hit the mean streets of Ashland, or me, Gin Blanco, the assassin known as the Spider? Answer: Me—because I don’t kill you slowly.

Normally, drug dealers aren’t my department. But I’m turning up the heat on some relentless Burn-pushing thugs who won’t leave my friends alone. Pushers who have my cop sister beside herself with rage, so I’m stepping up to keep her from doing something stupid and getting herself killed. Once I’m in, I’m in, and these folks have picked their poison: the Spider’s venom. But even bad guys have their good days, and sometimes even my Ice and Stone magic isn’t enough. For behind the drug is a vicious vampire with a scientific eye for results. And behind him… trouble like I haven’t seen since I took down my legendary nemesis, Mab Monroe.

kickass Must-Read ReReadable

 


The ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series started in 2010, and I discovered it in 2012, so it seems crazy to me that although we’ve reached the eleventh installment, only one year has gone by for Gin Blanco since it all began in SPIDER’S BITE. She’s about to celebrate her 31st birthday, and in many ways this book felt like a new beginning. There were some seriously badass scenes in POISON PROMISE, mad scientist villains are always super creepy, and two additional paranormal elements are introduced which all added-up to one exhilarating read. However, there was also a lot of déjà vu in this novel (that annoying stick that was up Bria’s butt in the earlier days is once again firmly lodged in place) that was cause for some concern. Jennifer Estep hasn’t steered me wrong yet, so I’m going to wait and see what she has planned, but I do have my doubts.

It’s no secret that I’m an action junkie through and through, and this latest installment DEFINITELY delivered on this front. As an assassin, Gin typically does her best work in the shadows, but in POISON PROMISE she boldly shouts to the world that she is indeed The Spider. That was my #1 scene in this book; you’ll know it when you read it. My second favourite was when she uses her Aston Martin as a battering ram. OMG Pure awesomeness. Those two stellar sequences aside, the plot’s great; I always look forward to Estep’s villains, and she does not disappoint with Beauregard Benson. I also enjoyed the vivid descriptions of what a Burn trip is like from an Elemental’s POV, and the twist at the end was well-done.

This is probably going to turn into a paragraph long rant about Bria, but it couldn’t really be avoided because she is the main reason why I’m giving this novel four stars instead of five. I really hated her character in the earlier installments of this series, and now here she is back on her stupid high horse. I understand that she’s blinded by revenge and seeing red, but she’s still a cop, and has sworn to serve and protect. Now, all of a sudden she’s willing to sacrifice an innocent witness’ life, and quite possibly her sister’s as well? Bria needs wake-up, to stop judging Gin, and either arrest her or shut it. I wanted to slap her.

I love that this series continues to surprise me; Estep has added two new paranormal elements to her ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN world. I’m not sure revealing them in my review is overly spoiler-y, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone so I’m just going to say that my interest is definitely piqued. A new character has also joined Gin’s crew, so it’ll be interesting to see how Silvio Sanchez fits in with this close knit group. I have a feeling that big things are in store for The Spider now that she’s gone public; I just hope that the déjà vu doesn’t take over the main story line. I’m extremely wary of Mab Monroe 2.0.

My mini Bria rant aside, POISON PROMISE is an action junkie’s dream, and another winning installment from Jennifer Estep.


Books in this series:

My Review

My Review

My Review

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My Review
     

 




Carmel Signature

Source: http://rabidreads.ca/2014/07/early-review-poison-promise-by-jennifer-estep.html

Mini Reviews: White Witch, Black Curse & Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

Mini Reviews: White Witch, Black Curse & Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison
White Witch, Black Curse
Series: The Hollows #7
Author: Kim Harrison
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published on: February 24 2009
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: 516 pages, eBook
Provided by: Purchased
four-starsfour-starsfour-starsfour-stars
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New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison returns to the sinister and seductive Hollows for the newest blockcuster adventure featuring Rachel Morgan, witch and bounty hunter.

White Witch, Black Curse


Some wounds take time to heal...and some scars never fade.

Rachel Morgand, kick-ass witch and bounty hunter, has taken her fair share of hits, and has broken lines she swore she would never cross. But when her lover was murdered, it left a deeper wound than Rachel ever imagined, and now she won't rest until his death is solved...and avenged. Whatever the cost.

Yet the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and when a new predator moves to the apex of the Inderland food chain, Rachel's past comes back to haunt her.

Literally.

CantStopkickassBadBoyFreakyFangtastic

White Witch, Black Curse introduces us to a new type of Inderlander—the banshee. Well, introduces us directly. Mia (the banshee) shows up in a couple of the novellas, but in the seventh installment of The Hollows, she is front and center. And not in a good way.

 

Harrison’s version of a banshee is more like a succubus or a psychic vampire. They’re seen before a person dies, not b/c they’re a herald of death, but b/c they’re doing the killing. By sucking the life force, or aura, from a person, and after that’s gone, the soul. They’re dangerous, apex predators, and their ability to feed is strictly monitored by the Inderlander community and strictly policed by other banshees.

 

Or at least that’s the claim. Personally, I don’t think the book backed up that idea. I.S. (Inderlander Security) didn’t do a damn thing to stop Mia’s rampage, and as far as I could tell, the only reason another banshee got involved was b/c she wanted Mia’s child (Holly). If there had been no Holly, I’m not convinced they would have gotten involved at all.

 

Banshee shenanigans aside, LOTS more Big Things are going on.<——it’s kind of a trend at this point, yes?

 

Ford (the maybe human empath) discovers that there’s a ghost in the church, and Rachel figures out that she can see the ghost, if they’re both standing in a ley line at the same time.

 

Pretty cool, right?

 

Until Al shows up and snatches the ghost. Demons apparently have ways of getting a new body for a ghost, and this isn’t just any ghost, no, it’s the ghost of Gordian Nathaniel Pierce, aspiring killer of demons. Al’s pretty sure he can make quite a bit of money selling Pierce as a familiar.

 

Which, of course, makes Rachel lose her mind. Underdog and all that.

 

Oh. And Rachel gets SHUNNED. I’m not sure why. At first I thought it was all of the very public confrontations with demons, but now I think it’s b/c of something else that doesn’t become an issue until the next book, so not telling.

 

And finally, in the showdown with Mia, Rachel remembers what happened thatnightwedonotspeakof. When she remembers, Rachel loses her mind again, and as a result something happens with her and Ivy and their auras that I’m pretty sure is going to turn out to be HUGELY important in the final book.

 

AND that, my friends, is why I reread these long-running series before the last book comes out. There’s still time. You’ve got six weeks. Just sayin’ . . . *wink*

 

Was this review helpful to you? If so, please consider voting for it on Amazon!

 

Mini Reviews: White Witch, Black Curse & Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison
Black Magic Sanction
Series: The Hollows #8
Author: Kim Harrison
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published on: February 23 2010
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: 594 pages, eBook
Provided by: Purchased

four-half-starsfour-half-starsfour-half-starsfour-half-starsfour-half-stars

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In New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison’s most complex and nuanced adventure yet, bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan fights a deadly battle – mind, body, and soul.

Black Magic Sanction

Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter – and lived to tell the tale. But she’s never faced off against her own kind…until now. Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment – at worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom, but trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and an ex-boyfriend turned thief.

It takes a witch to catch a witch, but survival bears a heavy price..

kickasstearFreaky

So check this out.

 

Rachel and Ivy are minding their own business, doing a bit of grocery shopping, when this blonde chick in a frumpy suit starts making eyes at Rachel.

 

Or so she thinks.

 

And Rachel’s a little bit embarrassed, a little bit flattered, but not even a little bit interested . . . so that’s AWK-ward.

 

Except Frumpy isn’t checking Rachel out! Frumpy is a member of the coven of moral and ethical standards, and she’s trying to take Rachel into custody.

 

Pfft. Like that’s going to happen. But the attempt does make quite a mess (one word—PRODUCE). And wait a minute, what’s going on? Yeah, Rachel’s been shunned, but there’s a world of difference between shunning a witch and actively pursuing her.

 

I smell a rat . . . (<——did you see what I did there? *snickers*)

 

A couple of books ago, Rachel very sneakily stole Al’s summoning name so he couldn’t be called out of the Ever After and let loose on her or her loved ones. They’ve since resolved their issues . . . *snorts* mostly . . . but Rachel still has his name.

 

And that is how we find out not only can Rachel’s blood kindle demon magic, but she can also be summoned like a demon, and my, doesn’t that complicate things.

 

Especially when the previously thwarted coven of moral and ethical standards becomes privy to this information, using it to, yes, summon Rachel.

 

Which puts her in a bit of a JAM. (<——I did it AGAIN). B/c strawberries . . . in the grocery store . . . never mind. *sighs*

 

It also makes her angry.

 

It makes me angry too, b/c guess who summoned Rachel for the straight-laced coven (whose members would rather DIE than have a bit of smut on their auras)? Go on . . . guess . . . I’ll give you hint—his name has four letters, and is also slang for stealing, which is ironic, b/c that’s what he does.

 

YEP. Nick just can’t stay gone. Which is unfortunate, b/c I HATE HIM. *takes a calming breath*

 

Black Magic Sanction is my favorite book in the series up to this point. Al and Rachel grow in their new roles as teacher and student, and Rachel finally shows some caution on the romance front. Trent is consistently NOT evil, and even shows that he values Rachel as a person. (<——YES!!) And Rachel finally starts to accept what she is, understanding that it’s who she is that matters. LOVE it. Love it ALL.

 

The Hollows:

 

 

Was this review helpful to you? If so, please consider voting for it on Amazon!

 

Jessica Signature

Source: http://rabidreads.ca/2014/07/mini-reviews-white-witch-black-curse-black-magic-sanction-by-kim-harrison.html

Reading progress update: I've listened 441 out of 633 minutes.

Charming - Elliott James

Audiobook Review: Poltergeist by Kat Richardson

Poltergeist (Greywalker, Book 2) - Kat Richardson

Poltergeist
Series: Greywalker #2
Author: Kat Richardson
Narrated by: Mia Barron
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published on: December 19, 2008
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: 11 hrs & 15 mins, Audiobook
Provided by: Purchased

Amazon | Book Depo | Chapters Indigo | Kobo | GoodReads

Harper Blaine was your average small-time PI until she died - for two minutes. Now she's a Greywalker - walking the thin line between the living world and the paranormal realm. And she's discovering that her new abilities are landing her all sorts of "strange" cases.

In the days leading up to Halloween, Harper's been hired by a university research group that is attempting to create an artificial poltergeist. The head researcher suspects someone is faking the phenomena, but Harper's investigation reveals something else entirely - they've succeeded. And when one of the group's members is killed in a brutal and inexplicable fashion, Harper must determine whether the killer is the ghost itself, or someone all too human.



I’d like to start this review off by first saying that I’m not 100% sure whether it’s the narration or the story that’s making me consistently rate this series 3 stars, so you might want to take my thoughts with a grain of salt until I figure that one out. Anyway, I think that I enjoyed this installment slightly less than its predecessor on account of all the psycho babble & lengthy experiment explanations. I felt like I was back in college listening to a professor drone on about a subject I couldn’t have cared less about. Kat Richardson’s approach to the paranormal seems to be largely academic in nature, and I’m not convinced that that writing style is well-suited for the Urban Fantasy genre.

One of the aspects that I enjoyed the most about GREYWALKER was Ben and Mara’s supe 101 sessions with Harper, yet they seem to have almost completely vanished in this installment. I’m not sure how much time has elapsed between novels—I may have missed it in the earlier chapters—but it can’t be more than a couple of months, and I found that Blaine’s grasp of her newfound abilities was far too advanced for book 2. She’s also suddenly full-out dating Will, and in a long distance relationship no less, after only a few weeks (?). Again, I’m not clear on the time frame, but it just felt off to me. I had to double-check to make sure that POLTERGEIST was indeed the second installment in this series.

I enjoyed the whodunit murder mystery even though I did find that it was a little too predictable because the suspect pool was restricted to the experiment participants. I also liked learning some of the tricks on the trade when Richardson explores how certain illusions are created; it’s clear that a lot of research went into this novel. Quinton is probably one of my favourite characters to date, and I was satisfied with the role he played in this story as well as Phoebe Mason’s. She’s a new addition, and I look forward to reconnecting with her in future installments. Will on the other hand… I honestly don’t see his appeal, and hope that Harper dumps his ass ASAP.

The narration was somewhat improved when compared to the previous audiobook. I thought that Mia Barron’s Jamaican accent was well-done, and her ‘baby’ voice wasn’t half-bad either, although too much of it would have definitely given me a headache. But to be fair, any 2 year old talking in my ear nonstop would, so that means that her performance was authentic. Barron’s portrayal of the vampire characters was still too over-the-top for my tastes, especially where Carlos was concerned; he came across as more Count Dracula than evil undead master.

In short, my struggles with this series continue, and if something doesn’t start to click soon, I may be calling it quits. POLTERGEIST felt more like a crime novel with paranormal elements mixed in than it did an Urban Fantasy which might be the crux of my problems with Harper Blaine.


Greywalker Series:

My Review
 

 



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Source: http://rabidreads.ca/2014/07/audiobook-review-poltergeist-by-kat-richardson.html

Question: What Do You Tell People You Read?

WeeklyQuestion

“What do you tell people you read?” . . . Hmmm . . . When Carmel sent me this week’s question, my first thought was, “Huh?”

 

Eloquent, yes, I know, but there it is.

 

And even after being given more information, it’s still a complicated question. For me, at least.

 

If you’re sitting there, minding your own business, reading on some version of e-reader, and someone comes up and asks, “Hey, whatcha reading there?” what do you say?

 

Well, in most situations, I’m going to tell the truth. Surprising, I know. I do seem to have a problem with being straight-forward, don’t I? *snorts*

 

But not always . . .

 

Like when the person asking is the creeper I’ve been trying to avoid eye contact with, and I’m reading something smexy. Yeah, dude . . . In a situation like that, I’m going to say, “American Sniper,” or, “How to Improve Your Terrible Credit in 30 Days or Less for Dummies.”

 

Yeah . . . that’s right . . . keep moving . . . you don’t want any of this.

 

But seriously, I think there’s a reason erotica sales are off the charts these days. There’s a freedom in being able to read that kind of thing without an embarrassing tangle of limbs on the cover to give you away. That being said, I don’t read a lot of erotica, and when I do, it’s at home, so that hasn’t been a problem.

 

BUT I do have conservative Christians in my extended family who would be offended by most of what I read, UF especially. So when the holidays are upon us, and an aunt or a cousin is curious about what I’m reading, I can either tell them the truth, and get a knowing look about the state of my soul, or I can distract and deflect by saying, “Nothing you’d be interested in, but what about you? Have you read any good (Oprah book club) books lately?”

 

And that’s typically how I dodge that bullet. I don’t lie about it. I’m not ashamed of anything I read. But I have been known to change the subject to something less volatile. All I can say is, thank goodness the holiday season only comes once a year.

 

Those situations, however, are few and far between, so mostly . . . I just tell the truth. Right now I’m reading Magic Bites for the maybe 5th time, maybe 6th, b/c I have no willpower, and Kate #7 is the last in this story arc, so I don’t want anything to fly over my head, b/c it’s been a year or more since I read it . . . and I love Kate . . . and I might be a maniac . . .

 

What about you?

 

What Do You Tell People You Read?

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Source: http://rabidreads.ca/2014/07/question-what-do-you-tell-people-you-read.html

Spotlight + Giveaway: Black Rook by Kelly Meade

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Cornerstone Run is a paranormal romance trilogy, set in a world of hidden loup garou, their mystical Magi enemies, and the occasional vampire. The small, reclusive town of Cornerstone, Pennsylvania, houses an almost entirely loup garou population—one of only thirteen towns around the country that serve as a sanctuary for their nonhuman inhabitants, where the loup garou are free to be themselves. When a neighboring sanctuary town is attacked by a vicious, unknown enemy, the three sons of Cornerstone’s Alpha must stand together to protect their people—and the women who steal their hearts.

Black Rook

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She never saw this coming…

Brynn Atwood is a low-level Magus whose unpredictable precognitive powers have made her an outcast among her people—and an embarrassment to her highly-regarded father. After a frightening vision in which her father is murdered by a loup garou man, Brynn decides to prove herself by finding the killer, and stopping them at any cost.

Her target is Rook McQueen, the son of a small-town loup garou Alpha. Despite being the youngest of three, Rook is first in line to inherit the role of Alpha, a duty he isn’t sure he’s capable of fulfilling. When Brynn finally meets Rook, she doesn’t expect the attraction that draws her to him—and him to her.

No longer believing him a murderer, Brynn and Rook strike an alliance to find her father’s real killer. But when his older brother is targeted by an unknown enemy, Rook will have to choose between his growing feelings for Brynn and his duty as the future Alpha of his community.

INCLUDES A PREVIEW OF THE NEXT TITLE IN THE CORNERSTONE TRILOGY, GRAY BISHOP.


Cornerstone Run Trilogy
Black Rook Gray Bishop White Knight

 


Excerpt – Chapter 1


Brynn Atwood observed the entrance to McQueen’s Auction House, as she had done for the past few minutes while she gathered the courage she needed to leave the safety of her rental car. A steady stream of vehicles entered the parking lot and ejected browsers and buyers, all eager to view today’s auction and visit with acquaintances seen only during these once-a-week sales. Not Brynn. She was certainly the only person who’d showed up today intending to prevent a murder.

Walking alone into a town populated with and run by loup garou wasn’t the smartest thing she had ever done in her twenty-four years, but it certainly counted as the bravest. If she managed to achieve her goal, even her father would have to admit to her courage and to the validity of her visions. He didn’t trust in her seer ability, nor did he believe that her vision of him being murdered by a loup garou would come true.

“Surely you know I would never put myself into a situation that would result in such a calamitous outcome,” her father, Archimedes Atwood, had said the previous day. And as with every chilly encounter between them in the last few months, he’d spoken with the impatience of a strict teacher correcting a belligerent child. “Perhaps some of your visions have come true on occasion, but do not use me to distract attention from your own disgrace. I have no more time for this nonsense.”

Her visions were always nonsense.

Archimedes was a Prime Magus in the Congress of Magi, one of four, as well as a powerful practitioner of elemental magic. He’d never hidden his disappointment over Brynn’s uncontrollable precognitive powers—powers he had yet to acknowledge were real—or her inability to one day claim his spot on the Congress. She was too weak, a failure as a Magus. She couldn’t even manage to keep her job as a Congress tutor for more than two years. All she had left were her infrequent visions, in whatever time or manner they chose to come.

And worse yet, he had all but accused her of fabricating this vision and the need to save him in order to make up for the shame she’d brought to their name when she was fired. She didn’t want the vision to be true. She wanted her father alive for many years to come.

She would figure out how to save him on her own. She would prove her value.

Brynn climbed out of her car and surveyed the quickly filling parking lot. In any new situation, her best first step was to observe her surroundings, study others, and discover the way to best fit in. She had never before attended a public auction of any sort; she knew only that antiques and other goods were bid upon and purchased, sometimes at outrageous prices. Some patrons walked into the building carrying their own boxes, clearly expecting to purchase items. Others entered carrying only cups of coffee or soda, or small children.

The variety of patrons surprised her: young and old, scruffy and well-kempt, couples and singles and large groups, and families. Some drove up with pickups and vans; some parked expensive cars in the narrow, crowded lot. Everyone seemed at ease.

I must stick out like a smoking vampire in daylight.

Standing there like a fool would only garner her unwanted attention. Subtlety was the route to accomplishing her task. Brynn forced her feet to carry her forward, past other vehicles, toward the main entrance. Everyone seemed to be entering the large, barnlike building through those glass double doors. A few people came back to the parking lot from the side of the building, which indicated a back entrance/exit, as well. She’d tried to find blueprints of the layout before her arrival, but getting any sort of in-depth information on Cornerstone, Pennsylvania, was next to impossible.

The town had a small population of six hundred forty-one residents, and Brynn could guess that about ten percent were human. Cornerstone was founded by a run of loup garou nearly two centuries ago, and was one of a dozen similar safe havens around the country. Much like the Congress of Magi and a few surviving nests of vampires, loup garou runs required secrecy and anonymity to survive in the modern world. The weekly auctions at McQueen’s brought outside income to the town without the interference of tourism or industry, and it kept them from appearing too insular to the outside world.

Her father stubbornly refused to have any faith in her abilities, but Brynn’s visions of the future came true without fail, and the most recent had led her here to McQueen’s Auction House. Led her to the loup garou she’d seen standing over her father’s broken body. The man her careful research told her was named Rook McQueen.

The boy, she corrected.

As a general rule, her people did not trust technology. The Magi trusted tradition and magic above all else. Growing up an only child with few friends, Brynn spent hundreds of hours on her computer—a gift awarded by her father on her twelfth birthday, as a means to keep her mind occupied beyond the limited resources of their home’s physical library. Only weeks before, she had spoken to him of her first vision. In the middle of reading a book, she had seen a clear image of a baby bird falling from a nest. It disturbed her so much that she’d fled into the backyard in time to see it happen. She scooped the tiny robin up and climbed the tree where she spotted the nest, returning the lost baby to its siblings.

She was so proud when she told her father about it that night—not only the bird, but the premonition. Her very first display of a Magus power. “Manifestations of a child’s overactive imagination,” he had scoffed. “Do not bother me with these small things, daughter.”

The computer became her gateway to the outside world, a link to knowledge far beyond the borders of her home in Chestnut Hill. And like the young sleuths in the slim novels she’d loved so much, Brynn taught herself how to research and investigate—skills that had served her well these last few days as she raced to identify her father’s killer.

One of three sons of Thomas McQueen, the auction house’s owner, Rook was two years younger than herself, a recent college graduate, and the former lead singer of a popular local rock band—not exactly the portrait of a killer, loup garou or otherwise. And yet the brief glimpse of him in her vision, skin marked with tattoos, human teeth bared, and hands covered in her father’s blood, showed him capable of violence, as all loup garou inevitably were.

She would not allow her father to become Rook McQueen’s victim. Archimedes Atwood was too important, not only to herself but to the Congress of Magi. The Magi were small in number, and they relied on their leaders to protect them from their enemies, including the volatile, deadly loup garou. And as an elemental Magi, he was among the most powerful. Few others shared his ability to manipulate fire. Their people needed him, so Brynn needed to protect him. She had to find a way to prevent her father’s murder before it occurred.

The biggest blank in her research was Rook’s relationship to the run’s Alpha. Brynn had no access to the Congress’s files on the loup garou, and she couldn’t directly ask her father for the name of Cornerstone’s Alpha—her father had no idea she’d identified his would-be assassin, or that she was in central Pennsylvania doing reconnaissance on said assassin, instead of at the family home wallowing in her professional disgrace.

A random loup killing her father carried a very different meaning than a loup from within the higher ranks of the run’s Alpha family—the latter could easily be considered an act of war against the Congress of Magi. A foolishly begun war, as the Magi and loup had maintained an uneasy peace for the last sixty years.

Concentrate, foolish girl, before you get yourself killed. This isn’t one of your novels, this is real.

Brynn smoothed her palms down the front of her green t-shirt and tugged at the hem. She stopped, recognizing the nervous gesture, a habit from the two years she’d worked as a Congress tutor, which required skirts and blouses and high heels. The t-shirt, denim shorts, and Keds combination she’d chosen for today’s mission had been partly for comfort in the August heat and partly to blend in. The final piece of her costume was the Magus pendant hidden behind the t-shirt, which would act as a sensory mirror and hide her natural scent—any loup sniffing her for signs of “other” would smell a common human female, instead of a Magus. The auction attracted dozens of human buyers, but the people who ran it and worked there were still loup. The pendant was her only real protection against their sense of smell.

The stolen pendant, you fool. Plucking it from her father’s office had nearly given her fits, and her father would be apoplectic when he discovered it was missing—yet another reason to finish her task and return home posthaste. Maybe, just maybe, she could prevent this vision from coming true. She had to try.

Nerves twisted her stomach into a tight ball that nearly squeezed the air from her lungs. The thump of music and drone of voices greeted her as Brynn pushed open the door and stepped inside McQueen’s Auction House.

Avesta, protect me, your loyal daughter.

Plea to the Magi’s patron sent, Brynn forced her anxiety into the background and paid closer attention to her surroundings. The entrance was spacious, with a short hallway and a brightly painted “Restrooms” sign on her immediate right. On the left was a bulletin board covered in layers of posters and flyers advertising yard sales and on-site auctions. Past it was a roped-off stairwell going up to parts unknown. A handsome young man in cowboy boots and a matching leather hat leaned near the stairwell, sipping from a Styrofoam cup, as though he lived solely to hold up that particular wall.

His intent gaze landed on her, and she didn’t have to search for the copper flecks in his brown eyes to know he was loup garou. Brynn’s insides froze, but she forced out a calm, flirty smile. She knew she was attractive enough to gather a few second glances, and he was what she might hesitantly call beautiful—if a man could be considered so—with a slim nose and perfectly symmetrical features. However beautiful, this man was also her enemy. His body was fit, impeccably toned, and even at ease he thrummed with the power of his caged beast. He also wasn’t Rook McQueen, so although he was quite pleasant to look at, he did not hold her interest.

He tilted his head in a friendly gesture, then winked. Brynn blushed and ducked her head, a reaction she did not have to fake. Male attention of any sort nowadays left her insides squirrely, a sense of bitter panic residing where her confidence had once dwelled. She also needed to remain inconspicuous while here, and flirting with a local cowboy was not the way to stay alive.

Brynn followed an elderly couple out into the main room. She slipped over to her left, out of the flow of traffic, and absorbed the scene of orderly chaos. An elevated pair of cash registers stood near the entrance, with lines on each side. The customers in line traded personal information for a large index card with a number written in black marker. Cards in hand, the customers went to one of many places in the cavernous room.

Dozens of tables of merchandise were set up along the perimeter of the room, three rows deep, and at the center of it all was a dais, two stools, and a microphone. Directly behind the dais was a long row of antique furniture and four glass cases. Rows of mismatched chairs covered the rest of the floor space, facing the dais. At least half the chairs were marked by either sitting bodies or empty boxes waiting for their owners. In the far back of the room, close to Brynn’s position, was a food counter advertising sandwiches and chips and cold sodas, and it produced the bitter scent of over-brewed coffee. Opposite Brynn was another set of propped-open double doors, and a steady stream of people moved in and out of a second room that seemed crowded with boxes.

Someone jostled past on a waft of coffee-scented air, alerting Brynn to the competing odors in the room. The food counter fought with the tang of human body odor, as well as the musty stink of old paper and leather. A damp smell, like rain, hung over everything else, reminding her that even though she was surrounded by human beings, nonhumans also mingled. Every loup in the room posed a threat to her safety.

Brynn walked along the back wall, out of the heavier flow of people, alert for her prey. She spotted three other men who set off her loup alarms. Each wore a black t-shirt and jeans, just like the man outside in the cowboy boots.

McQueen employees. They must be.

One of them lingered near the dais, chatting with an older woman in a purple caftan, giving her his full attention while still managing to observe the room. He had a strong facial resemblance to the loup in the entrance, and a stronger resemblance to the photo she’d found of Rook. Each could easily be one of Rook’s two brothers. Brynn swallowed hard, mouth dry. If two of the three McQueen brothers worked here, maybe Rook did, as well. He could appear at any moment.

Your brother may one day murder my father.

The thought saddened her. Rook wasn’t just a potential murderer. He was also a brother and a son, and his family would miss him if he were gone. They would also fight to protect him the moment they considered her a threat.

You can’t think about that now, foolish girl.

Brynn inhaled a steadying breath. She palmed her right hand in her left, the fingers of her left hand smoothing over the gold band of the ring she wore on her right index finger. The top of the ring appeared to be a piece of costume jewelry, a blue gem the size of a nickel. A blue gem filled with a paralytic poison, developed decades ago to specifically target the loup garou’s nervous system. One tap of the ring would send a dose of poison down the ring’s band to her hand, and one firm handshake with any loup would put enough on his skin to kill him within an hour. No one would suspect such an innocuous item to be a deadly weapon, which was exactly the reason she’d stolen it from her father’s study.

As a small child, she had once overheard him boasting to another Magus of using the ring to drug an unsuspecting loup garou, and they were none the wiser. She had thought this made her father particularly clever, and the moment had stayed with her. Brynn Atwood might walk alone into a loup sanctuary town, but she wouldn’t walk in unarmed.

She had a single dose of the antidote hidden in her car in case she accidentally poisoned someone—no sense in leaving that to chance. She might be willing to kill to protect her father and she would defend herself if attacked, but she would not hurt an innocent loup.

If loup could be considered innocent. Her father would scoff at the notion.

She had considered her plan a dozen different ways before engaging. She didn’t rush blindly ahead. She rarely undertook any sort of action without having first clearly considered the potential outcomes. The only action guaranteeing her vision never came true was her removing Rook from the equation. Murdering him first. That was, however, a last resort action that almost guaranteed her own death at loup garou hands, as well as bringing the full power of her father’s anger down on their run.

She preferred the plan where she observed, gathered information, possibly discovered who the run Alpha was so she could introduce herself, and then took steps to prevent her vision that left all involved happy and healthy—her father especially.

Awareness prickled up her spine just as a male voice said, “You look a bit lost, miss.”

Brynn turned, not terribly surprised to find the cowboy from the entrance watching her. The cup was gone, but he still wore the silly leather hat, which cast a shadow over his eyes. It didn’t hide his beauty, though.

Enemy.

“I was supposed to meet someone here, but I don’t see them yet,” she said, the rehearsed lie falling easily from her lips.

“That explains it, then.” His tone was light, his voice lyrical and calming, but it still held a hint of danger. And challenge.

“Explains what?”

“Why you looked like you were casing the place.”

She laughed without forcing it, finding actual humor in the comment. “Do you often have problems with armed robbers staging stickups here?”

“No, but we’ve caught a few thieves over the years, trying to break in and steal items before they go up for sale.”

“Are you saying I look like a thief?”

“You just looked a little lost, that’s all. This your first time here?”

“It’s that obvious?”

He lifted his left shoulder in a shrug. “My father owns the place, and I’ve worked for him since I was a kid. I know all of the regulars, and most of the semi-regulars. New faces are easy to spot, especially faces as pretty as yours.”

Two things solidified for Brynn then: this man was definitely one of the McQueen brothers, and he was definitely flirting with her. Inbred disgust at the loup’s attention seized her, and she barely managed to stall a physical reaction.

He jumped, then his hand went to his jeans pocket. Brynn’s rising alarm calmed when he whipped out a vibrating cell phone and checked a message. “Damn,” he said as he tucked the phone away again. “Work calls.”

“Don’t let me keep you.”

“I hope your friend shows soon. In the meantime, take a look around. We’ve got a lot of great stuff today.”

“Thank you.”

“My pleasure.”

He eased past her and walked straight up the center aisle of chairs to the dais, directly to the other man she suspected of being a McQueen. She watched them from the corner of her eye, but the other man gestured at the furniture behind the dais. They didn’t seem to be talking about her. She’d just had a conversation with her target’s brother and no one suspected a thing.

Don’t get cocky. Things could still go badly in a moment’s time.

She pushed away the voice of reason. A little more confident now, Brynn gave herself permission to look around. It was her first auction, after all. She wandered to the other side of the room, as much to make a show of belonging as to check out some of the items for sale. She’d always assumed auctions were full of dirty antiques and shiny glass baubles, but the table nearest her was covered with books. Boxes and boxes of books—hardcovers, paperbacks, textbooks, in all genres and on all subjects. The reams of knowledge in those boxes made her chest ache for the satisfaction she used to get from teaching.

Until last month, when she was fired from her tutor position and found herself with zero standing among her people, and with no hope for her future.

Maybe after this you’ll find a new calling as a Congress investigator.

Smiling at the ridiculous notion, she picked up a thick copy of the annotated works of Homer and smoothed back the torn corner of its dust jacket. Nostalgia for school and learning settled heavily in her chest, so heavily it tried to force up tears. She’d briefly considered returning to school and earning a new degree, since history and education hadn’t served her very well. Briefly. If the Alpha reacted badly to her presence in his town, or Rook took issue with her allegations, she’d never get the chance to reconsider her education more thoroughly.

She’d never get the chance to do a lot of things. Her father once said that loup justice was swift and merciless.

She put the book down and pinched the bridge of her nose, damming the tears and steeling her nerves. She would not cry, not here in public. Not when she needed to accomplish a job that required her full attention.

A flash of movement caught her attention, and Brynn turned her head toward the entrance. Her gaze drifted up. Above the entrance, probably accessible from that roped-off staircase, was a large window and a room behind. Two men stood at the window, talking and gesturing, in what looked like an office. Probably the manager’s office, which gave him a bird’s-eye view of his business.

The shorter of the two men captured and held her attention. Hints of a tattoo peeked out from beneath the sleeve of his black t-shirt. Metal glinted in his right earlobe, and another tattoo—or possibly the same—crept down his ear to his neck and disappeared into the collar of his shirt.

Even in profile, Brynn knew him. Fear and rage collided in a storm of cold and heat, and she clenched her hands into tight fists.

Rook McQueen. Her father’s future killer.

Blood rushed hot in her veins, and her heart thumped harder. He wasn’t just a face in a vision any longer. He was real.

“Ma’am?” The strange male voice alarmed Brynn into spinning around too fast. Her elbow clipped the voice owner in the chest and he grunted. Brynn’s stomach bottomed out. The man from the front of the room, her second McQueen brother suspect, frowned darkly, and she saw her own death there.

“I’m so sorry,” Brynn said. “Are you all right?”

“Fine. I’m sorry to bother you, but do you drive a white Dodge Neon?”

She blinked at the odd question about her rental car. “Yes, I do.”

“Someone reported that they backed into your car. You may want to come with me and exchange insurance information.”

“Oh for Av—God’s sake.” Brynn mentally slapped herself for the near slip. Using “Avesta’s sake” in the presence of a loup garou was as obvious as wearing a t-shirt that said “Yes, I’m a Magus Spy. Kill Me.”

“Small lot, so it happens once in a while,” the man said. Up close, she better saw the resemblance to the cowboy-wannabe in his narrow nose and hooded eyes. However, the slight roundness in his cheekbones and higher forehead showed a more pronounced similarity to Rook. And he was definitely older than the other two. “The auction doesn’t start for another forty minutes, if you’re worried about missing something.”

“No, it’s fine,” Brynn said, even though it wasn’t. The coincidence unnerved her, but she had no choice except to see how this played out.

He stepped to the side. “After you.”

She walked to the end of the row of chairs and made her way back toward the auction house entrance, keenly aware of her shadow’s presence, and that she’d just turned her back on one of her people’s greatest enemies.

 




 
About Kelly Meade


Raised on a steady diet of Star Wars, Freddy Krueger and “Fear Street” novels, Kelly Meade developed a love for all things paranormal at a very young age. The stealthy adolescent theft of a tattered paperback from her grandmother’s collection of Harlequins sparked an interest in romance that has continued to this day.

Black Rook is the first novel in her Cornerstone Run series, a paranormal romance trilogy from Berkley Intermix that also includes Gray Bishop and White Knight. It follows three loup garou brothers who will do anything to protect their town, their family, and the secret of their existence—and maybe fall in love in the process.

Writing as Kelly Meding, Three Days to Dead is the first book in her Dreg City urban fantasy series. The series follows Evangeline Stone, a paranormal hunter who is resurrected into the body of a stranger and has only three days to solve her own murder and stop a war between the city’s goblins and vampires. Additional books in the series, As Lie the Dead, Another Kind of Dead, and Wrong Side of Dead, are available in both digital format and mass market paperback from Bantam. Book five, Requiem for the Dead, is available digitally through all platforms.

Trance begins the story of the grown-up children of the world’s slaughtered superheroes who receive their superpowers back after a mysterious fifteen-year absence, and who now face not only a fearful public, but also a vengeful villain who wants all of them dead. Trance and Changeling are available now in both digital format and mass market paperback from Pocket Books. Tempest and Chimera are available in digital format only via Pocket Star. All four MetaWars books can also be purchased as a digital bundle.

KellyMeding.com | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Tumblr




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Tour Schedule
July 01 [Insert Clever Quip Here] July 15 Rantings of a Reading Addict
  Pure Textuality July 16 Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks
  SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews July 17 Rabid Reads
July 02 Rage, Sex, and Teddy Bears July 18 BookSkater
  Wild Wordy Women   Addicted 2 Heroines
July 03 Booked and Loaded July 21 Paranormal Haven
July 04 MM Jaye Writes July 22 All Things Urban Fantasy
  Toot’s Book Reviews   Gizmo’s Reviews
July 07 Geeks in High School   Totally Addicted to Reading
July 08 Rhi Reading July 23 Deal Sharing Aunt
July 09 The Book Nympho July 24 Book Lovin’ Mamas
July 10 Angel’s Guilty Pleasures July 25 Between Dreams and Reality
July 11 Mad Hatter Reads July 28 I Feel the Need, the Need to Read
  Wendy Dawn’s Wicked World   Platypire Reviews
July 14 Romancing the Dark Side July 29 Indie Author How-To
  Wicked Women Book Blog July 30 WTF Are You Reading?
July 15 I Smell Sheep   Jami Gray’s Blog
    July 31 Tez Says



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Source: http://rabidreads.ca/2014/07/spotlight-giveaway-black-rook-by-kelly-meade.html

Reading progress update: I've listened 180 out of 633 minutes.

Charming - Elliott James

Great narration, lovin' the story. Wish there wasn't a Valkyrie character cuz I'm seriously burnt out from Norse mythology, but that's just me...

Review: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Review: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
Midnight Thief
Series: Midnight Thief #1
Author: Livia Blackburne
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Published on: July 8 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: 368 pages, Hardcover
Provided by: Purchased
two-starstwo-stars
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Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

FreakyFantasyBeast

Before I read Midnight Thief, I took the advice of various and sundry others, and read the prequel, Poison Dance, and I really liked it. Having since read the book, I’m going to hazard a guess that the point of the prequel was to, if not make a sympathetic character out of Midnight Thief‘s villain, then to at least explain why he was the way he was.

 

But it didn’t quite work that way for me.

 

I feel like I’ve said this recently, so if I’m repeating myself, I apologize, but in real life, we make allowances for people based on their life experiences—what they’ve been through, how they’ve suffered, etc.

 

In a book . . . maybe it’s all the same for you, but . . . I’m not much interested in the characters who have turned into meek, little mouse-things, b/c they can’t handle what life has dealt them, or in this case, the character who has turned into a bitter and manipulative, cold bastard, b/c someone from the upper classes did him wrong.

 

For a character to be redeemable, he has to show that he possesses (<——present tense) the tiniest shred of humanity. Who cares that he used to be an okay guy, but then life happened, and here we are?

 

Not me. #sorryimnotsorry *shrugs*

 

Kyra is a thief. She’s a thief who gets recruited by the Master of the Assassins’ Guild (James) to . . . well, she doesn’t need to worry her pretty, little head about that. He’ll tell her when she needs to know.

 

*frowns*

 

Initially, I didn’t think it was strange for the Assassins’ Guild to headhunt a thief—they’re all criminals, right?—but by the end . . . I felt I should have been more suspicious. I can’t decide if I should fault Kyra for making the same mistake, BUT you’d expect someone who grew up on the streets to be a bit more savvy.

 

And she is reluctant.

 

Ultimately the decision to join the Guild is made after a series of events, that even as they were happening, I couldn’t help but wonder, if James had set the whole thing up. Or at the very least, laid in wait until an opportunity presented itself. I still don’t know, but it was carefully orchestrated by someone—James or Blackburne, take your pick.

In fact, the entire story felt carefully orchestrated.

 

Kyra is an orphan, and doesn’t have much in the way of even an adopted family: Bella is a mother figure who lost her only child at sea, and Flick, the several-years-older-than-her bastard son of a nobleman, who inexplicably took an interest in her when she was child. There are also two street children she’s bonded with, b/c they remind her of herself at that age.

 

But there is no gang of rough and tumble we-grew-up-on-the-streets-together friends for life.

 

And that’s not really surprising, b/c Kyra is the most noble of thieves . . . so noble that it’s hard to imagine her having any friends at all. I can’t see her moral high ground being a crowd favorite when they’re all hanging out in their street rat clubhouse.

 

She’s also painstakingly crafted to be a victim of circumstance—Kyra is only a thief, b/c 1. she was starving and had to do something to feed herself, and 2. her almost unbelievable cat-like reflexes, balance, fearlessness, etc. It’s almost like thievery was her only option, so who could possibly blame her?

 

Carefully. Orchestrated.

 

I had to keep reminding myself that Kyra was a thief, not an assassin, when her adamant refusals to expand her criminal repertoire started making my eyes twitch (don’t misunderstand, it’s not like I wanted her to go on a killing spree or something, but her protests were so . . . self-righteous—”I don’t mind hanging out and working with assassins, and I desperately want their respect and acceptance, but don’t you dare ask me to be one, b/c I’m better than that”), [View post to see spoiler]

 

The further I got into the book, the more it felt like it was following a predetermined formula. Kyra, who I initially liked, became more and more two dimensional. She was like one of Nimue’s paintings that lacked life from Hunting Ground, Alpha and Omega #2 by Patricia Briggs. The other characters were the same.

 

I saw every plot twist a mile away, and the ending was laughably maudlin.

 

I really wanted to like this book, and for the first 150-200 pages, I thought that I did. But the world-building was superficial—I still have no idea why the Demon Riders migrated to Forge beyond a vague reference to humans poisoning their land. I know that the Head of the Counsel is a stock Noble of the bad variety, but is there a King or a Queen? And the characters . . . I couldn’t connect with them. The end.

 

However, I have been increasingly unimpressed with YA fantasy’s recent offerings, and MANY respected friends and bloggers have had a decidedly different take on Midnight Thief. Check out Marcela’s review at The Bookaholic Cat or Tabitha’s review at Not Yet Read for compelling reasons to try this book. Just b/c I didn’t like it, doesn’t mean you won’t. I have been known to be a crankypants.<——true story.

 

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Source: http://rabidreads.ca/2014/07/review-midnight-thief-by-livia-blackburne.html

Reading progress update: I've listened 16 out of 633 minutes.

Charming - Elliott James

#Listening - "Vampires only sparkle when they burn."

Review: Jabril by D.B. Reynolds

Review: Jabril by D.B. Reynolds
Jabril
Series: Vampires in America #2
Author: D.B. Reynolds
Publisher: ImaJinn Books, Inc.
Published on: December 22 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: 268 pages, eBook
Provided by: Purchased
four-half-starsfour-half-starsfour-half-starsfour-half-starsfour-half-stars
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Houston, Texas—Cowboy boots, baseball, and journeys to the stars . . . right?

Wrong. Because Houston is also home to Jabril Karim, one of the eight powerful vampire lords who control all of North America. And as Private Investigator Cynthia Leighton will soon discover, not all vampire lords are created equal.

Jabril is the face of evil in the new world, a vampire who values no life but his own, who enslaves those he desires, steals whatever he covets, and destroys anyone who stands in his way.

Running from L.A. and its seductive vampire lord, Raphael, Cyn sees the Houston job as a welcome refuge, a place to get away and heal her broken heart. But Texas will be no vacation. Cyn will confront a true enemy in Jabril, one who will go to any lengths to satisfy his lusts, enrich his coffers, and expand his power.

Fighting for the lives of two young sisters, Cyn’s journey will take her through the streets of Houston and back to L.A., where the human police are determined to bring Raphael down for the murder of one of their own. But the danger doesn’t end there.

Jabril has set his sights on Cyn, and he will stop at nothing to have her.

It’s sometimes hard to read a book series back to back, but this wasn’t one of those times. I read this one, and the first in the series, Raphael, in a two day period recently, and liked them both-a lot. This one was the winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award,for paranormal romance(small press). The other thing interesting is that Jabril is the name of the villain, not the main character, which means that Raphael was the love interest in this book too. Yea!

 

Cynthia (Cyn)Leighton is still suffering from a broken heart after master vampire, Raphael, leaves her alone. As she is a private investigator, she decides to take on the case of a missing girl in Texas. Elizabeth is human, but under the care of her guardian, a vampire named, Jabril. The girl’s sister, Mirabelle, is also under Jabril’s rule, only she is also a vampire. The sisters have inherited a huge estate and Jabril has taken it over and is just waiting for Elizabeth to turn eighteen before he changes her, as he did Mirabelle. As he is their master, or in Elizabeth’s case, will be, that puts all of the estate in Jabril’s hands. I should mention that Jabril is just flat out evil-not one shred of anything else but evil. Cyn of course is having none of it. She takes one look at Jabril and knows that both sisters need to be free of him. And let me tell you, Jabril’s wrath is pretty unreal. Raphael is really not happy with Cyn either. He knows exactly what Jabril motives are towards Cyn, and they have everything to do with Raphael.

 

I haven’t found a series that I liked this well in awhile. I have a huge tbr pile and that means I usually read the first of a series, have every intention of reading the next one, and in most cases, still haven’t. So the fact that I immediately read the second one of this series after finishing the first, is very telling. I found them to be well written, suspenseful, bloody and very sensual. Cyn is not one of those simpering main characters that have to be rescued by the hero. She can hold her own with vampires and does so-even if the odds are stacked against her. I also enjoyed getting to know more about Raphael, and his reasons for leaving Cyn behind.

 

The next book features another couple from what I can tell. I do know that the author revisits this couple in at lease a couple novellas. I am going to try and read these books in order, no matter how much I want to finish reading more about Cyn and Raphael! My hope is that the next books, and their main characters, are just as entertaining, and the characters as well drawn, as the characters in these first two books. If you haven’t read the first book in this series, you really should, as this book will make a lot more sense! FYI-This one does not have a cliffhanger-good news!

 

Lorna

Source: http://rabidreads.ca/2014/07/review-jabril-by-d-b-reynolds.html

Paranormal New Releases: July 15th

Paranormal Romance:

Knight Avenged
Knight Avenged (Circle of Seven #2)
by Coreene Callahan
Paranormal Romance
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

Alone in a world on the brink of war…two unlikely allies will discover a love greater than time.

Exiled from her home, powerful oracle Cosmina Cordei holds the key to uniting those protecting mankind from evil. But just as she makes her way into the holy city to perform an ancient rite, the enemy closes in for the kill…

Drawn by a destiny he won’t accept, elite assassin Henrik Lazar detests the mystical curse handed down by his mother. But when the sorcery in his blood is activated and past pain comes back to haunt him, his new abilities come into play and he must learn to control them.

Rescued by Henrik in the heat of battle, Cosmina must decide whether to trust the assassin who loathes the goddess she serves or face certain death on her own. Forced into an untenable position, Henrik is left with a terrible choice—protect the magical Order he despises, or deny destiny and lose the woman he loves forever.

 

Masters of Seduction: Books 1-4
by Lara Adrian, Donna Grant, Laura Wright, Alexandra Ivy
Paranormal Romance / Anthology
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

In the realm of the Incubi Masters, pleasure is to die for and love is the deadliest game of all . . .

Surrender to sinful pleasures and forbidden passions with Masters of Seduction, the sizzling new paranormal romance novella series from New York Times and internationally bestselling authors Lara Adrian, Donna Grant, Laura Wright and Alexandra Ivy.

This all-new, never-before-published boxed set contains the first four novellas in the Masters of Seduction series. Each book in the collection is approximately 20-25,000 words.

Merciless: House of Gravori ~ by Lara Adrian
Soulless: House of Romerac ~ by Donna Grant
Shameless: House of Vipera ~ by Laura Wright
Ruthless: House of Xanthe ~ by Alexandra Ivy

 

Shifter’s Claim Part 2
(Shadow Shifters #4)
by A.C. Arthur
Paranormal Romance
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

In Shifter’s Claim Part II, from The Shadow Shifters series by A.C. Arthur, Priya never imagined there was truth to the story she’d been forced to track down, she never imagined coming face to face with a man that can shift into a cat.

Bas hadn’t meant to reveal himself to her, he’d tried to protect the secret. Now, it was out and he wonders what the reporter will do with the information and more importantly, how the woman will react to this new facet of the man.

 

Black Rook (Cornerstone Run Trilogy #1)
by Kelly Meade
Paranormal Romance
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

She never saw this coming…

Brynn Atwood is a low-level Magus whose unpredictable precognitive powers have made her an outcast among her people—and an embarrassment to her highly-regarded father. After a frightening vision in which her father is murdered by a loup garou man, Brynn decides to prove herself by finding the killer, and stopping them at any cost.

Her target is Rook McQueen, the son of a small-town loup garou Alpha. Despite being the youngest of three, Rook is first in line to inherit the role of Alpha, a duty he isn’t sure he’s capable of fulfilling. When Brynn finally meets Rook, she doesn’t expect the attraction that draws her to him—and him to her.

No longer believing him a murderer, Brynn and Rook strike an alliance to find her father’s real killer. But when his older brother is targeted by an unknown enemy, Rook will have to choose between his growing feelings for Brynn and his duty as the future Alpha of his community.

INCLUDES A PREVIEW OF THE NEXT TITLE IN THE CORNERSTONE TRILOGY, GRAY BISHOP.



Fantasy:

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)
by Deborah Harkness
Fantasy
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

The highly anticipated finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Discovery of Witches

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.

 

Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence #3)
by Max Gladstone
Fantasy
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

The third novel set in the addictive and compelling fantasy world of Three Parts Dead.

On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain. Her creations aren’t conscious and lack their own wills and voices, but they accept sacrifices, and protect their worshippers from other gods—perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen operating in the divinely controlled Old World. When Kai sees one of her creations dying and tries to save her, she’s grievously injured—then sidelined from the business entirely, her near-suicidal rescue attempt offered up as proof of her instability. But when Kai gets tired of hearing her boss, her coworkers, and her ex-boyfriend call her crazy, and starts digging into the reasons her creations die, she uncovers a conspiracy of silence and fear—which will crush her, if Kai can’t stop it first.

 

Half a King (Shattered Sea #1)
by Joe Abercrombie
Fantasy
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.



Young Adult:

Illusive (Illusive #1)
by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Young Adult / Sci Fi
Amazon GoodReads
 

Book Description

The X-Men meets Ocean’s Eleven in this edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure about a band of “super” criminals.

When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She’s what’s known as an illusionist…She’s also a thief.

After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn’t?

The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against the government that could cost them their lives.



Carmel Signature

Source: http://rabidreads.ca/2014/07/paranormal-new-releases-july-15th.html

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

The Beautiful Ashes - Jeaniene Frost

I was hooked from pages 1-250, but the ending was a bit too predictable & rushed. Full review to follow.