Wicked as They Come – Blud #1 – Delilah S. Dawson

Yet another book that I did not finish. To tell you the truth I only bought this book because of a hilarious review on Goodreads which contradicted my first thoughts when I first saw the cover and read the blurb. The reviewer said not to hold the cheesy cover against the book and that the book was not cheesy at all but everything she said was wrong. Sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover.

The book started out okay even though the female lead is the gag-me too good to be real type of woman who is a hospice nurse who in her spare time takes care of her ailing grandmother. She finds a locket at an estate sale and magically finds herself in another world. That is where the story starts to suck big fanged bunnies…or little fanged bunnies like in the tale. She meets a fanged man wearing a top hat, a cross between Willy Wonka and Frank N Furter. He was so outrageous and fantastical that I couldn’t get into him at all.

The story reminded me of Alice in Wonderland which is one of my least favorite stories of all time.

I tried to force myself to read it because I paid good money for it but had to give up after a quarter of the book. It just was too fantastical and cheesy for me.

Crooked Kingdom – Six of Crows #2 – Leigh Bardugo

This book was packed full of action just like the first book but this book let us get to know the characters a little better. It tells how each of Kaz’s crew members ended up joining his gang which I’m not really going to get into here.

Hopefully, no one will try to read the second book without reading the first book because the following will spoil the ending of the first book.

At the end of the last book, Kaz and crew had just pulled off the impossible job but were double-crossed by Jan Van Eck, a member of the Merchant Council who run Ketterdam. He had promised them thirty million kruge (dollars) if they handed over the scientist who was responsible for inventing jurda parem, a drug that gives a certain race of people, Grisha, who wield magic super powers but has devastating side effects for the Grisha who ingest it. One dose will addict the Grisha and it is almost impossible to kick the habit. Two doses and the Grisha will never beat the addiction and they’ll do anything to get another dose so their masters can ask them to do anything and they will do it. So far, jurda parem is not something that is widely known and there is only a small amount available since the scientist has kept his formula a secret.

Luckily, Kaz had the foresight to know that Van Eck might try to betray the deal so he hid the real scientist when he met him to get the money. Van Eck kidnapped one of Kaz’s crew members, one that Kaz has a soft spot for, and told Kaz that he had a week to hand over the scientist or he would start torturing Inej.

Van Eck is rich and powerful. He had originally told them that the entire Merchant Council wanted the scientist to keep him safe and out of the hands of anyone with nefarious inclinations but he lied. The Merchant Council had no idea about jurda parem or the deal he made with Kaz…and Jan Van Eck was just the kind of evil person who should never have the formula for jurda parem. Kaz can’t go to the Merchant Council without proof or without Van Eck killing Inej.

I love how Kaz schemes and how he does things that seem unimportant at the time but then we find out later that is was something ingenious. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked way against him this time so I was not sure if things would end up good or bad.

I think this was the conclusion to the story. The author has written a trilogy called The Grisha Trilogy that sounds interesting. I might have to read it.

Wicked Abyss – Immortals After Dark #18 – Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole’s female characters are the best! They are badass, wicked and flawed which is so much more exciting the typical virgin do-gooders who only want to do the right thing and make the world a better place. Kresley Cole’s females will kick a jerk while their down and maybe even break their arm just for kicks. I know that awful but in the world of the Lore, it is the only way to survive.

Calliope was exiled from Silvan, the Fey realm, when she was just thirteen years old by her fiancé, King Saetthe, because her parents had plotted against him. At least she wasn’t beheaded like they were. She has lived in the human real ever since. She has been hiding from her mortal enemy Rune and his alliance, the Møriør, all of her life. Sylvan has wards against the Møriør so she was safe there but in the human realm, she was vulnerable. She adapted well and hid in plain sight, working at Disney World as one of the princesses.

She hadn’t heard from Saetthe in over a decade when he showed up with Nix, the Valkyrie sootheayer, to tell her to go to hell…literally. They wanted her to go to Pandemonia, a hell realm, to spy on a demon named Abyssian, one of the Møriør. Rumor had it that the Møriør were going to invade this universe and take over. Saetthe told her that she could come back to Sylvan if she made this sacrifice. Nix told her it would be easy because Calliope or Lila as her friends called her was Abyssian’s mate and she would need to seduce him. When she asked Saetthe if that would bother him, he told her he was above those sort of feelings.

Lila agreed so Nix told her she would set the plan in motion. She would have her captured and taken to Abyssian. Later that night, two Sorceresses captured her and opened a portal into Pandemonia and handed her over to a monster.

Abyssian used to be physically flawless. The ladies fought each other to get to him but when his twin brother was killed, Abyssian aka Sian had to take over Pandemonia as the king and had to take the curse that went along with it, turning slowly into a monster. He already had red skin, wings and huge horns but knows that it will only get worse.

Thousands of years ago Sian had found his mate. She was a Fey princess from Sylvan but she broke his heart and betrayed him then married another Fey. She had died shortly afterwards but he had always wanted to get his revenge on her. So, when the sorceresses opened a portal into his dimension and handed Lila over, he was elated to finally get his revenge on her.

Lila was surprised when Sian put her in a tower with no physical comforts. She realized that Nix and Saetthe had duped her by not telling her the whole story. Sian played games with her like making her spin spider webs into thread before the sun came up lest the gigantic spiders come for her. He believed they were impossible tasks but Lila was smart and crafty and outwitted him in a lot of his cruel games. Some of the things she did were hilarious. She hated him yet was somehow drawn to him at the same time.

Sian could not seem to separate Lila from Kari and made her suffer for crimes she didn’t commit. He had lots of cruel plans for his mate but he couldn’t help feeling for Lila. He was hot and cold but Lila was up for the challenge.

This book was fantastic! I loved all their antics. There was a lot of humor yet some heart-wrenching moments too. I had just re-read this whole series so I was ready for this book and had everything from the previous books fresh in my memory. I am not sure exactly what Nix, the mastermind of everything happening in the Lore, is planning but I can’t wait to find out.

Six of Crows – Six of Crows #1 – Leigh Bardugo

I was hooked from the first paragraph. It took a little while to get to understand the terms and expressions of the world this was set in but once I caught on, I flew through this book.

All of the main characters are teenagers around the age of seventeen but none of them had the mind sets of regular teenagers, probably because they all had grown up in a harsh world and had to fight just to survive.

It starts out with the POV of a kid named Joost who has recently become a city guard. He thought it would be exciting but he has mainly just been guarding one wealthy merchant’s estate because there was a recent assassination of the Trade Ambassador so the Merchant Council, the people who run the city, thought the wealthy merchants needed extra protection. The one good thing about it is that he gets to see the girl he likes on his rounds. She is an indentured servant and a Grisha. Grishas are magic wielders and it seems that all Grisha are indentured servants unless they somehow hide who and what they are from others. In this world, slavery is supposedly illegal but indentured servants are not but everyone knows that the Grisha never volunteered to be indentured servants.

Joost is called to the boat house to help guard an experiment that the merchant is testing. The girl Joost likes is sitting in a room with a young boy from the streets. She’s a healer so a man who was with the merchant cut the boy, she healed it. Then they gave her a drug called Jurda Parem. The Grisha instantly changed from being a sweet and scared girl to looking cold and evil. The merchant told the man to cut off the boy’s thumb but the Grisha commanded the merchant to come into the room. She was controlling his mind, something that no Grisha should ever be able to do. When the guards tried to save the merchant, she commanded everyone to wait. The entire room stopped in their tracks. Joost’s mind went from free will to blissful and only wanting to do what the Grisha ordered.

Kaz is the leader of a gang called the Dregs in a city of Ketterdam in a country called Kerch. His neighborhood is called the Barrel which sounds like a dangerous place to live. He’s clever and is always five steps ahead of any rivals. When he is caught off his guard by what seems to be a ghost who can walk through walls, he is more than surprised. No one gets the upper hand on Kaz. He wakes up chained to a chair in an opulent office. He recognized his captor as Councilman Van Eck.

Van Eck offers Kaz a deal he can’t refuse. He offers him thirty million kruges, their monetary unit, for a seemingly impossible mission. Van Eck tells him about the new drug called Jurda Parem that a scientist named Bo Yul-Bayur has invented that can turn Grisha into mighty magic yielders who can do unimaginable feats like walk through walls and control minds. Some can even fly. He tells him that the Merchant Council is worried about this drug getting into the wrong hands because it could change the whole world. Whoever controls the Grishas controls can control the world. Jurda Parem is highly addictive to the Grisha. The first dose addicts them and they’ll do anything to get another dose but it also kills the Grisha after a short period of using the drug. Van Eck showed him the scene where the other merchant had conducted his experiment. It had been six days since the event and there were guards standing with blank stares, some had dropped to the floor and died. Joost was one of them. The merchant had died a gruesome death and the Grisha had escaped out to sea but because she needed the drug, she had tried to come back to shore but had drowned.

Bo Yul-Bayur is currently in Fjerda, a far-off land, at the Ice Court which is said to be impenetrable. Kaz selects five people to go with him on the mission. He has to break one of them out of a prison and then he discovers that Van Eck had hired another team for the same mission, a rival gang. He’s putting his life on the line for this job which could change his life but he knows the odds are against him.

It has been a long time since I have been wowed by a new author and series so I was impressed with this book. It kept me on my toes wondering what Kaz was going to do next and getting to know his crew members was fascinating too.

I immediately bought the next book in the series. I’m not sure how many books will be in the series so I am not sure if the second book will be the conclusion or if it will be a trilogy. I vote for a really long series!

Scorpius Rising – The Scorpius Syndrome #0.5 – Rebecca Zanetti

Try as I might, I could not finish this book. I usually like Rebecca Zanetti’s books so I tried really hard to keep reading this book but just could not relate to the characters who had been previously married. The man was a typical alpha military man and she was a goody-two-shoes educated perfect female. Barf!
What made this so unbearable though was all the detailed in-depth medical jargon. It was like watching an episode of House without the interesting personalities but I don’t think House even went into so much detail. It was painful to read.
I got to 26% before I just had to give up.

Born of Vengeance – The League #10 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

I had a feeling when I read the last book of this series that this book would be about Bastien Cabarro and I was right.

Bastien was the youngest child of three of the emperor of the Kirovarian empire. Since he was not expected ever rule, he had a reputation of being a spoiled womanizer.

Ember had just caught her boyfriend in bed with her youngest sister Alura so she lit her boyfriend’s fighter craft on fire. As punishment, she had to take on Bastien as a wingman. She had never met him but had heard about him and after just breaking up with a player, she was not looking forward to having to work with him.

When she went to go meet him, their station was bombed and her sister Alura was caught underneath a bunch of rubble. Bastien saved Alura and was hurt in the rescue but he managed to ask Ember out on a date anyway. At the hospital, with her other sisters and her parents Alura told her parents that she was going to marry him because she liked that he was a prince. Alura has a nasty habit of sleeping with her sister’s boyfriends and it pisses Ember off so she tells her that she has already accepted a date with Bastien even though she hadn’t.

A year later, Ember and Bastien were still dating. His family hated that she was a pleb and not of royal blood. His father met with her one day and told her that Bastien was planning on asking her to marry him but he would rather see Bastien dead than married to her. Just after the meeting, Bastien had called her in the middle of a battle in his fighter craft. This was not unusual but the timing seemed odd since she had just left his father who had threatened to have him killed if he married her. She decided to break it off with him rather than see him die. She had him moved out of her unit and into his sister’s unit.

Bastien had no idea what had happened. Not only had Ember turned down his proposal, leaving him on bended knee in a restaurant, she also had moved him to his sister’s unit where she knew he hated it. His sister treated him like a moron and was always berating him. Ember had told him she needed time to figure things out yet she wouldn’t even return his calls.

A month or so later, Alura asked him out to dinner so he called Ember to ask permission. He thought she would yell at him and tell him he couldn’t which would prove to him that she still cared about him but instead she told him she didn’t care who he went out with or slept with. He went out with Alura but ended up taking her home and dropping her off at her apartment before the date ended because she annoyed him so much that he couldn’t stand being around her. When Ember found out that he had actually gone on the date, she walked up to him and kneed him in the crotch.

That night, he went out to a bar and got drunk. He woke up in bed naked next to Alura. He couldn’t remember anything though. Five weeks later, Alura announced she was pregnant in front of a dinner party where his parents and other important people of society were attending. The only thing he could do to prevent a giant scandal was tell everyone that he was going to marry her.

Alura, of course, was not pregnant. She was just a scheming bitch. She was actually scheming with Bastien’s uncle Barnabas who wanted the throne for himself.

Bastien married Alura which broke my heart because there are slight hints about Ember thinking that she will never tell him her secret now and her getting sick which makes me believe she is pregnant. Alura faked a miscarriage later.

Bastien and Alura’s marriage was not a happy one. He tried to avoid her as much as possible so he stayed with his parents at the castle a lot. One night, he was in the shower and heard a noise. When he went to check it out, he found his entire family slaughtered. The League, the police force for the whole galaxy, showed up and he was arrested and convicted for murdering his family. Alura went around to media outlets and lied about how horrible Bastien was and she testified against him at the trial.

Bastien was sentenced to death but a letter arrived just in time from the Emperor of the Triosan, his Uncle Aro, asking for leniency. The Overseer or magistrate said she wouldn’t sentence him to death but would make him a Ravin and if he survived fifteen years, she would set him free. Ravins rarely live past six weeks. They are implanted with a tracking device and used as practice prey for The League. They hunt them down and assassinate them. So, the Overseer basically handed him a death sentence anyway. He promised her that he would survive and come back for the real killer’s head.

Barnabas took over the throne and declared Ember’s family traitors except for Alura who made statements against them to save her own skin. Ember and her family went into hiding.

Throughout the book, we read about events that we already saw through the eyes of other characters in previous books and since I had read those stories, I knew that Bastien had made it for at least a little while.

My heart ached for both Bastien and Ember for the things they endured.

This series has become very complex so there are a lot of characters and events that I have forgotten some of it so I got a little lost but I enjoyed the cameos from the various characters who we have come to love in the series. I have no clue who the next book will be about but I really want The League and their allies to be destroyed.

 

Razr – Demonica #11.8 – 1001 Dark Nights – Larissa Ione

I love the covers of these 1001 Dark Nights books. They always have the most brilliant colors yet it is mostly words with just a few pictures which are usually in the zeroes of the 1001. I give kudos to the graphic artist who designs these covers.

This is Larissa Ione’s fourth novella in the 1001 Dark Nights series. The 1001 Dark Nights series is a collection of paranormal and contemporary romance stories by various authors. I only follow a few of the authors so I haven’t read that many of them. I have noticed, however, that Larissa works with a lot of other authors on different projects like the Rising Storm series which is a long story written by various authors and Blood Red Kiss which is a book that has stories by Gena Showalter and Kresley Cole, two authors in my top ten favorites along with Larissa Ione of course.

We, the reader, have met Razr before in the last book of the Demonica series, Z although he remained a mystery. He is an angel who was kicked out of Heaven, along with two other angels, for making the huge mistake of losing the Enoch Gems during a battle against demons. His wings were bound and he also must endure beatings at irregular intervals. He carries his own whip and hands it to the nearest person when the glyph on his hand starts to glow. If he isn’t whipped right away, he experiences excruciating pain. In order to get back into Heaven, he has to find the Enoch Gems but he works in the underworld in Sheoul-gra for Azagoth aka the Grim Reaper so he doesn’t have a lot of time to go look. He’s in luck though because Azagoth decided to give him time off to locate the gems. Razr can’t wait to kill whoever was responsible for stealing the gems.

Jedda is a Gem Elf who, along with her two sisters, stole the gems from Razr while he and his team were busy fighting demons. She and her sisters can sense gems and felt the powerful jewels so they stole them from their human keepers. Each one of her sisters absorbed the power of the gems so that their life forces are dependent on the gems and then hid the physical gems. Jedda hid hers in Scotland with dhampires guarding it. Her gem just happens to be Razr’s gem, the one he has to get back in order to get back into Heaven.

Razr found the dhampires who were guarding his gem but they told him without its current owner, they had no way to access it. That led him to Jedda.

Jedda lives in the human realm and works as a specialist with gems. She was at what she thought was a gem conference when Razr found her but she soon found out it was a trap. A fallen angel named Shrike used some evil power from some evil demon or deity that he worshipped to put a spell on Jedda. She will weaken and eventually die if she doesn’t hand over the gem and a crystal horn that Shrike needs for some evil purpose.

Razr agrees to help her only because he needs the gem himself but he also has an unexplainable attraction to Jedda. He wants to believe that she just acquired the gem from a gem dealer or collector after the initial theft but he isn’t so sure. He has no clue that giving up the gem’s power will kill her.

This was a quick and enjoyable read. I always like Larissa Ione’s characters because she makes both the females and males baddass…no innocent little miss perfects in her books. I look forward to her next book. I wonder who it will be about.