Eyes of the Seer (The Derbfine Series #2) by Ashley York

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Eyes of the Seer (Derbfine, #2)

Good God, is Ashley York ever going to write something that I don’t like?!

In the 2nd book, we see the story of Diarmuid’s best friend, and Astrid, Diarmuid’s sister. Marcán is by far the only man Astrid doesn’t see herself married to, no matter how much the poor man is pining for her. Instead, she’s happy to follow all of her mother’s instructions on how to behave and live her life, as long as it makes her mother happy. Until one of those decisions leads her down a path she finds is not right for her. Marcán is the one who saves her – and finally, Astrid is able to see who has cared for her all along, and what she has to do to set things in her life right again.

All right, I’ll say it right now. I wasn’t a fan of Astrid at first. I didn’t like her meek attitude when it came to her mother, and how she acted like a bitch to everyone else. That’s a cowardly act to follow, and though I understand her need to please her mother, like most people, that was taking it a step too far. A little dignity, woman!


Speaking of her mother, OF COURSE she was from Padraig’s clan! Rotted, the whole lot of them! Nothing to redeem those people, no matter what! They talked a big game of how abused some of them were, and how they wanted to be respected as well and loved, but really, they acted awfully when it suited them, too! Not to mention how obsessed Beibhinn was when it came to her supposed religious beliefs (thank God for the priest at the end for putting her in her place)! First Aednat, and then poor Marcán – and in the latter’s case, really, it was even worse! She was trying to ruin his life because she was rejected?! Woman, get a life! Classic example of a spoilt, bratty female who just couldn’t let go! I pity Kane – he deserved better!

Another character that really shocked me when it came to my reactions was Faolan. I adored him at first, the stutter was really cute and he was adorable, like a puppy! But then he revealed another, more cunning and sort of deceiving side of him, and I was a bit sad with that fact. But that only goes to show how good Ms. York is in making her characters realistic. Just like real people, you never really know what is truly going on inside a person’s head, or what their motives for helping you out are. Delightful, even if surprising!

All in all, I enjoyed this book – A LOT! Historical romance at its finest, and spot on to so many references. Ashley York knows how to mix fantasy and facts, and does so effortlessly! The dialogues, the way the people talk and act and think, and the pace, oh my! And don’t even get me started on the love scenes – talk about hot and sexual tension thick as hell! I’m definitely reading the rest of the series!

***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

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Stake and Dust (Stake and Dust, Book 1) by Karen Michelle Nutt

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Stake and Dust (Stake and Dust, Book 1)

Now that was an interesting read. Left me with a bit of a craving, of course, but quite enjoyable even so.

Cassandra Hayes and Tremayne Graystone end up working together to solve a series of murders when the latter answers the phone of a hunter found dead at his doorstep. Pretending to be a human, the vampire finds himself in a terrible dilemma as Ms. Hayes is someone he’s quickly becoming addicted to – and he knows there is no telling what will happen once he tells her the truth of who he really is, especially since she comes from a family of vampire hunters.

OK, this was an intriguing story, and admittedly I was hooked from the start. The plot was nice and the pace just right, plus the cast of characters made things even better and more aesthetic, with their many different personalities and the witty dialogues. (Sheerin, especially, was my personal favorite – hey, I find him hot, back off!)

However, what cost the book two cupcakes from perfection – and really, what a downer – was the fact that there was no final… physical confrontation of the main couple’s feelings. So much sexual tension, and, at least from Tremayne’s side, not exactly subtle – the guy wanted Cassandra, and it was obvious as hell – yet no… action. And no satisfaction for yours truly, you all know how I feel about unresolved business on the matter. For God’s sake, a man as wonderful and sensual as Tremayne deserves some action between the sheets, don’t you agree?

But that’s just personal preference and taste, so don’t mind me. I’m actually planning on reading more books from this series and this author – the storytelling was good enough to have me come back for more, at the very least, and that’s commendable.

***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.***

Return of the Lycan King: Nicholas and Kristen (Return of the Lycan King #1) by Candace Blackburn

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Return of the Lycan King: Nicholas and Kristen

I just realized I had this book marked as read, when in fact I did not go further than page 96 – that’s what you get when you mix the books from your list while trying to put your reading challenge in some kind of line…. Oh, well…

I’m not gonna take long with this one. Basically, it had werewolves, and that’s always a plus for me. Add to that the fact that a heroine with a troubled past unlike anything I’ve read so far was the main female lead, and you probably know why I was so intrigued to choose to read this story.

But it all fell terribly short. Kristen was not as deep a character as I would have liked, sure, though she wasn’t the one ruining this for me, surprisingly (I’m usually angry at most female leads). It was Nicholas. Honestly, this whole thing gave me a very stalkerish vibe – it was kinda creepy, not in a good way, mind you, and I kept itching to put the book down ever since I passed page 50 (which is my usual standard page number for a book to impress me enough to keep reading). It’s a miracle I even made it this far!

Unfortunately, this book didn’t do it for me. I’m very sad to say I won’t be reading the rest of the series…

***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:

cartoon-cupcake

Dragon Laird (Dragon Spawn Chronicles Book 1) by Alyna Lochlan

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Dragon Laird (Dragon Spawn Chronicles Book 1)

Dragons, scots, and a HEA – what more could a woman ask for?

Rhiannon and Dylan both have certain skills that are not natural – magic has made their lives more complicated than most, and their fates are entwined in ways they weren’t exactly ready to experience. But now that an evil sorcerer has started the motion of letting the dragons free, they must work together in order to save everything that they hold dear.

I fell in love with both the characters and the story! It was a nicely set pace, with lots of interesting dialogue parts and romantic scenes, and while initially it wouldn’t seem so (seeing as “fated to be” sounds kinda forced), the love between Rhiannon and Dylan happened just right. Not to mention that I love the trope of the “boy maiden” – it’s not only hilarious, but also exciting to see when the other shoe drops and the inevitable happens. Plus, I can get behind a woman who’ll do even the unthinkable to make sure her destiny is in her own hands. It’s a special kind of medieval romance that I had missed.

But that doesn’t mean that the secondary characters are any less interesting. On the contrary, I was as invested in the main leads, as I was with most of the others in this book. Jealous papa-Gian made me laugh so hard, I nearly cried [and those tears definitely did come out with Owain’s death]. And don’t get me started on Robbie and Nessa!

I can’t wait to read more of this series!

***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 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

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