Review: “Twice Bitten” by Rayna Vause

TITLE: Twice Bitten
AUTHOR: Rayna Vause
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: April Martinez
GENRE: Paranormal; Urban Fantasy; Vampires
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: Jul 17, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback

BLURB:

With a new species of vampire stalking the streets, the stakes are high. But that’s not the only reason hearts are on the line.
Danny Reynolds thought Kieran McCade was the one—true love and hot lust forever—until Danny found out Kier’s bloody secret and ran away screaming. Months later, Danny is facing his own paranormal crisis, and he needs Kieran’s help, but are there enough ways to apologize for breaking a vampire’s heart?
Nothing about Danny’s transformation is normal—not the attack that led to it, and not the symptoms Danny’s plagued with—but being in close proximity to Kieran is even worse than becoming a thing that goes bump in the night. Danny and Kieran aren’t the only things threatening to bump each other off, though. Secret organizations and clashing vigilante agendas want to get their hands on Danny. His only hope is to find a fix for his problem before he’s either captured or his abnormal transition starves him to death.
Danny and Kieran might have a real chance to repair their broken romance… but only if they keep Danny alive!


Danny Reynolds is a human who’s been attacked by a rogue Vampire one night after leaving work. This attack wasn’t normal, and after Danny barely made it out of the fight alive, he started to have weird symptoms. The only person who can help him is his ex-boyfriend, Kieran McCade, a vampire. The problem is that when Danny had found out what Kieran was, he ran away from their relationship, hurting Kieran in the process.

Between his symptoms that are life-threatening for Danny, a dangerous group of people hunt him down to hurt if not kill him and Kieran, who’s still angry and hurting, Danny doesn’t know if he will survive.
A second chance might be possible but at what cost?
Twice Bitten by Rayna Vause is the first book that I’ve read from her, and it will definitely not be the last.

I adored this book. It was a super good read.
Danny and Kier were madly in love and had been together for six months until Danny found out what Kier was. Danny hated vampires back then, and felt betrayed, so he ran away from Kier and their love. But when he was in danger, alone and scared, Danny went to see the only person who could help him. I loved Danny. I loved his honesty. He acknowledged that he hurt Kier, and he regretted it profoundly. He tried to prove to Kier that he was worth a second chance. I loved him because he was honest with himself and dealt with it.

Kier was hurt, really hurt, and as tough as he can be for a vampire, Danny had this power over him, and he broke his heart. But when Danny came to see him asking his help, Kier didn’t turn his back. I was completely enamored with Kier. He’s loyal and honest. He’s kind and protective, and he’s strong and sensitive. I was soooooo team Kier.

The plot was good and the story well written. In a world where vampires and humans live together (kind of), the relationship between the two species isn’t simple. Some humans (called Purity) want to eradicate vampires, and some Vampires (the Rogues) want to use humans as their personal meals. I loved this because it was well written, dynamic and very fluid. I didn’t have any problem following the story through the plot, and I was completely captivated. The book isn’t only focused on Danny and Kier. The subplot with the Vampire / human relationship, with all that implied, was captivating and interesting, I was hooked by it. The secondary characters are good, loveable and I wanted to know more about Aiden and Rogan.

I don’t know if this book is a standalone or the first of a series. For me it can be the first book of a series, there’s a lot of potential, and the author wrote this book very well. At least, I hope to have a book with Aiden and Rogan, even a standalone (dear new author of my heart, there’s a hint here for you).

I recommend this book, it’s a good romance/action’s book, and you’ll have a great a time as I had.

4 OptimuMM’s for The Vamp and his Librarian!

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Soul Bond” by JS Harker

TITLE: Soul Bond
AUTHOR: JS Harker
SERIES: Dreamspun Beyond
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 208 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 17, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Stealing his heart.
As a thief and a warlock, Noah survives by using his wit and charm to prey on the privileged. His dangerous criminal boss wants an enchanted dagger belonging to a family of wealthy mages, including their pampered—but handsome—son, Ben. Failing to complete the job will be hazardous to Noah’s survival.
Noah bumps into Ben at a lavish party, and as soon as they meet, the connection’s undeniable, and it goes much further than ordinary attraction. Their bond reaches into their souls, entwining and changing their magic.
Which Noah thinks he can use to get to the dagger. After all, he isn’t sure this soul bond Ben seems so obsessed with is even real.
He also doesn’t count on being caught red-handed…. Or falling in love.


Well, it had to happen at some point. I knew it was too good to be true that I would continue to love all of the books in the Dreamspun Beyond series. Not that they’ve had a bad run. Twenty-three books that I have enjoyed reading before reading Soul Bond, number twenty-four in the Dreamspun Beyond series.

From looking the author, JS Harker, up on Amazon and Dreamspinner, Soul Bond looks to be the author’s first book. The book had promise. I did still enjoy reading it, but the author left me a little confused at the beginning of the book as she explained the differences between what made a mage and what made a warlock.

I’m still not sure if it’s just a money thing and whether you came from a mage house or it was a magic ability thing, like if you didn’t pass the magic test, then you became a warlock. The mages did seem to have all of the money, and the warlocks did seem to be poor but as far as I can tell they both had magic. So yeah even after rereading the first twenty percent of the book I was still confused.
What further confused me is that Ben is a mage and his father is their magus so you would assume that he would have some awesome magic ability and be stronger than a warlock. But when Noah needs his help, Ben is helpless to help him and all he can suggest is running away. Not what I would expect from a rich and powerful mage. So yeah a little disappointed in Ben’s character, especially since he’s been searching for so long to find his soul bond.

I did like Noah though. He stayed true to his character. He’s a thief that’s good at illusion spells and if that means using his soul bond to save his life that’s what he’s going to do. Will he feel guilty about it, sure, but he’ll still do it. However, he didn’t figure into his heist that he would fall in love with the head of the household’s son.

I did enjoy the middle portion of the book, and there was plenty of chemistry and hot scenes between Ben and Noah, but the end of the book ends more in a happy for now ending. And the author didn’t give any indication if this is going to be the start of a series and we’ll get the rest of the unanswered questions answered in the next book or if we’re just going to be left hanging to draw our own conclusions.
I wish authors would give some indication at the end of their books. Something as easy as “The end for now” or “To be continued” or even a “Stay tuned to find out what happens to Ben and Noah in the next book.” If for no other reason than it would give their books better review ratings. Readers don’t like guessing or wondering if another book is going to come out. Letting us know that another book is coming to answer our questions will leave us feeling excited and anxious to read it versus disappointed that the book just ended and left us with questions that need answers.

I’m personally hoping that another book is made about Ben and Noah and that I get my questions answered. By the end of the book, I really liked them as a couple, but they have so much left of their relationship and journey to figure out.

Overall, not a bad book but it could have been done a little better. However, I haven’t given up on the Dreamspun Beyond series just yet and eagerly await the next book in the series.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Incubus Honeymoon” by August Li

TITLE: Incubus Honeymoon
AUTHOR: August Li
SERIES: Arcana Imperii
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
COVER ARTIST: Blake Dorner
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 274 pages
RELEASE DATE: Jul 17, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 –e-book / $16.99 -paperback

BLURB:

As the so-called magical creatures go, I’m low on the hierarchy, and my powers aren’t much good to human mages. I’m a lover, not a fighter, through and through. I’m also selfish, lazy, and easily bored. But I’m damned good at what I do.
Too bad that won’t get my arse out of this sling.
Do one—granted, uncharacteristic—good deed, and now I’m held hostage to an arrogant faerie prince, trying to track down the one who summoned him while dodging gangbangers, gun runners, and Nazis. Add the powerful mage guilds scrambling to gather firepower for some doomsday event they’re sure is around the corner, and my cushy life of leisure might be nothing but a memory. On top of that, something’s compelling me to change on my most fundamental level. I’m not sure what I’ve got myself mixed up in, but nothing will ever be the same.
Bloody hell.
===
Featuring a new twist on urban fantasy combined with fast-paced action and intrigue, the Arcana Imperii series books are standalone adventures, each completely accessible to new readers.


As far Urban Fantasies go, I like them pretty much. When I read the blurb for this special book, I thought I have to read this one. My hope was that I would find some romance in it, but that is not the case.

In this universe of Li, there are guild of mages secretly controlling the world. All those guilds have their own specific powers and their own specific goals. But where there are mages, there are also beautiful creatures too.

Our Incubus, we call him Inky, is one of those creatures. His goal is to bring people pleasure, and in return, he can feasts on the energy their release makes while doing so. Inky shapes himself as the one his object desires too. He can sense the desire of everyone, including creatures like him. That gift brings him to a mage bar, and after a few difficulties, he finds the source of the desire that brought him there. It’s a fay.

Our fay, let’s call him Blossom, is trapped in this world, summoned. Fay are a rarity amongst the mages, and his life is in danger, but he didn’t seem to realize that. He’s arrogant and looks down on everybody. But he’s also easily distracted by shiny things. It takes Inky’s rigorous convincing that he follows the demon and they search the mage who summoned and kept him trapped there. But he strikes a bargain with Inky, and in doing so, he takes from the incubus.

They search, and aka thirty whispering cats, brought them to the shady part of town, where they end up following unusual clues, and to the apartment of Dante, a young thug. Dante has no magic in him, so it seems that they met a dead end, but the events it follows bring us to the middle of mafia, Nazis, mage war, and other things.

Here I need to open a parentheses and tell you that lately I’ve noticed that the current US politics, the extreme administration, is more often mentioned in the newly published books, as in this book too. Even if this scenery of urban fantasy, the extremism, the power their gain, by being supported by high ranking politics, leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I’m a globalist. I don’t believe in frontiers, I don’t believe in nationalism. Nationalism, as frontiers are dividing us humans, creating false identifications as well separatism. We are all one, we are equals, different but equals. In my utopistic, idealistic mind I wish for the world to reach its fulfillment and become what it was meant to be to become. A place of tolerance, acceptance and full of love!

***The ARC was provided by DSP Publication . My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Dog Days” by TA Moore

TITLE: Dog Days
AUTHOR: TA Moore
SERIES: Wolf Winter
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Anne Cain
GENRE: Urban Fantasy; Paranormal
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 9, 2016
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

The world ends not with a bang, but with a downpour. Tornadoes spin through the heart of London, New York cooks in a heat wave that melts tarmac, and Russia freezes under an ever-thickening layer of permafrost. People rally at first—organizing aid drops and evacuating populations—but the weather is only getting worse.
In Durham, mild-mannered academic Danny Fennick has battened down to sit out the storm. He grew up in the Scottish Highlands, so he’s seen harsh winters before. Besides, he has an advantage. He’s a werewolf. Or, to be precise, a weredog. Less impressive, but still useful.
Except the other werewolves don’t believe this is any ordinary winter, and they’re coming down over the Wall to mark their new territory. Including Danny’s ex, Jack—the Crown Prince Pup of the Numitor’s pack—and the prince’s brother, who wants to kill him.
A wolf winter isn’t white. It’s red as blood.


Dog Days is the first book in the Wolf Winter series by TA Moore. I put in a request to review the second book in the series Stone the Crows, but I figured that I should read the first book in the series first. I love the cover of the book. It’s beautiful, and the cover artist did a fabulous job. I would have bought the book based just on the cover without even reading the blurb; however, after reading the book, there should definitely be blood somewhere on the cover.
The cover is misleading. This book is not a romance. There is sex in the book, but it’s more of—we used to have a relationship, but we broke up, but I’m still attracted to you, so we have sex occasionally type of thing. The story does have twist and turns, some I could see coming and some I didn’t. I was kind of hoping for an urban fantasy romance, and I got an urban fantasy horror story. I was also disappointed in the editing of the book. I don’t normally find errors in books published by Dreamspinner Press, but I found a few and even a wrong name used.

Danny left his pack because to him it felt confining, clannish, and frequently cruel. Danny is a weredog and in the hierarchy of a werewolf pack that puts him at the very bottom. Also by being a dog, he doesn’t feel the wild the same way that the wolves do and doesn’t need or desire a pack the same way that they do. Danny would rather live in the human world with the humans, dating humans, teaching humans, basically acting human. He’s a teacher and lives in the same apartment building as his ex-girlfriend, Jenny, and her new boyfriend that she cheated on him with. Despite that, they are still good friends. I liked Danny, but I was a bit confused by how his character was portrayed. Multiple times Danny says that he’s really good at running, away from his pack, his problems, and more. The whole book all he does is refuse to run away and runs after his ex, pulling her out of situations, helping her when Jack wants him to do something else, pretty much putting her first in every situation. And it seems like his whole motivation is out of not being able to love her as he should have and having hurt her when they broke up, which is odd since she was cheating on him, but whatever.
He was like a dog with a bone, the world is freezing over and ending, the monsters are coming, you can’t travel anywhere, there is limited food, no heating, but his whole focus is around Jenny. In my opinion, if Jack had been smart, he would have killed her when he saw how Danny was around her the first time. It would have saved them a lot of trouble. But you know hindsight…

Jack is the prince pup of the Numitor. They are the be all end all of werewolf packs. They are so purebred that they would rather breed with real wolves than dilute their blood by breeding with humans. So obviously they have a superior attitude to humans. Jack has an identical twin, Gregor, that was born twelve minutes after him. The Numitor, their father, has to pick an heir and Gregor gets it by default, not because of his fighting ability or leadership but because Jack refused to sleep with females and a male that refuses to breed can’t be the next Numitor. And so he is exiled. The story jumps a period of time, and suddenly Jack is in the same town as Danny, who supposedly had a sexual thing with Jack while they were in the pack together. I kind of wish the author had put up a timeline a month date type of thing at the top of the chapter to help with figuring out how much time had passed since Jack had gotten exiled and found Danny. It would have been helpful. I didn’t really like Jack. He treats Danny like a pet/possession. He refuses to tell Danny why he’s there or what he wants. I just couldn’t connect with him or how he interacts with Danny. I liked how he interacted with his twin though, even if his twin is trying to kill him, although that is mutual.

I did like the description of the prophet and the monsters. I didn’t have any problem getting a visual picture of them. The author also did a good job of describing the town and how the weather affects the characters. Although with how cold and miserable it was I was surprised how easily the humans were able to move around without freezing.

Overall if I was looking for an urban fantasy horror story than this would have hit the spot but it just wasn’t what I was looking for.
I’m hoping that I will like the next book in the series better since it’s about Gregor, Jack’s twin.

 

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Outcast” by J.S Frankel

TITLE: Outcast
AUTHOR: J.S Frankel
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Devine Destinies
COVER ARTIST: Martine Jardin
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 217 pages
RELEASE DATE: Feb 16, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 e-book

BLURB:

Mitch Kessler, teenage high school dropout, jobless and mostly friendless, lives a life of solitude, but not by choice. Endowed with the ability to bring wings out of his body as well as claws, and transform himself into a fierce creature of the night, he’s picked up a nickname from the general public that he hates: gargoyle.
However, that’s the least of his worries. His girlfriend, Callie, can’t keep her genders straight, his best friend is a spinning top, and his other acquaintance is made of rock. It’s obviously a government plot, but Mitch doesn’t know who’s behind it or why. Worse, various and sundry creations have now appeared out of the woodwork and are out to kill him.
Aided by his friends, the four outcasts attempt to find out who’s running the show. They’re out to stop the forces of evil before they can do more damage. That is, if they survive.


Mitch is different. He can change into a creature that looks like a gargoyle. Since he had his first change, Mitch was outcast by everyone, except his mother.
But he’s not alone, his best friend Joe is a spinning top, his girlfriend Callie can’t keep his/her gender and switches from male to female, and Neil is made of rock.
They try to be normal, to have a normal life, but people don’t trust them, they fear them and want to chase them out of their town, and worse, some weird creatures/monsters, try to kill them.
How do you live like an average teenager when you’re not? That’s what Mitch and his friends will have to figure out, if they survive.

I liked this book.

Mitch lives with his mother, spent all his free time with his best friend Joe and wants to be the new quarterback of his football team. But suddenly, he changes into a creature of the night with claws and wings, and his face changes into a kind of monster face with red eyes, and his life changes forever.
Joe is Mitch’s best friend; he also changes with him. He’s a human spinning top, he has a fast metabolism too, and he’s a great support for Mitch when they don’t argue.
Callie is born Cal. She’s born male, but she’s always felt like a girl. At sixteen, Cal changes and becomes Callie… without any treatment or surgery. Like Mitch can fly, Callie can change her gender. Great! You’d think she can finally be who she truly is, but nope, because Callie can’t keep her gender straight and can’t control her change.
Neil is the rock man. He has a human face with a rock body. Yep, rocks, stones, he eats them too.
I had a good moment with these four outcasts. I liked it a lot.

The author doesn’t write a story with super-mutants against super-villain with a lot of explosions and epic battles. In this book, we follow them, especially Mitch who tries to have a normal life. How he’s judged, excluded, and mistreated by people. How those kids are cast out. The plot is focused on Mitch and his team, and the government’s conspiracy against them in the background. I love the way the author, with this story, treated the difficult subject of the exclusion. How people can judge you, how they can hurt you because you’re different. Callie’s character express what transgender people must be feeling every day. I really like all the messages that the author put in his book.

I recommend this book for you but also for your young ones.

4 OptimuMM’s for this band of misfits.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis