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Monday, May 16, 2022

Book Review: Dance with the Demon By Stacia Stark

Dance with the Demon
(Deals with Demons #2)
By Stacia Stark

What’s scarier than hunting demons?
Being bonded to one of them.

Ever since I got involved with the demons, my life has fallen apart.

Now, I’m persona non grata with the mage council. And because of me, my sister is in danger. If that wasn’t bad enough, I’m also the lead suspect in an attempted murder.

But it gets worse. I’m learning that everything I thought I knew about myself was a lie. And the underhanded demon who bonded with me? Well, he’s convinced he can keep me.

When an ancient fae artifact turns up missing, I have to use every trick up my sleeve to locate it. Someone wants to watch the world burn, and if I don’t stop them, every paranormal alive is a target.

Armed with a power I don’t understand, and with a demon I don’t trust by my side, it’s up to me to dodge the people who want me dead and protect my city.

Before Samael loses patience with whoever is hunting me and burns the city down himself.
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Check Out The Other Books In This Series:
(Linked to my review!)


My Review:

This series is a drug because I'm very much addicted! I love, love, love the universe the author is fleshing out with these books! The characters are complex and painted in shades of grey. I don't know whether or not I can trust them but in the best way. It sounds odd, I know.

Danica is a really bad*ss character. She does things her way and gets them done even if it almost ends with her death in the process. I like that she doesn't let Samael boss her around. The chemistry between them is wafting off the pages though!

Samael is the definition of morally grey. I like him 80% of the time but then he pulls something out of left field that no one was expecting. I want to like him but he's making it difficult to stand by him. This also speaks to the level of thought the author has put into this series and its characters because there's a fine line between these things and she's staying on it like a pro.

With every end of a book, Samael gets a new revelation that makes me think twice about liking him (but he's so damn charming I can't help it!). If it hadn't been clear up to this point I'm very much invested in this series and I can't wait to dive into the next book!

My Rating:


Monday, May 9, 2022

Audio Book Review: Capture the Crown By Jennifer Estep

Capture the Crown
(Gargoyle Queen #1)
By Jennifer Estep

Length: 13 hours and 30 minutes
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang

Best-selling author Jennifer Estep returns to her Crown of Shards world with an all-new trilogy and a bold new heroine who protects her kingdom from magic, murder, and mayhem by moonlighting as a spy.

Gemma Ripley has a reputation for being a pampered princess who is more interested in pretty gowns, sparkling jewelry, and other frivolous things than learning how to rule the kingdom of Andvari. But her carefully crafted persona is just an act to hide the fact that Gemma is a powerful mind magier - and a spy.

Gemma is undercover, trying to figure out who is stealing large amounts of tearstone from one of the Ripley royal mines when she encounters Prince Leonidas Morricone of Morta - her mortal enemy. Gemma tries to steer clear of the handsome prince, but when she finds herself behind enemy lines, she reluctantly joins forces with Leo. Also coming to Gemma’s aid is Grimley, her beloved gargoyle.

Despite the fact that Andvari and Morta are old, bitter enemies, a dangerous attraction sparks between Gemma and Leo. Further complicating matters is Leo’s murderous family, especially Queen Maeven Morricone, the mastermind behind the infamous Seven Spire massacre.

The closer Gemma gets to the stolen tearstone, the more deadly plots she uncovers. Everyone is trying to capture the crown, but only one queen can sit on the throne...
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My Review:

From the start this book had me intrigued. I loved that this story was in the vein of the Blood And Ash series that I've been loving these past few years. Through that series, I discovered that I really like fantasy and therefore should be reading more of it. So here we are!

The first few hours of this story were fantastic but then it got really boring through the middle only to pick back up again in the end. The way everything was set up I assumed it would be action-packed always and when that didn't happen I got a tad bit bored.

Gemma was a bad*ss! She may be a princess and have a constructed reputation for being air-headed but that doesn't mean she doesn't care about her people. She took it so far as to become a spy. I love her tenacity and her willingness to put herself in danger to better understand and help out the people who believe in her.

Leonidas of Motra was interesting. Throughout the story, we don't know what side he's solidly on until the end. He's done Gemma very dirty in the past but he kind of grew on me? Like a fungus, you could say. He also has a very sad and heartbreaking life story. I couldn't help but have a soft spot for him. 

Considering that the main genre I read is romance I kinda, sorta wanted more romance. All the longing gazes and the instances of hand holding for a few seconds were not enough! From what I understand this series is pure fantasy but a girl can hope right? 

The ending was action-packed and I loved every minute of it! It's what I wanted the whole book to be. I want more of that in the next book in this series. The very last interaction between Leo and Gemma was so sad and heartbreaking. In what world could they possibly be together? That's the answer I'll be looking forward to getting before this series ends. 

The Audio Book:

The narration was okay. Personally, I just didn't think that the voice went with the main character. That's probably something that's going to be personal to me though. The characters were distinguishable from each other and there were no weird noises in the background.

My Rating:

Monday, May 2, 2022

Audio Book Review: The Long-Forgotten Winter King By Annette Marie

The Long-Forgotten Winter King
(The Guild Codex: Unveiled #2)
By Annette Marie

Narrator: Cris Dukehart
Length: 8 hours and 12 minutes

Everyone is keeping secrets.

Zak won't reveal what really happened between us ten years ago. Ríkr's been hiding so much I scarcely recognize him anymore. But the biggest secret belongs to my parents, and it's the one I'm most desperate to unravel.

Finding out who they really were, and who I am, means solving their eighteen-year-old murders. For reasons unknown, Zak decides to join me—and that makes me nervous, especially when the trail leads us into the most dangerous fae territory in the lower mainland.

The questions keep piling up, but as I realize too late, my parents' killer is no mystery. He's been lying in wait all along.

But not for me.

I've led Zak and Ríkr into a hell with no escape, and I need more than answers now. I need power—because without it, none of us will make it out alive.
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Check Out The Other Books In This Series:
(Linked to my review)


My Review:

I'm SO glad I reread the first book before this one! This was such a good follow-up to it! The story and the intrigue were so fascinating. I'll make one thing very clear: I LOVED Ríkr. I can't wait to see what's in store for these characters in the books to follow!

Saber had a lot of revelations in this book. I hope she and Zac find a way to be at peace with what happened between them and with past situations involving them. I liked Saber a lot in this book. Even while being put through the wringer she still manages to help Ríkr when things get tough. She's loyal and headstrong even though she's a tad unhinged. It just adds to her appeal if I'm being honest. In the books, I usually read very rarely is this a characteristic that belongs to the heroine, so I found it to be a great change of pace.

In comparison to Saber, Zac is much less bloodthirsty (even if at all). Which again is a very interesting flip in the dynamics I'm used to seeing. He seems like the calm before the storm. From how he's presented it feels like he's very angry but is also used to reigning his anger in. I love the dynamic between them. 

I'm excited to see where this series is going! I loved the little callback with a certain guild we've seen in past books *wink wink* at the very end. I'm also very invested in Ríkr going forward. I loved his one-liners and his overall demeanor. 

The Audio Book:

The narration was awesome! Like I said in my review of the first book, this narrator took her time and made it her mission to nail this narration. I admire her work ethic and her dedication to her craft and the universe Annette Marie has created. The characters were all distinguishable from each other and there were no weird noises in the background.

My Rating:


Monthly Recap: April 2022

April!

The saga of the allergic reaction continues! I posted, probably a few years ago at this point, that my eyes were burning and that an allergist did a total of ~5 blood tests and washed her hands of me. Well, this month was where I finally got some answers about my "allergies"! I put it in quotations because apparently, it's not a *true* allergic response. A *true* allergy response would have my immune system in hyperdrive and according to a very specific blood test that's not what's happening. I'm getting allergy-like symptoms and that's the end of it. There's no way to treat the cause because it's "reactive". That's the word the doctor used. I can only treat the symptoms on the surface and hope it eventually goes away. It's usually caused by something in the air that my body thinks is evil. That means being in the vicinity of smoke, strong fragrances, dust, and anything else that can be airborne makes my body ring the alarm for idiotic symptoms that feel like hell.  Another great idea would be living in a bubble. I wish that were possible on the worse days.

On a better note, I read books this month? I'm questioning myself on that one because I mostly just pushed myself through most of the books this month. The War Of Two Queens really did a number on me (with how good it was!) which makes my brain kinda sorta want to go into a reading slump because of course no book can be as good as that book. Right? RiGhT?! RIGHT???

It was a weird month. Let's leave it at that 😅

Until next month!
Happy reading!

Books I Read & Listened
To In April

| eBook | GraphicAudio | Audio Book |

  • Romeo By Sybil Bartel - I wasn't expecting this but I ended up DISLIKING this book SO DAMN MUCH. I loved quite a few books by this author in the past. I don't know what went so wrong with this one but I just could barely stand it. (My review is live here!)
  • Sweep In Peace By Illona Andrews - The only reason I've picked up this series and stuck with it was it being a GraphicAudio production. The first book blew me away this one (story-wise) was just okay. (My review is live here!)
  • Ben Fortune By Elizabeth DearThis book did something I wasn't expecting it to do. It interweaved Ben's story into Mave's story (Book #1) in an interesting way. In this book, we get to see what was happening with Ben while Mave was being put through the wringer in her book. (My review is live here!) 

| Audio Book | Audio Book |

  • Lord Of Embers By C. N. Crawford - I had very high hopes for this book. It all came crashing down on me and my expectations. My dislike of this book runs deep. I wanted more of what got me hooked on the first book. This one was more character-driven (and it just didn't work for me with this story). (My review is live here!)

Books I Can't Wait To Get
My Hands On In May

* Book titles are linked to Goodreads.

5th



6th



17th
(Audio Book)


30th

Reject Me |


31st

Here's What Happened On
This Blog In April


I reviewed the following books & audiobooks:

What books are you looking forward to reading this month?
Let me know in the comments below!
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Monday, April 25, 2022

Audio Book Review: Ben Fortune By Elizabeth Dear

Ben Fortune
(Blackstone Academy #2)
By Elizabeth Dear

Narrator: Michael Gallagher & Gregory Salinas
Length: 9 hours and 21 minutes

When my family finally left our little close-minded pack of assholes back in Utah to join a huge progressive pack in Northwest Louisiana, I thought I’d finally be free of the chains of judgment, scrutiny, and homophobia that had tainted my life with our old pack. I thought I was done with labels and pack drama, and I was ready to fly through my last two years of high school winning friends and influencing people with my stunning charisma—in spite of the fact that we were supposed to be lowly omega wolves.

But when the Alpha’s son rejects my beloved sister as his fated mate on our very first day at Blackstone Academy, his callousness and stupidity kick off a chain of events that embroils us both in the drama we wanted to avoid, both at school and within the pack at large.

It also entangles me with the Alpha Heir’s best friend and beta wolf, Thad James, and I can’t seem to fight my attraction to him—not that I try very hard. He’s a stuck-up, beautiful, cocky asshole behind those sexy-as-f--k glasses, and I make it my life’s goal to knock him off his game while he fights the intense chemistry between us.

For him, there could never be anything serious between us because of who he thinks I am.

And who am I? I’m Ben Fortune, and I’m going to get what I want.

This is a new adult, academy-based paranormal M/M romance. While it can be read as a stand-alone, it is highly encouraged that you listen to Mave’s book (Blackstone Academy, Book 1) for a better listening experience. As always, this book is intended for the 18+ crowd and contains a lot of swearing and some spicy boy-on-boy action. If that all sounds like your jam, then dive in!
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Check Out The Other Books In This Series:
(Linked to my review)


My Review:

* I won a free copy of this audiobook via a giveaway. All opinions in this review are my own.

This book did something I wasn't expecting it to do. It interweaved Ben's story into Mave's story (Book #1) in an interesting way. In this book, we get to see what was happening with Ben while Mave was being put through the wringer in her book. 

Being in Ben's head and seeing what Mave was going through put a different perspective on things in the best way. I also liked getting to know him. He was very self-assured and confident in himself. I loved how he never mistreated anyone who was "beneath" him in the pack hierarchy. The way he made Thad stew in the consequences of his own actions was glorious.

I disliked Thad for probably the first 50% or so of this novel. He was an arrogant *ss who deserved everything he got. Personally, I would have liked to see him grovel more. I did eventually warm up to him though. He become a much more down-to-earth person as the relationship with Ben progressed. Deep down, I still think Ben could have done better if I'm being brutally honest.

The ending was great but the epilogues were jarring. It gave a glimpse into Knox's story but what the author wasn't counting on is that even though he's been reformed and has "grown" I'd much rather get Harriet's story than Knox's. Fingers crossed she'll get her own book!

Onto what I loved about this book: the LGBTQ+ representation. It's great to see characters from the community who play an integral role in a plot who don't get killed, tortured, or traumatized for shock value. I loved that Ben's parent's moved heaven and earth to protect their son from the prejudice of their old pack. It's not every day that parents in books actually do some good and protect their kids (at least in the books I read 😅).

Onto what rubbed me the wrong way: The slut-shaming was still really, really, really annoying. Catching glimpses of the air-headed characters doing it to Mave from Ben's POV was still very annoying. I still think the overall story (Book #1 and #2) could have done with much less if any at all of this particular trope.

The Audio Book:

Listening to this book made me realize that I can actually like male narrated audio books as long as there isn't a female narrator in the production. Through this experience, I learned that what bothers me SO much with male narrators isn't necessarily the lack of female voices/tones it's the comparison I automatically draw when a female narrator switches the POV every other chapter. My brain gravitates to the female narrator because they usually have a bigger range of believable male and female voices than male narrators. With this narration, because there was no switch off from male to female narrator the story was much more enjoyable because I wasn't actively dreading the male narrated chapters because the voices sounded funny.

With that being said the narration was good! Though the male characters did get jumbled up a few times in my head because there was so little distinction between their voices. This audio book also didn't have any weird noises in the background.

My Rating:


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