Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly

Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Maybe it’s just that I don’t typically read comics or maybe it was just because my kindle is not the best medium, but it took me forever to read this one. I love Mercy and love that world so the story wasn’t so much the issue as the medium for me.

This story is really more of a Jesse story than a Mercy story. Yes, it starts with Mercy and the pack discovering a gruesome scene, but Jesse and her horrible high school time get the most play here. Jesse is not exactly the most popular girl in school. What some people might think is cool (having a famous werewolf as a dad) is exactly what causes her drama at school. Nobody really wants to be her friend and that gets reinforced after Mercy and her dad find the bodies that are related to some of the mean girls at school. Luckily, a new girl shows up and decides to take a chance on Jesse.

Meanwhile, the murder investigation is going on to try to find the person responsible for killing a bunch of kids in a horrible way that suggests fae involvement. There’s a few cameos from some good characters from the series, but really Jesse stumbles onto the answer a lot quicker than everyone else (without really knowing it). I’m torn between wishing this was a longer story or wishing it were just in straight short story format. Either way, it’s always nice to visit with Mercy and her family.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Review: Awakened

Awakened Awakened by Elisabeth Naughton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. While it took me longer than usual to get to this one, I’m glad I delayed to read the short story (#7.5) before this book as it directly explains the events prior to this one. There is a time-jump, so fans of the series and new readers alike can probably jump in here.

Damon has been a kept slave on Olympus for 25 years and has no recollection of his life before that. He doesn’t even remember his own name, other than the one they gave him upon waking. As a break to the constant responsibilities of being a goddess’s sex slave, he is occasionally offered the opportunity to train the Sirens and assist in their testing. Sure, this also involves a bit of seduction, but anything with a hint of free will is better than the servitude he endures regularly. The first trainee he encounters during the trials is Elysia, who ends up triggering some protective instinct in him he thought long dead.

Elysia thought the worst thing that could happen to her just did – she is being forced into an arranged political marriage. While running away, though, fate reminded her just how wrong she was. Identified for the Sirens and dropped onto a dangerous island, she is forced to make herself into the warrior that will survive this life. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that there’s this wonderfully protective and sexy man willing to risk punishment to be with her.

There’s oodles of God/Goddess/Argonaut drama (and, yes, the orb is still in play) but there is also a really great love story between these two. They both grow (more than the built-in 25 year time-lapse) and are ready to step into the shoes of the last few main characters. I’m excited to see where this series is headed and if they ever complete this darn orb!

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Review: Father Mine

Father Mine Father Mine by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was nice to go back in time and revisit the Zsadist/Bella storyline. While I know that things end up good (as they almost always do for the BDB), it was definitely worth a read for completion sake. We join Zsadist and Bella right after the birth of their daughter, Nalla. If you thought watching Bella and Zsadist battle through his abuse and aversion to touch, it is even more difficult to watch the same thing happen with his baby girl, Nalla. There are layers upon layers of trauma in Zsadist’s head, and none of it would be an issue if he could articulate these things to Bella.

Bella, being the strong woman and new mother that she is, knows that it will only hurt her child more if she continues to let her endure a father who won’t even reach for her. While heartbreaking, she’s willing to take the risk until a horrible night brings everything into perspective. This short story reminded me why I love this series and convinced me to dive back in where I left off.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Review: Moonstruck

Moonstruck Moonstruck by Lauren Dane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

I was completely blown away by the awesomeness in this book! As the first book in a series, this delivered a solid world, a quirky and adorable couple, and a story that had me dying for more!

Katie was dumped at the altar by her high school sweetheart. In a small town, people tend to remember those things, so she ran away. It isn’t so easy for a witch to be away from her people for so long, so when her father gets sick, she makes the obvious decision to move back home. Aside from the rather public and unresolved issues with her ex-fiancĂ©’s family, she’s also got to figure out how to handle where to live. The werewolves in town will take her moving into their territory as a sign that she’s choosing one of the two packs over the other. She’s obviously going nowhere near her ex’s pack, which leaves her firmly in the territory of Jace Dooley.

Jace and Katie had one night of hooking up that never really got resolved but that all changes when she ends up renting a room right across the hall from him. Their sizzling chemistry won’t let them avoid each other and are soon obviously together. In their small town, though, this causes a lot of drama. When a super powered witch and soon-to-be leader of a pack hook up, everybody gets involved.

This book was a real pleasure to read and had me hoping for more. With such a wonderfully entertaining group of characters with dialogue that made me laugh out loud, who wouldn’t love this new take on paranormal romance?

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Review: Vampires are Forever

Vampires are Forever Vampires are Forever by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a fun, sexy, paranormal read that was like candy for the brain. Sure, it was a little quick – but that’s really what made it even more enjoyable. Who doesn’t love a story that’s entertaining from start to finish?

Thomas, the surfer/lay about/general black sheep of the family is the only one who is free (obviously) to go looking for their missing mother. She’s not actually his mother, but she pretty much raised him, which means he’s going to go. Oh, and there’s also the little fact that he actually isn’t a lay about and has been secretly composing music all these years. There’s some family drama and trauma behind that, but the real story is about him and his lifemate.

Inez is the newly appointed VP who, through a case of new-lifemate-forgetfulness, never found out about vampires. The usually organized Bastian has recently had a bit of trouble staying focused on work issues and things like making sure his higher-ups know everything. This probably wouldn’t have been such a pressing issue if he hadn’t sent Inez to pick up Thomas from the airport and help him search. It’s kind of important to know the person you’re looking for is a vampire.

Their meeting at the airport doesn’t go so well, but their relationship (after the whole “get back, demon” phase) evolves pretty quickly. The lifemate thing helps, I’m sure, but something about the composer and the planner really worked. There’s not some huge resolution to the larger storyline at the end of this book, but I assume they will keep building until we get one. I’m happy just reading love stories about vampires and their mates, so keep ‘em coming!

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Review: Ravaged

Ravaged Ravaged by Elisabeth Naughton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I admit that it’s been a while since I read one of the Eternal Guardians books, but I’m pretty sure you could read this as a standalone if need be. This short story throws you back into a world filled with mythology, curses, heroes, and romance. If you enjoy any of those things, this series is worth a shot.

We begin with Daphne, a nymph who is still trying desperately to become a siren. After losing her family at a young age, she is determined to make her own family out of the sirens, if she could only pass her last test. It seems like a blessing when Zeus assigns her a replacement task and guarantees her a spot in the sirens at its completion. With Zeus, however, things are rarely that straightforward. She’s just got to kill an Eternal Guardian who has been deemed a madman. Oh, and she’s got to seduce him, too. Zeus was a little weak on the rationale there, but I guess when you’re a god you can pretty much do whatever you want.

Ari went as far as faking his own death to make sure he was truly isolated in his new life. Plagued with blackouts and the murderous need to kill sirens he encounters, he is just trying to live out his days killing daemons. When he rescues the beguiling Daphne, he knows it will bring nothing but trouble. Somehow, though, Ari just can’t let go of his need to do good. The fact that she and he have an undeniable attraction might also have something to do with it.

There are revelations, reconnections, and the typical god backstabbing plays, and all of those things made this feel like a full length book instead of a short story. Usually short stories leave me a little unfulfilled, but this one really delivered.

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Review: My Ghostly Valentine: A Haunting Paranormal Romantic Comedy

My Ghostly Valentine: A Haunting Paranormal Romantic Comedy My Ghostly Valentine: A Haunting Paranormal Romantic Comedy by Ani Gonzalez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am completely in love with these fun and flirty books! Remember how Zach is caught eyeing the Rosemoor in the last book? Well this really dives in and gives you his lucky/unlucky love story.

This story gives you a much deserved love story for two of the familiar faces from previous books: Zach and Patricia. You might remember Patricia from the bakery and being an awesome friend. She is also one of the early adopters of the paranormal lifestyle. She and Zach have been partners in a sense since they both realized how much money there was in the “paranormies.” What started as a friendly rivalry suddenly becomes a real rivalry when Patricia stumbles upon Zach in a compromising position. At first, she seems to be heading towards helping him out, but when she finds out he intends to put a bid in on the Rosemoor (just like her!), her logical side convinces her to leave him and hope he misses the deadline.

If that were the only obstacle to the bidding process, this would have been a pretty short book. Unfortunately for our two main characters, they are forced to jump through hurtle after hurtle which ends with them doing a bit of a cook-off while cameras record all the good and bad. These two are complicated and wonderful people who truly deserve the HEA that this book grants them. Oh, and the chemistry between them doesn’t hurt either!

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Review: Retroactive: More Stories From The Zellie Wells And Penny Black World

Retroactive: More Stories From The Zellie Wells And Penny Black World Retroactive: More Stories From The Zellie Wells And Penny Black World by Stacey Wallace Benefiel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a lovely little gift from the author to her fans as a reward for being, well, fans. This book had 4 short stories/scenes set in some very familiar places/times in the Retroactive world. Having loved and devoured everything in this universe, I quickly scooped this one up and tore through it. The first story shows the trauma that Gracie (Zellie’s mom) went through when she discovered that she did, in fact, have powers. Talk about ruining a prom night! The second story gave a look at the tragically wonderful world of Gabrielle and Jorge. Sad but one of those stories that still makes you smile. The third story showed the sweet and adorable relationship that Raleigh and Melody have. Being surrounded by people who can see the future makes it hard to plan surprises, but Raleigh really knocks it out of the park. Lastly, we get an extended scene from the end of Found, when two wonderful misfits get a chance at some “alone time.”

While these stories weren’t the longest and most in-depth, I still loved every second I got to dive back into this wonderful world. Thanks!

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Review: Seduced

Seduced Seduced by Devyn Quinn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

This book was a quick, dirty, paranormal read. It felt a lot like a short story that had been fleshed out into a book. In this first installment, the world was just barely introduced by way of the main character’s memories.

Rachel got to live her dream of being a bookstore owner for a few years, but times are tough and she has had to cut her losses and find other work. Turns out, people aren’t really looking to hire a very overqualified candidate, which is what puts Rachel at the front door of a trendy Goth nightclub. Willing to take whatever she can get, she puts in to be a waitress and is begrudgingly resigned to her fate until she meets the boss. Davon is a vampire (known here as “Kynn”) who has lost his spark for life. He feeds on only a small amount of blood and takes the large portion of his sustenance from sex. As such, he radiates a sexual energy that Rachel can’t deny.

They try to play by the rules and not mix work with pleasure, but Devon is convinced that she is his bloodmate. In an effort to hold on to her, he ends up rushing things along a bit too fast for Rachel (for me, too). Introducing her to his world of hedonistic pleasure definitely changes their relationship. Although there is a lot of drama, we ultimately get a happy ending with everything tied up neatly.

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Review: Damian

Damian Damian by D.B. Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book. When we say “stone warriors” are we talking about gargoyles? I’ve been reading way too many gargoyle books lately. Will there be some crossover with the other vampire world I love from this author? I would really like more of that universe. I was pleasantly surprised that this book gave me everything I hoped for.

This first book of the new series focuses on Damian, the warrior who was turned to stone by an evil magic practitioner. He was cursed to hear and see everything around him while unable to escape his stone prison. Lucky for him, Casey happens to be bleeding and leaning on his statue high above the city one night. Casey is the tough chick FBI agent (aka supernatural artifact hunter) who appears to have gotten in over her head on her latest assignment. What should have been a simple artifact retrieval turns into something so much more complicated when the hellhounds start chasing her. Her night only gets weirder when a beautiful blonde man helps remedy her hellhound problem.

The magical artifact in question ends up being a lot more of an immediate threat than anything else in the story. It’s essentially a gigantic bomb that can be used multiple times to wreak havoc on the world. Casey and Damian end up racing against time to catch the big bad before he uses it and sells it to the highest bidder. Oh, and aside from the sizzling romance that springs up between Casey and Damian, Casey is also dealing with having her trust broken by her boss (who has oodles of secrets) and trying not to fall in love. This was a great start to what I hope is a nice, long series of books in this world. The author already had me hooked on this world, and now I can only hope for even more sexy paranormal goodness.

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Review: The Magicians

The Magicians The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for me. I picked it up because I watched a few episodes of the TV series and thought the book would be just as entertaining. Somewhere between that thought and actually starting the book, I got a little bored with the TV show and focused more on the audiobook. Everyone warned me that the first book is tough, but I still decided to start it. I can see what they mean, now.

I should start out by saying that the book and show have a few common points, but that’s about all. The story takes you to a lot of different places (some darker, some lighter) and I think it was actually better than the TV show. After all the warnings I got, I was prepared for a book I had to drag myself to finish. That’s definitely not the case. 3 out of 4 of the “books” within this book were really great and had me looking forward to listening more (I did it via audiobook). That last book, though. That was tough – but I’m getting way ahead of myself here.

Quentin is the star of the book and we spend a lot of time in his head. He’s a bit of an outsider, even with his friends (one of which he lusts after secretly). He is merely going through the motions of being a very intelligent young man, and got as far as applying to college before getting recruited by a secret magic school in a very abrupt way. From there, things really take off quickly for Quentin. He’s propelled through an intense set of studies and becomes part of his own new set of friends, leaving the others behind in the “normal” world. His circle of friends reminds me a lot of some TV rendition of art school kids. They’re mostly bored with the general population and “too cool for school.” The school (which has had safety issues before) ends up suffering another tragedy when “the beast” makes an appearance. Somehow, they manage to mostly forget about the incident and continue on to graduate.

The movement into the real world is where things get… depressing. Magicians with other magicians are fun and exciting to watch. When they become alcoholics and suffer an endless boredom with life (and endless money), it just starts to drag. Luckily, here’s where the magic comes back into the story. After Quentin makes some really dumb mistakes, a lucky encounter with another student leads them all into a world they only thought was imaginary. That’s where the gruesome action truly begins in this book. From there, things go from bad to worse. Who knew an imaginary world could be so horrible? If you’re looking for a book with a HEA, this is not the one for you. There’s an almost-sorta-kinda cliffhanger at the end, which I am fine leaving as it is. I don’t think I’m going back for the next book in the series, even though I am a little curious about the ultimate fates of all the characters. This book just took too sad a turn for me to dive right back in.

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Review: Immortal Matchmakers, Inc.

Immortal Matchmakers, Inc. Immortal Matchmakers, Inc. by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve missed this world so much that I couldn’t believe I didn’t know there was a spinoff! If you’ve read the original series, then you know what you’re in for with this wild and crazy bunch of immortals. If not, welcome to the party!

This book begins the story of Cimil and Zac’s journey to try to hook up as many people with their mates as possible before the world ends or Zac goes crazy or any other number of bad things happens. Remember Andrus? He’s got a thing for falling for the wrong woman. He thought he was in love with Helena (even though she had already found her mate), and he also had found his own mate in the form of a crazypants evil woman (who is dead now, thank goodness). Destined to wander the world alone after getting kicked out of his only home, he gets sucked into Cimil’s evil (or not so evil?) plan to lure him to California to meet his mate. He’s a little rough around the edges, though, so she hatches a scheme to hire an actress to teach him how to charm his mate.

Sadie is the actress in question and she is still trying to make a living as one against all odds. When her “agent” (aka Cimil) sets her up with a cushy gig to teach an actor how to be a gentleman, she can’t turn the job down, even though she’s already had a horrible run-in with Andrus already. The Tarzan/Jane dynamic seemed to ultimately work out for these two lovebirds, though, because against all odds, they become the match-making focus instead of the mysterious mate Andrus is grooming for.

Yes, the story is a bit of complicated romance between Sadie and Andrus, but it is an even more important start to a brand new world that left me with oodles of questions. Is Cimil up to no good? Does she even know? If everything is changing, how do we even know who is good and bad anymore? I can’t wait to dive into the next installment!

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Review: Lorelei

Lorelei Lorelei by Celia Kyle
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

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Review: Alpha Marked Complete Series

Alpha Marked Complete Series Alpha Marked Complete Series by Celia Kyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

While I had previously read a couple of these stories on their own, I completely prefer reading them all back-to-back in this neat little anthology. If you are a fan of smutty shifter goodness – this is a collection for you!

I’m not going to rehash all the stories, but I will say that while they have the same overall path (girl+ hot shifters=mates) they were each their own entity. Some slight twists, turns, and different progress on the larger story made it read like one gigantic book that didn’t get too repetitive (even when read all at once, as I did). If dirty sexy business is not cool with you, don’t even go near this book. It’s definitely for the smut-readers out there who enjoy some paranormal in their read. Overall, the story introduces you to the world of Warden and Alpha pairs as they deal with finding and losing mates. Oh, and there’s bad guys (because there always is) and they change throughout the anthology, so be warned!

I really can’t say what my favorite story of the set was because they all had their own individual pros/cons. I think they definitely got better and more addictive as they went along, especially when the length of the stories seemed to get shorter. I devoured the last few in a day’s worth of relaxing reading. This is definitely a great vacation anthology, if you’re shopping for something like that.

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