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Twisted Miracles by AJ Larrieu

Twisted Miracles by AJ LarrieuReleased: April 7, 2014
Format: eARC
Publisher: Carina

Series: The Shadowminds #1

Source: Netgalley

Excerpt: Yes

Cass Weatherfield’s powers come with a deadly price.

Cass knows it was her telekinetic gift that killed a college classmate five years back, even if no one else believes her. She’s lived in hiding from her fellow shadowminds ever since, plagued by guilt and suppressing her abilities with sedatives. Until the night her past walks back into her life in the form of sexy Shane Tanner, the ex-boyfriend who trained her…and the one she left without saying goodbye.

When Shane tells her that his twin sister, Mina–Cass’s childhood friend–is missing, Cass vows to help, which means returning to New Orleans to use her dangerous skills in the search. But finding Mina only leads to darker questions. As Cass and Shane race to learn who is targeting shadowminds, they find themselves drawn to each other, body and soul. Just as their powerful intimacy reignites, events take a terrifying turn, and Cass realizes that to save the people she loves, she must embrace the powers that ruined her life.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I’m sorry to say it but I’m rather ambivalent about TWISTED MIRACLES. There was no insta-love or need to read. I was really intrigued by the cover copy and it has some nice elements but I can’t recommend this book as a Must Read. I’d say it’s more of a try-an-excerpt-and-see-for-yourself kind of book.

The good: It was fun to read a series about “shadowminds”, basically different flavours of psychics. There are some neat powers and the history that is slowly revealed is very interesting. Larrieu has some nice world building going on, and it’s definitely one of the strength of the novel. You get a really authentic sense of Louisiana, probably because Larrieu is a native of the state.

The bad: Cass is a weak protagonist. I’ve got no quibble with characters who are damaged or anything like that (hello, I love Shiloh Walker, who writes some of the most broken people ever) but Cass is weak in the sense that I didn’t feel like she had much personality. It’s like she was so busy trying to dampen her gift that she forgot she was a person. A main character who doesn’t grab me is a kiss of death and it made it hard to get invested in Cass’ journey, especially since she’s surrounded by more interesting people.

I don’t have much more to say because of my ambivalence. TWISTED MIRACLES didn’t make a great impression on me but I hope it will find fans out there somewhere. If you liked it more than I did, I’d love to hear why.

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Marked by Elisabeth Naughton

Marked by Elisabeth Naughton (Eternal Guardians #1)Released: December 8, 2011
Format: e-book
Publisher: Elisabeth Naughton

Series: Eternal Guardians #1

Source: Library

Excerpt: Yes

THERON – Dark haired, duty bound and deceptively deadly. He’s the leader of the Argonauts, an elite group of guardians that defends the immortal realm from threats of the Underworld.

From the moment he walked into the club, Casey knew this guy was different. Men like that just didn’t exist in real life—silky shoulder-length hair, chest impossibly broad, and a predatory manner that just screamed dark and dangerous. He was looking for something. Her.

She was the one. She had the mark. Casey had to die so his kind could live, and it was Theron’s duty to bring her in. But even as a 200-year-old descendent of Hercules, he wasn’t strong enough to resist the pull in her fathomless eyes, to tear himself away from the heat of her body.

As war with the Underworld nears, someone will have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Elisabeth Naughton’s MARKED is  a wonderful piece of escapist literature. I read it on my way back to the UK from Canada, when I was completely exhausted, and the story and the characters had me hooked even when I just wanted to sleep. (Trust me, that’s a big compliment since there’s very little that can keep me awake when I’m sleepy.)

MARKED is the first book in Naughton’s self-published paranormal romance series about Argoleans and their destined mates. Naughton has created some amazing mythology that combines Greek mythological figures with steamy romance and fast-paced action. Argolea is a realm established by Zeus for heroes and their descendants, including the Argonauts, an elite team of warriors who act as guardians for Argolea. Argoleans can travel from their realm to earth and mingle with humans; humans don’t know that Argoleans exist for the most part. Theron is a descendant of Heracles and is the leader of the Argonauts, making him an alpha male of the highest order. He’s all muscles and swagger and violence, until he meets Casey. Unfortunately, the reason he’s interested in Casey isn’t just the physical attraction; he’s also under orders to bring her to Argolea so that she can be used to heal Isadora, the princess of the realm, at the cost of Casey’s life. Naughton does a great job of introducing the series mythology gradually over the course of MARKED and I was very satisfied with what the reader and the characters learn about Argoleans and the daemons they’ve been fighting for centuries. Naughton’s created an interesting world with lots of different threads and themes and I was thoroughly engaged throughout.

The romance is definitely steamy. Casey and Theron spark off each other (though not literally). They have major chemistry and I liked Naughton’s spin on the one-destined-mate trope. She’s done a great job of building it into the series lore without it feeling forced. Sometimes it’s such a heavy-handed plot device but it seems like a very natural element in the Eternal Guardians’ world.

Sadly, the library doesn’t have the next book in the series available so I’ll have to wait for the next time I have an ebook coupon. (Trying to be frugal stinks.) In any case, I think MARKED is a great paranormal read and the start of what should be a very exciting and dramatic series. I’d encourage you to check it out.

Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood

Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood (Ree Reyes #1)Released: July 10, 2012
Format: ebook
Publisher: Pocket Star

Series: Ree Reyes #1

Source: Personal shelf

Excerpt: Yes

Clerks meets Buffy the Vampire the Slayer in this original urban fantasy eBook about Geekomancers—humans that derive supernatural powers from pop culture.

Ree Reyes’s life was easier when all she had to worry about was scraping together tips from her gig as a barista and comicshop slave to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.

When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic “BOOM!” echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole down into her town’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves, and elegant Gothic Lolita witches while wielding nostalgia-powered props.

Ree joins Eastwood (aka Scruffy Guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to recover from her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was really excited to read GEEKOMANCY. I figured it was the perfect book for me: urban fantasy, geek references, a spunky heroine. Sadly, GEEKOMANCY was a letdown for me.

Ree is a nice character. She’s got a lot of spunk and I loved her sense of humour. I also appreciate reading a book with such an unabashedly geeky heroine. She’s a full-on geek, with all of the interests and hobbies you could ask for. She makes a lot of references to comics, movies, games, etc. and Underwood assumes that you, as the reader, are just as geeky as he is because there’s no explanation offered, not even for the more obscure ones. My own geekiness was affirmed when I understood pretty much all of them but I don’t think that it’s necessarily the best way to win over readers who are urban fantasy fans but who don’t have as much interest in, say, comic books. There’s either a great deal of assumption here, or a general lack of accommodation for readers who aren’t as deeply embedded in these aspects of geek culture.

The other characters in GEEKOMANCY aren’t quite as well developed. I really liked Ree’s friends and her boss but we don’t know that much about them beyond surface descriptions. Their feelings aren’t discussed in depth, which is okay since they’re not as important to the plot, but I would have liked to know them a bit better. We do get more page time with Eastwood but that wasn’t great news to me because I really didn’t like him. He’s cocky and self-absorbed and not the kind of mentor I would want introducing me into the crazy world Ree finds herself in.

In terms of plot, I found GEEKOMANCY to be fairly predictable. There are a couple twists that I were interesting but generally the storylines were easy to predict. If you’re looking for a truly original novel, Underwood delivers in terms of the world that he’s created but not in terms of plot.

Generally, GEEKOMANCY was just too over-the-top for me. It’s not a bad idea but I wasn’t engaged by the story and finished more out of a sense of obligation than one of wonder. It’s not how I want my reading to be. But I hope you’ll let me know if you’ve enjoyed the book or know folks who have.

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur LaffertyReleased: May 23, 2013
Format: e-book
Publisher: Orbit

Series: The Shambling Guides #1

Source: Edelweiss

Excerpt: Yes

A travel writer takes a job with a shady publishing company in New York, only to find that she must write a guide to the city – for the undead!

Because of the disaster that was her last job, Zoe is searching for a fresh start as a travel book editor in the tourist-centric New York City. After stumbling across a seemingly perfect position though, Zoe is blocked at every turn because of the one thing she can’t take off her resume — human.

Not to be put off by anything — especially not her blood drinking boss or death goddess coworker — Zoe delves deep into the monster world. But her job turns deadly when the careful balance between human and monsters starts to crumble — with Zoe right in the middle.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

If I had to sum up THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY is two words, I’d have to go with “absolutely delightful”. Mur Lafferty has crafted an original, witty urban fantasy around a profession I once thought about getting into myself: travel writing. It gives THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY a really unique entry into the genre and it got me hooked from the get-go.

Zoe is a great main character. She’s very average in a lot of ways but she excels at travel writing and being stubborn. She keeps applying for the job at Underground Publishing even though many other characters are trying to dissuade her, including the owner. Obviously, from the title, she does persevere and ends up as the only human member on the staff of the publication company; everyone else is coterie, all of the supernatural who inhabit this world. There are your usual vampires, incubi, and zombies but there are also some less common supernaturals, and the introduction of a new group, the zoetists, people who give life (e.g. create golums). Lafferty does a wonderful job of putting her own spin on all of these characters. Her zombies worship celebrities and she has a gay incubus who runs a bakery and gets his fix from people loving his baked goods, not from sex. Zoe’s coworkers aren’t all puppies and hearts, though, and we do see the dark nature of some of the coterie that Zoe meets.

The plot takes all sorts of twists and turns. Someone’s out to get Zoe and things escalate as the novel progresses. What starts off as a simple job search after a heartbreak that lead to a move from North Carolina to New York City develops into a struggle to stay alive, complete with some epic action sequences. The last third of the novel is really exciting; Lafferty definitely knows how to bring things to a thrilling conclusion.

THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY is a joy of a book and one that I would definitely recommend. I look forward to diving into the next book in the series, set in New Orleans.

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Dark Promise by M. L. Guida

Dark Promise by M. L. GuidaReleased: March 5, 2014
Format: eARC
Publisher: Kensington

Series: Yes (title unknown)

Source: Netgalley

Excerpt: Yes

Love can unlock the secret to saving two worlds.

As the Golden Aspen Tree withers, darkness consumes the Dragon Demons of the Underworld, turning them feral. Prince Eric Wyvern must keep his darkness at bay and woo the silver-haired human tainted with angel blood whose touch is prophesied to save the Golden Tree and restore light to the Underworld.

Cassandra Wright, a gifted psychic, has dreamed of Eric her whole life. When her dream lover joins her on a ski vacation, he plunges her into a nightmare. Imprisoned in a dying world filled with abuse and torture, she must become the Demon Prince’s mate or remain trapped forever. If she fails to fulfill the prophecy, the darkness will spread to her world. But how can she give herself to this dark and frightening version of the man of her dreams?

Eric will give Cassandra the world, if only he can make her see past the darkness to the man he really is, and help him save it first.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

DARK PROMISE is a novella that’s supposed to bring the steam and a new take on dragons but it fell quite short for me.

Generally, I liked both Cassandra and Eric. Cassandra is so sweet and innocent and wants so desperately to be normal. It’s easy to relate to her and sympathize with her. Eric is extremely alpha, which made sense in the context of the world he lives in but doesn’t translate terribly well by modern standards. He came of as overly domineering and a bit creepy in the first half of the novella: he’s been sneaking into Cassandra’s mind and giving her super detailed sex dreams for years, he knows all about her, he’s determined to make her his mate to save his people. Really, it’s the first thing that bothers me. It’s such a major invasion and it’s made her feel like she has an issue, since she’s so wrapped up in her dream man that she can’t seem to date other people. He’s kind of messed up her head and she forgives him much more quickly than I would, though this probably has something to do with the fact that this is a paranormal romance novella and time (and word count) is short.

The worldbuilding in DARK PROMISE had some interesting aspects. I appreciate Guida’s attempt to craft a new mythology for dragons but there was a lot going on. First, Dragon Demons, as they are called, are descended from angels and live in a parallel dimension. They can travel between dimensions fairly easily, it seems. That part was different from what we usually see, which I appreciate. It’s great when writers add a creative twist to supernatural creatures we’re all familiar with. However, the idea that the only thing keeping them from going “feral” and turning into evil creatures who revel in torture, domination, and war is a magic tree that’s about to lose all of its leaves — that didn’t work as well for me. I had hoped the idea would make for a good story — after all, I did request the eARC — but DARK PROMISE fell flat for me since most of Cassandra and Eric’s time is spent with them in one of three ways: (1) Cassandra is scared but oddly drawn to Eric, (2) they are doing sexy things, (3) Eric and/or Cassandra experience the horrible ways that the Dragon Demons behave without a strong magic tree. The magic tree seemed like an excuse to have characters be very evil and then, if the tree is saved, suddenly become good again. It seems like an easy out and that’s not how I like my stories to unfold.

Readers who enjoy the alphahole will probably get into DARK PROMISE but there wasn’t enough character development for me, in the protagonists or the rest of the cast. We do get a sense of who Eric and Cassandra are but everyone else seems very stock. I appreciate the review copy of this novella but this is where I part ways with Guida. DARK PROMISE didn’t deliver the sexy paranormal story I was expecting.

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**


Reaper’s Touch by Eleri Stone

Reaper's Touch by Eleri StoneThis week’s post on Team Tynga’s Reviews is about REAPER’S TOUCH, the first book in a historical western dystopian novel from Carina Press. There’s also a giveaway, if that’ll entice you over.

Enchanted Again by Robin D. Owens

Enchanted Again by Robin D. Owens (Mystic Circle #2)Released: December 20, 2011
Format: e-book
Publisher: Luna

Series: Mystic Circle #2

Source: Personal shelf

Excerpt: Yes

Magic has a price—and for Amber Sarga it’s days and years off her life. Each curse she breaks ages her—and the bigger the curse the bigger the cost, and not only to her. That’s why she hides away and has vowed not to get involved again… That’s why she hates looking in a mirror…

And then an ill-fated stranger arrives. Rafe Davail doesn’t believe in curses—not even knowing that in his family every first son dies young. Amber offers guidance but she won’t break the curse. Still, as she grows closer to Rafe and discovers the secrets of their pasts, she wonders if for this time, this man, she should risk it all….

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I reviewed the first Mystic Circle book, ENCHANTED NO MORE, on Tynga’s Reviews last year. I was captivated by the world that Owens created, and the shine hasn’t worn off! I really enjoyed ENCHANTED AGAIN, though not quite as much as ENCHANTED NO MORE, something I attribute entirely to the shift in focus.

In ENCHANTED AGAIN, we’re introduced to Amber Sarga, a human cursebreaker who lives on Mystic Circle. She meets Rafe Devail when Rafe’s friend Conrad comes to her for help with his curse. Unfortunately for Amber, breaking curses has a physical cost and she ages, the number of months/years depending on the strength of the curse she breaks. To help Conrad or Rafe would cost her everything so she’s understandably reluctant to help either of them.

The idea of curses and how they behave isn’t particularly new but Owens executes it well. I love the balance that cursing and cursebreaking require and think it adds a nice element to the Mystic Circle mythology. Plus, the Dark ones are still around and they become involved in Amber and Rafe’s lives, which also draws in Eight Corp and other residents of the Circle. I really liked this aspect of ENCHANTED AGAIN because I love Jenni and Aric and was happy to see them appear on stage again. But ENCHANTED AGAIN is Amber and Rafe’s story and although it’s generally a good story, it didn’t suck me in quite as much as Jenni and Aric’s. There’s still lots of action and the plot is well constructed and executed but there was that little something special lacking for me. I’m pretty sure it’s because Rafe’s very self-involved. He lives his life as he chooses because of the curse that he doesn’t fully believe in, and it’s made him selfish. He slowly grows out of his less desirable behaviours but I didn’t find him terribly charming. I’d be interested to know if there are folks out there who feel the same.

Despite this, I really liked the conclusion of the novel. The resolution is very satisfying because both characters have grown as individuals and as a couple. I still prefer Amber and her squishy self over Rafe but they each show development, which always makes a story meatier and better.

If you haven’t read the first book in the series, I would strongly suggest picking that one up before you try ENCHANTED AGAIN. Owens lays out the groundwork for the series in ENCHANTED NO MORE; you can probably understand everything if you jump right into ENCHANTED AGAIN but you’ll definitely get more out of the story if you have ENCHANTED NO MORE under your belt.

The Pulse by Shoshanna Evers

The Pulse by Shoshanna Evers (The Pulse #1)Released: November 25, 2013
Format: e-book
Publisher: Pocket Star

Series: The Pulse #1

Source: Edelweiss

Excerpt: Yes (scroll down)

Emily Rosen lives in a military camp at Grand Central Station, where women sell their bodies to soldiers for extra rations. When she discovers a dark secret—that America is rebuilding outside of New York City, and everything the city’s refugees have been told is a lie—she escapes, the soldiers hot on her heels…

But Christopher Mason, a convict who broke out of prison after the Pulse, finds Emily first. Although he’s survived this long on the streets by looking out only for himself, Emily is beautiful, alluring, and impossible to leave behind.

Now Emily must convince this intimidating, magnetic stranger to be her guide as they journey out of New York and into the unknown. She’ll barter with her body, but sex with Mason can never be currency—it’s pure passion, and everything she desires. Despite the crumbling world around them, can Emily and Mason discover true love blooming in the darkest of places?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Erotica isn’t my usual thing but I was so intrigued by the premise of THE PULSE that I had to request it on Edelweiss. I love a good dystopian, especially one that looks like it will tackle significant issues, like the despotism and lack of basic humanity that can emerge. And Evers does a good job of creating a very dark and depressing world. New York is run by a power-mad colonel who has built a society in which only soldiers live well, and not that well at that, unless you’re one of the chosen few. Women have been reduced to a commodity and are forced into the sex trade, which is extremely uncomfortable for me as a women, particularly since this already happens in the world. It’s a depressing post-Pulse world and it was just a smidge too real. I was very discomfited by some of the things that happen to the women in this camp, in a way that doesn’t usually happen when I read. I usually empathize but fiction doesn’t usually hit me this way. The behaviour of some of these characters made me quite sick (not literally but it was off-putting enough that I did put the story aside sometimes). To a certain extent, this is a credit to Evers’ ability as a writer, building a world that was truly horrifying, but it also made it really hard for me to like the book, particularly once I got further into it and THE PULSE started to feel like a story about unwanted sex and hardship.

Things for Emma get better once she meets Mason but there was still something very hard about their interactions, particularly at first when Emma feels she needs to perform sexual acts for Mason after he helps her. I’m sure it’s supposed to indicate how far people have sunk in New York but it did contribute to my discomfort.

As with any erotic novel, sex has a very large role in the story. It’s well written and very frequent, to the point that I felt the world and the “main” plot became secondary. I don’t read much erotica because I don’t like it when the sex becomes foregrounded at the expense of the plot. This wasn’t the case in some parts of THE PULSE but there were sections that were just page after page of intercourse, which didn’t help keep my attention, especially when there were these other factors making it challenging to stay invested in the story.

At the end of THE PULSE, I had really mixed feelings. There are some interesting plot threads and characters I came to like but also an overwhelming amount of sexual content, some of it quite heavy. I would only recommend this book to people who are looking for that type of content. THE PULSE is definitely not for everyone, myself included.

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Wicked Misery by Tracey Martin

Wicked Misery by Tracey Martin (Miss Misery #1)Released: October 8, 2013
Format: e-book
Publisher: Samhain

Series: Miss Misery #1

Source: Personal shelf

Excerpt: Yes (scroll down and click on Excerpt tab)

It’s all quasi-legal fun until somebody gets framed for murder.

Miss Misery, Book 1

Jessica Moore thrives on misery. Literally. Thanks to a goblin’s curse, she gets a magical high from humanity’s suffering. A shameful talent like that could bury a girl in guilt, so to atone, she uses her dark power to hunt murderers, rapists and other scumbags—until one of them frames her for his crimes.

In desperation, Jessica seeks refuge with the one person she trusts to not turn her in—a satyr named Lucen. Like every member of his race, Lucen uses his lusty magic to control Boston’s human population, and Jessica isn’t immune to his power. But the murder victims belonged to a rival race, and when they discover Lucen is harboring Jessica, dodging the cops becomes the least of her problems.

With only five days to find the real killer, Jessica faces a danger far more serious than the brewing magical war. The danger of succumbing to Lucen’s molten seduction.

Product Warnings: Contains a heroine with a lust for misery, creepy murders, and creepier goblins, satyrs so hot you’d sell your soul for one, and scaly sewer rats masquerading as dragons. Who said magic was all sparkles and tiaras? 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I went on a mad Samhain publishing spree a few months ago and WICKED MISERY was one of the purchases. I wasn’t entirely certain about it but I though the concept was quite original so I figured I’d give it a shot. Overall, I did enjoy it. Here’s why.

Let’s start with my favourite part: Martin has created a very compelling world. People know about preds like satyrs, sylphs, furies, magi, and goblins, and humans aren’t overly fond of them. In fact, there’s a police force called the Gryphons consisting of humans with magical abilities. Jess, our lovely leading lady, was on track to become a Gryphon but her magic never matured in the expected way, so she was let go. Despite this, her abilities are quite strong, if unusual — she can feed on people’s negative emotions, especially misery. She’s turned it into an unlikely career path, as the Soul Swapper, trading with goblins to give them the souls of bad people in place of good people who made deals they can’t get out of. I’ve seen lots of books with empaths or people who thrive on misery but I think Martin’s created her own unique spin on the ability, which is awesome. I love it when an author can bring something original to the table, especially in genre fiction, which sometimes feels over saturated with sparkly vampires and broody werewolves.

Martin also does a great job with her cast of characters. Jess is a strong protagonist and she’s surrounded by compelling friends and enemies.  Lucen is great. As a satyr, his magic is alluring to Jess but she doesn’t want to be an addict, which is what people hooked on any magics are called in WICKED MISERY. Most preds have addicts, which Jess finds disgusting. I’ll admit, it is a bit off-putting when you see how some folks use their humans but it makes sense in the world that Martin has created and it’s a very practical business arrangement for a lot of the characters. It adds an interesting dimension to the world, as do the pred communities that exist in Martin’s Boston, like Shadowtown.

Plot-wise, WICKED MISERY is also fairly strong. Jess is facing off with an unnamed foe who shares her ability who gets her accused of serial murder. This turns most of the world against her, and I’m definitely a sucker of seemingly unbeatable odds. I also really enjoy stories that have the countdown-to-doom element in them because it adds so much suspense to the story. WICKED MISERY didn’t feel super suspenseful to me in this respect, though, which was a bit disappointing. But Martin has created a well-paced novel with some surprising ups and downs so the loss isn’t too major, and may not be a big deal to other readers.

As I said at the start, I did enjoy WICKED MISERY. It’s my first dance with Martin’s work but I’ll definitely be back for WICKED MISERY’s sequel.

Cold Iron by D. L. McDermott

Cold Iron by D. L. McDermott (Cold Iron #1)Released: February 10, 2014
Format: e-book
Publisher: Pocket Star

Series: Cold Iron #1

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Excerpt: No

The Fae, the Good Neighbors, the Fair Folk, the Aes Sídhe, creatures of preternatural beauty and seduction. Archaeologist Beth Carter doesn’t believe in them. She’s always credited her extraordinary ability to identify ancient Celtic sites to hard work and intuition—until today.

The tomb Beth has just discovered is the most complete Celtic burial she’s ever seen. Filled with ancient treasure, impossibly well-preserved, the burial has everything—except a body. Her ex-husband, the scholar who stifled her career to advance his own, is unconcerned. Corpses don’t fetch much on the antiquities market. Gold does. Beth knows from past experience that if she isn’t vigilant, Frank will make off with the hoard.

So when a man—tall, broad shouldered, and impossibly handsome—turns up in her bedroom claiming to be the tomb’s inhabitant, one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the mythic god-kings of old Ireland, Beth believes it is a ploy cooked up by her ex-husband to scare her away from the excavation.

But Conn is all too real. Ancient, alien, irresistible, the Fae are the stuff of dreams and nightmares, their attentions so addictive their abandoned human lovers wither and die. And this one has fixed his supernatural desire on Beth.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was a bit iffy on the concept when I first read the blurb but I’m always on the lookout for new fae stories so I figured I should give COLD IRON a try. It seemed like a good book to take on vacation. It was okay.

To be honest, I really disliked Conn when he first showed up. He was a bossy tool. And this was something I was worried about before I picked up the book because you can tell he’s going to start off cold from the cover copy. Thankfully, he develops enough personality to have you on side by the end. He’s definitely not a warm or fuzzy character — more of an alphahole — but his developing feelings for Beth put him in touch with his more empathetic side.

I also had some issues with Beth, though not to the same degree. I love the powers she has and how McDermott develops them over the course of COLD IRON but I found Beth to be a bit passive. It’s a product of her history with men, to be sure, but it made it a bit difficult to root for her at first. I was won over by the end, though, as Beth becomes a stronger character through her experiences and realizations.

The overall plot of COLD IRON is pretty satisfying. It starts off with Beth’s quest to find artifacts and grows into something much larger, letting us see a bit of the fae world that McDermott has constructed. McDermott’s fae are very inhuman, which is a nice change from some of the hyper-sexy fae we sometimes see in the genre. He’s still all about the ladies but in a unfeeling way. And now that I’ve typed that I’m back to being less than fond of him… But the plot is still well built and pulls you into an intriguing story that kept me reading even when I wasn’t terribly keen on Beth and Conn.

COLD IRON is the book for you if you like books with strong plots and are willing to put up with a jerky and sometimes chauvinistic male lead and a female lead who takes a lot of time to come into her own. If those attributes don’t appeal to you, I’d suggest picking up a different novel. And if they do, let me know so that I can link to a more positive review. 🙂

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
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