Damned If He Does by Marcella Burnard

Synopsis: Rejected by heaven, twisted by hell, what’s a damned dead man to do when he stumbles upon a life and love worth fighting for?

Though damned for his earthly sins, Darsorin Incarri likes being an incubus. Prowling women’s dreams to siphon off their sexual energy for Satan’s consumption has its perks: an array of infernal power and a modicum of freedom. Sure, Ole Scratch holds Dar’s soul in thrall, and Dar has to spend a few hours recharging in Hell every day, but it could be much worse. All he has to do is hold up his end of his damnation contract – five women seduced, satisfied and siphoned per night for eternity. So when he encounters gorgeous, bright, and funny Fiona Renee, it’s business as usual. Deploy the infernal charm and rack up another score. Except it doesn’t work. She’s immune. He has to find out what’s gone wrong or face Lucifer’s wrath.

Fiona Renee has the life she’d always wanted: a career, a home, a cat with a bad attitude, and peace. Fiona’s dated. Had boyfriends. And hated every minute of it. She’s reconciled to being lonely. So when a man shows up in her bedroom in the middle of the night demanding to know why her dreams turn to nightmares every time he tries to seduce her from within them, Fiona winds up negotiating a contract with a demon that allows him access to her life. She never anticipated that it would also give him access to her heart. If she’s going to fall in love at all, something she never thought would happen, shouldn’t it be with someone who’s alive? If Fiona wants to hang on to Darsorin, she has to find his true name—the one he’d been given at his birth over a thousand years ago. But Satan, himself, stands in her way. Even if Fiona can dodge Lucifer, she and Darsorin have to face the question neither of them can answer: What happens to a dead man if you manage to wrest his soul from the Devil?

What did I think of it:
I love Marcella’s books, so when she asked me if I wanted to read and review her newest book Damned if He Does, a light Paranormal Romance I jumped at the chance.

And this is such a good read.

Fiona isn’t interested in a sexual relationship and has accepted that she will most probably stay single because of that. Then Dar enters her life and after a very rocky start of their relationship they learn more about each other, and they start to care about each other.

Fiona being who she is, this romance is all about emotional connection. I loved how the bond between her and Dar developed. The romantic story line is sweet, fun and heartwarming. I connected with Fiona from the start and rooted for her that everything would turn out ok. Dar is a cool character as well. He is a bit dense at times, but he goes through a lot of growth in this story.

The suspense story line is small, but fun. I loved how Satan was written and there was another demon I hope will get her own story. She came across as a character who has a very interesting story to tell.

Overall this is a very original and beautiful Paraonormal Romance. I can advice this to anyone who’s looking for a well written and sweet paranormal read.

Why should you read it:
It’s a heartwarming, fun Paranormal Romance

Find buy links here

Sullivan McPig

Dragon Heart by Cecelia Holland

Synopsis: Where the Cape of the Winds juts into the endless sea, there is Castle Ocean, and therein dwells the royal family that has ruled it from time immemorial. But there is an Empire growing in the east, and its forces have reached the castle. King Reymarro is dead in battle, and by the new treaty, Queen Marioza must marry one of the Emperor’s brothers. She loathes the idea, and has already killed the first brother, but a second arrives, escorted by more soldiers. While Marioza delays, her youngest son, Jeon, goes on a journey in search of his mute twin, Tirza, who needs to be present for the wedding.

As Jeon and Tirza return by sea, their ship is attacked by a shocking and powerful dragon, red as blood and big as the ship. Thrown into the water, Tirza clings to the dragon, and after an underwater journey, finds herself alone with the creature in an inland sea pool. Surprisingly, she is able to talk to the beast, and understand it.

So begins a saga of violence, destruction, and death, of love and monsters, human and otherwise.

Review: For a book called Dragon Heart there not enough dragon in it I think.

Apart from that major grumble this is a nice enough read.

There are a bit too much viewpoint characters in my opinion, and I’d have liked a bit more in the way of world building, but overall the story is interesting once you get over the fact it’s more about Castle Ocean than it is about a dragon.

Some of the names were confusing. There’s one character named Broga, who is a man, but I kept forgetting who he was, because Broga sounded like a female name to me. Then there’s Oto: a name that kept dragging me out of the story, because it looks wrong to me (Otto being a family name).

Because of the many different characters it was difficult to get a feel of all of them, plot often overtaking character building, but even so I had some I liked, and some I loathed. In true G.R.R. Martin tradition no one character could expect to survive just because they were made viewpoint character though, so I feared for the lives of my favorites.

I myself wasn’t swept away by this story, but enjoyed it well enough. I’d advice this book to fans of plot based Fantasy, who don’t mind switching back and forth between several viewpoint characters.


Sullivan McPig


Larcout by K.A. Krantz

Fire Born, Blood Blessed, Book 1

Synopsis: Blood-beings can be chattel or char.

Fire seethes through the veins of every Morsam, demanding domination and destruction. Combat is a hobby. Slaughtering the inferior blood-beings is entertainment. Life is a repetitious cycle in the prison fashioned by the gods. But mix-race abomination Vadrigyn os Harlo suspects the key to freedom lies with safeguarding the blood-beings; until her blood-born mother uses foreign magic to turn the Morsam against Vadrigyn. Betrayed, bound, and broken, Vadrigyn struggles against the dying of her essential fire. Yet the ebbing flames unleash the dormant magic of her mixed heritage…

The magic to destroy free will.

Seized by the gods and dumped in the desert nation of Larcout to stop history from repeating, Vadrigyn discovers her mother’s legacy of treason and slaughter still festers. To survive the intrigues of the royal court, the roiling undercurrents of civil war, and the gods themselves, Vadrigyn must unravel the conspiracy behind her mother’s banishment. But manipulating free will unleashes a torrent of consequences.

If she fails the gods, she will return to the Morsam prison, stripped of all magic and all hope.

If she succeeds, she can rule a nation.

Kasthu. Roborgu. Inarchma.
Live. Learn. Burn.

Review: This is a really cool Fantasy read.

Vadrigyn is an unusual, but great heroine. She’s without guile and used to using her strength and the poisonous parasites that live in her body to survive. But then she is taken from the kill or be killed world she grew up in and lands in a world where intrigue and deceit are the weapons of choice. She has to learn how to find her place in this world to keep alive.

I love the world building in this book. The different Gods and races are really interesting and intriguing. This book focuses most on the Larcoutians and the Morsam, but the glimpses that were given of the other races were really cool as well. I hope there will be more of them in the next book.

The magic that is used by the Larcoutians and how their society deals with that magic is well worked out and believable. Their society is a scary and brutal one beneath the civilized surface in my opinion. I enjoyed how you slowly find out more and more about Larcout.

The story is complex and the secrets Vadrigyn is trying to uncover are dangerous. I was hooked from the start and kept trying to figure out what was going on and who was to trust. There were some really likeable characters, and some that I loathed. At times I was really nervous about the safety of my favorite characters.

The names that are used aren’t common names and took some getting used to, but they were all different enough that I didn’t have to track back to figure out who’s who, like sometimes happens when an author uses names that sound too much alike.

All in all this is a really great Fantasy read, filled with conspiracies and cool action. I’m looking forward to reading the next book, to see what happens next for Vadrigyn.

Why should you read it:
It’s a cool and very enjoyable Fantasy read.

Sullivan McPig


Liar’s Island by Tim Pratt

Pathfinder Tales

Synopsis: Having unseated Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder RPG is the world’s bestselling tabletop roleplaying game — now available in a series of novels

In the the tradition of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (if one were a talking magical sword) Rodrick and his blade Hrym are accomplished con artists and occasional adventurers—as long as it means easy money. When they get called to the court of an exotic southern island, they become pawns in a dangerous game of political intrigue. The only way to survive is to locate and “liberate” a legendary artifact.

Review: This book is part of a series of novels based on the roleplaying gamePathfinder.

I haven’t played Pathfinder, but played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons, and read my fair share of novels based on roleplaying games, so I was sure any knowledge of the setting wasn’t necessary.

And indeed: This story is easy to follow without any knowledge of the world (or roleplaying in general), and even without having read Liar’s Blade, an earlier Pathfinder novel that also features Rodrick and Hrym.

The story begins in the middle of action and soon you get a feel of Rodrick and Hrym. I must say there were no surprises there: Charming rogue with a snarky talking sword. Been there, done that. Anyone who has read some Fantasy novels, or has played a Fantasy RPG will be familiar with this trope.

But I can’t say I minded: Rodrick and Hrym are a fun pair of unlikely heroes to read about. After an action packed introduction, the story slows down a bit to set up the main plot, but it never gets dull. And once Rodrick and Hrym manage to get themselves in trouble, the action starts up again and they have to be resourceful to stay alive.

As with many Fantasy settings, the Pathfinder world borrows heavily from mythology, in this case both from Eastern and Norse mythology that I noticed, and I might have missed some references. Again: this is not a bad thing. It makes for interesting world building, and certain elements of the story being familiar, makes that you can easily picture the setting and the people and creatures Rodrick and Hrym encounter.

Overall this is fun and very enjoyable read. I can advice this book to anyone who likes an entertaining Fantasy romp. I might give Liar’s Blade a try if I come across it. I will also investigate what other books Pratt has written. 

4Sullivan McPig


The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing, Book 1

Synopsis: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one and the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

Review: This is a very entertaining read.

So the whole last stage of the testing seemed absurd: who cares. It made for fun reading.

Seriously: the concept of The Testing is one that’s been done before: teens have to battle it out for survival or placement in a position they want. I knew this going in, so I wasn’t expecting originality. I started on this book with the expectation I would be entertained. And I was!

Cia is likeable enough, and the tests she and the others have to take were cool to read about. The whole world building and the testing didn’t really make sense to me, but I decided not to try to make sense of it and just enjoy the events.

And I must say that I really loved the interaction between Cia and the other teens. There were some really fun characters. Even Tomas, who seemed to be the typical teenage heartthrob, turned out to have a few tricks up his sleeves. I will confess it’s this part of the story that makes me curious how this series will continue, and I most probably will pick up the next book in the series to find out.

All in all this book is enjoyable, if not overly original. If you’re looking for an entertaining Dystopian read (and aren’t too critical) this might be your book.


Sullivan McPig