ARC Review: The Masked Maiden by H.D. Gordon

the masked maidenGoodreads/Amazon

syn

HERO OR VILLAIN? YOU DECIDE.

When she decided to become a vigilante, no one told 17-year-old Aria Fae about the possibility of public backlash, or the attention the media would garner by dubbing her The Masked Maiden of Grant City.

On top of this added heat, a rogue supernatural known as The Scarecrow has escaped his prison, and his history with Aria makes her the crazed warlock’s obvious target.

Now, she must face her past and defeat The Scarecrow once and for all, or die trying.
When things reach their worst, will The Masked Maiden be the hero Grant City needs, or the villain they’ve made her out to be?

review

4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author

I was hesitant to pick this book up because I wasn’t completely sold on the first book in the series. So I put it off for a while and rediscovered it in the process of catching up on back reviews. I’m absolutely floored. I really don’t know where to start because this is such a drastic change from book 1. I am now 100%, completely, and totally invested in this series. 

Aria Fae has always been a badass, but she’s grown so much as the story progressed, not only in maturity, but in heart and understanding. Aria’s past is highlighted. There are flashbacks and agony over her horrible childhood. The cruel way the Brokers rob the Halflings from their homes and the tasks they put them through are truly horrific. Aria as a child is just as feisty as she is now and outspoken. She doesn’t take anything from anyone, she’s a fighter from the get-go. There are moments of fear, and uncertainty, and heartbreak as seen through her young eyes and the emotions are on full chaotic display. 

The story arc is fantastic. A perfect blend of teen angst, superheroes, and serial killers. The suspense is heart stopping, the dangers will keep you on edge. Serious adrenaline rush. There were many moments where I held my breath, hoping that Aria would get there in time or make it out alive. 

The scenes with the Scarecrow are straight out of your deepest fears and worst nightmares. From the way he talks to Aria, the grotesque form of his body, the blunt descriptions of his psychotic murders. Chills. These flashbacks are particularly disturbing and sickening. Every ounce of terror rolls off the pages. 

Romance. Forget triangles. This is definitely a love rhombus. And (un)fortunately they’re all perfect. Dreamy sigh. Aria has the best luck romantically, everything else not so much. The struggle is real. Choosing between a blast from the past childhood love, a super sweet and gentle millionaire heir, and an older ex-military protector, no wonder she’s so spastic and jumps at every opportunity to escape the awkward. The feels are strong. There are many cute, passionate scenes that are both romantic and gasp-out-loud sexy. The way they look at her, happy sigh, the way they make her feel. Break out your Keats poems and put on a romantic comedy post book to recover. 

Secondary characters are as lively as ever. Each has a unique and developed story. It’s not ALL about Aria. She’s there for her friends, she’s kind, she’s awesome and epic and better than before. Her humanity is coming out and it’s glorious. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Epic reading, 

Jordan

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ARC Review: The Halfling by H.D. Gordon

halflingGoodreads/Amazon

syn

Being seventeen and an outcast is hard. Being seventeen and only half human is harder.

When Aria Fae gets cast out of the Peace Brokers, a secret supernatural organization that’s trained her since infancy, and is left to fend for herself in the human world, she finds herself in Grant City, intent on attempting a normal human life.

As a Halfling, Aria has abilities that are a little underused in the flower shop she lands a job at. And when her new friend Samantha Shy enlists Aria to help investigate her mother’s death, the two girls decide to become vigilantes.

A new drug called Black Magic is running rampant in the streets of Grant City, turning people into supercharged maniacs. With Sam’s mad computer skills, and Aria’s Faevian abilities, they may be just the heroes Grant City is in need of.

Or they may find out they’re in way over their heads, and their mutual crush on the same guy is the least of their worries.

review3/5 Stars

***I received this ebook as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author 

The Halfling is an interesting twist on half-fae, much in the vein of Melissa Marr’s latest Seven Black Diamonds. X-Men meets paranormal magic, The Halfling is a thrilling, action-packed read that leaves you rallying for justice. 

PROS:

  • The story has a lot going on. Half-fae, sorceresses, a secret paranormal agency, human trafficking, hackers, and a horrifying new drug that makes users want to feed on flesh. 
  • Secondary characters are intriguing and make you want to know more about them. I loved that there were nerdy, tech obsessed BFFs that used their genius to make the coolest inventions and turn Aria into a fantastic super heroine. Samantha is awesome. Bullied but not defeated. She uses her mind and though she has some insecurity, it’s endearing. She can’t talk to guys to save her life and it’s hilarious. 
  • Aria is independent, courageous, fierce, and basically a crime fighting superhero. She takes risks and puts her life on the line to save the victims of human trafficking and other crimes throughout the city but at the same time, despite her fae powers, she’s just a teenage girl looking to belong. She doesn’t know how to deal with boys, she gets embarrassed, she abruptly leaves weird situations, and the tension is high but it’s very relatable. 
  • The chemistry. It’s all over the place. That neighbor. I’m not sure how to feel about it because he’s much older and sometimes seems like a fatherly figure/knight in shining armor, but oh man is he sexy. Former military, gorgeous, mysterious, and always comes to the rescue, what’s not to swoon over? There is some triangular action going on with the hot prep school boy whose father owns half the town but he’s flirty, playful, and has a big heart. You’ll feel for Aria because they’re both pretty perfect. 

CONS:

  • This felt more like the continuation of a series than the first book. So many key facts about Aria’s past were alluded to but never expanded on. Like the situation with her mother, a clearer picture of why she was banished, and who exactly her enemies were are all lacking in explanation. 
  • Focus gets lost somewhere between the superhero antics, Aria’s past, and the romantic tension. I’m not sure where the story was trying to go. Sometimes it felt like a pure romance, other times para, and others superhero adventure. The connection was loose. 
  • Some parts were predictable.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Keep reading, 

Jordan