Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: Skin Game

Skin Game
Skin Game by Jim Butcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a really fun read, with lots of feelings along the way, too. Harry goes on a job (as usual) and forces along a lot of separate storylines all at once. We get lots of Karin, Michael, and good ole Nicodemus but get no Kincaid (I know, I'm probably the only one that misses him) and very little Molly. After all the happenings of the last book, I guess I thought it would focus more on the aftermath here. Instead, this story is really about Harry and his personal demons (both real and metaphorical).

Harry is being Harry and hiding a little bit on his personal island. Things are still going bad for him when we meet up, although some time has passed. One of the best parts of this book were the witty banter and sometimes random things that Harry seems fixated on (Parkour!). The dialogue and writing are their usual stellar selves. While we don't get any shocking answers in this one, we sure do get some decisions, and hopefully that will lead things in an interesting direction.

I think Jim Butcher has officially broken me as a reader in that when things start going good for Harry, I'm almost cringing as I read, waiting for something really horrible (like Harry dying... again) to happen. Obviously you shouldn't read these books out of order, but this one really felt a little bit standalone when compared with the other ones. It was similar to a road trip book, where Harry grabs a bunch of his friends and does Harry-esque things for a while. This book also gives something that isn't always guaranteed in the Harry universe -- a near happy ending. Yes, there's lots of tear jerking moments with Harry along the way, but I felt pretty good when I finished the book (as opposed to the kindle-throwing rage that sometimes follows finishing a Dresden Files book).

Obviously, if you're a fan you're going to read this book no matter what, but if you're on the fence, go ahead and buy it. It kind of reminded me of the happy go lucky Harry days, before everything was lose-lose choices and everyone died a lot. I'll continue to read this series until its end.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Review: Tasagalt - Cross of the South

Tasagalt - Cross of the South
Tasagalt - Cross of the South by Elke Schuster

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book picks up right where the previous one left off and throws even more issues into Livia's already complicated life. Poor Livia just can't seem to catch a break.

Once again, we start this book thinking that Cassius and Livia will finally get some good time together after all the drama they had in the previous book. No such luck! After introducing Cassius to Rose, some really strange things start to happen. Couple that with the search for her estranged mother and things rapidly deteriorate for Livia. Sophie also plays a major role in this book, along with all of Livia's new family.

The characters are great, and we even get a new one that I was really starting to like a lot more than Cassius. All of them have big flaws and issues, but they somehow make it work (sometimes). The only thing that makes reading these books a little difficult is the constantly changing POV. If that doesn't bother you, then these books will be a breeze to read. The pages fly by once you get back into the "zone" of reading this way, so that's really not an issue. There's a sort of cliffhanger (in that issues are unresolved), and I really don't know where this last book will take us, but I hope we get at least a little bit of a happy ending for Livia.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: Dark Refuge

Dark Refuge
Dark Refuge by Kate Douglas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book picks up with another mated pair re-discovering each other in the story of Em and Gabe. If you've read the previous books in this series, a lot of the characters should be familiar and fun to reconnect with. I highly recommend checking out the other books, but this can probably be read as a standalone if you wanted.

Em has been trying to find her place for a while, straddling the line between Chanku (shapeshifter, who are out of the closet in this universe), and the humans that surround her. She's been away from the pack for a while, traveling the world for work and essentially hiding from a darkness that's lived inside of her. Gabe is the typical playboy Chanku and fun loving son of the alpha. When Em calls the pack asking for help, Gabe is the next one on the plane. Their previous relationship as children is rapidly replaced with an almost love at first sight scenario.

These books have a really good blend of sexy times, story, action, and romance. There is also a lot of focus on the wonderfully unique world that Kate Douglas has created. Oh, and there's a lot of multiple partner smut, too (if that's what you're into). These books never fail to deliver.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: Angus

Angus by Melissa Schroeder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Clan continues on their quest to remove their curse in this romantic paranormal read. This one included a bit more magic than the previous installment which made it a bit more “paranormal-y.”

Maggie is on the run from her past. She’s done things that have forced her into hiding with her adorable son, Jack. Sadly, Jack has been forced to grow up quick because he’s magically gifted. Maggie, on the other hand, has lost her magic, until Angus shows up at her work. Based on the witches diary (from book 1), the Clan determined that Angus is the next one fated to complete his quest to get them closer to the cure. As the most scientifically inclined of his family, Angus is probably least likely to believe in the magic that they need from Maggie. Lucky for him, Maggie is a force to be reckoned with. She is a wonderful balance to Angus and his “Scully” tendencies. Their romance was really sweet and sexy without being too over the top.

My favorite character in this book was Jack. He was adorable and was mature beyond his years because of his gifts. I really hope that this growing family keeps getting more and more interesting characters. I’m especially interested in the new additions from Maggie’s friends and where they’ll end up (and how it ties into the diary!). This series is a great blend of naughty highlander romance and a great paranormal mystery.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: When Lightning Strikes

When Lightning Strikes
When Lightning Strikes by Sedona Venez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is an immediate continuation of the Credence Curse saga that started in Book 1. It was filled with really yummy, profanity filled, sexy sizzle coupled with some big time mystery. The one warning I’ll give you: there is a cliffhanger.

Lightning (yes, again, the names are really in your face) is battling her demons with alcohol, trying to dull the emotions she inherits with her witchy empathy. While on her sex hiatus, she finds herself struggling to deny the sexy alpha, Ryker. He’s determined to have her and in a much more permanent way than she’s willing to deal with. There’s a lot of baggage when it comes to the Credence women and Light is no exception.

We get a lot of information about the theft of the Credence O. client list and there are lots of revelations along the way. Oh, and sexy times. Lots and lots of steamy scenes are jammed into these pages. These books are really fun little sexy reads that always know how to get my heart pumping. I can’t wait for more!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: Fated Mates: The Alpha Shifter Boxed Set

Fated Mates: The Alpha Shifter Boxed Set
Fated Mates: The Alpha Shifter Boxed Set by Adriana Hunter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you take the average of all my reviews, this box set was a solid 3.5 stars.

All American Wolf by Adriana Hunter: 3 stars
This was largely a police procedural mystery book with some paranormal elements and smut thrown in for good measure. Serena is a cop who finds herself unexpectedly drawn into the world of shifters and caught between two dangerously attractive men. The mystery added a nice twist to a paranormal love triangle story.

Charming the Alpha by Liliana Rhodes: 4 stars
Hannah Crane is a witch who stumbles upon werewolves in the woods one night. Caleb is the pack’s alpha who suddenly finds his one true mate in the most unexpected form. To break Hannah’s curse, the two of them have to unravel the mystery and delve deeper into Hannah’s family’s prejudice against the wolves. This was a fun and unexpected sizzling hot read. There was some scorching chemistry between Caleb and Hannah and a pretty solid setup of the world and its characters. This one had all the things I like about “fated mates” stories.

Change For Me by Lynn Red: 4 stars
Lily just graduated high school and has no clue what she’s going to do with herself. Her future is unwritten and aside from wanting to escape her “middle of nowhere” town, she doesn’t really seem to have many definitive goals. The one thing left undone in her life is getting some closure on her failed relationship with Damon. Damon was the strong silent type who always kept Lily at a distance, thus ending their relationship. Turns out, he’s a werewolf and there’s a lot more trouble brewing than just Lily and Damon’s confusing relationship. There’s a pack war in the works, a tough transition in Damon’s future, and Lily’s future at stake. This story was a little YA, a little adult (with smut), and an overall good read.

Bear King's Curves A BBW Werebear Shifter Romance by A.T. Mitchell: 3 stars
This one was a kinky shifter story, complete with a curvy, Bear shifter hating thief (Lyla) and a conflicted alpha Bear shifter (Nick) drawn together by fate. There was a lot of action, destiny, and sexy times in this one. I liked the interesting spin on the shifter pack dynamic and, of course, when the bad guys get what's coming to them.

The Alpha's Mate by Michelle Fox: 4 stars
This is the second book in a series, but read pretty well on its own. Chloe has just recently mated with Jackson, a wolf next in line to be the alpha. Since he was quite a wolf slut before finding Chloe, there's some female animosity aimed in Chloe's direction. Oh, and she was also a partially shunned member of the pack before Jackson "called her wolf." This read was filled with oodles of women behaving badly towards Chloe and Chloe showing exactly how strong she really is. The series that is tied to this book is definitely worth checking out if this solid installment is any indication.

Romancing the Wolf (BBW/Werewolf Romance) by Skye Eagleday: 2.5 stars
This must have been a bunch of short books that were stitched together in the end as chapters. That's the only explanation for the repetition and overlap. That being said, this was an erotic read, filled with lots of M/M, M/F, BDSM, and lots of other acronyms. It starts a little clinically, but you can see the progression of the writing as the chapters move along. The story starts with Bree (a human) and Mikah, a werewolf then moves on to Delia (a dominatrix) and a bunch of other shifters. As little sexy reads, it would probably work better than stitched together as is. There wasn't really a larger storyline, making this more of a fun romance.

Delicate Freakn' Flower by Eve Langlais: 4 stars
I had this book in my "to-read" pile for a little bit, so I was glad I found it in this box set. This one is definitely in the erotic category, filled with sizzling steamy scenes that will light your kindle on fire. The romance is M/F/M, with a wolf shifter (Naomi) being destined to mate 2 lacrosse players in the form of a bear shifter (Ethan) and a panther shifter (Javier). Naomi fights against this with all her might, determined to prove that they will only destroy her life when it is really the opposite. It was nice seeing some heart thrown into the sexy times and there was even a little mystery going on in the background. Solid read for someone looking for some good smutty paranormal romance.

Protecting The Pack by Tabitha Conall: 4 stars
Turns out this is book 4 in a series by this author, but I didn't even realize it while reading. This was a really solid read from start to finish. Theres M/F/M and M/M/F (and M/M thrown in for good measure) so be prepared. Unlike other erotic reads, this book had a very real plot with lots of action, fighting, heart, and romance. Alex is dating a real scumbag when we first meet her. Her boyfriend is trying to get them into a new pack (with darker motivations he hides from her). Thinking she's in love with this guy, she follows his orders and ends up meeting her mates. This is the type of mating that involves one woman and 2 men (all wolves). In this tale, though, one of them just happens to be the alpha. This read definitely made me want to check out the rest of this series (and this author).

Witchy Wolf by Alexis Dare: 3.5 stars
Chloe was attacked on her way home one night by what she believes is a wolf. Since then, she’s been stuffing food in her mouth at an alarming rate and getting hot flashes. Oh, and she’s also being kind of stalked by a hot biker named Gabe. Turns out that Chloe has a bit of a complicated paranormal past and an even more complicated paranormal future as a werewolf. There are some perks to being a weird werewolf though, and they come in the form of the sexy biker alpha who seems to be more to Chloe than she originally thought. I would love see this story go further with some future installments. I’ll be adding this author to my “to-read” list!

A Change To Bear (Last of the Shapeshifters) by A.E. Grace: 3 stars
This story was a little sadder and more dramatic than the rest in this box set. Liam is a very old and emotionally scarred shapeshifter traveling the world aimlessly until he encounters Terry. Terry has quit her job and randomly decided to go to Vietnam. On the way, she meets Liam and is drawn to him in that fated mate mystical way. The two crash against each other until they finally come together and have to deal with an enemy from Liam’s past.

Curves For The Lone Alpha by Molly Prince: TBD: 4 stars
James is an alpha on his own, being essentially blackmailed into becoming the government’s werewolf for hire. Carrie is a woman on a mission to get over her recent ex-fiancĂ©. She gets way more than she bargained for when she is thrust right in the middle of a wolf conflict and right into the arms of the “lone alpha,” James. This story had a lot of humor and sexy times that made this the type of book I really enjoy. The author had a very easy and entertaining writing style that kept my attention from start to finish.

The Alpha Claims A Mate by Georgette St. Clair: 4 stars
Ginger is on a vacation to get away from her cheating ex when she finds herself unwittingly offending a whole pack of gray wolves. Loch, the alpha of the offended pack, finds it in his heart to forgive her if she acts as his assistant for 2 weeks. These 2 weeks include a murder mystery, some political issues with the neighboring panthers, and some really sizzling sexy times. This story was definitely a full-fledged book with a solid story and some wonderfully entertaining writing. I would definitely love to check out more from this author and this series.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: Torn by Fury

Torn by Fury
Torn by Fury by S.M. Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

These books are my absolute favorite, giving you the full range of action, romance, and excellent storytelling. I always find it hard to decide between savoring every last page and rushing through to see what happens next. Either way, I couldn’t put the book down.

In this latest installment we find Elise (and her demons) beginning the war against the angels. She is reluctantly still paired off with James (yay!) and Lincoln (boo!) at the start of this book while ruling over army and trying to get support from the werewolves. If you haven’t read all of the previous books (and I mean all of them) I think you will be rapidly left behind. A lot of things come at you all at once in Elise’s world and most of them are related to past issues, James and Elise’s relationship issues, or past big bads. This was like a who’s who of the entire universe all packed into one book. So, that being said, we also get a bit of character loss that was good and character loss that was bad. There’s almost nothing in this world that happens without a cost, but I’d like to think that this book came out in Elise’s favor.

I guess I don’t really focus on the werewolves because they seemed to take a backseat to all the demon/angel drama. They were by no means any less integral to the plot, though. The werewolves are truly the most important weapon in the ongoing war. We also get updates and some answers about our ongoing mysteries including Benjamin, Marion, and Nathaniel. Big magic is done and James is still amazing (and a jerk). We even get to see some faces I thought were long gone.

The ending of this one really put a huge smile on my face. Maybe it makes me a little sick and twisted, but I'm able to read all the gritty gore and find in it the most wonderfully tragic love story. Yes, there is a ton of action, supernatural mayhem, apocalyptic battles, and government conspiracies, but through it all we get the awesomeness that is James and Elise. They are both complete badasses on their own (with both magic and physical violence), but together they are unstoppable. I can’t wait to see where they end up after this one!

It’s really wonderful to watch all the characters grow and change with each book in this series. Aside from the pulse pounding action scenes, there were also a bunch of really emotional ones. These books really know how to keep you on your toes! There must also be some serious planning and coordination to get all these moving pieces to where they will eventually end up. Things from way earlier in the series seem to be sliding further into place with each installment in this series, which should add up to one fantastic series finale.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: Fighting for Infinity

Fighting for Infinity
Fighting for Infinity by Karen Amanda Hooper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This series was a beautiful love story with a paranormal twist. It was sad to see the end of this trilogy, but I hope it’s not the end of this world.

I’m not typically a fan of reincarnation stories, but this series was so easy and enjoyable to read that I didn’t even realize I was reading anything other than my typical vampire/shifter romance. At this point in the trilogy, I was already in love with all the characters. Nathan and Maryah’s love story is phenomenal. The way they interact had me sighing and rooting for the eventual return of Maryah’s lost memories every step of the way.

Of course, there’s also the bigger story happening with Dedrick and his evil band of Nefariouns. We meet a new mystery woman at the start of this book when Maryah once again ends up in trouble. Alongside Maryah, we get even more information about the possible Kindrily powers and how to control them. There are oodles of answers revealed in this book that showed exactly how much forethought and planning went into this series. When we first met these characters in book 1, they seemed like an unlikely group of people to be tied together as a kindrily. Now, I couldn’t imagine a better group of characters to balance one another.

I can honestly say that there is nothing I would change about this book. Yes, the journey that Maryah and Nathan went on was difficult and filled with struggle, but it was ultimately worthwhile. I think all the characters grew and developed in ways I would never have expected at the beginning of the series. All my questions were answered and we got a very satisfying HEA at the end of this book. I even ended up feeling a bit better about the motivations of the “bad guys,” giving them a more relatable edge, which was quite an accomplishment. If you are interested in a really unique and engaging world, check out these Kindrily books today!

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: Cold Hard Secret

Cold Hard Secret
Cold Hard Secret by Sierra Dean

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

After the difficulty I had with the previous book due to the gritty and dark subject matter, I was happy that this book was filled with resolution. There have been a lot of storylines that have been present throughout almost all of the series and we knock a lot of them out in one book here. Secret makes a lot of choices in this book, so be prepared for the good and the bad.

We pick up this book with a pretty damaged Secret. After all that happened to her in the last book, I wouldn’t expect anything different. She’s darker, more revenge driven, and a little bit easier with the tears and panic than we’ve seen in the past. Partnered with Desmond, she’s determined to kill all her enemies in this book. This leads to a lot of poor decision making, as usual, but at least we have some solid decisions for a change. I’m feeling pretty optimistic for Secret’s life as a whole. Unfortunately, when one thing starts looking good, others tend to fall apart.

If you’re expecting a nice smooth ride for Secret after she starts her healing process, think again. The ending of this book wasn’t a solid cliffhanger, but it certainly didn’t leave me with any warm and fuzzy feelings. Looks like the next book will involve my least favorite of the paranormals. That being said, I still am firmly on “Team Secret” and will devour any and all books related to this series. Even when the subject matter is hard, the writing really grabs you and doesn’t let go.

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Review: Secret Unleashed

Secret Unleashed
Secret Unleashed by Sierra Dean

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this series. I really love the characters. That’s probably why it was so very hard for me to read this book. It’s a really good read – don’t get me wrong. The writing is good, the characters are good, but the subject matter and what happens in this one are what made it difficult for me to read (and review) this one. This book was significantly darker and more gritty than the rest, so be warned that this isn’t the usual fun romp you’d expect from a Secret book.

Secret is still working hard to get her life back on track (if it ever was). Now that one of the most dangerous vampires from her past is free, she’s pretty much on the run. Sig tasks her with something that sounds relatively simple, but in true secret fashion ends up becoming a gigantic ordeal. Secret and Holden head off to handle one of Sig’s bloodline that has gone missing while on a mission. Without spoiling things, this person she’s looking for ends up being far more significant than she was led to believe.

While nothing that has been building over the last few books gets resolved here, there are a lot of major developments. Secret gets damaged pretty badly in this one, more than ever before and in ways we’ve never seen her get hurt. She’s still solidly in her love triangle, but everything has changed. I’m a little conflicted. I don’t like what happened in this one, but I’m interested to see how Secret handles everything. I miss the Secret who seemed to bounce back from everything with a sarcastic and flirty flare, but I know that if she stayed the same throughout this entire series it would get boring. I want all the outstanding issues in Secret’s life to get resolved, but I don’t want a story without any surprises or “big bads.” It’s very hard to say whether I liked the content of this book or not, but I still love this series, so that’s saying something.

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Review: Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We decided to read this book for book club after seeing what we thought was a pretty silly movie. I’m a sucker for good YA paranormal stories and since this series appeared to get much better reviews as a book than the movie, we decided to give it a shot. For the record, the book is significantly better than the movie. If the movie is stopping you from reading this series, you should give it a shot and see for yourself.

This is a love story between two teenagers set in the south. It was a nice change of pace to be reading from the guy’s perspective as opposed to the more common teenage girl one. Ethan is a very likable teenage boy with aspirations to move out of the small town he’s known all his life. His experience through books has broadened his horizons and his parents helped to ensure he doesn’t get stuck in the prevalent small town mindset. He’s pretty sure he knows where he’s going (anywhere but his hometown) until Lena shows up at school. Since she’s staying with the town shut-in, it’s an easy assumption to make that she won’t be the most popular girl at school. To Ethan, though, she stands out in a good way. She’s a free thinker, doesn’t appear to care what the other students think, and she doesn’t make fun of him for his love of reading.

The love story would be relatively ordinary if not for the twist that Lena is descended from a line of “casters.” This book uses caster as a term to define the magically inclined group of people that have a wide variety of talents. Some of them can shape shift, some can heal, some can read faces – the list goes on and on, with each person’s powers as unique as the person themselves. Throughout all of this, Ethan and Lena are your typical paranormal star-crossed lovers. They hide their relationship from their families for a little bit, are persecuted at school for it, and are doomed by some mysterious prophecy and scary dreams.

There were a lot of really interesting characters we got introduced to in this first installment, but not so many that it was overwhelming. It dragged a little bit in the beginning (for me) because of the world building that needed to be done. Once the book hit 50%, it really took off. There was a lot of action and mystery that built to a really nice ending. While we don’t get all our answers in this one, it was a solid foundation for future books. I’m glad I took the chance on this book.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Review: Grave Secret

Grave Secret
Grave Secret by Sierra Dean

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, this book was jam packed with *stuff*! We get some resolution to a long standing issue, we lose someone that I loved, there's fairies, and Secret gets one of her biggest wishes fulfilled. Oh, and there's sex, of course.

This book picks up after Lucas proved exactly how much Secret meant to him. Still trying to go back to being the tough chick we all know and love, Secret somehow gets dragged into helping her ex find his sister (in fairy). There is a lot more of "team Secret" seen in this book than the others. We get to see the support system that either helped raise her, shape her, or support her in the here and now. It was a nice change of pace from the other more love triangle driven books. Here we see Secret be the true star. Sure, there's still love triangle yumminess and lots of action, but ultimately everything hinges on Secret ruling the day.

Another really great thing about this book was the wit and sarcasm. Yes, it is present in the other books, but here is really seemed to shine. Maybe because there is so much sadness and "deep thought", it was nice to have some rays of moderately sarcastic sunshine thrown in the mix.

I'm going to say it again -- if you are a paranormal romance reader and haven't read any of these books, you should start. They are super fun and quick to read. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself when I catch up to the currently released book. I'll probably go through withdrawals.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Review: Keeping Secret

Keeping Secret
Keeping Secret by Sierra Dean

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

These books are really addictive and fun to read. The writing style makes it really easy to pick up the book and not put it down until you’re finished. If you haven’t checked out this series yet, you really should. It’s paranormal romance through the eyes of a gritty woman with dubious paranormal origins.

I took a little bit of a break in between books, but found that I had absolutely no problem diving right back in. The big event in this book is really the wedding of Secret and Lucas. She’s still straddling the line of responsibility and love, trying her best to make the right decisions. Turns out, she’s not so good at that. A lot of mayhem happens in this book too, as is what we expect when Secret tries to fix things. Her uncle is causing issues, Holden is reminding her about promises made, Desmond is struggling, and someone is trying to kill Secret (when is someone *not* trying to kill her?).

These books have everything that made me dive into paranormal romance: romance, sex, fun paranormal mysteries, hot vampires, hot werewolves, and tons of action. There’s a love triangle (or maybe even a 4 person love… situation), but it isn’t as painful as you think it would be. At this point, it has mostly worked itself out, but you’re still in store for some surprises (of the non-sexy kind). The end of this book is not quite a cliffhanger, but not a HEA by any stretch of the imagination. I didn’t bother pausing between this book and the next, so be prepared to be sucked in!

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Review: Supernatural

Supernatural by Larissa Ione

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, this was a really great compilation of stories, even if you're not already exposed to the related books.

"Vampire Fight Club" by Larissa Ione: 4 stars

Larissa Ione's writing style always sucks me in and this short story was no different. Lena is a woman on a mission. Sheltered her entire life, and finally on her own for what could be the last months of her life, she is determined to track down the person or persons responsible for killing her brother. As a shapeshifter that can't shift, Lena is destined to die if she can't pull of a shift in the next few months. She decides that in order to complete her mission, she has to go undercover as a medic in a vampire club run by Nate. Nate's a daywalking vampire (which fits really nicely into the Lords of Deliverance storylines). He originally took his job as a means to get back at the man responsible for his mate getting killed. Unfortunately, throughout the years, his heart has hardened and he just isn't as motivated by hate as he once was. Lena wakes that part of him that wants to hate (and love) again. Their romance was steamy and fun to watch. It was nice to have a good tie in to the other books in the series.

"Darkness Eternal" by Alexandra Ivy: 4 stars

Having not read any of the rest of this series, I feel like I caught up pretty quickly. We join Uriel after he has already been scarred by the Jinn and now fears what his future has in store. Now tasked with rescuing a gypsy woman, Kata, from her evil sister's clutches, he is less than enthusiastic. He considers her a "Jinn-whore", having birthed her own half breed with the one who scarred him. Kata has been tortured and locked up by her sister for centuries when she is finally freed. A journey into the underworld ends up binding these two reluctant characters together for more than just their journey. This was a very hot and entertaining read. It made me interested in checking out the rest of the series, which (I guess) is the real reason for these anthologies.

"Kane" by Jacquelyn Frank: 5 stars

It’s possible that this got 5 stars just because I miss reading the Nightwalkers stories and this was a wonderful blast from the past. If you’ve read the Nightwalker books, you recognize Kane and Corrine as being supporting characters in Jacob’s story. This one really grabbed from the first page and didn’t let me stop until I was done. Something about Jacquelyn Frank’s writing style and the wonderful characters I’ve grown to know just had me completely addicted. We watch Kane and Corrine get to know each other under the most stressful of circumstances. If you’ve never read the books, this could be a good introduction to the world, but I’d suggest starting from Jacob and working your way through. You won’t be disappointed. These stories have lots of sizzling chemistry and revolve around a truly unique world.

"Dragon on Top" by G.A. Aiken: 4 stars

I haven’t read any of these books, but it read easy enough as a standalone story. The setting is a bit of a medieval alternate realm and almost all the characters are dragon shifters. Ghleanna is a dragon warrior woman who has been spurned by her last lover and made (in her mind) into a bit of a joke. Bram is a longtime acquaintance of Ghleanna who has been secretly pining over her. During a journey between Dragon lands, their relationship blossoms and a lot of action ensues. The dialogue was really a highlight of the story for me. It was effortless and seemed to draw me in, even though I was reluctant to begin a more traditional fantasy story. The love story is cute and it was almost good enough to trick me into checking out this set of books also.

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Review: Saving His Mate

Saving His Mate
Saving His Mate by Savannah Stuart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rex is a bounty hunter vampire who might actually be looking to put down roots somewhere. Margery is a werewolf baker who is determined not to by tied down. Rex is determined to break through Margery's tough shell if its the last thing he does.

I've read one of the other crescent series books, but I don't think it's really necessary to read any of the others to enjoy this one. It's a short read that has a bit of kidnapping action, lots of sizzling attraction, meddling friends, and some smutty goodness. Rex and Margery's reluctant romance was fun to read.

It was nice to see a pretty straightforward romance without your typical miscommunication phase, followed by making up, followed by HEA. Instead, we get some flirting, some courting, some kidnapping, then some bedroom time. There's a fun epilogue that gives us a HEA that made me smile. These books are fun, quick, and worthwhile reads for any paranormal romance fan.

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Review: Avoiding Alpha

Avoiding Alpha
Avoiding Alpha by Aileen Erin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wow! This book had the perfect balance of YA romance, sizzling chemistry, action, mystery, and heart. I devoured this book in one sitting because I couldn't put the book down! This series is officially one of my favorites.

This book seamlessly picked up where the last one left us. Dastien and Tessa are still in love, snuggling (as wolf/human), struggling with Tessa's reluctance to change, and trying to keep positive about the upcoming "trial" that was the outcome of Tessa's turning. Tessa's roommate and friend, Meredith, has always been the tough, strong balance for Tessa. Everything changes when Meredith wakes up puking. Werewolves don't get sick. Here we finally get to learn about the events leading up to Meredith's curse that ultimately prevents her from shifting into her wolf. We also get to see the awesome mated pair that Datien and Tessa will make.

All the characters were wonderfully developed and fun to read (even the backstabbing ones). The writing style was easy and made the pages fly by. This story totally sucked me in from the first page and wouldn't let go. I wish there were more books to read in this series! I can't wait for more!

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Review: Scarlet

Scarlet by Celia Kyle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first of 3 short reads in the "Alpha Marked" series. I loved Celia Kyle's other series, so I was pretty sure I'd like diving into just about any of her other books.

Scarlet lives in a world where people can be "Alpha Marked", indicating that they are destined to be mated with an alpha pair, whether they want to or not. As one of three sisters (triplets), she has a built in support system to call on when they all get invitations to "The Gathering", where all the alphas will attempt to sense their mate. She's not thrilled, but she's a lot more straightforward about it than her sisters.

This is an erotic read, and really sizzled when the mates all got together. There was a little action, but it was mostly about the sex. These seem like fun little reads that I'm sure I'll read through entirely. I highly recommend this author for a good smutty time.

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Review: Laid Bear 2: The Kodiak Clan

Laid Bear 2: The Kodiak Clan
Laid Bear 2: The Kodiak Clan by Marina Maddix

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the love story of Veronica and Jess, a werebear and a human who have the odds stacked against them. I strongly suggest reading book 1 before this installment, because we get equal parts Jess/Veronica and Max/Bethany story.

Veronica is a widow with twin cubs struggling to move on by giving online dating a shot. Jess is a divorced marine biologist who is head over heels in love with Veronica. He has no clue she's living in a world where human/werebear matings are discriminated against. He also has no idea that she's a werebear. There was a little steam here and there, but overall it was more of a romance, with a bunch of action elements. Max and Bethany were actually my least favorite part of this one because they spent 90% of their time fighting with one another. It was a little draining.

There's a lot of building plotline happening with the Brotherhood and this mysterious researcher that could really go places. I wonder if the rest of the series will go along the human/werebear mix, or if we'll get to see some more from the supporting cast (Paul, Grace, etc.).

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Review: The Dark King

The Dark King
The Dark King by C.J. Abedi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sigh. Caroline and Devilyn are just the pair of star-crossed lovers you want to spend hours reading about. This book was a beautiful love story with a Fae and YA twist. One warning: contents contain cliffhangers.

We pick up with a Caroline who doesn’t remember the love that she and Devilyn shared before he became the Dark King. She’s still in the awkward crush phase of their relationship while Devilyn is struggling in his efforts to ignore his strong feelings because he knows she returns them. The first half of the book was spent with both of them pushing and pulling at each other in an effort to either make themselves happy or sacrifice their feelings to save the other. The
“grown-ups” around them (Odin, Dana, etc.) were really trying to be the voice of reason and, thankfully, at about the halfway mark we enter a much happier place.

Sadly, during all the happy times I was on the edge of my seat waiting for things to fall apart. Maybe it’s because I read too many paranormal romances, but when everyone gets really happy with many chapters still left to go, I get paranoid. In this book my paranoia was justified, because the cliffhanger really came out of nowhere. We were well on our way to HEA territory when we get smacked in the face with a cliffhanger. For me, this doesn’t really hurt my overall enjoyment of the story, though. The love story was beautiful to read from both POVs and I’m still rooting for this doomed love affair. Hell, I am even rooting for Teddy and Devilyn’s sister. I’m a sucker for a romance. The story just kee

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