Category Archives: Paranormal Romance

Series Review: Servants of the Fate by Sarah Fine

Marked (Servants of Fate, #1)  Claimed (Servants of Fate, #2)  Fated (Servants of Fate, #3)

Servants of the Fate by Sarah Fine
Marked: 4 of 5 stars
Claimed: 4 of 5 stars
Fated: 5 of 5 stars

Series Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

She laid her cool palms over the backs of his hands. “You’re making this so hard.”

“Good. We’re almost there, then.” He ducked his head until they were nose to nose. “My plan is to make it impossible.”

Servants of the Fate is an adult paranormal/urban fantasy trilogy, with a hefty dose of Greek mythology thrown in. Each book follows a Ferry sibling, a long-living descendant of a family that ferries souls into the afterlife after they die. The setting is post-apocalyptic Boston, and due to environmental disasters, it has been transformed into a dangerous network of canals (think Venice). The world is a fascinating blend of dystopian/urban dangers, the surviving modern technology, and mythological beings – namely ferrymen, Keres, Moros, and the Fates.

Each novel features its own main couple, with their own romance, but the overarching trilogy plot is also compelling, and everything comes together excitingly in Fated.

I really enjoyed this series! It has a blend of both YA and Adult themes that add up to a winning combination for me. As with Fine’s Guards of the Shadowlands trilogy, I was hooked within the first couple of chapters, and I raced through the whole series in less than a week. It helps that I had a great time reading them, and I was always dying to know what would happen next, even without cliffhangers.

Recommendation: Read this if you are a fan of YA urban fantasy with some sexy times thrown in, especially if you’re intrigued by Greek mythology!

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Minute Review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic (The Dowser, #1)
Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge (The Dowser, Book 1)
My Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

I quickly fell into the peaceful rhythm of baking, my hands moving and mixing while my mind and eyes were on the next ingredient. I was a particular fan of icing, sometimes piling it high enough to double the height of the cupcake. My grandmother often dropped in when I was baking–as I still did five out of seven days a week. She said watching me bake was like watching an adept witch work a spell. Flattery will get you treats from me every time.

I don’t think I would have picked this one up if it hadn’t been one of my February book club picks, but I’m glad that I did. While I wouldn’t call it a new favorite, the story was quick, some of the characters were intriguing, and it gave me a MASSIVE craving for cupcakes (which I immediately satisfied by making a batch all for myself). While the story was pretty simplistic, I think more depth comes in the later books.

Recommendation: Read this if you enjoy lighthearted urban fantasy, devil-may-care heroines that are still growing into their boots, or stories in which food wins the award for best supporting character.

The most important recommendation of all: READ THIS WITH CUPCAKES ON HAND!

Minute Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels, Book 1)
My Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

“It’s a reflex. Hear a bell, get food. See an undead, throw a knife. Same thing, really.”

There’s a lot to like about this book: a snarky, kickass heroine, a complex paranormal setting, and a bit of a murder mystery. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into it. I’m not sure what the root cause was, but regardless, I’m tempted to try book 2 and give the series another shot.

Recommendation: Read this if you love a hearty paranormal series with a long-term, slow-burn romance.

Have you read any books from Ilona Andrews or the Kate Daniels series? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

Review: Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)  Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)
Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles, Books 1 & 2)
My Cinder Rating: 3 of 5 stars
My Scarlet Rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.”

Since the whole series is Cinder’s story as much as anyone else’s, I’m having a hard time separating my reviews for these two books. Hence, this spoiler-light paired review.

I’ll admit, it took me AGES to get through Cinder. While the general premise was intriguing, I felt like the story was dragging by at a snail’s pace, and I kept putting it down in favor of other books on my TBR pile. Eventually, the audiobook saved the day, allowing me to finish the series as I worked through chores, like folding laundry or cooking dinner. Not the most exciting way to get through a book, but it worked!

I have very mixed feelings about this series so far, so I’m going to break it down into the good, the meh, and the bad…

The Good: As I said, the premise was really intriguing – enough to bump each book up one star in my rating. I loved the idea of Lunars, glamours, and the futuristic setting. I also liked the idea of a Cinderella cyborg retelling. As a side note, the audiobook reading by Rebecca Soler is also great!

The Meh: Somehow I went into this expecting a steampunk setting, which is probably my favorite fantasy subgenre. The Lunar Chronicles are definitely not steampunk, though, so I’m not sure where that idea came from. While not necessarily a bad thing, I think this unfounded expectation set me up for disappointment. This brings me to another “meh” point: this is really a science fiction retelling. While that’s great for sci fi lovers, I’m not really one of them :-/

Another aspect that left me underwhelmed was the romance, particularly between Cinder and Prince Kai. I’m pretty sure they spent less than a cumulative hour in each other’s presence. I know it’s a Cinderella retelling, but even in the moments they spent together, it felt more like they were building an intriguing friendship together rather than a romance. I like my romance to have a little more spark. The relationship between Scarlet and Wolf was a little more sparky, though, and since all of the characters persist as mains throughout the series, I have hope that this aspect of the story might improve.

The Bad: I wanted so much more world-building and vibrancy! The concept is fascinating but I felt like the world was more of a Lunar glamour than a fully developed fantasy land. I wanted it to be more defined and explored than it was, in both New Beijing and the French countryside.

The one other thing that drove me nuts was the occasional lack of protagonist common sense. Without getting into spoilers, I would just like to say that, presumably, Cinder and Scarlet are smart people, with both intelligence and life skills. There were a few times (in Cinder more than Scarlet) when I wanted to ring their necks in frustration. I HATE when characters are purportedly capable of something, only to fail as a means of creating a plot device.

The Bottom Line: This is an interesting series, and I can see why so many people have fallen in love with it. I just don’t think it’s for me. If I hadn’t already invested time, energy, and money into the books, I probably wouldn’t continue with the series. As it is, though, I will be working my way through Cress and Winter via audiobooks. At the very least, it’s a fine way to pass the time while doing chores, and at best, I’ll get to find out how things work out for some of the characters that I’ve come to enjoy.

Minute Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Book 1)
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

“It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry ‘Monster!’ and looked behind him.”

I absolutely LOVED the world of Daughter of Smoke & Bone. It is steeped in fantasy, occupied by angels and chimera, and traversed by a mysterious art student in Prague with hair that grows blue and a necklace of beads that grant wishes.

Recommendation: Read this if you are looking to be swept away by an immersive story with a unique take on an Angels & Demons. Read this if you dream about exploring Prague.

Seven Days of Midwinter: An Urban Fantasy Giveaway

There’s another book event happening on Facebook! It’s run by the same folks who set up Thirteen Days of Halloween in October.

What is it? It’s a week-long Facebook event open to everyone from now until December 20th. Seven Days of Midwinter is being hosted by a bunch of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance authors, and it’s a great way to find some new favorites! (As far as I can tell, the list includes authors of YA, New Adult, and Adult.) This event is full of fellow readers, authors, and TONS of free stuff.

I’m sorry, did you say free stuff? Yes! There are drawings for all kinds of goodies (books, gift cards, candy, Kindle Fires, etc.) as well as lots and lots of books that are free for everyone for the duration of the event. Each day has a different line-up of author giveaways (the list is posted on top of the main event page). There is also a “Free Book” post with links to each author’s Goodreads and Amazon pages, as well as links for any books they may be featuring.

Happy Book Hunting and Happy Holidays!

Minute Review: Storm Warrior by Dani Harper

Storm Warrior (Grim, #1)
Storm Warrior by Dani Harper (Grim, Book 1)
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

He towered over her, all rugged power and muscle, but she was assessing his usefulness this time, not his appeal. Morgan had a patient waiting, and she was all business now.

“Rhys, I need your help.”

“My sword arm and my shield are yours to command,” he said solemnly.

Uh huh. “Actually, it’s your hands I’m going to need.”

This was a fun, quick read about a rural veterinarian and a Celtic gladiator who was cursed to live eternally as a grim. The paranormal drama (Rhys and Morgan vs. the Tylwyth Teg) added a lot to the story, but the relationship drama (Morgan refusing to believe Rhys’ story and Rhys refusing to show her the abundant evidence) kept this from being a higher rating. That being said, I’d like to pick up book two to give this series another try.

Recommendation: Read this if you fantasize about naked, animal-loving gladiators, or if you’re a lover of giant dogs 🙂