Dragonmark by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Book Review

 


Dragonmark (Dark-Hunter, #26; Dragons Rising, #1; Lords of Avalon, #5)Book Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Book Series: Dark-Hunter Universe #27

Released: 8/2/2016 by St. Marin’s Press

Pages: 344 Price: $14.99 e-book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Centuries ago, Illarion was betrayed– a dragon made human against his will, then forced to serve humanity as a dragonmount in their army, and to fight for them in barbaric wars, even while he hated everything about them. Enslaved and separated from everyone he knew and from his own dragon brothers, he was forced into exile in a fey realm where he lost the only thing he ever really loved.

Now he has a chance to regain what’s been lost— to have the one thing he covets most. But only if he gives up his brothers and forsakes the oaths he holds most dear. Yet what terrifies him most isn’t the cost his happiness might incur, it’s the fact that there is just enough human in his dragon’s heart that he might actually be willing to pay it and betray everything and everyone– to see the entire world burn…

My Review:

I have put off reading this book for an entire year.  I purchased it the week, if not day, it released but needed to finish a review book or two before diving in.  Then I saw the reviews on Goodreads… A lot of one and two-star ratings.  Crap.  This is my favorite author and my favorite series and it looked like and a lot of people were not happy with the book.  I don’t actually read reviews ahead of time but I do take a poll of star ratings.  I didn’t know exactly what people were complaining about but I knew they were not happy. So I decided to put the book off. I almost picked it up several times over the year but the ratings always held me back, I didn’t want to be disappointed.

A year passed and the next book in the series hit the shelves and I once again picked it up release week and decided I had put off this title long enough.  I dove in not knowing what I would find.

I get it now.  I get why all the low ratings. I also agree with the reason behind them and while I’m not going to go as far as leaving one or two stars I am going to deduct two stars because quite frankly I’m disappointed too.  Ms. Kenyon, I love you.  You are my favorite author but you are so much better than this.

The problem with the book, in case you don’t know is that only about one-third of it is a new plot.  Two-thirds of it is pulled directly from the previous books.  I would have to go back and double-check but it didn’t feel like it was even updated and parts of this story were not told from Illarion’s point of view and Edilyn disappears completely for much of the book.  Now I understand that these three book’s action takes place at the same time but there had to be a better way to handle this. How about some interesting new perspective? Or we get a glimpse of what is happening elsewhere in the universe in those moments?  I know you can’t rewrite a scene that has already taken place but instead of plotting with past characters how about a peek at what is going on with Edilyn?  I’ve noticed that this rehashing of storyline is becoming pretty common in Kenyon’s other series The League. It almost makes me wonder if it is time for the author to take a break and pursue other projects for a couple of years and then come back.

For the one-third of fresh storyline, it was amazing and everything I love about Ms. Kenyon.  lllarion and Edilyn were great characters that got jipped from having their story be the focus of their book.  I loved how they came together and when they were separated it broke my heart.  When the book brought us back to their plot I cheered to see how they ended up together.  I sincerely wish we had more time with these two they had such integrity and honor that they deserved better.  Most likely we will get more of their tale.  I think that Edilyn’s brother who plays a “bad” guy in this book might end up redeemed in his own book it is something this author loves to do.

While disappointed this doesn’t turn me off of the series I’m in it for the long haul.  I just hope the next book is better or at least more focused on the main characters.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Kato by D.B. Reynolds

Book Review

 


Kato (Stone Warriors, #2)Book Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: Stone Warriors #2

Released: 6/23/17 by ImaJinn Books

Pages: 250  Price: $15.95 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

 

 

Book Synopsis:

It was a time when gods walked the earth, when armies fought not for bits of land, but for the very existence of humanity. On such a battlefield, five formidable warriors stood against an evil greater than any the earth had ever seen. But evil is not an honorable foe. Betrayed by someone they trusted, the warriors were cursed, one by one, tossed into the maelstrom of time, imprisoned in stone, their freedom resting on nearly impossible conditions. Until…

Kato Amadi…born of darkest sorcery, unstoppable on the battlefield, his magic is as deadly as his blade. But not even magic could save him from vicious betrayal. Trapped for millennia in darkness and silence, he is freed at last, only to find himself in the middle of a battle against the very beasts of hell he was created to destroy.

Grace Van Allen is a scholar of ancient languages who toils in the dim recesses of a museum basement with only a beautiful stone warrior to keep her company. But when Grace calls upon her silent warrior to help her translate an obscure new language, she breaks the ancient curse holding him prisoner…and frees three deadly demons to rampage through her city.

Tracking demons is what Kato was born to do, but he’ll need Grace’s help. And when they discover that Kato’s enemy is still alive and still plotting against him, their hunt takes a dangerous turn, one that might just prove fatal for both of them…

My Review:

This is the second book in this spin-off series from and set in The Vampires of America series.  The first book blew my mind and I questioned which series I enjoy more.  I’m going to have to go with a tie.  They are both enjoyable fast paced action read with a lot of steam.  This book didn’t work for me as well as Damian’s story did but that could be just my current life drama.

The second book is Kato and Grace’s story.  Kato is all kinds of yummy but Grace didn’t win me over until the end of the story.  It wasn’t until she started giving Nick such a hard time that I fell for her.  It that was my favorite part of the entire ending actually.  Also the source of my only disappointment in the story.  I so wanted Nick to have to deal with Grace’s attitude face to face after the plot climax.  The story didn’t work out that way, however, but maybe in the next book she can continue to give him a hard time. Nick so needs to be knocked down a peg or two.

Beyond the unresolved Nick/Grace drama there does feel like a couple of other plot threads were left unfinished or perhaps I simply wanted more…  Of course, it is a series and there are plenty of books to come so we might see some threads carry over to future books.

The addition of another paranormal species was fascinating and I wonder if they will be developed in later books. All the pages and talking about guns got to me a bit in the plot but it is to be expected from this author as it is a common theme in her stories.  But it obviously didn’t bother me enough to stop reading nor will it stop me from reading future books. It was an interesting addition to this world. If you enjoy The Vampires of America series then you will not want to miss this spin-off series!

My Rating:4 Stars

Night’s Darkest Embrace by Jeaniene Frost

Book Review

 


Night's Darkest EmbraceBook Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Audio

Book Series: N/A

Released: 11/13/2012 by Pocket

Pages:100  Price: $1.99 E-Book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Enter the dark realm of Nocturna in Jeaniene Frost’s redhot tale, where blisteringly sexy Raphael dominates the demons of a lawless dimension and tries to help a beautiful young woman avenge her cousin’s disappearance. Originally appeared in the Haunted By Your Touch anthology.

My Review:

This was a good listen for an afternoon spent removing tar paper from a hardwood floor.  Entertaining, short, and kept one’s mind occupied while doing a tedious task.  My only complaint is that this isn’t a series!  I thought this world was quite interesting and full of potential.  Maybe Ms. Frost will decide to revisit this demon dimension in the future, finger’s crossed.

While being short there was adequate world building and I didn’t feel lost. The story is fairly typical for paranormal romance there is a sexy alpha hero and an instant romance connection between him and the heroine who has to be rescued from the bad guy.  You know what to expect but that isn’t always a bad thing.  Sometimes you are just in the mood for a certain type of book and Ms. Frost constantly delivers an exciting steamy read.

Not a lot more to say being it was so short.  I enjoyed it and if you ever need to kill three hours then this would be a great audiobook to pick for you!

My Rating: Three Stars

Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost

Book Review

 


Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4)Book Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance

Book Series: Night Prince #4

Released: 2/28/17 by Avon

Pages: 340  Price: $7.99 paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book

 

 

 

Book Synopsis:

In the wrong hands, love can be a deadly weapon.

For nearly six hundred years, Vlad Tepesh cared for nothing, so he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolhardy stayed away. Now falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. And one adversary has found a devastating way to use Vlad’s new bride against him.

A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she. Magic is forbidden to vampires, so Vlad and Leila enlist an unlikely guide as they search for a way to break the spell. But an ancient enemy lies in wait, capable of turning Vlad and Leila’s closest friends against them…and finally tearing the lovers apart forever.

My Review:

It took me forever to get this book, (note: do not pre-order books with vastly different release dates from Amazon they hold them and ship after the last book releases…).  Then it took me weeks to actually finish the book because life got in the way.  Just poor timing all around for this last book in the Night Prince series, on my part at least.  For what it’s worth I did enjoy the book I just think that I might need to read it again at a time when I can dedicate the attention it deserves.

Vlad is my favorite character from the Night Huntress world and I loved his spin-off quartet of books.  I can see the criticism that read in other’s reviews but I don’t care.  The series works for me and I will miss reading about these two.  The book is much like the others in the series Leila is being used as a tool to hurt and manipulate Vlad.  Mencheres and Ian take an intricate part in the plot of this last book.  In part to finish up this series and in part to set up Ian’s series.  Personally, I can’t wait to read that one as I think it is going to be a hoot!  I do believe the heroine has been picked and if it is who I’m thinking of there should be plenty of sparks and drama coming Ian’s way.

In this last installment, we learn quite a bit about Leila’s power and its source.  We also see the complete transformation of Leila into Vlad’s equal and contemporary.  Through the events that these two need to overcome we see Leila become just as vicious, dark and strong as Vlad.  While there is quite a bit of Leila needing to be protected and rescued in this book there were plenty of times where Leila was the one doing the rescuing.

While I am sad to see these two go I’m satisfied with how this series played out.  The book did make me long to revisit the Night Huntress world so I will most likely try to reread the series and its spin-offs some time.  Perhaps before Ian’s book come out.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Book Review

 


Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)Book Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: Kate Daniels #1

Released: 4/1/2007 by Ace

Pages: 260  Price: $7.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed the audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic…

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

My Review:

No, just no.  This book was not for me.  I like my supernatural/paranormal creatures to be the ‘good guys’, not monsters and especially not creepy monsters.  I am also not into this whole zombie or necromancer theme.  This book reminded me a lot of the Anita Blake series and while I stuck that one out for like five books this is where I leave this world.  I know it will not work for me no matter how long I stick it out.

I know that this is a popular series with many of you so please no hate mail but I just don’t get the appeal.  I don’t mind gritty but this was disturbing in places near the end.  I actually ended up DNFing the book but am counting it since I listened to all but an hour of it.  I just didn’t care and the plot kept getting increasingly more twisted and dark.  So I decided to tap out.

The main character also rubbed me the wrong way.  I just couldn’t get behind her in the plot.  She was too self-deprecating at times which I find super annoying.  One of my bookish turn offs is characters that don’t like themselves. She also felt like she had a chip on her shoulder much of the time.   I will tolerate it for a few books usually but throw in the creepy factor on top and I’m done.

If you are a fan of the Anita Blake series than this one will probably be right up your alley.  For me there just isn’t anything I enjoyed enough to finish the first book or bring me back for another.

My Rating:1 Star

Talen by Rebecca Zanetti

Book Review

 


Talen: A Dark Protectors NovellaBook Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: Dark Protectors #7.8

Released: 6/6/17 from Lyrical Press

Pages: 95 Price: $2.99 E-Book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

She’ll love him forever . . . but he can’t make her obey . . .

The war is over. Danger has passed. Cara Kayrs is healed after decades of illness and ready for a break.

Too bad her brooding, alpha vampire husband can’t seem to change gears. In their twenty-five years together Talen Kayrs has learned to sense every shiver of her body, to ignite her desire with a word or a look. She would think he could learn she’s not some fragile damsel in distress.

But Talen is on edge, watching their backs, treating her like she’s made of glass. Like there’s something following them, a deadly threat that somehow none of their intelligence has uncovered. It’s enough to drive a woman crazy, and Talen has plenty of those tendencies already.

But what’s even more maddening is that he seems to be right . . .

My Review:

This was a fun visit to a finished series I enjoyed.  In this book we revisit the couple from the book that started it all and get a chance to see how their H.E.A has been after the war has ended.  As in real life just because peace has been declared sometimes it takes a while for everyone to get used to the idea.

As with the other books in the series if you have a problem with dominant alpha-males that push the envelope between a healthy and abusive relationship this might not be the series for you.  If you can overlook all that then this is one sexy read for an afternoon of relaxing.  There was plenty of action to go along with the sex as well as a pretty great plot that worked out in a clever way.  I had to smile and shake my head at how things turned out for this novella. If the men in this world would only turn things over to the females then there might not have been a war to begin with…

Anyway,  I am going to keep an eye out for future novellas in this world because I enjoyed this brief visit to this world. If you’ve read the series than this is a must add to your to-read list as it will be sure to make you nostalgic for the series.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Prince Charming Doesn’t Live Here by Christine Warren

Book Review

 


Prince Charming Doesn't Live Here (The Others #3)Book Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Audiobook, 

Book Series: The Others #3

Released: 11/2/10

Pages:368  Price: $7.99 by St. Martin’s Press

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Danice Carter is not one for glass slippers. A stilettos-wearing lawyer at one of Manhattan’s most elite establishments, Danice has a very strong grip on reality. So when she’s asked by one the firm’s founding partners to take on a personal case, Danice knows she’s in for the opportunity of a lifetime. All she has to do is convince her top boss’s granddaughter, Rosemary, to file a paternity suit. Sounds simple enough…until Danice arrives at Rosemary’s home and is pounced on by a handsome stranger.

Private investigator McIntyre Callahan’s was only following his powerful client’s orders: Find Rosemary—at all costs. Instead, he’s found a super-hot lawyer prowling around looking for answers he can’t give. The half-human, half-Fae Mac tries to warn Danice that she’s way in over her head—that Rosemary may roam among The Others, and may have dangerous ties to the Unseelie Court—but she won’t be deterred. Even if that means following Mac to the ends of the earth to find Rosemary… or surrendering to his supernatural powers of temptation… until death do they part.

My Review:

I think I’m done.  This is the last book offered through my library in audio format but beyond that, I’m done with series.  It just isn’t working for me and it is time to move on. I have about an hour left to listen to in this book and I don’t even want to finish it.

Most of my problem with this book in the series has to do with that the plot revolves around the Fae.  I’ve never been a fan of the Fae in paranormal stories.  Most of the time they tend to be shallow, easily offended, and only out for themselves.  None of these characteristics describe a race of beings that I want to spend any time with.  Essentially they are the mean girls of the paranormal world.  The plot was also pretty weak and the point I’m at currently makes me want to smack all the characters and tell them to grow up.  Danice needs to get over herself.  Mac is just not all that charismatic and the granddaughter is a spoiled brat.  Ugh.  Why am I listening to this?

I’m just not thrilled with this world.  It focuses too much on the sex and too little on the plot.  So I’m done.

My Rating:1 Star

Top Ten Tuesday: I Wish.

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

May 9: Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist

This week’s list is fairly appropriate for me as I am once again longing for a great new series to dive into.  So this week I am simply going to share ten aspects of a story that I think will scratch my reading itch.

Ten book characteristics I want in my next great read.

  1. Great Setting: I would LOVE a great setting, that I’m familiar with, for my next great read.  I love it when the location is almost like another character in the book because if I’ve been there I can totally place myself in the world so much easier.  Plus it is almost like you have a fun inside track to the world you are reading.  Locations I’m currently seeking; Chicago, Iowa, Istanbul, Bulgaria, Minnesota.
  2. Not too technical but still accurate: One thing I loved about The Martian was all the accurate science involved in telling the story.  I would love for my next science fiction read to be like that but dumbed down enough that I can get most of it.
  3. Sex but not too much sex: I am an unashamed reader of romance and I like the steamy parts.  BUT that doesn’t mean I want the characters to be constantly jumping each other’s bones.  I want a good plot too.  So I want some sex but am willing to give that up for a better plot.
  4. Witty Dialog: Some of my favorite series came with smart-ass characters that were quick with a one-liner.  So I would love my next great series to have a little sass in the dialog.
  5. Fun Sidekick: I don’t mind a story that focuses all the attention on the two key characters but when you throw in an amazing supporting cast then the book is usually even better.
  6. Alpha Male: Goes along with #3.  In books, I don’t mind a strong alpha male that has a bit of caveman mentality.  Usually, it is a great premise for hijinks as the strong female drives him up the wall.  Plus I kind of enjoy seeing them get schooled when the female shows them they are just as capable as they are.
  7. Alpha Female: Part of the reason I don’t care for historical romance is I’m not a fan of weak females.  Sorry, I know it is probably a stereotype but too often the plot in those books revolves around a woman’s role in society.  Not interested.  I want a female that is equal to her male counterparts.  I don’t mind them being physically weaker than the males but I don’t want the entire book to be about saving the female from danger.  I want her to get her hands dirty and kick some ass too.
  8. Realistic love: Now I am pretty accepting of instant romance.  I usually don’t find it annoying in paranormal or urban fantasy books where you already have to suspend reality to enjoy the plot.  That doesn’t mean I don’t want some challenges for my main couple to overcome.  They need to work for their H.E.A. too.
  9. Good Vs. Evil: I love sinking my teeth into a good battle of good vs evil.  Part of why I enjoy dystopian books when we aren’t currently living in a dystopian society…
  10. Plot Twists:  To finish off my list I would love for my next read to have some great plot twists that I don’t see coming.  Not too difficult as I usually don’t figure things out.

There you have what I am looking for in my next great read if you know of any science fiction, urban fantasy, or paranormal romance that fits the bill or comes close feel free to share in the comments!  No YA, please.

Black Wings by Christina Henry

Book Review

 


Black Wings (Black Wings, #1)Book Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: Black Wings #1

Released: 11/30/2010 by Ace

Pages: 295 Price: $7.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a copy of this book

 

 

Book Synopsis:

As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black is responsible for escorting the souls of the dearly departed to the afterlife. It’s a 24/7 job with a lousy benefits package.

Maddy’s position may come with magical powers and an impressive wingspan, but it doesn’t pay the bills. And then there are her infuriating boss, tenant woes, and a cranky, popcorn-loving gargoyle to contend with.

Things start looking up, though, when tall, dark, and handsome Gabriel Angeloscuro agrees to rent the empty apartment in Maddy’s building. It’s probably just a coincidence that as soon as he moves in demons appear on the front lawn. But when an unholy monster is unleashed upon the streets of Chicago, Maddy discovers powers she never knew she possessed. Powers linked to a family legacy of tarnished halos.

Powers that place her directly between the light of Heaven and the fires of Hell…

My Review:

I’m not going to lie, this book was a bit of a disappointment for me.  I so wanted to find a new series set in Chicago with a kick-ass heroine and had hoped that this series would fit the bill.  Sadly it did not.  It started off good but about halfway through it started falling out of favor with me.  Let’s explore why.

To begin with, I don’t think there was enough character or world building or perhaps I just didn’t care for how it was delivered.  I struggled to connect with the lead character or her potential romantic interest.  The character that worked best for me was the popcorn-loving gargoyle and we didn’t see nearly enough of him in the second half of the book.

Then there were the rules of this world.  Way too many of them and the lead character is constantly breaking them without even knowing what they are.  Now I know she is as new to her father’s society but common every single thing she does.  It got tiresome.  I also did not care for most of the characters we came across in her father’s world and wanted her to tell them off and kick them out of her life.  This book could have been so much more interesting if the plot centered more around her job than her being sucked into this new society.  It just felt flat after she met him.

After finishing this book I did go and read the short stories (.6, 1.5, & 1.6) found on the author’s website.  .6 was alright but didn’t really contribute much in the terms of character development or world building, feel free to skip it. 1.5 I DNF if that tells you anything and 1.6 was actually pretty good.  1.6 is what saved this series and is keeping me around for at least one more book.  A character introduced at the end of this book plays a major part in that story and gives me hope that if he has more page time the series could take a turn for the better.

So, I will be sticking around for one more book but if things don’t vastly improve I’m going to move on to greener reading pastures.

My Rating:2 Stars

Big Bad Wolf by Christine Warren

Book Review

 


Big Bad Wolf (The Others, #2)Book Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: The Others #2

Released: 9/1/09 by Griffin

Pages: 320  Price: $7.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Missy Roper’s fantasies have revolved around Graham Winters since the moment they met. But the imposing leader of the Silverback werewolf clan always seemed oblivious to Missy’s existence. At least he Lupine law decrees that every Alpha must have a mate, and all Graham’s instincts tell him that the sensual, beguiling Missy is his. Trouble is, Missy is human?every delectable inch of her. Convincing his clan that she’s his destined mate, and keeping her safe from his enemies, will be the biggest challenge Graham has ever faced. And now that he is determined to have her?as his lover and as his mate?Missy’s world is changing in ways she never imagined?

My Review:

I read the first book in this series ages ago. I don’t really remember what it was about but I gave it three stars and remember thinking that I would continue with the series if the other books ever crossed my path.  It just so happens that my library has them available in audio format and needing a new book to listen to while doing chores I decided to continue.

First impression, wow that’s a lot of graphic sex to listen to while mowing the lawn.  Sure did make chore day interesting.  The plot was fairly typical for a paranormal romance.  A girl has a crush on smexy alpha male and doesn’t dream she has a snowball’s chance in hell with.  Of course, this means she is his mate and he spends the entire book trying to convince her she is good enough for him…  All of this over the span of a weekend where of course she ends up pregnant and just so happens helps the alpha keep his pack.   Lots of clichés in this book and for the first time it actually bothered me.  I think this has something to do with my changing reading taste, or perhaps it was just too over the top.

I liked Missy even though I got tired of her insecurity.  Graham, I liked a little less but enough to finish the book.  The pack was interesting but we didn’t learn much about pack dynamics and they barely had any part of the plot at all until the end. So I will probably give this series one more shot but if it doesn’t improve significantly I will most likely abandon it.

My Rating: 2 Stars