A blog dedicated to reviewing and promoting the books I love.
This was still only an OK read even when compared to the only other novella I read in this series By Kim Loraine titled Forever Claimed. I liked how the story was written. It wasn't overly rushed and the story was interwoven enough to justify the fast bonding while giving the two main characters each a reasonable backstory.
Evangeline was an average character. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time for this story to unfold. She's a fighter but has a "dark" past that damaged her beyond belief (in her eyes).
Ivan was also just OK. He doesn't have enough dialogue in the story for me to get a feel of what his personality actually is aside from being infatuated with the heroine.
The ending was where this dropped the ball for me. It was rushed unlike the rest of the story. This also was way shorter than the other novella I read. So this author could have made the ending less rushed and chose not to.
My Favorite Quotes:
"We will all die eventually. And none of us are guaranteed another day with any certainty."
"As someone who grew up on books about schools for witches and doors to magical lands, I'm 100% down for finding some real magic in a world that is far too bleak most of the time."
"It is our imperfections that make us truly beautiful."
This book started off slow but boy did things get good when they finally got going! I didn't know what to expect at the end and the twist the author threw took my breath away!
Fallon proved to be very capable with and without Asher by her side. Considering this book picks up a year after the end of the first she's still grieving the deaths in the first book and has been working on her fighting skills to find Asher. She's a good and loyal friend. She also proved that she has a backbone that's emerging. With the twist the author threw in at the end I'm really excited to see where she goes from here.
Asher was so damn sweet in this novel! I also loved how the author switched up a few social norms in their relationship! He's protective, caring and wants to do right by her regardless of anything or anyone else.
You're probably getting tired of me mentioning this mysterious twist, but OMG it was so good and it'd be such a huge spoiler if I were to mention it! With that being said, I'd also like to understand how and why it happened in the first place though and how the community and Asher are going to deal with it going forward.
My Favorite Quotes:
"Everyone has an angle, love, you just have to make sure not to get hurt on their sharp edges."
"Strength isn't an appearance, Princess. It's a presence, a feeling kept in your core, waiting to be freed."
"[...] Not everything beautiful is intentionally made and not everything intentionally made is beautiful."
I'll start off by saying that this wasn't my favorite book in this series. The reason behind it is a totally subjective personal annoyance for me, which is: kids, even worse annoying kids. That's it. The writing and the overall pacing of the story were amazing. Would I have liked a little more Christian and Raven witty banter? Sure, but I'm happy with what I got either way!
On a positive note, we got to know much more about Niko. It shined a spotlight on the problems his past has brought up in past books in the series! It was fascinating to see who he is today and what people in his past think of him as. Too bad that story finished at a mother of all cliffhanger!
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I also adored getting a glimpse into Claude's past. I'm looking forward to getting to know more about everyone's individual stories and struggles. It was so exciting having Switch finally be a part of Keystone while still not being part of Keystone (if that makes sense).
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Raven got into some interesting situations! I love her one-liners and there are so many awesome quotes to be extracted from these novels. I wish there had been more Raven and Christian time, though. At the same time, I like how they're not dependent on each other. I like how they respect and care for one another while, at the same time, not smothering and being overprotective. Christian needed more page time! I adore his one-liners and the sassy and out-of-this-world expressions he uses.
The ending was amazing yet bittersweet. The main Keystone storyline ended on a hopeful note, which was great considering how dark thing got in between. On the other hand, the storyline of the disappearance crushed my soul. I hope everything gets resolved in the next book!
The Audio Book:
The narration was amazing! Nicole Poole has a wide range of believable accents and tones both male and female. I never got lost in any dialogue.
This book has been on my TBR pile for years and I'm SO sorry I didn't get to it earlier! This was a very intriguing story with a different take on vampires and the mythology behind them. The world the author constructed left me wanting to know more.
Fallon proved to be a kick-butt heroine! She may have been raised in a dystopian world where the government controls everything about your life but the fight never left her. Her mother set these events in motion so she could have a chance at "normal" or as normal as can be the world they live in.
Number 44 really stood out to me for some reason. I like how he's also a fighter but respectful and caring of the people that helped him. The plan they set in motion was for his benefit in a way as well but he wasn't forcing Fallon into it.
The ending broke my heart! You can do whatever the heck you want to the characters but don't you dare hurt an innocent dog trying to protect their owner! I'm really interested to know what happens next!
My Favorite Quotes:
"I don't ask serious questions. Because deep down, I know it's safer not knowing."
"Sometimes you don't see the gifts you're given. You count your losses, not knowing there are more things out there worth gaining."
"But your future is here. We can't change the past no matter how often we revisit it [...]."
I don't know what I was expecting but this novel ended up surprising me in a good way and in a bad way. Everything felt rushed and that's coming from someone who has DNFed quite a few series by this author because the writing was too descriptive and the plot very slow moving.
Lexi was entertaining in this book, I'll give her that, but that's about it. Her sense of humor is great and her protective nature toward her wards is so sweet to see but I still have a problem with the amount of power she can wield with, what still seems to be, minimal training, up to this point. Her relationship with Kieran is interesting with all the power and bonding thing they have going on.
Kieran seems to trust Lexi more and I actually started to like him better in this book. He's still protective of her but now he knows that she can somewhat take care of herself. I liked how he backed off and let her breathe on her own.
The ending was interesting! The big battle is what the past two books have been gearing up for and it was action-packed. I'd like to see what the next big-bad is and how they're going to solve it in future novels in the series and deal with their relationship at the same time.
The Audio Book:
The audio book was OK. I can only listen to Khristine Hvam while sped up to 1.25x. Her narration is good but I like to set a faster pace for authors that I know have naturally descriptive writing. She has a nice range of male and female voices with and without accents.
I've learned to be accepting of open-ended stories (which this one turned out to be). Even though I don't love them it gives me hope that there will be future books/novellas in this series.
I liked that Alana went after what she wanted in this story. The whole pining after someone is great and all but it does get old eventually. She took action and made him see what the situation was and make up his mind about it. I also loved how her power has been slowly growing over the course of the last two books and seeing what she's capable of doing now.
Liam was very wishy-washy this time around. He usually has this tough and aggressive exterior but Alana seems to thaw him out a bit. Not enough to stop with the back and forth but enough to make him want a future he isn't sure should even be an option.
I appreciate how big of a role the secondary characters played in this finale! They were fleshed out characters with their own distinct personalities and quirks that didn't get lost in the complicated plot this story featured. I would love to see a spin-off with Lilah and maybe even Thom. Vicky is getting her own series but reverse harem, even though it does go with who she is as a character, isn't for me.
The ending for now and the special bonus epilogue were sweet. Having them share a special moment after everything they been through was well deserved. I hope their story isn't over because I would love to go on another adventure with this group of characters in the future!
My Favorite Quotes:
"[...] You're not doing anyone a favor by making choices that makes you miserable."
"Alone, we survive. Together, we live."
"I'm no princess, and I don't want a damn prince. I want this. You. Me. Scars and all."
You're probably getting tired of hearing me gush about most books by this author. I just feel the urge to scream out at whoever will listen about how good Sybil's books are! Her writing is improving with every book release and if you're looking for action this novel, in particular, is definitely for you!
Ty was a mystery from past books in this series. He's been portrayed as mean and rude with some glimpses of him being caring in rare instances. I liked how the author portrayed him. He's not necessarily an anti-hero but he's far from a saint. He doesn't shy away from inflicting violence if the means justify the end. That's always who his character was (even in past books) and that didn't change with his story and finding someone he could love other than his family.
I have a love/hate relationship with Ludeviene. She comes from a filthy rich family and an upbringing to match. She's been sheltered and seems to have a very overprotective father who likes to keep up appearances. The thing that I didn't love about her was her not speaking due to shock/panic. I can understand that shock and panic can make the human brain not function properly but, storywise, it caught me off guard.
I love how the author incorporated ASL (American Sign Language) in this story! If I were ever to learn a third language it would probably be sign language.
The ending was heart-shatteringly sweet. It was pain and sadness and wanting a happy future sort of moment and I can't fault the author for how she ended Ty's story. On a completely different note, I really really really really want a story on Myles (Neil's nephew)! Would it be naive of me to hope Callus is about him?
My Favorite Quotes:
"[...] I didn't equate survival or self-defense with murder."
"I didn't know how to live."
"No one had ever trusted me to take care of myself."
This novel started off good but by the middle it started dragging on. There's only so much a secondary character can do to keep me interested in the story. If it wasn't for the narrator this novel would have probably ended as my first DNF of 2019.
Alexis has a great sense of humor, but what came off as an ability to drive people in circles and make them believe things were moving in the right direction turned into being dragged along into dangerous situations and solving things by pure chance and coincidence. I also hate how "untrained" she is but everything comes to her SO easy or by pure chance. I also don't understand why she loses her ability to think like a rational human being when Kieran is around. It was cute in the beginning. We've moved past that by now. She's lost her shine and I don't know if I want to go through all this again in a future book for this series.
Kieran was something in this novel alright. I don't get the appeal to him. He's domineering, controlling and expects everyone to jump when he says jump. I also remember (from the audio book) towards the end that he says something along the lines of hearing the word no from Alexis only excites him farther. That's not a sentence I ever want to hear from anyone, ever.
Daisy was the bright star in this novel! I want to read about her story, without having to deal with Alexis and Kieran. Mordecai didn't play a huge part in the book but I would also love to get his story sometime in the future. Heck, I'll even take reading about Kieran's Six and how they eventually get their happy endings. Alexis and Kieran just aren't doing it for me.
Overall, I'm not sure I want to know more about this series. The world the author created feels huge and intricate but the characters aren't helping keep me invested in it.
The Audio Book:
The audio book narration was great! I could differentiate all the characters and didn't get lost in any dialogue. It was overall relaxing and probably one of the reasons I finished reading this novel in the first place.
I've tried and failed to read through quite a few books by this author. The stories and concepts she writes about are amazing but the writing style isn't for me. Her stories tend to be more on the description side with a slow and steady pace to everything. With determination, I overcame that for this story.
The overall story is very interesting! The world the author created feels big and ominous. The stakes feel real enough to drive the characters along without it feeling forced.
I like Alexis' sense of humor. She has the uncanny ability to drive people in circles all the while convincing them they're going in a straight line. Though the swear words disguised as silly phrases didn't really mesh with what was presented. It gets even stranger because her wards swear more than her.
I love to hate Kieran. He's just the right amount of caring and vulnerable to offset how creepy, stalkerish and domineering he can be. There were moments I wanted him to burn in a lake of fire but then he'd say something sweet or *gasp* apologize for something that he did. I just don't know what to think of him at this point in time.
I usually stay away from novels that have kids in them. I consider Malachi and Daisy children regardless of how old they are because they are in the care of Alexis. What ended up surprising me was how much I liked Malachi. I still want to know what ends up happening to him and his situation. Daisy's antics were also fun to listen to. If this series doesn't end up presenting a happily ever after for them I would love to get a spin-off series.
Overall this novel was only the tip of a very slow melting iceberg. There were a few really good moments and a lot of filler (for my taste). I'd like to know what happens next with Alexis and her team of misfits.
The Audio Book:
The narration was good. The voices were different enough for me to follow the dialogue throughout the story and not get lost on who was saying what. I will say that the narration is more on the slow side and even speed up to 1.25x it sounded completely normal.
I love the idea of this series of standalone books set in the same world while keeping the idea of what a vampire is consistent between all of them. This novel in particular, however, was not for me.
I understand that novellas are quick and short stories but I prefer them after I've read a full novel and have a grasp at who the characters are and what world they're in. This story felt too rushed. There wasn't much to anything if you exclude the mate bond. I wanted to get to know both characters, maybe have them share a full conversation and get to know each other apart from the bond for a period of at least 24 hours total before things progress any farther.
The action in this story was great, but everything got resolved so quickly to an unrealistic degree (even in fiction I have my limits). What could have been a recuse mission goes from kidnapped to wow-he-broke-the-door-down-and-the-other-guy-is-dead in the span of two pages.
I can't really comment on the characters because they didn't seem to have much of a personality other than I've-found-my-mate and your-mine-forevermore.
Maybe the problem with this book was me all along. I was expecting something with more depth and dare-I-say-it lore to the vampires this group of authors created. Everything felt surface deep and, try as I might, to understand I just wanted more than I got.
My Favorite Quotes:
"Even monsters can be heroes."
"Dying doesn't make anything special. Living does."
I may be biased but this is the best book in the series so far! I've been on Team Erza since the beginning and this book finally gave us a look into why he is how he is and so much more. For that alone, I consider this the best book to date in this series!
Now that I've gotten the fangirling out of the way, let's talk about the story. I can agree with a lot of other reviewers when they say Tori was in the background for the first half of this story, but it didn't bother me. She's human, she hasn't been training in any fighting style for most of her life like the warriors in the guild have. Unless we want her to get killed early on in the series I'm happy to let her take a step back every now and then.
I love how the author built this story up and organically introduced the main character for the spin-off series that will be intertwined with this one. I'm very curious about the new heroine and all the trouble she gets into with her demon companion.
The guys were awesome as always, especially Erza! I want to know more about his background and why he thought he had no other option than to become what he became.
The ending wasn't something I was expecting but it does make a lot of sense for the spin-off series to belong to the same guild. It'd be really interesting see how the author flips the demons-are-bad ideology this series has set up with the spin-off probably having one as a main character.
The Audio Book:
The narration was awesome! The voices were distinct enough to the point where I didn't get lost on who was who. This narrator is definitely growing on me!
I went through so many emotional highs and lows throughout this novel. I must applaud J. R. Ward's writing for having that effect on me because not many books do. For me, this was one of the books that featured multiple intertwined stories that I wanted to read regardless of if it was packed in one sole book or if it were a series of standalone stories.
The story I was most invested in, from the beginning, was Murhder's story. We met him briefly in a previous book for one scene and personally, I didn't find him very memorable, to begin with. This novel gave me a whole new perspective on him and his struggles. His past breaks my heart. The lengths he almost went through to get things over with was so sad. I loved that he finally got a happy ending with Sarah and the Brotherhood.
Sarah's story especially before she met Murhder was interesting all on its own. I really appreciated the head she had on her shoulders. It was fascinating to watch her life unfurl at the seams right before her eyes.
John Mathews' story was also heartbreaking but held my attention just the same (which was weird considering I still haven't read his book because I didn't initially love his character).
The ending was perfect! The most important storylines were wrapped up at a nice stopping point. There's still so much up in the air and I can't wait for the next installment of this series!
My Favorite Quotes:
"Grief is a cold stream you acclimate to."
"Destiny is not a straightaway. It's cluttered with corners and all of them are dark. We make the turns we do... and find ourselves where we are."
"[...] There was no unlearning the lesson that destiny was a douchebag and loss was more likely than gain."
I didn't know what I was getting into when I started this series, but OMG I need more and that cliffhanger was so evil! This novel was such a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows and I enjoyed it tremendously.
Everybody took so many blows throughout this particular book. I was amazed they were even standing by the end. The story keeps getting more and more complicated with, what seems to be, impossible odds. It's building up to something and I can't even begin to guess where we'll go from here.
Alana was slightly infuriating in this novel. I can stand the love triangle because the characters are well written but her need to keep secrets really effed everyone over in the end. At this point, it feels like everything she touches turns to dust. It started getting infuriating by the second half but then things started picking up speed and before I knew it the book ended.
I'm a little shaky in the team I initially picked but I'm still sticking with Team Liam. Let's be honest and say that no one is perfect and every one of these characters has done some sort of unspeakable or morally ambiguous thing either in the past or present. So I guess I'm saying I'll defend Liam until the end? Ahh...I don't even know how I feel at this point with how things left off with him.
Thom is a mystery to me, still. He's human and he's in the supernatural world regardless of his decisions. Honestly, I have no clue how he's even still alive (though the book does justify this a bit but it's spoiler-y so I won't mention it). He's a likable and understanding guy but I prefer the tortured soul for Alana in this particular story.
The ending hurt something deep down that I never knew books and/or fictional characters could touch. I can't wait for the answers that will come from the final book in this trilogy. On a last note, I loved the glossary of terms at the beginning of the novel. It was just what I needed.
My Favorite Quotes:
"Maybe we didn't need to fit into one of society's neat little boxes."
"When dreams fizzle out and reality bleeds into shadows, how can you tell if you're awake?"
"There is no forever. There is only here and now."
I'll start off by saying how not my style the relationship between Ren and Della was. When this book was close to getting released my Goodreads timeline was filled with reviews of this stating how amazing, incredible, beautiful this story was. All I can say is that I tried seeing where most people were coming from but I still feel way too icky to agree with it.
I found out a few chapters in that the writing style and pacing weren't for me. The writing style was too descriptive and detailed which ended up setting a very very slow pace to the story. There's too much detail in big chunks of this book where nothing happens. Things could have been summarized in a paragraph or two to cut down on the story. I only got through it because I sped up the audio book.
I can sympathize with Ren's situation and how hard and sad it was.(show spoiler)
I can also push myself enough to understand how he eventually cared for and raised her. The age difference doesn't bother me with their relationship. My problem is just the idea of falling in romantic love with your guardian/the-minor-you-raised crosses a line that I didn't know I had set in the first place. This is the second novel that features this type of relationship that I've read and I'm pretty sure it'll be the last.
Maybe it's just me but I wished we could have gotten more of Della's point of view after she was old enough to have coherent thoughts. The essay format her chapters had were weird and only took me out of the story.
The ending/cliffhanger was strange. Della essentially self-sabotages with the intent to cause Ren harm by proxy. Which, I'll be honest, I found quite dumb and foolish (but she is still a teenager I guess?) and it works a little too well.
The Audio Book:
Both narrations were great! I love it when audible does books in dual narration. That makes it so I can stand a male narrator with too deep of a voice that can't do a believable female voice reading to me because there's an actual woman reading lines meant for a female voice.
I keep getting surprised by how much I end up loving certain books and this is definitely one of those! The author does a great job of keeping me guessing and sprinkling information in strategic places to keep the story going. I liked the writing style very much!
Elidi was something alright! She's this supposedly powerful being and finds herself entrenched up to her neck in a world she didn't even know existed before the crap really hit the fan. I liked that she wasn't a woe-is-me kind of person or an I'll-stand-back-and-let-the-big-man-save-me kind of person. It made for a great story while moving at a steady pace.
I'm definitely on team Kol for this one! He's serious but he can joke around. Even though it's not officially official in their world he's doing what he believes is right. I like that quality in a character.
I loved the world the author built and how she made secondary characters so memorable and three-dimensional. It made for an even better and more realistic universe.
The one thing that bothered me in this book is deciphering whether or not this is a reverse harem novel. At times it seemed to subliminally swing towards that but then the heroine would state that she's set on one guy. It was weird. There's nothing mentioning it in the synopsis (as of scheduling this review) so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's not because it's not something I look for in the books I read.
A Note: After I finished the book I emailed the author inquiring about whether or not this series was going to be a reverse harem romance and her answer was yes. So it doesn't look like I'll be finishing this series even though I loved the world building and overall mythology the author created.
My Favorite Quotes:
"What's light without a little darkness?"
"The way to a man's heart is through his fourth and fifth rib [...]."
"You're the light. The sunshine. Remember that."
This book captured me in a way I wasn't expecting it to. I liked the overall dynamic the plot had in keeping the reader/the main character in the dark but it got frustrating by the second half. A few minor details did eventually come to light. The way the story left off makes it impossible for me to not pick up the next book.
Harlynn was an interesting character to a point. She usually finds herself at the right-place-and-time too often to be believable (even for a fictional piece of literature) for my taste. I liked the paranormal element the story had but, personally, I wish the author had punched it up more. It's barely there and when it really starts going the book ends.
Kingsley was the main reason I kept reading this novel. His secretive actions and overall shut-down demeanor did something great for this story. Though I predicted way too much of his actions at the beginning of the novel, I still liked seeing it all develop.
Foster was a jack*ss and I don't know everyone even liked him. After reading about him for 5 pages I could smell the BS rolling off him in waves. How anyone stands him would be my question to all the other characters in this novel.
One other problem I had with this book were the names for the male main characters. I couldn't get them right because they all sounded alike and pretty much blurred into one character in the early chapters. The names were identical to other characters this author has written about in other novels, so that also left me scratching my head. There are SO many names available why reuse the same names?
Overall this was a good book. It kept me intrigued until the end. Though the paranormal element could be put on a higher level I want to know more about what's going on.
My Favorite Quotes:
"Do you ever get the feeling that life is just one big, pathetic tragedy?"
"[...] Wanting something and getting it doesn't exist in my world."
"But what if there's more to death then just spirits."