Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward

Dearest Scribe Virgin, THANK YOU.

That’s what I’m thinking as I turn the last page of J.R. Ward’s Blood Kiss, the first book in her new spin-off Black Dagger Legacy series, which follows the young recruits in the Brothers’ new training program. I am a HUGE fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and I was ecstatic when I heard Ward was going back to her roots as a paranormal romance writer – same world, same Brothers but new characters to love and hate.

24903031The legacy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues in a spin-off series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author…

Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.

And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.

I am so grateful that this book preserves the writing style, excitement and badassery that can only be unleashed in the Caldwell setting with the variety of brothers and shellans we all know and love to entertain us. We are introduced (yet again. There is a sneak peak of Paradise in The Shadows) to Paradise, Craeg and Peyton among other new recruits in the Brotherhood’s training program to prepare soldiers for the war against the lessers. Paradise is part of the vampire aristocracy and Craeg is a commoner, making for a forbidden and explosive romance.

Although there is a surprising amount of face-time with the brothers, specifically Butch, this novel focuses on the relationship between Paradise and Craeg as they fight to stay in the program and away from each other. It was refreshing that Paradise and Craeg were “young” adults, which made for a less intense storyline than the brothers but focused on sexual awakening and pushing past societal boundaries. If you’re still looking for intensity, it’s still there with this couple but it’s particularly evident in the furthering of the brothers’ stories throughout the pages.

If you love the BDB, there is no doubt in my mind that you’ll love this new spin-off series. It was everything I hoped for and I can’t wait for the next installment.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: Vicarious

It’s Tuesday!

The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Vicarious by Paula Stokes, which will be released on Tuesday, August 16, 2016.

26114131Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you, for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the neural recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.

I’ve been hankering for some science fiction and this title fits the bill. I love this idea of living “vicariously” for a price and I’m digging the diverse characters. From the synopsis, this book seems like it’ll be action-packed and exciting. I’m also intrigued by the “trafficking” aspect. It’ll be interesting to see Paula Stokes’ take on this.

Talon by Carian Cole

Where has this book been all my life?

Talon by Carian Cole blew me away. I fell in love with this novel. I was fangirling all over the house after I finished it, complete with grinning off into the distance with a sigh. This book gave me butterflies, made me swoon, made me happy, sad and everything in between.

26053772DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL PARTNER:

Caring. Hard-working. A devoted family man, loves kids.
Clean cut, funny, smart, quiet, but a good communicator.

~ Asia Jenson

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL PARTNER:

Independent. Tall, blonde, sexy. Outgoing. Intelligent,
neat. Unslutty. Confident. Loves to travel. Committed.

~ Talon Valentine

A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT.

The concept was scary but exciting…

Marry a total stranger.

Live together for six months.

Journal everything. (Feelings. Fights. All of it.)

After six months, we each get $50K in trade for our journals, whether we stay married or not. But the goal is to commit to the experience and see if the relationship experts could put together the perfect matches.

I have never been lucky in love. This was my chance to find my soulmate.

I couldn’t wait to meet the man the experts felt was perfect for me.

My hopes were immediately dashed when I saw him at the altar.

Shit. I married my worst nightmare.

Right?!

Have you ever seen the TV show Married At First Sight? This book is like that only better because you get to see ALL the behind the scenes action. Plus, it’s about an everyday ordinary girl who ends up marrying a rock star. *sigh*

This book is part of the Ashes and Embers series but it can be read as a standalone. This is the first book I’ve read by Carian Cole and you can bet your ass that I one-clicked every. other. novel. she has ever written. (I loved this book that much.) Cole has this amazing ability to just suck the reader in. With a dual POV, this book gives you a glimpse into both Talon and Asia as they deal with the shock (and disappointment) of marrying a stranger and the delicious, angst-ridden, sweet and sensual ride to falling in love.

This book is hot but it still has substance. The ups and downs this pair goes through during their 6-month experimental trial marriage is believable and oh so sweet. This book is also well-paced, and I loved how the book takes place more than six months but it doesn’t ever feel rushed or slow.

The secondary characters in this novel are awesome. The rest of the band, Asia’s best friend, and most importantly, the cat of internet fame, Princess Pixie, made this novel for me. I wanted to know more! Fortunately, the rest of this series follows each of the guys in the band so it made purchasing the rest of this series a no-brainer.

I love, love, LOVED this book! It was everything I hoped it would be and more. If you like NA romances with hot rock stars and strong female characters, this book is for you.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Lightning Kissed by Lila Felix

Lightning Kissed by Lila Felix is a classic it’s-not-you-it’s-me situation. It had a really promising premise but the story didn’t draw me in.

25750003Colby Evans can leap from one country to the next in a heartbeat. She can see every sunset in every time zone in the same day. She can travel across the world in a flash. She defies gravity and physics with every breath she takes. She’s tested her abilities and found them limitless.

She is the lightning. She is Lucent. And nothing can stop her.

Except him.

Theodore Ramsey isn’t supposed to be able to flash like Colby. The power of travel is passed on from mother to daughter in their people. Except once in every hundred generations.

Theo is the one.

He can flash like Colby. And it makes him a target to their enemies and to himself. His abilities change everything he knows about life and throws his future into an uncertain tangent. In fact, the only thing certain in his life is the love he feels for Colby.

Their love defies time and space and has been the only constant thing in their lives since childhood. But even their infallible love will be stretched to its limits.

She will risk her life to protect him. But he will risk everything to protect them all.

I DNF’d this book at 80%. I didn’t care to read any further. In a world where I have thousands of books competing for my attention, I can’t settle in with a book that only instills lukewarm interest. With that said, I think I didn’t finish this book because of my mood and not necessarily because it wasn’t good.

The idea of being lightning is pretty unique and I enjoyed Colby’s spunky, sarcastic attitude. I even liked Theo as he struggled with coming to terms with his new abilities. I think the problem lied in that I didn’t like Colby and Theo together. She pulled the annoying I’m-leaving-you-because-it’s-dangerous card (I HATE THAT CARD. STOP USING THAT CARD, PEOPLE!) and Theo was this sad puppy dog in love with the girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day. Even though I found their relationship believable and romantic (on Theo’s side specifically, not so much with Colby), I didn’t really connect with them. The characters, primarily Colby, seemed too juvenile even for a Young Adult book, especially when she’s acting out against an authority figure.

Overall, the story didn’t grab me and I found my mind wandering as I was reading. This book just wasn’t for me.

STARS: 1 out of 5

Thanks Clean Teen Publishing for a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry caught my eye because it was a YA story about a motorcycle club. I’ve read McGarry before and I enjoyed her stories. This book shares the same writing style and plot construction as the Pushing the Limits series.

23492282 (1)An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

This book was a sweet romance with a mystery plot. The truth behind Emily’s past is a slowly unraveling thread throughout the book. It was a little too slow for me but there was enough of hot biker Oz to distract me.

This book is tame for a biker book, which is fitting because it’s Young Adult, but it still had a sizzling romance with some hot moments. Oz and Emily were great together. This story had a lot more heart than I anticipated with the grandmother storyline.

My one frustration was the “secret” that everyone was keeping from Emily. When the truth is exposed, it sort of makes sense but I wasn’t completely sold on it. My favorite part of this book was Emily’s struggle with dead people and her personal fears. McGarry captured her fear and anxiety perfectly and it added to the story especially the scene with the body at the wake.

This book was a good read and I enjoyed it. The sneak peak of the next book in the series that will follow fellow biker Razor definitely caught my attention.

STARS: 3 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

It’s Tuesday!

The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, which will be released on Tuesday, August 9, 2016.

23264655The first in an epic new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.

Revenge

Look at that cover. Isn’t it gorgeous!? I didn’t even need to read the synopsis to figure out that I need to read this. Like now! I loved Kristoff’s Stormdancer, even though I haven’t gotten around to reading the rest of the series. I love his writing style and world building. With things like assassins and a Lady of Blessed Murder, I don’t think I can be any more intrigued.