Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Review: Burning Both Ends (Book #3) by Ally Shields

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: September 16, 2013
Publisher: Etopia Press
Pages: 288
Synopsis:
"Friend or lover. Life or death..."

Supernatural cop Ari Calin arrives at the hostile Toronto vampire court with an ultimatum from the Riverdale vampires: Sebastian, Toronto's vampire prince, must stop his unprovoked attacks--or else. Ari wasn't expecting a fight--the "or else" was typical vampire grandstanding. But even with vampire Andreas De Luca by her side for a show of strength, things get ugly fast. Toronto's vampire world is in crisis, and surrounded by enemies, Ari and Andreas find themselves under attack.

That's when Ari gets the call from the Magic Council ordering her home. Steffan, a good friend and leader of Riverdale's werewolves, has gone missing during top secret negotiations with the US government, and is believed to have been kidnapped--or killed.

Andreas can't abandon the Toronto vampires, and Ari can't leave him to face impossible odds alone. But neither can she disobey her orders from the Council, or leave her friend Steffan to be tortured and killed. Ari's loyalties pull her in two directions--the closest thing to love she's ever known on one side, and friendship and duty on the other. If she can stay alive long enough for the choice to matter...
 


Buy Links:


About the Author:
Ally Shields was born and raised in the Midwest, along the Mississippi River, the setting for the Guardian Witch urban fantasy series. After  earlier careers as a teacher, lawyer and Juvenile Court Officer, she turned to full-time writing in 2009. She still lives near Des Moines with her Miniature Pinscher, Ranger. When not writing or reading, she loves traveling in the US and abroad. Way too often she can be found on Twitter.

Author Links

Review:
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 and the second book here.

I like the cover in this one I mean all the covers are done really well but this is the first one I can see an up close picture of this charm bracelet she is talking about in each book. I can not get enough of Andreas and Ari, even though they have their problems like any couple they still make it work. Even when everything looks bleak and not fixable they some how make it through. I loved how this one wrapped up and can't wait to see what they do with Bella's kittens. I can just see the kittens harassing the vampires and guards of the vampires.

Ari deals remarkably well with little to no sleep for like three days and all the added stress of everyone needing her. I know she bit off a couple of heads and only had one crying fit I think after three days off basically no sleep she did pretty well. I like how strong of a character she is becoming. Even her powers are growing and that scares her a little but she works on it and Andreas try's to distract her from time to time.

Gabriel is an interesting character and I hope we see more of him, I like how funny and care free he tries to be, which is needed I think because most vampires we have seen a lot of are to serious for their own good. 

I really enjoyed this series so far and hope to continue on and finish this one up really soon I need to know how everything plays out. It has cast it's spell on me and has me enthralled.  

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Excerpt:

Fangs flashed where her cheek had been an instant before. Ari whirled, crouching to meet the vampire’s return charge, and her fingers sparked, witch blood clamoring for action. Refusing its urgent call, she threw the magic powder as he wheeled and sped toward her in a blur. Green particles sparkled. A loud thump. The vampire recoiled from the invisible barrier and took two staggering steps. A direct hit. Before a smile more than touched her lips, the dark figure recovered and leaped. Ari backpedaled, but his weight drove her to the hard ground.

He grinned down at her, a lock of dark hair falling across his forehead. Trapping her arms above her head, he leaned close, his dark eyes glittering. He brushed her lips with his and whispered, “Better—but not yet good enough.” Andreas shifted his six-foot, muscled body, sprang up, and offered her a hand.

Ignoring the courtesy, Ari scrambled to her feet. Getting pinned by your boyfriend wasn’t always a good thing. “Back off, bloodsucker,” she grumbled. She shook out the fallen leaves and pine needles that clung to her long, honey-colored hair.

Andreas chuckled. A rich, warm sound. “Touchy tonight. Did I put your nose out of joint, little witch? And here I was, trying to help with your training.” Andreas glided across the forest clearing with the smooth grace of a natural predator. He collected their cell phones from under a park bench where they’d stashed them earlier in the evening and handed her one.


“Thanks.” Ari avoided his eyes. Damn right she was annoyed. She was competitive, and second place wasn’t good enough—even against a master level vampire. Especially one who wasn’t really trying to kill her.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Review: Fire Within (Book #2) by Ally Shields

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Etopia Press
Pages: 300
Synopsis:
A hidden evil stalks the city... 

Ari Calin refuses to believe her human friend Eddie murdered a vampire--in spite of his confession. Her human partner Ryan thinks the case is a slam dunk, even though there's no weapon and no witnesses, but Ari's not about to let her friend take the rap without finding out more. 

When Ari attends a charity event on the arm of a handsome werewolf, she finds someone she never expected to see again--Andreas De Luca, the charismatic vampire she used to date. When their eyes meet across the room, memories come rushing back. His kiss, his touch, a savage death...and a terrifying magical bond. A reconnection is the last thing she wants. Only by staying away and forgetting Andreas can she hope to avoid the Legend of Ramora. 

But when vampires keep dying, one thing becomes clear: Riverdale has a serial killer on its hands, and Andreas could be next. Ari begins to fear something truly evil is stalking the city, waiting to take control...


Buy Links:


About the Author:
Ally Shields was born and raised in the Midwest, along the Mississippi River, the setting for the Guardian Witch urban fantasy series. After  earlier careers as a teacher, lawyer and Juvenile Court Officer, she turned to full-time writing in 2009. She still lives near Des Moines with her Miniature Pinscher, Ranger. When not writing or reading, she loves traveling in the US and abroad. Way too often she can be found on Twitter.

Author Links

Review:
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.

I love how slow Ari and Andreas relationship is going, there is so much heat going on something will happen soon and it will be glorious! Plus it kept me reading and wanting more of both of them. In this one of course Sebastian is sending trouble their way again. They really need to deal with this bad guy or eventually he might get his way. Ari keeps getting in her own way in the relationship its kind of cute but also she needs to let somethings go. I am glad they are both trying and hope more is to come.

I also liked the difference in bad guys in this one we see a demon and what kind of havoc one can cause, though I think it would have caused more problems if not on Sebastian's leash, so a small win there. Ari really grows in this novel and pushes through a lot of barriers I am wondering if Andreas is going to be able to grow with her or if he is going to keep being his arrogant self. Ari is the one to be able to take him down a peg or two.

We see a lot more of Ryan in this one and them all working together to bring down the demon. He is still a worry for me because he has some hang ups on vampires so hopefully that won't interfere to much with the trio. Claris is also seen in this one more and is a very good and dear friend of Ari's I just hope that doesn't cause any problems for her though it probably will. Ari can't escape her work everywhere.

The story wrapped up nicely and left some questions unanswered for the next one to pick up. The flow also was paced very nicely this one didn't seem rushed at the ending. I do want to know more about this supposed legend though and what it means for Ari and Andreas.
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Excerpt:

The auditorium of the Arts Center was packed. The annual Charity Auction always drew a large crowd, not only of bidders but those who came to see and be seen. It was one of the biggest community events of the year. For an exorbitant entrance price, each person earned the right to free appetizers and wine and the opportunity to bid on a lot of things he didn’t need. Ari ran a cynical eye over the merchandise. And, in her case, many items she couldn’t afford. Like the perfectly ordinary-looking granny vase with a starting bid of $3,000. Of course, she could just ogle at all the rich and famous of Riverdale. It was expected. Looking around at the crowd, Ari estimated there were more oglers than bidders, but the auction always met its goal.

The two couples dutifully filed past the tables and viewed the choices in the silent auction. Brando kept up a running commentary on the city officials and wealthy patrons he recognized. Steffan placed a bid on a case of wine but was immediately out-bid by the couple behind them in line. He grinned at Ari, shrugged, and they moved on.

Ari paused when she spied a champagne dinner for two from Club Dintero. She wouldn’t be bidding on that. Claris’s attempt to hurry them past, to skip that particular auction item, brought a frown to Ari’s face. Like she wouldn’t notice. Apparently, Claris wasn’t convinced the past was in the past.

Ari’s frown deepened. She knew she had been a little touchy on the subject of Andreas and his club. Unbidden, a series of scenes flashed through her head: strong arms holding a grief-stricken young witch; a dark figure singing on stage, the crowd captivated; the same sexy figure sipping Chianti; a forbidden kiss. Ari determinedly brushed aside such highly selective memories. Those were only the good things—and there were some not so good. She flashed a reassuring smile at Claris and turned her attention to the next item, a spa package.

As if Ari’s traitorous thoughts had conjured it, a surge of Otherworld power touched her. Vampire. And not just any vampire. Sensation raced across her skin, her witch magic singing in recognition as the air shimmered with his dark, slightly wicked energy. She whipped her head around, focused on the front entry, and there he was.

Andreas’s dark eyes captured hers from across the room. Her breath caught, and like always, that compelling swirl of power wrapped itself around her, beguiling, irresistible. She barely registered the presence of the other vampires with him. Seconds, perhaps hours or years, passed with her caught in his gaze. As suddenly as it came, the magic withdrew, leaving a void. Andreas turned away and said something to the woman at his side. His companion laid a possessive hand on his arm.


Shaken, Ari took a shallow breath. After eight months she’d thought her reaction to him would be diminished. She’d be the last one to deny Andreas De Luca was heartbreakingly attractive, despite being one of the undead. That still didn’t explain his almost paralyzing effect on her.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Review: Awakening the Fire (Book #1) by Ally Shields

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: September 14, 2012
Publisher: Etopia Press
Pages: 290
Synopsis:
Arianna Calin has sworn to keep the peace in Riverdale. Most of the Otherworlders prefer to haunt the Olde Town district--partying at vampire strip clubs, dining in elegant supper clubs, and inhabiting the cliffside caverns along the Mississippi. Being a cop is a tough job, but someone's gotta do it, and Ari's got her derringer, a sharp stiletto, and a few handy charms against things that hunt in the night. She's also a fire witch--a pedigree that comes in handy, since her partner's only human.

When a virtual reality drug hits the streets, people start to die, and an elusive pack of werewolves threatens the status quo. Ari and Ryan are drawn into a web of murder and evil that will lead sworn enemies to a confrontation. While the city simmers around them, Ari struggles to prevent an all-out supernatural war...


Buy Links:


About the Author:
Ally Shields was born and raised in the Midwest, along the Mississippi River, the setting for the Guardian Witch urban fantasy series. After  earlier careers as a teacher, lawyer and Juvenile Court Officer, she turned to full-time writing in 2009. She still lives near Des Moines with her Miniature Pinscher, Ranger. When not writing or reading, she loves traveling in the US and abroad. Way too often she can be found on Twitter.

Author Links

Review:
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 could not put this book down, which is nice because lately that's all I seem to be doing with some books. Ari is a witch and not just any old witch a witch that is supposed to protect her section of the city and keep things civil between otherworlders and humans or at least try to. Of course nothing is going to be easy when predators and prey come together so she keeps busy, and how she gets any sleep I will never know. If I was her in this first book I would have fallen over multiple times from being so tired, maybe witches have extra energy, or she is drinking lots more coffee then she mentions.

Ari I like so far she isn't stupid and she thinks things through. She doesn't let anyone tell her what to do if she doesn't want to do it and also doesn't let anyone push her around. The only thing I think this story was lacking was the strong side characters, I would like to know more about some of the side characters like her best friend Claris we see a little bit of her but not enough to really get me invested I hope there will be more about her friends and family in future books.

I also liked Andreas a lot! Which is saying something because in many of the vampire urban fantasies I read I am starting not to like vampires very much, they're all so political now. Andreas though is charming and he hooked me, of course I was like Ari at first and cautious of him but he grew on me very fast. Of course there is vampire politics in this one as well but he doesn't let it interfere to much where it bothered me. Andreas and Ari both have great character development now we just need to see that in some side characters as well.

The pace of the story was done really good the only things is that the ending felt a little fast paced after everything moving kind of at a normal pace. But it was exciting and thrilling, especially that ending, I couldn't wait to get to the second book. I will also be doing a review of book 2 and 3 so please stay tuned to what I think of the next ones. Overall I think it is a nice start to a great series.
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Excerpt:

The vampire’s coal-black eyes found her and silken threads of magic wrapped her in a soft web. The room faded away. She floated as in a dream, warm and safe. A place to linger forever. Her witch magic began to sing in concert with his, and Ari called it back to her. The effort brought her out of his web with a jolt.
Damn, how strong was he? She wrapped her magical aura around her. As long as she kept it in place, his magic was held at bay. Then, mercifully, the song was over. Andreas bowed to a wildly applauding audience and left the stage.
“Good evening.” Startled, she stared at him.
“Uh, hello.” How did he move so fast? He produced a polite smile.
“If you will come this way.” He waved a hand toward a hallway on the left.
Ari hesitated. A meeting in private? She hadn’t anticipated that.
His brows rose. “We have twenty minutes.”
Swallowing her doubts, Ari preceded him down the hall. It was better this way, she told herself. Fewer interruptions. At least she knew her time parameters. He ushered her past four closed doors, not stopping until they reached an exit door at the end. He touched a security panel, the door opened, and they stepped into a paved lane leading to the rear parking lot. Dense trees lined the opposite side of the lane. Total privacy.
The night was pleasantly cool. The crisp cleanness of fall filled the air. Ari hung back and watched her companion as he stopped in the middle of the lane. Andreas arched his shoulders and threw back his head, breathing deeply. For a moment all Ari could think about was how sexy he looked.
“I hope you don’t mind talking out here. It has been a long evening, and I needed the fresh air.”
“Not at all. It’s nice.” She looked up at the stars, pinpoints in an uncluttered sky, to keep from looking at him. “What was that last song you sang?”
“An Italian love song. Did you enjoy it?”
“Amazing.”
He turned to look at her. “It was, or I was?” His voice invited a broader interpretation.
She smiled. “Both,” she said, not bothering to hedge. “But who’s fishing for compliments now?”
“TouchĂ©.” His familiar laugh came then, rich and intimate, strangely companionable.