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review 2014-01-08 18:27
New Release Review: Forsaken by Jacquelyn Frank
Forsaken - Jacquelyn Frank

There's something to be said when you finish a book and immediately want the next book in the series. Jacquelyn Frank's The World of the Nightwalkers books is just that kind of series. The Nightwalkers are a breed of supernatural beings that dwell in the night. Each book focuses on one specific couple. The lead couple in Forsaken is the human mercenary Leo Alvarez and his Night Angel love interest Faith.


The story picks up immediately after the events of the previous book where Leo was introduced to the world of the Nightwalkers in a rather nasty and painful way. Leo is scarred, both mentally and physically. He is recovering at the Nightwalkers' Arizona compound surrounded by his "family" Docia (Tameri) and Jackson (Menes).


In this book Leo and Faith seek out the assistance of a powerful Djynn after an attack on the compound leaves Jackson mortally wounded. I think I enjoyed this part the most - Gray the Mavid was a very impressive character. I loved how Leo and Faith had to bargain with the djynn who wanted them to go on an impossible task in order to secure his help.


Leo and Faith were wonderful together. The attraction is strong and Leo fights it constantly. At some points, I thought that Leo was being an ass. Their love does win out and the sex is hot and steamy. The ending brought tears to my eyes, it was so nicely done.


Apep the villain just gets more and more evil as the series progresses. He is also so very full of himself, too. Apep took on the form of a woman and he ponders the limitations of this form:

"This form is so limiting," Apep observed, once again inspecting himself in the mirror. "I can't sense things as well as I should. It's seriously curtailing my omniscience. However as time goes on it should improve. I am, after all, me."

I think that one of the things that I love about this series is that it is based upon Egyptian mythology. Each Nightwalker carries the soul of an Egyptian god and is hosted within a human body. The human blends with the Egyptian soul and benefits from that soul's power and knowledge. I also like the variety of paranormal creatures in this series. There's gargoyles, flying horses, djynn, angels and more.


Forsaken is a strong addition to The World of the Nightwalkers series. I'm so glad that Forged is coming out in April.


Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for a review copy of this book.


Review posted at Badass Book Reviews.


Note - trigger warning - there is a male rape scene in this book.

Source: badassbookreviews.com/new-release-review-forsaken-by-jacquelyn-frank
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review 2013-12-21 15:01
New Release Review: Reaver by Larissa Ione
Reaver - Larissa Ione

Throughout the Lords of Deliverance series, Reaver was one of my favorite characters. He always seemed to be on the side of good, fighting scary demons, and he helped to thwart the imminent apocalypse. In Reaver, we finally learn more about Reaver’s background and his earlier relationship with Verrine.


Reaver is epic and action packed. Most of our favorite and not-so-favorite characters from the Demonica series make an appearance in this book. Reaver is essentially a rescue mission, where Reaver (going against the archangels’ instructions, risks all to journey to Sheoul to rescue Harvester. (I won’t go into the why – it gets spoilery too fast – but needless to say, these two have some interesting history – *zipping lips now.* The book then becomes a fast paced escape from the many regions of Sheoul with Satan’s armies in fast pursuit. There were so many demons, each scarier and deadly than the one before. The world building is so convincing, so well done, that as you read the story, it feels as if you are there, in the middle of the action.


Of course, exacerbating the situation is the meddlesome Gethel, a former watcher who is really up to no good. Yup, really bad things could spawn from Gethel.


We get a glimpse into Reaver’s past as Yenreith, where he was not the nicest character and how he hurt the young and impressionable Verrine by just being a stupid male. Some juicy revelations follow. (Yes, you really must read this book).


As mentioned above, there are some great cameos from our favorite Horsemen. It’s nice to see a touch of Happily Ever After for some of them, although their fate is intertwined with that of Reaver’s. We even get to see our favorite demon doctor and his staff over at UGH – Underworld General Hospital.


Amazing. Epic. Fantastic. Can’t wait for the next book – Revenant’s story.


Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check out the publisher's giveaway for a Kindle Fire.


Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for a review copy of this book.

Source: badassbookreviews.com/new-release-review-and-giveaway-reaver-by-larissa-ione
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review 2013-12-12 13:03
Early Review: The Spider by Jennifer Estep
The Spider - Jennifer Estep

I’ve often wondered about Gin’s early days and how she learned how to be one of the most lethal assassins in the Ashland area. The Spider goes back 10 years as we watch a young Gin Blanco go after her first target.


The story begins in the present when a mysterious package arrives. When Gin finally opens the package (after checking for magic, explosives, and explosive magics), she finds a bouquet of black roses inside with a cryptic “Happy Anniversary” message. Only one person would send Gin those roses and Gin begins to reminisce.


Gin tells the story of her first hit on the Vaughn family. Gin was still living with Fletcher and was learning her trade from The Tin Man himself. Finn provided the financial background and assisted during fight training. When Fletcher is approached for the hit, something just doesn’t feel right, but Gin continues to tail her mark.


What follows is the story of Gin’s early days when she was younger and more naïve. Gin gave her heart easily to Sebastian Vaughn, the son of her target. It was nice seeing a happy and more care-free Gin. As an added bonus, many of the supporting characters from the present day series appear in cameo roles. Owen appears as a knight in shining armor (well, he had a car and he was in the right place at the right time). Gin even meets a young girl who was a dead ringer for Bria.


You can really see the growth in Gin’s character from this book. Gin is young and more impulsive. She really wants to prove herself. Now she is much more meticulous and takes the time to properly research her marks.


The writing is kind of fun. The author likes to describe everything, so if that’s not your cup of tea, you may want to skip this series. Gin likes to cook and some passages read like recipes. Have a snack ready as you read. I wish the author would go ahead and publish the Pork Pitt cookbook already. There is still a lot of repetition of eye colors but that’s just the charm of this series. The story is good and it should keep the reader engaged.


The Elemental Assassins series is full of magic, corrupt officials, and really good barbecue. If you have not yet had a chance to start this series, give it a try. Gin is one kickass heroine.


Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: badassbookreviews.com/early-review-the-spider-by-jennifer-estep
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review 2013-12-11 13:12
Early Review: Sempre by J. M. Darhower
Sempre (Forever, #1) - J.M. Darhower

Disclaimer: I read and loved this book when it was a fan fiction called Emancipation Proclamation. It was so very different from canon and the author highlighted the very real social issues of human trafficking, slavery, and organized crime.


Sempre is a very long story. In fact, you could probably call it a family saga. It’s a little bit The Godfather mixed in with a lot of teenage angst. Sempre is the story of two teenagers raised in very different circumstances: A mafia prince named Carmine DeMarco and his love interest Haven Antonelli.


Haven was raised as a slave living with a mafia family on a remote ranch in California. Until she is “rescued” by Dr. Vincent DeMarco, Haven endures all sorts of abuse by her “owners.” She is worked to the bone, malnourished, scarred, and has even witnessed the repeated rape of her mother and the murder of another child.


When Haven is brought to the DeMarco home in North Carolina, she is understandably skittish. It’s kind of odd, how she arrives, as if she is to be their servant. Dr. DeMarco is very cryptic about why Haven has come to live with the family, never telling his boys anything about her. Slowly, Haven adjusts to life with the DeMarcos, cooking and cleaning for the family. She soon attracts the attention of youngest son Carmine, even though she is more skittish around him.


Carmine is an interesting character. Essentially, he is a loose cannon, full of anger and rage. Carmine takes teenage angst and brings it to a whole new level. He’s loud, brash, and impulsive. Carmine believes in punching first, asking questions later. Carmine wallows in self-destruction and his is constantly at odds with his father. In contrast, Carmine’s older adopted brother Dominic is his total opposite. Dominic is calm and easy going.


Dr. DeMarco’s character is very compartmentalized. In North Carolina, Dr. DeMarco is a devoted father, doctor, and respected member of society. When he goes to Chicago on business, Dr. DeMarco becomes a totally different person. He holds a high position in the mafia and must follow the instructions of the Don who wants Carmine to join the organization. We do see the darker side to Dr. DeMarco in the North Carolina home and unfortunately, Haven bears the brunt of that moment.


I liked how the author reworked the original fan fiction. This was not just a replace names with new names, there were some editorial changes which helped move the novel along. I did find that the book was very long and at times the pacing was a little slow, almost a slog to get through until the last third of the book when the bullets started flying everywhere. I think that this book would benefit from another editorial pass before publication.


Sempre would appeal to those who enjoy family sagas and angsty teen romance. I’m looking forward to reading the next book Sempre: Redemption coming out in April 2014.


Thank you to Edelweiss and Simon and Schuster for a review copy of this book.


Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.Check it out!

Source: badassbookreviews.com/early-review-sempre-by-j-m-darhower
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review 2013-12-04 13:16
Early Review: Dragon Awakened by Jaime Rush
Dragon Awakened - Jaime Rush

After a slow and shaky start, Dragon Awakened hit its stride and became quite the enjoyable read for me. I had a little difficulty getting my bearings at first – the lingo was a little different from what I am used to in paranormal romance and urban fantasy. As soon as I figured it out, (and this could just be me) I was captivated by the story.


The author builds an intriguing world that is hidden from the Mundanes (that would be us regular folks). Dragon Awakened has a population of Crescents who are people with magickal abilities. The Crescents originated from a sunken island in the Devil’s Triangle. They must live close to the Devil’s Triangle in order to replenish their magick through the Deus Vis. Conveniently, most of this magickal population lives near Miami.


The magickal people are called Deuces. Think sorcerers or mages. There are also all kinds of dragon shifters as well. To further complicate things, a bunch of deadly demons have been summoned to Miami in order to kill off one of our main characters.


The story begins as Ruby Salazaar witnesses the murder of her uncle and guardian by magickal means. Ruby has no idea that she possesses any magickal abilities and is surprised to find out that she needs to awaken her dragon. Cyn Valeron takes Ruby under his wing to mentor her in all things dragon. Only this relationship is about to get complicated. It seems that dragons are a lusty lot, especially newly awakened dragons. Ruby’s dragon is very much attracted to Cyn. Cyn feels as if he has found his soul mate, however there is a little complication to the relationship.


The story is told with excerpts in between chapters from the Book of the Hidden. The Book of the Hidden is a kind of history book which tells the story of the Princess Garnet and her Dragon prince. The events in The Book of the Hidden mirror the events in real life and it follows the progression of Garnet’s (Ruby’s) and the Dragon prince’s (Cyn’s) relationship.


I loved the main characters. Cyn was so strong and tough, yet he had feelings of remorse for the events of his past. Cyn’s dragon was magnificent and lethal, a real fighter. Ruby was a quick learner, embracing her dragon and running with her. I loved Ruby’s fiercely independent side and how she fought alongside Cyn. Cyn and Ruby’s relationship was nicely done. No insta-love, mated pair, soul mate moments. Rather, a yearning by their dragons for each other while their human sides got to know each other. And whoa, when they do get together, it’s pretty hot.


Dragon Awakened is a solid start to Jaime Rush’s new Hidden series. I’m looking forward to reading more books in this series. (And I just found out that there are 2 prequels which I need to go back and read!).


Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for a review copy of this book.


Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.

Source: badassbookreviews.com/early-review-dragon-awakened-by-jaime-rush
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