Paranormal Romance, Review Books, Urban Fantasy, WereHyenas

Iron and Magic (Blood Covenant #1) by Ilona Andrews


No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she’s trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins

My reaction when I heard that Hugh d’Ambray would get his own book and perhaps series was “No Thanks.”

This is the same dude who mercilessly hunted Kate Daniels and all those who allied with her. The seemingly soulless Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers is now given an opportunity to be a hero? Now that he has been purged by his Lord Roland, we are treated to a backstory of a young boy Emile was basically groomed by Roland, Kate Daniel’s bio dad. We are supposed to buy this whole Hugh just wanted to belong story.

For what he has done to Curran, Clan Bouda, Kate etc, it will take more than one fantastically written book to get me there. Simply because past five fantastically written books preceding this one depicted him as Satan’s right hand. It simply can’t be undone in a book, or even a trilogy. But I will let Ilona Andrews give it a shot.

Since Hugh was dumped by his surrogate father and lord Roland, Hugh had to feed his Iron Dogs (army). He makes a political alliance with Elara Harper, the White Lady who needs an army to protect her people and in return, Elara promises land and resources to house and feed the army. A truly symbiotic relationship between two powers who seem to detest each other but their sexual chemistry is palpable.

I had to fight not to get sucked it. I really had to keep reminding myself that Hugh is getting his due and not to fall for the authors attempt at redeeming him. I was getting worn down so I tip my hat to the authors. They made a compelling argument for Hugh. I remember Hugh from the last book though.

Note: This is a story that one should only read if you have caught up on the prior Kate Daniels books. It is so gripping, well paces, lyrical storytelling. This is UF at its finest. I will admit that I loved the book and I loved that Elara was giving Hugh all that he can handle. She still is no Kate, but I like her.

Maybe I am petty but I don’t want Kate or Curran to have anything to do with Hugh. Not even to fight Roland. I want Kate to kick his ass. There is a lot of story left. I have to be honest, I am so curious as to how Ilona Andrews is going to pull this off. Can she get me to be Team Hugh?

Audiobook, Fiction, Review Books, Suspense & Thriller

My Sister, the Serial Killer by by Oyinkan Braithwaite


My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaithe
Pages: 240
Blurb: Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they’re perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.
Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite has written a deliciously deadly debut that’s as fun as it is frightening. 


I went into this book expecting to laugh or at least get some chuckles. I mean, look at the title! But from the very first page, any notions of a humorous/satirical novel was quickly dispelled.

The book starts off with sister Korede cleaning up a room after her sister Ayoola stabbed the boyfriend for yelling at her. One stab to the heart, two more to ensure he didn’t get. While Korede, the nurse, was cleaning and talking to Ayoola, it was clear that this has happened before.

What resonated with me (as a Nigerian) was the expectation that you protect family above all. So Korede is protecting her sister even though she’s simultaneously aiding and abetting a murderer and disposing a body and tampering with a crime season.
I also smiled at the descriptions of the Lagos, from hailing a taxi, to the calling of the trunk of the car “boot”.

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel captures the way sisters are treated and pitted against each other unknowingly in the descriptions of their beauty and value.
Korede KNOWS her sister Ayoola is more beautiful and valued. Korede resents that her needs and desires take a back seat but she’s come to accept the role until it’s tested when Ayoola sets her sight on the doctor that Korede has been in love with. Korede struggles with protecting the doctor by letting him know to avoid her sister or loyalty to blood.

Honestly, this audiobook wasn’t the smoothest I’ve heard. The story should have had an epilogue or a better explanation at the ending. I struggled to understand Ayoola who never seemed to feel bad for killing her beaus. No remorse other than the feigned emotions when the family of her victims asked if she knew anything about their whereabouts.
What I liked was the way the author captured the culture and her descriptions gave me visual memories of Nigeria. That connection is what I related to and what I loved. Overall, the story was entertaining. But just be aware, it’s not funny. It’s a straight up suspenseful crime story.

Audiobook, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Deadly Intent (I-Team, #8) by Pamela Clare


Blurb: Secrets buried in the sand…

Former US Army Captain Mia Starr has built a new life for herself in Denver, far away from camel spiders and sand—and the terrible secrets of her first deployment to Iraq. She isn’t looking for a relationship, especially not with an intrusive photojournalist. Joaquin Ramirez might be sexy, but in her experience, photojournalists only want to make a buck off other people’s suffering. Still, the universe must have a sick sense of humor because it keeps throwing her together with Joaquin, making the desire she feels for him harder and harder to resist.

An undeniable attraction…

As a Pulitzer Prize-winning news photographer, Joaquin has everything a single straight guy could want—except the right woman. When he meets Mia while shooting a crime scene, he immediately sees beyond her cold exterior to the vulnerable woman beneath. Though the police consider her a suspect, he’s sure she’s innocent. Someone is killing soldiers—and trying to pin the blame on her. Unable to resist the pull between them, Joaquin stands by her only to find himself snared in the killer’s net as well.

A twisted soul hungry for revenge…

Mia can’t help it when the heat between her and Joaquin melts away her preconceptions. As their passion explodes, danger draws ever closer. When it becomes clear that Mia is the killer’s true target, she must trust Joaquin with a secret that could ruin her … or risk losing the love of a lifetime.


This story was a really good example of a well written romantic suspense. It has romance, adventure, mystery/suspense and an HEA. This is a really entertaining series and this book was no exception.

Joaquin Ramirez really impressed me in the last book with his thoughtfulness and bravery. So I was really excited that this hard working and considerate photographer/member of the I-Team would get his chance at love.

Mia Starr seemed to be quite prickly in the beginning but I warmed up to her. She had to wear her armor all the time after what’s she had been through as a member of the US armed forces.
The now retired officer was a target of an old vendetta and Joaquin decided that he would help protect his sister’s former CO.
I like how the author paced this story. Joaquin was clearly attracted to Mia from the beginning but he never pushed and was always considerate of her needs first. He let her dictate how they proceeded. He helped her feel comfortable and confident. I loved it.
I enjoyed the narration of Kaleo Griffth except his sexy woman voice, which makes me laugh because it sounds like a man trying to sound like a woman.

I love that the author has kept the same energy, storytelling and emotional appeal throughout this series. Each couple has their own thing, their own journey but lots of support and encouragement from the fellow ITeam members. I can’t say the villain wasn’t predictable but the story was still enjoyable. I am curious to see who will be featured in the next book.

Audiobook, Historical Romance, Review Books

On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgerton #8) by Julia Quinn


On the Way to the Wedding (Bridgertons, #8)On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn
A funny thing happened… 

Unlike most men of his acquaintance, Gregory Bridgerton believes in true love. And he is convinced that when he finds the woman of his dreams, he will know in an instant that she is the one. And that is exactly what happened. Except… 

She wasn’t the one. In fact, the ravishing Miss Hermione Watson is in love with another. But her best friend, the ever-practical Lady Lucinda Abernathy, wants to save Hermione from a disastrous alliance, so she offers to help Gregory win her over. But in the process, Lucy falls in love. With Gregory! Except… 

Lucy is engaged. And her uncle is not inclined to let her back out of the betrothal, even once Gregory comes to his senses and realizes that it is Lucy, with her sharp wit and sunny smile, who makes his heart sing. And now, on the way to the wedding, Gregory must risk everything to ensure that when it comes time to kiss the bride, he is the only man standing at the altar...

Gregory Bridgerton was such a romantic but his vision of how he would fall in love was nothing like what actually occurred. I love that he thought he would just know and it would be smooth sailing but as as all realists now, you gotta work for love.
Like many men, Gregory worked hard only to find out that what he thought he wanted wasn’t at all what he needed.

Lucinda Abernathy was a means to an end for Gregory. After all, her best friend Hermione Watson was the one that Gregory had fallen for. Gregory enlisted Lucinda’s help to land Hermione until he loses Hermione. Gregory learned that he had fallen for the friend instead. Now he just has to convince her that she isn’t a consolation prize.

This one was didn’t feel like a series ending story even though it was entertaining. I loved Hyacinth standing up for her brother. I loved Gregory fighting for love. It was good but not as angst filled as the prior stories.

View all my reviews

Audiobook, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Captivated by Bethany-Kris


CAPTIVATED

by Bethany-Kris
Narrator: Daniel James Lewis
Audio Publication Date: October 2018
Genres: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Organized Crime. Erotic Romance

BUY NOW!

Amazon Audible: https://amzn.to/2DOc1F6

SYNOPSIS:

A shadow meets the light …

When someone needs to disappear, the Chicago mob calls on Joe Rossi. A man who can move without a sound, and kill without a word, they don’t call him the Shadow for nothing.

This time, it’s a New York crime family in need of his skills, but it takes one glimpse of her to make him agree to the job.

Liliana Marcello is every inch a principessa della mafia. Her life has taught her to be wary of strangers, yet her ballet career contradicts everything by putting her on display.

It’s a man with a dark smile and a constantly changing demeanor that makes her feel safe again, but it’s the unknown that holds her back.

It takes one look …
One dance …
One word …
One smile to captivate a man.

And one second to kill a woman because of it, too.

Not all monsters hide in the shadows.
How are you supposed to see them coming?

goodreads-badge-add-38px


AUDIO EXCERPT – NARRATOR DANIEL JAMES LEWIS

Bethany-Kris came through on this one. It was fully of passion, mystery, suspense and lots of cameos of characters from her prior novels.

The narrator Daniel James Lewis was a really good choice for Joe Rossi because there wasn’t excessive emotion in his voice, he was rather chill/calm just like Joe was described.

Joe Rossi is the “shadow” enforcer for the Chicago Outfit (mafia) and he avoids being seen and heard. When he is called to New York to handle a problem and Joe didn’t expect to find the eldest daughter of the Boss so captivating. Liliana Marcello, a ballet dancer, wasn’t really wanting a relationship but she couldn’t help her intense attraction to the man who was working with her father. Both of them were similar in that they are private people who were clear in what they wanted. They didn’t make unnecessary demands and they just enjoyed themselves together. Joe and Liliana had that palpable chemistry that made me giddy.

They were well developed as characters and the plot was well laid. I liked the story because it was barely angst but full of feels. Definitely top notch story telling. It was a romance with suspense, family and a bit of that organized crime life. This story was truly captivating.

ABOUT BETHANY-KRIS

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to four young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

To keep up-to-date with new releases from Bethany-Kris, sign up to her New Release Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bf9lzD

WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookGoodreadsPinterestMailing ListAmazon Author Page

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Audiobook, Historical Romance, Review Books

The Lady Travelers Guide to Deception with an Unlikely Earl (The Last Travelers Society #3) by Victoria Alexander


The Lady Travelers Guide to Deception with an Unlikely Earl (The Lady Travelers Society, #3)

Harry Armstrong has spent years in Egypt, recovering relics and disregarding rules. Now he’s back in England with a new title and a new purpose: penning his exploits. But his efforts are overshadowed by London’s favorite writer about Egypt—a woman they call The Queen of the Desert, of all things. Worse, her stories—serialized in newspapers and reprinted in books—are complete rubbish.

Miss Sidney Honeywell didn’t set out to deceive anyone. It’s not her fault readers assumed her Tales of a Lady Adventurer in Egypt were real! Admitting her inadvertent deception now would destroy her reputation and her livelihood. But when the Earl of Brenton challenges her to travel to Egypt to prove her expertise, accompanied by his dashing, arrogant nephew, what choice does she have but to pack her bags?

With the matchmaking founders of the Lady Travelers Society in tow, Harry is determined to expose Sidney’s secret. But the truth might not be as great a revelation as discovering that love can strike even the most stubborn of hearts


The Lady Travelers Guide to Deception with an Unlikely Earl (The Lady Travelers Society, #3)My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This audiobook was a grand adventure and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. It was like following a female Indiana Jones except the lady was an author not an archeologist. The plot was similar to the prior books in this series. It was more of a historical romantic suspense story because the romance was secondary to the main characters drive to find some historical artifacts.

Miss Sidney Honeywall has been writing under the pseudonym Mrs. Gordon, garnering a huge fan following about her adventures in Egypt. Not everyone was enamored with the “Tales of a Lady Adventure” particularly the Earl of Brenton who believed the author to be a fraud. The Earl doesn’t believe Mrs. Gordon to be a real expert of Egyptian artifacts and culture. In order to expose the author, the Earl lays down a challenge daring Mrs. Gordon to travel with his nephew Harry Armstrong, To establish the legitimacy of of her numerous articles and her claims of travel, Sidney agrees to allow Harry to join her on her next adventure to Egypt.

This one was well written and had likable characters. Sidney and her ladies of her traveling club, Persephone “Poppy”, Ophelia “Aunt Effie” and Guinevere “Guin” were a riot. They seemed like they were ditzy and a tad clueless but their actions were purposeful and intended. They had each others backs and were a source of emotional and mental support for Sidney.

Harry was a clearly intelligent and came with the intention of giving “Mrs. Gordon” just enough rope to hang herself. Harry intended to expose Sidney as a fraud once he gathered enough evidence. What he wasn’t expecting to encounter was a beautiful and intelligent woman who kept him on his toes. I liked their banter and interaction because they were clearly equals. Their mutual admiration and respect laid a great foundation for the love that came later.
This author did a great job of not letting the romance overpower the plot and the twist at the end was amusing even though I suspected it. I liked this one a lot.

*e-ARC from Netgalley

View all my reviews

Audiobook, Giveaway, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: COZEN by Bethany-Kris


COZEN

by Bethany-Kris
Narrator: Conner Goff
Audio Publication Date: October 2018
Genres: Adult, Audiobook, Romantic Suspense, Organized Crime. Erotic Romance

BUY NOW!

Amazon Audible: https://amzn.to/2Pyf8Hs

SYNOPSIS:

coz-en (kuz-uhn)
verb
1. trick or deceive.
• obtain by deception.

She was named most appropriately.

Cozen Taylor has more than earned her place as one of North America’s most successful thieves. Her name is whispered amongst criminal elite as the go-to thief when someone needs a heist.

She has never failed.

A call from the Miami-based Astor family could change all that with a job that seems almost impossible to complete. The mark should be simple—a stolen family heirloom, the man who has kept it hidden for over twenty years, and six months to return the piece to its rightful owners.

Nothing is ever that easy.

Three-hundred million for a successful heist. No smart thief would turn the offer down. Cozen didn’t expect a complication like him to put a kink in her plans, though. Sargon Makri—tall, dark, gorgeous, and entirely dangerous. For her life, her heart, and for the success of the heist.

The last thing Cozen needs to be thinking about is Sargon, and how she can get him into her bed … especially when he just happens to be her mark’s bodyguard. The thrill of the job has never been more addicting to Cozen, and she will risk everything to make the heist a success.

But at what cost?

***

From author Bethany-Kris comes a whole new world. A North American network full of criminals battling to stay on top, and painting the streets red in war as they dabble in the game of betrayal. Malicious, cunning, forbidden, and violent—welcome to The Empires and Badlands.

goodreads-badge-add-38px

AUDIO EXCERPT – NARRATOR CONNOR GOFF

This is my first time listening to the narrator Connor Goff and he did a great job on this story. The plot was set up in a very intriguing manner. It had hints of a romance but it was a mystery and suspense first story.

Cozen Taylor was a renowned thief because she was basically invisible. She delivers what she promised and no one she interacted with on the heist remembered anything about her afterwards. As Cozen was considering retiring, the Astor family came with an offer that was so golden that Cozen couldn’t refuse. The job was to recover a family heirloom currently in the hands of Jett Griffin, but the Astor family wanted it back. Unfortunately for Cozen, Sargon Makri, the bodyguard to her new mark was excellent at his job as well. While getting close to Jett, Cozen was also getting close to his bodyguard Sargon and the latter one was the real deal.

Each chapter revealed a layer of the story and I found it to be a suspenseful romance. The author spent time setting up the mystery and the plot twist, but unfortunately it made the pacing slow. Cozen and Sargo’s interactions were this big game of cat and mouse and the sex scenes were quite spicy.  I would have liked more romance (not necessarily sex) in this story as well. In addition, I wish more time was spent developing the back story of the main character because it didn’t feel connect to the characters. This is a book that I would have benefitted more from listening to the last hour FIRST because my understanding and engagement would have been better.

ABOUT BETHANY-KRIS

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to four young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

To keep up-to-date with new releases from Bethany-Kris, sign up to her New Release Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bf9lzD

WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookGoodreadsPinterestMailing ListAmazon Author Page

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js