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Courtney Dion's Reviews

Taken (The Alpha's Captive #1) - V. M. Black


Series: The Alpha's Captive

Publication Date: May 4th, 2014

Publisher: Swift River Media Group

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Paranormal Romance


Format: Ebook

Source: Purchased

Buy the Book: Amazon
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Running for his life, he takes her along for the ride….

Biker werewolf Levi Harris has a habit of going off half-cocked and getting into trouble. But this time, the trouble just might prove fatal. He’s stolen a trove of information from a powerful vampire mafia network, and they won’t rest until they get it back—and get revenge. His only chance of survival is to extract the information and put it to use before the bad guys catch up with him.
Curvy bombshell Harper Bailey is a good girl with a weak spot for bad boys. When Levi appears, she thinks her dreams have just rolled up on the back of a motorcycle. Little does she know that he’s about to hijack her car and take her straight into the crossfire. But Levi himself might just prove the greatest danger of all….



Ignoring my love/hate relationship with serials, I found only one issue with this read: there were numerous editing issues... at least with my copy. But the story itself was really good, I mean, good enough that I was willing to overlook the editing errors--something I am rarely willing to do.

The story line was interesting and I really look forward to learning more about the characters, though there is a certain amount of suspension of disbelief required regarding Harper, a completely human female. For me, personally, she's a little too perfect. I prefer a female lead that's a little more flawed and a little less "voted person most likely to go though a tornado and come out looking like she's just been to the salon." Levi, on the other hand, hot, hot, HOT! I'll take two of him please, for a Levi sandwich!

I can't wait to read the next installment!


"I'd said it before and meant it. Alive or undead, the love of my life was a badass."
Blood Promise - Richelle Mead

-Rose Hathaway

Blood Promise, Richelle Mead 

Vampire Academy (Series) by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy Box Set 1-6 - Richelle Mead


Series: Vampire Academy

Publication Date: Nov 2013 (Originally published 2007)

Publisher: Razorbill

Age Group: 16+

Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance

Pages: 2784

Format: Ebook

Source: Purchased

Buy the Book: Amazon

Add to: Goodreads | BookLikes

Two races of vampires walk our world. One, the Moroi, are alive and wield elemental magical. The other, the Strigoi, are undead and evil—feeding on the innocent to survive. Rose Hathaway—a half-vampire with poor impulse control—is training to be a bodyguard for a Moroi princess. Learning to decapitate and stake is hard enough, but Rose's real danger may lie in an illicit romance with one of her instructors...

I'm choosing to review this as the total series instead of each individual book. The simple reason is that I read them all in a book binge in less than two days. Anyway, I had originally read the first of the series, Vampire Academy, back in 2007 when it was first released. At the time I enjoyed it, but never picked up any of the others. Earlier this year the movie based on the book was released, so I decided to give it another go. Boy, did I! I honestly couldn't put it down. I read until my eyes couldn't focus and my head pounded from a headache.


The series follows Rose Hathaway, a 17 year old, half-vampire training to protect her best friend, Princess Vasilissa Dragomir. Between Rose's lack of self-control and Vasilissa's  psychosis-inducing magical powers, the Strigoi, a race of evil vampires, may not be the most dangerous enemy they face. To top it off, Vasilissa's choice in a boyfriend raises eyebrows amongst the royals and Rose's infatuation with her much older mentor  is a constant reminder that although they live in a world where the monsters are real, the greatest turmoil for these teenage girls is their love lives.


I'm so glad I decided to pick these books back up. I really did enjoy them and will definitely read them again. 


Mead did an amazing job on the characters. They seemed real and Mead's handling of their emotions made me want to laugh with them and cry with them, not something that a lot of books can do. And goodness, did I love Dimitri Belikov. I'm not one of those girls who falls for every guy in the books I read, but for Dimitri I will make an exception. I guess he reminds me a lot of my hubby, not that he goes around in a leather duster looking like he just stepped out of a John Wayne western. And I could really empathize with Rose-- the relationship with an older guy, her lack of self-control, and the way she shows all of her emotions-- I see a lot of me in her. 


The story was excellent, I didn't find any glaring continuity issues, and, thankfully, I didn't see any of the ridiculous quirks so often found in ebooks (you know the ones that make you wonder if they had a monkey do the ebook conversion).


It really is a great series with a great author.



Across a Moonlit Sea - Marsha Canham


Discretion advised: This book may be unsuitable for anyone under the age of 18, due to mature themes, language and sexual content.

Series: Pirate Wolf

Publication Date: January 1, 1996

Publisher: Dell

Age Group: Adult 

Genre: Romance

Pages: 400

Format: ePub 

Source: Amazon

Get the Book: Amazon

Add to: Goodreads | Library Thing | Booklikes

Rescuing a man whose ship had been floundering at sea, Isabeau Spense takes aboard ruthless privateer Simon Dante, who promptly seizes command of Isabeau's ship and sets out to win the lovely maiden's heart and mind.


I enjoyed reading this book, I really did, but I just can't give it more than 3 stars. The storyline is excellent, the characters are amazingly real, and the writing is pretty good. But I had a number of issues with Mrs. Canham's book that prevent me from giving it a higher rating.


The book follows the story of Isabeau Spence, daughter of the captain of a merchant ship. After coming across the wreckage of another ship, Isabeau, her father, and a number of crew members board the sinking vessel to search for survivors.Who they find is none other than the notorious "Pirate Wolf," Simon Dante and a handful of remaining crew. Seeking revenge for his beloved Virago, slowly sinking beneath the waves, Dante threatens Beau's life if her father, Capitan Spence, does not agree to load Dante's cannons onto his ship.


Capitan Spence grudgingly obliges to his request and loads the cannons. A short time later, Spence's ship, with a now larger crew, crosses paths with a Spanish Galleon and, upon the insistence of Simon Dante, they attack. Miraculously they win the battle and collect their spoils.


Now returning home, the small merchant ship runs into an entire fleet of ships, headed by the Elizabeth Bonadventure and her captain, Sir Francis Drake. Learning that Drake and his fleet have been unleashed to wreck havoc along the Spanish Main, and that the target of Dante's rage is among them, Dante and his crew leave the Egret to join Drake.


You'll have to read it to find out what happens afterward and for the details of Beau and Simon's romance. Suffice to say it's worth reading.


Beau and Simon are the quintessential romance couple-- the perfect ideal of most women's fantasy relationship. There is really nothing I could find wrong with either character. And Canham did a fine job of handling the romance between them. There were certainly some small phrases that made me chuckle more than arouse me, for the most part the sex scenes--and even the just kissing scenes-- were well written.



So what's left? Why did I only give it 3 stars when I clearly enjoyed it? For one, the prologue and the epilogue. Both of them almost ruin the story. Sure, the prologue tells you why Dante's ship sank, but it seems more like the purpose of the prologue was simply to amaze the reader at Canham's knowledge of sailing terminology. As for the epilogue, the first half of it reminded me of my 7th grade history textbook. Not joking. Canham uses half of the epilogue to talk about Sir Francis Drake's attack on Cadiz--information available in any history book or google search on the subject. The latter half of the epilogue isn't terrible, it describes Beau and Simon's relationship after leaving the Egret.


Another issue I had with the story was the pacing. I realize that the novel is a romance, first and foremost, but it is also about pirates. Writing about pirates all but requires action, adventure, and a fairly quick paced storyline. A book of this length is usually about a half day's read for me, but this took a full day, mostly because of some sections where I felt like I was trudging through four foot deep snow to read it.


There were numerous editorial issues... though they could have been due to the fact that I was reading the ebook version. Ebooks often have quirks about them that do not exist in a tangible copy of the book. There were a few, however, that I think were not ebook issues; such as one instance where Canham wrote the same phrase three times before continuing the sentence. Instead of emphasizing the situation, as I think Canham intended to do, the repetition just seemed awkward. I'm surprised that her editor did not catch it and remove it.


As a whole, the book is great and I will probably revisit it again, after all, this was my second time reading it anyway. 

Source: http://thefaereview.blogspot.com/2014/03/across-moonlit-sea-by-marsha-canham.html

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Bitten  - Kelley Armstrong


Discretion advised: This book may be unsuitable for anyone under the age of 18, due to mature themes, language and sexual content.

Series: Otherworld (Previously Women of the Otherworld)

Publication Date: September 7, 2004 (reprint) Publisher: Plume

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Pages: 544

Format: eBook

Source: Purchased

Buy the Book: Amazon

Add to: Goodreads | Library Thing | Booklikes 

Elena Michaels is a werewolf. On certain nights, she takes off into the streets of the city naked and furred, savagely striking at the throats of her animal prey. Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever continues to haunt her. When the elite pack of werewolves that initiated her into her new life is threatened, Michaels is thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to this secret clan, and forces her to reckon with who, and what, she is.

I'll be honest; I had never heard of this book, series, or author before Syfy announced the series premier earlier this year. How I missed it before is beyond me. I was quick to pick it up though because I absolutely adore books about werewolves. And this one was no disappointment. Bitten is in many ways so much alike other werewolf stories and yet so different as well. Rare is the author who can author a female shapeshifting lead as well as Armstrong. Neither are rules and laws that govern the life and existence of werewolves typically encountered.


The story is told from the POV of Elena Michaels, a beautiful, strong, independent woman with both the job and man of her dreams. The problem with this scenario? Elena is a werewolf--the only female werewolf, in fact--but she didn't want to be a werewolf. To her it was like a plague, one that meant she had to lie to the man she loved and sneak off in the middle of the night because her body refused to ignore her demands that it remain entirely human.


To make matters worse, Jeremy, the Pack Alpha, starts calling, demanding she returns home. So home she goes. Cue Clay. Clay-- the man she thought she loved, the man that betrayed her, that bit her. There is no escaping the way Elena feels about him--she hated him, but she loved him.


I certainly don't want to give away too much about the book, so my synopsis ends there. As for my feelings about it, well here goes.


Elena, honestly, I couldn't stand her, still can't stand her in any of the other books in the series, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. I actually enjoy a lead character that tries my patience. As for Clay, I fell head over heels in love with him. Together, they compliment each other in the best way: like gasoline and fire. Explosive and destructive, yet in its wake leaves a blank slate to build something new.


Some scenes were a bit slow going, but as a whole the writing and pace of the book were spot on. Even the sex scenes were well done. The spacing of those scenes were well planned-- Elena wasn't being groped on every other page and the writing was exceptional. Armstrong's descriptions, unlike many romance novels, were not cheesy or vomit-inducing, but were vivid and blush-inducing. That's the difference between good sex scenes and bad ones: good ones will make you blush or even arouse you, bad ones make you laugh out loud at the absurdity. Armstrong definitely knows how to write steamy, arousing sex.


There were certainly parts of this book that annoyed me. The entire conversation between Elena and Jeremy when Clay bites her is a great example. That whole scene makes Elena seem like a ditz.Then, the bits and pieces of Elena's past that are revealed in Bitten seemed very contrived. And the end of the book frustrated me. The entire novel built up to this grand climax, then simply popped and fizzled instead of a big bang, though I suspect it was intentional as a lead in to the second novel of the series.


All in all, this is one of my all time favorite novels, one that I will certainly reread again and again.