Release Day Review: Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

, by Kt Clapsadl

Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine
The Great Library #4

To save the Great Library, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, and Ash and Quill put themselves in danger in the next thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The opening moves of a deadly game have begun. Jess Brightwell has put himself in direct peril, with only his wits and skill to aid him in a game of cat and mouse with the Archivist Magister of the Great Library. With the world catching fire, and words printed on paper the spark that lights rebellion, it falls to smugglers, thieves, and scholars to save a library thousands of years in the making...if they can stay alive long enough to outwit their enemies.





Holy smokes was SMOKE AND IRON one heck of a thrill ride. From page one the stakes are off the charts. The book drops us right into danger, and the nail-biting aspects don't let up for a moment. It made for one intense read. This one was told in rotating perspectives which only served to ratchet the intensity up as every since character was facing incredible odds. The war has was well and truly taken off, and there's no turning back now.

It's truly impressive how the author is able to have such nail-bitingly high stakes but also keep the characters front and center as well. For such a large cast, it would be understandable if some faded to the background in light of all the incredible action. And yet, each and every character shines in SMOKE AND IRON. I really love how much the story and characters suck you in leaving the reader desperate to see how things turn out and hope everyone survives the chaos. It's like reading about your best friends and the amazing odds against them, and I really enjoyed every moment.

Fans of the series will be more than pleased with this incredibly high stakes new installment in the Great Library series. I can't wait to see what happens next!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
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     Read. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

Previous Books:
     1. Ink and Bone
     2. Paper and Fire
     3. Ash and Quill

Early Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

, by Kt Clapsadl

Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
The Iron Covenant #1

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Holy smokes! Ilona Andrews has done it again! What higher praise can I give other than that they did the impossible. They took the most reviled character from the Kate Daniels world, and made him not only likable but swoon-worthy. I'm seriously in awe of their skill. It's so amusing that this book came from an April Fool's joke they played thinking no one would believe Hugh of all people could get his own romance book. And then the public outcry when it was revealed to be just a joke, hilarious! So needless to say this writing duo had their work cut out for them, and they achieved the goal masterfully. But don't worry, they didn't make Hugh a romance worthy hero by emasculating him, far from it. They just peeled back a few layers we didn't get to see through Kate's eyes AND they gave him a heroine with the ability to meet him step for step. Impressive doesn't even begin to touch this book.

What's even more impressive is the plotline and story. It would have been easy to just focus on the task of making Hugh likable, but they also gave us one heck of a storyline. I really enjoyed how the events tied into the world, and the potential overall reaching arcs for the series as a whole. Some pretty big things happen, especially at the end, and I can't wait to see how that ties into Kate's final book and future Hugh books as well.

Hat's off yet again to the fabulous writing duo, Ilona Andrews. Simply put, they nailed it with IRON AND MAGIC.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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     Silence is Read Book Blog
     Milky Way of Books

Review: Stray Magic by Kelly Meding

, by Kt Clapsadl

Stray Magic by Kelly Meding
Strays #1

Shiloh Harrison was hoping for a few days off to recover from a particularly nasty assignment, preferably with the help of the talented hands (and, well, the rest of his body too) of her sexy boyfriend, Vincent. But when a group of vampires takes an entire trailer park hostage, there’s nothing to do but make her apologies and get to the scene.

Such is the life of a Federal Marshal in the Paranormal Investigators Unit.

Yet this isn’t like her typical track-and-nab case: something is going on that has vampires scared, and it takes all her strength not to imagine what could frighten such powerful creatures. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have that option. Her boss is MIA, someone is snatching vampires, and there’s a ticking clock that can only end one way: a bloodbath.

Unless she can stop it.

Since the blurb mentions a boyfriend, I feel I should mention that this is not a romance. It's a strict urban fantasy with maybe a tiny sprinkling of romance. It's been a while since I read a straight forward urban fantasy without a romance at the center, or at least a strong movement towards a romance. I love the genre, but I typically lean towards the ones that are more of a hybrid with paranormal romance as I do love the steamier side of things. However, in this case, I found STRAY MAGIC to be a breath of fresh air and a great palate cleanser for me, so much so that I didn't miss the lack of romance. Don't get me wrong, the entire time reading the book I was looking for threads of what romances could bud in the future, but the lack of real romance didn't detract from the story, which is saying something for this romance lovers heart. The plotline, world, and characters all kept me more than entertained.

As for the heroine, Shiloh is an incredibly strong character, and she more than carried the story for me. I really enjoyed getting to know her, and see her world through her eyes. She has her own Scooby crew and each one brought something special to the table. The character who intrigued me the most however, was Tennyson, the centuries old vampire. He was dark and mysterious, and yet incredibly honorable and had a sense of humor to boot. I definitely want to see more of of him, in addition to Shiloh and the Scooby gang. 

All in all, if you are looking for a well written urban fantasy with a great setup for a fantastic series, look no further than STRAY MAGIC.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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     Carole's Random Life in Books
     Gizmo's Reviews
     Caffeinated Reviewer

Release Day Review: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

, by Kt Clapsadl

Ocean Light by Nalini Singh
Psy-Changeling Trinity #2

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh dives beneath the surface of her Psy-Changeling world into a story of passionate devotion and selfless love...

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there's a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment--taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he's at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling...

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won't hide the facts of Bo's condition from him or herself. She's suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine...

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back--even if it means striking a devil's bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy...

When I read the blurb for OCEAN LIGHT, all I could think was "Finally we get to see more of the elusive BlackSea!" I also was excited to see how a changeling could bring the anti-trusting, paranoid, hard, and rough, yet admirable for his fierce loyalties, Bowen to his knees. Kaia is exactly the playful but strong person he needed. Of course she doesn't make it easy on him and I really enjoyed the dance between them. The romance is sweet yet plenty hot, a deliciously fun combination. Bowen is a delicious hero that I wasn't expecting, and the combination of him with Kaia made for a fully satisfying read.

Nalini has a masterful way of crafting stories and situations that pull at your heartstrings from the first page, and OCEAN LIGHT is no exception. Bowen is on a life to death hair the entire book, and BlackSea people are disappearing right and left. Talk about intense circumstances! When you add those with the fascinating and masterful world, this is one heck of a combination. There's just something special about a story that gives you that perfect escape, and this is it.

All in all, with OCEAN LIGHT, Nalini Singh has yet again written an incredible story that I thoroughly enjoyed. Bravo!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Steamy Reads
     The Book Blog with a Twist
     La Crimson Femme

Previous Books:
     1. Silver Silence


Early Review: Hunt the Moon by Kari Cole

, by Kt Clapsadl

Hunt the Moon by Kari Cole
Mated by Fate #1

Who’d think to bring silver bullets to a wedding? When Isabelle “Izzy” Meyers arrives in Montana and discovers her human foster brother is marrying into the local werewolf pack, she wishes she’d brought an arsenal. Werewolves can’t be trusted, and Izzy should know…she is one.

Luke Wyland never planned on becoming an Alpha. He’s still navigating how to protect the pack from the rogue threat that’s been hunting in his territory, claiming his father as one of their victims. Yet the moment Luke lays eyes on Izzy, something primal takes root. Finding a mate who wants nothing to do with him is a complication he doesn’t need, but letting Izzy go isn’t an option.

After a childhood marred by shifter violence, Luke is everything Izzy was raised to hate. So then why does being with him feel so intensely right? With a thinning pack to defend, Luke knows what he has to do: embolden Izzy to unleash her true nature—or risk losing everything. 

I have to say I'm incredibly impressed with HUNT THE MOON, especially considering it's the author's debut. Paranormal romances are more on the candy side for me, quick easy reads that stay on the lighter side. While I love mixing in paranormal romances in between my darker Urban Fantasy reads, I will admit sometimes the instalove and uber domineering alpha males can get a bit stale. However HUNT THE MOON felt anything but despite the couple being a fated pair. Izzy is incredibly scarred from the abuse in her past, and justifiably weary. And Luke despite having all the control and protection instincts of an alpha, didn't ever once push her. I really enjoyed the slow burn and progression of the romance and felt it was very well done, perfectly balancing the characters, the situations, and the chemistry between them all in a very believable progression. 

In addition to the deliciously executed romance, the world and plotline behind this book were very entertaining as well. While most of the focus was on the main couple of course, many of the secondary characters shined and teased at their hopeful stories to come. All in all, HUNT THE MOON was exactly the sexy, fun, and flirty paranormal romance fix I was looking for. I can't wait to see what's in store for this series next!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Early Review: Ain't She a Peach by Molly Harper

, by Kt Clapsadl

Ain't She a Peach by Molly Harper
Southern Eclectic #2

An Atlanta ex-cop comes to sleepy Lake Sackett, Georgia, seeking peace and quiet—but he hasn’t bargained on falling for Frankie, the cutest coroner he’s ever met.

Frankie McCready talks to dead people. Not like a ghost whisperer or anything—but it seems rude to embalm them and not at least say hello.

Fortunately, at the McCready Family Funeral Home & Bait Shop, Frankie’s eccentricities fit right in. Lake Sackett’s embalmer and county coroner, Frankie’s goth styling and passion for nerd culture mean she’s not your typical Southern girl, but the McCreadys are hardly your typical Southern family. Led by Great-Aunt Tootie, the gambling, boozing, dog-collecting matriarch of the family, everyone looks out for one another—which usually means getting up in everyone else’s business.

Maybe that’s why Frankie is so fascinated by new sheriff Eric Linden...a recent transplant from Atlanta, he sees a homicide in every hunting accident or boat crash, which seems a little paranoid for this sleepy tourist town. What’s he so worried about? And what kind of cop can get a job with the Atlanta PD but can’t stand to look at a dead body?

Frankie has other questions that need answering first—namely, who’s behind the recent break-in attempts at the funeral home, and how can she stop them? This one really does seem like a job for the sheriff—and as Frankie and Eric do their best Scooby-Doo impressions to catch their man, they get closer to spilling some secrets they thought were buried forever.

Molly Harper is known for her snarky characters, and Frankie may just take the cake. I absolutely adored her! She's so spunky and feisty, yet vulnerable and unsure all at the. On the exterior her snark makes her seem like she has everything together, but on the inside she's still partly the scared little girl who almost died many times in her childhood. Seeing her grow and start to really overcome her past made for a really heartwarming read.

The romance in AIN'T SHE A PEACH is more of a slow burning build up rather than the star of the show. While I'll be honest, this romance lover wishes things had of progressed a little faster/stronger, but the slow burn fit the characters better than anything speedy/spicier would have. Frankie and Eric really needed that slow buildup to grow into themselves and each other as a couple. Not to be cheesy, but they each had their own issues to work out first before anything real could happen in the romance department, and I enjoyed getting to see that progression.

Simply put I love anything Molly Harper writes. If she writes it, you can guarantee I'm going to read it and love it. If you enjoy a sweet, heartwarming story with more than a bit of sass and humor, look no further than AIN'T SHE A PEACH.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Previous Books:
     1. Sweet Tea and Sympathy
     1.5. Peachy Flippin' Keen

Early Review: In Darkness Transformed by Alexis Morgan

, by Kt Clapsadl

In Darkness Transformed by Alexis Morgan
The Paladin Strike Team #1

The USA TODAY bestselling author of the Paladin series returns with this sexy, original title featuring a man discovering the paranormal world of the paladins.

Dying hurts…but not as much as living.

Eli is lucky to survive the helicopter crash that killed the rest of the passengers. But when he notices his wounds healing before his eyes, it seems like his survival may have come from more than luck.

Safara knows what Eli does not—Eli is a paladin, a mortal enemy of someone like Safara, someone from Kalithia.
Still, after Eli saves Safara’s life, and Safara introduces Eli to a whole new world, they just can’t seem to treat each as enemies.



I really enjoyed the Paladin books when they originally released, so when I saw a new series would be started in this same world, I was more than a little excited. While it's been very long time since the last Paladin book released, I had no trouble jumping right back into this spin off series. There's just something special about Alexis's storytelling that let me slip right into the world and the awesome characters. However, I will admit this time around felt just a bit different than the previous books. They just had a different feel about them with less focus on the Paladin "lifestyle" since Eli's an outsider, and he's on Earth, but in a Kalithian town. This isn't a bad thing, as it gave things a fresh new feel.

I really loved Eli and Safara together. They each came with so many secrets and watching them dancing around each other trying to figure how much they can trust and share was a great ride. Despite coming from such very different worlds, they both had the same very protective spirit. Seeing them come together despite all that baggage and fierce natures was incredibly enjoyable.

If you've been missing the yummy Paladins in your life, IN DARKNESS TRANSFORMED will be the perfect fix!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Early Review: Planet Dragos by Thea Harrison

, by Kt Clapsadl

Planet Dragos by Thea Harrison
Elder Races #9.8


From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the final novella featuring Pia and Dragos…

Pia’s latest pregnancy has become a daily challenge, her relationship with Dragos strained with argument. That hasn’t stopped them from achieving a compromise and traveling to Las Vegas to celebrate their friend Rune’s wedding to his mate Carling.

From the moment they arrive, the trip goes awry. Death walks in Vegas, and Pia is kidnapped as an ancient enemy makes a move to destroy the Great Beast once and for all.

But the Great Beast has other plans. On Planet Dragos everything goes the way he arranges it—unless someone decides to cross him, and God help them then, because he doesn’t know how to back down, and he doesn’t ever, ever let up.

Wow. For PLANET DRAGOS being "just" a novella, an incredible amount of game changing events happen. My head is still spinning from the whirlwind of events. It's always so bittersweet to say goodbye to much loved characters. And as this is the last installment to directly feature Dragos and Pia, I was hoping for a proper send off. PLANET DRAGOS more than delivered. 

From the first page, things take off with a bang and Dragos speaks of Pia's kidnapping. Then we're thrust a few days in the past to a very pregnant Pia and Dragos trying to navigate their relationship. Their squabbling and learning to navigate through their issues felt so real and relatable. Then of course the actual kidnapping occurs and the book is an utter whirlwind from there. It's non-stop action and fury with all the favorite characters from previous books returning leading up to one heck of a climax. I was seriously hooked and on the edge of my seat from all the action. But what I appreciated even more was that after the incredible climax, there was a good bit of page time afterwards bringing things to a close and setting things up for the future. It was really well balanced and I loved every minute of it! 

PLANET DRAGOS felt like an end and a beginning all in one, both bittersweet for this reader and yet hopeful for the future to come. With one door closing and another one opening, Thea Harrison proves that there is so much potential to the amazing Elder Races world. I can't wait to see what's in store next!

(Received a copy from the author)

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     Books in Brogan

Previous Books:
     1. Dragon Bound
     2. Storm's Heart
     3. Serpent's Kiss
     4. Oracle's Moon
     5. Lord's Fall
     6. Kinked
     6.5. Dragos Takes a Holiday
     6.6. Pia Saves the Day
     7. Night's Honor
     8. Midnight's Kiss
     8.6. Pia Does Hollywood
     9. Shadow's End
     9.5. Liam Takes Manhattan
     9.7. The Chosen

Review: Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

, by Kt Clapsadl

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
Fallen Isles Trilogy #1

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

I really wanted to love BEFORE SHE IGNITES. The premise of the blurb pulled me in, and the concept of the story was very intriguing. However the execution just left some things to be desired in my opinion. The story was told flip flopping in time back and forth between before and after the major change in Mira's life. I understand the intention was to slowly unfurl the secrets and the story, but in practice, this was more frustrating than not. Even by the end of the book I still didn't fully grasp the world, or what was truly going on, or at stake. I just wish more time had been spent setting things up rather than the continual bouncing back and forth.

Another difficulty I had with this book was my detachment from the heroine, Mira. She spends most of the book in a vapid state for lack of a better word. I hate to be so harsh, but until the very end of the book, she just didn't seem to have any substance to her. I realize she was literally raised to be an object for the counsel's use, but it just was incredibly hard to stay engaged in her plight. The only strength she showed throughout the book were her attempts to hold out against torture to keep the secret of the dragons. BUT unfortunately this didn't show real strength as there never seemed a reason for her to withhold such knowledge. Speaking of what she found is what landed her in the Pit in the first place, but upon imprisonment and torture, the cat suddenly got her tongue? It just range false.

While this first book in this new series started off rocky, by the end I was fully hooked into the world. I will be continuing on with this series to see what happens next in this fascinating world.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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     The Moonlight Library
     Gizmo's Reviews
     Du Livre

Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

, by Kt Clapsadl

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
Three Dark Crowns #2

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.


There's something just deliciously dark and yummy about these books. The enthralling darkness and complexity of the world started in the first book, and continued even stronger in ONE DARK THRONE. The horrors of the Ascension Year are in full swing this time around and previously allegiances are in shatters. It made for an enthralling read. I won't spoil things, but there were so many twists and turns leading up to one heck of a cliffhanger ending. I was left in utter shock!

I had absolutely no trouble connecting with the characters this time around. Getting to know the girls in the first book was a bit rocky I have to admit, but all three of the triplets have found their identities and aren't holding their punches anymore. I had my favorites for sure, but each girl and their allies brought something special to the table making it hard to choose sides at times. Everything is so up in the air with this trio, I can't wait to see how it all pans out in the end.

All in all, if you're looking for a dark and enthralling YA fantasy read, look no further than ONE DARK THRONE.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     The Moonlight Library
     Book Series Recaps
     Her Bookish Things

Previous Books:
     1. Three Dark Crowns

Early Review: Peachy Flippin' Keen by Molly Harper

, by Kt Clapsadl

Peachy Flippin' Keen by Molly Harper
Southern Eclectic 1.5

A prank war erupts in Lake Sackett, Georgia and coroner Frankie McCready has to turn to the gorgeous but surly new sheriff for help in Molly Harper’s newest Southern Eclectic novella, perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Amy E. Reichert.

The McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop has crickets running rampant in the store and hot sauce in the Snack Shack’s ketchup bottles. But as the county coroner, Frankie has enough on her plate without worrying about the increasingly mean pranks being played at her family’s business. And the arrival of Sheriff Eric Linden, both devastatingly attractive and painfully taciturn, is enough to push her over the edge.

Linden, who didn’t seem to get the memo about men in uniform and Southern charm, is condescending and cold, revealing absolutely nothing about his past as an Atlanta police officer, while also making Frankie’s job as coroner as difficult as possible. And with the town’s Fourth of July celebration coming up, it’s essential for McCready’s to be cricket-free and in good working order. Strangling the sheriff will make her job even harder. Can Frankie hold off the threats to preserve her own sanity?

PEACH FLIPPIN' KEEN was a fun little prequel novella to set up for the next book in the Southern Eclectic series. This time around Frankie is at the forefront, and while there's no complete story here, it was a fun romp to prep things for her full book. I really love this world and these characters, especially Frankie. So, I really enjoyed this teaser to set up for the "main show" to come.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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     Always Reviewing
     Midnight Book Girls

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     1. Sweet Tea and Sympathy

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