Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1) by Kim Harrison

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“Making a spell is easy. It’s trusting you did it right that’s hard.”

*McCree from Overwatch voice* Dead Witch Walking is just a product of its time and it just reads like an early 2000s PNR/UF story. I guarantee if I read this back when I was in love with the Fever series, the Kate Daniels series, and the Riley Jenson Guardian series, then I would have enjoyed this way more than I did. Sadly, we are in 2019, and the true fact is that this didn’t age well, in my opinion. But I still had a lot of fun reading this one!

This is a story about a witch named Rachel who works as a bounty hunter for a pretty slimy boss. But while on a mission, she and a coworker find a Leprechaun who grants them three wishes, and one of Rachel’s wishes is to quit her job, but the coworker, Ivy, leaves with her and this bit of the bargain really upsets her boss. Like, upsets her boss so much that she now has a hit mark on her.

Ivy, Rachel, and Jinx (Rachel’s Pixie sidekick) all flee to an abandoned church, where Rachel and Ivy soon find out that Rachel’s blood is causing quite the reaction with vampires. And we get to see all the spells that Rachel is able to brew up, and she brews up some really cool things so that she can protect herself and try to uncover why her ex-boss wants to seek vengeance on her so badly.

My biggest complaint is how Ivy was handled in this book. Like, I don’t want to get that deep into this, but Ivy is a Asian vampire who isn’t doing things that most vampires in this world do. But she is really enthralled by Rachel’s blood and, in turn, Rachel kind of finds it a bit hard to resist Ivy, too, at least at the start. Like, if Rachel and Ivy would have gotten together, I obviously would have been ecstatic, and I actually thought the story was going in that direction, but the narrative quickly shifted to be all about how Rachel would get Ivy to not be attracted to her, while she admired every guy that enters the story. And the scenes were getting more and more uncomfortable with Ivy from Rachel’s perspective, and I just really started hated it so very much. This is without a doubt the reason it was hard for me to ever enjoy this book, honestly. Also, who the fuck would not want to be with Ivy? Like, how unbelievable.

My favorite part of this book was how an angel virus made this world almost apocalyptic, where humans are for sure not in control, and all the paranormal entities are not in hiding because they were immune to it and now are for sure the major population. I just thought that was such a cool spin, and really added to this world and made it something special.

Overall, I really did think this was a fun read, just a product of its time with some of the offensive lingo and the strange queerbaiting. But I would totally continue on because I am really curious to see where this story goes next. Also, I loved the setting of the abandoned church so much. Oh, and if it wasn’t obvious, I sort of completely fell in love with Ivy!

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Content and trigger warnings for many conversations that treated food very weirdly and triggering, murder, death, animal abuse, animal fighting rings, and assault.

Buddy read with Julie from Pages and Pens! ❤

 

High Voltage (Fever, #10) by Karen Marie Moning

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1.) Darkfever ★★★★
*.) The Alpha Alternative: JZB Sex Scene
2.) Bloodfever ★★★
3.) Faefever ★★★
4.) Dreamfever ★★★
5.) Shadowfever ★★★★★
*.) Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha ★★★★★
6.) Iced ★★★★
7.) Burned
8.) Feverborn
9.) Feversong ★★★★

“The gods and Fae are going to war again…”

High Voltage was the last book I completed in 2018! And, Lord, did it really end the year off on a low note! I had so much faith after Feversong! But it just seems like KMM cannot write a book that stars Dani without it feeling… skeezy.

I was so uncomfortable over so many parts of the Jacob and Renesmee storyline that was going on in this installment. Like, I actually thought I was happy shipping Dani and Ryoden together after everything in Feversong, but I finished this book and felt like I needed to take a shower.

Darkfever is such a special book to me, and it always will be, because it was the first “sexy-time” Fae book I ever read, and high school Melanie became addicted to these characters and world so damn quickly! But, it’s been ten years and I need to learn to let go, because this was a damn train wreck and it wasn’t even a train wreck that was enjoyable to see happen. I actually felt like I had to be on the train, because I am literally in pain, friends.

Basically, in this tenth installment (of a series that should have only been five books long), Mac is still missing after the events of Feversong. Dani is patrolling the streets of Dublin, protecting the city she loves, while also still battling the trauma that she experienced as a child. She also has her trusty new sidekick, Shazam, while she is trying to figure out why parts of her body are turning black after she stabbed a Hunter so long ago.

But pretty much nothing happens in this book. It is so ungodly *wink* boring, that I had to bribe myself to pick it up all through the month of December. Inner angsty monologue, after inner antsy monologue. Dani and Ryoden’s actions were childish and ignorant throughout the entirety of this story. It actually made me anti-ship them, which I guess is a feat in itself.

And once we get to the end of the book and get actual answers about what is happening to Dani? Like, I want whatever KMM is sipping because this story is truly out of this world, and not in a good way. I just can’t. I truly can’t, friends. This Fae series, with my favorite romance of all-time, has turned into something so damn convoluted that I am at a loss of words just trying to review it.

Overall, I’m going to take a hard pass on whatever the fuck comes next, because I love myself. I’m just going to live in my little imaginary Barrons Books & Baubles with Mac and Barrons and pretend I never read High Voltage!

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Content and trigger warnings for child abuse, captivity, loss of a loved one, grief depictions, talk of suicide, fatphobic comments, attempted rape, sexual assault, a nasty comment about bipolarism, and some weird age gap romance themes that I don’t want to think about.

Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels, #10) by Ilona Andrews

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ARC provided by Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

1.) Magic Bites ★★★★
2.) Magic Burns ★★★★
3.) Magic Strikes ★★★★★
4.) Magic Bleeds ★★★★★
5.) Magic Slays ★★★★★
6.) Magic Rises ★★★★
7.) Magic Breaks ★★★★
8.) Magic Shifts ★★★★
8.5) Magic Stars ★★★★
9.) Magic Binds ★★★

“I hold gods prisoner, tormenting them for my pleasure. I bring war and terror. I am Neig, the Undying. I am legend. All who know me bow to me.”

Friends, I promise you, no one wanted to love this book more than me. I have been reading this series for what feels like close to a decade. And this will always be a series that I will cherish and keep close to my heart forever. But sadly, this final book just fell a little flat for me.

For those of you who do not know what this series is about, this is a ten book urban and paranormal romance series about a mercenary named Kate Daniels who will do anything to keep Atlanta safe. This Atlanta feels very much post-apocalyptic, and magic waves come and go along with paranormal creatures that sometimes choose to do bad things. Kate is human, but she has teamed up with the animal shifters, the vampires, the witches, and more to help defend Atlanta from everything that is seeking to destroy it.

And in Magic Triumphs something that is much bigger, and much worse, than anything Kate and her friends have ever encountered before, is trying to take over not only Atlanta, but the entire world.

“For the first time in my life I wished magic had never come.”

This review will not have spoilers for Magic Triumphs but it will briefly talk about things that have happened throughout the other nine novels leading up to this final conclusion. So, please use caution while reading this review if you are not caught up with Magic Binds!

I will also give a caveat and say that I did not read Iron and Magic this June, upon release. I just couldn’t fit it in my TBR, because this summer has been so busy for me with work. But I have always loved Hugh d’Ambray, and plan to pick it up one day. I will tell people that you should for sure read Iron and Magic first, because I was spoiled to something rather large at the end of this book, but it didn’t make it so I couldn’t understand or appreciate what was going on.

Though sadly, I feel like nothing really happened in Magic Triumphs until Hugh showed up at the ~70% mark. The previous ~200 pages? It honestly felt like a constant pattern of someone threatening Kate’s child, Kate getting upset, Kate killing whatever the threat is. Rinse and repeat for infinity, apparently. The “real action” literally was just jam packed quickly into the end, and even though I enjoyed it, I just wanted so much more at that point. And not in the good way of wanting so much more.

And yes, one of my favorite parts of this book was finally seeing Kate and Curran start to build their well-deserved happily ever after. And seeing Kate fully step into the role of motherhood, even though she has done a wonderful job transitioning thanks to Julie. Conlan is the cutest baby to ever be written in literature, and I was always giggling way too hard at the things he did or feeling completely and utterly heart warmed at the things he did.

“Conlan Dilmun Lennart squirmed on my chest and cried. There was no better sound in the world.”

I will say that I loved the epilogue. I think it is easily the strongest point of this book, ironically enough, and I feel like Ilona Andrews is really setting up for something that is going to be really amazing. Oh, and I truly believe that Roland is one of the best villains of all-time, too! He is the most morally grey character I believe in all of literature.

And I will always say that this series was probably the first love letter to found families that I’ve ever read. I truly believe that Kate’s found family and her realizing that she is deserving and worthy of unconditional love will always be the forefront of this story for me. And I feel like Magic Triumphs really showcases that beautifully.

Overall, I’m sad to see this come to and end. But maybe it is for the best, considering I didn’t feel the same magic that I felt earlier in this series. I will also say that I completely recommend any and everything that Ilona Andrews has created. I have loved this series, the Edge Series, and the Innkeeper Chronicles more than I have words for. This wife and husband writing duo really are the queen and king and PNR, and I can’t wait to see what they will have me fall in love with next!

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for murder, death, mass killing, violence, gore, torture, self-harm, talk of past rape, talk of suicide, and war themes.

When Sinners Kneel (Blackest Gold World, #1) by R. Scarlett

ARC provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2FijQQE
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2FfKm0P
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2oTp6Df
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2oTv2fy

“I wanted to be safe.
I wanted to be strong.
I wanted to be loved.”

R. Scarlett has the best covers in PNR, the best titles in PNR, and with this book she proves she also has the best demons in PNR. I love this world, these characters, and each of their stories. Finally reading about Beau Knight , and seeing what went on behind the scenes during To Crown A Beast, was nothing short of amazing. This was a phenomenal standalone.

But it is important to take note that this book, even though it is on its own, will spoil the ending of Molly and Tensley’s story in The Blackest Gold series. And I completely recommended all four books, because the ending is so rewarding. Seriously, this is one of my favorite PNR series, and easily my favorite PNR that surrounds demons

In this world, demons are looked down upon for having feelings. And it’s especially hard for Beau Knight, since he had to learn this lesson the hard way, even having it ingrained in him from birth. Tensley and Beau are brothers who have grown up only knowing the harsh world of the Scorpios, who rule the demons in Manhattan and a lot of the rest of New York, but Beau lost it all when he lost his heart many years ago. Because of this, Beau has never been willing to let anyone get close to him again.

The ultimate sin in this world is to fall in love, and it’s even worse to fall in love with a human, who is considered lesser, and it’s absolutely unheard of to have a child out of wedlock. But there are also higher-ranking demons and lesser-ranking demons, too. And Alexandra, is a very low ranking souleater, who Tensley saved when she was eleven-years-old. And even though she is now eighteen, she has had a harder life than most. She is living on the streets, suffering from PTSD from the events that took place in a The Blackest Gold series, looking for her friend that went missing, and the only way she can think to cope with it all is to learn to fight and to learn to defend herself.

And what better place than the underground fighting ring. You know, the one that Beau is known for being the king of. But they both soon realize that there is a huge mystery surrounding The Pit and the person who runs in. Seriously, I loved the mystery and twists in this book. And seeing parallel events from the end of the original series made for such an amazing reading experience.

“The Pit was my hell, my heaven, my saving grace, and it was where I became addicted to her…”

Also, I don’t want to give too much away, but another aspect that I really loved that we never get to see any rep for is that Lex is living on the streets. She is a homeless, young girl, with no family. This is heavily talked about and shown unapologetically, and I just really appreciated it and it took the story to another level for me. Especially since the only other homeless character I even can think of is from a Rick Riordan book.

This is such an amazing standalone set in a The Blackest Gold world. Plus, it has everything; romance, steamy sex, mystery, political intrigue, demon hierarchies, thrilling suspense, amazing grey and flawed characters. There is a lot to love from this world and from this author. If you guys love the paranormal romance genre, you have to give these a try, especially this book. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Trigger/Content Warnings: physical abuse, drug and other substance abuse, kidnapping, being captured, torture, attempted rape, death, loss of a loved one, loss of a child.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Blackest Gold Series:
1.) Vein Of Love ★★
2.) Body of The Crime ★★★
3.) A Vow of Thorns ★★★★★
4.) To Crown A Beast ★★★★

To Crown A Beast (Blackest Gold, #4) by R. Scarlett

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1.) Vein Of Love ★★
2.) Body of The Crime ★★★
3.) A Vow of Thorns ★★★★★

“She’s my crown, my court, my queen. Nothing matters without her.”

This was such a satisfying conclusion. And even though I had a bit of a rough start with these first two books in this quartet, I ended up absolutely falling in love with the last two. And I promise you, A Vow of Thorns and this book are so worth it. Fantasy romance at its best.

I feel like I can’t say much, with this being the concluding novel, but Vein Of Love stars two characters who were destined to be together from the very start. Molly and Tensley’s ancestors crafted a contract 300-years-ago that ensured they would be together. Molly is a human, but also a daemon, which means she has supernatural powers that also enhance any demon she is bonded/mated with. And Tensley is a powerful demon from a very powerful line of demons, who obviously created a contract to ensure their family stays powerful.

Molly and Tensley’s romance is for sure enemies to lovers, but the journey is so enjoyable to witness. And regardless of what they are feeling for each other at any point in the story, they are being haunted by the events that happened to Tensley’s brother when he fell in love with a human and grew a heart, something that demons should never do. And the only way to deal with a demon who grows a heart for falling in love with a human, is to rip it out.

“I love you. I don’t care if it’s forbidden…”

And it was such a joy seeing these two characters grow right before my eyes; both individually and with each other. Molly ended up being one of the strongest protagonists I’ve read in all of PNR, and I can only hope I’ll get glimpses of her and everything she’s built and achieved in the spin-off books.

My only complaint was the villain in this book, and not that she was a bad villain, she was actually a close to perfect one, but I just feel like she shouldn’t have still been alive. Molly and Tensley should have ended this woman at the very start. And when the villain’s life just seems unrealistic, it takes away from the story a bit. Or maybe I wish she would have somehow been more powerful? Or seemed more of a challenge over an annoyance? But I still enjoyed the entire story line, I just feel like she took away from this being as perfect as A Vow of Thorns!

Overall, I’m lowkey sad that it’s over. I honestly am not ready to leave this world. But thankfully R. Scarlett is writing more for us, just not with these characters. But I’m ready to do sick and twisted things, and even commit a minor felony, to read a story about a certain prince. Soon, soon.
The romance is so amazing, the sex scenes are beyond words, and this story is a tier above the PNR out there. I completely recommend this with my whole heart. And I am so excited to read When Sinners Kneel next, where we get to learn all about Tensley’s brother and that missing heart of his!

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