Monthly Archives: April 2015

Boundary Crossed by Melissa F. Olson

Boundary CrossedTitleBoundary Crossed
Author:  Melissa F. Olson
Series: Boundary Magic Book 1
Publish Date: May 1, 2015
Publisher: 47 North
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Perspective: First Person

Publisher’s Description: After her twin sister’s brutal murder, former US Army Sergeant Allison “Lex” Luther vowed to protect her niece, Charlie. So when two vampires try to kidnap the baby, it quickly turns into a fight to the death—Lex’s death, that is.

She wakes up to two shocking discoveries: she has miraculously survived the fight, and baby Charlie is a “null,” gifted with the ability to weaken supernatural forces…and a target for creatures who want to control that power. Determined to guarantee her niece’s safety, Lex makes a deal with the local vampires. She sets out with the mysterious—and undead—“fixer” Quinn to track down whoever’s responsible for the kidnapping, sharpening her newfound magic skills along the way. But the closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous her powers become.

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


Nell 100I finished Boundary Crossed!  There is one scene that you will hate, but other than that, it was fairly good.

ivana 100You mean the mouse scene?

Yeah.  I recoiled strongly at that.  It hurt my heart.

This series is more serious than her last one, isn’t it?

Nell 100Yes!  I was left off-kilter.  Sad, whatever you want to call it.

ivana 100Why?

There’s a lot of death and sad things.  I wasn’t expecting it.

There were a lot of sad things.  And good things.  Again, I was surprised, since the author’s previous series wasn’t as dark.  But overall, I think it was a pretty good read.

Nell 100I did, too, once I let my heart recover a bit.


Nervous Nellie says…

Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  Allison Alexandra Luther, or “Lex,” is a tough war veteran — two tours — and she has issues.  She’s also nursing grief from the death of her twin sister. She’s finding out that she is a Boundary Witch.  All of that pushes the envelope to any degree of normalcy.  Lex is a protector.  She protects everything and everyone she loves.  She has a good moral arrow and even though she’s seen a lot of death, she still feels naïve.  Quinn, the vampire, is a man that lost his family and his job as a cop to vampirism.  He tries to stay cold and detached.  I’m glad that he fails. Simon and Lilly are brother and sister witches who try to help Lex through her changing life.  They are both good characters, but maybe a smidge less dimensional that I would have liked.

Other characters: ♥ ♥ ♥  Maven is the grand dame of the vampire lordship of Boulder.  Her second in command is a greasy, grimy vampire that is really well-described as hungry.  John Wheaton, Charlie’s dad, is fairly inobtrusive for the series.  He’s just really there for a background on Sam & Lex as they grew up.  Charlotte “Charlie” Wheaton is Sam and John’s daughter who needs Lex’s protection because she is a “null”.  A null is a magical creature that can nullify magic when magic comes within their personal space.

World: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ The world that I was brought into is a normal every day world.  We walk around in it every day and nothing weird goes on.  Lex discovers her heritage and her power much to her surprise when saving her niece from kidnapping. The world is built fairly well and since it only wanders off to the paranormal when it comes to the creatures, it’s believable.

Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ The portrayal of Lex’s morality and principles is set up right away.  The author makes it clear that she is a lover of life and would not do anything to hurt anyone.  Lex adopts shelter animals and cares full them with total commitment.  She is trying hard to assimilate to normal life after being discharged from the military.  She stumbles upon a secret life that she doesn’t want, but is honor- and instinct-bound to protect.  Her niece, Charlotte, is really the only true blood relative that Lex has and the only thing that remains of her sister.  I shed a few tears during this story, but I am a really big softie so that may not hold true for everyone.  Lex’s powers are basically death magic.  All the creatures of the world have made boundary witches an enigma to fear and we all know what happens when people fear something…..they destroy it.

Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ I really liked this story.  The author creates another series that has nuances of Scarlet Bernard, but since I like that series, it’s no hardship. There wasn’t a cliffhanger and no sex.  There could be a relationship brewing between Lex and Quinn, but at this point it’s just potential.  As you know, I base my reviews on how the book made me feel and it made me feel the grief that Lex was going through.  She felt lost and kind of homeless in her own world.  The portrayal of a veteran trying to get her life back was pretty accurate, though not despairingly so.  Towards the ending of the book, I felt like Lex had found herself and felt that she had started the process of accepting that she was a boundary witch working for vampires.  I’ll look for the next in the series, guaranteed.

Invested Ivana says…

Main Characters:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  I found myself invested in Lex right away, drawn in by the emotional struggle of her post-army reintegration, the loss of her twin, the rescue animals, and her over-developed sense of responsibility.  Quinn, Simon, and Lily are all great characters that I cared about instantly.

Other Characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  I enjoyed the portrayal of Lex’s family as close, loving,  and sometimes overwhelming.  Charlie, the baby, is a darling.  I’m not sure how I feel about the Vampires or the Witches overall; they both have their good and bad points – which is pretty realistic about any group of people.

World: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  I’m happy Boundary Crossed is set in the same world as Scarlett Bernard.  If you haven’t read the Bernard series, you won’t be missing any crucial details; but, the world is rich enough for many more stories.  I am tempted to go reread the Bernard series just to remind myself of the world.

Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ I’m pleasantly surprised by the story.  I read and liked the Scarlett Bernard series, but found it a bit lighter, a bit “romancy-ier” than I usually prefer.  Boundary Crossed is not light.  It is straight-up Urban Fantasy, which I enjoyed.  There aren’t many slow spots in the story at all.  The reader jumps right in with the kidnap of Lex’s niece and skims over a few weeks of inactivity in a paragraph or two.  The action keeps moving right to the end.

Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  I think this is a series to watch and I’m looking forward to the next installment.  I’m going to pick it up in audio and see how it sounds.

Stand Out Award Badge2Other reviews:

If you like this book…

Boundary Lines, the second Boundary Magic novel, will be out this coming October.  Until then, there are several stories set in this same world – the three-book Scarlett Bernard series and two short stories, Sell-By-Date and Blood Sick.  Information about the “Old World” and story extras can be found on Melissa Olson’s website.  You might also like the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost, the Hollows series by Kim Harrison, and the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.

A review copy of this novel was purchased by the reviewers from the Kindle First program.

Edge of Dreams by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Edge of DreamsTitle: Edge of Dreams
Author: Diana Pharaoh Francis
Series: Diamond City #2
Publish Date: April 15, 2015
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Perspective: First Person

Publisher’s Description:  The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

And a pound of flesh.Magical tracking expert Riley Hollis is on a mission to save five teenagers lost inside a mountain. But nothing is what it seems, and soon Riley finds herself bruised, bloodied, and embroiled in a battle to bring down a sadistic criminal dealing in human souls and the darkest of magics.Her only hope may be to swallow her pride and ask for help from her not-quite-ex-boyfriend and his notorious brother—Tyet criminal boss, Gregg Touray. Even that may not be enough to protect her. Something has gone very wrong in the trace dimension and in Riley’s head.If she doesn’t figure out how to handle the past, the present, the trace, and the bad guys, the road to hell is going to look like a great alternative.

Spoilers!


Nell 100

Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Riley Hollis a tracer.  She can find people using magic.  In Book 1, I was introduced to what Riley could do with her magic.  It’s quite extraordinary.  She is strong willed, snarky and stubborn – all the things I love in a Heroine.  Clay Price is her almost ex-significant other.  She cut ties with him at the end of Book 1 because of his brother, Gregg Tourey, who is a top syndicate boss in Diamond City. Price is overprotective and allegedly deeply in love with Riley.

Other characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ Gregg Tourey, scary syndicate boss. He isn’t a headliner in this story, but he still does manage to show that he is a scary guy.  George Pervical James Borden Caldwell, IV otherwise known as Percy, known by me as the sick sadistic bastard villain guy.  He loves to torture to get obedience. Then to keep obedience he addicts his employees to “Sparkle Dust”.  He’s a real peach, let me tell you. Riley’s family and friends make several appearances and that helped to fortify Riley’s character.

World: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ This world is set in Diamond City.  Diamond City is set on the edge of a caldera – you know, like Yellowstone National Park kind of caldera. There is a mineral that is developed by this caldera that can be made into “Sparkle Dust” and it is very, very addictive.  It’s such a bad addiction that the more you take, the more crave it  and then you become wraith-like until you just disappear.  Gregg Tourey claims he does not participate in this particular drug’s trafficking, however some of the Tyet (this world’s name for the mob) bosses don’t share his reluctance.  Oh, and just to put everyone at ease, all the cops are corrupt. Riley’s job is to find people with her magic.  That and get the ever loving snot beat out of her on a page by page basis.  There are “tinkers” that use magic to heal or whatever and without healing tinkers and charms, Riley would be dead so many times, there wouldn’t even be an ending.

Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ This was a pretty good story.  Like I said, Riley is wounded so many times that it becomes standard operating procedure. She has special skills that are especially useful to whomever can control her and there are a lot of bad people that want to control her.  Gregg Tourey is included, but he has the moral problem keeping his brother happy.  Clay, Gregg’s brother, is in love with Riley and will do anything to keep her safe, so Gregg has to decide between his brother and business. That is a small issue for this story.  The bigger issue is the “Sparkle Dust” trade and Percy’s new procedure for creating it.  Riley wants to stop production and rescue all the people being held hostage and/or addicted to the junk.  Easy peasy.  Yeah.  Riiiiight.

Cover: I sort of get the cover, but I liked Book 1’s cover much better. The chick on the cover doesn’t look like she’s got the attitude that she needs to be Riley.  It also doesn’t make a very powerful statement.  If I wouldn’t have read the description, I wouldn’t have read the book.  I know, I know – judging books by covers and all that.  Can’t help it – it’s what I do.

Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  I like Riley.  She’s got her problems and the knack of getting hurt by bad guys at every turn, but I like her.  Clay Price is more of a fixture while Riley does all of the heavy lifting.  Basically, Riley had to save a lot of people, exhaust herself, recharge, save more people, get hurt, be healed, save some more people and so on.  I still liked the story and I will pick up the next book simply because she was such a cool character.

Other reviews:

If you like this book…

you might want to check out a couple of books I’ve read, loved and recommend featuring a strong female protagonist:

A review copy of this book was given by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Anticipated May Releases

Here’s our May anticipated releases!

Boundary Crossed smallBoundary Crossed by Melissa Olson
Boundary Magic Series Book 1

This book is a new series for Melissa Olson. I have read her Scarlett Bernard series and I like the way she writes so this will be an author I like already, but characters I know nothing about.

Released May 1, 2015

Midnights Kiss

Midnight’s Kiss by Thea Harrison
Elder Races Series Book 8

This is a series on which I’ve gotten hooked.  This is a cut and dried, no argument and no doubt an absolute paranormal romance.  This series has full blown sex scenes, so if that isn’t your thing, now you know.

I know I don’t usually review heavy duty romances like this, but Thea Harrison is one of three romance authors I love, hence the anticipation of this release.

Released May 5, 2015

Luthers ReturnLuther’s Return by Tina Folsom
Scanguards Vampires Series Book 10

This is the other heavy duty romance that I’m seriously addicted.  Usually, the story follows the Scanguard Vampires, but it appears that all of them now have their mate so we have to go find someone else to pick on.  Luther is not a character I’m familiar, so I don’t know if I’ll like this story or not.  Book 7 and Book 8 of Scanguard Vampires by Tina have been kind of lukewarm, so I don’t know where this will fall in the spectrum.

If you want to try the Scanguard Vampire series, I believe you can get Samson’s Lovely Mortal for free on Amazon.  Like I said, the first six books were good.  Since then I may have gotten enough of the world or the series “jumped the shark”.  I don’t know which.

Released:  May 6, 2015

Day ShiftDay Shift by Charlaine Harris
Midnight Texas Series Book 2

I’m still a but uncertain about this series.  While I love Ms. Harris, I can’t quite tell if this is a mystery series, a paranormal series, or just a characture of an odd little town in Texas.  Manfred Bernardo, who appeared in the Harper Connelly series and in a short story with Sookie Stackhouse, has moved to a small town in Texas in which to work on his psychic reading website.  Over the course of the story, bit of secretive history are revealed about the town’s residents.  I’m going to give the second book in the series a try in audio before I decide how I feel about it.

Release Date: May 5, 2015

The Big FixThe Big Fix by Linda Grimes
In A Fix Series Book 3

This series is a lighter read for an urban fantasy.  It does have a certain amount of romance, but nothing heavy duty.  Ciel Halligan is a character that I’ve not seen in any other stories.  She can assume someone’s aura so she looks just like them.  She can do the dirty stuff her clients don’t want to do themselves – kind of like sending a clone to that stupid meeting that takes too much time.

She gets herself into “fixes” and sometimes her solutions are just laugh out loud funny.  It gets even more funny when you throw in her new beau Billy and her ex-crush Mark.  Each one knows what Ciel can do, so it’s hard to remember that she’s wearing someone else’s aura when she may be caught making out with her boyfriend!  Hilarious!

Release date:  May 12, 2015

Last but definitely not least is: *drum roll*

Eighth GraveEighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones
Charley Davidson Series Book 8

I have been not-so-patiently waiting for this book since October 21, 2014 when Seventh Grave And No Body was released.  The humor in these books is tempered with some serious stuff.  Charley Davidson is a snarky-and-sometimes-lacks-common-sense detective, or P.I. as she refers to herself.  This series is SO DARN GOOD that I have read each book at least twice and listened to the audio at least once.

The romance and relentless pursuit of Charley by the Son of Satan is swoon worthy.  Reyes is OMG too much for words, but somehow Darynda finds them.

In this episode, Charley is running from “The Twelve” hellhounds while very, very pregnant with Reyes’ child.  You really need to start with First Grave on The Right in order to catch the full crazy, mixed up story, but it is SO worth it.  Audio, written word – either one, both.  It’s all good.  Oh, and don’t call me or text me or expect me to come to work on May 19, 2015 when this book is released, because I’m totally unavailable.  IN meetings….yeah, that’s it.  Meetings.

Release Date: May 19, 2015

GraphicAudio — A New Kind Of Audiobook

Tempting DangerTitle:  Tempting Danger (GraphicAudio Version)
Author: Eileen Wilks
SeriesWorld of the Lupi Book 1
Audio Release Date: June 1, 2013
Publisher: GraphicAudio
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Perspective: Third Person

Publisher’s Description: A bold new world where the magical and mundane co-exist in an uneasy alliance–and a cop balanced on her own knife-edged struggle is their only hope against a cold-blooded killer.

Lily Yu is a San Diego police detective investigating a series of grisly murders that appear to be the work of a werewolf. To hunt down the killer, she must infiltrate the clans. Only one man can help her–a were named Rule Turner, a prince of the lupi, whose charismatic presence disturbs Lily. Rule has his own reasons for helping the investigation–reasons he doesn’t want to share with Lily. Logic and honor demand she keep her distance, but the attraction between them is immediate and devastating-and beyond human reason. Now, in a race to fend off evil, Lily finds herself in uncharted territory, tested as never before, and at her back a man who she’s not sure she can trust.

SPOILERS!  FYI:  This review focuses more on the GraphicAudio format than on the content of the novel.


ivana 100On April 17, I saw a review on AudioBook Reviewer for Tempting Danger (World of the Lupi Book 1). The review describes a company called GraphicAudio that makes “audio theater” out of novels and graphic novels using multiple voice actors, sound effects, music, and stereo sound.

As a fan of audiobooks, I was intrigued by the idea of “audio theater,” which I assumed was like an enhanced radio play.  I had been meaning to catch up on the World of the Lupi series anyway, so I picked up the book.

Tempting Danger BookIn no particular order, here are some of the thoughts I had while listening:

  • I LOVE having different voices for different characters. Actually different voice actors, so it’s easy to tell once voice from another.
  • All the cop characters sound straight from the set of Barney Miller, but I did know quickly what kind of character they were supposed to be.
  • The main character’s voice sounds … harsher… than I would have expected from someone raised with Chinese parents and grandparents.
  • There is a lot of grunting — to indicate sitting down and standing up and, in particular, one scene with some VERY aggressive gardening.
  • I’m SO glad there weren’t any explicit sex scenes in this book; I don’t think I really want to listen to that. The kissy and heavy panting sounds were plenty.
  • I can live without the sound of someone eating.
  • The background noise really adds something to the story — city sounds and camera shutter sounds at the crime scene; the music at the club; the nature sounds and wolf howls in the woods. Even the clicking of a seat belt, the sound of footsteps, and the shutting of doors.
  • I’m really glad they were able to cut out the he-saids and she-saids and make it straight dialog when the characters were talking.
  • This is not an audio book to fall asleep to, as I normally do. I was awake until 3:00 a.m. listening!

Stand Out Award Badge2Overall, I’m excited about this version of an audiobook. It’s exciting and engaging and, at the very least, something different for me. The company seems to have a lot of sci-fi, fantasy and western titles, and have even adapted The Cemetery Girl, a graphic novel by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden. I think I’ll try that one next; I’m curious how one would adapt a graphic novel for audio.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Buy All The Books!

ivana 100Ya know, Nell, one thing about having a book blog is that I’m now exposed to even more new books than I was before.  Before we started the blog, I bought about three times more books than I could read in a year.  I’d hate to see what that ratio will be this year.  I bought 27 books in March and have bought 27 books so far in April!  Have you bought more books since we started this blog?

 Nell 100Actually, no, I haven’t really increased my buying by a lot.  There was a couple of authors that contacted me to read their books for them and I ended up buying them because I wanted to support the author.  My problem has been the “Book Hunt”.  Before I started writing here with you, I trolled occasionally looking for a good series.  Now, I see so many new series that I want to try that I’m never going to get caught up.  I haven’t heard you holler at me to buy that many books….are YOU turning into a hoarder?

ivana 100Well, not a hoarder, I hope.  But in reality, I buy more than I can read, so I guess that’s a type of hoarding.  My books are mostly electronic, now, so at least if I am hoarding, it’s not as obvious.  Want to compare what we’ve each bought so far this year?  I’d be curious to see.

Nell 100I think you are trying to trap me into admitting I’m as bad at buying books as you are.  What if I don’t want to know?

 

ivana 100I’m sure you already know.  But in any case, think of our readers, Nell.  They want to know!

Nell 100Well, fine.  If I get a knock on my door by guys that what to commit me for addiction, it’s your fault.  Ok, let’s see…. For March, I bought 41 books in March and 23 so far for April.  *blush*  Um…..I should also disclaim that count does not include audio books.

ivana 100Oh, right.  Audiobooks.  Okay, my March count is 34 and my April count 30 if you include audiobooks.  But two of those I bought for my husband!

Nell 100I may have bought 7 in March, but just 2 in April, so far.  I should tell you that I bought 3 books today.  I’m being painfully honest.  What is your most popular genre?

ivana 100Oh, Urban Fantasy by far.  I’ve been on an Urban Fantasy kick for a few years now.  How about you?

Nell 100It’s a toss up between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.  I think UF edges out PR by just a smidge.  I like Mysteries and Thrillers, but I’d like to have a paranormal twist to it.  I’m not a real fan of contemporary fluff, but it has to be the right kind of fluff.  It’s weird, I know.

ivana 100No, I understand completely.  We all just like what we like! 🙂


Ivana’s April Purchases:

I April Buys

Nell’s April Purchases:

N April Purchases