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Cursed by Angela Addams

Cursed by Angela Addams (The Order of the Wolf #1)Released: July 29, 2014
Format: e-book
Publisher: Samhain

Series: The Order of the Wolf #1

Source: NetGalley

Excerpt: Yes (click on Excerpt tab)

Her biggest mistake comes with fangs…and a nose for tracking her down.

The Order of the Wolf, Book 1

Wherever there’s a lying, cheating scumbag who’s broken a woman’s heart, Vengeance Dealer Darcy Wells is there. So what if she isn’t the most skilled witch around? She’s only using one spell, which leaves the hapless male suffering tormenting lust for one woman. Her.

The beautiful part? This curse comes equipped with a blinding agent, allowing her a clean getaway. Unrequited lust, coming right up! As far as Darcy is concerned, it’s justice served. Her next target: Raven Glock, rock band bassist and drop-dead-gorgeous sex god.

When Raven lays eyes on the luscious Darcy, he gives her what he promises all the starry-eyed groupies who toss their panties at him—one unforgettable night in his bed. Sex with Darcy is so epic that he forgets his cardinal rule: to get her out before morning.

At the crack of sunrise, Darcy serves Raven a face full of cursed ash. But something goes horribly wrong…and she finds herself magically tethered to one pissed-off werewolf.

Worse, breaking the spell could cost her everything…maybe even her life.

Warning: Sexually explicit language, tattoos, piercings, and giant…um…feet. Wet panties are a given. Author assumes no responsibility for spontaneous ravishment of significant others, pool boys, or local pizza delivery personnel.

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CURSED is an interesting read. It starts off as a witch vs. werewolf story but it evolves into something more, which I wasn’t expecting. Reading the cover copy you expect a fairly typical paranormal romance but Addams used CURSED to set the stage for The Order of the Wolf series, which has a mythology beyond a witch vs. werewolf showdown. I won’t say anything else since this is a relatively new release but I will say that it was a pleasant surprise. It meant that I had to pick up the second book in the series (review coming soon). But I’m here today to talk about CURSED so I’m going to get back to it.

The other neat thing about CURSED — besides the groundwork it lays — is the blending of the rockstar genre with the supernatural. Rock star romances seem to be on the rise — even Nalini Singh is putting one out soon — and I do enjoy a good contemporary romance but this is the first time I’ve read a PNR that blends the two together. I’m pretty sure there are other series out there that have a similar vein but I haven’t read them so CURSED felt rather unique in this respect. Because it’s a novella, we don’t see much of the band’s rockstar life but we do get a pretty clear understanding of how Raven enjoys his fame and fortune: groupies. This means, of course, that sex is a major factor in the novella so you probably shouldn’t pick this one up if you’re faint of heart. It’s not the most explicit thing out there but there’s no fade-to-black either, so be forewarned!

There are some downsides to CURSED, the foremost being the flatness of the characters. I really didn’t like Darcy or Raven that much. They’re not interesting individuals but I got past that because I liked the pace of the novella, the mythology that gets built, and the question of how to break the curse.

If you’re looking for a character driven story, this probably won’t work for you but, if you don’t mind a little lack of character development, you could enjoy CURSED. It’s a quick and easy read and there’s definitely something to be said for that. CURSED is a mixed bag in my opinion so you should check out the excerpt linked above and see if it’s for you.

**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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Witch Interrupted by Jody Wallace

Witch Interrupted by Jody WallaceReleased: February 24, 2014
Format: eARC
Publisher: Carina Press

Series: Shifter World #2

Source: Netgalley

Two decades ago, assassin Katherine Zhang faked her death to escape the Keepers, a secret council of witches who use magic to kill those who pose a threat to their kind. Once a powerful Keeper, she lives a solitary-but peaceful-life as a tattoo artist. Until a strange, handsome lone wolf named Marcus Delgado walks into her shop.

Marcus has his own reasons to hate the Keepers. A scientist who sacrificed himself to test the fragile boundaries between witch and wolf, he believes there’s a way to harness the combustible power between the two species. If he succeeds, he’ll be protected from the Keepers, but he needs a willing partner-and the delicious Katie just might be the perfect test subject.

Katie knows working with a wolf, an adversary she’s undeniably attracted to, is a dangerous proposition…no matter how tempting she finds Marcus’s proposal. But when a common enemy from their past threatens them both, working together might be the only option.

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You may recall that I liked the first novel Jody Wallace set in this world, PACK & COVEN, well enough. Now, she’s come back to the same setting, but about five years later, with some familiar faces but mostly some new ones. The main characters this time around are Katie and Marcus. Katie is a very special witch with convex magic, a type of magic that lets most spells rebound off of her. Convex witches are typically shunned by regular witches and are forced into service as Keepers, the witches who patrol the supernatural population. Katie hated being a Keeper and was forced to fake her own death a couple years ago. Marcus is also on the run from the council but for different reasons. He used to be a witch but he had sex with a wolf and now he’s a wolf himself, without access to his witch powers. But Marcus is also a scientist who’s trying to figure out how to be both a witch and a wolf, so that witches no longer need to condemn and shun the transformed. He needs Katie’s help to continue with his experiments, though her cooperation is given under duress.

I liked both Marcus and Katie but I had the same issues with WITCH INTERRUPTED that I did with PACK & COVEN. The worldbuilding is really interesting and I quite liked how Wallace crafted the overall plot but I wasn’t super engaged with Marcus and Katie’s romance. I think it was partially because Katie was basically a honeypot when she was a Keeper, someone whose lust for wolves generally was quite strong. She’s basically a slave to her sexual urges when it comes to wolves and it made their romantic journey a bit less emotional and resonant for me. Katie and Marcus have major chemistry but the feelings seem to be less powerful.

We do also have some references to June and Harry and the events in PACK & COVEN and how their romance has changed the supernatural landscape. It’s a slow change but a development nonetheless and I did enjoy finding out that they were still together and very much in love five years later. One of my favourite aspects of series is that we get glimpses of previous pairs and it was great to revisit their story.

I think this is the last Jody Wallace novel I will read. I appreciate her creativity and her take on the supernatural but the romantic elements of her books don’t work for me quite as well. I can see her books appealing to others but it’s time for me to part ways.

**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 Lies by Karina Cooper

Wicked Lies by Karina Cooper (Dark Mission #4.5)This week, I’m talking about Wicked Lies by Karina Cooper, an e-novella in her Dark Mission series. I got my hands on an eARC of this novella and you can see what I thought of it by clicking here.

Death’s Hand by S. M. Reine

Death's Hand by S.M. ReineReleased: December 19, 2012 (2nd edition)
Format: e-book
Publisher: Red Iris Books

Series: The Descent #1

Source: Personal shelf

Elise Kavanagh doesn’t want to hunt demons anymore. It’s been five years since she killed her last enemy, and life has been quiet since then. She went to college. Got a job, and then lost it. Made a friend or two. Lived a normal life. Now her former partner, a powerful witch named James Faulkner, wants Elise to fight one more time. The daughter of a coven member has been possessed, and Elise is the only exorcist nearby.

Becoming a hero again would mean risking discovery by old enemies. But digging into the case reveals that it might already be too late–bodies are disappearing, demons slither through the night, and the cogs of apocalypse are beginning to turn once more. Some enemies aren’t willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead…

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I bought the first three books in this series on a whim because the bundle was $0.99 on Amazon.com. It sounded like an intriguing premise so I thought I’d give it a shot, though I have heard mixed things about it. I figured it was worth a shot at $0.33 per book. 🙂

I’ve come out of Death’s Hand with mixed feelings. I liked the kopis and apsis idea (Greek for sword and shield) — a team of a demon hunter and witch who fight pretty much everything evil. It’s a really neat idea and I wish it had been better explained in the novel. The kopis and apsis are linked in magical ways but we don’t get a lot of explanation about how they are paired together or how these relationships work for people other than Elise and James. It’s something I definitely hope to see explained in greater depth in subsequent novels because I think it’s a very unique aspect of S. M. Reine’s worldbuilding for this series.

I wasn’t as fond of the time jumping that happened between chapters. The book jumps between three main time periods across a decade: (1) when James (the apsis) first meets Elise (the kopis), (2) when Elise and James fight the death goddess, and (3) present day, which is 2009. They happen a lot and it was a bit too much jumping for me. I wouldn’t have minded as much if we could have lived in each period for a bit longer, though I do understand how this is a useful storytelling device since it allows the author to really trickle the information out without having to write long passages of exposition. That being said, I really  enjoyed the content of each of the three time periods and was always ready to learn more about each of these moments in their lives.

And it’s because of this time jumping that we see just how horrible it was on Elise and James’ last mission, when they averted an apocalypse. It helps put their retirement into perspective and also shows how brave it is for them to return to the field, particularly in Elise’s case since she really suffered for that mission.

Another thing I really liked about this book is the lack of romance between Elise and James. I’m sure part of that is because James found Elise when she was still a young girl but I’m happy they didn’t blur the lines, despite feelings that may have popped up every once in a while. It makes Elise and James’ relationship more complicated on some levels but simpler on others, which makes for great reading. It also allows them to  have other romantic interests, something that James is a bit better at than Elise.

Since I bought the bundle, I’l definitely be giving the rest of the books a shot. At $0.33 a story, it’s a good deal but, at the same time, Death’s Hand isn’t the best urban fantasy I’ve read lately. But it’s a solid start to a series and I’m curious to see where things go from here.

The Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy

The Cat's  Meow by Stacey KennedyThis week, Tynga and I switched review days so I didn’t have a post until today. I’m talking about The Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy, a paranormal romance featuring witches, demons, and more! Click here t0 see my thoughts.

The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells

JayeWells-TheMageInBlackReleased: April 1, 2010
Format: Mass market paperback
Publisher: Orbit

Series: Sabina Kane #2

Source: Personal shelf

The sequel to Red-Headed Stepchild from USA Today Bestselling author Jaye Wells…

Sabina Kane doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to family. After all, her own grandmother, the leader of the vampire race, just tried to kill her. When she arrives in New York to meet the mage side of her family, the reunion takes the fun out of dysfunctional.

On top of that, the Hekate Council wants to use her as a pawn in the brewing war against the vampires. Her mission will take her into the bowels of New York’s Black Light district, entangles her in mage politics, and challenges her beliefs about the race she was raised to distrust. And Sabina thought vampires were bloodthirsty.

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Wow does it feel good to be writing a proper post here again! This post is going to be a bit brief since I’m in something of a time crunch but I wanted to get something posted on the blog so here we go.

*shakes off the rust*

I really enjoyed my first Jaye Wells experience — when I picked up Red-Headed Stepchild last year. In fact I enjoyed it so much so that I decided to use it as my October Daring You To Read… post on Tynga’s Reviews. It’s been a while since I read that book so I figured it was a good time to get back into Sabina Kane’s world.

In The Mage in Black, Sabina’s adrift. She cut her ties with her grandmother and the rest of vampire society and has decided to throw in with the mages, if only because she doesn’t have any other options. She meets the sister she never knew she had and is initiated into mage society, a bumpy journey that I thoroughly enjoyed. The Mage in Black has all of the smarts and wit of Red-Headed Stepchild and it really opens up Sabina’s world. I thought it was a great sequel to the first book, giving Sabina different challenges and new obstacles. It was really fun to see her explore her mage side since we got a lot of information about her life as a vampire in Red-Headed Stepchild but learned very little about mage society. It’s a great way to reveal a different side of the series’ mythology and it’s made me really excited to keep reading Sabina’s adventures.

Pack and Coven by Jody Wallace

Jody Wallace Pack and CovenReleased: February 20, 2012
Format: e-book
Publisher: Carina

Series: n/a

Source:  Review copy from publisher

Harry Smith is a lone wolf, and he likes it that way. When he’s targeted to be co-alpha of the local pack, there is only one thing he can do to maintain his freedom: flee. But it’ll take a miracle to stay a step ahead of shifters in their own territory.

June Travis has been in love with Harry for years, but he doesn’t know her real identity. He sees her as the sweet owner of the local tearoom, the facade June presents to humans and werewolves to keep them from finding out she’s a witch. She may not be able to offer Harry a miracle, but she can help him escape.

Harry is drawn to this new side of June, and not just because he’s grateful for her help. With her magic temporarily hiding Harry from his pursuers, the witch and the wolf explore their mutual attraction. But there are consequences for witches who bed down with wolves…

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Pack and Coven is a sweet paranormal romance with a bit of a (non-sexy) thrill. I liked (but didn’t love) both of the lead characters: Harry is an adorable loner and June is a rather prim witch who’s been in love with Harry for quite some time, even though he only knows her as Sadie, the sweet older woman who owns the local tearoom. She’s forced to reveal her true self and the fact that she’s a witch when the female Alpha of the local werewolf pack, Bianca, tries to force Henry into becoming her new male Alpha. Henry has absolutely no interest in participating in the pack, let alone becoming one of its leaders, but he can’t escape thanks to a lockdown. June and Henry are thrown together as she tries to help him avoid Bianca and some werewolves from his old pack, who have come down to try to claim the position Bianca wants to give to Henry.

There’s some great world building in Pack and Coven. The differences between werewolves and witches are quite interesting and I really liked that witches knew about werewolves but not vice versa. Jody Wallace did a great job of putting her own spin on existing supernaturals. In fact, I think the world is my favourite part of the novel.

That being said, I wasn’t hooked by Henry and June’s story. I enjoyed reading it but I wasn’t desperate to find out how it would end. Pack and Coven is a solid paranormal romance but it’s not on my must-read list.

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