Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Chaos Rises by Pippa DaCosta

Chaos Rises, Book 1

I actually finished this book about a week and a half ago. I couldn't quite figure out if I really liked it and also what rating to give it.

Gem and Del are half-blood demons who were raised in a lab to be the big bad killer of demons. They are 'owned' by a higher level demon called Allard (who you may now as Azazel). He has them going out and basically catching lower level demons because he's a bit of a collector, and also, he sells the demons for things like medical research or as pets. Gem and Delta go out to capture a demon, but fail, and somehow Gem wakes up with no recollection of what happened and her brother, Del, is missing. The rest of the book is basically a long winding journey to find her brother. She has to deal with Allard, a very cool half-breed named Torrent, and another high level demon called Vanessa (Vanth). By the end of it, Gem starts losing herself to her inner demon before getting hold of it enough to make the rational decision to run away. Unfortunately, that doesn't go as planned.

I wouldn't say that there was anything particularly complicated about the book. It's an easy, moderately fast, read. It also has an interesting plot. The character development is actually very good and the world building is pretty decent also. I'm hoping that when you read it, you enjoy Pride as much as I did. I really look forward to dealing with him in the next book because Allard ... No ... Not interesting enough for me.

The only problem I had with the book was the blurb. The blurb set up this big bad brother and sister combo that was out painting the town red with demon blood. In reality, we don't get to see any of that. We get maybe one scene towards the end and even that isn't completed. So part of the problem I had with the rating started with the blurb, the book didn't do it justice. I liked the title, though, I thought it definitely related without being too symbolic like a lot of titles are these day.

Overall, it's a decent book. I would read book 2 because I love Pride and I also want to know about the outcome of book 1 and how it will be closed, or at least worked on. Other than that, it's solid and I would read the second when it comes out.

3 1/2 Stars
IR: Demons can take on whatever shape/race they want

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Giveaway: Blood of the Earth

Set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock novels, an all-new series starring Nell Ingram, who wields powers as old as the earth.When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out…

You have the opportunity to win a copy of book 1 of the new Soulwood series by Faith Hunter, Blood of the Earth.

To enter the giveaway, be a resident of US or Canada and simply reply to this post with the following info:

1. Have you read anything by Faith Hunter before?
2. Have you heard about this series?
3. Follow Faith, and myself, on twitter and let me know that you did!
Faith: @HunterFaith, Myself: @UPBookBlog

That's it! 1 winner will be chosen on July 30, 11:59pm CST. Happy entering!

Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter

Soulwood, Book 1

If you're a huge Jane Yellowrock fan like I am, then you may have heard of Nell. In the short story compilation, Blood in Her Veins, Jane meets Nell, who has a property next to a cult that she used to be a part of. That was our first introduction to this adorable woman.

As I mentioned before, Nell used to be part of a cult called God's Cloud of Glory Church. She's been constantly harassed by church men who want to take her back to the cult that she left during marriage. These churchmen are some vile people that think they can take her back by force because women are nothing to them. You would need to read it to get all the small details about the cult. Like ... the men have multiple wives and lots of kids, there is a place called a Punishment House, these people live off the grid and are self sufficient. Anyhow, Rick Lafleur and Paka show up to ask Nell for her help in rooting out a group called the Human Speakers of Truth. During the book we find out about Nell and her powers, despite her reading as Human on the Psyled meter. We also meet Unit 18, which is the unit that Rick is head of.

Unit 18 includes Occam, a wereleopard, Tandy, an empath that has been struck by lightning 3 times, Jojo a black/korean human, and T Laine, a witch. I've gotta read it again but I don't think Paka is actually a part of Psyled but she's somehow attached to Rick. If you remember in one of the JY books, Rick basically walks away from Jane and up to Paka as she was brought to a party as a gift to Rick since he is stuck in human form. Apparently, the unmated wereleopard in heat was supposed to help with his transition ... But we find that he hasn't changed yet and maybe ... I'll leave that up to the reader to decipher, but it brings up something interesting that could happen in later Jane Yellowrock books. Anyway!

There are tons of people you want dead; Brother Ephraim, Jackie, Joshua Purdy. And then there are some you're just not sure about, like Nell's dad. I love Mud, Nell's sister, and hope to see more of her in the future.  But the main conflict comes because of the 3 men that I said I wanted dead. Women are going missing and those 3 have been harassing Nell for quite a while but may have more to them than you initially think. While reading, pay attention to how they move.

During the course of the book you get to watch Nell transform from this loner ex-church woman to a strong independent woman. Not that she wasn't strong or independent before, but it was just in other ways. You get attached to Nell quickly and end up agreeing with most everything she does or says. One thing that I love Faith Hunter for is reigning my hate for Rick. He spent the first half of the book, or more, being a douchebag, and I wanted him to get kicked in the nuts. :-)

Overall ... I gotta say ... This is the first start of a series that I actually loved. I knew it wouldn't be hard because I'd read the short that Nell was in, but I was still surprised. I really didn't even like the first JY book this much. It was never slow and never lost you. A few of the characters could use more development but I love the potential and know this series is going to be amazing.

4 1/2 Stars
Paka (African) Jojo (Black/Korean)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cast in Faefire by SM Reine

Mage Craft Series, Book 3

When I tell you that shit hits the fan ...

I am so tired.

I can't.

Okay hold on. Okay. Okay. OK.

I am having a very hard time gathering my thoughts. Seth is running around with his innards hanging out, Marion is being all sneaky, Konig is being a royal DICK and nothing seems to get better. THINGS SEEM TO GET WORSE. But the icing on the cake is Deirdre Tombs being boss bitch.

Okay let me gather myself. This book was WILD. It was bomb dropped after bomb dropped. Seth partially ascends. Doing so means he gets that cool power of seeing how someone is going to die. And oh honey ... The person he sees that's supposed to eventually kill Rylie. YASSSSS BITCH YASSSSS. I am here for this mess, OKAY! Now ... ErlKonig is getting beside himself and using his hands in ways he shouldn't be. And I gotta say, when he did this THING, the way Marion responded to it broke my heart.

I want everyone to pay very close attention to Violet (Konig's mom) because she'll be at the center of more shit hitting the fan.

Arawn is NOT done and Seth has to deal with it.

I'm so serious ... So much shit happens in this book that I am full on shaking.

Since this book is about FaeFire, you definitely have to pay attention to what's going on with the sidhe and in the Winter Court. The wedding is about to take place but first they have to party and ... Just ... Come on guys ... This is gold. Again... Pay attention to Violet.

I loved everything about this installment. It had me angry, emotional, and a little jealous. My head is still spinning. I can't praise this series enough. This book is easily the best of the 3 so far. I think my favorite event is when something is going down and Seth chooses to 'phase' his nephew instead of Rylie. That, to me, was gold. I think it meant more in relation to Seth's story than anything else I've read so far. Loved it. Ugh ... Can't wait for book 4.

5 Stars

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cast in Hellfire by SM Reine

Book 2, The Mage Craft Series

If you've been wondering about Seth, you get your answers ... But it's not what you think.

This book picks up exactly where book 1 left off. Marion is supposed to be dealing with the Winter Court. She's the Steward and supposed to be getting it back to normal function, along with figuring out just how to deal with the angels. Meanwhile, Seth gets a lead on Marion's memories that they track all the way to hell. Hell is basically sucking the life out of Marion, Arawn (THE MAN in hell) is proving to be formidable and has taken a liking to Charity. Meanwhile, Seth finally gets some information about himself. Let's be for real ... More than half the shit in this book that happens, you don't see it coming. *fist pump* And by the end of it, you're going to want ErlKonig dead as much as I do.

What did I like? What was there NOT to like? The entirety of SM's books have an incredible world that has been built. It carries over from book to book so you never feel lost. Sure, there are many other series' but they're interconnected. I like Marion a lot more in this book than I did in book 1. I'm enjoying the puzzle pieces ... ESPECIALLY the bomb dropped by Elise on the last page. IT WAS HUGE! I MEAN HUGE! Anyway ... This book is full of puzzle pieces being put together ... So many questions are sort-of answered, with more asked. I enjoyed walking through Hell, actually. I enjoyed the being that Seth spoke with while he was down there. I REALLY loved the detail put into The Hounds. I thought they were phenomenal.

What did I not like? I hate ErlKonig but ... I also ... Like his character. He's an a-hole, we know that, but he's SO convincing that I just have to roll with him.

I'm excited to find out how this works out in book 3. If the cover is any indication, I may end up crying, lol. Outside of that, I loved it!

By the way, I enjoy Marion having brown hair. It's the little things that make me happy. YAS!

5 Stars
Seth (Black) Arawn (Black)


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Saltlands by Elizabeth Stephens

Population, Book 2

Saltlands picks up exactly where Population left off. Kane has been captured by the Notare Elise. Abel and Mikey (Mikael - Kane's younger brother) have escaped her clutches only to try and figure out how to get Kane from her. Now we have an asshole of a brother, Mikey, treking across country to get Kane back using only the blood bond he shares with Abel. During their travel, Abel is ... Brutally beaten ... I mean ... BRUTALLY. Man ... Abel goes through so much shit in this book that I'm just tired! Anyway ... She ends up being brutally beaten after having to save Mikey's ass, who abandons her. He comes to his senses and goes to get her before going into the Saltlands (Seattle) to save Kane from Notare Elise and whatever she's doing to him.

I'm tired.

What did I like? Every f*cking thing imaginable. I can't even. Like. I liked Population but I LOVE Saltlands. I'm just. Yall. I can't. Being out in Population is as close to being in hell as you can get. I don't know of many authors who can accurately convey anxiety like Elizabeth Stephens can. You are CONSTANTLY anxious when out in Population because the sh*t is so real that you can't predict just how bad things will go. The interaction between Mikey and Abel was incredibly well written as well as Mikey's character development. From the very start of the book and up to the end, you can see every bit of change in him that he makes. Abel's 'fight' is still unmatched. I know of probably only 2 other fictional characters who could go through that amount of stuff and still keep ticking and holding on to their true selves in the process. Abel is one of the best written female protags out there. She's still very connected to her emotions but she just doesn't make those emotionally rash/charged decisions. The girls head is on straight even if she's half dead. The world building is impeccable, all the characters are written well. I really enjoyed the detail put into fleeting characters that reminded Abel of someone. It makes me think that we may be seeing them again in the next story. Now, although this ends Abel's story ... It's just the beginning of someone elses that will start in book 3. And I can honestly say that I am down for whoever the author pics to focus her next phase of this series on.

What did I not like about this? Absolutely nothing. *kanye shrug* It was on point. If I had to gripe on anything, I would have liked to see the Lavhe (sp?) in action more. I got the implication of how badass he was but I didn't get to see it.

Overall I'm still wanting to find out more about Abel being a human with her new 'specialty.' I would also like some kind of update about Abel's name. I really just want more. I feel like whining. I loved this so much. THanks so much to Elizabeth Stephens for sending it over. I'm just ... Mikey is a new favorite of mine.

Seriously ... I have 3 top favorite women in books. Jane Yellowrock, Kate Daniels, and Mercy Thompson (yes, I talk shit about Mercy but I still love her). I'm not yet about to add Abel to my list but I have a feeling I will be down the line.

5 Stars
IR: Abel (b/w) Kane (other)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

War of the Alphas (Books 3 & 4) by SM Reine


Alpha: War of the Alphas, Book 3
Pas: War of the Alphas, Book 4

I decided to review both of these books since I read them back to back. I'm going to keep this brief, though since details from each book are mumbled due to reading them so close behind each other ...

Anyway ... Book 3 picks up after Deirdre was brought back to life. Books 3 and 4 are a little bit of the darker side than books 1 and 2. These two are really ... Tiring.

Details are short right now, I just need to say a few things about each.

The tone, in my opinion, changes from book 2 to 3. Then 3 and 4 get darker and darker. Deirdre is being teased by an animal who is a lot like her, having fire, but it's more like ... He's dangling this complicated life in front of her and she decides not to pursue this option, which I think was smart. The most incredible thing about the last 2 books is seeing Deirdre basically turn into Everton Stark. When you start the series, you kind of get the sense that she's seeing things his way, but there comes a time when she's fully understanding why he is the way he is and it's a little scary. However ... She maintains a bit of her true self underneath ... At least enough to see how wrong things have gone and will do what needs to be done to fix it. By book 4, I think I spent the second half of that book almost in tears. But I thought it was great because Deirdre finally got the chance to stop, think, breathe, and cry. She needed it SO much.

The ending, in regards to the main outcome of the election, is predictable. And I only say that because I've read SM Reine's work before. I started out with a couple of a books (that I didn't review) that focused on Rylie Gresham ... Going to camp ... Getting bitten ... All of that. I remember decided not to continue the series simply because I don't like Rylie. And even now, even though this series takes place a long time after Rylie being a teen ... I still don't like her. But it's not all the time. My problem is, I'm such a big fan of Deirdre that I don't want any opposition and I don't want her caving to Rylie Gresham ... Which happens ... BUT ... By that time, it's okay.

The best thing about this series is you get mind fucked. You go in na├»ve and basically blind. Deirdre is surviving on fear and confusion. Then she's intrigued because maybe there's a way she'll find that she's not an Omega. Later, you're sucked into having to deal with being Alpha, dealing in politics, being disappointed, falling in confused lust ... Then going to save the Alpha, and the election in the process. And she has to do this while un-mindfucking herself. IT'S A LOT! This series was really well written from top to bottom. It pulled at my heart immensely and I was mostly happy with the ending. I especially love when Stark basically goes of the deep end when dealing with his family.

However ... SM left us a breadcrumb. Deirdre leaves Stark a little gift at the end so I'm more than anxious to find out what kind of series or mention spins from this in the future.

Reminder: Deirdre is black. She's described as having cocoa colored skin, a small gap between her teeth and hair a little past her shoulders. Below are the covers for 2 of the German versions of the series. They feature a black model. The covers are beautiful, right?


Also ... Abel (Rylie's mate) is black. Queen Ofelia is as well but you only get her briefly in book 3.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Beta by SM Reine

War of the Alphas, Book 2

Just want to start off by reminding everyone that the protag, Dierdre, is actually black ... Regardless of the cover.

Like an idiot, I'd forgotten the fact that I'd purchased this entire series and finally got into reading Beta. Beta is the continuation of Dierdre Tombs, a shapeshifter who can't shift and no one has any idea what the hell she is. In this book, Dierdre is serving as Everton Stark's beta and not enjoying it. Not only is Stark batshit crazy, still, but Dierdre's mind is becoming more and more twisted to match Stark's. If you remember from book 1 (or hadn't read it, which you should), she is undercover for the Alpha of all shifters, Rylie Gresham. Dierdre is supposed to be learning all the information she can and providing that intel to Rylie. However, now that Dierdre is starting see things from Stark's point of view, it causes an internal glitch and now she has to decide if this really is the life she wants to live. Aside from all of her internal struggles, there's a war going on between the Winter Court and the Summer Court. These guys are kind of like fairies. Super strong fairies. A set of them visit Stark and want him to get a weapon. They give him coordinates for it and as they go on their mission, it ends up being a trap and Dierdre gets arrested by OPA. As to not give anything away, Dierdre gets out, there's a big brawl at the end and we FINALLY get to see what Dierdre actually is and I'm so pleased because it isn't covered very much. I've only read one other book that has a character that is the same as Dierdre. Outside of that, we learn exactly what Everton Stark is too ... And then what he isn't that he thought he was. Now ... As far as book 3 goes, I'm starting that tomorrow.

What did I love? I love Dierdre. She's a great protagonist. I love Everton Stark because he's kind of like the protagonist AND the antagonist. I say that because outside of him doing horrible things to Dee and his people because he can, he's getting her hooked on Lethe, which is a drug. I came to the same conclusion as Dierdre, that he's doing it to control her. My heart kind of broke every time he supplied her with more. Anyway, Stark starts to sort of have a crisis of conscience in reference to Dee. You kind of feel it all through the book but it isn't as obvious so when it manifests, you're like ... okay yea, that makes sense. Back to Dee. She's not completely kick-ass but she's still pretty high in the ranks. I love reading any parts dealing with how her mind is changing in regards to the struggle of Stark over Rylie. And honestly, I think Rylie sealed the deal with her actions in this book BUT since I've read a book in another series that came after this, I have an idea of how this will play out. Anyway ... I really did enjoy Niamh, but I'm soooooooooooo gonna enjoy her more when Dierdre gets her hands on her. I think book 3 is going to be a clusterfuck of amazing vengeance and I am here for all that mess! Okay okay okay ... I really do like all the characters, I love the underground setting and the perpetual tension when Stark is in the room. You honestly never know if you're gonna get smacked for even breathing wrong.

What I didn't like? I can't think of one thing I didn't like. Thanks SM Reine. You got me hooked again, girl.

5 Stars