Rough Love in SAVED–Review and Giveaway!!

Hi there! Today I”m sharing a review, excerpt and giveaway for a new M/M urban fantasy from AM Arthur. SAVED is the first book in the Breaking Free series, and features a world where only males exist. Three genders: alpha, beta and omega, and some rough sexual politics have led to bad relations between breeding pairs…where love isn’t necessarily a given. I’ve liked contemporary and new adult romances from this author (HERE FOR US, THE WORLD AS HE SEES IT, FINDING THEIR WAY) so I was eager to check out this new series.

Drop down to enter the giveaway for an eBook of SAVED and an ARC of book two in the series!

About the book:
He didn’t want an alpha to save him, but fate had other ideas…

Braun Etting was raised to know his place as an omega by his alpha father’s cruel words and fast fists, and he expects nothing but violence from the alpha who may one day mate him. His older brother Kell mated a cruel alpha who abuses him daily, and Braun is terrified of that seemingly inevitable future. When Braun’s father dies in a car crash, leaving Braun an orphan, he’s sent to a halfway house for omegas. But on his fourth night there, he witnesses a horrifying crime that sends him fleeing to the streets alone—and edging into his first heat.

Tarek Bloom is settled in his workaholic, single lifestyle, even if it is somewhat embarrassing to be a twenty-eight year-old unmated alpha. He enjoys his job as a constable, helping people and solving problems, so he isn’t prepared for his life to flip upside-down when he walks into his beta friend Dex’s apartment to help with “a problem.”

The problem turns out to be an unmated, nearly in-heat omega orphan who Dex and his husband rescued off the street last night. The even bigger problem is that Tarek feels the mating bond for this terrified omega immediately—and he’s pretty sure the omega feels it, too. But Braun hates alphas as a general rule, and no way is he giving in to the bond. All mating leads to is violence and suffering, so no thank you. But Tarek’s gentle kindness slips under Braun’s emotional shields, and Braun begins to want. To dream. All Braun has ever known is violent alphas, but Tarek is determined to make Braun trust him—and to trust in the idea of their happily ever after.

NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

How about a little taste?

“Would you be able to describe exactly what you saw that night in detail?” Tarek pulled a notepad and pen out of his front pocket.

Braun’s entire body went rigid. “Why? Who are you really?”

“I really am Tarek Bloom.” For a moment, he actually seemed contrite. “What I didn’t tell you is that I’m also a constable.”

“Shit.” Braun bolted out of his chair and toward the front door, fork still in his hand.

In a flurry of movement, Tarek was in front of him, blocking his path to the door, and Braun lashed out with the fork. Dex grabbed his wrist and plucked the fork out of his hand, but that didn’t stop Braun from swinging. He punched Tarek in the chest. Twice. Panic settled in, overriding his common sense, and he tried to push past the brick wall of a man.

“Let me go! I won’t go back, I won’t!”

Arms wrapped around his torso from behind, pinning his arms to his sides. Serge’s comforting scent settled his racing mind a bit, but it was Tarek’s hand on the back of his neck that settled Braun completely.

“Calm down, firecracker,” Tarek said. His deep voice soothed Braun’s frazzled nerves, and his touch sent his pulse racing with delight. “You’re still safe, I promise. No one here wants to hurt you.”

“Why do you care?” Braun snarled. “I’m just some useless omega you’ve known for twenty minutes.”

“You’re far from useless, little one.”

Tarek’s other hand rose, nearing Braun’s face. Braun snapped at his fingers. “I’m only a womb to you.”

“Far from it, my firecracker.” The hand on his neck squeezed. “Far from it.”

The grounding touch made Braun want to roll over and show his belly, but he was done being passed around. Done letting other people control his life. He didn’t want to feel this mating bond to Tarek, but he also couldn’t turn it off. Even with the heat block, Tarek was under his skin, doing funny things to his insides.

Angry and confused, Braun dared look an alpha in the eye.

My Review:
This world is one where no females exist, and a small percentage of males, the omegas, have the ability to become pregnant. Omegas go into heat, an overwhelming physiologic experience, every three months. It is during that 48 hour window that an alpha could impregnate the omega. And, the offspring can be any of the three genders: alpha, beta or omega. In this world. alphas have the best opportunities, best job prospects and best lives. They get their pick of the matable omegas. Betas are second-class citizens who are essentially infertile as they are never allowed to mate an omega. They do form pair bonds, and some adopt discarded beta offspring. Betas have virtually unrestricted lives, though they are considered to be inferior in intellect by alphas.

Omegas are, maybe, fifth-class citizens. They are kept under strict supervision, they have no rights to freedom or autonomy. Their education usually ends int he mid teens and the omeags are sequestered until their first heat–which comes anytime from 15-21, to “protect” them from having an unsupervised heat where they could be raped by any alpha who catches wind of their pheromones. Once mated, it’s up to the omega’s alpha to decide if there will be further education, a job, or the ability to drive one’s self. An Alpha can physically harm or intimidate his omega without repercussion, using the excuse of “discipline”.

Braun Ettings is a nearly 21 year old unmated omega who just survived the car wreck that claimed the life of his abusive father. Unable to be left on his own, he’s sent to a half-way house for unmated omegas. Braun’s not sad his tormentor died, but he’s scared in his new surroundings, and wishes he could go live with his pregnant, elder brother, Kell. Unfortunately, Kell’s abusive husband is a big problem. Braun notices what looks like a kidnapping of one of the residents of his half-way house and decides to flee–which is brave but perilous. He’s accosted and nearly raped, only saved at the last moment by a beta nurse who recognized him from the recent hospital treatment and his alpha husband. Their friend, Tarek Bloom, is an alpha and a constable, and he’s really intrigued by both Braun and his tale of woe in the half-way house. Braun feels the pull to mate with Tarek nearly immediately, but he’s determined not to fall into the same deadly trap that Kell is caught in.

As Tarek investigates the situation, and some other crimes, he arranges to become Braun’s legal protector, and works out a fostering arrangement for his friends who’d saved Braun. These four form a tight unit of friendship, with a deep attraction brewing between Tarek and Braun. Braun’s confused and pleased that Tarek isn’t simply claiming him outright. He can’t trust that it won’t happen, though. Conversations with Kell help to guide him into accepting what appears to be love, but there are lots of complications–the abusive situation Kell is in, the recovery of kidnapped beta youths, the rescue of Braun’s fellow omegas from the half-way house–to name a few. Plus, Braun’s first heat is imminent. Tarek swears he’ll defend Braun and not claim him, but Braun is unsure that Tarek will keep his word. It was good to see Tarek be such a stand-up guy, especially in the face of the deep prejudices and derision he faces by having such an independent omega. They do fall for one another and sexytimes do happen, but not before the friendship and emotional bonding have been built.

This is, to me, a police romance with an urban fantasy laid over it. Getting used to the lack of females and acclimating to the omegaverse constraints took me a little time. I loved the sexual politics, and how stark the divide was between the alphas and omegas, in terms of power, prestige and autonomy. Braun’s a spitfire of an omega, and he’s often caught at the center of controversy, but Tarek loves him steadfastly, and it’s clear they are going to become stronger as a mated pair as the books go forward. The situation between Kell and his husband isn’t fully resolved at the end of this book, so expect that to drive the story line in the sequel. On a different note, it’s pretty shattering to read about the abuse Braun, Kell and others survive, so take that trigger warning seriously. I’m looking forward to reading on!

Interested? You can find SAVED on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win an eBook of SAVED and an ARC of book two in the series!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, and SMP Swerve.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Catch up with Ms. Arthur on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Ultimate Sacrifice for THE LOST CODEX–A Review

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Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new urban fantasy from Heather Lyons. THE LOST CODEX is the fourth book in the Collecters’ Society series, which features fictional characters from well-known books being warriors against censorship and book destruction. It’s all very enthralling… I really loved THE HIDDEN LIBRARY and THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN, so I couldn’t wait to read the final book in this series.

thelostcodex_ebook_450x675About the book:
Allies, once inseparable, splinter until they break apart.

An insidiousness carves its way through Wonderland, challenging the land’s very existence.

Battle lines will be drawn as pages, long languishing in darkness, are finally illuminated.

Swords will clash, blood will be spilled, and lives will be lost.

For what is written can still be erased.

Just to recap, the Collector’s Society is a series that pulls characters from storybooks into our daily lives. Alice, Queen of Wonderland, is a heroine of the first order, as she gave up her true love in Wonderland to assist the Librarians to take down rogue agents who seek to destroy entire fictional worlds. She’s partnered with Finn, think: Huckleberry, who is another true match, and boy howdy to the get it on…but they ALSO work together to take down the most nefarious enemy the Librarians have ever faced: the Pied Piper.

There’s much more to the story, but if this intrigues you, check out my reviews for THE HIDDEN LIBRARY and THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN.

villain
As part of the blog tour, author Heather Lyons has asked readers for their pick for a fave villain to insert in the Collectors’ Society world. The book, and series, feature three major villains: The Pied Piper, the Queen of Hearts and the thirteenth wise woman (also known as the one who cursed Sleeping Beauty…Maleficent of Disney fame.)

These are some serious baddies, and they cause the destruction of many Timelines, “real” worlds behind their books, all the characters and people who lived within them. It’s a disastrous business, one Alice (of Wonderland) and Finn (don’t call him Huckleberry) are striving to stop.

For me, I’m not sure about which fictional villain should pay a social call to Alice…I don’t read a lot of fairy tale fiction anymore. The villains are all evil sorcerers/witches, which makes a lot of sense. We did also have Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett in earlier books. Pretty much we’d need a homicidal maniac, who may, or may not, have magical powers. I suppose Voldemort is a good candidate, though I know there would be copyright issues. Still, he’s evil through-and-through and definitely bent of world conquest. Another good candidate could be Moriarty, from Sherlock Holmes, though he may have already been featured. It’s been a while (literally hundreds of books ago) since I read the earlier books and my memory isn’t THAT good. 😉

My Review:
This is the final book in a four-volume Collectors’ Society series and needs to be read in order for it to make sense. When we last left Alice, Wonderland’s exiled Queen of Diamonds, and her lover Finn (don’t call him Huckleberry) these agents of the Collectors’ Society had just stolen the Codex, a mystical book that contains the Timelines of all realms that exist from fictional stories. In short, Wonderland is real. Alice really went there, she was a Queen, betrothed to Jace, The White King, whom she had to leave behind to break a horrific prophecy.

Alice was recruited as a Collector, to help preserve the Timelines by securing their catalysts, physical elements in our world that protect the fictional worlds they represent. For Wonderland, it’s Alice’s crown. For One Thousand and One Nights, it’s Scheherazade’s veil. Since leaving Wonderland Alice’s broken heart for Jace has healed into a true love for Finn, her Society partner. Their efforts to find more catalysts has been derailed by several literary villains, but mostly by The Pied Piper, who has destroyed several catalysts and the lives behind them.

In the process of getting the Codex out of the Piper’s mountain fortress, Alice, Finn and Finn’s adopted brother Victor (von Frankenstein) were trapped by the Piper’s luring melody. They are tortured and nearly killed, saved by Alice mastering her delusions, and her ruthless quest to save the man she loves. For those expecting a demure damsel, you are mistaken. She’s an excellent swordswoman, and monarch of the first order. She will cut you.

Getting back the their New York headquarters is only the first step in this adventure. They tried to kill the Piper and the thirteenth wise woman by detonating explosions that collapsed the mountain, but it seems they, and the Queen of Hearts, Alice’s brutal nemesis, escaped without injury. Not so for Finn and Victor. They’ve been changed in horrific ways, and are susceptible to destructive suggestions from any of their previous captors. Alice learns the Queen of Hearts is in Wonderland, converting her subjects into Chosen, the soulless followers of the Piper. In order to defeat the Piper before he can come claim the Codex, Alice and her comrades joins Jace in the war against Hearts. There, Finn, healed by magic and science, plays a huge and unexpected role in the coup against both Hearts and the Piper & wise woman.

The action is pretty much non-stop, and it’s gory and gruesome. Land sakes! These are the GRIMMest of (fairy) tales, with lethal spiders and Frankenstein-like horror. I loved every second. There’s a bit of naughty business, too, because Alice and Finn get it on, a little, while the Artful Dodger enjoys some erotic fun with The Hatter and Co. At it’s core this is a deep love story, one that causes Alice to sacrifice everything in order to save Wonderland, even if she isn’t meant to see the next dawn. The imagination barrier is high. Reading a grown Alice, a kickass warrior queen with all her regal charms, is a hoot, but it’s also a bit heart breaking. She’s had to sacrifice so much, and maybe that wasn’t exactly necessary.

That said, the ending here is truly wonder…ful. With the right amount of heart, I’m sure it will satisfy readers. The wrap of the series is a little melancholy, for me, because I really enjoyed my time in this worlds-within-worlds experience, and I could certainly go back and wallow.

Interested? You can find THE LOST CODEX on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK) and iBooks.
on US:

****Don’t forget to read these first!!****
THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY can be found on Amazon (US and UK) iBooks and Kobo.

THE HIDDEN LIBRARY is available on Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo.

You can find THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks.

About the Author:
Heather Lyons
Heather Lyons writes epic, heartfelt love stories and has always had a thing for words. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

Catch Heather on her website, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook.

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Release Day Blitz for THE LOST CODEX! Plus, Get a free book!

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Hi there! I’m so excited to get the word out for a new urban fantasy out today from Heather Lyons. THE LOST CODEX is the fourth book in the Collecters’ Society series, which features fictional characters from well-known books being warriors against censorship and book destruction. It’s all very enthralling… I really loved THE HIDDEN LIBRARY and THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN, so I’m looking forward to THE LOST CODEX!

Drop down below to get your FREE start to the series! (Only through 11/8!)

thelostcodex_ebook_450x675About the book:
Allies, once inseparable, splinter until they break apart.

An insidiousness carves its way through Wonderland, challenging the land’s very existence.

Battle lines will be drawn as pages, long languishing in darkness, are finally illuminated.

Swords will clash, blood will be spilled, and lives will be lost.

For what is written can still be erased.

Just to recap, the Collector’s Society is a series that pulls characters from storybooks into our daily lives. Alice, Queen of Wonderland, is a heroine of the first order, as she gave up her true love in Wonderland to assist the Librarians to take down rogue agents who seek to destroy entire fictional worlds. She’s partnered with Finn, think: Huckleberry, who is another true match, and boy howdy to the get it on…but they ALSO work together to take down the most nefarious enemy the Librarians have ever faced: the Pied Piper.

There’s much more to the story, but if this intrigues you, check out my reviews for THE HIDDEN LIBRARY and THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN.

I’ll be sharing a review in coming weeks, but until then…
tlc_teaser1Catch up on the series here….

***FREE*** through 11/8!  THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY can be found on Amazon (US and UK) iBooks and Kobo.

THE HIDDEN LIBRARY is available on Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo.

You can find THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks.

About the Author:
Heather Lyons
Heather Lyons writes epic, heartfelt love stories and has always had a thing for words. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

Catch Heather on her website, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook.

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Teaser Time! Looking for THE LOST CODEX

codexteaserrevealbannerHi there! I’m so excited to share a little teaser for a new urban fantasy from Heather Lyons. THE LOST CODEX is the fourth book in the Collecters’ Society series, which features fictional characters from well-known books being warriors against censorship and book destruction. It’s all very enthralling… I really loved THE HIDDEN LIBRARY and THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN, so I’m looking forward to THE LOST CODEX which comes out November 7th. You really must read this series in order…so you’ve got a bit of time to catch up!!

thelostcodex_ebook_450x675About the book:
Allies, once inseparable, splinter until they break apart.

An insidiousness carves its way through Wonderland, challenging the land’s very existence.

Battle lines will be drawn as pages, long languishing in darkness, are finally illuminated.

Swords will clash, blood will be spilled, and lives will be lost.

For what is written can still be erased.

Just to recap, the Collector’s Society is a series that pulls characters from storybooks into our daily lives. Alice, Queen of Wonderland, is a heroine of the first order, as she gave up her true love in Wonderland to assist the Librarians to take down rogue agents who seek to destroy entire fictional worlds. She’s partnered with Finn, think: Huckleberry, who is another true match, and boy howdy to the get it on…but they ALSO work together to take down the most nefarious enemy the Librarians have ever faced: the Pied Piper.

There’s much more to the story, but if this intrigues you, check out my reviews for THE HIDDEN LIBRARY and THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN.

THE LOST CODEX comes out Nov 7th. Here’s a little teaser…
codexteaser3Catch up on the series here….
THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY can be found on Amazon (US and UK) iBooks and Kobo.

THE HIDDEN LIBRARY is available on Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo.

You can find THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks.

About the Author:
Heather Lyons
Heather Lyons writes epic, heartfelt love stories and has always had a thing for words. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

Catch Heather on her website, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook.

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Now Available: RISK by Dannika Dark

Risk Release Day Blitz BannerHi there! Today I’m catching up on a release day blast for a contemporary urban fantasy by Dannika Dark. RISK is a new novel set in her Mageri world, and looks intense!

Be sure to check out the tasty tidbit, and audio preview, below!

RisksmallAbout the book:

Simon Hunt is a masterful Mage when it comes to knives, solving puzzles, and women. But when a Mageri Councilman asks for a personal favor, his skills are put to the test. He reluctantly accepts the impossible job of training a young Learner who is beyond anyone’s help. She’s beautiful, cunning, and disabled. If he succeeds, he’ll receive a hefty paycheck. But if he fails, more is at stake than merely his reputation.

A compelling tale about two lost souls with dark secrets and the unique connection they share. Simon is her last hope… and perhaps she is his.

What happens when a game of chance becomes a fight for survival?

How about a little taste?

She removed her hand and petted his stomach as if he were a docile panther. Simon discovered restraint he never knew he had.

Ella’s fingers moved down and fondled a tiny bulge in his pocket. “What’s this?”

Simon carried a miniature chess piece in his pocket—a queen to be exact. “Love, that’s not the piece I want you to stroke.”

She looked up at him, her lips pursing together. “Shhh.”

Women never took control of Simon this way, and just the thought of it made him so weak with lust that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to hold out for the actual act.

Ella went down on her knees and pressed her lips against the stretched leather covering his erection. He nearly lost it. Images flooded his mind of sliding somewhere warm and wet. Suddenly his throat went dry. He flattened his palms against the wall behind him, intoxicated by her unpredictable nature. There was no sense in taking over and trying to dominate her in the bedroom; her needs were nonnegotiable.

Check out this SoundCloud preview!

Interested? You can find RISK on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, GooglePlay, iBooks, Tantor and Audible.

About the Author:
Dannika Dark is the USA Today Bestselling Author of Urban Fantasy Romance and Paranormal Romance. Her books have sold more than 1 million copies worldwide, and she is a 2016 Audie Awards finalist.

Dannika was born on a military base in the U.S. and spent her youth traveling abroad. She developed an interest writing poetry and song lyrics early on, eventually gravitating toward a job that involved writing procedural training documentation. In her spare time, she wrote novels before she decided to pursue a career in publishing.

In addition to writing about supernatural worlds, Dannika is passionate about graphic design and creates all her own covers and series art. When not writing, she enjoys indie music, movies, reading, Tex-Mex, strawberry daiquiris, heaps of chocolate, and unleashing her dark side.

All of her published books to date are written in the same universe and contain material suitable for adults only.

“For me, writing is all about blending genres to break out of the confines of predictability, but it’s what I love to do.”

Catch up with Danni online on her website, twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and be sure to sign up for her newsletter to receive exclusive content and be the first to know about upcoming releases.

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Deadly Consequences–BRIGHT BLAZE OF MAGIC-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a fantastic YA magical suspense adventure from Jennifer Estep. BRIGHT BLAZE OF MAGIC is the third book in the Black Blades series. You’ll remember that I loved DARK HEART OF MAGIC and it’s the same for this one.

Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade, #3)About the book:
Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families–and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…

My Review:
This is the third book in a series, and I’d encourage readers to read the previous books for best enjoyment.

Lila Sterling is an orphaned teen in a magical world. She’s got plenty of magic herself, including the ability to sense magical power and transfer power used against her into magic she can use for herself. These are rare Talents, and she could find herself fighting for her life if power-hungry demagogues, like Victor Draconi, could get his lethal hands upon her. See, Victor has already killed Lila’s father and mother, and he’s the brutal leader of one of the four Families (think magic mafia) that control the power and commerce in Cloudburst Fall, NC.

Lila is employed by the Sinclair family as a bodyguard to Devon Sinclair, a beefy Bruiser, only son to Claudia Sinclair, head of the Family. Lila’s mother had worked for the Sinclairs many years ago, and Lila feels safe in their world–except she’d discovered a cache of magic infused weapons that had been collected by Victor. These mark the capstone in Victor’s plan to kill the other Families and seize all power in Cloudburst Falls, so Lila, Devon and Felix steal the majority of the weapons–with the help of Deah, Victor’s daughter (and Lila’s cousin)–and replace them with fakes.

It’s not long before all-out war is declared. It’s a bloody business and many lives are lost. It sould have been a massacre if Victor’s minions had the magic-infused weapons, however. Lila has the ability to end the siege, and bargain for the release of captives, using the very blades she stole from Victor. Oh, and win also a magic duel to end all battles.

I love the tension in this book. So many life-or-death moments, and increasing suspense. It’s a tough road for Lila, who wants to kill Victor, but needs to use her head, and plan the perfect revenge. When the time comes, she’s still a girl, one fighting for her life–and those all whom she loves. She and Devon are a couple in the book series, and they have appropriate levels of affection, which are wholly clean. Expect Lila to be hurt, downtrodden, and nearly out of the game altogether, but to persevere against all expectations. The magical elements of this world are truly charming, with unique fauna that have deadly abilities. Who knew I’d love me some Lochness monster? Yes, even a tentacled beast of the deep had me going Aww!

The end of this book marks a hard break in the series, with some small plot threads left open for use in another book–though I have no idea if a fourth book is forthcoming. 😉 That said, I’d totally read on. Lila was one of my Kick-Ass Heroines of 2015, and she’s a shoe-in to claim the title again in 2016. Between her thievery, her strength and her indomitable spirit, she’s a gal who gets the job done. If the job is protection, theft and saving the day, that is…

Interested? You can find BRIGHT BLAZE OF MAGIC on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and libraries/bookstores everywhere. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:

Jennifer Estep is the New York Times bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series; the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy; the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series; and the Bigtime paranormal romance series.

Her books are available in print, audio, and e-book formats from a variety of retailers, including the following: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / iTunes / Kobo / Audible / Brilliance Audio.

You can catch up to Jennifer on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Clashing Love: THE GIRL AND THE GARGOYLE–A Review

the girl and the gargoyle tour banner newHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary YA urban fantasy from Pauline Gruber. THE GIRL AND THE GARGOYLE is the sequel to THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN and filled with demons, gargoyles and witches. Oh, and few normal humans as well…

As Lucy soon learns, it’s not easy loving a gargoyle when you’re a half demon. Think Romeo and Juliet. With demons.

the girl and the gargoyleAbout the book:
Good versus evil just got even more complicated…

Being half-witch/half-demon and dating Marcus, a gargoyle, is complicated enough for Lucy. She can almost tolerate Jude, her demon father, implementing demon training. But when Marcus’s family arrives in Chicago, her world begins to crumble. Marcus’s mother wants him to return to the gargoyle clan where he belongs; his father wants Marcus to help him kill Jude. There’s one very major problem with this: if Jude dies, Lucy dies.

Marcus works with other supernaturals to help save Jude and Lucy. Meanwhile, Lucy has her own plan and with the aid of a surprise newcomer, seeks help from the most unlikely—and dangerous—source.

How about a little taste?

Jude balances a fresh fireball in the palm of his hand. He lobs it at me, and I hold my hand up. I envision my hand as a brick wall. Big, strong, impenetrable. I imagine it swelling, doubling in size and strength. As the fireball comes within six inches of my hand, I step toward it and lob it back to Jude. The fireball moves toward Jude, but sputters out before it reaches him.

“Pretty lame if you ask me,” Dylan calls out.

“Funny thing, no one asked you!” I snap.

“Again,” Jude calls out. “This time put some power behind it.” We repeat it again. I struggle to ignore Dylan’s taunts. Idiot.

What is it with him? Why won’t Jude and Henry reprimand him? I wait until the fireball is two inches from me then whack it back to Jude hard. He lunges to the left to avoid being hit.

“Nice job, Lucy,” Henry says.

“For a girl,” Dylan adds.

I spin around and throw a fireball at him. It slams against his shoulder. He tamps out the flames and flashes a big grin my way. “Is that all you’ve got?”

I take a step toward him. “Keep it up. There’s more where that came from.”

Dylan laughs. “You’ve got nothing. Without Daddy to protect you—and everyone else—you’re nothing.”

My Review:
This is the second book in a series, and needs to be read in order. In truth, I think they should be read directly one after the other, because I had a bit of trouble with the many characters, and all their powers, being in action when I opened this book–as it’s been nearly two years since I finished THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN.

To sum up:
Lucy is the daughter of Jude, a very powerful demon as he was Lucifer’s right hand man. Her human mother was the daughter of a powerful witch, but her love affair with Jude turned her into a mess, and a junkie. Lily grew up in abject poverty until her mother OD-ed and she went to live in the care of her Great Uncle Sheldon and his partner, Uncle Bernard. This cozy threesome lives in the first floor of a 3-flat in Chicago, imagine a tall narrow building that has a separate apartment on each of three levels. On the second floor is Aiden and Marcus, who are both supernatural–Aidan’s a demon and Marcus is a Protector, and takes the form of a gargoyle at night. On the third floor is Persephone, a witch who was part of gram’s former triad. Persephone’s been teaching Lucy witchcraft, how to use it and how to conjure spells. So, Lucy’s half-demon, half-witch, and totally in love with Marcus, a match that’s not generally acceptable.

See, Protectors and demons clash, quite literally. And when Marcus’ family returns as if from the dead–Marcus had been abandoned to his human stepfather at age four, and has been living with Aiden since a year ago when his stepfather died–it sets a whole lot of action in motion. Will Marcus leave to join his father’s Protector clan? Lucy’s stricken that he might, and that’s a big problem as there are demons out there who want to kill Lucy, and Marcus is a valiant protector, as well as having magical blood that heals all wounds.

But the reason Marcus’ family has arrived in Chicago is dire–they want to kill Jude, as the rumors are flying that he’s been killing Protectors willy-nilly. Is the threat real? Are the rumors true? Lucy can’t determine what’s true, but the search is on because killing Jude will destroy his bloodline, and any of his progeny: in short, Jude dies = Lucy dies.

So, this is an interesting story with plenty of action and a lot of wrangling. Lucy and Marcus need to seek help from some rather unsavory supernaturals in order to cobble together enough power to combat the onslaught of untold numbers of Protectors. However, the more they tangle with the Protectors, the more they recognize something foul in their midst. It’s a confounding issue that harkens to some seriously dirty business in Protectorville. I had a bit of trouble with this book, for my own self, because there are so many characters. Probably more than fifty, and not all of them are even close to important. Lucy is a junior in high school, so we have cattyiness central going down with the lunch crew. And, there’s a love triangle between Lucy, Marcus and Dylan–a boy at Lucy’s school who is Jude’s protege; there’s something not good brewing between Dylan and Lucy, who’d only always been friends. Until now. Somehow, Lucy’s physical maturity and the demon pheromones are a siren’s song mashing her and Dylan together–much to to Marcus’ frustration.

I liked how the pace of the story allowed Lucy to hone her skills, both as a witch and a demon. There are a couple of moments when I was struck by improbability woes, but the story adds realistic elements of Lucy being NOT a natural, at anything. She’s got to work for all the goals, and she’s a kind and compassionate person at heart–no matter her paternity.

At times, I felt like there was too much happening, and it wasn’t central to the plot. Time and again I had to recall who was who, and how they mattered. And there were delays due to Lucy mooning on and off regarding her relationship with Marcus and her friendship-ish with Dylan. She and Marcus both have to deal with scorn from Marcus’ father and his uber-conniving mother. There seems to be a bond developing between Marcus and his sister, and that’s good because they need all the protection Jude can get. The end is an epic battle that resulted in sort-of-evil triumphing over definitely-bad-bad-bad, which was a bit Pyrrhic. I liked how it all worked out, but the stage is set for further machinations which Lucy is not privy to. This book allowed a few other characters to grab POV in chapters to advance the story, and so the reader knows that Lucy is still in grave danger, even as she’s survived this current storm.

Interested? You can find THE GIRL AND THE GARGOYLE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords.

The Girl and the RavenDon’t forget to check out my review on THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN, the first book in this series.

Lucy’s hard luck life improves with her move to Chicago, but she’s soon caught up between forces she never imagined, and that’s not the worst part. Nope, learning you aren’t orphan is cold comfort when your dad turns out to be a demon.

Interested? You can find the THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN at Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Pauline GruberAbout the Author:
Pauline Gruber is a self-professed music junkie, cat wrangler, and travel nut. She went to Paris in the 90’s where she discovered a love of three things: croissants, old cathedrals, and gargoyles. Deciding that the paranormal world could use a new kind of hero, Pauline translated her fascination with the protective gargoyle into a suspenseful love story. She is the author of the young adult series, The Girl and the Raven, The Girl and the Gargoyle and the forthcoming novel, The Girl and the Demon. By day, Pauline is a legal assistant for a Chicago law firm where she steals identities and incorporates them into her books. If you tell anyone, she’ll deny, deny, deny.

Pauline lives outside of Chicago with her precocious black cats.

You can catch up with Pauline online on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

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