Audiobook Review: Never Lose Your Flames (New Canadiana #1) by Francis Gideon

Series:
Narrator: Kevin Chandler
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Never Lose Your Flames by Francis Gideon
Series: New Canadiana #1
Release Date: August 1st, 2016
Format: Audiobook (11 hrs and 9 mins)
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press Amazon USAudible

Cop-turned-bounty-hunter Gabe Dominguez is hired to capture firestarter Nat Wyatt. For a dragon-shifter like Gabe, apprehending Nat is easy, but transporting him involves more time, energy, and blood loss than he envisioned. An attack from a band of fairies, an out-of-control forest fire, and a showdown at an auction don’t faze Gabe, but Nat’s innocence might stop him entirely.

Since discovering his abilities, Nat’s lost a best friend, a boyfriend, and trust in his brother. Only his love of concerts and card games get him through life without a home. Rumors of the Judge, a giant dragon who once destroyed half of Canada avenging those he loved, provide Nat with hope of vindication. When Nat discovers his captor is the Judge, he thinks he’s finally caught a break. Through late-night conversations and a shared love of music, Nat tries to convince Gabe he’s not guilty.

Can Gabe continue his cutthroat lifestyle, or will he run away with his dragon hoard like he’s always longed to do? Can Nat escape his legacy, or will his be another spark snuffed out by people who don’t understand? The Oracle, the most powerful wizard in Canada, might be the only one who can provide answers.

two-stars

This one was a pretty dry audiobook. The narrator’s voice wasn’t engaging enough to save this plot or make it interesting.

Gabe Dominguez was a bounty hunter hired to capture Nat Wyatt for his crime of arson. Gabe at first seems like a stoic character but clearly certain things about Nat chipped away at Gabe’s façade. As Gabe made his way with his captured prisoner in tow, Nat revealed more and more truths to where Gabe began questioning his sponsor’s intel.  There was a lot of world building as well as various supernatural characters but I didn’t feel the romance enough amongst the plot. I was hoping to “feel” instead of being told about their attraction. There were too many creatures and the author could have gradually introduced them in subsequent books.

I liked Gabe more than Nat but both characters were likeable. The story just wasn’t smooth and engaging enough and I had to really push myself to finish the audiobook. The premise was interesting but execution was a fail for me.

About Francis Gideon

Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He likes to stay up late, drink too much coffee, and read too many comic books. He credits music, especially the artists Patti Smith, Frank Iero, Gerard Way, Florence + the Machine, and The Pixies as his main sources of inspiration, but the list grows every day. Since age twelve, he’s been trying to figure out what genre is best suited for a strange, quiet kid like him and so far, he’s happy to be where he’s ended up.

When not writing fiction, Francis teaches college English classes while he studies for his PhD. He has published several nonfiction and critical articles on everything from the Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, transgender identity in the YouTube community, using fanfiction as a teaching tool, and character deaths in the TV show Hannibal. Those are all under different his “real” name, though. He writes his novels using his middle name, Francis, so that his students don’t Google him and ask too many questions.

Both Francis and his partner live in Canada, where they often disagree about TV shows and make really bad puns. To talk more about books, bad horror movies, LGBT poetry, or anything else, please drop him a line!

Romanus by Mary Calmes

Romanus2ndEdLGRomanus by Mary Calmes
Series: Romanus, Book One
Release Date: January 27, 2016
Pages: 60 • Format: eBook
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

2nd Edition

Stopping to offer help one sultry summer night, Mason James is unprepared for the change that this simple act of kindness will bring. After giving an old man a ride home, Mason discovers a new, magical, and even dangerous world he cannot hope to understand. But he also finds Luc Toussaint and is intoxicated at first sight… and even the secret Luc protects won’t be enough to keep Mason away from the truth of his heritage and their love.

1st edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2010.

three-half-stars

I’m just going to take a few minutes to stare at this cover. Now that I’ve read the book and get it, this cover is gorgeous.

Romanus was a crazy kinda  read and it being Mary Calmes it was extra crazy but if you are like me, all that means is this book was ridiculously fun.

Told from the POV of Fireman Mason James, we meet him as he helps an old man on the road. As Mason draws near the mans home, he meets a group of folk who like to run around in their birthday suits but insist they aren’t naked. Okay then.  But the old man, aka Fabron Chaloner, sees something special in Mason and keeps calling him Romanus and when Mason arrives at Fabron’s home, the others see this special-ness as well. Um, so… I had no clue what the heck was so special about Mace and even googled Romanus but came up cold, so I was excited and anxious and super freaking curious to what he was.

Oh boy! When Mason meets Luc I was totes hooked as I realized what was happening. Being in love with shifters and the fated mate deal, I knew that Mace feeling weak etc. around Luc could only mean one thing and that one thing came in a form of a declaration… MINE! Oh hell yeah.

I loved the hell out of this story even though it felt rushed at times. I liked how Luc revealed himself and how Mason reacted. I liked how Mason got the run down of what a Romanus was and then who was threatened by it. I loved the side characters and wonder if a gargoyle could be satisfied with a puny human because of the folks having a chat at the end of this and… *sigh*. I want more. Thanks goodness there is a follow up to this.

So Romanus was short but it was sexy and it was so good. I needed some MC loving during a rough time at work that was stressing me out and this was perfect.  And again, that cover… *swoon*

 

 

About Mary Calmes

Mary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work. She can even tell you what her characters smell like. She loves buying books and going to conventions to meet her fans.

Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade #3) by Jennifer Estep @Jennifer_Estep @KensingtonBooks @NetGalley

Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade #3) by Jennifer Estep @Jennifer_Estep @KensingtonBooks @NetGalleySeries: Black Blade #3
on 2016-04-26
Pages: 368
AmazonB&NNarrator: Brittany Pressley
Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I'm good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families--and kill every last Sinclair. What they don't know is that I'm on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I've got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…
five-stars

Well Done Jennifer Estep! Well Done! This final book in the trilogy did what many YA trilogies failed to deliver: A Thrilling and Satisfying Conclusion.

This third book started with the head of the Family, Claudia Sinclair and her son Devon, the family Bruiser working with the family bodyguard Lila Merriweather, and Lila’s cousin Deah to foil Victor Draconi’s plot to control the town of Cloudburst Falls. If you read books 1 & 2, you know the significance of this alliance and how it came to be. *Hint* Read this series in order to fully comprehend the minutiae.

The action and power struggle began immediately as the line in the sand was drawn between the Sinclair Family and the Draconi Family with the other families trying to pick the winning side. What I loved most in this story was that Lila and Devon’s romance to a back seat to the family business as it rightfully should have. The Sinclair family was united and focused on the preparation for the Draconi family move, whatever it maybe. While love young love as blossoming, the priority was saving lives.

Lila is one of my favorite YA heroines. She is tough, resilient, smart, noble and resourceful. Now that she found a new home with the Sinclair family, she was putting her life on the line to protect them from the Draconi threat. Devon was brave as was all the supporting casts fighting on the side of good. The author did a fantastic job keeping the story adrenaline-charged and interesting. This was a quick paced story with an engaging plot that flowed and was congruous to the theme started in book 1.

The world building was complex enough without being too dense and boring. The supernatural creatures were different from the norm and there wasn’t too many of them to overwhelm the story. The final showdown allowed Lila to address a wrong committed against her family both from the past and in their current situation. Then ending was well thought out and satisfying.

I highly recommend this series to those readers looking for an entertaining YA urban fantasy with a light romance.

*Special Thanks to Kensington via Netgalley for the advance reading copy given in exchange for an honest review

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1) by Jennifer L. ArmentroutSeries: The Dark Elements #1
on 2014-03-01
Pages: 304
AmazonNarrator: Saskia Maarleveld
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
One kiss could be the last Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal—fit in at school, and go out on a real date with the gorgeous Zayne, whom she's crushed on since forever. Trouble is, Zayne treats Layla like a sister—and Layla is anything but normal. She's half demon, half gargoyle, with abilities no one else possesses. And even though Zayne is a Warden, part of the race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe, Layla's kiss will kill anything with a soul—including him.Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know her secrets. Though Layla knows she should stay away, it's tough when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue. Trusting Roth could ruin her chances with Zayne—and brand her a traitor to the Warden family that raised her. But as Layla discovers she's the sole reason for a violent demon uprising, kissing the enemy suddenly pales in comparison to the looming end of the world
three-stars

This one is similar to Obsidian (Lux, Book 1), another Jennifer Armentrout book with a special heroine and two boys who are vying for her attention. This one doesn’t have aliens, just Demons and Wardens (gargoyles). If you like the Lux series, then you will probably like this one as well.

17 year old Layla is half-demon and half-warden (gargoyle). She doesn’t have family so she was raised by Warden guardians. She has feelings for her warden best friend Zayne, but it doesn’t appear he returns those feelings. The Warden guardians train  to protect mankind from demons who keep coming into earth and sucking out people’s souls. Layla is unique among the warden because she can sense demons anywhere (of course it could just be the fact that she is a demon)!  One day, while chasing a demon, she gets rescued by another Demon named Roth.
It turns out Roth wasn’t there by accident. He has been following Layla on assignment to protect her. So of course they start flirting and what do you know, Zayne liked her too! So Layla is attracted to a Warden (Zayne) and a Demon (Roth). (*sighing*)

Roth tells Layla that there are things the wardens are keeping from her. He seems to encourage her and even push her to do things outside her comfort zone. I actually liked  Roth because it’s hard to pinpoint one person who truly has Layla’s best interests at heart. She is struggling to find her place and there are people with answers that could help her but no one steps up to share those secrets with her. The truth would have made her stronger but unfortunately she was a center of a battle that she had no idea about.  Roth came into her life and he just cared more than the people around had.

I struggled through this story. I never connected with the heroine and I didn’t see what’s so special about her. I also had a hard time with the formulaic parts of this story. I couldn’t stop seeing Katy from the Lux, but I liked Katy way more. I would have liked Layla to be more of a fighter. She was passive and reactionary than aggressive and making things happen.

The actual plot was okay, so I will try book 2 before I can definitive say how I feel about the series.

*Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the review copy.

About Jennifer L. Armentrout

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

The Exile (The Fae #1) by C.T. Adams

The Exile (The Fae #1)  by C.T. AdamsSeries: The Fae #1
on 2015-03-10
Pages: 320
AmazonB&NNarrator: Marguerite Gavin
Brianna Hai runs an occult shop that sells useless trinkets to tourists--and real magic supplies to witches and warlocks. The magical painting that hangs in Brianna's apartment is the last portal between the fae and human worlds.A shocking magical assault on her home reveals to Brianna that her father, High King Liu of the Fae, is under attack. With the help of her gargoyle, Pug, her friend David, and Angelo, a police detective who doesn't believe in magic, Brianna recovers what was stolen from her and becomes an unwilling potential heir to the throne.A suspenseful urban fantasy with a hint of romance, The Exile is the first solo novel by C. T. Adams, who is half of USA Today bestselling author Cat Adams. Like the Cat Adams Blood Singer novels, The Exile is set in a world where magic is real and contains Adams's trademark blend of suspense, action, humor, and strongly emotional writing.
four-stars

I was pleasantly surprised because I normally don’t care for Fae stories. This was interesting and a good start to a series.

Brianna Hai is the half human half fae princess of King Liu but she lived in the human realm as her fae siblings were constantly trying to eliminate her as a possible heir to their father’s throne. Brianna’s mother escaped to the human realm and they opened up a store selling antiques and other various trinkets. All of sudden Brianna starts getting attacked by pixies and then a powerful fae comes and tries to glamour her. Brianna’s time on the sidelines of fae politics came to a screeching halt. Brianna proceeded to show her half siblings and the fae world that she wasn’t wallflower they thought she was.

Brianna enlisted the aid of her best friend David and her trusted gargoyle Pug go to Faery to figure out what’s going on with her father’s court and how she could helf King Liu with the civil war. Meanwhile David’s brother, Nick, has been approached by the FBI to investigate Brianna and find out what’s going on in her story as the law enforcement officials think the store is a front for an illegal enterprise.

This is a new author for me and I enjoyed Marguerite Gavin’s narration. She is one of my favorites so the audiobook was a treat. Her tone and delivery gave just the right touch of femininity and strength. I will admit there was a lot of alternating POVs. It was a bit excessive, but I was able to follow the story despite that. It was a good foundation book, because it wasn’t an information dump as many authors often do with book 1 of a new series. There was enough information given to satisfy my curiosity and enough left over so that I am interested in continuing on to book 2. If you enjoy political intrigue, betrayals and a tiny hint of romance, then you will enjoy this one.

*Special Thank You to Tantor Media for the audiobook given in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Embrace The Darkness (Guardians of Eternity, Book 2) by Alexandra Ivy

Review: Embrace The Darkness (Guardians of Eternity, Book 2) by Alexandra IvySeries: Guardians of Eternity, #2
on November 1, 2007
Pages: 334 pages
IS HE HER MORTAL ENEMY

Lady Shay is the last of her kind. Half human, half Shalott, her blood is a precious aphrodisiac to vampires, who consider it more precious than gold. Though Shalotts are renowned assassins, a curse held over Shay lands her on the slave auction block, where her fate is uncertain-

OR THE MAN WHO WILL RISK IT ALL

Viper, the beguiling chief of a deadly vampire clan, can't explain his longing to possess the beautiful Shalott who once saved his life, but now he is free to do anything he wants with her. Strangely, while he desires both Shay-s blood and body, he wants her to surrender willingly.

TO SAVE HER LIFE?

A hidden evil has been stalking Shay since she left the slave market with Viper. It is an evil that endangers the very existence of Viper's kind, and there's no reason he should court such danger just to protect a Shalott. But the love he feels for Shay is enough to make him willing to go to hell and back if it means spending an eternity with her in his arms
four-stars

The second book in the Guardians of Eternity featured a much more interesting hero and heroine. No offense to Dante and Abby, but Viper and Shay’s chemistry was instantaneous. They were introduced in the first when they helped Dante and Abby defeat the coven of witches trying to destroy vampire and dominate mankind. Even then, they had an attraction that made them scene stealers.

Viper is a clan chief and Shay was a slave, who bartered at an auction house by the evil troll whom she was bound to thanks to a witch’s curse. Shay was a popular slave because she was half-human, half-shallot, a type of demon whose blood had healing properties. Imagine Shay’s surprise when Viper shows up to the auction house and purchases her from her master. After 70 years of bondage, Shay is full of angry and fear as she is subject to any sort of treatment at the hands of her masters. She is tired of existing for the pleasure of others. So when Viper gets her, she is looking for a way to escape.
Viper, never one to act as one would expect, doesn’t lock her up on a dungeon. Instead, he gives her a huge room, feeds her and gives her space. The fear of not knowing Viper’s expectations makes Shay more terrified. Plus her body was reacting to Viper and she did not want to start longing for things she knew she could never have.

Then an unknown force began hunting Shay, draw out the protective instincts in Viper. Who was after “his” shallot and why?

This series features all kinds of supernatural creatures, imps, trolls, gargoyles, even a water sprite. Still, the main focus was on the couple. I appreciate the plot not being overly intricate and overly dramatic. It was simple and straightforward, so it was easy to get into the story and relax for the ride. My story contained a number of typos, but I don’t mind because it didn’t hinder my enjoyment or understanding of the story. In addition, my summaries always seem to have a typo or two, so who am I to judge?

Ezi