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Ivory Guard Re-release

Published 27/04/2015 by leannecrabtree

So my author friend, Natalie Herzer, is re-releasing her book Ivory Guard after it has had a good editing. In response I feel it’s only right to help her get the word out and I’m going to post my original review as well as the book info.

18282611[1]Ivory Guard

Natalie Herzer

Paranormal Romance

Life will make you stumble…

One peaceful afternoon Lillian finds two angels in her living room – wings and gloriole and all – telling her she is an Ivory. Half human and half angel, she is born to fight for humankind and guard the hellholes where the membrane between worlds is at its weakest.
She, an important warrior? Yeah, riiiight.

Life can make you fall…

Raz might be an angel, but he doesn’t do compassion. His job is to train and make her a leader. So Lillian will just have to suck it up when she discovers the deadly truth behind his words. When she does exactly that, he has to admit there’s more to the bookworm than he thought. Much more. But there’s one thing he shouldn’t forget – in his world feelings come with a price. Is he willing to pay?

Love will give you wings.

My Review

4.5 stars.

I’ve been Natalie’s plot tester/beta reader with this, as well as it’s proof reader, from early on and I really enjoyed it, now I’ve finally gotten to read it’s ending.

The thing with Natalie is she always come up with something original. This is the first time I’ve read a book, or even heard of a book, about a team of half angels/half humans who are trained by angels to takeout demons. The same could be said about her Patroness series; once again, I’ve never read anything like it. That’s what I like about her books: they’re different.

I’ve been Natalie’s plot tester/beta reader with this, as well as it’s proof reader, from early on and I really enjoyed it, now I’ve finally gotten to read it’s ending.

The thing with Natalie is she always come up with something original. This is the first time I’ve read a book, or even heard of a book, about a team of half angels/half humans who are trained by angels to takeout demons. The same could be said about her Patroness series; once again, I’ve never read anything like it. That’s what I like about her books: they’re different.

I don’t want to give too much away but this is a story of good (angels) versus evil (demons) to put it simply. The struggle of eighteen year old Lillian as she realises her life is about to change whether she wants it to or not and her journey from bookworm to fearless leader with the help of her Ivory Guard and Raz, the angel of secrets.

I really enjoyed it, like I did her Patroness series and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series, Ebony Fight, to see how everything works out for her and her team.

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Stuff

Published 15/06/2014 by leannecrabtree

A few things really:

  1. I haven’t been requesting any titles off Netgalley as of late as I try and work my way through my 400+ books on my kindle and in paperback. I think that’s enough for anyone to be reading through without adding newer, more recent books to the list.
  2. I now have another job, which is going to start taking up a bit more of my time but it’s still only part time so I’ll still get some reading and writing done.
  3. The Concubine is now on Chapter 5 – 9104 words so far and I’m almost ready to start Chapter 6, which is good as it’s still going strong 🙂
  4. I’ve been thinking of doing a post at the end/start of a month to do a sort of mini showcase of the books I’ve read in that time with recommendations for the better ones. What do we think of the idea?

Book Review – Deathmaker

Published 28/05/2014 by leannecrabtree

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Name: Deathmaker (Dragon Blood, #2)

Author: Lindsay Buroker

Genre: Steampunk, Romance, Adventure

Release Date: 23rd May 2014

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received this copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.

When Lieutenant Caslin Ahn joined Wolf Squadron, she was prepared for the reality that she might one day be killed in the line of duty. She was less prepared for being shot down, assumed dead by her own people, and dragged off to the Cofah Empire as a prisoner of war. As if being thrust into a dungeon and interrogated wasn’t bad enough, the sadistic commandant decides to give her a cellmate: the notorious pirate Deathmaker. Given the crimes he’s committed against Iskandia, Cas owes it to her people to try and kill him.

Part warrior and part scientist, Tolemek “Deathmaker” Argoson has not only slain thousands with his deadly concoctions, but he has a special loathing for Iskandian pilots. It was Ahn’s commander, Colonel Zirkander, who ruined his military career, forcing him to leave his country in shame and join a pirate organization. Years later, he uses his dreadful reputation like a shield to keep people away; all he wants is to be left alone to work in his laboratory. But when fate lands him in a cell with Zirkander’s protégé, he sees a chance for revenge. Why kill the lieutenant when he can use her to get to his old nemesis?

There’s just one problem: it’s hard to plot against your enemies when you’re in prison with them. Cas and Tolemek will have to work together if they hope to escape the Cofah dungeon. In the process, they may find that neither is what the other expects, and that they have far greater problems to worry about than ensnaring each other…

I reviewed the first book in the series, Balanced on the Blades Edge, here.

I’m a huge fan of Lindsay Buroker so when she offered me the chance to read this, I jumped at the chance.

It’s part two in her Dragon Blood series and takes place a little time after the first. This one is more like her Emperor’s Edge series with it being heavy on the action and light on the romance, though there is enough to make you happy. It’s more subtle than that of the first, which is what I really like about the authors books.

I grew to like Tolemek/the Deathmaker early on in this, despite him being one of the bad guys, and I think Cas had the same problem. He’s unlike the rest of the pirates she ends up meeting. Tolemek doesn’t like hurting women, unlike some of the others, and over time he softens towards Cas and she gets under his skin. It was all rather sweet reading.

If you’re a fan of the author then you need to read this. If you’ve never read anything by her, why not?

Next review(s): N/A

Book Review – Scorched

Published 25/05/2014 by leannecrabtree

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Name: Scorched

Author: Erica Hayes

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Release Date: 22nd May 2014

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

In a world where everyone wears a mask, you can’t trust anyone… not even yourself.

Verity Fortune was once Sapphire City’s top crime-fighter, wielding her powers of telekinesis to battle the city’s most despicable villains. Now, she’s consumed by a single burning desire: revenge. Against those who took away her mask, her memory, and nearly her life.

Having escaped from the asylum they left her to rot in, Verity dons her mask once again and becomes the Seeker, a vigilante warrior for truth.

But when she unwittingly uncovers an evil conspiracy deep within her own family, she’s suddenly on the run, alone and hunted by those she thought were on her side…

The cover drew me in. Isn’t it a thing of beauty?

When I requested this I assumed it would be more paranormal than it was. In fact it was more fantasy than anything. People who go around using their powers–known as the Augmented–to stop evil, dressed up in disguise. Superheroes?

I was quickly drawn into the story within the first chapter when we see Verity struggle to remember who she is and that she isn’t a bad person after being tortured by her arch nemesis’ minions in a mental asylum and her escape from there. She runs to a safe house and bumps into her brother who tells her she’s been MIA for nine months.

Can I just stop there for a minute and mention the Fortune siblings’ names? The eldest is Equity, then Adonis, then there is Verity and baby brother Chance. I love their names! If they don’t scream Superhero, I don’t know what does 😀

Anyway, back to the story. On Verity’s return to her family, things don’t go smoothly and she realises things don’t add up. Is there a conspiracy in the works?

Throughout the story we see flashbacks of the night that Verity was captured and it is all very intriguing. At just over half way through I had my suspicions of what they would end up showing and I was right in my assumption about what some of it would show. I’m not going into detail as it would totally ruin in for you.

We meet a lot of other Augmented people: Iceclaw, Weasel, Glimmer. Some are good and some not so much. I liked the description of each and how they earned their names. They were thought out and I could picture them easily.

I grew to really like Glimmer, he seemed like a really nice guy. Verity, on the other hand, I couldn’t decide about. She seemed to like pushing people away and was full of self-loathing a lot of the time, unable to justify some of the things she’d done.

To start with I didn’t mind the lack of romance, as I was so caught up in the drama surrounding Verity, but the more I read the book the more I missed it. There was a bit; some kisses exchanged and nice words but nothing like the amount I like to read in books and that’s reflected in my rating.

It was full of action and intrigue. I liked the superhero vs. bad guys aspect. If you like the sound of it, then I’d suggest you go grab a copy.

Next review(s): Deathmaker by Lindsay Buroker

Book Review – The Revealed

Published 11/05/2014 by leannecrabtree

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Name: The Revealed

Author: Jessica Hickam

Genre: Dystopia, YA/NA, Romance

Release Date: 20th May 2014

Rating: 4½ out of 5 stars

I received this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lily Atwood lives in what used to be called Washington, D.C. Her father is one of the most powerful men in the world, having been a vital part of rebuilding and reuniting humanity after the war that killed over five billion people. Now he’s running to be one of its leaders.

But in the rediscovered peace on Earth, a new enemy has risen. They call themselves the Revealed – a powerful underground organization that has been kidnapping 18 year olds across the globe without reservation. No one knows why they are kidnapping these teens, but it’s clear something is different about these people. They can set fires with a snap of their fingers and create a wind strong enough to barrel over a tree with a flick of their wrist. No one has been able to stop them, and they have targeted Lily as their next victim.

But Lily has waited too long to break free from her father’s shadow to let some rebel organization just ruin everything. Not without a fight.

I just love the cover of this! Don’t you agree it just grabs the attention?

I’m a big fan of dystopia stories and this sounded different, so I thought, “Why not?”

The USA has been mostly destroyed with only a few states remaining. Lily is the daughter of a politician running for President, along with another man, Roderick Westerfield, who Lily’s family used to be close to. Roderick has a son, Kai, a year older than Lily and someone she used to be close to until the politics got in the way.

Lily has been marked to be taken by the Revealed–a group of people with abilities–since her 18th birthday and like every other 18 year old in the city is being kept at home until they reach their 19th and are safe from being taken. Truly believing they’ll come for her despite all the precautions she just wants to live life to the fullest until then.

I really liked the concept. It was dystopia but had a very different take on it, it wasn’t all deserted and “every man for themselves” or strict dictatorship, it was…like now, only with billions less people populating the planet and with a need to bring the world back into some semblance of working order.

Now to the characters. Lily is our main character and we see her struggle to do what she wants while being a member of such an influential family and the effect her actions have on them. Then there’s Kai. I wasn’t sure about him to start with but he grew on me a lot. Then Rory, Lily’s best friend, she’s pretty awesome.

The story was pretty much continuous action, there was always something happening–which stops boredom from creeping in–and it kept me reading, and wanting to read it when I was busy. It was politics and supernatural and romance. I can’t really say much else without spoiling the plot but it was right up my street and I really enjoyed it!

If you’re looking for something dystopian and a little different then you should try this. If you’re looking for a new name to read, then this is a good story.

I’d definitely recommend this book/series! It’s a great start.

Next review(s): N/A

Book Review – Catch

Published 06/05/2014 by leannecrabtree

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Name: Catch (Angler, #2)

Author: Annie Nicholas

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Erotica

Release Date: 18th January 2014 (first published: 11th October 2010)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Caught between two vampires, Connie is torn between Rurik, the one she loves and Tane, the one she’d love to stake. Hunger burns in Connie Bences’ soul–she craves the blood of her vampire lover, Rurik, but it’s not satisfying her needs anymore. It’s driving her insane.

Desperate to find help, Rurik brings her to Rio De Janeiro, where Tane rules the vampire nation. The back-stabbing vampire almost killed her and Rurik when they’d first met, then used them to obtain his crown. She would rather stake him, but the small drop of Nosferatu blood he’d forced her to drink in Budapest is blooming into a bond, one which ties her life to his. One he won’t hesitate to manipulate.

He admits to binding her so Rurik would have to remain at his side, but their timing couldn’t be any worse. The betrayer finds himself betrayed. Tane’s rule is in upheaval and he’s forced to place his trust in two people who owe him no allegiance—her and Rurik. In the middle of a power struggle, Connie fights to keep her lover, but didn’t plan on Tane slipping into her heart.

I read the first book, Bait, back in February 2012 and loved it. I still remember a lot of what happened and with how many books I read, that’s a miracle! I think it was the whole using humans as bait to catch evil vampires that drew me in and hooked me.

This carries on from the last with just a few months passing and Connie and Rurik are in Rio. I will say that you don’t necessarily need to read the first book for this to make sense but it does help to understand the connection between Rurik, Connie and Tane.

The author has this way of writing that draws you in and makes you want to get lost in the world she weaves. I will quite happily get lost in it. (Bring on book 3!)

Tane was an odd one for me, through both books, but he evolved a lot in this and we got to know him a lot more and it’s obvious he isn’t as bad as previously thought. Rurik is still the protective, nice, sexy vampire from the first and Connie still likes to kick arse when she needs to.

Though there are a few sex scenes throughout the story, there is also a good, strong plot to get lost in. I guess I should mention that it has a ménage scene in it near the end (M/M/F) that had been brewing for a long time and it was quite hot.

I cant wait to read the third book in the series to find out what’s going to happen next.(

Next review(s): N/A

Published 02/05/2014 by leannecrabtree

Congratulations to the three lucky winners of Natalie’s Birthday Giveaway. I hope you enjoy all four books you receive.

For those of you who didn’t win (and are on Goodreads) I’m offering 10 people the chance to read Charlotte & Sebastian in exchange for an honest review via the Making Connections group. Here’s a link to the topic: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1798816-3148-charlotte-sebastian-by-leanne-crabtree

All you have to do is write your email address and what format you’d like it in (mobi or epub) and I’ll send it you in exchange for an honest review via Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble etc.

If you’re not on Goodreads but like the sound of the offer, a book in exchange for an honest review, then by all means leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!

Book Review – White Hot Kiss

Published 28/04/2014 by leannecrabtree

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Name: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance

Release Date: 25th February 2014

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

One kiss could be the last…

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

This will be my third book by the author, fourth if we class her writing as J. Lynn, and I’ve liked all of them so the chance to read anything by her is a big YES PLEASE!

After reading both this and Covenent, I’ve noticed that she likes to write love triangles into her stories. I don’t have a problem with them and gladly cheer on for whichever guy I want the heroine to be with. In this I was Team Roth from early on.  Zayne might have been the guy Layla’d been dreaming of for years but he never really seemed to want her in that way (or he was just very good at hiding it) and treated her a lot like a close friend or little sister. Roth on the other hand always seemed to be there when she needed him and he teased and flirted and could kick arse, being what he was: Upper Level Demon.

I feel I have to mention Bambi, too. She was cool! Who wouldn’t her watching over you?

I also feel like I have to mention Petr. I’m glad about what happened to him, he wasn’t a nice guy so he deserved everything he got.

As for the story, I get Layla’s feelings of not really belonging to either side. Being born half demon and half warden, Layla struggles in her attempts to fit in with the people–Warden’s–who’ve raised her. Half the Warden’s don’t like her presence and want her gone while the other half treat her like family. As for being half demon, she’s been tagging them for the past God knows how many years and feels more of a Warden and keeps being told she’s a Warden. But as the story progresses, she begins to question everything she’s ever known and the people around her.

The more I read of the book, the more I fell in love with Roth. He was amazing and just for that last 10% or so this is getting five stars from me. I cried; tears silently falling down my cheeks. Crikey!

I need to read the next in the series to figure out what happens next with these guys.

If you’re a fan of the author then this shouldn’t be missed. If you haven’t read anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout and like YA paranormal romances then you should really pick up one of her books, they’re really good.

Book Links:

Amazon UK: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements)

Amazon US: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements)

Next review(s): N/A

Book Review – The Professional

Published 25/04/2014 by leannecrabtree

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Name: The Professional (The Game Maker, #1)

Author: Kresley Cole

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica/BDSM

Release Date: 6th May 2014

Rating: 3½ out of 5 stars

I received this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

He makes the rules…

Mafiya enforcer Aleksei “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss knows no bounds, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, feisty redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Aleksei will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.

Rules are made to be broken…

Grad student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the dark and breathtaking Sevastyan before the professional enforcer whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. Every day under his protection leads her deeper under his masterful spell.

Are you ready to play?

Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true…

As a huge fan of Kresley Cole and her Immortals After Dark series, I was interested to see what this new book would be about since it was a contemporary romance.

From the first chapter I was fascinated by Natalie and her “manalyzer”, managing to figure out every guy in the bar just by watching them for a few seconds. That is, apart from Sevastyan who she can’t read and instantly catches her attention. Things quickly move along after this and she get’s spirited away to Russia to meet her family, but not without a few hot–and I do mean HOT–scenes between her and Sevastyan.

One thing I did like about the book was that the author didn’t do the typical Mafiya man as Natalie’s dad. In fact, I quite liked the man that was described; he seemed like a nice guy who had a love of clocks and family.

For the first half of the book it was kind of serene, everything was going well. Okay, that’s not quite true. There’s a sexual tension between Natalie and Sevastyan that despite the distance they’ve put between them is only growing and I have to tell you I couldn’t wait for it to blow.

I feel about now that I should mention that I’m not the hugest fan of erotica; I tend to get bored of the continuous sex. Depending on what’s going on and how much I like the characters is how I judge the scenes between them. I happened to like both Sevastyan and Natalie and the sex between them but the dirty talk while in bed always had my eyes rolling. That, I’m not a fan of.

After the half way point it seemed to concentrate more on the sex and the BDSM lifestyle, which I found a little boring after a while. BDSM is not one of my favourite things to read about and in small doses I don’t mind but it took up a fair bit of the book.

With about 15% to go, I got a little excited as some information came out that had me wondering what Natalie would do with it. Relationship difficulties coming to a head I wanted to know how it would all play out. And after another round of sex, we found out some things about Sevastyan’s past.

I’m glad I read this, simply because Kresley Cole is a great author and I was interested in reading something of hers that wasn’t paranormal. I read books for the romance and like to see it happening on paper/screen. The first half was great, it just wasn’t quite for me with all the sex and BDSM themes running through. If you’re a fan of it, then I’d check this out.

Next review(s): White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Book Review – Balanced on the Blade’s Edge

Published 31/03/2014 by leannecrabtree

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Name: Balanced on the Blade’s Edge

Author: Lindsay Buroker

Genre: Steampunk, Romance

Release Date: 30th March 2014

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Colonel Ridge Zirkander isn’t the model of military professionalism—he has a tendency to say exactly what’s on his mind, and his record has enough demerits to wallpaper the hull of an airship—but as the best fighter pilot in the Iskandian army, he’s used to a little leniency from his superiors. Until he punches the wrong diplomat in the nose and finds himself issued new orders: take command of a remote prison mine in the inhospitable Ice Blades Mountains. Ridge has never been in charge of anything larger than a flier squadron—what’s he supposed to do with a frozen fortress full of murderers and rapists? Not to mention the strange woman who shows up right before he arrives…

Sardelle Terushan wakes from three hundred years in a mage stasis shelter, only to realize that she is the last of the Referatu, the sorcerers who once helped protect Iskandia from conquerors. Their subterranean mountain community was blown up in a treacherous sneak attack by soldiers who feared their power. Everyone Sardelle ever knew is dead, and the sentient soulblade she has been bonded to since her youth is buried in the core of the mountain. Further, what remains of her home has been infested by bloodthirsty miners commanded by the descendants of the very soldiers who destroyed her people.

Sardelle needs help to reach her soulblade—her only link to her past and her last friend in the world. Her only hope is to pretend she’s one of the prisoners while trying to gain the commander’s trust. But lying isn’t her specialty, especially when the world has changed so much in the intervening centuries, and if Colonel Zirkander figures out who she truly is, he’ll be duty-bound to sentence her to the only acceptable punishment for sorcerers: death.

I am a huge fan of the author and have read all of the books in her Emperor’s Edge series and all in her Flash Gold Chronicles to date. I will read anything she write so when I saw her blog post about this book I was instantly thinking, “I need this now!”

Lindsay is a genius at blending action, steampunk and romance into her books and they are easy to read and very addictive. (I read the last four books in The Emperor’s Edge series back to back so I could find out how it all ended.)

This is set in a prison and centres around it’s new head, Ridge Zirkander, after he caused some political problems back in the city with his attitude. To me, he sounds like a laugh. The female lead, Sardelle, has just awoken after 300 years and finds herself within the prison walls. There is a sort of instant attraction between them which Ridge tries to ignore as he doesn’t believe it a good thing to get involved with inmates.

If you’re a fan of the author, this isn’t to be missed. If you’ve never read anything by her the first books in her Emperor’s Edge and Flash Gold Chronicles are free on Amazon.

Book Links

Amazon UK: Balanced on the Blade’s Edge

Amazon US: Balanced on the Blade’s Edge

Next review(s): N/A