Bout-of-Books 6.0 Goals (1/7/13-1/13/13)

BoB6.0-300x200Wow, way back in August I thought the wait for January would take for ever. That was a fast 5 months! We’ve all been waiting patiently for the next Bout-of-Books and the time has finally come! Now to pick some books that I know will keep me reading. You know I like to stack the deck, right? My previous Bout-of-Books goal lists have pretty much proven that and Bout-of-Books 6.0 is no exception.

I can’t believe that 5 months have passed and I still have books from Bout-of-Books 5.0 left unread. They’re back (most of them anyway) and this time I’m determined to cross them off first. No exceptions!

As usual, my list is eclectic, just like my taste. The list also includes some books that I have on my Seriously Series 2013 list. I believe in multi-tasking 😉 So what books made it to my Bout-of-Books 6.0 list?

  1. The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto (260 Pages)
  2. Weaving Destiny (Soulkeepers #2) by G.P. Ching (221 Pages)
  3. My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers #2) by Rachel Vincent (285 Pages)
  4. Death’s Angel (Lost Angels #3) by Heather Killough-Walden (368 Pages)
  5. No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark #3) by Kresley Cole (384 Pages)
  6. Lord of Misrule (The Morganville Vampires #5) by Rachel Caine (260 Pages)
  7. Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman (274 Pages)
  8. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (404 Pages)
  9. A Peyton Family Christmas by Moira Rogers (26 Pages)
  10. Dangerous Secrets (Tall, Dark and Deadly #2) by Lisa Renee Jones (200 Pages)

Some of these books I seriously can’t wait to start. They are all books that I own and some of them have been gathering way too much dust and filling me with some serious book neglect guilt. *sigh* While others are brand new and I have been anxiously awaiting.

As for my actual goal? Well, last time I failed miserably, but that’s OK. My goal was 7 and I actually only read 5. This time I’m going to set a realistic goal of 6. I’ve reached that number once before and I really think I can do it again. *fingers crossed* If you’re observant, you will also notice that I have more than 6 books listed. That’s all part of stacking the deck. This may also be a good time to mention that this list isn’t written in stone. I’ve been known to pick up a stray book here and there. That’s the great part about Bout-of-Books though. Pretty much anything goes. 😉 If I do change my mind about what I’m going to read I’ll be sure to update the above list though. No worries.

As always, I will attempt to post my reviews as the books are read. So far, I’ve been able to keep this part of the deal I’ve made with myself. (I’ve found out the hard way, if I don’t post or at least write the reviews as I finish a book I tend to put it off.) All of those reviews will be posted here and on GoodReads and my list of books is there as well.

So, are you joining in on the Bout-of-Books 6.0 fun? If so, what are your goals? As usual, this is a no pressure, all fun read-a-thon. The only person you are competing with is yourself. All the details are at the Bout-of-Books website along with a list of giveaways and challenges that will take place throughout the week. Come join in on the fun! You were gonna read that week anyway, right?

And just in case you missed it, here’s the official Bout-of-Books Blurb:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 6.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. -From the Bout of Books 6.0 team

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By creativedeeds

Let’s Talk! (Week #9 – 12/28/12)

We’re up to week 9 of Let’s Talk and I’m still loving the topics so far. It’s sparked some very interesting and lively conversations and given us all something to think about. That’s always a good thing. Here’s what Smash and Kt have to tell us about the weekly meme.

Originally hosted by Melissa from i swim for oceans, Smash & Kt took her original inspiration, and made it their own, expanding it to more than just books. Let’s get personal (but respectfully so) and learn more about one another!  Each week, a different question will be posted along with a place to link up your posts and visit other people’s responses. This meme is definitely meant to bring out conversation and meet new people. So, Let’s Talk!

And here’s Today’s Question:

What are your New Year Resolutions? Or, what goals have you set for yourself in 2013.

Well, I really didn’t think about New Year Resolutions until I read this question. Now I can’t stop thinking about it. Hmmm….

Getting Fit! I’ve been thinking about this one forever and I really need to do something about it. I’ve been over weight most of my life and it’s not that I avoid exercise, I just don’t do it. *sigh* My daughter has been begging me to get a Y membership for the family and I think this is the year that I will do it.

Building My Business: I really, really need to do this. I need to start promoting more and interacting with others through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn so people out there know I actually exist. The tools are there, I just don’t use them enough.

MyChairGet Organized! Of course along with building my business, I also have to become more organized. I’m great at organization with the office at work, it’s just my personal organization that’s a mess. I have an office in my house that is nothing more than a place for everyone to put things that they are trying to ignore. One of my first priorities is going to be putting it back together so it’s functional and I have a place to really work. This may take a while, but my daughter reupholstered an office chair for me so I have to get it in there. Great incentive, right?

Keep Family First! This shouldn’t have to be added to anyone’s list, but life happens and priorities sometimes get a little screwy. Our family has suffered a fair amount of loss this past year and it has made us all realize how fragile the family dynamic can be. So, when I have to make a choice between work, play and whatever else may come up against family, I hope I have the good sense this coming year to choose spending quality time with my family every time.

As far as blogging and reading go, they don’t even have to be added to the list. They are a given and an integral part of who I am now.

So, how about you? What New Year Resolutions do you want to make? Let’s Talk!

On Raven’s Wings (Heaven Sent/Hell Bent #1) by Isobel Lucas

OnRavensWingsMary Joseph’s family is going through a financial crisis and now she’s forced to finish out senior year at the local public school. In an effort to erase her Catholic school girl image, she joins a rock band, gets a makeover from her best friend, and changes her name to Raven.

Ian, the hottest guy in school, notices her and she’s plunged into a world she never expected to enter. His kisses are as steamy as his body, but Raven doesn’t know if he’s telling her the truth about his bizarre family or if he’s just saying anything to convince her to go all the way.

When disaster hits Raven’s family, she has to make a decision: ignore Ian’s wild claims or take a leap of faith.

On Raven’s Wings is the first episode in a series of five novelettes (10,000 – 15,000 words) releasing every two weeks starting October 23rd. Due to sex and language, this is recommended for readers 17 and up.

Well, that was interesting. In a very good way though. Very good.

If I didn’t know that Isobel Lucas and Megg Jensen were one in the same, I never would have guessed that this short story came from the same author that wrote The Song of Eloh Saga. Don’t let the length of this one fool you though. Even though it was probably less than 50 pages (Amazon estimates it as 33 pages) it carries quite a punch.

The concept of these shorts is unique for me and I’m going to enjoy plowing through each one. I read this one in just under an hour and it proved to be a great break from what I had currently been reading. I can already tell that I’m going to want to have my hands on the next books sooner rather than later. If they all end like On Raven’s Wings there are a lot of cliff hangers in store for readers in this series.

I received On Raven’s Wings as a free download from Amazon on October 23, 2012.

Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin #4) by Jennifer Estep

TangledThreadsI’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.

But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead.

Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too.

The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead.

So far I think that Tangled Threads is my favorite in the Elemental Assassin series. Gin is just as committed as ever to her friends and family, the danger is just as intense and the stakes are growing higher. Mainly because Gin’s circle of people that she has grown to care about and feels the need to protect is growing.

Once again, the supporting players in this installment played just as big a part as Gin herself. This is definitely not just an action driven series, it’s character driven as well. The more I get to know the supporting crew, the more I like them. Sophie and Jo-jo were Gin’s strong supporters. Jo-Jo with her sage advice and encouragement and Sophie with her silent strength. Finn was his lovingly sarcastic self and he proved he was much more than a pretty face who could crunch numbers and gather intel. He saw some real action in Tangled Threads and it made me like and respect him even more. I loved getting to know Bria better too. Hopefully that relationship will grow stronger as well.

Then there was Owen…. *sigh* I really love this guy. He’s breaking through Gin’s tough walls and at times it’s both beautiful and heartbreaking. I’m one of those readers who never doubted Owen’s motives. He always seemed genuine to me and he proved it over and over again in Tangled Threads. The romance was sweet and intense and their connection is just getting stronger. My only fear is that something tragic is going to happen. I hate those feelings.

Of course the bad guys were in full force. Mab was just as nasty and ruthless as ever and we saw more of her this time. Then there was the new assassin. Elektra was an amazing adversary for Gin. That combined with the twists, turns and surprising threads that connected the two made their final encounter even more intense.

Speaking of twists and turns, both readers and characters were in for a few in Tangled Threads. Some I never saw coming. There were some tense moments for me while I was reading the final chapters. I honestly thought I was going to end up hating a character I had grown to really love and respect. Whew!

Spider’s Revenge is up next and hopefully I’ll continue to stay on track so I can take part in the Elemental Assassin Series Read-A-Long discussion because it is really way too much fun to miss. 😉

Tangled Threads is the fourth book in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. I picked it up so I could take part in the Elemental Assassin Series Read-A-Long sponsored by Ashley at Smash Attack Reads and Brianna at The Book Vixen. Each month either Ashley or Brianna will share discussion questions about the current book featured in the Read-A-Long. Follow the link if you want to join in on the fun!

Rogue Rider (Lords of Deliverance #4) By Larissa Ione

RogueRiderJillian Cardiff came to this remote mountain town to forget the demon attack that almost killed her. Instead, she rescues-and falls for-a gorgeous stranger who has no memory of anything other than his name. Handsome, charming, and protective, Reseph seems like the kind of man whom Jillian can trust. But with hints of a troubling history of his own, he’s also the kind of man who can be very dangerous . . .

Reseph may not know why he mysteriously appeared in Jillian’s life, but he knows he wants to stay. Yet when Jillian’s neighbors are killed, and demon hunters arrive on the scene, Reseph fears that he’s putting Jillian in danger. And once it’s revealed that Reseph is also Pestilence, the Horseman responsible for ravaging the world, he and Jillian must face the greatest challenge of all: Can they forget the horrors of a chilling past to save the future they both desire?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Confession time.. I peeked at a couple of reviews of Rogue Rider before I read it. I know, I know, that’s a big no, no. I honestly only read the first paragraph or so of a couple. It wasn’t because I was trying to decide whether or not I should read it. That was a given. I honestly just wanted to see how much everyone liked it. Because of those peeks I did discover something though. I am one of the few people who didn’t loathe Reseph. Who knew?

From the time that Reseph’s seal was broken I felt for him. Sure, I hated Pestilence and everything that he did, but that wasn’t Reseph. I guess my empathy for him came from the brother that the Horsemen remembered. They were all crushed when his seal broke. Even though everything that Pestilence did was unforgivable, there were still glimpses of Reseph trying to break through. I knew that once he did, the transformation would be worth the wait and Larissa Ione did not disappoint.

I loved Jillian. She was as strong, if not stronger than any of the female characters that have been introduced in this series so far. Mainly because her love for him had to be strong enough to overcome all that Reseph had done under the influence of Pestilence. She had to look beyond all that evil and see Reseph for who he really was and mostly for what he had become. Not as easy as you may think.

The circumstances that brought Jillian and Reseph together were perfect and a lot of the puzzle pieces that were missing in the previous books came together nicely. I enjoyed seeing all the Horsemen together, even though the reunion was heart wrenching. It had to be though. Love can forgive a lot, but not everything. Not surprisingly, the person who had the hardest time forgiving Reseph was himself.

There were some surprises in Rogue Rider that I didn’t see coming. I also found myself liking characters that I never expected to like. I love it when authors do that.

What did I like most about Rogue Rider? The fact that I discovered that it isn’t the last Lords of Deliverance book. I just assumed that when all four Horsemen found their mates that the series would end. I’m so glad that there is more to come. Since the last book is also part of the Demonica series I guess I better start catching up on that one as well. I know, I read the series out of order, but I’m trying to fix it, honest! Besides, it gives me the perfect excuse to start the Lords of Deliverance series over once I’m caught up with the Demonica series. See, it’s all good. 😉

DragonFlyRating5

40 Souls to Keep by Libby Drew

40SoulsToKeepSeven years ago, Jase awoke with the mystical power to heal people—and no memory of his past. The only clue to his identity is the number forty tattooed on his arm. Driven by a mission he doesn’t understand, Jase follows his visions to those he’s meant to save. He is convinced that the fortieth person he’s drawn to—a little girl named Macy Pearl—is the key to finally learning the truth…

Social worker Lucas Jacobson has made a promise to protect Macy, orphaned when her parents were brutally murdered. So when Jase shows up in Naples claiming he’s there to heal the child, Lucas is wary, despite his attraction to the enigmatic stranger.

Then Macy is abducted, and Lucas has no choice but to trust in Jase. Scouring the city from its glitzy resorts to its seedy underbelly only deepens the mystery—and draws the two men closer. But Jase is certain of one thing: if Macy dies, a dark fate awaits them all.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I honestly didn’t know what to expect from 40 Souls to Keep. Sure, it sounded interesting and there was enough of a paranormal aspect to catch my interest. The surprise came when I became totally emotionally invested in these characters.

This was an intense book. Much more intense than I originally expected. The emotion was raw, mainly because of the pain that all of these characters experienced. It may have had something to do with the fact that there was a child involved. Not just any child, but a child who was broken, yet seemed to find a way to survive. Lucas was the perfect protector of that child. He impressed me from the first page he was introduced. He was witty, yet totally serious and dedicated to his job. I admired the way he put the children he was there to help above and beyond everything else. Besides that, I just plain liked him as a person from the start. There was just something about him that drew me in. On the flip side, I have to admit that Jase didn’t make quite as good a first impression. Not that i didn’t like Jase. He grew on me. Which, given the way the story progressed was actually perfect. When readers were first introduced to Jase he wasn’t a whole person. The more I got to know him and see how he interacted with Lucas and Macy, the more I grew to like him. Of course, his back story didn’t hurt either. *sigh*

Speaking of the back story. I like the way Libby Drew handled the time lapse in 40 Souls to Keep. It wasn’t forced and it didn’t bounce back and forth. It was just a part of the story – readers learned about how Jase had spent the past seven years at the same time that Lucas did. It made perfect sense and it flowed really well. It could have been awkward, but it wasn’t. It just worked.

As I mentioned before, this book was intense. That intensity covered every aspect. The action, danger, emotion, mystery and even the romance. Speaking of which, there was nothing graphic about said romance at all. The attraction between Lucas and Jase was immediate, mostly due to the circumstances but it was also real and totally heart wrenching at moments. All of which just added to that intensity. I don’t want to say a lot more because a lot of Jase’s attraction to Lucas is something that readers need to discover on their own. It’s worth it, trust me.

There were moments in 40 Souls to Keep that I wondered why characters did what they did. There were also times that I thought that Macy didn’t act or speak exactly like a child her age probably would but those moments were minor compared to the actual story. And for the record, yes there were tears. The bad part was that I knew they were coming. There came a time during the story that I knew that there was no way that things weren’t going to end badly for someone. I kept reading though because I just had to know exactly how Libby Drew would fix it. All the while I was silently praying that she would. Just a warning – the climax and the final chapters just about did me in…. and that’s all I’m going to say. 😉

DragonFlyRating4

Let’s Talk! (Week #8 – 12/21/12)

We’re up to week 8 of Let’s Talk and I’m still loving the topics so far. It’s sparked some very interesting and lively conversations and given us all something to think about. That’s always a good thing. Here’s what Smash and Kt have to tell us about the weekly meme.

Originally hosted by Melissa from i swim for oceans, Smash & Kt took her original inspiration, and made it their own, expanding it to more than just books. Let’s get personal (but respectfully so) and learn more about one another!  Each week, a different question will be posted along with a place to link up your posts and visit other people’s responses. This meme is definitely meant to bring out conversation and meet new people. So, Let’s Talk!

And here’s Today’s Question:

Please share your favorite Holiday recipe. And if you don’t have one or cook, then go find one that sounds YUM-O! Feel free to include pictures.

So, what foods just say Christmas to me? My list isn’t short, so be patient. Some of them are mine and some of them belong to others, but all of them hold a special place in my personal holiday memories. I didn’t have pics of all the finished goodies, but you can click on any of the pics below and follow the links to recipes on the pages I pulled the pictures from.

DateBarsThe first one I’m going to share is a standard from my Mom (actually my aunt, but she raised me so she’s more than earned the title.) As long as I can remember I looked forward to the time that she would make her Date Bars. I know, not your standard Christmas fare, but I now have to share them with my daughters. And by share I mean sometimes fight over the last one. It’s gotten to the point where Grandma has wised up and made separate containers for all of us. We’re so spoiled. 😉

PumpkinRollBetween Thanksgiving and Christmas I’m known for my Pumpkin Rolls. I’m in big trouble so far this year because I have yet to make even one. Not that I haven’t been baking, because I have, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m not sure how it got started, but I don’t regret it. They’re fun to make and I like being known for something. Since I didn’t get around to making any for Thanksgiving I guess I better start rounding up the ingredients to make some before Christmas.

PuppyChowMy kids got in on the ‘gifting food’ idea right along with me. I love it when that happens. They love to make Chex® Muddy Buddy Mix. Of course, somewhere along the road they started calling it Puppy Chow. I found a couple of sites that do call it that, but I have no idea where my kids picked it up. The important thing is that there are people that eagerly expect this simple treat from my kids every year. I love it when traditions just sort of happen.

So, what are your favorite Christmas or seasonal recipes? Are there any that warm your heart as well as your tummy? We all could use some new and different ideas. Thanks for sharing and Enjoy!

 

A Sinister Game by Heather Killough-Walden

SinisterGameIn a world ruled by Game Leaders, a dark and dangerous man proposes a wager….

“If you can escape me for seven rounds, Victoria – if you can keep from being taken off of the board for that long, I will admit defeat and step down as Gray leader. But if I find you,” he let the words sink in. “And if I capture you….” His voice trailed off just as his gaze trailed over her lips, her throat, her breasts.
His green eyes locked on hers again and she felt she would die right there at that table.
“Then you’ll join me. You’ll give yourself to me for one night.” His smile was the devil’s promise. “This is the wager.”

But this is a game far more complicated and far more deadly than either of them anticipated. As the real world unfolds around them, what they thought they knew becomes obsolete, and the rules are ruthlessly changed… in this SINister game.

I have to admit that when I first started A Sinister Game, it didn’t immediately grab me. I think it may have been the set-up, which was a necessary part of the story. The flip side is that once it did grab me, it didn’t let go.

The world that Heather Killough-Walden created in A Sinister Game was so much more than it seemed at first. So were the main players. It was a sinister, dark world whose powers that be not only manipulated the players in The Game, but also the residents outside its walls. It was quite a complex and scary concept.

As to be expected from any book by this author, there was amazing heat between the main characters. In this case, Victor and Victoria. Also to be expected, the lines between good and evil tended to blur. Killough-Walden is an expert at blurring those lines. You never know exactly who you should be rooting for and you find your loyalties changing almost as fast as the action and drama force you to turn the pages. It definitely makes for an interesting read.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a sucker for mythology and A Sinister Game has an interesting mythological tie-in. I wasn’t expecting it, but once it was introduced everything seemed to click into place.

It’s hard to find a category for this book. It’s an interesting mix of mythology, dystopian, sci-fy and paranormal romance. It’s full of action, mystery, danger, intrigue as well as romance. Basically, it has pretty much everyone covered.

DragonFlyRating4

Operation: Endeavor (When the Mission Ends #2) by Christi Snow

BookCover_ebook600x800_96dpi_OperationEndeavorColton Robertson left his career in the Air Force…

… to come home and help his family heal. Unfortunately, his reception was not quite what he’d hoped for and he ended up as roommate to hippy dippy yoga instructor Penelope Pruitt.

Penelope has spent her life under the restrictive thumb of her parents and she doesn’t want to do the same with the straight-laced, serious Colton. But when it becomes apparent that Penelope’s life is in danger, Colton won’t settle for anyone else protecting Penelope besides him.

Opposites attract and that’s definitely the case with Colton and Penelope. On the surface, they don’t have anything in common, but as the sparks fly and the danger ramps up, their passion is inevitable.

Just a word of warning. If you haven’t started this series, pick up Operation: End Game before you read this review. I don’t write reviews with spoilers but content in this review will contain spoilers for the first book in the series. 😉

Readers were only given a glimpse of Colton in Operation: End Game. Just a taste of who he really was. The main focus was on Cassie and Jake, which is how it should have been. No complaints, because I really liked them as a couple. They were the perfect choice to start the series. I’m kind of glad that we didn’t get to know Colton any better in the first book. I think it made Operation: Endeavor a lot more interesting. Sure, Cassie and Jake are still my favorite couple, but I gained a lot of respect for both Colton and Penelope in the second installment of Christi Snow’s When the Mission Ends.

Colton is more than your average big brother. His need to protect and his strong sense of responsibility for his younger siblings started when he was only 10. He never grew out of that role and given everything that all of them had been through the previous year, you couldn’t really blame him for being overly protective. It wasn’t just that though. Even though he was relieved to have his brother back, he wanted him whole. That forced him to push and the tension between all of them became almost unbearable. Long story short, big brother Colton was getting on everyone’s nerves. Perfect scenario for Colton to find a new place to live. The most unlikely person for him to end up with was Cassie’s college friend, Penelope. Who knew how perfect that pairing would be?

There was a lot more to Penelope than met the eye. It shouldn’t have been a huge surprise that she wasn’t nearly as flighty as we were first led to believe, she was Cassie’s friend after all. We knew that she was a loyal friend. She proved that more than once in Operation: End Game. I can’t say a lot about what makes Penelope so much more because she was so full of surprises that readers deserve to discover them on their own. (Colton had fun figuring them out as well 😉 )

I’m not sure I can pick one thing about this series that I like over another. The dynamic between the siblings and their friends is great. The dialogue flows easily and the author’s writing style pulls you into the story line. Once again I started reading this one and was half way through before I knew it. I love it when that happens! That combined with the action, danger, heart break, surprises, twists and turns make these books really hard to put down. Oh yeah, and did I mention the romance? Operation: Endeavor wasn’t lacking in that department at all. Despite the fact that they both fought the inevitable, the connection between them was amazing and at times heart breaking. I have to say, the turning point for this couple was great. It wasn’t forced and the timing made perfect sense.

Complaints? Not really. The only thing that bothered me at all was the way that first Cassie in Operation: End Game and then Penelope in Operation: Endeavor both make really stupid and careless moves that put them in danger. As a reader you know it’s going to happen. You want to reach into the book, grab them by the arm and force them to stop and think. The momentarily lapse in good judgement is a turning point, it’s a necessary element and I can almost forgive Penelope because she put someone else’s safety before her own, but it still drove me nuts.

So what’s next for the Robertson siblings? Christi Snow has a treat for readers before Operation: Endurance is released in April of 2013. Operation: Before the Mission Begins is a novella that takes place before the first book in the series, but it is meant to be read between books 2 & 3. It will be available in February of 2013. Both books feature Chris. I’m waiting for both of these books with a tad bit of trepidation. Not because I’m afraid they won’t be good, I have no doubt that they will be as amazing as the others. Readers were given just enough of what’s possibly in store for Chris in Operation: Endurance that I’m pretty sure it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved.

DragonFlyRating4

Release (The Protector #3) by M.R. Merrick – Blog Tour Review & Giveaway!

RELEASE Lo-ResAfter uniting the shifters and calling in reinforcements, Chase has to face his toughest challenge yet: learning to control his emotions. But as tensions rise and his powers grow, controlling his emotions becomes the least of his problems.

Terrorized by a multi-shifter who is hell-bent on turning him, Chase questions just how far he’s willing to go to stop his father. Meanwhile, Tiki’s virtuous nature has placed him in the middle of Vincent’s past, leaving Chase to oppose a senate of vampires and defend a demon he hates.

Trying to balance his friends, his enemies, and his inner demons, Chase is left searching for answers about the Mark, his destiny, and where he can find the next soul piece. Stopping Riley is his top priority, but as more obstacles arise, he finds himself doubting all the decisions he’s made – especially regarding Rayna.

One thing is for certain: Chase has finally realized that he doesn’t know anything. The light doesn’t always quell the darkness, the monsters don’t always stay in the shadows, and the past doesn’t always stay in the past – sometimes, the demons inside are the hardest to fight.

So, what’s my barometer for giving a book a 5* review? I haven’t really discussed this with my readers and followers, but the answer is pretty simple. The book has to be one that grabs me from the beginning, has characters that I honestly and truly care about, and keeps me emotionally invested in those same characters throughout not just the first book, but the rest of the series. If that same book or series brings out the ‘Mom’ in me, makes me want to reach through any of my social media networks and shake the author, or if it leaves me in an emotional heap when I’m done I consider it a bonus. Guess where I was at the end of Release?

So far The Protector Series has been an emotional, action packed roller coaster ride. Readers were introduced to the amazing world building and characters that comprise the series in Exiled. Mysteries were made clearer, the magic became stronger, allies were strengthened and the world building expanded even more in Shift. Nothing in either of the first two books can possibly prepare readers for what Chase and his crew of family, friends and allies have in store for them in Release.

This book had me on the edge of my seat. There were so many twists and turns, more than a few dangerous – almost hopeless moments and some down right craziness that caused me to have a really hard time putting it down. I really had to re-read a few parts – not because they weren’t made clear the first time – it was more like ‘did that really just happen?’ moments that I had to confirm. Trust me when I say that MR Merrick pulled out all the stops and held nothing back for this one.

In Release Chase has grown stronger, but that strength is taking an unexpected toll on him. Rayna discovers more about herself and her powers. Readers see a whole new side to Vincent and discover some secrets he’s spent a life time hiding. We get to know even more about Tiki and Willy is as loyal as ever. And yes, Marcus’ timing is still perfect. *cough, cough* There are some new characters thrown into the mix, both good and bad. Speaking of bad guys, they are really, really bad in this series. None of them are more manipulative and pure evil than Riley though. Did I mention that this was one intense read?

To be fair, I’m going to give potential readers a little disclaimer. This book is not for the faint of heart. The world building is amazing but it doesn’t even compare to some of the creatures that Chase and his friends encounter in Release. There were some that actually made me cringe and I’m not exaggerating. Then there is the emotional element. *sigh* I’m not even going to elaborate on it because if I do I might let something slip. Besides the fact that Chase pretty much wallows in guilt for the turmoil that those closest to him have to endure, the forces outside of everyone’s control carry an emotional intensity that doesn’t let up until the very end – and not even then. Remember that emotional heap I referred to earlier? Yeah, I was there at the end of Release.

If you’re not a fan of cliff hangers, be forewarned. I’m still recovering from the ending. Mostly by what happens in the final scenes but also by what readers are left not knowing. Let’s just say that The Protector #4 – Endure can’t come out soon enough.

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I read and reviewed Release by M.R. Merrick as part of the Release Book Tour hosted by Valerie at StuckInBooks. I received my copy of Release from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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And as if reading Release weren’t enough, Valerie at StuckInBooks and author MR Merrick have put together some really amazing prizes to help everyone celebrate!

ReleasePrizePack

Grande Prize Pack (3 Winners)
3 Signed paperbacks (Exiled, Shift, Release)
3 Signed 8×10 posters (Exiled, Shift, Release)
5 Bookmarks
1 Notebook (Winner’s choice of cover)
1 Magnet

Runner-up Prize Pack (5 Winners)
1 Signed paperback (Winner’s choice of Exiled, Shift, or Release) with signed poster
1 bookmark (Winner’s choice)
1 Magnet

Secondary Prizes A (10 Winners)
Release eBooks

Secondary Prize B (10 Winners)
1 bookmark (winner’s choice)
1 The Protector magnet

Winners will be chosen as follows: First 3 names drawn from Rafflecopter will get the grand prize. The following 5 names get the runner-up prize. The following 10 names win ebook copies of Release, and the final 10 names win the swag pack.

There will also be multiple opportunities to win signed paperbacks, signed posters, notebooks, swag packs, and bookmarks throughout the tour on both Twitter (@MRMerrick) and Stuck in Books’s Facebook Page .

So, what are you waiting for? Click on the Rafflecopter link below and enter to win. While you’re at it, make sure you visit all the other blog tour sites. There are lots of surprises. Not only reviews but character and author interviews as well. Enjoy!

Rafflecopter Giveaway!

By creativedeeds