Bark's Book Nonsense

Stay chill, it's only a silly book review.

I read the good, the awful & all of the "meh" in the middle. Mostly horror & romance of all kinds.

Puss in Prada by Marie Jacquelyn

Puss in Prada - Marie Jacquelyn

This is an adorable little fable. It’s about a man named Alex who was turned into a talking cat by an irate witch. He’s been this way for a few years when the book begins and is living the cat life with his ex-boyfriend Ethan. Ethan was kind enough to take him in even though they were already broken up at the time because Alex was sassy, sarcastic, self-centered and snobby and an all-around dreadful boyfriend. Oh wait, he’s still all of those things! Except he’s no longer the boyfriend (that’d be too weird even for me) and now that he’s a cat, he makes good company for Ethan who prefers to stay in and watch tv after a long day of work. But Alex doesn’t want Ethan to turn into some lonely, antisocial cat man.



Not that there's anything wrong with that . . .



Still, it’s time for Ethan to put himself out there and find a boyfriend– even if the thought of Ethan with another man makes Alex a little queasy.

This story is simply delightful. If you are not a fan of m/m romances because most tend to be heavy on the angst and the sex, this is one that isn’t like the rest. It’s sweet and funny and I really enjoyed the characters. I think it will charm even those who think their heart is dead (not that I’d know anything about that . . .)

There is so much fun dialogue packed into this little novella but I think this line from Ethan describing cat Alex’s faults was my favorite.

"You also yell at the pigeons outside, watch too many cooking shows, and have a blog entirely dedicated to pictures of yourself."


Honestly, the only thing I’d change about this book is the cover. This is a book that features a talking cat who wears designer clothing and it has a generic cup of coffee on its cover? A pretty cup of coffee, sure, but seriously, what is up with that? So much opportunity squandered! I say ignore the cover and picture any of these dapper fellows on the cover instead.



Much better, right?

Touched by Passion by Megan Hart

Strangers of the Night: Touched by PassionPassion in DisguiseUnexpected Passion - Megan Hart

I requested a copy of this book from Netgalley because of the author’s previous book “Lovely Wild” . That was such a unique book. What I didn’t realize was that I was requesting only one novella in a collection called “Shadows of the Night”. From my 30 seconds of internet research, I learned there may be two other stories included in the book that I did not receive for review.



My review and my rating is for Touched by Passion and only for Touched by Passion. Sadly, this story feels like a set up for the other two and it left me hanging, not the main romance, but all of the woo-woo stuff. I have MANY questions and I hate when that happens. If you purchase the finished book you may not have any of my issues.

Because it’s roughly 100 pages, I’m going to keep most of my words to myself. Things start out fabulously with echoes of an X-Files-like plot. Samantha is a nurse (who may or may not really be a nurse) who is caring for a handsome young man who has special powers. Powers that make others very fearful of him. But she likes him and she doesn’t mind his not so covert touches to her bare skin as she examines him. His arousal kind of her turns her on, truth be told, and she takes her sweet time taking his vitals each day. Well, wouldn’t you?



Anyhow, he was apparently part of a cult where all of the children had super powers and he’s spent his life being a guinea pig and is nearing the end of his usefulness to the Powers That Be. Samantha may be the only one willing to save him.

What follows is some action, some scatterings of plot breadcrumbs and a rushed and rather disappointing sexy time but then again, I have been reading a lot of pervy books lately! It all ends rather abruptly, most likely because there are two other connected stories that I was not privy to. As a standalone? It doesn’t entirely work for me so I’m giving it a three.

Rescuing Finley by Dan Walsh (audio)

Rescuing Finley (A Forever Home Novel Book 1) - Dan Walsh

Rescuing Finley is a beautiful story about healing, second chances and the unconditional love of dogs. The best part for me was that Finley the dog was given his own point of view and he had a lot of thoughts that made me teary. I wish more writers would do that. I’d rather see the world from the dogs POV than through the eyes of some obnoxious human character.

Finley is a sweet but rowdy young golden retriever mix whose owner joins the military and leaves Finley with his mom who is not a dog person. Sad things happen and Finley ends up in a shelter, confused and depressed. His anguish is soooo hard to read but the author doesn’t linger there for long. Finley is chosen to join a prison program where female inmates train homeless dogs to become companions for soldiers with PTSD. He is paired with Amy, a young lady who messed up her life with a meth habit and poor choices. They both thrive in this program but will Amy be able to part with Finley when it’s graduation day?

The book is written pretty simply and cleanly (I later discovered Dan Walsh is a Christian author). There’s no fancy prose, humorous dialogue or action sequences that’ll make you hold onto your undies or whatnot but it worked for me. Sometimes simple is just right. When I say simple I don’t mean boring. If it were boring I’d tell you. But if you are not interested in dogs, dog training or the healing powers of love and dogs, this one might not be for you. There’s a lot of dog time here, probably why I loved it so much, as well as time spent going over training protocols, the prison dog training program and humane society intake rules, etc. Here and there I found the author repeating himself. This might’ve been more apparent to me because I was listening on audio and listening with my full attention for once!

Somehow this book manages to tackle difficult situations but it never gets too dark. There is a deep dive into the life of a soldier once he’s returned home from war and seen atrocities that follow and haunt but instead of dwelling in that dark space, this story is about how one man pulls himself out of it and decides to live his life again. The end wraps everything up in a nifty little bow which might’ve just gone a wee bit over the edge for me but you may or may not think so depending on your outlook on life.



Anyway, it’s a lovely read and the narration by Hillary Huber is excellent and very professionally done. She hits all the right notes with her performance and I have no complaints there.

*I received this book from Tantor Media. I hope they don’t regret it!

Threshold by Jordan L. Hawk

Threshold - Jordan L. Hawk


I listened to this book on audio and the narrator is not my favorite. I wasn’t thrilled with his performance in “Widdershins” and it was pretty much the same deal here. He simply has no oomph to his voice, there is very little to no emotion behind any of the words and I’m a reader who needs the oomph. I don’t enjoy having a story “read” to me. I need a performance. And it’s all about me, right? Anyway, this story is good enough for me to mostly ignore the sometimes awkward/sometimes stilted delivery and the lack of tone change in most of the character voices. Christine is done right though so that’s awesome.

This time lovebirds Griffin and Whyborne and their colleague Christine are investigating strange goings-on at a coal mine. There’s some humor, dastardly humans, some spicy love making, ancient monsters with pincers and surgical skills (yes! Gross but, yes, I loved it!). What more could I want in a story? Nothing, I tell you. Ok, maybe a little angst but that’s here too as the pair have their first real fight, face some insecurities and kiss and make up.

If you don’t like horror you will need to skim and think of this during the scary bits.


This is book #2 in the series and I most definitely recommend reading them in order so you can watch the main couple fall in love and solve their first really weird case in Widdershins. I don’t follow many series because I’m too lazy to keep track of them but this is one that calls to me. I may read the rest in paper format though unless I hear that the narration gets a whole hell of a lot better . . .

Strays by Garrett Leigh

Strays - Garrett Leigh

Strays is a sexy little romance with a slight hint of danger. I needed a mini horror break but wasn’t in the mood for hearts and unicorns and this one came through for me.

Nero splits his time working at several restaurants. His life consists of waking, prepping, cooking and sleeping and he likes it that way. He’s grumpy and a workaholic and his routine keeps him from thinking too hard about anything – especially about that awful thing in his past. His grumpiness keeps most people at arm’s length which is just fine by him. When his boss (who he owes) asks him to take in a stray named Lenny his routine is about to get all kinds effed up.

“Keep Lenny close, if you can. Don’t let him be scared.” What the fuck did that mean?

Lenny is on the run from a persistent, super creepy stalker whose last letter to Lenny included Lenny’s own blue painted toe-nail clipping (ugh). The cops won’t help and he has no family support so when his kind boss finds him a safe place to land and a new place to work, he doesn’t turn down the offer. Had he known he was going to be holed up with such a prickly dude he might’ve reconsidered.

As Nero shows him the ropes, the two become friends and Nero (who is bi) finds himself wildly attracted to Lenny and quickly gets used to him being around. Wherever Nero is, Lenny is but their fast friendship and obvious adoration of each other might not last if Nero continues to keep his guard up even when it comes to Lenny. And, of course, there’s that nasty stalker . . .

Lenny is an open book and easily shares his past hurts and life with Nero and finds Nero’s crabbery amusing. He’s vibrant, artistic, sassy and used to be the life of any party. Now he’s afraid to look outside. Nero doesn’t know what to make of him and all of these feelings he’s stirred up.

Nero hung up and stared at his phone screen, wondering why Lenny’s voice twisted his insides so much. He’d started walking again while they’d talked, but he drifted to a stop now, feeling somehow . . . lighter? What the actual fuck? Nero was used to trudging through life under a cloud of temper and sarcasm, his only shield between him and a world that had fucked him over more times than he could count, not spinning giddily because of the way a bloke he hardly knew said his name.

Ah, poor Nero is a goner.

I really enjoyed this book and both of the main characters. Nero is young but very much like a crabby old man and he does not care.

"Sorry I screeched at you.”

“Don’t be. I’m a dick.”


He’s like many people I’ve met in real life and I can easily picture him as an old guy screaming at brats to get the hell off his lawn. His thoughts, his cursing and his whole way of dealing with people were very real and often funny to me. People are annoying and Nero doesn’t hide his annoyance with them. The romance builds naturally out of friendship and doesn’t suffer from the dreaded insta-lust/love thing that drives me insane. Together they are lovely and somehow their very different personalities work together.

This is book 2 in the "Urban Soul" series and there are appearances by characters from a previous book but it stood on its own just fine. I hate mid-series books that don’t make sense unless you’ve read them all and this isn’t one of them.

I may even seek out the first book now.

Token by Kelly Gendron

TOKEN (Daring the Kane Brothers) (Volume 1) - Kelly Gendron

*Roll #2 book for Booklikes-opoly. I'm terribly behind with everything in life and will do my next roll later this week.

 

I love messy characters. If you do too, you’ll likely love this one because it’s full of them! Or you could hate it. Who am I to say?

Harley is our heroine and she is a drunken mess. Every year she grieves the anniversary of the death of her family by escaping for a week to drink away the pain and to sleep with a stranger or two before putting it behind her for another year. But this year will end differently . . .

Token (yep, that’s really his name) has been paid $10,000 to find her and find her does. When she wakes up in a hotel room that isn’t hers, hung over, sick and with a man who insists on bringing her sorry ass back home to her uncle, she isn’t having any of it. She only wants to be left alone but Token has other ideas. Thus begins the volatile, super steamy and surprisingly sweet love affair between Harley and Token.

Both of these characters have pasts that haunt them which adds just enough angst to keep up the conflict. As much as Token would like her to open up and face her demons, he doesn’t treat her like a project that needs fixing and pretty much accepts her for the mess she is and gives her time and that’s why they worked.

He’s different. When he looks at me it’s as if he sees the train-wreck and all the leftover debris spread around me but he doesn’t appear to want to save me from the crash that I’ve found my life in. Instead, he stands and patiently waits like he’s waiting for me to pull myself up from all the rubble and brush myself off. That’s what I feel when he stares at me. When his dark green eyes lay quietly upon my body. I don’t get the sense he wants to fix me but I also don’t get the feeling that he’ll leave me either. It’s strange. I don’t know the man. Still, I feel closer to him than anyone in my life right now but really, that’s not saying much.

He also has amazing powers of restraint.

“The past two days you’ve thrown your body at me, teased me, and tempted me.” His thumb runs across my chin. “Do you know why I resist you?” Gazing into his sincere eyes, I swallow hard unable to respond, afraid of his answer. “When I touch you, I wanna be sure you’re gonna fuckin’ feel it.”

Awww, if that isn’t romance, I don’t know what is!

Token comes from a very large, loud, loving and close-knit family so it looks like there’s room for many a sequel. I’ll follow along for now because the characters and writing intrigued me NOT because there was a cliff-hanger attached to the very end (arghh). Fortunately there was closure with Token and Harley’s story or I’d be a bit steamed right now. Cliff-hangers and I do not get along.

I really enjoyed this read. I found myself wanting to get back to it whenever I had to put it down which is kind of a rarity for me so if you like steam, angst and some heart-melting moments and can deal with imperfect people, you’ll probably like it too. If not, don’t blame me!

I received an ARC from the publisher and Netgalley. Hope they don’t regret it!

Sorry I've Been Missing

I don't know when to quit.

 

 

I hurt myself last weekend and then decided I felt better on Tuesday and made the 45 commute into work in my little car. I attempted to get out of my car and my back let me know what an idiot I truly am. I've been unable to move ever since. I've been laid up or attempting to shuffle around the house. One hip is 2 inches higher than the other and nothing is helping. I broke down and went to the chiropractor this morning and now I can at least sit and ice things without wishing for the grim reaper. Anyway, I'm not as flaky as I may appear to be. I'm just a mess right now. The pain was so bad I couldn't even read! I'll be back when I can focus on basic life tasks again. Have fun while I"m away.

Home Tears by Tijan (Audiobook)

Home Tears - Tijan

This book was a messy stew of family secrets, sibling in-fighting, jilted lovers, epic storms and terrible tragedies and was filled to the very brim with flawed characters. I’m afraid there was just too much going on for my pea brain to handle because this book tired me out and not in that cathartic “cry your heart out” kind of way. Were it not an excellently narrated audio, I likely wouldn’t have finished it.

Dani left her hometown and all of its bad memories a decade ago, after her best friend and the love of her life decided to fall in love with her younger sister. Yeah, you read that right. She didn’t look back, even when she learned that the man-stealing sister had died, and I really didn’t blame her. Seriously, there are some things you just don’t do and stealing your sister’s man is one of them. Now, after a traumatizing event, she’s run away from a perfectly nice man and has decided to return to her hometown, for some bizarre reason that is never sufficiently explained, and is forced to face the people she ran away from and, while she’s at it, she also decides to ferret out all of the family secrets and find herself a new man. See what I mean about a lot of stuff being jammed in here?

This story just wasn’t meant for me. I was attracted to the blurb because it promised secrets. I’m nosy and I love secrets. But these secrets just weren’t juicy in their execution. There was such a waste of juicy potential and angst and I LOVE angst almost as much as I love secrets but these reveals left me feeling nothing. No shock, no thrill, just “meh, that’s it?” The main problem I had with this book, besides the unending subplots, was the fact that characters didn’t engage me emotionally. I never felt any anguish because they didn’t seem to.

Honestly, I think Dani would’ve been better off if she’d never returned to this town infested with liars and cheaters and secret keepers.

Narration Notes: Narrator Sarah Mollo-Christensen does a great job with all of the characters and there are a lot of them. She gives them each distinctive voices suited to their character traits. Even the guys sound real and I don’t think that’s an easy task for any woman to pull off (and vice versa). If you love the way this author writes (and many do) and aren’t as crabby as me, I’d highly recommend listening to this audio version.

I received a copy of this audiobook from Tantor Media.

The Woodsman by Belle Scarlett

The Woodsman - Belle Scarlett

This audio is like mixing up a big box of Kraft’s “cheesiest” macaroni when you are starving and too lazy to cook a real meal. You know it’s not good for you but it’s just so cheesy you can’t stop! Before you know it, you’ve downed the entire thing. Same goes for this audio.

 

Lily is on her way to meet her future husband who is some old coot with a lot of money who will keep her well. Never mind him though because she is way-laid (yep, I see what I did there) before that nightmare can happen. Her carriage has troubles and she meets a very large wolf/man who leads her back to a cottage where some sexy stuff happens but the lovefest is cut short due to a curse, or something, something that has to do with virginity. Lily was having fun and gets all sassy, even stomping her foot but Marrick (the wolf-man) stays strong. For a short while anyway and then things happen.

 

 

There is nothing unique about this story, it’s overly wordy and pretty corny. It’s not even super, sexy, hot. More like lukewarm and vanilla. Still, I found myself enjoying the audio production. It even has sound effects for ambiance! Usually these things bother me but it works well here because the levels are right. The crickets chirping in the background were especially soothing. There are two narrators and Honey Scarlett does such a fun job with Lily’s character that I couldn’t stop listening. Her accent was hilarious and spot on and I just loved listening to her. Leeroy Will’s delivery of Marrick suffers in comparison. His delivery wasn’t as good, the cadence was slightly off and at times his accent sounded a little like Shrek. Sorry, that’s my take.

 

Anyway, if you’re looking for an amusing, non-brain taxing way to spend two hours and 39 minutes you could do much worse than this!

 

I received a copy of this audiobook courtesy of the publisher and Audiobookboom. I hope they don't regret it!

Garden of Fiends Anthology

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror - Johann Thorsson, Max Booth III, Glen Krisch, Jessica McHugh, Kealan Patrick Burke, Mark Matthews, Jack Ketchum

This is a truly excellent collection of short stories all about the struggle of addiction. All have a horror twist and there isn’t a dud in the bunch. If I didn’t have to work, feed and clean up after people all the live-long day, I would’ve finished it in one sitting because it’s that good. I’m not going to rate them. Just know that they’re all around the 4 1/2 – 5 star range which totally averages out to a 5, right?

 

A Wicked Thirst by Kealan Patrick Burke

 

Things get off to a dark start (and stay there, really) with this story about a man caught in the throes of alcohol addiction. His life is a wreck, he is haunted by his mistakes, by his never-ending thirst and perhaps by something supernatural. It’s unflinching and you really do feel for this mess of a man as he is helpless to stop the all-consuming thirst . . .

 

The One in the Middle by Jessica McHugh

 

In a not too distant future, a man has lost the love of his life due to his addiction. This only feeds the vicious cycle as he longs for drugs to take away his emotional pain. He lives in a desperate world where the wealthy pay big bucks for something only the drug addicted can offer them. But he’s not desperate enough to sink to that, or is he? This is apparently an excerpt from a longer work called Green Kangaroos, which I now need because I am the nosey sort, but the story feels complete enough here. This one is dirty and brutal and harrowing.

 

Garden of Fiends by Mark Mathews

 

Oh how I loved this one. It’s haunting and terrifying and all around awesome. Tara is a recovering addict and every day is a struggle to remain sober. She has a family who loves her and will do anything to keep her alive and I do mean anything. This is a story about an addict, a garden that grows terrible fruit and the damage it all does to one once close-knit, loving family. It’s sad and horrible and beautifully written.

 

First, Bit Just a Finger by Johann Thorsson

 

This is a little snippet of a story that started with a party trick that turns one woman on to a new obsession that’ll put some images in your head you may not easily forget. Eww this was disturbing! So fantastically disturbing and I wanted more!

 

Last Call by John FD. Taff

 

Ted is a slave to his addiction. When he shows up loaded at his latest AA meeting his sponsor is forced to take drastic measures and hands him a business card, telling him to go to the address on the card and ask for “the last bottle he’ll ever need”. He gets it and gets his life together but the past will come back to haunt in a most terribly heartbreaking way.

 

Torment of the Fallen by Glen Krisch

 

Maggie is 15, a runaway, sees demons and sets out on a course of disaster to locate her father. This was like watching an extremely dark episode of Supernatural with a surprise ending and I adored it.

 

Everywhere You’ve Bled and Everywhere You Will Be by Max Booth III 

 

This one starts out in a most startling manner. Jeremy arises after a saucy night to discover that blood is oozing out of a place it shouldn't be oozing out of. He tries to shrug it off as a result of overuse but it’s difficult to shrug off something like that, especially when it doesn’t stop oozing! Uh oh. This story is darkly comical and is laced with my favorite kind of twisted humor. It’s probably my favorite because of that. Sex, drugs, cravings, spiders and madness fueled by drugs and nightmare images? What’s not to like? It’s also gory and bloody and so very messy. I loved it all.

 

Returns by Jack Ketchum 

 

Awww, this was a short and beautifully told ghost story about a depressed alcoholic, a man and a cat ending with a Ketchum edge. It’s a little scary to me that I just so happened to take this particular progress photo when sitting down to read this collection!

 

 

This book was a very cohesive collection and I am so glad I changed my stance on short story collections (due to burn out) and gave this one a try! I received an ARC from the publisher.

DNF: The Unhandsome Prince by John Moore

The Unhandsome Prince - John  Moore

 

 

DNF'd at page 50 because life is too short. This book starts out cute enough. A young girl of the lower class works tirelessly for days kissing frogs, picking leeches from her legs and getting mud drenched in the hopes of breaking a curse and earning herself the handsome prince. Well, she finally kisses the right frog but when he transforms he's not the handsome prince she was promised and she is pissed off. Her hopes forever dashed, she decides she doesn't want to marry him. He's not too find of the idea either considering how rude she's being about his looks.

 

The beginning was cute, witty and sarcastic but then it meandered down a different path and I lost interest. They hook up with a sorcerer's daughter and go on a road trip and I just wasn't feeling it.

 

Booklikes-opoly Roll #2:

TOKEN (Daring the Kane Brothers) (Volume 1) - Kelly Gendron The Unhandsome Prince - John  Moore

Book #1, The Unhandsome Prince, was a DNF :(  It wasn't horrid but it was another of those of books that started off good but then wandered off down a path that wasn't interesting to me.

 

Previous Bank  $20.00

DNF @ 50 pgs $  1.00

New Bank        $21.00

 

Today's Roll:

 

 

Which lands me here:

Read a book where someone gets married, with jewelry on the cover, or where any character is a millionaire/billionaire!

 

I'm choosing Token because, in all honesty, this is more what I feel like reading right now and he's wearing a ring.

.Token (Daring the Kane Brothers, #1)

 

Can wounded hearts heal? Can they survive the past? Or will secrets end it all before love has a chance to last

I DARE YOU TO SAVE ME...

Retired boxer, TOKEN KANE is comfortable on a motorcycle but little does this Irish rogue know the next Harley he picks up will give him the ride of his life. When Token is sent to retrieve Harley Redbourne for his boss, he doesn't know why. He only knows that the woman drinks too much, she's conniving, strong-willed, crazy, beautiful, and she gets his heart pumping, but she's also something else. She's in pain. Can Token keep a broken Harley at a distance or is this one ride he can't resist?

One week out of the year, on the anniversary of the death of her family, HARLEY REDBOURNE puts away her good-girl and completely let's go. Trapped in a life without love, and finally hitting rock bottom, Harley's surprised by the connection she feels to Token. Even after he kidnaps her, drags her back to California, and reveals his damaged past, she can't shake the gorgeous beast.
Can Harley continue to hide her wounded heart or has Token seen it right from the start?

USA TODAY Bestselling Author of Breaking the Declan Brothers Series, now brings you Daring the Kane Brothers! TOKEN is book #1 of five new shameless, sexy, and daring brothers who will get you blushing all over!

Warning ~ This book contains explicit sex scenes, graphic language, and is intended for mature audiences.

My First Roll for Booklikes-OPOLY

Borrowing heavily from Blue's post because I'm lazy :)

 

I'm rolling my dice today but won't have time to get started until tomorrow.

 

My bank so far has $20.00.

 

 

 

 I rolled a 9 which means that I landed on space 9:

 

 

I'm going to read:

 

 

 

From the back cover:

And they lived happily never after...

Caroline's plan to live happily ever after has hit a snag. She's spent months mapping the swamp, building tadpole nets, and kissing every wriggling frog she could get her hands on, and one has finally turned into a prince. Unfortunately, Prince Hal is not, as promised in the fairy tales, particularly handsome. In fact, he's kind of dorky-looking.

Hal himself isn't very eager to marry a girl so obsessed with appearances, but he finds that a lot of people have a stake in his impending nuptials -- including a sorceress in training, an irritating dwarf, and Hal's own royal family, who seem to have misplaced large portions of the treasury. But the biggest reason for him to marry Caroline, true love be darned, is that if he doesn't, it's back to the lily pads for him -- permanently...

 

If I don't end up DNFing, the pages completed will be 276 which will put an additional $3.00 in my bank.

 

 

 

The Wrong Girl by C.J. Archer

The Wrong Girl - C.J. Archer

The cover of this one got me. Just look at it and see if you aren’t lured in too. A creepy Victorian, a pale Gothic beauty and an alluring title that promises this is “book 1 of the 1st Freak House series”, how could I possibly resist? I was expecting great things along the lines of “We Have Always Lived In the Castle” or perhaps a “Flowers in the Attic” vibe mashed up with a little “Geek Love” but that’s not at all what I got. If you don’t expect those things, you might be okay.

Things start out promising, if you ignore the fact that heroine has orange hair and is not at all the temptress who appears on the cover. Two young ladies (18ish or so) have been locked away in an attic for most of their lives and are only let out for supervised walks. Hannah, an orphan, was taken in by an earl and grew up as a companion to his daughter Violet who suffers from an affliction that causes fires. Hannah suffers from narcolepsy so the two are kept squirreled away from society. They grow close and are the best of friends.

I can’t express to you how much I loved this setup. So intimate, so character based, so lovely. But then things had to go and change, as things do.

You may enjoy the changes, many appear to do so if the reviews are any indication, but I wasn’t thrilled with the direction the plot ran off in and I never recovered. Hannah is kidnapped and is apparently mistaken for Violet (who also has red, not raven hair – so the chick on the cover wasn’t her either). She is swept away to another creepy mansion where she is told she will be trained to control her powers of fire. She’s also told that she’s not really a prisoner but that she cannot leave. Hmmm, I’d be mighty suspicious were I Hannah . . . Hannah doesn’t reveal that she is not Violet because she supposedly loves Violet and wants to keep her safe. She starts to “train” with Jack, a handsome lad who is able to summon fire at will. She starts to crush on Jack and me, oh my, what’s he going do when he realizes she doesn’t have the power of flame in her fingertips? And worse yet, what’s the keeper of the castle going to do to her when he finds out they nabbed the wrong girl?

What follows is a lot of intrigue and espionage and secret meetings and vaguely nefarious characters and such. All of it terribly boring, if you’re asking me. The early character development is dropped like a hot potato and Violet is tossed to the wind never to be heard from again (at least in this installment of the series). None of it excited me, I’m sad to say. I guess I was expecting something more freakish to be going on in a house dubbed “Freak House”. For a short book this one seemed to drag on forever and I will not be seeking out the sequels which may or may not answer the many questions that I still have after finishing this installment.

Narration Notes Lucy Rayner does a fine job with Hannah’s POV, Sylvia’s is a bit too high-pitched for me but, oh my ears, does she ever butcher all of the manly voices. Jack is supposed to be a 20-something love interest but he and all the men sounded like ancient creepers/gruff old geezers and this is all I could picture whenever Jack or any of the men spoke.



It was disconcerting and that’s all I have to say.

I received a copy of this audio from Tantor Media. I hope they don't regret it!

FREEBIE ALERT: Spell Cat by Tara Lain

I loved Hearts and Flour by this author. It was super sweet and sexy and a great book to use as a palate cleanser in between all of the darker things I usually read. This one went on my wishlist awhile back and now it's free and would you look at that cover?! Get your copy for the Kindle @ Amazon US.

 

Spell Cat by Tara Lain

MM Paranormal Romance 206 Pages

Amazon ♦ Goodreads

When Killian Barth, history professor, meets Blaine Genneau, quantum physicist, they ignite their own big bang. But sadly, Killian walks away. He doesn't do physics professors. In fact, he doesn't do humans, because Killian is the most powerful male witch in 10 generations and, though gay, he's expected to save his declining race by reproducing.


He can't even have sex with Blaine, because he's been taught that sex with humans depletes his power. But if that's true, why can young human, Jimmy Janx, dissolve spoons with a thought? Somebody's a lying witch.


With his powerful cat familiar, Aloysius, on his shoulder, Killian brings the lightning against deceit and greed to save Blaine from danger and prove love is the greatest power of them all. 

 

You're welcome!

The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

The Devil Crept In - Ania Ahlborn

This story starts out a little slow but it’s of the slow burn variety that builds into something terrible and terrifying so I didn’t mind too much.

 

Stevie's best and only friend, Jude, wandered out into the woods near their home one day and never came home. No one besides Jude's mother and Stevie seem terribly upset about it. Jude was an unlikable sort, sure, but the lack of interest in finding him is a little bothersome so Stevie decides to investigate on his own. He and Jude had spent endless hours in the forest doing what boys do in the woods and came upon a creepy old house. Stevie is certain that house has something to do with Jude’s disappearance.

 

This story is a mishmash of many horror-ish things. It’s a coming of age tale mixed up with remnants of King’s Pet Sematary and a splattering of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre but it’s totally its own story. What is eventually revealed is horrifying, disturbing and very gruesome and could give you nightmares if you think about the images too much.

 

I enjoyed the slow unraveling of this story and watching how the origin of a nightmare begins. Stevie was an interesting kid, struggling with a disorder that makes him a target and growing up with an assholish step-dad. He’s determined to find his friend and later he’s unafraid to stir up a little trouble to get at the truth. There’s a side story that I won’t reveal that absolutely captured me where one very unlucky woman is faced with a moral dilemma like none other I’ve ever read and I felt for her. She only wanted love but she got something else entirely!

 

A word of warning, if you need one, there are deaths in here and many of them happen to innocent little beasts but it’s all part of this story and felt like an awful, natural progression of one of the characters.

 

If you like your horror gory and creepy then this one’s for you.

 

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. Thanks, Netgalley!

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