Tuesday, May 12, 2015

review || WITCHES BE BURNED { blog tour }

Witches Be Burned by Stacey Kennedy

Publisher: Loveswept (5/19/2015)
Series: Magic & Mayhem, book 2 
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: NetGalley/Tasty Book Tours
Purchase links || amazon bn itunes | kobo | publisher || add to goodreads

Rating: ★★★1/2

In Stacey Kennedy’s steamy paranormal romance novel, a rookie guardian sworn to combat the undead risks life and love in a world of violence, witchcraft, and seduction.

Nexi Jones has lost her family, she’s been stripped of her guardian duties, and she’s still learning the ins and outs of white magic. At least she has Kyden, the smoldering hot elite guardian who’s been there for her every step of the way. But just as Nexi completes her training, tragedy strikes the Otherworld when a fellow guardian is murdered by a group of rogue vampires. Ready or not, she and Kyden trek into the Earthworld to hunt down a killer—and Nexi alone will be put to the ultimate test.

Although Kyden knows that Nexi must fight her own battles, his guardian instincts are raging as he struggles to keep her close. The ruthlessness of these vampires is like nothing he’s ever seen. And at their helm is the Black Witch Astoria, a demon with one burning desire: to shed Nexi’s blood in the name of vengeance. What troubles Kyden even more, though, is the warlock who covets Nexi’s heart. Let the devil do his worst . . . all Kyden can do is love and protect Nexi until his last breath.

about Stacey || Sta
cey Kennedy is the USA Today bestselling author of the Club Sin series. Growing up, Stacey’s mind wandered the path less traveled, and that path most often led to love. She has always broken rules and she continues to feed off emotion—always staying true to her heart. Those traits are now the bones of her stories. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, who puts any of the heroes in her books to shame, and their two young children. If she’s not on Mom duty or plugging away at a new story, you’ll find Stacey camping in the summer, hibernating in the winter, and obsessing over Penny Dreadful, Game of Thrones, and Sons of Anarchy.

{ excerpt } .

Hot irritation burned like a blast of Fire magic through Nexi as her feet connected with the grass below. She snapped her eyes open the split second the raw energy from the portal vanished. Dressed in her typical female guardian gear of a brown leather bra and kilt, with a scabbard across her shoulder that held her sword on her back, she nearly stepped forward but then noticed Haven approaching. Heady amusement nearly stole her irritation, but that emotion didn’t belong to her. It belonged to Haven.

More important, it belonged to their soul-bond.

A deep connection gifted these two witches belonging to the same coven. The link was a sensitive one, allowing for emotions to be shared, making them closer. Nexi often wondered if that’s why the bond existed—it made the ties to a coven that much tighter.

As Nexi caught sight of Haven’s smile, she grumbled, “This is so not funny.”

“Yeah, it kinda is.” The softness in her voice was just so Haven, as was the warmth in her stare. “I told Kyden he was dead for leaving you behind.”

“Dead is an understatement.” Nexi shook her head in pure frustration, gazing around the tree-lined street. When silence greeted her, she added, “You think he’d know better than to piss a woman off who carries a sword and damn well knows how to use it.”

Haven snorted a laugh. “Apparently not.”

Nexi sighed, cooling the irritation inside. Anger would get her nowhere with Kyden, and would only put him on alert. “That caveman needs to get some sense smacked into him.”

Haven gave a leveled look. “He’s just worried about you.”

“I get that—and appreciate it,” Nexi replied with a bit of bite. “But being worried and shielding me completely are two totally different things.”

Sadness reached Haven’s eyes, leaving Nexi wondering if her soul-sister agreed with Kyden. Maybe Haven wanted Nexi away from the danger as well. It’s not that Nexi didn’t understand why Kyden’s macho behavior had increased this past month, because, well, she did.

While Kyden had a typical upbringing in his supernatural life, Nexi’s life had more of a dramatic flair. Twenty-five years ago, the power hungry vampire, Lazarus, wanted to return Earth to the time when vampires were hunters instead of feeding off bagged blood or willing humans. To do this, he killed Nexi’s birth mother, Tillie, for the power within her blood. A task only obtained by drinking a witch to death. A large portion, or even half, of a witch’s blood wouldn’t have any effect, but to drain a witch to her last breath resulted in a transfer of powers.

When the power wasn’t enough for him to succeed in his takeover of the Council to rule the Otherworld, he went into hiding to avoid being hunted by the Council for his crimes. It was at that time, Nexi’s birth father, Drake, sent her into the Earthworld to live among humans for protection.

Then Lazarus devised his plan to return for Nexi to steal her unique power.

He and his pack of werewolves almost killed Nexi and Kyden in the process.

Yet there was one thing Lazarus never counted on: Nexi.

He certainly didn’t see it coming when she ended his life—since her magic, as both

guardian and witch, proved stronger than the vampire jacked up on Tillie’s magic.

She sighed at her thoughts and added to Haven, “I get that Kyden’s . . . sensitive . . . about it all, but he needs to stop protecting me.” Since that night with Lazarus, she hadn’t looked back. Of course, Kyden wasn’t seeing eye-to-eye with her on that point. With her witch magic now centered in soul, and with six months of guardian fighting behind her, she’d never been stronger. Something that Kyden was choosing to ignore, and the reason why he hadn’t taken her out on an assignment yet.

Haven placed a comforting hand on Nexi’s arm and a dose of balmy love seeped into the bond. “Perhaps the problem is you’re both just guardians who want to protect what they feel is most important to them.”

{ review } .
As of two minutes ago... I had no idea that this was a book two. I saw that this was a book two and clicked into the Goodreads' series overview and saw that not only was this a book two, but book one was Nexi and Kyden's book as well.

...and here I thought that I'd simply read a book that the characters had already been in love. Because, you know, sometimes that happens -- the couple is already together and the book is about the trials and tribulations, and I was 100% on board with that. In fact, I rather enjoyed it.

So when I literally just learned that their story started in WEREWOLVES BE DAMNED, well... I was still thrilled with the book I had read, but I really wanted to know the beginning of their story because damn, did I love Nexi and Kyden.

On that note -- do you need to read book one? Absolutely not, I can assure you that. But if you're going to read them out of order, know that you are indeed reading Nexi and Kyden's story... well... out of order. Like I will be.

Stacey does an excellent job of explaining this paranormal world she has created -- something that was noted especially after knowing this isn't the first book in the series. She explains the worlds and the order of the council, as well as everyone's roles.

This book is about the growth of Nexi and Kyden's relationship. They're not yet 'bound' to one another as they're still in the beginning stages of their relationship. They have feelings and have expressed their love, but they're not to the 'til immortal death' part.

Nexi is starting to be allowed on the missions that they are sent on, Kyden is having a hard time letting go. He trusts her ability to fight -- he did, after all, train her -- he's just fearful of what could happen to her. She still has human qualities to her -- namely her emotions. While that can be a downfall, it is also something the he loves about her; he loves that she'll call him out on things or that she cares so deeply about other things.

Perhaps one of my favorite scenes/characters early on in WITCHES BE BURNED would have to be the whole Willow scene. Willow... Well, Willow has a personality and does not care to be named for a dull tree, nor should you ever confuse her with a werewolf. I very much enjoyed the Willow/Nexi banter, as well as the Willow/Kyden non-banter, as Kyden couldn't communicate with the familiar.

I very much enjoyed this title: but really, that's no surprise, as I love Stacey's other works.

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