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review 2018-09-17 21:58
Book Review of Hell & Gone: Volume 3 (The Heckmasters) by Allison Merritt
Hell & Gone - Allison Merritt

Tell Heckmaster has always known the day would come when his demon blood overruled his human emotions. Years of searching for a miracle to overcome the name curse placed on him as a child have been fruitless. Now, after Berner has finally found peace, his worst fears are coming to light—he begins to manifest strange new powers and his finely honed control is slipping. Sylvie Duke has enjoyed the hard-won peace her sister and friends fought for. She has almost everything her heart wants—a successful seamstress shop, a loving family, a devoted suitor, and all the flouncy material she can stand. The one thing she doesn't have is Tell. With his powers growing out of control, his attempts to push her away only make her fight harder to stand beside him. The curious thing is, the closer Sylvie is, the less demon-like Tell becomes. A cryptic warning from an old ally will help her protect their loved ones, but if Tell loses all control, even Sylvie's love might not be enough to save them.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the third and last book in The Heckmasters series. I loved it!

 

First off, I absolutely love the new cover! It fits the story wonderfully, although the original cover did too. Initially published as Tell, the author received her rights back from the publisher when it closed, and she had a new cover made and re-published it herself with a new title: Hell & Gone. I have noticed this series is no longer available in Kindle format, so not sure if this book is going through another round of edits to be re-published in the near future through another publisher.

 

Tell Heckmaster is a wonderful character. I liked this taciturn man when I first met him in the first book, Hell & A Hard Place. Tell is one of three half-demon brothers who police the portal to Hell in the small town of Berner. Unfortunately, his real name was cursed long ago, and if anyone said it, all Hell would break loose. Literally. Fearing his demon-side, he finds that the only thing that holds it at bay is Sylvie Duke, who also happens to be his sister-in-law.

 

Sylvie Duke is another wonderful character. She is just as stubborn and determined as she was when I first met her. No longer a pre-teen, she has always had her sights on Tell, though the idiotic male seems oblivious to the signs. While Tell struggles with his darker nature, Sylvie finds herself drawn even closer to him.

 

This series is a fantastic supernatural/paranormal romance! The book, set in the late 1800s/early 1900s, quickly swept me up and carried me away. The story is shown through the eyes of both Tell and Sylvie; this made it very interesting. There is excitement, danger, mystery and suspense mixed in with the hot romance.

 

The story continues several years after the events that saw the end to the portal. The town of Berner has now grown, populated with humans as well as the demons' that originally lived there. I loved meeting all of the characters again: Wystan and Rhia, Eban and Beryl, amongst others. The siblings' father, Seneca, and an imp called Dochi are included as introduced characters and add to the cast. Seneca is now the ruler of the Gray Lands, a world created by the god El, and Dochi is one of his subjects.

 

The story is full of twists and turns. The mystery of how Tell's real name became cursed becomes revealed, and what it is. I could tell you what it is, but then it would ruin the surprise, so will not do it - I try not to add spoilers to my reviews. There are also several emotional moments which drew tears to my eyes. Dochi, however, had me grinning. His eagerness in serving the youngest Heckmaster reminded me a little of Dobby from Harry Potter, though he does not look like him. He is extremely loyal to the Heckmasters, and his obsequiousness annoys Tell significantly; this gave the story a little light relief from the danger that threatens. The end of the book left me with mixed feelings. I love how the story took me on a fantastic adventure, but it also made me feel sad that this series has now come to an end. I will miss these three couples, as they have become my friends.

 

Allison Merritt has written an exciting paranormal/supernatural romance. Her characters come alive on the page, and her descriptions of the scenes made me see them in my mind's eye with ease. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. I also love the flow of the story; the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. This author has found another fan! I would love to read more of her books in the future.

 

Due to scenes of an explicit nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 16. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic wild west type supernatural romances filled with sexy half-demons, or paranormal romances with strong, likeable characters. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-09-15 22:05
A Discovery of Witches / Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

 

I read this to fill the Spellbound square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo Card.

I know there is a fandom out there for this particular flavour of Paranormal Romance, but I am not among them. I guess that life experience shapes these tastes and mine have shaped me to reject being a fragile flower type of woman and to abhor bossy, controlling men. Diana is my nightmare as a main character, someone who thinks she is strong but in reality is always tired, hungry, injured, pale and otherwise needy. 

I also had issues with the vampires. They are a pretty namby-pamby kind of vamp--able to eat food, sometimes sleep, and exist happily by hunting deer. Essentially, they are humans with cold skin and long life expectancy. They spend an awful lot of time snarling and growling, but Matthew "purrs" rather a lot. I don't even have an idea of what that would sound like.

Then there's Matthew specifically, who's supposed to be over 1000 years old, but still acts like an adolescent. He's moody and angry for no apparent reason, full of secret sources of angst. And he's met everyone--Christopher Marlowe was his pal, Shakespeare signed a book for him, he corresponded with Charles Darwin. It's like all those folks who go for regression hypnosis and emerge thinking they are reincarnated Robert the Bruce or Cleopatra, never a pig farmer from Finland.

On top of all that, there's the relationship between Diana and Matthew. Once she decides he's the one, she keeps inviting him to bed and being astonished when he turns her down. Science says that she can't get pregnant because they are different species, but Matthew always has some lame excuse. There's some ancient covenant that forbids interspecies relationships or his mother wouldn't approve (!) or they've got all the time in the world, on and on. I don't know about other women, but if a man turned me down that often, I wouldn't be hanging around for further humiliation. Then, all of a sudden, Matthew kisses her and declares his love in front of his mother. Poof, they're married now. (That reminded me so much of a scene in Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels where Sookie is persuaded to take some object & present it to Eric Northman, and poof! They're married) Despite this official marriage, he still won't consummate the relationship. 

Can vampires suffer erectile dysfunction? 

It's 579 pages long and they still haven't done the deed.

(spoiler show)

 



This is like a cross between the Mayfair Witches of Rice, Outlander by Gabaldon, and Twilight. It reminds me strongly of the work of Christine Feehan and Kresley Cole, two authors that I now avoid. Fans of these franchises will no doubt enjoy this book more than I did. Govern yourselves accordingly.

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review 2018-09-11 17:14
A Wolf Apart by Maria Vale
A Wolf Apart - Maria do Vale Cartaxo

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Elijah Sorensson has spent over thirty years Offland, only returning home, to his Pack, once a month, during the Iron Moon. He's slowly losing touch with his wild and knows the only way to regain himself is by returning home. But his Alpha demands he stay among the humans, protecting the Pack's interests off Pack territory.

Almost at the end of his tether, utterly disgusted with himself and what he's become, Elijah meets his saving grace. A woman who calls to both halves of him, but mostly to his wild. A woman he can be himself with, a woman he can confide in...But not fully, since she's the biggest taboo of his Pack—she's human.


As its predecessor this story also moved rather slowly, but apart from a few slower than slow scenes, it wasn't boring. It wasn't as suspenseful as the first book in the series either, focusing more on the main character (hero), his inner struggles, and his environment, but it still worked.

At first, Elijah came across as a prick, one of those you meet on the street every day. The smooth operator with an overused pick-up line, but one the story really kicks in, the reader (and the hero himself) realizes Elijah Sorensson, the lawyer and player, is just a mask. A suit he pulls on for those days of the month he's not home, a suit that's become too tight, almost ingrown, until he hardly recognizes himself or knows who and what he really is.
It takes a woman, the right woman, a vegetarian loner with a passion for animals, someone rather similar to him, to bring him out of the thirty-year-old fugue state he's been living in. It takes the right woman to make him see what he's missing and what he's been losing. And it takes the right woman to make him see the true meaning of sacrifice, Pack, and home.

The story is once more told in first-person POV—Elijah's point of view. And once more, it didn't bother me at all. This was mostly a one-character show with the rest of the cast (Thea included) serving as backdrop, set design for Elijah and his character development and change.

I was happy to see more of Silver and Tiberius, discover just how Evie is taking on the Alpha duties...And in the end, I was more than glad to see the Pack would be fully reunited, since I didn't really appreciate how they behaved toward Elijah, almost judging him for his life in the Offland, while it was the Pack that sent him there in the first place.

The issues dealing with the suspense arc of the first story were only touched upon in this one, and since the main architect of evil is still loose, I'm looking forward to what the future might bring. The Pack is growing, and no matter what many of them think, to me having a Shifter and now a human in their midst, will only make them stronger.

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review 2018-09-05 21:32
Book Review of Hell & Back: Volume 2 (The Heckmasters) by Allison Merritt
Hell & Back - Allison Merritt

Eban Heckmaster has always been grateful his mother's human blood cooled the dark thoughts being the son of a demon can bring. He's tried to lead as normal a life as possible by attending medical school and setting up his own practice in New Mexico Territory. But it's no longer enough. After being rejected by a woman he was sure could complete his life, he's counting the days until he can get out of town. That will happen, just as soon as he figures out how to rid a close friend of a demon that's wreaking havoc inside her head. Beryl Brookshier's past only comes in splotchy memories. What she can remember is nothing to be proud of, but there's something more worrisome going on. Long dark moments and passages of time when she can't remember who she's been with or what she's done. She knows that Eban knows what's causing it, but the half-demon doctor isn't telling. And unfortunately for her, he's so distracted by the secret and his desire to leave Berner, he doesn't even see that she's falling in love with him...or is she? When she discovers the lust demon living inside her mind, she begins to wonder if she's in love, or if the demon only wants Eban for her own purposes.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the second book in The Heckmaster's series. I loved it!

 

First off, I absolutely love the new cover! It fits the story wonderfully, although the original cover did too. Initially published as Eban, the author received her rights back from the publisher when it closed, and she had a new cover made and re-published it herself. I have noticed this series is no longer available in Kindle format, so not sure if this book is going through another round of edits to be re-published in the near future through another publisher.

 

Eban Heckmaster is a fantastic character. I liked him from the first time I met him in Hell & A Hard Place, the first book in the series. He is the middle sibling of the three Heckmasters' and is the doctor of the family. He has always wanted to get away from Berner, the demon-riddled town that he and his two half-demon brothers protect from "The Pit", a portal to and from Hell. But after meeting Beryl Brookshier, who arrived with Rhia and Sylvie Duke, he knows that the war with evil is far from over.

 

Beryl Brookshier is a character that I liked but didn't know much about when I first met her in the first book of the series. She is extremely ill and under the care of Eban. But, she has no idea that she has a demon imp, who also happens to be a lust demon, attached to her brain like a parasite. Can she overcome its hold, or will she be doomed to die?

 

This story is a fantastic supernatural/paranormal romance! The book, set in the late 1800’s, quickly swept me up and carried me away. The story told from various points of view, made it very interesting. There is excitement, danger, mystery, and suspense mixed in with the hot romance. The three Heckmasters make a formidable team as they tackle the evil escaping from hell.

 

This story continues from the end of Hell & A Hard Place but follows Eban and Beryl as they struggle to come to terms with events after the battle with Noem, though Wystan and Rhia are now married and on their honeymoon. I also loved meeting Wystan and Tell again, as well as Rhia and Sylvie. I also found it interesting to see things through the eyes of the lust demon, Rosmar. She brings a sense of fun mixed with deadly poison to the tale. I did like her because, although she is a demon, she is trying to atone for her sins by working with the Grey Side (demons who oppose total dominion of Earth by Astaroth - the deadly demon trapped in The Pit by the Heckmasters' father). But, she also has her own agenda and is hoping to tempt Eban into unleashing his demon side to help her. But Eban is not a pushover, though he does do something rather dangerous and sets off a chain of events that could mean the end of Berner, if not Earth; this introduces us to another character, who happens to be an angel called Eliakim. What his role is or will be, remains a bit of a mystery, but I liked this enigmatic angel. He brings the might of Heaven with him and is definitely a warrior to avoid if you're a demon.

 

The story is full of twists and turns, with one that I didn't see coming and I felt sorry for the Heckmaster brothers as they had to make a difficult decision regarding a loved one. I did find humour in the tale, especially where Eban threatens to speak Tell's real name. Okay, having a curse on your spoken name is not meant to be funny, but the way Eban taunted his brother with it reminded me of how, when my sisters and I was younger, we would call each other names to get a rise out of them. Siblings can be cruel, and I felt sorry for Tell. However, it made me curious to find out what his real name is!

 

The end of the story doesn't finish on a cliff-hanger, but it made me feel sad because I wanted to keep reading about Berner and her inhabitants. This series has taken me on an unexpected journey, but I love the roller coaster ride. I guess I shall have to read Tell's story now.

 

Allison Merritt has written a wonderful paranormal/supernatural romance. Her characters come alive on the page, and her descriptions of the scenes made me see them in my mind's eye with ease. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. I also enjoyed the flow of the story; the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. I think this author has found another fan! I would like to read more of her books in the future.

 

Due to scenes of an explicit nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 16. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic wild west type supernatural romances filled with sexy half-demons, or paranormal romances with strong, likeable characters. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-08-28 09:03
A Match Made in Spell by Regina Welling and Erin Lynn
A Match Made in Spell: Lexi Balefire, Matchmaking Witch - Regina Welling,Erin Lynn

 

Alexis Balefire (Lexi) is an unawakened blood witch - she has witchy tendencies (like listening and following her inner voice/instincts/institution) and wants to awaken her inner witch because she has a family legacy to protect the Balefire for all witches on the east coast. Unfortunately, time is running out - if she doesn't awaken soon, she could lose her family legacy to her arch-nemesis. On top of this, she is an orphan who was taken in by three fairies, has a BFF who is a half-fae/half-human, and she has caught the eye of her new neighbor - all while running her business (match-making). 

 

I found this book really engaging despite the first person POV. Watching Lexi discover herself and answer so many questions she has had about her family was like peeling back an onion. I liked that Lexi wasn't OTT clumsy or shallow; she wanted her powers so she could do good in the world and help clean up her family's reputation. She was also fun and sarcastic without being mean or childish. Overall, I had fun reading her adventures in witchdom.

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