A Cursed Embrace by Cecy Robson

A Cursed Embrace by Cecy Robson (Weird Girls #2)A Cursed Embrace by Cecy Robson

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 368 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Signet
Release date: July 2, 2013

Series: Weird Girls #2

Source: eARC from publisher

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other twentysomething girls—with one tiny exception: They are the products of a curse that backfired and gave each of them unique powers that made them, well, a little weird.…

After Celia Wird and her sisters help master vampire Misha save his family, their powers are exposed to the supernatural community of the Lake Tahoe region. But fame comes at a price, and being “weird” isn’t always welcome.

To make matters worse, Celia desires the love of Alpha werewolf Aric, but his pack is bent on destroying their relationship to preserve his pureblood status. And once weres start turning up dead—with evidence pointing to the vampires—she must face the prospect of losing Aric forever. But the chaos only masks a new threat. An evil known as the Tribe has risen—and their sights are set on Celia and her sisters.

Cecy Robson won me over with her debut, SEALED WITH A CURSE, and so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read A CURSED EMBRACE early. This novel really put the Wird sisters through the wringer and is full of action, romance, and danger. The girls never seem to have much luck with staying out of trouble but they definitely come off as major trouble magnets this time around as they face off against demons, vampires, and prejudice.

As always, my favourite part of the book is the relationships between the sisters. They’re all such great characters and I love their interactions with each other and with other people. Celia, Taran, Emme, and Shayna have such wonderful dynamics and they’re just a lot of fun, even when facing grave peril. Of course, the romantic relationships are nothing to sneeze at either. Each of the sisters was paired off with a werewolf at the end of SEALED WITH A CURSE, though some are more successul than others. Emme and Shayna have pretty straightforward dealings with their wolves, especially when compared to Taran and Gemini. Celia has settled into a relationship with Aric but it also has hiccups since he’s werewolf royalty and is expected to mate with another pureblood, not a cursed human. Plus, Celia is relatively inexperienced so she has a lot of new relationship jitters, which are complicated by the fact that she’s also being pursued by Misha, a sexy and powerful vampire that she shares a magical connection with. But fear not, love triangle haters, Celia has chosen Aric, though Misha is still interested, so it’s not one of those love triangles for the sake of love triangles.

If you read urban fantasy for the action and adventure, you’ll find ample helpings of both in A CURSED EMBRACE. Robson does a great job of writing well-paced and exciting fight sequences and you never know what might pop up next to threaten the girls and Tahoe. There are some nice twists in the plot of A CURSED EMBRACE and I think you’ll really enjoy it. There are moments of mortal peril and the end result is a truly gripping story.

There’s also a lot of humour in A CURSED EMBRACE, which is something I really appreciate. I love it when authors inject a bit of levity into their stories, even if it’s only a few great one-liners. It makes for a welcome change of pace and really keeps the emotions rolling. Books that are 100% heavy aren’t always my thing, though I do love a good, dark story, so it’s great to have some lighter moments in a novel filled with danger and death.

I devoured A CURSED EMBRACE in a single reading and suspect you will, too. Factor that into your reading plans since you won’t want to stop once you open Robson’s latest work!

Read an excerpt

Jenn

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Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett

Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett (Arcadia Bell #3) Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 384 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Pocket
Release date: May 28, 2013

Series: Arcadia Bell #3

Source: eARC from author

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Renegade mage and bartender Arcadia Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is unhinging. When a citywide crime wave erupts, Cady’s demon-friendly tiki bar is robbed by Earthbounds wielding surreal demonic abilities that just flat-out shouldn’t exist. With the help of her devilishly delicious boyfriend, Lon Butler, Cady sets out to find the people who wronged her—but her targets aren’t the only ones experiencing unnatural metamorphoses. Can Cady track down the monsters responsible before the monster inside her destroys everything—and everyone—she loves? If she survives this adventure, one thing is certain: it’s last call for life as she knows it.

In BINDING THE SHADOWS, the third novel in the Arcadia Bell series, Jenn Bennett tackles some big ideas: Cady’s Moonchild abilities develop, her relationships with Lon and Jupe are tested, and her friendship with Kar Yee faces new challenges. As a result, this is probably the most emotional book in the series thus far. Bennett’s characteristic ribald humour is still present but there are some seriously heavy moments in BINDING THE SHADOWS. I wasn’t expecting the book to be so emotional, or to be so very wrapped up in the emotion myself. Bennett excels at writing great characters and inspired plots but she’s never gotten my heart so involved in one of her stories before. I think it’s a testament to the strength of her writing and also a very bold move for the author since BINDING THE SHADOWS has a different and somewhat darker tone from previous stories in the series.

Relationships are a big part of BINDING THE SHADOWS and some of my favourite scenes in BINDING THE SHADOWS are the interactions between Kar Yee and Cady. I’ve been a Kar Yee fan for quite some time and it’s great to see her get more page time, even if she and Cady are having difficult conversations. As much as I adore Cady, Kar Yee makes some excellent points in their harsh heart-to-heart and I’m very invested in seeing what happens between them on a personal and professional level in CROSSING THE ÆTHYR. BINDING THE SHADOWS also introduces some of Jupe’s family on his mom’s side. I’ve long wondered what kind of family Yvonne came from and it’s nice to see that they’re warm and wonderful people. Their presence really add to the story and gets Cady to reflect on her relationships with Lon and Jupe.

Bennett really dives into Cady’s Moonchild abilities in BINDING THE SHADOWS and there are some revelations that I can only describing as startling and troubling. I don’t want to spoil it for you since the book isn’t out yet but Cady learns a lot more about what her powers can do and where they come from. It’s going to make her life a lot more interesting and scary and I have no idea how she’s going to get out of the trouble she’s in with her growing powers. But the real OMFG part of BINDING THE SHADOWS is definitely the ending. I actually punched a pillow because I was so shocked and kept trying to flick through the pages on my e-reader to find the rest even though I knew i wasn’t there because I couldn’t believe how Bennett has ended BINDING THE SHADOWS. It’s not a cliffhanger in the sense that the main storyline gets wrapped up but it is a cliffhanger in the sense that I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO CADY RIGHT NOW AND I DON’T THINK I CAN WAIT A WHOLE YEAR TO FIND OUT WHAT COMES NEXT. I love me some Jenn Bennett but right now I’m too busy feeling tortured by that edge-of-the-seat ending and the fact that we have to wait until next May to get some resolution. In fact, I’m getting agitated just writing this post and it’s been a few days since I finished the novel. Damn you, Jenn Bennett, and your crazy brain!! (I say this with respect and adoration.)

Bennett’s writing has hit an emotional peak with BINDING THE SHADOWS and the way she’s ended this latest instalment will leave readers panting for more. This third novel in her Arcadia Bell series really raises the bar in terms of emotion, danger, and magical possibilities and I’m in awe of Jenn Bennett’s talent and moxy. If you’ve been on the fence about this series, BINDING THE SHADOWS is sure to win you over!

Read an excerpt

Jenn

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Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan

Winterblaze (Darkest London, #3)

Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan

Book Stats:
Genre: Paranormal historical romance
Reading level: Adult
Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Forever
Release date: February 26, 2013

Series: Darkest London #3

Source: Personal shelf

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Once blissfully in love . . .
Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy’s secrets are revealed, leaving Winston’s trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections . . .

Their relationship is now put to the ultimate test.
Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy’s love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.

Poppy has been weighted down by responsibilities since a very early age, forced to lie to her family time and again. Winston always prided himself in his job as an inspector and ran off on Poppy when he realized she’s been lying to him the whole 14 years they’ve been married. Talk about a talented inspector… A demon is now after him and they must put their differences aside if they want to survive.

Have you ever read a paranormal romance where the two heroes have been married for over a decade? I thought so… neither did I! I thoroughly enjoyed that uniqueness and I hope more authors will dare featuring couples that haven’t just met and are taken over by an inexplicable passion.

The main plotline surrounds a quest to destroy a demon, but the romance aspect was my favourite part. I love how we follow both heroes as they try to deal with their recent break-up, both of them still in love with the other, but not sure they can overcome the lies and hurt feelings. Their strong desire is obvious to us, yet they are completely oblivious to each other, miss-interpreting every signal. Time and again I was torn between laughter, desire to comfort them and utter frustration at their foolishness. Their story was a real rollercoaster and I want a second ride!

We met Poppy and Winston in the previous two books, and Poppy had always been my least favourite of the three sisters, but I came to appreciate her strength in this novel. She’s not a typical beauty but her curvy figure and her mane of red hair is Win’s undoing. I loved how he had eyes only for her from the very start. Winston didn’t really catch my attention in the first two books either, and now I feel like re-reading them again now that I have a new appreciation for the man. He is strong and determined but what I loved best was his outmost trust in Poppy in every aspect of their lives.

Kristen Callihan alternated past present to whole novel, switching between Win and Poppy’s current issues and their early beginnings. We get to witness their meeting, first dates, his proposal, their wedding and all kind of amazing tidbits that built their relationship overtime. And let me tell you, I LOVED it. I particularly liked that she inserted those past moments at just the right time in the plot to have the biggest impact. It was sheer genius.

The conclusion utterly surprised me. I never saw the blow coming and I never imagined the heroes to wrap things up that way. I was really pleased with it all and I hope we’ll see more in the next novel, featuring Mr. Talent and Mary Chase, two secondary characters featured this time around. I came to like them and I have great hopes for them!

Winterblaze was powerful and different from other paranormal romance out there and I strongly suggest you give this series a try. You don’t have to read the previous books, but I would suggest you do if you want to grasp the depth of the main characters break-up.

Read an Excerpt

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The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer

The Demon Cathcers of Milan by Kat BeyerThe Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer

Book stats:
Reading Level: Young Adult
ARC: 272 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release date: August 28, 2012

Series: n/a

Source: ARCycling

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Mia’s ordinary life is disrupted in the most horrifying way possible when she is possessed by a hungry and powerful demon–and only saved by the arrival of relatives from Italy, the country her grandfather fled many decades ago. Now her cousins Emilio and Giuliano say the only way to keep her safe is for her to come back with them to Milan, to live, to learn Italian, to fall in and out of love, and to master the family trade: fighting all demons with the lore of bell, book, and candle. Milan is not what Mia expected, but it will change her forever, in this stunningly well-written novel about an American girl who, fleeing an ancient evil, finds her only salvation in her ancestral home.

Several things interested me in regards to this book. First of all, the title has the word “demon” in it. I think it’s really rare that we can come across a young adult book with demons in it and exorcisms and the entire shebang, so I was excited to see what this book had in store for me. And the other reason I was excited for this book is because the title has the word “Milan” in it. I love everything relating to Italian culture and absolutely adore Italy. And while I can happily say I’ve been to many Italian cities, Milan has yet to be one of them. Oh, how I’d love to visit Milan.

So, as you can tell, my excitement for this one was rather immense. I think that this book fell somewhat flat to me because I was so excited, but by no means did I not enjoy this book. I truly did enjoy it. I guess the word that comes to mind to describe this novel is “satisfactory.”

This book begins with the main character, Mia, getting possessed by a demon. In all honesty, it was done a little weirdly. I couldn’t tell exactly what was happening and it happened way too fast. I didn’t realize certain thoughts were that of the demon inside of her until it was exorcised out of her by her family members using the powers of bell, book, and candle. This aspect of the novel was somewhat disappointing. However, once Mia was in Milan and we began to learn more about the demons through her studies and she witnessed other demons inhabiting humans, I began to understand things a little more.

I have to say that the Milan aspect of this novel was really well done. I truly felt the proper and loving close-knit Italian family vibes oozing off of the page and I loved it. These serial chefs and coffee drinkers ranged in age, personality, and beliefs, thus making this book incredibly heartwarming and sweet in the familial aspect. This was a home run in the Italian culture department. You don’t see a huge part of Milan through description because Mia was confined into her family’s home until she learned how to handle demons, but it was certainly very well done in this aspect. Plus, who wants to escape a family home where elder deceased relatives disembodied voices sing you lullabies at night because they really care?

With that being said, I have to admit that some plot points bummed me out. While the overall plot was fascinating to me, there were a few small problems that I had with the book. Really, two. The first is that side characters were there to serve their purpose and once that purpose was fulfilled, they practically disappeared entirely from the novel and Mia’s thoughts. I wish that everything was properly taken care of. My other plot problem was the ending. We spent the entire length of this book trying to figure out who the demon that possessed Mia was. There were hints, a mystery to be unraveled, and the book completed before the epiphany ever hit. There were never true plot hints dropped regarding the demon’s identity until the end of the novel and right when you thought it would be revealed, the book ended and nobody else cared to bring it up ever again. With no companion novel or sequel planned that is known to readers, this is incredibly frustrating to me. Something I was eagerly awaiting that was one of the main focuses of the novel was just…never completed. Frustrating, right?

With that being said, the way that the book ended made me realize that this novel was a “coming of age” novel in some senses. Mia had to learn about herself, her estranged relatives and family history. She grew up. She learned how to dress, she learned how to be happy and to stop dreading her looks and her “mousy hair.” She learned to accept herself and to give herself self-worth. I never realized this until the very last page, so this was a cute moral to the story because we got to watch her journey to discovering her own strength.

All in all, I recommend this book to others who are interested in a unique paranormal story that would prefer a coming of age story rich with Italian cultural ways. This novel is a good, quick read, that’s worth picking up if it sounds like your kind of book.

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Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Spell Bound (Hex Hall) by Rachel Hawkins

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Book Stats:
Reading Level: 10 and up
Genre: Paranormal
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book
Release date: March 13, 2012

Series: Hex Hall #3

Source: Personal shelf

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

After a very traumatizing summer that isn’t quite over Sophie wakes up alone in the dark, in a forest, with no recollections of what happened to her. Her memories don’t take long to hit her like a freight train though and meeting face to face with a knife yielding Brannick (Prodigium hunter) doesn’t leave much room for break-down. Was Cal right to send her there? He said her mom would be there? What is it all about anyway?

What an awesome ending to a fantastic series! Hex Hall & Demonglass were extremely fun and exciting books and thankfully, the conclusion of this trilogy delivered! We are thrown right in the action when Sophie meets with the first Brannick she’s even met, or so she thinks, and we discover some stunning information about her family history. After learning more about Sophie’s dad’s family, it’s now her mom’s turn to be in the spotlight and I enjoyed it just as much!

Jenna, Cal & Archer are still front and center along Sophie’s side, but Elodie also assumes a very important role in time of dire needs. As much as I hated her in Hex Hall, I learned to appreciate her in the last instalment and I kind of pitied her too. Her involvement was really surprising. Cal is just the sweetest boy and I really wish things turned out better for him, he got me shedding tears! Archer was as rocking as usual but displayed a vulnerability that was yet unseen and I truly enjoyed it.

Sophie’s growth curve followed its course and her maturity surprised me. She literally stepped in Hell to save the world and held her head high even though she was scared to death. A scene about her played when she was there, and Sophie didn’t get to see it (Cal did) and I still find myself wondering what it was. Hawkins shrouded it in mystery but never got back to it, which was a slight disappointment.

I couldn’t glue my eyes off the pages and read Spell Bound in just two days (which is fast for me). Its action-packed plot and engaging characters really engrossed me and the time flew by without my noticing.

Many of my favourite series came to an end in the past two years and more often than not, I found myself disappointed by the ending. It wasn’t the case with Spell Bound. Even though the epilogue is admittedly cheesy, it brought a much needed sense of closure after the epic battle that took place a month before. I felt all woozy inside, teary-eyed and all and I have to thank Rachel Hawkins for feeling content about the way everything wrapped up. High five girl! 

School Spirit is the first book in a spin-off sequel and it’s already on my kindle. I can’t wait to get to it! Its the story of Izzy Brannick, Sophie’s cousin! I strongly recommend the Hex Hall series to YA fans, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this outstanding series!

Read an excerpt

tynsig

Daring You To Read… Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione

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I dared you the read Eternal Rider in the past, but I never dared you to read the original series, Demonica. And so this week, I am daring you to read Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione. This novel was her debut, but it doesn’t read like a first novel at all!

In this world, humanity doesn’t know about demons, but they have a somewhat flourishing life on the edge of the human world and the Aegis are very happy to try and kill them all. Pleasure Unbound is an action-packed paranormal romance, but fear not, the steam is also on the menu! Passion emanates from the pages in waves and sensuality is a whole part of the story, mostly because of Eidolon’s nature. It naturally flows with the story, enhancing the relationship between our two heroes.

I haven’t read the following books yet, (so many books, so little time) but I urge you to get your hands on this series. I mean who doesn’t like a sexy demon striving to be good?

Read my Review | Read an excerpt

Pleasure Unbound (Demonica, #1)In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life…

Tayla Mancuso is a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.

Two lovers will dare to risk all.

Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable-and let Tayla possess him, body and soul…

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Also in the series:

Desire Unchained (Demonica,...Passion Unleashed (Demonica...Ecstasy Unveiled (Demonica,...Sin Undone (Demonica, #5)

Daring You To Read is a weekly feature here on Tynga’s Reviews where we dare you to read some of our favorite older releases (at least 6 months old). All the books/series we choose to feature are titles we adored and think you should give them a shot! We think it’s a super awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!

You’ve already read the book? Let’s us know what you thought!
You are accepting the dare? We’d love to know!
Have a dare of your own? Leave a comment ^^

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Angelfall by Susan Ee

ee - angelfallAngelfall by Susan Ee

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Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

When I first received this book, I was a little hesitant because it contained angels, and they’re not usually my thing. I kept putting it off  but Lili kept insisting on how great it was. This last week, she urged me to read as soon as possible, to the point where I folded and removed the dust the cover had accumulated. She even dared all of us to read it in December, but I didn’t listen to her then. However, I should have listened because ANGELFALL ended up being my first 5 star read of 2013. I absolutely adored it and from now on, when Lili tells me to read a certain book or series, I’ll have to listen to her.

That being said, I think I see angels in a totally different way now. I don’t picture them as little cherubs or valentine’s-day-looking cupids anymore. No. These angels can be mean, warrior-like strong and sometimes, even mental. They look down on human beings and that’s proven multiples times as they keep calling humans “monkeys.” For one reason or another, the angels have recently appeared on earth and are slowly killing off the human race. Or at least that’s what it looks like at first. Susan Ee can definitely keep her readers on edge because she reveals just enough information to keep us entertained, yet doesn’t reveal enough to have you guessing the ending.

Seventeen year old Penryn is the type of YA character I love to read about. A strong and self-sufficient teenage girl that admittedly, can sometimes make mistakes and find herself in dangerous situations. The sort of situation that has her kidnap a warrior angel who has just gotten is majestic white wings cut off, and uses the wings as a bargaining chip. This angel ends up being Raffe, a good looking angel that seems to be on the run. Obviously, Penryn makes a lot of assumption about the angels because very little is known about them, especially why they’ve suddenly appeared on Earth. As she slowly befriends Raffe, they join forces to help each other get to their final goal: Penryn wants to find her sister who has been kidnaped by angels, and Raffe wants his wings sewn back on. Their journey eventually leads them to the aerie in San Francisco, but not before encountering “low demons” and a human resistance. Their journey is not only a mission to get from one place to another, but it’s also one of self-discovery and physical challenges.

Please note that the story is quite dark for a young adult book. Some scene aren’t for the faint of heart, especially the one where the angel wing dismemberment is described. Some scenes include gore-y details of wounds and other have awful children-like demons eating their way through human survivors.

It’s safe to say that you can’t always trust your first instincts about books. For a book that I decided to put on standby, I adored every bit of it. Take my word for it (and Lili’s of course) that this is a book you must read. The mix of dystopian elements and vengeful angels definitely works and results in a captivating YA read.  The only thing I regret, is not having read it sooner. Susan Ee has been granted a spot on my auto-buy list.

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Leashing the Tempest by Jenn Bennett

Leashing the Tempest by Jenn Bennett Leashing the Tempest by Jenn Bennett

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
e-book: 60 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release date: December 17, 2012

Series: Arcadia Bell #2.5

Source: Review copy from author

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Dating a demon, defeating evil, running a tiki bar: Arcadia Bell is a great occult mage in many respects. But then there’s the challenge of her boyfriend’s precocious teenage son…

Arcadia “Cady” Bell may have saved the Hellfire Club’s children from a local bogeyman, but she and her Earthbound demon boyfriend, Lon Butler, now face a more disturbing problem: his teenage son’s new demonic abilities. Jupe Butler can persuade you to do anything—or so he thinks.

To test the limits of his newfound power, Cady invites the co-owner of Tambuku Tiki Lounge to be the teen’s guinea pig during an afternoon boat cruise. But when an angry storm whips the Pacific into a frenzy and Jupe puts them all in serious danger, will Cady’s magick trump a teenager’s excess confidence?

Jenn Bennett leapt onto my radar in 2012 with KINDLING THE MOON, the first book in the Cady Bell series and also her debut novel. It’s a wonderful series, filled with awesome world building, ribald humour, not-so-ribald-but-equally-entertaining humour, strong relationships, and one very dashing moustache, which is nicely referenced in this mini-novella.

When I first heard about the premise of LEASHING THE TEMPEST, my brain immediately starting singing The Lonely Island’s “I’m On A Boat”. And then I started picturing Jupe and Cady singing it…It’s a slippery tangential slope so I’m going to get back to the matter at hand: the awesomeness that is Jenn Bennett and the world and characters she’s created! And then I saw this after writing my post and realized that I wasn’t the only one. 😀

But back to the matter at hand. LEASHING THE TEMPEST has everything I love in a Cady Bell story in a very nice 60-page package. It’s the perfect read to tide you over until May, when BINDING THE SHADOWS is released. And even though LEASHING THE TEMPEST is only 60 pages long, it’s a very satisfying story. I sometimes have length complaints with novellas because they feel unfinished but LEASHING A TEMPEST is like a cake pop: small but extremely delicious. And it’s suitable for existing fans and new readers because Jenn Bennett does an excellent job of explaining the world Cady and co. live in, and because the characters come alive and you can see their bonds quite clearly.

The story itself is a lot of fun, too. Cady, Lon, Jupe, and Kar Yee are going on a private boat ride so that Lon can take pictures and Jupe can test his demonic knack on Kar Yee is a safe environment. Of course, these guys can’t go anywhere without something unfortunate happening so they quickly find themselves threatened by an unnatural storm, thanks to some bad decisions made by certain characters who will remain unnamed to keep things interesting for those of you who haven’t tried this novella yet. There are some shocking moments and I loved the way the story ended.

For me, the best part of the novella was getting more Kar Yee time. She’s one of my favourite characters in the series and her interactions with Jupe, who is completely infatuated, are absolutely hysterical. I would totally read a spin-off story featuring the two of them on some sort of madcap adventure. It would be like Batman and Robin, if Batman had a sense of humour and a sense of entitlement, and if Robin upped his slavish devotion just a touch.

If you’re looking for a last-minute present that’s a definite winner (and quite affordable for you at only $0.99 US), gift your loved one (or passing acquaintance) a copy of LEASHING THE TEMPEST. It has moustaches and romance and yachts, oh my!

P.S. I love how the cover of LEASHING THE TEMPEST echoes the colours in the first Cady novel.

P.P.S. In case you didn’t get my earlier reference, here is the very NWFW version of The Lonely Island’s “I’m On A Boat”:

Jenn

I Ate the Sherriff by K. Bennett

k. bennett - I Ate the SherriffI Ate the Sherriff by K. Bennett

Book stats:

Reading level: Adult
Paperback: 310 pages
Genre: Paranormal Legal Thriller
Publisher: Kensington
Release date: August 7, 2012

Series: Mallory Caine, Zombie at Law #3

Source: Review copy from the publisher

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

You Have The Right To Remain Dead

What’s worse than killing a cop? Eating him afterwards. Which is exactly what happened to a Los Angeles County sheriff on Mulholland Drive. Now Mallory Caine, zombie at law, faces the toughest trial of her life–her own–since she’s the prime suspect. Ironically, Mallory’s been suppressing her undead desires in a 12-step zombie recovery group. It’s her human desires that scare her. . .

Anyone You Crave Can And Will Be Held Against You

He’s one hot werewolf named Steve "Rawhide" Ravener, and he’s Mallory’s latest client. His cheating wife has run off with a rival pack, and if he hopes to see their cubs again, he needs a lawyer whose bite is worse than his bark. Needless to say, family law has never been this hairy. And with a murder charge hanging over her head, a snake goddess charming her mother, and all kinds of hell-spawn taking over L.A., Mallory’s plate is full. And she’s dying to take a bite…

When I first got into this series, I had not clue how to categorize it into a genre. Without a doubt, it can be categorized as as a paranormal series because it does have zombies, vampires, werewolves, demons and many other paranormal beings. However, I truly believe it’s more than that. It can also be seen as a legal thriller since the main character, Mallory Caine, is a zombie lawyer. It does have multiple court room scenes but it’s not as dry as you might think. Actually, the author is very informative and writes in a way that keeps you on edge, hanging on to his every word. The author, no doubt, has a legal background because not only does he know his way around the courtroom, but he references multiple cases and laws. The courtroom scenes are actually one of the best scenes in the books since we see Mallory in her prime—defending people (and herself) whom aren’t necessarily innocent.

Mallory Caine is the type of protagonist you can’t stop rooting for. Living as a zombie in L.A. is quite difficult for her because walking the the busy streets is like walking into a casino as a recovering gambling addict. Living in L.A. as a lawyer isn’t all that easier since everyone seems to be against her. However she does have a few people working along side her. Her new client, Steve Ravener, strongly believes in her, and Father Clemente who really wants her to choose good over evil. Because L.A. is about to be hit by something bad and evil, the Lord of Darkness, Satan himself. Mallory isn’t too sure what is happening to her city but she does sense the forces of evil are getting stronger. Especially since she knows her ex, Aaron Argula, is the son of Satan and has the mayor of the city on his side. Also, zombies are on the rise, the mayor is more corrupt than usual, cults are being created and prophesies are being revealed.

Despite her good intentions, trouble always seems to find Mallory and after two years of being a zombie, she has finally gotten caught. Caught for eating the sheriff (but not the deputy). And let me elaborate on that a little. For those of you who haven’t read the series, Mallory isn’t you’re average zombie. She’s not the mindless monster Hollywood has made us believe zombies are. Don’t get me wrong, she is dead and she has been raised from the dead. And she no doubt feels the need to eat brains. Especially human brains. She has tried to go on a cow brain diet, but for her, it’s just not the same as the real deal. She has tried to live off the brain of scum, the bad guys roaming the streets, acting as a vigilante of sorts but she knows deep down eating human brain is not right. As the narrator, her character really shows us her internal conflicts over he diet and despite her murdering ways, we can see the goodness through of her selfless acts throughout the series.

A fair warning to some readers. The author does go into some gory details when Mallory feasts on human brain but those scenes aren’t overly bloody and gross. But since the book does involve some cannibalism, I just thought I should warn you beforehand.

Frighteningly sassy and more than occasionally morbid, Mallory makes a wonderful narrator for this series. She is sarcastic to no limit and she knows how to play dirty in court. We do see her evolve throughout the series but bottom line, the Mallory Caine in I ATE THE SHERIFF, is the same Mallory you meet in the first two books of the series. She definitively gives a new meaning to the the saying “Bite me!”. The pop culture references in the narration is an element that adds originality to the writing. I really hope to see more of Mallory in the future and I really hope the author doesn’t leave us hanging like this. With the city of angels on fire and in the middle of an Apocalypse, no less.

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Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione

Rogue Rider (Lords of Deliverance, #4)Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione

Book Stats:
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release date: November 20, 2012

Series: Lords of Deliverance #4

Source: Netgalley

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

The prophecies were there but no one listened. Until now. They are the Lords of Deliverance and they have the power to ward off Doomsday . . . or let it ride.

Jillian Cardiff came to this remote mountain town to forget the demon attack that almost killed her. Instead, she rescues – and falls for – a gorgeous stranger who has no memory of anything other than his name. Handsome, charming and protective, Reseph seems like the kind of man that Jillian can trust. But with hints of a troubling history of his own, he’s also the kind of man that can be very dangerous . . .

Reseph may not know his background, or why he mysteriously appeared in Jillian’s life, but he knows he wants to stay. Yet when Jillian’s neighbours are killed and demon hunters arrive on the scene, Reseph fears that he’s putting Jillian in danger. And once it’s revealed that Reseph is also Pestilence, the Horseman responsible for ravaging the world with death and destruction, he and Jillian must face the greatest challenge of all: can they forget the horrors of a chilling past to save the future they both desire?

The apocalypse was averted when Thanatos killed Pestilence a.k.a his brother Reseph, or so everyone thought. But their Watcher Reaver broke every rule and sent Reseph back to earth, memory wiped, so his soul could heal. Heaven needs him when to heavenly apocalypse will come to pass and Reaver’s actions will create tremors when his secret will be discovered.

I was super anxious to read this book, because I really wanted to meet Reseph, without Pestilence in control, and while I truly enjoyed this novel I wasn’t as enthusiastic about it as I thought I would be. The main reason is that in every previous novels, there was a bad guy to fight (Pestilence) thus a lot of action, but now that Reseph isn’t evil anymore, the treat is relatively under control and Rogue Rider isn’t as action packed. That’s my only complain.

Now onto the positive. I really enjoyed getting to know the man behind the evil, he is sweet and caring and I loved the way he treated Jillian. She is recovering from a demon attack, and nursing scars of her own and I think they are perfect for each other. Larrisa Ione did an amazing job describing Reseph amnesia and I thought his reactions and feelings toward his unknown past were very believable.

The action picked up when Reseph’s siblings learnt that he was still alive and kidnapped him to make sure Pestilence would stay under control. I loved how realistic Jillian and Reseph’s reaction was (if you ignore the paranormal element) when they struggled to be together after Reseph got his memory back. I truly felt for the both of them.

Aside from J & R story, there is a side plotline with Reaver and Harvester that truly fascinated me! At the end of the galley, Larissa announces that the fifth book is about Reaver (and I think Harvester) and I am beyond excited for this next instalment. I really came to love both angels, especially during this novel, and I can’t wait to learn more.

Rogue Rider’s conclusion was highly exciting and full of revelations and I’m convinced fans of the series won’t be disappointed.

Read an excerpt

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