**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Desire Untamed by Pamela Palmer

I was offered to review the last book in the series, Wulfe Untamed, which released on January 28th, but since I hadn't read the series yet, the publisher sent me the whole series! Totally awesome right? I'm especially glad they did because I hadn't heard of this series before and I truly enjoyed the first book!

If I had to describe the book in a few words it would be, 'Imagine the Black Dagger Brotherhood... but with shifters!' Honestly, I felt a very strong BDB vibe when reading the book, but fear not, they are completely different stories. There are similarities that sure contributed to my feelings and here they are. First, it's a bunch of celibate living together in a kind of manor. Secondly, they are all alpha males, warriors protecting their race and not all of them are amiable.  They have also weirdly spelled names such as Lyon, Hawke, Wulfe, Paenther, etc. And last, the story evolves in a closed world, which means humans don't know they exist.

I particularly enjoyed the lore Palmer developed. The warriors are a circle protecting the Therians (their race) against mages and draden (incorporeal demon things). They draw their power from their Radiant, a chosen by Fate woman that can connect to the earth and allows the warrior access to their full powers, including the one to shift in their respective animals. I thought it was very original and miss Palmer managed to introduce every aspect very seamlessly. The first book is all about Lyon (the leader) tracking, finding, and trying to train the new Radiant after the last one died. One problem? She thinks she's human. It was great to discover everything alongside Kara!

The passion runs really high in this novel and I really enjoyed how it was handled. We are used to both heroes being meant to be together, but it's not the case here. Very slight spoiler ahead [spoiler] There is a ceremony at the beginning of the novel, part of the rituals to make Kara ascend to Radiant status, and this ritual determines who her mate is. Against all expectations, it's not Lyon! [/spoiler]. This situation brings in a forbidden element and both parties fight their mutual attraction because it's unfortunately the right thing to do. Let me tell you, this brings the sexual tension rocket high, to our delight!

The plot really is romance driven, but there is still a healthy amount of action involved and there are some extremely interesting plot twists I had not expected at all! I was completely engrossed from the get go and it was really hard to put the novel down. Being surprised by the conclusion is also a nice addition!

Paranormal romance lovers must get their hands on this series, especially fans of Ward and Cole. I'm sure you'll find yourself right at home. And the best thing? All eight books in the series are already released, so you won't have to suffer between releases!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Juliet Immortal holds no punches and right from the start, Stacey Jay shows the reader that she means business. This isn't the Romeo & Juliet you read in High School, no sirree. Stacey Jay has taken "the greatest love story ever told" and has made some bold changes. Personally, I never believed Romeo & Juliet was a love story and it was an absolute delight to read a much darker, more brutal version of the Shakespearean tale. Despite the fact that Jay has taken liberties with her retelling, I loved the way that Juliet Immortal maintained some of the core essentials of the play.

Don't be fooled by the publisher's blurb. This is nothing like Shiver or Hush, Hush at all and marketing it as such is an injustice to Stacey Jay's novel. Juliet Immortal thrives on intense action scenes, pitch-perfect character development and shocking plot twists. I never thought I'd say this, but I loved the teenage drama and angst in Juliet Immortal. I can't believe that I just described teenage angst as a high point of a novel, but seriously I savored all of the high-school drama.

I loved Juliet, she was such a strong-willed and intense character that I couldn't help but gloat over. I felt for Juliet and I was absolutely enthralled by her battle against the devious Romeo. Romeo was a such finely crafted villain and he was equally alluring as he was dangerous. I really look forward to seeing more of Romeo in Romeo Redeemed! The rest of the characters in Juliet Immortal are just as beautifully written and I loved watching each character's arc unfold.

I still can't get over all of the plot twists that Jay inserted in Juliet Immortal. I'm usually the type of reader that can detect what direction a plot is moving early on, but I was so surprised with all of the twists and turn in this novel. This is the type of book that is so compulsively read-able that once you start a chapter, you can't stop midway. I loved the ending of this book and it was so fitting, but a part of me wishes that this was a stand-alone. Everything is so perfectly wrapped up that I'm not sure a sequel is necessary, but I will definitely be reading Romeo Redeemed.

Juliet Immortal is a wonderfully dark retelling with an engaging plot and characters you will obsess over. This is definitely one of the best retelling out there and I am so happy that this lived up to my expectations. Between Of Beauty And Beast and Juliet Immortal, Jay is proving herself to be the master of retellings. I'm beyond ecstatic to read more of Jay's books, especially Princess Of Thorns, her take on Sleeping Beauty!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"When I'm not writing" with J.A. Souders

J.A. Souders, author of The Elysium Chronicles, has made a little room in her busy schedule to join us today and discuss her non-writing life.


"When I'm not writing" logo

When I’m not writing, I’m a: taxi driver, nurse, housekeeper, cook, alarm clock,  calendar, psychologist, and personal shopper otherwise known as a mom. J I’m sure I don’t have to tell people how difficult of a job being a mom is.

On top of all that, I’m a big giant nerd so I spend a lot of time watching documentaries and doing research on “all the things”: mostly not useful, so I’m a  font of information about things no one else knows or probably even wants to know.  LOL. Of course, I spend a lot of time reading for fun and while I prefer YA fiction, I’ll  read anything that catches my interest.

As far as other hobbies, I have a ton because I get bored easily. LOL. I love riding  horses and prefer the English style of riding, but just being around horses is  awesome so I’ll take what I can get. But I’m not just a lover of horses. I love animals  of all kinds—I especially love marine animals (which is why I wanted to be a  marine biologist.)--but I’m horribly allergic to anything with fur, so I compensate by  supporting and volunteering for charities for the protection of animal rights. (I’m a  philanthropist by nature, so I spend a lot of my time supporting the causes I believe  in.)

I love knitting and as a bonus I can listen to audiobooks while I do it. Two for one,  baby! :D I’m a gamer by proxy. I absolutely love video games, but I get motion sick  if I play, so I beg my son and husband to play them for me so I can watch them. My  favorite video game of all time is Zelda: The Twilight Princess followed closely by  BioShock Infinity.

And last, but not definitely not least, much to my husband’s dismay, I have an  addiction to antiques with a flavor for the Victorian/Edwardian Eras in the US and  Japan so I spend a lot of time at antique stores or finding new ones. And to Tiffany  jewelry (which he has no one to blame but himself, since he bought me my first  piece. :P)

I could go on and on (I may be an introvert, but I’m a talker. LOL.), so I’ll stop here,  but thank you so much for having me!


Thanks so much for visiting us, Jessica!


Here's the scoop on Revelations:

Revelations by J.A. SoudersSix weeks after her arrival on the Surface, Evelyn Winters is no closer to unlocking the memories lost in her subconscious than she was when she first came. Isolated in a strange new society, Evie has only Gavin Hunter to remind her of who she once was.

But even with a clean slate, it’s easy to see that Evie doesn’t fit in on the Surface. And as her differences make her feel more and more alone, she can’t help but yearn for that place she doesn’t remember: the isolated city hidden in the depths of the ocean. Elysium. Home.

But she can’t exactly tell Gavin what she’s feeling. Not when he’s the one who helped her escape Elysium in the first place, and has the scars to prove it. Though the doctors say otherwise, Gavin believes that Evie just needs time. And if her memories don’t come back, well, maybe she’s better off not remembering her past.

But the decision may be out of their hands when Evie’s ever-elusive memories begin to collide with reality. People and images from her past appear in the most unlikely places, haunting her, provoking her…and making her seem not only strange but dangerous.

Evie and Gavin can’t wait around for her memories to return. They’ll have to journey across the Outlands of the Surface to find help, and in the end, their search may just lead them back to the place it all started…

Pre-order: Amazon | Book Depository

And here's where it all began:

A Dark Grave (The Elysium C...Renegade (The Elysium Chron...


Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favourite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit  us? Please email Jenn at jenn (at) tyngasreviews (dot) com and we’ll set it up!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells

In DIRTY MAGIC, Jaye Wells introduces us to a dangerous new world inhabited by alchemists and potion junkies. It's a fast-paced story that grabs your attention from the first page and will leave you begging for more when you hit the back cover. 

Kate Prospero, alchemist turned beat cop, does her best to maintain order in the Cauldron but it's a losing battle. Dirty magic potions are everywhere and addicts line the streets. Kate used to cook potions and was the heir apparent to one of the big bosses until tragedy struck. Now, she eschews all magics, even though she craves the powerful high that cooking brings, while raising her teenage brother and trying to get ahead in life. She's the kind of protagonist I instantly root for because she's so driven, fighting against some big obstacles. Plus she's a total underdog, especially once she joins up with the task force and its super talented members.

DIRTHY MAGIC is such a great book that it's hard to pinpoint my favourite parts. There's strong characterization, not just for Kate and the team, but for each of the major and minor players who enter the story. I really liked Penelope, Kate's best friend, in particular. She's such a sympathetic ear but she's also a very human element in a story with so many magical beings. The plot is also fantastic. Figuring out who's putting this dangerous new potion on the streets is a complex mystery that takes Kate all over the city, into some of the darkest parts of the town and her past.

While DIRTY MAGIC still has Wells' trademark humour and fast-paced action, it's a bit different from the Sabina Kane novels in that DIRTY MAGIC is more of a paranormal thriller. It's got a real hard-boiled feel to it, which I love. Gritty stories (almost) always have fantastic character arcs and twisty plots, which Wells delivers in spades. If you are already a fan, you'll definitely love DIRTY MAGIC. If you've never tried Jaye Wells before, now's the time because DIRTY MAGIC is near perfect urban fantasy.

Read an excerptJenn

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Charmed Vengeance by Suzanne Lazear

What can I say. I was charmed by CHARMED VENGEANCE. From the first few chapters, I was hooked and could not let go. It's definitely not a book to read as a stand-alone. It should be read as a series, and while book one might not have been a favorite of mine, it's worth pushing through since this sequel is definitely better on so many different levels. It's more steampunk, more adventure and more torturous romance.

So many things are going on in this book, yet Lazear is able to keep track of things wonderfully. One thing flows nicely into another and the result is a fantastic novel. First, Noli is forced by her mother and grandfather to leave Los Angeles, but instead of joining them in Boston, she decided to run away with her air pirate brother, Jeff. She runs away, not only because she despises the idea of taking part in Boston's high society, but also because her "boyfriend" V (Steven) has broken up with her, and fleeing to become an engineer of a pirate ship seems so freeing. Noli suspects there's a reason why V has broken things off and knows he's not allowed to tell her. In fact, V has been ordered by his mother, the Fae Queen to go on a quest to find her something "entertaining". And ordered to break things off with Noli. Kevighn Silver, cast out of the Otherworld, is a fae just living day to day as an air pirate but one thing leads to another and is drawn into Noli and Jeff's pirate life. Like I said, many things happening at once but everything happens for a reason.

The characters remain pretty much the same as in book one yet have grown and evolved because of what they've been through. Noli has been transformed into something fae by the Queen, and she is living with a sprite personality in her head. She's still the same herbal enthusiast/genius mechanic she was in the past but now, with this girly and ditsy sprite personality living in her head, she sometimes has episodes where it's hard to control who's in charge, her normal self or her sprite self. Her brother Jeff notices this, but because she can't fully explain her situation to the mortals she's living with, she feels very alone and confused. I'm still on the fence about believing this split personality because I know deep down Noli would never paint flowers on the engine of an airship, yet for some reason she allows the sprite to entertain the idea that everything can be pretty and paint the engines. I guess "allow" isn't really the right word, because Noli has trouble controlling the sprite but it's still hard to grasp the idea of the dueling personalities, especially since the original Noli was portrayed as such a strong-willed character.

I'm glad we were able to learn more about Jeff's air pirate life. The airship life is definitely steampunk and it gives the novel a more steampunk feel, which in my opinion was lacking in the first book. While INNOCENT DARKNESS concentrated more on fae and Otherworld elements, this sequel allows us to see the characters develop in different situations. Feminism is a strong theme in the book and I particularly like what  Jeff says to his female captain, Vix: "You work for women to have choices. This means they should have any and all options--not just the ability to wear trousers and take on men's jobs, but the right to wear skirts and stay home with the children if they so choose. The point is they have a choice." (p. 73)

Suzanne Lazear succeeded in developing a wonderful alternate reality world. She has envision a steampunk America where Hawaii hasn't join the United States and territories inside the continent exist apart from the USA. The fact that it's steampunk allows her to have some liberties and the paranormal aspect allows her to add an air of mysticism to the story. At the end of the book, many story lines are left open, yet this installment has satisfied me. I'm anticipating a wonderful follow up to this novel and I can't wait to see what happens between Noli and Steven.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Stacking The Shelves [92]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


I can't believe it's been over two months since I've done a Stacking the Shelves post. It's nice to be back!

For review:

Blade to the Keep by Lauren Dane* [review]
Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep*
The Pulse by Shoshanna Evers*
A Study in Ashes by  Emma Jane Holloway*
Black Arts by Faith Hunter*
Born in Blood by Alexandra Ivy* [review]
Blades of the Old Empire by Anna Kashina*
Defy by Sara B. Larson*
Bitten by Treachery by Shawntelle Madison*
Cold Iron by D. L. McDermott*
We Will Destroy Your Planet: An Alien’s Guide To Conquering The Earth by David McIntee*
Ashes & Alchemy by Cindy Spencer Pape*
Fury of the Demon by Diana Rowland
Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells*
Sweet Revenge by Rebecca Zanetti*


Kicking It anthology
To Dance with the Devil by Cat Adams
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Broken Blade by J. C. Daniels*
Crazy in the Blood by Lucienne Diver*
Rise of the Blood by Lucienne Diver*
The Mountain’s Shadow by Cecilia Dominic*
Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey
Blood Vice by Keith Melton* [review]
Blood and Feathers by Lou Morgan*
Blaze of Glory by Sheryl Nantus*
Assassin’s Gambit by Amy Raby
Spy’s Honor by Amy Raby
Hammer Down by Moira Rogers*
Hunting Kat by PJ Schnyder
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

What did you add to your shelves this week?

[inlinkz_linkup id=364145]


School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

School Spirits is the fourth book in the Hex Hall series, and takes place after the events of Spell Bound, yet it features a new Heroine, Izzy Brannick. Normally I would classify this book as the first of a spin-off series, but it's labeled as 'an Hex Hall novel'. We met Izzy, Sophie's cousin, in previous books and it's a great opportunity to know her as something else than 'the youngest Brannick'.

Brannicks have been hunting paranormals for generations and they are the monster under the bed for prodigiums. There used to be  a lot of these women around the world, but now it's only Izzy and her mom (her big sister being MIA) and I loved to discover their side of the story. Times forced them to evolve from paranormal killers to hunters for the prodigium council and the transition isn't easy for them. It's much easier to kill a vampire than contain one, at least, that's what Izzy says!

Izzy was a fun character to watch, mostly because she is totally out of her element. A job forces her to tackle on high school (something she's never done) and her hunter abilities are completely useless to her. Worst, they make it harder for her to fit in. Her struggles were endearing as she tried to learn the ropes by watching TV shows and failed miserably most of the time. I have to say, I had a soft spot for her interactions with Dex, a cast-out asthmatic boy. He is such an awkward, old-school romantic that I had no choice but to fall for him.

I enjoyed the main plotline though it was somewhat simple. There's a ghost at school and it's Izzy job to stop it. Izzy struggled at times, suspecting different friends but I have to say, I suspected the real culprit very early on, which left little suspense unfortunately. School Spirits stayed true to what we've seen in the previous Hex Hall books though, so if you enjoyed them, you should like this one as well.

The Hex Hall books always have a light spirit about them, which is why I keep coming back despite it's younger target audience. I guess they are just fun and fluffy in a way adult books never are :) Am I the only guilty adult following the series?


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fighting Kat by PJ Schynder

I haven't read the first book in this series but that didn't stop me from jumping into FIGHTING KAT, PJ Schnyder's latest release. I've really enjoyed her London Undead novellas (BITE ME and SING FOR THE DEAD) so I couldn't resist seeing what she could do with sci fi. And I don't think I missed much by skipping HUNTING KAT because Schnyder does a wonderful job of giving you the necessary context to jump into FIGHTING KAT without any major issues.

Kat is a human who's been changed on a genetic level by a virus forced on her by her captors. Surviving the infection, Kat's now able to transform into a panther and has enhanced strength and healing. She's an intergalactic mercenary and medical officer on a fancy spaceship, learning how to deal with her dual nature. Kat met and fell for Ryland in the previous novel and they're doing the long-distance thing while they figure out their relationship.

FIGHTING KAT does, as the title suggests, have a great deal of action. Schynder does a great job of writing interesting fight choreographies and scenarios and I was hooked by each new engagement. She has also created a very interesting world for her characters to fight in. I love the idea that there are all sorts of different aliens out there, with different motivations. Some of the beings Kat encounters in FIGHTING KAT are really weird and different, which is something I always enjoy in a story. Many of the most interesting reveals and moments come in the last third of the novel, when things really build to an exciting climax.

On the romantic side, I quite enjoyed Kat and Ryland's relationship. Their bond was formed under adverse circumstances and they have a lot of obstacles to overcome but you can't deny their chemisty. It would blow the top off of a thermometer! Their encounters are steeped in steamy emotion and their connection is palpable.

One of my favourite aspects of Schnyder's writing is that gives all of her characters a lot of history and depth.  Anyone with a good number of pages gets a backstory that has me intrigued. I'm particularly curious about Kat's captain, Dev. The hints we get are such teases and I desperately want to know more about it. But it's Kat's background that has me really curious, so I'm going to be purchasing HUNTING KAT the next time I'm in the e-bookstore.

If you're in the mood for an exciting sci fi novel with passionate characters and a twisting plot, look no further than FIGHTING KAT. Schnyder has created a great story that will have you hooked from the first paragraph.


Fighting Kat blog tour: Guest post by PJ Schnyder + giveaway

Fighting Kat tour banner

Today we have a guest post from PJ Schnyder. I recently reviewed SING FOR THE DEAD as part of Novella November and now we have PJ here to talk about the inspiration for one of the characters in FIGHTING KAT as part of her tour for the novel, which happens to the second book in her Triton series. This is a full-length novel unlike the first instalment, which was a novella, and it's a real treat, as you can tell from my review.


Character Inspiration: Kx9-8775 “Max”

PJ Schnyder and Kaiser

Meet the inspiration for Max.

Kaiser von Romhaus came to me on Christmas Eve. He’d spent the first 2 years of his life trained to be a guard dog with full Schutzhund training, attack training, and the sort of high level skills taught to police and military dogs. The only human interaction he had was with his handlers and the humans he chased off the property he’d been sent to guard. When his owners divorced, they abandoned him and the other guard dogs in shelters - to be labeled unadoptable…

Kaiser’s breeder found out and pulled him out of the shelter before the awful happened.

I’d been researching German Shepherd Dog puppies and in contact with the breeder. Rather than meet puppies, the breeder asked me to come meet Kaiser. After introducing us, the breeder only said, “Merry Christmas” and sent us home together. I spent the next 6 months adjusting Kaiser to a suburban home and teaching him to respond to English as opposed to German.

Every pet is a family member. Kaiser became my heart, my comfort, and my courage. After my divorce, coming home to him made me feel safe. Our time together was too short and I’ll never forget him.

Unconditional love. Unwavering loyalty.

I wanted to introduce a character into the Triton Experiment series who embodied those qualities. A dog can do this in a way a humanoid can’t. Kaitlyn might be irritated with having a canine on board for a while, but sometimes hearts are healed by the least expected.


For more PJ, check out the following links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog Tour Schedule


Here's the scoop on FIGHTING KAT:

Fighting Kat by P. J. SchnyderBook two of The Triton Experiment

Intergalactic mercenary Kat Darah has been ordered to keep her shape-shifting ability a secret from everyone but those closest to her, for her own safety. She’s learned how to control the feral rage…for the most part. But when Lieutenant Rygard’s military unit goes missing, she’ll use every skill she has to find her man.

Lt. Christopher Rygard has witnessed his girl shift, and he still wants her. After Kat rescues him from alien clutches, he’d like nothing more than to wrap her in his arms again, but his first duty is to his men. And half of them have been shipped off-planet to be sold as slaves.

Kat and Rygard will need to form a new team to go deep undercover, posing as gladiators and learning to fight together in order to survive. In the arena, it’s all about who is the strongest predator…

See how it all began in Hunting Kat.

Jenn's thoughts

Purchase: Amazon

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PJ Schnyder and Buy the Book Tours are giving away a FIGHTING KAT themed mug, black panther beanie baby, PJ pen and spiral bound HUNTING KAT notebook.

Fighting Kat giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Perfect Lies by Kiersten White

Perfect Lies is the sequel to Mind Games; Mind Games was a novel that I didn't enjoy much, despite the fact that I was extremely excited to read it. Personally I thought that Mind Games was bogged down by poor writing, so-so character development, and an uninteresting plot. Frankly before starting Perfect Lies I had zero expectations of enjoying the novel and I thought this novel would just be a lame excuse of a sequel. Perfect Lies defied all expectations and was a vast improvement over it's predecessor.

In Mind Games, the relationship between Annie and Fia wasn't convincing by any standard and I found that I didn't like either sister. Kiersten White has defined the sisterly bond between Annie and Fia so much better in Perfect Lies and readers will understand how close and yet so far away these sisters are from each other. I wanted Annie and Fia to set aside their differences and destroy the Foundation. I hated seeing them drift apart and it was heartbreaking to see the duo estranged from each other. I was shocked by how much I actually cared for these sisters by the end of this novel and it was incredibly sad to think that are no more books in this series.

Perfect Lies is a high-stakes, intense thriller and I was extremely eager to see how Kiersten White would end this series.  The plot of Perfect Lies wasn't perfect by any standard, but I really enjoyed reading about Annie and Fia. I truly wish White had utilized the characters' preternatural abilities a bit more, but otherwise the plot of Perfect Lies was action-packed and well thought-out. The ending of Perfect Lies (and of the Mind Games series) didn't completely answer all of my questions, but I was mostly satisfied with the note it ended on. Honestly, I wish White wrote a small novella that takes place after Perfect Lies to give readers a taste of what happened after Perfect Lies's ending.

Despite the fact that I wasn't a fan of Mind Games, I really enjoyed Perfect Lies and it was an excellent conclusion to the Mind Games series. Perfect Lies is definitely worth reading and it was truly a wonderful surprise! After reading Mind Games and The Chaos Of Stars, I was hesitant about reading Paranormalcy, but Perfect Lies has reinforced my desire to read this trilogy!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sandy Williams Swag-for-Brag giveaway

Shadow Reader Giveaway Banner

 Today we are participating in Sandy Williams' Swag-for-Brag giveaway tour! This giveaway celebrates the release of THE SHARPEST BLADE, the final book in Williams' trilogy about McKenzie Lewis, a human who has a rare ability: she is a shadow reader. Don't know what that means? Then it's definitely time to enter this giveaway!

I've loved each book in the trilogy and so I'm really excited to host a stop of this giveaway tour, in the hopes that you will come to love the series as well.


A message from Sandy:

December 31, 2013 was the best New Year’s Eve I’ve had in a long time. The Sharpest Blade, the third book in my Shadow Reader series, hit the shelves. The Shadow Reader books follow McKenzie Lewis, a human who can not only see the fae, but she can track them when they fissure (or teleport) from place to place. That little talent of hers has put her in the middle of a fae civil war, a war that finally comes to a conclusion in The Sharpest Blade.

Readers have waited a long time for this book. I’m so grateful for their patience, and for all their support these last few years. The reception McKenzie has received has been awesome, and I’ve met so many wonderful readers since The Shadow Reader was published. Thank you all for sharing McKenzie’s adventures with me, and I hope 2014 brings you many hundreds of fabulous and kickass reads.


And here's the scoop on the trilogy:

The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams (Shadow Reader #1)There can only be one allegiance.
It’s her time to choose.

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

Jenn's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

The Shattered Dark by Sandy Williams (Shadow Reader #2)A love declared. A war waged.
A future endangered.

McKenzie Lewis has a gift. It allows her access to a world few have seen, and even fewer can comprehend. It’s her secret. And it exists in the shadows…

McKenzie was a normal college student, save for one little twist: she’s a shadow reader, someone who can both see the fae and track their movements between our world and the Realm. It’s a gift for which she has been called insane, one for which she has risked family and friends—and one that has now plunged her into a brutal civil war among the fae.

With the reign of the king and his vicious general at an end, McKenzie hoped to live a more normal life while exploring her new relationship with Aren, the rebel fae who has captured her heart. But when her best friend, Paige, disappears McKenzie knows her wish is, for now, just a dream. McKenzie is the only one who can rescue her friend, but if she’s not careful, her decisions could cost the lives of everyone she’s tried so hard to save.

Jenn's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

The Sharpest Blade by Sandy Williams (Shadow Reader #3)Torn between two worlds.
Torn between two lives.

McKenzie Lewis’s ability to read the shadows has put her—and …those she loves—in harm’s way again and again. The violence must end, but will the cost of peace be more devastating than anyone ever imagined?

After ten years of turmoil, the life McKenzie has always longed for may finally be within her grasp. No one is swinging a sword at her head or asking her to track the fae, and she finally has a regular—albeit boring—job. But when a ruthless enemy strikes against her friends, McKenzie abandons her attempt at normalcy and rushes back to the Realm.

With the fae she loves and the fae she’s tied to pulling her in different directions, McKenzie must uncover the truth behind the war and accept the painful sacrifices that must be made to end it. Armed with dangerous secrets and with powerful allies at her side, her actions will either rip the Realm apart—or save it.

Jenn's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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There are some amazing prizes to be won in this tour-wide giveaway from Sandy Williams!

 See the Rafflecopter for detailsSandy Williams Swag-for-Brag giveaway

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Sandy WilliamsSandy Williams has lived and breathed books all her life. When she was a teen, she was always the first to finish her class assignments so that she could read as much as possible before the bell rang. Her grades didn’t suffer (much), and she was able to enroll in Texas A&M University. She didn’t sneak in novels there, but every other line of her college lecture notes are filled with snippets of stories. After she graduated, she decided to turn those snippets into books.

Sandy is the author of The Shadow Reader novels, an urban fantasy romance series about a human who can both see and track the fae. When Sandy isn’t writing, she’s taking care of her twin boys, who also debuted in 2011. They keep her busy, but she’s occasionally able to sneak in time to read books by her favorite authors, and she still enjoys playing EuroGames like Dominion, 7 Wonders, and Agricola.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

The Sharpest Blade by Sandy Williams

THE SHARPEST BLADE is the final book in Sandy Williams' Shadow Reader trilogy. You can find my review of Book 1 here and Book 2 over on I Read Good.

McKenzie Lewis has had quite the ride since the opening chapter of THE SHADOW READER and Williams doesn't give the girl a single break in THE SHARPEST BLADE. Readers who have been following this series will definitely be satisfying by THE SHARPEST BLADE because it is such a strong end to the series. There is danger, heartbreak, and intrigue a-plenty in the final chapter, making it a fitting sendoff for McKenzie, Aren, Kyol, and all the rest.

THE SHARPEST BLADE opens with McKenzie trying to live a regular human life in Las Vegas. She has a job at a library, she hasn't seen Aren or any other fey for weeks, and she is bored. Regular life just doesn't suit her, something anyone else could have told her partway through Book 1! As much as she resents some of the fey intrusions on her life, she wouldn't be the same person if she wasn't a shadow reader, if she wasn't so intimately involved in the politics of the realm, if she wasn't in love with Aren but bonded to Kyol. The hard events of the previous two novels have shaped McKenzie into the woman she is and I'm glad to see her accepting her life over the course of THE SHARPEST BLADE. It's not an easy path -- when does McKenzie ever do anything the easy way? -- but McKenzie fights for her beliefs and her desires and learns a lot about herself in the process.

There are resolutions for both the political and romantic storylines in THE SHARPEST BLADE, which I appreciate. McKenzie does end up with someone and the battle for the throne is settled. It takes the whole book, though, so trust me when I say that these resolutions are hard won and emotionally taxing. We see just how Kyol and McKenzie are affected by their life bond, we see acts of selfishness and selflessness in the name of love, we see sacrifice, and we see the bonds between all of the characters we've been following. Subtle moments from previous books are explored more fully and you really see the physical and psychological costs of the rebellion and its aftermath. Williams kills it with this novel: her writing has never been better and I've never been more invested in McKenzie and the rebels' success.

To sum up, THE SHARPEST BLADE is a fittingly grand conclusion to the Shadow Reader trilogy. Williams has crafted a captivating world inhabited by characters that will put you through an emotional wringer. You'll be on the edge of your seat until the final page of THE SHARPEST BLADE, waiting to see how Williams will wrap up the amazing adventure she put us on in THE SHADOW READER.

Read an excerptJenn

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

I'm usually a fan of whatever Melissa Marr writes, but this one really wasn't my favourite. I really tried to enjoy it and despite the few positive aspects to the book, it just didn't quite cut it for me. The world building was really interesting and well done but the actual storyline and the flow of the novel seemed to lack details.

Personally, I didn't think it felt like a full novel and when I looked into it on the author's website, I was confused when I noticed that two novellas/short stories will be published, one as a prequel and another as a sequel, with no other books in sight. I think the book would have been more complete if everything would have been published together, and as it stands, the cliffhanger is a reader's nightmare. I guess it's good from a publisher's perspective in order to create more sale oppurtunities, but as a reader, it leaves me unsastisfied and unsure if I'll read anything else from the series.

On a positive note, I find Mallory is a well rounded and complete character that supports the story very well. With the many fluctuating point of views, it's not clear who spends more time at the centre of the story but one thing is for sure, the story revolves constantly around Mallory which makes her an unsuspecting main character. Her origins are a little confusing at first but as the story progresses, we get to learn more and more about her background. Personally I found it a little strange that her witchy adoptive father kept everything from her, even using magic to manipulate her mind to make her forget things. He even went to the extreme, hiding her daimon origin, but it did create some good anticipation as Mallory unraveled the mystery that had been following her around her whole life.

Kaleb is another interesting character, a low blood daimon who is trying to make a name for himself and trying to rise to the top of the daimon ranks. He inadvertently falls in love with Mallory as he stalks her when given the task of following her by assassin contractor. Their odd relationship is a little exaggerated, like many young adult novels but still kept me interested throughout the novel. I'm curious about how everything will end for them in the sequel, but I have a suspicious feeling the continuation of the series won't be all that satisfying.

I will hand it to Melissa Marr, however. She has a sneaky way of writing, making her readers scratch their heads about who the real antagonist is. Marchosias, the leader of The City, where daimons live, does seem like the ultimate bad guy. Every daimon is weary of him and only wish to be on his good side, but the seemingly all knowing ruler isn't encountered very often and doesn't give off an evil feeling when we do meet him. Evelyn, Mallory's aunt, appears to be a little more wicked, her hate of daimons really surfacing near the end if the novel. Despite her brother's fatherly love for Mallory, her hate for her adoptive niece is expected but uncalled for. The reason behind the war between witches and daimons could have been expanded a little more, in order for us to better understand the animosity between the two races, but the tension between the many characters is one of the book's strong points.

The world building was the forte of this book but in my opinion the actual storytelling fell short. Like I mentioned previously, it fells like the story was incomplete and the cliffhanger was just awful. And to learn that this cliffhanger will only be followed by a "short sequel" makes me doubt the series in general. If you're a fan of Melissa Marr or if you already have this book stacking your to read shelf, I recommend that you wait until the two short stories are published later this year in order to get a more complete feel for this story. I'm usually a fan of novellas and short stories, when they are used correctly as fillers, but in this case, I don't think they will be utilized properly. In my opinion, a series can begin with "0.5" but shouldn't finish with "1.5".

Friday, January 17, 2014

Stacking The Shelves [91]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Hello guys! I finally have a vlog for you *yay*

Macrieve by Kresley Cole
Spy's Honor by Amy Raby
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Taste of Darkness by Maria V Snyder

For Review:
Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston
I'd also like to thank everyone who filled last week's survey!

A problem with the email subscription was brought to my attention, hopefully I fixed it :)
There is still time to answer if you want too ^^
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Burn For Me by Cynthia Eden

Determined to deliver a great story, journalist Eve decides to infiltrate a scientific project studying paranormals called Genesis. The last thing she expected though, was to become a subject herself, despite all the publicity about the subjects being volunteers. Her world will be turned upside down when she meets Subject Thirteen, after months of hard work.

I have a confession, this is the first book of Cynthia Eden I've read and I was happily surprised. Paranormals being guinea pigs in a scientific project isn't exactly a unique setup, but the nature of each characters infused the novel with a breath of fresh - or should I say scorching hot- air.

Subject thirteen, Cain of his real name, is virtually immortal. Oh he can die, alright, but he always comes back in a flurry of extreme heat and flames. Each death takes its toll though and I honestly appreciated to subtlety of his nature/abilities. What he actually is remains a mystery to Eve, but I wouldn't surprise you if I revealed that he is a phoenix (what with the series being called Phoenix Fire and all...). I think it was a great idea by Eden because it's honestly the first time I encounter one in a novel. Eve is another matter entirely because neither we nor she knows what she is. All we know is that fire can't harm her. Isn't she just perfect for Cain right? I loved how consumable their relationship was!

On a side note, I thought the names Eden chose for her main characters were just perfect. In The Genesis (another subtle wink), Cain is the first murderer, and it fits perfectly since he is a remorseless killer in this novel. In the Bible, Eve is his mother, but if we ignore that fact, Eve is also the first woman. And to Cain, she is the first woman who ever mattered to him. She is also striving to do good every opportunity she gets. So I thought the whole thing was fitting!

Plot-wise, this novel is quite action-filled for a paranormal romance. Don't get me wrong, there is an abundance is smoldering, sultry scenes, but the action will keep your blood pumping between those encounters. I enjoyed the sense of urgency the fast pace maintained and I wasn't bored for a second.

I also have to mention the support characters because I really liked them. Eve's best friend Trace really hit home and I hope we'll see more of him. There is also Ryder, a mentally unstable vampire, I am very curious about and I think he might be the main character in the next novel, so I'm expecting answers!

The end satisfied me and I'm glad we got some answers about Eve's nature, her past and her desires for the future. The Eve/Cain couple isn't perfect, they each have their flaws (especially Cain) but I think it makes them more believable and I appreciate it.

Burn for Me was a great beginning to a new paranormal romance series and I strongly encourage you to give it a chance! Have you read any other books by Cynthia before? Do you have a favorite?

Read an excerpt


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Nil by Lynne Matson

I was extremely excited to read Nil by Lynne Matson because it's been a while since I've read straight-up sci-fi; I've mostly been reading dystopians/post-apocalyptics recently. I expected Nil to be more of a sci-fi novel, but truthfully it's more of a romance than anything else. Nil works as a romance novel, but it is largely ineffective as a sci-fi thriller. Marketing Nil as a sci-fi thriller feels misleading because the sci-fi elements and suspense are virtually non-existent.

Nil takes place on a remote island where residents have exactly 365 days to escape or they die. Charley wakes up naked in Nil and she knows nothing of the island's rules and customs. Slowly, Charley forms a relationship with Thad, the leader on the island and they have to race to find the truth about the island before the clock runs out.

I didn't love the characters in Nil, but they were interesting enough for me to emotionally invest in their arcs. This novel is written from the point-of-view of Charley, but her voice was never properly defined. Charley is from Georgia and she talks in some sections like a true Southerner, yet in other sections of the novel she loses that Southern dialect. It didn't make sense to me that her voice was so inconsistent in the novel, considering the fact that Charley repeatedly references her Georgian home. Thad, Charley's romantic interest was sweet to Charley, but he wasn't all that interesting to me personally. I definitely enjoyed reading about him, but there was nothing to distinguish him from 100s of other male main characters, aside from the fact that he skis.

Lynn Matson is definitely a skilled writer and her writing definitely deserves some praise. Her prose was very simple, but it did a great job of keeping me enticed. I wasn't a huge fan of the pop-culture references, especially the constant references to Sprite. I get it, Charley enjoys Sprite; there's no need to mention her Sprite addiction so often.

Even though, I enjoyed Charley and Thad's relationship, there was no need to focus so much on their relationship. The constant focus on their romance brought the plot to a stalemate in some sections and ruined any momentum the plot was building up. I was finally relieved when Charley and Thad started to investigate the island and when they attempted to figure out why they were transported to this island. While it took way too long for this duo to start exploring the island's origins and I find it hard to believe that no-one else ever felt curious enough to probe around the island.  I was extremely happy with the chain of events that led up to the novel's conclusion and I was surprised with the way some of the final plot elements unfolded. I did know exactly how it would end,  but the way Matson paved the way for the ending was quite shocking.

Lynne Matson raises so many questions in readers' minds about the island and just when I thought I would be getting answers, the book seemed to end. I had so many questions by the end of Nil that it upset me that this was a stand-alone, how can this be a stand-alone when there's so much left unanswered. There has to be some sort of sequel because there's so much room for a sequel and I NEED answers.

Nil lacked any tension, making this thriller feel extremely inadequate. There were so many missed opportunities where the stakes could've been raised even further, instead Matson is too safe with her characters. It truly never feels like Nil is actually dangerous because when there is danger, it feels petty due to the lack of tension. I wanted Nil to be extremely frightening and strange, but at times, it felt like the teenagers were on some reality TV show that took place on a tropical island. Instead of worrying about how they're going to leave the island, it seems that Charley and Thad are more concerned with making out and becoming a couple. The characters kept referring to Nil as if it were some kind of malicious person that was messing with their minds, but I wanted to see this instead of being reminded of this frequently. There truly had to be less "telling" and more "showing" in Nil, I wanted to shown a scary island instead of being told how frightening it is.

Nil has it's fair share of issues, but that's not to say that I didn't enjoy this novel. Nil lacks any proper resolution and it's plot is extremely basic, but it was an entertaining, light read. It's truly a shame that this novel never became the sci-fi thriller, it was being marketed as. I truly hope that there ends up being a sequel to Nil because the lack of a proper conclusion is bugging me.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"When I'm not writing" with Abigail Gibbs

I'm super happy to welcome author Abigal Gibbs, to celebrate the upcoming release of Autumn Rose, second book in the series! Please welcome her warmly :)

"When I'm not writing" logo

When I’m not writing I tend to be working towards my degree in English Literature. Or, that’s what I tell my agent and editors, whilst happily reassuring my tutors and lecturers that the whole ‘fiction book thing’ is most definitely on the side, and that my heart is truly stolen by Chaucer. Halfway into my second year, my double agent lifestyle is yet to be uncovered. Don’t blow my cover!

What none of these bookish people realise is that I am actually a resident coffee connoisseur in a family-owned coffee shop in my university town. No, really. Eight hours a day is a short stint, and they get worried if I don’t go for more than two or three days. Admittedly, when I’m in there I am probably writing my next book or typing up an essay, but the coffee fumes and their perfect lattes (definitely the best coffee in town) make it more of a caffeine high. It makes for surprising productivity.

I’m also a bit of an ‘alternative’ girl. I have a huge passion for corsetry which definitely shines through in my writing, but I own a rather too large collection of corsets myself, and will wear steampunk-inspired fashion at any chance I can get. That initial interest in the neo-Victorian and gothic has led me too experience all sorts of unusual and decadent events: everything from a 1920s inspired, Great Gatsby style (legal) rave complete with burlesque and Japanese rope bondage suspension as entertainment; a latex and lace fashion show in an alternative fashion market; and even body painting and needle artwork performances. Who knew corsets would lead me so far into the weird and wacky? But the wonderful and often odd alternative world I dabble in does make for a great bridge between the stressful, sometimes monotonous world of academia and the world in which I base my stories!

But mainly, I’m just drinking coffee.


Thanks so much for visiting us, Abigail!


Here's the scoop on Autumn Rose:

Autumn RoseThe highly anticipated sequel to Dinner with a Vampire

Autumn Rose has the chance to save the world she loves. But how much will she have to sacrifice to achieve it?

In Autumn Rose, book two of her breathtaking series, Abigail Gibbs draws us even further into the dangerous and romantic world of the Dark Heroines.

Pre-order: Amazon | Book Depository

And here's where it all began:

Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favourite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit  us? Please email Jenn at jenn (at) tyngasreviews (dot) com and we’ll set it up!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Born in Blood by Alexandra Ivy

I'm a fairly prolific reader but BORN IN BLOOD is my first Alexandra Ivy novel. Her Guardians of Eternity series never appealed to me but I had to try BORN IN BLOOD after reading the cover copy. I love a good murder mystery, especially when it's coupled with fraught tensions between groups, in this case regular humans ("norms") and high-bloods, people with magical mutations who live apart from the norms in Valhalla, a domed and secretive city near Kansas City.

Ivy has created a very interesting world for her newest series. I love the origin of where all of the high-bloods' abilities come from. It's wonderfully original. The idea that soul gazers, witches, necromancers, physics, healers and more are all the result of mutation gives the Sentinels series a more scientific feel -- but the book actually isn't science-y at all, which was a bit of a disappointment but okay in the end. Once she mentioned mutants, I figured things might develop more of an X-Men vibe, which was not the case. I do still like her approach to magical abilities, though. And Valhalla is a really interesting society, one I look forward to seeing more of in future novels.

Callie and Duncan are made for each other. Their chemistry is off the charts and they both have distinct, strong personalities. You get a really clear sense of who they are from the get go, which I always appreciate. I love it when a character comes alive and Ivy does a wonderful job of giving each of her primary and secondary characters their own quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. And while Duncan comes off a bit strong at first, he's quite endearing by the end of BORN IN BLOOD. I had a soft spot for Callie from her introduction and I liked her more and more as the novel progressed. I was particularly fond of some of the supporting characters, like Fane, Callie's Sentinel bodyguard, and Serra, Callie's best friend, and I'm very curious about the Mave and the Tagos and what's going on between them. (C'mon, future novel!)

Small quibble: the female cover model looks nothing like Callie is described in the book. Callie is supposed to have spiky dark red hair and brilliant sapphire eyes. She also owns shirts that cover her top half, not leather tube tops, but I can get past the questionable outfit. The model is lovely and gives good smoulder but she really doesn't match the Callie from the book, or the mental picture that I created. The guy is a bit better.

On the whole, BORN IN BLOOD is a solid paranormal romance. The chemistry between Callie and Duncan is intense and the plot is nicely developed, if somewhat lacking in surprises. I'm not sure if this is a typical Alexandra Ivy book but I'm definitely intrigued enough to pick up the next Sentinels novel, and to see if my local library has any of Ivy's back catalogue on the shelves.

Read an excerpt


Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper

In my opinion, there's no one who can do better paranormal comedy than Molly Harper. Her characters are always quirky, the hilarious situations are really fun to read, and the sarcasm is on par with some of the best rom-com out there. However, I think what makes this book work is, despite all the good bits, the paranormal story is still there to hold the book together.

Nola Leary is new to Half-Moon Hollow, the setting of many Molly Harper novels. She's only there as temporary resident, on a "quest" to find four magical artifacts that will save her family's magic. Ever since her grandmother passed away a little while back, she has felt responsible for her family and her family's well being. In theory, the search shouldn't be too hard because the artifacts should all be in her long lost grandfather's book shop. However, since he has passed away too and his organization skills were never great (awful, actually) things turn out to be a little harder than she expected. When she meets the new bookstore owner Jane Jameson, she welcomes any help she can get, so reveals her quest to her new vampire friend. Nola is the type of character that I love to read about. She makes almost every situation hilarious and if she would be an actual person in real life, it would be awesome to have her as a friend. It might be exhausting at time, but her sincerity and liveliness would definitely be worth it.

Obviously, this book wouldn't be complete without a hot and likeable guy. Jed Trudeau just happens to be Nola's next door neighbour and despite his extreme hotness, he's actually a very nice guy. His and Nola's humour are on the same page so their banter is definitely interesting and witty. Nola doesn't reveal her quest to Jed when she first meets him and she isn't very truthful about where she's from either. Jed has his own secrets too and there's an air of mystery that follows him around most of the book. Jed and Nola make a great pair and even if she feels guilty for cheating on her boyfriend with Jed, deep down I think she truly feels like her relationship with Stephen has never been very authentic in the first place.

As always, the Half-Moon Hollow residents make great secondary characters. Their eccentricities are what you expect to see in small town characters but Molly Harper is able to add her own little flair to them. What's great about this novel is you don't need to read any of her other books to understand this one. This is theoretically the second full length book of the series, which is actually a spin off to another one, and many of the characters from the previous novels are featured in this one. If you've read the other books, it's actually nice to meet the characters again to see how their happily ever after is working out for them, but it's really not necessary to know their back story in order to under Nola and Jed's.

I always highly anticipate Molly Harper's novels but for some reason, I've been a really bad fan and I haven't been keeping up. What thrills me is that a new book from her werewolf series is due out soon so I'm really looking forward to that since it's always been my favourite series of hers. If paranormal comedy is for you, I really recommend Harper's since it will make you laugh out loud and entertain you to the very end. It's as if this sub-genre was created for her since her wittiness was made to go with this type of paranormal romance. That being said, A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses is a definite success and I highly recommend it.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

How Do You Follow Tynga's Reviews?

Now that we are settled down on wordpress, and with with the new year, I thought it would be a good moment for the blog to be as accessible as possible for our followers.

So I would like to know, how do you follow Tynga's Reviews? What I mean is not not only if you clicked follow on blogloving or facebook, but how do you actively follow us?
Also, is there another way you wish Tynga's Reviews was available for you to follow?

Your input is really important to us as it will allow us to adapt and better serve you! Also, if you have comment on anything else related to the blog, please feel free to leave a comment about it!


Stacking The Shelves [90]

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


Hello everyone! I'm actually on vacation at the moment but I'm taking a little break for Stacking the Shelves this week. Here are the book I got over the last few weeks. A wide variety of genres I know, but all stuff I'm a huge fan of.



A Brief History of Time/The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawkins

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


The Sworn by Gail Z. Martin

A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper

The Care and Feeding Stray Vampires by Molly Harper

Doctor Who: Sting of the Zygons by Stephen Cole

Touch of Steel by Kate Cross

Let me know what you all got stacking your shelves this week!


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Friday, January 10, 2014

Words Once Spoken by Carly Drake

Evelyn has stood out her whole life. She has an obsession with the outdoors, refuses to eat cooked food (raw greens for her!) and sleep on a pallet made of grass and plants. To her mother's dismay, none of her quirks are worthy of a lady and now that she's about to turn eighteen, she must be presented to court. Evie dreaded this reunion, but she had no idea it would be a life changing experience.

I was enchanted by the cover when I first saw it on Netgalley. I am a big high fantasy fan, and who doesn't like a powerful heroine mastering the bow? I had not realize though that this novel is only 134 pages long when I requested it, and despite having a lot of potential, I think being so short is the main reason this novel didn't meet my expectations.

As far as I know, Carly Drake is a debut author, and I liked her writing, but I think her plotting skills needs some polishing. My main issue is that we dive head first in this world, with no back story or explanations whatsoever until half the novel. I understand the author's desire for mystery, but many of the characters' actions made no sense because of this vagueness. The plots structure also lacked meat around the bones. Because her manuscript is so short, the author went very straight to the point all the time, neglecting those elements important to an enjoyable read.

The characterization had potential, but again, the heroes lacked the liveliness necessary to make them likeable. Evie was exciting and determined, but her interactions with Lord Devon and Prince Liam were simply unbelievable. The love triangle seemed present just to fill this 'love triangle in YA books trend' and was just out of the blue, with no true feelings or passion. She meets both boys on the night of her arrival at the ball, and all of a sudden, they are all over her and she can't keep her minds off of them. I understand the 'love at first sight' often portrayed in novels, but the lack of romance just didn't cut it.

My favorite aspect of the novel was the lore (when it was FINALLY introduced!). [spoiler] The Lore is about Faery royalty and how a past Queen cursed her son and knights for hurting humans. They were respectively turned into vampire and werewolves (thus creating those two races) and were forbidden to enter Tir Na Nog unless invited by a noble Fey. [/spoiler] I thought it was extremely original and I wish it was hinted to sooner (if not outright revealed) and developed a bit more.

The conclusion was action packed and somewhat shocking. I'm under the impression that this novel is the first of a series (even though it's not listed as such on Goodreads) and I'm afraid I won't continue reading it. I am opened to giving Carly another chance though, if she releases a full blown novel that will hopefully help contain the flaws hindering my reading experience this time around.


Thursday, January 09, 2014

The Grendel Affair tour: Interview with Lisa Shearin + giveaway

 Today is an awesome day because I get to share my interview with Lisa Shearin! She's one of my favourite authors; I think she's just a brilliant writer. You may know her from her comedic fantasy series about Raine Benares but Lisa has just launched a new urban fantasy series called The SPI Files with THE GRENDEL AFFAIR.


Hi, Lisa, and welcome back to Tynga's Reviews! We're delighted to have you back on the blog. Last time you were here, we chatted about ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE, the last book in the Raine Benares/Saghred storyline. I have to tell you that I adored it even though I'm not ready to say goodbye to the characters yet. (I miss Tam.)

Now that the fangirl squeeing is done, can you give us a quick primer on the world of the SPI Files?

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin (SPI Files #1)It’s a world where creatures from myth and legend are real—and SPI (Supernatural Protection & Investigations) was founded to keep humans from finding out. Because if they did, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson, people can’t handle the truth. So it boils down to this:

That really ugly guy you flipped off on the Queensboro Bridge this morning? Icelandic troll. And for a troll, a middle finger is a lot more insulting than you ever thought it was.  It was nothing short of a miracle he didn’t get out of his truck and flip you and your Beemer into the East River.

Convinced that politicians can’t possibly come from the same world as the rest of us?  Quite often, you’d be right.

That red-haired vice president in corporate who looks too good to be true?  Irish sidhe.

Such creatures have always lived among us, but only in the last few decades have humans become irresistibly interesting to them—and beings previously known only in the fantasy section of a bookstore have become a very real problem for us.

The first book in the series, THE GRENDEL AFFAIR, has just been released. Can you tell us a bit about it?

The core of the story is the agents of SPI—and newbie agent Makenna Fraser—have to stop a supernatural criminal mastermind from turning grendels (yes, those things from Beowulf) loose in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, not only potentially killing thousands of people, but showing the world, live and in-living-color proof that monsters are real.

How does it feel to start an urban fantasy series after spending so much time in Raine's world? Were there any challenges?

None at all in terms of switching from Raine’s world to ours. My Raine Benares books are basically modern urban fantasy in a traditional fantasy setting. Yes, there are elves and goblins, but they talk like us, not like Legolas.

What inspired your shift from more high fantasy to urban fantasy?

I was pretty much writing urban fantasy anyway, but I wanted to use modern technology, real-world settings, pop culture references, etc. with things that go bump in the night—and work in the office with you during the day.

From the title of your latest release, it's clear that the Grendel myth is front and centre. Why Grendel? What was so appealing about this myth?

Well, being an English major and a Viking history buff (and Renaissance and Medieval), it was a given that one day, Grendel would cross my path. And the question of what would happen if Grendel were turned loose in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, and what would it take to stop him, was just too much fun to resist.

You've put your own spin on so many supernatural beings with the Raine Benares books and THE GRENDEL AFFAIR. Are there any characters in the genre that you wish you'd created?

All Spell Breaks Loose by Lisa Shearin (Raine Benares #6)Ilona & Gordon Andrews’ vampires in their Kate Daniels series are simply creepy cool. And who doesn’t love the Leandros brothers in Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros books. Then there’s Harry Dresden. Nothing much more needs to be said except—all hail Harry!

There are so many amazing urban fantasy series out right now. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors on how to make their books stand out?

Be yourself and find your own, unique voice. When I first started writing, I tried to copy my favorite authors. It’s fine to learn from reading the writing of others; in fact, that’s one of the best ways to learn. However, when it comes to writing your own stories with your own characters, you need to be true to your own unique voice. Once I found my voice, the stories kept coming—and so did the book contracts. ; )

What's next for you? 

Well, you said at the beginning of the interview that you miss Tam. I miss Tam, too. So . . . my next project after I finish writing the second SPI Files book (The Dragon Conspiracy) will be to write an e-novella about what happened when Raine met Tam. It’s alluded to in Magic Lost, Trouble Found, but never expanded on. And I know you’ll love that since the action happens pre-Mychael, that anything goes. ; ) I plan to have it out this year.

Thank you for taking the time to visit us again!

Thank you for inviting me, Jenn—it’s always fun!


For more Lisa, check out the following links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Here's the scoop on THE GRENDEL AFFAIR:

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin (SPI Files #1)We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn’t exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us….

When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out.

Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret’s out and everyone’s time is up.

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Read an excerpt

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