Book #16: The Last Vampire (Book Two): R.A. Steffan and Jaelynn Woolf


My father has been kidnapped by my worst enemies.
Either that, or he willingly sold me out to them.

Whatever the case, I’m going to find him. Mind you, this would be a lot easier if every Fae in Chicago wasn’t already out for my blood.

They’re not getting it, though.

The only one who’s getting anywhere near my blood is the seven-hundred-year-old vampire who saved me. Yes, there are times when I’m convinced he’s not quite right in the head, but so far he’s the only supernatural being I’ve met who sees me as a person rather than a chess piece.

To the rest of them, I’m nothing more than the walking, talking evidence of a war crime. To him, I’m something else. He calls me a loose thread in the tapestry of his forgotten past, but he looks at me like I might be the key to his future.

The rest of them tell me I’m demonkin. They say I’m a succubus-human hybrid who shouldn’t exist.

One thing is very clear, though. My father is carrying a secret bigger than I ever dreamed, and I’m damn well going to pry it out of him.

I just have to get him back from the Fae first.
Because, hey—what could possibly go wrong?

I received an Audible code for an honest review via Audiobook Boom. There was no compensation made in the making of this review. Everything that follows is my opinion and mine alone.

As the title says, this is book two in an urban fantasy paranormal romance. It starts closely after the events of the first book. As with the last audiobook, the narrator did a good job and I did like the story.

It just wasn’t the best. I actually preferred book one in comparison.

Book Two did reveal more of the fae world and introduced a political dynamic between the Fae and Demons. The world expansion was interesting. That said, everything else just seemed to be less. That isn’t to say that I won’t listen or read Book three, I hope to. I just don’t think this one was as good as Book One.

Final Rating: 2/5

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Book #15: Little Killers A to Z by Howard Odentz

Bad things come in small packages . . .
EPIC Award finalist Howard Odentz has penned twenty-six disturbingly fascinating horror stories about the youngest predators among us.
From Andy and Boris to Yuri and Zena, this eclectic anthology is filled, A to Z, with psychopaths, monsters, and murderers!
So turn on the lights and huddle under your blankets because murder isn’t just for grown-ups anymore. Come meet our gallery of little killers.
After all, they’re dying to meet you!
Author and playwright Howard Odentz is a lifelong resident of the gray area between Western Massachusetts and North Central Connecticut. His love of the region is evident in his writing as he often incorporates the foothills of the Berkshires and the small towns of the Bay and Nutmeg states into his work.
5 Stars “a relentless, thrilling ride” – Court Street Literary, on Bloody Bloody Apple.
“Howard Odentz takes this mis-mosh of dysfunctional characters and puts together a wonderful story that is equal parts horror and love.” – Scared Stiff Reviews, on Bloody Bloody Apple.
 

I received a copy of this book via Audiobook Boom for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone.

From the first chapter, I was a bit hesitant about this book. The first chapter is a poem that hints at what each character’s story was about. It worried me for two reasons. I was a bit worried that every story would be in some kind of poem form. Which is a cool concept but I have some trouble reading things in poem form. The other reason was that I had just realized how many letters were in the alphabet and despite the Audible app saying that the book wasn’t very long, I was envisioning a long book.

These worries were silly.

Each story is well written, unique, and pulled you into their own world. I found myself trying to fit them all into my own headcanon universe, and, I still think it could work. There are some darker ones, some lighter ones, some that are supernatural, and others that make you question sanity.

Another thing I liked about the stories is the broad range of ages, racial identity, and sexualities. It made even the most unusual story that bit of possible.

As for the narrator and audiobook as a whole, it was well executed. The narrator’s voice didn’t sway me away from the story and the background music between stories only helped the experience along.

All in all, Odentz wrote a great collection of short stories each one able to hold on their own and be entertaining. I might reread this one in October. It is definitely an October read.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #14: Bullets and Blondes by Clark Graham

Shocked, Barry Hibbard ‘s eyes were drawn to the pieces of his Ming Dynasty vase strewn across the floor. He’d known better than to leave it on the pedestal after the last close call. Instead of putting it in a safer spot, he had become more particular as to who he allowed over. This guest, however, was uninvited. 
Her features reminded him of a porcelain doll, but, unlike most porcelain dolls, this one had a shotgun. 
“Where’s the Rex battery?” she demanded. 
He had no idea what a Rex battery was, or that his whole world would change from that moment. Dragged from his quiet world into a quest to find the battery before it could be destroyed, it was his chance to save the planet. Well, maybe. 

I received a copy of this book via Audiobook Boom for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation made for this review.

Okay… so, this book was interesting. It is a quick read, has action, and a fairly interesting mystery going on. However, I am on the fence with my feelings about it.

Let’s start with the narration and writing style. Well, the narrator chosen does a good job. I was pulled into the story and I could visualize what was going on. This goes along with the writing style. It pulls you in and I could visualize what was happening very well. The story itself wasn’t bad.

Then there are the characters.

Yeah, they I didn’t care for. The main lead seemed to be self-centered and a bit childish. Everything he did either had to do with money or the female lead. He didn’t really have much in motivation beyond that. The female lead had more going for her but you really don’t see much in her personality.

All in all, I would consider this book quick read to pass the time. I would try the author again though.

Final Rating: 3/5

BLOG TOUR: Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced by R. J. Garcia

Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced
 by R.J. Garcia
 Genre: YA Mystery/Suspense

 Release Date: May 1st 2018
 The Parliament House
 
Summary from Goodreads:
 
Mystery surrounds the town of Summertime, Indiana, where fifteen-year-old Tommy Walker and his little sister are sent to live with relatives they’ve never met. Tommy soon makes friends with Finn Wilds, a rebellious local who lives with his volatile and abusive stepfather, who also happens to be the town’s sheriff.
 
Finn invites Tommy to late night meetings in the woods, where Tommy gets to know two girls. He forms a special and unique connection with both girls. The meetings become a place where the kids, who don’t fit in at school, or home can finally belong. As the group of friends begin to unravel clues to a cold case murder and kidnapping— they learn the truth is darker and closer than they ever imagined. Even if they live to tell, will anyone believe them?

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Audible

MY REVIEW

I received an Audible code for the audiobook for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced by R.J. Garcia is a contemporary thriler young adult book that centers on some pretty deep topics. There is child abuse, sexual abuse, murder, drug abuse, and the foster care system. It is written with the alternating viewpoints of Tommy and Finn, two young men who become fast friends and bond over their own lives and the mystery circling a young girl.

The book itself is fairly slow moving. Not a bad slow. More like a slow burn of suspense. I found myself looking at every adult and wondering which one was the real antagonist. Everyone looked shady.

The chapters themselves are short but each one is just a step closer to the revelation. You begin to wonder just what is happening. Are these teens getting into trouble because of their imagination? Is there something really going on?

And I’ll tell you, I was not expecting what happened.

As for the audio part, I felt the narrator was a good match. I think I would have liked it a bit better if Finn and Tommy’s narrations had a bit more separation but the chapters do indicate who is talking.

All in all, Garcia weaved a great mystery that deals with multiple issues. It felt like a modern YA southern gothic with the layers on layers of intrigue and suspense. I definitely recommend for the YA thriller or darker contemporary reader.

Final Rating: 4/5

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

R.J. Garcia is a wife and proud mom. She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has published several non-fiction pieces. She has been writing short-stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels!

Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY CLICK HERE!!

 

Book #9: A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

‘There’s a scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.’

From the moment Dr John Watson takes lodgings in Baker Street with the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, he becomes intimately acquainted with the bloody violence and frightening ingenuity of the criminal mind.

In A Study in Scarlet , Holmes and Watson’s first mystery, the pair are summoned to a south London house where they find a dead man whose contorted face is a twisted mask of horror. The body is unmarked by violence but on the wall a mysterious word has been written in blood.

The police are baffled by the crime and its circumstances. But when Sherlock Holmes applies his brilliantly logical mind to the problem he uncovers a tragic tale of love and deadly revenge . . .

Sherlock Holmes is an iconic literary character, a detective with astute observational skills. He is known as the first detective character just as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is known as the father of the detective novel.

I love mysteries. I love the Victorian era. Let’s face it, I’m a booknerd who loves Sherlock Holmes adaptations. And yet… and here is the part where you gasp… I have never read a Sherlock Holmes story.

Until now.

My problem was that I was never sure where to begin. I wanted to begin where they began in their own world, not necessarily in the world of the readers. So, after years of searching, I also learned that my brain couldn’t quite formulate the world through Doyle’s words. That meant finding an audiobook I liked.

I found Stephen Fry’s and now I’m good to go.

For a first story, A Study in Scarlet does set up the character dynamics well. You see how the dynamic duo, Holmes and Watson, became roommates. You also see just the beginnings of what will become literature’s most well-known detective.

As for the mystery… well, I liked it. I didn’t care for the middle part where we are given a totally new storyline and characters. It diverted from the main narrative and pulled me away from the story. That said, I understand why the story was needed. I just wish there was a different way Doyle did it. It may be common for the time period it was published in, but it doesn’t mean I have to like that part of the book.

In all, I felt the story is a good beginning to a series and I’m sure I’m just going to continue to love it as I continue reading their adventures.

Final Rating: 3/5

Book #6: The Last Vampire Book One by R.A. Steffan and Jaelynn Woolf

There’s a smokin’ hot dead guy locked in my garden shed.
That part’s bad enough. But now, he’s trying to get out.

Growing up, my father always told me that I’d come to a bad end, just like my mom did when I was a kid. Hearing that kind of shit when you’re little eventually gets to a girl, but I can’t say I ever expected my ‘bad end’ to involve an angry vampire with a severe case of iron deficiency and a panty-melting English accent.

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Ever since my mother was assassinated, I’ve felt like there was something vast and frightening hidden beneath the fabric of the world. Something none of us are supposed to know about.

So far, finding out I was right hasn’t been nearly as satisfying as I’d hoped. I guess the trick will be staying alive long enough to shout ‘I told you so’ from the rooftops.

But before I can do that, I really need to figure out if the vampire who just bit me is one of the good guys or not. 

I received an Audible copy for an honest review via Audiobook Boom. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

The Last Vampire: Book One is the first in a trilogy about a 26 year old woman who is thrust into the paranormal world after a brief bitten encounter with a vampire. The last vampire in fact. Go fig.

The story is what I consider a slow burn. Our love interest and MC just barely know each other in the events of the book. In fact, they are only with each other in three solid instances. That says something there. It makes me label this book more on the urban fantasy versus romance field.

There is some sex going on near the last quarter of the book that I have read is more clinical than steamy. I personally found it to be both and I found the reason for that to be logical and interesting.

The MC is a “girl with unknown power” and does do the enigma trope well but I feel she could get better as the books progress. If anything, I’m not ready to pass judgment on her completely even if the book ended.

The writing is easy to get into and there were parts that were funny, as intended. I did find the book to be enjoyable and wouldn’t mind reading book two. There were moments I was scratching my head trying to figure out where the authors were going and I was super stoked at who the baddies were. Honestly, these guys are hardly ever the baddies… THANK YOU!

I did have an issue with the way it ended. It seemed to just end instead of having a climactic moment and solid resolution. That said, there is a second book and I do hope that book has a better ending in comparison.

All in all, it was a fun romp and I could see myself continuing the series.

Final Rating: 3/5

 

Book #3: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic… 

I didn’t know about this book until some internet friends in a Facebook Group I’m in called The Booket List mentioned there was an Audible sale on it. To expand on that, the FB group is called The Booket List. It has a reading challenge that involves a 100+ reading list that you have to read throughout the year. The Kiss Quotient happens to be on that list and with the Audible sale, I went ahead and got it.

I’ll admit that, for once, I didn’t read the blurb before getting the book. This is something I never do. I read blurbs. I even read the last few pages of a book before I finish it. Hell, sometimes before I even start the book. That said, once I did read the blurb (after I actually started listening to the audio, mind you), I knew this book was going to mean something to me.

I am not in the Autistic spectrum. At least, I don’t think I am. I’m not sure. I was never tested for it and if I was today, it wouldn’t change anything. That said, I do have family in the spectrum. Listening to this book made me think about how my family members also think and what they go through with. It was comforting to see someone who is always so stressed out, likes a system, and can be overstimulated as the main character in the book.

I felt a kinship with Stella. I understood her. I’ve had the same thoughts as her whether it was how to deal with people, being obsessive about something, or even the almost crippling effect your lack of self-confidence (and the reactions of people around you) can be with even the people who are closest to you.

I don’t usually cry in books. I don’t usually have an emotional response of any kind. I read books and I find myself dissecting them or analyzing them to see what makes a text work or not. And though I didn’t cry with The Kiss Quotient, I did clap. I screamed in praise of the minor characters. I snapped at Michael, the book’s second main character. I found myself choosing to say that this book is more than a 4.

The Kiss Quotient is more than just Stella with her Autism. In fact, that is just a detail about the character that isn’t expressed like an important aspect. I think the best way to explain it is with Michael’s attention of her or even her own realization about herself in the end. This is a romance book that has a character with Autism. This is not an Autistic story with romance.

For anyone who might say this is a poor representation of a “disorder”, I disagree. On both points.

As a sister of an Autistic person, I wasn’t raised to see Autism as a disorder and I refuse to call it that. In fact, I only use that word when I am talking to others because others aren’t able to understand that Autism is just a way that others are wired to think. People with Autism are passionate, you just need to have the patience to learn what their passion is. They are honest, you just need to learn to stop deceiving. They like peaceful days, you just need to learn to stop being so loud and fast. So, no, Autism isn’t a disorder.

As for a poor representation of Autism, again, I disagree. This is a great representation. Autism is a spectrum. No two people are exactly the same. Not even identical twins are completely identical. By saying this book doesn’t represent the spectrum, you are placing a value on one end of the spectrum versus the other.

Now that I’m done with that soapbox, I truly am sorry for that by the way, I want to get to the real meat of the story: the romance.

This book has your typical romance tropes of misunderstanding and lack of communication. But one great difference that this book has from other romances is the way the relationship evolves.

Most romance books have the “will they/won’t they” aspect. This book did away with that and played with the idea of “will they stay or will they break up”.  It felt like a book that stressed the relationship and not the budding of a relationship. I liked that. It felt different from other contemporary romances I’ve read and I really appreciated that.

That said, I can’t help but feel it should really be a movie. Maybe that’s just my little reading/movie adaptation nerdy self, but I really would like to see this in theater. I feel this book would give my mom the feels too. It didn’t have the same issues of a romance book and it felt real.

I highly recommend reading this book if you were thinking about it.

Final Rating: 5/5

*** For those interested in what the full list is for Booket List: check out the group HERE***

Book #1 of 2019: Enhancer 2 by Wyatt Kane

Having superpowers can be awesome, but they always come at a price. 
Ty Wilcox didn’t really believe in superheroes before he became one himself. Now, he has an incredible power he’s just beginning to understand, lives in a mansion, and is in a relationship with two of the most amazing women alive.

But when a flying, teleporting demon-woman appears outside his work, the price of his new life becomes apparent.

There’s a supervillain after the device that gives Ty his power. This villain will do anything to get it, and has an entire army at his command.

The price of Ty’s new life is never-ending danger.

Warning and minor spoilers: Just like book 1, “Enhancer 2” is an 18+ book intended for mature readers. It contains sex, violence, and nudity. It includes very light gamelit elements, occasional bad language, and is set in a cyberpunk alternate future. Within its pages you will find threats, battles, destruction of property, evil plans, betrayals, wrongful imprisonment, major violence, death, and the unfortunate realities of living in a world dominated by mega-corporate greed. The malevolent boss from book 1 is still there, as is the monstrous bad guy. But so are the gorgeous superheroes who are comfortable with unconventional, polyamorous, harem relationships, and there might be someone new in that mix as well.

If you don’t enjoy a good time, this book isn’t for you.

I received an Audible code via Audiobook Boom for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. It wasn’t compensated in any way.

I had listened to the first book a while back and I did like it. It was a fun take on superheroes, had great geek references, and I like the relationship between Ty and the girls. So, when I saw that Audiobook Boom had Enhancer 2 in its list for books needing reviewers, I jumped at it. The first book was a fun and simple 3-star rating. Nothing too exciting but enough to keep me intrigued.

Enhancer 2 had pretty much the same feel. There were less geeky references but it closely follows the events of book one. In fact, it starts on the next day. I actually liked that tidbit. It gave a sense of how superheroes work. Their work is never done with and they are always on.

In this book, the main conflict is that the demoness we meet in book one is actually not the villain we first see. She needs Ty’s help.

To not get too far into the storyline, the book centers mostly on Ty working through his abilities and his relationship with Dinah and Tempest. There is the introduction of a crime boss as well as the theory of who the big baddie is.

In all, it is a fun book to listen to just like the first. I have no complaints with the chosen narrator (same as before) and was able to get into the world. There is a third book on the way and I hope to one day listen to that as well. I’d recommend it to someone who just wants to have fun with their reading.

Final Rating: 3/5

Book #104: Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon

If her love life is going down in flames, she might as well spark a revolution.

Finding out on your sixteenth birthday you’re a shape-shifting dragon is tough to swallow. Being hauled off to an elite boarding school is enough to choke on.

Since Bryn is the only crossbreed at the Institute for Excellence, all eyes are on her, but it’s a particular black dragon, Zavien, who catches her attention.

Zavien is tired of the Council’s rules. Segregated clans, being told who to love, and close-minded leaders make freedom of choice almost impossible. The new girl with the striped hair is a breath of fresh air, and with Bryn’s help, they may be able to change the rules.

At the Institute, old grudges, new crushes, and death threats are all part of a normal day for Bryn. She’ll need to learn to control her dragon powers if she wants to make it through her first year at school. But even focusing on staying alive is difficult when you’re falling for someone you can’t have.

I want to begin this review by stating I received an Audible code via Audiobook Boom for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation made for this review.

Now, I want you to look at the cover. It doesn’t look very interesting, right? Just a girl who looks like she may have a skin issue. Well, this girl doesn’t need to speak with a dermatologist, she needs someone to keep her anger in check and this girl is angry. Bryn McKenna had a pretty normal life and didn’t have much to worry about. That is until a stalker comes into her life and she learns a few things. Turns out, she’s not human and when someone angers her, they can get burned.

Going Down in Flames starts pretty predictably. You get your normal girl turned powerful and you have your angry people who don’t like it. That said, It turned around close to the 15% mark. I found the story itself enjoyable and the world interesting. What I loved most about this book though was the main character.

Bryn McKenna is a strong and stubborn young lady. Despite most books with the “powerful girl” trope having a powerful girl who only seems to pretend to be stubborn, Bryn definitely felt like it. She is kicked hard and low but keeps coming back up and kicking hardcore ass. She holds her own in the world she is thrust into and I found her relatable.

The narration isn’t bad though I do think the narrator was a bit slow. This is easily taken care of if you just speed up the reading in the audible app. For me, it works at 1.05 speed. So, it didn’t take much to help it along. The narrator herself wasn’t exciting at first, but once the world really started going, so did the voice. I feel the narrator was a good match for this book because of that.

In the end, I found myself being disappointed that the sequel is not in audio yet. I want to fly into this world more and see Bryn’s evolution as a dragon. I would recommend this for young adult readers and readers of urban fantasy shifter fiction.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #103: Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets by Audible Original

Step right up, step right up and don’t be shy—welcome to Victorian Secrets. Over 12 fascinating episodes, Stephen Fry explores the weird and worrying ways of Victorian Britain through true accounts delving deep into a period of time we think we know, to discover an altogether darker reality.

A deeply immersive audiobook, Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets is a nonfiction book that dives into the secret lives of Victorian people. Listeners will have everything they thought was true flipped over their heads.

The book is narrated by Stephen Fry but is a full cast of people. There are actors reading from the diaries of Victorian people, there is music, and on top of all that, we hear from the experts themselves as they explain their research and what also astounded them.

I am a big fan of the Victorian era. There is something interesting about a time period that is seen as a subdued moment but is actually quite progressive. Even a self-proclaimed Victorian buff, such as myself, would learn something new in each chapter. I found myself getting excited about the book and choose to listen to it with friends in the car. I gasped, was speechless, and nearly peed myself in laughter at times over this book.

Every chapter is interesting and pulls you deeper into the web of secrets. They are juicy and left me wondering just how much more do I not know about. I will most likely listen to this audiobook again and it was well worth it.

Final Rating: 5/5