Dime Store Magic (Women of the Otherworld, #3) – Kelley Armstrong

Continuing the Women of the Otherworld series, I delved into the world of Paige and Savannah, two witches still learning the dynamics of being an adopted mother and daughter team.

The Good: Paige and Savannah both grew on me as characters. Paige starts off a bit dramatic and immature, but with time and experience she begins to blossom into a solid and intelligent woman. By the end of the novel, I really liked her. Whereas, Savannah is portrayed initially as a sociopath, but by the end her inner empathy shines through. It took awhile to shine though.

The story was dramatic and exciting, though at times predictable. It was well-paced and engaging.

The Bad: Aside from initially being annoyed at the characters maturity level, there wasn’t much to complain about. I personally would prefer the series to be broken up into separate story-lines. For example, the werewolves would be one series, the witches another. Instead, each book jumps from one magical group to the other. It makes you feel like you have to read them all, even if you are only interested in one story-line. However, the author gives enough of a background to fill in the gaps, so you could read them individually.

If you are looking for a witchy twist on the modern day magic user then I recommend this installment of the series. It grows on you as you read and I was happy that it was vastly different from the shows story-line.

Synopsis: Paige Winterbourne was always either too young or too rebellious to succeed her mother as leader of one of the world’s most powerful elite organizations- the American Coven of Witches. Now that she is twenty-three and her mother is dead, the Elders can no longer deny her. But even Paige’s wildest antics can’t hold a candle to those of her new charge- an orphan who is all too willing to use her budding powers for evil… and evil is all too willing to claim her. For this girl is being pursued by a dark faction of the supernatural underworld. They are a vicious group who will do anything to woo the young, malleable, and extremely powerful neophyte, including commit murder- and frame Paige for the crime. It’s an initiation into adulthood, womanhood, and the brutal side of magic that Paige will have to do everything within her power to make sure they both survive.

OWL Rating:

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The Dragon and the Faerie Book Trailer – Roland Capalbo

I had the pleasure of creating Roland Capalbo’s first book trailer this past month.

If you like the fantasy genre and dragons and faeries are your jam, check out the video trailer below and get inspired to read his newest tale.

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Andy has an inhuman appetite for adventure, so, when he stumbles upon a ruined, condemned castle perched on a remote island in the Hudson River, he can’t resist exploring it. Together with his reluctant sister Emilia, they discover that the castle is more than meets the eye, which sets off an unbelievable chain of events as they pierce the barrier between the world they know and a world they will soon learn all about. The crossing leads to Emilia’s vanishing while it throws Andy face down in a castle governed by Devon, a dark wizard. Andy’s newfound quest leads him on a journey filled with dangers he can’t foresee, love he doesn’t understand, and a destiny that could very well end life as he knows it. Can Andy find a way to survive the new world he’s in, save his sister, and ultimately understand who he and his sister really are? Destiny calls him, but can he fulfill its demand?

 

CONNECT WITH ROLAND

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Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega #1) – Patricia Briggs

I picked up this little tale recently, continuing my werewolf theme for the month. You hope that when it says New York Times Bestseller that actually means something.

The Good: This story was well-written, it kept me interested and it was easy to read. The whole omega concept was creative and I appreciated Anna’s role in the pack.

The Bad: As far as a werewolf tale goes, it was not my favorite. To begin with, I felt that there was supposed to be a whole other book that came before this one… oh and there is. There is a prequel I didn’t know about, until after I finished this one.

Finding out that a prequel exists annoyed me even more. It appears to have been released a couple months after this story came out. So perhaps, I am not the first person to complain of this issue. I shouldn’t have to read the prequel to feel enchanted by this story. That seems like lazy writing to me.

As a reader that was unaware at the time that a prequel existed, I felt thrust into this awkward and forced romance that had no grounds or beginning. It just was presented to me and I was expected to accept it. The past of Anna is explained in some back detail, but you never really get a clear image of how she came to be, and how Charles found her.

Secondly, one other element that irked me was Charles had magical abilities. Flicking his imaginary wand and having clothes appear on his body just didn’t seem to fit. I found it annoying. And an eye roll may have occurred.

I thought about putting this story down in the beginning, but I kept trudging through because as said before, it was easy enough to read.

Surprisingly, I am glad I kept reading. I think the story improved with time. And Briggs is a good writer. However, I am still on the fence if I will purchase the next installment in the series or delve into the prequel. I’m not sure. I think I might see what else is out there before I take another chance on this series. For the price, it was worth checking out, but I warn the reader that they should likely start with the prequel.

You can find the story on Amazon in Kindle format for $2.99 and in paperback for $7.99.

Here is the link to the prequel, if you are so inclined.

Synopsis: Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack… and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer—and son—of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.

Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna’s inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf—a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.

OWL Rating:

 

 

Stolen (Women of the Otherworld #2) – Kelley Armstrong

This weekend, I finished the second installment of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong.

I do apologize for my string of werewolf story reviews. Sometimes you just get on a kick.

This story was vastly different from the TV-show, and I was actually happy about that. They both were able to standalone on their own and I enjoyed both individually. Though there was some cross-over, it was minimal.

My only issue is that Elena and Clay are represented as slightly immature throughout the entire story. There was a steamy sex scene at an inappropriate time and then the ending climax scene was basically two children playing with their food. I am disappointed with this childish interpretation. I understand they have animal instincts, but when the characters are in their 30’s, I would expect a bit more maturity. If they were cast as teenagers, I wouldn’t have an issue with this.

Other than this one issue that plagued me, I whizzed through the story, feeling terrified for Elena most of the time. She was living a nightmare and I felt the fear and rooted for her success. Additionally, the characters are all likeable, when they are not trying my patience.

I loved seeing and getting to know the different fantastical humans, whether they were witches, shamans, vampires or half-demons that entered the scene.

If you are interested in reading a sexy, thrilling, wolfy story then I recommend this tale. You can find it on Amazon in Kindle format for $9.99 or in paperback for $8.09.

Synopsis:

Elena Michaels is back-and she has company. Lending a mission of vampires, demons, shamans, and witches, Elena is lured into the net of ruthless Internet billionaire Tyrone Winsloe, who is well on his way to amassing a private collection of supernaturals. He plans to harness their powers for himself-even if it means killing them.

For Elena, kidnapped and imprisoned deep underground, unable to tell her friends from her enemies, choosing the right allies is a matter of life and death.

Other Covers:

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Heavy Metal Pulp: The Bloodstained Man (Netherworld #2) – Christopher Rowley

The Bloodstained Man continued the action-packed journey of Detective Rook Venner and the pleasure model, called Plesur.

The second installment saw the romance heat up and the question of whether a human and a robot, albeit an intelligent, kick-ass one, could ever be a thing? Rook continued to fight battle after battle, man to man, man to giant animal robot, etc. He was and is an ever constant and solid character that you can’t help but like. Plesur’s character continued to evolve with her attachable intelligence. A robot with feelings? Who knew.

The sequel was just as fun to read as the first. I enjoyed the constant action journey and am currently working my way through the last of the series.

If you are looking for an afternoon snack, this series will satisfy those chomping teeth. It’s fast and fun, violent and sexy, plus pictures! What more could you ask for?

You can find the book on Amazon in Kindle format for $7.99 or in paperback for $6.45.

Synopsis: Presenting Heavy Metal Pulp, a new line of novels combining noir fiction with fantastic art featuring the theme, story lines, and graphic styles of Heavy Metal magazine.

Following the explosive events of book one, Pleasure Model, Detective Rook Venner, Mistress Julia, and Plesur are on the run from the government troops trying to kill them and from a shadowy group that wants to capture Plesur alive for its own purposes. What secrets have been implanted in Plesur’s head—and why are they worth killing for?

Caught between these two powerful rivals, the trio hides out in the lawless New Jersey territory. Betrayed by gang members looking to collect the bounty on Plesur’s head, the three are separated, and Rook and Mistress Julia find themselves in mortal danger. Julia, given as a prize to a gang member, finds herself in chains, but not without her own means of fighting back. Rook, forced to fight for his life in the gang’s bloodthirsty gladiatorial games, must stay alive long enough to rescue Plesur, but time is running out.

The Bloodstained Man is a fast-paced, adrenaline-filled ride through a future where pleasure has a price, and Plesur holds the key to a secret that could rock the country to its very core.

OWL Rating:

 

Bitten (An Otherworld Novel Book 1) – Kelley Armstrong

If you read our blog, you know I have a thing for werewolves, shapeshifters, etc. This is not a new obsession courtesy of Twilight. This is a born with the love kind of feeling.

So when Netflix began airing a show called Bitten, a Canadian production cast full of our northern friends, I was on-board.

Before we talk about the book, I would just like to mention the amazing job they did when they cast this show. For once, I actually feel the show was better than the book. Please watch the show (even though it was cancelled after 3 seasons).

Back to the book—

I had a hard time with Elena, the main protagonist. Unfortunately, her whiny attitude was embellished in the book and it was not until the end that I started to forgive her/like her. I have only read the first in the series, so perhaps it is too early to judge, but I prefer the Elena from the TV series over the original version. I feel like the TV show explains everything just a little bit more fully, so you can tolerate Elena’s anger and victim blaming she pins on Clay, her on again/off again lover.

BUT WAIT! I actually really liked the book! Even though I loved the TV show, the book was truly well done. It kept me fully engaged and excited to keep reading, all the characters were developed and slightly complicated, the romance was spicy and fulfilling. The problem is, I saw the show before I read the book, and I can’t help but compare.

I’m excited to read the rest in the series and only hope that they start to match the strength of the show.

If you are in the market for some dark, spicy, wolf zeal, then this is the show, (cough, cough) I mean book for you! You can find it on Amazon for $9.99 in Kindle format and $9.09 in paperback.

Synopsis: Elena Michaels seems like the typically strong and sexy modern woman, she lives with her architect boyfriend, writes for a popular newspaper, and works out at the gym. She’s also a werewolf.

Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must recon with who, and what, she is in this passionate, page-turning novel that begins the Women of the Otherworld series.

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Night Side of Nature – James K. Pratt

Vampire stories are always fun, whether they are demonic goth or sparkly and shiny. We all love a good lord of the night tale. Teenage vamps are a popular theme that Pratt capitalized on with this novella.

This story had good bones and started out with a strong beginning. The main character seemed likeable enough, but I often found myself confused by the choices/conversations that occurred. I enjoyed the concept though and saw potential with the story line.

Unfortunately, there was a lack of character and plot development, leaving this story rather unrefined. I felt that information was largely dumped on the reader to progress the story quickly (rather too quickly), which ultimately just made the tale less enchanting.

While this story didn’t work for me, I am sure there are some young readers out there that would find it an enjoyable light snack.

You can find the story on Amazon for 99 cents in Kindle format or $9.69 in paperback.

Synopsis: Alexia Bathory befriends a mysterious girl at school who brings revelations of a family secret that spans centuries. The truth leaves Alexia with a stark choice of conscience, stay with her family and live a life of wealth and power or runaway and tear her family apart.

THE MAN BEHIND THE STORY:

Although my mother is English, and I was born in Scotland I’ve spent little time in the British Isles. I’ve lived much of my life in and around the Pacific be it Hawaii, Guam, Japan or the West Coast of the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONNECT WITH JAMES

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OWL Rating: For good bones and potential

*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Titan’s Wrath – Rhett C. Bruno

Enter a world full of complicated people. Leaders you love then despise, crippled corporate owned hit men that drown their sorrows in whiskey and self-loathing, scarred and abused freedom fighters who just want a taste of equality. This is the world of Titan, a space opera full of entanglement and imagination.

Bruno has once again created a wonderful addition to his Titanborn Universe. I feel confident when I say that Bruno’s storytelling continues to get better with each new tale he weaves. The level of character development was quite inspiring. I can’t often recall having read a story that created such well-rounded and complex personalities. Whether the scene revolved around Malcolm Graves, the grizzly “Collector,” whose one hand holds a gun and the other a glass of whiskey, or about Kale Trass, the rebellious freedom fighter who rotates a full 360 degrees in temperament, this story kept me engaged because of the master level characterization. It was quite remarkable. I think many authors could learn much from Bruno’s gift.

Bruno is evolving with every story I read and I find that it is becoming increasingly difficult to offer any constructive criticism. There is just nothing I feel he could have improved upon at this time or with this story.

I am just happy he was able to write it. Trass and Graves stories needed to be finished and this installment gives the readers the satisfaction of seeing those journeys through to the end.

If you are in the mood for a high tech ride full of heart pumping action, emotions that are as real as your own, failed fathers and sons, corrupted leaders, revengeful citizens, but at heart a story of redemption, then check out this series by Bruno. You will not be disappointed.

You can find the story on Amazon for $2.99 in Kindle or $21.33 in paperback.

Synopsis: Two men are caught on both sides of a violent, off-world rebellion in this standalone, Science Fiction epic set in Rhett C. Bruno’s bestselling Titanborn Universe.

After inciting rebellion against Earth throughout Titan’s off-world colonies, Kale Trass learns that leadership isn’t only about fighting. Keeping control of his people–even his own family–requires a different set of skills. Following a pivotal battle over Saturn, Kale travels deep into enemy territory under the guise of seeking peace, though peace is the last thing on his mind.

Malcolm Graves used to be an infamous Collector for a powerful Earther corporation–and then he nearly lost his life on Titan. Now he’s retired. But when Kale’s wake of destruction follows Malcolm to Mars and claims the life of a friend, it’s time for the ex-Collector to dust off his pulse-pistol and leap back into a fight he thought he’d left behind.

With the solar system divided, heroes are few and short-lived … but someone has to put the self-proclaimed King Trass of Titan in his place.

THE MAN BEHIND THE STORY

Rhett is a Sci-fi/Fantasy author currently living in Stamford, Connecticut. His published works include books in the Amazon Bestselling CIRCUIT SERIES (Published by Diversion Books) and TITANBORN SERIES (Random House Hydra). He is also one of the founders of the popular science fiction platform, Sci-Fi Bridge.

Rhett has been writing since he can remember, scribbling down what he thought were epic short stories when he was young to show to his friends and family. When he reached high school he decided to take that a step further and write his first novel. After the encouragement of his favorite English teacher, he decided to self-publish the “Isinda Trilogy” so that the people closest to him could enjoy his early work.

While studying architecture at Syracuse University, he continued to write as much as he could, but finding the time during the brutal curriculum proved difficult. It wasn’t until he was a senior that he decided to finally pursue his passion for Science Fiction. After rededicating himself to reading works of the Science Fiction authors he always loved, (Frank Herbert, Timothy Zahn, Heinlein, etc.) he began writing “The Circuit: Executor Rising”, the first part of a space opera series.

Since then he’s been hired by an Architecture firm in South Norwalk, CT. But that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to work on all of the countless stories bouncing around in his head. He’s also recently earned  a Certificate in Screenwriting from the New School in NYC, in the hopes of one day writing for TV or Video Games.

CONNECT WITH RHETT

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OWL Rating:

*I received a free copy of the story in exchange for an honest review

Roc Writes – Where Writers Roc

I just wanted to take a moment to plug our new website RocWrites.com. We recently just launched it. The idea behind this site is to promote local Rochester writers of all shapes and sizes. We noticed a lack of publicity and information about our writing community and decided to give them all a voice. If you are a local writer, please add your name to our directory. Additionally, you can find our upcoming podcast show starting in March, where our focus will be all about our writing community. Tune in bi-monthly to hear us interview local writers and book people.

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Video Game Review

I hope I am not alone when I confess that when I close my eyes at night it’s Geralt of Rivia that I dream of. While some ladies or gents may like to read romance to spice up their fantasies, I prefer to take Geralt to one of the local in-game brothels and let my imagination fly.

::smiles bashfully::

Regardless of how amazing Geralt is in my daydreams, the truth is this game is awesome. The story has always been amazing and it continues to be so. And the best part is the combat system is starting to catch up to the rest of the game.

The past two games I grumbled about the combat system. It was clunky and out of balance. This time around, I felt it was smoother and that CD PROJEKT RED finally is nailing it down.  It’s either that or I am just getting used to it.

If you are looking for an in-depth character and choice driven story, where you really feel connected to the story-line then this game will not disappoint.

I only have one beef with the designers. I would have liked to have had the chance to get to know Yennefer better before I had to make any regrettable decisions. Triss, I have known for 2 games, whereas Yennefer was new to me. I didn’t realize until it was too late that Yennefer was the girl for me. So choose wisely.

This game is not advised for children. There is sex, drugs and bloodshed on every doorstep. I can’t wait for the next one!

 

 

Learn More About the Creators and the Game:

CD Red Projekt

Steam

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