Tag Archives: kickass heroine

Frostblood, by Elly Blake

22 Feb

31134210Format: e-ARC, 304 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia/Hodder & Stoughton

Published: January 10, 2017

ISBN: 9781473635173

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: The first in a page-turning young adult fantasy series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard’s RED QUEEN and Sarah J. Maas’s THRONE OF GLASS series.

In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light – until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable…and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King’s men, she’s taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her – and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she’s spent her whole life withholding.

FROSTBLOOD is set in world where flame and ice are mortal enemies – but together create a power that could change everything.

My review: That beautiful cover was the first thing that made me want to read this book, and coupled with the blurb I knew it would be right up my alley. I wasn’t disappointed, and couldn’t put it down once I started reading. Ruby is a wonderful heroine, the only Fireblood left in a world of ice manipulators. She is imprisoned more than once, but fights on until it almost appears all is lost.

Her initial rescuers, an elderly monk and a mysterious soldier with a covered face, train her to fight and use her powers to destroy the evil Frostblood throne, and although they start out full of animosity for each other, I loved the way Arcus and Ruby came to love each other. His secret was fairly obvious for me early on, but that never detracted from the story or the big reveal at the end. I only wish we had seen Brother Thistle again to make sure he was okay. The second book can’t some soon enough for me.

This is a fantastic debut and I look forward to reading more from Elly Blake.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

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Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade #3), by Jennifer Estep

12 May

26161866Format: e-ARC, 368 pages

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 9781617738289

Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy/ Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families–and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…

My review: All I can say is that this better not be the last we hear from Lila and Devon. This final part of the trilogy was perfect, with an epic battle, the settling of an old score, and – of course – young love blossoming between Lila and Devon. The stars of this story, alongside Lila, were the monsters of Cloudburst Falls, in particular the lochness, who is my personal hero. Absolutely loved him! He needs his own series, Ms Estep! It was also great to see the Pork Pit get a mention. This series has been a favourite of mine and it’s sad to see it end. I hope it’s not so much goodbye as just adieu for now.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

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Happy Release Day: Z (Demonica #11.8), by Larissa Ione (plus excerpt and review)

26 Apr

Z - RDL banner

 

Z is the latest in Larissa Ione’s incredible Demonica Underworld Series brought to you by the amazing team at 1001 Dark Nights! Be sure you grab your copy of this sexy new novella today!

 

Z- cover

Amazon ** Paperback

About Z:

Zhubaal, fallen angel assistant to the Grim Reaper, has spent decades searching for the angel he loved and lost nearly a century ago. Not even her death can keep him from trying to find her, not when he knows she’s been given a second chance at life in a new body. But as time passes, he’s losing hope, and he wonders how much longer he can hold to the oath he swore to her so long ago…

As an emim, the wingless offspring of two fallen angels, Vex has always felt like a second-class citizen. But if she manages to secure a deal with the Grim Reaper — by any means necessary — she will have earned her place in the world. The only obstacle in the way of her plan is a sexy hardass called Z, who seems determined to thwart her at every turn. Soon it becomes clear that they have a powerful connection rooted in the past…but can any vow stand the test of time?

Z- RDL Teaser 2

 

 

EXCERPT:

Inside Sheoul, the demon realm sometimes called Hell, evil was everywhere.

It dripped off the sides of the sheer rock walls in streaks of black acid that ate into the stone with a hiss. It wafted through the humid air on tendrils of mist that reeked of sulfur and decaying flesh. And, as Vex watched, it oozed like toothpaste from out of a fissure in midair that only people like her could see.

Her purple-tipped black hair, already short and spiky, stood even more on end as the thing squeezing out of the fissure, a dead demon’s soul, popped free of whatever realm and mystical enclosure it had been inside. The toothpastey glob took a transparent, vaguely humanoid shape, but its glowing crimson eyes were sharp and clear. A malevolent wave of rage and hate rolled off the soul, and Vex backed away, even though escape was impossible for her.

She was what her parents had called a daemani, a demon soul magnet, a person to whom souls stuck like glue. According to them, most daemanis couldn’t prevent it from happening, and that was a serious pain in the ass. If a demon died near Vex, not even the Grim Reaper’s personal daemanis, creatures called griminions, had a chance to collect the soul before it got sucked into her and stored as a glyph on her skin.

The demon shrieked, a sound only she or another soul-sensitive person could hear, as it struggled to keep from being sucked into the prison of her body. In a futile attempt to avoid the inevitable, she fled, her booted feet nimbly negotiating the rock shard-strewn ground that was all too common in this part of Sheoul.

But no matter how fast she ran, every time she looked over her shoulder, the distance between her and the soul had decreased. Closer. Closer.

 

Z - RDL Teaser 1

 

My review:

Format: e-ARC, 154 pages

Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated

Published: April 26, 2016

ASIN: B015WSXZO2

Genre: Paranormal romance

My review: Larissa Ione is one of my favourite authors, and I’m a big fan of the Demonica series, although I’m a bit behind reading some of the later stories. Z and Vex were typical of her wonderful couples – strong, conflicted hero and kickass, snarky heroine – and I especially liked some of their banter. I became frustrated with Z as he kept preferring his lost angel soulmate Laura over Vex, but of course he comes around in a big way. Also loved seeing Revenant again, and I’m now very keen to go back and read Azagoth’s story, which I own but haven’t read yet.

This is a great addition to the Demonica universe, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Azagoth’s “gift” to Revenant.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the author via InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

4cupcakes

 

Larissa Ione - headshotAbout Larissa Ione:

Larissa Ione is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An Air Force veteran, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion of writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

 

 

 

Website | Facebook |Twitter | 1001 Dark Nights

 

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Dark Heart of Magic (Black Blade #2), by Jennifer Estep

1 Mar

24975935Format: e-ARC, 368 pages

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 27, 2015

ISBN: 9781617738265

Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy/ Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Something Wicked This Way Comes…

As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there’s no escaping the spotlight—or the danger.

Even though he’s my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what’s supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious “accidents,” it looks like someone will do anything to win—no matter who they hurt.

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone’s going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing’s for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else…

My review: Another great installment in this new series by Ms Estep. This second book focuses around the Tournament of Blades – think Harry Potter’s Triwizard tournament – featuring competitors from all the main houses, including swoony Devon and our heroine, Lila. Deah Draconi is the reigning champion, which gives the Sinclairs added impetus to do well.

I really enjoyed the twists of the tournament and the revelations about Lila and the Draconis. Estep kept the action coming, and even though I figured out the baddie well in advance, the ending was very satisfying. Romance took a bit of a back seat to the action, but the UST between Lila and Devon finally came to a head – yay! The teaser for the next book has me giddy with anticipation for the third book. Oh, and another beautiful cover.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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The Invasion of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen

6 Aug

24961232Format: e-ARC, 380 pages

Publisher: Transworld Publishers

Published: July 16, 2015

ISBN: 9780593073117

Genre: Science fiction & fantasy, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighbouring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.
But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling – and that of Kelsea’s own soul – may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.
In this dazzling sequel to her bestselling debut The Queen of the Tearling, Erika Johansen brings back favourite characters, including the Mace and the Red Queen, and introduces unforgettable new players, adding exciting layers to her multidimensional tale of magic, mystery and a fierce young heroine.

My review: I think I enjoyed this sequel more than the first book. Things are changing alarmingly with Kelsea, but it is her visions of the life of Lily in the almost-present which had me gripped. As I said with the first book, this is not for younger readers, and the plotline with Lily involves rape and some pretty horrible acts of violence. Nevertheless, I loved her story and really felt for her and her comrades, especially William and Jonathan. That ending was just perfect, and reinforced the idea that this is more science fiction than perhaps the first book would suggest.

Back in Kelsea’s world, things are left up in the air, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the third installment. Hopefully we’ll see more of the Fetch in the next book! This is going to make an amazing film with Emma Watson.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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Cold Burn of Magic, by Jennifer Estep

2 May

coldburnFormat: e-ARC, 368 pages

Publisher: Kensington

Published: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 9781617738241

Genre: YA paranormal

Back cover blurb: There Be Monsters Here. . .

It’s not as great as you’d think, living in a tourist town that’s known as “the most magical place in America.” Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I’ve got my mom’s bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend’s pawn shop, and I have to make a call–get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn’t. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I’m stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I’m going to end up just like her. . .

My review: The Elemental Assassin series is one of my favourites, so it was no surprise I jumped at the chance to get an ARC copy of Jennifer Estep’s first new Black Blade book. Lila Merriweather is like a teenage Gin Blanco: orphaned, kickass, has magical talent, and who gets her jobs from a shopkeeper with hidden connections. There is even mention of her holidaying in Ashland. Lila is just a teen, though, so she still goes to school and is more vulnerable than Gin, which gives us a lot of scope for development.

When a kidnapping attempt happens before her eyes in Mo’s shop, she is compelled to step in and help, earning her the gratitude of one of the ruling families but gaining an enemy of another. She ends up going to work for the Sinclair Family as bodyguard to the kidnapping target, Devon, a swoony boy Lila can’t help feeling attracted to despite their past.

I loved this book from start to finish, and read it in just a couple of sittings. Estep’s writing is fun and action-packed, and there is just enough UST between Lila and Devon to keep me wanting more. The secondary characters are well realised, and I especially liked Oscar the redneck pixie. The lochness is also a great addition to the story. Beautiful cover, fantastic story, and I can’t wait until book 2 comes out in October!

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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Stacking the Shelves #2

27 Mar

Stacking The Shelvesl_thumb2Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Welcome back to Stacking the Shelves, a regular meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the latest books you have added to your shelves, physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course e-books! Here is my haul from this week – oooh, and I can’t wait to get started on some of them!

stackingtheshelves2

Netgalley e-ARC requests

As I mentioned last week, I have just joined Netgalley, and this week I was granted access to a surprising number of my requests. I’m clearly going to have to pace myself! So far I have already read Sea of Stars (Kricket, book 2) by Amy A. Bartol and the sneak peek of Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen and absolutely loved them. You can read my reviews here and here. Also in my Netgalley haul were Lone Star by Paullina Simons, In the Shadow of Winter by Lorna Gray, The Confectioner’s Tale by Laura Madeleine, The Blondes by Emily Schultz, 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die by Mimi Sheraton, and Techbitch by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. Such pretty covers, don’t you think?

stackingtheshelves2a

Bought by me this week

New Zealand iBooks had a promotion this week on New Adult series, with the first in several series free. I can’t resist a freebie, and managed to pick up I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre, After by Anna Todd, All Lined Up by Cora Carmack, and White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout. There was also a sale at Audible, through which I managed to pick up Snow Falling on Bluegrass by Molly Harper, and Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

Not bad for one week, eh? I’d better get reading! Keep an eye out for my reviews of these in coming weeks. So what new books did you pick up this week? Let me know in the comments.

Under Different Stars, by Amy A. Bartol (Kricket, book 1)

20 Mar

kricket1

Format: Kindle edition, 296 pages

Published: December 9, 2014

Publisher: 47North

ASIN: B00MJB2ZEW

Back cover blurb: Kricket Hollowell never wished upon stars. She was too busy hiding in plain sight, eluding Chicago’s foster care system. As her eighteenth birthday approaches, she now eagerly anticipates the day she’ll stop running and finally find her place in the world.

That day comes when she meets a young Etharian soldier named Trey Allairis, who has been charged with coming to Earth to find Kricket and transport her to her true home. As danger draws close, he must protect her until she can wield the powers she cannot use on Earth…and he soon realizes that counting a galaxy of stars would be easier than losing this extraordinary girl.

Kyon Ensin knows the powerful depths of Kricket’s gifts—gifts he’ll control when he takes her for his tribe and leads the forces that will claim Ethar and destroy his enemies, starting with Trey Allairis. Now, Kricket faces the most difficult choice of her life: whether to wage a battle for survival, or a fight for love.

Winner of four 2014 UtopYA Awards, including Best Book of the Year and Best Sci-Fi Book of the Year.

My review: Amazing! This was my first Amy Bartol book, but it won’t be my last. My friends over at The Book Hookup love her, and now I know why. I could not put this down! The plot was gripping, unlike anything else I’ve read for a while – more science fiction than anything else.

Oh, but the UST! *swooon!* I’m a sucker for great UST, and Trey is a worthy book boyfriend. Bartol keeps it subtle in the first half of the book – I loved the scene where he wakes up next to Kricket and Jax tells him to walk it off, lol! – but then amps it up in the second half (the shower scene!) without ever needing to get graphic. Wonderful.

Kricket was a fantastic heroine. I loved her snark and resilience, and her life in foster care means she can get herself out of sticky situations. Bartol shows us the world she has created through Kricket’s questions and discoveries, which is much better than many other authors who use heaps of telling.

The secondary characters are excellent. The baddies are well formed, but I loved hilarious Jax and Wayra the best. I’m really looking forward to the next book to see more of all these characters, especially Trey 😉 Luckily, I have the ARC already! Highly recommended!

My rating: 5/5

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 N.B: Book 2 in the series, Sea of Stars, will be published on March 31, 2015.

Stacking the Shelves #1

18 Mar

Stacking The Shelvesl_thumb2Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Welcome to Stacking the Shelves, my first time at this regular meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the latest books you have added to your shelves, physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course e-books! Below is my haul from this week – can you spot a theme, lol?

Yes, I’m a fan of Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, and recently finished Kiss of Venom, book 8.5. Of course, that meant I had to buy book 9, Heart of Venom, and it seemed I couldn’t resist books 10 and 11 as well! One-clicking is a dangerous thing!

Add to that, last week I joined Netgalley, and the first book I was accepted for was the first in Estep’s brand new series, Cold Burn of Magic, due to be published on April 28 by Kensington. The blurb is really interesting and I’m looking forward to getting started on the ARC.

Back cover blurb: There Be Monsters Here. . .

It’s not as great as you’d think, living in a tourist town that’s known as “the most magical place in America.” Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I’ve got my mom’s bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend’s pawn shop, and I have to make a call–get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn’t. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I’m stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I’m going to end up just like her. . .

Keep an eye out for my reviews of these in coming weeks!

stackingshelves1

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writing for the Pop Culture Literate.

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