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Thursday, July 31, 2014

ARC Review, Interview & Giveaway: Blood Games by Chloe Neill (Official Blog Tour Stop)



Chicagoland Vampires Series #10

by Chloe Neill

Publisher: NAL Trade (August 5, 2014)
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Adult
Format: ARC (352 pages)
Source: Free book from publisher for honest review
Find It: GoodreadsAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-AMillion | iBooks | IndieBound | Tantor
Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5 stars)
While Merit didn’t choose to become a vampire or Sentinel of Cadogan House, she vowed to fight for her House and its Master, and she’s managed to forge strong alliances with powerful supernaturals across Chicago. But even though Merit has had wild adventures, this may be her deadliest yet….

A killer is stalking Chicago, preying on humans and leaving his victims with magical souvenirs. The CPD hasn’t been able to track the assailant, and as the body count rises, the city is running out of options. Vampires and humans aren’t on great terms, but murder makes for strange bedfellows. Can Merit find the killer before she becomes a target?
At A Glance
I love this series and the characters but why the hokey writing all of a sudden?

The Good
The Chicagoland Vampires Series was one of the first urban fantasy series I ever read. It had all the elements I loved in a UF and it still does. I love how Chloe has kept true to her style of heavy mystery and investigative storylines. I feel like I learn so much with each book as this supernatural world keeps getting bigger and broader. I never want it to end.

Merit kicked ass in this book. It's so interesting how she takes the most random pieces of evidence and utilizes her connections to bring everything together and bring the bad guy down. She has the most amazing team on her side and she is stronger for it.

But it was Ethan who went through the most in Blood Games. The power is shifting and Ethan is caught in the middle. He may finally get the chance to guide his race and make a difference if only others would stop trying to hinder his progress. Ethan is really put through the ringer as he is hit from all sides. I respect him so much for going through hell just to ensure a better and fair life for his fellow vampires. Though he did go back to his old ways of being closed-off and secretive like before, which was frustrating, I did understand his motives.

The crew was all present. I feel like the old Mallory is finally back. Like the whole evil witch thing never happened. The plot was good, especially with the two main storylines being so engrossing, and the action was pretty exciting. The ending was definitely interesting too. I wonder where the next book will lead.

The Bad
Even though I love and will always love this series, I find myself getting annoying with the cliché and hokey dialogue and writing in the past few books. I often find myself rolling my eyes over silly puns and over the top gushing.

There is a huge power shift in Blood Games and I was super excited for the change up, but the final decision on who got the power made absolutely no sense at all. I understand the decision for the sake of keeping this series interesting and suspenseful, but realistically, it had no backing or logic.

The Snuggly
Ethan and Merit go through some tough times in this book, and even though they both irritated me at times, I loved how solid their relationship was no matter their current problems. I think they grew even closer by the end and I didn't think that was possible.

There is a sex scene or two. For a adult/new adult audience.

Final Thoughts
A great plot and detailed storylines like always. Merit and Ethan are perfect, even when they aren't. I am not feeling the silly dialogue and bad puns, but hey, it's not like I am going to stop reading this series. I am way too invested. Recommended.

Author Bio
Chloe Neill was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest—just close enough to Cadogan House and St. Sophia's to keep an eye on things. When not transcribing Merit’s and Lily’s adventures, she bakes, works, and scours the Internet for good recipes and great graphic design. Chloe also maintains her sanity by spending time with her boys—her husband (also her favorite landscape photographer) and their dogs, Baxter and Scout. (Both she and the photographer understand the dogs are in charge.) Visit her on the Web at www.chloeneill.com.

Jennifer: Did anything (or anyone) surprise you while writing Blood Games?

Chloe: Mallory surprised me with her encyclopedic knowledge of the supernatural, and the Nymphs surprised me with their industriousness. Oh, and Ethan surprised me with his vulnerability in this novel.

Jennifer: What is your favorite part of the process of writing a book?

Chloe: Being done with it! (I say that now because I'm trying to finish DARK DEBT.) Actually, the initial research and idea-gathering is really fun. Just letting your mind float around different option is a lot of unregimented fun.

Jennifer: Why write in urban fantasy out of all genres?

Chloe: Because I am most interested in that fantasy/supernatural element, and how its situated into our real world. I love making up the rules and thinking about myth origins, and I'd much rather explore those issues than paying bills and going to work, and other nonmagical things. :)

Jennifer: What's your funniest (or weirdest) moment as an author?

Chloe: At SDCC a couple of years ago, Patricia Briggs told me she loved my books. I had a moment. :)

The fun doesn’t stop here. Want more chances to win? You can also enter the Blood Games Grand Prize Giveaway, which runs July 28  through August 8 on Chloe’s web site.
What is the Grand Prize Giveaway prize?
  • An engraved Cadogan House medal necklace
  • A Kindle Paperwhite
  • A complete set of Chicagoland Vampires Audiobook CDs (graciously provided by Tantor Audio)
  • A limited edition Cadogan House keychain
  • Chicagoland Vampires bookmarks, pens, and lanyard

You can also enter my giveaway for a chance to win:
  • Limited Edition Cadogan House Chrome Keychain
  • Chicagoland Vampires Tote Bag
  • The autographed Chicagoland Vampires novel, Biting Bad
  • Swag, including Chicagoland Vampires bookmarks and pens, and Cadogan House lanyards

  • Open internationally! Details on the rafflecopter. Ends August 23rd.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Check out the other Blood Games Blog Tour stops:
    Monday, August 4 – Tru Bookie’s Review
    Tuesday, August 5 (Release Day) - Saucy Wenches | Literary Escapism | Vampire Book Club 
    Wednesday, August 6 – Book Suburbia
    Thursday, August 7 – Nomi’s Paranormal Palace | Between Fantasy & Reality
    Friday, August 8 – Team Nerd Reviews

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Review: The Romance Novel Cure by Nina Ceves


    Incurable Romantics Series #1

    by Nina Ceves

    Publisher: Self-Published (March 2014)
    Genre: Contemporary Romance, Adult
    Format: Ebook (169 pages)
    Source: Free book from author for honest review
    Find It: Goodreads | Amazon
    Rating: ★★½☆☆ (2.5 stars)
    Can the cure for a floundering marriage be right between the covers of a romance novel? Ben stumbles upon Greta's stash of romance novels and is surprised at the level of heat these books generate. The Dark Shifters series, starring the alpha hero Silas, seems to be her favorite, so Ben decides to use Silas as a coach. What Would Silas Do? becomes his mantra. By reading the books that Greta reads on the sly, Ben vows to become more like Silas in order to win her heart again. The romance novel cure intensifies when Ben asks Greta to read to him, and in turn reads to her.

    But is there a mystery at the heart of the Dark Shifters series that will ultimately drive them further apart, or bring them closer than ever before?
    At A Glance
    Not a very riveting book but it held my attention on occasion.

    The Good
    I am in this unique position right now. I am taking an art class for summer semester and it is 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, and we mostly have free time to create art for those 4 hours. So I have been listening to my books on my kindle with headphones. And because of this, I am not realizing when I am listening to a good book or a bad good, I am just listening. The Romance Novel Cure was one such book. Luckily, it was better than the last book I read.

    This book had an adorable concept that pulled on the heartstrings. I would love it if a guy started acting more like the alpha love interests in my paranormal romance books. A guy should really take some tips from Ben, because he knows how to please his woman! He actually reads paranormal romance out loud to his wife! *Swoon*s I became obsessed with knowing how Greta and Ben would end up. They both are such real characters with problems and fears that any one of us could have. They don't always handle the stress of life in the right way, but they are working on it...together. And that's all that matters in the end.

    The Bad
    It's too bad the execution was so limp. The plot was way too simple. There were no ups and downs, it was a flat line of cute but lackluster. You could read the blurb and it would be safe to say that you have pretty much read the whole book. Except for one small secret, which actually did surprise me, there is nothing else going on in this novel except for a couple trying to fix their marriage. And even though I liked Ben and Greta for the most part, I still found them somewhat hokey. I was often rolling my eyes as I listened to them be adorkable way too often.

    I really would have no idea who I would recommend this book too. I finished it (and I think I only finished it because I wasn't paying enough attention to realize the book was just average) and realized that there really isn't much of an audience for such a simple book. Where is the stimulation, where is the excitement?

    The Snuggly
    I did like watching Ben and Greta slowly get back together, especially through the shared reading and interest in paranormal romance, but the sex was blah. They didn't have sex until the end and it seemed so odd that a married couple acted like virgin teens on their first date. Why the fear of intimacy? I didn't get it.

    Final Thoughts
    Even though I did occasionally enjoy myself, I can't bring myself to recommend this book to anyone. It's cute but without a substantial plot, it fell flat in most areas. Not recommended.
    "I wished my life was more like a romance novel. Better yet, a paranormal romance novel. Then, Ben and I would be fighting evil, together. Side by side. Instead, we were acting as though we were enemies."

    "My heart was pounding and my pants felt way too tight. What. The. Hell? My wife was giving me grief for sneaking porn, calling it my internet girlfriends, we hadn't had sex in more than a year, and this--? This? I swallowed, looked around, resisted adjusting my pants, and went back to reading."

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    DNF Review: The Mystic Wolves by Belinda Boring


    Mystic Wolves Series #1

    by Belinda Boring

    Publisher: Moonstruck Media (Jan 2012)
    Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
    Format: eBook (280 pages)
    Source: Free book from publisher for honest review
    Find It: Goodreads | Amazon
    Rating:☆☆☆☆ (1 star) | DNF
    What would you do if a simple errand takes a deadly twist, turning you from cautious prey to dangerous predator?

    Someone is trying to send a deadly message to Mason, arranging the deaths of those he loves and it puts the entire pack and Alpha on high alert. Darcy understands the primal instincts driving her beloved Mason's commands. With the help of those he sets as protectors, she learns about herself and the things she'll need to help support her Alpha and pack. When events turn dire however, one truth offers her strength - once given, oaths are unbreakable...even if it means risking it all.

    **This is the full length novel version of Without Mercy, Cherished, and Blood Oath*
    At A Glance
    I can't believe I read this book up to 70%. What was I thinking?

    The Good
    The standoff was pretty scary. It got my blood pumping and I had high hopes for the book because of this one scene.

    The Bad
    Then everything went downhill. SPOILERS AHEAD. Things I learned from this book: When a crazy man is holding you at gun point, just flirt your way out of it! You know, because that totally makes sense. When your friend is shot and killed because you tried to flirt your way out of a deadly situation, don't just mourn, f*ck your brains out! You know, it's not like there are more important matters to address, or like a pack to run, as long as P is going into V, over and over again, then that's all that matters. (Okay, they never really had full on sex, since, obviously, Darcy had to stay a virgin for no good reason, so they just did everything else) When your pack is waiting for you to help them understand why a member is dead, run away! That's what Alphas do, right? *head-desk* Can you smell the sarcasm?

    Mason was in no way an Alpha. He gave out orders but everyone ignored him and he kept running away from his responsibilities instead of taking care of matters right away. Darcy weakened Mason with her disregard for the rules that were meant to keep her safe. She really had no sense of logic in a lot of ways.

    The only reason I read up to 70% is because I was listening to the book on my kindle while in my 4 hour art class. It took me forever to realize that I didn't like what I what hearing. The plot was washed away by sex.

    The Snuggly
    Mason and Darcy's solution for everything was sex. I would say out of the 70% I read, 50% of it was just flirting and sex.

    Final Thoughts
    Don't read this book unless you want to read a bad erotica version of young adult. No plot, no substance, just horny kids playing at adults. Not recommended.
    I can't bring myself to share quotes from a book I disliked so much.