Early Review: Grave Ransom by Kalayna Price

, by Kt Clapsadl

Grave Ransom by Kalayna Price
Alex Craft #5

Grave witch Alex Craft is no stranger to the dead talking. She raises shades, works with ghosts, and is dating Death himself. But the dead walking? That’s not supposed to happen. And yet, reanimated corpses are committing crimes across Nekros City.

Alex’s investigation leads her deep into a web of sinister magic. When Briar Darque of the Magical Crimes Investigation Bureau gets involved, Alex finds herself with an unexpected ally of sorts. But as the dead continue to rise and wreak havoc on the living, can Alex get to the soul of the matter in time?

GRAVE RANSOM had it's strengths and weaknesses, but the plot is where this one really shines. The whole concept of dead but alive people walking around, but NOT zombie or ghouls was really fascinating to me. The stakes are incredibly high in this one as aside from Alex, and the other few grave witches, no one would ever know these people are actually dead. It made for the perfect batch of thieves for the villain and I really loved watching all the twists and turns in GRAVE RANSOM unfurl. I won't spoil things too much, but suffice it to say this one doesn't head quite where you'd expect!

Now onto the not so strong parts. I have to admit considering the wait in-between books in this series, the overall lack of character development and momentum in this GRAVE RANSOM was a bit of a let down. Like I mentioned, the plot was incredibly enjoyable and kept me more than entertained, but the character department just left things a little to be desired. Don't get me wrong, Alex and crew are all fully fleshed and real characters, but their progression, particular Alex and her relationship with Death seemed stagnant at best. I just prefer at least some focus on characters and their progression in a series, but alas this one was fully plot focused rather than character driven. It's just a personal preference.

Overall, character momentum issues aside, I very much enjoyed this latest installment in the Alex Craft series. These characters and world hold a special place for me, and I can't wait to see more in the future!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     The Novel Lady

Previous Books:
     1. Grave Witch
     2. Grave Dance
     3. Grave Memory
     4. Grave Visions

Review: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent

, by Kt Clapsadl

Spectacle by Rachel Vincent
Menagerie #2

When their coup of Metzger's Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of "exotic wildlife." Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle's owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price.

But Vandekamp's closely guarded client list isn't the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

In some ways, SPECTACLE felt a lot like the first book, but that's in no way a bad thing. The plot was very similar in the most basic of senses with the cryptids going from captivity to freedom, to captivity... However as atrocious as their conditions were in MENAGERIE, the horrors almost paled in comparison to the civilized predicaments they found themselves in Vandekamp's facility. They are fed well, in a clean and almost sterile environment, so their living conditions are better, and yet as I said more horrific. There's just something so extra terrifying about the atrocities they were forced to endure all while under a civilized facade caused by the control collars. At least previously their entire minds and bodies weren't actually controlled. Sure they were always caged, and controlled through pain, but at least the cryptids still had their minds. 

It truly is a testament to Rachel Vincent's incredible skill that she was able to up the horror and stakes so much. After finishing Menagerie I would have never have guessed things could have gotten so much worse but yet she masterfully crafted a horrifically riveting story I just couldn't put down. You truly care for and root for the characters every step of the way, hoping against all hope that things will turn a corner soon, only to be shocked by the next horror. But even so none of the characters started to fade, holding strong, and making them truly admirable, which again is a true testament to the author's masterful skill.

If you are looking for a book and series that will stick with you long after you finish the last page, look no further than MENAGERIE and SPECTACLE. I cannot wait to see what's in store next!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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     Rabid Reads
     Naomi's Reading Place
     Gizmo's Reviews

Previous Books:
     1. Menagerie

Early Review: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

, by Kt Clapsadl

Silver Silence by Nalini Singh
Psy-Changeling Trinity #1

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater Bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence—her mind clear of all emotion—Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed...

Oh my goodness! The Bears! I love the bears! As much as I've enjoyed reading the cat and the wolf books, there was just something so great about the bears. They still have that strong sense of pack and family that the others have, but there's just something... more about them. That and that the mating games they play by sneaking after their "prey" aka future mates, was just so yummy! The bears are so rowdy and full of trouble and yet everyone can't help but loving them. I found myself grinning from ear to ear the entire time reading this. Trust me, if you've enjoyed the pack dynamics of the other packs, the bears are going to instantly win your heart ten times over.

Onto the romance. Remember my love for the bears? Their traits made for one heck of a fun and hilarious mating dance. The shenanigans Valentin gets up to are nothing short of hilarious. But don't worry, Silver gives him more than a run for his money. Still it was incredibly enjoyable to watch him slowly break down her walls one by one. Their chemistry is off the charts from the first page despite her initial coldness. It truly made for an incredibly enjoyable read.

Simply put, Silver Silence is utter and completely fantastic. You cannot go wrong with a Nalini Singh book, but Silver Silence knocked it out of the park!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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     Unstuck Pages
     The Book Disciple

Early Review: White Hot by Ilona Andrews

, by Kt Clapsadl

White Hot by Ilona Andrews
Hidden Legacy #2

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …

Boy oh boy do the sparks fly between Nevada and Rogan in WHITE HOT. You can practically feel the heat between them as they dance around one another. He's determined to have her, and she's just as determined to keep him away despite wanting him just as much. They both are so incredibly strong willed, and yet Nevada's backbone is almost solid iron in comparison to his and she can out stubborn him all day. It was so enjoyable watching her bring MAD Rogan to his knees. But don't worry, he isn't neutered just gentled a bit, which made this romantic build up/progression in this series absolutely perfect in my book! I cannot wait to see how things continue with this pair in the next book.

Romance aside there was even so much more to love about this book. The political and magicial issues have hit the fan, so to speak, and wow was it all intense. The feeling of family is so strong in this book, and I loved every moment of it. Nevada and company have some pretty hard choices to make, and this book set things up perfectly for what I imagine will be one heck of an ending to the trilogy in the next book.

You know you've read a truly amazing book when upon finishing it, you immediately want to start over from the beginning and re-read it all over again. Everything about WHITE HOT was top knotch, from the intense fast paced action, to the character development, and oh the romance! There was never a single dull moment in this book and I simply couldn't put it down.

I simply cannot recommend this book and this series any higher! An absolute must read, run do not walk and grab this book immediately!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Fangs, Wands, & Fairy Dust
     Tome Tender

Previous Books:
     1. Burn for Me

Release Day Review: Firestorm by Nancy Holzner

, by Kt Clapsadl

Firestorm by Nancy Holzner
Deadtown #6

They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders—but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…

When Vicky allowed an ancient goddess to possess her, she had no regrets—it was the only way to protect the people she loved. But now Ceridwen, locked in a power struggle with the Hellion that long ago claimed Vicky with its mark, refuses to leave. Both beings believe controlling Vicky is the key to winning the coming war for the human realm.

Despite the forces pulling her apart, Vicky needs all her wits about her. The demons of Hell are growing bold and she can barely keep up with the attacks plaguing the city: sirens in the Mystic River, goblins snarling traffic on Storrow Drive, imps tearing the gold from the State House dome. As the signs of war multiply and Hell threatens to overrun its boundaries, Vicky finds herself torn between her duty to save the world and her desire to save something of herself…

Whew was this a whirlwind of a series ending book! There was so much going on with all the many plot threads being wrapped up that the pacing is almost frenetic at times. There's simply not a dull moment in FIRESTORM. Between the demon/goddess duos possessing her, and all the external issues attacking humans and the paranormals in and out of Deadtown alike, Vicky couldn't catch a moment's breath. That being said the pacing never steps over the line into the "too much" category, instead it was a perfect balance of intense action that I had no trouble following. Very impressive.

All in all FIRESTORM was an enjoyable end to the Deadtown series that should more than please fans. While this book was a long time coming, I have to say it was worth the wait!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Tome Tender

Previous Books:
     1. Deadtown
     2. Hellforged
     3. Bloodstone
     4. Darklands
     5. Hellhound

Review: Veiled Menace by Deborah Blake

, by Kt Clapsadl

Veiled Menance by Deborah Blake
Veiled Magic #2

Since Witches came out of the broom-closet in the early 21st century, they have worked alongside humans as police officers, healers, stock traders, and more. But they aren’t the only paranormal entities in our world...

Witch and police officer Donata Santori is no stranger to magical mayhem, but lately her life has been unexpectedly charmed. Her job as a Ghost Yanker now includes the occasional paranormal investigation, and she’s advancing her magical abilities with the help of an ancestor’s treasured spell book. And while both of her former love interests—reclusive half-Dragon art forger Peter Casaventi and disgraced Shapechanger Magnus Torvald—are nowhere to be found, she’s not averse to being wined and dined by wealthy businessman Anton Eastman.

But Eastman isn’t what he seems, and what he wants from Donata is far more than she’s willing to give. When a mysterious relic, the Pentacle Pentimento, resurfaces, along with Peter’s Dragon father and a shocking Santori family secret, Donata must fight to save herself, her friends, and just maybe the fate of the world from a magic as old as it is dangerous…

VEILED MENACE was an enjoyable followup to the first book in the series. I admit I had a little bit of a struggle at first to remember what happened in the previous book, but the author did a good job at easing readers back into this world. I really enjoy how rich the entire world is and how the author masterfully crafts her reveals with all the twists and turns in-between. The characters, Donata in particular, are utterly fabulous as well.

I have to admit that the romance in this series is one place where things just aren't quite up to par. At least not in comparison to Deborah's Baba Yaga series. There's just something about the romance arcs in this one that aren't working for me. First off there's two potential love interests, which in itself isn't the problem as I don't mind a love triangle when it's handled well. It's that there's too much back and forth of will they or won't they. Too many misconceptions and misunderstandings. And then when the tide seemed to fully turn to one of the men, immediately after a ridiculous fight happens and things are back to will they won't they status. I guess it was just too much of a tennis match for this romance lover's heart.

All in all this was an enjoyable installment in a series that I hope to see plenty more books from. I feel like we've only scratched the surface, and I want to see more. 

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Urban Fantasy Investigations
     Delighted Reader

Previous Books:
     1. Veiled Magic

Early Review: Snared by Jennifer Estep

, by Kt Clapsadl

Snared by Jennifer Estep
Elemental Assassin #16

If you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

There is no better word to describe my feelings for this series then "amazed." It is simply amazing how Jennifer Estep is able to up the stakes with each new installment without things ever once feeling stale or too over the top. Each new "big bad" is worse than the previous, and fully unique. It's truly incredible to be honest to have 16 books in a series and being just as excited upon finishing as I was with the first book. This time around, the danger hits closer to home than it has sometimes in the past with Gin herself under the most threat by the end. While it was an awful turn of events, it did show a bit more vulnerable side to her, keeping that all so important realism to her character. You just can't go through everything she throughout this entire series and always come up on top and unscathed. So I really enjoyed the added depth it brought to the series with her being at full risk this time around.

What better praise can I say other than sixteen books in and I still want more? I hope there are many more Gin Blanco books to come in the future, and I can't wait to see what's next. Fans of the series will be more than pleased with this latest installment in this fantastic and action packed series!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     That's What I'm Talking About
     Floating Leaves
     The Linseyverse

Previous Books:
     1. Spider's Bite
     2. Web of Lies
     3. Venom
     4. Tangled Threads
     5. Spider's Revenge
     6. By a Thread
     7. Widow's Web
     8. Deadly Sting
     9. Heart of Venom
     10. The Spider
     11. Poison Promise
     12. Black Widow
     13. Spider's Trap
     14. Bitter Bite
     15. Unraveled

Early Review: Blade Bound by Chloe Neill

, by Kt Clapsadl

Blade Bound by Chloe Neill
Chicagoland Vampires #13

The thrilling final installment of Chloe Neill’s New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series sees a sinister sorcery advancing across Chicago, and it may usher in the fall of Cadogan House…

Since the night of her brutal attack and unwilling transformation to vampire, Merit’s stood as Sentinel and protector of Chicago’s Cadogan House. She's saved the Windy City from the forces of darkness time and again with her liege and lover, Ethan Sullivan, by her side.

When the House is infiltrated and Merit is attacked by a vampire seemingly under the sway of dark magic, Merit and Ethan realize the danger is closer than they could have ever imagined. As a malign sorcery spreads throughout the city, Merit must go to war against supernatural powers beyond her comprehension. It’s her last chance to save everything—and everyone—she loves.

Everything about BLADE BOUND felt like a satisfying progression towards closure. From the humans' animosity towards the supernaturals of Chicago, to Ethan and Merit's relationship, old prophecies, as well as closure of past threats. I was hooked from the first page until the very last word. Trust me when I say this is one action packed, emotional, and more than satisfying read. 

We finally get the much anticipated wedding that has been building since the very first page of this series. Sure, Merit and Ethan started out as all but enemies, but the writing was on the wall...and after 13 books I can say that it's FINALLY time. Let me just say it was everything I had hoped for and suited the characters and the vampires well. Of course, in true Chicagoland style, there's plenty of chaos and danger abound in-between all the wedding happiness, and it made for an excellent balance.

BLADE BOUND was one heck of a series ending book. While I'm sad to see this much loved come to a close, I couldn't have asked for a better send off. Chicagoland fans will absolutely love BLADE BOUND. Bravo Ms. Neill, Bravo!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


Order Links:

Other Reviews:
     SnoopyDoo's Book Review
     Beauty and the Beastly Books
     Fantasy Raiders

Previous Books:
     1. Some Girls Bite
     2. Friday Night Bites
     3. Twice Bitten
     4. Hard Bitten
     5. Drink Deep
     6. Biting Cold
     7. House Rules
     8. Biting Bad
     9. Wild Things
     10. Blood Games
     10.5. Lucky Break
     11. Dark Debt
     12. Midnight Marked
     12.5. Phantom Kiss

Review: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

, by Kt Clapsadl

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite fairy tales, so I knew HUNTED would be right up my alley. The author took this much loved familiar tale and gave it a fresh spin that I absolutely loved. I especially enjoyed the matchup of the Beauty lore along with the Firebird tale. It just gave the story something extra, and a new feel. Another difference, while Beauty is a rather strong heroine in the original story, in this version she's a fully kick butt version. She's firece and exactly my kind of heroine.

There was much less of a romance feel in HUNTED, which despite my normal love for all things romance, really worked for me. While there definitely a spark of attraction, the overall feel was more centered around the book's main feeling of wanting something more. And Beauty and the Beast both felt this sense in one another which led to a sort of kinship budding into more. Sure there's still a bit of Stockholm syndrome with her, but it's handled very well in my opinion.

All in all, I really enjoyed this fabulous retelling. HUNTED kept me captivated from the first page, and I highly recommend it!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Between Dreams andd Reality
     Du Livre
     A Page with a View

Review: Immortal Unchained by Lynsay Sands

, by Kt Clapsadl

Immortal Unchained by Lynsay Sands
Argeneau #25

Ever since Domitian Argenis recognized Sarita as his life mate, he’s been waiting for the perfect moment to claim her. Those fantasies did not include him being chained to a table in a secret lab or both of them being held hostage by a mad scientist. Somehow, they have to escape…

Sarita has seen some crazy things as a cop, but nothing to rival Domitian. A vampire? Seriously? But his healing ability, incredible powers, and their mind-blowing physical connection—none of it should be possible, yet her body knows differently. Now, not only do they have to save each other, but other innocent lives are at stake. Failure is not an option, for Sarita intends that Domitian show her exactly what an eternity of pleasure feels like…

I really enjoyed reading IMMORTAL UNCHAINED. Books with the fated mates trope are always a favorite of mine, and this spun things up a bit. Domitian met his destined mate, Sarita when she was much too young for him, and has been quietly keeping tabs on her since. Then despite his instincts, he didn't even jump to "claim" her the moment she became of age, but still waited until she had time to live her life first. Of course the whole fate thing always is a bit tricky and he meets her earlier than he expected in the most unfortunate way, bringing in a second trope of forced proximity. And boy did that bring an interesting twist. Sarita gets one heck of a crash course on the Immortals, and I was amazed at how well this firecracker took everything. Her sassiness made for the perfect compliment to Domitian and boy did she give him a run for his money. Add in all the danger and craziness of the plot, and you have a heck of a read.

What better endorsement can I give this book other than to simply say it's the 25th book in the series and I am still completely hooked. Every book is full of romantic fun with a lot of humor, a bit of sass, and always some danger to spice things up, and IMMORTAL UNCHAINED was no exception. Definitely a favorite in the Paranormal Romance genre, the Argeneau series, is not to be missed!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     All Things Urban Fantasy
     Tome Tender
     Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

Previous Books:
     1. A Quick Bite
     2. Love Bites
     3. Single White Vampire
     4. Tall, Dark, & Hungry
     5. A Bite to Remember
     6. Bite Me If You Can
     7. The Accidental Vampire
     8. Vampires Are Forever
     9. Vampire, Interrupted
    10. The Rouge Hunter
    11. The Immortal Hunter
    12. The Renegade Hunter
    13. Born to Bite
    14. Hungry for You
    15. The Reluctant Vampire
    16. Under a Vampire Moon
    17. The Lady is a Vamp
    18. Immortal Ever After
    19. One Lucky Vampire
    20. Vampire Most Wanted
    21. The Immortal Who Loved Me
    22. About a Vampire
    23. Runaway Vampire
    24. Immortal Nights

Review: Lifeblood by Gena Showalter

, by Kt Clapsadl

Lifeblood by Gena Showalter
Everlife #2

My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning.

With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.

Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?

But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.

I have to admit while I still really enjoy the concept behind this series, Ten's character made this a struggle for me. To be honest, Ten bothered me in the first book as well, but I chalked it up to being a new series and all the growing pains involved with that. I had hoped since she finally made her big decision by the end of the last book, she'd be less wishy-washy. Unfortunately, I think she was actually worse in this book now that she's chosen a side, but her romantic interest is on the opposite warring side. I can't count the number of times I growled in frustration at her actions and choices. It just made it hard to fully enjoy the book when I spent most of the time annoyed at the main character.

That being said, I did find myself looking past those main character frustrations and enjoying the rest of the characters as well as the very fascinating world. I feel like I had a better grip of the various elements at play this time. Sure it's at its core a story about good vs evil, but it's told in an incredibly interesting way, with no clear answers to who is really good and who is really bad. Both sides had their pluses and minus, with Troika admittedly seeming more the *good* side. The dynamic between humans and the two afterlife warring sides are incredibly fascinating and should only get more so as things progress.

Main character woes aside, LIFEBLOOD was an intriguing read that added new depth to this rich series that I overall enjoyed. It will be great to see how things turn out next!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     (un)Convntional Book Views
     Shell's Stories
     Under the Covers Book Blog

Previous Books:
     1. Firstlife

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