The Book Barrio

A Blog for Fantasy and Romance Readers



Review: Iron and Magic (Iron Covenant 1) by Ilona Andrews


Thank you to Netgalley for giving me an advance copy.

I so loved this book. It’s been a while since I last stayed up late because I couldn’t put a book down. We were promised Hugh’s redemption story and that’s exactly what we got.This story starts off somewhere after Magic Binds (book 9). This is about Hugh (villain in the previous books) finding a home and taking a stand. Hugh enters into an arranged marriage in order to get shelter and food for his people. In return he has to provide protection for his new bride, Elara and her people. There is a lot of violence and magic and sex, which is to be expected for a book about Hugh. The authors did not pull back and I loved every bit of it.

Here are some of my spoilery thoughts, read at your own peril:


1. That horse is a unicorn!

2. I am Filipino, and it made me super happy to see a Filipino creature featured in one of my favorite book series. It felt like receiving an unexpected gift out of nowhere.

3. Elara is a well developed character, but Hugh definitely takes the spotlight and outshines her in every page. The authors kind of kept a lot of Elara’s past a mystery, we have a few hints here and there but not enough for me to love her as much as I love Hugh’s character.

4. Hugh is his usual arrogant, manipulative self. The dialogue between him and Elara are a joy to read. He has met his match. Elara is just as manipulative and secretive. The sex is hooooot.

5. I liked the dynamic between the Iron Dogs. Bale and Lamar bickered like an old married couple.

6. That scene between Hugh and Raphael making peace over Aunt B’s death was just… I have no words.

7. Hugh’s fight scenes were really really good. They’ll keep you on the edge, just like Kate. 

8. Hugh gives out some of the best lines ever. That part when he tells Roland, “You’ll never get your hands on Kate’s kid. I’ll kill you first” was the ultimate best. Uncle of the year. It completely sealed the deal and made me wish for Kate and Hugh’s reunion. 

9. Yes, Hugh should’ve played the brother card with Kate. I look forward to seeing him do that in the next book.

10. I wish Hugh and Elara would adopt Deirdre in the future books.
Having read this book, I can definitely say that the authors have managed to achieve their goal in making us forgive Hugh. I can’t wait to read the final book in the Kate Daniels series.

Rating: 5 Stars +



The Epicness of the Captive Prince Trilogy by C.S. Pacat

Captive Prince Trilogy by C. S. Pacat


Genre: Fantasy, Romance, M/M


Okay everyone, the Captive Prince trilogy is the one and only M/M book that I have ever read and I loved it so much so you have to read it too. It’s set in a fantasy world with two warring Kingdoms. Damianos, the prince of Akielos is betrayed by someone close to him. He is turned into a slave and sent to the enemy kingdom (Vere) to become their slave. Since this is a book, Damen becomes a slave to Prince Laurent of Vere, whose brother Damen killed in battle. Laurent has sworn to have his revenge on Prince Damianos for killing his brother. So the enslaved Damen has to hide his identity from everyone, because once they find out that he’s actually a prince from another kingdom, he’s dead.

Since both kingdoms are at war and there are lots of internal politics going on, we see a lot, as in A LOT of political intrigue and such. My favorite kind of thing. Laurent is a brilliant strategist and tactician. He’s so fierce and smart. He can flay people just by speaking. Damen is a great war hero. He’s the one who fights well, and he’s a good leader on the battlefield. Each has his own strengths, and together they learn to outsmart their enemies and take back what is rightfully theirs.

There is so much going on in these books. The first book, Captive Prince, is all about Damen getting betrayed and enslaved. It is a dark book that contains a lot of violence and suffering on Damen’s part. In the second book, Prince’s Gambit, we see Damen and Laurent slowly get to know each other. This is where they start to help each other, form a strong bond, and develop complicated feelings for each other. Of course, at some point in the trilogy, the secret of Damen’s real identity will come out which promises all sorts of tension and drama. The third and final book, Kings Rising, was a very satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. It was a perfect blend of warfare, romance and political intrigue.

Rating: 5 Stars


Read for Free on the Author’s Blog

Book 1 – Captive Prince

Book 2 – Prince’s Gambit

Book 3 – Kings Rising

I have an Ereader and it has everything.

Once upon a time, I was the only person I knew who read books on an ereader. I realized this when the highly controversial Fifty Shades of Grey became a big thing, and everyone, even the non-readers, wanted to read the book.

Being a regular Romance reader, I already knew about the book (Fifty Shades) and had been following the series for maybe a year. So it was quite a surprise when people I didn’t even normally talk to, were messaging me on facebook just to ask me about how they could get their hands on a digital copy of the book, how they could read it from their mobile phones or desktops. And it happened to me a lot.

At the time, I was also half-thinking that they were missing half of their lives by not even knowing about the unlimited opportunities in the ebook world. I come from a place wherein we don’t even have a local library. Bookstores didn’t always have everything and if I wanted to buy a book, I had to really choose wisely.

When I first discovered ebooks, I read like crazy. I read microsoft lit format ebooks on my old box-monitor desktop computer. I read books by authors who aren’t in my local bookstore. I read the hard-to-find bodice ripper books by famous Authors. I even read pdf files until 3am in the morning. My eyes hurt but I had a blast. And then Amazon and Sony started started selling ereaders and I wanted one so badly. It was a few years later when I was able to finally get my hands on a Kindle Keyboard. And I loved it. I took it everywhere with me. It was just like when I got my first ipod and could suddenly take 1000 songs with me anywhere. Like the people who got music crazy because of the apple ipod, I went book crazy because of Kindle. 61d-zvxgccl-_sl1000_

It was very liberating. The reading experience was so much better, because of the bigger fonts provided by the kindle keyboard. My only complaint was that it was pretty slow when I was navigating my library, but once I was in the ebook page-turning wasn’t a problem. If I was willing to read on my desktop for hours and hours, then the e-reader’s slow reaction time was nothing. No more eye strain due to the e-ink technology.

I also didn’t have much clutter in my bookshelf anymore. Bookworms are always having trouble finding places to put their books at. Plus I really hate it when I buy a book by an author I’ve never tried before, and end up not liking it. So I’d have to make bookshelf space for that book, and be reminded of my book regrets every time I saw it. With ebooks, there’s no need for that. I can be risky and try new authors, and if I didn’t like the book, then it was OK.

I’m on my second kindle now. It’s a Kindle Paperwhite. So aside from the e-ink technology that prevents eye-strain, it also has its own light, which was perfect for reading before bed time. The device reaction time is also way better than the Kindle Keyboard. Which makes life marginally better.

61-nx2bu95bl-_sl1000_I still like reading from real paper books. But I only keep the books that are closest to my heart. I keep the books that I want to read over and over again, and I love seeing my bookshelf with all my favorites side by side. The one-time read books are all on my kindle. And I’ve been reading happily ever after.


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