Novel Review: A Mate to Cherish by Laylah Roberts, Eliza Lee

It’s the last day of Spring Break for me, which means my time for reading is whittling down. One thing for sure, I’m glad I managed to squeeze A Mate to Cherish into the mix. Before I get into my review, how about a blurb?

A Mate to Cherish CoverThey are fallen from grace. A race once worshipped that had grown arrogant and greedy. Now they are few and spend their lives hunting the guilty and bringing them to justice.
A sexy dream. Two hot, sensual lovers. More pleasure than she’s ever felt before. What more could a girl want?

Um, maybe for it to be real. Lauren has hit rock bottom. After fleeing Earth, she ends up penniless and homeless. Before she can even begin her new job, she’s arrested for prostitution and thrown in jail.
Could things get any worse?

Well, yes, actually. They could.

Try getting horribly ill, ending up on the auction block, and being sold to two gorgeous, domineering, stubborn men who intend to return her to the very place she fled.

Malik knows the female in their dreams is their mate. He wants her, craves her, but he can’t bond with her without Tarin, and convincing Tarin she’s theirs will be an almost impossible task.

Tarin is always in control. Always in command. But when the hunt leads them to Lauren, he finds that very control tested. She intrigues and annoys him. Brings him both joy and terror.

But most importantly, she makes him feel.

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The Stars of the Show

I think today, I’m going to start with the characters. First, Laylah Roberts identified pretty much every one of the good guys from the onset of the book. It was interesting to have all the characters briefly introduced at once. I didn’t remember most of them, since only a few had any significant part in the book. However, I liked the idea of having finite characters. It gives me the impression we’ll receive at least 4 more books, where the other packmates find their bonded ones.

Lauren was a our heroine. She had a bit of a false bravado, yet she was also courageous. Truly, I think she only survived because she was the main character. If not for being the heroine and with the folks she got into trouble with, her mouth would have surely gotten her killed if she were a side character.

Malik, our second. If you’re familiar with the characters on the Orville, he kind of reminds me of Bortus’ mate Klyden. He’s more of a peacemaker/caretaker, but not at all feminine. He’s 100% male, through and through. I rather liked him. There was something about his tentativeness that I found rather charming.

Finally, there’s Tarin, the first. He’s supposed to be the protector. However, I don’t see him more protective than Malik. I’d say he’s more of a leader than anything… and a provider. At times, his boldness surprised me. I found him very demanding. I tend to dig in my feet when I feel like someone’s controlling me, so I’m not quite sure how I feel about him. He definitely wasn’t a kick to the curb type of guy, and I certainly saw his appeal. Just not sure I’d mesh well with him.

Most romances I read have one heroine and one hero. This one had two heroes, which worked well. I’d say when it comes to multiple sex partners, two guys is more than enough. The author wrote the roles so none of the characters ever seemed excluded. I always hate when there’s not enough people to go around and one of the characters gets forgotten, left out, playing the voyeur or something odd. One gal and two guys sounds just right. Pulled directly from the book, Roberts described their of this species as:

There were always three. A first who guided and protected, a second who calmed and cared for them all, and a female. An elika. The female was always the center, always the most important, the most cherished.

I love that! I could see this in the way the males acted toward their female. And it wasn’t weird. I’ve read a lot of novels where the female is never let out of the male’s sight once they’ve been claimed. This wasn’t at all the case. They had a bond, but it was reasonable… kind of the way one would expect a normal male to act. Plus, they had great chemistry.

The Storyline

This novel started hot and heavy. From page one… no… the first line, the heroine was getting hot and heavy. It gave me a pretty good feeling that tis book was made for me. I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

The stakes were high and believable. At first, I couldn’t understand why her bounty was worth so much labor. As the story progressed, it all became clear and added believability to the story. I liked that the main characters had something significant to lose (their life, each other, their livelihood).

The style of writing was different than I’m used to. It had a bit of a cheese factor. In fact, it was so cheesy at times, I had my doubts. Slowly, I got a feel for it. It was kind of cheesy in the way Guardians of the Galaxy is or The Orville… quirky in an enjoyable way.

I would say there was only one time toward the end, when Tarin cooked up a hair-brained scheme that was the stupidest and most suicidal idea ever, that I had an are you kidding me? moment.

Other than that one hiccup when the pack let Tarin think for them, I thought the book was well laid out. I got the impression Laylah Roberts knew exactly where she was planning to take the story because everything wrapped up extremely neatly in the end. I was highly satisfied with the conclusion. I’d definitely read another of her paranormal romance stories. I give this one a 4.5/5.

Favorite Lines

  • “Asswipe?” the same voice asked. “I do not wish to wipe your ass.”
  • “That would’ve been a bad investment if we had,” Alam told her. “So far you have taken a lot of care and attention.”
  • So this is her pleasure spot? It was on the outside. Unusual.
  • “Sanitary? Honey, you have been having sex incorrectly if you think it is supposed to be sanitary.”

*I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Novel Review: Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole

After reading 3 books in the last 4 day, I’m trying to convince myself to pace myself… to slow down. Then again, I won’t have as much time next week as I do this week, since I’m in a spring break session. 🙂 It’s been almost a full 24 hours sense reading Wicked Abyss. I’ve set reading aside a bit so I can catch up on homework. I’m enrolled in a different college in a different state than I’m teaching. Spring break for college was last week. Spring break for teaching is this week. Go figure. 🙂 I never really got a full break, but having a lighter load definitely has relaxed me. So, about this Wicked Abyss. Again, I didn’t take notes. I didn’t think to do reviews until after I finished this book. Next time around though… for sure. The blurb first.

Wicked Abyss coverThe terrifying king of hell…

As a boy, Abyssian “Sian” Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has transformed him into a demonic monster–just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian captures the delicate but bold female, forcing her back to hell.

Meets his match.

Princess Calliope “Lila” Barbot’s people have hated and feared Abyssian and his alliance of monsters for eons. When the beastly demon imprisons her in his mystical castle, vowing revenge for betrayals she can’t remember, Lila makes her own vow: to bring down the wicked beast for good.

Can two adversaries share one happily-ever-after?

As Calliope turns hell inside out, the all-powerful Sian finds himself defenseless against his feelings for her. In turn, Lila reluctantly responds to the beast’s cleverness and gruff vulnerability. But when truths from a far distant past are revealed, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit, a curse, and a looming supernatural war?

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Lila, our heroine was a spunky one. She definitely had spice to her, and I loved it. She could not be cowed. Kresley Cole tends to write such strong lead female characters. I think that’s why I love her books so much… well, that and the men are big teddy bears to their mates, while being hardcore kickass and sexy as hell.. I love that too. Lila fit right in with the other female characters. In fact, I’d say she was more daring then some of the others… and smart. Brains and beauty. I love it. Unlike some of the other female characters, she couldn’t fight (physically) at all. Or at least, I don’t recall her even trying. She used her strengths (knowledge and intelligence) to her advantage.

Our demon boy, Sian was like a lot of Kresley Cole’s other men…. a bit broken in side. Not so much broken, but his self-esteem had been destroyed. However, he was all-powerful in his dominion. Interestingly, he seemed to cater a lot more easily than most of Kresley’s other male leads. He was the biggest pushover ever when it came to Lila, even when it didn’t seem like that to Lila. I’m torn… I’m not sure how well I liked him overall. He wasn’t awful. Rather, he just didn’t stand out as Kapow! in my mind.

The storyline was okay. When I think about it, there didn’t seem to be a lot at stake. This book seemed to build on the Morior… introducing characters and really giving a chance to know the other side. I like getting to know the Morior. However, I think it would be nice to push the story toward the Ascension also. This series has REALLY stalled. Ever since the characters ended up on Torture Island, I don’t feel like this series has really gone anywhere. Love the stories, but I’m eager to see some action that’ll rock the boat.

I’ll give this one a 4 also. The chemistry between the two was great and I’m still in the reading mood. Oh… I feel so me… the way I should be.

The next story in line is Shadows Seduction. However, I’m thinking I might skip it. It’s a M/M romance. I read the sample, and it doesn’t really pique my interest. I’ve read a few M/M romances and they can be hot. I’m not in the mood for now. Maybe another time. It looks like Kresley Cole has been releasing books in the Immortals After Dark series every year about this time. Hopefully she’ll have her next release soon. Fingers crossed!

Novel Review: Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole

Right after Dark Skye, I couldn’t stop myself from downloading Kresley Cole’s next book and begin reading. Again, I devoured it within 24 hours. I feel like my old, pre-2013, book-obsessed self again. Before I get to my review, which I hadn’t planned on doing before today, how about a blurb:

Sweet Ruin CoverA foundling raised in a world of humans
Growing up, Josephine didn’t know who or what she was—just that she was an outcast with strange powers. Protecting her baby brother became her entire life. The day he was taken away began Jo’s transition from would-be superhero…to enchanting villain.

A lethally sensual enforcer on a mission
Archer Rune the Baneblood never fails to eliminate his target. In his sights: the oldest living Valkyrie. Yet before he strikes, a vampiric creature pierces him with aching pleasure, stealing his forbidden blood—and jeopardizing his brethren’s secrets.

A boundless passion that will lead to sweet ruin…
Could this exquisite female be a spy sent by the very Valkyrie he hunts? When Jo betrays the identity of the one man she will die to protect, she and Rune become locked in a treacherous battle of wills that pits ultimate loyalty against unbridled lust.

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Reading this book made me feel like I could write again. I started to understand why I hated my Advanced Creative Writing course so much. The book I was writing was boring… dull… there was nothing at stake. Now Sweet Ruin, it had things at stake. It made me want to rewrite my entire novel and start over for my writing class. Enough about me, let’s talk about Sweet Ruin.

Josephine, my gal was new to the Lore. Didn’t even know what she was, in fact. However, she was magnificent when it came to powers. I loved that she knew herself and was unapologetic about it. If you’re looking for a strong female lead, she’s it. She was so rough around the edges, she could cut you with a light brush.

My hero Rune was equally captivated. I’m starting to see a pattern with Kresley Cole male characters. The females seem to be stronger (mentally) than the males. I rather like it. It makes the males quite charming and vulnerable. They’re still incredibly masculine and macho, but vulnerably charming in a way that they need their egos stoked.

Sex between our stars was pretty hot, or rather the foreplay (you know how Kresley Cole is with making her characters wait). Josephine and Rune had major chemistry… explosively orgasmic. I really liked those two together.

The Storyline… I’m beginning to think Ms. Cole will never move the series forward. Though the characters and story were interesting, it did little to progress the Ascension forward. However, it did introduce some key players. Rather than the fight being between the Vertes and the other guys (the Horde? maybe), I see now it’s a much bigger fight. I’m beginning to think it’s between Nix and her Gaia (Earth folks) and The Morior (lead by Orion).

What I like about Nix and Orion is that they seem like worthy adversaries. A while back, I was big into the Blackdagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. However, the villains were all idiots and had no chance. Likewise, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters series puttered out for me also, once Ascheron became all powerful. Even though Kresley Cole seems to be in a rut in terms of moving the series toward the big finale, she’s managed to keep it entertaining by keeping her characters pitted against worthy adversaries.

My rating for this book is more on the 4/5 side.

Novel Review: Gamers by Thomas K. Carpenter

Let’s be honest here. When it comes to books, I’m not always eager for review requests. You’ve probably noticed my reviews have been rather scarce these days. Doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading books though. I’ve just been quietly enjoying my reads. So when Thomas K. Carpenter asked me if I wanted to read Gamers, I was more than a little wishy-washy in my response.

I tell you, Mr. Carpenter hit me up at the right time though. I was at the tail end of my current read and wasn’t in the mood for searching for another book. So up next? Gamers. Before the review, how about the blurb?

Two points for brushing your teeth. Ten points for keeping your room tidy. Seventy-two points for the Bioeconomic Game Design pop quiz on the ride to school in your personal FunCar. Another thirty for making every hurdle in gym class. 

Life is a game, unless you’re not the one winning.

Gabby DeCorte, top student and reality-hacker extraordinaire, has been doing whatever it takes to keep her best friend, Zaela, from falling behind in LifeGame. Zaela has gifts of artistry that amaze Gabby, but none of those skills translate in LifeGame and with final exams coming up, they can’t afford to waste a single minute. But when a mysterious group called the Frags contacts Gabby claiming to know what really happens to the losers of LifeGame, she must choose between winning and what she believes in.

Available at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || The Book Depository || Kobo || iTunes || Smashwords

First off, I want to say I’m so thankful Mr. Carpenter didn’t say, “Screw you” and not reply after my not-so-enthusantic response to his review request. Because this was definitely a book I’m glad I had an opportunity to read.

So… The style: Mr. Carpenter can be my Game Master any day. 🙂 The novel mixed the futuristic world with the gaming world. Basically, Gabby’s life was a game of racking up points in order to reach the next level. Talk about your rat race.

It totally took me back to my EverQuest addicted days. The game talk, the leveling, the never-ending pursuit to acquire more, whether it be points, gear, etc… I was there. But it was a bit more, especially in the final raid. It took online roleplaying and a paper DnD twist to it. I couldn’t help but think about:

Let’s move on, shall we?

The plot: The story was well-paced. Once I got into it, I had a hard time putting it down, even going so far as taking it to the bathroom with me. Is that TMI? One thing I will say is Gamers seemed more like the beginning of something big. The major players were introduced but it didn’t have a sense of finality to it. It was more as if it set me up for the end of one adventure while opening the door for a whole new adventure. I haven’t read the full trilogy yet, but I definitely would say Gamers isn’t the book to stop on.

Okay… I really want to ruin this book for you with sentences that start with “like this one time…” But I know you’ll hate me for it. So… let’s talk about…

Characters: The novel was told from Gabby’s POV. She started out very much a part of the system, very focused on the end game, which in her case happened to be getting into the grand university. She reminded me a lot of the AP straight-A students I’d encountered while working in the high school. She knew what she wanted, how to do get it, and didn’t slack in reaching her goals. Yet she never acted like she was better than everyone else. She was just a regular kid (except for being a super genius) with typical problems…. well typical until the poo hit the fan. I liked her.

The other characters were rather fleeting. They didn’t take up much of my time, but each played important roles which pushed the plot forward or gave insight to an aspect of Gabby’s character of the total story. 🙂 To be honest, if you quizzed me, I wouldn’t remember a single name. That doesn’t say a lot though. I’m horrible with names and even had to read the blurb to remember Gabby’s. Still, I love the cohesiveness the characters brought to the entire story. Each was rememberable (not so much the names for me but the personalities definitely). I’ve snapped a photograph of each of them in my mind’s eye.

Final thoughts: Gamers had a few loose ends which gave the first book a cliffhanger feel to it. You all know how much I hate cliffhangers. Yet at the same time, I was satisfied with the ending, especially knowing the next two books are already available.

My score? 4.5 – 5 out of 5 stars. HIGHLY recommended for RPG-ers. Until next time, I leave you with our infamous friend Leeroy.

Anyone else in the mood for chicken?