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Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking (Trylle Trilogy #1)

Format: ebook

Published:  July 12, 2010

Genre: Young adult, paranormal, urban fantasy, magic

Sensuality Rating: kisses

Synopsis (from Goodreads)When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn’t until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might’ve been telling the truth.

With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed – and it’s one she’s not sure if she wants to be a part of.

Review: 

At her sixth birthday party, Wendy Every’s mother tried to kill her with a cake knife. Way to kill the party vibe…

Since then Wendy has been living with her very over protective older brother, Matt, and her aunt Maggie moving every few months whenever Wendy gets kicked out of yet another school. When not another private school will take her Wendy enrols in a public school but her attitude hasn’t changed at all. Brawling with girls in the bathroom and sleeping her way though History class – that’s literally sleeping complete with drool. Nothing seems to have changed at all. Until she notices Finn Holmes – the only kid in the class that’s even newer than she is – staring at her. Constantly.

The only thing worse than his creepy behaviour is the fact that Wendy can’t help but notice how attractive Finn is. After a disastrous date to the school dance, Wendy isn’t even sure if she wants to see Finn again but he drags her into a world she’s knows nothing about complete with princesses, magical powers and trolls…

I really enjoyed this story. After reading many paranormal teen novels that follow the same formula (girl meets boy, they fall in love for no apparent reason, they have drama but end up happily ever after) I was glad to read a story where the romance isn’t the focus. Yes, Wendy does develop feelings for Finn but that’s by no means the focus in this story.

The world of the Trylle was fascinating. I love the idea of changeling children being “switched” out with the children of wealthy parents in order for the Trylle society to inherit generous trust funds that they then bring back to the society after Trackers are sent to find the changelings.

One of the few things that I did have issues  with in this novel was the pacing – there was a lot of world building and background information that was important to set up the series but I was 50 pages from the end and was waiting for the climax to start. 40 pages to the end I was still waiting. It wasn’t until twenty pages from the end that all the drama unfolded but it was all wrapped up within a few pages – it had to be because we were running out of pages before the novel ended.

I really enjoyed this story. It was a great YA paranormal story that offered me something new. I’d never read a troll story before but I will be reading another  – the sequel is already on my kindle and waiting for me! 😛

Rating: 

3.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository (paperback) / Amazon (kindle version) / FishPond (paperback)

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Book Review: Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

Book Review: Fair Game by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #3)

Format: paperback

First Published: March 6, 2012

Genres: Urban Fantasy, Shifters, Paranormal

Synopsis (from Goodreads): They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can’t afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father’s dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights…

Review: 

This book takes place just after the events of River Marked (Mercy Thompson #6) and a few years after Hunting Ground (Alpha and Omega #2). In the time that has passed since the last book in the series, Charles has become more and more affected by the job he does for his father – enforcer and assassin. He is withdrawn and even becoming neglectful of his mate and wife, Anna.

After discussion the problem with  Anna and Asil, Bran decides to send Anna off to collaborate with the FBI on a serial killer case in Boston – with Charles along as her body guard. They discover that the serial killer who has recently been targeting Werewolves has been operating for decades – and his targets are not that of the human variety. Fae have been disappearing for dozens of years with none of the supernatural world investigating. Now, with Anna and Charles on the case – with the assistance of a few local werewolves and FBI agents – the killer will be stopped. One way or another…

For me, this is a very hard book for me to review simply because I loved it. I don’t want to come across as a babbling fan girl but I’m afraid I might.

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again – I love how Ms. Briggs tortures her characters. Just because she’s let Anna and Charles get mated and married does not mean she’ll let them have an easy time of it. They’re both hurting. Charles especially – not wanting to let the spirits that haunt him to taint Anna but because of this and his pulling away from her, he’s hurting her more than ever.

I love Anna. And I love Charles. But I think what I love most about them is how they love each other. It’s evident in everything they do and how they interact. I think it’s really beautiful and a testiment to Ms. Briggs’ writing that she can write a fairly gritty urban fantasy novel where romance is very much in the background, and yet their love for each other is so prevalent.

The supporting cast in this book were brilliant. I loved the different government agencies and the feelings of forced co-operation between them. I have no doubt that the government would create a new paranormal agency just to handle new issues that would come to light with the werewolves and fae coming out into the world. I also really liked Isaac – the Alpha of the Boston pack. He gave a new insight to a different kind of alpha – you don’t need to be an old wolf to be a good alpha. Alistair Beauclaire also interested me. I feel like if Ms. Briggs ever wanted to write another spin-off with the Fae in the forefront, he would be a great character to have in it. Either as a main or serving a similar role to the one that Bran holds in this series. The fae are so interesting! All their magical powers and unspoken rules. I really would love to get a closer look at them. And the witches? I’m rather glad I’ve never had an encounter with one of Briggs’ witches…. they be crazy!

Pace wise, there was a lot of groundwork laid at the start of this novel. It did feel a little slow to begin with but after things got moving, I never felt like it was rushed. Everything felt like it was at a natural speed.

I loved the action. And I liked that the action scenes showed how Charles has grown as a person since the beginning of the series. He will always be there for Anna – but he now realizes that more importantly for her, she needs to be there for herself. They’re so perfect for each other… *dreamy sigh*

The wait for the next book is going to be painful for me! I might go into withdrawal! At least I have the other books in the series as well as the Mercy Thompson books to go back and re-read whenever I need my fix.

Rating: 

5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository (paperback)/ Amazon (kindle version) / FishPond (paperback)

Read  my review of Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega #1) by Patricia Briggs here
Read my review of Hunting Ground (Alpha and Omega #2) by Patricia Briggs here

Book Review: Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett

Book Review: Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett (Acardia Bell #1)

Format: paperback

First Published:  June 28, 2011 

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Demons, Magic, Witches

Sensuality Rating: Warm

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Meet Arcadia Bell: bartender, renegade magician, fugitive from the law. . . . 

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.

Review: 

Sometimes you wish your parents just would stay dead…

I’d been putting off reading this book for a while. Other series and books took priority. But I’m so glad I got around to reading it. Jenn Bennett might be my favourite debut author of the year. I can not put into words how much I enjoyed this book.

The world that this book is set in is brilliant. There’s magicans who have powers similar to a lot of witches I’ve read about in the past, Earthbound demons who have ‘halos’ in different colours, Æthyric demoms which are mostly pretty scary. Throw in some magical societies and a demon nightclub – not forgetting Cady’s own demon serving bar. I thought the world was written in a way that was so vivid to me. I felt like I was right there beside Cady as she tried to find the evidence that would prove her parents’ innocence. From Ms. Bennett’s writing it’s easy to see that she is an artist.

One of the more surprising things for me whilst reading this book was Jupe – Lon’s teenage son. Normally I don’t like children in novels. They come across to me as either too old for their age, too young, too cute – all it really translates for me as too annoying. But Jupe entertained me. I thought he was written perfectly – he was at that stage where he’s trying to show he’s a man of the world but at the same time he still needs  his dad around. He provided a lot of comic relief which the story needed at times. I hope we see a lot more of him in future books because I think he was my favourite character.

I loved how the story came together. It was in such a way that I was surprised by exactly how it unfolded but nothing new or out of left field was brought in just to create the climax. I loved Cady’s powers and how she used them. She’s a survivor who does what she has to but she has morals and is a decent person. I liked that about her. And the sexual tenstion between Lon and Cady? Brilliant. Their interactions and banter amused me greatly.

The second book is going to be a must buy for me.

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository (paperback) / Amazon (kindle version) / FishPond (paperback)

Book Review: That Voodoo That You Do by Jodi Redford

Book Review: That Voodoo That You Do by Jodi Redford (That Old Black Magic #1)

Format: ebook

First Published: October 12, 2010

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotic Romance, Shifters, Witches, Zombies.

Sensuality Rating: Burning!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

For ten long years Griffin Trudeau has managed to keep his paws off Jemma Finnegan, best friend and leading star of his kinkiest fantasies. As her appointed cat familiar, indulging those fantasies with the delectable witch is strictly forbidden. But when Jemma shows up at his door with seduction in mind, control goes right out the window.

Too late he realizes making love to Jemma is the trigger that launches a zombie apocalypse.

Jemma’s been dealt a double whammy: she’s just discovered she’s a witch. And Griff has been hiding whiskers and a tail. Oh, and if her life wasn’t crazy enough, a dead voodoo queen needs her blood to raise a legion of zombies.

There’s one plan that might work to increase Jemma’s powers so she can put an end to the looming holocaust. A sexy threesome with Griff and Logan Scott, a werewolf familiar with a history of rubbing Griff’s fur the wrong way. A cat and a wolf playing nice, much less sharing? It’ll take a miracle.

Warning: A witch, tiger and wolf doing naughty things. A dead voodoo queen doing evil things. And zombies doing zombie things. Get your shovels ready.

Review: 

Oh my! I wasn’t expecting this book to be as funny as I found it. From the first page I was laughing. And it’s not just funny – it’s exciting, it’s interesting and it’s earth-shatteringly hot! 😉

The story starts with Jemma Finnegan, a woman with a plan, setting out to seduce her super hunk of a best friend of ten years – Griffin Trudeau. Next comes some delicious and literally earth moving kitchen lovin’, the beginning of a zombie apocalypse and that’s just the first chapter!

From the start I loved the chemistry between Griff and Jemma. The comradeship of having been best friends for ten years was evident and the tangible sexual tension between the two was electric. I was rooting for them as a couple. And if I had any doubts of Jemma as a heroine they were wiped away when she tried to take down a zombie using a ThighBlaster.

The secondary cast of Clarissa (the coven leader) and the other witches (Mrs Peach, Gloria) were delightful. I loved the banter and pop culture references they delivered.

And Logan Scott? [He’s] the guy your mama warned you about. The ultimate biker boy complete with the mirrored shades, barbed wire tattoo and snug jeans – I loved him. Normally I don’t like any character that threatens the Happily Ever After that I desire but I loved what Logan brought to the story. The fact that he brought out Griff’s jealous side… that is just a bonus!

After finishing the book, I’m still a little unsure as to why the ménage à trois strengthened Jemma’s magic but it was such an hot and steamy scene that I’ll let it slide. I really enjoyed the creativeness of the sex scenes. And the humour that was present throughout everything.

The witch/zombie/shifter storyline was exciting too – this book, whilst mostly is about the romance and the sex also has more too it – and it kept me guessing. I loved how Jemma grew as a character. She became the kick-ass heroine that her witchy ancestors (well… most of them) would be proud of.

This is probably the funniest erotic romance that I’ve ever read. I am so excited about the next book in the series (which is out and I have already bought!) being about Clarissa and Logan. The little moments of those two were some of my favourite interludes in the story. I recommend this book for anyone who likes light hearted storyline and zombie apocalypses mixed in with their erotica.

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Amazon (kindle version) / Samhain Publishing

Book Review: Beauty in the Beast by Christine Danse

Book Review: Beauty in the Beast by Christine Danse

Format: ebook

First Published: March 5th, 2012

Source: an ARC provided by NetGalley

Genre: Fae, Fantasy Romance, Shifters, Paranormal Romance

Sensuality Rating: Kisses

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Journeying by steam-powered sled to London’s Frost Fair to perform, Tara and three friends are trapped in a blizzard in the woods. A gruff, handsome stranger offers them shelter-and wants one thing in return. Stories.

The travellers are glad to oblige. Their host, Rolph, is especially captivated by Tara’s story of an orphaned girl raised by the Fae in the world of the spirits. Equally intrigued by Rolph, and aware of an electric pull between them, Tara encourages him to share a story of his own. When Rolph weaves a tale of a man who is doomed by his own folly to turn into a wolf at the full moon, Tara suspects there is more than a grain of truth in his words.

When the veil between the mortal and spiritual worlds is parted, and danger threatens, will Tara make the ultimate sacrifice to save Rolph?

Review: 

Four travelling puppeteers and storytellers are braving a terrible blizzard when they come across a little cabin in the woods. Thankful to the strange but kind stranger who offers them lodging and food until the storm passes, they repay him by telling him stories – stories of dragons, fairies

The stories were enjoyable and were very reminiscent of other stories I’d heard before but with new twists. Whilst I enjoyed reading them, I’m not sure that Beth and Miles stories added anything extra to the novel as a whole.

Rolph’s story was my favourite. I loved the vividness and descriptions of both the story and the characters.

The interactions between Rolph and Tara were very cute. Attraction – at least on Tara’s behalf – from the moment they meet and that continues on throughout the book. It was a very sweet story.

My main negative about the story was the pace – it’s very slow. Action wise, not much happens (until the very end) and there are times when it feels like the characters talk too much about certain topics. I didn’t feel like there needed to be that many words spent in discussing travel and the vehicles they used (although I adored the term “mechanimal” for the mechanical horse) and all the details about the shopping trip that a few of the characters took into town. Sometimes less is more.

All in all, a very sweet story and an interesting take on the old Beauty and the Beast story.

Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

 Amazon (kindle version) / Carina Press (epub version)

Book Review: Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Book Review: Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #2)

Format: paperback

First Published: August 25, 2009

Genres: Urban Fantasy, Shifters, Paranormal

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Anna Latham didn’t know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son- and enforcer- of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn’t know how dangerous it could be either…

Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran’s controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan — and it seems like someone else might be too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all — or risk losing everything…

Review: 

Anna is really finding her feet! In this book Charles and Anna represent the Marrok at a werewolf convention. With all the alphas running about the place I was slightly worried for Anna but I shouldn’t have been. She more than managed to hold her own against the century old strong and dominant wolves. I love the characters in this series. Charles is used to being his father’s assassin and because of this he has always been wary of being overly friendly with anyone outside of Bran and his brother, Samuel. Briggs doesn’t forget the history she’s created for Charles (or Anna either for that matter). Charles has many things he has to overcome and in his new relationship with Anna, he has many struggles. I love that. I love that just because he has found his mate and fallen in love with his wife it doesn’t stop his former nature from showing at inappropriate times.

Anna, too, has to overcome her past in order to be with Charles. The problems they’ve both faced (separately and as a couple) are just one of the things that I find unique and refreshing with this series. The author doesn’t gloss over the hideous nature of the beast nor does she simply apply the notion of love overcoming everything. Despite the werewolf and supernatural nature of this series the character I’ve read in this book are more real to me than in so many other novels.

It was nice to see some more interaction between the Mercy Thompson series and the Alpha and Omega series – this time being in the inclusion of Fey and Vampires. The blending of the two series whilst still keeping things interesting and new is very well done. The things that we know about the Fey and the vampires already from Mercy are consistent with what Anna discovers in Hunting Ground. 

The new characters introduced in this novel delighted me. The slightly odd Arthur who believed he was the reincarnation of King Arthur, the blind witch, the Beast of Gévaudan as well as another Omega wolf and a whole range of other wolves were all brilliant. There were so many personalities and little stories playing in the background that there was always something to keep me interested.

I loved this novel. I loved the drama and the outcome. Most of all I adored the evolution of Anna and Charles’ relationship. I find it refreshing that one novel isn’t enough for one couple to go from meeting to happily ever after. This has been my favourite novel I’ve read so far this year. I can’t wait till the third in the series comes out next week. Expect to see a review of it very soon. 😉

Rating: 

5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon / FishPond

Read  my review of Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega #1) by Patricia Briggs here

Book Review: Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

Book Review: Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane (Downside Ghosts #1)

Format: paperback

First Published: May 25, 2010

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal,

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.

Review: 

In 1997 the world changed. Earth was overrun with ghosts and it very nearly didn’t survive the attack. The Church of Truth stepped in. The Church is not one of God but rather rejects faith altogether and embraces Fact. Fact is Truth. In return for saving the world the Church requests “free domination over [the people’s] bodies, [their] property, and their soul[s] (The Book of Truth, Origins, Article 230).

Enter Chess, a Church Witch – a Debunker trained in the art of banishing ghosts. Armed with asafetida, a ectoplasmarker and the skull of a psychopomp she works for the Church to rid the world of ghosts. Chess has complete faith in the Church. They saved her when she needed it. She has complete faith in the Church… and in the pills she’s addicted to.

I’ve never read a novel where the main character is so completely dependant on their addiction before. Drugs are the source of most of Chess’ problems – if she’d not been indebt to Bump then she never would have been at the airport, never would have gotten involved with Lex who supplied her with more pills, and never needed to so desperately to take on more debunking cases just so she would be able to fund a long weekend in the pipe room and have the chance to Dream. Her addiction is substantial and ever present – both in the circumstances Chess finds herself in and also in her state of mind. She’s incredibly paranoid, insecure and easily terrified. I found her a very hard character to like. She frustrated me. I didn’t like her motivation behind her actions and at times I couldn’t follow her train of thought at all – and whilst this made me dislike her character it did add to the realism that she was a confused drug addict and made the world Kane created all the more real.

Whilst I didn’t warm to Chess in the slightest, I did find myself drawn to Terrible – Bump’s chief enforcer. At first glance he was just a scary hit man but the more I got to read about him the more complex I found him. He was a scarred and tattooed bad boy who was more than just a gangster – he’s self educated and somewhat chivalrous (opening doors car doors for ladies and what not). I liked his own personal code of honour and found him to be a protector who seems to be unshakable but is also somewhat insecure with regard to his intelligence and his appearance. I loved that he became Chess’ trusted friend and protector and potentially something more romantic.

The speech of the street people (Bump in particular) is something that took a little getting used to. For the first half of the book it was irritating and annoying. But as I got more involved with the book and the story I started to notice it less and less. The descriptions in this book were beautifully written. I could almost believe I was there in parts, smelling the rotten stench of the tunnels. It was incredibly vivid.

I’m glad I persevered with this novel. For the first half I was just trying to get into it but couldn’t. I nearly put it down a dozen times but stopped myself only because so many of my friends had recommended it so highly to me. I couldn’t stand Chess’ constant need for drugs or the street people’s speech. And I felt like although things were happening, it felt like nothing was really happening. But then, around chapter 21, I was interested. Interested in what would happen to Chess, what was happening with the Church, what was happening with Terrible. The novel really picks up in speed and the things that were bothering me for the first 50% stopped being so noticeable. I still didn’t care too much for Chess but I did want to know what happened next.

The first half of the novel was necessary to set the scene or the ending wouldn’t have been nearly so powerful to read but it just took too long to hook me. If you can manage to get half way into this book, I’d recommend reading to the end. I will definitely consider reading the next book in the series – I just hope the lead up isn’t so painful to endure.

Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon / FishPond