Concubine by Jill Knowles

         This is another one of those books that I always passed over... Maybe it was because for a while I wasn't into the whole M/M thing, and sometimes I get tired of the BDSM thing too. But I was, once again, an idiot for skipping over this book. I really liked it! Which is surprising because dubious consent romance usually makes me a bit uncomfortable. Though I ended up looking upon this book as more of an arranged marriage kind of thing.
         Scholar, captain...war prize. Prince Kael of Korai is stunned when his father gives him to an enemy warlord in a desperate attempt to salvage Korai's reputation. With his country's honor at stake, Kael resolves to submit to Warlord Taren's every debauched whim.

         But life in Zandria isn't anything like what Kael imagined. Instead of pain and cruelty, Warlord Taren seduces Kael until the bewildered prince craves his Master's every intimate caress. As he sinks into the decadent, sensual life of a concubine, Kael makes a powerful enemy, one who wants him removed from Zandria by any means necessary. Betrayed by his body, trapped by his honor, Kael must learn to trust his Master or get them both killed.
Click to View on Amazon: Concubine
         The first thing that I want to say about this book is that I thought that Taren was really sexy. Not only did he have cool scales, but they were purple, which is my absolute favorite color, so I was inclined to like him right off the bat. I thought Kael was a little whiney and at first I was annoyed but then I reminded myself of the situation he was in and decided he deserved to be  whiney. It wasn't his choice to be a concubine, especially to another male. He deserved to be upset.

         I think that Knowles showcased a very interesting psychological struggle within Kael. He had to struggle with not wanting to submit to another man, his disgust with himself  for being interested in Taren, his fear of what was to come, and his need to preserve the honor of his country by giving in. I do think it is endearing how he likes being with Taren, and I think that Taren is amazing at handling the situation and doing his best to make Kael comfortable about adjusting into his new role in life.

Spoilers ahead! Beware! Go read the book then come back!

         I like how they ended up mating, but I didn't understand why the whole guild was dying to Taren as a customer. From what he said he never was interested in using the guild and he never enjoyed it, so I don't understand why they claimed that they were losing such a great customer. I also didn't like that Taren's past lover worked so close with him and that he tried to pursue a relationship with Taren even after he was obviously interested in Kael.

         I thought that the mastermind behind everything was a pretty good twist. I did not expect Mendon to be the killer. I didn't like him at first but then when he obviously disliked Taren's past lover as much as I did he began to grow on me, and he seemed to warm up to Kael so it really came as a surprise to me when he turned out to be the one behind everything. Or maybe I was just so wrapped up in the relationship between Taren and Kael that I might have missed some clues that Mendon was behind it all.

         I love how the beast within Taren recognized  Kael right away and that in giving into the beast and the man, Kael was freed from his own doubts and he was able to fully embrace the relationship. It was really steamy too, some very very sexual scenes, so it is not a book for the faint of heart. i give it a 4 out of 5 stars!


Duck! by Kim Dare

         I always saw this book in a bunch of the Goodreads lists that I go through and I was always wary of it because of the exclamation point in the name. And looking back I think that is the silliest reason ever not to read a book. But I finally did read it, and man, I wish that I had read it sooner! it was amazing and this is a book that I definitely want to read again.
         A modern day M/M, BDSM retelling of The Ugly Ducking Fairy Tale using avian shifters.

         Raised among humans, Ori Jones only discovered he was an avian shifter six months ago. Unable to complete a full shift until he reaches his avian maturity, he still can’t be sure of his exact species.

         But with species comes rank, and rank is everything to the avians. When a partial shift allows the elders to announce that they believe Ori to be a rather ugly little duckling, he drops straight to the bottom rung of their hierarchy.

         Life isn’t easy for Ori until he comes to the attention of a high ranking hawk shifter. Then the only question is, is Ori really a duck—and what will his new master think when the truth eventually comes out?
Click to view on Amazon: Duck!
         I was surprised at how good this book was. Lately I think the BDSM thing has been over played, maybe it is because of the craze of 50 Shades of Grey, but sometimes it just gets a bit crazy. But that being said this book was great!! Maybe it is because I tend to be a very timid person that I loved Ori so much. I just thought he was very endearing, I do wish that he had a bit more of a personality outside of worshiping his "master", but Ori was very sweet so I guess that made up for it.

         I liked Ryland, and I really liked how he thought that Ori deserved respect no matter what. I also thought he was a really caring Dom, I feel like there are a lot of books out there where the Dom is less than nice to the sub, but in this one I could see the love between the two of them.

Spoilers ahead! Read the book then come back!

         Of course we knew from the start the Ori would end up being a Swan, something that confused me though was the fact that the hierarchy between the birds was based on who was the strongest, who was the most predatory, but swans are not like that at all and yet they are at the top of the chain. Also, Swans in real life are kind of mean so I was a bit confused as to why they would be so nice in this book. I am not complaining about that, I liked how gentle Ori was, I just thought it was a bit confusing.

         One of my favorite parts of the story was when Ori fell while cleaning the cabinet in the dining room, and was really hurt. Ryland came home and lost it, and that was the first time we had an inkling that Ori was more to him than a sexual partner. And I liked the punishment that Ryland gave to him, because I feel like in most BDSM books the sub would have been physically punished, which usually turns into pleasure, but Ori was punished psychologically and he got no pleasure out of it and I think it was such an appropriate punishment because Ryland was so scared.

         I was so pissed though at how Ryland behaved after he found out what Ori was. I felt it was a little out of character because he had been so supportive and accepting of everything that Ori was, so it didn't make sense to me that he would all of a sudden switch directions and abandon him. I understand that he thought that everything he was doing was for the best because a swan was above him in rank so there was no way Ori could be his sub, but man it made me mad. Especially when it was obvious that Ori was really suffering while he was away from Ryland. I just thought that was a dumb thing for Ryland to do.

         This was my first time reading a book written by Kim Dare, and I really really loved it. I love her writing style and I love how she puts the characters into the roles that they are suppossed to say. Something I realy love is how natural she make submission seem. In a lot of books I have read the subs alwaysstruggle to submit and have to be convinced that that is what they want, but what I have read in this book and other books by Kim Dare she just has the characters fall into it in such an easy natural way, and it really is exciting to read, because then we get to see more of the actualy interactions between and Dom and a sub instead of that weird inbetween period where the sub doesnt want to give in.

I really liked this book and it made me go back and read more of her books! I give it a 5 out of 5 stars :)


Dragon Fate (War of the Blades) by J.D. Hallowell

         I received a copy of this boon in exchange for my honest review. I have a thing for dragons.... not in the hot sexy way, but in the fascinating way. I really think they are cool and o love reading about them. So when I saw this book, I wanted to read it right away.
         Dragon Fate, the first book in J.D. Hallowell's War of the Blades series, is a heroic fantasy adventure in the classic tradition of the genre.

         Delno Okonan is a young former soldier eager to put the swords and strife of war behind him, when a chance encounter leaves him inextricably entwined in a tangled web of dragons, magic, and intrigue, as he struggles to find his place among dragons and men, and stave off a plot by renegade dragon riders that threatens all he now holds dear.
Click to view on Amazon: Dragon Fate
         I was really excited about reading this book but the more that I read it the less it seemed like what I thought it was going to be like. I thought it was going to be a tale of a man and a dragon struggling to learn each other and their new life together, but it turned out differently than that. Delno just totally accepted everything, from finding a dragon to raising a baby dragon, to being at war, and becoming a military leader. I just thought it was a little unbelievable that he would just adjust to all of these things right away. And as much as I liked all the things that Delno did on the trail I thought a lot of time was spent dwelling over mundane things that Delno did. In the beginning I had a hard time liking Delno, even though I really wanted to, because he seemed kind of air-headed, but too perfect at the same time.

         There were a lot of things I liked though. I really liked the deep bond that Geneva and Delno had and I liked all of his talents while camping, from cooking to carving. I did like his leadership skills, but I thought it was weird that everyone would automatically defer to him, even if he had the air of a leader, he was extremely new to the whole dragon thing.

         This book actually really made me think of the Temeraire series by Naoimi Novik. or maybe that is what it made want it to be. I was just expecting something deeper. It was like a weird insta-love between Geneva and Delno that made me kind of uncomfortable. I know I said I liked the bond, and I did, but i felt the bond started in a place that should have taken months or even years to get to.

         I liked the elves and I liked the weird half animal creatures that were killing everyone. And I think one of my favorite things was the dream-scape that all the dragon's can go to to talk when they get lonely. And I thought how the Dragon mother can gift a sword made out of the shell of a dragon egg to a new rider, was a really cool and original idea. And the more I read the book the more I liked it and I did end up getting pretty invested in the story and wanted to read more, so  I am going to see if I can get Dragon Blade (which is the second book in the series) and see how the story goes. I'll give this book a 3 out of 5.


Healer's Touch by Deb E. Howell

         I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. It has been a while since I rated a book 5 stars for more than the fact that I liked the story. Sometimes I feel like I cheat when rating books, because I feel like there should be a lot of factors that go into a rating: style of writing, characters, plot, world building... And sometimes I cheat if I really love the idea of a story I tend to let the rest slide, but I have to say Healer's Touch was definitely a truly well earned 5.
         For Llew, a young pickpocket who lives on the streets of a Wild-West mining town, the real problems begin when she survives the gallows. Forced to run, she persuades a group of fighters escorting a young girl to her wedding to let her travel with them across the badlands.
          On the journey Llew faces hostile tribesmen, desperate bandits, and the enmity of her own companions should they find out who and what she is: a girl, a fugitive, and a feared Healer.
         One of the fighters, Jonas, possesses superhuman prowess as a warrior, and carries the knife able to 'kill the unkillable'; the knife that can kill Llew. Despite being of races at war for centuries, they are drawn to one another.
Click to view the book on Amazon: Healer's Touch
         To start off, I requested this book because it seemed like wild west adventure. Which is something I have never read, though the wild west does appeal to me. Then I started the book and it was a wild westish fantasy world. I was so excited, because I love new worlds and this one just seemed really cool with the Karans and the Aenuks. I think it would be scary to belong to either of those races and I thought it was really brilliant of Howell to create these species.

There are going to be tons of spoilers ahead, so either go read it or ignore this and read on.

         I also really likes Jonas and Llew, I liked them together and apart. Though I was really surprised when we found out that Jonas had a bunch of kids around... He seemed young to me, and so it really surprised me. I do like how these two enemies fell for each other. It made me think of how opposites attract and I just wanted to see more and more interactions between them. I wanted to know more of his past, though it made me really uncomfortable to learn about his wife and I was definitely with Llew on that one. I was sad he had lost them, but I was happy at the same time because otherwise he would not have met Llew.

         Also, at first I really liked Aris, I thought he was really kind to take in Llew, but then the more I learned about him the less and less I liked him. First off he was extremely hypocrtical telling Llew on the boat not to save anyone no matter what, but when his (maybe) lover almost died he told her to heal. And ugh what pissed me off most was that he didn't want Llew to sleep with Jonas because she wasn't a Karan. I hated that he was just using Jonas as a breeder, and I am a bit scared that jonas might not be able to say no to him even though he and Llew are together now and having a baby (yay! you know how much I love it when characters have babies). I know I seem like I am complaining, but I am not. It is a good thing that the characters make me feel this way, because it means they are like real people and are well formed characters.

         Something that did make me uncomfortable though is the fact that every guy seemed to think Llew was super hot when she dressed as a girl. I thought that was a bit weird since Llew even said she was taller and broader than most girls, and I am not sure if they fell for her because she was an available girl or because she was that beautiful. I am not sure, but I didn't like that Alvaro fell for her like that and how he got so weird about it later in the book. One thing that made me mad, but that I also think was very believable was how when Cassidy died Alvaro flipped out and blamed Llew for letting him die because she wanted to save Jonas instead. It made me mad because she was trying to save Cassidy and couldn't bring him back if he had been dead too long, and she was trying to save as many people as possible. But I was willing to forgive Alvaro for this because grief can make people act in horrible way, though I feel like Llew made an enemy for herself. And saying that I do kind of feel that Alvaro might be a bit right. Llew could have just healed Cassidy and let Jonas die, but she couldn't live without him, so instead of doing that she risked them both dying.

         I thought Braph was an interesting character. It was hard to tell whether he was just a crazy psychopath, or if he had been normal at some point and that the horrible things that happened in his life made him into such a monster. I think that he most have feelings somewhere because he feels guilt and remorse at certain points in the book. And then when it came to the crystals we find out that they are addictive, so maybe he was normal and then started experimenting with the crystals and that made him crazy. But in order to get the first crystals he would have had to torture Llew's mother and a sane person would never do that. I am hoping we will learn more about him at some point if there is a second book, and while I don't like him and want him dead, I think he is very scary and interesting.

          I just have to say that I really loved Anya I thought she was really funny and really helped Llew sometimes with insight into the females world (This was mostly later in the book)

          I really really loved this book, and I was actually kind of pissed when it ended because I wanted to know more! I want to see more of that world and the characters, I feel invested in their lives. And I really hope that Deb is coming out with a sequel. I will be waiting with baited breath! loved it! 5 out of 5.


When Angels Fall by Stephanie Jackson

         I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. When I saw this book I knew that I had to read it. I have thing for angels and This book seemed to really fit the bill.
          Danielle Coulter had never believed in anything except her mother, hard work and heartache. She never had time for religious fairy tales. But when her mother died, Dani was forced to believe…or die. Not only was she forced to accept that God and Lucifer are real, but also that she is the last living descent of God on Earth. An undeniable fact when the Archangel Gabriel fell to Earth to protect her.

         Archangel Gabriel; banished from Heaven over four million years ago for refusing to kill his brother, Lucifer, was about to get a second chance to re-enter Heaven. He was sent to Earth on a mission from his Father to protect the last Daughter of God; the last woman to carry the Blood of God on Earth, and kill his brother, once and for all. Gabriel had never expected to feel anything for Dani, but he soon found himself willing to fight Heaven and Hell to keep her safe, even if it meant his own destruction.
Click to view the book on Amazon: When Angels Fall
         I think one of my favorite aspects of this story was how sassy Dani was. It was so funny at times that I was literally laughing out loud, which drove my boyfriend crazy. She always had something to say about everything, and Gabriel never knew how to take it and it was just great.

         Something else that I liked was the relationship between Michael and Gabriel. I know they are brothers, but sometimes when I think of archangels it is hard for me to imagine them being close. We, or maybe this is something only I do, always think of archangels as very stoic and very much above human emotion. That was not how they were in this book and I really loved it. I love how there is this horrible sibling rivalry between Gabriel and Raphael, and I actually wish that I got to see more interaction between the two of them. And something that I really liked was when Michael and Gabriel had that talk about how Michael had loved a human woman before and how it came down to a choice between the human and heaven. I thought that was a really touching conversation, because it showed me a side to angels that I had never known, and that angels can be just as selfish as humans.

Okay, there might be some spoilers ahead, so go read it! Or if you don't mind, read on!

         Something I wasn't sure about was the speed of the romance. I do love insta-love, but this was not instant love but it happened pretty fast. It was a weird length, if it wasn't going to be insta-love then I wanted a bit more of a "getting to know each other romance" faze. But besides that I thought their relationship was pretty good for falling so fast. I also loved how Gabriel defied God in order to be with Dani. It was really perfect.

         And all the bad ass fighting, I loved that. I also loved how we got to see all these different kinds of angels. I have always been a bit confused the the hierarchy of angels, but it was definitely nice to see more angels than just the powerful archangels. I also liked it that even the archangels had a hierarchy of their own. One thing with the angels that I was confused about though was the fact that God didn't kill Lucifer because he didn't to kill one of his sons. But he sent Gabriel to kill Satan, meaning he was sending one of his sons to their death, so he was basically killing his son. Dani pointed this out too, and I wish that was somehow addressed or at least explained to Dani.

         I am really hoping that Michael will have a book. And I have to say I always love a book where the couple has a baby at the end. I know this might sound dumb to say it, but I feel like when that happens in a book it is showing the ultimate love between the couple.

         It was a great book :) I really liked it I give it a 3 out of 5 stars. Now I want to read Stephanie Jackson's other books :)


Obsidian Souls by Donna Augustine

         I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Phew, For some reason writing that part always stresses me out, haha. I know I have been absent for a while and I am getting back into the swing of things and I couldn't pass on the opportunity to review Obsidian Souls. First off, I really like the name, it caught my attention right away, and I was so glad, because I was starting to get tired of my kindle library being filled with embarrassingly corny romance titles. Secondly, I haven't had much interaction with the Donna Augustine, just a short email conversation, but she seems really sweet, which just made me even more excited to read this book.
         When innocent botanist Alexandria is attacked on a cold winter night, she believes it is nothing more than bad luck. She never suspects that her attacker is not human, and that Caden, her white knight, would be more of the dark and brooding variety and as scary as the thug he’s saving her from.
         Now strange beings are stalking her every move and she does not know why. The cops are turning a blind eye, and she has nowhere left to turn but to Caden. He’s willing to help, but he is short on answers and his motivations are not the purest. If she does not find answers soon, her life as she knows it is over. But is she prepared for the truth she finds?
Click to view the book on Amazon: Obsidian Souls

         I was really excited to read this book, because I wanted to know what sort of paranormal being Alexandria would find herself up against. I probably should have guessed something demonic based of the cover, but that totally went over my head, haha.  And I really do love a brooding hero. On that note, I am going to go pretty in depth in this review so...

Go read the book (do it!) then come back and read the rest of this, or if you don't mind spoilers, carry on.

         Caden is hot, all broody and bossy. But he stuck so true to that I wanted to see more of him, I wanted something to really get under his skin. Alexandria, or Lex, got under my skin a couple of times. I am not saying that is a bad thing. I think it is a good thing because it shows that she isn't a perfect character. But sometimes I just wanted to smack the girl and tell her to swallow her pride.

         Now, I really like the idea of this story. And how the Demons can corrupt unborn children and create this new race called Drauths, but I started getting a bit confused about Lex. She was not a corrupted fetus, her biological father was a Demon, so she should have been some half breed thing, but then you find out that there is something more than that in her blood line. And Jack, her father who is also known as Lucifer, says there has never been a creature like her, that she is the first. But earlier in the book the leprechaun they met up with told them that he had met someone like her before. That whole string in the plot confused me a bit, but I want to know more so I hope it gets explained a little more in the next book (which comes out this year! yay, I won't have to wait too long, haha).

         Something else I really wanted to see more of was the romance between Caden and Lex. I could definitely see the chemistry and I could obviously see that Lex was attracted to him, but I wanted to see more of the romance forming. It kinda felt like they went from being attracted and barely able to tolerate each other to right away in love. I do understand that life and death situations can shock you into admitting things about yourself that you wouldn't other wise want to look at, but I just wanted to see more of it. I didn't see many personal conversations between them that didn't have to do with the battle they were fighting. And then Tamara was there and she totally pissed me off. Which was good, I always love a good rival. Though, I wish she had been more of a rival, while at the same time I was glad it was obvious she had no chance. I think a lot of my issues could have been cleared up if there were more chapters from Caden's point of view. I always wanted to know what he was thinking and I thought it was a little weird that in the beginning we could read from his side of the story but then we only read from Lex's as the story went on.

         Something else I was curious about was why Rufus was so worked up about hating Caden. I wanted to know why they all had been fighting for so long, what had caused it? Why did some of the Drauths become crazy violent killers and rapists like Carl, while others were honorable like Mike.

         I think that Donna (ah! I hope she is okay with me calling her that) did a really amazing job though with the details in this story. I think it took a lot of creativity to come up with a new spin on the paranormal and I definitely enjoyed the splashes of humor throughout the story. Especially the fact that God was an paranoid guy with OCD named Frank. I really enjoyed the book :) I hope that the next book in the series continues the love story between Lex and Caden (I kind of want her to have his demon babies) but I would be totally okay with reading about Mike too. I give this book a 3 out of 5 just because I wanted to many details that I felt weren't there. Maybe I am being impatient and jumping the gun, maybe it will all be explained in book 2. Good job Donna :)