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NEW RELEASE! Review – Drowning in the Dark (The Veil Series #4) by Pippa DaCosta

“I wasn’t demon enough to defeat my brother before. Things have changed.”

As the veil begins to fall, and the demons bleed through onto the streets of Boston, Muse knows the battle is lost before it’s even begun.

To make matters worse, Adam and the Institute have captured Akil at a time when the city has never needed him more. Muse believes Akil’s incarceration is a ruse, because if he truly is at the mercy of the Institute, she must choose which side she’ll fight for. Human or demon?

The princes are coming. Valenti, Muse’s immortal half-brother, leads the charge. The Institute is not ready, the people of Boston are not prepared, but one man is. Stefan knows what it will take to beat back the netherworld. Will his demon allow him the freedom to right his wrongs?

Muse’s loyalty will be tested. To save those she loves, she must give up that which she cherishes most. Her humanity.

The Mother of Destruction is about to go nuclear.

Can we please just take a moment to relive the amazingness that was that prologue…

…The things she’s doing to me. I am not this man. I am demon. And yet this impossible woman undermines everything. Undermines me. Burrows deep. Deep into shadows, into darkness, into facets I’ve refused to acknowledge.

Oh my LIFE Akil. The prince of Greed is seriously off kilter, it’s unsettling, especially for Muse. Common sense tells her that he is deluding himself thinking that he feels something for her. But she can’t seem to get away from the fact that his actions are trying to prove otherwise. Welcome to the very complicated world half-blood Muse. Right from that prologue I knew that I was going to be lost to this book. I have been an avid follower of this series and as the story has twisted and turned into hell and back I have had my emotions wrung out too many times to count. That doesn’t change here in book 4, in fact I think my heart was lucky to survive this instalment.

 

We land in this story right as the Institute makes their biggest move yet and captures Akil AKA Mammon. Muse is horrified, Akil needs to be out in Boston helping them fight the demons and Princes that are heading Boston’s way, but no one is listening to her.  Muse knows she has a limited amount of time until chaos claims her and she wants to do everything she can to prevent the two worlds from colliding. This is where Stefan comes in. He’s back and it seems that he and his demon are wanting very different things.

I don’t want to say too much more specifically about the story because you really want to be able to feel shocked, stunned and spun-out as the story demands it. Because that is one of the strengths of this series, these demons really keep you on your toes! I’m still unsure where each demon stands exactly in relation to Muse and humanity. I am in love AND hate(!) with parts of both Akil and Stefan, which is completely owing to the care Pippa DaCosta takes in her character building. Demons by their very nature should be confusing to our human sensibilities and that absolutely is achieved. I don’t know half the time if I want to love these guys or kick them! So yes, I’m conflicted. I don’t know if I should be, but I am. 

Meanwhile Muse is still the badass chick I have come to expect. Even at her darkest hour, even when she feels her control slipping away. Even when she’s not sure she has anything left to give or to fight for, she pulls out the biggest guns that she can and she hits full throttle. Every. Single. Damn. Time. You can’t beat an epic female character and Muse definitely delivers.

So you need to read this book. Like you seriously need to read this book. Obviously if you’ve been following this series then you’ll already be one step ahead and will be currently reading this book… But if not then get onto it! If you’re new to this series then you REALLY need to get onto it and read all of the books! I will end with one word of warning… The ending of this book… it almost killed me, mostly from multiple heart attacks, but also from knowing that I now have to wait until APRIL to find out what on earth had just happened! (In more ways than one) I’m still slowly coming to terms with Drowning in the Dark (can you tell!) I need closure…. So I swear nothing is coming between me and the final book in this series…

ARC kindly received in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – The Harlequin Doll by S. K. Munt

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We just finished our very first blog buddy read since Amy joined us. We were looking for something we could all read together and The Harlequin Doll sounded like it had a bit of everything we all love – mystery, hot men, romance and…a circus. Everyone loves a circus romance, right?! 

They’ll do anything to love her…

Elle Carey has never felt like she has ever truly belonged to anything; not her family, her body, her career as a journalist following in Editor-In-Chief father’s footsteps- none of it. By day she goes through the motions, reporting at her father’s side, playing nice with her over-achieving sister and pretending to be ashamed of her family’s heritage as her father is, but for Elle, it’s all a lie- she exists only to fly and has gone great lengths to keep her passion for the silks and trapeze a secret.

But when The Harlequin Bros spectacular comes to town, Elle gets the opportunity of a lifetime- one interview, one audition- one chance to live. She knows instantly that both of the beautiful Romani brothers, Archer and Jarrah Harlequin have the potential to steal her breath, but what she doesn’t know is that one is destined to do exactly that, and that the other will stop at nothing to make sure that the curse comes to pass as quickly as possible, yet again.

Elle expects to return to the paper afterwards with a few fond memories and maybe even an exclusive into the dark underbelly of the circus, but her destiny is not to see her name as a byline, but in the obituaries.

It is brother against brother, light against dark, demon against demon, temptation against love in this passionate and beautifully cruel story about the corruption of innocence and the illusions we weave to hide our true selves from one another

Kristal – Alright! Where do we start with this one….there was so much going on! The story starts off in the past where we learn about how it all began. We got to meet Archer and Jarrah and get some insight into who they were before certain ‘events’ happened. I gotta say, I loved these flashbacks and getting to know these character from the beginning. I also really enjoyed how it was done in a minimal way that didn’t overtake the story or make it feel drawn out, but it still gave us vital insight into who these characters are.

Charm – I agree with you Kristal, I loved the flashbacks. Not only did they provide the background that we needed on both the story and the characters but they were actually really interesting, integral snapshots of a past time in this world. I felt like there was a careful balance struck, which is not always a sure thing, we got enough insight without feeling like we were wading through the past every second chapter. This story was definitely not weighed down by its layout at all, the moments I had during the book of realizing that the puzzle pieces were slotting into place were due to the perfectly timed interspacing of past and present… I have to say though, while I loved those flashbacks, I was absolutely enthralled with the current day. Like, could not put it down enthralled.

Amy-This is one of the stories that you have to pay attention to and I mean that in the best way possible. There is so much going on. You will not want to skip a single word. This was my first book by this author and I was blown away. She created such an interesting world and I couldn’t help but want to know more. I think we’re all in agreement with the flashbacks. Sometimes for me, it can go either way. I either love them or don’t. But in this story, it worked so well. The flashbacks really gave me great insight to how things were in the past and how the characters ended up being the way that they were.

Kristal – I agree – you definitely need to pay attention to this story! There are so many twists and turns. I loved this world! It was very different to any other paranormal/fantasy type book I have read and it’s so refreshing when authors put a new twist on the paranormal world. And while there were plenty of WTF moments for me I didn’t feel at all like the story was losing me. I think a lot of my love for this world can be credited to the female characters in this story. I freakin loved them all but my faves were Elle, Ananya (especially Ananya) and Amelia; such strong and sassy characters!

Charm – I do agree, the world building was ridiculously intriguing. There was nothing formulaic or ‘been here done that’ about this story, which seems to be unfortunately a common let-down in paranormal. Now, character wise. I was ALL kinds of obsessed with these circus folk. I have a lot to say about this, so lets start with the females… Amelia, Ananya and Elle were fantastic strong female characters. I was especially loving Amelia, she is just such a complexity when you look at what she is and who she is vs. where she came from and who she came from. She was hard and sweet and really at the end of the day, everything that she needed to be when she needed to be it. These characters can often be overlooked in favour for more outrageous types but I really feel like she held her own here…

Amy- This was such a unique paranormal story, with so many fascinating characters. You had everything from Succubus’ to fae creatures to vampires to demons. I loved the variety.  One of my favorite parts about this book had to be all the twists and turns. For sure, there was never a dull moment. Just when you thought you had things worked out, you were proved wrong. I love nothing better than to be reading a book that has me on the edge of my seat, guessing what’s going to happen. And,  I have to agree that the ladies in this story stole the show. They were such strong leading characters and that’s not something you see a lot of. As far as favorite male character goes, I’m still sticking with Jarrah. He’s got that whole good/bad thing working for him and I can’t wait for Book 2 to come out, so I can know what his real motives are 😉

Kristal – Aaaah the male characters. This is a tough one for me because I’m not particularly sure I like either of them right now. Jarrah is definitely buttering my buns a little more than Archer though. For some reason I’m having a lot of difficulty connecting with Archer. He’s coming across as a little weak and feeble to me (maybe it’s because he uses so many exclamation marks in his speech?).  But it’s still early days so I’m keeping an open mind! I have my theories on how this will play out so I’m looking forward to finding out if I’m on the money or not.

Charm – Yes! The menfolk! I have to agree with you Kristal. I’m much more Jarrah than Archer… I can’t decide if this is smart or foolish of me. Jarrah seems much stronger as a character. I definitely don’t always agree with what he does or his motives but he’s true to himself and has a certain presence on the page… Where as Archer, he seems a little wishy washy. I think I understand what the author was going for with his character, but either it’s just not clicking quite right and what should make me love him is actually turning me off him OR this is actually exactly how it should be played and we are going to turn around further down the track in this series and think ‘Aha! I get it now’ I am personally really hoping for the latter as I would love nothing more than to be in Archers corner… but time will tell.

Amy-  The guys….I kinda have a love/hate relationship with them.  Archer was  so hard for me to connect with. He is a demon, the barro, the leader. And yet, I don’t feel that he really had a backbone. A leader is supposed to be strong, dominate, and be able to take charge and I just didn’t get that from him. Jarrah was more what I expected the leader to be, but his motives are questionable. Were his actions really to save his people or was it more selfish reasons- to get what he always wanted. I know I’ve stated this before but, it’s a  very interesting dynamic and I can’t wait to see if the guys prove me wrong in the next book!

Kristal – I know that three of us have talked about this, and we usually over-look these types of things in our reviews because we know that writers work their ASSES off and the stories are their babies, but there were quite a few grammatical errors in this book. At times it pulled us out of the story because we were having to re-read sentences. It not enough to be off-putting AT ALL, it’s just something to be aware of. 

I’m going to wrap up my part of this review by saying that I thought this was a fresh and intriguing world and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment in this series. S. K. Munt FTW!

Charm –  Ok, time to wrap up. I LOVED this book. It was intriguing and scene stealing and  I was completely enthralled from the start. However, I am in agreement with Kristal, although perhaps for me it was mostly the enthusiastic use of exclamation marks that was a little iffy. It really is amazing how such a small thing can alter the tone of a characters thoughts or speech so much. 

At the end of the day though I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone who will listen to my rambling. This is my first foray into the work of S. K. Munt and it absolutely won’t be my last, I can’t wait to find out what is coming next for these weird and wonderful circus performers!

Amy- I want to say a big Thank You to Charm and Kristal! This was our first buddy read since I joined OUaBB and It was such an exciting one! This was my first book by S.K. Munt and I’m excited to read more from her. Yes, there were some grammar issues, but I was able to overlook them. This story was so captivating and took me into a paranormal world that I have never experienced before. I think we are all in agreement that we can’t wait for Book 2 to come out!

 

Sunday Loves – 27.04.2014

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In the name of all things WTF! I bring you this weeks Sunday Love… This has apparently been around for a while, so how have I not seen this ‘tribute’ to Sookie by Snoop Dogg before?! Who came up with such an idea? What would Sookie think of this? And Eric for that matter?!!! Seriously is EVERYONE in love with Sookie, even rappers? And whose plan were the dancing Merlottes waitresses?! Honestly this is just everything.

Behold….

I. Just. Can’t.

This made my night.

Book Review – Transcendence by Shay Savage

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What on earth did I just read?!?! This book was addictive madness. It took the whole ‘alpha male/ caveman’ thing to new levels. Even while I was reading this I was thinking WHAAAAT?? But I just COULD NOT put it down!

Ehd is a caveman who has been on his own for far too long. The environment he lives in is harsh and unforgiving, and the winters are long and hard. He is clever and resourceful, but is finding it difficult to summon the desire to keep going. When Elizabeth falls into one of his animal traps he decides that she is meant for him and goes about making a life for them together. Unfortunately Elizabeth is from another time and place and she has no idea how she found herself in this world. She wants no part of this. She is confused, upset, and just wants to go home. They come to rely on each other and embark on a journey the breaks down the barriers of language and time.

Edh is incredibly sweet. His nativity and uncertainty are endearing and his desire to take care of Elizabeth was adorable. Even when he didn’t fully understand her actions, he still worked hard to care for and protect her. I loved the way they, Edh and Beh (as he called her), grew together and found a way to make things work, even with the odds stacked against them.

“I will provide for her. I will protect her. I will give her anything she wants.”

There were a couple of things in this book that were a struggle for me. I found that the story was a little bit vanilla. Not much seemed to have happened when I think back on the story. Life was simple and while it was not easy, they didn’t seem to face any real dangers as I would have expected from this type of book. There’s a reason cavemen didn’t have a very long life expectancy (about 20 years). I also think the story would have benefited hugely from just a chapter or two told in Elizabeth’s POV. At times I really wasn’t sure what was going on with her.

In saying that, the simplicity of this story is also what made it beautiful. It’s the story of two innocents falling in love, and finding their way in a harsh world. I adored the final chapters of this book too! I loved that we got to see this story play out in it’s entirety. The ending was very “chicken or the egg” which was great! I definitely had an “aaagh!” moment when I’d finished.

Transcendence was unlike any book I have read before, and no doubt, unlike any book I will read in the future. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a beautiful, simple read. It will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside!

“Despite her oddities, she is without a doubt perfect in every way that matters to me. “

Transcendence

By Shay Savage