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Book Review – Love Me to Death (Underveil) by Marissa Clarke

Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Medical research scientist Elena Arcos has always lived her life under the radar, which is not easy to do when you live with the craziest woman in the world. But eccentric Aunt Uza is a picnic compared to the other people who enter her orderly life after she is shot in a convenience store robbery.

Elena finds herself rocketed from comfortable predictability to supernatural insanity courtesy of her own private angel of death who happens to have the sexiest accent on earth and a body to match. Her death angel is convinced she’s some kind of freaky half vampire thing and that her deceased dad was the real deal: a blood sucking monster.

Yeah, right. She’ll play along, but then she doesn’t have much choice seeing how as the guy claims to be some immortal law enforcer and has taken her prisoner.

* * *

Nikolai Itzov had expected to fight the urge to torture the progeny of his father’s murderer, but he’d never anticipated battling the urge to kiss her her.

As a Slayer, an elite law enforcer descended from Azrael himself, his charge from the Underveil General is clear: Kill her or die. He has been told she is one of them–an Undead. Nothing but a parasite to be destroyed. But he has been told wrong.

Nikolai and Elena find themselves in a life and death battle to stop a plot designed to lift the Underveil and enslave humans.

With her analytical mind and his centuries of training and experience, they might be able to foil the plot with their lives and maybe their hearts intact. But in order to succeed, he must help her become the very thing he hates the most: an Undead.

When I say that from the very first chapter you’ll have your eyes glued to this book you better believe it! We’re dumped straight into the action, no introductions, on softly softly about it… And it really works! Elena has been living a normal life up till this point, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time means that low blood sugar is the least of her worries from here on in. This is also where we’re introduced to Nikolai with a jolting start. To Elena, he is the angel of death… except she doesn’t die. For centuries Nik has been following orders without question. He is an enforcer. It’s all he knows, he does what needs to be done without question or hesitation. But soon he begins to realize that sometimes life is not so black and white, there are shades of grey everywhere and sometimes you don’t even see your destiny coming until it’s already happened…

The chemistry between Elena and Nik is one of the main parts of this book that got me hooked so quickly AND kept me hooked. It was electric and pretty much all over the show. They were fighting themselves, each other and other people and events over their feelings. Literally it was a whirlpool of love/hate and in this instance it really worked. Nik is supposed to HATE what he thinks she is. It’s the natural order of things… And Elena of course is terrified and pissed off and unsure of who to trust or what to do. None of this makes falling for the other easy. Slowly but surely we got to see nearly every angle of both these characters. I really loved that in this book there was no other possibility for either of them. They were it. It just came down to whether they could get themselves together enough to see the other person clearly.

And this, she realized, was why she was so attracted to him. He was a good man who longed to do what was right, and something in her had recognized that from the moment of their dubious first meeting.

Which brings me to the storyline, it was good! Entertaining for sure. There were parts there where I couldn’t put it down. Where I had to know what was going to happen next. The world and creatures were absolutely spellbinding. I absolutely LOVED Stefan, the Time Folder. He was definitely one of a kind. I loved that he was so mysterious, yet so calm and collected at the same time. Nothing ruffled his feathers easily. He also provided some comic relief to bring relief to the sometimes super heavy interactions between Elena and Nik. I am hoping against hope that we will see a lot more of Stefan in the next book and also, a lot more of his story. There are so many unanswered questions when it comes to him…. And I need to know what’s going on!

Aunt Uza or Uzana as she is really known as, is another fav of mine. This character was just hilarious. I loved her! Her mannerisms and terms of endearment… ‘hotty tottie’ she was just honestly freaking awesome. She also had one of the creepiest lot of creatures in the whole book. If you have never really given cats a second thought then be prepared to be totally and completely creeped out.

I was very quickly engrossed in this story. I couldn’t put it down and stayed up way too late to finish it, I loved the world building and characters within it. This is a really great fast paced beginning to a well set up series. I can’t wait to see where this story is heading and what is to come for Elena and Nik.

Love Me to Death (Underveil)

By Marissa Clarke

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See How She Falls (The Chronicles of Izzy #3) by Michelle Graves

Darkness is on the rise.

The prophecy has been called forth.

The Seer must fall.

Izzy knew she wasn’t safe, the lingering runes told her that much. What they didn’t tell her was how to lead the Council, stop the darkness, and keep everyone she loved safe.

With irreparable changes brought on by Aberto’s intervention, a relative she never knew existed, and a whole slew of horrifying visions assaulting her, will she be strong enough? Or will the darkness prevail taking her and everyone she loves down with it.

I loved the first book, LOVED the second and now I have no words left to describe how much I FREAKING LOVED THIS THIRD BOOK!!! Even though by the end I was almost beside myself, as in, I was literally a blubbering mess. If there is one thing I can recommend before you read this instalment, it is do NOT under any circumstances read any reviews with spoilers in! No matter how many times you see readers freaking out over what happens in this book. Do not read the spoilers. This is one of those books, where something is going to happen that is going to make you question absolutely everything that has happened so far in the books… But this isn’t a bad thing, it hurts, but it’s necessary. Even though it will feel like your heart has been ripped out and turned into confetti, you’ll slowly pick up the pieces and try to glue them back together and decide that actually, you’ll keep reading… once the shock has worn off.

Izzy’s world is quickly getting more and more out of control. If you thought she was having issues in the last book, that was nothing compared to what she must face in this book! Honestly, she is one tough cookie. I would’ve curled up and played dead long ago, but she keeps right on fighting her way through each obstacle, no matter how hopeless at times it seems, which is typical of her personality… And I have to say, I love that three books into this series, Izzy is still her same feisty, snarky, inappropriate, stubborn self. I love that she hasn’t morphed into some completely different version of herself, she’s definitely developed and grown, but even when she really doesn’t seem herself at all, she still has that Izzy spark. Which for me was really important since her character was a big reason why I became obsessed with this series. Love her!!!

Never fear, we also get a very strong dose of both Kennan and Aberto in this book. Swoon. What’s better than one potential book boyfriend in a story? TWO potential book boyfriends! Although considering Izzy is busy having runes carved into her, trying to keep the council in check and trying both not to die AND save the world from the darkness, swoon-worthy man moments are probably near the bottom of her list. But at least both Aberto and Kennan are heavily involved in the plotline and although we don’t get a heavy dose of romance (like I said, no time!) we do get the chance you see into the past and really get to begin to understand a lot more about their lives and about the history of Seers, Guardians and Old Ones. It really is fascinating stuff and very well thought out. Every detail is meticulous and everything was so perfectly layered that it was totally seamless flipping between the current day and visions of the past, something which is not always achieved as well as was done here.

By the time I finished this book (and calmed myself down) I decided that 1. I would forgive Michelle Graves for breaking my heart 2. I LOVED the direction the story was taking and 3. I did not know how I was going to be patient enough to wait for the fourth book! I usually am pretty strict about not wishing time away, but I am seriously tempted to start wishing for November to hurry up! I just know it’s going to be an amazing conclusion to one of the best series I’ve read in a long time!

Read my review for book 1: See How She Runs HERE

Read my review for book 2: See How She Fights HERE

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Book Review – Lost Girl (Hidden #1) by Colleen Vanderlinden

Molly Brooks is a telepathic vigilante with a few secrets and a mysterious past. Determined to make something of her bizarre powers, she devotes herself to saving those who need her most. One night, she’s followed by a powerful being in a pickup truck, and her world will never be the same. Finding herself thrust into a world full of supernatural beings she could have only imagined, Molly learns how powerful she really is, and how much she stands to lose.

This book was a fast paced, action packed, thoroughly entertaining ride of a story… From the very start I was intrigued and it didn’t let up… Not for one minute. It’s a fine line to walk to write a story that is all of these things without seeming rushed, but the author achieved a story that was to the point without giving me whiplash. Being the first book in a series it did have the job of setting up the world and storyline to do. While the storyline definitely got off to a roaring start and I did get a good sense of this alternate universe, I do hope that in the subsequent books we get a little more detail about this world and the beings in it.

Molly was a bit of a darker heroine than the usual. Totally bad ass and unpredictable… Actually she probably was bordering on unhinged for a lot of the book! She was definitely conflicted, she didn’t for the most part understand her powers or where her place in the world was. She was a loner and pretty prickly towards anyone and everyone. What absolutely didn’t help her state of mind was the certain big, gruff Nain… He swept in, shook up her world and her life was never the same. Nain, just like Molly, was dark and light rolled into one, but in his case way way darker. He’s not some kind of ex-bad-demon… he’s the real deal ex-evil-demon. But he’s spent a long time fighting for redemption before rounding up Molly to join his group of assorted supernatural good-guys. I loved the chemistry between these two… The power, the violence, the needing to do good. Their relationship (and sometimes lack of relationship) is what in my opinion really propelled the book along.

I really enjoyed this book but I have to say I am so so SO happy that there is a follow up book to this story because I literally felt like I had the wind knocked out of me by this ending. So let this serve as a warning, if you’re after an instant HEA you are going to be left wanting… However, I think this is going to make for a very interesting second book. I’m really looking forward to what Molly does next, whether she keeps her darkness in check or lets it overtake her, so I know the ending to this book was necessary and very smart., because there is no room for a tidy neat anything when you’re talking Urban Fiction and that is especially true here.

Lost Girl: Hidden Book One (Volume 1)

By Colleen Vanderlinden

Book Review – Ghouls Rush In by H. P Mallory

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Do you believe in love after life?

Looking for a fresh start, Peyton Clark becomes the proud owner of a piece of New Orleans history: an Antebellum-era two-story house in the Garden District. It’s going to take time and a fat wallet to restore the fixer-upper to its former glory, but after her recent divorce, Peyton could use the distraction.

It’s not long before Peyton discovers she’s moved into the haunted home of a flirtatious paranormal prankster. She’s receiving kisses from unseen lips and caresses from a ghostly hand, and soon she begins to have vivid dreams, bringing her face-to-face with the incomparably handsome ghost of Drake Montague.

When Peyton grows closer to her general contractor, Ryan Kelly—who is as charming as he is alive—the chill in the air could only suggest Drake’s jealousy from beyond the grave. But even though she’s definitely attracted to and interested in Ryan, Peyton also can’t get Drake out of her dreams, or her heart, as she begins to uncover the frightening truth behind his death a century ago…

A few weeks ago I was on quite the roll with various kinds of UF/Paranormal/Straight up scary type books. This was one of those books. I have had it on my kindle for a while and had started but then got distracted by other things, but I came back and restarted it and finished it within a couple of nights! I have to put a disclaimer in here: I’m useless with anything remotely scary. I should not be allowed to read these books at night, I know this fact, yet I still do it!

Firstly the characters in this book. I loved Peyton; she was well measured parts of hilarious, flawed and endearing. I was pleased that she had a solid back story and a decent reason to be kicking around an old haunted house. I cracked up at her witty personality that was entertaining rather than snarky and I loved that she wasn’t perfect, that she could sometimes be a bit annoying or ridiculous… because aren’t we all…

Ryan also was a win of a character for me. I’m all about the strong tough men who can move mountains… (or in this case, remodel old houses) He came across as the perfect southern gentleman. He was really the most human aspect of the story; I really, really enjoyed his storyline. Drake (GHOST) was such a compelling character. He was almost larger than life, he had SO much personality…especially for someone who wasn’t even in solid human form. He actually did quite a good job of growing on me, at first I wasn’t sold on him at all (GHOST!) but by the end of the story I ended up having a bit of a soft spot for him!

As far as the storyline went I did enjoy it for the most part, I just got blindsided once or twice…. I have to admit when the first lot of ‘ghost bits’ crept in I wasn’t sure about the direction it was taking, it was a decent way into the book and I felt up until that point I’d been reading a cute southern paranormal romance. There had been nothing sinister going on and I honestly thought that when the paranormal parts finally started happening they would be light too. But they were not. Suddenly it felt like an episode of ‘Worlds Most Haunted.’

The second half of the book was more paranormal than paranormal romance. So on the plus side it was more consistent in style. I was being terrified and intrigued at the same time by ghosts! (Well terrified by one ghost and intrigued by the other) I felt that the story really had found it’s stride now that all of the character and background work had been completed. The pace definitely did pick up a lot. However I think from reading the blurb I did expect it to be a bit lighter than what it was…

It’s not long before Peyton discovers she’s moved into the haunted home of a flirtatious paranormal prankster. She’s receiving kisses from unseen lips and caresses from a ghostly hand, and soon she begins to have vivid dreams, bringing her face-to-face with the incomparably handsome ghost of Drake Montague.

I thought this was going to be a love triangle of sorts between girl, man and ghost but that’s not the entire sum of it. Don’t get me wrong there was nothing wrong with this story. I really did enjoy reading it, but I think the problem was the blurb and the story did not really match up? If it had been more reflective of the story I wouldn’t have expected a lighter paranormal romance read, so therefore I wouldn’t have been as stunned when the book took it’s very sudden detour into scary town.

All and all I am glad I went back into my folders and finished reading this book. I think I will definitely give the second book a try, I am super interested in seeing what twists Peyton, Ryan and Drake’s stories take next. I’ve promised myself that next time I will be much much braver, also I’ve promised myself I won’t read the next one at night like I did this one!

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Book Review – The Light Who Shines (Bluebell Kildare #1) by Lilo Abernathy

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I was on an Urban Fantasy kick when I one-clicked The Light Who Shines. I went into it thinking it would be standard UF. I was wrong. It did have vampires, a detective type heroine, a wolf and divine beings, but the world building was quite different to the usual. And that prologue!! Amazing.

When Paranormal Investigation Bureau agent Bluebell Kildare (a.k.a. Blue) arrives at the scene of the crime it’s obvious the grotesquely damaged body of the deceased teenage boy was caused by far more than a simple hit and run. Using her innate sixth sense, she uncovers a powerful magical artifact nearby. She soon discovers it acts as a key to an ancient Grimiore that was instrumental in the creation of the Vampire breed and still holds the power to unravel the boundaries between Earth and the Plane of Fire.
Blue and her clever wolf Varg follow a trail that starts at the Cock and Bull Tap and leads all through the town of Crimson Hollow. Between being sidelined by a stalker who sticks to the shadows, and chasing a suspect who vanishes in thin air, the case is getting complicated. If that isn’t enough, Dark Vampire activity hits a record high and hate crimes are increasing. However, it’s her growing feelings for Jack Tanner, her magnetic Daylight Vampire boss, that just might undo her.
While Blue searches for clues to nail the perpetrator, it seems someone else is conducting a search of their own. Who will find whom first?
Danger lurks in every corner and Blue needs all her focus in this increasingly dangerous game or she risks ending up the next victim.

Bluebell. What an awesome name. Blue, for short. It’s a shame that having twins put me off having any more kids for life because I could definitely see myself with a daughter named Blue! My husband, well…probably not so much though. Anyway, Blue was about as strong a heroine as they come. Her early life wasn’t at all easy but she managed to rise above and become an amazing young woman. I won’t give anything away, but the ending of this story was brutal, and the way she endured and made her choices was admirable.  

In this world gifted (Magical) beings had a lot of hate and prejudice directed their way. The writer incorporated this theme into the story-line extremely well. We have all seen it, the way hate groups seem to loathe the world and everyone in it, including themselves. In this particular story instead of directed at a certain race, religion, or sexual preference it was directed at the gifted. I enjoyed this a lot because it felt like a realistic view of how this type of world would be. Not all daisies and unicorns.

“The kids who are taught to hate early rarely have enough strength to break away from a culture of hatred.”

I found the writing to be quite formal in this story. I’m not sure if it’s because it WAS quite formal or if I’m just used to reading a more casual type of UF story.  For a lot of readers it will hardly be noticeable I’m sure, but it’s just something to be mindful of going into it.

I’m keen to see where Bluebells story goes next and I’m sure there’s a lot more story to be told. I’m also eager to learn more about this Illustrissima business and find out what the hell is going on with Varg the wolf! And give me more of Jack the vampire, Reow! C’mon Bluebell, get it girl! Don’t listen to his arguments! All in all, The Light Who Shines was an engaging and gripping read.

“I walk the path of light. I will not divert. You walk the path of darkness, so you will not understand.”