Book Review, Fae, Paranormal Romance, Vampires

Victorian Mistress by Jesse Stuart

My Rating: 5/5 Stars (Can I give it 10 stars?!)

Summary via Jesse Studio: “Charlotte Maguire gets you right in the heart. Literally. 

Charlotte ‘Lot’ Maguire is a thief on the streets of Victorian London until she meets Brandon O’Connor and spies a route to an easier, well paid, life. Except Lot isn’t made for the life of a Victorian lady and can’t resist the lure of trouble. With corrupt businessmen in the drawing rooms, vampires in the gentlemen’s clubs and her old associates in the alleys she doesn’t have to look far to find it.”

My Review: Full of clever metaphors, unique vampire romance and a badass female protagonist, you won’t want to miss out on this fast paced freebie! 

Lot is one of my new favorite female characters. She’s independent and strong, but still opens up little-by-little to the idea of love. She’s everything you wish you were and everything you beg for from a female character. 

Victorian Mistress is brilliant and beautifully written. Edited by the author, there are little-to-no errors and mistakes throughout, which is impressive. The story isn’t bogged down with unnecessary narrative or dialogue. It all flows well together, moving the plot and building the palpable world Stuart created. Each character has a unique voice. The tension throughout the dialogue and narrative pulls and pushes you from scene to scene with little room to breath. It’s fantastic! You won’t want to put it down until you’ve consumed the ending. 

You can read this book for free at Victorian Mistress on Wattpad, or on the author’s blog, Jesse Studio. Follow Jesse Stuart on Twitter @sisterquill

Book Review, Magic, Paranormal Romance

The Siren by Kiera Cass

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Short Summary via Amazon: Kahlen is a Siren, bound to serve the Ocean by luring humans to watery graves with her voice, which is deadly to any human who hears it. Akinli is human—a kind, handsome boy who’s everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. Falling in love puts them both in danger . . . but Kahlen can’t bear to stay away. Will she risk everything to follow her heart?

My Review: I was sucked into this spellbinding story from the first page, but expected so much more from this story than I got. 

Captured by the plot of this story, I fell in love with the sisterhood the sirens share, and Kahlen, the protagonist, as well as the Ocean herself. I don’t care much for the side character, Akinli, as a character on his own, but appreciate the conflict he creates for the main character. 

I definitely wanted more from the shipwrecked scenes. More detail, horror, sensory. Sensory details that would have made me sympathize with Kahlen and the other sirens, or side with the Ocean. I wanted to feel her emotions more–not just the teenage romance, but her love and hate of the Ocean herself.  

This book has a lot of potential, but there were so many questions I had left about the sirens and ocean history. Instead of the mopy romance, I wanted more from the fantasy, magical side of the story. 

That being said, it was a sweet, fast paced read. Definitely got me in a magical mermaid mood while I was lounging at the beach. My copy of this book is full of salt water and sand. 

Book Review, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Kiss Me Kill You by Larissa C. Hardesty

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary via Amazon: “Emmy Duivel believes in true love: heart-stopping kisses, candlelight dinners, and a connection that lasts forever. But not the kind of kisses that land your date in the hospital. Emmy always knew she was different, but not in the supernatural sense. Not in the succubus sense.

Paul Andinn had only one job: watch over Emmy and make sure she doesn’t expose the supernatural world. It should have been easy, but the moment he looked away, she kissed that boy, and everything changed. He should be more upset. But he can’t. Not when he’s falling hard for her.”

My Review: This is definitely for a younger audience, and there were moments I wanted it to be more mature–especially since there are club/dance scenes, lots of physical contact, and the occasional mention of sex. I would have loved for this to be geared toward a more mature YA audience, and those moments to be expanded upon. 

I enjoyed the tension between Paul and Emmy the most. It’s great they work with each other, in a sense, but are also pitted against each other. I would have loved to see one more dangerous scene between these two before the climax. 

This book lacked more discovery, narrative and dialogue on The Powers. There’s mention of “religion”–what Emmy’s mom and Lily call it, but I was left with questions about The Powers. Even with Paul’s POV, there were times it wasn’t enough backstory. 

Speaking of Paul, I don’t think his POV did much to move the story along. It was interesting to see his view of things, but it didn’t really reveal anything to me that couldn’t have been shown or discovered by Emmy herself. I almost wish this story was purely Emmy’s. 

What I really liked was Lily’s plot twist. And without giving away spoilers, I can’t explain why. But this was great. If Paul didn’t have his own POV, his character would have worked in a good plot twist too. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book. As much as I love the cover, though, I thought this might be about Vampires, not a succubus, before I read the summary. I look forward to seeing the difference in this book vs. the second-to-come, to find out more about The Powers and how Emmy will save her friends and family. 

I won this paperback and kindle version in a free giveaway. 

ARC, Beta Read, Book Review, Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal Romance

Water Spell by Lizzy Ford

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My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

ARC: Kindle Unlimited Version

My Short Summary: 

Sela, a powerful water mage, wants to be free. Free of the overwhelming pull of her magic, demanding she submit to the depths of an ancient ocean. Free of her savage protector, Tieran, who she’s bonded to. And, free of the kingdoms and those who would abuse her powers. If she is to survive, to be free, she and Tieran must learn to trust each other, or risk drowning in her magic and the rage of war.

My Review:

Lizzy Ford’s excitement over this book is palpable, and now I know why. Water Spell is an exciting fantasy adventure full of well-rounded characters. I didn’t want this book to end, and I was giddy to read the titles of the next books to come in this series. You’re going to want to add the beautiful hard-copy to your fantasy collection. Lizzy Ford is one of my favorite authors, and her characters are so memorable

I wasn’t sure I’d like Sela or Tieran, but I anticipated a deeper connection between them from the start. Their external display of tension masks their individual internal desires. Both have a clear goal, which becomes harder to reach as magic bonds them together. By the end, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering if their relationship would come together or break apart.
Sela’s need for freedom, to reach the water, made me thirsty. I ached to be in her world, reaching for the seas, the wells, the streams, etc. It made me want to go to the beach! I want to be her, controlling water with magic. This part of the book reminded me so much of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and I loved it.
 
For Lizzy ♥ 
My only critique of this book is on the first chapter. As much as Sela’s previous mage-warrior influences her, I wasn’t captivated by his pov as much as hers. For me, the story didn’t start until Tieran took his oath and Karav left. I liked the tension caused when Tieran finds out his new ward is a woman. But, I didn’t feel Karav’s thoughts and worries over Sela aided me in feeling the bond between mage and warrior.
There is a lot of redundant thoughts from Karav on the Inlanders being barbarians. These descriptions and examples through his pov didn’t help develop Tieran. Tieran’s reactions and behavior toward Sela is enough, as well as her reaction to the people in his land. Experiencing this through Sela is more gripping without Karav’s scene set-up.
The world-building and back-story was overwhelming in chapter one, almost info-dumped. This flows well enough throughout the rest of the book through Sela’s pov, though, and I loved the map!
Thanks for letting me review the ARC of Water Spell! I enjoy reading, reviewing and promoting all of your books.
Book Review, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance

Chasing Sam by Krystal Shannan

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My Rating: 3/5 stars

Vegas Mates Book #1
Kindle version

Short Summary: Samantha Demakis is a wolf, dead set against the expectations of her family to find a mate until she meets Chase, a solider in the army, resolved never to finding a mate himself. Unprepared for the politics and snobbery of Sam’s family, Chase finds himself fighting in a different type of war —a war for the heart of the woman he knows should be his.

My Review:

I don’t remember where I pick up this book, but I got hooked on the pacing and the author’s writing style. That being said, it ended abruptly, leaving you with questions that needed to be resolved.

Sam wants to be in control of her life and finish school. She has ambitions, but her family has other plans for her. The twist in this book is that she’s a wolf, who is forced to find a mate. She has a clear goal, but the train ride to it is so short.

Her internal struggle with herself and her inner wolf is also too short. She meets Chase and has a connection so suddenly. Her mindset changes based on this one interaction at the airport. At first, I thought she already knew Chase, but at the same time she acts like she’s never met him. I guess she knew of his family, but had never met him? This was a little confusing. It might have been more believable if she had run away to school to get away from this connection when she was younger. That way, when she returns, she’s almost dreading running into him. This build up of tension from a past relationship might make the moment where Sam asks him to join the hunt less awkward.

When I started reading this book, I had a picture of Romeo and Juliet in my mind, though I wasn’t expecting a tragic ending. Even in Romeo and Juliet, you see the conclusion after their deaths. There is a final wrap up of the conflict between the families. This is what the book lacks; a glimpse of more tension building or diffusing between the families. This tension clearly spills over into book 2, from what I’ve read so far. So, book one needs to have that transition set at the end, allowing it to flow over the edge of that cliffhanger, instead of just cutting the reader off mid-way to their final destination. The way it is now doesn’t leave you satisfied or wanting more; it just ends.

Overall, the writing style and pacing was great. The interactions and dialogue between characters were realistic. There’s a lot of showing instead of telling, which kept me hooked. The hunt itself was entertaining with quick pacing. Loved the bear. I also liked the quick glimpse at Sam’s mother’s character, which is a great set up for book two. I just wish there had been even more conflict and tension, things going wrong for the main character, before and after the hunt. I would have loved to see more interaction between the families, especially at the end. There are so many questions that need to be resolved here before moving on to the intro of book 2.

Needs developmental/content edit.