Review: Shadows at Midnight by Amanda Bonilla

shadows at midnightReviewed by Jen

I feel so many things right now. Angry. Sad. Frustrated.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved this book. I fell back into the series like I never left. It moved so quickly and effortlessly, I blew through the pages. I fell in love with the characters all over again. And it all blew up at the 97% mark. Blew. Up. Hence …the feelings.

The beginning of the book drew me in right away. Darian is in the clutches of the evil Padma. She is being brutally tortured, both mentally and physically. Amanda Bonilla does a great job juxtaposing the horrors with Darian’s fond memories of Tyler. The flashbacks helped bring back how much I have longed for these two to have a happy ending. And it makes their reunion all the more sweet when it finally happens. [Read more…]

Review: Against the Dawn by Amanda Bonilla

against the dawnReviewed by Jen

I am such a fan of this series.  And I am so glad Amanda Bonilla decided to continue with Darian’s story. Crave the Darkness left us in a dark place.  Darian had been manipulated by an incubus and nearly raped.  She and Ty were apart.  Xander wanted her for his own, and he was ready to drop the ax on Tyler for attacking him at a party.  The battle was won, but the characters we cared about were shredded.  We needed an opportunity to rebuild and Against the Dawn gives us that chance. [Read more…]

Review: Vengeance Borne

vengeance bornReviewed by Jen

I am a big fan of Amanda Bonilla’s Shaede Assassin books, so I was excited to jump in to this new series.  I can’t say I loved it as much as I do the Shaede books, but I am interested enough that I will give the next installment a try.

The worldbuiling here is well done and pretty unique.  Jacquelyn is Waerd, a human of extraordinary abilities. She was honed from infancy to hunt the supernatural evils of the world.  She leads a double life, drudging along as a barista by day, while risking her neck to fight that which goes bump in the night.  All Waerds are joined with a partner, a Bearer, to help tend their injuries –to both body and mind. [Read more…]

Guest Post & Giveaway: Amanda Bonilla

vengeance bornWhat You Need to Know About the Sentry World

Thanks so much to Jen and Red Hot Books for hosting me on release day! XOXO

A new series can often be daunting for a reader. There’s a new world to learn, rules to acquaint yourself with, and titles and creatures that can be hard to keep track of. So today I thought I’d give you a crash course into the sorts of supernatural characters you can expect to see in the world of the Sentry. [Read more…]

Review: The Sweetest Shorts

Reviewed by Jen

I love Amanda Bonilla’s Shaede Assassin series, so I was very excited when I discovered there was more from her that I had not read yet.   These Sweetest Shorts are very different.  Instead of UF, they are PNR and they are very short: about 45 pages a piece.  I flew through them pretty fast, so rather than review them in three separate posts, let me break them all down here.

The Sweetest Torture – I’ll give Bonilla this: she can definitely do sexual tension and hot bedroom action. (Not that any of the sex happens in the bedroom, but I digress.)  This story features Cait, a cougar shifter who is being forced to mate with the man who broke her heart 30 years ago.  Back then, she caught him in bed with another woman. And though he swore he had no idea how he ended up naked with a stranger, she couldn’t forgive him and walked out.  Now, her father has offered her up to make peace with his fellow Alpha, and she has no choice but to do as instructed.

The thing is, as angry and as hurt as she is, she can’t ignore that she still wants Logan.  And despite his anger over how she left and her subsequent attempts to have him ruined, he still wants her too.

I got invested in Cait and Logan very quickly.  As with all of her work, Bonilla does a great job with characterization.  I understood them and you could cut the tension between them with a knife.  I enjoyed their sparring and the heat between them.

I only had two gripes.  One, it confused me that she used the words cougar and lion interchangeably.  True, a cougar is a mountain lion, but that is not the same thing and I actually had to wikipedia it.  I don’t like to Google during a romance novel.  And two, due to the length of the story, the external conflict felt abrupt and like it came out of nowhere, spinning into a rushed resolution.   True, it was only 43 pages, but I think the front half was better fleshed out than the back half.

The Sweetest Temptation – OMG. This one was hotter than the last one!  But then, what would you expect when the heroine is a nymph?   Someone has kidnapped Erica’s sister and tipped off police that Andrew is the man who snatched her.  But Erica knows she can use her nymph abilities to get more information than the cops can –so she takes matters into her own hands and kidnaps him from police custody.  It doesn’t take long, though, before the pull of the moon awakens her sexual hunger, and she focuses her desires on Drew.  She quickly figures out that he is innocent and that gives her the green light to act on the attraction.

The sexual dynamic between Andrew and Erica is off the charts.  Their supernatural quirks made the speed of their physical pairing acceptable for me. (I thought her throwing around the prospect of a relationship came around rather quickly, but at least they weren’t spouting the L-word.)

I liked that the story tied in with The Sweetest Torture, with Andrew being Logan’s brother and some other references.  I think this would hold up as a stand-alone, but I the ending would resonate a little better for folks who have already read the first story.

The Sweetest Mercy – Another really hot read.  I think this one was my favorite.  It focuses on the rescue effort for Erica’s sister, Kiera.  Carter is Logan and Andrew’s best tracker and he sets off, not only to find the missing nymph, but also to bring her kidnapper back to the Pride for justice.

Carter has been celibate for decades, since the death of his mate.  But when he makes it to Kiera, her nymph mojo and her glaring need are too much to ignore.  What starts as a quickie to take the edge off, turns into something much more between these two people who had lost hope of ever finding an HEA.  Yes, it’s an uber fast connection, but the sex was super hot and I really felt for the characters. Carter, especially, was so wounded (both physically and emotionally.)  A satisfying end to the trilogy. I am glad I read them all back-to-back.

Overall Rating: B

*ARCs provided by author for review

Click to purchase: The Sweetest Torture
Click to purchase: The Sweetest Temptation
Click to purchase: The Sweetest Mercy
The Sweetest Torture
The Sweetest Temptation
The Sweetest Mercy
by Amanda Bonilla

Exclusive: Ty POV & Crave the Darkness Giveaway

Guys, I am so psyched to share this amazing post with you. In celebration of the release of Crave the Darkness, Amanda Bonilla wrote a special Ty POV from a scene in the book.  And you can only read it here.  Check it out and be sure to enter below for your chance to win your own copy of the book (US Only.)

Political functions make me want to gnaw my own arm off. I wouldn’t be at this damned PNT dignitary ball at all if she wasn’t here. The distance between us now is suffocating, and I wonder, how much longer will I be able to bear the separation.Adira is with me tonight, probably not the best idea considering the circumstances, but I don’t have a choice. She can’t be left alone, because if Kade manages to get his hands on her, I doubt she’ll live through the encounter. Adira found me in the desert, moments after I came into existence. She was my companion for centuries. It would be unconscionable to abandon her now, when she truly needs me. She’s addicted to Kade’s deadly touch. If I leave her alone for even a second, she’ll go to him. I’m all that stands between Adira and suicide. Because isn’t it suicide to allow yourself to indulge in something that will surely kill you? And if addiction truly is a means of self-extinction, then what does it say about me? Don’t I crave Darian like a drug? Will she be the death of me?

I catch a glimpse of her across the crowded ballroom and I swear my heart stops beating for a minute. She’s so beautiful, just looking at her makes me ache. Her gaze is cast downward, her shoulders slightly hunched as if protecting herself from something and I wonder if that asshole Xander even notices how uncomfortable she is. How scrutinized she feels. Completely exposed. I doubt Xander sees anything past the emerald green dress that’s hugging every soft curve of her body. The only thing he’s concerned with is the enticing swell of her breasts just above the bodice. He’s damned near humping her leg like a horny mutt. In fact, he hasn’t taken his eyes—or his hands—off her since they walked in the door. The King of Shaedes isn’t a fool. He knows I’m here. Our gazes locked the minute I arrived. And he’s kept one arm hooked around Darian’s ever since. He’s threatened by me, and he should be. Darian is mine. She’ll always be mine, and no amount of courting by the high king will change that fact.

I feel her apprehension through our bond. It’s killing me to know that she’s uncomfortable, and I’m sure it’s killing her to stand around, chatting about nothing at all, when there’s work to be done. Darian won’t rest until Kade is dead, and it terrifies me. He’s dangerous prey, more than she realizes. If he so much as lays a finger on her with intent, she won’t be able to help herself. She’ll go to him willingly. Just like Anya. Just like Adira. And if that happens, I’ll kill him with my bare hands.

My eyes are glued to Darian and my body goes rigid as she leans in toward Xander. He lowers his face to hers, so close her lips brush his cheek as she whispers something close to his ear. Jealousy rages, an inferno burning me from the inside out. I can almost feel the softness of her mouth, the feather light touch of her lips. I down the bourbon in my hand in a single swallow, enjoying the way it ignites a path down my throat. Yeah, I’m drunk, but I don’t give a fuck. If I wasn’t, I would have brought the building down around me an hour or so ago. My senses—not to mention my emotions—aren’t numb, but I’m a hell of a lot calmer than I’d be sober.

Darian pulls away from the Shaede King and my heart pounds against my ribcage. His touch lingers, his fingers trailing down her arm, desperate to keep any sort of contact with her skin, and I can feel the enamel grinding on my teeth, my jaw is clenched so hard. She turns and walks away from him, through the entrance of the ballroom and into the foyer.

Now’s my chance. I deliver Adira into the hands of a group of delegates and murmur in her ear that I’ll be back soon. She gives me a reassuring smile and returns her attention to the conversation. I won’t leave her alone for long. But I have to see Darian. I have to inhale her scent. Revel in the fiery touch of her soft skin. Look into those luminescent green eyes that reflect the depth of her soul. One moment with her—no matter how fleeting—is a soothing balm, and if I don’t go to her now, I’ll lose my fucking mind.

Darian is mine. And it’s about damned time I made her realize it.

OMG!!! To enter the giveaway, just comment below! Be sure to include your email address.

This contest is closed. The winners are Rebe and Jess1.

Review: Crave the Darkness

Reviewed by Jen

Shadow. That’s how I started out; all I was again. A casting of mottled dark.  The real me, the me that knew happiness and light left with him.

This was a tough book to read.  I mean, what can you expect with an opening like that?  The ending of Blood Before Sunrise was a real kick in the gut. And as we begin a new installment in the Shaede Assassin series, Darian is still feeling the burn.  Her beloved Tyler has left her and she has sunk into a debilitating depression.  But her friends refuse to let her wallow any longer.

Raif and Xander pull her back into the Shaede world, pushing her to lead a protection detail for Anya.  The two women have never gotten along, but Anya is pregnant and someone has been threatening her life.  Darian has to pull herself together to keep the woman alive, while working to identify and eliminate the threat to her life.

Meanwhile, Tyler returns.  But he’s not alone.  Is the beautiful woman with him Darian’s replacement?  Of course, that is Darian’s immediate assumption.  She doesn’t deal with her fears in any healthy kind of way, unfortunately.  I hated watching her suffer –and make unwise choices.  But though Darian is growing, she is still emotionally stunted and her reactions are in keeping with the experiences that have made her into who she is.

I know this all sounds like a giant downer and you may be asking why you should subject yourself to such torture.  Well, because it’s delicious torture, that’s why.  Well, mostly.  Darian has been through so much.  I am desperate for her to find some happiness.  And while I have never taken Xander seriously as possible contender for a love triangle, I actually found myself… softening toward him.  My love for Tyler has been seriously tested.  Whether intentional or not, he is the root of Darian’s pain and he could take it away at any time.  So why doesn’t he?  It fills me with so much angst.  Angst I could only feel about characters I have become utterly invested in.  I think if I were not able to read more of their story, my head would pop off.  Or implode.

Amanda Bonilla delivers a fairly big shocker in the story.  And despite all of the emotional turmoil, she keeps the story moving fast with plenty of action.  The ending… wasn’t what I wanted and there is much left… dangling.  But Bonilla promises this won’t be the end of the Shaede Assassin world, so I will try to remain calm.

If you haven’t read this series, this is not the book to start with.  Go back to the beginning and pick up Shaedes of Gray.  It’s good stuff.  If you’re already a fan of the books, you won’t want to miss this one, even if it’s hard on your heart.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Signet Eclipse

Click to purchase: Amazon
Crave the Darkness
by Amanda Bonilla
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Signet Eclipse

Review: Lost to the Gray

Reviewed by Jen

What could be better than getting a first person POV story from one of your favorite heroes?

This novella in Amanda Bonilla’s Shaede Assassin series gives us a closer look at Tyler than we have ever seen before. It’s set immediately after the events of Blood Before Sunrise.  (So new readers, be aware this is not a story for you. Go back and read Shaedes of Gray. Now.) Ty is really hurting over what Darian did to him in the last book.  And through his narrative, we feel it too.  He’s struggling over his anger and feelings of betrayal, all the while, still loving her fiercely.

In the meantime, Levi the bartender has gotten himself in a mess of trouble, and it’s life or death. So Ty needs to put all that delicious angst on the backburner, while he helps Levi out of a jam.  It’s a pretty interesting and fast moving plot.  But honestly, it’s not why anyone is going to be reading the story.  We’re reading it for that insight into Tyler, and we get it in spades.

Perhaps the best parts of the story for me, are flashbacks of Ty and Darian.  First and foremost are his memories of how they met and how he bound himself to her.  Great scenes, that both explained a lot and opened up a couple of new doors.  And then, we’ve got an awesome love scene from the time Ty and Darian were happy together.  In BBS, I wished for more opportunities to see them this way: happy, sexy, and in love. And it’s even better with Tyler’s thoughts and feelings front and center.

If all of that isn’t enough to reel you in (what’s wrong with you?) –then let me give you one more little tidbit.  The ending goes a long way to explain Ty’s behavior in the upcoming Crave the Darkness. Yes, you could read the next novel and still understand what’s going on, but this will you some perspective to help understand some things which are a little hard to stomach.

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. Read this one and bask in the memories! Tyler + Darian = 4eva!!

Rating: B+

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Lost to the Gray
by Amanda Bonilla
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Penguin

You Should Be Reading: Shaede Assassin

A Message from Jen

You’ve probably heard me talking about this series here or on Twitter, but in case you missed it (or you haven’t gotten around to it yet) –listen up. I’m gonna tell you about the Shade Assassin books.

Darian started her life as an ordinary human. But a mysterious man with extraordinary gifts rescued her from the confines of an abusive relationship and helped her transition into a nearly immortal Shaede.  She uses her new abilities to become an assassin, cut-off from relationships and emotion. But that all changes as she finds others of her kind and falls in love with a man who is totally crazy about her.  I love this series.  The heroine is emotionally stunted, but we get to watch her evolution –both in her personal life and as we see her powers grow.  Tyler is a great hero: patient, loyal and powerful. And there’s an engaging cast of secondary characters that grow in importance as the series goes on.  Whirlwind action, great world-building and a romance to root for makes this an Urban Fantasy series you don’t want to miss!

If that sounds familiar, that means you have probably visited my Favorites page before. Yep! This series is one of my favorites in Urban Fantasy.  And book 3, Crave the Darkness, is out on March 5th.  Still not sure if it’s right for you? Amanda Bonilla is sharing an excerpt from the new book. Check it out:

“I want you to wish for something.” Ty’s voice rumbled in his chest.
“Wh- hat?” I stammered.
“Wish. For. Something.” Tyler’s eyes were hard, unyield­ing, and his stare bore into me with such intensity that I couldn’t look away. His hand, still wrapped around the back of my neck, held my face close to his, and the cold that ema­nated from him chilled me to the bone. “Do you know how fucking frustrating it is for me that you never wish for any­thing? Well,” he scoffed. “I guess you make the occasional wish. But only when you want me out of your hair.”
“I wished for you,” I said, my voice thick with emotion. “Almost every day. And no matter how much I wanted you with me, you stayed away.”
“Wants versus needs,” Tyler scoffed. “Your wishes are dictated by magic, Darian. You might have wanted me for whatever reason but you didn’t need me. I’m at your dis­posal . . . night, day, whenever. And still, you only make self­ish wishes. Wishes to keep me home and out of your hair. Wishes to bring me to your side to relieve your guilt. Do you know how useless that makes me feel?”
“Tyler . . . I . . .” What the hell could I say? He was right. I refused to make wishes, even though his very nature de­manded that he grant them. I hadn’t wanted to use him, to treat him like a slave.
“Is it easier to be with him?” Tyler asked. “Does he give you space? Freedom? Does he let you be in charge, because I have a hard time believing that he’d let you. Does he even care what happens to you as long as you’re front and center when he wants you to be?” His eyes left mine and his heated gaze swept my body, sending a liquid fire through my blood­stream. “Do you tremble when he touches you?” He swept his forefinger along my collarbone and over the swell of one breast. Can he make your breath quicken like I can?”
Little puffs of steam burst from my parted lips. “Stop it, Tyler,” I said, too breathily. I tried to infuse my voice with strength and resolution, but fell short. “You don’t want me anymore. Why are you doing this to me?”
“Make a wish,” he commanded.
My gaze darted from his eyes to his parted mouth. I could almost feel his lips on mine: soft, yet demanding. “I wish . . .” you’d kiss me.

(*thud*) I wish he would kiss her too!! Clearly, there is angst afoot.   I’ve got some buy links for the new book below. But if you’re new to the series, check out my review for book one –and give it a try.

Crave the Darkness: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Amanda is giving away a copy of Crave the Darkness before you can buy it. Just enter the Rafflecopter form below to enter. US/Can only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 for Friday – October 19

It’s my last day of working overnights and I have to tell you that I have really missed you guys.  Sleeping when everyone else is awake has seriously cut back on my Twitter time, and more changes at work are ahead.  A promotion (yay!) is moving me to a permanent 4am-1pm shift.  I’ll be able to sleep close to human hours, but I am going to have to find a new time to troll my dirty Tumblr.  Don’t worry! I won’t abandon my sexy men.

5. I am crying on the inside as I tell you that the release of book three in the Crossfire series is delayed.  (*sobs*) That means we now have to wait an extra five months to see if Gideon and Eva can sort through their crazy-cakes and make it work between them. Reflected in You definitely left me wanting more.

Entwined With You (theoretically) ends my suffering May 7th.

4. My girl Amanda Bonilla has a new novella out, called The Sweetest Torture.

Thirty years ago, when the sultry and headstrong Cait left Logan Paige, the Alpha cougar shapeshifter of his Montana pride, his entire world came crashing down. He couldn’t explain where he’d been the previous night or why there was a strange woman in his bed…because he had no memory of the night before. Wounded and betrayed, Cait refused to listen to Logan’s excuses and walked straight out of his life…determined to exact her revenge on the sexy cougar who had crushed her heart. With a little help from her influential father, she made sure that Logan’s business, as well as his life, crumbled into ruins. Hell hath no fury, indeed.

But now it’s thirty years later and two of Montana’s most powerful cougar prides are on the brink of war. A tenuous peace is reached, but it’s dependent on Cait and Logan marrying on All Hallow’s Eve. Spitfire Cait has her own plans of revenge…using her feminine wiles to turn Logan into a purring kitty lapping cream at her feet. And Logan has his schemes to regain control and dominate like the Alpha he is…

When they realize that the erotic passion between them is still so intense, Logan and Cait will have to decide if dwelling in the past is worth sacrificing the future…

It’s a freebie at ARe.

3. An update on the Chronicles of Nick movie.  Sherrilyn Kenyon now has the script for it in her hands and is working on it with the producers.

What I am really waiting for is info on the Dark Hunters series. Bring on Acheron!!!

2.  Charlaine Harris has released the cover for Dead Ever After, the next (and final) book in her Sookie Stackhouse series.

I will be shocked if Sookie ends up with anyone but Sam, but I suppose only time will tell. Dead Ever After is out May 7th.

1. Is there a Twilight tv-show in the works?  Maybe. There’s talk of “TV show or film spin-off, merely set in the same world as the one in the movies but not featuring the main trio.”

Maybe they’ll focus on the wolf pack. What do you guys think? Are you down for more Twilight or should the franchise call it quits?

Gotta run!

XOXO,
Jen