BOOK REVIEW: THE SHEPHERD (TRAVIS LUEDKE)

The ShepherdThe Shepherd by Travis Luedke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Skate punks, kleptomaniacs, clairvoyant visions and reincarnation… …THE SHEPHERD is unlike any other Young Adult novel you have ever read. Mike Evans here. Sixteen year old skate punk squatting in a white-trash trailer park with my loser drunk Dad. Seems I lost most of my friends when Dad lost our home in foreclosure. Only Anita stuck by me. Worse, I keep having strange clairvoyant visions of things that always come true. Then I almost ran over Nadia in my Geo. A passing truck finished the job – left a crumpled heap of skin and bone on the road. I fixed her. Me. Now this fourteen year old girl won’t leave me alone. I sorta let her sneak in my window when she needs a place to crash. I have a double life: daytime at school, Anita, skating, and then my nights with Nadia. She’s my secret friend, gives me money and listens to my problems when nobody else will. My world is spinning out of control. Old friends have turned enemy, my grisly visions of death won’t quit, and Anita’s intentions make my head spin. Even with all that, I’ve got bigger stuff to worry about. Nadia’s hiding something.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I’m not really into YA but I enjoyed this book. It was fun and full of suspense.
First of all, I love the cover. It gives an aura of young, feminine strength. Although the protagonist is male, Nadia is the stronger character in the novel. And the story kind of revolves around her too.
2nd, I love the writing style. It was in first person and in a journal format. It’s so young and trendy I didn’t have a hard time with the dialogues. It’s also fast-paced and you’ll never get bored.
I also like the characters. Mike is a typical teenager who loves rock music and skateboarding. But he’s pretty decent compared to the other guys. He works, doesn’t drink, and dreams of going to college. He is also pretty admirable as a person. I also like Nadia. She may be cold-hearted when it comes to protecting Mike but she got this honest attitude and cute sense of humor. And then there’s Anita. The first time Mike described her I already thought she was hot. I also think she’s brilliant and fierce.
Storywise, this is pretty good. It was consistent and intense. I like the plot. The air of mystery surrounding Nadia and Mike kept me glued since the first chapter. I also love the theme of friendship and love. I loved it when Mike’s father made efforts to become better for his son. That was really heartwarming. I also liked the friend-to-lover status between Mike and Anita. Their scenes after the status change were hot and sexy.
Overall, this is a book worth reading. I highly recommend this to all YA fans and to people who want some fun, unique read.

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Caressed by Moonlight (Rulers of Darkness, #1) by Amanda J. Greene

Caressed by Moonlight (Rulers of Darkness, #1)

Dorian Vlakhos is no ordinary aristocrat. He is a vampire king, who will do anything to save his clan from complete annihilation, before an ancient curse can claim his immortal life.
Penniless and orphaned, Victoria Kingston has nothing to bring to a marriage, yet she must shackle an unsuspecting gentleman into marriage by the end of the month or forfeit her rights as guardian of her younger sister. With the help of her dearest friend, Victoria begins her hunt, and vows to stay far away from the dark, mysterious, Dorian Vlakhos.
After meeting the beautifully innocent Miss Kingston, Dorian had to have her. He would do absolutely anything to make Victoria his. One sweet stolen kiss would bring them together while a force, more powerful than any vampire would bind them for all eternity. But treachery, war, and death rule Dorian’s dark world and Victoria would be fortunate to survive.

I didn’t think that I will enjoy reading this book. I was disappointed at the start, I found the first few chapters boring and not that believable. Some parts of the plot bothered me, as well. But as the story progressed I can’t seem to put my e-book reader down for a long time. I was already absorbed by the story. I know this is PnR but I see it more as a historical romance. Sure there were witches and vampires but the author followed the usual formula for historicals. Not that I’m complaining, though. Lol! Overall, the author did a good job. I enjoyed reading this immensely. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

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Angels’ Blood (Guild Hunter #1)

Angels’ Blood (Guild Hunter #1)

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she is the best- but she does not know if even she is good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, Elena knows failure is not an option—even if the task is impossible.

Because this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt does not destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just might. For when archangels play, mortals break.

Who knew angels can be hot as hell? In this series they’re even hotter than the vampires. Lol! I really, really love Nalini Singh! She’s a master! For a first novel in a series, this is way too good! I usually have this impression that first novels are the weakest. But I can’t think of this as a weak novel. This is worth 5 stars on my list. Definitely one of my favorite stories of all time.
I loved the characters! I first met Elena in the novella Angel’s Judgment and even then I already loved her. She’s the best vampire hunter the Guild has. And in this novel she’s strong, loyal, energetic, passionate and honorable. She’s exciting and she doesn’t cower in fear, even when she’s really scared deep inside. Definitely my kind of heroine.
I have to admit I didn’t like Raphael at first. But I figured it was his boredom and cynicism talking. And as the story progresses, I can’t help but warm to him eventually.
The other characters are also great. I loved Sara and Ransom. They’re so cool and they made me crack on some scenes. Dmitri and Jason are still enigmatic and Ilium is as charming as ever (they were featured in the novella Angel’s Dance).
The story was dark. And the plot was a bit darker than Ms. Singh’s usual story, but still as enjoyable. I just wished there were more fight scenes for Ellie. She’s the guild’s best hunter and I wanted to read more about her in action.
The romance was great. Great chemistry between Ellie and Raphael. I loved it that Elena doesn’t lose control much even when facing the archangel. I had fun reading about Raphael’s small changes as he get to know Elena.
I love the ending. It was very sweet and romantic. There’s a scene in the last chapter that made me go, ‘awwwww’. That was a very sweet scene I feel like I just wanna kiss Raphael. Lol!

339 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by Berkley Sensation (first published January 1st 2009)
original title Angels’ Blood
ISBN 0425226921 (ISBN13: 9780425226926)
edition language English
series Guild Hunter #1
characters Elena Deveraux, Raphael (Archangel), Illium, Sara Haziz, Ransom Winterwolf
setting New York City, New York (United States)

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Angel’s Flight (Angels’ Pawn #0.5, Angels’ Judgment #0.2, Angel’s Wolf #3.5, Angels’ Dance #0.1) by Nalini Singh

Angel’s Flight (Angels’ Pawn #0.5, Angels’ Judgment #0.2, Angel’s Wolf #3.5, Angels’ Dance #0.1) by Nalini Singh

Synopsis:
In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court. In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all… Plus FIRST TIME IN PRINT In Angels’ Pawn a vampire hunter faces off against two rival factions and the angel manipulating them both, and a vampire whose help is not entirely selfless… And NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED In Angels’ Dance an angel trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge finds herself under siege by a warrior angel from a martial court.

I’m trying to read the series in chronological order so I’m not reading Angel’s Wolf yet. I’m just gonna update this later.

Angel’s Dance (Guild Hunter #0.1)

This is the first story I’ve read in the series. I’m trying to read it in chronological order; not by the order of the book release.
Angel’s Dance is a warm and sweet read for me. Even though it’s just a novella, I didn’t find it lacking unlike some novellas i’ve read before. It’s a feel good love story devoid of the ugly twists and evil antagonists found in full length novels. Just plain and simple romance. I love how the story introduced the characters. Ms Singh made them intriguing enough for new readers like me to want to read the future books(i’m sure they’ll have their own stories).
Of all my favorite authors, Ms Nalini Singh is the only one who makes me wish I live in her created worlds. First, the psy-changeling world and now, her angel-vampire world. I’m looking forward to reading the next books of the series.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Angel’s Judgement (Guild Hunter #0.2)

Woohoo! Talking about one hot sexy romance. I love this story! I’m gonna give it 5 stars just for the steamy sexual tension alone. I love the instant chemistry Sarah and Deacon had. Ms Singh sure knows how to write about sex without sex. Lol!
No weak, sweet girl here. My gorgeous Sarah kicks ass!And Deacon…*drools* there goes my newest dreamguy.
I love the fast pace of the story. Since this is just a short story, all the words should count. And Ms. Singh did a very excellent job. This is another novella that feels like a full-length novel. I’m really impressed by how the author can write such short novels without compromising the story. This was solid and fun. I enjoyed reading this very much.
I haven’t started the full-length novels in this series yet. But now I’m so excited to read all of them because of these sizzling hot novellas.
My Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Angel’s Pawn (Guild Hunter #0.5)

I don’t have much to say about Angel’s Pawn. I liked it but I didn’t love it. Maybe I was expecting they’d have a definite stand with each other in the end. It was open-ended so maybe I have to check the other books for progress.
Anyways, I enjoyed it. I like Ashwini. But I didn’t get to know her well. She had so many secrets until the end. I love Janvier. What’s there not to love? He’s funny, smart, strong, and gorgeous. Their love hate relationship is kinda fun, too. The chemistry is undeniable when they’re together so I was expecting for more sexy scenes.
I liked the plot. It was interesting and intriguing. So overall, this was a good novella. But I liked the first two better.
My Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5

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Forever (Kamery Solomon)

Book Review: Forever (Kamery Solomon)

Synopsis:

Raith has never been in love. In fact, he’s spent his entire existence as the terror in mortal nightmares. When he enters Emilee’s dream, he discovers that his powers do not work on her and she can see him as well. Being Fae he isn’t allowed to show himself to a human, but there is something different about Emilee.

 

Forever is Kamery Solomon’s latest novella.

The story is set in Raith’s POV. He is an immortal fae who invades human dreams and turns them into nightmares. That is, until, he met Emilee in one of her dreams. His original plans changed as he realized that he was falling in love with her. He also faces the problem of finding a way of spending forever with the mortal Emilee.

The not so good points… The plot deserved a longer story. I would have appreciated it more if it was a full-length novel. I thought some parts of the story have been rushed. I also had trouble believing the emotions in some parts of the book. I mean, how can he suddenly realize he loves Emilee after just two dreams? I think even the emotions were a bit hurried. I was also a bit disappointed with the ending. It was a sweet ending but i expected more from it.

The good points… Because it’s a novella, it can be read in one sitting. The story is so sweet and romantic. I even consider it as a modern fairy tale. The author has maintained the romance without the sex scenes. Yes it worked. In this novel I didn’t mind the lack of those scenes (we know it’s a very important part of most romantic stories lol).

Overall, the story is easy to read and enjoyable and I had fun reading. I just wished it had been longer so i wouldn’t feel like it was rushed.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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STRIPPED (C.A. HARMS)

STRIPPED (C.A. HARMS)

Wow… I have been reading PnR for almost a year now that I almost forgot stories like these still exist. For a moment, after reading this book I was speechless. I don’t know what to think. The book made me laugh, angry, cry, and fall in love. The story was so sweet and beautiful that it was a special book for me.

I loved Kylie. A woman forced by circumstances to embrace the world of stripping. She was a good woman; strong, determined, and with a big heart. She would do anything for her baby daughter… even do a job she hated. And there’s Evan. Evan was a rich businessman who saw Kylie in one of her strip shows. He got so intrigued with Kylie that he immediately requested for a private show.

The story was quite simple. A stripper meets a business man and they fall in love. The rich man’s family doesn’t like her so it’s an ‘us against the world’ type of drama. I loved how she and Evan met. It was very sexy and sensual.

I appreciated how the author dealt with different kinds of love here. Kylie loved her daughter so much that she would do anything for her daughter. She worked as a waitress and a stripper in order to make ends meet. Evan loved his parents that’s why he was such a perfect son. But his love for Kylie and his family’s rejection of her finally made him turn his back on them. And we have Sarah, Kylie’s best friend. She’s very loyal and can always be counted on especially thru tough times. I cried on the part where Kylie’s dad died and she was giving a eulogy. She talked about the lost time they could have spent together. It was such a bittersweet moment that i cried buckets.

I really hated Alexis. She was a b*tch and in the end she also showed herself as a whore. I also hated Evan’s dad, but it would be a spoiler if I post here the reason why. I liked and hated Brad. In his own way he really loved Kylie but drugs can ruin a man in a big way.

Technically there’s a minor problem with editing and some very much repeated lines. I disregarded it because I was more focused on the story. The romance was great and deep. The author actually played on different emotions throughout the book. The sex was also okay. It was hot and sizzling. And the conflict… Damn! I honestly think they could have avoided some misunderstandings here. But it was still alright and the author pulled it really well.

Overall, this is 4.5 stars for me.

Goodreads Link Here

Red Fox (Experiment in Terror #2)

RedFox (Experiment in Terror #2)

Synopsis:
With Book Two of the Experiment in Terror Series, Perry Palomino and Dex Foray trade in the stormy Oregon coast for the unforgiving deserts of New Mexico.
In the for­got­ten town of Red Fox, New Mex­ico, a Navajo cou­ple is tor­tured by things unseen and by motives unknown. Wild ani­mals slink through their house in the dark, a bar­rage of stones pound their roof nightly, and muti­lated sheep car­casses are turn­ing up on their prop­erty. Armed with a cam­era and just enough to go on, Perry and Dex travel to the des­o­late locale, hop­ing to film the super­nat­ural occur­rences and add cred­i­bil­ity to their flail­ing web­cast. Only their show has a lot more work­ing against them than just grow­ing pains. Tested by dubi­ous ranch hands, a ghost from Dex’s past,and shapeshift­ing decep­tion, the ama­teur ghost hunters must learn to trust each other in order to fight the most ancient of myths…or die trying.

The duo is back in this 2nd installment of the series. After their first adventure, Perry has finally signed a contract with Dex’s boss for a series of low-budget, low-paying, paranormal webcast episodes… Unfortunately she got fired from her daytime job, not to mention that their debut webisode was just so-so. Plus her parents are discouraging her from continuing her weird activities.
So now we have poor Perry, mildly depressed,looking for a new job while trying to hide her predicament from her parents. Until she got the call from Dex… He informed her that they have a new case at hand. This time, the duo is joined by Dex’s former bandmate and fellow paranormal ‘expert’… Maximus.
The setting is in New Mexico, at a small Navajo reservation village called Red Fox. A native couple has some weird stuff going on in their ranch. So the husband decided to contact Maximus, who eventually contacted Dex. And a new story begins…
This novel has a darker and more sinister air than the previous one, but more enjoyable to read. The scenes are very creepy, if not horrifying. Plus we get to know more about Dex’s past in this story, with special thanks to Maximus. My only disappointment is that I was hoping for Perry to show some kind of not so passive powers. Like something that can be used for attack (or defense).
But I love Perry! She rarely loses her head even in sticky situations. Pretending to be married and sleeping in the same bed with the guy you have the hots for should have been awkward and tempting. But she got control of her emotions and i love that about her. Dex is a revelation! So now we have bits of info from his past, which slightly shed light to his nondescript personality. AND HE REALLY CARES ABOUT PERRY. I think he’s in love with her. He just doesn’t realize it yet, unlike our cute Perry. I love the supporting characters. Especially Maximus and Bird. I think the author has done a very good job in developing the other characters. The feelings are very realistic that you will actually feel for them, even with the evil ones.
And the romance… Oh boy! Oh boy! Finally! Good progress! I want more of this in the next books. The chemistry and sparks are sizzling! I think they are more into each other than they think. The semi-love triangle with Maximus also worked. I hope we can see more of him in the future as well.
My judgment… 4.5 out of 5 stars! I love this book! It got me gripping and excited and it’s definitely a page turner. I’ve read a lot of PnR books but so far this is the only series I’ve read in this style and it’s very refreshing. I’m very excited and really looking forward to reading the succeeding books.

Goodreads Link Here

Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1)

Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1)

Synopsis:
There’s always been something a bit off about Perry Palomino. Though she’s been dealing with a quarter-life crisis and post-college syndrome like any other twenty something, she’s still not what you would call “ordinary.”
For one thing, there’s her past which she likes to pretend never happened, and then there’s the fact that she sees ghosts. Luckily for her, that all comes in handy when she stumbles across Dex Foray, an eccentric producer for an upcoming webcast on ghost hunters.
Even though the show’s budget is non-existent and Dex himself is a maddening enigma, Perry is instantly drawn into a world that both threatens herlife and seduces her with a sense of importance. Heruncle’s haunted lighthouse provides the perfect catalyst and backdrop for a horrific mystery that unravels the threads of Perry’s fragile sanity and causes her to fall for a man, who, like the most dangerous of ghosts, may not be all that he seems.

Darkhouse is the start of the paranormal adventure of two ‘not so perfect’ protagonists. Perryis a 22-year old receptionist who had her fair share of low points in her teenage years plus weird stuff happening all her life. She is a woman who has major issues of insecurities. And then we have Declan, Dex for short. He is intense, weird and hard to classify (by Perry’s own words). And quite good looking (again, according to Perry).
I love how the book showed the normality of the characters. Yes, it’s a paranormal story and the heroes have some weird stuff going on. But how often do you read about a heroine who snores and drools on her shoulder while sleeping in a car? Or a hero who spits saliva while shouting in a girl’s face? Yep, they’re quite normal. These heroes are endearing in a way that they weren’t made perfect by the author. Psychologically they’re both struggling but sane enough to survive the paranormal horrors they faced and will be facing next time.
The first chapter was perfect! What a way to start a thriller. And by the 5th chapter I was already hooked. It was thrilling and intriguing. Nice plot to start a series. The book got me so absorbed especially in the scenes where they were in the lighthouse. Lots of suspense there! I love how Perry and Dex dealt with their issues here, setting aside their fear and deciding to confront it by returning to the Darkhouse. Like Perry, I didn’t trust Dex at first. His character is so mysterious I really find it hard to describe him. But by the end of the book he had won me over especially with the heartfelt speech he gave to his boss(which is one of my favorite parts of the book, by the way).
When i decide to read a series i really don’t expect much on its first book and this is no exception. I gave Darkhouse 3.8 stars because, 1) it didn’t really blow me away. It was very good, but not that great. And 2) I can’t rate it higher because I honestly think this series will get better in the succeeding books. And there’s always too much going on in the first book, with the world building and other stuff. So the story is usually not as good as the other books.
Overall, it’s a very good book. Again, it didn’t blow me away, but good enough to make me want to read the next book. In fact, that’s what i’m going to read after this review.
I would definitely recommend this to old paranormal romance readers. It’s like a fresh view of Pnr stories. A definite breakaway style from the usual genre. And I would also like to recommend this to those readers who want to try reading paranormal stories. This is a perfect way to be introduced to the genre.

Goodreads Link Here