Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson, #7)Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Book Stats:
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Release date: March 5, 2013

Series: Mercy Thompson #7

Source: Personal shelf

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book depository

Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman—the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack—has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more…

After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam—or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted.

Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam’s disappearance may be related—and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.

Mercy has always had a way to get herself into trouble, but this time around it’s her husband and mate Adam who’s in trouble, and she gets to play hero. Don’t get me wrong, playing hero isn’t easy either and Mercy gets her fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, but who would’ve thought little Coyote would be the key to save both the werewolf pack and the local vampire seethe?

The Mercy Thompson series is one of my favourites urban fantasy out there, and this instalment didn’t disappoint. My only complaint would be that it was over way too fast. I don’t know if it’s Patricia Briggs’ writing style or if the word count on her novels isn’t that high but it always feels likes it’s too short. Especially since we have to wait quite a while between releases. I’m telling you, I can’t get enough of Mercy and her friends!

This time around the plot revolves around the whole pack being kidnapped by pseudo government agents and Mercy’s quest to find and free them. She has to call on old friends to accomplish her mission and I enjoyed seeing them again. The novel is, per usual, filled with heart-pounding action and keeping-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense. I blindly followed our hero every step of the way, and didn’t quite grasp the intensity of the betrayal until the final unveiling. 

Mercy’s world is really rich and entertaining  and with each book I feel like coming back home. I just love it! The lore is entertaining with werewolves, fey, witches, vampires and a single coyote involved. Each race has it knack and Mercy always does her best to walk the line and profit from each strength and trying not to make too many enemies. The ambiguity is maddening hehe.

I really like this series and I strongly suggest you give it a shot, starting with Moon Called. Frost Burned being the 7th books in the series, I can feel it coming to an end and I’m already saddened by the prospect of not visiting Mercy’s world anymore, but I’m really impatient for the next book called Night Broken.

Read Excerpt

tynsig

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Deep Dark Secret by Sierra Dean

Deep Dark Secret by Sierra Dean Deep Dark Secret by Sierra Dean

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
ebook: 272 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Samhain
Release date: February 5, 2012

Series: Secret McQueen #3

Source: Personal shelf

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

The only good Secret is a buried Secret

Secret McQueen has hunted vampires, werewolves, and every conceivable supernatural menace-to-society. Seen it all? Not even close. When the queen of the were-ocelots comes to her for help finding a missing girl, the half-vampire/half-werewolf soon realizes how much she has to learn about the things that go bump in the night.

The case of the missing cat is one thing. Pile it up with her new duties as a Tribunal Leader, her tenuous position as mate to the king of the Eastern werewolves, and a slew of new (and unwelcome) supernatural abilities, and Secret is once again in familiar territory. Way over her head. But for this multitasking half-breed, it’s business as unusual.

What knocks her for a loop, though, isn’t her lover’s intoxicating kiss. It’s the missing memories rushing at her from out of nowhere, signaling a rapidly approaching fork in her destiny. Her choice will affect not only her life, but her love.

Warning: Contains a werewolf king with wandering hands, a creepy English professor with nefarious plans, and one hell of an unexpected gala evening at Columbia.

DEEP DARK SECRET is Secret McQueen’s third novel-length adventure and Sierra Dean has upped the stakes on both the romantic and political front. The previous two novels have focussed primarily on vampire business and added some werewolf romance but DEEP DARK SECRET turns that formula on its head, with the politics being werewolf in nature. Lucas’ territory is being encroached upon by Secret’s family and it forces Lucas and Secret’s relationship issues to the foreground of the novel. I’ve always found Lucas to be a bit high-handed and autocratic and I was none too pleased with his behaviour in DEEP DARK SECRET since he takes this behaviour to new levels. Thankfully, Secret doesn’t take to this very well, which leads to some awkward but important conversations. She does, however, go along with some of the situations he creates for the good of the pack, which shows how much she’s learned about her status in the pack and how her actions affect not only her own future but those of her packmates. It’s great to see her becoming more aware of the bigger picture, but it would be nice if Lucas wasn’t always forcing decisions on her. I hope that the next book, GRAVE SECRET, shows us a more considerate side of our determined werewolf king but I doubt it.

On the plus side, some of Secret’s other relationships (romantic and otherwise) are not so fraught, which is good considering she has to find Genevieve’s missing niece Lucy. The mission takes some interesting twists and turns and the series mythology expands to include previously undiscussed supernatural elements. The Big Bad is a type of monster common in urban fantasy and paranormal romance but Dean does a nice job of making it her own (and extremely icky). The climactic battle is really exciting and it has some nice surprising elements that I think everyone will enjoy.

We actually get to learn a lot about Secret’s past because an ex-boyfriend features rather prominently in DEEP DARK SECRET. Secret’s interactions with him give us a lot of insight into her character, and also highlight how much she’s grown since we first met her. There was one reveal in particular that will likely have serious ramifications for the series, but it comes towards the end of the novel so I won’t spoil it for you. You’ll just have to read DEEP DARK SECRET for yourself if you’re curious! 🙂

Though I didn’t like DEEP DARK SECRET as much as the previous installments in the Secret McQueen series, it’s still a fun, fast urban fantasy ride that delivers the level of action, humour, and sexiness I’ve come to expect from Sierra Dean. The characters continue to grow, Secret continues to kick butt and snark her way through all of her challenges, and her life gets ever more complicated. I can’t begin to guess what might befall Secret next but I can’t wait to read it!

Read an excerpt

Jenn

Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson

Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson (Weird Girls #1)Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 368 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Release date: December 31, 2012

Series: Weird Girls #1

Source: Won on My world…in books and pages

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other 20-something girls—with one tiny exception: they’re products of a backfired curse that has given each of them unique powers that make them, well, weird…

The Wird sisters are content to avoid the local vampires, werebeasts, and witches of the Lake Tahoe region—until one of them blows up a vampire in self-defense. Everyone knows vampires aren’t aggressive, and killing one is punishable by death. But soon more bloodlust-fueled attacks occur, and the community wonders: are the vampires of Tahoe cursed with a plague?

Celia reluctantly agrees to help Misha, the handsome leader of an infected vampire family. But Aric, the head of the werewolf pack determined to destroy Misha’s family to keep the region safe, warns Celia to stay out of the fight. Caught between two hot alphas, Celia must find a way to please everyone, save everyone, and oh yeah, not lose her heart to the wrong guy—or die a miserable death. Because now that the evil behind the plague knows who Celia is, it’s coming for her and her sisters. This Wird girl has never had it so tough.

I was super excited when I won this book over on My world…in books and pages. We hosted Cecy Robson for our “When I’m not writing” feature back in December and I was about to purchase my own copy of SEALED WITH A CURSE when I got lucky on Melissa’s blog. (It’s a great blog, by the way, and you should definitely check it out, especially if you’re a Nook user since Melissa posts lots of Nook deals.) I’ve actually read it a couple times since then but it was never when I had time to post a review. But it’s such a fun book that I had to share it with you!

SEALED WITH A CURSE is Robson’s debut and she proves herself to be a great new voice in urban fantasy. Her main characters — the Wird sisters — are fantastic and she’s created an amazing world for them to live in. SEALED WITH A CURSE is told from Celia’s perspective. She’s the eldest of the four and can change into a tigress (or any other animal she happens to brush up against if she’s not prepared) — but she’s not a shapeshifter. Her other sisters also have some interesting powers: Taran is a magic user who wield it as fire and lightning — but she’s not a witch. Shayna can turn pieces of wood into deadly sharp weapons and can manipulate alloys. Emme, the youngest, is telekinetic and can heal herself and others. They’re a great group of girls and I love how they each have their own distinctive personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. We get the most insight into Celia since she’s the narrator but Robson does a great job of giving each sister their moments to shine.

Like all great characters, they have a bit of a tragic past. Their parents were murdered and it was horrible but we don’t know much more than that. I’m really curious to find out what went on All they have is each other and they’ve made a nice life for themselves in Tahoe. It all falls apart, though, when vampires suffering from extreme bloodlust pop up, ruining the relatively anonymous existence the Wird sisters have been leading. Now, they’re thrown head-first into the supernatural waters without a full understanding of how the different types of supernaturals interact and behave. Mostly, Celia and her sisters are dealing with vampires and werewolves, though, so there’s not too much for readers to be surprised about on this front. The vampires are generally attractive, manipulative, and powerful and the werewolves aren’t too different, though they are sworn to defend the earth from supernatural threats, which is a neat twist on the typical mythology. I really enjoyed Robson’s treatment of bloodlust and how it manifests and affects vampires. I thought this was a really strong and well-executed storyline.

There’s a lot of romance in this novel so this may not be the novel for you if you’re looking for something that’s all mystery and fights (i.e. non-sexy action) then SEALED WITH A CURSE is probably not the book for you. Celia is reluctantly involved in a love triangle with Aric, the Leader of the werewolves, and Misha, a Master vampire whom Celia first meets when he accuses her of murdering one of his family. Celia seems to be a lot more interested in Aric but there’s something about her that has really captured Misha’s interest. Celia’s not used to getting this much male attention so there’s a lot of blushing but she’s no shrinking violet. The other Wird girls, however, are much more comfortable engaging with men on a romantic level and Shayna, Taran, and Emme all end up involved with some werewolves they meet at a club. It’s a bit convenient that the sisters go out to a club and meet a bunch of guys who all close friends and extremely powerful werewolves but it serves the story and I’m willing to go with it for now. It felt a bit too convenient for me but I like all of the characters and am curious to see if they’ll be able to sustain the relationships that have been established in SEALED WITH A CURSE.

All in all, SEALED WITH A CURSE is an excellent debut for Robson and it’s got me quite excited for A CURSED EMBRACE. There’s also an e-prequel novella if you can’t wait for the second book to come out.

Read an excerpt

Jenn

Gone with the Wolf by Kristin Miller

Gone with the Wolf by Kristin MillerGone with the Wolf by Kristin Miller

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
E-book: 207 pages
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Covet
Release date: April 23, 2013

Series: Seattle Wolf Pack #1

Source: eARC via Netgalley

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon

CEO and alpha werewolf Drake Wilder has given up the search for his one true love. When he discovers that she’s a secretary in his company, Drake’s primal instincts kick into overdrive.

What he wouldn’t give to have her fingers rake over his body instead of the keyboard…

Free-spirited bartender Emelia Hudson wants nothing more than to make her Seattle-based bar succeed. But when profits decline, she slips into a dress suit and secures a nine-to-five. After learning that her bar has become property of Wilder Financial, Emelia is determined to get some answers.

Two can play the ruthless business game. If only her attraction to the boss wasn’t so intense…

When Drake’s twin brother senses that Drake has found his match—and now inherits their father’s billion dollar estate—he hatches a plan to take Emelia out. Drake vows to protect her at all costs, but he might have to pay with his own life.

GONE WITH THE WOLF has been making the rounds on the blogosphere lately so I had to give it a try, especially after all of the good things I heard. This novel is a lot of fun but the romance didn’t resonate for me as much as I had hoped it would.

Let’s start with what I liked. Emelia is a great heroine. She’s feisty and determined and independent, all traits I love in a clear character. And she’s just a regular old human who gets dragged into the werewolf world when she goes after the mysterious CEO of Wilder Financial to try to get her bar back after Wilder Financial bought the building out from under her. She meets cute with Drake at a company party, not realizing that he’s the man she needs to talk to, and their chemistry just leaps off the page. It took me a little while longer to warm up to Drake because I felt he was a little cocky and autocratic but I was definitely won over as the novel progressed. His personal history is nicely complicated, and it added a lot of excitement in the latter part of the novel. I also really liked the way Emelia wasn’t afraid to stand up to Drake in all of his alphaness, but not too stubborn to understand her vulnerabilities as a human in this world. Despite this, I didn’t feel emotionally connected to these characters the whole time, which was a bit of a disappointment.

The werewolf society that Miller has created is also pretty interesting. I liked the way we learned about it gradually, as Emelia learns more and more about this secret world she finds herself in. I hope that we’ll get to see more of this universe in future novels, since Goodreads tells me that this is the first book in a series. I like what I’ve seen so far but there’s still a lot to be explored.

My final point is a small quibble. This cover really doesn’t match my mental pictures of Drake and Emie. It’s not such a big deal because covers are rarely exact matches for what’s going on in my brain but this seems really off to me. Emelia looks really petulant and Drake looks really young. I realize that authors don’t a say in their covers but I feel like this cover lets the novel down.

Although GONE WITH THE WOLF didn’t completely win me over, I did generally enjoy it. I’d suggest reading the excerpt linked below and decide for yourself. There’s some good stuff in this novel, even if the execution wasn’t perfect for me.

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

Jenn

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A Bloody Good Secret by Sierra Dean

A Bloody Good Secret by Sierra Dean A Bloody Good Secret by Sierra Dean

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
E-book: 248 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Samhain
Release date: September 20, 2011

Series: Secret McQueen #2

Source: Personal shelf

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

You can’t keep a good Secret for long.

Secret McQueen, Book 2

After cheating death twice in one night, confessing her true nature to her werewolf soul mates and being asked to kill one of her closest friends, Secret took a much-needed vacation. By running away.

Now she’s back in town—dragged kicking and screaming—determined to clear Holden Chancery’s name. Right after she finds out what he’s accused of. It shouldn’t be hard—Holden has a habit of using their new and scintillating psychic bond to break into her thoughts and dreams at some very, shall we say, awkward moments.

Just a few things stand in her way: a secretive Tribunal leader, a group of would-be vampire slayers and two werewolf boyfriends who refuse to let her operate in her customary lone-wolf style. Even less amusing are the terrifying creatures that someone is using in an attempt to gain control of the council. Even for this out-of-the-ordinary bounty hunter, it’s a challenge with potentially deadly teeth.

Warning: Contains an ever-plucky heroine with no shortage of weapons, super-hot mind games, an ever-complicated love triangle and one hell of a creepy amusement park.

My love affair with Secret McQueen continues after reading A BLOODY GOOD SECRET. As you may remember, I dared you to read the first book in the series last month after really enjoying it. And now I can report that the second book is just as much fun as the first, if not more!

The book opens in rural Manitoba, where Secret grew up with her grandmother. She ran away to Canada to avoid her latest mission from the vampire Tribunal: killing her friend Holden Chancery. But she’s kidnapped and dragged home, forcing her to deal not only with her assignment but also the two werewolves she left behind. Desmond and Lucas have very different reactions to her reappearance and I enjoyed watching her negotiate her relationships with these men. Even though she’s soul-bonded to both of them, the dynamics of each relationship are quite different and I find myself staunchly on Team Desmond. To further complicate matters, she’s also starting to have sexy dreams about Holden, sometimes at extremely inconvenient times, and I appreciate the added dimension of confusion this brings to the relationship table.

We also get to learn more about how the Tribunal assigns missions to Secret and how Holden has been affected by his position as Secret’s warden. It was a nice change of pace to see Secret think about the ramifications of her actions, even though it was all in retrospect. The author also starts to reveal what it means to be a warden, since Secret is now in that position with Brigit. (Can I just say that I love how Brigit has become incorporated into the story, going from the nameless blonde that Secret saves to a bigger part of the story?) The Holden storyline also shows us what Secret was like when she was younger, which was neat. She’s still much the same since only six years have passed since Secret moved to New York but it’s nice to see that she has developed some smarts and skills since first meeting Holden and Keaty. If that’s not enough, there’s also some great reveals about Sig but they left me with a lot of questions about his relationship with Secret.

As with the first Secret McQueen book, A BLOODY GOOD SECRET ends with a titillating piece of information that makes me glad I used a Christmas gift card to get all of the existing ebooks. I can’t wait to see what Sierra Dean does to Secret next!

Read an excerpt (click on the excerpt tab)

Jenn

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

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red by Jackson PearceSisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Book stats:
Reading Level: Young Adult
ARC: 328 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 7, 2010

Series: Fairytale Retellings #1

Source: ARCycling

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris–the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls’ bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett’s only friend–but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?

A few months ago, you may remember that I reviewed another novel by Jackson Pearce entitled FATHOMLESS. FATHOMLESS is actually book three in her fairytale retelling series—this being book one—but the books do not have to be read in any specific order since they’re all pretty much stand-alone novels connected by the common theme of recreating a fairytale. I was looking forward to FATHOMLESS immensely because it was a Little Mermaid re-telling, but I was incredibly disappointed. However, my friends urged me to give Pearce another try because they love her, and so I picked up SISTERS RED, clearly a Little Red Riding Hood re-telling, and realized that Pearce really is a decent story-teller. While I have yet to be blown away, my original disappointing one star experience with Pearce is now easily a satisfactory and entertaining three star one.

SISTERS RED is undoubtedly an easy read to get through. There’s not many complexities and the creativity in the tale is high. I was pulled in immediately in the first chapter where the concept of the Fenris was introduced via a gruesome attack that left a young Scarlett scarred for life and her Grandmother dead. See, the Fenris are pretty much werewolves that pose as humans and turn into their wolfish selves when cornering an attractive young woman whose heart they plan on eating. Get it? The better to eat you with, my dear. But that’s beside the point. This type of werewolf was incredibly interesting because this gruesome experience shaped Scarlett into a ruthless Fenris killing machine for the remainder of the novel. Her trusty red cloak lured them in and then her trusty hatchet was used for the kill. But when all of the different Fenris clans begin gathering to search for the Potential—the next boy that can be changed into a werewolf with a bite since not anyone can be changed into a werewolf in this book—her world is about to get turned upside down.

While I found the plot fascinating, I did have a few issues with it. To begin, the first chapter really had me on the edge of my seat. It was dark, it was quick, it was detailed and surprising. In other words, it was a great way to begin the novel. The several chapters following the introduction seemed dry in comparison. I wish that the high level energy could be found throughout the entire novel instead of just in pockets of huge hunting sprees performed by Scarlett, her younger sister Rosie, and their partner Silas the woodsman. Secondly, the major plot points and mysteries were incredibly obvious to me less than a third of the way through the book. The entire novel is focused on finding who this new Potential is and rescuing him before he gets turned into a Fenris. I figured out his identity and willingly bet my next paycheck on it before I reached page 100, so while the search and the lore revealed later on in the book was fascinating and interesting, the big reveal was anti-climatic and the build-up was entirely unnecessary.

Lastly, the characterization was superb in some characters and lacking in others. I really, really loved Scarlett. She faced down a Fenris right after it killed her Grandmother and killed it in return with nothing but a broken piece of glass from a cracked mirror. In the process, one of her eyes was ripped out of her head so she now has to wear an eye patch and her entire body was mauled. Pretty much every inch of her skin is marred with scars aside from the skin right above her heart. She has issues with beauty and insecurities, she secretly envies her younger sister who is naturally gorgeous. Scarlett feels alone in the world because of her physical insecurities, which is why her sister and her friendship with Silas, her hunting partner, is so important to her. They’re all she’s got since everyone else judges her. Then there’s Rosie, who seems incredibly vain in comparison to Scarlett’s complexity. Scarlett lives and breathes the hunt to save other girls from the fate forced upon her by the Fenris, but Rosie doesn’t really want to hunt. She wants to be with boys, and she wants to dance, and do normal things. And while this would normally appeal to me, seeing it in comparison to Scarlett’s passion just fell really flat. Chapter four, told in Rosie’s POV since it alternates with Scarlett’s has a line near the beginning describing where they live that says:

“The hills and farmland surrounding our cottage are the very definition of “rolling.” Everything rolls endlessly—the trees into forests, hills into the horizon, clouds into mountains.”

In other words, everything just keeps going. That’s how I felt about the chapters in Rosie’s POV, they just kept going and going and going when all I wanted was for them to end so that I could get back to Scarlett. This is saying something since Rosie’s also the only one who experiences any form of a romantic relationship. I thought that Scarlett’s reaction to Rosie’s relationship was entirely justified because she’s also only 16 and she’s dating a 21 year old. I’d be annoyed too and the fact that Rosie didn’t think Scarlett’s anger was realistic annoyed me further in regards to her characterization.

All in all, I think this is one of the most original Little Red Riding Hood re-tellings out there. I have yet to come across one that is comparable. While it is not perfect, it’s certainly entertaining and this quick read will easily put a smile on your face. Pearce managed to take a beloved fairytale and twist it into an entirely new story while maintaining some of its overarching concepts. I am happy to report that I am now eager to give her another chance. This novel is perfect if you are looking for a quick, unique fantasy with a small side of gruesome detail. With that being said, I don’t have the stomach for true gore and I got through this one just fine.

Read an Excerpt

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Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster + giveaway!

Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 448 pages
Genre: Steampunk romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release date: May 7, 2013

Series: London Steampunk #2

Source: Personal shelf

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

In the mist-shrouded streets of London’s dreaded Whitechapel district, werewolves, vampires and a clockwork army are one step away from battle…

Lena Todd is the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a rebel against London’s vicious elite—not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can’t twist around her little finger.

Will Carver, is more than man, he’s a verwolfen and he wants nothing to do with the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds Lena in possession of a coded letter, he realizes she’s in a world of trouble. To protect her, he’ll have to seduce the truth from her before it’s too late.

Readers who enjoyed Bec McMaster’s debut can raise their expectations because HEART OF IRON is even better than its predecessor. I really liked McMaster’s debut but I found myself completely absorbed by the rollercoaster of emotion and action that is HEART OF IRON. (For an introduction to the series, I’d suggest checking out my post on KISS OF STEEL.)

The main characters in HEART OF IRON were introduced in KISS OF STEEL. Lena is Honoria’s sister and Will is Blade’s lieutenant. I was quite fond of these characters in the first London Steampunk novel so I was thrilled to see them front and centre in this novel. (Fans of KISS OF STEEL’s Honoria and Blade will enjoy a glimpse into their lives post-HEA since they are featured in HEART OF IRON (but not in a gratuitous way).) Lena and Will had something of an instant attraction when they met but Lena has since left Whitechapel and Will has moved out on his own as well, leaving Blade and Honoria to themselves. He still works for Blade but their bond isn’t as easy as it used to be. They’re both strong-willed, opinionated characters devoted to their friends and family, and it was great fun watching them come together romantically.

Will has a really unique position in the series. He’s the only verwulfen in London, since the blue bloods (vampire-type aristocrats) kill verwulfen on site. (He’s safe in Whitechapel since it’s Blade’s domain but he’s in danger every time he leaves.) He’s given a brief reprieve, though, because the blue bloods need him to help them negotiate a treaty with the verwulfen populations from other parts of Europe. At the same time, Lena has been living in high society, working as a spy and courier for the humanist movement, a group that is rebelling against blue blood rule. Of course, it wouldn’t be any fun if their two missions didn’t bump into each other and boy do they collide! The plotting and pace in HEART OF IRON is truly outstanding and I needed to find out how this tangled plot would be resolved.

The introduction of other verwulfen really opens up the world of the London Steampunk series. Where KISS OF STEEL explored blue bloods and vampires, KISS OF IRON shows us more about verwulfen and their place in society. We also get to learn how verwulfen come to be and how their societies work, which I found quite interesting. The foregrounding of the humanist movement also added to the depth and breadth of McMaster’s worldbuilding, and really fleshed out the setting.

Once again, though, I did have some issues with the use of dialect. Dialogue that’s written in dialect is not my favourite thing, though I understand that McMaster uses it to highlight class differences. As I said when discussing KISS OF STEEL, it may not bother other people but it’s something I’m hyperaware of in books, movies, TV, you name it. =)

HEART OF IRON is an engrossing, thrilling sequel to KISS OF STEEL. If you liked KISS OF STEEL, you’ll love HEART OF IRON because it has all of the elements that made KISS OF STEEL a strong debut, with even more worldbuilding, intrigue, and steam.

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giveaway

The lovely folks at Sourcebooks Casablanca are kindly offering one (1) copy of KISS OF STEEL (the first book in the series) to a lucky reader!

US/Canada only

To enter the giveaway, listen to the Rafflecopter!

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Jenn

Wolf at the Door by Christine Warren

christine warren, wolf at the door, paranormal romance, werewolves, foxwomen, desire needs no invitation, out of the kennel or the coffin

Wolf at the Door by Christine Warren

Book Stats:

Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 336 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Release date: March 2, 2006

Series: The Others #9

Reviewed by: Stéphanie

Source: Library

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Sullivan Quinn didn’t travel 3,000 miles from his native Ireland and his wolf pack just to chase rabidly after the most delectable quarry he’s ever seen. Quinn is in America on a mission–to warn his Other brethren of a shadowy group willing to use murder and mayhem to bring them down. But one whiff of this Foxwoman’s delicious honeysuckle fragrance and he knows that she is more than a colleague or a conquest…she is his mate.

Anthropologist Cassidy Poe is a world-renowned authority on social interaction, but the overpowering desire she feels around Quinn defies every ounce of her expertise. Working by his side to uncover The Others’ enemies poses risks she never expected–to her own safety, to those she loves, and to her heart, as every encounter with Quinn proves more blissfully erotic than the last…

Now, with no one to trust but each other, Quinn and Cassidy face a foe that’s edging closer every day, threatening to destroy the life they’ve always known, and the passion they’ve just discovered…

Sometimes, I like nothing more than an easy read that will probably have a good ending, especially when it comes with paranormal romance. WOLF AT THE DOOR caught my eye because the romantic story seemed like fun and because the paranormal story sounded intriguing. It lived up to my expectation and I thought it was an enjoyable and satisfying read.

I also picked up the book because the blurb at the back of the book said “Christine Warren’s spellbinding new series takes you into the enthralling world of the others…”, so I assumed it was the first book of a series. I was wrong. After reading a few chapters, I kept getting the impression some of the characters had had a story written about them already, and I confirmed this later by checking online. It’s actually the ninth book of the series. I felt a bit mislead by the back of the book since I usually like to read series in order, whenever possible. I think it has something to do with a marketing thing, this being the first book the publisher actually came out with, but still, the truth would have been nice right from the start.

Despite that little blunder, the book can absolutely be read as a stand alone. The story holds on it’s own and I really liked being introduced to the Others, which refers to any types of paranormal beings including vampires, weres, witches and demons. The main story focuses on the probable exposure of Others to the general human population. Others have always tried to live in hiding because of witch trials and other mass murdering events of the past. But now, since the human servant of a vampire has been kidnapped by fanatics trying to expose them as bad guys, some Others feel like it’s time to reveal themselves to human  in order to avoid as much bloodshed and prejudice as possible. Werewolf Quinn totally believes in the Unveiling and can’t wait to be able to live in an accepting society. However, anthropologist and Foxwoman Cassidy Poe believes revealing themselves to humans will be the Salem Witch Trials all over again.

Obviously their disagreement creates a lot of initial tensions but since Cassidy and Quinn are so attracted to each other, they try to work together to find out more about the kidnappers and their crazy fanatical sect. The scenes with Cassidy and Quinn are really fun to read because of their intense chemistry and their quirky lines. These scenes are definitively the highlight of the book, especially the scene where they first meet and they end up naked a few seconds later. I really liked how their relationship blossomed, and even if it felt a little quick, it didn’t seem forced despite their “animal instincts”.

Despite my initial confusion with the book, I think this series is definitively worth investigating. If the other books are anything like this one and have memorable characters like Quinn and Cassidy, I’m definitively in. There’s nothing like a good paranormal romance, and for a older release, this book was a good surprise.

stephsig

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