Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway - Deadly Kisses by Kerri Cuevas


IBPR is the first stop on the Deadly Kisses Blog Tour starting March 1st.  Check out the rest of the stops by clicking on the Tour Banner above.  

Don't miss the Rafflecopter Giveaway at the bottom of this post!

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Genre: YA Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Word Count: approx. 50,000
Kindle locations: 3399 (story text ends at 98%)
ePub length: 183 pgs (story text ends on pg 180)
Print length: 265 pgs
Table of Contents included
Source: Review copy from author

Series: Deadly Kisses, #1







STORY BLURB:
Aiden Grant is seventeen, has a killer kiss and a boss who used to be President, back in the old days. Aiden is a grim reaper and his kiss welcomes the newly dead. But Aiden's pleasant grim reaper lifestyle is in jeopardy. And it's not only because Honest Abe keeps throwing out history lessons with the reaping assignments just to confuse him. It's because Aiden's next assignment is to reap the soul of Bee, the only girl he has ever loved.

When Aiden's kiss of death fails, intertwining their souls, Bee is still very much alive and they are both in trouble. The ancients want Bee, who has special powers of her own, and they'll do anything to get her.

Some rules are meant to be broken, even if that means Aiden must bargain with his own soul to save Bee. Who knew the afterlife could get so complicated?

MY THOUGHTS:
Dying with regrets and not being able to let go of them is how someone becomes a grim reaper. At seventeen, Aiden became a grim reaper because he was full of regret and guilt for the accident that caused his death and that of his best friend, Sabrina, who is also Bee’s cousin. He was content enough to go on with his afterlife as a grim reaper (or rather a Reaperling in training) until he was “tested” with an assignment to reap the girl he loved in life, albeit an unrequited love. The reaping doesn’t go quite as planned and creates a dilemma that Aiden has to fix while also dealing with some ancient grim reapers who are after Bee. Aiden is willing to sacrifice anything to save Bee. I liked Aiden from the start. He had a vulnerable side that makes you want to pick him up and just hug him like a sad puppy, but at six-feet tall that might be a bit awkward ;) 

Aiden--or Ad as he is known in his afterlife--works for Abe (as in Abe Lincoln). Abe doesn’t play as big a role in this story as I expected.  I thought he would be a more quirky character who constantly was giving Aiden history lessons as alluded to in the blurb. This was only given limited attention. He pops in occasionally but I don’t think he added much to the overall story.  A slightly deeper meaning to his role becomes evident later in the book, but I felt he could have been a much more interesting character and more involved in the plot.  I also wasn’t crazy about his dialogue. It felt very stilted and part of that may be an intentional reflection on the era he lived in but it felt forced.  I just didn’t really like Abe very much.

As for Aiden’s love interest, I was a little meh about Bee at first but she kind of grew on me. She definitely has some spunk and knows what she wants.  I thought it was odd at first that she was never really too perturbed about all the grim reaper stuff until her own secrets are revealed, then it makes a little more sense. As the story progresses, more and more secrets about Bee's family and the town's history are revealed as well.

Bee and Aiden have a sweet romance. Aiden gets a second chance at love in his afterlife, but when you can't kiss someone without reaping them, it does create a dilemma. You could say that there was an HEA as boy does get girl in the end but this story is not neatly wrapped up and there is an overarching story being set up in this book. Story threads that I had expected to be resolved by the end are clearly left open to be picked up in the next book, Kiss From the Grave.

There were a few things I had an issue with in this book. Dialogue didn’t always suit me and didn’t seem to flow well at times. There were a couple of instances where there seemed to be some editing blips and there were also quite a few instances where things weren’t clear or didn’t make sense to me, leading me to ask myself why did that happen?  Why would he say that? What does that mean? How did she know that?  Wait, is he “nekkid” under that cloak?  (heh, heh…just checking if you were paying attention. But seriously, I think he was).

I like grim reaper themes and so this story sounded interesting to me and I liked the cover art. It had  some elements that reminded me a little bit of  the short-lived TV series, Dead Like Me. The story started off good then went to just okay but then turned around again and suddenly got more interesting. At first I wasn’t that compelled to get back to it when I put it down but the more I read it the more it engaged me as the layers started peeling away and the plot became more interesting. When I think back on the story I remember the things I liked more than the things I didn’t like.  Would I read the next book?  Yeah, actually I would. I am interested in knowing where the story goes and what happens to Aiden, Bee, and even her brother Jaleb, who comes into the latter part of the story.

This story is told in first person from Aiden’s POV. It has characteristics of both Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance so I feel it falls a little on both sides of the fence.


Quick Quotes:
“She had my heart long before I knew I had to reap her. But having her close to me and not being able to kiss her was my personal hell.”

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"And I want you. We want what we want. The heart has its own agenda.”

 
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Level: Sweet
Typos found: 10

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Deadly Kisses is available in both ebook and print formats. You can find Kerri Cuevas online at:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook 

Get the book!
Official release date is March 5th, but it appears to be available now on Amazon.


Add it to your shelf on Goodreads



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Kerri Cuevas was born and raised in Rhode Island. She moved to New Hampshire with her husband, three kids, cats and a rabbit named Hercules in 2005. When she's not writing, she's chasing chickens on her small farm or searching for the ultimate mac-a-cheese recipe.

Kerri went to college for Early Childhood Education but now writes books for young adults full-time. Her storytelling stems from watching too many horror flicks as a teen, but she no longer needs to sleep with the lights on.



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TOUR WIDE GIVEWAY!
Visit each blogger on the tour daily for a chance to enter the Rafflecopter contest for the Deadly Kisses ultimate swag pack which includes a signed copy of the book! Good luck. The Rafflecopter widget is usually the last thing to load....be patient!  It will appear below in a mo.




Good Luck!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review (Short Story): Deadly Hearts by SM Reine

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: February 2013
Word Count: approx. 9,000
Kindle locations: 465 (story text ends at 95%)
ePub length: 27 pgs (story text ends on pg 26)
Print length: 30 pgs (Amazon estimate)
No Table of Contents
Source: My personal library

Series: The Descent Series, #0.5








DESCRIPTION from Amazon:
Dead divorcees. Demonic possession. Elise Kavanagh stabbing things and...baking cookies? It's just another bloody Valentine's Day in the life of a demon hunter and her witchy partner.

This is a short story about the length of two chapters in my other books (9000 words), which takes place before the events of Death's Hand. It's a gift to my existing readers, who believe deep in their hearts that James's butt needs to be slapped once in a while. I agree completely, readers. Trust me.


MY THOUGHTS:
Elise and James pose as a normal couple with a haunted house in order to catch a demon that has possessed a charlatan exorcist. And apparently Elise doesn’t bake…ever. Cookies anyone?

I picked up this short story, which is related to the Descent series, without having read any of the other books. I have a couple of them on my Kindle but just haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. I was looking for a Valentine’s Day read and saw this one. I really liked the cover and decided to give it a whirl. I actually liked the story even though I wasn’t familiar with the world or characters of this series. I didn’t feel lost at all. There were a couple of references in the book that I did wonder about and probably would have appreciated more if I read the other books first, but I didn’t feel I was missing anything major. The story flowed well, kept me guessing, and made want to read more of this world.

What I learned from this companion short story considering I’m not familiar with this series:
  • Elise is kick-ass and James is…well, not. That doesn't mean he is meek. He is the "witchy partner" in this duo and provides the magic to Elise's demon-hunting muscle. I'm sure there is more to it than that but hey, it was just a short story. I need more time to get to know this pair a little better.
  • No romance here, move along folks (but there is *something* going on between those two).
  • Elise seems to have some emotional demons of her own she is dealing with.
  • The Valentine’s Day connection to this story is pretty loose, but I expected that.
  • I should expect some gory, bloody moments in the books for this series.
  • I have no idea what the book blurb means about James’s butt needing to be slapped and how this story did that. I guess that is one of the things that went over my head because I haven’t read the other books yet.
  • Don’t accept home-baked goods from Elise (though now I'm jonesing for the recipe for Nutella cookies).
  • I want to read more of this series or at least the author’s other series, which is probably more my style, but I’m definitely giving this one a shot.

Rating: 4

Typos Found: 0 (woot!)

Side Note: I love the cover art on Reine's books....that is all.

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This short story is currently only available as an ebook. You can find SM Reine online at:

Website: http://authorsmreine.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/smreine
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorsmreine
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/smreine

 Get the ebook!
FREE Read on the authors website!

Add it to your shelf on Goodreads




Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review: Moonlight by Katie Salidas

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Published by: Rising Sign Books
Formats avail: ebook
Release Date: September, 2012
Word Count: approx. 30,000 (Novella)
Kindle Locations: 1835 (story text ends at 96%)
Epub Pages: 92 (story text ends at pg 87)
Source: My personal library


Series: Immortalis, #4.5






DESCRIPTION:
Good girls don’t wear fur or fight over men, and they certainly don’t run around naked, howling at the moon.

But then, no-one ever called Fallon a good girl.

As a human unofficially mated to an Alpha werewolf, Fallon is being pressured to “become”... or be gone.

Her mate Aiden, the interim leader of the Olde Town Pack, is in a position that demands he either choose a wolf mate or leave the pack forever. No matter how hot the sex with Fallon is, he can’t ignore centuries of tradition.

Become a wolf or not: If only the choice were that simple! Fallon’s options are further clouded by the overt presence of other females desperate to be the Alpha’s mate. And when these bitches get serious, it’s not just claws that come out. If Fallon wants to keep her man and take the title, she’ll have to exert a little dominance of her own.

MY THOUGHTS:
I read the first three books in the Immortalis series by Katie Salidas and enjoyed them so I was interested in this companion novella, which expands on the story of Fallon and Aiden.  Unfortunately, I discovered after I started the novella that this story actually takes place after the fourth book, not the third. Argh, I hate reading out of order, but it was my bad.  Fortunately, the third book is when Fallon and Aiden first meet and start their relationship so there was some context for me to buy in to their relationship in Moonlight even if I did read it out of order. On the other hand, a few scenes referenced something that happened in Soulstone (Book 4). Nothing that would be too confusing to the reader, but I definitely felt I was missing some minor back story.  Therefore, I do recommend reading this novella after the fourth book. 

Aiden is the interim Alpha of his pack. Fallon struggles with her choice of whether to be turned into a werewolf in order to be his mate and be accepted as the Alpha female, or to stay human, which means either Aiden would have to leave the pack or she would have to leave him since the pack will not accept a human.  There is also a faction of the pack that does not want Fallon in the pack at all and wants to challenge Aiden’s status as Alpha.  Aiden never waivers in his support of Fallon. He doesn’t force her to choose one or the other, though he certainly hopes she will choose to turn. But if she doesn’t, he doesn’t plan on letting her go.  Awww, ain’t he a sweetie?  Fallon stands up to her naysayers who express their disapproval in some violent ways.  She has really grown into quite the spunky, don’t-mess-with-me, kind of person.  You can see this growth from what she goes through in the previous books and I would guess also that some of the events from the-book-that-was-not-read (aka Soulstone) would probably show more of this growth.  I’m just a-speculating here but I’ll find out soon enough.

I did have a couple of quibbles with the story. One was the constant use of the endearments “Babe” and “Baby” between Fallon and Aiden.  Seriously, I think I can count on one hand how many times they addressed each other by their actual name.  It kind of loses its effect when it is overused and it got a bit annoying. 

The other thing I didn’t particularly like was some of the dialogue, especially during the sex scenes. It sometimes sounded a little cheesy and I admit to a few eye-roll moments.  I don’t recall having that problem with the novels in this series, but in this novella, it jumped out at me.

Speaking of sex in the book, there was actually quite a bit of it compared to the first three books.  I can’t speak yet for the-book-that-was-not-read but I think there was probably more in this novella than in books one, two, and three combined. No complaints from me on that count but someone expecting a certain heat level based on the earlier books may not be a particularly happy camper. 

Alyssa and Lysander actually make a brief appearance in this story, which I liked because it helps with the tie-in to the series overall.  Another secondary character I liked was Aiden’s brother, Brady.  I wonder (hope) if he may be the focus of a future novella. 

As a companion novella related to an ongoing series I think it did its job in giving the reader a closer look at a side story from the novels.  I was happy with how the scope of the story fit the length. It felt complete to me. However, I am familiar with the series and someone picking this up as a standalone story might feel they are missing a lot.  If you enjoy the Immortalis series then I would certainly recommend giving Moonlight a try. I do enjoy this series and even though I may have a few issues here and there, I like the author’s writing style overall and I’m now invested in the characters and the Immortalis world.  I will definitely be continuing the series. 


Rating: 3.5 stars 

Heat Level: Steamy to Spicy

Typos found:  5

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This book is currently only available as an ebook.  You can find Katie Salidas online at:

Website: http://www.risingsignbooks.net/
Blog: http://myimmortalstories.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/QuixoticKatie
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Katie-Salidas-Author/214780936916


 Get the ebook!
Amazon BN  |  Smashwords
  

Add it to your shelf on Goodreads