Author: Kevin Hearne
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles 3
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's Website:
Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.
One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. Plus things are heating up in his home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plane of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry Norse gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.
Hammered continues exactly where Hexed, the previous book in the series, left off. In Hexed, Atticus is dealing with the repercussions of killing a god. In Hammered, Atticus is dealing with the repercussions of dealing with the repercussions. To stop a horde of Bacchants he enlisted the help of a witch who demanded one of Idunn's golden apples of youth as payment. To stop a sect of demon worshiping witches he enlisted the help of a vampire that demanded Atticus help kill Thor in payment. Hammered begins with Atticus' struggle to procure a golden apple and figure out a plan to kill Thor.
On the surface it sounds amazing, but the story honestly feels jumpy as Atticus rushes from trying to solve one problem and then another, and another, and another.
The part of the story I liked the least was story time. Everyone that has gathered to kill Thor sits around the fire to tell their story of what Thor has done to wrong them, at length. It's tedious and makes the plot drag. It felt like Hearne decided he needed to justify killing Thor, but throughout the series he had already outlined dozens of terrible things Thor has done. The stories around the campfire were superfluous.
Throughout the story it feels like Atticus must have a plan that he isn't telling the reader just yet. For example, when Jesus comes to tell Atticus that killing Thor would end very badly for him, Atticus brushes him off and continues. Even the story telling part, while boring, felt like it was part of some grand trick Atticus was trying to pull. It kept me turning the pages to see what happens. I won't say what the outcome was so I don't spoil it for you, but I wasn't particularly happy with it.
Atticus did have his sense of humor and the fight scenes were well written, which is really what saved Hammered from falling to mediocrity. They've been a mainstay throughout the series. I am hoping the next book will improve.
This book had flaws that made it drag in spots, but overall I still enjoyed it. I do recommend it, but only because it's part of a larger series.
Author: K. M. Penemue
Pairing: M/F, M/M, Bi, Trans*
Rating: Three Petals
On the Publisher's Website:
When Casimir reaches Brightgate, he isn't sure what to expect from the City of Monsters, though he's a monster himself. He definitely doesn't anticipate being attacked mere moments after arriving—or that he'd be rescued by Mikki, the city's rough-edged guardian angel.
He gets another unpleasant surprise in the form of ex-lover Jared, who instead of talking responds with violence, dead-set on exacting vengeance for the events that drove them apart. Given the way his visit is going, about the only thing Casimir is sure of is that the City of Monsters could very well be where he dies.
This is the first book I've had the opportunity to review with a trans* main character. I thought it added an interesting twist to the story and was handled delicately, but served a good purpose at enhancing Mikki as a character. Casimir's understanding of Mikki was refreshing in that he honestly didn't care.
The overall plot was basic, but well formed. Casimir accidentally killed a human important to a vampire and that vampire has been trying to get back at Casimir ever since. When Casimir decides to stop running, a fight ensues, dragging Mikki and some of Casimir's other friends into the battle. There aren't any sub-plots and there's almost zero depth to enhance this story, but I did enjoy reading what little was there.
Similar to the plot, there was very little depth to the world as well. At some point something happened and monsters were unleashed into the world. That's the only detail given, which was the bare minimum needed to give this story some setting. It fit with the simplicity of the rest of the book.
I do have one concern about the book. It was published by Less Than Three Press, which exclusively publishes romance, however Bloodguilty does not contain any romance whatsoever. Casimir and Mikki have a friendly relationship with a sexual aspect, but it's sex as a necessity for food, not for romance. The relationship also isn't set up as something that might eventually progress to more. I didn't mark Bloodguilty down any petals for it because I don't care whether there's romance or not, but I felt it was rather misleading.
Bloodguilty was a very simplistic book. There isn't much depth to the setting, plot, or characters. However, I did enjoy reading it and thought the little that was there was well written. I would recommend it, but I probably won't be rereading it.
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin 3
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Rating: Four Petals
On the Author's Website:
It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker — Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer … who is about to save her life.
Venom is the culmination of everything the previous books have been leading up to. Spider's Bite and Web of Lies were both stories of growth for Gin. They told of who she used to be as an assassin and led her on a journey of figuring out who she will become now that she's retired. In Venom, she is finally ready to be Gin the assassin Robin Hood, instead of Spider the cold assassin, and Estep shows readers the final steps Gin takes to reach that point and the first steps she takes as her newly improved self. I have really enjoyed seeing that growth and I liked the direction Gin will be taking in the future.
Gin's entire life has been focused on figuring out who brutally murdered her family when she was a child. That goal was set aside for a while when Gin had to learn to survive on the streets as a child and, once she was taken in by an assassin, how to survive her life as Spider. She is refocused in Venom as she is forced to start confronting the evil woman that killed her family. If I go into too much detail here I'll spoil the plot, so I'm purposefully being a bit vague, but I am really looking forward to the next book where Gin's quest will continue.
I really liked the romance in Venom. The previous books had Gin interested in a guy that she wasn't compatible with at all. It was awkward and I was happy when it ended. In Venom she finds a guy with shared life experience. He's lived on the streets, he's killed to keep those he loves safe, and he isn't afraid of Gin at her bloodiest. The match worked extremely well and I'm hopeful that it will continue strongly.
I recommend Venom just like I did the previous books in the series. It's my favorite so far as I finally got to see where all the growing up Gin's had to do in the previous books is finally leading. I also enjoyed the romance in this book and can't wait to read the next one.
February 10, 2016
A life full of children and mysteries to solve doesn't leave much time for relaxation or each other, something Lumie wants to help fix for Dane and Mercury by way of arranging a picnic. But good intentions and life rarely cooperate, and Dane knows it's only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose.
Hell turns out to be someone using Quicksilver's name to destroy buildings, but there's no way to tell whether the enemy is an impostor or a trap—and only one way to find out. Hopefully it won't mean missing the picnic.
Dragon Deception is the second book in Mell Eight's bestselling Supernatural Consultant Series. To win an e-copy in your preferred format simply enter in the Rafflecopter form below.
Don't want to wait for the giveaway to end? Dragon Deception will be available for preorder at LT3 until February 9, 2016 and afterwards will be available for purchase at all major retailers.
When Mell Eight was in high school she wrote a short story for an English class. The assignment was for no more than five pages, yet she had turned in ten and the story wasn’t completed. Her teacher was impressed, but writing stories for fun was her main source of procrastination from homework; handing in an assignment that actually asked her to write fiction was too good to pass up. Since then Mell has continued writing, posting in many online communities for fanfiction and original fiction and eventually branching into slash fiction. She mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, but has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.
For more information on Mell’s stories and future writing plans, visit her on the web:
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.