Fallen Empire
Empire of Dragons Chronicles, #1
K.N. Lee
Captive Quill Press, Nov 2017
Kindle, 156 Pages
Only available in Digital format
Genre(s) YA Fantasy
Source purchased at current price


Other series by this author
The Dragon Born Saga, The Chronicles of Koa, Fallen Gods series, The Eura Chronicles, 
  
My Disclaimer:
I purchased a copy of this book at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about...
Father Marduk is impatiently pacing and Brother Dagan is falling over his words trying to get them out fast enough..."the Stones of Tarth... mage between two red rivers... and the Holy Cleric... a true descendant of the Erani clan... Skal..."

Amalia must run after Thomas is killed by the firedrakes. The whole village is overrun and there's no help for it. She runs until the water where she hopes she won't attract the mermaids. But the mermaids are already grabbing at her ankles. She uses her power and they scatter from her. As she climbs onto dry land she's met by Aros who offers help and swears secrecy about her power. He's a wolf and supposed to be her enemy, but he hasn't had his first turning, yet. His pack takes her in and she is safe for awhile.

Amalia meets Eris, God of Lost Souls and tells her not to trust Aros. Eris says that some day Aros will forget his promise and tell her secret. Aros meets someone, too.

Kylan is a wolf, but he is more than just a wolf. He is the son of the Alpha of his pack and the next big hunt is his to lead. This will be the hunt to reclaim the pack's homelands, Kjos. Kylan meets Enit, Goddess of Fate, who gives him the Kiss of Enit Arue to awaken his rune spirit because he's strong, loyal, and brave. Enit wants Kylan to go find Amalia.

What happens to Aros, Amalia, and Kylan when fate takes a hand?

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is absolutely gorgeous and what drew me to the book initially. However, as beautiful as it is, it's wrong. Amalia is on the run and is dressed in clothes that have seen better days, practically rags. So, as lovely as she looks here in her armor, it's all wrong. And that's a half a star!


The storyline is really great! I loved it. Any story that gets me yelling at a character and telling another one to run or not to trust someone, that's a good story. It means I'm really involved. Ms. Lee got me involved with Amalia.


The characters were done very well, too. We learn about Amalia from the beginning as it is her story being told. Then we learn about Aros when we meet him. Kylan is introduced very well, too. The only characters we really don't know that much about are Eris, God of Lost Souls and Enit, Goddess of Fate. We do know they're sneaky and working to plan.


The pace is good. You move right along. It's not a flat out race, but it's nice and brisk.


The tension is not always so hot. At times it sort of drops you and you feel like you lose your way a bit. Tension should have been higher at the end, but it sort of just stopped, because this is a cliff-hanger.


And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...


The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰

The cover really is gorgeous. It's too bad it doesn't relate more closely to the story. If Amalia were dressed properly for the story this would be outstanding. The dragon is done so well. I love the way the colors make them blend together and create an almost transparent area.

Apparently Amalia doesn't know too much about her magic. Her parents seem to have downplayed it as a birthmark on her hands and not ever trained her how to use it other than how to hide it. She still isn't that great at hiding it, since it keeps slipping out. But then she uses it to scare away the mermaids, so she knows at least how to do something with it. Something she learned by experimenting on her own most likely. There is no mention (yet) of any sort of training. Maybe Kylan can help her with it. That is if he wakes up to the seriousness of their situation now that his father is dead and they are caged.

Kylan's airheadedness really surprised me since Enit chose him because of his strength, loyalty, and bravery. I just didn't expect that sort of behavior from him. I thought he would be more levelheaded. I really hope he is up to the tasks ahead of him. Since he's fated to be with Amalia, that should mean that the two of them are up to whatever task is ahead of them. I'm assuming it's Father Marduk and his firedrakes that are the task. They seem to be the ones stomping around killing people at will. I don't know if I'll be reading the rest of the series. Right now I have books scheduled to read all the way into February. So, we'll see. I'm trying to get away from YA and stay with more adult lit.

Recommended

922 wc
Evander
Immortal Highlander, #3
Hazel Hunter
Allure Press, Nov 2017
Kindle, 370 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) Fantasy Romance, Time-travel Romance
Source Author


Other books in this series
Lachlan, Tharaen, Tormod (Dec)


My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about...
Rachel Ingram's parents have recently died in an electrical fire in their home. David, Rachel's fiance, has encouraged her to move up their wedding. After putting her legal affairs in David's father's hands, Rachel and David drive off to a justice of the peace and then to a seaside cottage honeymoon. Rachel hasn't been feeling well and falls asleep on the drive to the cottage.

David is full of surprises for his new wife. Not only wasn't the power-of-attorney she signed for him, but for her billions of dollars. Now the seaside cottage has turned into an oak grove picnic. And the sweet HEA she envisioned has turned into a stab in the back, literally. As Rachel bleeds her life away, David digs her grave. Once he has a shallow trench, he lowers her into it and begins covering her the dirt. The couple talks the whole time about why he's doing this. It appears David has huge gambling debts with threats attached to them. Rachel is his easiest way of taking care of them.

Evander has brought flowers to Fiona's grave for six months since she died of the plaque. Today, as he lays the flowers on the grave, a hand grasps his forearm. Could this be his Fiona come back to him? And he digs out the woman in the shallow grave. She has a lot of blood on her back but she seems to have no injury. She speaks strangely and wears strange clothing. This is a time of superstition. Evander takes her to his home and takes care of her. He gives her some of Fiona's clothing and teaches her how to do things the way they do things here. He keeps her safe.

Can these two broken people heal each others' hearts? Can Rachel help Evander reconnect with his clan? Can they help the clan resolve the problem of the undead?

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover is the same style as the other two books in the series. This time the plaid is purple, which appeals to me greatly, being my favorite color.


The storyline is very good. I'm not sure where Ms. Hunter gets these ideas, but she's really good at it!


The characters are excellent. Of course, we have the characters we know from the previous books, Lachlan and Kinley from Book One and Tharaen and Diana from Book Two. Plus we are familiar with the people who work around the castle and the other chieftains who are normally in attendance around Lachlan. There are usually one or two of the druids around as well, so we've gotten to know them. We even know a lot of the undead Roman legion. Hazel has done a wonderful job of introducing us to both Rachel Ingram and Evander. We met Evander before when he actually stabbed Tharaen in the neck, which is the only way to kill one of these immortals.


The pace was good. It moved along rapidly, but not so fast that you couldn't keep up with what was going on.


The tension was good. It didn't have me on needles and pins because having read the two previous books, I was comfortable with both the style and the concept of the books. So I had certain expectations.


Hazel Hunter has a wonderful style and quality to her writing that makes any book she writes a pleasure to read. This is not her only series. Nor is it the only one I read of hers. I have never been disappointed when I have picked up one of her books. It surprises me that her name is not better known. I am certainly doing my best to get her name out there. You can look forward to seeing more of her books reviewed here on my blog and all the sites I post.


And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...


The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰✰


I love the characters that Hazel has created this time! David and his father are the sleaziest ones. His father is Rachel's lawyer. A rather intimate relationship, don't you think? Well, he introduces David to Rachel for just the purpose David has in mind. David has huge gambling debts and he's being threatened with danger if he doesn't pay them off. So he needs someone with big money to be able to pay them off. He tampers with the wiring in the family house so that it burns. That separates Rachel from her parents and leaves her completely alone and vulnerable. What would be more natural than to turn to your trusted lawyer and your fiance, especially when they are father and son? Sleazebags, both of them! Too bad only one of them gets punished! Is that considered being quartered?

The table is what convinces Rachel that she has traveled back in time and this is real. And she accepts it so passively. That amazed me. She never really fought any of this. She wasn't happy about the clothes, but she seemed to accept everything else. She actually seemed to prefer this time to her own time. Well, except when the "chicks from the future club" met. Then they all had things from the future they missed. They all agreed TP was the most missed item. I'm not so sure about the inside of birch bark. And Rachel had asked Evander to make her a simple rotisserie so she could cook her meat without the constant stewing and hauling all the water. She's very clever about blending the times and finding ways to adapt.

The to-ing and fro-ing between life and death was rather interesting this time. It was done a bit more in this book than in others. It was even bargained for. Evander throws his deadly spear for which he is so well known and skewers Rachel and the Marquess Ermindale. That makes him dust and the undead run away. Evander grabs Rachel and offers his life as forfeit to Taraen, but Lachlan claims the right as chief of the clan. That's Rachel and Evander dead. Then the spirits of Rachel and Fiona meet in the grove and Fiona is reuniting with her father there. She tells Rachel to tell Evander that she really didn't mean to betray the clan and she wishes him the best. Then Evander and Rachel meet and Evander explains he has forfeited his life for her and Rachel is returned to life. She grabs the druid Cailean and forces him to bring Evander back using something she's seen in his mind. Lachlan and the clan accept that Evander has forfeited his life once already and can be accepted back into the clan. So now they are both alive and immortal. And Fiona's spirit is settled with her father's. For some reason, my mind was taken with all this running around of live and dead people trying to settle Evander's debt. It sort of became a cartoon in my head! I won't draw it, but after you read it, I think you'll be able to picture it, too!

I'm all set to get the ARC for Tormod, now, so that I can continue the story. I love this series! It just takes me awhile to get to each book because I have so many books scheduled to read! Starting Friday, December 1, I will be reading Christmas themed books until Christmas, then I go back to regular books. And I'm already scheduled into February! I do some swapping out with requests and my own choices when I need to. My New Year's Resolution is that every Monday I will have a review of the "In Death" series by J.D. Robb. I have been meaning to re-read this series for some time and now is the time. I now own all but 4 of them in e-book format, so I'm going to start reading them right after Christmas. I know they aren't new, but I don't always read new. And this is a series worth reading again! That's why I bought it! Who knows, maybe y'all will read it along with me and we can discuss them along the way.

Recommended

1454 wc
Cocky Roomie: Jake Cocker
Cocker Brothers, the Cocky Series, #1
Faleena Hopkins
Hop Hop Productions, Jun 2016
Kindle, 286 Pages
Also available in paperback, audiobook
Genre(s) Bad Boy Romance
Source purchased at current price

Other books in this series 

Cocky Biker (Jett), Cocky Cowboy (Jaxson), Cocky Romantic (Jason), Cocky Senator (Justin), Cocky Soldier (Jeremy), A Honey Badger Christmas, Cocky Senator's Daughter (Hannah), Cocky Genius (Ethan), Cocky Rockstar (Gabriel), Cocky Love (Emma), Cocky Quarterback (Eric), Cocky Rebel (Sophia Sol), Cocky by Association

My Disclaimer:
I purchased a copy of this book at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about...
Jake Cocker wants a roommate. So he advertises for one in his own unique way.

Drew Charles needs an apartment and answers the advertisement.

Jake doesn't want to rent to Drew because he assumed Drew meant that she was a he. But she's a she and Jake's a bit shaken by her being a she. After arguing back and forth for awhile until Drew was reduced to a few tears, Jake gives in and rents to her. Women's tears are his kryptonite.

Next, Drew needs a job. So she answers an advertisement.

Jake's uncle tells him he's got to interview the applicant for the administrative assistant in the morning.

From roommates to workmates to who knows what. But it can be a rocky road, especially when your BFF gets involved.    

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover should not have a plain white background. It's just blah. Put a picture of the apartment there! Just don't leave it plain white! Note: my copy had a plain white background. I'm not that impressed with the white brick wall behind him.

The storyline was really good. It was fun.

The characters were really good. It was easy to get to know them both. You got their background and you knew what was going on with them the whole time.

The pace was great. You had time to think and time to go with things.

The tension was pretty much constant, but not a killer.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰⭒

Looking at the cover, would you believe that some of the largest themes of this book are family unity and family values? It's amazing. I personally think that the guy on the cover is just a bit too buff, but he's supposed to be in construction. So, I guess he's okay. But he doesn't say family values to me. And yet, that's like the main theme of the book. Jake doesn't want to be transferred to Denver because he doesn't want to be away from his family. His father and mother won't like it. He works for his uncle. He spends time with his brothers and family a lot. When a brother's in trouble or needs help with a situation, the other brothers work to help him out. One of the brothers at home called Jett to go to Denver and handle the problem with the drunk employee so that Jake wouldn't be gone so long.

Even when it comes to Bernie's drug-hooker problems, the family solved it. No one went off on their own.

When it comes to Drew, the brothers do their best to look out for her while Jake's away, but she won't talk on the phone with them or him and won't see them. Yes, she works for his uncle, but he's not saying a word.

But once Jake gets back, he ties up the loose ends and asks Drew to marry him. Then all they have to do is choose a letter they like a lot for the babies' names. They chose E.

Recommended.

657 wc

His Lost Bear
Paranormal Council Series, Spin-Off
Laura Greenwood
Self-Pub, Jul 2017
Kindle, 61 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) Paranormal Romance
Source Author

Other books in this series 

The Paranormal Council Series: The Dryad's Pawprint #1, The Vixen's Bark #2, The Necromancer's Prey #3, The Vampire's Bite #4, The Witch's Stripes #5

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about...
Nita thinks she has lost her whole family until she hears of a possible cousin. She takes off to see if he really is a relative. On the way, she runs into Vic.

Vic has lost his parents and run from his responsibility as pack alpha. He's in hiding. And he finds Nita bathing in "his" forest.

Can they help each other?    

Technical Tidbits...  
The cover has problems. I love the male figure on there. He works well as Vic. There is no sign of Nita except the cut & paste bear. That bear really needs to be worked in better if that's the only representation of Nita.

The storyline is really good. I enjoyed it completely and liked the way the author dealt with it.

The characters need a bit of help here. It would help to understand them better if we knew a bit more about them. They just seemed to be sort of clueless.

The pace was very good and worked well for the story.

The tension was good as well. It kept you going.

I did find some editing issues in this book. I had missing words and extra words, which is always a problem when it happens. It did not seem to be a big problem, but it did continue through the whole book.

And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰

I have to say, this was a fun read. You knew from the beginning they would end up together because that's the formula. But it was really fun watching them figure it all out! At first, neither of them wanted more than just some easy sex. But the sex was hot and it got more than just their human sides worked up. Their beasts got involved just a bit and teeth that shouldn't have been in play were doing their thing. So, in just one night, there they are mated. A phone call to Vic's brother got them the info that they'd have to appear before the Paranormal Council to see about being unmated.

But is that what they really wanted? Immediately, Nita starts feeling cozy and secure in the mated condition. Vic isn't paying much attention to it, but he treats Nita like a mated partner. The subject of children is raised at one point.

Finally, after going before the Council about Nita's relative, they find out who her relative is. One of the women on the Council says her name is Hendricks, which is this relative's last name. Ari Hendricks tells them to come to her home and they can meet her husband, who is this relative they are looking for. And finally, Nita meets Bjorn, who is her grandfather. Together, they also talk about her mated status. And they talk about the years they missed being together.

In the meantime, Vic and his brother talk about the Alpha position with the pack and whether or not he should even consider trying to step back into it. Whether or not the pack would want him to do so. Vic's brother, Kem, has been filling the position in his place and things are going just fine. He is mated to a dryad named Lia. Nita really likes her. They do a lot of talking about the mated status and Nita thinks a lot about how she really feels since it's happened and how she feels about Vic and being here where Bjorn and his mate are.

In the end, so many things become a part of the young couple's decision. This is one of those books that make you feel good. Now, I'm going to go back and read the Paranormal Council Series, but I will be reviewing it as a series since each one is less than 100 pages.

Recommended.

749 wc.



Midnight Blade and Soul Siphon
A Soul Stone's Story
T. L. Branson
Self-Pub, Dec & Sep 2017
Kindle, 72, 23Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) Fantasy
Source Author

Other books in this series 

Kingsbane (short), Soul Render (novel) neither is available yet

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Midnight Blade is the story of Davion Callum's mission to Sunbury as an assassin for King Rommel and how he became the sworn follower of his target, Prince Alexander Drygo.  

Soul Siphon is the story King Rommel of Havan's attack on Sunbury and King Alexander's defense using his army and his magic. This happens just as his wife has been sick and to save her he has transferred her soul into a black diamond. Now he needs the Soul Render to save her.

I understand that Kingsbane actually occurs between these two. Soul Render the novel follows after all of these.
Technical Tidbits...  
The cover of Midnight Blade looked very contemporary and just not right to go with the story.

The cover of Soul Siphon was actually perfect for that book since it was all about the attack by the Havan army.

The storyline in each was okay. I thought the one in Soul Siphon felt a bit like an introduction to a series, like a prequel. Midnight Blade felt like it should be part of a novel. Yes, it does stand alone, but it really could be part of a novel easily. And yet, Midnight Blade is the earlier one.


The characters are relatively shallow. Even Davion Callum, the primary character in Midnight Blade, is fairly shallow. We know what he did and said, but we really don't know much about him, what he feels, until the end when he swears his loyalty to the prince.


The pace was fast in both books. There was no time for sitting around flirting with pretty girls, though they tried.


The tension was right there from the beginning and stayed with you all the way to the end. It didn't taper off either. It kept you on your toes to the point that you were ready for the next book right away.


The writing quality is very good. I think the author should stop writing short stories about the novel and just get on with the novel.


And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰


Enough short stories, sit down and write the book already. There comes a time when you just have to do it. Now might be a good time to do it with a third prequel due out shortly. You just might run out of story before you get to the novel.

I like to have juicy, three-dimensional characters. These characters are short of juice and dimension. We just don't know enough about them, about their lives. They need personalities, quirks. So far they are all sort of flat, a little like paper dolls. The search for his parents had been going on his whole life, and yet Callum really didn't react much when his suspicions about Rommel as his father were confirmed by the Prince. At least when the black diamond was taken from King Alexander, he reacted with a frantic response. They really need to show more emotion, more response to things that happen or are said. Princess Chelsea seems to be the only one free with her emotions whether it's rebelling against her father or weeping on Davion's shoulder.

I understand that Kingsbane will explain a bit more of the magic system that the King uses in Soul Siphon. I had thought at first that it seemed random. The King used it to drain a soul from one person. Another time he used it to bolster the courage of his personal guard by pouring his magic into them. Another time he helped one of the guard shoot further in the same way. I understand that it is a kind of tether between the magic user and the other person that acts as a conduit and that the magic can make the soul or life force go either way, to or from the magic user. So, I guess, explained in that way, it isn't random. The magic user determines who he interacts with and which way the magic flows. I'm curious about the origin of the magic and how Alexander ended up with it. And if anyone else has it.

Did Davion and Chelsea end up together? Is the wife Alexander is so worried about in the black diamond Evangeline? Does he get her out and does he save her? Why did Sunbury think that King Rommel was dead? Prove to me that you haven't run out of story and that this is just the beginning.

Recommended.

849 wc
Demon's Fever
Hell Unleashed, #1
T.F. Walsh
Self-Pub, Jun 2017
Kindle, 181 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) Paranormal Romance
Source Author's newsletter

Other books in this series 

Demon's Mark #2

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


What it's about... 

Cary Stone's father disappeared a couple of years ago. She's out of a job and now she's out of an apartment. She's a half-breed demon, but she's a great demon hunter.

Levi Walker is a kick-ass demon hunter trying to catch the demon who killed a friend. He offers Cary a place to stay and tries to help her get a job.


Will the attraction between them mess up their demon hunt and leave them both jobless?  


Technical Tidbits...  

The cover is certainly eye-catching and Levi is definitely a part of the story so we can say it relates. 

The storyline is good. Damsel in distress helped out by tough guy. Tough guy and gal come together. One of them messes up and they split.


The characters are done pretty well. We know a lot about Cary. We know most of Levi's stuff, too, I think. The secondary characters aren't in focus too much, like Brent Moore, Tasha, and Jack. They may stay peripherals or they may become more important. 


The pace was pretty fast. Things just kept happening.


The tension just kept building up. This gal didn't get much of a break from the beginning. It all starts with her father disappearing. Did he leave for her protection or was he taken? She's not sure.


And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...

The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰⭒


There was definitely a feeling that Brent Moore was testing Cary harder than she tested the guys and yet Levi was remembering his own testing and how tough it was. It seemed like his was just as tough in relation to him. So I don't understand the slant on the testing ahead of time. Though having your second testing the day after you get your bandages off following eye surgery is a bit much. It's amazing she still had eyes after that.


Levi is quite the character. First, he's the helpful guy who's giving her a place to stay and really trying to keep his hands off her. Not take advantage of her. Then he's the super lover once she gives the go-ahead. Thoughtful, too. The whole time he was chasing down that Corvette, he was thinking about Cary still sitting in that restaurant. Thinking she would be okay. He thought over and over about her. Just before he took another turn after the Corvette. Then, when she needs a demon stone to get the job she's been testing for, he takes the stone for his own needs.


So, why does Brent Moore still give Cary the job when she doesn't have the stone? He's a really shady character. He seems to be waffling on what she has to do to get a job with him from the beginning. He changes the terms of his bargain with Levi, too. I just don't trust him. I'm interested in seeing if he gets worse in the next book. To see if he becomes a problem or not.


Recommended.


589 wc