Hannah's Words

Book reviewer and blogger of Romance and its subgenres, Mystery, Suspense, Horror, and Graphic Novels

ARC REVIEW From Flame and Ash by Carrie Ann Ryan

From Flame and Ash (Elements of Five, #2)Elements of 5 #2, This book pick up a year after Lyric returned home in that year she started college and trained with another person from the Maison realm. She knew it was only a matter of time before they needed her so she was prepared when it happened. Lyric has studied the history of the Maison realm and trained all that she can now she needs to awaken her other elemental powers. When she is called back it's not by her friend Rosemund and her brother Rhodes it's the new leader of the Obscurite, Easton.

Lyric learns that like the Obscurite the Lumiere has people against her and will do anything to keep her from becoming the Spirit Princess. Lyric and her friends, both new and old, must figure out who is behind this fraction that wants Lyric dead. New lines of the prophecy are learned just confusing everyone even more and Lyric deals with her new feelings for Rhodes and developing feelings toward Easton as well as learning to control two new elemental powers.

Overall, it was an outstanding book a great continuation of the series. Lyric's circle of friends and allies is growing but the cast isn't so large you get confused and with it being in first person it's easy to keep track of everyone with just the one POV. I love the action fighting scenes Carrie Ann Ryan is a wordsmith with description it's like a movie playing in my head it's so easy to visualize. She also does well when it comes to refreshing our memory on the events of the last book, but it would be best of the first book was read first. My only complaint is that Lyric gets a bit repetitive in her train of thought, I understand she's has a dilemma and is trying to sort through it but to mention one event over and over gets kind of tiresome especially when it's at the beginning of the book but the rest of the book is so awesome that it doesn't affect my star rating ( totally 5 stars).    
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

RELEASE BLITZ Surrender by A.K. Evans

 

 

 
Title: Surrender
Series: Cunningham Security #7
Author: A.K. Evans
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
with a touch of suspense
Release Date: November 19, 2019
 


Blurb

Is the risk always worth the reward?
 
Lennox ‘Leni’ Ford was always a rule follower. But obeying the rules has never led her to happiness. So, Leni listens to her heart. And though that’s left her feeling alone and rejected by her family, it doesn’t stop Leni from continuing to dive in head first. Even when she knows she may end up hurt.
 
Holden Locke is a brilliant man who’s always relied on logic to steer him in the right direction. But his good sense flew out the window the moment he saw Leni standing outside her torched yoga studio. Now he’s got a choice to make. Listen to reason and stay away or surrender to his feelings and take a risk.
 
Before he can stop it, Holden finds himself submitting to Leni’s allure. And it isn’t long before the pair are wrapped up in each other. But the faster Leni falls, the harder Holden pulls away.
 
And as Holden wages an internal battle with his emotions, neither of them realizes that Leni’s gearing up for the fight of her life.

 

 


 
Book seven of the series but can be read as a standalone. Holden and Leni met in book five and have been slowly moving, Holden, the big dork, doesn't want anything serious but he can keep away from her and ends up being hot and cold with her. As much as he likes her he can't allow himself to get attached. Leni is only hesitant because she can't figure him out, she agreed to a no strings affair but the attachment was already forming and she feels she brought this on herself. Holden's rejection doesn't help with her self esteem either already having been disowned by her parents for following her heart; the only person who has been in her corner is her Grandmother. On top of all the emotional turmoil going on just when they think they have it all figured out something happens that might take all that away.

Overall, it was a good read, it kind of reminded me of one of her other books. Holden and Leni are a great couple it just takes Holden a bit longer to realize it. Told in alternating first person the story is emotional between what happened with Leni and her parents and Holden and his past the two of them finally getting together was a bit of work. 





Purchase Links
 
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
 
Free in Kindle Unlimited
 
 
 
 
 
 
Also Available
 
 
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
 
All free in Kindle Unlimited
 
 
 
 
 
 
Coming Soon
 
 
Releasing February 11, 2020
 
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
 
 
 
Releasing June 16, 2020
 
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
 
 
 
 
 
 
Author Bio
 
 
A.K. Evans is a married mother of two boys residing in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania, where she graduated from Lafayette College in 2004 with two degrees (one in English and one in Economics & Business). Following a brief stint in the insurance and financial services industry, Evans realized the career was not for her and went on to manage her husband’s performance automotive business. She even drove the shop’s race cars! Looking for more personal fulfillment after eleven years in the automotive industry, Andrea decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.
 
While Andrea continues to help administratively with her husband’s businesses, she spends most of her time writing and homeschooling her two boys. When she finds scraps of spare time, Evans enjoys reading, doing yoga, watching NY Rangers hockey, dancing, and vacationing with her family. Andrea, her husband, and her children are currently working on taking road trips to visit all 50 states (though, Alaska and Hawaii might require flights).
 
 
Author Links
 


 

CHRISTMAS ARC REVIEW The Highlander's Christmas Bride by Vanessa Kelly

The Highlander's Christmas Bride (Clan Kendrick, #2)Clan Kendrick #2, This series is a spin-off of Vanessa Kelly's Improper Princesses series which was a spin-off of her Renegade Royals series this can be read as a stand alone, all the pertinent information is given in a way that works as a nice reminder for those of us who have read it. Donella was first introduced in book 4 of the Renegade Royals book, again you don't have to read it in fact if you haven't read it it gives it a bit more mystery.

After the events of her broken engagement three years ago Donella converted to Catholic and joined a convent but now, days away from taking her vows Reverend Mother is kicking her out. Logan trying to gain favor with the Earl of Riddick agrees to escort his grandniece home. Donella was nothing that he expected he was delighted with her sense of humor and her courage especially when faced with an attempted kidnapping and roughing it in the wild to escape. Even after the parted and Donella was safely home with her family Logan couldn't stop thinking about her, even with the surprise of his son showing up in Scotland with his Grandfather Angus when he should still be in Canada. Donella wants to go right back and join another convent but Riddick gets her to agree to wait six months and try to have fun before she makes any decisions. She even agrees to plan a Christmas party for Alec and Eden at their Glasgow townhouse. Eden and Alec send her down first until they can join her in the meantime she is to stay at the Kendrick home bringing her in close proximity to Logan. The threat to Donella hasn't quite gone away they just change tactics and start horrible rumors despite how she is feeling for Logan and his son she feels it best to become a nun. It's Logan's job to convince her otherwise. 

Overall, it was a great read. One thing I love about Vanessa Kelly's writing, not just her great storyline and fantastic characters, she's able to convey the feel of the time period and it's not just all the typical brogue (I'd be disappointed if a book took place in Scotland and didn't have any) but everything in general, celebrating both Christmas and Hogmanay. I enjoyed Logan and Donella story especially what they did at the end. I love all the Kendricks I look forward to the next one.   





 

ARC REVIEW The Cost of Honor by Diana Munoz-Stewart

The Cost of Honor (Black Ops Confidential, #3)Black Ops Confidential #3, An absolutely gripping story, from start to finish it is unputdownable. Tony and Honor are great characters you really feel for them and root for them. I love how at the beginning of each of these books the Parrish Family always seems like it's bad but as the book goes own the perception of the family changes as the main character learns the truth. Tony faked his own death to avoid punishment for something he did and he thought he didn't deserve it, they memory wiped his sister and he didn't want those memories taken from him. So he's been sailing around his latest port is Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean, that's where he meets Honor.

Honor is the daughter of a movie star turned activist. Honor was looking for a distraction from the anniversary of her mother's death when she saw a kiteboarder wipe out. She was always the cautious one the safe one but when she saw the kiteboarder hit some rocks she didn't give a second thought to going in after him. Tony was instantly swept away by her but seeing that Tony Parrish was dead he told her he was Lazarus Graves, he even told her a half truth he was running away from family and had changed his name. Tony really should have kept on sailing but Honor asked a favor and he didn't want to let her down, he didn't want to leave her; it then became obvious that Honor was in trouble and needed his help and he really didn't want to leave her. By the time the family had tracked him down he was so in love with Honor and she was in so much danger he would risk getting caught by his sisters to save her.

Honor inherited her families cocoa farm, when she moved to the island after her mother died she decided to run an adventure tour on the cocoa farm. Someone has recently been trying to buy it she keeps refusing to sell and recently a series of accidents have her business being threatened. Tony is doing his best to help around with tours and teaching her self defence whenever they aren't having sex. Once they figure out what's happening and the threat has escalated Tony is willing to turn himself into the family just to safe Honor. 

Overall, I loved this read. It's a great series that you can read as a stand alone. There was probably more sex in this book than the others, so depending on if you like that or not, I found myself just skimming those parts after the third it just felt like filler after that. But the story was exciting and I love the Parrish family and Tony is so broken it was nice to see Honor not quite fix him but make face his past and the truth and turn out better for it. Honor is a great character she is so much stronger than she realizes. I can't wait for more, this series is awesome.





 

ARC REVIEW Wolf Rebel by Paige Tyler

Wolf Rebel (Swat, #10)SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team #10, I had been anticipating this one and it did not disappoint. This can be read as a standalone but the entire series is worth the read.

Rachel is still relatively new to the whole wolf thing, she still has nightmares about the event that activated her wolf DNA, it would give me nightmares too. They were getting better but ever since L.A. (the events in the last book) they have gotten worse and Rachel is afraid she's losing her mind because now she's started to see and hear things. It doesn't help that every so often she gets a delectable scent in the air that's gone as quickly as it appears.

Knox is known to make impulsive decisions, like joining the Navy, becoming a SEAL, leaving the Navy but his last impulsive decision put in hip deep in trouble by joining The Hunters. He believed their scare tactics it wasn't until his first mission with them that he regretted his rash decision because in the end he ended up as one of werewolves. He saved one by taking a bullet meant for her, she could have killed him but she let him go. He saw her again in L.A. and knew that if there was anyone her could talk to about what happened to him it would be her.

Two things happen in this book, aside from the smokin' hot romance between Rachel and Knox, The SWAT is put on protection duty of the DA whose life is being threatened because her most recent case. Her husband has also hired a private firm to handle security so SWAT will be working side by side with them bring together Rachel and Knox. Thankfully no one else knows about Knox being a former Hunter but Rachel and one other, but he isn't there right now. The other thing is that Rachel thinks she is losing her mind the crazed man who tried to kill her keeps appearing keeps talking to her. She agrees to help Knox learn who to be a wolf bringing them in even closer contact with each other, they feel safe with each other, trusting each other came easily. Knox knows about what happened and he wants to help but how can you protect someone from their own mind.

Overall, it is a great read. I loved Rachel and Knox. There aren't very many more of these guys left so I hope that means Tyler's introduction to the FBI special unit will lead to a spin-off series.  
 
 
 
 
 

 

CHRISTMAS ARC REVIEW Christmas in Harmony Harbor by Debbie Mason

 

 


Christmas in Harmony Harbor

Harmony Harbor #9, I love this book. It's the last book of the series, or at least it plays out like it is the last. It works as a standalone but there is quite a bit of back story along with the Gallaghers and Greystone Manor. I enjoyed the entire series this one made me bawl at the end. It really is the perfect ending heartwarming and just a little bittersweet.

Evangeline Christmas left her NYC psychiatric practice behind to run the all year round Christmas store, Holiday House, in Harmony Harbor. A store that has been in her family for about a century and now it's being threatened by international real estate developer, Caine Elliot. Holiday House is Evie's haven and she will do anything to save it even make a deal with the devil. The devil being Caine and the deal more like a bet. Evie has an Angel Tree where people put up wishes that aren't easily done. She bets Caine that he can't do three Angel Wishes before Christmas, if she wins Caine takes his development of Wicklow Tower somewhere else and if she loses then she leaves no arguing, no more protests and convinces the rest of the town too. Evie plans it to where it's very much like a Christmas Carol and these acts of kindness will turn Caine from Scrooge at the beginning of the book to Scrooge at the end of the book.     


It wouldn't be so hard if Evie and Caine weren't also fighting their attraction to each other. The first wish brings Caine into close proximity to Evie daily which allows the both of them to get to know each other better. The more they find out about each other the more they like each other until they both give in to the attraction and fall in love. Caine's Grandmother is not an easy woman and she is dead set on ruining the Gallaghers and if she has to scare away Evie to move things along she will.

Overall, this was a great story this is one of my favorites. What am I going to do without this series? 


 

ARC REVIEW Don't Breathe A Word by Christie Craig

Don't Breathe a WordTexas Justice #2, The Cold Case Unit of Anniston PD has a new case when they look into a young stripper's disappearance, the murder of her boyfriend, and the connection they had to the gang leader/drug dealer who killed Juan Acosta's wife and unborn baby. Juan already killed him in the line of duty but the large scar on his face serves as a daily reminder that he failed his family. Finding the person responsible for this cold case and maybe even finding the stripper alive will help, or so he hopes. But then there is his new neighbor and her daughter something just doesn't feel right he knows they are running from something but he doesn't know what and he's determined to find out.

Vikki Holloway gained guardianship of her niece, Bell, after her sister died in a hit and run. Vikki always suspected her sister's abusive husband as the culprit but never had proof and it seemed pointless to prove it after he died but then Vikki swore she saw him leave her apartment after ransacking it and then he called her threatening her. Scared for her niece she ran and with the help of AWCO they got new identities. After almost being found in Arizona they moved to Texas where she became Nikki Hanson and Bell became her daughter.

Juan felt intrigued by Nikki and her daughter and oddly protective of them too. He knew they were hiding something but the more he got to know them the more he felt inclined to help them, not even the truth scared him off it just made all the more determined to keep them safe. All the while Juan and his team mates are working his cold case which has suddenly become hot again with the only witness disappearing only to reappear and get shot at and put into a coma. Vikki is hesitant to accept any help from anyone but Juan isn't easily put off, the sexual attraction is one thing but Vikki starts to actually trust Juan. 

Overall, I loved this book. It was an exciting read with great characters, Bell is adorable. I loved the descriptive foreplay and then leaving the sex up to the reader's imagination it was just enough to satisfy me. It is a nicely balanced romantic suspense and it can be read as a standalone. I look forward to Connor's book next.     





 

CHRISTMAS ARC REVIEW Christmas Angels by Nancy Naigle


Christmas AngelsChristmas Angels is a sweet Hallmark-esk Christmas Romance it's an easy romance and it I read through it in no time, I thought it was a lot shorter than 300ish pages. I really enjoyed this one it really leaves you with a Christmasy feeling. The main characters both love Christmas and have so much in common. Liz Westmoreland grew up in the city but she's a small town girl at heart all she has ever wanted was to run the Inn her Grandparents owned. Matt Hardy loves his hometown of Antler Creek he's never wanted to leave it he came back after college and lost his fiancee because she didn't want to live in such a small town she wanted the big city and all it's perks.

By sheer chance Liz finds her grandparents Inn up for auction and bids on it sight unseen, well recently unseen. Liz is the winning bid she takes a leave of absence from work, it helps that her best friend is her boss. It seems like every other person thinks Liz is crazy for doing this but Liz is determined this is the life she wants. Liz's heart drops when she walks into the Inn to find it gutted the previous owners ripped just about everything out and turned it into an art gallery. Matt recognizes Liz almost immediately and since he didn't get the winning bid for the Inn he's glad it went to her. When they were younger and she would come to visit her Grandparents he had such a crush on her and now she's back hopefully to stay; to help with that he puts in a bid to fix the Inn and the connected cabins. All of Antler Creek is happy to have Liz there and that she's bringing back the Inn. When ever Liz is in doubt about her choice she seems to find one of her Grandmother's angels laying around and it gives her hope that this is what she's supposed to be doing, until disaster strikes and Liz really begins to doubt herself it's up to all her new friends and Matt to show her she's exactly where she needs to be.

Overall, it's such a sweet read. I really hope Hallmark picks this one up. I can just imagine how beautiful Lights at the Lodge would look. It's a great heartwarming story with great characters and I hope we aren't done with Antler Creek yet it's place I'd love to visit again.




 

CHRISTMAS ARC REVIEW The Trouble with Christmas by Amy Andrews

 
The Trouble with Christmas (Credence, Colorado #2)Credence, Colorado #2, Not to long ago the population of Credence increased due to the advert put out to lure women into moving here most of the women moved hoping to find a husband Susanne St. Michelle is not one of those women. She moved temporarily to help inspire her muse into painting original work again. Susanne has made a career of painting replicas, legal forgeries but she wants to create her own work. She rented a cottage on a ranch unfortunately the nephew of the man who owns the ranch isn't very welcoming. Joshua Grady regretted not letting his uncle sign over the ownership of the ranch when he told Grady that he rented out the cottage. Grady likes his peace and quiet and he never plans on marriage and he doesn't want someone on his property that will disrupt his life.

Susanne's muse woke up the moment she set eyes on Grady and her muse couldn't be quited until she painted him, so she did as the statue of David, as Adam, as a cherub and a couple other famous works of art all with his face. Unfortunately Grady is not amused when he finds them. Susanne wasn't planning on going home for the Holidays but when her mother confesses that she's having marital problems Susanne gives in and lets her parents come to her for Christmas, unfortunately that was after she told them all about her Christmas obsessed boyfriend Grady. Now all she has to do is convince Grady into it, he does but only after getting her to give up the paintings of him in return.

Overall, this was a fun read. It works fine as a standalone so you don't have to read the first book of the series. I loved Grady and Susanne they were quite the pair. Everytime Susanne said Joshua it made me think of Rachel from Friends pronouncing it "Josh-u-a". I really enjoyed the story and characters I look forward to more from this author and this series.    
 
 
 
 

 

INKSLINGER BLOG TOUR Most Ardently by Susan Mesler-Evans

Today we have the blog tour of Susan Mesler-Evans Most Ardently! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!

Title: Most Ardently

Author: Susan Mesler-Evans

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

About Most Ardently:

Elisa Benitez is proud of who she is, from her bitingly sarcastic remarks, to her love of both pretty boys and pretty girls. If someone doesn’t like her, that’s their problem, and Elisa couldn’t care less. Particularly if that person is Darcy Fitzgerald, a snobby, socially awkward heiress with an attitude problem and more money than she knows what to do with.  

From the moment they meet, Elisa and Darcy are at each other’s throats -- which is a bit unfortunate, since Darcy’s best friend is dating Elisa’s sister. It quickly becomes clear that fate intends to throw the two of them together, whether they like it or not. As hers and Darcy’s lives become more and more entwined, Elisa’s once-dull world quickly spirals into chaos in this story of pride, prejudice, and finding love with the people you least expect.

 
 

 

 I loved the direction this one went, I love how inclusive it was with lesbian, bi, trans; and biracial characters. I also really liked the changes in the characters. In some of the early reviews some of the things they nitpicked about were the things I liked. I like the changes to the Colin and Lydia characters there is nothing wrong with making them more likeable especially since I really hated the original characters. I loved the updatedness it worked well. I was worried how the Lydia, or in this case Lucia, was going to play out but she did exactly what I had always hoped would happen to Wickham. He has always been a money hungry pervy creep and it was nice to see actually portrayed in this manner. 

Now the main character Elisa Benitez, Elizabeth Bennet, is a bi-sexual Mexican American and while technically is still a high school student goes to school at the local community college which is where she meets Darcy Fitzgerald. Darcy a biracial cis lesbian who is just visiting but is staying long enough she fills her time with some college classes before she starts at the university. Their first meet as you can guess is argumentative, they get into a literary debate over Lord of the Flies. It doesn't get any better when they just happen to start running into each other in social situations. It plays out pretty much the same as the original except updated for modern American times, except for the slight personality changes in Colin and Lucia. It's a little bit more obvious to the reader that Darcy and Elisa like each other but Elisa is a little oblivious.

Overall, such a good read. I inhaled this book I didn't want to put it down. It's in third person POV but sometimes changes from over Elisa to Julieta, Charlene, Lucia, and Darcy. It is more of a romance than a social commentary but had there been more I can just hear how people would be complaining that it's "Too Preachy"; there is some and it the right amount of feminism and in one particular case it's also the reason Colin isn't a douche at the end of the book. I loved this book it's definitely one that I would own a physical copy of to keep on my bookshelf.

 
 

Grab Your Copy:

Entangled | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

 

About Susan Mesler-Evans:

Susan Mesler-Evans is a writer, college student, D&D enthusiast, theatre nerd, and horrific procrastinator. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Susan now lives in Florida, and can often be found reading, scrolling through Tumblr until 2 AM, overanalyzing her favorite fictional characters and relationships, bingewatching comedies on Netflix, thinking about writing, and even, on occasion, actually writing. Most Ardently is her first full-length novel. You can find her at susanmeslerevanswrites.com.

Connect with Susan:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 
 

Enter Susan’s Giveaway:

 
 
 
 
 

ARC REVIEW Breathless With Her by Carrie Ann Ryan

Breathless With Her (Less Than, #1)Less Than #1, Meet the rest of the Carrs. We meet the first sibling Dimitri Carr in Restless Ink, where we got a brief look at his siblings, enough of a look that made us fans know we wanted them. So here they are. Devin Carr was minding his own business sitting in a bar when a stunner in a red sequins dress walked in the door looking shell shocked. Erin Taborn was enjoying her high school reunion until she walked in on her husband doing the former head cheerleader she left the reunion with the only thought of getting smashed. Luckily her older sisters ex-boyfriend from high school, Devin, was there and told her he had her back for the night he even let her crash at his place cause she didn't want to go back home incase the cheating asshole was there.

One embarrassing morning and six months later the divorce is final and Erin is getting on with her life baking up a storm for her business Lace & Cakes. Erin has no interest in another relationship or even just casual she decided to work on becoming more self reliant she didn't need a man in her life and then Devin walks back into her life again. Erin wants to be able to stand on her own two feet and solve all her problem by herself, she learns it's not always possible especially with her friends. Things start casual between Erin and Devin because that's want Erin wants, Devin wants more but he knows she needs time but she also needs to know that it's okay to ask for help.

Overall, it was another wonderful heart wrenching book from Carrie Ann Ryan. The only thing I wasn't happy about was how Erin left things with her father, I felt that it was left unresolved she formed her opinion but never got his side. But other than that I loved it. It's told in first person with alternating POVs. Devin is sweet and patient Erin can be a little overly stubborn and blinded by her own need to prove herself to herself but together they make a great couple. 




 

CHRISTMAS ARC REVIEW Maybe This Christmas by Susannah Nix

Maybe This Christmas



AUTHOR: Susannah Nix
 
RELEASE DATE: October 22, 2019
 
PRICE: $.99


BLURB:

Two best friends. Ten Christmases. One happy ending.

When best friends Alexandra and Lucas share a first kiss on Christmas night their senior year of high school, it feels like the best years of their lives are ahead of them.

Then Alex goes off to college, and Lucas stays behind to work at his dad’s construction business in the small beach town where they grew up. Life, as they say, happens. And somewhere along the way these two high school sweethearts find they don’t have as much in common as they once did.

Lucas’s life is on Beaufort Island, and Alex is all about getting away and moving on. So he makes one of the hardest decisions of his life and lets her go.

But every year when Alex comes home for the holidays, fate conspires to reunite the two former lovebirds on Christmas Day. Year after year, through good times and bad, Lucas and Alex meet up, catch up, and reconnect on the anniversary of their first kiss.

Is it too much to hope that one year they’ll find their way back to each other permanently?

Maybe even this Christmas.

 
 

An absolutely adorable stand alone novella from the same author who brought us the Chemistry Lessons series. It kind of reminded me of that one Christmas movie Love at the Christmas Table (2012) but this book was so much better. Christmas of their senior year Alex and Lucas finally admit they like each other and share their first kiss after knowing each other practically all their lives. The next year after graduation and Alex leaving for college Lucas realizes as much as he loves her he needs to let her go to live her life and they break up a year to the day that they started dating. The next year is awkward they haven't talked practically that whole year but they come to realize they can still be friends and be there for each other. One year she has a girlfriend, and the next not and then Lucas has a girlfriend and then a fiance. Each year they grow closer again learning each other as adults rather than school friends and high school sweethearts until they are together, again.

I love the format of this each year is a single chapter and it doesn't give the reader any extra information on what has happened during the past year so that way the characters have something to talk about especially when they are estranged and then they reflect on the past year. Overall, this is a quick and easy read, I really enjoyed it.








ARC REVIEW Ragnarok Unwound by Kristin Jacques

Ragnarok UnwoundAn Urban Fantasy where all the pantheons of Gods exist. Ikepele Ives lives with her best friend and tries to ignore the power flowing under her finger tips. Her mother left her with her father and with no knowledge how to control her power. Until one night she has only once tried to use her powers and it didn't work very well now she has a young Valkyrie asking for her help if not then the end of days for the Norse pantheon is coming. Even though Ragnarok is a prophesied event Hildr, the Valkyrie is telling her otherwise and she needs Ives powers to untangle fate and stop Ragnarok. Together with her best friend Jules she sets off with Hildr to find Loki.

They met his daughter Hel and then Fenrir and Jormungand, who like their father have the ability to shapeshift. With each of them the ties that bind them to Ragnarok get stronger and the more energy she needs that her mortal body can barely contain. By the time she finds Loki, who has escaped from his prison, he is so entwined in Fate's threads she almost kills herself to separate him from Fate's thread. Meanwhile Hel, Fenrir, Jormungand, Hildr, and Jules are fighting off the Frost Giants. Back on Ives home island of Hawaii her father and, unbeknownst to Ives, her Great Aunt the Goddess Pele are fighting off the giants as well.

Overall, it was a fantastic story. I love mythology retold stories and I really enjoyed this version of Loki and his giant children. I love how Pele was thrown in the mix too, as a lover of geology and if I had been smarter I would have gone into volcanology; Pele was the first Hawaiian God I had ever heard of, years ago. I loved all the characters. Ives is a strong female protagonist who is at first trying to avoid her own fate but is thrown into it without warning or a choice. Ives also learns everything her father never told her about her mother. There is a hint of romance for future books but mostly it's character driven and story strong. I love the idea of a Fate Cipher a woman who untangles fate when it gets a little to fubar. I really hope there are going to be more.       
 
 
 
 

 

CHRISTMAS ARC REVIEW Home for the Holidays by Terry Spear

Home for the Holidays (Silver Town Wolf)Silver Town Wolf #9, I love this series and I love the MacTire sisters this one was good, not my favorite but not horrible either. It had plenty of intrigue, a little bit of angst, just enough Holiday spirit and lots of romance. Meghan can see and communicate with ghosts the resident ghost at the inn has become extra emotional this holiday season. She misses her beau and asks Meghan if she can look into finding him, as both were shifter there is a good chance he might still be alive. Meghan and the sheriff, Peter, have been dating for about a year and with a mating inevitably in their future they both decide to come clean about secrets they have been keeping. Unfortunately Meghan's past comes out before she gets the chance to tell Peter when her ex-boyfriend shows up out of the blue with news. Peter takes it in stride because his secret is just as big. When Meghan's secret somehow connects to the inn's ghost, the town's biggest tragedy and Peter's past everything seems almost to much to handle especially since Peter puts Meghan and her sisters under 24/7 protection.

Overall it was a good read. There was a bit more sex in it than I typically like these days, but that's me. The holiday aspect of the book was nice with the full victorian costume caroling, the gingerbread house competition, and the snow sculpture competition and the pack Christmas party and gift exchange. I like Terry Spear's writing the intrigue is nicely done with how everything ties together and a very good ending. 




 

ARC REVIEW Past This Point by Nicole Mabry

Past This PointA pervasive outbreak of a new virus from the viewpoint of a civilian. Nicole Mabry captured the intensity, the paranoia, and the heartbreak perfectly. The main character Karis I felt really connected to, I don't know if it was just the similar heritage, or the fact we are the same age, or the fact that she kind of reminded me of my sister but I really felt like I was experiencing this with her from the initial stages of the outbreak and through the quarantine.

Karis' self imposed isolation from her friends after a bad break up and slight germaphobic ways is probably what saved her life. Karis uses life skills she learned as a child to stay alive, knowing how to cook from scratch and how to cook acorns so they are edible to the self defense classes her father made her take, she was even wary enough to stockpile her dogs food when the virus kept most of her coworkers home. Karis tried getting a flight out of NY after the CDC cleared her but she wouldn't, couldn't leave her dog behind. She made friends with two little girls across the courtyard and fought off the madness of the isolation and quiet the was once NYC and then she met Ollie. Oliver "Ollie" is a British citizen who arrived two weeks before the quarantine got stuck in NYC. Karis who saved his life but still unsure if she could trust him, it seemed like this virus and quarantine brought out the worst in people.

Overall, this book was outstanding. Karis is intelligent, strong, and intuitive and a great main character. Julia and Emma the little girls across the courtyard were adorable and Julia was wise beyond her years. Zeke, the dog, a great companion and a sympathetic ear. Ollie is exactly what Karis needed, at first you're unsure of him but he does earn Karis' trust and her love he kept her sane and hopeful. I loved this book it was emotional and heart-poundingly thrilling. This is in my top three for apocalyptic genre along with Z for Zachariah and The Wolf Road.       
 
 
 
 

 

ARC REVIEW The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga, #1)The Scarred Earth Saga #1,  I'm no stranger to Shelly Laurenston but this is my first time reading her under the name Aiken. I'm picky about the fantasy genre I read and I was hesitant to pick this one up fearing it would be overly dramatic, long winded, and full of political backstabbing bs but then I remembered who the author was and read it........And loved it. The beginning of the book with The Old King dying and the sons all killing each other off kind of reminded me of Stardust except less humorous and way more violent. I didn't dislike all the violence, because this book is full of it, I was surprised by how gorey it was described, again not a bad thing for me I just wasn't expecting it. True to form Aiken writes her female characters full of snark. With Keeley you see many sides of the strong fighter standing up for those who can't and when she's around her family you see a funnier side but overall she is protective. But when it comes to her sister, Gemma, you see a more childish side like picking fights doing things she knows bug her. Gemma and Keeley are both head strong and very similar which causes them to butt heads and argue at the drop of a hat but you see throughout the book they are starting to trust each other more and more and that there is love between them. Keeley has plenty of depth. Aiken wasn't gratuitous with the sex either, like some others, for which I am grateful. I loved how the story played out and how the narrative switches to other characters so you get the full picture, one reason I prefer third person I must know everything. I liked the characters everyone has quirks that make them unique and memorable. Caid, I really like, he's a good strong warrior and you can see the gradual change in him the more he's around Keely.

It all started as a simple journey protecting her sister, the girl who would be Queen, but turns into an all out war with Keeley in the lead. Keeley must now find allies to fight with her against The Old King's remaining sons. Overall, it was a fun read. There is no cliffhanger there is a definite end to the book but it's far from over.