by April | Apr 6, 2018 | Book ReviewsLifeblood
by Gena Showalter
Published by Harlequin on March 1st 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
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"My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning."
With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.
Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?
But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.
Lifeblood is the second book in the Everlife series by New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter. Tenly “Ten” Lockwood, a seventeen-year-old who has just pledged her allegiance to one of the realms must now learn how to navigate this new world. As Ten struggles with the separation from her love interest, Killian- an infamous Myriadian- and the loss of a dear friend and the betrayal of another, she tries to find ways to end the war between the two realms in the after-life, all while growing stronger with her powers. Unfortunately, Ten is given a short window of time to adjust to her new existence and is sent back to the land of the harvest to investigate contaminated humans that are being pressured to join the opposing realm. This insidious infliction upon those in their firstlife has the potential to cause serious harm in Troika- which some of the characters suspect may be the reasoning behind its existence.
Killian and Ten’s chemistry in Lifeblood is intense! Their scenes are fraught with burning chemistry, frustration, and desperation. While their attraction and depth of feelings for one another are prominent and mind-blowing, the politics between the realms makes it exceedingly difficult for both characters to progress in their relationship (which is SO frustrating!). Ten’s relationship with other characters also provided a lot of different opportunities. I enjoyed some of her heated skirmishes with new characters in her realm and loved watching her connection with General Nanne deepen- he was the father-like figure that Ten desperately needed.
Normally in a trilogy, I find the middle novel to be my least favorite (not exactly sure why this happens, but it does). However, Lifeblood was NOT a disappointment! I mentally devoured Lifeblood in a matter of days. My dreams alternated between the dreamy scenes between Ten and Killian, the anxiety-inducing action and intense scenes, and the heart-wrenching, soul-crushing scenes of despair. Yes. Lifeblood brought me to tears a few times…Ten’s devastation practically seeped from the pages and tormented my soul. It was that awful. But don’t let that deter you! If an author can incur those types of feelings within me, then you know the writing is good. Oh! And let’s not forget that delicious plot twist and betrayal! Ah! I literally chucked the book across the room in shock- and then promptly rushed over to finish the scene.
Lifeblood was a delicious surprise that made me ride the whole spectrum of feelings! Ten may be impulsive and sometimes reckless, but there is no doubting the depth of her loyalty and love. So, I’m definitely invested in her little (okay, major) adventure. I can’t wait to check out the latest in the series- Everlife!
by April | Mar 4, 2018 | Book ReviewsFirstlife
by Gena Showalter
Published by Harlequin on March 1st 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Action & Adventure, Love & Romance
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"Utterly unique and absolutely riveting—I couldn't put it down! What a marvelously cool world."—New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. MaasFrom the author of the New York Times bestselling White Rabbit Chronicles series comes book 1 of a brand new series in which life as we know it is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.
Tenley "Ten" Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she'll live—after she dies.
There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.
In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she's drawn to isn't where the boy she's falling for lives? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…
Review of the book Firstlife
Firstlife book is the first book in the Everlife series by New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter. The story follows Tenley “Ten” Lockwood a seventeen-year-old girl struggling to choose which realm to enter when she dies. On Earth, also known as the Land of the Harvest, humans are busy living their first lives- however, before they die they must pledge their allegiance to either Myriad- a dark realm of indulgence and pleasure, where only the strongest rise to power and privilege, or Troika- a realm of light where love, justice, and truth are cherished, and everyone is considered of equal importance. Unfortunately, both reals are embroiled in a vicious war and fight to convince humans to pledge their allegiance to their realm and cause.
That’s where Archer and Killian come in…
Archer, of Troika, is charged with convincing Ten to pledge her allegiance to their side as she is believed to be a “conduit”- someone capable of tipping the war in their favor. Killian, of Myriad, is charged with seducing Ten to their side as well- as they too believe she will bring victory to their realm. Unfortunately, for both guys, Ten is determined to remain “unsigned” as she doesn’t truly feel like she fits into either realm. She is told, however, that if she does NOT choose either realm, her soul will be sent to suffer in the Many Ends- basically, hell.
As Ten struggles to pick a side, she finds herself placed in a perilous position as someone is intent on ending her life. Amid this, Archer and Killian hold a temporary truce to protect her. The dynamic between both guys is interesting- I enjoyed Archer’s sense of honor and justice- he is so easy-going and likable (although there were times I almost thought he was too good). Killian…oh, Killian…this Irish charmer with the wicked tattoos, bad-boy persona, and devilish sense of humor instantly shot his way to my #1 spot for current book boyfriend. I’m seriously not surprised, however, as Gena Showalter creates some of the most tempting love interests in her novels.
There were many underlying themes and parallels drawn in this novel- you have two realms who hold two very different views, though neither of them is entirely wrong in their beliefs, who will do anything to trump or decimate the other side. They try desperately to convince people that their side is the “right” one- their egos overruling their actions- causing irreparable damage. One side even promises money, riches, and status to push their agenda, where another side hides their motives behind poetic words of honor and justice. I enjoyed watching Ten, with her quirky obsession with numbers, work through which world she felt more inclined to join.
Firstlife was a fast-paced, sizzling page-turner that kept me sleep-deprived.
It’s teeming with action, adventure, and romance- three of my favorite things! The dialogue was fun, the characters layered and dynamic, and the plot was thought-provoking.
by April | Dec 19, 2017 | Book ReviewsHeart of the Dragon
by Gena Showalter
Published by HQN Books on January 1st 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General, Fantasy
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Searching for her missing brother, Grace Carlyle never dreamed she would discover a secret world populated by mythological monsters—or find herself facing a sword-wielding being whose looks put mortal men to shame.
But there he was, Darius en Kragin, one of a race of shape-shifting warriors bound to guard the gates of Atlantis, and kill all travelers who strayed within its borders.
Now Grace's life was in his hands, and Darius had to choose between his centuries-old vow and the woman who had slipped beneath his defenses and stolen the heart of Atlantis's fiercest dragon.
Heart of the Dragon Review
Heart of the Dragon is part of the Atlantis series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter. The story follows Grace Carlyle, a young woman who braves the wilds of South America in search of her missing brother. Unfortunately, Grace stumbles upon a cave leading her to the mythical world of Atlantis- and straight into the presence of Darius en Kragin, a dragon king sworn to protect the mythical realm. Darius has spent the past couple hundred years keeping his promise to protect Atlantis- even taking the lives of the possibly innocent people who unwittingly stumbled upon the world. This difficult task led to Darius suppressing his feelings and forced him to maintain a cool indifference in his demeanor and life. However, his emotions become fractured, and his impulses less controlled, when he comes face-to-face with Grace.
Darius and Grace build a rocky and unstable alliance in their quest to find Grace’s brother, while contending with their undeniable attraction to one another. Grace’s time in Atlantis, while short lived in the beginning of the book, was fraught with wonder and entertainment. I greatly enjoyed getting to know the other dragon warriors under Darius’s command. I was slightly disappointed when Grace had to flee Atlantis (though I understand her fear for her life since Darius was intent on killing her- though with no great deal of enthusiasm for the task). Luckily, I got to experience more of the mythical realm through Grace’s brother.
The chemistry and attraction between Grace and Darius was palpable and undeniable- so much so that I found myself irritated whenever Darius went on about how he still had a duty to kill her. I was more than three quarters of the way through the novel when Darius had an epiphany about his relationship with her and decided not to kill her. His insistence on ending her life throughout a majority of the novel (despite getting to know Grace and realizing she would never lead people to Atlantis to kill everyone) would be my biggest complaint. Other than that, the characters were delightful and the story was fun and fast-paced. I was so entertained that I finished it in ONE evening!
FOUR stars for Heart of the Dragon!
by April | Dec 10, 2017 | Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Giveaways
Can't Get Enough
by Gena Showalter
Series: Original Heartbreakers,
Published by Strawberry Valley Press on December 5th 2017
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
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New York Times best selling author Gena Showalter returns with a sizzling Original Heartbreakers tale, featuring a rough, tough bad boy brought to his knees by... a kindergarten teacher?
The king of one-night stands...To inherit--and destroy--his father’s business at long last, Brock Hudson needs a temporary wife. The ruthless ex-military heartthrob has always avoided romantic entanglements. Women are sweet, but vengeance will be sweeter. Or so he thinks. Only one woman will do, but the vulnerable beauty is more than he bargained for—sexier, wittier, and utterly irresistible.
The queen of the deep freeze…After an abusive first marriage, Lyndie Scott has sworn off relationships. But still she longs for a child of her own. Turns out, the brawler who used to frighten her with only a glance is the answer to her problems. She agrees to his proposal, with a caveat: spend every night in bed with her, then walk away for good when it’s time to divorce. Even if she’s pregnant.
A marriage of breathtaking inconvenience... As the days pass too quickly and the nights heat up, Brock battles a sense of possession and obsession. Will the former commitment-phobe convince his wife they’re better off together, or will she pack her bags and go?
“I expect you to be amazing in bed,” she said. “Like, beyond my wildest expectations. You’ll need stamina to keep up with me.” Maybe. Probably not. “I want orgasms!”
He made a strangled sound. His pupils expanded, overshadowing all that luscious green. “I will give you orgasms. I will give you more orgasms than you can count.”
“Also,” she continued, as if she weren’t fighting a wave of lust right that second, “I firmly believe in the Ten Commitments.”
He crossed his arms over his chest. “I’m a little light-headed after all that orgasm talk, but I’m also listening. Do tell.”
“A boy shalt not lie to anyone, ever, not even to flatter, cheat with so much as a look, steal even when desperate, harm others in any way, or make excuses for bad behavior. He shalt compliment when merited, help when needed, treat others with kindness, always, consult his girl when making big decisions, and do his best, not just what’s good enough.”
His gaze searched her face. “The commitments are basic human decency for anyone, not just a potential temporary husband and possible sperm donor. I accept.”
Surprising. And welcome. “When our relationship ends,” she said, “you can go back to your man-whorish ways with my blessing.” A pang cut through her chest, and she swallowed a moan. Did the pang spring from jealousy? Or regret? No, no. Neither one. Probably came from indigestion. Because of the wine. “While we’re together, we’ll be having unprotected sex—if you agree to my terms—so I’ll need you healthy. Speaking of, you’ll have to get tested. I will too.”
“I won’t want a lifelong commitment because of a child,” he said, his tone soft.
Oh, the gall of this man! “I’m not hoping to trap you, Brock. Believe it or not, being married to you isn’t the bow on top of a gift but a burden to bear in order to get what I want.”
“Burden.” He traced his tongue over his teeth, the very picture of masculine pique. “Stop, please. Your flattery is going straight to my head.”
What, had she hurt is feelings? No way, no how. But…
Maybe? The thought disconcerted her, and her shoulders rolled in. “I’m sorry,” she said, and sighed. “I never meant… it’s just…” Another sigh. “Maybe this is a mistake.”
“Now wait just a second.” He swooped in, kneeling in front of her, placing his big, strong hands on her knees. “Getting naked with you does not strike me as a mistake.”
The warmth of his skin burned through her pajama pants, caressing her skin, and she gasped. Tingles erupted and spread, different parts of her reacting in different ways. Between her legs, liquid heat pooled. Her lower belly quivered. Her breasts ached.
Eyes ablaze, he said, “I want you, Lyndie.”
She gulped. “You can have me.”
“If I give you a baby and walk away.”
He stared at her for a long while before nodding. “Very well. I’ll get a temporary marriage and you’ll get a baby.”
Review of Can’t Get Enough by Gena Showalter
Review by: April Hughes
Can’t Get Enough is the 6th novel in The Original Heartbreakers series by New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter. The story follows Brock Hudson, a man determined to avoid romantic obligations by sticking to a one-night rule. Despite having grown-up with a mother who was obvious in her hatred of him, Brock’s experience in the military, and the lasting friendships he made there, showed him that family isn’t always blood related. It was his friendship with his two comrades that led him to Lyndie Scott, a shy and distant Kindergarten teacher. Their meeting is fortuitous because for Brock to inherit his father’s estate, he needs to find a woman willing to marry him, and divorce him, all within a month. And Lyndie Scott is perfect…
Lyndie’s childhood was reflective of Brock’s…not perfect at all. Her mother died when she was little and Lyndie was left to the mercy of her abusive father. She managed to escape him by marrying young to a sweet-talking man with aspirations to be in law enforcement. Unfortunately, the man was merely a wolf in sheep’s clothing and turned out to be as horrendous as her father. So, when Lyndie’s husband died, and she tasted true freedom for the first time, she started counseling and was determined to be independent. That is, until she met Brock Hudson and found herself thinking more about him than she should.
When Brock approached Lyndie with his ludicrous plan to get married (and divorced)- a stipulation to winning over his father’s estate- Lyndie agrees under one condition…that he gets her pregnant and then signs over all legal rights to the child. Brock, being the infamous king of one-night stands, agrees.
That’s when all the fun happens…
I am hardly ever disappointed with a novel written by Gena Showalter…and this one was NO exception! Lyndie was wonderfully unique and surprisingly quirky for someone having lived with abusive, suppressive people. Her flippant quotes, her hilarious wine-drinking episode the night Brock showed up to “propose”, and her wonderful accumulation of animals, makes her an entirely likeable character. As for Brock…there’s a reason the women in town fan themselves when he walks into a room. Not only is he drop dead gorgeous, with muscles to spare mind you, he is also considerate of Lyndie’s feelings and fears and entirely respectful of them. He goes from being determined to be the one-night stand king, to Lyndie’s happily forever after. It was thrilling to watch Brock’s feelings develop from determined to leave, to determined to stay. Lyndie slowly began to change from desiring to be entirely independent, to allowing Brock to make her breakfast in the morning.
Brock and Lyndie have become delightful additions in my library of “Characters I am Truly Fond of”. Though I have finished reading it, I already can’t wait to pick it up and read it AGAIN! FIVE stars!
About Gena Showalter:
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she’s appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages.
She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfans