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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: Fractured Moon by E.R. Pierce

Book Review: Fractured Moon by E.R. Pierce (Steel #1)

Format: ebook

Published:  March 3, 2012

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Shifters, Paranormal suspense,

Sensuality Rating: Hot!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Aurelia Fridell will always be a freak. Born to werewolf parents, her twin brother Ville can shift forms, but she can’t. Twenty-five years searching for answers yields nothing.

As her thirtieth birthday approaches, isolation creeps in, and worry settles in her gut. She accepted her existence long ago, and yet lately, she’s felt off-kilter. Eyes follow her, prickling her senses. Her headaches are getting worse.

Is she paranoid, or is there really someone, or something, stalking her? Watching. Waiting. Drumming fingers to a sinister beat she can’t hear.

Time will tell. 

Ceithin Starkley isn’t looking for a mate. Especially now. In fact, he doesn’t believe in true-matings at all. While he is being recruited for a new job, a scent on the wind stuns him, and he finds himself fighting an inner battle he never wanted, yet can’t ignore.

Sparks fly, as Ceithin and Aurelia fight fate and race against a clock neither knows is ticking. 

Will he claim Aurelia before he loses her for good?

Warning: This book is sexy. Contains a drool-worthy Alpha male wearing Beta clothing. A sassy and sweet heroine with brains and brothers you’ll adore. A best friend every girl would love to hate. I mean have. And an impossible road no one will see coming.

Review: 

From the very start I liked Aurelia Fridell. We meet her whilst she’s standing backstage at her brother’s bar waiting to be called out for a bachelorette auction that her best friend, Astrid (or Az for short) has roped her into participating in.  There were so many other things I should be doing with my Saturday night. Yet here I sat, nursing my Summer Ale, waiting for the current Barbie Bimbette to be sold. Soon it’d be my turn — I left my cheer meter at home. 

A little snarky and sarcastic – just how I like my heroines!

Aurelia is somewhat of an anomaly among werewolves – able to partially change her features and grow claws but not able to complete a complete shift into wolf form. This ‘defect’ makes her an outsider in her community and – despite their best efforts at being supportive – her family too. Depite this (or maybe because of it) Aurelia is a strong and capable heroine. She’s an incredibly smart, brave and passionate woman.

One year after the bachelorette auction, Aurelia comes face to face (quite literally as he tackles her to the floor of Az’s tattoo parlor) with Ceithin Starkley – a werewolf visiting the area on a business opportunity with Aurelia’s father. From the moment they meet they share incredible sexual tention – I could almost see the sparks flying! – but Ceithin sees himself as a little bit oldfashioned. He won’t cheat. Just Aurelia’s luck to meet the man who may be her fated mate and him be involved in a relationship with another woman. I admired Ceithin for that. I have to admit I get slightly annoyed when just because someone meets their fated mate – all rules and manners fly out the window.

I also relished in the chanced to see Aurelia jealous – and play a little dirty!

Just because Ceithin is in a relationship and trying to fight his werewolf nature and be faithful to his girlfriend doesn’t mean that Aurelia isn’t going to make a play for her potential mate! Her playful, sensual and jealous side made itself known when she was in the club. I didn’t expect it from her but it made me like her more. And made me realize that she wasn’t going to let circumstances stand between her and what she wanted in life. Her lack of shifting ability weighs heavily upon her and I was glad for her to see that she wasn’t going to give up. And this is fiction and a story of true mates! – so I don’t feel bad at all rooting for a woman trying to steal another woman’s boyfriend.

Ceithin unable and unwilling to ignore his desire for Aurelia, breaks up with his girlfriend and starts to court Aurelia. I loved the courting. Ever since I was 12 years old and read Jane Austen’s Persuasion for the first time, I’ve loved letters in novels. And whilst Ceithin’s emails weren’t quite as formal as Captain Wentworth’s, I loved them. He’s blunt and slightly awkward but I felt it was honest and that in itself was beautiful. Despite the chemistry and sexual tension between them – Ceithin and Aurelia got to know each other. The sex – when it happened – was hot but, for me, what made it ever better and that bit more intense was that the characters had fallen in love. This isn’t a story of instant love for no reason – these two knew each other. They knew their faults and their good qualities and genuinely cared for the other.

In addition to the romance plot, Aurelia has someone tormenting her with no apparent reason. Her tires are slashed and her house ransacked. Throw in some nearly incapacitating and blinding headaches

As the story goes on we get to find out more about why Aurelia can’t shift, her special mental bond with her brother, Ville. I thought it was an inventive and creative plot. I really enjoyed how everything unfolded. Many questions I had early in the novel were answered and I was satisfied with the ending. There was a shift in the point-of-view for a few chapters that I didn’t really like. I understand why it was necessary but the main reason why I liked this book was  Aurelia’s sassiness, her cheekiness and how at times she mentally berated  herself. She was a fantastic narrator. I missed that when we switched to Ceithin’s POV.

I really enjoyed reading this book. There is a lot to love about the characters and the storyline. It was interesting and sexy and highly enjoyable.

Rating: 

4 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Amazon (kindle version) / All Romance Ebooks (mobi, epub, html and pdf formats)

Click here to visit the author’s home page

Book Review: Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu

Book Review: Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu (Dirk and Steele #1)

Format: paperback

First Published:  March 6,  2005

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Shifters, Urban Fantasy, Magic

Sensuality Rating: Warm

Synopsis (from Goodreads)He looks out of place in Dela Reese’s Beijing hotel room- exotic and poignant, some mythic, tragic hero of an epic tale. With his feline yellow eyes, he’s like nothing from her world. Yet Dela has danced through the echo of his soul and knows this warrior will obey her every command.

Hari has been used and abused for millennia. But he sees, upon his release from the riddle box, that this new mistress is different. There is a hidden power in Dela’s eyes- and with her, he may regain all that was lost to him. Where once he savaged, now he must protect; where once he only knew hatred, now he must embrace love. Dela is the key. For Dela, he will risk all.

Review: 

Dela Reese, an artist and sword-maker, is visiting Beijing for business when she comes across a mysterious old woman in the Dirt Market. The old woman insists that Dela buys an ancient little wooden puzzle box and from that moment things get even stranger. On her way back to the hotel Dela is accosted by a man who grabs her but Dela manages to get away. After returning to her room, Dela manages to open the puzzle box only to have a seven foot ancient, shape-shifting warrior pop out. Hari was cured thousands of years ago to do whatever his summoner demands from him – anything from killing to bedding them. Naturally to say, Hari is instantly suspicious and distrusting of his new mistress.

Throw in a few attempts on Dela’s life, the Chinese mafia, some more shape shifters and a few of the agents from Dirk and Steele detective agency and you’ll get a fairly entertaining story.

I enjoyed the characters in this story. Dela was a strong character who was brave and intelligent. Hari was hot and one of those characters that seem to be a little too perfect – he was too caring, too self-sacrificing, too handsome. There’s just something about characters like Hari that rub me the wrong way. I like my heroes to be a bit more flawed in terms of how they treat their mates. He’s just… with the exception of how they first meet and how suspicious he is of Dela, he seems to think she’s perfect. And she’s not. But I liked that about her. I just wish that Hari take off his rose coloured glasses for a little bit.

Whirlwind romances aren’t really my thing and Dela and Hari do fall in love VERY quickly.  I think it’s only a week from meeting to the final showdown. But I liked the development of their relationship. It was a nice progression, just a little intense time-wise.

The members of Dirk and Steele – a ‘detective’ agency where the agents all have special abilities – were a great supporting cast. They’re all a little damaged and should make good heroes in their own books later in the series. There’s nothing I like more than warrior men who have a caring side – which all of these men had.

I didn’t love this book but I did enjoy many parts of it. The romance was sweet, the characters were enjoyable. I will be continuing to read the rest (or at least the next book) of the series. 🙂

Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

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

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: Succubus Nights (aka. Succubus On Top) by Richelle Mead

Book Review: Succubus Nights (aka. Succubus On Top) by Richelle Mead (Georgina Kincaid #2)

Format: paperback

First Published: May 5th, 2008

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Demons, Angels, Vampires

Sensuality Rating: Warm

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Georgina Kincaid’s job sucks. Literally.

Love hurts, and no one knows it better than Georgina Kincaid. If she so much as kisses Seth Mortensen, the shy, sexy, incredibly gifted Seattle writer she’s been dating, she’ll drain his life force. Georgina is a succubus-a demon who draws her power from other men’s pleasure. Admittedly, the shapeshifting and immortality perks are terrific, and yes, Georgina did choose to join the ranks of hell centuries ago. But it seems completely unfair that a she-demon whose purpose is seduction can’t get hot and heavy with the one mortal who knows and accepts her for who she is.

It’s not just her personal life that’s in chaos. Doug, Georgina’s co-worker at a local bookstore, has been exhibiting bizarre behavior, and Georgina suspects that something far more demonic than double espressos is at work. She could use help finding out, but Bastien, an irresistibly charming incubus and her best immortal friend, is preoccupied with corrupting an ultra-conservative talk radio star-and giving Georgina some highly distracting come-hither vibes. Georgina is going to have to work solo on this one-and fast because soon, Doug’s life won’t be the only one on the line

Review: 

She’s got a killer body… and a kiss to die for!

This story picks up a few weeks after the end of Succubus Blues with Georgina and Seth trying to have a romantic relationship despite the fact that Georgina could kill him at any moment. They are clearly in love butbecause of this they are unwilling to address the challenges of their difficult relationship. Enter Bastien – Georgina’s incubus best friend who is in town to take down a talk-back radio host and save himself from an eternity in Hell -or more specifically Guam… which in his opinion is just as bad.

On top of being roped in to help Bastien with his mission, Georgina has to deal with her friend and co-worker, Doug, who is acting even stranger than normal. Is something supernatural to blame for his currently behaviour and world record Tetris scores? And can Georgina manage to continue her relationship with Seth without accidentally draining him of all his energy and killing him?

I love Georgina as the heroine of this series. She’s modern and yet is centuries old. She’s mostly practical but still manages to be selfish. Her relationship with Seth amuses me. I can’t help but think that their relationship is living on borrowed time. But their love for each other is evident. I like the complexities of it. Yes they ended up together after the end of Succubus Blues but they are not having an easy time of being together. I also love that just because they are in love and currently together doesn’t mean and that everything is going to be okay. Georgina could still kill Seth with just a kiss and they both have to deal with their jealousy issues – him with her still being a succubus and having to have sex with men to supply her with the energy she needs to survive and her with his first love, writing, and him getting too involved with the world that lives inside his head.

The supporting cast are also a highlight of this series – and this book. Carter, the angel who’s best friend is an archdemon, the Vampires, Georgina’s co-workers and Bastien – they’re interesting and entertaining. Even Seth’s family bring a lot to the book. I love how they show the many sides of Georgina. Friend, co-worker, potential sister-in-law, demon. But they’re great characters in their own right too. Bastien was a great addition to the story. He is everything that Georgina is not in terms of a sex demon. He takes pride in what he does and does it well. I really hope he comes back later in the series.

I can’t wait to start reading Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid #3). I’m really glad that I “discovered” this series.

Rating: 

4 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon / FishPond

My review for Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid #1) can be found here

Book Review: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

Book Review: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead (Georgina Kincaid #1)

Format: paperback

First Published: March 1st, 2007

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Demons, Angels, Vampires

Synopsis (from Goodreads)“Something wicked is at work in Seattle’s demon underground…”

Being a succubus sounds pretty glamorous. Shape-shifting, killer wardrobe, what’s not to like? But Georgina Kincaid’s life is far from exotic. Her boss is a middle-management demon with a thing for John Cusack movies, and she can’t have a decent date without sucking away part of the guy’s life, which means her crush on sexy writer Seth Mortensen is going nowhere fast. But all of that pales in significance when an unknown entity “helpfully” begins killing her immortal adversaries. For once, all her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won’t help, because there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny…

Review: 

“Statistics show that most mortals sell their souls for five main reasons: sex, money, power, revenge, and love. In that order. I suppose that I should have been resassured, then, that i was out here assisting with numero uno, but the whole situation just made me feel … well, sleazy. And coming from me, that was something.”

From the first line, Georgina Kincaid was a heroine I could tell I was going to like. Novels written from the first person perspective usually aren’t my cup of tea but I enjoyed her self-deprecating humour and the way she approached life. Despite being a succubus (sex demon) on the side of dark and living for centuries, she savours the things she values in life – like reading only five pages a day of her favourite novels because there’s only that once you can read a book for the first time. I’ve read many novels with immortal main characters but Georgina stood out to me. She’s modern and takes care to keep up with the language and customs of the present day, very careful not to date herself.

This book had the potential to be quite dark but it managed to be light hearted. The idea of a sex demon with a personal code of conduct and a reasonably strong moral compass amused me. I loved the witty one liners Georgina threw around and her relationships with the males in this book. And there were a fair few male characters that complicated Georgina’s life – From Hugh the imp and Peter and Cody the vampires to Warren and Doug – co-workers of Georgina’s at the Emerald City book store – and can’t be forgetting Seth and Roman, they all seemed to complicate her life. It was amusing to see that a succubus who by profession was sexually in control to be so mixed up over men.

I found this book to be a little slow after the first chapter – a lot of groundwork to lay – but it picked up reasonably quickly and was a very entertaining read. I guessed who the villain was fairly early on but I was still looking forward to and was extremely eager to find out exactly how everything played out in the end. The characters are really what make this book as good as I found it – especially Georgina. I love the sex demon who was jaded regarding making love still just wanted to love and be loved in return. She’s incredibly sweet for someone who is as sexual and sensual as she is. I love the message that there’s always hope and that love is something that is attainable for anyone and everyone. One of my favourite quotes from the novel came from the angel Carter: “Love is rarely flawless … It is the imperfection that makes love perfect”. For a hopeless romantic like myself it’s lines like this that make me adore books. I have already bought the second book in this series.

Rating: 

3.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon / FishPond