Tuesday, January 31, 2017

‘Cashmere’ (Velvet Trilogy #2) by Temple West

4 stars for the second entry in Temple West's 'Velvet' series.

Whereas 'Velvet' set the stage for life in high school for Caitlin and her friends and provided clear descriptions for demons and a new kind of vampire (rest assured, these are non-sparkly vampires), 'Cashmere' focuses more on Caitlin's fashion internship and her design talents. I can only assume author Temple West has personal experience with fabric, sewing, and fashion; as the descriptions are detailed and vivid.

'Cashmere' picks up where 'Velvet' left off. Readers follow Caitlin, Adrian, Trish, Jenny, et al through the end of their high school year, including an incredible prom scene. Though Caitlin and Adrian spend less time together in this book, readers will appreciate Caitlin's new discoveries of supernatural laws and history, and the time she spends with her internship bodyguards, Kalare and Julian.

Both 'Velvet' and 'Cashmere' are highly recommended to YA supernatural romance fans.

'Cashmere' will be available on February 14, 2017!

I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book.  All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s.

‘Velvet’ (Velvet Trilogy #1) by Temple West

4 red velvet stars

‘Velvet’ begins our tale of Caitlin, whose mother loses her battle with cancer just days before their house is sold and Caitlin moves from Connecticut to upstate New York to live with her Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin in sleepy Stony Creek.  Several pages are incredibly sad, be forewarned if you have experienced a loss recently.

Caitlin’s hot, reclusive, and charming next-door-neighbor is soon revealed to have supernatural abilities.  Adrian is a half-demon, half-vampire, super-smart pop-culture dork with a fun streak and serious respect for his elders.  Over time, he not only explains how advanced chemistry and basic algebra work, but also how vampires come to be and why they need both blood and food to survive.

Much to Caitlin’s delight, Adrian is assigned as her personal bodyguard by the vampire Counsel when his demon father sets his sights on her.  To avoid suspicion from the humans at their high school where she is junior and he’s a senior, they pretend to be a young couple in love.  The two share some really sweet scenes as they start to really fall for each other, though they must to hide their true feelings from Adrian’s family and the Counsel as vampires are forbidden to date humans and are discouraged from interacting with them, under normal circumstances.

I highly recommended this book to YA supernatural romance fans.  ‘Velvet’ is available for purchase, and might be hiding in your local library.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

‘Last Stand’ (The Black Mage #4) by Rachel E. Carter

5 magical stars!

‘Last Stand’ is the epic conclusion to Rachel E. Carter’s fantastic ‘Black Mage’ series, wrapping up all four books and one novella.  Links to the earlier books in this series, and book reviews, are provided below.  Please expect spoilers for the series in the below review.

Read the series from the beginning:
Non-Heir’ Novella Review

‘The Black Mage’ series has pulled my heartstrings at times along the way, but this entry was by far the most emotional to read.  Carter’s writing is flawless; the challenge comes in accepting Mage Ryiah’s choices and watching the consequences play out.  As this series has advanced, the Mages have kept up with their physical training and magic casting, however, political intrigue has become an increasingly larger part of the plot.  ‘Last Stand’ puts an even larger focus on political intrigue and dealings at court, and the many battles resulting from court maneuvers.

My heart was shattered at the end of book 3, ‘Candidate,’ but the worst was yet to come.  Ryiah and Darren both make difficult choices and go through quite a lot in this book.  I wish their path could have been easier, but the end result was worth it.  Along the way, there are some lovely scenes, including a wedding, and some descriptive-yet-clean romance.  As newlyweds, the witty banter between Ryiah and Darren was a bit more personal, and the romantic teasing had both Ryiah and me blushing.  As always, Carter’s intricate descriptions were one of the high points of her novel. 

I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book.  All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s.

‘Last Stand’ will be available on February 7, 2017!

‘Non-Heir’ (The Black Mage 0.5) by Rachel E. Carter

5 stars!

Excellent addition to The Black Mage series revolving around Prince Darren's childhood.  Readers gain insight to his family history, early training, and everything that goes into 'why he is the way he is' when Ryiah first meets him.  Can be read any time after 'First Year.'

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

‘Changing Nature’ (The Immortal Descendants #3) by April White

5 time traveling stars!

‘Marking Time’ review.
‘Tempting Fate’ review.

Spoilers ahead:

‘Marking Time’ followed Clocker Saira Elian as she discovered the secret Family lines descended from five Immortals; Time, Fate, Nature, War, and Death.  She was sent to an exclusive private boarding school in London, where these descendants learn more about their abilities as well as receive a general education.  She made friends with Seers and Shifters, and found herself in trouble with Mongers, who seek to ‘police’ within their own species.  Saira eventually learned why she is a target; she is of mixed blood and is dating a Vampire, descended from Death. 

When an evil Monger-Vampire attempted to trap Saira’s Clocker mother in 1888, she and her allies, Archer and Ringo, stepped in for the rescue, at all costs.

‘Tempting Fate’ reunited ‘the gang’ as Saira, Archer, and Ringo traveled to Tudor England and disrupted the same evil Monger-Vampire’s plan to execute Lady Elizabeth Boleyn before she could become Queen.  Saira learned firsthand that permanent disruptions in the timeline are possible and are large-scale disastrous.

The third installment of ‘The Immortal Descendants’ series begins with more daring public displays of aggression from Mongers, as they kidnap dozens of mixed-bloods.  After several failed attempts at abducting both Saira and Archer, the gang escapes back in time, hoping to fix the anomaly that has created the permanent shift in the time stream.

‘Changing Nature’ is the third in a completed five-book series about Clockers, Seers, Shifters, War Mongers, and Suckers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

‘Tempting Fate’ (The Immortal Descendants #2) by April White

'Tempting Fate' takes us back to Tudor England, and brings Clocker Saira and the gang face-to-face with Queen Elizabeth shortly before her reign begins, as they attempt to a thwart nefarious Monger-Vampire plot.

‘Tempting Fate’ is the second in a completed five-book series about Clockers, Seers, Shifters, War Mongers, and Suckers.  Available here.

'Marking Time' review.

Monday, January 23, 2017

‘Marking Time’ (The Immortal Descendants #1) by April White

5 time traveling stars!

Fantastic read!  ‘Marking Time’ has a well-thought out plot, strong character development, fun humor, and its own mysterious mythology.  Readers are thrown into a centuries-old tale right alongside the main character and we get to discover secrets as she does; sometimes before she clearly pieces things together.  Part mystery, part supernatural tale with time travel and just enough YA romance to hit the spot.

‘Marking Time’ is permanently free on Amazon, and is the first in a five-book series about Clockers, Seers, Shifters, War Mongers, and Suckers.

Friday, January 20, 2017

'One Past Midnight' by Jessica Shirvington

4.5 stars 

Jessica Shirvington has done it again!  YA novel with a paranormal element narrated by a competent teenage girl.  'One Past Midnight' is just as good as Shirvington's 'Embrace' series.

This book has us follow 18-year-old Sabine through her two different lives in two slightly different worlds.  Sabine is the only one she knows who shifts through the worlds every 24 hours, promptly at midnight.  When we meet her, she has parents, siblings, friends, and a nearly complete high school education in both worlds, and is a bit tired of shifting between them.  She notices a difference in her shifting; that physical changes no longer shift with her, and this opens up new possibilities for her.

There was a really nice surprise hiding in the last few pages of the book.

'One Past Midnight' is available in bookstores, and may even be hiding in your library, like my copy was!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

‘Renegade Red’ (The Light #2) by Lauren Bird Horowitz

3 stars 

Read review for 'Shattered Blue'

‘Renegade Red’ picks up where ‘Shattered Blue’ ended; Noa and magical Fae brothers Callum and Judah have just jumped through the portal between their worlds, to search for their little sister.  Magic is even more present, and we are still treated to Noa’s beautiful poetry.  But beware, deep psychological dreams and thoughts are to be had.

While ‘Shattered Blue’ properly dealt with grief over a lost sister/daughter, the book had many sad moments.  ‘Renegade Red’ seems to have just as many, but lacks the support network of family and friends to assist with coping.  In fact, far more goes wrong in this book, with dark twists and turns, and a dystopian society complete with slavery and death camps.

I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s.

‘Renegade Red’ is available for pre-order and releases on March 14, 2017.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Series Review: ‘Embrace’ (The Violet Eden Chapters) by Jessica Shirvington

5 stars!

This series is action-adventure with clean romance and a paranormal backdrop.

Debut author Jessica Shirvington has skillfully mastered the art of combining a feisty and independent mature teenage girl with a slowly revealed supernatural world that she becomes part of on her seventeenth birthday.  Readers get a strong sense of Violet’s relationships with parents and friends before she discovers all that is hidden.

The supernatural world, in this case, is the existence of angel-human hybrids called Grigori and fallen angels (both light and dark) called Exiles.  Grigori are warriors who are assigned (preordained) fighting partners.  While the series includes a fair amount of religious history as a backdrop for explaining fallen angels on Earth, I would not consider this a “Christian” book.  No specific religious ideas are pushed onto main characters, or the reader.

Shirvington does an excellent job of not overwhelming Violet, and the readers, revealing only so much information at once.  Violet discovers her partner, her abilities, her strength, and some insight into her own family history at a slow and believable pace.  She is a realistic teenage narrator, providing reactions that will resonate with readers, as well as enjoyable snark and sarcasm where applicable.

Readers are quickly introduced to Violet’s family and friends.  Though Violet has a hefty crush on her mentor/fitness instructor, Lincoln, she finds that he is not the only good looking young man to capture her attention.  Phoenix and Lincoln seem to be polar opposites, which may confuse Violet, but is refreshing for the rest of us.  Though they do form a love triangle of sorts, there is no insta-love involved.  I found it easy to see why she likes both Lincoln and Phoenix, and the occasional romantic tension is an asset to the series.

Check your local library for all five books of the ‘Embrace’ series, or start the series for less than a dollar on Amazon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

‘Candidate’ (The Black Mage, #3) by Rachel E. Carter

5 magical stars!

Once again, author Rachel E Carter has captivated attention for the duration of this novel, and gave me *all* the feels.

After the three-year apprenticeship, the Combat, Restoration, and Alchemy mages were ranked and offered posts at various cities in the country, based on those ranks.  Ryiah was determined to have an opportunity in one of the more dangerous cities before her 'new responsibilities' kept her close to the Crown's palace.  I was glad for her to see familiar faces while on patrol up in Ferren's Keep, and the feisty banter between Ryiah and Prince Darren never disappoints.

Carter's continued elaborate and vivid descriptions of battle scenes played a large role in my enjoyment of the Candidacy tournaments, and the political reveals had me on the edge of my seat.  

Can't wait to see what happens next, in the 'Last Stand', available February 7, 2017.

Read the series from the beginning:

'First Year' Review

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

‘Scattered Souls’ (Flames of Time #2) by Erica Lucke Dean

5 stars!

Excellent second entry in the 'Flames of Time' series!  'Scattered Souls' involved more time travel adventures and additional details about the curse, while focusing more on the three entwined souls, Ava, Maddox and Laith.  (Review of 'Splintered Souls' here.)

‘Scattered’ picks up exactly where ‘Splintered’ left off; Laith has just saved Ava’s life and simultaneously achieved his plan of kidnapping her to the past, so that they can spend time together.  As soul mates, Ava, Laith, and Maddox are all linked to each other, however, up to this point Ava had not fully explored her connection with Laith.  All he has wanted is an uninterrupted chance to charm Ava, and now (much to readers’ enjoyment) he has that chance.

While Laith attempts to woo Ava, traveling through time and spoiling her rotten, Ava learns the intricate and practical details about how her two soul mates are able to travel through time.  As she comes to better understand the curse that binds the three soul mates for eternity, she decides to take matters into her own hands.

We gain a second narrator, as an increasingly crazed and flustered Maddox searches throughout time for his soul mate, unwilling to allow Ava to fall for Laith.  Maddox is convinced that he is the better choice for Ava and that he deserves to find happiness with her, because of his past with his brother. 

Is it really that simple though?  Find out in this compelling YA paranormal romance; perfect for fans of Rysa Walker's 'Timebound' book series and the CW show, 'The Vampire Diaries.'

‘Scattered Souls’ will be available January 10, 2017.

I’ve voluntarily reviewed this book.