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Fused in Fire by K.F. Breene

Some things are worth fighting for and freedom is one of them.  Reagan is Lucifer’s daughter and she needs to hide herself from those who want to use her to their advantage.  How should she do it but meet them on their own turf.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title: Fused in Fire
Author: K.F. Breene
Series: Fire and Ice Trilogy, #3
Publish Date: October 17, 2017
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Source: Audible.com
Publisher’s Description: I thought the threat from Seattle was finished. That we showed up in time and took care of business.

I hate being wrong. It really ruins my day.

When Roger, the alpha of the North American pack, shows up at my door with the news that a demon has made it to the Underworld with knowledge of me, some hard decisions have to be made.

Do I stay above ground, with all my magical friends, and wait for the battle to come to me? Or do I seek the demon out, and pluck the threat out by the root?

I don’t want my friends to die on my behalf. I could never live with myself. But if I venture into the Underworld, it’ll be the most perilous journey of my life.

This time, it isn’t just my life hanging in the balance, it is my eternity.



Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In some cases…spoilers. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

Just FYI, in case you need a barometer reading on the day’s suckery, it is high. Very high. There is a shitstorm warning in effect.

This story does have a small mention of sex, but nothing graphic.  Reagan is very independent and she tends to swear a lot.  There are parts where demons and other evil creatures meet the business end of Reagan’s sword.  This is the conclusion of the trilogy and it would be smart to read books 1 and 2 prior to this book.  Also, there is a satisfying ending and maybe Reagan and Darius could be brought back for more adventures, but it’s the end for now.

First off, I love Reagan.  She is so brassy and snarky that she makes me grin every time she throws out a one liner.  Even when she is surrounded by bad guys she has something to say that is not necessarily something someone would say when that someone’s life is being threatened. She has bravado, but why shouldn’t she since she’s the daughter of Lucifer.  She’s got two powers fighting for dominance.  One ice, one fire.  She has to try to learn how to wield them or there will be serious trouble.

Darius is a wealthy, elder vampire who does not want a woman in his life.  He needs Reagan as leverage and she is useful with her power.  His sire, Vlad, also wants to succeed in his quest to be most powerful, but he’s got a different path.  As the trilogy moves along, Darius starts feeling emotional about Reagan.  She makes him feel his humanity again.  Darius wants Regan for his own and needs to convince her that he’s trustworthy and has her best interest in mind. It’s a feeling that many older vampires want back as they age and loose everything that they were as when they were alive.

This story is action packed, full of great movie quotes and the daughter of the devil.  Reagan has to stop the information that she exists before it reaches her father.  She and Darius travel through hell and Reagan even sees her father from a distance.  It’s a fantastic adventure and Reagan is one kick ass bounty hunter with powers to boot. Also, if you love great showdowns, the end of this book is one that was worth the price of admission.

Our reviews from the previous in the series…

 

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

 

 

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Black Luck, Prof Croft #5 by Brad Magnarella

Did you think that Prof Everson Croft was finished saving New York?  Nah, the beasties keep coming.  Everson has a new partner.  She’s a woman…and it’s not Vega!

Title:  Black Luck
Author:  Brad Magnarella
Series: Prof Croft #5
Publish Date: May 20, 2018
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Publisher’s Description:  ’Cause sometimes luck ain’t enough

In the year since the Whisperer’s attack, I’ve been busting my hump to become my best wizard, like my father. Now I’m ready for a test.

When a dark mage starts planting infernal bags around New York City, I get my wish. Like time bombs, the bags detonate without warning, spawning demonic beings that rip the souls of innocents from their bodies. And the attacks are accelerating.

Meanwhile, a new wizard has come to town. A recent addition to the Order, Pierce is everything I’m not: refined, self-assured, and adept at magic. He even has Detective Vega blushing. If riling my resentment wasn’t enough, he’s trying to shoulder me out of my own case, stoking my suspicions.

With the race to stop the dark mage growing more desperate by the minute, I need to prove that I’m the wizard to get it done—not Pierce. And without relying on my luck quotient.

That saying about being careful what you wish for?

It’s there for a reason.



Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In some cases…spoilers. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

Prof Croft has been practicing…and practicing…and practicing.  Is he as good as he could be? No.  Is he getting better? Yes.  This action packed book is filled with spells, casters, demons and the big question that foreshadows the story? Is New York big enough for two wizards?  Hard to know unless you read the book.

Black Luck doesn’t have any sex in it.  Lots of death of poor unsuspecting regular folk but not too gory- just sad.  Everson is having a hard time with this case.  There is a new wizard in town and Everson is a tad jealous of the new showman.  This story is more about Everson’s growth as a person instead of a wizard.  He’s got work to do in his professional life as well as his personal one.

I really enjoy Everson’s world.  I think my favorite character is Tabitha, the talking cat.  She doesn’t have any golden insight or does she assist in any major way.  She’s just a talking cat and that’s enough.  Now, if you want me to name my favorite part of the book, it’d have to be when Everson’s partner calls to the murderous imps and makes them mind.  She should be called the Imp Caller.  Or the Creature Tamer.  Or Dark World Whisperer. Any of those would be accurate.

I enjoyed seeing a glimpse inside of Everson and Ricki Vega’s new life.  They are trying hard to stay together but with the pressures of the job it’s proving difficult.  I’m always a sucker for a good romance.  There isn’t much romance in this story, but I enjoyed what there was.

Black Luck?  5 stars for sure.

 

Our reviews in this series…

 

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What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell

Historical Romance.  Governess and Duke.  Not a simple romance, but a life story from a fascinating woman meeting a abused and neglected duke.  It’s a story that I could not put down.

Title: What a Difference a Duke Makes
Author: Lenora Bell
SeriesSchool for Dukes #1
Publish Date: March 27, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:  Wanted: Governess for duke’s unruly children

Edgar Rochester, Duke of Banksford, is one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in England, but when it comes to raising twins alone, he knows he needs help. The only problem is the children have chased away half the governesses in London. Until the clever, bold, and far-too-enticing Miss Mari Perkins arrives.

Lost: One heart to an arrogant duke

Mari knows how to wrap even the most rebellious children around her finger. But their demanding, wickedly handsome father? He won’t be quite so easy to control. And there’s something else she can’t seem to command. Her heart. The foolish thing beats so wildly every time the duke is near.

Found: A forbidden passion neither can deny

As his employee, Mari is strictly off-limits. But what if she’s the one breaking all his rules? In the game of governess versus duke, how can Edgar maintain his defenses when the only thing he wants to do is let the tempting beauty win?

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says…

I told you I’d break your bloody nose.  Now get in the carriage and leave, you craven piece of maggot droppings.

That’s a Duke defending a Lady, that’s what that is!! Awesome romance.  Plain and simple.  Two common folk that lead a not so uncommon life.  The Duke is a tradesman.  The Governess is an orphan.  Both are emotionally damaged, but then again, how can they not be when they were abused as children.  There is no cliffhanger and there is a very feel good and satisfying ending.  This is definitely a book to get lost in for a few hours.

Photo by Alexander Petrenko / alexstudio.ch

I actually met Lenora Bell.  I did! Scout’s honor and all that!  Let me tell you that she would totally fit in the era she loves to write.  SHE belongs on the cover of the books she writes as she is as pretty as any cover model, as kind as any of her heroines.  She’s also an amazing historical writer.

I bought her series The Disgraceful Dukes when I saw her in the Kansas City Kisscon.  Her next book in this School For Dukes series won’t be out until September 18, 2018, which will feature the sister of the hero Duke from this book.  Now, that’s going to be a blast because India is someone I would LOVE to have as a friend in real life.

Ok, about this book.  It was a great vacation to take on a beautiful spring/summer day sitting outside in my lawn chair.  Mari is a strong, independent 20 year old that has to make her way in the world alone.  She gets dumped on by the proprietor of the governess-for-hire service and gets her trunk stolen on the first day she’s in London.  Her life kicks into overdrive after that.  Chasing two youngsters who are feeling misplaced and unloved is quite a challenge, but Mari knows a thing or two about feeling misplaced and unloved.

Edgar, Duke of Banksford, has had enough crap happen in his life to rival Mari, which makes them a perfect match.  He doesn’t know what to do with children.  Hell, he doesn’t even know what to do with himself.  He’s trying so hard that he’s spinning his wheels.  Then comes Mari.

Everyone needs someone to share the bad things as well as the good things.  Someone who knows the secrets and will keep them as well as defend them.  These two are perfect matches, but sometimes it takes the boldness of the woman to take the first steps.  Mari is the one that tugs the Duke along his path whether he wants to or not.  She is his hero and mine too.

 

Series Spotlight: Esther Diamond (audio) by Laura Resnick

Laura Resnick (author) and GraphicAudio have teamed up to create the Esther Diamond series audios, and it’s a fantastic pairing! If you like full-production audiobooks, you don’t want to miss this series!

I am so excited about the Esther Diamond series’ audiobooks being produced by GraphicAudio! They are fantastic. Try it out for yourself with this sample.

I’m gonna break this Series Spotlight down into two sections: one to talk about the series and one to talk about the audio production because they both deserve their own spotlight.

Series

Esther Diamond is a struggling New York actress. While working on an off-broadway play as a chorus nymph and understudy to the female lead, the lead actress disappears.

Enter Maximillian Zadok, a 350-year-old wizard, stationed in New York by the Magnum Collegium to fight mystical evil. Max implores Esther not to take up her understudy duties for fear she will go missing, too. Once Max convinces Esther that there is mystical evil afoot, Esther rushes to help Max find and stop the culprit before she becomes the next victim.

Meanwhile, the lead actress’s disappearance is also being investigated by Detective Connor Lopez, a sexy Latino with blue Irish eyes. Lopez finds Esther intriguing and would like to get to know her better. Unfortunately, Lopez doesn’t believe in mystical evil, even though Esther’s tried to tell him that it exists. While he is strongly drawn to Esther, he fears she’s unstable, dangerous, and possibly felonious. Their involvement complicates his life and jeopardizes his job, but he has trouble staying away.

During their adventures, Esther, Max, and a number of their friends encounter evil sorcerers, demons, voodoo loa, zombies, vampires, spirits, cursed objects, missing corpses, mob hit men, death omens, drag queens, entitled young adults, harried production assistants, and narcissistic actors. The mysteries are intriguing and well written, but I think it’s the main characters that really shine in the series. They are complex and layered, unique and intriguing, each with their own secrets that are slowly revealed over time.

This series has magic, mystery, and adventure, but it also has humor, friendship, and relationship tension (not everything is rosy in this romance) that builds with each book. It’s more glossy than gritty, on the lighter side of urban fantasy, but the protagonists have depth, and it’s easy to care about them. I highly recommend the series for a fun urban fantasy read.

If you’re not an audiobook fan, you can find the Esther Diamond series in digital and print formats at your favorite online retailer.

Audio Production

I’ve mentioned on this blog before how awesome I think GraphicAudio is. They make audiobooks into full-production masterpieces. They’re essentially radio-plays, for those of us who are old enough to have heard of those. There is a full cast of characters, so the voices are all different and the “he said” and “she said” of regular audiobooks aren’t needed. There’s music and sound effects in all the right places, which enhance the story greatly. As a big fan of audiobooks, I absolutely adore these productions. They are just so much fun!

Graphic Audio did a FANTASTIC job with the Esther Diamond series. I cannot imagine a better casting of voices, especially Colleen Delany as Esther Diamond, Thomas Keegan as Detective Connor Lopez, Bob Payne as Maximillian Zadok, and Tim Carlin as Lucky Battistuzzi. The voice  acting is fantastic and really conveys the character personalities and emotional content of the story. The GraphicAudio actors bring each character completely to life in a way that only the very best voice actors can in regular audiobooks.

The background music and sound effects add such depth and dimension to the story that you really do feel as if you are listening to a movie. It’s that much easier to feel the tension of being stalked when you can hear the footsteps behind you, or to visualize a street fight when you can hear the impact of fists, the grunts of the combatants, and the splash of blood on pavement.

I don’t think I’m capable of expressing just how emotionally involved I feel when listening to GraphicAudio productions. It is an amazing medium for some genres, and I really encourage authors, particularly indie sci-fi and fantasy authors, to consider GraphicAudio for their books before any other audiobook company. Your listeners will experience a much richer version of your creation than I think you’ll find elsewhere.

A rich creation is exactly how I’d describe the Esther Diamond series on GraphicAudio. Five stars for this superb production.

You might also like:

GraphicAudio boasts a number of sci-fi and fantasy series by well-known authors such as Piers Anthony, Stephen Blackmoore, Peter David, Alan Dean Foster, Simon R. Green, Charlaine Harris, Jim C. Hines, Cherie Priest, Stephen Lawhead, Kelly McCullough, Ari Marmell, Elizabeth Moon, Michael Moorcock, Lilith Saintcrow, R.A. Salvatore, Brandon Sanderson, Michael J. Sullivan, Brent Weeks, and Eileen Wilks. They also have a number of audio adaptations of both Marvel and DC comics.

Wanted and Wired by Vivien Jackson

In a tech enhanced, post apocalyptic world, there are so many games coming into play.  In order to keep control of your little part of the world, there will be political take overs, territorial disputes and if that’s not enough, is the person you trust a mech clone or whole organic?  Does it matter?

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title:  Wanted and Wired
Author: Vivien Jackson
Series: Wanted and Wired #1
Publish Date: April 4, 2017
Genre: Post Apocalyptic Fantasy
Publisher’s Description:  Now that Texas has seceded and the world is spiraling into chaos, good guys come in unlikely packages and love sprouts in the most inconvenient places…

Rogue scientist • technologically enhanced • deliciously attractive

Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what’s left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas-sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo.

Gun for hire • Texan rebel • always hits her mark

Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most wanted list. Someone set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it’s the perfect storm…

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In some cases…spoilers. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

I still think you’re crazier than a sack of weasels.” Mari folded her fingers to a fist. “You got somethin’ against weasels?””

This book is a combination of I, Robot, Mad Max, and Firefly with a little Pretty Woman thrown in.  It does have sex in it and some dirty talk heavy with innuendo.  It’s got death too.  ‘Cuz, the protagonist is a paid for hire killer.  It takes place in a world full of robots that are basically clones of the original person. There is a lot of technical speak that even if you don’t speak geek, it’s ok because Mari doesn’t either.  There is not a cliffhanger but I’m very glad there is a book #2 in the series called Perfect Gravity.  I’m going to my local ebook seller and get that next book as soon as I’m finished here.

I was engaged from beginning to end.  I always know it’s a good book when I can’t wait to get back to it if I have to put it down.  There was an emotionally-damaged woman falling in love with a man who was less human and more mechanics.  There was a murder, conspiracy, tech espionage, political games and a look at what the Earth could be reduced to if things all went kablooie.

This was not a cheesy book.  It wasn’t a Star Wars wannabe, it was a Wanted and Wired best seller.  I felt like I had truly delved into another world.  I felt very comfortable there.  There were descriptions of this world’s objects and processes that could be overwhelming but the author wrote it all in such a way that it all fell together and I could imagine exactly what she was describing.  And the best part?  The inner Mari dialogue was incredibly authentic.  Mari is a rough-and-tumble woman, she swears like a sailor and she’s a Texan so you can really hear her accented voice when reading.  It just clicked. Another best part?  When Mari finds out that she is very smart even though she didn’t think so.  She is the only one that can save her partner from losing himself in the internet which is, in the future, named the “Cloud”.  Appropriate, right?

Dr. Farad doesn’t go by Dr. Farad when he works with Mari.  To Mari, Dr. Farad is only Heron, her operations planner that talks her through every job with details of who, what, where and how to get out in a hurry.  What Mari doesn’t know is that Dr. Farad is enamored with her and wants to be more than partners in work.  He’s not a military super god but he is very well equipped in the brain department.  He can decipher odds, monitor the law enforcement channel and run multiple scenarios all at once.  Useful, that.

This tale was a page-turning ride.  I enjoyed the “wild west” feel in a post-apocalyptic world that is laced with robots who are clones, humans that are tech-enhanced and also those humans that are whole-organic, meaning like you and me.

Other recommendations…

…you might try Dark Sky series by Amy Braun, Cursed series by Amy Braun and Immortal Vegas series by Jenn Stark.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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