Giveaway & Review: Burning Bright by E. J. Stevens

StevensBurningBrightWhere I Got It: Review copy.

Publisher: Sacred Oaks Press (2015)

Narrators: Melanie A. Mason, David Wilson Brown

Length: 7 hours 32 minutes

Series: Book 3 Ivy Granger

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 3 in the series, I think it works fine as a stand alone.

Ivy Granger returns for a third installment in the series. Her best friend Jinx is in dire straights – and Ivy is the only one who can save her, but at a cost. Someone may just have to die. Additionally, there’s a hoard of fire imps running lose, creating havoc in the city of Harborsmouth.

Previously, Ivy made a deal or two with the Green Lady (aka the glaistig) in a chaotic moment. Basically, Ivy owes her a favor, or two. And the Green Lady has called in her debt. It’s a doozy and Ivy is none too happy about it. But the fae have strict rules about deals and if Ivy doesn’t make good, then she may well become an assassin’s target. Yeah, this book was fun and I enjoyed it the most of the first three books in the series.

The plot has Ivy running all over the place trying to figure out how to get herself out of this jam while also saving her friend and not killing any other friends. It’s tough. Oh, and the vampires call in their mark, requiring Ivy to stop the fire imps. So, she’s got all sort s of pressures and she holds up well. The pacing and action are all great. There’s some small fight scenes but also several intense, dangerous situations that don’t necessarily end in violence. Some of these had me holding my breath as I didn’t know if Ivy would end up with some interesting scars or not.

Once again, this urban fantasy is steep in mythology, which I love. There’s various types of demons, water lords, a witch, and Ivy herself as a half-Wisp. Ivy has to use what she knows (or learns) about these folk to out wit them or to make reasonable bargains with them. Indeed, I think Ivy is coming into her own in this book. She’s not insecure or hesitant and instead acts with decision, which is needed in many of the cases. Frankly, she has become that bad ass we were all hoping for.

The side characters are all interesting in their own ways, but they are rather static. They have pretty much stayed the same since they stepped on the page. The one exception may be the demon Forneus, but we don’t get much of him overall. The characters do provide a good backdrop for Ivy to bounce off of and let her grow.

I quite enjoyed this installment in the series and I really look forward to seeing where the author takes the series next.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review (thanks!).

Narration: Melanie Mason was a good voice for Ivy. It did take me perhaps 30 minutes to get use to her voice for the story after recently listening to Book 1 & 2, which are narrated by Traci Odom. Nevertheless, she did a very nice job. of course, her inflections for Jinx and Kaye are different, but consistent throughout the book. David Wilson Brown stepped in and did all the male voices, which were each distinct. I especially liked his voice for Humphrey the gargoyle. They included a few sound effects, such as making a voice sound like it was on a phone and trying to do creepy  vampire laughter (which came off more amusing than creepy). Still, I appreciated these little touches and for the most part they worked.

What I Liked:  Great pacing with lots of action; Ivy grows as a character; Ivy is in a real pickle; plenty of interesting side characters; Ivy becomes the bad ass we have all wanted; nice ending. 

What I Disliked: The side characters are all pretty static.

What Others Think:

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Author Info

E.J. Stevens is the author of fourteen works of speculative fiction, including the Spirit Guide young adult paranormal romance series, the Hunters’ Guild urban fantasy series, and the award-winning Ivy Granger urban fantasy series. She is known for filling pages with quirky characters, bloodsucking vampires, psychotic faeries, and snarky, kick-butt heroines.

When E.J. isn’t at her writing desk, she enjoys teaching writing workshops, dancing along seaside cliffs, singing in graveyards, and sleeping in faerie circles. E.J. currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.

Connect with E.J. on Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, Pinterest, and on her Blog.

Giveaway Info

Winner will receive a signed BURNING BRIGHT postcard, BURNING BRIGHT audiobook download from, and custom E.J. Stevens earbuds.  Giveaway begins November 10th and ends November 24th.  This giveaway is open to mailing addresses in US/CA/UK.  Giveaway winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter.  Giveaway ends November 24, 2015.

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Ghost Light by E. J. Stevens

StevensGhostLightWhere I Got It: Review copy.

Publisher: Sacred Oaks Press (20134)

Narrator: Traci Odom

Length: 8 hours 15 minutes

Series: Book 2 Ivy Granger

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, I think it works fine as a stand alone.

Ivy Granger, psychic detective, and her best friend Jinx must solve a most disturbing mystery: someone has snatched over 30 fae children and their parents are clamoring at Ivy’s door for assistance. As Ivy digs further into the mystery, she has a run in with Melasine, a deranged lamia and former wife to Ceffyr, Ivy’s current beau.

I  enjoyed this book a little more than Book 1, Shadow Sight, as the plot was tighter and we spent more time on it as the main characters are already established. Ivy continues to grow as a character through the search for knowledge of her father and her growing relationship with the kelpie king Ceffyr. The rest of the characters remain pretty static, if interesting, and allow Ivy to bounce off of them. The romance with Ceffyr is a nice touch as it is all new to Ivy. The author does a good job of showing how important the relationship is to Ivy without boring the reader with mushiness.

Jinx continues to be the opposite to Ivy with her love of fancy shoes and flirtatious behavior. However, she does get to use a crossbow (yay!) and that makes her cute and deadly. Torn, a cat sidhe, is added to the mix. He’s mysterious and not entirely trusted by Ivy and her friends, yet he has info. Ivy used her psychometric abilities to gain a few visions of the missing kids and now she has a puddle of questions. She thinks the Wisps may be involved but she doesn’t know how or why. Being half Wisp herself, she feels a deep need to figure this out.

Once again, Ivy pulls in assistance from an assortment of folks – the resident Harborsmouth vampires, the witch Kaye, Father Michael, the Green Lady (a glastic who runs a local carnival), and others. The end to the mystery was full of action and danger. And then we have roughly two hours left in the book.

Yeah. Two hours. That’s kind of a long wrap up. Now, important and even interesting stuff happened during these two hours. Ivy learns a bit more about her father, king of the Wisps, and potentially why he left her and her mother. She also spends some time recovering from the big fight and getting to know Ceffyr better. However, I found that this section dragged a little for me. We already had the big action scene, the answer to the big mystery, and the resolution with the big baddie. It was awesome. The story arc for this book was complete. I was ready for a short epilogue and perhaps the next book. So I think it would have been better to have all the interesting bits of the last two hours sprinkled throughout the book instead of all lumped together at the end. Other than that little complaint, this was a most entertaining book.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review (thanks!).

Narration: Traci Odom once again had an excellent voice for Ivy Granger. I like her no-nonsense, weapon carrying voice. She had distinct voices for all the other characters, along with believable male voices. I especially liked her rapid, well pronounced Latin bits during the big fight scene.

What I Liked:  Good pacing for the most part; lots of action; a disturbing mystery; plenty of mythological characters in play; the light romance doesn’t detract from the plot; the mystery over Ivy’s dad thickens. 

What I Disliked: We had the big fight scene and the wrap up to the mystery and then we still had another 2 hours left – such a change of pace made those last 2 hours drag a bit.

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Shadow Sight by E. J. Stevens

StevensShadowSightWhere I Got It: Review copy.

Publisher: E. J. Stevens (2013)

Narrator: Traci Odom

Length: 7 hours 34 minutes

Series: Book 1 Ivy Granger

Author’s Page

Set in a northeastern port city, Harborsmouth, Ivy Granger, psychic detective, tackles the supernatural. Ivy has this little twitch – she can’t touch anything or anyone without having a vision, which entails reliving the strongest memories imprinted on that item or person. Along with her best friend Jinx, they set up a private eye business sometime ago. Now, the two are hired by a demon, Forneus, to solve the mystery of the many human livers found floating around the harbor.

This was a fast-paced and fun urban fantasy steeped in mythology. Ivy is in her mid-20s and has worked hard to do the best with what she has. She can see the fae in their numerous forms due to her fairy sight and she can use her psychometry to relive past events when she touches items or people (though she doesn’t really enjoy doing this). In fact, one of my few quibbles with the book is that it is beaten into the reader for perhaps half the book that Ivy does not like to touch people or things and we’re told why again and again. I was quite glad once the repetition on this point was over. Other than that, Ivy is a fun character to follow around on this adventure.

The plot itself involves tons of beings from myth, which is way cool. We have a Red Cap, a kitchen brownie, a witch or two, some trolls, vampires, several water folk (like the Kelpies), and plenty more. In this particular story, one set of baddies are the each uisge, which I had never heard of. So, there was entertainment and education going on, which is never a bad combination.

While Ivy and Jinx are figuring out the mystery, and then the solution to the mystery, Ivy keeps bumping into little hints about her past and her own nature. Now, here is my second tiny quibble – Ivy was so dense about these hints concerning herself that I kind of wanted to give her a little shake and spell it out on a big white board for her. While I can appreciate she was distracted with the big bad mystery, there were also decent periods of quiet and reflection and she didn’t connect the dots. I thought this was a little out of place for her personality, one that is skeptical and always questioning.

We have a lot of great characters populating the story. Marvin is a young troll that took a beating sometime in the past and Ivy makes sure he has a safe place to sleep. He also does some work for Kaye O’Shaye, a witch and Hunter that Ivy spends time with. I especially liked Hob, the witch’s kitchen brownie. He has a thing for shiny objects. Jinx, Ivy’s best friend and chief side kick, was OK. I think I need more time to bond with her. She is into shoes and hairstyles and flirting, which aren’t my things, but she makes an interesting counterpoint to Ivy.

The last hour of the book was pretty darn intense. The mystery started off with a missing Kelpie king (Ceffyr) and that comes full circle at the end. Ivy has to face some fears and do some trusting. Lots of different types of folks come together to face the main threat and many of them have different reasons to do so. It was a neatly woven web there at the end.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review (thanks!).

Narration: Traci Odom once again was a good voice for Ivy. She sounds like a woman who hides knives and fights for troll rights while staring down vampires. I like her girly voice for Jinx (I can picture the makeup and curls whenever she uses Jinx’s voice). She also has distinct and believable voices for all the male characters. I especially liked her supremely distressed voice for Ceffyr. She did mispronounce the word ‘chitin’ and its derivatives a handful of times, though I won’t hold this against her.

What I Liked:  Plenty of action; a worthy mystery; worthy foes; lots of mythological creatures; Ivy’s practicality; a very well written ending that had me on the edge of my seat. 

What I Disliked: Ivy’s dislike of touching things/people is bashed into the reader repeatedly; Ivy is dense when it comes to her own nature and all the hints the people around her are throwing at her.

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Club Nexus by E. J. Stevens

StevensClubNexusWhere I Got It: Review copy.

Publisher: E. J. Stevens (2014)

Narrator: Traci Odom

Length: 2 hours 23 minutes

Series: Book 2.5 Ivy Granger

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 2.5 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone.

This book reads more like 5 short stories as there are 5 viewpoints of basically the same event, an event that takes place at the questionable bar Club Nexus. Ivy Granger and her gal pal Jinx head out for a drink, well armed. There’s a faerie that was tricked into servitude by the bar owner and she is none too happy about it. Below the bar are a series of rooms for the special clients who have special needs. I’m sure Ivy wouldn’t mind firebombing them all.

We also have our favorite demon, Forneus. He’s had an attraction to Jinx for some time and she has always rebuffed him. However, this time the ladies have to deal with a blood thirsty Southern vampire. So Forneus’s martial skills may just come in handy. I really enjoy the tension between Jinx & Forneus. I look forward to exploring the other books in the series to see more of this. In this particular book, we get to ride around in Forneus’s head for a bit and it was very interesting to see how he truly feels towards Jinx.

My only complaint about this book is that some of it was repetitive, which can be expected since it’s the same situation told over and over again by all these different people. It was kind of like taking different witness statements at an accident scene actually.

The book has that right mix of sexy tension and action. Ivy, as usual, is good at smacking the bad guys. The real big bad guy in this story is worthy of the title and also worthy of his ending. While Jinx isn’t really battle-hardened, she does make a contribution to the mayhem. It was a fun listen.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review (thanks!).

Narration: Traci Odom was a nice pick  for this book. She had a very good range of voices, as this book required since it is told from 5 distinct viewpoints. There were also various accents (British, Southern, etc.). I really enjoyed her performance.

What I Liked:  Mix of action and sexy tension; Forneus’s point of view was the most entertaining; the bad guy was worthy of my hate; the end. 

What I Disliked: The book had some points that were a bit repetitive.

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