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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Daring You to Read… Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson

This week I am daring you to read a great Urban Fantasy, Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson. Actually, I should dare you to read Blooded, a short story that introduce us to Jessica’s world, because I think you should read it before you take on the first book. It allows you to understand a lot about Jessica, and where she’s coming from.

Now back to Full Blooded, the basic concept isn’t all the original, with Jessica being the first and only female werewolf. The whole ‘being the only X’ concept has been explored more than once, but what it implies for Jessica is really interesting. It was foretold that a female werewolf would bring about the end of the race, and surprisingly, Carlson’s werewolves are a superstitious bunch and from her birth, Jessica was feared and hated.

She doesn’t let any prophecies stop her though and decide to build her life away from the pack. She’s never been able to shift and so blending with humans was fairly easy,… until she finally shifted that is. I loved that we were privy to her first shift and her crazy emotions. I also truly loved her as a character. She’s witty, entertaining and strong.

Amanda Carlson also blessed us with an awesome brochette of male secondary characters. I loved Tyler, her big brother and his best friend Danny. Nick, her best friend, also rocked my world. My crush goes for James though, smolderingly hot second in command, and Rourke, secretive cat extraordinaire.

The pace is fast and furious and this action packed story is bound to please shifters fans. If you’re like me, a bit of humour is also always welcome, and you won’t be disappointed. Here’s a funny quote:

Rourke, what kind of werecat are you?" He seemed genuinely surprised by the question. Then he narrowed his eyes, flashing me a toothy grin. "I never kiss and tell on the first date.

Full Blooded was an amazing read, and with Hot Blooded freshly released, it’s a great moment to pick up this title!

Amanda Carlson Full BloodedAfter living in hiding for the last twenty-six years, Jessica wakes up to find she’s become a full-blooded werewolf — claws, fangs, fur, everything. It was never supposed to happen: female werewolves don’t exist.

When a mercenary killer comes looking for her, her Pack finds themselves caught in the middle of a war. They must rise up to protect her, but no one knows if she’s means the end of their race-or just a new beginning.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Jenn’s Review

More in the series:

Blooded (Jessica McClain, #...Hot Blooded (Jessica McClai...Cold Blooded (Jessica McCla...

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 ^^

tynsig

Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Jessica McClain #2)Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 325 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release date: April 23, 2013

Series: Jessica McClain #2

Source: eARC via NetGalley

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

It hasn’t been the best week for Jessica McClain.

Her newly found mate has been kidnapped by a Goddess hell-bent on revenge, and Jessica is positive she can save him.

But being the only female werewolf in town comes with its own set of rules and powers… if only she understood them.

Aided by two vamps, two loyal Pack members, and one very reluctant human, Jessica must rescue her man while coming to terms with what being a wolf really means.

The second novel in the Jessica McClain series is a full on action adventure featuring one angry Goddess and plenty of monsters, demons, and a few newly risen beasties…

Jessica McClain’s second full-length adventure comes on the heels of the events of FULL BLOODED. If you may recall, Jessica had a hard time of things in FULL BLOODED: discovering she was the only female full-blooded werewolf, learning she has superpowers, and meeting her mate, all in the span of a few days. And at the end of it all, Jess found herself with a death curse from the moon goddess Selene, who also managed to take Jessica’s mate Roarke prisoner. It’s enough to put anyone in a bad mood but Jess doesn’t really have a chance to recover before she’s on a quest to track down Selene and rescue Roarke.

Where FULL BLOODED has a wide scope, with Jessica coming into her own as a werewolf, discovering Roarke is her mate, and fighting against the mythology about a female werewolf being the end of everything, HOT BLOODED is focussed on a single mission: getting Roarke back from Selene. And it’s a mission that deserve our full attention because it’s a huge task. After all, Jessica is a newbie werewolf, still trying to figure out what her special abilities mean, and she’s going up against an extremely powerful goddess. And this is after making a bold move, standing up to her father in front of their pack and the vampires, and then leaving to find Roarke with only two unpredictable vampire siblings and two packmates for support. It kind of reminded me of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol because of the small team, limited resources, and high-octane action. If you enjoy a slick action movie, you’re sure to love HOT BLOODED.

There is also some fantastic world building in HOT BLOODED. Amanda Carlson expands on the rich mythology she established in FULL BLOODED, adding exciting new baddies, evil goats, and creatures from less explored (but existing) mythologies, like the Mahrac. There was surprise after surprise in HOT BLOODED, as Jessica and her company encounter all sorts of unusual traps, monsters, and barriers. And it was a lot of fun for me as a reader because everything was completely unpredictable and I love it when an author can pull the rug out from under my feet. I went into HOT BLOODED with expectations of a great story and Carlson more than exceeded my hopes.

Amanda Carlson and Jessica McClain roared onto the urban fantasy scene last year and it looks like 2013 will be another outstanding year for them if HOT BLOODED is any indication. I am so very excited to see what will happen in COLD BLOODED, coming this fall.

Read an excerpt

Jenn

"When I’m not writing" with Amanda Carlson

Amanda Carlson I am over the moon about this week’s guest because I love, love, love her books! Amanda Carlson leapt onto my radar last year when she debuted with FULL BLOODED, a fantastic urban fantasy about Jessica McClain and the world she lives in, which is full of sexy werewolves, awesome plotting, and fast-paced action. Jess becomes the only female werewolf in FULL BLOODED and Amanda’s upcoming release, HOT BLOODED, continues Jessica’s rollercoaster of a new life. And before you say, “Shades of Kelley Armstrong,” let me promise you that the concepts may be similar but each author has her own unique and excellent writing style and worlds, and that you will love getting acquainted with Ms. McClain. You’ll also love getting to know Amanda, as you find out what she does when she’s not writing!

Welcome, Amanda!

WINW_logo

When I’m not writing I love to do a lot of things, but I thought it would be fun to do a Top 10 of my most favorite non-writing activities.

Top 10 Things I love to do when I’m not writing:

10. Eat a popsicle. This is one of my favorite mini-breaks. On a hot summer day, there’s nothing better than taking a work break with a popsicle.

9. Read my US Weekly magazine. I’ve been a subscriber since 1998. Yes, I said 1998. Love to get lost in the trash.

8. Go on a walk with my pals. Minneapolis has many lakes with walking paths and it’s so fun to get out when the weather is nice. Recently I’ve been doing research for COLD BLOODED around the lakes and it’s been awesome.sushi

7. Go out for a sushi lunch. I love sushi. Lunch is great in general, but sushi lunch is my favorite. Gets me out of the house.

6. Play a game of Scrabble, and more recently, Words With Friends. I love this distraction! Gets me out of my head for a few minutes, enough to clear my mind and get back to work.

5. Go to my daughter’s hockey games. This is one of my favorite ways to take a break. Seeing those girls kickass on the rink is the best. I’m a true hockey fan.

4. Read a great book. My most recent faves are: Amanda Bonilla, Julie Ann Walker, Kristen Callihan and Darynda Jones.

3. Go on a date night with my man. This really should be 1-10. I love hanging out with him and it’s even better when we get out of the house together. Twenty years together this fall and it’s still fun every time.

2. Take a hot bubble bath. I love the tub and when I take a bath, it’s a true “at home” break. Can’t bring the computer into the tub, so it’s all about relaxation. I live in MN, so the bath is also a great place for me to thaw out my fingertips on a cold winter day.

Zombieland1. Go to the MOVIES! I love, love the movies. A great movie is worth all the money in the world and is truly a great escape for a writer. Some of my faves are: Django Unchained, Zombieland, Get Him to the Greek, This Means War and Despicable Me.

Thanks for having me on the blog today! HOT BLOODED releases on April 23rd and I’m so excited to share it with the world.

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Thanks for stopping by, Amanda, and sharing your Top 10 list!

For more information about Amanda and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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Here’s the scoop on HOT BLOODED:

Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Jessica McClain #2)It hasn’t been the best week for Jessica McClain.

Her newly found mate has been kidnapped by a Goddess hell-bent on revenge, and Jessica is positive she can save him.

But being the only female werewolf in town comes with its own set of rules and powers… if only she understood them.

Aided by two vamps, two loyal Pack members, and one very reluctant human, Jessica must rescue her man while coming to terms with what being a wolf really means.

The second novel in the Jessica McClain series is a full on action adventure featuring one angry Goddess and plenty of monsters, demons, and a few newly risen beasties…

Jenn’s thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Click on the cover for my thoughts on BLOODED (the prequel e-novella) and FULL BLOODED (the first book in the series):

Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Jessica McClain #0.5) Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Jessica McClain #1)

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Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!

Jenn

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger (Finishing School the First)

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Book stats:
Reading level: Young adult
Trade paperback: 320 pages
Genre: Steampunk
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: February 5, 2013

Series: Finishing School #1

Source: Personal shelf

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail’s legions of fans have come to adore.

“No one said learning etiquette and espionage would be easy, my dear.”
– Lady Linette (p. 128)

As the first book in Gail Carriger’s new young adult Finishing School series, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I adore Carriger’s adult Parasol Protectorate books with a most unladylike passion and so I had high hopes for ETIQUTTE & ESPIONAGE, even though I have a mixed relationship with YA books. Thankfully, just like one of my other favourite authors, Jennifer Estep, Carriger makes a seamless transition to young adult and ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE is just as delightful as any of the Parasol Protectorate books. In fact, in some ways, I was even more tickled by ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE because fans of the adult series get glimpses of some familiar characters and all readers, old and new, get to meet the irrepressible Sophronia Angelina Temminnick, our fearless fourteen-year-old protagonist. I loved Soprhonia from the moment she stepped onto the page (and into the dumbwaiter) and I’m really looking forward to following her through her Finishing School adventures.

Finishing School Series tumblr

As always in a Carriger novel, the writing is top-notch. The narration is witty, in keeping with the period, and utterly delightful. The story is tightly paced and plotted and will satisfy readers young and not-so-young, since it’s smart but not so complex that it would scare off the target audience. My biggest complaint about YA books generally is that I find the plots too simplistic for an adult reader and I was pleased as punch to discover that ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE was just as satisfying as Carriger’s other works.

As an aside, the marketing team for Little, Brown has created all sorts of neat images on the series website, including some with quotations from ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE, like the one above. I’d strongly urge you to check out the website since it will give you a really good feel for the book and the world of the Parasol Protectorate.

Getting back to things, however, we need to talk about Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. It’s a finishing school like no other since it teaches all of the techniques necessary to be a successful intelligencer or assassin. Most of the students come from families that know about the true nature of Miss Geraldine’s school but Sophronia is a covert recruit, so she doesn’t realize how different this school is. Her first clues: the school floats thanks to some fancy technology and her ride to school was more than a little unorthodox. It’s a great setting because there are lots of opportunities to showcase amazing steampunk gadgetry and because we get to meet a wonderful cast of characters. Carriger has assembled a motley crew for Sophronia, consisting of Dimity, a lovely young lady who faints at the sight of blood; Soap, a sootie from the bottom of the ship that befriends Sophronia; Sidheag Maccon, a familiar name for fans of the Parasol Protectorate; and, of course, dear Bumbersnoot, the mechanimal that Sophronia finds and adopts. All of the characters have their own voices and quirks and I can’t wait to spend more time with them. There are some other familiar faces but I don’t want to ruin the surprise so I’ll let you discover which Parasol Protectorate characters make an appearance in the Finishing School series. I will say that it’s great fun since we get to see them in their younger days, since the Finishing School books are set slightly earlier than the Parasol Protectorate.

ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE is a fantastic YA debut for Carriger and it more than meets the high standards I have, based on the wonder that is the Parasol Protectorate. I’m so happy that this is the beginning of a series because I’m sure there are bigger and better things ahead for Sophronia and her friends. I can’t wait to see what happens next, in CURTSIES & CONSPIRACIES!

Read an excerpt

Jenn

Strange Fates by Marlene Perez

Strange Fates Marlene Perez

Strange Fates by Marlene Perez

Book Stats:
Reading level: New Adult
Print Length: 277 pages
Publisher: Orbit
Release date: March 5, 2013

Series: Nyx Fortuna #1

Source: NetGalley

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon

The first in a line of three exciting new urban fantasy novels blending elements of Greek myth and forbidden romance against the backdrop of Minnesota’s magical underworld.

Brooding, leather jacket-wearing Nyx Fortuna looks like a 20-something, and has for centuries now. As the son of the forgotten fourth Fate, Lady Fortuna, he has been hunted his entire life by the three Sisters of Fate that murdered his mother.

Fed up and out for revenge, Nyx comes to Minneapolis following a tip that his aunts have set up a business there. His goal ­ to bring down his mother’s killers and retrieve the thread of fate that has trapped him in the body of a twenty year old unable to age or die.

But when a chance meeting with the mysterious, dangerous and very mortal Elizabeth Abernathy throws off his plans, he must reconcile his humanity and his immortality.

Nyx Fortuna, Son of Fortuna, has been running from his murderous aunts since he was born. See, he is professed to kill them and they plan to put an end to him before he has the chance to. To save him, his mother has hidden his thread of fate and he is looking for it since. When you live alone for hundreds of years, it gets lonely and Nyx is ready to give up. Or he was, until he met Elizabeth.

Highly attractive cover, compelling summary, I requested this novel as soon as I saw it on NetGalley. I enjoyed this novel but I will have to mention some elements that bothered me. Shall we get the negative stuff out of the way first?

I found Marlene Perez’s writing to be very repetitive, especially when it came to Nyx’s past, his aunts, his mother death, his need for revenge etc. I guess she wanted to emphasis on their relationship, but I found it bothersome after a while.

Also, when Nyx meets Elizabeth, he notices right away how she looks a lot like his late ex-girlfriend, and the memories seems painful.  Yet, when the girl asks him if he’s ever been in love, his answer is no and he mutters something along the lines of ‘until I met you’. I don’t know about you, but it just sits wrong with me that he didn’t love his ex-girlfriend and falls in love at first sight with a girl he doesn’t even know?  His unconditional and illogical love for her is the element that really annoyed me the whole length of the novel because I just didn’t buy it.

Now let’s focus on the positive. How cool is this guy’s name? Nyx is the name of one of my favourite characters ever, from another series, so I instantly took a liking to him. He is laid back, sarcastic and funny and I really enjoyed following his adventures. I particularly liked his relationship with Talbot and I wished there was even more scenes of the two of them together.

Marlene Perez brought to the table an amazing Greek mythology with her own spin to it and I greatly appreciated its originality. I’m not really clear if the novel is set in an open world though? It seems most people he meets is a paranormal creature, or sworn to an house (Zeus, Poseidon, or Hades, Fates being the fourth), and everyone seems pretty casual about magic. I honestly don’t know.The numerous twist and turns confused me at times, but overall, I had a good time and stayed engaged to the story.

The conclusion wrapped-up the main plot line nicely and set the table for the second instalment, Dark Descent. I still have many questions though, and I guess the second novel will answer them. Who is Nyx’s father? Is there more behind Ambrose’s interest in Nyx? Will he find his thread? What about about Gwen? And Willow?

I haven’t decided yet if I will read the second instalment in the trilogy. I genuinely loved Nyx, Talbot, Ambrose & Willow, but is it enough to counterbalance my annoyance with Elizabeth and Perez’s writing style that I don’t really care for? Either way, Strange Fates is a quick, fun read and I suggest you give it a try and make your own mind about it 🙂

tynsig

Tempting Fate blog tour with Marlene Perez +Giveaway

Strange Fates Marlene PerezNyx Fortuna from Marlene Perez’s STRANGE FATES spends his whole life tempting fate. He’s  been on  the run from his Aunts. He’s trying to find what little is left of his mother and of his life. It won’t be easy but fortune favors the bold…

Please welcome author Marlene Perez to celebrate her most recent release: Strange Fates. And don’t miss a chance to enter to win a character poster, a box set of Marlene’s DEAD IS series, and an ebook of STRANGE FATES..

Fate, Danger, & Superstition

In Strange Fates, the first book in my new adult urban fantasy series, Nyx Fortuna literally fights fate, in the form of his aunts, the three Fates. He has the embodiment of luck on his side, as his mother was Lady Fortuna, AKA Lady Luck, the fourth and forgotten Fate.

In Strange Fates, there is a thread of superstition running through the novel. Even the Fates themselves fall prey to superstition, as they want to kill Nyx simply for being born the only male in the Wyrd family line. A prophecy indicates that a male Wyrd will bring about the Fates’ downfall and since they believe in the prophecy, they do everything they can to end Nyx’s life, but he’s immortal and can’t be killed.
Lady Fortuna’s missing charms are symbols of good luck. Nyx manages to acquire some of the charms while he’s in Minneapolis, which he attributes to his phenomenal good luck, but is that what’s really going on?

I admit to a few superstitions myself. I believe that lucky people are those who look for opportunities in life, but I also have a four-leaf clover necklace and a wishbone necklace. I bought the four-leaf clover necklace after my agent sold the Dead Is series and I bought the wishbone necklace after my agent sold the Nyx Fortuna series. So maybe my agent is really my good luck charm?

I have to resist the urge to throw a pinch of salt over my shoulder, knock on wood, and spin around three times to ward off low advances, bad reviews, and worst of all, a lack of ideas. That last part I made up. Everyone knows that your cat has to sit on your manuscript for luck.

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More about Strange Fates

Strange Fates Marlene PerezThe first in a line of three exciting new urban fantasy novels blending elements of Greek myth and forbidden romance against the backdrop of Minnesota’s magical underworld.

Brooding, leather jacket-wearing Nyx Fortuna looks like a 20-something, and has for centuries now. As the son of the forgotten fourth Fate, Lady Fortuna, he has been hunted his entire life by the three Sisters of Fate that murdered his mother.

Fed up and out for revenge, Nyx comes to Minneapolis following a tip that his aunts have set up a business there. His goal ­ to bring down his mother’s killers and retrieve the thread of fate that has trapped him in the body of a twenty year old unable to age or die.

But when a chance meeting with the mysterious, dangerous and very mortal Elizabeth Abernathy throws off his plans, he must reconcile his humanity and his immortality.

Purchase:
Amazon
B&N Nook
Kobo
Google Play

You can follow Marlene on
Tumblr: http://marlenedperez.tumblr.com/
Twitter
: @MarPerez
Website: marleneperez.com

Check out the book trailer:

Previous TEMPTING FATES blog tour stops

March 18- http://parajunkee.com
March 19- http://www.smashattackreads.com/
March 20- http://amberkatze.blogspot.com/
March 21- http://closeencounterswiththenightkind.blogspot.com/

giveaway

One (1) lucky winner gets a character poster, a box set of Marlene’s DEAD IS series, and an ebook of STRANGE FATES..

Open to US & Canada only

To enter, fill the rafflecopter form below.

Ends April 5th, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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 ^^

tynsig

Ash by Malinda Lo

Ash by Malinda Lo

Book stats:

Reading level: YA
Hardcover: 264 pages
Genre: LGBT Fantasy Retelling
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: September 1, 2009

Series: n/a

Source: Personal Shelf

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Cinderella retold.

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

When 2013 finally began, I made a promise to myself that while I want to continue to acquire new books, I will also put forth a huge effort to read the books that have been on my shelves for a while. ASH is one of the first of many of those books. What originally drew me to it was that this book is a Cinderella retelling that involves both humans and fairies, but to make it stand out even more, it’s also an LGBT retelling in the young adult genre. Such a thing is hard to come by. For me, such a thing isn’t bothersome either. In truth, I’ve grown up since childhood with a best friend that came out to me several years ago as a lesbian, and as an open supporter of gay rights I was really excited to delve into this one. But at the same time, I acknowledge that such a thing can make many people uncomfortable, so I want to start off by saying that while there is a certain relationship with a male fairy in this one, there is also a relationship with a female huntress. And, yes, they do kiss, just as anyone in a relationship would, but it happens maybe once or twice and is not the least bit graphic, so there shouldn’t be any problems if you don’t mind quick kisses in novels. If such a thing bothers you, turn back now. If it doesn’t, be aware that I still wouldn’t recommend this retelling to younger young adults because they may not fully grasp concepts relating to the LGBT community just yet.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I want to get into this review.

I applaud Lo for taking on such a complicated tale that will garner both love and dislike. As for me, I’m in like with it. I enjoyed the tale and the fact that it was a light, quick read that told a unique story that still stayed somewhat true to the Cinderella fairytale that I grew up with as a child. I really enjoyed Sidhean’s complexity and how he so desperately wanted to get away from the darkness of his world and temporarily enter Ash’s reality of our world. I also enjoyed how this story painted fairies–scarily beautiful, yes, but they were creepy and bloodthirsty. Their skin was so light that it clearly stretched over bones, yet they radiated this allure that draws you to them. These are the types of fairies I love–the dark, dangerous kinds that make for a twisted story.

At times, I did struggle with Lo’s writing. While I was given huge opportunities to feel for Ash and understand her grief over the passing of both of her birth parents, I felt detached from her other times. The descriptions in this one, at times, were simply too long. While I found the Wood and the secret fairy places and paths that were hidden within it fascinating, the descriptions dragged on so much that I often found myself disinterested until I was able to get back to a passage that wasn’t all description of useless detail.

All in all, I think this book is the perfect rainy day read. Though it has a love triangle, it’s executed well since both love interests come from different worlds that entrance Ash. And she’s never whining about the other when with one of them. Ash has a good head on her shoulders for the most part, and though you want to shake her at times, it’s easy to read her story. Lo is a gifted writer that knows how to touch sensitive subjects in a respectable manner. I look forward to checking out her other works in the future, though I am no extreme hurry to do so. While I did find this book enjoyable and it did garner a positive reaction from me, I can’t see it blew me away the way I was hoping it would.

 

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Book stats:

Reading Level: Young Adult
ARC: 304 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 4, 2012

Series: Fairytale Retellings #3

Source: Gifted

Review By: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant — until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn’t know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea — a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid — all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she’s becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she’s tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude’s affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there’s only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

In all honesty, I have no idea what to think of this one. I liked some parts, I disliked other parts, but I also was confused with some aspects. I know no other word to describe this novel besides convoluted. It’s complex and hard to follow at times, while it’s just…too simple other times. Overall, I’d have to say it was average—a nice read to grab from the library if you want something that is oddly unique and definitely unparalleled in that sense.

I got excited about reading this book because, as the series name so clearly suggests, it’s a fairytale retelling and the fairytale it is loosely based off of is The Little Mermaid. I wanted to read this book solely based on that piece of information. But now that I am done with the book, I have no clue what tale of the Little Mermaid Pearce based this off of. Perhaps there’s a different one floating around out there that I don’t know about, but I went into this book expecting one thing and receiving something entirely different. There are no fins, no mermaids, and no princes coming to take the girls away. Instead there are girls with no memories and blue skin that live underwater, aging so that one-day they can become angels or monsters. While this was fascinating, it made several aspects of the novel hard to follow and made the hinting of a love triangle in the synopsis misleading.

What did I enjoy? Celia and Jude. I felt bad for Celia based entirely on the fact that she was the black sheep of her set of triplets, all of which had unexplained magical powers (are they supposed to parallel the three Fates or something?), though hers was considered the most useless since she can’t see the future or anything like that, she can only see the past—something that cannot be changed. Out of all the characters, she is the only one I could relate to and fully enjoy, though she was a bit immature at times. I also enjoyed Jude and his love of music, as well as his love of Celia attributed to Nightingale Syndrome because he fell in love with his savior. While I thought that was a really cute touch, it could have been played out better, and instead came across to me as a clever disguise for a case of insta-love.

While Lo’s characterization gave way to mesmerizing descriptions of what is hiding from us underwater, I didn’t like her character that much. Nor did I enjoy Naida. See, Naida was the name of Lo while she was still human before she became the underwater girl she is now and forgot her previous life as Naida. Then when Naida awakens, these two girls share a body. The personalities aren’t that much different because they both switch from being really nice to being really evil. The transition between the two was instantaneous and hard to follow. This is an aspect of the novel that tended to confuse me more than anything else. And when we finally learned the truth behind Lo’s creation, I was shocked. It was unexpected, which I really enjoyed, but it also went unexplained. Why the people that changed her were doing what they did was never revealed. Little things like this frustrated me immensely because I felt very under informed.

All in all, this is the type of book to grab from the library if you’re looking for something unique. It has a lot of creativity poured into it that could have made a better novel if some ideas were better fleshed out. Was I blown away? No. Was it still a decent, good read that is worth a shot? Yes. My one recommendation would be to avoid going into it with the thoughts of a fairytale re-telling. In my eyes, I don’t think this counts as one, so instead go into it with the idea of a unique fantasy. In that sense, I think it will be more enjoyed.

Read an Excerpt