Tag Archives: new adult

the hollow gods banner

Book Review: The Hollow Gods, by A. J. Vrana

A.J. Vrana‘s The Hollow Gods‘ sequel, The Echoed Realm, was featured on Sadie’s Spotlight a while back. The post included some absolutely gorgeous art for the series and I’ve seen even more since then. (I mean check out the covers of these special edition copies!) Beautiful! So, I borrowed an audio copy of The Hollow Gods through Hoopla to give the series a shot.

audio cover the hollow gods

Black Hollow is a town with a dark secret.

For centuries, residents have foretold the return of the Dreamwalker—an ominous figure from local folklore said to lure young women into the woods and possess them. Yet the boundary between fact and fable is blurred by a troubling statistic: occasionally, women do go missing. And after they return, they almost always end up dead.

When Kai wakes up next to the lifeless body of a recently missing girl, his memory blank, he struggles to clear his already threadbare conscience.

Miya, a floundering university student, experiences signs that she may be the Dreamwalker’s next victim. Can she trust Kai as their paths collide, or does he herald her demise?

And after losing a young patient, crestfallen oncologist, Mason, embarks on a quest to debunk the town’s superstitions, only to find his sanity tested.

A maelstrom of ancient grudges, forgotten traumas, and deadly secrets loom in the foggy forests of Black Hollow. Can three unlikely heroes put aside their fears and unite to confront a centuries-old evil? Will they uncover the truth behind the fable, or will the cycle repeat?

my review

I liked this quite a lot. I’ll admit it wasn’t quite as intense as I’d expected, but I enjoyed it all the same. It was very atmospheric.

I liked the way Kai never truly tried to act human and how Miya accepted him for it all the same. And I liked the way Miya showed vulnerability, but also wasn’t a pushover and Kai appreciated that about her. I understood Mason’s difficulty and obsessive need to find answers. Though I thought his reluctance to believe lasted well past when it should have.

The prose is a little on the purple side. But I have a pretty high tolerance for that, often enjoying writing others complain about being too full of adjectives, similes, and metaphors. The story also wrapped around itself in a pleasant way, coming full circle and concluding nicely. But I never quite grasped The First’s motives, Madrix’s but not The Firsts. (I’m not certain I spelled that name right, since I never saw it in writing.)

All in all, I plan to read the second book too. But I’m not leaping straight in at the moment.

The holllow gods photo

Other Reviews:

Blog Tour Review: The Hollow Gods by A.J. Vrana

The Hollow Gods by A. J. Vrana – Review & Blog Tour


[Blog Tour] The Hollow Gods by A.J. Vrana – Atmospheric, Dark, and Mysterious!

wolf hunter

Book Review: Wolf Hunter, by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

I won a signed paperback copy of Linda Thomas-Sundstrom‘s Wolf Hunter.

wolf hunter linda thomas sundstrom

Two enemies fated to be supernatural lovers… Only a few people know about the Weres hidden deep within Miami’s underground. Those few either embrace the wolves, or seek to destroy them. Cameron Mitchell has sought to protect his kind. But one beautiful woman may be his undoing. Born into a family of wolf hunters is one thing. But when Abby Stark actually meets one, she is immediately drawn to Cameron Mitchell. Abby knows she and Cameron have no future. Yet walking away from him, and from the danger he represents, proves to be impossible.

my review

Welp, this was not at all what I expected. I’d seen this labeled New Adult. And to be fair Abby is 23-24 years old, so New Adult age. And while I know plenty of New Adult titles do have sex in them, they don’t usually have the characters sexing it up within about 10 minutes of first meeting, after having exchanged about 10 sentences, which is what happens in Wolf Hunter. I’ll grant that Thomas -Sundstrom did a good job of establishing that there was some sort of magnetic, paranormal draw at play. But it definitely required that I re-calibrate my expectations. (I also didn’t realize it’s 4th in a series, but that took much less mental adjustment. It stands alone pretty well.)

I don’t actually have any problem with the book being more erotica than romance. In fact, I can’t really say there was any romance at all. The attraction and loyalty and love was all based on the characters being fated mates and the go-go-go of the plot never allows them to actually speak and get to know one another. So, I’ll re-phrase. I don’t have any problem with this being erotica (or erotica-like, since I wouldn’t quite call the sex graphic enough to truly qualify), instead of romance, as I expected. Especially since the little bit of plot that the sexy-times hang on is entertaining, the writing is easily readable, and the editing clean.

Thus, as long as you go into this with appropriate expectations it’s perfectly enjoyable. I’ll probably even look up those earlier books that I apparently skipped.

wolf hunterwolf hunter signed

Other Reviews:

Paranormal Romance Guild


Guild Codex Demonized series by Annette Marie

Book Review – Guild Codex: Demonized series, by Annette Marie

I borrowed the audio edition of Guild Codex: Demonized series (by Annette Marie) through Hoopla. I’ve seen the covers around and thought they looked cool. I put off reading the series though, because New Adult fantasy can be too Young Adult-ish for me sometimes. (There’s only a thin line between an upper teen and a lower twenties-something, after all.)

I had a whole trip with this series. I didn’t realize that it’s a spin off (or at least set in the same world as) The Guild Codex: Spellbound when I first picked it up. It’s obvious when the names are put next to one another like this, but I hadn’t been paying attention. The funny thing is that I didn’t make the connection until I’d finished Taming Demons for Beginners and went looking for book two. Then, I had to recognize that I’d actually even read book one of The Guild Codex: Spellbound  (Three Mages and a Margarita), which was probably why some of the side character of Taming Demons For Beginners felt familiar. But I really was oblivious to the overlap until that moment. I had a good laugh at myself.

taming demons for beginners

Rule one: Don’t look at the demon.

When I arrived at my uncle’s house, I expected my relatives to be like me—outcast sorcerers who don’t practice magic. I was right about the sorcery, but wrong about everything else.

Rule two: Don’t listen to the demon.

My uncle chose a far deadlier power. He calls creatures of darkness into our world, binds them into service contracts, and sells them to the highest bidder. And I’m supposed to act like I don’t know how illegal and dangerous it is.

Rule three: Don’t talk to the demon.

All I had to do was keep my nose out of it. Pretend I didn’t find the summoning circle in the basement. Pretend I didn’t notice the shadowy being trapped inside it. Pretend I didn’t break the rules.

But I did, and now it’s too late.

This wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I found that I enjoyed what it turned out to be. I liked Robin. She was mousey when faced with confrontation, but a dragon when left to her own devices to do the right thing. Her demon (I’m not even gonna try and spell his name since I taming demons for beginnerslistened to the audio) was marvelously sarcastic. But what I really liked was that he wasn’t The Biggest and The Baddest. He’s plenty tough, but not brutish and more interested in being sneaky and smart than physically strongest.

As I said, I’ve come to understand this is part of a bigger world, containing several series. I didn’t know this when I picked the book up. But I also didn’t feel I was missing anything for having not read them. I understood the world, magic systems, etc. Though I will admit that a couple side characters have that cameo feel and I wonder if they are from other series.

All in all, I think dive right into book two.

slaying monsters for the feeble

I’m bound to a demon.

For my entire life, I avoided magic at all costs. Now, I’m responsible for a demon who wields magic more powerful than the toughest mage or sorcerer.

Demons are evil.

That’s what my textbooks say. That’s what I see. He’s ruthless, he’s temperamental, he’s cold. But he protects me without fail. I wonder if he’s hiding a heart behind his hostility.

My demon is a monster.

Whether he’s heartless or not, my contract with him is illegal and beyond dangerous. Together, we must find a way to return him to his own world before anyone discovers our secret. If that wasn’t bad enough, I’ve come to realize something else:

My demon isn’t the only monster I should be worried about.

 my review

This was was a fun continuation of the series. It felt a little like the middle book it is, but I still enjoyed it. I very much enjoyed watching Robin and her demon get to know one another. (Again, I’m not trying to spell his name.) We met more guild members here and that was fun too. The villain was starting to feel a little too all-powerful, but they are definite a Big Baddie. I dove immediately into book three.

hunting fiends for the Ill-Equipped

I thought I understood power.

My parents taught me that magic attracts equal danger, and everything I’ve seen since becoming a demon contractor confirms it. I’ve witnessed how power twists and corrupts–and I’ve tasted power no human should wield.

I thought I knew greed.

Ambition and avarice drove my family into hiding. My parents died for someone else’s greed. I’ve never hunted anything in my life, but now I’m hunting their killer–with my demon’s help.

I thought I’d seen evil.

But with each step closer to my parents’ murderer, I’m uncovering a different sort of evil, piece by hidden piece. I’ve stumbled into an insidious web that silently, secretly ensnares everything it touches. My demon and I came as the hunters…

my review

I sped through this series, listening to them literally back to back. Needless to say, that means I was enjoying it. Like with the previous books, I liked seeing Robing and her demon recognize and settle cultural difference. I liked Robin’s constant attempt to do the right thing in face of problems and enemies far larger than herself. I did think the uncle’s sudden change of heart felt like a drastic and unbelievable shift in character though.

delivering evil for experts

I promised to avenge my parents.

But their killer is still on the loose, and he’s stolen more than my parents’ lives. Now, as he draws closer to his mysterious goals, he’s poised to destroy what little I have left.

I promised to translate an ancient grimoire.

But it holds the secrets of my family—and the secret history of demon summoning. I fear its answers as much as I need them. Who was the foremother of Demonica…and who am I?

I promised to send my demon home.

But the way he watches me, the way he protects me, the way he touches me⁠—how can I cast him away forever? I swore I would do this for him, but can I? Should I?

But I promised—and I will keep my promises even if they cost me my heart, my soul, and my life.

my review

I found myself finishing this last book in the Guild Codex Demonized series in a shockingly short time. (I’m series. I think I finished the 4 books in 3 days!) I enjoyed it all the way to the end. I did think the ending was a little predictable and I thought there were a few too many hurt feelings and misunderstandings for two people who could read each other minds (even if only some of the time). But I also like seeing the two of them work their problems out and really come to trust one another. I’m going to have to actually come back around and read the Guild Codex: Spellbound series now. I enjoyed Three Mages and a Margarita when I listened to it in 2019. I think I meant to finish the series then, but got distracted.