The Awakening by Amanda Stevens

91mpjtaddjl-_ac_ul320_sr180320_Rating: 5 stars

Series: Graveyard Queen #6

A great end to the series! It wasn’t perfect. The mystery revolving around the ghost and the people she was connected to was way too easy to figure out. That’s okay because the ghost story was not my main concern. I was much more interested in what was going on with Devlin and the conge.

Devlin and Amelia spent a fair amount of time together. It was different with them this time. They still had the same chemistry as always but it was underlying. Amelia was trying to move on, and Devlin was with Claire. Regardless of what was going on the magnetic pull was there, but nothing felt as romantic as in the prior books. I was happy that Amelia didn’t have any interest in other men. In the other books when she was alone, she went out with someone else even if she wasn’t truly interested.

Devlin’s grandfather finally got some page time. He had a strong presence throughout the series without getting the chance to know him other than by reputation. The guy was a manipulative bastard, but there was more to him than that. Claire finally made herself known to Amelia. There wasn’t a damn thing I liked about her, and it wasn’t all about her being the other woman.

This wasn’t my favorite in the series, but it was definitely one of the better ones. I didn’t want to put it down despite the mystery being predictable and not being as spooky as some of the others. The danger was from the living not the dead. The general tone of it was different, but I really liked it. The end was slightly rushed. Having a brief epilogue would have been good. Not everything was completely wrapped up making me wish and hope there could be another book, but based on how things ended with Amelia it seems unlikely Amanda Stevens would ever change her mind and write another.

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The Sinner by Amanda Stevens

28507382-250x375Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Graveyard Queen #5

So this is officially my least favorite book in the series. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t bad, but the last book was amazing. This paled in comparison. It wasn’t creepy enough, and I hate it when Amelia leaves Charleston. It’s not the same when she is away from the people there. I wouldn’t mind it as much if there wasn’t a potential romance with a new guy every time she leaves town. Can’t she nurse her broken heart without having feelings for another guy? Just like in The Kingdom the lust was there but not much else. Everything between Amelia and Kendrick felt too manufactured.

Now that Amelia’s powers are strengthening and she is in contact frequently with powerful beings, it’s hard to gauge what is genuine and what is manipulative magic. Amelia constantly questioned if things she saw, heard, or felt were real. It’s not bad if magic is used to confuse her every once and awhile, but I don’t like it when it happens often.

The mystery started out interesting enough with the discovery of some unusual graves and the appearance of Darius Goodwine. Everything was too straightforward in regards to the bad guy. I had them pegged early on in the book. There were two unexpected things that happened along the way to revealing the bad guy. Not much directly had to do with the overarching storyline. It hinted at what Devlin is really up to. This book is a victim of my high expectations. I had assumed the penultimate book would have gotten me more amped up about the final one.

Ride the Storm by Karen Chance

25962913-_uy200_Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Cassie Palmer #8

Three things happened that I have been desperately hoping would happen since book 4, and it was about damn time. I would love to discuss those things in detail, but it would give away some major plot points. I was beginning to lose my faith and thought that some of these issues would be dragged out forever, but good things come to those who wait!

I’ve got to be honest the first half was aggravating and too chaotic without any real progress being made. Cassie was time jumping from one place to the next and dealing with many issues. All of those issues were the same ones from the last book. I really didn’t think it was necessary for two books to be devoted to Pritkin’s sojourn in the past.

The other pythias were irritating. They didn’t add much to the story and were a constant distraction causing the resolution to Pritkin’s situation to take too long. Cassie never had formal training with her pythia powers, but shouldn’t she be more powerful than the average pythia? One parent was a goddess and the other was a necromancer. She should be a badass from that alone. Throwing pythia powers into the mix should make her extremely powerful. Despite her ability to do things others can’t, it always seems like other pythias can overtake her too easily.

Finally the time came for Cassie and Mircea to have a talk. Cassie found out something about him, and he was forced to explain the situation. It turned out much better than I thought it would have. He revealed much more than I would have expected. Well it turns out what I always thought about him was true.

The end was great! The final showdown with Ares happened. The way that got settled was completely unexpected and fantastic! The best part was that Cassie finally made a choice, and it was the one I wanted her to make. No more love triangle drama, hopefully anyway. The other guy isn’t going let Cassie go easily. There was a cliffhanger at the end, but it was one I can deal with.

Thanks so much to Netgalley for giving me this in exchange for an honest review!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

28145767-_uy200_Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Strange the Dreamer #1

Absolutely beautiful! The writing is captivating. The story slowly builds. I admit it took me awhile to get into it, but I was hooked once I got a third of the way in. The world and more specifically the city of Weep is truly unique. It’s a living legend, a place so far off the beaten path that most people no longer believe it was ever real. Lazlo did. He always believed.

I fell in love with the characters! Lazlo and Sarai are the same yet not. They both possess an astonishing level of compassion for others. Neither of them see the world in black and white but in various shades of gray. Lazlo amazed me with his selflessness. He expected nothing from the world. He was happy with what he was given no matter how small. Nonetheless he was a dreamer with high hopes for fantastical things. He didn’t aspire to be great or do things to make a name for himself. Everything was done simply because it was the right thing to do.

Sarai broke my heart. For many reasons, she believed she was a monster, but at the same time, she knew monsters didn’t have to do monstrous things. Sarai knew from experience what it felt like to be an outcast, to be viewed as evil just for existing. Nothing she did mattered because of what she was.

“She saw only what humans would see. Not a girl or a woman or someone in between. They wouldn’t see her loneliness or fear or courage, let alone her humanity. They would see only obscenity. Calamity.”

Her power allowed her to get into the minds of anyone in the city giving her a diverse perspective no one else could possibly have. The more she learned about the people who hated her the more she empathized with them because they suffered just like she did. And that is the core of this story: hatred and how it changes people, even good people.

“Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.”

The story has many layers but not a lot of action. It’s about the characters and what caused them to be the people they are and how all of them developed their extreme positions. Many of the gods secrets remained hidden at the end, all of which I’m sure will be revealed in the next one. The end was devastating. It ripped out my heart and stomped on it. However it didn’t leave me without hope, but I was not expecting things to do down like that.

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

30687916Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Mercy Thompson #10

Mercy was kidnapped and taken to the lair of a powerful vampire. The question was why? The story was told from alternating Mercy and Adam’s POV. The parts with Mercy were good. Chaos seemed to follow her every place she went. It was great to have Mercy away from the pack for a while. She may not win any battles due to strength but has many ways of outwitting her enemies. I may be in the minority with this opinion but I prefer Mercy when she doesn’t have to deal with ridiculous pack drama. She’s capable of handling a lot on her own.

Adam’s POV dragged. Honestly I could have skipped his chapters because all I wanted to know was what was going on with Mercy. Everything he did to get Mercy back was political. I didn’t feel like anything truly significant was learned from his dealings with the vampires. Adam is a powerful alpha. He’s got to be one of the most boring alphas. The problem is that he’s too pragmatic to be interesting. Internally he fretted about Mercy but managed to be calm and reasonable. What he did was the right but didn’t make for a highly entertaining read.

The story was a bit convoluted by the end. The ending made sense. It wasn’t like I couldn’t understand it, but I wanted more details about how this plot was orchestrated. I loved the twist with Matt Smith. I did not see that coming at all. But seriously how the hell did that happen? Because it wasn’t one of those twists where looking back after knowing the truth makes all the pieces fall into place. There weren’t any hints at all, so it came out of left field. It’s fascinating because of what it symbolizes for Mercy, but logistically it doesn’t seem possible.

Souljacker by Yasmine Galenorn

51icwzrlk7l-_sx322_bo1204203200_Rating: 2.5 stars

Series: Lily Bound #1

Not bad but completely unmemorable. Lily was a succubus who entertained men for a living. A vicious vampire called the souljacker killed one of her clients at her house. This set off a chain of events. Lily’s rep was ruined and her business failed. The weres were after her because of the guy that died. The souljacker was after her and her friends, so she worked with a demon Archer to get some info.

I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I didn’t care about any of them. Their lives were in danger at times, but it didn’t really matter if they lived or died because it wouldn’t have been any great loss. All of them except for Nate were supernatural, but they all seemed so damn normal. Lily was supposed to be over 600 years old but seemed like she should have been in her 20’s. For someone who had lived so long she lacked the skills to read people and to defend herself. Archer the love interest and chaos demon was boring. Nate served no real purpose except to give Lily another friend. Dani was her other friend. Nothing stood out about her. The introduction of Lily’s ex was lame. It didn’t create a love triangle, but he was boring. He served a purpose, but I still wish he hadn’t been in the story at all.

The souljacker was crazy. All of the vampires were described as heartless killers, so the souljacker wasn’t as extreme as he was made out to be. The weres created drama. Since they were unreasonable assholes, I couldn’t get behind their cause, and therefore they were uninteresting. There wasn’t any build up with the romance. It was instalove. I wasn’t feeling it between them. I liked this well enough that I read it quickly, but it’s not likely I’ll read the next one.

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