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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Book Review: Ripper by Lexi Blake

Author: Lexi Blake
Series: Hunter #1, Thieves #6
Audience: +18
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment LLC
Release Date: January 20th 2015
My Rating: 4 Cups
Source: InkSlinger PR
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A New Heroine Rises...

Kelsey Atwood is a private detective with a problem. She came from a family of hunters, growing up on the wrong side of the supernatural world. Tracking down bail jumpers and deadbeat dads may not make her a lot of friends, but it’s a lot safer than the life she turned her back on. She was hoping to escape from the nightmares of her past, but her latest case has brought them right back to her door.

A young woman has gone missing, and she didn’t go willingly. When Kelsey discovers that the girl is actually a shifter, she knows she should drop the case and walk away. But this shifter was a sweet kid, and she’s in serious trouble. More females are missing and the evidence points to a legendary killer. Bodies are piling up, and her case is becoming center stage for a conflict that could shatter the fragile peace between wolves and vampires.

As the hunt intensifies, she finds herself trapped between two men—Gray, a magnetic half-demon lawman, and the ancient vampire Marcus Vorenus. Both men call to her, but when a shocking secret about Kelsey’s family is revealed, it could ruin them all. To stop the killer, she will have to embrace the truth about who—and what—she truly is.
*Disclaimer: I received this ebook from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

I love Lexi Blake's Masters and Mercenaries books, and when I saw she also had a paranormal series I knew I had to try it out. I am super happy I got my courage on and tried it out, because I had a ton of fun reading it.

This felt like a classic story within the urban fantasy genre, with Kelsey a PI being hired for a job she's not really willing to take on. I loved seeing her struggle with the idea of going back to the supernatural world. I also liked her work ethics. Once she was in she was all in, and she did her job spectacularly, which isn't always a given. But she was professional and no matter her personal feelings about going back to the world she swore never to return to, she didn't let her fears, doubts or feelings affect the way she did her job, and that was really important to me.

Gray is a guy who didn't really convince me, really. He felt too possessive, too "in love" with Kelsey, and I kept thinking I didn't really like him all that much. And his relationship with Kelsey felt fake and too. But, as I have come to expect from Blake, she explained it all in the end of the book and I had a kind of "Ah-ha!" moment. At the same time I realized that I had to give Gray props, because he did kind of warned Kelsey and the reader that something fishy might happen.

Then you have Marcus. Marcus is one very strange vampire. He didn't feel all that put together as he wanted Kelsey to believe, and throughout the book we see him kind of having weird reactions to certain things and situations. I assume a lot of this is explained in the original series, so I won't judge him too harshly.

The pacing is perfect and I managed to read this book pretty fast. I loved how we also got to understand Kelsey's past and her reasons for not wanting to have to deal with the supernatural world. I do wonder if she'll finally get to tie up the loose ends of her childhood, if she will ever get revenge on what the man who raised her did.

I loved reading this book and I most definitely loved the difference between this book and the Masters & Mercenaries series that I love and adore. Because they are different, not just in the obvious genre department, but also in the feel of the story. Which is awesome. I also loved that this book proved that I could trust Blake to make sense and to steer the story in such a way that makes sense in the end. Definitely read this book if you're an urban fantasy/paranormal lover.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Book Review: Wolf At The Door by Hailey Edwards

Author: Hailey Edwards
Series: Lorimar Pack #2
Audience: +18
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: January 25th 2017
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: Own Copy
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Prison is no one's idea of a good time, and it's even worse for Dell. Confinement has her inner wolf snarling as she paces their cell, and there's no end in sight. Just as she reaches her breaking point, the pack liaison shows up with an offer she can’t refuse. Dell’s freedom in exchange for going to Faerie and recapturing the fae prince responsible for her current digs.

But this fool's errand won't be a solo mission. Isaac Cahill has lost Dell twice, and he’ll be damned if she slips through his fingers again. This time, he’s not letting her out of his sight. Even if it means earning more than a few love bites from his pissed off she-wolf.

What they discover on their perilous quest is that war is closer than anyone imagined. As trusted allies fall and dangerous new threats emerge, Dell discovers one defining truth. Isaac is hers, and she'll fight to the death for him. And, at the rate this war is coming, she might not have long to wait.
The story of Dell and the Lorimar pack continues in this heart-pounding story and I couldn't help but love it.

Wolf At The Door takes Dell and her friends to Faerie. It was a really fascinating journey, to be honest. The thing I loved most was that it was not as magical as I initially thought. The story has a ton of twists and turns, both on Faerie and on the earth plane, and I loved where the story went. I have to admit that this was my first visit to Faerie, because I'm reading these books out of order *hides in shame*. But I loved seeing the fae world through Dell's eyes. It was an intriguing experience, seeing it through the eyes of a non-fae creature, because she wasn't as enamored by that world as I would imagine an earth fae would be. She was able to question certain things, and not let them compel her to ignore the danger around her, while at the same time not recognize the danger in other details.

Dell still has a lot of growing to do, and a lot of baggage that she needs to deal with, but she's slowly getting there. As with the previous book in the series, I loved seeing the difference between Dell's human and wolf sides. Not only was it a intriguing aspect of the story, it helped understand Dell more. I know I said this before, but the way Edwards created the warg mythology in her books is really unique and I like the fact that the human side and the wolf side are two separate entities in these stories.

The pace was awesome, as expected, and there were a lot of surprises during this book. A few things I did not anticipate happened, and I quite enjoyed that. I don't want to give away too many spoilers, so I'll leave it at that. But just know that I loved this book and that I am very anxious to see what happens next.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Blog Tour Book Review: At Your Service by Lexi Blake

Author: Lexi Blake
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #14.5, Topped #4
Audience: +18
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Release Date: November 14th 2017
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: InkSlinger PR
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Juliana O’Neil’s promising future was burned away in the heat of battle. She had been an officer with a bright future in the military, but now she is struggling to survive. Her husband gone and her career in shambles, she finds a job at Top as a hostess and tries to put together the pieces of her life. The last thing she needs is any kind of male attention, but she can’t help but be amused at her neighbor and coworker’s lothario antics. Not that she would have anything to do with him, at least not for more than one night.

Javier Leones doesn’t understand monogamy. No woman could ever be enough for his endless libido, but he has to admit Juliana has his attention. For reasons he doesn’t fully understand, he can’t seem to get the gorgeous redhead with the sad eyes out of his head. After one scorching night together, he realizes he’ll never be able to get her out of his system. But with his reputation, he fears she’ll never see him as more than a one-night stand.

When their passions collide, these new lovers will be forced to confront Juliana’s past and come to terms with Javier’s present. Will they find their way or will this reservation be canceled at the last minute?
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.  

The newest story in the world of the Masters and Mercenaries, and the spin-off series, Top, is just as good as expected, if not more.

Juliana is a really brave, awesome heroine. I love how she helps Javier, even though she had nothing to gain from it. There's a great thing that Blake does with Juliana's character, and it's the thing we all do, which is to take advice that we don't follow ourselves. It's interesting to see exactly how Jules is dealing or not dealing with the fact that she's missing a hand, and also how she knows just what to say to Javier when faced with his brother's injuries. I loved seeing that in her. I truly respect her, and the progress she made by the end of the book was phenomenal. I loved seeing that, the growth she had, going from accepting what happened to her, and adapting, to dealing with her past.

Javier is a truly great guy. In his case, I loved seeing how he goes from playboy to a one-woman-guy, and see how Sean Taggart helped him realize what he needed to do in order to get the girl. I also thought it was really sweet of him to do what he did to help Juliana. Sure, he kind of stuck his foot in his mouth (okay, more like both of his feet), but I understood that. He's a pretty selfless guy, and I truly felt sorry that he had to deal with his brother alone. But as I was saying before, he does something amazing for the woman he loves, and it was simply the greatest thing ever, even though he didn't know how to express it the right way. Anyway, it was a great thing and I loved him for it.

I have to talk a little bit about Javier's brother, Rafe. He's a man who has to deal with what happened to him while he was serving his country, and as much as he knows just how to push everyone away from him, he is also a guy who craves connection to someone, he just doesn't know how to accept it in his current situation. I also liked that, as much as Javier hated him for it, Rafe gave his brother a little dose of honesty. I do hope that in the future Rafe will find the strength he needs to deal with his issues in a healthy manner, and that he'll find himself again.

The pace is, as usual, great, and the story kept me hooked from beginning to end. There were sad scenes, there were hot scenes, and there were insanely funny scenes as well. Also a glimpse of my favorite couple ever, Ian and Charlie.

As already expected from a Lexi Blake story, I adored this book, and I cannot wait for the next one to come out. In the meantime, I feel like a reread is in order.

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All alone with the storm. Maybe she should call Kai. And ask him to get out in the middle of this? That seemed pretty selfish especially since she knew exactly how poorly driving in storms could go.
A hard flash of white light made her jump back.
Nope. She wasn’t going there. She was going to stay in the here and now, and that meant finding a flashlight and trying to get some candles lit. Someone was out there working on getting the power back on, and then she would ride out the storm watching rom coms and falling asleep on the couch. It was going to be okay. Deep breath. It was going to be okay.
A few moments later she’d found her one flashlight and had a nice set of candles out, and she was faced with the problem of lighting the suckers. Oh, she had a big box of matches, but she’d never struck a match without her left hand.
A lighter would be easier. She could figure out a lighter maybe. Jules tried holding the box against the table with her stump while she struck the match with her right hand. She fumbled, the action so unnatural it made her slip up and break the match.
And the second one.
And the third one.
Tears pierced her eyes, but she wasn’t going to shed them. She was going to figure this out or she would make due with the flashlight. It was all about adapting. That was what she had to do. Adapt.
She wasn’t going to let this beat her. Normally she was tough. It had happened and she dealt with it, but between the storm and the conversation with Suzanne the day before about her mother and the sweetness of flirting with a handsome man she couldn’t have, she was feeling awfully vulnerable. She wasn’t going to sit here in the dark and cry.
A knock on the door made her gasp and jump.
Fuck. She wasn’t like this. She hated this…this anxiety she got when it rained. It was weakness and she couldn’t abide it.
If you walk away from this you’ll ruin your life, Juliana. Don’t think I’ll watch you do it. You go through with this and you do it on your own. Am I understood?
Sometimes she felt like she was still seven years old, and if she could just get her mom’s attention everything would be okay.
Jules gripped the flashlight and walked across her apartment to the door. It was likely one of the neighbors coming to check on her. Actually, that was an excellent idea. She could go down and see if Mrs. Gleeson needed some company. There were some elderly residents she could check on and a single mom she’d met at the end of the hall. She could see if she could be of any assistance and that would get her through the night.
She opened the door expecting to see anyone but the man she saw standing there.
Javier Leones. He had a flashlight in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. He was wearing jeans and a button down that he’d left undone enough she could see a nice swath of golden brown skin. His hair was deliciously mussed, as though he’d taken a shower and simply rubbed a towel over it to get it dry.
He was big and male and so sexy it hurt to look at him, and Jules realized she could do something else to take her mind off things.
Those plump, sensual lips of his broke into a bright smile. “I thought you might like some company. I know I would. I actually don’t have any candles, so I was sitting in my living room with this sad one flashlight. You look like a woman who likes some candles.”
But she couldn’t light them. She hadn’t figured that part out.
His face fell and he walked into her place, closing and locking the door behind him. “Hey, what’s wrong? It’s okay if you don’t have any candles. It’s cool. Two flashlights are better than one.”
He set the flashlight and wine bottle down and moved into her space, his hands coming up to cup her shoulders. “Jules, what’s wrong?”
She had to be stronger than this. She shook her head. “Nothing. I’m fine.”
His jaw tightened. “Don’t. Please don’t. I live with a stubborn asshole who won’t let me help him in any way. I get that we’ve only known each other for a few weeks, but I thought we were friends. You help me out all the time. You’re kind to me. Fucking let me be kind to you. I spend every day trying to help someone who won’t let me. Please let me feel like I’m worth something.”
If he’d said anything else, joked about the weather or told her to suck it up, she could have, but he’d opened a door. He’d been vulnerable and honest, and she found she couldn’t pay that back with stubbornness.
“I have candles and I can’t figure out how to light them.” Tears rolled down her face. She was vulnerable. All the time. Even when she pretended like she wasn’t.
“You can’t…” he began and then he looked down. Instead of stepping back and giving her space, he drew his hand down her arm, warming her skin where he touched her. It was dark but the moon was full and gave enough light to see the outline of his face. There was no look of horror there. He caressed her arm until he got to the place where she’d been split apart and sewn back together unwhole. He brought it up and wrapped it against his palm, his fingers closing around it until the whole thing was surrounded with his warmth. “You haven’t figured out how to do it yet. Probably hasn’t come up or you would know what to do. How long since you lost your hand?”
“A year and a half,” she said. He was touching her there. No one had touched her there except her doctors and therapists.
Come to think of it, no one had touched her at all since before the accident. Had it really been so long since she’d felt warm flesh against her own? He was so close, close enough that all she would have to do was go up on her toes to brush her lips against his.
Would that be wrong? As long as she remembered who she was dealing with, why couldn’t she take a few moments of respite for herself? If he wanted her.
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.


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