Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron

One Good Dragon Deserves Another (Heartstrikers, #2)
Series: Heartstrikers Book #2
Format: Ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Futuristic, Dragons
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

After barely escaping the machinations of his terrifying mother, two all knowing seers, and countless bloodthirsty siblings, the last thing Julius wants to see is another dragon. Unfortunately for him, the only thing more dangerous than being a useless Heartstriker is being a useful one, and now that he’s got an in with the Three Sisters, Julius has become a key pawn in Bethesda the Heartstriker’s gamble to put her clan on top.

Refusal to play along with his mother’s plans means death, but there’s more going on than even Bethesda knows, and with Estella back in the game with a vengeance, Heartstriker futures disappearing, and Algonquin’s dragon hunter closing in, the stakes are higher than even a seer can calculate. But when his most powerful family members start dropping like flies, it falls to Julius to defend the clan that never respected him and prove that, sometimes, the world’s worst dragon is the best one to have on your side.

This book had a lot to live up to since I enjoyed the first one so much. And it definitely met my expectations. And it had more content than I expected. Ms. Aaron could’ve easily ended it in like three different places and I’m glad she didn’t.

Julius is still amazing. I really like that he’s learning and growing, but is still staying true to himself. It’s a very difficult balance to maintain. And I’m very eager to see what he does in the next story.

It was great getting to meet new characters and see their perspectives. Julius will always be my favorite, but it definitely flushed out the world and gave me a better understanding of the dragons.

The romance (or what I hope will be ones) is developing nicely. I think it’s going to be a slow burn, but Ms. Aaron threw us a couple bones which I appreciated. And I look forward to more of this plot line.

I enjoyed the main conflict of this book and definitely want to read what happens next. It was nice to get more information on how magic works and Marci more generally. Same with the Seers, although I am a little confused there. Ms. Aaron definitely explained things in great detail, but I usually struggle to get my head around things connected with time travel, free will, and fate.

I still don’t know how many books will be in this series, but I’m super excited to buy and read the next one when it comes out in 2016.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Review: First to Burn by Anna Richland

Series: Immortal Vikings Book #1
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Suspense, Military
Publisher: Carina Press

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

A soldier with secrets

Immortal Viking Wulf Wardsen once battled alongside Beowulf, and now serves in Afghanistan. He's trusted the mortal men on his elite special operations team to protect his secret, until an explosion lands Wulf in a place more dangerous to him than a battlefield: a medevac helicopter.

A doctor with questions

Army captain Theresa Chiesa follows the rules and expects the same from others, even special forces hotshots like Sergeant Wardsen. She's determined to discover the secret behind his supernaturally fast healing, and she won't allow his sexy smile to distract her.

An enemy with nothing to lose

Even as Theresa's investigation threatens to expose him, Wulf is stirred by her passion. Dreaming of love and a normal life, he wants nothing more than to build a future with her. But the lost Viking relic needed to reverse his immortality is being hunted by another—an ancient enemy who won't hesitate to hurt Theresa to strike back at Wulf.

So, this is another book I picked up because of the DBSA podcast. It isn’t necessarily the type of romance I would normally read, but I enjoyed it. I would call this a suspense romance war story with some paranormal elements. Considering the hero is an immortal Viking there isn’t a ton of paranormal stuff.

I really liked Wulf and Theresa and they are the heart of the story. Wulf is storng, but not afraid to be emotional. And I really like his relationship with the guys in his special forces group. I’m team guy friendships and lady friendships. And Ms. Richland does a good job of having him be an alpha male without being an a-hole.

And I appreciated how she wrote Theresa. She would slip in clinical or technical terms in non-medical scenes. Now, I’m not a doctor so I don’t know how realistic this is, but it made me get more into her character. Although, some people may see this language as distancing.

My only real issue is how much isn’t revealed. There were a lot of things going on and in the characters’ pasts that weren’t very well developed. And there wasn’t quite as much resolution I thought there should be.

I do have another complaint, but it is spoiler related.

You’ve been warned.

The main reason I decided to buy and read this book was because I knew Theresa would lose her leg and have to deal with that. I really love stories that deal with physical deformity or differences. But it just wasn’t as developed or as important as I wanted it to be. This probably would have bothered me less if I hadn’t known about going in.

Even though I enjoyed this book and would I recommend it, I’m not sure if I will read another book by this author. Her voice didn’t captivate me. But I’m not saying I wouldn’t not read them. I hope that made sense.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog Book #2
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from the library
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult,
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?


I definitely enjoyed this, but I liked the first book a little bit more. Granted, I feel like I went into this one with my emotional guards. It’s been a couple weeks and I’m still dealing with how that one made me feel. I’m actually really torn because these books are so beautiful, but I don’t know if I could ever read them again. I do plan on reading other books Anne Blankman writers.

I really didn’t know what the plot would be for this one. It still has mystery and suspense, but was more about things bigger than Gretchen and Daniel. And I really liked getting a larger view of Germany and the people. They travel to Berlin and meet some communists. I almost always like when you get more people’s perspectives on what is going on.

Gretchen and Daniel also had to deal with some real personal problems. They question if they are good for each other and how their differences will impact their lives if they stay together. It was interesting that some of the things pushing them together would also pull them apart.

This probably isn’t my best review, but I think my emotions are too high to have very clear thoughts.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: Romance 101


Top 10 Tuesday was created by the Broke and the Bookish. You can find more information here

I freaking love this topic. I actually would love to teach a class on the romance novel and this is something I’ve given a lot of thought to over the last five or so years. When I was in college I’m pretty sure I actually made a whole syllabus at one point.

OK. Let’s get started.

1)      Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
                Honestly, I think any Austen is a good place to start. Persuasion is my personal favorite, but this                 is probably a universally liked one. And I think a lot of romance authors view Austen as their   fore-mother.
2)      The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss
                I actually haven’t read this book, but a lot of people consider it the first “modern” romance so   that makes it a must read.
3)      Whitney, My Love by Judith MacNaught
                This isn’t my favorite (and I read the re-edited version) but I think it’s important to read some of              the old-school romance. Or as Sarah Wendell says the holy trinity of “J”.
4)      Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale
                Let’s be honest, this is on here because I love it and think it’s a beautifully written book. Just      look at that cover ;) But I also think it has some of the old school romance feel with more female agency and less rapeness. It’s a nice bridge book.
5)      The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
                This is a great example of a more contemporary historical romance. Plus, it has what I would       argue is the best development of male characters and the reformed rake storyline.
6)      It had to be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
                No study of romance would be complete without a contemporary. This is definitely a broad sub-              genre and not one I read a lot so it’s hard for me to pick a specific example.
7)      Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
                Just like contemporary romance, paranormal romance needs to be explored. This is another      broad sub-genre. I really just picked this one because I like it so much.
8)      Soulless by Gail Carriger
                This is a good one because it combines a lot of things. It’s an urban fantasy, but it’s also                 historical with romantic and steampunk elements. I think it’s important to see how authors    blend different story types.
9)      Wait for You by J. Lynn/Jennifer L. Armentrout
                New Adult is definitely related to the romance novel. I think this is a very solid example of what               the genre is about. And it’s not very genre-bending which is good for an introduction. Easy would probably be a good choice, too.
10)   Beyond Heaving Bosoms by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan
                This is the first book I read that was a critical study of the romance genre. I think a non-fiction    book would go with the actual fictional stories.

Thanks for reading!