Book Blitz and Giveaway: Gears of Fate by Wilbert Stanton

Gears of Fate (Forgotten Gods #1)
Wilbert Stanton
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: June 20, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult

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Centuries have passed since the Fey conquered Earth, forcing mankind and gods alike to flee to the sky city Olympus. Forgotten gods walk amongst man, lost and powerless. Little do they suspect a second Fey war looms, and an unlikely duo will set in motion the gears of fate.

Zak Walker is a fringe rat living in the slums who would do anything to protect his sister, Alice. His neglectful father threatens to consign him to a life away from home on an airship, but he yearns for his life to mean something more than drudgery.

Princess Seneca Rose is the last surviving member of the Seelie royals. They tried to establish peace with mankind, but fell to the forces of Queen Mob and the Unseelie Court. Fleeing for her life, Seneca arrives on Olympus in hopes of uniting the forgotten gods against the oncoming Fey.

Zak couldn’t care less about the fate of Olympus, until faeries kidnap Alice. He doesn’t believe Seneca’s stories of faeries or gods, but soon has no choice but to accept their lives are intertwined. All his life, he’s dreamed of something more. If he cannot face the dangers that await down on Earth, the gods, mankind, and his sister Alice are all doomed.


Excerpt

I watched helplessly as we flew further away. Alana and Gharis, fighting furiously side by side, hadn’t noticed me getting snatched. Seneca still struggled with Francis’s pack. I had to take matters into my own hands. I struggled under my attacker’s iron grip. He had me in a tight bear hug rendering my arms useless. I thrashed about until I broke free. The rust bucket flew away, and for a moment, it felt like I could fly. Gravity had a different plan in mind.

I’m going to die.

Clouds swallowed the world; the white darkness devoured me, the gushing air made my ears pop. I’d never get to kiss Abby; I’d never become a man; Most importantly, I failed to keep Alice safe. Alice, I’m sorry.

I closed my eyes and prepared to die. Until I heard laughing. I’m cogged. The wild laughter of a maniac got closer, closer, and closer still. Seneca burst through the clouds head first, her body straightened with arms pressed tight at her sides. Goggles covered her eyes, and her smile seemed to go for miles. She caught up and wrapped her arms around me, locking her body against mine.


Author Bio

Wilbert Stanton was born and raised in New York City. From an early age, Wilbert decided he would either write books or take over the world; everything else was just a precursor to his end game.

Along the way, he has studied Psychology, English, and Computer Science. He’s held jobs in a wide range of fields and met people from all walks of life. Wilbert is constantly learning and growing as a person, in order to solidify his dreams.

In the end, world domination was a bit tedious, so he decided to focus on writing books.

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Giveaway

ENTER HERE for your chance to win a signed copy of Gears of Fate. Contest ends June 29.

 

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Book Blitz and $25 Amazon Giveaway: The Lunam Deception by Nicole Loufas

 

The Lunam Deception  (The Lunam Series #2)
Nicole Loufas
Publication date: June 20, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

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Kalysia has lived her life according to others – a fate she will not pass on to her child. When a conspiracy to bring down the pack threatens to uncover her darkest secrets; Kalysia must fight to protect the truth about the man she wants, at the expense of the man she was fated to love.

Jase has fought his entire life. For his honor, his freedom, and his family. Nothing in his past could’ve prepare him for her. Kalyisa is everything he never knew he always wanted. Is he willing to risk his life, her honor, and Dillan’s pride to win her heart?


Excerpt

“In here,” I call to him and try not to laugh. I don’t know why I always get giggly when I’m trying to be sexy.

Dillan appears in the doorway.

“Oh baby, you have no idea how hot you look right now.”

He steps into the room and pulls his shirt off. “I’m one lucky bastard.”

“Yes, you are,” I agree.

He unhooks his belt with one hand and kneels on the bed. He bends down, and kisses my knee as his hand rubs up my leg; then stops short. He crawls up the bed toward my face.

“My hands are dirty.”

I run my fingers through his hair.

“Really? Where have your hands been?” I tease.

“I drove the Jeep from the brew-house. Who knows what kind of germs are on that steering wheel.”

He kisses my neck and presses his hips against me. The thin material of his boxers can’t contain his excitement.

“Thank you for not contaminating my lady parts.”

I pull his mouth to mine and taste today’s batch on his tongue.

“I care deeply about your lady parts.”

He licks my breast, and chills cover every inch of my body.

“My kid is cooking in there.”

He moves his hand to my belly as his tongue circles my nipple.

“I want his environment to be as germ-free as possible.”

“His?” I tease.

“Did I say his?” Dillan gives me a coy smile.

I know he’s hoping for a boy. All the guys are.

Dillan rolls me over, so I’m on top of him in all my naked and bloated glory. My swollen belly doesn’t affect his arousal. I moan so loud when he slips inside me; I’m sure Leah will comment on it later. I’m never more certain of my feelings for Dillan than when we’re having sex.

I look at him from across the lodge and sometimes as he sleeps. My heart still stammers when he kisses me or takes my hand when we’re walking. But there is always a sliver of doubt that crosses my mind. A certain way he smiles at Cassie or the sadness that creeps into his eyes when he thinks nobody is looking. I wonder if he feels it too. The only moments of peace come when we’re tangled up naked in our bed. Only then does the world feel right.

Dillan and I lie in bed afterward, watching the light in the room fade into night.

He kisses my head. “I needed that.”

“Hard day at the brew-house, dear?”

Dillan tightens his grip on me. “I got a call from my father.”

“It wasn’t good news, I assume.”

It never is where Lowell is concerned.

“He called to congratulate me on becoming a father.” He smirks. “I asked him which baby he was congratulating me on.”

“What did he say?” I try to sit up so I can see his face, but he won’t let me.

“He’s honoring his promise to Conall.” Dillan pauses. “I’m sorry, babe. I tried to reason with him, but he wouldn’t listen.”

“It isn’t your fault.” I don’t sound very convincing.

If we both just accepted our roles, none of this would be happening. Dillan sits up and turns on the lamp beside the bed. He runs his hands over his face and groans.

“What am I supposed to do?”

I assume his question is rhetorical.

If Dillan supports Lowell and claims Cassie’s child as his trueborn heir, he maintains his place in the pack, inherits Sierra-Duke, and his family’s fortune. Sometimes I believe this is a good thing; our child won’t be obligated to the pack the same way we were. Call it ego or pride, but the thought of Cassie’s child ruling over mine, makes me want to break things. When I say things, I mean Cassie.

“Do what’s right,” I tell him.

Unlike Lowell, I refuse to bully Dillan to my side. I don’t have to. Dillan loves me; therefore, he loves our child. He would never dishonor either of us.

“I will lose everything when I claim our child as my heir.” He turns around to look at me. “I’ll just be another employee of Sierra-Duke. I get nothing.”

Dillan doesn’t just lose his inheritance; he also loses status. Each leader must have a Lunam child that is accepted by the council. If Lowell gives his support to Cassie’s child, the council will honor his request. It isn’t a matter of screwing me over—these things have been done for hundreds of years.

Dillan may lose his title as future leader, but I’ll still maintain power. As long as we’re together, nothing else matters.

“You get me.” I reach up and touch his face. “Forever.”

Dillan climbs on top of me and pulls the sheets from between us. He examines my naked body and says, “I think I can live with this for the next fifty years.”

We miss the dinner bell.

We miss breakfast too.

 

 


Author Bio

Nicole was born and raised in California. She claims to be a San Francisco native, however she’s lived in both Northern and Southern California. She credits her creativity to the fact that she attended 12 schools between kindergarten and her senior year in high school. Her nomadic childhood allowed her to reinvent herself often. Some might say she was a liar. While others see the stories she told as a coping mechanism. Twelve schools, in six cities, in twelve years – give her a break. Today she channels her storytelling ability into writing novels. Long story short – kids that lie become writers.

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Giveaway

Do you want to win a $25 Amazon gift card? ENTER HERE for your chance to win! Rafflecopter contest ends June 29.

 

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Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

 

Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

Published by: Clean Reads Publishing

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 180 pages

Rating: 3/5

Source: eARC from Xpresso Book Tours

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The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory’s arrival she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows.


Receiving an eARC from Xpresso Book Tours does not affect my opinion of this book.

“We have all sacrificed something, even you. To have lost everything but have hope to rebuild the future is the strongest weapon in the world.”

I’ve been wanting to find new authors and series, so when I read some reviews of this book, I was interested to sign up for a tour. Black Dawn is Mallory’s debut novel. And even though it has a few rough edges, Mallory introduces you to an intriguing world brimming with magic and tainted by betrayal.

Emory Fae believes she’s your typical young woman. Nothing exciting happens in her life, until two men show up at her apartment and tell her she’s the lost heir of a war-torn world filled with magic. These men, Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster, hope she will be the flame for the Black Dawn rebellion, eventually lead them to peace, and reclaim her throne. However, Emory discovers her past holds more secrets than she can imagine. And she may not want to uncover them.

Mallory doesn’t give you a dull moment. From the first chapter, she jams in non-stop, high-paced action. One of my concerns of the book is that it can be fleshed out more much than just 180 pages. I felt that some scenes were too fast, and the first half of the book seemed too rushed. But don’t let my issue persuade you not to pick up the book though. The book improves in later chapters. And I was eager to see what happens with Emory.

The author also offers you a taste of this series. And, hopefully, with more sequels to come, you’ll get to see what happens to these characters. Emory, whose parents started the Academy for children who possess magical abilities and were killed by one of their pupils, now called the Mad King, discovers she too also has powers of her own. Being thrown into a new environment, and a new world, will test anyone’s psyche. But she finds out that she made the decision to have her mind wiped and to be sent to Earth. Well, I’m not surprised she has a hard time adjusting to the news.

I had a hard time warming up to Memphis, and I’m not the only one to feel the same. His treatment of his girlfriend, Nyx, throws me off. And I feel that he manipulates everyone around him, especially Emory, who he’s loved since they were children. Now Brokk I can get behind. His character arc takes a drastic change than what I imagined it might take. So I’m curious to see what Mallory will do with him.

With political plays, betrayals, and unanticipated plot twists, Black Dawn is a solid start to a new fantasy series.

 


About the Author

Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favourite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

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Giveaway

Here’s your chance to win a free signed copy of Black Dawn! The contest is international and ends June 22. ENTER HERE.

 

 

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Review: The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: June 1, 2010

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Page Count:

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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For weeks, the immortal warrior Aeron has sensed an invisible female presence. An angel-demon-assassin has been sent to kill him. Or has she? Olivia claims she fell from the heavens, giving up immortality because she couldn’t bear to harm him. But trusting – and falling for – Olivia will endanger them all. So how has this mortal with the huge blue eyes already unleashed Aeron’s darkest passion?

With an enemy hot on his trail and his faithful demon companion determined to remove Olivia from his life, Aeron is trapped between duty and consuming desire. Worse still, a new executioner has been sent to do the job Olivia wouldn’t.


“Because you aren’t who you think you are. You aren’t what everyone else believes. You might have delivered countless deaths but you love more fiercely than anyone I’ve ever known.”

Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for Aeron to redeem himself?! Okay, clearly not as long as other diehard Gena fans who have been with her from the beginning, but bloody long enough. He has been through enough, dammit. He deserves his happiness. And obviously, Gena blesses this glorious man with just that. About time!

Weeks have passed since Aeron, keeper of Wrath, has finally gained some semblance of control over his demon, after Cronus revoked the order to kill Danika and her family. Tormented, guilt-ridden, and angry, he senses another presence though. Olivia, a fallen angel sent to assassinate him, willingly offers her immortality to be with him. Duty or love may win out, but their union may be disastrous for all involved.

Gena skillfully weaves together betrayal, redemption, temptation, and sacrifice into her fifth instalment. This sequel is heartbreaking as it is sensual. Since the first book, I’ve been wondering how Gena will play out this storyline. Aeron battles with his demon, who demands he punishes any mortal or immortal who has done harm. Sometimes he doesn’t win. And with failure, he adds another tattoo to remind himself of his defeat. Until now, I haven’t liked this character as much as I have the other ones.

Gena now incorporates Christian mythology into her series. At first, I wasn’t sure if the blend between Christian and Greek lore might work, but surprisingly, they mesh together seamlessly. With the change in lore, Aeron questions mortality. He simply doesn’t understand how people face death yet still want to live. He also buries himself in his guilt. He feels the need to protect Paris, who gave up his chance to get Sienna back so Aeron could gain control over his demon.

What balances out this angst and guilt is forbidden allure between Olivia and Aeron. He fights her advances. And he refuses to touch her because he doesn’t deem himself worthy. I’m all for a demon falling for an angel. But you can’t have a Lords of the Underworld novel without the ultimate conflict that divides the main characters. Since Olivia failed to kill him because of his connection with Legion, Lysander, angel and mentor to Olivia, demands Olivia to choose: stay with Aeron and become mortal, kill him and become an angel once again, or watch another assassin kill him. What is a woman to choose? Clearly the Lord covered with tattoos.

In this book, Aeron finally grows as a character. I haven’t seen a lot of his normal side nor seen who he is as a Lord. And I enjoyed how he fends off Olivia. She gives off a timid confidence that draws you in. Since Reyes’ book, Legion, a green-scaled demon from hell, has stayed by Aeron’s side. Aeron sees her as a daughter. This demon wants nothing more than to boink this Lord. The little hellion with her affinity for tiaras almost claims my heart, until she messes up. I know why she makes this bargain, but understanding her reasons behind it doesn’t diminish my need to punt her across the room.

With the war between the Hunters and the Lords intensifying, I’m eagerly waiting to see what’s next. Gena’s writing demands your time and your attention. So be ready to stay up all night!

Reading Wrap-Up: May 2017

May Wrap-Up.png

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

MY HEART IS BLEEDING. And I don’t know how to stop it. Can someone just hug me? Please? I’m serious. This book has emotionally drained me. Anyways. I’ve been living in this fae world for several months now (clearly not enough time for me), and I’m sad to see Feyre’s story end. If Feyre and Rhys weren’t enough to break my heart, then all the others in the Night Court would. I adore Sarah’s complex world, and I just hope her next instalments will live up to this past one!

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

 

The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½

Hello, morbid nerd alert. How do you capture my attention? Bring in a character who possesses death. I think you had me at the word “death.” I cannot stop reading Gena’s Lords of the Underworld series. I’m trying to catch up to my friend, who just loves to give me tidbits from the next books (book tease, anyone?!). The series hooked me from the beginning. You get tortured immortal warriors who are doomed to house demons, fast-paced action, and even faster love stories.

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Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I have found my spirit animal…in a comic strip. Sarah captures who I am: the slight social introvert who cannot get enough books, the awkward nerd who lives in hoodies, and the odd cat lover. I’ve been following some of her work for several years but haven’t got the chance to read her debut strip until now. I love it. Highly recommend!

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Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ahhh, this book is to die for. Obviously the sequel hits just the right notes. I finished these two comic strips in under an hour. If you think Sarah’s first strip was good, then definitely pick this one up. The sequel has a stronger cohesive flow to it. But she doesn’t scrimp on the social awkwardness. And I love how she brings humour to social anxiety.

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The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Gena finally gives us Reyes and Danika’s story. She has hinted at it from the first book, Darkest Night and strung us along for awhile. I love these two. Reyes, keeper of Pain, has intrigued me from the first time he met Danika. Gena adds in a bit of forbidden love, and she has me hooked.

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

 

The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You know, I’ve wondered how I’d like reading about Sabin, the keeper of Doubt and the leader of the Greek faction. In previous instalments he sometimes got on my nerves, but with this sequel, I’ve grown to like him more. And he just gets more adorable when he find Gwen, a kidnapped harpy even his demon is afraid of!

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

 

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

I’ve been waiting to read this book for about a year. And Flame in the Mist doesn’t disappoint. I wasn’t expecting to love it this much, but I do. It is a beautifully written and lyrical fantasy that I’m sad to put down and is definitely one of my greatest reads for this year.

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Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Surprisingly, I enjoyed reading this new Shadowhunter series. I’ve been always gone back to Cassie’s work, since her last two series have been my guilty pleasure for years. Cassie introduces the Blackthorns and Emma Carstairs in City of Heavenly Fire, and since then I’ve wondered how they’d survive after a devastating lost and heal. She plays with the parabatai and forbidden love storyline, so I wonder what what she has to offer in the sequel.

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Review: The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

5509920The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: September 1, 2009

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Page Count:406

Rating: 4/5

Source: Gift


He is the keeper of Doubt and his entire world’s about to be rocked.

Bound by the demon of Doubt, Sabin unintentionally destroys even the most confident of lovers. So the immortal warrior spends his time on the battlefield instead of the bedroom, victory his only concern…until he meets Gwendolyn the Timid. One taste of the beautiful redhead, and he craves more.

Gwen, an immortal herself, always thought she’d fall for a kind human who wouldn’t rouse her darker side. But when Sabin frees her from prison, battling their enemies for the claim to Pandora’s box turns out to be nothing compared to the battle Sabin and Gwen will wage against love.


“They were connected, one being, fused together. She belonged to him, and he to her.”

I haven’t known of Gena and her Lords of the Underworld series for long, but I can say, without a doubt, that she masterly carves out her own piece of paranormal romance and sets her writing above the rest.

Sabin, keeper of Doubt, constantly battles with his his demon, who likes nothing more than to break a person’s confidence. He prefers the battlefield over any bedroom. Instead of finding another artifact in Egypt, he and his fellow Lords discover immortal women who Hunters have kidnapped, raped, and impregnated to create hybrid children. There Sabin finds Gwendolyn the Timid, a harpy, who tempts him more than his own demon. But what they uncover is more sinister than they imagine, and their mission to find the other artifacts may lead them to more danger.

So you guys know I’ve been following Gena for the past few months. And within that time, I’ve basically created a road map of when I should buy the next sequels. In the past, I’ve not been a huge supernatural romance reader, but I can always make an exception for this glorious author.

The Darkest Whisper goes down a darker and grittier storyline. I wasn’t expecting this turn, but I’m glad Gena pushes this book that way. I have been hoping to see the sinister side of her world. Even though the Hunters blame the Lords for every evil in our world, the Hunters themselves may possibly overshadow these cursed immortal warriors. The Lords look for redemption, yet the Hunters commit appalling acts so they will achieve their need to eliminate this so-called threat.

In the last three books, you haven’t gotten a lot of scenes with the Hunters. They often stay in the background. In this instalment though, they play a stronger role when they recruit people, train them, corrupt them, and turn them into expendable cannon fodder. Gena perfectly illustrates the depth of human cruelty. These Hunters kidnap, sometimes mutilate, and rape immortal women so they will breed and eventually train a new line of warriors who will despise the Lords. Darkest Whisper gives off a slight X-Men feel to it, but it doesn’t detract from the overall storyline. Gena knows how to write an antagonist you love to hate.

Within all this darkness lies the love story between Sabin and Gwen. These two are polar opposites. I enjoy that quality in them though. I haven’t been a huge fan of Sabin, leader of the Greek faction. I thought he is too arrogant. But he, and his sarcasm, has changed my view on him. I don’t blame Sabin for staying away from women. Since his last relationship ended with the suicide of his lover, he doesn’t want to unleash his demon on anyone. That woman was the wife of Dean Stefano, a hunter sworn to avenge his wife’s death. This backstory plays heavily with Gwen and Sabin’s relationship. Gwen, a harpy descended from Lucifer, balances out this cocky bastard. Both character stand on their own but complement each other when together. The banter between Sabin and his demon, Doubt, will make your snort and laugh at the most awkward times. I know I did. And throughout the story, Gwen grows into her own.

I am dying to see what Gena offers up next in the her instalments. But since she hasn’t disappointed me yet, I’m sure to love whatever she writes.

Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Page Count: 698

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?


Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.


“There was beauty in the idea of freedom, but it was an illusion. Every human heart was chained by love.”

Lady Midnight is a poignant story with a forbidden love at its core. Cassie shows the darker side of her unforgiving and sometimes cruel world and opens up new arcs that, I’m sure, will attract Shadowhunter lovers who have been dying to see what happens to Julian, his family, and Emma.

Five years have past since the Dark War, where the Downworld was severed in two, and Shadowhunters suffered major losses after Clary’s brother, Jonathan (Sebastian) Morgenstern, waged war with them. Emma Carstairs, who lost her parents in that war, looks for retribution, and when she finds similar deaths matching her parents’, and the Fair Folk presents her and Julian, who hopes to find a way to save his brother Mark, with an offer to find the killer, she can’t turn it down. The only problem is that she may be falling for her parabatai.

Cassie’s earlier series have always been my guilty pleasure. And while I enjoyed some of her past work, Lady Midnight, the first instalment in Dark Artifices, has a stronger potential than the others. Cassie injects darker tones and arcs that have kept me on the edge.

But what I enjoy the most is how Cassie explores the faerie world in more depth, builds her characters, represents the LGBTQ community, and makes this book a character-driven piece. Because of the alliance with Jonathan, the Fair Folk lost its seat on the Council and has no protection or lands. And all Shadowhunters and the Downworlders must follow this new treaty, the Cold Peace. The Council, especially the Shadowhunters, ostracizes these people. And while the war is over, tension is now rising and causing more havoc. Cassie plays off and mirrors current political tensions in our own society.

What shines in this novel is the Blackthorn family (and in extension Emma). In City of Heavenly Fire, the Blackthorns face a devastating lost when they discover that the Wild Hunt took possession of Mark after the Seelie Queen and Jonathan gave him up to Gwyn, the leader of the Hunt. And once the treaty was enacted, their sister Helen, who is also half-fae, is banished to Wrangel Island.

 

“These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.”

For the past five years, Julian—with the help from his parabatai, Emma—has been holding his family together. I cannot express how much I enjoy reading about this broken yet determined character. That poor boy just breaks my heart. And his struggle and secrets will break yours. I love both his and Emma’s character developments. And Tiberius, who also has autism, snags what’s left of my heart.

Mark has always stuck out to me. I’ve been waiting to read his story when I last read COHF. Since the Wild Hunt took control of him, pain riddles his past. Sometimes reading his scenes was difficult to get through. But Cassie captures PTSD quite well. His love interest comes from his years in the Hunt. Unfortunately, I cannot stand Kieran, son of the Unseelie King. Fight me on my opinion, but their connection seems controlling. I felt as if Kieran owns Mark, and I hated this arc. If that love interest was written in a different way, I’d support it. Mark’s other potential love interest is with Cristina Mendoza Rosales, who I think is a breath of fresh air.

Emma stands out from the rest. Even though she lives with the Blackthorns, she survives off her vengeance alone. It fuels her need to avenge her family. She reminds me a little of Jace. Fans of the Shadowhunter world haven’t seen the disastrous consequences of parabatais falling in love. Obviously, Emma and Julian travel down this road, which has a chance to split their family apart.

With this new Shadowhunter series, Cassie gives you a dark and gritty storyline, a forbidden love, intriguing plot twists, and characters who will surely melt your heart. I’m curious to see what she has next in Lord of Shadows.

Book Haul: May 2017

I’m spoiled. I wasn’t expecting a large book haul last month. But I finally received my two most anticipated books of 2017! What did you get? Let me know in the comments.

 

25487124Missing by Kelley Armstrong

YA novel with a mystery/thriller twist and a Kelley book? I’m in. Honestly, I don’t need to read the synopsis; I’ll just add the book to my ever growing TBR on Goodreads and pre-order it. I’m turning desperate, I swear.

Every teenager dreams of leaving Reeve’s End. Winter Crane hopes to do the same. But when she finds a boy left for dead in the forest she loves, she wonders what has happened to the other teenagers.

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

ACOWAR is my most anticipated book of the year, and I cannot stop looking at it. Obviously Sarah is planning to write more novels from the ACOTAR world, but I’m rather sad to see Feyre’s POV end, since I believe Feyre has more stories to tell.

ACOWAR (ominous acronym, don’t you say?) quickly starts off from ACOMAF. Feyre is back in the Spring Court and hopes to find everything she can about the coming war and the King of Hybern. But with betrayal and deceit at every turn, Feyre must find who she can trust and who will be her ally.

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Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Here’s my second most anticipated book of 2017. I’ve been waiting to read this book for a long time! And I’ve bee drooling over that cover equally as long.

Mariko, a daughter of a samuri, survives an attack while she was on route to her betrothed. To discover why she marked for death, she infiltrates the Black Clan. But what she soon learns will change her life.

I’ve recently finished it, so I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!

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The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

Beth, you are a godsend. And naturally you continue to supply my book addiction you created. 😂 I love you, woman.

Determined to find ancient artifacts that may lead to the Lords’ freedom, Lucien, Keeper of Death, is ordered to kill Anya, the Goddess of Anarchy. What he doesn’t know that she’s hellbent on hooking him.

The second instalment of the Lords of the Underworld series will capture the attention of any paranormal romance reader.

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The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

Danika Ford has been on the run for months, since Aeron, the Keeper of Wrath is tasked to kill her and her family. Finally, I get to read Reyes’ book. Reyes, the Keeper of Pain, can’t help but protect her. But their undeniable attraction may just doom them both.

Gena has been hinting at Danika and Reyes’ story since the first book, The Darkest Night. And I’ve been eagerly waiting to read their book since my friend gifted it to me.

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The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

Sabin, Keeper of Doubt, prefers the battlefield over the bedroom. And I don’t blame him. His demon will shatter any woman’s confidence. But Gwen, a harpy oddly nicknamed the Timid, is up for the challenge, even though she fears Sabin may spark her inner harpy. He takes her under his wing once he and the other Lords set her and other supernaturals free from the Hunters.

But the Lords’ hunt for the artifacts leading them to Pandora’s Box may just become increasingly dangerous than the warriors thought.

Keep your eyes open for my review!

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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.

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!