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Monday, January 28, 2013

REVIEW-WOMEN OF WAR (OF WAR #5) BY LISA BETH DARLING

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


"I know those eyes," he whispered, "I know who you are."
~Cernunnos


**Please note ARC was provided by author in return for an honest review**


The Women of War, book #5 in the Of War series,  screams GIRL POWER from beginning to end. If you've read the previous books in this series, there is a good chance you've flinched a time or two. I've lost count of how many times I've screamed "WTF did he just say?!?!" The men and their blatant disrespect of not just the Fae/Fey but even of their 'own' women, mothers, sisters, is nothing short of astonishing. In this installment, the reader gets an even more in depth look at their journeys, struggles and triumphs, beginning with...


The birth of the Fae
 
 
 
This is going to be a tricky review for me because I don't want to say too much and spoil what was, for me anyway, a jaw dropping revelation. Five books in and the level of incest still makes my eye twitch but at the same time, it's the way of the Gods and makes for an even more fascinating story as it continues to unfold and the family trees become more clear.
 
Ares. I just can't help but love this flawed, rough around the edges character. This is a 'throw back' so in Women of War, Alena has not yet washed upon his shore. Therefore, we get a glimpse of the Ares before love truly touched his heart. Let me just say, this God is lethal, in every way. Whispering what wasn't exactly 'sweet nothings' into the ears of Generals, the God of War did what he does best.  Ares truly lived up to his title by creating bloodshed, chaos and fear in those who met his gaze. I should inform you that at this point I'm referring to the sisters Ares had delivered to his door to do with as he pleased and let me just say, do...and please...he did. ;-)
 
The story took a fascinating turn when Ares stumbled across barrier he could not pass. What rests beyond the vines that just wouldn't give would not only put Ares in a situation he isn't accustomed to but also set in motion a life changing event that would trickle down from generation to generation. Mirror mirror on the wall...
 
Ms. Darling continues to fascinate and pull me further into the world she has created. While she has penned Gods and Warriors with inhuman strength it's actually her women, the Women of War that truly rise above. They were shunned, raped, beaten and belittled to nothing. Still they fought, could not be broken and those who looked closely, could see their strength, and so much more... in their eyes.
 
For more on this fascinating series and the women that see it through, visit Ms. Darling's site moon musings .
 



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

REVIEW-SOUL AVENGED (SONS OF WRATH #1) BY KERI LAKE

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


"The Sons of Wrath wish to say hello."
~Head of Security


**Please note, ARC provided by author in exchange for honest review**


Hells bells. Ms. Lake has officially introduced me to a new clan of brothers to fall hopelessly in love with! I'll gladly go on the record right now and call for no less than 7 full books for this series. There are 7 brothers afterall! Please oh pretty pretty please?! Ahem. Moving on.


What would you do if your life only truely began 7 days before it's set to end? Kane Walker lives for his work, it's his entire life. He has no family, no girlfriend, he is completely engrossed in his role as the Director of a Childrens Cancer Institute in Detroit. The streets of Detroit have become increasingly violent, but even a security escort to the parking lot after work can't save him from his destiny.

Ayden, an Alexi soldier bred to slay lycans, is in contract with the Sons of Wrath to extract vengence upon the growing number of lycans plaguing the city of Detroit. For Ayden, it's personal and she will not stop until she kills the very lycan that attacked her some 5 years prior. Ayden has no sense of her life before her attack, she was saved and basically 'reprogrammed'. The result being a sleek lethal machine set on 'kill'. Before killing what will soon be another filthy lycan, the pathetic victim (aka Kane) grabs her in rush of desperation. Ayden is stunned to be thrown into mixed scenes, visions that she cannot make sense of. Are these flashes of her past, someone else's, and what does this pathetic hafling have to do with it? Instead of ending his life right then and there, Ayden takes him back to the Wrath Demon's manor while also watching her own back. Wade, leader of the Alexi, isn't thrilled to have lost his top soldier. Kane's turning process is not an instant one. It will take days for Kane to fully turn. In the meantime, while handcuffed to her bed, Ayden will study him, his transformation and look for any clues that may make sense of the visions she had through his touch. On the 7th day, she will sever his head herself.



*pause so that all my pervy readers can enjoy the pretty boy cuffed to the bed*


Welcome back. In the 7 days that followed, both Kane and Ayden not only discovered alot about one another, but also themselves. I have to say, Ayden is 100% kickass heroine. I really felt for Kane early on because despite his black hair, bronze skin, emerald eyes and charming demeanor, Ayden knocked him around, kicked his ass and enjoyed it. Ruthless. As their short time tics by, Ayden struggles, a fight within herself between what she's been programmed to think and feel as opposed to new ideas, wants and desires that are coming to the surface. Ayden has her own way of dealing with the pain and confusion, her scars have a story to tell.

 Kane can hardly wrap his brain around the information she provides, outside of hollywood productions, he didn't think such monsters existed. One thing is for certain, he will not become one of those monsters, a cold blooded killer. With this determination comes an odd sense of peace within him, knowing that he can possibly save more lives by his death. It isn't easy for Kane, he is a prisoner afterall, even though you wouldn't know it by how Miss Anna (housekeeper for the Brothers) dotes on him, brings him lavish meals, batting her lashes and is just as giddy as a school girl. Can't say I blame her though, Kane is a fantastic lead hero, he has strength and vulnerability with an alpha streak that's just getting started...

His only rival, or rival(s) I should say...



Meet the brothers...

Gavin-the leader, reformed, gorgeous and lethal

Logan-the chaotic live wire

Zeke-the impulsive, cocky, teasing playboy

Calix-the sweet 'boy next door'

Zayne-Zeke's twin, broken, jock meets goth with his multiple piercings and tats. All snuggled in a black hoodie? I. AM. DONE. FOR.

Also mentioned are Ferno and Maddox. I can't wait to 'meet' those two! With their cinnamon scented pheremones, 'like walking lollipops', what woman can resist?! Ayden seems to have won the hearts of each brother, they see her as a little sister with the exception of Gavin. Gavin sees her as something much more...complex. A girl could have bigger problems. lol

Soul Avenged is a high adrenaline, fast paced urban fantasy with fascinating characters, both lead and supporting. As the reader you will love, hate, laugh and yes, there will be tears as well. This first installment of the 'Sons of Wrath' series is an emotional rollercoaster laced with action, humor, white hot sex scenes and a love triangle that will test you many times over. Brava indeed.








Thursday, January 17, 2013

REVIEW-MYSTERY MAN (DREAM MAN #1) BY KRISTEN ASHLEY

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars


"You make me laugh, babe, I'm warnin' you now, when I'm done, I'm gonna kiss you."

 ~Hawk

** slightly spoilerish**

Gwen enjoys cocktails, hanging with her girls and taking home hot strangers whose name she doesn't know, an open invite apparently. Ahem. Gwen also has a younger half sister who is wreckless, self destructive and eyeball deep with the wrong kind of people and their wrong kind of doings. Gwen's journey begins when Ginger's antics threaten not only her own life but also those of her family, causing Gwen to take action in hopes of making things right before it's too late.


I think I may be the only person on the planet that didn't fall in love with this book. This is the first book I have read by Kristen Ashley and while I won't say 'never again', I'm not exactly bouncing in my seat in anticipation of reading another. Mystery Man has a slow start, which normally I'm fine with, but in this case not so much. Once the pace picked up, I felt as though the story was just all over the place and became too 'busy' and over the top. Even now I'm unsure what decade this story was to take place in. At first, I thought present day, but then something was apparently 'the bomb', badass, kickass and so on... and so on. Stop it. Between that and the constant 'squishy belly' and 'oh boy's', I found myself wanting to get out of 'Badass World' sooner rather than later.


And then we have the love interestSSSS...


 
 
Another glaring issue I had while reading  was the 'every man is hot' mentality of our heroine. It took awhile to be clear as to which man she really wanted to be with. Even once that seemed to be established, given their 'journey', noting anothers hotness is one thing but wondering how this one kisses or sleeping in that ones bed...really? Hmm...wonder if he is a cuddler? WHY DO YOU CARE???  I never bought the love story nor did I really understand why every single man she came across would move heaven and earth for her, anything and everything. So she's cute and a smartass, AND??? I mean if that's all it takes...
 
I never fell for any of the men either, which is odd cause I do love me some alpha heroes. I think there is a fine line between alpha and just simply being an overbearing dick. Too many times did Hawk trip over that line and half of the time, I just wanted him to stand there and look pretty. His manner of speech is so clipped and choppy. There were run-on sentences and since the first word was often missing, I wondered, 'hmm...is he telling her or asking her?' Tossing in an 'If' at the beginning now and then would have done wonders. Ok, fine, I'll stop bitching now.
 
What I liked...she wears hoodies. I thought it was cute, and I can relate. Oddly enough, it added a little charm to a character I couldn't really bring myself to care about. She managed to have some sweet interaction with a couple of side characters but even those were few and far between. Hawk too had his moments and my heart broke to finally hear his backstory. Of course that also went to hell when Gwen decided to spill all the details while getting hammered with friends. Girl bonding moment, ok fine but that wasn't her story to tell. No one knew, he kept it to himself for years but she needed something to do with her mouth inbetween refills I guess.
 
I was leaning towards 2 stars until the end. I was glad to see a shift, a strong finish that did manage to tug at my heart strings. Unfortunately, overall, it just wasn't enough.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

REVIEW-CHILD OF WAR-RISING SON (OF WAR #4) BY LISA BETH DARLING

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


"You're arrogant, ignorant, impetuous, narcissistic, and worst of all, stupid. You sicken me."

~Ares, God of War


**please note that I did not skip book #3. What is considered the third installment is a very a short read about Christmas on Olympus.**

Rising Son gives you absolutely no recovery time.  The introduction is crushing, emotional and heartbreaking. I have to continue my praise for Ms. Darling and her ability to rip the emotion right out of you, the reader. You don't read the intense moments, you live them, whether you want to or not. For me, I find that impressive and even though I gave this installment 3.5 stars, it still remains true that she is exceptionally talented in many, many ways.

While Rising Son is a continuation of Raven's journey, the reader is gifted with a new standout that captivated me from the beginning and held true throughout...

 
Baby Rose
 
Precious baby Rose suffered more in her first couple hours of life than anyone should have to suffer for the entire length of theirs. Born extremely premature, for reasons I'll let you, the reader, discover on your own, it seemed as though she didn't stand a chance. In the eyes of the Olympians, she is a disgrace, an abomination and an embarrassment. Due to their shaded views and monumentous arrogance, they cannot see beyond her physical deformities and and cognitive delays. With her mother fighting for her own life, struggling to return to her family while her body lays still, she is ridiculed, abused and simply tossed aside by her relatives and Rose is much, much more than they give her credit for and joining Rose on her little journey is both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. One thing is certain, she will steel your heart. Ares and Rose...just, yeah.♥
 
 
Raven. I just...I cannot wrap my brain around this kid and his actions. Don't get me wrong, he shows signs of redemption in this installment but I have yet to warm up to him. Each time I felt a tinge of redemption coming forth, he would say something or do something, or SOMEONE and then just like that, I was back to loathing him. It isn't his arrogance or even the chip on his shoulder really. For me, it's his utter lack of respect for the women in his life. His view of his own mother, how he treats her, talks to her, it's nothing short of disgusting. Only a mothers love I guess cause me, personally, I've had enough and so has Ares...finally. Do not get me started on his actions where Trinity and Rose are concerned. And now, his destruction goes well beyond Olympus, what is unfolding in the mortal world below is nothing short of shocking. Is there anything he isn't capable of?
 
I'm not sure there's anything the Olympians can do at this point that will shock or disgust me any more than they already have. They are my ultimate guilty pleasure. When Hera began salivating at the idea of being sandwhiched between her son and her grandson...wow. So why 3.5 stars? In Rising Son, Raven begins his Trials in his effort to become a true Olympian. There were some interesting revelations during his trials, revelations that opened up the storyline further. That being said, I felt his trials went on a little too long, names and places I could barely pronounce, it just seemed a bit much. I found myself reading faster just to get back to what was going on in Olympus. More editing is needed. There are typos, which can happen so I didnt make too big of a deal out of those but words missing, him when it should say her or vice versa.  I had some confusion in regards to a sex scene involving multiple partners. I thought Apollo was first but then it switched to Eros. There was another side character mentioned that I thought had died previously. Could be my mistake, I tried going back to clarify but I couldn't find it. Unfortunately, such issues can take away from the reading experience. Even so, I can't wait for book #5, Rising Son ends with quite the cliffhanger!
 






Monday, January 7, 2013

REVIEW-CHILD OF WAR-A GOD IS BORN (OF WAR #2) BY LISA BETH DARLING

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


"I'm an Olympian, like you and the rest. I'm not like my mother; I'm not fragile, week and inept. I was born to rule, not serve."

~Raven


...or winged spawn of Satan! Before I get started...please note, this book is number 2 in the series so if you have not read book 1, you will be 'spoiled'.

 
**This book was gifted to me by the author for an honest review**
 
 
Child of War-A God Is Born begins with poor Alena and her struggle to manage the pregnancy of her first born. It's as though she has fallen ill, she isn't herself and it's as if the baby is slowly taking all she has, killing her from the inside. Always the fighter, Alena pushes on for her beloved 'Raven'. My heart really went out to Alena in this one, Not only was her pregancy extremely difficult and took an astonishing toll on her both inside and out, she still had to deal with the sneers and upturned noses of the elite Olympians. Hera, Ares' mother, means well by insisting on Sunday family dinners. If this were any other family, this would be a nice tradition, something to look forward to. That being said, when it comes to a family dinner with the Olympians, they don't 'break bread'...they throw it. There's never a dull moment but like Ares said, in regards to Apollo, 'He started it.'
 
I must confess, I have a new love in this series....
 
Eros
 
There's just something about those wings. I wasn't sure of Eros in book 1 and to be honest, given his parentage (Ares/Aphrodite), I still don't trust him completely. We, the reader, now know a little more about Eros, what role he has played and what his motives are, or were...seems a bit blurry at the moment. Eros is there when Alena needs him. Notorious for not being good at confrontation, Eros, in some ways, is the 'gentle giant' of the Olympians, a lover, not a fighter. You can imagine how Ares just LOVES that, especially when his wife is involved. Even so, Eros was there for Alena the best he could be and I loved the timid, cautious relationship that slowly began between Ares and his son. This is Olympus of course so even that...well, it gets tricky.
 
While Alena slowly becomes nothing more than a shell, glassy eyes, slipping from her world and into visions she can't quite interpret, Zeus has the ultimate plan to rid the mountain of the 'mud blood' or atleast get something out of it himself. Forever the puppet master, he shows Ares up close and personal that if he wanted his Celt whore of a wife and that monster she is carrying dead...they would be dead. In order to protect them, Ares must enter into a Blood Oath with his father that will ultimately rip his heart out and cost him more than he could ever imagine. This particular scene broke my heart. Two life altering events took place at the exact time and I have no problem admitting that I cried the whole way through.
 
Now while I do feel Alena's pregnancy went on a little too long, once Raven was born, almost immediately I had a 'careful what you wish for' moment. I was ready to pull my hair out, screaming 'The hell?! Put it back! Put it BACK!!!'. I love children, I have two of my own but this kid...wow. As an Olympian, baby Raven is 'advanced'. He walked, talked, reached for his first assult weapon...all while still in his infancy. In one scene, at the tender age of 6 months, Raven saw a knife that he simply had to have. Alena, being understandably overwhelmed and at her wits end, swats the childs hand away. It was when Raven hit her back, stuck his finger in her face and yelled 'NO! MINE! WOO-MAN.' that I thought to myself, 'WTF did they create?' Scariest. most diabolical. kid. ever.
 
 
Raven, as expected, is a beautiful child. Has his father's dark wavy hair and dark skin, with a prominant silver/gray streak that starts just over his left eye. His eyes are those of his mothers with the exception of his pupils that are as gold as amber. This gives his eyes an almost 'serpent' like appearance. Given all the hell and chaos this child creates in this book, it's fitting. Oh so fitting. I was shocked, disgusted and ultimately FLOORED by his actions, thoughts and what came out of his mouth. As the son of Ares and Alena, I expect redemption. How the author will pull it off, I haven't a clue! He is hell bent on ruling Olympus one day and will do any and everything he can to ensure that happens. No one, friend, family or foe will stand in his way. I find is amusing that Zeus hates him so. Especially when, as of now, Raven is most like Zeus than anyone else on the mountain.
 
So much happened in this book that I could on for days and days. While I can't say that I enjoyed this installment quite to the same level as book 1, I will continue with this series full speed ahead. Once again there were twists and turns that I wasn't expecting. Ms. Darling takes what is sure to be the readers reaction and takes it to extremes. I noticed I cursed aloud quite frequently while reading this one. For me, that's a good sign lol, kept me fully entertained.  Managing to do so and not fall into the 'for shock value' trap isn't easy, yet for me, she maintains...easily so. I did get a little lost at times when it came to the backstory in regards to why Zeus hates the Fae as he does. I felt it to be alot of information at once so I had to reread a little to fully grasp it.
 
All in all, another fantastic read. I even cheated a little and started the next book before doing this review. I can't wait see what that, not so little anymore, monster does next!

 
 
 


Thursday, January 3, 2013

REVIEW-HEART OF WAR (OF WAR #1) BY LISA BETH DARLING

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


"Everything in Life has its own rhythm, its own beat, from waging war to making love to dancing. You just have to listen for it and then fall into it."


~Ares, God of War


Wow. Ok, first I feel I should give proper warning to anyone who may decide to read this book. As you can see above, I loved it. I'm not sure I'll even be able to find the words to explain how much I loved this book. That being said, there were elements that I was not even remotely prepared for. On the cover, you'll note 'Dark Erotic Romance'. This is very, very true and more specifically, there are multiple scenes, in graphic detail, involving incest, sexual assult (of both an adult and a child), and extremely violent rape. I am not saying that had I known, I would have passed on this book. That is not the case. I do feel, however, it should come with such warning.


Ares...Son of Zeus, God of War, Olympian, Caveman.


...and if I'm being honest, a bit of a dick. Having been booted from Olympus for a particularly  heinous crime, Ares lives in solitude on his own island with 8 male guards to help protect the island and 8 females to serve him in each and every way he sees fit. Standing at 7ft tall, with long raven hair, Ares is sight to behold as well as a force to be reckoned with. With War in his blood, his hatred for his family and lowly view of mortal women, he walks around like, well...a caveman. No, really, he lives in a cave and names aren't important when everyone with ovaries he simply calls 'woman'. He seethes, grunts, glares and is just generally pissed off all the time and finding a half dead woman washed up along his shore with no clue as to how she got there, doesn't exactly soothe the beast. Throughout this story you will hate him, fear him, love him and at times, many, many times, you will 'awww' and when there's music involved...you just might giggle. *wink*


Magdalena, aka Maggie, doesn't remember much as to what happened to her, her memory is cloudy, with sizable time slots just...gone. Ares isn't quite sure what to do with the little Fae, other than deciding Alena is a better fit name wise, when he isn't calling her 'woman' that is. She's petite with silver/grey hair and stormy grey eyes. One thing he does know is that he will find out how she got there and with no evidence of ship wreckage for mile and miles, he knows greater powers are at work here. When he discovers her chastity belt bearing the mark of a Celt God, lets just say things get interesting.

The Heart of War goes beyond paranormal romance. This is an epic fantasy that is so rich in description and word play. Ms. Darling takes what we know about Greek Mythology and adds some twists and turns. I could see this book as a movie, no doubt. Long before Sister Wives, The Kardashians or The Real Housewives of Anywhere, USA....there were the Olympians. The word 'dysfunctional' doesn't even begin to describe this 'family'. They made me laugh and cringe all at the same time. You can trust no one. Not mother nor father, lover, child or sibling. The betrayals and lies that were revealed throughout made for such a fascinating, exciting read. As the reader, you will love them, hate them and find yourself not being able to get enough of them!

Ares and Maggie's journey is not an easy one, far from it. As I said, this is not a fluffy romance and to be honest, some parts of this book were difficult for me to read, for me to stomach. I laughed, I gasped and trust me, there were tears as well and during the hardest of times, my stomach churned. Maggie has a lot to remember, a lot to learn about herself all the while, trying to save her own life. This little Fae's backstory will rip your heart out. Her inner strength is nothing short of amazing and inspiring. It isn't all anguish and sorrow. Along the way, Maggie touches many lives, two orphaned African children specifically. She is a natural nurturer and the bond that forms, the connection between Ares and Maggie is a heart wrenchingly tragic, yet stunning love story.