This is going to be one of those hard to review books/audiobooks. The thing is that STOLEN is almost two different books or a book broken in two parts… And I liked one part more than the other. The first part wasn’t bad, it started interesting enough, but soon, it was too good to be true and at the end, it was. The problem is I was already bored with the perfection of it when things changed. I can’t say more without giving spoilers away. Let’s just say the second part shows us something different from the first part, something that makes more sense with the circumstances to which Cayla is exposed and a reality that I enjoyed more because it was more believable. My only problem with the second part was the end. It was simply too perfectly convenient to be plausible.
I liked Cayla as a heroine. She is young, but she is smart. I liked how she grows throughout the story and how it was clear that she is a survivor at heart who is willing to do anything in her power to remain alive.
I can’t talk about the secondary characters without giving spoilers away. So I’ll just say they are all interesting and so well written they made me experience strong emotions.
I also can’t give much away about the story because there are some surprises that should be discover by the reader/listener. What I can say is that there was a twist that really surprised me, and I liked when an author surprises me.
The world building lacks a bit of development. We know crime families now rule (at least that part of the world), but we don’t know much about them and the little we know is about the Lucretias family. We don’t know anything about the other families because they are not addressed. We also don’t know about what is going on outside of the Lucretias’ mansion. We know there is a Rebellion forming, but we don’t know anything about it. I wish I could have known more about the outside world.
The end, although not a cliffhanger, is kind of an open end. I don’t know if Windsor is planning to write more books in this world, if that were the case I would read/listen to them.
This is the second audiobook narrated by Andrea Emmes that I listen. She is really good doing voices that fit each character’s personality and with them she brings the story to life.
DEEP is the fourth and last book in the Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott.
The moment Lizzy Rollins laid eyes on Ben Nicholson she felt a deep connection, something she had never experienced before. She knew he felt it too, but she also knew he wouldn’t act upon it. There was not only a big age difference between them, but she was also the little sister in law of one of his best friends, thus off limits. This didn’t deterred Lizzy, she went after what she wanted one too many times, breaking her heart along the way, until she finally was able to get Ben in her bed, the problem was his regrets the day after, regrets that broke her heart, again.
Weeks pass after their encounter, Lizzy thought everything was done and over between them, but a pregnancy test contradicted her. The questions now are how is this going to affect Lizzy’s life and her plans? How is it going to affect Ben and the band? Is there a future for them now that they are going to be parents?
I liked lizzy in previous books and was expecting to like her in this book, but that was not the case. There are two kind of heroines I don’t like, the TSTL and the wishy-washy ones. Lizzy was the perfect example of the latter. Lizzy is supposed to be a strong young woman with her feet on the ground, instead we see this young, immature girl infatuated with a guy, chasing him even though he didn’t want to be chase. We see her allowing him to treat her bad and to break her heart too many times. We see her forgiving him the same amount of times. We see a young woman who doesn’t want to depend of her “baby daddy” and the first thing she does when she finds out she is pregnant is to drop out of school to follow him on tour. No, no, no! Stay in school and prove to him and to the world that you are really the independent and smart woman you pretend to be.
Since the very first book I felt in love with the Stage Dive band members. Book after book I have meet new characters and learn to love each band member even more. After three books, the only one left was Ben, the silent, almost unnoticed band member. This was his book and his time to shine, sadly, as with previous books he stays in the dark and the very little we learn about him is nothing to write home about. Maybe this would have been different if we had had his point of view to see what was really going through his head, instead of seeing him and his actions through third-party eyes. The only thing clear about him is that he loves his life the way it is and he doesn’t want to change it. He is not into relationships and the last thing he wants is a family, but now with Lizzy pregnant and the pressure from his friends there is not much he can do about it. And here lays one of my biggest problems, I don’t believe in relationships based on pregnancies. For what I have seen throughout my life they don’t last and I think Lizzy and Ben’s relationship is one destined to fail. They are together not for love but because they should be together for the sake of the baby.
In this installment we see all the other band members and their significant others. We see how they are doing in their relationships and what is new in their lives. It was nice to spend time with them, but I think I would have liked to see less of them and more character/relationship development of Lizzy and Ben.
New characters are introduced in DEEP, from them I really liked Vaughan, I liked him a lot, so much at times I thought he was better for Lizzy than Ben and right there people there’s the problem of this book. I didn’t feel a real the connection between Lizzy and Ben; it felt more like infatuation than anything else, something that would have worked with any other person, it didn’t have to be Ben.
The story is not my favorite kind of story, I don’t like pregnancies for the sake of getting a couple together and I don’t like unnecessary drama to create conflict. Also this is a contemporary romance with very little romance.
DEEP falls short to its predecessors and if I’m honest it was a bit of a disappointment. Despite this, I’m still a fan of Kylie Scott and I know how talented she is.
I’m looking forward to the spin-off series, The Dive Bar series. First book will be Vaughan’s story and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
The Dragons of Dorcastle is the first book in the The Pillars of Reality series by Jack Campbell. Narrated by MacLeod Andrews.
The blurb more than explains what this book is about, so I won’t delve more into it.
I was very excited about listening to this audiobook, I had heard great things about Jack Campbell’s books and I thought this was my chance. Sadly, my high expectations were not met. Maybe if I wouldn’t have expected much from it I would have liked it more.
My biggest problem was that everything was too easy and too perfectly “there” to work in the characters favor. From the way they meet, to the circumstances that bring them together, to them “falling in love” and finally, to them solving the mystery of the dragons of Dorcastle.
Mari is a good heroine, but at the same time she is a bit frustrating. She is smart, but headstrong and suffers from episodes of teenager angst.
Alain is my favorite of the two, maybe because he is the one that grows the most. There is an obvious change from the Alain from first chapters, to the one at the end and I liked seeing him change.
The romance, if I can call it that, was a big disappointment because there was zero chemistry between the characters. I would have believed in a friendship between them, but not a romance; maybe a romance could have blossom in future books, but involving them romantically in this installment was premature and completely unrealistic.
The story is interesting enough and it is what kept me listening. I liked the idea of the two enemy guilds and I liked the idea about the prophecy. I only wish the world building would have been better developed.
Even though I had some problems with The Dragons of Dorcastle I would like to continue with the series. I want to know what Campbell has in store for Mari and Alain in future books.
MacLeod Andrews does a really good job with the male voices, but sadly his female voices weren’t that strong. In couple of instances it was difficult to discern who was who, because his voices sounded very similar and in another instance, I wasn’t sure if one character was male or female, it was female. Apart from that, Andrews does a good job interpreting the story. His narration was another factor that kept me listening.
The Hidden Masters of Marandur is the second (audio) book in The Pillars of Reality by Jack Campbell. Narrated by MacLeod Andrews.
I liked first (audio) book, The Dragons of Dorcastle, but if I’m honest I wasn’t crazy about. Still, I decided to give this second (audio) book a chance; I’m very happy I did because I liked it and enjoyed a lot more.
At the end of The Dragons of Dorcastle Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain say goodbye thinking they will be safer apart than together; but after just couple of weeks they both realize their respective guilds don’t want the information they now possess to come to the light. Their guilds cannot openly kill them so they are both sent on impossible quests where their deaths will be imminent. With the realization that their guilds want them dead, and with not other ally, Mari finds Alain, and together they embark in an adventure that will take them to the lost city of Marandur, where they are hoping to find the information they need to fight their guilds.
Although I liked Mari more this time around, her stubbornness and emotional outbursts frustrate me at times. I know she is young and many secrets and truths have been dropped on her, so I’m okay giving her some space and time to grow and accept her new circumstances. I just hope she will be more mature in third book.
Alain continues to be my favorite character and the one I consider has grown the most. I loved seeing him learning social skills and also learning to see the differences between what he learned at the Mage guild and what it is true. His social inadequacies provide the humor relief and a cute factor (if I can call it that) to the story.
The chemistry that was lacking between Mari and Alain in previous book is easily felt in this one. It was clear they both have feelings for each other and are working –innocently- towards a more permanent relationship.
In this installment we are introduced to new and interesting characters, some of them I’m sure will play important roles in books to come.
The story is fast paced and with enough action to keep you glued to the pages (your headphones) wanting to know what is coming next for Mari and Alain. The world building is further developed with the inclusion of the city and the Masters of Maradur. Along them we also learn some historical facts and secrets that will be further explore in next book.
The Hidden Masters of Marandur is great second book. I can honestly say it surpasses its predecessor and left me dying to get my hands on next audiobook in the series.
MacLeod Andrews does an excellent job with the narration. In previous audiobook I had problems with his female voices, I’m happy to say I didn’t have that problem with The Hidden Masters of Marandur.
One thing that Andrews shines at is to the delivery of emotion or lack of it according to the characters and that’s something very important with a story like this one.
Broken Skies is the first book in the Broken Skies series by Theresa Kay. The audiobook is narrated by Andrea Emmes.
Broken Skies is set in our world, 30 years after an apocalyptic event (the Collapse) that ended with 90% of the population. From that surviving 10% women a very low minority; they are considered in some cases as commodities or simply as reproductive wombs.
After the Collapse, aliens (the E’rikon) arrived and settled in the world. They don’t help the humans nor interfere with their lives and until now, they have kept their distance from them.
The heroine of the story is seventeen year-old Jasmine “Jax” Mitchell. She lives along her twin brother, Jace, in a compound in the middle of the forest. They moved there for security reasons after Jax was attacked in the house they used to share while Jace was out hunting. Jax hates living in Bridgelake; she is not the usual feminine girl and wants more from life than what is expected from her in the compound (get promised/married and have babies).
After breaking the rules and leaving the compound to search for Jace Jax witnesses aliens kidnaping him. She tries to go after them, but she is too late. Luckily for her not everything is lost because she finds Lir, an young alien who has been left behind by his ship and who is willing to help her get into the secure city where the E’rikon lives, so she can find Jace, in exchange to help him get there safe and sound. Together they travel discovering secrets about both races and themselves, and despite their misgivings getting closer to each other.
I really liked Jax. She is a strong heroine with a broken core. She knows she is broken due to past traumas; notwithstanding she does whatever is necessary to survive and to fight for what she believes to be right. Jax is also stubborn and determined; sometimes she makes mistakes, but what teenager doesn’t? This only made her feel more real and believable. The story is told from her point of view, so it was easy to see and to feel what she was going through.
I have mixed feelings about Lir. I liked him a lot, but I didn’t like that he was keeping secrets from Jax, although I understand why he did it. I think Theresa Kay did an amazing job with his physical description, because she made him “other”, but at the same time human enough to be attractive to us.
The secondary characters are great, but I have to applaud Theresa Kay for what he did with Jace and Flint. I really was surprised but in the best way possible. I loved them both and can’t wait to see more of them in future books. What was so special about them? No spoilers, you need to listen to this audiobook. *inserts evil laugh*
The story is fast paced and with so many twists and turns that it’s impossible to put down. I was actually quite surprised by how much I liked it. I listened to this audiobook while traveling from Paris to Miami and Theresa Kay’s words and the wonderful narration of Andrea Emmes made the time fly… literally.
Talking about the narration, it’s hard to believe this was Emmes’ first audiobook because her performance is equal or better than many seasoned narrators I have listened to. She gave to every character its own unique voice and accent. They were easy to differentiate with just the tone she used on them. Also her voice is perfect for the characters, she sounds young with the young characters and adult with the adult characters. That something I usually have problems with narrators, especially with the young voices.
After listening to Andrea Emmes I can’t imagine anyone else narrating this book.
I’m looking forward to listen to the second audiobook in this series, Fracture Suns; sadly there is not a release date yet established. I’m also looking forward to listen to other audiobooks narrated by Andrea Emmes.
I recommend Broken Skies to YA dystopian and YA Sci-Fi fans. I also recommend listening to the audiobook because Andrea Emmes really pays homage to the story with her excellent narration.
Nice Dragons Finish Last is the first book in the Heartstrikers series by Rachel Aaron, narrated by Vikas Adam.
In 2035 a comet crash into earth; the changes that brought were drastic and permanent, especially the return of magic to the world. Years have passed and people have gotten used to this new reality, regular humans live among magic practitioners, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures like dragons. Dragons have amassed power worldwide and rule their own territories. The only place where they are illegal and hunt at sight is DFZ (Detroit Free Zone).
Julius is a young dragon from the Heartstriker clan, but Julius to the despair of her family is not an usual dragon, he is not greedy or interested in amazing fortunes. He is also not ruthless or vicious, and to add to the disappointment of his family he is NICE!! Julius has tried to keep quiet and away from his family, but his mom, Bethesda, has had enough of his niceties, if he doesn’t change she is going to eat him. She gives him a one last chance to prove to her and to the family that he can be a dragon. She binds his power and sends him to DFZ with a mission. Julius needs to find a missing dragoness and return her to her clan in just couple of days.
Julius knows this time his mom is serious, if he fails he is sure he’ll be Bethesda’s dinner. He’ll do everything in his power to complete the mission. He knows alone he won’t be successful and hires a mage to help him along the way.
One of the things I like the most about reading books or listening to audiobooks is discovering new books/authors/narrators. The best is when I’m not expecting much from them and they surprise me, in a good way of course. That was exactly what happened with Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron, narrated by Vikas Adam. I simply liked everything about it. I liked the characters, the story, the world and the narration.
Julius is a very sweet character. He’s misunderstood and underestimated. His family doesn’t appreciate him because he’s nice, he likes people and he has human friends. Under his soft exterior there is a very smart guy with a big heart. He loves his family, he knows he’s different from them and only wishes they could accept him the way he is. He reminded me a lot of Fortitude Scott from Generation V series by M.L. Brennan and that’s a good thing because I love Fort.
Marci is Julius sidekick and hopefully Julius’ romantic interest in future books. Marci is a mage with a sad and complicated past. As Julius, she has just arrived to DFZ. She left her life behind looking for better horizons. The only problem is that not all her complications were left behind, some of them have followed her to DFZ.
Marci is the perfect complement for Julius calm demeanor. She’s a bit ruthless and is not afraid of getting her hands dirty when it is necessary. There is a great chemistry between them and they make perfect partners.
The secondary characters are all good. Some I liked more than other, but there wasn’t one I disliked I even liked Bethesda, but one that really shined was Julius’ brother, Bob the Seer. Bob was just hilarious in his uniqueness and I can’t wait to see more of him.
The story is engaging and moves at a good pace. Rachel Aaron is really good at storytelling and knows how to keep her readers entertained and glued to the pages (or audiobook in my case), that’s for sure. The world building is original and interesting. The post apocalyptic-futuristic feeling of Detroit was almost a character in itself.
Nice Dragons Finish Last was a book I highly enjoyed, I simply couldn't get enough of it. I'm looking forward to next book in the series, One Good Dragon Deserves Another. The release date is set for November, I only hope the audiobook will be release around the same time.
I recommend Nice Dragons Finish Last to urban fantasy fans, especially if you like dragons or if you like your stories fun, cute and light-hearted.
This was my first time listening to a book narrated Vikas Adam and I’m glad to say I was pleasantly surprise, he does an amazing job narrating Nice Dragons Finish Last. Vikas gives life to the story and to the characters. His characterization is really good and he gives unique voices to each one of the characters making it easy to discern who was who when they were talking. One thing I have to mention is that he is really good with the female voices, something many male narrators have trouble with.
I’m looking forward to listen to more books narrated by him.
My Verdict: 4 ½ Stars
Narration Verdict: 4 ½ Stars
Storm Fall is the second book in the Rebel Wing series by Tracy Banghart.
Storm Fall starts two months after the events in Rebel Wing (Shattered Veil). Aris Haan hasn’t been able to forget her months in the military, although it was a short time she left with scars that left her marred inside and out. She is dealing with PTSD and she also trying to find a place along her friends and her family; she’s not the girl she was before and she doesn’t fit with them as she once did.
She is surprised by the visit of Major Vadim who asks her to go back to service, this time as Aris and not Aristos. The service of women in the military is now in the open and they want her to be the public image of women in the military. He also informs her that for her service during the rescue of Ward Vadim she has been promoted to lieutenant.
After some days of consideration Aris returns to the military, but things are harder than what she was expecting. The majority of the men don’t want women serving with them and they want even less a woman commanding them. She not only suffers harassment but also her authority is undermined at every turn. To add to that, she’s dealing with her forbidden feelings for her commander officer, Milek.
After reading Rebel Wing (Shattered Veil) saying I was eagerly awaiting for the release of this book is the understatement of the year. The problem when you want something so much is that your expectations get very high and in most of the cases you have to deal with disappointment. I’m happy to say that was not the case of Storm Fall, Tracy Banghart delivers another winning story.
Aris has come a long way. She is now more mature, stronger, and self-confident. She knows what she wants and she knows her strengths. She also knows what she does reflects in other women and always gives her best. I really liked her, she is one of those heroines you can’t help but like and cheer along the way.
Storm Fall is heavier in the romance department comparing to first book. I’m saying this not as a complaint, because I was actually pretty happy with how things were developed between Aris and Malik.
Now, I have to talk about Malik. I love him! Looooove him! I loved how he accepts Aris the way she is, how he never pushes her and how he believes intrinsically in her strength and her intelligence. There were circumstances in which he could have gone all macho protector on her, but he didn’t because he respects her. I love him more for it.
The seeds of their romance were planted in first book and we see them flourish in this installment. I loved how they took their time to fall into each other’s arms. I loved how they are aware of the complications their relationship will bring them and how they are willing to fight for their love. They are perfect together because they bring out the best of the other.
In this installment we see more of Galena and Pyralis. I enjoyed seeing them together and can’t wait to see what Banghart has in store for them.
One character I wasn’t expecting to see or at least to see that much was Calix, but I’m glad Banghart brought him back into the story. He was a lot better this time around; he was almost likeable.
The plot about the war is further developed. The crisis is at its peak and every little mistake can be disastrous. We learn new things about the enemy, things that bring to the light the atrocities of war. We also learned about some secret plans Ward Balias has been working on and they are scary as hell. The only problem is I have to wait for next book to know more about them.
Storm Fall is a great follow up to fantastic series. No second book syndrome here. It was everything I was expecting it to be and more.
I recommend Storm Fall to YA/NA Sci-fi fans or to anyone who wants to read a well-written book, with a smart story and compelling characters. I also recommend reading Rebel Wingfirst to get a better understanding of what’s going on in the story. Actually, you should read Rebel Wing because it’s an amazing book, it’s one of my favorite reads of this year… and I have read many books…. So what are you waiting for? Go buy it and read it now! And then read Storm Fall… You can thank me later… chocolate is a good way to thank me.
For real people, you need to read this series. I really don’t understand why these books are not better known. The Rebel Wing series is simply made of awesome!
He's No Prince Charming is the first book in the Ever After series by Elle Daniels.
I love takes on fairy tales and He's No Prince Charming is one of the best takes I have read on The Beauty and The Beast. On one side, we have Marcus Bradley, the scarred man known by the Ton as “The Beast” and the epitome of a tortured hero. On the other side, we have Danielle Strafford, an heiress with a secret identity who helps people be with their true love.
Marcus is one of those characters you need to know to understand and after seeing him for what he truly is, you can help but fall in love with him. Saying he had a trouble past is an understatement. For years he was brutally abused by his father, abuse that left him scarred inside and out. As a result he suffers from a serious case of PTSD, a condition that keeps him away from people and finding solace in alcohol. Despite his limitations he does whatever needed to protect his those he loves, especially his sister.
Danielle grew up surrounded by love. Her parents loved her and loved each other deeply; but after the death of her mother her father got lost in bereavement and kind of forgot about her. Instead of wallowing in despair, Danielle decided to dedicate her life to help Ladies of the ton to elope with their forbidden lovers. This led her to meet Marcus, an encounter followed by unfortunate situations that brought them together.
Danielle and Marcus romance is the kind of romance I love to read about. Even though on the beginning there is a small dose of attraction, there is not insta-love. They need to spend time together to know each other to then fall in love. The road they follow to get there is packed with adventures, misfortunes and many laugh out loud moments. Seeing them come to the realization that they have fallen in love was a delicious and an emotional treat, especially in regards to Marcus, a man who doesn’t believe is worthy of love. Luckily for him he found the perfect woman for him, Danielle. *swoon*
He's No Prince Charming is a romantic, cute, fun emotional and all around an amazing debut novel. Elle Daniels’ writing is fluid and engaging. The characters are likeable and well developed and the story has enough drama, action, and funny moments to make of He's No Prince Charming an impossible to put down book. Be ready to have a smile on your face while reading it.
The end is more like a little tasting of what we can expect in next book, Once Upon a Duke. There is no release date yet, but I’m sure will be stalking following Elle Daniels for updates.
I recommend He's No Prince Charming to historical romance fans and to those who like takes on fairy tales.
My Verdict: 4 ½ Stars
Cold Blooded is the second book in the Jessica McClain series by Amanda Carlson.
What can I say? When you expect that a series can’t hold you captive and waiting FOR MONTHS (yep! I am still dealing with the fact that I have to wait a MONTHS to know what’s going to happen… Not cool Mrs. Carlson, not cool), you find this one!
We started this series with Jessica completely out of touch with her real persona, and is nice to see her evolving into a confident Alpha! (Well she runs on hope in some parts, but I guess that is part of being a leader).
In this book Jessica is finally spending time with her mate, and well, what can I say about Rourke. This guy is so freaking awesome, he is a badass and a sweetheart, and definitely the perfect compliment for Jessica. He is such a key piece in her life that for romantics like me will have you saying awwww! more than a good couple of times (important, if you live in a house filled with testosterone like mine, you should find a spot away from the guys, unless you like being look at as if you were having some kind of hormonal crisis… Well you might feel like it at the end of the book. Yes! spoiler alert: it ends on a cliffhanger! That will give you some Anger! Oh, and did I mention you will have
to wait months for the next book?).
Anyway, you still get the characters from past books, and some new ones. I love Danny, he has the kind of sense of humor that I appreciate, and he will not let you down in this book, as well as Jessica’s brother, Tyler, he kind of reminds me of my sister (@BookaholicCat), he tries to trust her, and let her evolve and grow into what she is, but at the same time he will give his life to make sure she is safe and happy.
Jessica’s dad is still awesome. Callum is always taking care of his pack and his family and going the extra mile to protect them.
On the new characters… Well some you will love, others you will hate! For example there is one particular witch that I guess we’ll be hearing about her again, that is the typical … B**, or mean girl if you feel more comfortable calling her “mean”, but I think she could become an interesting character. So on the witches side, there will be interesting things, some which will let you wondering, I am sure that a good couple of characters that are introduced in this book, will take a big part in the future. Oh! And talking about wondering, you will get to know some information on the Vamp’s Queen history… Shocking! There will even be the introduction to some of her family members and origins! You will have a mixture of she is a horrible being and some that you will try to “understand her” (she is still a “mean” one).
And off course as if Jessica didn’t have enough with figuring out the whole truth about her, a new relationship, a pack of wolves that still doesn’t fully accept her, a weird relationship with the witches, and a crazy “mean” vamp queen… Well we now have the underworld coming to fill her agenda!
There isn’t much more I can say without spoiling it for you. Just that be ready to be wanting more.
As I said as soon as I finished this book… Mrs. Carlson was “Cold blooded” to leave us hanging like this. (I wasn’t available to start reading anything for a good couple of days… Book hungover?), but none the less it is worth it.
Review by Juanita.