Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Book Review: Unleash


By:  Lauren Harris

Publish Date:  May 5, 2017

Format:  Book, 302pgs

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  1st book in Spellhounds series

First Impression:  Magical blend of hellhounds with a young girl learning about herself and friends.

Craving a gritty, kickass heroine? If you like guns, magic, & heartbreaking drama, you NEED this book! Get the book reviewers are calling "Visceral" & "At times hilarious and heartbreaking"

Orphaned. Hunted. Pissed as hell.

Helena Martin doesn't know who she hates more, the sorcerers who fired the magic-laced bullet or the gang-lord master who used her mother as a shield. It's not the price she expected for escaping magical slavery, nor is the unstable power now pulsing in her veins.

Caught between her former master's hunters and the Guild Sorcerers determined to kill them, she finds a safe haven at a dog rescue willing to take in a different kind of stray. But Helena's newly-unleashed power is a beacon for her enemies. And they're threatening the first place she's ever thought of as home.

First Sentence:
No matter how many times I did it, my hands shook every time Gwydian made me kill.

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My Thoughts and Summary:
*I received this book from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Helena just wants to be free to live a semi-normal life with her mother and pack. When things go wrong in a planed rescue from her slaver, Helena is left alone and on the run. She wants nothing to do with her magical slaver or the Guild that was to help them escape. Helena finds herself caught between the two groups and dodging being caught. One will get to her first but she'll have to chose which one.

Lauren starts us right in with a spell being cast. A spell worked with a mandala and blood sacrifice. Oh this is a neat combo. We get a taste of the two together that makes us curious to learn more about how this works, and worries for Helena and her mom! And to hate Gwydian! The first chapter stirs strong emotions for and with Helena. And they don't stop there. I grow to care for friends with Helena through this book when she stops to hide out and wait for her pack to arrive.

When things start to get hairy with the Guild Sorcerers and news of Gwydian's group reach Helena, the growth of something Helena never had, friendships and a feeling of home, stops her from doing the one thing she knows she should do. Run. While waiting for her cousin, Morgan, to arrive in this town, Helena grows bonds with two special people - Krista and Jaesung.

Oh Jae! I absolutely love him! There are hints that he's more than just human. But is he really? Whether he is or not, he's an amazing character! He's so kind and has a great sense of humor to balance out the serious moments. Yet he seems to sense more than what's being said. Krista couldn't be better as a loving friend. She is there for Helena, as is Jae, when things get rough. They also understand that Helena needs time to come to them with what is going on or has happened in her life, so they give her that. I fell in love with them both. They are great "people".

Okay. Now that I've gushed over the love of the characters I want to mention something more about them. Not only are they awesomely written but they are not your average characters of white world. Nope, and that's the added bonus to them being amazing people with their glowing personalities. I'm mentioning this because there are people that look for diverse characters in books, and Lauren has that here. Jaesung is Korean, came to America when young with his mother. He had some great obstacles to overcome. Krista is gay, but her girlfriend has her own troubles which Krista is living through too, depression. Lauren has written characters that people will care about as they are real and have troubles to live with.

This is YA, but how old should the reader be? I say read it and you decide. There is death and Helena does have to kill to protect herself. There are a few heated scenes, but you don't get intimate details.

Somewhere along the way, I fell, with Helena, for Jaesung. And grew to love the characters here - Helena, Krista, and all present. I love the magic created here with the mandalas. There is a blend of different cultures in this creation that have me loving it. Very interesting. I look forward to more books with Helena and her friends.

****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon. Thank you!


  1. Yessss this sounded great then you added in diverse, I NEED IT!!!!

  2. Din't I comment? Where is my mind.
    ANyway sounds good

  3. I try to avoid YA these days because of tropes but this one sounds like it might be an interesting read.


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