Category Archives: eBooks

Review – Rising, Freestyle by Vivian Arend

Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: Out Now!
How I got this book: eARC from author

Melanie Dixon’s body may have recovered from a horrific climbing accident, but her nerve is long gone. So is the natural enthusiasm for life she took for granted. Tired of being scared, beyond ready to conquer her fears, she pulls up stakes and moves to her brother’s new hometown to start over. Her first step is the most terrifying—to tackle the wall at the local climbing center.

Derrick James is mesmerized by Melanie’s dark beauty, and equally impressed with her climbing abilities and determination. Watching her retune rusty skills spurs a desire to partner with her—on and off the ropes. Melanie’s a compelling mix of wit, sensuality and vulnerability, and it’s his delicious task to convince her the scars on her body are no match for the heat rising between them.

Then a man from Melanie’s past shows up, pushing their relationship to the edge. Nathan King wants photographs for a “where are they now” series, but his side agenda is more personal in nature. A proposal that brings her out of her sensual shell and onto a precarious sexual ledge. Where trust is crucial…and too easily shattered.

Warning: This book may cause heart-pounding, body-shaking adrenaline attacks—and that’s before they leave the climbing gym. Contains blindfolds, ropes and a healthy dose of voyeurism. Go on—you know you like to watch.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

 

Arend is one of my favorite authors, but with the trend of menage books popping up all over, there are a few of her works that don’t always sit well with me. I was excited to read this one, then halfway through I got a little leery, but I should have known that Arend wouldn’t disappoint

Melanie was once a fearless rock climber, but an accident left her scarred and petrified to attempting climbing again. But she wants to face her fears and goes to the local rock climbing center to try and face her fears once again. At the hands of Derrick she starts to come more and more out of her shell, more willing to push further and further along.

As the two get closer and closer to each other and Melanie gets closer to overcoming her fears, things are suddenly disrupted as someone from Melanie’s past comes back into her life. But, Nathan might just be able to provide the little nudge that Melanie needs to not only overcome the mountains, but also learn to accept the scars that have taken her self esteem.

From the moment Derrick stepped out onto the page, I was in love. He was strong willed, handsome, and the kind of guy who wanted to stand behind Melanie; he was supportive and loving in everything he did for her. He was the perfect kind of sexy romance hero. I absolutely loved the two of them together. They had instant chemistry, both emotionally and physically.

When Arend introduced Nathan to the story, I instantly didn’t like him. He wanted his chance with Melanie, and while he was willing to take a step back because of her involvement with Derrick, I wasn’t too sure I would like the dynamic with their little mountain experiment. But, I have to admit that I didn’t hate him forever. I did appreciate the way that he was able to help Melanie get over her insecurities with being scarred from her accident. That and the fact that he was so willing to play second fiddle to Derrick made him redeemable in my eyes. This wasn’t the typical menage interlude, and for that I was so happy!

One of the other things I really liked was the different sport that Arend introduces in her Xtreme Adventures series. The rock climbing moments were intense and exciting. If I wasn’t so afraid of heights and falling, I would be tempted to try it out! Plus, if I got a sexy instructor like Derrick who was willing to do some of the same sexy things to me… *fans self* Well, I might be willing to take a chance!

All in all, I was really happy with the second installment of the Xtreme Adventures Series. The romance between Derrick and Melanie was sweet and the characters had me falling in love with them. The sexy times were (as always for Arend) totally hot. For any sports or adventure lovers, this book is a must read.

I give Rising, Freestyle a B

Barnes & Noble | Kindle eBook

Review – Before the Witches by Karina Cooper

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Publish Date: Out Now!

How I got this book: NetGalley

 

In America, they didn’t care about witches. But all that was about to change.

Katya Zhuvova fled a country that feared her gifts, but her escape to Seattle left her at the mercy of a ruthless man. With no one left to turn to, Katya hatches a desperate escape plan. Undercover Detective Nigel Ferris is determined to bring down a prostitution ring, whatever the cost. In order to the get answers he needs, he attempts to win the trust of one of the prostitutes involved—but one look at the deceptively sultry Katya and the cool, objective cop disappears. Before either can put their plans into place, Mother Nature shrugs: a cataclysm rocks Seattle, and life is turned upside down.

Brought together by chance, Nigel and Katya are in the fight for their lives. Surrounded by death and fear, shattered by immeasurable loss, they have only a bond forged in fire to cling to as they struggle to survive in a world gone straight to hell.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

Katya came to America for two reasons: because they don’t care about witches, and so she can make a better life for herself. But things don’t always stay the same. Katya arrives and finds herself immersed into a human trafficking ring, forced into prostitution. Her plan to get herself and the girls out leads her to the police station, and directly to Nigel Ferris.

Nigel is working on taking down the ring leader in the trafficking ring, and with Katya’s help, now has an inside witness. But, before he has the chance to move forward with his investigation, the world as they know if comes to an end. The entire western part of the United States falls victim to horrific earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and apocalyptic events.

Through the catastrophe, the two form an unbreakable bond, one that just might allow them to continue on when all other hope is lost.

I really enjoyed Cooper’s debut novella, and introduction to her new Dark Mission Series. I loved the world building that was introduced, and can’t wait to find out more about witches, and the role they will play in the future of the series. I also really enjoyed how we got a little bit of a glimpse into the events that the series is really based on.

Katya and Nigel were fun to read. While the majority of the novella took place during the actual Seattle apocalyptic events, we still got a chance to get invested in the characters. I loved that Nigel was so strong and dedicated to his job as a cop, to protecting Katya at all costs. Katya was also incredible; living through a horrendous situation and still doing everything she can to protect and care for those around her. I was a little sad for her, especially since she really lost so much in such a short period of time.

The romance was extremely fast paced and intense. While the novella didn’t really allow for a detailed love story, I did still feel the connection between the two. If you are looking for a real romantic novella, this might not be the best story for you to read. However, if the Dark Mission Series is something that appeals to you, I think this backstory will go along nicely with the series as a whole, especially with the background information and worldbuilding.

Again, I am anxious to read future books by Cooper, and think that this debut author has great potential.

All in all, I give Before the Witches a B-

 

Joint Review – Sabine by Moira Rogers

Publisher: Samhain

Publish Date: Out Now!

How We Got This Book: Author provided eARC for review

 

 

 

A curse can erase her from his mind, but never from his heart.

…and the Beast, Book 1

After three years at war, the High Lord of the Forest returns to his lands, a victorious wolf leader intent on claiming his mate. Instead Ciar finds an empty bed and a court with no recollection of the woman he loved. Following her long-cold trail proves far easier than facing what awaits him at the end.

Sabine’s first instinct is to beg her beloved to leave. The High Lord’s mother hired a witch to curse Sabine, desperate to wipe the lowborn wolf from her son’s mind. But the spell worked too well, and Sabine has vanished from the thoughts of everyone who sees her. Including her own family.

The edges of his memory already blurring, Ciar and Sabine must race to find a way to reverse the spell. Yet every searing moment together is not enough to stop the curse’s inexorable progress. His only chance is to bind Sabine to him too tightly to be forgotten, before she disappears once and for all.

Product Warnings
This story contains cruel betrayal, destined love, vile curses, smoldering reunions, wicked deeds between wanton shapeshifters and a happily-ever-after worthy of any fairy tale.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

Has: When I saw the cover of Sabine which was tweeted on twitter, I was instantly intrigued to read the book. I love the look of the cover which was dreamy and ethereal looking but the blurb was also just as interesting. And after reading the short but engrossing read,  the story definitely lived up to its initial promise. 

MinnChica: I was taken in by the cover as well, and love the kind of fairy tale aspect that this series seems to have. And yes, it really did live up to all my expectations. Moira Rogers can really do no wrong in my book!

Has: The story of lovers being reunited is not one of my favourite tropes but I loved how this was played out in this novella. Although I wished it was longer, (I loved the setting and the characters) I didn’t feel that this lessened the impact of their yearning between them and the fact that Sabine’s curse added tension and some heart-ache to the story. I really felt that Moira Rogers conveyed that sense of loneliness and loss really well.

MinnChica: I agree completely. I really enjoy lover reunited stories, and I thought it was done so well, especially with the twist of the curse that was placed on Sabine. I loved how the whole curse scenario played out as well, how Sabine dealt with the pain and heartache, who Ciar handled it. Very well done!

Has: Oh I loved how determined he was not to forget her and the scene later on where he realises something is wrong was a highlight of the book. Also loved the little glimpse of how his wolf viewed her. I really wished this story was longer and the world was explored fully. I love fantasy romance and this setting/characters had a lot of promise on that end.

MinnChica: That was the only thing I didn’t like about the story: the length. Rogers does such an incredible job bringing their characters and settings to life, even in such a short and condensed time frame. I would have loved to dive deeper into the world and characters. And you’re right, the scene where he knows something is wrong had me melting with emotion!

Has: I was totally a puddle at that scene! My gripe was the fact that the ending and the reasons behind the curse needed to be expanded. And the ending was a bit of an anticlimax especially by the people who were behind the plot and curse on Sabine and Ciar’s relationship.

MinnChica: Sometimes with shorter stories like this, the ending tends to be somewhat rushed. It did seem somewhat anticlimatic, especially after everything they had to go to to get to that spot, to beat the curse. But maybe, hopefully, we can see more of them in future books in the series?!

Has: I hope so! It was definitely a great intro to the world and setting but I did feel that there was a huge buildup, and the world-building and characters was great. But the ending felt a bit rushed and I wanted more of a confrontation (and punishment) on those responsible for the curse.

MinnChica: All in all, I adored Sabine. I thought that the first book in this new series was strong and solid in the world building and characters. While I would have like to see a little more meat in the story, I can’t wait to see how the series progresses.
I give Sabine a B+.

Has: Sabine is very much like a very sexy fairytale in a way with a lot of emotional depth.The tone and feel swept me into the story and I definitely recommend it. I also can’t wait to for the rest of the books in the series! I do hope we get a longer installment that explores the world because I really think it has a lot of promise!
I give Sabine a B-

Review: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Where did you get the book: Netgalley

What publisher: Harper Teen

Release date: Out now

 

Blurb taken from Goodreads:

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers – monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell – she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.  

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie’s powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her – an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie’s soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian’s most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives – including truths that may be too frightening to remember.

Angelfire is one of the latest YA books that features angels and demons, and a mysterious boy and a heroine that are thrust into this strange and dangerous world. Unlike most books, which focuses mainly on a core romance, Angelfire combines action and a strong mythos that really is Buffyesque and I had a great time with reading this book.

Ellie Monroe is haunted with vivid and terrifying dreams of demonic creatures attacking her which soon begins to affect her schoolwork and her home life. Her home life is is no better with her parent’s constant fighting and the increasing emotional detachment of her father. But her life changes when she encounters a strange boy called Will who soon tells her they have known each other for centuries and that he is her guardian and that she has a power and the knowledge to fight against demons. Of course she finds this totally preposterous, but soon realises that she is a warrior of mysterious origins who reincarnates again and again throughout the centuries with the same body and memories and a gift of Angelfire that only harms reapers (demons).

However the gap of time since her last death and resurrection is the longest yet, and Ellie can only recall snatches here and there. With the help of Will she must regain her lost memories because they hold knowledge on how to fight the demons threatening an Armageddon on Earth.

Angelfire is a fun and an engaging read, and was refreshing to read because it focused more on the action with a well thought out mythology and a strong heroine. There was a lot similarities with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with a heroine who has to balance high-school, a social life and fighting demons. There is also a core romance with a mysterious boy, but fortunately he doesn’t sparkle in the sunlight but sports some nifty tatts instead, and provides support and guidance with fighting against reapers who are demons who are determined to bring on the Armageddon.

Elle’s rediscovery of her past and skills were some of my favourite scenes from the book. I especially liked the flashbacks which featured different historical periods and settings and reflected a much darker and almost inhuman Ellie which compared to her current incarnation of a more vulnerable and ordinary scared girl, and who is definitely more human confronted with this new knowledge which was an interesting juxtaposition. I suspect that this will be explored further in future books about Ellie’s evolution which I will definitely look out for.

I think Moulton’s grasp of Reapers and Archangels was well thought out and imagined. However, I wished we got more of their backstory instead of the brief glimpses. I also did find at times that Ellie’s torn feelings of trying to maintain a normal teen life was a bit frustrating, not because she has to, but she seems to dismiss and ignore the danger she was in. She definitely seem to verge on too stupid to live moments once or twice.

I also found that her father’s anger and growing outbursts throughout the book hints at something more but I wished this was explained more because it was too vague and the subplot was ignored later in the second half of the book, when Ellie and Will go off on a trip to stop the reapers gaining advantage.

The romance, however was a highlight of the book. It never overpowers the book and like Ellie’s regaining her knowledge and memories of her past, the love story compliments the action and adds to the emotional growth. I do have to say the twist at the end of the book especially the repercussion it has to Will and Ellie’s future relationship was great! And I did not expect to see that.

Angelfire is a great start to a series. It has a lot of potential that focuses a lot more on adventure and action instead of a angsty romance, although it does provide a great love story. I know there is a slew of books right now that feature angels and demons but if you fancy something that is more action packed with a capable and likable heroine then Angelfire is definitely one I would recommend.

I give Angelfire a C+

All Romance eBooks – Earth Day Celebration

Last year I discovered All Romance eBooks. They are a great site for romance ebooks from many different digital publishers. During the month of April, they love to celebrate Earth Day by going green, giving away free ebooks!

I gobbled up the ebooks from last year, and this year’s list looks amazing as well.  I’ve watched the scrolling flash header about four times to compile this list, so please make sure to leave your high praise in the comments (only slightly kidding…) To get the daily ebook, either search for it on the appropriate day, or click the banner to be taken directly to the book!

Happy reading!!

April 1 – Coin operated by Ginny Glass
April 2 – Handcuffs and Leather by Kim Dare
April 3 – Beowulf and Roxieby Marisa Chenery
April 4 – A Savage Lustby H.C. Brown
April 5 – Acting Naughty by  G.A. Hauser
April 6 – The Siren and the Sword by Cecilian Tan
April 7 – Deadly Nightshade by Victor J. Banis
April 8 – The Perfect Creation by Marie Harte
April 9 – True Mates by Zena Wynn
April 10 – Three Days in New York City by Robin Slick
April 11 – Cut & Run by Abigail Roux & Madeleine Urban
April 12 – Serenity’s Dream by Brita Addams
April 13 – Born to Fly: Landing in Love by Aliyah Burke
April 14 – The Cross of Love by Barbara Cartland
April 15 – Running in Fear: Escaped by Trinity Blacio
April 16 – Bent by Sean Michael
April 17 – The Last Celtic Witch by Lyn Armstrong
April 18 – Brier’s Bargain by Carol Lynne
April 19 – Lucas by Eliza Gayle
April 20 – A Deadly Game by J.P. Bowie
April 21 – The Sacrifice by Samantha Sommersby

Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey

Where did you get the book: Netgalley ARC

What publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: Out now

Blurb taken from Goodreads
One-night stand + two percent condom failure rate = happily ever after?
Bar owner Kevin Kowalski is used to women throwing their phone numbers at him, but lately he’s more interested in finding a woman to settle down with. A woman like Beth Hansen. If only their first meeting hadn’t gone so badly…
Beth’s tending bar at a wedding when she comes face-to-face with a tuxedo-clad man she never thought she’d see again. She tries to keep her distance from Kevin but, by last call, she can’t say no to his too-blue eyes or the invitation back to his room. Then she slips out before breakfast without leaving a note and, despite their precautions, pregnant.
Kevin quickly warms to the idea of being a dad and to seeing where things go with Beth. After all, he’s not the player she thinks he is. But she’s not ready for a relationship and, given his reputation, it’s going to take a lot to convince her to go on a second date with the father of her child…

I have really enjoyed Shannon Stacey’s romances in the past and I was looking forward to this installment of the Kowalski’s clan, which features Kevin, the brother of the hero in the first book of the series, Exclusively Yours. Kevin’s story starts out during the wedding reception of his brother, who was the hero in the previous book. Kevin soon finds himself intensely attracted to Beth who is serving drinks at the bar, and one thing leads to another and they share a very hot night of passion that has consequences to the sounds of pitter patter of tiny feet.

I really, really enjoyed Kevin’s character and I liked that from the moment he set eyes on Beth, he was a goner there and then. I liked how relatable and realistic his reactions were especially when he discovered he would become a father. He didn’t push Beth into doing something she wasn’t ready or comfortable with and I really liked how patient  he was towards her. I also really liked how he interacted with his co-workers and customers, which was full of funny and engaging conversations, and illustrated what kind of character he was. His courtship with Beth was filled with patience and yearning that I found really appealing.

On the other hand, Beth was a much more subdued character and although initially I liked her independent gypsy life and carefree attitude and I enjoyed her early interactions with Kevin. But as the book progressed I found her character wasn’t as developed as Kevin, because the reasons behind her detachment with her family didn’t really work for me – which was due to her family’s overprotective attention and care. But I didn’t think they were overly stifling or controlling and it just felt off,  although I could see why she could be a loner. I just couldn’t warm up to her stubborn attitude about not giving him a chance and for me this affected my enjoyment of the romance between them.

I also found that because she was constantly throwing road blocks into committing into a relationship with Kevin until right until the end, and I became doubtful that it would actually work. I just found that final transition from her discovering she was willing to commit  and the realisation that she was in love with Kevin – even though she was aware of his feelings – just didn’t work for me.

I actually found myself more interested and absorbed into the secondary characters, Paulie and Sam who were former lovers and were previously engaged to be married. I think the conflict between them was much more believable and not as frustrating as the one that Beth and Kevin shared. Paulie’s desire to escape from her rich and influential parents as well as the social expectations that she had to face was a more realistic reason compared to that of Beth’s. And I found that interesting because both Paulie and Beth mirror each other in some ways but Paulie’s romance with Sam was more engrossing and in some ways I wished this was the main romance.

I also liked the insights and life at Kevin’s bar/restaurant and I think Shannon Stacey has a great way with dialogue and characters. I really enjoyed the quirky characters which conveys such a warm tone and engaging affection to the reader and that is a true highlight for me. I especially loved the scenes with Kevin’s close knit family life which helped to create such a warm and fun tone which I think was one of the highlights in this book for me.

Shannon Stacey has such a great way with dialogue and conveys quirky and memorable characters and it was apparent here in spades in this book. Nonetheless, although I did enjoy some aspects of Undeniably Yours, such as the secondary romance with Paulie and Sam, the secondary characters, and even the main hero Kevin who I felt was an engaging and warm hero, Beth’s reticent and the reasons behind that just felt forced and dragged on which affected my enjoyment of their romance.

I give Undeniably Yours a C-