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Friday, 29 August 2014

Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin ★★★★

Deadly Curiosities (Deadly Curiosities, #1)Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Deadly Curiosities #1
Publication Date: June 24th 2014
ISBN: 9781781082331
Page Count: 456
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey

   

Synopsis: Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.



Deadly Curiosities was a really enjoyable urban fantasy and one that, unbelievably, I even forgive for having absolutely no romance. This is positively unheard of for me as I usually insist on at least a sprinkle of romance in any book that I read, but most especially in my urban fantasies as I love the slow burn of a romance that evolves over several books (think Kate and Curran!). And who knows? Maybe that will be the case with this series too, eventually, but I was struggling to find any hint of where it might come from in this first instalment.

That said, I'm doing it a disservice even dwelling on that aspect for a second since the plot was so strong that I barely even registered its lack, in truth.

The story revolves around Cassidy, a twenty-something antique store owner with psychometric talents. Cassidy was quite a passive heroine if you ask me - particularly as UF ones tend to go. Definitely not one I would describe as badass, which may count as a negative for some readers. Her strength, in my opinion, comes from her intelligence and bravery, despite lacking any obvious or traditional UF heroine-type mad skillz or even a particularly outlandish personality. I see her as the kind of quiet, steadfast heroine that grows on you slowly. Only time will tell though, of course.

The story arc for Deadly Curiosities picks up when Cassidy's gift starts acting more like a curse. Intensifying and sometimes even rendering her completely incapacitated. The quest to discover why leads her, and her colourful crew of friends, on a hunt for the source, with plenty of action scenes along the way to keep readers skipping along nicely.

In sum, if you love a good paranormal mystery with a great ensemble cast, you should absolutely pick this one up!

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

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Friday, 15 August 2014

Review: Unbroken by Maisey Yates ★★★★



Unbroken (Silver Creek, #3)Unbroken by Maisey Yates

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Silver Creek #3
Publication Date: August 5th 2014
ISBN: 9780425273692
Page Count: 320 
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey


Synopsis: In the latest Silver Creek romance from USA Today bestselling author Maisey Yates, former rodeo star Cade Mitchell may never ride again, but there are still a few things he can do—like care for the woman he loves.

Amber Johnson has always thought of her best friend Cade as an older brother. A really hot older brother. But growing up in foster care, she learned to rely only on herself. As much as she likes stealing glances at Cade’s chiseled jaw and painted-on jeans, she resents the way he swoops in like a superhero to fix things for her.

When former rodeo rival Jim Davis starts harassing Amber to sell her grandfather’s failing ranch, Cade swoops in once again. To send Jim on his way, Cade pretends to be Amber’s boyfriend, moving in to help fix the place up. With her grandfather behind the idea, Amber and Cade have to keep the charade going—whether she likes it or not.

But as their make-believe romance starts to heat up, maybe Cade and Amber will learn to admit that they both could use a little saving…



Unbroken

When you read a lot of romances as I do, you start to notice the really commonly used tropes popping up again and again. In this case we have two: friends to lovers, and the fake relationship ruse. You can add to that a nice dollop of scarred hero, and reluctant-in-love heroine, and all together, you've got a tasty mix that should satisfy even seasoned romance junkies.

Cade, our hero, was badly injured in a rodeo "accident" a few years back and walks with a limp. He's still struggling to come to terms with his broken body and hasn't quite gotten there yet. Cade's BFF since childhood, Amber, is not without her own baggage, either. She was a foster kid and was bounced around from place to place as a child and teen and has never felt wanted or accepted anywhere. This led to her making a lot of poor romantic choices as a younger girl - letting men use her body but without understanding how to form any kind of emotional attachment to them - and so now she's sworn off all men. Well, except for best friend Cade, of course. He's different, and has never treated her the way the other boys did - Awww!

So as you can see, we're all set up nicely for a friends to lovers epiphany *lightbulb!*. It's just a matter of waiting for them to see what's been in front of them the whole time!

Overall, I enjoyed the romance in Unbroken. It was sweet, sexy and had a great set up with them having to pretend to already be together. The only thing I might have liked better would have been if either of have them would have realised they weren't just "scratching an itch" a little sooner. Instead, it seemed like the author tried to fit a whole book's worth if gushy romancey talk into the last few pages. It was a bit too toooo sugary.

Great fun read - 4 Stars ★★★★

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

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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Super Quickie Review: Crimson Heart by Heather McCollum ★★★★

Crimson Heart (Highland Hearts, #3)Crimson Heart by Heather McCollum
Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance
Series: Highland Hearts #3
Publication Date: June 30th 2014
ISBN: 9781622663613
Page Count: 436
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: 300
Reviewed by: Lynsey



Synopsis: Elena has spent her entire life hiding her family name while walking the thin line between lady and servant in a Protestant household. Keeping the secret of her lineage has been a success for years, but now, with a new, fiercely Catholic queen on the throne, Elena's Protestant caretaker is being targeted. And when Bloody Mary discovers Elena's true identity, she must not only flee to Scotland for her freedom, but also for her life.

Highland warrior, Searc Munro, has secrets of his own. In a family of healers, his own dark, killing magic must never be known. But when his father's life is threatened, Searc unleashes his lethal power to save him. With his clan's suspicious glances and whispers plaguing him, he sets off alone, only to find another use for his magic in saving a beautiful lass being attacked in the forest.

Teaming up as exiles, Elena and Searc head toward Edinburg to find refuge. Yet, with a series of ritual killings haunting the city and a traitor attempting to assassinate Scotland's regent, suspicion turns to Searc. As word of another British heir reaches the country, the two must find a way to trust each other, despite their secrets, before it's too late.




Crimson Heart

I was about to type, 'here we are back with McCollum doing what she does best,' but having just read her recent YA Urban Fantasy, which I ended up rating higher than anything else of hers so far, maybe that's not quite what I mean any more. But it certainly is nice to feel in comfortable hands with a writer in her element as McCollum is with her hunky Highlanders!

Crimson Heart is yet another great, feel-good romance with a nice switcheroo happening in the supernatural department.  It's the man that has the magic this time. A nice twist, and a great setting for their romance with plenty of intrigue.

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




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ARC Review: Dream Huntress by Michelle Sharp ★★★★★

Dream Huntress (Dream Seeker, #1)Dream Huntress by Michelle Sharp
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Series: Dream Seeker #1
Publication Date: June 23rd 2014
Page Count: 260
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey



Synopsis: Detective Jordan Delany has a gift. Through her dreams, she connects with dead victims of violent crimes. Her isolated life as a drug cop is perfect for hiding the freakish visions, until her newest investigation has her posing as a cocktail waitress in a down-and-dirty strip club. When
she’s saved from a drunken customer by a handsome stranger, the heated chemistry is exactly why she intends to keep Mr. Arrogant at bay. But learning he’s the new bouncer for the corrupt club she intends to bust just might be the one reason why she can’t.

Tyler McGee suspects a drug ring operating out of the local club is flooding the streets of his hometown with heroin. Determined to get answers, he plays the part of a fallen cop and lands the job of head bouncer. What he discovers is that the club owner isn’t the only deadly obstacle he’s facing. His attraction to an intriguing cocktail waitress with a penchant for danger just might kill him first.




Crushed it.

Those were my sentiments for Michelle Sharp as I finished this book, because to me, Dream Huntress had the perfect balance of fun, sexiness and mystery, leaving me with that warm, fuzzy, good read feeling. It was fantastic!

Jordan Delaney is a sassy, no-nonsense police detective working undercover in one of the seediest bars you can imagine. Her approach to her job is admirable. She should probably be more scared than she is, however, surrounded by such disgusting examples of the male species without any backup - and not even wearing enough clothes to hide a gun! - but she handles it all with aplomb. That's not to say she's 100% brash swagger, though, or that she doesn't have a vulnerable side. When people come close to discovering her big supernatural secret she soon loses a lot of that bravado. She was a fascinating character and a great heroine.

Also on the scene is Tyler McGee, the bar's latest security man who is definitely more than he seems. The pair of them had great chemistry together, although their relationship was not without its irritations as they both often got in each other's way. We're not sure at first precisely what Tyler's goal is, but he's definitely not happy to have someone putting themselves in danger right before his eyes. His cop instincts - retired or no - won't allow it to go unnoticed. Of course, as these things often go, that initial irritation soon led to something more romantic. As their relationship changed and evolved and we got to know the characters more, I really grew to like them both individually and together.

Aside from the romance there was a great storyline which nicely tied together Tyler's back story as well as Delaney's supernatural abilities. It culminated in a nail-biting and almost heartbreaking finish, one that left me on the very edge of my seat and rooting for a HEA with all my might.

All together, an excellent read - 5 Stars! ★★★★★
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.




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