Hidden Blade by Pippa DaCosta

30031040Rating: 4 stars

Series: Soul Eater #1

Ace, the nameless one, is stuck in a rather unfortunate situation. He’s a powerful being but his life isn’t his own. By nature he’s a bad guy. It can’t be helped. Eating souls is what he does. He’s also forced to do bad things because of his situation with Osiris. At heart he wants to be good, but it doesn’t come easily. I love characters that are as conflicted as Ace is. 

All of the other characters were interesting, but it was hard to get attached to them. The world building was good. The use of Egyptian gods was cool. I definitely want to know more about Ace’s past and about what was going on with his mother. There is a lot more to explore in this world, and I definitely want to read the rest of the series.

So this was probably worth somewhat less than 4 stars, but it was too good to give it less than 4. Something was missing for me, but I’m not sure what. Nothing was wrong with this, but for some reason I just didn’t love it.

Born in Fire by K.F. Breene

51i-dmp630l-_sy346_Rating: 3 stars

Series: Fire and Ice Trilogy #1

I felt like this book tried to be more than it was. It had a little of all the classic UF stuff i.e. snarky heroine, heroine with special powers, unexpected sidekicks, hidden background. None of it melded into anything unique. 

Reagan had too much attitude. It was practically impossible for her to be serious no matter how dire the consequences. Sometimes it worked to her advantage because her behavior surprised others. Other times she seemed immature. Maybe it was just me but for about the first half of the book I had to remind myself that she was a woman. Her behaviors and actions made me think of a man.

Vampires are awesome, but these were fairly average vampires. Darius was the only one with considerable page time. I liked him but didn’t love him. He was the only potential love interest not that it was much of a romance.

Something about the writing style didn’t work well for me. I could follow the plot easily enough, but certain minor things didn’t flow well at times. Reagan’s secret was revealed at the end. I hadn’t figured out what she was but didn’t find it particularly shocking either.

Beast by A. Zavarelli

33787861Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Twisted Ever After #1

***FYI: Over at my other blog, my friend did a Q&A with A. Zavarelli. Check it out.***
Darkest Beauty and the Beast retelling ever!

This book is not for everyone. It is very dark and incredibly fucked up.

Tortured as a child, Javi grew into a deranged adult. Hatred blossomed deep in his heart for the man that made him the way he was, and that man happened to be Bella’s father. Javi decided that the best way to exact revenge on him was through his daughter. Bella knew her father’s line of work was dangerous, but she had no idea what kind of man he really was. One thing is for certain about this book: it is no fairy tale.

Bella was sweet, innocent, and sensitive. Javi turned her world upside down. The things he did were cruel and demented. He used her in every way possible, using every trick in the book to play mind games with her. There was one scene in particular where she gave up hope. It was gut wrenching. I’m not sure if the outcome made it better or worse because of the cruelty of it, making her feel fear and desperation on a level she never had before.

It was impossible to hate Javi. His erratic behavior made him hard to read and predict. There were moments where the untainted side of him showed through. Unlike other beasts it was much harder to find his good side, to see the man beneath the scars.

I almost cried two times near the end of the book. Those two events were devastating. It was one of those things where I was reading and wanted to change the words on the page because I did not want to face the reality of what was happening. It was like being on a roller coaster ride of emotions, but it was worth it in the end.

I received this arc from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson

28765742Rating: 3 stars

Series: Nightshades #1

The nightshades a.k.a. vampires weren’t like the average vamp in two ways. One is the way they were made. Their saliva was the potent ingredient not blood. It had to be placed directly into the heart. That would have been some sick shit before needles were invented. It definitely would have prevented accidentally turning someone. The other way they were different is their looks. They weren’t described as exceptionally beautiful. Their beauty wasn’t what made them special.

It was a good start to the series. I can’t pinpoint why but I didn’t get sucked into the story. The focus was on the vampires and the murders. I would have liked to have gotten to know the characters better. Alex was okay but now that I think about it I don’t know much about him personally. Lindy was cool and wasn’t living the standard vampire lifestyle. It was odd when she easily acquiesced to Alex’s demands. Their goals were in alignment, but I expected her to put up a better fight for her freedom and independence. It was good enough that I’ll read the next one when it comes out.

The Heartstone Thief by Pippa DaCosta

32cc464f6ff9393819fdfb30b0b65b13Rating: 3.5 stars

Most people believed magic was nothing but a fairy tale. Those who used it were killed. Curtis Vance wanted to forget about magic and those who control it. After meeting a sorceress with some special skills, he was forced to face his past. She convinced him to help her find something rare. He didn’t help her out of the goodness of his heart; he was a thief after all.

The world building was great! There was a constant stream of new things to learn about it. I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to find out more. It was action packed with one crazy thing happening after another. The characters were deceptive, so it hard to gauge who Vance could trust.

The reason I didn’t rate this book higher was because of the characters. Vance and the sorceress were the main ones. I liked Vance. He was intelligent and could manipulate others to save his own ass. It was kinda hard to believe the guy had lived so long because he couldn’t do shit to save himself when physical skills were required. The sorceress was fascinating because I never knew what her ultimate goal was. She did enough good things that I wanted to trust her, but she had too many secrets. My biggest issue with her was her lack of personality.

The plot was entertaining, and I liked the direction the story went in at the end. It’s unfortunate this is a standalone. The plot was wrapped up, but it’s a shame to develop such an interesting world and only get one story about it.

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

Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer

51fmlttbdcl-_sy346_Rating: 3 stars

Series: Harmony Black #1

I never thought I’d say this about a Craig Schaefer book, but it was so boring. The Daniel Faust books are dark, humorous, and entertaining. Although Harmony Black is a spin off of that series, they are not alike at all. Harmony is an FBI agent, so this felt more like a police procedural than UF. The mystery part of the story was okay but lacked suspense.

My problem with this book is that I don’t like Harmony. In the Daniel Faust series, she was portrayed as uptight and compassionless. Being privy to her thoughts didn’t change that. She’s repressed to the point of being almost completely devoid of emotion. I understand why she is the way she is but it doesn’t increase her appeal. Just about the only thing to get her riled up is not following procedure. I hate how she applies human laws and logical to supernatural creatures. She’s a witch FFS! You’d think she’d be more open and understanding of the world around her but obviously not. She does care about people as in she doesn’t want innocents to be hurt, but it doesn’t seem like she really empathizes with other people.

The other characters weren’t impressive either. Jessie was weird and dull. I didn’t care about whatever was going on with her. Honestly I kept forgetting she was a woman since absolutely nothing about her was feminine. Not as much was known about the other various side characters but they were all boring police types. Unless this series ties back in with Daniel Faust, I probably won’t continue with it.