Review: Last Hour of Gann by R.Lee Smith

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5 chocolate kisses

So right off, I say that this is one of my favorite reads of the year. I have 3 battling for the top spot. ‘Written in Red’ by Anne Bishop, ‘Magic Breaks’ by Ilona Andrews are the other two.

I can only image that what I am feeling now is similar to those breathy adoring tones I remember from high school when one of my friends read ‘Gone With the Wind’. They could barely speak. I myself never read the book. I saw the movie and it was ok, I could see why they would enjoy the ante bellum south crumbling and the sweeping love story. I saw no romance that I could stomach, but they did. But what I did see was the struggle of something, a way of life ending and the birth of the new. Sometimes it takes a big ole burning down of things and an upheaval that could at once seem overwhelming. And then there is us at the other side….continuing. Well, some of us.

I never even heard of this author before I glanced through a few lists and saw some reviews. What caught my eye was that the world building was excellent and yes it was. The world building was most excellent.

Now there might be quite a few people out there who might not be able to get past some brutal aspects of this novel to see the sweeping romance. But I am not one of them. In fact, it swept me right off my feet to land in a gasping puddle of ‘where can I get more of this?’ Needless to say I will read everything this author has written.

Now if reading about someone getting raped, makes you uncomfortable, then maybe you should give this book a pass but let me just tell you that for me, that was not what this book was about. It was not gratuitous, nor erotic, but just the way things played out in the course of the story and on this particular world. There was a lot of upheaval practically from the very start and the story kept me firmly in its grip – slapping me upside the head now and then but when I was finished, I felt the two main characters were like a part of me. That does not happen all that often these days. And to top it off, this book was deliciously long. 800 pages? *swoon*.

There are few books that I have relished quite so much as this one and I highly recommend it.

Review:Kindling Flames: Gathering Tinder (Kindling Flames #1) by Julie Wetzel

Kindling Flames: Gathering Tinder (Kindling Flames, #1)

 

4.5 Chocolate kisses

Book Blurb-

Fresh from college and with no real work experience, Victoria Westernly considers herself lucky to land the coveted position of personal assistant to Darien Ritter, the CEO and owner of a multibillion-dollar company. His busy schedule and eccentric ways are enough to keep her on her toes. But, all is not what it seems when she discovers the handsome man employing her just happens to be the most powerful vampire in the area.
This is the first book in The Ancient Fire Series
This is part one of two. The original book was divided due to length.

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From the start of the book, I could tell that this was going to be interesting and I read it and could not  put it down and then got the second part right away.  I like my books longer than the two of them individually, generally speaking, but found myself satisfied with the story even though it was less than 300 pages.  The world building was subtle and you see more of it in book two, but it is not – not there.  As the world changed for the female lead character it changed for the reader.  I felt myself taken on a journey and her reactions to this new opening world was amusing and thought provoking.  I took a moment and asked myself, what would I do?

And then I began to wonder about how we got from Dracula to this place where Vampires did what they did in this book.  None were sparkling by the way, but none ripped your throat out and drank you dry.  At least not in book 1.  This is not a negative aspect of the book, but it just got me thinking and I suppose it had to be Anne Rice who started the whole romantic Vampire with Louis in ‘Interview with a Vampire’.

If you like slow burn romance then this one fits the bill.  No rush in that department and I wish more writers of series would considered this.  It makes for excellent romantic tension.  And no erotica was even better.  This is one of the books that show that you can have a satisfying romance without jumping into bed every 5 pages.  I like my paranormal romance without erotica and that seems very hard to find these days.

On the whole it was not what I expected and thought to read a bit, put it down, sleep and in a couple of days, read some more.  I couldn’t put the book down until I finished.  So there.  That says it all.

Review: Silenced by Nicole Given Kurtz

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4.50 Chocolate Kisses

Silenced by Nicole Given Kurtz is a hard book to rate.  I say this because there were moments that I thought were 5 stars and other parts which I thought of as less than 5 stars.

The setting and world building were 5 stars.  I just loved these kinds of settings where you are not given exacting details, but just enough to get your imagination rolling until you have it in your minds eye.  It was one of things that kept me reading because I was extremely curious about the ‘place’.  The description of the people was also well done as it was a very mixed bag with hints of what they looked like so it was very easy for me to have a picture in my mind which might be very different from what the next reader might imagine.  It was refreshing to not be bombarded with skin complexions and the like so I was able to settle quite nicely with multicultural characters.  And even when there was a little more details about the characters, the story never lingered on the race, it was just part of a description in the scene.  I wonder if this makes sense.  But I really loved that about the book as well.

I totally savored this book.  It was like eating a salt and dark chocolate candy bar – YUM!

This was a sci-fi hard boiled mystery.  The Heroine, Cybil, and her working partner Jane were somewhat rough around the edges, tough girls who could wield knives and big laser guns.  The mystery was compelling and I thought realistic in how it played out.  Though some places I could figure out some of the mystery, there were other times where there were twists so it kept me guessing.  I sometimes felt that there was a sequel to another book because references were made to incidents that happened prior to the story, which added to the turn the page factor.  There was so much that I wanted to know.  I also felt that the characters were complex and  very well drawn.  Nothing was what it seemed as at first.

So overall this was a very satisfying read even with some grammatical errors.  I totally enjoyed this book.

 

 

Review: Dark Genesis (The Darkling Trilogy, #1) by A.D. Koboah

Dark Genesis (The Darkling Trilogy, #1)

4.5 chocolate kisses

I really enjoyed this book and thought it was brilliant. I truly felt as if I were on a journey with Luna through her trials and tribulations. The subject matter is one that does not usually draw me in regards to slavery in the United States. I found that to be the most intriguing part. The character, even though she lived her life in that manner, kept it distant from her soul and I appreciated the distance and it was not quite so heartbreaking to read. The men and women secondary characters were brave in the face of such adversity and well drawn. Basically it was just the world that surrounded the main story of her relationship with Avery.

It was refreshing and I will read the next one because I want to know more. These are the best kinds of books for me – where I want to know more.

The reason that it is not 5 stars was because I thought the ending was kind of rushed. No more details in that area because I really do not want to do spoilers.

But I found it to be an excellent read.

And the cover art is gorgeous!

Review: The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander

The Secrets of Life and Death

I received this as an arc from Netgalley for an honest review.

4.5 chocolate kisses

I am very hard put on how to write this review because this novel is unlike anything that I have ever read before.

It is both a historical and a contemporary novel. That was the easy part.

From the beginning, I had a sense of unease that I can only describe as the feeling I had while watching the movie ‘Alien’ for the first time at a midnight show the night it opened. Later I was to find out that the sound track had channel where they used the sounds of someone trying to catch their breath. So the novel had a delightful tension all the way through it. I just knew something bad was going to happen in the present and the past.

The story developed slowly with the historical and the contemporary meeting with a crescendo. It was excellently done, the characters well drawn and the world building – all I can say is that I am very glad I did not live in 16th century Eastern Europe. The world was a visceral experience, at times I thought perhaps I could even smell the odors from the author’s description.

Quite fab story and I would read this author again. I have a little hope that she will continue with these characters in another story, but there is no cliffhanger and as a stand alone it is fine.

There is some romance, just enough to keep me happy that there was a connection on that level. And in fact, I liked the amount just fine and prefer it at this point in my reading life.

I enjoyed this book because both the historical and the contemporary dealt with the unseen in the spirit world very differently than a normal paranormal or urban fantasy story. The was an awareness that this is not just a normal day, that they were delving in dangerous things and this gave it an edginess that I liked. Maybe it goes on my religious paranormal shelf, but that is not quite right either.

Also, this was a refreshing look at a historical character who was known as a monster and how she came to be that way. This was very satisfying and intriguing because it was a culmination of entitlement, curses, magic that was interwoven into the very fabric of the time and the juxtaposition with historical and contemporary was very telling in how much of the unseen is discarded in contemporary approach to puzzles. It is more empirical – for better or worse.

I recommend this book to people who like dark fantasy.

Nameless: The Darkness Comes (The Bone Angel Trilogy) by Mercedes M. Yardley

Nameless: The Darkness Comes (The Bone Angel Trilogy, #1)

 

4 solid chocolate kisses

I enjoyed this book. The heroine was a bit stubborn and mouthy. A nice set up for following books in the series but no cliff hanger at the end, thank goodness. I felt for the characters in the book as they were well drawn. I most definitely will look out for the next one.

 

 

Cover Him With Darkness by Janine Ashbless

Cover Him With Darkness

5 chocolate kisses

arc received from edleweiss

This book was an unexpected delight. For me it is pure fantasy as I do not believe in Fallen Angels but the ‘what if’ aspect was excellent.

I suppose this could be considered erotica, but I just didn’t feel that it was. The nature of the story of fallen angels and human women was about desire and however conflicted the female lead in the story was, it was a large part of the interaction.  So it was a romance which was graphic at times.  But for some reason this did not bother me.  I think the reason why was because there was soooooo much more going on in the story.

I thought this was a well crafted story that always kept me guessing and I was just not certain of anything until the last page. Great reading and I highly recommend it for people that like dark, speculative, religious fantasy or just dark fantasy.

It is not a traditional love story in regards to it be consistent.  What I liked about it was that the characters had to work through their feelings which were complicated and they had to struggle with their choices.

The worldbuilding was lush and the author was able to describe the scenery to the point that the reader felt they were actually in Montenegro and to be honest, I would like to visit there because as it was describe, I found it very beautiful.  The scenes in the States were not so clearly drawn, but I am familiar with cities there and this author did not need to waste words in that regard so I did not take that as a negative.

Another large positive for me was the sense of Good versus Evil and what that actually was.  It was not so clear cut as other books that I have read in the genre.  The only thing that stood out for me as ringing near truth was that fact the humans and ‘angels’ both have to obey and the results of not doing it played out a bit in the story.  But there was nothing definitive beyond a certain choice and the rest of  it is pretty much left wide open for other books in the series.

It it a romance?  I would say yes, but not one like I have ever read before and that was indeed quite refreshing and I was on the edge of my seat all throughout it.

This is a very adult book for mature audiences.

 

Bite Me, I’m Yours by Stacy McKitrick

Bite Me, I'm Yours (Bitten by Love, #2)

Arc supplied by netgalley

3.5 Chocolate Kisses

This was an interesting tale, light and easy to read but with quite a bit of sex. It was a contemporary romance with a dash of paranormal-vampires. I say dash of paranormal because it could have been a story told without having vampires in it at all. Yes there was biting and bloodsucking mixed with sex, but the main theme to me was about the heroine and hero’s relationship and what crosses them; someone from the past with an axe to grind. So what I like to see in paranormals as in world building was decidedly lacking. And the vampire society, I believe more will come clear in later books, but in this one, they did not know alot about their circumstances and the idea of a ‘Perfect Mate’.

The writing was fine, but the hero was not the type I usually go for – brooding and dark. He was very nice and not at all Alpha which was certainly fine. It is a very valid choice to make such a type of hero.

Overall I felt that the sexual tension from them was ok but it was a bit blah in terms of atmosphere.  What I did like was Perry and how he fit into the story and he seemed to have the most transformation from the beginning to end.

I give a mature rating to this story because the amount of sex.

Review: Written in Red (Others #1) and Murder of Crows (others #2) by Anne Bishop

Written in Red (The Others, #1)Murder of Crows (The Others, #2)

5+++ Chocolate Kisses

Now this book I simply just love.  On the surface, it seems like a very simple story.  But there quite alot going on in the story.  So far in book 1 we have the Others who are the terra indigene and humans.  Within humans we have some sub categories which have been forgotten by most of the human population; one being the cassandra sangue or the Blood Prophets.

I do not want to do spoilers for the book, so read no further if you do not want that.

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I reread both books in the series a total of 3 times because I just couldn’t get enough. There was something about the world building that just blew me away and I think I have found the answer as to a cause of that. Generally the humans in the book were a bunch of entitled people who did not live in the reality of their situation in Thaisia. They wanted more and more and when they pushed the boundaries pass reason, they cried victim when something bad happened to them. They thought their technology entitled them to be over the terra indigene and that they were better than them.  They were bigots pure and simple.  it reminds me of the present world where the entitled seem to be quite ignorant of certain things.

 

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This is generally speaking. Individual humans that we met in the two novels showed that not everyone thought that way and these humans worked on bridging that gap for human survival because a few enlightened humans understood their situation and were not ignorant of history. I look forwards to knowing more about the human Burke and what he really knows and hopefully that will be in book 3.
It is also a story of transformation of the relationship between the humans and the terra indigene and we see that through the character of Simon. In such a short time he changed after meeting Meg and to me he was ripe for the changing. It was a delight to watch that happen.

The elephant in the room for me was how will they get to the point where they can live together and when will humanity realize that just because someone does not look like you or have a different culture that it does not mean that they are less than you and when will the terra indigene realize that humans are not just meat.

Book 1 is a bit more fast pace than book 2 but as a reader, that was fine by me.   The slower action made room for some added information that was needed at that point.  Both are the most excellent of reads.

There is romance that I find most enjoyable. The slow burn. How that turns out…. I guess I will just have to wait until the next book to see what happens.

Bronze Gods (Apparatus Infernum #1)

Bronze Gods (Apparatus Infernum, #1)

4 Chocolate Kisses

Well I am not a huge fan of steampunk for reasons that I cannot put my fingers on.  Some I like and this is one of them. But usually I just steer clear of them.  The reason this is not 5 stars is because at the beginning the POV was confusing and I think it had to do with the names of the characters.  I just did not know them well enough to discern who was speaking, thinking or doing some action because I was mixed up until later in the book and then it was a smoother read.  I am listing this as a personal problem because I thought the book was well written and once I was involved it was a good read.