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ARC Review; Kresley Cole - Endless Knight

Endless Knight  - Kresley Cole

ENDLESS KNIGHT picks up right after the events in POISON PRINCESS and I quickly connected again with Evie, Jack, Selena, Finneas and Matthew. From the first page the tension between the characters is tangible and the foes that lurk in every dark corner are very dangerous.

 

I am not a zombie fan. I don’t watch The Walking Dead as I can hardly stomach all the gore. However, I was drawn in by the high octane suspense of Gunthrie and his flesh eating followers. The allies and adversaries of Evie, and the battle that is played between the Arcana cards, is providing a page turner of a story! The reader is pulled in to the battle by Kresley Cole’s imaginative writing style and appealing characters. The threat, which lies everywhere, hums throughout the pages and kept me on my toes. The love I have for this series lies not only in the fact that the world building is detailed but also that I have no clue what’s coming. Every chapter reveals new information or thrusts the characters in to new dangers to overcome, surprising me at every turn. It brings new light or deepens the interpersonal relationships between the main characters; Evie, Jackson, Death, Selena, Finneas and Matthew.

 

The plot twists made me gasp, there were layers upon layers to unravel with each character and I couldn’t get enough of it. Why did Evie and Jack ‘do it’? I expected slow burn kisses, taking it step by step but emotions combined with their attraction were an explosive combination and they were going for it. All.The.Way!! It baffled me a bit but as I read the chapters away a game changer was revealed that connected the dots for me. It put a new perspective on everything. The connections Kresley Cole is weaving between the characters, both allies and adversaries, is formidable.

 

Evie’s life and emotions are in turmoil. After the Flash its survival of the canniest and the strongest. Evie’s still discovering her powers as The Empress as she needs to fight off many enemies like the Bagman, an army and other Arcana. I love the complexity of her external circumstances. Everything she does, every decision she makes and all she feels is portrayed for the reader to absorb.

 

Selena is still tough-as-nails. Matthew is vague as ever. Finn is still a charmer and Jackson is still the coolest guy on the block. Changes are coming for all of them and some changes reeled me on my axes. New characters also come in to play. Like Lark, quirky but with a certain humor, I enjoyed her role in Endless Knight. Death however rocked me to my core. He is the enemy, the one to defeat. Evil to the core and scheming every minute of the day. Or so I thought in Poison Princess.

 

Kresley Cole equals formidable characters, they brim the story with their electric personalities, as did Death.  Kresley Cole hit my weakness for bad-boys with heart. Death is still dangerous to the core but I was shown a side to him that surprised me. An even greater surprise was that in the end I liked him, a lot!! Perhaps some readers might think; Oh no, what the hell?! But I was all; Oh yes!! Give me more!!

 

The story contains pulls pounding action scenes but also takes time to unfold background stories of various characters. Main and supporting characters weren’t just there on paper, they came alive in my mind, keeping my attention at an all-time high. It was no surprise that I read this book cover to cover in one day. This is something only a story can do if I’m fully emotional invested. Something Kresley Cole can do like no other!

 

Kresley Cole set the bar real high with POISON PRINCESS but she shattered it for me with ENDLESS KNIGHT. It is all there; edge of your seat suspense, characters to connect and root for, game changing plot twists and a breathtaking love. I will never look at my Tarot cards the same! The Arcana Chronicles is a Young Adult series to savor, page by page.

 

Quotes;

 

With a shrug, I reached for my jeans. “If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the cabin.”

He swallowed audibly. “Brûlant.” Sizzling hot. “And believe me, cher, I plan to take that heat.”

 

You likin’ ole Jack now?”

 “I never stopped liking you. Even when you were warding me away with the power of Catholicism.” “Can’t help the way I was raised—anything supernatural is supposed to be either a miracle or satanic.” I rolled my eyes. “And you’re still trying to figure out which I am?” “Non. I’m trying to figure out if I’m still Catholic.” He grinned that heart-stopping grin

 

There was French kissing, and then there was Cajun French kissing. Spicier, harder, wilder.

 

That’s how it was with Jackson. Burning out of control. Probably just as destructive as an inferno. And I didn’t care.

                                     

 If Jack had awakened my desire, Death was enlivening my mind, attracting me in a way I’d never experienced before.

Source: http://www.leontinesbookrealm.com/2013/09/arc-review-kresley-cole-endless-knight.html
Endless Knight (The Arcana Chronicles, #2) - Kresley Cole Kresley Cole definitely amped up the stakes in ENDLESS KNIGHT. What an amazing ride this story was an now glamoring for the next part!

Full review to come!
Drawn Together (The Brown Siblings, #6) - Lauren Dane I enjoyed DRAWN TOGETHER a lot but I also have a few niggles with it.

Review coming soon.
Styxx - Sherrilyn Kenyon I didn't think Sherrilyn Kenyon could top Archeron, but she did with Styxx! An amazing, heart-wrebching tale and a romance that took my breath away!!

Full review to com

Review; Delilah Marvelle - Romancing Lady Stone

Romancing Lady Stone - Delilah Marvelle

It has been a while since I picked up a historical romance by Delilah Marvelle but ever since I attended her workshop at the LLC in Berlin about courtesans she reignited my desire to read a story from her. Romancing Lady Stone is a novella within the School of Gallantry series but easily read as a standalone.

What instantly pulled me in to this novel was the intriguing character of Konstantin Alexie Levin. A criminal who’s on the path of becoming a respectable citizen. The blend of good character traits such as chivalry and the hint of danger which surround him turns Konstantin in to a man I love to read about. Also, the background story of his father plays an important role in his life and I was romanced by the idea of destiny.

Lady Cecilia Stone is driven by the need to see her son in Russia and gotten herself in to trouble. Lady Stone is from the get-go a very personable woman but what I enjoyed so much in the progress of the story is how she chose for herself. Her children are the number one priority but she deserves happiness as well. It gives her character backbone, her choices empower her and it made me root for her.

Through circumstances Konstantin and Cecilia are thrown together and the chemistry was slowly burning to a fever pitch. Even though I wondered how they would get their happily ever after it was undeniable Konstantin and Cecilia were good for each other. Delilah Marvelle has a penchant for sexual tension and writing hot, between the sheets, scenes. Konstantin warming Cecilia’s hands was utterly romantic, Konstantin dripping wet from a bath, utterly sexy but Konstantin and Cecilia between the sheets was an erotic dance which made the skin tingle! 

Quote; The savage need to climax was mutual. It pulsed from their skin.


Every element in this novella; characters, scenery, dialogues is imbued with enough depth or detail to allow the reader to immerge in the period and romance. The quick pace of storytelling leaves little room for overly dramatic obstacles for the couple to overcome but in the essence it’s all there and I enjoyed it to the fullest. There’s also an intriguing interaction and history between Duc de Andelot and Madame de Maitenon that whets the appetite for more about them. Apparently they are going to have their own story for which I’m eagerly waiting!

Delilah Marvelle’s atmospheric writing style transports you to a blistering cold Moscow where you get to warm up with a scolding hot romance. Romancing Lady Stone was a wonderful reminder why I enjoy Delilah Marvelle’s stories so much!

4 stars

Quote; Lesson five - Do you remember what it is like to feel your heart beat again?

 

Tied Up, Tied Down - Lorelei James A sweet and hot read. TIED UP, TIED DOWN was an easy-going story to draw me back in to the ROUGH RIDERS series.

3.5 stars

Full review to come.
The Edge of Courage - Elaine Levine Elaine Levine writes Romantic Suspense the way I love it; characters whom make me feel everything from love and joy to fear and pain. A romance to gobble up, steamy scenes and secondary characters I instantly want to know more about. Evil villains to defeat, a tautly written plot and the story ends on a high note.

I love the set-up of this series. The PTSP is skillfully incorporated in the characterization of Rocco and made him come alive on the page. The slowburn romance was all the more powerful because of all the emotions and troubles involved. Elaine Levine knows how to create personable characters. The whole cast, from Kit and Blade, to Fee and the rest of the crew. i really liked them all.

Quotes;

'Your Neanderthal’s here. Call him off, Kit.'

'No, you’re not. You know what you are?” he asked in a quiet voice. She braced herself for all the cutting things he would say, shocked by how much his opinion would affect her.
“You are sunshine and moonlight, laughter and joy, a life lived entirely without fear. You heard the call of a dream and made it a reality. You are everything I believed I was fighting for all those years.'

'When she turned to take them out to the table, the big guy who’d kidnapped her stood there. Kelan, they’d called him last night. He looked to be of Native American descent and had to be at least a foot taller than her, about twice as wide, and whipcord lean'.

Review; Amy Lane - Forever Promised

Forever Promised  - Amy Lane

THIS REVIEW CAN CONTAIN A SPOILER!

It was a nice read, loved to read up on all the characters again. However, there were too many story threads, too much drama and lack of depth. I loved the fact Benny carried a baby for Crick and Deacon but since the focus was scattered between a multitude of characters I couldn't get completely invested in to it.

I loved every book in this series, Keeping Promise Rock will forever remain one of my all time favorite MM stories and while Forever Promised gave me a dose of each beloved couple in this series I would've enjoyed it more if Crick and Deacon were the main focus.

A nice finish to an incredible series.

Falling Into You - Jasinda Wilder I found my way to, Falling Into you, via social media. In my Facebook timeline I noticed a link to an interview with self-published author, Jasinda Wilder. From that interview I wanted to know more about her books and went to Goodreads. There I read the blurb of Falling Into You and I knew it was the story for me to read. I was in an emotional state that morning and I needed a story that would satisfy my need for an equal emotional story. So I bought it and started reading immediately.

It was a first person storytelling and I was intrigued by Nell from the get-go. When the story begins she’s sixteen and falling in love with Kyle, her best friend. It was a sweet love story with the intensity of first time love. I was swept away to the excitement that comes from being on the precipice of adulthood. Of giving yourself for the first time. Making plans for the future. I was there, emotionally invested in these two wonderful young people, when the story takes a dramatic turn and my heart was shredded to pieces.

I reveled in the impact it had on me and at the same time felt so sad for Nell. From that moment the story becomes edgier as one event turns the life of Nell and Colton. The story was no longer sweet and rife with possibilities but full of dark feelings and not knowing where to go or what to do. Just feel the storm inside.

Colton is a man that had to make it on his own from a very young age, he was an ex-gang member, a fighter and is now trying to make something of his life. I loved the layers of his character. He could be violent, has his own moral code but the way he gives himself to Nell just had me falling for him, hard!

Nell is no longer that vibrant young woman but dealing with guilt and loss. The future she envisioned no longer one she desires. She is changed and dealing with it in her own way. Since this story is told from Nell’s perspective it is important the reader can connect with her. And that is exactly what I did! All the good and the bad, every emotion Nell has is exposed for me to absorb and I loved it. To experience how Nell came to terms and fall in love again is very moving.

Even though the storytelling has a fast pace the writing is beautiful and attention grabbing. It enhanced the impact as both main characters explored their emotional journey. The grief feels so real, their budding romance so poignant, their sexual attraction skating on the darker side and I just gobbled it all up. Colton and Nell connect together in a way that had me believe they’re just made for one another.

Falling Into You is a raw but intensely gripping coming-of-age story that instantly became one of my best reads in 2013.

4.5 stars

Quote Nell:
I wanted nothing more than to climb into the box with him and quit breathing, find him in whatever came after life.

Quote Nell;
I knew the song within a few chords: “Reminder” by Mumford & Sons. I thought He’d only play, so I was stunned when he took a breath and began to sing the words in a low, melodic, raspy voice. He didn’t just play the song as it was, though. He twisted it, changed it, made it his. It was already a beautiful, haunting song, but Colton’s version touched something in my soul.

Quote Colton:
“But when you feel that kind of all-consuming need for someone, a person you’d do fucking anything for, no matter what? They’re in your fucking skin, in your soul, like the essence of who they are is imprinted on you so completely that the very air you breathe and each molecule of who you are is tangled together. That’s love. I loved her like that. Colton’s voice is…shattered. And she’s gone. That’s why I have this shit on my chest, the scars. I couldn’t deal. I couldn’t accept that she was dead for the longest time.”

Quote Colton:
“I’m not just falling in love with you, Nell. I’m falling into you. You’re an ocean, and I’m falling in, drowning in the depths of who you are. Like you said, it’s scary in a way, but it’s also the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced. You are the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced.”
The Story Guy - Mary Ann Rivers

Mary Ann Rivers’ debut novella, THE STORY GUY, has once again showed me a novella can create an amazing impact on the reader. Brian and Carrie's story is layered with emotions, heat, humorous dialogues and an attention grabbing situation. I loved how they met via an unusual contact ad and the chemistry they had from the first moment. I loved seeing the rules they make and the rules they break in order to be together. I loved the sensuality of their kisses going on blazing hot phone-sex. The obstacle they had to overcome grabbed me by the throat and made me cry and go through several tissues.

The writing flows effortlessly and though I think the story could have benefitted from some exploration or extension of certain scenes, I couldn't help but be swept off my feet by its powerful message. The romance is so beautifully told and I came to care about Carrie and Brian. The balance between all the elements in the story is close to perfect for me it felt like I read it in one sigh.

Mary Ann Rivers gives voice to everyday characters whom have to deal with extraordinary circumstances. And with this concept the author shows that love can ignite a romance that can take your breath away.

THE STORY GUY is a novella which packs quite a punch with a gripping, sensuous and character driven story. I want more of what Mary Ann Rivers has to offer!


4,5 stars

Tangle of Need - Nalini Singh The plot arc was fast paced.
The characters are well drawn.
The romance bitter-sweet and burning.
Riaz a dominant shifter wolf and a heart full of hurt.
Adria a wolf shifter and a survivor.

I think Tangle Of Need is up to par with the previous novels in the Psy-Changeling series. Nalini Singh is giving it her all with the plot twists, balancing the danger with the day-to-day life within the SnowDancer pack and the romance. I always love to read the banter between the extensive cast of familiar characters. My emotional invenstment in the recurring characters is vast. I couldn't get that same level of investment in Adria and Riaz but their romance was still poignant to read and their HEA created a satisfying emotional pay-off.

The final page is one huge cliff hanger for Heart Of Obsidian and it took my by surprise. I have multiple questions demanding an answer...I can't wait to see where Nalini Singh is taking this series! The Psy-Changeling series is one of those rare series which gives you a thrill ride with each novel!
From the Ashes - Daisy Harris Review to come
Fade To Midnight - Shannon McKenna Review to come...
Shadowfever - Karen Marie Moning Shadowfever easily could've been reduced to 400 pages IMO. The plot was dragging its ass through almost six hundred pages and only the last fourty or so did it become engaging. Before that the plot danced circles around what Mac was or wasn't. It became borish due to the length of the story. Everything is implied and very little is answered. When I'm lead on like that for more than four of the six hundred pages it tends to irritate me.

The MacKeltars. What happened to the fierce MacKeltars?! They were limp noodles in Shadowfever bickering with V'Lane, the Sidhe-seers and Barron and his crew on what to do and how to do it. Their importance, which was implied in the Highlander series, was next to zilch in the Fever series or Shadowfever. Big let down! The only MacKeltar whom was remotely interesting was Christian. But I guess he needs to be since he's going to play a part in Dani's story.

V'Lane and the Unseelie King, amazing characters, great background stories. Their story twist and turns kicked in a surprise factor I didn't expect by that time in the book.

Mac and Barrons, I can not say their story was romantic but they fit somehow. Really enjoyed how they interacted and brought some fire to the pages!

The plot conclusion was underwhelming in the first part but the second part made me sit up and pay attention. It contained a twist I really liked!

There is no true ending. Nothing is like roses and daisies at the final page but hopeful. A spin-off with Dani will be interesting!

2.5 stars
A Mermaid's Ransom - Joey W. Hill Sometimes a story by Joey W Hill takes time to drawn you in and at other times I'm sucked in from page one. A Mermaid's Ransom is the former one. While Dante captured my attention from the first page the story itself and Alexis needed quite some chapters to have me fully invested.

I absolutely adored the badness in Dante and his efforts to understand the human world. His temper and his complexity made for such an interesting personality. It countered the inate goodness of Alexis whom I found too nice at times. Together however they created such a fantastic dynamic which made their dialogues going from endearing to steamy sensual.

The eroticism is up to par with what I'm used to get from Joey W Hill. It reads like verbal viagra, though I would love for this author to venture in to different kind of ways to explore the characters sexuality. Or perhaps this is due to the fact I've read my fair share of erotic romances which resulted in certain positions becoming normal.

What I thought was cleverly done is the integration of the vampire world in the Daughters of Ariana series. The encounter between Lady Lyssa and Mina was one I enjoyed from start to finish! From this point on I was more invested in the storyline and was intrigued by its possibilities.

With the final chapters the romance crescent in to a satisfying high but I also wonder if their are more stories to come for Alexis and Dante. It seemed more of a beginning for them and the journey ahead one filled with challenges. I hope Joey W Hill can further explore their journey in her vampire series. Like Lyssa and Jacob, whose story is told in three books and counting.

Like always, Joey W Hill, has used her incredible writing skills to give characters of depth, searing eroticism and a story to sink your teeth in!

Review; JR Ward - Lover At Last

Lover at Last - J.R. Ward
I read J.R. Ward’s Lover At Last and yeah, the story had some major likes and dislikes. There’s no fuel to write a review but here’s a quick summary of thoughts; 


CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!

• Qhuinn and Blay; I wanted to submerge myself in their romance but I didn’t get all that much in their book. I think it got snowed under by too many other character/story arcs. I still love the ever living crap out of them but with a lead up in several previous books the romance stalled in LAL and didn’t have much progress. 

• A HEA in 20 or so pages; Really?! With all the emotional issues going on between Qhuinn and Blay I mostly got superficial or cryptic dialogues. Some hot, quick sexing and then at the end of the story all of a sudden Qhuinn has an epiphany about his sexual orientation. The ending was very romantic but in twenty pages it didn’t come off as very believable. 

• The lie of Blay; This really irked me. There was no reason in my book where Blay couldn’t speak up to Qhuinn about the status of his and Saxton’s relationship. 

• The M/M aspect; I got my panties in a twist when I read the first erotic scene between Blay and Qhuinn. With the anticipation high I went off like a skyrocket. But then it stayed the same, it was all physical release and very little emotional connection between them during the progress of their story. 

• The pregnancy of Layla; Oh come on!! Do you really want me to believe Layla goes in to a miscarriage for a few days and then Payne walks in, puts her healing hands on her, and all is well with the young. My jaw dropped to the floor how J.R. Ward handled that one. Why not let Layla have a healthy pregnancy to begin with if the young was to be part of the story arc? Pages saved to devout to Blay and Qhuinn. 

• Layla; Her character arc is intriguing. I love the star-crossed love thing she’s got going on with Xcor. • Assail and Sola; Another two characters whom held my attention. Really like the chemistry they have together. 

•iAm and Trez; Where they are going I don’t know and I really don’t care all that much. I almost skipped their parts in the story. 

•Xcor and his band of Bastards; Getting very invested in them and like the bad and ominous vibe they add to the story. 

•Wrath; While his personality has changed and the innate bad-ass vibe has dimmed a bit I like where his story is going. 

While there where things I liked very much overall the romance of Blay and Qhuinn was so-so. It wasn’t bad but I didn’t get the pay-off for being so invested in them. 

3 stars 

Okay, those were my thoughts about Lover At Last in a nutshell.