Review and Sweepstakes: Undying Destiny by Jessica Lee

Title: Undying Destiny Series: Book #1: The Enclave Author: Jessica Lee Format: ebook, 400 pages Published:  June 17, 2013 by Entangled Edge  (first published August 4, 2009)

Title: Undying Destiny
Series: Book #1: The Enclave
Author: Jessica Lee
Format: ebook, 400 pages
Published: June 17, 2013 by Entangled Edge (first published August 4, 2009)

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

Kenric St. James is out for revenge. Over 300 years ago, an ancient female vampire turned him against his will and killed the woman he loved. He’s spent more than a century building an Enclave of warrior vampires who have sworn to defend humanity against his evil sire and her minions. But when Kenric finds a woman he finally burns to claim as his own again, Kenric knows loving her means giving his sire another target.

Emily Ross just wanted a fresh start. She’s a survivor, coming off the tail end of an abusive relationship, and craves time alone to learn who she is and to save the home that holds her heart. The last thing she needed was a controlling, alpha male calling all the shots.

Meeting Kenric might just have changed her mind, though. He is wrong for her in all the right ways. But in order to keep her heart from breaking, he first has to keep the hoards of evil vamps from stealing her very breath.

Source: Publisher

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

Dear reader, you know I loves me some vampires and so, I am very pleased to be reviewing Jessica Lee’s Undying Destiny, the first installment of The Enclave Series.  This book has all the things I love: super-hot warrior vampires, a one and only soul mate and, an on-going fight against a super-evil big bad.  Here we go . . .

Kenric St. James has been a vampire for three centuries and it is a life he never chose.  He was turned against his will, kept captive for years, and, used for his body and blood by the bat-sh*t crazy vampire who sired him.   In the years since his escape, Kenric has built a small army of loyal and fierce vampires known as the Enclave who work tirelessly to fight, not only his sire but any vampire that threatens the vampire world and humans alike.  Though small in number, the Enclave is mighty and highly successful in their endeavors.  There is very little that can seriously threaten the Enclave.

Emily Ross is an accomplished nurse who thrives on the fast-paced adrenaline-fueled environment found in the ER.  She is very good at her job and with no distractions in her personal life, is able to focus all her attention on her job and her patients.  Since (mostly!) extricating herself from an abusive relationship, Emily has determined she will never let a man again control her life and her choices.  As a result, Emily avoids personal entanglements and generally keeps to herself.

And then, two worlds collide . . . .

During what should have been a routine patrol, Kenric finds himself dangerously injured and in need of immediate rescue.  Lucky for Kenric, Emily Ross is on her way to work and generally unable to resist helping a person in need.  At the end of her shift, Emily makes the fateful decision to check in on her patient one last time and wakes up in his bed in his compound the next day.  WOW!!  That was one hell of a check-up J  As you might suspect, Emily is completely freaked out and Kenric is one scary bastard who is extremely hot and completely healed of all his extensive injuries. . . WTH??  Which is exactly what the rest of the Enclave warriors are thinking when they discover Kenric has a woman in his room.  WTH????

After a considerable amount of explaining and more than a little proof, everyone begins to believe everyone else and can then move forward to handle the problem at hand.  The problem?  Kenric’s bat-sh*t crazy sire is back and has “acquired” a considerable amount of power; a power well beyond her age.  Furthermore, she is once again interested in Kenric standing by her side as they rule the world and she knows about Emily.  Oh good, nothing can go wrong here.  Except for everything that does go wrong including, lots of casualties, one of the Enclave going rogue and, Emily being captured.  And then there is the teeny tiny complication of Emily and Kenric discovering just how important they are to the other.  If they both survive the crazy, they may just have a shot at a real future together.

The Bottom Line: While I am not jumping around like a fool over this read, I did thoroughly enjoy it and have already purchased the second book in the series.  I can’t put my finger on anything specific in the negative category just like I can’t put my finger on any elements that would push this read to a 4½ or even 5-star read.  In a lot of ways, Undying Destiny is a very typical first-in-a-series book with a lot of groundwork being laid and a lot of preparation for the continuation of the series.  In some ways, I feel like the preparation for the future took something away from the actual read.  With this being said I see a lot of potential in this series and truly hope it gets better with each succeeding installment.

Links to find/buy Undying Destiny (Book #1: The Enclave Series):

Amazon       Barnes & Noble

Link to the anniversary post with tons of sweepstake links

Review and Sweepstakes: Morgan Kane: Without Mercy by Louis Masterson

Title: Morgan Kane: Without Mercy Author: Louis Masterson Format: Paperback, 128 pages Published: 2013  (first published 1971)

Title: Morgan Kane: Without Mercy
Author: Louis Masterson
Format: Paperback, 128 pages
Published: 2013 (first published 1971)

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

Kane was a born gambler. When he was taken to the cleaners in a rigged game of cards in St. Louis, he didn’t realize it was part of a private vendetta.

When they thought they had finished Kane off he was left for dead – but saved by the buzzards he survived. As a match to the Ranger’s star he carried, Kane had gained a star-shaped scar on his right hand – the hand that meant the difference between life and death to a ranger who lived by the speed of his draw.

Kane wanted revenge.

Source: Publisher

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

Morgan Kane is all man: he is tough and rugged, worldly and wise, and, both a lover and a fighter.  Kane loves his whisky as much as he loves his women, he is an accomplished poker player, can spot a cheat a mile away, believes wholeheartedly in justice, is quick with a revolver and, is absolutely dedicated to his job as a Texas Ranger.  For thirty plus years, simple living, travel, and dedication to his work have been all that Morgan Kane needs.  Oh sure, there have been a bevy of beauties to warm his bed but none he cared to stick around for.  And while he down his fair share of alcohol and has won and lost at the poker table, he has never had a gambling or drinking problem. 

Then there is the night that everything in Kane’s world begins to unravel: he loses roughly twenty grand at the poker table, he wasn’t able to spot the very cleverly hidden cheat, he got blind drunk and woke up the next morning with a splitting headache and a ticket to Fort Worth.  Still puzzling over the previous nights’ events, Kane boards the train only to find himself seated across from a beautiful woman who seems nothing but interested in him.  Seemingly, things are looking up until the moment Kane finds himself jumped from behind by three men who shoot him, more than once and throw him over the side of the train. 

Left for dead, Kane is certain his life will never be the same.  He has a gaping wound in his side, his shooting hand has been obliterated and he is pretty sure he was meant to die.  While he is (mostly) certain of all those things, he is at all certain about the who or the why of the affair.  And that, is reason enough to live.  Though the recovery is hard, Kane makes the most of it and eventually finds his way back into the real world.  With the help of a long-time, trusted friend and fellow Ranger, Kane discovers the location of the men (and woman!) who tried to take his life and sets out on a mission of justice.

The Bottom Line: Without Mercy started out just a bit slow but once the action began it kept up a steady and very good pace until the last chapter when there is a mad and somewhat weird race to the finish.   Without Mercy is not my normal genre but I was so into this book and looking forward to a slammin’ ending.  Unfortunately, what I got was awkward and so fast that I literally thought I had missed something and flipped back through the previous pages to be sure I didn’t miss anything.  So, with the exception of the wonky ending, I really enjoyed Without Mercy and would certainly recommend it to all YA+ readers.

Links to find/buy Morgan Kane: Without Mercy:

Amazon       Barnes & Noble

Link to anniversary post with tons of sweepstake links

Introducing Spotlight Saturday and Sunday

Squirrel with megaphone

Attention Authors!!!

Beginning in January, RoloPoloBookBlog is introducing a new feature, Spotlight Saturday and Sunday.  Yes, it is pretty much just what it sounds like: each Saturday and Sunday I will be more than happy to feature your new (or old!) books(s) on my blog. 

Want to do just a simple spotlight?  Sounds good to me!  Want to run a more in depth spotlight/feature with an excerpt or interview?  Sounds good to me!  Want to feature information about an upcoming/new release?  Sounds good to me!  Are you offering a sweepstakes and want me to add the link to the post?  Sounds good to me!

 I am also pleased to announce that the first spotlight/feature of the new year on Saturday, January 4, 2014, belongs to the fantastical Beverly Stowe McClure and her new book!!  The dates I have open beyond that for January include:

Saturday, January 11, 25

Sunday, January 5, 12, 19, 26

February dates include:

Saturday, February 8, 15, 22

Sunday, February 2, 9, 16, 23

Want one of these dates?  All you need to do is email me at rolopolobookblog@gmail.com and we can reserve a date and get the details hammered out.  Hope to hear from you soon!

starburst

Review and Sweepstakes: The Dark Light of Day by T.M. Frazier

Title: The Dark Light of Day Author: T.M. Frazier Format: Kindle Edition, 258 pages Published:  September 15, 2013 by Booktrope Publishing  ISBN: 1620151731 (ISBN13: 9781620151730)

Title: The Dark Light of Day
Author: T.M. Frazier
Format: Kindle Edition, 258 pages
Published: September 15, 2013 by Booktrope Publishing
ISBN: 1620151731 (ISBN13: 9781620151730)

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

Warning: This is not your typical romance. The story of Abby & Jake contains disturbing situations, graphic violence, sex, rape, strong language, drug use, and all types of abuse.

Abby has been through hell and has survived one of the most brutal childhoods imaginable…barely.  To the outside world she’s just a loner with an attitude.
When her grandmother dies in a tragic explosion, Abby is left with questions-and nothing else.  Homeless, sleeping in a junkyard, and on the run from a system that has failed her over and over again, she meets Jake, a tattooed blue-eyed biker with secrets that will rival her own.  Two broken souls that can’t be healed. They can’t be saved.

Abby & Jake must reveal to one another their most guarded secrets and discover if they can embrace the darkness those secrets hold-and the darkness within themselves.
If they can accept one another for who they really are, they might be able to learn that love isn’t always found in the light.

*stand alone novel, HEA in a twisted kind of way, no cliffhangers, no sequel*

Source: Publisher

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review:

As I am settling in to write this review, I looked the book up on Amazon and noticed it is listed as #1 Best Seller in the Urban Fiction category.  Damn right it is!!  T.M. Frazier’s The Dark Light of Day was an incredible read that I quite literally could not put down until I finished it. 

Abby’s life has been horrifying – her flashbacks and memories of her time with her mother are stunningly awful and something not even a fictional character should experience.  Surviving into her teens would not have been possible if not for her Jake beloved grandmother, a woman with infinite patience and unconditional love for her very broken granddaughter.  Just when Abby thinks a future may be possible, her grandmother is killed in a nasty explosion and Abby is once again at the mercy of the State. Determined never to go back into foster care and only months away from her eighteenth birthday, Abby works to avoid the State foster care worker and find a way to support herself until she is legal.

Jake’s life has been only marginally better than Abby’s.  Blamed by his father for the death of his brother and mother, Jake took the verbal abuse until the night the words turned into actions and Jake was nearly killed by his father.  Determined to never again be in such a vulnerable position, Jake leaves his father’s house and embarks on a very dangerous yet incredibly lucrative career.  No, I won’t tell you what that career is J 

On a very, very rare trip home, Jake briefly encounters Abby in a very awkward first meeting and then meets her again at a party and is intrigued by her.  But, Abby is seemingly with another guy and Jake has no intention of remaining in his hometown any longer than he has too so getting involved is not really an option.  Decision made, Jake moves on until the moment when he can’t.  Finding Abby cornered by the State worker, Jake signs on as Abby’s guardian never, ever expecting to fall head over heels in love with her.  But, can two so terribly broken people with dark and terrifying secrets ever really make a life together?

Though tentative at first, Jake and Abby slowly begin to trust and open up to one another.  Make no mistake, the walls these two have built up rival what Hadrian built in England but when kindred spirits find one another, miracles occur.  Though their relationship is new and Abby is very nervous, Jake and Abby are committed to one another and feel confident they can survive Jake’s short absence.  Unfortunately, neither Jake nor Abby are prepared for what’s coming and what is coming will change absolutely everything and turn everyone’s world upside down and dramatically impact their respective futures.  And thus begins the second half of the read.

The second half of The Dark Light of Day is just as impressive and tumultuous as the first half.  After surviving the unthinkable again, Abby is alone, scared and once again fending for herself.  But, Abby has proven herself a survivor in the past and she will survive this latest and most considerable setback.  And survive, she does.  Finding help in the most unlikely and unimaginable of places, Abby not only survives but makes a good life for herself and discovers that despite all the nightmarish events in her life, she can live a normal and even happy life.  And then, there is the most unexpected conclusion to this fine read.  and like Jake’s job, I will not tell you about the ending J

The Bottom Line: Holy Cats!!!  T.M. Frazier’s The Dark Light of Day is hands down one of the most beautifully horrifying and finely-crafted books I have read this year.  Make no mistake, this is not an easy read and deals with some very, very disturbing themes and subjects.  This book starts out dark moves straight in to darker and, then plants itself firmly in darkest.  This book is like a tragic train wreck, you just can’t stop watching or, in this case, reading.  I read this book cover to cover in one sitting and could not believe the twists, turns, and surprises that Frazier clearly has no problem throwing at her characters and readers.  While I would not recommend this book to readers below the age of 18, I would certainly recommend it to all those 18 and above who aren’t afraid of a walk on the dark side.

Links to find T.M. Frazier:

@TM_Frazier       Facebook Page       www.TMFrazier.com

Links to find/buy The Dark Light of Day:

Amazon       Barnes & Noble

RAFFLECOPTER SWEEPSTAKES

Link to anniversary post with tons of sweepstakes links

Review and Sweepstakes: The Blackstone Affair Trilogy by Raine Miller

Title: Naked Series: Book #1: The Blackstone Affair Trilogy Author: Raine Miller Format; Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 208 pages Published: August 25, 2012 by Raine Miller Romance   ASIN: B0092FJKFU

Title: Naked
Series: Book #1: The Blackstone Affair Trilogy
Author: Raine Miller
Format; Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 208 pages
Published: August 25, 2012 by Raine Miller Romance
ASIN: B0092FJKFU

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

Brynne Bennett is living the good life. An American art student at the University of London and part-time photographic model, she’s putting her life back on track with school and lots of hard work. When ultra successful London businessman, Ethan Blackstone, buys her nude portrait, he isn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer. He wants Brynne in his bed and makes plans to keep her there no matter what. His dominant nature captivates and ensnares despite the demons she carries inside her. But there are secrets in this relationship. Huge ones. Can Ethan free Brynne from the past that has marked her? Will Brynne let him or will the specters tormenting her resurface to destroy them both…

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review:

Whew . . . .what a way to start a trilogy!!  Raine Miller’s Naked is the first book in The Blackstone Affair trilogy and is also one smoldering read that had me turning pages almost faster than I could read. 

Brynne Bennett: American, grad student, part-time model, a woman with a sordid past and, the object of Ethan Blackstone’s attention.  Brynne moved to London to separate herself from her painful past and build a life of her own outside of scandal and heartache.  In the time since she left home, Brynne has become fiercely independent as well as confident and successful.  Other than reminders of her past, very little shakes Brynne or her confidence.

Ethan Blackstone: British (yummy!), intimidating, committed, successful, protective and, a man who will not under any circumstances accept “No” as an answer.  Especially if that answer is coming from Brynne Bennett.  After seeing Brynne (and most of her nude body) at an gallery opening, Ethan decides she belongs to him and confidently explains the situation to the young woman as he drives her home from the opening.  Though Brynne is somewhat taken aback by Ethan’s incredibly forward manner, she cannot deny her intense and instantaneous attraction to him and agrees to “date” Ethan Blackstone.  Oh, my!!

In this first installment of the trilogy, I found Ethan to be overwhelming in the most delightful way and his confidence, protective nature, and sex appeal are off the charts.  One can clearly see – even in the small amount of time they have known one another – that Brynne is beyond important to Ethan.  He is fiercely protective of Brynne and understands her past is something that can come back to haunt and hurt her at any given moment.  Just as Brynne begins to truly trust Ethan and open up to him about her background, a phone call comes through that shatters what the two lovers have begun to build. 

The Bottom Line: WOW!!  Ethan Blackstone is one smokin’ hot Brit and his story is fascinating to say the least.  His intensity and connection to Brynne is so strong and so swift as to be almost unbelievable.  BUT, Raine Miller has made me a believer by creating a rock-solid character who absolutely practices what he is preaching.  Add to this the fantastically hot naughty bits and Ethan’s colossal screw-up at the end and I was left absolutely beside myself and completely impressed with the exit Brynne made!!  On to book two . . . which I bought and began reading immediately after finishing book one 🙂

Title: All In Series: Book #2: The Blackstone Affair Trilogy Author: Raine Miller Format: Kindle Edition, 240 pages Published:  November 9, 2012 by Raine Miller Romance  (first published November 8, 2012)   ASIN: B00A45PY8E

Title: All In
Series: Book #2: The Blackstone Affair Trilogy
Author: Raine Miller
Format: Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published: November 9, 2012 by Raine Miller Romance (first published November 8, 2012)
ASIN: B00A45PY8E

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

The second part in The Blackstone Affair series! Looming danger. A love worth fighting for. A man who’ll go all in.

Ethan Blackstone has a problem on his hands. He’s broken Brynne’s trust and she’s left him. He’s unwilling to live without her and isn’t giving up—he’s dead-set on getting his beautiful American girl back. The passion between them was explosive, but the secrets they hid from each other are dark and chilling and are powerful enough to destroy their shot at a life together. With political threats now directed at Brynne, Ethan is running out of time and he’ll need to gather all his strength and agility to protect her from the dangers that could take her away from him forever. Will Ethan be able to save Brynne from a past that keeps her locked in fear? Will he ever feel the warmth of her touch, the solidity of her trust again? This is a love-struck man who is willing to do whatever it takes to possess the heart of the woman he loves. He’ll go to any lengths to protect her. He’ll go all in.

Here is the fiery story of what happens when two people surrender to a love so great it can heal the scars of the past and give way to a life of pure, rapturous ecstasy.

Source: Purchase

Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:  

Bloody crappin’ Hell!!  By the end of book one in The Blackstone Affair trilogy, I was left completely astounded.  How can such a beautiful, intelligent and confident man also be such a complete and total dumbass??  Oh, Ethan Blackstone how you shatter me.

All In opens with Brynne having left Ethan after discovering just how much about her past he really knows and how, precisely he came to be in her life.  What she once thought had the potential to be THE relationship has come crashing down around her thanks to one fateful phone call.  To say that Brynne is crushed doesn’t even begin to come close and she retreats into her own world so that she can move on and accept that her life will no longer contain Ethan Blackstone.  But, the dumbass just can’t take a hint and Ethan refuses to accept that Brynne has left him.

Ethan understands instantly that he has epically failed Brynne and violated her trust.  He further understands that trust is earned and will do absolutely whatever it takes to win back the woman he now realizes he loves.  Of course he realizes this after he has broken her heart!  Like I said, dumbass.  And so, like a man possessed, Ethan pursues Brynne in the hopes she will, at the very least hear his side of the story.  Ethan will take every risk necessary to win Brynne back, even opening up to her about his own very painful past and the scars he carries as a result of that past. 

Since this is only book two in a three-part series, you well know that Brynne agrees to take Ethan back and once again, the two begin to build a relationship.  Adding to the stress of the relationship is the fact that Brynne’s past has come to London and her very life may be in danger.  If you thought Ethan was protective in round one when there was only the hint of a threat, wait till you see him in action in round two.  Desperate to protect Brynne, Ethan discusses everything with her including the need to keep her safe and monitored on an around the clock basis.  She is stubborn and independent and very used to taking care of herself so, from time to time, Brynne defies Ethan and what she feels is his very over-protective nature.  Unfortunately, the past has come a callin’ and when Brynne’s life is threatened, Ethan takes action!!

The Bottom Line: Though I am still very much committed to this trilogy and will absolutely see it through to the end, I was not as excited about All In as I was about Naked.  Here are the complaints: Brynne needs to pull her head out of her ass!!  Ethan has told her on more than one occasion that her life is in danger yet she insists on doing things her way no matter the consequences.  She needs to wake the hell up and take some responsibility for her own safety!  And then there is Ethan: I still adore him and love how protective he is of Brynne but his jealous side is ugly and completely unbecoming.  I sincerely hope both characters get it together for round three 🙂

Title: Eyes Wide Open Series: Book #3: The Blackstone Affair Trilogy Author: Raine Miller Format: Kindle Edition, 352 pages Published: May 14, 2013 by Atria Books  ASIN: B00BEHGSEK

Title: Eyes Wide Open
Series: Book #3: The Blackstone Affair Trilogy
Author: Raine Miller
Format: Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published: May 14, 2013 by Atria Books
ASIN: B00BEHGSEK

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]

Synopsis:

The third part in The Blackstone Affair series: A love on the brink of being destroyed. The fight of a lifetime to keep it alive.
Big surprises are on the horizon for Ethan and Brynne as they struggle to adjust to what life has thrown at them. Demons from the past are threatening to destroy the passionate bond they’ve forged despite their vow that nothing will ever keep them apart. A truly devastating loss coupled with the promise of a new hope opens their eyes to what is most important, but is it possible for the lovers to move on from the painful histories that continue to haunt them? A stalker is still lurking in the shadows, plotting evil amidst the distraction of the 2012 Olympic games in London. Brynne and Ethan are on the cusp of losing everything as the stakes rise. Will they yield to circumstances beyond their control or will they give every ounce of fight they have left to save each other and win the ultimate prize of a life together?
Eyes Wide Open is a passion-wrought story that shows us what pure love can achieve when tested and what the heart can accomplish despite danger and adversity.

Source: Purchase

Rating: 3/5 stars

 My Review:

**THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!**

 Oh, my!  So, round three of The Blackstone Affair Trilogy is all about the death, despair and, destruction.   And fruit!  Eyes picks up pretty much precisely where All In ended, with Brynne and Ethan finally safe at his sister’s country home and still reeling from the madness of the night.  In a very real way, Brynne’s life has been threatened and Ethan and his crew are on high alert.  Frustratingly, Ethan is no closer to understanding the nature of the threat against Brynne and/or who is behind it.  So, with no information to go on at the moment, let’s just have sex.

While the time in the country is meant to be a sort of mini-vacation/keep Brynne safe trip, it quickly devolves into complete madness and despair.  In an effort to continue to protect Brynne in the best way he knows how, Ethan “proposes” to Brynne and tells her they will be announcing the wedding quickly so that it will all be very public thus making an attempt on her life much less likely.  He also decrees that Brynne will be moving in with him as soon as they return to London.  Though Ethan assures Brynne that he very much wants to marry her for real, he understands if the proposal and announcement aren’t real and won’t become so until she is ready.  WOW!!!  Just the type of romance every girl is looking for.  Adding to the mess is the fact that Brynne is, quite unexpectedly, pregnant.  While Ethan is quick to wrap his head around this news, Brynne behaves like a child, runs away and, texts Ethan their bail out/safe word!  As you might have already figured out, I am completely frustrated with these two and their respective behaviors at this point!

Once the show moves back to London, everything seems to come to a head quickly.  Brynne’s life is again threatened in a tangible way, Ethan once again devolves into a jealous, overprotective cave man (the photo shoot, UGH!!!) and, Brynne ignores the safety features that have been put into place to protect her.  Seriously??  Again??  Thrown into the mix are the ugly nightmares related to Ethan’s military past which he can apparently only be comforted about through lots of intense sex and smoking clove cigarettes.  By the time you head toward the end of the read, there is a ton of tension building and the proverbial sh*t hits the fan.  The big bad finally plays his hand and in a dramatic and somewhat odd ending, Brynne is saved and the threat to her life is eliminated once and for all. 

The Bottom Line: Let me be absolutely clear: I desperately WANTED to love this trilogy especially after seeing so many bloggers and reviewers whose opinions I trust and respect having really loved this series.  It just didn’t happen for me and as I continued to read each book, I became more and more frustrated with both Ethan and Brynne and their respective behaviors.  Furthermore, I found the reveal and wrap-up of the big bad to be awkward and a bit rushed.  Though, to be fair, I wasn’t sure about the identity of the big bad until near the end. 

So, the ultimate question becomes, did I like this series?  Honestly, I am in the middle where the series as a whole is concerned.  I really did enjoy the first book and never once considered DNFing any of the reads.  There are certainly no complaints where the author’s writing style, the plot in general, editing, etc. are concerned.  For me, it all just boiled down to me being very disappointed in two characters I started off liking.  BOO!!  And yes, I now feel like a complete boob for being in the minority on this one but, at least the review is honest 😦

Link to my anniversary post that has tons of sweepstake links

Review and Sweepstakes: Gold (Book #2: Bandia Series) by Talia Vance

Title: Gold Series: Book #2: Bandia Series Author: Talia Vance Format: Paperback, 408 pages Published: September 8, 2013 by Flux  (first published September 1, 2013)   ISBN: 0738734713 (ISBN13: 9780738734712)

Title: Gold
Series: Book #2: Bandia Series
Author: Talia Vance
Format: Paperback, 408 pages
Published: September 8, 2013 by Flux (first published September 1, 2013)
ISBN: 0738734713 (ISBN13: 9780738734712)

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

Descended from an Irish demigod, Brianna has fled to Ireland to escape destruction at the hands of her sworn enemies, the Sons of Killian. Taking refuge at the estate of her former nemesis, Austin Montgomery, Brianna discovers a rift in time that opens to an era before the feud began.

Wrestling with her newfound feelings for the more innocent Austin, Brianna begins to wonder if she can alter the past. But when Brianna and Austin learn that the Sons are raising an army of mythical beasts, the pair will need to use their magical strength in the present to avoid a tragic end.

Source: Netgalley/Publisher

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review:

Ireland is a wonderfully beautiful country (I know, I have been there) except when you are on the run and hoping to simply survive.  Brianna has fled her home and is en route to Lorcan Hall, the home of her enemy and the god she returned to Hell, Austin Montgomery.  Yeah, you read that correctly.  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer . . .

Completely unhappy with her situation, Brianna does her best to settle in to life in Ireland and keep abreast of the changes occurring in her world.  The Sons of Killian want her dead, her ex, Blake is a complete asshat, and despite not wanting to like him, Brianna finds herself drawn to Austin.  Let’s keep the awful rolling, shall we?  There is new god in town, Pwil – once Austin’s right-hand man in Hell – who is bound and determined to start a war that will result in “his kind” being returned to their “rightful place”.  Pwil’s very presence has sent out a sort of supernatural signal that is drawing the world’s supernaturals to Ireland and right to Brianna and Austin’s doorstep.  Though both want to avoid a war, they know it may be damn near impossible to prevent.

In her search for a solution to the supernatural smack down, Brianna inadvertently trips a trigger that opens a portal to the past.  Interestingly, the portal takes her to Austin and the time before he becomes a soulless god and guardian of Hell.  Brianna begins to see Austin – both past and present – in a completely different light.  Brianna also begins to wonder if she can shut down the current situation by altering the past.  Never, in a million years can Brianna envision what she discovers in her quest to save the world.  Her discoveries in both the past and the present are one of the strongest and most interesting aspects of this book!!  And no, I am not going to spoil it for you in this review 🙂

The Bottom Line: I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!  Vance has apparently never heard of the sophomore slump and came out swinging with Gold!!  There is so much going on in this book with the past, the present, the mythology and backstories, the addition of some new and seriously fun characters, the romantic element, the huge supernatural smack down and, the totally out of left-field ending.  With all of this, Vance could have easily lost her way and completely confused and frustrated the reader.  None of this happened and Gold has proven to be a fantastic follow-up to Silver.  Vance takes her time, builds her plot, evolves her characters and, keeps the reader desperate for more.  I highly recommend this read but caution the reader to begin with book one!!

Links to find/buy Gold (Book #2: Bandia Series):

Amazon       Barnes & Noble

RAFFLECOPTER SWEEPSTAKES

Link to anniversary post with tons of sweepstake links

Review: The Twisted Window by Lois Duncan

Title: The Twisted Window Author: Lois Duncan Format: Paperback, 183 pages Published : May 1, 1991 by Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group  (first published 1987)

Title: The Twisted Window
Author: Lois Duncan
Format: Paperback, 183 pages
Published : May 1, 1991 by Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group (first published 1987)

goodreads-badge-add-38px[1][1]Synopsis:

Tracy, a high school junior, becomes embroiled in the problems of a strange boy, who asks her assistance in “snatching” his half-sister from her father who has allegedly kidnapped her.

Source: Netgalley/Publisher

My Rating: 3½/5

My Review:

Life in Winfield, Texas is pretty sedate after having lived her entire life in New York.  But, for Tracy Lloyd, sedate is just fine.  Following the violent death of her mother and total rejection by her father, Tracy moved to Winfield to live with her aunt and uncle.  Each day is the same; Tracy wakes up, goes to school, stays out of the mix and walks slowly home so as to avoid interaction with her aunt and uncle.  For totally understandable reasons, Tracy has avoided getting close to anyone since the death of her mother.

Brad Johnson is new to Winfield but making friends is the least of his concerns.  Brad is single-mindedly focused on one goal and one goal only, enlisting Tracy Lloyd to help him get his little sister back.  For two days Brad has watched Tracy, talked to her and determined the best way to get her help is just to come right out with the story and hope for the best.  And so, on a park bench near her home, Brad explains to Tracy that his baby sister, Mindy has been stolen from his mother by her ex-husband and brought to Winfield.  His mother is devastated and the police won’t help so Brad has done the only thing he can, left home to get his little sister.  Though she generally trusts no one, Tracy believes Brad’s story and decides she can help him.

The situation for Mindy is desperate and Brad makes it clear to Tracy that his stepfather is a vile human with no regard for anyone but himself.  He has hurt Mindy before and most recently stolen her and hidden her away in Winfield.  According to Brad, the only way to get Mindy back is to take her.  In no time flat and with the sparest of clues, Tracy and Brad find Mindy and formulate a plan to get her back.  Tracy signs on as a baby sitter and Brad will simply slip in, take Mindy and leave Tracy tied up so she is in no way to blame.  After all, what crime is being committed?  Brad is simply taking back his baby sister, right?  As you might have already suspected, things are not as they seem and a does a kidnapping plan ever really go as planned?  In the shortest of order the plan completely falls apart and Tracy finds herself caught up in a mess that now involves a shotgun, a trapped father, a kidnapped child that may or may not be Mindy, and a young boy who is on the verge of total meltdown.

The Bottom Line: Though I found The Twisted Window to be an interesting and well-written story, there was nothing about it that really made me feel overly-excited or smitten with this read.  The plot is not overly complicated, the pacing is steady, Brad’s story is both heartbreaking and interesting and, Tracy, once she comes to her senses becomes a far stronger character.  And yet, even with all of this and a kidnapping, I still found The Twisted Window to be only a mediocre read.

Links to find/buy The Twisted Window:

Amazon      Barnes & Noble