Official Blog Tour | Book Review: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

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Young Adult > Paranormal | Horror

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.

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All the creeps, man. Horrible, frightening, awesome. 🙂

So I picked up this book from NetGalley out of curiosity. Blurb caught my eye, seemed interesting, so I decided to give it a try. 6 hours later, I was done with The Girl from the Well. I was also done watching horror movies for that month. 😀

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End of Chapter 1 – goosebumps. End of Chapter 2 – double goosebumps.

I closed Illium a couple of times just to pause, you know just like in movies? You cover your eyes when the scare gets too much? Haha, I was horribly scared, but enjoying it the same time. (I’m crazy, aren’t I?)

I love how the story was fast-paced, how the main character has no remorse over her killings, or how detached she was from everything. And it’s how she should be, she’s a vengeful ghost! Then the boy with a dark spirit comes along. And the fun just escalated for me. The scarier, the better. Woohoo!

Ghosts, little girls who can see them, and terrible spirits out for more evil – how can I refuse?

I thought The Girl from the Well was entertaining. There are similarities I saw that are trademarks of some asian horror movies, but I didn’t mind. The serial killers being stalked by this vengeful spirit is too much fun for me.

The climax  was good, although a bit mild. I was expecting more shock or bigger destruction. Still, it was enough for me. But the ending, oh my, I thought it was very well played.

I wish there’s more horror stories like The Girl from the Well out there. Makes me think if I’m missing something worth the scare for a night or two. 🙂

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for granting my galley request.

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THE GIRL FROM THE WELL by Rin Chupeco

Kindle Edition, 304 pages

Published August 5th 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire

5/5 stars

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Book Review: Rogue by Gina Damico

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Young Adult > Paranormal

(Croak #3)

Lex is a teenage Grim Reaper with the power to Damn souls, and it’s getting out of control. Her boyfriend, Driggs, is dead . . . sort of. She’s a fugitive, on the run from the maniacal new mayor of Croak and the townspeople who want to see her pay the price for her misdeeds. Uncle Mort rounds up the Junior Grims to flee Croak once again, but this time they’re joined by Grotton, the most powerful Grim of all time. Their new mission is clear: Fix his mistakes, or the Afterlife will cease to exist, along with all the souls in it.  The gang heads for Necropolis, the labyrinth-like capital city of the Grimsphere. There, they discover that the Grimsphere needs a reboot. To do that, the portals to the Afterlife must be destroyed . . . but even that may not be enough to fix the damage. Things go from bad to worse, and when at last the fate of the Afterlife and all the souls of the Damned hang in the balance, it falls to Lex and her friends to make one final, impossible choice.

Book 1: Croak review       Book 2: Scorch review

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I hate this book. Made me cry twice (or thrice?) while riding the bus, no less.

Uncle Mort!
Lex!
DRIGGS!

Gina Damico you cruel, cruel woman. Give me back my happiness!!!

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Have you read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins? Rogue ended up just like Spell Bound: both finales are heartbreaking, it’s as if all the laughter and humor that launched both series stopped in the middle of their second books. I had high hopes for Rogue! But it gave me more sadness than joy. =(

Lex always feels guilty. Guilty that she cannot save the sister she loves the most, the best (boy)friend she loves the most. Now, she cannot save the future she wants for herself. I love Lex, and I always will. But the heroic acts Gina Damico imposed on her young character is too much for me to bear. I thought that her transition from being a problematic teenager to a world-saving Grimm is too quick to give her due credit.

At the end of Scorch, I was hoping against hope that Lex and Driggs will have a happy ending. If Rogue‘s ending is a happy one based on Gina Damico‘s standards, I don’t think I would want to read any more of her stories. It is just too depressing. *cries again*

It’s times like these when I get too attached to characters that, no matter how unique the world-building was, or how neat the story was wrapped up, the reading just felt heavy for me. And from the (humorous) impression I got from reading the first book, Croak, the morose ending of the series was not palpable for my taste.

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ROGUE by Gina Damico

Ebook, 384 pages

Published September 10th 2013 by Graphia

3/5 stars

Book Review: Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward

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Genre: General Fiction > Adult Paranormal Romance

(Black Dagger Brotherhood #10)

Ever since the death of his shellan, Tohrment has been a heartbroken shadow of the vampire leader he once was. Brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel, he fights again with ruthless vengeance, unprepared for a new tragedy. Seeing his beloved in dreams—trapped in a cold, isolated netherworld—Tohr turns to the angel Lassiter to save his former mate. The only way to rescue her is for Tohr to love another. As war with the lessers rages, and a new clan of vampires vie for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between an unforgettable past and a hot, passion-filled future. But can his heart let go and set all of them free?

Book 1: Dark Lover review

Book 2: Lover Eternal review

Book 3: Lover Awakened review

Book 4: Lover Revealed review

Book 5: Lover Unbound review

Book 6: Lover Enshrined review

Book 7: Lover Avenged review

Book 8: Lover Mine review

Book 9: Lover Unleashed review

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That’s right, buddy. Our future has come.

Blay is a user, so I love Qhuinn more.

This installment is second best to Lover Awakened. Naturally, Tohr is the next favorite brother, following Z.

Tohr is actually nice, and kind. Given the possessiveness of vampires in this series, I think he growled just once, and wasn’t that a joy! His true worth as a male has already been displayed in Lover Unleashed, and Lover Reborn is an extension of that. It was sad, seeing him torture himself over the loss of his shellan. It was sadder, seeing him fall in love with someone else but he cannot admit it because he cannot let go of Wellsie.

No’One was a surprise, but given her history with Tohr (and I love their back story!), it made sense. Her quiet strength unhinged Tohr, her submission wholeheartedly given to the male was something to be admired. But when push comes to shove, I am happy that she stood up and held her ground against that jerk.

John and Xhex are all over this book, as if I couldn’t get enough of their drama in their installment. Still, John bore witness to Tohr’s downfall, and it only goes to show that not all of the mating goes well once their installment has concluded.

But of all the pairings J.R. Ward has done, Layla and a very unlikely male is probably my least favorite. Meaning, whoever opposes Wrath and the Brotherhood, will never be in my favor, ever. Ha.

No threats of lesser here. Wrath is so badass, I’m liking him more and more as this series continues!

So now that I’m through with Lover Reborn, I’m so psyched for Lover at Last. Oh yeah!

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LOVER REBORN by J.R. Ward

Paperback, 617 pages

Published October 2nd 2012 by Signet

4/5 stars

Book Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

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Genre: General Fiction > Adult Paranormal Romance

(Black Dagger Brotherhood #9)

Payne, twin sister of the Black Dagger Brother Vishous, suffers a devastating injury, and brilliant human surgeon Manuel Manello is called in to save her. Their attraction is instant, and as powerful as it is dangerous. But as human and vampire worlds collide, a centuries- old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in jeopardy.

Book 1: Dark Lover review

Book 2: Lover Eternal review        Book 3: Lover Awakened review

Book 4: Lover Revealed review     Book 5: Lover Unbound review

Book 6: Lover Enshrined review   Book 7: Lover Avenged review

Book 8: Lover Mine review

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“And I say to you now, I killed my father, not yours.” Lifting her palm, she peeled back and slapped him across the face. “And do not insult my blood.”

Heh. Payne is badass. :))

Lover Unleashed featured more of Vishous than Payne. Why is that? I mean, I did not like Lover Unbound‘s ending, so I don’t want anything to do with V and Doc Jane anymore. *huffs* (Although it was here that I only realized that they were not formally mated in their book installment.)

Fine. Good thing I have patience to sustain me so I can continue reading this series.

Manello, I like. He’s funny, can stand toe-to-toe with V or Butch, and he’s undeterred by a strong female like Payne. She, on the other hand, has no inkling on worldly desires, and it’s kind of funny (for me) that she can trash Wrath, beat him to bits during their sparring sessions, and then not know what kissing was. 😀 But she’s cool. Her loyalty to her twin is scary, despite being separated for more than a hundred years.

The back story of the Bloodletter is the intriguing part. Imagine Payne who is not afraid to kill him, and now she is being hunted by the Band of Bastards that stayed loyal to him.

I was anticipating the showdown between Payne and Xcor… then nothing happens. WTH.

Lover Unleashed is all about Payne being introduced to the world other than what she was used to with the Virgin’s Scribe spiritual abode. It’s about her romance with the human surgeon, V’s drama, and a lot of non-action.

But… I feel for Qhuinn. 😦

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LOVER UNLEASHED by J.R. Ward

Paperback, 537 pages

Published November 1st 2011 by Signet

3/5 stars

Book Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

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Young Adult > Paranormal > Post-Apocalyptic

(Blood of Eden #3)

Vengeance will be hers.

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

Monster.

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions – her creator Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost – the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie. 

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, her triumph will be short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

THE FINAL HUNT IS ON.

Book 1: The Immortal Rules review

Book 2: The Eternity Cure review

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This finale was such a letdown, as I loved the first two books.

The first time I picked up The Forever Song to read, I put it down upon reaching Chapter 4. It would be weeks before I dared to continue. It was soo boring. And flat. Did I already mention boring? Julie Kagawa‘s storytelling might be growing out on me.

Allison was repetitive. Always with the hunger, the snarling, the promise of revenge against Sarren (but when the showdown was revealed, how pitiful Allie was). It was a never-ending lament on how she will destroy the lunatic vampire, and constant bickering with Jackal in-between. It really took forever to get the story into shape!

And there’s a lot of walking going on. Gah.

I asked myself: Am I getting used to JKagawa writing already? Because I found The Forever Song to be very predictable.

Zeke is still an emo boy. How come I cannot connect with him? There was no swoon factor. Kanin is the ever-efficient killing vampire, Allie is almost always fangirling about her Master. And Jackal missing the best fight of his existence? Oh, come on! Not fair! 😦

I liked The Immortal Rules, loved The Eternity Cure. I only finished The Forever Song for the sake of reading the whole series until its weary ending.

Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin for granting my galley request.

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THE FOREVER SONG by Julie Kagawa

Kindle Edition, 416 pages

Published April 15th 2014 by Harlequin Teen

2/5 stars

Book Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

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Young Adult > Fantasy

Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.

You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.

Easy.

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I cannot stop reading Half Bad. Brutal, hateful, but (that ending was) hopeful. Really good stuff.

The POV in Part I was very interesting. Using “you” instead of “I”, it made my reading experience unpleasantly real. It’s as if I was the one losing a hand because of some nasty acid, instead of Nathan. =) I easily adopted to Sally Green‘s cruel, magical world. A little subdued on the “magic” element, but it still worked for me.

Amidst persecution from the White Witches, Nathan persevered to live day by day. With the help of his brother Arran (I want a devoted sibling like him!), his sister Deborah, and his Gran, the Council’s oppression for a wild card like him was a bit bearable. When Nathan’s birthday draws near, and he awaits the Three Gifts that his bloodline will bestow upon him, the noose held by the Council grows tighter. Should he bear the unreasonable suffering, or should he run for his life?

I love, love Half Bad. It’s so simple – you’re different, so they fear you. But they will bully you into submission to disguise their fear into strength. But we all know that even good witches need to lose some damn steam.. like Nathan. 😀 Sally Green knows how to rile me up. I hated Kieran. I loathed Nathan’s sister, Jessica. I did not think of Mercury as a threat, though. Celia was a surprise, but a good one. And high five to Rose!

The value of a family and the strength that comes from its members are encouraged in this book. Nathan never gave up hoping that his father wants him as a child, and for an orphan like him, it’s all he has. 

The ending was good enough, the meeting between two characters in the midst of the battle was so cool, and so heartwarming!

*whispers* I haven’t read an absorbing magic-themed book like Half Bad in a while. The thrill of it!

P.S. Team Gabriel, anyone? 😀

(Attention to Jessica, Kieran, Hunters, Members of the Council… here’s me making a gesture of slashing your throats.)

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HALF BAD by Sally Green

Ebook, 416 pages

Published March 4th 2014 by Viking Children’s

4/5 stars

Book Review: Lover Mine by J.R. Ward

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Genre: General Fiction > Adult Paranormal Romance

(Black Dagger Brotherhood #8)

John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown to himself and to those around him. After he was taken in by the Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was- or his true identity. Indeed, the fallen Brother Darius has returned, but with a different face and a very different destiny. As a vicious personal vendetta takes John into the heart of the war, he will need to call up on both who he is now and who he once was in order to face off against evil incarnate.

Xhex, a symphath assassin, has long steeled herself against the attraction between her and John Matthew. Having already lost one lover to madness, she will not allow the male of worth to fall prey to the darkness of her twisted life. When fate intervenes, however, the two discover that love, like destiny, is inevitable between soul mates.

Book 1: Dark Lover review

Book 2: Lover Eternal review

Book 3: Lover Awakened review

Book 4: Lover Revealed review

Book 5: Lover Unbound review

Book 6: Lover Enshrined review

Book 7: Lover Avenged review

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Wish I could skip the next books and go straight to Lover at Last. 😀 Qhuinn!

I am more tuned in to the story of John Matthew’s best friends, Blaylock and Qhuinn. Imagine me looking at each chapter, expecting to read more, only to see that it will take me 5-6 chapters before I see them again after the last chapter they had. No wonder I finished Lover Mine in no time! Blay’s full of longing, Qhuinn is full of ghosts inside his head.

Xhex does not need John to save her, and when she escaped from hell out of her own resources, I was electrified with her success. A true female of worth, as the brothers would say. She’s one of the strongest female characters in this series.

John has a lot of baggage from his past life as a human. His blindness perfectly complimented Xhex’s symphath nature, and wasn’t that something for me smile about. He’s not intimidated by Xhex’s strength, so plus points for him. Although his connection with his best friends went out the window when Xhex stepped into his life.

Darius‘ and Tohrment‘s back stories are some of the best parts, I think (after Blay & Qhuinn, of course). Not all Brothers are good to their offspring, or doomed to a life of loneliness.

I’m thinking, have I seen the last of Lash? I like Payne, too.

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LOVER MINE by J.R. Ward

Hardcover, 512 pages

Published April 27th 2010 by NAL

3/5 stars

Book Review: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

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Paranormal | Urban Fantasy

There can only be one allegiance.
It’s her time to choose.

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

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I expected this to be in par with Karen Marie Moning‘s Fever series… but, no. I’m 100% sure even Pink Mac can whip McKenzie’s ass in a flash.

Kyol – I like. Aren – I really like.
(McKenzie – dumbass.)

The cover is very misleading, I kid you not. She is not a sword-wielding chick! What a disappointment. The Shadow Reader is my typical UF – human caught up in a world she doesn’t want to be in. Poor McKenzie. Although that did not stop her from nurturing an unrequited love towards Kyol.

Should I change my rating to a 2?… Because McKenzie is a not as developed as a character I thought she would be. A string of bad, bad decisions seemed to be her specialty. Ding ding! I cannot help rolling my eyes, and smirking about her idiotic thoughts that led to her idiotic decisions.

Kyol reminded me of Chaol of Throne of Glass, only because they are both captains and seemed to take their jobs very seriously. Aren, I like… until he became this obnoxious guy because of his supposed “claim” for McKenzie. Really man, I’d go for Team Kyol, if you will always this immature.

The constant itch I had while I’m reading The Shadow Reader is that Fae are too human in behavior. Vindictive, yes. Selfish, yes. And yet, if I try to compare Fae here to Fae in the Iron Fey series, the former lot are so inferior. Fae are more wicked and more wicked in Julie Kagawa‘s books, and that’s YA.

If ever the next installment shifts to Kyol, I’m going to curse someone to be stuck in the In-Between.

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THE SHADOW READER by Sandy Williams

Paperback, 307 pages

Published October 25th 2011 by Ace

3/5 stars

Book Review: Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward

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Genre: General Fiction > Adult Paranormal Romance

(Black Dagger Brotherhood #7)

Caldwell, NY, has long been the battleground for the battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the Lessening Society. It’s also where Rehvenge has staked out his turf as a drug lord and notorious nightclub that caters to the rich and heavily armed. His shadowy reputation is exactly why he’s approached to kill Wrath, the Blind King, and leader of the Brotherhood. Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood, even though his sister is married to a member. Because he’s a sympath, his identity is a deadly secret- the revelation of which will result in his banishment to a colony for sociopaths. And as plots within and outside the Brotherhood take their toll against Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in a darkening world- Elhena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him- and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction.

Book 1: Dark Lover review     Book 2: Lover Eternal review     Book 3: Lover Awakened review

Book 4: Lover Revealed review       Book 5: Lover Unbound review       Book 6: Lover Enshrined review

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Rehvenge will not be a favorite, but he’s okay. It’s like him and me have come into a civil agreement: “You’re okay as long as the Family/Brotherhood is okay.” Ha.

Ehlena is also okay, not quite rising to the other heroines in this series. I do have to applaud her brass balls, because she stands up to Xhex, and knowing Rehv’s personal guard, that is not easy.

The ending rankled my chains in protest, but it’s a good protest. It just means I need to pick Lover Mine soon. Man, I hate Lash. Someone needs to teach that traitor a painful lesson.

Rhage is still funny. Wrath and Beth’s growing relationship is nice to see. and Z is so gentle 🙂 still my favorite brother! I have to mention Trev and iAm, because they are really interesting characters, more intruiging than Rehv IMO.

Lover Avenged is a slight improvement over the last book, Lover Enshrined. It might not be as stellar as the other books, but compared to Phury’s lame story, Rehv’s is much better.

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LOVER AVENGED by J.R. Ward

Paperback, 642 pages

Published Nov 24th 2009 by Signet

3.5/5 stars

Book Review: Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins

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Young Adult > Paranormal > Angels

(The Sweet Trilogy #3)

It’s time.

Evil is running rampant and sweet Anna Whitt is its target. Nobody knows when or how the Dukes will strike, but Anna and her Nephilim allies will do anything necessary to rid the earth of the demons and their oppressive ways.

The stakes are higher than ever, and Anna is determined that the love she feels will be her strength, not a liability. But trying to protect the ones she loves while running for her life and battling demonic forces proves to be perilous—especially as faces are changing and trust is fleeting. When the Duke of Lust sends Anna’s great love, Kaidan Rowe, to work against her, Anna must decide how much she’s prepared to risk.

In the most sensual and fast-paced installment yet, Sweet Reckoning brings all the beloved Neph together one last time to fight for their freedom.

Book 1: Sweet Evil review       Book 2: Sweet Peril review

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This is totally unexpected, but very entertaining! A few tears in the end. Wendy Higgins did good. 😀

Sweet and gorgeous Kaidan Rowe. Strong and bold Anna Whitt. Fans of The Sweet Trilogy will not be disappointed! Obviously, that includes me. I would reread this series just for the romance alone, but the angel theme was not as flimsy as I thought (because you and I know there are few good angel books out there).

Anna is no longer the shy southern belle that Kaidan met in Sweet Evil. Family comes first, and I liked that the importance of that is heavy on this final book. It frustrates Anna that she cannot show affection to Patti, Jay, and Kai because demon whisperers might see them. It frustrates her even more that the love that was making her courageous is threatening to kill them all once found. Anna upped her game as a Neph, and it was nice and neat and hopeful. 🙂

Kaidan was another story. He was the source of everything that I raved about this book. He made my reading super enjoyable! He’s so cute with his relationship with Anna. A different side from the Son of Pharzuph, Duke of Lust. A side that only made him hot, hot, HOTTER in my eyes! Man, what I wouldn’t give to be in Anna’s place. That lucky daughter of Belial. 🙂

So, when the sh*t went down, it went quickly, but that’s fine. I mean, it is good versus evil, why drag it longer than it should? The casualties of war between the Dukes and the Nephilim are few, but I was heartbroken with one death. And another inevitable one at the epilogue. 😦 I’m so sorry, Jay.

I adore Belial, such a cool and doting father. And Blake was just amazingly funny!

Sweet Reckoning checklist: Romance. Sexy Scenes. Ending on a happy note. Check check check.

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for granting my galley request.

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SWEET RECKONING by Wendy Higgins

Kindle Edition, 464 pages

Published  April 29th 2014 by HarperTeen

5/5 stars