Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Review: Rules of Protection by Alison Bliss ★★★★

Rules of Protection (Tangled in Texas, #1)Rules of Protection by Alison Bliss
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Tangled in Texas #1
Publication Date: August 26th 2014
ISBN: 9781633750623
Page Count: 392
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey

  

Synopsis: It’s rule breaker Emily Foster's birthday, and like everyone at The Jungle Room, she just wants to get some action. Unfortunately, she stumbles on the wrong kind, witnessing a mob hit. To protect her, she's entered into the Witness Protection Program with by-the-book Special Agent Jake Ward as her chaperone.

When the location of their safe house is compromised, Jake stashes Emily deep in the Texas backwoods. The city-girl might be safe from the Mafia, but she has to contend with a psychotic rooster, a narcoleptic dog, crazy cowboys, and the danger of losing her heart to the one man she can’t have.

Jake's as hot as he is infuriating, and she can't help but push all his buttons to loosen him up. Their mutual, sizzling sexual attraction poses a dilemma: Jake's determined to keep her safe and out of the wrong hands; she's determined to get into the right ones—his.



Rule breaker Emily and straight-laced cop Jake team up for the purposes of protection in this sizzling romance with a side order of funny. An engaging read that was incredibly hard to put down, despite a few challenges...

Emily, Emily, Emily... What to tell you about her. As a main character - and in 1st person, no less - she is a challenge. That's putting it kindly, I would say. She was entertaining as all hell, don't get me wrong, but ye gods! She made some stupid, irritating and often brainless decisions at times! These were remarked upon by other characters so it was intentional on the author's behalf but...wow. There was one particular scene around the midway point where it was just one doozy right after another. She was just firing them out like a Gatling gun - Jealous rage bang! Melodramatic outburst bang! Running headlong into dangerous situations bang bang! It's a while since I've read a character that made me want to reach into the book and shake them, and it was bizarrely enjoyable to get so involved. I should balance this out by saying that when she wasn't being a ninny, she was funny, thoughtful, sassy and brave and I did root for her and Jake to get together. Most of the time.

Love interest Jake was a lot easier to love. The title Rules of Protection refers to his many, many rules for Emily (and himself) that he sets in order to keep her safe. I particularly enjoyed the version of Jake we got to see once they were on his family's property in Texas. That felt like the real Jake. He was so sexy and patient and honourable and patient and did I mention patient? In the face of, well, Emily. I really enjoyed him and the rest of his family. There were some great guys in there that I'm hoping will get their own stories, and soon. 

All in all, although I've been a bit complainy, I really did enjoy this book. Even whirlwind Emily. I recommend fans of romance with comedy elements and action to dive into this one head first with no compunction.

 4 Stars ★★★★
 A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Review: Scorched by Erica Hayes ★★★★

ScorchedScorched by Erica Hayes 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: ?
Publication Date: May 22nd 2014
ISBN: 9780008105013
Page Count: 296
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey

  

Synopsis: In a world where everyone wears a mask, you can't trust anyone… not even yourself.

Verity Fortune was once Sapphire City’s top crime-fighter, wielding her powers of telekinesis to battle the city’s most despicable villains. Now, she’s consumed by a single burning desire: revenge. Against those who took away her mask, her memory, and nearly her life.

Having escaped from the asylum they left her to rot in, Verity dons her mask once again and becomes the Seeker, a vigilante warrior for truth.

But when she unwittingly uncovers an evil conspiracy deep within her own family, she’s suddenly on the run, alone and hunted by those she thought were on her side…

Superherogeekaliciousextrabadassocious!

This was about as much nerdy super fun as you could squeeze into a single book, and a delightful read from start to finish. Hayes did a truly wonderful job of creating the superhero metropolis vibe, complete with smarmy politicians, secret identities, public showdowns, the lot. For comparison, I'd say it was very Batman-esque; especially with the added element of a crime-fighting duo of awesomeness that is Glimmer and Seeker. I hope to see a lot more of those two in the next book now that everybody knows what's what and who's who, because we've only just scratched the surface of that fascinating relationship dynamic, I'm sure.

Seeker - Verity Fortune - was an incredibly enjoyable lead with as much mystery surrounding her as anyone else since she has spotty memories at best of what happened right before she was captured and tortured for months. As the flashbacks increase and the puzzle pieces reveal themselves, a very shocking picture starts to emerge, and Verity finds the only person she can really trust is herself - and maybe not even that. The only character who even comes close to gaining her confidence is Glimmer - Mr. Save The World. I don't know much about him yet, but what I do know only makes me want to know more, and I'm definitely keen for any hint of romance from that corner the author wants to throw my way.

Scorched is the first of a new series, although I struggled to find a name for said series in any of the usual places online, or any news about book two, but all I'll say is there better be one! I'll certainly be checking Hayes' website for more info, and I suggest you join me in my stalker-like ways.

In short, if you like superheroes in all their glittery glory, complex heroes and sympathetic villains, then definitely check this book out!  4 Stars! ★★★★

 A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



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Review: Black Rook by Kelly Meade ★★★★

Black Rook (Cornerstone Run Trilogy, #1)Black Rook by Kelly Meade
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Cornerstone Run Trilogy #1
Publication Date: July 15th 2014
ISBN: 9780698165441
Page Count: 334
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey

   

Synopsis: She never saw this coming…

Brynn Atwood is a low-level Magus whose unpredictable precognitive powers have made her an outcast among her people—and an embarrassment to her highly-regarded father. After a frightening vision in which her father is murdered by a loup garou man, Brynn decides to prove herself by finding the killer, and stopping them at any cost.

Her target is Rook McQueen, the son of a small-town loup garou Alpha. Despite being the youngest of three, Rook is first in line to inherit the role of Alpha, a duty he isn't sure he's capable of fulfilling. When Brynn finally meets Rook, she doesn't expect the attraction that draws her to him—and him to her.

No longer believing him a murderer, Brynn and Rook strike an alliance to find her father's real killer. But when his older brother is targeted by an unknown enemy, Rook will have to choose between his growing feelings for Brynn and his duty as the future Alpha of his community.



I've seen many an author try their hand at a werewolf paranormal romance, often giving only the barest nod of acknowledgement to any kind of lore before basically forgetting they're even supposed to be Weres and getting straight on with the sexytimes - complete with plenty of growling, naturally. But me, I like the details. I think that's what makes a good Werewolf tale so enjoyable; getting to know their origins, their genealogy, their mating habits. How the beast and the man - or woman - relate to one another.  What advantages and disadvantages the Were nature brings to the table. All that good stuff, And here in Black Rook, Meade gave an outstanding spin on all of those aspects, leaving this reader more than satisfied.

And as if that wasn't enough, she also gave us not one, not two, but THREE swoonfully beautiful McQueen brothers to enjoy! Honestly, guys, they're absolutely irresistible. Sweet, sexy, caring, honourable, badass... Oy. In Black Rook, you'll fall in love with Rook, the youngest of the three, and have your appetite more than whetted for the other two, whose books - Gray Bishop and White Knight - are a-coming, don't you worry!

In this particular book, we're introduced to not only the McQueen clan, but also Brynn Atwood, a female Magi with precognitive ability, whose visions have told her that her father will die at the hands of Rook McQueen. She sets out to prevent that from happening at any cost, and is thrown into a world she apparently knows very little about, despite being part of it, and what she does know is skewed and one-sided. Her education on all-thing Loup could have been handled with hostility given the circumstances, but Rook is as gentle as they come. In fact, the way he reacted around Brynn and to his growing feelings for her, and also they way he tried to protect his family at all costs, was absolutely adoraballs. I completely loved him and Brynn both, and wished them all of the good things. And I cannot WAIT to read more on the other two brothers!!

All in all, a very enjoyable read, one I recommend to all Werewolf fans - 4 Stars ★★★★

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Review: Black Beast by Nenia Campbell ★★★

Black Beast (Shadow Thane, #1)Black Beast by Nenia Campbell
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Shadow Thane #1
Publication Date: April 2nd 2014
ISBN: 9781310692048
Page Count: 284
Rating: ★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey

   

Synopsis: She walks the line between the hunter and the hunted.

Vampires want her blood.

Witches consider her less-than-human.

Slayers simply want her dead.

As if being in high school wasn't hard enough, Catherine Pierce has to deal with a whole other set of problems that arise from being a shifter that hasn't settled. Because after puberty, shifters are supposed to stop changing--and Catherine, well, hasn't.

Even among her own kind, Catherine is regarded as a freak.

To make matters worse, she'd caught the attention of the witches' Council because they think she's been dabbling in dark magic because of a stupid old book that popped up at her work. And she's been having nightmares about a terrifying man who calls himself the Shadow Thane and plans to end the world in a burst of darkness and dragon fire.

Just in case that wasn't enough, a branch of Slayers are infiltrating Catherine's town, under the guise of a community youth group called Sterling Rep.

Times are changing and that means, for Catherine, it's time to Change.



This is about as dark and twisty as it gets, you guys. Nenia never pulls any punches when it comes to her characters and this lot are no exception. It's filled with unlikeable, antagonistic a-holes, and one that is just plain creepy-crazy. I'm not even sure I particularly like the main character, Catherine, but this may be deliberate. A test of my reader prowess, perhaps.

I liked the world-building introduced in Black Beast, enough to continue with the series, but I have to say that, as a novel in its own right, it was a little messy in places. Most especially the ending. It was very abrupt in a manner that felt more unfinished than cliffhangery. There were some really gripping moments and scenes, however, that make me keen to see more. I liked how the intense dislike between Shifters and Witches was made very clear, and that it wasn't just mere posturing and peacocking. They, like, really hate each other in a stabbity death way.

Catherine is a school girl going through a bit of a personal crisis. Her Shifter nature hasn't settled like it's supposed to - they're meant to change into various animals until puberty when they stick to one forever. Add to this her normal teenage woes - annoying younger brother, being partnered up at school with a childhood friend who disowned her - and it's got all the ingredients for your typical YA, of which it is unequivocally not. Your typical YA, that is. I wouldn't even class it as YA. Its themes are far too mature and... sinister.

So to sum up, if you'd like to see a dark side version of a teen paranormal, where the bad guys are really, really bad (like, I'm totally not even kidding or anything), then this one is for you.

3 Stars ★★★

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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