A blog dedicated to reviewing and promoting the books I love.
This sequel was amazing! I love how the mythology is playing such a big part in the story with all these powerful beings. I also love how dynamic it's grown because it shines a light on how almost human and petty these, for lack of a better word, "gods" can be for world domination.
I like Emi's feisty nature and her quick retorts, but everything seems to come almost miraculously to her. She's also on death's door a lot. Her adventures, or should I say misadventures, move the story along, but it's something that's easy to overdo and I've met my quota for it.
Shiro has his true identity revealed in this novel and it was both exciting and devastating. His story is way more tragic than was visible in the first book. At this point, he almost seems to literally have battling personalities inside his head. I'm shipping Emi and Shiro, so it's bittersweet, to say the least.
I have a few theories as to how this series will end and I'm hoping I'm wrong on everything. I've never wanted a happy ending for a pair of characters like I want a happy ending for Emi and Shiro, preferably together.
The Audio Book:
The narration was great, but I still wish Emily Woo Zeller had a larger overall range of male voices so I could tell everyone apart easier.
I picked up this book because I loved the Steel & Stone series by this author. I love how she weaves a story and how intricately everything seems to be intertwined with something else throughout the story. With that said, I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did! The mythology around everything was very interesting and well done.
Emi was a multifaceted character and the writing helped translate that. Underneath it all, she's still a young girl who hasn't gotten to experience life because of something she was chosen for and accepted. I hated how everyone talked down to her even though they were the ones that ended up keeping a huge secret. Her choice to, essentially, "serve" was made on false pretenses and that broke my heart. Walking into that kind of situation blind and changing the direction of your life for it is the deepest betrayal.
I really liked Shiro. As secretive and standoffish as he was in the beginning, he eventually warmed up to Emi. Is it bad of me to want him and Emi to have a chance at a relationship? I know there are so many extenuating circumstances, but they're so cute together.
The one and only thing that bothered me in this novel were the names. I went through the same thing when I first started watching anime. I could remember the characters faces and the purpose they had in the story, but I couldn't, for the life of me, commit their names to memory. I haven't watched anime in a long time, so I seem to have regressed in that aspect. By the end of the novel the names were getting jumbled up in my head and I would find myself lost for a few seconds or so trying to understand the scenes. It's my own fault (which I will admit to). I'm just not used to it anymore, but I'm hoping to get better at it as the story progresses.
The Audio Book:
I liked the overall narration, but Emily doesn't have a very big range of male voices. There were characters that sounded like they were the same person by voice in a single conversation (which only helped with my difficulty in remembering the names of everything and everyone in this novel).
This was a cute ending to this series. I still wish that the author would have published full books instead of novellas after the first one released. Overall, I'm satisfied with the way the story was finalized.
I like Mickey's humor and how she usually pushes back on wasting money (even though Cale seems to think it falls from the sky). In this novella, we finally find out how she and Cale ended up meeting, which was something that never crossed my mind after I finished the first book. I wish the author had elaborated on the situation between Mickey and Richard (the blackmail and her having to work in his building). That would have made for some plot enhancing twists and turns.
Cale is incredible. He doesn't let life get him down, even with the hand he was dealt. I like the dynamic he and Mickey have. He seems to be insecure about their relationship and that was surprising because of everything they've gone through together.
Even though this ending was beautiful, I still keep catching myself thinking up of 'what ifs'. This could have made for a much longer and more exciting series without all the time jumps and more content. I will say though that the dialogue in this novel was way better when compared to the other 3 books in this series. The witty banter was on point throughout the story.
My Favorite Quotes:
"Today, I wouldn't fight the inevitable. I'd surrender willingly."
"She challenged me, lured me to the edge of reason, pushed me off the f*cking cliff... And caught me every single time."
"She was my once-in-a-lifetime. My too-good-to-be-true."
* Be warned: This review turned out more negative than I intended it to.
This novel was better than the first one in this series, but not by much. The lack of detail about how the MC worked (hierarchy, are there more members than presented, how they get their money) bothered me. The universe the author created could have been so much better if it had been fleshed out beyond the couples story and the few other "member" interactions. The chemistry (yet again) was nowhere to be found, for me, in this novel.
I liked Laynie's spunk and sense of humor. Even though she's blind, she doesn't stop living life to it's fullest. It's mentioned that she works with people who are having a hard time adjusting to being blind. I wish we could have sat in on a session because the author skims over it. It would make for a very interesting side story.
Tease (aka Trevor) intrigued me in the first novel, but he didn't captivate me with his novel. I understand that he's had it very rough growing up. He came off very one dimensional, I think there should have been more (emotional) range to him as a character.
The deaths and violence that was going on felt like an afterthought that was just thrown into the story without building anything up to it. The ending was resolved way too easily. Everything came together too quickly to be believable. Another thing that bothered me was that the swearing felt forced. I don't know how to explain it. I have no problem with swearing (I actually quite enjoy it), but the way the dialogue was written made it seem forced and unnatural. We can all agree that just because these are supposed to be "bad*ss bikers" that not everyone has to swear like a sailor at all times.
The Audio Book:
The narration (for both narrators) was nice. I could distinguish each individual character while I was listening.
* I was provided an eARC of this novel by the author in exchange of an honest review.
I'm so glad I gave this series another chance after reading the first novel. It's proved to be so good! My expectations were surpassed and I loved every second of it. I'm already anxiously awaiting for more books in this series.
I'm not the biggest fan of Kendall, but I can respect where she's coming from. I didn't like how she would turn her rage on and off at the drop of a hat. All the pointless arguments with André and her bringing up her apparent death wish were getting old. She was so unpredictable in her actions and her words. As much as I liked her feistiness, I wouldn't want to interact with her with a ten-foot pole.
I'm glad André finally got his book! He's played the side character for long enough. It was nice getting to know him and how fierce and in control, he needs to be to run his company. Kendall was a handful since he met her and, in a way, they were perfect for each other.
On a completely separate note, I can't wait for Hero to get his book! His 'ending' with Kendall was bittersweet and heartbreaking, in a way. He needs a chance at a real happy ending.
One last note: Would it have killed anyone to write in a condom in this story? I was cringingly awaiting for the pregnancy plot twist to drop for SO long. I'm glad it didn't. Better safe than sorry is my motto for life though.
My Favorite Quotes:
"Save yourself, little one. (...) Because no one else will."
"Sarcasm wasn't my best friend, it was my lover."
"Your past will either define you or motivate you. It is a choice."
Something seemed off about this story/book and I can't quite put my finger on it. I never connected emotionally with the characters and I didn't see the chemistry that Ryker and Charlotte had. Throughout the story, it felt like the story was told at me instead of me being present while everything happened.
I liked Charlotte as a character. She had a backbone and stood up for what she thought was right. I understood her protective nature towards her sister, but I don't think what her sister did to her ever really sunk in. Had I been in her shoes, I would never want to see her again. I'm stubborn, I'm happy to admit to it.
I don't know how I feel towards Ryker. He had this hot and cold thing going on with Charlotte and it got annoying after the first time. I can understand he had to work everything out in his head to let Charlotte in, but he doesn't get the right to play with her feelings during that period of time.
The ending was predictable. It was made even more obvious when Charlotte decided to run away (why has this been a theme in the books I've been reading lately?). I was so disconnected from the characters by that point that I found myself thinking "everything that happens to you after this point is your own damned fault". It's cruel and a punishment no one deserves, but my head just wasn't in the story anymore.
The Audio Book:
This is one of the few times I'm probably going to say this, but I loved Roger's narration. His voices were very relaxing and I liked how he made an effort to make the female voices more high pitched and less gruff than his own. Jayne's narration was nice as well. I could always tell the character's apart from both narrators intonations.
I'm disappointed with how this novel turned out. I was expecting so much more. My expectations were apparently too high and I've been let down. I think this had the potential to be a full length novel because of the blackmail plot point that was brought up towards the end. I would have liked for the author to elaborate on it and make it a more cohesive part of the story (with a certain degree of drama).
Mickey is a wonderful character. She's stubborn, feisty and does what she can to protect Cale. Though it sometimes ends up biting her in the *ss, she still has his back. I don't understand, though, why she kept the blackmail from Cale until it exploded in his face.
Cale is a sweet heart. He has his "alpha" moments, but he's overall caring, bullheaded and protective of Mickey. He'll do whatever is in his power to protect her and that's what I most admire about him.
On a completely different note, I wish the author would start to situate the reader in certain scenes. There were scenes that would be half a page long and would leave me confused because I wouldn't know who was talking to whom and where they were until after the fact. So it wouldn't mean anything to the story in my head until much later when context was finally added by the characters in a completely different conversation. Overall, I'm disappointed in this book but I would still give the next book in this series a chance. I like the characters and I'm invested enough to want them to get a happy ending.
My Favorite Quotes:
"I could empathize with movie villains. I could understand the temptation. The willingness to shut everything down in a split second with no hesitation and zero remorse [...]."
"Sneaking suspicions aren't natural to me. Exit strategies have always been my forte."
"And you know what they say about lies, right? They always surface. They always catch up with you. They always come out in the end."
Book Rating: 3 Stars
GraphicAudio Rating: 5 Stars
* For this review I decided to have different ratings for the story and the GraphicAudio narration.
I'll start this review by saying that the GraphicAudio book saved this story for me. This novel started off very interesting and exciting. Halfway through it, I was starting to question whether I truly wanted to finish reading it or not.
Dante Valentine is presented as this kick*ss heroine who does what she has to do and doesn't take any sh*t from anyone. That was only in theory. In actuality, she couldn't even get her friends to respect her decisions. She let people drag her around and play her like a puppet. At first, I thought it was strategic planning on her part. It later turned out that I was wrong.
I love to hate Jaf. He's mysterious in just the right way. He's one of the few things that kept me coming back to this novel again and again. The level of deceit from his part in this story is very believable but I'm still holding onto hope that it's all a farce. Though what he did to Dante makes me question whether he knows/cares about consent.
Am I the only one who absolutely hated Dante's ex-boyfriend. He got on my nerves SO much. He included himself in situations he had no reason to be in. He's left her once what's to stop him from doing it again? I don't care that he had a perfectly valid reason. It can't and won't erase the past. It also made the ending that much more horrendous.
There were a few things that got under my skin a few hours into this novel/audio book. The number one being the word "portugeso" (I listened to the audio book, so this word is probably spelled wrong). It was never made clear if it's supposed to mean portuguese even though Dante was in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Also, there was a line of a brazilian woman saying "gracias" even though the official language in Brazil is portuguese, not spanish. Some terminologies that were used throughout the story were confusing because the explanation was either glossed over or nowhere to be found. At one point, it felt like I was missing something important. Eventually, it felt like there was a novel that I should have read before this book.
Overall it was a nice story, but it isn't something I'd be lining up to reread any time in the future. I will probably try and make myself at least start the next novel in this series. The ending has me vexed to an alarming level. Why the heck did it end like that?!
GraphicAudio did an amazing job on this audio book. It's the main reason I ended up finishing the novel in the first place. This is one of the best things I've discovered in the last few years and I'm very impressed. I always wanted to know what it'd be like if the audible audio books I usually listen to would get more narrators and special effects. GraphicAudio did that and so much more and I love it! The one criticism I have for this audio book, in particular, is that there were times that the narrator would get drowned out by the background music/effects.
P.S. The characters were in Brazil. Where was the stereotypical samba music when they were on the streets? :)
I wish this had been a full length novel because it ended too fast. I loved having the opportunity to glimpse into Cale's mind. I wasn't expecting to find what I found while in there. This was a beautiful novel. The author's writing style is amazing.
Being in Cale's head in no easy place. You could probably say that about most people, but he's had it especially tough when you consider he's a paraplegic and prideful to a fault. He's worked so hard to overcome his disability in so many ways that he isn't accustomed to having someone want to help him. His pride gets in his way and it makes his relationship with Mickey that much more difficult because she doesn't back down very easily. His insecurities about his disability and why Mickey is still around also get in his way very often. The way he deals with the consequences isn't always pretty or smart.
Mickey is more in the background in this novel but plays a part that's just as important. She's very stubborn but, unlike Cale, she'll back down when she deems the argument pointless. That only serves to irritate Cale even more, which ends with him saying something he'll regret. I liked how she dealt with his verbal assaults. At the end of the day, I think they both realize that their relationship is worth more than their stubbornness.
The ending was very sweet. The on and off relationship dynamic they have going on is starting to get annoying because this is the second book in this series in which this happens. I'd have hoped they'd have gotten over that triviality by now. Overall, this was a very eye-opening book and it does justice to the first book.
My Favorite Quotes:
"Everyone has a limit. Everyone has a breaking point. [...] He would much rather die than allow you to witness it. That's the problem with loving a superhero."
"One minute you're fine and the next minute... Everything just collapses around you. And the whole f*cking world caves in."
I'm still in the dark about so many important aspects of this story, yet I keep coming back for more. I don't know how this story got me into its clutches so tightly. All I can say is that I'm happy where I am and that I need the continuation to this series as soon as humanly possible.
Raven seems to be as sneaky as ever with all the eavesdropping she does in this novel. She's getting bolder and has developed a strong personality and quite the backbone. The memory flashbacks were interesting to experience. It put the love interest in a much better light than he was in from the first novel.
Rhyland is on his way to winning me over. This novel explains most of the annoying quirks he had in the first novel that got under my skin. It also explains how the curse initially was set in place (which was very interesting to see).
Kingsley's last chapter blew everything out of the water. Throughout the story, it never seemed like he felt the way he did. Even if it did, wasn't he just being his sarcastic and aloof self? I have a prediction for how his storyline intertwines with everything else and I sincerely hope that I'm wrong.
I loved the vampire sayings the author adapted into this novel. They were very cute and I caught myself smiling quite a bit because of them. The cliffhangers in this series, on the other hand, are killing me. Here's to hoping the wait for the next novel isn't too long from now.
My Favorite Quotes:
"Love has a way of making creatures think irrationally. Take their love away completely, and they lose their minds."
"I always want the truth, Kings, no matter how much it hurts."
"I have a hero complex and would never pass up the opportunity to save a damsel in distress."
This book was incredible! The witty humor and the stubbornness of the main characters kept me coming back for more. This was also my second time reading about a paraplegic main character and it didn't disappoint. It made it all the more evident the everyday struggles a paraplegic has to go through on a daily basis.
I saw so much of myself in Mickey (aside from the similar nickname). She's as imperfect as they come and that makes her an amazing character. She stutters, mixes up answers to questions, is prideful and makes mistakes (i.e. the hotel scene with her ex which had me shaking my head the entire time). I understand why she kept her past a secret, but it was still heartbreaking to see her relationship slipping through her fingers. I'd like to point out that before everything was revealed I could have sworn that I had missed something big, or that my iPad had corrupted the ebook in someway because I could have sworn that there was a page or two of critical information missing because the author kept me (the reader) in the dark until the very end. It ended up paying off, but it had me very confused up to the reveal.
Cale was so cute from the start. I loved how much of a nerd he was on some subjects and his sense of snarky humor was on point for the entire novel. He was also as stubborn as Mickey and that made their relationship all the more entertaining to read about. It was different, for me, to read about a paraplegic hero and I wasn't disappointed. He made it a point to overcome his disability as much as he could and for that he's earned my respect.
Looking back on the story it seemed very long winded, but it didn't feel like it (if that makes any sense). I think the on and off relationship and the limbo phase that it took could have been cut down and made for a faster paced book. At one point it's mentioned that Mickey and Cale's relationship spanned 3 months, but the way the book was set up it felt like at least a year. Overall, this book was great!
My Favorite Quotes:
"I was cruising around in the Batmobile on my nightly patrol of the city when I happened to come across Mickey, who was in desperate need of a superhero."
"Sometimes, once-in-a-lifetime means precisely that. Sometimes, you lose something great. Sometimes you don't get a second chance. Sometimes, you can't get it back."
"You go through life expecting paper cuts. You go through life learning from knife wounds. You go through life surviving the rest. Sometimes, you lose a piece of yourself that you can never get back."
I can't put into words how much I love this series! This is my second time reading this novel in particular and it's just as good as when I first picked it up quite a few years ago.
Cat seems to have left her goody two shoes behind in the last novel. This time around she's an incredible fighter and tries not to take sh*t from anyone. Especially her mother (which is still as annoying as ever). I dislike how she still manages to keep her half baked "plans" from Bones because all it does is cause uncomfortable situations.
I like Bones. He'll take names and drop bodies in no time and still protect Cat to the best of his ability. He's sweet in a completely violent way and it suits the story.
The ending felt abrupt and out of place. I would have preferred the next novel start out with the Dave situation. It would be a mild cliffhanger, but, for me, it would be small enough to not make anyone angry. Overall, this was a fantastic novel and very well written.
The Audio Book:
I still haven't gotten over how high pitched and strange Bones voice is. I love the story and I have no problem with anyone's voice other than Bones. I like british accents as much as any other person, but why does it have to be so high pitched? With that as an exception, the rest of the narration was very good.
My Rating: 4 and a half stars
I can't even begin to express how much I adore this series so far! I wish I'd have waited for the whole series to be out before I started on it though. Each book has so many little nuances that I'll likely forget most of them because of the gap in between the time I read each book as they're releasing.
Raven is such an amazing character. She's a fighter with a chip on her shoulder and won't take anyone's sh*t. I like how the author is developing the relationship between her and Christian as well. It's sweet and snarky at all the perfect moments. I was caught off guard by how funny their one liners are.
Christian is a character that has grown on me since the Mageri series. I appreciate his innuendo laden jokes and his overall charisma. He's an entertaining character and I'd love to see a happy ending for him.
I've grown attached to most of the Keystone gang, but I can't help and want to know more about Shepard's storyline (which was left as a minor and infuriating cliffhanger). I had an inkling that the author would throw this curveball, I just didn't anticipate how on edge it left me feeling.
In conclusion, this series has proved itself to be incredible. I would have preferred to binge read it when it concludes, but it's too late for me now. It caught me in its web. I continue to hope that after this series is complete that we get spin-off series for the characters in Keystone.
The Audio Book:
Nicole Poole has grown on me as a narrator. I love her narration for this series in particular. Though I have to mention that at the end of the book when Shepard was talking to Patrick, Patrick's voice would turn into Christian's for the span of a few words then it would go back to Patrick's voice. That was the only time the narration made me question how was actually having the conversation. Other than that it was great!
This was such a good book! The time seemed to fly by even though the audio book was over 10 hours long. This novel was very well written and steadily paced. The next book can't get to me fast enough.
Raven is an amazing character. She's very strong willed, with a questionable moral compass that most don't understand. At the end of the day, she does the right thing, but won't shy away from wanting to deal out her version of justice.
Christen has grown on me even more after I read the Mageri series. I adore his snarky and most times vulgar sense of humor. It seems Raven is gaining his respect and he's at a loss as to what's next for them.
The side characters left a big impression this time around. I especially want to know more about Gem and Shepard. I hope that after this series is done that there will be a book/novella for a few of the characters in this novel to get a happy ending.
The ending was very sweet. I liked how the title finally made sense to the story. I have a vague theory as to what the Keystone group will be up against in the third novel.
The Audio Book:
Nicole Poole doesn't disappoint. Her narrations are incredible. Every character (male and female) have very realistic and distinguishing voices.
It feels so good to reread a series that you love. I've been in a reading slump lately and one of the few things that will help me get out of it is rereading books that I know I adore. This series has officially stood the test of time. I would go so far as to consider it a classic of the urban fantasy/vampire genre.
I love Cat for her witty retorts and her stubborn streak. She's one of the first heroine's that I had the pleasure of meeting. She still manages to stand out today (several hundred books down the line). Though I still don't agree with her withholding important information from Bones, I can understand why.
Bones is incredible. Though he can come off as quite a jerk, I warmed up to him and his dry humor pretty quickly. I liked how the author portrayed the lengths he'd go to protect, help and save Cat as the book progressed. Though his voice in the audio book rubbed me the wrong way, I did eventually get used to it.
I still dislike the ending, but I know the adventure is only getting started. This whole series is written so well. I wished it had gone on for longer than seven books.
The Audio Book:
I enjoyed Tavia Gilbert's narration, but her voice for Bones still leaves something to be desired for me. His pitch is unusually high for a guy that it threw me for a loop. I did, eventually, get "used" to it but it still bothers me.
This companion novel made the series that much better! I loved every single story, but Lyre has found a special place in my heart. I enjoyed seeing the same situations from a perspective that wasn't Piper. I like Piper, but being in Lyre or Ash's head is much more interesting considering they've been alive for centuries (it seems) and are much more knowledgeable in everything than Piper is.
If you couldn't tell by now, I adored being in Lyre's head. Annette Marie did this character justice with her writing and I'm so happy for that! Lyre proved to be just as secretive and intriguing as I was expecting him to be. I'm officially hyped for his prequel series.
Looking from Piper's eyes I assumed Ash would have complicated and tumultuous thoughts. From the stories from his point of view, he came off as nonchalant. It almost felt like a calm before the storm. It was interesting but not as interesting as Lyre.
Overall this was a collection of interesting stories and makes an amazing companion to the original series. These stories gave me a much better understanding of Ash and Lyre which would make re-reading the Steel & Stone Series that much more fascinating.
My Favorite Quotes:
"Once, Ash had called Lyre an angel of death. Tonight, he would do the name justice. "
"Incubi are lover's, but no woman's true love."
"The past lies in rest, its ghosts long slumbering, and I would not disturb them. Let us begin again."