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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Covers Revealed: Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep

Today I have two very special covers for you, the first one is the cover of the very anticipated Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The second one is the cover of  another awaited book of this year, Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep.

Dark Hunter #23
Urban Fantasy
September 3, 2013

"Just when you thought doomsday was over...

Centuries ago Acheron saved the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge.

As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life and future for Acheron’s.

The Atlantean goddess of Wrath and Misery, Bethany was born to right wrongs. But it was never a task she relished. Until now.

She owes Acheron a debt that she vows to repay, no matter what it takes. He will join their fellow gods in hell and nothing is going to stop her. But things are never what they seem, and Acheron is no longer the last of his line. Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer.

Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it's your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul?"

Heart of Venom
Elemental Assassin #9
Urban Fantasy
August 27, 2013

"When a terror from the past threatens Gin’s friend and body-disposer, Sophia, Gin will stop at nothing to protect her, even if it means walking straight into a killer’s trap. Meanwhile, the rocky romance between Gin and Owen reaches a turning point—can they reunite and rekindle their love? Or will the things Gin has been forced to do in her line of work as the deadly assassin the Spider keep them apart forever? Assuming, that is, she survives long enough to find out…"

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday's Hot-Hot Hottie: Tyler McPeak

Today's Hot-Hot Hottie is the American fitness model and personal trainer
Tyler McPeak.

You're welcome! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Early Review: The Chieftain by Margaret Mallory

Title: The Chieftain
Author: Margaret Mallory
Series: Return of the Highlanders, book 4
Genre: Historical Romance, Highlanders
Publisher: Forever (February 26th)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.

A Warrior's Heart 
Connor, chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat, holds the fate of his people in his hands. Rival clans are plotting to take over his lands, and duty determines whom he will fight, trust . . . even marry. Seeking guidance, Connor turns to Ilysa, a young lass with the gift of foresight, who reveals an approaching danger-and a passion that burns only for him. But the warrior must make a powerful marriage alliance, and Ilysa's bloodline is far too humble.  
With her powers to heal and see evil where others cannot, beautiful Ilysa dresses plainly, speaks softly, and loves her chieftain from afar. Yet when Connor finally stokes the embers of desire that have so long burned within her, Ilysa feels bliss unlike any she's ever known. Now as he is forced to place duty before happiness, Ilysa senses Connor is in grave peril. Can she find a way to prove she is the woman he needs by his side?”
The Chieftain is the fourth and last book in the Return of the Highlanders series by Margaret Mallory.

Connor MacDonald is tired of the attempts to his life and his rival clan trying to take over his lands. He has tried to postpone marriage to all cost but the time has come where he has to make an important alliance to protect his clan, the problem now is to decide to which clan he should marry.
Despite Duncan’s disapproval Ilysa decides to go with Connor to his new stronghold, Trotternish Castle; Ilysa knows her brother is right, people are going to talk about her living with Connor but she doesn’t care, she knows she needs to be with him to protect him as she has done before thanks to her gift of foresight. But when Ilysa does something Connor doesn’t approve he banishes her from his presence. Hours later he realized he was too harsh with her but it’s too late, she has left Trotternish Castle and is back with her brother at Dunscaith Castle. Ilysa is heartbroken, she knows she did something extreme but doesn’t regret it because she knows she saved Connor’s life.
The Clans’ gathering is approaching; all the different chieftains will meet in neutral territory. Connor will meet with his friends and clan mates there; Connor will also take advantage of the meeting to make the marriage arrangements.
Connor’s sister, Moira, is traveling with her husband Duncan to the gathering, she decides to bring Ilysa along, with the help of other clans women she gives a small makeover to Ilysa; after changing her dull clothing and fixing her hair everybody realizes Ilysa is a beauty that was hiding under ugly clothes.
Connor is in shock at seeing Ilysa, he can’t believe how beautiful she looks and the things she’s stirring in him. Connor begs her to come back with him to Trotternish Castle, his house is a mess because nobody knows how to manage it like her. Ilysa accepts. The gathering is successful, Connor starts proceeding for a marriage arrangement with another clan and Ilysa meets the chieftain of their rival clan, Alastair Macleod. Despite the hate her people feel for the man she realizes she likes him.
Days after their arrival to Trotternish Castle Ilysa and Connor succumbed to their passion and become lovers. Ilysa knows it won’t last, Connor must marry a woman that could bring security to the clan, and the only thing she can offer him is her love and devotion.
Connor is getting ready for a confrontation with the MacLeods, his friends will be arriving soon to offer support but a traitor in his house makes things more complicated for him, when Connor thinks everything is lost a very unexpected alliance it is formed.

I had been dying to read Connor and Ilysa’s story since the first time I met them in The Guardian (first book). Their story was one almost impossible because of their very different backgrounds and what was expected of Connor as a chieftain, but I’m happy to say that I really liked the solution Mrs. Mallory found for their situation situation, because it felt possible and realistic.

Connor is strong, smart and always trying to do the best for his people, even if that means he has to sacrifice his happiness. He has seen the mistakes his father and grandfather did and he wants to be better than them. He believes in justice and wants revenge from the MacLeods, but he’s neither a cruel man nor a vicious killer.

Ilysa is young but mature for her years. She loves Connor with all her heart but it’s conscious of their limitations, still she wants to be there for him every step of the way. She knows that while he needs her she will be there for him, even if it costs her her heart.

I really loved their relationship, they are friends before becoming lovers; they know they can trust each other because they behave with integrity, honesty and they don’t make promises they can’t keep. Their love makes them better persons and just the idea of not being together is too much to even contemplate. Knowing Connor needs to take a wife is heartbreaking but both work and live for the wellbeing of their clan.
Ilysa couldn’t be better for Connor and Connor for Ilysa, they balance and complement each other marvelously.

We also see characters from previous books like Duncan, Ian and Alex, we see where they are right now, how their families are doing and we also see that the future that awaits them is a bright and prosperous one.
New characters were also introduced, one that I really liked was Lachlan; he is a very strong character and brought enough conflict to the story to make it more enjoyable, as I said before I really liked him and if this wasn’t the last book I would have said that I hope to see more of him in future books, maybe a spinoff series…. Hopefully.

Sometimes you read a book and days after when you think about it it still brings a smile to your face, The Chieftain is one of those books. Mrs. Mallory did a great job closing all the loose knots in a perfect and harmonious end, where nothing felt forced or out of place but well planned and flawlessly executed.

I’m very sad to see this series come to an end but at the same time I’m very happy it ended in a very high note with this amazing installment. If you are a fan of historical romance and love highlanders this series is for you. The Chieftain can be read as a stand-alone but I recommend you to read these books in order. The chieftain and the Return of the Highlanders series will always have a special place in my heart.

My verdict: 4 ½ Stars

Other books in the series
The Chieftain  (February 26th)

Other reviews Goodreads

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Movie Trailer: Red 2

"In RED 2, the high-octane action-comedy sequel to the worldwide sleeper hit, retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. To succeed, they’ll need to survive an army of relentless assassins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials, all eager to get their hands on the next-generation weapon. The mission takes Frank and his motley crew to Paris, London and Moscow. Outgunned and outmanned, they have only their cunning wits, their old-school skills, and each other to rely on as they try to save the world—and stay alive in the process."


Friday, January 25, 2013

Audiobook Review: Ever After by Kim Harrison

Title: Ever After
Author: Kim Harrison
Series: The Hollows, book 11
Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Audio
Format: Audiobook
“The ever after, the demonic realm that parallels the human world, is shrinking. If it disappears completely, so does all magic. It's up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to avert catastrophe and keep life from changing... for the worse. 
While saving the world is important, it isn't Rachel's only motivation. There's also the small fact that she caused the ley line to rip in the first place, setting off a chain reaction of unfortunate events. That little mistake has made her life forfeit unless she can fix it. It's also made her more than a few enemies, including the most powerful demon in the ever after—a terrifying entity who eats souls and now has an insatiable appetite for her. He's already kidnapped her friend and goddaughter to lure her out, and if Rachel doesn't give herself up soon, they'll die. 
But Rachel has more than a few impressive and frightening skills of her own, and she isn't going to hand over her soul and her life without one hell of a fight. She's also got a surprise: elven tycoon Trent Kalamack. With this unlikely ally beside her—a prospect both thrilling and unnerving—she's going to return to the ever after, kick some demon butt, rescue her loved ones... and prevent an apocalypse before it's too late. Or, at least that's the plan…”

Ever After is the eleventh book in The Hollows series by Kim Harrison.

I think the above blur is very explicit; giving more away will be giving too much and I want to try to write this review as spoiler free as possible, so bear with me if I’m a little cryptic at times.

Many things happened in Ever After, As always Rachel is in the middle of a big problem, this time the ever after is shrinking because a fault in her ley line; the demons give her a deadline and if she can’t fix her ley line before the time is up they want her dead. She didn’t cause the fault, Ku’Sox did it to have an excuse to eliminate her. But that’s not the only thing Ku’Sox is doing, with the help of Nick (Rachel’s ex) he’s stealing Rosewood babies; his idea behind the kidnappings is to create his own little group of day-walking demons like Rachel; the only problem is the babies are dying and he needs Trent help to create the same cure for the disease his father used on Rachel years ago. The last thing Trent wants is to help him but when Ku’Sox kidnaps Cery and Lucy he not only would start to reconsider his priorities but he will have to work alongside Rachel to succeed.
Trent has slowly crept into Rachel’s life, things they have experienced together have made them closer but to prevail she will have to trust Trent completely, something she may not yet be ready to do.

One of the most important things we see in Ever After is character development; in this installment we see how previous experiences have forged many changes in the characters. One of the biggest changes we see is in Rachel; she is more mature, now she knows she needs to think before acting and is taking the time to prepare before running head first into action as she used to do before, she is even worried when she doesn’t have enough time to prepare. Another big change in her is that she’s realizing things are not as they seem and there is more than just black and white. She also realizes sometimes hard decisions have to be made to avoid worse things to come, for that reason she’s now reevaluating what she knows and thinks about Trent, maybe he’s not the bad drug lord she once thought him to be. At what is more disconcerting for her is that she now feels she can trust him with her life.

If you are a fan of Trent you are here for a treat, he not only is a big part of the story but also we see another side of him, the more human side, the side that loves and feels deeply. Trent is a man of honor; he is ready to do anything for his race and his small family, even if it cost him his soul. In Ever After we also see that what he wants in life for himself is not what is the best for his race, but he thinks he should come second and will do what he thinks is right even if it means sacrificing himself for the wellbeing of others.

Jenk is still the same perfect sidekick, always there for Rachel and Ivy when they need him. He’s the perfect father that hurts when something happen to his kids. He has no only learned to live after losing his wife, but also realizes that he can be happy again.

Ivy doesn’t play an important part in the story but as always she tries to be there for Rachel when Rachel needs her; but this time she has finally realized they are very different, living almost in two separate worlds and even wanting she can’t be always for Rachel. Ivy is moving on with her life and we can see an end to her crush on Rachel.
Mrs. Harrison also gave us an “appetizer” of what is to come involving vampire politics. I understand she needed to cement the base for what is to come in next books but I think the vampires’ scenes disrupted the flow of a story that was mainly demon oriented. If it wasn’t for that and for something I will explain in the next paragraph this would have been a perfect book for me, still Ever After was an excellent addition; I can say one of the best books in the series.

I know sometimes I say that I book is a roller coaster of emotions, but this one was the mother of all roller coasters of emotions, not only the action doesn’t stop from page one to last, but in the best Kim Harrison’s style she sucker punched us more than once and left us open mouthed and with heartache. In regards to this is where I have my second complain, something big happened in this book, when I say big is freaking big, but it happens off the screen and we learned about it from a third person and it’s like this happened and that’s it, not much details, nothing. I was thinking all the time that it must have been a lie and at the end all will be ok, but no, it was not a lie, that “event” really happened, but in my opinion it lacked realism and strength to made it feel real.

One of the best things of Ever After is the relationship between the characters and how far they have come. We also learn a lot about what happened between the demons and the elves and why the war between them started. We also see a lot of Algaliarept, we discovered many things about his past and everything we learned about him made me like him even more and be glad he’s in Rachel’s life.

The end is not a cliffhanger but is one that points out many things to come; it’s also one that clearly shows the end of the series is approaching and maybe a HEA shines in the horizon.

Ever After was the first book in the series I listened to in audiobook, I wasn’t sure about it but I’m glad I decided to do it, the narrator Marguerite Gavin did an excellent job bringing the characters to life and expressing their emotions, her interpretation of them was perfectly done, and it was very easy to differentiate who was who by just the tone of her voice. My only complain if I can call it that was that her voice sounded a bit old for a young character as Rachel.

If you are a fan of this series this book is a must, if you haven’t read this series can I ask you what are you waiting for? Please remember these books should be read/listen in order, now go read/listen them, and thank me later.

My Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

Other books in the series
Dead Witch Walking
The Good, The Bad, and The Undead
Every Witch Way But Dead
A Fistful of Charms
For A Few Demons More
The Outlaws Demon Wails
White Witch, Black Curse
Black Magic Sanction
Pale Demon
A Perfect Blood
Ever After

Other reviews Goodreads

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