Source: Bought

Review: A Taste of Ice by Hanna Martine

Posted March 11, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 14 Comments

Hey guys, I have another lovely review for you today from our Guest Poster Sophia Rose. Sophia reviews A Taste of Ice a spicy paranormal and a second book in The Elementals series.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: A Taste of Ice by Hanna MartineA Taste of Ice (The Elementals, #2) by Hanna Martine
Series: The Elementals #2
Published by Berkley Sensation on December 31st 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:four-flames

There is an untapped world of magic that any man would covet...
Five years ago, Xavier escaped from the Ofarian Plant. Today he calls a Colorado mountain town home. It’s there he buries himself in his work, swearing off magic and relationships—until a woman threatens every promise he’s made to himself.
Cat has always known she is different. Water speaks to her on an uncanny level, and she channels this gift into beautiful painted waterscapes. Now, a gallery is debuting her work in Colorado—and it’ll reveal far more about her than she imagined.
The spark between Cat and Xavier is enough to throw both of them off balance. Every tantalizing moment sends them dangerously close to a rising flood of desire. Dangerous because Xavier comes to suspect that Cat is an Ofarian—his people’s enemy. But they’re both about to discover a far greater, more malicious power at play...

This is one of those ‘why did I wait so long to pick this up and read it?’ moments. Because alien made magical and elemental humans playing up their intrigues amongst the ordinary unsuspecting folks, dark pasts and healing romance in the present is definitely my thing.

I accidentally grabbed book two, but we’re going to ignore that because I did alright. Though that said, I knew I was missing the root of this series and could sense a strong connection to the first book, Liquid Lies from A Taste of Ice.

I enjoyed this refreshing take on the paranormal romance genre as these are heavy hitting magic users who are capable and do some bad stuff and I like action plots paired with romance.

My interest was snagged from the starting line with the set-up of a nearly broken man hiding out in the human world from his past and who he really is just to survive and a bright emerging female artist who has always felt like she is missing part of herself while connecting strongly to water through her paintings.

The coming together of this pair would seem easy since they feel a strong attraction and don’t have some stupid screw-up to come between- no, Cat in particularly handles the landmines of a relationship with a guy like Xavier like a champ. It was an intriguing choice to make a sexual abuse survivor be the male and it was handled well. What ends up being the trouble is a deep and meaningful collection of issues that are valid problems that they try to work out even as crazy and bad stuff interferes. It was an interesting choice to include a third major narrator that is one of those grayish-to-black empathetic villain types.

The build of the plot both action and romance was steady and I enjoyed the anticipation for the big ending which was actually a series of big moments though some were predictable.

So, yes, I will definitely be reaching for the next installment in The Elementals series and heading back for book one. I loved the world building, action and romance plot blend and the attention to the characters. I would definitely recommend it to others who enjoy spicy paranormal romance involving X-Men style magic elementals.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh

Posted March 3, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 28 Comments

Hi guys, today I have a special surprise for you. I want you to welcome my new Guest Reviewer Sophia Rose. Some of you may know Sophia from her regular posting on Delightful Reader. Today she is reviewing for us a great paranormal romance Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh, you can read her wonderful review below.

Review:  Bonds of Justice by Nalini SinghBonds of Justice by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling #8
Published by Berkley on July 6th 2010
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 348
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

Max Shannon is a good cop, one of the best in New York Enforcement. Born with a natural shield that protects him against Psy mental invasions, he knows he has little chance of advancement within the Psy-dominated power structure. The last case he expects to be assigned is that of a murderer targeting a Psy Councilor’s closest advisors. And the last woman he expects to compel him in the most sensual of ways is a Psy on the verge of a catastrophic mental fracture…
Sophia Russo is a Justice-Psy, cursed with the ability to retrieve memories from men and women so twisted even veteran cops keep their distance. Appointed as Max’s liaison with the Psy, she finds herself fascinated by this human, her frozen heart threatening to thaw with forbidden emotion. But, her mind filled with other people’s nightmares, other people’s evil, she’s standing on the border between sanity and a silken darkness that urges her to take justice into her own hands, to become judge, jury…and executioner…

I have been enjoying my reading journey this year through the fantastic and engaging Psy-Changling series by Nalini Singh. Her futuristic paranormal world where three races of humans (regular humans, animal shifter humans, and psychic humans) share the planet and all bring their own brand of danger and intrigue to the table with each new book installment.

This is not a good series to skip around and get the books out of order because, though it features a new romance pair with each book, there are ongoing story lines the continue through each book. The world and the large cast of characters was shared in the beginning and build as it goes.

In this latest installment, Bonds of Justice, Singh introduces the reader to another type of psychic human, the ‘J’ or Justice designation (variation on telepathic types) and pairs her with a human. All along, I’ve felt some pity for the psy because many of them stand a better than average chance of either going nuts due to their psy gift messing with them or getting their brain wiped because they are deemed unstable by their own government. Sophia Russo, a Justice Psy, has a truly tough row to hoe in that her designation of psy has a really short shelf life because of the nature of her job- dipping into the darkest of criminal minds to extract the truth so that justice can be served when the forensics and testimony at the trial aren’t quite enough. This is another one of those situations the author does so well when the reader wonders just how she is going to pull out a win for the home team. Sophia is essentially dying, she can’t walk away from the latest assignment that might well be too much and kill her, and now she has fallen in love when a man who loves her back and has had his own struggles that might break him when she dies.

Sophia and Max are a great pair and their backstory, characters, and ongoing relationship that builds between them make a good case why they are so right for each other. Sophia has lived the cold, sterile world of a psy until she encounters red-blooded sensual, but very much alone Max who teaches her to live even while she shows him he has someone to come home to finally.

Their romance is set against the conflict of a ticking time bomb that is Sophia’s eroding mental shields, a dangerous sociopath serial killer, and a cunning murder mystery that they must solve for a powerful psy councilor. There are also check-ins with Lucas and Sascha’s story and other previous couples that Max knows from earlier stories. And beyond that is the ongoing underground civil war taking place in the psy race. It might seem like it was all too much, but it wasn’t. There are quick scene changes, but they lead in and transition well. They serve to tighten the tension and keep the reader riveted rather than distracted.

It ended on a high note and left me with a strong desire to grab up the next book in the series to keep going and see what comes next. The series still feels tight and fresh with a strong conflict that is moving forward steadily. For those who love spicy paranormal romance, I can definitely recommend this series.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted February 20, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  Mercury Striking by Rebecca ZanettiMercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Scorpius Syndrome #1
Published by Zebra on January 26th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Post- Apocalyptic
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…
Danger has never looked quite so delicious…

Ninety-nine percent of US citizens have been killed by Scorpius, a bacteria. If a person survives the contagion, they became a carrier and could infect other people who have not yet been infected. Rippers are survivors of Scorpius bacterium, that is known to change brain chemistry. Some became sociopaths, some became serial killers, while other people have not changed in to bad of a way. Vitamin B seems to help keep the body protected from itself and the worst of the brain damage. Lynne Harmony, otherwise known as Blue Heart (because of her glowing blue heart) is the head of CDC and is blamed for being responsible with not only creating the virus but also releasing it.

Jax Mercury is the organizer of a group called Vanguard. An ex gangbanger who had joined a military after given a choice between that or prison.

When Lynne Harmony shows up on his doorsteps asking Jax to kill someone for him, he didn’t expect the woman to also peel away his carefully constructed layers and get under his skin. In the new world, Jax does not feel like he could afford that distraction – especially if he knows that Lynne is hiding something from him, something important.

Woah, this was a ride. I absolutely adored every minute of this book. This wasn’t easy to read at times and a warning in advance, do not get attached to too many secondary characters in this book. Zanetti knows how to craft an interesting, eerily real world of what could happen if some type of infection did spread across the US. Think The Walking Dead, without zombies, where the scariest thing left behind is the mind of an organized serial killer – the most dangerous of the kind.

There was just so much going on in this book. We get the sense that Lynne is hiding something big, and it takes a while to reveal what it is. Meanwhile, there is a whole other bunch of issues going on, mainly the fact that a lot of people in the Vanguard territory believe that Lynne and hers Blue Heart are a carrier of a stronger strain of the bacterium, thanks to the rumors that have been spread. Also, there is a huge price tag on her head and a rival gang member called the Twenty keep attacking their compound. It’s just a world wind of awesome.

I liked Jax. I liked his let’s kick ass and take names later persona, it’s very realistic with the situation he is dealing with. He is in charge of about 500 people and the supplies are very limited. You can tell that he is afraid to open up to the people in fear that he would grow to care for them, even people in his own territory. It seems much easier for Jax if he doesn’t have to get close and then watch the people die, because people do die in this world, sooner than others.

I really liked Lynne also because she stayed true to her character most of the time. She isn’t let’s kick butt type of woman, she needs help most of the time, which is okay with me because it kept her real.

This was so good, the writing was amazing and it brought out so many emotions. Anger, frustration, fear, interest, excitement. It seemed so very realistic and Zanetti was not afraid to hold back punches. I was so shocked and upset by some of the secondary character deaths, some took me by complete shock and surprise and even left me angry. I wasn’t expecting it, but isn’t that what makes it a good writer? It isn’t always easy to let go and some of the most shocking scenes can make or break the story.

Overall, I really liked the world that is being built and I cannot wait to see what happens next. The only thing I had an issue with was with what happened to Wyatt and Lynne’s sudden clumsiness at the end of the book. The next book is Raze’s story and I am for one excited about that one. Raze is this man with very few words who showed up on Jax’s turf out of the blue and is highly skilled at what he does.

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Review: The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon

Posted February 9, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica LemmonThe Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Billionaire Bad Boys #1
Published by Forever on June 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:four-flames

Indecent Proposal
Manwhore. That's what the board of directors-and the tabloids-thinks of billionaire bachelor Reese Crane. Ordinarily he couldn't care less, but his playboy past is preventing the board from naming him CEO of Crane Hotels. Nothing-and no one-will keep him from his life's legacy. They want a settled man to lead the company? Then that's exactly what he'll give them.
Merina Van Heusen will do anything to get her parents' funky boutique hotel back-even marry cold-as-ice-but-sexy-as-hell Reese Crane. It's a simple business contract-six months of marriage, absolute secrecy, and the Van Heusen is all hers again. But when sparks fly between them, their passion quickly moves from the boardroom to the bedroom. And soon Merina is living her worst nightmare: falling in love with her husband . . .

I was looking for something different to read when I came across The Billionaire Bachelor and figured I could give it a shot.

Boy was I rewarded with a fun story, great characters and a romance that sizzles long after the pages are done.

The Plot

Two hotel owners collide when Merina Van Heusen discovers that her precious hotel has been sold off to Crane Hotels.

Reese Crane is on track of making CEO, there is just one problem, the board of directors do not seem him fit to take over his father’s position. Reese has lived and breathed Crane hotels ever since he threw himself fully into his family’s legacy, and now a bunch of old man, who don’t approve of his lifestyle, are standing in the way of him losing everything.

Now, Reese much ditch his playboy lifestyle and settle down, and who do better with than a woman who hates his guts. But, Reese has something that Merina wants, and knows she is perfect to not screw things up.

Oh I loved the plot. It was an enemy to lovers story with a fake marriage that over time succumbs to passion and morphed into something more.

Like a miracle had occurred. Had he grown a conscience? Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. “What’s the catch?”
He smiled, then said two words that made her go temporarily blind in one eye.
“Marry me.”

It was fun, it was exciting and it was something totally different from my recent reads so I was glad to have discovered this. I was totally engrossed with the plot, hooked, line and sinker. I was unable to put this book down and was cranky from the lack of sleep, but it seemed totally worth it.

The plot was totally character driven and I loved both equally with their prickly personalities. I loved that there was a build up and the way things played up, with even a bit (a little bit) of angst thrown in at the end. The story was everything I wanted and more.

The Characters

Merina and Reese were definitely the stars of the show. Thought I love the fact that this is book one in a trilogy of Crane brothers – because I totally adored Tag and cannot wait to read his story.

Reese was passionate, calculating, and a bit detached. He has a story and it consists of heartbreak that left him running for the hills when it comes to relationships. So marrying was equivalent of having a lobotomy, I’m sure.

He likes his women, he doesn’t like emotions or exposing his weak side. Reese does not want to get hurt ever again after that devastating heartbreak, which made him a little frustrating in the end when the possibility of love came pounding on his doorsteps. He get’s closed up, but he opens up with Merina without even trying to show that he actually does care and in turn exposes his heart.

Merina was prickly and I really liked her and her spunk. She really knew how to get under Reese’s skin and the two worked and clicked so well together. There was heat, there was steam, and a romance that absolutely sizzled. The chemistry was explosive, it didn’t feel forced, and kept things completely engrossing and interesting.

I adored these two so much that I am going to miss them.

Overall

Overall, this entire book was a win. I did have one issue and that was at the end where everything Reese has been trying to avoid, catches up to him and he closes down. I did realize that it’s a part of him that kept him protected from heartbreak, so it did make sense that he had responded the way he did, but at the same time Merina was different. I wanted to throttle him for being so stupid.

When the fog cleared, he did redeem himself and the story ended on a touching note. I loved seeing the vulnerable side of him.

The writing was good, the characters were well rounded, raw, real, emotional, sprinkled with humor. It kept me turning the pages, and will keep me coming back to find out what the author has in store for me next!

“Are you capable of being monogamous?” It was easier to needle him than address the gauntlet resting between them like a huge pink elephant.

“I don’t prefer it.”

Which was no answer at all.

“So this is a bribe.”

“It’s a proposal.” One eyebrow lifted slightly. “In this case, literally.”

“When a woman says ‘fine’…,” he started.

“Run.” Tag’s smug expression fell as he sat ramrod straight. “Like you have zombies on your tail. ‘Fine’ is not a term of endearment from a woman.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”

Tag’s eyes went to Reese’s phone. “Who gave you the F-word?”

“Merina. In answer to my marriage proposal.” He leaned on his desk, hands folded. “I’m assuming that’s a yes.”

“You should assume the position, man. That does not sound like a good sign.”

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Terminal by J.L. Bryan

Posted October 19, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 22 Comments

Terminal by J.L. BryanTerminal by J.L. Bryan
Series: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #4
Published by www.jlbryanbooks.com on May 4th 2015
Genres: Ghosts, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 211
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

Ellie Jordan and her apprentice Stacey investigate a house in an elaborate planned community that was only half-built before it went bankrupt, leaving an instant ghost town with only a few residents. The entity haunting this house is a banshee that feeds on sadness and misery.
Unfortunately for Ellie, this is no simple haunting, but just one symptom of the cursed land on which the suburban community was built. The old railroad line running through the nearby woods might just be a conduit for lost souls, including dark spirits with ill intentions toward the living. Ellie soon finds herself facing one of the most complex and difficult hauntings she’s seen in her career.

Ellie and Stacy are investigating a house of a young couple with a baby on the way, living in a community that was never fully developed. Ellie suspects that the ghost might be a banshee and is feeding off on the soon to be mother because of her delicate state.

It should have been a simple haunting, but Ellie and Stacy soon find that the situation is a bit more complicated. Near the failed development runs an old railroad through the woods, a ghost train, lost souls and dark spirits that can be harmful to the hand full of people living nearby.

Wow, what a thrilling ride. Bryan has done it again with this new installment that focuses on a much more complicated haunting that takes the duo out of the house and into their surroundings. I love the creepy, atmospheric setting of the woods, the ghost train and the mystery behind what happened when a train robber went wrong.

I thought this was a very nice addition to the series and I liked how the story branched out and that it wasn’t just a regular house haunting. As always Bryan does an amazing job putting together an interesting background story of what happened to the people on the train and I found the entire thing exciting and fascinating. It made me eagerly flip through my kindle pages to see how it all turned out.

As much as I absolutely adored the story and train robbers and how it connected, I was a bit rattled by the ending. It felt a bit strange, too convenient, too random, as if Bryan wasn’t sure where he was going with it and just threw it all together the last minute. I was left with more questions than answers. Out of all the times she had spent trapping ghosts, why did it happen this way now? The whole resolution with the main baddie ghost was just odd and I have a feeling that whatever it was that Ellie saw that night might not get addressed in later books. I hope that Bryan will prove me wrong in that regard.

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Death Masks by Jim Butcher

Posted October 10, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 35 Comments

Death Masks by Jim ButcherDeath Masks by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files, #5
Published by Roc on August 5th 2003
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 378
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:two-half-flames

Harry Dresden, Chicago's only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But now he's getting more than he bargained for:
A duel with the Red Court of Vampires' champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards...
Professional hit men using Harry for target practice...
The missing Shroud of Turin...
A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified...
Not to mention the return of Harry's ex-girlfriend Susan, who's still struggling with her semi-vampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man in her life.
Some days, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you're charging.

Harry is back in the fifth installment of The Dresden Files and the stake seem higher than ever. He is commissioned by a priest to recover the missing Shroud of Turin, but on top of that, he is in a battle with the Red Court. The vampires still want to see him dead after what he did to the Red Court and a vampire named Ortega has challenged him to a duel to the death.

This was an interesting installment. I really enjoy Jim Butchers work and when I am in a slump reading I always find myself gravitating towards The Dresden Files. There is just something about the series that captivates me. Let it be the fast paced style of the book, the noir style, or the one liners that make me smirk – there is always some form of trust that I will walk away enjoying what I got.

I love Harry and his development is progressing within the series. I also enjoy the repeat appearance of the Knights of the Cross and Murphy. We seemed to have missed out on Bob in this book, which breaks my heart a little, but no big deal.

I love Harry and I love his approach to his world with his humor. I also adore the way he seems to care about the people close to him, even if it gets him almost killed like all the time.

The book has a familiar motion that seems to follow Jim Butcher’s style of writing, but I don’t hate it. There is a lot going on, a lot. Storylines intertwine, old characters come out to play, new characters reveal themselves, and the world continues to build on quite nicely.

I was a bit confused by the ending and how Harry found out who the bad guy is, but that can stem from the fact that I picked up the book in the middle after months of it just sitting on my shelf. Also, this one felt a bit more darker. Harry was dealing with demons and sacrifices and there was a bit of gruesomeness that left me cringing. Despite all that, i really had a fun ride and I continue my love and enjoyment of this series.

Memorable Quotes

“It came charging toward me, several hundred pounds of angry-looking monster, and I did the only thing any reasonable wizard could have done.
I turned around and ran like hell.”

“How long have you been a Wiccan?’
‘A what?’
‘A pagan. A witch.’
‘I’m not a witch,’ I said, glancing out the door. ‘I’m a wizard.’
Sanya frowned. ‘What is the difference?’
‘Wizard has a Z’
He looked at me blankly.
‘No one appreciates me.’ I muttered.”

“Michael, are you wearing the armor?”

“I am wearing the armor,” Michael said. “And the cloak.”

“Hello, Michael. We’re going to an airport. The Kind with metal detectors.

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