Highland Dragon Warrior (Dawn of the Highland Dragon #1) by Isabel Cooper

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A wonderful beginning for what I suspect will be a wonderful series!

Highland laird Cathal MacAlasdair has a lot on his plate. Being responsible for his people, as well as a dragon-shifter in secret, he needs someone to help him battle through it all. Yet, instead of the warrior he prays for, he gets alchemist enthusiast Sophia Metzger. She may not be physically strong, and her womanly wiles may indeed make his insides burn with need against his will. But she’s the one he didn’t know he actually needed to assist him – if she can only prove so by healing his friend.

I enjoyed the ride with this book. Not only do we get Scotland – I mean, yes, I’m biased, I’m in love with the freaking country, can you blame me?! – but we also get dragons! Actually, dragons with kilts – yeah, I’m drooling, sue me!


But it’s not just my personally favorite things that drew me in. The story is a love story, sure. Yet it takes a while to actually happen! Sophia and Cathal know they’re attracted to each other. But they also understand they have duties to deal with, and they try their hardest to make things work. Healing Cathal’s friend took a hell of a lot of this book, but it was understandable and I loved it. I mean, plot-wise, Sophia’s presence in Cathal’s home is necessary to heal poor Fergus – it would be really unfair and foolish to simply dismiss the urgency of the matter just because their sexual tension was off the charts. They do come to terms with their feelings, don’t get me wrong, but they did so in the right time and place, not a minute sooner!

I really can’t wait to read about the rest of the MacAlasdair family – especially Douglas, oh, that man did things to me, I tell you!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

4cupcakes

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The Demond of Legend (Drux Series #1) by S.P. Joseph Lyons

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“I love you, Kaya. In you I have felt something I have never felt before…” – Oreunasis

Taking on human flesh, Oreunasis, the Lord of the Drux – something similar to a hubrid of god/angel – descends from his heavenly kingdom to destroy the human wielding magic and protect the rest of the worlds from them. But a human body has limitations – and desires. And Oreunasis finds himself learning and wishing for much more than he originially planned.

OK, yeah, it had an interesting concept, and the romance between Kaya and Oreunasis was… sweet, sort of. But the rating couldn’t go higher than what I gave it, based on the fact that there were a lot of loopholes in the plot. The writer wanted to create his own universe, and that would have worked if he had taken just a couple of paragraphs of explaining the logic of such universe. Instead, I felt rushed right from the start to accept laws and physics I wasn’t familiar with, and that disrupted the pace of the rest of the story quite a bit. And don’t get me started on the end – I was literally screaming at my screen a series of cusses that would have made a sailor blush! What was that?!

I don’t think I want to read the rest of the series. It was a… fun ride while it lasted, but this is the end of the line for me.

“Every moment I used to live before you is nothing at all compared to the moments I now live with you…” – Kaya

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

2cupcakes

Liam: Branded Brothers by Raen Smith

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An Irish main hero, tattooed, with a military past – and two more brothers to come in the series? Color me impressed and willing to go!

Charla Taylor was content working for an old man until the end of his days – only, his end came sooner than she was ready for. Now she’s left with a letter to pass on to his eldest son – who had no idea his father existed! Bar owner Liam Murphy had his life sorted out, but fate had other plans for him. Now he and Charla, while tugging at each other’s heartstrings, have to fight to stay alive and uncover his father’s secrets – all the while looking for his little brothers.

Good Lord, this was an awesome book! It strarted out pretty slow, and at first I thought this was just gonna be a contemporary romance, but oh boy was I wrong! And I loved being wrong in this case! The plot thickened as the story went on, and there were so many factors and so many secrets – damn Liam’s father was sure an interesting fellow back in the day! Add a heavy dose of action and sexual tension, and you’ve got yourself a bomb ready to go BOOM and cover you with feels!

Liam was amazing! Every time he opened his mouth, I swooned. With almost every line that came from his mouth, I was like “Yeah, dude, keep destroying IRL guys for me, I mean, fuck, thank you, why not?!”. It was that intense!


Charla was a bit too much at times – but given her background and her family, I had to see things from her point of view, and I couldn’t really blame her. I loved how devoted and loyal she was, and her kindness never overshadowed her survival instincts. Girl was willing to help anyone who needed her help, but don’t get her wrong – she’ll take a swing with a baseball bat at you if you come at her!

Now I’m anxiously waiting for the next book in the series – and please tell me the “other son” will get his own bok, too! He was way too good-looking and fine to be left alone! Although, if I had to take a pick, I would choose Ronan any day of the week – dude does weird things to my undies with all this attitude he has going on, I tell ya!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

4cupcakes

Mad for the Marquess (Reluctant Hearts Book 1) by Jess Russell

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“I love you. Who could not love you? You are so full, full to bursting – with humor, with grace, with curiosity, with talent. You are an embarrassment of riches, Lord Devlin. I am so very lucky to have you to love.” – Anne Winton

A historical romance much needed, with several doses of suspense and intrigue, and hot enough to make your corsets melt all by themselves, ladies!

Anne Winton is the new employee at Ballencrieff Asylum. She expected heavily troubled people within its walls, and hardships from day one in her new job. What she didn’t expect was James Drake of Devlin, a Marquess and a patient of the Asylum, to appeal to her inner desires so much and awaken feelings she never knew she could have. The mad man also finds himself at a loss when this owl-like, fragile creature worms her way into his heart – as well as his art. As she begins to unravel the mysteries that are locked inside his chaotic mind and soul in order to help him heal, the two come ever so close. But there are forces against Lord Devlin’s healing procedure – forces that will do anything to keep him conveniently locked in his cell, accused for a murder Anne soon starts suspecting may not have been of his own doing after all…

I’m telling you, this book was a lot darker than I thought and yet so much lighter than I expected. It focused heavily on emotional impacting scenes, and played really well with the reader’s psyche through imagery and words. I loved it! Not to mention how adorable and well-put the main couple was. The whole theme of not knowing if James really was the culprit or not – courtesy of all those experiments and medicinal crap he was being fed – as well as the psychological warfare from some of the Asylum employees, gave an even more realistic touch, too.

I can’t wait to see what other surprises Mrs. Russell has in store for us with the rest of this series!

“I love you, my beautiful Owl.” – James Devlin

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

4cupcakes

The Blood of Whisperers (The Vengeance Trilogy #1) by Devin Madson

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Oh. My. God! This one is definitely getting on my top books for the ’18 list! Even if it was published quite a long ago, it was read by yours truly recently and boy did I love it!

In the first book of what promises to be a spectacular trilogy, we see a story from three different perspectives. One from a young boy, one from an older girl, and one from an estimed noble with quite the dark secrets. All three of them are magnificent, full of suspense, political intrigue, and soooo much betrayal, it could put that HBO series we all know thanks to over-advertising (yes, you all know which one I’m talking about) to shame!

And Devin Madson did that without cheap tricks and way too much show of cleavage – and other naked parts – or gore. She presented her story in such an artistic way, one that old anime fans and rpg players can really appreciate. It was like an oriental DnD campaign, with all the plot twists and mishaps, coming to life on the pages, and I just couldn’t get enough! I know it took me a while to review this, but trust me, if it wasn’t for my OCD tendencies and the full review list, I would have done it aaaaages ago!

One can only wonder what’s in store for our heroes and what kind of new alliances will be created and/or broken in the next book. I certainly can’t wait to find out, and I recommend this to anyone seeking a story that combines western and eastern characteristics, and an action-suspense-packed plot that doesn’t disappoint whatsoever!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

5cupcakes

Daemon Uprising (Daemon #1) by Mariah Ankenman

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Five brilliant cupcakes and oh boy! I wish I could give this one more, but there’s only so much a rating can do!

It took me a while to review this – don’t you hate when your offline life gets in the way of completing online stuff? – but I finally made some time. Because this story totally deserves it!

Daemons are a threat much too real for humanity. Divided between those who help humans, the Euadaemons, and those who wish to destroy it, the Kakodaemons, they fight each other in a struggle of power. The Euadaemons even have humans helping them in their cause, people who hide some amazing talents of their own. One of these people is Tabitha. Hiding her skills is much too difficult already, and yet she has to up her game even more when she’s paired up with Kiernan, an Euadaemon who’s hell bent on sleeping with her. Can she pull it off enough for this mission to end and get rid of this insufferably sexy man?

This whole book was freaking awesome! It combines paranormal with contemporary and hot romance just perfectly. The pace was fast and slow, fast and slow, alternating to allow you to take big gulps of each in every dose, and the tension between the characters just about killed me. Not to mention how much I wanted to straight up lick that gorgeous, hilarious hunk-of-a-man, Kiernan!


The only downside to all this was Tabitha herself. I understand where she comes from, given her past it was hard to trust Kiernan’s kind, but come on, woman! You work with those guys, and Kiernan himself never gave you one single reason to be so hostile towards him. And let’s not forget that she was so persistent in doing things her way, she nearly ended up dooming them all – most of all, herself – when she pulled that stupid stunt near the end of the book and revealed what she really was to the ones she was after.

Still, I don’t think the rating should go down for her – I will not let her ruin this for me. And I will certainly try out any other books from this series, because there is a good handful of people I wish to see find their Tira, as the book’s universe called them, and I’m not stopping till it happens!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

5cupcakes

Angel Down (Heart on the Run #1) by Lois Greiman

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There is a fine balance between romance and action when it comes to books that combine them both. It’s usually tough to get it right, and more often than not one overpowers the other – unfortunately, this is what went wrong with this story (well, that and something else, keep on reading).

Gabriel Durrand has lost a man who was in a covert mission in Columbia. Now, he wishes to find him and bring him home, and he needs Eddy Edwards to help him on that. The last thing he expected and needed was for this Eddy person to turn out a woman! One that is very proud, skillful, and yet still very noticeably female. Finding Shepherd will turn out a lot harder than he initially thought…

OK, first, I liked the whole misunderstanding with Eddy’s name. I also enjoy tough heroines a lot – although I have to say, trying so hard to prove themselves sometimes gets old nowadays. Still, she was someone a modern female reader could relate with, especially someone who tried working in an all-male environment – been there, done that, and decided it wasn’t worth the effort or the possible suicidal thoughts. So I salute her for keeping up with it all and becoming what she became in the end of the book – character growth did wonders for her.


I also found it nice that the happy romantic ending didn’t come all too easily when the story came to a close. And yes, the action helped a lot in there, too.

BUT!

The romance could have used a bit more… depth, I guess? It was hard to get into the whole thing with so much going on with the story at once. And that would have been fine, but we’re talking about a book that has the romance genre in its main focus as well. See what I’m trying to say? It has been proven that the fine balance I talked about in the beginning of my review CAN be achieved, so I can’t really say ‘oh, well, it’s just impossible to happen’.

Still, what really peeved me to no end, what made me hate reading after a certain page, was Linus. Seriously, I’ve seen bimbos and nagging main heroines being more thankful than that god damn man! You’re being rescued, you stupid horndog! Forget about a woman who has done everything else other than yell it from the rooftops that she’s betraying and using you, and be a good rescue victim, grateful for your comrade who risked his ass, his reputation, and everything else in between, to come take you out of that hellhole you ended up in!


As it stood, the story was a solid 4-cupcake maybe in the beginning. But the minute Linus freaking Shepherd started actively talking while being captured, the rating started dropping. Dramatically! Turns out, it is possible for a character to make me do that, huh….

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

2cupcakes

The Wolves of Fenrir Box Set (Wolves of Fenrir) by Sela Carsen

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Honestly, one of the best book bundles I’ve stumbled upon in a while. Alien werewolves and sci-fi, mixed up in a delicious packet!

The series is about an alien race descending from Vikings – who are also werewolves! The Fenrir Wolves – as they call themselves – are great warriors, proud and filled with morals and honor, keeping their beasts in check – unless it’s time to fight something. Then all hell breaks loose! Through each of the books we witness several key members of their race finding love and a new purpose in life, as they struggle to protect their fellow neighbors, the humans of Earth, from hostile alien races wishing to wipe humankind from existence – or worse.

Though each story was short, I found that to be acceptable and enjoyed the books even more so. That was because, with this being a boxed set, it was easier to breeze through each couple without too much going on every time. And with the variety of characters it wasn’t difficult to get engaged with the plot and them. More than that, the action was never absent, nor was the suspense and the fast pace. On top of it all, the stories were linked, so it was really like following the same line, but with different focuses each time.

And the love scenes were supreme! With just enough sexual tension between them, and the adrenaline of the ever-present danger, the protagonists gave a spectacular intimate performance on the pages. Witty lines were never away from each dialogue, and each main male and female came with their own specific skill sets, but all of them were the same on one matter: they were strong in heart and mind, stubborn, and had depth in personalities. My personal favorite couple was Niall and Dagny – it was really beautiful to see second-chances existing even for a pair that seemed to have been past their youthly prime (and I’m a sucker for scarred, broken characters, so double bonus for Niall being as amazing as he was in the matter).

I really liked the potential Mrs. Carsen showed in this series. I can’t wait to read more of her books!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

5cupcakes

Private Affair (Rockfort Security #3) by Rebecca York

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A nice ending for quite a nice series.

With both of his partners settling down, Max Lyon seems the only reasonable choice when Olivia Winters, a famous model who coincidentally went to the same school as him, needs somebody to protect her without attracting attention – in other words, a bodyguard acting as her lover. But Olivia is not just in need of protection. Max’s PI skill set will certainly be appreciated, as they both race against their past hunting them down – and a killer dead set on either silencing the model, or making her his.

While Olivia was not exactly my cup of tea as a heroine, and Max was… well, just OK in my book, I did enjoy their teamwork and the chemistry between them. Individually, they didn’t really get my attention, yet together the concept seemed to work rather nicely. I loved how, despite the tension between them, there was still that air of familiarity. And the fact that they had a moment, even fleeting, in their teenage years, made it all better.

The Big Baddie wasn’t that much of a surprise, unfortunately, and the scene between him and the captured Olivia left me with a bitter aftertaste – mainly because, psychologically, the aftermath just didn’t make sense – but the pace was fast enough to forgive all that. And the dialogues and action all made up for it.

And so, the Rockfort Security series came to a close – a rather satisfying one, even. Bravo, Mrs. York!

The Angel’s Hunger (Masters of Maria #2) by Holley Trent

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First review of the year, woohoo! And it’s a positive one, so here’s to hoping that it’s a good omen!

Remember when, in the last book, I had mentioned how much I loved the angle with the angels? Well, Tamatsu’s story did NOT disappoint me! It was all I hoped for and sooo much more! Here we have a classic example of a past romance gone wrong, but with a tremendous twist: Tamatsu and Noelle, the mute fallen angel and his elf ex-lover who is responsible for his current… speechless state, do not, under any circumstances, want to get back together. Yet, they both have something each other wants, so they’re wiling, for a little while at least, to call it a truce, get what they’re wishing for, and then go their separate ways. Only, life doesn’t always happen the way we expect it to…

This wasn’t your usual ex-lover-themed story. Unlike Tito and December, Tamatsu and Noelle knew they were bad for each other. They didn’t dance around the subject, they didn’t deny their sexual attraction still being there, but they had other priorities and they both admitted to still being bitter about their break-up, no matter how long ago it happened. It was both satisfying and hilarious seeing them try to resist each other once they realized they were being sucked back into being totally smitten with each other.

The whole tragedy of Tamatsu doing something that angered Noelle enough to curse him was what kept the story so high in suspense. At first, I couldn’t help but be on her side given what she was saying about the way she found him with… Well, spoilers! No more words! But let’s just say, I completely supported her decision. Then, I heard Tamatsu’s side of the story, and I was like “OK, no girl, you should have checked first!” – though I was still a bit suspicious about it all because it didn’t add up, and if it was, one of them was lying, and I couldn’t figure out who. And when the final curtain was lifted, and they both sat down to talk it out, and the truth was revealed… I was laughing. Hysterically. Like a maniac! Because the whole thing was just soooo extraordinarily simple, and they had both suffered for decades on end, just because they had both jumped to assumptions. It felt so humane and realistic, I couldn’t blame either of them, and it only served in making me love them more.

The love scenes were… INTENSE! Tito the demigod WHO?! Pssst, get out of the way, dude, Tamatsu has the stage covered, thank you very much! Oh, boy, I kept fanning myself because the guy was smoldering hot without even trying, and when he did decide to try, it nearly scorched the panties clean off of me! Not to mention, Noelle was on a whole different level than December! Now THAT is a heroine I can side and relate with!

The ending was also unexpected, and yet very much welcome. I preferred it to the usual solution most writers have in such cases with curses and stuff, because it showed that, despite their relationship not being perfect, those two were willing to try and work things out together, as a team, this time around. It made them that much more depended on each other, and, given the lengths in which Noelle was willing to go to pay for her mistake and redeem herself in Tamatsu’s eyes, that sheer amount of self-sacrifice to give him his voice back, it was really beautiful – and Tamatsu’s response was even more touching!

I’m off to read the next book in the series – but I’m serious here, can’t we please have that goddess-angel ship we’ve been dreaming about, Ms. Trent?! Pretty pleaaaaase?!?!?!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

 

RATING:

5cupcakes