Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: Cross Keys: Revelation (Book #2) by Ally Shields

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Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Published:  August 7, 2015
Publisher: Etopia Press
Pages: 267
Source: Red Moon Book Tours
If everyone keeps secrets, no one will survive…

Six months after the nightmare in Cross Keys, Kam Ryndel is enjoying her freedom in New Orleans and doesn’t miss the constraints of Elven society. She’s immersed herself in working missions for the CIA, even if it means less time to spend with her boyfriend, Seth. Seth’s not so happy about that. Having shouldered the responsibility of his family’s obligations, he’s losing patience with Kam’s lack of commitment to her own—and to him. 

Then a guild worker is attacked by an invisible assailant, and everyone suspects another portal breach by rogues from Elvenrude. As Kam and Seth look for answers, a gang-related CIA mission interrupts the investigation, and Kam is taken to a place she never knew existed—beyond the Louisiana bayou.

Angered by Kam’s new mission, Seth enlists the help of his cousin Rhyden to solve the mysterious guild-worker attack. Instead of an assailant, they discover reports of ghost sightings all over town. Not that unusual for New Orleans, but these seem…different. In a mission complicated by gangsters, feuds, failing magic, and old enemies—and the uncertain loyalty of the Elven king—Seth learns something even worse. Kam is missing. And he isn’t sure if she’s alive or dead…

About the Author:

Ally Shields grew up in the Midwest, taught school on the East Coast, has visited forty-two of our states, and currently resides near Des Moines, Iowa, with her miniature pinscher, Ranger. Writing has always been a part of her life, and in late 2008, after  a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time fiction writing. Her first urban fantasy novel, Awakening the Fire, was published in 2012, followed by six additional books in the series. She loves to travel in the US and abroad and incorporates many of those settings into her books. Ally enjoys talking with readers and is active in social media.

Author Links

My Rating:
I received this book from Red Moon Book Tours for the book tour, all reviews and opinions are my own.  If you would like to check out the rest of the blog tour click here for the official schedule.

I also have a review of the first book here.

You know what is better than elves in a novel? That is right you guessed it more elves! Like in the first book Kam is having a problem settling down and being tied to her family business. She does take responsibility when she has to and she does like working for her families business most of the time but she is like a free bird and doesn't like to be still to much. In this second installment there is a lot of non-stop action, no sleep for those weary travelers here.

You see a lot of the characters that were in the first book make a come back in this one. Ryden and Esty help Kam and Seth out and you get a sense that there is more between Reyden and Esty then even Ryden lets on. I wonder if Esty is going to have to reel him in nice and slowly so as not to scare him or if she will be a bit more pushy. Esty is having a lot of character growth I believe she is a lot more open and talkative about what she wants to do and won't let her big sister push her around anymore.

Crain the CIA agent seems to be getting to pushy for my liking. He knows he has a secret on these two and can use it against them at a moments notice though Crain does seem to understand that he is being pushy most of the time I can see this being a problem later on down the road. I hope he doesn't push them into a corner that they have to either fight to get out and cause damage or do something where they have to cease coming to the earth plane.

All the things I liked in the first book, made it to the second one as well. I loved how everything had a time to slowly build whether the action or the love interests it was done very well. I also liked that nothing came easy to the main characters but they fought to get a handle on things even when everything was stacked against them. I am highly anticipating the third installment because this one left on some what of a cliff hanger. You will have to read the book to find out what I am talking about and then let me know what you think.

What would you do if you found out there were these beings with a whole different world? Would you want to know more about them and where the come from, or would you think it to dangerous to take a chance? 



Swamp water lapped against the small watercraft, rocking it gently. Kam shifted on the hard seat of the airboat’s cramped quarters, pushed a strand of dark hair away from her face, and studied the forty-something man across from her.

Noah Crain, senior agent, CIA. Sweat beaded on his forehead from the unrelenting humidity of the late July night. He wiped it away and squinted at the bundle of American one-hundred-dollar bills in his hand. The single dim lantern barely lit the enclosed cockpit—a rarity on swamp boats—but Crain was a covert operative. He didn’t like doing business in the open.

He flipped through the bills and looked up at her. “Counterfeit. As I expected. They flood our country with drugs to support their terrorist activities and then add to the insult by paying their pipeline with funny money.” With a soft plunk, he dropped the currency next to two identical packets on the extra seat beside him. “Thanks for bringing this. We’ll take it from here. Another great job, Kam. There’ll be the usual deposit to your account.”

She shrugged. The money was immaterial. Born into the wealthy Ryndel family in Elvenrude, she’d never lacked for anything. The CIA missions were merely small challenges for an Elite dark elf, amusing adventures. “I need to go. I’m late.”

“About that…” Crain frowned at her. “Rescuing the girl wasn’t part of your assignment. You could have been caught.”

“But I wasn’t. I either do these missions my way or not at all.” How could he expect her to leave a fourteen-year-old girl in the hands of the Mexican drug lords? Yes, she’d had to deactivate the invisibility magic and reveal her presence in order to lead the girl out of that stinking hole. But it had been worth it. Kam relaxed her shoulders and took the edge off her tone. “I’ll be more careful in the future.”

He sighed and shook his head. “I wish I could believe that.”

Two minutes later, Kam leaped off the boat and sped across the swamplands of southern Louisiana, headed for New Orleans. She was glad to be going home and drew in a deep breath of the moist, earthy air. Her feet skimmed the ground as she watched for alligators or vipers or unstable ground. Even at her magically enhanced speed, a misstep into a watery hole or on the wrong head or tail could lead to disaster.

Kam swung her head toward a dim flash of light, a blurry movement on her left. Alligator hunters? She wound her fingers around the invisibility amulet dangling from her neck and invoked the magic, then paused on a patch of solid ground. Now that she couldn’t be seen, she took her time peering around. Alert for any furtive movements out of sync with normal swamp activity, she had almost given up when something whipped past a few feet away, leaving only the faintest ripple in the marshy grasses.

A chill crept across her neck. A whiff of magical energy. A ghost? A vampire? She’d heard stories of all kinds of strange sightings in and around New Orleans but never seen anything supernatural except her own people. She waited. A minute crawled by. And another. When nothing else occurred, she continued toward the city.

Every sense was on edge, but she reached the outskirts without a repetition of the puzzling magical trace. As the density of buildings increased, Kam used the ancient magic in her silver wristband to leap onto the rooftops and run across the cityscape.

Review: Dark Heart of Magic (Book #2) by Jennifer Estep

Genre:  Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Magic, Supernatural
Published: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: 368
Source: NetGalley and The Fantastic Flying Book Club
Something Wicked This Way Comes...

As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight—or the danger.

Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win—no matter who they hurt.

As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...

Black Blade Series:

Book Links:

About the Author:
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. 

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin adult urban fantasy series for Pocket Books in the series are Spider's Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, Tangled Threads, Spider's Revenge, By a Thread, and Widow's Web. Thread of Deat, an e-novella, is also available.

Haints and Hobwebs: An Elemental Assassin short story can be found in The Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance.

Deadly Sting, the eighth book, is set to be released on March 26, 2013.

Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington.

Books in the series are Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost, and Dark Frost. Crimson Frost, the fourth book, is set to be released on Dec. 24, 2012

First Frost, a prequel e-story to the series, is available as a download. Halloween Frost, an e-short story, is available in the Entangled e-anthology.

Jennifer is also the author of the Bigtime paranormal romance series. Books in the superhero-themed series are Karma Girl, Hot Mama, Jinx, and Nightingale. A karma Girl Christmas, an e-story, is also available.

Excerpts, free short stories, and more information on Jennifer's books can be found at

Author Links:

My Rating:
I received this book from The Fantastic Flying Book Club for the book tour, all reviews and opinions are my own.  If you would like to check out the rest of the blog tour click here for the official schedule.

I also have a review of the first book here.

This novel picks up right where the first one left off except a few weeks may have passed by. This time there is a friendly competition between the houses that takes a turn for the worse right off the back. I liked this part because we get to see how the different magics are used to help the user in a fight to win. The only bad thing I thought again is like in the first book there was the lochness monster in this one there is only one real monster that is seen through out. A land filled with monsters one would expect to see more than just the one.

I love how Devon and Deah are slowly coming together, one hears that over and over again when reading about instant love, that does not happen in this series. They still work really well together even though Deah tries to keep Devon at arms length. If they work well now how well will they work if or when they get together?

Lila is another story we get to know here a bit more about in this second installment but I am happy with where it is going and hope it may solve the little problem with Felix. Katia is a new character thrown in to the tournament and we learn about her as well since she and Felix used to have a thing. It was funny seeing Lila deal with the jealousy that she clearly didn't want to/ couldn't feel because of their complicated feelings/ relationship.

I am highly anticipating the third and final book of the Trilogy. Will Victor finally get what he deserves? Will Deah get caught with all her sneaking around? Will we hear about more monsters in this next installment or maybe figure out why Deah is so good with the monsters?

Some of my favorite quotes I picked below because they were just to funny to pass up. The one that is just basically description I had to put in as well because it mentions the Pork Pit from the Gin Blanco series and I am loving that series as well.

Favorite Quotes:

"I am not a monster whisperer." He rolled his eyes. "Did you or did you not feed three guys to a lochness a few weeks ago?"

"So you'll do your best in the tournament, and Felix will do his best to juggle two girls at once," Devon snarked. 

I laughed and we got in line in front of the stand that Reginald and the Sinclair pixies were manning, with Oscar fluttering over to help them out. Tonight's menu was barbecue, which meant meat and lots of it. Pulled pork, pulled beef, smoked brisket, and lots of grilled sausages slathered with this spicy barbecue sauce Reginald told me he'd gotten from a restaurant called the Pork Pit. 

"Please," I scoffed. "You couldn't beat me on your best day. And trust me. Today isn't that day."

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Review: The Storm (Book #2) by Virginia Bergin

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
Published: October 1, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 336

Source: NetGalley / Bought

Ninety-seven percent of the population is dead. And the killer rain keeps falling. Ruby's not sure she can make it on her own much longer. So when a chance encounter leads her to a camp with the last boy she may ever kiss (it's not easy to date during an apocalypse), Ruby gratefully accepts the army's protection.
But safety comes with a price: If Ruby wants to stay, she must keep her eyes-and her mouth-shut.

Except Ruby stumbles across a secret she can't possibly keep. Horrified, she flips out and fights back-only to make the most shocking discovery of all...

Praise for H2O:
"Creepy and realistic. H2O left me thirsting for more." -Kristen Simmons, author of Article 5 and Breaking Point

"Ruby's candid, addicting narration brought this terrifying and wholly plausible story to life. This is a book you'll devour all at once-from the safety of your umbrella!" -Jessica Khoury, author of Origin and Vitro

Sourcebooks Links:

About the author:
Virginia Bergin works as a writer for TV, eLearning, and corporate projects. Most recently, she has been working in online education, creating interactive courses for The Open University. She lives in Bristol, England.
Author Links:
My Rating:

I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review, all reviews and opinions are my own.

I liked Ruby a lot more in this one than I did in the first book. She seems to have grown up some and tries to act like an adult to the Princess when other adults are acting out and just minding their own business not worried about the children or what they do. Don't get me wrong Ruby still goes on rants and acts like a kid and even goes crazy a couple of times but she always pulls it together when it matters the most.

Apocalypses will make you find out what sort of person you are real quick, and I think Ruby finds that out by the end of this book. Some for the better others for the worse, and finds out sometimes adults aren't always in the right. She is on that precipice from kid to adult through out her travels and even though she may make some mistakes she owns up to them and tries to do better in the future.

This is the second and final book in the duology and I think it wraps up pretty nicely. I liked how through the whole book she makes it seem as if this will be turned into a movie or hopefully will be. I think this would be a good book to make into a movie. I can just see it now when she writes how she wants it done it shows that then cuts to the reality that is her. Many of the characters you read about in the first book will make an appearance in this one as well, which I liked because then you could see how these people are doing the longer they are left to their own devices.

I can't wait to see what else this author has in store for us.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

How I complete DNF books

Most people make blog posts about why they did not finish a certain book. Or at least the reasons that brought upon the unfinished books. I strive to read each and every book even if I dislike it. I feel accomplished then to defeat something that otherwise would have bothered me if I didn't finish it. I mean what if it got good the last part of the book that some what saved the rest of the book, and then forever I will always question how the book ended if I never finished it. There are only two books so far that I own/ have read that I have not followed through on this and to this day it still bothers me that I have not read those books all the way through. The two books are Violin by Anne Rice and False Memory by Dean Koontz. False Memory I have tried reading two or three times and each time I get about 100 pages in and get distracted by something else. Violin was just to bleh for me its basically about living with a dead body and Anne Rice's writing style is very poetic that it seems to put me to sleep which almost never happens or at least with that book I haven't read anything else by her.

But back when I read those two books I didn't do what I do now. So you want to know my powerful secret, well unfortunately it isn't much of one. For one I usually read other books with these boring books so that I don't make myself get into a reading slump, which I don't really get, but that's another discussion all together. I also try to read 25 pages a day of the book at least if I'm really dragging on the book. This helps complete it in a timely  manner rather than having it sit on my reading list forever until I finally decide to pick the book back up again someday.

Now series I will sit down and not finish if I didn't really like the first book unless if I already have the whole series or most of the series then its a bit harder to put down. I will also pick it back up if I have a buddy that will read it with me or to push me to read the next one and give it another chance, but I most likely will then borrow the rest of the books from the library and not go out and buy them. Again this is just my opinion and how I go about reading.

Does it bother you to not finish a book or a series? When is the point you will read to when you know for sure you will DNF a book?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Review: The Tournament at Gorlan (Book #1) by John Flanagan

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Philomel Books
Pages: 384

Source: First to Read
When Halt and Crowley discover that the ambitious Morgarath has been infiltrating the Rangers in order to corrupt the Corps, the young Rangers travel north to find Prince Duncan, seeking a royal warrant to stop Morgarath before it is too late. By weakening the Rangers, the most powerful force in support of the King, Morgarath plans to steal the throne.

Yet when Halt and Crowley arrive in Gorlan, they discover just how close Morgarath’s scheme is to success. Morgarath has a plan to discredit the Prince and alienate him from his father. At the same time, the Baron of Gorlan has been conspiring to win the trust and admiration of the Council of Barons to further his plan. If the young Rangers are to prevent the coup from succeeding, they will have to tread a dangerous path, which leads them to a thrilling climax at the annual tournament at Gorlan, where a series of bitter duels must be fought and won.

This origin story brings readers to a time before Will was an apprentice, and lays the groundwork for the epic battles that will culminate with The Ruins of Gorlan and The Burning Bridge—Books 1 and 2 of the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

My Rating:
I received this book from the First to Reads program for an honest review, all reviews and opinions are my own.

Warning, I will state that I have not read the Ranger's Apprentice series. I know that even though this is considered the first book in a series it does spin off of the Ranger's Apprentice. I have always wanted to pick up that series just haven't so far and when I saw this one coming out I thought I would try to it just to make sure I like the author's writing style or what not.

Now I did read a couple of reviews about how this book was about Halt and Crowley which  many people loved in the Ranger's Apprentice series and I found out even without knowing these characters from the previous series I found I grew fond of their witty banter as well. The book wasn't all that confusing I mean yea I guess I don't really know who Morgarath is but I got a pretty good idea by the end of the book. This is supposed to be kind of a prequel to the Ranger's Apprentice so it wasn't all that confusing for reading wise. I am excited to start the that series though now because of this book.

I think my favorite part in the book is when Halt gets a new horse named Abelard.This scene was hilarious because Ranger's horses can't be stolen but Halt doesn't ask the important questions when coming to try to ride Abelard. I knew when the horse master said that the horses can't be stolen that Halt should take a step back but he didn't. Then he was part of a bucking bronco ride.

I liked the story line and the characters but the only thing I didn't really appreciate was that it was a total sausage fest. There was one lady that was sort of on the outskirts towards the end of the book that liked Halt and helped them, but other than that no women were really mentioned. I dunno if this is how all the books by this author are going to be like but I can if it is I can see that as being a reason for me not continuing the series right away.

Other than that I like the style of writing and hope to read about Crowley and Halt in the other books and do wish to continue and even start the Ranger's Apprentice series, I am glad I picked up this book to see if I should give it a try.