The River Keepers by Michael F. Stewart

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The River Keepers

Well, it’s been a while since I last reviewed a book for younger ages. And this one didn’t disappoint, either.

Twin sisters Natasha and Teagan, are in a pinch. Their parents plan on moving to a new house, and the girls are devastated. They don’t want to leave their friends and their home behind, no matter how much better the other place sounds. One day, before school, their favorite tree is hit by lightning – what they find inside its burnt trunk will be the reason for many adventures to come, and for the sisters to realize that it’s not just their home that is in danger if they can’t convince their parents to cancel their plans.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The twins were a delight to read and see through their mishaps and shenanigans. While they communicated and understood each other in a level deeper than most siblings, they were two different personalities, and that added to the fun of the book, as I didn’t have to read about two main characters being copies of each other.

What’s more, the pace was fine for a story that is meant for kids and pre-teens, which I suspect is its target audience. It wasn’t too slow or full of long explanations, so that it wouldn’t bore the younger readers, and the characters understood what the deal with their new responsibilities as “Guardians” was pretty quick – in any other case, it would have sounded unrealistic, but the writer wisely chose to ignore realism here so as to let it work for his storytelling. It wasn’t too fast, either, though, giving the reader time to adjust properly to changes in the dynamics and the situations surrounding the girls.

Last but not least, I liked how Mr. Stewart used his book in an effective way to teach youngsters about caring for nature, be it animals or plants, and respecting people’s freedom and individuality. It was done in a hilarious yet cute way through Natasha’s activism, as only a child can act and think like this, and it was beautiful. And while there were some gaps near the end – like, what happened with them moving, or if they would ever include others in their little missions and stuff – I feel like it didn’t need to be further explained or described. A young reader wouldn’t care for the bigger picture, at least not yet. The important thing is that they won their first little battle, and for someone of that age, that’s what counts and gets the main focus.

I really wish we’ll get to see more of the twins, their little sister, and their friends. I hope we get to see them in more adventures, possibly meeting others like them, even if not from the same species. All in all, I recommend this book for any kid – even those who may have grown up in physical terms – for a fun and heartfelt read.

***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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Book Boyfriends and Books of ’18

Each year, some books – and certain characters – stay with you no matter how many others have crossed your path. Without further ado, here’s the list of those titles and  fictional people that really made a difference in my reading experience of 2018 – a list that should have been uploaded two days ago, but as always, I’m fashionably late!

Last year’s Hall of Fame now has the following additions to it:

  • The Blood of Whisperers (The Vengeance Trilogy #1) by Devin Madson
  • The Book Knights by J. G. McKenney
  • Desiring a Demon (Archangels #2) by Missy Jane
  • Speaker of the Lost (Lark Nation #1) by Clara Coulson 

 

Keep in mind, some of these are not yet reviewed, because life sucks and I can’t just sit at home and read/review all day as it would have been ideal. But I’m getting to it!

On to the boyfriends, then. Because I prefer fictional men to real-life versions, apparently, and I can’t resist!

  • Sam Bridgeway from The Magician’s Keeper (yes, he’s not a main character, deal with it!)
  • Kasdeja from Angel Lover
  • Finn Taggart from A Bandit’s Betrayed Heart (granted, it was part of a bundle, but still, Finn is hard to forget – so I’ll side with that story’s female lead on that)

 

Best of wishes to all of you for this new year! May 2019 bring you all amazing new books to read, places to discover, and characters to meet and love!

Tootles~

ChibiMaker

Masked (Masked #1) by M. Greenhill

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Masked

Aaaah, you gotta love it when a book leaves you in a dilemma as to its rating -I know, I’m a masochist, sue me!

Daniel Locke, the Alpha Commander of his shifter pack, has always been suspicious of Parker Johnson, the human hacker working closely with his people. Someone with no scent on them at all, with emotions not easily read through smell, and, above all, a human, couldn’t be trusted. But when a deadly virus threatening to destroy so many lives – and the Alliance with the humans, in turn – breaks out, the pack needs Parker’s mad skills. And, dislike or not, those two better find it in themselves to stop butting heads and soon, if they want to survive this ordeal.

Let me begin with what I enjoyed in this book. First things first: Parker freaking Johnson! I loved that rebellious, stubborn woman! She was clever, and kind, and funny, and oh so gloriously witty. I kinda suspected what was going on with her scent, and I was not disappointed when she ran out of her tea – boom! Instant acceleration of the pace AND the emotions going all over the place. It was hilarious and hot to see what was going on after that in Daniel’s head. The next thing I also enjoyed, was the fact that the story was pretty hot – what with all the tension and stuff.

Now, the things that didn’t really do it for me. I guess, when all is said and done, I remain a firm believer of things reaching a certain climax if they’re headed that way. I understand that there was this danger in the story, and all that, but, when you give the readers so much sexual tension between the two leads, you can’t just leave them hanging without at least ONE sex scene. I know it’s not warranted to make sure the romance takes place, but, this is not always the case. Yes, some fictional couples drive their point home about their love being true without physical intimacy – Daniel and Parker, though, with all their bad history and the war between them, needed it. Badly. Their romance seemed so forced this way – believe it or not, getting physical does help two people come clean with their inner turmoil, as it tends to open their eyes and they’re the most vulnerable during such moments.

And then, there’s the subscription thing. Now THAT I didn’t appreciate. At the end of the book, the reader is given a choice: they can subscribe to a certain page, in order to get a bonus chapter. Well, yours truly did that, hoping desperately it would be the much-wanted love scene that would make all our emotional booboos go away. But alas, it was just an empty email. Not. Cool!

All in all, it was a nice read, but I’m not sure if I’ll keep on reading this series. If the rest of the couples are like Daniel and Parker in terms of intimacy, I’m sorry to say, this is not for me.

***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:

3cupcakes

Desiring a Demon (Archangels #2) by Missy Jane

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“I love you more than I ever thought possible, and I want to keep that love between us for the rest of our natural lives.” – Raphael Maxwell

Finally Rafe and Asta’s story! I’ve been waiting for this one from the moment they met her in that bar!

Astaroth Sinclair – Asta for short – has always had it rough. Everyone suspects her first thing something goes wrong, women hate her, men want to use her, and generally, there’s no person alive she can really trust. But when Zerach and his brothers take her under their wings – admittedly because they know she’s a major pawn in Armaros’s schemes and they’re trying to have the upper hand – she’s about to see that even she deserves love and friendship. Even when it’s coming from a family of archangels…

I freaking loved this book! Not only because the main couple was one of my favorites, but also because of how high the quality of the storytelling was. The pace was crrrrazy! All over the place, and you couldn’t sit still even if you wanted to. Fast, slow, fast, slow, an unending circle that would make a lesser woman dizzy – but I’m a hardcore reader, and this series is, first and foremost, one that seasoned readers can enjoy immensely.


The love scenes were scorching HOT! There was so much tension between Rafe and Asta, and they were trying to stay away from each other till it was nearly unbearable for them both – the minute they gave in to their desire, it was explosive! They were wary of the consequences of being together, as their species simply can’t coexist in such a way – at least that was what they had been told. It was heartbreaking to see them so in love with each other it hurt, and yet have the whole world hell bent on keeping them apart, or, worse, as enemies.

There were a few scenes that got on my nerves, though not enough to make me lower the rating. That’s because you are EXPECTED to feel this way. Meaning, the writing was done deliberately in a way to make you angry with certain situations – Asta’s nature overwhelming her at the best moments, Rafe’s brothers being dicks about her coming anywhere near him when he was comatose, etc. – and so I can only praise the writer for causing me that kind of emotion just as she wanted.

There was so much going on in this story: action, romance, suspense. But there was also that sweet anticipation of two people who were meant to be together finally becoming one, and acceptance – something much needed from the archangel brothers.

Review for the next book will be up soon.

“I’m so in love with you I can barely see straight.” – Astaroth Sinclair

***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

Melting Snow (Braving the Heat 0.5) by Leora Gonzales

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Melting Snow

Well, Christmas is only a month away, and I do believe this read was more than appropriate to be reviewed right about now~

Winter Snow is not exactly a Christmas fan. Not only is she an atheist, she’s also had it rough ever since childhood with people making fun of her unique name when the season of joy came around. But she’s about to change her whole point of view this year – cause fireman William Holiday has made it his personal mission to help her see how special these days can be. In his own sexy way.

I have to admit, I enjoyed this hot short story. Yes, the romance seemed too rushed and instant, but that’s what you get when you have to deal with something quick to read, so it didn’t really bother me. Besides, I was quite impressed by the fact that Leora Gonzalez not only made it fast and hot, she also managed to sneak in some sweetness, tons of humor in the form of witty dialogues, and plenty of likable side-characters to spice up her story. In my mind, this was a true win, so bravo to the writer!

The romance was HOT! Beyond measure. Sexual tension that exploded deliciously, lots of dirty talk, and yummy firemen who weren’t that ready to jump on shallow women – were do I sign up to get turned into a character for this series, please?!


Not only that, but I could totally relate to Winter. She’s insecure and has a lot of self-doubt, so it was tough for Will to make her see that he was really into her – but boy were his efforts appreciated! Women like us tend to doubt someone’s desires towards our person, and we often need a man to really push in order to make his point.

Well, push, but not to the point of sexual assault. It’s a delicate situation, not easily balanced. And that’s another brownie point to Gonzales. She made it so Will would not back down from his pursuit, but in a way that he didn’t seem like a dick. His persistence – and the fact he wanted a real woman and not a stick with floating boobs – really made him fine boyfriend material, if not more!

***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 Magician’s Keeper by Nicola E. Sheridan

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The Magician's Keeper

Admittedly, not what I expected – which is neither good nor bad, per se.

Dora is a half-giantess, who lives with her human father and longs to find love and understanding. She finds both in the form of a magician prisoner she’s tasked to guard, Evander “Bear” Gordon. When extremists who despise magical beings – and who may have been responsible for her mother’s death, as well – try to kill Bear and her on a prison transfer, Dora helps the man escape. Together, they discover what has been denied to them for all their lives from the opposite gender, and struggle as they try to outrun their pursuers and survive.

Like I said, this wasn’t a story I expected. It was, in all honesty, quite thrilling and hot, and the pace was fast during the chase. There was a lot going on, and there were a lot of things that added to the enjoyment of this book. Dora was a sweetheart, and yet she hid an inner, personal strength that only Bear could bring to the surface. Bear himself was a true gentleman, though he still had urges like any guy around the object of his affections would, and I liked how he made her feel special and love herself more.

However, there were a few parts that didn’t feel right. First and foremost, Dora’s naive nature at times. I get that her father made sure she lived a life as shielded from the world’s cruelness as possible, but come on, after a few incidents, she should have been somewhat used to people trying to trick her. Or use her. And though she did her very best at being tough and independent, I didn’t really appreciate how the males around her kept either insulting her, or blaming her musk for wanting her. Especially that creepy dude who couldn’t decide whether he wanted to kill her or screw her raw – I’m still shivering just thinking about it!

All in all, it was a nice story, and if I was any other person it might have ranked a bit higher. The problem doesn’t lie with the story itself, but me and my personal sensitivities.

***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:

3cupcakes

Legacy of Danger (Hell’s Valley #3) by Jillian David

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Legacy of Danger

“You’re what’s most important to me. You, Mariah. More than money, more than my career back in the big city, more than fighting. I want you more than all of those things.” – Vaughn Taggart

Holy shmuzzles, you guys! Vaughn’s story is here, and may I say, Jillian David is killing it in this series!

In the previous book, we left our beloved Taggarts with Shelby and Eric finally united – although not without a ton of hardships thrown their way. It was then that we witnessed the delicious argument between Vaughn – the eldest Taggart kid who is FINALLY back in town – and the good doctor who, as she said, has been seeing way too much of them Taggarts in her hospital. Mariah West is a tough-as-nails, no-nonsense woman who is strict and professional with her clients, yet would give her own life for them. Not just because it’s her job, but also because she cares. Enter Vaughn and his hard-headed attempts at keeping her away from his family’s drama – yet still hungering for her presence and safety. BAM! You got yourself a mess that only gets worse with the Brands and their sinister schemes – not to mention, there’s still a dark force on the loose, thirsty for Taggart blood and world domination!

I love Jillian David and her stories. She’s a true master of romance-supernatural-slightly horror combos, and keeps proving it by each new book. Now, this series, it takes the awesome one step further – it has cowboys in it, and the yumminess just escalates from there.

But it’s so much more than that. It’s not just combining genres and elements and making it look good – you have to take care of the quality, as well. And this is where she’s got it just right.


Vaughn’s book was full of suspense and action, and there was not a single moment of peace. Danger is everywhere now for the Taggart family – and heck yeah, we got more Ruth scenes, go, Nurse Ratched! – and their enemies hold quite important positions in town, making their life literal hell. Which only gets worse considering their abilities and how they affect their routines. It’s also nice to know that the writer hasn’t forgotten about things that are yet to be solved.

Case in point, Garrison’s wife and Vaughn. We still don’t know for sure what really happened, but it’s still being addressed, even more intensely than in the first book, and I have the feeling we’ll finally know the truth when the 4th book gets out. The technique of answering some questions but creating even more by doing so is a delicate kind of art, and cannot be done without aggravating a reader, but Jillian David manages to pull it off every single time.

Now, let’s talk characters. Admittedly, Vaughn was not exactly a personal favorite. It could be because I’m a hardcore Kerr fangirl and the eldest brother was too… angry (?) for my tastes. Then again, Garrison was even worse, so no complains there. Both brothers have been burned, and their relationship was ruined because of a single woman, and they closed themselves off to protect their hearts from the world AND each other – but at least they finally got to talk it out a bit and remember the strength of family bonds. Still, Vaughn had more baggage than just that single event – and it showed. He was hot and cold, one minute making me cringe, and the next had me swooning. He was gruff even when he was trying to be sweet, and that gave him extra points in my book – but boy could he jam his foot up to the ankle in his mouth, or what…


It was a good thing Mariah knew what she wanted and was a steady, accepting person. Her past was much darker than Vaughn’s, in my opinion, yet she still chose to look forward and to help those around her. She was selfless to a fault, and her heart was the biggest thing yet. It didn’t hurt that she had a backbone to boot, either. She wasn’t naive, not by a long shot, but she knew that she couldn’t just ignore a patient or someone in need of help, even if it meant sacrificing her own safety.

Those two together were a ticking bomb waiting to happen, though in a good way. Once they finally got past all the misunderstandings and insecurities, they were explosive, and I loved that. Vaughn isn’t someone who would be able to settle with a quiet, mousy female, and Mariah needed a man who would be stubborn enough to keep her on her toes, yet still have the balls to let her lead, as she obviously was the more mature one – emotionally speaking.

The fight with the “creature” had me freaking out, as usual. Now we know some more of his weaknesses, and sort of have grasped parts of what it needs and why. I dare say, I have a theory on what – or, rather, who – it is, but I’m keeping it to myself for now.


Next up is Kerr – and I’m telling you, the moment this boy is out, I’m howling to the moon and letting the whole world know!

“When I’m with you, I feel safe, and you’re right, it’s not just your power. It’s you, Vaughn.” – Mariah West

***I was given an ARC from the writer 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 Christmas Cowboy Hero (Heart of Texas, #1) by Donna Grant

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The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

Well, what a nice and cute surprise! I’m always in for cowboy romance, but this one took the cake, I dare say!

Abby Harper has learned that people leave you when you most need them the hard way. Left alone to raise her little brothers on her own, she tries to juggle her work, studies, and family – with sort of disastrous results to her personal psyche. However, when Brice, the middle child, steals cattle from Clayton East’s family ranch, things turn out shockingly for the better. Clayton decides to make Brice work his debt off, instead of punishing him via law, and he takes the whole Harper family under his wing. With things escalating romantically between Abby and Clay, it’s only natural that danger will come their way – and threaten the new bonds the Harper children are finally starting to form.

I loved this story. It was sweet and adorable, and yet really hot. The tension was visible between the two leads – so much so that even Abby’s brothers caught on to it – but the pace let the the relationship form naturally, and I appreciated that. Not to mention, the action started to pick up at one point when it seemed too calm, and then we were in for the suspense ride of our lives!

I really hope I can read more of this series – if the rest of the cowboys are anything like Clayton, it’s gonna be a true treat!

***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

Trusting an Angel (Archangels #1) by Missy Jane

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Trusting an Angel

“I love you. Angel or not, super-powers or not. So long as you promise to love me forever, I’m yours.” – Isadora O’Donnell

Well, this was, for lack of better words…. spectacular! I always enjoy hot angels that may or may not fall from grace for their mortal lovers, so this series was a boon for my romantic soul.

Zerach Maxwell is more than just a club owner – he’s also an Archangel, sent down to Earth with his brothers to protect the mortals from the powers of Hell. Being immortal, he knows better than to fall for one of his wards – yet, his private assistant, Isadora O’Donnell, has a unique mix of innocence and sexiness that calls to his baser instincts. Isadora has had a crush on her hot boss longer than she can remember – but she doesn’t wish to be another notch on his bedpost, what with his famous playboy ways and all. When something vile in the form of a childhood friend of hers starts pursuing Isadora for its sinister reasons, Zerach will have to choose whether or not he can keep his identity a secret in order to protect the one woman who makes him think of dropping his wings.

So, sooooo awesome for a series starter! Zerach and his brothers were yummy as heck and they were all wonderful in trying to keep peace and protect humanity. They had flaws, very humanlike, but that was to be expected given their long time living among us. Zerach himself was adorable and protective. He was funny in a lighthearted way, but very intense when it came to Dora. He used the rumors of him being a flirt as a way to keep people not very close so that his secret was safe, and he was a saint when dealing with Dora’s family, despite the caustic, poorly-hidden remarks and the prejudice against him. And boy, if that dry humping scene didn’t burn several of my brain cells!!!!


Dora was sweet and really supportive. Of course, like any true mortal, she freaked out with most of the new information she got to learn about her boss, but she took the rest like a champ and didn’t budge from Zerach’s side. She had her own dark past and the scars to show for it, and I really loved her – she was the kind of feminine that doesn’t grate on a reader’s nerves, and that was much appreciated.

Speaking of scars, I didn’t really like what Zerach did with hers. For me, they were a part of her, and he loved her with them anyway, so I didn’t really see the necessity of them going away. Oh, well…


The story was a bit slow to start making sense, and for the true action to start, but I didn’t mind, because it gave us time to see what was going on inside the main couple’s heads and get to know that as characters. The pace picked up a bit after that, to push them closer, then slowed down again for them to understand and learn about each other better. And then… it was a spiral of action and suspense and true fear for the whole team going up against that demon! Marvelous, really!

I also loved the rest of the cast. Asta was a badass and I can’t wait to read her book, demon spawn or not, and don’t get me started on Cam! The dude made it into my book boyfriend list before I even had to read his book!

“Forever until the end of time. From this plane of existence into the next, I shall always love and treasure you, and pray to the Source that you will always return my love.” – Zerach Maxwell

***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

Speaker of the Lost (Lark Nation #1) by Clara Coulson

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Speaker of the Lost (Lark Nation #1)

Outstanding! Now this is what I’m talking about!

I have read – or tried to, at least – another book of Clara Coulson a long while back. It was in First Person POV, which is already tough for me to like, but it touched another pet peeve of mine, right from the start: it was in Present Tense.

But enough about the past – let’s go back to this particular book.

It was magnificent! In this story, we see Stella Newport, a newbie in the Paranormal Squad, who’s ordered to work with Oswald Bolton on a series of murders that stink of paranormal interference. But the moody and closed-off Oz is not only hard to work with, he’s downright a pain in the butt. Can these two become a true team in time to stop the trail of blood and corpses?

I have to say, I was hesitant at first. I liked the concept, but that’s how I had stumbled on that other book I told you about. So I told myself to not expect much. But I was wrong! Oh so wrong! First and foremost, no present tense! And that was a bonus! Not to mention that the characters were downright addictive! I needed more of them even while I was reading!

Stella was a gift to humanity! She was witty, and kind, and capable without trying to flaunt it – in fact, she kept her real powers and skills hidden until she was forced to show her hand waaaaaay into the story already. She was this quiet force full of intellect and soft-spoken words, with a firm hand in combat and a sharp tongue subtly thrown in the mix sometimes. She was the perfect person to compliment Oz as his partner out in the field.

Speaking of Oz, he got into my Book Boyfriend List of ’17. Because I’m weird, and grumpy dudes make me hot! The guy was smart as all hell, cynical, had a permanent scowl on his sexy mug, and was being an ass to almost everyone he met and talked to. What’s not to like?! (I know, I have issues)


But he was also a broken soul who was too afraid to admit he needed someone to ignore his flaws and accept him as a friend and a partner. Someone who would be capable of staying alive because he had gone down the road of losing one partner already and couldn’t bear for someone else to die in his arms again. And that spoke volumes to me, making him even more irresistible!

The pace was deceptively slow. You follow the two Larks along, as they search for the killer, trying to stop him before he runs away or kills even more people, and you think, right by their side, how hopeless the situation is. No clues were ever where they hoped to find them. Nothing seemed to connect the murders at first. And it was frustrating. But the pace was only that way for the good guys. Because the killer was damn fast and the story takes a quick speed-dive the minute they figured it all out – from then on, the race against time was even more intense and shiver-inducing!

I loved this book, seriously! And I want to read more of Oz and Stella! There was possibly something there between them, or it could be the romantic in me – but even if there wasn’t, I don’t think I mind that much. The duo was just perfect the way they were. And while the story had its gory and scary moments, I enjoyed it all the same and couldn’t put it down!

***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