Monday, December 18, 2017

No Excuses by Nikky Kaye ~ Review

Title: No Excuses
Author: Nikky Kaye
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Indie
Release Date: July 7, 2017
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

No Excuses is a hot, full-length contemporary romance, featuring blindfolds, rope play, food fights, and sexy architectural features like wainscoting. As in all Nikky Kaye books, cheating is not allowed, but some funny stuff and a HEA are non-negotiable.
Maddie's rules for attending a work retreat:

1 Pack the right clothes. Especially extra underwear.
2 Don’t try to school your insanely hot boss on acceptable trust exercises.
3 Be prepared for the extracurricular ropes course.
4 Make sure there is a safety net when you fall, because you will fall hard

Gage doesn’t appreciate how hard it is to be his right hand woman—especially when I’m spending so much time with my own right hand, fantasizing about him. My demanding, control freak boss is testing all my limits, and I don’t know how long I can stay professional.

No Excuses is another amazing book by Nikky Kaye. Mixing a fly by the seat of your pants girl with the ultimate planner seems like quite a long shot, and it really is. But when Gage decides that everyone must attend a work retreat designed to build trust and teamwork, Maddie is put into some pretty precarious situations.

Gage is just the right amount of controlling with a small dash of humility that allows you to fall in love with his over-bearing controlling self. He's really quite lovable underneath it all, he just needs to be in control. Maddie never thought that was what she needed, until a few "trust exercises" later and suddenly things seem a little different. 

Nikky Kaye is a go-to author for me and she has yet to disappoint. If you are looking for a super hot romance, unique and fun characters, and a good dose of humor, then this is the perfect book for you.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Fashionably Dead Down Under by Robyn Peterman ~ Review

Title: Fashionably Dead Down Under (Hot Damned #2)
Author: Robyn Peterman
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Comedy
Length: 334 pages
Publisher: Indie
Release Date: March 27, 2014
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Welcome to Hell.
The Hell where the Prince of Darkness is hotter than Hades, Hell Hounds smell like brownies and the Seven Deadly Sins are addicted to Facebook... Not to mention the soundtrack in the Underworld is Journey. For real.

I should have known no good could come from offing my parents in the space of twenty minutes no matter how psychotic and evil they were…

Now I find out my family tree includes almost every deity and mythological being alive while Ethan, the one and only love of my undead life has a limited time down under before he turns to dust. In the land of Sin, you’d think I’d get some nookie time with my man, but no. Baby Demons, cousins and grandparents put the kibosh on that. Blue balls are the new normal. What the hell does a half-Vampyre Half-Demon have to do to catch a break?

Apparently find a freakin’ sword, calm Mother Nature’s unmedicated mood swings and make sure Mister Rogers keeps his sticky fingers to himself during weekly poker with the Devil.

And I have three days to do it.

By all that’s unholy, I thought Ethan’s Vampyre family was crazy…Trust me, they have nothing on the Demons.

And so we are going to Hell, meeting the Prince of Darkness, find out more about Astrid's family, save the world, and lots of other crazy stuff. Robyn Peterman is the Queen of crazy stuff and making it funny. There are laughs on every page of the story.

But it was too much. Somewhere about halfway through we went from amazing and funny to over the top in a not so good way. When Astrid is given a mission from the Devil and begins to meet her extended family tree, it just all sort of fell of apart in my mind. So many things didn't seem to really progess the story forward, but just fill gaps on the pages.

Eventually we get back on track and the ending was a pleasant surprise. Astrid will have to come face to face with her harsh past and find out if she can rise to the challenge to really overcome it. I found it surprisingly deep for a book that I had picked up for laughs and giggles, and it was really a great redeeming element that will keep me going in the series.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine ~ Review

Title: Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Words can kill.

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library…

Out of the frying pan into the fire is what they say, and that's pretty much how Ash and Quill start. Rescued only to become someone else's prisoners. Leaving London, the group flees to Philadelphia, the home of the rebels. You would think they'd fit in here, but there is more than one way to rebel against the library and Philadelphia isn't doing it the right way.

Philadelphia is under siege by the Library, and has been for quite some time. This part of the story isn't pretty at all. Injuries abound, and the team is torn between doing what is right and doing what will get them out. Jess has to make some big decisions, but Morgan really stole the show for me. 

Morgan is really starting to understand her Obscurist powers and what they can do. And she is powerful. But that power comes at a cost that is really high. It also means she has to keep secrets, which doesn't sit well with the rest of them. But they have their secrets as well. I'm not sure what Jess and the group are going to do next, but I can't wait to find out.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Rare Find by Dale Mayer ~ Review

Title: Rare Find (Psychic Visions #6)
Author: Dale Mayer
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Length: 292 pages
Publisher: Valley Publishing
Release Date: April 11, 2014
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

When people need help or are injured, they call out for their friends and family. When an animal needs help or is injured, it calls out for…anyone…that can help them… 

One person hears them… 

Tabitha is determined to bury her aching heart in the service of her animals at Exotic Landscape. Until she’s yanked out of her cozy retreat to help someone in need…and she gets more than she bargained for. 
Detective Ronin Chandler understands secrets. He’s got a few of his own. But when the woman he loves gets into trouble – the kind that stretches even his belief system – he struggles to understand…and to help…before he loses her. Maybe forever. 
As the danger escalates, Tabitha and Ronin need to find out who they can trust…and who they can’t…and who wants them dead…before it’s too late. 

Psychic Visions is one of my favorite paranormal romance series. They are stand-alone enough that I can enjoy each one individually, but there's enough crossover that you get to know the world and how it works. The world isn't so different than ours, it just has a variety of psychic powers.

Rare Find went a little to far into the psychic abilities for my personal tastes though. We actually meet Tabitha in book 5. A lover of animals, she has a special connection. That special connection is her ability to feel what they are thinking and find out what they need and want to be happy and healthy. This I can believe. But the next step in her psychic development just was a little too much - just barely.

Detective Ronin is a great guy - even if he is afraid of cats - like panic attack afraid. But he's fiercely protective and crazy smart and it's just what Tabitha is going to need. Their romance is an odd one because Tabitha isn't actually  present in the real sense throughout part of the book. But this dangerous situation only cements Ronon's feelings for her and insticts to protect her at all costs.

Rare Find was one of the more exciting additions to the series - with a good dose of action compared to some of the others. It was a real page turner that was a good step along the path of the series. I think what really stood out to me in this one was a gathering of characters and ideas from past books that seem to be coming together into something really big coming up.

More from Psychic Visions

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Red Rising: Sons of Ares #1 by Pierce Brown ~ Review

Title: Red Rising: Sons of Ares #1
Author: Pierce Brown
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 32 pages
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: May 10, 2017
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

From the world of the best-selling YA series Red Rising comes a story of love and loss and rage!
In the future, when mankind has spread across the stars, the hierarchy of man is dictated by the color of one's caste. The Golds rule all, but what will happen when one falls for a lowly Red? See how a forbidden love will set the course of events for the future and lead to the formation of the formidable Sons of Ares!
Written by author Pierce Brown (The Red Rising Trilogy) and Rik Hoskin (Heroes of Skyrealm, Brandon Sanderson's White Sand), with art by Eli Powell (Yakuza Demon Killers, The 13th Artifact), comes the in-continuity story of revolution and Red Rising!

This was not what I was expecting at all. I'm not a big comic reader but the idea behind this really drew me in. I had to read through it a couple times before I figured out how the story was being told. It was done quite well, but at the same time there didn't seem to be a whole lot there. It's part one of six, so I'm hoping there's a lot more beef in the upcoming editions.

For big fans of the Red Rising world (which I am), it was a little look into how the Sons of Ares started. You get this story from reading the books, but it's told in retrospect, whereas the comic tells it in more detail as it occurs. I'll keep going so I can see how it all plays out, but I'm not sure how I feel about this overall yet.

More from Red Rising

Monday, November 20, 2017

Night and Chaos by Lee Dignam and Katerina Martinez ~ Review

Title: Night and Chaos (Half-Lich #3)
Author: Lee Dignam and Katerina Martinez
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Length: 226 pages
Publisher: Supernal Publishing
Release Date: October 31, 2016
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

As night gathers, chaos rains down on the city of Ashwood like acid. The New Order of Void Weavers led by Isaac Moreau are gaining strength, but the shield separating the world of humans from the things hungrily waiting for their turn at the batting plate is fractured and weak, and repairing it is no small task. Meanwhile Alice Werner, the supernatural Bounty Hunter, has her hands full with an increasing number of contracts, and as Ashwood starts simmering toward a boiling point, it's only a matter of time until something gives and all hell breaks loose.

The conclusion to the Half-Lich series was a good one. Everything has been leading up to this moment, the moment where Chaos wins or loses, and of course, it's up to Alice and the newly found Order of Void Weavers to stop all the bad stuff from happening.

Once again, the authors have made the city of Ashwood and its residents come to life on the pages. From the random people on the street to the crazy ghosties and other various bad guys that have come through from the other side to the good guys that Alice has somehow managed to gather to fight them. Everything leads up to one epic battle that really didn't go the way I thought it would at all.

There's plenty of magic and special powers. I got to find out more about some of the bigger side characters and what they were and what they could do. But in this big epic battle, it wasn't all about who was the strongest. It came down to outthinking and just flat out refusing to back down.

I'm very excited that the Ashwood world is going to continue with a new series - not one revolving around Alice and friends - but I'm hoping it's just as good.

More from the Half-Lich series

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Nothing Stays the Same by Chaterine Chant ~ Review

Title: Nothing Stays the Same (Soul Mates #2)
Author: Catherine Chant
Genre: Young Adult, Time Travel Romance
Length: 461 pages
Publisher: Indie
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

How far would you go to save someone's life? Leah and Brennan are going all the way back to 1973.

One Choice Changes Everything...

In 1973, The Beat Detectors are the hottest TV pop band to hit the airwaves since The Monkees, thanks to the appealing vocals of rising teen idol Ronnie Basford. But behind the scenes, not everything is rainbows and unicorns. Ronnie realizes much too late that one bad decision can ruin your whole life.

Forty years later, Ronnie is dead from an apparent suicide and his sixteen-year-old son Brennan wants answers. He needs to understand how it all went so wrong. When he finds himself dropped back in time, to the set of his father's TV show, he's determined to redirect the course of his father's life and create the happy ending Ronnie deserved.

Soccer star Leah Reinard has been crushing on Brennan Basford for ages. When they end up at the same summer job, she thinks the fates have finally aligned in her favor. That is, until Brennan suddenly disappears from existence. One day he's there, the next day, he's gone. And no one but Leah even remembers him. Can Leah find Brennan in time to stop him from ruining both their futures?

First, a bit of a warning. This is part of a series - which turned me off a little at first because it isn't listed as such anywhere on the book itself. But, for the most part, anything was explained rather nicely if I needed to know it. I did feel like I was missing a large part of the history of Leah and her sister and the events that happened to her sister before this started. They do play a pretty important part in the end.

This was a super sweet time travel romance though. We meet Brennan, a teenager struggling with life who gets more thrown at him when he father kills himself. Brennan thinks it all goes back to his father's teenage years when he was a member of a teen band The Beat Detectors. Things happen and Ronnie and Leah both end up back in the days of his father's teenage years.

I really enjoyed how the author put this together. From the clothing to the speech and the attitudes, it was an amazing portrayal of a slightly different period of time. It was easy to believe that I was going back right along with them. Brennan is on a mission though, and he won't even talk about going back to his present until he finds a way to fix his dad's past. But fixing the past may change the future in ways that make my head hurt to think about - time paradox and all that.

Catherine Chant really handled this crazy past changing the present thing very well. She let it run its course and consequences be damned. But she added a bit of a twist at the end that really sealed the deal and made this story a winner for me. I can't give it away because - spoiler - but it was unique and inventive, which are two of my favorite things.