Happy Holidays!

, by Kt Clapsadl

We'll be on a holiday hiatus until 1/5. Here's wishing you and yours a very Happy Holidays and New Year!

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Review: Bound by Ink by Marcella Burnard

, by Kt Clapsadl

Bound by Ink by Marcella Burnard
Living Ink #1

National bestselling author Marcella Burnard’s first Living Ink novel, Nightmare Ink, was an “outstanding series starter.” Now she continues her “truly mesmeric and heart-stopping” story of magical tattoo artist Isa Romanchzyk…

After being kidnapped and forcibly Inked with a Living Tattoo named Murmur, Isa thought she’d survived the worst her enemies could throw at her. She was wrong. Murmur is walking around her world in someone else’s body, and without him, Isa is losing control of her magic.

Then, in the middle of rush hour, a Live Tattoo comes off its host, killing over a hundred people. Isa discovers that Murmur’s nemesis, Uriel—a demon she believed defeated—is responsible. He’s seeking the power to force his way back into Isa’s world. If he succeeds, everyone Isa loves will be destroyed. There may be a way to stop him, but it will mean sacrificing Murmur—or herself…

Boy am I glad I gave this series another shot. The previous book was a rather frustrating read for me due to the excessive lack of world building and overall confusion. However, this time around, I have a much better handle on things, and I was able to enjoy the series and the great characters a whole lot more. Isa started to really "find" herself in the previous installment, but in this one, she's hit her stride. I really loved how strong she was, and that despite everything going so wrong around her and being stuck in some pretty horrid conditions, she never once faltered, and I loved her for it. On a side note, I have to say that the world behind this series is rather insane, and after the events of this book, I'm very anxious to see what happens next and how Isa handles it.

While the world building and overall flow of the story improved from the previous installment, unfortunately the romance took a turn for the worse. To be honest I just did not feel any connection at all between Isa and Steve. There seemed to be so much more between her and Murmur and yet she's supposed to be madly in love with Steve. I just didn't get it. Sure there's the complications of Murmur being her "ex" tattoo, and really a demon, but again there was no spark on the Steve side of things, and there was more than plenty on the Murmur side. It frankly left me scratching my head throughout, but perhaps this whole romance debacle will play out more in future books.

As I said before, I'm really glad I continued on with this series after its rocky start. Unique worlds and storylines like this are hard to come by, and I love having something completely new and fresh to read. There's nothing predictable here, and it made for a rather interesting read. I'd recommend this to fans of Urban Fantasy that are looking for a fast paced and action pack series that's completely out of the box.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:




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Other Reviews:


Previous Books:
     1. Nightmare Ink


Early Review: Revenant by Larissa Ione

, by Kt Clapsadl

Revenant by Larissa Ione
Lords of Deliverance #6

HELL HATH NO FURY . . .

For five thousand years, Revenant believed he was alone in the world, a fallen angel beyond any redemption. Now he finds he has a twin brother who had all the light and love Revenant was denied. Caught in a tug of war between Heaven and Hell, he must weigh his thirst for revenge against his desire for a mysterious female named Blaspheme—a female whose very origins could deliver him into salvation . . . or destruction.

LIKE AN ANGEL SCORNED

Blaspheme has a deadly secret: she's the forbidden offspring of an angel and a fallen angel. Hunted by both heavenly and satanic forces, she has survived only by laying low and trusting no one. When Revenant claims he can save them both, how can she possibly believe him? But the powerful angel is persistence incarnate and for Blaspheme, there's no place she can hide in Heaven or Hell where he won't find her . .

Oh my goodness did I love this book. In fact, as I'm writing this review I have a strong urge to re-read both Reaver's and Revenant's books. They are by far my favorites in the series, and that's saying something as I've really enjoyed all the books. There's just something so yummy about these two brothers who are at opposite ends of the spectrum yet so similar at the same time. I'll be honest, earlier in the series it took Reaver a while to grow on me because he was kind of a jerk. But then Revenant came around, and jerk had a whole new meaning. I wasn't sure how he could possibly be redeemed, but Larissa made his story steal my heart, even when he was being a jerk. He snuck up me and made me both love and hate him somehow at the same time. Any time a character can instill such strong feelings is a great one in my book, and Revenant sure fits that bill.

I don't think Blaspheme could have been any more of a perfect match for Revenant. She takes what he throws at her and dishes it right back despite knowing that at any moment if he found out her secret, she was worse than dead. I have to admit that the mystery behind her really intrigued me when she was introduced a few books ago. So it was a bit disappointing for the big secret to have been revealed in the blurb for this one rather than actually in the book as it kind of took the impact away from the reveal. But that's only a small complaint that I quickly forgot while reading. The tension her secret creates not only in the danger of the plot, but also between her and Revenant. I'm a huge fan of yummy sexual tension, and this one has it in spades. Trust me, the fireworks going off between these two is something not to be missed!

I still cannot believe this series is over. Over the past eleven books so much has happened, and I honestly loved every minute of it. I have to say though REVENANT ends it out with a pretty spectacular bang. And there always is the chance to go back and re-read from the start. So, all in all I want to thank Larissa Ione for creating such a spectacular series. Major kudos, and I can't wait to see what she has in store next!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:





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Other Reviews:
     Oh My Shelves
     Tome Tender
     Tynga's Reviews

Previous Books:
     1. Eternal Rider
     2. Immortal Rider
     3. Lethal Rider
     4. Rogue Rider
     5. Reaver


Kirsten Reviews: Daring by Elliott James

, by Kt Clapsadl

Daring by Elliott James
Pax Arcana #2

THE WEREWOLVES HAVE A NEW LEADER...AND HE CANNOT BE STOPPED.

Something is rotten in the state of Wisconsin.

Werewolf packs are being united and absorbed into an army of super soldiers by a mysterious figure who speaks like an angel and fights like a demon. And every Knight Templar—keepers of the magical peace between mankind and magickind—who tries to get close to this big bad wolf winds up dead. No knight can infiltrate a group whose members can smell a human from a mile away...no knight except one.

John Charming. Ex knight. Current werewolf. Hunted by the men who trained him, he now might be their only salvation. But animal instincts are rising up to claim John more powerfully than ever before, and he must decide if this new leader of wolves is a madman...or a messiah.

Daring, the second book in Elliott James’ Pax Arcana series finds John Charming, who is one of those Charmings, but definitely not a prince, nor is he a Knight Templar - anymore, caught between a werewolf and a knight.

Werewolves are organizing into an army, which has the Knight Templars worried. Every attempt they’ve made to get close to the mysterious new leader who has the werewolves working together on a grand scale, has been foiled, and the knight ends up dead. There’s no knight alive who can infiltrate a group like this, no one that is, except for John Charming, who happens to be a werewolf.

He’s also a man who is avoiding Sig, the woman he might have fallen in love with, who happens to be a Valkyrie who can communicate with the dead - neither of them are well-versed in talking about their feelings, so they tend to hurt one another in order to protect the other, which in turn doesn’t make either of them more trusting. To make things even more complicated, all Knights Templar are under a geas which compels them to protect the Pax Arcana, which is the ‘see no magic, and mortals don’t freak out’ sort of barrier that keeps a lid on all the magical activity that people don’t notice. That means that sometimes, John is literally under the magical gun to do something he may think isn’t right.

To get the ball rolling, in typical self-sacrificing fashion, John surrenders to the Knights Templar in order to protect Sig and his other friends, which leads to him becoming a one of the pack, and he has to confront the question of whether the Knights Templar or the werewolves have the right idea, and it’s not as simple as one would think. John also has to deal with the werewolf instincts that he had to confront in the last book, and decide who he is, and what lines he will and won’t cross.

The new werewolves are a mixed bunch, some are more fleshed out than others, and at times the story moves a little more slowly, but most of that is spent in world building, and it largely pays off nicely in the end. Whereas Charming had very clearly defined villains, this second book muddies the waters, and by introducing such gray areas, promises interesting things for further books in the series.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:



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Other Reviews:
     Rabid Reads
     All Things Urban Fantasy
     The BiblioSanctum

Previous Books:
     1. Charming

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Review: Nightmare Ink by Marcella Burnard

, by Kt Clapsadl

Nightmare Ink by Marcella Burnard
Living Ink #1

From “smoking-hot talent”* Marcella Burnard comes a dangerous and captivating new novel that will get under your skin.

With her art and magic, Isa Romanchzyk has the power to create or destroy. In her tattoo shop, Nightmare Ink, Isa helps those in need by binding the power embedded in their Live Ink—the magical tattoos that can enhance the life of the wearer, or end it. But binding tattoos has earned Isa the contempt of her fellow artists—including her former lover Daniel.

When a friend comes to the shop with a tattoo on the verge of killing him, Isa can’t turn him away. For the first time in years, she works Live Ink—something she swore she’d never do again. But a broken vow soon becomes the least of her problems.

The real nightmare begins when she’s abducted and inked with a Living Tattoo against her will. Now, saddled with a powerful, amoral entity willing to do anything to win his freedom, Isa must fight to keep her Living Tattoo from consuming her completely...

World building is a funny thing, and it seems hard to find a good balance in series openers. Too much, and it can make the start of a series feel overly slow and sluggish to get through as you are inundated with all the different elements. Then on the other side of things, too little world building, and it really cripples the story. Unfortunately NIGHTMARE INK falls firmly into the latter category. I had a really hard time staying focused on this book as I couldn't figure who was who, and what was really going on. There was very little explanations nor even character introductions, and the opening cast of characters is pretty big. It almost felt like this should have been the second book in the series where the reader already knew the characters and the rules of the world. Frankly it really baffles me just how much a complete lack of world building there was for the majority of the book. Granted, now after finishing, I think I mostly have a handle on what's going on, but some things still are a bit hazy. It's a shame, because this has the potential to be a really interesting and complex world, I just hope the next book fleshes things out a bit more.

I have to admit that if it wasn't for Isa being such a strong character I probably wouldn't have continued on with this much past the first few chapters due to my frustration with the lack of world explanations. But luckily Isa drew me in enough to stick around, and I'm glad because after finishing I'm pretty intrigued. Isa's strong, but has a haunted past, and it's crippled her relationships with others. Of course that starts to change in NIGHTMARE INK and it was interesting to see her start to come out of her shell and learn to allow the other characters in. It's ironic that it happened at the same time she was dealing with something trying to take her over that she found herself rather than lose herself, but I'm not complaining.

Stilted world building aside, I'm pretty intrigued by this new series. I'll definitely be diving into the next book soon to see where things go after that whopper of an ending. I recommend this to fans of Urban Fantasy who are looking for something a bit different, but just be prepared to overlook the world building issues.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

Rating:


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Other Reviews:
    All Things Urban Fantasy
    The BiblioSanctum
    The Book Pushers


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