The Book Barrio

A Blog for Fantasy and Romance Readers



Review: Dark Ascension (Generation V #4) by M.L. Brennan


Dark Ascension (Generation V #4) by M.L. Brennan


Dark Ascension by M.L. Brennan is the fourth book in the Generation V series. I loved reading the previous books in the series. Fortitude Scott is the youngest vampire of the Scott family, who rules all the paranormal creatures in the area. He is the most human like of all 3 vampire siblings of the Scott family. He is capable of empathy and compassion unlike his centuries-old vampire siblings, Prudence and Chivalry, who have a limited supply of humanity.

Now that Fort’s mother the great vampire Madeline is weakening and dying, Fort will have to figure out a way to get along with his siblings and transition into a full vampire. The whole paranormal community is also abuzz about the change that is to come once the old vampire ruler is dead.

This book was a bit low key compared to the first three books in the series, Fort had to settle some issues among the other paranormal creatures living in the city. The problem is that Fort, Chivalry and Prudence can’t seem to get along or agree on anything. Prudence is always up for the most violent approach, while Fort wants to settle everything the peaceful way.

The thing I love most about this book is how we see Fort grow into himself. He becomes a full vampire and still manages to hold on to his humanity. His relationship with were-fox Suzume is one of the best bestfriends to lovers relationships in YA/NA paranormal lit. I like how Suzume is always her foxy self, playing tricks here and there.

Overall, the this feels kind of like a long version of an epilogue where the characters find ways to settle and go on with their lives. It’s not like the usual episodic mystery novel that we’ve seen from previous books. It’s more like a feel-good episode of your favorite family show. Still, the world-building, humor and endearing characters are well worth the read. I look forward to future books in the series.

Rating: 3 Stars



Review: Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance 25327426


Solina Mundy lives a quiet life, running the family bakery in her small North Carolina hometown. But one night, she suffers a vivid nightmare in which a wolfish beast is devouring her twin brother, who lives in Alaska. The next morning, police notify her that Mani is dead. Driven to learn the truth, Solina heads for the Land of the Midnight Sun. Once there, she begins to suspect Mani’s friends know more about his death than they’ve let on. Skyla, an ex-Marine, is the only one willing to help her.

As Solina and Skyla delve into the mystery surrounding Mani’s death, Solina is stunned to learn that her own life is tied to Mani’s friends, his death, and the fate of the entire world. If she can’t learn to control her newfound gifts and keep her friends safe, a long-lost dominion over mortals will rise again, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.


Solina Mundy’s twin brother was violently murdered. Four months later, Solina decides to visit Siqiniq to pack up her brother’s belongings and to find out about his murderer. Solina has been having these visions that are connected to the things that actually happen in her life, and one of these visions is of her brother being viciously attacked by a wolf.

Her brother’s death’s investigation is leading nowhere, so Solina takes matters into her own hands and tries to find the killer. Her late brother’s coworkers Skyla and Val help her with this. Thorin, who runs the outdoor adventure store her bro used to work at, mysteriously warns her to stop what she’s doing and go home.

The first part is more like a clue hunt, with one clue leading to another and bringing Solina closer to learning who the killer is. When Solina and Skyla delve further into their investigation, Solina’s place gets trashed, and she gets attacked by a wolf during a kayaking adventure. She also reveals some other special abilities that she didn’t know she had.

Now for the spoilery part.

Turns out Thorin and Val have some Norse mythology roots and are descendants of Odin and Thor. Somehow, the deaths of Solina and her brother may lead to another apocalypse. So then Val and Thorin have to protect her in a love triangle way. There’s also a villain who wants to bring about the apocalypse by killing Solina.

And then suddenly Solina gets kidnapped by the Valkyries who want to give her some free training because she has zero fighting skills. At that point, I really really wanted to give up and not finish the book.

I think Solina just loses track of her goals  halfway through the story. She says that she wants to bring her brother’s death to justice but believes some assumptions based on some mythological analogies with their names. Yes, they just assume the identity of the her brother’s killer, without much concrete evidence to support it. We don’t even learn much about her brother, so we don’t feel her grief and pain over that death.

I know I sound a bit like a mess and its because a lot of things didn’t add up. Like why Solina’s place was trashed if the bad guys’ goal was to kill her. Or why Val and Thorin let her go on investigating when they knew what was going on all along. Or why a group of warrior females would have the time and resources to give our heroine some free combat training out of nowhere. The climax didn’t really feel like a climax at all. I don’t feel like we ever got to that moment of absolute despair and desperation before the final battle. Too many questions and not enough struggle to make it believable.

If there’s one thing that was done well, it would have to be the love triangle. There is enough tension between Thorin, Val and Solina. Thorin’s a real hunk. He’s more like the quiet brooding type, while Val’s the playboy flirty persona.

The premise is really interesting. I’ve never read a book based on Norse myths. The references to Thor, Loki and Odin are really interesting. My main beef is that there are inconsistencies in both plot and character. Sometimes, the dots just don’t connect.

Rating: 2 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Review: Blood Call by Lilith Saintcrow

Genre: Romantic Thriller with a supernatural twist


Anna Caldwell has spent the last few days in a blur. She’s seen her brother’s dead body, witnessed the shooting of innocent civilians, and been shot at herself. Now she has nowhere to turn—and only one person she can possibly call.

Since Anna dumped him, it seems waiting is all Josiah Wolfe has done. Now, she’s calling, and she needs his help—or rather, the “talents” she once ran away from. As a liquidation agent, Josiah knows everything about getting out of tough situations. He’ll get whatever she’s carrying to the proper authorities, then settle down to making sure she doesn’t leave him again.

But the story Anna’s stumbled into is far bigger than even Josiah suspects. Anna wants to survive, Josiah wants Anna back, and the powerful people chasing her want the only thing worth killing for—immortality. An ancient evil has been trapped, a woman is in danger, and the world is going to see just how far a liquidation agent will go…


The book starts with Anna on the run from the people who killed her brother. She has nobody to go to except Josiah, her ex-boyfriend and also an assassin for hire. Together, they run away from the enemies and try to figure out what Anna’s brother stumbled on.

Anna is shocked and hurting for most of the book. It is understandable for someone in her situation to be like that. And Josiah was an asshole at first but then his protective instincts kicked in and then he was all alpha-protect mode. I really didn’t feel much of the chemistry between them, probably because Anna was such a helpless damsel in distress. It was full of those “Are you okay?” dialogues followed by protective hugs and then more running.

Also, they go about solving the mystery of why the bad guys killed Anna’s brother by just running away and escaping until finally everything is laid out for them. The most interesting part of the part of the story is the supernatural twist. The action was okay, but not gripping.

Blood Call was engaging enough for me to be able to read on to the finish line. But at the end of the day, the characters fell flat, the romance felt forced, and the mystery wasn’t worth solving.

Rating: 2 stars

Amazon | Goodreads

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