The Devil’s Advocate by Michaela Haze

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Oh. My. God. This book.

First off, I LOVE this cover. It’s sexy and dangerous and just wow.

Second off, I LOVED this book. It’s sexy and dangerous and…you see where I’m going with this.

Dahlia Clark is a Hell Broker. You want to sell your soul, she’s your girl.
The only problem? She’s not seen her boss, Luc, in over two centuries.
Not since he forced her out of hell. But the Devil wants Dahlia back, whatever the cost.

The best part, for me, about this book, was that it reminded me so much of the Lucifer DC comics. It’s dark and gritty with sex and violence, sometimes indiscernible from each other. There are no good guys or bad guys. Everyone is trying to survive, and maybe find some happiness in the process.

I also loved that it didn’t shy away from doing what had to be done. Sometimes I did feel like some of the characters should have realized some things earlier, but it all resolved itself eventually. The setting was really cool too. I enjoyed this book so much, in fact, that I not only bought it (I got this as an ARC) but I preordered the next one.

If you’re into paranormal romances with the Devil this is definitely a great book to check out. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure read, graphic and abusive, but also emotional and passionate. I can’t wait to read the next one!

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Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10) by Patricia Briggs

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I told myself I was not going to read this book.

I love this series, but if there’s one thing that became a very strange procedural it’s that Mercy gets kidnapped, to the point of it now being comical.

So after finishing Fire Touched, I told myself that if the next book is about her getting kidnapped, I’m out.

And then, months later, I read the beginning of this book’s description:

“Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself ………..”

I stopped, wanting to bang my head against the wall. Why, Patricia? Why must you do this to me? I didn’t even bother writing down the release date.

Still, I couldn’t stay away – and I’m so glad I didn’t. This book was probably one of my favorites in the series. If anyone can make ten great books about kidnapping the same girl it’s this author.

We get sexy vampires, wolf POV (!!!), a little fairy magic, and a lot of cool scenery with it being in Italy and Prague.

Also: twists galore! So many wonderful surprises. I could not stop reading.

Overall, I’m really happy I continued on with this world because it’s awesome. And even if Mercy is kidnapped in the next one, I won’t let it stop me from reading it.

Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins

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There’s something about this cover that screams ‘cool’, doesn’t it?

I think so.

Waking Up Dead is a book about a ghost who wants to catch a killer – except she’s a ghost and the only people who can see her don’t want anything to do with her. She has to convince them otherwise, or the killer goes free and a man is going to get framed for his wife’s murder.

First things first, I hated Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz and prayed this wasn’t the same type of book. It wasn’t! Yay! It was actually interesting and witty and had amazing characters. Actually, the supporting characters were the best part about it. The ghost herself was a bit unlikable, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If a writer can make us feel, that means he or she is doing something right.

The plot itself started out great, and evolved into a full blow mystery. I liked going step by step through it, and sometimes I was surprised while other times I wanted to reach into the book and shake them for not seeing the obvious. I felt like some of the time the characters were played catch-up to the readers, which is my only gripe with the book.

Also, it had random colored periods throughout, which was weird and made me laugh. They’re probably just a result of post-editing without the ‘accept changes’ button being pressed, but it was amusing. The book was very well edited so no problems there.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and I would love to see another, though it was published in 2013 and there isn’t a second one even scheduled on Goodreads. Still, a great standalone and I would recommend it to anyone into supernatural mysteries. This is also adult, not YA, so be prepared for liberal usage of cursing and a lot of racism.

 

Cross-posted to My Trending Stories.

Beyond the Veil by Jessica Majzner

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Wait wait wait. A paranormal fantasy WITHOUT romance? Impossible! Improbable? Impressive.

The author contacted me on Twitter to see if I’d read this book for a review, and upon reading the description I was all for it. It’s been a while since I’ve read a good shifter story.

Well this was a very pleasant surprise. The fantasy itself is written like an epic campfire story. I honestly think it should be listened to as an audiobook rather than read. Everything from the descriptions to dialogue holds a dramatic flare, and while it’s not exactly ‘realistic’ in terms of people actually speaking the way they did, it was consistent. Think “And she walked into the forest and exclaimed ‘show yourself you vile creature!'” over “”She walked into the forest and yelled out ‘show yourself’ into the trees.”

The story itself was interesting. Vampires and werewolves are hard to do uniquely, and the author did a good job at separating the werewolves in ways I’ve never seen before. I was also surprised at some of the twists, but I won’t spoil it. A lot of things I thought I saw coming but went a completely different direction. I liked that it didn’t skirt over war or death, but every life still mattered.

Oh and there was no romance. =O I know, right? Vampires and werewolves, and no one fell in insta-love or was seduced? Crazy. And it really worked, too. I was so happy it kept its story without inserting needless romance.

Overall, this is an epic paranormal fantasy I would definitely recommend to people who are tired of dragons and wizards. It won’t disappoint.

A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

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I cannot, in good conscience, leave a starred review for this book.

Not because I don’t think it deserves any stars, but because I don’t feel like I can rate it objectively.

I, like many others, have been bombarded by Facebook ads for this book. The boasted amount of good reviews for it made me wonder if it’s actually worth reading. I’m partial to paranormal romance, but there’s some good ones out there (Mercy Thompson!). So, after the hundredth time seeing the ad I said screw it, I’ll see what all the fuss is about.

This, my friends, is why Facebook advertising works.

The good:

First of all, it’s short – which is a plus in my book. I like shorter first books in a series. Time is always of the essence. I want to know what I’m getting into without a huge investment.

Second, the writing is nice and smooth. It made the book easy to finish.

Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

The meh:

The main character, Sophia, is actually two characters. In the beginning, we meet this traumatized teenager who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. I immediately liked her – anxiety is something I’m very familiar with. So, when Sophia gets kidnapped by vampires and made someone’s slave, she somehow immediately transforms into a strong, fearless, selfless heroine who stands up to her captors. Because you know, that’s how anxiety works. We don’t see traumatized Sophia again. Where did my liked MC go? I have no idea.

And then there’s the slavery and rape issue. The entire time after she is kidnapped, it’s all about her being someone’s slave, along with all the other humans in the vampire world. Slaves who are used as sex slaves or cattle. No matter how much the author dances around actually saying the word rape, that’s what it is. “He didn’t force you, did he?” or  “Pleasure him? What does he mean by that?” Ugh. It’s RAPE. All of it. Of course Derek-the-good-vampire won’t rape her, but don’t worry, everyone else would. Just like they’re raping all the other humans. But it’s ok because Sophia isn’t getting raped. Rape rape rape rape rape. There, I said it. This book is full of rape that’s being glossed over for romance. Gross.

Speaking of romance, it’s the worst kind of insta-love with the worst excuse for it. If you thought Bella and Edward had a messed up relationship, and if Christian Grey was a psychopath, this book takes it up a whole new level. Sophia is Derek’s slave. But the moment he sees her he falls in love. Honestly, his entire POV chapters needed to be cut. It’s just pining. It doesn’t help the story at all. It doesn’t explain anything. Just a lot of ‘she’s so beautiful’ and ‘why am I so drawn to her?’ stuff. Baaarf.

HOWEVER

This book wasn’t written for me. From looking at the Goodreads reviews, it’s the kind of book that has a certain audience – those who crave the romance and danger without consequences. Throw a sexy vampire in a room with a beautiful damsel and they’ll love it. If this is you, you will like this book.

This is not me. You have been warned.

Justice Calling (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress Book 1) by Annie Bellet

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My kids are on spring break, which means it took me an entire week to read 100 pages. And writing? HAH.

Someone save me. Please.

Anyway. In my excitement for the release of Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #9) I decided to read a shifter book – and what’s better than a geeky witch?

Well, a lot of things, but that’s besides the point.

This book is definitely one of those guilty pleasures. You don’t read it for the deep reflections, but for entertainment, pure and simple. Justice Calling definitely delivered on that front. Sexy shifter who is dark and mysterious? Check. Strong female protagonist who is super special and running away from a big bad? Check. Obscure heritage and daddy issues? Double check.

Sound familiar? There’s a reason for that. This is one big Urban Fantasy potluck, and everyone’s invited. Couple that with great witty writing, and it’s hard not to pick up the second one.

I definitely enjoyed the read, but there were plenty of cringe-worthy moments. Mostly I felt like it was trying too hard on the geek front, and not in the cheeky Big Bang Theory way, but just unnecessary. I’m pretty immersed in geek culture so half the time I’m smiling and the other half I’m rolling my eyes.

Really, if you want a quick entertaining read with shape-shifters and all the other Urban Fantasy goodies, pick this up. If you want something more original, go read Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson.

Awfully Appetizing by Leod D. Fitz

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If you read one book this year, make it Awfully Appetizing by Leod D. Fitz. I don’t usually praise books as ‘amazing’ but this was probably one of the best books I have ever read.

The writing style is delectably witty, right down to the title. I must have looked ridiculous reading with a perpetual grin on my face, periodically bursting out in chuckles, but I don’t care. A book that can’t make me smile is a book not worth my time. This one was worth every line.

The characters were fantastic. It took everything I love about the supernatural world, put it in a blender, added some rotten sheep brains and voilà! You get Walter, the leading man and one of the most interesting characters of all time. He is awesome, as is his family. Seriously, once you go ghoul you don’t go back. Vampires-shmanpires.

The plot moved smoothly and kept me in until the last page. It was equally distributed between action, story, and fun, which made it that much better. It was unpredictable but not without foreshadow so you still get surprised but not feel like the twists came out of nowhere.

The only downside of the book was that the second one isn’t out yet. I’m glad to see it’s a series and I will definitely be picking up the next one as soon as it’s available.

Basically what I’m saying is, read it. You can thank me later.