Review: The Dream Crafter by Danielle Monsch

14 Dec

Dream Crafter D Monsch 2

A Legendary Spellbook. Everyone desires it, but he controls it.

The most feared mercenary in the New Realms, Merc takes what he thinks is a routine job – guarding a magic spellbook until a secret auction takes place, one where only the most powerful and influential will have the opportunity to bid. But one moment of carelessness makes this job the most personal he has ever had, and if that wasn’t enough, his dreams are being invaded by a woman who his every instinct warns is trouble, but he can’t stop wanting.

A Legendary Power. Everyone covets it, but can she master it?

One moment of terror took away Amana’s security and her brother’s freedom. Now her life is doing whatever she must to survive, all the while trying to find the way to release her brother from prison. Her answer comes in an offer from the Guild, but the cost is high – using a power she has kept locked away on a man who terrifies her even as he fascinates her.

As the auction draws ever closer, Merc and Amana are drawn into a game of cat-and-mouse, captor and captive as they battle for control, even as they work together to thwart the various factions who are willing to do anything to collect the spellbook for themselves. While grudging respect and mutual desire begin to shape their relationship, in the end, only one can prevail. What will be the ultimate decision, when the price of victory means the end to the other’s dearest dream?

This is an Urban Fantasy series set in a world where a “Great Cataclysm” happened and all of a sudden our boring, mundane world collided with another realm and we are now inundated with gargoyles and elves and vampires and all sorts of creatures of legend. What I particularly like about this series is that the stories are about more than the usual shifters and vampires. The first book was about a gargoyle and this one about a dream walker/crafter- not your run of the mill paranormal hero and heroine.

I was a fan of the first book in this series so was very excited to be given an ARC of this book to review. First off I do think that you have to read the first book, Stone Guardian, in order to understand a lot of references in this one. Being a fan of the author and reading all her books I was able to pick up on the history and terminology but a first time reader may struggle with it a little bit.

I stayed up late reading this book which is one of the best compliments I can give as my sleep is very precious to me! There were plenty of action scenes and plot points that kept the story moving along. I enjoyed the fact that the story included scenes and chapters about secondary characters as the overarching plot lines are moved along- I think this is also unfortunately what makes this a not great starting point for the series (NB: I just checked and the first book for $4.35 in the Amazon Kindle Store, totally worth the one-click).

The plot in this story is moved along by a spellbook that everyone wants. The hero, Merc, is the mercenary hired to obtain this book. Unfortunately, Amana steals it from him so he is seriously angry with her for a few chapters of the book. In spite of all the anger, he never crossed over into serious asshole territory which I appreciated. Merc was portrayed like a bit of a batman on steroids- dark and mysterious with superhero powers. Amana has a tragic backstory which is why she gets caught up with stealing the spellbook.

One of the things that I especially liked about their romance is that there was an element of fate and being drawn to each other but it was handled well and their relationship developed without any unbelievable instant-love. I do feel this was a happily together for now but definitely moving into happily ever after as the whole book takes place over a very short period of time. It was a very low-key romance for me and I have to admit that having read this books a few weeks ago now the secondary characters stand out more in my head than Merc and Amana.

I didn’t love this book as much as I loved the first one but thoroughly enjoyed it anyway. I will definitely be auto-buying future books from this author.  B

 

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RFG Recommends: Wicked Ride by Rebecca Zanetti

7 Jul

Wicked Ride R Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti is one of those authors whose books I buy without even reading the summary at the back of the book (or the summary in the middle of the Amazon page as the case may be). She has 4 series out at the moment: The Dark Protectors Series, The Sin Brothers Series and the Maverick Montana Series. Wicked Ride is the first book in her 4th series, the Realm Enforcers Series which is a spin off from her Dark Protector novels. Although some individual books are better than others, I would wholeheartedly recommend any of her books to anyone looking for suspenseful and/or paranormal romance and this book is no exception. Here’s the summary:

Alexandra Monzelle is a hard-fighting, heat-packing Seattle vice cop, and she’s not much interested in being protected. Her short skirt and sex-kitten heels are tools to lure her suspects into talking about the deadly new drug hitting the streets. She can take care of herself and then some. Unfortunately, she can’t seem to get that through to Kellach Dunne.

Kellach is a fresh import from Dublin, and he’s landed at the heart of a vicious motorcycle club that deals in guns, narcotics, and mayhem. He’s all male, all rough power—and all interference in her damn investigation. Maybe he’s one of the good guys. Maybe not. Lex knows an affair with an immortal like him would risk everything. No matter how delicious he looks…

The premise alone of a series based on bike riding, leather wearing, magical badasses was enough to make my inner book nerd do a happy dance. And that cover? Wow. Just wow.

I loved Kellach Dunne as the hero of the novel. He was alpha without crossing over into alphahole territory and I really have a soft spot for anything that has a “brotherhood” theme going for it- which also has the added perk of setting up future books in a series.

Alexandra on the other hand, was not one of my favourite of Zanetti’s heroines. Although her reactions were understandable given circumstances, I found myself getting a little frustrated with how she repeatedly painted Kellach’s actions in the worst light. This is a particular little pet peeve of mine so it may not bother everyone. Admittedly, she was a cop and Kellach was undercover at a biker gang so I could understand where she was coming from especially as she was painted as a very strong, independent woman. I love nothing more than a strong independent woman but found Alex a little too prickly and argumentative for my taste.

Everything else though was RZ gold. Snappy dialogue, bursts of humor and good action sequences make this book a really promising start to a series. I LOVED that some characters from the Dark Protectors series made appearances and not in a brief celebrity cameo way either but properly in a way that moved the story forward. That said, you could start reading RZ’s books with this one but I strongly suggest reading her Dark Protectors series first to really appreciate Wicked Ride.

Overall, a solid first book to what promises to be an excellent series. B

RFG Recommends: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

10 Mar

Rock hard 3 tour

How much did I love Rock Hard? Oh baby let me count the ways…

ONE: I loved it for its totally likeable hero and heroine both of whom I would love to have as buddies.

TWO: I loved Gabriel for being a strong, take charge man without crossing over into alphahole territory. Here’s a little excerpt:

Rock hard 2

THREE: I loved Charlotte for being the kind of heroine you root for- one who isn’t annoyingly perfect or too stupid to live but one that has been through something terrible and found the strength to overcome it. I also liked that she was shy but was also very smart, snarky and extremely capable.

Rock hard 4

FOUR: I loved it for its boss and secretary trope which is romance catnip for me.

FIVE: I love that there wasn’t hot sex with the hero’s magic wang in the first chapter that miraculously cured all traumas in the heroine’s past no matter how big the trauma was.

SIX: I loved the scenes with secondary characters that showed me again just how likeable these characters are.

SEVEN: I love how the book was able to make my hurt heart and at the same time laugh out loud several times while reading it.

EIGHT: Have I mentioned the hilarious dialogue? Both to each other and when they were thinking to themselves

NINE: I LOVED the slow build to romance and intimacy where the sexual tension and anticipation just kept building and building… phew!

TEN: But at the same time I LOVED how NS through her brilliant writing managed to make me feel that the characters really LIKED each other and didn’t just have sexual attraction holding them together and therefore would have a really kick ass happily ever after.

I really cannot recommend this author and this book enough – a solid A+.

Note: I received this book as an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for a fair review

Rock Hard by Nalini Singh Cover Reveal!

13 Feb

Nalini Singh is one of my all-time favorite authors. Her Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series are some of the very best in the Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy genres. I wrote a little love letter to her last Guild Hunter novel and you can check it out by clicking the link here: https://romancefangirl.com/2013/11/25/review-archangels-legion-by-nalini-singh/

Anyhow, as if she wasn’t fabulous (or busy!) enough she recently branched out into contemporary Rock Star romances and I am so THRILLED to be part of the cover reveal for her latest book.

ROCK HARD (1)

Releasing: March 10th, 2015

In New York Times Bestselling author Nalini Singh’s newest contemporary romance, passion ignites between a gorgeous, sinfully sexy man who built himself up from nothing and a shy woman who has a terrible secret in her past… Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred. And what he wants is Charlotte Baird. Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO—a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake—clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom. If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on. You can pre-order this book on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and Nook.

Meet the Author NEW YORK TIMES AND USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series Nalini Singh usually writes about hot shapeshifters and dangerous angels. This time around, she decided to write about hot and wickedly tempting rock stars – and one sinfully sexy rugby god turned brilliant CEO. If you’re seeing a theme here, you’re not wrong. Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing. If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts on her website. Slave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. Also, don’t forget to swing by the site to check out the special behind-the-scenes page for the Rock Kiss series, complete with photos of many of the locations used in the books.

nalini

STALK HER:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

2014 in review

30 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Audio Book Madness

10 Nov

The Collector N RobertsRock Chick K Ashley

 

I have to admit to being a little bit late to the whole audio book thing. I only started a few years ago when the traffic and commute to work started becoming unbearable and I needed something to take my mind off the daily grind. I THEN discovered just this year that I could download these books straight onto my phone and listen to books WHILE DOING THE HOUSEWORK. My house has never been so clean and I now clean up (semi) cheerfully while someone tells me a story.

As a sidenote, I also like the fact that now I can listen with earphones and therefore don’t have to turn the volume way down during sex scenes because of the very real fear that some stranger will hear the moaning and groaning and look at me like I’m a freak…

I’ve written before about my absolute love of Ilona Andrews and how much I adore the Kate Daniels series- in both the written and audio formats. Renee Raudman, the narrator of this series is so fantastic and I got real book hangover just from listening to these books. After finishing the last book in the series I went in to mourning for a day and then was like a junkie scrounging for the same kind addictive hit. I  decided to go look for a Kristen Ashley book to go for something very different but also has that cracktastic quality and I’m so glad I did!

Audible gave me a big discount on the price of the books since I had already purchased the Kindle version so off I went into Rock Chick land. As Shirleen would say- Oooowee! I glommed onto these audio books and listened to all 8 in one month. Yup, you heard it, all EIGHT in ONE MONTH.

Susannah Jones, the narrator of the books, was very good with handling all the different characters and voices and was a younger, happier sounding narrator which fit into the whole vibe of the books perfectly. She was excellent at injecting the fun neurosis into the female characters- especially their panicked self-talk when they know they’ve gotten into trouble. I have to admit that coming off Renee Raudman’s narration and the way she did all the different voices so distinctly I sometimes felt that Susanna didn’t differentiate characters as well especially between books but that’s more about how good Renee was than any sort of lack on Susanna’s part.

I again went into mourning after finishing the last book, Rock Chick Revolution but cheered myself up trying to decide who of the Hot Bunch was my favourite. Book boyfriend fantasies aside, the next book I put into my phone was The Collector by Nora Roberts performed by Julia Whelan. Props to this reader for doing really good guys’ voices. There is nothing more distracting than a girl trying to sound like a guy and doing it badly but Julia did it so well it added to the story rather than detracting from it.

I am such a fan of Nora’s work but have to admit that I when I first read it I liked this book but didn’t LOVE it the way I did say, Birthright or Angels Fall or Naked in Death. The funny thing is that I am halfway through the book now and am utterly drawn into the story in a way that I wasn’t when I read it. It’s again proof positive that you pick up things listening to a book that you may have missed reading it.

So it looks like this love affair of mine with audio books although a late bloom may end up being an enduring one. I have only ever listened to books I’ve already read so am interested in seeing what happens when I listen to a book before reading it. Do you have any recommendations for audio books?

Review: Darkest Before Dawn by Amelia Hutchins

23 Oct

DBD release 2

I was very excited to be asked to participate in this blog tour as I recently discovered Amelia Hutchins as an author through her Fae Chronicles series. Major book crack for me this author- complete with book hangover which saw me scrounging around Amazon looking for and failing to find similar books. I think I read the first three books in 5 days I couldn’t put them down!

Darkest Before Dawn takes us completely out of the world of the Fae and into a post- apocalyptic world whose population has been mostly decimated by a virus. Here’s the blurb at the back of the book:

Going through an apocalyptic event doesn’t mean the end of the world.

My dad is a modern day Noah, you know building an ark, trying to save folks and getting my brother, and I ready for the impending end of days – whatever that means.

Nothing in his prepper manuals had us ready for what actually happened.
I had nothing to prepare me for Jaeden and Lachlan. Heck, I don’t know of any girl that would have been prepared for those two.

There was nothing to prepare us for the things that go bump in the night or zombies, although now that I think on it, zombies might have been easier to deal with than what really happened. No, an apocalyptic event is just a set-up for things in our world to be shaken AND stirred.

What will rise from the ruins remains to be seen.

I’m not usually a fan of post apocalyptic stories as I find them too dark and depressing. AH manages to balance the inherent darkness of this kind of setting though with enough action and little snippets of humor that the story keeps rolling without falling down the well of being utterly depressing.

Some things that  bugged me a bit about the book:
• Although AH is self published I found that her Fae Chronicles books were very well edited. I DID however find a few typos/grammatical errors in this one. They were extremely few but if you’re a grammar nazi, then you’ll definitely pick up on them
• I love that AH writes kickass, tough heroines but I felt that Emma did sometimes cross over into being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative which occasionally annoyed me. She does however, have other redeeming qualities which pull her back into being a likeable heroine.
• There’s a bit of a love triangle and for the love of all that is holy I am OVER love triangles. This is a personal pet peeve though so if you don’t mind love triangles then this shouldn’t bother you at all. I felt that Emma clearly preferred and had more chemistry with Jaeden and Lachlan was almost a bit of an afterthought so didn’t see the point of throwing the possibility into the mix. Girl having to choose between a vampire and a werewolf just brought too many uncomfortable Twilight flashbacks for my liking.

Things that made me do a happy dance:
• Although there may be other more technically perfect writers out there AH has this gift of sucking you into a story and I found myself almost frantically reading and flipping pages wanting to find things out
• As with the Fae Chronicles there is that story arc of the heroine being a little more than she thought she was and who doesn’t love that kind of Cinderella story?
• Emma, although very headstrong and argumentative does balance this out by being extremely capable and compassionate. I like that she was the leader of the Ark and that it was a female dominated group. She doesn’t take stupid chances with herself and her crew and she can shoot really well.
• Here is something that may be good or bad depending on the kinds of books that you read: The steamy, sexy factor? Through the roof. Although I found the Fae Chronicles a lot racier, this is definitely not a closed bedroom door kind of book. Multiple, graphic sex scenes and orgasms ahoy, captain! Don’t say you weren’t warned!
• AH does tall, handsome and brooding alphahole heroes so if that is your catnip then prepare to squee. Jaeden is still a bit mysterious but as this book is very obviously the first in the series I have to say that he was interesting enough to catch my attention. I really also liked Lachlan, my aversion to love triangles aside. A special mention must be made of the supporting men who were really fun to read- I found it very entertaining to picture huge Scottish brogue speaking, kilt wearing men who happen to turn into wolves. The other men were Vikings. Scots and Vikings all in one book in Western America, gotta love it!

I do recommend this author as I believe she is a great storyteller and has a gift for sucking you right into her stories. I adored her Fae Chronicle series so if you haven’t checked them out yet please do. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in either of her series. Below is more information about the author and relevant links. Enjoy!

About The Author

Amelia lives in the great Pacific Northwest with her family. When not writing, she can be found on her page Erotica Book Club hanging out with her favorite book junkies. She’s an avid reader of everything paranormal romance.

 

Website – http://amelia-hutchins.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorameliahutchins

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmeliaAuthor?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=fb&utm_campaign=AmeliaAuthor&utm_content=395219382722244608

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/ameliahutchins/boards/

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7092218.Amelia_Hutchins?from_search=true