Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review: First Grave on the Right

Title : First Grave on the Right
Series : Charley Davidson #1
Author : Darynda Jones
ISBN : 0749956046 (ISBN13: 9780749956042)
Edition : Paperback UK (Released November 2011)
Publisher : Piatkus Book
Page counts : 310 pages
Language : English
Genre : Adult, Paranormal Romance, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Average Rating : 4.07 (per January 31st, 2017)
Hotness Scale : 3/5
Read date : January 26th, 2017
Add to Goodreads
Note : Winner of RITA Award by Romance Writers of America for Best First Book (2012), HOLT Medallion by Virginia Romance Writers for Best First Book and for Paranormal/Time Travel/Futuristic/Fantasy (2012), Golden Heart by Romance Writers of America for Best Paranormal Romance (2009)

Private investigator Charlotte Davidson was born with three things: looks; a healthy respect for the male anatomy; and the rather odd job title of grim reaper. Since the age of five, she has been helping the departed solve the mysteries of their deaths so they can cross over. Thus, when three lawyers from the same law firm are murdered, they come to her to find their killer.

In the meantime, Charley's dealing with a being more powerful - and definitely sexier - than any spectre she's ever come across before. With the help of a pain-in-the-ass skip tracer, a dead pubescent gangbanger named Angel, and a lifetime supply of sarcasm, Charley sets out to solve the highest profile case of the year and discovers that dodging bullets isn't nearly as dangerous as falling in love.

First Grave on the Right was not something I planned on reading. But I'm a sucker for a good review, especially when it comes from my go-to reviewer. This book is supposedly good, and when I got the book, I couldn't wait to read it.

Never knock on death's door. Ring the doorbell then run. He totally hates that.
- T-shirt

Well, there are several things to love about this book, and several things to hate #sigh

Charlotte 'Charley' Davidson is a licensed PI with a slight advantage--she can see and communicate with dead people. People who don't cross and still have unfinished business. That's why she could solve most murder cases, and often helps her Uncle Bob, a detective on Albuquerque PD. She's the Grim Reaper, one who's born every few centuries. She doesn't quite grasp what she can do, and what's the limit of her power is. For as long as she's alive, there is a presence, a dark entity she affectionately calls the Big Bad or just Bad. But recently, there is also something infiltrating her dreams, making her dreams more...let's just say sensual.

January Birthday & Blogoversary Party

I'll tell something about the start of this exchange of gifts :)
So, this year, BBI didn't host Secret Santa. I was part of the team arranging that annual party. I was, of course, saddened about it. Though a bit relieved because honestly, getting everyone to obey the timeline was kinda frustrating. Anyway, eleven members who have a birthday, blogoversary, or simply celebrating something decided that we should make our own version of Secret Santa.

So I got who my target is, and I was supposed to receive a package on my birthday, one from my wishlist. And I did get the package well before my birthday. Imagine my surprise when I received Pamela Clare's Naked Edge (Indonesian version), book four of her I-Team series. I was so happy and bemused because I didn't have the third book yet XD Not only the book, I also got a small file pocket, a notebook, a set of colorful page marker, and a pack of Allure green tea latte *yumm

Just like Secret Santa, I also received a riddle about my mystery giver. Given my track record of guessing riddles, I didn't think I'll get this right.

"Aku sadar langit dan laut tak pernah bisa menyatu, meski garis batas mereka tipis sekali. Aku menyukai laut, tapi langit telah memerangkapku. Dulu aku berdiri di tepi pantai, sekarang langkahku menjejak batuan. Tempatku mendekati langit, menjauhi lautan. Di sini, aku melihatmu sambil berselimutkan pepohonan serta rimbunnya palawija."

Loosely translated:

"I realized the sky and the sea could not mix, even though the line is blurred. I love the sea, but the sky had trapped me. I once stood on the shore, now I step on rocks. I'm close to the sky, away from the ocean. Here, I see you through the trees."

Honestly, I had no earthly idea about my mystery giver. She definitely loves the ocean, the waters, but then she has to live somewhere near the sky, which I assume, is somewhere in higher altitude than Surabaya and has an abundance of trees and greenery.

And based on several small clues, I concluded that my mystery giver is...

Dina Cahyaningtyas

Am I right? Or did I miss something? XD

Thank you for the gifts. I really, really loved everything. And I promise I'll jot down everything so that I don't forget *cry in the corner*

Friday, January 27, 2017

Review: Keystone

Title : Keystone
Series : Crossbreed #1
Author : Dannika Dark
Edition : Kindle (Released January 17, 2017)
Page counts : 319 pages
Language : English
Genre : Adult, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Average Rating : 4.31 (per January 27, 2017)
Hotness Scale : 2/5
Read date : January 17th, 2017
Add to Goodreads

Raven Black hunts evildoers for fun, but her vigilante justice isn’t the only reason she’s hiding from the law. Half Vampire, half Mage, she’s spent years living as a rogue to stay alive. When a Russian Shifter offers her a job in his covert organization hunting outlaws, dignity and a respectable career are finally within her grasp. The catch? Her new partner is Christian Poe - a smug, handsome Vampire whom she’d rather stake than go on a stakeout with.

They're hot on the trail of a human killer who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. One misstep during her probationary period could jeopardize Raven’s chance at redemption, and her partner would love nothing more than to see her fail. Will Raven find the courage to succeed, or will she give in to her dark nature?

Dark secrets, unexpected twists, and a blurred line between good and evil will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Crossbreed is a powerful new Urban Fantasy Romance series that will captivate your imagination.
Immortals live among us.

I always have a weakness for a good paranormal romance. It's my comfort genre, a go-to genre when all else fails. Well, not counting re-reading several books I love. If I got bored, I could always re-discover my love for reading via PNR.

"Don't you know who I am? I'm the Shadow. Legend has it that if a man loses his shadow, it means I ate it, and I'm coming for the rest of him."

Dannika Dark is a fairly new author for me. I've read Seven Years. Apparently, the world between her series is the same. While I was a bit unimpressed with Seven Years, I got better with Keystone. I just adored our main character, Raven Black. A Crossbreed between Vampire and Mage, she has the magic but also the characteristics of a Vampire. She's a vigilante, dealing her own brand of justice. Her luck changes when she's approached by another Mage who offers her a job in his own organization. She figures she can nail it. Well, until she finds out her partner is Christian Poe.

Christian reminded me of a cross between a handsome pirate and a serial killer.

Just a bit reminder, in case you don't know (I didn't either), Christian Poe is a major character from the Mageri series. He's a Vampire. And he's so condescending toward Raven, certain that she only wants to join Keystone for her own gains. Her loyalty is tested again and again. And Christian would love nothing more than to see Raven fails. Or worse.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Review: A Promise of Fire

Title : A Promise of Fire
Series : Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Author : Amanda Bouchet
Edition : Kindle (Released August 2nd 2016 )
Publisher : Sourcebook Casablanca
Page counts : 448 pages
Language : English
Genre : Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Romance
Average Rating : 4.22 (per January 16th, 2017)
Hotness Scale : 3/5
Add to Goodreads
Note : Read on 2016


“Cat” Catalia Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods—and her homicidal mother—have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.


Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm—until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.

"I conquered a kingdom and found a treasure." His voice turns gravelly low. "I won't let you go. Not now. Not ever."

So. This is my first review on 2017. A Promise of Fire was on a recommended list and as usual, because I'm a big sucker of Greek mythology, I downloaded it. From the blurb, you can see this book will be slightly different from other Greek-myth books.

What did I expect? An enjoyable read. A nice smooth ride. Maybe, just maybe, romance that will make me sigh. What did I get? A whole lot of awesomeness. Even if there are parts that just rang 'typical' and made me sigh in exasperation.

"I never know what to expect with you. Worldly cynicism or blushing innocence. It's enough to drive a man insane."

In this world, there are three realms on Thalyria. Fisa. Tarvan. Sinta. The closer you are to the North Ice Plains, the stronger your magic is. There are two kinds of people, Hoi Polloi--non-magic people--and Magoi. People with magic, Catalia 'Cat' Fisa, a Magoi, ran away from Fisa and joined a circus mastered (or mistressed?) by a Magoi who also happens to be Hades's lover. And then enters this southern warlord. He's Hoi Polloi. He doesn't have magic. He also happens to just conquered the realm of Sinta, and he's looking for a new weapon. Cat is the perfect weapon for him, since she's a Kingmaker, a woman who can detects lie and divines the truth. Not to mention, her magic is strong and she's a chosen daughter of Poseidon.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Wrapping Up 2016: Memorable Books

Last year, I managed to read 94 books, though I targeted only 85 books. This year, sadly, I just targeted 60 books to read. Of course, every year, there are memorable books that I love. Why I say memorable? These books, long after my initial first time, I still read and read again when I get stuck with reader block.

I read, again, mainly romance last year. Like The Wall of Winnipeg and Me (read my review). Mariana Zapata's brand of slow-burn romance somehow got to me, and I love every part of this book.

Aiden Graves and Vanessa Mazur start as employer-employee. I admit, Aiden is a jackass at the start, but little by little, as the story progresses, it just shows that Aiden doesn't like to talk much and he's pretty quiet.

Though Aiden is a pro-football player, the sport aspect isn't much, so it's not exactly a sport romance. The football is only a background set for Aiden. The book also made me smile with Vanessa and Zach (Aiden's other housemate) antics. And so, though the romance part is not hot and heavy, I still love this book.

Another romance that I fell in love with was Radiance by Grace Draven (read my review). The first book of Wraith Kings series, tt's a paranormal romance, the story of a human and a Kai. Kai is a human-like race, but with gray skin, claw-tipped fingers, magic, and nocturnal nature.

A human noblewoman, Ildiko, is forced into a marriage with a Kai prince, Brishen. Though at first they were scared with each other's different nature, Ildiko grows to love her husband. It was sprinkled with a magic land, crazy mother-in-law, sweet tenderness, and also, deadly enemies.

I haven't managed to read Eidolon, book two of this series. But Radiance was such an enjoyable read, it gripped me from the first page up until the last page. The characters of this book are pretty unconventional but very very interesting.

Honor by Jay Crownover is the first book of her new series, The Breaking Point. Set on the Point, from Jay's previous books, Honor centers on Nassir Gates and Keelyn Foster. Nassir is the underground lord of The Point. Keelyn was one of his strippers, but ran away when she was nearly killed.

Nassir is obsessed with Keelyn, but of course, he's just a man in love. His feelings don't go unrequited, since Keelyn has been in love with him too. Their lives are dangerous. Nassir will always be targeted by people who want to kill him, and the only way to hurt Nassir is Keelyn.

The danger and violent nature in this book, surprisingly, drew me. Honor didn't feel like Jay's other books. It's more...dark. Edgier. Nassir is a dark man, and Keelyn is also a dangerous woman *cue Ariana Grande's song* She's more than capable to give back what Nassir gives her. This kickass couple is now on my list of favorite couple, and I can't hardly wait for their next appearance.

Oooh, where do I start? There are many things I like from this book, this new series. A Promise of Fire, this first book of the Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet, offered me a new variation of Greek mythology, laced with magic realms and a warlord who's so ruthless yet so kind and a mouthy but thoughtful heroine.

Catalia has been hiding the fact that she's a Kingmaker. A woman who can detect a lie and gains the truth, though this doesn't come without its share of grief. Griffin, a souther warlord, has just invaded a magic realm though he's not exactly a magic user. He's determined to get Cat for his newly reigned family as a weapon. But his determination is also because he's wildly attracted with Cat too. But Cat is hiding deadly secrets, things that would put Griffin in danger.

As like other books, this book comes with mixed reviews. Mostly, I love this book. There are cliches and some of the scenes are just predictable. I like the characters, and I also like the world this book sets in. The gods are pretty hands-on, and because I always love Greek mythology, A Promise of Fire is a breath of fresh air when I got too bored with Contemporary Romance.

So, those are my most memorable books. There are several more that I liked during 2016, though most of the books I read just fell flat into the category of 'typical' and 'not so memorable'. Some of the books I just can't remember fully, because they didn't give me lingering feelings after reading them. Well, except relief that I read one more.


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