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Book Review: Grave Robbing and Other Hobbies & Hell Raising and Other Pastimes

I initially became aware of Jayce Carter’s Grave Concerns series when it was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight (several times, in fact). I liked the look of book one (Grave Robbing and other Hobbies) and had been given a copy as part of one of the tours. So, I gave it a read. I then requested a review copy of book two (Hell Raising and Other Pastimes). But despite a prompt response to my email (she answered the very next morning), I’d already bought it and finished it by that time. I know, I can he hella impatient sometimes.


grave robbing and other hobbies

Description from Goodreads:

Abandoned at three—whose parents want a kid who sees ghosts?—I learned the world is quick to punish misfits. I try my best to be a normal, boring human, but the call of the supernatural just won’t be ignored.

When a stranger shows up on my doorstep in the middle of the night, it’s no sexy tryst. Instead, I’m off to the graveyard, digging up the corpse of a murder victim at the demand of the local vampire coven—and that small felony is just the start.

The spirit of the woman has gone missing—something that shouldn’t be possible—and everyone is looking to me for answers. There’s Kase, a vampire who’s both terrifying and secretive. Grant, a mage with a bad attitude and a lot of power. Troy, the possessive werewolf-detective next door and Hunter, a mysterious bad boy who isn’t even close to human.

It’s a race not just against time but against everything to figure out where the spirits are going, who’s behind it and if I can trust the men who now share my bed.

And all because of a little grave robbing…

my review

I enjoyed the heck out of this. Sure, you just have to suspend your disbelief and roll with it. But that can be fun sometimes too. I liked Eva as a main character, even if she’s a little too mouthy for her own good. (By which I mean she’s suicidally mouthy, unable to keep quite even when her life is on the line. I like a snarky heroine, but I also appreciate one with at least a little self-preservation.) I liked each of the men forming her harem. But I thought they all formed up and accepted the situation with too much ease. In fact, they were all traveling together so suddenly I went, “when did this happen.” And, FYI, I would call this fairly low heat, since there is actually very little sex in it.

I loved that Eva is 35yo, a bit older than your average heroine. But didn’t reall y care for the lack of other women in the book. There are literally only 2 and both are cliches. There’s the crone and the jealous femme fatale.

I did feel like there were several times Eva knew things she hadn’t been told, and wondering how she knew pulled me from the narrative.  And the editing could honestly do with another pass. But I look forward to reading book 2 and seeing how this little found-family forms up and grows.

grave robbing and other hobbies


hell raising and other pastimesDescription from Goodreds:

People have told me to go to hell—I guess they finally got their wish.

I’ve finally accepted the fact that I might not be entirely human, but still life doesn’t give me a break. Instead, I’m sucked into hell at Lucifer’s demand, and realize death is even more complicated than my life was.

I have to survive hell—where everything wants to kill me—so I can confront the devil himself. My love life is even more complex, though. Troy is terrified of his werewolf side hurting me, Kase and Grant are lying to me and Hunter is keeping his own secrets. I know better than to trust anyone, especially the men who have taken over my life.

Get to Lucifer’s Court, find out the truth about the missing spirits, figure out exactly what I am and try not to die along the way. Oh, and don’t fall in love with the men who will for sure break my heart and possibly get me killed.

Easy enough, right?

my review

This was a fun continuation of the Grave Concerns series. I’m still liking Eva and her guys. (Notice I said still liking, not liked, because while the book comes to a natural stopping point, the villain has yet to truly be defeated and the series is obviously not over, even if there aren’t yet any more books.) Speaking of villains, I did find them and their motivation super cliched. But to explain why would be a spoiler.

This book is more steamy than the last, which is nice. But on a point of personal preference, I hate the word cunt in my sex scenes and Carter uses it almost exclusively. But for the most part, I like Eva and her guys together and there was a concerted effort to give them all some backstory. Almost exclusively tragic backstories, which is a little predictable, but whatever. I liked them.

Again, the editing could be touched up, and there were moments in which Eva knew things I didn’t know how or said someone said something that isn’t actually in the narrative. Here’s an example, “His words came back to me, when he’d said his true body resembled a dragon…” I read these books back to back, Hunter never says his body resembles a dragon in either book. These moments yanked me right out of the narrative.

For the most part, however, I’m still enjoying the sarcasm and easy flow of the story. I’ll be looking for a book three whenever it’s released.

hell raising and other pasttimes

demons in the bedroom

Book Review: Demons in the Bedroom, by Lidiya Foxglove

I picked up a copy of Lidiya Foxglove‘s Demons in the Bedroom as an Amazon freebie, about 6 months ago.

demons in the bedroom

Have you inherited a creepy old house that needs updated bathroom tiles, a new kitchen, and an exorcism?

Call me: Helena Nicolescu, the best house flipper witch on the east coast.

But I have to admit, I might be in over my head this time. I bought “Lockwood House” at an auction, and the magical community definitely knew something was up, because my rivals were all in on it, including Jake and Jasper, the infuriating wolf shifter twins who think they’re so much better at renovations than me. I overpaid and now I’m stuck with a mess. Floors caving in, 70s carpeting, and…the ghost of an incubus who won’t stop flirting with me while I’m trying to demo.

That’s not the only problem. The former owner’s son seems to be drawn to the place against his own will. My witch radar is going off big time, telling me he has demon blood coursing through his own veins. And the wolves must smell trouble in the air, because they keep sniffing around too. I’ll definitely never tell them that I keep uncovering disconcerting artifacts throughout the house. And more than anything, I won’t admit that they both look pretty good in a tool belt. Why does this house seem like it’s calling trouble to the doorstep?

I have eight weeks to get this done and then I’m putting this mansion on the market and moving on.my review

This was fluff, but enjoyable fluff. Despite that, I have a few things to say, some relevant and some just me spouting off, none of it to be taken too seriously.

First, I wanna talk about that cover. I like the cover, don’t get me wrong. It’s flashy and eye catching. It snagged me successfully. But the characters is described in the book as dressing like Wednesday Adams. How exactly does a tightly dressed, half-clad woman, on a sexy cover translate into that character? It does not.

Why do we always have to glam characters up on covers? And it’s not just the ‘Oh, objectification of women’ argument. (Though, having to make a character more visually sexier than her character to sell books is pretty baseline objectification.) It’s the fact that authors create characters, who have personality and characteristics, and then someone decides to completely ignore them and give readers a cover that has nothing to do with the character they’re reading and appreciating. It drives me batty. I hate it. At least make an effort to get characters close on covers, please. This ‘model’ may be blond (and I appreciate that she looks as strong as you’d expect a house flipper to be), but she doesn’t give off a vibe even close to Hel in the book.

Readers should know that, though Hel and the guys that are forming her harem are fun and the book is quite readable, the plot isn’t a complete arc. It’s not really a cliffhanger, but nothing concludes either. Go in knowing this is the first third, or so, of a story and you should be OK.

Next, and I know this is completely irrelevant and does not effect my rating/review at all, but is pertinent to my current life. In my real life, I’m trying to get some work done on my house. I can’t get anyone to plaster my kitchen wall without a 3-4 month wait time. I can’t even get anyone to call me back to pave a drive, and it feels like no store ever actually has anything truly in stock, everything has to be ordered. So, the whole “eight weeks to get this done,” when discussing a whole house refurbished (even if doing a lot of the work themselves) might be the strongest fantasy element in the whole book and is chapping my already construction related chapped ass. Just rub it in, why don’t you. LOL

All in all, I liked the book enough to search out and read book two…and three. Because I know I’ll have to read them all (and more, if that’s not the end of the series) to get any conclusion.

demons in the bedroom

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Review of New Moon, by Megan J. Parker & Nathan Squiers (+ Giveaway)

New Moon
Megan J. Parker & Nathan Squiers
Urban Fantasy, Reverse Harem

 

A Crimson Shadow & Scarlet Night spinoff novel…

It’s hard to hide when the forbidden magic you wield is written on your skin…

Skin witch” Mikkie Locke has spent her life running; running from her past, running from hunters, and running from a destiny she doesn’t want. And when you’re a Taroe working in an “in plain sight” magic shop, that’s easier said than done. Every day she’s away from the protection of her tribe is a day she’s risking death. The enchanted tattoos that cover her body are a constant reminder of who and what she is are a beacon to her enemies that scream “KILL ME!” to those who hunt her and other nonhumans; other creatures of the mythos community.

And the danger has just become more severe.

A new group of anti-mythos hunters have come to town, and she knows that the time has come once again to run. But Mikkie is tired of running, and between her anger, her assets, and the small team of four strong, sexy men who have her back, she’s beginning to think she might have a chance.

But in an ever-changing world, this breed of hunter has decided to make changes of their own. The stage is set for a war, and there’s more on the line than their lives…

**Only .99 cents until Nov 3rd!**

Megan J. Parker lives in upstate New York and is normally found lounging in the writing office with her husband and fellow author, Nathan Squiers.

Since the debut of her first novel, Scarlet Night, Megan J. Parker has gained international recognition and has been a bestseller in paranormal romance and dark fantasy. Her first novel, Scarlet Night, also was a runner up for 2013’s Best New Series Award on the blog, Paranormal Craving. In 2016, she became a USA Today bestselling author and since then, has been on the list three times.

In her down time, she likes reading and designing new logos and videos. Her passion for telling stories is portrayed in all her work and when there’s a story to tell, you can be sure she’ll tell it to its full extent. She is finally fulfilling her dream of owning a design company along with her literary career at EmCat Designs.

Nathan Squiers, along with his loving wife & fellow author, Megan J. Parker, two incredibly demanding demons wearing cat-suits, and a pair of “fur baby” huskies, is a resident of Upstate New York. When he isn’t dividing his time between writing or “nerding out” over comics, anime, or movie marathons, he’s chasing dreams of amateur body building. If he can’t be found in a movie theater, comic shop, or gym, chances are “the itch” has driven him into the chair at a piercing/tattoo shop… or he’s been “kidnapped” by loving family or friends and forced to engage in an alien task called “fun.”

Ok, I have an admission before I get into this review. I did not know that this is a spinoff novel when I accepted it to read. But having read it, I don’t believe that it IS a spinoff. I believe it is part of a series, probably Behind the Veil if I had to guess. This book, in my opinion, does not stand on its own. It’s readable; I read it. But up until the VERY end, references are made to past events, comments are made that make little sense without the history, characters the reader has no attachment to come and go because they’re from past books. Being readable isn’t really enough when you’re reminded on every other page that you’re missing something important.

It’s such a shame that I had a deadline to review this book too. Because (after I got done raging at having unknowingly picked up what is, IMO, probably book 5 in a series) I quickly decided I liked the writing style and the authors’ obvious sense of humor. I would have otherwise set it aside to start at the beginning of the series. (I even have books one and three; though I have no idea why only those two.)

Once you get past the first ~8-10% and into the meat of the plot, you find a very sweet story, with characters you really just can’t help but like. Yes, there’s too much exposition and the plot remains quite shallow. But there’s an interesting discourse on what is a relationship and what qualifies as love. Plus, finding a polyamorous relationship in an M/F PNR is nice too. It calls itself a “reverse harem,” which is kind of a fad right now. But somehow, though the exact definition of RH is hazy for me, it feels more honest to call Mikki and ‘her boys” relationship polyamorous than a reverse harem. But I understand branding, so whatever.

I read an Advanced Readers Copy, which are usually pre-final edits, so, I can’t speak to editing. But all in all, as I said, I have some of the previous books and I plan to move them up the TBR and read them soon than later, which really tells you everything you need to know. I had complaints, but I want more.

Follow the tour dates HERE for further special content!

 

$25 Amazon gift card & hardcover copy of NOIR (book one of the Crimson Shadow series) & paperback of Scarlet Night
OR
$25 Amazon gift card & e-copies for both books if international winner