Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Rating: 3 stars

Series: Psy-Changeling #1

The world building was my favorite part of the book. It was definitely original. There are humans, changelings, and psy. Changelings are various types of weres. They were fairly standard as far as weres go. The psy were unique. They were people with various types of mental powers and abilities. All of the psy were connected on a mental internet. It was believed that the psy had too many emotional issues, and the only way to get rid of the bad emotions was to wipe out all emotions.

Sascha lived 100 years after the emotions of the psy were altered. By then most psy weren’t aware that they ever had emotions. Sascha knew that the psy who weren’t perfect were killed, and she wasn’t perfect. She had emotions and had to hide them. Lucas, a changeling, walked into her office proposing a business deal. The deal required them to work closely together. Of course romance ensues.

The romance was the downfall of the story. It was steamy enough but had too many overused romantic tropes. There was definitely some insta love going on. I hate it when that happens because the characters don’t really take the time to get to know each other. The mystery was also disappointing. It was far too easy to figure out who the murder was especially since there weren’t any red herrings. After all of the great things I’ve heard about this series, I felt let down. I expected it to be less predictable.

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Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland

Rating: 2 1/2 stars

Series: Kara Gillian #2

I didn’t like this as much as Mark of the Demon. So much of the story focused on the love triangle. And I hate love triangles. Although the characters are adults, the romance has a childish, young adult feel. Kara is smart but acts like such a dumbass around men. She does stupid crap like run into the arms of one guy when the other pisses her off. Most of Kara’s thoughts focus on how she feels about the men, and frankly I don’t give a shit. I’d rather know more about the mystery or the world building.

The men in the love triangle aren’t too interesting. Ryan the Fed is fairly nice, but he’s wicked boring. He doesn’t have much going for him in the way of personality. He’s not funny or witty. The conversations with him of which there are many are dull. Ryan can be an ass sometimes. He gets pissed when Kara doesn’t include him on everything in her life although it’s totally cool for him to keep secrets. He’s the jealous type. There is nothing I hate more than jealousy. It makes Ryan come off as immature.

Then there’s Rhyzkahl. He’s sexy and a bad boy. He didn’t seem as mysterious this time. In Mark of the Demon it was hard to tell if he was using her or if he really liked her. This time it mainly seemed like he wanted something from her. His possessive “you’re mine” attitude was irritating. They aren’t close enough for him to be acting like that and have it be endearing.

Not much was learned in terms of world building. At the beginning of the last book, Kara was a loner because no one could know about her connection to the arcane. Now she has a whole group of people who are aware of that side of her life and accepting of it, which is too farfetched IMO. The mystery involving the murders was okay. It was bit convoluted. It all made sense, but by the end I just didn’t care. The series has potential. I just hope it lives up to it.

Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland

Rating: 3 stars

Series: Kara Gillian #1

Kara Gillian summons demons. Because of this she leads a lonely life. She has to keep that part of her life a secret. She’s also a detective and was recently moved to the homicide department. In her town some murders happen, but they appeared to be connected to some old murders. Around the time the murders began, Kara summoned a demon, but the wrong one came through the portal. The powerful demon that arrived had a strong interest in Kara.

For the first book in a series this was good. The pacing was consistent but a little slow. I did skim the parts when there were lengthy descriptions of rooms because I don’t give a shit about that kind of stuff and it didn’t add to the story. The mystery was interesting. I did not guess who the killer was.

I would have liked this a lot better if the love triangle wasn’t in it. It was ridiculous that Kara went from being someone who only had two brief relationships to having two men express interest in her. I can’t figure out how things will go with the love triangle. One of the men is the bad boy, which is who I’d ship, but he’s probably going to do something really evil. The other guy is super nice but kind of boring. IRL he’s the guy I’d want, but this is a novel. I want excitement, and he isn’t going to be the one to bring it unless there is more to him later on in the series.

A few other things bugged me. There were a few hints that Kara is special, which is such an overused trope in UF. For someone that was loner, she was very trusting of other people. It doesn’t make sense that she spent her whole life hiding her secrets just to reveal every single one of them the minute someone else has some inkling of what she was hiding. Also she made a friend. She didn’t have any for years but suddenly develops a friendship with a coworker she’s known for a while. Between making friends and meeting men, her life shifted into a different direction quickly. Lastly Kara didn’t have as much knowledge as I would have expected for someone who had spent years studying the arcane. She knew a lot about summoning but didn’t know as much about the demons she was summoning. Her aunt had a massive library dedicated to the arcane. Why didn’t she use it?

All in all this was okay. Nothing made it stand out. I’m going to keep reading the series although I doubt it will get better as it goes along.

Edge of Dreams by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Rating: 3 stars

Series: Diamond City Magic #2

Riley was trying to strike out on her own and avoid working for the Tyet. She had bodyguards following her around, and she wasn’t entirely sure who hired them. Someone asked her to save five teenagers who were trapped in the mines. With the help of some other people, Riley quickly made a plan to save the teenagers. She stumbled across something more sinister than she could have imagined.

Riley’s desire to help people is admirable. She places the life of strangers above her own, which means she puts herself in the line of fire often. The consequences of her actions aren’t considered until after she does something that may cause problems. Helping people is a good thing, but so is having a sense of self preservation. Her decisions are normally made on the spur of the moment, and they aren’t always good. It would be great if she would learn from her mistakes at some point. Her poor decision making may be a result of her powerful magic. She is capable of many unusual things, so she relies on that instead of common sense.

The basic plot was fairly predictable. No major surprises. Riley did learn a little more about her past. What she uncovered left far more questions than answers. Although what she learned wasn’t surprising. I figured this might be possible from clues in Trace of Magic. Price wasn’t in this as much, and his presence was missed. He is a good balance for Riley. I will read the next one since I am curious to learn more about Riley’s past, but I hope Riley has some growth as a character.

I received this from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Trace of Magic by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Rating: 3 stars

Series: Diamond City Magic #1

Riley is a tracer, which means she has the ability to track people using magic. She is far more powerful than most, but she has to hide her abilities to avoid the attention of the Tyet. The Tyet are independent groups of criminals who operate in an organized fashion. Riley uses her abilities to help the innocent when she can. She captures the attention of a cop with ties to the Tyet. The two of them are forced to work together for a while.

The world building was explained well. There were a few small things that surprised me towards the end, which always makes the story more interesting. Riley was tough and loyal. She did get hurt quite a bit though; it happened enough that it seemed implausible for her to be alive. Just like in many other urban fantasy novels, Riley was more powerful than most and was capable of doing extraordinary things with magic. And she didn’t understand her powers because her parents never discussed it with her. Price was my type of alpha character. He liked to be in control but wasn’t highly demanding and overbearing.

The romance took up a fair amount of page time. The relationship advanced too quickly. Riley and Price really didn’t know each other for long enough to develop deep feelings for each other. She was still conflicted about whether she could trust him or not, but at least she wasn’t in denial about her feelings for him. It was boring sometimes when Riley was thinking about Price. She kept going over the same issues without coming to a resolution.

Trace of Magic was just an average urban fantasy novel. It wasn’t bad but didn’t have much to make it stand out either.

A Magic Dark and Bright by Jenny Adams Perinovic

Rating: 3 stars

Series: The Asylum Saga #1

Amelia lived in a small town. In the woods beyond her house she often saw a ghost. She never knew why the ghost was there or what she wanted. The woman next door was rumored to be a witch. One night the neighbor’s grandson Charlie arrived. He would be living there for a while. Amelia and Charlie became close. The two of them along with their friends Leah and Ransom began to unravel the secrets of the ghost as well as the secrets of Charlie’s family.

Amelia was an average teenager. It was a nice change of pace for a main character to be average. She was grieving the loss of her brother. Speaking as someone who lost a brother, her feelings of grief were depicted accurately without being overbearing in the story. The other characters weren’t developed as thoroughly as Amelia.

The story was good, but the pacing was a little slow at times. The mystery wasn’t highly suspenseful as in it wasn’t a page turner, but I did want to know what happened next. Some things were predictable like who was aiding Marin but not everything was. Others have called this a horror story, but I don’t; it wasn’t scary at all. It ended with a cliffhanger that was fairly abrupt. I turned the page expecting there to be more and it simply ended.

I received a copy of this from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.