Review: The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

2712967The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: December 22, 2009

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Page Count: 368

Rating: 4/5

Source: Gift


Reyes is a man possessed. Bound by the demon of pain, he is forbidden to know pleasure. Yet he craves a mortal woman, Danika Ford, more than breath and will do anything to claim her–even defy the gods. Danika is on the run. For months she’s eluded the Lords of the Underworld, immortal warriors who won’t rest until she and her family have been destroyed. But her dreams are haunted by Reyes, the warrior whose searing touch she can’t forget. Yet a future together could mean death to all they both hold dear.


“He was dark, she was light. He was anguish, she was innocence. He was wrong for her in every way, and yet, when she looked at him, his entire world felt right.”

As I sink more into the Lords of the Underworld series, I see why readers love it. Mix in steamy sex scenes that will make anyone turn crimson, throw in tortured men, put in an intriguing mythology, and create a fast-paced story that will surely keep readers enthralled, and you get a dedicated following.

Reyes, Keeper of Pain, cannot seem to wipe Danika from his mind. Separated from her family, she has been on the run for months. Tormented by her dreams and her fear of Aeron, the Keeper or Wrath, she strikes a deal with Hunters, when they kidnap her. She will infiltrate the Lords and give intel on them, but lines  blur when, once Reyes saves her from the Hunters, she discovers he and the other Lords are more than what the Hunters accuse them of, and her attraction toward Reyes grows. But she must choose: side with the Hunters and purge this world of these demons or give in to her desire for Reyes. Unfortunately, the choice is much harder than Danika thinks.

 

“This means nothing,” she said.
“Less than nothing,” he lied.
“I’ll hate myself later.”
“I hate myself now.”

After reading the Darkest Kiss, I find The Darkest Pleasure refreshing. I’m rather fond of Reyes and Danika’s relationship. She, after all, is one of the four Ford women Cronus tasks Aeron to kill, but the Lords and her family do not understand why. What I love about their relationship is how they try to avoid it and each other. Obviously, you get a forbidden love vibe from them, but it works perfectly for this story. Reyes refuses to tie himself to any woman because his demon, Pain, influenced his former lovers and often tainted and changed them. This broken Lord just tugged at my heartstrings.  Since Gena been hinting at their relationship since the first book, The Darkest Night, I’ve been eagerly waiting to see how Gena plays out this storyline. And she doesn’t disappoints.

I’ve come to expect the most outrageous plot twists and character arcs from Gena. She goes from Ashlyn sacrificing her life so Maddox’ death curse will be lifted to Anya giving up her All Key to save Lucien. I don’t how she pulls them off, but I constantly feel I have whiplash once I’ve finished her books. And I enjoy how she cleverly weaves them in effortlessly. Now I realize why she has such a strong following. But one particular arc she includes in this instalment nearly turned me into an emotional mess. Since the death of  Sienna, Paris’ development has turned bleak. And given that his book is the ninth, I have a long way to sympathize with this character. She also throws in Aeron’s, which I’ve been hoping to read, as well.

What I love about this sequel is that you get to know the Lords better. You witness the brotherhood the Budpest faction has for one another, and finally the Greece faction gains the opportunity to rekindle the bond they had with the others. The banter between each character and the rich mythology spark my interest and make me want the other books more.

 

“Hope is a demon worse than your Pain.”

Gena focuses on the characters in Darkest Pleasure, and I think in doing so makes it stronger than the previous stories. I will easily admit I love most, if not all, of these characters. But what I look for is their development and struggles. And I want to see how they grab a hold of you and capture your attention. Reyes stands out from the other warriors. Pain controls him, yet he shows Danika nothing but safety and kindness. He chooses her over his brother. Reyes’ demon doesn’t scare Danika, nor does it tempt her. From the other two love interests in Lords of the Underworld, she gains my respect the most because of her strength and her undying will to live and to fight.

I think I can safely say Gena has gained a new follower. And I wonder what she else will pull off in this captivating paranormal romance.

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Review: Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

23308087Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Publication Date: May 16, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 416

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.


“I’ve never been angry to have been born a woman. There have been times I’ve been angry at how the world treats us, but I see being a woman as a challenge I must fight.”

Wow. Plot twists don’t always surprise me or catch me off guard, but Flame in the Mist has taken me for a magic-filled journey that I wasn’t expecting. Renée creates a culturally rich story I don’t want to leave. And I’m not sure how to express my love I have for this book.

After surviving a botched attack, Mariko, daughter of a samuri who seeks a higher station in life, infiltrates the Black Clan, a ruthless gang hired to kill her on her way to meet her betrothed. A hidden alchemist and inventor dressing as a peasant boy, she is determined to discover why she was almost murdered and who paid the Black Clan to go forth with her death. But when her plan goes awry, the clan takes her prisoner. There she meets the leader of the clan, Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, Okami, and realizes that secrets and lies enshroud these two and the life she has always known isn’t what she thought it was.

 

“Sometimes we must fall forward to keep moving. Remain motionless—remain unyielding—and you are as good as dead. Death follows indecision, like a twisted shadow. Fall forward. Keep moving. Even if you must pick yourself up first.”

Renée throws in touches of Tahir’s Ember in the Ashes and a dash of Robinhood. I’m not convinced of the Mulan connection though. But I easily fell in to her book and couldn’t get out. The only things keeping me from it were sleep and, well, life. I’m not always a fan of fast-paced fantasy novels. Sometimes some scenes are lacking what I crave. But she paces this book beautifully. She captures the setting in such a way that I could immediately imagine what I was reading and adds just enough magic to spark my interest. I love her writing. It isn’t grandiose. It is straightforward, but it also takes you a magical adventure. Hidden agendas, political deception, secrets, lies, plot twists, and slow burning romance will captivate readers who look for a story that stands out from the rest.

Do you know what I look for in the literary world? More women empowerment. But more importantly, I look for male characters who aren’t afraid of women who fight back and are willing to support them. In some stories, you get women tearing down others. Why? Tell me how women shaming helps us. It doesn’t. Now that we have that issue behind us, Flame in the Mist exudes women empowerment. Renée’s book had me dancing in my chair and quietly yelling, “Yes!” Bless Renée for incorporating it into her book.

No, I cannot say I am an expert on Japanese mythology, culture, or traditions. I feel that Renée has honoured them though, and she certainly brings them to the forefront of her writing. You see the attention to detail she weaves in, and I enjoy how this culture stands on its own. She also puts in Japan-inspired creatures that kept my fangirl screaming. The jubokko, a vampire tree, may just be my favourite. A VAMPIRE TREE, people. Have some respect for an author who writes that in.

But what shines above all else are her characters. I rarely say that I enjoy all characters. I usually find a flaw I can’t stand or a character development that doesn’t make sense, but I love hers. No characters were needlessly added for a filler. Each one adds to the story. Mariko’s quiet demeanour and resolve allow her talents to be through life. But don’t let them fool you. Behind them, Mariko‘s a force no one should go up against. Her family members underestimate this alchemist, and in doing so, they set her on a track to prove her worth. I adore her. The odd calls to odd, I say. She refuses to let the world bend her and to change her to what she family wants her to be.

Okami, the Wolf of the Black Clan, creeps up on you. Authors will always grab my attention when they write a tortured, silent, yet argumentative man who likes nothing more than to test the main character. Lord help me if I find this kind of man. I’ll be done for. He moves the story along and adds intrigue to it as well. You get glimpses of Takeda Ranmaru. But what you see interests me. Both men—hell, all these men live by a code—are connected by their father’s past. They have untold stories, and I hope Renée explores them further in the sequel.

Flame in the Mist may be my first story I’ve read from Renée’s repertoire, but I hope to read her previous work and truly hope to read more from her. She has developed a beautiful craft that will take her far. I cannot wait to see what she will do for the sequel!

Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

23299512This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Published by: Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: July 5, 2016

Genre: Yound Adult, Fantasy, Crime

Page Count: 427

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.


“You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.”

From the moment I heard of This Savage Song, I’ve been hooked. For years, I’ve been hoping to find a refreshing take on a monster story. You and I have seen everything. But Victoria brings a new twist to fantasy and takes her spin to another level.

Kate Harker wants nothing more than to be a monster so she will gain her father’s respect and earn her rightful place by his side. August Flynn wishes to be a human, yet he’s a Sunai, who harvests souls through songs. Both live in a divided city, where violent crime breeds monsters. An opportunity arises that allows August to turn spy by watching over Kate. But when she discovers his true identity, both are thrown together and must escape after a botched assassination attempt.

Victoria’s eloquent prose captures you immediately. Victoria masterly layers in cleverly written twists into her coming-of-age story. Just to take it up a notch, she then injects music, which adds more to this complex book. But deadly political trickery plays a pivotal role. And yet you want to turn the next page and see what happens to these two teenagers.

Their lives cannot be more juxtaposed. Kate, while finally arriving in V-City, lives in grandeur and paid-for protection in the North, while her father, Callum, controls his monsters. August lives in the South side of the Seam, where he constantly hears screams and gunshots, and his father, Henry, and his men risk their lives to protect humans. I love the contrast Victoria slides in between these two characters. She reverses the gender roles in her new series. Kate, the daughter of a crime boss, prefers not to be human. She’s rather turn into a monster, like her father. And Victoria surprises me when she makes August, the son of a man who tries to keep his city together, more human than people. These sixteen-year-olds have grown up to be anything but teenagers. They have seen horrendous acts, and they’ve also committed some themselves.

I was hesitant to read a YA novel set in a school atmosphere. I prefer a YA novel that has no connection to one. However, Victoria plays with that setting in a unique way. Set in a future dystopian backdrop of the former United States, the first instalment in the Monsters of Verity series takes place more than a decade after the Phenomenon, which cleaved a city in two. Victoria opens up a corrupted and violent world, and through her captivating writing, she lets you witness the atrocities that walk the streets of V-City.  

Both Kate and August stand out against this evil. These main characters connect. And why shouldn’t they since they’ve been sheltered by their parents and must live up to the expectations placed on their shoulders. Their connection is what attracts me to this story. Kate sees August as a monster, yet she also sees herself in him. They’re polar opposites, yet they experience the same struggles. Both their character developments shape this book into a fantastic YA novel. You may expect some romance in this urban fantasy, and I feel there is some inklings of it, yet Victoria doesn’t bring it to the forefront of the story.

Victoria’s reimagining of monsters also draws you in. Each monster possesses a certain power: the Sunai steal souls by drawing out a tainted soul and is the rarest out of the three, Corsai feed on flesh and bone but cannot be out in light, and Malchai are undead creatures that feed on blood. Where have these beasties been all my life?! You gain my respect when you create new creatures that keep me on my toes.

She also builds a world where violence is paramount and prevalent. Violence takes centre stage. This theme may not sit well with readers, but I think she wants it to scream at people. You cannot say our society has improved over the last few decades. The way she addresses this problem impresses me, and I hope she continues with this theme in This Dark Duet.

I couldn’t put this book down. This Savage Song is the first book of Victoria’s I’ve read, but I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel and wanting to buy the rest of her series. Call me an instant fan.

What did you think of This Savage Song? Are you a fan of Victoria’s work? Let me know in the comments!

Review and Giveaway: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: May 2, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Extent: 720 pages

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.


“But for my home, for Prythian and the human territory and so many others … I would clean my blades, and wash the blood from my skin. And I would do it again and again and again.”

Have you ever avoided writing a review simply because you know the series has come to an end? I’m facing that problem right now. Sure, Sarah is continuing with more stories in the ACOTAR world, but I want more from Feyre. Her future is still playing out. But with this instalment, Sarah creates a powerful and captivating finale that will break your heart, make it swell, and emotionally destroy you. I don’t expect anything less from her. I’m drained to the point where I need a year to heal before I read the next instalment.

Feyre, High Lady of the Night Court, returns to the Spring Court so she will bring down Tamlin and collect any information she can find to end this looming war. But as this High Lady-turned-spy plays this deadly game to discover how the Hybern King will destroy Prythian, she tests herself and her people while they race to track down allies and find ones in unexpected places.

Sarah incorporates more history of Prythian, the other courts, characters, and mythology. She teases you with just the right amount of backstory. Power plays, fae politics, and complex character developments just dance off the pages. I find writing this review difficult because I am emotionally wrecked. I laughed. I snorted. I bloody cackled (and you know the exact scene I’m talking about). And I bawled more than I care to admit. I’m just getting into Sarah’s books, but I’m impressed with how she puts in these many arcs in a single story and juggles these many characters with ease. She was thrashing me from one chapter to the next, and I had moments where I had to put down the book so I could catch my breath.

 

“The great joy and honour of my life has been to know you. To call you my family. And I am grateful—more than I can possibly say—that I was given this time with you all.”

I don’t know how much more I can marvel at the Court of Dreams or the Inner Circle. But I do. And I swear my bat babies broke my damn soul. If I were to scream to the world of how proud I am of this family, I couldn’t properly show my love for it.

 

“But for my home, for Prythian and the human territory and so many others…I would clean my blades, and wash the blood from my skin. And I would do it again and again and again.”

Feyre slays in this book. She transforms from a human who gives up her life for the beast and is then turned into broken fae who possesses a human heart to the Queen of the Night, who bows down to no one. She grows into a character who I admire and never want to forget. She has carved a piece into my heart, but she isn’t the only one.

 

“I would have waited five hundred more years for you. A thousand years. And if this was all the time we were allowed to have…The wait was worth it.”

Rhysand gives more than he has in his past. He’s willing to sacrifice himself to protect his his family and people. He nearly stopped my heart at his sacrifice. I can’t write without tearing up about it. I thought I cherished him before, but this book completely shatters my love I have for him.

 

I don’t know how, but I love Cassian more than I had at the end of ACOMAF. This glorious Illyrian almost rivals Rhys. Almost. I need more of him. I cannot wait to read more of his journey after this war. Mor, and her revelation, just seals my heartache for this book. Her history is riddled in pain, and yet she still fights for a country that may shun her. I swear I held my breath when she broke down. That little firedrake, Amren, is a hellion, and the friendship budding between her and Nesta keeps you on your toes. And do you know how long I’ve waited for more Azriel? Finally! But I just hope he finds his happiness in future books. I truly do. And here comes Nesta. My second queen may just burn down this world and not blink an eye. I can’t help but mention the friendship Az has with Elain. I squee every time I think of it. Both Nesta and Elain are characters I wonder what they have to offer. You get glimpses, but I hope I get more of their POVs. And my little fox, Lucien, REDEEMS himself. Yes!

War breaks people, their souls, and their bodies. Sometimes, though, it unearths their greatest strengths: hope, family, love, and redemption. Sarah shows the brutality of war. She doesn’t shy away from illustrating the consequences of people’s actions and choices they make. She doesn’t sensationalize it, doesn’t glorify it. And in doing so she cements herself as an author who I look up to.

And I love how she also includes more LGBTQ storylines into ACOWAR. But my one complaint is with how she wrote one in particular. She hints to a ship that may or may not exist, even though she throws you clues to it in ACOMAF. So my problem is with Sarah, not that storyline. Even if her characters hide their sexuality, these arcs should flow organically, not just be throw in to the mix like an afterthought. But I’m happy she includes the character’s development. But her representation of certain LGBTQ characters is a little hinkey.

I own only a few books that have stuck with me over the years. I can list them on my right hand. And this series takes a spot there. Sometimes it’s hard to find a book that challenges me, makes me question my worth. But A Court of Wings and Ruin forces me to think of what I’d do in Feyre’s situation. And I don’t think I’d change a thing for her. More importantly, ACOWAR shows you that, even in the darkness, even in your bleakest time, you find yourself, redeem yourself, and never bow down to anyone. I wonder what Sarah has in store for the next books.


Giveaway

Here’s your chance to win a copy of the Indigo exclusive edition of A Court of Wings and Ruin, which has the special endpapers with Charlie Bowater’s illustrations! ENTER HERE.

 

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Mini Reviews: Adulthood Is a Myth and Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

Published by: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Genre: Comic Strip, Adult, Humour

Page Count: 109

Rating: 4/5

Source: Friend’s stash of books

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Are you a special snowflake? Do you enjoy networking to advance your career? Is adulthood an exciting new challenge for which you feel fully prepared? Ugh. Please go away.

This book is for the rest of us. These comics document the wasting of entire beautiful weekends on the internet, the unbearable agony of holding hands on the street with a gorgeous guy, dreaming all day of getting home and back into pajamas, and wondering when, exactly, this adulthood thing begins. In other words, the horrors and awkwardnesses of young modern life.


Okay, I admit I don’t read many comic books or strips. But I’ve been a fan of Sarah’s work for years, well before she published her first book. Thankfully my friend bought both her books, and within an hour I blew through them.

Even though the strips are simplistic, I love how Sarah captures what people think, how they feel, and how they are all the same, regardless of what they believe. She takes you on an unbelievably hilarious adventure of a girl’s journey through life.

I can’t count how times I giggled while reading this book. And I haven’t devoured a comic book so quickly in a long while. Sarah takes these complicated adult problems all readers face daily or fear, and she turns them into some sort of therapeutic release for her followers. I relate to her characters, feelings, fears, and thoughts on every day things. From sniffing books to commandeering men’s hoodies, she makes her readers relate to each other so that they can realize we aren’t so different.

I will always look for more of Sarah’s work. She speaks to my inner introvert and bookworm (dragon tyvm). I think my only negative of the book is that it’s too short. Besides that issue, I love her strips. And I’ll eagerly await more of her illustrations.

 


Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

Published by: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Genre: Comic Strip, Adult, Humour

Page Count: 128

Rating: 4/5

Source: Friend’s stash of books

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Sarah Andersen’s hugely popular, world-famous Sarah’s Scribbles comics are for those of us who boast bookstore-ready bodies and Netflix-ready hair, who are always down for all-night reading-in-bed parties and extremely exclusive after-hour one-person music festivals.

In addition to the most recent Sarah’s Scribbles fan favorites and dozens of all-new comics, this volume contains illustrated personal essays on Sarah’s real-life experiences with anxiety, career, relationships and other adulthood challenges that will remind readers of Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half and Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. The same uniquely frank, real, yet humorous and uplifting tone that makes Sarah’s Scribbles so relatable blooms beautifully in this new longer form.


Sarah is my spirit animal or my queen; I’m not sure which one, though. The anti-social, hate-filled woman in me squeals when I find “my people,” as in my fellow introverts. Sarah touches on bullying, self image, relationships, female problems, procrastination, and social awkwardness. While I like the first comic strip book, I feel that Sarah connects this sequel in a better cohesive way.

What I would give to sit down and talk with her about life. You get a better understanding of who she is and what issues make her uncomfortable. She addresses many social problems she battles with. And all I see is a reenactment of my life. How can I identify with a woman I haven’t met sometimes astounds me. But somehow I do, and while looking through Goodreads, I’ve realized many other readers feel the same.

 

She’s not afraid to discuss social anxiety. She combines her humour with her anxiety and turns the latter into a platform for her to talk with other people who suffer from it. So I respect her for pulling off that accomplishment. Big Mushy Happy Lump is a light and airy read that hooks you from the first strip. I can’t wait to see what Sarah has to offer next.

Wrap-Up: April 2017

Lost Souls by Kelley Armstrong

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m a huge fan of Kelley’s Cainsville series, so I was giddy to find out Sub Press would publish a novella from it. Kelley mixes in her fae stoyline with the folk tale of the hitchhiking lady who vanishes without a trace. And she throws in Gabriel and Patrick POVs, which I was waiting to read. She knows how to spin a tale to make it her own. And now I’m more eager to read Rituals.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Sub Press | Book Depository

 

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A dark and gritty world, a ruthless matriarch, and three sisters who are pitted against each other are what you’ll get with this new YA fantasy series. Surprisingly, I like it a lot. Kendare puts in enough intrigue to spark any reader’s interest. The theories for the sequel are still running through my mind.

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The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hello, new addiction. We’ll be the greatest of friends. I blame you, Beth, for causing this chaos, but I’m eternally grateful you bought the next three books to stave off my obsession. Gena injects Greek mythology, cursed immortal warriors who house demons, and steamy sex scenes. If you’re a paranormal romance lover, get this book.

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Our dark actions turn into monsters? A strong female lead and a monster who doesn’t want to be one? Sign me up for this series because I’m impressed with Victoria and her book. I don’t always feel that way, but she has created a unique world that I’d love to visit again. And now I understand why she has such a strong following.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Come on, I had to read this book again. At this point, I think I’ve moved past the addiction stage. You get faeries, betrayal, self-discovery, love, an intriguing story, and one of the best sequels. I don’t think I’ll get enough of this series.

You can find my review here. And watch out for my review of A Court of Wings and Ruin!

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Review: The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

2498983The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harelquin

Publication Date: June 1, 2008

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Page Count: 368

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Gift from Friend

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


She has tempted many men…but never found her equal. Until now.


Though she has lived for centuries, Anya, goddess of Anarchy, has never known pleasure. Until Lucien, the incarnation of death–a warrior eternally doomed to take souls to the hereafter. He draws her like no other. And Anya will risk anything to have him.


But when the merciless Lord of the Underworld is ordered by the gods to claim Anya herself, their uncontrollable attraction becomes an anguished pursuit. Now they must defeat the unconquerable forces that control them, before their thirst for one another demands a sacrifice of love beyond imagining.


He was known as the Dark One. Malach ha-Maet. Yama. Azreal. Shadow Walker. Mairya. King of the Dead. He was all of those things and more, for he was a Lord of the Underworld.

Gena, yet again, delivers a heart-pounding and fast-paced story and immerses you in a deeply rich world that you don’t want to leave.

Weeks have passed, and new overlords lay claim to the Lords of the Underworld. Cronus has imprisoned the Greeks, who ruled over and cursed the Lords of the Underworld. Now he looks to test the warriors again by ordering Lucien, Keeper of Death, to kill Anya, the Goddess of Anarchy. But how can the leader of the Budapest faction kill her when he cannot fathom murdering the woman who is determined to win him and may just break this sombre warrior?

Gena amplifies the plot development tenfold while connecting it with this seductive storyline. The Lords continue to look for the DimOuniak (Pandora’s box), which the Hunters are hellbent to find and destroy. And to do so, they, with the help of Anya, travel to Rome to undercover the Temple of the Unspoken Ones, which holds ancient artifacts that will lead them to the box. While some readers may say, “Here we go again with another love story,” Gena isn’t afraid to add new layers to this series. The plot itself kept me hooked, and I couldn’t put the book down.

Call me addicted. I cannot get enough of these characters. And I thoroughly blame my friend for this problem. But I love her for buying this book, the third, and the forth, so we’re good. I  enjoyed reading The Darkest Night. But I admit this sequel outshines it, and I feel that Lucien cements himself as one of my favourite characters in the series. Since the first book, he has captured my attention. Come on, he’s Keeper of Death. The morbid nerd in me perked up when I heard of this tortured warrior. He once loved a mortal woman, and when her life cruelly ended, he scarred himself so he would no longer attract another. How tortured can a man be?

 

“Apparently, dancing for him and throwing herself at him weren’t enough. Apparently, she had to nearly commit murder to arouse him enough to attack her.”

Once again, Anya, daughter of Dysnomia and Tartarus, weaves her way into the Lord’s lives. You first see her at the end of The Darkest Night, where she offers Ashlyn a deal to break Maddox’s death curse. She exudes confidence, beauty, and sly intelligence, yet she creates a facade to hide who she is and what her past holds. I thought she’d bother me, since she can be somewhat ditsy, yet I love how she balances out ever-calm Lucien. Her backstory struck me much harder than I thought it would. And I can’t help but laugh at her determination to attract him. If this woman wants something, she gets it. And she’ll call him out on everything he does and says.

The sexual tension in Darkest Kiss may kill not only the readers but also Lucien and Anya. Gena has a knack for effortlessly incorporating that into her work. And the banter between them kept me laughing. He purposely avoids her since he doesn’t see why he should fall for any woman who will eventually die and how she can find him attractive, but Anya sees past his scars. Their arguing plays heavily into the plot. Nothing says love like killing and maiming. Lucien either must kill her or take the All Key, a key that allows her to escape any prison and an item Cronus dreams of owning. Cronus, the King of the Titans, plays a secondary character throughout the story and adds more to this mythology-rich plot. And I wonder how he’ll play a stronger role in the future sequels.

So take some advice from this PNR newbie and pick up this series. You may get obsessed as much I have gotten.

 

What is your favourite paranormal romance series? Let’s talk in the comments.

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Ensnared
Rita Stradling
Publication date: May 23rd 2017
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction

A Near Future Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.

Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.

To save her father from a five year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.

Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.

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EXCERPT:

December 2, 2026

Alainn woke knowing someone was in her room.

Whoever it was sat behind her. Quiet, even breaths rasped through the air. Alainn’s eyelids peeked open. Moonlight cast a grayish glow, cutting deep shadows into the space around her bed.

“Good morning, Alainn,” Rose said in a quiet voice. When Alainn didn’t respond, Rose said, “I can tell from the change in your breathing pattern that you are awake.”

“Rose?” she whispered, not quite ready to let out a sigh of relief. Alainn twisted to look at her. “What are you doing here? Did you break my lock?”

“I picked it,” she said. “It is now locked again.”

“Oh, uh—” Her heart pounded in her chest; she sat up and faced the robot. “Why—why would you do that?”

The moonlight lit half of Rose’s face as she watched Alainn, expressionless. “Do not be alarmed. You are obviously having a fear reaction, but I was simply waiting for you to wake up.”

“Don’t you need to sleep—recharge?”

Now that Alainn faced Rose, she smelled the faint odor of her exhaust. Rose continuously exhaled the lightest tang of something sweet and acidic. The air in the room felt used, like a plane cabin after a cross-country flight.

“I was not completely forthcoming with you today. While what I said was true, I have for a time now believed that having Father imprisoned would impede my potential. While I have far surpassed his skills in software, there are times when I need assistance. I am limited by my need to stay near my charging station. Your brother is often absent for days at a time—and you, months.”

“Okay, wait—you’re going to go tomorrow?” Alainn scooted forward on the bed. A dormant hope resurged through her. Alainn would do anything—she’d worship at the robot’s feet if Rose agreed to go.

“No, you are going to go tomorrow.”

Alainn froze, staring at Rose. “What?” she whispered.

“I have calculated one way in which all parties can achieve their desires.”

“I’m sorry—I’m not understanding.” Alainn shook her head. A hard knot formed in her stomach.

“I am not surprised.” Rose reached out to pat Alainn’s hand. “You are not as intelligent as the rest of your family.”

“Spell it out in really simple terms, then.” She just managed to not growl the words at Rose.

Slowly, Rose looked up to the ceiling, moonlight slashing up the curve of her neck, her chin, and the line of her nose. “Earlier tonight, I arranged for you to be picked up by Mr. Garbhan through e-mail, writing as if I was Father. In one hour, a car will arrive outside to take you to his building. I have designed and created hardware for your body. If you are scanned, a chip in the hardware will communicate to the scanners that you have an organic circuitry system rather than a human brain.”

Alainn shook her head, hoping to dislodge some of the grogginess there. “I’m still not following—you’re saying you want me to pretend to be you and turn myself over? That you already arranged it?”

“Yes, you are following. That is exactly what I am saying.”

“I—I—” Alainn shook her head again. The air thinned around her.

“I have a working plan for the transplanting. You can assimilate easily into a life of servitude as you are already accustomed to the labor you will be asked to perform.” Rose lifted a hand, ghostly gray in the low light, and ticked off the chores on her fingers. “Cooking, housekeeping, and bookkeeping. Unless . . . is your concern that he might use you for sexual gratification?”

“What? No.”

“I believe that this would be a particular concern of yours.”

“I never even considered that he would do that to you—I, of all people, would never have tried to push you into going if I thought you’d be used that way.” Alainn blinked furiously. “Rose, do you really think that I would have let myself be the model when my dad printed your face and body if I thought Mr. Garbhan was going to do that to you?”

“It is highly unlikely that I was designed for this function. I have also been assured that there were documents signed to that effect addressed to Father.”

Alainn held out her palms to Rose. “Rose, it’s not just that. I can’t take your place. There’s no way that would work . . . and I can’t live in that tower for the rest of my life. I’m a human. I know that probably sounds callous to you, but you were created to not need sunshine and fresh air. And you don’t need exercise. Humans need those things, me especially. Everything I am,” she touched her chest, “is centered on being in the outdoors.”

“The duration will be seven to fourteen days, no longer.” Her head swung down, causing shadows to swallow her eyes. Two black hollows focused on Alainn. “When Mr. Garbhan pays Father, he and I will make the Rosette model; this process should only take a week, unless there are complications. And then I will devise a way to switch you with the new model.”

 

Author Bio:

Rita Stradling is the author of The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Novella Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.

Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.

She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.

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