Genre: Urban Fantasy

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Oct 07

Magnetic by Anya J. Cosgrove

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

Magnetic by Anya J. CosgroveMagnetic by Anya J. Cosgrove
on August 8, 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 209
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreadsfour-stars
five-flames

Who said life was a fairy tale? Because I’d gladly slice that jerk’s head off.

I’m Vicky, though that’s not really my name.

I never expected to end up half-naked in the woods with my guts hanging out. I didn’t plan to stumble upon the most powerful shifter clan in North America and three of the sexiest men I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Dominic, the fun and reckless new wolf. 

Sam, the hot doctor with glacial-blue eyes.

And Gabriel, the intense, secretive alpha who wants nothing to do with me.

My real name is a one-way ticket back to hell, and my secrets need to stay buried like the girl I used to be.

Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Red Riding Hood—I can be all three.  I can use my powers to earn a place in their werewolf town, away from the bite of my past mistakes. I can use them—and their bodies—to survive.

The only thing I can’t do is fall for them.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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So, I was on the blog tour for this a couple of months ago, but when I went back to copy the review and add it to GoodReads…apparently the review part of my post wasn’t actually there?!? *cue much embarrassment* I’m not sure what happened, but….here it is.

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“I play the cool cucumber, but I’m more of a distraught apple.”

Magnetic is Vicky’s story, a spinoff from the Bloody Hearts series. Vicky is a vandella – a supernatural creature that needs sex to survive. And lots of it. She’s phenomenally attractive (to both sexes, though only M/F relationships are in this book), and amazing in bed…but her heart is bruised and broken from constant rejection of herself. People either at worst call her a slut and a whore, or at best only want her for sex and status. She presents a hard, brittle front, but inside she wants to love and be loved.  I’ll be honest, I thought she was awful when I read her brief part in Shadow Walker, but seeing her entire story was pretty awesome and it totally changed my mind. I’m hoping for a sequel or two!

Things I Liked

  • This book was a HUGE improvement over the only other reverse harem novel I’ve read (which was so horrible I’m not even linking it). The way the author made having multiple lovers acceptable was interesting (i.e., Vicky needs a LOT of sex just to maintain a normal life, one person shouldn’t have to fulfill ALL of her needs).
  • The guys are all different. They’re not identical except for their hair color or height. They have different personalities, different styles, different needs of their own. Oh, and yes, they’re all hot. Which one you like best will depend on your own preferences. 😉
  • There was a plot! This wasn’t just a sex-fest, even though there was A LOT of sex. The whole reason Vicky meets the three guys is because she’s running from a group of vampires that wants to control her and use her.
  • Vicky goes through hell, and yet doesn’t let it break her. She puts up with SO MUCH SHIT, emotionally (especially this), mentally, and physically, and yet she never gives up. She WILL rise, and she WILL get vengeance on the one who most cruelly used her. Yessssss.

Things I Didn’t Like

  • There’s one BIG secret that stays a secret until almost the end, and it just didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense to me. Can’t say what exactly without giving a lot away, so I’m just saying it kind of jolted me out of the story and made me sit there and frown for a bit while I tried to figure out exactly how this could have been such a THING…

Overall

4/5 stars. Thoroughly enjoyable, recommended if you’re a RH fan or looking to try the genre.

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four-stars

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Sep 30

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)

Book Reviews 0 ★★★½

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1) by Patricia Briggs
Published by Ace Books on January 31, 2006
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 289
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreadsthree-half-stars

Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...

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“I have a degree in history, which is one of the reasons I’m an auto mechanic.”

Somehow, I am only now getting into the very popular and long-running Mercy Thompson series. It’s been recommended to me for years, but I put it off…and now I am in the fortunate position of having 11 books to binge if I so choose…my library has all of the main books, but I think I’ll have to hunt down the many, many side short stories.

Can we just take a moment and lament this unfortunate cover? *eyeroll* I really, really hate cover art of this style. I literally refuse to buy physical copies of books with covers that use solely sex appeal to sell. Thankfully, there is an alternative cover version of these, which I did buy after deciding this was a series I could enjoy over the long term.

“Honey,” he drawled, pulling on his Southern roots. “When a wolf watches a lamb, he’s not thinking of the lamb’s mommy.”
I grinned. I couldn’t help it. The idea of Bran as a lamb’s mommy was too funny. “I’m not much of a lamb,” I said.

Things I Liked

  • There is just so much wit infused through the entire book. I chuckled so many times and belly-laughed a few times as well. Mercy has such a dry sense of humor, I loved it.
  • The age-old werewolves vs. vampires thing is present, which makes it easy for anyone remotely familiar with that mythology to jump into this story.
  • Politics, brawls, and feelings – there’s a mess of all three, and I feel like there is SO MUCH backstory for all the main characters yet to be explored.

Things I Didn’t Like

  • I was not entirely convinced of the attraction between Mercy and Bran. It felt a little forced. Also, I’m kind of terrified it’s going to turn into something a la Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and her never-ending-on-again-off-again relationship.
  • The guys don’t seem to entirely respect Mercy. They’re forced by circumstances to let her participate, but they keep trying to baby her. ARGH!

If You Liked…

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, you’ll probably like this series. Very similar in setting, but with a female main character and different tone.

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three-half-stars

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Jan 24

Review of Bind the Soul

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

If you haven’t read the first in this series, I highly recommend it and you can check out my review right here. That review is spoiler free, but THIS review may contain spoilers for the first book!

Bind the Soul picks up right where Chase the Dark (Steel & Stone #1) left off. Piper is back home at the consulate, and Ash is gone. Lyle has spent weeks searching for him and only has the barest of information. Piper knows that Ash is a big boy and can take care of himself…but she also knows he sacrificed a lot for her, and that despite his own power seemed genuinely afraid of whoever – whatever – holds sway over him. To help him would mean defying her father AGAIN, risking her own safety (since she still has no idea how she managed to use the Sahar), and plunging into Hades itself…and the choice may not be hers to make.

“Death is easy. Living is difficult.”

Phew! This book took a really dark turn. There are some torture scenes that left my heart racing. I was so very emotionally invested in these characters. I’m also Team Ash ALL THE WAY, I don’t care what anyone says. I love anti-heroes in general, and as a love interest he is just so swoonworthy (is that a word? it should be).

There is SO MUCH going on here. The upper and lower daemons are still trying to get their hands on the Sahar, which has so very inconveniently become attached to Piper. Piper just wants to prevent world destruction, and get Ash back. And become a consul, which means never becoming involved with Ash, or Lyre, or any other daemon.

Riiiiight.

How’s that working out for ya, my girl?

The pace of this book is fast and furious as our lovelies escape and re-escape and try to stay one step ahead of the Father of All Nasties, a.k.a. the very sadistic Samael. Every time I thought they might get a breather – whoops, just kidding! Here’s another nasty punch to brighten your day. It just kept going and going and I absolutely loved it. There are also a couple of new characters introduced that I really hope will be in the rest of the books, as their stories seem like they would be absolutely fascinating. Also, ahem, can someone please introduce a love interest for Lyle so that I can stop fretting over it?

There are some absolutely heart-melting scenes spaced in between all the action. Ash and Piper have such incredible chemistry and yet they both seem convinced they can’t be together (trope-y, yes, but it works). Rational thought never keeps sparks from flying though, and it doesn’t keep traitorous hearts from caring when the mind would rather not.

She lifted her face, met his eyes – and saw his soul beneath the black. “Kill that bastard,” she whispered.

One thing that really bothered me throughout the first half of this book was how Piper seemed to have regressed in maturity. This series is marketed as YA, I understand that. However, the first book was really not very YA in tone or content, at all. Piper is supposed to be seventeen, but she acts more like someone in their early twenties. So, I expected this one to be the same and it wasn’t quite. The last half it was back to the old Piper. It was rather frustrating, but oh well. It was only mildly distracting.

Piper’s parentage and inherited (or not) magic still isn’t explained and I am absolutely dying of curiosity. I feel like there must be SOMETHING there or else she wouldn’t have been able to connect with the Sahar the way she did, but that part wasn’t delved into much at all in this book.

Overall 4/5 stars, highly, HIGHLY recommend! This is an awesome futuristic urban fantasy series with characters you can really get behind. I am SO READY to dive into the third book!

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four-stars

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Dec 11

Blog Tour and Review of Fianna’s Awakening

Book Reviews, Book Tours 0 ★★★½


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Blog Tour and Review of Fianna’s AwakeningFianna's Awakening (Warriors of Myth and Legend, #1) by Ron C. Nieto
Published by Victory Editing NetGalley Co-Op on November 13, 2018
Genres: Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 308
Buy on Amazon
Goodreadsthree-half-stars
one-flame

Outcast. Betrayer. Chosen.

After five years being a Fianna, Aisling O’Malley still has to prove herself every day. The sins of the father weigh heavily on her shoulders, and no matter what she does, her fellow warriors regard her as the undeserving one. It doesn’t help that one of the four mythical treasures of Ireland has turned up under her nose, leaving her none the wiser. If by any chance the touted Spear of Lugh up for auction is indeed the legendary Spear of Victory, she needs to get her hands on it before anyone else does—and be spectacular enough about it to make the rest of the Fianna forget she almost missed the artifact in the first place.

Exile. Betrayer. Forgotten.

After spending twice as long undercover as he ever lived at home, Ronan no longer knows where he belongs to or where he’s actually exiled from. He can’t return to his people, not unless he collects the four artifacts of power the Tuatha Dé lost when they were forced to leave Ireland, and three millennia after the fact, he’s pretty sure they’re going to remain lost. Except one of those ancient treasures has landed in his lap—or could land in his lap, if he brings himself to work with the spunky young woman who wants to hire him to consult on the Spear’s authenticity.

Can two broken people learn to trust one another? And even if they can, will it be too late to save Ireland… or themselves?

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Fianna’s Awakening is the first in an urban fantasy series about the Fianna, a group of people who are chosen to be the guardians of Ireland. Aisling O’Malley is the only – perhaps first – female Fianna, and as such the demands on her are even heavier than most, because she must constantly prove to the others that she is as worthy as they.

Things I Loved:

“I’m fast,” she said. “And strong. And tough, and resilient.” A shrug. “I can tell when danger of the creepy kind is around, most of the time.”

“Danger, but not the spear? So an invincible artifact of untold power isn’t dangerous?”

Well, put it like that and it does sound like I got a malfunctioning superpower…

  • Um, well – Ireland! I might be slightly obsessed. There is a little bit of Irish mythology worked into this book, but none that I was particularly familiar with so I’m not sure if it was made up by the author or just obscure.
  • The magic system is VERY intriguing and I really hope it’s explained in more detail in the next books! Also I want to know more about the process of becoming a Fianna…that was never really explained.
  • Aisling – despite years of belittling and posturing from the rest of the Fiannas, she’s still stubborn as a mule and confident in her own abilities. Hell. Yes. I love strong female characters. By contrast Ronan seems a bit hapless and awkward. I’m not sure he’s the right one for her…
  • The humor!! Oh my gosh, the wry, sarcastic bits got me so much.

Small Complaints:

  • Need. More. Details. I felt like most of the magic and history was only half explained! Like this Sword of Lugh…where did it come from? Why was it made? By whom? I’m aware of the traditional Celtic god Lugh, but the book never really talks about Celtic deities in detail so I’m just…up in the air. PLEASE TELL ME MORE.

“You know, handing out prophecies of doom and gloom and then going skimpy on the details is not an attractive trait.”

  • Romance…where? So Aisling and Ronan apparently had a kind of attraction thing going on, but it was most present in their first meeting and then fizzled. I didn’t feel any kind of chemistry. They’re both extremely interesting characters on their own, so you don’t really NEED a romantic subplot here, but…*points at description and cover* Doesn’t that look romantic to you?

3.5/5 stars. I’ll definitely be giving the second one of this series a shot, because I’m intrigued by how the author is bringing Celtic legends through to the modern world.

1/5 flames. Eh, I would love to see some more sizzle between Aisling and Ronan, but if not, they’re still both interesting characters in and of themselves.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

 

Author Bio:

Ron C. Nieto is a fantasy and romance author who has been writing in her secluded fortress for the longest time. Recently, she had a talk with her cat and decided that she should share her creations, because it was selfish to hoard them all for herself.

If you would like to know more about her, please visit her website.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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three-half-stars

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Dec 06

Review of Dark Arts and a Daiquiri

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Review of Dark Arts and a DaiquiriDark Arts and a Daiquiri (The Guild Codex: Spellbound, #2) by Annette Marie
Published by Dark Owl Fantasy Inc. on November 16, 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Buy on Amazon
Goodreadsfour-half-stars
two-flames

When I found myself facing down the scariest black-magic felon in the city, practically daring him to abduct me, I had to wonder exactly how I ended up here.

It all started when I accidentally landed a job as a bartender—but not at a bar. At a guild, populated by mages, sorcerers, alchemists, witches, and psychics. Good thing this lame-o human is adaptable, right?

Then my favorite guild members—three sexy, powerful, and intermittently charming mages—asked for my help. Did they want access to my encyclopedic knowledge of cocktails? Oh no. They wanted to wrap me up in a pretty ribbon and plunk me in the crosshairs of a murderous rogue to lure him out of hiding.

So that's what we did. And that's why I'm here. About to be kidnapped. Oh, and our grand plan for safely capturing said murderous rogue? Yeah, that completely fell apart about two minutes ago.

Why did I agree to this again?

--Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn't a reverse harem. It's 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.


Tori has no problem getting herself into trouble in every book in the Guild Codex series, but each one is a complete adventure—no cliffhanger endings.

--THE GUILD CODEX: SPELLBOUNDThree Mages and a Margarita (#1)Dark Arts and a Daiquiri (#2)Two Witches and a Whiskey (#3)

So excited that this book published right on the heels of the first one! I was anticipating a long wait, but it was only about two months. And the third one is due to be out February 8th…be still my heart! Also please tell me it is NOT the last one…after the way this one ended, I don’t see how everything could possibly be wrapped up in only one more book.

Dark Arts and a Daiquiri picks up just a few weeks after the events of Three Mages and a Margarita, and we jump right into the action as Tori and the guys set up an exorcism for a faery spirit haunting the apartment she wants to rent. Much hilarity ensues, and then sadly the apartment and the faery are abandoned while they all become involved in hunting down this big-huge-black-magic-bad-guy that is stealing magically inclined youngsters. And by hunting down, we mean using Tori as bait. Things do not go as planned. Things – and people – are not what they seem.

I loved this one just as much as the first, even if some things I was hoping for didn’t happen. I snickered and giggled my way all the way through, as well as having a few moments where I simply couldn’t read fast enough.

Characters

I planted my feet, hands clenched as I glared at him, silently daring him to blast me into Tori goo.

Tori is the same smart-mouthed chick we met in the first book. We learn a very little bit more about her past, but mostly the story was moving along so quickly there wasn’t a whole lot of time for reflection. There are some new characters, Nadine, Echo (I don’t care what anyone says, I am INTRIGUED), and perhaps most interestingly, Zac. Oh! And Harry. Can’t forget Harry. Yes, I am being intentionally vague because this book is VERY easy to spoil.

“Sorcery,” he interrupted irritably. “Not sorcerer-y.”

In Tori’s words:

“You are a supreme dickhead and I haven’t forgiven you for anything.”

Actually, you know what? I just want to be able to come up with this smart-mouthed retorts like Tori. My daily life would be so entertaining.

“I don’t think you’re as bad as you think you are.”

“I told you not to get the wrong idea.”

“Oh, sorry. What I meant to say was you’re an evil bastard and I can’t wait to see you burnt at the stake for your evil crimes of evil.”

I don’t know exactly why this particular exchange struck me as so funny, but I laughed until I had tears running down my cheeks.

Also, I am in awe of the author’s ability to make me care about ALL these characters. Usually when I read a book I’m only really invested in one or two. Not so with these. Which is why I was very disappointed that we didn’t see much of the three mages in this book. They were there, but just not nearly as much, and I reeeeeeally wanted to find out more about their backstories!

Plot

If you’re hoping for some resolution of previous things, forget it. This book is an entirely new can of worms, and we only barely see the house-haunting faery that appear in the very first chapter! It does seem like it will play a larger part maybe in a later book, but damn.

Also, there are now dragons – including baby dragons – and I want to see more of them.

“For the blood of my blood’s life, I will aid you again – but only once.”

With so many loose ends, this seems like it could be a fantastic series of at least five or six books. Can we please go back to Ezra’s story? I want to know why everyone seems to be afraid of him when he really seems like such a nice guy.

Oh, and Zac. I really want to know more about him too.

Flame Rating:

More sexual tension, but not as much as in the first. Come oooooon, girlfriend. Tori’s obviously got the hots for Aaron but I’m still Team Ezra.

Minor Complaints

As already mentioned, lack of screen time for the three mages. Also the unfair teasing with the house faery. Then…does Tori have to immediately get into a confrontation with every other woman she meets? I thought she and the witch from the first book were going to be friends, but she only appeared in passing in this one…does it have to be all guys?

4.5/5 stars. Great second book, can’t wait for more!

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Nov 30

Review of Chase the Dark

Book Reviews 1 ★★★★★

I recently discovered author Annette Marie with the first book of her new series, Three Mages and a Margarita, and have started going through her back catalog. I’m so excited that she HAS an extensive backlist, as it seems a lot of the authors I really love are so new they only have two or three books.

Review of Chase the DarkChase the Dark (Steel & Stone, #1) by Annette Marie
Published by Annette Marie on October 17, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 302
Buy on Amazon
Goodreadsfive-stars
three-flames

Piper Griffiths wants one thing in life: To become a Consul, a keeper of the peace between humans and daemons. There are three obstacles in her way.

The first is Lyre. Incubus. Hotter than hell and with a wicked streak to match. His greatest mission in life is to get Piper into bed and otherwise annoy the crap out of her. The second is Ash. Draconian. Powerful. Dangerous. He knows too much and reveals nothing. Also, disturbingly attractive — and scary. Did she mention scary?

The third is the Sahar Stone. Top secret magical weapon of mass destruction. Previously hidden in her Consulate until thieves broke in, went on a murder spree, and disappeared with the weapon.

And they left Piper to take the fall for their crimes.

Now she’s on the run, her dreams of becoming a Consul shattered and every daemon in the city gunning to kill her. She’s dead on her own, but there’s no one she can trust — no one except two entirely untrustworthy daemons ... See problems one and two.

Chase the Dark seemed to be the logical place to jump in after Three Mages, while I was waiting NOT so patiently for the next in that series (which I’ve since read, and a review is coming soon!). Also, the entire Steel & Stone series is available through Kindle Unlimited, which I happened to be trying for a free month. I hesitated slightly because in my experience, often an author’s first book or even first few books are not as good as their later works. I am thrilled to report that I was wrong, and I quite enjoyed the start to this storyline.

As with any fantasy, urban or otherwise, there’s a good deal of worldbuilding setup required in the initial book. Chase the Dark is set in a future earthworld that sees traffic from daemons of various “species,” most of which take on a humanoid form during the time they spend on earth. Piper, our main character, is in training to be a consul, a go-between for the daemon guests and earth’s diplomatic figures. It is, OF COURSE, frowned on for consuls to have any kind of personal relationships with daemons, regardless of their benevolent intentions…OF COURSE. *wink wink*

The story moves fast, as Piper, with Lyle – an on-so-alluring succubus – and Ash, an enigmatic draconian daemon (which is just as interesting as it sounds) – in tow has to make a run for her life and freedom after a horrifying attack on the human embassy erupts. Naturally, law enforcement jumps to conclusions about just who is behind the attack. Things snowball from there.

Characters

I love Piper. I love her backbone, her willingness to try ANYTHING to do what she perceives as her duty, and I love how she cares about people. She’s young, but not TOO young (I do think the YA label is somewhat misleading on this series…it felt more New Adult to me, but without some of the explicit sex scenes that a lot of NA books have). She has a lot of past hurts from her parents and relationship issues, but she keeps going, chasing her dream, despite the fact that she has a sizeable obstacle in her way. Piper is haemon – half human, half daemon – through a VERY interesting set of circumstances, and as such has none of the magical capabilities that haemons usually have. She hasn’t let this stop her though, instead training ten times harder than most in an effort to level the playing field. You. Go. Girl.

Somehow, Annette Marie has managed to avoid making this feel like a love triangle. I suppose it…sort of IS, regardless, but it just doesn’t feel like a typical one. Despite Lyle and Ash both being insanely hot and there being quite a few sexy scenes. The three of them are a team, and they work best when they are ALL together…it’s not only hot, it’s funny as hell. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. One of which involves spiders.

Piper went stiff as board. Ash crouched over her, a knee on either side of her as he craned to try and spot the insect. She bit her lip so hard she tasted blood…her muscles quivered. Give her minotaurs, sphinxes, anything but spiders.

I love that they do have weaknesses. Perfect characters are so unrealistic and unlikeable.

Though if you’re wondering, Ash was my favorite of the two guys. Because I love anti-heroes. He IS a real piece of work though…which is about all I can say without spoiling anything. Also, HE HAS A DRAGONET FOR A PET AND SHE IS THE MOST ADORABLE THING EVER. Ahem. I need a Zwi in my life. Ash does seem a little too emo at the beginning, but once they start running his seeming immaturity sort of evaporates. Again also, his refusal to show his real form at ANY costs is very VERY intriguing. What can I say, curiosity killed the cat. Some of the events at the end of the book involve him in a way that pretty much had my jaw on the floor…who IS Ash, exactly? And why does he have to be my favorite? I feel like he might end up the bad guy and I would absolutely HATE that…

Plot

SO MUCH HAPPENING. I find this is usually the case in the first of a fantasy series, because as mentioned before the entire world, etc., has to be set up. I was just more and more intrigued the longer this went on, and while a few things were explained in the end, it is really just a gigantic cliffhanger that left me gasping for air. I desperately need to read the rest, and plan to do so hopefully over winter break. Piper learns a lot about herself and her family that she never knew, and basically entire pieces of her life have been a fake or a lie. Yay overprotective parents.

Oh, and there’s a freaking amazing fight scene – because Piper can kick just about anyone’s ass, be they human or daemon – that is hot. AF. Just saying.

Worldbuilding

The world is basically our current earth with some technological upgrades and the addition of daemons from both an underworld and overworld. Very fascinating, especially since the good and evil distinction does not necessarily follow the under and over bit. I loved it. I hope the next books maybe actually let us GO to these other worlds.

Flame Rating

There isn’t any actual sex, or even any real clothing removal. Just load and loads of sexual tension and some hot kissing. And the fight scene.

5/5 stars. If you like urban fantasy AT ALL, I would definitely give it a try!

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five-stars

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Oct 19

FULL Review of Three Mages and a Margarita

Book Reviews 1 ★★★★★

FULL Review of Three Mages and a MargaritaThree Mages and a Margarita (The Guild Codex: Spellbound, #1) by Annette Marie
Published by Dark Owl Fantasy Inc. on September 14, 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 312
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Goodreadsfive-stars
two-flames

Broke, almost homeless, and recently fired. Those are my official reasons for answering a wanted ad for a skeevy-looking bartender gig.

It went downhill the moment they asked me to do a trial shift instead of an interview — to see if I'd mesh with their "special" clientele. I think that part went great. Their customers were complete dickheads, and I was an asshole right back. That's the definition of fitting in, right?

I expected to get thrown out on my ass. Instead, they… offered me the job?

It turns out this place isn't a bar. It's a guild. And the three cocky guys I drenched with a margarita during my trial? Yeah, they were mages. Either I'm exactly the kind of takes-no-shit bartender this guild needs, or there's a good reason no one else wants to work here.

So what's a broke girl to do? Take the job, of course — with a pay raise.

--Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn't a reverse harem. It's 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.


Tori has no problem getting herself into trouble in every book in the Guild Codex series, but each one is a complete adventure—no cliffhanger endings.

--THE GUILD CODEX: SPELLBOUNDThree Mages and a Margarita (#1)Dark Arts and a Daiquiri (#2)Two Witches and a Whiskey (#3)

I was expecting to like Three Mages and a Margarita. I was NOT expecting to love it. And well..let’s just say as soon as I finished I jumped onto GoodReads to see when the next one was coming out!

I signed up for the book tour because I like sassy female characters and felt like I could use a lighthearted, amusing read in the middle of all my heavy science stuff that I’ve been working on for months. The description made me think Jim Butcher and Gail Carriger had a brain-child…and I was NOT disappointed!

Characters

Tori is the bomb. She takes no shit, from anyone, and yet she still has soft heart and she tries to care about people. It’s only sort of hinted at what sort of trauma her past holds (she tries to reveal-but-not-reveal to one other character in the book and it just left some things up in the air), but she has difficulty trusting anyone. She takes care of herself, but she tries to take care of other people too. The dichotomy is something she admits to struggling with, but it doesn’t weigh the book down.

The three mages are, as promised, sexy AF. Despite that, it is not (also as promised) a reverse harem. Just a good dose of sexual tension and admiration on all sides, hence the two flames. Nothing too sexual though, though I feel like the potential is there. I am extremely eager to see what happens in subsequent books, and I’m kind of hoping for a HEA on all counts for this series. Because it just seems like it needs it. All three guys – despite being often seen together and best friends – are quite different and I loved them all but I loved Ezra just a teeny bit more. :heart_eyes: Ahem.

Worldbuilding

Now, I don’t read that much urban fantasy, so it’s possible the magic system isn’t all that original, but I thought it was fascinating. I loved how the explanation of magic users in the modern world was explained, how they stayed hidden from the normal/human set, as well as how they used their powers and weapons.

Storyline

The plot kept it moving, which I really liked. The only reason I didn’t read this all in one sitting was because – well, homework and being a responsible student. 😛 Whomp whomp. (Also when I went to write this review, my ePub had for some reason VANISHED from my computer and I really wanted to look back and re-read a few things before I wrote it, hence the very short review in the actual tour post.) Things just kept happening! I wanted to find out more and more and it didn’t feel predictable at all. I did feel like one part – not the actual climax, but leading up to that – was oddly rushed, but when I thought back over it a scene between wasn’t really necessary, I was just a bit stunned by how fast it moved on. The ACTUAL climax I actually panicked slightly, though I was pretty sure they wouldn’t kill off a particular character it certainly seemed like it was going to happen for awhile and just OMG NO. In the end, everything seemed pretty well-resolved though, aside from the non-romance, so I’m interested to see what else is going to happen in the next two books.

Yes! Two! Aaaaah!! Maybe more? I certainly hope so! I think Three Mages and a Margarita is the start to a series I could see myself enjoying for a very long time to come.

Book 2, Dark Arts and a Daiquiri, is due out November 18, of THIS YEAR! Such a short wait between books, I am just over the moon.

Book 3, Two Witches and a Whiskey, titled but no GR page or pub date yet.

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher as part of a promotional book tour by Expresso Book Tours. This in no way influenced my ability to give an honest review.

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five-stars

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Nov 04

Book Review: Of Flame and Light

Book Reviews 3 ★★★½

This book was such a fun read and nice break from all the YA I’ve been buried in lately! I participated in the blog tour when it released a couple of weeks ago (you can read an excerpt in that post). I love YA, don’t get me wrong, but you know how adding salt to caramel just makes the flavor POP so much more? That’s what mixing in different genres does for my reading. The different “flavors” really enhance all the flavors. Anywho. Enough comparing books to ice cream and chocolate.

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Like this amazing cake from Chowhound (click for recipe)

Of Flame and Light is fast-paced, hilarious, and full of super-sexy men and women intent on screwing the living daylights out of each other. 4/5 FLAMES (not stars, FLAMES…there’s supposed to be flame icons somewhere but I can’t get them to work, haha…still figuring out the new website). I really think this is one of those books that, while you CAN read it as a stand-alone and enjoy it, I would definitely have understood more and enjoyed it more if I had been following along through the entire Weird Girls series. So while I was somewhat confused at points, there’s enough explanation to get a who’s-who and a general idea of the supernatural creatures and world. I definitely plan to start at the beginning and read through at some point. Actually vaguely considering obtaining the other 6 and binge-reading on a weekend…this was a terrific feel-good book and I could use some more.

The plot never stagnates and I was CERTAINLY never bored. This was the main part where I felt like I was missing things, as this book focused on the werewolves and witches and only briefly mentioned the vampires (which seem to have played a bigger part in previous books). Of course Taran’s strange limb and the new magic fusing with her old starts the story off, but it’s soon overtaken by the bigger, overarching problem of a dark, wicked power rising. I liked the conflict between the weres and the witches, but I wish I understood it a little better. I’m guessing the zombies were new to this series?

Taran is a hilarious narrator. Her descriptions of her attempts at “training” with the witches had me snickering as I read. Other than that, honestly…she was pretty bitchy. I wasn’t super fond of her and found her kind of hard to relate to…her strange powers, those I could imagine. But her perfect (except for the arm, which is basically a crazy prosthetic she can’t take off) body, her constant tight dresses and platform heels…THAT I didn’t get. Same goes for her sisters, who all seem to have perky boobs, tiny waists, flat stomachs…yadda yadda. Also, there are SO MANY strapping, hot werewolf men in this book…holy bejeezus, I felt like I was constantly fanning myself! Gemini, Koda, Aric, Bren…phew. She definitely has the sex appeal of werewolves on point. 😉 Of course now I want to know ALL the stories…anyway. I absolutely despised Vieve, the witch coven’s leader. I wanted to reach through the pages and stab her with a fork.

The world-building was good but I still got confused on some things. Like I said before, I’m pretty sure this is partially because I picked up this book partway through the series. Her descriptive powers certainly lit a fire in MY imagination. Did I already mention sexy werewolves? Oh, right, I did.

Issues I had: I was kind of bothered by the fact that – in my opinion – the whole conflict between Taran and Gemini could have been solved if they had JUST SAT DOWN AND TALKED. That’s all. I kept thinking there would be something bigger revealed…but no. Just one big miscommunication that they were too scared to talk about. Besides my annoyance with Taran’s personality, I felt like she really had NO IDEA how to handle her magic, she just happened to get lucky every time it worked for her. She also never really seemed to learn anything from her time with the witches. I find it seriously hard to believe that one person could be that lucky THAT many times.

Overall, 3.5/5 stars. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series! I just downloaded the first, Sealed with a Curse, onto my Nook. 🙂

Thank you so much to Cecy Robson for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review!

 

three-half-stars

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