Made For Sin by Stacia Kane

How much of an edge in PI work would a demon give a person? Wanted or not, having a demon living in your head has it’s moments…

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Made for SinTitle: Made For Sin
Author: Stacia Kane
Publish Date: August 30, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: A lot of bad hands get dealt in Vegas, but E. L. Speare may be holding one of the worst: He’s cursed with the need to commit sins, and if he misses his daily quota, there’s hell to pay—literally. Fortunately, his hometown affords him plenty of chances to behave badly.

But Speare’s newest case really has him going out on a limb. The right-hand man of a notorious crime boss has been found dead in a Dumpster—minus his right hand, not to mention the rest of his arm. What catches Speare’s attention, however, is that the missing appendage was severed clean by a demon-sword, a frighteningly powerful tool of the underworld.

Speare’s out of his element, so he turns to a specialist: Ardeth Coyle, master thief, dealer in occult artifacts, and bona fide temptress. Ardeth’s hotter than a Las Vegas sidewalk on the Fourth of July, but she’s one sin Speare has to resist.

The dismembered corpses are piling up, unimaginable evil lurks in the shadows, and if this odd couple hopes to beat the odds, Speare needs to keep his hands off Ardeth, and his head in the game.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (or, in other words, SPOILERS).

Nervous Nellie says…Nervous_Nellie_100

First of all, this is a paranormal romance that is mostly urban fantasy than romance.  The protagonist is an antihero, which is not my norm. There is a little sex, but not much.  There is some brutal killings and a demon living in the guy’s head and a mystery to solve. Pretty cool, right?

I loved this book, ok? I’m just getting that out there for all the world to see.  The cover guy? Nope, he does not even come close to E.L. Speare, the anithero, and his appearance in my head.  That guy is too pretty for the crap Speare goes through.

badge4v4The ending is perfect.  Nervous Nell warning, it is a bit of a cliffhanger but not so much that it detracts from a good story.  It’s perfect.  It had to end that way to lead in to the next book and I am so very ready to read the next book. Don’t freak out over the cliffhanger warning.  If I liked it I think anyone will, even though it kinda leaves you hanging.  It’s awesome.

The mystery of who and why people are being killed isn’t the focus of the book.  I mean, it is, but mostly what I was reading for was the relationship, how Speare got the demon and how working as a PI helped Speare find a place in the world.  Plus, how do you keep sinning to keep a demon happy?  That was intriguing.

If you like this book…

…you might try  Immortal Vegas series by Jenn Stark.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Feature & Follow August 25, 2016


The Feature and Follow, hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read, is the premium BLOG HOP of Book Bloggers. Running for over five years, the Feature and Follow’s goal is to promote the book blogging and author community to join together and support each other – even if it is just through a simple follow. The FF also promotes creative post options by offering interesting topics we can all talk about and comment on! Come join us.

Top 5 Book Boyfriends by Peyton @A Bookish Mess

Kat Mandu chooses…


Jack Grammar – This sweet and awkward kid is bound to steal your heart with his adorable one liners, comedic behavior, and chivalry. Though he’s lacking a bit in the confidence department, maybe he just needs the right girl to show off to. You can find Jack in 24 Girls in 7 Days by Alex Bradley (YA).

Ravirn – Techno savvy, sarcastic, and a hero at heart, Ravirn is the bad boy in Kelly McCullough’s WebMage series, an urban fantasy/scifi series where Ravirn gets in over his head when it comes to hacking the computers of Greek gods. He’s sweet, funny, and he’s got some really mad skills yo…

Logan McEntire – Fierce, protective, smart, and good looking, Logan will set your heart on fire as you adventure with him in the Defiance trilogy by CJ Redwine. He’s got plans upon plans and best case/worst case scenarios for every situation. He was a pleasure to read and I think you’ll find you crush on him too as you read this fabulous trilogy. (YA)

Neville Longbottom – Who loves a hero who doesn’t even realize he’s a hero? Me. In all seven Harry Potter books by JK Rowling, Neville comes off as clumsy, forgetful, and often cowardly. But when it matters most, Neville is there to save the day with his quick-thinking and bravery.

Darrow – I often find I have another side to the awkward, shy types I normally go for. I like my anti-heroes brooding and vengeful at times, and that’s where Red Rising‘s Darrow comes in. Darrow is tough, smart, and ready to sacrifice anything to get his world back to the way it used to be (not to mention avenging the deaths of his loved ones). He’s on the list for best boyfriends and you can find him in Pierce Brown’s epic sci-fi trilogy, Red Rising.

Nervous Nellie says…Nervous_Nellie_100

Wow! You go Kat!  Everybody loves a lover!  Here’s my choices…

Roarke – is a fictional character from the series In Death. He is the husband of Lt. Eve Dallas and together, they are the main characters of the futuristic (circa 2058 AD) romance-mystery series by J.D. Robb, pseudonym for NY Times best-selling author Nora Roberts. A former career criminal, Roarke is the owner and CEO of Roarke Industries, an inter-planetary corporation that has made him one of the richest men in the world. Via Wikipedia

Reyes Alexander Farrow – is a fictional character from the series of Charley Davidson by Darynda Jones. He is the son of Satan. He waited for her to be born. His smoldering countenance is enough to make me swoon.

Bruiser/George Dumas – is a fictional character from the series of Jane Yellowrock by Faith Hunter. He is smart and powerful in his own right.  He’s not perfect and it took a little to convince me to forgive his transgressions.  He treats Jane much better than Ricky Bo ever did.

Clive Stewart – is a fictional character from the Goddess with a Blade series by Lauren Dane.  He is the haughty, stylish Scion of North America who shows Rowan Summerwaite exactly how much he loves her by taking care of her even though she can take care of herself.

Death or Falin Andrews – are both fictional characters from the Alex Craft series by Kalayna Price.  Death is the grim reaper and Falin is Fae.  They tussle over Alex often.  It’s fun.

Invested Ivana indicates…

Invested_Ivana_100Hmm… there are a lot of great guys out there in the fiction world, but I’m not sure I could come up with five *boyfriends.* There’s really only one for sure, but let me stretch just a bit…

Owen Grayson – The Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep.

George “Bruiser” Dumas Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter (post-vampire employment).

Adam Hauptman – Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.

Simon Wolfgard – The Others series by Anne Bishop.

These four men are completely in love with and dedicated to their women. They are strong and reliable and can be trusted to do what they think is right, even when that thing is frustratingly alpha-male. In particular, I think I’d adore spending time with Simon in both human and wolf form.

However, though these men are incredibly attractive, there is really only one book boyfriend for me:

Jamie Fraser Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. You can’t hardly blame me; the man is written to be devastatingly attractive on all levels — gorgeous, intelligent, passionate, noble, loyal, mischievous, determined, and vulnerable all at the same time. I’m not sure there is a woman alive who wouldn’t fall in love with him after reading the first book. Jamie gets my whole book-heart.😉

Ruby_Lee 100Ruby Lee resonates…

Jack Sheriden from Virgin River series by Robyn Carr.  That is the person that comes to my mind first when I think of book boyfriends.  He is supportive, can win any fight and he cooks.

Donovon Kelly from the KGI series by Maya Banks.  Former military man that travels around the world with this team to save people and he is a computer geek that loves children.

Reese Bareden from Bare it All by Lori Foster.  He is smart, sexy, a lawyer that fights against human trafficking and he loves dogs.  Is there a better combo?

Reyes Farrow from the Charley Davidson books by Darynda Jones.  If you read the books, you would understand.  Enough said.

Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.  I know how the books ended and Sookie made the right choice but part of me will always be on Team Eric.

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Origins by Cate Tiernan

I totally loved this one!

Author:  Cate Tiernan
SeriesSweep Book 11
Publish Date:  May 13, 2002
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description:My name is Rose MacEwan. The year is 1682. It is a hard time to be a witch. And an even harder time to be Wodebayne.

Now that I’ve found my soul mate, I feel almost safe. I will do anything to keep him.

Pity the witch who comes between me and my true love.

The chronicle of the deadly Woodbane conspiracy-as told by one of Morgan-s own ancestors-has fallen into Hunter-s and Morgan-s hands. Hunter and Morgan explore the world of these powerful witches, to find a way to vanquish them at last.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

In Origins, we travel back in time to the days when magic was just starting to be feared by cities across America and England. Although I’m not a huge historical fiction fan, I do enjoy “magically” interpreted stories that take place in history. And since this does just that, I really loved it.

The speech seemed accurate and so romantic. Rose is one of Morgan’s ancestors and the creator of the dark wave. She starts out as an innocent girl in love and becomes a heartbroken woman bent on revenge. And the paranoia of all the witch trials, so accurate and fiercely scary. I loved the continuous tension.

Oh, and the beauty of Rose’s magic – especially her love spells. Fascinating magick as always, especially when she’s imprisoned and purposely creates the dark wave to escape. Rose was a magnificently written character. I liked her power and her ability to use it. You could truly feel her love, her emotions – sometimes more than you can relate to Morgan’s actually.

And the beginning! I adore that Hunter was man enough to tell Morgan he kissed Justine. I like that Morgan didn’t automatically succumb to forgiveness, that her stubbornness stayed true to her character. That even though she’s in love, she still holds onto that sensibility that things aren’t right and they need to be fixed.

badge4v4With the ending, however, it alludes to a wave of darkness…that threatens to swallow up everything Morgan’s built – her family, friends, and lover. This series is about to get real folks, stay tuned.

Until then, I give this a four!

Books in this series…

Links will become active as reviews are posted.

Bullet Riddled by Grant M. Whitus

An autobiography by Grant Whitus (with Thom Vines). Grant was a SWAT member in Colorado and one of the responders at Columbine, as well as numerous other incidents that happened in his district. Bullet Riddled is what he learned, not only as a SWAT member but also its leader. The author also has some good insights into what it takes to fight crime in the US right now.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Bullet riddledTitleBullet Riddled
AuthorGrant M. Whitus
Series: stand alone
Publish Date: September 1, 2016
Genre: Memoir
Source: From the publisher at BEA 16

Publisher’s Description: Grant Whitus joined the Colorado S.W.A.T in 1992. His seventeen year career was one of constant headlines. Among leading countless drug raids and hostage situations, he was on the front lines of the Columbine Massacre, The Platte County Tragedy, the Albert Petrosky shooting, and the Granby tank rampage.

Speaking for the first time, Whitus gives the unvarnished truth of those, and many other, major S.W.A.T operations. Now retired, he opens up about his time behind the shield. Bullet Riddled is the full unabridged disclosure of what happened during his storied career; including the brutal morning of the Columbine Massacre.

More than just a retelling, Bullet-Riddled is an in-depth look at the day-to-day of S.W.A.T and focuses on the men and women who inherit so much pain to keep us safe. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the aftermath of the Columbine tragedy. The following days saw major changes within S.W.A.T. Men cracked, leaders folded and the entire country demanded changes.

But these changes, like all reforms, met with stiff resistance from the old guard. Friendships turned into rivals and the infrastructure of S.W.A.T began to unravel. As resignations piled up, Grant rebuilt the entire team from hand-selected recruits. He finally had his elite team, one that would face new demons and disorders.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

Things I Did Like: This is a good, quick read. As I said in the intro, this is an autobiography by a twenty-five year law enforcement veteran—first as a sheriff, then a SWAT member, then its leader—Grant Whitus. It starts out with a nice excerpt on things to come then backs up and goes mostly linear from there. The author talks about how he got into law enforcement, some of the things they did, such as stopping drugs going through the state, and what he learned. In short order, he is on the SWAT team when Columbine happens.

I had not read much about Columbine so to read about it from someone who was there was very informative. It was also quite scary, which I think was the point. The book walks us through what the author and his team did, from first response, arrival at the school, checking the school, and then finally finding the ones behind it. There is a debrief chapter where it talks about what happened and what they learned.

The rest of the book, then, is stories of other incidents that happened. More than that, though, it’s a treatise on how crime has changed in America—even as crime has gone down—and how it must be dealt with is different today. The book is unapologetic in its frank look at crime and what must be done when criminals have tanks, sniper rifles, explosives, and assault rifles. The author makes a very good case why the tactics he used, both in recruitment and in operations, were necessary. After reading the book, I agree with his conclusions.

Things I Didn’t Like: Even though this book is autobiographical, and therefore the author’s thoughts and feelings are relevant, the book also seems to want to explain why we need the team the author created. When incidents are laid out like a debriefing and the author can take a step back from it and talk about it logically, it works and it works well.

However, there are a few chapters where the author is reacting out of anger. While he deserves to be angry, “hearing” that anger as a reader shows me the downside to his job. The downsides are mentioned later, but downplayed too much, in my opinion, when the author says that the job became his life so much that he had to sacrifice his family life.

Further, one incident got aired on the internet and that caused many team member’s family lives to be ruined. It also led to the team pulling itself apart as each member went their own way. The author does say there is no good solution for this, in terms of how to have a team ready to respond to violence and be in violent situations, but also have “normal” lives. It’s not possible, and I think downplaying that is a disservice to readers.  We need to understand what we, as society, ask of our police officers (and military). I think this needs to be highlighted, not downplayed, so that support structures are created and we examine how we can help those who do this job, every bit as much as we examine how we must react to crime and criminals differently.

badge4v4This book kept me engaged and I’ve gotten into several interesting discussions on this topic. If anyone is interested in reading about Columbine or what it takes to fight home grown “terrorists,” this is a book that will explain it well along with the toll it takes on us all.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Alice by Christina Henry

In this dark twist on a classic tale, Alice struggles to recover from the trauma of her past and her commitment to a mental institution, and to regain her power as an independent and whole person.

AuthorChristina Henry
Narrator: Jenny Sterlin
Series: The Chronicles of Alice, Book 01
Publish Date: January 25, 2016 (audio)
Genre: Horror, Dark Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionIn a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside.

In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…

Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.

Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.

And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

What drew me to this book: Reviews for this book are very good, and I like the vintage paper collage look of the cover. I have read some of the books in Christina Henry’s Black Wing series and enjoyed them. Plus, I love retellings of fairy tales. I love the clever ways authors use details from the originals to make a new story.

Why I kept reading: Wow! First off, Alice is not like the Black Wings books. It’s a grittier, harsher, and beautifully written. It’s a different genre entirely; Alice is categorized as horror or dark fantasy. It feels as if the writing intentionally matches the style and sound of Victorian England, in which period the original Alice books were written. Not to the extent that it’s difficult to read, but just enough to give the story character and convey the time period reflected in Alice’s fantasy world.

I adore the way the elements of both original books are used in this story. Having the Walrus and the Carpenter appear as two rival street bosses, for example, is very clever. The uses of some elements are obvious, such as the Cheshire cat or the tea party with a door mouse. Others you may not recognize immediately, such as Alice’s plunge “down the rabbit hole” and swimming through a river of tears, the Mad Hatter, or the oysters that the Walrus and the Carpenter eat.

Though not a young adult novel, one of the themes is certainly Alice coming into her own power as an adult and a survivor of trauma. The book also touches on the idea of loving yourself and others regardless of “imperfections,” and whether or not you can be a good person despite having done some bad things.

I listened to the audio version of this book, and I highly recommend it. The narrator, Jenny Sterlin, does a great job with the voices and the Victorian feel of the book. I’ve already purchased, and am listening to, the sequel, Red Queen.

badge5v4Why I recommend this book: Alice is a clever and well-written dark fantasy that has depth and substance enough to feel literary. The world Henry has created is fascinatingly awful, but watching Alice own her past and take control of her future is incredibly satisfying. Alice is certainly another contender for this site’s Standout Awards this year.


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