Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Before I Wake (Soul Screamers, #6) by Rachel Vincent


Before I Wake (Soul Screamers, #6)
I died on a Thursday-killed by a monster intent on stealing my soul. The good news? He didn't get it. The bad news? Turns out not even death will get you out of high school...  Covering up her own murder was one thing, but faking life is much harder than Kaylee Cavanaugh expected. After weeks spent "recovering," she's back in school, fighting to stay visible to the human world, struggling to fit in with her friends and planning time alone with her new reaper boyfriend. But to earn her keep in the human world, Kaylee must reclaim stolen souls, and when her first assignment brings her face-to-face with an old foe, she knows the game has changed. Her immortal status won't keep her safe. And this time Kaylee isn't just gambling with her own life....




I'm in shock. Literally. I am just overwhelmed with everything that happened in this book. I don't know how Ms. Vincent manages to have each book in the series get progressively better, but she did it. Before I Wake was beyond words, absolutely spectacular.

Kaylee has to deal with a lot in this book. She has to figure out how to fit into her afterlife, manage her relationship with Tod, seek Nash's forgiveness, and learn how to do her new job. And, of course, things can't be that easy for her and a Netherworld disaster threatens the lives of innocent people. Over the course of the series, I've come to really care about Kaylee. Seeing her deal with all this was rather emotional. I literally didn't move off my couch until I had read every page. She grew up so much as she dealt with everything in her afterlife. For all who have read the previous books, you already know how strong she is. And she definitely doesn't disappoint in this book. I want to say so much more, but I can't do it without giving away the story, so I'll contain myself and move on.

Tod is...Tod. I really can't say anything else. Whenever he was on the page, I was smiling. He is just...amazing. That word is a sad understatement, but I can't think of one that fits his awesomeness. He's SO sweet. I swear, my heart melted multiple times at his sweetness. He's the definition of a perfect boyfriend. Where do you find guys like him? Please tell me so that I can go there immediately. Kaylee is one lucky girl. Especially during a certain part when they do a certain thing that I won't say but you can probably guess. Once again, Kaylee is a lucky girl. But moving on. As we see Kaylee struggling with her afterlife, it becomes clear how things were for Tod. And he didn't have anyone to help him through all of the hardships involved with an afterlife. Seeing that made me appreciate his character even more. The poor man has been through so much, and a lot of it alone. I didn't know possible for me to love Tod more. But, somehow, that adorable, sexy, blond, dimpled reaper got a little more of my heart. I should probably move one before my entire review consists of me fawning over him. But it's just so fun to do.

The other characters were amazing as well. Nash...my heart just broke for him. Multiple times. Despite all the mistakes he's made, I can't help but adore him. In this book, he has to pull his life back together and start on the road to forgiveness. Much easier said than done. And, despite all that has happened between them, Nash was still there for Kaylee when she needed him. He was very sweet and, as I said, my heart broke for him. He and Tod were at each other's throats for most of the book. Or, really, all of it. Here's hoping that they can heal the rift between them. I wonder, though, if Nash will find out what Tod did for him the day he died in the next book. I think that if there's ever going to be understanding between them, that secret has to be let out. We'll see. Let's hope Nash gets the happy ending he deserves.

As hard as it is to admit this, but I actually started to like Sabine in this book. I know, after everything she's done, that seems like a long shot. But, in this book, we see the nice side of her, or, at least, the less mean side. I understood the amount of pain she's going though at the fact that the person she's in love with is in love with someone else. I understood her character a lot more after reading this, and I couldn't help but sympathize with her. She's a very complex character (then again, all the characters are complex in this series).

Sophie underwent a transformation. Let's just say, reality hit her hard. She was actually...not mean a few times. I know, unbelievable. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't read it myself. But I dislike her a little less now.

The story line was fantastic, as always. The twists and turns left me breathless.  I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. And the ending...oh my goodness. I don't even know what to make of it. I'm probably going to need a while to come to terms with what happened. It was just...wow. Before I Wake does not disappoint in the slightest. And now I have to endure the agony of waiting for the next and last book in the Soul Screamers series: With All My Soul. I am so anxious to find out what happened to these characters that I've grown to care about to much. I can be patient. Maybe. Probably not. Oh, well. I'll survive the wait somehow.

Before I wake is just beyond words, a worthy addition to this magnificent series.

I'd give it a million stars if I could, but I can't, so 5/5.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Eliza's Awakening by Zaide Bishop


It is the eve of the Longest Night. Eliza Baker and the rest of Lord Jayden's servants excitedly prepare for the lavish festival as their masters enjoy a head start on the debauchery that awaits. Eliza's madly in love with Kell, a sweet, deliciously sexy guard. Kell returns her feelings, but is striving to make himself a worthy man before he asks Eliza's father for permission to court her.

To keep the Demon of Winter at bay, an offering must be made during the festival. As the event begins, Lord Kempsly informs Kell that he's offering a special sacrifice this year, and Kell must escort the girl who will offer up her maidenhood for the enjoyment of the crowd. Another guest will select the maiden, and Kell realizes to his dismay the guest is Lord Rakin, a rich and handsome rogue who has his eye on Eliza. But little do any of the men suspect the burgeoning desire the ceremony is awakening in Eliza...



I really wanted to like Eliza's Awakening. But I couldn't. The premise sounded so promising, but I ending up not liking it at all.

First, let me say that there was a positive. The atmosphere the author created was flawless. The sensual feel permeated throughout the story. It was truly brilliant.

But, unfortunately, that's where the good ends.

The summary says that Eliza had to sacrifice her virginity in the ceremony. That's what I thought I was going to get. Instead, I got way more than I bargained for. Let's be completely blunt, in my eyes, she was raped. Twice. While the man who claimed to love her held her in place. It the story, it says that she ended up enjoying it (?). But I didn't believe that. She was scared and unwilling. What is the definition of rape? An act when someone forces sexual advances on an unwilling person. That's exactly what happened. I just couldn't stomach it. And the man who says that he loves her holds her down while this happens. Then takes her virginity in front of the crowd. Didn't it occur to him that this could be absolutely humiliating for her? It was...ugh, I don't even have words. I just couldn't deal with it.

The ending was happy but, honestly, I couldn't even take any happiness from that. Because I was already so upset at what had happened earlier. I don't know if I'm the only one who sees it this way, but, because I did, I just could not like this book, as much as I had hoped to.

I feel terrible to have to be so critical, but I just couldn't take it. I wasn't happy with this book. Aside from the impressive set up of the atmosphere, this book failed for me.

I'm sorry, but, 1/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Scotsmen Prefer Blondes (Muses of Mayfair #2) by Sara Ramsey

Scotsmen Prefer Blondes (Muses of Mayfair #2)
She never wanted marriage…

When a friend is forced to consider a marriage of convenience, Lady Amelia Staunton is determined to rescue her. But her plans trap her in an illicit seduction, and Amelia must marry him herself. Malcolm’s all-consuming kisses and devilish humor might make up for her lost freedom, but she believes he will force her to abandon the Gothic romances she yearns to write. Since she can’t escape him, she must distract him from her secret…

He isn’t looking for love…

A powerful autocrat with a well-hidden rebellious streak, Malcolm MacCabe doesn’t need another beautiful mistress – he needs an obedient wife. Obedience is not one of Amelia’s virtues. But he’s too enthralled by her wit and passion to let her go – even if it means risking the political reputation he is building to save his clan.

Their hearts can’t survive the scandal…

Despite their intentions, every wicked embrace binds them together. But as their conflicting desires combust into insatiable hunger and unavoidable ruin, they must decide whether to pursue their personal destinies alone – or fight for the love that could destroy them both.




I'm a little conflicted with this one. There were parts that I loved, but there were also parts that I didn't like. A story of the conflicting desires of duty and love, this book definitely has its ups. But there accompanied a few deep downs.


First of all, Amelia. In some ways she was lovely. She was strong, not about to let an autocrat dictate her, even if he is her husband. I was really interesting how all her thoughts somehow revolved around her stories. At random moments, she would suddenly think of a plot that she could use in her stories. A few times she thought of how she would write the story of what was happening with her at the time. It was fun and endearing. But I did have a slight problem with her. At the beginning, a didn't understand why she was so determined not to like Malcolm. When he was still supposed to marry her friend. She was determined to see him in a bad light. And when he turned his attention on to her, she kept trying to force it back onto her friend. But, since there was no real engagement, it seemed reasonable to me that he had every right to decide not to marry Prudence. Once they get married, it settles down, and she stops seeing him as a devil incarnate. So, I got over it eventually. But it really did bother me. However, I did like her character, especially after how she was prepared to fight for Malcolm towards the end. So, despite one misstep, I really liked Amelia.


Malcolm is a conundrum. Part of him is free, wild, and fun. The other part is controlled and domineering. Because he's trying to gain supporters in Parliament so that he can help his clan, he lets that controlled side smother the free side. Now, I understood this; I didn't blame him for being so determined to help his clan. I actually found that admirable. But I did blame him for refusing to actually listen to Amelia the several times she tried to tell him the truth or talk to him about his cold behavior. When there relationship started to fall apart, it seemed to me that it was his fault. I also couldn't stand how he reacted when he found out about Amelia's writing. I could understand that he was angry, but I didn't think his action were warranted. But, honestly, I couldn't dislike him. It is amazing that the author managed this, but, despite how irritated I got with him, I still adored him. Because of the times that he let go of his control. There were so many instances where he did the sweetest things, particularly during the honeymoon. Even when I was angry with him, I couldn't hate him. In fact, by the end of the book, I adored him. It's a great accomplishment when an author can make me feel so many emotions about a character, so I have to applaud Ms. Ramsey for that.


I liked the story line for the most part. It was fast-paced and interesting. There are only a couple of complaints there. First, I didn't understand the need to have Prudence semi-engaged to Malcolm at the beginning. I didn't really think it was necessary to add that plot-line. Unless that's going to come into play in a later book in the series. We'll have to wait and see about that, I suppose. The other complaint was that there was a definite lag in the story. It was when Amelia and Malcolm went to London so that Malcolm could go to Parliament. It was at this point when there relationship hit a snag and we hit an impasse. And that impasse lasted for a while. It didn't drag on, but it lagged. We had a while of Amelia agonizing over their relationship before the next plot line happened. It wasn't horrible, but it was noticeable enough that I got a little frustrated. Otherwise, I did like the story. And the ending was sweet and perfect.


I think it's pretty obvious from what I've said so far that I have very conflicting emotions about Scotsmen Prefer Blondes. I liked it. But the parts that I complained about kept me from loving it. Don't get me wrong, the book was lovely. It just had a few problems. But that wouldn't stop me from recommending it to anyone who likes historical romance. Where I liked it, you might love it.


So, after much thought, 3/5


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

One Naughty Night (The Scandalous St. Claires #1) by Laurel McKee

One Naughty Night (The Scandalous St. Claires, #1)
A hundred years has passed since the bitter rivalry between the St. Claires and the Huntingtons began. But in London, the feud goes on...

Under the cover of night, nothing is forbidden.

Lily St. Claire will do anything for the family that saved her from the streets. With their support, the young widow has become the hostess of The Devil's Fancy, London's most exclusive gaming den. She's determined to restore the St. Claire family fortune, lost a century before to the despised Huntington clan. But a ghost from her past may be her ultimate undoing...

Lord Aidan Huntington is handsome and wealthy, with a taste for adventure and a reputation for wickedness. A gambler and a rake, Aidan can't resist a seductive woman with secrets—but one naughty night with Lily leaves him wanting more. As Lily is drawn into London's dark underworld by an old enemy, Aidan will risk everything to save the woman who has awakened his deepest desires.




Absolutely magnificent! One Naughty Night is a book full of romance and thrills, with plot twists you'll never see coming.


Lily was an intensely loyal character, which I really admired. Since the St. Claires took her in, she is loyal to them. This caused her to go along wholeheartedly with the feud. Imagine her surprise when she finds out that she actually likes one of those Huntingtons. Bu that's what was great about her. She didn't stick  with old notions and stubbornly refuse to accept her love for Aidan. But she did feel torn between her two loyalties. I felt for her struggle and I was very happy with the way she settled the internal conflict. I was so glad that she won her happy ending after going through so much in life. Truly, Lily is a character anyone would cheer for.


Aidan was an absolute delight. You never know what to expect from him. To say he was an interesting character is an understatement. I loved how he would do just about anything for Lily. When it was clear that she was in danger, he didn't waste any time taking out whatever was threatening her. It was very sweet. The love between Lily and Aidan was strong and true. Through the very many obstacles put in their way, they would always triumph together. And this could be a deterrent or a benefit, depending on how you like your romance, but the sex scenes were HOT. Like there-must-be-steam-rising-straight-out-of-the-book hot. And there were quite a few of them, more than a standard romance, with a little more variety (dominatrix anyone?). Since the level of the steaminess in higher than average, I think that it merits mention. But, moving back to Aidan, I adored him. He was a perfect, entertaining hero who never does what you expect. It was very fun reading about him.


The plot, as I said earlier, is full of twists. One in particular I never saw coming. It kept the story interesting. The St. Claires were so fun. Lily adoptive siblings were so entertaining. I can't wait to hear their stories. I believe the next one is about Dominic, so I'm excited to hear more about the golden boy. I'm sure it will be fun ;)


So, One Naughty Night is a delightful read. I LOVED it!


5/5


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Painted Blind by Michelle A. Hansen

Painted Blind
Seventeen years old and agoraphobic, Psyche Middleton vows her dad will never see the risqué photos she took during a summer modeling stint abroad, but one of them ends up on a billboard in her Montana hometown. Now everyone—especially her dad—can see it. And yet, somehow, those are the mundane things in her life because she is about to fall unexpectedly, head-over-heels in love with Erik, a mysterious young man who rescues her from a crowd of admirers, and who she’s never actually seen because…he can make himself invisible.

As strange as this may seem, it’s about to get even stranger. Erik takes her to his palace in an idyllic kingdom, and she is swept into the beauty and culture of his world, but his affection has one condition: she may not see him. Overtaken, intrigued, and still not wholeheartedly believing he’s real, Psyche is going to have to decide if she can love him blindly; because if she can’t, she may lose him forever.




A wonderful modern retelling of my favorite myth: Eros and Psyche!
I was a little skeptical about a modern retelling. How was the author going to transfer ancient events into modern day? But not only did she manage it, but she created a brilliant love story with thrills and a perfect ending.

I really liked Psyche. In myth and all the retellings, Psyche is a strong character, and this Psyche is just as strong. Ever since she did an ad that was photo-shopped to look like she was nude, everyone has been treating her differently. Suddenly, she's a celebrity. However, Aphrodite takes offence with this picture, as Psyche had posed as Venus. So, now Psyche has to pay the price of insulting Aphrodite. She was remarkably strong throughout the story. She was kind, and demonstrated it on several occasions that made me like her all the more. The tasks that she has to complete are different in this book, modified to fit the retelling. But throughout them, she remained steadfast in her devotion and never faltered. That's probably the best part about her: She never doubted her love for Eros, even when forsaking it would have been easier. If I had one complaint, it would be how completely she broke down after Eros left her. She got herself together eventually, but it took awhile for her to find her resolve and start fighting for Eros. It didn't bother me a lot, but it was a little frustrating.

Eros, or Erik as he calls himself at the beginning, was sweet. Though he was angry with Psyche after she saw him, he forgave her easily after he saw that her love was real and that she would fight for it. This Eros was a little deeper than the other versions of him. We get to know him more as a person than just as the god of love. He was a sweetheart and I was so happy for him and Psyche when they got their happy ending.

Painted Blind is a little darker than the original myth. The emotions are more tumultuous, the story is a little more gruesome, particularly at the part of the underworld. This underworld was dark and terrifying and a horrible place to be. The only other Eros and Psyche retelling I've read is Destined, which is much lighter and happier. I loved both books, but they were different even though they told the same story. While Destined is light, Painted Blind was dark. It was an interesting change, and one that definitely worked out for the best. 

The story was brilliant. Of course, those who know the myth will already know the basic story line, but the changes from the original myth are the parts the I want to focus on. As I said, the tasks were different, the relationship between the lovebirds, the details of the story. All of these changes served to make Painted Blind a wonderful book. Even if you know the myth, like I do, you'll still be on the edge of your seat throughout the story. I think some people might raise an eyebrow at the thought that a modern girl would give up her current life to live in another world to be with the man she loves, and to marry him. It wasn't any bit of a problem for me, but I think some people might find it strange. To those people, however, I say that if I was Psyche, I wouldn't hesitate to jump into my hottie's arms and have him carry me away to his mythical world and not look back. :)

So, Painted Blind was a wonderful, spectacular retelling of Eros and Psyche. If you like the myth, you'll want to read this. And even if you don't know it, read this book, because I guarantee that you'll fall in love with the story and the characters.

5/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Conquered by a Highlander by Paula Quinn

Conquered by a Highlander (Children Of The Mist, #4)
BOUND BY DUTY

Colin MacGregor was born to fight-for his beliefs, his king, and his family's honor. After years away from his beloved Scotland, he yearns to return to its lush, green hills-and he can, after he completes one final mission for the king. Sent to infiltrate a traitor's home, Colin is determined to expose the treasonous plot and triumph on the battlefield . . . until he meets a sensual lass who tempts him towards other pursuits . . . .

BETRAYED BY PASSION

Lady Gillian Dearly is no stranger to temptation. Cast out of her family for bearing an illegitimate child, she's now the ward of a barbarian conspiring against the king. Her only desire: freedom for her son and for herself at any cost, even if it means making a deal with the devil. Yet when a mysterious Highlander appears in their midst, his braw strength and smoldering gaze give her hope for a future beyond the castle walls-and promise a desire unlike any she's ever known. But passion comes at a price . . .




Delightful romance and endless thrills...
Conquered by a Highlander was sweet, suspenseful, and near perfect.


First of all, I really admired Gillian. She was betrayed by the man she thought she loved and had a bastard child. Her father sent her to live with her creepy cousin as punishment. But, though it all, she was brave. She sacrificed her dignity daily to keep her son, Edmund, safe, she swallowed her pride constantly, and yet she was still strong. It was very admirable. She was careful when she fell in love with Colin, but not stubborn. And she was able to trust him and the most important time, when he saved both her and her son's life. She's probably one of the best romance heroines ever.


Colin was sweet. By his own admission, when he arrived he was a heartless warrior. But he never really was, not with how kind he was to little Edmund, not with how sweet he was to Gillian. After falling in love with Gillian, he put her above his duty to the king. Their romance was both sweet and steamy, though neither were overwhelming; just the right amount of each, I would say. I loved them together, and I was SO happy with their ending.


Little Edmund was so freaking adorable! Oh my goodness, I wanted to give the little cutie a hug to many times. He was just precious, the cutest little thing ever. I adored him. But he wasn't just a cute face that kept me smiling, he was also instrumental in bringing Gillian and Colin together. He grew fond of Colin immediately and insisted that Colin come with him and Gillian whenever they went somewhere. I was happy with how things ended for him; the poor boy deserved some happiness after living with Gillian's creep of a cousin.


That brings us to the very man. He was truly awful. He wants Gillian, as his wife and in his bed. He's been using Edmund to control Gillian, while treating both horribly. Dear god, I hated his guts. I was so glad when karma came to bite him in the butt. If anything, I think he deserved even worse than what he got. He was truly terrible, but the ideal antagonist. 


The setting was outstanding. For one, the politics were flawless, and added some political intrigue to the tale, though it wasn't at center stage. But the castle where Gillian is trapped, that's the most impressive part. The picture was painted perfectly. I felt the very atmosphere, the stifling misery and oppressiveness. It was always lingering, never allowing me to forget Gillian's incarceration in the terrible place. I loved that feel and applaud the author for doing such a fantastic job with it.


The one complaint I have is the beginning. After Gillian and Colin met, things seem to kind of hit a stand-still for a while. The two were at an impasse, and the story refused to move on until they resolved it. It took longer than it should have, but once the story started up again, everything was perfect. It wasn't a massive problem, and I was able to forget it once I moved past the block, but it bothered me enough to merit mention.


But, otherwise, I loved this book. Conquered by a Highlander is brilliant, a wonderful story with fantastic characters and a perfect ending.


4/5


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Ice Princess by Elizabeth Hoyt

The Ice Princess (Princes Trilogy, #4)
SEVEN NIGHTS OF SIN

As the madam of Aphrodite’s Grotto, the most infamous brothel in London, Coral Smythe knows everything possible about men’s needs and desires. Yet she’s never experienced the love of a single man—not even that of Captain Isaac Wargate whose hawk-like eyes stare at her with both condemnation…and lust.

SEVEN NIGHTS OF ECSTASY

Captain Wargate heartily disapproves of the sensuous madam who always wears a golden mask. She lures his officers from both his ship and their duty. But when Coral herself is offered up as the prize in a game of chance, Wargate impulsively enters…and wins.

SEVEN NIGHTS OF LOVE

Now the puritanical navy captain has just seven nights to learn everything he can about the mysterious madam and what she knows of a man’s desires. But when Coral is threatened by the new owner of Aphrodite’s Grotto, will Wargate take a chance on the woman beneath the mask…and on love?




Sweet, adorable story...
The Ice Princess is a wonderful, short romance.


Coral was forced into becoming a prostitute after her sister wasn't able to support them on a maid's job. After becoming the madame of a brothel, she refuses to sell her body anymore, and hasn't for two years. Until the man she owes a debt to for saving her brothel puts her up for sale for a seven day arrangement. I really admired Coral. Although she's in a bad situation, she makes the best of it. She's very strong and has no illusions about her grim reality. She was a lovely character who I felt I could cheer for wholeheartedly.


Isaac is an interesting man. He first disapproves heartily of Coral, or Aphrodite, as he knows her as. But, a gentleman at heart, he doesn't hesitate to swoop in and save her from other men when she is unwillingly offered up for sale. And he was sweet about the whole situation. Though he doesn't bother to hide his disapproval of her at first, as he gets to know her, he becomes a total sweetheart, intent on saving his damsel in distress. Their romance was heart-warming, and steamy, of course. Both characters were brilliant.


The ending was adorable. A perfect, sweet ending to the story. 


The Ice Princess is a wonderful novella. If you like historical romance, you'd love this book.


5/5


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Scandalous Affair by Karen Erickson

A Scandalous Affair
From the moment Daphne, Lady Pomeroy, meets the mysterious Marquess of Hartwell at a masquerade ball, she’s determined to seduce him. The handsome, charming man cannot possibly be the cold, calculating lord who Society calls “Black Hart.” Risking everything, the lonely widow invites the elusive Hartwell to her dinner party . . . for two.
Hartwell’s arrogant reputation is built on a lie. For he has a shameful secret that keeps him in the shadows: a stutter—his downfall since childhood. He’d rather keep his mouth shut than look the fool. But he’s shocked to discover that in Daphne’s company—and in her bed—his stutter vanishes.
After one wanton evening together, Daphne is hurt when the lord lives up to his Black Hart name. Yet his reasons for leaving surprise even him. Now he must confess everything or risk losing Daphne forever…




Lovely, sweet, and sensual...LOVED it!


Daphne was an unconventional character. She disregarded propriety to get what she wanted, and didn't care what people thought of her. It was fun to watch her openly skirt around the rules of society. 


Hartwell is a sweet character. His stutter earned him the scorn of his father and he's kept to the shadows in order to avoid any more disapproval. Unfortunately, that earned him the reputation of being cold. But, he's truly an adorable character. He'll steal your heart whether you want him to or not. Handsome, tortured, and sweet. What more could you want?


Even though this is a short story, there was development of the relationship. It never felt rushed. The story was hot and sweet and the ending was perfect.


A brilliant story: 5/5


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

By Royal Command by Laura Navarre

By Royal Command
Two brothers. One woman. Three hearts at war.

Katrin of Courtenay's husband is dead-and she doesn't mourn him. He was cruel and controlling, and she doesn't need a husband to hold her northern keep. But her vengeful uncle, the King of England, has other ideas: intent on marrying her off, he's ordered his Viking-bred warrior to return her to court.
On the journey, the Viking captures her interest, and for the first time Katrin understands passion. But her guard is honor-bound to deliver her to the king, and so it is settled-she must wed the mysterious Rafael le Senay, the Baron of Belmaine.
A forced marriage to a stranger slowly becomes something more, and Katrin realizes she is in love with Rafael. But with the shadow of her former lover hanging over her, and Rafael's powerful brother making dangerous plans, can Katrin negotiate the delicate balance between survival and happiness?




By Royal Command was a book that I wanted to like, but had so many flaws that I couldn't even manage that. I don't like giving negative reviews, so I'll try keep this short to avoid ranting.


First of all, Katrin, for all her bravado of being strong and independent, was just as meek as any other royal medieval woman. She pretends that she's all tough, but in the end, she submits every time. It wouldn't have bothered me that she was weak, that was what a woman was expected to be at that time, but it bothered me that she kept pretending otherwise. 


Then, the "romance." Let me explain how the romance goes. She is taken to her uncle's court by the captain of the army and falls in love with the warrior. They have a short, tumultuous love affair. She gets to court, then she's sent off to marry another man. She eventually falls in love with the man,while the man's brother tries to get with her. Sound a little messed up? Yeah, it's actually worse than it sounds. 


Eommond (I think that's how it's spelled) is the captain. I have no idea what possessed her to fall in love with him. He was nothing but mean to her. And the first time they hooked up, he just barged into her room and claimed that she shouldn't have tempted him, then falls onto her like an animal in heat. Despite Katrin pleading with him to not take her to court, he takes her anyway. Then, when she gets engaged, he gets all angry. AS IF HE HAD A RIGHT TO BE! He's the one who took her to court! How can he get angry when the exact thing she told him would happen, and what she wanted to avoid when he refused to run away with her, happened?   That romance was just utterly unbelievable. Literally, I couldn't believe for a second that Katrin actually liked this asshole. Excuse my language. Once she gets married, Eommond makes a brief cameo appearance, then is promptly forgotten expect for a few mentions of him. So at least I didn't have to put up with that insanity for long.


Then the two brothers. Raphael is the brother she gets married to. He's the only character in this book that I actually liked. He's really the reason I didn't hate this book entirely. He was sweet, and understanding as Katrin got over that other jerk. He's someone that I can actually understand Katrin falling in love with. I adored him, and was so happy that Katrin finally made sense when she fell in love with him. Really, it saved the entire book for me.


But then Raphael's brother. He was a total creep. When he sees Katrin, he decides he wants her, EVEN THOUGH SHE'S HIS BROTHER'S FIANCE. Even after they get married, he still tries to get with her. And when seducing doesn't work, because one of Katrin's few good attributes is that she's faithful, he tries to rape her. He was so nasty. It didn't help that he was married. To a girl so young that he had to wait two years of marriage with her before she got her first period so that they could start working on an heir. I know that was commonplace in that time period, but it still didn't stop me from being grossed out. And it obviously didn't help his case one bit.


The last complaint I have is Katrin's uncle. He was so nasty. He hinted several times that he wanted to get with Katrin. It literally made me nauseous. I was so glad when his appearance in the story was over.


If I can say one thing that I liked besides Raphael, it would be the flawless setting. The details and descriptions were perfect for the time period. It really felt like I was back in Europe's Dark Ages. That plus Raphael are the sole reasons this book wasn't a total train wreck.


I think I ended up ranting a little, didn't I? I don't like to give negative review, but I honestly couldn't like this book. If you feel that you can overlook the things that bothered me, by all means, read By Royal Command. The fact that I didn't like it won't stop me from recommending it to people who think they might feel differently about the book. But otherwise, if you feel like the parts that bothered me will bother you as well, I would stay away from this book. Seriously, it will save you a lot of frustration.


Sadly, 2/5


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Wilde's Army by Krystal Wade


Wilde's Army
“Hello, Katriona.”

Those two words spark fear in Katriona Wilde and give way to an unlikely partnership with Perth, the man she’s been traded to marry for a favor. Saving her true love and protector Arland, her family, and their soldiers keeps her motivated, but the at-odds duo soon realizes trust is something that comes and goes with each breath of Encardia’s rotting, stagnant air. The moment when concern for her missing sister spirals out of control, all thoughts of trust are pushed aside and she finds herself trapped by the daemon tricks Perth warned her of. 

However, rescuing those she loves is only half the problem. 

Kate still must get to Willow Falls, unite her clashing people, and form an army prepared to fight in order to defeat Darkness. When so many she’s grown fond of die along the journey, her ability to play by the gods’ rules is tested. 

How will she make allies when the world appears stacked against her? And will she still be Katriona Wilde, the girl with fire?



Absolutely brilliant! Everything I hoped it would be and more! Thrills, romance, surprises...what more could you ask for?

Katriona grew so much in this book. In Wilde's Fire, she was unsure of herself and her magic reflected that. In this one, her confidence shot up. Though she had moments of insecurity (who wouldn't when the entire world counted on you to survive), she was a strong leader who inspired people to fight. Obviously, in this book, Katriona is trying to build an army to help her fight Darkness. It's not as easy as it sounds. The people of Encardia are tired of fighting. Getting them motivated isn't exactly a walk in the park. How does she manage with that problem? I'll let you figure that out. And, let me tell you, it's positively awe-inspiring.

Arland...what can I say? He is perfection at its finest. He was determined to protect Katriona and whenever she got hurt, he saw it as his failure. It was both sweet-in that he was so determined to keep her safe-and sad-because he blamed himself every time Katriona got hurt. He was supportive of Katriona and basically the most perfect boyfriend ever to exist (and maybe more...;). I LOVED their relationship. It is the purest, most true love ever. I swear, whenever they were on the page together, I would undoubtedly be smiling at how adorable their relationship is.

Perth was an interesting character. He doesn't approve of his father and how his father rules, so he's decided to join with Katriona in the fight. This doesn't turn into a love triangle (how could it with the absolute devotion in Katriona and Arland's relationship). At first, he was a thorn in my side. But he kind of grew on me. By the end of the book, I was grudgingly admitting that I was actually fond of him. Don't worry, he'll grow on you to, whether you want him to or not.

The other characters were all dynamic. Katriona's mother showed a different side of her. Brit grows as she sticks with Katriona in the fight. Brad is still there, despite being taken over by Darkness. I'm hoping for the best for him in the next book. Really all of the characters were interesting.

The story was, of course, thrilling and romantic. There is a lot more action in this one, as the fight has truly started. Similarly, the romance is more intense as Katriona and Arland's relationship grows. I got to be more familiar with the whole mythology in this book. In the first one, things were a little fuzzy. In Wilde's Army, I was able to truly understand the whole issue about the magic and the gods. I also got to know the world of Encardia a lot better. And the ending to this book. It had me both smiling and having a panic attack. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book to see how the war turns out, how the love story grows, how all the the characters get along. Ms. Wade, please write fast! I'm dying to find out what happens next.

Wilde's army was perfection, a worthy sequel to Wilde's Fire. Loved every moment of it.
5/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Baron's Governess Bride by Deborah Hale

The Baron's Governess Bride
Plain, Prim...Perfect! Lord Steadwell's three motherless daughters were heartbroken when their last governess ran off to elope. In her dowdy cap and spectacles, Grace Ellerby seems an ideal replacement-a nurturing, intelligent woman uninterested in marriage. No wonder Rupert doesn't recognize Grace as the golden-haired vision at a masked ball, who slips away before midnight.... Frightened by the unwanted attentions of previous employers, Grace resolved to hide her beauty...and her growing feelings for Rupert. One enchanted evening-and a sweet, breathtaking kiss-changes everything. For with Grace's three adorable charges playing fairy godmother, Rupert may discover his happy ending is closer than he thinks.



Not as good as I hoped it would be...
The Baron's Governess Bride seems to try to show that beauty isn't all it's cracked up to be, but it ended up overestimating how important beauty is . It made the entire book seem shallow and superficial. I know what the author meant to do, but I don't think she achieved it.


First off, Grace seemed a little over paranoid. I know that her looks have gotten her unwanted attention and it was smart of her to downplay them in her next job. But what I didn't get was why she treated her beauty as some sort of secret. And this bleeds over to Rupert as well. When he found out how she really looked, he acted as if she was hiding a criminal past. She just hid her looks to avoid some creep coming on to her! Why was her beauty considered such a scandalous secret? It's just how she looks! This is what I mean when I say the author overstretched the importance of beauty. I really don't think hiding her looks was so offensive, like the characters in the book seem to think. I just didn't understand why the whole issue was so overblown.


Rupert seemed...less than intelligent at times. For one thing, when he was going to marry this widow who lived nearby. His daughters were crying to him to not go through with it and he just says: oh, they'll get over it. Do you not see how upset your daughters are about it?! And to complete his unobservant streak, he didn't recognize Grace at the masquerade. The masquerade doesn't happen until about 2/3 into the book, after Grace had already been working for Rupert for months. I mean, couldn't you at least recognize her voice, if not her looks? You've known her for months. If the ball had happened earlier, before Grace and Rupert got to know each other well, I would have understood the lack of recognition. But as far as it was, no, I couldn't believe it. The last problem was the fact that Rupert didn't realize his love for Grace until after she showed him how she really looked. It made the whole romance seem very shallow and superficial. They didn't really talk, there wasn't much building of their relationship. But after Grace shows that she's actually pretty, he suddenly realizes that he loves her. Doesn't that seem shallow to you? Maybe it's just me, because I know that other people who read this enjoyed it. 


The saving grace of the book is the girls. Rupert's daughters were wonderful. I loved them and I loved how their relationship developed with Grace. It was really sweet, and it kept me from completely hating the book.


I really hate to be negative about a book, but I just didn't like The Baron's Governess Bride. The concept was great but the execution ruined it for me.


2/5


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits
So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.  Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again. 




Heart-wrenching, romantic, and absolutely beautiful! Pushing the Limits is a wonderful story of falling in love and healing from past wounds.

Pushing the Limits is full of thrills, though not in the way of action or fights. It's more subtle. As Echo tries to remember what happened to her the night she almost died, the flashes and subsequent emotional turmoil that Echo goes though provide a sense of thrills and true, heart-breaking emotions.

Echo is a lovely character. She's incredibly strong for dealing with what happened to her that night. For a while, I was a little irritated with her as she let herself be controlled by her friends for the sake of gaining normalcy. After years of being an outcast, she wanted to find normal again. While I understood that, it didn't stop me from cheering when she grew a backbone and stood up to her friends, particularly the one who considered friendship conditioned. But it was only about the first half of the book that she was sucking up to her "friends" so I got over it pretty quickly. And after that, Echo became an even greater character. I really liked her and cheered her on as she got past that night.

Noah was a complicated character. He's been thrown around in foster care for a few years since his parents died. Because of this, he's been labeled as a bad guy. But he's not. He's extremely devoted to his two younger brothers, both of whom are in the same foster house. Noah would never do anything to jeopardize his privilege to visit them. It was really sweet how protective Noah was over his brothers (both of whom were some of the cutest children ever). And his relationship with Echo was the sweetest thing ever. He was adorable to Echo and a more perfect boyfriend you would be hard pressed to find. His eloquent poetry of his love was spectacular.

"Fuck me and the rest of the world, I was in love."

Isn't that the most romantic sentence you've ever read? But all joking aside, he truly was a brilliant character. He struggles to reconcile his devotion to his brothers and his love for Echo, finding it hard to fit the two into his future. This leads him to do something more than a little stupid, but I couldn't fault him for it. Though that whole stupid something made things a little awkward. But, I adored him and was ecstatic when he and Echo got their happy endings after going through so much.  

The story was original, full of heart-ache but topped with a brilliant, happy ending. The emotions felt very real, and it wasn't hard to get attached to these characters.

Pushing the Limits is a spectacular book.

5/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt

Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane, #4)
A MASKED MAN . . . 
Winter Makepeace lives a double life. By day he's the stoic headmaster of a home for foundling children. But the night brings out a darker side of Winter. As the moon rises, so does the Ghost of St. Giles-protector, judge, fugitive. When the Ghost, beaten and wounded, is rescued by a beautiful aristocrat, Winter has no idea that his two worlds are about to collide. 

A DANGEROUS WOMAN . . . 
Lady Isabel Beckinhall enjoys nothing more than a challenge. Yet when she's asked to tutor the Home's dour manager in the ways of society-flirtation, double-entendres, and scandalous liaisons-Isabel can't help wondering why his eyes seem so familiar-and his lips so tempting. 

A PASSION NEITHER COULD DENY 
During the day Isabel and Winter engage in a battle of wills. At night their passions are revealed . . . But when little girls start disappearing from St. Giles, Winter must avenge them. For that he might have to sacrifice everything-the Home, Isabel . . . and his life.




Wonderful, thrilling, and unique...
Thief of Shadows is one of the most original historical romances I've ever read.


The concept of the story is fascinating. A sexy masked man who may be a dangerous criminal or an anonymous hero? Hell, yeah, sign me up for that. And the book doesn't disappoint in the least. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, utterly engrossed in the plot.


Isabel was very refreshing. No simpering society lady, she's an experienced woman who gets what she wants yet is still kind. She loves the thrill of the Ghost, thriving in the adventure he provides. But she's also deeper than that. For one, her heartbreak over not having a child from her first marriage was palpable and I could really feel for her. She was a likable, interesting character that anyone could root for. 


Winter-love his name-was remarkable. He's absolutely devoted to his children's home, forsaking any romantic relationships to save the entirety of his attention for the home. This provides an interesting twist. Despite the intrigue of his side job as the Ghost and all the thrills he experiences, sex is not one of them. That's right, our hero is a virgin. So, rather than being an experienced man with a virginal lady, we have an experienced woman with a virginal gentleman. It was an interesting change, after reading so many book with the former arrangement. And it definitely worked out for the better. It somehow made the romance even steamier. After reading this, no one can ever claim that Winter isn't an enthusiastic lover. The other interesting twist this provides is that, this time, the lady wants a simple affair, while the gentleman is calling for marriage. Winter's belief is that if he ever made love to a woman, it would have been because she was the love of his life. Isn't that adorable? So he decides to push for marriage. All interesting twists and all serve to make this book even more intriguing. But back to Winter himself. He was sweet and sexy and basically every woman's dream come true. Kind and gentle on one side, dangerous and thrilling on the other. He's undoubtedly one of my favorite love interests.


As I said before, the plot was a never ending line of twists and turns that leave you unable to put this book down. The ending was perfection. It was amazing, one of the best romances I've read. 


Obviously, 5/5


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pleasures of a Tempted Lady (Donovan Sisters #3) by Jennifer Haymore

Pleasures of a Tempted Lady (Donovan Sisters, #3)
Forbidden passion is the ultimate temptation...

Captain William Langley knows the ocean well, but nothing could prepare him for what he discovers adrift on the cold Irish Sea. The tiny boat carries two passengers: a child—and Meg Donovan, Will's long-lost love. Meg's disappearance at sea eight years ago was a devastating blow. Now she's back, as beautiful as ever, and with secrets as deep as Will's own.

After years held captive by a cold-blooded pirate, Meg has finally escaped with little Jake, the boy she's come to love as if he were her own. But the pirate wants his revenge—and Meg must do whatever it takes to shield Jake from the madman. Determined not to lose Meg again, Will vows to protect them both, yet Meg can't risk putting the only man she's ever loved in danger. With the threat to her safety growing, and her passion for Will burning brighter every day, surrendering herself to Will might be a pleasure too tempting to resist.




Always good to see the Donovans :)
lovely, thrilling and sweet. As always, a delightful mix of romance, action, and intrigue.


Meg is definitely a scarred character. After being held captive by a pirate for 7 years, she has been scarred both internally and externally. But she's not corrupted by it. She's a kind, sacrificing character and I really liked her. The whole part about self-sacrificing became more than a little frustrating (Ummm...why would you run away from the love of your life?) but, thankfully, she came to her senses. I loved how she was determined to protect little Jake. It was very sweet and Jake was just adorable. The cute little thing captured my heart. He was precious.


Will...he has to be one of the sweetest love interests EVER. It just made me smile to see how sweet he was. And he was a gentleman, and kind, and basically perfect in every way. I adored him, and I'm glad he got his happy ending after what happened in the first book. He deserves to have his happiness.


The story line was thrilling. But the plot was getting to be very formulaic. Basically, it's the same as the first two books. The details were changed but the basic structure and idea were the same. It bothered me a little. Not enough to dislike the book, just enough to knock off a point.


But, overall, Pleasures of a Tempted Lady was a fun and entertaining read. Though somewhat formulaic, it's still thrilling and romantic.


4/5


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Forever a Lady by Delilah Marvelle

Forever a Lady (The Rumor, #2)
TWO DIFFERENT CLASSES, ONE COMMON DESIRE... Lady Bernadette Marie Burton  may be the richest widow in England, but like her dreams of finding true passion, her reputation is deteriorating. Cruel gossip, loneliness and hoards of opportunistic suitors have her believing Society couldn't be more vile...or dangerous. So when an attacker threatens her life, she finds safety in the most unseemly of places: the arms of a mysterious, Irish-American gang leader. His fortune stolen, young  Matthew Milton is done playing the respectable gentleman. In the slums of New York, only ruffians thrive. But from the moment he arrives in London and encounters the voluptuous Lady Bernadette, he can't help but wonder about the finer pleasures he's missing. Or just how much he's willing to risk-not only to bed her, but to prove his worth....



Unique and brilliant! Forever a Lady gives us a look at everything of this time period from the dirty NY slums to the glittering English mansions. The plot was full of intrigue and adorable romance.


Bernadette is a different character. Rather than being an innocent society lady, she's an experienced woman whose reputation is tattered at best. But I liked that about her. I liked that she didn't let society's standards get in the way of what she wanted. And that included a man who was below her class. 


That brings us to Matthew. In the summary, Matthew is identified as a gang leader. But, he's by no means a thug. He tries to help people in ways that are less than legal, working with the police in most cases. He was born wealthy, but was forced onto the streets after his fathers's newspaper went bankrupt because of a sleezy solicitor. He made the best of his new situation, gaining a following that kept him powerful in the NY streets while trying to repair wrongs. But he's very sweet. He has a lot of pride, though I could understand why, but he's absolutely adorable to Bernadette, and to the innocent victims that he saves on a regular basis. (In the beginning, he saves two little girls from being sold into prostitution, and he was a total sweetheart to them.) I loved his relationship with Bernadette. After starting off shaky, it really comes to be a true, deep love. It was lovely to read about.


The plot was full of twists and turns. Just when you think you know what's going to happen, something changes. It was fun and full of intrigue, romance, and thrills.


My one problem was how Bernadette and Matthew acted toward each other in the beginning. They were not very nice to each other. They both had reasons to be angry with each other, but I didn't feel like it justified the way they behaved. It wasn't a huge problem, and it resolved fairly quickly after their relationship blossomed, but it did irritate me. 


Otherwise, Forever a Lady was a lovely book.
4/5


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Goddess Legacy (The Goddess Test #2.5) by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test, #2.5)
For millennia we've caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus. Now Aimé e Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows. 

Calliope/Hera represented constancy and yet had a husband who never matched her faithfulness...

Ava/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and yet commitment was a totally different deal...

Persephone was urged to marry one man, yet longed for another...

James/Hermes loved to make trouble for others-but never knew true loss before...

Henry/Hades's solitary existence had grown too wearisome to continue. But meeting Kate Winters gave him a new hope...

Five original novellas of love, loss and longing and the will to survive throughout the ages






Absolutely brilliant! I feel like I know the characters so much better now. I wondered whether this would be worth reading in regards to the series and, after reading it, I would definitely urge any fans of the series to read The Goddess Legacy. Not only is it interesting, but it also clarifies a few things that weren't touched on in  the first two books. 


The story about Calliope/Hera explained how jealous Hera became insane Calliope. It shows how she turned her affections to Hades/Henry and became obsessed. I actually understand her insanity now, why she would go to such great lengths to have Henry for herself. I can't say that I like her any better, but I do understand her much better now.


The Ava/Aphrodite story was sweet. This one was about how she developed her relationship with Hephaestus. In the myths, of course, that marriage was arranged and devoid of love. In Goddess Interrupted, we find that their relationship is actually a loving one. This story explains how that came to be. It also gives a good explanation as to why Ava has more lovers than the ocean has drops of water. It made me like Ava a lot more because that tendency of her's tended to get on my nerves in the first two books. Getting a reasonable explanation fixed that for me and now I can actually like her.


Persephone's story was...enlightening to say the least. It describes her time with Hades, from the moment they took their vows to Persephone giving up her immortality for Adonis. There were times in this story when I wanted to wring her neck-like the many times she hurt poor Henry. But I do understand why their relationship never seemed to work. It doesn't say it outright, but it can be assumed from the many hints. Let's just say that their relationship wasn't meant to be, and someone made sure to keep it that way. After finding out that the debacle of Hades and Persephone's relationship wasn't entirely her fault, I can't hate her anymore. I still don't particularly like her-I think she's selfish and a witch for hurting Henry-but at least I understand her actions. But I'm still beyond glad that she's out of the picture.


James/Hermes' story was probably one of the most informative. And it was adorable. In this one, Hermes gets to know a few mortals while trying to find out why so many gods are fading. He is, as always, charming and adorable. But, most importantly, we find out why the gods changed their names. I didn't understand the necessity before, but the explanation given in this story was thoroughly believable. It actually makes perfect sense that the gods would change their names-and their relationship with mortals-after reading this explanation. This story, along with Persephone's, also gives light to the animosity between James and Henry. I know it's touched on in the previous books, but this made it much more understandable. 


And finally, Henry's story. Ah, Henry...I didn't know it was even possible to love you even more, but I seemed to have managed it. This one chronicles how Henry decided to give up and fade, and the subsequent tests on the potential goddesses. This actually includes a condensed version of the first scene in the first book. And, a little surprise into how Kate and Henry first met, and I don't mean when Ava "died." The way they actually met was so adorable. I swear, in the moment that I found out how they really met, my conviction in their relationship quadrupled. And if you're panting to know how they first met, I'll let you stew in the agony and find out for yourself. But this story gives light to how Henry felt watching all the girl die during the tests. And how he felt after meeting Kate. And we get the explanation as to how Henry got that reflection of Kate and her mom that he gave to her for Christmas in the first book. A little add on about Henry in general: During each story, it was stressed how Henry was the best of all the gods, the only one not corrupted. That truly made me lose my heart to the tormented god and it gave a reason as to why Henry is so different from the other gods. All I have to say to him at this point is: Henry, I love you!


Along with all this, we also understand the origin of each of the god and goddesses' new names. In each story, we get a look into how that character chose their name. All of this gave light to the characters, allowed me to understand them so much better.


The Goddess Legacy is wonderful and, if you like the series, you'll love this book. 


Definitely 5/5


Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Serpent's Shadow (Kane Chronicles #3) by Rick Riordan

The Serpent's Shadow (Kane Chronicles, #3)
He's b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sade Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos.

To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent’s shadow... or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld...



Excellent as always! Rick Riordan, you are an absolute master!

The Serpent's Shadow is the perfect ending to another brilliant series. The story was thrilling, action-packed, and topped with a happy ending.

Sadie and Carter both grow so much within this book as they face their greatest threat. Both rise to the challenge and win a victory for order. Both of them get their happy endings. Carter finally gets his chance with Zia and the Sadie-Anubis-Walter problem is solved...though in a rather unusual way.

The final fight was thrilling and had me on the edge of my seat. The ending was lovely. There's not a single flaw to speak of...except that it had to end.

Of course, 5/5