Saturday, December 31, 2016

Review: Malachi

Malachi Malachi by Shiloh Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've read one of the later installments in this series, but it was so long ago that I'm not sure I could even remember. That being said, I don't think you need exposure to the series to appreciate this prequel.

We meet Malachi, who I assume plays a strong part in the series to have such a rich backstory. He was raised a slave, tortured, tested, and forced to "service" his latest owner. All the while, he has very vivid dreams about a mystery woman who gives him hope. How or when they meet up (I certainly hope they meet up) isn't clear from this story.

Malachi certainly goes through a world of pain before finally reaching the end of his tale. He tries to do good by a lonely woman (who ends up being a vampire), gets turned into a vampire, loses his companion, and ends up alone for a while. If this is just the beginning, I am eager to see where he ends up.

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Review: Cursed Ever After

Cursed Ever After Cursed Ever After by A.C. James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a short collection of short stories set in the Ever After world. I've not read anything else in this series, but if this is any indication of the sizzle level of them - I can't wait!

The stories range from teasing scenes in an office to flashbacks of one of them becoming a vampire and everything in between. They are dirty and sexy and filled with the paranormal. If you're looking for a quick read that will fill your smut quota in a unique paranormal universe, this is definitely worth a read.

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Review: Cyncerely Yours

Cyncerely Yours Cyncerely Yours by Eileen Wilks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a quick and easy read set in the World of the Lupi. We get to see the insanity that Cynna and Cullen experience on the day of their very unorthodox wedding. When all their friends, a dragon, a ghost, and a demon all come together to celebrate the joining of two of my favorite characters, things obviously do not go as planned. Maybe expecting the unexpected is the way they get through the day without freaking out.

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Review: Forever Bound

Forever Bound Forever Bound by Stacey Kennedy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This short from the 1Night Stand matchmaker series explored a newbie in the BDSM community. Josie is taking a huge risk, just diving in with someone that the matchmaker has selected for her. When she shows up to find Gavin, they both end up with more than they bargained for. This was obviously a kinky, dirty read.

Gavin is experienced in the scene, but he has yet to find someone he actually wants to stay with. Josie far exceeds his high standards for a sub and it all shows in what is actually just one scene. I kind of wanted just a little more from this one.

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Review: Fire Touched

Fire Touched Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was such a good read! I think this had just the right combination of fae politics, pack politics, and yummy Adam/Mercy relationship awesomeness.

Mercy is once again the reason for all the trouble in this book. Sure, she didn't make a troll appear on a bridge in her town, but she certainly took it to the next level. The Walking Stick/Mercy combo ends up declaring territory for the pack and there are almost immediate repercussions. The pack is finally forced (by Adam, the most awesome mate ever) to accept and acknowledge Mercy and at the same time, they are thrown out on their own. Oh, and obviously the fae are up to no good.

Usually I'm not really big on the political aspects of these books, but this one really changed my mind. Something about the trickster-like bargaining and insane large-scale events just combined to make a really entertaining read. I was very sad when the book ended - I could read a hundred more pages just about Mercy and Adam coming out of this situation. It was also really nice to meet some new characters but be balanced by some of my favorite old ones (Zee really shines here). This book definitely has me re-hooked on the series.

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Friday, December 30, 2016

Review: Shadowed Soul

Shadowed Soul Shadowed Soul by Stacey Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These shorts are such a fun read! Each one appears to be completely unique and in this one we even get my favorite - paranormal romance!

Ellie and Bryce are both just looking for a one night stand, but the matchmaker has other ideas about them. Ellie is the jilted woman who needs to gain back her confidence. Bryce is a vampire, who is convinced that the only thing he can sustain is a one night stand. That doesn't stop him from trying to help women, though. He asks for only women who need a little "boost" in the confidence department. It's not exactly a hardship.

Ellie and Bryce immediately hit it off and the chemistry sizzles. They spend the night doing oodles of dirty things and are ready to part ways in the morning. That is, until they both realize that they could have something more. What a fun read!

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Review: Payback for a Post-Mortem

Payback for a Post-Mortem Payback for a Post-Mortem by Eileen Rendahl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poor Dawn! She is a workaholic who couldn't resist the mystery of a decapitated wolf dropped at her office. What started as just a curiosity quickly heads into crazyland when someone actually breaks into her university lab to *steal* the dead wolf! If that didn't mess with her life enough, it looks like nobody will let her move on with her life. There's a strange guy stalking her, and the mystery people (with awesome banter, by the way) end up saving/kidnapping her. This all drags her even further into the world of a messenger and some werewolves.

Out of everything, the characters and their witty banter were the highlights of this story. You've done it - you've convinced me that checking out the series is totally worth it. Consider yourself added to my to-read list!

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Review: Somewhere in Between

Somewhere in Between Somewhere in Between by Stacey Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've got a few of these little smutty shorts, but this was the first one I tried. Obviously, it appears you can jump in wherever you want and not really miss anything. This story was like a full length book somehow accomplished in very few pages. Wyatt is a US Marshal who is determined to catch a stop a serial killer who is abducting women. He's already used 1Night Stand matchmaking and has found a good match with Rye, but is still looking for a women who can join them.

I was a little worried that this would be forced and awkward, having Wyatt discover Darby on a crime scene, but instead it was... tender and loving. The progression from victim to possible love interest didn't feel forced and made for a great read. If this is any indication for how these shorts go, I can easily see myself devouring them all.

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Review: Broken Bond

Broken Bond Broken Bond by Tiffany Heiser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short story was a really interesting way to start a series. We get inside Bristol's head before he begins his journey into insanity and then watch him slowly deteriorate after his mate is taken from him. I assume he's the one we follow in the series?

Bristol begins his journey as a man in love. He's got some hunch that something bad will happen, but he isn't quick enough to act. It happens pretty quickly - his mate is taken and he has lost his one true love. When vampires lose their mates, they begin the slow trip to madness. First they become more thirsty for blood, then they can't quite become satisfied, then they're pretty much gone. His poor best friend is put in a horrible position to move him between the levels of their asylum, probably setting up Bristol's hatred of their kind. While this story had a historical feel to it, I found myself sucked in despite my typical tastes.

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Review: Night Hawk

Night Hawk Night Hawk by Lora Leigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very short story, but it really didn't feel that rushed (unlike other shorts I've read recently). I've been briefly exposed to this Elite Ops world in a previous story, but this short just reinforces that I should read the series. In this story, we watch the delicate balance between two working ops tip into romance. The sexual chemistry is off the charts and had me on the edge of my seat. Sure, I'm sad that we don't get to see where it goes, but I guess the point is to make me want to read the series (mission accomplished!).

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Review: August Heat

August Heat August Heat by Lora Leigh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I haven't read the other installments of this series, but I don't think it really mattered. This could definitely be read as a standalone story.

We join this group of women and men during the birth of Cade's baby. I detectived out that the three men used to share their wives with one another, but since the birth of Cade's kid, that all changed. It looks like the women didn't realize that and... are out to punish them? I had a really hard time understanding why the women just couldn't have a serious conversation with their men and instead put them through hell. Sigh.

Sure, there was a heavy amount of smut, sexiness, and story, but the overall story of the men trying to figure out why their wives were cutting them off in the bedroom overshadowed everything else. Reading this story just makes me want to go back in time and see what they were like in books 1-3.

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Review: Compelled

Compelled Compelled by S.A. Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

London is a bit of a bad guy, caught up in the drama that is seelie/unseelie sidhe. After being attacked by a sidhe, she becomes one of the "touched" who are rapidly addicted to the power that is obtained when a sidhe shares his/her "touch." If she doesn't find someone to take her on soon, she'll suffer like a drug addict and eventually lose her mind.

The first lead she has on a sidhe patron comes from her special ops friend. He wants her to look into some druid priest who claims to have a connection to sidhe. While planning this trip, she also gets a call from the local vampire mistress. Upon arriving at her den, she discovers an ancient sidhe that seems to be her most likely patron... as long as he doesn't find out about her past. As this seems unlikely, she follows through on the job, which is anything but easy. There's wizards and sidhe and lots of introduction to this well written and interesting world. Sadly, I don't think I have any way to get the additional books in this series to learn more.

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Review: Just Bitten

Just Bitten Just Bitten by Rocki Wall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This short story had a pretty good introduction to the mysterious world of vampires. We join "Heaven," a girl who doesn't remember her real name, as she is on the run from some monsters in the woods. She's barefoot and in a nightgown, but seems oddly sturdy while running in the snow for a while. Turns out, the monsters that are chasing her are pretty vicious vampires that leave her for dead as the sun starts to rise.

Her savior, a much less "monstrous" vampire, ends up feeding off of her too, and ultimately they end up in a vampire master's den. This, obviously, is not the best place for someone who has yummy smelling blood. After some failed escape attempts, things turn a little upside down. Poor Heaven, she gets thrown from one monster to another, in completed different ways. Oh, and she's still not sure about her past. All of that comes to a head in the cliffhanger ending of this story. I'm sure this world will lead to some interesting places.

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Review: Family Bonds

Family Bonds Family Bonds by Elise Lyons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jaxson and Gavin are just two guys staying at an inn for a nice relaxing (not romantic) vacation. What they actually get is a vacation straight out of dracula. There are even pitchforks involved!

Jaxson is definitely more into the relaxation elements of this trip. Gavin, on the other hand, can't seem to stop moving. There are just too many unanswered questions - how can the girl working here carry their heavy bags without breaking a sweat? Why did he find her outside in the middle of the night with wounds on her throat? Are vampires real? Throw all of this and some confusing family relationships together and you've got a not-so-relaxing vacation.

This was a pretty quick read that definitely stands alone. While I wasn't particularly invested in any of the characters, it still had some original elements.

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Review: My Day with the Vampire

My Day with the Vampire My Day with the Vampire by Danni Peck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This short was somewhere between 2 and 3 stars. While some shorts are able to give you a good flavor in the pages allotted, this book felt very... rushed. There may have been some elements of the fated mates type of story, but it left me feeling a little bit unfulfilled.

Rayne is an orphan, living with her aunt, and she's very angry about being forced into this wealthy lifestyle. In typical teenage rebellion, she runs off one night after an argument to blow off some steam at a club. After dancing for a bit, she sits down and ends up meeting the awkward and bumbling Klaus. They seem to have some things in common, and this somehow convinces Rayne to get into his car and go to some very deserted areas. Their rushed relationship ends with a vampire reveal (obvious by the title), but we get a sort-of cliffhanger. What happens next? Hopefully the next book would have some answers?

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Review: Mallory of Strange Valley (Adult Paranormal Romance Novelette)

Mallory of Strange Valley (Adult Paranormal Romance Novelette) Mallory of Strange Valley (Adult Paranormal Romance Novelette) by Kassandra Coley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short "novelette" was one of my favorites! Who doesn't love a good succubus story and this had all the makings of a great start to a series. I am so completely bummed that it doesn't appear there was a second installment published. If it ever restarts or is lurking in the internet somewhere, I would have loved to check it out. I need answers!

Mallory (or whoever she actually is) is a succubus who has made her "living" feeding off of horny college kids. She and her BFF appear to be living a comfortable life, eating what they want, enjoying their lives until another immortal shows up. Mallory has some mysterious past that doesn't match what others experience. She's got a bit of missing time around her becoming a succubus, but it's never really bothered her before. All of that changes when an incubi shows up in one of her classes.

Obviously, there is a good amount of smuttiness in a succubus book, but I found it to be just the right amount. We need to see what Mallory goes through, right? As I said, this is the start of series, so we don't get lots of answers, but what we do get is fantastic characters and enough questions that I would have immediately picked up the next book. Mallory had all the makings of a fantastic main character.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a delightfully surprising read! I can honestly say that I've never read another book with quite this type of magic. I am in love with this world and will definitely be checking out more from this author!

Jade is definitely unique. She's half witch and has been turning her magic into cupcakes. Her shop's business is booming, and with her spare time, she makes trinkets (I love that word). They don't appear to be magical, but it's something she does to pass the time. Her adopted sister, Sienna, is also part witch, but has a bit more powerful magic in the form of binding. Between the two of them and a powerful grandmother, they round out the Godfrey family in Vancouver. Things appear normal - Jade being dateless and her sister having a magical necromancing boyfriend, when a night at the club turns everything upside down. I guess it probably started with the vampire at her shop, but it really took a turn at the club.

There's a murder mystery at the heart of the story, but I was definitely more interested in the magic. Oh, and the cupcakes. But mostly the magic. Jade's magic just sounds like fun! She gets to try to find new and interesting ways to use it along the way, and ultimately ends up being a much tougher witch by the end of the story. If this is only our first taste of Jade, I cannot wait to see where she ends up!

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Review: Ethan's Girl

Ethan's Girl Ethan's Girl by Angelica Twilight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OK, so, I have no experience with the book that this is apparently a spinoff of. That being said, I was pretty lost from the start. I managed to detective out that Ethan and Torri had a relationship that he ended because it was becoming too intense. He's a werewolf (right?) and they are both high school age (but he's emancipated and doesn't live with parents, who may or may not be alive).

This story seems to be the turning point for Torri and Ethan, where he breaks down to let her in on all his secrets. In parallel, there is the story of Damien Croft, who made a deal with a crossroads demon for immortality. All he had to do was kill a lot of kids. I'm sure there is more to this than I'm seeing, and it probably set the world up nicely to connect with wherever this tale ends up going.

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Review: The Trouble With Ghosts

The Trouble With Ghosts The Trouble With Ghosts by A.L. Kessler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poor Abby! I really wish she could catch a break from the constant pressure of death threats, but I guess without that we wouldn't have these fast-paced stories about her life. Maybe a short story could give her a little reprieve.

We join Abby (crazy life already in progress) as she is still working on finding a balance with Nick (that's looking good) and tasked with solving a gross case involving severed thumbs. Yuck. This case, of course, ends up tying into a number other related items - the cult (remember them?), vampire politics (remember her almost kidnapping?), and the wolf pack (ouch, remember Simon?). Well, the cult remains as mysterious as ever, but we get to see the reemergence of a previous character. The vampire politics is also a bit of a black box to Abby, and it looks like Levi and his new associate want to keep it that way. The wolves? Well, at some point Abby would have to deal with the fallout from that, right? Oh, and there's ghosts. Did I forget to mention that?

There are a lot of death threats, a destroyed car (again), and some puzzle pieces that fall into place, but the true focus of the story is Abby. I think we're starting to see her break. Sure, maybe it's not full meltdown, but how many attempts at her life (and loss) can she be expected to survive? I think this book was a real turning point and where she goes from here will truly decide her fate. I wouldn't mind her finding a viable love interest at some point, either.

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Review: The Chance Encounter

The Chance Encounter The Chance Encounter by William Watkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short story was quickly addictive. I've been cruising through short stories in an effort to get exposure to other authors and this one was definitely one of the standouts so far.

We are told this story by an enigma of a narrator. He leaves hints about some horrible thing that happened in the past, but we nonetheless are appreciative of his sarcasm and wit throughout the tale. Dan and Jenny meet at a swanky club, defying the odds of them actually meeting in life. Their vastly different jobs and lifestyles would have certainly kept them in separate social circles. Lucky (or unlucky) for them, they met, had a one night stand (the chance encounter), and parted ways.

I loved the ultimate end of this story, that I won't give away, but I think most people who appreciate the unexpected will appreciate this short tale. It left me wanting more from this author, which is probably the ultimate goal of any short book.

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Review: The Kiss of Death

The Kiss of Death The Kiss of Death by Joshua Mumphrey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This short prequel to what is undoubtedly a more complex novel gives us a firsthand view of the untimely death of a high schooler. You get hints at a later transformation (that I assume happens in the corresponding novel), but the basis for this short story is to see his demise. We get a taste of who he was in high school - the rebellious, car-racing, math wiz - but we also see how he acts when he knows he is going to die. I'd be interested to see what the bigger picture is here.

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Review: Honest Temptations

Honest Temptations Honest Temptations by Raquel Dove
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very short read that gave just enough of a taste to want more.

We meet a demon lord and a human girl while they are on their way back to her world. It appears that he is breaking some unnamed rules, but her draw is undeniable to him. The chemistry between these two alone would be enough to want to read more. Sadly, I don't actually have the next novellete. I would love to know what happens to the girl and what ultimately becomes of the poor love-struck demon lord.

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Review: Deathly Magic

Deathly Magic Deathly Magic by A.L. Kessler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Man, Abby has the worst luck ever. These books are just non-stop action filled madness, and I'm completely obsessed.

Even after her vacation, Abby just can't catch a break. Her work, which was already a huge component of her life, is now pretty much 100% of her life. Luckily, it also involves her kinda-sorta-love interest, Simon, so there is a little glimmer of hope in the romance department. That little glimmer is stomped on again and again in this book, as each date get preempted by all sorts of nastiness. There's starved vampires, zombies, lots of mauled corpses, missing werewolves, evil witches, and so many secrets that I don't even know where to begin.

The bigger story (other than the Abby/Simon romance-ish) has to do with the bodies that keep turning up. Not only do the bodies connect to Levi's vampire dealings, but they also appear to connect with Abby's most recent near-death experiences. No - I'm not talking about the ones in the previous book - these are brand new incidents. The sheer amount of destruction that Abby leaves in her wake is staggering. She's like the female version of Harry Dresden.

If you're looking for all your questions to be answered, this book will not make you happy. Sure, we are learning more about the mysterious Uncle, but Levi is still a mystery (that includes farm animals that had me laughing out loud). There are probably a lot of clues thrown in along the way, but we've got all sorts of questions, like who is the boss man? who is the vampire king? where did the cat come from? what is Nick's problem? The list is endless, and I will eagerly gobble up the next book!

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Review: To Save a Mate

To Save a Mate To Save a Mate by Krystal Shannan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve been working through short reads in an attempt to get some exposure to new authors. This one was really unexpected and enjoyable. Sure, it had some very serious components, but sometimes the story has to be difficult in order to appreciate the ending.

Luke is the member of wealthy town family who also happens to secretly be werewolves. This brand of werewolf is the magical variety that veers more towards witches and curses than animal infection. One “power” they have is the ability to share their essence with the mate of their choosing, extending their life and linking them forever. This becomes especially important when Luke’s secret crush ends up running in front of his truck.

Kara has had a really bad day. She found out that her parents were killed and then promptly found her boyfriend and roommate in bed together. By some twist of fate, she ends up stumbling into the road, half-heartedly hoping to end it all. The car in the road just happens to be Luke’s and he makes the split second decision to link them forever. The learning process for Kara is difficult and filled with oodles of misunderstandings and confusion. Oh, and there’s the matter of her parents’ funeral, Luke’s overbearing yet helpful family, her cheating now-ex-boyfriend, and the fact that werewolves exist all thrown at Kara at once. Her dramatic relationship with Luke is actually the steadiest part of her insane new world.

I really enjoyed reading a new take on the werewolf story. I also liked being put through the very real experience of dealing with loss but getting rewarded with a really wonderful relationship. The paranormal elements were almost secondary to the gritty story of Kara’s life.

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Review: Scaling Her Dragon

Scaling Her Dragon Scaling Her Dragon by Milly Taiden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While this book is part of the larger paranormal dating agency series, it definitely wasn’t difficult to read as a standalone story. Personally, I’ve only read the first book of the series and didn’t really feel like I was either spoiling the entire series or left behind based on previous installments. Dive in at will!

Rebecca has always been obsessed with dragons. Even after she goes on an adventure to another world, she doesn’t quite believe that they could actually be real. That doesn’t stop her from continuing to love them, though. Vikter just so happens to be Rebecca’s very real dragon neighbor. Unfortunately, since he has been unable to find his mate, he is suffering from a slow and painful death by dragon separation. His moods are unstable and he’s pretty much given up on life. All of that changes, though, when he meets Rebecca.

These two suffer from some very common paranormal romance symptoms – lack of communication, lots of chemistry, and a meddling family. Lucky for us, though, this fated couple gives a sexy and wonderfully satisfying HEA in the end. There’s even a healthy dose of action and adventure. If you’re looking for a glimpse into another world that will have you hooked, check this book out.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review: On The Hunt For His Cougar (BBW Paranormal ShapeShifter Romance)

On The Hunt For His Cougar (BBW Paranormal ShapeShifter Romance) On The Hunt For His Cougar (BBW Paranormal ShapeShifter Romance) by Holly Eastman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Patrice is a woman with a bunch of secrets, but none of them can keep her from complaining to the local bear alpha about his rowdy crew. They did enough damage to her bar to make her throw caution to the wind and drive up for a surprise visit/threat. A little bit of her anger leaves her by the time she meets the sexy alpha, though. While their human sides might find lots of reasons why they should definitely not be mates, their animals have already become mates at first sight. Hunt has rules that he’s supposed to follow and examples he’s supposed to lead by. Patrice is supposed to be laying low and hiding her shifter status from the bad guys in town. Nothing, however, can stop their attraction.

Throw in some mortal danger and lots of sexual tension and you’ve got a super quick to read and entertaining story. We also got a nice intro to the “bad news bears” and their quirks. I’d imagine they could each get their own story (including Patrice’s handler) and I’d easily devour each one.

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Review: Paranormal Romance: Kiss Of A Vampire

Paranormal Romance: Kiss Of A Vampire Paranormal Romance: Kiss Of A Vampire by Martha Woods
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a short, sexy, and paranormal-rific read. I’m not 100% sure that this is a standalone book, but it was perfectly enjoyed by this reader.

Tessa is a bit of a nomad. She’s been on her own since she was a teenager, after she began to lie about not hearing all the voices in her head. Said voices were actually other people’s thoughts, which turned out to be a nice money-making scheme for a fake psychic. With enough of an open mind (on both parts) she could sell people the idea that she could see the future in her crystal ball. Well, she could sell everyone except an overeager vampire that turns up at her table.

Kristian is a buttoned-up vampire who doesn’t seem too keen on Tessa knowing his deepest and darkest secrets. There is, however, some undeniable chemistry that leads him to kinda-sorta kidnapping her and taking her on the run. The bad guys? That’s the evil witches that are hunting Kristian and his vampire sister. There’s action, adventure, and romance (and lots and lots of other little characters) that is all jammed into this short book. If this is what the author can do with a short story, I’m totally interested in a full length novel.

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Review: Elemental Secrets

Elemental Secrets Elemental Secrets by Elle Middaugh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow – this book completely surprised me! I guess I was expecting your typical teenage paranormal romance. This book was anything but typical!

Valerie lost her mom at a young age and has been raised on and off by her navy enlisted father. During the time while he is deployed, she stays with her strange aunt. That’s where she’s headed this time around, and she’s a little more excited knowing she’ll be enrolled in a school where she has already gone through the new-girl process. Oh, and there’s also her quiet crush/entertainment in the form of Cade. He seems to be just a removed from the social scene as her, and she passes her days by watching him. Unlike last time, though, it seems that Valerie can’t stay out of the spotlight. She’s been asked out by the quarterback, Holden, and already gotten into a fight with the school’s popular girl. Oh, and there’s also been some very strange weather incidents.

Rolling all of this together, the fact that Cade suddenly wants to talk to her (in secret), shouldn’t be such a shock, but it certainly sets off shockwaves in Valerie’s “staying under the radar” plan. Even her aunt, who seems mostly satisfied to stay on the periphery of Valerie’s life, is suddenly more interested in who she’s spending time with and what she’s been up to. So – what’s the paranormal twist? Well, the weather changes are a little more than just global warming related phenomena. There’s a whole culture that revolves around people with powers and Valerie is thrown right into the middle of an already brewing war.

Some fair warning – this book takes a walk on the dark side for a little bit. There’s bullying and fighting, war and discrimination, and lots of betrayal and secrets. I liked being surprised and that’s really what kept me completely engaged. I could do without the love triangle aspect, but it really helps drive the plot along. The Valerie that starts this book is not the one that we see at the end. She grows in more ways than I can count, and I hope we see even more in this series.

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Review: Freaking Purrfect

Freaking Purrfect Freaking Purrfect by Celia Kyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve missed the whole crew from the Ridgeville series, so I jumped at the chance to read this very short bonus story. All throughout the series, Maya has been pretty insistent that the pack have their very own were-hedgehog. It’s been near-constant on her end, and it apparently hasn’t stopped in the time between then and now. She might have had a better plan than having her daughter kidnap/save/adopt one, but such is life in the pack.

If you wanted to take a peek at Maya, her mate, and all her friend again, this is definitely worth the time it takes to read. Their drama and love stories always bring a smile to my face.

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Review: Seraphina's Awakening

Seraphina's Awakening Seraphina's Awakening by Sheena Hutchinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had me desperate for answers the entire way through. Where is Seraphina headed? What is going on with Nate? Questions kept me plowing through the twists and turns that had me never sure exactly what was going on.

Nate is an angel who is having some career problems. He’s been demoted and it appears he’s gotten demoted again – tasked with watching over Seraphina, a simple human girl. Being on Earth begins as punishment for him, but you can see that it begins to change him throughout his assignment. Seraphina’s life is filled with monotony and mystery. She works with insurance during the day and is plagued by bad dreams at night. There is one constant, though, and that is the mysterious stranger in her dreams. During her waking hours, however, she’s seriously crushing on the guy who operates the local coffee shop.

I’m not even really sure how to summarize where Seraphina ends up, but let’s just say that she goes through a lot. There’s failed dates, better dates, paranormal experiences, and instant chemistry (that shouldn’t probably be there). Oh, and scary guys hunting her. All the while, Nate is determined to stay by her side and figure out how to make it up to her. I’m not sure where the story is headed, but you can be sure that it will be surprising.

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Review: Bearly in Control

Bearly in Control Bearly in Control by Milly Taiden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book had everything from bank robbery to mind control with lots of sexy time romance in between.

Charli is a member of a special task force, mostly because of her ability to speak to animals. In the truly expected way, she’s a veterinarian by trade. Her life take a bit of a detour when she drives a wounded bear to her office only to discover that he’s a naked man when she went to unload him. Oh, and he’s also very convinced that she’s his mate (or his bear is). She’s really got an uphill battle, though, because not only does he now know that he’s a shifter, but he also doesn’t know much of anything before waking up with her.

Barry (as Charli figures out from his mind) is only sure about one thing, and that is his undeniable draw towards Charli. The quirky but self-confident woman who can calm his inner bear is a gift in a world where he feels out of control. After a few more unexplained incidents, some more robberies, and some overlapping detective work, it seems that Barry has been up to no good during his blackout times. Solving the mystery (for me) happened almost immediately, but it was still nice to have an additional element to this paranormal romance.

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Review: Force of Temptation

Force of Temptation Force of Temptation by Suzanne Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ooh, this book was a lot of fun to read! Who doesn’t love throwing a wild cat at an uptight wolf?

Harley is an independent margay shifter who is happy to live her life, although she could use a little bit more hot men involved. Well… one hot man in the form of Jesse. Circumstances, however, have left her alone, trying to remove herself from a harmful situation. She is essentially the scapegoat for her old friend (Jesse’s sister) getting involved in drugs. It’s not true, but there’s enough emotional drama around it that this seems like the safer path for everyone involved.

Jesse sees things a little differently. He never blamed Harley and, although he lost his true mate as a child, he’s convinced that his wolf is ready to mate Harley. He’s given himself a deadline and if Harley doesn’t show up at his house by then, he’s going to hunt her down. This all seems to be on track until their pack’s young seer tells him Harley’s in danger (in a much more seer-esque way).

These two were really fun to watch reconnect and have oodles of sexy, smutty times together. They are both so stubborn that there really is no doubt that they will battle their way to a HEA even if there is some kicking and clawing involved. Sure, there are heavier, larger storylines at play in this book, but the center (and most awesome) part was Harley and Jesse’s unconventional love story.

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Review: His Untamed Desire

His Untamed Desire His Untamed Desire by Katie Reus
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a quick, short, read that gives a good glimpse into a series that I’ve not started yet. I don’t think it hurt my enjoyment of the book, but it did give me a good flavor for a bunch of the other characters and pack dynamics.

Daphne has always had a crush on Hector. After a failed attempt to show him how she feels, she left home to find herself. Now that she’s moved back home, she is determined to show Hector how much he missed out on. Turns out, though, Hector was just trying to protect her all those years back and he’s more than eager to accept the challenge she throws down.

This book had elements of a love story, some smuttiness, and a bit of a mystery in the form of Daphne’s stalker. Hector really has his work cut out for him in trying to prove his worth. After all the trials he goes through with Daphne, the end of the book leaves us with a bit of a cliffhanger related to his family. I wish there was a little more of a solid ending, but I guess the point is to get you hooked, right?

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Review: Drakon's Promise

Drakon's Promise Drakon's Promise by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was such a fun and wild ride! If you’re looking for something shake up your typical paranormal romance reading, check this one out.

Darius is a very old and very lonely drakon. Drakons (as I learned here) are the mixed offspring of humans and the otherworldly dragons. He and his brothers have each protected themselves in different ways, but the common thread is that none of them has found their foretold mate. They’ve dodged and fought with their enemy, the Knights of the Dragon, but there appears to be a stalemate in place.

Sarah is a girl who has always had an affinity for books. They speak to her in a very supernatural way, but doing research is also her true calling. After being told to look for work elsewhere, when a wealthy collection owner approaches her, she jumps at the chance to catalog his library. Unfortunately for Sarah, he appears to be involved in hunting and kidnapping and it’s all tied to her finding a seemingly lost and very magical book. Sarah, in her really awesome way, has the strength to not only steal the book, but also run to warn their intended target – Darius.

These two have some amazing chemistry to go along with their fated attraction and they were great fun to watch. Sarah’s life is really thrown up into the air, yet she somehow finds the will to accept and move through all this madness. Darius is also confronted with some sharp changes to his solitary lifestyle. If this is where the series begins, I can’t wait to see where it goes next! Who is next in line for meeting their mate? We’ve got some clues that show us at the end that it will be another wild ride.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Review: Love Bite

Love Bite Love Bite by Celia Kyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This very quick book had enough twists to cover a full-length novel! It takes a little bit of a darker spin on your typical paranormal romance.

Zoe is in a desperate situation. Her sexually harassing boss fired her suddenly, leaving her short on the rent and out for money in a hurry. With very few lucrative job options presenting themselves, a flyer for selling blood ends up leading her to a job interview for vampire blood donor. It seems easy enough, right? Just offer your wrist and make oodles of money. Things get a little more complicated when she ends up being claimed by the club's owner and sire of one jerky weird vampire that may or may not be stalking her as his side job.

The sizzle between Zoe and Arik makes the darkness that follows a little bit easier to swallow. Arik is pretty immediately forced to make a tough choice: his vampire child or his new mate? With some darkness in his own past, Arik plays the part of the reluctant hero perfectly and is able to step up to the plate to save the day.

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This quickie read really packs a punch! The combination of humor, romance, and sizzle were just right. All of that rolls up into a book that had me begging for more!

Rosie isn't one to just dive into a relationship, but it seems like that's who she wants to become after meeting a hot stranger at a club. Who knew that one dance could shake up her world so much? It doesn't hurt that he appears to be as smitten with her as she is with him. Oh, and the chemistry is off-the-charts hot! Things seems to be going in the right direction after a wonderful date and even more wonderful night together until things start becoming... weird.

Lucas never really intended on falling for Rosie. He's under enough pressure from his pack to mate with Annabelle (a conniving, manipulative, selfish, woman) that he should know better than to date a human. It seems like he just can't say no, though. Even after his own personal drama and hidden werewolf-status can't keep him from stalking Rosie in his wolf form. Their romance plays out through a series of twists and turns, but ends up giving us a nice, neat, HEA. It's official - I'm in love with this series.

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Review: Reluctant

Reluctant Reluctant by Lauren Dane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a short story that is actually mentioned in Pack Enforcer. Layla and Sid are the troublesome couple that start what will probably be a long list of reluctant pairings in the series.

Layla is a member of the alpha's family but is determined to live her life independently. She's got a very strict plan and has been making some good progress. Not to be jammed into a straightlaced persona - she likes to indulge her wild side by hitting up clubs with her friend. At one such club, she meets Sid - the bad boy artist who is supposed to be a nice diversion. This one-night-stand pretty rapidly heads into mate territory when they get a good sniff of one another.

Layla, obviously, wants nothing to do with this change in plans. She's not willing to throw her life away just because her wolf half says so. Unfortunately, without the tribond and acceptance between mates, she's going to go mad. Who doesn't want a sexy artist chasing after you, though? There is a nice HEA here and you certainly don't have to read any of the other books to enjoy this one.

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Review: Enforcer

Enforcer Enforcer by Lauren Dane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This quick and spicy read was filled with lots of twists and turns, which made the pages simply fly by. I loved the dynamic between Nina (the florist with a past who can handle a shotgun) and Lex (the enforcer who melts into goo around Nina).

So, as I said, Nina is playing it straight but she's got a pretty dubious past. She's the responsible sibling, and, as such, is the place where her brother runs when he needs help. After witnessing a murder by some bad members of his pack, he tries to lay low but fails miserably, leading the pack's enforcer to Nina's door. She's pretty well versed in how to deal with trouble, so she fights Lex off for a while. It was only a matter of time, however, until these two had to face the fact that their flirtation should lead to more.

Unfortunately for Nina, the event that throws her into Lex's arms isn't a pretty one. Oh, and it turns out that werewolves that discover their mate have to also involve a third person in the mating ceremony (strange and unexpected, but adds to the naughty level of this book). Aside from all the smut, there's also a really nice compliment of side characters. Lex's family is filled with all sorts of interesting women that I would love to read more about. After all that they go through to give Lex and Nina a happy ending, they all deserve to find their fated mates.

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Review: Vengeance Be Mine

Vengeance Be Mine Vengeance Be Mine by Louisa Lo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow - what a weird and wild world this book threw me into! I think I was expecting vengeance demons to be something out of Buffy, but boy was I wrong!

Megan is studying to become a vengeance demon (this is a thing) and trying to convince everyone that her half-trickster status isn't slowing her down. It might help if she didn't tend to get into trouble most days. Even her pre-graduation vengeance assignments end up somehow going awry. Restoring cosmic balance is a harder job than I thought. Somehow, she manages to get placed into the co-op program but the trouble doesn't stop following her (or originating from her?).

For me, the reader, things started looking up after things were really messed up for Megan. Introduce a yummy love interest! OK, so I might be making up the love interest part (the book doesn't fully deliver a romance, really), but either way, the characters we meet in the second half of the book were what kept me reading. There was so much backstabbing, deception, twists, turns, and betrayal that it felt nice to have some sparkly new characters to balance it all out. Overall, this book is definitely an intro to Megan's insane world, but doesn't wrap up neatly into a standalone package. There's so much madness introduced in this book that I almost expected it to go on forever trying to tie it all up!

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Review: Frostbitten

Frostbitten Frostbitten by Charlotte Stein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you're looking for a quick, smutty, vampire book, look no further. The combination of dirty, dirty deeds, vampires, and some twists on your typical pnr made for a good read.

We meet Cora right as she is thrust into the world of the paranormal. What starts as an awkward and stumbling conversation with her crush, Zeke, ends with her being sort-of kidnapped. Turns out, in order to save her, and be a little selfish, Zeke began the process of turning her into a vampire. All they have to do is stay away from each other for a little bit and she will detox, going back to her normal life. Awesome, right? Well, the pull they feel is unlike anything she's ever known. That's still doable, until you introduce Zeke's partner to the mix.

Zeke's frostbitten partner, Merrick, is exactly the kind of vampire you'd expect - brooding, angry, rigid. All that gets thrown up in the air, though, when all three find themselves caught in some mystical threeway love affair. We get a solid HEA and this can easily be read in an afternoon. What's not to like?

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Review: Kitty's Big Trouble

Kitty's Big Trouble Kitty's Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for me. I honestly don't think you even need to have read the previous books to dive into this one, 9 books into the series. I guess that says something about the series as a whole. Sure, there's some changes in characters, but the overall storyline can easily be followed no matter where you start. I took a large break between books and was easily able to catch on.

So, Kitty is back again and in "big trouble" (as opposed to the normal trouble she is in for each previous book, I guess). The story is pretty easy to explain - Kitty and her "pack" get asked to help Anastasia steal something before Roman does. It honestly doesn't matter what in the end, because (as usual) Kitty gets drawn into lots of supernatural drama along the way. There's vampires, magic, mythology, and lots of trouble. I love Kitty's sarcastic radio personality, but when it comes to going about her daily life, I find it a little frustrating. Does she really not learn anything from her previous adventures?

The fun parts of the book where really the interview aspects. Kitty meets a lot of interesting people and loves poking at them for information. The stories they provide are really the basis for my enjoyment of the book. It gave me exposure to some paranormal aspects that aren't common in other books while keeping me hooked with tiny bits of sarcastic Kitty coming out. Oh, and I also audio booked this, which was an odd mix of enjoying the book and just being reminded of the Hollows books that the narrator also read.

All in all, I'm aiming to complete this series because that's how I am. Honestly, I could take or leave most of these books. In order to really hook me, something big would have to happen (and not just Kitty's typical "big trouble") - I'm talking about Ben getting killed level big thing. Maybe things will change moving forward.

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