Sunday, November 30, 2014

Book Review - Into the Dark by Annaliese Plowright

Into the Dark (The One Saga, #2)
by Annaliese Plowright
Published 2013

249 Pages

This sequel to The One is markedly different in its content, while maintaining the superb writing skills of the author. Picking up where Brook and Arwan Jones left off, the mortal issues they dealt with in the past seem like child's play. Camalus, the God of the Sky, is introduced. And Anwar's brother, Gulliane -- who lost his true love, Jade -- will stop at nothing to make sure those who he holds responsible for his loss, pay dearly. The illusion of escape is no longer possible for Brook, as she 
discovers her own truth, and how the immortal world factors in to her life. 

Travels into eerie Wytchwood, encounters with faeries, and troubles that link the human world with the wrongdoings and revenge vows from the immortal world, hint at a a war that is brewing between worlds. Anwar's best friend, Bran, has his own history with Brook, and the son of her dear friend in Claremont -- who has vowed to protect the citizens from human and otherworldly crimes -- gets caught up in the chaos. Brook allows herself to travel between the two worlds in pursuit of the Book of Kells, in an effort to stop the violence that is crossing over from the immortal world. But can Gulliane quell his appetite for revenge? And can a mere human stop an immortal war? And finally, will Brook get the answers and truth she needs to restore harmony between the two worlds that mean so much to her?

This story is so different from the first. It delves into the connections of lineage in the immortal world that was, at times, a bit confusing for this reader. Still, I was transfixed, and now that I've read both books I'm dying to see what happens! There is a cliffhanger, so I hope the next installment isn't too far off! 

Available on Amazon

Read our review for the first book in the series:
The One (The One Saga, #1)

Reviewed by Andrea

Book Review - The One by Annaliese Plowright

The One (The One Saga, #1)
by Annaliese Plowright
Published 2012
242 Pages

This story starts out with a glimpse into the past, showing the intera
ctions between two immoral sisters; then brings us into the present time, where we meet our main character. Brook Davenport, now in the witness protection program, is heading toward a new life in Claremont, Scotland. Along the way, she encounters a very strange, dark, brooding man. Hoping to shake off the tortured memories surrounding her abusive marriage to the criminal, Adam Fleming, she wonders if her travels will take her far enough away from the past to truly escape. But her ex may not be the biggest demon who has her on his radar. 

Brook starts two new jobs, and makes some friends while working at a home for the elderly. Edith is one feisty older resident, who keeps her on her toes! Her second job is at the Avallon House, where she meets the handsome, reclusive man named Anwar Jones. She has seen him in town, and is well aware of how his abrupt interactions make any attempt at conversing a challenge. Still, she feels drawn to him. Brook has much to learn about her new life, her new relationships, and also about her own past. 

This is a stunning start to a series that gives a detailed, fully fleshed out main character in Brook, as well as those around her. With real life crime, drama, and hints at otherworldly influences, this story draws you in, and keeps you spellbound until the end. I highly recommend this book, but you may want to have the sequel on hand, as you will not be ready to let go of these characters!

Available on Amazon

Reviewed by Andrea

Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review - Napoleon by J.C. Mells

Napoleon (Pierced, #5)
by J.C. Mells
Published 2014
113 Pages

Napoleon, a young werewolf, and a member of the Nowhere pack, is eager to move to New York to attend college, and to start fresh. His summer was challenging, to say the least. A hot, straight, Swedish exchange student, Sixten Dahl, spent the summer flirting with him, just for kicks. And while Napoleon knew he never had a chance with Sixten, the attraction he felt was undeniable. So, leaving for college couldn't come fast enough.

Now in a new city, other challenges arise. The Upstate New York pack is less than open to members who have aligned with vampires. Further, Napoleon is advised not to flaunt his sexual preference, prompting him to do the opposite, and raising a few eyebrows from the council members. But his self-esteem never wavers. What he isn't prepared for is to see Sixten again... and in the most unlikely of places.

Napoleon is full of angst, and doesn't cower in the face of adversity. He has never had to hide his identity, and he isn't about to start now. He is young, but he knows what he wants, and if something doesn't feel right, he isn't afraid to stand up for what he believes in. With a solid, supportive pack, he is at his best, showing humor, and relying on his true friends to help him overcome obstacles. 

Each pack member plays a role in this story, but Napoleon really shines. There were some surprises, too! And although I would have liked to see a bit more of the supernatural world, I really enjoyed this story! It's well written, with engaging characters, and a meaningful plot. It can be read as a standalone, but I recommend starting with the first book to get the full history of the characters.

Available on Amazon

Reviewed by Stephanie


Read our reviews for other books in the series:
Pierced (book #1)
Escaped (book #2)
Pinked (book #3)
Perfect (book #4) 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Review - The Devil in Midwinter by Elise Forier Edie

The Devil in Midwinter
by Elise Forier Edie
Published 2014
156 Pages

The Devil in Midwinter blends Mexican folklore with romance and mystery to create an enchanting, dreamlike tale, with elements of magical realism. The story comes to life, as the characters embark on a spellbinding journey with a dark twist.

Esmerelda "Esme" Ulloa is a 20-year-old college student who lives with her brothers and uncle on an apple orchard in Washington. Driving along the desolate road, she meets a stranger who is injured, hysterical, and ranting about a devil in the orchards. A series of disturbing events unfold, but Esme is distracted by recurring dreams that are haunting, surreal, and beginning to obscure her sense of reality.

A handsome vintner has arrived in town, and Esme's uncle is behaving peculiarly. Following a frightening outburst by her uncle, Esme and her brothers leave the home, only to find themselves in the middle of the dark, shadowy orchard. But what they find that night is even more shocking. Esme's world is turned upside down as she discovers her fate rests in a battle of wills against an ancient demon. But will she find the strength in time to save her one true love?

I really enjoyed this story! It's well written, with magical elements and characters that complement the themes. The characters could have been built up a bit more, but for a novella the author does a great job in imagining a story that is compelling and absorbing, with an enticing fusion of mysticism and reality.

Available on Amazon

Reviewed by Stephanie


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review - Blood Deep by Lindsay J. Pryor

Blood Deep (Blackthorn, #4)
by Lindsay J. Pryor
Published 2014
415 Pages

What a great addition to the series! Blood Deep is gritty, captivating, and richly illustrated, with an exciting plot and fascinating characters. Lycans, vampires, humans, and other creatures come out to play in Blackthorn. But it is a dangerous playground, where hapless souls oftentimes find themselves on the receiving end of the oppressive cons that rule the otherwise lawless city. Succumbing to the rampant corruption may be a means of survival for its inhabitants. But there are magical elements that -- despite the dangers -- make Blackthorn an intriguing place.

Eden Reece is charming and handsome, but with a deadly past. The tattoos that cover his body reveal the depth of his crimes, and warn others of his truly formidable nature. So, when Eden is left to fend for himself in Blackthorn, it isn't surprising that his presence brings forth the most hardened cons from the darkest corners of the city, willing to challenge him, and eager to remove a new, potential threat.

Jessie spies an attack, and does her best to stay in the shadows -- getting involved would be a risky venture. But she is impressed with the handsome stranger's fighting skills, and can't resist getting drawn in. Up close, she finds something shocking in the stranger's badly beaten face... she knows this face. 

Now warned of the dangers, the stranger has moved on, and Jessie can refocus on keeping the events of the night hidden from Pummel, the brutal con who has provided her with shelter for too many years to count. But Pummel is far from charitable, and nothing comes without a price. So when the stranger, Eden, shows up at Pummel's door, Jessie knows trouble is brewing. 

Eden's motives are more complex than Jessie could imagine, but they are both keeping secrets. And as the truth starts to surface, they wonder if they can trust each other. What is being hidden will impact both of their lives, and may determine the fate of all those living both within and beyond the boundaries of Blackthorn. 

Such an amazing tale! I really loved the characters in this story, and enj
oyed revisiting those from previous books. This is the fourth installment, but it can be read as a standalone, and is a must read for paranormal romance fans. 

Available on Amazon

Read our reviews for other books in the series:
Blood Shadows (book #1)
Blood Roses (book #2)
Blood Torn (book #3)

Reviewed by Stephanie

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Book Review - A Taste of Winter by Laila Blake

A Taste of Winter (Lakeside, #2)
by Laila Blake
Published 2014
249 Pages

After the first book, I couldn't wait to read more of Moira and Owain's adventures! A Taste of Winter had me enthralled and intrigued from beginning to end. And although the plot is slightly less complex than the first book, it is a gripping read, and a meaningful addition to the series.

Owain, a mysterious Blaidyn; and Moira, a human/fae hybrid were last seen fleeing Castle Richmond, and have now set out on a journey as an eager couple, young and in love. But quickly, Moira learns that life outside the safety of the castle isn't all wondrous. Instead, there are hardships in living a life on the run, and extraordinary challenges in surviving the winter season. Further, Moira is unprepared for the prejudices they encounter as an interspecies couple -- from both human and fae -- which tests the love between them.

The scheming fae spy, Brock (Moira's disguised, wise tutor), has proven more sinister than ever. The extent of his plans for both the fae and the human world slowly reveals his true madness. As we learn the backstories of various characters, and as Brock's plans unfold, the depth of the story is revealed, which drives the plot, and brings insight into the story. What is exposed is a heartbreaking journey that leads us back to our hero and heroine.

Watching the evolution of the characters was an extraordinary experience, as each is confronted with how to cope, and how to adjust to a new way of life. One such moment is observed as Owain, both strong and proud, struggles to provide for Moira. Slowly, it chips away at him, testing his confidence, and revealing his deepest vulnerabilities. He questions his ability to care for Moira, and I couldn't help but grow fond of Owain through his struggles.

Moira experiences the most profound and inspiring transformation. This sweet, innocent young woman has to find her own inner strength to became a steady force, both as a woman, and as the backbone of the relationship. I was so proud to see her come into her own, and squealed with happiness when she faced off with Owain, stating, "You don't get to decide when I'm done loving you." 
I cried, and I cheered for their love. I wasn't sure how strong their love would prove to be, but now I'm a firm believer! 

This story is all about growth, fighting for what matters most, and sacrifice. Thank you to the lovely Laila Blake for providing me with an advanced reader copy of A Taste of Winter. The story was nothing short of amazing, and I can't wait to find out what will happen next! 

Available on Amazon

Read my review for the first book:
By the Light of the Moon (Lakeside, #1)

Reviewed by Shari