Genre: Fiction

Arctic Dawn by Karissa Laurel

Posted May 25, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Mythology, Norse Mythology, Review, Series / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Arctic Dawn by Karissa LaurelArctic Dawn by Karissa Laurel
Series: The Norse Chronicles #2
Series Rating: five-stars
on July 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 276
Format: Kindle
five-stars

Alone and exhausted after her month-long sojourn as a shooting star, Solina Mundy flees to southern California to lie low, recuperate, and plot a survival strategy. The one person she trusts to watch her back is her best friend, Skyla Ramirez. But Skyla has been missing for weeks.
The arrival of a dangerous stranger and the discovery of a legendary weapon of mass destruction forces Solina out of hiding and back into the fight for her life. Solina knows she won’t last long on her own. She must find out what happened to Skyla and unite her contentious allies if she hopes to track down this devastating weapon before her enemies use it to burn the world to ash.

My take on this book:              Arctic Dawn by Karissa Laurel is another great book. I was so glad to see the email from Ms. Laurel about reviewing this book as I wanted to know what Solina Mundy, Thorin, Val, Baldur, and Skyla were up to especially after the end of the first book. I also couldn’t wait to see what Helena had up her sleeves for Solina and the others.

The main character of this book is, of course, Solina Mundy. Solina is the one that we see the story through. It’s pretty amazing to see the way she sees the world especially now that she is thrust into learning the Norse legends are real. The book takes us to with where we find Solina is in hiding and trying to find her friend. Solina is still mostly the same girl from the first book but she is now wary of anyone that could turn her into Helena so that the second Ragnorak can start. What I like about Solina is that she is still the same but also being cautious and want to stay alive more so now than anything. I also like that she is aware of what she can do and she tries to make sure that everyone that knows about the Gods walking among them. She can take care of herself if needed and that she can be trusted to help in battle. What I dislike about Solina is that she sometimes does things without really thinking it all the way through. I know that is something that some people make quick decisions in real life but those decisions don’t have anything to do with getting captured by the person that wants to kill you to start another Ragnorak. What I also dislike about Solina is that she is letting something that happened in the past sway her away from Thorin.

The antagonist of the book is someone that no one would suspect. Well besides Helena. She had a pretty small role in this book. Helena is preparing for the war. What I like about Helena is that she is still has a lot of cards that haven’t been revealed to us yet and it’s pretty amazing that even after all these years that she hasn’t let anything slip. She is tight-lipped when speaking to the other gods, not allowing them to know about her plans for when she finds the new reincarnations of the Sun Goddess and the Moon God. What I dislike about Helena is that she is trying to recreate Ragnorak thinking it will be better if she is controlling it. Another thing that I dislike about Helena is that she is still trying to hurt Baldor and even more this time around. Especially when it comes to the reincarnations of his beloved soulmate.

Arctic Dawn by Karissa Laurel is an amazing book and a wonderful read. I will certainly recommend this book and the first book to anyone. This book actually has two plot twists in it. Or at least I would like to think of them as plot twists since I certainly didn’t see them coming. I am giving this book a five-star rating and I can’t wait to read the next book of this wonderful series.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove

**Where to find this book**

** Goodreads **

five-stars

About Karissa Laurel

Karissa Laurel has tried her hand at many things — cooking/catering, law, art — but writing makes her the happiest.

When she’s feeling brave, she’s on the slopes or riding off-road motorcycles with her guys. When she’s less adventuresome, she’s on the couch with her nose buried in a book.

She lives in North Carolina with her kid, husband, occasional in-law, and a hairy husky named Bonnie.


Once Lost Lords by Stephan Morse

Posted May 12, 2017 by karenbaron in Fairies, Fantasy, Guest Post, Magic, Paranormal, Paranormal People, Review, Series, Vampires, Werewolves / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Once Lost Lords by Stephan MorseOnce Lost Lords by Stephan Morse
Series: Royal Scales #1
Series Rating: four-stars
Published by Stephan Morse on July 10th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: ebook
four-stars

Humanity hasn’t been alone for almost two thousand years. Elves, wolves, vampires, all joined together with mankind to eradicate the ‘darker’ races and maintained a tentative peace until modern times. Society adapted, everyone has rules that help keep the peace in this modern era. Yet, absolute genocide is impossible when talking about creatures beyond the pale. Some hid, some buried, other were re-purposed.
Some, like Jay Fields, pass for human with a little bit extra. His abilities didn’t belong to one of the major races, but any information was buried along with the long dead boogie men. All Jay cared about was those closest to him and a job that let him hit people. He used to be a bouncer at a bar, a part-time enforcer for a loan shark, and even a fight club champion. That was four years ago, before betrayal by someone close sent him packing.
Now he’s back and trying to recover a life he left behind. Questions of origin aren’t his only problems. His ex-girlfriend is a vampire. His part-time boss doesn’t think he’s up to snuff anymore. There’s a missing elf who might have some answers, and Jay’s best friend is caught up in something dangerous…

The story begins with the return of Jay Fields, although he uses other names to make finding him harder. Jay has been traveling around for the last 4 years and lots of things at home have changed and some have stayed the same.

Jay likes to hit people, he is like an enforcer. Basically, he does what he knows best to make a living. Jay is also a collector and he is pretty possessive when it comes to his treasures, really all things that he considers his. Jay is human with a few added abilities, due to a vampire bite when he was young or is he? Jay uses his ability to track down people who owe his boss Julianne money, he gets the money, something of value or he may teach them a lesson. Jay also rents an apartment from Julianne and works as a bouncer at her bar.

Throughout the book, we learn more and more about Jay’s actual origin. However, Jay can’t remember and the clues lead him to things that don’t make sense and yet seem familiar. Jay is tough and can hold his own against vampires, wolves, fairies and humans. We meet the people of his life. They are a strange group of individuals. There are lots of secrets that seem like only Jay doesn’t know.

Jay’s ex-girlfriend is Kahina, she is a vampire who hasn’t finished the transformation yet. She loves purple and apparently still loves Jay. She seems kind of pushy, yet she is there when he needs her.

Then there is Julianne, she is my favorite. She is tiny and still human. She runs the bar with no nonsense and a smart mouth. Julianne comes from the wolf pack, she just hasn’t transformed into a wolf. Her grandfather is the head of the pack and tolerates her bar and bookie business. Julianne cares about Jay, more than he realizes. She protects him and calls an intervention to help him. I love the way she and her brother banter back and forth. Julianne is one tough cookie.

What I like about the story is the way the author portrays the characters. There are the four main races who eradicated all the other races for peace and yet there are still the prejudice and fight for power, the secrets about the races eradicated and lost history. It proves that no matter what race you are, it’s what is inside you and how you treat your friends and family that matter.

My rating for this book is 4 stars. If you like to read fantasy, with a modern urban flair, I recommend this book, Once Lost Lords by Stephan Morse. This is the first book in what looks to be an exciting series, The Royal Scales. The second book in the series is also available so you won’t have to wait to continue with the story, Lady’s First Knight.

**Where to find Once Lost Lords **

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

four-stars

About Stephan Morse

Stephan Morse was born the year 1983 in San Diego. The next fifteen years were spent slowly escaping California and surviving a public education system. Thus far he’s made it to the Seattle (WA) region with little desire to go farther. When not trying to shove words together into sentences Stephan spends time reading, catching up on sleep, and otherwise living a mundane life.


Protect Me by Margaret Watson

Posted May 10, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review, Romance, Series, Womens Fiction / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Protect Me by Margaret WatsonProtect Me by Margaret Watson
Series: The Donovan Family #6
Series Rating: five-stars
Published by Margaret Watson on October 31, 2015
Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 258
Format: ebook
five-stars

Police officer Mia Donovan is studying for the detective's exam when her captain offers her an assignment – be Finn O'Rourke's personal bodyguard for the next three weeks. He's in town to film a movie, he has a stalker, and the threats are escalating.

Mia isn't interested – she's focused on the looming exam. But her captain convinces her that successfully protecting Finn will look very good on her record when promotion decisions are made. So, reluctantly, she takes the assignment.

Finn isn't the arrogant, egotistical actor Mia expected. There's more than meets the eye when it comes to the 'most hated man in America', Finn's nickname since he cheated on his girlfriend, a beloved pop star.

But his stalker is lurking and the threat is escalating. Although Mia's feelings for Finn are growing, her job is to protect Finn, not fall in love with him.

"Margaret Watson, a star in the world of contemporary romance, grabs you on the opening page and keeps you reading to the happily ever after." -- New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips

My take on this book:              This is my first romance book away from Nora Roberts and Janet Evanovich and I have to say that Ms. Watson is an excellent writer. Without having to read the first five books in this series you immediately are brought up to date with the Donovan clan.

The main character of this book is Mia Donovan, the youngest of the Donovan kids. Mia is assigned to the protective duty to Finn O’Rourke, she doesn’t really want to do this, but her captain changes her mind. She wants to prove that she can do any assignment that was given to her. What I liked about Mia Donovan is that even she is independent. She grew up with big brothers yet she can still take care of herself. She doesn’t want a man to do something that she knows that she can do herself. I also liked how she kept it professional with Finn, throughout the assignment which was living in the same place as him for three weeks and pretending to be a couple. I, even more, liked how she tried her hardest to not let Finn back in once her job was done. I could tell that she was heartbroken when he didn’t follow her out of the hotel room. What I didn’t like was how she didn’t try to fight for him, before he left. She could have tried to make their relationship work despite what they sort of agreed on in the beginning. I also didn’t like how the police chief asked around all the precincts if they had a woman officer that he knew his godson couldn’t resist being with.  This was especially terrible after everything that had happened with Finn’s ex-girlfriend.

And then there is, of course, Finn O’Rourke, an actor who didn’t tell his story first in Hollywood about what really happened between his ex-girlfriend and himself. Now he is in Chicago shooting an indie movie to re-establish the image that he wants Hollywood to see him as. What I like about Finn is that he is able to not only keep up with Mia and her personality but is also able to keep her on her toes with his. Another thing that I like about him is that he is truly a gentleman around Mia. He only really shows Mia his true personality, the one that he only lets certain people see. What I don’t like about him is how he thought he needed Hollywood and his image more than he needed to be loved while also having a real relationship in the real world. I really hated how his pride kept him from realizing how much he really messed up with leaving Mia and how long it took him to realize that he actually loved Mia and missed her. He also knew that if he came back that she didn’t want to see him.

Protect Me by Margaret Watson, I am glad that I read this book. I am giving this book five stars as I loved every minute of reading it. The book also kept me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who the stalker person is. I also love with how, even though, it’s part of a series you don’t have to read the other books to know what had happened in those and with what is going to happen in this one. I am glad to have been asked to read and review this book. I am also recommending this book to any of my adult readers of my blog that like contemporary romance that is also wrapped up into a cop book.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove

**Where to find this book**

** Goodreads **

five-stars

About Margaret Watson

Biography is from her Amazon page:

I’ve made up stories in my head for as long as I can remember – I put myself to sleep at night when I was young by rewriting the plots and endings of books I’d read. I assumed this was normal and everyone else did it, too, until I began getting weird looks when I talked about it. Finally, when I was twelve, I figured it out and decided I’d be a writer when I grew up.

I got sidetracked by my love of animals and the need for a ‘real’ job, so I became a veterinarian instead. Twenty-five years ago, when I realized I was making up stories about my clients and their pets, I decided to try putting them down on paper.

The result? After writing thirty books for Harlequin and selling millions of copies of them, I’m now writing The Donovan Family series, romantic suspense novels about a family of Chicago cops.

I consider myself the luckiest person in the world to be involved in two careers that I love. But more important than either career is my family – my husband and my three daughters. We live in a Chicago suburb with a menagerie of pets.


Kings or Pawns by J. J. Sherwood

Posted April 15, 2017 by karenbaron in Elves, Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Review, Series / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Kings or Pawns by J. J. SherwoodKings or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood
Series: Steps of Power: The Kings #1
Series Rating: three-stars
Published by Silver Helm on July 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 383
Format: ebook
three-stars

Aersadore: a world of magic and intrigue, elves and demons, dragons and gods. Millennia of magic, war, and legends have shaped a complex past and an unstable future. Now the shift in power ripples outward yet again, promising intrigue, action, and adventure for those swept up in the conflict. And even more so for those who dare to shape it.

8,994 P.E. The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and The Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem becomes the king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and daring, Hairem is determined to undo the council's power, but quickly finds his loyal council members brutally murdered by an assassin loosed within the city.

As corruption and death threaten to tear the city apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel's eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war.

Kings or Pawns. Kings or Pawns? This was much like reading a Tolkien book. There are lots of characters, lots of subplots, an extremely bad guy (or is he?), the good guys, who aren’t so white hat good, as each has their own agenda. Yes, there is drama, mystery, romance and lots of intrigue.

My favorite character is Jikun. Jikun is from Darival, the northern part of the kingdom.  He wields the magic of ice and water. Jikun is General of Sevrigel’s army. He is extremely knowledgeable of strategy and battlefield tactics, all things that make a good general. However, what I liked the most is that he is honest about not abiding by their regime, his use of prostitutes (against the law), and for the most part his opinion of the council and citizens of Elvorium which he doesn’t mind voicing in front of them. Jikun would like to return to Darival, but he is honor bound to finish the war with Saebellus. He is strong and yet he has flaws. He is loyal to the few friends that he has. What Jikun’s role in the next book will be, I don’t know. Hopefully, he will be back.

I think my least favorite character is Nilanis. He is the head of the counsel and he controls the ports. He is a widow with grown children. He dotes on his daughter, Ilsevel. While he seems to be a good father to her, you don’t really hear much about his other children. Nilanis has much wealth and way too much power. He spends way too much money and makes sure everyone knows how wealthy he is. Nilanis has no morals that I could see. He does whatever has to be done to maintain his wealth and way of life, at the cost of anything and apparently everyone.

I enjoyed the story. The settings were fabulous, I could completely see the cities, forests, and lands all clearly as I was reading. As with a Tolkien book it sort of drags on with so many details. I have to say I knew something was off about two-thirds of the way through but the ending was “Wow!” I didn’t see that specifically happening. The title of the book says more than you would think about the story. Are they Kings or Pawns? Is there power being a king or are just the counsel’s pawn?

Even though I enjoyed the book, my mind wandered at times. Therefore my rating will be 3 stars. It took me quite a while to complete it, but I am glad that I did. There is a second book available Heroes and Thieves. Make sure you check this series out, especially if you like Tolkien.

**Where to find Kings or Pawns **

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

three-stars

About J.J. Sherwood

On a cold winter night, wind howling into the desert sky, one ordinary hospital gave witness to a historic event. JJ Sherwood was born at 2:30 a.m. on December 31st, just barely managing to squeeze in to supplant New Year’s Eve. JJ has always had a flair for the dramatics.

Sherwood began writing in the womb after a harrowing incident in which Mother Sherwood swallowed a pen—and thus, destiny was born. JJ’s first work was completed by the age of 5: a riveting tale of a duck attempting to climb into an apartment during the pouring rain. Unfortunately this book is not in print, but it served as the first spark that spurred on a lifetime of creativity.

Much of JJ’s childhood was spent tearing through the woods, playing out fantasy worlds, and tying Barbie to the roof so that the Power Rangers might rescue her. Middle and high school carried on this roleplaying, while college encompassed creating and refining over 250 characters in the world of Aersadore.


Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

Posted March 1, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Comedy, Cozy, Fiction, Mystery, Review, Romance, Series, Womens Fiction / 0 Comments

Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet EvanovichTricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum #22
Series Rating: five-stars
Published by Bantam on November 17th 2015
Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Women's Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
five-stars

Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.
Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college - and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks.
As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.

My take on this book:

Wow! Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich is a great, no excellent book. Stephanie Plum is still going after her FTA’s but Ranger needs her help with a security job that doesn’t really go as planned. Then again it could just be that nothing seems to go right when either Ranger or Morelli have Stephanie as part of their plan. Like all the Stephanie Plum’s books, this one still has the mystery with it that will keep you guessing on who the killer is. This time I thought it was a different person than with who actually did it and it didn’t help that one of my suspects turns up dead.

Main Character

The main character, of course, is Stephanie Plum. No matter what I will forever love the way Janet Evanovich has written her. What I like about Stephanie is that she tries to be a good person especially in her mom’s eyes but she also likes to be different. I really like how she tries to act like this tough bond enforcement when she is with Ranger but it just doesn’t always work when she is by herself. Like it happened in this book when she needed Ranger’s help getting her FTA. What I dislike about Stephanie is that she can’t tell her mom that she doesn’t want to be a housewife. However, she really wants to be married. Yet, to who? Ranger or Morelli, I think it is Morelli that she really likes him. I also don’t like how when she has Grandma Mazur and Lula are in any of Stephanie’s cars that she doesn’t lock the doors (would so totally lock their doors).

Secondary Characters

The second character in this book that I like is Lula. What I like about this character is that even though she isn’t a supermodel, Lula doesn’t care and wears whatever she wants especially with her ‘ho clothes that she has kept. So technically this is all of them. I also like that she tries to assist Stephanie in catching the FTAs. What I dislike about Lula is that she has this problem about thinking that she has these special powers or something that gets kind of annoying. No matter what it is though she is, she will make you laugh. Also, Lula is a bit too graphic and she knows that Stephanie doesn’t want to hear it.

My favorite supporting character would have to be Grandma Mazur especially when she is with Lula. Grandma Mazur is a funny character that is a pain in the butt for her daughter, Stephanie’s mom, and for Stephanie as well. She is especially humorous when she is out with Stephanie on a job.

Things that make it worth reading

One of the things that I love about these books is Janet Evanovich’s ability to transport us to Trent, NJ. It is so real to me and I couldn’t think of another place for Stephanie to live. Another thing I love is that the story moves me but the mystery keeps me guessing throughout and it’s just also full of humor as well.

Here is my warning, though, when you read any Stephanie Plum book you need to eat beforehand, otherwise, you will find yourself stumbling to the kitchen looking for food with your book in your hand.

And my rating for Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich is: Five Stars

Tricky Twenty-Two is an excellent book. I am giving it five butterflies because I love this book. I was so entertained that I didn’t want to put it down at all. The mystery was awesome and one that kept me guessing and stumped at some points. I was stumped but not so much that I want to stop reading the book. Janet Evanovich is an awesome writer and I can’t wait to read more of her books.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove

**Where to find this book**

** Goodreads **

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five-stars

About Janet Evanovich

Janet’s Bio (quoted from her website)

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in LaLa Land. La la Land is like an out-of-body experience –while your mouth is eating lunch your mind is conversing with Captain Kirk. Sometimes I’d pretend to sing opera. My mother would send me to the grocery store down the street, and off I’d go, caterwauling at the top of my lungs. Before the opera thing I went through a horse stage where I galloped everywhere and made holes in my Aunt Lena’s lawn with my hooves. Aunt Lena was a good egg. She understood that the realities of daily existence were lost in the shadows of my looney imagination.After graduation from South River High School, I spent four years in the Douglass College art department, honing my ability to wear torn Levis, learning to transfer cerebral excitement to primed canvas. Painting beat the heck out of digging holes in lawns, but it never felt exactly right. It was frustrating at best, excruciating at worst. My audience was too small. Communication was too obscure. I developed a rash from pigment.

Somewhere down the line I started writing stories. The first story was about the pornographic adventures of a fairy who lived in a second rate fairy forest in Pennsylvania. The second story was about …well never mind, you get the picture.

I sent my weird stories out to editors and agents and collected rejection letters in a big cardboard box. When the box was full I burned the whole damn thing, crammed myself into pantyhose and went to work for a temp agency.

Four months into my less than stellar secretarial career, I got a call from an editor offering to buy my last mailed (and heretofore forgotten) manuscript. It was a romance written for the now defunct Second Chance at Love line, and I was paid a staggering $2,000.

With my head reeling from all this money, I plunged into writing romance novels full time, saying good-by, good riddance to pantyhose and office politics. I wrote series romance for the next five years, mostly for Bantam Loveswept. It was a rewarding experience, but after twelve romance novels I ran out of sexual positions and decided to move into the mystery genre.

I spent two years retooling –drinking beer with law enforcement types, learning to shoot, practicing cussing. At the end of those years I created Stephanie Plum. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Stephanie is an autobiographical character, but I will admit to knowing where she lives.

It turns out I’m a really boring workaholic with no hobbies or special interests. My favorite exercise is shopping and my drug of choice is Cheeze Doodles.

I read comic books and I only watch happy movies. I motivate myself to write by spending my money before I make it. And when I grow up I want to be just like Grandma Mazur.