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review 2017-09-22 21:49
Book Review of Man (Seven Forbidden Arts Book 9) by Charmaine Pauls
Man - Charmaine Pauls

Olivia Reid’s death has always been in the cards. When a man starts stalking her, he brings her pleasure instead of murder. He wants more than her orgasms. He seems to want her very mind. By giving him one thought every night, she manages to push forward the deadline of her extinction. But for how long can she buy her life before her mind is empty, and her stalker has what he wants?

 

Cain Jones is the leader of a paranormal crime taskforce dedicated to protecting mankind from the revival of evil and the dawning of a second Dark Age. The team under his command uses their seven forbidden arts secretively to fight their archenemy, Godfrey Reid, a man who is set on turning immortal and wiping out the human race. Fighting battle after battle, Cain makes a breakthrough when he locates his opponent’s weakness–Mrs. Olivia Reid. She’s his only link to Godfrey, and his only chance at accomplishing his mission. He’ll break her if he has to. He’ll even steal her thoughts. As the investigation progresses Cain has to face a truth he doesn’t want to admit. He has an ulterior motive for personally keeping an eye on his enemy’s dwellings. Watching Olivia sleep, Cain soon becomes as obsessed with his archenemy’s woman as with killing Godfrey. She’s everything he’s ever wanted. But will she forgive him for killing her husband?

 

Man is the ninth and final book in the Seven Forbidden Arts paranormal erotic romance series, but also reads as a standalone. This book contains graphic language and sexual scenes. Reader discretion is advised.

 

Review 5*

 

This is the ninth and concluding book in the Seven Forbidden Arts Series. I loved it!

 

Cain Jones is a fascinating character. Although he appears in nearly every book of the series, he remains largely mysterious. I am glad the author decided to use the final book in the series to focus on him. He is the boss of the paranormal task force and oversees the team on behalf of his sponsors. He is also instrumental in playing matchmaker to his team (although they don't know it). Cain and his team have been searching for Godfrey, their nemesis, in an attempt to stop him achieving his ultimate goal - total world domination and immortality. When he finally tracks down Godfrey's wife, he finds himself completely obsessed with her because he can't read her mind. But as danger lurks in the shadows, will he be able to protect Olivia and stop Godfrey in time?

 

Olivia Reid is also a wonderful character. I liked her a lot. She is a determined and strong willed woman. She thought she loved Godfrey when she married him, but now she lives in terror of him. When a mysterious stranger appears in her bedroom, she only feels relief that she's about to die. But as her attraction to the mysterious stranger grows, she finds herself facing a psychotic husband who will stop at nothing to reach his goal.

 

This story is told through the eyes of Cain and Olivia. I enjoyed getting to see the other characters from the team once more too. This book continues on from the end of Chiromancist, though a month or so after the events in book eight, and it had me sitting on the edge of my seat. I said in my review of Scapulimancist that I thought it was the best of the series so far. I have now had to revise it to the last two books too. The story kept me hooked from the first page.

 

I have been awaiting the arrival of this book with mixed emotions: eager to read it, but dreading it too. This is because it is the last book of the series and it means the end of watching the team facing obstacles and overcoming them, as well as finding their significant other. The characters have become like friends and I will miss them. It also means the story arc reaches it's zenith, and what a rush it is! All the loose ends are tidied up for the most part. I still had a few unanswered questions buzzing around my head relating to a character that was introduced. I don't want to say too much as it could be a spoiler. However, I found this character most disturbing and I hope that he gets the help he needs. Otherwise he will be another dangerous sociopath/psychopath for the team to deal with when he gets older. There is still the mystery surrounding the quantamancist's identity who helped Ivan in Necromancist, and it remains unsolved by the conclusion. Having said that, the story ends satisfactorily. Whether it is a HEA or HFN remains to be seen. I would like it if the author were to re-visit the team in the future to see how they are getting on, but even if she decides not to, it has been an emotional roller coaster ride from the first to the last book, and I can always re-read the series when I get the chance.

 

Charmaine Pauls has written an entertaining standalone erotic romance series. Her characters are lifelike and come alive on the page. I love her fast paced writing style and the flow is wonderful. I have added her to my favourite authors list and am looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.

 

Although this book can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend that you read this series in order. Due to the explicit nature of some of the scenes, as well as use of profane language, I do not recommend this book to readers under the age of 18. I do, however, recommend this book if you love science fiction, erotica, erotic romance or paranormal romance genres. – Lynn Worton

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review 2017-09-19 09:42
Portrait of Vengeance (Gwen Marcey #4) by Carrie Stuart Parks
Portrait of Vengeance (A Gwen Marcey Novel) - Carrie Stuart Parks

Gwen Marcey has done a good job keeping the pain of her past boxed up. But as she investigates the case of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho, details keep surfacing that are eerily similar to her childhood traumas. She doesn’t believe in coincidences. So what’s going on here? No one knows more about the impact of the past than the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. Gwen finds herself an unwelcome visitor to some, making her investigation even more difficult. The questions keep piling up, but answers are slow in coming—and the clock is ticking for a missing little girl. Meanwhile, Gwen’s ex-husband is threatening to take sole custody of their daughter. As Gwen’s past and present collide, she’s in a desperate race for the truth. Because only truth will ensure she still has a future.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Let me start off by saying that if you haven't read any of the previous Gwen Marcey stories, I'd recommend checking out the earlier books with this particular series. While the cases themselves could technically make for stand-alone works, there are characters and certain details of Gwen's life that are carried through all the books. 

 

In this fourth installment in the series, forensic artist Gwen Marcey is investigating the murders of a married couple within the Nez Perce tribe (Lapwai community) as well as the whereabouts of the victims' missing (presumed kidnapped) young daughter. Some of the particulars of the case, as far as clues at the scene and specifics regarding the profiling of the killer, appear to echo traumatic events from Gwen's own childhood. As the case / plot progresses, Gwen becomes more and more convinced that finding the answers within this present case will, in turn, answer questions about her own traumas that have plagued her for years.

 

The journey to the truth proves to be a solidly uphill battle, as Gwen finds that many of the key witnesses she is relying on for information have deep-seated prejudices against Caucasian people. In what's now become a signature mixture within this series as a whole, author Carrie Stuart Parks creates her characters and environments by bringing forth a compelling blend of historical fact, details / inspiration from actual true crime cases, and occasionally details from cases Parks herself worked during her own years as a forensic artist. While working within the Nez Perce tribal lands, our protagonist Gwen gets a crash course in the history of such traumatic events as Wounded Knee / Pine Ridge, as well as the development of AIM (the American Indian Movement). It takes little time for Gwen to see that she will need to tread lightly when working with the descendants of people involved in these painful moments within Native history. Though the years have passed, the hurt has hardly diminished. 

 

Having followed this series from the beginning, I couldn't help but laugh and shake my head to find 8 pages into this latest book that Gwen is STILL having fights & custody battles with her ex-husband. I couldn't help but think "it's been four books now, that kid can't have too much high school left for this argument to be relevant much longer.." I feel for Gwen there. On the happier side though, I'm loving that the stories within this series seem to be quietly steering toward a "Gwen & Beth Investigate" kind of trend. Beth has a bigger role in this book than in some of the previous ones. She's such a hoot, I love to see her getting more of the spotlight! Keep your dictionary nearby though. Beth loves her some "word of the day" usage and Parks works in some words that definitely had me feel like I was back in SAT prep days! 

 

The true star for me though has to be Winston, Gwen's Great Pyrenees dog. While Parks always gave him quite the humorously entertaining dog personality, he, like Beth, was more in the background in much of the previous books. In Portrait of Vengeance however, Winston gets solid book "screen" time, scenes that will make dog lovers cheer at the protectiveness of pups over their humans. Go ahead, hug your own pooch after this one. :-)

 

So far, the very first book in the series, A Cry In The Dust, still proves to be my very favorite. But this one is now in a close second. This book proved to be slightly more gruesome in parts than its predecessors -- in one scene, Gwen likens a crime scene to a Jackson Pollack painting. Yeaaah, I'll just let you art fans visualize that one. But if you're not scared off by a little edge, Parks yet again gives the reader one fun ride full of twists and turns that have you wondering who in this story is to be trusted! 

 

It was neat to read in Parks' acknowledgements that she wrote this story (at least in part) while participating in a writing retreat at author Colleen Coble's home. She further notes author Frank Peretti as a mentor in the process of developing this series as well. For fellow fans of Gwen's investigations: when asked whether a 5th book was in the works, Parks answered (via Goodreads):

 

"As of now, book 5 will be a stand-alone about an artist (caught up in a case) in Kodiak Island, Alaska. My publisher wanted me to take a break from Gwen. You'll be meeting Murphy."

 

 

I, for one, am looking forward to meeting this Murphy fella! 

 

 

FTC Disclaimer: BookLookBloggers kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book with a request that I might check it out and share my thoughts. The opinions above are entirely my own. 

 

------------------------

ICYMI -- My reviews for the previous books in the series:

 

#1 A Cry In The Dust

#2 The Bones Will Speak

#3 When Death Draws Near

 

* Gwen Marcey also makes a cross-over appearance in Colleen Coble's Mermaid Moon AND Twilight At Blueberry Barrens

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review 2017-09-16 18:54
Wild E Ticket Ride
Empire of Storms - Sarah J. Maas

Holy Shitake ! What a ride. I was slung to the left, thrust to the right, crushed into the corner, dunked under black water, floated on a cloud, and then flung over a cliff with no bottom. Yep, a total E ticket ride with no safety bar. That ending

How can I go on with real life with that ending ? How ? Ms. Maas you are a beast. :D And I thank you. This series just gets better and better.
The break down, there is love, quests, deaths, fighting, sex, flirting, shifting, sinking, fires, ice, snark, twists, betrayals, truths, blood, and critters. Don't miss it, read the series.

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review 2017-09-16 15:00
One of the best covers…ever!
The Last Magician - Lisa Maxwell

 

Book Title:  The Last Magician

Author:  Lisa Maxwell

Narration:  Candace Thaxton

Series:  Book 1 of a duology, I think…

Genre:  Magic, Historical, Time Travel

Setting:  New York --Past and Present

Source:  Audiobook (Library)

 

 

 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ratings Breakdown

 

Plot:  5/5

Main Characters:  4.3/5

Secondary Characters:  4.2/5

The Feels:  4/5

Addictiveness:  4.2/5

Theme or Tone:  4.3/5

Flow (Writing Style):  

Backdrop (World Building):  4.8/5

Fantasy Elements:  4.8/5

Book Cover:  5+/5  Love it…

Narration:  4/5 She's not bad, just bad for me, I think…

Ending:  5/5  Cliffhanger:  Yes…and I didn't even know it was a duology

Total:  4.5/5 STARS - GRADE=A-

 

 

My Thoughts

 

I think I would have liked this even more than I did, if I had read it…I don't know if it just the narrator that I didn't like, or something else.  I only took a little off for that, though, because The Magician is addictively entertaining.  A time traveling, magic wielding, good time.  The history, the splashes of romance and the intrigue make this a very worthwhile read.

 

Will I continue this series Yes, I totally will…I just wish it had a different narrator.

 

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review 2017-09-14 21:42
Book Review of Tegen Punishment (Tegens Book 3) by Inge-Lise Goss
Tegen Punishment (Tegens) (Volume 3) - Inge-Lise Goss

Who will be the next spider victim?

 

For over two years a treacherous Tegen has evaded capture by enforcers, executing anyone who crosses his path.

 

Newly requisitioned to assist a Tegen enforcer, Sara Jones is on a desperate hunt to stop the renegade who has no regard for human, or spider, life. To penetrate the religious compound he uses as his hideout, she must conceal her true identity. But finding the elusive Tegen is more difficult than she may have imagined, and the compound is far more dangerous than anyone could have known.

 

When a notorious crime boss shows up in town, Sara enlists his help, but he has his own agenda – one that may advance his criminal enterprise.

 

As mayhem erupts, she must outwit unsavory zealots and find the killer before her cover is blown. The clock is ticking. Can she bring the fugitive to justice before it’s too late?

 

This action-packed fantasy-thriller constantly leaves you on the edge of your seat.
Tegen Punishment is the third book in the Tegen series. After reading the Tegen definition at the beginning of the novel, it can easily be read as a standalone story.

 

Review 4*

 

This is the third book in the Tegens series. I really enjoyed it.

 

Sara Jones is a wonderful character. When I first met her in The Tegen Cave I wanted to shake some sense into her. I feel that she has grown and adjusted well into her new life as a Tegen as the series has gone on. I love watching characters grow and mature.

 

It has been two years since I read the second book. Nevertheless, I easily slipped back into the tale. This story continues from the previous book and sees Sara facing disciplinary action for helping Wendy. However, her punishment is slightly unusual. She finds herself going undercover to locate a rogue Tegen hiding in a religious compound. She will need to keep her wits about her as the danger mounts.

 

I started this story and was hooked from the first page and didn't put it down until I'd finished it. So why the 4 stars? There were some things about the story that bugged me (no pun intended) even though I can't put my finger on the exact reasons why. I think it may have been my mood at the time of reading or the time difference between reading book 2 and this one that may have influenced me. It is told through the eyes of Sara and the reader is taken on a roller coaster ride of action, adventure, mystery and danger. I love the way the story unfolds. There are some interesting characters introduced, such as Alex Newark and the renegade Snyder. Kendall makes another appearance. He is a Tegen enforcer and is quite mysterious. He still sends shivers down my spine. The heat between Conner and Sara is still explosive, though there is not as much intimacy in this book compared to the first one, although there are a few clandestine meetings (not explicit but implied).

 

One thing I will say about this book is that the story is wonderfully written. The characters are lifelike and the storyline gripping. I reached the end of the book with mixed feelings. Although it doesn't end in a cliffhanger, the author has left me with the feeling that there could potentially be another book due to the ambiguous ending. Now I can't wait to find out what is in store for Sara in the next book.

 

Inge-Lise Goss has written an intriguing horror full of mystery and suspense. I love her writing style, which is fast paced, and the flow was wonderful. I am curious to see what this author comes up with in the future.

 

I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to some violence and to readers who have arachnophobia or have a nervous disposition. However, I highly recommend this book if you love horror/suspense genres. - Lynn Worton

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