Will Read for Feels http://www.willreadforfeels.com A Book Blog Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:53:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 http://www.willreadforfeels.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/cropped-WRFF-site-icon2-32x32.jpg Will Read for Feels http://www.willreadforfeels.com 32 32 82691420 Book Review + Giveaway: Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/flame-in-the-dark-faith-hunter/ http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/flame-in-the-dark-faith-hunter/#comments Wed, 06 Dec 2017 15:45:25 +0000 http://www.willreadforfeels.com/?p=7000 I received this book for free from Let's Talk! Promotions in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter Series: Soulwood #3 Published by Ace Books on December 5, 2017 Genres: Urban Fantasy Amazon • Barnes & […]

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Book Review + Giveaway: Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter

I received this book for free from Let's Talk! Promotions in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter
Series: Soulwood #3
Published by Ace Books on December 5, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksAdd to Goodreads
four-stars
Nell Ingram has always known she was different. Since she was a child, she’s been able to feel and channel ancient powers from deep within the earth. When she met Jane Yellowrock, her entire life changed, and she was recruited into PsyLED—the Homeland Security division that polices paranormals. But now her newly formed unit is about to take on its toughest case yet.

A powerful senator barely survives an assassination attempt that leaves many others dead—and the house he was visiting burns to the ground. Invisible to security cameras, the assassin literally disappears, and Nell’s team is called in. As they track a killer they know is more—or less—than human, they unravel a web of dark intrigue and malevolent motives that tests them to their limits and beyond.

Having previously reviewed the first two books in Faith Hunter’s Soulwood series featuring paranormal federal agent and former cult member Nell Ingram, I was absolutely stoked to get my hands on the third book, Flame in the Dark. And having read it twice over, I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint.

In fact, I feel like this is the book where the series really shows it’s come into its own, rather than being a spinoff of Hunter’s popular Jane Yellowrock series. In Flame in the Dark, readers get a great immersion into the world of Nell Ingram and PsyLED. You learn about different species as well as the politics that exist between them, and you also get deeper insights into Nell’s family and her magical abilities.

Characters, too, get rounded out in this novel. I feel like this is where Nell really comes into her own as a badass contemporary fantasy character because here you see her making conscious decisions to move away from the church that dictated the thought patterns, behaviors, and decisions of her youth. More, you see her deciding who she wants to be and how she wants to make her mark in the world, which is all to the good.

We also see more of secondary characters who have promised to be major players in the series. First off, there’s Nell’s sister Mindy, also known as Mud, who is all set up to be a fixture in the series by the end of this book. Next, and more importantly, there’s cat shifter Occam, who was very much a supporting character in previous novels, despite not-at-all-subtle hints of attraction between him and Nell. In Flame in the Dark, he proves himself a strong love interest contender, not to mention a full-fledged major character with a complex and textured background I can’t wait to learn more about.

While the format of the story telling followed your standard paranormal procedural (not necessarily a bad thing, as I’m hooked on these kinds of books and TV series), there was a healthy dose of intrigue and action nevertheless. Plus, there was a clarity of story and a real sense of having it center around the character of Nell Ingram, which was a little more convoluted in the previous book in the series.

My overall verdict? I’m thoroughly frustrated that I’m going to have to wait another year or more before I get my greedy paws on book four!

 

Feel Factor Rating
intrigue-factor3

adrenaline-factor3

swoon-factor2
laugh-factor1

 

 

Soulwood Series Reading Order

1. Blood of the Earth
Buy on Amazon • Add to Goodreads • Read my review

2. Curse on the Land
Buy on Amazon • Add to Goodreads • Read my review

3. Flame in the Dark
Buy on Amazon • Add to Goodreads

 

About Faith Hunter

Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. She writes three Urban Fantasy series: the Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires. The Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. And the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. (There is a role playing game based on the series, ROGUE MAGE.)

Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she writes action-adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Faith and Gwen, she has 30+ books in print in 29 countries.

Hunter writes full-time, tries to keep house, and is a workaholic with a passion for travel, jewelry making, white-water kayaking, and writing. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their rescued Pomeranians to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.

Find Faith online at her website FaithHunter.net, her blog, on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

 

Giveaway

Get a chance to win one of the following by joining the raffle below: three sets of the first two books in the Soulwood series (Blood of the Earth and Curse on the Land) and a $50 gift card from Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Birthday + Review: Fall Like Rain by Ana Tejano http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/fall-like-rain-ana-tejano/ http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/fall-like-rain-ana-tejano/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 05:00:21 +0000 http://www.willreadforfeels.com/?p=6995 Fall Like Rain by Ana Tejano Published by indie author on September 29, 2014 Genres: Contemporary, Romance Amazon • Add to Goodreads Rain De Castro has been in love with her best friend, Mark Velasco, for almost the entire time she has known him, but she’s clearly in the friend zone because he’s happily in […]

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Book Birthday + Review: Fall Like Rain by Ana TejanoFall Like Rain by Ana Tejano
Published by indie author on September 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
AmazonAdd to Goodreads
four-stars
Rain De Castro has been in love with her best friend, Mark Velasco, for almost the entire time she has known him, but she’s clearly in the friend zone because he’s happily in a relationship. Or so she thought, until the news of his break-up reaches her. Now that Mark’s single again, she decides that it’s time to get out of the zone. But when her cousin Lissa comes into the picture and sets her eyes on Mark, Rain feels troubled when he gets a little too friendly with her. Rain is determined to fight for what she feels this time, but is it worth the effort if it's a losing battle from the start? Will she back off to give way for her best friend's happiness, even if it means losing him to someone else again?

Happy, happy book birthday to Ana Tejano’s Fall Like Rain, which was one of the first books I read from #romanceclass, but far from the last. Now, you might remember that I reviewed Ana’s Keep the Faith a while back. But I actually reviewed Fall Like Rain way before Will Read for Feels even started. In fact, I reviewed it twice. I left a short bit of feedback on Goodreads when I first read it, which read,

A seriously sweet read that had me going “aww” a few times! The characters really grew on me, and the pacing was great and frustrating (in a good way because each obstacle that got in Rain and Mark’s way made me go “arggh!” but also made me more convinced that they really, really needed that happy ending).

And then I decided to explain myself a bit more and posted it on my now-defunct lifestyle blog, called Like • Love • Blog.

Recently the author chatted me up to let me know that she’s revamping all the books in the universe shared by her characters for a more unified feel. And on the covers? Why, our favorite #romanceclass live readers, of course!

So the photo above actually shows the updated cover! And in case you’re wondering what I had to say about this book all this time back, here’s the content of that first review, dated a couple of years ago!

The Aww-someness of Ana Tejano’s Fall Like Rain

(Originally published on Like • Love • Blog as part of a promotional event by Pinoy Book Tours.)

I’ve been a long-time reader of romance, as may be obvious from the books I’ve recommended thus far, but it’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve really started reading romance written by Filipino authors. But after reading books by authors like Mina V. Esguerra, Marian Tee, Ines Bautista Yao, Kate Evangelista, and more, I find myself looking for it. Then I joined Mina V. Esguerra’s #RomanceClass, and I really enjoyed the work put out by my classmates, to the point that I started desperately wishing for sequels and/or companion novels.

Ana Tejano’s debut novel Fall Like Raina sweet-as-sugar friends-to-lovers romance, is among the books that did this for me. She’s another #RomanceClass classmate and a fellow participant in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). But that’s not why I liked her book. Keep reading to learn more.

First off, let’s get the summary down. Here’s the official one provided by the author:

Rain De Castro has been in love with her best friend, Mark Velasco, for almost the entire time she has known him, but she’s clearly in the friend zone because he’s happily in a relationship. Or so she thought, until the news of his break-up reaches her. Now that Mark’s single again, she decides that it’s time to get out of the zone. But when her cousin Lissa comes into the picture and sets her eyes on Mark, Rain feels troubled when he gets a little too friendly with her. Rain is determined to fight for what she feels this time, but is it worth the effort if it’s a losing battle from the start? Will she back off to give way for her best friend’s happiness, even if it means losing him to someone else again?

This was a book I bought and started for friendship, but kept on reading and finished in the span of two gym sessions (one of which included almost falling off the elliptical machine because I got the awws from a particular scene) because it was a fun read.

Rain was admittedly a character I needed to warm up to. At first she struck me as a kind of Jennifer Aniston-type character—nice, maybe too nice, but a little on the self-absorbed side. Which is fine if you like Jennifer Aniston (I don’t). But right away I was intrigued by the rift between Rain and Mark, the guy she still called her best friend even though they hadn’t really hung out in ages. And I found myself rooting for him because I disliked Rain’s office mate, Francis, within a paragraph or two of his introduction. Which I have to admit is a pretty neat trick, considering that, as a reader, I hadn’t even met Mark at that point. And then I did meet Mark, and after that first scene, I found myself thinking, “Well, there you go. That’s why she’s obviously hung up on him.”

And then something started to happen. Because I liked Mark so much, it made me take a second look at Rain. And I started liking her more and more. Maybe she was too nice for me to want her to be one of my book besties, but I realized that my preference for foul-mouthed witches-with-a-B can get tired sometime, and Rain was the type of person it would be fun to do coffee with sometime. To put it in a metaphor that fit the book, I, a lover of storms, learned to appreciate the subtlety of spring showers, thanks to Rain de Castro. Even her cluelessness when it came to Mark’s obvious feelings for her was cute.

What I really loved about the book, though, was how much I hated Francis. This is a bit hard to defend without serious spoilers, but when you have a character you really want to just punch in the face, it makes you cheer for the other characters even harder. And maybe the verbal punches delivered by Rain’s friend Meah is part of the reason why, after finishing Fall Like Rain, I immediately tweeted the author with the rabid hope that this character would get her own book because she just had to have one. In fact, here’s proof:

But moving on from that point, Ana Tejano constructed a story where the main characters characters get better and more perfect for each other with every chapter, so that every obstacle in their path makes a reader impatient for their happy ending, and yet also more convinced that they deserve that happy ending. So when they finally do get together in the end—and they do, because this is a romance novel, after all—your heart just breathes a huge sigh of relief because all is right with the world again.

It might not be as steamy as I would like, but that’s a personal preference and, I notice, it’s also a common factor with other #RomanceClass novels. And the important thing to remember is that when it comes to the swoons and sighs, this book definitely wins on feels.

 

Will Read for Feels Update

Now, the review above is a couple years old, and some things have changed since then. For one, at the time, I was frustrated by the lack of steam in romance novels by Filipinos at the time. Now that a good many authors have delivered on the hot stuff, I no longer seem to go looking for it where none was intended. And I recently found myself revisiting stories by authors like Ana, who have stuck to the sweet side of romance reads.

I’ve also enjoyed revisiting the characters in Fall Like Rain through Ana’s other books. And I’ve been promised a long-awaited Meah book soon, which I am so one-clicking the moment it’s available on Amazon!

Meanwhile, I thought I’d update this review with my feel factor ratings:

Feel Factor Rating



 

About Ana Tejano

Ana Tejano has been in love with words and writing ever since she met Elizabeth Wakefield when she was in Grade 3. She has contributed several non-fiction pieces in print and online publications, and has been blogging for years. When she’s not writing, she works as a marketing lead for a multinational company by day, manages a book club, and serves in her church community in every other time that she doesn’t spend reading or sleeping. She lives in Metro Manila and is also known by another name in her other circles (but it’s not a secret identity, really).

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Book Review: Tangled Destinies by Diana Palmer http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/tangled-destinies-diana-palmer/ http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/tangled-destinies-diana-palmer/#respond Tue, 29 Aug 2017 10:00:34 +0000 http://www.willreadforfeels.com/?p=6988 I received this book for free from NetGalley, the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Tangled Destinies by Diana Palmer Published by Harlequin on August 29, 2017 Genres: Contemporary, Romance Amazon • Barnes & Noble • iBooks • Add to […]

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

Book Review: Tangled Destinies by Diana PalmerTangled Destinies by Diana Palmer
Published by Harlequin on August 29, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksAdd to Goodreads
three-stars
Passion and danger collide in a breathless story from New York Timesbestselling author Diana Palmer. 

Saved from an abduction and unthinkable harm, Gabrielle Bennett owed her life to her rescuer. Marc Stephano, a stranger from the sketchy shadows of town, could've asked for money. Instead he introduced her to desire and claimed her completely—then he broke her heart.

Older, wiser and now a top New York model, Gabrielle is prepared for anything—except Marc's reemergence into her life. It's a merciless trick of fate. A successful, self-made millionaire, he's as powerful as ever, but can Gabrielle forgive and forget—in the name of love?

I’ve been reading Diana Palmer for a couple of decades now. This novel was classic DP in many of its elements, with a love-hate relationship between the main character and hero and a lot of heartache generated from bullheadedness and misunderstanding. It should be noted that this was formerly published under another pen name of the author’s, Diana Blayne.

I think my issue is how this kind of novel translates into a modern-day setting, as I generally prefer a heroine with more agency and self-possession than Gabrielle, or Gaby, exhibited. That being said, if compared to the dozens of Diana Palmer books I’ve read in the past, she is fairly typical of a DP heroine, and has moments of spunky wit that I wish there were more of.

Marc too is a typical DP hero, but I think maybe I’m at a time in my life when a hero whose present-day actions are so fueled by anger shoes up as less appealing to me. I felt like younger Marc would’ve been the guy I would’ve fallen for, but the Marc of this novel’s events I think could’ve used more moments of humor or tenderness to humanize him a bit more.

I actually really enjoyed the supporting characters here, in particular Uncle Michael, Marc’s mobster connection, and Sergeant Bonaro, the supposedly jaded cop. Both added a bit of humor and heart to the story, because however intimidating they might be externally, inside they’re both marshmallows.

Overall, I think I was pretty happy with the HEA, considering this was originally published in 1991, and I have to wonder about the rerelease because it reads very much like an early 1990s romance. I just wished Gaby had given as good as she’d gotten where Marc was concerned, and that Marc had done a little more in the way of penitence, considering how he acted in the first part of the book. I mean, I understood the pain that fueled his anger, but still, he walked the edge of a line heroes shouldn’t cross, and I felt like it affected his likeability as a character.

 

Feel Factor Rating

 

About Diana Palmer

Diana Palmer, AKA Susan Spaeth Kyle, was born in 1946 in Cuthbert, Georgia, the eldest daughter of William and Eloise Spaeth. She and her younger sister, Dannis, were raised in Chamblee, where Susan graduated from Chamblee High School in 1964. The family moved to Cornelia, Georgia, in 1965. Susan married James Kyle in 1972. They have a son, Blayne, who is married to the former Christina Clayton. They are both graduates of Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. They live in Tennessee and have a daughter, Selena Marie Kyle, born in February, 2009.
In 1991, Susan returned to college and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, in 1995. She continues to work on her master’s degree in history as time permits. Her first novel as Diana Palmer was published in 1979. She has over 115 novels in print. She has written historical novels as well as contemporary romance, and has produced science fiction, with her novel THE MORCAI BATTALION appearing in hardcover in 2007. Two sequels to this book have been released as eBooks. THE MORCAI BATTALION: The Recruit and THE MORCAI BATTALION: Invictus are both available from all eBook retailers now. Her latest hardcover novel is INVINCIBLE by HQN, released in August 2014 and mass market paperback novel is WYOMING STRONG by HQN, released November 2014.

Susan’s hobbies are gardening, knitting, crocheting, astronomy, archaeology, and animals. She has dogs, cats, birds and lizards. She enjoys getting mail from her readers, but is slow to answer it

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Book Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/bone-witch-rin-chupeco/ http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/bone-witch-rin-chupeco/#comments Sun, 25 Jun 2017 22:00:12 +0000 http://www.willreadforfeels.com/?p=6979 I received this book for free from NetGalley, the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco Series: The Bone Witch #1 Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 7, 2017 Genres: High Fantasy, Science Fiction & […]

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

Book Review: The Bone Witch by Rin ChupecoThe Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Series: The Bone Witch #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 7, 2017
Genres: High Fantasy, Science Fiction & Fantasy, YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy
AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksAdd to Goodreads
three-stars
In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price...

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

I’ve been pretty darned excited about Rin Chupeco’s The Bone Witch, the first in an all-new YA fantasy series set in a world where magic-wielders called asha delight and defend their kingdoms. In fact, I named it as one of the books I was looking forward to the most this year, and I was ecstatic to receive an ARC prior to its release.

But alas, life got in the way (moving cities, a new business to open, a death in the family, and two family members being hospitalized in the span of three months), and I only recently got to immerse myself in the world of the asha. Keep reading to find out what I thought.

I really, really wanted to like this book. And in some aspects, it totally delivered. I’d completely forgotten that the blurb had advertised it as a mix of Memoirs of a Geisha and Name of the Wind, but those two novels were the ones I kept going back to when I thought about the style and the format the book was written in.

Name of the Wind is an obvious choice for format, as like Rothfuss’s novel, readers must follow a dual timeline: one in the present, as the main character tells her story, and one in the past, following the story as it is told. The two timelines are easily distinguished as the present-day narration is told from the point of view of the bard to whom the main character, Tea, tells her story, while the past is told from Tea’s point of view.

Memoirs of a Geisha is also an obvious choice for style and content, style because of the lyrical bent to the storytelling, and content because the asha are pretty much magic-wielding battle-trained geishas. More, like the main character in Arthur Golden’s book, Tea is distinctive in that people know she’s special from the start of her training, and despite her youth and the discipline demanded of her in words and action, she remains very much her own person, willing to turn society on its ear if need be.

That she has none of the subtlety of Golden’s Chiyo/Sayuri marks her as an individual rather than a copycat character, and stresses the YA-ness of this read.

But I’d add another story to the mix that I thought The Bone Witch might evoke memories of in its readers: the animated movie franchise How to Train Your Dragon. Now daevas (the demon-like creatures that wreak havoc on mankind and that the ashas protect people from) are not necessarily dragons, but there’s enough dragon imagery and enough parallels that I kept thinking about that movie as I was reading the book, especially during the second half of it.

As far as world-building and character-building goes, I couldn’t really find much fault I couldn’t explain away or forgive. There was a bit of a red herring in terms of character relationships that I thought was way too easy to guess, but I also had to wonder if that wasn’t my jadedness rearing its ugly head. I am predominantly a reader of adult fiction, so it may just be a case of YA culture shock.

What I did take issue with was the pacing. On one hand, I appreciated the richness of the world that had been painted for me as a reader. I could all but walk the same halls the asha did, eat the same food, wear the same clothes, and so on. But on the other hand, this book was woefully easy to put down because it seemed to me that things didn’t really start happening until about 45% of the way through the book. In fact, I found myself “cheating” on the book a couple of times during the days I was reading it.

On top of the slow pacing, The Bone Witch ended on a cliffhanger that left me thinking I’d pretty much just read an entire book of prologue.

Now, I’ve since found out that this book is one of three in a series. So I’m hoping this is going to be one of those cases where the second installment packs in all the action promised but underdelivered by the first.

I’m used to this happening: after all, I did still enjoy the Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings trilogies. And I plan to get my hands on a copy of the next book in the series. Given what has been promised and built up in this book, I’m expecting a roller coaster ride; otherwise, I can’t speak to whether I’ll be engaged enough for book 3.

Now, this might put undeserved pressure on the author, should she ever read this. But the truth of the matter is, I wanted to love this book more than I did. And if I don’t find myself loving the series as a whole, it will be a shame, because the language in which it is written is beautiful, and so is the world it is set in. So I’m giving it a tentative three stars, on the expectation of being wowed by future books in the series. Please, please, be better, The Heartforger.

 

Feel Factor Rating

 

The Bone Witch series reading order

1. The Bone Witch
Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

2. The Heartforger (set for release on March 1, 2018)
Preorder on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

3. The Shadow Glass (coming in 2019)

About Rin Chupeco

Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.

Photo and bio sourced from Goodreads

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Book Review: White Hot by Ilona Andrews http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/white-hot-ilona-andrews/ http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/white-hot-ilona-andrews/#comments Sun, 18 Jun 2017 01:20:47 +0000 http://www.willreadforfeels.com/?p=6955 This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.White Hot by Ilona Andrews Series: Hidden Legacy #2 Published by Avon on May 30, 2017 Genres: Urban Fantasy Amazon • Barnes & Noble • iBooks • Add to Goodreads The […]

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This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.Book Review: White Hot by Ilona AndrewsWhite Hot by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #2
Published by Avon on May 30, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksAdd to Goodreads
five-stars
The Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …

It’s taken me weeks to write this review, and in that time I have read Ilona Andrews’ latest novel, White Hot, book 2 in the husband-and-wife writing team’s Hidden Legacy series, at least half a dozen times. I wanted to wait to post my review until I could compose my thoughts about the book in a calm, rational manner, but at this point I have accepted that this will simply never happen. So you must either stop reading now (I wish you wouldn’t) or excuse me while I gush.

Actually, I already reviewed the book on Amazon prior to my writing this. I wrote this after the first time I read the book:

A more coherent review may follow when I have full control of my words again. I will simply assume that, as they pertain to this novel, I will never regain full control of my feelings. I had high expectations for this because I loved the first book in the series so much and have reread it at least half a dozen times since its release, but whatever those expectations were have been blown out of the park.

This book is everything I didn’t dare wish for, yet the universe channeled the authors in order to deliver it to me and every other undeserving wretch left to blubber in incoherence at how hot, how sweet, how action-packed, how perfectly paced, and how in-your-face awesome this novel is. I don’t even care how many adjectives that was because at least they’re words and they are legible and somewhat sensical and that’s more than I expected to be capable of at this point.

I must reread this book. No, I must reread book one and then reread this book, the better to be blown away once again. Excuse me while I go and do that.

I have since reread White Hot at least five or six times, and each time I’ve ever found myself appreciating something I glossed over in past reads, or having a little detail spawn a bevy of conspiracy theories for future books in the series, or just sighing or giggling over the parts that I love and love and love. I’ve also found that reading and rereading this book has made me love the first book, Burn for Me, even more than I did originally.

But what do I love about it? First and foremost are the characters, of course. Main characters Nevada Baylor and Connor “Mad” Rogan give me so much to love about them individually as characters and together as a couple.

Nevada finds herself a little fish powering up and swimming with the big fish in the magical society wonderfully world-built by the authors, and she doesn’t just rise to the challenge—she does it while holding on to her values and her sense of self. And darned if she doesn’t school those veteran big fish on a thing or two about swimming in murky water!

Rogan we see through Nevada’s eyes, since this is told through the first-person point of view. But as with all romantic tales told in this POV, part of the joy is falling for the love interest and recognizing his love for the main character before the main character herself does, through those little clues and gestures that the narrator may dismiss or gloss over, only to realize later on the many small ways in which the hero has promised forever. But what I love most about Rogan is that he very much has his own agency, and while it isn’t really in his nature, he struggles with himself in order to accept that Nevada retains her own.

As a couple, they’re pretty freaking explosive and, yeah, white hot. Readers (and Nevada) finally learn what sex with a tactile is like, which we got a bit of a demonstration of in book 1, so this book his happily much less PG than the previous one—or, indeed, any of Ilona Andrews’ previous books, I would say.

I love the little details thrown into the writing, like how the narrator refers to Rogan as Mad Rogan during moments of frustration and anger or when she wants to distance herself emotionally (and obviously fails), Connor during intimate moments, and Rogan at most other times, but especially when they’re talking tactics or politics or other practical things.

I love the way their dialogue twists and turns, so it’s like foreplay in itself, so it’s like they’re sparring at times yet at others attuning perfectly to each other. Take this little gem, for instance:

“Genetics and children will become important.”

“Children are always important.”

See the way Rogan tries to educate her about the world of Houses and Primes, only to have Nevada acknowledge what he says but at the same time reject the values he is trying to tell her she needs to have? She agrees yet disagrees with him, and in this moment schools the teacher. So she accepts his greater experience in the world she now finds herself in, but also displays her greater experience in love and staying positive. And in doing so, effortlessly clears that hurdle I sometimes struggle with when the heroes of a romance are so book-boyfriendable: understanding why the heroines bring those heroes to their knees.

Another factor in my Rogada shipping is the fact that the characters, while obviously deeply in love, recognize the fact that they can and will function without each other. They are both eminently capable and smart, and when the deck is stacked against them, they prove themselves both willing to sacrifice their safety for the other but also unwilling to let the other person sacrifice themselves on their behalf. They give each other the freedom not just to be who they are but to make their decisions because they are who they are, even when they don’t feel those are the right calls to make. In a word, they accept each other, wholeheartedly, and in doing so show each other a part of themselves they don’t share with the rest of the world. They don’t smooth out each other’s rough edges so much as make a new and bold and exciting pattern by interweaving the frays in their fabric. And hot damn, it is beautiful.

I could go on and on about this relationship, but I have blathered quite a bit, so I’ll add some other points for gushing:

  • The world building is, as mentioned, spot-on and so rich I am pretty sure it could spin countless series. I’m not the only one clamoring for novels on each of the Baylor sisters and cousins, and Kat from Book Thingo suggested a redemption series following the hot villains who have been summarily defeated by our intrepid heroes. I would totally get down with that, as well as stories for auxiliary characters, like Rogan’s team, and even characters we’ve never heard of in other cities and countries in this world. Basically, if Ilona and Gordon were ever to read this, I’m saying, “You write it, I’ll buy it.”
  • The supporting cast of characters is, as mentioned, a very rich one, and each one makes the most of his or her scenes, hinting at a richer personal story and unplumbed depths as well as a world of possibilities as far as the magic goes
  • The intrigue factor continues to build in this book; the stakes prove higher, we’re drawn deeper into the politics of Primes, and the sinister organization our heroes battle proves to be bigger and more insidious than they thought.

The long and short of this is, I love, love, love this book. I am completely obsessed with it. I am talking to people who don’t even read the genre about it. I am stalking people who have read it just to see what they say about it. I am harassing strangers on Litsy because of it.

And I’m not sorry. The only thing I’m sorry about is the fact that the third book wasn’t available for purchase the day after this one. It’s hard, very hard, but I’m willing to wait for it!

In the meantime, I’ll keep rereading White Hot and Burn for Me, as well as every other book in the authors’ bibliography.

 

Feel Factor Rating

fan-factor5

adrenaline-factor5

intrigue-factor5

swoon-factor5

steam-factor3

 

Hidden Legacy Series Reading Order

1. Burn for Me
Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads • Read my review

2. White Hot
Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

3. Wildfire (available July 25, 2017)
Preorder on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

 

About Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children, and many dogs and cats. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

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Giveaway: Kelly Bowen Sweepstakes + Vote on Kelly’s New Duke http://www.willreadforfeels.com/giveaways/kelly-bowen-sweepstakes-vote-on-kellys-new-duke/ http://www.willreadforfeels.com/giveaways/kelly-bowen-sweepstakes-vote-on-kellys-new-duke/#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 16:21:27 +0000 http://www.willreadforfeels.com/?p=6949 Genres: Historical Romance, Romance Kelly Bowen is the author of some of my favorite historical romances in the past year and a bit, ever since I got my hands on a copy of Duke of My Heart. I have strategically recommended it to friends and now have companions to gush over Bowen’s characters with, and I […]

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Genres: Historical Romance, Romance

Kelly Bowen is the author of some of my favorite historical romances in the past year and a bit, ever since I got my hands on a copy of Duke of My Heart. I have strategically recommended it to friends and now have companions to gush over Bowen’s characters with, and I am not sorry at all. So while my living in the Philippines prevents me from joining an awesome giveaway of six of this author’s books, it’s not going to prevent me from spreading the word! Plus, joining lets you help pick the cover of an upcoming read!

Forever Romance is giving away a Kelly Bowen historical romance prize pack and asking for your help in choosing the cover design for Kelly’s February 2018 release. Click the link below to enter for a chance to win and you can cast your vote on the dreamiest duke while you’re at it!

Click here to enter for a chance to win.

Prize pack consists of a Forever/Forever Yours tote bag and the following six (6) Forever titles from Kelly Bowen:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE CHANCE OF WINNING. Void where prohibited. Must be legal US resident 18 years or older as of June 16, 2017 to enter. Sweepstakes begins June 16, 2017 at 12:01 am ET and ends June 30, 2017 at 11:59 pm ET. Visit http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/features/forever-romance/kellybowen/ for Official Rules and details. Sponsor: Hachette Book Group, Inc., 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104.

 

About the Author

Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology. But it was Kelly’s infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.

Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

WebsiteFacebookTwitter

Pre-order Kelly Bowen’s February 2018 release
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • iBooks • Kobo • Google Play

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Guest Post + Giveaway: Summer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology author Yeyet Soriano on summertime hotties http://www.willreadforfeels.com/guest-posts/summer-feels-romanceclass-anthology-author-yeyet-soriano-summertime-hotties/ http://www.willreadforfeels.com/guest-posts/summer-feels-romanceclass-anthology-author-yeyet-soriano-summertime-hotties/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 01:00:45 +0000 http://www.willreadforfeels.com/?p=6944 Summer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology by Yeyet Soriano Published by indie author on April 30, 2017 Genres: Contemporary, Romance Amazon • Add to Goodreads Summer loving happens so fast, as you'll find with Summer Feels, an anthology of 23 stories of love under the summer sun by #romanceclass authors. Savor the candied thrill of firsts—first […]

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Guest Post + Giveaway: Summer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology author Yeyet Soriano on summertime hotties

Guest Post + Giveaway: Summer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology author Yeyet Soriano on summertime hottiesSummer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology by Yeyet Soriano
Published by indie author on April 30, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
AmazonAdd to Goodreads
Summer loving happens so fast, as you'll find with Summer Feels, an anthology of 23 stories of love under the summer sun by #romanceclass authors. Savor the candied thrill of firsts—first loves, first kisses, first solo vacations—and the bittersweet triumph of second chances. Tour the Philippines as the stories take you to mountain retreats and island paradises. Let the magic of the hot sun, clear blue skies, and lots of love take you on a roller coaster ride of feels. With stories ranging from sweet to sexy, there's sure to be something for any fan of romance.

Featuring stories by:
Elea Andrea Almazora • Erleen Alvarez • Ella Banta • Rachelle Belaro • H. Bentham • Halina Cabrera • Charlie Dio • Mina V. Esguerra • Elizabeth Galit • Georgette S. Gonzales • Ami Granada • Irene Jurado • Catherine Lo • Arlene Manocot • Bianca Mori • Eris Peñaluna • Farrah F. Polestico • Kit Salazar • Miel Salva • Fay Sebastian • Kate Sebastian • Yeyet Soriano • Marian Tee

Edited and compiled by Kate Sebastian
Cover and interior design by Miles Tan

One of the most challenging yet most rewarding writing projects I’ve ever worked on was the Summer Feels anthology released just a few weeks back. And while I wrote it using my pen name, I was nevertheless still ecstatic about promoting it however I could using either that or my real name. Which was why I joined the blog tour, where I was given the opportunity to feature one of the twenty-three authors whose stories are included in this book.

I know I’ve mentioned Yeyet Soriano a few times on this blog, and I’m confident both she and her books will make more appearances in the future. But for now, I’ll let her take the stage with a list of her all-time favorite summer hotties, complete with visual aids!

Just in case you’re wondering about the preoccupation with hotties for this post, let me give you a little backgrounder on Yeyet’s story in the Summer Feels anthology. Here’s the blurb for it:

Smarting from a recent breakup, Kit Estaquio decides to let loose during her company’s overnight summer outing. She enlists the help of her officemate and best friend, Carlo Manlapat, and they agree to set up a buddy system where Carlo will make sure Kit won’t do anything she would regret.

But when office babe Tanya de Leon sets her sights on Carlo and office player Javier Perez makes it known he has his eye on Kit, the lines between being friends and buddies blur until Kit and Carlo realize they may not be the best buddies for each other.

So this delightfully flirtatious story features not just one summer hottie, but two! Just check out this teaser:

Keep reading for yummy heroes, for more information about this author, and to find out how you can get a chance to win one of the prizes in the blog tour giveaway!

 

Guest Post: Yeyet Soriano’s 5 Summer Hotties

Much as I’d like to fill this post with glorious abs, I had to think of characters in a summer setting who have struck me the most in a movie or TV show. So suddenly, abs weren’t my first requirement. And by the end of the exercise I just proved how totally old-school and totally off-center I am, opting for classics, that excited me more than just visually, but also cerebrally, emotionally and even musically.

#1 Danny from Grease

Let’s kick it off with a golden classic—Danny Zuco (John Travolta) when he and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) met and fell in love in the movie Grease. It was summer holiday during the first few minutes of the movie and without his posse from school dictating his every move, Danny was just himself—sweet, romantic, and he was the perfect guy to Sandy’s sweet girl. Theirs was the perfect summer beach romance.

When summer ended, both Danny and Sandy thought that Sandy was going back home to Australia. Of course, last minute, Sandy didn’t go back to Australia. She even ended up going to Danny’s same high school.

At school (before they discovered each other again), they related different versions of their summer romance to their respective interested school mates in the “Summer Nights” musical sequence.

They met again, but Danny was different from the boy Sandy fell in love with—he was now greaser Danny and he more or less “denied” being the person that Sandy met that summer. But of course, true love prevailed and they still got together, and in the end, they showed that in order for their relationship to work, they needed to compromise.  Cue music— “I got chills! They’re multiplying. And I’m losing control . . .!”

P.S. John Travolta then was the epitome of hot—he was handsome (hello cleft chin!), sexy, and he could sing and dance the hell out of anything.  I know it’s quite difficult to picture this now, when the latest musical he appeared in was Hairspray the movie and he played the mother!

 

#2 Jesse from Before Sunrise

From the beach where a high school romance was born, let’s go on a European backpacking adventure! And how about meeting someone like Jesse (Ethan Hawke) in Before Sunrise? I love this movie and I love that it is the perfect boy meets girl adventure in a foreign country with lots of deep conversations. In fact, most of this movie is Jessie and Celine talking about life and love and everything, as they shared a train ride from Budapest, and walked around the city of Vienna at night. Jesse is not your conventional tall, dark and handsome hero. In fact, he is almost nerdy, but adorable and very, very loveable. I also love Ethan Hawke’s quirky look. I also love Julie Delpy, and could definitely imagine these two people falling in love over the course of a day and a night.

They didn’t exchange any contact information when they parted. They only promised to meet again at the same place in six months. So freaking romantic, and yet heart-wrenching! I just realized this movie has inspired the first part of Kate, Finally,  where my characters Kate and Layne met in different places in Asia and never exchanged contact information.  They also never promised to meet each other somewhere, but yeah, unconsciously, I was channeling this movie!

Before Sunrise has two sequels which explored the lives of both Jesse and Celine a couple of years in the future—Before Sunset and Before Midnight.

 

P.S. I loved Ethan Hawke’s shy guy turned “Oh Captain, My Captain!” leader in Dead Poet’s Society and his slacker rocker dude afraid of love in Reality Bites. Heck I also loved him in Purge even when he adulted and became the rich dad out to defend his family from people who wanted them dead.

 

 

#3 Sawyer from Lost

Okay… next up is James “Sawyer” Ford from Lost. Played to perfection by Josh Halloway. Sawyer is your quintessential bad boy everyone wants to sin with. I love that Lost the series itself is strange. I love strange. And, yes, okay, this is now my excuse to show abs.

Sawyer was not really the main character, but I liked him just the same. He got the girl first, even if the girl was pining for someone else, because heck, how can anyone resist such a man, right?  The hair, the stubble, the body, the eyes, the dimples, the smile. Yeah, pretty much everything about him, even his dark side—you never really know whether you could really trust him or not!

 

P.S. Sawyer or Josh Halloway inspired one of my LIs in a short story about grief and letting go. The first time the main character sees him, he is on a deserted beach, naked, goofing around for his camera on a tripod. Time to find that manuscript again!

 

#4 Julio and Tenoch from Y Tu Mama Tambien

Let’s go on a summer road trip with two teenaged boys (Julio Zapata and Tenoch Iturbide, who decide to have some fun when their respective girlfriends go to Italy together) and a woman (Luisa, who they met at a wedding, and practically a stranger to them) ten years their senior. Ooh-lala! Definitely a recipe for mayhem, right?  This was hyped as a coming of age movie set in Mexico. Y Tu Mama Tambien was a movie that I really loved. Back then it was considered risque and people watched it for the sex scenes. Okay I watched it for that too… but I loved the story, and the direction it went. I can’t spoil this for some people, but that pivotal scene just affected me so much that it opened my eyes and my mind.

The title came from a scene where the three main characters were all drunk and the two boys were trying to up each other in terms of their conquests—they confessed to having “frequent” sex with the other’s girlfriend and then Julio one ups Tenoch by saying that he had sex with Tenoch’s mother too!

Of course, the two heroes, Julio and Tenoch, played by Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, respectively, were just too cute and adorable for me, in all their testosterone-filled teenage glory. And that drunken scene with Luisa spiraled into something else totally. It was definitely,a summer Julio and Tenoch would never, ever forget!

 

P.S. The DVD for this movie is in a stash of DVDs with R-rated and above content, that I’ve hidden somewhere so my kids won’t find them. Ha-ha!  Time to try and find it again!

 

#5 Johnny from Dirty Dancing

Last but definitely not the least, who could say no to a hunky dance instructor? Patrick Swayze’s Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing is the perfect summer “adventure” your parents told you never to have. And the dancing… man… that guy has moves, bless his soul.

In Dirty Dancing, 17-year old Frances “Baby” Houseman is vacationing with her rich family at Kellerman’s, a resort in the Catskill Mountains. She develops a crush on Johnny Castle and she got to meet the resort staff, who engage in secret after-hours parties in their quarters (the dancing is hot and real and so totally outside of proper, which make it all the more exciting!). Thus, she gets initiated into “dirty dancing.” Johnny becomes her teacher both in dancing and in love—in all its glory.

The music and the simplicity of the setting, and the chemistry between Johnny and Baby (a pre-nose job Jennifer Grey), catapulted this low-budget production with almost no star power to box-office magic. The songs “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” and “She’s Like the Wind” are my favorites, setting the tone and providing the perfect foil to the gorgeous visual images of the film. And yes, Patrick Swayze’s Johnny Castle was both graceful and sexy in all his movements. He also sang “She’s Like the Wind!” Watching this movie, you’ would definitely  like to be Baby, getting schooled by Johnny in all manner of firsts!

 

She’s Like the Wind

P.S. I watched this movie with my future husband, but back then, he was just a choir-mate.  We went to a party a few weeks later and I wore a white dress. He told me I reminded him of “Baby” in the movie. He is also like Johnny Castle in that he was the type of person you don’t want to have for your boyfriend unless you’re ready for heartaches.  And yeah, he had the moves too.  Fast forward many years later and I was marrying him.  And now we have three beautiful kids. Who’d have thought, right?

 

About Yeyet Soriano

Yeyet Soriano has been writing her entire life, first as an angst-ridden teenager, then as a single working woman, then as a married working woman with kids. Though the themes of her written works have changed over the years, she held on to one truth—she needed to write to keep the voices in her head at bay.

Her first foray into self-publishing was when she collaborated with some of her high school friends on a book in 2011, where one of the mini books was entitled “Yeyet,” and some of her nonfiction and fiction works were included. The book was Life in the Middle, A Discovery, and it is being distributed in print by Central Books.

She just self-published Turning Points, her first e-book novel through Buqo, as part of the #JustWritePH writing class. It is included in the #JustWritePH—For Redemption bundle, but will also soon be released as a stand-alone novel in e-book format.

She has also a novella coming out soon from the #StrangeLit workshop (entitled In My Dreams, part of the Darkest Dreams bundle) and is now working on her #HeistClub story. Her target is to have three stories completed and published this year.

Her day job is that of an IT manager for the Asia-Pacific region for a multinational corporation. She is married to a man who reads only to fall asleep, and they have three wonderful kids—two of whom love to read and one, only starting to learn to read.

 

Giveaway

Join the raffle below for the chance to win one of the prizes on offer as part of the Summer Feels blog tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Review + Excerpt: Snared by Jennifer Estep http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/snared-jennifer-estep/ http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/snared-jennifer-estep/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:17:12 +0000 http://www.willreadforfeels.com/?p=6935 I received this book for free from Let's Talk! Promotions, NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Snared by Jennifer Estep Series: Elemental Assassin #16 Published by Pocket Books on April 25, 2017 Genres: Urban Fantasy Amazon • Barnes & Noble […]

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I received this book for free from Let's Talk! Promotions, NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review + Excerpt: Snared by Jennifer EstepSnared by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #16
Published by Pocket Books on April 25, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksAdd to Goodreads
four-stars
If you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

I love Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series featuring one of the best butt-kicking heroines in urban fantasy today, Gin Blanco. I also love serial killer stories—I’ve read quite a few serial killer mysteries and thrillers and watched countless documentaries. So mash up the two like you see in Estep’s latest Elemental Assassin novel, Snared, and I’m pretty much guaranteed to like the result. Which I did. Keep reading to find out why, read an excerpt, and join a giveaway where you get the chance to get a free copy of the book or an Amazon gift card!

First off, I’ll say Gin and her crew are as kickass as ever. And the things that make Gin the person she is (both faults and strengths) continue to be true in this novel. The things that make this a quintessential Estep novel—edge-of-your-seat thrills, seemingly small intrigues growing into stuff-is-gonna-blow-up conspiracies, and sweet and funny moments woven into and between scenes of martial and magical kickbuttness—are present as well. All these things contribute to a fun read I devoured in one sitting.

There were some things I didn’t really have a problem with but still wished were done a little differently, though. One is that this is another of those build-up novels, which add clues and tension to and anticipation for the inevitable epic showdown between Team Gin and the evil Circle (the name for this shadowy organization with malicious intent still feels a little cheesy to me, but no biggie). Not that I don’t appreciate the way things about the Circle were revealed in this story; just that I’m getting a little impatient for them to actually do battle (as opposed to skirmish the way they have in previous books and in this one).

Another issue I had was with the mystery of who this novel’s particular bad guy was, since it felt pretty straightforward to me and I would have liked more twists and turns before discovering who the villain was. I don’t know, though, that I should expect crime novel-level intrigue in an urban fantasy; I might have been able to guess who the killer was because of all the other serial killer stuff I’ve read and watched, and this may have inured me to subtleties about the way this aspect of the plot was developed.

Overall, this is definitely worth reading if you’re a Jennifer Estep and Elemental Assassin fan. However, it doesn’t stand alone very well, so if you’re new to the series, I’d recommend starting with book 1, Spider’s Bite.

 

Feel Factor Rating

 

Excerpt

I bolted for the window, intending to yank it up and dive through the opening. Otherwise, I’d be caught, and all of my careful surveillance of Damian Rivera and the other Circle members would have been for nothing.

But I’d forgotten about the white velvet bow hanging from the window frame, and I ran straight into it. Even worse, the fabric decided to stick to me, like an octopus clutching at my clothes.

“Shit,” I hissed, trying to peel off the clinging velvet and open the window at the same time. “Shit, shit, shit!”

“Gin?” Finn’s voice rang in my ear, sharp with worry. “What’s wrong?”

I finally slapped the bow away and grabbed hold of the frame. “I thought you said that Rivera was attending some charity dinner tonight?”

“He is. According to my sources, he RSVP’d several weeks ago. It didn’t even start until seven o’clock, so the dinner shouldn’t be anywhere close to being finished.”

“Well, tell that to Rivera,” I muttered. “Because he’s right outside the office.”

“Get out of there, Gin.” Finn’s voice crackled with even more worry. “Get out of there right now.”

I hoisted up the window, wincing at the faint screech it made. “Way ahead of you.”

As soon as the glass was out of the way, I ducked through the opening and stepped out onto the roof.

At least, I tried to.

My foot caught on that stupid bow again, and my leg stuck straight out in midair, as though I were doing a complicated yoga pose. I ground my teeth and yanked my foot free of the clutching fabric. The sudden, violent jerking motion pitched me forward, but I managed to stagger away from the window and catch myself before I did a header onto the roof or, worse, fell off it completely.

The second I regained my balance, I whipped around and hurried back over to the window, reaching for the frame to push it down.

Across the office, the antique crystal knob turned, and the door rattled, as though someone was putting his shoulder into the wood to force it open.

“Damn door always sticks,” a deep male voice said.

The crystal knob turned again, and the door finally swung open. I grabbed the frame and shoved the window down as fast as I could. But I didn’t have the best grip on it, and I didn’t manage to close it all the way. I grunted, trying to force the window down that final inch, even as a man stepped into the office.

If I could see him, then he could see me, so I abandoned the window and lurched to the side to get out of sight. My heart hammered in my chest, beating up into my throat, and I snapped my hand down to my side, palming a knife and waiting for the inevitable shouts of surprise and discovery.

One . . . two . . . three . . . four . . . five . . .

Ten . . . twenty . . . thirty . . .

Forty-five . . . sixty . . . ninety . . .

I counted off the seconds in my head, but more than a minute passed, and no alarms blared. Instead, something else echoed out of the office and through the slightly open window to me.

Tinkle-tinkle.

The distinctive sound of ice cubes dropping into a glass, followed by the crack of a bottle opening and a steady glug-glug-glug of liquid, eased some of my worry. Still gripping my knife, I dropped into a low crouch, crept forward, and peered through the glass.

 

Elemental Assassin Series Reading Order

1. Spider’s Bite: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

2. Web of Lies: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

3. Venom: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

4. Tangled Threads: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

5. Spider’s Revenge: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

5.5. Thread of Death: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

6. By a Thread: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

7. Widow’s Web: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

8. Deadly Sting: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

8.5. Kiss of Venom: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

9. Heart of Venom: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

10. The Spider: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

11. Poison Promise: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

12. Black Widow: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

13. Spider’s Trap: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

14. Bitter Bite: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

14.5. Unwanted: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

15. Unraveled: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads • Read my review

15.5. Nice Guys Bite: Buy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

16. SnaredBuy on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

 

About Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Her Elemental Assassin series follows the life and times of Gin "the Spider" Blanco, a barbecue restaurant owner who also happens to be an assassin with magical control over the elements of Ice and Stone.

The Mythos Academy series focuses on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. She studies at Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors.

Her Bigtime paranormal romance books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love.

Estep's new Black Blade series is about 17-year-old thief Lila Merriweather, who has a Talent for sight, along with the ability to take magic others used against her to boost her own powers. She tries not to get involved with the Families who control much of the town, but ends up in the middle of a potential turf war.

 

Giveaway

Get the chance to win a prize from the author—five copies of the book plus a $20 Amazon gift card are up for grabs—by joining the raffle below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview + Giveaway: Rachel Kramer Bussel, Editor of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 http://www.willreadforfeels.com/interviews/rachel-kramer-bussel-best-womens-erotica-of-the-year-volume-2-interview/ http://www.willreadforfeels.com/interviews/rachel-kramer-bussel-best-womens-erotica-of-the-year-volume-2-interview/#respond Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:00:43 +0000 http://www.willreadforfeels.com/?p=6928 This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 by Rachel Kramer Bussel Series: Best Women's Erotica of the Year #2 Published by Cleis Press on December 13, 2016 Genres: Erotica Amazon […]

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This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.Interview + Giveaway: Rachel Kramer Bussel, Editor of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Series: Best Women's Erotica of the Year #2
Published by Cleis Press on December 13, 2016
Genres: Erotica
AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksAdd to Goodreads
Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 gives us fierce female passion, timeless love, and lustful encounters that are guaranteed to fill you with utter delight. Edited by the award winning Rachel Kramer Bussel, these sexy stories about women on the prowl span the globe, traveling from Peru to the Bahamas and beyond in pursuit of pleasure. Learn why "Teacher Appreciation" is so special, what sex is like "At the End of the World," and explore some very explosive "Volcano Nights." These unforgettable erotic tales by the top authors in the genre as well as newcomers will arouse and thrill readers looking for a hot time between the pages.

Things are pretty cray-cray these days for me, as I’m moving to a new city, opening a new business, and launching a new book (under my steamy romance-writing pen name Kate Sebastian). But here’s something I’ve been meaning to post and am determined to do so before the month is out: an interview with the editor of another anthology I’ve been honored to be a part of—the amazing Rachel Kramer Bussel, erotica writer extraordinaire and editor of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2, which released in December 2016!

On a personal note, I will say Rachel was amazing throughout the process, and I learned so much from her, even with her half a world away and even though I was only one of many contributing authors. I’m using her example to guide how I promote my own first attempt at editing an anthology, and I’m overwhelmingly grateful. I hope one day I’ll get to meet her in person and maybe even attend some of her classes!

That being said, just take my word for it that she’s awesome—read the interview and find out for yourself. And if you read all the way through to the end, you’ll find out how you can win a print copy of the book to help steam up your personal library!

An interview with Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2

 

Will Read for Feels (WRFF): Congratulations on the release of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2! Can you share a few highlights from the anthology?

Rachel Kramer Bussel (RKB): Thank you! I love all the stories in the book, though I have a special fondness for “Performance” by Jordan Monroe, the opening story, because it’s a kinky opera story and has such a specific setting that really spoke to me. I’m always on the lookout for stories I could never write even if I sat in front of my computer for 365 days in a row, and one of those is “At the End of the World” by Winter Blair, an apocalyptic story that blew me away. I love traveling, and have had a few flings with people I’ve met while on trips, so the circumstances of “Volcano Nights,” where a travel delay forces strangers to share a hotel room, spoke to me as well.

 

WRFF: Did you have any goals when you set out to edit this anthology in terms of themes, styles, heat level, or anything else? If so, what were they, and do you feel these were achieved?

RKB: I always try to include a wide range of authors, and this time I’m especially proud that the large majority of them in Volume 2 are women who I’ve never published before. That’s something important to me personally, as I want the series to help boost the writers’ careers, and I think readers crave new voices. I didn’t set out to do this, but the theme of travel emerged as I was selecting stories, and I really like how the different travel stories and locations speak to one another. I also am always on the lookout for women in their forties and up; I don’t get as many submissions starring “older” women as I would like (hint to authors submitting to Volume 4!) but I especially liked how Stella Watts Kelley played with age in her story “Teacher Appreciation,” about a woman who plays spin the bottle for the first time with her former students, and the sexy cigar play with the 49-year-old protagonist of “Cigarro Tarde” by Abigail Ekue.

 

WRFF: An anthology like this one is likely to attract an audience of both newbies and long-time erotica fans. Which stories would you particularly recommend for newbies? What about for readers who’ve more experience in erotic reads?

RKB: Making the stories accessible to people who might pick it up from a bookstore shelf because they’re intrigued by the cover or online because it caught their eye, whether or not they’ve read erotica before, is certainly important to me and something I strive for with every story I publish in the series. I think most of the Volume 2 stories are excellent for newbies, especially the humorous “Taste” by Jocelyn Bringas, “A Hint of Lime” by Vierra Lai and ”On the Calendar” by Kate Sebastian, all of which are relatable and revelatory. For those who’ve read more erotica, I recommend “On Some Maps, But Not on Others” by Annabeth Leong and “Phone Call, Three A.M.” by T.C. Mill.

 

WRFF: Were there particular scenarios or elements you found especially interesting or surprising while editing the anthology, such as a new viewpoint or kink you were unfamiliar with?

RKB: One story that truly captivated me was “Wordless Surrender” by Janelle Reston, about a lesbian BDSM relationship in which the dominant woman is Deaf. This meant the author had to find ways other than the typically verbally spoken safeword for them to communicate, and she did so beautifully and truly got into the world of their kinky dynamic in a way that was highly specific and very hot. Those are the kinds of stories I hope to see more of in my inbox, because they really make the reader think and feel, while still being extremely arousing, and I especially welcome more stories that seamlessly weave in disability into their plotlines.

 

WRFF: This is far from your first erotic book or even anthology. Can you share a little about how you got started writing and editing erotica?

RKB: I started writing erotica while feeling disenchanted with law school, which I never finished. My first story “Monica and Me” got selected for two anthologies, Starf*cker and Best Lesbian Erotica 2001, and I’ve been writing sexy stories ever since. I got asked to co-edit an anthology a few years later, then to edit my own, and now I’ve edited over 60 of them. There was never a master plan for me; I joke that I fell into this, but I think that publishing short stories is a great way to learn about the genre and how anthologies work if you’re thinking of moving on to edit your own.

 

WRFF: You actually teach erotica writing classes—would you have any advice for newbie writers in the genre?

RKB: The best advice I can give is to bring yourself in all your uniqueness into your writing. If you care deeply about a specific aspect of eroticism, whether that’s certain types of characters or sexual practices or fetishes or hobbies or what have you, use that to your best advantage. If you know a certain subculture intimately, write about that. I’ve written chess erotica that was based in my many years of playing competitive chess, though that’s not something I was actively thinking about when I was playing. I’ve written dishwashing erotica inspired by my own take on the subject, that people still remember many years after the fact. That’s not to say you can’t research (and you should, especially with so many resources at your fingertips online), but if you want to write erotica that will stand out and be remembered by readers for years to come, you want to give it as much individuality as you can. Don’t worry too much about what other people are writing; focus on what unique elements you can add to the genre.

 

WRFF: Has your work in erotica taught you any life lessons you would care to share?

RKB: Writing, editing and teaching erotica have all taught me to be much more open minded, and to never pigeonhole either myself or anyone else. It’s taught me that for many people, myself included, sexuality is constantly changing and what turns us on one day may change, subtly or greatly, the next day. It’s also shown me how varied sexuality can be; it’s not just about what we do or don’t do, or even what we want to do, but encompasses so many elements of our lives.

 

WRFF: I suspect many readers of this blog will be fairly new to erotica. Is there anything you would suggest they keep in mind when dipping their toes into the world of erotic fiction?

RKB: Just like any genre, there’s a huge range in erotica, which is part of why I like editing anthologies, because I get to offer readers a little taste of a variety of types of writing. But there’s all sorts of subgenres and you can pick amongst different interests or fetishes. If you only want to read male/female, or female/female, or male/male, or dinosaur erotica, or humor erotica, etc., you can.

 

WRFF: Are there particular books of yours or books by other authors you would recommend for readers of erotica? Perhaps you can recommend a few for newbies and a few for long-time fans of the genre.

RKB: Two of the authors I published in Volume 1 are particular favorites: Tiffany Reisz and her Original Sinners series, and L. Marie Adeline and her S.E.C.R.E.T. trilogy. For kinky erotic romance, I recommend The Boss series by Abigail Barnette and The Elite Doms of Washington series by Elizabeth SaFleur. I also really like the work publisher Sexy Little Pages is doing, especially their tattoo themed collection, Inked.

 

WRFF: I know you’re currently working on Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3. What can readers look forward to with regard to this project? And can you share details on other projects or classes you’ll be teaching?

RKB: The table of contents for Volume 3 won’t be finalized for a few months (it comes out in December), but I can tell you it’s going to be extremely exciting and will have some familiar names for readers of the genre. Every story is action-packed and the characters get into some fetishes I was very happy to see included, because so often as a culture we think of men as the ones with deep-seated fetishes.

I don’t have any classes planned at the moment, but may teach a few in person ones here and there, and hopefully an online offering later this year. I just wrapped up the book tour for Volume 2 and am going to be focusing on my erotic writing consulting via Eroticawriting101.com and editing two new anthologies for Cleis Press and planning the book tour for Volume 3 in 2018, so stay tuned! The best way to keep up with what I’m doing (and enter to win my book giveaways) is via my newsletter, which you can subscribe to at rachelkramerbussel.com, and by following me on Twitter and Facebook.

 

About Rachel Kramer Bussel

Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) is a New Jersey-based author, editor, blogger and event organizer. She’s the editor of over 60 anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 and 2, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, Dirty Dates, Spanked, The Big Book of Orgasms, Fast Girls, Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma’am and many others. She writes widely about sex, dating, books and pop culture and her nonfiction has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Elle.com, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, O, The Oprah Magazine, Salon, Slate, Time.com and numerous other publications. Her books have won eight IPPY (Independent Publisher) Awards and Surrender and Dirty Dates won the National Leather Association Samois Anthology Award. She blogs at lustylady.blogspot.com and consults about erotica at eroticawriting101.com.

 

Giveaway

Rachel, apart from being awesome, is generous as well. She’s giving away a copy of this book to three readers of this blog—and the giveaway is open internationally! Join the raffle below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Cover Reveal: Summer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology http://www.willreadforfeels.com/excerpts-covers/summer-feels-romanceclass-anthology-cover/ http://www.willreadforfeels.com/excerpts-covers/summer-feels-romanceclass-anthology-cover/#comments Tue, 18 Apr 2017 01:00:59 +0000 http://www.willreadforfeels.com/?p=6918 I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting this blog, but I promise, it’s for a good cause, and I promise I’ll be back in full force when a few projects get off the ground. One of those projects is an anthology edited by my romance writer alterego entitled Summer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology, set to release on April 30, […]

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Cover Reveal: Summer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology

I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting this blog, but I promise, it’s for a good cause, and I promise I’ll be back in full force when a few projects get off the ground. One of those projects is an anthology edited by my romance writer alterego entitled Summer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology, set to release on April 30, 2017! Keep reading for more on this read.

Click on the image below to see the full size:

 

Cover Reveal: Summer Feels: A #romanceclass AnthologySummer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology by Kate Sebastian
Published by indie author on April 30, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
AmazonAdd to Goodreads
Summer loving happens so fast, as you'll find with Summer Feels, an anthology of 23 stories of love under the summer sun by #romanceclass authors. Savor the candied thrill of firsts—first loves, first kisses, first solo vacations—and the bittersweet triumph of second chances. Tour the Philippines as the stories take you to mountain retreats and island paradises. Let the magic of the hot sun, clear blue skies, and lots of love take you on a roller coaster ride of feels. With stories ranging from sweet to sexy, there's sure to be something for any fan of romance.

Featuring stories by:
Elea Andrea Almazora • Erleen Alvarez • Ella Banta • Rachelle Belaro • H. Bentham • Halina Cabrera • Charlie Dio • Mina V. Esguerra • Elizabeth Galit • Georgette S. Gonzales • Ami Granada • Irene Jurado • Catherine Lo • Arlene Manocot • Bianca Mori • Eris Peñaluna • Farrah F. Polestico • Kit Salazar • Miel Salva • Fay Sebastian • Kate Sebastian • Yeyet Soriano • Marian Tee

Edited and compiled by Kate Sebastian
Cover and interior design by Miles Tan

 

About the Designer

Miles Tan likes inhabiting imaginary worlds, from fantasy books to sci-fi shows to cheeky mysteries to role-playing games. She works with websites, plays with graphics, and is now currently painting with words.

Finding X is her first published novella. Her short story “Something Real” is included in the YA Luna East anthology, Kids These Days.

To learn more about her books, visit milestanbooks.com. To see more of the cover art she’s designed, check out milestanbooks.com/works.

 

Anthology Content

Stories included in this anthology are:

  • “All about That Bass” by Fay Sebastian
  • “Alter Christus” by Catherine Lo
  • “Fall for Me” by Miel Salva
  • “The Game of Twenty Questions” by Elizabeth Galit
  • “The Summer You Said Hello” by Ami Granada
  • “At the Bermuda Triangle” by Elea Andrea Almazora
  • “Beachin’ Summer” by Arlene Manocot
  • “Buddy System” by Yeyet Soriano
  • “Busy out of the Friendzone” by Charlie Dio
  • “Flying with You” by Rachelle Belaro
  • “Guide for a Day” by H. Bentham
  • “Ready to Run” by Kit Salazar
  • “Secondhand Wanderlust” by Erleen Alvarez
  • “The Search for the Kissing Monster” by Ella Banta
  • “Anything Can Happen” by Marian Tee
  • “Four Basic Principles” by Bianca Mori
  • “Love after Summer” by Irene Jurado
  • “Lucky in Paradise” by Farrah F. Polestico
  • “The Swimming Instructor” by Eris Peñaluna
  • “Wedding Night Stand” by Mina V. Esguerra
  • “An Overdue Adventure” by Kate Sebastian
  • “Buttered Sunset” by Halina Cabrera
  • “Then Derrick Was Back” by Georgette S. Gonzales

 

Launch Day: #AprilFeelsDay 2017

The Summer Feels anthology will be released on Amazon and in print on April 30, 2017, during the second annual #AprilFeelsDay event held by the #romanceclass community. If you’re in Manila, Philippines, make sure to drop by Urban Turf, U.P. Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, between 1PM and 6PM to pick up this book as well as participate in games, listen to awesome live readings from #romanceclass books, and more!

 

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