Review: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2)
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.
This is not that world.
Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.
While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.
But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?
Blood & Starlight expands the world of the angels & demons to encompass a new world (earth), new rules, and a new resurrectionist. Violent and oppressive at times, the novel explores Karou’s contradictory nature – an old soul in a young body. A young woman who is naive and adrift without her family and her lover.
Akiva has a significant role in this novel – leading the angels in rebellion while continuing to woo Karou.
Not an easy read – at times lacking in comparison to its predecessor – it serves the purpose of setting the scene for the final book in the series.
A Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper
(Romantic Times Book Reviews Paranormal Romance Top Pick June 1913)
Nola Leary would have been content to stay in Kilcairy, Ireland, healing villagers at her family’s clinic with a mix of magic and modern medicine. But a series of ill-timed omens and a deathbed promise to her grandmother have sent her on a quest to Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky, to secure her family’s magical potency for the next generation. Her supernatural task? To unearth four artifacts hidden by her grandfather before a rival magical family beats her to it. Complication One: Her grandfather was Mr. Wainwright and the artifacts are lost somewhere in what is now Jane Jameson’s book shop. Complication Two: her new neighbor, Jed Trudeau, who keeps turning up half naked at the strangest times, a distraction Nola doesn’t need. And teaming up with a real-life Adonis is as dangerous as it sounds, especially when he’s got the face of an angel and the abs of a washboard—can Nola complete her mission before falling completely under his spell?
A WITCH’S HANDBOOK OF KISSES AND CURSES is the latest spin-off from Harper’s Nice Girls Series. Set between Ireland and Half Moon Hollow, Kentucky – Harper does a wonderful job of introducing new readers to her Nice Girls characters while keeping the new story moving forward. The story is told from Nora Leary’s perspective adding a dry Irish wit to the lines.. Smart funny dialog, quirky characters and meandering plot lines combine for a delightful paranormal happy ending. Not UF in the slightest but still miles apart from the typical schmaltzy PNR tripe, the story has enough mystery elements and villainous double agents to feel unique. A WITCH’S HANDBOOK OF KISSES AND CURSES resembles a witches’s version of The Hatfields and The McCoys.
This novel is a perfect break from jacked-up alpha males, overly violent fight scenes, romantic scenes that rival hard core porn, and heroines who are seemingly bubble heads. A WITCH’S HANDBOOK OF KISSES AND CURSES is a funny romp through the paranormal country side.
The first installment in this fierce and sensual new paranormal romance series features demonic gladiators, ruthless mafia villains, and a proud race on the brink of extinction.Ten years ago, Audrey MacLaren chose to marry her human lover, making her an exile from the Dragon Kings, an ancient race of demons once worshiped as earthly gods. Audrey and her husband managed to conceive, and their son is the first natural-born Dragon King in a generation—which makes him irresistible to the sadistic scientist whose mafia-funded technology allows demon procreation. In the year since her husband was murdered, Audrey and her little boy have endured hideous experiments.
Shackled with a collar and bound for life, Leto Garnis is a Cage warrior. Only through combat can Dragon Kings earn the privilege of conceiving children. Leto uses his superhuman speed and reflexes to secure the right for his two sisters to start families. After torture reveals Audrey’s astonishing pyrokenesis, she is sent to fight in the Cages. If she survives a year, she will be reunited with her son. Leto is charged with her training. Initially, he has no sympathy for her plight. But if natural conception is possible, what has he been fighting for? As enemies, sparring partners, lovers, and eventual allies, Leto and Audrey learn that in a violent underground world, love is the only prize worth winning.
This is a pretty strong debut for a new series. Caged Warrior is full of heart pounding action, epic heroes, sadistic villains, and unusual super powers.
Fans of The Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward, The Immortals After Dark Series by Kresley Cole, or The Fever series by Karen Marie Monning will find similarities in this novel – particularly with the first few books from the other series. Alpha men, strong smart women, an impossible quest, and truly diabolical evil that impacts the greater good.
Life can turn on a dime. It’s a common cliché, and I’d heard it often enough. People die or move away. Investments go south. Affairs end. Loved ones betray us…Stuff happens.
Daisy McCrae’s life is in tatters. She’s lost her job, broken up with her boyfriend, and has been reduced to living in the attic above her family’s store, the Union Street Bakery, while learning the business. Unfortunately, the bakery is in serious hardship. Making things worse is the constant feeling of not being a “real” McCrae since she was adopted as a child and has a less-than-perfect relationship with her two sisters.
Then a long-standing elderly customer passes away, and for some reason bequeaths Daisy a journal dating back to the 1850s, written by a slave girl named Susie. As she reads, Daisy learns more about her family—and her own heritage—than she ever dreamed. Haunted by dreams of the young Susie, who beckons Daisy to “find her,” she is compelled to look further into the past of the town and her family.
What she finds are the answers she has longed for her entire life, and a chance to begin again with the courage and desire she thought she lost for good.
What a magical little gem Taylor has written. THE UNION STREET BAKERY is the first novel in a three part series set in charming Old Town Alexandria, VA. Evoking memories of WATER FOR CHOCOLATE, THE NIGHT KITCHEN and FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, Taylor brings us a story that is Southern Gothic Light. Well written and timely, The Union Street Bakery introduces us to Daisy McRae and an admittedly early mid-life crisis. Continue reading
The fourth original eBook in the steamy Shadows paranormal romance series features a woman forced to choose a mate, and a Shifter prince who may need to give up everything to win her.
Held hostage until she chooses a mate, Kendra Terriot must play a careful courtship game when choosing among the dangerous Shifter heirs. As a prince in the House of Terriot, Cale knows he can be the leader his clan needs with Kendra at his side, but first he must learn to become the kind of man she desires. In a treacherous race for the crown, where weakness means death, the only way to win her trust could mean surrendering his throne. But the only way to win her heart could mean letting her go…
This book was a tough one. I’ve actually re-written this review four times because I want to be fair.
The first two chapters are choppy and violent. Just a really strong and negative first impression of some sort of MMA fighter’s twisted fantasy. Then you get the rest of the book, which is cohesive, multi-dimensional and most importantly more plot than posture. Continue reading
Lily Sawyer flees her controlling, wealthy family in New York City for a solitary existence on Cape Cod. Three months later, a mounting anxiety binds her to the house she can no longer leave.
With hurricane season approaching, Lily hires Cliff Buckley—an angry carpenter with an immediate disgust for his elitist employer—to storm-proof her house.
Cliff soon discovers they have more in common than he thinks, as well as a raging spark between them could either destroy—or save—everything they care about. The question is, can either of them survive Hurricane Lily?
This short novel is an ode to liberal, university educated angst. Warfare played out between the sheets as the wealthy but fragile Lily attempts to tame her anger by mis-directing it at equally angry Cliff, the Vassar educated handy-man who longs to write for a living. The sex is steamy and the concept intriguing. Lily, a shy damaged woman overwhelmed with anxiety caused by the suicide of her mother and her father’s neglect seeks refuge in the childhood vacation home she shared with her mother. She distracts herself by stock piling supplies with the hope that enough stock piles will keep her from having to interact with the world outside her bungalow. An agoraphobic’s heaven steeped in childhood memories and isolated from her family and friends. Continue reading
Over a century past, a wily young pauper wins the hearts of a childless couple of ancient nobility, and a place in one of the most prestigious families in London. The sole heir to the Grenshall family legacy, Iris ‘Tally’ Grenshall fights to protect her family from the machinations of an evil woman, but discovers her adversary presents a threat much greater than she ever imagined . . .
The victim of a brutal attack, Rose remembers one thing: a long-dead woman giving her an impossible task. She knows only the price of failure as she sets out to retrieve a deadly talisman, with the aid of new friends and powers over the living and the dead. As the body count rises, Rose’s quest grows desperate–with London itself in jeopardy.
Rose and Tally share fates intertwined. Rose must discover how before the secrets of the past destroy her, her friends, and all of London.
Oblivion Storm is the best new urban fantasy series by a new author I have read all year. Action packed, unsentimental, and fresh, Smith takes us on a journey back and forth through time as his heroine Mary(Rose) fights an unknown force bent on decimating London and slaking an unquenchable thirst for souls.
The book’s pace is slower in the first half of the book as much of the world building is established but readily gains traction as the story moves forward. On her way home one night, Mary is brutally attacked on the Underground . She eventually awakens in a hospital with no memory of her life prior to the attack. Armed with new abilities she doesn’t begin to understand, Mary(Rose) is soon befriended by Jennifer, another person with unusual abilities, right before her attacker from the underground arrives at the hospital to finish the job. Soon Mary(Rose) learns that she can control the souls of both the living & the dead and, she can also travel back & forth between the spirit realm and the human world. Aided by her new friends, Jennifer and Kara, and a ghostly spirit, Tally, Mary(Rose) embarks on a quest to stop her assailant, close a series of portals popping up all over London, vanquish a powerful soul stealer, and regain her memory before London is destroyed. Continue reading
Ruthie Knox’s Camelot series continues in this sizzling eBook original novel, featuring two headstrong souls who bump heads—and bodies—as temptation and lust bring nothing but delicious trouble.
An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth.
Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure. With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?
E-book. 350 pp. ISBN 978-0-345-54161-1.
Ruthie Knox has a gift for creating strong lead couples and writing great sex scenes. Caleb Clark is simply amazing! This man is so perfect, I would keep him locked in my house and never let him go. Confident, sensual, funny, warm, strong, loving – I could go on and not run out of praise for at least 3 more pages. Did I feel this strongly about him initially? NO! Not at all. I thought he seemed a little smug; maybe even a little patronizing. I should have had more faith in Ruthie because she was actually establishing his stubborn need to be protective of everyone he cares about.
Our book’s heroine is equally stubborn if not more so. Ellen is a giver. The kind of woman who spent all her life putting herself last, letting others tell her what to do and feeling most comfortable when she was doing things for others. She’s the Continue reading
THE Billionaire Bad Boys Club by Emma Holly
Self-made billionaires Zane and Trey have been a club of two since they were eighteen. They’ve done everything together: play football, fall in love, even get smacked around by their dads. The only thing they haven’t tried is seducing the same woman. Rebecca learned early on not to trust anyone. She raised her brothers by herself—with no adult being the wiser. Her knack for cooking kept a roof over the twins’ heads. Now she’s damned if it won’t pay their way through Harvard as well. Add in running Trey’s latest restaurant, and her plate is way too full for romance. That’s an attitude the bad boys intend to change. Zane and Trey have set their sights on the sexy chef. When their hearts enter the equation and they both fall for her, this committed twosome faces their hardest test of all! Adult-content rating: This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.
Fans of Emma Holly’s m/m/f novels will be happy to hear that The Billionaire Bad Boys Club is another wonderful addition to this genre. Delving into signature Holly elements – characters that overcome hardship; handsome, Continue reading
Stone Cold Revenge (Set in Stone #2) by Jess Macallan
Forced by her maniacal father, the king of the shadow elves, to live in his house and train to become his heir, newly minted princess of the paranormal Elleodora Fredricks doesn’t think things could get much more complicated. On the outs with her gargoyle love interest, Jax, and confused about her relationship with her childhood sweetheart, MacLean the phoenix, Elle knows her fate decrees that her powers will manifest themselves in full on her twenty-eighth birthday, which is quickly approaching
With help from two long-lost family members, some long-forgotten memories, and even her long-gone mother, Elle discovers there’s more to being part shadow elf than she ever knew. But will she be able to harness her unique abilities in time to take revenge on her enemies? For Elle, it’s all in a day’s work
Macallan’s Set in Stone series brings a fresh and exciting voice to a genre that has become stagnant. With Stone Cold Revenge, the second book in the series, Macallan expands the world she introduced in Stone Cold Seduction. Elle returns to her father’s mansion – a place filled with the memories of childhood torture and abuse, in order to solve the mystery surrounding missing ancient artifacts and prove her innocence. Elle must agree to become her father’s heir and in the process learn more about her father’s shady business holdings, embrace her Shadow Elf Princess responsibilities, and finally, prepare for the on-set of her powers on her 28th birthday. Adding even more complexity to the story is Elle’s need to choose a mate before her birthday – a process that has her choosing between two loves. Continue reading