The Red Lily (Vampire Blood 2) by Juliette Cross

This is a blog I wrote about book two in the Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross featuring Nikolai and Sienna, who we met in book one. It will be released on
July 19, 2017 and was fantastic. Check it out below! 🙂

The Red Lily is book two in the Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross. The kingdoms are ruled by the dark and powerful Varis vampire family. One of the royals is pulling the strings and powering the soldiers with a blood madness, called sanguine furorem, giving them extra strength and an indiscriminate urge to murder […]

via The Red Lily (Vampire Blood 2) by Juliette Cross — Dust off Your MacHalo

Dust Off Your MacHalo

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I wanted to post a heads up: I am now mainly blogging over at Dust Off Your MacHalo. Please follow me there if you haven’t already! It’s a blog made up of four other members of our group at Goodreads, Dust off Your MacHalo, It’s Time for Another Buddy Read.

The main focus is still books, but we also delve into movies, gaming, and have more “Best Of” and topic blogs than I have done here.

Our Twitter handle: DustOff_MacHalo.

Our DustOffYourMacHalo Instagram.

We have a Q&A up with author A. Zavarelli, who has a new dark romance out called Beast and penned the Boston Underworld series, which I love.

I’ll still be blogging here occasionally, but will mainly be over there. Check us out if you have the time! Thanks!

 

“Wait for It” by Molly O’Keefe

ERMAGHERD. ERMAGHERD. SO GOOD.

Made me cry. Broke my feels. This is my second book by Molly O’Keefe and even better than Burn Down the Night (and that one was really good). I’m starting to think she’s an auto-buy/read for sure. Contemporary romance is VERY love/hate for me (especially with “dark” themes and “broken” characters) but this one blew it out of the park. Perfect balance of everything.

I was worried how Blake was going to be, that he would be too much of a jerk. But no no no… Tiffany – I felt a sort of kinship for her, and I have not gone through what she did. But, as a single parent of only one kid, I could still sympathize with her, with the feelings of obligations and no “me” just “them,” crushed by chores and bills and in survival mode, etc. I really think I got her.

I liked how her stretch marks and “mom body” was written into the story. Her breasts being a bit droopy after breastfeeding 3 kids, her poochy belly. It was realistic and yet still incredibly HOT.

Sometimes kids in a romance can be cheesy or take some of the steam out of the book, but the author just did it PERFECTLY – with the family members on both sides of the family.

It was just perfect. I can’t say anything else. Except, the sex scenes?

Man, this woman can write some good sex. Good dialogue too. I mean, I was drawn in from the beginning and it kept me interested the entire time. Devoured it.

THANK you Netgalley and publisher for a digital copy to read and review!

Review also posted at Goodreads

“Nevernight” by Jay Kristoff

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My new favorite book. Kristoff owned this. He’s the rock star of edgy YA fantasy. I haven’t been this excited about a series since Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy. I’m serious.

I loved the dark tone of this book. It made me want to put on my Cure CDs and smoke clove cigarettes and ponder the mysteries of life. Yes, I’m fangirling. Give me a moment. This has actually given me book depression because it ended and now, what will I read? I actually want to go and pre-order the hardcover edition! What is happening to me? I suppose now I’ll even have to try Illuminae again!! (I DNF’d that one because I don’t do well with journal/interview/email story-telling. But I must have been on something because if he wrote THIS and co-wrote THAT, it must be awesome too. It just must.
This isn’t released until August 9, 2016, but if you love fantasy, you seriously need to get it as soon as you can. It’s worth paying full price for. Don’t even wait for it to go on sale. It’s that good.

I’m not giving anything away except to say it’s got everything: action, adventure, excellent world-building, cool creatures and magic, dark vs. light, dark vs. dark, heroism, friendship, sex (not the fade to black kind either), lots of stabby stabby. It’s truly epic.

Think about all the female assassins you’ve read about in YA and think about how they would be if they weren’t watered down. That’s how Mia is. I don’t even know if this is YA. She just happens to be a teenager. I know it will be marketed as YA, so I’m going with older teens. It’s a lot edgier than most YA I’ve read. It was just awesome, period. I lurved it.

Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s for providing a digital copy of this to read and review!!! It was a gem.

Review also found at Goodreads.

Initial post:

Gah! Netgalley and St. Martin’s approved me!

“School of assassins?” Yes, sign me up please!

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“Growling For Mine (Grayslake: More Than Mated Kindle World)” by Alexa Riley

Wow, I think this may be my favorite Alexa Riley yet. Short and sweet and the smut is happening from the get-go.

Good Lord, did I LOVE Bleu. Sorry, but he’s MINE.

Caveman bear shifter, treats his woman like a precious jewel.

This is just like I like ’em… right to the point. Short and sweet.

“You will be mine. If I mate you, you cannot leave. I will hunt you down and bring you back to our home.”

GAH. I lurv him.

Review also found at Goodreads.

Original post:

HELL YES! More paranormal smut from Alexa Riley! I’m there.

“Cottonwood” by R. Lee Smith

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In this story, insectoid aliens crash-landed on Earth. They were settlers, with some doctors, military members, and engineers onboard, going to settle an unpopulated planet. They got to Earth by mistake and humans decide they must be put in camps where they are housed and fed and work in a recycling program.

Sarah is a young woman who gets what she thinks is going to be an awesome job as a caseworker for the aliens to help work toward integration… when the aliens can be moved slowly into society.

When she gets there however, she discovers she has been lied to and the aliens live in squalor, picking through trash, with no showers or toilets, they are fed mystery meat in unlabeled cans, and “disappear” all the time never to be seen again. They have no rights and are prisoners.

Sarah slowly builds a friendship with a father and his son and a couple other members of Cottonwood. There are two mega villains: one runs the camps around the world and the other is his henchman. And that is the premise of Cottonwood.

What an amazing book. This was so much more than a “romance.” The author did such a great job bringing all the characters to life and making you feel deep emotion for everyone! Sarah was fantastic as the protagonist. She was brave and selfless. She helped the “bugs” even though she knew she could get in serious trouble – because it was the right thing to do. She wasn’t “badass” as far as being able to kick butt, but she was definitely badass as an amazing human being.

I especially loved the little boy, T’aki. He was so cute and sweet and his interactions with his dad, Sanford, and Sarah were touching. Sanford wasn’t an “alpha,” but he was strong and a good man. The romance doesn’t even really come in until around 60 or 70%? But the descriptions of the sex were well done, realistic. This isn’t smut and there are no raunchy scenes. It’s not sexy, but it is kind of fascinating and I totally shipped Sarah and Sanford.

There was another supporting character named Samaritan, who is like the Crazy Uncle who don’t want anyone to meet, but when the shit hits the fan, he’s got your back. He was a total asshole, but also pretty freaking incredible when the moment called for it… and then he’d go back to being an asshole again.

The “bugs” in this have a “clicking” type language and they “share breath” as part of intimacy. Their feelers can “taste” the air and smells. The author (again) did a great job explaining the aliens and made them really come alive.

Even though these aliens aren’t preying mantis-looking, I think fans of Vel from Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax series would like this. I would call it more sci-fi adventure/drama with romantic elements.

This book made me cry, had me on the edge of my seat at times, smiling, frowning, and I appreciated that all the drama felt organic and not contrived whatsoever.

This is my favorite R. Lee Smith book. I’ve read 3 of hers now and I am hooked.

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Review also found at: Goodreads

Original post:

ERMAGHERD. All the stars! I loved this so much.What a fantastic story. Sci-fi adventure with an amazing love story, awesome supporting characters, villains you want to die a horrible slow painful death, amazing heroine, sweet and kind hero who happens to be an insectoid alien. GAH. All the feels.

This is not really a romance, but it has a slow-build love story at its heart. I think sci-fi and fantasy fans would like this. The writing is easy to get into and it was just paced well and an instant favorite!!

YOU NEED TO READ THIS!

“Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch

Spoiler-free review. This book isn’t even released until August, so I won’t go into too much detail. Besides, it’s best to go into a Blake Crouch book knowing nothing. When you’re finished, you may still know nothing, but you’ll know more of nothing that you started out knowing.

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I’m joking. This book isn’t confusing. It’s pretty fascinating, actually, and very different than the Wayward Pines trilogy (which I admit, I did enjoy more than this). This is sci-fi thriller where Pines was more sci-fi dystopian with a strong dose of weirdness. This one doesn’t have that quirky Twin Peaks vibe. But that’s okay! Blake Crouch has become one of my favorite authors. If he writes it, I’ll read it!

You can read the synopsis for a general idea of the plot setup. But this is more than just a sci-fi action thriller. It’s also a love story. I won’t go into that since the book hasn’t been released yet, but I highly recommend checking this one out. It also sort of reminded me of the awesome (but highly underrated) TV show Fringe.

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I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley and publisher to read and review! THANK YOU!!!

My Favorite Smut Authors

Since I started writing silly smut, I started reading more of it! There are a couple authors that have become my favorites. The first is Ruby Dixon. She writes the Ice Planet Barbarian series. Ruby Dixon is the secret pen name of a NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author. Here is her Facebook page. I have no idea who she “really” is, but she writes AMAZING alien smutty romance! There are five books so far in the series, plus one shorter story, and a sixth is due out sometime this year.

The plot revolves around a group of young women who are stranded on a frigid winter planet they dub Not-Hoth after the space ship they were on (due to being abducted by evil space men) crashes. They are discovered by huge, blue aliens with horns called the sa-khui. They are warriors who happen to be gorgeous and well-hung and they are just dying to be mated and have little alien hybrid babies with these women!

In order to survive on the planet, you have to take a symbiont called a khui which lives in your heart and helps you withstand the temperature and poisonous atmosphere. The women call it a “cootie” and it can cure diseases and help you stay healthy too. I want a cootie!! I suppose the most important thing the cootie does is purr, or resonate, once a person meets his or her fated match. Awww.

The books all focus on a different couple and how they come to be mates. It’s over-the-top alien romance at its best! Lots of raunchy, sexy times, sometimes there’s instalove, sometimes it takes a little longer for the couple to come together. But these books are pretty short and things are never drawn out too much. I highly recommend! These blue aliens are HAWT.

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Ruby Dixon also has a fun bear shifter series called Bear Bites that is not quite as spectacular, but it’s still silly smutty goodness.

My second favorite smutty author right now is Alexa Riley. This is a team of two friends who write over-the-top smut (my favorite kind) with lots of instalove and juiciness included. I’ve only read the Breeding series (yes, there is such a thing as breeder smut), but I will definitely be reading more – and soon! My favorite was Coach, the first one.

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DAT COVER. Each book is about a man meeting a young woman (who is a virgin, of course) and instantly loving her to the point of obsession. He just wants to yep, breed her, and make her his forever! You can’t get any sillier and over-the-top than this and I love it! haha

Alexa Riley books are pretty short and get right to the point, which I greatly appreciate when reading smut. Plot is allowed to be flimsy, let’s get down to business!

For whatever reason, both of these authors’ writing style just clicks with me and I LURV their stuff. I don’t mind tropes or stereotypes in smut a fraction as much as I do in “real” books. haha

I admit it, my expectations are lower, but that’s okay, and these ladies are up-front about what they write about, no deep meanings or slow-build romances. I can appreciate that when it comes to this type of read. 🙂

 

 

 

“Uprooted” by Naomi Novik

UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review also found at: Goodreads

I’ve been thinking for days now how to review this book when almost everyone has. It seems like almost everyone likes/loves it, while a few didn’t (or didn’t like the second half). When I started it, I wasn’t sure, but before I knew it, I was completely wrapped up in the story and characters. By the end, I had cried, my feels broke, and I was blown away by the imagination of the author and the story she had created. So I guess I’ll just ramble on about a few things.

Even though this book had the trope of “ancient powerful male falls for very young inexperienced woman,” it worked. There was romance, but the story did not revolve around it and it was actually a fairly minor part overall. The girl’s life did not revolve around the male character’s loving her and she was fine with or without it. She had her own things going on and was not a love-sick puppy.

There is a sort of mega alpha jerk in this, but it worked for me. We got to understand why the Dragon was the way he was. He was annoying sometimes and a bit too much “prickly” and cantankerous, but I grew to really love him. Even though he wasn’t really a dragon and that was just his wizard name.

The magic in this book is awesome. There’s spells, chants, illusions, and even magic that can literally shape and change reality. There are fantastical creatures – chimeras and forest monsters. The forest is like a dark spirit that can possess people when they go into it and make them do evil things.

Part of the book takes place at the royal castle and there are politics and intrigue. The end has a more other-worldly, mystical vibe. It really feels like a fairytale laced with mythology.

One of the things I came to truly love was the main character, Agnieszka. She was so kind and giving and had joy in her heart and soul. Her loyalty to Kasia was a foundation of the story. I love how strong she was and how content to just roam around the land and be grounded and use her magic to help the villagers in the valley. She had no interest in being a fancy, rich wizard.

I could go on and on with how much I was unexpectedly swept up by this. I think it will become a favorite for me for years to come and I can imagine re-reading it several times. I am not classifying this as Young Adult because it doesn’t seem like it to me. It just has a 17 year old as the main character. But I highly recommend!

Original post:

OMG you guys. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.

RTC.

Buddy read with Buddies Books and Baubles starting January 8, 2016.

Okay, I have to see what all the fuss is about with this book. Everyone in the world seems to have read it but me. Some people adored it, others only liked the first half? I’m curious what I will think. I hope I like it!

View all my reviews

“Wrath and Bones” (Marnie Baranuik #4) by A.J. Aalto

Wrath and Bones (The Marnie Baranuik Files Book 4)Wrath and Bones by A.J. Aalto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review also found at: https://theparanormalpaladin.wordpres…

This was my first completed book of 2016. Yay me! And it was a really good one!
I think Wrath and Bones is my favorite since Touched. To be honest, the love triangle and Marnie’s obnoxiousness kind of ruined Death Rejoices for me, but maybe I wasn’t in the mood. I liked Last Impressions better, but this really seemed like inspired story-telling.

From the first page, I was drawn in the story, and there seemed to be very little setup before you were thrust into the action. A LOT of things happen in this book. One reason I may have liked it more is just that I love me some vampires/revenants and the whole premise surrounded them. The Houses are summoned to replace the King, who has gone mad and can’t do his job anymore.

Asmodeus, who was a total jerk, had Marnie go off with Declan (the Irishman returns and I was glad to see him) and Batten on a quest to retrieve three objects. Marnie also has to prevent Trollpocalypse. She gets to meet other Daysitters, most of whom seem like shitty people.

The world-building here is top-notch, in my view. I was fascinated by the orcs, trolls, spriggans, werefox, and mellified mummy man? Awesome stuff. The scene towards the end where they battle the trolls with the help of a massive Baltic sea wyrm was fantastic!

Also, this one had some of the best “nonsense” words that Marnie makes up and uses as swear words. So funny. Snatchgoblin, “donked in the wabbles,” twatdribble… lots of funny in this one.

No sexy Harry times, but I guess I can forgive that. TEAM HARRY forever! LOL

All in all, I think this is the best story since book one. I thought the author was really on her game with this one. Fantastic.

Review also found at Goodreads.