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

 

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Book #97: Death Rites by E.A. Copen

Old gods die hard.
Professional necromancer Lazarus Kerrigan knows all too well that the Big Easy is anything but. Crime is up, business is down, and someone–or something–crushed an innocent girl to death on his doorstep.

After the search for the murderer brings the police to his front door, Laz must prove his innocence by hauling in the real killer with help from the dead.

When the sun sets in New Orleans, more than monsters go bump in the night… And what Laz awakens in his quest for answers might just get him–and everyone else in town–killed.

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

I find the Urban Fantasy genre to be a very fun genre. You have your kickass hero who is usually solving a crime and using magic to do it. It is usually action-packed and the reader is almost always in for a good ride.

Death Rites by E.A. Copen isn’t that much different. Now, the concept of a wizard in a city solving a murder isn’t all that unusual. You have your Dresden Files for example. And really, Lazarus Kerrigan is very much a Harry Dresden-esque character. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if good old Harry wasn’t an inspiration for Laz.

That said, I feel this book does stand on its own. You have a basic feel of pantheon mythologies mixed into the Fae and shove in a dash of your Urban Fantasy stylized magic. Voila, you have the Lazarus Codex series.

Basically, if you like one, you are likely to like the other. That said, you may not like it if you have oversaturated yourself in Urban Fantasy. I haven’t done that, so this is me liking this series (I can just admit that there are similarities that go with the genre that could make this just another one of the batch).

All in all, this is a fun ride of an Urban Fantasy and I do want to continue with the series.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #83: The Crescent City by Lexi Ostrow

Isla Covington lost her entire world the night the Hellfire was unleashed. This might not have been so terrible, if she hadn’t been next in line to be Coven Priestess, and inherit more powers than any one witch should wield. Without her mother and fiance to guide her, she ran from her magic, from her home.

Noah wandered the Otherside, the spirit world, making certain Isla stayed out of harm’s way. He’d died of a sort once before and awoken as a Vampire. The second time he’d not had a failsafe. Death was not strong enough to separate the pair, even if he moved in the shadows unknown to Isla. He’d spent years ensuring she found herself, and did not take her life to be with him. Even if it meant torturing himself with what he could not have.

Isla’s godsons go missing, forcing her to return home – to return to her magic. The path leads her to a city of pure magic, and a witch who claims she can bring back the dead – for a price. All that stands between Isla and Noah is one tiny spell. A tiny spell which could destroy New Orleans.

I received a copy from the author for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

You may remember a book I reviewed previously titled the same and by the same author. And if you do remember, you may be thinking, “huh, is she reading the same  book all over again?”

The answer is simple: Yes and No.

That’s right, both are right. The first Crescent City was a part of the Kindle Worlds for The Vampire Diaries and specifically Bonnie Bennet. That said, once Amazon said goodbye to the Kindle Worlds, the story was ready for a new space. Taking advantage of this, Ostrow fixed up the book. She added details, change the characters, and gave new information for the world. The story is essentially the same, but there are more details that separate it from the other.

So, for that and the fact that I love reading Ostrow, I jumped at reviewing this one as well.

I actually liked this one better than the first. I liked the addition of a background that made the world unique and pulled me in. It made me want to see more of the world, to experience it, and to see the Hellfire in the works. I want to know if this is still an issue or if this is just the aftermath. I think we can bet that I want more of this urban fantasy world. I want to see how it differs from the original source material and am excited to see it works out.

The romance was there and it had just a bit more of an Ostrow flair that made me happy. The other one, though understandable, just missed what I like in Ostrow’s work.

All in all, I liked this one more than the other. I think it’s because it was more of Ostrow vs Vampire Diaries. She didn’t have to remain in the world, she was able to push out. That said, I now want more of the world. Hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Make it happen, girlfriend.

Final Rating: 3.5/5

 

Book #23: Insatiable Darkness by L.M. Preston

EmVee didn’t know what to think about this new town her father’s passion for boxing lured them. It was an unlikely location for her to pursue her dream of going semi-pro. Just when she started getting used to the school with gorgeous jocks and strange cheerleaders, the depth of the danger her father’s choices dangled them in front of became clear. EmVee hoped Silas and Kayson will be able to help her uncover the mystery identity of the person who is threatening her family. The question is, will she survive to expose the mystery. [Pre-quel, Vigilant Series, Caged Fire Book 1: Coming Fall 2018]

Insatiable Darkness by L. M. Preston is a young adult urban fantasy about a teenage boxer who is fighting for her family and gets sucked into a conspiracy in the new town she has moved into.

I found this to be a quick read. In fact, I was actually able to read a huge chunk of it in one sitting. The story itself wasn’t bad and the writing is well done. However, I felt a little off about the characters. I didn’t feel connected to EmVee.

There’s a part where EmVee mentions that her name is a nickname and that is it. I’m not sure if her actual name is ever addressed, but I don’t remember that. I know this is a tiny thing, but it really kept me wondering what her birth name is and how did EmVee become her nickname.

Because of this disconnection with the main character, I didn’t really get as much into the story as I wanted to. Instead, I found myself wanting more about the supporting cast. Rachel and Megan are two specific characters who intrigued me.

That said, this is a prequel. It is a means to answer questions that won’t be answered in the first book. It is a way for us to get to know the main cast before the main cast is actually addressed. For a prequel, it wasn’t bad.

I am intrigued enough that I want to read the first book.

Final rating: 3/5

Book Tour: Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

When the fate of the world is at stake
Loyalties will be tested

Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend must decide where their loyalties lie. And if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.

I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher for an honest review for the blog tour that this review is a part of. There was no compensation of any kind (unless you count having an awesome book by Amanda Hocking as compensation). What follows is my opinion and my opinion alone.

Okay, let me begin by saying I didn’t read the blurb before I grabbed the book. Amanda Hocking is one of my instant buy authors. I see a book by her and I grab it. I knew this book had Norse mythology in it, but that was pretty much all I knew (well and a gorgeous cover).

When I first started reading three thoughts came into my head: 1. Cyberpunk, Bladerunner esque. 2. LGBT+ M.C. THANK YOU!! 3. This may be Hocking’s best work yet.

I’m serious about #3. This is quite possibly her best work thus far. It is gritty, dark, and just when you think you might have an idea what’s going on, you get slapped in the face with something new. I could feel the pollution, see the city, the world, all of it. This is her best work thus far.

And believe me, I’m a huge Hocking fan. I’m possibly a few books short of owning everything she’s written so far.

This is a YA book that borders on the adult. There is sex and alcohol and a whole lot of killing. I mean, returning. Our main lead is a young woman named Malin. She is a Valkyrie in training, who are executioners for immortals. She is strong and yet has this piece of innocence to her. It’s more like a ‘I was raised in a hard way and don’t understand how my feelings work’ kind of innocence to her. I actually really like this kind of character and it didn’t take me long to be pulled into her world.

As if the twists, action, and the world wasn’t enough to keep you wanting more, I also love the fact that the sequel is coming out THIS APRIL! HUZZAH! I don’t have to wait long to get this duology finished. Thank, God. Thank you, Amanda Hocking. You can be sure that I have this book on its way to my house and I’m definitely getting the second.

Buy Links:

Amazon /Barnes & Noble /Books-a-Million /IndieBound /Powells

AUTHOR BIO:

Amanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

Social Links:

Author Website: http://www.worldofamandahocking.com/

Twitter: @Amanda_Hocking

Facebook: @AmandaHockingFans

Author Blog

Book #61: Desert Bound by Elizabeth Hunter

Can you turn the clock back on your first love? Would you even want to try?

Alex McCann and Teodora “Ted” Vasquez left Cambio Springs together. Ted came back. Alex didn’t.

Now, years later, the future alpha of the McCann wolves has returned with plans to bring new life to the dying desert community. Plans that could change everything for the isolated enclave of shapeshifters in the California desert. Some love the plan. Others hate it.

As the town’s doctor and one of the strongest daughters in the cat clan, Ted has her own concerns about exposing her community to outsiders. The two former lovers are at each other’s throats. And everyone is watching to see what happens.

But when murder once again strikes Cambio Springs, can they overcome their past to help the community they both call home? And can the love they shared once burn again when so many stand against it?

DESERT BOUND is an adult paranormal romance in the Cambio Springs Mysteries series.

Desert Bound is the second book in the Cambio Springs series. I jumped on this book right after reading the first one. It is another murder mystery inside a romance only this time, the romance is Teodora Vasquez and Alex McCann.

Ted and Alex’s relationship is a rocky one. They constantly argue and their history together is filled with leaving one another. On paper, they would seem like a very unhealthy couple. However, they work.

In fact, their main issue with each other is resolved close to the beginning of the book. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t start off right away. There is a conversation and a meeting of minds that allow them to see their relationship. The main conflict of their relationship is actually their parents.

The murder mystery didn’t have a big position in this book, though it is prevalent to the story. I found it easy to figure out who it was, like the first book, but I loved the resolution of the murder. It was filled with tension, action, and had a shapeshifter quality that was interesting.

In all, this one wasn’t my favorite between the two, but it was entertaining. I bought the third book and am currently listening to it as I am writing this. It makes concentrating difficult.

Book #59: Shifting Dreams by Elizabeth Hunter

Somedays, Jena Crowe just can’t get a break. Work at her diner never ends, her two boys are bundles of energy, and she’s pretty sure her oldest is about to shift into something furry or feathery. Added to that, changes seem to be coming to the tiny town of Cambio Springs—big changes that not everyone in the isolated town of shapeshifters is thrilled about.

Caleb Gilbert was looking for change, and the quiet desert town seemed just the ticket for a more peaceful life. He never counted on violence finding him, nor could he have predicted just how crazy his new life would become.

When murder rocks their small community, Caleb and Jena will have to work together. And when the new Chief of Police isn’t put off by any of her usual defenses, Jena may be faced with the most frightening change of all: lowering the defenses around her carefully guarded heart.

Shifting Dreams is the first novel in Cambio Springs, the new paranormal romance series from Elizabeth Hunter, author of the best-selling Elemental Mysteries series.

Shifting Dreams is the first in a paranormal romance series written by Elizabeth Hunter. I originally found Elizabeth Hunter from her Elemental Mysteries series and fell in love with how she writes her characters. The Cambio Springs series only solidified my love for this author.

I’m not a big shifter community reader. A lot of urban fantasy books with shapeshifters, in my opinion, tend to have all shifter main characters and don’t deal with the idea of keeping a secret. We aren’t given much in that kind of tension with the main plot device.

For instance, the last book I read with shapeshifters, there was only a brief mention of normal people and even then there wasn’t a feeling that something could go seriously wrong if the secret was blown.

Elizabeth Hunter fixes that up with Caleb Gilbert, a man with a dark secret who unfolds secrets for his job. He’s the new police chief of Cambio Springs and has his eye on Jena Crowe. He was a male lead that had me smiling and getting excited.

Jena Crowe, is an equally strong female lead. She is a widowed mother of two and runs a business. She is stubborn and very loyal. She is an equal in every sense of the world for Caleb. They even have similar insecurities.

Hunter’s romantic leads aren’t your typical tropes. They feel real. That feeling helps make the shapeshifting be a possibility.

Another aspect that I loved about the book is that the shapeshifting has a mystical and Native American feel to it. There is a mythology in the book that even the town doesn’t completely understand. We may not get everything as readers, but we have the information that the town has and that makes the world have more substance.

The romance isn’t the only focus for the book, there is also a murder involved. Though I figured out who the killer was very quickly, I did enjoy how the investigation goes. The mystery strengthens the romance and the romance strengthens the mystery.

I enjoyed this book so much that I bought the next two and jumped on listening the second book.

Book #43: Witch Hunt by S.M. Reine

A brutal murder.

There are scratches on Cèsar Hawke’s arms, a discharged Glock on his coffee table, and a dead woman in his bathtub. Yeah, maybe he brought the waitress home for some fun — he was too drunk to remember it — but he knows for a fact that he didn’t kill her. He’s an agent with the Office of Preternatural Affairs. He doesn’t hurt people. He saves them.

The cops disagree. Now Cèsar is running.

The search for a shaman.

Isobel Stonecrow speaks with the dead…for the right price. She brings closure to the bereaved and heals broken hearts. But when she resurrects someone for the wrong client, she ends up on the OPA’s most wanted list.

One risky solution.

Tracking down Isobel is the last case assigned to Cèsar before he bolts. If he finds her, he can prove that he didn’t kill that waitress. He can clear his name, get his job back, and bring justice to the victim.

She’s just one witch. Cèsar has bagged a dozen witches before.

How hard can one more be?

From what I remember, I got this book when it was free on Amazon (not sure if it is now).  I like Urban Fantasy and thought, why not?

I then forgot about it.

Instead of actually reading it, I opted to listen during my stint of buying a load of audio books for my Audible app.

I found this book to be so/so. It’s cool that the lead is male and the author is female. Not that that really matters, but I thought it was nice. Even though the main character is a bit buff and looks manly, he’s a geek. I mean Star Trek, Firefly, has limited funko pop vinyls type of geek. On top of that, he’s also a witch. He even says witch. Not wizard. Not mage. He’s a witch.

Those tiny tidbits about him made him a character that I could connect to. Granted, he’s not the brightest bulb, but he had qualities that hinted an interesting character.

Most of the book is Cesar trying to solve a murder and clearing his name. You get a bit about the world, a flashback, and that about covers it. The action scenes are fun. I could see this being a good action urban fantasy movie or tv show.

Now, is this a book to bring home and meet the parents? Meh. Is it a fun one nighter? Yes. I do have another S.M. Reine book and I think I will get to that one in the future. As such, Witch Hunt is a decent beginning and introduction to a character and world.

Book #32: Curse of the Alpha Episodes 5 & 6 by Tasha Black

Special Two-Episode Bundle! ˃˃˃ The thrilling conclusion to the Curse of the Alpha serial…

In Episode 5, Ainsley makes a powerful enemy. Mysteries are solved and secrets are uncovered. How will the pack react when the new alpha is drawn?

In Episode 6, Ainsley must master her true nature to bring balance to the pack. Will she be able to harness her powers in time to defend the ones she loves?

˃˃˃ A continuing story…

Curse of the Alpha: Episodes 5 & 6 are the final two novellas in Curse of the Alpha, a serial in six episodes, much like a TV show. It tells the story of Ainsley Connor, a female werewolf, and her struggle to come to terms with her past, and accept her true nature and her role in the future of the pack. It contains strong sexual elements, and is NOT intended for readers under the age of 18.

This review is going to be short compared to the other two. Episodes 5 and 6 were filled with action and revelations. I did like who turned out to be the Alpha and was pleasantly surprised by it too. It made perfect sense and for that, awesome.

This is the last two novellas of this serial, but there are two other serials dealing with Ainsling out in Kindle. There’s only one in audio so I’ll be waiting a bit longer. Luckily, this serial ended on a good note that does make it easier to wait. If it was like the cliffhangers of the others, I don’t know how I would manage.

I am excited to see what will happen later on and who will be matched up.

Book #31: Curse of the Alpha Episodes 3 & 4 by Tasha Black

Special Two-Episode Bundle!

Ainsley Connor had the perfect life – a successful real estate career in Manhattan and her books to keep her company. Best of all, she was far away from the unusual college town where she grew up. Until a tragic accident forced her back to Tarker’s Hollow, and she found herself caught up in a steamy web of shifters and magic, locked in a power struggle for control of the pack she left behind.

˃˃˃ Step back into Ainsley’s magical world of shifters and romance…

In Episode 3, Ainsley must retaliate after a shocking betrayal. Information from her past helps her to see things in a new light. But how will she react when she receives a ghostly visitor?

In Episode 4, Ainsley makes a plan to leave Tarker’s Hollow, but ends up running for her life. Will she manage to escape in time to use what she has learned to shape her future?

˃˃˃ A continuing story…

Curse of the Alpha: Episodes 3 & 4 are part of the Curse of the Alpha serial that will be told in six episodes, much like a TV show. It tells the story of Ainsley Connor, a female werewolf, and her struggle to come to terms with her past, and accept her true nature and her role in the future of the pack. It contains strong sexual elements, and is NOT intended for readers under the age of 18.

I jumped on this audiobook as soon as I was finished with the episodes 1 & 2 bundle.

In episode 3 we start where episode 2 left off. We meet Grace Kwon-Cortez, Ainsley’s best friend, and are introduced to another secret to Tarker’s Hollow; witchcraft! We learn a bit about Ainsling’s family and we see the pack in action. Ainsley is trying desperately to get out of Tarker’s Hollow which inspires her to give away the family things. She is met with hilarious advice and angry glares.

There is a lesbian sex scene that was very awkward for me, but well written in my opinion.

Episode 4 is mostly Ainsling following through with her plan of finding an Alpha for the pack. She cleans up what remains of the house and is working on getting herself ready for the big deal. We learn more about the traumatic event that kept her away from shifting and it ends with a pretty big cliffhanger.

I grabbed onto the next audiobook as soon as this one finished. Honestly, I knew where it was going with the main big baddie of this season, but the story is still enjoyable enough to continue through with it.