Release Day Review: Veiled Enchantments by Deborah Blake

, by Kt Clapsadl

Veiled Enchantments by Deborah Blake
Veiled Magic #3

Still reeling from her unwitting involvement in murder and subsequent break up with a half-Dragon art forger, Witch-cop Donata Santori is grateful for the distraction when her ex-lover requests her help. Not only are Magnus's beloved dead suddenly haunting the Ulfhednar shapechangers in his tiny rural hometown in Maine, their patron god Odin has turned his back on them, and the members of their once tight-knit enclave are at each other's throats. Literally.

Magnus is relying on Donata's experience in dealing with the gods, along with her magical ability to summon the dead, to help him unravel this mystery in time to save his clan. Donata only hopes to survive the ordeal so she can return home to the city and her quiet job at the precinct.

But first, she must discover who or what is behind the terrible attacks on the Ulfhednar. And the clock is ticking, in more ways than one...

This series truly gets better with each book. I feel like I've really settled into the world and the characters this time around. I love Donata's character. She's come an incredibly long way from the witch we first met in book one. She's fierce and determined to do the right thing always, even when it could cost her greatly and I love her for it. She has to step up yet again in this book, and despite some pretty big opposition, she never once wavers. It made for an entertaining read to say the least.

In the previous books in the series, one of my biggest frustrations was with the romance. Over all they just weren't working for me, but I'm happy to say that the romance woes are in the rearview mirror now. Things settled greatly in VEILED ENCHANTMENTS and there wasn't any of that previous wishy washy stuff from before. That's not to say everything is sappy and perfect in Donata's love life, quite the opposite actually. It just felt more settled and building towards something rather than the tennis match back and forth of the previous books. Romance lovers should appreciate this new direction.

All in all, VEILED ENCHANTMENTS was an enjoyable installment in a series that I hope will have many more releases to come. I love Donata and the gang, and can't wait to see where things lead next.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Tome Tender

Previous Books:
     1. Veiled Magic
     2. Veiled Menace

Early Review: Twice Bitten by Lynsay Sands

, by Kt Clapsadl

Twice Bitten by Lynsay Sands
Argeneau #27

For someone who’s been around for over a hundred and forty years, immortal Elspeth Argeneau hasn’t done a whole lot of living. Now that she’s moved away from her controlling mother, she’s tracking down rogue vampires and enjoying some overdue freedom. A fling would be fun. A life mate can wait. Yet to Elspeth’s surprise, her landlady’s hot grandson checks both boxes.

Wyatt fell instantly in love with Elspeth four years ago. He’s stunned to run into her again, especially as she has no memory of him. Then again, there are a lot of things about Elspeth that don’t make sense, like the miraculous speed with which her wounds heal. And the chemistry that transforms every touch into an explosion of desire. But with mysterious “accidents” besieging Elspeth, the ex-Special Forces soldier appoints himself her bodyguard. But time is running out to uncover the truth about her enemies—and rediscover the man determined to love her for eternity.

After twenty-seven books you would wonder if things are going to start gettting stale. But after reading TWICE BITTEN, I can assure you this series is still as strong as ever. Not only were the characters and romance fantastic, it was an absolute hoot too boot. I can't count how many times while reading it that I cracked up laughing out loud. 

I absolutely adored Elspeth's character. She's had to endure so much from her overbearing mother it was utterly insane. I wanted to reach through the pages and strangle that woman so many times, it's not funny. In fact it was impressive how humorous the book was in spite of how awful the mother was. So for Elspeth to have been such a strong character in the face of that opposition was nothing short of incredible, and I loved her all the more for it. And the hero, Wyatt? He was put through an incredible lot himself in a short time, but he took it all in stride. The two of them were very well paired. 

If you are looking for fun read that's full of heat, humor, and high stakes, TWICE BITTEN is the book for you. I love the Argeneau books, and all I can say is keep them coming!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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     Next Book Around the Corner

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
    25. Immortal Unchained
    26. Immortally Yours

Review: The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
Iskari #1

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

I've always been a fan of dragon stories, but THE LAST NAMSARA may take the cake for uniqueness. At the opening, our heroine, Asha thinks Dragons are evil and has made it her life mission to hunt them all down. She's quite the little bloodthirsty killer, and good at her task. But in typical YA fantasy fashion, nothing is as it seems. I really enjoyed seeing Asha's progression from the role of killer, into something else as her world view slowly changed. Everything she thought she knew was a lie, and it sure made for a shakeup in her life, and the story itself. I was hooked watching her world fall around her, and then her standing strong picking up the pieces and fighting for what she felt was right. It just made for a very enjoyable heroine.

Moving onto the romance, and it's a forbidden one at that. Asha found herself in the unlikely situation of falling for a slave. It was interesting to see her trying to come to grips with her feelings as well as society's pressure around her, all the while her world view had come tumbling down. Oh and don't forget the conflict of her being betrothed to someone else. Torwin is both sweet, yet incredibly strong, refusing to give up despite knowing the risks. I really adored his character and I can't wait to see how thing progress with these two in future books.

All in all if you enjoy a good YA fantasy read about dragons that's full of twists and turns, look no further than THE LAST NAMSARA.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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     Du Livre
     Gizmo's Reviews
     Hit or Miss Books

Release Day Review: Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

, by Kt Clapsadl

Lake Silence by Anne Bishop
The Others #6

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

While reading LAKE SILENCE I felt just a bit of deja vu, but in the best possible way. Many elements of the story felt similar to the first set up in the Others world. Everything was different, don't get me wrong, but similar feeling all the same with each setting bringing something different to the table. I had worried a bit that I would miss Meg and Simon and the Courtyard immensely, but these new characters and the Jumble pulled me in right from the start, making it feel like coming home again.

Just like in previous books in the series the main characters are fantastic, but the supporting cast is just as three dimensional and enjoyable. Our caretaker of the Jumble is Vicki. Like Meg, she's rather damaged, but very strong inside, and endears all of the Others two her. It put a huge smile on my face to see just how quickly the Others adopted her as well. Then of course you have all of the various humans and their shops on the good side of things. Plus a gruff but great cop named Wayne, and a seeing Intuit, Julian Farrow thrown in the mix that I really adored. Then getting into the Others, both large and small, they added a rich depth to the book. I particularly enjoyed the Sanquinati, Ilya, and the role he played in this book. He's scary but noble all at the same time, and I loved the juxtaposition. Add in the larger role the mysterious Elders play, and the Lady of the Lake, and LAKE SILENCE had one heck of a cast.

Then you have the plot, and oh boy was it a doozy. Vicki's claim on the Jumble is threatened, and to put it mildly, the Others do not take this well. You would think by now humans in general would know better, but I guess there's no limit to some people's greed. Their idiocy and shenanigans made for an interesting read, just seeing how bad things could get. 

All in all LAKE SILENCE was an incredibly enjoyable read. Fans of the first books in this series will be more than pleased with this new direction. I can't wait to see where things go next. 

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Between Dreams and Reality
     Gizmo's Reviews
     Slapdash & Sunday

Previous Books:
     1. Written in Red
     2. Murder of Crows
     3. Vision in Silver
     4. Marked in Flesh
     5. Etched in Bone

Early Review: Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs

, by Kt Clapsadl

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs
Alpha & Omega #5

Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham face a threat like no other--one that lurks too close to home...

They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok's pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.

With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf--but can't stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills--his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker--to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn...

I really look forward to every release from Patricia Briggs whether it's a Charles/Anna or a Mercy story. I've said it before, but every book is like coming home to old friends, and BURN BRIGHT was no exception. In fact in preparation for this release, I did an audio re-read of both of the entire Mercy and Alpha & Omega series. I just love these books that much. So after reading this newest installment, I'm happy to report I'm still just as enamored as ever with the series. 

BURN BRIGHT brought a whole lot more depth to the characters of Aspen Creek that really enriched the series. Sure we get plenty of Charles and Anna time, but there's a whole lot of other side characters that came to the forefront, like the Wildlings. Also, Leah in particular surprised me. In the previous books in both series she's portrayed as bitter and vindictive, overall a nasty person. And yet in BURN BRIGHT we got to see a whole lot more of her personality and who she really is. I definitely enjoyed seeing more into her character. 

There is one small twist regarding Bran and Mercy and the reasons why Leah despises Mercy so much. While I won't spoil things, I'm not sure how I feel about the revelations. Some things just didn't sit with me right and had me second guessing a lot of past things from previous books. I won't say that it ruined anything, just made me see things in a different light and I'm just not sure how I feel. I'll get over it, and I do commend Patricia for writing such multi-faceted characters. While the twist may not be my favorite, it made the characters all the more real for it.  

All in all, BURN BRIGHT was a very enjoyable installment in the Alpha & Omega series. Fans of Ms. Brigg's books will be more than pleased!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Bad Bird Reads
     Tome Tender
     My Guilty Obsession

Previous Books:
     1. Cry Wolf
     2. Hunting Ground
     3. Fair Game
     4. Dead Heat

Early Review: Everlife by Gena Showalter

, by Kt Clapsadl

Everlife by Gena Showalter
Everlife #3

At seventeen years old, Tenley “Ten” Lockwood had to make the ultimate choice—where to live after she died. Loyalty to her selected realm has not wavered…until now. She is out of time. Sacrifices must be made, and a terrible price must be paid. But is she too late?

As the Everlife descends into darkness, a single truth becomes clear: Troika and Myriad must unite—or perish. In order to bring sworn enemies together, Ten must enter forbidden territory…and destroy the powerful Prince of Ravens. But there’s only one way inside—bonding with Killian Flynn, a deadly rival who sets her blood aflame.

When nothing goes as planned and betrayal leads to the edge of utter defeat, Ten and Killian will have to rebuild trust from the ashes of their hearts. Victory seems impossible, the odds stacked against them. In the end, how far will they be willing to go for the sake of their realms and the Everlife?

This series has been an interesting one for me. In the first two books I really couldn't stand Ten's character and her constant indecision but I kept holding out hope she would grow. I was granted my wish in EVERLIFE as she's to the other extreme and aside from a choice that has far reaching consequences at the start, she never once wavers in her devotion to Troika. It actually made me admire her a great deal. She finally made her real choice, and no matter how insurmountable the odds nor what was brutally done to her, she never budged. It was, refreshing to be honest. However, this came at a cost as Killian turned into the opposite and while I won't go into details to avoid spoilers, the events surrounding his changes more than frustrated me. It felt more like a plot ploy rather than a well executed twist which is a shame as it lessened the romance for me.

Romance woes aside, I actually enjoyed this whirlwind ending to the trilogy a great deal. The first two books showed potential, but were ultimately rocky. But this series ender definitely took things out on a bang. The world is truly fascinating and the light vs dark aspects old enriched the series more. EVERLIFE truly showed that everything isn't always as it seems and things are not black and white. Light isn't always good, and darkness isn't always evil. There's shades of grey and good and evil on both sides. And that the path to peace is finding balance not truly good/evil or right/wrong. I really enjoyed the way everything was built up, and that ending! Oh, my did I not see that coming! All I can say is very well done Ms. Showalter!

All in all EVERLIFE was a very satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. You won't be disappointed.  

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Previous Books:
     1. Firstlife
     2. Lifeblood

Review: The Myth Manifestation by Lisa Shearin

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Myth Manifestation by Lisa Shearin
SPI Files #5

The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) protect people from predatory supernaturals. This time, we’re the ones who need protection.

New York is one of the most popular convention destinations in the world—for humans and supernaturals. Every hundred years, rulers of thhe world’s supernatural races come together to negotiate and renew a peace treaty. Meeting in the same hotel are the governors of our world’s goblin and elf colonies. SPI is saddled with the security nightmare of keeping the living delegates alive and the undead delegates from becoming permanently deceased. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI. Our security nightmare becomes real when monsters from the delegates’ mythologies begin mysteriously appearing in the flesh to hunt delegates from every side of the debate. And when the hotel gets sucked into another dimension, there’s no escape.

We discover that we’re all pieces in an elaborate and deadly game. A game about to spill out into the real world. Failing to escape is game over and not an option. We have to save the world—but first, wee have to save ourselves.

I know I say this in every time a read a new book in this world, but I absolutely love this series. It's just so much fun, and has a fantastic set of characters in a very rich world. I know every time I pick one of these books up I'm guaranteed an excellent read, and THE MYTH MANIFESTATION was no exception. Of course we have the usual fun from the excellent cast of characters and the bits of snark and humor had me bursting out loud. But this time, the plot really stole the show for me. It felt like a cross between a murder mystery and an escape room, and all the hi-jinx involved there-in. Add that to the fact that all of the very many species in this rich world were all locked in the same place together, and it made for one heck of a read.

I foolishly started this book in the late evening thinking "oh I'll just read a few chapters and then go to bed." WRONG! I wound up staying up until the wee hours just to finish as I couldn't get enough. Let me tell you the next morning came quick on just a few hours of sleep, but it was well worth it. So a word of warning, don't start this book unless you have a solid block set aside as you simply will not be able to put it down. 

All in all I cannot praise THE MYTH MANIFESTATION enough. I loved every single moment of this book and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book. I'll be counting down the days for sure! Fans of the series are sure to be pleased!

(Received a copy from the author)


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Other Reviews:

Previous Books:
     1. The Grendel Affair
     2. The Dragon Conspiracy
     3. The Brimstone Defection
     4. The Ghoul Vendetta

Review: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano
The Glass Spare #1

A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

THE GLASS SPARE is a very fascinating take on the King Midas lore. I'll admit I've never really been a huge fan of those stories as they seemed so implausible to me. I mean how could a man survive if EVERYTHING he touched turned to gold? How could he eat, etc, etc? However, the blurb for THE GLASS SPARE intrigued me, so I decided to give it a try, and I'm so glad I did. Not only was this book a fresh new take on the old legend, but it handled the "everything" issue by making it only under certain circumstances. I felt the way it was both intentional and unintentional, but NOT everything she touched really enriched the story and I was hooked from the first page.

I really enjoyed all aspects of THE GLASS SPARE Not only do you have the interesting "midas" lore with Wil, but the world behind it was truly fascinating as well. Two kingdoms fully at war with one another, full of curses, and hatred on both sides. But what really made it stand out to me, was that at times I wasn't sure which side I wanted to root for. At the core both kingdoms seemed to have a root of evil with the two main characters stuck in the middle, and I loved the multi-faceted nature.

I really enjoyed this fresh and unique YA fantasy novel, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     The Moonlight Library
     Gizmo's Reviews
     My Guilty Obsession

Review: Everless by Sara Holland

, by Kt Clapsadl

Everless by Sara Holland

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

When I first read the description of EVERLESS, I immediately thought of the movie, In Time. The concepts of selling time with the poor dying young, and the rich living forever. It's a fascinating concept, and one that EVERLESS pulls off very well. I wasn't the biggest fan of In Time, but this book took everything I loved about the concept and executed it perfectly. There's so much more to the story than just the rich stealing from and oppressing the poor. The world behind this book has it's own mythology that I found to be fascinating as it was slowly revealed. 

I really enjoyed Jules' character. She was strong and fierce and determined to find the truth all the while choosing the right path. She doesn't hesitate to put others above herself, and in such a dog eat dog world that she lives, this is truly admirable. All of the other characters were just as well fleshed out and added such depth to the story. And the twists and turns? Oh boy! You never truly knew who was friend or foe, as no one was who they seemed, but it was all very well handled. No character faded to the background, every single one shone through.

All in all this is a strong debut novel from Sara Holland that I greatly enjoyed. After that cliffhanger ending I can't wait to get my hands on the next installment. If you are looking for a fresh and unique story in the YA genre, look no further than EVERLESS.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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Other Reviews:
     Du Livre
     Stuck in YA Books
     Gizmo's Reviews

Review: Dragon Blood by Eileen Wilks

, by Kt Clapsadl

Dragon Blood by Eileen Wilks
World of the Lupi #14

The battle against a vengeful goddess reaches a climactic point as Lily Yu must now face the ultimate challenge in a dangerous new realm—without her husband, Rule...

When a mission to rescue five children stolen by an Old One falls apart under the assault of a demon prince, Lily wakes up in a strange reality—and is immediately taken captive by the dragon spawn who rule there. Jumping worlds has fractured her party, and Cynna is her only companion.

Although the clock is ticking, time works differently, and Lily has miraculously gained a week. That means seven days to free herself, find Rule and the others, rescue the children, and make it home alive. All before the dragon spawn holding her hostage trade her to the Old One. It would almost be doable if this weren’t Lóng Jia—also known as Dragonhome: the birthplace of dragons.

I have to admit, while DRAGON BLOOD was enjoyable, I found myself skimming more often than not. It had all the markings of a five star read, but it was unnecessarily bogged down with all the details. I felt like every little thing was overly described to the point where it was either skim or my eyes would glaze. It's unfortunate as I've really enjoyed the rest of the series, and there's plenty of awesomeness in this installment as well, it's just held back by just too much side noise.

Getting to the good, however, I absolutely loved Grandmother's role in this book. She's always been a bit of a mystery, with her playing larger roles in some of the book more so than others. But this time around I felt like we got to see a whole lot more from her, and I really enjoyed it. She's so strong and regal, and keeps all the other characters on their toes. I also loved Gan, and her journey towards being more of a person and the hilarious levity she brings. Of course I enjoyed the rest of the cast of characters as well, Lily and Rule, Cynna, etc. The characters are truly fantastic and all well rounded.

All in all DRAGON BLOOD had the markings of a five star read from the amazing cast of characters to the intense action and high stakes. Unfortunately the overly descriptive nature of the book bogged things down much more than I would have liked but I'm still a huge fan of the series and I can't wait to see what's in store next.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


Order Links:

Other Reviews:
     Gizmo's Reviews
     Inside of a Dog
     Wit & Wonder

Previous Books:
     1. Tempting Danger
     2. Mortal Danger
     3. Blood Lines
     4. Night Season
     5. Mortal Sins
     6. Blood Magic
     7. Blood Challenge
     8. Death Magic
     9. Mortal Ties
     10. Ritual Magic
     11. Unbinding
     12. Mind Magic
     13. Dragon Spawn

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