Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review of Knight Awakened by Coreene Callahan

Title: Knight Awakened

Author: Coreene Callahan

Genre: Adult Historical Paranormal Romance

Release Date: December 4th , 2012

In AD 1331, warlord Vladimir Barbu seizes control of Transylvania. But in spite of his bloody triumph, his claim to the throne remains out of reach. The king of Hungary opposes his rule, the Transylvanian people despise his brutal ways, and the high priestess needed to crown him has vanished without a trace. But Barbu hasn’t come this far only to be thwarted by a woman. He unleashes his best hunters to track her down and bring her to him—dead or alive.

For Xavian Ramir, killing is the only life he has ever known. Torn from his family when he was a child, he was trained from an early age to be an elite assassin. But now he longs for something more, vowing to start anew after one last job. The bounty on his target’s head is enough to set him up for good—if he can resist the long-dead conscience that stirs to life when he meets his beautiful mark.

Afina Lazar never wanted to become high priestess, but the brutal murders of her beloved mother and sister leave her no choice. Now she is running for her life, desperate to protect the magical amulet entrusted to her care. But when Barbu’s assassin comes for her, she realizes her only chance of stopping the warlord’s rise to power is to convince this enigmatic—and handsome—hunter that she is more valuable alive than dead.

Dramatic and fast-paced, Knight Awakened is a stirring love story between two people searching for a second chance in a magical world of assassins, warlords, unearthly beasts, and nonstop adventure.

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review: I am a big fan of Coreene’s Dragonfury series, so when Coreene contacted me to see if I was interested in reviewing Knight Awakened I jumped at the chance. I do not read a lot of historical romance, but there is enough paranormal in this book to keep me satisfied. And I actually found myself really loving the language of this time and the historical elements that were woven into the story. Since this is the first book in the series Corenne did have a lot of information to give us to develop this world, but she gave it to us in small doses and avoided the info dump that can often come with a new series. I appreciated getting just bits and pieces of the puzzle as the journey unfolded before us.

In Knight Awakened, we follow Xavian and Afina. Xavian is a trained assassin who has escaped his maker in an attempt to start a new life. He no longer wants to bend to someone else’s will, but desires freedom. Some have followed him and he has become their unintentional leader. While he still has killer instinct he tries to go about every situation fairly and does not punish those who do not deserve it. He is a complete alpha male, but is broken inside and needs someone to help him realize that he too deserves to be happy. Enter Afina, she has also been dealt a bad hand in life and has no family to speak of, except her sister’s daughter who she now cares for. She is on the run from Vladimir Barbu who wishes to use her for political gain. She starts off a little skittish and is unsure of her own strength, but she quickly develops into a head strong woman who is brave, caring and fights for what she knows she deserves. While both characters go through physical obstacles, Knight Awakened is really a novel about self-discovery. Xavian and Afina are just now learning what they are truly made of and how to heal a lifetime of hurt so they can let someone else in.

The romance in this book was a slow build since the two characters do not trust each other right away, but the tension was extraordinary to watch! Xavian and Afina both need someone to help heal their pasts and together they form a fragile bond that is tender and very sweet to watch as it slowly grows stronger. They are both inexperienced when it comes to divulging their feelings and I enjoyed watching them learn how to love together.

The action in this book was non-stop and really exciting. There were multiple people coming after both characters and danger lurked around every corner. We do get to see inside the enemies heads which was very intriguing. They are after Xavian and Afina for different reasons, but they are both evil to their core. They were villains that were easy to hate and I am sure we have not seen the last of at least one of them.

The world itself was so alluring. I soaked in all the vibrant details that Coreene gave us. We travel alongside Afina and Xavian as they journey cross country and I could picture it all as a map unfurling in my head. Since the characters do not remain stagnant and the scenery kept changing, it kept my mind fully engaged in the world and even when there was a lull in the action I was still fully immersed in the world.

Overall, Knight Awakened is a stellar start to a new series. Coreene has blended together a magical world filled with fierce warriors, an intriguing prophecy, malicious villains, mythical creatures and scorching hot romance that will burn up the pages. Even though this book was four hundred and fifty pages, I devoured it in one sitting, it was just that amazing! I loved every second I spent in this world and can only hope Corenne will continue the journey and let the other warriors have their own books as well. I am personally hoping to see more from Henrik. ;)

FTC: I received this ARC from the author. Thank you!

Book Review of Untamed by Sara Humphreys

Title: Untamed

Author: Sara Humphreys

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

Release Date: November 1st, 2012

The Amoveo are an ancient race who’ve lived secretly among humans for thousands of years. They are beautiful and incredibly strong but their race is extremely fragile–each has until the age of 30 to find their soul mate, before their bodies start to die a slow, painful death.

Layla Nickelsen has spent her life running from a mate she didn’t choose, until William Fleury finally confronts her. Normally stoic and unemotional, William finds himself befuddled by Layla: his growing feelings for her and his driving need to protect her. And Layla has to admit that William might be everything she’s always wanted after all…

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review: After reading the last book in this series, Untouched, (review here), I was hoping we would get to read about William next and luckily Sara gave us that experience in Untamed. William has always been the “stiff” of the group. He is constantly dressed in a suit, he rarely cracks a smile and he seems to take life way to seriously. I loved when he found his mate, Layla, since she was the exact opposite of him. She flies by the seat of her pants and is a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. They say opposites attract and that was definitely the case in this book.

William discovers Layla in the previous book, but does not approach her because she not only knows what he is, she wants nothing to do with him. She was not willing to just give into her destined mate because she wanted a life that she chooses, not one that was chosen for her. I had to admire her spirit and her independent streak that kept William constantly on his toes. I also savored watching Layla crack William’s tough exterior. He has tried to keep an appearance of steady and calm, but underneath the surface he is going crazy trying to convince Layla that they belong together. She slowly brings him out of his shell and as she does he develops into a very sweet character. He calls Layla his “firefly” for much of the novel without explanation, but when he finally tells her the reason behind the name it was definitely a swoon worthy moment. I am not going to reveal his reason, but I am sure it will touch your heart too once you read it.

I also enjoyed watching Dante and Malcolm rib on William a little bit when he starts to shed his stoic exterior. Here is one good example:

“Dante let out a slow whistle. “Oh man.” He laughed. I never thought I’d live to see the day that William Fleury wears anything but a three-piece suit.” He pointed at his feet. “Holy shit! He’s barefoot too.”

“If you must know-“William sniffed and wiped his hands with the towel. “I’ve been busy making you ingrates breakfast, but I have half a mind to feed it to the horses.”

“Barefoot and in the kitchen?” Malcolm chimed in. “You’re not pregnant, are you?”

As for the action, it took a back seat to the romance, but was still present enough to keep me interested. In previous novels, the Purist played a larger role than they did in Untamed. The threat of them was still there and there were some big revelations about them towards the end of the novel, but they were not as involved in the main plot as they had been previously. I did not mind the downshift in the action at all. There was still plenty going on to keep my mind occupied and keep Layla and William very busy.

We also get a couple new secondary characters through Layla’s siblings. Her brother Raife and his twin sister, Tatiana are also hybrids and have been Layla’s rock for most of her life. We get to see quite a bit from Raife and he really grew on me, but we have yet to meet Tatiana. I am hoping a future book will be about her because if she is anything like her siblings she will be a great character to get to know. While we did get caught up with Dante and Malcolm, there was no sight of Steven. I am not sure where he is, but I did miss his presence and hope we will get to see more from him in future books.

Overall, Untamed was another great addition to the series. Watching William find his mate and the ability to loosen up a little was highly enjoyable. Sara has created a fantastic world of loveable shifters that I am always eager to learn more about. I am not sure what book comes next, but I know I will be very excited to read it and see what will come next in this world.

FTC: I received this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review of Stolen by Shiloh Walker

Title: Stolen

Author: Shiloh Walker

Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense

Release Date: October 30th, 2012

Shay Morgan has stayed hidden for a long time. Living a reclusive life in Earth’s End, Alaska, she’s as far away as she can get from the trauma of her childhood and the man who hurt her long ago. But terror takes over Shay’s life yet again when an unknown stalker steals away the fragile peace she’s built for herself—targeting not only her but the one man who’s ever managed to get past the walls she’s built around herself.

Elliot Winter has lived through being falsely accused before—it ruined his military career. Now it’s happening all over again. And this time, his accuser is a twisted impostor who’s targeting his ex-girlfriend, Shay. Despite a fierce mutual attraction, Shay and Elliot broke up because Shay couldn’t let her guard down, couldn’t let Elliot in. But now they both need to trust each other to confront a psycho who seems to know all their secrets.

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review: I fell in love with Shiloh’s writing when I read her Ash Trilogy (which I highly recommend if you have not read them) so when I saw Stolen come up on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read it. I do not read a lot of romantic suspense, but I love Shiloh’s style and will make an exception when it comes to her books.

In Stolen, we follow Shay who lives in Alaska to try and hide from her past. And what a twisted past it was. We get snippets of it a little at a time as the book unfolds, but I never saw the true horrors that she had lived through coming. It was a deeply emotional book because Shay’s life was shattered at an age when she should have been just acting like a kid and having fun. In Stolen, she is starting to gain some of her courage back and live her life the way she wants to. My heart was breaking for her at many points during the book, but Shay was stronger than she realized and I enjoyed being with her on her journey as she discovered this.

The guy in her life, Elliot, wants to be with her more than anything, but struggles to because she will never open up to him. He breaks things off because he wants an open and honest relationship and fears he will never get that from Shay. I really enjoyed getting Elliot’s point of view in Stolen because he was trying to decode Shay’s past right alongside me. We are both left in the dark and only get tiny fragments of what she is thinking so it was nice to hear his thoughts about what was going on and riddle it out alongside him.

Shiloh also gives us a look inside the person behind all of Shay’s troubles and wow! That person is one sicko! I thought the villain in the Ash Trilogy was bad, but this girl took the cake. I do like getting into the head of the bad guy, just so we have insight into how their thought process works, but what was going through her head was hard to read at some points. It was truly necessary to add depth to the story, but I don’t know how Shiloh can spend time in a mind that sick and twisted.

As for the story, there was plenty of suspense and quite a few surprises as well. Shiloh is a master at telling a chilling tale while still weaving tender and sweet romance into it. Stolen had a perfect balance of both elements. The romance was especially tender because Shay had so many issues to overcome, she was afraid of letting Elliot in. Her head is filled with hateful, vicious memories and she just wants to be happy.

“I want you to touch me. I’m so tired of the strongest memories I have being those memories. Give me better ones, Elliot.” She turned her face to his and pressed her lips to his cheek. “Can you give me better ones?”

I loved how Elliot respected Shay’s wishes and tried to take things as slow as necessary with her. He was not perfect by any means, but he tried very hard to work things out with her and he put his heart and soul into everything he did and I loved that about him.

“I miss you.”

Closing her eyes, she whispered, “Don’t.”

His lips brushed across the side of her brow. “Don’t what? Tell you that I miss you? Miss us?”

I was also happy to see that once they put their faith in one another, it did not waiver. No one went off on their own and did anything stupid, they trusted one another and decided to get through the situation together.

Overall, this was another great book by Shiloh. It is dark, twisted and while the characters were a little bit bruised, they learned to rely on one another and get through the awful events that unfolded around them together. If you have read Shiloh’s Ash trilogy, I was recommend checking out Stolen as well. Or if you are just in the mood for a great romantic suspense, this is a book you cannot miss.

FTC: I received this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.